Author Archives: Jo Ann Schneider

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May Book Update

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Hey all,

I’ve made a goal to read at least two books a month this year.

Sometimes I read a lot of books, and sometimes I don’t.

The following are the books I either read or listened to in May.

I’m actually ahead of my goal so far. (Knock on wood.)
Also, I had back surgery this month, so I did a lot of reading.

Epic Fantasy
I listened to this one. It took me a while because it’s so long.
Not quite as rompy as Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter Series, but a solid, unique world with some awesome characters. I’m totally listening to the next one soon.
(Warning: I didn’t love the narrator on this one.)
YA Urban Fantasy
I picked this one up from the authors at a writing conference a few months ago.
Cool magic system, great location (Ah, Venice), and solid characters. The plot was pretty typical YA Urban Fantasy, but I didn’t mind. The book delivered exactly what I was expecting.
Note: This is a pretty clean book.
Urban Fantasy / Mystery
I listened to this one. It was on sale so I grabbed it.
Please don’t let the iffy cover deter you. The main character has a fantastic voice, the magic system intrigued me, the writer made me laugh, and the mystery kept things very interesting.
YA Contemporary Romance
A bit of Crazy Rich Asians mixed with the movie What a Girl Wants. Good romance. A modern-day fairy tale. Sort of.
Sweet Romance Romantic Comedy
I do love a good princess story. This RomCom had me rolling a couple of times. Awesome chemistry between the characters. Love the author’s voice.
Science Fiction
Someone on my newsletter recommended this to me. It’s got an old-school Star Trek vibe with a super interesting premise. The pacing is slow, just to warn you. A mix between an idea book and a character driven book.
(I only read Star Surgeon)

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Recovering After Surgery

The back surgery I had at the beginning of the month marks my very first surgery.

Unless you count wisdom teeth, which they did put me out for, but certainly wasn’t anything like notching a couple of vertebra to scrape out a cyst that was pushing on my spine.

I learned a few things.

First, general anesthesia and I do NOT get along.

I get famously motion sick, and should have told them to give me everything they could to douse the nausea. Instead, I got the normal dose of whatever and ended up throwing up my guts for 20 hours.

Well, only when I moved my head more than a few inches. So if I sat perfectly still I was fine. Ish.

Second, I drop a lot of things on the floor. (The hubby affectionately calls it my flinging tendency.)

Items include, but are not limited to, contact cases, pills, wrappers, blankets, socks, pens, tissues, lotion, my phone…

When you can’t bend at all, the floor may as well be a hundred miles away. Sometime after I stopped throwing up I decided to fetch the longest pair of tongs we had in the house. They’ve become my grabby thing.

Mental note to me: I need an actual grabby thing.

Third, practically everything in the world that you can sit on has lower back support.

That’s great, until your lower back has a 6″ incision up your spine. Then the last thing you want is extra pressure in the area.

Fourth, don’t watch sappy movies when you’re still under the influence of pain meds.

Holy emotional Batman. Next time only comedy or action shows. Nothing of the “tender” sort.

It’s been three weeks since surgery, and I’m actually doing well.

I can drive again, I haven’t taken the big pain drugs in almost two weeks.

I can pick things up off the floor. I know because I dropped my debit card at the stupid gas station the other day and had to get it. (I really do have a flinging problem.)

I’m walking a few blocks a day and adding to it each time I go out.

Here’s hoping the surgery gets rid of most of my pain and I can go back to exercising! I miss doing more than lapping the block.


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The Wind Rises: Review

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A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.

Why did I come to this movie again?

The hubby and I were poking around through our many streaming services and found this. Neither of us had seen it so we thought we’d give it a shot.

4 of 5

Characters

While this movie seems almost spartan in its dive into the life of the characters, I still found myself intrigued with them.

4 of 5

Did I care what happened?

This film is loosely based on a true story. It’s always interesting to consider what happened on the other side of a war. Even though the pacing was slow, I never took my eyes from the screen.

4 of 5

Plot Holes

Not sure you can have a plot hole in a film like this. I will say that Miyazaki may have taken some liberties on a few things, but honestly, I didn’t mind.

4 of 5

How many times did I yawn?

None. Although as I said above, it isn’t a fast-paced film. However, each part of it was painstakingly and lovingly crafted. The ravages of the war were kept on the outskirts of the story, but they were there. Simple things felt both real and weighty. Even after back surgery I stayed alert.

4 of 5

Cool Factor

Can Miyazaki make something ugly? The animation is stellar, and the story telling deep and solid.

5 of 5

The End

The end wasn’t so much as an ending as it was a good place to stop the story. I liked it. No surprises. Also no certainty.

4 of 5

Overall Enjoyment

While I doubt I’d watch this movie again, I did love it. This film does a great job of settling the audience into the world and allowing them to see it through the eyes of the characters. In a word, I’d call it, delightful.

5 of 5

Total: 34

That’s a Brown Belt!

White Belt: 1-10
Yellow Belt: 11-19
Purple Belt: 20-25
Green Belt: 26-30
Brown Belt: 31-35
Black Belt: 36-40


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The Adam Project: Movie Review

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After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self for a mission to save the future.

Why did I come to this movie again?

A few friends had said this was movie was cute and since I was down after surgery I thought I’d give it a chance.

4 of 5

Characters

Both versions of Adam are fun. (It’s difficult to go wrong with Ryan Reynolds doing his thing) They each have character arcs. The supporting cast all played their roles. Nothing spectacular there.

If not for the awesome chemistry between older and younger Adam, this would have been a meh film for me.

4 of 5

Did I care what happened?

Nothing about the plot of this show surprised me. Sometimes that’s okay, in this case it left the movie feeling just above okay. The fact that the kid figures out who the mysterious time traveler is in about three minutes was kind of refreshing. No “Oh my gosh, you’re me! You’ve been lying to me this whole time!” moment later on in the movie. I liked that.

The conflict was okay. Time travel is always dicey, and they did a lot of hand wavium, but I didn’t mind that so much.

4 of 5

Plot Holes

It’s a time travel movie, the whole thing is one big plot hole. Or perhaps several plot holes nestled inside one another like a Russian matryoshka doll. The film didn’t take itself too seriously, so that helped to smooth over any scientific issues people might have had.

There was…something…that bugged me. However, I was on the good pain killers when I watched it, so I can’t remember what it was. Huh.

3 of 5

How many times did I yawn?

Some people have complained about the movie being too slow in some parts and too fast in others. I’d have to agree with that. I don’t mind slow-paced scenes as well as fast-paced scenes, but this movie seemed to take them to the extreme. The only comfortable scenes were when the two Adams were shooting dialogue darts at one another.

3 of 5

Cool Factor

Effects were fun. Action scenes stood up to everything else that’s out there right now. No complaints here.

4 of 5

The End

As I stated before, this film didn’t surprise me on any level. That being said, I did like the end. The story led me to expect a few things from the end and they delivered. Good on them and I was happy.

4 of 5

Overall Enjoyment

I love a good buddy comedy. At its core that’s what this was. This movie may not have a super high belt score, but I did like it. It swept me away from being uncomfortable after surgery and got me to laugh more times than I remember.

4 of 5

Total: 28

That’s a Green Belt!

White Belt: 1-10
Yellow Belt: 11-19
Purple Belt: 20-25
Green Belt: 26-30
Brown Belt: 31-35
Black Belt: 36-40


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