Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tell Me Tuesday #7: In which Elizabeth attempts to conquer the Goodreads Choice Awards nominees


I hadn't done much reading in the past couple months because between work and audition prep I was just too exhausted, but I made up for it by binge reading like crazy in the past two weeks!  The Goodreads Choice Awards are also out, and it's made me want to start reviewing books again - until this week I hadn't read a single one of the YA options (and at that I've now still only read one and it didn't make the final cut so I still won't have read any).  All I'd read any of....were the picture books hahaha!  Anyway, I'm hoping to play catch up and thinking of picking up reviews again (but then I think of all the books I have to read and...well we'll see.)

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1)Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy, #2)Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)

I just finished rereading the Newsflesh Trilogy, which I obviously love since I've talked about it like a zillion times since I read it last year. I have to say that on a reread there were plenty of things I'd forgotten enough for me to be shocked/heartbroken a second time, things I appreciated even more with foreknowledge, and that there were also things I remember feeling a bit off about the story, and on a reread they bothered me more. Particularly in the third book - there's these quippy characters with animal names that feel really two sided - it feels like there was more to the story with them, but the parts of that story were cut out so it feels both overly flippant and like they're just caricatures. Bah. But all in all, I would still recommend these in a heartbeat and given some time will almost certainly reread them again  (but I wish I could read them for the first time all over again!)  

The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)

In the car I've been listening to The Magicians, and oh man has this been a rocky book for me. It only resembles Harry Potter in that it has a magical school and if you removed every likeable trait in every character (except Alice I liked her). This wouldn't condemn the book on its own (but fuck you everyone who thinks it's better because the characters are all shitty and therefore "more adult". That you being a universal one and not a specific one since 99% of my readers are YA readers so you know what I mean).  Unfortunately on top  of all of that, the pacing is ridiculously bad.  It's divided into three "books".  The first book? Over half of the book and as far as I can tell it had no plot at all.  The second book? Maybe like 3 or 4 chapters full of predictable things that the characters do because they're "adults" and in "adult books" and also because they're freaking terrible people.  It's only in the third book that any action happens, and that it takes it's overt references to the Chronicles of Narnia (while it does also reference Harry Potter, I'd say it's clear that CoN is what it is modeled after most explicitly) and made it adult in a way that is believable to me - i.e. there are real consequences, and putting a bunch of people straight out of college into fantasy battle scenes doesn't suddenly make them badasses.  There are real consequences in a way we don't see in CoN, which I appreciated.

That being said I may also have been greatly mollified after Wikapedia-ing what happens in the next two books because I was hating this one so much I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish listening to it even though I only had a few discs left.  So basically the last "book" and the narrator were the only redeeming qualities here.

More Happy Than Not

I'm not gonna lie, if I knew more about More Happy Than Not, I almost certainly wouldn't have read it (or at least not for another 5 years since that's my going rate for preparing myself for emotional trauma).  In an effort to be able to vote for anything other than a picture book for the Goodreads Choice Awards, I picked this up because A. The library didn't have a copy of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda wasn't there yet and B. Because all of the authors at the Baltimore Book Festival YA booth recommended this like crazy (as well as plenty of bloggers I follow).  Like....I knew it was going to have some heart wrenching moments, but the ones I thought they were going to be about? TOTALLY NOT AT ALL.  And I spent the first third/half of this book going...well this is pretty good, but what's all the fuss about?  And then this THING happens and all of my problems I'd been having about certain things in the first half suddenly totally made sense and there were all these clues laid out but I swear NOBODY would have seen the THING that happened coming!  

Basically, it destroyed me.

Nimona The Princess and the Pony

Speaking of Goodreads Choice Awards books,  Nimona is heart-warming, heart-wrenching, witty, funny, well-drawn, and diverse in representations of gender roles, race, and sexuality.  Basically I definitely recommend it for anyone and everyone because I absolutely LOVED it.  All of the above can basically be said for Kate Beaton's The Princess and the Pony as well (not particularly heart-wrenching, but the rest stands). I loved it so much (and laughed so much reading it) that it's definitely going to give Red: A Crayon's Story a run for it's money for my Goodreads Choice Awards vote.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)The Royal We

So what's next on my reading agenda?  Well after More Happy Than Not, I'm going to need something cute and fluffy in my arsenal, and The Royal We looks like it will fit that (as well as give me something I will have read in the fiction category of the GRCA. Although it's a surprisingly big book so I'm hoping this isn't going to go terribly wrong on me and end up being horribly depressing).  I had planned on reading A Darker Shade of Magic, but since it didn't make the final cut, I'll probably be read ACoTaR or The Wrath and the Dawn instead.  (Shut up I know I have owned ACoTaR since May, and I STILL haven't read Queen of Shadows but....I'm scared gahhhh!!!)

In any case, wish me luck!  And happy reading to all of you :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Day in the Life #40: In which our intrepid Blogger returns!

Well, it certainly has been an eventful two months away from the blog!  So....well, let's just say this post is going to be long.  First I'll get the audition stuff out of the way:

I took my first professional audition in mid-October, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well I handled it.  I didn't advance, but I was happy with how I played - musically, just not perfectly.  But most importantly I learned I can keep my head in a BIG audition (there must have been over a hundred oboists there which is a really big number for us - I think average is around 50 or 60, according to my friends who HAVE taken auditions regularly), and I knew immediately what I needed to fix for future auditions.  And as long as I'm happy with my performance and I've learned something from the audition, that's a good day in my book.

Unfortunately the same can't be said of my second audition.  It was a particularly stressful audition for me for a large number of reasons, but when it came down to it, none of those reasons were ones why it was bad. I just played REALLY poorly like...astronomically embarrassing levels of bad playing.  And I couldn't tell you why - I didn't think I was THAT nervous, and it started out really well, and it wasn't that I wasn't prepared well enough, it just....happened.  And well....that happens sometimes too.  But I did take something out of it, even if I couldn't walk away feeling proud of how I played.

Most important in all of this though, is that I am actually happy and even, dare I say, proud of myself for these auditions.  I've had a lot of customers come in and ask how the auditions went and gotten a lot of sympathetic noise about not making it, and comments on being glad that I'm so positive about  it.  But here's the thing - I'm not just saying this to try and put a happy face on not making it - I am actually, legitimately happy.  I'm twenty-five and taking my first auditions - I'd let myself come up with endless excuses why I didn't have time/couldn't do auditions before, and this is the first time I have really put myself out there.  And beyond that, do you know how rare it is to win your first audition? Or second?  Or any audition for that matter?  I'm pretty realistic about my chances here.  And I do feel good - the first audition for how well I played under stress for my first BIG audition, and the second for going and auditioning even though I only had two weeks to learn completely new rep.  I'm really not just pretending that I'm ok - I mean, yeah winning one of those jobs would have been incredible, and yeah I'm sure not advancing in an audition is going to get REAL old pretty soon, but for now?  I'm happy.

My past week free of audition prep has been just as eventful in the one week as my past two months have been (probably because of the fact that when you're in audition prep and working three jobs you pretty much only work and practice.  What is this eating or sleeping or having friends you speak of?)  Here's what's happened:

1. I made a pact with myself to go hiking every Wednesday since I only work in the evening and there's a great place to go hiking near work.
2. I made this pact after I discovered last minute that I didn't have any work this past Wednesday and so decided to go hiking because WHY NOT?
3.  This pact was rather short lived because it ended in this:

The short version is that I lost a really good hiking sock and I'm going to need a new pair of hiking boots.

And then there's the long version:  

I knew when I had to super glue the sides of my hiking boots down that I was probably going to have to get new hiking boots soonish.  I probably should have known that when you have to superglue parts of your shoes, they probably aren't going to be water proof anymore.  So when I unpleasantly discovered this while trying to careful wade ford across the shallow part of a river, I just said fuck it and tromped across the whole bloody stream, which of course soaked my shoes and socks.  You see, I had seen the PERFECT reading place up in a tree on the other side of the river (what, you mean you DON'T carry books with you while hiking and look for perfect reading nooks?).  In a moment of pure genius (note the sarcasm) I removed my boots and socks to let them dry on the branches of the tree (...because that matters when you're just going to have to cross the river again and soak them all over again?).  Of course you can see where that's going - I promptly knocked my sock into the water.  And guys...good hiking socks are expensive.  For some reason I'd thought I'd be able to get my stuff if I knocked them into the river because the tree was over a slow moving bit, but I forgot that in the process I'd likely knock everything else into the water too.  Also I forgot that reading in trees isn't actually that comfortable.  But hey at least it was a nice view? 

(At least as much as winter in the woods ever is)

So I cross back, re-soaking my shoes (again...things you should think about when you super glued your boots together), and about two minutes later my entire sole comes off.  At this point I'm maybe half-way through the hike which means I had to hike another two or three miles, and due to the heavy rain for the past couple days, it meant hiking up freaking MUD MOUNTAINS.  Do you know how hard that is with no sole on your shoe?!?  I didn't fall though, which is actually really impressive if I do say so myself.

So I won't be hiking anytime soon unless it hasn't been raining and is an easy enough hike for running shoes.  Also no water crossings for me as those CERTAINLY aren't waterproof :(.  And the likelihood of me affording new hiking boots anytime soon is pretty slim, so it looks like I'll have to wait until spring when it's warm enough to go play in the river with my Tivas.

Oh wait. Those broke too, I forgot.


But on the upside I've decided to use Instagram for pictures of my hiking book nooks? Because I WILL get back into the wilderness if it bloody well kills me!  It's the only form of exercise I enjoy AND it's free (minus the cost of hiking boots. UGGHHHHH).

Anyway, this post is entirely too long, so I'm going to link up the few posts I saved up on my hiatus...while I go and sob because my Bloglovin feed I have to go through is literally 1001 posts long.

Fun Things

Texts from Edgar Allen Poe - Guys if you read anything read this because it's probably the funniest thing I've encountered in the past two months.
Rebecca says All Your Faves are Hufflepuffs (PREACH IT GIRL!)
Christina recommends Adult Fiction for YA Readers.
Cait created a quiz: Guess the Book From Food Quotes

Serious Things

How 9/11 Was Displayed In Non-American Countries.

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