Monday, September 5, 2022

August 2022 Wrap Up

August was a blur. It feels simultaneously like it lasted forever and like it ended before it started.

I got to go up to Colorado a couple of times in August to go to a bridal shower and help throw a bachelorette weekend for a good friend of mine. We had some great times and I enjoyed spending so much time with some of my best friends. And while I was there, I got to see my parents at least and celebrate my niece's 8th birthday. We also celebrated Kevin's birthday in August and had a few fun outings, just the two of us.

My little rat Poseidon passed his third Gotcha day in August. He is my oldest rat and he is definitely starting to show his age, but he's still going! Maybe he really will live forever. Or whatever "forever" is in rat years.

Work has been nuts. My teammate has transitioned to another department (which is great for her and I think some good things will come of it) and that has been hard for me. Since I am the only other person in our department that can do her job (or parts of her job, anyway), I inherited her projects and am now leading a big, intense study coming up soon. I don't feel prepared for it and it has already been chaos (though the study doesn't technically start until October). And on that note, life might get really rough for me through the end of the year with work. I will need to be on call almost every day until the end of the year. So I want to apologize in advance for any delays you will see here. I still plan to read (audiobooks at least) and I will do my best to keep up and post. Or combine posts like I had to do a few times this year already. Though I may just re-read favorites and comfort books to get me through. Except for October of course, where I need to read all of the spooky reads! I promise work will not always consume my life...

And with that, lets do quick reviews of books I read in August.

Title: Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell
Author: Taj McCoy
Narrator: Adenrele Ojo
Synopsis: Savvy's long-term boyfriend breaks up with her, saying she never takes care of herself and her appearance. Heartbroken and bent on revenge, she starts working out, getting back to things she used to enjoy, changes her hair, and renovates her house. With the help of her friends and the handsome contractor working on her house, she finds new depths to herself and finds her way back to happiness.
Thoughts: There were some things that I really enjoyed about this book and somethings that I cared less for. I loved her friends and their relationship. I think Savvy was cool getting herself together for revenge but ended up finding contentment with herself. And while revenge was not actually the point, I still wish her ex had gotten more of a comeuppance than he did. 

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Act Cool
Author: Tobly McSmith
Narrator: Shaan Desani
Synopsis: August, a transgender teen, has run away to New York city to live with his aunt and attend a prestigious performing arts high school. He wants to be an actor and shows great promise. Until he lands a role that hits a bit too close to home. To become the actor he really wants to be, he needs to confront his own life including his parents who refuse to accept August as he is.
Thoughts: I LOVE Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith, so I had to read this book, too. And while I love Stay Gold more, this book was very good. It was often very sad and many of the characters feel very real. And you can't help but root for August. It was sweet and sad and sometimes redeeming.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Squire
Author: Tamora Pierce

Synopsis: Kel's journey continues into her squire years. As the only girl squire, she fears that she will not be chosen by a knight master. Enter Lord Raoul of the King's Own who is willing to take her on and train her up. He sees potential in her that many others do not and she grows to meet his expectations.

Thoughts: Another of these books I have read so many times it is probably ridiculous. As you can see by the battered cover of my copy. While the Kel books don't stand out as much in my mind for favorite characters, I do think they are some of the best ones Tamora Pierce has written. And I still love these books. I probably will forever.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Titles: Boyfriend Material and Husband Material
Author: Alexis Hall
Narrator: Joe Jameson
Synopsis: Luc is in need of an appropriate boyfriend to be seen in public with to save his reputation and his job. Oliver needs a boyfriend to bring to his parents' wedding anniversary. Luc and Oliver appear to dislike each other, but enter into a mutually beneficial agreement to pretend to be dating until their events are finished. But surprisingly, the relationship actually works. A couple of years later, Luc and Oliver attend a series of weddings (and one funeral) and decide to get married themselves. 
Thoughts: I loved Boyfriend Material when I read it in the past (a year or two ago?) so I had to pick up Husband Material. So I listened to Husband Material and really enjoyed it. These books crack me up and I love all of the characters so much. I had mixed feelings at the end of Husband Material. But then I went back and re-read Boyfriend Material. Then re-read Husband Material. And then Boyfriend Material again (I needed comfort books, don't judge me). They are great, hilarious books. I definitely recommend them and eagerly await any other books that may be coming down the pipeline!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Jade Fire Gold
Author: June C. L. Tan
Narrators: Natalie Naudus and Kevin Shen

Synopsis: Ahn is a peasant girl in a poor village who sets out to save her grandmother. Meanwhile, Altan is trying to take his rightful place as emperor and needs to find the life stealer to do it. Ahn and Altan's paths cross and change when they discover that Ahn is the life stealer as well as the daughter to a high-ranking official in the court that overthrew Altan and his family. Altan meant to kill Ahn, but maybe this is a problem better solved by becoming allies.

Thoughts: This was an Owlcrate book that I alternated reading and listening to. First off, I thought it was a stand-alone book, but based on the ending, I am guessing that is not true. Aside from that, it was pretty good. Parts were interesting and it was nice to follow the characters and see the friends and enemies they made along the way. If you are interested in fantasy novels with Chinese influence, it is definitely worth a read.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: Squire or Boyfriend Material and Husband Material
Least favorite book read this month: Probably Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell, but not because it was bad, just because it had my lowest rating.

I have read 55 books towards my goal of 60 books for the year. That is pretty good. I may or may not adjust the goal. Maybe I will just see how many I read and base next years goal on that.

Thanks for reading! I hope everyone is doing well and is getting ready for the spooky season! September is finally here!