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 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.

Monday, May 31, 2021

May 2021 Wrap Up

Alright, I was trying to be more prepared for the end of May than I was for the end of April. So lets see what happened this month.

On the wedding front, I am still waiting for my dress to come back. They were scheduling pretty far out so even though my alterations are simple (they are taking about 2 inches off of the length), I can't pick it up until June. But I want it back so I can make my petticoat! I did get my shoes though and got some ribbon shoe laces to dress them up some. They are swing dance wedge shoes. I am looking at decorating them, too. Maybe I will document and have a blog post about that in case other people want to see.

Our venue is booked and paid, as is our DJ and photographer. I have been practicing some makeup and hair on myself (I will be doing my own hair and makeup). Flowers are ordered (we are also making our own bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages).

I got to see some friends and family earlier in the month, which was great. And I picked up the new rats from Smol Beans Rat Rescue! I did not like the names they came with, so we changed them to match the Greek gods theme. Their names are Hephaestus (aka Festus), Eros, Hermes, Dionysus (aka Dion), and Apollo. They are still timid and getting used to being handled. It is a work in progress. They aren't biting as much or as hard now, so... small steps.

And now books! Here is what I read this month.

Title: The Silvered Serpents
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Narrators: Laurie Catherine Winkel and PJ Ochlan
Synopsis: Séverin is obsessed with finding the Divine Lyrics which will make him an immortal god and bring back his brother, Tristan. Laila, Zofia, and Enrique want to find it because they believe it will save Laila's life. Their search takes them to Russia where a series of muses or muse-like goddesses and girls must lead them to the answers. But it might not be the journey and savior that they expected.
Thoughts: I really liked Gilded Wolves, so I immediately wanted this book. I may have enjoyed it a little bit less, but not a lot. It was different and it's been a while since I read the first one. But I still love the characters and their stories. Especially Zofia, I think she is my favorite. I am looking forward to the next one!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Title: Night of the Dragon
Author: Julie Kagawa
Narrators: Joy Osmanski, Brian Nishii, and Emily Woo Zeller

Synopsis: Having lost the pieces of the Dragon Scroll, Yumeko and her friends have to travel to stop the Master of Demons from summoning the Great Dragon. Meanwhile Tatsumi has made a truce with Hakaimono, the demon sharing his body, but evidence of demon possession are evident in his features making it more difficult to travel among humans. And just when they think they might have it all worked out, another mysterious player enters the game and changes the stakes.

Thoughts: I mostly enjoyed this series. Admittedly there were a few things that I did not like about this book. I don't want to spoil anything. But I did cry at one part (and not during at least one other part that I thought I would/should cry at).

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Title: The Obelisk Gate
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Narrator: Robin Miles
Synopsis: This season appears to be one that will not end for another thousand years. Alabaster has returned to train Essun to succeed him. Meanwhile, Essun's daughter has been taken by her father to another com where she continues training and develops unique powers.
Thoughts: The first book was amazing, but I read it several years ago now. I probably should have brushed up on some things before reading this one. Despite that, the author managed to catch me up again pretty well. And this book may not have been quite as intense as the last book, but it was very good.
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: Probably the Obelisk Gate
Least favorite book read this month: Night of the Dragon

I have read 18 books towards my new goal of 50 books for the year. According to Goodreads, I am two books behind schedule... Such is life though. I'm enjoying the wedding planning instead!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

April 2021 Wrap Up

April went by way too quickly for me to keep up with. I was not remotely ready for May.

But! We ordered and received our wedding invitations and detail cards. I am very happy with them. I took my dress in to be altered a tiny bit and ordered our wedding flowers. Our venue is fully paid! Other things have started falling into place and that feels pretty good. We also had our first premarital counseling session, which I think went well. We meet again in a couple of weeks.

In a less encouraging area, reading. I have still not been reading physical books. But there are a few that I want to read and that I think I can stick with if I just get around to picking them up. So I am still waaay behind on my reading goal, but here are some short reviews anyway.


Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Daniel Henning
Synopsis: Linus has a very quiet, solitary, and routine life. But as a case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, he is tasked with assessing orphanages who care for magical children. But suddenly he is sent on a very special mission to assess an extremely secret orphanage where the most dangerous of children are sent to be cared for by Arthur who has his own secrets. As Linus spends time with the children and Arthur, he grows to care for them deeply and that could drastically change his whole life.
Thoughts: I kept seeing this book being recommended, so I finally decided to pick it up. I tried starting it on my Kindle, but didn't get very far before losing interest. So I tried the audiobook and I am so glad I did! It does start a bit slow, but it is so sweet and charming and wonderful! It made my heart very happy.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars 

Title: Broken (in the best possible way)
Author: Jenny Lawson
Narrator: Jenny Lawson
Synopsis: Jenny Lawson tells more stories of her life. From the hard parts of dealing with anxiety and depression to all of the crazy parts that make life better (or at least more interesting).
Thoughts: Her book Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) is one of my favorite books ever. I listen to it or parts of it fairly regularly because it can distract and cheer me up so well. I was excited for this book to be released. She is honest and funny. I appreciate her takes on mental illness. While I don't suffer from all of the things that she does, some of it is very relatable and actually helps me find words for my own problems. Its a great book!

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Title: Aru Shah and the City of Gold
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Narrator: Soneela Nankani
Synopsis:  All of the Pandava sisters have been united (re-united?). And Kara, the Sleeper's daughter, joins their journey to find Lanka, the City of Gold. Aru recently made a wish on the tree of wishes (that she cannot remember because another deity cursed her to forget when it is most important for her to remember) and she discovered that Bu had betrayed them. And then Kubera, ruler of Lanka, sends them all on a perilous series of tests to earn the prize of his help against the Sleeper's army. 

Thoughts: I have been loving this series. I was very excited when this book was released and now I have to wait for the next one! They are very fun and interesting. I love learning about the Hindu stories and mythology.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

And here was my book bail. I was sort of trying to get through it but I just couldn't bring myself to care enough to keep going. Maybe I just need to try again at a different point in my life.

I don't have a favorite and least favorite book read this month (unless you count Roseblood as my least favorite). I have only read 16 books towards my goal of 75 for the year. I am 8 books behind schedule... I won't be able to make that up, especially with wedding planning so I decided to reduce my goal to 50 for this year. I can pick it back up next year. So now I am on track for my reading goal! Yay!

I also binge watched Shadow and Bone on Netflix the weekend it came out. I really liked it and I can't wait for the next season! And can I share this clip that Leigh Bardugo posted on her Instagram? Because I love it and I totally cried tears of happiness. Leigh Bardugo and Shadow and Bone Cast. Also, I want to re-read the Six of Crows duology.

In other news, May should be pretty exciting. I will get to see some family and friends in person for the first time in a long time. I will also be picking up our new rats! I can't wait to meet them and I can't wait for Poseidon to have brothers again. I think he gets bored and lonely.

That's about it for me! Thanks for reading!