The Siberian American

Monday, December 11, 2017

Six Books I Read in October and November

Hi, friends! I’ve been in the mood to write for weeks, but after an extended hospital stay, Christopher’s crazy schedule (more on that soon), and adjusting to being a first-time Mama, I have barely opened my computer. I’ll be back soon with some updates on seven-week-old (!!) Anthony, but today I wanted to share some of my recent reads. Like with writing, I didn’t read much during the first month of Anthony’s life, but I’ve gotten into the habit of reading while I’m feeding him, so hopefully I’ll have more to share next month! I mostly wanted to read cute, fluffy Christmas reads, so I have a few of those. I’m finally reading my first thriller in a long time this week and am excited to share about it soon!

Summer at the Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard
(c/o NetGalley)
When I started reading this book, I didn't realize it was the third book in a trilogy. That's my fault, though, and it didn't change the book for me. I was a little discouraged about the lack of conflict until close to the end of the book-I feel like it could have been introduced earlier. That said, it was still a cute read, and I really liked the setting!

Castle of Dreams by Elise McCune
(c/o NetGalley)
I enjoyed this book, even though it was a little slow at times and definitely a bit predictable. I liked all the characters, especially the ones in the present story. It's not the best World War II historical fiction I've ever read, but I liked that it was a little different, as it was based in Australia.

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson
(c/o NetGalley)
This was a sweet Christmas story about misperceptions and second chances. It did feel a little redundant at times, but overall was a good read.

The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase
(c/o NetGalley)
I enjoyed Eve Chase's Black Rabbit Hall, so I was excited to read The Wildling Sisters. It started off really interesting, but the middle really dragged for me. The ending was really good, though, and I enjoyed the book overall. Black Rabbit Hall was better, but I would definitely read another Eve Chase book.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel by Samantha Silva
(c/o NetGalley)
This story is a fictionalized account of Charles Dickens and his state of mind while writing A Christmas Carol. For such a short book, it did drag a few times, but overall, I enjoyed it. It's a nice book to read during the holiday season!

We'll Always Have Christmas by Jenny Hale
(c/o NetGalley)
I was in the mood for a fluffy Christmas story, and that's what I got. You know what you're getting when you read stories like this-as an editor, I get frustrated with some of the sentence structure, but it was a sweet read for the holiday season.

Favorite reads in October & November: The Wildling Sisters and Mr. Dickens and His Carol

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Welcome to the World, Anthony!

Our sweet Anthony Christopher was born on October 20 at 3:46 a.m. He weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces and was 21 inches long. We are so in love!
I was in labor for 24 hours after being diagnosed with severe preeclampsia. We were discharged on Tuesday, October 24, only to rush to the ER five hours later with a 106 degree fever and be diagnosed with a kidney infection. We were finally able to go home on Saturday, October 28. I will share more of the story later, but that's why I have been MIA-soaking in all the adorable newborn cuddles and recovering from all the post-partum problems. We are so thankful for our healthy, adorable baby boy! I'm going to take a little more time off blogging, but I'll be back soon with more stories and photos!

Monday, October 16, 2017

End of Pregnancy Confessions

Oh hey, somehow I blinked, and I’m over 38 weeks pregnant. I thought I would post some thoughts and confessions today as I’m (hopefully!) nearing the end of this pregnancy.

I’m nearing the point in pregnancy where I’m ready to meet this little man! I’ve been dealing with painful Braxton Hicks off and on, and now that I’m past 38 weeks, I wouldn’t mind if he decided to show up a little early. That said, Chris is working nights all of this week, so it would be rough timing. There’s really no way he could leave if I go into labor in the middle of the night, and I definitely want him to be there. Talk about mixed feelings! I know baby boy will come on his own time, though!

I’m actually a little proud that I have both the diaper bag and hospital packed! Even though I’m a big planner, I really really hate packing. I basically had to go ahead and do it since I’m spending time with my parents while Chris works nights just in case I go into labor. Everything else is done, too! The nursery is ready, and all of his newborn clothes are washed.

Chris and I spent from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a childbirth class on Saturday. I had to get special permission for us to go so late in my pregnancy, and if you’ve ever been 38 weeks pregnant, you know how pleasant sitting for that long is. I do think it was worth it for us to go. The second part of the class is this Saturday, but Chris is working 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday, so we’ll see if he wants to go!

I just love the looks on people’s faces when they ask me when I’m due. I mentioned before it would bother me when people constantly told me I don’t look as pregnant as I should, but now, it’s entertaining because they are shocked by how close I am.

I wanted to end this on a good note. I’ve mentioned in the past some of the negative comments people have said, but yesterday, I received the sweetest compliment. An elderly gentleman I had never met came up to me at church and said “You are so beautiful. I think pregnant women are the most beautiful women in the world because they just glow.” Such a nice thing to say!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Our Maternity Photos

I debated for some time as to whether I wanted maternity photos. Although I've kept a daily journal of my pregnancy, I haven't really taken many bump photos. That said, I'm really glad we decided to take some maternity photos. Our photographer (Brittnie Renee Photography) did such a wonderful job, and I love that we have these shots to remember such a special time in our lives! Brittnie gave us over 50 photos, so I thought I would share some of my favorites with y'all today!

What's your favorite photo? 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Seven Books I Read in September

Hey, friends! Last week was a bit on the rough side around here. Last Sunday night, Chris caught some sort of intestinal virus with a 104 fever, so I spent the week taking care of him while also trying to make sure the baby and I didn’t get it. Thankfully, he’s finally improving, and it looks like I missed it, so things are on the upswing! As for my reading, I managed to finish the month with seven books after spending the first 20 or so days reading the first book on this list. I’m currently at 78 books read for the year, about two ahead of schedule if I want to get to 100 books this year. Honestly, though, as I get closer to the birth of our baby boy, I’ve been caring less about volume and just enjoying the books I’ve gotten to read.

Roses of May by Dot Hutchinson
I was hoping for this sequel to be a continuation of The Butterfly Garden, and it really wasn't. Inara and Bliss did make several appearances, but they weren't the main characters. I did think the plot was interesting, just not quite as good as the first story. It took me quite a bit longer than usual to get into the book. I will be definitely be finishing the trilogy, though, when the last book comes out!

Until I Met Her by Natalie Barelli
(c/o NetGalley)
Most of this book felt more like a drama than a thriller to me, but it was still good. I didn't really like Emma or Beatrice (or any of the minor characters), which would normally ruin the book for me, but it actually made for an interesting read. My only complaint is I didn't know there would be a sequel until I finished reading it (it still doesn't say it on GoodReads). I like to be prepared for that, so I don't wonder why all the loose ends aren't tied up. That said, even though I will read the sequel, I do think this book works as a stand-alone novel.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
(c/o NetGalley)
This book was a little hot and cold for me. There were several places where it felt like it dragged, but overall, it was an interesting read. I was hoping for a bit of a stronger ending, but I don't regret reading it.

Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict
(c/o NetGalley)
This was a quick, interesting historical fiction centered around Andrew Carnegie and his mother's maid. Although the maid is a fictional character, the book was still a good way to learn more about Andrew Carnegie.

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
(c/o NetGalley)
I enjoyed this book of identical twins who have spent years not speaking to each other. It was a little slower than I expected at times, but it did pick up and turned out to be a good read at the end.

Next of Kin by James Tucker
(c/o NetGalley)
I was surprised by how much I liked this book! It was a fast-paced thriller that kept me guessing. You really feel for Ben, who loses his whole family in one night and is then hunted by the killer. This was a great first novel, and I am interested in reading more books in this new detective series!

When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
(c/o NetGalley)
This was a beautiful, powerful read of the aftermath of a car accident that left three high school cheerleaders from a small town dead. It rotates between four characters-one of the girls's moms, the mother of the son also involved in the accident, a cheerleader who should have been in the car, and a teacher. Though the story is heartbreaking, it also focuses on the craziness of the rumor mill in a small town. This is my second Marybeth Mayhew Whalen book, and I'll definitely be reading more!

Favorite reads in September: Carnegie's Maid, Next of Kin, and When We Were Worthy

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?