For What It's Worth

Monday, April 22, 2019

My Monday Musings



Happy Earth Day!


Things aren’t looking good for Mother Earth these days but here are a few changes I have made to do my part.

REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE

That slogan has been drilled into my head for over a decade now. It seems like most Americans have gotten the message about recycling but not so much the reduce and reuse.

Most of our recycled products are shipped overseas, primarily China, and they have started to restrict what they will accept. Local municipalities are left to either pay more to recycle, which most can’t afford, or throw it all out – or worse – burn it.

I know where I lived in FL and here in WA, they stopped accepting glass and my current county is way more restrictive on the types of plastic they recycle.

So that has led me to be more proactive on the reduce/reuse end of things.

Bring my own bags while shopping. I’ve done this sporadically for years. I own approximately 7000 shopping bags but used to forget to bring them in. I switched to cuter one – my favorite this HANGRY bag from Blue Q that I got on clearance. It’s large, sturdy and easy to wipe down.


Reusable mug for coffee/water/straws. I use a big stainless steel cup for my water and a smaller one for my daily iced coffee. And a reusable plastic one for hiking. I do still use some bottled water but one case lasts me forever as opposed to going through one a week.

Reusable snack/sandwhich bags. I just started using these because I realized how many ziplock bags I was going through. They are made of silicone and so far work great. (@ $6.99 for 2 at Target)


Buy local. I also try to buy things at farmers market and stores where I can reuse their containers – like berry baskets, yogurt jars, milk bottles. You can usually rinse them out and bring them back. Most places I’ve been also give you a a refund ($1-$3) for doing so.

Go plant based. I’m not vegetarian but about 80% of my diet is plant based as I find more products that don’t use dairy/meat and also taste delicious.

I used to do more when I had my own place – we switched to a hybrid water heater, had a compost bin, organic garden that encouraged bees and pollinators and I hope to do more of that when I’m settled out here. But those are just a few things.

I also need to pick up mesh vegetable bags for produce shopping. That’s another area that I waste a lot of plastic on.

On the Book-ish front:


 


I’m reading How (not) to Ask a Boy to Prom by S.J. Goslee. Finished Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole (adorable novella!), Play Hard by Avery Cockburn (also adorable, fun and sexy)

Listening to - Podcasts



Still Processing: I listened to the Joy episode where they discussed Marie Kondo, what tidying to means on a higher level and the art of Swedish Death Cleaning.

Love this duo and they’re take on pop culture and I’ll be listing to more.

You’re Wrong About…Each podcasts takes a fresh look at an “event, person or phenomenon that has been miscast in the public imagination” Terri Schiavo, The Challenger Disaster, Enron, Anna Nicole Smith are just a few topics.

The hosts come off a little glib sounding at first but overall this is a fun new look at news stories that you thought you knew about.

So what are you all reading, listening to, watching?

*Excuse my wonky photo formatting - it was fighting me and I gave up lol

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Review: The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.


Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
~ Goodreads

Source: arc (& and finished copy) provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: I was immediately drawn to the characters of this book but the world/plot left me struggling to grasp things at first.

The Fever King is post apocalyptic/sci-fi that hits the ground running, while I was sputtering behind going huh? Our protagonist, Noam, is the son of Atlantia immigrants – living as a hacker, in Carolinia, and caring for his now despondent father. So far so good. I got that and to say that this plotline parallels our current political climate – would be an understatement.

There’s a virus that causes magic outbreaks mainly to immigrants seeking a better life in Carolinia. The infected die but a rare few present with magical powers. Something native Carolinians fear and try to protect themselves from by whipping themselves into a hysteria about immigrants and unleashing increasingly cruel methods to control them.

The children who present with magical powers, including Noam, who survives an outbreak, are brought in for training and are considered useful to the government. This is where I started to get confused.

The story bypasses the usual group training montages (although it does show how one channels their power and that was unique and cool) and I appreciated that . If you’ve read one training montage – you’ve read them all lol but it also kept me from getting to know the supporting characters and their struggles better and why people were being hurt outside the walls of the training facility but were treated well here.

There’s just a lot going on with the science/politics of it vs the personal aspect of the story. And teh personal side where The Fever King REALLY shines. This is a very character drive book.

Noam, Dara (another student and Noam’s love interest), and Calix, teacher/mentor, Minister, and Dara’s father have an extremely complicated dynamic and I was her for it!

It’s hard to get into without spoiling anything but the lines between hero and villain, savior and tormentor are frequently blurred. Lee does something really brilliant with her characters – presenting them as one thing but slowly revealing their past and an opposing view of their current actions so that it turns everything and on it’s head.

The morally grey areas are vast in The Fever King and while the first third made me feel confused and sometimes frustrated with the characters actions – it all came together beautifully and had me sprinting to the end to see how it would all turn out.

And boy was that an ending! I felt satisfied that it wrapped up the immediate story but it is kind of cliffhangery in that WHAT THE HELL IS GOING TO HAPPEN?? way.

To be honest, I’m baffled by most sci-fi/fantasy worlds – so your mileage may vary on that aspect (although it totally makes sense in the end!) but I was in it more for the complexity; of the characters and their actions/relationships, the portrayal of trauma, mental health, political activism and LBGQ rep. Everything was so well done.

I love when an author is able to walk that line between right and wrong and make you question things so I’m looking forward to The Electric Heir (Feverwake #2).

*Also – there’s a lot of darkness in this book and Lee posted a content warning list on her blog if you would like to check that first here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tell Me Something Tuesday



Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question: Where do you get your review books?

Answer:

Netgalley - but I’m pretty cautious about that because it makes me feel pressured – to read and post on a schedule. Also, I want to be sure it’s something I really think I will like because I don’t want to DNF or write a lot of negative reviews for books I request.

I probably get under 10 books per year from Netgalley per year and that’s a generous #.

Edelweiss is completely baffling to me so I’ve only requested about 3 books from there over the years – and only got approved for 1.

PR companies - I’m signed up to a PR company newsletter that represents a lot of authors for the romances that I like to read. I haven’t requested anything in months because of the move but that’s where I get a lot of my romance arc’s.

Publishers - Occasionally, publishers send books to me unsolicited – about 5-6 per year. I have no idea why I get them – who my contact is or how to ask for more/less lol But they’re usually for  S&S, Harper, Penguin so I roll with it.

Authors - I have a few authors that I've worked with over the years who still offer me their upcoming books or send out a blogger request form for upcoming releases.

Conferences - by far, the biggest source for my arc’s/review books is book conferences like BEA and ALA.

I live too far away from the conferences now so that will come to a screeching halt. But honestly, I’ve been stepping away from review books anyway.

Blogger friends - the generosity of this community is always overshadowed by the bad sides/drama. My blogger buddies and I have been trading arc's or just passing them on to each other for years now. It's something, personally, that I LOVE to do for other bloggers. Especially newbies or people who don't have access.

This is not about collecting arc's or using bloggers for free books. I'm talking about making real friends and sharing the bookish love. 

Library - This is my #1 source for books right now. It's easy, free and doesn't require any obligation to anyone. It's been a great way to see if I like a book/author before committing to buying or requesting books.

I want to tackle all the arc’s and books I’ve accumulated and never read for the past 9 years of blogging. And, more importantly, read without pressure. So, yes, I'll still request a book I REALLY want to read but it's something I've been backing away from.

Where do you get your review books?