Is It Just Me

FINALS WEEK

‘Tis the season…for finals. Yay!

Just kidding.

But seriously, it’s finals time at my house and it’s no fun. At the time of writing this, however, there is little left to be done, thankfully! I have turned in two presentations and one paper. I still have presentation responses to complete, an end of the year discussion board post, and one final paper. Then I will be home free!

What do I plan to do with this spare time I will have from next Tuesday until Jan 25th? Why, I plan to read, of course! Also, I will watch movies, buy and wrap presents, celebrate Christmas, see my boyfriend and my family, visit with friends, have a cocktail or two, go to the gym, and any other activities which might happen to catch my eye.

All in all, I’m hoping that it will be a refreshing experience that will rejuvenate me enough to finish my last semester strong. I expect it will still be mostly fueled by adrenaline, panic, caffeine, hard work, and endorphins but I’m okay with that. Basically par for the course with grad school and college in general.

What’s on your to-do list for this month?

Top Ten Tuesday: Nov 24

Top Ten Tuesday

November 24: Thanksgiving themed Freebie — ten books I’m thankful for, authors I’m thankful for, Ten fictional families I’d like to celebrate Thanksgiving with, a personal non-bookish thankful list, etc. etc.

 

Ten things, Bookish and not, that I am thankful for:

  1. My family
  2. My health
  3. Libraries + all the free materials and resources they provide, especially the numerous books and WiFi
  4. My favorite authors, which are too plentiful to enumerate here
  5. Clean drinking water for my Nalgene, coffee, and tea
  6. My relative sanity during this time of stress
  7. My job and the income it provides
  8. Free time to read my books
  9. Warmth during these cold months and a roof over my head
  10. My followers and all their support, thank you!

 

Wish you all a very happy and gratuitous Thanksgiving, may it be filled with warmth, joy, and laughter. And please, stay home instead of shopping. This time of year is about family, whether related to you or not (friends and significant others and pets count!), so take one day and devote it to them. There will be plenty of time for shopping, or thinking of creative hand-made gifts for everyone after November 26.

Book Review: Emma

emma

Alexander McCall Smith was selected to rewrite the great stories of Jane Austen, however his execution left something to be desired.

There was very little about this version of Emma that was different from the original. Some of the language had been updated and the accompaniments such as a Mini Cooper, however, these slight changes were not enough to convince me that Austen’s tale had been updated or improved upon at all.

Emma is still the same self-absorbed rich girl that we all know who befriends simple Harriet Smith and proceeds to set about match-making everyone in sight except for herself. There are many of the same events and personalities as the original including the drawing of Harriet, the picnic with Miss Bates, the elusive Mr. Churchill, and the anxious Mr. Woodhouse. However these similarities made the story fall flat rather than stand up by itself.

While McCall Smith did an admirable job of sticking to the original story, it was done in such a way that was too strict. Not to mention the overly verbose paragraphs about the background of Mr. Woodhouse and the internal monologue of Miss Taylor.

The plot itself, having not changed all that much was still interesting, a slow love story mixed in with other love stories, misdirection, misguided help, and a rather harsh protagonist. Austen might approve of how little the story was altered, but I, however was not that impressed.

Overall, it was not as new as I had anticipated and hoped it to be, having just finished Pemberly Digital’s “Emma Approved”, so I reluctantly gave it a solid three stars and called it a day. There wasn’t really much “modern” in Emma: A Modern Retelling.

Goodreads rating: 3 stars

My personal rating: 61

  • Writing style – 6
  • Plot – 8
  • Dialogue – 7
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 7
  • Love story – 6
  • Invokes emotion – 3
  • Synopsis accuracy – 8
  • Consistent level of interest – 6
  • Stays on topic – 6
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 4

End of May Update!

Wow, how long has it been since I’ve written? Nearly 3 weeks! My bad.

But, in my defense as always, I have been very, very busy. I have hands in a lot of pies at the moment and I confess this blog hasn’t been as much of a priority as it should have been. I really need to start writing these when I’m in the car or on a plane or something.

Lots to update you on, so let’s get started 🙂

1) Successfully completed my first year of grad school! Woot woot!

2) Finished it with a perfect 4.0 last semester and with a cumulative GPA of 3.96

3) Had two weeks “off” where I did nothing but work but have since started my summer course

4) Visited Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Monticello last weekend, I enjoyed seeing all of them

5) I continue to have more books than time

6) I am newly addicted to Downton Abbey (nearly done S3!)

7) Finally have the chance to watch Season 4 of Once Upon a Time and am loving it as always (I Ship Robin/Regina)

8) My summer class is already kicking my butt, however it’s on YA Literature so I think I can manage once I wrap my head around how much reading I will be doing over the next six weeks!

9) Tonight, I am attending the 8th grade graduation of my cousin, so proud of him

10) Planning for three weddings is still a royal pain in my ass

11) Oh, and if I didn’t mention it before, my little sister just graduated from college and my baby sister just moved out to Oklahoma for grad school

12) I only have three more days of work and approximately two weeks until I move home to Maine (yes, it’s official)

Hopefully this week when things settle down, I will back-post my Top Ten Tuesdays and Book Reviews for your reading pleasure, but here is a quick look at what I’m reading now:

currently reading 6.5.15

The end is a beginning

beginning end ts eliotI saw this photo while scrolling through my WordPress reader and the concept keeps getting stuck in my mind. I have been thinking a lot about beginnings and endings lately, what they mean, how to identify them, how to avoid them, how to deal with them. There are about to be a lot of changes in my life, most from the choices I am making and I am having difficulty determining if there is one more big one that I should make. But I suppose if I think of the ending as a beginning to something new, potentially something better, then it’s not so scary or overwhelming. But if I think of it that way, what does that mean about all the time I spent doing what I am about to end?

I often find myself stuck in these cyclical phases, these thoughts that go round and round. I can’t always tell if it is just how my brain is wired to process information or if it’s a symptom of my OCD or if it’s something else entirely. But regardless, a thought will occur and it just keeps going, running on a track, tumbling in the dryer of my mind. Sometimes, I can push it aside and other times, I cannot. Sometimes, I can break free or call a friend to distract me, and other times, I sit and wallow and think and think and think.

Right now, I am on the brink of something major. I can see the path clearly in front of me. I know what I should do and I want to be strong enough to do it, and yet the tiny niggle of fear, of doubt is holding me back. Making me wonder what if. I don’t want to wonder that, I don’t want to care so much, I simply want to be happy and move forward. I want to make my choice, and stick to my choice, and accept my next beginning, the next step in my life. Knowing what you should do, knowing when to make an end a beginning is a part of being an adult, a part of growing and growing up; knowing your own mind and not being easily persuaded to change. Even by your own mind.

If an end is a beginning, then that should be nothing to fear.

If that’s the case, then why am I so afraid to do what needs to be done?

(Thanks to Matthew E. Nordin for making me stop and think.)

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

Hi everyone! It’s been a long while since I did one of these posts and it’s not Wednesday anymore but that day got away from me, so instead, you get TWO posts today! YAY!

As you know, I’m in grad school. As you may not know, I am taking a leadership class. For this class, I had interview someone that I saw as a leadership for the end of the semester paper. I chose one of my good friends who is not only an amazing person but also a fantastic leader. He and I skype for nearly two hours, catching up, exchanging ideas, and having me pick his brain about his leadership style, difficult situations that he has faced, things he has learned, and just generally what his journey has been like so far.

And boy, did I learn a lot!

There are lovely nuggets that I want to share with all of you today, things that really resonated with me and made me question everything that I have been doing lately.

#1: Question everything.

Doesn’t matter who said it, where it comes from, or how it is happening, question it. Don’t just take things at face value, don’t be afraid to dig deeper and discover what is really going on. “Question the artificial barriers we have built up in our minds.” Question rules, people. Question your own excuses.

who did you notice more#2: Be observant; look for patterns.

Everything has a sequence of events, anything that happens to you and your reaction to it is a result of a previous circumstance. When you see someone who is successful or beautiful, write down why you think that. Do it over and over again until you can see the pattern and figure out why you think that someone is successful or beautiful and then figure out how you can do it in your own life.

#3: Take the blame.

No one wants to do it, to accept responsibility for their mistakes or those of their team but you will earn respect by doing so. By publicly stating it was your fault, no one can say it behind your back and make you feel bad about it. Own the blame, say it loudly and often; this is especially important as a leader, no one cares about the excuses, they want results.

#4: Create a clear plan.

Give yourself steps to success. Create bite size, manageable steps to get closer. Don’t do meaningless things or things that won’t matter until you accomplish something else; do what needs to be done next and give yourself a victory, even if it’s small so you can move forward.

#5: Stand out.

Don’t be afraid to be different from everyone else. People will notice someone who stands apart more than they will someone who blends in with the crowd. Take your idea and really push it, be unique.

So, thanks to Brian, I have begun to question everything that I am working for and deciding if it’s really where I want to be, what I want to be doing. Life isn’t life unless you are happy and I need to do more of the things that make me happy and help work towards my personal goals. Mainly, this means going back to working on getting my manuscript published, even looking into self-publishing again, to see what can be done about it. I might be in grad school because it presents great opportunities for real world jobs, but do I really want to just have a fall back? What do I really want to be doing and why am I not doing it?

If you’d like to know more about my friend, who is an entrepreneur, leader, and great inspiration; here is a link to his Web site: http://www.brianlofrumento.com/

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayCourtesy of The Broke and the BookishApril 14: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books (anything that inspires you, challenges you, makes you think, encourages you, etc.)

There are many quotes and ideas which spark interest in my heart and hold my thoughts and make me question my beliefs. Personally, if I’m reading something and this doesn’t happen, that’s when I become concerned or disinterested. It could be as simple a new twist on history or a myth, a new interpretation of the past or vision of the future. Books are there to expand the mind, even books of images and poetry. Some of the quotes below appear in more than one work by the author and others simple stuck out in my mind. It’s amazing how your views change as you grow up and your life changes, you are able to see the world in new and different ways, to expand your perception of people and places. Morals and religion come heavily into play in many of books I’ve read and that has always fascinated me, along with the study of human interaction and the human condition.

“One of the oddest things about being grown-up was looking back and something you thought you knew and finding out the truth of it was completely different from what you had always believed.” – Patricia BriggsBone Crossed 

“Everything has a price.” – Anne BishopThe Dark Jewels Trilogy 

“But it’s not enough to know right from wrong. You need the strength to what’s right, even when what you want most in the world is the wrong thing.” – Cinda Williams ChimaThe Exiled Queen 

“I guess Satan was the first superhero…In his first adventure, he took the form of a snake to free two prisoners being held naked in a Third World jungle prison by an all-powerful megalomaniac. At the same time, he broadened their diet and introduced them to their own sexuality.” – Joe Hill, Horns

“The soul is an irrational, indivisible equation that perfectly expresses one thing: you. The soul would be no good to the devil if it could be destroyed. And it is not lost when placed in Satan’s care, as is so often said. He always knows exactly how to put his finger on it.” – Joe HillHorns

“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” – Sherrilyn KenyonThe Dark Hunter series

“We have three kinds of family. Those we are born to, those who are born to us, and those we let into our hearts.” – Sherrilyn KenyonBad Moon Rising

“You know the incredible thing about hearts is their unbelievable capacity for forgiveness. You’d be amazed what people will overlook when they love someone.” – Sherrilyn KenyonDevil May Cry

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Don’t be afraid to explore something new or bite off more than you can chew when it comes to books, knowledge, and ideas. Try one of these books or authors and see what experiences and emotions come your way.

Top Ten Tuesday

It’s been awhile since I did one of these but this should be fun! And as always, these prompts are from The Broke and the Bookish. 

April 7: Top Ten Characters You’d Like To Check In With (as in, later down the road to see what they are up to)

Fair warning: Potential SPOILERS Ahead!!

blood of olympusPercy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians/Heroes of Olympus – I just can’t get enough of him, sorry not sorry. Percy is highly entertaining to me and I could read an entire other series of him…especially to find out more about his life as an adult, has it changed? Is he with Annabeth? TELL ME MORE!

Elizabeth Darcy from Pride & Prejudice – Do opposites really attract forever? How will the kids be raised? Has life in riches changed Lizzie Bennet at all? Questions I would love answers to and more.

The Pevensies from The Chronicles of Narnia – Okay, so we get some glimpses into what happens to them later in life but Susan seems to defect from everyone else and Lucy seems to still be awesome. Did they go off and get normal jobs? What were they? Did they have kids? Did they tell the kids about Narnia?

Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter series – I’ll say it, Neville is kind of an underrated badass. He is way braver than we think he is and based on the tidbits from Rowling, he seems to have turned out great and be genuinely happy. I would love to see a story of him as a Professor interacting with the latter Potters and Weasleys.mockingjay

Gale from The Hunger Games – What happened to this guy? Seriously, Katniss and Peeta, we know what happens to them but Gale’s ending is so much more vague. Is he happy? Did he find love? Did he help win the war effort even more? Also, what happens after they off Snow? Gahh!

Eragon from The Inheritance Cycle – Okay, so he was fated to this life away….but are he and Saphira happy there? Is he like Brom teaching the next generation? Does he EVER have kids of his own? Do the dragons make a magical comeback? Does Saphira have babies!?!?

Marco and Polo from The Grand Escape – Recently, I found out this book is actually a series. So I guess I can find out what else happens to them but I always wondered if they ever left the house again after this one fateful adventure. (For those of you not in the know, this is a book about two housecats who escape into the city and have to find their way home; kind of like Homeward Bound.)

hornsCarver Young from Ripper – This book drives me crazy! It is so good and I’m obsessed with the writing and the characters and there is nothing else after it. Does Carter become a detective? Does he catch bad guys? Does he leave the orphanage??

Pandora from Doomed – So you avoided the apocalypse (unlike most other books) and hooked up with a hot guy and now you have to go back to high school?? What happens then? How long until society can knit itself back together? Do you adjust well? What career path do you follow?

Iggy from Horns – Are you finally at peace?

Original Work Friday: More

I’m not the girl I used to be;

stronger in some ways,

weaker in others.

Old cracks have been repaired

while new ones split wide open.

The past has an impact,

it filters through time;

there is no escape

but I decide how to handle it,

to let it influence or ignore.

The future is now,

no time like the present

to become who I want to be

and to stay who I am,

to know my own worth.

I will still make mistakes,

I will still stumble and second-guess,

but I am in charge of my fate

and I have learned from before.

I am more than I was.

katME

SPRING BREAK!

Hi all!

My most humble apologies for my absence in the last three weeks. I had some crazy days leading up to my spring break and then by the time it was all over and I was able to go back home to visit my family, I pretty much swore off technology and the internet so I could really enjoy my time in New England. But I’m here with an update and maybe I will even post a new work for you tomorrow to make up for it. Forgive me?

Here are a few of the things I did while on hiatus:

-had family Pi(e) day including at least a dozen different pies and gamesspring break irish bread

-went bridesmaids’ dress shopping with my bestie (we’re still deciding)

-met a couple of adorable new kitties but I wasn’t ready to adopt

-went wedding dress shopping with my older sister (she said yes to the dress!)

-also picked out the bridesmaids’ dresses at the same time

-spent some quality girl time with my mom and sisters

-made Irish soda bread (with black currants) from scratch for the first time

-made my first boiled dinner all by myself for St. Patrick’s Dayspring break boiled dinner

-went swimming (indoors, obv) with my mom

-had dinner with my grandmother and great aunt

-helped my mom pick out mother-of-the-brides dresses

-went wine and cheese tasting with my mom and her friend

-watched season 8 and 9 of Smallville

-watched season 2 of Eureka

-avoided all schoolwork

-snuggled cats

-drank non-French Vanilla coffee

-slept in as much as possible

-went snowshoeing for the first time…and wanted to die after 2.5 hours and 5.5 miles

-ate freshly made donuts minutes after they were done, still warm

spring break hikeSo I think that mostly catches you up on what I’ve been doing. I have also been totally swamped with schoolwork, four classes instead of three in grad school is A LOT of work. I apologize if I disappear again to deal with that. I’ve also been struggling with some OCD flairs and some depression and anxiety. But I am so thankful that I had the time off to go home and be surrounded by love. And grateful that I have such an amazing support system that takes my calls any time that I need them to.

Thank you for your patience and I promise, I will try not to neglect you for as long in the future. But just in case, here’s what I’m reading right now:

currently reading 3.26.15

I have also been drawn back into The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon and am currently on book 2: Invincible. I was just in a mood to read about a sharp-mouthed Cajun who fights evil while trying to figure out himself, girls, and puberty. Good fun. And builds off of her Dark Hunter series…so, pick up one of these if you want something interesting to read.

Until next time, take care and as always, feel free to leave comments and remarks!