Friday, February 1, 2019

January 2019 Wrap Up

We have reached the end of January 2019!

Here are the books I finished and brief reviews:
Title: Nancy Drew and The Secret of the Old Clock
Author: Carolyn Keene

Thoughts: I never read these growing up and I obtained this copy for free so I decided to give it a shot. I think the audience needs to be much younger than I am. It had it's old-time-y charm, but wasn't the best thing I've ever read.

Rating: 2 of 5 stars


Title: One Day in December
Author: Josie Silver
Narrated by: Eleanor Tomlinson and Charlie Anson

Thoughts: Several people I follow started this book in December, so I did, too. I expected to love it and definitely didn't. I liked the friendship between the main character, Laurie and her roommate and best friend, Sarah, but I couldn't stand the lead male. Also, why were almost all of his sections about/during/following sex? Seems to be the only thing that was important to him and I had zero tolerance for it. He needed more depth and more redemption, in my opinion.

Rating: 2 of 5 stars, and those only because I loved Laurie and Sarah (and Oscar).


Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin and Robbie Daymond

Thoughts: Never saw the movie, but I knew the overall gist of the story. I wasn't sure I would like it, but I most definitely did. I like how Maddy came into her own and decided to take charge of her life.

     Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Title: Journal of the Plague Year
Author: Daniel Defoe
Narrated by: Andrew Cullum

Thoughts: I LOVE the plague. Yersinia pestis is my favorite microbe. This book was cool because it was written shortly after the plague in London in the 1600s. It was cool to see differing perspectives and what they knew and didn't know compared to what we know now.

     Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Title: Love Out of Order
Author: Ellie Spark

Thoughts: It is a sweet story about two women finding love. It was not super detailed and occasionally repetitive. I also found a couple of small errors. It was sweet, but not really well written which made it hard to be absorbed in the story. I don't plan to seek out more of her books.

Rating: 2 of 5 stars



Title: Matchmaking for Beginners
Author: Maddie Dawson

Thoughts: I thought this book was very charming and interesting. An eccentric lady leaves her house to Marnie and she has to meet the others who live there and nearby and decide what she wants for her life. I liked the "magical" aspect of the story and even though several of the characters weren't entirely likeable, I enjoyed it!
               
                                   Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
Narrated by: Adam Grupper

Thoughts: Beautiful and heartbreaking. I almost cried several times. It was touching and sometimes redeeming and other times hopeless. Definitely worth a read.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars



Title: Dragon Pearl
Author: Yoon Ha Lee
Narrated by: Kim Mai Guest

Thoughts: Sci fi is not my go-to genre, but it's part of Rick Riordan Presents, so I had to read it (the others have been great, too, in case you are wondering). I know very little about Korean mythology, but I loved the magical creatures and the ghosts. It wasn't very heavy on the typical sci fi stuff and the other worlds were interesting. Would recommend and looking forward to more!

    Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Home: A Memoir of My Early Years
Author: Julie Andrews
Narrated by: Julie Andrews

Thoughts: I knew very little about Julie Andrews' life prior to Mary Poppins. I love her so much in Mary Poppins and Sound of Music. It was very interesting to see her family and the events that shaped her life. I enjoyed listening to her read it and there were plenty of emotional and amazing parts. If you like memoirs, I recommend it!

                                             Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: Tough one! Matchmaking for Beginners or Dragon Pearl
Least favorite book read this month: One Day in December

What else can I report? I started looking a bit more into medical school and the requirements. I ordered MCAT study materials and applied to a community college to take the three classes that I am missing: Organic Chemistry II, and two semesters of Anatomy and Physiology. I also need to find a way to review OChem I because that class was very rough for me and I'm not feeling very prepared for OChem II (but I would really prefer to not re-take OChem I).

Otherwise, my three little rats got sick, but seem to be recovering, though Jeki is on a second antibiotic. They are super cute, so here is a picture:
Zosi on the left, Jeki on the right, and sleepy Pye laying on top of/between them

That's about it for January! I hope everyone had a good, productive month and we can continue into February!

Anyone else have favorite reads from January?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

YA Happy Hour

I just realized that I never posted this! This happened nearly a year and a half ago, but I'm going to go ahead and share it now. Here is the post originally written in November 2017.
                                                           

I recently attended a YA book signing/happy hour event hosted by the Tattered Cover. I went because Maggie Stiefvater was in town for her All the Crooked Saints Tour and I decided that I wanted to meet her.

I have a fair amount of reverence for Maggie Stiefvater and always felt a little intimidated by her because she's so talented. For a while, I was OK not ever meeting her. Plus I order most of her books through Fountain bookstore, so they arrive already signed, doodled in, and usually with her bookplate. As such, I didn't have many options for her autograph. But I do own her tarot card deck (which I love because they are beautiful and based on the Raven Cycle). I decided I would ask her to sign her favorite one.

When I got to meet Maggie Stiefvater, she wasn't scary at all. She was so nice and conversational. I told her that I tended to order her books already signed from the Fountain Bookstore, which she liked because she said that her fans help keep the shop afloat.

I asked if she had a favorite of her tarot cards she'd be willing to sign and she told me that her favorite was the Moon. Essentially, her explanation was that she likes the Moon because you can tell that you are approaching something in the dark, but you don't know if it's dangerous or not until you get close, but either way makes for an adventure. We talked a bit about her books and she said that the lady who inspired Persephone was also there, so I had to go meet her of course.


I also met Jeff Zetner, who I was also a bit intimidated to approach, but he was also very nice. I received his book, The Serpent King, in an Owlcrate and did not expect to like it as much as I did, so I asked him to sign my copy instead of his new book (which I did buy there). He did and he also signed his letter that he included with the Owlcrate book because I keep the author letters in the books. And he told me to watch out for the Serpent King reference in his new book.

Otherwise, I met plenty of other authors whose books I haven't read (yet). They were all nice and it was a very fun night!

Sorry for the Radio Silence...

Hello!

No, I haven't forgotten that I have a blog that needs work to keep running. My life got kind of silly and crazy for a while there. Most of it isn't super important, but I had several things that I needed to work on. Plus my old computer died and I didn't have the means to replace it for a while. It is really difficult to update this blog from my phone, so I had to wait a bit.

But I apparently was experiencing pretty bad anxiety. I didn't realize how much it was crippling me until I started seeing a doctor and got on some medication that works. It's an amazing relief to me that I feel able to handle life now.

Plus, I spent most of the time since my last update caring for Sprite, my heart rat. She was special needs and required lots of extra care, vet appointments, medications, and so forth closer to the end of her life. She lived a good long time, but I was heartbroken when it came time to put her down. She was very special to me and took up an awful lot of my time and energy (and an awful lot of space in my heart).

I also began a new relationship nearly two years ago and that has changed a bunch of things for me, definitely for the positive. In short, he treats me better than I ever thought I deserved to be treated and he makes me feel like a priority and never like a chore. It's been amazing and I have needed time to adjust to it and explore what a healthier relationship is supposed to be like.

And I have a lovely new computer! So it's time to get back on track.

New Years Resolutions:
  • Read at least 75 books
  • Figure out what I'm doing with my life (mainly if I want to go to medical school or not and start that process if so)
  • Get my blog running again

I would like this blog to get back to where it used to be. I am going to do some book reviews at the end of each month like I used to. Hopefully I will have it in me to do some more crafts and projects that I can share (but I haven't been doing much of that these days).

So that is my spiel. I will post this followed shortly by a post I wrote a year and a half ago and never shared (sorry)!

Happy New Year everyone! May this year be better for everyone!