Graceland

What I’ve done: March 2018

I know…. it’s halfway through April but the beginning of April was insanely busy and kind of stressful. I didn’t even get to read that much.

I didn’t read much during March either but I did listen to a couple audiobooks which was weird to me. But they were both really good audiobooks. Then I started listening to Steve Jobs and wow…. this is such a huge book and is taking a while to get through.

At this point March is so far away I’ve forgotten what I’ve all done and I didn’t take many photos which is how I normally jog my memory. I worked a lot and I attempted to start getting back in a workout routine which has been fading in an out of existence.

Toward the end of the month I went down to Memphis to (finally) visit my sister. We went out for BBQ and to Graceland and toured her school. Her, her boy and I went out to this bar that was basically the Tardis. It looked like it was just a normal size bar and then you go in the back and it’s a huge area with fire pits and then there was another bar in the back and there were some more areas we didn’t go in.

We went to the National Civil Rights Museum, which was a lot more reading than I expected. I was expecting more artifacts associated but there wasn’t much. There was also Beale Street which was kind of a let down as well. I think it would be a lot busier and a lot more how I pictured it if we had gone at night.

Books Read:

Sometimes I Lie- Alice Feeney
Beneath the Sugar Sky- Seanan McGuire
Reconstructing Amelia- Kimberly McCreight
Scrappy Little Nobody- Anna Kendrick
Words in Deep Blue- Cath Crowley

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February wrap up

What I’ve Done: February 2018

February passed so much faster than I expected. One day it was the second, the next it was the 26th. Where did the time go? Most of it was that I was very busy but thinking back it’s the whole “busy with what” feeling.

Work and work. A lot of my time is spent at work and then when I’m done I just want to sleep. I don’t have much motivation to do anything else so I go on Twitter and Facebook.

Okay, there’s my wrap-up. Literally all I did.

But not really. I’m still working on making my way through my coding scholarship course. That’s what I got on my computer to do when I’m writing this but I’m so confused about one of the topics I’ve posted to the boards so I’m hoping someone responds so I can put in massive hours on Thursday.

I watched one of my friends get married. She looked gorgeous. The wedding was so perfectly them. It was so small and simplistic but also very fairy tale- esque. Also their wedding cake was cheesecake.

Toward the end of the month my uncle visited and later my aunt joined us. They live out in California so I don’t get to see them much. I was so grateful that I some nights off to go out to dinner with them. Then we went to Costco and I may have gotten hooked on the dark chocolate covered pretzels that I can’t find anywhere else and I don’t have a member card. My uncle also helped me pick out a laptop so I’m 99% set on that one. I just have to actually get it.

Books read:
The Liar’s Girl Catherine Howard
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo- Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Secret History- Donna Tartt
The Chalk Man- C.J. Tudor

During the month I didn’t think I was reading that much. I was overlapping books and it was taking me forever to get through most of them. I’m pretty sure the only reason I read The Chalk Man so fast was because I was doing the Thrillerathon.

Nightmare Corner

Sometimes I Lie: ARC Review

Sometimes I LieAuthor: Alice Feeney
Publisher: Flatiron Books
US Pub Date: March 13, 2018

In Two Sentences:
When Amber wakes in a hospital unable to move, she realizes she is unable to remember how she got there. Alternating between the recent past, childhood past and present, the question of what is a lie and what is the truth.

My Thoughts:

This was very… underwhelming. Anyone who’s been on my blog before knows I LOVE thrillers, psychological, physical, anything. All I really need is a new premise and I’m happy…. usually. The only thing that kept me going through the first half of the book was the beautiful writing.

I was excited for the fresh perspective promised in this book. It didn’t seem that fresh though. It was just bland. I didn’t care about anything that was happening. I didn’t get the whole unreliable narrator bit. The whole thing was surrounded upon the premise that sometimes she lies and it wasn’t so much lying as not knowing the whole truth.

It took 160 out of the 258 for something interesting to actually happen. Then when it did it was just in spurts and then nothing happened for another long while and then another thing happened and then it was forgotten again.

There were a couple of pieces of the mystery/ thriller part I enjoyed but those parts were infuriatingly not expanded upon. There was so much potential to this book and it just fell flat.

If I liked it more I would read it again so I can see all the twists coming, but it was hard for me to get through the first time so I’m not going to reread it.

Nightmare Corner

The Liar’s Girl: Earc Review

Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Date: February 27, 2018

In Two Sentences:

Alison moved to St. John’s for college and fell head over heals for Will, who confesses to the murders of five students. Ten years later, while he’s still in jail, the murders start happening again.

My Thoughts: 

This book was kind of a let down. When I saw it on NetGalley my first thought was: That’s different, that sounds like a page-turner. The first half took me so long to get through and the second half I read a bit faster… because I was sick and was taking it easy.

I’ll start with a positive. I loved Liz, Alison and Sal. They were all so believable. They weren’t perfect, but they also weren’t overly annoying and idiotic like so many characters in thrillers are. They actually cared about their well-being and didn’t just run straight into danger. It was refreshing to not be constantly screaming at the characters “don’t do that! Turn around!”

The premise was interesting as well. They think they caught the killer, a false sense of security and then BAM! They kill again. This is the real interesting part, as well as the motives behind the killings.

Unfortunately, that was where the good things stopped. It was enough to keep me reading, but not enough for me to daydream about the book while I was doing other things.

First, there were some things that just seemed strange. Like the fact that I was 87% of the way through the book before I found out the main character had glasses. Did she sleep in them? Did they not get in the way when she hugged people? So many other chances to mention it and I know it’s a nit-picky thing but it really bothered me.

Honestly, it just wasn’t twisty enough. There were twists and although I didn’t guess them all I wasn’t surprised by them either. It was more of a “that makes sense” feeling. I never felt like I was on the edge of my chair waiting to see what happened. I just didn’t have that much of a connection with Will to care if he got out or not.

The perspectives were strange. I was getting major vibes of YOU. The majority of the book is told in third person, but every once in a while it slipped into a third person but through the eyes of a specific character. I really enjoyed those parts because I was wondering who it was and what was going to happen and I was more shocked at the end of those sections. I did get a bit confused when the shifts to the murderer’s point of view came.

I was provided an advance e-arc of this book by Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley in consideration for a review. This in no way changed how I thought about this book.

What I’ve Done: January 2018

I’ve decided I needed to change the titles of my wrap-ups for when I go back and look at them because I already have multiple January wrap-ups. Hence: What I’ve Done. Hopefully I’ll have accomplished something each month this year.

I rang in the new year with some of my friends in town and from out of town. We played Bears and Babies and Cyanide and Happiness and ate a lot of chips and dip.

My computer crashed around the same time I got accepted into the first round of the Udacity Google Scholar program so I used a Chromebook for the first time ever. I realized I love how small they are but that screen gave me such a headache so fast. I’ve been coding a lot more and learning so much during this past month and I’m excited to continue for the next couple months.

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And lastly: I went to Florida! I went to the Harry Potter Expo and it was amazing. It was so great to get out of the cold and out of the state for a while and there’s a more in depth squealing post here.

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Unfortunately, due to all of this excitement I only finished two books.
Defending Jacob- William Landy
You Are A Badass- Jen Sincero

What did you accomplish in January? Any goals for next month?

Harry Potter Celebration

Harry Potter and the Return To Florida

I finally did it! I finally got to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. This past weekend was the Harry Potter Celebration. I grew up with Harry Potter. I remember getting caught trying to read the Prisoner of Azkaban during a spelling test in third grade (because it’s not like the words we were tested on would be in the book). I remember my sister running up to my dad, hugging him with one hand and searching the bag for the seventh book with the other. I read the series first to seventh and back again.

It shaped who I was. I watched all the movies in the theaters. I was terrified of when Quirrell’s face turned to ash because Harry touched it and cheered for Molly killing Bellatrix. Crying when Dobby died even though we all knew it was coming. These books were my life. I got to go to the studio tour when I studied in London so I obviously needed to go to the one in my own country.

Hogwarts Castle

The highlights you ask?

  • The panel: Stanislav Yanevski, Natalia Tena, James and Oliver Phelps and Bonnie Wright. They are all amazing. When they came onstage for the panel each of them decided to try to get the audience to sing back to them. Apparently the feeling of five thousand people singing back is awesome so if I ever become that famous I want to try it.
    • Question: What would you most likely go to Azkaban for?
    • Stanislav’s Answer: Killing Ron so I can have Hermione.

Harry Potter Celebration Panel

  • The rides: It has been so long since I’ve been on rides like this. I think the last time was last time I was in Florida. This time we went on the Jurassic Park River Adventure…. with an 85-foot drop. That was honestly more terrifying than when I did the Hollywood Tower of Terror. No clue why. After we went on that one and I felt the rush I kind of wanted to try the other roller coasters that went upside down. Unfortunately the lines were really long so we didn’t.
  • The weather: It was unbelievably gorgeous. I left the freezing cold, middle of winter and got off the pane in 60 degree weather. We ate, slept and then woke up with weather in the 70s the rest of the weekend. It was amazing. I got to wear shorts all weekend and didn’t have to worry about carrying my jacket and gloves with me. I am so impatient for summer to be honest. I got back and wasn’t prepared for the cold.
  • The food: We went all out for the food. We went to Hard Rock and Margaritaville and The Cowfish. It was all more amazing than the food before. I had sushi and a cheeseburger in the same meal. You’d think it was a weird combination but it was actually amazing. 10/10 would recommend.

Margaritaville Orlando

Honestly the trip was so amazing we decided on the first full day we’re going to start saving up and do it right next year. On-site hotel, better airline, costumes, getting to the panels earlier etc. It’s going to be even more amazing.

Hogsmade

What’s your favorite Harry Potter Memory? Have you been to Orlando or London’s attractions?

secondhand books

My Love for Secondhand Books

Whenever I tell people my physical TBR is over 600 books their jaws drop. They wonder how I have spent that much money growing my book collection only to throw them to the side and not read them.  But honestly, it didn’t cost that much. The vast majority of my books are bought at used book sales and used book stores or when they go on clearance etc. I honestly don’t remember the last time I bought a book full price.

When I was younger my mom would take me to library book sales and give me no limit… which usually resulted in more books than we could carry and only costing $20.

Later when I was in college, all of us English majors were encouraged to write in our books. Notes about discussions, our thoughts, passages marked etc. We all quickly grew to grab the most annotated book we could find.

Early winter I finished reading The End Of Your Life Bookclub. I bought it at a library sale and it has writing in it. Through what types of passages were marked I could tell exactly why the person before me picked it up and what spoke to them.I feel like I know a little piece of them. It’s interesting because I can tell they enjoyed it and I enjoy it too but the two of us are marking completely different passages.

About halfway through the markings just…. stopped. And I keep trying to figure out what happened. The passages marked were about celebrating the past and being free from suffering. When I started reading it I was imagining the person before me coping with the inevitable death of a loved one. But then they stopped and I thought “what if the person who had this book before me was the one sick?”

The markings of people who have had my books before me also draw my eye to lines and phrases I may not have normally given a second thought. To me these are connections drawn between readers and someday I’ll probably pass on that book with my notes too and someone will see my point of view on things as well.

I know not everyone likes second hand books or writing in their books but for me it adds to my reading experience. I will take a secondhand book over a new one any day.

do you prefer new or secondhand? How do you find used books? Do you like writing in your books?