Book Haul: September

Hello y’all! I hope you all are doing well and that you’ve had a refreshing and, hopefully, relaxing weekend. Today, I wanted to do something a bit different, something I hope becomes a bit of a more regularly occurring post, and that is a Book Haul. I’ve seen plenty of other #bookbloggers do this as well as #booktubers, and I have always found them quite enjoyable. That being said, I live on a budget, so giant book hauls aren’t super common. BUT when they do happen, it’s largely because I managed to catch a super awesome sale – or got really lucky and won the lottery (haha, just kidding). Anyway, here is a list of my most recent book haul – and just as a heads up, I purchased ALL of these books for UNDER $10)!!

1. Black Women in history (soft cover) – I actually bought this as a gift for a fellow avid-reader so I’m not entirely sure who wrote it. BUT, with the peak inside, it gave a brief overview of African American women throughout US history who had an impact or influenced policies, etc.

2. On the Hunt – This is an anthology including authors: Gena Showalter, Shannon K. Butcher, Jessica Andersen, and Deidre Knight. Essentially, it seems to be a fantasy romance type of book with the four stories centering around demons and magic. – Super excited to read it and find out more.

3. The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White – A book about a family I happen to know, by Henry Wiencek. It is signed by the author – though not to me.

4. The Age of Voltaire – I believe this was part of a set, but my friend and I each bought one that sounded interesting to us. This one is by Will and Ariel Durant and provides a history in Western Europe from 1715-1756.

5. Tutankhamen: Amenism, Atenism, and Egyptian Monotheism – Sir. Ernest A. Wallis Budge is the author, and the book is pretty old, meaning some of its information is probably (most likely – cough, cough) outdated. Though, I’m hoping it will make a good read – if nothing more. Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of an old book?

6. A History of Venice – Written by John Julius Norwich and published in 1982, this one is also probably a little outdated. BUT I love history, and though our understanding of it is always changing, I think it’s pretty cool to learn about insights others before us had.

7. Tragedies of the Medici – Clearly, I was going through an Italian history phase when I bought all of these last weekend…Also, an extremely old text, written by Edgcumbe Staley, this also intrigued my inner historian and I had to have it.

8. Another book that made my inner historian squeal in delight: The Complete Works of Tacitus – Never the most credible historian to ever exist, Tacitus holds a place in my heart from my days studying ancient history and I couldn’t help but grip onto this little tiny book with both hands.

9. Sir Walter Relegh – Published in 1973 and written by Robert Lacey, uses Sir Walter Raleigh’s own writings to record Raleigh’s life. One of my fellow students during my college days absolutely loved this man (Raleigh) and studied him extensively. I also crossed paths with him briefly during my own research, and of course am curious to learn more.

*Please note, I did not misspell the poor man’s name in the title, this is Lacey’s spelling of his name.

10. The Contemporary Middle East – Edited by Karl Yambert, but containing over 20 authors of essays, speeches, and other pieces on the Middle East, this book is the newest book on my list. It was published in 2013. I’m really excited to read this one as well.

And there you have it, my book haul for under $10! (Hard backs were $1, soft $.50). Obviously, these have been added to my ever growing and never shrinking TBR pile.

Until next time!

~Leila

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#PoetryFriday: Fate’s Game

I’m back with another poem for this week’s #PoetryFriday. I wrote “Fate’s Game” about a year ago when I kept feeling like nothing I did worked out, and now I’m finding my feet again, but wanted to share this poem with all of you!

Fate’s Game

Through a thousand tears,
I still can’t see the end.
It seems it’s been years
since fate has given in.

I’ve danced in the rain
around in my sorrows,
seen the sun shine again
only to be cast entirely in shadows.

This seems like a game
a constant, endless spin
where I’m filled with shame
and then find hope within.

I’ve had enough wars.
I’ve gotten worn down
and covered in battle scars.
Still, it comes back around.

Winning seems so far away,
every battle ends in a draw,
begging for you to stay.
To win seems impossible.

 

~Leila P. Morgan

#PoetryFriday: Expectations

Finally! A poem for #poetryfriday that I wrote specifically for this week! This poem poured out of me much faster than I thought it would. Hope you all like it!

Expectations

When you spend so much of your life
being told you aren’t good enough
it’s hard to hear when someone tells
you you’re their everything.

When all you know is the strife
that should make you tough
but through all the screams and yells
I can’t seem to think.

I spent so much of my time
trying to live up to their expectations,
never worrying about how to be
happy and fulfilled with myself.

There’s been too many signs
that I’d never live up to perfection,
But those imperfections are me
and I’ll survive without your help.

I spent so much time begging
to make you see how I felt
to make you hear what I need
to make you believe in me.

I realize I was just failing
and you never dealt
with the problems I see
of what I need you to be.

 

~Leila P. Morgan

P.S. I know I still owe y’all a review! I’m working on crafting it, it’s just been a very busy month! I’ll try and get it done ASAP! ❤

#PoetryFriday: Unbroken Walls

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all had a great week and are on your way to an awesome weekend. This week I’m sharing a shorter poem called “Unbroken Walls.” Please let me know how you feel about it!

Unbroken Walls

There are some things

Even you can’t fix.

There are some walls

You just can’t break.

I’m sorry I couldn’t

Help but hide.

I’m sorry I didn’t

Mean to shatter your pride.

~Leila P. Morgan

#PoetryFriday: Proof

New, well old, poem for #poetryfriday this week. I wrote this poem back in October of last year, but I really like it, and touched it up a bit for you.

Proof

What proof did you need to see?

Would you have believed if you saw me,

if you were watching me bleed?

Is that what it would take,

to make you see I didn’t fake

the pain, the screams, the scars?

Did you need to witness me falling apart?

Would that be enough for you to believe,

that you had the power to save me?

It wasn’t enough that I believed in you

Because you shouted you needed proof!

~Leila P. Morgan

Until next time!!!

July Reading List

A few days into August, and I can’t help but to reflect on how awesome July was for me on the reading front. In July, I think I read more books than I have the rest of the year combined! I find this AMAZING. And I’m super siked about getting back to reading and finding time to read during the day, while making sure that I’m still writing often and balancing work and a social life. [Thought to be completely honest, not having too much of a social life helps that a bit.] This July I finished SIX books! I started two new series, which have me hooked already, and read an old favorite from one of my favorite authors.

Soooo, without further adieu, here is what was on my July reading list:

1. Lair of the Lion, Christine Feehan

This on is an old favorite of mine, from one of my FAVORITE authors EVER. Originally published in 2002, this novel is set in old-world Italy and follows the romance between Isabella Vernaducci and Nicolai DeMarco. Don DeMarco is said to be one of the most powerful and fearsome men amongst the aristocrats, and Isabella needs his help to rescue her brother. Once she arrives, Isabella is caught in the spell of the don and his curse [not a spoiler, it says he’s curse on the back cover!]. Don DeMarco agrees to help her on the condition that she become his wife. Though surprised, she agrees, and plans to set her brother free are put in motion. What she slowly begins to realize is that her arrival has also awakened the curse. While battling said curse, she falls madly in love with the don [it is a romance novel] and ends up having to deal with many near-death experiences along the way.

The novel blends into the paranormal world perfectly. As I said, it’s one of my favorites by her, and I highly recommend it. It’s a stand-alone novel, which is unusual for Feehan as she mostly writes in series’s [See her Leopard, Dark, or Sea Haven series, amongst other newer ones].

2. Beyond the Highland Mist, Karen Moning

Originally published: 1999. When Adrienne is whisked out of her century and thrown into medieval Scotland, she quickly learns that she is coerced into marrying a Highlander lord who’d had no intentions of marrying in the first place. When met with Hawk’s indifference, she becomes bolder and outspoken, which only draws his attention. They play a game of subtle seduction and once they’ve overcome their little challenges, they are plagued with the possibility that Adrienne might disappear to her own century again, leaving Hawk behind. Neither know how to prevent it, and settle for enjoying each other’s company for as long as they have it. [There’s a little faerie magic at play here].

This was my first foray into Moning’s work, and I’m pleasantly surprised. I was wondering around Barnes and Noble one day and the cover of The Highlander’s Touch caught my attention. When I realized it was the third book in the series, I, naturally, had to buy all three so that I could start at the beginning and go on from there. I was not disappointed. Definitely recommend this series if your into paranormal romance, and of course, Scotland.

3. To Tame a Highland Warrior, Karen Moning

Also published in 1999, this novel picks up the story from the original with character Grimm, Hawk’s trusted friend. No one he knows actually knows his real name by his own design. Hiding a secret past, Grimm is summoned back to the house he grew up in with the man who’d taken him in calling for him to come back for Jillian, his daughter. Feeling that he owes the man, he returns, with intentions of just seeing that Jillian is married off in peace. But once he arrives, he realizes that emotions he thought he’d buried were just simmering below the surface waiting to ignite a passion he tried to deny.

Again, I recommend. Very, very good.

4. The Highlander’s Touch, Karen Moning

Published: 2000. Another play with time travel; a cursed object brings Lisa back to medieval Scotland to a man who has sworn to kill whoever brings the object back. When Circeen sees her though, his vow to kill her comes into question, and he’s never broken a vow before. Simultaneously, he makes another vow to marry her when confronted by Robert, the king, after his attempts to hide her true identity from those in his world. Once more, the out-spoken 21st century lass has to figure out how to navigate medieval Scotland. Though this time she has some help in the form of a young boy, who’s identity she learns closer to the end of the novel. Once again, time travel is not something either partner fully understand, and becomes an issue at the end of the novel.

I turly admire how well Karen Moning weaves time travel into her novels in a non-jarring manner. I managed to finish the novel in just four hours or so, which is typical for me once I immerse myself in a book, and I truly enjoy how easy it is to lose yourself in these novels.

5. The Dark Highlander, Karen Moning

I know, I missed one in the series 😦 BUT my local Barnes and Noble didn’t have the one before this and I was super excited to keep reading this series!

Published in 2002. This novel follows Dageus MacKeltar and Chloe Zanders, a student of antiquities. When she is supposed to drop off a manuscript to Dageus’s apartment, she finds herself caught up in a mystery she hadn’t anticipated. Daegus is keeping a dark secret from her, his soul is possessed by thirteen Druids who are trying to break free, and who someone is trying to assist. Once immersed in Dageus’s world, Chloe’s curiosity gets the better of her, only drawing her further into the battle for his soul. When Dageus returns to Scotland with her, he’s faced with a nerve-wracking reunion with his brother, only to find himself welcomed home. This novel also deals with a bit of time travel as they search for an answer to free him.

For the most part, I struggled to figure out what the link was from this novel to the others [which might be explained in the missing book that I did not have the chance to read]. BUT the book still grabbed my intention, immersing me in the story. As a history buff, I LOVE the way that she incorporates history in her novels. I praise her abilities to meld the paranormal with the real, and truly can appreciate how much research went into each of her novels.

I do have two more in the series to read, and am excited to see what other stories Moning has to share about this world!

6. A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness

Published in 2011, this is the newest book on my list from July. Harkness’s novel follows Dr. Diana Bishop as she’s dragged back into a world she’d tried to leave behind. A gifted witch, Diana is left almost unprotected in her attempts to deny her heritage. When she stumbles upon Ashmole 782 during a research session in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, she becomes an immediate target from daemons, witches, and vampires alike. One vampire, Matthew Clairmont [who’s a scientist], offers his protection, whether she wants it or not. The novel tracks Diana’s experiences and the growth of their relationship through all 579 pages.

I’m going to be doing a more in-depth review of this novel, so I’ll limit what I say here. I found the novel immensely intriguing and have put books two and three on my to-acquire list. She blends the science, paranormal, romance, and back story fairly well, and I look forward to reading more about the couple in the next two novels. With the effortlessness that she displayed in that blend, I’m interested to see how she balances the time travel in the next novel with it all.

#PoetryFriday – My Hero

Hi y’all! Here’s my poem for this week. Again, it’s one I wrote a few months ago, and recently went back to for edits. Let me know what you think!

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My Hero

You thought my soul
was made of pure gold.
You were meant to
make me believe in you.
Every part of me
wanted you to be
my forever and always,
to spend my every day
sharing every little moment,
knowing you were meant
to always be my hero.
You’d never let me go
Loving me forever,
Unstoppable when together.
Nothing we couldn’t do,
When just me and you.

~Leila P. Morgan

 

All the best! ❤

A Mini Hiatus – Explained

For a few months, about March until June, I pretty much took a huge writing hiatus, and hiatus from most of my social media/social life period. I took a trip to Manchester in the spring, which I’d hoped would spur more content, however, I’ve had some minor bumps along the road in my personal life that took me away from writing. While I took this hiatus, I didn’t step entirely away from writing, but I most definitely took a step away from my current work in progress Ruffs and Honours, and spent most of my time just writing random pieces.

I didn’t want to stop writing completely, so I tried to keep a journal and wrote little pieces of other story ideas I’d had for a while. I did this so that when I finally came back to Ruffs and Honours, I wasn’t completely helpless. During the time away, I did work a bit on editing the first chapter, but other than that, I put that project on hold.

The reason behind all of this is that I went through a bit of a rough patch in my personal life. A lot of things were changing in a short amount of time, and news of health issues amongst members of my family came out and became even more prevalent in the last few months. In addition, I had a bit of my own personal issues that I was going through as well. All of this, while I’m sure one day might make good themes for writing, weren’t conducive to me writing anything of substance. I wrote a few poems – which went up on my blog over the last few weeks, and attempted to enter a few poetry contests/submissions, but other than that found that I needed a break.

Since then, I’ve found my feet a little better. I’ve been writing consistently, every day, for the last couple of weeks, and aim to keep doing so to get back on track with my novel. I’ve also been working on world creation, since that novel, and its successors (inshaAllah) will take place in their own world. So I wasn’t completely useless the last few months! 😊

I’m looking to get back on track with my novel this next month, and hopefully (inshaAllah) will finish the last few necessary scenes before rewriting commences. (Here’s hoping for the best!) I’ll also be beginning to post more prose pieces and reviews soon as well (I’ve gotten back into my reading phases! And have tons I want to share!)

Until then, all my best!

Soul Mate

I missed Friday, but here’s my poem for last week!

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Soul Mate

You made me confident
when I felt like a mess.
You made me adamant
to never settle for less.

You gave me strength
to fight all my fears.
You gave me faith
to hold onto for years.

You made me speak,
find something to say.
You made me weak,
taking my breath away.

You gave me your heart,
a love that never ends.
You gave me everything;
you’re my best friend.

~Leila P. Morgan