Me, Woman – I have Gray Hair

Hey hey everybody! The weekend is almost here, how lovely. I don’t know about you all but we’ve had a nice mild winter where I live. It’s been so nice to be out and about without freezing my tail off (or my dog’s) or having to shovel mountains of snow. That said, I hope, hope, hope this isn’t a negative thing (think: climate crisis, bugs, bugs, extra hot weather, bugs, crawling flying biting things called bugs…oh yeah, and mosquitoes 😉 ).

Let’s get started with today’s post.

It’s here, my first post pertaining to my personal life, getting it together and being a woman in her (my) mid-30s. Well it might not be the first, for real first because I’m sure I’ve gotten into personal stuff before…right, Elpy, keep it going…

via GIPHY

Right, any who I’m going to start off with gray hair.

I have brown hair though I do love dying it and or highlighting it therefore sometimes it’s not so brown. So fun, love it. The first gray hair I found was somewhere during my mid to late 20s. I yanked that sucker out and held it up against the white wall in the half-bath of my apartment at the time. I was like WHAT! WHAT?! Oh my gosh no. It can’t be. This has got to be a blond, light-colored hair, whatever just not gray or white. But no…

In the last five years my gray hairs went from being a little sparse to hey what’s all that SILVER stuff at your temple? Huh what? As is apparently common, the new hairs that like to spring around and do whatever they please at my temple, just one side of course, are gray/silver/white. That patch is alive and well and out there for the world to see. There are also more stragglers popping up around my head than there used to be.

No worries said I the colorful YOUNG LADY (LOL!), I will dye my hair anyways. And away we go to the salon where we cover all those shining beauties up. Be gone! Away with you revealing truths of wisdom and maturity! How dare you give away my true identity!

via GIPHY

Wait what?

Think about it; if it weren’t for our fear and frowning when it comes to aging we would not detest gray and/or white hair in the way that we do. In fact once you reach a certain age people begin to applaud your beautiful gray or white hair. I have long noticed my mother’s gray AND white hair is SHINY. It is so absolutely beautiful, kind of white in the front, framing her face, and gray in the back. It’s lovely. No offense father, your head is real shiny too! 😉

via GIPHY

Did you happen to notice that gray was trending last year? That young people, women and girls in particular, were purposefully dying their hair shades of gray? Did you see that women of all ages and shades were ARE embracing their gray hair? Yeah, it’s true, gray hair is beautiful.

But there’s still that fact and that stigma that it represents a changing of the tides. That you are getting old. It’s not the same as when you looked in the mirror and there just was your hair (some of you lovely people are born with streaks or pops of gray or white hair so of course you have always seen the forest through the trees). And I’ll be honest, sometimes the transition from your initial color to gray/white is not so great. It’s just not all the time. But what does it mean that we are so quick to run from it? I’m in no way shaming either group. Don’t like your gray hair? COVER IT! Love it? Let it be. Not sure? Feel it out. To each their own. High five to you all for doing what’s best for your time.

via GIPHY

But again, what about this automatic response? What does it say about our cultures and society that we spend so much time hiding our age instead of learning and teaching each other to embrace it? We are so obsessed with youth we neglect the value of aging. Will we eventually succumb to our obsession with vanity and just get old, neglecting lessons and wisdom to make sure we’re still beautiful?

Of course being young is easier than being old, but in what ways? Would I go back in time for anything? No, not unless I could go back with this brain, this experience and knowledge, this wisdom, this humility. Aging equals living. Aging equals experience. Aging equals lessons learned and knowledge gained. Aging equals gaining.

Perspective folks, it’s all about perspective. If you view aging through a negative lens only, then you will see it as a loss. Whereas by the above logic, aging can really be a gain.

Life is hard, it can be really hard. And as we get older a lot more things are bound to happen that might break our spirit. So it would seem to me that it is essential to learn to embrace it, not shun it. I know so many wonderful older people and their spirits’ are still so bright – LOOK right there, I say STILL so bright as though we’re guaranteed to lose our light as we age. That’s wrong no, it’s negative experiences that cause our light to fade, it is not age specifically. Our light does not leave us, but it can be buried or hidden or perhaps we lose the ability to see it.

I know I’m not all that old and some of you might say my goodness she does not know what she’s talking about. But I have aged and I sure do know what I’m talking about when it comes to having gray hair!

via GIPHY

One moral of this story is, embrace what’s yours. That does not stop just because you’re no longer shiny and new. That advice does not pertain only to women and men who want to show off their bodies. That message isn’t for the young. Embrace your life. Embrace you. As long as you’re alive, you’re visible whether you realize it or believe it or don’t, you’re still here.

So you ask, what did you do? Well I’m still learning just how I want to embrace these lovely shiny things. I do so love their shiny quality. I used to, and still will, call them my sparkles. My stylist said she heard a client refer to her grays as her tinsel. Do we not love tinsel people!!!

I let my gray grow out without covering it for months (not intentionally). I kind of started to like it. I didn’t love it but I also didn’t hate it. I found that I could part it on the side a little and flip some of that gray over for a nice little funky style. And then my guy suggested I take control of it when I asked. And why wouldn’t I? I said hey, what do you think about my grays? He said well I think if you made it look even more intentional it’d probably be pretty cool. And that’s what I’m working on right now, playing around with having some gray over there more so than not.

I am so SO excited to get it right because I think it’s going to be so cool. And bonus, creative people have got to let our imagination show in all kinds of ways. 😉 I’ll keep you all posted on how this is going. Apparently dying even a little bit of brown hair gray is… tricky.

How do you feel about aging? Gray hairs? Do you embrace your age or are you struggling?

Please stay tuned for more talk on aging. Let’s get into this subject, gray hairs, wrinkles, creaks & cracks, the works!

In case you were wondering, gray is the common American spelling of the word, while grey is more commony used in the UK and elsewhere. 😉

via GIPHY

Talk from the TBR Table

I feel like this is a really fun title that I’ll maybe use more than once. 😉 For sure! How ya doin? Having a good week so far?

This post is inspired by Lois over at LoisReadsBooks. She made a post about books from her TBR that have been there a long time and that she plans to finally read this year. Heck yeah go Lois! Click the link above to visit her two-part post. 😀 Blogger love!

Her post got me thinking that it would be in my best interest to revisit my TBR and commit to read some books that have been on there a long time. Now this isn’t new in the world of book blogging at all. In fact Destiny @Howling Libraries does something to this effect with a fancy methodology and all. She calls it TBR Lows & Highs. Sofi @A Book. A Thought loved what Destiny was doing so much she’s also taken up that method for cleaning the TBR. I quite like it really, you ought to check it out, but I think for now I’m gonna keep the cleaning simple. Over at Life Inside My Library Mind she put together a 2019 TBR Backlist, a simple list of 12 books from her backlist that she’s been meaning to read. There are others I follow who work through their backlists or try, and who wouldn’t want to? (Um all of us distracted by all the new shiny stuff…duh.)

via GIPHY

At the end of the day, I liked Lois’ version straight to the point, pick some books, let’s tackle these. However I am still going to be cognizant of my acceptance that I do not read very fast or as often during the warmer months (we’ll see this year!). So I will resist the urge to make a super long post about the books from long ago TBR that I’m going to read. Alas….I behave…

via GIPHY

This is a really great reason (excuse) to browse my TBR and just look at all the beautiful books I have imagined reading. I look forward to the process although not really the decision making. Why’s that? Oh decisions and I have a love/hate relationship and I plan to keep the list under five. What? I already said I am not a fast reader. Even though audio books mean I will certainly hear a book a month there’s only so much money I can spend on books. I know, it’s rough. 😉

Here we go. Afer meeting my brain mates (all me) at the TBR boardroom table I’ve decided on these five books. These are books I added a long time ago and will read some time this year. I’ll tell you the book, when I added it, why (if I know or recall), and why I’m choosing it now. Oh and click on the title to visit the book’s Goodreads page. (In no particular order)

1. The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan

Published in 2010 – Poetry

I added it September 2012

Kay Ryan’s poetry appeals to me because she packs a punch with few words. I was so impressed with her talent in brevity, I think it’s admirable skill.

It’s been a long time since I’ve even read poetry and this is a great place to start. That’s why I’m going to pick this up this year and read it, preferably sooner than later.

2. Borderline (Anna Pigeon, #15) by Nevada Barr

Published in 2009 – Mystery

I added it in March 2013

I used to read Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series as much as I could years ago then I stopped reading fiction for about five years. When I got back to reading Anna & Nevada were much farther down the road and I never got back on the horse.

Disclaimer: I might wind up with a different book in this series once I really figure out where I left off but this was what I had on my TBR so we’ll start there for now. I would like to check back in with this mystery/thriller because I remember really enjoying it although they did tend to take a while to get into.

3. Bear Heart (Klawdia Book 1) by K.J. Colt

Published in 2013 – Fantasy

I added it in October 2014

I “met” (online) K.J. Colt through a Goodread’s group that was created to help self-published authors. It served the dual purpose of weeding out self-pubs that needed more work because, especially back then, self-pubs had a real bad rep among readers. So we shared out self-published works with each other by judging our covers, our blurbs and finally the books should they make it to that stage. It was a lot of fun but stirred up a load of controversy. Apparently the group’s founder received death threats and all kinds of nasty negative attention because of the group. On top of that countless people whined and cried about the constructive criticism they received and how their books weren’t chosen. I would expect you have some kind of thick (or thicker) skin if you’re going to be an artist and put your work out in the world but way too many people couldn’t handle being told they weren’t the brightest star in the class. For instance, someone was told they really needed to hire an editor. They got extremely emotional and cried that it wasn’t fair because they couldn’t afford an editor. Okay well then your book is going to have to wait. Stuff like that… anywho…

So K.J. Colt – who wasn’t yet a bestselling author, you go girl! – was one of the members of that group with her book Concealed Power (The Healers of Meligna, #1). I really did enjoy the series, well mostly Books 1 & 2 then things went a little downhill for my tastes and tolerances. I became quite critical of the last couple. That said I still really admire K.J. Colt for her talent and creativity. She invited me all those years ago to read Bear Heart and I never did (meant to I swear!). Klawdia is a kick-ass secondary female character in the Healers of Meligna series. This is her series and I really would like to venture in to it.

4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Published in 2015 -Fantasy

I added it in April 2016

Well I maybe…nope I don’t remember how I first heard of this and her (the author), maybe from a podcast, maybe a fellow blogger, I don’t recall but I know loads of people are and have been talking about V.E. Schwab.

This year I’m going to finally read it because last year I got a sweet deal from bookoutlet.com on the whole trilogy. And well I need to get caught up on this woman’s work!

5. Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Published in 2016 – Historical fiction

I added in August 2016

You might already know that I love birds, they are my favorite class of organism. It should be more obvious than ironic then that I should also love plants. And whomever loves plants, fancies trees. I can’t say for sure but I may have found this through a Lithub.com article.

Going back through my TBR this book stuck out. Sure it isn’t fantasy but it sounds interesting regardless. I remember it sticking out to me back then, so let’s go ahead and venture there.

6. H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

Published in 2014 – Non-fiction/memoir

I added in August 2016

Well given the title and the cover image I think it should be obvious, I picked this book because it has something to do with birds. And the overall story – also in part about her training birds of prey – sounds intriguing. I don’t recall how I came across this book in the first place but when I did, done deal.

I know I said five books, I was only going to pick five, but this was right below Barkskins on my TBR list and I happen to own a physical copy of this already (thanks bookdepot.com) so why not? My thoughts exactly.

via GIPHY

There you have it. Six books from way down my TBR list on Goodreads that I plan to read this year. When and how, physical or audio, is yet to be determined (except those already owned physically, lol).

It almost feels hard to pick these to read when there are so many NEW books I’m discovering and adding. It’s like all these old ones lost their appeal because they’re not new to me anymore. How strange, they’re still a mystery to me! These are the only books I can tell you I’m going to read over the course of the year. Otherwise I’m not going to do seasonal TBRs anymore, just monthly, and those are going to be two books, a physical and an audio book. I know I can handle that. Any extras are bonus. Okay this is long enough. Stay tuned to see where I go… That’s it for Talk from the TBR Table!

Thanks so much for your time? Have you read any of these or want to? Are you doing any kind of backlist “work” or cleaning?

2019 TBR List New Additions Part 3

At first this list was going to include November and December additions. But then I saw just how many books I added in December. That month alone made up for all I didn’t add in the months before. Funny I say that as though I should be adding TONS and TONS of books all the time. That would be overwhelming. So 2019 TBR List New Additions Part 3 covers one month and you will agree it’s more than plenty.

via GIPHY

A lot of the books I found and added in December were thanks to The Bookseller’s Year in Reading from LitHub.com. In fact, I think all the books added in December were thanks to at least a couple of Lithub.com articles. That said here I’ve linked you to Part 3 of the above list so you can then find the links to Part 1 & 2. As I write this I’ve only read Part 1. Books I add from the other parts will be new additions for January.

I don’t recall all my sources for the rest of the books I added/found in December but if I do I will tell you. The titles of each book link back to its Goodreads’ page. If you’d like to first read my New Additions Part 1 CLICK HERE. If you’d like to then or first read New Additions Part 2 CLICK HERE. I encourage you to check them out and share your thoughts should you have any.

Let’s get started with my final 2019 TBR List New Additions.

December 2019 TBR List New Additions

  • The Overstory – Fiction by Richard Powers – this and above from article not list
  • The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry – non-fiction/essays by Wendell Berry – I found this on the Bookseller’s list however I heard of Wendell Berry in the spring from my great Uncle. I had every intention to look into this author thanks to him.
  • Underland – Non-fiction/science by Robert Macfarlane – This book was recommended by multiple booksellers.
  • Lanny – fiction/fantasy by Max Porter – I found this on the bookseller’s list however I first found it in another Lit Hub article months ago.
  • Lent – fantasy/historical fiction by Jo Walton
  • Birthday – fiction by Cesar Aira, translated by Chris Andrews
  • Morelia – fiction by Renee Gladman

via GIPHY

So there you have it, the last of the books I added to my TBR in 2019, in fact many were on the second to last day. Many of these books, more than I expected and would/will probably choose, are non-fiction. It’s not that I’m too cool or not cool enough for non-fiction it’s just that usually I have some go-to topics when it comes to real life stuff, but we’ll see. We’ll see what 2020 brings us. I was going to write about, very vaguely, what interested me in each book but that would take way too long. If I pick them up this year and read, perhaps that’ll be when I tell you what appealed to me, well at least I’ll try to remember or I’ll make up something about why it does now! 😉

Any of these books on your radar/TBR?

Thanks as always for visiting. Come back soon!

via GIPHY

Here’s What’s Up: Going Forward New

Hello everyone, I hope you’re doing well today. I started off the day (if you don’t include the wee morning hours I was up) doing a yoga class on Yogadownload.com. I really really recommend this website for streaming yoga videos. They have loads of different teachers, styles, levels, and duration. I discovered it through Groupon and their offer for a discounted subscription. I am so glad that I did.

Many many years ago I practiced yoga on a regular basis but then I moved and didn’t keep up with it. Through yogadownload.com I discovered their New Year 20-day challenge, a different yoga class every day. I didn’t start on the first of the year but am currently on Day 12. Did I say I’m loving this? Oh yes, I am.

CHECK ONE BIATCHES FOR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: START BACK IN YOGA!

via GIPHY

A couple mornings ago, the class message was getting out of autopilot, something we all probably settle into easily. Saying I was going to get back to doing yoga once I’d lost some weight and regained fitness and found the right class was my autopilot. In this regard, I have certainly broken out of autopilot. But in most other areas of my life I am still very much in autopilot, which is not all that different from sleep-walking…

via GIPHY

One such area is this place right here, my blog. I know it can take some real work and soul-searching to find your brand and find your purpose. We all know my purpose is to build my author platform but I continue to struggle at knowing just how to do that. In the last few days I’ve been revisiting some old ideas, exploring what I can offer.

via GIPHY

So here’s what’s up!

Several years ago I thought about (I’m very good at thinking about doing things) blogging about getting my life back together, starting with my yard. I struggle with some pretty heavy anxiety and it’s only gotten worse. My yard back then was better than it is now – which isn’t saying much – and I swore I was going to reclaim it. I thought it might be good for me and for readers to witness the actions I took to take it back and make it a wonderful and peaceful space to be in. Needless to say, that did not happen, neither the blogging nor the reclamation.

This need to reclaim space in my life applies to my house, my health, my work and my business (which are different entities). One reason I didn’t share the process is because I was afraid of saying I was going to blog about it then not follow through. I guess that’s proof that a big part of me believed that I would not or could not get it done. I didn’t want to get people’s attention and then just drop it, like I do. Sadly enough, I did not reclaim my yard, or my life. So was I afraid of failing or…

I’m revisiting this as I investigate my possible brand because reclaiming my life is very much a central theme for this year. But how does this play with another central theme of my brand, powers of observation? Simply put, reclaiming my life is reclaiming…my life…hm…myself, my everything, my craft, my business. This is essential for me to be able to fully open my eyes (third included! 😉 ) and operate at least closer to 100%. I’ll be happy with like 75% though I still aim for 100.

There is so much I want to do with my life, it simply does not work to be dysfunctional in so many ways. I need a proper work space for all of my projects, as well as regular exercise, and a healthy home space. My powers of observation don’t have to be honed to see that if I am to do better, I need to exist in a better space. What I see around me is chaos that weighs me down. What I see inside me is chaos that wants to work.

via GIPHY

And so it is that I am going to share my journey. I have overanalyzed every part of this each time I think about sharing. Is it wrong for me to “use” this chaos, this dysfunction? Can I do this? Is it interesting? No it’s not wrong because it’s a real experience that so many can relate to and everybody likes to hear about people rising up out of the dust (in my case that’s a little literal 😉 ). Of course I can do this but I must be committed and disciplined. Yes it’s interesting because with each step I take to improve I am taking another step towards a better me. And a better me has a lot more to offer. Besides, to get to know me as an author, well, is to get to know me as a person and vice versa.

Do I know just how this is going to work and look in terms of this blog? No, no I don’t but if you stay tuned you’ll see it. 😉 I will continue book blogging as well because of course writing is my craft which means reading is my study (and one of my favorite hobbies). I love talking about books, learning about new books, and sharing my thoughts even if I’m just complaining about book stuff. In addition I’m going to write about perspectives (mostly mine to start but we’ll see who else 😉 ) in aging. I’m in my mid-30s so I’m not old. But if you’re a teen or in your 20s then probably I am old to you. If you’re 50+, you’re laughing at me a little. 😀 But let’s have this conversation, getting older is not easy but it is a necessary part of this darn journey and I think it’s well, different for women. Men if you’re reading please do feel free to share your thoughts and contradictions!

And darn it, I think today’s culture disempowers aging and the aged (whatever that means), sucking away the gifts age brings for the vanity of youth.

via GIPHY

In summary, here’s what’s up, this year I’ll be talking about reclaiming my life, getting myself together as a result so I may pursue more ventures, book blogging stuff, and getting older as a woman today, this will probably include a lot of things that are yet to be determined.

Guys, this is gonna be a good year.

via GIPHY

Thank you for your time please feel free to comment and do follow me to keep up with the good, the bad, the ugly, the strange, the hmmm, the beautiful, the wow and all the other stuff. 😉

Flash Fiction Challenge from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

One thing I think I will try to do more of (probably I’ve said/thought this before, so forgive me) this year is writing challenges. Sometimes in my skepticism I think these are awesome practice for the writer but does someone else want to read this? Well of course silly! People probably want to see, read, experience what you can do with a smattering of words. We like stories right!? So here’s a 99-word flash fiction challenge from Carrot Ranch Literary Community. I however discovered this challenge (and blog) thanks to Ritu at But I Smile Anyway. So thank you both. Here we go.

Instructions are, watch this gif about a day in the life of a park bench. Pick a time frame to write 99 words (no more, no less) about. The title is the time i picked.

17:00

Pidgey, Pinky, Plump, Pokey, plus many extras today, the gang was all there. Will she forget their names one day soon? Will she fade like the light and become one of the birds no one tries to remember?

Pokey, the old one wandered off like they do, drawing her attention to the bouquet in the trash bin at the end of the bench. Were they old news, pitched because they’d served their purpose?

No, it is an old woman especially who knows heartache. Her brain might be collapsing in on itself but she still knows well what life is.

via GIPHY

There you have it, 99 words no more no less. I’ll be putting this up per the instructions over on Charli’s blog. Go check it out and see what others have come up with. And don’t forget to visit Ritu’s blog as well, both links are near the top of this post.

Thoughts?

2019 TBR List New Additions Part 2

*** Quick funny side note: I scheduled this to publish on New Year’s day but then it disappeared! I couldn’t find it in my list of published or ALL posts. Then again, I didn’t go to the last page of the list… today I figured it out. It was scheduled to post 1 January 2019. Lol, oh silly me. Today I figured it out, must be my renewed yoga practice cleared my head this morning. So I did finish a while ago and have wanted to find it before I publish Part 3. And that’s why you’re also getting 2 posts kinda back to back.

Welcome to Part 2 of the 2019 TBR List New Additions. If you missed the first post click HERE for Part 1. I didn’t add any books to my TBR in October. Can you believe that? Ugh I wasn’t in the bookish world but that’s fine because I was in the writing world gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2019 which I did win. Woo Hoo Heck Yeah! 😀

July 2019 TBR List New Additions

42881101
  • What the Woods Keep – Paranormal Fantasy/YA/Mystery by Katya de Becerra – I already have my copy of this, hopefully I’ll get to it sooner than later. Sorry I don’t recall which podcast I was listening to when I heard about this. But check my list if you’re looking for some book and writing related podcasts.
29748448. sy475

August 2019 TBR List New Additions

September 2019 TBR List New Additions

46021931. sx318
22208252
23398876
7020981
34888106
44596261. sx318 sy475

Oh my I did not add any books in October! It wasn’t because there wasn’t anything to add rather I have not been reading blogs for a long time nor articles about books. I’ve been more focused on my own writing. It can be tricky to juggle reading and writing though both are very important.

November 2019 TBR List New Additions

23506972
29556849
45025924. sx318
  • The Book of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #1) – Sci-fi by M.R. Carey – I’m not entirely sure where I found this book but I know I added it in part because I am at least a little familiar with Carey’s work. I’ve seen a movie and read a book and was plenty happen with what I experienced. Looking forward to this one.
47621617

This concludes 2019 TBR List New Additions Part 2. If you missed Part 1 CLICK HERE and check it out. That list covers half of May through June. Part 3 is all about December because that’s when I got back to my TBR as well as a list I found at Lit Hub. That list, whoa, I hope what I found there is worth all the work it added to my list!

Stay tuned for Part 3. It will be published in the first couple of days of the New Year. From there you can expect a post about what I plan to read in January and Part 2 of my thoughts on Audio books. Check out Part 1 HERE.

So, what do you think?

What I’ve Been Listening To

Hey there folks! Recently, and not so recently, I’ve posted about audio books (Audio Book Talk Part 1 & Part 2). I blabbered a bit about the conundrum of reading versus listening. It’s a big issue for me! Lol. I think I’ve made that clear. What I haven’t made clear to you is just what…hm….um… not what I’ve read… okay… what my ear’s have attended to! This post is for the stories I’ve listened to.

via GIPHY

In Part 1 I told you how Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan was the first audio book I’ve listened to in a long time. And I really enjoyed it. Next I told you I listened to Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, yet another good book. After that came The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon; not bad but I didn’t love it for a couple reasons. Or maybe The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater came before that? Before or after, that one I really liked, best of them all. Since then? Let me tell you…

via GIPHY

Or read…

After The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, I listened to The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.

This is the second time I’ve edited this because I don’t have a sweet memory so I’ve had to do some rewinding considering I listened to this way back in the summer. Of course I remember I enjoyed this series thoroughly and recommend it to most if not all fans of fantasy, particularly YA fantasy. However, book 2 wasn’t my favorite. It’s not that it was bad, it was just a little convoluted and not quite as flowing as the first. But I still liked it and was happy to get to know these characters more. Maggie Steifvater is a very talented writer. Her imagination and character development are beautiful.

Next was Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.

Book three didn’t disappoint, in fact I liked it more than book 2, maybe not more than book 1 but very entertaining. Still loving these characters and their growth.

From there I listened to Wally Roux, Quantum Mechanic by Nick Carr, narrated by William Jackson Harper.

This, as the image shows, is an audible original, one of two picks I get each month with my subscription. I’d call this a short story more than a novel and it was worth it. More a book for teens but still interesting enough. I liked the character Wally and his story and would recommend this. It’s not exciting, but good.

After Wally Roux I started and finished the last book in The Raven Cycle, The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.

So my mental rewind back through this summer and fall’s audio books brought me to some bittersweet truthes regarding the end of this series. It wasn’t just my memory that made reflecting difficult. This book didn’t sew up nicely. It didn’t end so neatly. I’m not necessarily disappointed but I’m disappointed. Not enough to ditch Maggie Stiefvater, oh no, or not read the Ronan Lynch spin-off that follows, Call Down the Hawk. Just enough to be bummed. But I won’t spoil here.

What I listened to next was very, very different than the above (and not as good). Cold Waters (Normal, Alabama #1) by Debbie Herbert was a book I picked up through one of Audible’s Daily Deals. What can I say, I needed another book to listen to!

But I didn’t love it. I’ll take some more Stiefvater after this one please! Sure it did its thing in the world of mysteries but I wasn’t impressed. I think I gave it 3 stars for effort. I won’t continue with the series.

After that I listened to an Audible Original, another of my monthly freebies. Buried Deep by Margot Hunt and read by Therese Plummer is also a mystery.

Please understand that I am a fan of mysteries, I always have been. But I’m also really critical. Sorry, not sorry. Cold Waters was significantly better than Buried Deep. Buried Deep is not a story I recommend.

Okay now let’s get back to some better stories although…

My next read was much anticipated. Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton is a stand alone continuation of Ronan Lynch’s story. It is true however that it’s probably best to have read The Raven Cycle first.

Gosh I feel some kind of way about this book and about writing about it. I should probably save it for something of a review but I’m sort of doing tiny reviews here too. Let me say again that I really appreciate Stiefvater’s talents. But please please stop throwing the kitchen sink in. I mean okay maybe the kitchen sink analogy isn’t accurate but one review I read after the fact explained it best. It was like being in someone else’s dream where it makes more sense to them than you. Loads of people love this book but I just think it was a little too much dream world. I think it hurt the story. That said, oh there’s so much more to say I’m going to have to write a separate post for sure, I did like this story. I do like this world and love these characters. Worth it? For sure. Hoping the next book will be excellent.

Thank you Ellyn @allonsythornraxx for talking about this book. And thank you Inside My Library Mind as well!

Okay moving on. Another mystery/thriller thanks to Audible Daily Deals. But am I so thankful for Audible? Or am I losing my taste for mysteries after spending all this time in fantasy lands? The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger, read by Julia Whelan was creative and interesting. But it was too long, way too long.

I’m a little surprised seeing the Goodreads’ page again and the fact that Unger is a bestselling author. It’s not that she’s a bad writer by any means. The Red Hunter however could have skipped a lot of the individual parts. But again, it was entertaining and had its thrilling moments but didn’t blow my mind.

Wow so this brings us to my latest listen and what I’m currently listening to! Last one I finished was The Diviners (The Diviners, #1) by Libba Bray, narrated by January LaVoy. Here we have another YA Fantasy.

I will lead with this was a worthy listen and I will continue the series. That said, it was way too long. It was like a compilation of a bunch of different character stories that all happen to related. It just took too long to get to the part where they’re relating! On the other hand Libba Bray is a great writer. I respect the research she does for her stories, from time period lingo and culture to historic events, she does an excellent job. I think a lot of people would like this story, as long as you don’t mind a long lead up.

This series find is thanks to Ellyn @allonsythornraxx and her post about the 4th in this series due out this year. Oh my gosh I better catch up! Four of these! Gosh…

And finally we’re up to present day. Actually I very recently finished The Diviners. Therefore I’ve only just begun Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse, read by Tanis Parenteau.

Lucky me, this and The Diviners were not Daily Deals but they were special deals just in time for me to need more books in my Audible Library! Woo hoo! Everybody loves a sale right? 😀 I have heard the name Rebecca Roanhorse a lot and am finally venturing into her imagination. So far I’m digging it! Heck yeah!

Oh yeah, while it’s not an audio book I’m also read reading, like a physical book, Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare (ha ha I started to type narrated. 😉 ). Yet another name I’ve heard a number of times. This is a big book, 668 pages! I’m 174 or so pages in and it’s interesting, not as interesting as Trail of Lightning but I suspect it holds a lot of promise. And I learned kind of late that I’m pretty late to this party… Lol…

I almost forgot; while I know I’ve heard of this elsewhere I know for sure I can thank Ms. Victorious at Victorious pages for telling me about this series.

Kind of a long post I know but hopefully you found it interesting enough. Have you read or listened to any of these? I do kind of feel like I missed out on some real physical pages with words. (I think I need to read some Maggie Stiefvater in the flesh or paper and experience the stories more.)

Let me know what you think, I’m curious. Stay tuned for my post about what I will be listening to for the rest of January and February.

Audio Book Talk Part 2

After listening to Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan – which was my first foray back to audiobooks in years – I was back in love with audiobooks. And yet, as I’ve mentioned before – if you haven’t already read my Part 1 to this CLICK HERE – I’m not wholly decided on when, how, and why to go with the audiobook. It just feels so conflicting! Physical book to have and to hold or audio book to listen and be told!?

via GIPHY

For starters, when I read a book I feel like I’ve accomplished something. Maybe that’s a lingering result of school but it’s there. Since I wrote that first post I have listened to over a dozen audiobooks in half as many months. They’re kind of my new best friends. And while I feel some completion in having heard that story it’s not the same.

To hold a book and turn its pages, reading the words the author strung together to tell their story, is to form something of a relationship with the story. Sure I feel emotions while listening to and reading stories. I formulate new ideas and thoughts about the material. Or I hash out old ones. Whatever the case I interact with the story. But holding it I also interact with the words. That is not something I can say for audiobooks. Well, it’ s just not the same!

via GIPHY

Listening to a story has its own benefits. I interact with language, with voice, with speaking. You get to hear a person’s voice, experience them acting (because that is what narrators do after all), and test your own listening skills. Something I love is hearing pronunciation of words I do not know which there are a lot of in fantasy novels especially. Listening to a story is beautiful. However, you do not see the words and their structure. You do not see how they are set up on the page. I’m sure this can be true for all people but I believe it especially true for a writer.

Not only do I study books when I read them – what worked and why, what didn’t and why not – but I admire them. With a physical book you see the typeset, the style, the font, the color of the paper, the smell of the paper, the margins, and so much more. You experience not only the story, but the book. While authors don’t always, or perhaps often, get to choose all these things for themselves in the world of traditional publishing, these days we’re seeing a lot more independent authors and presses. Which means we might also be experiencing more personal decisions with respect to the actual production of the book.

Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting anyone down who prefers audiobooks or can not read for one reason or many others. Audiobooks are amazing opportunities. I am a slow reader so the fact that I can finish a story in a couple of days listening to an audiobook is fantastic. If they were cheaper I’d listen to even more! So this isn’t even so much a which one is better type of post, rather I’m just reflecting on how my mind approaches the matter. I don’t find it a light decision to pick to listen to audio over read the story myself. I just don’t. Words are one of my passions and I’m trying to build a better relationship with them. Choosing to listen rather than give one-on-one reading attention is a tricky choice.

It’s helpful to see how different authors structure dialogue and even how they arrange their chapters. I like seeing the length of paragraphs because I don’t have a great attention span for long chapters when reading. Another advantage to listening, long chapters don’t bother me. You can still pick up on a lot of things listening, after all it’s still a book, it’s just someone else who’s reading it. You don’t get to dog-ear a page or highlight or sticky note. I know, I know these apps and whatever have all kinds of fun features but pushing “bookmark” is not the same for me as making one in a book. Besides, I’m not very good at coming back to book notes! Lol.

via GIPHY

So, summary is I love audio books but I miss the connection to the actual words. I don’t have a method for when to read and when to listen if I don’t already have the book in one form or another. I think it will come to depend on the individual books and authors. Also at this point I think I want to stay consistent with regard to the edition I pick for a series. If I start a series in audio then I want to keep that up. So if I’ve already started the series with a physical book, I’m going to read the book. I’ll also be paying more attention to people’s thoughts on specific audio books.

But ok! This has been long enough. I’m sitting debating listing the other books I’ve listened to since Audio Book Talk Part 1 or making that its own post. Hm…

How’s about I go ahead and end this here and encourage you all to share your thoughts! Do you have any trouble deciding when to go with audio or maybe you’ve not even thought about it that much? Are you a reader and a writer or just a reader?

I know I keep saying I’m going to post more and then I don’t so maybe you are losing faith in me. But that’s actually a really good reason to follow me, because then you’ll just know that I actually did post! You’ll be like oh it’s magic there’s a post from the Elpy Dimension! 😉

Check back Sunday, tomorrow, I’m going to share the audio books I’ve been listening to and am. Also this coming week expect a post from me yammering on about figuring things out for this new year, how I want to do things differently, and maybe a new review in my new format!

Cheers guys, thanks so much for your time!