Sunday, July 31, 2016

ABC Reads Challenge

It's time to link up with Andrea and Mia again for the ABC Reads Challenge! This month I read books starting with the letter S, V, and Z.


The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. This is probably my favorite read out of the three. Set in Alaska in the 1920's, it's about a childless older couple that thinks they make a little girl out of snow one magical night. The story is mysterious and interesting, and the characters are very relatable.


Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler. This one was a short, easy read. The Vinegar Girl is Katie, who's Dad tries to marry her off to his Russian research assistant when his visa is about to expire. My complaint with this novel is that it was too short. Tyler could have injected a little more story in the timeline so it didn't feel quite as rushed. But if you're looking for a lighthearted beach read, I'd suggest this!


The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman. Ackerman writes about zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski who ran the Warsaw Zoo during WWII. As Jewish sympathizers, they hid Jews in various animal cages during the war, or in the house and created jobs or roles to legitimize their presence. It was a very interesting read, based mostly off of Antonia's diaries during that time. It's a bit of a slow read, and I occasionally had difficulty switching gears from the cute stories about the animals to the horror stories of the war. It was a 3 star read for me. 

So what have you read lately?  Link up with us and show your reads!

 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

ABC Reads Challenge

Hello! It's the end of the month and that means time again for the ABC Reads Challenge link-up, hosted by Andrea and Mia.


This month I completed C and Q. Q!








Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. As the mother of a little girl who loves Princesses and all things PINK, I really enjoyed reading this book. I appreciate that there are other mothers out there that wish to rein in the pink-princess-palooza that seems to have taken over our girls ages 0-tween, and that there's some hope for our daughters to outgrow this phase.




Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I really liked this book as well. Not quiet love, but really, really liked. Introverts and extroverts should read this one.


What did you read this month? Link up and tell us!



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

ABC Reads Challenge

It's time for the ABC Reads link-up again, hosted by Andrea and Mia.


This month, I only read one book on my ABC reads list. I did read another book for book club, but that letter was already accounted for.


I crossed "A" off my list with About the Night by Anat Talshir.




I thought this book was interesting, and set in Jerusalem which is an area that I'm not very familiar with. Well, in the modern sense anyway. However, it did seem to drag a bit for me. The basic gist is that an Arab and a Jew fall in love right before the war that separates the city, and chronicles their "love" for 19 years. I only gave it three stars on Goodreads. I don't want to say anything bad about it though, because it was a nice book. But...just nice.


What did you read this month? Link up and tell us!







Saturday, April 30, 2016

ABC Reads Challenge

Hello! I'm linking up again with Andrea and Mia this month for the ABC Reads challenge.

I have much less time for reading than when I was unemployed, but I see that as a good problem to have. So this month I was only able to read two books for this challenge, knocking out letters B and N.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent



I found this book to be really interesting, although perhaps a little dark. It is a fictional book about the actual last woman to be executed in Iceland for murder. Agnes Magnusdottir is tried and convicted for the brutal murder of her former master and lover. She is held on a local farm to await her execution, where her presence is not exactly welcomed or wanted. In the story, the reader learns a lot about the Icelandic people and lifestyle in the early 1800's, which I thought was incredibly interesting.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah


The Nightingale is yet another book about WWII, but from the view point of two women who conspire against the Nazis in their own unique ways. The chapters alternate between the voice of Vianne and her younger sister Isabelle, which could be confusing at certain points. But Hannah does a good job at giving a very vivid, real telling of their stories and life in occupied France during the war.

So what did you read this month? Link up and tell us!


Sunday, April 24, 2016

I'm still here!

Well, sort of.

Are you still here?

*crickets*

Ok, well, I'm going to do a little update anyway.

Life! It's so fast paced, and there's not enough hours in the day! For the first time in a long time, I find myself saying "I didn't have time to get to that today". It's kind of nice, in a weird way. After working a job where I literally had nothing to do for days on end, it's nice to use my brain again and actually have work to do.

I know that sounds kind of strange, but if you've ever had a job where you're basically left to rot, you start to really question your worth. But I'm starting to feel valued again, in a working sense. Which is nice.

My new job is keeping me on my toes, is challenging enough to be interesting, but it's not so fast-paced that it's stressful. My evenings are jam-packed with the things I couldn't get to during the day, or squeezing a workout in, or book club, or my new free yoga class (thanks new job!), that I'm just busy. All the time.

Except right this second, which is why you're getting an update from me.

This week we took Emily to "Kindergarten Connection", which is like a pre-Open House open house. We got to ride a school bus, walk around the school, meet some of the teachers, etc. Emily was very excited for it, but a little clingy once we got to the school. So I'm glad we have another opportunity to visit later in the summer before classes actually start.

Speaking of school, I was able to register for my grad classes this week! I'm going to try to swing 3 classes this first semester, and see how that goes. Sink or swim, right? I will hopefully be really settled at work, and running will take a back burner at that point (let's get this straight - I won't stop running, just doing less of it), and I hope that with plenty of good planning and family support, that I'll be able to handle a full load each semester and finish in 18 months.

Holy crap, that's scary.

But exciting! I'm so excited to start this program. I really wish I could start this summer, but I know fall is the best timing for me.

In running news, I ran one of my favorite 5k races yesterday, the HOPE Springs 5k, and had a great race! A new PR for me at 23:32, and I was 6th in my age group and in the top 10 for female runners! Which is crazy to think that 6 of my age group females made up that top 10 category. I love this race because it's local, and supports a great cause. I ran there for a warm up, and then ran home for a little cool down, rounding out a nice 7 mile day for myself.



So that's life right now. Thanks for checking back and sticking with me! 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

ABC Reads Challenge

It's time to link up again with Andrea and Mia for the ABC Reads Challenge!

This month I was able to knock out four letters of the alphabet: K, L, T, and U.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by Ryan Stradal


As a self-diagnosed foodie living in Minnesota, I knew this book would be right up my alley. It did not disappoint in that aspect, and I loved how each chapter was centered around a particular dish. It was a little confusing that each chapter was from a different narrator's viewpoint, although they all tied back to the "main" character of Eva. But it finally all comes together in the last chapter, and Stradal does a nice job of connecting the people, places, and dishes all together again.  
 
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs


This is the third installment to Riggs' "Peculiar Children" series. It is a fast read, and I really like the way that the main character, Jacob, grows and matures in this novel. He develops strength that maybe the reader didn't even think he had. The ending was kind of unexpected, but a nice way to end things and as we like to say in book club "tie it up with a nice little bow". Like the second novel though, I thought that the pictures were a little forced in this one; in the first book you get a sense that the story stems from the photos, whereas in 2 and 3 the photos still fit but feel more like an afterthought.
 
Troublemaker by Leah Remini 


A very interesting and insightful look into the Church of Scientology from an insider's perspective. I think Remini did a great job at portraying the church in a fair light, and expressing her views objectively. I could also really relate to Remini in her life outside the church. She is very human, despite being in the limelight and makes no attempt at trying to present herself as perfect - quite the opposite.  

The Untold by Courtney Collins


I just finished this one, and I'm not really sure where I stand with it yet. I only gave it 3 stars in Goodreads because while I thought it was a good read (no pun intended), and well written, it didn't just grab me like I wanted it to. Also, it's told from the point of view of a dead baby. Uhm...that's a little hard to grasp. So I don't think I'd be recommending it to any women who I know has lost a child. The author explains this choice at the end of the book, so I won't delve into that here, but it's still something a reader may take issue with.




I have a feeling my reading is going to slow wayyyy down with my new job and just life in general. We'll see what next month brings me!


What did you read this month? Link up and tell us!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Life Lately

Oh my goodness guys. Life lately - craziness. Pure craziness. It took me three tries to spell "craziness" correctly; that's how life has been lately.

The most exciting thing in this week? I started a new job! Hip Hip Hooray! I am officially an "Information Specialist II" for the county, or less officially but more accurately - records clerk for the Sheriff's office.

Watch out now, mama's got connections.

Boom

This has actually been in the work for nearly two months. TWO MONTHS. Yes, that's correct. I interviewed and was offered the job on February 9th. However, the background check process is apparently sufficient to get me into the White House or something, so that took forever. But I got a call on Monday morning saying that everything was good and all systems go, so when could I start? I asked to start after Easter since Emily's daycare was closed on Good Friday and will be closed tomorrow, but they wanted me sooner. Like, the very next day, sooner.

So in the span of 24 hours, I found myself fully employed again. Like with a real paycheck and real benefits. Oh my goodness, it's amazing!

I like the job so far; although I'm still at the point where I don't know what I don't know. You know? It's a small office, and my supervisor and coworkers are really nice. The Sheriff and all the deputies (and...others...I still have to learn the designations and who's who) are all really friendly and helpful. I think it's going to be great!

It's been an adjustment getting back into the swing of things. Honestly, I was getting really good at being unemployed. Fitting all my "stuff" into the few hours I have after work has been a challenge!

On top of that, we celebrated Easter last night with our family. Due to some schedule conflicts, Saturday worked best to have Easter dinner, which was nice since then we could go to our own church this morning for Easter. Plus, we went to Easter brunch. Fun!

Happy Easter!

The rest of the day has consisted of napping and generally feeling stuffed. I always eat too much at buffets.


I will attempt to keep up some sort of regular blogging, but no promises. This job where I actually have to do things when I'm there is taking up a lot of my time, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Cheers to new adventures!


 How are you celebrating Easter? How do you fit everything in during the week?