Saturday, October 2, 2021

September 2021 Wrap Up

 September was a pretty exciting month.

I got to have my bachelorette party with all my bridesmaids who definitely spoiled me. On the Friday evening we all got in, we just hung out, had some snacks and drinks, and talked. On Saturday morning we had breakfast and most of the girls tried on their dresses. They all picked infinity dresses and were toying with different ways to tie and wear them. Then we grabbed lunch and did an escape room at Colorado Escape. We did the wizard themed room. It was very fun. We finished with seven minutes left on the clock and only had to get a few clues. After that we went to a wine tasting at Water 2 Wine and that was fun and we had some great wines! That evening we played MASH in the hotel room and then got ramen for dinner nearby.


Sunday was my bridal shower. My mom and bridesmaids arranged all of this. We had tea at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, which was lovely. Had some good tea and food. And almost everyone invited was able to come! I was so happy to see my friends and family and I felt very spoiled.


So that was a pretty great weekend. I was sorry for it to come to an end. Then Kevin and I got to go back to attend a friend's wedding, which was also great. It was nice to see a few of my old Idexx friends and it was just a nice time overall.

Kevin and I are starting to get down to the wire on wedding planning ourselves. Our venue needs our final headcount and we need to arrange the catering when we have that, too. Our music planner is due very soon so we have been working to get that done and submitted. After that, the photography planner and bar information are due. And I think that will be about it. I still have plenty to do though and am starting to feel a bit nervous. But I am excited for the wedding and the short honeymoon. I am excited to marry Kevin, who is the best guy I have ever met in my life.

Here are the books I managed to read in September.

Title: Yes No Maybe So
Authors: Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
Narrators: Tiya Sircar and Michael Crouch
Synopsis: Jamie is very interested and involved in politics. He would like to be a politician one day. If only public speaking and speaking to strangers didn't make him so awkward and nervous. Maya is having a rough time. It is Ramadan, but her best friend is slipping away from her and her parents are separating. Through a series of events, Maya and Jamie end up canvassing neighborhoods together to support a local politician. But they grow closer and the political climate starts to become more personal and important than ever before.
Thoughts: This had been on my TBR for a little while. And since I apparently only want to read contemporary rom-com books, I decided to listen to it. It was very cute and I enjoyed the political aspects of the story.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
Title: The Charm Offensive
Author: Alison Cochrun
Narrators: Vikas Adam, Grahm Halstead, and Cassandra Campbell

 Synopsis: Charlie is a socially awkward, anxiety-riddled wealthy and eligible bachelor who agrees to be on a dating reality show to help improve his public image. Dev is a huge romantic and it has been his dream to work with the reality dating show Ever After. Despite his lack-luster romantic life, he really believes in true love. And then he is promoted to being Charlie's handler for the show. And Dev has his work cut out for him getting Charlie to be the prince he is expected to be. After spending some (awkward) time together, Charlie realizes that his chemistry with Dev feels like so much more than his chemistry with the 20 women on the show. Dev agrees, but his career and heart are on the line. Can they find happily ever after?

Thoughts: This was the book of the month for the Happy Endings Book Club that Jenny Lawson and her bookstore, Nowhere Bookshop, picked out. I was vaguely thinking about joining the book club but wasn't sure that romance books are really my jam so I just wanted to sort of participate. I saw this was the first pick and got the audio book to try it out. But I loved this book. It was cute, sweet, and so fluffy. I finished it and just wanted to turn around and read it all over again. But spooky season is coming so maybe it will be my first read after Halloween is over! But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. Even though the smut is still not really my thing, it was such a good book that I didn't even mind!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
Title: From the Desk of Zoe Washington
Author: Janae Marks
Narrator: Bahni Turpin

Synopsis: Zoe just turned 12, practically and adult, right? Her dream is to be a baker and she would love to go on a kids' baking show and show the world what she has to offer. But on her birthday, she receives a letter from her father in prison. She has never met him and her mom does not like to talk about it. But she is 12, and she decides she is old enough to know her father and she writes back. When he tells her that he is innocent, Zoe puts everything on the line to figure out the truth.
Thoughts: I know this was targeted toward a much younger audience, which may have made me enjoy it a bit less than I may have otherwise. But it was still a good book. I like the way it addressed systemic racism without it being the entire point of the story. It made it this problem obvious, relatable, and understandable because of the way this book was written, but the characters were very much their own, real people with real lives. And it was a very good and nice story. It makes me believe that good really can win.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars
Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Neil Gaiman

Synopsis and thoughts: I am going to skip this for this book because I have read it every year for... well, many years. I adore this book, I re-read it every fall. This is what helps start my Halloween season. I can't get enough of this book and I cry like a baby at the end every single time. There is also a brief synopsis and review on my Goodreads if you are interested.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: The Charm Offensive or the Graveyard Book (obviously)
Least favorite book read this month: I suppose my least favorite was From the Desk of Zoe Washington, but it was a good book still. I read good books this month! I love it when that happens.

I have read 35 books towards my goal of 50 for this year. I will try to pick up more next month since it is Halloween month. Usually I can catch up to goals in October, but I'm not sure if I can with the wedding. And it is very possible that my October wrap up post will be quite late. You know, wedding and all. I apologize in advance. I will post a wrap up early if I can.

Happy spooky season everyone!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

2021 Spooky Reads

 Alright! It is that time of the year! The best time of the year and the time for spooky reads!

Here are my goals for this spooky season. Or maybe not "goals," these are all audio books that I already own that are at least a bit spooky. I will just pick them as I feel like. I only really have time for audio books these days so those are the only ones I have included this year.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, of course, will be read. I actually am nearly finished with it already. I love it so much.

There will also be a spooky book coming in the September Owlcrate. I don't know what it is, but I want to read it! Last year's was pretty good so I have pretty high hopes. This is the only physical book I plan to read, but I do have a couple of others if I have time and the mood strikes me.

We have some Halloween decorations out. We might take it a bit easy this year since we are trying to finish up wedding planning.

Anyone else have spooky reads for this year? Any books to recommend to me? As long as it isn't very scary, I'm game!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

August 2021 Wrap Up

August went so fast. I was not at all prepared for this blog post. Which is why it is so late. Sorry about that.

The wedding is only two months away! We are trying to get everything squared away. I feel like there is so much to do, but I don't know what all those things are.

September has been exciting so far. I will tell about my bachelorette party and bridal shower in the September post! And we get to go to a friend's wedding this month. And maybe I will have a couple of good stories at the end of September.

This month I got to have tea with my lady scientist friends at work which is always lovely. We have done this a few times and its fun to get dressed up and hang out outside of work. And the tea and food is always delicious.

I took Poseidon to the vet for some skin issues he was having that seem to be doing better now. And Hephaestus was neutered this month. I hope that will help the new boys calm down. But I might need to have Eros neutered.

I actually got through quite a few books this month, so lets talk about those. Sorry for the not-so-great reviews. I decided to sacrifice some quality in order to get this post up sooner.

Title: Get a Life Chloe Brown
Author: Talia Hibbert
Narrator: Adoja Andoh
Synopsis: Chloe is chronically ill which makes having a life difficult. She decides to come up with a list of things she should do in order to feel as if she has really lived. And her apartment handyman, Red, gets enlisted to help her, though they seem to be complete opposites.
Thoughts: Chloe was my favorite of the Brown sisters and this book was my favorite of the three. I'm not big on reading the smut portions, but I really enjoyed everything else! It was sweet and cute and made me feel warm and fuzzy.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars 

Title: Act Your Age Eve Brown
Author: Talia Hibbert
Narrator: Ione Butler
Synopsis: Eve has had a difficult time finding her place in the world and her purpose in life. Faced with being disowned if she doesn't get her life together, she sets out to get a real job and decide what to do with herself. She ends up taking a job as a chef at a bed and breakfast owned by a prickly and finicky man named Jacob. But this job and place might just be the best fit.
Thoughts: I didn't love this one. I'm not entirely sure why. Again, the smut didn't appeal to me. But I was interested in the autism aspect of the story. It was alright overall, but this may have been my least favorite of the three books. But who doesn't love a happy ending?
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars 

Title: Celtic Mythology
Author: Philip Freeman
Narrator: Gerard Doyle
Synopsis: This is a collection of gods, myths, and heroes from Celtic mythology. But very little is actually known of their whole culture. This book pieces together some of the stories and characters from ancient Celtic times.
Thoughts: This book was just interesting and fun. I listened to it but I wish I had the physical book in front of me as the names were way beyond me. I wish I could have seen the spelling and the names as I listened. It was informative and neat to listen to. Definitely recommend if you are into mythology.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The Friend Zone
Author: Abby Jimenez
Narrators: Teddy Hamilton, Erin Mallon
Synopsis: Kristen is her best friend's maid of honor in her upcoming wedding. And Kristen is determined to make it memorable. And then the best man, Josh, moves into town and the two start to fall for one another. But Kristen has a secret that is a deal-breaker for Josh. Can love overcome such differences?
Thoughts: I started this book and then stopped. It took a while for me to get into. Parts of it were good and interesting and sad. Other parts I guess I just didn't care for. Some things felt a bit forced maybe? Or maybe this just wasn't meant to be a winner for me. Overall it was still a decent read.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars 

Title: Felix Ever After
Author: Kacen Callender
Narrator: Logan Rozos
Synopsis: There is one thing that Felix would like to experience more than just about anything: love. He wants to know what makes it so wonderful and so worth the risk of having your heart broken. But he has had a difficult time finding people to date. Being black, queer, and transgender makes the task seem impossible at times. Then a troll exposes his dead name and posts photos from before his transition. To make matters worse, the person starts sending hate messages on Instagram and Felix is obsessed with figuring out who it is. As he becomes more obsessed with finding the answer, he ends up falling in love with a couple of people. And he starts a quest to discover more about his own identity.
Thoughts: I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. But it was very charming and definitely won me over. I was a bit nervous for Felix at times, but the good won out! Also, I love his friendship with Ezra soooo much.
Rating: 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5 stars 

Title: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky
Author: Sandhya Menon
Synopsis: Pinky has always been a rebel with a cause. She is out to make the world a better place, no matter what anyone else (like her mom) thinks. But after being blamed for an accident that was not her fault, she makes up a story about having a boyfriend that even her mom would love. Enter Samir, whose summer internship tragically fell through. With nothing to look forward to, he plans to go home when Pinky texts him. If he will pretend to be her perfect boyfriend, Pinky can get him an internship with her mother's law firm. And Pinky's mother is a very prestigious lawyer. But he and Pinky can't stand one another, so how can this possibly work?
Thoughts: This book was a re-read. I wanted something easy and lighthearted to read because I am having problems getting through larger, heavier books at the moment. I adore this one. It is fun and sweet. And I love the fake dating and enemies to lovers tropes.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Favorite book read this month: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky
Least favorite book read this month: Either Act Your Age Eve Brown or The Friend Zone
I have read 31 books towards my goal of 50. I am still about two or three books behind, but I made good progress this month! I usually read a bunch at the end of September and through October because it is time for spooky reads, but I don't know if that will be the case this year. Oh well. If I can fit it in, I will try to get up a post about spooky reads for this year.
That is all for August. I will see you all in September! And I will try to be more on top of the September wrap up post. Thanks for your patience!