September 11, 2019

Wrap-Up| July 2019

And with this post, I do solemnly decree that I am up to date on all my Wrap-Up posts (yes, I know, not really; August will be up tomorrow), but do expect them to appear once every month.

I'm getting more and more frustrated with each passing day that I am unemployed and stuck in the house with the kids, who are currently experiencing their summer holiday. I did try to participate in Rachel Marie's The Book Junkie Trials, but ultimately, I had to just accept that I had hit a slump and was just too busy.

If Birds Fly Back
Carlie Sorasiak

My Thoughts:
First of all, thank you to PanMacmillan who kindly sent me this book for review a while ago (maybe two years ago?)
However, this just didn't cut it for me. I really like the mirrored plotline with of the main character's missing sister (not a spoiler) and Alvarez, a missing elderly cult writer, but wasn't emotionally connected to the characters as I would have liked.  
I mentioned this briefly on my Goodreads notes and I'm not sure if this is in the finished copy, but I got really frustrated by the screenwriting parts and in particular the way things were formatted. I understand this is completely a 'me' thing and stems from the three years of the industry-standard formatting drilled into my every fiber of being. Yet, I found it frustrating and took me out of the story, because I was going into editor mode.

The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter #1)
Melinda Salisbury

My Thoughts:
I've had this book on my bookshelf since I was 16 years old, and it got to the point where I felt like I was never going to pick this up. I love Melinda and have met her a few times and have been following her online for years, so I had to at least try because something had originally piqued my interest all those years ago. I really liked this book and thought it was a fantastic debut. I loved Twylla and how her naivety was portrayed taken advantage of, as well as the moment when she realized what has been going on her whole life. 

The Terracotta Bride
Zen Cho

My Thoughts:
Zen Cho is another author whose path I have crossed, quite recently, but had yet to read one of their titles. I had this on my Amazon wishlist and found it on my libraries Overdrive, late one night, and decided to give it a go. This novella is deeprooted in Chinese, Buddhism and Taoist ideology of the afterlife and reincarnation, that overall, I really loved. Cho seamlessly packs together wonderful characterization, world-building and the nuances of what we carry into the afterlife. If anyone has any more recommendations that explore this, in both fiction and non-fiction formats, please let me know. Or, of a particular version of The Terracotta Bride myth that I should perhaps check out.

Sabriel (Abhorsen #1)Garth Nix

My Thoughts:
July was the month of reading the books I've had sit on my shelves for longer than I should have let them. This one was given to me as an 18th birthday present... I'm 21!
 I really loved the setting, the death magic, and Sabriel as a protagonist and her emotional journey that spans the book. I thought this was going to be a full five stars for me, but I felt I didn't feel like I was emotionally connected or invested in these characters until I was quite a fair bit into the story. So for pacing, I have to knock a star off.

Ugly Betty: Season 1
Creators: Silvio Horta, Fernando Gaitan

I'm pretty sure Ugly Betty was a much a loved staple of TV in the mid-2000s. I remember loving it; this idea of a Latina woman who didn't subsidize to Americanised standards of beauty, working at a fashion magazine, with Beauty and the Beast undertones? Sounds good, right?
Well... a rewatch 12 years after it first aired and I can certainly say that a lot of it hasn't aged well.
Even though LGBT+ issues are touched upon, especially acceptance, the Trans storyline is so uncomfortable to watch and felt so unnecessary. For anyone who may go into this one, expect high levels of Transphobia in a variety of ways.

The Handmaid's Tale (Season 1-3)
Creator: Bruce Miller

I finally caught up with The Handmaid's tale! I really... enjoy this show? Enjoy feels like the wrong way to describe the watching experience. Unfortunately, Season 3 has not had me quite as hooked. For me, the plot has just felt watered down and stretched thin to fit thirteen episodes. However, I have heard some good things for the finale, so I'll just have to keep watching and make up my own mind.

Game of Thrones: The Last Watch
Dir. Jeanie Finlay

I had maybe two hours left of my NowTV subscription pass when I finally watched the accompanying documentary for Season 8. I tried not to let my feeling (of complete and utter disappointment) and celebrate the production team, cast and extras that have made this incredible show possible. This documentary is exactly that. A celebration of the achievement, whether or not the writing was a complete letdown. Without Game of Thrones, we wouldn't be getting adaptations of The Witcher books or Wheel of Time -- although can we now move towards the great SFF titles written by women and POC? I just want to say, Andrew McClay in a national treasure to Northern Ireland. He must be protected at all costs.

Aber Falls... just like the Gin, but with
zero the amount of alcohol.
July was one emotional month. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am yet to recover. It started out with a trip back to Bangor to pack up the rest of my belongings and somehow lug them across the country, for the final time as an undergraduate. 
Before that, I did go for one last North Wales adventure to Aber Falls in Abergwyngregyn. I went with my flatmate, Zoë, as she was leaving the day before I was. We had a lot of fun, a lot of conversations with wandering sheep and a lot of doggos - we made friends with one particular one that began to recognize us on the hike.
After that, I had to pack, help Zoë with her boxes to the car and then make the journey back myself. AKA The Worst Bangor to London Journey I've Ever Had. 
Dangle, dangle, dangle those toes! 
What made that journey so terrible?
For starters, I had two suitcases, a shopping bag, as well as a backpack full of books... and then my train got canceled... after I had boarded it and got settled. The last direct train. After a lot of frustrating lack of communication (perks of Virgin Trains not letting the Transport of Wales staff know), they managed to organize some cabs to take us the two hours to Crewe, so we could get on our way again. It took me thirteen hours to get home, but I got there, with a few tear-soaked tissues.

Finally, I just want to make a brief mention of the fact that I graduated later in the month. Mum finally discovered Bangor, the beauty of Snowdonia and the amount of walking involved. 
It was a wonderful ceremony, even if I did get the giggles quite a bit, and spent the entire morning in a panic. 
Seeing everyone for the first time since May was what I needed. I had fun, even if I went through almost every worst thing someone could go through, I am really going to miss my degree.

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