Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: A Eulogy

Today I'm ready to bury this year and not recall most of it, though some of the difficulties I've had this year will continue to bleed their way into the fresh field of dandelion fluff that is 2017. Because it's been such a tumultuous year, I feel it's only right to say my peace about it before letting it fade into memory.

2016 was an okay year for me until about midway through. In July, I was having such difficulties with my arm being a "zombie"- having intense pins and needles sensations constantly while trying to convince doctors that there was actually something wrong with me was a bit stressing. I had no idea that a mere 20 days after my 24th birthday I would be unable to walk without a cane or other aid to assist me. Then it was even more stressful trying to find an answer as to why my walking was so off. Medically speaking, it wasn't a very good year for normal function for me.

Keisha at her cutest and Dorkie-est
I always thought I'd have Keisha, my Dorkie (Dachshund Yorkie mix), until she was 12 or 14 years old, but when her heart began to fail, nothing I or the vet did seemed to help her. I knew her diagnosis of congestive heart failure was serious, but I thought she'd continue to be my couch buddy for at least another few years. Once her breathing deteriorated to the point she was barely scraping by, and she wouldn't move or eat, I knew it was time to let her go.

My grandma has fallen twice this year- fracturing both of her hips and getting 3 screws in one of them. She's 90 years old, but even though I've spent the most time with her of any of my grandmothers, I never want to not be able to go visit her in Montana.

On the positive side of things:

My minion army of plants and flowers spent a ridiculous amount of time alive before being slain by the snow. Because I had such a nice flower screen, I spent a bunch of time outside, with Keisha. I'm so glad her final summer with us was spent in the sunshine.

I read a lot of longer books this year- my page count was 2000 pages more than it was last year, according to Goodreads, even though I read 4 fewer books.

I ordered many (many) books this year from Better World Books, discovering many that I wouldn't have been able to find in my local stores.

Today we went to the shelter and adopted a dog named Princess, who we're rechristening Leia (for obvious reasons). She can't come home with us until the 3rd because she needs spayed (she was used for someone as their breeding dog, and they didn't come for her at the shelter even though they knew she was there), but from what I've seen of her in the shelter, she'll be perfect for us. If all goes well and she gets along with Torrie and George, we will be outnumbered by animals again.

In a month, I will be visiting a diagnostician at the University of Utah Neurology Clinic. Hopefully they'll have some answers and solutions for my walking and other issues.

Is anyone else ready for 2017?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

SFF: The 5 Books You're Excited to Read in 2017

Sunday Fun Five #69:

#66: The 5 Times You Found the Right Book at the Right Time (Or Did It Find You?)
#67: The 5 New-To-You Authors of 2016 You Wish You'd Read Sooner
#68: The 5 Characters You Won't Soon Forget That You Read About in 2016
#69: The 5 Books You're Excited to Read in 2017
For the 1st of January: #70: The 5 Vintage Sci-fi Books You Recommend (For Vintage Sci-fi Month!)

A Countdown of

The 5 Books You're Excited to Read in 2017

5. Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire #2) by Michael J. Sullivan
Expected Publication: June 28th 2017
This book will continue the story that started with Age of Myth, which I found quite excellent this year. Unfortunately I'll have to wait until I can either procure this on NetGalley or find it in stores- but I think it'll be worth the wait.

4. The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan
by Stephanie Thornton
This was a book I ordered with The Blood Mirror to get free shipping- but I bought it also because it's set in Mongolia, a place I don't know much about. It didn't seem like I read much historical fiction in 2016 and I'd like to return to more of it in 2017.

3. Rendezvous with Rama (Rama #1)
by Arthur C. Clarke
I bought this at Better World Books after hearing good things about it. I did read A Fall of Moondust this year and was less than impressed by it, but I'm willing to read more of Clarke's later works.

2. Kindred
by Octavia E. Butler
One of the new-to-me authors I am most impressed by this year is Octavia E. Butler, so I'm excited to read the rest of my stockpile of her works in 2017. She wrote complex sci-fi in a manner that's easy to devour.

1. The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer #4) by Brent Weeks
This book was just all wrong for me this year- I bought it in hardcover, which means I have to tote it around (it's hard with just one free arm) and also my grip has started to wane a bit, leading to the deaths of multiple ceramics in our kitchen. Then I was having the year end antics of 2016, most of which were negative, so I'm hoping 2017 will be bright enough that I can read this.

Which books are you looking forward to reading in 2017? 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fortnightly Update #25: The Odd Case of the Cat Condo

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

the-pile Additions:

The Time Weaver (Drakon #5) by Shana Abe
This is another of Shana Abe's fantasy romances, which I am slightly addicted to. I like romance books that are have unique worldbuilding.

the-invisible-pile Additions:

The Forever War (The Forever War #1) by Joe Haldeman
This was for sale as a Kindle version for $0.25- and also it qualifies for my Vintage Sci-fi Month challenge in January. I enjoy older sci-fi.

Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith by Gabrielle Douglas with Michelle Burford
Generally, I don't read memoirs, but when it comes to Gabrielle Douglas, I, like many Americans, have become a fan. And fans read memoirs, especially when they are on sale for cheap.

Currently Reading:

Not much at all! I keep jumping from book to book because I'm in a "bah humbug" mood- I keep finding fault/getting sad with the books I read. I need to find a happy book that I don't find absurd/can't find fault with.

Finished These Books:

One thing that stuck out to me about this book is that the hero is definitely not your average regency romance hero. I can't recall what made me downgrade the rating on this one, but I likely found something fishy about the hero's interactions with the heroine- he was a bit on the creepy side.

A Christmas Dance by Alissa Johnson
I think this one was a bit too rushed for me- it was a cute novella, but I wanted a bit more from it.

In My Life (The Odd Case of the Cat Condo):

George in the cheap cat condo
As I mentioned in my month in review, I had to put Keisha down at the end of November. Although I still have one dog (Torrie) and a cat (George), our house seems so quiet without Keisha, who liked to interject her barking commentary in the many mundane events of our household when she was still well. Keisha had a few odd and downright puzzling traits- one of them being her love of crates and den-like areas. When my mom and I adopted George, we got him a little cheap cat condo that he seemed to ignore. Keisha loved his cat condo. When George would chase her, she hid in it (which is not very good logic, but Keisha wasn't the most logical- hiding from a cat in a cat condo). A few days after I put her down, George started using it as his own again- as if he had respected Keisha's wishes and not used it while she was alive because it was "hers". I find this unusual in part because George liked to steal Keisha's place in her pink fluffy bed on my bed, and yet the cat condo, which was originally intended for his own use, was left for Keisha. My misfit animals have always had a strange way of getting along.

What books are you reading this week? Do your pets have an odd hierarchy?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Month in Review for November 2016: Bah Humbug

I didn't have the best November. After Keisha got worse (she refused to eat, even when I tried to feed her people food, and she could barely breathe) I took her to the vet and put her down. While I know it was the right decision, it left me feeling out of sorts and guilty, of what, I'm not sure. In my analysis of her condition, I did everything I could- but when it comes to my pets, I always think I can pull off some sort of magic healing ritual. Anyway, I couldn't, and I've been in a bad mood since then. 2016 has had some nasty surprises for me, and of them, the nastiest was Keisha's illness.

 Total Posts: 6
  Total Critiques: 1
    Out of Orbit: 1

Most Popular Posts of November:
Fortnightly Update #24: Waiting on 2017
SFF: The 5 New-To-You Authors of 2016 You Wish You'd Read Sooner
O.o.O.C.: "Out" by Natsuo Kirino
Fortnightly Update #23: Destination Destressed

Flashback Post (From November of a Previous Year):
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1)" by Douglas Adams

Pageviews for the Month: 871
Comments: 11

Reading Challenges Updates:

Travel the World in Books Challenge

Applicable Books:
Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss #1) by Nalini Singh (Set in New Zealand)

Total for 2016 So Far: 17 of 15 Books, 11 of 5 Countries (Completed/Overachiever Status)

Reading Stats:

Books read this Month: 6

Book Stats:
Has a Diverse Main Character: 3
Doesn't Have a Diverse MC: 3
Female Main Character: 1
Male Main Character:0
Pair and/or Group of Female/Male Main Characters: 5
 Sci-fi: 1
 Historical Romance: 1
 Fantasy Romance: 2
 Mystery (Contemporary-ish): 1
 Contemporary Romance: 1
Published in 2016: 0
Published in 2000-2015: 4
Published in 1990s: 2
Self-Published, Small Press, or Other: 1
Traditionally Published: 5
Series Books: 4
Standalones: 2
Ebook Version: 5
Paper Version: 1
Favorite of the Month: Bloodchild: And Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler- I was surprised how much I liked these stories- it also includes her take on them, and some essays and articles she had written.
Least Favorite of the Month: Mistletoe Murder (Lucy Stone #1) by Leslie Meier- their family cat dies, and Lucy barely bats an eyelash. O_O
Most Interesting of the Month (or Book I Learned the Most From): Bloodchild: And Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler again- I didn't know much about Miss Butler, but I learned a lot from this book.
From the-pile: 1
From the-invisible-pile: 2
Recently acquired: 3
Added to the-invisible-pile: 1
Books bought: 0
Pages Read in 2016 Thus Far (according to Goodreads): 30,303 pages

5 Stars: 1
4-4.5 Stars: 1
3-3.5 Stars: 2
2-2.5 Stars: 2

Author Stats (1 = 1 book read by x author):
Male: 0
Female: 6
Male/Female Team: 0
Diverse: 3
Not-so-Diverse: 3
Living: 5
Deceased: 1

Planning to Read in December:

Mostly, I'll be reading anything that is on the positive end of the spectrum since I've had such a hard time lately. I also reduced my reading challenge so I can focus more on what I want to do and celebrate this year than be nervous about not meeting that.

Upcoming Posts:

I hope to have some year end lists, but we'll see how it goes. I expect to be more active in the blogosphere next year with many things to look forward to including Vintage Sci-fi Month in January.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

SFF: The 5 Characters You Won't Soon Forget That You Read About in 2016

Sunday Fun Five #68:

#66: The 5 Times You Found the Right Book at the Right Time (Or Did It Find You?)
#67: The 5 New-To-You Authors of 2016 You Wish You'd Read Sooner
#68: The 5 Characters You Won't Soon Forget That You Read About in 2016
For the 22nd of December: #69: The 5 Books You're Excited to Read in 2017

A Countdown of

The 5 Characters You Won't Soon Forget That You Read About in 2016

5. Haviland Tuf of Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin
Haviland Tuf is a logical vegetarian who also loves cats, and though his travels seem a bit moot in the end, if there were more books about him I'd pick them up in a heartbeat.

4. Jodahs of
Imago (Xenogenesis #3) by Octavia E. Butler
Jodahs is the first of their kind- a third sex ooloi with human DNA, and their experiences are riveting. I won't say more for fear of spoiling this book, but definitely consider picking up the Xenogenesis series if you want something different from the usual science fiction offerings.

3. Wang the Taxi Driver of The Incarnations by Susan Barker
Wang has been on my mind a lot this year- something about this story simply sticks with me, but most of all I think of Wang and his experiences in this book.

2. Janie of
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Janie doesn't have an easy journey in Their Eyes Were Watching God, but it becomes more evident as the book progresses that she is a singular personality. There are some things in this book that made my eyebrows raise, but in the end I couldn't think of a thing I'd change about it, or Janie for that matter.

1. FitzChivalry Farseer of Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb
I am so glad I finally gave in and read these books this year. I'd been told Robin Hobb is great by multiple bloggers, but it was only this year I decided to put those claims to the test. Fitz wasn't originally one of my favorites of the series, but after reading the first trilogy featuring him as a main character, he has become one of my favorites, along with the Fool, Nighteyes, and the many other characters of this series.

Which characters made an impression on you this year?

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