Saturday, February 29, 2020

February 2020 Wrap Up

February is over. This month saw the third anniversary of my first date with Kevin. It was nice to have a little celebration of that, especially since he is the best guy ever.

Other than that, work got a bit more crazy with tests not working correctly and having to work and re-work schedules that will involve us doing a decent amount of weekend work some weeks over the next few months. Some of it is kind of exciting, and some of it is a bit rough. But I continue to learn and grow as a laboratory worker.

I'm trying to figure out how to get my car registered here and make a list of everything that I need to do and take care of before we go to India, including traveler's insurance and special vaccinations. That part is much more interesting than trying to take care of my car registration!

In sad news, my mom had to put our kitty down this month. She was nearly 17 years old, diabetic and hyperthyroid. But she was the best, sweetest kitty. She had a great purr and was a talker, which I love and miss the most. I can't really believe that she is gone. But she isn't suffering anymore.
Our kitty, Faithful (aka Fidge). I was her favorite person and she was a great Samara alarm.

I read a fair amount of books this month. Let's go over those!

Title: Across the Great Barrier
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi

I'm not going to give a synopsis and thoughts for this book and the next one. Only because I have reviewed them before. I love this trilogy and they are good comfort books for me. I wanted to re-read them just because I love them!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Far West
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi

See the above comment. I still love and recommend this trilogy!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi

Synopsis: This story takes place during the end of the 1800s in an alternate Paris. Séverin and his crew of specially selected and skilled people are on a mission to restore him to his rightful place as heir to one of the houses of the Order of Babel. Tristian, Séverin's brother in name but not blood, is talented with plants and Séverin believes his rightful fortune would benefit and protect him. Laila is a dancer with a strange and mysterious past who seeks more than what this quest will bring. Zofia is a brilliant and socially awkward engineer who wishes to free her sister from her place serving others and send her to medical school. Enrique is a half Filipino brought to France for his education; he is a historian who wants nothing more than to help the people of his homeland. They team up with Hypnos who is the head of House Nyx in the Order of Babel to track down a secret object and bite off more than they can chew.

Thoughts: This was an Owlcrate book that I got about one year ago. I don't know why I waited so long to read it as I have loved all of Roshani Chokshi's books that I have read. It is a bit of a heist book mixed with lots of great and interesting mythology. Their magic system and societal structure are different, but intriguing. I loved most of the characters and some parts made me nearly cry while some gave me chills. I am looking forward to the next book!

Rating: 4-4 1/2 stars out of 5

Title: Race to the Sun
Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
Narrator: Kinsale Hueston

Synopsis: Middle school student Nizhoni wants to be popular. She wants to be known and important. Also, she can see monsters. No one besides her brother, Mac, knows this about her. Who would believe her? Then her father is offered a job out of state by a wealthy man called Mr. Charles. But Mr. Charles is a monster. To get Nizhoni and Mac to cooperate, he kidnaps their father and Nizhoni and Mac, with Nizhoni's best friend Davery, must rescue him. But they will need help and all the guidance that their Navajo heritage can provide.

Thoughts: This was a Rick Riordan presents book, so of course I had to read it. Definitely geared for a younger audience, but I still enjoyed it. I loved learning about some of the Navajo stories and traditions by listening to this book. It was a good story and I look forward to reading more!

Rating: 3 1/2-4 stars out of 5

Title: The Dutch House
Author: Ann Patchett
Narrator: Tom Hanks

Synopsis: Cyril Conroy was a business man who made a series of good investments and his wealth grew and grew. To celebrate his elevated status, he purchased the Dutch House for his family. But it ended up being the undoing of them. His wife, hating the house, leaves and never returns. Eventually Cyril re-married a woman named Andrea who moves into the house with her two younger daughters. Slowly, Danny and his older sister Maeve are pushed away and out of the house by their stepmother. Danny and Maeve maintain a very close relationship and often reflect on their lives and on the Dutch House where they are no longer welcome. As time goes on, the house continues to influence them.

Thoughts: This was a book club selection for the month of February. And I was excited because it had already been on my radar as some people that I follow gave it good reviews. It was a different story than I was expecting. And I'm not really sure what to say about it. I feel like I can not properly sum up the scope of this book. I will say that I had lots of feelings and there was a time or two that I cried. And despite feeling like I didn't understand the plot, I still wanted to keep reading. I recommend it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: We're Going to Need More Wine
Author: Gabrielle Union
Narrator: Gabrielle Union

Synopsis: This is a collection of stories from the life of Gabrielle Union. From early childhood and finding pride in her identity as a black woman, to struggles of adolescence and relationships, to her acting career, and on.

Thoughts: I bought this audiobook a while ago after a discussion on the Owlcrate Society Facebook page about which memoirs were good to read. This one sounded interesting, so I went for it, even though I knew very little about her. Some of the stories were funny, some were sad, but they were all very real. I definitely recommend it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: Maybe the Gilded Wolves. Since I have been trying to find any special edition releases of the sequel later this year (to match my special edition of the first book).
Least favorite book read this month: None! I didn't dislike any of them

Reading goal progress: 13 of 75 books completed
Alphabet reading goal progress: This month I crossed off D (the Dutch House), F (the Far West), and the W (We're Going to Need More Wine). I need to stop reading books that start with the same letters!

What I should have done was read more books by black authors as it was black history month. But that didn't occur to me until later in the month when I started reading We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union and then started Children of Vice and Virtue by Tomi Adeyemi. But I will try to make up for it in general this year as I have a couple books that I definitely want to get to this year that were written by black authors. I think it's important to read books by more diverse authors. I hope this is something that I can always work on.

I think that is about it for this month. I haven't started on another disease post yet, but I will think on it and see what I want to do next. I'd love to do the plague, but it's my very favorite disease and I am intimidated. I want to do it justice. I'm not sure that I am ready to tackle it yet.

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