Tuesday, September 1, 2020

August 2020 Wrap Up

 Hello everyone!

Well, I feel like the worst blogger in the world. I still have not completed the next disease post and I delayed this one until basically the last minute and am posting it late.

Work is still killing me. I've had to take on a bunch more responsibility lately because we had someone higher up leave for a new job and the rest of us are still pretty new and trying to figure things out. I'm still working overtime every week and having to go in on most weekends. It is a lot. And I'm always so tired when I get home that I'm not even reading as much as I normally would. Or I just re-read books because it reduces my anxiety levels.

My anxiety has been pretty high lately and I'm still adjusting and figuring out how to cope. It just make life a litte more difficult than I would like and I feel like life is just waaaay to hard to keep up with right now. Hence, late blog posts. Sorry. Thanks to those of you who stick around anyway.

So here is what I have read in August:

Title: Dark Lord of Derkholm
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Narrator: Gildart Jackson
 
Synopsis: In a magical world in which all residents (wizards, kings, and so on) must cater to the man who runs their world: Mr. Chesney. But the residents are tired of Mr. Chesney and his pilgrim parties laying waste to their world. According to the oracles, Mr. Chesney can only be stopped if Derk plays the part of the Dark Lord and his son, Blade, acts as a wizard guide. With the help of the rest of their family (including Blade's griffin siblings), they try to bring an end to Mr. Chesney's control.
 
Thoughts: I wanted to read more books by Diana Wynne Jones and this one and its sequel were pretty highly recommended. I'm really glad I read this one, I really enjoyed it. It was sort of strange and took me a while to really understand the world, but it was great. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
 

Title: You Should See Me in a Crown
Author: Leah Johnson
 
Synopsis: Liz Lighty has always felt awkward at school. After she fails to get a scholarship into her chosen college, she has to find another way to get the money she needs. So she decides to run for prom queen. Her friends are doing their best to support her, but they think she needs to stay away from the new girl at school, Mack. But Liz isn't sure she wants to stay away from Mack.
 
Thoughts: This book was a bit of a slow start for me. I don't know if I wasn't paying enough attention right at first or if the writing style is really that different. But at first, I felt like I couldn't keep track of what was happening. It was just a phase (or just me), because once it got going, it was very enjoyable!
 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
 

Title: Bookish and the Beast
Author: Ashley Poston
Narrators: Caitlin Kelly and Curry Whitmire
 
Synopsis: A beauty and the beast retelling in modern times. Rosie is busy between school, work, friends, and college application essays. Meanwhile, Vance has been banished to a small town as punishment following a tabloid scandal. Their paths collide as Rosie finds herself in debt to Vance and his caretaker. Rosie and Vance can't stand one another, so what will happen when they are thrown together so much.
 
Thoughts: I like these books. They are cute and sweet and sometimes very silly. It has been a while since I read the first two, so I didn't quite remember everything, but this is a new story so that isn't very important. Vance was a total jerk generally, but I kind of liked him. Overall, it was a fun, sweet story.
 
Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5


Title: The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly
Author: Jamie Pacton
Narrator: Jess Nahikian
 
Synopsis: Kit Sweetly has dreams of becoming a knight at the medieval-themed restaurant that she works at, but only men are allowed to be made into knights. But being a knight comes with a pay raise that Kit needs to help her mom and brother make ends meet. She rounds up a group of people who "can't" be knights and gets her brother (who is a knight at the restaurant) to train them. They intend to hijack the show to show what the Girl Knight and her friends can do.
 
Thoughts: Maybe my expectations were too high for this one. I thought it would be so good, but it fell a bit short for me. I'm not quite sure what it was that put me off. Overall, the story was alright, but I felt like it could have been better.
 
Rating: 2 1/2 stars out of 5


Title: Year of the Griffin
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Narrator: Gemma Dawson

Synopsis: Eight years after the pilgrim tours have stopped, the Wizard University has been trying to re-learn how to teach more than just how to cater to Mr. Chesney and the pilgrims, but they are having a tough time. Derk's griffin daughter, Elda, starts at the university. She and her friends end up trying to help their teacher, Wizard Corkoran reach the moon.

Thoughts: This is the sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm. Diana Wynne Jones has a unique writing style in that you are sort of dropped into the lives of these characters. You don't get all the backstory right away because the characters' lives have been going on. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I think it is a unique and interesting way to write stories.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5


Title: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Narrators: Eileen Stevens and Tristan Morris
 
Synopsis: A Cinderella re-telling in modern times. Elle has been in love with the old show, Starfield, all her life. But they are making a re-boot movie and the guy chosen to play the main character, Carmindor, is a teen heartthrob. Darian, the aforementioned heartthrob, is a true Starfield fan, too, but has been told by his agent (and father) not to let on. But he wants the fans to accept him.
 
Thoughts: This was a re-read for me. Once I finished Bookish and the Beast, I wanted to go back and re-read the first two. I enjoyed this one just as much the second time. It was fun and cute and a pretty creative re-telling.
 
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars


Favorite book read this month: Dark Lord of Derkholm or You Should See Me in a Crown
Least favorite book read this month: The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly

I did not make any progress on my alphabet reading challenge in August. Luckily I only have J, Q, U, V, and Z to finish and I already have a couple of titles planned.

I have read 66 books towards my goal of 80. I think I'm doing pretty well.

Unfortunately, nothing much else has been going on. Just work and trying to play with my rats. And starting to prepare for Halloween! September 1st is day one of Halloween, after all!

One fun thing for Halloween: my mom and I are doing Halloween advent calendars. We found wooden ones at Michael's and we are each painting one and putting treasures in the drawers. Then we are going to mail them to each other! Long distance Halloween celebrations! I am still finding some small treasures that will fit in the drawers, but I am excited! I will post pictures in October (if I remember).

I hope everyone had a good August and I hope September will be even better!

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