[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 ❤

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[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 ❤

[Book Review] Crown Of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

HOLY… Everything. Holy everything. This book. Well, this book destroyed me. Ripped out my heart & crumbled it a la Regina Mills.  Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass series, and it really outdoes the first in terms of eliciting emotional responses.


 CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by SARAH J. MAAS

Celaena Sardothien is the king’s Champion—yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one, not even her supposed allies Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and foreign princess Nehemia.

Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena’s world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie . . . and whom she will fight for.


The instant I turned the last page of Throne of Glass, I hopped into the car with kiddo and drove to Half Price Books to pick up the rest of the series (not exaggerating). They didn’t have any in the store, so I just picked up a couple books for mini-me and we headed over to Barnes & Noble, pushing dinner back by a couple hours in the process (oops!). Anyway, I grabbed Crown of Midnight and had intentions to get the rest of the series, but Heir of Fire is only released in hardcover right now and they didn’t have any paperback copies of Assassin’s Blade. Gotta make sure the set matches, yo!

Crown of Midnight picks up basically where Throne of Glass left off, so there are going to be a few mini-spoilers for Throne of Glass in my review, because it’s basically unavoidable.

The general premise of this second installment is that Celaena is now the King’s Champion and, as such, is contracted to eliminate targets deemed to be a threat to the crown. She uses her position to continue the mission set forth by Queen Elena in the first book, investigating the secrets held within the castle while maintaining the appearance of a loyal servant to the King. All the secrets she is keeping begin to cause tensions between those closest to her, with everyone questioning each others’ intentions.

Crown of Midnight weaves a pretty intricate web, and reveals even more about Celaena’s past as the castle’s secrets begin to become her own.  We get to see the lethality of our favorite assassin on a number of occasions, as well as seeing her softer side as she  learns to trust her friends and puts their needs above her own time & time again. We experience incredible heartbreak as she is betrayed (more than once) and we finally have the opportunity to witness the power of magic in the world of Erilea.

I reiterate, this book is filled with SO much emotion. Celaena is learning about herself and what she wants for her life once she is free from the King’s command. She begins to heal old wounds, only to have them ripped wide open as her secrets begin to unravel. It’s a gut-wrenching ride from beginning to end, and I found myself in tears more than once (thank you, husband, for not laughing at me as I sobbed over the pages of this book!).

As in the first book, I found a few of the plot twists to be somewhat predictable but, unlike the first installment, it in no way affected my opinion of this book.  Watching all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place was incredibly satisfying, even if my suspicions were right on-point. And the ending….well, you really need to read this book.

Final Verdict:

5 star

No surprise here, I am OBSESSED with this book, and really looking forward to diving deeper into the story with Heir of Fire!

Did you read Crown of Midnight? Did it affect you the way it affected me? I’ve been chatting with some other fans of this series & we all agree – this book cuts through you like a knife (or maybe one of Celaena’s daggers)!

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

via tumblr

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 ❤