Thursday, August 1, 2019

July 2019 Wrap Up

July has been a hectic month what with packing and moving and job hunting. I still managed to read a few books though, so lets start there!

Title: My Plain Jane
Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Thoughts: So I did not love this book. I started it at the beginning of April and didn't finish until the beginning of July. I liked the overall idea of the story (and their last book, My Lady Jane, was OK). I definitely considered bailing a couple of times, but I love Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte, so I kept going.

It is an alternate story of how the classic Jane Eyre came to be. But in this version, Charlotte Bronte was friends with Jane Eyre. And Jane Eyre can see ghosts. Silly? Yes, but a little fun (even though the humor wasn't really my brand).

Rating: 2-2 1/2 of 5 stars

Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Narrator: Priya Ayyar

Thoughts: This has been on my TBR pile for what seems like ages and I'm not sure why I took so long to read it! I loved all the mythology and magic. I cared so much about the characters and about Maya's journey to find her place. As daughter of the Raja, she is prominent, but cursed with a terrible horoscope that spells a dark destiny for her. In a strange turn of events, she marries Amar and becomes queen of Akaran, but Akaran is not all it seems. As Maya uncovers more secrets about herself and Amar, her life changes and she risks losing everything that she loves.

I loved it and I love the way that Amar loves Maya. I know it has several different inspirations from Hindu mythology, but the story reminded me of Psyche and Eros. Highly recommend it, and I need to read more of her books!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: Finale
Author: Stephanie Garber
Narrator: Rebecca Soler

Thoughts: I did this one partially listening to the audiobook and partially reading my physical copy, which is a pretty edition I received in an Owlcrate.

Overall I liked it OK, though I did predict some of the plot twists before they happened. And I still have very conflicting feelings about Jacks. I really wanted him to have a redemption arc in this book, but I'm not really sure he got one? I loved and hated him all at once.

While I'm glad that almost everyone got the (mostly) happy endings I hoped for, I think the book felt a little more dragged out than the last one but the ending felt very abrupt. I still enjoyed the series and would recommend them, but I think I liked the first two a little more because they happened during actual Caraval events, which are interesting to me.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Title: MCAT Biology Review
Author: Kaplan Test Prep

Thoughts: Not a real reading book, but it took me months to finish this one and I am counting them towards my reading goals! I'm not sure why it took me so long to read this one. Usually biology is my strongest subject, but I seriously need some anatomy and physiology classes before I take the MCAT and then go back through this book again.

                                      Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Title: Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa

Thoughts: Yumeko is half fox, half human and is tasked with saving a magical scroll and taking it to a secret temple far from everything she has ever known. Soon after, she meets up with a specially trained ninja, Kage Tatsumi, who is low-key possessed by a demon who has been sent to find the scroll. She strikes a deal with him to take him with her if he will help protect her from the many demons, witches, and other evil creatures sent after her and the scroll. There are a few problems: Tatsumi doesn't know that she is part fox nor that she has the scroll. Other people join their group, complicating their mission. And Tatsumi may have to kill Yumeko at the end of the journey. And he might kind of like her.

This was an owlcrate book I received many months ago. I had mixed feelings going into it, probably because it has pretty mixed reviews and I didn't know what to expect. At first, I wasn't very into it, but by about half-way through I was pretty invested and read the rest quickly. I enjoyed it quite a bit and definitely need to read the next one! I must know what happens!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Royal Art of Poison
Author: Eleanor Herman
Narrator: Susie Berneis

Thoughts: This book is about poisons! But also about history and royalty (and other high-ranking, important people) and how they died. All the people covered were suspected to have died of poison, but were they? This book talks about different poisons, how they work, the symptoms, and even how they were used in cosmetics and medications. But diseases and general filth killed people, too. How did the royals protect themselves against poisons? What cures did they use?

This book was super interesting. I am interested in diseases, which feel similar to poisons to me and I loved the case histories and trying to pick them apart. Very enjoyable if you are interested in history and poison!

Rating: 3.5-4 out of 5 stars

Title: Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus
Authors: Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy

Thoughts: This book is all about rabies. Plenty of information about the history of the disease and various crazy "cures" through the ages (which don't work as rabies is nearly 100% fatal). The best part for me was a chapter about how rabies may have contributed to the stories of the werewolf and vampire.

I didn't read this book in detail since I was going through it for my rabies disease post, but I did at least skim the whole book, so I am counting it. If you are interested in infectious diseases and would like the history as well as some cultural stories and histories and a few more modern stories, this is a good book for you.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Author: Abbi Waxman
Narrator: Emily Rankin

Thoughts: Nina Hill is just living her (mostly) quiet, book-filled life in LA when she has a dead father and a crazy family thrown into her lap. She learns all about her new-found family and mixed things about the father she never knew. And on top of it, she might want to date this guy she met. And she doesn't handle change and surprises very well.

I liked this book overall. There were a few parts that I just didn't love, but there were some parts that made me laugh out loud. I related to Nina by loving books and also having anxiety. I enjoyed the adventure for sure, though for some reason didn't love the ending? Maybe it felt too forced and rushed for my taste. But I still enjoyed it enough to read it again in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: The Star-touched Queen or the Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Least favorite book read this month: My Plain Jane

I have been continuing Insanity, which I think is a very good thing for me. And I have made a few trips down to the new apartment and have been slowly moving my stuff down there. And trying to get rid of things (which I am terrible at doing) because the new place is pretty small and there isn't room! But slow and steady wins the race, right?

My anxiety has been steadily climbing because I am not good at moving or handling change. Plus I ended up trying to help a lady find homes for some baby rats. By the way, if anyone in Colorado or New Mexico would like some cute baby rats, please let me know! I will probably take a few myself. Anyway, working out seems to help and I am trying to do little things each day to help keep it manageable.

I'm not sure if this will help my anxiety or make it worse, but I decided to start a bullet journal/planner. I've always kept a fairly detailed planner, this will just be more involved. At the very least, I hope it will help keep me on track and help me track the things that help my mood and anxiety. If it is successful, I will try to post some of the things I am trying.

And last but not least, I hope you enjoyed my disease post. Rabies was fun to do. And now that it is finished, I am a bit at a loss for what to do next. Smallpox and rabies seemed like easy ones to tackle (I'm not sure why I felt that way, but I did). I would like to do something bacterial next, so maybe I will try for Brucella or anthrax. If it feels like too much, maybe I will switch to another virus like herpes or Varicella zoster (which causes chicken pox). If anyone has questions or requests, please let me know!

Thanks for reading!

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