The Stray Russian Blue

A Review: Whisper to Me by Nick Lake

**May contain spoilers**


Nick Lake’s Whisper to Me is not what I was expecting it to be. You know like the usual YA contemporary romance, well, I was right with the contemporary though but reading its synopsis as a basis of what this book is all about will surely make you thought of the same thing, which is totally wrong. Why? Please, refer to the sited synopsis of the novel.

“Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely.

Desperate for his forgiveness, she’s telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She’s hoping he’ll understand as well as she now does how love — love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself — can save you after all.”

See? It was pretty hideous for a synopsis. If you think that’s just it, I’m telling you now you’ve been deceived! I feel sorry for myself thinking it’ll be just like that. But come to think of it, that’s how most synopsis work, to capture the interest of a reader and most likely, one way to deceive them from thinking it is what it is. Evidently, Whisper to me is just plain remarkable. It’s a combination of thriller/mystery and love with participation of mental health awareness which for me is really a genuine and recommendable novel.

The entire story or the entirety of the letter Cass has made already answered what were meant to be questionable. You know like the part when Cass thought that the reason why the guy she’s crushing on keep on helping Paris is because he’s more drawn to it turns out it is just his way to get close to her

** “I know better now. I know you were helping Paris because you liked me, and I liked Paris, and so automatically you liked Paris.”**

And that part when she was hiding her feeling towards that guy (I honestly don’t know if the guy’s name was mentioned. Seriously, I can’t remember his name.), there were all answered right away not only because Cassandra immediately mention the words “You know that by now.” but because this entire book, this story is an apology letter. She wanted to be forgiven, she’s asking for second chance. This is one of the factors that made this book unusual to me and I like it for that.

Aside from those unpredictable twists and turns, this story enlightens its readers to a new realization — self-discovery. Cassandra hated herself because of the thought that she killed her mother the voice that she heard since the beginning that she has found that foot on the beach shore was none other than her voice alone. According to the psychiatrist that her friend Paris has recommended her to, she has developed anger, hatred, disgust and that all that the things that her voice whispers to her were all a product of her mind. This is a spoiler, I know but I’m not forgetting that I warned you in the first place. There is lot of passages that I really found uplifting most especially if you suffered the same illness like them. I advise you to just read the book for I want you to feel the intensity of realization Cassandra has finally found throughout the book. I assure you it will worth your while.

Regarding the mental health issue in this book, I admire how Lake creates a picture of what people with mental issues (voice hearers) experience, how they deal with it, what they usually feel and the likes… it is such a brave act to open up in this way. Throughout that scenario, I have this thinking that Nick Lake must have suffered the same illness as Cassandra and that what he states in this novel was all based on his own experience. Probably, I am not certain but who knows, right? Because not all stories that authors claim to be fictional are entirely fiction. Some are plain true. (After reading the author’s note which I never forget to read, Yes, Nick Lake has also suffered into mental illness. Cassandra’s story has been his way to spread awareness regarding mental health that people suffering through it will get better with proper help that they need. They will get better we just have to help them get better. ) and I’d like to commend the participation of Greek Mythology because of how it took part on the story. The way Lake connects it to the storyline is just relevant to how everything goes.

And lastly, the execution of the story. The book is divided into two parts: PART BEFORE and PART AFTER. I must admit that the way it was chosen to be as it is suit well because I was amused by how different the story shifts into one genre into another. The PART AFTER has suddenly turned into a good thriller novel, some kind of a mystery like Nancy Drew. It was so good. I had myself aching for answers on what’s going to happen without wanting the issue to be solved immediately. Do you get what I’m saying? I wanted it to end because of the answers bounded by curiosity that I wanted to get a hold but then I do not want it to be done because it’s just so good. This is so out of my expectation.

Amazing twists and turns, well-written and good choice of wordings.

Notable Passages:

“It’s so hard, when you fall for someone — the temptation is to look back on the past and rewrite things so they seem more significant. I mean, hearing a voice is extreme. But often, even when we’re supposedly sane, our own thoughts can be foreign to us.”

“It’s not for us to find people. Or to make them pay. You take revenge, all you do is throw away your soul. Sometimes things happen that you can’t control. Sometimes we lose things we can’t get back. And there are some things we just can’t ever know.”

“I have learned that some people come into our lives, and then are gone. And that part of the thing, part of life, is to accept that fact, to accept that they’re gone. But there’s something else too: and that’s realizing that a part of them will never be gone. We think of lives as stopping, suddenly. But they don’t. They are like waves, like ripples, like echoes that continue to resonate from their point of origin, out into the world.”


5 stars for entirety: structure, concept 2.5 stars on the cover. (It was somewhat misleading. The cover gives the reader an impression of plain contemporary novel which definitely is not just like that. I don’t know, I believe there has to be more suitable covers for this book. It’ll surely become more marketable if only they realized that. No offense.)

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Most of what we think of as “love” is bullshit

Here’s how real love does and does not go.


“Young man, why are you eating that fish?”

“Because I love fish,” the young man answers.

“Oh, you love the fish. That’s why you took it out of the water and killed it and boiled it. Don’t tell me you love the fish. You love yourself, and because the fish tastes good to you, therefore you took it out of the water and killed it and boiled it.”

So much of what we think is ‘love’ is really this.


Romantic Love

When I was breaking up with my boyfriend of five years, he responded with a heartfelt, “but I want to be with you!”

As though that makes sense as a rebuttal.

As though his needs alone were enough. As though saying that would somehow make me forget my own dissatisfaction, like “oh! well damn, aiight.” As though that was an appropriate, loving response.

I sighed. And then I asked him “why do you want to be with me?”

And he looked me in the eye and actually said to me, “because you’re beautiful.” Full stop.

And that’s how he broke my heart and confirmed my decision in about 1 second flat.


“Whenever someone tells me I’m beautiful, they’re telling me they love themselves. They’re telling me that they want to be around people and things that give them pleasure, and that my physical appearance gives them pleasure. But, they’re not telling me that they care about me.” — Emma Lindsay, Fish Love


So many women are ready and willing to accept “beautiful” as the highest compliment; embrace it as the pinnacle of their person. But it’s not.

That comment really says nothing about you.

“Finding someone beautiful is not love, it is self love. Because finding someone extremely pleasurable is not love, it is self love.”


I still struggle with what to do when being called “beautiful.” Most days (and it is most days, being a bartender) I can brush it off a little and laugh; I can accept this low level of discourse from someone across the bar, who doesn’t know me, never will, and, frankly, isn’t invited to; for whom I’m paid to be how they want to see me, “beautiful” included.

But part of me still bristles every time a partner or potential partner says this, especially because they always fucking list it first.

Every time it happens, the music stops for me a little, like: oh. yeah. that’s right.

I have to triage — either push through it; ask and look for other things; deliberately stack things in their favor regardless of their indiscretion; do the work and paint a prettier picture for us both… or pretend and look the other way.

Because “beautiful” is never, ever love. We romanticize this culturally, but we’re wrong.

“If you spend your life looking for love by trying to find someone who thinks you’re crazy beautiful, you won’t find love. If you spend your life trying to find someone you think is beautiful, you won’t find love.”

If someone thinks you are beautiful, but doesn’t care about your feelings or your reality — or, more specifically, if they prefer that your feelings and reality simply mirror their own or otherwise be uncomplicated for them — then they do not love you. They like you as fish.

Same goes for being liked for “security” or any number of other major features you may offer.

“If you believe you can be nourished by this kind of love, you will be disappointed.”

Parent-Child Love

Every time I break up with a boyfriend, I break my mother’s heart a little too.

And sure, it’s partly because she “just wants me to be with someone” (an inclination that we’re all so quick to chalk up as “love” when it isn’t, given that it directly usurps my own, actual life decisions) but mostly because: the woman just can’t fucking deal with change.

She gets to know someone and suddenly thinks I owe her their permanence in my life and hers. And when that ceases to be the case, she piles more emotion onto my breakup than I do, clinging to my exes and continuing to stay in touch with them (sometimes for years), occasionally turning to me and saying things like, “you messed up; you made a mistake.” Even when it was bullshit love and, knowing that, I’m better off without them. Mama, she don’t fuckin care.

My mother also hates it when I change jobs. She hated when I dropped my startup — because she just “liked telling people” I had my own business. Nevermind it wouldn’t scale and wasn’t what I wanted in the longterm.

How she fails to see that any of this is a far cry from real love astounds me. Maybe she just doesn’t care. That I can believe.

We think this sort of shit is okay — endearing even; “motherly” — simply because “all moms” think and act this way. But that’s just our societal (and, frankly, women’s “Feminine Mystique”-esque) insecurity speaking.

And it sure as fuck isn’t love.

I care for her, but I’m also pretty sure I tolerate this simply because I choose to honor my social obligation to.

I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth. I love you
According to my bond, no more nor less.

— Cordelia, King Lear

And I think she fails to realize how quickly I will cease to tolerate it the minute that scale tips in favor of “zero fucks.”

We think the parent-child relationship somehow saves love — maintains it in some pure form — but we’re often wrong. Every reason to have a child is fundamentally selfish or socially-construed, and everybody lives with this dynamic hanging over them from a parent.


Is like the pinnacle of fish love. A wedding is the frying pan; all the years after, the plate. (Divorce and falling out, perhaps, the disposal.)

“I’m gonna make her my wife,” we say, and accept as the measure of romantic achievement.

Because we want to mark them as our own; want some legal binding to make this thing more like “forever.” God forbid they continue to roam the earth as an individual, with no legal obligation not to stray. God forbid we love them as their own person without a sense of ownership or agency over them.

With our goal first being marriage, and the person only being the means. Or with another person being the object of our desire, and marriage being the vehicle through which to get that shit on lock down. And sure, it isn’t always the case — I know there are people tightly tethered to their own True Love Story, who will get defensive about the Real Romance that they have, and that’s fucking fine. But, outside of you two Genuine Lovebirds, this shit is often fish.


It’s not that self-love is wrong. In fact, genuine love requires you to first love yourself. The problem is that too many of us don’t self-love using ourselves, and we instead use other human beings to achieve it.

And the even bigger problem is that that’s the only way so many of us seem to know how to interact, and it’s perpetuated by what we see from other people, media, and society.

So often we approach other living and breathing human beings looking to reduce them to a set of characteristics; pick and choose how to see them and collect from them what makes us feel good and keep us company on a Friday night.

Love is care, not consumption. It is about first loving yourself; having a whole existence with enough sustenance that you do not need to pull love off of those around you.

And when we finally direct our attention at others, love is about give and not take.

Love is not a feeling. Love is an act.

We’ve all heard this and some of us even believe it, and yet when we’re asked why we love our beloved, we continue to dumbly reply: “because she/he is___.”

i.e., we love them because of what they represent for us — and provide.

But good love has nothing to do with what they are or what we harvest from them. Good love is the way in which we love them — it’s us loving their very being, us loving their essence, us loving their ups and downs and imperfections and dumb complaints and irritations and short-comings and differences, for fucks sake, us loving their decisions — each day.

We fail to realize that the answer to “why?”, in true love, is something more like “because I choose to.”

And that the bigger question in love is more like “how” we’ll love as an act so hard and fast and deep, and less about “to whom” or “why.”


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I so love this article. Often times we mistakenly thought of LOVE as something very ideal, perfect but truth to fact, LOVE is one of a kind. Love is unconditional.

Why do we have to let go?

photo credits to the owner.

Letting go is never an easy thing. It cuts as deep as hell and hurts so bad out of your expectations. Some may think that letting go is just part of our life and that we must get used to it but there were also some that could not believe with it. Why? Because they have never tried doing so which isn’t that bad if they think it is the right thing to do.

But generally, why do we have to let go?

To depict a picture on the essence of letting go, I would like to share this writing that I’ve read from Ceeart publication in Medium by Artchelle Arcillas titled “I have let go”.

I have let go…

Ofthings I know I cannot handle, I have come to the realization that it is God who will be there for me whenever I needed help the most. That it is only him who won’t get tired of listening whenever I vent out my thoughts. Reaching out to him every night before I end each day helps me to start the days with hopes away from worries, Yes, my problems are still there behind me, some are just in front of me waving ‘hi’ bugging my mind but I notice that they no longer trouble me that much. It actually strengthens me to wake up each day and work to be able to finally get rid of them. It just doesn’t pain me at all unlike before.

Ofpessimism. I realized that only when you filled your mind with positive thoughts, positive energy will come and surround you. I remember when I was on my way home, I saw myself staring impassively on the window and that time I caught myself thinking of scenarios that are not even happening. That’s the triggering part there, once I’m in the midst of in-depth thinking I knew that that over-thinker Artchelle is awake and I need to immediately snap and be present again. I would like to thank Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now for being one of the reasons why I was able to be conscious of how my mind works.

‘Listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence.’

a quote from the said book. After I’ve finished the book, I began to try to be the watcher of my mind, guiding my energy on the things that will deliver optimism on my being. I didn’t know if it will work at first but when I notice the changes that I had by simply staying conscious in the present, there I continued the practice.

Ofneediness in relationship. I admit that I am an avid fan of sweetness, I really am, so when that situation came where my partner quite change and he’s no longer that man who has the sweetness all over, I was quite astounded…I began to long for that ‘him’ who showers me with captivating deeds, it’s hard to adjust to the situation, to be honest. There was a time when I almost give up, I no longer feel appreciated, I feel like I was taken advantage which I despised the most in a relationship. I hate it so bad that there was never a night that I didn’t cry about it. I keep on thinking about his situation as well but then I realized why it has to affect ‘us’. Why do we have to get hurt? I almost have given up and I am grateful that in the midst of suffering like this God did not let us on the edge. I believe that he’s the reason behind our talks that has resulted to our enlightenment. Now, we were aware of each other’s side and it is now clear between us. We have pledge that from now on, it will be God and Jesus Christ our savior, be the center of our relationship. Neediness and being clingy won’t do anything good in a relationship. It will only hinder you to grow in any aspects and I won’t allow that to happen to us.

Offaking. I am now allowing myself to admit that I am unhappy when I really am. I no longer mind if it might hurt them or what for it is my right to let them know that I was hurt or saddened or bliss by their doings, I believe they deserved to be aware. This is one way to keep an inner peace within me and I wish for them to do the same. I’ve been faking my feelings every time I’m sad. I often say I’m okay though obviously I’m not. I don’t know, what I know is that I’m using the words I’m okay as defense mechanism, to avoid misunderstanding. I have stopped faking my emotions. It doesn’t even making me feel better.

I have not wished anything in life but happiness. But after all the things that happened every day, I realized that you cannot wish for happiness to come. It won’t come because it is already there. We just need to learn to appreciate things, things we have and the people we have. The decision is ours if we really want to be happy. I always think that it is ‘appreciation’ everybody has to learn in this life full of humans who take advantage.


Based on what I have understood, clearly, there are things that we should learn to let go. Letting go does not always pertain to a person but also on the other aspects one’s life. The way one perceives life is just one of those. If you think and you’ve proven that your outlook in life hinders you from attaining happiness and mostly inner peace to yourself then you have to examine your mind. What do you have to let go? What are the things that must be change to attain peace of mind?


‘Listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence.’



19 Tricks To Shift Your Mind Toward Optimism  

In all facets of life, your personal attitude plays an enormous role in your success. Bad and good outlooks become self-fulfilling prophecies — if you’re looking for something to go wrong, you’ll only see the negatives in a situation, which can drain your energy and motivation. Optimists, on the other hand, tend to find the positives more easily and stay motivated enough to reach their goals.

If you think pessimism and optimism are traits you’re born with, think again: Although it takes effort, positive thinking is something that can be learned and practiced. Members of the Forbes Coaches Council offered 19 habits, practices and behaviors that can help shift your outlook from negative to positive.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss how to get in the habit of looking at the glass half full.

1. Become Aware Of Your Frame

It starts with the acknowledgment that perception is reality. The next step is to become aware of the frame you are using to form your perception. The third step is to check if your frame is engaging, empowering and motivating. If not, choose a frame that augments possibilities and provides an optimistic outlook. Finally, ask yourself what you can do that is in your control to support the new frame. –Valerio PascottoIGEOS

2. Stay Grateful

Identify three things you are most grateful for in life. Why are you most grateful for them? Ask yourself how your current outlook is hindering you from focusing on these three things. Develop a plan. Find three things you can do every day to help you shift your focus on the negative things in life to the things that matter the most. It’s powerful when you actually write them down and do it! –Amy ModglinModglin Leadership Solutions

3. Focus On What You Do Have, Not What You Don’t

To be more optimistic, learn to be grateful and focus on what you do have, not what you don’t have. A famous actor who was paralyzed had a positive outlook on life. When asked how he could be happy despite his physical limitations, he stated that he focused on what he did have (a loving family) rather than on what he didn’t have (use of his limbs). It is all a matter of perspective. –Rebecca Bosl,Dream Life Team

4. Visualize The Steps To Reach Your Goals

Set a personal goal and think of life as an escalator: Believe that this step is moving even when you don’t see the gears moving. Celebrating all you’ve done; this helps to visualize doing things differently. What would it look like to believe in your dream? Keep your dream in front of you with a screensaver or text reminder to think differently! Expand your network with optimists! –Meredith Moore Crosby,Leverette, Weekes & Company, Inc.

5. Get The Temper Tantrum Out Of Your System

I know a leader who gives her team 10 minutes to holler, wine, complain, moan and fully express a temper tantrum. Then once this is out of their system, the individuals come back together and look at the opportunity with a more optimistic outlook. To the level you are authentic in your challenging and complaining, the more likely you will be able to support and see what’s possible. –Dean Miles,Bridgepoint Coaching & Strategy Group

6. Notice What’s Going Well

I start each coaching session by asking my client, “What’s going well?” The more we focus on what’s working, the more we notice how much is working for us. Quick tip: Each morning for a week, list three things you’re looking forward to that day (versus what you “have to” do). You’ll quickly see positive results in your personal and professional life. –Gina Gomez,Gina Gomez, Business & Life Coach

7. Look At Your Accomplishments

Document your history of success. I mean actually write the list. Name all of things that have worked out well — your achievements, your best moments, little things and big things. Now ask yourself how you can duplicate them or add to them. Next, look at a current negative situation and ask how you could apply any past methods to new challenges. History can repeat itself! –Patrick Jinks,The Jinks Perspective

8. Practice Happiness

Happiness is a skill you learn. Tools include practicing gratitude, helping others, savoring past, positive moments, laughing at a funny movie, exercising, meditating, and many more. Add these to your routine and you will flourish. You’ll need many more positive moments than negative to thrive — our brain exaggerates negative emotions as a survival tool. –Sandi Leyva,Sandra L Leyva Inc.

9. Acknowledge And Deal With Burnout

It is difficult to be optimistic when experiencing burnout or exhaustion. Be honest with yourself and take a break so that you can evaluate it again once you’ve rested. Our perspective tends to be fresh when we step away from a challenge and come back to it with a vigor for solving it. –LaKisha Greenwade,Lucki Fit LLC

10. Do A ‘Shift’ Exercise

The fastest way to change your psychology is changing your physiology. Every time you feel pessimistic, do the 100-burpee challenge (a pushup with a jump and clap above your head). At the end, you will experience a shift in your mind due to the energy you are creating in your body. You will also feel proud of what you can do. –Raul Villacis,The Next Level Experience

11. Stop The Downward Spiral

One of my favorite coaching questions is, “If success were guaranteed, what would you do?” Too often, we’re afraid of the possible outcome, and we focus too much on the downside risk, instead of the upside potential. Flip yourself out of the downward spiral by giving yourself permission to believe that the outcome really is possible. Then, you can imagine the steps that will get you there. –Doy Charnsupharindr,Berkley Executive Coaching Institute

12. Choose Opportunity

Taking an optimistic view is a choice. Make an everyday commitment to making a conscious choice to look at the optimistic side. Author Dan Custersaid: “Today is a new day. This moment, this day, is as good as any moment in all eternity. I shall make of this day, each moment of this day, a heaven on earth. This is my day of opportunity.” So which will you choose? Opportunity or negativity? –Jenn Lofgren,Incito Consulting

13. Focus On The Small Things

Every day you wake up, someone else took their last breath. That alone is a reason to have a positive outlook on life. Get into the practice of writing down three things you are grateful daily. You’ll start to realize that you have more reasons to smile than to frown. Share those things with others and ask others to share with you. Being grateful for little leads to attracting much. –Maleeka T. Hollaway,The Official Maleeka Group, LLC

14. Think About Your Attitude’s Impact

Both optimism and pessimism reside in you and are highly contagious. Imagine yourself as an active carrier of one or the other. Then ask yourself these three questions: Which would you rather be recognized for passing on to others: hope or despair? Which would you prefer to be passed back to you? Who is most valued in life, the one who discourages others or encourages them? Now choose, and be. –Hayward Suggs,Commonquest Consulting

15. Give Your Pessimism A Name

Come up with two names, one that represents your tendencies to have a disempowering outlook of life and one that represents the more resourceful attitude you wish to adopt. For example, Mr. Negative versus Strong Director. Use the first name to quickly catch yourself when you fall into pessimism or other self-defeating patterns. Then ask, “How would a Strong Director look at this?” –Mehrdad Moayedzadeh,Life Is Important

16. Practice Self-Care

Start small. Each morning wake up and ask yourself, “What will make me happy today?” Whether a humble or ambitious thing, you will be honoring yourself and taking care of you. Self-care is not selfish. When you’ve taken care of yourself, you have energy available to help others, which builds on optimism. The more you practice this self-care thinking the happier and more optimistic you become. –Kelly Meerbott,You: Loud & Clear


17. Ask Different Questions

A pessimistic outlook is reinforced by the questions we ask about our circumstances, like, “Why me?” or “Why can’t I ever…?” First, stop asking why or why not — it’s rarely a useful question. Instead ask, “How can I think about this differently?” “How does this work to my advantage?” “What can I do now to make this better?” “What did I learn from this that helps me going forward?” –Debra Russell,Debra Russell Coaching, LLC

18. Picture And Compare the Worst Case Scenario

Comparing your current situation against a more catastrophic and/or depressing alternative can help you realize that things aren’t as bleak as imagined. In my experience, evaluating your life outlook using this “worst case scenario” filter can reduce your level of pessimism and place you on the road to flat-out optimism. –Virginia Franco,Virginia Franco Resumes

19. Evaluate Your Circle Of Influence

As humans, we are highly influenced by those we keep close to us. It is important to take inventory of those closely within your circle of influence to measure the energy they are exuding into your thoughts. Reevaluate the influencers that may be draining you from a steady flow of positive energy and limit your time with them. Give particular advantage to those individuals who seem to lift you up. –Rachel Lourdes Mestre,Rachel Mestre LLC

Originally published on Forbes.



First of all, I have no idea that Spindle Fire is a duology novel so I will make this straight, right after I finished the book I was like “That’s it?” and totally not satisfied with how it ends I haven’t read the second book yet which I heard is a direct sequel from the first book. Spindle Fire has left different and various feels in me that I have to spill them out in order for me to start a new book again.


That being said, I will be sharing thoughts and my all-out review about this book so that if you find yourself aching for YA Fantasy novel and you have come to a decision to read Lexa Hillyer’s Spindle Fire, you’ll have an idea about it though on the latter part of this review , there will be SPOILERS.


So, Spindle Fire is a retelling of the classic children fairytale, Sleeping Beauty, but only bounded by tangled twists and turns of events, so tangled that I had to leave it for a day then go back to it the next day because of Hillyer’s writing. I think being a poet has contribute to the complexity of her form of writing, you could easily notice that because poetry also took part in the entire book.

The story narrates about the journey of these two sisters, Aurora and Isabelle who shared disabilities due to tithing faeries in the event of Aurora’s christening. Basically, Aurora lacks the sense of touch and voice while Isabelle is blind. Her sense of sight was tithe by a fae named Violette. Supposedly, it was Aurora, the fae was asking for the princess sight in exchange for a magic that she has given to contradict Malfleur’s curse, the king object for he has given enough to the faeries. In that case, he took advantage of Violette’s indistinct wish, she was asking for the sight of the king’s daughter, not stating that she was talking about Aurora herself, there, he offered Isabelle’s sight to be tithed. She was the king’s illegitimate daughter but Isabelle did not let it hinder her to have a strong bond with her sister.


WHAT I ENJOYED, LIKED, LOVED or simply the GOOD THINGS on this book.


I used to draw speculations every time I read a book it is one-way for me to know whether a book is predictable or not, in that way, I could easily identify if a book was well-written, has a good structure and concept or it is simply cliché. Just to inform you, I’m a sucker for incredible plot twist. I have read several plot twists that left me devastated and Spindle Fire just didn’t INSTEAD it has left me astounded. As much as I wanted to spill those unexpected plot twists, I won’t because aside from it will only spoil you, I also want you guys to read this book because the plot twists that I’m talking about will definitely keep you up till dusk.

Keep this as a hint:

Two sisters,
reaching for each other 
amid the dark tale of 
two fae sisters..One fell for a mysterious man…
‘where did you come from/”
One is torn between two lovers,Go and unveil the faes past,
one is connected to the other…Hold on. 
Wait, what?


I admire how Lexa Hillyer depicts her characters. We characterized Aurora as a sweet, innocent princess yet a little clever who roams around the palace only to prick her finger and fall into a deep sleep. In this story, it’s different. Yes, she’s still the sweet and beautiful Aurora that we got used to, it is just that Hillyer made her courageous, getting her out of the comfort zone to encounter experiences that would make her stronger. (HINT: She is no longer just a damsel in distress)

And of course, Isabelle or Isbe as what Aurora calls her is such an amazing woman. Despite of her being blind and the bastard daughter of the king, she doesn’t let it restrain her from going beyond the limits, building a strong relationship with her sister Aurora, protecting her from any odds.

The rest of the characters that you will encounter are well-characterized as well. Gilbert, Isabelle’s childhood best friend, the faeries… Trust me though some of them didn’t get to play much on the entire story they’ll still give you the picture of who they are and what role do they took part in that era.

The Setting

I don’t know maybe because I love historical fiction, this kind of era hypes me up. I’m thinking Spindle Fire’s time were on 1300s because if I’m not mistaken the earliest known version of Sleeping beauty were composed between 1330 and 1344. I love the setting because it creates a beautiful and majestic imagery on my mind whenever I imagine the glamour of men and women wearing their gowns with wide petticoats; a tunic, cote or cotte with a surcoat over a linen shirt men usually used, architectural designs of palaces…I have nothing to say but SPLENDID!

Think about it, aren’t they such a pleasant picture to imagine?

The Role of Poetry in the story

I mentioned earlier that Lexa Hillyer is also a poet. I was impressed by her because she was able to relate it within her novel. She has composed several poems in this book all of which I really like but this one stands out the most, the rose lullaby as she call it in the story.

WHAT I DISLIKED, WHAT MADE ME GO ‘WHAT?’ or in other words, the CONTRARY OF GOOD THINGS that I find and notice in this book. You may now leave this review if you plan to read the book. SPOILER ALERT!

First on my list…


The “?” on some scenario.

I know that there will be a sequel on this book but I don’t understand why the author has to left some characters hanging at the end of the story? I was uncomfortable, it’s like my mind was craving for answers that were left unsaid, Hillyer could have at least gave a hint about what will happen next. AT LEAST A HINT! but no they were simply left untold, leaving its readers confused

Will Gilbert and Isabelle ever see each other again?

What about the war that Malfleur planned? That’s the purpose of her Vulture army, right? I was expecting for an intricate narration for the war that will took place because it happened already, the moment Isabelle and William reached Aurora in the tower, the war is taking place. There is no vivid picture depicted of it when in fact it is one of the most important scenarios. Why? because, (1) Gilbert is now part of Malfleur’s Vulture army, Hillyer could have used that opportunity to create a little hint for us to know that they’ve seen each other even a glimpse and on the sequel everything will be revealed to Isabelle. (2) Isabelle’s proper “Yes, I do.” to Prince William. On chapter 34, it was never stated that Isabelle clearly said ‘Yes’ to William’s proposal but it was obvious that she wanted to. So does that mean, their love story isn’t settled yet?

What happened to the unfulfilled love of Aurora and Heath?

Sommeil is a dream land created by Belcouer, Malfleur’s sister where Heath and few other people lives. Please, don’t tell me everything is all just Aurora’s dreams. I am still rooting for their story. Will they end up together? Will Heath be able to escape the dream land and join Aurora in the real world? I have a feeling that Hillyer will again come up with an incredible plot twist. I hope so.


Generally, I enjoyed reading Spindle Fire but I couldn’t say that I technically love every single thing of it. I honestly didn’t like much of her writing style. I already mentioned that I even had to abandon the book for a day in order for me to finish it due to Hillyer’s complex writing (as I call them) but it’s quite impressive to know that she was able to use her professions into it (which is Poetry, goodness! I love poetry!) But in terms of execution, it flops. I admit the way every chapter is told between one character to another is a pain on the head. There was never a time that I did not review the character’s previous chapter just for me to catch up on what’s going to happen. It is difficult to comprehend but once you spend time scrutinizing every chapter, characters, it isn’t impossible that you’ll get the entire story.

Ratings: 3.5 out of 5


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Google Doodle: Musical celebration for Oskar Fischinger

Known for his incredible musical animation, creating over 50 short films along with his around 800 canvases, the man behind the special effect in Fritz Lang’s movie Woman in the moon in 1929 which led him to undergo various experimentation to create more animations, has began his career in Hollywood at Paramount back in 1963 which did not turned out well at first until the help of his fellow abstract artist and co-founder of Solomon R. Guggenheim.

Oskar Fischinger died in 1967, in celebration of his 117th birthday; Google invites us to create our own composition. Have you tried Google doodle’s musical tribute? Check out mine.

As an honor to Fischinger’s creations, I have gathered few of his notable animations back in 1931, 1934 and 1938.


For Kreise 1934 and Studie Number 8 in 1931, click this link for preview as I could not share the embedded from this article due to, I don’t know…human error? My bad, sorry. :


CVM_fischinger8147d SQUARES 1934.jpg



Kudos, Oskar Fischinger !

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Why social media is the worst innovation humans have ever made

No chitter chatter. I’m only pointing out what makes social media the worst technology innovation.


I’ve been using social media for such a long time and I must admit among many innovations and advancements people have made, social media is one of, I would say most beneficial, having a wide coverage of aspects that people could make use of it (shared-ideas, career interest and other forms of expressions through virtual interaction) BUT on the contrary, it is also the worst.



Misleading, bounded by puzzling information.

I’ve seen several articles, blogs, posted photos, and videos from various pages and websites all of which most people are not aware whether these sites are even legit which somehow they end up spreading as if they know the entire information about it.

Considering these examples; videos of fake food, articles about a mysterious creature and space occurrence or any other blogs or article you’ve encountered that seem futile and unbelievable.

What is the probability of these contents to be true to fact?

Is it once it has been broadcasted over the news? Honestly, even television news does not count as credible either, this is due to the so-called ‘paid journalists’ I don’t know if this is happening to your country but with ours (PH) this is slowly becoming a norm. These ‘paid journalists’ are usually paid to ruin a certain person’s reputation by spreading false information with the help of its incredible ‘trolls’  which many people end up believing because, as I said, it is from a television news reported by reputable journalists.

Capability of one’s personal matter to be over-exposed.

…that even a person’s most painful heartbreak, tragic incident that he/she has experienced were all posted and exposed to everybody which is WRONG in any where you look at. We all have different reasons to make use of social media but despite of those reasons we are supposed to be responsible with our privacy. People do not need to know so much about your life so better keep it to yourself.

You may not think those silly ‘—–Game Generator’ that you enjoyed entertaining is a form of revealing your personal information especially your birthdays and full name, but they really are. (Insert game generator) Yes, I know it is quite interesting; I fell to it for how many times, it’s best to ditch them sometimes.harry potter game generator.jpg

Not only its capability to over-exposed one’s personal life makes social media worst having a bunch of troll users also count. Trolls are the No.1 reason behind every heated argument in any comment sections. Why? Because that’s what they are paid for, to make a certain issue get worse or just simply in order for them to drag people into believing whatever it is that they are arguing about. There were also trolls that start arguments only to upset people often for their amusements. I don’t know what part in there is amusing. It doesn’t make any sense at all.

What is there to do such a thing? Why pissed people off? Are they paid to do that as well? I apologize but for me it really sucks that I have come to that point where I hope that SMS (social media sites) could do something to eradicate these trolls, in that way I believe trash talks or non-sensible arguments will be avoided.

Social media is indeed a beneficial internet technology platform. It has given many advantages to people that as years passed, they no longer use it wisely and PROPERLY. Just look at the millennial, they were one of the products of improper usage of social media and soon, that’s it! People can’t do anything about it.

Think before you click!



Living an Extraordinary Life Means Giving Up a Normal One

“If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao

The larger mob of society will never experience true success.


Because this majority is unwilling to become the CEO of their life — they’d rather someone else call the shots.

They are unwilling to take risks, to fail publicly, and be forced to try again after getting knocked down.

They are unwilling to sacrifice what is good for what is great.

In short, they are unwilling to give up their “normal” life.

But this is what is required to live an extraordinary life. You must give up the “normal” life for something far more valuable.

Evolving is painful.

The more you evolve into the best version of yourself, the more you’ll be required to give up. You’ll reach a point where you’ll no longer be able to tolerate negative relationships. Eating bad food. Spending your time on time-wasting activities.

Giving these things up is painful. Most people aren’t willing to do what needs to be done.

Living the Life No One Else Is

“Live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else.” -Dave Ramsey

I have only just began to take some major steps to live an “extraordinary” life. It’s been hard as hell sometimes.

The first major step for me was counseling. Over the course of 3 years, I underwent some serious emotional recovery of the wreckage of my past. My history is full of broken family relationships, sex addiction, intense shame and self-loathing; all emotional baggage I never dealt with.

I made the choice to get all this shit out in the open. To tell a therapist about the time my high school girlfriend of 2 years dumped me after I admitted I had a problem looking at pornography, and then proceeded to tell all her friends about it.

Or when members of my family favored my cousins over me because I didn’t party, do drugs, or sleep around like they did.

I realized an extraordinary life meant confronting and resolving all the shit that happened to me. Shit happens to everyone, but most people don’t deal with it. That’s the sign of a “normal” life.

The next step for me was actually attending a rehab program to overcome my sex addiction. Counseling, coupled with recovery and rehab, was the hardest struggle I’ve ever had to go through. I still struggle. But now, I can live an extraordinary life because I’ve dealt with my past and stopped letting it call the shots.

These are signs of an extraordinary life.

Everything Has a Cost

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” -Jim Collins, Good to Great

People who prefer to live a “normal” life don’t want to pay most of the costs of an extraordinary life.

Everything worthwhile in life has an opportunity cost. If you accept opportunity “A,” that means passing on opportunity “B.”

You have to give up something in order to accomplish something else.

If you want to live an extraordinary life for the long-term, you’ll need to give up some things in the short-term. Some of these things may be dear to you, which makes them extremely difficult to let go. No one said this would be easy.

For some, that means stopping looking at pornography entirely so you can start to actually connect with others.

It might mean giving up some of their favorite foods so they can finally see abs they’ve never seen before.

It might might mean seeing friends less often in order to do the worknecessary to succeed.

It might mean declining wedding invitations because the trips are too expensive. Maybe it means giving up sleeping in so you can have more time in your days. Maybe it means saying no to opportunities at work so you can remain a loving, present father to your children.

All great opportunities costs “good” ones.

An extraordinary life costs a “normal” life. You can’t have both.

You will have to sacrifice something that you value less than whatever it is you ultimately want.

Make no mistake, this is a high price to pay. In fact, many people simply decline the offer of an extraordinary life after they discover how much it would cost.

And that’s OK. An extraordinary life isn’t for everyone.

But if you want to live the extraordinary life no else is living, you’ll have to start living a life no one else does. This means giving up a “normal” life.

The 3 Things Everyone Needs to Sacrifice

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. “ -Herman Melville

Everyone has different, unique things they’ll need to sacrifice in order to begin living an extraordinary life.

But there are 3 things everyone will need to give up.

1. Security and Certainty

One of the cornerstones of an extraordinary life is giving up the safety nets, security, and guarantees of a normal life.

Maybe this is a steady paycheck at a job that will never allow you to reach your full potential. Maybe it’s the static 9–5 schedule. Maybe it’s a guaranteed retirement plan.

Of course, you don’t have to live in this scenario for the rest of your life. This lifestyle is exhausting at first — you’re always on your toes, never knowing when the next paycheck is coming in, unsure of the future.

But the extraordinary life gives you full control over your life and actions, at the cost of the comfort of having others call the shots.

This is one of the hardest parts to give up, and takes a long time to really sink in for even the most dedicated entrepreneurs, adventurers, and risk-takers.

2. Fear of Judgement

“The worst part of success is to try to find someone who is happy for you.” -Bette Midler

If you post a status on Facebook that says, “I got the job!” you’re likely to get dozens, even hundreds of likes.

But if you post a status that says, “I finally started my own business!” you’re likely to experience little engagement at all.

Which brings us to the next requirement of an extraordinary life: letting go of your fear of judgement.

Trying to explain your extraordinary life to others will begin to seem like a lost cause. Most people are afraid you’ll achieve the dreams they never did, and so they attempt to protect themselves from that failure by bringing you down.

The extraordinary life looks crazy to an outsider. They don’t understand it, and they’re afraid of it. To an individual living a “normal” life, the characteristics of an extraordinary life seem foolish, stupid, and unrealistic.

They don’t understand why you go to the gym even when you’re exhausted. They don’t understand why you’d wake up at 6am on the weekend when you could be sleeping in. They don’t understand why you’d prefer a wild, inconsistent, frightening life full of uncertainty when you could choose the comfort and safety of a normal one.

So they judge you. They criticize you, condemn you, and ostracize you by singling you out as stupid, naive, and silly.

You must ignore this.

You will never succeed if you continue to take more stock in what your critics say than what you belief about yourself.

This is another extremely difficult thing to give up. Separating ourselves from the herd is scary, and the criticisms and warnings from others might even sound wise.

Let it go. This is your life, not theirs.

3. Other People’s Definition of Success

In the words of Srinivas Rao:

At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives. Even as entrepreneurs we have collectively agreed that fame and fortune are the markers of success.

But, giving up other people’s definition of success is incredibly liberating and ultimately leads to the fullest expression of who you are and what matters to you. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s a daily habit of comparing less and creating more.

“Success” doesn’t just mean what the larger mob of society says it means: “lots of money, fame, and fortune.” Many people with fame, fortune, and lots of money have terribly empty, imbalanced lives.

Your success isn’t defined by what other people say.

“Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate.” –Benjamin P. Hardy

No one can define your success but you. If you continue to let others tell you what success is, you’ll never reach it. Even if you did, it wouldn’t be a true success, because it’s not what you really valued.

No, living an extraordinary life means defining your own version of what success is. You can begin to spend your time on what really matters to you.

Do you really want 100,000 Twitter followers? Do you really need to be in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list? Do you really want to be a New York Times Bestselling Author?

Or is your version of success more narrowed, more focused, more specific?

If you want to live an extraordinary life, your definition of success must be your own. If we are always chasing what other people tell us to, we’ll never experience true success.

Let go of other people’s versions of success. Define your own success, and achieve it.

That is true success.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, it’s up to you what you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve an extraordinary life. There is no formula. But one thing is certain: you will need to sacrifice.

It will be hard. It won’t be pleasant.

But the life you’re achieving — the extraordinary life — will be more rewarding than a normal life could ever be. Your relationships, finances, health, knowledge, passion, and purpose will all reach levels higher than ever before.

The cost of an extraordinary life is great.

Is it worth it to you?


This blog was originally published by Anthony Moore. See original post:

BOOK REVIEW: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

photo credits to the owner.

It’s been a long time since I wrote a review so here you go.

I have finished this book last month. Normally, once I finished a book I go ahead and create a review about it but this time right after I finished ‘Our Chemical Hearts’ I was not able to do so. This is due to untold task that I had to finish throughout those days. Well, yes, I had a couple of days off but usually I spend them in sleeping to gain my vitality. I just don’t force myself to write especially when I know that I am drained completely.

Sothis book is about a seventeen year old boy named Henry Page who has never found himself being in love, a boy who’s happy by the thought of getting good academic grades to finally become their school’s newspaper editor in order to achieve a semi-decent college life. Things began to change when he met the odd girl, Grace Town.

Grace isn’t Henry’s idea of what a typical girl should be like, walking into his first period class wearing an oversized shirt (a boy’s shirt!) with that look as if she hasn’t been taking a shower for how many days plus the fact that she walks with a cane… she is indeed that type of girl who is odd and mysterious. The story began when they were both chosen to edit the school paper which Grace immediately turned down for the reason that she no longer writes. That situation made Henry pissed off because he thinks about the opportunity that is simply going to be wasted. He then had a little talk with Grace, an awkward one, actually, which made her finally accept the position.

They became friends, yes but Henry knows there is something broken about Grace Town that he needed to know and he did. I do not wish to spoil anything now. Here’s a quote from Henry to give you an idea of what’s with this book.

‘So this is certainly not a story of love at first sight.
But it is a love story.
Kind of.’


“I was a decent enough writer, but talking? With sounds? From my mouth? That was a bitch.”

“The things you own end up owning you”

“Space is the best cure for sadness that I know.”

“When I look up into the night sky, I remember that I’m nothing but the ashes of long-dead stars. A human being is a collection of atoms that comes together into an ordered pattern for a brief period of time and then falls apart again. I find comfort in my smallness.”

“The best thing the universe ever gave us is that we’ll all be forgotten.”

“I kinda like the idea,” she said. “That when we die, despite any pain or fear or embarrassment we experienced during our lives, despite any heartbreak or grief, we get to be dispersed back into nothingness. It makes me feel brave, knowing I’ll get a blank slate at the end. You get a brief glimmer of consciousness to do with what you will and then it’s given back to the universe again. I’m not religious, but even I can appreciate that that’s redemption, on the grandest scale. Oblivion isn’t scary; it’s the closest thing to genuine absolution of sin that I can imagine.”

“People are perfect when all that’s left of them is memory.”

“You know how you sometimes have the most exhausting day and you can’t wait to get home and fall into bed and sleep for hours? I feel that way about life. There are people out there who read books about vampires and they crave immortality, but sometimes I’m so thankful that at the end of it all, we get to sleep forever. No more pain. No more exhaustion. Death is the reward for having lived.”

“Stories with happy endings are just stories that haven’t finished yet.”

“Why is it, I thought, that we’re so willing to hurt the ones we care about the most?”


Life lessons being interpret through character’s point of view. You know that a book will left an impact to its reader when or if he/she learned something from the book itself. I loved Krystal Sutherland’s idea in life and death,

I find it quite broad to depict but there were things that will surely left you in a realization thinking ‘Ah yes, point taken.’

I also loved the idea that Krystal filled it with references to music, films, also book etc. Once you finished a book, I suggest that you do not skip the author’s note or the acknowledgements because that’s when you’ll discover the author’s journey throughout the entire completion of the book and it never fails to amaze me. It is such an inspiration for young writers like me.

Overall, Our Chemical Hearts is a tear-jerker novel. (Yes, I mean it. Read on and see for yourself, guys.) The moment I read the most painful and heart-breaking part of it, I couldn’t stop myself from crying. The apparent feeling is there and for me, that’s what makes a good story, that feeling when you feel like putting yourself in the shoe of the characters, when you felt their pain… Goodness! You probably think it’s crazy but it’s absolutely satisfying.


Yes, but with supervision. It’s a good-read but there are certain parts that may need a little discussion (if got curious about it) with matured readers.


5 stars for the entirety of the book: cover, concept, structure/flow of the story.

This blog is originally published on medium. See original post:

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