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in the woods

If We Were Having Coffee: No Pain, No Gain

If We Were Having Coffee Image Eight

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you all had a good week and that your weekend is everything you want it to be.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you it really does feel nice to be back home. I remember last weekend when I mentioned my trip to Nashville that I wasn’t at home for most of last week. So this week has mostly been me adjusting to being back at home.

What I can tell you about this week is that it hasn’t been that productive of one. I only did one job application throughout the week. It was a job application for a volunteer opportunity with AmeriCorps. I heard about this opportunity from one of my professors at college who saw they were looking for people and let me know to apply. So I did the application and quickly heard back that they were interested in conducting a phone interview with me for the position. So now I’m just waiting to find out when our phone interview will take place. Speaking of jobs, one of the applications I did way back in May I heard back from this week too. They were also interested in doing a phone interview with me for the position, which I did on Thursday afternoon. I don’t know how I feel about that interview. I know it definitely could’ve gone better, but I’ll just wait and see. If they are interested in me any further, I’ll be hearing from them soon. If not, then I did the best I could and will just have to accept it’s not meant to be.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about the two cold sores I have on my lips. I don’t know what exactly happened for them to get there, if I bit my lip or what, but they really hurt. Have been the biggest pain in my butt this week because they make it difficult for me to eat and do things like brush my teeth. So I’m just trying to do everything I can to ignore the pain, but we bought some cream I can put on them yesterday when we went to the store. I think that’ll help with the pain and hopefully clear them up. I just wish I knew how I got them so I could make sure it didn’t happen again. But there’s not too much I can do about that now. Just have to do everything I can to make them go away so I don’t have to deal with them anymore.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you it’s really been a good week. Besides this mouth pain, I’ve had a good time at home. I continued playing Spyro Ripto’s Rage and am almost done completing the game. Just have two worlds left before I fight Ripto as the last boss. Planning on getting through that soon. But I’ve also been playing Pokémon Go quite a bit too. It’s becoming one of my favorite video games because I just enjoy it. Reminds me so much of playing Pokémon during my childhood and battling to become the best trainer in the world. I also love it because it’s gotten me to go out and walk around, both in my neighborhood and other places. When I mentioned to Mom that I needed to go to some PokeStops because I ran out of Poke Balls and needed some more, she immediately took me to the nearest walking trail by our house. She took me there because one time when we’d gone out, I saw on the game that there were some PokeStops there that I could go to. So we went there to walk instead of doing our neighborhood so I could get my Poke Ball inventory back in order. We actually went there twice to walk because Mom suggested us going back there the next day. It is a pretty great place to walk. The trail goes so many different directions that you could go any way and end up somewhere you didn’t expect to be. But one of the places we went to on our first walk since Pokémon Go was so beautiful I couldn’t help but take a picture of it.

Harbison Recreation Center Water Fountain

It was such a beautiful setting and such a beautiful place to go that I wish I’d taken more pictures of this beautiful water as I saw the ripples cascading around me. Another aspect of Pokémon Go I’ve found myself enjoying is that it allows people to explore the world around them. To see all of these new places you might’ve never gone to before. It makes me want to find beauty in the world around me that I know does exist. This game is also a strong motivation for me to walk, something I normally enjoy doing but don’t do as much as I should. I know part of the problem is the temperature outside because it’s so hot that I can feel the heat as soon as I step outside. But Pokémon Go makes me want to face the heat anyway, want to walk and explore the world around me despite the weather outside. But it does it in a way not at all criticizing the player but rewarding them for their hard work. It is something I really appreciate. There are so many people who criticize gamers so much for spending hours playing video games, for doing something they enjoy that having a video game that rewards its players for what they are doing is a great motivation for them to continue doing that task. I also enjoy this game motivating me to walk because I know I need to. It’s something I know I should be doing every day and having a game that brings one of my childhood dreams to life is one way I know will help motivate me to continue walking whenever I feel like giving up.

I’d also like to mention along with playing Pokémon Go I also finished reading Into the Woods and have started reading Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild, one of the books I had bought at 2nd and Charles a little while ago. Into the Woods was overall an okay read for me. It wasn’t the worst book I’ve read, but also wasn’t the best book I’ve read either. I enjoyed the mysterious circumstances surrounding the main character in the novel despite the disappointing aspects of the story that didn’t endear the book to me. I think the book I’ve started reading though will prove to be a much better read to me because it’s about an animal I enjoy learning more about. But will just have to wait and see to know for sure.

If we were having coffee, I’d also mention that we are getting close to the day I first started this blog last year. I plan on doing a blog post on this because I want to talk about my experience with blogging so far and what all I’ve learned since I created Vook: Books + Video Games and what I hope for as I continue blogging. I know a lot has changed for me since I first started this blog, and can’t wait to talk about my experience so far with you. I know there are some things I want to do in order to improve my blog, which is something else I plan on talking about with that post. I hope you all read it and tell me what you think because I want as much feedback as I can get on how to improve my blog. But I also want to hear other’s stories about their blogging journey and what they’ve learned along the way. Along with this post, I’m figuring out what else I want to post next in the days to come. I know I still have the one fictional story buzzing around in my head yet to be written so I’ll try to get that posted as soon as I can for you all to read and enjoy. Hopefully it’ll be as good as it is in my head, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

But for now, I think I’ll be going. There really isn’t too much else for me to say here about my week. It’s mostly been reading, watching YouTube videos and playing video games, the normal stuff you all should expect from me now. But enough about me. What all have you been up to lately? I want to hear all about it.

Book Review: In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1)

In the Woods Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

As a crime scene novel, this book perfectly depicted how investigators solve crimes. There was just enough mystery and suspense to keep me interested in finding out what Ryan and his partner Cassie discovered. The writing was the perfect tone, adding to the suspense when needed, and describing the setting of the world around Ryan in perfect detail. It made me engaged, wanting to know more about what happened. Also enjoyed that the setting took place in Ireland because I haven’t read too many novels that take place in other countries. So it’s always interesting reading books like this where the setting isn’t somewhere I’m familiar with.

I also enjoyed hearing more about Ryan’s past. While he’s definitely not my favorite detective in this book, I loved learning more about the trauma he went through and understanding how that shaped him into the character read about in the book. I also enjoyed his friendship with Cassie, my favorite character in the book. I found both of them together as partners to be very amusing when solving crimes because they had amazing chemistry.

But while I enjoyed these aspects of In the Woods, there were so many things with this novel too that left me criticizing it. For one, Ryan’s character wasn’t great. When I first started reading this book, I didn’t mind him all that much. But the more I read, the less I liked him. I think my disdain for him is because of the way he acts with Cassie and the way he talks about his past. After everything they’ve been through together and Ryan saying Cassie is his best friend, he lets their friendship go without a fight over the dumbest thing. He ruins his friendship with her instead of trying to talk things out like responsible adults are supposed to do. And she tries to set things right, but he wants nothing more to do with her until it’s too late. That really bothers me because she was his best friend, yet he doesn’t act like it after what happened. I also don’t like the way he talks about his past because he’s never let go of the one mystery surrounding his childhood, the one he has the opportunity of solving only to let it slip through his fingers. I get his memory of events is skewered, but when he’s given the chance to solve the crime that has literally changed his life, he doesn’t put his best effort into it. He starts remembering some of the events that came before, but doesn’t even push himself to figure out what happened.

I also don’t like how the main case in this story was solved. There were so many mistakes made during the investigation that it took a lot longer for them to solve the crime if they’d looked in certain places at the very beginning. I also didn’t like who they chose as the scapegoat for the crimes because the person who actually came up with the idea got away with it completely.

To be honest, I was completely disappointed by the end of the story. There was so much buildup that I was expecting things to end differently. But that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, things change for the worse and the mysterious crime that occurred during the narrator’s childhood is never solved, despite the flashbacks in the past he experienced.

So while I enjoyed reading In the Woods, there were a lot of things in the story that left me disappointed, wanting more than what was given. Nonetheless, I plan on reading the second book in this series The Likeness in hopes that it’ll be a better read.

If We Were Having Coffee: Life Moving Forward

If We Were Having Coffee Image Two

If we were having coffee, I’d let you know my cousin’s graduation last Saturday went really well. It was really nice, seeing family and getting to spend time with everyone. Even if my three days in Georgia went by faster than I expected. Nonetheless, it was still nice because I found out what my family in Pennsylvania and Boston have been up to. My aunt informed me that my cousin has a job after graduation. So not only did my cousin graduate, but he now has a job in Georgia too, which is really exciting. Means we have a family member closer to us now so if we ever want to visit, we can. Regardless though, I’m really proud of my cousin for graduating college and am happy that he’s able to start working after college immediately. Wish I had been so lucky.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that while I haven’t done as much writing lately as I’d like, I’ve still managed to put up some blog posts. Whenever I was at home the week of my cousin’s graduation, I was able to put up the second post I’d submitted to Book Riot after some careful editing. I also published those two poems on my blog this Monday after some careful debating in my head on whether I wanted to publish them or not. Both of the poems were written straight from the heart so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to publish them on here for everyone to see. But after debating with my head last weekend, I made the decision to publish them. And after seeing how well they’ve been received on my blog, I don’t regret it.

If we were having coffee, I’d say I’m glad you all are enjoying my writing. While I know I haven’t been doing too many blog posts lately, from the ones I’ve done this week, I see they are being well received. That really makes me happy because I love writing and sharing my work with others. So it makes me pleased that my readers are enjoying the work I’ve created. I know I’m in a writing slump right now so I’m going to try the best I can to publish more posts on my blog. That’s why I’m hoping to do more flash fiction challenges whenever I get the chance and would love to post more of my own creative work. But I just have to wait and see what the writing gods have in store for me.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you this week has been a pretty slow one for me. Most of it I spent at home, hanging out with my friend or watching YouTube videos. I didn’t really do too much else this week. I meant to do some job applications, but that didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. So I’m going to try and regroup and do some this week. My goal is to have done at least three to four job applications a day. Whether I actually do that we will see. But I definitely hope to get a job in my field very soon. The summer isn’t over yet so we will see.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you my progress on Console Wars has started to go a little slow. Not because I’m losing interest in reading it or anything, just finding myself wanting to do other things instead. So while I haven’t been reading it as much, I’m planning on finishing it very soon. I also acquired two more books this week on Wednesday. The books I’ve acquired are Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild by Renee Askins and In the Woods by Tana French. These books I also plan on reading soon after I finish the book I’m reading now and the books I bought at Barnes & Noble I mentioned on my last coffee post.

Two New Books One

If we were having coffee, I’d also say I’ve started to get back into coloring again. The last coloring page I started on I’ve stopped working on for the time being and will come back to it later because I need to sharpen my color pencils. So I’m using the crayons Mom gave me for my birthday to work on a different coloring page. But besides coloring, I’ve been really getting into watching the YouTubers I enjoy and started playing a game on Facebook I used to really enjoy called Criminal Case, an app where you play as a crime scene investigator and search for evidence to catch the killer. It’s a really enjoyable game to play and I enjoy every minute I spend playing it.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you I’ve been wanting to get my hair cut lately. Part of that is because my family wanted me to get it cut before my cousin’s graduation. They feel like my hair is getting really long and needs to be trimmed down. But I think that if I’m going to get my hair cut in any way, I might as well go all the way and get a completely different style. So after much debate, I’ve decided that I’m going to get it cut really short. I’ve actually decided to get a pixie cut because I like the way it looks and think it’d look really nice on me. But I won’t know for sure until my hair gets cut. So for now until I make an appointment to get my hair done, I’ll stick with my long hair. But here’s what it looks like for those wondering.

Pixie Haircut Style

And I think that’s about it. I hope all of you are doing well and had a wonderful week.

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