It’s Almost July…

I still haven’t read a new book. I am still working regularly. I’m still wearing my mask when I go anywhere.

It’s almost July, though. And the outlook hasn’t improved. In fact, by all reports, it is getting worse. People are protesting the use of masks. People are protesting closures. People are fighting to get a haircut or go to a bar. And then they are testing positive for Covid, and are genuinely confused. Because according to leaders, it is just like the flu. It isn’t dangerous. It will pass. You will be immune. We will reach herd immunity and then it will all be okay.

Unfortunately, that isn’t what the science shows. Unfortunately, you can get it more than once. Unfortunately, it isn’t like the flu. Unfortunately, people are dying at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, people who don’t wear the face masks are the ones causing all the problems.

What is the correlation between those who are fighting against masks and those who fight against vaccines? I wonder. What is the correlation of spreading the disease in relation to hoping to reach herd immunity? How are those people feeling when they get their kids and elderly relatives sick and hospitalized? When they require breathing treatments? When they suffer strokes or an abominable version of multi-systemic organ failure?

Why has 2020 been a giant dumpster fire? What is it about THIS YEAR?? Between the Covid cases, the previously mentioned world disasters….and earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, a Godzilla Saharan Dust Storm, uncertainty in regards to schooling, in regards to safety, in regards to travel, in regards to socializing, in regards to life in general…This year has just been a $h!t$h0w…

While I have been working hard to maintain some level of normalcy for my family, I have been experiencing “Quarantine Burn Out”…When the mental load of parenting, the anxiety of every single day piles up, and the emotional stress of dealing with all the issues being presented without break all collide, they cause this burn out. It is a real thing.

I used to use this blog to do book reviews. Hopefully, soon, I can get back to that. In the meantime, share with me your book suggestions, reviews, to be read list, favorite authors, and other ideas on how to pass the time without losing my mind. 🙂

WHAT IS HAPPENING??

Happy 2020, y’all.

If you haven’t noticed, it has been a train wreck of a year!

I started out the new year with hopes of reading 52 books and writing 52 reviews. I believe I have three under my belt. When the Covid thing started, I got stressed out and anxiety prevented focus, forbidding me to read much of anything.

So, I will tell you about how my year has been. January was decent. I mean, besides the attempt at WW3…Nice and cool. Child’s birthday. Travel plans. Nothing big. Nothing fancy. Just calm and fun.

February, I finally was able to grab up a job. A decent one. Doing fun stuff. In a fun place. It is outside work, which in Texas, could mean sweltering temperatures and hot winds. However, the location makes the breezes quite lovely, and the ponds keep us a few degrees cooler. And all the tropical plants provide shade for us. Meanwhile, Australia caught fire, and it would not let up. Animals died. People died. Land was wiped clear.

March came, and with it, Spring. Also, Spring Break! Our business opened. I had a friend in town visiting, and absolutely loved spending every second with him, traveling down memory lane and embracing new information about one another. True friends since high school. (Here is hoping he feels the same 🙂 )

I started working more frequently, putting in time cleaning, organizing, and rearranging things at my work, making them more effective. Making the workplace more cohesive and more functional. Making the outside more beautiful than it already was and updating the course with new paint and new items.

We  spent a glorious week in the warm Texas sun. Then Covid invaded Texas and the governor shut down the state. It started with a slow shut down, then quickly ran into “all places of business that are not necessary”, which means entertainment sources, and places of gathering. So. Then we were home. Home. All the time. Schools closed. Businesses closed. Bars closed. Movie theatres, Old Navy, Michaels. everything. We started “distance learning” the kiddo. My husband stil had to go to work, because he is an “essential worker”, working at a grocery chain.

Soon, we were all required to wear masks in public. Very apocalyptic. Very scary. I began making masks for essential workers, because I needed to feel useful, and I needed something to take up my time. Close to 300 later, and people are still asking for them. I have made some for family and friends, and even the neighbors. However, fabric sales are backed up and expensive. I ordered fabric from Michaels weeks ago, and am still waiting. I ordered elastic, and who knows when it will be here. Thankfully, I had enough to get through the worst of it with.

Being at home regularly would probably afford me the time to clean and organize, and spend so much time with my kid, but for me, all it did was make me sleepy. I was not active. I was not moving. I was not motivated. I was not rushed. I had no expectations upon me. I had no requests upon me. I had to figure out something that worked for me. Occasional outings to the park or to work, allowed me the outdoor sunshine and separation from people that we needed, and allowed us to be active (at least more active than before). Necessary visits to the grocery store, and pick up runs to Target were special treats. We played Pokémon Go on our phones. While we were working within our community to play, we stayed in our bubble (our car).

It has been a few months now, and we still wear masks. We still practice excessive hygiene. We still disinfect. We still wash clothes with a vengeance.

April was spent in pajamas. On lockdown. Doing nothing. Watching tv. Playing video games. Playing board games. Bored.

May rolled around and a few restrictions were lifted. More and more were lifted. And soon, we experienced a new issue: murder hornets. WHAT?? Yes. From Asia. I mean. Come. On.

May rolled into June and we had a few things go down in that time: Yellowstone started h having earthquakes, seeming to wake the sleeping giant super volcano, with scientists and volcanologists competing for more reputable information on differing sides of “will it or won’t it…”; a regular rich, white guy bought NASA (basically), built a rocket and sent some dudes named Bob and Doug to the ISS; Asian Tiger Mosquitoes; West Nile Virus; Racism on an unprecedented scale; Riots and Protests; Exposing all the bad.

June. And now we have Tropical storms, hurricane threats, more racism.

2020 Really trying to outdo itself around EVERY corner.

 

How has your year been? Let me know in the comment section. How are you handling your quarantine? What hobbies or projects have you taken on? Been reading? Tell me about the books you have been reading. Tell me what is on your TBR pile.

Where is the baby?

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

In case you have never heard of the author:

Lapena is a multi-novel thriller writer. She resides in Toronto, Canada. She has been on the NYT bestseller list, as well as the UK Sunday Times bestseller list.

In case you have never heard of the book:

Anne and Marco are the ideal couple, with a new baby. They are typical parents: tired, paranoid, and in need of some time as adults. They accept an invitation to dinner next door, and check on the baby religiously.

When something happens to the baby-the parents are the first on the list of suspects. The detective digs in, finding secrets well buried, and uncovering the truth about the ideal couple.

In case you wondered what I thought:

This book was bland. While it was easy enough to follow, the details were lacking and it just felt like someone gossiping about someone else. It was slow, simply because it was a little tiresome…BUT, I DID want to find out what happened to the baby and how everyone was linked in the end.

Overall, may recommend. May not. Depends on the mood of the reader asking.

Scary Story.

Thornhill by Pam Smy

In case you have never heard of the author:

Smy went to Cambridge School of Art, where she learned to become an illustrator. She has drawn for several well-known artists, and now has published for herself.

In case you have never heard of the book:

This book is a black and white combination of images and writing that occur on separate time lines, but meet up near the end. It involves three little girls, a house, and an orphanage.

In case you wondered what I thought:

Sort of a ghost story, sort of a thriller-based lesson in empathy, this book was a wonderful example of what can happen when something (or someone) is neglected. The differing story-lines were difficult at first, but then, once I caught the different voices in the images compared to the diary entries-I was able to differentiate. The illustrations are gorgeous and full of details, while the diary entries are intriguing.

Overall, while this book is super easy to read-it took me a while, because I was so drawn into the images. It is dark, and can be scary for smaller readers, but appropriate for pre-teens and up (IMO). This book could be “unpacked” and really review its under-lying meanings to determine more hidden themes and ideas.

I enjoyed it and would recommend.

A bit of a question…

The Night In Question by Nic Joseph

In case you have never heard of the author:
Nic Joseph is a thriller/suspense novelist, writing in Chicago. Joseph attended Northwestern University and loves solving a good crime.

In case you have never heard of the book:
Paula works overtime to try to earn a little extra money by driving. When she picks up her last fare of the evening, she finds he left something behind…something that can earn her a lot of money-and cause him a lot of problems. A woman is killed in the same building she dropped her fare-and she is the only witness. She has to figure out what happened, and fast!

In case you were wondering what I thought:
The book was written as a suspense, and there were shady moments. I enjoyed it, but it was easy to predict what was going to happen next. The characters weren’t fully developed, and the sensory information could have been more involved. Overall the book was easy to read, quick, and not as scary as I would have liked. In my opinion, I would only recommend this book if someone needed a quick read.

A Little White Lie…

Lie To Me By JT Ellison

In case you have never heard of the author:
She is a thriller/psych-drama novelist, who has won several awards. She also co-hosts an Emmy award-winning tv show.

In case you have never heard of the book:
In this drama, Sutton and her husband, Ethan, are both award winning authors. They have been married a while, and have a kid together. But this life, which looks picture-perfect from the outside, is far from that.

When the baby dies, and later, Sutton goes missing, the investigators will dive into the unlikely past and possibilities of what if.

A story of he said, she said…what really happened to Sutton?

In case you wondered what I thought:
It was definitely suspenseful. It was dramatic. There were unseen twists and turns. The ending was not exactly how I had guessed it would be-and was fun to read through!

The language flowed, the story line kept me intrigued, and it was interesting.

Would recommend if you like suspense thrillers.

Are you a Good Girl?

The Good Girl: A Novel by Mary Kubica (2014)

In case you have never heard of the author:
She is into history and American Lit, and lives in Chicago. She has written two other best-sellers.

In case you have never heard of the book:
This thriller describes the life of Mia, before and after. Mia is a young woman, out to meet her boyfriend. When he doesn’t show, she leaves with a handsome stranger. That is when the trouble starts.

In case you wondered what I thought:
Mia, an independent twenty-something with loose ties to her family, goes missing.

Eve, Mia’s troubled mother, feels guilty about her missing daughter, and regret at her missed opportunities.

James, Mia’s father, a well-known judge and hard-ass, believes that Mia is out being irresponsible-not missing at all.

Colin, the kidnapper with a checkered past, and conscience, has a warm heart and opens up when he finds himself falling for his charge.

Gabe, the detective with an eye for Eve, and a priority to solve Mia’s case, sets out to make sure there is closure.

This book weaves a fine tale, but switches narrators and time-so you have to keep up. The full plan only reveals itself at the end-so stay invested.

Overall, an enjoyable read.

A Little Rock and Roll…

Good Girl, Bad Girl, Wicked Girl (A trio of novelettes) by Piper Lawson

In case you have never heard of the author:
She is a self-described degree holding millennial. She is an award winning romance author. She is based outside Toronto, Canada.

In case you have never heard of these stories:
A little smut never killed anyone, right? Right?

Jax Jamison is a rock star. Haley is a computer nerd, with a penchant for music…and Jax.
The first story is how they met, the second is how they reconnected, and the third is about their future together.

In case you were wondering what I thought:
These are a fun, easy read to be enjoyed by Kindle or e-reader, preferably all in one shot. They are quick, and the vocabulary is not difficult to digest.

A Little More Vampire Stuff.

Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness

In case you have never heard of the book:
This is a follow up to the All Souls Trilogy, dealing with Matthew and Diana and their family.
Matthew’s son, Marcus, has memories that go back a long time. As a vampire, he is constantly fighting with his past lives. In this book, we learn more about him and where he came from.

In case you have never heard of the author:
She has written the three books that are now a tv show in its second season on AMC. She is an historian, living in Pennsylvania. She is an award-winning novelist.

In case you were wondering what I thought of the book:
This book took a bit longer to read because of the extreme detail in historical fact. It was a fun forward movement from the last three. It was a smart read, with strong characters, wonderful history, and colorful detail.

I would recommend this book, but ONLY after reading the first three.

Feeling Witchy.

All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (Now a prime time television show by AMC)

Book One: A Discovery of Witches (2011)

Book Two: Shadow of Night (2012)

Book Three: The Book of Life (2014)

The All Souls Trilogy is a three book series in the Fiction/ Science Fiction genre, by Deborah Harkness.

If you have never heard of the author:

She is a Professor of History at USC. She has written several books about historical subjects, and has received several prominent awards in historical circles.

If you have never heard of the books:

They are a series of books chronicalling the adventures of Diana Bishop, a witch, and Matthew de Clairmont, a vampire, and their love affair. The series uncovers the biological link between vampire, witch, daemon, and human.

The first book details the meeting of Diana and Matthew, and the beginning of their adventure.

The second book reviews their leap into the unknown, and the beginning of the understanding of what they are.

The third book wraps up the series with a fight for their lives, for their family, and for the book and enclosed information that they had fought so hard to retrieve.

In case you were interested:

A little bit of love, a little sadness, a little comedy, some other-worldly beings….all lend themselves to a riveting, fully consuming set of books. I fell in love with the characters-all of them. They were beautifully written-especially with all their flaws. I was heartbroken, full of hope, exasperated, and anxious at the outcome for all the characters.

If you are looking for a book to totally withdraw into, this would be that book!