Month: May 2017

My Reading Story

I don’t know why I thought this topic interesting hehe. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll see that at a young age, I was gifted books a lot and we always had tons of them around so reading came natural to me. My love for reading developed mainly because I grew up in the nineties, being born in the late eighties. And I didn’t have access to internet, TV time was also limited during the school week so reading was my little form of entertainment until it became an escape. My parents put no restrictions on my reading so it just elevated into an obsession…I mean addiction…no I meant hobby!

I’d get so wrapped up into these stories and at about the age of seven I felt like I was too big for picture books. I’d really hate talking to seven year old me now hehehe. I remember being a snob to someone who asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said a book(of course), expecting to get a brand new Nancy Drew, I got a little kids picture book.

In elementary school, I was all bad to the bone with the book open in my lap during class, and in high school, I skipped classes to live in the library. You know at the time, it was awesome. Telling this story now, I seem like a bore fest. During my escapes to the library in high school I really broke out with the content I was finding, Mills and Boons, and witches. It was awesome, yeah I keep saying that but it really was.

Books are these things that people ignore, don’t even give a second glance to but inside them lives all kinds of magic and feelings and people(ahem…I meant characters). I absolutely love being emotionally invested in a story and sometimes I get anxious because I just can’t keep up.

Leave me a comment and let me know what fun reading you’ve been up to 🙂

xo Kat

The YA Book Craze

I’ve always seen book reviews online, on Youtube, on blogs but recently I’ve been subscribing to more of them on Youtube. Little did I know there’s an entire community online called Booktube. At first I thought it brilliant, as I myself love to share reviews and talk about books. Most of my spare time is spent writing or reading books so finding Booktube was amazing to me until I realized that the same books were being talked about over and over and over until it lost its appeal. Most of these books were also in the YA category.

Now don’t get me wrong, from time to time I enjoy a good YA novel, like most recently History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. And some of my favorite books are YA, such as, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I also enjoyed series such as The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. But most books that are hyped aren’t always worth the hype. I couldn’t get past a few pages in a lot of YA books. Not that they were bad, but because I am no longer a young adult and I enjoy reading a wider range of content.

Come to think of it, I’ve always enjoyed books with older characters like those of Dan Brown, Steve Berry, Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult, just to name a few. I also like darker content, for example Anne Rice or V.C. Andrews and of course the man himself, Stephen King. I read these novels quite early on so I connect with these type of stories better.

So while I do think that Booktube is amazing and I love it, there is lack of diversity in its genres. It’s largely because there is an abundance of young people making videos on Booktube. Another factor to consider is the marketing part of it where publishing companies send out copies for them to review. Which I have no problem with at all. But I’d like to see some older characters being talked about in crime fiction, historical fiction, action and adventure, romances etc.

I’ve been heavily considering making videos to share my world of reading and thoughts but since I’ve discovered Booktube, I feel like I wouldn’t fit the bill. Maybe I will, at some point in time because I know there are tons of people who read the same books that I do.

What genres do you read? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear.

xo Kat

Ruby by V.C. Andrews|Book Review

Ruby is the first installment in The Landry Series by V.C. Andrews. This is another series that I could not put down. It really interrupted my life when I picked it up.

Synopsis: Ruby Landry is a teenager who grew up with her grandmother, Catherine in the bayou. Her mother died in childbirth. Her grandfather, Jack is an alcoholic and lives in a shack outside. Ruby soon starts dating Paul Tate, a boy from a classy and wealthy family who doesn’t like Paul dating Ruby. When Ruby speaks to her grandmother about this, her grandmother tells her that Paul’s father is responsible for committing a heinous act against Ruby’s mother which resulted in Paul being born. Jack, the grandfather blackmailed Octavious Tate, Paul’s father which is why Paul grew up with his father and had no idea. Ruby’s views on dating Paul changes and after her grandmother’s death, she escapes being sold by her grandfather to a new life in the big city of New Orleans. She is told that she has a father there but what awaits Ruby is nothing even her wildest dreams could prepare her for.

Happy Reading!

xo Kat

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews|Book Review

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Flowers in the Attic is the first installment of The Dollanganger Series, followed by three books and one prequel. I’ve read all except the prequel which I plan to read and review some time.

Does anyone read V.C. Andrews? Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one hehe. I enjoy VC’s books quite a lot. Like I’ve said before, I don’t stick to one particular genre and I hardly read YA so my blog might sound a bit foreign.

If you’ve heard of the movie that came out on Lifetime a couple of years ago, then you’ll know about the taboo subjects explored in Flowers in the Attic as well as throughout the entire series.

Book one follows Corinne and her four children, who has just lost their father in an accident, leaving them in debt. Corinne shows up to her mother’s house with her two teenagers and younger twins, Cathy and Chris and Cory and Carrie respectively. Corinne hasn’t seen her mother in years due to a fallout in which it’s hinted at this time that it was something bad that Corinne did.

Soon after arriving at their grandmother, Olivia’s house, the book centers on the lives of the children who are treated with disdain and scorn. The children don’t quite understand the dynamics of their history yet and are in for a rude awakening when their grandmother locks them in the attic, blocking them off from society, and life.

Corinne rarely visits her children who are abused by their grandmother. They begin to mistrust their neglectful mother as she appears to care more about her wealthy inheritance than her own flesh and blood. Cathy and Chris transforms the attic into a place where their younger siblings can experience life between four walls. They read books and try to teach Cory and Carrie as well as make pretty paper flowers. I’m guessing that’s where the title plays in.

Olivia puts the notion of a romantic relationship in Cathy and Chris’ heads until both siblings’ romantic realizations are for each other. This was the first book I’ve ever read with any sort of incestual relations, but I quite liked the story.

What you’ll want to know before reading this book is, will they ever get out? How will the twins survive the ordeal being so young? And what’s next for Cathy and Chris in terms of their taboo feelings for one another?

Happy Reading!

To find out more what happens to the children and their mother, check out the rest in the series: Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, Garden of Shadows(Prequel-Corinne’s Story)

Leave me a comment if you’ve read this one. Did you like it or not?

xo Kat

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens|Book Review

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To begin with Oliver Twist is a very sad, heartbreaking and eye-opening story. I personally love the way Charles Dickens wrote. I connect with his language in a very deep way as a lot of the books I read as a child were written by English authors. I simply just love and enjoy the language of that era.

This is a very tough tale to stomach with a lot of twists and turns in the plot. It was hard for me to keep up with all the characters in the book so bear with me if my account seems jumbled.

Oliver is an orphan whose mother has died in childbirth. He lives in dreadful poverty under the care of Mrs. Mann at a baby farm, meaning Mrs. Mann received some sort of payment for housing Oliver. One day, he was plucked from the baby farm by Mr. Bumble, the parish beedle and taken to a workhouse where he was poorly treated, as he had been all of his life. Oliver is nine years old by the way. While at the workhouse, he was tricked into asking for more gruel…that’s where the famous line, “Please sir, I want some more,” came from. Well this ignited rage among the board of well-fed gentlemen, who then offers five pounds to anyone willing to take Oliver under their care.

Oliver is then sent to the Sowerberry’s. There Mr. Sowerberry treats him somewhat better than his care givers before, but Mr. Sowerberry’s wife looks down upon Oliver with passionate hate. Another incident occurs which leads to Oliver running away from the Sowerberry’s for a chance at a better life in London.

I don’t want to spoil the entire book so I’ll summarize from here that Oliver meets great misfortune as well as people who has come to genuinely care for him. And something optimistic to look forward to, he might just find out about his family.

Hope that was a good enough account of this well loved story. Do you like reading classics? Leave me a comment on which ones you’ve enjoyed and why.

Happy Reading!

xo Kat

Start by Writing Simple Stories

Recently I have been so engrossed with writing techniques and listening to other people on Youtube share their writing journey or publishing journey. My eyes have opened quite a bit since I have started pursing writing full on. I have all of these stories in my head and the need to get them out is sometimes, painful. I go through these period where I feel like a failure because all of these ideas mean something but it’s hard to choose which one is the most epic. In the middle of writing something, I feel it mundane compared to what I know I can do. Deep down we know our potential, and we can only get there through hard work and diligence.

Last year when I started writing my first book-like piece, I was under the impression that to write something good one had to be over-the-moon smart but after hearing some of my most admired authors’ stories, I’ve started seeing writing from a different perspective.

I’d like to share something I’ve noticed, and also experienced to people who are pursuing writing, as a hobby or as a career. This is for beginners like myself and comments/tips are always appreciated on this blog!

There’s a Youtuber that I look at from time to time who shares writing tips. Said Youtuber has a self-published book out and I thought to myself, “Wow, her book must be something great if her tips are that great.” So I went over to amazon and downloaded a sample of her book and do you know what I found? Within the first few paragraphs I saw that she broke the very rules she was telling people not to break. Over usage of metaphoric descriptions, too much telling.

I’m not here to bash on another writer’s book, it simply wasn’t for me. But that’s not the issue. From what I gathered, this author had to build an entire world and characters in them, and it was quite a lengthy task. I myself, as a novice writer have many epic story ideas but I won’t pursue them quite yet.

Building worlds, and writing about other worldly elements is quite a difficult feat. So if you’re just starting off like I am, go simpler. Learn your craft before you tackle anything too hard. I think it was JK Rowling that said you have to get out all of that bad writing out before you find your voice. It’s like that saying, practice makes perfect. And no piece of writing is bad writing. Never delete your work. It came from a genuine place and it would project in your story. Anything you don’t like, can be fixed but never delete it.

Happy Writing! Leave me a comment to let me know how your writing process has been thus far 🙂

xo Coffee Doll

Benefits of Reading

I have an addiction and it’s one I can’t stop and won’t stop. It’s a thing called reading. I love all things books and stories and have been crazy about it since childhood. I think the lack of computer availability and no such thing called social media(I wasn’t even using the internet in the early 90s) gave me a lot of time to engage in reading as well as develop a love and habit out of it. It was our way of entertainment back then.

I wrote a previous post about what I read as a child so if you’d life to check it out and see what content I put into my head early on use the search bar and type in “What did you read as a child?”

Enough about my little reading history(as if I don’t talk about it enough on this blog).

Of course there’s evidence that reading is beneficial to humans all over the internet. This is just my personalized views on how reading has played an important role not only in my life but those around me.

Knowledge. Well obviously! Anything you read provides some sort of information and you don’t only have to read novels. There are tons of non-fiction books, the newspapers, magazines.

Broadens your vocabulary. Learning how to articulate your words can help you in many aspects of your life, whether it’s having a conversation, writing a letter or doing homework. Sometimes we just can’t find the words to express what we mean. I have experienced first hand on how reading can help with that. And you don’t have to own a brain like a thesaurus…if you read my blog you’ll see that I use the same words and expressions over and over and over.

Better conversation. This goes together with knowledge and vocabulary. If you’re knowledgeable about a topic you can teach someone about something new or have a decent amount of input during a conversation without stars spinning in your head.

Imagination. This is my favorite. If I didn’t have a wide imagination with me throughout my life because I still use it extensively, I’d have gone mad and cracked under the pressure of being a human. Books really were my escape from negative things and when I read, I live within the pages.

Manages Stress. I have an entire post about managing stress and I don’t think I’ve listed reading as one of them. Oops! Reading is how I wind down after a tiring and chaotic day which is basically everyday in my house. It’s the few minutes of the day I can call my own and it does lift the heaviness of the day off of me. Try it!

Diminishes Ignorance. Very simple. If you want to learn about something, read about it.

Goodbye Boredom. A reader is never bored. I used to hate waiting in offices to be tended to, now I don’t. I just always have a an e-book on my phone or my kindle with me.

Helps your school performance. Reading at a young age can really help you focus on material in books. Your understanding of sentences and what they convey come easier if you read extra. It can help you research or writer a paper properly.

xo Coffee Doll

How has reading benefited your life?

May Movie Binge|Movie Talks

It’s been a while and by a while I mean years that I have not movie binged. Not only don’t I have that luxury time but in my free time I prefer to read or work on writing. More often that not I’d start a movie and just leave it ten minutes through then never return to it. Most of the time I’m so focused on whatever I’m writing that enjoying anything else just isn’t in the cards.

But lately, I have been having these lazy days. Like last weekend me and the kids were just home, huddled inside in the warmth. These past few weekends were rainy and chilly. All that is suppose to go away in a short while and then comes the humidity and frizzy hair….wait was I saying again? Oh right, movies!

So we’re not even at the half mark of the month of May and I have watched seven movies so far. Whaaaaaaat! That’s a lot for me. That’s more than I watch in six months usually. I’m so behind though, I have not seen movies released in 2012. I pick and choose though, I’m not a watcher of things like I’m a reader of things.

Here’s what I’ve looked at so far…

  1. The Magic Mikes! Magic Mike & Magic Mike XXL – Don’t even ask! Well if you must know 🙂 I kept seeing it all over facebook and then there was a dance thing on Ellen so I’ve always mentally listed the movies on my to be watched list. Channing and Mike Bomer are not hard on the eyes either.
  2. The Boss –  I absolutely loveee Melissa Mc Carthy. I was a really big fan of Mike and Molly. She is just too awesome and funny and beautiful. I’d watch anything with her. The Heat in which she shared screen space with Sandra Bullock was a good one too.
  3. Bad Mom’s – This movie was written for me, I  believe it. You just want to un-mom for a moment, don’t you? All jokes aside, I like the cast and their humor so I quite enjoyed this one. Was there supposed to be a part two? I hope!
  4. Light’s Out – Ooooh! I loved this hard as a horror movie. Because most horror movies have a good build up but lame climax. This one was good.
  5. Don’t Breathe – This one was another good one on the bone chilling scale. Quite enjoyed it as well. It’d be nice to see a sequel. I won’t tell you why because I don’t want to spoil it. Go watch it.
  6. Moana – Oops but I didn’t finish watch Moana yet. Something happened and me and the kids couldn’t finish it the other day but we’re planning too. The soundtrack so far is amazing though.

Leave me some scary movie suggestions in the comments….I’m in that zone these days. What did you enjoy recently?

xo Coffee Doll

Once Upon A Time Cast Departure|TV Talks

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I have been following Once Upon A Time TV Series since the start and it’s now finishing it’s sixth season. If you watch this show, you’ll have already developed favorites as well as the ones you generally dislike with a passion. I will be honest with you when I say that the last two seasons of the show was hard to watch at times, the story dragged on or ran in circles and sometimes the stories were a major build up with a seriously stupid climax. For instance the season with Hades who was made out to be this super villian(I thought the part wasn’t cast well by the way), only to have a strange climax of him falling in love with the Wicked Witch of the West.

I also thought Robin Hood dying was painful to watch, and still is. I think Regina, the former Evil Queen has earned her dues on this show and at least deserved that happy ending. Oh well, I’m not all about happy endings. I engage in the drama and goriness of TV shows quite well(not that I watch a whole lot of TV).

In the last few days I’ve been seeing articles popping up all over the internet about Jennifer Morrison, the star and savior of Storybrooke’s departure from the show. On her Facebook she mentioned her contract being ended after six seasons and she’d like to move on to other projects. Okay, that is understandable as her storyline needs to wrap up to be honest and her marriage to Captain “Very Hot” Hook should be her happily ever after. However, there is still a two hour finale to go and from the looks of it, I’m not sure a happily ever after story with Captain Hook hangs in the balance.

Also, news of the entire Charming family’s departure has made light. Making that, Snow White, Prince Charming and Jared Gilmore’s exit from the show. In my heart I wish to see the Charmings go off into an oblivion of happiness and let someone else take the reins. Wishful thinking I know.

Another departure that comes as a bit of a surprise to me but not a total disappointment is Belle. My brain is doing cartwheels trying to figure out what’s next for Mr. Gold/Rumplestilskin. Will their son, Gideon survive or will he not?

The fate of one of my favorite things to look at is unnerving to think about. The anticipation is appalling to say the least. And! It’s renewed for a seventh season. What on earth could it possibly be about? Leave me a comment if you watch this show too and how you feel about the departure of the first family of Storybrooke!

xo Coffee Doll

What My Second Kid Taught Me About Parenting

After the birth of my second child almost two years ago, I have been feeling more incompetent that ever but I’m not beating myself up over it because I know I’m outnumbered. I don’t have help with my children so they are with me all the time and it’s tough. My husband is in the picture but he works long hours and whenever he takes them off my hands, I still have other things to catch up on…like the tons of laundry that I often wish to discard.

The first thing I’ve learned as a parent the second time around is that no two children are the same. How naive of me to believe the second one would be carved out of the same stone as the first. I noticed from birth actually that she’d be a little tornado walking around, pulling things down, creating chaos as she goes. But she loves us equally as hard as my first and for that, I’ll let the broken candle holders slide.

Some of the things that you might be faced with as a second time parent are explained below.

Sleeping Pattern. My first child slept through the night around three months. My second will be two and although it has toned down a bit, she still wakes up during the night a few times a week. One is a late sleeper and can you guess which one wakes at the crack of dawn…at the sound of any kind of movement?

Different milestone pace. I’m not speaking on behalf of everyone but most people I’ve talked to had this to say. The first child took their time when it came to thrashing your house and your belongings. I could’ve left anything out unattended…a cup of coffee, important papers and I’d meet it in the same place when I get back. However, I can’t afford this  kind of trust with my second. Children also develop at different paces. My first was advanced with speech but way behind in walking and running whereas my second is the exact opposite. It’s important not to compare and feel as if something is wrong. Everyone is just wired differently, even kids.

Less Baby Paraphernalia and Toys. When preparing for your first child you watch every video, read every article and download every baby app. All of that makes you want to purchase everything baby related in case they might need it or you believe they might need it. Well I’m here to tell you that babies really don’t need that much stuff. Newborn things are expensive and they basically grow out of it by the time they can crawl. So for your second child, you don’t buy as much stuff and if you’re like me…you let them wear their siblings hand me downs and pass on toys.

Outnumbered. When you’re outnumbered, it feels like going from one kid  to two kids is more like going to ten kids. That’s how it was for me honestly. This is not a scare tactic but let me state some truths here. You’ll be pulled in two different directions while trying to balance everything else in life. I’d be lying if I said it was easy peasy lemon squeezy. Some mothers do their jobs flawless and although I believe myself to be a very nurturing and caring mother…a little cool at times, I am very sloppy. I get overwhelmed and if you came over to my place, you’d see a chair full of not so dirty/not so clean clothes. Yes! Those clothes that are not dirty enough for laundry but clean enough to wear again.

Defeat. I often feel defeated trying to juggle everything together…the kids, and my own life, and goals that I am still working to achieve. No one said it was easy and I don’t expect an easy route but boy is it tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Children, whether it be one or more is a full time job and it’s one that needs to be done willfully and skillfully, sprinkled with love. I feel inadequate as a wife and stay at home mom when I see my tired husband cleaning our filthy living room. Some days I cry wishing I could do better to manage everything on my own.

In spite of everything us parents deal with on a daily basis, our love for our little brats go deeper and deeper. They’re our pride, our joy and our reason for waking up in the morning and doing what needs to be done. My second child taught me that parenting on a whole is very challenging, not that it wasn’t before but now there are two children with different personalities and needs. Some thing I’ve learned along the way is that we don’t always need to have everything planned and figured out. We’re learning as we go. Our job is to be the best we can be for them and trust me when I say that it’s enough.

xo Coffee Doll.

Have a great weekend guys! What are you doing this weekend?