Here’s What’s Up With Me

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For starters I can’t choose between that giph or

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But they both make me smile and I think they fit some of what I feel besides exhausted. Let’s just enjoy them both.

I told you before that Here’s What’s Up is going to be a regular series of posts ranging from topics about me (Here’s What’s Up With Me), bookish things (Here’s What’s Up Book Lovers) and stuff out in the world/news (Here’s What Else Is Up). While that post might not have given you a clear direction, look at these posts like this, they’re updates, insightful updates. To update my Here’s What’s Up post I will add that I’m going to post these every Saturday. That’s the plan so stay tuned. Now back to our regularly scheduled progam.

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Here’s What’s Up With Me [This Week]

Wow it has been a week, gosh. The last few days my mother (thank you, love her!) has been helping me move out of the apartment I’ve had for 11-1/2 years (it’s been that long). (To give credit where credit is due my sister helped me start the process.) Let me be honest people, I suck at moving. Some people just have a knack for it, I’m not that person. I’ll help you, and I’ll be helpful definitely, but moving my own stuff? Oh no…

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And I’m not done. But that’s fine. It’s spring cleaning time my friends! My apartment was small so I just figured hey, can’t be that bad. Yes it can. And it was. I did not realize how much I had gathered and collected over the years. Sacrifices must be made! Books though? Oh people leave me alone (yes all you non-book people in my life I’m talking to YOU) about getting rid of my books. People be like, oh toss it, just get rid of them.

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Shhh, I will be selling and giving some away, I need to make room, but that’s between me and you. But moving has made me want to purge real bad. Real bad.

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It is inspiring and scary. It’s not easy for me to get rid of stuff, I form weird attachments to things especially if I’ve had it for some time. The memories seem to embed themselves in these things like smells and stains. There’s a little stuffed bear I got for Valentine’s Day, aw it’s so cute. What! You’re a grown ass woman throw it away! OMG! And then I threw the bear away. You won’t convince me to throw it all away (amazing how many people find this so easy when it’s NOT their stuff) but I have seen the error in my ways. So Here’s What’s Up with me!

Getting rid of stuff is like shedding your skin. And if you’ve ever seen something after it’s shed you’ve seen how beautiful that new layer is. My Ball Python is iridescent and shiny after he sheds. He’s truly beautiful, more beautiful, handsome, whatever. This is an opportunity for me to be reborn, kind of, and kick off some cool stuff. There’s so much stress smog in my air these days something’s got to give and I tell you it’s going to be me. But as we kept saying moving heavy stuff down the stairs, this is a controlled slide.

Life will get the best of you sometimes and it will kick your ass. But you know, it doesn’t always have to be an uncontrolled slide. You can handle this. YOU. CAN. HANDLE. THIS.

At the beginning I thought yeah there’s a lot to do but we got this, won’t take that long. Near the end reality hit me. The truck was filling and there was still so much to do! I felt like I was about to have a panic attack or break down. I got to feeling like I really need to sit down, hide in a closet or something, close the door and put my head in my hands. Is this for real? Do I really have this much stuff? Are we going to be here all night? Oh my God I’m wearing her down. Oh my God she did not know she was going to have to work this hard. Oh my God I did not know it was going to be this hard! I’m terrible. This is terrible! I just wanted to run and scream. Maybe I should just leave all this stuff. Yeah, no.

First of all it would make me crazy to not know just what I left behind and not have made an intentional decision on each thing to be rid of it. And second, that’s just bad karma. No. Not right. But I do not need this stuff and I can’t handle any more stress in my life right now, I’m imploding! What have I done?! Oh gosh yeah I got this dramatic in my head because, it’s sad but it’s true. Life has gotten away from me. All of it.

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But I want better. I want more. This doesn’t have to be terrible. New is good. I love reading because through books I see other worlds, observations, viewpoints, and ways of life. New. I see different. In agitated almost panicked state, I needed a different view. Through writing I get to explore my own visions and experiences and imagination. Then I can take that out into the world and say, look at this, what do you think? What do you observe? Like books ask me, at least I think so sometimes.

But I can’t do these things if I’m always stressed out and holding on to things, figuratively and literally. If it’s not working for you let it go. I mean, get your work done. Don’t let that panicked state own you. Control that slide! So that’s why Here’s What’s Up With Me this week was about this move. Controlled slide. This move is catapulting me into this new direction because it was and is a call to action like so many other things in my life. From writing to work to the personal. A new chapter is here folks and I’m taking it all in. Moving isn’t just physical, it’s transformative.

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How’s about you, what’s up with you? Are you going through something transformative? On a small or grand scale, it all counts. Whether you’re transforming your arms to wings or shedding a whole layer of yourself, it’s something and YOU CAN FN DO IT. Don’t focus on how hard it is, that’ll drive you crazy. Picture what you want to do with this new self, or place, or phase, what have you. Picture your newness. Remember, theme for this spring, CONTROLLED SLIDES.

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My Review of Borderline (The Arcadia Project #1) by Mishell Baker

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Info from Goodreads:

(My Review of Borderline follows (from May 2018))

A year ago Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.

For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star, who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she’ll have to smooth talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble’s disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.

No pressure.

Paperback, 390 pagesPublished March 1st 2016 by Saga Press

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My Review of Borderline (from May 2018)

4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I don’t read a lot of fantasy per se so I don’t have a whole lot to compare to. With that said I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick easy read – read it in a weekend – and I’m not a fast reader. A more character-based story if you ask me, it was relatively fast paced with short chapters (of which I’m a big fan), but not action packed.

Disclaimer 2: I am personally biased towards her use of mental illness in the story. Mishell Baker knows what she’s doing and doesn’t fuss around putting make-up on a pig. This isn’t a dark story, it’s light-hearted in a lot ways which complicates writing about mental illness as you don’t want it to be romanticized. I think she balanced this well. Might it seem too light a treatment to some people? Sure. But this is a light fantasy so what do you expect. But I respect that she chose a main protagonist who’s handicapped both mentally and physically. There are a lot of struggles she faces that ground us in a sense of reality even as we’re dealing with bad fairies and good fairies. This story was dynamic and unique. All the characters main and otherwise had personality and stood out on their own.

Sure as a story I think this is more an introduction to this system of magic, the Arcadia Project and our main protagonist so it may fall flat for those of you looking for a lot of excitement and action; it’s more mystery than action. If you want to read an interesting story about magic and mental illness than dive in.

As far as the ending goes I was satisfied but a little mixed. It kind of felt too swift. On the one hand I don’t want the conclusion to unravel super slowly but it was kind of a wham-bam action scene. Well it did unravel in terms of the information and then there’s the final scene, like I said the conclusion. And yet what more did I want? In terms of a conclusion to the “mystery” it worked, it made sense, but it wasn’t super exciting. I think there were other parts of the book that I was more interested in. However the ending didn’t discourage me from wanting to hurry up and read the next one. More than anything the book left me saying okay next, can I have the next book now please? 

So I’m giving this book 4 stars, I’d reach for 4.3 if I could. It was kind of light, nothing totally mind blowing, but I found the portrayals of mental illness to be intense. The author deserves a lot of credit and respect for doing that well. Like I said I’m going to read the next book and I will also be looking into more of Mishell Baker’s writing.

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I’ve since read all three books in this series (I don’t know if there’s more to come in the future). You can read my reviews HERE.

Want to see what else I’ve read so far in 2019? Go to my REVIEWS.

You can see what I’m currently reading and what I hope to read this year at my 2019 TBR.

My Review of Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker

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Info from Goodreads:

(My review of Phantom Pains follows.)

Four months ago, Millie left the Arcadia Project after losing her partner Teo to the lethal magic of an Unseelie fey countess. Now, on what’s meant to be a last visit to the scene of the crime, Millie and her former boss, Caryl, encounter what seems to be Teo’s tormented ghost. One problem: according to Caryl, ghosts don’t exist.

Millie has a new life, a stressful new job, and no time to get pulled back into the Project’s chaos, but she agrees to tell agents from the Project’s National Headquarters her side of the ghost story. During her visit, an agent is gruesomely murdered in a way only Caryl could have accomplished. Millie knows Caryl is innocent, but the only chance she has to save her from the Project’s severe, off-the-books justice is to uncover the mystery behind incorporeal fey known as wraiths. Why has the centuries-old Project never heard of them? And how do you fight an enemy that is only seen when it wants to be seen? Millie must answer these questions not just to save Caryl, but to foil an insidious, arcane terrorist plot that would leave two worlds in ruins.

Paperback, 406 pagesPublished March 21st 2017 by Saga Press

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My Review of Phantom Pains:

5/5 stars

Four months after the last book took place we’re back with Millie Roper, the unlikely and oh so imperfect hero from last time. While no longer working for the Arcadia Project they need her, and she needs them, to help tie up some loose ends. But loose ends they are not! Arcadia and the Arcadia Project have found themselves in turmoil and faced with a new mystery. Millie has to help her friend who’s facing exile, help her boss to keep her job, and help herself get through every day challenges. In this book we meet a whole host of new characters that stand out in a number of ways, the head of the Arcadia Project, Arcadia royalty, monsters, and more Echos!

This book was great, I have no trouble giving it five stars. I really appreciate that Mishell Baker uses short chapters, it makes for an easier read, IMHO. This story is fast-paced and full of new information about this strange world of fantasy. I’m impressed by Mrs. Baker’s imagination and her expression of it. There are some great twists and turns in this book. A very entertaining read no doubt. Pay attention because there’s a lot of details at times but interesting nonetheless.

I also appreciate Baker’s diverse cast of characters. You know she’s word painting this world with a realistic brush. It’s not often that you find a main character who suffers from mental illness, is a double-amputee, and is a woman. Baker teaches and shows us another world in a number of ways and makes it easier to get lost in the story. 

I recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of adult fantasy and diverse characters. This is not your usual cast of characters or fantasy novel so it’s a must read. If you haven’t read the first in this series, Borderline, do start there. This could be read as a stand alone, perhaps, but best playing its part in the series. I will be reading Book #3 very soon, which was published in 2018. 🙂 😀

Thanks for reading my review of Phantom Pains. As I write this I’ve already read and review the third book in this series, Impostor Syndrome. I’ll also be putting up my review of the first book Borderline, from May 2018.

And I have more Reviews!

Have you read any of this series or perhaps you plan to? Tell me what you think. Or maybe you’re a fan of fantasy or all things Fae. Whatever the case I’m game to talk. 😀

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For more of my reviews of the Arcadia Project, CLICK HERE. You might also find interesting bits of Arcadia Project news there in the future.

And don’t forget to check out my 2019 TBR, promise you’ll find something interesting to read there! Soon I’m going to put up a sort of reading schedule, let’s call it a monthly TBR so you know what to expect. Stay tuned for March plans (maybe when YOU read this they’ll be a link there for you to follow).

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My Review of Impostor Syndrome (The Arcadia Project #3) by Mishell Baker

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Info From Goodreads:

(My review of Impostor Syndrome follows)

In the third book of the Nebula Award–nominated Arcadia Project series, which New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire called “exciting, inventive, and brilliantly plotted,” Millie Roper has to pull off two impossible heists—with the fate of the worlds in the balance.

Three months ago, a rift between agents in London and Los Angeles tore the Arcadia Project apart. With both fey Courts split down the middle—half supporting London, half LA—London is putting the pieces in place to quash the resistance. But due to an alarming backslide in her mental health, new LA agent Mille Roper is in no condition to fight.

When London’s opening shot is to frame Millie’s partner, Tjuan, for attempted homicide, Millie has no choice but to hide him and try to clear his name. Her investigation will take her across the pond to the heart of Arcadia at the mysterious and impenetrable White Rose palace. The key to Tjuan’s freedom—and to the success of the revolution—is locked in a vault under the fey Queen’s watchful eye. It’s up to Millie to plan and lead a heist that will shape the future of two worlds—all while pretending that she knows exactly what she’s doing…

Paperback, 480 pagesPublished March 13th 2018 by Saga Press

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My Review of Impostor Syndrome:

4.5/5 stars

This was tricky for me to rate. I really enjoyed this whole series and wonder if there will be a fourth installment. While this was a great installment it didn’t wow me the same way the second did. So I gave it five stars since you can’t leave half stars but 4.5 is what I really give it.

Mishell Baker is a great writer. Her imagination and creative direction impress me, I look forward to discovering more of her work. Hopefully we’ll see more of this cast of characters. That said, I thought this book could have been a lot shorter. As with the previous two this was a busy, active book, which makes for an entertaining read. However a lot of time was spent on relationships, too much time IMHO.

Other than that this was another fun read I could read it relatively fast, for me that’s saying a lot. It was full of the usual cast of characters in addition to some cool new ones. I enjoyed getting to know them all more. Great twists and turns and the system and workings of the magic in this world do not get old. I really appreciate the beings she’s created in this world and how they vary. Her characters are real and dynamic, human and otherwise. I appreciate that her main character, Millie, is a double amputee finding her way through Borderline Personality Disorder. She’s not a character you see every day but this story is proof that we need more real life characters. She is an unlikely hero but a good one nonetheless.

Of course I recommend this book, I recommend this series! Definitely start from the beginning. 😉 

Thanks for reading my review of Impostor Syndrome. I’ve got more reviews, click here!

For more of my reviews of the Arcadia Project, CLICK HERE. You might also find interesting bits of Arcadia Project news there in the future.

Check out what else I’m reading or planning to, 2019 TBR.

Have you read this or other Mishell Baker books? Please share your thoughts, I love comments!