Books · food · Life · travel

How YOU doin’?

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It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, so I thought it would be good to check in. I’ve been super busy lately with work, as this is our busiest time of the year. Between the extra hours worked and the stress of it all, I often come home and act like a giant slug in the evenings. Fortunately, we only have about two more weeks of this nonsense and then things should be returning to normal.

Despite the craziness at work, I’ve actually been feeling a lot better lately. I’ve been incorporating some alternate forms of medicine into my routine, plus more daylight hours means I have more capability to get outside and exercise. Winter is a rough time for people with depression, but fortunately I think I’m pulling myself back out of it again.

Boyfriend and I took an overnight trip to Raleigh this weekend for some exploring and shenanigans. The majority of the trip was spent consuming ridiculously delicious food (Morgan Street Food Hall is amazing!) and going to the Museum of Natural Science. Of course, we also paid a visit to one of my favorite independent bookstores, Quail Ridge Books.

 

What I’m currently reading:

Books · food · Life

How You Doin’?

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This have been rough lately. Two people that I know passed away last week, both somewhat unexpectedly. My heart aches for the families and people affected by the loss of both individuals. It’s a very discouraging feeling when you want to help someone who’s grieving, but there’s little you can do other than say “I’m here for you.”

On top of such heavy news, the weight of my own personal issues have been dragging me down quite a bit. My mood has been pretty low lately – the familiar feelings of loneliness, anger, and insecurity brought on by depression settling in the cracks that they had temporarily vacated. As always, my eating disorder likes to sneak appearances in, as well, particularly when (or because) I’m already down. Every morning he rears his ugly little face out from the folds within my closet, or at the edge of the mirror, and whispers nasty things in my ear that make me feel horrible about my appearance and my worth as a human being.

*sigh*

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It hasn’t all been bad, I guess. I went to cat yoga a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I plan on going back either this week or next and incorporating it into my regular repertoire. I’ve also been working on a new routine for a dance show that’s coming up soon and planning for my solo Spring/Summer trips. Of course, I’ve also been playing around in the kitchen, experimenting with new foods and recipes. There have been multiple trips to the Asian market recently, so I could find new ingredients to play with and to feed my obsession with steamed buns and mochi ice cream.

What I’m Reading:

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How YOU doin’ this week? What are you currently reading or working on?

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft

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The Tower of Babel is proving to be as difficult to reenter as it was to break out of. Forced into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew are struggling to survive aboard their stolen airship as the hunt to rescue Senlin’s lost wife continues.
Hopeless and desolate, they turn to a legend of the Tower, the mysterious Sphinx. But help from the Sphinx never comes cheaply, and as Senlin knows, debts aren’t always what they seem in the Tower of Babel.
Time is running out, and now Senlin must choose between his friends, his freedom, and his wife.
Does anyone truly escape the Tower?

Allow me to start off this review with a confession: I almost didn’t pick this book up. I enjoyed Senlin Ascends when I read it last year, but I couldn’t decide if I liked it enough to rush to read the second book. After seeing all the glittering reviews of the third book, The Hod King, recently, I realized that I might be missing out on something.

I was.

The Sphinx’s Arm has a different feel to it than the first book. It’s faster paced, grittier, and a bit more complex. (As if the Tower needed to be more complex!) Senlin and his friends aren’t just on the lam anymore; they’re pirates! They’re still trying to find Senlin’s wife, all while trying to avoid detection by Commissioner Pound. Everywhere they turn, the Tower, with all it’s political corruption and steampunk wonders, is doing its best to thwart them.

The story is rich with amazing (and sometimes terrible) characters, both new and old. The relationship  between Senlin and his crew has deepens and grows more complex with every misadventure they get themselves tangled in. Despite all their flaws and demons, the camaraderie between them is admirable. Senlin is quite different than he was in the first book. He’s not just the lost, desperate tourist searching for his wife anymore. He’s a leader and a friend, trying to do best by his crew. He’s smarter, bolder, and, although he fumbles a lot, you can’t help but love him. I really enjoyed the new characters introduced, as well, especially the mysterious Spinx and his lackey, Byron.

I want to share all the other details I loved about this book, but I don’t want to give too much away. I know we’re only two months into the year, but I already predict that this will be one of the best books I read in 2019.

*Potential spoiler*  (Was anyone else really hoping the Sphinx was actually going to be a spoon?)

Blogging · Books

Where’s that Damned Ball?

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One of the things I always envy about other bloggers is how they always seem to be able to keep track of things. Weekly memes, tags, comments, and, of course, their blogiversaries. I’ve totally dropped the ball this year. I dropped it and then it rolled away and is probably in the middle of the highway somewhere. I’ve been waiting to do my two-year blogiversary post because I thought the date wasn’t until the end of February. Welp, it turns out I was a bit off…by a month. Apparently my blogiversary was back in January and I totally missed it.

Oops. 😛

In honor of my belated blog anniversary, I’m not going to toot my own horn or anything. I’m not going to talk about my blogging or writing achievements, how many followers I have, or blog awards I’ve gotten. Instead, I’m going to say thank you. Thank you to all my readers – the ones who comment on my posts and the ones who silently lurk. Blogging is fun because I get to talk about books and other things that I love, but none of it would quite be the same without you guys. I’ve met some truly awesome people through this blog, people who I have come to consider friends. Thank you for all that you guys are doing in the blogging community. Even if I don’t always leave comments, I love reading your posts and seeing what you guys are doing with your own blogs. The book blogging community is such a fun, creative, and embracing place and I am incredibly happy to be a part of it.

Here’s to another year of blogging, for myself and all of you. ❤

Books · food · Life · travel

How YOU Doin’?

I realized the other day that it’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of my Monday How You Doin’? posts. For a while I didn’t feel like I really had that much to share, so I just put HYD on the back burner for a little bit.

A Beautiful Escape

This past weekend I drove to Asheville. I’ve been experiencing a ton of kidney pain lately and it’s been making me one cranky bitch, so I figured a visit to one of my favorite places would cheer me up. And it did. I paid a visit to my favorite bookstore, ate soup dumplings, and had fun wandering around all the other funky shops and art galleries. Driving through the mountains always gives me inspiration and helps me to clear my head. How can such a beautiful view lead to anything but feelings of contentment?

 

Cat Yoga

In an effort to improve my physical and mental health I’ve gone and done something out of the ordinary. I signed up for yoga. *horror movie scream* There’s nothing wrong with yoga, but it’s never really been my thing. I appreciate it as a form of exercise, but it’s always looked somewhat boring to me. That and I really don’t like the spiritual side of it that often gets shoved at you. In the last few months I recognized how much my flexibility and strength has decreased now that I can’t do my pole exercises as much. I’ve been stretching a little at home to try to improve this, but I don’t feel like it’ll be enough. About a week ago I saw that the local cat cafe does yoga classes once a week. You get to do yoga and socialize with kitties at the same time. Perfect. Even if I’m a little bored with yoga, at least I’ll have the cats as a motivator to keep showing up.

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I must confess that I am not the most graceful person. My first cat yoga class will be this evening and I am expecting to fall over and embarrass myself a few times.

What I’m currently reading

 

So…how you doin’?

Books · Favorites

Will you be my villaintine?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Or Thursday, if you want to just pretend this whole made up holiday doesn’t exist. I’m sure there will be lots of posts about everyone’s favorite book couples today. I believe I did one last year. This year I’m mixing it up a little and doing something a little less cliche.

Forget romance. Today we’re talking about villains. *evil laugh*

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Moriarty – What has always made Moriarty such an interesting villain is that he could just as easily have been the protagonist of the Sherlock story. He’s every bit as clever and cunning as his counterpart. Sometimes I wonder what could have happened if Sherlock and Moriarty teamed up instead of becoming enemies.

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Cersei Lannister – Just try to name a more ruthless female villain. I dare you.

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Eli Ever and Victor Vale – I suppose you could argue that both Victor and Eli are the villains of Schwab’s series. Both are fabulously complex characters. At times, I found myself sympathizing  rather than hating them, because despite their abnormal abilities, at the end of the day they’re still human like the rest of us.

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The Master – Similar to Sherlock and Moriarty, The Master is the evil counterpart to the Doctor’s character. I love the dynamic between the two, especially the latest version (aka Missy).

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Dorothy Gale (from the Dorothy Must Die series) – Dorothy is not the lost little girl from Kansas in this story. She’s been in Oz a long time and rules the place, like the straight up bitch that she is. This iteration of her character is definitely one of the more unique ones. There’s just something I love about an overdressed villain in rhinestone heels.

 

Who are some of your all-time favorite villains? 

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Series I Still Need to Finish

I took a look at my bookshelves the other day and had a slight moment of panic when I realized how many series I started last year and have yet to finish. Typically, when I find a series I like I binge my way through it, but there were just too many good books to read last year that I couldn’t squeeze them all in. #bookwormproblems

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The Books of Babel series by Josiah Bancroft – I’ve already purchased my copy of Arm of the Sphinx (the second book) and will probably be reading it next. At least I’m getting close…

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The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare – I’m not going to lie, I’ve had mixed feelings about finishing this one. I really enjoyed the first three books in the series, but after reading the fourth I’m wondering if this one should have remained a trilogy. The fourth book felt more like a spin off to me than a continuation of the story I had come to know. That being said, I’m still somewhat curious to know what happens, so I’m probably going to finish this one.

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The Monsters of Verity duo by Victoria Schwab – No Schwab book/series must go unfinished!

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The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb – Oh Fitz, I need to know if at least one good thing finally happens to you. After the ending of the second book I almost went out and immediately purchased the final book in the series, Assassin’s Quest. I have enough other books that I should probably get to first though…*whispers* for now.