Some Announcements!

HELLO THERE!

I haven’t had much time for writing lately, but I wanted to pop in with a real quick update & some announcements that I’m super excited about & hopefully bring some fun changes around here (and maybe a little more consistency!).

1. I’ve started a Booktube Channel!! 

I’m so excited to announce that I launched my Booktube channel over the weekend. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but the perfectionist in me kept putting it off until I could have the perfect filming spot in my house, or better equipment, or excuse after excuse, and I’ve finally decided to just start & tweak things as I go! My first video is up and is the Booktube Newbie Tag, which is a great introduction to the kind of videos you’re going to see on my channel.

 

2. I’m starting a new job!!!

I’ve been offered a new position with a local company, which I’ll be starting on April 25th! I’m so excited for this change and all the opportunity it could bring, but that means that for the next couple weeks I’ll probably still be MIA around here. No worries, though! Once I settle into my new routines, I should have even MORE time to focus on writing and I can get back into posting some regular content here! I have so many things I want to talk about here, it’s just a matter of getting myself organized so I can dedicate time to all these things I love!

3. April Re-read-athon

I’m making April a re-read-athon month, since SO many great books are coming out in the beginning of May & I wanted to revisit each of these series before picking up the new installments. I’m actually going to be posting my Q1 wrap-up video either tonight or tomorrow, which will talk a little more about this 🙂

4. AdultBooklr April Read-alongs

Our theme for April is Page-to-Screen, and the people have voted to read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (luckily this fits into my re-read-athon!) and Sandman, vol. 1 for the AdultBooklr read-alongs this month! If you want to join us, all you need to do is pick up one or both of the books, and follow the tags #abperegrine and #absandman!

I’m really excited for everything that’s coming, please stick around & we’ll have lots of fun in May (cough cough *BOOKCON* cough cough)!!

Until Next Time ❤

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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?)

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!

[Book Review] Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

I don’t quite know where to start with this review. I really loved Anna. She’s a LOT like me, which was a little freaky but also kind of annoying. Like, I don’t really want to read about myself all that much. The primary difference between myself and Anna, though, is the one thing that made me dislike her – her inability to communicate with other human beings. So, maybe I wish she were a little bit more like me? Who knows. I’m a conundrum.

Though this book is touted as a romance novel, it didn’t FEEL like a romance novel for the majority of the book. I still can’t decide if I think it is one or not. Obviously, the romantic relationship is the central focus of the story, but it didn’t play out in a way that was enjoyable (for me, at least), and I feel like the romance in a romance novel should be enjoyable to read. Personal opinion. You guys, I honestly fear I may be ready to move on from the angst & drama of YA, oh no!

With those two grievances out of the way, though, I did enjoy this book. I don’t want my review to come across like I didn’t. I read it pretty quickly – about 2 days – and never once was I bored or uninterested. I found all of the characters to have a unique perspective & each was interesting on his/her own, but when put together, the cast of this book is really great. The way the characters play off of each other & interact with one another feels very realistic, for high schoolers (or even undergrads).

In the long run, the majority of the plot here is driven by Anna’s inability to communicate with people – both in a literal and figurative sense. Literally, she doesn’t speak the language, which causes a few minor hiccups in her integration into boarding school life. The real problem, though, is that she is unwilling to take a chance & speak her mind and, as such, jumps to all the wrong conclusions about pretty much every person in her life. If this book taught me anything, it’s to say what I’m thinking, lest I sabotage my own chance at happiness.

I’m not necessarily put off by this method of plot development, but it is a very “YA” thing to do, and one I’m looking forward to putting behind me as I try to branch out from the genre.

Final word:

4 star

I struggled so much to write this review because I can’t really articulate how the book made me feel. From a technical perspective, it is nothing spectacular and I have clearly made a point to air my grievances, but Stephanie Perkins has a way with characters that makes them come alive & really helps you connect to the story. For that reason, this book gets more stars than my review would lead you to believe. Haha.

I hope any of this made sense to you. I’ll be accepting questions to clarify my jumbled mess of a thought pattern. I promise.

Until Next Time ❤

Break Time – I’ll Be Back (you totally just read that like Arnold, didn’t you?)

Announcement! I’m taking a hiatus – just for this week – to finish getting things set up with AdultBooklr! We’ve got all kinds of things planned & I need to get my butt out of our 24/7 chat so I can actually get stuff done for all our wonderful members.

In case you missed it last week, AdultBooklr is a Goodreads/Tumblr crossover community founded by yours truly on the hallowed date of June 11, 2015. The only requirements for membership are that A) You are over 18; B) You love books; and C) You have a tumblr account. That’s it! If you meet these qualifications, come check out what I feel is the greatest place on the internet.

Not convinced? Let me tell you more.

Oh yeah, and books. Lots & lots of books.

Hope you’ll come hang out with us! I’ll be back next week for your regularly scheduled programming. ❤