Little Victories Vol. 4

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Things are pretty busy around where I work at the moment. We’ve hit our peak time, and it’s been hard to stay caught up each day. Some things had to be put aside in order for me to survive the past few weeks. I’m hoping things will slow down as we near the holiday season, so I can focus on getting the extra stuff done in the day. I have been running on fumes from the piles of things I had to do outside of work. Last night was the first night in over a month that allowed me to get home before 9 pm. Stress and anxiety caught up with me this week, and I almost broke down. I wanted to give up everything that had been keeping me up so late at night, the papers that required writing and reading, the events that wouldn’t end on time, the duties around the house, all of the obligations that kept me away from my family.

All of this is to say that I didn’t have a lot of time to read and de-compress. Last week, I had kept to a schedule, but as soon as Monday came this week, I was dead on my feet and all of my drive to “be something” left me. I had to push myself into survival mode, to make it to the end of the week. I shut down emotions and shifted my priorities to focus only on tasks. And that is how my schedule has been: wake up, work, event, work, bed—5 am-12 am each day.

Next week begins the last month of this kind of schedule. I will have survived four months of literally running from one meeting to the next, the 3:30 am alarms, the phone reminders that I should have gone to bed before 12 am so I could receive more than two hours of sleep, the anxiety that woke me up even earlier, and the depression that I constantly fought to keep from slipping.

I’m so close, and that’s my victory.

Bibliophile Corner

photo-1421338443272-0dde2463976aHi All! I’m excited to announce that a new series is being launched today. This is a great opportunity for all my bibliophile friends to tell the world what books were their favorite from 2016! Today, Renuka (Past Bedtime Blog), Anna (A literary Potion), and Amber (Mr. Thomas and Me) are sharing!


21396155I’ve read many books this year so far. But I really loved these 2 books – The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury and The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson. But I have to say that The Forbidden 17838528Wish was my favorite. When I first read the book I was so engrossed in the book that I couldn’t put it down. The book had me at the first chapter. I mean this book has everything in it – from friendship to love to girl power to MAGIC!! Who doesn’t love magic? I really loved the main characters – Aladdin and Zahra. And this name ‘Zahra’ really caught my attention. I totally fell in love with this name.

Back to the book, while I was reading this book it felt so magical and real at the same time. I actually felt like I was inside the book and watching the whole thing happening right in front of my eyes. The detail of the story is so good and the whole story itself keeps you wrapped around it that you don’t want to put the book down. I already really liked the Disney movie ‘Aladdin’ with the jinn and all but this book is way better.

My favorite quote from this book is:

“You can’t choose what happens to you, but you can choose who you become because of it.” – Aladdin

And if you haven’t read this book you should definitely buy it and read it ASAP.

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Blog – Past Bedtime Blog 

Instagram – @pastbedtimeblog

Twitter – @pastbedtimeblog

 

 

 


 

The Blue trilogy by Lisa Glass

The Blue trilogy by Lisa Glass is my favourite series of the year so far. It’s such a glorious summery read and I couldn’t put it down, I devoured the whole trilogy in a matter of days. I have been recommending it to everyone I know, even random strangers on the street (okay, maybe not that far). I have even managed to get the first book into my local library because these books are an underappreciated gem in the UKYA world.

Blue, Air and Ride by Lisa Glass

It evokes the whole atmosphere of the seaside town of Newquay, the laid-back beach lifestyle combined with the competitive world of pro-surfing. It reminds me of days and weeks spent at the beach when I was a child and teenager, the same sun-kissed glow of my memories are kept between the pages of these books. The love for the sea and surfing shines on every page and it mimics exactly how much I love the freedom of the wide open ocean. There is such a lot of details about the surfing world that I felt like I should be able to pick up a surfboard and be able to ride the Mavericks along with the best of the big wave surfers. It took me back to my long-established love of surfing, despite not having been within ten feet of a board in my life.

The characters really drove this story and I fell in love with them all over the course of the trilogy. The author has such a wonderful talent with writing, she manages to get inside the head of a teenage girl and made me feel like Iris could have been one of the girls in my year at school. I think in some ways, the main characters, Zeke and Iris, were the living embodiment of what surfer life is like. Zeke had a relaxed, hippy vibe, and Iris was more stressy and competitive. I loved how Iris’ character developed throughout the books and she went from being a judgemental teenager to a mature young adult as she saw what life was really like beyond the confines of Newquay. Zeke was easily my favourite character in the books; sixteen-year-old Anna would have loved to meet a guy like Zeke, and I think not-so-sixteen-year-old Anna still does!

I was absolutely swept away in this series, diving headfirst into the world of sun, sea and surf. It is such a refreshing series to read, the characters are so realistic and though the books may seem like a happy-go-lucky summer read, there is a lot of depth in them that goes way beyond what you see on the surface. The final book in the trilogy ends on such a high, I adored it and I cried for a good fifteen minutes when I realised I’d come to the end of my time in Iris and Zeke’s world.

“He said your eyes looked alarmed by the world, until the moment you were in the ocean. In the ocean you were calm, and he thought that was because in the ocean you felt home.” Air by Lisa Glass.

This quote isn’t the best one I could pick from the whole trilogy, but it is the quote that means the most to me, because in two sentences it has described not only Zeke and Iris, but it has also got to the very heart of me. It is very personal to me.

The books in the trilogy: Blue, Air and Ride. The first book in this series, Blue, is being adapted into a film called Blue Than the Sky, with filming starting next spring in Newquay. It is going to be an amazing movie, and I can’t wait until the story of my two loves, Iris and Zeke, is on the big screen.

278f9a972f060f0282138d6a0adb50f6_jpegAnna {A Literary Potion} Bookish girl with a serious case of wanderlust. Prone to daydreaming and talking about horses.
Blog: A Literary Potion
Instagram: @aliterarypotion
Youtube: @aliterarypotion
Twitter: @aliterarypotion
Goodreads: @aliterarypotion

Lisa Glass, author.
Author’s twitter: @theseasection
Author’s instagram: @lisaglassauthor
Author’s Facebook: @lisaglassauthor
Film Facebook: @bluerthanthesky


51ldn8htuql-_sx332_bo1204203200_Yellow Crocus
by Laila Ibrahim
I only picked up this book because it was free on KindleUnlimited and it seemed like a good departure from the thrillers I’d been binge reading while on vacation. Oh my goodness, as fate would have it, I feel head over heels in love with the two main characters of Yellow Crocus and couldn’t put it down. In fact, I ended up binge reading it late one night before we flew home. And then I cried myself to sleep over the joy and pain of it.
Yellow Crocus walks in the same veins of The Help and The Secret Life of Bees with the historical fiction dealings of slavery and civil rights… However, it’s different because it moves beyond the slavery and explores what freedom means for both the freed woman and the removed daughter of a plantation owner. It’s hope and hurt, growth and ache, all wrapped up in a single, gorgeously written novel.
Favorite quotes:
“Focus on bearing, and beauty will follow. Your looks will not remain with you for life. But your bearing will go with you to the grave.”
“I can’ say much ’bout marriage. But I know a good man make life more sweet. Someone to hold you and love you, someone to share your dreams with, someone kind and thoughtful. A good man’s a treasure.”


That concludes today’s post! If you’re interested in being part of this series, feel free to comment below or email me at twobookminimum@gmail.com!

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Little Victories Vol. 3

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Everyone. I’m going to be honest with you. This week was busy, but has been so good. It’s amazing how much staying grounded in the whirlwind of my schedule has helped to keep my self-esteem up. I made sure that read a little bit each day, even if it wasn’t for long. If you’ve kept up with me, you’ll know that books keep me calm during the long haul, and during the times when I can’t remember who I am. When I forced myself to read when I was on the verge of stressing out, I was able to recharge myself and clear my head. I hope to keep this habit up, because books helped me see the positive things that happened this week. What I saw was:

How strong I am. I keep my schedule so tight, that I’m booked out (accident pun! love it!) from 6 am-9 pm, Monday through Friday. I’m good with this for now, because I can see how the things I’m doing now will not only ease up soon, but are helping me tremendously with my future.

How wonderful my spouse continues to be. I’m not a person who expresses feelings well with men. Situations in my past have resulted in a fear about what men expected me to be. I didn’t grow up with a great example of humane men. I grew up knowing I was different than others, too. I didn’t like hugging or touching. Holding hands with anyone (even friends) made me break out in an anxious cold sweat. And then, I met my wonderfully, non-aggressively, persistent husband, who didn’t worry that I couldn’t express myself with embrace, but I could with words and acts of kindness. I don’t struggle as much with being affectionate, but it took a lot of patience on his part to feel comfortable.

This week, he knew that I couldn’t focus on intimacy. It’s a positive stress point for me, but stress nonetheless. He knew I was in business mode, that I would come to him when I was able to hug tightly again. He let me be my quietly distracted self, and then last night I gave him a big hug (on purpose!) and felt open and happy with him.

How much I’m trying. I fail at being positive a lot. If I’m not prepared, I can let things get me down really quickly. Anxiety and depression can get overwhelming sometimes, like a choking smoke. Last week was rough for me. I was on my last speck of energy, and it felt like I was ready to throw the towel over a lot of things. I let myself feel it, fully. Ally Tymo, from #SoulSparkChat once told me that allowing myself to feel what’s rushing through me will allow me to heal more steadily. Her wisdom came at a really good time, and I’ve been implementing this thought daily. It’s innately human to feel, whether it’s negative or positive. It’s humanity’s blessing and curse. This past weekend, I let myself unpack emotions that I had kept bottled, one at a time. I let myself cry when I needed to. I let myself be upset and angry. I also let myself be unabashedly, chaotically happy. It felt so happy to let it all out, and feel content with who I was. I even let myself write something beautiful…but more on that later.

That’s all for me today. Now, it’s your turn! How has your week been?

 

 

 

Little Victories Vol: 2

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Another stressful week has passed. On Wednesday, I had to stay home from work, having developed a migraine from hell. Most Tuesday evening, I attempted to stave it off, but alas, on Wednesday I woke up feeling like something was crushing my skull. Thursday, my head was sore, but I braved work with the horrible lighting and bad computer monitors. I worked Tuesday through Thursday, I worked on a dimmed screen to ease some of the pounding, twitching, and pain that commenced.

I’m not great at taking any time off when I’m feeling burned out or stressed. I work until I make myself sick, which isn’t healthy. I know this, and I’m making attempts to change that. Stress unfortunately comes with the territory of my current position, along with graduate school and other obligations I signed myself up for.

Taking Wednesday off was a huge improvement from my normal actions. I felt how badly my body and mind felt, and forced myself to recognize that it was time to implement self-care. It’s incredibly important if I want to live a long and happy life.

So today, I’m celebrating the little break I gave myself, to allow myself to breath in this busy life of mine.

What are you celebrating today? 

How to Improve Writing Through Reading

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Whether you are a professional writer, an academic student, or simply a stay at home mother, there are ways for everyone to improve their writing skills if they want to. One of the easiest ways to do this is through something that we all do every single day, and that is through reading. According to some very successful writers, reading is absorbing, and absorbing is a great way to improve on your own writing style and techniques.

We read things subconsciously, without even trying, and the human brain is effectively like a sponge and whenever we read, we can learn something from it. Whether it’s the actual content, the way a word is spelled, the sentence grammar, or the writing technique that’s being used. So why not use something that we do every day to improve our penmanship skills and become better writers. Below are a few tips that will help you improve your skills efficiently and without too much effort.

Make reading an everyday normal task

Reading is normal for most of us to some extent. Often we have to read road signs, emails, even food labels. While all of this will slowly improve your writing skills, if you can untitleddedicate say around 30 minutes per day to read a book, magazine, or paper, you should see a significant difference in your writing after as little as one month. 

Take your book with you

If you decide to take up reading as part of your plan to improve your writing, then by always having your book to hand, you can easily pick it up whenever you find a few spare minutes (i.e. in the doctor’s waiting room, before sleeping, or even while eating dinner).

Be inspired by others

You don’t have to take up the likes of great writers such as Shakespeare or Dickens to improve your own writing. Reading works by any writer that can effectively tell a story and leave you wanting more is helpful.

untitledRead different genres

To really give yourself a head start in the writing department, try reading a few different books from different genres. This will allow you to experience various styles of writing and words, too. Also, as long as the writer is proficient and uses correct grammar, you will also improve on this subconsciously while you are reading.

Check out other writing guides

As well as this brilliant tip guide, there are loads more free resources available on the internet just waiting for you to read and learn from them. Don’t stop; try to improve your writing skills all the time through reading other useful tips in internet. 

Start analyzing books

If you are improving your writing for professional or academic reasons, another useful tip is to start analyzing how other authors use characters or break down the chapters. How others work will give you insight into what you want your own masterpieces to become untitledlike and get helpful hints along the way.

Make the most of the words

Words are so very powerful when used in the correct context. When reading anything, remember to pay attention to the words that are being used and how they are strung together.

Learn to enjoy reading

Don’t make reading a chore, but learn to enjoy it. Everyone will benefit from reading if they just give it a try. If reading can become of your favorite ways to spend your spare time rather than something you endure, your reading and writing will both improve dramatically.

At the end of the day, practice makes perfect and in order to write well, you first need to be able to read well. The more you read now, the easier it will become to write effectively, and it will not take long to see the difference. So, next time you are in the middle of eating dinner, or waiting for a bus, and have a few minutes spare, start reading something. Pick up the nearest book, magazine, or newspaper article to you and just give it a go. You never know, you may even start to enjoy it!


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Christine Allen is young writer and blogger. She believes that you can get everything that you want. You just need to be sure in what you really want and be patient. You can follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.