Dealing With Social Anxiety

Dealing With Social Anxiety

Something has been eating at my mind all week and I felt the need to write it down before I pass it along as just another “paranoid thought.” I feel as though we are all always striving to meet new people, and thus make new relationships as we age, because we are all somewhat vulnerable and in need of human contact.

Personally, I feel most comfortable when I’m alone and am not obliged to hug or shake hands with others. I was often reprimanded for my “rude” behavior, when in retrospect my hesitance for physical contact was reflective of how I view myself and where I find my comfort zone. But this still didn’t change the fact that when I was home alone at night, with my brother at my father’s house and my mother with her boyfriend, I felt isolated… and not in the way I usually preferred.

I think its horribly easy to pass off a stranger as someone who is disconnected from the world if they don’t meet your eyes, aren’t willing to have physical contact, and who don’t know how to respond to certain messages. Of course, you could also deem them as being socially awkward and leave it at that. However, my fellow introverts and I have the same notions and perceptions about the world that the rest of the extroverts do. We just aren’t able to communicate these things as well as others because limited opportunities present themselves where we can feel comfortable enough to express what really is going on inside our minds.

But instead of categorizing myself and a million other people as being socially inept, I’m going to tell you about my own story and how I’ve come to deal with being known as the “quiet girl” who somehow managed to garner a massive crowd on onlookers.
So yes, I have social anxiety.

There are a few reasons as to why I hate summer. For starters, it’s too freaking hot, I constantly get sunburns even after applying proper protection, and everything is too bright for me to take my type of photography. Although, the biggest notion I hate about summer is seeing everyone I know come home from college to our small town for the next two or three months. I realize how that sounds. It seems as though I’m angry with the world, that I hate people, and that I made no friends in high school.

I realize these perceptions, because I’ve had people tell them to my face. The reality is this: I enjoyed high school and I think plenty of the students who attended with me are really sweet and creative. But on the other hand, I always feel as though when they look at me, they’re noticing any blemishes I have, what clothes I’m wearing, if I’m not smiling big enough, and that I still can’t hold a proper conversation without misunderstanding many references about parties or alcohol.

While I know that I’m likely being paranoid, I can’t help but think these things upon seeing people I went to school with. It doesn’t help that I’m usually alone— as I prefer to often be— and they’re usually in groups of four or eight. To be fair, I know that I could just go up to them and start a polite conversation about where they’re going and what they’re studying. But the awful thing is, I still see myself in the high school stigma wherein the friend you make in middle school are the ones you will be bound to until graduation. I know this because I dealt with it. I tried to leave a toxic friend group… and ended up having nobody for months.

It was the last few months of senior year— the few months where schoolwork doesn’t seem to count, there are always parties on the weekends, and the people you were friends with were the ones you’d talk to on Facebook for the next decade until they start to get married.

In the beginning of the year I had a group of about six friends, and we were all incredibly close with one another. Everyone was so different yet we had a common ground that built our kinship over the years. And halfway through the first semester, there was a party that all of us attended. As you might be able to imagine, this was the turning point. This was where arguments that had been silently brewing for months exploded in a violent fury, and the group was divided by who was on which side of the cannon fire. I tried to remain neutral, but of course that only acted against me.

It wasn’t until the police were involved when I realized the reason I couldn’t make friends outside of my immediate circle wasn’t just due to my social anxiety, but because I was already labeled as being a part of this “pack.” And when I stepped back and saw how my friends were behaving— constantly thriving on drama, talking badly about others who they barely knew, and picking fights over the smallest of things…. I had to withdraw. I had to escape that, because that wasn’t who I was and I felt disgusted and saddened just knowing it took me that long to figure it out.

So I stopped. I stopped talking to them, sitting with them at lunch, texting, partying, seeing them on weekends. I cut off all connections. And by doing so, I completely isolated myself from everyone in the school.

My mother told me, as I was in tears and having a panic attack that I didn’t know who to go to senior prom with, that I should try talking to other students— ones that were in my favorite art or literature classes. I don’t blame her for suggesting this, but I know that our generations are programmed differently and doing as she asked would be more impossible the she had intended. Making friends so late into the school year was nearly sacrilege— people would wonder why I’m talking to them after four years, and why I wasn’t present with my “group.” They would assume the worst. And I didn’t have the physical or mental strength to go through that again.

I was at my end. Stressed, anxious, depressed… not even the next installment of my favorite series could lift me out of my slump.

But I realized something during those weeks. I’m no different than anyone else, even thought my situation may be. Everyone faces hardships, and this was just something that I caused on my own and something that I had to fix on my own. So instead of seeking friendships, I started to fix the most important one: the one I had with myself.

I read more, blogged more, starting taking better photography and positing it online. I discovered new music (like Florence Welch and Fleet Foxes) and became enraptured with this whole “aesthetic” that I had never experienced before. I decided I wanted that— to be completely within my own imagination and not give a fuck about what anyone else thought if I, for instance, decided to wear chainmail as an accessory. (Not the fancy jewelry type. I’m talking full out LARPing and cosplay chainmail.) And although I didn’t smile more, because that doesn’t mean anything in regards to my emotional being, I felt a million times happier. I was liberated, and free to wander in my creativity that had been sitting silently for me to recognize it.

After reading about these heroines who slew dragons and navigated court politics against overpowered kings, I thought to myself— why the hell can’t that be me? Sure I might not find a dragon anytime in the near future, but I can certainly navigate my way around toxic relationships and not feel sorry for myself while I celebrate my strength.

Nevertheless, I still have social anxiety. Some scars are permanent, after all. However, it has evolved into something that I have control over and am able to push aside when I put my mind to it. I’ve never felt so sure of myself, even when I still have doubts and still feel lost. The knowledge that I will always have tomorrow to fix what I’ve wrought today has helped me grow into the person I am.

When people message me on Instagram or one of my other social medias and say they were hesitant to address me because they were anxious about how I would respond, I sometimes don’t know what to think. So, I tell them the truth. Don’t be wary of me, because we’re no different from each other. Just because I run a blog doesn’t mean that I’m an extrovert with wonderful social skills.

I am who I am.

Introverted, creative, and willing to face anything life throws at me.

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Everything You Need Before Reading: AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS by Margaret Rogerson

Processed with VSCO with p5 presetWith the release of Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel, AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS, burning down to a little over a month’s wait, I figured now would be a wonderful time to talk a bit more about why this book has become so dear to me. Of course, before even reading the book I knew I would end up loving it because it embodied aspects which I enjoy most in any story: faeries and autumn. However, I really didn’t anticipate becoming so enraptured by this tale. I highly encourage you to pre-order this book and join me in the count down to its publication date: September 26th, 2017. And what better way to make you want to read this book than to provide you with fan-casted character inspiration and a playlist to accompany your future read?

This book has brilliant writing, imagery, diverse representation, and an empowering love that will soften the toughest of hearts. Its everything I wanted it to be and everything I needed it to be; all wrapped up in autumn foliage. You won’t forget where you are for even a second, and these characters will demand your attention at every moment. It’s equal parts dark and poetic, with humor and often tenderness that I hadn’t been expecting but welcomed with an open heart. Simply put: it blew my mind.

You can read my full review here, or on my goodreads.

Without further ado, here are my choices for a fanciest! *Note that below I quote directly from the ARC (Advanced Readers Copy). These sentences are subject to change upon the official publication. Also, I avoided incorporating anything I deemed a potential spoiler, but please read at your own risk. 

Rook— “With his head ducked before me I only saw his hair, which was unruly—wavy, not quite curly, and dark, with just the slightest red tint in the sun. Its fierce unkemptness reminded me of a hawk’s or raven’s feathers blown the wrong way in a stong wind. And like Gadfly, I could smell him: the spice of crisp dry leaves, of cool nights under a clear moon, a wildness, a longing. […] There was his flaw: the color of his eyes, a peculiar shade of amethyst, striking against his golden-brown complexion, which put me in mind of late-afternoon sunlight dappling fallen leaves.”

Model: Vito Basso

 

Isobel— “Her (Aunt Emma) eyes squinted open. They were the same dark brown, almost black, like mine—large and intense. She had the same freckles spattered across her fair skin and the same thick, wheat-colored hair.”

Model: Beth Fanshawe

 

 

Gadfly— “Gadfly appeared to be a man in his thirties. Like every example of his kind, he was tall, slim, and beautiful. His eyes were the clear crystal blue of the sky after rain has washed away the summer heat, his complexion as pale and flawless as porcelain, and his hair the radiant silver-gold of dew illuminated by sunrise.”

Model: Ton Heukels

 

Foxglove— “A woman with arresting hazel eyes emerged victorious. She adjusted her hat back into place with a queenly smile as she swept forward, placing her hand in Gadfly’s. She wore a lilac dress with a high lace collar that strangled her slender neck, and the flaw in her glamour, unnaturally sharp cheekbones, was more subtle than most. Like many of the other fair folk present, she was fair-skinned—a common spring court characteristic, whereas the autumn and summer courts tended towards richer completions like Rook’s, ever shade of sunlight-gold and acorn-brown and deep umber.”

Model: Jessica Brown Findlay 

 

Lark— “…her long blond hair flying, the many layers of her periwinkle-blue gown frothing up an down like waves. When she reached us, she startled me by seizing both my hands. Her skin was cold and flawless as china. Were she human I would have guessed her age at around fourteen.”

Model: Helena McKelvie

 

Aster— “She was perhaps a little less tall, but not remarkably so (than the Fair Folk). Flowers were woven into her wavy, waist-length black hair. Her skin looked starkly pale in contrast, which only accentuated her glamour’s flaw; she was inhumanly gaunt. Her collarbones and ribs protruded frothier chest above her gown’s neckline, and her shoulders looked as fragile as a bird’s bones. She watched me closely with brown eyes nearly as dark as mine.”

Model: Amelia Zadro

 


 

Another thing I love to have while reading a new book is a playlist to accompany me. Often times I’ll just listen to my favorite film scores– like Game of Thrones and even music from Skyrim— on repeat. Adrian Von Ziegler is a wonderful composer for when you’re in the mood for Celtic vibes and fairytale hymnals. Below I’ve listed all of the songs for my An Enchantment of Ravens inspired playlist, but you can also click on the links to my Spotify and 8tracks accounts to view them there!

Prologue, Keaton Henson
Billie Holiday, Warpaint
End of the Affair, Ben Howard
Brighter Than the Sun, Dustin Tebbutt
Dawn, Jeremy Soule

Sparks, Jesse Woods
Arrival of the Birds, Cinematic Orchestra
Cinder and Smoke, Iron and Wine
Death Favors No Man, James Newton Howard

The City Gates, Jeremy Soule
Dance with the Trees, Adrian Von Ziegler
What the Water Gave Me, Florence Welch
Deeper Than Shallow, Roo Panes

For the Realm, Salim Daïma
Oliver Dalston Browning, Keaton Henson
In the Wind, Lord Huron
Shades of Gold, Sea Aleena
West, Sleeping At Last
Sitting Room, Beta Radio
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, Fleet Foxes
Where’s My Love (acoustic), Syml

The Wolves and the Ravens, Rouge Valley


 

And to top everything off, you might as well enjoy a treat while reading this book. I am, by no means, a chef of any kind (unless you count occasionally baking brownies.) The recipe below is one I’ve tried a few times and found to be fairly easy to recreate! All credit goes to Amy Lee Scott! You can click here to find more of her recipes.

 

 

Jeannette Walls: The Glass Castle Q+A

glass castle beachJust this previous week I was lucky enough to see a screening of the book adaption The Glass Castle thanks to Lionsgate. The book is written by Jeannette Walls and the movie was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. The story follows four siblings as they are raised on the run, constantly moving from home and adapting to their new environments. Their parents are wild, carefree, and reckless, but they’ve also taught their children a way to experience the world that no other kids in their predicament ever could understand. That nostalgia is what ignites a moment of reflection for Jeannette as she is on her way to a fancy event in New York City and looks out her taxicab to see her mother picking through a dumpster. The Walls parents are found squatting in an abandoned building on the Lower East Side, having traveled half way across the country to the city so they can be near their children who’ve only ever wanted to distance themselves from their dangerous childhood.

The movie was a brilliant adaption of the book, staying true to every plot and characteristic while also keeping the more morbid and troublesome to read scenes slightly less dark. If anything, the movie was a tad lighter and more peaceful than the chaotic wilderness of the book, but both the novel and the film ended on a similar note with the same intended message.

Brie Larson was phenomenal and played the part of Jeannette as though she had taken in a part of her soul. You could really see it in the actor’s eyes how deeply connected she became with her character, especially because the book is a biography and the author was revealed to often be on the set of the shoot. It was magical to watch unfurl, and there were numerous times where I had to hold back tears.

During a Q&A interview with the Jeannette Walls, Naomi Watts, and Brie Larson, the women of the Glass Castle movie spoke about their time on set, getting to adapt to their characters, and learning from the story the importance of empowering yourself. The whole atmosphere of the event was saturated in deep conversations about inner strength. Walls is a remarkable speaker as well! Occasionally I’ve notice some authors who aren’t the strongest public speakers, but Jeannette could be on TED with how well she communicated with us all.

A member of the press asked “The tension between self-preservation and care for others is a theme throughout the entire film, and I would love to hear your experiences dealing with this both as an individual and when in the film.” Jeannette then tells us all that this is something she has wrestled with for most of her life because she is a survivor. She then explains that while many people have asked her how she could forgive her parents for all that they have caused her, she believes the only person she needed to forgive was herself.

Jeannette explained that “we who pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and have to make some tough choices to get by are a bit selfish. And that was one of the transformative things about watching this movie— seeing Brie Larson making these tough choices. I loved her and was rooting for her in a way that I never loved or rooted for myself. It was kind of magnificent.”

The Glass Castle is now in theaters everywhere and you can watch the trailer by clicking right here. I highly recommend bringing your tissues! It’ll be an emotional ride.

Feyre Archeron: Cosplay

Ever since the title for A Court of Wings and Ruin released I’ve been itching to cosplay at least one character from the ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas. It only took two people to say that I looked like Feyre for me to fully accept that “challenge” (haha, but really, as a first time cosplay-er this was a lot more fun that I had expected it to be). Finding all of the gear and accessories was the fun part… walking through a public hiking trail and an arboretum wearing elf ears and a ball gown was a bit awkward to say the least.

So without any further delay, here are all of the photos we shot over the week! I definitely plan on cosplaying my favorite character this coming fall– LUCIEN. I’m already teaching myself how to properly use prosthetic makeup and apply colored eye contacts. And with a possible Lucien novella lurking just around the corner, I really can’t wait!

Ears: Geekling Creations on Etsy
Headpiece: NebulaXCrafts on Etsy
Dress: DHGate
Bow & Arrow: Bounty Bunker on Etsy
Book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookDepo
Arm Jewelry: Heartichoke (Huntington, NY)

 

Slut Shaming in YA Literature

“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey


In a time where unity sounds more like a fable than a fact, fighting oppression is vital for survival. Two of the most prominent oppressors of our generation are racism and sexism, both of which are constantly being disputed yet still remain an uphill battle. It’s easy to question why nothing has changed when you’ve put such effort into making a difference, but the fact of the matter still stands to reason that each little movement makes up a part of one giant revolt. The minimal things you do to help support equality will carry on to inspire others around you. Which is why I find proper representation in Young Adult literature to be essential for teaching readers how to be accepting and understanding, and to reassure them of their worth in this war-torn world. And while I promise to write another post about the racial inequality in YA, I wan’t to focus firstly on the gender bias that exists.

There is a certain stereotype that in retrospect appears harmless but can cause grave amounts of damage which can be found in plenty of novels, especially ones in the contemporary genre. The so called “mean girl” antagonist that materializes in a book is often depicted as someone who wears a lot of makeup, revealing clothing, lacks intelligence, and is outwardly racist and/or homophobic. However many prototypes of this character exist, they all seem to have the same overlooked trope in common— their reasoning for being antagonistic. From my perspective, it would seem as though they have every right to be hostile towards the main characters, what with the blatant slut shaming these women are facing. Authors tend to use the downfall of one character to elevate the innocence and uniqueness of their main character— and these two are typically the a) high school mean girl vs. b) victimized leading protagonist.

This is incredibly sexist.

slut-shame-3

slut-shame-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without understanding the way in which these authors are portraying their main character, they want to utilize the antagonist’s pain as a way to support the protagonist’s “goodness.” Regularly the bully finds herself in a definitive position where “her strawberry blond hair was combed into low pigtails, and like always, her skin was concealed under half a bottle of foundation. I (*the protagonist) was fairly certain I’d guessed the right amount, since there wasn’t a trace of her freckles in sight (….) There was three-quarters of an inch between the hem of her skirt and the start of her underwear…if she was even wearing any.” The prior is a direct quote from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush young adult series. It was the first introduction of Marcie Millar, a character who is only further slut shamed and then disgraced even after her death.

I would like to first point out that the usage of makeup on any given person does not equate to their beauty or self-worth. The choice of wearing the products is for personal gratification ONLY. If it makes someone feel more confident to conceal a blemish with a remedy, so be it. If it makes someone feel empowering to wear hues of golden eyeshadow, dark lips, and wonderfully painted cheekbones, so be it. If someone feels beautiful without wearing makeup at all but respects that others feel the opposite, so be it. By demonizing a woman because she wears “too much” makeup, or because she dresses a certain way, we are objectifying her character simply because of a choice she made to feel better about herself—one that has nothing to do with anyone else. Using this stereotype in a YA setting, where readers are looking to enjoy the story but also learn from these characters, an author is misguiding their audience into believing that shaming another person because of the way they appear is alright.

It is interesting how the bully becomes the bullied the further you read these stories.

Slut-shaming is an atrocity that can be defeated by speaking out whenever you see or hear it occurring. Let the accuser know why they are in the wrong, and help them see that by degrading another person for the way in which they decide to decorate themselves, they are only hindering their own appearance.

slut-shame

“Many believe that the usage of these derogatory terms online through memes, social media accounts, and music videos all contribute to a rape culture, where women are blamed and men excused in cases of sexual assault or rape.”— Foothill Dragon Press

If you see this happening in any book, I highly encourage you to talk about it. Inform others of what you notice, and respectfully contact the author with your concerns. They most likely wont be able to fix something in a book that has already been published, but they certainly can learn from their mistakes so to not repeat them in the future. Help put an end to girls shaming girls, and we can start to unite women by uplifting one another instead of tearing us down because of how we look.

With that being said, I’ll leave you with this: A secondary character is only as secondary as you let them appear. If they’ve awaken an emotion in you that the protagonist couldn’t, then to you they are the primary. And all characters should be treated carefully, for even though you might not see their importance, someone else will, and any harmful representation can cause vast damage to a reader’s morale.

Heroine Horoscopes

Find your Zodiac sign to venture towards your next battle— whether it be by wielding an axe, spying on foreign royalty, or tricking creatures as old as the realm with your cunning mind. Zodiac definitions are from Astrology-Zodiac-Signs. Not all heroines are YA. Be adventurous!

AQUARIUS

(n.) Aquarius-born are shy and quiet , but on the other hand they can be eccentric and energetic. However, in both cases, they are deep thinkers and highly intellectual people who love helping others. They are able to see without prejudice, on both sides, which makes them people who can easily solve problems. Although they can easily adapt to the energy that surrounds them, Aquarius-born have a deep need to be some time alone and away from everything, in order to restore power. People born under the Aquarius sign, look at the world as a place full of possibilities.

Elide Lochan was born to the Lord and Lady of Perranth, an heir to a humble territory set against the mountains of a greater kingdom. After the fall of her country, Elide is taken by her corrupt uncle and locked away, left with a crippled ankle and no sunlight or warmth. Upon plotting her escape, Elide finds out she has witch blood in her veins. This revelation causes something to awaken inside the usually quiet girl— a powerful darkness to match her compassion and peaceful attitude. Elide’s only hope is to see her lost queen again, and that loyalty drives her to do things she hadn’t thought herself capable of. Along the adventure, she allies with a morally questionable man who she tricks into believing her to be a shy maiden, not a missionary carrying one of the most dangerous weapons in the whole realm. Elide is crippled and illiterate, and these traits do not undermine her character in the slightest. She is wholly compassionate with a wicked strength for scheming. She is the pretty flower who hides its thorns. Elide, although being a side character, is stronger than most leading roles. Elide Lohan proves that you don’t have to wiled a sword to be a weapon.

  • Book: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

PISCES

(n.) Pisces are very friendly, so they often find themselves in a company of very different people. Pisces are selfless, they are always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back. Pisces is a Water sign and as such this zodiac sign is characterized by empathy and expressed emotional capacity. Their ruling planet is Neptune, so Pisces are more intuitive than others and have an artistic talent. Neptune is connected to music, so Pisces reveal music preferences in the earliest stages of life. They are generous, compassionate and extremely faithful and caring.

Nina Zenik is a heartrender, capable of manipulating blood and healing fatal wounds, who finds herself amongst a wayward group of outcasts on an impossible heist. She is boisterous and loud, with a quirky love for food (particularly waffle) and an endearing attitude. Her forwardness is what makes her dialogue so intriguing, but so is her charismatic behavior. Nina is vey friendly and loyal, always seeking to help others before helping herself— especially those who need help and justice the most. These traits have caused her to fall in with the dregs of society and make a home within their ranks. She has a nurturing air, one that reveals itself whenever someone close to her is threatened. Fierce and extroverted, Nina’s love is that of unending abundance.

  • Book: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

ARIES

(n.) As the first sign in the zodiac, the presence of Aries almost always marks the beginning of something energetic and turbulent.They are continuously looking for dynamic, speed and competition. They are always first in everything – from work to social gatherings. Thanks to its ruling planet Mars, Aries is one of the most active zodiac signs. People born under the Aries sign, are meant to emphasize the search for answers to personal and metaphysical questions. This is the biggest feature of this incarnation.

Adelina Amouteru, the White Wolf and founder of the Rose Society, had always known she was born to be more than who she was. Her abusive childhood taught her not to trust, and to take action whenever she saw fit. Adelina is cold, calculative, and decisive. Those who have double crossed her will not be forgotten, for the White Wolf is not your average redemption story. Adelina is the grey area between good and evil, a character who slowly declines into a state of antagonism. She is relentless and unapologetic. She is entirely of her own making, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Having only one eye, no home, and a heart full of anger, this heroine is unlike any other written before her. She is symbolic for tragedy, but also should be recognized for her inner strength in facing such events and coming away with a lightened heart. Adelina does what many of us seem to forget when reading these adventurous tales— she focuses on her own well being. And that in itself is something to take pride in.

  • The Young Elites by Marie Lu

TAURUS

(n.) Powerful and reliable, Taurus is the first when it comes to harvesting the fruits of his labor. They love everything that is good and beautiful, and they are often surrounded by material pleasures. People born under the Taurus sign are very sensual and tactile. Touch is extremely important for them, both in business and in romance. Stable and conservative, Taurus is among the most reliable signs of the zodiac. Stubbornness is a trait that is forcing him to expel things to the end, in order to comply with the standards.

Blue Sargent is an aesthetic of her own design. She speaks her mind freely with little remorse or patience for ignorance. She’s quirky, and has moments where she appears vulnerable, but if you get on her bad side she’s quite a force to deal with. Her sass is astounding, as is her huge role as a feminist (and she doesn’t let the other four male protagonists forget that). Blue comes from an incredibly dynamic home of psychics, all of whom have told her that if she were to kiss her true love…he would die. But she doesn’t let this bother her as much as the fact that she cannot see the future as the rest of her family can. She has incredible potential but is lost as to where she should begin her story. In this, I think we can all relate to Blue to some degree. She is stubborn, but relies on her family to help guide her through her struggles. By surrounding herself with empathetic women, Blue in turn is empathetic towards her friends. She uses the caring and considerate nature of her home and reflects it upon her newly acquired friends, who definitely needed her understanding and adventurous attitude to join their circle. Touch is also extremely important to her, for she has limitations for what she can and cannot get to near; mainly being the boy she loves, and the dreams that seem to far away to come true.

  • Book: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

GEMINI

(n.) Expressive and quick-witted, Gemini represents two different sides of personality and you will never be sure with whom you will face. Gemini can be sociable,communicative and ready for fun, while on the other hand it can be very serious, thoughtful, restless and even indecisive.

Alina Starkov undergoes one of the craziest transitions in all of YA heroine history. Growing up an orphan in a tiny village within Ravka, she had no aspirations in life other than becoming a better cartographer for the Second Army. She is a melancholy type of girl, dreary and silent with unlocked potential buried beneath her own fear of a power she subconsciously knows she might posses. After unleashing her unique Sun Summoning powers, Alina is thrust into a war full of folklore and slow-burning vengeance. The Darkling tries to wield her as his own person weapon, but Alina turns the tides of battle once she leaves his stronghold and devises an army of her own. Going from an orphan with no ambitions to Sol Koroleva, the Sun Queen who would defeat the darkness that plagued her realm and stop injustice towards Grisha, Alina Starkov is both sides of a coin. She is unpredictable, which leads her to become a threat to her enemies. She represents the oppressed Grisha as well as those who have become lost within their own splendor. She wants to defeat the Darkling, but she knows that what he stands for isn’t necessarily wrong. In fact, Alina begins to think like her enemy through her own understanding of the war at stake. Her ability to see both sides of the story and sympathize with either has caused her to become stronger than what meet the eye.

  • Book: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

CANCER

(n.) Deeply intuitive and sentimental, Cancer can be one of the most challenging Zodiac signs to get to know. Cancer is very emotional and sensitive, and they care about family and home. Cancer is sympathetic and is very attached to the people who surround him.
People born under the Cancer sign are very loyal and empathetic people, able to empathize with your pain and suffering. Because of the ruling planet the Moon, the many phases of its lunar cycle can deepen Cancers internal mysteries and create fleeting emotional patterns that the sensitive Cancer cannot control, especially when a child. This can show itself as mood swings, selfishness, manipulation and fits of rage. Cancer is quick to help others and avoid conflicts. One of his greatest strengths is persistent determination. Cancer doesn’t have great ambitions, because they are happy and content to have a loving family and tranquil and harmonious home. They often take good care of their co-workers and treat them as family.

Agnieszka, a peasant living in the quant village of Dvernik which borders the deadly, malevolent Wood, is a highly sentimental and empathetic character. Her dearest friend, Kasia, emits strong beauty and bravery―qualities of which the Dragon sees fit enough for a new servant. The Dragon is an immortal wizard who protects the villagers against the dark magic of the Wood, yet each decade he takes the most promising girl to live with and serve him for the next ten years of her life. He des not harm the girls, and each one never returns to their meager lifestyle in the valley once they are put back into the world―instead going off to greater cities pluming wealth and prosperity. Kasia has known since she was a child that she is more than likely to be chosen by the Dragon. Agnieskza has known as well, and the thought of losing her aquatinted-sister is maddening. Until the day of the harvest comes, and the Dragon does not choose Kasia. Agnieskza’s love for her family is what powers her throughout this story. She is deeply intimate and empathetic because she has a connection with nature that can only be explained by her adoration for the unknown. To defeat the trees that come alive and haunt her fellow villagers, this heroine must become part of the forest.

  • Book: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

LEO

(n.) People born under the sign of Leo are natural born leaders. They are dramatic, creative self-confident, dominant and extremely difficult to resist. They can achieve anything they want, whether it’s about work or time spent will family and friends.

Camilla Macaulay is a “bramble rose”, a feature of society that is both disturbingly alive and also something of the past— as if she is a goddess reborn to wreck havoc in an innocent girl’s body. She is often described as such, and is lusted after by many—including her own twin brother. Camilla is a melancholic, tragic character that is so lost within her own misery that she goes along with the dangerous events surrounding her because they bring her closer to feeling awake. She is entirely compelling, and has qualities of a leader. Her looks may be what initially draw you in, but her quick whit and clever mind only further her role as the sensible and strong member of her group.

  • Book: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

VIRGO

(n.) Virgos are always paying attention to smallest details and their deep sense of humanity makes them one of the most careful signs of the zodiac. Their methodical approach to life ensures that nothing is left to chance. Virgos are often tender but also very careful.

Marya Morevena gives a clear example of what it means to be a well-developed character. She starts her journey as a meek, young girl, the youngest of four sisters, who spends her days staring outside her bedroom window, watching birds fall from trees who then turn into suitors for her siblings. Her cherished red scarf, a sigil of her loyalty to her home, is taken from her after she dares to share her discoveries with the rest of her schoolmates. She grows to hope for little, and dream of more. Sharing her home with refuges of war is only half of her worries, for Marya desires to see the naked world when it is stripped bare. It isn’t until Koschei falls from her tree that her wish is granted. In a setting where each phrase is more like a lyric, paying close attention to detail is vital. Marya has a deep sense of humanity, for how else could she defeat the inhumane being that becomes her future husband?

  • Book: Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

LIBRA

(n.) People born under the sign of Libra are peaceful and fair, and they hate being alone. Partnership is very important for Libra -born, and with their victorious mentality and cooperation, they cannot stand to be alone. The Libra is an Air sign, with expressed intellect and a keen mind. They can be inspired by good books, insurmountable discussions and interesting people.

Rebellious princess Mayavati has lived her whole life under the shadow of a horoscope that promises death and destruction through her marriage. Her kingdom befalls upon a crisis that can only be resolved through an arrangement between the princess Maya and her mysterious husband, who hails from a dark realm made of nightmares and folklore. Maya is cunning and uncompromising. She is a profound reader, and from her passion she has the ability to think cognitively about a great many things. This trait has led her to defeat enemies by using quick whit and intelligence. In regards to her position of power, Maya undergoes a transition from a quant royal living amongst secrecy and safety, to a queen of the underworld. In this Indian retelling of Persephone and Hades, you would wish to be wiser than to mess with Mayavati.

  • Book: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

SCORPIO

(n.) Scorpio-born are passionate and assertive people. They are determined and decisive, and will research until they find out the truth. Scorpio is a great leader, always aware of the situation and also features prominently in resourcefulness.

Karou is the apprentice of chimera Brimstone, collecting teeth to create wishes and resurrecting other beings of her kind. She is eccentric and very aware of her surroundings, though the more secrets that are unraveled, the more she becomes intwined with the dangers of her true nature. She rises to the occasion whenever others are feeling defeated, and her assertive nature helps to piece together centuries-old myths.

  • Book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

SAGITTARIUS

(n.) Curious and energetic, Sagittarius is one of the biggest travelers among all zodiac signs. Their open mind and philosophical view motivates them to wander around the world in search of the meaning of life. Sagittarius is extrovert, optimistic and enthusiastic, and likes changes. Sagittarius-born are able to transform their thoughts into concrete actions and they will do anything to achieve their goals. Like the other fire signs, Sagittarius needs to be constantly in touch with the world to experience as much as possible. The ruling planet of Sagittarius is Jupiter, the largest planet of the zodiac. Their enthusiasm has no bounds, and therefore people born under the Sagittarius sign possess a great sense of humor and an intense curiosity. Freedom is their greatest treasure, because only then they can freely travel and explore different cultures and philosophies. Because of their honesty, Sagittarius-born are often impatient and tactless when they need to say or do something, so it’s important to learn to express themselves in a tolerant and socially acceptable way.

Delilah Bard, a thief from Grey London, survives through stealing and lurking in corners her whole life. Yet she is full of wanderlust and dreams of becoming a pirate who travels the uncharted seas and wreck havoc wherever she goes. Her adventurous traits are almost childlike in their enthusiasm, but Lila has always known what she wanted, and so she has always worked towards her goal. She has an open mind, waiting to be fed with knowledge of worlds untouched by others. She would rather “die on an adventure than living standing still.”

  • Book: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

CAPRICORN

(n.) When it comes to professionalism and traditional values, Capricorn is the first. Capricorn is practical and is considered to be the most serious sign of the zodiac, who possess an independence that enables significant progress both on the personal level and in business. As an Earth sign, for a Capricorn there is nothing more important in life than family. Capricorn is a master of self-control and has the potential to be a great leader or manager as long as it is in the sphere of business.

Shahrzad, a young girl having just lost her closest friend, martyrs herself to be the Caliph’s next bride…and next kill. Every dawn brings new death in the realm of Khorasan. A new girl is married to Khalid, the monstrous King of Kings, and by sunrise she is strung up with a cord of silk around her neck. It has been this way for years, and the people live in turmoil and anguish for the loss of so many sisters, daughters, and friends. Shahrzad’s determination and adventurous charisma leads her to wed the Caliph with the hope of finding his weakness and using it to end him. However, neither of them expect his weakness to be her. Shazi is ridden with determination— to seek justice, to find answers, and to abolish the pain that has struck so many beloved of her. Her bravery and strong-wiled actions are what make her one of the most renowned YA heroines ever written.

Book: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Soundtracks to Literature: How a Reader Becomes a Composer

Soundtracks to Literature: How a Reader Becomes a Composer

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I’ve finally gotten the time to myself that I so desperately needed and deserved, and what better way to use that time than to write another blog post? I’ve got many fun things planned for autumn, but since we still have about a month to go, I’ve decided to write about something I think hasn’t been given proper attention lately (or ever, really). Book playlists.

This sounds strange, as do most of my posts, but it’s strange for a reason—it’s unusual in it’s awesomeness. How many times do you watch a film or a T.V. show and stop paying attention to the plot when suddenly you hear a heart-pounding music sequence in the background? I do it constantly whenever I get the chance, even during the gymnastics floor routines of the recent Rio 2016 Olympics. I believe my obsession for compiling literature-centric playlists started around the same time the Twilight movie soundtrack was born. You don’t have to love those books or those movies to fall in love with their OSTs and playlists. It’s that good.

When I read, I’m directing the scenes of a movie in my mind. The author is my screenwriter, her/his words shape the character’s mouths and move their bodies into battles, but the colors, the tones, the feeling of being near a fireplace or stranded on a shipwrecked island of sirens..those are mine to create. As is the music being played in the background.

Perhaps I’m talking in circles now, but if you don’t understand what I’m typing, just try listening to one of my playlists (preferably one that coincides with a book you’ve read so)! Just follow these links here for whichever series you’ve read, and close your eyes, turn up the volume, and let your mind walk wonders….

(Of course, this is better on the 8tracks free APP)

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

1. x

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

1. x

A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J Maas

  1.  x
  2.  x Lucien
  3.  x Rhysand
  4.  
  5.  x Feyre
  6. x

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

  1. x

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. x Gansey
  2. x Noah
  3. x Adam
  4. x Ronan
  5. x

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

  1. x Nikolai 
  2. x
  3. x

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

  1. x
  2. x Kaltain
  3. x Aelin 
  4. x The Thirteen
  5. x

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  1. x

Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

  1. x
  2. x
  3. x
  4. x

 

Not only can you create a playlist dedicated to a book series, but you can also compose one made just for an individual character. Theoretically, you can do whatever you want. But these are just a few ideas for beginner composers! I know a lot of my friends use Spotify, but I don’t particularly feel like paying monthly to create playlists when I could use other APPs that are free…like 8tracks. Now before you get any ideas, I’m not a sponsor for 8tracks. I just really love the APP…aside from the fact that they now have a few commercials popping up every now and again. That I could gladly do without.

But aside from it being free and easy to use, you get to create your own cover for the playlists, your own tags for the playlists, and you can follow other composers who share similar music taste! My account is under the username SeelieKnight. Feel free to hit me up whenever!

I’m always saving song ideas for when I have enough to compose a playlist. Music comes hand in hand with literature for me, as does the strong sense of imagery from both creations. There’s plot in both, but enough freedom to find your own stories. I hope I could persuade you to try making your own playlists, or to listen to them the next time you need a little extra initiative to read. Let me know if you already have some book inspired tunes, I’d love to listen to them!