February 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up

I didn’t really do much in February. My health has continued to deteriorate and was very poor this month. The 103 fever that knocked me out for a week didn’t help–I have been permanently worse since then. My level of exhaustion, pain, and other symptoms is impacting my ability to function cognitively as well as physically. In February I was lucky if I was able to work 2-3 hours a day, and leaving the house is an enormous effort (I’m not really even supposed to drive, but, you know). However, February was the month I finally got in to some new specialists I’d been waiting to see, and we got several tests and procedures on the calendar plus some clarity and new diagnoses moving forward. I’ve been feeling a lot of emotions about chronic illness but I’m proud of myself for feeling them in a healthy way.

When I was able to, I went to voice lessons, dance class, church, and small group. We had the Wises over for dinner; I hosted the teenage girls from church for a Valentine’s party; I went to lunch with Brooke; we had the Coxes over for dinner; and I went to dinner with Kenna. Also, perhaps the most exciting thing in February: We had SNOW!!!! It only lasted a day, but it was so magical and fun. I also turned 21 this month, but I was so sick I barely noticed.

This month I’m…

Reading: The Gospel Comes With A House Key, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, The Raven King, and Call Down the Hawk, Maggie Stiefvater. Shadow Spinner, Susan Fletcher (reread). What Is A Girl Worth, Rachael Denhollander. Tweet Cute, Emma Lord. Second Chance Summer, Morgan Matson (reread). A Heart So Fierce and Broken, Brigid Kemmerer. Nothing but Sky, Amy Trueblood. 11 total.

Listening to: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season one soundtrack. Crazy She Calls Me, Nat King Cole. Seven Nation Army, Postmodern Jukebox. Forget About the Boy and Not for the Life of Me, Thoroughly Modern Millie. What A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong. We Don’t Talk Anymore, Charlie Puth. Forevermore, Futures. Long Gone and Souvenir, Johnnyswim. So Far from Pennsylvania, Island Song. Beach Baby, Bon Iver. Worst Behavior, Lvly. Dancing On the Waves and Holy Water, We The Kingdom. Smile, Maisie Peters (and all of her songs, as usual).

music1
(and Maisie Peters because when am I not listening to Maisie Peters)

Watching: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (rewatch–and on our snow day, which was so perfect). The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season one. Bruin Banter and UCLA Gymnastics: The New Era.

Eating: I didn’t eat much myself this month–I have about half a dozen “safe” foods these days plus my Kate Farms Standard 1.0 (although I was thrilled to find some dairy free mac n cheese that tastes good!!!)–but I made a lot of food for other people. Coconut pecan pralines, Valentine’s chocolates, homemade dog treats, a waffle bar, and a platter of chocolate-covered things were all on the menu for my friends and family.

Writing: I was able to work on my latest YA contemporary novel once or twice this month.

Grateful for: Friends coming by and leaving care packages on my doormat when I’m too sick to leave the house. Encouragement from a mentor and friend whom I’ve only known for a few months, but is always there for me. My kitty.

What did you do in February? Any snow where you live?

2019 Anticipated Releases: Did They Live Up To the Hype?

Last January, I published a blog post called 16 Book Releases I’m Excited For in 2019. Now that 2019 is over, it’s time to look back through the list and see what I thought of those books!

Romanov, Nadine Brandes (release date: May 7, 2019)

Romanov

Romanov was, predictably, an awesome book! Unfortunately, though, my main memory of this book is that I was up late reading it the night before going to the ER last spring–so I need to reread it and create some better memories, lol.

Home, love, family. A legacy of life. A legacy of hope.

To Best the Boys, Mary Weber (March 18, 2019)

To Best the Boys

To Best the Boys was absolutely AMAZING! I’ve read it twice so far. I loved, loved, loved the characters, plot, setting (it’s a delicious story in which to immerse yourself), and the message that girls can be anything they want to be.

“But what if my dreams aren’t that simple? What if my dreams aren’t just one thing, but instead they are everything? Why can’t the future, past, and present all be my dreams?”

The Boy who Steals Houses, C.G. Drews (release date: April 4, 2019)

boy-who

Cait’s latest book was amazing–I loved it so much. I read it on Easter and it made me literally SOB.

I love Cait’s writing more than anything because it’s full of long light summer days and lots of food and even more banter (big families are just the BEST ugh), but it goes so much deeper too and has so much (too much! 😭) emotion and depth and heart.

The Deceivers, Kristen Simmons (release date: February 5, 2019)

The Deceivers (Vale Hall, #1)

I’ve read this twice! It wasn’t executed the way I’d expected, but it is a great book!! Can’t wait for the next one.

“I could draw a whole city after you,” he says. “It would be strong and beautiful, and it would never break.”

Call it What You Want, Brigid Kemmerer (release date: June 25, 2019)

Call It What You Want

I’ve read this twice and don’t have words for how AMAZING it is. I also really thoroughly enjoyed Kemmerer’s other 2019 release, A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Her books are just my favorite ever.

King of Scars, Leigh Bardugo (release date: January 29, 2019)

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1)

I’m not currently as into Leigh Bardugo as I have been in the past, but I still loved King of Scars.

“The more I know of you,” he said, “the more I am sure you are exactly what Ravka needs.”

Chain of Gold, Cassandra Clare (release date: November 19, 2019)

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1)

I haven’t read this one yet, and I most likely won’t, because I don’t really read Cassandra Clare anymore.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance, Tomi Adeyemi (release date: March 5, 2019)

children

My library didn’t have this for a long time after it was released, but while writing this blog post, I checked again and now they have four copies. So, stay tuned, because I’ll be reading it soon!

The Toll, Neal Shusterman 

toll

I got this from the library a month or two ago and was SO excited… until I realized that Rowan and Citra are not the main characters, and that the book is verrrrry long, haha. I ended up taking it back to the library without reading.

The Queen’s Resistance, Becca Ross (March 5, 2019)

The Queen's Resistance (The Queen’s Rising, #2)

I haven’t read this and probably won’t, because as much as I love the author, the first book in this series wasn’t my favorite.

The Downstairs Girl, Stacey Lee (release date: August 13, 2019)

The Downstairs Girl

This fulfilled and even exceeded my expectations!!! It was amazing. Man, Stacey Lee knows how to write historical fiction. The story was so solid and interesting, and the book covered some really important topics. I will definitely be rereading this many times to come.

“Victory is knowing your worth no matter what the crows tell you. Victory is waiting for us. We have to be bold enough to snatch it.”

Imprison the Sky, A.C. Gaughen (release date: January 22, 2019)

Imprison the Sky (The Elementae, #2)

I didn’t read this book and probably won’t.

Symptoms of a Heartbreak, Sona Charaipotra (release date: May 21, 2019)

Symptoms of a Heartbreak

I haven’t read this yet–I’m always a little skeptical of books with medical themes because they can so easily become ableist–but I might try it at some point!

Serious Moonlight, Jenn Bennett (release date: April 2019)

Serious Moonlight

THIS WAS SO FREAKING GOOD. It’s been months since I read it and I’m still obsessed with it. The complex characters, the rich setting, the interesting story–Jenn Bennett can do secondary characters and interesting setting details like no one else. I heard some writing advice once that said to write down all your favorite things — maybe you like the enemies-to-friends trope, oak trees, and coffee shops — and then one day, write a book with all of them, and I feel like that’s what Jenn Bennett did here. I freaking loved this book and related to the main character so much. And I got to meet Jenn Bennett a few days after reading it, too!

“It’s always pie time somewhere.”

“We can do whatever we GD want, Birdie. I have to believe that.”

That’s what I thought of the 2019 releases I was excited to read!

What 2019 releases lived up to your expectations–or didn’t? Did you read any of these books last year?