Friday, September 21, 2018

Five on Friday #165

EINS - Random Shit

-For those who have an Audible subscription.... Ya'll know about Audible Originals???  Essentially, it's kinda like Amazon Prime's free book per month (what with being an Amazon company, I imagine I know where the idea came from).  You can pick TWO from six options.  It's not to say the options are always awesome, but free shit is free shit.

-I hate when I end up with 3 miles of toilet paper because the paper wouldn't rip off from the roll.  This usually happens when I'm using public toilets.

-My German professor was saying something about German doesn't have words like "restroom" for toilet.  Then she said, "You don't even rest in the rest room!"  I alllllllllllmost said to her, "You've obviously never met my husband."  I didn't feel like it was appropriate for the entire class to hear.  Would ya look at that?  Sometimes I DO have a filter!

-To go to bed with an audiobook with 20 minutes left and an ebook with ~30 minutes left is the hardest thing to do for a book lover.

-Went to the dentist on Tuesday.
1.  Many compliments on my teefs.
2.  No cavities #LikeABoss
3.  Was told to keep doing what I am doing (which includes using plastic flossers which aren't really encouraged, but if you make sure to scrape both sides of the tooth rather than just in and out, you're golden)
4.  I do have some sensitivity (fuckin' surprise) so the hygienist did a fluoride treatment.
4a. Said fluoride treatment was grape flavored.  Do you want to know what I hate?  Grape flavored ANYTHING.  Too much Dimeatapp as a kid.  I don't eat purple candy even.  Not even purple Skittles.  You can have them all.  Fake grape flavor is nasty.  Keep yo fake grape.

-The MOST SATISFYING THING of my entire week was brushing the fluoride treatment off my teeth after it had been on for SIX hours.  The minimum time was 2 hours, but I knew I wouldn't brush until it was bedtime, so I held out.  I think I was exhausted from just how irritating the treatment was on my teeth.  Yes, I have an OCD problem.  This is why I have flossers in my car.  Shit in/on my teeth is the 100% absolute worst feeling for me.

-DID YOU KNOW THERE'S GONNA BE A MOVIE ABOUT MY ULTIMATE #GIRLPOWER HEROINE?!?!???!?!?!?!  Who am I talking about?? The Notorious RBG!  THEEEE Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

-I can't do Pandora.  I tried.  My people were all glad that I went back to Spotify so I'd quit bitchin' about Pandora.  #AllHailSpotify

-Speaking of Spotify...  I listen to my Release Radar playlist on Fridays and my Discover Weekly on Mondays.  It's a self-law.  My Release Radar is ON POINT today, Gentle Readers!  Here's why:

ZWEI - Money Shit

-No/Post-Hurricane shopping: pots, dog toys, awesome dish towel, ya know.. stuff.
-Spotify subscription
-Impulse thin hoodie purchase (lawd can it be long sleeve weather yet?!)
-chicken minis and a sweet tea for Friday breakfast.

DREI - From My Phone Shit

I made zoodles.
I had found some zucchini recipes a bit ago and then I didn't even have the correct ingredients for the recipe, so I winged it.
It was fine.

No cavities!
Anddd a "keep doing what you're doing" comment from the dentist.

I pulled up right as this train started to go by.
This is my life.

How does this happen when I pull out a hair that is tangled?
I just want to understand the perfect spiral.

I was confused about the measurement of "one squeeze"... and then I tried it and realized that "just a few drops" is completely sufficient.

I FINALLY got to go to this food truck this week.  I've been stalking them for months.
L: PB&J churro
TR: strawberry cheesecake
BR: Smores
It was as delicious as you're imagining.

And he was so proud of himself.
Please note that no German meal is completely without potatoes.

It's crazy to me that Drs Foster and Smith make a Slumber Ball dog bed fit into such a "tiny" box.

I wouldn't sell my soul for chicken minis.

VIER - From the Internet Shit

This post by Steph about TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF.  Preach, Sister, preach.

FÜNF - Things that made me happy this week

  1. Accidentally hitting a cadet in the face with a piece of gum during the middle of class by accident.  It was hilarious and I am still laughing.
  2. Teh German making dinner.
  3. Getting in a workout almost every day this week.
  4. My Release Radar playlist on Spotify.
  5. Finishing 2 books this week.
  6. When "my" Snapchat filter works properly (the big eyes, little nose, and big mouth filter)
  7. No cavities.
  8. Finally getting to the Holy City Waffles food truck.
  9. It almost not feeling soooo Charleston outside today.  (this means that cooler temps might be on the way, LAWD willing)
  10. This week being over.  Why the fuck was this week soooo long?  Jebus.

Happy Friday, Gentle Readers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Shit Teh German Said #24

I had Teh German help me close my bikini top since I couldn't get it closed.
tG: You shouldn't have raised your hand twice for tits.

tG: But did you die?
tM: A little on the inside, as always.
tG: You can't kill what's already dead.

While passing a billboard for a dentist office that shows missing teeth, which reads, "Let's fix that."
tG: Fix what?  South Carolina?

Teh German lit the citronella candles before we started eating dinner out side.
tG: I don't know if this helps against flies, but at least we can call it a candle light dinner.

While eating steaks that Teh German had grilled.
tG: I noticed there was a charred frog in the grill.  So we probably had some frog legs with dinner.

I brought home 7 boxes of mac and cheese from the grocery store.
tG: You need supervision.

I was silly singing.
tM: That's the good version.
tG: I liked the original better.

Teh German to the dogs who were excited.
*note: when their nails need to be cut, they click on the floor, in a very obvious way.
tG: What is this?  A tap-dance competition?

Shit Teh German Said Edition 123456, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Monday, September 17, 2018

Weekend Review {9/17}


It's not a hurrication if you have to work.. which was my life.  Also, there wasn't really any hurricane to be found.. so it was a very confusing time.  Also, Florence didn't bring a drop in the temps, so it was still Charleston outside, which is gross.

This is what teleworking looks like.
Sometimes you need to company laptop, sometimes you need your personal laptop.
It's complicated.

My 12 call was cancelled (praise hands) which meant lunch time at Willie Jewells.  It was absolutely slammed.  Twin Mom, Dental Hygienist, and AF Maintainer met us there. Teh PT Wife rode with us.  It wasn't the best WJ I've had, but based on the situation with hurricane and limited employees and having run out of food the day before (I called to ask if they were open), it was fine.  After lunch, we headed back home.  Teh PT Wife came over and we puzzled for a bit.  Teh German and Teh PT Husband went out to a brewery.

After the puzzle was completed, Teh PT Wife went home, and I opted for a nap.  I was roused when Teh German arrived home.  We had leftovers for dinner.  The neighborhood hurricane party was at our house on Friday night, but most of the neighbors must have partied too hard the nights prior because the normal crowd didn't show up.  Teh PT Wife and Husband showed up after 8 and while husbands were outside smoking cigars, I turned on Blue Planet and we narrated.  I think if we had been drunk it would have been even more fun.

Around 10 a few more people showed up, which was unfortunate since I was ready for bed.  They stayed until midnight and then I practically kicked people out of my house because I was so tired.  My nap hadn't been very effective apparently.


I had forgotten that I had agreed with Teh German's good idea to leave the bug zapper on the counter during the night to slay all the bugs that had come in the house while the door had been open the night prior (for ingress/egress and to move a chair in/out for someone).  So this was waiting on me when I woke up.  I left it there for Teh German to take care of.

Despite Teh German's coffee error (he had put the coffee in the machine, but he hadn't put water in), I was able to conjure up some tolerable coffee and I enjoyed a quiet morning reading on the couch with Sully.

Teh PT Wife and I headed out for some afternoon non-house activities.  We made a stop at TJ-Maxx, where I spent a bunch of money on things I didn't need and have kinda been looking for (dog toys, pots), then a snack at Checkers, then a trip to Walmart for milk.

Instead of mice, they are bats!  #HalloWIN

After getting home, I put all the new things away and distributed dog toys.  I joined Teh German in front of the TV.  We started watching Shameless and can't stop.  It's not a replacement for The Ranch (why in the shit do I love that show sooo much?  It's moderately embarrassing), but it will do and it's got lots of episodes, so that is nice.

We ate leftovers for dinner in front of the TV and spent the rest of the night watching TV.  Whew.


Sunday morning, I got up and accomplished some homework.  By 2ish I was done with that shit and joined Teh German in front of the TV again for more Shameless.  We went to dinner around 4 with Teh PT Family for pizza, which was a good life choice, even if the place we went to seemed to be in the middle of some type of drama.

When we got home, it was more Shameless.

I discovered before bed that my water bags that I'd put in the freezer as hurricane prep (which Teh German had insisted on that I hadn't planned on doing) had leaked, so now someone (me, of course) gets to de-ice the drawer and under the drawer.  Fan-fucking-tastic.  Ugh.


Hurricane Florence wuz here!

Please do not take my dissatisfaction with the lack of hurricane as a lack of sympathy for those people who have been hit by Hurricane Florence.  My struggle with the Charleston response is that it was called SOOOOO early before the hurricane was even close to hitting, so we missed up to a week of school (some places went back today, but the Citadel returns to class tomorrow) and work and nothing happened here. It's literally like crying wolf.  Nothing happened this time, so next time, people will be less likely to evacuate and that's when something will actually happen.  Or worse, people who evacuated this time (for nothing) won't be able to afford it next time.

I'm sure there is a balance of how early to be prepared vs how late can you call it, but Charleston doesn't seem to be able to get it right.  I know there's plenty of wisdom in "Better safe than sorry..." but that shouldn't be the default way of thinking when we have the technology to possibly predict what will happen.  Yes, this storm was mostly unpredictable, but putting everyone on alert more than week before the actual hurricane even hit is unnecessary. 

I'm sure we've all seen the video of the weather reporter struggling against a super strong wind, only to see two people walk behind him with zero issues.  That's fear mongering.  That's #fakenews. 

Also, to report on "The Carolinas" as a single place is the same shit.  Fear-mongering and #fakenews.  I understand that it's more words to say the southern coastal region of NC and the northern coastal area of SC, but that's the area that has been affected by Hurricane Florence.  Downtown Charleston didn't even flood and it floods when there's a king tide and a heavy rain day.  That's how unaffected we were by Hurricane Florence, but news reports were saying "The Carolinas" were about to float away so everyone was on high alert that we were gonna die.

All this to say, PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU ARE CONSUMING.  Be it media or french fries.  Generalization (a lack of detail) is an enemy of the truth.

If you were affected by the hurricane and need anything, please reach out.  I'd be happy to do what I can, in my limited way.


Overall, a boring, not-overly-productive weekend.  We're now addicted to Shameless (which we were told multiple times about and held off because we're stubborn assholes).  I did accomplish homework, although I realized this morning I did the wrong homework....  Ugh.  So more HW for me tonight.

I'm mostly just glad that we're getting back on schedule and Teh German is back at work.  Him hanging around the house being lazy AF was starting to grate on my nerves.  Everyone needs some down time, so I was trying not to be Captain BitterPants (it was unsuccessful, fyi).

This week includes:
  • Work
  • School
  • A dentist appt for me
  • some running (BJB willing)
  • some punching shit
  • German visitors arriving this weekend

Let's do this.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Five on Friday #164 - A "Hurrication"

EINS - Random Hurricane Shit

-When you are able to telework and actually have tasking and internet and power to work, it's really not a hurrication, just to be clear.  Additionally, homework woes were also a thing.  I had lofty goals of getting ahead on homework, buttttt not so much.  Most evenings of the week were spent drinking with neighbors.  It kinda worked out better for them since most of them didn't have to go/do work the following day.  It really is kind of a killjoy.

-That said, the top image is from 9/14 at 0720, and was the most up to date image available at the time of writing this post.  I hope like hell that Wilmington and the rest of the coast and the OBX come through this.  I'm forever partial to my home state, even if I don't necessarily love the beach.

-Hurricane prep looks like this:

Who needs spring cleaning when you can just do hurricane cleaning instead?

When you're already sweaty from your workout, then you get sweatier vacuuming and moving patio furniture, then as you're putting dog poop down the sewer drain it starts to rain, you just roll with it.

Open area houses are really versatile for furniture placement.....

-Seriously though, my week has been all about hurricane and responding to well-intentioned friends asking if we're ok.  I've been posting updates on FB since Thurs since news reporting seems to think that "The Carolinas" is actually a singular area and it's extremely inaccurate which is leading a lot of people to needlessly worry about us.

-I've been using my work laptop for work things this week for reasons and the page up button is where the control key is on my personal laptop and it's made for all sorts of frustration.  There is a reason for standardization!!!!

-In my last Sam's order, I purchased coffee.  They didn't grind the beans in the massive machine right beside the coffee pallet...  I hate everyone.

-I ordered a doggy doo drain for disposing of the dog poop, thanks to Teh PT Husband.  I finally got to use it on Wednesday and because it had been so long since I scooped, I was afraid I accidentally clogged the sewer line after a whole bunch of poop fell out of the bucket and then I couldn't wash it down as effectively as I wanted to.  I didn't sleep well that night.  Thursday morning, I checked the drain.  All the poop had been washed away.  There was no more fear of a shit flood under out house.  #Miracle 

That said, this is now my favorite way to dispose of the dog poop.  It goes into the sewer line from the connection at our house and now I don't have to keep collecting plastic bags at the grocery store, there will be no more poop filled plastic bags in our garbage can, and I can go back to using my reusable bags at the grocery store.  #VICTORY!

-We went to the gym on Wednesday since they planned to close Thurs-?? and I'm pretty sure that Wednesday is the hard day.  I want to die.  I literally felt like my muscles were shredding when I was doing my last reps.  There is not enough stretching to make this better.  If I didn't know that I'd end up with a headwind in both directions (there and back), I'd go on a run.

ZWEI - Money Shit

For not leaving home for most of the week, it's been quite expensive to my bank account.

-HVAC maintenance where Jerry noticed that our machine has been working overtime.  Which leads me tooooooo...
-Our power bill.....  it was about the same temps this month as last month, but since the HVAC was working harder, the bill was more expensive.  I'm about ready to kill this machine already and make them replace it.  Especially since this is 2 years in a row with issues.
-hairs did
-pizza dinner
-dog bed for the guest room, calming treats, and something else since I had a $40 gift cert that had to be used in 30 days.
-coffee filters and something else I can't remember
-lacrosse balls for rolling my feet since I've been getting bad cramping at night.

DREI - From My Phone Shit

We saw this and thought it was AWESOME.
The bus didn't have any windows and there were mounted paintball guns in each window opening.
I assume they drive you around and you "hunt" zombies.  Not sure if they are targets or actual people, but it's still an awesome concept.

FL to NC/SC: Thanks ya'll!  Next round is on us!

Not all of my runs are epically miserable.
I had to send this selfie to Teh Running Bestie so she knew.

When your dogs are assholes and try to eat your honeymoon acquired Christmas ornaments.

When you make dinner for others and yourself, it's a LOT of sausage.

Wednesday morning "hurrication" snuggles with my Monkey.  /swoon.
This was on repeat for Thurs and Fri as well.

They did not arrive.
I DID find our reusable filter that I had stashed away.

I'm not sure what asshole critter decided my flower bush was a good place for their... nesting?
IDK.  But I am pissed every time I walk by and see the desecration.

VIER - From the Internet Shit

FÜNF - Things that made me happy this week

  1. No class, even if we have to make it up later and it will make me stabby.
  2. Teh German's homework assistance.
  3. Finally getting to use my doggy doo drain.
  4. No 0514 alarms for most of the week.
  5. Reusable coffee filters.
  6. Not having to put on a bra to go to work.
  7. Not having to leave the house from Weds-????.  I assume by Monday or Tuesday school will resume.  We shall see how flooded downtown gets this weekend.
  8. Places still being open despite an excessively early mandatory evacuation for a hurricane that hadn't even graced Charleston with it's presence at the time of writing this.
  9. Audiobook and puzzle time.
  10. Reading.

Happy Friday, Gentle Readers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Books Books Books! (Summer)

Summer reading dump is here!
If you don't want to read this entire post, that's fair.  

Ultimate TL;DR: (links on reviews)
Definitely Read:  
  • Dear Madam President!!!  THIS THIS THIS!!!
  • Girl, Wash Your Face!!  THIS THIS THIS!!!
  • Burn for Me/White Hot/Wildfire (it's a series, if you can stop in the middle, you're stronger than me)
Maybe Read:  
  • From Lukov With Love
  • Us Against You (Beartown sequel)
    • If you liked Beartown, this follow up I think does a good job of being a not-shitty sequel, but no more after this plskthx.
  • Every Note Played
Hard Pass:  
  • 1984
  • Bad Girls Throughout History

Rating scale*:

1/5 - Hated it, DNF (didn't finish).
2/5 - Tolerated it on principle to finish, didn't like it.
3/5 - Eh, didn't love it, didn't hate it. Had some good parts/kept me interested/finished it on principle.
3.5/5 - I liked parts of it.
4/5 - I liked the whole thing.
4.5/5 - I liked it a lot, but not sure I'd read it again.
5/5 - I LURVED it and I'd read it again.

*Subject to change based on my mood, the phase of the moon, or other unpredictable variables.

Skimmers, stick with the bold text (TL;DR* parts).
PS. Possible spoilers included in reviews.

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews   4.5/5 (library audiobook)

White Hot by Ilona Andrews   4.5/5 (library audiobook)

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews   4.5/5 (own, Audible audiobook)

This is all Kristen's fault.  She raved about these books and then I got hooked and had to read all three!  I started the first one after the spring semester ended and I had to pace myself not to race through all of them.  I ended up finishing the third book while we were on our honeymoon diving expedition.  Between dives, I could be found playing stupid games on my phone while listening to the audiobook.  Even Teh German took a little bit of an interest.

Nevada and Rogan are believable most of the time.  There are times that Nevada made me want to punch her in the face, but that's a thing with strong characters, sometimes they are unlikable (remind me that about Mere Barrow).  There were also times that Rogan made me want to punch him in the face, but considerably less than wanting to punch Nevada .

The series goes through adventures that Nevada gets involved in/with and how her family is affected by her decisions and abilities.

In bittersweet news (yay more of the series, boo series that never ends!), book 4 (or 3.5 per Goodreads) is supposedly coming in Nov 2018.

TL;DR: It's a romance story, but it's not sugary sweet and there were actually parts that made me LOL.  It's got super powers, if that's your jam, and it's believable as written.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit   1.5/5 (library ebook) 

I thought this book was going to be about what the title suggested: mansplaining...  which was true, for the first chapter.. Then other topics were discussed.  At some point, I stumbled upon the fact that the book was actually a collection of essays, which made me hate it a little less.  But for me, the first essay was what I was looking for and after that, IDGAF about anything else in the book.

I probably should have, but I was disappointed by a misleading title.  Also, Solnit came across as an over-critical man-hater.  There was entire chapter on Virginia Wolfe and I was not interested so I skipped it.

TL;DR: I'm all about yay for feminism, but this book was not what I was looking for.  HARD PASS.

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen   1.5/5 (Amazon free ebook)

I almost DNF-ed this one, but it was early in the year and I was, stupidly, worried about meeting my Goodreads challenge for the year.  Instead, skimmed through this drivel.  If you want to know something about a bad ass woman, do the research yourself.  These articles felt like she'd summarized a Wikipedia article and had someone draw a "cute" artsy photo of the woman and then she managed to get it published.  Ugh.

TL;DR: PASS.  Even if it's free, even if it's to bump up your total books for the year, PASS.

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova   4/5 (library audiobook)

Genova tore me apart with Still Alice, like shredded my ice cold heart.  This book was not the same.  This book was depressing and sad, but the ALS character was so unlikable that I wasn't overly concerned that he was sick and was going to die.  Also, how do you not tell your kid that you're sick and going to die?  I just... no.

I did appreciate how the caretaker was portrayed as being the person making the sacrifices, rather than the sick person being treated as a hero.

TL;DR: Man with ALS is going to die.  Such is life.  This is the process of that monumental event.

Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World by Jennifer Palmieri   10/5 (library audiobook)

This book, written by Hillary Clinton's communications director, is a letter to the, eventual, first female president.  I listened to this book on a flight during our honeymoon and I was blubbering and crying so hard and IDGAF.  Teh German even gave me a super concerned look when I was sniffling and wiping the tears away and then I told him what I was listening to and he was even more concerned/confused.

This book handled my heart with such gentleness, showing me all the struggles that powerful women have faced, continue face, and will always face.  It hit home in many ways, as I recognized scenarios that I have directly experienced because I am a female.  It also communicated hope.  That despite a serious blow to women in 2016, there is still hope.  Despite the blow, progress was made and progress will continue to be made.  There WILL BE a female president one day.

TL;DR: Struggles of powerful women have never been in shortage, nor will there be a time when powerful women don't struggle.  This book is the calm to a storm where you feel like you're barely able to stay afloat.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton   3.25/5 (library audiobook)

I wanted this to be the story of the election and the aftermath and the odds that were stacked against Clinton because she was a SHE..  But instead I felt like it was the story of the election and how emails email emails were the reason Hillary didn't win the presidential election in 2016 (holy shit, this fucktard has been our president for almost 2 years?  WTF is wrong with AMERICA?).

I wanted to hear about how she dealt with such a MAGNORMOUS defeat and the struggles in the days after.  There was a little of that, but it was kept to a minimum to take jabs at Trump and how he was elected with Putin's help and other political scandals that I really didn't care too much for.

TL;DR: If you're interested in Hillary's opinion of why she didn't win, this is the book for you.  Don't expect much of a summary about how being a female held her back.  If you want that, read Palmieri's book (above).

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers   3.5/5 (library ebook)

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers    3.5/5 (library ebook)

A series about "nuns" who are Death's handmaidens... essentially.  They kill people who are marked by Death, by marks only they can see.  This series was recommended by Brit.  This book is set in "olden times" if you will.  It's actually based on a historical event that I didn't read enough about to fully understand.  The books were enjoyable enough but I wasn't sooo hooked that I had to start the 3rd book right away, although it does sound the most intriguing.  I used the 2nd book as a challenge book.

TL;DR: People will die.  You'll wish other people died.  Also, the struggle in the 2nd book regarding responsibility and the true desires of Death was like a "FINALLY!" type of event.

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata   4/5 (own, Audible audiobook)

Ice skating romance (or what apparently is called a "slow burn" which is something I didn't know was a thing until I wrote this review).  Jas is the fucking queen of the oblivious and she's too stubborn for her own good and if you didn't hate her at least once during the book, you're wrong.  She was obnoxious for so much of the book.

Lucky for her, we had Ivan, who I couldn't tell if he was a dick or a dream.  Honestly, for dealing with Jas, he's a fucking saint.  Lawdddd.  The banter was silly, but got old quickly because who actually acts like that all the time?  Let's get real people.

Nonetheless, it was a good book once you ignored how obnoxious Jas was and the epilogue was the perfect bow.

TL;DR: "Slow burn" where the main characters are ice skaters, which is kinda cool.

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman   5/5 (own, Audible audiobook)

Something that irritated me very much when starting Beartown felt like a welcome home hug when I started Us Against You.

When I didn't get distracted by the Swedish story telling method, I luuuurrrvveeddd this book.  It's the way of foreshadowing then writing about what happens to show you how the scene actually unravels.

This book shattered my heart into so many pieces.  We revisit Maya as she works through the aftermath of her rape, Benji who deals with coming out, and all the support characters. Someone dies (no spoilers) and I didn't realize that it would crush me like it did. It was an excellent story of town rivalry and an accurate portrayal of the human character.

Also, if "that's a story for another time" is foreshadowing, I'm not sure if I'm excited or disappointed. At a certain point, it's ok to just let your characters go.

TL;DR: If you read Beartown, this is what immediately follows.  PS.  I still don't dig Swedish authors.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn   3.5/5 (own, Audible audiobook)

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I felt like the beginning dragged a bit and I was over Eve's crochity-ness and Charlie's obsession with Rose. Also, I'm uncool enough to not know what a Lagonda is, so I had to Google that. That really helped me visualize more of the scenes.

The twist that tied them together in the end alllllmost felt a little far fetched for me, but it was still an interesting book.  By about halfway, I was relieved that we started to get into Eve's backstory because otherwise, this was going to be a DNF.  I was glad for the ending that tied everything up nicely.

TL;DR: WW1/post-WW2 fiction.  Female spies.  Coming of age. 

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore   */5 (library audiobook)

I really enjoyed this book. It kinda lagged in the beginning, but after the initial setup, things progressed nicely. I'm sad that I can't say this wasn't fictional truth, as the end note essentially says, "Do not tell your friends the things in this book as hard facts." Nonetheless, I probably learned more about The Current Wars that I would have known otherwise.

It was very hard for me to stay in the 1886 time frame, I wanted the book to be set in the 1900-1905 time, for a reason that I do not know.  Also, I was glad for the happy ending after all the strife.

Now I want to read a book like this about Tesla inventing the electric car.

TL;DR: A historical fiction book about the AC/DC current battle between Edison and Westinghouse.

1984 by George Orwell   1.5/5 (library audiobook)

I know WHY we should all read 1984, but I fucking hated this book.  It was dry and tedious and if it hadn't been a challenge book, a book that most people read in high school, and a hot topic item due to the currently political scene in the US, I would have put this POS down by about page 25.  I HHHHAAAAATTTTTTEEEEEEDDDDDD this. 

Winston was a bore, Julia was interesting to me, but she didn't last. The affair was the most activity of the entire book and it was so short lived. Also, reading a book within the book made me stabby.

There are interesting points the book makes about complacency within the system and not fighting for your beliefs, but the entire book was so tedious that I felt like I was being tortured.  Like someone asked on Goodreads, WHY do people rate this 5 stars?  They obviously don't enjoy reading.

TL;DR: Find the Cliff's/Spark Notes (or whatever the current era's equivalent is) and read those and don't waste more of you life than necessary on this.

The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy  3/5 (own, Audible audiobook)

I struggle with authors who write the same book with different characters (lookin' at you, Nick Sparks).  I read South of Broad for last year's challenge and I felt like all the same characters were in this book, except they went to the Citadel (or the Institute, semantics).

I was disappointed that The 10 were never dealt with, the stuff with Anna Marie (or whatever her name was) seemed like a tool to pass the time and ended up being completely irrelevant, which frustrated me. As a current non-cadet student, it was no surprise to see the "not hazing" that occurs to knobs.  Obviously, the most heartbreaking thing is when Pig is shunned and I didn't see what happened after coming.

At times this book felt like a slog. Like sometimes Conroy just wanted to write big words about Charleston in endless run-on sentences, but when the action was going down, I was hooked.

TL;DR: The Citadel banned this book for a while because it casts them in a negative light, but those days are over.  I can't speak to the brutality of the plebe system, but there is obviously still a sufficient amount of difficulty to overcome your Knob year.  If you want a glimpse into the life of a military college, this does a good job.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, David Javerbaum   3.75/5 (own, hard copy)

As a NPH fan, this book was interesting to me when he explained about his childhood and getting into acting, etc. NPH seems like a generally awesome person who didn't let fame go to his head. The choose your own adventure part of this was cool in theory, but for this OCD reader, not knowing if I'd gotten through every page or not, I got frustrated. I did try the choose your own adventure thing, because it's cool in a, my 8 year old self would luuurrrvve this.. but my 32 year old self was like, I'm annoyed and lazy and will just be moving on to the next page now, kthx.

I would have liked more about HIMYM and maybe even the Dougie days, but there was more focus on magic, Broadway, being gay, and some other random stuff. Overall, I finished this book having enjoyed it though

TL;DR: If you're interested in the life of NPH, this book is for you.

War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard   3.5/5 (own, Audible audiobook)

WHHHYYYYYYY did this series not end?  We were SOOOO close and thennn Maven.. and now I have to wait on another book, which is the WORST.  For the 4th book, Cal and Mere have split up because Cal chose the crown and this book deals with that fallout.  Evangeline is a "slow burn" for me and as much as I dislike her, I also like her too, so it's complicated.  It didn't surprise me that she and Mere drifted towards each other more and more.

Maven.. That's So Maven.. is Maven.
Iris had me curious what was going to happen (since I'd mostly forgotten what happened in books 2/3 regarding her and her family) and I was glad in her Maven betrayal.

Mere was a lot less annoying in this book, but there were also 5 different perspectives so we didn't have to spend as much time with her. *praise hands*

TL;DR: I'm invested in this series and NOW I have to wait on another installment of the series and this is exactly why I hate series.  I hate waiting.

The Rising Tide (World War II: 1939-1945 #1) by Jeff Shaara   1/5 (returned, Audible audiobook)

Jeff Shaara writes as accurate as you can get historical fiction.  He does a lot of research on his characters (letters to/from them, journals, anything he can find) to make the characters as authentic as possible.  Yet, sometimes, that doesn't make a good story.  This book starts out in Africa during WW2 and not only was the desert dry, so was this book.  I endured about 4 hours before I finally said NO MAS!, informed Erin I was DNFing this book and would have to change 2 challenge category selections, AND went so far as to return this book to Audible because there will be NO wasted credits.

TL;DR: Did not finish because it was boring.  I never made it out of the desert.  Much like many soldiers.

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley   3.5/5 (own, hard copy)

I'd heard a lot of good things about this book and as as dog person, I kinda knew where we were going to end up... what with dogs not having lifespans longer than humans.  I struggled with this book because the main ADULT character acted like a child in so many ways.

I did appreciate an accurate portrayal of weighing cost of pet care vs end results of said pet care.  I wasn't really into this book for a long time... and then I almost just gave up around 75% through because of octopus hunting and how fucking stupid it was.. and then it was just a dream, so if you read this and think, WTF this is stupid, just skip that chapter.  You're not missing anything.

Obviously when Ted had to take Lily in for her final vet visit, it shattered me.  We were actually driving back from NC and I went ahead and prepped myself with a tissue in hand because I knew I'd be crying.  Teh German was like, "WHAT IS HAPPENING???" and I explained that it was Lily's last vet visit and she wasn't coming home and he was like, "Ooooooohhhhhhhh."  With Phil, it was too soon, AND one of Lily's nicknames was Monkey and he kept referring to her as Monkey, which is one of Meri's nicknames and holy Lawd all my soft spots!

The final chapter/epilogue was sweet and really helped make up for the heartache of the final chapters, but not for the stupidity of the dream chapter and everything before.

TL;DR: It's no Art of Racing in the Rain, which will forever be the BEST book about dogs.

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis  10!/5 (library audiobook, own -hard copy)

I wasn't expecting to love this book.  I had read a trusted review and just didn't think this was going to be my jam.  In fact, WHILE I was listening, this was more like a 3.75/5.  There were chapters that didn't apply to me (mom related), there were things I don't really care about (setting these HUGE goals like owning a business, etc), but Rachel made such poignoit points on SOOO many #GirlPower things that this book just touched my soul.  Also, she encouraged people to do a Disney run, obviously we'd be friends.

I loved this book so much that I posted about it on FB.  I went and found jpgs of quotes since I only had listened to the audiobook and couldn't remember the exact quotes I wanted and I couldn't find them on the internet to recreate them myself.  I even went and bought a hard copy... and when it arrived I cracked open that book and underlined my favorite lines.  The lines that I want to stick with me FOR FOREVER.

I reached out to several women I know to tell them they should read this book.  Before I could figure out how to send the audiobook to Teh Running Bestie, she'd already purchased it.  As soon as I finished underlining my favorite things, I delivered my copy to Teh PT Wife.  I feel very strongly about this book.  I did NOT want to feel so strongly about a "self-help" book.  I just didn't.  BUT I DO.  Her situation isn't going to be everyone's situation and some of her stories need to be edited and she's realistic about the fact that most of the time, things don't work out like they worked out for her, butttttt she was REAL about those truths, which made me appreciate the stories and situations.

I will say that if you are not a super religious person, this might not be your jam.  But even though I've drifted away in the last few years, the religious parts of this book didn't take anything away for me.

TL;DR: YOU WERE NOT MADE TO BE SMALL.  If you don't read this book, just take away that SINGLE sentence.  Take it to your heart and let it blossom.  You were not made to be small.

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      YAY for books!
      *TL;DR = too long, don't read