Reading Wrap-Up: September 2015

UGH. Slacker. It’s October 15. But you know what? Let’s talk about what I read in September anyway, because it was a great reading month for me!

I’m gonna try something a little different with this post, so let me know how you like it in the comments!

Click the photos to see the Goodreads page for each book

Reading Wrap-Up

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The Design/ The Duet Review    //   Original Heir of Fire Reivew

I can’t believe I actually read this many books in a month. I mean, technically The Martian started at the very end of August, but even then – I think this is my highest volume reading month ever. Feels kinda awesome, you guys.

Until Next Time ❤

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Books, Revisited: Why I Re-Read Books

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HAPPY OCTOBER, EVERYONE! Ok, so I’m not sure if you’d figured this out yet, but holy crap I love October. I’m so excited it’s here & cannot wait for Halloween (except that whole “I really need to start working on my costume” thing). Anyway, I’m feeling refreshed and totally energized by the prospect of a new month and a new season, and my trip to the salon a couple weeks ago definitely helped things, as well! Clearly, I’m feeling like rambling because of all the excitement. I haven’t had that much caffeine yet today, I swear!

Today I wanted to talk about revisiting/re-reading books. I’ve only read a handful of books more than once (children’s books excluded), and I was thinking this morning –  since I just finished re-reading Heir of Fire & have moved on to re-read Queen of Shadows – about which books I have chosen to devote more of my time to than others, and why.

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Similarly to re-watching movies over and over again, re-reading a book gives you new insight to the story. You pick up on things you didn’t notice the first time around and you put the pieces together in the way the author intended, rather than the way your brain decides to piece it all together before the author comes out & explains it (did that even make sense?). Let me try again: I love using an author’s foreshadowing & tiny clues to try and figure out the twists and secrets before they are revealed later in the story. At the same time, by doing that, I miss out on just experiencing the story and taking time to really connect with the characters. On a second (or third, or fourth) read-through, you know where the story is going & you can just marvel at the way the author brings the narrative together.

The obvious difference between re-watching a film and re-reading a book, though, is time commitment. I’m not a very fast reader, so reading a book multiple times really is a commitment & takes away from the time I could spend reading new books (and putting the tiniest of dents into my To Be Read list, you feel?). So, what makes a book re-readable for me, personally?

  1. FEELS. This is the primary reason I will re-read a book. If it makes me feel strongly – any emotion, really, but just resonates on an emotional level? It’s definitely worth reading again. This is basically the first criteria for whether or not I’ll take the time to revisit a book. If I didn’t feel anything for it, why bother, right?
  2. BEAUTY. I am a sucker for poignant books with beautiful language or beautiful settings. I have read The Great Gatsby more times than any other book (I think I’m sitting around 5 or 6) because it is just so beautiful to me. Tragic, of course. But beautiful. I’m certain that as my experience with classic novels grows, there will be a few more that I add to this list. I’ve also re-read the book The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant three times since the first time I read it. That book is like soul food for anyone obsessed with Renaissance-era art history.
  3. SEQUELS. So series are a huge thing right now, obviously. Seems like every book you pick up these days is part of some series or another, and finding stand-alone novels can really be a daunting task. What about that feeling when you finish a book that you didn’t KNOW was in a series and then you have to wait a year (or more) for the next installment? That might be one of the worst feelings. By the time that next book is released, you’ve likely forgotten some of the key points of its predecessor, and a re-read would help pull you back into the world and better understand what is happening in your new book.
  4. ADAPTATIONS. This is one I haven’t really experienced yet, but would definitely qualify as a reason to re-read something. In a time when Film/TV adaptations of best-selling books seem to be the norm, it’s likely that one of your favorite book series is going to be adapted at some point. Now, my previous exprience has just been to read books once the adaptation is already nearing completion, so it’s not a re-read scenario, obviously. But The Selection and Throne of Glass series have both been optioned recently for adaptations, and you can rest assured I will be re-reading if/when those projects reach completion.
  5. NOSTALGIA. There are always those books you read when you are young that stick with you because they resonate on some level or are really integral to developing the person you choose to become.  I started a Harry Potter re-read this year for that very reason. It’s a series I love desperately, that had a huge impact on me as a teenager (obviously I’m not alone in this), but I haven’t read the books since Deathly Hallows was released.  Another great example of this for me is Ella Enchated by Gail Carson Levine. I adored that book the first time I read it & it may have been the book that really cemented a love of reading in me. I have re-read it a few times over the years, but I’m actually probably due for a another read-through soon.

I mean it when I say I don’t have many books on my re-read shelf. It really takes a hugely emotional connection to a book before I’ll consider spending extra hours on it. Because, why would I when a new favorite could be next on my TBR pile?

Here’s a look at every book I can remember reading more than once. Again, excluding children’s books & beginning at about mid-grade level:

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Fun fact: Twilight should technically also be on this list, but I didn’t include it because the only reason I’ve read it more than once is that I completely forgot I had read it the first time. I don’t know if that’s on me or Stephanie Meyer, but apparently it really didn’t resonate that much the first time through.

So, how about you? Do you tend to read books once and move on, or do you re-visit old favorites? How do you choose? I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time ❤

Fall/Winter TBR List: Books Galore!

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Well, I think I’ve finally put a finger on why I’m feeling so stressed out lately! Regardless of how excited I am for Fall (and Halloween, of course), I haven’t been able to shake this feeling like I’m never going to accomplish everything I want to by the end of the year. It’s been really discouraging, but I’ve realized it’s just because I’m too damn ambitious.

I read a quote the other day that was along the lines of “having too much freedom and too many options leads to procrastination” and I think that completely sums up my entire life perfectly. So. I’m going to try and cut back on my expectations of myself and work towards smaller goals – with the help of my trusty Passion Planner, obviously – and just make things more manageable for myself until I have developed better habits. All that’s a post for another day, though.


Today, I’m going to start small and share my To Be Read (TBR) list for Fall/Winter 2015. I’m under no delusions that I will actually get through all of these books in the next three months, but I’m already on track to make a pretty big dent (assuming I don’t hit a book slump after finishing Queen of Shadows for the 2nd time…eek!).

I went back & forth on whether I wanted to share these by genre or by the order I have tentatively assigned to them, and I think I’m going with my random order, so we can see how many I end up skipping by the end of the year. Because *that* won’t be discouraging to look back on (sarcasm sarcasm sarcasm).

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  • Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas (re-read)
  • Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas (re-read)
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman (AB read-along)
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (bookdrunkinlove read-along)
  • Through the Woods by Emil Carrol (AB graphic novel read-along)
  • Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (re-read)
  • Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (re-read)

Books 11-20

  • I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
  • Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn
  • The Last Command by Timothy Zahn
  • The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  • With this Heart by RS Grey
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  • Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (re-read)

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Aditionally, I’ve got the following graphic novels that I’d like to finish before the end of the year:

  1. Sex Criminals vol. 1
  2. Wicked + Divine vol. 2
  3. Hawkeye vol. 1
  4. Saga vol. 5
  5. Halloween Eve

So needless to say, I’ve got an overly ambitious reading list for the season, and that’s only one aspect of my life I’ve been planning out. There is physically no possible way to get everything done that is on my to-do list, and I think that’s really got me frozen in place and feeling stuck. I’m sure someone out there can relate. I hope someone out there can relate…

In the end, I think it’s a matter of recognizing that it’s not the end of the world, and it’s definitely not something to be ashamed about if I don’t get around to everything. I mean, I’ve already surpassed the number of books I read in 2014. Right now I’m sitting at 33 books read this year, plus a ton of comics that I haven’t even counted towards my goal. I’d say I’m doing alright. And I need to look at things from this perspective more often. I also need to prioritize all of my 2015 goals to determine which ones I want to focus on for the next 3 months. It’s a work in progress, you guys… but aren’t we all? 🙂

Until Next Time ❤

*AB = AdultBooklr (what’s that?)

7 Happy Days – Just What I Need

Oh man. I’ve been in a bit of a funk this past week, and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. I can’t tell if I’m being overly sensitive or if some of my friends are distancing themselves from me & I don’t want them to feel like I’m attacking them about it, by bringing it up, but it’s really been eating at me. Among other things. That’s all a story for another day, though. Maybe. Sigh…

Anyway, I started the 100HappyDays challenge a week ago, and it’s actually been helping my perspective stay on the right side of that drop-off into depression-land. Essentially, if I get home from work & don’t have any ideas for a post for that day, then I know I need to take some time and DO something that makes me happy. I don’t need to just sit around & wait for good things to happen. I can make good things happen for myself.

SO, I thought it would be good for me to reflect on my first week of the challenge, in order to gain a little perspective today, which has been a teensy bit rougher than previous days.

Day 1 – Rereading favorite passages from Queen of Shadows while drinking my new Aelin Ashryver Galathynius blend of tea from Adagio. Cozy & happy.

Day 2 – SPIDER GWEN HOODIE! I’ve been waiting for this thing since February & it finally arrived. I may have worn it for like 4 days in a row & the only reason the streak ended was because I was wearing it when Hubby & I watched the series finale of Friends and, well, there’s mascara all over it that I have to scrub out, now.

Day 3 – Kate Spade mug! Kate Spade + Coffee + Watercolor + Books… yeah, I don’t know how this wouldn’t make me happy.

Day 4 – I decided that since I wasn’t ready to move on from Queen of Shadows yet that I would re-read Heir of Fire AND Queen of Shadows before diving into my October TBR. I’m just not ready to spend a year waiting for the next installment of this series. It’s quickly weaseling its way into my top favorite series slot (*gasp* even higher than Harry Potter?!…perhaps)

Day 5 – A side of me that rarely pops up on the blog, the sportsfan side. I really only care about one team & they are killing it this season (so far). We’ve been getting kind of a bad rap for the past few seasons, so it’s nice to be back on an upswing.

Day 6 – Working on collecting this entire set of classics with edgy, modern covers. Drac & Frank look so great together. I can’t wait to complete my set! Also included are: Wuthering Heights, Hamlet, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, and The Fall of the House of Usher.

Day 7 – Yesterday was rough. Not as rough as today has been, but rough enough that I recognized my need for a break. So, I headed off to the Library right after work and spent 4 hours reading Heir of Fire on their living roof. If I had to pick one place in the world that is my oasis, it’s that. I only just discovered it a few months ago & I’m obsessed. Yesterday’s weather was perfect for outdoor reading, too, which made it so much more perfect. I was in a great mood by the time I came home (right after sunset).

If you want to follow along with me for the rest of this challenge, you can follow me on Twitter or Tumblr. Also, check out posts from the entire SqugSquad by searching the tag #HappySqugs.

Until Next Time ❤

Christa

[10] Obsessive Wednesdays: Can I Get an Aelin?

Hey! It’s Wednesday already! And the day is almost over! And my post title is hella cheesy, I know. Like SO cheesy. Whatever. You’ll deal. I’ve had a pretty one-track mind lately with a certain book (listed below) that I finished last week, so today’s post is gonna be short, but filled with goodness. Enjoy these things to get you through the rest of your week!

BOOKS

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

Oh yeah. No surprise here, especially if you follow me on social media. I finished this book last Thursday, and I still cannot stop thinking about it. I could talk about it for hours and hours (and I have). It was a perfect installment to a series that is gradually becoming an all-time favorite. Who knows – maybe it’ll squeak past The Selection? I guess we’ll have to wait and see when both series are concluded! Anyway, I actually started re-reading the last 200 pages of Queen of Shadows last night because I couldn’t bring myself to read anything new yet (aside from those RS Grey books I cruised through over the weekend). It might be a while before I  gather all my my thoughts & feels enough to write a review, but I’m pretty sure you don’t need the review to know what I’ve rated this book!

LIFE

100 Happy Days

I started the 100 Happy Days challenge yesterday, along with some members of the AdultBooklr Admin group. The purpose of this challenge is to pay attention to the things that make you happy on a daily basis. By posting every day with one thing that made you happy, you can improve your overall well-being and mental health over the course of 100 days. We will be tagging our posts with #happysqugs on  Instagram and Tumblr, so you can follow along! I also encourage everyone out there to participate! To sign up & make a pledge, just visit 100HappyDays.com!

MUSIC

Discover Playlist

Spotify started making custom “Discover Playlists” a month or two ago, and I have to admit I’m impressed. I’ve added the majority of songs on my playlist to my saved music almost every week. I love that I somehow end up with a bunch of songs that I know but have forgotten about, along with a few new songs I haven’t heard before. They’re doing a really great job of analyzing my music tastes, which honestly surprises me because I’ve never been a fan of their radio feature or suggestions. Anyway, here’s my playlist – you can follow it & see what I’m rocking out to each week 🙂

TV

Friends

Hubby & I have been POWERING through the whole series on Netflix for the past couple months. We’re finally only about 8 episodes from the end, and I’m gonna be sad to see it go! I forgot how great this show is. Unlike even some of my current/ more recent favorites (HIMYM, Big Bang Theory, etc…),  I feel like there was never one season of Friends that was subpar to the others. It was consistently fantastic & every episode makes me laugh out loud.

GOALS

In addition to the 100HappyDays challenge, I’ve been making a lot of daily goals for myself, like “write every day” and “draw every day”. I haven’t had much time to really focus on blocking into my schedule for these things, but I’m definitely ready to do so in conjunction with the 100HappyDays! So, I just wanted to make a declaration that I’ll be writing more (both fiction & nonfiction) and drawing more! Hopefully I’ll be able to share updates & progress with you guys after a few weeks of attempting all this! Today’s drawing is REALLY exciting, and coincides with my book obsession… can’t wait to share it!

What are you loving right now? I’m always interested to see what you’re up to! Let me know in the comments!

Until Next Time ❤

[Book Review] The Duet + The Design by R.S. Grey

Happy Monday, world!

I had a pretty relaxing weekend spent glued to my Kindle. After finishing Queen of Shadows on Thursday (review still in the works because I have a LOT of thoughts), I really needed something light & fluffy to read while I recovered. Luckily, I have an arsenal of book lovers at my command (or at least I like to think I do), and they never disappoint me with their recommendations. This time, it was The Duet and its sequel, The Design, both by R.S. Grey, recommended by my lovely Heather (anarrayofbooks). Both books can be borrowed through the Kindle Lending Library, or are available to read for free with a Kindle Unlimited membership!

THE DUET – R.S. Grey

When 27-year-old pop sensation Brooklyn Heart steps in front of a microphone, her love songs enchant audiences worldwide. But when it comes to her own love life, the only spell she’s under is a dry one.

So when her label slots her for a Grammy performance with the sexy and soulful Jason Monroe, she can’t help but entertain certain fantasies… those in which her G-string gets more play than her guitars’.

Only one problem. Jason is a lyrical lone wolf that isn’t happy about sharing the stage—nor his ranch — with the sassy singer. But while it may seem like a song entitled ‘Jason Monroe Is an Arrogant Ho’ basically writes itself, their label and their millions of fans are expecting recording gold…

They’re expecting The Duet.

I went into this book without actually reading the synopsis. It took me a couple chapters to figure out exactly what Brooklyn was famous for, and I’ll be honest – I wasn’t thrilled with the overall premise of this book at first. I made fun of it with my husband once I got to the part where they explained that Brooklyn and Jason would be forced to team up…oh, and that she would be traveling to stay with him at his cabin in Montana until the duet was finished. I mean, really? REALLY? It seemed cheesy and forced, but I knew I would be able to find some redeeming qualities in it – and I wasn’t wrong.

The characters in this book are vibrant. I swear they are real people, and they are so much fun to read about. Sure, I was rolling my eyes on a regular basis at the tropes and the cliches, but deep down I was really enjoying the ride. I flew through this book in a day an a half and reached for the follow-up book almost immediately…

THE DESIGN – R.S. Grey

Five minutes until the interview begins.

Fresh on the heels of her college graduation, Cameron Heart has landed an interview at a prestigious architecture firm.

Four minutes until the interview.

She knows she’s only there because the owner, Grayson Cole, is her older sister’s friend.

Three minutes.

For the last seven years, Grayson has been the most intimidating man Cammie has ever had the pleasure, or displeasure, of being around.

Two Minutes.

But the job opportunity is too good to pass up. So, Cammie will have to ignore the fact that Grayson is handsome enough to have his own national holiday.

One.

After all, she shouldn’t feel that way about her new boss. And, he will be her new boss.

“I’m not intimidated by you,” I said with a confident smile.
“Perhaps we should fix that, Ms. Heart. Close the door.”

Technically speaking, The Design was in pretty rough shape. I found some heavy duty continuity errors that were just glaring me in the face and begging me to put down the book, but I also really wanted to follow through with the series, so I kept truckin.

The formula for both books is the same, but the main character in The Design is Brooklyn’s little sister, Cammie. I liked the change of perspective, and I loved reading from Cammie’s POV considering she was my favorite character in The Duet. Both sisters have a clear voice, regardless of how similar they are. Brooklyn is the more mature/ responsible one, while Cammie is clearly the younger of the two, and still working on that whole “maturity” thing.

There’s really not a lot to analyze with these books; they’re the definition of fluff. But they are enjoyable and quick reads (with moderate levels of steaminess), so I would certainly recommend them to anyone who’s looking for a surface-level read to pass the time or to recover from something a little heavier.

I’m not sure where these books fall in the Author’s list of works, but I definitely feel as though they were written by someone who could use a little more experience with drafting & outlining details. The pace changes had a tendency to be jarring, leaving me confused as to how much time had lapsed between pages, as well as the continuity errors I mentioned before, which would be easily negated by an outline or more detailed character notes. They really just need to spend a little time with an editor, which I realize is not always an option for independent authors.

FINAL VERDICT

3 star

I really did enjoy both of these books. I felt attached to the characters and had to keep turning pages to see what would happen next. I was satisfied by the conclusions, and will recommend these books to anyone who is looking for a light-hearted romance.

Until Next Time ❤

August Recap! I’m All Planned Out.

So blogcation is officially over, as evidenced by my two whole posts last week. Haha. Seriously, I’ve got to do some heavy-duty work to get myself ahead of the game. As I said before, August is a crazy busy month for us every year, so I was grateful to be able to focus on the things going on around me with minimal distractions.

Hubby’s 28th Birthday

This year, I had the hardest time figuring out what to get K for his birthday. I don’t know about you guys, but my husband is the WORST person to buy gifts for. Everything he wants either costs hundreds of dollars, or else he just buys it himself. I finally came up with a solution and ended up pooling money with his brother, his parents, and my parents so we could get him an electric smoker! This thing is awesome, has tons of room, and even has bluetooth capabilities so he can control it and check the meat temp right from his phone. Perfect for a techy dude like my husband. 🙂 We’ve used it a few times now, and have had a lot of fun figuring out the science of smoking meats. It definitely takes some practice to get things perfect, though.

As for a party, we decided to just have people over for a casual BYOB hangout at our house. We had a few people over for lunch and then just hung out for a few hours until the actual party started around 5:00. Over the course of the night I estimated around 40 people stopping by to wish him happy birthday! It was a really great night with friends, culminating in an epic Cards Against Humanity tournament dominated by the birthday boy. All-in-all, pretty awesome.

Kiddo’s 5th Birthday

We both took off work at noon on the day of her birthday to come home & re-arrange her bedroom to fit her new full size big-girl bed in. That was not an easy feat, let me tell you. Girl’s room is packed to the brim. Here, I’ll show you…

Yeah, Ernie wanted in on the action

See what I mean? It’s super full. But it’s cute as hell. After we did the re-arranging, we picked her up from school & brought her home to surprise her with it! She loves her bed & the extra floor space we somehow managed to create for her to play in. After the big reveal, she tore into a pile of presents that had come in the mail from various sources (mostly books from book club friends) and then we headed to Toys R Us so she could pick out $40 worth of toys from mom & dad (yes, we gave her the gift of shopping…she is certainly my offspring). She ended up picking out a Shopkins playset, a My Little Pony Funko blind box, and a few blind bags from Littlest Pet Shop and MLP.

The big party was the Saturday after her birthday – My Little Pony themed, of course – and like the terrible blogger I am, I didn’t manage to get any pictures of the party itself, just kids whacking at a pinata and crowding around the presents.  Everything was pretty much rainbow-themed, since Rainbow Dash is her favorite pony. I also went with enough sweets on the menu to make Pinkie Pie proud. My mother-in-law made an epic stacked rainbow cake with a MLP transfer that said “Happy 5th Birthday, Evvie!” It was a really great party with more kids than I really expected. Luckily I don’t really ever have to plan activities for her parties because we just set up our giant inflatable water slide & let the kids go crazy on it.

FOOTBALL

We could talk about the first couple weeks of  September, here, too…because FOOTBALL! We’re huge Iowa Hawkeye fans, so we tailgated the first game of the year on the 5th and then had our 5th annual Iowa/Iowa State party for the Cyhawk gmae against our rivals this past Saturday. We even hauled our 55″ Plasma to the back yard so we could watch outside and then set up a projector in our den with something like 130″ of screen. It was good times, but I’m all partied out. No more. Until Halloween. Thanks 🙂

WORK

I don’t talk much about my day job because it’s basically just that, but we moved offices at the end of August, which was super chaotic for me, being the Office Manager-type person on our team. So that contributed to high stress levels & is worth mentioning .

BOOKS READ

Ah, the relaxing stuff! I was pretty productive in the reading category in August. At least, more so than most other months throughout the year. I knocked out 3 novels and 3 graphic novels this month:

  1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman – I’m actually working on a pretty comprehensive review/ film comparison post. No promises on when it’ll be done. But it’s coming.
  2. A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J Maas – Review pending
  3. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling – Re-read thoughts pending
  4. Batgirl of Burnside– Adult Booklr read-along
  5. The Killing Joke 
  6. The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1 – Adult Booklr read-along for September (omigosh, I’m ahead of schedule?!)
  7. The Martian – I only got 11% of the way through this before the end of the month, but I’m counting that 11%. This was one of the Adult Booklr read-alongs for August, and I’ll have a review up just as soon as I can stop fangirling long enough to form coherent sentences. Thanks.

So, that’s about it. Along with a BUNCH of planning – planning parties, planning blog posts, planning surprises for AdultBooklr…. Planning, planning, planning! Oy. Oh, and the cleaning was never-ending. I’m so far behind on laundry because I was either reading or cleaning almost every night I had free time.

What’d I miss while I was gone? I wasn’t keeping up with reading blogs, either, so if something exciting happened to you last month, let’s talk about it!

Until Next Time ❤

 

PS – If you’re a Throne of Glass fan, you can follow along with my unofficial AdultBooklr read-along of Queen of Shadows on Tumblr & Twitter. Just look for the tag #OGFQoS! I’m having a lot of fun reading this book, y’all!

Repost: The Pep Talk I Really Needed Today

Sometimes you do something and you’re not really sure why, but it seems like some external force is telling you that it’s really important for you to do this thing. It could be anything from going to the mall, to messaging an old friend you’ve lost touch with, to watching a nostalgic tv show. Anything that just feels like you HAVE to be doing it right now, for some reason, which will hopefully become clear at some point. For me, today, it was digging through my blog archives & reading old posts. 

As I was sifting, I came across this #DearMe post I wrote back in March, which I REALLY needed to read today. It’s important to give yourself pep talks sometimes. 

Read the post here

Until Next Time ❤

The Epic Summer Book Haul

Starting a book club was a bad idea.

I mean, it was a great idea & has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life, but… it was also a BAD idea. For my bank account. Because books. I can’t stop buying books.

As I was taking these pictures the other day, I thought to myself, “you know, it doesn’t really seem like all that many, does it?”…and then I looked at my Kindle purchases. Ah. Yes. Therein lies the problem.

So, without further ado (and to avoid feeling the need to justify myself to the internet), I give you my summer book haul, June-August 2015.

Oooooh pretty 🙂

This is essentially my whole TBR pile right now. I honestly didn’t own many unread books before this whole book club thing…you guys are the worst best, if you’re reading this.

The breakdown:

*Note how I listed no reasons for purchasing the graphic novels? That’s because I don’t need a reason. I just want them ❤

You may recognize this photo from my Book Square Challenge post on Tumblr or Instagram. I figured why not kill 2 birds with one stone? These are the covers from the Enchanted Collection Box Set, which I purchased on Amazon Prime Day for like $17. It was basically the only good sale that day, I’m fairly certain.

And, of course, the illustrious Harry Potter box set. Basically my prized possession right now, if we’re being completely honest. Remember when I got this set for $40 over 4th of July weekend? *Happy sigh*

Now for the scary part…the e-books. I have even less restraint when it comes to Kindle deals, if you can believe it.

AND there you have it. A total of 59 books purchased or received as gifts since June 1. Not sure if I should be proud of that or ashamed of my lack of self control? Ah, well. I’ve got books to take my mind off of this terrible moral dilemma!

Back to the reading chair!

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have read any of these books! I’ve only read a few of them, so far!

Til Next Time ❤

[9] Obsessive Wednesdays: August Obsessions

Hello again! I’m back. I told you I’d be back and, while I’m a little late, I AM here! I figured I’d just ease myself back into this whole thing today with a quick little obsessions post, because my body has the worst timing & decided to come down with its second case of bronchitis this year – YAY! Not…

So I’ve got a whole month to catch up on with obsessions, but I’ll try to keep things to a minimum today…key word: try.

First of all – BOOKS

The Martian

So, this was an AdultBooklr August read-along that I started on September 1 because I’m a slacker. Regardless, I cannot tell you how many times I was reading this book and laughed out loud. I mean really, REALLY loudly. I highlighted something like 25 lines throughout this book. I loved it so much. I have a full review coming, so I don’t want to spill all my thoughts here, but holy crap. I loved this book. I kept turning to my husband to say “you HAVE to read this book”, “PLEASE tell me you’ll read this book?”, or “it would make me SO happy if you would read this book”. He’s probably tired of hearing it. Too bad. It’s so good. So, y’all gotta read it 🙂

Queen of Shadows

The moment so many of us have been waiting for! The 4th installment in the Throne of Glass series was released on September 1, and I cannot wait to read it! I pre-ordered the UK paperback from The Book Depository, which has not arrived on my doorstep yet, BUT I did get a Kindle copy from my library just this morning (eep!), so I’m FREAKING out! I’m actually about 30% of the way through Assassin’s Blade right now, because I didn’t expect to get my hands on Queen of Shadows until closer to the 15th. So now I’m going to be power reading Assassin’s Blade today so I can hopefully start Queen of Shadows tonight and AHHHH! I’ve heard some rather discouraging things about this installment, so I’m a tiny bit worried, BUT still open-minded. If you want to follow along with my escapades, check out my #OGFQoS tag on Tumblr or the Unofficial AdultBooklr Read-Along thread on Goodreads!

COMICS

The Wicked + The Divine

The official AdultBooklr read-along graphic novel for September is volume 1 of The Wicked + The Divine. I’ve had this trade for a couple months, now, and just picked it up a couple weeks ago, after we had selected it as our read-along for September. I still haven’t actually finished it, because I got distracted by The Martian, but I’ve only got one issue left in the first volume & then I also own the 2nd and all the current single issues, so I can get all the way caught up! This series is based on a really unique premise of 12 Immortals, who return to Earth once per century to live among the humans for 2 years before they die. This event is called “The Recurrence”, and is the basis for the whole series. I don’t have much more information beyond that, except that it’s exciting & unpredictable and the artwork is just utter perfection. Highly recommend.

Batgirl

August’s AdultBooklr graphic novel read-along was Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart, with art by Babs Tarr. I was late on this read-along, as well, but instantly fell in love with Barbara & this storyline of hers. I’m constantly mesmerized by Babs Tarr’s artwork, and have been a  fan of hers for a while now. I have the newer issues of this run, as well & I’m really looking forward to reading them.

Scarlet Witch

So, Wanda’s getting a new solo arc this fall and you know that makes me hella excited. I love her redesign by Kevin Wada and this cover by David Aja. I can’t wait to see what Marvel does with her. Again, I’m a little bit skeptical, but still optimistic. They did make some pretty huge changes to the character’s origin story, which is super obnoxious. Thanks, copyright. Bah.

LIFESTYLE

FabFitFun

Hellooooo, new favorite subscription box! Ok, I’ve done a bunch of different subscriptions over the last couple years & this one takes the freaking cake. FabFitFun is a quarterly box that combines fitness, lifestyle, and beauty products into one.  Every box is the same, but they jam nearly $250 worth of products into a $50 box every 3 months, and it is AWESOME. Take a look at  their summer box:

That’s a wireless bluetooth speaker, a 14k gold necklace, an exclusive jump rope, fragrance sample, tarte lip gloss, hair repairing spray, spray-on moisturizer, nail wraps, cleansing sponge, and a gift card to Headspace, which is a guided meditation app! Total value is near $300.

I actually loved this box so much that I ordered one for me & then a 2nd for my BFF as a birthday gift! The necklace alone is worth over $100. I got the yellow gold version with a moon pendant, and Kristi got the rose gold version with a horseshoe pendant. We both love them & I’m so excited to see what’s in the Fall box, which ships in a couple weeks! If you’re interested in checking out this service, you can get $10 off your first box with this link!*

*I have not been paid or sponsored by FFF. I just REALLY love this box <3.

Passion Planner

Yep. Still loving my Passion Planner! Thought I’d bring it up again, because we’re closing in on the end of the year AND they’ve been having lots of flash sales on their Academic planners! I’m finally working out an effective system & I need to do my August reflections/ September goal-setting and I’ll be writing up a thorough review in the near future!

TECHNOLOGY

Photo Candy App

I almost never pay for my apps. I don’t really see the point. BUT, I found this cute photo editor app & loved the different options it gives. PLUS, one of my credit cards has iTunes rewards, so I just recently received a $25 iTunes gift card, so it didn’t REALLY feel like spending money on an app. Anyway, Check out some of the cute edits I’ve done with this app! There’s a free version, too, by the way! You just get ads & a few less features. Still a totally great app, though!

I used it to create a couple fun Instagram posts last week:

    

OSMO

This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Osmo is simple. It’s an iPad accessory that turns your tablet into an interactive game system. You get a stand and a little mirror attachment that hooks over your camera, as well as some Tanagram pieces & a set of both red & blue letter tiles. You then you download their free apps to play. There’s a Tanagrams game, multiple Word games, Physics games, and even an Art studio game. My mother-in-law bought this for Kiddo’s birthday and we have been having a BLAST with it. Check out the video below for more information!

BB-8

Ah yes. Last, but CERTAINLY not least. BB-8 is the newest addition to the Star Wars Droid family. In case you hadn’t heard, Sphero has developed a remote-controlled version of the little guy with some seriously cool features. You can control him via any iOS or Android device, he responds to your voice, you can record and display holographic messages, he’s got an autonomous setting, and he has an adaptive personality. I have watched a number of BB-8 demos, and wanted to order one more than ANYTHING on Force Friday (September 4). Unfortunately, the price tag was a little high at $150. BUT THEN I GOT A SURPRIIIIISE today, when my husband informed me he ordered one!! We’ll have our very own BB-8 this time next week! Booyah ( yes, that just happened. deal with it)

Whew. OK, so I didn’t do a GREAT job being brief today, but I’ve had a lot of time to obsess without talking about it! It’s been a MONTH, you guys! A whole month where I didn’t write a thing. Nothing. It feels good to be back 🙂

How about you? What’ve you been up to since I disappeared? I’d love to hear from you!

Til Next Time ❤