• Haiku

    Forever Lost is
    an Intermundium Child
    as a Vegabond

    Periwinkle.Pens
  • Reedsy Prompt: Write about someone who books a bargain vacation, only to be told when they arrive that they need to share a hotel suite with a stranger.

    TW: Mention of suicide.

    “Congratulations, you’ve won an all-paid holiday to Colombia for 5 days, completely free! Sign up now to claim it now!”

    Ciara sighed after reading the text message, these spam texts were getting clever and sneaky by the day. This had been her third text this week while her email had been bombarded with it almost every day!

    The first time she read this message, her face lit up by the idea. For a second she let herself enjoy that fantasy. Heading into Colombia, bathing in the sun while she enjoyed her time by the beach. Perhaps pretending to be someone else when she snorkeled underwater and watched the corals. Someone a lot more fun.

    Instantly her breath felt lighter in her lungs, her aching shoulders relaxed as if she was physically there. Free from all her responsibilities, little tremors passed through her body, filling it with excitement.

    “Stop!” She told herself, snapping out of her little dream. No way she won such an opportunity. Worst case scenario someone would lure her in and then trap her into human trafficking. Or a drug mule.

    Ciara was in her early 20s, still trying to find her way through life. Some days she enjoyed being the Kindergarten teacher she was, other days she wanted to be a lawyer or a successful book blogger. But being in the public eye scared the crap out of her and her online persona was born from that same fear. Her book blog was under a pseudonym. Even though it wasn’t quite successful, she enjoyed her moments of interacting with like-minded people in the community.

    It was when the same message was sent to her Goodreads profile, her attention was captured. Her jaw tightened, forcing her gums to take the impact. The searing pain was endured through her mouth. Something she should’ve taken care of a while ago but NHS’s long waiting list made her endure it anyway.

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t touch” She taught herself after watching a few American films.

    With all the anxiety that sank in the pit of her stomach, she checked the sender’s profile, Frank C.

    He seemed to have created a new profile with zero books read. What was happening? She was certain no one could hack into her phone or laptop by just replying to the person back on Goodreads. With her heart dancing against her ribs, she replied to Frank C.

    Frank C: Congratulations, you’ve won an all-paid holiday to Colombia for 5 days, completely free! Sign up now to claim it now!

    Periwinkle: What do you mean? Why are you stalking me?

    Frank C: We aren’t. We’re just providing you with the opportunity to obtain what’s yours.

    Her brows knit together at the response. Were they truly behind her? How did they even find her? Especially on GoodReads.

    She glanced around her bedroom as if someone else was lurking in the shadows. Her heart continued to palpitate.

    Periwinkle: What’s the catch?

    Frank C: “No catch, Miss Stalestrome. It’s a rare opportunity that has come knocking at your door. Why would you turn it down?”

    His argument did seem convincing. Even when he seemed to be pressing. What did she really have to lose? It was just 5 days. With Spring Break around the corner, she could manage to miss school during the time period. It seemed like luck was finally on her side.

    Periwinkle: Okay… Send me all the details.

    She replied vaguely. Internally she was excited but Ciara had to maintain her cool. Her mind had to be in the right. She still had to investigate all their intentions before heading out.

    Ciara spent another week going through all the details Frank C had provided before heading out. She could’ve canceled the trip last minute. Everything was paid for but she never signed a contract or made an agreement of sorts.

    The idea of being in control gave her some mental peace.

    Her air tickets were all in business class, heading out from London to Cartagena. She was rather impressed by her accommodation. A 7-star hotel’s presidential suite right in the heart of the city! She was getting the best of the best, but what could really go wrong?

    Her sparkling smile dropped into a crease, situated in the Presidential suite, between all the glitz and glamour was a middle-aged man. He seemed out of place. His skin was withered from age but Ciara suspected there was some illness involved too. He smiled warmly at her, almost as if he had known her forever.

    “Sorry, sir. I seemed to have the wrong room.” Ciara whispered, glancing down at her single black keycard in her hands. “Stupid technology, amiright?” She chuckled nervously while taking her steps back.

    The bell boy stood awkwardly outside of her room with her bags. He exchanged a confused look between the two. It wasn’t just the language barrier but also the tension in the room, thick enough to cut through glass.

    Before the bell boy could say anything, the man replied.

    “No, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, Ciara.” His hoarse voice which lacked any malice made her shiver anyway.

    “I’m… sorry…?” Her voice betrayed her, showcasing her fear for the stranger to see. She hadn’t even introduced herself to him. How did he know about her?

    With a heaving breath, he cleared his throat. “I figured I could use some company. It only seems fair for an all-expense-paid trip. It is such a bargain, I tell you.”

    All blood was drained, her tan skin turned pale as if she were a ghost herself. “I-I am sorry, sir. I don’t do such entertainment there’s been a mistake of some sort!” She blurted, picking up her pace towards the door when his laugh surrounded her instead.

    It was a comforting laugh as if the air had been picked up around her, lifting into a warm hug. She embraced it before chuckling herself.

    Oh good. Seems like a prank. Okay, where are the cameras? You got me!

    “I am sorry, dear. You are a fine-looking woman, but a tad bit young for my taste.” His voice was laced with a playful tone.

    Her breath came back in control, turning back on her heels to glance at the man.

     “Then what it is that you would like from me?” She asked suspiciously, tightening her coat around her slender body. Even if the man seemed weak, she couldn’t trust anyone. Internally she cursed her stupidity for falling for something like this.

    Her hazel eyes landed on his blues, they were warm and kind. She let her guard down, finally exhaling a deep breath. Something in her action made him smiled brightly.

    “C’mon child. Are you famished? Because I am. I am Arne, by the way.” He offered, forcing himself to his feet.

    Arne winced as he tried to get up. His frail body now required more strength than ever. He faked a smile towards Ciara but she saw it through him. He was indeed sick.

    With a few smiles, tension disseminated.

    Arne gestured the bell boy to leave Ciara’s bags to the first floor of his Presidential Suite. Seemed like his Spanish was just as good as hers.

    The two of them hit off instantly, falling into each other’s step as their conversation never ended. He was a diamond businessman, having his business set up in D.R. Congo. Ciara understood how he could afford such a lavish lifestyle but he never told her why she was there.

    “Never been married?”

    “Never… I was too busy being selfish…” He whispered, Ciara could observe the pain in his eyes. There was a storm building behind his ocean-colored blues.

    Four days they spent together, eating, drinking, and chatting. Their routine felt simple and even though she hadn’t really known him, the thought of their time together ending soon made her uneasy… Or rather sad.

    He felt like a father to her. Someone she had lacked her entire life.

    On the very fifth day, Ciara hopped down the stairs from her room on the top floor to meet him, but instead, his bed was made.

    “Where is Arne?” She questioned, confused. “Did he leave? I thought we were having breakfast together?”

    A somber expression was over Frank’s face. “I am sorry, Ciara…” He said sadly before handing her a letter. A letter that might change her life forever.

    My beautiful Ciara. I can’t believe you have grown up to be such a beautiful woman. My heart has truly been rejoiced to be reunited with you again. I regret not reaching out to you earlier…”

    She started reading it out loud but her eyes betrayed her, tears pool in them. What was happening? How could Arne have known her?

    “I know I have put you through a lot, and my selfish way will increase your burden but I have to do this. For the past 21 years, I have thought of you every day. I regretted leaving you and your mum but I had to do it…”

    A heart-wrenching sob rippled through her throat followed by the bucking of her knees, forcing Ciara to fall. None of this could be true. What was he saying?!

    Her tears smudged his penmanship. She wiped them away with the sleeves of her white shirt before continuing to read.

    “I am dying… Or I might already be dead when you read this…”

    That’s when Ciara’s eyes widened to why she was in Colombia. Euthanasia…was legal here… She couldn’t bring herself to read any further with her tears fogging her vision but Ciara paddled through.

    Her mother said her father died before she was born but the new information was getting harder to process. Why did her mother lie to her then?

    “I am happy you chose to take your time with me for which I will forever be grateful. I will love you always, my child. I am sorry for not seeing you earlier. In my last moments, I realized how much you mean to me. I had been blind, my whole life in search of money and meaningless relationships. Now that I am dying in my 40s, I understand how short life is. I shouldn’t have wasted it away. If I could turn back time, you would be my precious belonging, molded by my love and your mother’s nurture. Even in my end moments, your smiling face consoles me. If there is an after-life. I will be waiting for you. I hope that Sally forgives my actions. I will love you always, Ciara

    Your Father

  • Haiku

  • Everybody is looking for something.

    Two brothers shared a glance. The elder, with his slightly salt and pepper hair, leaned back admiring the view which was presented before him. A greenfield across the horizon. The scenario also included the fresh scent of pine trees and the sounds of birds chirping. 

    “Ah… This is the life” Said the older. 

    “Perhaps, but you have yet to tell me.”

    “What?”

    “…..I thought you were trying to prove your point.”

    “Oh right! Must’ve been my age. Apologies.” The older brother, dressed in all black, waved his hand over the horizon, its landscape shuffled slowly. At first, pixels deteriorated their illusion, and then all together, a different view was projected. 

    The sweet scent of flowers hit both of them forcing the older to heave. 

    “Disgusting” He murmured whilst the younger stayed quiet, curious to how his brother was going to win this bet. 

    The sound of the church bells followed when a beautiful lady, dressed in all white appeared. From top to bottom, her body sparkled like she was dipped in glitter and was left under the sun to illuminate the earth.

    “Miss Sparkles we have here” the younger brother laughed at his joke.

    “She makes me want to pull my eyes out of my socket.”

    They both exchanged looks before bursting out into laugher.

    The lady walked to the altar with her father in hand where her groom beamed with pride. “Perfection…” He whispered to her and she smiled. 

    “Yeah, yeah, she’s getting married. She is happy.” The younger brother yawned at the vision.

    “Hush, patience.” The second man interjected with a glare. “Don’t be in such a hurry, we’ve got a bet.”

    “Fine, brother.”

    Clara was being seen standing at the altar, her soon to be husband cried tears of joy. They were perfect. The venue, at the beach, was perfect. All of their friends and families were present there, making it the perfect occasion. 

    “YAWN AGAIN!” The younger man interjected once again.

    Sighing softly the other brother snapped his fingers, forcing the projection to skip through some scenes. 

    “Ah… Watch.” He smirked, giving his brother a glaring look. 

    As soon as the wedding ended, Bridezilla emerged, grabbing the designer by her throat and demanding why her chosen flowers were missing.

    “I don’t think this one is fair. I mean, c’mon.” The younger brother rolled his eyes, “Wedding is a stressful situation. It’s been a record for every bride to unleash somehow.”

    “Fine. Another one it is, this one I will clearly win.”

    Like a whirlpool, the scenario changed to a man sitting on a chair in a dimly lit casino. He rubbed his last quarter against his finger. His desire to gamble was far worse than his need to survive. He kissed his last quarter for what seemed like a thousand times before pressing it in the slot machine. His heart stomped in his chest as if his veins were being injected by caffeine. One by one, the rolls stopped until they were all the same. Clatters of coins dropped on the floor, igniting attention from the other patrons. Those coins never stopped coming, like a mountain full of cash, the man laughed. He laughed and laughed until there was no air in his lungs to sustain.  “I won!”

    “Good for him!” The younger man chirped thinking it was his time to win this bet.

    “Watch…”

    Derick Hutton got lucky one night. His quarter helped him win $2000. To a normal individual, their win would be accompanied by satisfaction but Derick was a different breed. He wanted more. The thrill enthralled him. And as predicted, the castle of clouds that he had built couldn’t sustain him any longer. Came down the man, back on his knees. Begging for people to hand him change. Fighting with his wife to let him go to the casino. Scaring his children of what a father he had become.

    A soft sigh escaped the first man’s lips, he glanced at his older counterpart. “So… That is sad but it doesn’t really prove your point, Thanatos.”

    “Ah, you really think I am wrong?”

    The first man nodded and just is, the screens kept changing. Stories of different men, women, and children. All tales. Someone surviving a car crash. Someone graduating. Someone failing. Someone earning 6 figures. Endless stories with different endings but regrets remained. Things lacked. Humans were never satisfied.

    “So, do you see it now, Hypnos?”

    Hypnos shrugged with a baffled look on his face. “So, is this why you bring those souls back?”

    Thanatos’ lips curled in a proud smile towards his brother. “Everyone is always looking for something… And the Dead can’t wish for more…”

  • Writing Prompt: Two Characters show love without mentioning it.

    Her eyes gawk, filled with rage.

    Lips pressed, she keeps her composure in check.

    “Since you’ve already made the decision” the strain apparent in her voice.

    “And now that you’re an adult.”

    “Mum, everyone’s going out, I want to, too!”

    You whine, feeling like a little child again.

    She nodded, understanding your pain and that your decision had been made.

    Mum walked towards the entrance, holding the door open for you.

    The cool breeze swayed in, chilling both of your bodies. Mountains burst erupt on your skin, the silence was dawning.

    “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

    You won the battle, but at what cost? Eyes that don’t meet, the reticence that greets.

    Footsteps follow out of the house, but her voice never draws you out.

    “Stop.. at least wear your coat… It’s cold outside…”

  • Difference between self-love and hate?

    I don’t know about you folks, but I try to derive happiness from accomplishing tasks even if that said task does not provide me with the satisfaction I had originally intended. If you were asking for examples, I’d say getting into Dean’s or Chancellor’s lists. Completing NaNoWriMo 2020. The joy probably lasted two seconds, “Oh, wow. I actually did that” then the indifference would settle in. Humans are so fickle. Say, if I hadn’t received those recognitions then I’d be upset thinking I haven’t attained my full potential and thus why I am sad. Which makes sense as to why people try and set New Year Resolutions. I wanted to make this piece a lot more cheerful but I couldn’t overlook the mental state of the character in mind.

    I mean, does body modification make someone like themselves more? I don’t know. I don’t think so. As I would imagine is that the state of mind does not change that is why when a slimmer person gains weight, their confidence isn’t affected as much. That confidence is bred in them. It wouldn’t shatter – like those piñata cakes we see on the gram- because of the change in number. Whereas, when a bigger person goes smaller, they’d imagine that would solve all their problems, but it wouldn’t. It takes time to build that confidence and self-appreciation.

    So, yeah. I am not sure. But, I suppose my message is that it doesn’t matter how you look or what form you are in. As long as you’re content with yourself. With the New Year coming in, I do hope whatever resolutions you have, you have it because you want to do it for yourself. For your own mental health and peace. I know I will. 2021 will be a year where I will try to open my Third Eye and attain peace within. 

    Namaste

  • Poem: You’ve finally attained your New Year’s Resolution… But at what cost?

    Glasses clanked against one another

    Cheering in style.

    For the New Year was here

    Keeping its ties.

    She walked into the room

    Feeling all eyes.

    Smiles beelined,

    Congratulating her strike.

    Pride engulfed her chest

    But ill-gotten gains deride.

    Being weightless meant to starve

    For her, happiness and pride weren’t the same stride.

  • Sisterly Love: A Haiku

    Sisters in Tandem.

    Cheeky Grins, Secrets Within.

    Chattering Away.

    Keira Shah
  • Guest Post by Keira Shah (periwinkle.pens): Cancel Culture & Doxing — is it Hurting your Mental Health? — Tales From Boredom

    Individuals have been affected by a new form of ostracism that has been taking the internet by a storm – the Cancel Culture.  Sure, it is always good to educate people on their mistakes, but none of us were born on a pedestal with omnipotent knowledge. It took trials and errors, blunders, and chastisements to […]

    Guest Post by Keira Shah (periwinkle.pens): Cancel Culture & Doxing — is it Hurting your Mental Health? — Tales From Boredom

    Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity!! Please do check out TalesFromBoredom on WordPress or Instagram. She’s an amazing artist. (Seriously, an all rounder!)

  • Happy New Year!

    Thank you so much for being a part of my journey. I couldn’t do it without all of you! I am so inspired by the different artists in our community who work endlessly to produce new blog articles and posts everyday!

    I never imagined that I, out of all people, would have a blog. It seems surreal. A year ago if you had shown me this, I would have laughed. But, now I am incredibly proud of this. It might not seem a lot but it is who I am. It’s my legacy in an odd way, for which I am thankful for.

    Here’s a list of my blogs that I am most proud of! (I am proud of them all, but these hold a special place in my heart.)

    So, yeah. Counting my blessings and wishing you more. I hope you enjoy the New Year in store! Happy New Year! ❤

  • Betrayal: As you’re stargazing one night you happen to see a shooting star, you jokingly wish for 1 billion dollars, to your surprise a man appears next to you and asks “Do you want that in cash or check?”

    “Excuse me?” Kedar’s voice choked in his throat when the strange entity appeared out of thin air.

    “Cash… or check?… Oh, sorry do you not speak English?” The strange man glanced over Kedar’s body who had been casually stargazing in the park.

    It was silent that night, the sky was clear with stars twinkling away. Seconds before the man appeared, Kedar almost thought he could’ve abducted the stars, they were all so close to his touch, just like his dreams, but never within reach.

    He closed his eyes, attempting to remember his mother’s smile and questioned if the pain of missing her would ever leave his body. Everyone kept telling him it gets better with time. He knew they meant well, but does time really ever heal? Sure, he wouldn’t ache for her as much he does in this instant but he would continue to grasp onto his anger until he died.

    “Kanna, if you wish upon a star, all your dreams come true.”

    And he tried. Every night until she passed on, he would stand out at his balcony and wait, hoping to wish for an extra day, second, moment with her. But now that she was gone, he did it out of spite. A game to see how much the universe disliked him. Even if there was no mother to look after him, it was better to cry in a seven-star hotel, wrapped in linen with thread counts higher than cells in his body, then go to the dump he called home.

    “Just because I am a person of color, you think I can’t speak English?” He spat, slightly furious at the man’s assumption.

    “No. You didn’t answer, thus I presumed.” He responded, pulling out a cigar from his trench coat. His hat hid most of his face, but Kedar could tell, something was peculiar about this man.

    “I am Ezra, by the way.” He introduced himself lazily while smoke slowly surrounded the man. A halo formed over his head as if that was supposed to make Kedar trust him even more.

    “Kedar…”

    “I know. That’s why I am here. Helper to the sorrow ” A half crooked smile appeared on his lips.

    “Very funny, you imagine you’re some Helper because that is what your name means, I am assuming since mine means Sorrow.” Kedar rambled, feeling uncomfortable with this situation.

    “Cash or check!” He roared this time, the hairs on the back of Kedar’s neck rose as if summoned.

    “Why now?” Kedar whispered as tears slowly burned the corner of his eyes. “WHY THE FUCK NOW?!”

    Sorrow turned into anger as Kedar stepped towards Ezra. The burning ache in his heart could never be tranquilized with a billion dollars, but he desired to recognize why he couldn’t have achieved this wish earlier.

    “That’s how she wanted it… Her wish was for a better future for you. Wishing a life for her would change nothing…”

    Prompt Inspiration

  • How does it feel to be Alive?

    Some days are better than others. Some breaths are deeper than most. How does it feel to be alive? If someone asked me that question a couple of years ago, I would’ve laughed because what’s there to live for? (Don’t go all alarmed! Hear me out…)

    Loving parents. They spoil us, even if they didn’t intend to. We are suddenly their universe and that creates a bogus desire in us, to believe that the world revolves around us.

    How many times has something bad happened to you and your instant reaction was:

    “Only bad things happen to me?” “Universe doesn’t like me!” “Why am I so cursed?”

    Certainly, I can’t be the only one with that thought.

    Adolescence hits us like a truck. High school comes crashing in. Our parents, who were once our guardians are banished out of the kingdom, the lone prince/ss must fight their own battle. Here is where reality strikes us. That may be the world isn’t all black and white, that we aren’t the center of it. The imaginary world crumbles from the weight of reality. Fears topple over one another and then questions emerge. Why are we alive?

    Why are we alive? Is it because we are here to learn about God and his beautiful creation? Or to build a name? Provide for a family? Or maybe there’s a possibility that there is no good reason at all. We are just alive, to be alive.

    It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Even a stray ant has a purpose. To look for food and bring it back to the queen, to feed and grow the colony. What about humans? We say we’re independent and yet we’re all so sad in our demise. So how does it feel to be alive? I would say it is scary. The meaning of life changes as I continue to grow but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to live. I do.

    The younger version of me would’ve loved it if I hadn’t made it this far, but I have. I’m proud of myself and so should you. Because for every tear you’ve shed, I promise you, there is a smile striving to be plastered against your lips. You just have to make it through.

    Recognize that sometimes we give ourselves less credit than required but criticize fourfold the minimum. But it’s okay. Life is like a piece of chewing gum, all the hard work one puts it, results in a wider outcome. (Don’t believe me? Stretch a bubble gum out and you’ll see!)

    A few pointers to mention.

    The world doesn’t revolve around you and that’s not a bad thing.

    • Don’t be embarrassed by your mistakes, seriously. How many embarrassing incidents do you remember of YOUR friends or people around you? I hardly remember such stories. So yes, don’t put yourself on a pedestal and wonder what others would think of you, quite frankly no one gives a f*ck.
    • Be kind to yourself. It’s a bad day, not a bad life. Bounce right back at it.
    • If someone calls you a loser or if you feel like one, wear it like a badge and improve from there onwards. Everyone starts somewhere right?
    • Know when to reach out for help. Talk to someone when you need a grip on reality.
    • Don’t be lost in the past. People might move on while you continuously dwell on your mistakes or stay up angry at others.
    • Last but not least, live life. I know it can be hard sometimes but peddle on. Your future self will thank you. People can be mean and rude for no apparent reason and don’t let that affect you. (It’s hard, I understand that.) If someone wants to stay in your life, they will. Don’t let one argument, one breakup, one bad date, one bad test score, one bad meal force you to do something drastic.
    • My simple motto is: treat yourself like you would your child. Something would seem unfair IF it would’ve happened to your own blood, then don’t be suppressed.

    Analyze. Understand. Reform. Don’t waste your life over nonsense.
    So yeah, it feels pretty darn good to be alive. 🙂

  • Access to the Internet in the After Life?

    “Welcome to After Cloud!” A disturbingly sweet computerized voice welcomed her.

     “What?”

     “Welcome to After Cloud.”

     “Yeah, I heard that. What is this again?” Laila deadpanned.

    “You’re dead–” “Yeah, I know. Can we move this along please?”

     “You are dead.” The voice repeated, hoping for a different reaction.

    “Yes! I know! I was filming my Facebook live during my accident! Can we get to the POINT! Geez, you sound as condescending as my mom.”

    If the voice was a machine, it would’ve sighed since Laila was someone she had never interacted with before. Giving up on the script, instant screens popped in front of Laila’s eyes. “Cool. You should’ve started with that. You’re pretty boh-ring.”

    Laila smirked, stepping towards the Hologram. Feeds from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, her real Reddit, and fake stood before her. “Noice.” She smirked with her dreamy eyes. She had somehow managed to capture her car crash on Facebook live, not the possibility of being the talk of the town made her bubble up.

    Something was different. This interface wasn’t like the one she had known, there was no section to read the notification, messages, comments, or likes!

    “Hm… Insights?” Her voice was calm and collected even though a volcano gurgled within her.

    “Hello! Can I get any insights on my profile? I need to know what my followers think of me!! I want them to cry for me!!”

    “Sorry, Laila. After Cloud does not allow you to see comments, likes, or shares. We care about your mental health.”

    “Oh fuck me.”

    Prompt Inspiration

  • [WP] You’re 86 and just died. But, have woken up again as your 12 year-old self, recovering from being in coma for 2 weeks. Although, you still remember your “past” as if nothing happened and retain everything you’ve experienced.

    “I miss you.” Jade smiled through his tears, running his fingers gently against a photo frame. An aged picture of him stood beside the first love of his life. His mum.

    Even though he had been 86, the aching hole of his mother’s death haunted him nightly. If only he had been smarter. If only he wasn’t a reckless child to get into an accident. If only they weren’t so poor. If only…

    So many Ifs but no solution prevailed.

    =

    =

    =

    The presence of people overpowered Jade’s subconscious mind. He constantly heard people coming in and stepping out.

    Silent prayers were said when a calloused hand held onto his. His fingers felt saturated from tears, he immediately knew it was her.

    There was no one else that could be this close to him. The familiar aroma of her skin invaded his nostrils. Bleach mixed with cheap soap and something that was just unique to his mum, the fragrance of her skin. Her earthy scent calmed his nerves even before he was born.

    “Ma…” He finally mustered the courage, overcoming the barrier that was between his conscious and subconscious state. His eyelids faltered, too heavy to fling open.

    His mother’s lips cracked into a wide smile, welcoming her child after two long weeks. “You’re awake…”

    “And, you’re alive…” His rejoinder wasn’t what she had been expecting but was welcomed nonetheless. A gentle squeeze of his hand before she reached over to his head. Caressing it tenderly, as if she was trying to deplete all the pain he had felt. The doctors had informed her of the inflammation around his brain, she wasn’t sure how drastic it was until now.“

    Yes, and I have missed you.” The sweet voice of his mother forced his eyes open as little clouds of joy formed in them.

    It was her. She was really here!!

    “I have missed you. So bloody much…” Jade whispered and in came the waterworks. He could see her before him, but his mind was in a fog.

    Had this been a memory? He was just crying and missing his mother, what is he doing here 74 years in the past?

    Jade tried to move his limbs, other than the external pain he could see from the accident, there was nothing else. No aching back. No throbbing knee pain. Even the skin on his hands was soft and supple.

    Could he be alive? Importantly, could she be alive?

    Jade pinched his arm and the skin around it pruned like the fruit.

    “Jade!” She looked at him alarmed. This was real. She was real. He remembered this moment in the past. His heart crushed down into tiny little pieces. Jade reached forward and hugged his mother the best he could. He filled his lungs with her scent. Heart-breaking cries erupted from his lips Not because he couldn’t remember how he had died. But he recollected how she had…

    A robbery went wrong at Hotel Serenity.

    -The End-

    Prompt Inspiration

  • NaNoWriMo… How it all went down?

    50,000 words. 30 days. It all seemed ridiculously hard! My first time participating was exhilarating since I finished with just 15 minutes to spare!

    My NaNo Journey

    I can’t write on the spot. Inspiration drives me. And here I was, throwing myself into the deep end with no floaters! (Trust me, that is scary. I have a winning streak of drowning multiple times haha)

    I faced a couple of problems on this end:

    • Lack of inspiration
    • The urge to edit while writing
    • Time management
    • Nothing worked out according to my outline!

    The solution to my hurdles:

    • Forcing myself to write even if I have ZERO motivation to.
    • Writing in a different word document and quickly pasting it to the manuscript to avoid editing.
    • I missed a few days and wasn’t constantly writing for 30 days though I picked it up the next day!
    • I went with the flow. The outline was meant to be a guide and what I have written is much much better! (Along with lots of plot holes.)

    What am I going to do now?

    • I am going to take some time out, let the manuscript brew while I get a fresh perspective on my story.

    Was it easy?

    • Yes and no. This was an added workload to my already buzzing life. I did enjoy it. It turned out to be my escape and my excuse of NEVER HAVING ENOUGH TIME TO WRITE fell flat. I did have enough time. I wasn’t prioritizing it.

    Will I be participating in it again?

    • Yes!! 2021 for sure. And that time, I hopefully overcome my hurdles again.

    My Outlook.

    • I am slowly gaining more confidence and hoping to write a lot more now. Maybe I will even try to upload twice a week! Give me some time though. I love you all for taking the time out and reading my work. It means a lot.

    How was NaNoWriMo for you? Did you find yourself in the new limelight? 

  • Guess 9/10 Dentists were wrong!

    “How’s it going Elena?” George’s hoarse voice screeched from the other side of the street.

    “It’s alright, getting pretty cold here, isn’t it?” I replied through my chattering teeth. I rubbed my palms close together to generate heat before placing them on my cheeks.

    The streets had gone quiet, they always rendered after midnight. Surviving on the streets hadn’t been an easy task, but that seemed like the only choice after I lost my job and the ability to remunerate for the outstanding bills. All Hail 2020.

    “Yeah, it is. At least the mask sort of helps with keeping the cold out” He smiled his toothless grin before putting his dirty brown mask on.

     I questioned if the color was actually brown or had it evolved that way through weeks and weeks of utilization without a proper wash.

    “Hey, George. Do you mind if I borrow some toothpaste? I ran out of my last tube.” I smiled politely but his response caught me off guard.

     “You’re a good kid but I can’t. That’s all I’ve got.”  

    “You can’t spare a small pea?”

    “I can’t.” He said with a sad demise in his eyes. Part of me was extremely irritated at that fact. I mean, the man barely had teeth, to begin with.

    Over the following few days, I noticed a substantial change in my teeth. Aside from the rancid breath, my gums got stronger. Gone were the receding gums and my nightly habit of gritting my teeth? That was gone too.

    But something kept changing. George held his distance from me and went on brushing his teeth from across the road. Hell, he even went ahead and rubbed toothpaste on his face like it was some sort of a sunblock.

    On the 5th night, something strange happened. My body was pressed against the cardboard, which was now starting to reek of something. Possibly it was my visceral scent. Inhabiting in the streets didn’t exactly allow me with a series of options to bathe in, that mixed with the snow that dropped constantly, I wasn’t going get water anywhere close to me.

    Where was I? Oh, right, the 5th night! And then.

     A black SUV pulled out and ascended out a figure all dressed in PPE suit. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. Everyone put on masks and PPE suits from the pandemic, but this one carried a long string of… wait, was THAT dental floss?

    “I am not going to hurt you.” His voice boomed from the suit, sending shivers down my body.

    “What? What are you? Who are you?”

    “A dentist.”

    Prompt Inspiration

  • Lacking Inspiration for NaNoWriMo?

    You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after with with a club. -- Jack London

    We’ve passed the 50% mark around 3 days ago. According to the “schedule” 30,000 words must have been written by today. I stand at around 26,000 words. The distance is growing faster but I will sprint to write soon! 

    Sadly, I am one of those people that tend to write when I am feeling inspired. (Which isn’t a lot of the time, hence why I post once a week!) NaNo has been a challenge in itself with the goal being around 1,667 words/day, mine has gone up to around 2,000/day! So, yes, I am pretty much struggling in that part. Whether it may be writing utter rubbish down to meet the word count or just trying to get my creative juices flowing.

    Yesterday I decided to take my time out and discuss with my Alpha Reader AKA my sister regarding the current formulation of my novel. (Ahem, my imposter syndrome is kicking in again, haha)

    I laid out all the plots and subplots that I have written and asked her for her insights. My work lacks structure for now (I’m purposely avoiding writing a few dark scenes.), it is getting along pretty well! So yeah, stick to your guns or grab a club ( whatever Jack London says, the dude knows what he is talking about!)

    So, here I am forcing myself to write this blog because if there is just one person out there that reads my blog or feels around the same way I am, I just want to tell you, thanks for stopping by. You’re not the only one that’s been lacking inspiration. GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE! *virtual hugs* (Or… not be so great, don’t quote me on it. 😉 )

  • What happens when Jim Halpert’s memory is erased and he is no longer married to Pam?

    “Babe, I asked you to get the coaster for me, not make one!” Joked Karen as she emerged from their shared bedroom with a glass of wine.

    The sight before her eyes was that of horror, her husband, Jim Halpert, was slumped on their couch, his fists tightly clenched around the TV remote.

    The TV’s volume seemed over the roof with how loud it was, nonetheless, the tension seemed enough to cut through glass.

    Karen’s eyes darted nervously between her husband and the voice beaming from the telly, trying to process the news that he might’ve heard.

    “Anonymous has once again managed to win the heart of millions of people while creating tension amongst the governmental agencies. The hacking organization has produced documents that site the names of different individuals who have had their memory altered by the FBI. Among which the names, Jim Halpert has topped the list with being altered at least 26 times. If any of this situation is true, we would be pleased to get in touch with Mr. Halpert. Additionally, the names of the remaining subjects are as followed.”

    Karen turned to her husband, who seemed to have aged in years in mere

    minutes. “Are you okay?” Her voice soft and filled with worry as she reached for the TV remote, turning it off hastily.

    Her husband didn’t blink, his stoic demeanor got her agitated.

    “Are you listening to me? What is wrong? Why aren’t you responding? Maybe I should call 911!” She blurted waving her arms around as if she were trying to hold onto an invisible hand for help.

    “Don’t…” Finally, the words rolled off his tongue, every piece of his being that was frozen, slowly back to life. A loud exhale left his lips, “I’m sorry… I wasn’t sure what had gotten in me, perhaps it is nothing…” His voice faded just like the seed of doubt that was slowly being planted in his mind.

    Could he be the one, the one they were talking about on the news?

    This bulletin brought in feelings that he had been ignoring for years. Jim always felt like a part of his life was missing, and he blamed that on the loss of his parents.

    But for tonight, enough feelings were evoked and endured. He pulled his beautiful wife in his arms and held Karen closely. His anchor in the toughest of times. “I love you forever.”

    When his eyes fluttered open the next morning, yesterday seemed like a distant dream. A dream that he had long forgotten, but the hollow feeling remained, deep inside of his gut.

    “Good morning” he forced a smile and gave his wife a soft kiss on her forehead, their every morning tradition.

    Karen was draped around her man, like a lioness guarding her cub already sensing danger to her territory. “Good morning, what would you like for breakfast?”

    “Anything is good, have you seen my phone anywhere?” He asked, slowly stirring away from her clenches, trying to find his lost phone between their sheets.

    “Oh, I switched our phones off, I was thinking of a… detox from all electronic devices, what do you think? We can go out for a walk, maybe to the park, or just stay in bed and spend some quality time?” She suggested cheerfully, to which Jim replied with a frown.

    “It’s Tuesday, I’ve got work… Kayaks are really in demand right now.” He smiled, looking away from his wife and staring into an abyss. A habit he had developed. He would look away from the person he was talking to and just shrug as if someone else were there. “And, I’ll need my phone, for the bike ride to work.” He added with a mischievous smile.

    The moment Jim switched his phone on, he was bombarded with a myriad of information. Names. List of names. The information he could not fathom. Words that seemed meaningful but worthless to him, for he was to blind to de-crypt them yet.

    Names, more names, and even more names but the mention of one stopped him dead in his tracks before he could go any further. Pam Beesly. The name didn’t hold any value but Jim felt the earth move from under his feet.

    He grasped his phone tightly and almost fell down to his knees, staring at the name, asking the name to talk back to him. Wishful thinking.

    He spent a few minutes to control his breathing before going further down the list.

    The list got even more terrifying than earlier. He saw the names of his parents, Gerald and Betsy, and his sister, Larissa with the addition of two other Halperts, Cece and Philip, confirming his suspicions that indeed he was the man on the news.

    Was Jim to blame for this? Or did someone else in his family lead them too to this? Who were all these people?

    ……..

    The man in the high chair sat quietly, his gaze fixated on the TV news before him. All his intricate planning and plotting were staring back at his face. The years he spent, trying to separate the two lovers, now seemed to be futile. He couldn’t let ergo. Not now. Not ever.

    Could the victims finally understand his big plan?

    “Look what you made me do…” he replied monotonous reaching for a picture on his desk.

    A picture of his beautiful woman, now aged, her glasses framed her face, hair covering her ears, blonde now from dying.

    “Pam… why do you keep testing me…?” He whispered caressing the picture through the cold glass.

    “After everything I’ve done for you?” He taunted, anger slowly rising through his veins as he slammed the frame against the wall, its pieces ricocheted around his office.

    “Why can you just love me as you loved him?” He exclaimed to no one in particular. His breathing was hitched as the man leaned over his desk, grasping it to hold himself up, trying to think of ways to clear this mess up. For once and for all.

    …….

    Almost two days had passed from his previous brush with reality, Jim had found himself in various stages of doubt around the people in his life. Jim could no longer remember the details of his previous jobs in the past 17 years. Details of his past were vague. He remembered meeting Karen at a point when she worked at a paper company, but that was it.

    His memory was filled with holes that even she couldn’t answer. They had been happily married for almost 7 years, according to the documentation. But other than governmental proof, he couldn’t say much.

    Last time a blackout occurred, Jim found himself waking up next to Karen. He was confused and dazzled when he woke up, thinking she was one nightstand until Karen explained everything to him.

    That he sometimes suffered from short term memory loss from an accident he had after they were married.

    With that, parts of his life seemed gone. She reassured him with proper

    documents that she was his wife. they were together. His parents had passed away and his sister lived in another state. Jim felt and was all alone.

    All his doubts were resurfacing, was Karen somewhat involved with his blackouts?

    He didn’t experience a blackout recently, but did he get too close to the sun last time and that they had to wash his memory away? Did she do this? But she didn’t work for the government. She still worked at a paper company? What did Jim have to do with the FBI? Who could he trust?

    Questions poured into his mind with no viable answer. He was lost and defeated. Any time Karen walked into the room; Jim would be terrorized with fear.

    He was scared of his anchor, the only person who he had complete faith in all these years and probably even more if the stories of his blackout are true. Nothing made sense anymore.

    …….

    Unaware of the big blunder occurring, Pam went on with her daily life.

    Her husband had made sure to screen all of the news channels and devices to avoid her getting involved. Supposedly that was the big advantage of being in his position, he could get away with almost everything and do things without gaining suspicion.

    Pam hadn’t even realized her phones were tapped, every conversation she had, her husband listened on the other side.

    He was paranoid to lose her, how long could he keep this charade going on? Perhaps forever, if it was in his power.

    Pam knew something was missing in her life, but she kept that feeling aside, blaming it on her husband’s erratic schedule.

    He was a soft-spoken man, somehow who always listened to her thoughts and emotions. He also had a daughter from a previous marriage but Pam wasn’t one to discriminate.

    She treated all the three kids equally like they were her own. Although she did notice that her husband treated his daughter from the previous marriage quite favorably with that of their kids. The idea irked her but she avoided indulging into that rabbit hole, for now.

    For now, she was a stay at home mom, handling the three little monkeys that turned her life around, with kids turning up there was always things to do and get done.

    Classes, recitals, events, games, and planning, and boy was she tired of them.

    She was tired of trying to fit in with the soccer moms and or being treated like a trophy wife. Pam wanted more, she adored art and hoped one day her husband would be supportive in her career path. For him, art was just recreational.

    …….

    Jim felt like he had been in a twisted joke, that any moment his wife, Karen, and their daughter Apple, would fly in and declare this as a prank… but it wasn’t.

    Jim was living in his purgatory, day in and out, breathing it, feeling it, absorbing through his pores, and burning into his soul.

    The emptiness he felt for so long was finally justified.

    It had been three days since his life spun before his eyes, and realized he was all alone. Nobody could be trusted. Not even his wife. Or their daughter. Everywhere he looked, his suspicion raised.

    Apple didn’t resemble him in any manner. Not the demeanor nor the physical attribute. He imagined his genes being recessive since the idea of his wife being unfaithful was preposterous.

    Five years ago, a confused Jim found embrace in a woman’s arms, this woman who called herself his wife. Karen provided him with a few pictures, but the one that really melted his heart and proved herself was them, in Niagara Falls, getting married.

    He looked so happy in that picture to have eloped and gotten married that the happiness poured back in. He accepted her as his wife.

    In retrospect, he should’ve known something was up regarding how vigilant she had been around him sometimes. He knew she kept tabs on him too. She liked to know everything about him at all times.

    “What? No, I just wanted to… uh talk…?” the mysterious man whispered, looking around as he tried to remain calm. This man’s hands were shaking from anxiety, but when Jim stared down at them, he was quick to shove them in the back pocket of his denim jeans.

    “Don’t trust anyone… E…Especially Karen…” he warned quickly with slight hesitation.

    “What? Why?” Jim retorted.

    “Check the marriage registry. Apple… “ The man answered instead then hesitated once again.

    “… Help Pam…. The children…” His voice rustled as his body seemed to be stepping backward from Jim. ” Cece..” He added before running away from the aisle as if he were Zorro.

    Jim sat slump in his chair, his screen flashed against his pale face. He was scared. Terrified. For the first time in 5 years, he genuinely felt lost.

    His eyes stared at the screen aimlessly, trying to fix the pieces.

    The marriage registry said he was never legally married to Karen Filippelli.

    What about those pictures? Were they morphed?

    Instead, Karen was married to someone named Dan until they divorced. Was Dan the man who nudged him in the right direction? Apple wasn’t his daughter after-all…

    In another world, Jim could see himself collapsing, breaking down into pieces at his recent discovering, but that wasn’t this Jim.

    This Jim was… relieved. He was happy to have faced all the lies that made up his world. He knew now, that the only thing that was missing in his life, was no other than Pam.

    Pam, who he was legally married to… up until…. She married Toby.

  • Will I Ever Be Enough?

    This is going to be different from my usual posts, but I believe this is something that NEEDS to be addressed.

    Short answer: No, you’re never going to be enough.

    Long answer: I’m sick and tired of people trying to console others by saying “Don’t worry, you’re enough.” But what is enough? Enough is so arbitrary, what does enough even mean? What’s the criteria? We’re all individuals, with our unique personalities, hobbies, characteristics, and quirks, then how can a “checklist” get us all deflated?

    Truth of the matter is, there are always going to be people far better than us and others worse. Rather than using our energy to sit down and sulk, thinking we’d never be enough or get to their level, why don’t way harvest that energy into something positive?

    So, if you’ve been having a difficult thing and have been a complete arsehole to your friends or families, this is the to apologise to them and start all over again. I believe in you.

    Yes, I might never be as good as the other writers, artists, or authors I see on here, but that doesn’t mean that I would self loath myself over it. Quite the contrary, my friend, I’d much rather work towards my goal by using my energy in a positive way. A little handwork does indeed go a long way.

    So yes, I won’t ever be enough, neither you, my dear reader, and that’s okay. We’re not meant to fix in boxes. You should only compete with yourself, and no one else. How different are you from yesterday? Do you see a positive growth? If not, DO SOMETHING! You are the only person to blame for “aimlessness” in your life. Yes, the thought is outrageous and might hinder someone’s feelings, but why should our mistakes or shortcomings be blamed on others? Enough with the escape goats and let’s all adult the right way!

    Work for your goals. Build yourself. Don’t let things chip at your self esteem. Love yourself, because if you don’t, you can’t expect others to love you to the moon and back. But more importantly, be kind. Let your kindness be as infectious as Covid19, you’d never know when someone might actually need it.

    This is where I personally thank my best friend in the whole wide world, JA. Thank you, boo. I for sure know that you are the only person who religiously reads my blog, haha! I want to thank you for always being there for me and helping me be my best self. Without you, I’d probably still be a sad mopey person. You were my inspiration behind this article Love you always!

  • 48% Women, 100% Ignored.

    There was a seat between us when I sat on the aisle. I was a young teenage girl, inexperienced at best, sitting in close proximity to a grown man. He turned with a lazy smile. All calm and collected while I was awkward and scruffy. Curtsey hellos were said. I pressed play on my phone, and my earphones never left my ears bare. They were always my safe zone.

    I closed my eyes, and with soft music playing, I was calm. I could find my breath getting slower. I was waiting for moments before take-off to set my phone aside. Passengers came in and took their seats. Safety lights were on. Air stewardesses were giving out take-off instructions but the middle seat remained empty.

    I cannot explain why or what made me feel uncomfortable. Just he did. I could feel his beady eyes on me with my eyes, but I ignored it like I was being paranoid. His attempts to divert my attention toward him. Talk to him. To look at him. All of it was ignored. I wasn’t going to reply to his gentle coughing or constantly stretching in the seat causing all of the seats to feel a slight vibration.

    3 more hours. That’s how long the flight was. Basically 2 hours if you ignore the take-off and land. Or an hour if you ignore the meal service. Just 3 hours.

    After take-off when the safety lights were off, I was finally able to pull my laptop out. I created a little working station for myself. My laptop was on the food tray and my piles of paper were on my lap. The end-of-the-year research paper had consumed all of my attention. Data filled my screen while I was trying to shuffle through all the noise being consumed by my brain.

    Out of nowhere, a big hand appeared before me. Its sigh surprised me. I recoiled to my seat with a gasp. “Yes?” I tried to keep my tone neutral, pulling my left earphone out. My heart thumped at such a minor incident. I was never good with human contact.

    “Are you a research assistant?” His eyes dropped to my lap. I sucked my stomach in, suddenly feeling conscious but his eyes were on the paper instead. I was flustered by how I was behaving. It was juvenile.

    “No, I am just getting a head start on my paper.” I smiled back politely.

    “Oh.” I couldn’t decipher then what it meant exactly but that word carried a lot of judgment with it.

    “Yeah.” I smiled politely turning back to my screen. I blanked. All the ideas vanished. I inhaled softly telling myself it was okay to lose it. Not a big deal. I could always reread and find my way again through the myriad of data exposed before me.

    My earphones were back in their original place. Music filled me. I relaxed my shoulder to adjust my posture.

    His hand yanked my left earphone out. “I am bored. Can you talk to me?”

    I stayed frozen. I didn’t want to chat with this strange man. I didn’t like that he touched my earphone. Or that now I will have to talk to him. Was I wrong to expect no chatter? Or just silence? Was I supposed to chat? He was older than me. I had to respect him. That is what our culture was about, isn’t it?

    “What do you do?”

    “I am a student and you?”

    “Student…” The word danced between us like a question. His eyes glanced down my body and for some reason, shame appeared on my cheeks. They seemed to be radiating heat.

    “Y-yes.” I choked on the words. I was uncomfortable. I glanced around at a few empty seats but I felt frozen. Would it be too rude to change my seat? Especially since I was never expecting to see this man ever again.

    “I am a businessman.” He added to bring my attention back to him. I nodded quietly. I felt my hands clench, I was trapped. Why couldn’t I… just move? Why did I feel so awkward and embarrassed? Just a few more hours. I could definitely endure those and not be a “bitch” about it right?

    His one-sided conversation continued. I looked at the window shutter behind him to fake eye contact while he continued chatting about… things. I don’t remember what he said. I was internalizing this situation to the certain extent that I became the bad guy. I should be more joyful and kind to strangers. I shouldn’t be upset. He wasn’t touching me or causing me harm. He just wanted to have a chat.

    Meal service started. I could feel the bile rising up my throat from my discomfort. I didn’t feel like eating. I stared at my food for a while. Blank. Still contemplating my choices. It certainly was not late to just MOVE. I did not have to be uncomfortable just to entertain this man, right? But the airline service trolleys were everywhere, blocking my view. I would be disturbing them from doing their job. How could I be rude and inconsiderate of them?

    “Aren’t you going to eat that?” His voice emerged.

    “Huh?… Oh no, I don’t feel so good.”

    He continued to glance at my plate. His lower lip had a stray piece of basmati rice hanging. That’s all I remember of him. Just that white rice strand hanging.

    “Would you like it instead?”

    He smiled brightly like he was expecting that. We quickly exchanged our trays. I watched him wolf down the biryani.

    I remember it being biryani because he said “you must be one of those. The ones that don’t eat their biryani after they find a piece of cardamom in it. Too disgusted by things. Women.” He said with disgust while I could just concentrate on that piece of rice still. Why hadn’t it dropped yet?

    He turned to me, expecting a response. The only thing I could say was “yes.” But that wasn’t true. There would never be a time when I would deliberately waste food. The meal would have been eaten once I had settled my stomach.

    There was always something bothering me about saying yes. Or why I didn’t move. As I look back, there is no doubt that man had crossed his limits.

    That’s the funny thing about a woman. There are so many ways in which we are suppressed. Parents ask us to behave, and we are subtly assumed to be fragile and weak, with a constant need for protection from the opposite gender.

    Those were the days when I wished I wasn’t young and impressionable. There is no need for me to entertain anyone.

    I do not need to entertain anyone. I have found this mantra to be extremely helpful. I don’t care. I will move if I am uncomfortable. It is my responsibility to protect myself and my feelings, not those of a stranger.

    It is my hope that my experience has taught you something. Please feel free to share yours. 

  • Introducing My New Secret Hobby: Cold Process Soap Making

    It is my pleasure to introduce my form of self-care to you. I have been off social media for the past few months (ahem, almost a year?). My characters are in the process of being developed, in the meantime. I hope you will have the chance to meet them one day. They are lovely.

    Anyhow! My break allowed me to develop another form of self-care. Creating my own soaps from scratch!

    The experience has been fruitful. The soaps I have made have been given as gifts to close friends and family members. Their feedback has been very positive. As a result, I am more comfortable sharing my work now. So, there you have it. A new addition to my collection.

    Coffee Soap with Rose Clay. Ro-Sea Soap is what I call it. Do you get it?

  • Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

    Goodreads Blurb:

    Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

    After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

    Desperation makes her open-minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it at night and on weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

    Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

    But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

    My Thoughts:

    It’s amazing. It’s such an adorable book! The minute I started reading, I had a hard time putting it down. By the time I stopped, I had completed 60% of it. For the most part, I was smiling.   

    What did I like?

    • The characters. A good thing about the author was the effort she put into creating quirky characters that were different from the norm. Tiffy wasn’t your ideal petite woman, nor was Leon bulky but they complimented each other perfectly. This was a refreshing change of pace. 
    • There is a depiction of abuse and trauma. I found it to be balanced, and neither overwhelmed the audience.

    What could’ve been better?

    • Leon’s perspective. Getting used to it took some time. While I can understand why it was made in regard to how his character was, I think it could’ve been better. 

    Overall, an adorable, adorable, ADORABLE BOOK! I am so glad I read it.

    Rating: 4.5/5

    Content Notice: Alcohol abuse, emotional abuse, cheating, and gaslighting.

    Audience:  Adult

    Pages: 352, Kindle Edition

    Meet the Author:

    Beth O’Leary is a Sunday Times bestselling author whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages. Her debut, THE FLATSHARE, sold over half a million copies and changed her life completely. Her second novel, THE SWITCH, has been optioned for film by Amblin Partners, Steven Spielberg’s production company. Beth writes her books in the Hampshire countryside with a very badly behaved golden retriever for company. If she’s not at her desk, you’ll usually find her curled up somewhere with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

    Disclaimer: If you use my links, it won’t cost you anything extra, but I will receive a very small percentage of any sales. Every little bit helps, though, so thank you very much if you do! 

  • Eight Perfect Murders: A Novel (Malcolm Kershaw)

    Goodreads Blurb:

    A chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders.

    Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”

    But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. The killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.

    To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects . . . and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leave more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.

    My Thoughts:

    As a reader, I had high expectations from this book. I can’t put into words my distaste for the ending, even though the setting was excellent. 

    What did I like?

    • The plot was compelling. But that’s it. I’m done. Yeah, I tried. That’s all folks.

    What could’ve been better?

    Overall, I wish this book had been written well. It had potential.

    Rating: 1.9/5

    Content Notice: Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, cheating, murder, and gore.

    Audience:  Adult

    Pages: 288, Kindle Edition

    Meet the Author:

    Peter Swanson is the author of five novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and a finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

    A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.

    Disclaimer: If you use my links, it won’t cost you anything extra, but I will receive a very small percentage of any sales. Every little bit helps, though, so thank you very much if you do! 

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