Friday, August 4, 2017

July 2017 Wrap Up!

It has been almost 2 years since my last wrap up post and I think it is high-time I pick back up! I do owe all my invisible readers an explanation as to why I've been gone for so long. It would be easy to blame the long hours of work (and in part it would be true), and it would be easy to blame planning my wedding (and again it would be partially true), but in all honesty, I did not hold myself countable to good time management. In my home/work, in my reading/life, and in my home/fun. I was learning to be an adult, and sometimes that means that you suck at it for a while before you get better at it. Well I've been better at it, not good, but better. So here I am again. 

This month I read 27 books!

1. The City of Ember by Jaenne DuPrau
2. Untamed by A.G. Howard
3. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
4. Goddess of the Sea by P.C. Cast
5. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
7. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
8. A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
9. Day of the Dragon by Richard A. Knaak
10. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
11. Atlantia by Ally Conndie
12. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
13. Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare
14. The Lost Herondale by Cassandra Clare
15. The Whitechapel Fiend by Cassandra Clare
16. Nothing by Shadows by Cassandra Clare
17. The Evil We Love by Cassandra Clare
18. Pale Kings and Princes by Cassandra Clare
19. Bitter of Tongue by Cassandra Clare
20. The Fiery Trial by Cassandra Clare
21. Born to Endless Night by Cassandra Clare
22. Angels Twice Descending by Cassandra Clare
23. Towering by Alex Flinn
24. Legion by Julie Kagawa
25. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
26. Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
27. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

Now I debated marking this as 18 or 27 books because 10/11 Cassandra Clare books were shorts. In the end I went with the 27 because Goodreads has them as individual books and I read them as separate ebooks.  Thoughts? 

Some statistics, because I love statistics!

I read a total of 27 books and 7,551 pages in July.
I gave a total of 87 stars out of a possible 135
3 books received 5 stars, 5 books 4 stars, 15 books 3 stars, 3 books 2 stars, and only 1 book got a 1 star.
I posted reviews for 1 of the 27 books so far.
24 of the 27 books were part of a series, 3 were stand alone books.
8 of those 24 were first books in the series

My favorite book of July was:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

This is a beautiful series, and I know that I am not alone in loving Sarah J. Mass's amazing writing, and beautiful stories, but I really feel that this author rejuvinated my love of reading! She reminded me that even though you may read 100 3 stars, there is always that one 5 star hiding among them that makes it worth it!

Least favorite

My least favorite book was Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James.

I didn't expect to love it, but I found this book particularly disappointing, even in the context of this series. It unfortunately fell prey to the disappointing last book trap.

Currently Reading

July and August have been 'clean out the currently reading list' months so the books I am reading are nothing new but I am determine to finish them soon! I am down to 11 books on my currently reading and I need to get this down to a manageable list. 

1. The Naming by Alison Croggon
2. Fractured Dream by K.M. Randall
3. Inferno by Dante Alighieri
4. Justice Buried by Hilary Thompson
5. Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
6. Size 12 is not Fat by Meg Cabot

We will see how well I do this month finishing them off, but I did put a nice dent in the currently reading list in July. 

Project Brad

This is on hold during the summer months, because Brad feels that he needs to be outside while it is warm and he will catch up once it is chilly again!

Wrap it up!

Not bad for the first update in over a year! July was a big month for me and I'm hoping to follow through with August!
What are your summer reading habits? Do you speed up and power through like me, or put it on hold till the cooler months like Brad?
Let me know!

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Title: Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: E.L. James
Genre: Romance
Series: Book 1 in Fifty Shades
Pages: 356
Release Date: May 25, 2011
Publisher: Vintage
Summary: When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

This book is intended for mature audiences.(via Goodreads)

My Rating:

There are so many reviews that sing this books praise, and just as many scathing reviews that tear it apart at the seams. This is neither of those. I did not enjoy this book, so much that it took me 5 years to work up the willpower to finish it. It was not the sex scenes that made this hard. I am not squeamish. I just had trouble with the astoundingly poor writing. I went into this book with high expectations, having been recommended to me by a huge number of people. I was very excited because many of those people were inspired to read (something that they do not normally do much of at all) by this book. I spent a few months picking away at it until I eventually filed it way on my long term hold shelf. 5 years later, rejuvenated, I picked it back up determined to finish it and get it off my currently reading! I did find it easier to stomach the second time around. Perhaps it was because I went in with realistic expectations, or maybe it just gets better as you go, but I finally finished the book. The verdict is in: it was better than I originally thought. I found myself interested in Christian Grey, the broody millionaire (billionaire?) and his thinly veiled past. I can understand the reason that many readers found this book alarming, fantasizing an over controlling significant other. I do think that this story walked the line of choice and abuse, but I think that at the end of the day it was honest in walking that line, because many of us find ourselves walking that same (or similar) line. I have never experienced a BDSM relationship, and would not disrespect that lifestyle in making judgments about the, excuse the pun, shades of gray that entails (or doesn't). I had much more of a problem justifying the terrifying fastness and intensity that these people fell into this story, the vast number of 'oh my's and the impossibility of ignoring the fact that this is a published Twilight fanfiction

Overall I gave this book a 2 star. While I did not like this book, in fact I disliked it, it is not the worst book I have ever read, and I think that it says something about it's merit as a book that it inspired people who have never read a book in their life to power through three of them in a week! 


I also, being a crazy person,  finished second and third book in this series (never leave a series hanging!). This series defiantly peaked in the second book. I think that I defiantly had a real interest in the story, maybe not 532 pages interested, but a solid 150 pages. There was a more realistic balance of story and sex scenes, and the characters became more 3D, and grew out past blow up sex dolls that E.L. mashed together. I think that the entirety of the third book could have been summed up in a few chapters in book 2. E.L. was defiantly feeling pressure to deliver sex scenes with now fully flushed out characters, which resulted in a truly horrifying group of chapters. I ended up rating book 2 with 2 stars and book 3 with only 1. 


Do you think this book walked the line or crossed it? How do you feel about books that inspire people to read, even if they may not be your favorite book?

A Hard Topic, but a Welcome Change

'I haven't posted anything in a long time and I find myself struggling how to start. I decided to post again because I felt that I needed to get everything down for myself. This week I decided to quit my dream job. I work as an Infection Control nurse and Staff Development coordinator at a nursing home and I thought that that is where I would be for the rest of my life. I graduated nursing school and started working at the nursing home right out of school. I have been through the good the bad and overly regulated in the last 2 and a half years and I was deliriously happy.'
I wrote that on 5/5/17 which was almost a month after I decided that I needed a change. I ended up putting my resignation in a little over a week later. I went through hell during that week and the next 30 days of my notice. My administrator targeted and harassed me (all with a smile of course) and pleas for help fell on the deaf ears of human resources.

I was pulled to the floor from my office to work as RN supervisor on the evening shift and struggled with the abrupt change in scheduling from my normal Monday through Friday 8-4 (and a husband of less than a year who I never got to see). I watched coworkers go through the same thing that had pushed me to a change in jobs and I struggled with the knowledge that my leaving would make situations worse. There is always a nursing shortage and I would be lying if I said I wasn't good at my job. I did agree to stay on occasional and to orient the next person to take the job because I remembered how hard it was for me starting out without any orientation.

In my last 30 days my judgement as a nurse was questioned in the name of lowering a lab bill and I was told that I should be ashamed of myself for not working unreasonable hours after getting off short notice overnight shift and no sleep and would have been unsafe being in charge, (not to mention for free because I was salary and had already worked well past 40 hours) and I was manipulated into off shifts by being told that my choices were work the off shift or work a double including the off shift. This was all on top of the pressure of maintaining my regular job and completing the majority of the post annual survey audits.

Then June 17, 2017. Last day. It was the sigh of relief I never thought I would reach. I took 1 week off to detox from that environment and the started my new job as an RN at our local hospital. Since then I have gone back to my former job a few times to help with orientation and each time leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I love my new job and am so much happier. Not only is is a relief to get out of that toxic environment, but I am finally able to begin balancing home and work life and enjoy some time with my husband!

The point of my rant here is not to put down my former workplace (I really hope that the organization can turn it's self around, it was my first job out of school and it was and continues to be very close to my heart. All the residents and most of the staff are like a second family to me and for them, I really hope for better times.) but I wanted to share my experience here hoping that if anyone else is struggling with this, they will have the courage to take a stand for themselves!

The nursing field is notorious for overworking and mistreating staff and that is partially because the wonderful staff are always working to their limits for their coworkers and for their patients. They do what they need to do to get what needs done done. The current climate of health care has put unfair pressure on health care institutions to cut costs and work to limits. It's not always their fault. There are many areas with plenty of room for change in health care. I can speak first hand for the stress that the Department of Health regulations put on a small nursing home. It is getting to the point where the regulations put in place to protect the residents, are actually hurting them by taking away from the staff's ability to do their job. The already short staffed nurses are drowning in paperwork. But that is not an excuse for poor treatment. Staff appreciation and respect go a long way.

It's always said that the grass is never greener on the other side but some times that is just not true! Unfortunately, sometimes it is up to us to hold employers to fair work expectations, by demanding to be treated like a human being. No job will ever be perfect, and there will always be bad days, or even months, but you should never be miserable in your chosen career! 

Have you ever worked somewhere where you or your coworkers were mistreated & what did you do?