Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May Reading: The Best Love Story Ever

Wow, I have somehow read 12 books since the last linkup and that time has included my birthday, barre instructor training and a housewarming party. I am shocked. If you get nothing from these reviews today except read Red, White and Royal Blue immediately, I'll be happy.

Also, feel free to follow along on Bookstagram where I post everything I'm reading in real-ish time with reviews :) All links are to Goodreads so you can read others' reviews and add to that ever growing TBR pile!

Verity // Colleen Hoover
Amazon Ebook 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Thriller 
Challenge: N/A

I kept hearing about how twisted this book was and I just really needed to read it. I had a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and since this book is self published, you can only get it through Amazon but it was totally worth the read! Definitely dark and twisted and I stayed up way too late reading it! Highly recommend if you like thrillers.
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The Evidence of the Affair // Taylor Jenkins Reid
Amazon Ebook
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Short Story 
Challenge: Popsugar - a book with no chapters/ unusual chapter headings/ unconventionally numbered chapters

I also kept hearing about this one and I just wasn't blown away? It's told solely as letters between two individuals who find out their significant others are having an affair with each other. It just didn't end up going the way I thought and we spent a lot of time in the weeds. That's the best way to put it so as not to spoil it! It's a super quick read, though, since it's a short story and is also on Kindle Unlimited!
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The Proposal // Jasmine Guillory
Library Ebook 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Romance
Challenge: Popsugar - book with a two-word title (I had another book here that I'm still planning to read but it fit, so why not check it off?) 

I loved The Wedding Date so I had high hopes for this one, too! If you've read The Wedding Date, you'll definitely recognize Carlos in this book. I loved Carlos so I was happy to join him on his love journey, too. If you want to be totally surprised when reading The Wedding Date, read that one first, because this one isn't a sequel, but you do find out how the other ends. Her next book, The Wedding Party, comes out this summer and I'm sure it'll be great, too. These are such feel good books! 
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Book of the Month Club 
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Thriller
Challenge: N/A

Not really my cup of tea. I waffled between a 2 and a 3 and ended up with a 3 star because there were some twists right at the end but overall, the book was slow. It's told in alternating points of view - which I do really enjoy, especially in thrillers - but you find out the "truth" pretty early in the book and the twist didn't do enough to save that, in my opinion.
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Scribd Ebook and Library Book 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Nonfiction
Challenge: Erin's - book that was a Newberry Award winner (medal winner or honor book)

I ended up listening to most of this book via audiobook because I was short on time so maybe that was the reason I got a little lost on the names, but overall the story was heartbreaking. I am fascinated by WWII and Nazi Germany (I also HIGHLY recommend the Holocaust museum in DC) so this was heartbreaking to read about children who were used to carry out awful things for Hitler. 
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Rating: 4/5
Genre: Literary Fiction
Challenge: N/A

All of the cry face emojis for this book. I just cannot explain how great this book was. It tells the story of Annika and Jonathon who meet in college and then again 10 years later. The story alternates between them now in Chicago and meeting in college. Annika is on the spectrum but doesn't know or understand that so it's a brilliant story of her learning to thrive in life and also have this beautiful relationship with Jonathon. I cried a couple of times. Read it!
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Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA
Challenge: N/A

I read To All the Boys I've Loved Before after watching the Netflix movie (twice...) and finally got to finish these because the hold was so long at the library! They're just so dang cute and I relate to Lara Jean a lot. I was very over the top romantic and day dreamy in high school. But, I didn't get the hot guy until college LOL.
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Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA
Challenge: N/A

Again, so cute and adorable. I read the last one in less than two days. They're easy to read! They're also set in Charlottesville. And though they talked a lot about a SoulCycle that we for sure do not have, they did talk about my favorite bagel spot, Bodos so all is forgiven.
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Book of the Month Club 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Thriller(ish)
Challenge: N/A

I put thriller(ish) because I thought it was a full blown thriller, but it also ended up being a story of growing up after trauma, rebuilding relationships and moving on. Yes, there's the whodunnit aspect of the murder but I was surprised by how much I liked this book even though it didn't focus on the twisty, gory aspects!
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Rating: 4/5
Genre: Thriller
Challenge: N/A

I have read a few Karin Slaughter books (and I googled her and it seems like this really is her name?!) and enjoyed them. They are GORY though, so you've been warned. This one wasn't the worst of hers I've read but the serial killer's signature is rough. I really enjoyed this kick off to her Will Trent series and while reading it, I even went to a used book store and bought the next two in the series. I'm not sure if they need to be read in order, but I'm doing it. I'm also from Georgia and all her stories so far have been set there, so it's kind of cool.
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Rating: 3/5
Genre: Mystery?
Challenge:N/A

People on the internet love this book. I am on the fence. While I, again, thought it was more of a thriller, it was not. It's a story about a family and how they grow and relate to each other told in alternating perspectives and times. It switches between the daughter in law and mother in law from the moment they met, until the mother in law was possibly murdered. So yes, there's a mystery, but it focuses much more on relationships. Which is totally fine but I feel like there were so many "things" in this book (highlight if you don't care about seeing what they were) - ALS, infertility, refugees, money troubles, suicide, murder, infidelity and more. It was just a lot of "hot topic" issues thrown at one family that just seemed too far fetched for this type of story. 
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NetGalley eARC 
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Romance 
Challenge: Booksparks SRC 2019

YAY FOR THIS BOOK! It's being published today and you absolutely must read it! I can't believe I'm rating a romance book 5 stars but here. we. are. This book has it all - politics, scandal, and most of all, a beautiful love story between the First Son of the United States (his mom is the president) and the Prince of England.

I have never read an LGBTQIA love story and I regret that choice immensely but I am trying hard to read more books and not just thrillers so this was high on my list and I'm so glad I was able to get it early! This book warmed my soul, made me laugh, cry and get chill bumps in the final chapters. I just... I want this to be the real America (it's set in the 2019/2020 election cycle) - so warm, welcoming, diverse and a freaking badass woman president who still has the same challenges of a mom! 

Ugh, just read this. Please. 
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Currently Reading: 

Find Her // Lisa Gardner
The Women // S.E. Lynes (eARC) 

Currently Checked Out from the Library: 

Find Her // Lisa Gardner
The Other Woman // Sandie Jones 


May's Book Club: 

Educated // Tara Westover

As always, linking up with Jana and Steph!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

April Showers Bring May Birthdays

My fourth favorite month is here! I say fourth because I love October - December the most but May is my birthday month so I LOVE MAY! Maybe it's tied for favorite month?

Before I recap my April goals and share some for May, I wanted to share a few April highlights!

My mom visited Cville for the first time! Sadly the weather wasn't the best but she got to see a little bit of town and we took her to our favorite brewery.
Ellie turned 4! How is this real life?
My SIL came to visit and we had a nice Easter brunch at a new spot downtown. 
Christian's best friend visited from DC and we got to have lunch with his mom. 
Lots of trips to the Farmer's Market! 
I started a Bookstagram
Avengers: Endgame! And then I was even on my friend Maggie's podcast to talk about it. Check that out here.

So how did I do with my goals with everything going on and having ALL the visitors?

Read 6 books. Yes! I finished the tenth one last night before bed :)

Book my trip to Chicago. DONE! I am headed back to the Windy City on May 18 to see Katherine and I cannot wait. It will be my first trip not in the winter.
Image may contain: Leslie Dice and Katherine Meade Stephens, people smiling

Complete Erin's book challenge. DONE! Wow, I really squeaked by on this one and finished the last book via audiobook while working yesterday. 

No boxes left in the house. Hahahahaha. I crack me up. But we are hosting a housewarming in 11 days, so they have to be out/moved by then! Our basement is a disaster. 

Pick (and hopefully buy) outside furniture. Yes! Well, we have our rooftop furniture purchased and it has arrived! We can't decide exactly what we want on the deck off the kitchen. Probably something picnic table sized? Anyways, pictures to come on the rooftop very soon! 

Go to the Farmer's Market! Yes! I went 2 official times but strolled through another time. The market is right beside my barre studio, so it's easy to wind through. Unforunately, there isn't a lot of produce yet since it's still chilly but hopefully soon! 

3 new recipes. Maybe? I felt like I did, but I didn't keep track so I'm not sure. I know that I made a new banana bread recipe and a new gnocchi recipe but that's all I remember!

What's on the docket for May?

My birthday!!! I mean, of course I have to be excited about that - it's this Saturday :)
Barre teacher training. Yes, I'm just sneakily sliding this in here but I'm training to be a barre instructor this weekend! Happy birthday to me!
Housewarming party. 
Trip to Chicago! 
And some sort of plans that are still being determined for Memorial Day!

My goals this month are little smaller because I will be spending A LOT of time traveling, making plans and at the studio so wish me luck!

Read 6 books. 

Read all current ARCs on NetGalley. 

Host housewarming party. We are doing this the second weekend of May - I've already got a menu idea in my head, but we've got a few house things to do before then (boxes, hang pictures,  lay rugs, set up my office, etc.) so this is probably the biggest one to knock out.

Gain 75 more #bookstagram followers. There seems to be a certain number that gets you more ARCs and there's one book I'm really wanting early so I'd like to increase my followers in time for that!

Complete barre teacher training. 

What does your May look like? Lots of stuff or taking it easy?



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

April Reads

Somehow, even though we moved mid March, I still knocked out a slew of books. I didn't used to enjoy audiobooks, but the library here seems to have a longer waitlist on many of the books I want AND I drive a lot around central VA for work, so I have the time to mix in. I'm still really into my podcasts, but it's nice to have a good book, too. Since I'm doing audiobooks, I think that's why I've been able to keep my count up through the move!
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Adult Fiction 
Challenge: Erin's - Freebie and Popsugar - book author from Asia, Africa, or South America


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This series was recommended so much over the last few years, that of course I caved last year and read the first two, but it took longer for the third to be available at the library and I ended up reading it as an ebook. Honestly, this was my least favorite of the three and I felt that there didn't need to be 3 books. They're meant to be "fluffy" but you just spend so much time dragging through designer labels that I skimmed a lot! 

Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: I thought it was a thriller but... nah. 
Challenge: Popsugar - book  with a plant in the title or on the cover


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I mean... what was this book, even? I thought it was some sort of thriller but it was really just a really terrible, snooty narrator whining and then you're supposed to feel bad for her at a certain point, but I just couldn't. And there wasn't a "secret" or "reveal" like the synopsis made it sound like.

On The Come Up // Angie Thomas
Rating: 5/5
Genre: YA
Challenge: Popsugar - book published in 2019


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Angie Thomas can do no wrong in my eyes. She's working on her 3rd and 4th books and I already can't wait. I read this and THUG from the library, but am considering buying because they're that good and I want to support Angie Thomas. This is not a sequel to THUG, but it does also take place in Garden Heights (as will her next book) so there are references to the story but you wouldn't have needed to read that first.

Beyond the Pill // Dr. Jolene Brighten
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Wellness
Challenge: None

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Surprise! I'm officially off birth control. I've been really open about this in real life so why not on the internet, too? And no, we are not trying for kids, either. We are still rocking that 3-5 year plan. But, there are some things I've been dealing with that I think could be tied to hormonal birth control and I've been on it for a decade which is a really long time to be pumping synthetic shit into your body.

I don't even like to take Advil when I can stand it, so why have I been taking BC for so long? I may find that this doesn't work for me, but I want to at least try going off it so wish me luck as my body tries to figure out WTF is going on.

I picked up this book for some guidance and I will say she is BIG on supplements and I know I won't be doing that much. But, she has some great information around what BC does to our bodies (she is not anti birth control, though, she does give advice on  how to safely stay on it if that's what works for you!) and how to combat the side effects coming off and how to balance out the issues that so many people take it for (acne, cramps, irregularity, etc.).

An Anonymous Girl // Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Challenge: Popsugar - book by two female authors 


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You know, I had really high hopes for this book, but it didn't quite live up to them. Maybe it was because the book was so hyped and I should have managed expectations, but it just wasn't as "thriller-y" as I thought it was. Maybe I need to manage expectations about all thrillers? Worth the read, but it won't blow you away with twists.

The Sun is Also a Star // Nicola Yoon
Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA
Challenge: Popsugar - book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in title

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I listened to this on audiobook and it was SO GOOD. I mean, what a story. If you haven't heard of this book, it takes place all in one day. Daniel is headed to Yale for his admission interview and Natasha's family is being deported that night at 8 pm. They meet and have a very special day and it just gave me all the chills, cries, laughs, and just all the emotions.

Where the Crawdads Sing // Delia Owens 
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Challenge: Popsugar - book recommended by a celebrity you admire; March Book Club 


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Okay, I did give this four stars upon finishing, but I keep waffling on maybe its 3 or 3.5? Maybe I let the opinions of my book club sway me a bit. I thought the story was so powerful and I definitely felt for the main character in this book so I understand why it is hyped so much. But, my one issue (and the book club's too) is that it gets really bogged down in descriptions of things that aren't fully relevant. It's a slow start but definitely worth the read, too!

The Silent Patient // Alex Michaelides
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Challenge: None

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I learned about this book through Book of the Month Club (aff) and though I'm glad I didn't buy it, I am glad I got it through the library but it was good!  I saw some reviews saying the twist was obvious, but not for this girl. I reread it like 3 times and said "WHAT" out loud much to my sleeping husband's dismay. The only reason it didn't have a 4 star from me is that it was a little slow to get going in my opinion.

Rating: 4/5
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Challenge: None - it fits a few, but I've already read books for those categories!

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I just finished this Sunday night and oh my gosh, it's so good. If you've read American Marriage, you may spot some similarities, but this one does have a little bit better ending. It's focused on a family and the challenges they go through when both parents are put in jail. I can't say much more because it will spoil it. But, please read this! Also another find from Book of the Month (aff).


Currently Reading: 
The Killer in Me // Olivia Kiernan (ARC from FirsttoRead)
My Ex-Best Friend's Wedding // Wendy Wax (ARC from FirsttoRead)
Queenie // Candice Carty-Williams

Currently Checked Out from the Library: 
Queenie // Candice Carty-Williams
Hitler Youth // Susan Campbell Bartolli

April's Book Club: 
One Day in December // Josie Silver
* Yes, I've already read this but I wanted them to read it so badly and my TBR list is long enough!

As always, linking up with Jana and Steph!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Fun April Ahead

Well, we are officially in the second quarter of the year! Very weirdly, my new company doesn't use traditional quarters and it's really messing with me. Another month has come and gone and it was a good one!

March Highlights:

Quick trip to Charlotte to visit my SIL who lives in Honolulu!
We closed on our house! 
We had our best friends in town and saw Mumford and Sons!
We moved into our house! 
We had our first Spring hike of the season! 

Now onward to the goals of March...

Read 6 books. YEP. It's weird, but somehow I knocked through 10 books! 3 of these were audiobooks and the rest were real books! Come back on Tuesday to see my full reviews :)



Be completely moved out of the apartment. NOPE. We are super close to this goal and will hopefully be done by Sunday! Moving weekend got a little dramatic so we didn't get as much done as we wanted. Originally, I had planned for April's goal to be completely get out of the storage unit, but that's already done!

Try 5 new recipes this month. YES. But, I forgot what the fifth one was... But I made Mediterranean Shrimp Couscous and Spinach Tortellini Soup from Skinnytaste's One and Done cookbook, Cauliflower Gnocchi and Sausage from Fed+Fit (I've already made this twice!) and Fit Foodie Find's pork carnita bowls.



The clear winner was the carnitas! Christian had three tacos the night I made them and the next night, while enjoying the gnocchi, he was talking about the pork again and said it was "restaurant quality" so I suggest making that ASAP! It was an easy one, too.

Take 4 cardio classes. CLOSE. I made it to 3! Two cardio barre classes and a megaformer class. I am signed up for spin on Friday morning, so let's see if I make it.

So what will April look like?

Taking over social media for my studio. 
Friends in town this weekend for a race. 
My mom is coming to visit for the first time since we moved!
Christian's sister is coming down from DC. 
Ellie's birthday. 
I'm finally getting my hair done!!! 
Seeing Avengers!

Needless to say, it's going to be a crazy month. I was also going to add a Chicago trip in but it looks like that will be a little later in the Spring!

April Goals:

Read 6 books. Already done with the first :)

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Book my trip to Chicago. 

Complete Erin's book challenge. I have the last book, I just don't want to read it yet. So I'm being lazy.

No boxes left in the house. I want all the boxes that need to be unpacked (i.e., not Christmas decor), empty and out of my house! Boxes make me anxious.

Pick (and hopefully buy) outside furniture. We have two decks and I want to be on them ASAP! So the goal is to have furniture on at least one of them.

Go to the Farmer's Market! Charlottesville has an amazing Farmer's Market that opens this weekend and I am pumped to spend some Saturday mornings there!

3 new recipes. 

So let's do this, April! I need a nap already...

Friday, March 29, 2019

A Hodge Podge of Friday Things

I have so many things I want to discuss on the blog, yet no time to do write them. I want to set aside some time Sunday evening to write up some of those lingering post ideas. You know, in between unpacking boxes. But, today, I just had a few random things to share and none really warrant their own posts (yet). 

one // Happiness. I honestly don't know if I've ever been happier or more content in where my life is right now. I love my job. I love our (very messy) house. I love our town. It's finally stopped raining every single day like it has for 7 months now. I have quite a few exciting changes coming at the studio. I've made wonderful friends already. I don't have to sit traffic for an hour to go 8 miles down the road anymore. 

Even on cranky days - because, let's be real, we all have them - I'm still SO happy. This move was the best thing we could have done for ourselves and I'm glad we weren't too scared and made the leap. 

two // Book club. A few months ago, someone posted in our neighborhood asking if there was a book club in the neighborhood she could join. There wasn't and somehow I became the point person of setting one up? I'm not totally sure how this worked out... But we've had about 10 ladies show up each month and it's been fun getting to know some new neighbors. And in a silly turn of events, the person who originally asked hasn't come to any of them!

So far, we've read The Girl Who Lived, Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing and chose our next 3 books last night: One Day in December, Educated and The Island of Sea Women. 



three // Barre. I think I've mentioned here before that I "work" at a local barre studio in exchange for free classes. Every Monday, you can find me behind the desk checking clients in, cleaning up after class and assisting as needed. It's been SO fun getting to know so many people this way and I just love how welcoming it is. 

Starting Monday, I'll be helping out with their social media account for the next couple of months and I am SO excited and a little bit nervous. I plan to spend a little time this weekend plotting out the week! I can't wait to have some fun with stories! 


Oh, and I also got to be a part of the most recent photo shoot :) 

four // Jane the Virgin! If you're not watching JTV, what are you doing with your life?! Seriously one of the best shows on television and it is sadly ending this season. Thursday was the season premiere and I haven't been able to watch it yet but tonight is the night! 

I'm headed to hot yoga after work and then on to Annaliese's to watch it with her! She's making some delicious sounding cupcakes and I can't wait! 

five // Moving. One of my March goals was to have the entire apartment emptied but we still have a few car loads left. The storage unit is completely empty, but unfortunately we didn't get as much done over the weekend as we had hoped. Over the weekend, our goal is to finally get the last odds and ends out of the apartment. It's mostly decorating stuff so we haven't needed it yet - hence, why we haven't been ultra motivated all week. 

Also, our washer/dryer was supposed to be delivered the day after we closed, but if you saw my instastory, that didn't happen. Christian was at home waiting and they never showed. So he called, only to be told that they hadn't even arrived at the warehouse, let alone the store to be loaded into the truck for delivery and it will be AT LEAST two weeks. We still have the apartment so we can do laundry there, but it's annoying because we have all our stair railings off so they can maneuver up the stairs and there no sense putting them up until they are delivered... 

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) 

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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

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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

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

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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
Genre: 
Challenge: Popsugar - a book told from multiple POVs

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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

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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 

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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

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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
Challenge:

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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