What I Read: November 2016
What I Read November 2016  

The Vicious Vet (Agatha Raisin #2)

the-vicious-vet-agatha-raisin-2

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I enjoyed this quick little story. It is nice to read one of these every few novels.

The Girls

the-girls

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: I absolutely loved this novel. I am kicking myself for waiting months to get it from the library instead of just buying it, considering the glowing reviews that my friends were giving it. Do yourself a favor and buy this. If you've ever been a teenage girl/woman navigating the dating scene or interacting with men in the workplace or really men in general, so much of this novel will resonate with you. Cline's observations are spot on. Her thoughts are beautifully woven into an interesting tale of a 1970s cult and murder.

Elizabeth Is Missing

elizabeth-is-missingRating: 3 Stars

Review: I started reading this because I was in the mood for a thriller, which is a genre that I have not read and I have while. This is a touching and sad story, it is not a thriller. It's a good book, but it would not be one of the first that I would recommend to my friends. If you are in avid reader who reads widely and is running low on things to pick up, then pick this up.

I was definitely disappointed because it had been on my list for you while and someone on MMD's podcast said it was one of their current favorite novels, so I was expecting something a little more spectacular.

Scrappy Little Nobody

scrappy-little-nobody

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review: So funny! The reading guide at the end was a treat! I listened to the audible version that Kendrick read herself, which made it even better! I could write an entire post on this book, but I don't want to give away the good parts. Just read it.

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener(Agatha Raisin #3)

agatha-raisin-and-the-potted-garden

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: Loved this little book. I can't quite remember, but I think it has a different ending than the TV show, which I watched first, so that was even better.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

hillbilly-elegy

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: Do yourself a favor and read this. I don't really want to give anything away, but I love how the author started his memoir with grandparents and their early lives and then followed his own life. He ties his own story into a larger narrative about people from Appalachia, using studies, statistics, and anecdotes.

Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters

take-six-girls

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: Very thoroughly research. It was an interesting look at the sisters, as well as the time period. I would recommend reading Nancy Mitford's novels before picking up this book, but it is by no means necessary. Two of her later and more popular novels are sitting on my bookshelf unread, and I did not know that they wore her later novels or even her more popular novels before I read this biography. I do think I would have appreciated the story more, though, if I could have drawn on the plots of her novels, which are thinly veiled stories about her family.

However, the author of this biography does a wonderful job of taking snippets from all of her novels, which I would never take the time to read or probably be able to get my hands on, and interjects them into the narrative of the biography.

When I do read Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love, The fiction will mean a lot more to me than it would have before. Also, I am inspired to track down a few of her earlier works. Additionally, other sisters did write, so you could always pick up one of their books.

read these

The Girls

Scrappy Little Nobody

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

  if you have time

Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters

Agatha Raisin Series

  don't bother smaller  


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Categories: What I Read Last Month
How to Quickly Alienate Someone With Chronic Illnesses


how-to-quickly-alienate-someone-with-chronic-illnesses

Sadly, this is based on a true experience.

  1. Send a vague email that sort of sounds like you want get to know the Chronically Ill Person (CIP), who will get excited because no one ever wants to do that. But the vague nature almost sounds like a threat, so they will want to back out because everything has strings attached when you're sick.

  2. Don't take into account that meeting for coffee will require days of anxiety and preparation on the CIP's part. They may have trouble bathing, grooming, ironing clothes, or getting dressed. So, even if you pick a time that sounds reasonable, it could take them hours to get ready, plus they may need someone to skip work to help them dress and put on shoes.

  3. Show up late. Don't respect the CIP's time. They respected your time and did everything humanly possible to make it, but you show up half an hour late, while only texting that you will be late 5 minutes before the meeting time.

  4. Make all of their worst nightmares come true. They opened up to you about being sick, which you will not understand. Trust me here. You cannot fathom what it's like, despite how much the CIP describes it to you. Getting ready when you are sick is NOT like dressing your kid and putting them in the car. It's much more painful because you are a full grown adult with shooting pains, who has lost the ability to lift one arm above your head.

  5. It doesn't matter how much you say "this is coming from a place of love," handing out advice, that is declined, is declined. Pushing it won't change it. The CIP has been dealing with a team of professionals for years. So, offering counseling 45 minutes away when getting coffee 10 minutes away was an ordeal isn't going to change from a no to a yes. When the CIP then makes it VERY clear that they have nothing against counseling because they have been 6 to 8 times, including all summer, along with the fact that the CIP is more well versed in the types of counseling, when you wouldn't know the difference between CBT and DBT if it hit you in the fucking head, it's time to shut up.

  6. Assume EVERYTHING. Make up lots of phrases like "I assume that you feel this way about x, so I assume you feel this way about y. How is that for you?" But... the CIP doesn't feel that way about either thing! Put the CIP on the defensive the entire time.

  7. Act like the CIP is the annoying and needy friend that no one wants in a one-sided friendship. Especially, if the CIP doesn't have your phone number, has never interacted with you in a one-on-one setting, and you've only known each other for a few months. Start that friendship off right. It never hurts to lay down ground rules like, "I can't be all of your friends," or "I'm not a trained professional." (Just so you put the CIP in their place and remind them how awesome you are to be taking your time to be with them and that they might be a little bit crazy.)

  8. Assume that the CIP actually wants your friendship. Maybe the CIP just wanted to show up once a week and participate. Don't forget to repeatedly point out how lonely she is and how that's her only outlet during the week to get out. Pointing out her loneliness and making her admit that she has no friends is a nice touch.

  9. Repeat that you don't mean to attack them often. It's like saying "no offense, but..." It gets the job done. But meaner. It reminds the CIP person that you never wanted to get to know them or understand what they were going through. You lured them to get coffee with an ambush set up. You don't understand in the slightest how it feels to be sick or even what it looks like to be this sick. You have one objective AND YOU WILL ACCOMPLISH IT because you hatched the plan that the CIP needed to see a counselor without knowing anything about them.

  10. Definitely end the conversation with a critique of the person. Something that could be addressed as a reminder to a whole group, but instead pick out the one new member and critique the CIP to her face. It's a nice memory to leave with.

    These ten simple steps will assure that the Chronically Ill Person will never show up at your community group again. The steps will assure that the person will stop attending church. The steps will assure that the person never opens up to another person again. The chronically ill person will no longer confide in her spouse, parents, doctors, or seek counseling because someone could just turn it around and throw it in her face.

So, if you hate someone, do this. If you want to love someone, DON'T EVEN TRY IT. How anyone thought that would work out well is beyond me. However, I hope that one day I can tell the girls who did that to me what kind of damage they have likely permanently inflicted because they wanted to be right more than they wanted to listen.

If you are sick/have a sick family member, what would you like to see change, with the way you or they are treated?



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Categories: Chronic Illness Tags:
What I Read: September and October 2016
It's been a long time since I've done any book reviews. I thought that I would talk about the books that I read in the last two months! Then, I have a few more ideas for book posts on my favorite summer reads, series that I've been reading, etc. I won't try to review everything that I read this year.

what-i-read-september-october-2016-resized


As usual, I am breaking up the novels between Contemporary and Classics for the Classic Book Reading Challenge!

Contemporary

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

the-storied-life-of-aj-fikry

Rating: 5 Stars

Wow! I don't know how I left this sitting in my audible queue for so long! What a touching story about books. If you don't mind a happy cry, a sad cry, and all the emotions in between, and are a true believer in the power of books, you have to read this. Pick this up ASAP--if you are on the late train like me!

Be Frank With Me

be-frank-with-me

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: One of my favorite books this year! Touching, funny, and a bit eccentric. I HIGHLY recommend this novel.

The Idea of Love

the-idea-of-love

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! It was a light, but more complex than I thought it would be. In fact, when I thought it would be over, it got even more complex! Again, this one has been on my Kindle for almost a year, and I can't believe that I waited so long to pick it up!

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6)

the-trespasser

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I picked this up the day it came out. While it wasn't my favorite in the series, I am still glad that I read it. The twist in the plot was VERY unexpected!

The Sugar Queen

the-sugar-queen

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love Sarah Addison Allen! Her books are like magic. They are magic. This novel is about Josey, who is a Southern Belle, who hasn't moved out of her mother's house, so she is there to take care of her all of the time. Josey, who has never had a close friend before, bonds with a new friend, and struggles with romance along the way.
Like all of Allen's novels that I've read so far, I recommend this one completely!

Commonwealth

commonwealth

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love Ann Patchett. While this was no Bel Canto, it was a great novel. There were so many characters that I had a hard time tracking the story at first, since I listened to the audiobook. However, I did like story and how it came together as a whole.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

the-secret-history-of-the-pink-carnation

Rating: 3 Stars

Review: I picked this novel up because I read all of Lauren Willig's novels and I loved them. Once I ran out of her stand alone novels, I started in on this series.

I loved this novel--I read it in two days. I will read the next one in the series. I deducted a whole star for gratuitous sex scenes. Historical novels with gratuitous sex is so cliche. I want the history and mystery, just like this novel. I even love the romance. Just stop the awkward sex.

With that being said, I am going to read the second novel in the series and give it another chance.

The Lola Quartetthe-lola-quartet

Rating: 3 Stars

Review: Not my favorite novel. I really loved Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven so much that I picked up another novel that she wrote. To be honest, I wasn't impressed. I really loved the dystopian feel of Station Eleven. However, I do want to read the rest of the novels.
While this wasn't my favorite, you might like it. So, read the synopsis on Goodreads and figure out if you might like it!

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin #1)

agatha-raisin-and-the-quiche-of-death

Rating: 3 Stars

Review: I loved this novel. It's not bad, but it's not fantastic--I would recommend this series to anyone who loves cozy mysteries. I was a huge fan of the TV series and this was different and good.

My Name is Lucy Barton

my-name-is-lucy-barton

Rating:5 Stars

Review: Do. Not. Read. This. When. You. Are. Already. Sad. Or tired. This is so beautiful and haunting.
Like a short version of The Gilead. It's interesting to have someone write a "biography" for a fictional character.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: Why did I wait so long to read this?! This novel is amazing. Aside from laughing so hard that the chapters were all numbered in prime numbers, the entire story was terrific! The story was entertaining, plus the underlying message was so touching. To read about a young man who struggled to connect with his divorced parents, plus deal with Asperger's, left a tear or two in my eyes while I also laughed a lot.

Heartburn

heartburn

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: This was the first novel by Nora Ephron that I had read. It wasn't very long, but it was very full of emotion! I totally recommend this!

When to Rob a Bank

when-to-rob-a-bank

Rating: 3 Stars

Review: Since I don't read the Freakonomic's blog and I only just started listening to the podcast, this was a great way to catch up on what the authors have been thinking about since the first book came out. It's not a work of genius, but it poses some great questions. I particularly liked the guest post about what real former gang members thought about The Wire. I loved the first season, but never finished it!

Mistletoe and Murder (Daisy Dalrymple #11)

mistletoe-and-murder-daisy-dalrymple-11

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love this series! I won't give any of the plot away, but like usual, Daisy helps her husband Alec, solve a murder! Who is glad that Daisy and Alec are finally married?! Me!

That Summer

that-summer

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: More of a 4.5! It wasn't a great work of art, but I really loved the story. It also didn't have the "everything works out for everyone" quality that a lot of the popular non-linear novels have. The people where more flawed and love was bittersweet. But I really couldn't put it down!

The Life We Bury

the-life-we-bury

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: A college student who doesn't have many relatives, shows up at a nursing home hoping to write a biography for a class assignment. However, most of the residents are senile. There is one resident, though, who isn't. The college student, Joe, meets Carl Iverson.
Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

Joe's life is never the same after writing the story of Carl's life. And The Life We Bury challenges us to look at life differently, too.

Pick. This. Up.

The Peach Keeper

the-peach-keeper

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love the magical quality of all of Allen's novels, but this one, which touched on the relationship between grandmothers and granddaughters was quite special.

classics

Lady of Quality

lady-of-quality

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love Georgette Heyer novels. Like all of romance novels set in the Regency period, this one was wonderful. If you like her novels, read this. It wasn't my favorite, but it's good.

Little Women

little-women

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: This classic novel is always a great read. I reread it for book club.


read these

The Life We Bury

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

Be Frank With Me

My Name is Lucy Barton

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Heartburn

if you have time

That Summer

The Idea of Love

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6)

The Sugar Queen

Commonwealth

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin #1)

don't bother smaller

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

The Lola Quartet

When to Rob a Bank




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Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
It’s Been Awhile… And Anniversary Photos

About 10 months... actually.



Before my last post on books, I wrote about my diagnosis with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. The year before I was diagnosed was very hard because I was in so much pain and not working. Doctors acted like I was insane, but I knew that the pain was real. I tried to end my life 6 months before I was diagnosed, so while I was trying to blog in 2015. It was very hard to leave out of my blog. I felt really ashamed, but the hospital was able to adjust some medication errors that happened due to moving from SC to DC to NC.

I am only talking about this to help end the stigma because I reached out for help to 6 different people who only shrugged it off because it was uncomfortable for me to talk to them about it. I only got medical attention after I took the pills. Chronic pain, especially undiagnosed, is a burden because doctors are not always compassionate.

Without the diagnosis, treatment, and help of counselors who took the time to understand things like sleep hygiene is meaningless when you have hypersomnia, related to EDS, I might not be alive, still.

However, while I am physically trying my best to make friends, be productive, and live a life that I can be proud of, my body doesn't always keep up. So, I spent my non-blogging time in counseling, physical therapy, traveling 3 hours to see my EDS specialist, 1.5 hours to get Botox for my dystonia, and all of the medical appointments that come with being chronically ill. I haven't read as much this year. I have spent more time watching TV. But that's ok. That's what I needed.

I would love to start blogging again, if people want to read again! I want to educate people on EDS. I want to talk about life. I want to talk about make up. I want to talk about friendships. I want to talk about my amazingly cute dogs.



Third Anniversary!

My third wedding anniversary was two days ago (I woke up with a horrific virus! What a present!), so I do want to leave you with a few of my favorite photos that we had taken by our friend, Elli, who is the photographer behind Due West Photography in Charlotte, NC. She does everything from professional head-shots to weddings to engagement photos! We did ours at the beautiful Big Rock Nature Preserve in Charlotte, NC. If you are looking for a great place for engagement photos and a great photographer, get Due West Photography and go to Big Rock Nature Preserve! We LOVE these.

The photos commemorate what hard times Brian and I have been through, but how we made it to the other side, much stronger. We couldn't have picked a better anniversary to capture our photos. It was also nice because we didn't have engagement photos, since we had such a short engagement.

If you follow my Instagram, I've posted a few on there! I couldn't contain my excitement with how well they turned out. If you've taken engagement photos, I have a new respect for you. Picking outfits is hard!

Fall Engagement Photo Charlotte NC Big Rock Nature Preserve by Due West Photography

Fall Engagement Photo Charlotte NC Big Rock Nature Preserve by Due West Photography  

Fall Engagement Photo Charlotte NC Big Rock Nature Preserve by Due West Photography

Fall Engagement Photo Charlotte NC Big Rock Nature Preserve by Due West Photography

Fall Engagement Photo Charlotte NC Big Rock Nature Preserve by Due West Photography

Fall Engagement Photo Charlotte NC Big Rock Nature Preserve by Due West Photography  

Fall Engagement Photo Charlotte NC Big Rock Nature Preserve by Due West Photography



Fall Engagement Photo Charlotte NC Big Rock Nature Preserve by Due West Photography



Thanks for taking time to read this, look at the photos, and stop by. I hope to keep updating and writing, so that you'll come back soon!



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Categories: Chronic Illness Tags: , , ,
What I Read: January 2016
Well, I read a lot of Phyrne Fisher novels, since I want to catch up with the TV show. I tried out a new series. And I picked up a few new authors, too!

what i read january   Contemporary

Some Luck

some luck

Verdict: A great look into the 1920's to 1950's. Must read for saga-lovers.

I loved this novel. I can see why it Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Not only was the story highly entertaining, but the prose was beautiful. The story was amazing! It followed so many people, who went through so many changes. During the time of the novel, America went through a ton of changes. Since the family started on a farm, but slowly integrated technology.

The Book of Speculation

the book of speculation

Verdict: Not what I expected. Great for learning about circuses.

I thought that this novel would be more about books. It was about a librarian, but a former librarian. The novel is really more about how an old novel intertwines with a family of circus performers. While I liked how the novel was written, it wasn't what I was expected. I was thinking something more along the lines of Charlie Lovett's novels.

The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher #5)

the green mill murder

Verdict: Another fun, quick, mystery.

The Green Mill Murder was interesting because it was based on Phryne's attendance at a dance-a-ton. It reminded it me a little of that Gilmore Girl's episode where Rory dances with her mom and that thing happens with Dean... but at least there wasn't murder there!

Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher #6)

blood and circuses

Verdict: A fun Phryne Fisher novel where she leaves the life of luxury.

Phyrne leaves the life of luxury to help her friends in the circus to find out what keeps hurting the circus. Along the way, Phryne has to pick up a new name, learn a new trade, exchange her clothes for used and mended ones. It was nice to see how she acted with a different place, with a different personality, and not in a position of authority.

The Longest Night

the longest night

Verdict: Williams made a statement, but it lacked entertainment value.

I couldn't fault the great statement that Williams made about morality standards imposed by society, but it lacked entertainment value. It was dry, boring, and I couldn't quit cringing. The novel skipped around among narrators as it followed Nat, an Army wife, her husband, Paul, a young Army Specialist, and his boss and his boss’s wife. The most cringe-worthy moments were in the young husband's mind. I am hope it was meant to be slightly cringe-inducing when he describes meeting his wife and thinks of her as loose, but then over the course of their marriage, never gets a chance to know the real her and why she acts the way he does. His temper flares whenever Nat does anything that embarrasses him, even having fun in front of strangers. The shame follows her wherever she goes, even when he is gone.

Overall, the setting, which is in the middle of nowhere, and involves nuclear energy, radiation, cover ups, affairs, Indian reservations, and apparently a lot of Mormons, who are all new and confusing to the Army people, was also bizarre and slightly off putting from a reader’s perspective. I ended up getting the audio-book from the library, so I heard a different voice for every narrator, so that could have influenced my perception.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ebook copy to review.



American Housewife

American Houswife

Verdict: Smart, biting, and funny. Must read for women with a sense of humor.

I couldn't put this down! I thought that it was quick, funny, and insightful. My favorite story was about the reality show. The final story almost felt like a horror story. I had the audio version of this novel from my library, which was fantastic. There were several narrators who were familiar because they read books that I listen to a lot.

I let my husband listen to a few of the stories, which he loved, too.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ebook copy to review.



The Crossing

the crossing

Verdict: A must read for Harry Bosch or Lincoln Lawyer fans.

I look forward to Michael Connelly's fall release every year. This year didn't disappoint. Harry Bosh worked as an investigator for his brother, defense lawyer Mickey Haller. Bosh was torn about working for the defense, but like any good homicide detective, he didn't want to just prove that the defendant was innocent, he wanted to find the guilty. It was made more interesting because the guilty party was very dangerous.

Since Bosch is now retired and Connelly combined Bosch and Haller in a single novel, I have to wonder if Connelly will move to just write about The Lincoln Lawyer.

Austenland

austenland

Verdict: Great entertainment for Austen fans who are looking for light fun and romance.

It's not a genius piece of writing, but it's incredibly entertaining. If you like Jane Austen (like you can recall the plots to all of her novels), plus quirky main characters and romances, this is for you. You can easily read it in a day or two. I had a lot of fun finding the parallels, which were sometimes laid out by the author for less well-versed readers, but the entertainment value is certainly high. I think I need to read the sequel!

Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law

Verdict: Great for people who like mysteries who keep you on edge!

I fell in love with Rhys Bowen's mysteries when I read the Her Royal Spyness series. So, I picked up this series about Molly Murphy, who is on the run from Irish authorities and found a way to America. Unfortunately, there was a murder that complicated her entry, but it introduced her to a handsome detective. I loved Molly's determination to find the actual person who committed the murder and make her way in New York City.

Death of Riley

death of riley

Verdict: Great follow up!

If you like Murphy's Law, Death of Riley is a great follow up! Molly finds herself learning from a real private investigator and living with the artsy crowd. I loved it! I can't wait to keep reading the series. I had to make myself read other novels, or I would have finished the entire series within a week or so!

Eight Hundred Grapes

eight hundred grapes

Verdict: A great light read!

I read a lot of reviews that were 50/50 on this. Some people hated it, but others loved it. I liked it. I thought it was a touching story about family, figuring out what matters, and making the life you want.

Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher #7)

Ruddy Gore

Verdict: A big change for Phryne

I have been reading as many Phryne Fisher novels as possible, so I can watch the television show, since the shows are not in the same order of the books. I can't wait to finish watching the show, since it is so well done.

This novel was a big change because Phryne actually finds a man that she seems like she wants to keep!

The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

The Poisoner's Handbook

Verdict: A must read!

I have wanted to read this novel for a long time. I love the Jazz Age, but this novel gives an amazing look at the underbelly of society. It also talks more about how life really was for most people, not just the glamorous people, of the Jazz Age.

On Netflix, I watched a documentary based on the novel. The documentary puts pictures and videos to a lot of what went on in the novel, However, the novel was redundant, since the documentary focused more of a few of the cases touched on in the novel, while the novel expanded greatly on the fight against prohibition, since the bootleg liquor was killing so many people, as well as gave insight into other parts of how hard Dr. Norris and others fought to legitimize forensic sciences.

Thornwood House

Thornwood House

Verdict: An haunting search into the past

I couldn't put this novel down. I would dare to put this novel into the Gothic category. Since it was Australian, I thought that made it more interesting. The main character, Audrey, inherits an old house on an enormous amount of land in a small, quiet city from the father of her child and the only man she ever loved, after he commits suicide. However, she didn't even know that he had the property or any living family. She moves there with her 11 year old daughter. There, Audrey becomes obsessed with the house and the surrounding property. She becomes enthralled with the home's former resident, who appears to her in dreams, as she tries to find out if he really killed his wife.



Normally, I wouldn't have touched a book like this. And as I read this novel, I kept asking myself why I was so enchanted with it. Finally, I realized it was Gothic and Southern Gothic literature is my favorite. If I could have my dream job, it would be as an English professor, specializing in that. So, that's why I think I found Thornwood House so enthralling.



classics

The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1)

The Warden Anthony Trollope

Verdict: The shortest Trollope novel that I've ever read!

This isn't my favorite Trollope novel, I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

  read these

American Housewife

Austenland

Eight Hundred Grapes

Some Luck

if you have time

The Poisoner's Handbook

Murphy's Law (Or the entire series!)

don't bother smaller

The Longest Night

The Book of Speculation

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads You can read my past monthly round ups: December 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

 

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading?

 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!



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Categories: Book Review, What I Read Last Month Tags: ,
New Year / New Diagnosis
I am not sure if it is fitting or just plain mean that I was at the doctor's office on December 31 and January 1. On January 1, I received the definite diagnosis that I have EDS, which stands for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

New Year New Diagnois

My Story:

Last year, during EDS awareness month (May), another blogger in a closed group that is for other bloggers who blog to bring awareness to health problems shared a post about the symptoms of EDS, and I thought "Wow, that's me. It fits me perfectly." However, even after talking to the blogger, I couldn't figure out how getting diagnosed would help me. It seemed like a lot of trouble for no pay off. Like, there would be no treatment or difference in my treatments. I was in so much pain, though, I also couldn't and can't think clearly.

Towards the end of last year, my mom emailed me information about EDS because she thought that it sounded like me. However, at this time, I was (and still am) suffering from multiple, debilitating bursitis points, need PT, but the therapists injure me, and I'm always wearing 2-4 braces. Not to mention, pain has consumed my life. I am housebound. I have a few acquaintances who are more of a problem to have because they only see me when I am well, so they expect more out of me and don't take my limitations into consideration.

I also kept hitting a brick wall when I went to orthopedic specialists. I would leave with a 45 minute lecture on fibromyalgia and no one would do any imaging on my problem areas or help me in anyway. I thought I was losing my mind. I really can't count how many times that I left a doctor's office sobbing because my hope for help had been crushed.

After spending some time on inspire.com's message boards, reading the stories of other people with EDS, I realized that a diagnosis would mean that other doctors would take me seriously and treat me with respect. And if they didn't, I could know it was them, and not me. Unfortunately, I have suffered a lot of emotional pain and physical pain because doctors didn't take me seriously. As I've talked to other EDS patients, I have learned that they get taken seriously after they are diagnosed.

While geneticists can diagnose EDS, in the US, no one doctor treats it, which is why I went to 3 rheumatologists and a fibromyalgia specialist who all said my hypermobility was off the charts, but never thought that I might have EDS, which requires specialized physical therapy, at a minimum.

I chose to see a specialist who works with diagnosing and treating EDS patients. His entire practice is devoted to 1 or 2 hour long appointments to fully address all of the patients needs because EDS patients can be complex. I had the misfortune of being one of the most complex to come in. I do think that is because I am almost 28 years old and have been to every specialist under the sun without any relief.

My EDS:

I have features that overlap types I and III, but they are essentially treated the same. Type I just means that I bruise more easily and have elastic skin. I have hypermobile joints all over my body. During the examination, I learned that I was hypermobile in places that I didn't know could be hypermobile, and all of the cracking left me a little bit sick.

I did a little research and found this:

For each individual with EDS, the clinical story is unique. There isn't a single answer as to why an individual might have features of more than one type of EDS. The first step that they could take to sort this out is to visit a medical geneticist. It is possible that they might benefit from laboratory testing to confirm the molecular or biochemical basis of the form of EDS that they have. Sometimes, but not always, the testing helps to clarify the clinical confusion. It may be, however, that they have features of more than one type of EDS because they have a connective tissue disorder that hasn't yet been "described," meaning that the underlying protein abnormality or gene mutation is unknown. Future research studies will be necessary to answer the question. Answered by Melanie Pepin MS, CGC

So, your EDS won't look like mine or anyone else's EDS, which is why it takes an exam.

Overall, what I have is a connective tissue disorder.

I haven't gotten very far into the treatment process yet. I am meeting with my local physiatrist tomorrow to start working on getting the MRIs that I have been seeking for the last year. I will also see my other doctor soon to change my medications. And finally, I go back to the EDS doctor next week to have custom braces fitted and meet with him again. Oh, and at some point, I need to find a physical therapist who will read a 200 page book and spend 40 minutes alone with me each week to use those techniques.

I am not an expert or a doctor. But, if something is wrong with your body, remember that you know yourself the best and that you have to advocate for yourself. I haven't been an EDS patient for long, but I've been a professional patient for a long time.

Anyway, I wanted to share my story, so readers if anyone else is struggling with hypermobility and or unexplained pain and thinks they may have EDS, I want to encourage them to bring their concerns to a trusted doctor. [Sidenote: I had plenty of doctors tell me not to waste time getting examined because it would hurt and be a waste of time because they didn't believe that I had it, when I have a severe and complex case. Once of the doctors that discouraged me had only met me once and just looked at my knees.] Also, do your own research to bring to the doctor. My great doctor didn't know the process about how to get diagnosed. You don't go to a rheumatologist. I waited two months to see one and get laughed out. You need to get an appointment with a geneticist ASAP.

If you think you have it, please look into the symptoms further, and approach your most trusted doctor.

I recommend going to your local EDS support group and joining inspire.com to ask about the best places to get diagnosed.



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Categories: EDS, Health Tags: ,
What I’ve Been Reading

I have been too sick to read as much as I wanted the past few months. In fact, I watched the entire Gilmore Girls series and Fringe, until it got too weird. So, I decided to wait until now to sum up November and December together. It really breaks my heart that I was so sick because sharing what I read each month is the post that I look forward to the most!

2016 What I've Been Reading



Girl Waits With Gun

Girl Waits With Gun

Verdict: I wanted to like the novel.

You can read my full review here. My quick summary: I wanted to like this novel. I was so excited to read it, but I could only chip away at it, 30 minutes a night for a month.

Overseas

overseas.jpg

Verdict: High entertainment value, yet cheesey

A bit cheesy, I still couldn't put it down. I read it during every opportunity, which says a lot for the entertainment value! It was a nice book to read after reading some slow, arduous reads.



Pretending to Dance

Pretending To Dance Review by Back to Carolina

Verdict: An interesting novel

I wrote an indepth review here. This is a quick summary: If you are a Diane Chamberlain fan, you should definitely pick it up. Otherwise, it is kind of a run of the mill fiction novel that employs the popular technique of slowly unraveling a story by switching back and forth between the past and the present. It certainly wasn't innovative.

Secrets of a Charmed Life

secrets of a charmed life

Verdict: Didactic, yet a good read.

I cried a lot at the end, but it was a beautiful ending. While the moral of the story was VERY directly spoken by the characters, it was still nice. The rest of the novel didn't feel too didactic.

The Lake House

the lake house

Verdict: A must read for all Morton fans!

You can read my full review here! Here is a quick summary: My favorite Morton novel yet! While it was highly complex, and I did complain to a friend about that at first, it proved to be worth all of the subplots because they came together beautifully in the end. There was one that I would have liked to have flushed out more, but the novel was so long that I definitely would have chosen to leave it out, too. And, for what it's worth, I've been taking about a month or so to listen to much shorter novels, but I finished this one within several days because the characters, mystery, and overall story were so compelling. I couldn't put it down.

Named of the Dragon

named of the dragon book cover

Verdict: Kearsley fans will pick it up.

I wrote a full review that you can read here. Here's a summary: Not my favorite Kearsley novel, plus I would only rate this as an average or slightly below average fiction book. I've read worse. At least this novel was note resting enough to keep me reading, and at a rather fast pace, because I was sure it was going to get better. And the ending didn't suck.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

Verdict: I read it in a day. That says a lot!

You can read my in-dept review here, but this is a quick summary: I listened to the audiobook in a single day. It was such an inventive scenario. I've never read anything like it - and I wasn't expecting it, but it was a pleasant surprise. I highly recommend it!

After You

after you

Verdict: The perfect follow up!

I wasn't sure how to feel about this novel. Me Before You felt like it was perfect, but Moyes nailed it again with the ending of this novel. The meat of the story was interesting, plus the way the story finished couldn't have been more fitting.

One Step Too Far

one step too far

Verdict: Interesting storytelling technique!

I really had to pay attention, since the narration switched between the first and third person, also switching who each chapter was about. Furthermore, the narrative jumped back and forth in time, but it made for a really interesting way to tell the story. I thought it was an interesting story that was made better through the narrative technique.

I loved the way that the main character's secret slowly unraveled and made sense to the reader through telling the story out of sequence and switching narrators. I wish I had the talent to tell a story like that!



read these

After You

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

The Lake House



if you have time

One Step Too Far

Secrets of a Charmed Life



don't bother smaller

Girl Waits With Gun

Named of the Dragon



What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads You can read my past monthly round ups:

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading?

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!





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Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , , ,
The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine Review
The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine title The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

Verdict: I read it in a day!

If I read it in a day, you can read this review knowing that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! I found the scenario imaginative, fascinating, and in some cases hilarious, and in other parts heartbreaking. Overall, the novel covered a range of emotions in a compelling manner.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine actually follows a journalist named Thomas Cleary, who covers the entertainment section of a newspaper in Los Angeles. I was a bit surprised when the main character was a man, considering the title. The story begins when Tom gets a big break by writing the obituary of powerful and famous man in Hollywood. His middle-aged daughter invites him to a dinner where he meets the closest friends of the dead man, and then Thomas's whirlwind journey into the lives of the rich and famous begin - eventually leading him to Matilda Duplaine.

I loved the slightly fantastical, but plausible scenario of the story. The romance, intrigue, and evolution of the characters were all so compelling that I honestly couldn't put the novel down. I had to keep reading until... fill in the blank. Things kept happening, so I wouldn't put it down.

The crown jewel of the novel, though, without spoiling it, is the evolution of Matilda Duplaine's character. It is heartbreakingly true to reality, so it is not just a fairy tale romance. It's possibly one forged from rougher stuff than some grittier novels, even though it originates in a world of seemingly limitless money and luxury.

Overall, I would never hesitate to recommend this novel. I read it almost a month ago, but it sticks with me. I would love a sequel, even! Put this on your TBR list, and push it to the top. I'm stingy with my Goodreads 5s, but this novel got one.

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review the novel.

Have you read it? Did you like it? Is it going to go on your reading list?

Don't forget that you can be my friend on Goodreads, here!



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Categories: Reading Tags: ,
Named of the Dragon: Susanna Kearsley Review
named of the dragon

named of the dragon book coverVerdict: Kearsley fans will pick it up!

Like other Kearsley novels, this one features a book agent who travels to another part of the country. In this case, the book agent follows her fun children's book author to a remote part of the country where she partakes in Christmas activities with some other authors. However, things take an odd turn, as a next door neighbor, who is a widow and single mother, believes that her child is in danger and the danger is connected to the legend of Merlin.

Although there was no outright time travel, the main character Lyn, experiences odd dreams that are confirmed by weird interactions with a local playwright. Overall, it was very strange. At first, I was glad to have a Kearsley novel that wasn't about the Jacobites, but overall, it was a strange plot. The characters were interesting, but I couldn't wrap my head around the dreams of a sane character, the delusions of the single mother, and how the playwright knew how to decipher them in his own weird way. I wouldn't recommend this novel. Like all Kearsley novels that I've read, there was a romance, which was interesting, but not as compelling as most.

I did read it fairly quickly because I wanted to know what happened, which is always a positive sign for me, but in the end, I couldn't bring myself to give it more than two stars on Goodreads.

I scooped it up because it was a new Kearsley novel and I love her work, but I wouldn't have read it, knowing what I know now.

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.



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Categories: Uncategorized
Reading Challenge: Classics 2016
Happy new year! I thought that I'd start out with a book post, of course.

Last year, I rolled through my first 2/3 of the classics reading challenge, but as I fell sick, I didn't continue to pursue the last few books. However, I am ready to redeem myself with this year's Back to the Classics Challenge 2016!

back to the classics 2016 challenge

I'm also in the middle of my two year Classics Challenge, where I am reading 50 classic books by THIS Christmas Eve. You can join up any time. You can read my projected list of novels and learn more about joining here.

If you want to join the Back to the Classics Challenge 2016, click here for more information and the link up!

For this year's classic's challenge, these are my picks (picks are subject to change)!

Classic Book Picks:

A 19th Century Classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.

The Warden, Anthony Trollope, published 1855.

A 20th Century Classic - any book published between 1900 and 1966.Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

Bath Tangle, Georgette Heyer, 1955

A classic by a woman author.

Evelina or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World, Fanny Burney, 1778

A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language.

Candide, Voltaire, 1759

A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955

An adventure classic - can be fiction or non-fiction. Children's classics like Treasure Island are acceptable in this category.

The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain, 1875

A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984, and children's classics like The Hobbit are acceptable in this category also.

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937

A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. This list of books from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a great starting point if you're looking for ideas.

N or M?, Agatha Christie, 1941

A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.

Washington Square, Henry James, 1880

A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemmingway, 1926

Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college). If it's a book you loved, does it stand the test of time? If it's a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?

Persuasion, Jane Austen, 1817

This one is a big chore for me, since I hate rereading novels; however, I didn't read Persuasion until Brit Lit II in college, so I've only read it once. Plus, Austen novels aren't bad a second time!

A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children's stories are acceptable in this category also.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, This audible novel includes 12 Stories: "A Scandal in Bohemia," "The Red-Headed League," "A Case of Identity," "The Boscombe Valley Mystery," "The Five Orange Pips," "The Man with the Twisted Lip," "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle," "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb," "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor," "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet," and "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches."

What are your thoughts? Any suggestions for better picks? What do you plan to read this year?

Don't forget to add me as a Goodreads friend as I try to tackle 200, instead of 150 books this year!



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Categories: Reading Challenge, Uncategorized Tags: ,