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Middlegame: A Review

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 star

This book was in a Page 1 Subscription box. If you haven’t tried this subscription, I highly recommend it. They send a carefully selected book based on your reading interests, wrapped in brown paper, along with a few bookish treats. Check out my instagram (@katyslifestory) for more, as I frequently share my monthly treats.

The world in this book is based in alchemy, but even if you aren’t completely knowledgeable in alchemy, the world is so well-written that it’s hard to get lost. There are a lot of twists and turns that feel like getting lost, but everything gets revealed and explained down to layman’s terms. Outside of that, the plot is a bit difficult to explain.

Roger and Dodger are two kids, around seven years old, when they are introduced. The book follows them as they grow up on opposite sides of the country. Roger is a language prodigy and Dodger is a genius with numbers. When they are very young, they are able to talk to each other through what is described as quantum entanglement. As they grow up, they realize that they are two parts to an even bigger, more nefarious plot, which they must figure out before it is too late.

The book moves back and forth in time, specifically forward in time to one specific point which is done over and over, and each time a little more is revealed. Until finally we reach that same point towards the end of the book. McGuire expertly leads the reader through the maze of knowledge and discovery without revealing anything too early.

The characters are relatable in the loner, coming of age, kind of way. It is easy to root for them, to feel for them, to understand their loss and pain. They connect with the reader really well. Erin is also a relatable character, specifically to those who have a penchant to organize life around them.

The story is a quest, both to a specific place and to learn more about oneself and grow confident in who a person is meant to be. The plot is fast-paced, especially in the last 100 pages, which seemed to fly by as each action brought on another action until the finale. The rules in this world were interesting, and there were references to scientists and authors who used a lot of metaphor in their writings, connecting that they were all alchemists. Some Easter eggs might be lost on a reader who doesn’t know much about alchemy, but it is still a fun ride regardless.

There is a substantial amount of profanity in the book. Also, there is some sexual content, as this follows two people from about the age of 7 to almost 30 so there is sometimes sex, however not explicit or steamy. There is a significant amount of violence in this books. Trigger warnings for suicidal attempts. There is murder, horror movie style, described fear. The books opens with the words “There is so much blood.” It is a bloody book.

Thriving This Summer

Summer is here! I’ve been contemplating this post for a while now, but before I get into it, let me tell you how May went.

We had so much fun celebrating our son’s first year of life. We also spent some time with family and a bit of traveling (with a bit more to go later this season). It has been so incredibly busy, but there was one thing that I noticed.

Usually, when I take a break from blogging, about halfway through the break, I’m chomping at the bit to come back to it. But this time, that didn’t happen. In fact, it didn’t happen by the end of the month either. So I started to reflect more on why this was happening. I think it’s for a lot of reasons, but I wanted to share just a couple.

First, I think I was more burnt out than I realized, and the energy I used to devote towards my blog has been used in other places. My son is getting more and more active and interactive. My parents are moving to Texas, and I’m helping with that transition. Plus, as I mentioned above, we have been traveling a bit already and have plans to do more (and this after two years of very little traveling). In addition to all of that, I have been dealing with some terrible writer’s block.

Second, I’m not sure where I want to take this blog in the future. When I started blogging on WordPress, it was about our life here in Texas. It transitioned to infertility and pregnancy loss in the last five years, and while I still want that conversation to continue, I’m not sure how much I can contribute to it from this platform at this time. I have some thoughts swimming in my head, but they aren’t clear yet, and I want to take the time to really think through it.

Here’s my plan for the Summer:

I am going to take the summer to reflect on my blog and general online presence. Also, I am going to continue posting on my Instagram (@Katyslifestory) on a pretty regular basis. Right now, it’s the right size of a platform for me and gives me the space I’m needing.

This was not at all what I thought I would be doing right now, but I think it’s the best thing for me. I don’t know what the future holds for this blog, but I appreciate all of the support and love from this community. Talk to you soon!

Thriving in May

Other than those pesky allergies, we managed to stay pretty healthy this month!

As far as my plans, here is how April went:

I am going to be honest with you. I didn’t like doing the reading journal. It was hard to incorporate it into my day because I read literally whenever I have time. In a drive thru. At the gym. When I’m waiting for a timer to go off for dinner. And I just couldn’t keep up with the pages I was reading and the thoughts I had in a journal (besides, I’m actually already journaling in three journals this year, so I might be journaled out.). I haven’t yet really begun to write in my books (unless they are for a book club and nonfiction – I don’t know why I’m okay with only that), but I might look into other possible options (book darts, maybe?).

I did research on memoir writing. I still want to find Stephen King’s On Writing which I haven’t yet (I should just break down and get it on Amazon). But I think what has been most helpful is reading other people’s memoirs. I’m probably (definitely) going to go back to writing next month, but I want to incorporate more memoirs in my near future.

I did get the plants planted in the hydroponic jars. I just have to wait for them to sprout. Hopefully, they will, although they are a different brand than my mint (which is doing beautifully still!). I almost forgot to do them this month, but this blog post reminded me.

Here’s my plan for May thriving:

I only really have one goal or focus this month, and that is rest. I’m taking a break from blogging for the month of May. I did this last year when I had my son, but I’ve actually taken this month off for both blogging and social media for many years in the past. I think this is about the time when I need to step back and evaluate blogging and, really social media in general (although I will still probably post on my Instagram @katyslifestory). But also, we have a lot of family time this month (hello, celebrating my son this week is bringing in both of our parents!) and I want to take the time to enjoy it.

So I hope you all have a wonderful month of May and I will talk to you again in June. (By the way, I do have some blog posts still going up to finish this week. Friday will be my last post. I will also take a break from my newsletter, Saturday will be the last one until next month).

Do you have any goals you are trying to reach this month?

#DogsOfInstagram

I’m still fostering the puppy from last week, although he’s going back tomorrow.  When I am fostering, I don’t go to the SPCA those weeks because my hands are full with the pups at home.  So I thought I would take a moment and share my favorite doggie instagram feeds this week.  I mean, who doesn’t want their feeds to be filled with adorable dog pictures?

Even in my own news feed last year, dogs dominated my pictures.

But here are just some of my favorite #DogsOfInstagram that I follow, in no particular order.

I tend to gravitate towards the dog owners that have similar breeds to my own.  While @dane_queen typically shows off their gorgeous Great Dane pups, every now and then their Rat Terrier makes a cameo.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BAtRopryyxX/

@andrewknapp takes gorgeous pictures of landscapes as he travels around the country with his pup in tow.  My favorite part of his pictures is that his puppy will actually hide in the background of the landscape, making it a Where’s Waldo (or where’s Momo in this case) game.  Can you find Momo in the picture?

@animalphotosbysaracoe is a gorgeous mix of pictures of various breeds and crossbreeds (aka mutts) in different scenarios.  I wish I could print some of these for my wall.  Plus, this particular dog reminds me of my childhood puppy.  So sweet!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BAwkkNcrBDL/

@andreaardendogtraining is a dog trainer, Andrea Arden, who takes pictures of the dogs she is training.  She will even on occasion give training tips.  But seriously, the blue eyes on this husky….I can’t even.

And last but not least, @rudy_theboxer.  This is another breed owner who takes pictures of their dog like @great_dane.  Rudy is simply gorgeous with the brindle coat.  And just look at that face!  We have our own brindle boxer mix, so I like connecting with dogs like Rudy.

Of course, there are a lot more dogs that I follow on Instagram, so I may do a follow-up post sometime later in the year.

Do you have an Instagram?  What kinds of things do you follow?  And are you following me (@katyslifestory)?

Do you follow any doggie instagrams?  I’m always looking for more!