This weekend I went to the Detroit Zoo with my friend Kylie and her family to take some pregnancy announcement pictures for their second son who will be arriving in August (I’ll be his godmother!).
It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been to the Detroit Zoo. It’s actually a really nice zoo and a couple of weeks ago they opened a brand new penguin exhibit which was really cool.
Anywho, here are a bunch of photos. There are a lot more animals than what I photographed, I’ve just photographed animals at zoos a million times (like here & here) And I have a million more from various trips that I apparently haven’t shared. Anyways.
Today’s Top 10 Tuesday (well, 7 for me this week) is all about books that make you laugh. I decided to pick books that aren’t comedies, but have characters that are sharp of tongue, and so witty that I can’t help but laugh out loud while reading.
Ok, so long story short(ish), we were planning on hitting up Australia this November and my green card expires in August. After much debate I decided to apply for Citizenship but that probably won’t go through till August/September (if everything goes smoothly) and then I still have to get a passport. So I’ve been stressing out about buying tickets to Australia last minute and worrying that they’ll be more expensive, etc etc.
So I suggested maybe we push the trip back to early next year, so we’re not so rushed (I also need to legally change my name in Australia to get my Australian passport changed to my married name… It’s a big mess). And if we’re doing that, why not go to Europe this summer before my green card expires? Well, OK.
Of course, in my mind I was thinking that it’s still early in the year and that gives me a while to plan the trip, but OMG it’s mid April already? And we’d be going the first week of July, that’s not that much time!! And I’m crazy anal when I vacation plan. I need to have every detail figured out: where we’re staying, how to get there, what we’ll be doing each day, etc. I’m good at all this. But that’s usually just planning a vacation in one city. This is multiple cities in foreign languages and I’m freaking out a little.
Our must-visit cities are London, Paris and Rome (would love to do more! Wouldn’t min Edinburgh or Vienna). At first I thought it might be easier to do a tour group where they transport you everywhere and put you in a hotel. And I found one that I really like. But when you add flights to the package…$8000
I know this trip is going to be expensive, but that’s a bit more than I want, I’d like to get it down a little… well alot for flights/hotel. Cause we still have to pay for food and admission to any places we want to visit. Or am I being too hopefully and that’s just the price I’m going to pay?
After much fiddling around with various tours and vacation planners, that number was pretty much the standard. So now I’m going to try and price everything out individually, search for hotels and all that. I’m just overwhelmed. Where is a good area to stay? Do I try to find places near train/metro stations for easier travel, or find a place closer to the downtown areas *hyperventilates*
Any advice, recommendations, etc would be so greatly appreciated. What are some must-visit cities we should add if possible? What are the must-see attractions? What helped you when planning? I’ve already been reading Kristen’s awesome travel guide for help, but just want all the suggestions I can get.
So is anyone out there going to BEA or are thinking about it? I want to go so badly, but I don’t want to pay for a hotel room all on my lonesome. If you or anyone you know is looking for a roomie, please let me know? kthanks.
Here’s my current pile of books I’m trying to make my way through. I’ve found that I’ve really slowed down on the physical reading lately (mostly audiobooking). I’m contributing that to netflix and just not loving what I’m reading.
*Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger – The last book in this series *sobs* I’m so excited to finish this series, yet heart broken for it to be over. I’m just glad I still have the companion series the Parasol Protectorate to read through.
*Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas – I was dying to read this one after finishing Heir of Fire, so I ran out to get it. I’m currently half way through it and I have stalled big time. I feel like I think I like this series more than I actually do? I don’t know. I’m really questioning how the characters relationships are changing so dramatically from book to book.
I’m really looking forward to most of these, I’ve just got to get past the hump I’ve hit with Queen of Shadows, going to try to get back into it tonight.
So my goal this week is to get off my butt and take some photos of my shiny new bookshelf wall and craft room before it gets to messy, cause I just want to share with you all the gloriousness that is my new space I just love it!
The Runaway King& The Shadow Throne- Jennifer A Nielsen 4.5/5
I went into this series not expecting too much and ended up absolutely loving it and finding one of my favourite male protagonists of all time. I just love him and his sassiness and how he’s such an unreliable narrator. You just never know if he truly has a plan, or is just being adoringly arrogant.
While I wasn’t 100% sold on the ship in this one, the romance aspect is fairly miniscule so it didn’t bother me.
The Glass Magician – Charlie N Holmberg 2.5/5
I’ve tried to like this series, but I’m giving up. I don’t really like Ceony because she spends half her time fawning over Emery. I don’t mind a big age gap usually, but Ceony’s immaturity makes the relationship completely awkward and inappropriate.
Throw in some very flat bad buys, and a mediocre plot and you get an OK book. It has potential to be really good but it falls short of the mark.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green and David Levithan 3/5
This book was ok. Again, contemporary YA isn’t exactly my thing. I only tried this because of John Green. I like his style and I like his characters. I appreciate that his protagonists always have strong, caring, smart parents, something that most YA contemporaries don’t have. I liked Will Grayson #1, and Tony Cooper was kinda fabulous (Green always writes great friendships). I didn’t really like Will Grayson #2. Yes, he got better towards the end, but overall I didn’t really care for his side of the story. I also thought the ending was kinda silly and cheesy.
Envy& Splendor – Anna Godbersen 3/5
I’m decently happy with most of the characters’ endings. A couple were a little unsatisfying, but I liked the two sisters’ endings and they were really the only characters that I particularly liked and I appreciated that it wasn’t a lovey-dovey ending for both of them. But this was all just a guilty pleasure listen, so I’m not going to fret about it.
White Cat – Holly Black 3.5/5
A good book with an interesting world, but I wasn’t crazy in love with it. I was thankful that it was shorter or I may not have bothered with it. I’m interested enough that I want to continue the series, but I don’t see all the hype around the books. I think I went in with higher expectations after reading “The Darkest Part of the Forest” so I was a little disappointed.
Timebound- Rysa Walker 3.5/5
I feel like for 75% of this book I was waiting for the time travel part of this time travel book to start. I was expecting this to be an exciting adventure of chasing a bad guy through history. No such luck.
However, once the time travel actually occurred I was hooked and really enjoyed Kate’s story.
There are so many flaws in the time travel though. Stopping to think about it all there are so many holes in the plot. But I’m interested enough to keep reading the series.
A unique story with great characters, a great world, a kick ass protagonist and a well done romance. Plus, I was actually surprised by a couple of plot points.
I did get confused a little at the end by all the characters and nations and who exactly is fighting who and whose side is everyone on.
Vicious – VE Schwab 4/5
I’m conflicted. This was a good book, and there are some very interesting characters. The protagonist is a bit of an anti-hero, he’s not a villain, but he’s not all that good either. The story is unique, and I thought it was a good ending. But I just didn’t love this. I struggled to get into it, so I switched to audio which got me going, but it wasn’t a “can’t put it down” book. I don’t think it’s the book’s fault, I think it just wasn’t my strawberry jam.
I like it as a standalone, but VE Schwab said the other day she is working on a sequel, so that will be interesting.
I do recommend this book if you like a dark story with special abilities and some not so good characters.
The Shadow Society – Marie Rutkoski 3.75/5
I adore the Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, so I had to try another one of her books. I don’t feel that this was quite a 4, I’d say 3.75. It was definitely a unique story and a compelling world.
The beginning was a little too RL, high schooly for me. Plus, there was a bit of insta-love. Darcy is attracted to the new guy at school, even though he’s a jerk to her at first, and he makes her uncomfortable. But when Darcy is arrested, her world is turned upside down and she finds herself in an alternate universe.
I can point out various flaws in this alternate universe, but I’m taking this at face value and I enjoyed the characters, Darcy learning about her people and her past, and the romance was alright. The end felt a little lacking, like there should have been more of a show down/more action.
It doesn’t sound like there is a sequel in the works. Some things were left open for a sequel, but I like this as a stand-alone.
The Scorpion Rules – Erin Bow 2.5/5
This feels like a case of great idea, bad execution. To stop the world going to war, an AI was created to devise a plan to stop it, only the AI decided to just take over the world instead. To keep the countries from going to war, the AI takes the leaders’ oldest children as hostages. If a war is declared, the children die. It makes sense, people have done it throughout history.
Enter Greta, crown princess of Pan-something or other. She’s pretty, smart, all the other kids at the hostage school adore and look up to her. She’s also a total bore and a goody-goody. Then a new boy comes to hostage school from a newly formed area in the Americas. Elian is all like, ‘no, you can’t treat us like this, we’re human beings’, and gets tortured a bunch.
Up to this point, I’m intrigued and excited for where this book will lead. But then it just got messy. There’s a weird, contradictory bi-sexual love triangle, a lot of plot and world building that makes no sense, and a main character that was kind of a big baby through most of the story.
The AI was awesomely snarky though.
Overall, I enjoyed the first third, but the rest just dragged, and it felt like a very unsatisfying conclusion.
Soulless – Gail Carriger 5/5
I just love Alexia Tarabotti. Like absolutely adore. Possibly more than Sophronia from the Finishing School series by Carriger. She is so damned adorable and snarky I can hardly stand it. I just can’t wait to read the rest of this series.
So the biggest recommendations of this month: “Soulless” by Gail Carriger Is a must read, The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A Nielsen is a really fun series and “Rebel of the Sands” by Alwyn Hamilton is a good new YA book.