Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2021

I figured this year, since I’m sharing more of my reading, it would be fun to talk about the books I’ve read so far this year and where I stand with my reading. A good way to do that is the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag, which was created on youtube by Chami (HERE), though she doesn’t have the video up anymore to my knowledge. I find it’s a good way to sit down and look at your reading so far and see where things stand.

For me, something I realized is that I’ve been VERY stingy about giving out 5 stars to books this year. I’ve read a lot of great novels, but I have been sticking to the 4 star rating. Out of the almost 50 books I’ve read this year so far, I think I’ve given maybe 2 or 3 a proper 5 Star rating. 

Best Book You’ve Read So Far

Just starting off with the big guns, right? I mean I could list so many books, but I think The Golem & the Jinni takes the cake for me personally. I’ve read a lot of good ones though. 

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far

Hands Down, The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker. These two books will always have my heart. I would also count The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers, which was the final companion novel in the Wayfarers Quartet. 

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. This year I’m trying to read new releases/new books I’ve purchased as I purchase them, so I’m not just buying and adding to the endless tbr shelf. 

Most Anticipated Release for the second Half of the Year

I’ve got a few: A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee, Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer, and Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson. There are so many coming out though that I’m sure I’ll only be adding to that. 

Biggest Disappointment

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. I had such high hopes for this one and the more that I think about the more disappointed I get. I would also add Answered Prayers by Truman Capote as well. I very rarely wholeheartedly say not to read something, but this is one of those times. 

Favorite New Author (debut or new to you)

Ok, I’m trying not to repeat any of my previous answers (like by the end of this post you will know that I love Helene Wecker and her Golem & Jinni books), so I’ll go with Becky Chambers for this one. Her stories in the Wayfarers Quartet (companions) were great. I also would add Arkady Martine, who wrote A Memory Called Empire, which was great as well. 

Newest Fictional Crush

I don’t really do the whole fictional crush thing haha.

Newest Favorite Character

I don’t really do like favorite characters either. 

Book the Made You Cry

I have not read a book this year that has properly made me cry (Addie LaRue came close though- that one delivered a couple of punches right to my heart).

Book that Made You Happy

Ok, so instead of happy, I’m going to talk about the book that just gave me warm fuzzy feelings, which was The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. There’s just something about reading about these 70+ year olds solving crimes and being underhanded about information. 

The Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year (or Received)

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. This edition was not only beautiful, the story was beautiful, AND it was the sweetest gift from my best friend. 

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year           

Ah, I want to finish the Greatcoats Series by Sebastien De Castell (I have two more to go), as well as the Skyward series by Brandon Sanderson. 

Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation you’ve Seen this year

The only one I’ve seen this year (that I can recall) is the Netfix Shadow & Bone Season 1 and I loved it. 

And that’s it for the Tag Questions! It’s been a great reading year so far, even though I’ve had a couple of duds, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the second half of 2021 contains in books. 

Let me know, what’s been the best book you’ve read so far? The worst?

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – June 2021

Somehow it is the end of the month already! At halfway through 2021, how did THAT happen? I feel like this year, unlike last, is flying by. So many things to get done and not nearly enough time to do them, and that includes reading all the books I want to read this year! We’ll be talking through some of those next week when I do the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag, BUT this week we are focusing on the books that I’ve read in the month of June. Overall, I read a total of 11 books with an average rating of 3.46.

Let’s get into then, shall we?

Anne of Green Gables, the Graphic Novel Adapted by Mariah Marsden (PURCHASE) 4 Stars This was just darling. Whether you’re familiar with the story of Anne or not, this was a lovely adaptation that I enjoyed in an afternoon on the porch with a cup of tea. 

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth (PURCHASE) 3 Stars Ah this book, where do I begin? In this book you are, at the heart, following a school/parcel of land and its…questionable haunting activities. Set in two timelines, one when the school was open and one in present day when a movie is being filmed about the goings on at the school and a cast of about 6 women at the heart of the story. I enjoyed the premise and even the set up (a book about a movie about a book), BUT I think this could have greatly benefited from being a duology. One book to the past timeline and the happenings at the school, and a second book about the present-day filming and hauntings. When smashed together in one book it felt a bit…rushed and not quite fleshed out fully. 

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (PURCHASE) 3.5 Stars This one is a conflict in my own head over the rating. In this story we are following a young woman who has recently become the ambassador to a foreign empire. From the moment she lands she is thrust into political upheaval as the empire struggles against itself AND a murder mystery she must solve before she is killed next. I really loved this book after about 150 pages. At one point I thought this book might be a bit too political (which is saying A LOT), but once I gained an understanding off the underlying speech, and the book narrowed down its’ focus, the story became really enjoyable. 

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (PURCHASE) 4 Stars Well, this was just the quaintest little story. In The Thursday Murder Club, we are following a small retirement community and 4 of its 70 yr. old + residents as they attempt to solve a series of murders. Let me tell you, the plot is OK, but the characters are classic and will keep you going through the story. 

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker (PURCHASE) 5 Stars This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I’ll just leave it at…it did not disappoint. I love that our characters were pushed farther, new characters were introduced (on all sides), old characters came back, the world widened, and every single character was confronted with their worst possible selves. It was brilliant. It also, once again like the first one, was left in a way that could welcome yet another OR could be finished. I’m good either way. 

Banned Book Club by (PURCHASE) NR This was a story about a young girl in South Korea who attends college in the hopes of studying literature. What she founds is an underground resistance movement of other young people who want to truly learn about the world around them, beyond the government propaganda. What follows is a series of clashes with government inspectors and employees as the students fight back more and more. This was such a good and important read and I highly recommend it. It’s based on real instances, though specifics have been changed to protect individuals. 

Answered Prayers by Truman Capote (PURCHASE) 2 Stars I consider myself a fan of Truman Capote. I loved In Cold Blood and Summer Crossing and enjoyed Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I had heard this book referenced repeatedly in Plain Bad Heroines as a muse, so I decided to pick it up. Unfortunately, I found this to be the bitter, intoxicated ramblings of a man at the edge. I know the history of it (he started it before he found fame, re wrote it after In Cold Blood and other stories, and ultimately never finished it) and found the introduction to be quite helpful in understanding the chapters, BUT that did not change my overall reading experience and opinion, which was decidedly NOT good. 

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (PURCHASE) 3 Stars This book is…tough. I think it’s important to understand the controversy that surrounds the book itself currently. TJ Klune has mentioned that he had a loose idea of the plot, but then took quite a fair amount of inspiration from the 60’s sweep (referring to the Residential Schools for Indigenous People) as well as various other events that had people be “rounded up” and ostracized into boarding facilities for being “different”. So, we need to acknowledge that this book is steeped in some very real pain and trauma, and we need to learn about what happened with the residential schools, as well as what happened with ICE detentions and other “round up” situations. HOWEVER, I think that this book being told from the perspective of a “government worker” who believes he is doing the best for the kids and seeing him change his perspective, for so much of the story to be steeped in this “feel good” and “be kind and accepting” is also important to note. My good reads review has SO MUCH more information and thoughts and can be read <a href="http://<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45047384-the-house-in-the-cerulean-sea&quot; style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="The House in the Cerulean Sea" src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1569514209l/45047384._SX98_.jpg&quot; /></a><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45047384-the-house-in-the-cerulean-sea">The House in the Cerulean Sea</a> by <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5073330.T_J_Klune">T.J. Klune</a><br/> My rating: <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4070176770">3 of 5 stars</a><br /><br /> I think it’s important to note a couple of things about this book, so this might be a bit longer than my normal reviews. <br /><br />First off, we must address where the inspiration comes from for the story. TJ Klune has talked about the fact that he had a character and a rough idea for the story, but it became fully developed as he learned about the 60’s sweep and looked at a variety of different residential schools, ICE facilities, and other detainment/assimilation places. While I would not necessarily critique where authors get inspiration from (as that would be futile as books have been written about a variety of different traumatic events), I think it’s important to understand the history of residential schools and recognize that there is a very real, very current trauma surrounding the inspiration for this story. <br /><br />However, we should not immediately brush the book aside because there are A LOT of excellent conversations had in the story, and an over arching commentary/feeling about kindness and difference. There is something to be said for framing the story from a government workers perspective, a pencil pusher in so many words, who realizes that maybe his own opinions, what he thought was best and right, isn’t in fact what is best and right. <br /><br />It’s also important to note that while the “orphanage” did feel very much like it’s real life equivalent and there wasn’t quite a…”happy ending” beyond what was presented (and what we would have probably all preferred to see), that it was not directly representative of what it drew inspiration from, and yet still realistic in that change doesn’t come about immediately and in the way we want or think is fair. <br /><br />Ultimately, anyones thoughts and commentary on this book are their own and are valid in their own way. <br /><br />While I am rating this book a solid 3 Stars, I can see why/how it earned such a high rating. The story is heartwarming and feel good. If you are concerned about the inspiration then do some additional reading and learning about the 60’s sweep, residential schools, and the trauma of the Indigenous peoples and First Nations (as I will be doing). <br/><br/> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/41246937-a-cuppa-cosy">View all my reviews</a>" data-type="URL" data-id="<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45047384-the-house-in-the-cerulean-sea&quot; style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="The House in the Cerulean Sea" src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1569514209l/45047384._SX98_.jpg&quot; /></a><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45047384-the-house-in-the-cerulean-sea">The House in the Cerulean Sea</a> by <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5073330.T_J_Klune">T.J. Klune</a><br/> My rating: <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4070176770">3 of 5 stars</a><br /><br /> I think it’s important to note a couple of things about this book, so this might be a bit longer than my normal reviews. <br /><br />First off, we must address where the inspiration comes from for the story. TJ Klune has talked about the fact that he had a character and a rough idea for the story, but it became fully developed as he learned about the 60’s sweep and looked at a variety of different residential schools, ICE facilities, and other detainment/assimilation places. While I would not necessarily critique where authors get inspiration from (as that would be futile as books have been written about a variety of different traumatic events), I think it’s important to understand the history of residential schools and recognize that there is a very real, very current trauma surrounding the inspiration for this story. <br /><br />However, we should not immediately brush the book aside because there are A LOT of excellent conversations had in the story, and an over arching commentary/feeling about kindness and difference. There is something to be said for framing the story from a government workers perspective, a pencil pusher in so many words, who realizes that maybe his own opinions, what he thought was best and right, isn’t in fact what is best and right. <br /><br />It’s also important to note that while the “orphanage” did feel very much like it’s real life equivalent and there wasn’t quite a…”happy ending” beyond what was presented (and what we would have probably all preferred to see), that it was not directly representative of what it drew inspiration from, and yet still realistic in that change doesn’t come about immediately and in the way we want or think is fair. <br /><br />Ultimately, anyones thoughts and commentary on this book are their own and are valid in their own way. <br /><br />While I am rating this book a solid 3 Stars, I can see why/how it earned such a high rating. The story is heartwarming and feel good. If you are concerned about the inspiration then do some additional reading and learning about the 60’s sweep, residential schools, and the trauma of the Indigenous peoples and First Nations (as I will be doing). <br/><br/> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/41246937-a-cuppa-cosy">View all my reviewsHERE. 

A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djeli Clark (PURCHASE) NR This is a novella that takes place just prior to A Master of Djinn and does a little bit of the set-up work for the book. As I’m writing this, I’m about halfway through Master of Djinn and I don’t know how necessary it is for you to read this first (which is why I read it first). It provides context and background, but not more than you would get throughout the book itself. 

No Exit by Taylor Adams (PURCHASE) 3.5 I don’t have too much to say about the next two books, except that they were solid thrillers. Neither was a standout, but I would say I think I probably got a bit more of the heart pounding thriller vibes from this one more. The premise is that there are strangers stranded in a snowstorm at a middle of nowhere rest stop. 5 Strangers and one little girl locked in a cage in a van. Where did she come from and who can you trust? 

The Guest List by Lucy Foley (PURCHASE) 3.5 Stars This was the last book that I finished in June, and it was a solid way to end the month. I enjoyed the premise and I definitely think this is a good twist and turn kind of thriller, but I didn’t feel the fear or ticking clock or atmosphere of the book as I did with No Exit. 

Finally, two final books to mention. I am currently reading A Master of Djinn by P Djeli Clark and while I’m not loving it per se (and I’ve stopped and started throughout), I’m not hating it either. We have also started reading some more chapter books with the boys, starting with the Magic Tree House Series. They’ve quickly fallen in to reading a chapter or two before bed and are excited to read more of them (the other night consisted of “one more chapter mommy”). 

So, that rounds up my month in reading! What about you? Any new favorites?

Welcome to Our Home: The Sunroom

Introducing the surprise “bonus” room that we were able to work out in our New York home, the “Sunroom”. Much like a home library, I’ve always dreamed of having a sort of conservatory, indoor porch, sunroom set up in my forever home, so being able to style this room up in a similar manner has made me very happy. This room is set off the kitchen and dining room and was a kind of odd set up. It wasn’t quite deep enough to really use for a certain purpose, and since the floors are all laminate in this section of the house, I didn’t really want to turn any area in this home into a play area (just for the pure noise control factor). So, I took some of the items that we already had that didn’t have a final home (such as my reading chair, the rug, and the two cabinets) and fashioned a little seating area. 

So, let’s talk it through. The only new item I really needed to purchase was the bench against the wall, which is the Christopher Knight Home Mission Ottoman from, you guessed in, Target (linked HERE). It opens to a decent storage space, which currently holds all our candle stuff. I’ve topped with a knitted blanket and one of the pillows we purchase at Ikea when we moved to Germany. In the left corner we have my mug cabinet (of which I have cleared out my collection of quite drastically), and opposite is my husbands’ memorabilia cabinet. Then we’ve got my reading chair, which is one of the comfiest places to sit in our entire house, facing out the window so I can watch as the kids play in the backyard. This little spot also gives enough separation from the kids play area that I can both sit and enjoy my coffee or tea or conversation with friends, but also spin around and see what is going on in the play area. The chair is actually from Babies R Us, so I can’t link it for you unfortunately. The rug is from Ikea (linked HERE) and is still one of my favorite pieces. There are two smaller cabinets that serve as a table for the chair, and a storage spot for plants & outside shoes. 

On the walls we have three photographs from our time in Germany, all taken in the Fussen/Neuschwanstein area of Germany. The center being the overlook of Hohenschwangau and the lakes, the left being at Fussen Castle, and the right being a corner of Hohenschwangau Castle. 

This room serves as a second purpose though (because we are practical in this home), this room also serves as the drying room for hang dry clothes during laundry days. The dryer rack plops right on the rug and all the clothes are up on top. I can’t have you thinking our home is all glamorous all the time now, can I?

I know this was a bit of a shorter “Welcome to Our Home” post, but I sure you hope you liked seeing this little bonus area that I was so excited about. It’s the perfect morning or afternoon tea spot. 

Welcome to our Home: The Home Library (and Kids Space)

It is finally time to start talking about our new home! It’s been a long time coming (not really, hard to believe but we’ve only been in this house for 2 ½ months), but I think it’s finally time to start sharing. I think I’m going to do this in a couple different posts, sectioning out our downstairs into 5 or 6 posts. This is the only part of my house (and just home in general) that I do share as I am going to keep the bedrooms and office private. 

I figured I would start things off with what may be one of the most important spaces in our home (in only my opinion…my husband and kids beg to differ), our home library. While I couldn’t recreate my “wall of books” (HERE) from our last home, I was able to create a cozy little space and a full chunk of our downstairs just to the shelves. 

So, we’ve got a little corner nook set up in this home, just off the main living room. In the center is the boys school table where they do their schoolwork as needed. I liked that I could have a similar “library” set up as you would find at their school with a table in the center. The way the house is laid out and the other rooms are set up, I ended up preferring this to have my reading chair in the corner. 

Aside from the main shelves, which we will get to in the moment, I do have one end table that holds a variety of “coffee table” books that I reach for frequently, as well as my current month “TBR” stack of books. On the top of the shelves there is a wide variety of décor, the various castles we’ve visited on our travel, some important books (both childhood and adulthood), as well as a framed quote from Pride and Prejudice, my wedding dress, and a framed piece of quilled paper artwork. 

Now on to the shelves themselves. There is a total of 5 (though I would like to get one more at some point and I’m sure I’ll need more in the future), and they are the Threshold Carson bookshelves from Target (HERE) in Espresso Brown. They’ve held up through two to three moves now and we’ve been really pleased with them.

A note of my organization system, I organize by “category” and then author last name within that. So, we’ve got (from right to left): Classics, Non-Fiction, General Fiction, Collections, Poetry, Memoir/Self Help, Religious/Belief/Spiritual, Manga & Graphic Novels. The final bookcase on the far left is my unread books. The goal is to keep my unread books to only one bookcase, preferably even less than that at some point, but as I’m a mostly mood reader that can only go so far. 

I also split this chunk of our downstairs (which is an open floor plan) into both the Home Library as well as a kid’s space to play downstairs. As much as our boys love to play in their room (though not as much as we would maybe prefer) they inevitably bring toys downstairs and want to play near us. I wanted to have a spot for them to do that that was still “connected” to where we would be, but not right in our faces for noise purposes. This is also a Lego spot for them to have all their Legos to build and play as they want. 

They have a main table (which is our old coffee table), then a little cabinet in the corner which holds books and school supplies (in the drawer), and a little shelf system which holds some more books. In between the two is where the Lego’s get stored in little plastic containers. The name signs are 3D printed from an Etsy shop called (linked HERE). I thought it would be a nice, personalized touch, as well as help with name recognition and spelling. They can also hang art projects if they like on the walls. 

So, that’s the home library and kids’ section of the downstairs of our house, AS WELL AS the first look into our New York home. I hope you enjoyed this first peak, and I look forward to sharing more with you! If you have any specific questions, please let me know in the comments below. 

A Day in Alexandria Bay

We recently spent a day exploring a little bit of Alexandria Bay and the Thousand Islands Region. The entire Thousand Island Region is absolutely gorgeous, and we really wanted the chance to explore it a bit more (we recently took a weekend to see Sackett’s Harbor and Wellesley Island which you can read about HERE), so we decided that a boat tour was the best way to go. Not only did this give us a chance to see the waterways, the summer vacation homes that most of us dream of, we also were able to stop at Boldt Castle, a well-known spot in the region. *A note that you can visit Boldt Castle and Singer Castle by personal boat if you have your own- they have docking options. *

Let’s back up a bit and touch a little on Alexandria Bay. Alexandria Bay was originally home to the Iroquois & Algonquin tribes, who would use the area as a Summer Hunting and Fishing spot. During the American Revolution (and shortly after) the land was purchased, then it passed hands after the War of 1812, the continued to be passed around for some time. Eventually the goal was to bring the Islands and Alexandria Bay to become a premier Sumer destination and, after the Civil War and a visit by Ulysses S. Grant, it did. Another period of time that did the region a lot of good was Prohibition when the narrow river ways would allow alcohol to be covertly brought into New York from Canada. To this day you can still find bottles at the bottom of the water from when they were tossed over as law enforcement approached. 

While we were in the area our main focus was the boat tour and Boldt Castle, but we did wander up through James St (and pick up a wine slushie- delicious) and a little bit along the river walk. There is plenty for us to go back and wander through and I can totally see the allure of this area as a summer hotspot. It brings all the charm of a “Bay Town” with just enough history and a variety of things to do. It’s also close to the Canadian Border (when it opens) if you want to pop over. 

Now, on to our main events, Uncle Sams Boat Tour and Boldt Castle.

Uncle Sam’s Boat Tour is one of the companies that operates tours throughout the water ways of the St. Lawrence River. They have several different tour options for you to choose from, each a variety of sites to see and costs. You can also choose to simply take their ferry over to the castle if that’s all you want to see. I personally would recommend taking one of the full tours so you can see the area a bit more in depth. We chose to do the American Narrows Tour (link) which gave us a good variety of the Islands, a stop at Boldt Castle, and was a good amount of time for our children too. Each tour comes with a tour guide on hand that takes you through this history and current information for the area AND a snack/drink bar. At some point I would like to do the tour that takes you out to Singer Castle as well. 

A couple of tour highlights for us were the Skull & Bones Society clubhouse. Story goes that the original owner of the Island was a part of the Skull & Bones Society at Yale and upon graduation (club rule) willed the entire Island to the club. There was also an island that had a partially sunken boat where the captain decided that steering the boat as it was out of the narrows was not worth it, so he simply left it on the side. Another interesting spot that gained some fame? An island that was owned by The Claudia Family that has both a home and an old monastery. Not only the monastery claimed to be haunted, but the island also served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The TAPS team from Ghost Hunters and Meatloaf came out to film an episode of the show and feature the “haunted island”. One final fun story (or rather not fun for the people involved) was our tour was about a man-made island. Story goes a man wanted to buy an island and summer home for his wife, so he sent her up to the region to search for the one she wanted. She searched and searched and didn’t find one she liked, so he purchased some of the underwater ground and BUILT an island for her. He then built the house on it and presented it to her. But, as you may see where this is going, she didn’t like it, and ultimately decided she didn’t like him. The island and home still stand today, presumably with a happier family in residence. 

The last, well only, stop on the tour is at the famed Boldt Castle. 

George Boldt immigrated from Prussia to America in 1864 at age 13. He started at the bottom as a kitchen worker before climbing up the chain of the hotel industry. At 30 he purchased his own hotel (The Bellevue) and thus continued his rise. Ultimately, he would become the proprietor of the merged Waldorf Astoria (after mediating a feud between William and Jacob Astor). He is also the very man who made the Thousand Island Dressing so famous, having his maître-d include it on the menu of his hotel restaurant. 

In the beginning of 1900, he purchased Heart Island with the sole purpose of building a Rhineland Castle as a symbol of the love he had for his wife, Louise. The plan for the castle was a 6-story building with 120 rooms, along with tunnels a powerhouse, Italian Gardens, a Children’s playhouse, drawbridge and more. It was to be a massive castle. Work had been underway on the home for a few years before Louise suddenly died from pneumonia, at which point George, in his grief, ordered all work to be stopped and never stepped foot on the island for the rest of his life. 

An ultimate symbol of love (if you ask me). 

As the home and island fell into disrepair, it was eventually purchased by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority to restore and open the home/grounds. You are able to tour both the home (both the completed and incomplete areas) and the grounds and all proceeds from shop and ticket sales go directly back into the restoration. 

Now, let me say this straight away, the home and grounds are IMPRESSIVE. We loved our day there and I’ll share all the things about it, BUT I don’t know if I would classify it as a castle, more so as an estate. Semantics, I know, but that’s just my thoughts. 

So, some of the highlights for us…

The Entry Arch. Modeled off of the Roman Arches and maybe a little inspiration from the Arc De Triumphe, this was supposed to serve as the formal entry point to the island. It is topped with 3 Stag Deer (a theme throughout).

The Power House and Clock Tower. This is the most photographed spot on the property (and probably one of my favorite little nooks) and served as the home to the 2 generators that would have been used to power the home and island. It was designed to appear like a medieval tower rising directly from the water and features a beautiful bridge across the water for access. The clock tower was modeled and formed off of the chime tower at Westminster in London. 

The interior of the home was where I really saw the more modern (or rather of the time) American inspiration. Yes, we feature the massive fireplaces and the brick/stonework that you could find in other European Castles, but the marble flooring, the grand staircase, and the overall look of the interior was much more of its time and place. You can see both the hotel and concern for guests in the home, as well as the fact that he wanted to make it homelike for his family. The library and kitchen were personal favorites of mine, but I also wouldn’t have minded one of the open windowed natural light bedrooms on the second floor (I believe it was intended to be Louise’s). 

Of course, one cannot forget the Mother in Law suite that we learned about while on the boat. Allegedly the little house directly to the side of the main Island, accessible only by boat, was intended for George Boldt’s Mother-in-Law. There was a long funny story that was told to go along with this information, but I don’t know how factual any of it was, so I won’t share it here. It was funny though. 

Finally, we stopped over to the Yacht House across the river from the main house. The Yacht house served as the lodge for the Boldt’s houseboat and various yachts and speed or race boats they owned. There is a free shuttle from Heart Island that takes you over and you can either purchase tickets at Boldt Castle (a combined ticket) OR at the boathouse. The Yacht house currently holds a collection of antique boats on display, as well as a steam engine, and a steam Yacht that is on loan, but would have been similar to what the Boldt’s would have owned. The building itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Overall, we had such a beautiful day exploring the Islands, the Castle, and a little bit of Alexandria Bay. I can see this being a spot we come back to again. 

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – May 2021

Man, what was May?! For all it’s hard points (and there were several tough spots), there was also a major boon to my reading. I seemed to devour books like I hadn’t had a chance to this year, and I just spent a lot of my free time reading. I missed those days from 2020 and I’m glad that I am finally finding my reading groove once again. I read a total of 11 books with an average rating of 3.65 (dang those two super disappointing books). 

Let’s get into them…

The Luxe by Anna Godberson (PURCHASE) 2 Stars This was disappointing, although that might have been because I am not the intended audience? In Luxe we follow the young socialite society of early 19th century New York as they begin to come “of age”. They falter in their roles, fall in love, and fall away before being shocked by a tragic event. I’ll be honest, I do tend to enjoy this very specific genre of “social elite melodrama”, but this very much missed the mark. 

The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers (PURCHASE) 5 Stars As opposed to the above book, I LOVED this conclusion to the Wayfarers companion books. It had everything that I loved about the first book in the series, but with a different viewpoint and characters that we’ve only loosely known during the series. 

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire (PURCHASE) 3 Stars This was alright. I kind of wondered, while reading, if I was kind of “out” of this series. I really enjoy the Wayward Children books as a whole, but I have felt like the past couple I’ve read have been “ok” rather than good. 

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (PURCHASE) 2.5 Stars This book was easily probably the most disappointing book of the year for me so far. We follow 3 young women as they each navigate their own battle against society’s expectations (maybe?). I found the premise involving a “lost apothecary” who was rumored to sell poisons to women to use against the men in their lives to be interesting, however I found that this book lacked a really well-done execution. I feel like maybe it was a “debut author” thing, but I just wasn’t enjoying this one as I thought I would. 

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell (PURCHASE) 4 Stars I well and truly enjoyed this book. I had heard it compared to a “3 Musketeers” retelling of sorts and man…it was just a lot of fun. In this first book we are following 3 Greatcoats, the original kings’ men and justice of the peace of the lands, as they try to carry out (and live) the mission of a now dead man. We’ve got excellent banter, quite a bit of action (but not in an overwhelming way) and just enough knowledge dropped throughout to keep you captivated, not bored/overwhelmed. I think my favorite thing about this story is that we have a political story told from an anti-political perspective.

What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer (PURCHASE) NR This is a poetry collection that I have been hearing rave reviews about for a little while now. I’m not a massive poetry reader, but I do enjoy it from time to time and I found quite a few of the poems in this collection to be…just perfect. It definitely lives up to the words and recommendations of others. 

Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell (PURCHASE) 4 Stars This is the second book in the Greatcoats series (the first book being Traitor’s Blade), and while I still loved this one and was captivated from page one, it definitely lost me a time or two in the story. Still, the banter was top notch and we got to see a bit more of the politics. 

Heartstopper Volume 4 by Alice Oseman (PURCHASE) 4 Stars This is the fourth installment in a graphic novel series following late adolescents as they learn about who they are and what they want. I appreciated the focus of this fourth volume on mental health and eating disorders. I highly recommend this entire graphic novel series. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (PURCHASE) 4.5 Stars This book. This book is a tour de force from start to finish. We are following Addie LaRue who, in a desperate dramatic moment, made a deal to have a lifetime of freedom. The catch? No one will remember who she is. What follows is a woman trying to live a life, to live her life, and to learn what love and life truly mean. And let me tell you, it will sweep you up, it will punch you in the gut, and then, leave you like a deflated balloon. There was only one small bit that I didn’t get on with (that was early on in the book), but on the whole this was one of the top books of my month. 

That Way Madness Lies Edited by Dahlia Adler (PURCHASE) 4 Stars This was a collection of Shakespeare retellings written by a variety of authors. Mostly geared towards the Young Adult genre, these were very well done. I enjoyed the vastly different takes on the classic plays and would recommend to any Shakespeare lover. 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (PURCHASE) 4 Stars My final read of the month and I really went out with a bang. In Skyward we are following a group of humans living on a different planet under almost constant attack from a different species. This book is a science fiction/fantasy, but in a more approachable way than standard books in the genre. It’s Sanderson, so every little detail is given a lot of care, but it’s also not overwhelmingly detailed. It’s enough for you to understand and appreciate, but not turn you away from the series. 

And that wraps it up! It was a really good reading month to be honest and I’m looking forward to some big books and reading plans in June. What was your favorite book of the month?

The World is a Tough Place…Let’s Grab a Coffee and Chat

Hi. Hello. Happy Wednesday. Wednesday has come and I’m once again, kind of scrambling with this post. 

This post was not the intended post. By any means. I actually had a post scheduled 2 weeks in advance (a two parter spread across two weeks) and I’ve moved both posts to drafts for now (yep- the email subscribers got the first one, but it’s now back to drafts and off the blog/site for now). Call it protecting myself and others’ space, peace, and mental health. 

The world has felt like a dark and scary place of recent. Probably since the start of the v-word-that-shall-not-be-utter-or-written (seriously…have you seen the lengths that some go to to avoid getting that links ding?!). Realistically we’ve been spiraling on a trajectory for quite some time that Social Media and the 24-hour news cycle has flamed and then that global pandemic brought everything right front and center for so many. 

This has been a good thing. We’ve seen quite a bit of progress in quite a few different areas. We’ve brought to light issues in ways that haven’t succeeded in the past. We’ve laid bare areas we are sorely lacking (or rather totally losing). 

However, it’s also brought a lot of tension.

I might as well just come right out and say it. 

I didn’t want to talk about the Israel/Palestine conflict. I DON’T want to talk about the Israel/Palestine conflict. And you might be saying, “Ok, well then don’t” and after this non statement post that probably doesn’t need to exist, I won’t be. There are a wide variety of reasons for this, not the least of which being that I am privileged enough to live in a country that is not in a constant state of terror or war. I think that those of us in the West cannot ignore the fact that we do not live in this environment and we are not exposed to the specifics of this situation every second of every minute of every day. When we share these info graphics (that cannot even begin to conceptualize the reality of everything- but we won’t even begin that), we are thinking that we are “bringing light to an unseen/unheard situation”. While some facets of this may be correct (like Sheikh Jarrah, which we will get to in a moment), this conflict has gone on for far much longer than that and will probably continue to go on far past this trending incident. 

And, to be honest, both sides can go tit for tat over who started, who escalated, who has it worst, who loses, who wins, etc. till the end of time. We are seeing it now all-over social media. In fact, I was seeing a lot everywhere on Social Media, so much so that I went on a complete blackout. I logged off of everything, moved things away from my view, and silenced everything simply because it was TOO MUCH. There is so much being spread on both sides, so much tension, so much hatred, and it’s all PERSONAL. The condemnation happening is over a large group of people on both sides and all of the sharing, all of the commentary, all of the “let’s bring this to light” activism, while good in some cases, is also causing a lot of harm. 

Save Sheikh Jarrah is an important cause. I do not think that any family or person should be forcefully evicted from their home. Let me repeat that, I DO NOT think that anyone should be forcefully removed from their home. To bring to light that this is happening is important and the world should recognize that it is WRONG. However, minimizing or highlighting the entirety of the Israel/Palestine conflict to this one cause is wrong. This conflict predates and supersedes what is happening in this neighborhood. Saving the neighborhood is necessary and allowing the families that are currently living there, that have built their lives and their families there to stay is absolutely necessary. But thinking that the entire conflict will come to an end by doing this, or thinking this will be a win, is wrong. 

Another thing that is going around quite a bit is that the Israel/Palestine conflict is “not complicated” or “not nuanced”. That it is in fact quite “simple”. I hate when people say that something is “far too complicated and nuanced to sum up” as much as the next person, BUT we are talking about a dispute over a territory that is thousands of years old. It’s true that the Israel/Palestine conflict is not as old or as longstanding because Israel has only been in existence for ~70 years. However, this territory dispute? That dates back much further. We also cannot ignore the fact that religion IS at play here when the territory in question holds many of the holiest of sites across three different religions (Muslims, Christians, and Jews all have holy sites in Jerusalem). The original dispute over the territory is steeped in religion. And also, it’s being made to be about religion as people are equating Israel with Judaism (which is a multi-faceted argument in and of itself) and choosing to take this time to spew absolutely atrocious Jewish hatred (because antisemitism as a word is becoming to…easily pushed aside) as well as islamophobia. So, no it’s not simple. The Israel/Palestine conflict is just one more facet of a much larger dispute and we cannot ignore that fact. 

AND, with all of that stated, most of the people in the region just want to live their lives. They want to worship where they worship, they want to live how they live, and they want to exist with their neighbors and friends. And they DESERVE to have that. We all deserve to have that. When we listen to the everyday people of the region, to those on the ground they just want peace. They want their homes and their families to live freely. They don’t want to live in this kind of fear, fear that we in the West are privileged enough to have not known. We cannot ignore that fact when we are trying to advocate. 

Where am I going with this? I don’t know. I don’t really have an answer for any of it. I don’t have the knowledge or full understanding to truly talk about this. What I am struggling with is the sharing of info graphics that are at their best one sided, and at their worst completely wrong. The problem with us in the West sharing all of the “things” is that we aren’t actually helping the situation, no matter what our intentions are. We are simply adding gasoline to a 3-alarm fire and going about our lives. I would encourage everyone to get information, watch video, read testimonials from people across the region and share with care. I understand sharing feels like doing something in what may feel like a hopeless situation, but please just read through or double check what you are sharing before doing so. You may be unknowingly causing more harm than help. 

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – April and May 2021

Another reading post covering two months. I very much underestimated just how long it would take for me to back into my reading swing between moving, setting up a new home, and then getting back to having time for reading. I am very much back into the full swing of things and am very excited to share that over the past two months I’ve read 16 books and given an average 3.45 star rating. 

I’m not going to break these up in any particular way (but maybe I will in the future?), but I am looking to expand some of my reading and book content over here on A Cuppa Cosy. Let me know what specifically book related content you would like to see; more single book reviews, recommendations, reading certain new things? You let me know!

Now, onto the books…

Fortuna Sworn by K.J. Sutton (PURCHASE) 3 Stars I’ll be honest, I read this back in the middle of March and…I don’t really remember any of it? This is marketed as a fantasy romance involving fae and while I was intrigued, I left the story not really caring about any of it. 

Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown & Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse by John Lithgow (PURCHASE, PURCHASE) NR These were just a fun lighthearted take on the Trump presidency, policies, and outbursts. 

House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (PURCHASE) 3 Stars This was the first of two re reads over this period of time. I was in a bit of a… what do I even want to read kind of mood, so I reached for a standby favorite: Sherlock Holmes. 

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (PURCHASE) 4 Stars This was an incredibly well-done novel, handling everything from fantastical elements to racism, to grief, and to love. In Legendborn we follow teenaged Bree as she comes to terms with not only the death of her mother, but with a newfound knowledge that some legends are not just legends from days past, they are still very much with us. I found that Tracy Deonn managed to touch on a wide variety of topics, but weave them together so well that it never felt overwhelming or disjointed. Highly recommend- it’s worthy of the hype it received. 

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay(PURCHASE) 4 Stars This was an interesting read as it’s a horror novel, but not horrifying. I don’t even know if I would say that it’s “scary”, it’s just thrilling more than anything. It’s a standard possession story with a family in a home, and then a tv crew, and a worldwide sensation, BUT we have a dual timeline that makes us question everything that is presented. I found this to be a story that I could have delved much deeper in, chatting with a friend about the different aspects of the story and characters. 

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman(PURCHASE) NR I don’t know one person who hasn’t purchased, read, or listened to this poem, so do I really need to talk about it? I’d rather let you know that she has a full poetry collection coming out later this year, as well as a children’s book. 

Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee (PURCHASE) 3 Stars An Anna Karenina retelling set in the upper echelon of New York Society? Sign me up, sounds like my cup of tea ( very niche cup admittedly), but alas, it was just not meant to be. In Anna K, we follow Anna K who seems to have it all. Dream school, her horses, her picture-perfect family and an even more picture-perfect boyfriend. But when she meets the mysterious Count V, she realizes that maybe none of that stuff really matters after all. I think all of my issues can be boiled down to the fact that Anna K did not feel like a 16-year-old girl. She felt like a slightly older woman, who has lived a little and is reflecting on what she had wanted to know as a 16-year-old girl. What made it even more obvious, was that all of the side characters were much more age appropriate. 

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers (PURCHASE) 3 Stars So far, this is my least favorite of the series, but it was still a stellar and interesting read. 

The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed by Wendy Lower (PURCHASE) NR This is the story about how one photo, tucked away in archives, came to expose a little-known massacre during the latter half of WW2. We are given insight into how photographic evidence is dissected and used to identify dates, locations, perpetrators and victims. It also touches on how to handle perpetrators when the murder has long passed. The book also pays homage to those who we won’t know the names or faces of who died at this same massacre. This was a hard read, but also very enlightening to a side of “evidence” that isn’t talked about a lot.

The Troop by Nick Cutter (PURCHASE) 4 Stars This may end up making it to my Best of list at the end of the year, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I believe the words I used are “disgusting, horrifying, a great page turner from start to finish”. I don’t even know if I could begin to describe this book, but I will say, it deals with body horror. If you cannot stomach that then this is probably not for you. However, if you don’t have a problem with that and want some realistic horror, then this is a great read.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (PURCHASE) NR I found this to be a good read not only on understanding the history of racism in another western country, but in creating a good starting point for modern day conversations about racism and race. To be honest, this is a great “introductory” or primer on the topic, or a more generalized coverage. 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (PURCHASE) 3.5 Stars This was another re read with the hopes of continuing the series and watching the Netflix adaptation. This is an expansive fantasy universe loosely based on Russia/Poland. This “universe” includes this original trilogy, a second duology, and a third series that is currently two books published. I really enjoyed this first book, it had me wondering why I didn’t actually continue back when I first read it. 

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo(PURCHASE) 3.5 Stars This is the second book in the original “Grishaverse” trilogy. We are introduced to new characters, higher stakes, and an epic battle scene that sees us wondering, what, if anything, can be done to set the world right again. I do think this was a little middle book-y, but it was still a strong story. 

The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L Armentrout (PURCHASE) 3 Stars I finally got to read the third book in the Blood and Ash series and boy was it somewhat worth the wait. I said it about the last two books, this is not a series that you can objectively explain. Objectively it is not good, but for a trashy, smutty, engrossing read? It delivers. 

Just Another Damned Thing by Jodi Taylor (PURCHASE) 3 Stars I’ll be honest; I found this book to be…ok. I feel like honestly the author wanted to write a book (or series really) of visiting different times and making observations, slight changes, and experiencing different lives, but didn’t know how to tie it all together. This book was definitely character and time heavy and VERY plot light. I didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it either. I won’t be continuing on with the series, BUT if it was a tv show I would watch. 

And that’s it! I’m very happy that, once again, my reading is back on track. I definitely had a couple of favorites out of the above books and one or two that may just make it to my best of list at the end of the year. What was your favorite book you’ve read over the past couple months?

A Stone’s Throw – 2 Day Trips

Sackets Harbor

Sackets Harbor was our first day trip and our first little exploration after moving to upstate NY. It’s a small bay town that sits on an inlet of Lake Ontario. Founded in the early 1800’s, it’s been on the list of Historic Places since the 1980’s for its well-preserved buildings and historic district. Aside from views, it’s most known for its support during the War of 1812. The Navy used Sackets Harbor as a major shipyard and turned the quiet little town into a major city, the third largest populated in the state at the time. Shortly after the war a selection of local businessman helped support the building of the first US Steamboat, Ontario. 

In Sackets Harbor you are able to walk the battlefields from the War of 1812 that take you alongside the lake as well as through the town (depending on which route you take). You can, when open for the season, walk through the various buildings that talk about life at the time. You can also walk-through Main Street and feel that old small-town vibe, popping into various little shops or cafés as your day goes on. 

We walked through a portion of the battlefield (we have plans to go back and bike ride the entire path), walked through a bit of the harbor, and then along Main St. We stopped in to the Junk in you Trunk antique store, which was one of the coolest little spots we’ve stumbled upon. They had everything from modern to antique, local businesses, and nationally sourced small business. We also stopped in Tea Thyme; a small tea shop that made all my tea loving dreams come true. I picked up a couple samples to try out. Overall, I think it would be one of those spots where you can easily spend a Spring day.

Wellesley Island (Thousand Islands)

Original called Wells Island (renamed Wellesley to honor the 1st Duke of Wellington in 1815), Wellesley Island is located partially in Canada and partially in America. It is one of the largest of the Thousand Islands, it is home to not only a thriving community, but also two State Parks, a nature center, and several golf courses. 

We spent a day visiting a section of the Wellesley Island State Park. This State park in particular offers a life guarded beach, nature center (with the cutest little chipmunk), hiking, hunting, fishing, snow shoeing/cross country skiing, boating and a marina, as well as a variety of camping spots and options (everything from primitive to cabins to rv’s). We hiked from the Nature Center over to Eel Bay, through the Narrows, and an inter trail or two through the woods. It was seriously one of the prettiest spots, reminding me so much of Eibsee and Konigsee in Germany. We stopped for a snack on one of the rocky inlets, resting, watching wildlife, and enjoying the sun and water. 

We did also walk briefly through the nature center, where they have educational materials about the different wildlife located on and around the island, as well as a little chipmunk that was attacked by a dog. 

I can foresee this being one of those spots that we return again and again, hiking different trails and doing a little boating and camping. We drove around a little after our visit to look at the different amenities and were very impressed by the sheer variety of options. It’s an incredibly family friendly area, however someone without kids would enjoy it just as much. Both of these day trips are within a “stone’s throw” and make us very excited to be able to explore more or our area. We seem to have a good combination of historical small towns and nature trails, which, in all honesty, is our happy spot of living locations. We are very excited by all of the hike and outdoor activities that are around and, with the weather starting to shift, we are looking forward to getting some more h

Round the Kettle Ep. 30: Back into the Fold

Happy Wednesday! I’m coming at you technically on Tuesday, in my comfiest jeans and a sweatshirt outfit, on a blustery, rainy day. To be honest, as much as I love the sunshine (and its necessity to our lives), my favorite weather is happening right now. I really love when it’s overcast, a soft pitter patter of raindrops hitting the windows and roof, and we are quietly cozied up in our home with books or a movie or a puzzle. That last part is incredibly rare in my home (with 2 boys and a husband it’s rarely ever quiet), but today must have some special powers because it’s happening. I’m upstairs in my office, typing this post up and the boys are downstairs playing an alphabet puzzle/game. This is rare. So, let’s take advantage of it and chat.

How are you doing? Like, really actually doing, not the standard “Things are good” or “I’m fine”. What are some specifics?

Today’s post was originally supposed to be the first in my “welcome to our new home” posts, but I STILL don’t have everything in place for that (dang counter stools). Then it was going to be a blog post about Heidelberg Castle, but…in a moment of full transparency, as much as I loved Heidelberg, Heidelberg Castle, and all of the history, there is SO MUCH history to that castle and my brain is oddly struggling to keep it all straight. So, that’s been tabled for now (maybe even indefinitely) too. Feeling at a bit of a loss for what to write about, I realized I hadn’t really done a casual chatty post in so long, definitely since before we came back to America. 

I work really hard on every blog post that goes up, usually putting a week or two of work in each post. Most of the content is worked, and reworked, and then maybe reworked again. And I love that, but I also like when I just sit down at a computer, type away, then hit publish without thinking twice (except maybe to run it through spell check or grammar checks). In some ways, that feels more vulnerable than a lot of the vulnerable stuff I share. I used to do these types of posts twice a month (if you remember Round the Kettle, there ya go), but they kind of faded away when things got busier, and I was pre planning a lot of posts. Right now though, it seems like the perfect time to bring them back.  

So, gosh, where do I even begin? My blissful peace that I referenced just…3 paragraphs ago has left. Replaced with a high amount of noise that I didn’t know two little boys were capable of making, right in my office (right behind my office chair and desk to be specific). Which is the nature of my days anymore. The boys have handled the transition of coming back to America with a poise that us adults didn’t even have, but they’ve struggled with the transition of Daddy going back to work, school starting back up (though Colton is super pumped about that), and just a general sense of normalcy returning. The minute one parent leaves, they cannot seem to let the other parent out of their sight, which means that they just follow from room to room. If there was any “sign” of what 2020 did to our children (beyond the whole school/social life downfall) it was that when we go to stores now, Andrew just randomly stops and watches in wonderment at EVERYTHING. It’s been that long since he’s been shopping in stores and such. 

Which, let’s talk about that for a minute, because a lot of us are starting to “see a light at the end of the tunnel” these days. While I personally am feeling so good (because it’s VERY different here in America than Germany- so I’m already feeling much more free) about things, I do still have a bit of a cautious feeling too. For all the bad that 2020 was (and it was bad), there was also some good that came out of it. My concern is that we are all going to rush to “getting back to normal” that the lessons and good that came from 2020 are going to be brushed aside. Let’s try not to do that, ok? 

So, normalcy is returning to our house. Colton has gone back to in person schooling two days a week at his new school, and he’s never been a happier little boy.  Andrew is still a bit attached to mommy (and daddy realistically), but he’s also really starting to become a little social butterfly. I swear, that kid will handle all the introductions I would ever need for me- he just runs up to people and starts talking to them. It’s something we are working on. Spring is…springing, which we are learning basically looks like “whatever goes” up here in the northern part of the country. We are supposed to get 5 inches of snow Wednesday, but then it’ll be back in the 50’s/60’s for the weekend before hitting 70’s next week. “Whatever Goes”. 

We are starting to explore our area, to branch out from our neighborhood and see some of the closer small towns. It isn’t anything like full blown traveling, rather little day trips here and there, but they’ve been special in their own ways. It’s nice to explore the area, to learn the history, and to see those little “American Small Towns”. We went to Sackets Harbor this past weekend, walking through the battleground from the War of 1812, learning the history of the battle as it happened, and then wandering through Main Street, stopping in a little bakery, an antique store, and a tea shop for some shopping. It was a lovely day and it felt good to just see something new for the day. 

And that is basically it! I feel like we’ve gotten a pretty good routine going, cleaning, writing, reading, schooling for the kids, socializing, etc. I always talk about feeling settled and the desire for “home”, and I feel like we are at that point. With that, I’ve got some big plans for the rest of this year. I’ve got two projects I’m working on outside of the blog as well as some big reading goals. 

Ok, post writing all this, but I felt like I needed to add a bit more. I wrote this before the verdict came back in the Derek Chauvin trial. I feel like first we need to address the fact that we were all waiting to see what the verdict would be, knowing full well what we all saw and witnessed in the video. The fact that we had to have a trial (instead of him pleading Guilty), and then had to wait for a jury to reach a verdict (what that verdict may have been), says A LOT about our system. But it’s also important to note that this is not justice. This is not something we should be grateful for (though many of us are). This is simply a man being held accountable for his actions. It is not the “sign that our system is changing”. It is not a time to say, ok we did this, we’re good. No, this is a time to keep pushing forward. To keep listening, learning, and fighting for the changes that we want to see, that we need to see.