Book Review: “What Passes As Love” by Trisha R. Thomas

Hello there!

For the last two months, I’ve been on what I thought would be a never-ending cycle of finding something to read to only abandon it later. I have been searching for my next great book (series) to at least excite me for a time, but l haven’t found anything like I had with the ‘Celtic Blood’ series, that is, until I found this little beauty.

I still don’t know what made me obsess over it when I saw it, because I had been scrolling through the new releases on Kindle Unlimited for days, and I just thought I would give it a try and then all of a sudden I was done with it in less than a week! Obviously, it was what I needed after so many over-the=top romance books. I was back on my trustee subject: historical fiction and I was able to dive deeply into it while suffering through chronic back pain. It was what I needed to get past everything for a time.


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A young woman pays a devastating price for freedom in this heartrending and breathtaking novel of the nineteenth-century South.

1850. I was six years old the day Lewis Holt came to take me away.

Born into slavery, Dahlia never knew her mother—or what happened to her. When Dahlia’s father, the owner of Vesterville plantation, takes her to work in his home as a servant, she’s desperately lonely. Forced to leave behind her best friend, Bo, she lives in a world between black and white, belonging to neither.

Ten years later, Dahlia meets Timothy Ross, an Englishman in need of a wife. Reinventing herself as Lily Dove, Dahlia allows Timothy to believe she’s white, with no family to speak of, and agrees to marry him. She knows the danger of being found out. She also knows she’ll never have this chance at freedom again.

Ensconced in the Ross mansion, Dahlia soon finds herself held captive in a different way—as the dutiful wife of a young man who has set his sights on a political future. But when Bo arrives on the estate in shackles, Dahlia decides to risk everything to save his life. With suspicions of her true identity growing and a bounty hunter not far behind, Dahlia must act fast or pay a devastating price.

taken from Goodreads.

When you first get into it, you will see a “Part I” page and I was unsure what this would mean while I passed each section. It wasn’t until I was finished did I realize why the author needed to spread things out into three acts.

You first a young Dahlia Holt, a sweet and resourceful girl who is swept up in the deep south, raised by her fellow slave family and the Holt family. Lewis Holt seems like every other slave owner of his time, but he has some secrets. One of which is that Dahlia is his daughter, so he has her come to the house to live along her sisters Annabelle and Leslie, and beloved grandmother but she’s also there to help serve them as well. Dahlia is somewhat unique as she is biracial so she could pass as both white and black, but choosing which side to be is proving harder to do than she thought. She has a friend though. Another slave, by the name of, Bo. They live separate lives on different parts of the plantation, but neither one are free.

In the second part, Dahlia goes out with Mother Rose and her sisters as they enjoy a day out into the city.

You want everyone to see through your eyes, but your eyes ain’t like the rest.

It’s there that Dahlia strays away from her family and finds two men, or well, they find her. They seem nice as regular gentlemen but Dahlia isn’t too convinced as she’s been warned to be careful around strangers, but she seems enchanted by Timothy, who wants to protect her when the city erupts in a panic over a robbery and she knows she needs to get back to the carriage, she is pulled by Timothy to escape with him and his brother Ryland. She sees this as an opportunity and takes it. Unfortunately for Dahlia, this was the only easy part of her journey.

As the final section begins, we see Dahlia finally make her way beyond what she knew about herself, the people she’s come to love and trust and find a solution on her quest for ultimate freedom.

There are not many books that allow me to dwell on the past, my American history, because it is disgusting on how my ancestors treated slaves – although I’m not sure how many family members in fact owned anyone, but there is a big possibility that it happened and it’s just better to understand that aspect of it. This book is a good insight on what it was like to be owned, and the prospect of being a women in those times and the fear of being raped by the master or overseer, having to serve ignorant people, and the thought of running away only to be brought back to harsher conditions than before.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, I highly suggest you check out this book. You will love it just as much as I did, trust me! It will make you think about everything once you finish, both about the book itself and how you love and treat people too.

Have you read “What Passes As Love” by Trisha R. Thomas yet? If you have, what to like about it? What section was your favorite too?

Summer 2021 Playlist

Hello!

Welcome to my summer playlist for 2021.

Since I kind of messed up my blogging schedule for this month, I decided that it was more important for this post to go out than the regular monthly playlist. I hope you’re all fine with this arrangement, and don’t worry I’ll include the Spotify link onto next month’s post, okay?

It’s funny, last summer while we were just getting out of our lockdown, the music being released throughout the summer was good, and I remember appreciating the effort to be huge among artists and bands. I mean, it was odd that the majority of the continent was still running through their stay-at-home regiments but were still able to bring out these bangers for everyone to enjoy. And now coming out of this year’s summer, I don’t feel as thrilled and I don’t know why. I think it might have something to do with the full moon and retrograde though so just ignore this whole paragraph!

One thing that I think both made me really happy and surprised the living hell out of me this summer, was how much rock music I was loving this summer! I still had the popular pop tunes , but I was all about rock music and that rarely happens! My TV was mostly glued to Sirius XM’s Octane station, they play a lot of current and 2000’s rock and heavy metal music so I was able to create my own soundtrack than other people. I think it helped that with everybody being allowed to go back on tour again, bands were releasing more and more songs and I literally just absorbed as much as I could in the past seven months because you know I’ve been working on this playlist since the end of April!

Here is my Top 25 songs of the summer! If you want to check out the whole playlist, click here.

Drunk (and I Don’t Want To Go Home) by Elle King featuring Miranda Lambert
Girls by Zella Day
Peaches by Justin Bieber featuring Usher, Ludacris and Snoop Dogg
If You Love Her by Forest Blakk
Forget Me Too by Machine Gun Kelly featuring Halsey
Summer In June by Ava
Muscleville by Kai Wachi
Wait A Minute My Girl by Volbeat
The Devil by BANKS
Only Love Can Save Me Now by The Pretty Reckless
Kiss My (Uh Oh) by Anne-Marie featuring Little Mix
She’s Fire by Diane Warren featuring G-Eazy and Santana
Lil Bit by Nelly featuring Florida Georgia Line
Choke by The Warning

Justified by Kacey Musgraves
Wherever I May Roam by J Balvin and Metallica
Hip To Be Scared by Ice Nine Kills featuring Jacoby Shaddix
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X
Dark Side by Blind Channel
Deal With It by Ashnikko featuring Kelis
When Demons Come To Life by Halocene featuring Lauren Babic
Arcade by Duncan Laurence
Up by Cardi B
Cover Me In Sunshine by P!nk and Willow Sage Hart

If you have created your summer anthem playlist, I would love to know what kind of music was fueling you in the last few months. Have you discovered new artists and bands? What are you keeping for later releases? Please put it all in the comments for me. Thank you.

Life | Changing Of The Seasons

Hello everyone!

Today, I wanted to talk about the changing of the seasons.

At the end of summer, I tend to dwell on the past and the fear of going into a depression spell starting in August like the past several years, I didn’t. I haven’t been pulled into that black hole of sadness, and as much as I have been trying to be proud of this accomplishment, I have been suffering with a different kind of pain, around the the end of August through the middle of October, our weather has a way of going from one extreme to another with small chance of actual autumnal temperatures in between. As of now, September has been trying to cool down gently, but towards the afternoon it could still range in the high 80 degrees (26 degrees Celsius).before coming down into the 60’s once the sun goes down.

The final week of August, I started to have a little bit of pain in my back, and as much as I tried to blame it on my next period, it just gradually got worse as time moved on and before I knew it, I was spending a good chunk of my time lying in bed watching Criminal Minds fast as lightning and really opening up to naps in the afternoons. My way of escaping bouts of annoying back pain is to take a nap. I HATE taking naps–my parents know about my feelings on it, but they also know how stubborn I am about taking medicine to help relive the pain too, so we all have learned to accept our faults as they come!

I have been through this back in spring, and I vaguely remember how much pain I was in but I think this is worse because for once we got to experience a spring so the change of cold to warm weather wasn’t that bad of a shift (at least to me!) but since we are getting out of triple digit temperatures at a fast pace, has been really difficult on my body.

The thing is, it’s not just my physicality being affected by the sudden changes, my energy has been lacking too. This is what makes me mad because I want to do so much that I feel like I’m going to war on my own body. I know when it listen to my body so that’s why I’ve been in bed most days. I just feel guilty afterwards because I’m not able to read or paint any time I want to, so that’s been an issue I am still working on while you read this post. However, there have been some good things about this month that I wanted to share with you.

A few weeks ago, I went outside around five o’clock when our temperatures start to descend a little, so I can go out on the back deck and visit with out cats for a bit. If it wasn’t for the damn mosquitos I’d stay out there longer than 15-20 minutes at a time! Anyways, I was hanging with Nelson, Felix and Stormy, and we were all enjoying each other’s company but my favorite thing of the visit was when Stormy jumped up onto the rails, his little perch, and I went up to him and he lowered his face to me and let me bonk my head to his, twice! Now, for those of you who do not own cats, they do this with their fellow felines and whenever they do it with their humans, it means that they trust you. They consider you as family. I almost cried because I was smack dap in the middle of dealing with my back pain and he must’ve known inside that I needed a little bit of love back.

The next day,, I was able to go outside again and it was glorious! It was my ideal weather, but it was like eight or nine in the morning so that may have helped everything, but as my mom was pushing me out of the doorway, she asked me a question that sort of puzzled me at first. Here’s how this conversation went:

Mom: “When you were out last night, did you see anything in the yard?”

Me: “No, nothing out of the ordinary. Why?

Mom: “Look to your left.”

So, I look over and at first I couldn’t see anything, but then I moved closer to the rails and I finally saw it. We had a late blooming sunflower growing in our backyard! I was really glad that both of my parents were awake because I just shouting “THERE’S A SUNFLOWER!!” And then I tried to rack my brain on how I managed to miss it last night but obviously it wasn’t open enough for me to notice it on my own, but then I remembered the last time we went up north to visit with family and they had a sunflower that hadn’t opened yet but by the time we went home, it had blossomed and my aunt took a picture of it for us.

If it was out that evening, I think I was too interested in the cats to notice anything else and honestly, this can happen, especially if I have more than one cat surrounding me wanting extra amounts of attention, which if Felix is in one of his moods, he’s usually the one trying to cause fights with others which always seem to back fire on him! And if you are wondering where Stormy was located, he was on the front rail and since the sunflower was pretty short, I wouldn’t had been able to see it unless I went to that side.

The other mystery is, where the heck did it come from? I haven’t had sunflowers since last fall, and dad tried to tell me that’s where he threw them out because the cats wouldn’t go around there (another reason why I didn’t notice it!) to be fed so it is the perfect little area to grow. Unfortunately, it never grew to be like gigantically huge like most but it looked so adorable to be blossoming in the driest spot of the whole yard! And of course, I had my mom take a couple of pictures of it because I don’t know if it’ll ever happen again. Although, my mom did get me a vase full a few days beforehand and they were thrown out around that patch so maybe we will get another one as the fall season continues or into fall 2022!

Okay, well I think that’s all I want to talk about at the moment. I hope you enjoyed this post, even if the beginning wasn’t too positive, but that’s life.

Book Review: “The Boleyns Of Hever Castle” by Owen Emmerson & Claire Ridgway

Hello!

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve done anything for my blog.

Honestly, I see this as a good sign because it means that I am starting to enjoy these mini vacations! I have to say though, I did not do a whole lot of reading, ever since I finished the Celtic Blood series at the beginning of the summer, I have had a rough time figuring out what I want to get into next, as you might know I have really allowed myself to enjoy romance again, but they’re not as fun as they were around May, so I decided to dive deep into my historical fiction and even some nonfiction in there too, which is how I found this book on Kindle Unlimited in the middle of August.

I remember seeing this cover on the History of Royal Women’s instagram stories a few months before it actually came out. Moniek tries to give everyone an overview of all of the books coming out in both the US and UK and since it isn’t uncommon for the dates to be different, you may see it more than once. If you do not have instagram, she also does a blog post usually at the start of the month with more information about the books and when they officially come out too! If you’re curious about the books coming out in September, click here.


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Hever Castle is a picture-postcard fortified manor house nestled in the Kent countryside. It is famous for its links with the Boleyns, an East Anglian gentry family who rose and fell dramatically at the court of King Henry VIII.

In The Boleyns of Hever Castle, historians Owen Emmerson and Claire Ridgway invite you into the home of this notorious family.

Travel back in time to those 77 years of Boleyn ownership. Tour each room just as it was when Anne Boleyn retreated from court to escape the advances of Henry VIII or when she fought off the dreaded ‘sweat’. See the 16th century Hever Castle come to life with room reconstructions and read the story of the Boleyns, who, in just five generations, rose from petty crime to a castle, from Hever to the throne of England.

Owen Emmerson and Claire Ridgway have combined their considerable knowledge of the Boleyn family and Hever Castle to create this luxurious book. Packed with history and full-colour images, The Boleyns of Hever Castle will educate and enlighten you

taken from Amazon.

So, the book itself is divided up in three sections. The beginning is how the entire castle looked like when it was first built before the Boleyn family came along. The authors give you a lot of blueprints and reconstructed photos to give you a better idea, and this was something I could follow easily with but reading along through what was important about all of the balconies, rooms, and stairs. At some point of this, I became very confused and was tempted to skip that whole section–I complained so much that even my mom was telling me to do it! Once you finally complete this part, you move on to the origin story of the Boleyns.

This was definitely my favorite part of the book. I like to look up family trees to see where they came from and how various names play a part in the line of decedents. The first person you are introduced to is Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, who begins his quest to learn and work his way up the amount of positions like a mercer to sheriff of London. The men of the Boleyn were very good at their jobs, and this is something that continues through the generations to the point where you have Geoffrey’s great-great-grandson Thomas Boleyn becoming a diplomat for England, France, and Austria and then finally becoming the first Earl of Wiltshire in 1529.

Thomas would inherit a large amount of properties and after he married the Lady Elizabeth Howard, the daughter of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, they would make Hever Castle their official residence. One of my favorite lines in the book was, they family could lived anywhere they wanted to, but they felt safe at Hever. The Countess would give birth to five children, but only Mary, Anne, and George would survive to adulthood. All of them were educated at Hever with their governesses and tutors, but most importantly Mary and Anne were allowed to take other courses that were mainly taught to the men of the household like falconry. Another part of their schooling, especially if they had family that worked within royal houses, they could live as apprentices or in Mary and Anne’s case, become ladies in waiting. They stayed with the Queen Margaret of Austria and Queen Claude of France before coming back to England and being part of Catherine of Aragon’s household.

This is the story of the rise of a remarkable family who, over five generations, rose from petty crime to a castle, from Hever to the throne of England.

My views on whether Anne was a schemer or a pawn has definitely changed over the years. I think the thing we all need to remember is, you never said no Henry. I am sure there was fear among the many families that served under the king, especially if you could not get something done right away, which is why my views on Cardinal Worsley’s responsibility has flipped as well. I do not believe Anne could get out of the king’s clutches or her family’s ambitions to gain even more control of the king. Unfortunately, the Queen could not give Henry a son, and Anne was at the right place at the wrong time and her fate was sealed.

The final section of the book is what happened after Hever was left to the Crown and the rest of the Boleyn family died out in 1634 with the death of Lettice Knollys, who was the daughter of Catherine Carey, who then was the daughter of Lady Mary Boleyn, the only child of Thomas and Elizabeth to not lose her head after the events in 1539. It wasn’t until William Waldorf Astor took control of the property and brought it back to how it could have looked like when the Boleyn family lived there, but with some added royal aesthetic. I thought this part was fairly interesting because it speaks to anyone who is obsessed with royal history, especially the Tudor dynasty! It doesn’t matter what century or year it is, everyone can fall in love with the stories this castle’s walls know by heart. It may be the only living thing to know the truth about Anne Boleyn’s thoughts about everything!

I really enjoyed this book, and think if you or someone you know loves learning about royal history, you should direct them to this lovely book. It is fairly short but it is full of information!

Have you read “The Boleyns at Hever Castle” by Owen Emmerson and Claire Ridgway yet? If you have, what were your thoughts about it? Let me know below!

August Playlist

Hello!

Did you think I forgot the monthly playlist?

There are times where I take advantage of things and since August ends at the start of a brand new week, I rook it as a sign!

August in general was an odd month. We got a new puppy that has been running our house like crazy! I got a new TV, which meant I wasn’t really reading much and spending a good chunk of time between watching my favorite Disney films and Criminal Minds late at night. And then to top it all off, Nolan was diagnosed with COVID a few weeks ago. Thankfully, he is feeling much better but it’s been slightly stressful but full of enjoyment for everyone in my household lately.

Honestly, my music tastes kind of reflect everything that happened this month, so I wasn’t too focused on one genre, but earlier in the month, I decided to do something different and arrange all of my Liked songs to Title and listen to each one and I have been enjoying this a lot, because I’m not stuck in on a loop of the same songs, sometimes I do want to change it up, and I am loving this switch a lot!.

Here are my Top 20 songs for this month. If you want to check out the full list on Spotify , click here.

In Another Life by Crown The Empire featuring Courtney LaPlante
Urinal Rodeo by Rev Theory featuring Heidi Shepherd
Survivor by Pop Evil
Last Dance by Butcher Babies
Kiss My (Uh Oh) by Anne-Marie x Little Mix
Show Yourself by Idina Menzel and Evan Rachel Wood
Bleed It Out by Lauren Babic featuring Halocene
Kill This Love by Social Repose
Run It by DJ Snake featuring Rick Ross & Rich Brian
Hallelujah by Underoath
Stronger by The Phantoms featuring Black Violin
Do Not Disturb by Halestorm

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes by Ilene Woods
Hard To Kill by Beth Crowley
Harley by Letters From The Fire
It Won’t Kill Ya by The Chainsmokers featuring Louane
Choke by The Warning
Monsters by All Time Low featuring Demi Lovato & blackbear
Risk It All by Ella Henderson
Visiting Hours by Ed Sheeran

I am really excited to get my summer 2021 playlist up for all of you next month. Hopefully the last of bangers will release before the post like last year but you can never quite tell when it comes to music these days!

What were you listening to in August? Have you already picked out your anthem for this summer? Let me know in the comments!