Sunday, April 2, 2023

March 2023 Wrap Up

Well, another month has gone by.

I think my March was less rough than my February, but I am still dealing with unpleasant things at work and in my personal life. That has been rather discouraging. Maybe one day I will discuss some things, but not right now.

I have been floating some other ideas for blog posts around my head lately. There are a couple of things that I'd like to write a little something about that aren't related to my monthly wrap ups and book reviews. My main problem is finding the time, motivation, and energy to do them. That is my problem a lot these days. I think work just takes it out of me. And my little ratties are getting older and having more health problems so they need more attention and care. So when I have time I just want to zone out or read a book or do a puzzle. At least I want to read, for a while there that was not the case. Also, if anyone has recommendations for smaller, book-ish puzzles, I want to hear them! I love the ones I have, but I can always use more.

I wish I had something amazing or profound to share, but I don't.

I did read some books though! Mostly I continued reading Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle and Dreamer Trilogy. I have still been listening to Boyfriend Material a lot because it is comforting and familiar, but not as much as I did in February, I think. And I don't really know what I will move onto reading next. Part of me just wants to go back to the Raven Boys and read the series all over again.

Here are some quick book reviews.

Titles: Blue Lily, Lily Blue and the Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton
Synopsis and thoughts: I finished my re-read of the Raven Cycle this month. I was surprised at how much I didn't remember. But I think I enjoyed them more the second time through. I did a mix of audiobooks and physical books. And can we talk about Ronan for a minute?? I greatly disliked him when I first read the Raven Boys. Then I felt like I understood him better (but didn't like him better) after reading the Dream Thieves. But then sometime during Blue Lily, Lily Blue, he suddenly became my favorite character. I have no idea why. But he still is. I love his story and I love that he is so full of emotions that he can't figure out how to express them so he's just angry. It was so much more obvious this time around how absolutely loyal and devoted he is to his friends, which I also love. I actually love all of the bonds and friendships between the characters in these books. I also think that Ronan and his pranks are often quite funny and I especially like it when Noah is involved in the pranks.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Opal
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton

Synopsis and thoughts: This is a short story that follows the Raven King. I read it on my Kindle a few years ago (but hadn't remembered the Raven Cycle very well at the time) and I am not sure if I reviewed it. But it is from the perspective of Opal, Ronan's hoofed dream girl who came to live with him in at the Barns. It is interesting to see things from a non-human, outsider point of view. Parts of it are sweet and parts are sad. It isn't crucial to read it before the Dreamer Trilogy, but it is a little stepping stone that has important information in it. You get that information eventually in the Dreamer Trilogy, too, so it isn't required. I think the sadness and oddness of this story makes it less of a favorite for me, but I'm still glad that I re-visted it.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Titles: Call Down the Hawk, Mister Impossible, and Greywaren
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton

Synopsis: The Dreamer Trilogy primarily follows Ronan after the Raven Cycle ends. It also follows the stories of his brothers Declan and Matthew. Ronan starts to discover other dreamers, like him. And he discovers the people who are trying to destroy the dreamers in the name of saving the world. Declan is trying to protect his brothers: Ronan who is a rouge dreamer on the run, and Matthew who is having an existential crisis about being a dream-thing. Meanwhile, Hennessy and her "girls" (duplicates of herself that she has dreamed into existence) are art forgers trying to make it in the world, while keeping Hennessy secret. Her first duplicate, Jordan, loves Hennessy, but also longs for a life as an individual. All of their stories (and others) collide and intercept with those of other humans and dreamers. More discoveries are made about their world, about dreamers, and about the Lynch family.

Thoughts: These were intense books. I did a mixed audiobook and physical book reading of these, too. It took me a while to get into the first one, but once things were moving, they were really moving. I got so emotional a bunch of times, especially when Declan had his run-in with Mór Ó Corra and the new Fenian and learned about his parents. I had lots of strong feelings when I learned about the extent of Ronan's dreaming abilities and his history, especially with his father and Declan (side note, learning more about Niall just made his murder so much worse). And I just wanted everything to be OK. I ended up liking Declan (which I didn't before) and I really liked Jordan. I didn't always love Hennessy, but she was hilarious. And I just wanted Ronan and Adam to be in love and be together (though Ronan's emotional crisis when Adam didn't text him back did kind of crack me up). And the way they tell each other "I love you" is so them and I couldn't get enough of it ("Tamquam. Alter idem." Right in the heart every time). I will say, I kinda missed Ronan's pranks and the Murder Squash song. But that's alright. I really enjoyed these books. Sometimes I forget how much I love Maggie Stiefvater's writing. This was a good reminder. And the audiobooks were great. All of them have music written by Maggie Stiefvater and there is a little discussion at the end of Greywaren with Maggie Stiefvater and Will Patton, who narrated all of her books. Worth listening to, for sure.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: I can't choose. I loved them all.
Least favorite book read this month: Opal had the lowest rating, but I still liked it.

I have now read 33 books towards my goal of 75.

I didn't finish any Owlcrate books (unless you count Greywaren since I ordered it from them?). But I am working on one that is good so far and planning to start a second one.

...But I kind of just want to re-read the Raven Cycle again... I'm a big mood reader, so we will see what happens.