Monthly Recap: August

Books I Read

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June

The Leveller by Julia Durango

And I am about halfway through my reread of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix… #foreverlong

#bookstagram Images of the Month

Technology Stinks

A list of things that crapped out on me in August: my Nook, my hair dryer, and my secondary computer monitor (only a little over a year old).

So my Nook seemed to be in dire straits earlier this month, acting up quite a bit when I read It Started With Goodbye, but after not using it for a few weeks, I tried charging it again and turning it on and it seems OK. I guess time will tell. I was looking into replacing it but wasn’t happy with any of the options out there; I just really love this particular model of Nook that I have. I think I’ll try replacing the battery though and seeing if that works. So I’m holding off e-book reads for a little while.

Watched

So my husband wanted to see if a show we had seen a few episodes of years ago, Better Off Ted, was on Netflix. When we checked, only season two was available until September 1, so we spent some nights in August watching that. It was a funny show; too bad we didn’t get to see most of season one.

August Happenings

The Switchfoot/Lifehouse concert was very enjoyable and I think my husband enjoyed all his birthday festivities.

Hurricane Harvey has hit my heart very heavy, as I spent eight very formative years of my life in the Houston area and have so many friends there. From Facebook I have seen friends of mine who have lost a lot materially, but who have had their church, friends, family, strangers really come through and help them. One of these friends even went viral with a video he shared of himself playing his piano in his flooded house. Please keep thinking of Houston, guys.

 

Looking Forward To in September

VACATION VACATION VACATION. We usually go in May, but I used up all my PTO in the winter when I got sick with that awful virus, and I’ve been building it back up since then. We’re going to Savannah, GA, and it cannot come soon enough! I’ll also be attending the SCBWI Midsouth conference again so I’m looking forward to that! And then my birthday… even though it’s been a nearly year, I’ve had some trouble adjusting to the idea of being in my 30’s. HOWEVER, I do feel like I have been embracing being an adult a little more lately.

And speaking of being an adult, the last week of August I accepted an offer of promotion within my company and will start training for that this month. I’m nervous and excited… I’m going to be doing a little accounting which is something I never dreamed of doing in 1000 years, but I’ve been working in the department for a while and they think I’m capable of this… and I’m starting to believe I am too. I was ready for a change so I think it’ll be a good way to stretch myself.

Potential September TBR

My TBR kind of feels like a crapshoot at the moment, but just for the sake of saying I tried…

Finish The Order of the Phoenix (obviously)

Walking on Water by Madeline L’Engle

A Dash of Dragon by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Sorry for being such a blogging slacker… I’ve been busy! I hope to actually post that DS9 Top 10 post soon, but it’s been a hard list to compile! So how was your August?

It’s Been A While Since I’ve Talked About Books

As the title suggests, it’s been a while since I’ve talked about books on this blog. It probably doesn’t help I’m blogging pretty inconsistently these days, but the point is, when I do blog I focus more on TV/movies. I’ve been reading plenty, but this has pretty much been the okayest year of reading for me so far since I got serious about my reading. Almost everything has been getting 4 stars, which I might have inadvertently been turning the new 3 star into. Technically 3 stars should be average but still enjoyable, right? I think several of the books I’ve read have genuinely rose above that into 4 star territory, but some were probably more like 3’s or 3.5’s, but I always try to focus more on my positive feelings for books than my negative ones. Besides, I read books I hope to like and intend to like. If I’m not feeling a book I DNF it, which thankfully doesn’t happen very often.

But it’s been entirely too long since I’ve read a book that I felt really got into my soul the way I want my 5 star reads to do. When I find that book, believe me, I will discuss it here. The closest I’ve gotten is Better Off Friends, which is the only book I’ve read this year I’m calling a true 5 star, but even it is a little bit of a low-end 5 star, if that makes any sense. (Please tell me I’m not the only one with such complexities and nuances within simple numeral ratings.) I thought A Wrinkle in Time might be for that book for me this year, but then I felt the ending lacked a little something to really take it all the way there for me. And then on top of all that, I just didn’t love Dunkirk (the movie) the way I really wanted to. So dang it, what’s wrong with me?

I’ve been rereading Harry Potter this year though, and reread two other books as well, and those have all still been great. My soul can still be reached, the dementors haven’t quite gotten me yet. 😉 But it can be hard to find those elusive unicorn stories that really check off all the boxes, especially since I’m reading “only” 45ish books a year (a lot compared to many people, but very few in the online bookish community). I have been trying to switch up genres a good bit, so I don’t think I’m too burnt out on anything in particular.

I’m not in a reading slump, not really, but I’m really itching to find that next great story to read. And meanwhile, writing has been hard. How much do I change my WIP of years? Do I keep editing that and try to query it again, or focus exclusively on something newer? Of course, it doesn’t help I’ve been avoiding writing a lot lately too. So I’ll just keep reading and try to keep writing too, and hope that one day something magical sticks.

How’s your reading year sizing up? Do you have any book recs for me that might help make my reading year feel a little better than OK? 

My Top 5 Episodes of Voyager Season Five

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene. See her favorite episodes of Voyager season five

In my mind this season of Voyager was very okay. There were some I wasn’t crazy about, one standout, and the rest were good or fine. However, I do have two honorable mentions I considered for this list that I wanted to mention: Relativity and Nothing Human.

5. In The Flesh

In this episode, the Voyager crew finds a recreation of Starfleet Academy on a planet and learn that an alien species they have encountered are using it to learn how to infiltrate the human race.

4. Equinox Parts 1 & 2

Part Two is technically in season 6, but I still decided include them both on my list for season five. It’s comforting to the Voyager crew when they run into another Star Fleet ship, the Equinox, but their crew is hiding a dark secret that makes it clear they have abandoned Star Fleet protocols. Between Janeway and Ransom these episodes made me uncomfortable at times, but that is the point. What are you willing to do in order to survive?

3. Someone to Watch Over Me

This is a fun episode where the Doctor (of all people) tries to teach Seven about social interactions and dating, and then ends up falling for her (which I can live without, but whateves). There’s also a secondary plot where Neelix is hosting an alien ambassador who gets a little too caught up in the pleasures Voyager has to offer.

2. Counterpoint

Even though this episode features the most awkward kiss ever, I love all the trickery and deception in this one.

1. Bride of Chaotica

This episode is pure fun and a great homage to classic sci-fi. When an alien species mistakes the characters from Tom’s Chaotic holodeck program for the real crew, they have to be creative in defeating the enemy in the program, as well as effectively communicating who they really are with the aliens. You can tell Kate Mulgrew had a blast putting on the persona of Queen Arachnia.

What are your favorite episodes of Voyager season five?

Monthly Recap: July

Books I Read

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (reread)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (finished July 1)

So I read A Wrinkle In Time for the first time. And I can see why it’s so beloved and classic. However, some of it was too on-the-nose for me and some of it was a hair too out-there. It’s like when I watched Interstellar for the first time, and I was pretty sure where it was going and I watched as this movie teeter-tottered on the fine line between interesting sci-fi and going off the deep end. I wanted to feel just a little more invested in the characters and could have done with less unnecessary riddles. I also watched the trailer of the new movie coming out the same day I finished and felt a little disappointed. I guess I wanted the movie to feel more classic, but to me it already screams: THIS WAS MADE IN 2017, so I don’t see it enduring as a movie. But that’s based off a two-minute trailer, so what do I know? Maybe it will be amazing.

A New Favorite…

Baking mix! Though don’t let the fact that it comes in a box fool you, this is almost as involved as made-from-scratch, but just as delicious and so worth it!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

For some reason, it feels really momentous to have finished Deep Space Nine again. Probably because I love the show so much and the end is just so satisfying for me. As is reflected by my top episode of the season, the Nog arc really did it for me. But of course there are also the great arcs we see for Kira, Bashir, Damar, Sisko… It could be talked about forever, which is why there are podcasts dedicated to such. (If you’re a fan of DS9, be sure to give The Orb podcast a listen.)

#bookstagram Images of the Month

I think that both Caraval and Wall-E have made it onto my #bookstagram images of the month before, but they’re just so photogenic!

Movies I Watched

My husband and I saw Spider-man: Homecoming and Dunkirk. I reviewed Spider-man here, and I’m still sorting out my feelings for Dunkirk. It’s incredibly raw and intense, but without much of a narrative it was hard for me to appreciate it as a story. It’s a beautiful film, that’s for sure, but I would have loved to have gotten to know the characters onscreen better. I mean, in a way we know them because we see them when they’re afraid, but… I just wish I could adequately describe how I respect what Nolan was doing but just don’t really love it but I desperately want to. I actually want to try to see it again, preferably in film, now that I better understand what happened, thanks to the movie’s Wikipedia page that spelled it out.

In Case You Missed It…

I was featured on Andi’s ABCs talking about what decision I wish technology would make for me!

Plans for August

Switchfoot concert! I’m so excited. I lost count on how many times I’ve seen them long ago. It’s got to be around the dozen mark at this point. It’s also my husband’s birthday month! Which means CAKE! Oh, and celebrating my wonderful husband. 🙂 It also means my birthday is around the corner SOS I don’t want to get older.

Potential July TBR

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June (already started)

These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker

Without a Summer (Glamourist Histories #3) by Mary Robinette Kowal

(yes I know those last two were on last month’s list… shhh…)

How was your July? What are you looking forward to in August?

My Top 5 Episodes of DS9 Season Seven

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as CharleneSee her favorite episodes of Deep Space Nine season seven

I can’t believe I have finished DS9 for the second time! Ack! It was so good. I just love the last several episodes of the show and the finale. But despite my love for the last several episodes, my five favorite episodes are actually scattered throughout the season.

5. Take Me Out to the Holosuite

This one was even sillier than I remembered, and probably not quite as strong as some of the season’s later episodes, but still… “Death to the opposition!”

4. Extreme Measures

One of the last episodes of the show, in which Bashir is able to bait Sloan from Section 31 to the station. When he demands the cure to Odo’s disease from Sloan, it won’t come easily. It seriously feels like Christopher Nolan watched this and drew inspiration from it for Inception.

3. Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

Thanks to a programmed “jack-in-the-box,” a mobster comes after Vic Fontaine, and the DS9 crew plan a heist to get Vic back into business. This one is just so much fun.

2. What You Leave Behind

A finale where everything right happens, even when there is sad in it too, and everything just feels complete.

1. It’s Only a Paper Moon

I loved this episode the first time, but it for sure made me teary-eyed this time around. After Nog loses his leg, he immerses himself in Vic’s world to forget his real-world troubles. Nog and Vic’s conversation in the end is pitch perfect. And Nog’s character arc… just wow. I love it all.

I’m sad to leave behind the world of Deep Space Nine once again! But I’ll be back one day. 🙂

What are your favorite episodes of Deep Space Nine, season seven?

(Coming soon… my top 10 episodes of all Deep Space Nine!)