Thursday, May 31, 2018


Ummm... this post was meant to go up on 5/17. Whoops....

Sometimes life changes very very quickly.

Putting it Off & Other Grumbles:

While we had a goal to buy a house this year (and not settle!) we were feeling very unenthusiastic about it. We didn't want to look at houses, we didn't want to figure out the steps to take, we REALLY didn't want to fight people for houses. Where we live, most (reasonably priced) homes sell within 24 hours. We have several friends and acquaintances who had put multiple full and above price offers in on homes and didn't get any of them. Based on how we were feeling, we were unsure if we would really start looking seriously until the fall... if then. Like look in October, not buy or move until 2019....

Along the way we decided to start the background stuff: get pre-approved for a loan, find a realtor, etc. and our expectations didn't change. Our pre-approval was done, and our realtor didn't send us ANY houses within 3 weeks. We finally decided just to go look at a house. It was on the high end our price range, but we figured, why not? Instead of going with our lack-luster realtor, we asked to see it through the seller's agent. It was ok, but nothing we were crazy about. She immediately asked us what we were looking for and started sending us houses. Two days later we looked at a really cute old house, and a decent (still old) but newer house. We weren't expecting anything to come of it.

Unenthusiastic House Hunting:

We walked into a 1905 farmhouse in a calmer part of our (small) city, and really liked it. It had a lot of charm, and open floor plan, and a cute upstairs room. It was small enough that we could reasonable keep up with the space without becoming overwhelmed. It felt right being inside of it, but we went on to the next house not really talking too seriously about it. The next house was fine, but more expensive and not what we were looking for.

Our realtor let us know that the cute old house already at 4 offers on it, and if we were interested we needed to act fast. We left, grabbed a Sonic, and decided that we *were* interested. SURPRISE! We started working on our paperwork with the realtor, when she texted us that there were now 5 offers on the house, and that the owner was going to review all of the offers at 6:00 PM. It was 5:00 PM... yikes! So we started filling out the papers as quickly as we could. They texted again to say that the owner wanted everyone to know the current best offer (super unusual!)... which was $5,000 above asking price, IN CASH, with the contingency of the city approving a permit to build a garage. We were screwed. We can't compete with a cash offer, so we upped our total offer and kept working on the paperwork.

We wrote a letter to the owner about ourselves and how much we loved her house, and included pictures of ourselves and our cats. Well of course the internet was crawling... and things weren't loading... and our offer got sent over at about 6:06 PM. I figured, "this is the last straw, they won't even look at our offer. It's 6 minutes late!!" Feeling really overwhelmed we went to grab some Chipotle. We stood in line waiting to order chatting about how we at least have an idea of what the process is like.. and next time it would be easier.

We got back with our dinner, and had an email from the realtor. She let us know that the owner was considering the offers and would let us know ASAP that evening or the next morning. Not 10 minutes later the realtor called and told us that we got the house. **WAIT WHAT?!** WE got the house?!? WE got the house over a cash offer?!??! KC had burrito in his mouth and looked so surprised. I cried, (weird...), so overwhelmed and COMPLETELY surprised!! The realtor let us know that the letter we wrote really touched the owner's heart and she cried as she read it. Which of course had me getting tearier. We hung up and were completely in the clouds.

We had a house! (aka IMPATIENCE)

We spent the next few days working on paperwork, refreshing the Trulia page waiting for it to be marked as "pending", and trying to focus on anything else. We tried not to get too carried away... because we still had to pass the inspection... and this is an OLD house... so we didn't really know what would happen. We weren't able to get an inspection sooner than 9 days after putting in our offer, and waiting was really difficult. I am not a patient person, and I was super attached... wanting to spend every night over there hugging the side of the house.

We signed our paperwork for our loan, and the loan officer kept gushing about the house and asking if we were excited... YES OF COURSE! WE'RE TRYING TO BE PATIENT THOUGH!!! lol

Before the inspection, waiting was pretty excruciating. I kept reading and reading and working on spring cleaning and packing to keep my mind occupied.

We finally had the inspection, and it went about as well as it could for a 100+ year old house. It had a bunch of small things that needed fixed, but it needed new siding on one side of the house and the yard needed grated to keep the water away from the siding in the future. The owner agreed to cover the siding and a bit of the grating, and pretty soon we were just waiting more... but at least we knew nothing could go wrong to keep us from buying the house!

We FINALLY closed on the house on May 17th!

We started tearing carpet out, painting, and planning to redo the cabinets and counters right away. :) For "live" updates feel free to follow my Instagram Stories... where I rant, ramble, and show "before" and "afters" (sometimes "middles"). and if you have encouragement... I love getting PMs that are like "woohoo!" or "I can relate"... because well, it's nice to know you're not alone. Am I right? I might share before & afters here if y'all are interested. Let me know :) 

Well there you have it, the details behind our "big news"! I mean how many things could it have been...?! 

What do you think?

Have you bought a house before? Were you as impatient as I was?!

Despite the lack of time, etc. I hope to blog and read more blogs coming up... because I miss you guys, and I miss this outlet! :) #balance (aside from the fact that we are out of town next week! Cuba & Mexico here we come!)



Friday, May 25, 2018

Have You Heard? // Camila Cabello & Grey - "Crown"

Happy Friday Friends! I'm so sorry for being a bit absent both in writing and blog reading/commenting. Balancing a new house with work, getting ready for vacation, and normal May chaos has been nuts. HA. I hope to get a post about our house/the buying process up next week. :)

image via google

YouTube suggested this song to me... and holy cow.. it's so interesting and I really like it! I'm not sure how Grey is... but I love the sound of it.

Ughh.. yeah I dunno, it's just my jam. Speaking of, has anyone watched Bright?! I'm curious but apparently not curious enough to have watched it yet. hahaha

What are y'all up to this weekend?!

We are hoping to do a mix of fun and productive things this weekend. Our friends Chris and Anna are having a post-wedding party/celebration which we are driving part way across the state for. That should be fun to see people we haven't seen in a while! :) We need to get started on the kitchen. We are updating the cabinets and counter tops... so that will likely take some time! We also need to get the carpets out of the upstairs because they are coming to measure and quote us for flooring installation next week! :) We've been alternating because if we work too hard we have INSANE muscle cramps (just me really!) lol... SO we've also been re-watching the Twilight movies... because why not? hahah We're gearing up for the Breaking Dawns. We also have some DVRd things we are hoping to get through. Always of course, I am hoping to read.

Other Posts This Week: My Favorite Sub Genres to Read

On Year of Gratitude This Week: I played hookie... #balance *shrugs*

On YouTube This Week: April 2017 Project Life Flip Through

Have a great weekend!!



Monday, May 21, 2018

My Favorite Sub Genres to Read! // Bookworm

I've been thinking a lot about books. I'm pretty sure I check Netgalley and First to Read every. single. day. Netgalley I check multiple times per day. I'm always reading at least two books... buying ebooks on sale, looking in Little Free Libraries, and checking for jobs at my local library... the book lust is strong my friends.

Anyhow, today I was thinking about specific sub genres that I have been really into lately or for quite a while, and thought it would be fun to share! Here are my top 6 sub genres to read, and a few recommendations within each genre.

Magical Realism 

I love dreamy stories with little bits of magic and symbolism woven in. 

Anything by Sarah Addison Allen

Fairy Tale Retellings

Re-write a fairy tale and I will read it. #nevergrowup

I have two whole posts about this, Vol. I and Vol. II! :)

Travel Fiction (romantic comedy) 

Exotic destinations + Romance = I'm in.

Destination Thailand
Happiness for Beginners
On The Island (survival-y)
Girl off The Grid.

Christmas Fiction (romantic comedy)

These books give me the warm fuzzies!

Merry & Bright
Trading Christmas
Christmas Letters - technically part of a series, but you don't need to read the others to "get it".

Travel Memoirs/Essays

Please let me live vicariously through your travels!

The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and a Life-Changing Journey Around the World
No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering
A Fork in the Road - currently reading
Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way - currently reading

Fairy Tales, Folklore, and Myths from Around the World

Collections of tales from around the world are so much fun to read! Especially ones about mermaids.

Mermaid Tales from Around the World
Mermaids: The Myths, Legends, and Lore
The Book of the Goddesses

What are some of your favorite sub genres to read?!

Have you read any of these books?!



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Keep It Together: A Planning & Memory Keeping Blog Hop - May 2018

Happy Thursday friends! Tomorrow I am announcing some really exciting news! If you want to know sooner, check out my Instagram (or read my pictures here closely)! This explains why I haven't had a lot of time for documenting. However, I have needed to keep track of lots of tasks and goals, which I've been using my bullet journal for.

I'm so excited for another edition of Keep It Together with Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag today! :) This linkup is all about planners, memory keeping, bullet journals, etc. So please feel free to linkup your posts on the Third Thursday of every month! Make sure to hop on over to Lauren's page and check out her post too! :)

Here are a few things I've been doing:

1) Using colorful washi tape and/or my date stamp really help me want to use my bujo. Otherwise it's too dreary and I don't even want to look at it. LOL!

2) I've been making a weekly habit tracker in my spreads. I wanted to make sure we were doing some amount of spring cleaning and organizing every day, and using these trackers helped me stay motivated. We may not have cleaned every single day, but it was close!

3) I am usually very goal-oriented, but 2018 had the slowest start of any year in recent past for me. I think my January goals were: "get better". LOL So, I am really enjoying getting back into setting monthly goals and tracking other goals, like our spring cleaning ones in my bujo!

4) I have been going back through the weeks and adding journalling to them if it looks empty. Just to kind of get down what happened within a week.

Coming Up (I hope):

Once I have more time again *laughs/cries* I would like to get back to adding my "currently" items and maybe a bit of doodling/water color here and there. But for now, the tape is enough to keep me feeling motivated!

I also hope to get some time to do some journalling and documenting for 2018. I've been keeping a list, but not making a lot of actual documenting progress.

What have you guys been up to?

What is your planner system for 2018? 

Do you bullet journal?! -- if so, for everyday planning? Or just goals and notes?

    An InLinkz Link-up



Monday, May 14, 2018

6 (More) Fairy Tale Retellings to Add to Your TBR! // Bookworm

Since I've spent a lot of time over the past few years reading fantasy, and specifically fairy tale retellings, I wanted to share a second volume of 6 fairy tale retelling recommendations today! (check out Volume I, here)

Here are six highly rated Fairy Tale Retellings from my list to add some magic to your TBR. All links lead to Goodreads!

1) East by Edith Pattou

Retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon

This book follows Rose, who was born facing North, by her mother's superstitions that predestines her to be wild and always seeking adventure. Fearing that life for her, she lies, and says she was born facing East, meaning she will be level headed and happy at home. However, Roses's destiny will be that of a North child, and everything sets into motion one day when a white bear comes to take her away from her home. Rose must leave with the white bear, figure out his curse, and then journey to the ends of the earth to save him. I absolutely loved this adventurous fairy tale. It was woven together with so much research on things like early navigation tools, Inuit culture and customs, sailing, weaving, etc. etc. This was fascinating, and I am so excited that 13 years later she is releasing a sequel, West. (Netgalley did not give it to me, *SOBS*)

2) Zel by Donna Jo Napoli

Retelling of Rapunzel

I read this AGES ago, and would love to re-read it. This is a re-telling of Rapunzel that is quite dark (from what I'm reading in the reviews) , and focuses heavily on the toxic mother-daughter relationship in the Rapunzel story. I am itching to re-read this now so I can weigh in! It's been years since I read it. But I remember quite liking it!

3) Piper by Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg 

Retelling of The Pied Piper

This graphic novel is a re-telling of the Pied Piper, and follows Maggie, a deaf girl who is shunned by her village. She just wants to live a normal life, but comforts herself by imagining up (rather dark) stories. When her village is facing a rat infestation along with the diseases they carry, the Piper shows up just in time to save them. Maggie is accepted by the Piper, but is he what he seems? I really enjoyed this dark graphic novel, the art was especially lovely as well! I highly recommend if you are looking to get into graphic novels!

4) Just Ella by by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Retelling of Cinderella

This story follows Ella, a commoner who has won the affection of the prince. She's taken to the castle to learn the way of the royals before her wedding. However, life in the castle and with the prince isn't what it seems, and Ella doesn't like it very much at all. This was one of my very favorite books in middle school. One of the handful of middle-grade novels that I still own. I wasn't sure what it would be like to re-read it. I certainly knew that the contents that had shocked and surprised me back when I was 10, would not now in the same way. I don't think I'd ever read anything quite like it. I'm happy to report... that after a second read, I still love it. 16 years later. I'm excited to check out the companion books, and someday recommend this to my youngest sister. I would recommend this if you like middle-grade novels, or have a kiddo who might like it!

5) The Winternight Trilogy (The Bear and The Nightingale, Girl In the Tower, and The Winter of the Witch) by Katherine Arden 

Retelling of various Russian Fairy Tales

Vasya is the youngest daughter of Petyor Petrovich and she is wild like her mother was. In the Northern part of Russia Vasya's city is caught between a primal and pagan past and the church. She is a disgrace to most of her city, but is perhaps the only one who can save them from what is coming. If you've spent any time on my blog... you know I'm obsessed with The Bear and the Nightingale. I read it a second time, and it's sequel again in January of this year, and I am still so in love with the writing, world, and series. These books are slow wintertime stories, and they are lovely, but require you to take your time with them. I took a Slavic folklore course in college and loved "seeing" medieval Russia come to life in these books, and the tales that I learned in the course re-imagined within the pages of these books. 

6) Beauty and The Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

A re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast that takes place in a fictional Victorian England. This book has some heavy steampunk elements to it, complete with vampires, specters, shifters, airships, ray guns, and 'tons. The story follows our very independent and academic heroine, Lucy Pickett as she visits her ill cousin in her new home, the spooky Blackwell Manor. When she meets the lord of the manor she finds him extremely disagreeable, and he cannot stand her. Think Pride and Prejudice. As Lucy's cousin's condition worsens, she must work with Lord Blackwell to figure out who or what is behind the mysterious deaths and illnesses at the manor. This book was an absolute delight to read! I loved Lucy and Lord Blackwell, their relationship is so funny and steamy for a proper romance. This one reminded me of Edenbrooke meets Soulless. See my full review during June's SUYB! Coming soon the next book in the series: Kiss of the Spindle.

Of course I have another volume of this coming your way before the end of the year, and I have a TON of fairy tale retellings on my TBR!

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Do you have any to recommend to me?!

Check out Volume I, here.

Interested in Other Booklists? Check out 12 Witchy Reads!

Let's be friends on goodreads!



Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Fifth Annual Kansas Food Truck Festival // Hometown Happenings

Whew, I'm going to post something today that is not a linkup! Look out! :) I have TWO book posts scheduled for the next two Mondays as well, so I hope y'all enjoy those! Plus a suuuuper special announcement late next week!! :)

The first weekend in May was the fifth annual Kansas Food Truck Festival! It is put on by a local food pantry to get some extra funds pre-summer season. Did you know that food pantries have the most need for donations during the summer?! And it is the time of least donations. So, get out there and donate to your local food pantries this summer! :) We have gone to the festival all five years! See year oneyear two, year three, and year four.

This year KC and I ended up with a good sized group of close friends who wanted to join us. It ended up being such a good number of people and we got a lot of good catching up in! :)

We usually get to try a ton of good food at the festival, but KC and I decided that this year we should try to split more things, so we could try more things. That makes sense... right? Well, even though we did that, I think we tried about the same amount as usual. ha. This happens every year. Honestly, the food this year wasn't my favorite... but the weather and company couldn't be beat.

When we got there, we knew that Bon, Bon! had a cocktail club inside of one of the galleries down there again. So we stopped there first to get cocktails. If you've read any of the other posts, you'll know that I had been missing the great cocktails from the Artillery Bar the first year, so it was great to finally have some back, even if it is from a different vendor! I had a Frose (frozen rose with something..., strawberry powder, edible flowers), Kyle opted for the Pineapple Margarita (Pineappel Juice, Tequila, Sage Salt). Later in the day he had a mint julep as well. They were all really good! I wanted to go into Bon Bon for a painkiller... but alas they were not serving the full menu. Which makes total sense.. I've just been jonesing for one!

The first truck we tried was JB's Tacos, we had some delicious ones last year, and wanted to get these before the line got long. We accomplished our goal, but sadly they did not have the veggie tacos that I fell in love with last year. They were still pretty good though.

The second truck that we tried was called Fine Thyme Foods. We tried the wings and the Gouda "nachos" KC didn't love the wings, but the nachos were pretty good.

The third truck we visited was called Taste of Brazil. I was really excited about this truck... but it was only ok. I think I didn't put enough chimichurri sauce on mine, but it was ok. We also tried another dish from that truck that others had purchased. It was basically a pastry filled with chicken and cream cheese and then fried. LOL.

Lastly we waited in line at a smoothie truck FOREVERRR for a "Pineapple Paradise" which comes in a pineapple... obvs. How festive! + it was refreshing in the heat! I could only have about 1/4 because it had banana in it... and I am SO SADLY allergic. How cute is it though?!

We did try another tiny s'mores crèmes brûlées from the Torched Goodness truck before we called it a night at the festival.

We ended the evening at Celito Lindo, on Cinco De Mayo -- which was a little embarrassing and accidental... but we got chips, guac, queso, margaritas, and I got a quesadilla... because I honestly didn't eat that much at the festival... and we chatted for a while. They had live music, and the band seemed to be having a blast so that was fun. It was a nice evening!

I guess my goal of trying more things didn't quite work out (again!), but I feel good about what we had. The cocktails were great, and all of the food was decent... but not amazing. Next year I hope to try some more new trucks! We'll see how it goes! :)

Have you ever been to a food truck festival?

What did you do last weekend?



Monday, May 7, 2018

April 2018 Reads // Romance + Netgalley Picks

It's BOOK DAY! :) I read a looot of books last month, so let's get right to it! :)

Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin by Mariana Zapata

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance.

This story follows Gaby who's recently been dumped, is living with her parents, and doesn't know what to do next with her life. When her twin brother asks her to come on tour with their band to sell merch, she jumps at the chance to make a little cash and buy time until she has to decide what she's doing next. While on tour she meets the other band they are touring with, and things get a lot more complicated when she falls for their lead singer.

I wasn't sure if I would love this, because I'm not super into the "rock and roll" plot... but let's be real, I'm not super into sports based romance plots either. So it really doesn't matter! LOL. BUT I quite liked this one. I thought that it was fun to read something where the characters were in such a unique situation. (being on tour together) I liked that unlike Lukov, this one wasn't an enemies to lovers type of book. (not that I dislike that, just that I didn't want the books to be too similar). I liked Gaby's relationship with her brother and their friends, Zapata's female characters are so forward and crass.. it cracks me up. But that's definitely not me. I liked Gaby and Sacha's relationship. I like that the characters in Zapata's books don't really do instalove. It's so nice that they get to know each other quite a bit before they end up together. I thought this one was a little bit steamier than Lukov, fyi. I'm on a romance kick, and on a Zapata kick, so stay tuned. heheh

Yankee's New England Adventures: Over 400 Essential Things to See and Do by Editors of Yankee Magazine (Edited by Eric D. Lehman)*

5 Stars - I recommend if you are looking for a diverse travel guide to New England.

A book of things to do and see in the New England states.

This visually stunning New England travel guide by Yankee Magazine is exactly what you need to plan your trip to New England. Or if you are a New Englander, it is the perfect resource for planning many-a weekend trip to come. This book has wonderful photos that will make any travel-lover swoon. I love that the guide is broken up by state, and gives a little overview of each state before diving into things to do, see, and eat. It features specific cities, and specific areas that should not be missed. For bigger cities, it also contains a quick guide to food within the metro. Lastly, it includes a list of festivals within each state, listed month-by-month. Overall this is a great, thorough yet pared down guide to New England. I highly recommend if you live in the area or are planning a getaway anytime soon! -Available 5/11 for purchase!-

Act Like It by Lucy Parker 

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance.

When Lainie, an actress in London's West End, finds out that her play is not doing well... and a certain actor's bad reputation may have something to do with it... their agents suggest that they date to sell more tickets. What starts out as a grumpy agreement just might turn into something more.

Two disclaimers: 1) I think I read too many romance books in a row, 2) I'm having an awfully difficult time rating these books... Overall I really liked this book. Lainie and Troy were both interesting, and quite different from one another. I thought that Lainie had a lot of pluck, but wasn't as crass as some other female romance characters I've read recently. It was a good balance for me. :) I liked that they were stage actors, I found that a fun setting to read. I also really like the "fake dating to real dating" trope. My biggest complaint is just that it was marketed on Kindle as "Title: a slow burn romance"... but it's not very slow burn. A little bit, sure. But it doesn't take the whole book for them to get together. So I was a little mislead by that. Otherwise I really enjoyed it! I would definitely consider reading more of her books and more from this series.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker*

3 Stars - I might recommend if you enjoy contemporary thrillers or mysteries.

This book follows Cass, as she returns home after being missing for 3 years. Her sister Emma disappeared at the same time, and now Cass's only goal is to find her sister. Told via an unreliable narrator this story will have you questioning what is true, what is not, and what actually happened to Emma and Cass.

I know I say this a lot, but I am not much for thrillers or mysteries. I find them a little bit boring sometimes, and I often find myself guessing "who did it" or the twists and turns in the plot. I read this in a day, so it is definitely compelling, but I found myself getting a little bored around 66%. Then by the time the rising action popped up... I was just kind of ready for the story to be over. I didn't find Cass to be that unreliable of a narrator... and I didn't really care where Emma was/what happened with her story by the time I got to the end. I enjoyed it enough, again, it just may not be my genre. If you like thrillers, you would probably enjoy this book, it's just not my cup of tea.

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

4 Stars - I highly recommend if you enjoy survival style plots and won't mind a bit of romance.

When 30-something Anna is offered a summer tutoring job in the Maldives she jumps at the chance. 16 year old TJ, just recovering from cancer, is not so excited to spend the summer away from his friends catching up on school work. When Anna and TJ's pilot has a heart attack, their sea plane crashes in the Indian Ocean. The two make it to an uninhabited island and must use their everything they have to survive, and hopefully be rescued. After years on the island, TJ isn't a kid anymore, and years becomes a long time to spend with someone without knowing them better.

I will fully admit that the shock factor of the plot made me want to read this book. When I found it for $1 at a used bookstore on our AR road trip, I had to pick read it soon! This book did not disappoint me. This book is told in alternating perspectives, which I found really interesting. There were some patches of time that were skipped over, and others that were very detailed, which felt representative of being stuck on an island for years. The entire first part of the plot centers around survival and living on the island. I was really interested in how they would make all of the details of life work without any supplies. From the more mundane (but necessary) things like collecting water, to riding out horrible storms, jelly fish wounds, and hemorrhagic fevers, I was very entertained. Then as their relationship developed I was really intrigued to watch them grow and change through their extreme new reality. It was crazy to me that the kept the teacher/student relationship for so long before feeling more like equals. Overall I think the romance worked. It's a little shocking, but not in a bad way. The only part that bugged me was (highlight for SPOILER) at some point they are trying to kill a shark that is keeping them from fishing and these dolphins come to the rescue AND help them pull the shark onto the shore. I could have lived with helping him get out of the water and away from the shark... but... I dunno. I mean I realize they had to kill it to be able to eat.. but... I dunno. Also related to the ending... did TJ *really* need time to "grow up" in Chicago without her. Did a few months of learning to drive, and getting his GED really matter? He could have done those things while he was with her if it was really that important. But I digress. Overall I really enjoyed this one!

Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures. Living the Danish Way*

3 Stars - I recommend if you are looking for a book that is more about someone trying out hygge in her own life than it is about hygge itself.

This book follows the author Charlotte Abrahams as she explores the concept of hygge in her own life. It is part memoir, part how-to, part Danish design resource, part philosophical discussion of happiness.

I struggled with reading, synthesizing, and reviewing this book. I love hygge, and so I was very excited to read this book. Once I started reading, I quickly realized that this is more of a memoir than it is a book about hygge. It was still interesting, but definitely not marketed correctly (at least as an ARC). Part of why this took me so long to read is that it really hops back and forth between subjects. As mentioned above it is part memoir, part how-to hygge, part Danish design resource, and part philosophical discussion of happiness. It was a little bit hard to "get into" as it switched around so frequently as to the topic and style of writing. I am not interested in design in the way that this book approaches those sections. I'm not particularly interested in the movements, specific chairs, where to get them, etc. I did, however, appreciate her tips on how to set up a hyggelig room. The sections on design were much too long for my taste.There is also a part where she talks about her struggles with dieting and eating which I felt were a little bit of a tangent. On the one hand it is good to draw from personal experience, and I see what she is saying. On the other it felt different. As I expected this to be more of a how-to type of book, or an explanation of hygge, it felt very very personal to me. Abrahams shares a lot of personal details related to her divorces, blended family living, family feuding, etc. It was a lot to take in, and while it explained why she turned to hygge and her journey through it... it felt like a surprise to me. There was also a rather long bit about the philosophy of happiness that eventually tied in to Denmark's rank as the happiest country in the world, but it took too long to get there. This is coming from someone who loves to learn and research, and took notes on the entire book. From time to time I really enjoyed Abraham's writing voice, the dry British humor is always something that I really enjoy. Toward the end of this book there were more sections that were both practical and actionable - which is how I prefer my non-fiction, so I really enjoyed that part. I think if you are interested in a multi-layered memoir/how-to/design/happiness book, go ahead and check it out. If you are looking for a book on hygge, I wouldn't recommend this one. If I hadn't been reviewing it I might have just skipped some sections. Lastly, I appreciated that she brought up that hygge is something that people of privilege enjoy. I agree with what she is saying, and am glad that she addressed it, but it was quite a short section and I felt a little un-thoughtfully (maybe just succinctly?) worded.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

3 - 3.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary YA.

Jessie has just lost her mother, and she thinks her life can't get worse. It can. Her father decides to re-marry and uproot her from Chicago to L.A. When she arrives in L.A. her world is completely different. She lives in a mansion, goes to a private school, and no longer fits in. When she gets an email from the anonymous "SN" she quickly forms an attachment to him. When SN feels like her only friend, she'll want to meet him more than ever. But is he more comfortable on the other end of the screen?

This book reminded me a lot of Simon Vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda. Emails from a secret admirer, she wants to meet him, he doesn't want to meet... etc. I think because I read Simon so recently I was a little let down by this one. It wasn't bad at all, but it felt really similar, and I really adored Simon. I thought that Jessie and SN's conversations were really cute and funny, but I wanted a little bit more of them! I felt like Jessie ended up having some friends and I didn't completely get her relationships with them, and I guess I didn't feel like I understood her personality very well either. Maybe it is because of the grief and life changes she is dealing with? I'm not quite sure. Overall this book was very cute, and a fun, quick read... but I wanted just a little more from it. After writing my review, I saw another review of this book... and she was totally right... there's a lot of girl-on-girl hate in this book. Some of it is directed toward the main character, some of it from her. It's a lot, and it's nice to see the opposite in fiction, so I hope to read more books where female characters lift each other up in the future!

Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton*

3 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary YA. The blurb is a little misleading, it's not very mysterious.

When Rose's schoolmate Theo goes missing, the entire school and town are searching for him. When Theo shows up on Roses's front porch one night asking for help, Rose can't turn him away. What is his secret and why is he asking for her help? When Theo is discovered by Rose's parents the two must figure out how to deal with the fallout and have a real relationship.

I was really intrigued by the blurb for this book, it sounded so mysterious and gripping. I was a little disappointed to find out that that part of the plot is only about 35% of the book. The rest of the plot centers around Jessie and Theo's relationship. If it had been marketed as a YA contemporary I think it would have been given a different rating, but I was just a little too thrown off. I think this is a good debut novel, it was cute and the characters were well fleshed-out, and I overall liked it... but I think the blurb was just a little misleading. I also think there were bits where they tell you that something happened, rather than "showing" it. Which is never my favorite.

Rescuing the Receiver by Rachel Goodman*

3.5 - 4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance. Think a Hallmark movie (cheesy) with some steamy moments.

Chris Lalonde is Denver's most famous receiver for the Blizzards. When he is caught doping with performance enhancing drugs, the Blizzard's owner sentences Lalonde to time volunteering at Rescue Granted, a dog shelter for difficult cases. Little does Lalonde know, he can't sweet talk his way through the volunteer process. The owner Hazel Grant isn't about to let him half-ass his volunteer sentence. The shelter is dangerously low on funds, maybe Lalonde is just what she needs to save her shelter.

I didn't know what to expect with this book, but it was really cute. It reminded me a lot of a Hallmark movie, but bumped up to something rated R. I thought that the plot was cute, and the dogs were adorable. I liked Hazel and Lalonde's relationship and that they played off of one another so well. I appreciated that this book wasn't just about the romance, it was also about each of their careers and family lives too. There was a wee bit much of football in it for me, but that's probably just because I don't really care for football. haha There is one book before this, but it's not imperative to read it first. I recommend if you like fluffy and a little steamy romantic comedies. -Available 6/11 for purchase-

Chasing Spring by R.S. Grey

3 Stars - I recommend if you like contemporary fiction that focuses on troubled pasts and messy family drama.

After Lilah's mother died, she moved to Austin to live with her aunt. Now that her aunt has taken a new job abroad, Lilah must move back to Blackwater, TX with her father. What's more is her ex-best friend Chase will be living with her and her dad. His dad has taken up drinking again. Chase and Lilah haven't spoken in two years. Will living together help them repair their relationship, or tear them apart?

This book was very quick to read, the chapters were super short, so I read it in between bits of The Hate U Give. I wanted to love this book, but I didn't. It was a little bit slow, and I found Chase and Lilah to be a little bit young for me. I don't know why, I read a decent chunk of YA, but Lilah was just SO angsty. I think because you don't know what happened with their past and mothers right away, but as the story goes, it really makes it harder to identify with their angst. Most of the time I just wanted them to communicate. LOL. It also wasn't very romantic, which I had expected. Overall, it was a quick and interesting read, but not one of my favorites. I definitely preferred The Beau and The Belle of the two I have read from Grey so far. :)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

4.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary fiction that focuses on tough and timely issues, and features diversity in characters.

This book follows Starr who leads two lives: one in her black neighborhood with friends and family, and another at her private high school where she is one of the only non-white students in attendance. When Starr leaves a party with her friend Khalil and they are pulled over, Khalil is shot by a police officer. Starr must deal with her double identity, current issues, guilt and blame, and normal teen issues as the story and the investigation into Kahlil's murder continue.

I had heard so many good things about this book, and FINALLY on the 3rd time checking it out, I was able to get it read. I love that this is an own voices book, and a stunning debut novel for Angie Thomas. I appreciate seeing more diversity in authors, characters, and plots -- especially in YA books. I loved how seamlessly Thomas writes from each of Starr's "worlds," how she gives so much depth to her character. My biggest complaint was just that the chapters were SO long. It's not a secret that I like shorter chapters more, and I find them more motivating to keep reading, but some of these were 30+ pages in length. Other than that though, I thought that this book was fantastically and vividly written, and tenderly deals with such a timely and devastating topic from multiple vantage points.

Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren

4.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance.

Evie is a successful Hollywood agent who is married to her job. Carter is also a Hollywood agent, hoping to break into features. When they are set up to meet at a Halloween party, the two of them are interested but hesitant. When their companies merge, and they're competing for a job, things move way past complicated.

I had heard good things about Christina Lauren's books. They're meant to be quite funny and romantic. I didn't really know what to expect, but right away I liked their writing style! While it is a fun and fluffy read, the way it is written is quite smart. I loved having the chapters swap perspective back and forth. The Carter chapters were funny, I loved his relationship with MC. Bromances are the best. I found this to be a really modern take on dating, and I loved it. It felt real, fresh, and funny. I highly recommend this one if you enjoy romance, and if you love smart characters. There is a lot of lady power in this one, and Carter is adorable.

There you have it, tons and tons of books! If you want to see my spring & summer reading bucket list, check that out too! :)

Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books tomorrow. :) 

What have you been reading? What do you hope to read this month?! 

Let's be friends on Goodreads!



* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Have You Heard? // Manchester Orchestra - "The Gold"

Happy Friday Friends! This week has been the weirdest. Was Mercury in retrograde or something?! Oy. Everyone needed everything. There was a car chase and a robbery and all sorts of things + a big storm here (in our quiet town).. goodness gracious!

Today I'm sharing a song that I plugged into my phone a few weeks ago, I really love the sound of it. I hope that you enjoy it.

What are you all up to this weekend?! 

We are headed to 5th Annual Kansas Food Truck Festival this weekend! YAY, our annual tradition is here, and I'm so excited! Then on Sunday we are celebrating my sister Jess's birthday! Woohoo! In between I am hoping to spend equal parts of time reading and spring cleaning/re packing things that we never packed properly when we moved... LOL!

Other Posts This Week: The Roaring, Swinging, Fabulous, Groovy Blog Collaboration // 1940's

On YouTube This Week: February 2017 Project Life Pages.

On Year of Gratitude This Week: Musings of a Land-Locked Mermaid.


NEXT WEEK WE TALK ABOUT BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I have a crap-ton of April reads... be ready!) 



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Roaring, Swinging, Fabulous, Groovy Blog Collaboration // 1940's

It's one of my favorite days! Audrey & I's Roaring, Swinging, Fabulous, Groovy Blog Collaboration! :) I was a mood-reader this month, so I didn't get to any new titles. Boo. But oh well!

Today, Audrey and I are talking about the 1940's. MAKE SURE TO HOP ON OVER TO AUDREY'S BLOG TO CHECK OUT HER RECOMMENDATIONS! :) 

Here we go:

On the first Tuesday of the month, February through November, we're highlighting books & films from/about specific eras that we recommend! (Television shows, too, sometimes!) There's no commitment or link-up during those months on your end, but in December we’ll host a recap/link-up for the entire year!

I'm learning a lot from this challenge already: 

Books, Films, and Bonus will be things that I HAVE read or watched. "On Deck": will be things that I am hoping to get to soon!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schafer - loved this!
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - read ages ago, it was so stunning.

Mrs. Henderson Presents - quirky film about rich widow who opens a theater in London. Her stage director has much more risque thoughts about the direction of the show.
Australia - I'm a sucker for Baz Luhrmann
Pearl Harbor - Young Josh Hartnett, be still my heart!

What books, movies, or shows can you recommend that take place in the 1940's? Is there a goodreads equivalent for movies?!

Be sure to hope over to Audrey’s blog and check out her recommendations!

Throw on your poodle skirt and leather jacket, and meet us at the sock hop next month to dive headfirst into the 1950s! We’re rockin’ and rollin’ our way into the next decade and we hope you’ll join us!