Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

I honestly don't even know where to begin. It feels like I've been waiting for this book forever and now that it is out I can hardly believe it. I bought it the day it came out on my lunch break and couldn't wait to dive in. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure what the heck was going on so I had to reread Red Queen before I delved back into Mare's world.

As always there is a ton going on, and we are promised another book at the end. Part of me is so excited for another book and another part feels like Mare and Cal just need a break. This book was nonstop action from beginning to end. Mare develops PTSD and depression. Even anxiety. These feelings all resonate with me since I have them too, and it can get to be kind of a hard read sometimes. I delve deeply into books that I love, so I feel what they feel. I'm right there with them. It can get to be overwhelming even if you don't have your own history getting in the way.

Mare is so much less trusting in this book, and there is so much pain. She still tries to be a good leader, a good role model, and just good but she is faced with lose/lose decisions and no ways out. It can be easy to scoff at her reasoning and her mindless determination, but you have to remember how she grew up. Mare was a thief, and did what she could to protect her family and help them out. She didn't have any real education, only her wit and intuition. Could we rise to become what our people needed us to be? Maybe. Would we make mistakes? of course. Poor Mare. Cal is hard to read, and harder to tell what is going through his mind. I kind of wish the book was third person omniscient, even if it just focused on Cal and Mare, or even told from both their perspectives. A companion book, maybe?

Sometimes the story can feel a little choppy. Other times is drags even when there is a lot going on. The alternate ending to Red Queen that was in my copy blew my mind and utterly messed up everything. I wouldn't read it if I were you, I wish I hadn't. There weren't any spoilers, but "what if" questions are always dangerous.

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This is ME!

I wrote this last year, a few days before the anniversary of my car accident. It has now been four years and the struggle remains. The days seem to be getting a tiny bit easier, but it never really goes away. I'm still hyper alert for any triggers, as are my boyfriend and family. Every day is a struggle.

 

I really and truly despise discussing my “mental illnesses”. They’re not fun to have, easy to treat, and I will be stuck with them for life. The most I can do is hope to learn how to manage them so that my bad days aren’t as dark, and my good days are a little brighter. I wasn’t born with depression or anxiety. I didn’t go to war or see violence or was abused to obtain my PTSD.

I was hit by a truck. He ran the red light in his work vehicle and I was lucky enough to have sustained back and neck injuries, and a completely shattered right wrist, but I was alive. At least that’s what everyone told me. What they didn’t see and what they didn’t understand was the ptsd, depression, and anxiety that I have as a result. The three year anniversary of this accident is on January 31. Every year January and part of February are incredibly hard for me to deal with. I was driving a truck, so it could have been much worse.

So three years later, I’m still recovering. I still see a counselor on and off. I still hate driving. Being alone terrifies me. I was alone when the accident occurred so now I have these periods of intense, and irrational, fears that I will be hit again. How do explain that when you’re in a building and suddenly you have a panic attack and a flash back and you think you’ll be hit again, every one finds that hard to understand.

I never saw any of this coming. The lack of control is the worst. There aren’t any quick fixes, pills haven’t worked, counseling is a band aid fix, and my thoughts of suicide and self harm haven’t gone farther than that. I scratch myself in my sleep and when I feel out of control, I chop off my hair, bite my nails until they bleed, or buy random things. I just need to be in control of something in my life. Some days, I can’t get out of bed. Others I cry and don’t want to talk to anyone.

I’ve come a long way, I know that. But really? It’s hard to care sometimes. I have this life long struggle because some ass in a company truck tried getting one more commission. In some ways it’s good. I realize now how strong I truly am, and even on my bad days I’m proud of my progress.

My family has been with my every step of the way too. They’ve cried with me, taken me to countless doctors, and plied me with teddy bears, songs, and candy to calm me down. I have an amazing boyfriend who kisses away my tears, screens movies for car accidents or noises that will scare me, and buys me starburst ( my pill of choice) to help me.

But what I have lost are friends who gave up on me. People who have called and texted me, tried to hang out or even just see me, that I never answered. I couldn’t. How could they love someone or even just want to be around someone so shattered? Why would they want to be around someone who randomly cries, who flakes on plans because I don’t want to get in a car, or won’t eat because I’m too depressed. I couldn’t accept my illnesses so why should they? What was terrible, was seeing people and kind of telling them that I wasn’t ok, and them not understanding. I have been told a million times to “get over it” and “it is just a car accident”. But it wasn’t, and it’s not. It’s so much more than that. I couldn’t accept myself, or everything that I lost. I lost my sense of security, my sense of a future, and a life. I lost some of the use of my wrist. I didn’t drive a car for around two years.

So for now, I take one day at a time. I have bad days. I have good days. I’m trying to pick up the pieces and my family and boyfriend hold the ones that I’ve put back together. I still have a long journey, but I’m ready for it.

That was long and yet so short.

Until next time,

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

In honor of the second installment's release, here is a quick look back at the original!

 

I first ran into Red Queen at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago. I was already carrying a stack of books so I decided to forgo the purchase. Last Monday I found Red Queen at Costco and decided it was fate… Or a popular book, but I digress. 

This books is 383 pages and full of excitement, intrigue, and surprises. It drives me insane when some random oppressed person gets transported into an improbable situation and handles everything with aplomb. They trust the right people, make the right choices, and end up saving everyone. Red Queen isnt like that. Victoria Aveyard tells the story of Mare in a way that makes sense. Mare makes mistakes, trusts people she shouldn’t, gets thrust into a game and she doesn’t even know who the players are. Nothing is cut and dry, nothing is as it seems. Words can lie. It starts off a little slow, but after about 5 pages, I was hooked. It’s non stop action, non stop everything. I’m usually pretty quick to figure out what is going on. For instance I knew that Amazing Amy was psycho 4 chapters into Gone Girl. I had no clue who the villain was in the book. Other than the queen, she’s a bitch. And so is Evangeline. 

Red Queen is a do. A must. A hit. I may die waiting for the next book. I just need to know everything….. And I don’t want to wait!!!

Let's Talk About Finance, Choices, Nordstrom, and Experion

Again, this is a crossover from my old blog. I now use Credit Karma because it is foooo free!! Yay, and that saves me $15 a month! I am currently all about saving that cash! I am currently sitting at a 715 which I am inordinately rpoud of since I didn't have any credit to begin with! I have a super high limit on my credit card too, which is cool. This was last July during Nordstrom's sale.

 

I am a self professed shopping addict. I live for a sale, and a bargain is definitely something that I have to work to say no to, but I don’t usually say no. And I also enjoy stocking up. Why buy something for full price when I usually have a bunch of different, much better priced options already in my closet? Exactly, I don’t. I already bought them on sale! Yay! 

So if you follow any fashion blogger, chances are like 95% of them are talking about the Nordstrom sale. While I do enjoy expensive things, I don’t have a champagne budget. I do pretty well, I can’t lie, but I also can’t just buy $300 shoes on a whim. Oh well. I can just dream. 

I’ve also been working on my credit. Which honestly I knew nothing about. And it is still kind of confusing. I have lovely parents who bought me whatever I want, for the most part, and taught me to be a savvy shopper. What they never taught me was the b-word, budget, and the s-word, save. I wasn't told what our finances look like when I lived with my parents. Like what do they even mean? Also wtf is a credit score??? I thought, truly, that I got like a good score and then it would go up or down depending on what I did with it. Apparently that isn’t the case and I learned that the hard way when we tried to buy a house and my non existent credit was a hindrance. So that sucks. And I’m naive, but whatever.  

So I got a credit card and keep the balance low or to a zero balance and make a few charges to keep using it. I have been granted two credit limit increases in a short amount of time and I am pretty proud of myself. I paid off my car, but that didn’t move my score as much as I thought. So again, confusion. I signed up for Experion to track my credit score. It’s $15 a month and I can check in at any time via my app to check my score. It isn’t super in depth, but it tells me enough. It’s a slow climb, but what’s hurt it the most is he checking of my credit. We tried a few different lenders and apparently it has been run too much. Darn it. 

So back to where I am now. Scrolling insta and just dying to check out the Nordy’s sale. But in order to do that, you need a credit card. Ugh. Again, wtf? Fack. I just want to shop. However, I don’t want my credit run, and I really have been spending a lot of money on sales. So for now, I am just going to say no. I am going to walk away, I am going to stay strong and not spend. Maybe spending money on stuff within my budget and saving for a trip to Europe would be a much better reward. Or then I will also need a new wardrobe for that trip so maybe not. Darn, a budget and saving and saying no is so hard. Ugh. My life. I also have discovered that I find any excuse to shop. I could be bored, or sad, or happy, or whatever and I can come up with any excuse to make it ok. But I also need to get over that. Spending on a whim isn’t ok, and it’s not mature.

So takeaway: watch your credit, don’t get a million cards, and don’t spend all your money on sales. It’s rough, I know. But this will help later on in life when we want to get another home. So for now, I’m going for a walk to distract myself from insta and sales. 

Till next time!! 
Xoxox!!  

What Reading Means to Me

Many of us have quite a few things they are truly talented at. Maybe you're the best at making people laugh, or the best at organization. Whatever it is this is something you're amazing at, something you enjoy doing and is usually one of the first things that pop into someone's head when they hear your name. For me, that has always been reading. In fact my estranged grandmother recently asked if I "still like to read". As if the act of reading for enjoyment is something one can misplace like a set of a pair of gloves or after twenty something years you can grow out of it. 

My parents read to me when I was a baby, and it got to the point where I would memorize the stories so that I could "read" to them as well. Reading seemed so magical, like such a gift and I was so excited to learn how to read. I quickly started reading way above my grade level and my parents were having difficulty finding books that were challenging and age appropriate. They always encouraged me and would constantly buy me new books.

I love getting lost in them. They're a piece of magic you can carry around. They never lose their battery and you discover something new every single time. I've laughed with books, cried with them, and felt utterly and completely lost when they ended. You can live millions of lives within the pages of books, and to me that is the greatest magic of all. You can be anything and everything, omniscient, see inside people's heads, walk thousands of miles without taking a single step.

I understand that reading isn't for everyone, just like math isn't for me, and I couldn't draw a picture to save my life, but I can read.

That is my talent.