Life & Family · Monthly Recaps

February Wrap-up

What I Read

  1. Duchess by Deception ~ Marie Force {ARC from Goodreads}
  2. Alaskan Holiday ~ Debbie Macomber {ARC from Goodreads}
  3. Avalon ~ Mindee Arnett
  4. The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House ~ Stephanie Lam {begun, not finished yet}
  5. An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford, 2) ~ Charles Todd {begun, not finished yet}

What I Watched

Movies:

TV Shows:

What I Cooked/Ate

  1. Hummus wraps with veggies and {a fairly mild} hot sauce. They also have cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, and banana peppers.
  2. Sweet potato hash with chorizo and eggs.
  3. Eggs Bennies, of course. We’ve been cutting back but it still happens.
  4. The traditional Steak n Shake monthly meal.
  5. We also had pizza twice and got Chinese take-out once. I’m trying to not eat out, but it was a rough month. This was not the total amount of fast food I ate in January.

What I Did

Image of a sunrise at the beach with a bird in the foreground

Sat on the beach with Shane as the sun rose on New Years Day. A super hopeful beginning to the year.

Visited Huntington Beach State Park with Shane and his mom. We went to see Atalaya again, since she’s never seen it. I love that park.

I also spent a weekend at my parents’ place. I stopped by on my way home from campus on Friday and left on Sunday morning. Shane even came and spent the night with me on Saturday night. This is big because my parents’ dog has a habit of biting at Shane.

I can’t talk abut a lot of stuff that happened this month, but basically it’s been a really rough month and I spent *a lot* of time sitting on the couch playing Solitaire on my phone.

Used a couple bath bombs from Christmas and they made the water look like Kool-Aid. Big fan.

Finally found a doctor down here. The appointment was rescheduled twice but 3rd times the charm. I really like my doctor and she’s super responsive.

~S~

Top Ten Tuesday

Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

There are SO many books I wanted to read last year and wasn’t able to. I may not even get to them this year because the books never stop being published.

  • Jackaby by William Ritter
    • I’m not sure why this book caught my eye, but it definitely has. I can’t wait to read it!
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
    • I love books with amnesia in them, but this one is even more interesting because my friends seem to either love this book or feel very ehhhh about it. The cover is super cool, too.
  • Florence & Giles by John Harding
    • In keeping with my newfound love of gothic horror novels, I had to add this one. It looks so creepy and good!
  • The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo
    • I mean, who doesn’t want to read a book called The Girl Without Skin? It has mummified Vikings, murders, and so forth. It looks super twisty and interesting.
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager
    • This looks like a great thriller that will be a really fun read.
  • No Exit by Taylor Adams
    • Another great thriller, with the added fun of being trapped in a rest stop with a kidnapper.
  • Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
    • Just sign me up for any Karin Slaughter book ever. She’s an auto-buy author.
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
    • Scalzi is hit or miss for me, but this looks like a book I could really enjoy.
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    • I legitimately don’t understand how I didn’t read this in 2018. It has such rave reviews, and I read the first few pages when I first got it which hooked me immediately. But I was reading a different book and it slipped off my radar.
  • Avalon by Mindee Arnett
    • I can’t wait for summer, because I think reading this on the balcony at night is going to be so much fun.

~Sarah~

Life & Family

20 Random Things About Me

As a child of the MySpace era, I did lists like this all the time as a teenager. I haven’t done one in so long, so this is pretty nostalgic for me. Maybe I should break out the 5000 Question Survey from LiveJournal – I was in college when that came out so I never actually did it, but I was aware of it. Okay, I won’t really do that – I have things to do in my spare time.

  1. The best day of my life was the day I picked Laurie up from getting all his teeth removed and he laid on my chest for about 30 minutes. He’s never done that before or since. Laurie is one of my cats, if you’re new here.
  2. My first job was as a maintenance worker with the Youth Conservation Corps at a Revolutionary War site. We did things like pull VW buses out of the woods, broke apart house foundations, spread mulch, and moved enormous piles of bricks by tossing them brick by brick at each other. I loved that job.
  3. My grandfather asked my mom to give her last baby his family name since his son wasn’t having children. My parents threw the name I was supposed to have (Victoria Elizabeth) out the window & let my oldest brother pick my new first name.
  4. I love archaeology/anthropology/history/anything old & follow a bunch of specialty news sites to keep up with developments. I wish it was a feasible career for me, but it isn’t for a variety of reasons.
  5. I’m really interested in the first half of the 1900s at the moment (especially the period between the World Wars), but will also happily read about any time period other than my own.
  6. I read/watch a lot of British media, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s because they do a lot more that’s set in the past, which lines up with my interests.
  7. I’m also obsessed with the future & space.
  8. I did not mean to become a web developer and am frequently surprised by how easily I slipped into the role. I never thought I’d work a desk job.
  9. As a kid, the first thing I can remember wanting to be when I grew up was a farmer.
  10. I spent the first 6 years of my life in Germany & the Netherlands and the only reminders of my time overseas are my intense love of Brie, a small Delft collection, and a plethora of pictures.
  11. The local German registrar rejected my middle name and my parents had to appeal to get it approved. Even though I’m not German and my name technically followed the German naming laws.
  12. I want to write at least a few novels, but I get so worried about being terrible at it that I never get past writing basic scenes or background information. One day.
  13. I have always wanted to do a 101 in 1001 project, but it’s never worked out with my life. I’ve been thinking about trying again starting on my 32nd birthday in March, because life is never going to settle down so I might as well try again now.
  14. I am a dog person who happens to also be a cat person. People talk about how unfriendly cats are, but I appreciate the sass as much as I appreciate a dog’s pureness.
  15. I’m using DuoLingo to start learning German. At different times in my life I’ve tried to learn French, German, Spanish, and Welsh. I decided to focus on one, and somehow German won. I think it’s mostly because it’s a fun language to speak. Welsh is like speaking in poems, so I’ll probably do that next. Neither of these languages will probably ever come in handy.
  16. I started Bullet Journaling this month, but haven’t really kept up with the actual planning part of it. It’s fun for brainstorming and making lists, keeping track of movies, books, etc, but I don’t really touch the weekly situation. I think I started too ambitious.
  17. We have moved every 9-12 months for the past 5ish years and I’m ready to stay in this apartment for another year.
  18. I love a good hot beverage – hot chocolate, tea, coffee – and generally have at least one cup of hot chocolate or tea in the afternoon/evening. Coffee every morning.
  19. My favorite genres are science fiction, fantasy, historical, and suspense/mystery. Both reading and watching. I love watching sci-fi as much as reading it
  20. I would love to travel all over the country and world, and I have a list of places I want to see. Mostly I want to go back to Maine, though.

~Sarah~

Reading · Top Ten Tuesday

Best Books I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Happy New Year!

I hope that 2019 is the best year yet.

I realized while making this list that I read very few books I really loved in 2018. I can do better in 2019. Obviously not every book I read will be a winner, but I can definitely choose books that are more likely to be ones I really enjoy. Anyway, I’m fairly sick (thanks allergies), so I’m presenting this list without commentary.

  1. City of the Lost – Kelley Armstrong
  2. The Broken Girls – Simone St James
  3. The Queen’s Poisoner– Jeff Wheeler
  1. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride – Cary Elwes
  2. Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling – Michael Cannell
  3. Classic Style: Hand it Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out – Kate Schelter
  4. The Bullet Journal Method – Ryder Carroll
  1. Obsidio – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
  2. About a Dog – Jenn McKinlay
  3. Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate

I hope you have an excellent first day of 2019.

Recaps

2018 Recap

This is my end-of-year stat blog post. Mostly for future me, so sorry if you’re hoping for a thrill.

Coffee & Crows

  • First post: 10 Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump – August 21
  • Number of views {as of today}: 559
  • Number of visitors: 361
  • Number of posts: 60
  • Number of comments: 41
  • Favorite search term used to find the blog: “crows and coffee grounds”

Read

Watched

**Note: I didn’t watch many movies in 2018, and I’m not sure I even went to one in theaters. I stuck with Netflix titles here (except King of the Hill) because I didn’t track the movies I watched and Netflix’s watch history is the easiest to use.**

Travel

  • Washington DC for Code4Lib (Feb 2018)
    • I spoke here!
  • Atlanta, GA for Code4LibSE (?)
  • Myrtle Beach for Shane’s interview (April 2018)
    • Then we moved here.
  • Mountains of NC, to flee hurricane (Oct 2018)
  • Nashville, TN for WordCampUS (Dec 2018)
  • A bunch of trips to my old hometown to go to work on-site.

I didn’t know I would be making one of these, so I didn’t do a good job tracking anything but my reading. I guess that’ll change with the bullet journal, regular blogging, and keeping a journal.

Blogmas · Reviews

Catching Christmas {Review}

I accidentally read a Christian Christmas Romance novel, guys. I found this book while wandering the aisles of my local library and the book jacket only talked about the fact that there’s a taxi driver who has to ferry an old lady with dementia around town.

It was pretty cute though. The last half was definitely  heavier on religion than the first half, though. The main character/taxi driver/ex-chef is pretty funny in his determination to be mean while failing at it completely. He also has the deepest hatred of Uber that I’ve ever encountered. 

Miss Callie (the old lady with dementia) is a terror, and while she’s adorable in the novel, in real life I’d hate encountering her in real life. In the novel she’s a character that everyone loves and supports. Though her son-in-law kept her from seeing her granddaughter for most of her life (for good reason, really). That’s fairly glossed over.

I really love the trope of hating each other then loving each other, and Catching Christmas does that one really really well. The author does misunderstandings really well, too. They have a very realistic ‘bumping of heads’ in the beginning and get over it in a realistic way as well. 

There’s a moment where the book went from normal story to Christian fiction and it’s a fairly small part of the novel overall. This book is a really sweet Christmas tale that involves the elderly, a taxi, and a sweet romance. 

-S-

Blogmas · Top Ten Tuesday

My Top Ten 2019 Bookish Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today is a freebie for Top Ten Tuesday, so I thought I’d revisit one of my favorites (on another blog) – Ten Book-related Resolutions.

  1. I always do a Goodreads Challenge – mine for 2019 will be the same as 2018: 60 books.
  2. I’d like to (finally) complete a Popsugar Reading Challenge and/or a Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I think I’ll bend the rules a little bit and let a book count for 2 categories on each list (if it can).
  3. Cut my ‘owned-and-unread’ list down a bit. I have way too many books to read that are already on my shelf.
  4. To go with that, I don’t want to buy any books in 2019. The exceptions are if I’m buying them for someone else, a book for book club, or if it’s a book by one of my ‘must buy’ authors (Karin Slaughter and Simone St. James). 
    • Note: Shane says this is impossible, and he’s usually right about these things, but I’ll be happy if the book buying is cut waaaay down.
  5. Get my Goodreads shelves figured out. I deleted 90% of my shelves awhile ago and it’s getting on my nerves.
  6. Along those lines, I need to go through my TBR pile on Goodreads and get rid of whatever I don’t want to read anymore.
  7. Read difficult books – I read a lot of mindless novels, but I’d like to learn something or have challenges to the way I think….or even just the hard sci-fi Shane reads that seems interesting but daunting.
  8. I want to get back to science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, etc. Not that I’ve stopped reading it entirely but I tend to reach for something murder-y or romance-y.
  9. Read some non-technical technology nonfiction. I’m not sure what to call it – the philosophy of technology? I know what I mean, anyway.
  10. Read some non-fiction that will help me improve. 
Blogmas · Reading · Reviews

Christmas with You: Gabriel’s Angel / Home for Christmas {Review}

Cover image of Christmas With You by Nora Roberts

3 Stars because half the book wasn’t even about Christmas. It was wintery, but not Christmas.

Gabriel’s Angel is a really cute story and predictable in the best way. I love a good ‘rescue from a snowbank’ and this one delivered. It was a little bit ‘insta-love’, but I feel like that’s really due to the length. I wish it was about 150 pages longer. Everything just moved way too quickly. The resolutions were too fast, too unsatisfying, and just not super believable. 

Home for Christmas, the actual Christmas story, is next. Look, this is not a novella for those who want twists to come out of nowhere. I could tell you the big reveal within a few pages. But it’s a sweet ‘the one who got away’ and ‘we should probably have just had a simple conversation a decade ago and saved ourselves a lot of time and angst’ story that makes you believe that the two main characters are legit in love. I dated losers in high school so I don’t have that connection, but I’d say that if Shane bounced for an understandable reason (can’t think of one, but still) I’d still be in love with him if he showed up a decade later. So I can buy that, to a point. I wouldn’t say it’s the most likely scenario – it’s more likely that they’d have to fall back in love, but it’s groovy. 

Overall, I’d give it a 4 star rating *if* both of the novellas dealt with Christmas. I’d definitely recommend it for some fluffy, light, wholesome vacation reading. If you need something to do while avoiding your weird uncle, this is a solid option.

PS – I thought about giving you the description from Goodreads, but it’s honestly not a big deal. 

Life & Family · Monthly Recaps

October Wrap-up

What I Read

  1. I Remember You: A Ghost Story
  2. The Right Hand of Evil
  3. House of Ashes
  4. Christmas With You (will be up on the blog in December)
  5. The Twelve Slays of Christmas (will also be up in December along with the sequel)

What I Watched

  1. I am The Pretty Thing That Lives in The House (pass if you can)
  2. Malevolent
  3. The Conjuring
  4. Some Doctor Blake Murder Mysteries
  5. A full 3 Collections of Forensic Files

What I Cooked/Ate

  1. Chicken Bog – I used a rotisserie chicken instead of boiling mine, but it turned out amazing.
  2. Cheese Fondue
    • I bought a fondue pot for Shane’s birthday even though it’s not until mid-Nov.
  3. Broth Fondue
  4. Roughly 7 dishes to use up the leftover dippers from the fondue. Including a pizza topped with all the leftover cheese and veggies. It was delicious.
  5. Sushi from King Kong Sushi….repeatedly
  6. Sushi from the grocery store by my house because it’s actually incredibly good.
  7. Eggs Bennies from our favorite little diner. We go about once a week since they serve b-fast for me and lunch/dinner for Shane when he gets off in the morning.
  8. An insanely messy meal from Steak ‘n Shake (autocorrect made that Steak ‘n Shame and it’s not wrong).

What I Did

I’m about to be too honest with y’all, but here goes. This month we had a flea invasion (from an untreated puppy). I have spent weeks this month washing clothes then having to wash them again, having a hard time breathing from all the diatomaceous earth we had to put on the carpet, watching Tau to make sure the flea medicine didn’t kill him, washing more clothes/sheets/comforters, and so on and so forth. All while my hands were torn up from flea bites – I have a really bad reaction to them. I literally bandaged my hands and wrists like I had been in a fire so I wouldn’t scratch them. It was a nightmare. It’s been 3 weeks from the first bite and they’re finally fading. BUT there are no fleas in this apartment anymore. If there were, they’d be biting me. I’m a magnet. Tomorrow we get to vacuum up the diatomaceous earth and dust the entire apartment cuz that stuff gets everywhere. Last month was hurricanes, this month was bugs. Next month will be family (I kid, I kid). 10/10 will probably pet the puppy again. After I check that it’s been treated. I helped a twitter friend’s friend fix a WordPress issue at 11 at night while mostly asleep. Posted my favorite post of all time that literally no one looked at, but I’m still super proud of. Picked Laurie up and carried him a good ways from the bedroom to the couch without getting scratched. He’s a hefty boy and he usually struggles to get away from me so hard that I end up bleeding. He’s mellowing. I’m glad October is gone and I’m glad I’m starting November by cleaning up the wreckage and getting a fresh start to the month. ~S~
Top Ten Tuesday

10 Horror Novels I Can’t Wait to Read

I don’t really go for very horrific horror novels, if you haven’t been able to tell from my review choices this October. I love creepy books, though. When the suspense and eerie feelings ratchet up to a crescendo, that’s when I’m most intrigued. There’s a list on Goodreads called Space Horror that I keep meaning to go though and add to my TBR mountain, because I love two kinds of horror more than any others – gothic creepiness in Victorian mansions and terror in space where there can be no escape. That said, I don’t read as much horror as I’d like, so for my Halloween Top Ten Tuesday topic, here are some horror(ish) books I’d like to check out.

On to the list!

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon ~ It’s got so much I adore in a novel! Complicated family relationships, generational curses (even if not actually cursed), abandoned motels, missing people, etc. I picked this up a library book sale and I’m pretty sure it’s a quarter well spent. 

The Desolation of Solitude by Sean-Paul Thomas (also called Alone, apparently) ~ Here’s that space horror I enjoy, but in a novella (150 pages is a novella, right?). It’s got similarities with the movie Passengers from what I can tell, but has the creepiness raised a ton. No memories, waking up alone in space, lady companion also awakes, dark thoughts, ghostly visions. You can download it for free, so why wouldn’t I?

This House is Haunted by John Boyne ~ This has a governess in the mid 1800s who rolls up to her new employment but there are only children and no adults. Oh, and ghosts. It also has awesome cover art, and I won’t deny that helps.

Snowblind by Christopher Golden ~ Ghostly happenings in a blizzard? Yes please! This is definitely a book I’m looking forward to – snow is something I see *maybe* once a year or so and the thought of a full-on blizzard is kind of terrifying. Add ghosts/demons/the supernatural and it’s a definite fear inducer. 

No Doors. No Windows. by Joe Schreiber ~ I enjoy novels that play tricks on with your mind – is he insane or haunted? This seems to meet that criteria, and seems generally spooky, so I’m looking forward to it!

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay ~ This is a home invasion story that’s not really my style but the description on Goodreads hooked me. I have to know more about what the men are up to. 

Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey ~ I love Carey’s previous novels and I’m so excited to read another one! The reviews look excellent & I’m not surprised.

The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish ~ I honestly don’t know anything about this book beyond the Goodreads blurb, but that was enough to add it to the list. I’m intrigued!

The Waiting Room by F. G. Cottam ~ An abandoned war-time train station waiting room with ghosts sounds like an amazing rainy day read. I also love the ‘ghost hunter isn’t really a ghost hunter, but is now a believer’ trope, so I’m in.

The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring ~ I love the time period between the world wars, especially in the UK, so that in addition to the aforementioned trope in a creepy old rectory makes this book a must-read.

~S~