Tag Archives: reading

Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals – Book Review

Published Date: February 22, 2022

Publishing Co.: St. Martin’s

Pages: 256

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“The more you cry, the less you pee.”

That was the mantra Laurie’s mother instilled in her children. It might not make all the sense, but it was enough to force you to crack a smile and push through whatever it was that was bothering you. It’s a mantra that most of us could afford to take up in our lives. It was the mantra of a family forced into poverty by domestic violence and a neglectful father.

The Zaleski family was the kind of family that made you think of the phrase, “Keeping up with the Joneses.” They had the idyllic life. Except that behind the scenes, the husband was a serial cheater and became a wife beater. When the mother had enough, she packed up her kids and moved into a house on the verge of being condemned. With absolutely nothing but their mother’s ingenuity and determination, they made a shack into a home. One of their mother’s many jobs to make ends meet was that of animal shelter employee. Her heart the size of her attitude, she would bring home the animals that were going to be euthanized and nurse them back to health. Thus began, the original Funny Farm.

When I picked this book up, I thought I would mostly be in for numerous tales of animal rescues. While there is a plenty of those, the story of the Zaleski childhood stood out as the most fascinating part for me. I binged 130 pages the first time I sat down with it.

Anne McNulty was an amazing woman, who raised good children and saved numerous animal lives. The book is a great testament to her character and the continuation of animal lives rescued in her name by that of her daughter at the current Funny Farm.

My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog: 101 Tales of Canine Companionship – Book Review

Published Date: September 7, 2021

Pages: 368

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My aunt purchased this book for me as a birthday present just two short months following the death of my beloved dog, Ozzy. My husband wisely said that I should probably wait a little while before I attempted to read this. So, I waited until around June/July before I took it to work as a lunch book.

It was the perfect lunch book in the fact that, the essays are only a couple of pages long. You could gobble 4-5 essays easily while taking a break.

Some stories are fun and quirky. Others bring a tear to your eye and get you all choked up when you’re supposed to go back out and deal with the public shortly. All of them remind you about why dogs are so awesome.

I would definitely recommend this one to dog lovers.

The Hunting Wind (Alex McKnight #3) – Book Review

Published Date: January 1, 2001

Publishing Co.: St. Martin’s

Pages: 352

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’m pretty sure the two reasons I keep going with this series are as follows; my grandfather recommended it to me before he passed, and it’s set in Michigan. I’m largely familiar with the cities/towns that the stories tend to take place in and that adds a bit of the nostalgia factor I guess I would call it.

If it weren’t for those two things, I would probably drop this like a hot pasty.

The main character, Alex McKnight, isn’t all that likable. I’m not entirely sure how he manages to have any friends and I like cranky old man characters. His conversations with people are bland and sometimes he comes across as rather dumb. But, no worries, by the end of the book he will have solved whatever mystery as he is so smart and brave. Although, in reality, it’s like he stumbles his way across it and manages to not die.

Now, my reading of the series has several year gaps in between, but it also seems like he’s always falling in lust with every woman (even if it’s a client, how professional) he comes across. So, ladies, he’ll investigate your undies too if you so much as look at him a certain way.

I’m sure you’re wondering, even with nostalgia factors, “why do you keep reading this? It sounds lame.” The first part of the books always seem to take awhile to get into the meat of the story, but once the drama starts, I can binge 100 pages without trying. It is 100% a 3-star read, which means overall I tend to enjoy myself even with its imperfections. Don’t be surprised when you see me pick up the next book in a few years.

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law – Book Review

Published Date: September 14, 2021

Publishing Co.: W.W. Norton Company

Pages: 308

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Are some species just dicks?”

A poignant question poised by the author. It’s rhetorical of course. Animals are just being animals whether humans enjoy it or not and this book is mostly about humans trying to stop them from inconveniencing them. Like the time some people tried to take caterpillars to court to get them off their property. It went as well as one would suspect if you had half a brain.

Humans have created a lot of the problems themselves. British immigrants to New Zealand missed their rabbit hunts back home, so they imported some. New Zealand doesn’t have any large predators, the rabbits, boinked like rabbits do and overpopulated the land. Humans then brought over stoats and cats in an attempt to take care of the problem only to ultimately be overrun by rabbits, stoats and feral cats. These imported species take up the habitat and kill the native species to the island. Now, it’s a race against time to save endangered species before they’re gone forever.

So, what I’ve learned here is that it only takes one nostalgic human to ruin everything and years and years of research to try to fix anything. Often, without any success.

The battle against nuisance species is a delicate balance. Back in the day, humans would happily slaughter any animal that was inconvenient or effected their livelihoods. Even to the point of extinction because how dare they? People are slowly becoming more cognizant to animal suffering. Less people want so-called nuisance animals harmed. Preferring relocation if possible. However, relocation doesn’t tend to work effectively according to research in Fuzz. Scientists are busy trying to come up with more humane (or less harmful) ways to manage species that get in our way or cause us problems. The results are years off but provide for a fascinating read.

And maybe, just maybe, take the time to remember to lock down your garbage properly so some bear doesn’t get euthanized for stealing your scrumptious muffins you didn’t finish. A little mindfulness goes a long way in saving lives.

This is my first Roach book. I enjoyed her writing style and extensive research. I’m sure I will check out her other publications down the road.

June 2022

2022 has mostly been a dumpster fire for Mr. C&M and myself. June was less so and we could really use for things to turn around. Fingers crossed, the second half of the year, proves much better than the first.

Plants update:

My pepper seeds sprouted awhile back. Unfortunately, all the habaneros were knocked over in a storm and lost. The hot pepper mix (red, jalapenos and others that I forget) are going strong after being transplanted. My cherry tomatoes have tiny little tomatoes starting and the rosemary and basil are plentiful despite a squirrel attack. (The squirrel is an assumption. Something broke some stalks.)

Dogs:

Samus went for her first ice cream walk yesterday. There is a cute little shop at the end of our road, and she enjoyed the ice cream. She did not enjoy the other people as much. She’s not a fan of children after being carried around like a football by them in the house she came from.

The second picture is not a new addition to the house but a visitor at work. Her name is Brie and she’s the best lil corgi on the planet. One of my coworkers is dog sitting via Rover.com and has had Brie for almost 2 weeks. Her owner travels a lot for work and that kind of upheaval is difficult on a dog when they’re shipped from place to place while the owner is gone. (She was with one dog sitter that ditched her, to her owner’s friend’s house for one night and then onto coworker.) Brie has bonded very heavily with my coworker. To the point that her owner did come home for two days, and she didn’t care much about his reappearance. However, when he dropped her back off to my coworker, she lost her mind jumping and doing zoomies. She’s always welcome at the pharmacy though. She’s great for morale and the customers love her too.

Reading:

Assassin’s Quest Review

Current read:

I’ve tried to spend as much time as possible outside. The heat and humidity have made it difficult but, every day that is even a little bit cooler, I’m out there soaking it in. I’m hoping for a weekend trip up to my dad’s neck of the woods sometime this summer. He needs some help on his hunting cabin and I just want to go where I can’t hear vehicles for the day.

Do you have any plans for the Fourth of July weekend?

Assassin’s Quest (Farseer Trilogy #3) – Book Review

Published Date: November 5, 2002

Publishing Co.: Spectra

Pages: 757

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ah, here we go. Another classic me. I claimed in my review of book two that I would be running out to buy the third book had I not just picked up several books from the library. The implication being that I would buy it after I finished them. That was 2017. Five years later, not only am I finishing the Assassin’s Quest, I’m finishing my quest to finish this trilogy.

Warning: Spoilers abound.

Fitz has been resurrected from the dead. The world besides Chade and Burrich, believes him dead by King Regal. His nefarious uncle who tortured him mercilessly in his dungeons. He’s not quite himself but what is the correct way to come back to life after narrowly escaping death?

First, Fitz must heal mentally and physically before he even grasps the concept of seeking revenge or searching out the true king, if he still lives. He does this in a cabin with his wolf, Nighteyes, and the help of Burrich bringing him supplies. From there, he travels to Tradeford to bring his revenge down upon Regal. Thworted, his efforts change to finding Verity deep in the Mountain Kingdom after being summoned to him by Verity’s Skill. Why has the true king not returned? His people suffer, both from the raiders on the coast and the complacent, lazy king on the throne. Now, Fitz must trek halfway across the world to find answers.

I love the slow burn of Hobb’s writing. It genuinely felt like I was along for Fitz’s entire journey. When I sit back and think about where the story started, to where it ended, it feels like I have read an entire trilogy in one book. We traveled the entire country, visited many people, survived many trials, lost ourselves, found ourselves, and brought legends to life. We starved, we ate until bloated, lost old friends, gained new friends, and fought many battles. It was an amazing adventure.

Hobb has skyrocketed to my favorite authors list.

Attacking the Invasion

I have a LOT of plans for the summer. Sometimes, it’s hard to decide which thing to tackle first. I recently came across a volunteer opportunity near my home and decided, yes, I will be doing that. (I would really love to volunteer at an animal shelter but I’m not ready for that yet. It also requires more of a commitment.)

Yesterday, I met up with other volunteers at a local nature preserve. It’s a fen, so it’s partly covered with water. (Which means I had to go out and buy new muck boots.) We got to go to the less traveled part of the preserve and pull-out garlic mustard and dame’s rocket, both of which are invasive species in Michigan. They choke out our natural flora, so it was time for battle. Turns out your girl is a weed whacking warrior. I thought I was slacking but when we all returned to our vehicles, I noticed I had the second fullest bag of the bunch. The only person that beat me was a guy who worked for the conservancy. People kept offering to carry my bag for me since it was so large, but I needed the workout, so I held onto it. Here is the beast:

One of my big missions this summer is to get out in nature more and with this volunteering effort, I will be out there every Saturday until the end of the month. (Aside from next Saturday because I work.) Then, in the fall, we return to harvest honeysuckle.

So, expect lots of nature pictures over the summer friends.

Currently Reading:

Have you began attacking your summer plans yet??

Half a War – Book Review

Published Date: July 16, 2015

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 513

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This will be an overall review of the entire trilogy.

I read the first book, Half a King, eight years ago. I did not think it had been quite so long when I picked up the second book recently but according to Goodreads, it most certainly had been. I never take the time to reread anything, however, I somehow remembered a great deal of the first book. I think that speaks well of the author.

In the second book, Half a World, our petty crew of misfits is traveling the world, gathering support for the Iron King against the High King. Each book has some characters that you are familiar with and a couple new ones peppered in. In this edition, we’re introduced to Thorn, a young woman desperate to become a fabled warrior like her father, and Brand, a gentle giant doing his best to stand in the light, always. Both of them learn lessons the hard way on their journey making friends for an empire.

In the last book, Half a War, war breaks out. If you can imagine that based on the title. Half a war is fought with swords, the other half with words. Princess Skara’s kingdom has crumbled beneath the armored boot of the High King’s favorite general. She works desperately to keep together an alliance between the scraps of her kingdom, the Iron King and King Grom-gil-Gorm in their war against the rest of the land.

Most of this series feels much like a Viking tale of war however, toward the end, the elf magic is revealed to be something much more familiar to us. I won’t give it away, but it was a very interesting turn of events. Overall, I very much enjoyed my adventures with this motley crew and rated this a solid 4 out of 5 stars across the board.

March 2022 Update

*waves*

I’m still here. Being a semi-functional human being. March was rather BLAH. March BLAHNESS.

Samus is getting used to the only dog life. She misses her brother. How can I tell? When we’re not home, sometimes she sniffs his collar that is hanging within her range and then wanders around, lost. (We have a pet camera that we bought just before Ozzy passed.) Other than those brief periods, she is much enjoying the frequent walks, car rides even if it’s just up to the store and now, she has her own personal luggage for travel! Look at her! So proud to show it off. She’s ready to pack up and head out on some adventures!

Yes, in our grief, we’ve been spending a lot of money on her to make ourselves feel better lol. But seriously, why didn’t I know dog luggage was a thing sooner? Previously, I was jamming as much dog stuff as possible into recyclable bags that liked to tip over and dump its contents on the regular.

Work still leaves much to be desired. I think I’ve just lost all heart for the profession.

Reading was very slow, but I did finish the following;

In early March, I finally finished my reread with Moth of Goblet of Fire. Loved it.

The conclusion to the Fever series. It was a pretty solid ending, but it lacked the usual passion between characters that this series is known for. However, the author suffered serious brain damage in the past couple of years, so I am not holding this against her as it sounds like it was a miracle that an end was written at all.

8 years after I read the first book in this trilogy, I finally got around to the second. (Thanks library!) Somehow, I still remembered a good deal of the characters and the plot. That probably speaks fairly well of the author. I wasn’t in the mood to review it, but I really enjoyed myself.

Currently reading:

I’m impressed with myself, jumping directly into the next book in the series. No 8 year gap this time! Should I feel up to it, I’ll probably do an overall review of the series when I’m finished with this one.

April – I turn 35 and get to go to California. Another year older, another year bolder!

Do you have anything exciting planned for April?

Coffee & a Chat – Snowpocalypse 2022

It wasn’t quite the snowpocalypse that everyone was making it out to be. At least for us but, it is the most snow we’ve seen in a long time in our area. We got about 8″-10″, probably closer to 10. (I’m bad at estimating and I never watch the local news.) There was plenty of shoveling but we didn’t have to actually leave our property for two days, which was awesome. We watched the snow fall, made chili, played video games and snuggled up with the fur babies in blankets.

Luckily, we never lost power. I prepped like a crazy woman in case we did but we didn’t. Years of growing up in Northern Michigan makes prepping feel like an essential. During Y2K, (I was 13) my dad wasn’t worried about it, but he let me prep to feel better. I filled our root cellar with water, canned food, dog food and make sure the dog was inside when midnight hit. Obviously, nothing happened but I felt better being ready for it.

Apparently, 22 years later, that still makes me feel better.

Instead of getting in a TON of reading, I became absorbed in Pokemon Shield. I am having a great time and my Dreadnaw can kick almost anyone’s ass.

This isn’t actually my character but they look alike.

When I do get a little reading in, I am still working on Goblet of Fire. It’s slow going but I am enjoying it when I do read.

The snowstorm and subsequent roads have made it a quiet return to work, which is a nice change of pace. I still don’t like being a pharmacy tech anymore.

School on the flipside, has been very enjoyable for a change. I’m doing great in Strategic Business Management (easy when you’ve helped run a small business for 10 years) and I have been working hard in Intro to Probability and Statistics. Despite being a math class, I am having fun learning it.

What is making you happy these days??