• 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…

  • Book Love,  Magpie Reviews

    Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

    So, for all the years that Outlander has been on the shelves, I’ve spent a great deal of time circling around it in bookstores, only to ultimately walk out without it. I’ve always found the premise intriguing, but so much of what I hear from people who love it always gave me pause. I like romance plotlines, but have never really enjoyed romance as a genre. I always prefer to take my romance with heavy doses of adventure, or sci-fi, or mystery, or really anything. Basically, I like my romance as a side-dish instead of the main course. And honestly? So much of what I heard about this book made…

  • Holidays,  Life

    November Wrap-Up and December Goals

    Once again, November has come and gone, and I’m left confused and dismayed about how it passed by so quickly. Like, seriously – I swear it was just the beginning of October the other day. How did this happen? How is Thanksgiving over already? How are we almost two weeks into December already and I’m JUST NOW posting my November update? Well, I know how that one happened… my photoshop updated and it took me until now to figure out how to get it to work properly again… but anyway… I guess time marches onwards, and while I haven’t been super active on the blog here, that’s not to say…

  • Life,  Photography

    Seven Days, Seven Black and White Photos Instagram Challenge

    A few weeks ago I got tagged on my personal facebook/instagram to participate in this Black and White Photo Challenge that’s been going around. It was a pretty neat challenge and forced me to look at what is so often “just another day of the grind” for me with a more creative eye. So, now that I’ve completed it I want to share the photos here as well. The challenge requires posting a black and white photo a day for seven days, presenting each photo without any caption or commentary, and I feel like the end result was a pretty interesting visual summary of the minutia of my everyday life…