Weekly Update: I got the flu and almost died… and those two things are only mostly related

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Hey guys!

So as you can probably tell from the title of this post, my week has been one of cough syrup and trying not to die. But before I get into that, let me tell you about all the reading I’ve managed to do!

Books I’ve read in the last week!

Seeing as I was sick, I spent a lot of time in Heath Services (the nurses office) instead of going to classes. Which meant a lot of time to read. So between sleeping and trying not to feel like I was burning alive, I read. A lot.

By Your Side by Kasie West: This was the only book I read this week that wasn’t a re-read. I honestly didn’t like it that much (I rated it 3 stars on Goodreads), and hopefully I’ll be able to sit down and write a review of it soon!

A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger: I loved this book just as much as I did the first time! I love Keplinger’s writing! (review here)Ruby Red (trilogy) by Kerstin Gier: I remembered loving these books, but reading them again made me love them so much more! This series is really a masterpiece! If you are looking for something to read, please please please consider these books!! (reviews: Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green) Currently Reading!

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas: I am slowly making my way through this beast of a book, and (like my other re-reads) loving it!! I can’t wait to finish this one and finally write a review for it! Then finally read Tower of Dawn!!

Run by Kody Keplinger: I’m only a few pages into this one, and I think I may just start it from the beginning. I haven’t really had time to get into this one, but I’m hoping that I love it just as much as Keplinger’s other books!

How I almost died:

Alrighty. So here’s how it happened:

I started feeling sick on Wednesday. As in chills, nausea, fatigue, muscle weakness… the works. I went to the nurse at the end of the day and she told me to lie down and take it easy. But Wednesday is game day and I wanted to at least go to the wrestling match and support my team. So she let me go on the condition that I didn’t wrestle.

When I got back, I was feeling pretty rough. I did my homework and went to bed and I had to take like 30 cough drops to make my throat feel okay enough to let me fall asleep.The fire alarm went off at 12:30 in the morning.And guess who didn’t wake up?

Me.

I slept through 10 minutes of the fire alarm.

Then woke up to my phone ringing ON VIBRATE. Because apparently my brain thinks my vibrating phone is more important than the fire alarm.

Turns out, it was one of the dorm parents calling me to see where I was, and the conversation went something like this:

Dorm Parent: Emma, you need to get out of the dorm.

Me (still super groggy and hasn’t realized that alarm is going off): Why?

DP: The fire alarm is going off.

Me (still not registering that the beeping is, in fact, the fire alarm): No it’s not.

DP: Emma! Get out of the building!

Me (finally hearing the alarm): Ahh! Coming!

So I slid out of bed and pulled on my boots and wrapped myself in a blanket. Then, right as I was opening my door, a security officer was coming in to get me. He kind of looked at me like “how do you not wake up to a blaring alarm?” (good question dude) and then I walked downstairs. There were firemen on the first floor and it smelled like smoke. One of the firemen looked at me and went:

What are you doing?

And then I just kind of went:

I didn’t wake up.

And hurried out of the dorm feeling stupid and sick and tired and trying not to cry. So basically, if there had been a real fire instead of one of the washing machines starting to smoke (actually it might have caught fire… I’m not super clear on what actually happened), I probably would be dead. In my defense though, the fire alarm in the dorm sounds like a super loud microwave beeping and not like an actual fire alarm. So it’s not my fault that my sick brain didn’t think it was worth waking up for. Right? What else has been going on with me?

Besides missing two days of school and pretty much sleeping all weekend, I haven’t been up to much.

But I do have one bit of good news….

I GOT INTO MY FIRST COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Honestly the weight off my shoulders with that one letter was something that I don’t even know how to begin to describe. I was just such an amazing feeling.

Talk to me!

What have you been reading? Have you ever almost-died? Are you too a victim of flu season? Do you have any good news to share? Let me know in the comments below!!

Thanks for reading!

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May Book Wrap Up

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Is it really that time already? I can’t believe how fast May went! This month was my first without school, so I went a little crazy with all the free time (read: binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy and the Harry Potter movies).

I got some good writing in with that time too. I’m writing chapter three of Candy Wrappers (progress has been a bit slow, but I’m happy with how it’s coming along), and I’m writing a story-blog with a friend called Typing Templar (it’s pretty cool, if I may say so myself. You should totally go check it out!).

I also started a podcast called Book Talk, where I share a bit about books I’m reading, new blogs and authors to check out, and some other cool stuff. I have an author interview in the making for the podcast, so I’m pretty excited about that.  And if you leave a review I will be forever grateful (no pressure or anything).

Somehow between all that jazz, I managed to read ten books! I really do amaze myself sometimes. So, without further ado, here are May’s books!

P.S. The titles are links to the original posts.

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Martini Henry

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thoughts: I loved this book so much. It was fresh and thoughtful and original and an amazing read!

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Pale Highway

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

Thoughts: It was an okay book, but it lost me as soon as it started with the talking slugs. Other than that is was very well researched and an interesting read.

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Sick

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

Thoughts: It was a pretty good book, and I definitely did not see the twist in the end coming. Sick was a little disturbed, but still a very entertaining read.

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Sicker

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thoughts: I liked part two of the Sick series much more than the first. It was pretty dark and twisty, but I couldn’t put it down.

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In The Highlands

Rating:

Thoughts: There were people in my fifth grade class that wrote better poetry than this. I was very disappointed.

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The Ascent of Feminist Poetry

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thoughts: This was a truly beautiful book. It used poetry as a tool to reinforce the passages in the book. I think every feminist (and non-feminist) should read this.

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The Travelers

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thoughts: This book was layer after layer of deception, secrets, and lies. The further I got the more it sucked me in.

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Thirteen Reasons Why

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thoughts: Wow. Just wow. Never before has a book so perfectly captured the chain reaction of a teenagers life.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thoughts: The book was deep and thoughtful, and the writing was absolutely beautiful. I do, however, feel that the hype surrounding the book is a little much, and I was expecting more than I got.

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Shatter Me

Rating: ♥ ♥

Thoughts: I haven’t actually posted the review for Shatter Me yet (the link is to my review on Goodreads), but I was very disappointed with this book. The writing style annoyed me, and there was way to much romance and desperation.

And there you have my reads in the month of May! What books have you read this month?

 

 

Book Review- Sicker

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Sick by Christa Wojciechowski
Published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on April 13, 2016
Genres: Psychological, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 82
Goodreads
Amazon

John Branch’s sickness has dominated the lives of all those around him, consuming all it can from well-intentioned doctors, compassionate strangers, and trusting loved ones. His chronic illness also bonds him intimately to his wife Susan, trapping them in relationship of unhealthy psychological attachment.

But John’s disease isn’t the only blight in the Branch family.

Injured and loaded with Demerol, John Branch tells his life story from his filthy sickbed, confessing the horrific secrets of the past. Most disturbing of all, he reveals the philosophy he’s constructed around his condition and tries to indoctrinate Susan.

Will she stay with him now that she finally knows the truth, or will she put an end to the madness?

Sicker was disturbing in the best way possible. The story picks up where the first novella, Sick, left off. In Sicker, instead of Suze narrating the story, her husband John takes over and I get to see the world through his eyes.

Most of the book is used to tell John’s story, explaining why he is the way he is. The story was compelling and heartbreaking. I found myself sympathizing with him, which is something I didn’t expect. Even more surprising, I found myself physically flinching every time he was hurt. I could clearly imagine it happening, which always makes for a better reading experience.

I really liked how in depth Sicker went into the human desire to be loved and cared for. It made something I never thought I would relate to, well, relatable. Much to my own horror (again, in the best way possible), I could see the reasoning behind John’s sickness.

The actual time elapsed in the book is hours at most. John spends the time explaining his past to Suze and convincing her to be okay with his sickness. I am very interested to see what happens next, and I can’t wait for the final novella, Sickest, to come out!

I am going to give Sicker four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

* I was given this book for free by the author in exchange for an honest review. This has not in any way impacted my views or opinions of the book.

 

Book Review- Sick

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Sick by Christa Wojciechowski
Published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on October 1, 2015
Genres: Psychological, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 70
Goodreads
Amazon

Everyone has a breaking point. Is this marriage based on unconditional love or an unhealthy obsession?

Susan Branch’s life revolves around the care of her charming and inscrutable husband John, a man born into wealth and prestige who lost his family’s fortune when his mysterious chronic illnesses left him bedridden. Together they live a decrepit existence beholden to the current owners of his family’s former estate.
After years of devoting herself to John’s care, Susan is worn out and frustrated. Yet she is determined to scrape together whatever resources she can to keep John comfortable and happy. This includes stealing Demerol from the doctor’s office where she works to feed John’s ever-increasing need for pain medication.

As John’s condition continues to puzzle doctors, Susan begins to notice strange objects appearing around her house. Ever wary of creepy Old Pete, the groundskeeper, Susan decides to confront the elderly man and put an end to his snooping for good.
John suffers a critical emergency, but he is saved and is soon released from the hospital. His health begins to improve, and Susan dreams of a normal life, but her hope for a miracle transforms into a nightmare one fateful afternoon when she discovers the true cause of John’s sickness.

Sick was, well, sick… for lack of a better word. The beginning was slow; I was introduced to Suze, John, their current living conditions, and how they got there. It was interesting, and more than a little strange. I wasn’t sure if I should sympathize with Suze or pity her.

As the story went on it became more and more compelling. The story really was quite short, so it didn’t take long to read. Even so, I found my reading speed quickening as I got further and further into the plot. I knew something was very strange, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until the big reveal at the end. Then everything clicked into place.

I really enjoyed the ending of Sick. All the pent up frustration and mystery came to a (pretty epic) conclusion. It ended the novella so perfectly.

Sick is one of the more mature book I have read, but not in an overly obvious way. It was rather low key, and that made it all the more enjoyable to read. Nothing was overly sexualized, yet there was an undertone of love that was both disturbing and beautiful at the same time.

I didn’t really enjoy the first half of the novella, just because of how slow the pace was ad how much information I had to absorb in such a short amount of pages. Even so, I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Sicker.

I am going to give sick three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

*This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review. This has not in any way influenced my opinion of the book.

Author Q&A- Christa Wojciechowski

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Christa Wojciechowski, a writer and internet genius. Between writing her blog, reading, and working, she writes some pretty awesome books, which you can read more about below!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I’ve been writing all my life, as soon as I could scratch out a story with my crayons in elementary school. I wrote picture stories about animals and rhyming poems. As I got older I began keeping journals.

In high school, I passed around outrageous short stories to my friends. Then I went on a long break from anything creative throughout my twenties. I was too busy partying to write, but I accumulated a lot of interesting material during this time.

After moving to Panama, I rescued a pelican who eventually was killed by my own dogs. It was tragic, and I finally felt this compulsion to write about him. That broke the ice, and then I wrote The Wrong David, which I published a few years later. But it wasn’t until November 2011 that I wrote my first full-length novel for NaNoWriMo. Since then, I just kept writing and now I can’t stop!

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I’m kind of a muse whore. They all come and go. My muse could be a writer, a painting, an actor, or a song of some kind that gets me going for a particular story. I‘ll wear that muse out during my writing process. I conjure it up everyday, doing my best not to lose the magic between us.

Unfortunately, these relationships are short-lived. It’s like when an addict builds a tolerance to their drug of choice. You just can’t get a buzz anymore. Then I have to let the muse go. It’s always sad and scary, but I have to keep the faith that I’ll find a new one, maybe even a better one.

Q: You offer several services including beta-reading, social media marketing, and eBook and Print formatting and publishing. How did you get started in this business? What about it do you like?

A: My career in internet marketing began when family members asked for help building websites for their small businesses. I wasn’t a pro or anything, just more computer literate than the rest. My aunt soon introduced me to Hubspot, and I went through all of my social media training through them. Then I enrolled in Google Analytics training and passed the SEO certification. Most everything I taught myself. There is such a wealth of free information and eCourses on the internet now that you can learn anything! Now I’ve got tons of experience under my belt, which is not something taught anywhere and is the most valuable asset of all.

Although I would’ve never expected a future in social media, I feel this career was my destiny. Living in Panama and traveling a lot, I have the freedom to work from anywhere. It also gives me the luxury of setting my own schedule so I can have time to work on my own projects. I’m developing an eCourse to teach others how to work as digital marketers from home or anywhere. You can sign-up for the beta course at http://workinginyogapants.com

Q: You moved from the United States to Panama. What was that experience like for you?

A: I’m not going to romanticize it. It was very difficult. As much as I love new places and new adventures, I missed my family a lot. I had to learn the language and how to understand a culture wholly different from mine.

Luckily, I’m an introvert and don’t mind keeping to myself, but excessive isolation isn’t good for anybody. You start to get weirder and weirder, especially when you spend most of your time with characters like mine.

Despite the challenges, it was worth it. Panama is a veritable paradise. The ocean, the mountains, and the city are all within a day’s drive. The beauty here is lush and wild and it never ceases to blow my mind. I’ve lived here for almost ten years now. It is my home, but I don’t recommend it for everybody.

Q: You are a yogi. When did you start doing yoga? How has it changed or influenced your life?

A: I always wanted to try yoga and was envious whenever I saw people performing these beautiful asanas. Would you believe I learned yoga from the internet too? My parents were the best and supported me through years of ballet when I was young. After so much conditioning, my body is hooked on having some sort of physical discipline. Yoga is also crucial to fighting backaches and stiffness from sitting at the computer too long. Yoga has changed my life in many ways. I’m stronger both physically and mentally.

I would suggest Yoga with Adriene for beginners. She’s a total dork and so much fun. Yoga Today can take you up to a more advanced level. Their instructors have an amazing way of describing how you should be aligning every muscle, bone, and tendon in your body. I just started a new one called Yogea that is very expressive and takes you out of the usual traditional poses. It’s great to get the creativity flowing. You can find them all on YouTube or their own websites.

Q: What writing projects are you working on at the moment? What can you tell me about them?

A: I just released Book II of the SICK series. It’s called SICKER. Now I’m working on, you SICK cover 2 sm drop shadowguessed it, SICKEST. It’s a psychological suspense/thriller series about a very, very sick man.

My muse in this case was a nightmare. I wasn’t planning on releasing anything like this. I’d never written anything so dark before, but I’m kind of mystical when it comes to creative inspiration, so I acted on this dream.

I was really scared at first. The subject matter is very disturbing and I was afraid I’d put people off, but I’m so glad I followed my intuition. The series is getting a great response!

Q: Being a self-proclaimed “lit junkie”, what are your favorite books?

A: I am a devourer of classic literature. I have this app aptly called Free eBooks, which has enough classic lit to keep a person occupied for life. My favorites are the Russians (Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy), Oscar Wilde, and the Bronte’s. I was obsessed with Anne Rice as a teen. On the other hand, I love writers like Charles Bukowski, Douglas Adams, and Jerry Stahl, so I’m all over the place.

Q: What criteria does a book have to meet for you to consider it a “good book”?

A: A good book has to move me. I still enjoy books and movies that are purely for entertainment, but for a book to be good, it has to affect me on a deeper level. Life is so complex and confusing. I feel really disoriented as a conscious being here and now, and I gravitate toward authors who either clarify or commiserate with me on the aspects of the human experience I can’t figure out.

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: I would just tell the people of the world to go for your passion. Find it. Live it–­through all the ups and downs.

One of the greatest rewards of living overseas is gaining an outside perspective. Whenever I go back to the US I am shocked at the culture there­–a culture I was born and raised in that made me miserable. Every commercial is either for a shiny, giant SUV or a pill. This is the modern American Dream: work for all these things that are supposed to mean a successful life, then buy a pill to help us cope when we’re not fulfilled.

I believe everyone has a unique gift they should cultivate, and they will only be happy when they follow their passion and make use of it. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a painter, paint. If you’re just a dude who likes to fix cars, go fix cars like a boss. Buy into yourself, not the American Dream.

I’m distanced from American life and values, and even though I still feel a little bit lost, I’m grateful I’m not part of that scene anymore. It might sound weird, but I feel I’ve got a head start. I know where my happiness isn’t. That narrows things down a lot! Once you let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and start searching for who you really are, that’s when life gets interesting.

Find Christa online:

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