Sunday, August 10, 2014

Just Some Pictures of Cats

 
They're cute. Even in not-so-great lighting. That is all.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling



Recently I read The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I have to admit, I mostly dove into this one because I had just reread the entire Harry Potter series and I wanted more Rowling in my life. Be warned however, this book is nothing like Harry Potter, so if you're expecting magic to appear, it's definitely not, unless you count the time I misread "gallon" as "galleon" and had to re-read it twice to make sure Gringott's wasn't suddenly going to appear. 

Anyway, The Cuckoo's Calling is a modern crime/mystery novel that revolves around the mysterious death of a model, Lula Landry and the investigation that follows. Cormoran Strike, Private Detective, and his underpaid, initially-temporary secretary, Robin, spend weeks tracing every detail and following every lead trying to prove (or disprove) that the troubled model/party girl didn't actually commit suicide.

Plot
The book had a pretty decent plot, but I did feel that it was moving a little slowly at times. The ending, which everyone knows should be a surprise in a mystery novel, was less of an "AHA!" moment for me and more of a "Ah, okay. Gotcha," moment. I haven't read many mystery novels, but I'd say this one has a pretty average plot overall.

Characters
This is where Rowling shines. Her characters in this book are so well developed that I have very vivid depictions of them in my mind. Cormoran Strike in particular, is a very deep, stoic, and surly character. Throught the book, Strike never really divulges much about his past. He keeps those around him at arms length. J.K. Rowling does this to the reader as well. I wanted to know so much more about Strike, but I guess I'll just have to wait until I read the next book. The one character that didn't feel all that strong to me however, was Cormoran Strike's secretary, Robin. She's your typical conventionally attractive girl with a desire to work with a private detective to inject some excitement into her mundane life. She's supposed to be the reader's proxy and she certainly acts as a foil to Strike, but in the end, she feels a little hollow to me. That being said, even the more minor characters in the story are developed extremely well, so I'm not sure what's up with Robin.

Representation of Women
This category is not one that's really discussed in book reviews in general, but it's something that I'm very conscious of while I'm reading. I have very few complaints about J.K. Rowling's writing, but I will say that the way she portrays fat women, or ignores them altogether, is something I take issue with (see all fat women in Harry Potter books). The women that play prominent roles in The Cuckoo's Calling are all conventionally beautiful (i.e. thin and pretty), which isn't surprising given that this is a novel about a supermodel's death, but I wish there were a little more diversity in leading ladies. There's a lot of detail put into Robin's appearance, but she would have been more real to me had she been anything other than a beautiful prop to Rowling's dynamic, not-conventionally-attractive Strike. I will say this, however: Rochelle, a more minor character, is a really powerful one for me and one I wish we got to see more. Her life, her mannerisms, and her pride are all things I wish were injected into more women in this book.

*As a side note to this, I'm all about team Hermione and I think Rowling does a great job making women prominent and dynamic in Harry Potter, but I feel like that dynamism is missing in The Cuckoo's Calling.

Writing
As the Harry Potter books progress, you can see Rowling's writing improve by leaps and bounds. The Cuckoo's Calling is a natural segue for me because her writing just keeps improving. A couple of my favorite passages are as follows:

"She had flailed, trying to find handholds in the merciless empty air; and then, without time to make amends, to explain, to bequeath or to apologize, without any of the luxuries permitted those who are given notice of their impending demise, she had broken on the road" (282).

"How easy it was to capitalize on a person's own bent for self-destruction; how simple to nudge them into non-being, then to stand back and shrug and agree that it had been the inevitable result of a chaotic, catastrophic life" (378).

Rowling's writing in this book is vivid, transparent, and wonderfully descriptive.

Language/Sex/Drug Content 
I included this section because I know that many of my readers may be sensitive to strong language/drug use/ sexual content. I will go ahead and give you a disclaimer that this book is pretty heavily loaded with profanity, so if that bothers you, maybe skip this one.

Overall Rating 
Overall, I'd give The Cuckoo's Calling 3.5 stars out of 5. I think there are some things that need improving, but the book is largely a success, which is obvious, based on its place on the best-seller list.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Confessions of a Former English Major



Okay, guys. You may have noticed that I've been mostly M.I.A. this year. I can only blame part of that on the craziness of school, but now that I've graduated, I have really struggled to find my voice and as I'm applying to jobs, there's a certain fear that what I write hear may influence any potential job offers. 

This is the part where I throw caution to the wind and admit something that I haven't admitted to many people: I have no idea who I am without school.

Definitely not cliché, right

I have been a student for six years. Even while I was working full-time, I was going to school. School has been something I've always been great at. If there's one thing I know, it's that I'm an expert at getting good grades. For most of my education, I felt like school was boring, but I was good at it. Part of that changed when Karl agreed to be the breadwinner and we decided that I should be in school full-time to finish my degree at the University of Utah. 

I've never been a "traditional" student. I never lived in dorms or had anyone pay for school. I never went to football games or a used a dining card. I've always had to work while in school. I've taken out a lot of student loans. I've had to balance being married and getting my homework done. That being said, over these last two years, I've had the opportunity to schedule classes whenever I wanted and I was able to immerse myself in college life more than ever. That immersion, I think, is why life after college has been so rough. I didn't anticipate how much I'd love reading and talking about promethean allusions in Frankenstein, the sense of enchantment (or disenchantment) in the Desert of the Real, how great writing enstranges the reader by altering perspective, etc. 

In my classes, I embraced my passion for literature wholeheartedly. Writing papers never became my idea of fun, but seeing novels from a different perspective, and having friends that were just as passionate about literature as me, made school magical. I mean, how lucky was I to be able to take classes from the most intelligent men and women I'd ever met? I was engaged, excited, and enthralled in this world of books. 

So, now we're at the part where I graduate. I say goodbye to my friends. I get on a plane to Jamaica. When I return, I'm happy. I optimistically continue applying for jobs, despite the harshness of the market. I read a few books. It feels like vacation. Then, I begin to realize that I'm not a student anymore. I don't have anyone to talk to about that great book I just finished. I don't get to buy new school supplies (which is my favorite thing ever). I look at the list of classes for this fall and even though I've taken most of them, my heart begins aching. The most fun I've ever had in my life is over. Cue the violins.

Okay. So this week, with the gentle nudge of a friend, I decided that enough is enough. I need to pick myself up by my bootstraps and continue on with life. I need to get back into blogging because it makes me happy. With that, I have decided to begin a new feature on The Resolution. I will be doing reviews of every book I read. Just because school is over, doesn't mean the literary fun should stop, right? This week I'll begin with a review of The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith/a.k.a. J.K. Rowling. 

Anyway, thanks for reading my tale of woe and thanks to those of you who have stuck around. You're the actual best.

Bringhurst out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This. Everything about this:

I hope you're all having a great week!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jamaica: Part Two

On one of the days in Jamaica we decided to do the excursion to go climb Dunn's River Falls. I climbed them back when I was 17 with my parents and sister and knew that I'd go back someday. Needless to say, I found climbing the falls a bit more difficult than when I was an athletic 17 year-old, but I still had a lot of fun with Karl and a kindly, old, but extremely tan and buff Irish man. Anyway, here's the evidence:







Besides the pictures from these last two posts, I took a ton with my iPhone which I'll try to post by the end of this weekend.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jamaica: Part One

I'm about two months late in posting these, but I had planned on posting the pictures from my Diana Mini since I got them developed first, but unfortunately they all came out overexposed (oh, the joys of film photography). These photos are from the disposable waterproof cameras Karl and I were wise enough to purchase. Overall, they capture some of the best bits of our vacation.







As you can see, everything about this trip was gorgeous, especially the perfect teal-blue, clear water. Stay tuned for my next post tomorrow with the last half of the pictures. 

*On a side note, if any of you know how to fix the spacing between the pictures on Blogger, I'd be eternally grateful for your help. I've tried several things, but have been pretty unsuccessful. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Firmoo Glasses Review and a Treat for You!



Hey friends! So a few weeks ago I was approached by Firmoo to do a review of some glasses here on The Resolution. I actually have 20/20 vision, so I was unsure if they'd have anything to offer me, but as I looked around, I noticed that they have some great sunglasses that can come with prescription lenses or not. As an avid $12 Target sunglasses purchaser, I was excited that I had the option to customize the color and lightness or darkness of the lenses and that I might find some sunglasses that wouldn't break in the first five seconds of owning them (this is my curse).

After waiting a couple of weeks for shipping, my hand-picked sunglasses arrived in all their beauty. I have to admit, I was really impressed with the quality of the glasses. On top of that, Firmoo provided a great hard case (which has essentially curtailed any problem I may have had with breaking and/or scratching the crap out of them), a drawstring bag, a cleaning cloth, and a little screwdriver so I can tighten my glasses when the need arises. I hate to be one of those people, but I'm going to say it: nice sunglasses, which are still inexpensive (mine were only $49), are so much better than bulk-buying cheap ones. These sunglasses fit my face well, have a great design, and have already lasted me longer than a lot of sunglasses I have owned. I kind of feel like an adult now. Is that weird? Who knew nice sunglasses would be the ticket to adulthood for me? Haha.

Now here comes the fun part. Firmoo is offering a few $30 voucher codes for some of you ladies and gents, which means that depending on the pair you order, you'd be paying around $10 for some great sunglasses or you could get some other prescription glasses for free. All you have to do is comment here, or email me at kristie.resolution@gmail.com.


While I did receive a free pair of sunglasses from Firmoo, all these opinions are my own.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Thankful

Waking up next to this guy is my favorite.
Hey friends. If you follow me on IG, you probably know that I just got back from Jamaica a couple of days ago. It was beautiful and so relaxing, but I'll do a separate post on that once I have the pictures developed. 

Since I've been back, I've gotten a lot of questions that go something like, "Are you so sad to return to normal life?" And if I'm being 100% honest, I'm not sad about it. While having two personal butlers at my beck and call and being a ten-second walk from the beach were awesome, it made me do a reality check in which I realized that I have a pretty kick-ass home life. I sometimes whine about Utah, but it's a beautiful state and it's more home than I ever realized. I have a home that sometimes smells like our health-freak neighbors' strange food, but I've decorated it myself and it has a nice, squishy bed. I have two sweet cats (one of which hasn't left my side since we've been home) and one studly, hard-working husband. 

Jamaica was beautiful. The people were so kind. I got to spend 24/7 with Karl on a beach sipping virgin piña coladas. I'll always remember it as being our first real, relaxing vacation together that was unbelievably perfect. BUT, I'm so thankful for the life I have here in America. I'm truly blessed and nothing made me realize that more than not being achingly depressed to leave a tropical paradise and return home to a slightly messy home. 

Anyway, I just felt like I needed to write this post to remind myself of the joy I find in my life right now and to provide evidence of it when I inevitably forget how lucky I am. So while Caribbean vacations are great, I highly recommend we all take a look at our lives and appreciate the small and large ways in which we're blessed in our daily lives. 

That's all for me today. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter

 photo Coal640_zps4885a1ba.jpg
 photo Karl640_zps8ab5b8cc.jpg
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These are just a few pictures I took on Easter. Karl and I headed out to Price to visit Karl's mom and stepdad. It was a nice, relaxing day with the whole family (minus Karl's sister, Lara who's on a mission). The day culminated in a silly string fight in a parking lot, which was pretty perfect.

In other news, my last day of class was two days ago and I was actually really sad. I know I've said this before, but I'll say it forever: school has been so fun. I'm excited to not have to write 11 page papers on fanaticism and the doppelgänger in the gothic novel, but I'm going to miss so much about school. I guess I'm just feeling nostalgic and a little stressed about finding a job. Anyway, my parents will be here in a few days and Karl and I will be on a beach in exactly two weeks. Graduation is a week from today. Lots of exciting things are happening.


Well I'm off to go write my last paper for my children's lit. class watch copious amounts of Mad Men. Have a great weekend, friends!

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