Saturday, December 31, 2022

December 2022 Wrap Up

December has been quite a month. Normally it is my favorite month, but it really got off to a rough start until closer to the end of the month. Mostly because of work. Because work is hard and frustrating and all-consuming. So that is all I will say about that.

December means Hanukkah, which I celebrated by getting new electric candles for my little menorah. That was lovely. December also means my birthday, which work almost ruined, but I managed some days off and had dinner with friends, went to see a play with Kevin, and some other fun things. 

Kevin and I went out to Connecticut to visit his family for Christmas. Our flights were some that got totally messed up so we were stranded out there longer than planned, but it was a nice time. We went to see Mark Twain's house, which was very cool. And we went to the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience, which was awesome. I posted photos and videos of that on my Instagram if you are interested in looking.

The rats are getting along in years. Festus and Dion turned two in November. Eros turned two this month and Apollo turns two in January. Festus is having respiratory issues, but we have tried so many antibiotics and treatments and nebulizers. I think it is just a matter of keeping him happy until it gets to be too much and we need to put him to sleep. But he's doing OK. Dion is still on heart meds and not exactly healthy, but also fine. Eros might have some sort of autoimmune or genetic something? He has lost some fur in weird places and not grown it back and one of his feet occasionally swells for a day or two. Otherwise he seems happy and healthy. And Apollo has never had a health crisis and hopefully never will!

Mallow had his second Gotcha Day on New Year's Eve. Little demon. I guess he's OK mostly and we kinda like him. Sometimes. He's cute though, so there is that!

I did alright with reading this month. I am going to try to keep reviews very short so I can touch on goals for the coming year.

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman
Synopsis and thoughts: I don't need to review this one, right? It is one of my all-time favorites and yes, I read it more than once this December. I always love it so much.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars

Titles: Magic Steps and Street Magic
Author: Tamora Pierce
Synopsis and thoughts: The first two Circle Opens books about Sandry and Briar becoming teachers. I have read these books many times over the years. These are comfort reads and I do enjoy them.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Daniel Henning
Synopsis and thoughts: This was a re-read for me. After I finished Under the Whispering Door, I wanted to revisit it. It is a lovely, sweet story and I definitely recommend it.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars 

Title: Eight Nights of Flirting
Author: Hannah Reynolds
Narrator: Emily Lawrence
Synopsis: Shira is determined to return from winter break with the perfect boyfriend. The only problem? She cannot, and I mean cannot, talk to boys without being totally awkward. Enter Tyler, her old crush and master flirt. They strike a deal where he will teach her to flirt and she will introduce him to her uncle for an internship. That will work, right?
Thoughts: A Hanukkah story! Yay! This was pretty cute actually. I didn't totally love everything (maybe because I am older than the target audience), but it was an enjoyable and easy read. And I am always interested in Hanukkah stories.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
Title: The Matzah Ball
Author: Jean Meltzer
Narrator: Dara Rosenberg

Synopsis: Rachel, good Jewish girl and Rabbi's daughter has a secret: she ghost writes Christmas romance stories. She loves Christmas, the magic of it. But she is about to lose her job if she doesn't come up with a Hanukkah romance. In her search for inspiration, she gets in with Jacob who is running the biggest, fanciest Hanukkah event: the Matzah Ball. Rachel just needs to get in and she is sure she will find her story.

Thoughts: A Hanukkah story! I always get a bit excited when I find Hanukkah stories. This story was cute and fun and chaos happens. The ending was definitely cheese-y, but you have to know that is coming when you go in. It was a nice story and worth a read if Hanukkah romances might be your thing!

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Narrator: Tim Curry
Synopsis and thoughts: Another one I read nearly every year that I probably don't need to really review. I still enjoy this every year, this is a great version, I still picture them as Mickey Mouse characters.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 

Title: The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge
Author: Charlie Lovett
Narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Synopsis: What happened to Scrooge after his life-changing Christmas experience? Well here is an answer for you. And he sets out to save other people like himself.
Thoughts: I was worried this would be bad. It was maybe a bit cheese-y and I didn't think that him needing to save the first and third people were really true to the story, but that's OK. It very much keeps the style and tone of the original story. It was a fun, quick read.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars
Favorite book read this month: Landline? Always? I can't help it.
Least favorite book read this month: The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge, only due to it having the lowest rating.
I read a total of 91 books this year. My goal was 60.

Now for the new year!

My reading goal will be to read 75 books.

I also want to make a real effort to get through more of my Owlcrate books. They are almost always fantasy and I so rarely want to read fantasy these days, but I need to either read them or stop subscribing!

In non-reading goals:
  • I want to be better about saving money. I have already been good about contributing to my retirement (at Kevin's insistence). 
  • I want to cut down on the number of emails I am subscribed to. That sounds silly, but I am so tired of having to delete 50 ads in my email every day. I have already started this process. 
  • I haven't been great at keeping my journal the last few months, so I'd like to get back on that wagon. Part of my problem was adding book reviews into my journal. Doing them in there and on this blog got exhausting and then I didn't want to do it anymore. I just need to modify how I journal. 
  • I want to cut down on the number of stupid games that I play on my phone. 
  • Lastly, I want to go through things that I have and get rid of anything I am not using. It is something I have been working on and I sometimes do well and other times don't.

Anyone else have good goals for 2023?