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!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

March 2021 Wrap Up

Sorry this post is a bit late. On the evening of the 31st we had to put our rattie, Zeus, to sleep. He had been struggling for a while and it seemed like it was the right thing to do. But it made for a very rough, sad night. I miss him so much. 

Better late than never though. Lets move on.

March is over. It feels more like spring now. It went by so quickly I feel like I hardy got to catch my breath.

I haven't been reading a whole lot lately. Partially, not much has held my interest. But I also spend WAAAAY more time doing wedding planning research and such. Lurking on Facebook wedding groups looking for good advice. Scanning Etsy and Pinterest for ideas and fun things. All that good stuff.

On the plus side, some wedding things are falling into place! We have a date and a venue! We still have lots to do, but it's nice to make progress. In the future, I hope to do a couple of blog posts about my adventures in case they might help someone else. And just to share some of the fun. It can be stressful (and I am sure I will have my share of stress) but I am mostly happy and excited. Especially since the venue was booked, that was stressing me out.

But here are the (few) books I finished this month. All of them audiobooks...

Title: Tristan Strong Destroys the World
Author: Kwame Mbalia
Narrator: Amir Abdullah
Synopsis: Tristan is trying to adjust to regular life after his adventures in Alke. But when his grandmother is kidnapped, he has to return to Alke to save her. He reunites with his friends and meets new friends in his search. And saving all of Alke might be the only way for Tristan to save everyone he cares about.
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I feel like Gum Baby annoyed me in the first book, but I mostly found her hilarious in this one. It was fun to meet new characters and see some old favorites.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Title: Piranesi
Author: Susanna Clarke
Narrator: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Synopsis: Piranesi lives in a very unique house, which he studies relentlessly. There are infinite rooms and corridors, and some cannot be reached because they are in ruins or under water. No one understands the house like Piranesi does. His studies aid the Other who lives somewhere in the house and occasionally meets with Piranesi. When a new, mysterious person enters the house, Piranesi is warned away, but ends up discovering much more about himself and about the house than he could have imagined.
Thoughts: This was a book club read. I feel like it took a while for me to get what was going on, though there were a couple of things that I guessed along the way. It was really interesting and I enjoyed reading about the house.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Title: A Love Hate Thing
Author: Whitney D. Grandison
Narrator: Adenrele Ojo and Barrie Buckner
Synopsis: Trice has just gone through some trauma and lost his whole family. So he is forced to move into the house of old family friends. Reuniting with his childhood friend and crush in his posh new life finally makes him feel again. Nandy has mixed feelings about having her first crush and childhood friend back in her meant-to-be-perfect life.
Thoughts: Let me say that there were some parts that I thought were good in about the first half of the book or so. I even cried when we got Trice's backstory. But I feel like the book was at least twice as long as it should have been. I just could not wait for it to finish and it felt like it dragged on forever. Hence the low rating.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Title: Boyfriend Material
Author: Alexis Hall
Narrator: Joe Jameson
Synopsis: Luc has to clean up his image fast or risk losing his job. He needs to be seen with a nice, normal, appropriate boyfriend. Enter Oliver, a serious, ethical barrister with a squeaky clean record. The two enter an agreement to be fake boyfriends as it will be mutually beneficial. And then real love happens.
Thoughts: I have a confession: I think I love the fake dating trope. I have only read one other in my recollection, but I also loved that one. So basically I loved this book. It broke my heart a couple of times and put it all back together again. I felt like I couldn't get enough.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Least favorite book read this month: A Love Hate Thing
Favorite book read this month: Lots of good ones, but I have to say Boyfriend Material
I have read 12 books towards my goal of 75. I am about 6 books behind schedule... And I am thinking that I may need to reduce my goal to compensate for all the time I am spending doing wedding things.

And side note: send me all your fake dating book recs! I want more!