Reading Wrap-up: October 2015

Allow me to begin this post with a big ol’ WOMP-WOMP-WOMP. Not only have I completely neglected my poor blog this month, but also my reading list! I only read TWO books this month, and one of them was even a re-read. What a disgrace! Hahaha I’m only joking. Sometimes things are more important than blogging and/or reading (gasp!) and for me, those things include Halloween!

I had such a great Halloween! Hoping to get a post up about our night & our costumes soon! Tutorials to follow, because I’ll have to make those from scratch again.

Anyway, the two books I read in November:

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Reading Wrap-Up

Yeah, that’s it. Those are my two! Hopefully I can get myself back on track for November (even though I’m actually 1 ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge). We’ll see!!

What did you read in October? What are you looking forward to in November? You know I’m always adding to my TBR & would love some more titles on it!

I likely won’t be back tomorrow, since I’m taking a 3-day weekend, but I’ll do better next week. I miss you, blog!

Until Next Time ❤

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

Reading Wrap-Up (1)

Reading Wrap-Up (2)

Reading Wrap-Up (3)

Reading Wrap-Up (4)

Reading Wrap-Up (5)

Reading Wrap-Up (6)

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 ❤

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 ❤

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 ❤

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!

[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 ❤

5 Fandom Friday! 5 Fictional Pets I Wanna Adopt

My goodness, I miss 5 Fandom Fridays! What is wrong with me? Why do I think I’ll be fine skipping a week? It makes me so sad when I don’t get to hang out with everyone for 5FF!

This week’s prompt is hella cute: 5 Fictional Pets I Want to Adopt, and I’ve put a lot of thought into this. This list is, for once, in order of want.

5. Marcel (FRIENDS)

Sure, he’s kind of a little shit, but he’s so cute & smart & loyal. I’d snuggle him for sure.

4.  FalKor

Not TECHNICALLY a pet, but I want a Luckdragon!! Adventures abound!

3.  Abraxos

Loyalty and ferocity. Perfect for a badass pet.

2.  Lying Cat

Heh. The cake is a lie, you guys. Don’t even pretend you don’t want a Lying Cat.

1. Hedwig

Because duh.

 

So, yay for 5FF! Created by Kristin & Megan! Check out #5FF or #Fandom5 to see more!

 

Until Next Time ❤

[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 ❤

[5] Obsessive Wednesdays: Music Madness!

Welcome back to Obsessive Wednesdays! This week is a little music-heavy (and, consequently, Youtube-heavy). Likely due to the Cincinnati road trip a couple weeks ago 🙂 Kristi & I discovered LOTS of new faves. I’m just gonna share a couple, though. Let’s not get crazy.

MUSIC

New Miley! (Nightmare)

Guys, this song leaked on the internet yesterday & I’m in love. I actually really love the majority of Miley’s music since “We Can’t Stop” came out. And I’m not ashamed to admit that. Sure, her antics have been INCREDIBLY eyeroll-worthy. But I can forgive that. She’s making huge strides with her charity, which I greatly admire. She really does have a heart of gold. And this song is LE-GIT.

1989 Mashup / Sam Tsui & Kurt Schneider

This is maybe my favorite mashup/remake/cover/whatever that I’ve ever found on YouTube. I just can’t. I can. Not. It’s so good.

Also, check out Sam Tsui’s Sam Smith/Ed Sheeran mashup, because it’s a close contender.

Anna Kendrick’s/ John Krasinski Lip Sync Battle

This is maybe old news to some of you, but I just got around to watching it last week and HOLY SHIT. Anna Kendrick is a freaking goddess. It takes a LOT of courage to take on J-Lo and she totally kills it. Even with her little white girl booty. Just more proof that any booty can be a great booty.

Last-minute entry! Happy Playlist!

 

I dare you to be in a bad mood while this playlist is running. I DARE YOU. (playlist by @loudlysilent)

YOUTUBE

Carmilla

 

Moving along from music, bookavid was a terrible human being & made me start watching the web series, Carmilla, about a quirky girl whose roommate disappears & is replaced by a vampire. The cast is just phenomenal, and I blew through the first season in a couple days. The majority of characters in this series are gay, but it’s never really “addressed”, which I found fucking refreshing. Nobody needed to quantify their affections for whoever they were into. Everything was just accepted as normal. This is the way the world should work. Woah. That might have been a borderline rant. My bad.

BOOKS

P.S. I Still Love You / Jenny Han

I finally picked this up from the library & cannot wait to dive in. I need to finish Heir of Fire first, but I’m getting close, so YAY! I really, really enjoyed (review) To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and I am super excited to read the ongoing adventures of the Song Sisters! Also super excited to do a joint review of the book with @loudlysilent for The Wind-Up Books Chronicle this month!

Stephanie Perkins Novels

I also picked up the 3 Stephanie Perkins novels – Anna & The French Kiss, Lola & The Boy Next Door, and Isla & The Happily Ever After – from my library. I’ve definitely gotten the tiniest burnt out on fantasy lately, so I’m really glad to have these contemporaries (with INCREDIBLE reviews) at the ready for me!

A Court of Thorns & Roses

When I’m ready again for more fantasy, I’ve got this beauty at the ready!! I know I should probably move on to another author, but I’ve heard such INCREDIBLE things about this book that I just don’t see the point! Sarah J Maas does fantasy like nobody I’ve ever read, and I am a FAN.

BEAUTY

Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette

Everybody & their mother is pooping their pants over this. And with good reason. Urban Decay’s Naked Smoky palette is set to be released next month, and people. are. excited. Just look at the gorgeous packaging & the perfection that is every single shade of shadow! I don’t have any UD palettes in my arsenal, but this seems like a good one to get for me. When Kristi & I were sharing makeup, I always reached for her UD palettes before my own, so I know I’ll get good use out of it! These are TOTALLY worth the price tag.

HOME

Julia Goodwin’s San Francisco Home

Holy crap, you guys. This is like my dream interior. Every single photo in this home tour has me slobbering all over my keyboard. Seriously. I had to restrain myself from posting ALL of the photos right here. Every. Single. One is gorgeous & I have so much inspiration for my own spaces now!

Speaking of my spaces…

My New Bookshelves!

IMG_2463

Last but certainly not least – I have bookshelves now! Apologies for the crappy-lighting photo. My bedroom needs some serious work. If you follow me on Instagram or Tumblr, you may have seen that these suckers are getting lots of love from me. They’re a little sparse because my book collection is just getting underway. Having these right next to my bed has been AMAZING this week. They’re the perfect nightstand. I’ll do a whole bedroom tour once my room is no longer an embarrassment. K? Thanks.

I think that’s long enough for today. Let me know in the comments if there’s something YOU’RE completely obsessing over right now? Maybe it’s the new Mockingjay trailer? Or an announcement that something you love is being brought to screen (Lumberjanes, anyone?). I want to know!

Until Next Time ❤