Month: July 2020

Elena Vanishing by Elena Dunkle and Clare B. Dunkle

 Seventeen-year-old Elena is vanishing. Every day means renewed determination, so every day means fewer calories. This is the story of a girl whose armor against anxiety becomes artillery against herself as she battles on both sides of a lose-lose war in a struggle with anorexia. Told entirely from Elena’s perspective over a five-year period and co-written with her mother, award-winning author Clare B. Dunkle, Elena’s memoir is a fascinating and intimate look at a deadly disease, and a must-read for anyone who knows someone suffering from an eating disorder.

It seems almost impossible to describe the voice in your head when you have an Eating Disorder.

The voice is disembodied, but it seems more tangible than a book in your hands or the food sitting on a plate in front of you. That voice fills up space in your mind and takes away the silence and peace that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

It tells you all of the things you hate most about yourself and drills them into your subconscious, and the worst part is that you believe every insult it throws at you.

Elena Dunkle’s memoir, Elena Vanishing, is the first book that I’ve ever read that gives a completely honest picture of how hard it is to accept that there is a problem and that help is needed.

The authors’ note at the beginning of the novel states that Elena’s story is true, but that there are fictional aspects to the story. Does that sound contradictory?

Of course, but so is life with an eating disorder. But the main point of that disclaimer is to recognize how impairing an eating disorder can be and how many memories and moments are distorted through the disease.

So when venturing into reading this, remember that parts are embellished based on Elena’s experience. Instead of taking away from the narrative, I believe that these parts make the story even more powerful.

The writing is superb, and Elena acknowledges that the majority of the writing was actually completed by her mother, Clare, but that the collaborative effort was intense and brought them closer together. Be aware that this story is very painful.

There are a lot of family issues explored, self-esteem, depression, self-harm, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a lot more on top of the eating disorder.

By no means is the narrative overwhelming, the Dunkles did a fantastic job of displaying the harrowing details of their experience with Anorexia without being too overwhelming. The pacing is excellent and at no point did the narrative lag.

While I find this memoir to have been comforting due to feeling like someone finally put words on a page to describe my struggle, please be aware that stories like these can also be triggering for some who are struggling with eating disorders.

I firmly encourage you to reach out to your primary care physician or therapist if you are having trouble. Elena states in the memoir: getting help saved her life. It saved mine. It can save you.

THE STEEL PRINCE by V.E. Schwab // Review and Giveaway

THE STEEL PRINCE
Shades of Magic Vol 1
by VE Schwab
Andrea Olimpieri (Illustrator, Artist)
Enrica Eren Angiolini (Colorist)
Print Length: 112 pages
Publisher: Titan
Publication Date: March 6, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC Goodreads Amazon

 Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book prequel to A Darker Shade of Magic is perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy.

Delve into the thrilling, epic tale of the young and arrogant Prince Maxim Maresh, long before he became the King of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead of A Darker Shade of Magic.

The youthful Maresh is sent to a violent and unmanageable port city on the Blood Coast of Verose, on strict orders from his father, King Nokil Maresh, to cut his military teeth in this lawless landscape.

There he encounters an unruly band of soldiers, a lawless landscape, and the intoxicatingly deadly presence of the newly returned pirate queen, Arisa…

 Guys! Who else is incredibly excited that there is going to be more in the fascinating world that Victoria Schwab created in her Shades of Magic series?

When I first heard she was coming out with a graphic novel, I figured it would just be the original series recreated. So when I found out that it would be new original stories, I was thrilled.

Prince (later to be King) Maxim probably wouldn’t have been my first pick for a spin-off (prequel), but after reading The Steel Prince, I’m really glad she chose him. And, of course, Isra, who will one day be the head of Maxim’s city guard.

This beginning to Prince Maxim’s story is about a young rebellious Maxim, before he takes the throne, and becomes one of our favorite love/hate characters. I loved seeing his dissident side, and also, honestly, his naivety.

He sees the world from the viewpoint of a sheltered young man, who has never really faced the real world or true danger. This makes him rash and a bit superior, but determined to do what is right, and to see others do the same. I actually saw a bit of Prince Rhy in him (just a bit).

My favorite character, so far, though, has to be Isra. I loved how jaded and hard she was, but she still refused to take the easy path, and instead fought for what she knew was right.

She reminded me a lot of Lila Bard, who I adore. I’m really looking forward to learning more about her, and seeing how she becomes the head of the city guard.

The awesome thing about this being a graphic novel, and not a novella, is the incredible art work.

It was amazing getting to see the magic come to life on the pages. The illustrator and colorist did a beautiful job of bringing this story and this world to life. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

8 Reasons I Visit Your Blog

Let’s face it, we pretend that we do this all for the love of reading and writing, but the truth is, we want people to read what we’re spending our time and energy on.

But what gets people to take the plunge? I don’t know about you, but here are 8 reasons that I’ll come visit your blog.

1. You’ve come to my blog and have left comments on my posts. I’m a little slow on this one because I tend to be on the oblivious side, but even I start to notice when the same person has been visiting and engaging with me.

I’ll be reading comments when all of a sudden I think Hey! This awesome person has been coming around a lot! I should probably check out what they’re all about! And then I do!

2. You reviewed a book I’m really interested in. This is kind of an obvious one, but worth noting. 

3. You review a book I’ve never heard of. When you’re a book blogger, it can get pretty repetitive visiting blogs that all have the same posts, the same books, the same memes, etc. So, when I see a review with a cool looking cover and I’ve never heard of it, it really piques my interest.

4. We’re friends. Again, I’m not as good at this as I should be, but usually at some point in time, I realize that if I’m friends with people, it’s kind of crappy if I don’t ever check out what they basically spend half their lives on.

5. You hook me with your Twitterspeak. There is no one who does this better than Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner. She says things like this . . .

. . . and I have to know! What, Jamie? WHAT IS THE BEST MEDICINE? WHAT DID YOU LOOK AT IN YOUR OWN LIFE? I’m nosy, and I think you know it, Jamie. You’re using my nosiness against me! *ehem, sorry. Anyway.

6. You post something conversational. As much as I like reviews and interviews and such, my favorite posts are the ones that are more personal. Well, they don’t even have to be super personal, just something different. If it’s about books, that’s even better.

7. You post something I need. Especially when I was a new blogger, trying to figure this whole thing out, if you had a post on how to improve your blog, or html (Thanks Parajunkee), or how to deal with publishers etc., you would have my love forever.

8. You write the words “8 Reasons I Visit Your Blog” or some other number with some other list. Not sure what it is about lists, but I just have to click it.

8 Reasons I WON’T Visit Your Blog

I recently did a post called 8 Reasons I Visit Your Blog, so I thought I’d do a little opposing post to talk about the things that make me not want to visit your blog (or not return once I have visited). 

These are my own personal reasons, and may not reflect the masses.  Thanks to Meg Ryan for helping me illustrate.

1.Automated music or sound effects. I seriously hate this. Most of the time, I won’t realize my volume is turned way up, and I open a blog and *BAM* I’m blasted with some random music or other noise, and I basically pee my pants and click on five hundred things in my frantic attempt to close the window. If you have this, I will not be returning (sorry)!

2. You’re a jerk. Listen, I’m all about the snark. One of my favorite book blogs is Cuddlebuggery.com, and Steph, Kat & Meg have perfected the snarkasm. I’m talking about just flat out being a tool.

If you spend your time looking for reasons to jump down anyone and everyone’s throat, or you’re just waiting on people to screw up or say the wrong thing, I just don’t even have time for that. See ya (not sorry)!

3. Your blog is too cluttered. I get that everyone has different tastes, and this is totally a personality thing, but my brain just can’t handle five thousand and seven different colors and patterns happening at the same time. It makes me stabby.

4. You misspell a ton of words on a regular basis, or your grammar is terrible. I’m not overly picky about this (I don’t think).

I mean, I don’t keep my posts completely proper, and everyone makes mistakes (I probably have in this post (like possibly using too many parenthesis (but at least I said “too many” and not “to many.”))), but if your post is filled with mistakes, it just looks like you didn’t care enough to even use spell-check.

5. Your posts are almost all made up of memes or blog tours. Again, this is personal preference, but I’m just not interested in reading those types of things over and over.

I’d rather read a blog that only posted once a week with something original than one that posts daily memes or tours etc. I’m just like, “Hello?  Is this it??”

6. All your sidebar pics or ads are hanging off your sidebar. Ok, I know I’m being nit-picky here, but when you do that, it just …

7. You are entirely too loquacious or sesquipedalian. If your blog is replete with a copious magnitude of superfluous, discursive ruminations, then I am inclined to expeditiously dematerialize, never to return.

8. Your posts are all geared toward your blogging friends. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome that bloggers have made such good friends (I know I have), and they all visit each other’s blogs, and know all the inside jokes.

But if I’m not part of it, I don’t get it, and it just makes me feel left out. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, I’m just saying I probably won’t be sticking around.

These are just a few of my pet peeves when it comes to blogs (they might be a tad exaggerated), and just because something bugs me doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone or even most people.

What are the things that keep you from returning to a blog? I hope it’s not excessive gif usage, or I may be in trouble . . .

P.S. All these gifs, pics, and videos are from French Kiss, which is an older movie, but so cute, and so completely quotable! You should check it out