Thursday, July 2, 2015

Book Challenge Update - June

I'm updating my book challenge again for the month! You can find the rules for the challenge here. I didn't sign up over at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life (mostly because who knows how much I will actually show up to blog about it) but I am having fun playing along all the same!

Here are the books I read this month:

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner - A fictional book about a middle class blogger mom who is an addict. The positive of this book is that it kept my attention, I am pretty sure the only reason is because I was waiting for it to get better. I did not like Allison, the main character, and it was fitting because she doesn’t seem to like anyone either – not her daughter, not her husband, not her mom. It just seemed overly poor me, my life is so sad, it is not my fault I am an addict. Books about addiction probably are probably something I just should leave on the shelf.

Scandal and Vanished by Kate Brian – Books #11 and #12 in the Private series. These books are not realistic have lots of teenage drama and are overall just pretty ridiculous. BUT, they are a guilty pleasure so I don’t even care, and Kate Brian does a good job of creating suspense that makes me want to keep reading! Having said all of that Vanished took a turn for the worst the story was just not good it didn’t go with the previous 11 books and the ending did not have me wanting to pick up the next book immediately so I decided I needed a little bit of a break from the Billings girls.

The Bean Trees  by Barbara Kingslove – This was a story about a girl who wants to run away from her small town Kentucky life without falling into the traps of getting pregnant and living a life of poverty. Instead she ends up with a stranger’s child living a life of poverty in Arizona. There were some inconsistencies with the description of Oklahoma (which bothered me more than it should have) and some random “facts” thrown in that I don’t think were accurate, but if you remember to keep in mind that it is a fictional story it is a good read.  I will pick up the sequel to see what happens with Taylor and Turtle Next. 

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica – Mia decides to go home with a random guy from a bar when her boyfriend cancels on her…again, which turns out to be a huge mistake. I’ve seen this book compared to Gone Girl quite a few times I guess because they both have several alternating points of view and a “surprising” twist? I liked The Good Girl the beginning is the best part, the twist takes too long to develop, having said that I would recommend It if you’ve already read Gone Girl and Still Missing and you’re looking for something in that same family. On second thought maybe read this one first and then follow up with the better two! I will read Mary Kubica’s next book for sure.

The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski – This was the book I randomly picked off the shelf for the reading challenge, it was a pretty typical chick lit book. June is driving Marissa (a girls she only knows from a Weight Watchers meeting) home when an accident leaves Marissa dead and June feeling guilty. June discovers a list that Marissa made of 20 things to do before she turns 25 and on a whim decides to finish the list for Marissa. I think we all make these lists or have at least seen them all over the blog world so I think that makes it is to relate to. The book is a good fast beach read.

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkuaf – I really enjoyed this book and the twists that went along with it. It seems like it has mixed reviews on Goodreads, a lot of people didn’t like the character development or found the characters to be un- relatable but honestly most of the time when I read I’m looking for a good story, and this book delivered. It kept me turning the page. I am hesitant to give too much away but this book is told by four different women; Allison who was just released from prison, Brynn the sister who wants nothing to do with Allison, Charm who struggles with giving up a baby she couldn’t care for, and Claire the adoptive mom who went through hell before finally getting her forever son.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider This story started out with the title Severed Heads, Broken Hearts – I imagine I wouldn’t have read that book, because ew (!) but it’s a pretty good description all the same. I really like Ezra and his fall from popular jock to debate team member was more of a transformation of who Ezra was instead of an author with a vendetta against the popular kids from high school. If you like John Green and Rainbow Rowell I’d read this one for sure.

Don’t Even Think about It by Sarah Mlynowski I decided after I read this one I needed a break from high school books all together, and it probably wasn’t this books fault I just needed to get out of teenage minds for a bit. In this one a class of high school kids has a reaction to the flu shot that gives them the ability to read minds, obviously it’s a pretty big struggle there are so many secrets to hide in high school, plus who wants to know what their parents are really thinking?? I will read the sequel when it comes out but I can’t imagine I would admit that I read this book to anyone in the real world unless they brought it up first. If you’re looking for a fast fun read that takes absolutely zero brain power you might want to try this one. 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green - I guess I didn’t even make it one book on my ban on high school books, oh well I really like reading John Green books. Two Will Graysons happen to meet in a random porn shop in Chicago.  After they meet their lives become intertwined thanks to Tiny Cooper (who in my opinion is the real star of the book, what can I say I have a soft spot for football players). The real core of this book is about friendship, and I don’t know if it’s Green’s writing style or that this friendship book is all about guys instead of the usual girl friendship but I really liked it. There was no exciting plot twist and no big exciting plot but it was still good read and I laughed more than I ever expected to.  

In The Blood by Lisa Unger – Even though I read a lot of high school drama books, my real true book love is psychological thrillers. There was so much crazy in this book! Lane Granger is trying to hide from her past; her mother was murdered by her father. She is finishing up her last year of college when she gets a job helping out with a young troubled boy, Luke. Luke is terrible and smart and manipulative and Lane can’t decide if she is empathetic to him or if he is just plain awful.  As if dealing with Luke wasn’t enough Lane’s friend/roommate/wanna be lover Rebecca has gone missing.  There were a few twists that I figured out pretty early on but then there were so many more that I just didn’t see coming! (I always tell Garrett what I think is going to happen so that I can get credit for it, and it’s not just me saying I knew that was going to happen…of course he never has any idea what I’m really talking about!)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – This book is Mean Girls meets Groundhog Day (there is a chance that’s not an original thought and I read it on Goodreads but it is the perfect description). Samantha Kingston a popular high school senior dies on her way home from a party, dying is nothing like she thought it was going to be. When her life flashed before her eyes it wasn’t anything she thought it would be, they weren’t happy memories they were insignificant things that shouldn’t have mattered in her last seconds. The morning after her death she wakes up and has to live the day all over again, she goes through the whole day seven times and learns that the smallest changes make more difference than she ever thought they would. There was something about this book that I loved, deep in my soul loved. Maybe it was the timing or the girl who read it (because I listened to this one) or maybe it was because I have a little sister that reminds me of Izzy, or maybe it was because of sweet Kent who is so willing to put himself out there to get hurt, or because I have to constantly remind myself to be nice to everyone because we don’t know what battles they are facing. This is one of those books if you don’t like it I don’t want to know why; I just want to go on blissfully thinking it was amazing. "Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around in it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know."

Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer - Maggie and Emily (GR says Piper...) meet as children on Nantucket Maggie is from a poor single mom family and Emily’s family is rich. Emily falls in love with Maggie’s brother but they (he) can’t get on the same page with the money so it ends, even though they both still love each other. Both M and E get pregnant by the same guy but E doesn’t know it. The whole story is pretty boring and none of the characters are very likeable. I really just wanted it to end.

Here are my reading challenge stats:

The Bean Trees -  Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules 5 Points

The Next Thing on My List - Read a book you have never heard of before. 10 Points

These Things Hidden - Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (I added TTH to my TBR list on 11/1/12) 10 Points

The Good Girl - Read a book by an author who is completely new to you. 15 Points 

Nantucket Sisters - Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.  20 Points 

June Points: 60 Points

Challenge Total :  145/200

*I don't think I'm going to do reviews next month...they are just so boring and I am not very good at them. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Goals

We are on the back half of the year so here is to keeping goals and then reporting back :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

May Books

I saw this fun book challenge that a Semi-Charmed Kind of Life is hosting on A Gurly Girl's blog. I made a mental note of trying to get my books from May through August to fit into the challenge but I didn't think much of it after that first couple of days. today when Allena updated her books for the month I thought I'd see how I did with my reading just based on what I picked. 

I read books 6-10 and one of the prequel books (Last Christmas) in the Private series by Kate Brian. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I read these particular young adult books, I just can't help it. I cannot resist a book that's in a series, no matter how ridiculous. Privileged boarding school girls is a reading weakness! They are a quick easy read and they keep my attention. 

The other books I fit in are: 

Identical by Ellen Hopkins This was kind of a hard read (in that it has some hard content). It was disturbing to read might be a better explanation there were times where I felt pretty uncomfortable reading, I had to put it down to try to get images out of my head. But, I still wanted to finish it quickly to see how it all unfolded. The end was a surprise (even though I suspected what the twist would be). I'll read more of Ellen Hopkins' books but I think they will be spaced out with plenty of fluffy stuff in between. 

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt - Another favorite of mine is books set in the south. At the beginning of the book I wanted to bring CeeCee home and give her a break from taking care of her mother. By the end I wanted Tootie to be my Great Aunt. I noticed a lot of the reviewers on Goodreads said it was "too good to be true" and maybe it was because I read the book after Identical but I didn't find that to be a draw back of the book. I cried (I'm a crier!) at one point and overall was happy that things went smoothly overall. 

Sophie Kinsella's Twenties Girl - I liked this book it was a fun read that had all the best parts of chick-lit. The wrong guy that you want, the right guy that doesn't seem to match up to the wrong one, a bad job, an unhealthy friendship, parents you don't want to let down and the added bonus of a ghost. 

Sophie Kinsella's Mini Shopaholic - Becky Brandon (Bloomwood) drives me absolutely batty, why does she lie about every little thing? It's been years since I read my last shopaholic book and I think maybe I grew up a little bit since the last one because I found this one to be more annoying than I remember. Having said that I still gave it 4-stars on Goodreads because it was like returning to that old annoying friend that you want to shake some sense into. 

I am going to count Last Christmas book as my: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books for the challenge - 25 points 

I am going to use Identical as my: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long - 25 points

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt as my: Read a book with an animal on the cover - 20 points

I am going to use Mini Shopaholic for the: Read a book by an author you have read before  - 15 points

This brings my May total to: 85

You can always add me on Goodreads to see what I've been reading! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Goals

* I stole this image right off Shay's April goal blog post!

1. Read 18 books - I know it might seem like a lot but it will bring my yearly goal to 40 and plenty ahead for my goal of 100 for the year! You can see what I'm reading on Goodreads (spoiler there's a whole lot of fluff, Pretty Little Liars, etc)

2. Count Calories - use my fitness pal no matter what

3. Dink 64 oz of water a day - I'm pretty good about drinking only water but I have to think about it to drink it

4. ACV - Drinking apple cider vinegar has so many health benefits and I notice a difference in my skin and my cravings when I drink it consistently

5. Fitbit 150,000 steps - I finally bought a fitbit when I decided that my Gobe was never going to show up. I have a ways to go before I'm getting 10,000 steps a day (I work at a desk and have a two hour commute - that's a lot of sitting) so I will start with a more manageable goal of 5,000 steps a day (oh and remembering to wear it every day!

6. 30 minutes of exercise 4 times every week - can you tell I'm trying to get healthier/lose weight

7. Clarisonic - use it daily, this like the ACV is practically a miracle worker if I'll just use it consistently. I'm really bad about just using a face wipe. 

8. Don't spend any money - I will have to buy gas, groceries, etc. This means no makeup, no clothes, no lunches out, no fun little things at Target. Just the real actual necessities. 

9. Turn my handwriting into a font - because how fun is that!

10. Scan 1,000 pictures - ambitious, probably but I really need to get all my old prints scanned and saved.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

She's back (again, but probably not for real)

I have all of this extra time on my hands since I am not studying. None of which has been dedicated to my return to blogging.

The truth is I'm not all that excited about reading most blogs any more. It's just not the same as it was back in 2008. Writing (typing) is even less exciting.

And even though I have all of this extra time I'm not doing anything very exciting.

So if I do come back to writing crappy blog posts I'm not sure that I would even have much to talk about.

Let's see so far this year I have read 19 books: 14 in January, 4 in February, 1 in March (so far).

Finished watching all of the House episodes on Netflix and I am now making my way through Gilmore Girls.

Attended Emma's 3rd birthday party in Wisconsin, failed to send Johnny's Christmas presents (despite the fact they have been sitting by my front door for months)

Had 1 manicure and 0 pedicures.

Spent too few hours sleeping. As is evidenced by the extra dark circles under my eyes.

Posted only 5 pictures on Instagram. Because I've taken basically no pictures.

I haven't even been cooking!

I've done maybe three things that are exciting enough to blog about. 

I might be back around to blog boring things. If nothing else I think I am going to be blogging my monthly goals. 

But, honestly if I were you I wouldn't trust me on that one :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

My (not so big, not so exciting) Return.

It's been over a year since I stopped by this little slice of the internet to write anything. I've stopped by a few times looking for things in the archives and I didn't really have any intentions of coming back. It's just blogging isn't really my thing.

Then a few days ago I went to get a recipe from pintrest and the blogger had shut down her blog and I have no way of getting it! I'm so sad because that fried quinoa was so much better than any others I've tried.

That sad sad loss paired with Garrett saying that I make the most delicious things once and then never make them again (and then forget what recipe I used...oops) made me think I should come back and keep track of things we like. I hate to turn this into a place that only tracks what I eat so I might throw in a few other posts every once in awhile.

Or maybe not...I have no desire to become a blogger, so who cares what it becomes! There won't be any new year's resolutions about how many posts I will write or "growing my space" I can (almost) promise there won't be any boring weekend recaps of my weekend that was spent reading and watching football. It will just be me looking for a place to keep track of some things that I'm always misplacing!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I just found this on my computer...

I have no idea where it came from (I didn't make it!)...but it's a pretty good look at how #selfies go around here.

This was us - our blond haired, bad eyebrows, silver wearing, skinnier selves - back in 2009.