Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oh The Reading

So when I took a month+ off blogging, one of the reasons was all the reading I was doing during Bates' naps and at night after he went to bed.  You all know how I love a good dystopia novel, so when I found this list on BuzzFeed, I immediately went to our library's e-database to see which ones I could check out.

I ended up reading 3 young adult dystopia series.

First up:  The Legend Series by Marie Lu
There are 2 books out right now (Legend and Prodigy; and a third, Champion, due out in October)

This was my favorite series out of these three and I would recommend it (although I did feel sort of duped when I learned the third one wasn't out yet).  The main characters live in a military-run state, which I found fascinating because I totally thought of North Korea while reading it; there is a ton of propaganda and negativity about other parts of the World, which has to be what it's like in NoKo.

But anyway, these are fun books.  They're written in 2 different perspectives.  I think one of my favorite parts of a dystopia is seeing the "perfect" government and how the citizens live in it, and there was a lot of that in this series.

Series Two: The Maze Runner by James Dashner
There are four books in this one: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and the prequel, The Kill Order

Ok, I did not really like this series.  And I don't recommend it.  Why did I read four dang books then?  Who knows.  I guess I wanted to see what happened at the end?  But it wasn't really that satisfying, which left me even more dissatisfied.

These books feel more like a weird mystery than a "dystopia."  And honestly, there are parts I would describe as a "young adult horror" genre.  Definitely not my cup of tea.

I will say that they were fast paced and intriguing at parts (and only about 300-ish pages), so at least you can fly through them.  But my overall recommendation?  Don't waste your time.

And finally, the Matched Series by Ally Condi
Three Books: Matched, Crossed, and Reached

I was probably most excited about this series.  A perfect society where everything about your life is statistically calculated, including who your spouse will be.  So stuff like what you eat, where you live, your job, etc., are decided by the Society through brain data.

The first book was really fun.  It was all about the main character, Cassia, when she is "matched" (ie, given her future spouse) and then the crazy stuff that goes down following that.

The other two books: blah.  In fact, by the end of the third one, I was dying to be done.  There was no big, awesome climax at the end.  In fact, I sort of just skimmed along trying to finish.  One of the main issues I had while reading was that I couldn't really see what was so bad about the Society.  I mean, I guess on one hand it sucks not having the option to make your own choices, but on the other hand, if something (or someone, in the case of your spouse) is calculated 99.9% to be a perfect fit for you, what's so bad about that?

I can't say I really recommend these books, either.

And then after all these kid books, I read an adult book!  I'm sure you've all heard the hype about J.K. Rowling's book that she published under a different name.  Well, I read it.

The Cuckoo's Calling by "Robert Galbraith"

This was really fun and I recommend it.  It was a classic WhoDunIt mystery that was really engaging.  It's about a private eye asked to re-examine the alleged suicide of a supermodel.  And from the way it ended, I imagine there will be other books with the private eye on the case.

So that's that.  Lots of reading.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Well Hello There!

Wow.  It's been more than a month since I've blogged!  I've had a blank post open for awhile, but just haven't had the inspiration to get something down.  I've actually sort of fallen off the blog bandwagon, generally.  Instead of checking all my "regulars" everyday, I find myself checking every couple days.

Part of it is that I don't get that much "me time" each day.  There are Bates' naps, which give me 2-3 hours, and then from around 7:30-10 at night.  I think I might do a day-in-the-life post soon, so those of you who aren't stay at home moms can see what it is we actually do all day.

But in the effort to catch everyone up to date on my life, here are some highlights from the last month+:

1.  Bates and I spent a week in St. Louis (Sunday - Sunday) and Jonathan flew up on Thursday to meet us.  I was going to blog a lot while I was there, but I have that weird fear of letting the digital world know I'm out of my house (ie, ROB ME), so I didn't.  It was a great trip, though.  My mom is a teacher so she was off work the whole time.  We did lots of St. Louis-y things: the zoo, Purina Farms (twice), the brewery tour, the Butterfly House, a Cardinals game, etc.  I loved that we were able to go up for so long.

2.  I've been reading a ton.  Like, I read three different young adult dystopia series (as in, 10 books), in addition to a couple others.  In fact, during Bates' naps that's all I've been doing.  I'll do some book reviews (everyone's favorite!!) when I have a second.

3.  Amanda came to visit!  She did a one-day trip in town for a funeral.  Sadly she didn't get to bring baby Paige.  But she did get to meet and play with Bates, who made fast friends with her.

4.  We've been loving the weather.  I think it's been nice in a lot of parts of the country, but seriously, Memphis has had the best weather summer since I've lived here.  Today, for example: high of 80, low of 55, and almost no humidity.  Bates loves to be outside (hot or not), so the nice weather has been such a blessing.

5.  We've been no-carbing.  Jonathan and I decided for the month of August that we'd give up carbs, which includes alcohol.  We both wanted to lose a little weight, and I know that I, personally, wanted to stop my unhealthy snacking during the day.  I also wanted to give my body a break from the dark, heavy beers we love to drink Thursday-Saturday nights.  Breakfast for me has been an egg-white/feta omelet; lunch has been a salad; and dinner has been fish and veggies, for the most part.  Lots of water, cheese, and nut butters for snacks.

6.  And figs.  So, I love figs - not sure if I've ever shared that on the blog.  They are one of my favorite things in the world.  Well, Bates and I were on a walk a couple weeks ago and I noticed this huge fig tree a few blocks away had some ripe ones.  This tree is huge and it hangs over into the street.  It's packed with figs - like hundreds...  So I took some.  And then the next day, I took some more.  And whenever my stash runs out, I pick more.  And I guess in theory this is "stealing," but like I said, the tree is huge.  And also, no one else is picking them, as far as I can tell.  Is that awful?  I just love figs so much!  I will plant a fig tree in my next house.

7.  On our walk last week, Hank was attacked by another dog!  We were approaching a house that had tall hedges and a gate.  Because of the hedges, I couldn't see if the gate was open or closed, but a huge dog was sitting in the driveway, so I just assumed the gate was open and the owner was standing right there.  Not the case.  When we got close enough to see, I realized the gate was closed.  So basically it was a huge, unchained, ownerless dog staring us down.  Hank went up to him and the dog started attacking him.  Like, pinned him down, was biting and growling.  I screamed and tried to yank Hank's leash, which didn't work, so then I started kicking the dog.  It was like kicking a brick house, though - he must have been 150 pounds.  I finally let go of Hank's leash, thinking he could maybe fight back if I wasn't holding it and I pushed the stroller out of the way.  Thankfully the dog relented a little and Hank ran away and we were able to clear out of the area.  A car stopped to see if we were ok and she pointed to the house where the dog lives.  The owners go to our church, so Jonathan called them that night.  Apparently they were having work done on their house, so the gate was open and the dog got out.  They were really apologetic, etc., but the event was still terrifying!  Hank wasn't hurt (none of the bites broke the skin) and he hasn't been any more weird than normal, so I'm hoping he won't have bad memories of it.  Poor doggie.

I think those are all the highlights of the past month.  Hopefully you'll hear from me again before it's another month and a half!

Now if you'll excuse me, some figs are calling my name.