Winter Garden Review


First a personal update. I got a dog. I went to my 10 year high school reunion. I realized that I can’t handle people’s struggle as well as I thought I was starting to do again. I know I have my issues, it just sucks when my issues get in the way of a friendship. I can’t go back now. All I can do is learn from my mistakes. I could write posts upon posts on how I have made a lot of mistakes in the past few years with relationships and how not to make these mistakes. But this is a book review blog.

If you’ve followed my blog for any time, you probably have figured out that I’m a sucker for historical novels. It blends my English degree and my history minor. And because I have a weird fascination with war and I did my senior paper in college on this war, World War II is my weakness. And I have this little spot in my heart about families that try to connect again. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah hit a lot of those spots.

This book is a about a family that has their issues and the mother tells her girls her story without really telling them it’s about her. They have to figure it out. Which is nice to bring them together. It’s nice how that works out. They all open up and get closer in this book. I really don’t know how to feel about the parents’ relationship. Do they really love each other? Did they grow to love each other? How did she really feel about marrying an American soldier? Are they participating in polygamy? The first guy was alive the whole damn time. I’m sure they learned to love each other. He was way more open to loving but I don’t blame her for closing up. I close up a lot for more petty reasons. I mean she did learn to love him, she had to with how she reacted after he died. I do appreciate how she told her story. I like she told it as a fairy tale and I like how they started in regular print and then have a break in a sentence and go into italics. It helped me pay attention because when I know that there’s a story within a story, I space out usually.

I think the girls are way younger than what they really are. Especially with the nicknames. My siblings and I had names we called each other but we haven’t used those names in years. And the girls are in their 40/50’s? What’s the deal? Are they reverting to their childhood?

I get the relationship that these women have. Mainly because I shut down when something happens just like these women do. But I’m glad that they broke down their walls and became close again. There’s hope for me yet. I also like that there was a journey from being told that you are like your mother and hating it to thinking that a pleasure. I also relate to the girls because they’re close to their father. I have always considered myself closer to my dad. And that ending with the real Anya. It makes me happy. The world is right again. It makes me happy they found each other but upset that the mother didn’t find her true love until a year after he died. That’s lame. They should have found each other and then oops, I married another man. But I get what was going on.

I love the writing. Other than the reverting to the childhood. Definitely a go back to book.

Empire of Storms Review


So until today I thought I was wasting my time. Wasting my time with the Throne of Glass series. It’s not that I hate Sarah J. Maas. I like her. I don’t understand her cause she pushes out books like poop. (I work at a nursing home. If someone takes three days to poop, we worry. And Maas has a lot coming out. Hence the reference) But today, after a short 2 day stint of having anxiety about life, I finished Empire of Storms. I loved it. Or wait. Love is a strong word. Strongly like is better and I’m more comfortable saying it.

So I have reviewed this book on Litsy and GoodReads by summing up by saying everyone hooked up and kind of made friends. It’s true. And it’s about time some of these people hooked up. And I suppose rivalries were strengthened. This book grabbed me like the past two haven’t. The last two were decent but this one was like, hey let’s get back into the swing of things and make you emotionally invested before I end the series. I don’t even know where to start. I guess with the questions.

I do have questions. What’s with the cover? Pants in the front and dress in the back? Is it a mullet? Someone explain that to me. When did I start liking Manon? Who saw what she did coming? When did Aelin start being decent again? What’s the real deal with Aedion? What was with the ending and how do I process it? When will Chaol be back in my life? Why must you Lorcan? Why must Rowan and Aelin’s marriage not be shown? I do understand that question and appreciate that. Those are questions off the top of my head. Just think what I could do with some time.

Let’s take it by couple by couple.

Aelin and Rowan. I love them together. I know I was team Chaol for a long time and I still am and I want him around but Rowan is better for Aelin. I’ve known that for a long time but I was in denial. I love that they’re married and the realization that they should have always been together. And you go get your woman Rowan. You’ve waited way too long for this.

Manon and Dorian are all sorts of yes. When Dorian’s other girl was murdered, I was like ‘oh no you didn’t’ and now it’s okay. They can be feisty together. I like that Dorian is coming more into his own and knowing more about who he is. And Manon. Well look what she’s done with herself in this book. That is all sorts of good and I love her now. I didn’t understand what the witches were for when they first appeared in the series but now it all makes sense now. I find myself not predicting author intentions as well as I used to. But I do say that I like this relationship.

Lorcan and Elide. This is another relationship I love. It’s the relationship that has a hate that turns into love. She seems so innocent for him and they joined a circus. They did that in the last book I read too. There’s a theme here. It means I should grow a beard and join the circus as the bearded lady. They’re another couple that do so well together.

Nehemia and the queen. Need I say more? I said a lot of what the hell with them and their plot line.

If I had to complain about this book, it’s that the couples fit way too nicely together. I do like what Maas did at the end and am really excited for the next book and let’s face it: it’ll probably be out in the next year and a half. How does this woman have time to do book tours and juggle two series? Diana Gabaldon goes years between books and Sarah J. Maas busts them out like nothing. Yes, I realize that Gabaldon has more research to do but they both have intense world building skills. Anyway, go read it. I mean, if it’s your kind of book.

Re-entry/life Update.


I realized I haven’t done a personal update lately. Honestly, there isn’t much going on. I did do a mini-vacation to the South Dakota Black Hills. I have a friend down there and did a little hermit-ing. It’s a long drive and I’m one of those people that don’t stop unless I need to fill gas or my bladder will be exploding in two seconds. I inherited that from my father. He got that from his dad and from delivering bulls. I’ve also given up alcohol for a while. I realized that it would be very easy for me to justify having a few beers or a glass or two of wine by saying that the job was getting to me. I don’t want to be dependent on alcohol. And with being an extreme introvert having to be a CNA at a nursing home, it takes a lot out of a person and getting my rejuvenation from alcohol isn’t okay. I’m also looking at adopting a five year old malamute/shepherd mix.  It’s time for me to have a companion.

The big thing I want to talk about is June 18 of this year. That was the one year of leaving Hungary. I may have mentioned this in passing. It was a hard day on me. I struggled in Hungary. I also had people that I didn’t realize I grew to love in those ten months. People don’t understand how I would complain about Hungary and then be scared to come back. It’s because I didn’t realize there was love underneath the hurt. It’s not easy to describe to someone, especially if they are resistive to what you have to say. The first six months after I came back were very rough on me. I’m still dealing with the consequences. Sleep schedule, ovulation scheduling, (please, if you didn’t see me saying that, you need to read more of my blog) eating, all of that. I realize that there are people that have it rougher but I’m not going to lie that there was a lot of pain. I do realize there’s variations and depths to pain. I have realized that when me, specifically, is in pain, I don’t deal with someone else’s pain. At all. I had people wanting me and needing me to be present for their pain and I could not do it. I know I have one person, in particular, that will never forgive me for that. I regret that but I cannot go back and fix that. In that first six months, I needed to heal and reacclimatize to my own culture. It’s normal. When I was in training to go overseas, they were warned us about this. They said we will have two homes. It’s true. I keep in contact with a lot of people in Hungary, ex-pats and Hungarians alike. It breaks my heart every time they ask me when I’m coming back. I have two homes. And it’s weird. I talk to people in Hungary in spurts and then it’s come back to us. They can definitely tell at work when I miss Hungary. I start the shift very melancholy. If only I could live both places easier.

The one major thing about me being home and I noticed this some in Hungary that I am more sensitive to certain things. Little things that people don’t mean anything by hurt me and broken plans send me into a not a good place. Certain songs send me in a melancholy. Certain people I have to guard my heart against, even thinking about them, because I overreact. Sometimes this makes me feel silly that I can’t handle certain situations like I feel like I should. I also feel bad for anyone that is close to me or will be close to me because I have issues. Part of the reason I’ve become a little bit of a recluse. But there’s no shame in healing. And please don’t think that this happens all the time. It doesn’t anymore. I have come a long way. I wish certain people would have invested in me more after coming home.

I know that this isn’t my normal post and it would probably be a lot more in-depth if it wasn’t almost three in the morning. But I need something to do while listening to rain and carpool karaoke. Probably more of me at a later date. I am okay. I’m an adult, more than before, but I am an adult. I can handle this. Please don’t worry.

A Curious Beginning Review


I took a mini vacation to the Black Hills this weekend. I took five books along for 3 days. I didn’t get to them all. I did read A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn. It’s the first book in The Veronica Speedwell Mysteries and this is at least a trilogy. I haven’t read any of Raybourn’s other novels. But according to the New York Times, she’s a best seller. So that’s saying something. This will be a short review. Nothing against the book, it’s just how it is.

Let’s point out the one major thing that is this book. I don’t feel the Victorian era very much. I know that Veronica is not supposed to be your typical Victorian woman. But no one in this book feels very Victorian to me. But then I asked myself what the purpose of the book was for. It’s not supposed to be a fictionalized history of spunky females in the Victorian age. It’s for entertainment and I have to remember that. But that was my only real big complaint. That’s not so bad.

The rest of the book was good. I liked that there was an excellent vocabulary. I like the character interaction. The interactions between Veronica and Stoker were good. There was a general distrust between them that changed into a trust. If they don’t end up being married or even more like siblings, I’ll be surprised. The interactions with the other characters were great too. I liked that there was a little bit of mystery with all the characters all through the book. Everyone has their secrets and they’re revealed slowly and smartly.

Then there was the circus part. There was a reason for it. I didn’t quite understand to begin with but it definitely had its reasons. It grew on me. Even after dwelling on it after finishing it, it grows on me.

Overall, a decent book.

Slade House Review


I’ve been in a major reading slump lately. Obviously, with the lack of posts lately. I’ve been tired lately. In all cases; emotionally, physically and mentally. It’s further proof I need a vacation from work. But I have been out twice in a week…with people…in a social setting. That’s twice more than usual. One friend is moving to the other Dakota soon with her husband and we went to a vineyard and the other time was for a good bye party for a friend that is moving to Virginia. But I’ve had two days off in a row which doesn’t happen often and I could do a little concentrating on myself.

I’ve been randomly picking up books, like I do, and I picked up Slade House by David Mitchell. I read it in a day. It would have been hours if I hadn’t taken quilting breaks. (remember that I haven’t hit 30 yet. I’m an old soul sometimes in my hobbies.) It’s just under 250 pages so it isn’t that long. I have the copy that has the gray-ish cover and I love this cover. It’s so pretty. It’s better than the yellow version because it fits the book better.

I went into this book with having just read the back of the book and I thought it was really interesting. Reading it, I think it is even more interesting. The concept of people being in or at a place that they want to be at and then completely changing is compelling to me. I think that each person that went to Slade House was very interesting. They were all vulnerable in one way or another and they all had their own weaknesses. And not only were the victims vulnerable but Jonah and Norah were too. In a totally different way like needing people every 9 years but they were still very dependent and had a vulnerability in their weakness. Eventually, with each person, I did want to yell at the person to get out of the house or not to enter it. Being the reader, you have the privilege of reading the back and knowing that there’s something not right. That gives you the privilege to yell at the oblivious characters. But why would they know that the house has something off with it? They haven’t read the back of the book. The back of the book was probably written at the end of the publishing process. And they can’t read the back of the book. They’re freaking fictional.

I have to bring up Norah and Jonah. First of all, I love the names. Then, I find them…I don’t know how to describe it. Like I want to be sympathetic to them but then not at the same time. Like I understand why they’re doing what they are and I understand the backstory but does it make it right? Where is the moral line? I’m finding myself thinking of those twins probably more than everyone else in the book. And reading the book again, I’d probably focus on another character but this time it’s them. I want to sit them down and pick their brains about why. But then I am fascinated with people’s backstories and why they do things. Fictional characters Megan. Fictional characters. They can’t talk back to you. This is proof that I need to get out more. (Don’t worry. I’ve been trying to be social. People just haven’t been cooperating with me.)

I have to give props to Mitchell for not just writing well, but every once in a while putting in a line that would make me stop and think. If I read a book in a day, I normally don’t stop and think about lines as hard as I did with this one. I saw one review that said Mitchell is really good at writing short stories and gluing them together and I hadn’t thought about it until then. But it’s true. Each section is a different person and they could stand alone but you still really needed the story before.

This book, to me, had the same feel as The Night Circus. I definitely think that if you like one, you’ll like the other. I liked Slade House better but it’s still the same feel for me. Let me know if you agree or disagree or what you thought of this book. To me it’s a keeper.

The Hidden Oracle Review


Last night was a bad night at work. Trust me, it was bad. At one time, I had to physically be in three places. Not fun. Anyway, instead of reading Faulkner when I got home, I pulled out a Rick Riordan book because I really needed a simple easy book. Riordan is okay for that. So I read The Hidden Oracle in less than a day.

It’s not a bad book. I have found that Riordan has a very distinct voice that you hear in all his main characters. I feel like the male lead is mostly alike in all of them and the female lead is mostly alike in all of them. They’re all snarky and have a sense of humor tied to that snarkiness. I don’t care because the majority of teens I know have a snarky sense of humor. It’s just the same personality, different book with him. Apollo was some different though. He still had the snark but he was way vainer and at the same time fatherly. He did lose some of the vanity through the book and learned how to become a father more through the book and I appreciate that. He realized that he didn’t care about his kids before and learned to fight for them. Hence, the less vanity. I’m okay with that. I like that Riordan made a father figure because Riordan could put some of the things he knows as a father into a book and make a character learn them and show his readers with crappy fathers what a good father is. Yes, that was one epic sentence that should not have been one sentence.

I like that the book was from a god’s point of view. It’s nice that in reality, he’s thousands of years old but looks like he’s 16. It was nice to bring him down a few notches.

Then there’s Meg. Through the whole thing, you know she has a secret and there’s clues and there’s times where she doesn’t say anything when you know she almost did say something. I just ignored it. And how old is she? It was never confirmed. He estimated like 12 but she acts older. Back to her secret. I wasn’t so surprised who her mother was but more her step-father and then I sat back and said oh yeah. Should have seen that coming. I wonder how much of the whole situation she fully realizes. I know she knew some of it but how realistic is it that she knew as much as she led on?

I like the side characters. I liked the children of Apollo and I like that some of the characters from other books came into play. I like that Percy made an appearance but had an excuse why he wasn’t in the whole book. It was even nicer that there were older characters that are more of a big deal in this book, like Nico. The more books I read of Riordan’s the more I realize you kind of have to read all of them in order, starting with Percy Jackson. You can do them alone but there seems to be characters added and popping back up all over the place. But I like it.

I would read this book again, I would recommend it and I would continue the series.

William Faulkner.


So sometimes I get intrigued by an author. William Faulkner is one of them. He’s also an author that I feel like I’m lacking on. I’m only now reading one of his books. So I did some research. This post is not his whole life, this is a VERY quick overview.

Faulkner wasn’t a tall man, I’m taller than him. But at almost 5 foot 10 (not quite. With my boots I’m just about 6 foot), I’m taller than a lot of people. He was just 5 foot 6. He also looks like someone’s grandfather if you look at pictures at him. I will point out that Faulkner was not allowed to join the U.S. Air Force but wasn’t allowed too because of his height. But he got around this. He lied on where and when he was born and added a ‘u’ (cause it was Falkner) to his name to make him look more British and joined the Royal Air Force. (RAF) Just so he could join the military. That’s interesting to me. I’ve had no desire to go into the military. My paternal grandmother wouldn’t have been happy with any of us grandkids if we had joined the military. (Interesting story behind that but that’s for a different time. It includes my great grandfather and what grandma believes killed him.) Faulkner never saw combat even though he was around and available during WWI. He was honorably discharged in 1918. It’s interesting that my research kind of portrayed him as always lying. Which you can’t blame the man, he was very creative/imaginative at an early age. It was like he couldn’t help it.

Career wise, he was very good at writing at an early age, but had some failures. From how I understand it, he struggled in the beginning. After his infant daughter died, he did do some writing. He was a screenwriter for a while and he would go back to it if book sales slumped. He liked writing poetry it seems and wrote a lot of it. It was what he started. Like there’s a crap load of it and there’s short stories and novels and the such. Faulkner was awarded the Howells Medal for distinguished work in American fiction in 1950. He was a co-receiver of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He attended at least one international writer’s conference.

Now he wasn’t an alcoholic but would go on drinking binges. Which means he had an alcohol problem. I feel like a lot, a decent amount, of iconic writers have a problem with some kind of substance. Obviously not all of them but there do seem to be a number of them. But anyway, Faulkner was in and out of a facility when he would have these binges. If I were his wife, I’d not stay around during these binges and maybe walk away altogether if they happened a lot.

Random facts: Can I point out his name was Cuthbert? If any research should be done, it should be on that name. And a cool thing about his great grandfather is that his father was killed in a duel with an ex-business partner. I don’t know why, but duels fascinate me. He named a daughter Alabama. Yes, after a state. I feel like that was the random name of the time. He did have one surviving daughter named Jill. He also went to college without a high school diploma or something equivalent.

I could write about him forever because there’s a lot of information and things you could go down the rabbit hole on. Go look him up.