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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

January TBR + New Releases

Happy New Year, friends! I love the fresh start a new year brings (yes, even though there is no difference between December 31st and January 1st compared to any other day) because I feel like my motivation and energy levels are automatically set back to 100%. Kind of like drinking a good cup of coffee without the shakes and pounding heartbeat.

I've chosen BALANCE as my word for 2018, which is something I've been trying to work out for quite some time now. There are so many different things I want to do, but I am terrible at choosing how much time I spend on each "thing." I guess this applies to today's post because I am always overly ambitious in picking the books I want to read each month. Now, I want to be realistic and allow breathing space for the times I want to do something other than read!

january tbr 📚


Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
I started this one before I went on vacation in mid-December, so finishing it shouldn't be a problem. I know it means I am committing myself to yet another fantasy series, but I am giving myself permission to take as long as I need between books one and two. I've heard it referred to as "the YA version of Game of Thrones," which I cannot say is accurate because I don't read or watch Game of Thrones, so do with that what you will! :p

The Round House
 by Louise Erdrich
This is the January pick for Joce's book club, Storytime with Squibbles! As with the rest of the books she's picked, I haven't heard of this one. Amazon's description states, "it is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family."

The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel
Here's to another year of actually reading the books I own! Blaedel is releasing another book in February (not connected to The Forgotten Girls) so I wanted to test the waters and see if she's an author I want to continue with. I sense this will be a creepy read, which I have been into this past year! (Still, don't ask to watch a scary movie with me. That is on an entirely different playing field and I will pee my pants.)

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Since the movie is out already, I thought it would be appropriate to finally read this book. I started it about a week ago, while I was in Hong Kong, and I love it already. Yes, this one is meant for younger readers, but I've already found value in reading from young August's perspective.


releases i'm looking forward to ✨


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black // January 2nd
"Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him—and face the consequences. In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself."

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely // January 2nd
"Seventeen-year-old Serendipity "Pity" Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She's been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great ... the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity's struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot."

Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet edited by Jennifer L. Armentrout // January 2nd
"Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. Meet Cute is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of "how they first met" from some of today's most popular YA authors."

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner // January 9th
"When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution humanity has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and their message leads to the planet Gaia, a treasure trove waiting to be explored. For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an ancient alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study ... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Despite their opposing reasons for smuggling themselves onto the alien planet's surface, they're both desperate to uncover the riches hidden in the Undying temples. Beset by rival scavenger gangs, Jules and Mia form a fragile alliance ... but both are keeping secrets that make trust nearly impossible."

🖤🖤🖤

What are you planning to read this month?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Books I Read in November


STAY WITH ME BY AYOBAMI ADEBAYO // 5 stars
I finished this on the first of November, just in time for Joce's liveshow! What a heart-breaking (but also incredible) book. Stay With Me follows the life of a married Nigerian couple who are unable to bear children, and the story tackles the pressure of responsibility to family + the burden of infertility. I was so nervous to read this, as I never dip my toes in literary fiction, but this one exceeded all my expectations. The language was easy to understand + there was a really good balance between the character and plot development. Adebayo is such a powerful storyteller — I will definitely be picking up whatever she writes next!

BETTER THAN BEFORE BY GRETCHEN RUBIN // 4 stars
This was an interesting study on habits and how we can best tackle them depending on our tendencies. (These tendencies are broken down into four categories based on meeting and/or resisting our inner and outer expectations.) One thing to note should you choose to read Better than Before: this book is not a game plan. Rubin suggests different strategies to build good habits, mostly ones that work for her and her family/blog readers, but everyone is different. You know yourself, so you pick the strategies that work best for you!

SHUFFLE, REPEAT BY JEN KLEIN // 4.5 stars
I loved this one! I was looking for a cute contemporary to read, since Stay With Me was such a heavy read, and remembered Alexa talking about Shuffle, Repeat everywhere. I was initially hesitant to like this because June (the narrator) was a huge downer, but I loved seeing the differences between her and Oliver play out.

What was the best book you read in November?

Friday, December 1, 2017

December TBR + New Releases


Happy December, friends! Here are my reading plans (heavy emphasis on plans) for this month! I have 2.5 weeks to get all my reading done before I leave for Japan + Hong Kong. Fingers crossed for 100% success, at least with these four books I've chosen to tackle this month 🤞


What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera
This is the December pick for Joce's book club! Like Stay With Me, I hadn't heard of What Lies Between Us before it was announced as a future read, so I'll just share an incomplete sentence from the synopsis that caught my attention: "... the confession of a woman, driven by the demons of her past to commit a single and possibly unforgivable crime."

Winterspell by Claire Legrand
I've been meaning to read Winterspell since 2014 when Rachel (from Paper Cuts) and I planned to do a buddy read, but it never happened 😅 There are mixed reviews from my friends on Goodreads, so I'm walking into this one with low expectations but high hopes! It seems to be a dark take on The Nutcracker.

Nutcracked by Susan Adrian
THIS COVER 😍 It already looks like the perfect read for this holiday season! Nutcracked follows a girl named Georgie who dances the part of Clara in The Nutcracker—but every time she dances with the Nutcracker doll, she enters a magical world. When this magic enters the real world, Georgie must save everyone in danger.

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
Let it Snow is another book I've been meaning to pick up for ages, four Decembers ago to be somewhat exact. I know I will fly through these three stories, so let's MAKE IT HAPPEN, SELF.


new releases i'm looking forward to


Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills // December 5th
Mills is an auto-read author for me (First & Then, Mills' debut novel, is one of my favorites!) but I didn't add this to my TBR because I have no idea when my library hold will be ready. I wouldn't be mad if this was my first read of 2018 though!

Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles edited by Natalie C. Parker // December 19th
I guess I really want my heart to break over and over again because why else would someone read a book about love triangles?

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West // December 26th
I am reading all of West's books in publication order so I won't be getting to Love, Life, and the List for a while, but I've loved On the Fence and The Fill-In Boyfriend so far! West is really good at combining the right amount of conflict with fluff. I love fluff! As you can probably tell :)

🖤🖤🖤

What are you planning to read in December?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

November Goals


Hi friends ♥️

I'm sharing these goals mostly for myself, but I want to put it somewhere public for accountability. I hope it encourages you to think about the things you hope to accomplish this November! This is a small list for two reasons: 1) I don't want to overwhelm myself with too much, and 2) I need to focus in on what's important.

monthly

FINALIZE THE WEDDING GUEST LIST + COLLECT ALL EMAIL ADDRESSES
We have a pretty good draft of who we'd like to attend and we know our maximum count (250 guests) but our list doesn't include our parents' guests yet — we're still trying to make room for them!

GIVE BRIDESMAIDS' "PROPOSAL" GIFTS
I know my girls will be excited to join me even if I just write them a card, but I want to do something extra for them. I've been going back and forth with a couple of ideas for a long time now, so I'm committing to get it done this month.

PLAN MONTHLY BUDGET
I've never had to do this because I'm generally okay at saving my money, but spending it wisely is entirely different. I'll have many payments to make in the upcoming year, with the wedding (and maybe a car!) so I want to tackle this before things get busy.

PREPARE GIFT IDEAS FOR CHRISTMAS
I am probably the first to admit that I *always* buy gifts at the last minute. And I hate it! It's a habit I have to break if I want to love my friends well.

weekly

JOURNAL PRAYERS AT LEAST TWICE A WEEK
Prayer requires a still mind, and that is one of the most difficult things for me. I always want to be doing something. But sitting down and writing out my thoughts as a reminder has been incredibly helpful, and it is always a blessing to look back and see how God has answered each request/hope/cry.

STUDY SCRIPTURE BY STARTING ABIDE BY JEN WILKIN
Goals: Work through the homework and listen to the corresponding podcast!

READ SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES FOR THE CHRISTIAN LIFE BY DONALD S. WHITNEY
We only discuss one chapter each month in my community group, but I'd really love to finish the book in December. It should work out if I tackle one chapter each week!

daily

PRACTICE GRATITUDE THROUGH CRAFTING
I won't be able to work on this every single day this month, but I'm going to try and spend at least 3-4 days each week putting my journal together. It's going to be a small challenge because I don't have easy access to print photos, so I'm digging through my old photos that didn't make it in my Project Life album.

🖤🖤🖤

If you are up to it, please share your November goals with me! I love hearing your thoughts.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Q2 + Q3 Reading Recap: April-September 2017


I decided to forgo monthly wrap-ups to do quarterly recaps this year, and I'm still not sure what I prefer. I know I skipped Q2 back in June/July, so I'm basically talking about half a year's reading in this post! I guess that doesn't really help me decide what I like more, haha. What do you guys think? What would you rather read?


books read in Q2 + Q3

Favorite books of Q2 + Q3: Geekerella, Noteworthy, After I Do, The Names They Gave Us, Invictus

I finally have full reviews to share! Trying to get back into the swing of things 💪 I wrote one for Geekerella back in July, one for Genuine Fraud last month, and one for Invictus on Thursday. I also added some ratings and thoughts on Goodreads for three books (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemBig Magic, and Frazzled) if you're interested!


goals update

Books read in Q2 + Q3: 12 + 11
Pages read in Q2 + Q3: 3,816 pages + 3,784 pages
Comics (volumes) read in Q2 + Q3: 3 + 2

Books read in 2017: 27
Pages read in 2017: 9,168 pages
Comics (volumes) read in 2017: 8

#RockMyTBR challenge (15/61)
I'm actually surprised at how many TBR books I've read since the end of March! Especially since I've only read 27 books so far. I added 21 books to my TBR this year (I started off at 211) and now it's at 215! That means I only have an addition of FOUR, which I could totally zero out by the end of this year. Now I'm getting ahead of myself, haha. I probably should've taken the buying/receiving of books into account before being ambitious and telling you all I wanted to lower my TBR pile to 150 😅 I don't know if I want to make any changes to this goal, we'll see how this last quarter goes and I can make adjustments for 2018!

POPSUGAR reading challenge (13/52)
  • A book that's published in 2017: Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  • A book that's been mentioned in another book: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
  • An audiobook: Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • A book with pictures: Frazzled by Booki Vivat
  • A book about a difficult topic: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • A book with a subtitle: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It's Impossible to be Spirituality Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature by Peter Scazzero
  • A book with an unreliable narrator: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  • A book that's been on your TBR for way too long: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
  • A book set in two different time periods: Invictus by Ryan Graudin (this kinda works, right?!)
  • A book by or about a person who has a disability: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
  • A book you bought on a trip: The Dinner by Herman Koch

Other related links: 2017 Goals •  Q1 Recap
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