Tuesday, March 12, 2019

March Reads: Zombies, Cheshire Cats and Murders

Whew. Another month has come and gone and it's time to link up and share my recent reads. It's another long list so I won't give full recaps for all of them - just ones that I think you should know about! 

Feed // Mira Grant 
Rating: 4/5 
Genre: Dystopian/Zombie/Mystery
Challenge: Popsugar - a book you think should be turned into a movie OR a book with the same name as another book (the other option being Feed by MT Anderson) 

I can't even remember why I went after this book because it is NOT my type at all. I don't care for zombies one bit but I was really into this book. I think because it was less focused on zombie attacks and more focused on how the world recovered and changed from zombies becoming mainstream and how the rich and politicians have profited from the "rising". 

The book follows a group of bloggers who are following the campaign of a Senator running for president. You get a lot of backstory on the uprising in 2014, the security measures on how they continue to prevent large outbreaks, the science that caused the outbreak and then how politics has changed. There is a mystery thrown in for good measure. There are two more books in the trilogy that I can't wait to read!

Rating: 4/5 
Genre: Mystery
Challenge: Popsugar - a book that takes place in a single day


Depending on the version of the book you have, it is also called the Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It's confusing but it meant to make it easier to distinguish between The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. 

This book is SO TWISTY and takes a lot of focus when reading. If you follow along on social media, you've probably seen that I go through books every few days if I don't have other stuff going on but this one took almost 2 weeks. Granted, we had friends and family in town which slowed me down considerably, but also it takes concentration. 

Aiden Bishop wakes up with no memories. It also turns out, he's not in his own body at all. Everday day for 8 days, he wakes up in a different body and is tasked with solving Evelyn Hardcastle's murder (which just so happens to look like a suicide). He has helpers along the way as well as someone trying to murder him. Needless to say this is a confusing roller coaster that was so fun to read! 

Rating: 4/5
Genre: Young Adult
Challenge: Erin's - a book that was turned into a movie


Rating: 3/5
Genre: Chick lit 
Challenge: Popsugar - A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover


Sophie Kinsella is always good for a fluffy read and this was no exception! There was a little romance, but mostly a book about friendship and life not always being the "ideal" of what you picture. 

Rating: 3/5
Challenge: Popsugar - a book told from multiple POVs


This book had SO much potential. I think the topic is great but the execution wasn't completely there. Nina's son is your typical "rich, white kid" who has no consequences for his actions who Snapchats a lower class, student in a compromising position while drunk. This topic is so relevant in this social media era, but unfortunately, it fell flat for me. And everything was wrapped up in an epilogue too nicely in my opinion. 

Rating: 4/5
Genre: Thriller
Challenge: Erin's - a book starting with the letter N


I read this in a day. It truly had my heart pounding and I even talked out loud to the book a couple times which made Christian laugh at me. There is some violence that I didn't love reading, but overall, a great thriller with some crazy twists. 

Rating: 2/5
Genre: Children's Lit 
Challenge: Erin's - a book originally published over 100 years ago 


Maybe I've just seen all the  movies too many times but I just did not enjoy this. I listened to it so maybe that was why? Or maybe if I had read it as a kid? Not my cup of tea. 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Dystopian/Zombie/Mystery
Challenge: Popsugar - A book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature


So, yeah. I listened to all of these as quickly as I could. I thought this one was just as good as the first one while still being a pretty different type of story. I know that sounds weird and vague but I literally can't talk about this one or the final one without seriously spoiling the end to Feed and I just don't want to do that! 

Rating: 4/5
Genre: Dystopian/Zombie/Mystery

Again, can't say too much but I was listening to this one every second I had waiting for one big thing to happen and it was totally worth it! Another good one to finish out the trilogy. 

Currently Reading: 

On The Come Up // Angie Thomas (physical book)
The Luckiest Girl Alive // Jessica Knoll (audio-book)
Rich People Problems // Kevin Kwan (e-book)

Currently Checked Out from the Library: 
Hitler Youth // Susan Campbell Bartolli
The Au Pair// Emma Rous
An Anonymous Girl // Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

March's Book Club: 
Where the Crawdad's Sing // Delia Owens

As always, linking up with Jana and Steph!

Monday, March 11, 2019

February Showers Bring March Flowers?

Y'all. I swear it has not stopped raining since we moved to Charlottesville. But, it definitely rained most of February. I looked it up and we got 3.21 inches of rain last month and the average is .21 inches... needless to say we are wet mops over here!

At least one round of precipitation was snow and we got a snow day at least, but I am so ready for some sunny days and it looks like most of this week will be dry!

I had rough month in terms of goals, but it's not because I was being lazy - just the opposite, really. So, let's recap March:

Read 6 books. YES. I read 7 books actually. Some were recapped here and the rest will come next week!

Eat something green everyday. NOPE.  I won't even pretend I tried hard on this one. There were many days that I had spinach in my smoothie so this worked, but some days where I didn't even attempt. It's terrible, I know!

Go to spin class at least 4 times this month. NOPE. I did go twice, though! I found the class I like, so I plan to get some more in this month.

Go for a hike. NOPE. Not without trying though! We did get some long walks in, but as I said, it hasn't stopped raining in a month so all the trails were disgusting and most weekends it was raining. We also had Christian's best friend in town for two weekends and my brother for one.

Let's see if March goes any better...

I will go ahead and say that we close on our house this month and the second half of the month will be heavily focused on moving so I haven't set any really big goals since I know we will be busy. We also have a best friend's weekend planned next weekend!

Read 6 books. I had originally planned on my goal being 4 this month, but I've already finished 3 so... 6 is the goal and I feel like I should up it.

Be completely moved out of the apartment. We have the bare essentials in the apartment and I'm so ready for a normal kitchen with counter space so this is first on the list the week we close! I even joked last night that even if we aren't in the house the first week, I'll be cooking dinner there because I can't take it anymore!

I want to have the apartment empty by the end of the month but the storage unit may not be quite empty.

Try 5 new recipes this month. My original goal was 3 but I've already made two last week, so I decided to really challenge myself and increase it a bit. I'll be sure to share what I make!

Take 4 cardio classes. Our barre studio has two types of cardio classes that I've slacked on taking the last month so I need to get back to it. The yoga studio I go to also has the spin class I like so I plan on doing a few more of those!

11 days into the month is a good time to share goals, right? Oops! It's been a crazy March already and I know it's just going to get more crazy and I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

February Books

Wow I've read so much since the last check in! I'm actually kind of impressed with this because since the second week of January, I've basically only had one free night a week. This is great because it means I've been making friends but I also need to carve more time out for reading because it's my self care!

I mentioned in my last round up that I'm doing two different reading challenges and now I'm in a book club so I will be sharing which challenge its for or if it was for the book club!

The Lies We Told // Camilla Way
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Thriller
Challenge: Erin's - Book that is set in Europe; Popsugar - Book featuring an amateur detective

Clara wakes up to find that Luke hasn't come home or showed up for a big presentation at work. She's certain that something is wrong but everyone else thinks he's just left her. As she learns more about Luke's stalker and the past of his sister's disappearance, things get twisty. I really enjoyed the book and then the last few reveals just really shocked me and bumped my rating up to a 4!


The Kind Worth Killing // Peter Swanson
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Thriller
Challenge: None!

I honestly don't remember how I came across this book but I ended up listening to the audiobook version and I thought it was a good book to listen to thanks to the back and forth narrators. The two voices kept my attention more than a single narrator! The book had a lot of twists that were occasionally hard to find believable, but overall, it was a good thriller!


The Death of Mrs. Westaway // Ruth Ware
Rating: 3.5/5
Challenge: Erin's - Book with a compass or cardinal direction in the title

I think I'm really on the fence about Ruth Ware. I've given the 3 books of hers that I've read in a 3/5 range so I guess I like them enough, but not one has blown me away yet. This particular one was good, but the ending seemed to come out of left field a bit and wrapped up pretty quickly in chapter or two.


The Girl Who Lived // Christopher Greyson
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Thriller
Challenge: January book club for my neighborhood; Popsugar - prompt from a past challenge (published in 2017)

This was surprisingly good! It appears he's written a lot of book that are tied together but this is a completely new story. The book opens with Faith being released from a psychiatric hospital. The night before her birthday when she is a child, Faith's father, sister, best friend and best friend's mom are brutally murdered but she lives. She spends a decade fighting survivor's guilt and self medicating. As the anniversary approaches, Faith is sure she sees the killer in town. Faith is an unreliable narrator which I do enjoy but there are also SO MANY suspects that I never figured it out and found the  ending shocking. The book was great and everyone in my book club enjoyed!


Severance // Ling Ma
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Dystopian / Satire
Challenge: Popsugar - Book about a hobby (blogging)

Ugh. I had really high hopes for this one when I read the synopsis on Book of the Month a few months ago. But, it just didn't live up to it. Candace is your "typical" NYC millennial as Shen Fever begins to take over NYC and eventually the world. She meets up with a group of survivors and they're travelling to a safe place to restart life. There was no real story or ending to this novel. It was just a story being told of Candace working while the city dies and then travelling with a group. And then it just... ends.


One Day in December // Josie Silver
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Love Story
Challenge: Popsugar - Book that includes a wedding

I really loved this book. This was another one I found via Book of the Month club that you've probably seen all over the place over the last two months! Laurie is on the bus on a busy December day and makes eye contact with Luke. They are immediately attracted to each other but, due to the crowds, are unable to meet each other. Laurie spends the next year looking for Luke and finally finds him again in December at her annual Christmas party that she throws with her best friend and roommate. Luke is her best friend's new boyfriend. The story is told over the next decade and you only see a few days out of each year. It's a book about love, friendship, growing up, family and all the pieces in between. Please read it!


The Lying Game // Ruth Ware
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Mystery
Challenge: Erin's - Book that is a friend's favorite or another participant in this challenge

Again, Ruth Ware not blowing me out of the water but being a good enough read. This is the story of four friends from boarding school with a big secret. The story moves back and forth between present day and the year they all spent together at boarding school. I definitely wanted to find out the secret but it wasn't as "aha" as I expected.


The Rhythm Section // Mark Burnell
Rating: DNF
Challenge: Popsugar - becoming a movie in 2019; Erin's - book made into a movie

I kept trying to start this, but couldn't get into it. So, I changed my book for this category to All the Boys I Loved Before because it's the cutest Netflix movie ever and I found out the book is set in Charlottesville!


A Wind in the Door // Madeleine L'engle
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Young Adult
Challenge: Popsugar - Book set in space

Is there something wrong with me that I don't like these books? I know so many people that do and they have high ratings on Goodreads, but they just don't seem to be my cup of tea. I loved Harry Potter so it's not the fantasy aspect, I don't think. But, the books just seem to over-complicate things that could be simple.


Once I get through these listed below, I have a few books that I own, like Becoming by Michelle Obama that I will be digging into as I wait for some long wait library books!

Currently Reading: 

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle // Stuart Turton (physical book)
Feed // Mira Grant (audio-book)
The Girls // Emma Cline (e-book)

Currently Checked Out from the Library: 
The Sun is Also a Star // Nicola Yoon
The President is Missing // Billy Clinton and James Patterson
To All the Boys I've Loved Before // Jenny Han
All We Ever Wanted // Emily Giffin

February's Book Club: 
Before We Were Yours // Lisa Wingate

As always, linking up with Jana and Steph!

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