• Life

    Halfway Through – 2018 So Far

    Today marks the first day of summer, and as we’re also right around the halfway point for the year, I feel like it’s time to do a little goal check-in and assessment of how things have gone so far – particularly since I haven’t been keeping up with my monthly goal and wrap-up posts. 2018 has been a bit of a rollercoaster in a lot of ways. Emotionally, I’ve been pretty all over the place. On a personal level, I can’t deny that it’s been a pretty great year. Jim and I are finally settling in our own home, and the difference that shift has made in me finally feeling…

  • Book Love,  Magpie Reviews

    Book Review: A Court of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas

    A Court of Thorns and Roses is not a book I expected to like. Honestly, I had been avoiding the series almost purposefully after falling into the Throne of Glass series last year (reviews on the last two books there are still pending!). Now, why would I do that? I like the Throne of Glass series, and I generally have fun with Maas’ stories, so why would I be so skeptical about this? Well, because despite the constant feedback from everywhere telling me, “If you like Throne of Glass you’ll love this!” everything I had picked up about the series seemed to me like it just took the parts of…

  • Life,  Pet Pictures,  Photography

    Meet Haruka

    World, meet Haruka. Jim and I have been talking about expanding our little fledgling family with a furry addition basically since we moved into the house. The past few years of being out on my own have frankly been difficult without the companionship of a dog under the same roof. My apartmentmate had Olive the cat – but as much as I generally like cats, it’s just not the same. And while I was able to get my weekly dog-fix by visiting Hilde and Linde at my parents – again, it’s still not the same. And so after some deliberation and some waiting for my schedule to hit its summertime…

  • Book Love,  Magpie Reviews

    Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

    So, Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, was quite a bit better than it’s predecessor, Heir of Fire. This was honestly kind of a relief for me, all considered, but in the end Queen of Shadows was still a little bit of a let-down. It just doesn’t live up to the bar set by the first two books in the series. Heir of Fire had some pretty big pacing problems, but character development still rang very true. For Queen of Shadows, it was like the problem flipped, and ultimately we’re denied the kind of well-rounded narrative that we got in Crown of Midnight. Before we…

  • Blogging,  Life

    The One Where Magpie Begins Emerging From A Funk

    Oh, hey. It’s been a while, world. I’m still slowly emerging from my funk, but overall I’m glad to be back. Glad to be putting fingers to keyboard and writing again. Although, I must admit to still being a bit at a loss for what to write about. I don’t have any clever beauty advice to share, or new book review to post. No academic advice or fun finished creative projects either. At least not right this moment. Really, right now I’ve got nothing to offer except for… well… me. And I’m not sure when that became something so scary. Particularly when this whole blogging hobby of mine was started…

  • Blogging,  Life,  Magpie Writes

    The One Where Magpie Is Angry

    So January and Feburary haven’t quite gone as planned. You can probably figure that out based on the quietness here. Nothing about the last two months has been the way I expected. January this year was… weird. I generally spend a good deal of the month working from home. Because of that, January is usually one of my most productive months of the year in terms of blogging and prep work thanks to the lack of crazy commutes to eight different places. It’s always easier to get stuff done when you’re not spending half of your day living out of your car, after all. But this year I just really…

  • Book Love,  Magpie Reviews

    Book Review: Scythe by Neal Shusterman (Spoiler-free)

    Scythe by Neal Shusterman has a premise that hooked me instantly. The idea of humans living in a post mortality world where population control must be deliberate, and the philosophical and ethical dilemmas that would naturally come with having to make such choices to me seemed tremendously interesting. In practical application, however? Chunks of this book ended up falling a bit flat for me. Detached to Serve a Purpose One of the big reasons Scythe occasionally turned into a little bit of a slog was the overall sense of detachment that the narrative has. The main characters read as very one-dimensional, and the prose itself even feels sort of clinical…

  • Book Love,  Magpie Reviews

    2017 Reading Rundown

    2017 has been an interesting one in terms of my goals, and what I’ve achieved, particularly when it comes to reading. Strangely enough, 2017 was the first year in a very long time that I didn’t have a specific reading goal on my resolution list, and yet somehow, it has been the year in which I’ve managed to get my act together most. (I’m sure that says something that I’m not ready to face about the usefulness and benefit of my resolution making, but meh, I’m just going to keep ignoring that fact for now.) Why I Stopped Reading Fiction, And How I Turned It Around Now, as a kid…

  • Holidays,  Life,  Lists

    Hello, 2018

    I’m really no different than anyone else when it comes to having a, well, not-so-great track record when it comes to sticking to New Years Resolutions. And yet, here we find ourselves, year after year after year after year… making more goals, and not always keeping them. But while I’m definitely one of those people who isn’t good at keeping to the letter of the resolutions, I still see a lot of value in making them anyway. For me, making resolutions provides a concrete goal to aim for. Even if you miss the target, any forward movement towards it is still valuable. This year, my goals are all about small,…

  • Holidays,  Home Dec Love

    My Home Office Christmas Decorations

    When we bought our house, we quickly decided that the extra two bedrooms would be an office for each of us. Both Jim and I have work-from-home components to our jobs – his when the weather is bad, and mine during breaks from teaching as I plan and lecture write – and it’s immensely helpful to have our own spaces in which to do all that. Particularly since the kind of bad weather that forces him to work from home usually happens when I’m on winter break, and so we’re often working from home at the same time. Looking down the road, if we decide to have kids before we…