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

[Book Review] Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)

I did it. I finished Heir of Fire. I have a lot of thoughts here, so I’m going to try & organize them as best I can. I’ve tried my best to avoid spoilers for the other 2 books in the series, but if you haven’t read those & don’t want to risk it, I suggest you go back to one of my earlier reviews: [Throne of Glass] or [Crown of Midnight]!

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

First of all, this book took me a LONG time to read (I guess some people don’t consider 3 weeks that long for a book, but I definitely do). I just couldn’t binge-read it the way I did with the first two books. Now, this could easily be attributed to book burnout after the aforementioned binge sessions, OR it could be because the storytelling in this book changed so significantly & felt really disjointed compared to the rest of the series. My guess is it was the latter, but the whole burnout thing is maybe a contributing factor.

The thing about this book compared to the first two is that we’re following multiple concurrent story lines. This I have no problem with – I mean,  our favorite characters get separated & we start following each of them independently – duh. There was just something about the way it was executed in this book that felt…choppy? Every time I started getting invested in one of the story lines, the narrative would switch over to a different one & I’d lose my momentum. And then put the book down and not feel that burning desire to pick it back up.

The book is divided into two “Parts”, which are directly related to a decision Celaena has to make. I’ll say that Part 2 was MUCH more consistent than Part 1 & only took me a few days to read. Once I hit the 70% mark in the book, I got that fire back for the series. It was just one of those instances where the book in the middle of the series is spending so much time building up to what’s to come that nothing REALLY happens. Except for that one thing that happens in the last 100 pages. Because Damn. That HAPPENED.

Celaena’s character development is basically stunted for the first 2/3 of the book. She’s her same stubborn self, still reeling from the events of Crown of Midnight.  It takes a long time for her to start climbing out of the abyss of despair she was dropped in, but once she takes that first step, things really start to pick up.

We’re also introduced to quite a few new characters – dare I say too many? I think maybe. Perhaps not too many for the entire book, but too many in close succession, for sure. Things got kind of chaotic for a little bit during Part 1 & it was hard to keep track of the pieces that were flying in every direction and in no way coming together.

All-in-all, I did really love this book once I had finished it. I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads because I think it’s setting us up for something absolutely, undeniably epic in the next two installments. It just suffered a little bit from what I call “The Two Towers” syndrome – where the middle of the story is just the middle of the story & has no beginning or end of its own. Can’t fault a series book for that, but it does make it EXTRA frustrating to have to wait around for the next installment!

4 star

Have you finished Heir of Fire? What did you think?! I need to know! I need someone to talk about this book with, please tell me!

Until Next Time ❤

[4] Obsessive Wednesdays: The Year of Cotton

Happy Wednesday! Don’t you love short weeks? This week is one of those busy, busy ones for me, so it’s actually moving pretty quickly. It’ll be the weekend before I know it & then I’m off for a whirlwind adventure to Cincinnati! In the meantime, here’s what I’m obsessing over THIS week!

Life

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That’s me, I promise. I’m a hair chameleon

This guy. Today’s our 2-year anniversary, which kind of sounds like nothing, and really, the last two years have flown by. I know, I know. Everyone says that, but it really doesn’t feel like it was a whole two years ago that we were in Las Vegas & I was having meltdowns left & right because I failed to plan out where I’d get my hair & makeup done or where we’d get flowers for the ceremony!  We had a few hiccups, but in the end the ceremony was BEAUTIFUL and I couldn’t be happier to have married the best friend I’ve ever had.  It’s been a crazy couple years, but there’s absolutely no one I’d rather be stuck with for the rest of my life

Just for funsies & nostalgia, here are some of my favorite wedding photos:

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The Springs Preserve – Las Vegas, NV

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Oh, that little munchkin back there!

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This venue is breathtaking

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Back home on the day of our reception

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Cutest little love bug there ever was

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I love these silly boys

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Obligatory nerd photo

Look at all the fun we had. And we’ve been having fun ever since 🙂

Books

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Throne of Glass Series!! Well, hopefully you saw that I read Throne of Glass & Crown of Midnight last week. These books were incredible. I’m currently reading Heir of Fire, but I’m honestly having a hard time getting into it – I can’t tell if it’s just burnout since I read practically non-stop over the weekend or if this book is just that much slower than the other two. It’s still interesting, I just haven’t had that burning desire to binge-read it. The series as a whole, though – thoroughly obsessed. I’m so excited to read Assassin’s Blade & learn more about Celaena’s past! And then it’s a waiting game for Queen of Shadows in September…torture!

If you are unfamiliar with the series, it’s about an Assassin (obvi) who is pulled out of the labor camp she has been imprisoned in for the last year by the Crown Prince to compete in a tournament to become the King’s personal Champion. After 4 years of service, she’ll earn her freedom. It’s a series full of magic & faerie lore, as well as rather a lot of brutality. It’s seriously a great fantasy series.

Internet

Coldplay’s Game Of Thrones Musical.  If you haven’t at least heard about this, you have to be living under a rock (no offense), but this is quite possibly my favorite thing that has EVER come out of the internet. It is just utter perfection and every single second of it makes me impossibly happy. If you’re not a GOT fan, you probably won’t get any of the jokes, but if you are, they are AMAZING. Pretty sure I’ve watched it 100 times. And I can’t stop reblogging gifs of it on my tumblr.

Fashion

Two things I bought for myself yesterday with leftover birthday money:

Spider-Gwen Hoodie. I’ve been looking around & these are impossible to find, still. So when I saw that We Love Fine is coming out with a Spider-Gwen collection, I knew I had to scoop up that hoodie ASAP. And for only $45, I feel like I won the lottery! Especially considering that they were already nearly sold out as of yesterday – Small & Medium were both gone already, as well as some of the larger sizes. Hopefully Large is the right size for me (I’m hoping they run a little small). I’m freaking pumped for this & it’s gonna make my Halloween costume kind of a no-brainer. The worst part is going to be the wait! Not shipping until September 1 (between this & Queen of Shadows, September is going to be AWESOME for me).

Reversible Vegan Leather Tote. I’ve been dying for a leather tote for ages, but let’s be honest – ain’t no way I can afford real leather. This vegan leather tote from Urban Outfitters is a great alternative for only $60 – it looks amazing & it’s REVERSIBLE! Are you kidding me? I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. UPS, get your shit together & bring me my bag! It’s big enough to hold my laptop & some books and even my camera, if I start figuring out how to use that thing. I have a feeling I’m going to be ordering another one of these bags in the future in a different color. Because options.

The list is a bit shorter this week than usual, but I’m probably WAY more excited about all of this than I usually am, so the level of obsessiveness is the same.  What’s got you excited this week? I’d love to know!

Until Next Time ❤

[Book Review] Throne of Glass

Woo! I finally jumped onboard the Throne of Glass train! I’ve felt so left out these past few months since I started blogging & following all these book blogs that are just OBSESSED with this series. I knew I was going to have to read it & finally got around to cracking open the first book last week.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.


I knew from the book synopsis that I was going to enjoy this book. I mean, an assassin, a land without magic (just the mention of it would indicate that magic had existed at one point in this world), and a competition to become the King’s personal Champion? Those things are all 100% in my lane. I love fantasy, so there was no way I was going to dislike this book.

This is one of those narratives that just dives right into the story. There’s no character- or world-building up front. It’s just BOOM. Immediately into the action. I love that. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the development of characters and settings, but I love the feeling of being hooked on the story from page 1. And with this one, I most definitely was.

The story begins as Celaena is being hauled into the building at the labor camp where she has been imprisoned. She is taken to see the Crown Prince of Adarlan (who else kept reading this as Alderaan the whole time? Just me? Ok...) who will make her an offer to compete to become the King’s Champion and, after 4 years of service, earn her freedom.  That’s all within the first 10-or-so pages of the book. Sarah J. Maas definitely has this whole “hooking readers” thing down to a science.

Celaena Sardothien is a character I have been waiting for for ages – not the FEMALE character, but rather ANY character. The fact that she is a she is just the cherry on top.  She is absolutely fierce and lethal, yet she opens her heart so easily despite everything she has been through, including waking up between her murdered parents in a pool of their blood, being taken in & trained to be an assassin at the age of EIGHT, and spending a year in a labor camp at age 17 where most prisoners only survive for a few months. She also loves as fiercely as she kills, whether it’s a friend, lover, or even stranger – she is capable of such compassion.

There are many secrets throughout this book that unfold over time – when done well, it’s a thrill ride and you find yourself just hanging on for dear life. However, not all instances are done well, and I did find many of the twists and turns to be somewhat predictable. Either the foreshadowing was a little obvious, or I’m getting WAY too good at picking up on the subtle hints & putting the pieces together. That’s not a huge gripe, as I still love each and every turn the book made, but it did kind of unhook me from the story when I was just waiting for the ball that I knew was coming to drop.

I’d say the one thing that genuinely irked me throughout this book was the love triangle. I’m definitely a fan of romance in books (I don’t find it necessary, but who doesn’t love watching people fall in love? This is why shipping is a thing, right?) BUT I’m so incredibly over the love triangle thing. Will she? Won’t she? Who’s she gonna pick? Bouncing back & forth between the two… ugh. It’s exhausting & I’d rather just watch two people dance around each other for 400 pages than have the main character waffle between two men who are completely dopey over her. Also, I ship one of the guys with her SO hard it’s not even funny. So there’s that.

All said, I still loved the crap out of this book. The ending was pretty epic and leaves us wide open for book #2.  There are hints at magic throughout, and I expect that to become a bigger part of the story as the series progresses. I’m completely in love with the characters and I totally see where all the hype is coming from.

I’ve actually already finished Crown of Midnight & started reading Heir of Fire, so it’s safe to say I’m a fan of the series. I wish I had realized that it’s not complete yet before I had started, though. There is no greater torture than waiting for the release of the next installment of a series.

Final Verdict:

4 star

(only lost one star because of the love triangle)

Well, how about you? Have you read this series? Are you in the group of uber fans? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until Next Time ❤