Oh man, I cannot believe I have missed two ROW80 check-ins in a row. It’s definitely not my usual speed, but there’s a lot going on right now. Classes just ended this week, final exams are due next week, and I’m moving 300 miles back to my parents’ house at the very end of the month. So I am a bit distracted, shall we say, but I am here cheering on all my ROWing friends in spirit, if not “in the flesh.”
However, there has been *some* progress along the way. Here’s how things have gone over the last couple of weeks:
Day Job: So. Much. Work. I have been buried under books and journal articles for what feels like weeks, trying to finish a 25 page term paper on 19th century Catholic nuns for the course I’m taking on religion and gender. However, the absolute best thing to happen to me is that I met with my dissertation advisor on Tuesday, and we decided that the topic can be merged with my nascent dissertation topic.
This is a really, really, really good thing for a million reasons, not the least of which is that I have a direction at last. Better yet, it’s a direction that I enjoy, one that makes me happy, and kicks my little sociologist brain in gear.
I am going to have my work cut out for me this summer, honing and refining my central research questions, but I feel passionate about this project for the first time in a while. And where there’s passion, I’d like to think that we can do anything.
Writing: Yup, this is where I’m “barely squeaking by.” Work on my main novels has been stalled by the day job, though I have been trying to tweak little things here and there when I have a spare moment. So I don’t let myself get too rusty, I decided to sign up for my first flash fiction challenge in a few months: ‘Timony Souler’s June round of the “Dice Games.” I’ve been a little slow at posting my fills, but I’ve finished 2 out of 3: “Liberty,” about a lady assassin, her trusty blade, and a final mission; and “Worthless?“, which involves a pair of supernatural hunters, zombies, and a lovers’ quarrel.
Exercise: I’ve been working out on an average of 4 times each week, so I’m not doing *too* terribly here. Listening to audiobooks while walking has definitely made exercising much more enjoyable.
Social Media: Er… what is social media again? *hangs head in shame*
And finally, here are the awesome things that have been on my reading and watching lists:
I had a blast with a little time travel romance by way of Susanna Kearsley’s THE ROSE GARDEN and fellow ROW-er Jennette Marie Powell‘s TIME’S FUGITIVE (the 2nd book in her Saturn Society series). Kearsley’s protagonist, Eva, is grappling with the death of her older sister and finds herself in Cornwall, reconnecting with old family friends. There, she learns that she can “slip through time,” and ends up falling in love with an eighteenth-century smuggler. It reminds me a bit of Diana Gabaldon‘s OUTLANDER — rich description, evocative prose, lots of romance (although nothing as explicit as Gabaldon’s work), and haunting. I wasn’t sure how things would be resolved
While TIME’S FUGITIVE is also involves romance and time-travel, it’s much heavier in the science-fiction elements than THE ROSE GARDEN. Powell does an amazing job exploring the “butterfly effect” conundrums that can accompany time travel. There’s lots of tension, lots of excitement, and lots of twists and turns that I loved. I was so enthralled with the plot that I devoured the book in a single sitting, which says a lot. 😀
Finally, I read Lindsay Buroker‘s ENCRYPTED. Like all of her other books, this one was funny, fast-paced, and hugely enjoyable. There was one question that ran through my mind as I read, and that was, “Why the hell did I wait so long to read it?”
The watching list is a long one, since my friends and I have been hitting the theaters like crazy over the past couple of weeks. Here’s what we’ve seen, in bullet form:
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Blech. I was dragged to this against my will, and I thought it might maybe be terrible-funny, but no, it was just terrible. Pathetic writing, lame jokes, regressive notions of gender, fat-shaming, stupid “let’s-adopt-an-African-baby” subplot… the list goes on. Not even a bare-chested Joe Manganiello doing one-armed pull-ups could save this one for me.
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Also known as “that movie with all my favorite old British actors.” Despite the middling reviews, and the fact that my friends and I were the only people in the theater under 60, I loved this. The movie was a good blend of funny and heartfelt, with three-dimensional characters that I cared about (it’s always nice when characters, you know, grow and evolve). The entire cast is wonderful, but Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy really stood out to me.
- Snow White and the Huntsman: I could devote an entire blog post (maybe two or three) to why I was so disappointed with this movie. Instead, I will link to Tor.com’s review, as it pretty much sums up everything that bugged me (Terrible writing! Poor worldbuilding! A protagonist that hardly freaking speaks!).
- Dark Shadows: Yet another movie that I got dragged to, as my desire to see Battleship for all its terrible glory (and Alexander Skarsgard, and Taylor Kitsch, despite the horrid haircut) was overruled at the last minute. Even though the movie departs from television show, I mostly enjoyed it. Johnny Depp is, once again, absolutely fantastic, Eva Green is an amazing antagonist, and Michelle Pfieffer pretty much kicks ass. The last third of the movie, however, sorta goes off the rails. Not really sure what the writers were thinking, to be honest (Seth Grahame-Smith, I’m side-eyeing you).
- Prometheus: Okay, so I’ll admit that my expectations for this movie might have been a tad too high, but I was disappointed. It is visually stunning — I would actually pay $10 just to look at the darn thing — but I’m not too sure what happened with the script. I found myself hating most of the characters, with the exception of Michael Fassbender’s delightfully creepy android, David, and the ship’s captain, played by Idris Elba (aka my new mancrush).
Next on my list: finishing Seth Grahame-Smith’s ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER before the film comes out, seeing Hysteria in theaters on Tuesday, and wrapping up season 1 of Jason Isaac’s miniseries, Case Histories.
…and that’s me for this week! I will be retreating back into the reading/writing/working cave, but hopefully I’ll be able to manage a check-in for the last week of Round 2. Hope everyone’s doing okay!