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!

Friday, February 8, 2019

January + This Week's Favorites

I started this post last week to be a January favorites post but since I'm a slacker, I added the first week of February in, too ;)

I know a lot people keep saying January felt long, which I can sort of relate to, but I had so much going on that I feel like it zoomed on by. I'm hoping February zooms by, too, because we close on our house in March!

Some things I did:

Friday, February 1, 2019

January Achievements + February Goals

It is February! I genuinely have no thoughts on the month of February except that I'm ready for it to be over so it can be March and we can move out of our tiny ass apartment. Also, I can't get pictures to load on the blog today so we're going old school and just reading words not broken up by picture ;)


Read six books. YES. I finished my 6th book on January 21 and went on to read 2 more before the end of the month! I am currently reading two (one e-book and one hardback).

Purge the Instagram feed. MOSTLY. At the start of the month, I was really purging as I saw accounts I wasn't as interested in but dropped off mid month. But, towards the end of the month, I was back to aggressively clicking the unfollow button. As soon as I would unfollow a few, new ones would start showing in my newsfeed that I had forgotten about but really liked. I did notice that I would unfollow people, yet they still showed up in my feed and I'd have to unfollow again? Not sure what that was about, Instagram.

I did also follow a few new accounts but I really dug through their pages first to make sure I was truly relating to the content before just clicking follow after looking at the first 3 pictures.

No fast food or StarbucksMOSTLY. As a couple, we only got take out twice this month but they ended up being planned that way. But, I did get fast food a few times for lunch because I would have meetings across town and not be able to eat what I brought. (Eating soup is pretty difficult in the car). I did not have Starbucks until yesterday (which technically made it over 30 days without it) except when a friend bought it for me when we went to the dog park!

No repeated outfits / stop wearing workout clothes if not working out. YES. I think this was the best thing I did all month. After a few days of this, I started getting so many messages, texts and even people telling me in person how much they were loving it. I gave me the warm fuzzies because I was SUPER self conscious posting them because I don't have a cute picture taking mirror and the lighting has mostly been terrible but people really seem to relate to my Target/Old Navy outfits based off $100 sweaters that most people aren't actually buying!

I don't plan to keep doing this daily, but I'll probably do it a couple times a week plus share my own outfits because I've recently gotten a few cute things from a swap party Annaliese hosted and a local thrift shop that I can't help but stop in constantly. And I've already started looking for a cute mirror for the new house so I don't have to take bathroom selfies...

Back in the early morning routine. YES. Now, not every single morning was I up at 5:30 AM off to workout, but overall, I was Tuesday - Thursday with Friday as a rest or afternoon class day. Mondays aren't a 5:30 AM wake up since I work at the studio and take barre Monday nights, but I do try to wake up earlier to ease into the week or read before work.

Complete 20 barre classes in 30 days. YES. Well technically, I'm finishing Sunday but that's the last day of the challenge. This actually ended up being somewhat challenging and I was rushing to cram in classes the last week of the month. Since I don't pay for classes, I don't usually sign up to reserve a spot. I just show up to class if its open. Since we're running the challenge and had so many deals for the new year, classes have been FULL and it's been hard to sneak in!

Now onward to FEBRUARY GOALS!

Read 6 books. Honestly, this is going to be a goal almost every month in order to hit my end of year goal. Some months my goal will be higher or lower based on travel, visitors and when we move into the house (aka, March!)

Eat something green everyday. I'm a child and I hate green veggies. So in order to be healthier, maybe lose a couple pounds before bikini season and eat my veggies, I've made this goal for the month and Christian is on board. We both like green beans and broccoli so I foresee a lot of that in my future. Plus, I do put spinach in my smoothies so I'm kind of cheating with this goal.

Go to spin class at least 4 times this month. The hot yoga studio I joined also has a spin studio and a group fitness class component but I've only done yoga. I need to do a little more cardio (ahem, bikini season) so I'm committed to trying spin a few times. I already have plans to go with a friend next Friday! So just three more classes to schedule!

Go for a hike. We have hiked all of like two times since we moved and we really enjoy it. So this month, we're getting our booties out on some trail and hiking!

What goals do you have this month? Are you excited it's February or just pretty meh about it like I am?