Mid-Year Check-In

It’s hard to believe that we are already halfway through 2022 – but here we are! So far this year, I had a baby, returned to work full-time, and I am getting excited to put my master’s to good use and write for academic journals!

But let’s talk about books first. We love books here. I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve read so far in 2022. I’ll add a quick sentence review underneath each title and link to any longer blog posts if available!

2022 Books: January to June

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

One of Backman’s novellas. 3.5 stars. Not my favorite of his, but now I’ve read all of Backman’s works!

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

Absolutely fantastic. A super dense fantasy series with complicated characters. See my full series review here.

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

A refreshing contemporary romance that introduced me to one of my new favorite authors! Full book review here.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

A jarring, fantastic ending to an intense, action-packed historical fantasy.

The Drowning Faith by R.F. Kuang

A nice collection of stories from another character’s point of view. Glad I read it.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Eh. Not my favorite series and I already forgot all about it.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Yawn. Walk, don’t run to read these. I will definitely be writing about these. More to come.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Angry it took me this long to read this book but that’s OK. Glad I did. One of my favorite books now.

The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality by Kimberly Ann Johnson

Less helpful than I thought it would be. If anything it affirmed that it’s important to support birth parents postpartum.

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

I thought Crescent City was going to be my favorite SJM series, but after this one, I was mistaken.

How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin is just an amazing writer. This short story collection was insightful, inclusive, and so important.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Not my favorite of her books. Super predictable and kind of boring. I also tried to give The Diamond Eye a go and snoozed.

What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris

I had such high hopes for this one but it turned out to be flat. Contact me for trigger warnings.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Loved this one more than Weather Girl. One of my favorite books of 2022.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Glad I gave Schwab another chance and picked up this series. So. Good. (P.S. Ask me how much I hated Addie LaRue).

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

God, I loved this one. Laugh out loud funny, romantic, fast-paced, emotional. Everything I needed. Another favorite. Who knew this fantasy girl loved contemporary fiction?!

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Beyond excited to read the third book this year! I love Lila.

The Montessori Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Nurturing Your Baby with Love, Respect, and Understanding by Simone Davies and Junnifa Uzodike

Some parts were helpful. Other parts were a little too woo-woo-ey for me!

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I liked this one! I thought it was a little top heavy with the backstory and wanted more of her being on television, but it was a timely, important read about women and autonomy. Contact me for trigger warnings.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Can Casey McQuiston write a bad book? Asking for a friend. The friend is me. Loved this one!

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

A convoluted, confusing book. Loved the premise, diversity, and ending, but it was a chore to get through.

2022 TV Shows

I watched a lot of television while nursing during maternity leave. Here’s what I watched (and re-watched)

  • Seinfeld (Netflix)
  • Love is Blind S2 (Netflix)
  • Emily in Paris (Netflix)
  • Inventing Anna (Netflix)
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)
  • The Office (Peacock)
  • Parks and Recreation (Peacock)
  • Ted Lasso (Apple TV)
  • The Ultimatum (Netflix)
  • Workin’ Moms (Netflix)
  • Selling Sunset (Netflix)

June Hopefuls

Because it’s JUUUNEEE!

June June June…

I know — I made the same Carousel joke last June, but it didn’t get any laughs. Maybe it will this year?

June is an exciting/interesting month because it is also when I will be returning to work full-time. We have set up our girl with a pretty great part-time nanny as my husband and I juggle parenting with our full-time, remote/hybrid work schedules. BUT! This isn’t about work; it’s about books! Beautiful books!

Here are the books I am hoping to read in June.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

What is on your list for June?

May Wrap-Up

May was a slow month for books, but I read two books that I really enjoyed, so that’s something! As my body heals and recovers from my c-section, I also got back into the groove of exercising. We bought a treadmill, and I switch between my Peloton and tread to get some workouts in.

It was a great month (and last month of my maternity leave!). Here’s what I read in May:

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #2)

I am really enjoying this new series! While I liked the first book, the second book brought all of the characters and story world to new heights. I cannot wait to read the last one in June!

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

I absolutely LOVED. LOVED. LOVED. this book. Please make it into a rom com because I will watch it every day! I am officially a fan of Emily Henry’s books!

The Montessori Baby by Simone Davies and Junnifa Uzodike

This was a very interesting book to read and learn about the Montessori method. I absolutely took some tips and resources from this one and will be trying it with our baby at home!

What did you read in May?

Checking in: Books and TV Shows

Hello, friends. It has been some time since I checked in on here. Our daughter, Nora, joined us on February 3, and since then, life has been what I like to call “survival mode.” They say “the days are long but the years are short,” and they (whoever “they” are) are not kidding. Most days early postpartum I sat on the couch, holding my baby in-between feeds and watched a lot of television. A lot of television. I am now close to entering month 3 of my 4-month maternity leave and I am wondering where all the time has gone.

Nora is an extremely easy baby. She’s a great eater and sleeper. When she was born, however, I expectedly got diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. I immediately began treatment, but it has still been a harrowing journey. I plan to write more about my experience with PPA/PPD, but for now, I wanted to share what I have been reading and watching since I last posted!

What I read

I am happy to share that although I am still making the time to read when I can. I expected that I would have been reading nonstop once Nora arrived, but the first few weeks were too exhausting to concentrate on books. I simply existed, and that’s it. Once I found a groove, I started to read more while I fed my baby or pumped at night, and I’ve read a few books. Here they are:

The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality by Kimberly Ann Johnson

This was an interesting book all about the trimester that no one talks about … the fourth trimester. There were some chapters that I skipped based on personal beliefs, but overall, I enjoyed the main premise and tips on how to take care of myself during one of the most challenging times of my life.

House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Well, it’s safe to say that my time reading books by Sarah J. Maas are at an end. I finished this one extremely disappointed (and not at all “mind-blown” like other fans). Such a bummer.

How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin

I was extremely excited when I found out that N.K. Jemisin wrote short stories, so I downloaded this on my Kindle as soon as I could. There were definitely some stories that I liked more than most, and I am glad I read this insightful collection.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn has become an auto-buy author of mine, so I went into The Huntress with high hopes. It was … in a word … “okay.” The Huntress wasn’t her best and most interesting book. It was super predictable, and the characters were flat. I do look forward to downloading her new one, The Diamond Eye, once I am done with the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy!

What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris

I was really looking forward to this one … but it was too linear and boring. The main character was flat and there weren’t many dimensions to the plot.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Soloman

My goodness did I love The Ex Talk! It was funny, quirky, romantic, and not to mention, filled with NPR/public radio nerd references! An easy 5 stars from me!

What am I reading now?

I am currently reading The Circus Train, a novel by Amita Parikh. It is a historical romance, coming-of-age story that was just released the end of March. It is giving me major The Night Circus vibes (not in a good way, seeing as how the titles are so similar), but I really appreciate the novel’s attention to disability. I also just started A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, one of my most anticipated fantasy series. To be continued …

What I watched

While I nursed my baby, burped my baby, and held my baby … and pumped milk for my baby, I watched a LOT of television. I am usually a big habitual television watcher. I will watch the same movies and television shows (lookin’ at you, Gilmore girls) just for comfort. But, since I have 4 months with my baby, I figured I would watch shows that I’ve been meaning to get to, but never had the “time.” So, here’s what I watched since February (in bullet form):

  • Seinfeld (Netflix) – A classic rewatch. I haven’t seen some of the episodes before, so it was nice to have a quick laugh during the darkest days of postpartum.
  • Love is Blind S2 (Netflix) — A hot, hot mess. Loved it.
  • Emily in Paris (Netflix) — Terribly terrible, yet entertaining.
  • Inventing Anna (Netflix) — VERY good.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime) — Amazing.
  • The Office (Peacock) — Rewatch!
  • Parks and Recreation (Peacock) — First time ever. I know. But guess what? I already want to watch it again.
  • Ted Lasso (Apple TV) — Really good.
  • The Ultimatum (Netflix) — GAH. Awful. But so good.

What’s Next on TV

  • Once Upon a Time (Disney+)
  • The Mandalorian (Disney+)
  • Downtown Abbey (Netflix)
  • Outlander (Netflix)

Any recommendations? Feel free to share in the comments!