Category Archives: real life

Life and Book Update.


I apologize. I haven’t blogged in quite some time. I was gone longer than I should have. And it isn’t because I haven’t read. Because I have. I mean I read A Little Life and didn’t blog about it. If I were going to blog about any book in the last few months, it would be that one. December was one heck of the month. We had several snow storms and I was waiting for a storm since I came back from Hungary but the snow can stop now. I got stranded in town for three days and it wasn’t fun. And I might have to stay in town for the next few days again cause of the wind and snow.

I feel like it has been very common knowledge that I have had my demons since I have been back from Hungary. Depression and anxiety, though not officially diagnosed. And I do have to point out that my experience is not as bad as others. I know I have it pretty good. I just have to get through my own head. I know. And I do feel like what I’m feeling is not as intense as it was when I first came back. The anxiety is just an annoying hum in the background and I have to learn how to deal with it.

But let me talk about the books I have read recently.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. So much better than I thought it was going to be. I did this on Audible and it’s 33 hours long. It’s a good thing that I got a dog to walk so I can listen to this. Oh yeah, I got a dog. Named Florence. I went into it expecting that the hype made it out more than it was going to be. No, it was legitimately good.

Jackaby by William Ritter. Not as good as I was hoping it would be. It’s very young Sherlock Holmes and yeah. Not a fan.

A Man called Ove by Fredric Backman. This wasn’t so bad. I didn’t love it, but it had it’s moments that it was charming. I have his other book trying to read but I have a hard time getting into and staying in the story.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I was nervous about this one. I have had it on my TBR for a while but then I hyped it up in my own head. It was good. I love the ending.

The Work of Wolves by Kent Meyers. I got this book when I made a trip to South Dakota and it’s by a South Dakota author. I couldn’t do it. I’m sure some people love this book but I couldn’t finish it. Nope.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I feel like I have read this plot before. It is definitely not my favorite YA.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan. The second in a series. I’ve said this before about Riordan and I’ll say it again, he has the same voice in every book. I like it cause of the sarcasm but find a new voice for a main character.

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balsom. I liked part of this book. I liked the flashbacks and I like the elderly man but I hated the relationship between the P.I. and the lawyer. They didn’t have to hook up but they did. Could have been better written.

Rosemary by Kate Clifford Larson. Confession: I was sick during listening to this book and fell asleep during part of it. It was good though. I thought.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s about time I read this. I actually listened to it. It as good. It’s a book I do better listening to rather than reading. It sinks in better. It does give me flashbacks of watching the last Hobbit movie in Hungary. I fell asleep during that movie. I didn’t fall asleep during the book.

A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and the Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens. It was timely. I really liked the Carol and I skimmed the other two. The Carol is probably my favorite Dickens.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julien Rubinstein. Oh Hungary. I love Hungary. I love learning about what happened in Hungary. I think it was well written and it was enjoyable for me cause I recognize names and places in the book. I think this book isn’t for everyone but it definitely good.

I will try to keep up with blogging this year. I will not guarantee it.


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.

Missoula Review


Missoula by Jon Krakauer is a deeply emotional book. I couldn’t read continuously. I had to read something between sections. But how do you read a book about rape continuously and it not affect you? Krakauer is a nonfiction writer that I really appreciate and can read easily. Even though it took me like 2 months to read.

My last two years of college I went to college in a town that was sixty or so miles from Montana so this whole book happened relatively close to home. Except this happened in Missoula, which is western Montana and Montana is a huge state. When I was in Hungary, the couple that ran my bible study was from Montana and he would give me crap about being from North Dakota. And now they’re both moving to Ethiopia and I’m bitter even though I don’t live in Hungary anymore. Anyway, back to my point. I was thinking about being in college while reading this book because these were young women in college. When I was in college, it was right before the oil boom and I felt safe. I wasn’t a partier so I didn’t have to worry about being raped by someone there. I locked my door. Even when my roommate had random guys over, I didn’t feel like I was in danger. But then I was asleep most of the time she brought home guys and I had a different bedroom and she was better when the third roommate moved in. Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t feel more in danger. There’s still creepers out there. Oh the ignorance of youth.

How does this book like this not break your heart? How does this book of this subject even exist? In the case of this book, alcohol is the reason for this book. It did remind me of how much athletes were adored in this book. And the book talks about how they went a little crazy an how it’s part of the culture. It’s true. I have seen it in high school and college. Even last night, a kid from North Dakota got drafted to the Eagles and there was so many people that showed up to drafting parties. I mean, the kid seems like he wouldn’t rape anyone and has a good head on his shoulders but he’s adored here. I think in some cases the adoration goes to a person’s head and it ends like Missoula.

I felt for these girls. I can’t imagine the magnitude of their pain. You can clearly see it in the book. There’s a part about two thirds of the way through where one of the girls is talking to her attacker and I feel like it would be like how I would talk to him, but way more eloquent. I think, by the way that he ended the book, this broke the author’s heart. How could it not?

This is a great book but it’s heartbreaking. It took a lot of me. There’s so much to say about this book but I think you should just read it.

The Fortune Hunter Review


So this book took me forever. I have been so unmotivated to read. I have looked at my GoodReads challenge and been like, I’m good, I’m far enough ahead that I don’t have to rush. This book ate up some time and it’s not even that long of a book. A while ago, I read The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin and I think I liked it more than The Fortune Hunter.

First of all, I love that these characters were based off of real characters. And I know that this book is heavily fictionalized. The author says so in the interview at the end of the book. I also found that Goodwin was ‘obsessed’ with Sissy from an early age. And looking into the Empress of Austria, I understand why. She was interesting character. The Empress relates very well to Hungarians and speaks Hungarian very well. The first one make me love her and the second makes me admire her because Hungarian is hard. They even mentioned that in the book. But she was, I want to say, eccentric. She put meat on her face when she slept so she would be young, she hung her hair when she slept. She was, in my head, very vain. In the book, she was very against having her picture taken and the way she describes it, I get it. This book almost makes me want to know more about her. And what’s more interesting is that one of my kids from Hungary posted an event that’s in her honor. I don’t know all the details because I am not fluent in Hungarian but it’s definitely something about her.

Bay is lame. Let’s talk about him for a second. In real life, he was associated with Sissy (the Empresses’ nickname) for much longer and he did actually marry Charlotte. In the book and I’m sure in real life, he was known as a ladies man and was looking for a fortune. Which makes him not honorable. At the beginning of the book I grew to like him and then he had that tryst with the Empress and I’m like I want to hurt your manhood and then I grew to not mind him at the end of the book. I wish I had a set opinion of him for all of the book. I don’t always say that but with him I do. Like make me like him all the way through the book or hate him and then make me hate Charlotte at the end because she was with him. Tell me what I think in this case. Sometimes I want that.

Charlotte got a little feistier at the end. She spent a long time being, or being close to being, a good English lady. But that was also a product of who she was around. Charlotte got a lot bolder, in my opinion, after she started hanging out with the American. The American I felt was very stereotypical but I didn’t mind. Like he was lippy in a way that was okay and natural for him. I almost wish that Charlotte had ended up with him. But back to Charlotte. She had a lot of development through the book. Bay did too but I liked her development more. I always like watching girls become more independent.

One thing that bothered me is that they used the word stuff at the beginning of the book and it took me out of the book. I hate when that happens. I felt like stuff is not a word they would have used weather they did or not. I am still obsessing over it. Sometimes I do that.

Overall, it’s not a bad book. For what I was looking for, it was weak. I wanted something a little bit….stronger. Like I get the reason how this book was written. It was because of the manners of the time. But this book did take me a long time to read. Like 3 weeks. It’s been a long time coming. I’m excited to pick up another book and something that will keep my attention and I keep reading at a decent pace.

Not a Book Review. Life.


I have gone back and forth on this post. After the last personal post, I told myself I wouldn’t do a personal post again because I got some criticism from people that made me upset. I figured why should I share my life if I get what I got. But then thinking, I shouldn’t be scared to share my life on my blog. I shouldn’t let the criticism get to me especially when it’s from someone who doesn’t know the whole story. There are people who have followed me since before I became a book blog. I didn’t hold back before and although I probably will here back more now, I’ll see how it works having personal stuff back on the blog. And this post will be pretty personal because just journaling isn’t enough sometimes.

It’s one thing to come back from living in a foreign country. Everyone reacts a little different. Some people transition just fine, some go through PTSD. It depends on what went on when they were overseas, what’s gone on back home, personality. It depends on a lot of things. If I came back last summer to a perfect situation, I think I would have transitioned fine. But it was not perfect. First I came back to a family that didn’t know how to react to me or help me. Then I also came home to a not great situation with the friend who was like my sister. She was going through a lot, more than me, and I couldn’t support her. So until 2 weeks ago, we’ve been going back and forth. In her grief she said things that I took way to personally and still haunt me. I told her minor things that were wrong when there was more going on to shield her. Two weeks ago or so, she said enough and we’re through. Forever. I think it’s a good thing that we have parted ways, in a way. There was a lot of anxiety and hurt on both sides. But forever is a long time.

In December, what prompted that last personal post, my sister-in-law left my brother. There’s a lot of details that I’m not going into with that. Just know that it has not been a great situation. They have been together almost 18 years, almost 2/3 of my life, and she was like a sister to me and now the respect and love is not there anymore. This one didn’t hit me hard, it hit everyone hard because they didn’t let anyone know what was going on.

So within too short of a time I have lost two women who were like family. One I will take a lot of the responsibility for because there were things I should have done differently. But hindsight is 20/20. The other wasn’t my fault. I looked around and realized that the other people who were in my life previously had not asked how I was holding up. They saw and knew of what was going on and still did not want to know. I admit some blame on some relationships going south because I won’t let anyone close anymore. But it’s hard to want people close to you when you hurt and you feel like you’re the only one trying. Again, that’s not with everyone that was in my life, but it’s with some.

What do I have now? I have no close friends I can rely on. Though my family is close, I cannot adequately convey to them what has all gone on and get what I need from them. I have trust issues. I hurt. I’m in various stages of grief. I have the want to start new somewhere but am scared to leave. I have a hard time doing a lot reading. I hit a reading slump. I have read a lot so that doesn’t worry me. Reading’s been the one thing that has made me feel understood.

Since I’ve come home, have I been selfish and self-centered and hard to deal with and unfair and done a lot of harm to a lot relationships? Yes. Do I have anxiety? Hell yes. It’s not fun. Am I still going through re-entry? Sorta. Coming back to your culture gets easier but you still have moments. Have I shared too much in this post? Probably. Are there things I will have wish I had added in this post? Most likely. I realize I have not been a lot of good things in the past two years. I get that. I realize that. I’m trying to work on that.

Now will every blog from now be like this? No. I just wanted people to know what was going on. It’s a lot. So if I haven’t seem normal, there’s a reason. I will never be the old me who was always joking around. I mean, I’ll joke around but it won’t be the same.


I’m Angry.


I’m angry. Let’s back up. Let’s cover all our bases and back up. Since February of last year, I have been a little all over the place emotionally. It has escalated since last August. In the past year and a half or so, I have failed at almost everything. I failed at teaching. I failed at being a friend and lost the best friend I’ve ever had due to my own stupidity. I feel like I have failed epically at re-entering my own culture. I fail at being in crowds and at being alone. I can handle my own failures. Because I can usually make them right. Not always but sometimes but that’s okay because I know how to apologize.

It’s when others start to fail me I get upset. Recently, as in since Sunday, someone that I have known, loved and considered part of the family since I was 10 has disappointed me to the point that I probably will never forgive them. I don’t know how to. Not only has this person disappointed me, they’ve disappointed many people. I’m losing someone from my life that has been around for almost 2/3 of my life. And I’m not even losing them to death, it’s due to their own stupidity. And they’ve hurt my brother more than anyone else. That pisses me off. My brother has been an idol of mine for years and I get protective of him. And I hate that he’s hurt. This has what made me angry. The insensitivity of people. And it makes me not want to let anyone in and push everyone out.

Little of Life and Book Tag


I’m in a reading slump. Let me explain. September was rough on me. It was the first week back to school for my kids in Hungary and that hit me harder than I expected and, what I think is a bigger deal, my best friend and I parted ways. There’s good reasons why we did that which I won’t talk about. I miss her. I wish we were still friends but right now we can’t deal with each other. Pretty much the hardest thing I’ve had to do is not do anything with her or talk to her but it needed to happen. One day, hopefully, we’ll be able to get back to each other and explain to each other things reasonably. So due to the lack of wanting to people, I read. Also because of the month of September (really life started to suck before September but it’s when life imploded.) I threw myself into books because life was better in books. Now I’m tired of it because I pushed too hard. So I will go back to reviews just taking a break. I feel like I needed to say why the blog has changed for those people who have followed me before the book binge. I don’t want to make anyone feel like I’ve drastically changed. I mean I have but there’s reasons. And all I do is go to work and go home.

Today, I will be doing a random book tag because books.

1.Do you have a certain place you read at home? I recently said I have a book room. That’s where all my books live. But I really don’t have a certain place I read. I just read where I’m at.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper? I don’t have bookmarks. Right now I’m using a plane ticket. I’ve never really liked actual bookmarks. Why buy them when I can use something that has meaning. When I was sixth grader I had an envelope I used and everyone in my class decorated it. It was really cool.

3. Can you stop reading at any time or do you have to stop at a certain page, chapter, etc.? Typically it’s the end of the chapter. There are situations I wouldn’t go to the end of a chapter like an emergency or I am so tired I can’t continue.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading? I don’t really eat while reading but I will drink. Tea, milk, pop, whatever. I do something similar when I bake. I have to have something to drink when I bake.

5. Can you read while listening to music or watching television? Rarely I can have something on while I’m reading. I do have more tolerance for music while reading. Television I just want to watch. I need to do the visual thing. And using the word television makes me feel really old. True story.

6. One book at a time or several at a time? One at a time. I can’t handle several at a time. I get too invested with the characters.

7. Reading at home or everywhere? I always have a book with me in my purse. I generally don’t read it when in public but it does happen. Like if I’m waiting at the doctor or sometimes at a coffee place. But usually if I’m doing something at a coffee place I’m journaling.

8. Reading out loud or silently? Silently. Unless I’m reading to the nephew or nieces. But the nephew and the oldest niece can read now so they read to me now.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages? How bad do I hate the book? There are books where I’m not enjoying them so I skim. So I don’t necessarily skip pages, I just read super fast. I have a problem with not finishing books. So I power through.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new? Generally keep it like new.

11. Do you write in books? Yes. Not as much as I used to though. It was a major thing when I was in college and I had to go to class and discuss the book. I had a method. I used a highlighter to mark where end notes were (like Barnes and Noble copies) and words to look up and I used a pen to underline lines to remember or that I liked and to write in the margins. I still write in the margins but not necessarily the highlighter.

So that’s the book tag. I might do another one. It depends on if I get out of my reading slump. I have started An American Heiress. I just need to buckle down and get into it.