Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’d Love to Read If I Had A Book Club (With late-20s-and-30-something friends)

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Top 10 Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the topics here.

I actually did a Top 10 Tuesday post about books I would like to read with a book club for a freebie week last year. I debated whether I wanted to do the same topic again less than a year later, but I decided to change it up and do books I would like read for a book club with friends who are in their late 20s and early 30s. The closer to 30 I get the the more I feel like I’m trying to figure my life out and the more I can relate to some of the teens in YA books (and 30 is the new 20, right?). So I’m picking some adult books and NA and YA books for this list.

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1. When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill: This is one of the most realistic college stories I’ve come across and it would be so interesting to compare college experiences, and post-college experiences, to those of Joss and Matt.

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2. The Good Sister by Jamie Kain: The relationships between the sisters in this book are so nuanced and even though they’re teenagers their personalities are mature beyond their years. Plus the characters could be super polarizing so it would be interesting to see how different people react to them.

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3. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: I’ve said it before, but I really think Taylor Jenkins Reid is the literary voice of my generation at this point. Lauren and Ryan’s marriage and situation is just fascinating and I would love to see what my friends, in all different kinds of relationships, think of the book.

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4. The One and Only by Emily Giffin: This is a book that people will either love or hate and has a situation that I can’t imagine anyone not having a strong reaction to. The discussions that would come out of this would be insane.

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5. Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo: Another story about post-college life that I feel is spot on. I also have a lot of friends who work in the non-profit world so hearing their take on Holly’s job would be interesting.

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6. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: I think once you’ve been working in the real world for a few years Attachments is like The Office or Office Space: you thought it was funny before, but now you really get it. Plus it would be interesting to laugh at all the Y2K speculation that was happening when the book takes place.

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7. Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley: Most of my friends are bleeding liberal feminists so it would be great to talk about this story which involves the military, something I don’t typically associate with my liberal friends, and Sam trying to be the first girl to make it through this military academy.

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8. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: So many of my friends are nerds and lots are science nerds and I think every one of them would fall in love with Don. I think this would just be a hilarious conversation.

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9. Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin: This is the ultimate figuring out your life in your late-20s book for me and I feel like, despite how much I relate to Jenny, my friends would either love or hate her.

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10. Boomerang by Noelle August: I actually didn’t love this book, but I have friends who really liked it and even with its fault I did think that it was an interesting take on life in your early-20s.

One Year Ago: Top 10 Tuesday: Characters I’d NEVER Want to Trade Places With


Pub Date: New Year’s Resolutions

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Happy New Year, my Pub Date friends! I posted my New Year’s Resolutions back at the end of December and ever since I’ve been thinking how I’ll tie a Pub Date post into one of those resolutions. Eat more veggies? Is there a beer that pairs well with broccoli? Keep up with Goodreads? Can a beer help me do that? What about read more out of my genre? Well I could try a beer out of my normal “genre.” Or how about say yes more? I could do that to beer…

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Some friends and I had a girls night last Saturday and when I arrived at the house of the friend hosting us I really wanted one of the IPAs she offered me, but I decided to step out of my genre and say yes to one of the winter beers her fiance had just brewed. Later, when we moved out girls night from my friend’s house to a local bar to hear this Irish band that was playing, I walked up to the bar expecting to order one of the local Long Island beers they had on tap. But when I said I was looking for a Crooked Ladder winter ale the bartender said they had a Captain Lawrence winter ale and in the spirt of saying yes I said…yes. And it was good! I don’t know if I would drink it all the time, but it was yeasty and not too malty and pretty perfect for a chilly Saturday night spent listening to some music.

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When I was trying to think of a book I said “yes” to or something outside of my genre the first one that came into my mind was Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Two former coworkers recommended it to me last year and then two good friends also told me I had to read it. And I’m so glad I did because I absolutely loved it. Chances are you’ve probably read it (because I was one of the few people that hadn’t) so hopefully you know the brilliance that is this book. And if you don’t say yes, step out of your norm, and read it!

Check out my other “Pub Dates” this month:
Brittany
Estelle
Andi

One Year Ago: Book Review: Uninvited


Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Debut Novels For 2015

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Top 10 Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the topics here.

Can I tell you how excited I am to make this list? Way back when (last month) when I made my list of books I’m looking forward to in 2015 every damn book I wanted to put on that list was a debut and I had to save it for this list. Two debuts made it onto that list, Sarah Tomp’s My Best of Everything and Jenn Marie Thorne’s The Wrong Side of Right, because there’s really only so much a girl can take.

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1. Not After Everything by Michelle Levy: True story, when I was re-reading descriptions of books to decide what to put on this list I read this one and literally sighed I thought it sounded so good. (Pub Date: 8/4/15)

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2. Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud: I don’t love the whole sci-fi, surgery and switching DNA aspect of this story, but I do love a crime story and I do love someone impersonating someone else so hopefully those two loves are enough to get over my dislikes. (Pub Date: 7/21/15)

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3. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes: You say religious cult, I say I want to read the book. I’ll admit I’m not familiar with the fairytale this is based on and that fairytales aren’t my normal thing, but I still think this sounds great. (Pub Date: 6/9/15)

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4. Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout: I know nothing about KPOP, but this story jut sounds completely adorable to me. There’s a lot going on here, but I’m hoping it will all come together and be a really unique, entertaining YA romance. (Pub Date: 6/9/15)

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5. Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott: There’s something about student-teacher love stories that really intrigues (I don’t want to know what that says about me) and hoping this one is well done and thought-provoking. (Pub date: 6/9/15)

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6. Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian: I’m hoping this one will be a nice blend of serious and fun and be a little bit of a heavy, but not too heavy summer read that brings up interesting questions of stereotypes and friendships. (Pub Date: 6/2/15)

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7. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga: This story about a suicide pact sounds heartbreaking, but I’m hoping it will have it’s tough moments and ultimately have a happy ending. And if it doesn’t I’m ok with that too. (Pub Date: 2/10/15)

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8. Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee: As a lover of historical fiction there is sadly very little historical fiction, debut author or not, that I’m excited for in 2015. This book doesn’t totally thrill me, but it does seem interesting and I’m excited to see how it shapes up. (Pub Date: 3/17/15)

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9. Forever For a Year by B.T. Gottfred: I like this book for how ordinary (in a great way) it sounds. I’m hoping this will be a fun, interesting summer romance. (Pub Date: 7/7/15)

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10. When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez: It might sound weird, but one of the reasons I am excited for this one is because of how much I enjoyed another book about high schoolers and Emily Dickinson’s poetry, And We Stay. This one sounds different from that one, but still really intriguing. (Pub Date: 2/10/15)

One Year Ago: Top 10 Tuesday: Goals/Resolutions for 2014


Book Review: The Pact

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Title: The Pact
Author: Karina Halle
Release Date: 12/28/14
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

This is a tale of two books. The first book, aka the first half, which I breezed through absolutely loving. Like omg-I-have-a-new-favorite-author levels of love. Then there’s the second book, the second half, which was like trying to swim through quicksand. Literally when my Kindle told me I was at 99% I was turning the pages and crying inside when the next page wasn’t the last page of the book, that’s how much I wanted this story to end.

Positives first, shall we? I am completely enamored by friends to lovers stories so the idea of this one sold me pretty much right away (and the cover, which I still love). And when I started reading I was completely enamored by Linden and Stephanie. Linden’s background was never made clear, but he’s Scottish and somehow ended up in San Francisco in his early 20s working at a bar with Stephanie and their friend James. James and Stephanie dated for a bit, but by the time the story starts, in the characters’ mid-20s, they’re all single and best friends. Stephanie is a manager at All Saints and dreams of having her own clothing store. Linden is about to become a helicopter pilot and is pretty much a manwhore. Linden and Stephnie make a pact, Linden’s idea, that if they’re both single by the time they’re 30 they will marry each other.

I mean, it’s nothing ground-breaking, but it was well done and entertaining. The first half (the good half) is leading up to the present day when Linden and Steph are 30 and the chapters all take place on either one of their birthdays as kind of a check in to see where they are at 27, 28, etc. As someone who’s rapidly approaching 30 (today is exactly four months away from my 30th birthday) I related to the characters completely. That idea that you should know have your life together, but probably don’t, totally hit home for me and I really appreciated that. I also appreciated that Linden and Stephanie were normal people, they both come from complicated families, but who doesn’t? Neither of them have some ridiculous past and there’s nothing melodramatic about their lives. Both of them cycle in and out of relationships, which, again, were so realistic and I easily could tie back what they were experiencing to myself and my friends.

Basically the first half and I were best friends and I was eating it up.

And then we got to the second half. Normally I wouldn’t tell you what happens halfway through a book, but the book is about how Stephanie and Linden will make a go of it if they’re both single at 30 and halfway through is when they’re both 30 and they do indeed decide to make a go of it. And Jesus Christ was it a disaster. Suddenly these two characters, who I loved for their wining personality, unique voices, and normalcy, turned into lunatics. They became co-dependent and whiney and their voices just suddenly took a turn. The story is told from both of their points of view and up until Steph and Linden got together I thought their voices were both unique and that Karina Halle did a great job with the male POV. But suddenly Linden was just awful and nothing like his cocky, teasing self he was in the first book.

Their getting together was complicated, there’s a secondary story about how James might still be in love with Stephanie that complicated things (and was another reason I was not a fan of the second half because it was just so melodramatic and silly), but still, it all could have been handled so much better! And it makes me so sad that it wasn’t, especially because the first half was so promising. And the melodrama at the end just pushed it over the edge. I’m not going to spoil it, obviously, but the drama and the weird actions of the characters just ruined it even more.

Bottom Line: This book took a total nosedive for me. It started at 4+ stars, went down to 3 and then 2.5 and then finally 2. I absolutely loved the first half of this book, but that made the terribly second half even more disappointing. The strong, interesting, real characters that I came to love were suddenly turned into whiney losers and I couldn’t wait for this one to be over. I would stay away.

One Year Ago: Book Review: Going Rogue


Twenty Fucking Fourteen

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Excuse my language in the title, I don’t usually curse here, but sometimes you just need to to accurately sum something up and 2014 deserves that word. With three big exceptions (my intense blues in January, a good friend passing away, and my grandma being sick) my 2014 rocked. In no way, shape, or form did my 2014 shape up to be anything like I imagined it 365 days ago. I couldn’t be happier or more thankful for how things shaped up and I’ve never been more happy that, after kicking and screaming for many years, I’ve really learned to embrace change.

I thought I would take this post to recap some of my favorite moments of 2014, in real life and on this blog.

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I still passionately believe that these buffalo chicken phyllo rolls are the best thing I cooked in 2014.

My post about Honest, Criticism, and Blogging remains one of my favorite posts I’ve ever written. Another of my favorite posts this year was this one about Kristen Higgins and Sarah Dessen secretly are the same person; I love it, but pretty much no one read it, haha.

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These chocolate peanut butter brownies were probably my favorite thing I baked in 2014.

I am so happy I went to the New York City Teen Author Festival and I am so excited for a second visit in 2015.

So my hope is that all the carbs I consumed at my favorite Brooklyn places this weekend before my birthday are partially offset by beating the crap out of a heavy bag for an hour. And all the walking that my suburban feet can't take.

I was lucky enough that my birthday this year included pretty much all my favorite foods, my all-time favorite workout, and two very great friends. I can only hope my 2015 birthday (a big one!) is just as great. (Actually, I had a terrible cold on my actual birthday in 2014, but whatever.)

One of my favorite things I heard this year was something I mentioned back in August. I was talking to a man at an event I was working and he was telling me how he had been sick and wasn’t doing so well and then he said, “None of us get off this earth alive” and that just really resonated with me and remains something I think about often.

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In August I took a whirlwind vacation to Philly, Cincinnati, and Washington, DC. It was chaos, but so much fun.

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My vegetable garden is one of my favorite parts of 2014. It turned out so much better than I imagined and I cannot wait to start gardening again this spring.

Oh and Pub Date! I can’t forget Pub Date and the lovely ladies who I work with on the feature: Brittany, Estelle, and Andi. I’m not always the best with features and partnering with people, but Pub Date is easy and fun.

Sadly what I wrote in September about managing my new job and reading, blogging, and blog reading holds true: “This was the first month I worked full time since last April and it’s a lot more difficult in terms of time management than I expected. The last 14 months of working part-time and going to school part-time were hard, but, much like my former full-time job, I had lots of time at work to read, blog, and read blogs. At my new job that just isn’t the case. I am busy pretty much every minute of the eight hours I work five days a week. And getting up at 5:30am, getting ready for work, driving 40 minutes to work, working 7am-3:30pm, driving 40 minutes to the gym, going to the gym for an hour or two, driving home, and eating dinner doesn’t always leave me excited to read, blog, or read blogs.

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One of my favorite things remains the sunrise on my way to work. It’s been too dark for them the last month or two, but I’m eagerly awaiting their return.

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I know I just posted this picture yesterday, but it is my favorite ever from my iPhone so it deserves another shout out.

Favorite things from the Internet:
– How I Learned to Love Exercise: Can’t hurt to post this again at this time of year.
– Why Yoga Pants Are the Only Pants Worth Wearing: I have a job where I can wear them every day! (But I don’t.)
– Eightball, MJG, and Rap from Memphis 20 Years On: I listen to a lot of Morning Edition, but this story has really stuck with me.
– How America Fell Out of Love with Orange Juice: If you’re interested in marketing or cultural shifts in general this is a truly fascinating read.
– 10 Mister Rogers Quotes to Remember on Bad Days: Is there anyone better than Mr. Rogers? I don’t think so.
– Miranda Kenneally’s Peep’s Diorama: Still completely remarkable to me.
– 3 Ways to Challenge Your Personal Narrative: You don’t challenge yourself, you don’t change yourself.
– NPR Style: In May I called it the best thing ever and it still pretty much is.
– 26 Perfect Ways to Respond to a Text From a Huge Douchebag: Sadly I have yet to have the opportunity to try these.
– Dr. Dre letter about Burning Man: Just a classic.
– Why I’m Listening to Jerry Seinfeld: “You wanna be on the water? How do you wanna be on the water? You wanna be on a yacht or you wanna be on a surfboard? I wanna be on a surfboard. I don’t wanna deal with a yacht. That’s a yacht. Some people want a yacht to say See my yacht.”
– 
The 38 Absolute Best Yearbook Quotes from the Class of 2014: These are the people I like to read books about.
– The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit The Earth: In such a polarizing year with race and gender and economic inequality I especially love this article.
– Japanese Soccer Fans Cleaning the Stadium: A lesson in losing with grace.
– Why you should (really, seriously, permanently) stop using your smartphone at dinner: I think I might go on an anti-smart phone campaign in 2015.
– Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photo Leak Isn’t a Scandal it’s a Sex Crime: It’s sad that people don’t understand this.
– The Only Coverage of George Clooney’s Wedding You Need to Read: And then yay women!
– In Colorado a Student Counterprotest to an Anti-Protest Curriculum: Gives me hope for these kids I love to read about.
– The Secret Life of Passwords: Mine is actually the password of my friend who passed away earlier this year. I inherited it for a system when we used to work together and I started using it even before she passed away and now it’s a really nice way for me to remember her every day, multiple times a day.
– 20 Texts From 2014 That Will Make You Laugh Every Time: I just love these. Especially #11.

I thought of posting all my 2014 reviews by rating, but that seemed like it would be way too long of a post so I’m just going to post my five-star reviews because I’m super picky about giving out five stars so anything I gave five stars to you should 100% go read right now.

– Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
– A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier
– The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes
Noggin by John Corey Whaley
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park
– The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Hold Still by Nina LaCour

And here are my favorite Top 10 Tuesday posts from 2014:

– Characters I’d Never Want to Trade Place With
Reasons I Love Being a Blogger/Reader
Books That Would Make Great Book Club Picks (My post popular Top 10 Tuesday post this year.)
– All Time Favorite Books in the Grandparents Genre
– Things on My Bookish Bucket List
– Most Unique Books I’ve Read
– Characters Who Drove Me Nuts But I Still Loved the Book
Books If You Like Dreaming of Southern Life
– Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t
– Books That Stayed With Me
Books I’d Give to Readers Who Have Never Read New Adult
Underrated Realistic Contemporary Fiction Authors
– Characters You Wish Would Get Their Own Book

I ended up reading 201 books in 2014, more than my Goodreads goal of 150, but in line with my goal of reading fewer books in 2014 than in 2013 (I read 222 last year). 120 of my 2014 books were read between January and June, which makes sense because it was before I was working full-time. I’ve been thinking about a goal for 2015 and I will probably leave it around 150, maybe increase slightly because who knows what 2015 will hold?!

I hope YOU had a wonderful 2014 and I wish you an amazing 2015. Thanks for spending part of your year with me (even if this is your first time here!). And I hope no one is too hungover :)

One Year Ago: Book Review: Roomies


December 2014: In Review

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And it’s the last day of 2014, how did that happen? I have no clue, but here we are. I’m going to do a recap of 2014 tomorrow, but here’s how the final month of 2014 shaped up for me.

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I started out the month with this amazing Broke and Bookish Secret Santa gift. It was seriously amazing and I’m so thankful to Tammy for putting so much time and effort (and money!) into my gift!

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At my office holiday party I won this pizza maker. I actually entered to win the pizza maker, but after I won it I realized I could exchange it for something better from Williams-Sonoma so I got a rice cooker!

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My family took our annual trip to the Montauk Lighthouse to see it all decorated for Christmas. They actually didn’t put any many lights up as they normally do, but it still looked great. This picture, of the ocean, the bluffs, and the lighthouse, is probably my favorite picture I’ve ever taken with my iPhone.

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I got this amazing Christmas card from Estelle. She made it herself and based it off the cover of one of my favorite books I read this year. (Click on the link for the answer, I thought people might like to guess!)

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And here’s my actual Christmas tree and my Christmas tree cake which I look forward to making every year. I had a lovely Christmas. I got a Vitamix, which I’ve wanted forever, and I’ve been going crazy making smoothies every since. It is amazing.

Things From the Internet That Caught My Eye
- John Freida Reissues Beach Blonde
- 7 Steps Bloggers Should Take to Protect Your Online Privacy
20 Texts From 2014 That Will Make You Laugh Every Time
– Abercrombie, Delia’s, Aeropostale: all your old favorite stores are in big trouble
– 30 Things I Don’t Have Time For
– 19 Secrets of UPS Drivers
The Cheapest Generation
Top 2015 Fitness and Wellness Trends
How I Learned to Fall Asleep in Under 1 Minute
29 Things to Remember for the New Year

On the Blog:

Reviews:

5 stars:
Hold Still by Nina LaCour

4 stars:
Lick by Kylie Scott
My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

3 stars:
Lead by Kylie Scott
Make it Count by Megan Erickson
– Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

2 stars:
Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass
Play by Kylie Scott

Top 10 Tuesday posts:
Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2015
New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2014
- Books I Read in 2014 (2014 Releases)
– Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year
Goals/Resolutions for 2015

My Week in Books posts:
Week 1
Week 2

Other:
My Most Disappointing Books of 2014
- Favorite Backlist Books of 2014
- The Perpetual Page Turner Annual End of the Year Book Survey
Pub Date: Christmas

Reviews Posted to Goodreads:
Everly After by Rebecca Paula

Things to Look Forward to in January:

Life:
– Getting back into working out. I kind of took a step back for December and I’m excited to tackle my workouts with more passion and dedication.
– Finding out about grad school? A girl can hope.
– Staying positive. Last January was really tough for me, I got a bad case of the blues and I really want to try to avoid that this year because it was not fun.
– The Australian Open, the big start of the tennis season!

Books:
The Honest Truth by Dan Geminheart
Halfway Perfect by Julie Cross
There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake
The Law of Loving Others by Kate Axelrod
Never Never by Colleen Hoover
When by Victoria Laurie
The Sweetheart by Angelia Mirabella
Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
I’m Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil
Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Unbecoming by Rebecca Schern

Previous 2014 Monthly Recaps
January
– February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November

One Year Ago: December 2013: In Review


Top 10 Tuesday: Goals/Resolutions For 2015

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Top 10 Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the topics here.

Normally I am all about New Year’s resolutions, but this year I’m feeling kind of, not indifferent, but at least not jazzed about them. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a pretty introspective year overall and I feel like I’ve spent pretty much the entire year looking inward and working on myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time doing yoga lately and I’m just feeling generally zen. Whatever the reason is I’m embracing it and I’m going small and mellow in my resolutions this year.

Before I get to this year’s resolutions I want to touch on last year’s for a minute.

2014 Resolutions I Rocked:
Read fewer books: I read about 20 fewer books this year than last year.
Pick a few backlist books to read each month: I didn’t formally do this, but I read 55 backlist books this year and that seems pretty good.
Read more mindfully: I was definitely quicker to DNF a book and not pick up books just because they were there or I thought I should read them.
Keep blogging fun: I’m having fun, I feel no stress. I definitely took some unplanned breaks and didn’t post every day towards the end of the year, but that was the right thing for me.
Eat more mindfully: I cut back a lot of my candy binges (damn you peanut butter M&M’s!) and for the most part I’m pretty happy. There’s still room for improvement, but I think I started some good habits this year.
Stop procrastinating: I am still a procrastinator, but I’ve gotten better so I’ll call it a win. Still something to work on though!

2014 Resolutions I Failed:
Read one non-fiction book a month: I tried and it was like pulling teeth so I didn’t do it. Part of me wishes I sucked it up and did it, but I didn’t see a reason to torture myself.
Do a one-handed push-up: I’m really sad I didn’t meet this goal. I was so close at the end of last year, but my shoulder and wrist just weren’t having it this year. Maybe it’s something I’ll focus on another time, but for now it’s not right for my body.
Learn to knit socks: Just didn’t. I’d still like to do this though.
Move more mindfully: I am still really struggling to find ways to incorporate movement in my daily life. I workout 5-6 days/week, but I still feel so sedentary otherwise. This is seriously what I miss most about living in NYC. I will keep trying.

And now for my 2015 resolutions….

 

Bookish:

1. Comment More on Blogs: Going from a job where I could spend lots of time writing this blog and reading and commenting on other blogs to a job where I can do none of that was a big change. When I get home from work I don’t really want to be on the computer, but, especially after working on grad school apps this fall, I know I have half an hour or an hour where I could read and comment on blogs and I want to start doing it again. There are lots of blogs I love that I’m sad I’m not actually giving any love.

2. Get Ahead in Reviews: I used to have my reviews written weeks ahead of time, but that is not the case any more. I have pretty much zero desire to write a review at 8pm the night before so I need to work on writing them when I finish a book and getting a week or two ahead.

3. Keep Up with Goodreads: I’ve stopped logging my reads on Goodreads in real time and that makes what I’ve read, when I’ve read it, and what I’ve thought of it really hard to track. It’s such an easy thing to do and I have no excuse.

4. Read More Out of My Genre: I branched out into fantasy this year and I found some true gems so who else knows what could be out there. Suggestions are welcome!

5. Be a Louder Evangelist: I want more people to read the books I love. Since I can’t control what people actually do (damnit!), I have to control my role and that means being louder and more in people’s faces about the books I love. Aren’t you excited!?

Life:

6. Say Yes More: I’m pretty happy to stay in my own little bubble and not try anything new, but when I do try new things or hang out with new people I always enjoy myself. So why aren’t I doing it more? I excel at saying no so now I need to work on saying yes.

7. Stop using Stitchfix: There are people who love Stitchfix, but I am not one of them. I have had zero success with Stitchfix and I’ve done five or six fixes. I leave tons of feedback, I’m really specific about what I want, and I pin tons of images (with comments) on Pinterest. Mostly I think the things I receive from Stitchfix are poor quality, incredibly over-priced, and not at all what I want. Yet I keep going back. Must. Stop.

8. Keep Working Towards Getting to Where I Want to Be: This is vague and I hate vague resolutions, but I don’t really know where I want to be (does anyone?). Grad school is still my goal (and I have a bunch of applications out there pending so cross your fingers for me!), but I also really like my job. I definitely go back and forth between grad school and really building a career for myself with this new-ish job. Choices are always good and until I make a choice I want to keep working hard at my job and keep my grad school options open.

9. Workout Smarter: One of the things I learned by working out every day in November is that working out every day is stupid (for me). I want to work out less, but work out smarter. That means incorporating lots of variety, not just going to a class at the gym because it’s the class at the gym at that time, and putting some time, effort, and money into what I’m doing.

10. Eat More Veggies: This has been the most disappointing part of my diet for the last year. When I lived alone and made all my own meals I rocked at this, but since then I’ve really forsaken my vegetables. 2015 is the year of veggies!

One Year Ago: Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Read in 2013


Book Review: Love & Other Theories

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loveandothertheories

Title: Love & Other Theories
Author: Alexis Bass
Release Date: 12/31/14
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

My last 2014 review is going to be filled with inner turmoil. If I had to give this story a rating it would be a healthy three-and-a-half stars, maybe four if I was feeling generous, but the execution of this one? I’d be generous if I gave it two stars. This is also, I should warn, a book that I think will be pretty polarizing. I pride myself as being someone who’s good at separating characters thoughts and actions from the quality of a story, but sometimes it was tough to separate Aubrey’s actions from my opinion of this one

The thing is is that I kind of admire Aubrey in some ways. Her and her friends have formulated these theories that the less interest they show in boys the more boys will like them and that girls everywhere are kind of pathetic and doing it all wrong and that they need to give their lives as kind of carefree, sexually free young women to help enlighten those around them. In a lot of ways I think their attitudes were healthy. They tried to avoid petty drama, they didn’t get too emotionally attached the minute a guy talked to them, and they were responsible about sex. But there was also a big part of me that just felt sorry for them. If they were 28 years old or 38 years old with their attitude it would have been one thing, but it made me sad that teenagers were so jaded.

That said, I did appreciate the frank manner that things like sex and friendship were handled in the story and the idea of whether guys and girls can be just friends or hook up and then be just friends. There was also a really interesting story with Aubrey and her ex-hookup that I absolutely loved. The story is really more about the guy she’s currently hooking up with and how she might, for the first time, want more for him, but feels pressure from her friends to stick to their theories. I never felt any spark between Aubrey and Nathan and (probably due the author’s poor character building) I never felt like I knew Nathan or that he was ever anything other than a guy Aubrey for some reason liked. Her relationship with her ex, however, was really strong. He was her first for many things and even though she never wanted to be with him forever, she still feels really attached to him, and to his family who were completely charming. I found myself eagerly reading waiting for her to see her ex and hoping that the two of them would get together.

All of those good things made the poor character building and execution of the story even more disappointing. I mentioned above what a wet rag Nathan was, but there was nothing about Aubrey or her friends that made me think they were smart enough or nuanced enough to come up with their actual theories. Aubrey is apparently a genius who’s headed off to some amazing college in the fall, but she barely seems to focus on school (and yes, she’s supposed to be in the last half of her senior year and taking it easy, but still).

The worst part of the execution however was all of the damn telling. Tell. Tell. Tell. I was turning the pages dying for more action, more dialogue, or at least less time with Aubrey just telling us stuff. For god’s sake just show me something! There were so many things about the story I enjoyed and respected, but all of the telling and virtually none of the showing just ruined it for me.

Bottom Line: This is an interesting story that raises lots of gender issues that are incredibly timely, but sadly the execution just isn’t there. So much of the story is spent telling us things and so little of the story is spent showing us things that I just never was able to buy it the characters or their motivations and I was left literally begging for some action. Skip this one.

I received an electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.

One Year Ago: Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door


Pub Date: Christmas

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Let’s just start this off by saying I am a wee bit tipsy (from wine!) and exhausted from a fabulous Christmas. This is why you shouldn’t wait until the night before to write posts that publish the next day. I don’t know about any of you, but I had an amazing Christmas. Lots of family, lots of food, and one Vitamix (excuse me while I make another smoothie). It’s always seemed weird to me that Christmas is over and the whole season just ends so I am very happy to do my Christmas Pub Date the day after Christmas (Happy Boxing Day, British and Canadian friends!) because I think the Christmas spirit needs to extend until at least New Year’s.

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This month I’ve picked another Long Island brewery, Great South Bay, and their holiday beer, Sleigh Ryed Winter Ale. While I’ve never been to the brewery (it’s not as long to me as some of the other LI beers I’ve featured) I do love their beers, especially their Blood Orange summer one and their pumpkin one. I love a pun so “Sleigh Ryed” is right up my alley. I also love how the Jeep is named Rudolph (click on the picture to make it bigger). The beer is described as having “malty rye flavor with piney notes of juniper berries” and I definitely agree on the piney notes and juniper berries. I was a little nervous because I don’t love rye beers, but I thought this was a nice balance between the rye flavor and the hops flavor. It actually reminds me a lot of the beer I featured last month, Sierra Nevada Celebration.

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For my book pick to go with a book that just screams Christmas and that’s Sarah Morgan’s Sleigh Bells in the Snow. I love Christmas romances in general, but there’s something magic about Kyla’s extreme dislike of Christmas, the New England ski resort setting, and the O’Neil family. Everything about this book is amazing and fun and it’s filled with humor and heart. I didn’t love the second book in the series (which takes place over the summer…zzzzzzz), but I did enjoy the third book, which is also about Christmas, although not as much as Sleigh Bells in the Snow. I know it’s a day late, but if you’re still looking to be in the Christmas spirit I guarantee this book will get you there.

Make sure you check out my lovely “pub dates” this month:
Brittany
Estelle
Andi

One Year Ago: Book Review: The Promise of Amazing


Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year

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Top 10 Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the topics here.

By this point we all know that I am not a book buyer or someone who really even likes to own books. I’ve asked for no books for Christmas this year (minus the amazing ones I got from my TBTB Secret Santa!) and I am perfectly happy not to be getting any others for Christmas. That said, there are a few books I’ve had my eye on lately.

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1. Mexico: The Cookbook: I’ve had an article about this one sitting in my email inbox forever to remind myself to take it out of the library. I’ve heard it’s a truly authentic Mexican cookbook and as someone who loves Mexican food that really excites me.

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2. The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook: I own a pizza cooker at my office holiday party, but I decided I would never really use it so I traded it in for a rice cooker and I’ve heard great things about this cookbook. Chili in my rice cooker? Don’t mind if I do.

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3. The Oh She Glows Cookbook: I’ve read Angela’s blog for years and I’ve always loved the recipes of hers that I’ve made (I’m even making one for Christmas this year!).

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4. Lost in Translation: I wish I spoke another language, but sadly they never stayed in my head in school. I love the idea of these words that aren’t translatable in English, but are illustrated here.

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5. Everything Leads To You: Not only did I love this book, I also love the cover and I would be delighted to have a copy for my shelf.

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6. The Princesses of Iowa: I loved this book when I read it earlier this year and I think it’s one of those important YA books that needs to be a part of my collection.

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7. The Perfect Scoop: I bought an ice cream maker last spring and over the spring and summer I made a lot of ice cream, but my favorite recipes came from this bare-bones, fairly unimpressive book. I took it out of the library, but I’d love to have it to refer to all the time.

I am struggling to come up with three more so I am stopping this list at seven. Merry Christmas everyone!

One Year Ago: Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me