Monday Musings: It’s So Hot!

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone is doing well in this hot weather. Honestly, I am not. I hate Summers, especially July and August because these two months are not only hot they are also very humid, in my corner of the world. Sometimes it gets really difficult for me to breathe and I try to stay in and stay out of the sun. Not always a possibility but I try my best. Unfortunately, this hot weather is also messing up with my creativity and I haven’t written anything new in a while. I apologize for missing Fiction Friday posts and also not sharing any poetry with you all. I hope I will start writing again soon. Until then you’ll have to excuse me.

This post is just me letting you know that I might not be as punctual with my posts as I have been since I started this blog a year ago. It has been really fun. I enjoy writing but don’t have the patience or the will to go through rejections to get it published. So, posting on my blog is the next best option for me. I love when someone read my work and let me know if they enjoyed it or not. So, yes, it has been a pleasure for me. I do wish to keep doing this but just not as religiously as before.

Enjoy you Summer if you’re the kind of person who does. I will never be that person so I just hope to make it out alive. I’d love to hear some of the fun activities that you do when you can’t go out. For me, I just read. It keeps my mind of things and sometimes I come across something really good and that makes me genuinely happy.

Yours truly,

Fizza #iambookseater

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Flash Fiction Friday: PURE BLISS

Lazy summer nights are the best when you’ve no school in the mornings. You can just lie in your bed and read to your heart’s content. It’s the best feeling in the world and if you have a cat to keep you company that’s even better.

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You can have as many imaginary friends as you like and they will always be there between the pages of your favorite books. In between reading books you also have many other options to spend your free time. Summer is the most relaxing time of the year.

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That’s how I spend my Summer days and nights. I also love to share my favorite books with my friends. Reading together is even more fun than reading alone.

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And when I run out of books to read, I take my cat for a bicycle ride. More often than not, we end up in the library. Life is good, as long as you have books, friends, family, and cats to keep you company.
© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Note: ALL THE PICTURES ARE TAKEN FROM UNSPLASH STOCK PHOTOS


P.S. I wrote this cute flash fiction a while ago and wanted to share with everyone.  Growing up, Summer was indeed my favorite time of the year. It is only now that I have started hating the sun so much.

Monday Musings: Break Bad Habits

People need to understand that little white lies are just as bad as any other form of lying. You may end up ruining someone’s life because of these silly lies or you may very well ruin your own. It is true that a lot of people lie on a daily basis. Some researchers say that everyone lies at least in one out of five of their interactions. You might not even notice it. You may lie to control people’s response to your story. You may lie to protect yourself fearing judgment from others. It might be because you have developed a habit of exaggerating the truth or perhaps, you’re simply lying by omission but ultimately, everyone lies.

Break this habit. Understand that lying will not serve you in the long-run. Speaking the truth is always the best option. Don’t gossip and fight your insecurities. Be honest with yourself first so that you can be honest with others. Don’t create alternate realities. Your reality is good enough and even if it isn’t let people judge. Don’t waste your breath by sugar coating the truths. Also, give people a chance. You’ll find out that most people appreciate honesty. Truth is always better than any lie you can ever tell.

I have great dislike for people who tell lies. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine and when you pay attention you can almost always tell when someone is telling the truth and when they are not. I think lies among friends are the worst. It shows that you don’t really trust them. If you can’t be honest with someone you call ‘friend’ then in my book, you don’t have the right to call them that. Friendship, in fact all relationships, demand honesty.

Stop being so afraid of the truth. It’s not going to be as bad as you might think. Once you tell the truth you’ll realize how easy it actually is. Develop the habit of being honest. Pay attention to your interactions and as soon as you catch yourself lying, stop yourself right then and there.

That said, it’s also true that some people lie to be cruel. Their lies are not as innocent as we might think. They consciously do this to harm us. Maybe they’re jealous of us or maybe they’re simply despicable human beings with rotten hearts but either way, it’s best to stay as far away from such people as possible. Don’t let someone else’s lies ruin your life and also don’t ignore them. If you catch someone in a lie, confront them. Let them know that you know the truth and exactly what you think of their habit of lying.

This is the best advice I can give you. I hope you take it. Don’t lie and don’t let anyone else lie to you. Lying is a sign of toxicity. Liars are toxic people and we should all stay away from them. Also, compulsive lying can be treated with therapy. So, if you’ve a problem admit it and get help. It’s better than ruining your relationships because of it.


P.S. So, that’s my take on one of the worst habits anyone can possibly have. If you’ve any other bad habit you should try to break it too. The important point is to accept it and realize that it needs to be fixed, only then can you take it seriously amd maybe even succeed in changing your habits. Be kind, be a good person and most importantly do not cause others undue harm. Peace!

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What have you been reading this year?

So, can you believe that 2019 is half over? It’s end of June and I thought that we should look back and see what we have been reading so far. This year I set my Goodreads challenge at 220 books. So far I’ve read 103 books and am only one book behind schedule. I’m quite sure that I’ll catch up soon. Let’s take a look at what I have read this year.

I have read about fifteen historical fiction/romance. I have read about eleven paranormal romance novels, one super-hero book, twenty-five mysteries (mostly, by Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins clark, a few fantasy books and some contemporary romances. I only read one or two Young Adult books. Most of these books were ARC e-copies and were provided by authors or publishers.

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Authors that are new to me include Lena Dunham, Dee S. Knight, and A.M. Rose. Most of the authors I read this year are my all time favorites including, C.D. Gorri, Michelle Madow, Kristan Higgins, Jordan Elizabeth, Betty Shreffler, Elizabeth Keysian, and Lana Pecherczyk.

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You may check out all of these books and more at my Goodreads Challenge Page. This year I’ve been writing too so, this list includes some of my own works that are available at Wattpad.

So, that’s what I have been reading. I would love to hear from you all. How has your year been going and how much are you reading this year? Do you set Goodreads goal or any other goals? What are your favorite bookish sites? Do share as that interests me. And I hope all is well in your respective corners of the world. Happy Reading!

Friday Fiction: At First Sight (Last Part)

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

Read Part Three Here

I hadn’t been able to rest since Sonia’s aunt called. My father was taking to much interest in the whole incident. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. He used to live here a long time ago. I was just a baby back then so I didn’t remember. My mother was from here too. They had married young and were very much in love. But then my father got a better work opportunity and we moved away. It had only been a year since we moved back. My parents were now divorced. My father got custody of both my brother and me because our mother didn’t want it. She had re-married and was living happily with her new family. We were happy too. My dad’s a great man. He had taught me so much about integrity and loyalty. I idealized him until Sonia. Knowing that your parent had an affair that later led to their divorce wasn’t an easy pill to swallow.

Anyhow, I had my doubt about his interest in Sonia. I thought my father knew, at some level, he had guessed that she was his daughter. He just didn’t want to bring it up with her aunt just yet. I, on the hand, wanted to find Sonia as soon as possible. I was worried about her and not just because she might be my sister. I wondered if she knew and that was why she had been following me around. Maybe her mother had told her about my father. Maybe she had recognized my name and wanted to make sure. But then, why did she never talk to me? And where the hell had she run away to? I was almost a hundred percent sure that she had run away on her own. Her life at school was miserable. I didn’t know much about her life at home but she was clearly not a happy person.

That’s how I ended up doing my own investigation. I talked to everyone and anyone who might know her. I found out that she was often seen talking to a homeless woman. I tracked her down and that’s how I found my half-sister. We had yet to cross that bridge but I knew the truth and I had mixed feelings about it. One on hand, I’m happy to have a sister. My little brother was a pest. On the other hand, I felt betrayed by my father’s deception. How could he do that to my mother?

In any case, right now I just wanted to bring Sonia home. It wasn’t easy to convince her. I didn’t even know why she had run away in the first place. But I told her how frantic her aunt was and how everyone was worried about her, including my father and I. In the end, she relented. I think she also wanted to come back. I could see that she was already regretting her decision. And the rest, as they say, was history.

#

“I can’t believe that you did this to me,” I said, now that initial shock was over, I was furious with my niece, “you’re grounded for life.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have much of a social life anyway,” she said in a small voice and just like that my anger was replaced with sympathy.

“Oh, honey,” I said, “you’ve got me. Am I not enough?”

“You are,” she said without a hint of a smile.

“Then why did you do it?” And that’s when she showed me Samantha’s diary. Pieces fell into place and I realized it was a shame that made her do it. But she had nothing to be ashamed of. She didn’t know Dylan was her half-brother. I mean, who would’ve thought?

“It’s not your fault sweetheart. It was a harmless crush nothing else. Why would you runaway over that? You could’ve talked to me.”

“It wasn’t a crush. I was in love with him.”

Love, that word again, oh, how I hated it. “Was?” At least, that sounded promising.

“Yeah, I mean now that I know. I can’t be in love with my own half-brother.”

“True enough.” I was happy to have her back and if she was over her love then that was an added bonus.

“But what am I going to do now?” She asked sounding lost.

“Whatever you wish to do?” I replied, “do you want me to talk to Mr. Raheel? You mother’s diary says she never told him. He seems like a nice man. I’m sure he would want to have a relation with you. Do you want your father in your life?” I left it on her because it didn’t feel right to interfere. If she felt like it, we could arrange something. One thing was sure though, I wouldn’t want to give up her custody. I would if she truly wanted that and if Mr. Raheel agreed. But it would break my heart.

“I want to talk to him but I also want to keep living with you if that’s okay.”

“It’s more than okay.”

#

Dear Diary,

Well, until a few months ago it was my aunt and me against the world. Now, I have a father and two half-brothers. I adore them both and I think they love me too. I’m still a loner at school, never learned the art of socializing but I don’t feel bad about it anymore. Thanks to aunt Sarah I’ve come to realize that not everyone is meant to be a social butterfly. I’ve adopted a new hobby. I’ve started reading books and let me tell you there is no better or more loyal friend than books. I’m happy and I think my aunt is too. Life is good except I no longer believe in love at first sight. My aunt was right, it was just a harmless crush. No big deal and it’ll forever remain between the three of us.

Let’s talk later,

Sonia.

*** The End ***

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Friday Fiction: At First Sight (Part Three)

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

“Who is this?”

“Is this Samantha Brown?” The man on the other end asked. What a strange question it was.

“No, this is Sarah Brown. And who might you be? How do you know Samantha?”

“Are you her relative or something?”

“Yes, we are sisters- we were a sister. You didn’t answer my question.”

“Were?”

“Samantha died a few years ago. I am surprised you didn’t know. Please, how did you know my sister?”

“Oh, we went out a few times,” he said in a small voice, “I didn’t know that she had passed away.”

“Look, Mister.” I was a little annoyed at him and not because he did anything wrong rather, I had other worries on my mind. “I don’t know who you are or why you suddenly want to talk to my sister even though she has been dead for quite some time now. I am in the middle of something and really don’t have time or energy to talk to anyone I don’t absolutely need to talk to.”

“I apologize.” he really did sound apologetic. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I think you called my son asking about Sonia Brown, your daughter I assume?”

“Oh?”

“My name is Raheel and I’m Dylan’s father. The name brought up some memories and I just had to ask.”

“Oh right,” I explained, “Sonia is my niece, Samantha’s daughter. She is missing and I was trying to call all her friends and anyone who might know where she could be.”

“Then I won’t take any more of your time. Please, let us know if we can help in some way. Samantha and I were close once so, I would definitely help you if possible.”

“It’s okay,” I said with a sigh, “the police are looking into it. Please, do let me know if you or Dylan hear anything about her. That would be a great help. Thank you.”

“Sure, sure,” with that he hung up.

#

It had been three days since Sonia disappeared. The police kept hitting dead ends and none of the class-mates were any help at all. It was the first time that I realized how much of a loner, at school, my niece was. Poor girl, only if I had paid more attention to what was going on in her life. She had no friends to speak of. Her crush didn’t even know she existed except that she stalked him for a while and me, her aunt, her only blood relation, was completely oblivious of her problems. I thought she was a happy teenager. I thought she was a social butterfly like her mother. Unlike me, my niece seemed like an outgoing girl. I assumed she was popular too considering how her mother breezed through high school. I was the one always on the sidelines, working behind the scenes. But I was an introvert and I had social anxieties. So, I liked being alone. I liked books being my only friend. Why was it then that I didn’t recognize the signs of a loner in my niece?

If she had gone missing because something happened at school there was no way for me to know. But what if it was something I said or did? Had she run away on purpose? There was so much going through my mind. These past few days had been hell for me. Dylan’s father had been very supportive through this time. He came to see me and had given me much needed moral support. I also met Dylan and I had to agree with my niece, he seemed like a very well-behaved and a great guy. I wish Sonia had asked him out maybe then she would still be here. There were so many maybes that I couldn’t wrap my mind around them.

“Did the police have any new?” Mr. Raheel said as soon as I put down the phone.

“No, nothing new,” I said dejectedly. We were having coffee. I was trying not to think the worst-case scenarios where Sonia was concerned and he was giving me company. It was his third visit to our house since the whole ordeal started.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure they will find her.”

“At this point, I hope she has run away because anything else is just unthinkable. Only if her mother was here,” I said sadly, “she’d know what to do.”

“You beat yourself like that. After talking to you, I’ve come to see what an amazing aunt you are. I’m sure Sonia loves you too.”

We were still talking when the doorbell rang. I got up and opened the door. It was Dylan and Sonia. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was standing there looking sorrier than I had ever seen anyone look. I wrapped myself around her, crying in relief. We both hugged each other right there on the doorstep until Mr. Raheel, who must have followed me, nudged us inside. The four of us were now standing in the hallway. I had so many questions and yet I was speechless.

#

I wish I had never fallen in love. It was such a stupid thing to do and with Dylan of all people. What should I do now? Those were my thoughts as I read my mother’s journal and looked at the picture of my father. I had found it in the attic a few days ago. At first, I was so excited to read my mother’s thoughts. I wanted to know what her life was like. I mean, aunt Sara is great and all but I missed my mother. I wanted to know who my father was. Only if I could find some clue how great would it be? Or so I had thought. But the reality was a nightmare.

When my mother was nineteen, she fell in love with an older guy, a married man. That’s how I came into this world. My father didn’t even know about my existence. He moved away with his family and that was the last my mom saw of him. Yes, you must have guessed it by now. It was Mr. Raheel, Dylan’s father. Basically, I was in love with my half-brother. I didn’t know how to look my aunt in the eye after that. So, I ran away. A very bad move on my part because I had nowhere to go.

Dylan found me, of all people, it was just my luck. I wasn’t sure how he knew where I would be but, in all honesty, I was glad that he did.

To be continued…

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Monday Musings: For Love (A Poem)

Oh, the things we do for love,

And the dreams that can never be.

Oh, the lies we tell ourselves,

And the nights we cry until falling asleep.

If love is so painful is it even worth it?

Then, if not love what else there is to live for?

Shackled by the bonds of our love,

None of us can ever be truly free.

It’s something we crave and welcome,

Even if it breaks our heat in the end,

Love is something we’ll always want to feel.

For love, we’ll do despicable things,

And then will tell ourselves that,

All is fair in love and war.

We claim that the love we seek has higher purpose,

Telling ourselves that we accept wrong to be right.

Oh, the things we do for our love,

And the lies we tell ourselves!

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Our Favorite Steampunk Novels

Steampunk is a genre that is rather new to me. It has only been a few years since I was introduced to it and I’ve loved it ever since. It is historical science fiction revolving around steam-operated machines and technology. I have read some of the truly amazing novels that are steampunk and I’m always fascinated by their settings and characters. I want to share some of my most favorite books here. I’d love to hear your opinion on this genre and do you have any favorites? I’m looking for recommendations so that would be much appreciated.

  1. Treasure Chronicles Series by Jordan Elizabeth: This series has three books and it is quite amazing. It was my first steampunk series and I had loved every second of it. These books are the reason why I love this genre. The books tell the story of Clark Treasure, a man who can raise the dead. It is set in the west and weaves a tale that has both paranormal and romantic aspects to it. If you love steampunk or are willing to give it a try then I recommend this series.
  2. Stardust by Neil Gaiman: Although some would argue that it is more of a fairytale but I think we can call it steampunk fantasy. This is an amazing novel and is exceptionally well-written. I found it very quotable (among other things) and I loved this story. Tristran Thorn is in love and willing to do anything to win the heart of his beloved. That’s what leads him to an adventure of a lifetime. This book set in a fantasy world which is beyond our imagination. There are fairies, witches, and curses involved. It had all the ingredients of an amazing fairytale, beautifully written. And the steampunk aspect of the story only made it all the more fun to read.
  3. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve: This is book one in Mortal Engines Quartet. It’s a very interesting and well-written steampunk series. In this book, the author has created a world that is dark and fantastical. The story is ingenious and it sucks you into its folds right from the very beginning. There are many twists and turns along the way that keeps you on your toes and makes things even more fun to read. This is definitely a good steampunk book that I think all readers would enjoy.
  4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: This is another extremely enjoyable steampunk novel. I think that if you’re a reader who has never read steampunk then this book is a good one to start. It’s very hard to put down kind of book and I really loved it. It’s book one in a trilogy. In my opinion, it’s a very good steampunk book and I had loved this story.
  5. The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare: Okay, so this is a series I haven’t actually read but it’s on my TBR. I have heard so many good things about this series. I plan to read it very soon.

So, that’s my very short list of favorite steampunk novels/series. Do share yours because I’d love to add to this list.

Friday Fiction: At First Sight (Part Two)

Read Part One Here

“Hi, Amy,” I said as the girl answered her phone, “this is Sarah, Sonia’s aunt. I was wondering if you have heard from her or perhaps, she is with you right now.”

“Sorry, I haven’t talked to her in days. She wasn’t even at school today.”

“Do you have any idea where she might be? I only have your number. She doesn’t talk much about her other friends.”

“That’s odd. We are not even friends. I have never seen her talking to anyone. She keeps to herself mostly. I am sorry, I really don’t know what to tell you.”

“Okay, thanks.” I hung up. It has been hours, Sonia should’ve come home by now but she hadn’t. When I called the school, they told me she never showed up for any of her classes. That was strange as I dropped her off myself. Where could she have gone? And why wasn’t she back? I was going out of my mind thinking about all the bad things that could happen to her. That’s when I remembered Dylan. After making a few calls I had his last name and a phone number.

Someone answered on the third ring. “Hello.”

“Hi, may I speak to Dylan,” I said, “please.”

“Sure, wait a sec.” The speaker was someone very young. Maybe a younger sibling. As I waited for Dylan to come to the phone, I was also hoping that he knew something about Sonia.

“Hello, who is this?”

“Hi, I am Sonia’s aunt. I was wondering if you know where she might be right now.”

“Sorry,” he said, “Sonia who?”

“Sonia Brown, she goes to your school.”

“I’m sorry, lady,” the guy said, “I don’t know her. This is the first time I am hearing that name. I don’t think I can help you.” He hung up.

It was a long shot. I knew he might not know anything because Sonia’s crush was definitely one-sided. But still, I had hoped against hope. Should I call the police? Oh, this was such a mess. I didn’t think I would survive if anything happened to her. My niece was my entire world. It was just the two of us, my parents had died and so had her mother. I didn’t know anything about her father. So, I had taken custody. I had been a devoted aunt, a mother and a father to her. She was such a bright girl. So much like her mother in so many ways, but also different than her in many other. I couldn’t lose her too, it was unthinkable.

#

“Who was it?” My dad asked as I hung up the phone in the living room.

“I don’t know, some lady who thought I might know where her niece was,” I said a little worried. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something bothered me about it.

“Why would she think you would know?”

“Beats me, I don’t even know her niece. Apparently, she goes to my school. Maybe her aunt thought we’re friends.”

“What’s her name?”

“Sonia Brown.”

“Any relation to Samantha Brown?” My dad asked, curious all of a sudden.

“Dad, how am I supposed to know. I told you, I don’t even know that girl.” His curiosity rubbed me the wrong way. He is never curious about his own children and now he wants to know all about some missing girl, an unknown girl.

“Watch your tone,” he chastised, “I only asked because I once knew a girl named Samantha Brown and wondered if they might be related.”

“No clue.” I shrugged and went back to my room. Why this phone call made me restless was anyone’s guess. I kept thinking about all the girls I have known. No, the name Sonia didn’t ring a bell. She was definitely not in my class or social circle. I wondered who she was and why her aunt thought I’d know something about it. I tried to shake off the feeling but no matter how much I told myself that it had nothing to do with me, I felt that somehow it did and then it clicked.

“OMG! Is she that weirdo who kept following me a while back?” I thought out loud. A few weeks ago, there was this girl, she was a junior I think, who kept following me around the school and even after school. If I wasn’t wrong, she even talked to my friends. Everyone joked how I had a stalker of my own. She seemed harmless so I hadn’t bothered with it. I just assumed she had a crush on me or something. Could she be this Sonia? Only one way to find out.

“Hey man,” Zain said as he picked up my call.

“Hey,” I said and then got straight to the point, “dude you remember that girl, my stalker. She used to follow me around until a few days ago?”

“Yeah, what about her?”

“Do you know her name? Any idea who she is?”

“Yeah,” he said, “she is in my sister’s class. I think her name is Sonia something. She is a loner from what I hear. Why do you ask?”

“No reason.” so it was her after all. “I just wondered. Is she friends with your sister?”

“I doubt it, my understanding is that she doesn’t have any friends. Why the sudden interest though?”

“Nothing, I was curious that’s all.” We talked for a while and then hung up. I was a little worried now. I shouldn’t be, I mean Sonia had nothing to do with me. But her behavior over the past few weeks had been odd. First, she started taking an interest in me and followed me around for a while. Then, she stopped stalking me on her own. I didn’t see her after that and now, her aunt was calling me making it sound as if she was missing. Was she really missing or stalking someone else?

To be continued…

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Monday Musings: A Castle That Sleeps

I live in a castle that’s fast asleep,

The world hears its walls as they weep.

Everything here is stilted,

Every breath you take is tainted.

Sadness and despair walk unbidden,

Smiles and laughter are here forbidden.

I stroll through the halls so grand,

Time slipping through my hands like sand.

A place so majestic to behold,

A story so eloquent when it is told.

But all is not what it seems,

There is a creature living in the beams.

Soon, it will wake up and open its eyes,

The whole world will see when it flies.

It sleeps with the castle, unafraid and free,

It knows all that mortals can never see.

Sleeping castle slumbered in its own time loop,

There but not there, hiding behind a souls’ troop.

If you walk by, don’t stop and don’t come near,

It’s majestic but it’s also something you should fear.

It’s a home, my love, I live in this castle that sleeps,

Along with its walls, my heart also weeps.

© 2019, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.