My New Journey: An Update

Friends! It’s been so long and I miss you all to bits. I have been keeping up with a couple of you when I can, but not nearly as much as I’d like to. I’m finally starting to get the hang of this school thing, so hopefully I can keep up with you better soon. I wanted to hop on here and give yall an update on how things have been for me. Going back to school was a scary thing, something I was really nervous about. It took me a while to build up the gumption to even do it. If I would’ve had someone’s insight on what it was like going back, I might have gone sooner. So, in case any of you are in that position, here I am telling you how it is. 🙂

I was really worried about the workload and balancing everything in my life. I’m a returning college student, but I’m primarily a mama. I was worried I was going to have to sacrifice some areas in my role as a mama in order to be successful in school, and I’ve found that that’s not the case. Things are different in our house now. My daughter goes to school while I go to school (which she LOVES,) and oftentimes I have to sit at the table and do schoolwork while my daughter sits next to me drawing or playing with blocks or having a solo dance party, etc. But I haven’t felt forced to sacrifice anything. In fact, I actually feel as though I have more to give somehow. Not sure how that works, but I’m taking it while I’ve got it.

Being an English major means I spend the majority of my free time reading for school or writing for school. There isn’t a lot of free time to do either of those things for pleasure, although there might be if you didn’t have a husband and a 3 year old. I miss reading whatever the heck I want and writing whatever the heck I want, but I know what I’m doing now is making me better at both of those things. Is it possible to be a better reader? Yes, I’d say so. It’s definitely possible to be a better interpreter of literature, which is what we spend a lot of time on. I’m certainly interested to see what reading a book of my choosing will be like after my first semester is completed.

I love what I study, I love my assignments and I love going to class. I don’t know how else to say it. The girl who absolutely hated high school and never had high ambitions for herself is now seeing the world through a lens of possibility, and enjoying it. My forward momentum keeps building and moving faster and I don’t plan on stopping it anytime soon. My future is just that, mine. And I’m so thankful for that. This opportunity is not lost on me. If you would’ve told 18 year old me that I would end up studying English and feel completely invigorated and excited about it, I would’ve said you were lyin! But life has led me here in the only way it could.

My biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to go back to school is to make sure you love what you study. If you don’t love it, it will feel like a hassle and a burden. If you love it, it will feel fun and exciting and will fuel a part of you that you never knew existed. Loving what you study makes the difference. I’m halfway through my first semester and I feel 100% certain that I’m studying the right thing.

Come Christmastime, I should be back with a couple of reviews. I’ve got a few books in mind that I’d like to read and I can’t wait to get my heart sucked inside a book again. I miss it so. Do you guys have any MUST READS for me during my time off? I hope you all are well and reading alllll of the books. Fill me in on your adventures! I’ll be checking in when I can. Xoxo

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My New Journey: An Update

Farewell For Now

Unplug

My dear, dear friends. A lot of you have been with me for the past year and a half, faithfully reading my words and responding with vigor. Your presence and support has meant the world to me and in a huge way, this whole blogging experience has led me to where I am today, a returning college student. I will not be posting nearly as much, if at all, over the next couple of months because I am going back to school. After looking over only two of my classes requirements (I’m taking 4 all together,) I am already completely overwhelmed and know that I won’t be able to afford distractions.

I have so many doubts about this decision. Is my daughter ready to be away from me two days out of the week? Can I trust the people whose hands will now care for her? Can I handle the workload? Will I be able to keep up with my classmates due to it being years since I’ve been a student? Am I smart enough? Strong enough? Capable enough? So, so much weight on my shoulders lately, and that’s only the academic/mama/Kacy side of my life. Let’s not even talk about my husband’s new job and school schedule that starts tomorrow. If I told you, your eyes would shoot out of their sockets and permanently freeze there like mine already have.

It is with much torment that I must take a break from my beloved Fettered Matriarch role and focus on these new, exciting things. This matriarch is fettered no more! I am onto things that have required a lot of bravery from my inner self, and I’m still in a state of disbelief that I’ve even taken this step. I will miss this outlet dearly but hope to pop in from time to time and see what’s going on in the book world.

I can’t thank all of you enough for your presence in my life since I started this thing. The books I’ve read have all (well, almost all) changed my world for the better. But with certainty, it is the people I’ve met that have surprised me the most by being exemplary human beings. You, my dear friends, have enriched me more than you’ll ever know. You have given me the confidence to take this step. You have shown me what girl power really means. You have given me the comfort of a warm hug from miles away. I am not deserving of any of you, but I’m keeping you nonetheless.

Farewell for now, fellow bookworms. I hope the fall season brings you crisp, cool air, all the pumpkin spice lattes you could ever imagine, and ultimately, happiness. Sending you all my love, forever and ever. Xoxo

Farewell For Now

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Review

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. 


Speak is one of my favorite books of all time. I first read it in middle school and found a kindred spirit in Melinda. What specifically happened to her didn’t happen to me, but I was able to relate to her in feeling like an outcast and being in my head all of the time. As I reread it this time around, I was able to appreciate it in the same ways I did as a teenager, but also in new ways as an adult and mother.

“There is a sprinkling of losers like me scattered among the happy teenagers, prunes in the oatmeal of school.”

I think one of my favorite things about this book is the main character herself. Melinda is hilarious, although, I wouldn’t classify this is a comedic book. Her negative outlook on high school and her sarcastic way of dealing with it are so familiar. She’s one of those chicks that, to me, is cool without being cool. And chicks like this are always the coolest. The person she is feels so real, and I’m so sad that she can only be found in this book. I want more Melinda!

“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside–walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know.”

The writing in this book makes me so happy. There are certain vocabulary that a teenager probably wouldn’t use, but it didn’t bother me one bit. I was able to enjoy it as an 8th grader and an adult, so I think Laurie Halse Anderson has done a great job in creating a young adult novel that can be read by multiple ages. Her way with words through the inner voice of Melinda are secretive yet blunt. You aren’t sure what exactly is going on with Melinda for a while, but you know how she’s feeling and the writing makes you feel it too.

“BunnyRabbit bolts, leaving fast tracks in the snow. Getaway getaway getaway. Why didn’t I run like this before when I was a one-piece talking girl?”

The copy that I read is specifically the 15th anniversary edition, and I’m so happy I happened upon it. The interview with the author in the back is great. Laurie Halse Anderson really has a knack for understanding struggling teenagers. I think this story can benefit teens and adults alike, especially if read together as a parent/child or teacher/student duo. This is one of the books I hope to read with my daughter someday. I can’t wait to see what emotions and feelings this elicits in her as well as the conversations that will be started from first hearing Melinda’s story. I also plan to have it on my shelf in my classroom, if that dream ever becomes realized.

If you haven’t read this before, the time has come. I am going to link you to the paperback below because it’s actually cheaper than the kindle version, and I’m confident the majority of you are going to want this physically on your personal shelf. If you have already read this before, it’s time for a reread! Encounter Melinda as an adult and see her world from a different angle this time. This book will forever hold a special place in my heart.

To see purchase options for Speak through Amazon, CLICK HERE.

To learn a bit more about the mad woman in the forest, I mean, Laurie Halse Anderson, CLICK HERE.

 

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Review

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover Review

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?


Colleen Hoover gives us ALL HER PERFECTS in her latest romance centered around a marriage that has lost its spark. This was such a great read. It pulled at my heart strings every which way and had me completely invested the entire time. So easily 5 stars, and probably one of my favorites this year.

“When you meet someone who is good for you, they won’t fill you with insecurities by focusing on your flaws. They’ll fill you with inspiration, because they’ll focus on all the best parts of you.”

The characters Quinn and Graham both felt so honest and realistic. I believed them, and I felt like they easily could’ve been actual people in real life. Graham took the cake for me here. I loved his happy-go-lucky past self and his tortured, barely making it present self. He is there for Quinn even when she doesn’t think he is. My heart hurt for Quinn for basically the entire book. I can’t imagine going through what she has been through, and I just wanted to reach inside the book and give her a long, tight hug. This poor girl, this poor marriage, my heart is still in shambles about it all, you guys!

“No matter how much you love someone–the capacity of that love is meaningless if it outweighs your capacity to forgive.”

This story is very raw and very emotional. It will make you look at your own marriage differently. Colleen has the power to change people’s hearts with her words in All Your Perfects, and I’m so thankful she wrote it. It is absolutely beautiful. I already wish I could go back and read this for the first time again. Get this in your hands ASAP!

To see purchase options for All Your Perfects through Amazon, CLICK HERE.

 

 

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover Review

Off Topic Tuesday

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Happy Off Topic Tuesday, friends! Today, Ashley, Sabrina and I are chatting about the places we’ve lived. We will keep the specific locations of our residencies top secret, but explain as much of our pasts as possible. Be sure to head over to 5171 Miles Book Blog to see their post! I’m so excited to see the journeys Ashley and Sabrina have been on.

I grew up in a small railroad town in Illinois. Out skirted in corn fields and railroad tracks, this town and its culture are embedded deep in my roots. Life here was simple. My interests included friends, basketball, softball, swimming, acting, singing, and whatever other activity I wanted to try. We had a pool in our backyard which kept me occupied during the summer, and my dad would take me sledding after big snow storms during the winter. We followed the high school’s girls basketball team. Went to all the home games, and even a lot of the away games. The players were celebrities in my mind and I was a groupie. I ate it up. There was (still is) the best ice cream place within walking distance from my childhood home and, as I got older, I was even able to ride my bike there with my friends WITHOUT adult supervision. The whole world felt as big as my little town, and I liked it that way. I felt safe and happy. My parents did a great job of raising me in front of the backdrop of our town.

My world got shook in 5th grade when I found out we were leaving my comfortable and protective bubble to move to Texas. Small town girl, no more! The big city (really, the suburbs) was my new home and I wasn’t ready for it. This move changed me and shaped me. I’m certain I wouldn’t be who I am today if we had stayed in Illinois. I went from a big fish in a little pond to a small, minuscule fish in an enormous pond. For the first time in my life, I was friendless. And boy did my ego need that.

Texas wasn’t all bad, though. I learned to love it. I quit all of the things I had done in Illinois and started anew. Volleyball was my new crutch. Introversion was another. I stuffed my ears with music and my face with books. I started dipping everything in ranch. I spent one summer being “country” after I bought a pair of boots and listened to a couple Miranda Lambert songs. I did make some friends, but only one of them do I still talk to today. The best part about Texas? Meeting my husband, a fellow immigrant from the Northeast.

At 19 I got married and joined my husband in the crazy military life. I first moved to upstate New York, where DH was finishing up his first duty assignment. Our summer months there were absolutely breathtaking. Cool, bright green and calm are the things that come to mind. We spent our first two months of marriage there and then made our way to Northern Virginia, where we stayed for a while. We traveled the Northeast a bit during this time. It was so beautiful. I had never been in this part of the country before, so everything was new to me. I didn’t particularly like living in Virginia, though. The traffic was horrible and the summer months basically felt like Texas.

After our stint in the Northeast and a long year apart, we made our next home in Kansas. I thought I was going to love Kansas in comparison to Virginia. A small town where traffic was nonexistent. But, can I ever be happy? It was too calm. We had to drive an hour to get to certain stores, and two hours for big city entertainment. It felt like we lived in the middle of nowhere, because we pretty much did. While I wouldn’t ever want to live there again, it will always hold a special place in my heart since we got pregnant and had our first baby there. As with all places we lived early on in our marriage, we were just happy to be together.

I’m so thankful for this life I’ve been given. All of the places I’ve lived have made an impact on me in some way, and I am who I am because of of them. Who knows where life will take us next. We love being near our family right now, but later in life we envision living somewhere with a less brutal summer and lots more trees. Maybe even some snow. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out 5171 Miles Book Blog next and see their Off Topic Tuesday post!

Off Topic Tuesday

Peony Red by J. Lynn Bailey Review

Peony Red by J. Lynn Bailey

Three years ago, Alex Fisher lost her husband and since then, she hasn’t been able to find her stride. She’s out of a job, out of time, and running on fumes. When she receives a personal invitation to visit the picturesque town of Granite Harbor, Maine, she jumps at the chance to start fresh.

For game warden Eli Young, life is simpler when he’s exploring the back roads of Maine. In the north woods, he doesn’t have to deal with town politics or his soon-to-be ex-wife. But a chance meeting with a brokenhearted newcomer leaves him tangled. He should walk away—except, now that he’s met her, he can’t turn back.

When a young woman goes missing in town, tensions rise, and everyone becomes a suspect. Eli doesn’t think things can get any more complicated…until a picture of Alex is discovered at a gruesome crime scene.

In a town where trust is hard to come by and ghosts from the past haunt its citizens in the broad light of day, the question isn’t whether Eli and Alex can save what’s left of their hearts…but whether they’ll live to see tomorrow.​​


Books like Peony Red make this homebody want to travel. I fell in love with Granite Harbor, Maine, the quaint little town this story takes place in. I can still picture it in my head. The colors of the forests, the main street, the pie shop, the soft snowflakes falling from the sky. J. Lynn Bailey did such a great job of giving the perfect amount of details to make me feel like I was actually there in the frigid weather of the North East. It’s almost like Granite Harbor was a side character in the book. Effecting the story line ever so slightly and jumping in with little reminders of its relevance. I loved this setting!

“I wonder if life puts us through trials to test our character, our integrity. I also wonder if fate plays an even bigger part. People are put in our path at certain times to teach us to be better people. Or to prove we were shitty people to begin with or maybe to redeem ourselves.”

Oh my gosh, the writing. These are the kinds of words I live for. J. Lynn Bailey’s heart shows through her writing and it is just so beautiful. These types of romances are pretty much always a win for me because I am able learn something from them. Whether it be something I can be better at in my own marriage/relationships or something I can let go of that’s been sitting on my heart. I did a lot of highlighting in this book and for good reason. The writing in this book is a win.

“In our moments of sadness, I see my everything with you. Because, when your heart breaks, mine does, too.”

There was one aspect to the book that I had a hard time with which led me to my 4 star rating. Within the first 50%, dual POVs are given for the exact same scenes. I didn’t feel like it was necessary. I was able to interpret the other character’s emotions/reactions from the singular POV, so I didn’t really need both. This wasn’t continued so much throughout the rest of the book, though, and I was easily able to stick with the story.

“If we allow our experiences to define us, then I believe we get stuck–emotionally, mentally, spiritually. But, if we begin to embrace who we are fully, not allowing any label to capture us, then we become whole.”

I really loved this book. The characters are real and relatable, the story is unique, the writing is captivating, and the setting took me out of the Texas heat and directly planted me in the winter of Maine. I will definitely be keeping up with this series and look forward to the next one which features secondary characters from this story. I can’t wait!

To see purchase options for Peony Red through Amazon, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

Peony Red by J. Lynn Bailey Review

One Small Thing by Erin Watt Review

One Small Thing by Erin Watt Review

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems like a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.


A big thank you to my friend Talon from Under The Cover Blog for this recommendation. After reading her review, I was sold and immediately added this to my TBR. First of all, this cover is GORGEOUS. I am a huge water person and pretty much any type of cover with water on it makes me so happy. Talon mentioned in her review that not reading the synopsis was key to enjoying this book. I have to agree with her. I don’t tend to read blurbs on reviews anymore and instead just the review. Even without reading the blurb, the plot was guessable to me, but I was still able to enjoy this book and be completely immersed.

For whatever reason, YA books like this one suck me in so hard. The first person narrative, the drama and angst of a teenage girl, the different personalities and mistakes made at that age, I’m a sucker for all of it. Erin Watt captured all of those things so well in One Small Thing. Despite not having a lot in common with Beth, I was able to relate to her and really understand where her heart was throughout the entire book. As a parent, I was able to understand her parents point of view as well. Everyone in this book is hurting in all different ways and Erin Watt describes it all perfectly.

Chase. Chase, Chase, Chase. I love this character. Give me all of the flawed, emotionally damaged and guilt ridden male characters so I can gobble them up. Om nom nom. You know, they always say that a man has this innate desire to save a woman, but I’ve always been partial to being a hero to my man. And I think in a way, Beth is that hero for Chase in this story.

The only qualm I have with this book and the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I wish the theme had been focused on more. It is really moving and inspiring, but I didn’t get ENOUGH of it. I think this book had the opportunity to make a profound impact on readers but it missed the mark. Despite the lack of intensity in the theme, I still really enjoyed this book and will be looking for more to read by this author.

To see purchase options for One Small Thing through Amazon, CLICK HERE.

 

 

One Small Thing by Erin Watt Review