Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sci-Fi Summer Readathon Signup

I'm joining Michele over at Seasons Reading for a little sci-fi/fantasy summer reading kickoff!

So grab some sci-fi reading material and join along!

I have a few that I'd like to read but it's only two weeks so I won't have much time but....

1. The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. This is the first book in the Earthseed series. I think she had more in mind but she passed away sadly before she wrote more. Her series has also inspired an actual religious movement called Earthseed. I've heard it's just that good. So here we go!

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I read this one in high school and loved it. With the new movie out on HBO, I've been meaning to read this one. This would be a great time for a re-read.

3. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Amazon just had a deal with the first two books on Kindle so I thought I'd take a chance!

This list will keep me busy! Plus Octavia Butler has another book in the series and the rest of her sci-fi books to keep me busy for a very long time!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Goodreads Summary:

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.
Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch PerfectUp in the AirTwilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”
At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.
With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”
Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious)
Who knew Anna Kendrick's little memoir would be so funny and insightful? She's only 30ish and so I was skeptical. But a friend, who has similar taste, recommended this little gem and I am so grateful.

Kendrick seems like someone who has it all together. She's young and talented but she's also an introvert who has some wicked anxiety. We are treated to little stories about her starting in theater and the sacrifices her parents made to make sure she was able to to what she loved.

I loved her insights into Hollywood and what she has to do in order to be there. Yikes. Sounds awful. So you really have to love what you do.

Her story about the paparazzo who stalked her at the grocery store was also funny as hell and insightful.

She's got drunk stories, paranoid weed stories at a creepy "Shining" hotel stories, and almost-dying-while-sailing stories....

This is Anna Kendrick as she would say: "letting the crazy out." It's hilarious and a great time.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cat Thursday May 10, 2018

Cat Thursday is hosted by Michelle over at True Book Addict!

Here is the world's most photegenic least according to Bored Panda. Nyankichi and his human from Japan have been traveling all around the country and his pictures are absolutely adorable!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My Thoughts:

Albertalli creates a genuine world where real-life teenagers could inhabit. There are not plot-twisting high school kids who are out to be the worst people ever. There are people who are teenagers navigating life. One happens to be Simon and his tight-knit group of friends, Leah, Nick, and Abby.

Simon is also gay but has not come out to anyone yet. It shouldn't be a big deal. No one comes out heterosexual so why should he come out gay? He knows his family and friends will probably be OK with it....but...

He begins writing another gay boy, code name Blue, at his high school anonymously. It's all going smoothly until Martin discovers their emails and blackmails him into helping him get with one of his best friends Abby. Along the way he begins to see that his family and friends have lives of their own, ones that he has never thought to ask about.

We also learn more about Martin. Why would he do such a thing? Albertalli is fantastic at making every character real and fleshed-out. It's an adorable look in Simon's love-life. Will he discover who Blue is? Will they get-together? How will the world react when it finds out he's gay? Even his parents and his sisters have active roles in the story with their thoughts and weaknesses.

It's a quick but important story. And I loved reading it.

I've heard great things about the movie too and would like to compare the movie to the book soon.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

April Wrap-up

Books Read:

8 books read. 1 non-fiction, I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. 1 juvenile fiction I read aloud with G, The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas. 3 mystery/crime thrillers, Final Girls by Riley Sager; In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware; and The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. 1 fantasy young adult, Cinder by Marissa Meyer. 1 modern classic, Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. 1 horror, Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin.

I participated in Michelle's Spring Into Horror Read-a-thon, which was just what I needed for my dark mood in April. It got me through some sad times and brought out some hope too. One of the reasons I watch a lot of horror and now enjoy more of it through reading.

Overall, Final Girls was my favorite mystery this month, just eeking out The Woman in Cabin 10.

But my favorite of the month and probably one of the top of the year is I'll Be Gone in the Dark. It's a horrific look into this unconvicted killer and rapist (hopefully not for long). It's also a tough read because of the dogged investigation of McNamara who did not live to see her book published. I encountered many layers while reading (self-imposed).

Least favorite book of the month and probably the year has to be Sophie's World. I started it last June with my bestie so we could discuss and learn more about Western philosophy together. It was a slog and incomprehensible in its plot. We were so happy to be done! Lots of wine and sushi was passed around at our monthly discussion!

Audio book:

Final Girls and The Woman in Cabin 10 were a lot of fun.

I also listened to the Audible podcast West Cork, an investigative story on a decades old crime in Ireland. It was almost 8 hours long so I consider that book-like. It was fascinating so if you love true crime, give it a go!

New to me movies watched:

I'm a fan of movies. So I tend to watch a few during any given month. I relax and wind down at the end of the day with either a TV show or a movie...

15 movies. 10 were horror and/or crime thrillers. I watch at least one a week with my friends for horror movie night; it involves a lot of wine, popcorn, and chocolate! 3 were documentaries. The rest were sci-fi/fantasy.

My favorite rewatch this month was the 2006 version of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley and Matthew McFadyen. Magical.

My favorite horrors were A Quiet Place (just an all-around amazing movie, really), Come Back to Me (the ending floored me!), and I Remember You (book was better but this was a great adaptation).

Docs: I Am Evidence (Horrifying but needed look into rape prosecution in the U.S.), Bill Nye: Science Guy (Interesting look into Nye's life and motivations), The Rachel Divide (Just fascinating. It's also an important look into race and what that means in the U.S.).

Also a shout out to Colossal--kind of a dark comedy/drama starring Anne Hathaway and takes some turns I was not expecting.


Nailed It! (such a funny cooking show on Netflix) Trapped, a dark Icelandic crime show which was great on Amazon Prime. I also started a few like Westworld, Lost in Space, Transparent (finally getting around to seeing it), Santa Clarita Diet season 2, A Series of Unfortunate Events season 2 with G.

And a ton of NBA playoffs with my Jazz team in the first and now second round (which they will probably and most definitely lose to Houston...but I can keep the hope alive!)

April has been a crazy zany month. We ventured out on a mini vacation to Park City, Utah. We enjoyed some Easter shenanigans.

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But the worst thing is my best friend moved Monday with her family up to Olympia, Washington. We've been best friends since pretty much the moment we met back in 2012. Her two kids and my G have also been best friends. Our families have done so much together-- 3 vacations and many a game night.

She's just one of those people who you connect with instantly and can say or do anything. She's amazing and I'm going to miss her and her family desperately. There have been many tears from me and G this whole month. So in honor of the most amazing human and her kids, here are some pics!

June 5

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Thanks for the memories with more to look forward to! Though, unfortunately, not as often. (sad face)

Spring Into Horror Read-a-thon Finale

I lagged the last week and a half but overall, I did really well. I was in the mood and I listened to and read some really great stuff. Thanks to Michelle for hosting!

I finished:

1. The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marcano-Lesnevich

2. I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. I was so ecstatic when they arrested a suspect!

3. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

4. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Still waiting to be reviewed:

5. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

6. Final Girls by Riley Sager

Ones I started but didn't finish but hope to soon:

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson-- it's a little less thriller and more profiling of humans...still good but not quite what I was looking for so I never desired to pick it up again. But I want to finish since it's a good book but for different reasons.

2. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. It's her most famous short story. I wanted to finish Hill House before I read this one...

3. The Ruins by Scott Smith-- I started this one but got sidetracked with a few other non-horror books. It's good and look forward to finishing it when I start horror again in September.

4. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson...Also really good but it's a more in-depth book I'll need to plan for.