The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead, Bloodlines Book 4, A Review

Richelle Mead!!! What have you done to me? I am in the big feels, the deep feelings of feels so much right now!! ADRIAN!! The Center will hold! I promise! Right? RIGHT??!!!

Wow, really though, I’m a mess after this book! Much of my “mess” feeling is because this book was not only told from Sydney’s POV but Adrian’s too. Technically, Sydney is still working with the Alchemists, although her eyes are now opened to their schemes. Her life has taken a new direction, a direction away from the hardcore rules and rigid beliefs of the Alchemists. Things are definitely complicated, especially with her little sister working with her now.

One thing that really blew my mind while reading this was the direction Mead took with Adrian and his use of Spirit and connecting it to mental health, particularly bipolar disorder. This was done so well. It is so similar to actual conditions that many people go through on a daily basis, medicated or not. I really respect this wise attention to these significant details.

I love this series! I highly recommend it! Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!

FrostBite by Richelle Mead, A Review

So I want to go over a few basics about this series. Elements that should be clearly understood. Strigoi are the undead Vampires that Dhampir guardians, like Rose is trying to become, protect their mortal Moroi Vampire charges from. Strigoi are immortal and, like I said, undead because they gave up that part of themselves by murdering the one they drank blood from. In a sense, they live to kill, if “living” is what you want to call it. The Dhampir guardians take them on and manage to kill them for good by one of three ways: beheading, a silver stake to the heart, and burning. Moroi, like Rose’s best friend Lissa, have the ability to use magic based on either air, water, fire, earth or, in rare cases, spirit. The Strigoi give this up , too, when they become monsters, and lose what I believe could possibly be a very powerful weapon, if the Moroi would just use magic to fight.

There is a major event in the very beginning of this book that sets the tone for how things are going to play out. Mainly, the Strigoi are teaming up to murder the royal Moroi families one by one. Because of the new threat against the royals, all the Moroi and Dhampir students at St. Vladimir’s Academy are grouping together with their family’s and their guardians at a ski lodge for the Christmas holidays. Interestingly enough, Rose’s mom makes an appearance as a guardian on duty, and I cant help but think, perhaps she’s worried about her daughter, too.

Lissa is on medication for depression, which I think is great. However, this definitely helps with her moods but leaves Lissa without the ability to use her spirit based magic. Spirit is a tricky kind of magic, very little is known about it. What is known is that it creates mental instability the more it is used. I think this is a really fascinating way to discuss depression and mental illness, because this is coming from a magic called “spirit” which isnt drawn from the outside world but from a person’s inner self.

Ultimately, though, this is just a great follow up to Vampire Academy. It’s fun, there is skiing and snowball fights… AND… lots of drama. Not to mention the wild ending. I may have cried for a second or that might have just been dust in my eyes… I’m sensitive, okay?

Anyways, I highly suggest this series! Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, A Review

What a great beginning to this series! I am very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book!

Lissa and Rose are best friends, as close as humanly possible, and more because they are not exactly human. Lissa is a Moroi, basically a Vampire. But dont confuse her with a Strigoi, its these kinds of Vampires that are dangerous. Rose, however, is a Dhampir, and in this case it means she is Lissa’s Guardian, her protector. Lissa has complete trust in Rose, so much so that they have a special bond few others have: Rose can tune into Lissa and feel her emotions. She can even tune into Lissa to see from her perspective and know exactly what’s happening to her.

After they both survived the car crash responsible for the deaths of Lissa’s parents and brother, Andre, let’s just say, their lives got complicated and they ran away from the Academy hoping to feel safe. A lot more about why they ran away is covered in the book but I dont want to spoil it for anyone by going into details, suffice it to say that two years later they were caught and returned to the Academy.

They are both 17 at this point, and finishing up their time at school. It was a little overwhelming for me how accurately the author describes a high school like atmosphere. The way the rumor mill worked and particularly what the rumors were about, was dead on exactly true to what people talked about in my school, which is who is doing what with who! I’m sure I dont need to elaborate on that.

This author did a great job of discussing mental health, in my opinion. I thought she described cutting in such an easy to understand way, “to let IT out”. “It” in this context being the feelings, the emotions, to survive the pain inside of her head this is what Lissa did. I would like to add, that Rose assisted her in getting help with this. It’s just awesome to even breach this subject, to create awareness that there is help and also to create understanding which leads to weakening the stigma against mental illness, in this case Depression.

I recommend this for curling up in bed, rainy day, not feeling good maybe, reading. Lol. Well, I recommend it for anytime reading as well. Let’s just say, I recommend it, and leave it at that.

Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!

Filling the Emptiness

For myself, so much of depression is feeling a sense of emptiness, as if there is a literal void inside of me. I picture it as a dark space that is so black it sucks in any light that tries to reach inside and turns that light to nothing. Depression isnt always about actually feeling certain emotions, like sadness for example. Sometimes it is lacking the emotions, lacking the ability to care, to give a damn, that is what really becomes a struggle.

I have been working with my therapist on different ideas to cope with depression. One of the main ones is exercise. This isnt a new idea for anyone that is struggling. It is well known that exercise increases endorphins and makes body and mind feel better. However, this kind of backfired for me. I walked almost everyday for 3 weeks for about 30 minutes at a time, but on the end of the third week I broke my ankle! I was dumbfounded, I mean who breaks their ankle by simply walking and tripping over their own feet? Me, this girl. Now its months later and I’m mostly healed, so I’m doing yoga. Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. I’m enjoying it, but seriously, I’m waiting to see how I’m going to break something else.

I also began doing a gratitude journal. I love journaling and I keep one by me at all times so this isnt a stretch. What I do is when I am feeling down, or bored or lonely, I write down 5 things I’m grateful for. But the rule is that they have to be different things each time. I cant just say the same 5 things over and over. And, surprisingly, this can be hard sometimes. I really have to think about new things and what I appreciate. But, honestly, it works great for getting my head to start thinking in a more positive way, or at least stop the negative thought processes that hound me sometimes.

Today I’m doing pretty well. I’m feeling content with where I’m at right now. At least at this exact moment. Now, an hour from now, I could be feeling completely different. I’m hoping not, though.

One step at a time.

Depression on sunny days

It seems that everyone thinks that the cold winter months and lack of sunshine have a negative effect on emotions… That the season can cause a depression. I know this is true for many people, however, for me, winter is my favorite time of year (by the way, I live in the SE of the United States so it never gets too wintery here).

For me, I don’t like the constant sun. I especially don’t like the heat. Where I live, the heat is heavy and damp with moisture. One step outside and I feel like I’m already bathed in sweat. Its incredibly uncomfortable for me. I also like covering myself up. I do not like wearing shorts and t-shirts. I’m definitely a hoodie and jeans kinda girl. And yet, the very atmosphere I live in during spring, summer and most of fall practically forces me into less covering clothing or else I will be facing the very real possibility of heat stroke.

The sun seems to be trying to convince me to be happy. Like, “Look at these beautiful colors and leaves that glint golden in my light.” Can’t I just have some more storm clouds instead? Maybe some thunder and lightning with cold gusts of wind that create a great indoor environment perfect for reading under a blanket with a steaming cup of tea?

The sun is shining today on January 25, 2020 and its actually kinda warm outside. Why does this make me so depressed? I feel like something is wrong but I just can’t put my finger on what it is. Its like the sky is faking me out trying to convince me to be happy but I can’t fall for it. Maybe my brain just stubbornly wants to hold tight to depression on days like this.

Right now, I just wish it would rain.

One of THOSE days…

Some days are just hard. Some days everything seems so much more difficult than it should. Common chores are just too much and unwanted distractions and interruptions seem like personal attacks on me.

I really thought I was getting out of that depression slump I’ve been in. I thought things were getting better and they were. My mood was improved and those little daily annoyances were easier to handle. However, the past two days my level of aggravation and depression has been escalating. Honestly, its been escalating quite rapidly. And that makes me feel bad for the people who love and support me because I’m just not fun to be around at these times.

I don’t know if the families and support systems of people living with bipolar, depression or any mood disorder understands the guilt that goes along with it. I feel so much guilt for not being always so happy and serene and easy to get along with. I also feel deep, deep remorseful shame for the times I lash out. And honestly, I don’t know how to apologize anymore. What do simple words like, “I’m sorry” mean when I cannot promise that I will never be in such an aggravated state again? Its not enough.

I know this is an overused metaphor, but I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster. I’m going up and up and I finally reach the top but only to plummet again.

I hope anyone else who is going through this has some good ways to cope. I read and sometimes do guided meditation. However, I have to sometimes force myself to even try.

Well, I’m trying today. Just one second at a time.

On getting to therapy…

So, yeah, I made it to therapy on Thursday, January 9, 2020. I made it. However, I did not shower before I left my house and honestly, I wasn’t sure that I was even going to leave my house until I was in my car pulling out of the driveway.

A small step leads to another small step which leads to big leaps. A friend told me that. I may not have showered and dressed nicely for therapy but I did clean up and put on fresh clothes. “Got dressed today: check!” My therapist is amazing and she doesn’t judge me for this. She agrees that when my depression is so so bad, like it is now, that just leaving the house and getting to therapy is amazing.

I told her, my therapist, that next week I’m expecting her to pay me for coming. Definitely joking, but I feel like anyone going through such severe depression for any reason should get awards for any and all small accomplishments. For example, I put my coffee mug in the dishwasher and that really took effort! I know that’s terrible to admit, but geez, the dishes do not matter to me at all right now. My priority at this moment is to just simply get through today.

So, I’m saying to anyone who may also be going through depression for any reason… “A small step will lead to another small step, which will lead to big leaps.” If your just going to stay in bed today, try doing some stretches and drink some water. These little things can help your body feel better. And if your tackling anything outside of your den of safety, you’ll be okay. It will be okay.

On depression…

Its Wednesday, January 8th… 2020…

I’ve been really depressed since right after Christmas. I’m not suicidal by any means, however, I did have one day so bad that I just wished to die rather than keep feeling. That was a bad day, but I’m very lucky that that is not everyday for me.

This depression feels too big. It feels too large. With a shape that is inadequate. This depression is not easy to keep inside of me so that it doesn’t effect other people. Its like my weak body is somehow carrying a large piece of ugly furniture and I’m stumbling and everybody walking by me is getting hit and nudged by this strange huge thing I’m carrying that I can’t even put down.

That is what really sucks about depression, one of the things that suck. Its that I can’t relax or take a break from it. Maybe sleeping could be considered a break? But I can’t sleep through this. Waking up, even if I were to somehow sleep for a month, this depression would be there, waiting.

People have asked me before what severe depression feels like. They want to know… Do they have it? What should they watch out for? How can they tell other people have it? Well, I do not know. I can tell people how I personally feel though. I feel like I’ve lost something. I feel like I’m suffering a loss, like I lost an important person in my life. Something I am looking for and I will never find. I feel sadness but I’m not sad. I just feel like something is wrong and I can’t name it or find it or fix it. But it feels like this constantly, even the people and pets and the books I read, they try but cannot fill this space in me. And I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that there is no magic pill, or doctor, or therapist, or anything that can be found and given to me that solves the problem. I’m not saying there is no help to be found. Honestly, anyone trying to help is helping just by their attempt or their presence.

So today, today I’m trying. I did some writing today, im reading more than I’ve been able to all week, I’m able to care today enough to simply put a cup in the dishwasher rather than leave it on the table. I’m trying today. And, right now, that is enough. I’m okay with these small steps.

One step at a time, one second at a time. And that’s okay.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo, A Review

Well… I was NOT expecting this at all. It is a great book to add to and continue the story of the grishaverse, no doubt about that. But, is it good for my mental health and sanity? That’s a different question and I’ll ask my therapist tomorrow! 🙃

Okay, so King Nikolai is still literally battling his inner and sometimes outer demon. That’s a huge part of this story. It really made me think of myself battling demons from my past that creep into my present life and make me feel bad. Its good to face your demons, everyone knows that, but is it also good to try and accept them too? Make room for the demon in your heart. Not to feed it and help it grow but to just be who you are, the good and the bad.

Zoya, my favorite Grisha that I honestly think I could never get along with, is also dealing with her past in a very different way. She is trying to accept how she loved and followed a man, The Darkling, that caused so much pain and suffering for everyone. Including a personal loss for Zoya. I really got to see past her tough exterior to her, can I say this, gentle soul? Well, don’t worry! She will always kick everyone’s ass no matter what, mine too. I think we should start a Zoya Boot camp, get into Grisha shape.

Nina is also a huge part of this story, but she is in Fjerda the whole time. She is undercover with a few other Ravkan Grisha trying to sneak Grisha away from Fjerdan’s evil clutches. And omg are they EVIL!! Wow. Just read it. She is finally coming to peace with losing Mathias while still remaining full of that confidence that I love so much. This part of the book is really intense, read and find out. RAFO.

I loved this book though! However much stress it caused BC Leigh Bardugo just isn’t messing around here. And omg the ending. Just unreal. If you haven’t read this and you love the Grishaverse… Just do it, my friend.

Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!

Misery by Stephen King, A Review

First of all, I want to point out that this book was published in 1989, and the terminology used to discuss mental illness is therefore dated. However, even with the almost 30 year gap between then and now, with the support of doctors in this field, King really does a splendid job of describing severe psychosis.

This book follows the bestselling author Paul Sheldon as he attempts to drive out of Colorado during a major snowstorm while drinking. Not a good combination! Perhaps this can serve as a warning for drinking and driving! He wrecks his Camaro and is found by the very strong and solid Annie Wilkes. And Annie Wilkes is his number one fan.

Paul Sheldon is most famous for his romance novels about the beautiful and bubble headed Misery. However, he thought he was finished with this character he has come to loathe by killing her in the final book that had just been published. Let’s just say that Annie, his number one fan and a verified psychopath, has other plans.

The scariest part of this story was how I would think I knew how insane Annie was but then she would get crazier and surprise me. This book is definitely not the way anyone should view mental illness, however I cannot disregard how realistic Annie’s insanity was for a worst case scenario. King makes an interesting point that really sent shivers down my spine. He pointed out that a person with depression will kill themselves, however, a person like Annie will not only kill themselves but take others with them. It was that thought that really scared me.

As the book continues, Annie Wilkes becomes increasingly unstable and Paul begins feeling more and more like an exotic animal that is now caged. A caged animal that will never see their beautiful homeland again.

As usual, Kings ending to this intense thriller packs a punch. I really did not know how things were going to turn out. This is a fairly quick read for a Stephen King novel, so its perfect if your looking for something for Halloween week. I highly recommend this book, not just for Halloween scares, but its just a great story that I really enjoyed (Although, yes, I was totally freaked out the whole time, lol).

Thanks for reading my review and HAPPY READING!!!