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!

Sunday, August 1, 2021

July 2021 Wrap Up

I did not keep up with much this last month it seems. Work was kind of nuts and I had to work several weekends in a row which made me tired and irritable. It looks like I still got some things done though.

We managed to get most of our wedding invites out this month and have even gotten some RSVPs already (which I am not complaining about, the sooner I know, the better I feel). I still have some that need to go out though.

I made my petticoats. They didn't turn out quite the way I'd wanted, but I think they will be fine. I may add a bit more to them to make the dress more puffy. But then I found that the layers of the dress don't let allow as much "puffing" as I want. So I started altering my dress by adding extra panels of fabric into the seams in each layer so the petticoats can give the skirts more volume. It is a work in progress and I hope I don't mess it up too much.

Other wedding things are slowly falling in to place. We ordered our wedding bands so those will be here soon and I will need to get mine re-sized. My bridesmaids have had a couple of meetings and I am excited for the bridal shower and bachelorette party. They have all been amazing and their involvement and excitement make me very happy and excited, too. We met with my good friend who will also be our officiant for the first time to talk about the ceremony. Basically we have lots of homework to do. I wish I could just have everything done now so I don't have to worry about anything later, but that's just not how it works. That is OK though, I am still enjoying the process more than I am stressing about it.

My little Poseidon rat has been having some skin problems which we are trying to figure out. The vet can't get him in for a little bit unfortunately. The new boys are getting better socialized. Hephaestus has an appointment to be neutered because he picks on Eros. Admittedly, Eros is a bit of a drama queen and squeals like he's dying anytime Hephaestus gets close to him... But they are all really cute and Hermes hasn't bitten me in the last couple of weeks, so that is exciting.

And now on to books. Here is what I managed to read this month.

Title: A Happy Catastrophe
Author: Maddie Dawson
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Synopsis: This book follows Matchmaking for Beginners. Marnie is now the local matchmaker and is happy in her new life. Patrick doesn't care for her generally social, chaotic lifestyle and Marnie wants more from him and more for their relationship than he is prepared to give. Enter a series of crazy events that will propel their lives forward (and in different directions) whether they like it or not.
Thoughts: While I enjoyed Matchmaking for Beginners, I did not much care for this one. Not enough to bail, there were some things that I liked, but I sort of hated Patrick the whole time. 

Rating: 2 1/2 to 3 stars out of 5 stars

Title: A Thousand Ships
Author: Natalie Haynes
Narrator: Natalie Haynes
Synopsis: This book looks at various perspectives of women during the Trojan War. The story jumps around from woman to woman, occasionally returning to a few of them. What were they thinking and experiencing during the war? Was their home destroyed? Did they lose their families? Did they lose their own lives? Who waited for their men for so many years they may as well have been dead? Which women took their fates into their own hands? Finally, the ignored women are given their chance to be heard.
Thoughts: This was originally a book club book, but I had read the other selection that month. This one was on my "To Read" list, but after hearing about it during book club discussion, I wanted to read it even more. When I scored it on sale, I was very excited. I really liked this look at the women involved (directly or indirectly) in the Trojan War. Also, I really need to go back and re-read the Iliad, the Odyssey, and maybe the Aeneid as well. If you like the classic stories and myths, you will probably enjoy this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Great Mortality
Author: John Kelly
Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies
Synopsis: The first major outbreak of plague happened in the mid-14th century and it decimated Europe and most of the known world. The consequences had long lasting affects.
Thoughts: As most of you probably know, I LOVE the plague (Yersinia pestis) and just about anything that has to do with it. So it probably goes without saying that I enjoyed this book. I did have a little trouble getting into it. It felt like the topics kind of jumped around too much, but I think I may not have been focusing enough. It was still informative and fascinating and enjoyable. And I learned a few things I didn't know before, so that is always exciting!

Rating: 3 1/2 to 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Take a Hint, Dani Brown
Author: Talia Hibbert
Narrator: Ione Butler
Synopsis: This is a romantic comedy about Danika Brown and her friend Zafir. When he rescues her and carries her out of the building they work in, videos of the event go viral. Zafir is trying to get his charity off the ground and the video of him carrying his "girlfriend" to safety starts gaining him and his work some attention. He asks Dani to go along with it and she agrees but her only goal is to make Zafir her regular fuck-buddy. The fact that both of them have a little crush on the other just complicates things.
Thoughts: I usually love the fake dating trope, but I liked it less in this book. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe because the other ones I adored were also more enemies to lovers tropes, too. Also, I started with book two in the Brown Sisters books, which maybe isn't ideal, but not much from the first book was spoiled. And I was not prepared for all of the smut, which is definitely not up my alley. That aside (not a flaw of the book, just not my thing), it had very sweet and charming moments. I didn't love it per se, but I did like it enough to go back and read the first book.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: A Thousand Ships
Least favorite book read this month: A Happy Catastrophe

I have now read 25 books towards my goal of 50 books, which puts me about 4 books behind schedule. Oh well.

I think that is about it for the moment. I can't believe it is already August. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

June 2021 Wrap Up

And here we are at the end of June!

Our wedding is only four months away! My dress has been shortened (but not as much as I would have liked, but I'm trying to just get over it) and I just barely started my petticoat. The petticoat will also make it look a bit shorter, so it really might be fine. 

I finished be-dazzling my wedding shoes and I am excited to wear them! I will post pictures below. We have managed to figure out other details, too. Our save the dates went out this month and we started getting invitations ready. We want to get them out earlier in case they get held up in the mail. Our wedding website is done. I painted rat figurines to possibly use as a cake topper if they turn out cute and not too weird.


And here are the books I completed this month.

Title: Spoiler Alert
Author: Olivia Dade

Synopsis: Marcus is a popular actor on a now famous TV series that was based on a series of books. Books that he, secretly, happens to love and he belongs to the fandom. Undercover of course. He exists on the fan forums under a tag name where he is friends with a ton of other like-minded fans. April is one of those fans. In fact, they are online friends, though they have never met in person and don't know each others' real names. April decides to post a cosplay photo of herself on Twitter. And because she is fat, the photo goes viral. When Marcus sees it he thinks two things: that she is absolutely gorgeous and that the people with the negative comments need to be brought down a few notches. So he asks her out, via Twitter.

Thoughts: I just... wanted to love this book so badly. And there were some parts of it that I really liked. But I was not so much a fan of a few things. And it was much more smutty than I was expecting which is just not really my thing. Nothing against the book itself. I loved that she was fat and beautiful and confident and that he was so in awe of her. Those parts were sweet and nice. But I ended up feeling like some things were way too drawn out and other parts too abrupt.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Title: An Introduction to Infectious Diseases
Author/Lecturer: Barry Fox
Synopsis: This isn't really a book, it is a Great Courses series of lectures all about different infectious diseases! It gives a pretty good overview of the field and includes bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases. He tells good, relevant personal stories most lectures, which made it more interesting. He is an infectious diseases doctor and has loads of experience.

Thoughts: Most of this information was not new to me since I am a microbiologist. But I just wanted something fun to listen to (yes, infectious diseases are fun). So while I didn't necessarily learn much, it was a nice review and I just liked it!

 Rating: 3 1/2 to 4 stars out of 5

Title: Stay Gold
Author: Tobly McSmith
Narrators: Theo Germaine and Phoebe Strole
Synopsis: Pony is a transgendered teen in Texas entering his senior year in a new high school. Having been known for his transgender status at his previous school, he decides to go undercover (so to speak) and not let anyone in on his secret. But then he starts to fall for Georgia--popular, cheerleader and a secret writer. And she starts to fall for him, too. But they both have lots of truths that they have to face, truths to find, and the biases of the people in a small Texas town to overcome.
Thoughts: I just loved this book. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was lovely and amazing and redeeming. I cried a few times (mostly happy crying). I don't know much about the transgender experience, though I am an ally and supporter of LBGTQIA+ rights. But it was very well written. And when we finally learn Pony's dead name (and I will admit to being curious) it is just NOT him at all. It was kind of an amazing thing to feel after getting to know him and learning his story. I just had so many strong feelings throughout the story and the ending was, well, gold.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: Stay Gold
Least favorite book read this month: Spoiler Alert
I have read 21 books towards by goal of 50 books for the year. I'm about three books behind... Oh well.