How Do You Measure Achievement?

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I wish I had the answer key for this one. I’m sure many of use do. Being an adult is hard. As children, there were so many things we couldn’t wait to do when we got older. Somehow, we all just believed that because we we too young there weren’t going to be any barriers or people who would stand in our way. No more “Nos”. No more goals blocked. The world would be open to us. I definitely remembered this feeling while I was in college. Away from my family and hometown. In a new city with new people and free to do what I wanted. But that wasn’t always the case; it was just a new city with different barriers and different faces to block my goals.

There were peers who used me to get their scripts and films into production and edited because I was too kind and naive to be friendly in the unfamiliar setting ( I was a transfer student). And there were professors who played favorites when it came to my final senior film project–that was needed for graduation.

They allowed peers from the class to leave my crew the week before my production dates to be extras on someone else’s set. While I was left with a skeleton crew, lost a ton of money and actors who weren’t sure they would be available for when ever I rescheduled the shoot.

That experience still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. And it made me not want to be involved with film production or anything that was related to it for a really long time. In a few months, it’ll be ten years since I experienced that traumatic event. The wound isn’t as fresh but the scarred tissue is sensitive to the touch.

While not on the same tier as that when it comes to this blog, I found I had lost my joy when it came to the reviews I was doing. I’ve always had the ability to find interest in reading material when it came to school. When I felt the urge to catch-up on reading for fun, I was inspired to create this space.

I was convinced that having this blog, I would be able to read so many great things, feel like I was a part of community and talk with readers who loved to read just as much as me. But the more attention my blog got and the more material gifted or offered to me started to make reading feel like a chore or work. I feel into the longest reading slump after that. It wasn’t until I joined BokTok that I realized I’ve been a mood reader this whole time! lol It’s part of the reason I stopped with my review posts.

In fact, this has been my first blog post in years and I have to admit that it has been the first real solid thing I have “written” in some time. Admitting that makes me feel strange. I never thought I would lose that part of myself, but I did. This space I created here was not only to explore writing reviews for books and shows. It was meant to be a space to peel back layers and express myself; however awkward or embarrassing it might be.

There have been so many changes in my life: physically, mentally and emotionally. I wish there were easier words to convey all of those changes but the list is too long and the emotions behind them are too great, too raw.

I guess this is my first post since my hiatus to convince myself and anyone else who happens to find it that achievements are only measurable by the specific goals you set for yourself. If we get “lost in the sauce,” over the achievements of others we might compare ourselves to then we will never be happy. We will never feel we have accomplished anything, ever.

When in reality, we have accomplished so much. And when we are able to tick off the smaller things on our lists on our bad days, our accomplishments are twice-fold.

I decided in January of this year that I would aim to post reviews here as often as I felt like through out the year. But not to hold myself to the standard of other bloggers or reviewers because I am reading again! And more than anything, I really don’t want to lose the joy it brings me again.

I am happy to be back.

Happy Monday and Happy Reading.


Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

Underneath Everything Book Review + Giveaway

Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

Underneath Everything Book Tour Banner hosted by FFBC. So, be sure to follow the full Book Tour Schedule 🙂

Underneath Everything cover

Underneath Everything
by Marcy Beller Paul
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 27th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+, Realistic Fiction
Rate: 4 Stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes


Mattie shouldn’t be at the bonfire. She should be finding new maps for her collection, hanging out with Kris, and steering clear of almost everyone else, especially Jolene. After all, Mattie and Kris dropped off the social scene the summer after sophomore year for a reason.

But now Mattie is a senior, and she’s sick of missing things. So here she is.

And there’s Jolene: Beautiful. Captivating. Just like the stories she wove. Mattie would know; she used to star in them. She and Jolene were best friends. Mattie has the scar on her palm to prove it, and Jolene has everything else, including Hudson.

But when Mattie runs into Hudson and gets a glimpse of what could have been, she decides to take it all back: the boyfriend, the friends, the life she was supposed to live. Problem is, Mattie can’t figure out where Jolene ends and she begins.

Because there’s something Mattie hasn’t told anyone—she walked away from Jolene over a year ago, but she never really left.

Poignant and provocative, Marcy Beller Paul’s debut novel tells the story of an intoxicating—and toxic—relationship that blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy, love and loyalty, friendship and obsession.

Whether it was the lyrical or rhythmic way in which Marcy Beller Paul coursed Mattie’s unique story, I am sincerely grateful and in awe, that Underneath Everything was my first official Blog Tour book.

Mattie, the main character is quiet, calculative and extremely self aware with the people in her life. Even with her closest, tethering companion, Kris—whom she isn’t suppose to hold anything from—but she does.

And it is the small bread crumbs of the past that Mattie gives the reader as she not only recalls, but relives, over and over again, that kept me drawn to this story. Getting further and further into this story and realizing how cinched and interwoven Mattie was to Jolene, I started to realize just how addictive, yet toxic their relationship was.

The reader will watch as Mattie comes to grips with facing her past, the present and the future while she tries to get her barring over true friendship, love and the makings of her reality vs. the one around her as a result of her longing to be inimitable rather, “something new.”

The events that transpire between the main characters, Mattie, Jolene, Kris and Belle do push the dark boundaries in the book, but I felt that they were areas that needed to be explored to illustrate the serious, intense and dangerous realm that Kris and Mattie were so adamant about leaving behind*.

Likewise, Mattie and Jolene’s relationship borders a level of intimacy that goes beyond “friends,” which I think speaks to Mattie’s inner compass trying to tell her something she may not be aware of yet.

The poetic, literary narrative in which the story is told will make the reader fall that much more in love with the book’s main theme: knowing yourself/truly knowing who you are. (More or less) When you read Underneath Everything, you not only gain a better understanding of how and why Mattie still thinks, sees, hears and pines after a person who she knows, deep down in her gut is wrong for her, but also why she can’t seem to stop herself.

I have never been in such an intense, or toxic relationship as the one Jolene and Mattie have, but after reading this book I feel like I’ve lived through one. I really enjoyed the way Marcy not only exposed the reader to such a multifarious, condensed and rich topic, but also the way she exposes Mattie all the way down to her core. Thus, that in the end, Mattie is the one to save herself, see herself and love herself.

I recommend Underneath Everything for anyone who has been in a relationship or a friendship that was so gripping or suffocating that you thought there would never be a light at the end of the tunnel. A tether to someone with a pull so strong you feel you might never be able to cut that cord. A feeling of being so lost or so disconnected from who you are, on an unlit path, that you worry if you’ll ever find your way again.

Underneath Everything will take you on a string of emotions from start to finish, but it is one heck of a ride. 🙂

**(Side note: I have seen friends push the limits to be seen, to be remembered, to be popular or the center of attention over the years in school, so I didn’t feel all that all of the situations or actions that took place in this book were impossible to fathom.)

There were so many amazing lines and quotes from this book and I really wish I could share them all, alas I cannot. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to give this book a read. ❤ Be sure to enter the Book Giveaway below and follow the rest of the blog tour ^__^.

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Follow the Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.
Marcy Beller Paul is a young adult author, former editor, and full-time mom who still has all the notes she passed in seventh grade (and knows how to fold them).

She graduated from Harvard University and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children. Underneath Everything will be published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, in Fall 2015. It is her first novel.


Up Next On The Tour:

October 26th:

Collector of book boyfriends – Review
Ruth Reads – Review
nerdychampagne – Review + Playlist

October 27th:

Spiced Latte Reads – Review
A Perfection Called Books – Interview
One Night Book Stand – Guest Post

Direct Book Giveaway Link