Saturday, December 7, 2019

November 2019 Wrap Up

This post is soooo late and I am sorry about that. I usually keep up with parts of these posts throughout the month, but for November that just didn't happen!

I also did not get a disease post up last month, which I said I would do because I missed October, too. But I promise that there will be one in December. I've already started it and I hope it will be awesome.

So November was a bit strange. We ended up going up to Colorado Springs sort of last minute because Kevin surprised me with tickets to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra which was lovely. I love their Christmas show and even though I have seen it a few times, I still enjoy it. Then we went up to Denver for Thanksgiving and I packed my days full to bursting to see as many people as I could.

There were a few things at work that held me up. We had a few things going on that stressed me out immensely. I got through them OK, so maybe I won't stress so much this month.

And lets get on to little book reviews. I also did not read nearly as many books as I hoped to, but I got a few under my belt. I'm not sure I will hit my reading goal this year, but that's OK.

Title: The Hearts We Sold
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones

Synopsis: Dee is desperate to stay in her boarding school and avoid a troubled home life. In order to get the money she needs, she makes a deal with a demon. In exchange for her heart, she will have the resources she needs to keep her life the way she wants it. With one stipulation: she is also at the demon's call to help him and his team of heartless destroy mysterious portals. The experience will change her life in many ways.

Thoughts: I started this one in October because demons=Halloween reads. But the demons were more complicated than that. And I liked the story and characters. And in the end I cried a bit, which usually means it was a pretty good read. It was different than what I expected, but not in a bad way for sure.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Title: Master of the Phantom Isle
Author: Brandon Mull
Narrator: Kirby Hayborne

Synopsis: The story picks up where we left off in the last book: Seth has lost his memory and has found himself apprenticed to Ronodin, the dark unicorn. He does not quite trust Ronodin or the Sphinx (who seems to know him), but he's not sure he can trust Kendra (claiming to be his sister) or Bracken, the light unicorn. He sets out to find his lost memories. Meanwhile, Kendra is desperate to save Seth. On her journey, she ends up in Crescent Lagoon Dragon Sanctuary. They need help restoring the sanctuary protections.

Thoughts: I love the Fabelhaven books and I am so glad that he is writing this sequel series. I am enjoying the development of Kendra and Seth as they get a bit older and come in to their own. I love the world Mull created with these books and I can't wait for the next one.

Review: 4 stars out of 5

Title: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
Author: Kwame Mbalia
Narrator: Amir Abdullah

Synopsis: Tristan lost his best friend in a bus accident recently and his life has been in a downward spiral since then. His family thinks he needs a break, so he goes to spend time with his grandparents on their farm in Alabama. But on his first night, the journal his best friend left him is stolen by a creature right out of a myth. Because she is right out of a myth! This leads him on a great adventure through MidPass, where the great African gods and folk heroes live. In the course of getting there though, Tristan may have punched a hole in the sky and loosed an old, evil spirit who wants to destroy MidPass and all of the gods and heroes there.

Thoughts: This was the latest in the Rick Riordan Presents and as usual, I loved it. It was a fun and unique mix of the African gods and mythology alongside folk heroes like John Henry. It was a bit different and at first I felt that it was hard to keep up with. It starts a bit slowly. Then things happen so quickly and there are no explanations for quite a while. But once I had gotten through several chapters, it was easier. And by then I was pretty sucked in. I definitely recommend it! (And the narrator for the audiobook was great!)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: Ancient Civilizations of North America
Author/lecturer: Edwin Barnhart

Synopsis/Thoughts: This is not really a book, it is a course. But I am counting it anyway. It is all about the ancient people of North America. It begins at the earliest records of civilization in North America and goes through several centuries as they grow and develop. It was very interesting and there was a ton of information in these lectures that I did not know. If you are at all interested in the development of the indigenous people in North America, I would recommend it.

Rating: 3-4 stars out of 5

Title: Miss Marley: The Untold Story of Jacob Marley's Sister
Author: Vanessa Lafaye
Narrator: Josie Dunn

Synopsis: Before Jacob Marley became the greedy man and disturbed spirit we are familiar with, he was a poor child who loved no one but his younger sister, Clara. For years, Jacob promised his sister a better life. He manages to pull them out of poverty, but the price is steep. They manage to make a better life for themselves, but Jacob begins to become the miserable human that we know from A Christmas Carol.

Thoughts: I love A Christmas Carol. It was fun to see this take on the early part of the story. We also get to see the early development of Scrooge. I thought this story was interesting and enjoyable. And sad, in case you couldn't have assumed that yourself. If you like A Christmas Carol, you might like this, too! And it was a good way to kick off the holiday season and my holiday reading list.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Least favorite book read this month: Not sure, they were all pretty good this month
Favorite book read this month: Probably Master of the Phantom Isle

Next month is holiday month. I have more Christmas-y books to read and holiday movies to watch. Kevin got Disney+, so I can watch all the Disney I want, too!

I'm very excited for December. I love Hanukkah and Christmas and adore seeing Christmas lights and trees everywhere. My birthday is coming up soon, which I pretty much always love. A couple of my girlfriends will be coming down to visit next week and we are going to take a short girls road trip around New Mexico. And then I get to go with Kevin to Connecticut and spend Christmas with his family. It will be a busy month, but it should be lovely.

Oh, and I found a local book club to join. I will go to my first meet up with them in January. I am looking forward to meeting more people and finding more places to go.

I've also managed to pick up a couple of high school students to tutor. That has helped me get out a bit and talk to locals. I'm trying to get more settled here, but it is difficult much of the time.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a good holiday season and finding fun things to read!