Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November 2022 Wrap Up

Another month flew by. I guess that will keep happening.

Things have been hectic for me, mostly due to work. I am almost the only person who can do any of my job which means a lot of work falls on me and I can't get help and support because no one is trained and the only one who can train them is me and I don't have time to train them... There are some big studies going on and a very big one coming up to prepare for.

In personal news, I have been missing Poseidon like crazy. The other boys are doing alright. Festus still battles respiratory issues and I recently started him on a steroid in a nebulizer which seems to help out. So we keep going along.

This might be weird, but I recently got into slime. I can't remember how I even found it at first, I think it was through a toy/asmr account that I follow on Instagram. And I loved listening to people playing with some of them, so I have ordered some! My first two were from Slime Obsidian. I got a fizz and an icee one. They smell amazing, first off. I took the icee one to work to play with when I feel anxious or while I am reading things. That has been nice. I have since gotten a few others from a couple other shops. I have enjoyed the ones I have ordered from BlushingBB Slimes, one cloud slime that drizzles and one that has beads so it sounds crunchy. I need to post some photos and/or videos on Instagram. I find the crunchy and sizzle-y ones very satisfying!

Anyway, enough of that. Lets do some quick book reviews and figure out what I should read for the holidays!

Titles: Daja's Book and Briar's Book
Author: Tamora Pierce
 
Synopsis and thoughts: These are the third and fourth books in the Circle of Magic series where the four take on forest fires and a plague. I have read these books many times, they are comfort reads for me. I always enjoy them.
 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
 
 
Titles: Strange Practice, Dreadful Company, and Grave Importance
Author: Vivian Shaw
Narrator: Suzannah Hampton

Synopsis: This series follows Dr. Greta Helsing as she treats patients who, according to the rest of the world, don't exist.

Thoughts: I have read these books at least twice each. I just think they are fun and wonderful. I can't recommend them enough. And they have the cutest illustrations in the front of the books that I get a kick out of.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
 

Title: The Last Olympian
Author: Rick Riordan
Narrator: Jesse Bernstein
 
Synopsis and thoughts: This is the last book in the Percy Jackson series. Another one I feel like I don't need to say much about. I have read these books many times and I always enjoy them. They are more comfort reads for me.
 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
 
 
Title: Under the Whispering Door
Author: T. J. Klune
Narrator: Kirt Graves

Synopsis: Wallace is dead, there is no doubting that. Especially when a reaper appears to take his soul to Charon's Crossing and the ferryman and tea shop owner, Hugo. Not ready to cross yet, Wallace remains at Charon's crossing learning about life and death and what it means to be a good person.

Thoughts: This book was recommended by a friend and I already read and liked House in the Cerulean Sea. This story was wonderful and charming, occasionally funny and touching and sad. I did guess about the Manager before we saw him, but it didn't take away from the story. This book was so great and I definitely cried, sometimes when it made me sad and sometimes when it made me happy. The characters are so great. They are flawed and they learn and they feel more real.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
 

Title: My Evil Mother
Author: Margaret Atwood
 
Synopsis: This short story follows a teenage girl in the 1950s and her tumultuous relationship with her mother. Her mother is single and, apparently, is a witch. As this teenager grows up and she has different thoughts about her mother, finding her more and more outlandish, until she understands her.
 
Thoughts: I have never read anything by Margaret Atwood. This story was interesting and I definitely enjoyed the way that it progresses. I wasn't sure if it counted as a book since it is a short story, but I have already surpassed my reading goal for the year so I am going to count it.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars


Favorite book read this month: Under the Whispering Door
Least favorite book read this month: My Evil Mother, but only because it has the lowest rating, it was good.

I have read 83 books this year. My goal was 60.

And holiday reads. Here are some of the books I have that I will probably select from. I may not read all of them and I have a list of others that might grab my interest instead. I know I will read Landline at least once (maybe twice because I love it so much). And the Matzah Ball because it is rare and fun to find Hanukkah books.


I hope you all enjoy your holiday season! Let me know if you have any good holiday reads!

Monday, October 31, 2022

October 2022 Wrap Up

October is usually the best month, right? I love autumn and Halloween. And of course, Kevin's and my 1st anniversary!

Kevin and I did some fun things. We did a haunted Halloween cookie house together while watching Halloween movies. We went to a local pumpkin patch that we have gone to the past few years. It is very cute and has games and things around. Of course we took home a couple of pumpkins.

Last Friday, we had a virtual Halloween party with my friends in Colorado. They set up on Zoom so the couple of us that live out of state could be part of it. It was fun and nice to see everyone. Then on Saturday we went to Boo at the Zoo. It is mostly for kids, but we still had a good time. They had some fun decorations and games and things.

The sad part about this month was that we lost Poseidon. We had an emergency vet visit earlier in the month and they found that he had pneumonia. We tried a couple of antibiotics with no luck, but he was still chipper and eating. Eventually, we were thinking we would need to take him in soon to have him put to sleep because he had mostly stopped eating and was having a harder time breathing and getting around. But that night he passed away on his own. I had spent a lot of time with him that evening because I felt like we were getting closer to the end. I hope that he didn't suffer much. I checked on him right before I went to bed around 11. When Kevin came to bed around 2:30am, I woke up and asked about Poseidon and he told me that he had passed. I wish I had been with him though. He was my oldest rat, nearly 3 1/2 years old. I miss him so much. Our vet kept saying that he was her favorite rat. When I took him over to be cremated, the front desk staff knew us and were very sweet and sympathetic. And they knew that our vet would be sad and they went to get her. She came out to see me and gave me the very best hug and cried with me. I miss my bright-eyed boy. I always called him my precious and my pill and he was so sweet and cute.


In other good news, I got my hair done. Kevin took me to see Moonage Daydream a while back and I was thinking that I really liked David Bowie's hair in his Thin White Duke and the Man Who Fell to Earth days. So I asked my hairstylist to use that for inspiration. I love it. I posted a photo on my Instagram if you haven't seen it.

I read more books this last month than I thought I would. I will keep my reviews very brief.


Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
 
Synopsis/Thoughts: I don't think I need to keep reviewing this book. I love it very much and I read it every year and I never fail to cry at the end.
 
Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars 



Title: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places
Author: Colin Dickey
Narrator: Jon Lindstrom
 
Synopsis: A historical look at haunted places and what makes them haunted.
 
Thoughts: This was a good read if you like history, which I do. The author visits a few places so you get some first-hand view points. He also talks about what makes places haunted in the minds of people.
 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 
 

Title: The Dead Romantics
Author: Ashley Poston
Narrator: Eileen Stevens
 
Synopsis: Florence is a ghost writer for a famous romance author, but after a terrible break up, she can't seem to find the romantic inspiration she needs to finish a series. Her (handsome) new editor demands the document ASAP, even as she is called away after the death of her father. Oh, and she can see ghosts.
 
Thoughts: I didn't really know what to expect and I definitely guessed what was happening early on. But I enjoyed it more than I expected to. It was a nice read and I plan to re-read it in the future.
 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 


Title: I Choose Darkness
Author: Jenny Lawson
Narrator: Jenny Lawson

Synopsis: A short essay about why Jenny Lawson loves Halloween and spooky things.

Thoughts: In general, I enjoy Jenny Lawson's books. This was a very short listen, only about 30 minutes or so. And it was enjoyable.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars


Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Narrators: Greg Wise and others
 
Synopsis/Thoughts: I have read/listened to this several times. I don't think I need to say much about it. I always enjoy this book. I love that it is written in diary entries, letters, and such things. Great classic.
 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars


Title: Gallant
Author: V. E. Schwab
 
Synopsis: Olivia never knew her parents, all she has is her mother's old journal. Until she gets a letter inviting her to her ancestral home. The one her mother warned her to stay away from.
 
Thoughts: This may not be my favorite of her books, but I did really enjoy it. The fact that Olivia couldn't speak and could see ghouls was interesting. There were a few parts that creeped me out, perfect for Halloween.
 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars


Titles: Sandry's Book and Tris's Book
Author: Tamora Pierce
 
Synopsis/Thoughts: These are the first two books in the Circle of Magic series. They are comfort reads for me and I always enjoy them.
 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 



Title: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Author: Josephine Leslie (Pseudonym: R. A. Dick)
Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki

Synopsis/Thoughts: Another book I have read many times over. I love this book. Maybe not very spooky, but wonderful.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars


Title: All These Bodies
Author: Kendare Blake
Narrator: Matt Godfrey
 
Synopsis: A series of murders in the 1950s comes to a small town. The strange thing is that all the bodies found are drained of blood. In this small town, they have their first suspect. A girl found at the scene of the crime, drenched in the blood of the murdered family.
 
Thoughts: There were some parts of this book that spooked me. And I would like a sequel because of the ending. But I definitely enjoyed it and thought about it when I wasn't reading/listening.
 
Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars 


Title: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Narrator: Samara MacLaren
 
Synopsis: Mika is part of a group (a very secret society, if you ask her) of witches. Being a witch means witches are not supposed to gather for too long and they must keep their magic separate. But Mika gets a job offer that breaks all the rules, but one that she is just right for.
 
Thoughts: This was a last minute addition to my spooky reads. It was very sweet and cute. I enjoyed it. If you like found families, it is worth a read.
 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
 
 
Favorite book read this month: Besides the Graveyard Book and the Ghost and Mrs. Muir? I really enjoyed the Dead Romantics and the Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
Least favorite book read this month: All These Bodies, only because it had the lowest rating. I did enjoy it.

I have now read 75 books and my goal was 60. So that's good.

I hope everyone had a lovely October and a great Halloween!

Saturday, October 1, 2022

September 2022 Wrap Up

September was a blur. Anyone else feel that way?

Work has continued to be crazy. I have a lot going on that is all my responsibility including doing training. Which is great, but puts a lot more on my shoulders.

There were a couple hard, sad things that happened in September. But there were some good, happy things, too. One of my oldest friends got married at the end of the month, which was a very happy occasion.

I finished quite a few books this month so I will keep my reviews very brief.

Title: A Thousand Steps Into Night
Author: Traci Chee
Narrator: Grace Rolek
 
Synopsis: Miuko has always felt too big and too loud for the realm of Awara. A chance encounter one night with a demon changes everything. As she starts to turn into a demon herself, she goes through many adventures to save herself and her world.
 
Thoughts: I had heard some things about this book. It took a while for me to get into (may have just been me, I wasn't super focused), but I ended up really enjoying it. It was a good, creative story with a lot of Japanese influence.
 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

 

Title: Lady Knight
Author: Tamora Pierce
 
Synopsis: The last installment of the Protector of the Small series finds Kel, a full knight, leading a refugee camp during the war. But being stuck in one place makes her feel like she will never fulfill her destiny to take down the Nothing Man and his metal monsters.
 
Thoughts: I don't know that I need to say much. I love these books and I still think this is one of Tamora Pierce's best series. I love the Protector of the Small. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry while I read this, even after so many re-reads.
 
Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars
 
 
Titles: Wow, No Thank You and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life
Author: Samantha Irby
Narrator: Samantha Irby

Synopsis: These books are collections of essays by Samantha Irby about her real life. They tell stories from her childhood, party days, aging, marriage, and more. They are funny, awkward, and real.

Thoughts: I am not sure how, but Wow, No Thank You crossed my sight a while ago and I got the audiobook. Later, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life crossed my path so I got that audiobook, too. Then I had to listen to them. I listened to Wow, No Thank You first and it took a bit to get into (probably because I didn't actually know who she is), but I was startled into bursts of laughter a few times. She is hilarious and her writing is great and sometimes super relatable. I enjoyed Wow, No Thank You more, but both were good.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars for Wow, No Thank You, 3 stars out of 5 stars for We Are Never Meeting in Real Life
 

Title: Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography
Author: Neil Patrick Harris
Narrator: Neil Patrick Harris
 
Synopsis: The life, times, and adventures of Neil Patrick Harris over the course of his life and career. Need I say more?
 
Thoughts: I love Barney in How I Met Your Mother (who doesn't?) and this was recommended to me by a friend. It may have been better as a physical book, but the audio adaptation was pretty good. I didn't actually know much about Neil Patrick Harris, so it was interesting to read. If you are a fan, it is worth a read.
 
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars
 
 
Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, books 1-4
Author: Rick Riordan
Narrator: Jesse Bernstein

Synopsis: Meet Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon and child of a great and terrible prophesy. Watch as he navigates the world of Greek gods and monsters while trying to be a sort-of-normal teen.

Thoughts: How many times have I read and reviewed these? Too many times. I love them. There is a show coming out in the near future that I can't wait for and I wanted to brush up. If you like Greek mythology, these are wonderful and fun.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
 

Favorite book read this month: I always love Percy Jackson books and Lady Knight. Aside from those, probably Wow, No Thank You
Least favorite book read this month: None, I think.
 
I have now read 64 books this year. My goal was 60.
 
And now October is here! My favorite month! Spooky reads, Halloween, wedding anniversary, all the exciting things. I think we will get to do some fun, seasonal things and I can't wait! Maybe I can even get a couple of other posts up?
 
Here are books that I hope to read. I don't think I will get to all of them, but this is the selection. 

Anyone else have spooky reading lists planned? Please share, I am always looking for more spooky reads!

Happy spooky season everyone!