Marian Reviews Stuff

Hello friends! I’ve started to be more active on my Goodreads account, and I thought I’d repost my reviews of books I’ve read lately here. So here are the most recent three I’ve done!

Galaxies and OceansGalaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was honestly one of the best romances I’ve ever read. It was full of high emotion, compelling and well-rounded characters, beautiful scenery… Everything I want in a novel. I have a special place in my heart for seaside communities, having grown up in one (although in Maine in the U.S. and not in Australia) and I loved the attention N.R. Walker gave to the setting. Also, Aubrey and Patrick’s relationship was so warm and soft and safe, and it constantly had me going “Augh, they are so CUTE together!”

I’m not sure it’s worth mentioning, but one of the characters has panic attacks, and they’re very skillfully described. So if you’re like me and essentially watching someone have a panic attack makes you start to have one, just know this in advance. Utterly worth it, at any rate.

The Haunting of Hill HouseThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of the weirdest, most interesting books I’ve ever read. I started out skeptical, because through the first chapters I felt like it was putting the establishment of the characters’ personalities over the plot. But as it went on, I was caught up in the bizarre and pretty horrifying atmosphere of Hill House. It wasn’t that I was looking for answers about what was going on in the house–I didn’t expect to get any–but I DID always want to know what would happen next. I guess that means I was more interested in the writing and action than in any explanation or resolution? Either way, it was definitely an experience.

Sunscreen & CoconutsSunscreen & Coconuts by Eliza Lentzski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’d give this a 3.5. The writing was good and the tropical atmosphere was really evocative, but I just couldn’t get myself to sympathize with the main character. I did really appreciate the way the narration was so immersed in Mercy’s super-cautious outlook, though. It took good advantage of first person in doing that, but at the same time it put me off because I just wasn’t very interested in Mercy herself. I honestly didn’t find the arc of the romance very romantic. In the end, I think this was a well-written and well-constructed novel about characters and a relationship who just weren’t my type.

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I truly wish that I could function and keep up with Facebook and Twitter and the news, but it’s the reality that right now, I can’t. I’m lucky to have a wife who keeps me up to date on the (generally horrific, sometimes hopeful) things that are going on in my country. But I still want to add my voice in other ways than the activism I’m doing offline, and so right now, I’m going to make this place my avenue to do that. And, naturally, I’ll still talk about lesbian romance a lot ❤

Here are some links that are giving me a bit of comfort and hope.

Author Bridget Essex has launched a t-shirt campaign to benefit Planned Parenthood. To get a “Nasty Warrior Woman” t-shirt, all of the profits of which will go to Planned Parenthood, we need to order enough t-shirts for the order to be funded. Please go check it out ❤

Are you addicted to dopamine? Yes. Yes, I am. This post explains the seek/reward cycle that triggers a dopamine loop–that desire to find out what’s going on, to learn something new, to download any available tidbit of information into your brain, and the satisfaction you feel when you do. This is why we keep scrolling on Twitter. Why we feel the compulsion to check Facebook in case something else has happened. Why, when we hear about some event, we think “I’ll just look up one more news article.” And yet, one more news article or five more minutes on Twitter only makes us feel worse. Just recognizing that this is a chemical process has helped me.

5 Ways to Celebrate Imbolc Without Spending a Dime. February 2nd is Imbolc, the pagan holiday celebrated halfway between Yule, the winter solstice, and Ostara, the spring equinox. It’s all about kindling a light in the darkness, about renewal and resetting, about gathering hope. I know I need that desperately right now. This blog post by Penniless Pagan has several fun ways to celebrate without spending.

Baubles

I’m determined to post more here, and my wife suggested that I schedule time every week to do that, so I’m going to take her advice 🙂 The state of America right now (I live in New Hampshire) is…well. As a lesbian and a woman and someone who cares about the lives of trans people and people of color and immigrants and the disabled and other minorities, it’s put me in a near-constant state of panic. And if I’m in that state, I can’t write–and therefore can’t share my stories with you, which is my beloved career! So, while I’m remaining engaged in activism, I’m also keeping a tight rein on my news and social media consumption.

My wife posts weekly link round-ups in her blog, Wooly Witchy, and so I’m going to take a page from her e-book and share some cool things I’ve come across lately, in the hopes that they make you smile or interest you during this time of…well. Yeah.

Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s license and the first woman to hold an international pilot’s license! Today’s Google doodle features her. Because of the whitewashing of history, I’d never heard of her…and she’s amazing. Such awesome accomplishments, such courage in the face of adversity. She didn’t let the fact that nobody in the U.S. would teach her aviation stop her. I admire her very much.

This has been making me laugh lately: The Gallery of Regrettable Food. It’s a gallery of bizarre, frightening, and wonderful food from vintage cookbooks. The humor is occasionally not to my taste, but most of the time it’s freaking hilarious. I really love looking at vintage advertisements, and not just the shockingly racist/sexist ones that always come up first when you search for them. This site also features some of the wackiest ads.

In the vintage vein, I’ve become enamored with cute vintage ceramic figurines (mostly of deer and bunnies and the like). Instagram has a fantastic community of vintage shops; here are some of my favorites:
The Vintage Bulldog
Kitsch and Kawaii
The Vintage Unicorn
Angel Violet Vintage
Stella Rocks It Vintage

❤ ❤ ❤ I hope some of these links bring you happiness, and please know that if you’re hurting right now, I’m thinking of you.