Blog Posts

Personal Update

I had half a post planned out a while ago, which I never ended up finishing. I’ll rework on it one day, because the point of that post was something that I would really love to talk about, and share with people. For the moment though, I feel as though I need to do a bit of a catch up and some planning.

So, I haven’t really posted anything in a while. Over a month. The half written and abandoned post was supposed to explain that I was no longer going to hold myself to the futile “two posts a week” thing that I was failing to do. I was going to try to aim instead for just one a week. Except it didn’t really end up working out that way.

While I would absolutely love to say that I’ve been busy working, and that is partially true. I have been going to work three days a week, which is about as much as I can do at the moment. When I get home, I simply feel really tired, and out of it, and it’s been taking pretty much all I have just to be doing something to try to help myself relax and de-stress after work. I’ve barely even been reading. Already I can pretty much guarantee my goal of reading a hundred books this year is unlikely to happen. I won’t say definitely not, though it’s not looking particularly probable at this point in time. So I’ve been working, and trying to de-stress after work. Unfortunately that means a lot of things have fallen by the wayside, including this blog.

The good news is that I at least have a few things I will start working on after this so that I can have some more posts to go up for the next couple of weeks at least. While I haven’t been reading much, there is a series I hadn’t quite started my review for yet, as well as one that I finished quite recently. On top of that I might branch out into doing more film reviews, as I saw both Battle Angel Alita and Captain Marvel in cinemas and there are definitely some interesting things to unpack from both of those.

In my previous post I mentioned that I’ve been doing a lot better because I have a job, and that wasn’t a lie. I am most definitely doing better than I was. That being said, it doesn’t mean I’m a hundred percent better. Part of me feels bad for only going to work three days a week, instead of five like everyone else. Especially when I know that I could, if I wanted to. I could push myself, and go to work those extra two days. Except it almost feels like those two days off are the only thing keeping me as together as I am at the moment.

Weekends are different. Especially when I find that my weekends lately have been filling up with things to do. Having a day which I can choose to dedicate to just lying in bed and zoning out from the outside world is crucial. It may not be something that many other people require or understand, but I do know that there are others out there who can relate. Others who push themselves to get through days they’re barely coping so they can make it to the day when they don’t have to.

So yes, I’m still doing better. I’m struggling, but doing a lot better than how I was without a job. I have a reason to wake up in the morning. Even though some days may be harder than others. I have money that I can spend on myself, and I’ve been putting money aside in my savings. I’ve been able to buy food that I enjoy eating, as well as books, games, and back projects on kickstarter that I believe in.

Everything takes time. Some people are able to jump into the freezing cold water, or immerse themselves in a steamy tub. Others need to go slowly and let themselves adapt. I just need to focus on adapting and getting comfortable, but I’ll try not to forget to post at least once a week from here on out.

Blog Posts

Up and Up

I have good news for anyone who reads this and cares about my life right now: I have a job.

I’ve only just started, so I’m still kinda paranoid that it’ll disappear from under me any minute now, but it’s a job, which is honestly great.

Before getting this job, I had a few days of training last week. Honestly? Ever since I found out about the training, I’ve been feeling a lot better. I had a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I was getting out of the house, being social. I was talking to people who aren’t the same few people (Okay, I love my friends, but sometimes you just get tired of talking to the same few people every single day with no variety).

I’m noticing huge changes in my behaviour. The fact that I’m actually talking to people at work is honestly shocking to me. A couple of weeks ago I was so down that I thought for sure I’d be dedicated to my “spend all my time that’s not working in a corner reading and ignoring everyone” plan. Instead, I’m talking, making jokes, and I think I’m actually socialising properly? Is this how you make friends and such? Weird.

Two days into working, and I’m already doing so much better. I haven’t even been paid yet. I may already be planning what I’m going to do with that money. Mostly saving and getting my P’s. Getting ready to stand on my own two feet. Hopefully. At the very least being able to start driving myself around. Which will be great, then I won’t have to deal with waiting for someone else to be able to supervise me driving every morning.

Progress, right?

Anyway, that’s really the biggest thing that I can comment about right now. I’ve mostly been going through general induction things the last couple of days. Mostly, I just wanted to share how much better I’m already going, mentally, than I was last week, and have been in general for the past few weeks. Hopefully things will only go upwards from here. And, funnily enough, being in a positive mindset is something that often helps when you’re down. Which is incredibly hard to do when you’re down. Just like how many of the best money-saving tips don’t work if you’re poor.

Books Books

A Face Like Glass

I’d like to take the time today to review one of my favourite books of all time. This is a book I happened to stumble across one time when I was at the library. This was the first time I was house sitting, so I was going to be on my own at someone else’s house for about a month, and I thought I should borrow some books before I went, to give me something to read. This would have been around 2012. Since then, I have felt the need to go out and buy this book, along with everything else that I could find by this author. I found myself insanely in love with the worlds and characters that Frances Hardinge put into books.

A Face Like Glass. The title is the first thing that compelled me to pick up the book. I mean, a face like glass, what did that mean? Was there someone with transparent skin? Then came the cover. A girl in a cage, above who knows what? Mysterious things? Yes, colour me intrigued. The blurb? Wonderfully intriguing without explaining anything. I was sold on the fact that I desperately needed to borrow and read this book.

I couldn’t put it down. It was one of those books that rekindled my love of books. If you ever get those times when you struggle to read, despite desperately wanting to read, you know where I was at. Then I found this book which trapped me inside its payments almost from the first page.

Neverfell was a wonderfully curious young girl, in a world she didn’t understand. I was positively delighted to discover the world of Caverna through her rose tinted glasses. A delightfully dark world deep, deep underground, Caverna is a sprawling system of caverns, where people are used to wonderfully marvellous things as a course of every day life.

Grandible, who takes on baby Neverfell after she fell in some cheese he was making, introduces us to a world we don’t quite understand. When she finally ventures beyond his home, we learn that Neverfell is somehow special. For, in the world of Caverna, expressions are learned. They’re crafted by people who imagine what it is an emotion is supposed to look like. Nuances are valued highly by the upper crusts of society, who can afford to hire the best face crafters. Neverfell, meanwhile, has a face that clearly shows what she’s feeling. Unlike the blank-faced people of Caverna, she stands out like a sore thumb.

There was so much that I loved about the world of Caverna. There were the amazingly deep characters, and the premise of people who’s faces were an empty canvass, but then there were so many more intricate details woven into the tapestry of Caverna. There was the cheese which gave you marvellous visions, the wine which helps people forget or remember something of their choice. The jelly that was filled with the sounds of songbirds. Of course, then there was Caverna itself. A world where cartographers go insane for trying to map things out, and those who speak too long to a cartographer find themselves likewise beginning to go insane.

Frances Hardinge captured a wonderful world within her novel that I felt as though I would never experience the wonderful like of again. Indeed, finding such a wonderful, intricate world as this is a rare find. Since reading it, I have tried to pawn this book off on so many friends. I have shoved it at people, explaining how wonderful the world was, how intriguing the characters. Unfortunately, many of my friends have not yet taken me up on this, and I have yet to have someone to discuss this wonderful book and world with.

I cannot possibly express enough how amazing this book is. The story is wonderful and compelling. The characters realistic. The world phenomenal. I have already read this book three times, and will absolutely be rereading it again in the future.

Blog Posts

Valentines Day

Ah, it’s fast approaching. The day where those who have someone special in their lives feel obliged to spend an entire day together while spending money on each other, while those who are single are reminded emphatically that they don’t have someone to share the day with. Which makes it no different to every other day of the year for them, but does have the downside of feeling personally attacked for not having someone to spend the day with.

You know, the day named after the matyr who married Christians in Rome, where they were persecuted. This guy died 1750 years ago. That’s… A long time. It’s weird how time work sometimes. We praise and acknowledge people who did such deeds so many years ago. A time when communication was almost impossible. Yet, today, someone does the same thing, where it can be spread to the rest of the world in a matter of seconds… We wouldn’t celebrate someone who did the exact same thing today.

I should probably get from delving too deeply into that rabbit hole today.

I don’t really have much to say about today. I mean, I could delve more into Valentines Day and how stupid this Hallmark Holiday is. Or I could discuss recent developments regarding my personal life (work… is it on the horizon?) The problem however, is that I am quite tired, and I have had a rather long day. I really should, as I keep telling myself, get on top of these things. Perhaps one day I’ll have a folder full of them, ready to be posted on a Tuesday and a Friday, so I can write things as they come to me, rather than feeling the need to necessarily sit down and write, and sometimes finding myself forgetting to do something.

Or, more likely, I’ll just continue to try to keep up with this rather inane self-imposed schedule. I mean, it’s not as though I have any regular readers. (Yet. I can hold out hope that one day I’ll get a comment at 12:01 on a Saturday morning, asking me where my book review is, and why I haven’t posted it yet.)
Maybe I should also try to focus this whole blog thing more than just a general word vomit of my thoughts and feelings one day a week, coupled with a review of a book/series that I finished recently. I’d love to post about my insights into the world of book publishing, but I’m not exactly there yet. Maybe I should try to do two book reviews a week instead of this random diary-esque stuff. Though with my current reading habits, there’s a chance I’d run out of books and series before too long. I’m struggling. I want to read. I have the time. It’s just hard sometimes. 😦

Best of luck for all you lonely hearters this Valentines day. I know how I’ll be spending it… Training, followed by some drinks with other single friends, possibly followed by playing DLC for a dating simulator with an ex… Riveting stuff, I know.

Books Books

Shadow of the Fox

Since I completely forgot to do a review last week, I’d love to do two this week. However, I haven’t really finished reading something new, and I’d rather save some more of the older series I’ve read for reviews when I haven’t read something recently. So, instead, I’ll just stick with the one I was planning to do last week.

The last OwlCrate I received had two books in it for me to read and enjoy. Because I have so so many books on my to be read pile, it’s taken me a while to get to just one of them. I’ll get to the other eventually this year, but for now, I recently decided to read one of them, and I was flailing around and so happy with it, so of course it’s going to be the next book I review.

Shadow of the Fox. Okay, it’s already got me with the name. The cover’s beautiful, with a hint of mystery and intrigue. Then I notice it’s by Julie Kagawa? Yep, already invested and sure that I’m going to love it.

I first found Julie Kagawa when I discovered Talon. The concept of dragons in human bodies, infiltrating our world? Beautiful. I loved it so much. Then I discovered her Iron Fey series. I’m a sucker for Fey. Especially a good story of them, which I found this to be. (Haven’t managed to track down the second part of that series though, sadly, so I feel as though I’m left with an itch that needs to be scratched).

I know with my previous review, Girls of Paper and Fire I spent a lot of time happily ranting about the romantic storyline, and how much I loved it, and the representation it offered. I don’t think I went as deeply into how much I loved the Malaysian representation. (Which I did, very much.) I am a huge sucker for diversity. Well, not a sucker. I wouldn’t say that you could write any old thing and have it be diverse and I’d be all for it. That being said, I do generally find myself very excited when I pick up something that’s popular and has a non-caucasian, or non-straight main character. It gets me excited. Needless to say, I was very happy when I found that this book was set in a very Japanese-styled world.

So, sidenote here, I’m a total weeb. I love anime. Not even slightly ashamed to say it. Which may have sealed the fate of my enjoyment of this story. I loved the casual mix-ins of Japanese and English. The writing is in English, but there are small phrases here and there which are Japanese, much as the culture of the world is based on Japan. From kitsune to samurais. The small “arigatou’s” and using “ano” as well or instead of “um” made me strangely happy.

Of course, Japapnese culture is so much more than the language. The lore in the world was absolutely beautiful. Being a huge fan of kitsunes before now, (what’s not to love about mysterious foxes?) having a main character as one was wonderful. What was even better, was how Kagawa managed to stay true to the myths. It can be all too easy to say you like the mischievousness of something, like Fey, dragons, or kitsune, only to cut it out or cool it down because it makes characters less sympathetic to readers.

Yumeko was incredibly sympathetic. That she was raised by monks who tried to encourage her humanity, compared to her natural curiousness and desire to play tricks on people, created a wonderful contrast between those two sides of her. What was even better? Not only were there moments of introspection where she fought against pulling tricks, but she actually pulled tricks.

I loved it so so much. The story was wonderful, the characters had a lot of depth to them and I found them very believable. The world was absolutely beautiful.

I will absolutely most definitely be reading this series again at one point. Though, one thing I will say, which absolutely does not detract in any way from my love of the book, is that I can draw some correlation between Kagawa’s works. To be fair, I mostly only noticed this earlier, and specifically while I was writing this review. I did notice the similarity between her choice in protagonists (typically mischievous non-human species. Although Meghan did start out as human). Then her love interest seems to be rather uptight, drilled into a certain way of life which is very contrary to the female protagonist. Finally, there’s an interesting and funny side character who has some of the more interesting lines at points as they don’t have as much invested in whatever quest the protagonist and love interest are on, but come along anyway. It’s a small thing, and by no means suggests that the stories are the same, though sometimes I enjoy noticing little similarities in an author’s work. It tells you so much about the author themselves.