Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Top 10 Tuesday-- Books I Could Re-read Forever!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week is your top ten books you could re-read forever! Well, I don't think I have ten so here are at least six that I've re-read multiple times

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I first read this one when I was a teenager and I try to re-read this one at least every other year. There is always something new I pick up each time. It's a timeless classic for a reason.

2. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. It's one of the best fairy-tale retellings I've ever read. It's also an amazing love story, both with sibling love and romantic love. Gorgeous fantasy.

3. The Varieties of Scientific Experience by Carl Sagan. His eloquence and hope continues to give me hope even longer after he's been gone. I try to get this one in every other year or so or at least one of his books regularly.

4. Persuasion by Jane Austen. My all-time favorite Austen novel. There's something to be said of first loves finding each other again.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. This one is the classic for a reason. Always a hoot.

6. Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I love the audiobook version. She has many of her friends and family help her narrate and it's hilarious. In dark times, this book is a pick me up.

7. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I've re-read these so many times over the years. I'm now beginning the series with my own son!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Week-in-Review...er Month? February 26, 2018

I'm not sure how often I'll update this. My goal is at least twice a month but maybe once a month? I've found that once a week isn't doable right now. I will get them in when I can. Go me!

This month was G's 9th birthday! I can't believe how big he is. Time flies. In 9 more years he'll have turned 18...I can't even imagine. We had a great time celebrating his birthday. He loves cats and so we went up the local cat cafe and spent the afternoon drinking hot chocolate and coffee and playing with shelter cats who need affection and a good home. I think he enjoyed his birthday immensely! The fun continued over the weekend with friends at the local trampoline place and cake and ice cream with family. Happy birthday, kiddo!

This last weekend we got dumped with snow and icy cold temperatures. We took a snow day on Friday and stayed in and played in the snow.

Books Finished:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That? 101 Stories of Miracles, Mischief, and Magical Moments by Amy Newmark; One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scacchi Koul; A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America by T. Christian Miller; Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lita Judge

Currently Reading:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (this will be all year long). The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (part of my philosophy club). Dewey: The Small-time Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron (reading aloud with G before bed).

Listening To:

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. I love her world-building. Great fantasy series and I should be done this week!


The Expanse. DH and I are loving catching up on this one. Such a fantastic space drama/action show.

I finished off Queer Eye. It's an inspiring show and it's what made me happy this week. Alternate Carbon. DH and I finished it off a few weeks ago. It was highly addicting but also felt it could've been better. Too much male-eye gaze, etc.

Black Panther. Wow! Blew me away! I knew it was going to be good but one does not have any idea how good it is until you go see if for yourself. It lives up to the hype. It wasn't as funny as Thor: Ragnarok, but it wasn't trying to be and it didn't need to either. Best overall film in the Marvel Avenger franchise.


I have my bananas sitting on the counter over-ripening so I can make banana bread this week! It'll have been years since I've made this and thus am extremely excited to make this.

I purchased an InstantPot a few months ago and have been wanting to figure it all out. So I picked out one recipe this week for some philly cheesesteak sandwiches and hope they turn out!

Looking forward to:

We're hosting a gyoza party with some friends this Saturday. Really looking forward to making gyozas and drinking some sake!

Also getting my haircut tomorrow and I'm thinking of doing the hair a bit different. I still haven't totally decided yet but I'm getting nervous and excited all at once...

Pics from the week:

Lots of pics from the month. I'll focus on G's birthday and our snowpocalypse this weekend!

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Photo Feb 23, 8 48 41 AM

Photo Feb 23, 8 48 21 AM

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Horror Movie Wednesday--My Bloody Valentine

For Valentine's Day my horror ladies and I watched My Bloody Valentine--the 2009 remake of the 1981 slasher movie. It seemed a fitting movie for the evening!

A small coal-mining town is ripped apart when coal miners are massacred in their mine. One teenager manages to get away...

Now 10 years later the killings are happening again. Is it Tom, the lone survivor of the original massacre, who's back in town? Or is the killer still alive? Or maybe it's....

They tried to throw some red herrings throughout, but it's pretty obvious who the killer is! But it was a fun B-movie cheesy ride. Lots of bad acting, gore, and laughs.

The Ritual (2018):

This one appeared on Netflix a week or so ago. I read the book back in 2016 for a horror challenge in October. The book was different and I really enjoyed the pacing and storytelling. So I was excited to see it had been made into a movie.

The book was a lot better. But the movie still had an amazingly creepy vibe that kept you guessing. They changed the ending quite a bit, which was disappointing, but I can see why.

The story introduces us to a group of guys from England whose lives are changed when one of their buddies dies in a robbery. They decide to go on a backpacking adventure in a Swedish forest in order to spread their friend's ashes there and say goodbye. But after an injury and a shortcut they find they are on the run for their lives. Something is stalking them...

It was genuinely creepy and I love the story but it wasn't a well-made film overall. The book is better but it's a fun movie to watch before bed.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Goodreads Summary:

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

My thoughts:

I read this one on a Sunday afternoon. It's short, barely 200 pages. It's quick and mysterious. What is this world they've entered? Is it evolution? Nature biting back? Is it a bioweapon gone awry by this government? We don't know and it's quite a ride to figure it out.

The biologist is the one writing the notes and whose view we see through. She's an unreliable narrator as well since she's being influenced. But how much do we trust? Is there a good guy? What about her colleagues?

I love the mysterious new world. We don't know know much about the government the biologist comes from. We know they're not being told everything. There are conspiracies. There are mysteries to be found.

This was a great book. I loved how it was told and I loved the world the author created. Vandermeer is a creative writer and he offered up some good insights through his protagonist.

The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.

That’s how the madness of the world tries to colonize you: from the outside in, forcing you to live in its reality.

I look forward to finishing off the series soon and to seeing the movie coming out soon with Natalie Portman.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Goodreads Summary:

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. 

My thoughts:

I read this one aloud with G. We both loved Auggie and his family and we were heart-broken by their tragedies and cried alongside their triumphs. It's a beautiful novel about love, acceptance, and loyalty.

Palacio allows us to see the points-of-view of the different people in Auggie's life. We get to see how they feel and why. Also, not everyone is redeemable right away. Which helped to make the book feel more realistic. Things happen and we don't know why and that's OK.

Thoughts about the book vs. the movie:

We finished up the book and the next week we headed out to see the movie. I loved seeing Auggie's story visually. The little boy underneath that makeup did a superb job.

They had to cut a few parts out which I really enjoyed in the book. And one of the characters changed/was different at the end of the movie which I didn't like as much.

Overall, they did a great job adapting the movie. But the book still wins out for me over the movie.

But please go read and see both. It's a poignant and beautiful story that all should read and see.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cat Thursday--February 15, 2018

Cat Thursday is hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict. Share all things cat and be sure to link-up!

The Dodo reported on this cute kitty named Cashnip Kitty. He snatches your money and donates it to charity!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Cat Thursday--February 8, 2018

Cat Thursday is hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict. Share all things cat and be sure to link-up!

This is the cutest thing ever! I love watching people get excited about cats!

And this next video will leave you in happy tears. This is the sweetest story about two brothers.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Horror Movie Wednesday--Tragedy Girls

Tragedy Girls (2017):

This movie is a twist on the final girl theme of the horror flick genre. Sadie and McKayla are best friends and they host a blog called Tragedy Girls where they share their findings about the serial killings happening in town and the unsolved disappearances of their fellow students.

Well, the the twist is these girls are killers and have actually tracked down the real serial killer in order for him to give them tips and pointers. What ensues is the way these two best friends vie for attention and whom they should kill next without getting caught. It was a dark and very funny film and not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

January Wrap-up

I read 11 books in January:

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs by Pete Souza

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zones by Richard Lloyd Parry

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

The Annotated Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

7 were fiction and 4 were nonfiction. My goal was at least two nonfiction this month! So yay. I made it! I've been doing a lot better on my reviews. I sill need to get Wonder and Homegoing up this next week.

Wonder was my favorite fiction book this month. I laughed and cried with son while we read it together. We had some great experiences together.

My absolute favorite nonfiction this month was Ghosts of the Tsunami. Five stars from me. It's truly an achievement in writing about humanity.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

Goodreads Summary:

Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal. 

How does one live each day, “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty?

Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, even as she wrestles with the legacy of her great-great-great grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Riggs’s breathtaking memoir continues the urgent conversation that Paul Kalanithi began in his gorgeous When Breath Becomes Air. She asks, what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?

"There are so many things that are worse than death: old grudges, a lack of self-awareness, severe constipation, no sense of humor, the grimace on your husband's face as he empties your surgical drain into the measuring cup."

I enjoyed Riggs' musings on life through her love of the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne. She quotes heavily from his life and essays. And since she was a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, she quotes a lot from him too having studying him early on.

The way she tackled life and love and death is inspiring. I can only hope to face death and live life in such a way.

"It's about honoring the unknowing and the awkwardness and the mystery of dying. he said. It's unsettling-- and that's okay."

This is the last paragraph in her book. To me it was profound. You can tell she was ready. It was alarming and tragic and poignant to read.

"Already, the boys are off to the wilds again-- whooping and surviving. It will be getting dark soon--the sky has started with that eerie postapocalyptic light of a warm evening in winter-- but I am not ready to call them back in. There is nothing in this whole world that could make me call them back in."

*Part of my 2018 Nonfiction Reading Challenge.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cat Thursday--February 1, 2018

Cat Thursday is hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict. Share all things cat and be sure to link-up!

Calgary Airport now offers some cute cats for visitors to pet while they're waiting for flights. The airport has offered dogs in the past but two cats have just joined the team! This clip hightlights Taz and his owner. So sweet. Makes me want to travel to the Calgary just for this....

Heather Rutherford and Taz volunteer once a week at the airport for roughly 1.5 hours. (Mike Symington/CBC)

'The animals make such a difference to the people — not only the people travelling through YYC, but the people who work here,' says Peggy Blacklock, manager of airport community engagement. (Mike Symington/CBC)