Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag (+ Book Journal Update!)

Hello!

I have been looking forward to doing this tag again for the third year in a row, since the end of March, and what makes this one different from my previous posts, I will also be giving you an update look into reading journal! I said in the beginning that I would like to discuss my progress was going sometime this summer and since we’re right at the middle of 2022, I figured it would be awesome to do it all together so I wouldn’t have to do more scheduling this month!

Firstly, we will go on with the tag itself and then I’ll show you my journal afterwards. I do have a couple of things to mention though, I am only talking about the books I’ve read from January to mid-June and I’ve kept the same questions, so if you’d like to do this challenge on your blog or YouTube channel (or just for fun!) I would really love to see your answers, so please tag me in your posts!

Here are my previous answers from 2020 and 2021.


Best Book You’ve Read so Far

Honestly, I’ve read a lot of really good books. I’m trying to break out of my normal genres like romance and rediscover old favorites like historical fiction. It took me a bit, but I’ve finally started to push through the historical aspect with diving into stories about the Vikings, and I am forever grateful for taking a chance on K.M. Butler’s debut “The Raven and The Dove” which is based on the Vikings living in Normandy. Before reading this book, I wasn’t interested with these types of books, but I have a soft spot for women’s stories and despite the fact the author wrote this in two POVs, I actually loved it! It was fun to look into the main character’s lives and how they viewed one another personally and the customs of the times.

After I finished it, I tried my foot into similar books, but I wasn’t able to mesh with any others until I came across Melanie Karsak’s own Viking stories called “The Road to Valhalla”. I had tried to read one back in December, but it wasn’t what I wanted to read at the time and then a few months later I discovered the actual series and I adore the fact that Melanie can create such interesting characters and settlings that you can clearly picture in your mind at all hours of the day (or in my case at night!) and attempt to figure out how it will all end for them. Once I completed “Under the Howling Moon” back in March, it didn’t take me long to whiz right through them! I will probably be finished with all five books by the end of the season.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far This Year?

I’m surprised with myself, but I haven’t really read any sequels or at least any proper sequels than besides The Road to Valhalla. However, when I was done with “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott back in March, I decided to test out “Little Men” which is about Jo’s school for boys and discusses her life with her nephews and other young gentlemen that live amongst Jo and her husband Friedrich. The stories are very dated, but I have enjoyed love discovering the way people wrote their stories. Louisa wrote her books in the style that reflected her life in some way, so in a way she gave her accent and voice to her characters.

The other sequel is Harry Potter and the “Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling. Some of you might know about this, but I tend to only read my Harry Potter books whenever the weather warms up a little, so from spring to early summer to the end of autumn, I am sitting outside with our cats on the back deck continuing my Harry Potter journey. When I came back to it in late April, I was halfway done with it and usurpingly remembered everything I had previously read several months before and so I was thoroughly excited to finish it but now I feel weird that after I am done with ‘Half Blood Prince”–and I could finish it by the start of fall–that I will have one more book in the series and I would cross it off my reading bucket list!

New release you haven’t read, but would like to

I’ve tried my hardest to not think of the recently released books, but I do take advantage of the Amazon’s First Reads for prime readers, as you can get one book a month and they are usually free to any user, and I’ve collected three books I thought looked interesting and they were: “The Last Rose of Shanghai” by Weina Dal Randel, “The Taste of Ginger” by Mansi Shah and “The Lobotomist’s Wife” by Samantha Greene Woodruff. As you might be able to tell, all three were from the Historical Fiction box. I am excited to get to these books, but I have no idea when that will be exactly!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

There are a couple of books I’d like to get my feet on soon, like I said above, I haven’t paid that much attention to the lists. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t see anything on social media from my family and friends… One was inspired by my friend Ella, as she had checked it on Goodreads as “want to read” last month. She has a large array of books and this one really seemed odd and right up my alley, It is called, “The Drowned Woods” by Emily Lloyd-Jones.

The second book was listed as part of Hot Summer Reads blog post on Goodreads, and I thought the title was both hilarious and morbid, but once I saw what it was about, my curiosity was piqued, it is former actress Jeannete McCurdy’s “I’m Glad My Mom Died”. Besides historical fiction, I also have a huge weakness for memoirs, and I think this would be a great read as we enter the colder months. I only say it like that because I tend to want sporty and coming of age books around the time school starts back up!

Biggest Disappointment

This year I’ve been trying to listen to more audiobooks and back in February, I decided I wanted to check out some childhood classics, and I found “Matilda” by Roald Dahl and I have always been curious about it, and the fact I have only watched the film once in my whole life, I thought I would be fine with it but I was so upset with it by the end of the experience! I still don’t believe it deserves to be in a “children” category, especially with the amount of traumatic themes in it. I literally rated it as a three out of five stars, because I thought it seemed fair. I mean I didn’t absolutely hate it, as there were good spots here and there, but overall I’m glad I got it off my list for good.

There was another children’s classic that I didn’t finish but thought it was worthy a mention here. Upon recommendation, I decided to check out “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery and before going into this, I had just finished “Little Women” so I thought I would mesh fairly well with it. I didn’t. My first thought was I didn’t like how the author used the word “ejaculated” in the beginning of the story as to being a substitute for “gasping” or Louisa May Alcott’s favorite “raptures” but after the first chapter, it kind of disappeared and I thoroughly happy about it!

I can be a big talker when I want to be, and I’m constantly daydreaming just like Anne, but even I thought she was too much for me to handle, so by the time I had passed Chapter 10, I thought it was going by so slowly but slightly amusing to hear this little girl yap about anything and everything. Unfortunately, when I was about to hit Chapter 19, I couldn’t take any more of it. so, I eventually had to find something because this wasn’t working out very well.

Biggest Surprise

Last year, I did something I thought I’d ever do, I watched The Notebook. I still don’t remember what caused me to go for it, other than it must have been on our movie channels constantly and I might’ve been in a huge rom-com mood, and this was what my brain chose first, but I did enjoy myself. It wasn’t too awful, but I still don’t want to watch A Walk to Remember though…

Although I might consider listening to the audiobook instead, since I did give “Safe Haven” a chance back in February. I have watched the film when it came out in 2009, but I have only watched it once so I thought this insight would play in my favor, but it didn’t. I still remembered everything of the movie, but I was shocked when I found myself crying in the middle of the night for certain chapters and the ending really got me good, but now I can’t stand to rewatch the film and that part sucked but I am open to listen to more Nicholas Sparks books in the future!

Favorite new author (Debut or new for you)

For the most part, I have discovered a lot of “new” authors, but my favorites so far have been K.M. Butler, and it was his first historical fiction novel and my first of the new year. I owe him for creating such interesting characters like Halla and Taurin. They came from two separate religions and worlds, but he found a way to make it work and tell the story of how people can accept and change their views for the greater good of others.

Another historical fiction book I found at the end of May, is about Lady Katherine Swymford, simply titled “Katherine”. She was the mistress and later wife and Queen Consort to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. It was written by Anya Seton in, get this, 1964! Honestly, I thought the author’s not in the beginning was odd, because she explained how her family would travel back to England in the ’50’s and she studied as much as she could that was available at the time, in order to write the story of Katherine de Roet. It just never occurred to me of how old the book itself would be until I did some digging of my own! It is 500 pages long, so I am probably still reading it as this post publishes, but it’s been very interesting so far!

Newest fictional crush

Well, when I started reading Melanie’s “The Road to Valhalla” series, Hervor wasn’t the only one to fall head over heels in love with Prince Hofund. The moment when he and her cousin Leif and their warriors arrive out of the sea and into battle in the second book was amazing because for once everything came so vividly to me at that moment. It wasn’t supposed to be a sexy scene but leave to me to make it that way!

Unfortunately, I have had some difficulty picturing these Viking men lately, sometimes, descriptions can be blurred together for me and since I haven’t watched many films or TV shows set in the Viking world, I don’t know certain hairstyles and/or the ordinary look of these characters, however, I have better luck with the women because it’s easier to picture them for some odd reason.

Book that made you cry

Well, considering I just told you this back in the “Biggest Surprise” question. I have cried to a few others, such as, “Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga, “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, “Under the Hunter’s Moon” and “Under the Blood Moon” by Melanie Karsak. I am trying like crazy to stay away from those that could turn me into a blubbering mess, but sometimes it just happens without any warning!

Book that made you happy

One of my secondary goals for this year was to read books that have become a film and/or TV series in the last couple of decades; and I had one book where I was curious but worried about because I have watched the film before and hope to show it to my niece and nephew someday. James and the Giant Peach. This was my second Roald Dahl classic and as I was listening to the audiobook for it, I was so happy to know that there wasn’t a lot of things changed for the film, and despite it also discuss childhood abuse and trauma, it is generally a cozy little story.

The second thing that also made me happy was when the book itself was originally released on November 1st, 1964. It actually came out on my birthday, and it was a wonderful surprise after I had finished reading it and the fact that my views on the film adaption didn’t change either made things work so well!

Most beautiful book you’ve bought this year

The most beautiful book I’ve read this year was definitely “Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga. It was exactly what I needed at the time of Ramadan and the start of Eid. I don’t really celebrate the holidays of the Muslim communities and friends, but mainly it was my way of supporting them unknowingly. It was such an adorable, but kind of sad modern children’s book set on a little girl named Jude, who is a Syrian refugee in the Midwest of the United States, and you learn about how she is learning how to adjust to life in America with her mother, as they stay with her uncle’s family.

What books do you still need to read by the end of the year?

By this time, I’d hope to be around 24 books into my initial goal for the year, which is 40-45. I am currently reading six different series, and I’m almost finished with “Harry Potter” and “The Road to Valhalla” series, I doubt I will be able to finish “Deathly Hollows” because I know it’s a giant book and chuck full of information, so I would like to take my time on it, plus I tend to only read my HP books while I am outside with the cats, and really it all of it depends on the weather too, but I am looking forward to completing TWO of them this summer! As for the others, it will be interesting on what actually happens with them.

And then, there’s my notion of finishing the “Me Before You” by JoJo Moyes and “Sinners on Tour” by Olivia Cunning series I had mention last year or back in 2020, because those are fairly shorter on their percentages, especially “Wicked Beat” but I don’t know, it’ll just depend on my mood and what I generally want to read for the next half of the year.


Now let’s move on with our next subject. My reading journals.

Before 2022 started, I had a lot of plans and thoughts that I thought would be fun to create in this new venture, but in the last three months I’ve noticed that I am not grabbing neither one of my journals on a daily basis.

The most important spread I use in journals are the monthly trackers. It has been kind of fun shading in a box or circle for every day I’ve read, but recently I’ve had to make a faint line after seven days because for the last five months I’ve been counting each dot in the Blue journal and it can get very frustrating if you’re not careful! In my Green journal, I was smart enough to create an easer tracker system that includes the numbers on the left side of the graph, and I tend to go for that one most of the time; if it wasn’t so heavy I may actually use it everyday!

The second most popular habit tracker is my “amateur” bookshelves I created in the Green journal–I am still very impressed they worked out so well, especially after going over it with my pen! Next time I will just forgo the pen because that was such a disaster! Anyways, I completed one shelf, I did that back in late March or early April I think. It was a quick discovery I will say! I definitely have a lot more Kindle reads but I’ve added one print, two novellas, and seven audiobooks so far! Also, I need o make a not for year to pick prettier colors than gray, pink turquoise and green because they are ugly together!

As for my actually Reading Log, I’ve had to do some editing here and there. Since my overall theme is Harry Potter, I had wanted to use the House colors for each section, but I didn’t have all of the colors so I had to improvise and although I use the heck out of it, my hopes for it didn’t work out well for me but I would like to work on them to do this layout again in 2023.

And my final layout is the end-of-the-month stats and again, I didn’t have big plans for it but I am happy on what I was able to do for it. I have done some updating this past month and I am going to need to create two more blocks for November and December and the end results for the year.

For those who don’t know, I have four things I keep a record of each month and they are: how many books I finish, the number of pages I read, days of the month and finally the selection of words. If you’ve read about the post where I talked about how I wanted a space reserved for all of the words I collect as I read each of these books, mainly because I love to collect but I also wanted an everlasting reminder of the stories.

I apologize for the bad lighting, I decided to take them just after the sun went down and had to deal with my regular light and the shadows of my feet! I bet you never thought you’d see those words in the same sentence! Anyways, for the most part the photos actually came out really good!

Are you the type of person who needs to create a book journal like me? How would you design yours or what has been your favorite layouts/themes? If you don’t have a reading journal or blog, how do you keep track of everything?

snowflake

Life | Mental Heath Update + Things I CAN Control

TW: talks about the dark side of depression and thoughts of suicide!

Hello!

Last year was so crazy that I ended up forgetting writing a two year post depression/mental health update. The only reason why I’m here now is because it’s been on my mind for the last few months. I am a whole month late but I don’t care about that too much, and I didn’t think you would mind either.

A “little” backstory of my struggle with depression.

I’ve had a semi-long history with it, It started in middle school, and just seemed to get worse after I graduated high school. The prospect of going to college and having to deal with different people, surroundings, etc was really exciting at the time, but you have to understand I wasn’t thinking like I had a serve physical disability. I was always in denial because I wanted to be like my friends, go to a regular class, live in a dorm and go to parties, everything that a normal college person does, I wanted it too.

When hell decided to descend into my life, I took it very hard. I was so depressed that I have MONTHS–between the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2012–of memories gone! I thought of suicide many times, and just because I have a disability, doesn’t mean I never thought of ways on how it could work in my favor. When you are that low, you are as determined to end your life but thankfully, I never acted on those feelings, but every time I felt like I was heading into that suffocating black hole, I was terrified because I knew what was going to happen once it took hold of me again.

And then at the end of 2017, after my sister got been married and told everybody that they were going to wait five years to start trying to have a baby, they find out they were pregnant. I was already trying to deal with the aftermath of my papaw dying, and that one pretty much threw me over and I went down the biggest hole I’d been in since September 2010. I struggled to be happy for them becoming parents, my parents becoming grandparents and the fact that I was going to be an aunt, but I thoroughly jealous of the fact that my younger sister was going to have a baby.

I’ve always wanted to have a family of my own.

It was the one thing that I wanted to accomplish most of all.

Nothing else I ever did would matter as much as being a mother. I thought my disability would be pushed down like it had while I was growing up because I would be more focused on my child(ren) than my disability. This also shows you how much I despised my own body that would one day carry my own flesh and blood, so seeing my sister absolutely hate everything about being pregnant would make me want to scream after every visit! It angered me so much that this was happening, and then my nephew was born and I was instantly full of both good and bad emotions. I felt really guilty, but yet I was still holding on to that dream and so, it just continued to drag me down

I was supposed to have a doctor’s appointment to discuss taking anti-depressants into the middle of the pregnancy, my poor mom had to be my rock throughout those nine months because I was so sad. I would cry almost every night and finally, a week after Nolan was home, I started on my long journey to heal. In my first year update, I mentioned that I would still have my ups and downs, and that is definitely true all around but I will say, I have kept quite a few affirmations in my mind at all times and in the past year that has really helped me continue to work on myself.

I focus on what I can control, and I let go of what I can’t.

Once I saw this, everything in the last 11 years just washed away. It was infectious to learn this quote because now I don’t feel as many things that would easily, not to mention that would normally, irritate me because I know I am in control (oddly enough!) of my own body and peace of mind. The only thing I still have issues with, is my guilt about my sister being pregnant with my nephew. I still put myself in a guilt trip every once in a while but I am learning to get out of it before the whole thing just takes over, so that’s something to be proud of I think.

I should probably share that if you haven’t learned to control how you react to the different situations, like talking back, judging a book by its cover, learning that no response is still an answer, you probably won’t be able to really let things settle down. You don’t have to right every time. You respect the other person’s words and you go on living yours by your own measure. These are things you CAN control, which brings us to the next phase of this post.

I have a blog friend by the name of Nicky and she recently posted a photo of herself on Instagram last month and explained how life was going for her at the moment. She was feeling really out of it and discussed about dealing with finding control in daily life and she proceeded to create a list of things she could control, and I liked it so much that I decided I wanted to talk about it too, but in “Got Meghan” fashion, I like to chat and ramble on–obviously! I knew doing a simple Top 10 list wasn’t going to cut it, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone basically and this was the ending result I guess.

  1. How to breathe, because not many people have the luxury to do so
  2. Everything is by choice in life and dreamland
  3. Reaction to both positive and negative situations
  4. The book(s) I want to read next – for the most part!
  5. I can help people understand more about me, the ending result will not always be in my favor, but that’s the price to pay.
  6. If things don’t come to me at the right moment or fit into my monthly blogging schedule, I can always save it for a later date.
  7. Accepting myself, ALL of my self and being in the moment
  8. One-on-one time with the cats – even if they don’t like to share!
  9. What songs to include in my Spotify playlists
  10. Creativity to the arts, especially starting new medias and projects

Before I go, I would like to say that if you can, find someone to talk about your depression, whether it’s through a therapist, family member, best friend, co-worker, basically anyone you feel the most comfort and trust with your feelings but if you are unable to, I highly suggest writing about it. You could create a blog like I did, although deep in my haze I wasn’t in the mood to blog about anything, so maybe find a journal or if you are worried about someone seeing a diary or journal, keep a regular notebook like you would keep for school assignments, and write in there secretly. Of course, the best advice I can give you is the National Hopeline Network is completely free and the number is 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). There is another one I am giving you and that is, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and their number is, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). I hope if you are struggling with life, whether you have a disability or not, I want to say, you’re not alone at all. There are ways you can thrive with life again.

My only question is, can you list out 10 things you CAN control like I did above?

Album Review: “SIGN from Above” by RAIGN

Hello!

I have heard of bloggers encouraging others to update older posts over the years, but I just chose to ignore them because I think it’s best to keep them the same to allow yourself to see where you were and as you continue to grow as both a blogger and writer. I have never said I am a perfect writer in the past, and hope people respect me on that subject.

However, I am here once again, because I found out that British alternative-pop singer RAIGN (ray-gen) has come back with an even bigger surprise for us fans, and that is, she re-released her 2018 album, “SIGN” late in October; the album has a new title as well the addition of nine other songs! It is now called, “Sign From Above” and I thought instead of re-writing the previous songs, how about I just add onto the first post. So below is everything I wrote about Raign and the album back then, while the newer material is below divided by a line to hopefully keep everything in line so nobody gets confused. I seriously hope you enjoy the album experience and what I’ve written as far as the review.


Back in January, British singer-songwriter RAIGN released her extended play “Born Again” and I put out a review of it on here about a month later. Now I’m back to talk about her debut album that came out in mid-September. It is called “Sign” and even though I kept seeing a couple of singles pop up on the new music tab on Spotify, I did not expect this at all! Despite only really listening to one single before working on this, I didn’t know what I was getting into but I was open to new sounds and some of the familiar stuff that made me fall in love with her music in the first place.

The album itself consists of 12 songs, which is standard for any musician but also with that amount, means you can hear a wider range of her style. I am hoping for an eclectic mix as I continue down the list of tracks. So, let’s start!

We begin with an introduction, “Sign” and it’s an instrumental start to the album. It has a dreamy quality to it as it’s soft but haunting too. I really like hearing the orchestra build up and sound like the second song “Out Of Time”. This song has a completely different tone, as it has a pop-rock sound which wasn’t something that I expected but I actually liked it! It’s something we haven’t heard from her yet and I thought it was perfect to break that barrier so early in the album. Next we have “Who Are You” and it has that familiar mysterious vibe playing throughout it. It’s very powerful but in a way gentle too!

We move on to “God Only Knows” and what I really like about this one was the fact that it started off in this soft way, with only her echo-y but deep voice and a light epic drumming in the background. It was so beautiful to only have those elements, before adding the orchestra back in too. The fourth track “Into Heaven Alone” has a melancholy sound but it does have a rock-y vibe on top of that cinematic beat, it’s not an overwhelming. I liked the uniqueness it gave the song! I feel the next song “Inside Of Me” has this motivational statement to make, as it gave you the strength to get through whatever is bothering you at that moment. The beat itself was strong in terms of matching the emotions and lyrics to the song, but it was also really light too. It was a nice balance.

When we first started the album, we had a nice epic intro with “Sign” but for the sixth track, it is the vocal version of the actual song. It still has this gentleness about it, but now that we are hearing the words along with the ominous ballad of violins, bells and of course Raign’s deep voice. It will take you away into a magical place whenever you listen to it, at least that’s what it did for me. I felt like I was walking in a snow-y, forest wonderland, I love it when music can do that in a matter of three minutes! Next, there’s “Calling” and this has another interesting quality. At first, I thought it was going to continue what we heard in the last song. I’m hearing more pop-y notes in the beat, it still has that cinematic sound in it, but it is very mild so you can hear them both at the same time. It is a cool song.

We are on the last four songs. “Hold On To The Sky” is kind of tame, almost dreamy in a way. One way to explain it, is if you were in a deep amount of water. Your body is weightless so dancing inside is a breeze. If this was a song, this would be it. I’m sorry for the weird metaphor, but that’s what I instantly thought of when it started playing! Next there’s “Find My Own Way” and this has a sexy beat behind it. It keeps you on your toes because it’s a somewhat simple song, but there’s that underling feeling you could be surprised soon. It was a pleasing track and probably one of my favorites out of the whole thing.

I was really curious about the eleventh song and final track because the titles seem so easy to figure out, I just hoped I wouldn’t get disappointed in the end. However, “Sunrise” starts with this very loud bass boom and then her voice gets echo-y and the beat itself builds into the monstrous beast. As it continues, Raign basically stays the same as far as tempo goes, but I’m glad she’s like that because the dynamic between these two makes it that much better. It has an edge, a jaggered edge that makes it powerful! Finally, we end with “Evergreen” and after the previous one, I was a little worried but thankfully it was at the same vibe, but I think I fell in love with the lyrics a lot faster than I did with “Sunrise”, plus it has a happier beat. It had a motivated outlook on it, but everything about it was inviting to me, and it made me like I could do anything so I was thinking of good things rather than the negative and that’s what I like the most about it.

One of my favorite things to do now whenever I watch a movie or television show, is that I keep an eye out for the music being played on a certain scene. When The Vampire Diaries started playing Raign’s music throughout the last four or five seasons, I did not expect to still crave her music but I do! I think she has a gorgeous voice and the beats she uses to showcase it, make me extremely happy! Raign was at the forefront of my taste for cinematic music, and I deeply encourage you to check out some of her songs! This album gave me feeling after feeling, and although I tend to listen to her music whenever I’m sad, I was happy listening to all the way through and for that to happen rarely works anymore.


After the last song of the original lineup, we start again with “Causing Love” and this was initially released in 2019 and I do remember listening to it, but overall it’s been a while since I’ve heard her music but I instantly remembered what I enjoyed the most, her voice. It is semi-deep and raspy, but adds an extra edge to her style of music that brings out a positive and dark side to her songs. As far as this song goes, it is absolutely beautiful! You can feel the love rushes out of your speakers, and I really enjoyed that guitar solo along with her high notes echoing in the background at the end. The next song has that darker vibe I love the most, at least the introduction has this as it builds into a bigger picture full of various pictures. This song is called, “Things Can Only Get Better” and as much as I like the cinematic take, I kind of wished it kept that base sound, it almost gave it a country vide especially in the way she is singing it, it definitely could have worked out greatly without the symphony in the background. It’s an interesting combination!

Our third track is, “Now I Can Fly” which is totally different to the others I’ve heard so far. The poppy drums in the beginning was a nice surprise, and I feel like this could be a great Monday motivational song, especially with all of the anxiety and worry that life has brought to a good chunk of people nowadays! I liked the boost of energy and message in the lyrics, it’s clear this is a happy song! Now, I don’t know how we got on the Christmas-y train, but okeydokey! This is “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and this is absolutely gorgeous! It has that nostalgic sound you would normally hear in churches and/or orchestra, I was really pulled into it at the sound of the banged bells that flicker throughout the song. Raign doesn’t have that traditional voice you would hear in carols but I thought it was cool to not only hear, but see something different come out of that type of music.

As far the next three songs, they are new versions of the songs mentioned above in my original post. The fourth is an orchestra take on “Who We Are” and of course I adore anything–well, apparently, almost anything as we’ve uncovered in the previous paragraph!–with a symphony sound to it, and I’m shocked to say I still like the other way more! Although I do like her transitions on the high pitched notes at the end of the courses, but that’s all I really like about it. “Out Of Time” was actually #2 and since I’ve only heard her cinematic finished songs, this was a lovely surprise. I loved the acoustic switch of this, as much as I love the majestic and powerful sound of a full orchestra, some days I like stripped down type of music and this was so good!

“Into Heaven Alone” is on now and we are back on the orchestral sound, but honestly it is milder than what I was expecting it to be right out of the gate. It has a nice mixture of a slower acoustic-orchestral session. I have heard other artists and bands do this before, but I’ve always felt some were too chaotic to include both styles for one song, but I did like this one. I wasn’t into it at first, but as it ended, the sound mellowed out and it was really nice.

We are at the final two songs: “Walls” was another track that was released sometime in 2019, this one I never got a chance to hearing because I didn’t “follow” her on my Spotify yet so I missed out on the actual time and date of when it came out. Anyways, it has a dance-y beat to it in the beginning and then quiets down when Raign starts to speak, but I enjoyed this one. I think this one is a favorite, but I kind of wished she was singing more because I felt as though it was more circled around the music itself, which I seemed to notice a distinct electronica vibe going on with this one. I liked it quite a bit so obviously, I didn’t mind it that much! And the last song, is another version of “Causing Love” and it includes the Millionaire London Orchestra and unlike my comments about the orchestral take on “Who We Are” this one is pretty good! I like the sadness of the violins and what I was feeling in the other one, is more inflamed and very exciting!

A part of me figured the newer songs were going to somewhat stay within the original sound but I had hoped for more diversity, because as much as I love this style and grace of music Raign does, I want to see what else she can bring to the table too. So, a part of me wonders if she is planning on releasing any more music in the near future. I mean, 2021 is right around the corner and it has me thinking of changes and more music, so maybe she has been experimenting with other genres, or want to go into acoustic even more after putting “Out Of Line” on here like this, maybe these are clues and she isn’t necessarily finished with us yet.

Of course, I could be absolutely wrong and this is only just one present to her fans. I would be okay with that, but I am always wondering about the people I listen to on the radio, Spotify and YouTube, you just never know what’s going on, until it comes out finally! So, we’ll see what happens as we cross the new year bridge next month.

Have you heard of RAIGN’s newest edition of her album yet? Do you have any favorites? If I wasn’t the one to introduce you to her music, how did you find her?

snowflake

Will I Do NaNoWriMo Again This Year?

Untitled

Howdy!

It is almost that time for National Novel Writing Month or  “NaNoWriMo” as some people like to call it. For some writers, they live for this time of the year but for the rest, it’s something that they absolutely dread. I can understand both sides, if you enjoy it, I feel like you are good at being pressured and able to write everyday on your story, but I also know why others fear it too. If you have a very active social or work life at the moment, writing is literally the last thing on your mind.

As for me, I’ve had it in my brain since April, after I wrote my post about not being able to participate in CampNaNoWriMo that I should probably do it, but honestly I don’t see the point in it. I don’t want to force anything that doesn’t want to appear to me in dreams right now, you know what I’m saying?

There is hope though as I am using Pinterest to help me generate the characters and overall setting of my story. I’ve been looking into different people’s photos and have developed a clear picture of my female characters: Angela and Star. I am still having issues with my main character Heath, most because I have a general person in mind but he looks relativity younger than I want him to for my story so I’m trying to keep an open mind to other messy blondes. And Brace is my “complicated” character and he’s always been that way, so finding him has been quite a challenge for me! The others will come eventually at least that what I’m hoping will happen!

Another thing that I’m busy looking into is how to do outlines. I feel like finding the right way to figure out how I want things to go, is the key to my success on completing my first draft. I have a board on my profile for my favorite blog posts, and since November has been coming up, other writers have been writing posts of tips and how-to’s for aspiring NaNo rookies. I have three blog posts that talk creating an outline for their stories and I will have them listed below!

Now if you are thinking about joining NaNo, I have some posts I did last year, if you’d like to look into them. I wrote three updates and I had shared some of the websites I was using to attempt keep my pace together, maybe they will help you out too! I’d like to make a point to say, that I didn’t make it to the end of the month and I explain why that happened in the final post, but I was still fairly impressed with myself on what I did get done.

Am I Still Working On My Novel | 2 Week Mark | Am I Finished Or Not

Before I go, I just want to say good luck to everyone that is doing NaNoWriMo this year! You may not hit your word count everyday, nor will you like everything you’ve been working on, but I can definitely say that’s all part of the process! After it’s all over, you can revisit it, and you’ll see that you produced something awesome. 🙂

Have you ever thought about joining the NaNoWriMo party? What is keeping you back from writing your story?

snowflake

Nolan Update

38912126_1056571364519524_5371748926053416960_n

Howdy!

Before I officially begin with this post, I thought I would mention to everybody reading this, to not steal my pictures used below! They’re not yours and if you want to ruin my generosity to freely show him off on here, you will ignore the urge to take the photos! Thank you.

It’s been a long time since I talked about my nephew, the only post I’ve managed to publish is his birth announcement back in July! It doesn’t really seem that long age since that day, but it has! I constantly fight with my parents (and sometimes my grandparents) to stop calling me a “baby” when I’m clearly not one anymore, but I get why they never stopped calling me that because now I’m saying it about him! We all call him “our baby”, which really ticks off my sister and she’ll tell you right off that he’s not ours, he is her baby!

So, knowing I have about four months to get you updated with what’s been going on has been a little daunting for me, because there has been lots of things happening, but let’s start at the beginning, okay?

1st Month:

I have to say, my sister and brother-in-law have been doing a very good job at raising him, since neither one have really been around a baby before. Blondie had never held a newborn before Nolan, so this has been a totally new thing for her, but I think she really loves it! Brandon has really young cousins in his family, but I doubt he’s been up and down throughout day and night because of a crying baby before this!

Unfortunately, my sister gave up on breastfeeding him in the early part of July, because she honestly didn’t feel comfortable and was always worried she wasn’t producing enough milk for him. She really didn’t want to give up and felt extremely guilty but I think she felt better giving him formula and knowing he actually eating well. Although when he is hungry, in the way he cries (and screams) he expects that bottle to be there immediately, and it doesn’t matter who’s around him at the time. There’s only so much I can do to console the little guy, but I did figure out he likes to have his head rubbed, there’s only a 50/50 chance it’ll work but hey, at least I try!

38600263_1050894211753906_3251158598029410304_nThe animals are really great with him. Chipper is very curious and protective of his little brother. The cats are interested in him too, they want to be around and even try to touch him. There’s a cute video of their gray and white cat Gru attempting to pet him on the head and he’s being incredibly gentle, it’s so cute! Blondie and Brandon try to keep them at a small distance so neither one hurt each other by accident.

During the first month Nolan was here, we (my parents and I) were basically fighting to be the first ones to have him when they came down. I always felt that my time with him was short and somewhat shared with other people who came to check on the two of us, but after a while I grew out of that because as he grew and created more facial expressions, there would be someone else to bring out that smile of him. I wouldn’t get him to be happy like that as easily, but we quickly figured out what he really enjoyed while being with me. My bed.

When he was real little, and it was time to switch and let him have some Aunt Meggie time, everybody would put him out on the right side of my bed where I have two layers of velvet blankets and if he wouldn’t roll over on his side on his own, somebody else would, so I could see his little face. He loved being so close to me, and frankly I loved getting baby hugs and giving him kisses on the top of the head too. Everytime they’d bring him and I cuddled up to him in my blanket, I’d talk about all of the animals in the world, plus superheros and the Transformers, and eventually he went to sleep. Sometimes when he’s a bit fussy I’ll sing to him a made up lullaby for him that he just loves and my dad thinks is adorable too!

I think we were shocked to see how fast he started to really discover emotions. We don’t think he was trying to make faces at us, but there were expressions he’d make during that first month that would make great pictures and videos. At this point, they were trying a lot of things to keep him entertained and one of the things he kind of fell in love with was the movie Moana. He just loves the music and would get excited at different scenes and songs. This movie is about the only thing he’ll calm down to, and I think they started it was when they introduced tummy time to him. He was always fussy in the beginning and then he’d hear a familiar song and his mood would change instantly.

2nd Month:

41594550_1084700091706651_558264973030064128_n

Despite the fact that he was constantly teething (and still is!) August was interesting because he slowly showed how smart he is, the first thing being how he managed to talk or in this case “sing the music of his people” (cry) his way onto Blondie’s chest day and night. He also loves Snapchat filters, and I know that’s weird to say out loud but this kid loves seeing himself on the screen in different scenarios, like one of his favorites is the “Dog” filter that allows you to have a fake tongue of a dog stick out with the nose and ears. Well, he had finally figured out how to get his tongue out, he’d do it instead! Everytime she told him to open his mouth, he’d stick out his tongue!

One last thing he learned to do was keep his head up on his own. Shockingly, he was already trying this out probably three days after the little dude was born! He was an overachiever as he was rolling around at that time too! Whenever he was doing tummy time, they’d put him up on his small pillow so he had some help leaning up on his arms, but he was still bobbing his head some days, for the most part he’d nod at you and look around the room. I think he really loves tummy time, well maybe for the most part!

3rd Month:

So, this past month has been fairly normal, except for the fact that everybody had been showing signs of allergies and/or sickness, and we having to be really careful with Nolan as we don’t want him to get anything either. No kissing on the cheeks, only on his little hairy head and everybody’s been washing their hands plus using hand sanitizer if they want to hold the kid. I know it’s for his own good so I’m not too bothered with it!

Nolan really likes books now! My mom and I each bought him a book after a visit to Walmart earlier in the month, and we got him a baby book that he can hold in his little hands and put into his mouth to chew on, but it’s a mini fabric number book, that has different animals of the pages. He really loves it! The book I got him is a baby touch and feel type of book, it’s about Baby Animals and on each page has a small portion that a child can touch to feel the various textures whether they’re soft or rough on their skin. I showed it to him while he was in his vibrating chair at the foot of my bed, and he just stared at it as I propped it up on the side. I desperately tried not to drop it while I was attempting to turn the pages in the process. He was so calm and seemed to be really happy too!

41379676_10204657428033710_379528470192979968_nHe has recently learned how to “talk” now! So far he’s favorite word is “nuh uh” and it’s freaking adorable! I swear I even hear him say “mama” every once in a while, but he hasn’t said it on command yet. The day he does say “mama” or “dada” is when we’ll all start crying for joy! He is a storyteller himself, even if you can’t understand him yet. It’s so cute on how he’ll be very quiet and take a big sigh before start talking to you. He seems to love it when papaw (my dad) threatens to ground his mommy, I mean literally, the kid has the biggest smile on his face everytime he tells him that.

I mentioned in the beginning that whenever he is in my room, he is laying out on my bed? Well, by the middle of August, it was too difficult to see his face without him rolling over to where I can’t move him back without feeling like I could hurt him, so I started sitting up with him and now I can really talk to him and if he wanted to, he could watch TV since we usually try to prop him up a bit so he’s not lying flat on the bed. He loves to watch both Tom & Jerry, Paw Patrol, and Bubble Guppies. Whenever the last show is on, I like to say “bubble-bubble-bubble guppies” at a very fast pace which usually makes him laugh at me. We discuss the animals and what they’re doing, and everytime  they have music on, I try to get him to dance or wiggle, he likes to watch me wiggle than do it himself, but I don’t care. I like keeping him entertained!

Recently he experienced a “leap” where he has a growth spurt and gets very curious (apparently more than he already is!) of his surroundings, and I’ve noticed that he’s been watching my arms a lot lately. It’s incredibly tough to explain to a child that small what a disability is; he loves to kick and feel my right hand since it’s lower than my left, but one day when Blondie had a hold of him, he just stared at my hands. He doesn’t really understand why my hand can’t grab him like everybody else’s, but instead of frowning at the Tarzan like movement I do when around him, he smiles his head off. He’s a curious baby that’s for sure!

4th Month:

Since it’s the start of a new month and the fact that he doesn’t really turn four months old until next weekend, I think it would be kind of silly to really discuss his accomplishments for October! I’m sure he’ll do a lot though. One thing that I keep telling him is how long it is until basketball season, because he’s finally big enough to fit in his little Butler Bulldogs onesie! The weird thing about it was my mom also put me in my Butler shirt without knowing he was wearing his too! Of course, the picture was so adorable as he gave a slight smile behind his chubby little hands.

41776914_1086008848242442_3302656707607396352_n

I do want to end this with an interesting fact about Nolan. When he was born, my sister noticed something about his feet, one both feet his index and middle toes were webbed together. The nurses and his doctor told him that was common with premature babies. Nolan was supposed to be born on July 2nd, but he came on the second week of June instead, so he is considered a premature baby. Everybody has told them that it should fix itself in time but it doesn’t and he’s not able to walk, then they’ll worry about it. So far, nobody in either family has any feet defects, but one of my fellow Arthrogryposis made the point that it could be an effect by AMC itself, but we’re really not sure about it. I think it just makes me him unique, but I still hope he will be able to walk nonetheless!

I think I’ll wait to do my next post probably before NYE, so I can get his Halloween costume and what he wears (and eats, as he’ll be starting on solid foods soon!) for both Thanksgiving and Christmas! I also have another baby post coming as my cousin Kristi recently had her new baby a few weeks ago, so I’ll try to have that name reveal and update on them soon!

So did you enjoy this little update about my nephew? Do you think I should continue these types of posts or not?

snowflake