Tuesday Reviews Day: The Dreaded DNF List

It’s easy to read all my TRD posts and think that I hardly ever read a book I don’t like. And really, that’s usually true. I don’t run across many books I don’t like, partly because I just enjoy reading so much, but partly because I tend not to branch out as much as I should. If I find something I like, I seek out other books like it and read as many of those as I can. Of course, it’s easy to never be disappointed when you’re not really leaving your comfort zone all that often.

That’s why this week, I wanted to do something a little different for Tuesday Reviews Day. This week: my recent DNFs, or, all the books I tried so hard to read but just simply could not finish.

Listen. I know, as a voracious reader myself, refusing to finish a book can sometimes feel like a failure, or an admission of personal weakness, or even laziness. But life is too short for reading books you just don’t like (unless they’re for homework. Stay in school). There are far too many good and even great books in the world to waste time on a book that feels like work. So without further ado, here is my recent DNF List.

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Tuesday Reviews Day: Reign of the Fallen, Sarah Glenn Marsh

A delicate golden mask in the shape of a skull with ornate bird and bone details, wearing an elaborate jeweled silver crown, pictured on the cover of Sarah Glenn Marsh's novel.

The cover art for Marsh’s novel is every bit as dark and delightful as the novel itself.

I’ve had this book on my Goodreads TBR since I read about it on Twitter, so opening my January PageHabit box to find it peering out at me was better than Christmas morning. I couldn’t wait to read it, and I tore through it in just a matter of days. Continue reading

Tuesday Reviews Day: The Clockwork Dynasty, Daniel H. Wilson

A heart made from various gears and clockwork parts adorns the cover of Wilson's novel

Detail shot of The Clockwork Dynasty‘s cover art

Like last week’s book, this week’s feature touches on more than a few of my interests. Part history, part science fiction, part steampunk and part futurism, Daniel H. Wilson‘s latest novel is a centuries-spanning tapestry that is almost unbelievably moving. And while it wasn’t perfect, it was entirely worth the read.

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Tuesday Reviews Day: The Girl From Everywhere, Heidi Heilig

Heidi Heilig's book The Girl From Everywhere

The cover of Heidi Heilig’s novel, The Girl From Everywhere

You don’t have to know me long to know what some of my key interests are: pirates, time travel, and history are pretty high on the list. This book has all that and more, so it’s not surprising that it’s been on my various TBR lists and wishlists basically since it was announced. I finally got it as a Christmas gift this past holiday season, and I tore through it like it was the first novel I’ve ever read.

In some ways, it really felt like it was.

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Tuesday Reviews Day: The Lake Effect, Erin McCahan

 

The Lake Effect Cover Art

The Lake Effect cover art

If you didn’t already know, my husband and I live in the Southern United States. It’s beautiful; lots of trees, a variety of landscapes (mountains, beach, etc., all within day-trip distance), a staggering amount of wildlife and next to no light pollution. Plus: it’s hot. Almost all the time. Except for the last month or two. It’s been unseasonably cold around here, and we even had a few snow flurries last week. So it seemed like the perfect time to go back a bit to one of my end-of-summer reads that never made it to the review page.

Let’s hope it knocks the chill off.

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Personal Update: Of Beginnings, Endings, and Intermissions

A photo grid of nine images from Instagram. Includes a pregnancy announcement, two selfies, three vacation photos, two landscapes, and a photo of a Book Riot monthly box.

My most popular Instagram posts from 2017

Happy (belated) New Year! It’s a good time for change, I’ve heard. But 2018 in the Dreamer household got off to a bit of a rocky start. My husband had the flu, though thankfully I managed to avoid it. We’ve gotten less than happy news about our oldest dog; her health is declining, which we knew but weren’t really accepting. She’s 14 now, and starting to show it. She’s slowly losing the use of her hind legs, her eyesight is diminishing, and she’s having heart problems. We’re doing what we can to keep her happy and comfy, and she still seems in good spirits and still gets the occasional bout of the zoomies.

My father-in-law is not doing well, either. We’re not entirely sure what exactly is wrong, but basically the approach seems to be the same: try to keep him as comfortable as possible until we can’t anymore.

We had a scare with the pregnancy as well; I had some complications but we quickly ruled out miscarriage or any injury to the baby. Everything looks fine but I’m just supposed to take things (relatively) easy and monitor my condition for changes. So far, so good … things have only gotten better, and I’m nearing the end of Month 3. It’s hard to believe how quickly it’s going by, but I get the idea that feeling is going to be pretty much permanent from now on.

So … ultimately, things have been a bit stressful since the holidays. I made the difficult decision to take the Spring semester off from graduate school, though I’ll be returning to my studies as soon as possible, which in all likelihood won’t be until August. (They don’t tend to offer many online options in the summer). And while it does seem like all bad news, things really aren’t all bad. I’ve started seeing a new therapist (10/10, highly recommend) who, after just a handful of sessions, has already helped me make some great strides in my stress and anxiety management. It also means that Tuesday Reviews Day will be returning, so look for new reviews content starting January 30!

Anyway, thanks for putting up with my inconsistencies and my ramblings. I hope you’ll be back for TRD, and let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading!

Personal Update: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So the radio silence since August 29 was not planned, but a lot has happened!

I’ve completed my Fall semester at last. If you haven’t read back, I took Literary Theory and African-American Literature. Both of my professors were great, and I’m glad I enrolled in those courses. I’ve gotten grades back, and I got another 4.0 this term!!!! I’m so stoked. I really was aiming to get a 4.0 for the whole program, but my complete inability to read my Film professor really boned me on that goal. Oh well. Next semester begins on January 18, when I’ll be taking American Literature in Perspective and Theories of Teaching Writing. I’m not as excited about that semester as I was about this one, but I’ve had one of the professors before and got on really well with him, so that’s a plus. And I’ve already had a breakthrough in my plans for my thesis, so I’m really excited about that. (I’m also pretty thrilled about the month-long break from classes; let’s be honest.)

In other very happy news, my husband and I found out that I’m finally pregnant!! We’re expecting our first child in July of 2018, which is actually really great timing. I’ll be out of class for summer and have about a month before Fall 2018 classes begin, which will (hopefully) be my final term. I’ll be down to one course and my thesis, provided I can take both of those simultaneously (I’m not sure yet about my uni’s restrictions on that).

I also started seeing a new therapist, who has recommended me to remain cautiously optimistic about school post-baby. I’m worried it’ll be too much, but she agrees with my husband that it may actually be easier to finish on schedule, while the baby is small and mostly stationary, ha. We have a huge amount of family locally, and they’re over the moon, so thankfully we’re in a really good place with regards to childcare. I’m not going to become a mommy blogger or devote my IG account to the little bun, though; I know too well the distinct pain of infertility, and while I will certainly be posting about our addition and possibly sharing photos, I’m committing myself to not overdoing it because I remember how hard that was. I remember having to unfollow/hide people on Insta or Facebook, not because I wasn’t happy for them, but because I couldn’t stomach the depression, the jealousy, and the anger. Why her? Why not me? And I’m not going to do that to others who feel that pain and suffer alone. On that note, if you want to speak with me privately about this issue, feel free to comment and we can exchange info.

Moving along … I have not been doing much reading on my break. The holidays are always pretty hectic for me and mine, and this year is the first year that my husband and I will be hosting his family’s Christmas dinner. I’m excited about it, but it means we’re doing a lot of cleaning and recipe trial runs and getting packages wrapped earlier than usual which … still isn’t all that early, to be honest. I did start reading The Clockwork Dynasty thanks to some excellent reviews, and I’m already in love with it. Reviews posts might start back up again, but with all the changes in store for 2018, I’m not sure yet what the regularity will be. Just bear with me, please! I’d love for you all to stick around through the new year and navigate new frontiers with me.

What have you all been up to? Read any good books lately? Drop ’em in the comments!