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Fabulous Friday – 16 November 2018
2018-11-16 06:00 UTC by Michelle

Fabulous Friday Button

We should always find ways to celebrate the little things in life. What better day to celebrate these little things other than the best day of the week? So, here are the things that make this a Fabulous Friday for me this week ending 16 November 2018.

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  • THANKSGIVING PREP – We are hosting Jim’s sister and her family for Thanksgiving. Even though I am not necessarily a fan of the holiday, I am using the opportunity to recruit my family into giving my house some much-needed TLC. I have not been able to do the type of weekly cleaning I want to do in such a very long time, and the house is beginning to show the neglect. Not anymore. It may be an odd thing to anticipate, but I am excited about the chance to get the whole family to help with a very deep cleaning. They don’t even know what I have in store for them, which may be the very best part.

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What makes this a Fabulous Friday for you?

The post Fabulous Friday – 16 November 2018 appeared first on That's What She Read.

I don’t get Thanksgiving
2018-11-14 06:00 UTC by Michelle

When you spend as much time in the car as I do, driving the same route at least twice a day every day, your mind tends to wander and think of the craziest shit. My latest think-fest involves Thanksgiving as a holiday.

I Don't Get It

I don’t get Thanksgiving. I don’t understand why we celebrate it anymore. I don’t understand anything about it. It is like Columbus Day in my mind, a day most people agree should no longer be a federal holiday for many reasons. I would argue that Thanksgiving is the same though. It is a day where, in theory, we are giving thanks for the Pilgrims immigrating to these shores and taking advantage of the hospitality of Native Americans, who we later betrayed in as violent and brutal a fashion as we possibly could. Good times. Plus, I feel that the Pilgrims brought plenty of other problems with them in addition to their treatment of Native Americans. For a group that left a country due to religious persecution, they were pretty damn intolerant of anyone who did not think like them. This intolerance trickled into society in a way that leaves us where we are today – with the old, white, and wealthy trying to maintain all the power and making decisions that benefit them rather than anyone else. Why do I want to celebrate a group that left one country because they could not practice their beliefs without repercussions only to have them settle and apply the same hatred and punishments to those who do not exercise their beliefs? I don’t. Do you?

When I ask people about this, they say it is all about the food. Let’s look at that for a moment. The traditional Thanksgiving meal – turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, yeasty rolls with butter, cranberry sauce, some form of gourd dish, and a whole lot more – has nothing to do with what the Pilgrims ate all those years ago. We should be eating fish, shellfish, deer, duck or goose. There was no yeast bread. There was no butter. No cheese. No gravy. No potatoes. So what exactly are we celebrating with the “traditional” meal?  One could say it is about the harvest, but aren’t we doing that pretty much all summer long as various vegetables and fruits hit their peak? Even if it is a day to celebrate food, why does it need to be a turkey with multiple sides?

Furthermore, why do you need one day to celebrate food? For those of us blessed with the means to afford food, should we not celebrate each meal we have no matter what it is? When so many go hungry, isn’t Thanksgiving a bit of a slap in the face to those who cannot afford even the most basic of food? It seems a selfish holiday from that aspect, as we all gloat about our groaning tables and glut ourselves on more food than some families will see in a year.

Other people told me it is about spending time with family. Even with this idea, I question its validity. Everyone I know makes some joke or other about needing help to get through the day with their family. Between the jokes, the memes, and the general discussion of impossible family members, it would appear as if spending time with our family is the last thing any of us want to do. So why do we? If the holiday were all about spending time with family, why does everyone complain about doing so? Why are there so many “life hacks” about surviving the holidays with your family? Couldn’t you spend another day with your family? Birthdays? Anniversaries? Sunday dinners? Or better yet, spend the day with the people you love and WANT to hang out with for a few hours. Why do we force ourselves to be miserable just because someone tells us it is traditional?

So yeah, I don’t understand Thanksgiving. I can see it kicking off the holiday season, but really, I think Black Friday/Thursday do a better job of that than turkey and stuffing. We should be giving thanks for all that we have in our lives all year long, not on one day. We should be grateful for each bite of food we take no matter what day it is because there are too many people around the world who have nothing. As for the holiday itself, well, I think our society is wiser and more culturally aware these days. I don’t understand why we celebrate it anymore, at least in the traditional sense. As a holiday, Thanksgiving makes no sense to me.

The post I don’t get Thanksgiving appeared first on That's What She Read.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 12 November 2018
2018-11-12 06:00 UTC by Michelle

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Button
Hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind. Here is what I read the week ending 12 November 2018. To learn more about each book, click on the book cover!

It was not a good reading week. The election had me too uptight to read more than a few pages, and the mental exhaustion I felt after the election caused the same result. I wonder if we could send all of our medical bills related to mental health that are a direct result of this current administration/regime. After all, Cheeto Hitler is causing so much of our mental health issues these days.


FINISHED SINCE THE LAST UPDATE:

The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman

I love Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series, but I am not quite as in love with this fifth book in the series. I got the sense the story was rushed, with the connections among Irene and her companions forced in a way that is not normal for these stories. I still enjoyed it, but I did not tear through it as much as I thought I would or as much as I have done in the past with the other books in the series.


DID NOT FINISH:

You can’t finish when you don’t read.


CURRENT READ:

The Incredibly True Story of the Making of the Eve of Destruction


CURRENT LISTEN:

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


NEXT UP:

No clue. What do you think I should read next?


So, what are you reading?

The post It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 12 November 2018 appeared first on That's What She Read.

Sunday Reflections – 11 November 2018
2018-11-11 06:00 UTC by Michelle

Sunday Reflections Button

Happy Sunday!

It is another gorgeous fall day around here. We had our first snowfall on Thursday, and there is still covered ground in the shadier parts of the yard. Waking up that morning to the yard blanketed with snow reminded me of how much I love this season. Every day, there is a new beauty to find, and every breath of air that stings your nose and cools your lungs reminds you of the wonder of being alive. It is a feeling I never get in summer.

Has anyone else noticed that people seem to be confused about last week’s time change? I know I should not let it bother me, but I keep seeing people lament Daylight Savings Time. Uh. No. Daylight Savings Time is the arbitrary time change the government put in place to maximize the amount of daylight farmers had to work back when there were no tractors let alone tractors with headlights. It is what happens when we move the clocks ahead an hour each Spring. Last weekend, we went back to Standard Time. It is the correct time with no government interference. I personally love Standard Time and detest Daylight Savings Time. However, I know I am in the minority, so if you are going to complain about the time change, at least use the correct terminology when lamenting the dark evenings.

I don’t know about you, but the election on Tuesday filled me with hope. Granted, I was petrified of the results all day on Tuesday, barely holding back a full-blown anxiety attack throughout the day. However, as I started seeing the results, I felt like I could take a deep breath for the first time in two years. I feel like we were given a short respite from planning, preparing, and most importantly, rest. I know that feeling will not last long. Cheeto Hitler is going to be worse than ever with a split Congress, doubling down on threats and finding new ways to abuse the office’s power. It is a movement in the right direction though, and now we have two more years to gather our forces and unite against the increasing fascism in the White House.

October was a good reading month for me – a pleasant surprise with the state of restlessness I was in for most of the month. With 15 books and 5,585 pages under my belt, I made more headway than I thought into my backlog. Trust me when I say this is not the case so far in November.

Holly and I had a good day yesterday shopping and having lunch together, but she has dance today so no fun things for us. The plan for the rest of the day is to rest and relax. Next weekend will be busy with Thanksgiving prep. We are hosting Jim’s sister and her family, so the house needs a good cleaning, and I want to prep as much of the food in advance as I can. Work is going to be crazy for the remainder of the year as I have not yet started the budget process, and there are significant changes which, rumor has, are going into effect by the end of the month. Jim is on a business trip this week, so I am on single parent dance duty for the week. Plus, Connor should be coming home next weekend, so I have to prepare his room for him. With all of that to do in the next week, I am taking one day to do nothing. Other than laundry that is. That is a chore that only gets worse when ignored, so I try not to ignore it.

Make sure you thank a veteran today. As a former Army wife, I can testify that the sacrifice the soldiers make, and the sacrifices their families must make, are easier when recognized and appreciated.

Have a great Sunday, and I will see you back here next week!

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Here are past posts from the last few weeks in case you missed them the first time:

The post Sunday Reflections – 11 November 2018 appeared first on That's What She Read.

Weekly Top Posts: 2018-11-11
2018-11-11 05:00 UTC

  1. www.thatswhatsheread.net
  2. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 5 November 2018
  3. www.thatswhatsheread.net/feed/rss
  4. www.tumblr.com
  5. Vote

Elly Blake just made my must-read list
2018-11-08 06:00 UTC by Michelle

Nightblood by Elly Blake

Initial Thoughts: “Elly Blake’s Frostblood series ended with a bang. I adored this series from the start, and I was eagerly anticipating the finale because I had no idea how it was going to end. Suffice it to say, Nightblood is everything I wanted in the series ending and more. Guys, it made me shed real tears. That almost never happens when I read, so books that do so always hold a special place in my heart. The story itself is pretty much perfection. The story goes to some very dark places, and there is plenty of violence to match that. Ruby faces the ultimate test in her powers and beliefs, and while she has grown and matured throughout the series, we still see glimpses of her initial awkwardness and charming ineptitude from the first book. The romance does not come easy, and any happy endings that occur are hard-won. I loved every minute of it.”

Now: I am still obsessing over the fact that Ms. Blake brought me to literal tears. I always get excited over excellent stories, but I rarely become so emotional that is causes a physical response like crying. The list of books that caused me to cry is so short that I can list them all without pause. In other words, it takes a lot to get me to cry, and yet there I was, weeping while reading as my heart tore during a particular scene towards the end of the novel. The pain and longing in that scene are so real that I forgot the scene was fictional. That is the hallmark of fantastic writing.

That one scene is the culmination of the rest of the series, and it highlights how stellar the rest of the story and series is. Ms. Blake does not just tie up loose ends, but she makes her heroes continue to fight and grow until the bitter end. They have to work for any happy ending they receive, which makes those endings so much sweeter for the victory they embody. Each story in the series develops into the other to the point where, while it would be possible to read each as a standalone novel, you lose so much if you did so. It is much more satisfying to see Ruby grow as much as she does, experience her journey, and cheer her on through all of the difficult decisions and impossible situations she faces. Ms. Blake’s Frostblood series is so impressive and satisfying that she is now on my must-read list, and I eagerly look forward to any future novels she might publish.

The post Elly Blake just made my must-read list appeared first on That's What She Read.

The wrong book at the wrong time
2018-11-07 06:00 UTC by Michelle

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Initial Thoughts: “Courtney Summers’ novels are always hard-hitting, emotionally brutal dives into the harsh realities young women face. I started Sadie expecting nothing less but hoping for a powerful revenge story as well – the type that would fit into my current reading mood. While Sadie does cover yet another darkly emotional aspect of being a woman in a man’s world, it does not quite quench my thirst for violence or provide me satisfaction in wrongs made right. If I were of a more normal mindset, this novel would hit all the right chords. Sadie’s story is powerful and necessary because her childhood experiences at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend happen more often than we would like to acknowledge. Ms. Summers treats the topic with the decency it requires, shedding light on this painful subject without delving into gratuitous details that serve no purpose other than to disgust and sensationalize the truth. Still, I cannot help but feel disappointed upon finishing it because it is not the type of novel that helps me feel better right now. Instead, it reminds me of the work we still need to do to protect our daughters. My reaction is not the fault of the novel or Ms. Summers but purely due to my current emotional and mental state.”

Now: Guys, I feel somewhat guilty that I could not love Sadie more than I did. After all, it is a heartbreaking story that with beautiful writing. The problem is that the story reminds me of the immigrant children ripped from their families by our government. It reminds me of the #metoo movement and what Dr. Ford experienced when she tried to come forward publically with her story of abuse. These reminders hurt and fuel my rage that there are people who believe Dr. Ford lied under oath but Judge Kavanaugh did not, that our government seems to be turning its back on the very tenets of our country and becoming more and more like 1930s Germany than is ever acceptable. I read to escape. I don’t want reminders of the very things I cannot ignore in real life. Everything that happens in Sadie is essential and worthy of so much discussion. It is critical because as the narrator points out in the very beginning, girls run away all the time. Sadie is an attempt to open up the dialogue about why girls run away.  I know all this in my mind and admire what Ms. Summers achieves with her story. While I recognize all this, I cannot change how my heart feels when I think about the book. The simple fact is I wanted a story with a lot more justice obtained by the heroine than what I got with an ending that may not be realistic but at least would be satisfying. Sadie is not that novel.

The post The wrong book at the wrong time appeared first on That's What She Read.

Vote
2018-11-06 06:00 UTC by Michelle

Don't Complain; Vote

Every election day is essential for the survival of democracy, but today feels particularly important. The United States is standing at a threshold, and we need every person to speak out as to the direction s/he wants the country to take.

Vote Your Future

Today’s elections will have very real consequences for the future of this country, for the future of the environment, and for the future of the global economy.

No Excuses, Vote 2018

We can no longer hide behind the possibility that the Trump administration will be that bad, that maybe he is exaggerating for the sake of getting votes. After two years, we know exactly who we have in office and what is important to them. We know who will stand up for social justice issues, and who will support corporations and lobbyists. We know every misogynist, every racist, every intolerant body in Washington, D.C. We know their agenda. We cannot hide from the truth because they are no longer hiding the truth from us.

Your Voice, Your Vote

Regardless of your politics, if you do one thing today, make sure you vote. Make your voice heard. The country is at a precipice, and now is not the time to protest by abstaining. Now is the time to make sure Washington, D.C. and every state government hear what is important to you.

Go vote.

The post Vote appeared first on That's What She Read.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 5 November 2018
2018-11-05 06:00 UTC by Michelle

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Button
Hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind. Here is what I read the week ending 5 November 2018. To learn more about each book, click on the book cover!

I went for quality over quantity this week, it appears. That and I just was not in the mood to read. Better luck next week.


FINISHED SINCE THE LAST UPDATE:

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Courtney Summers’ novels are always hard-hitting, emotionally brutal dives into the harsh realities young women face. I started Sadie expecting nothing less but hoping for a powerful revenge story as well – the type that would fit into my current reading mood. While Sadie does cover yet another darkly emotional aspect of being a woman in a man’s world, it does not quite quench my thirst for violence or provide me satisfaction in wrongs made right. If I were of a more normal mindset, this novel would hit all the right chords. Sadie’s story is powerful and necessary because her childhood experiences at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend happen more often than we would like to acknowledge. Ms. Summers treats the topic with the decency it requires, shedding light on this painful subject without delving into gratuitous details that serve no purpose other than to disgust and sensationalize the truth. Still, I cannot help but feel disappointed upon finishing it because it is not the type of novel that helps me feel better right now. Instead, it reminds me of the work we still need to do to protect our daughters. My reaction is not the fault of the novel or Ms. Summers but purely due to my current emotional and mental state.

Elly Blake’s Nightblood series ended with a bang. I adored this series from the start, and I was eagerly anticipating the finale because I had no idea how it was going to end. Suffice it to say, Nightblood is everything I wanted in the series ending and more. Guys, it made me shed real tears. That almost never happens when I read, so books that do so always hold a special place in my heart. The story itself is pretty much perfection. The story goes to some very dark places, and there is plenty of violence to match that. Ruby faces the ultimate test in her powers and beliefs, and while she has grown and matured over the course of the series, we still see glimpses of her original awkwardness and charming ineptitude from the first book. The romance does not come easy, and any happy endings that occur are hard-won. I loved every minute of it.


DID NOT FINISH:

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

The dystopian, fantasy YA market is tough. There are so many excellent stories in this category that it has to be intimidating to put your story among their ranks. Still, because there are so many great examples of this category, you expect the next hyped novel to be just as good as the rest of them. At least, that’s what I expect whenever I pick up a new fantasy YA novel. So, I opened Ignite the Stars with high hopes because on the surface it has everything I like in such stories – political intrigue, diverse characters, a strong heroine who defies all expectations, space travel, etc. It only took one very short chapter for me to start questioning the suitability of it as a reading selection for me, and two chapters before I started finding excuses not to read. Based on what little I read – I only read 18 percent of it – the issue is not the story. The issue I find is with the execution. The writing is, well, it is not good. It is choppy and inconsistent. The story flips between three different narrators who all sound like the same character. There is no world-building, and I mean none. We cannot even learn anything about the world through deduction. By the time I made the decision to quit the book, there was the beginning of some attempt at explaining the politics and the many planets, colonies, and areas in space the narrators mention. There is no sense of suspense or attempt to build tension. The trajectory of the story is predictable to a fault, and there is no sense of wonder to any of it. The hero meets the heroine for less than an hour and is already showing signs of insta-love. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth, and I knew that if I were to attempt to finish it, I would end up ranting about it in the end. I get that the dystopian, fantasy YA genre is a tough one in which to excel because the competition is fierce. However, given the quality within the genre, it surprises me that someone opted to publish Ignite the Stars because I feel it is such a poorly executed cliche of the genre. Why read something with mediocre writing that mimics other novels when you can read those other novels instead?


CURRENT READ:

The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman


CURRENT LISTEN:

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


NEXT UP:

Whatever my mood might want.


So, what are you reading?

The post It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 5 November 2018 appeared first on That's What She Read.

Weekly Top Posts: 2018-11-04
2018-11-04 04:00 UTC

  1. www.thatswhatsheread.net
  2. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – 29 October 2018
  3. The end of this series exceeded my expectations
  4. Sunday Reflections – 28 October 2018
  5. Stories like this are better than therapy

Fabulous Friday – 2 November 2018
2018-11-02 05:00 UTC by Michelle

Fabulous Friday Button

We should always find ways to celebrate the little things in life. What better day to celebrate these little things other than the best day of the week? So, here are the things that make this a Fabulous Friday for me this week ending 2 November 2018.

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  • ANOTHER WEEKEND, ANOTHER DANCE EVENT – Holly is attending yet another dance convention where she gets to dance for at least eight hours each day. I get to hang around a hotel, periodically checking in with her to make sure she doesn’t need anything, and killing time until she finishes Sunday afternoon. These are not the most glamorous weekends. Frankly, between the noise and the crowds, I find them exhausting. However, they are good learning opportunities for her as they expose her to different teachers and different approaches to each genre of dance. It is another example of doing something solely for our children.

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What makes this a Fabulous Friday for you?

The post Fabulous Friday – 2 November 2018 appeared first on That's What She Read.

Emily Suvada, just take all my money
2018-11-01 05:00 UTC by Michelle

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Initial Thoughts: “I found I had to reread This Mortal Coil before I could start This Cruel Design because the one picks up right after the end of the other with no exposition to explain what happened. I did not mind because it is such an excellent story. In this sequel, it is as if Ms. Suvada ripped my heart from my chest and tore it into little pieces in front of my eyes. If you think the first novel has plenty of twists and turns, Ms. Suvada ups the ante to make a story that is impossible to set down for real life. This ode to girl power and coding is such an adrenaline rush that I want to read the two novels all over again. Considering the gut punch of an ending, I might have to do just that while I wait for the finale.”

Now: Can I give a shout-out to whoever designed these covers? Not only are they spectacularly eye-catching, but they capture such a crucial piece of the story. They are so simple but so damn beautiful and speak volumes once you read the novels. Kudos to the design team!

A great novel always makes me feel a little drunk when I am reading it. I get giddy and overly emotional. The line between reality and fantasy blurs. I forget where I am; when a novel is particularly fantastic, I even forget who I am for a brief moment. I finished This Cruel Design four days ago, and I still feel just a little bit drunk. The story and its many twists make me feel like I am participating in a UFC fight, but it is the characters that make me the giddiest. Everything about Cat hits every empathy button I own, and her fledgling relationship with Cole makes me feel like it is my first love, complete with fluttering butterflies in the stomach. I am still reeling from the final scenes of the novel. They hit me like a sucker punch to the throat, a punch to the gut, and a box to my ears all at the same time. I want to crawl under the covers and wail even though I want more. I want to read both novels over and over again to feel those same emotions. I want to search for clues as to how the series might end. I want to bask in Cat’s and Cole’s relationship. I want to learn as much as I can about coding and DNA and genetics. I am like a junkie, looking for her next fix, except my next fix does not even have a publication date yet. I will survive because somehow I always do in these situations. It does not make the wait any easier, and given that ending, this wait is going to be particularly interminable.

The post Emily Suvada, just take all my money appeared first on That's What She Read.


 

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