Friday, September 1, 2023

July/August 2023 Wrap Up

Hello all.

I had to do another combination post since I couldn't get my ducks in a row at the end of July. I am not even sure I kept good record of all the books I read? Can I blame pregnancy brain? I haven't really had many problems in that realm, but I should be able to milk this for something.

Pregnancy is weird, but so far so good. I'm 20 weeks in now.

We lost the last of our ratties. It is sad, but it is OK. I am going to take a little break before getting more rats (after we've moved and adjusted to life with baby, I think). I love rats so I miss having them. But we did get another kitten. She was a stray I'd been seeing around our building and started feeding. She eventually decided she liked me and I brought her in. Marshmallow has been getting along with her so here she is. We haven't named her yet, but that's OK. You can check out my Instagram for photos.

Work has basically been awful for the last couple of months. But that is all I am going to say about that. It's just been rough guys. Something needs to change, I am not sure how long I can keep going with the way things are. And that frustrates me because there is so much I love about my work, but the management is such a trial I think I am developing PTSD.

And then at the end of August, Kevin and I finally got COVID. After nearly four years of avoiding it, we both got it. It was a huge bummer. On the plus side, we were both fully vaccinated which helped us recover more quickly. I am still getting over mine though. It messed with my blood pressure and I haven't quite regained my equilibrium.

Anyway, here are the books I finished this month. Hopefully I remembered them all!

Titles: Mister Impossible and Greywaren
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton
Synopsis/Thoughts: I just read these a few months ago, so I am not really going to talk about them again. I read them again and I still enjoyed them.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Little Women
Author: Louisa May Alcott

Synopsis/Thoughts: I have probably reviewed this one before, too. I'm sure it has been several years, but it is a classic and I think most people know what the story is about. I just wanted a comfort read and I just really wanted to read this again. And it was a very nice read.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Divine Rivals
Author: Rebecca Ross
Narrators: Alex Wingfield and Rebecca Norfolk

Synopsis: Iris is an aspiring columnist at a local newspaper competing against equally driven Roman. With war waging and moving closer to home and her brother at the front with no news, life is a bit chaotic. When things shake out differently for Iris than she originally planned, she takes a job covering the war near the front and finds more than she bargained for. Especially when Roman joins her on the same assignment.
Thoughts: I did a combined reading/listening of this book. It is a fairly recent Owlcrate book, which I am trying to read more of. I enjoyed her last book, Dreams Lie Beneath, so I wanted to pick this one up. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I liked the characters and the overall story line. I am looking forward to the next book since this had a tiny cliffhanger and I need to know what happens next.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 

Titles: The Foxhole Court, The Raven King, and The King's Men (All for the Game series)
Author: Nora Sakavic
Narrator: Alexander Cendese

Synopsis: Neil Josten is on the run from his father and the mob he is associated with (and any rivals for that matter). In a series of odd events, he ends up playing Exy, a game he loves, and getting signed by a college Exy team. Palmetto State's Exy foxes have a reputation for being the broken people collected by Coach Wymack. Neil decides to stay and play for one year, becoming entrenched in other strange dealings and relationships. But through it all, he finds a family and people he can actually trust and count on to have his back and to accept him no matter what dark secrets he hides. And maybe they can even win the season!

Thoughts: I have very... mixed thoughts about these books. I had been hearing about them because of the title of the second book being the same title as the last in the Raven Cycle. Anyway, I decided to give it a try. I actually was very interested in the (fictional) game of Exy, even though I am super not a sports person. And I LOVED the found family aspect of the books. I liked Neil's character, even if I didn't always agree with him. Kevin was an asshole, but I think he meant well and I appreciated his development. And Andrew. I love and hate Andrew at the same time. There were a lot of things that happened in these books (some perpetuated by Andrew) that made me feel very conflicted. I distinctly hated the way Andrew's crowd tested Neil (for someone so insane about consent, non-consensual drugging seemed SOO messed up). But Andrew's protective streak makes me love him. But he's also an asshole. Despite all of that, I actually thought the development of Neil and Andrew's relationship was nice and sort of sweet. Anyway, there were things I didn't love and there are definitely triggers for people, but the found family aspect (especially with the older team members and Coach Wymack) made me really love them. And they must have held my interest because I have continued to think about them and about the story.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars for books one and two, 4 stars out of 5 stars for book three
Title: I Was Told it Would Get Easier
Author: Abbi Waxman
Narrators: Lisa Flanagan and Bailey Carr

Synopsis: Single, high-powered lawyer Jessica and her daughter, Emily, set out on a tour of colleges. Jessica is hoping that Emily will go to college, enjoy herself, and find her place. Emily has NO idea what any of that would look like. And spending so much time with her generally absent mother isn't her idea of a great time either.
Thoughts: I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I really liked Jessica and the mother-daughter story and how their relationship grew throughout the book. Overall it was a nice, uplifting read for fans of contemporary stories.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars 


Title: Thirteenth Child
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi

Synopsis/Thoughts: Another book I have read too many times and reviewed multiple times. These books are comfort reads and that's what I was looking for. I still love them so much.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Favorite book read in July/August:  I'm not sure, there were so many good ones and it feels like cheating when so many of my comfort reads are in the mix
Least favorite book read in July/August: The Foxhole Court, since it got the lowest rating

I have now read 53 books towards my goal of 75. I only got one Owlcrate book read, but I am working on another one.

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