Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Books Lately

I am currently in New Zealand, but I couldn't miss this link up! I hope no-one minds that I am going to link up now and comment later. Yes, I could skip this link up but what if I missed a good book recommendation. The horror. No.

Beartown - Fredrik Backman - 5 Stars
hockey town deals with.. lots of stuff

I can't even explain this book. I've never read any of his other stuff but I honestly can't imagine how they can even compare or be similar. This book wrecked me. I stayed up till 2am to finish it and I was a bawling bag of mess by the end of it. His writing is beautiful, the characters and overall story just wormed their way into my heart and I highly recommend it. It is about a hockey town, sure, but about SO MUCH MORE than that. You'll know that when you read the first page. It mentions  something bad, and then tells the story of how they got there. Trust. Read. 
Received copy from NetGalley
Lethal - Sandra Brown - 4 Stars
romantic suspense 

After enjoying Mean Streak last month, I added basically all of Brown's books to my list. I try not to read multiple books from one author in quick succession (unless it's a series) because then I compare or get bored with the formula the author might use. So far, I think she might use a formula as this one was pretty similar to Mean Streak. It was still enjoyable, I totally guessed the bad guys early on though, whereas I sat there with my jaw on the floor for a good 5 minutes with Mean Streak. I couldn't put this one down though, even if it wasn't quite as good. More like 4.5.
The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton - 5 Stars
typical kate morton book

I have never guessed the twist of a book as early as I did this one. Sure I guess things all the time but I'm rarely right, and never with the other Kate Morton books I've read. I was like screaming at this book to hurry up and get to what I knew was coming. Figuring it out early on didn't stop me enjoying the book though, Kate Morton's a great writer, though her books are long and convoluted, I love how she fits everything together. I definitely recommend. This was my favourite of hers I've read so far.
Study trilogy - Maria V. Snyder - 4/4/3 Stars respectively
girl sentenced to die becomes food taster instead

I really enjoyed the first book of this series, it was so different and interesting. The second book was also good, though it went in a direction I was not expecting. The third bummed me out, it was all over the place and not as good as the first 2. Overall, I enjoyed it, and I'd recommend if it sounds like your kind of book (definitely skip if you're not into YA fantasy). The series continues/picks up again after like 10 years and I am a bit curious to see where it goes. We'll see.
Shine Not Burn - Elle Casey - 4 Stars
mix between sweet home alabama and what happens in vegas

This book was super funny and enjoyable. I really did laugh several times, and though it was a bit predictable, I didn't mind - that's why I read romances, I don't want them to not get together. I read the second one as well, just as cute and funny.
Prejudice Meets Pride - Rachael Anderson - 3 Stars
kind of pride & prejudice-y but not really

Thought this would be a fun, cute, modern day P&P. It was definitely a cute little book, but not really P&P at all. I mean yeah there's a snobby guy and a proud girl and they're from opposite worlds money wise, but that's it. Light & fluffy, not mad I read it.
The Deal - Elle Kennedy - 4 Stars
girl with baggage tutors hockey player and then dates him to make other guy jealous

I quite liked this book. It reminded me of Easy, but a little lighter.
Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick - 4 Stars
celebrity memoir

I really enjoyed this. Anna Kendrick does seem pretty normal and down to earth, but there were definitely parts where it was like we get it, you're totally normal. But I feel like if I was a celebrity I'd be like guys I'm normal(ish) I swear! all the time, so I get it. Really, she is very funny, I liked how honest she was, I want to watch all of her movies now, I hope she writes that second book when she's 70.
Wallflower series - Lisa Kleypas - 4 Stars
4 books about 4 women getting husbands, historical romance

Perfectly enjoyable for what they are if you are into these kinds of books (as I'm sure you can tell, I am). The characters were fun, the stories were cute.
King's Cage - Victoria Aveyard - 3 Stars
3rd book in this series

More like 2.5. Bloody hell this was a slog to get through. Felt like dragging my feet through mud or something. Mare is so annoying. But there were good parts sprinkled it and dammit if I'm not invested in this series and want to see where it goes. 
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie - Jennifer Ashley - 4 Stars
historical romance kind of like the rosie project

This book was adorable. Loved the characters and the story. 

Playing for Keeps - R.L. Mathewson - 2 Stars
next door neighbours romance

I am pretty cranky because clearly I got the wrong book, as there is NO WAY I read the same book that 80,000 other people did and seemed to love. Bloody hell, I'm sorry, but this book was awful. The guy was a complete ass, so immature and just ridiculous. I was shaking my head for most of it. If it weren't so short I would have given up. The epilogue was cute, I'm a sucker for an epilogue, which is the only reason this gets 2 stars instead of 1.
Who knows? For this trip, I brought 10 real books and a kindle full of netgalley, library & kindle unlimited books. MUST HAVE VARIETY. Also, I take most of these books with the intention of leaving them behind or giving them to someone (unless I absolutely love them and refuse to part with them).

I also read The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series which was super cute and enjoyable. Unfortunately, the last book is not out yet which is a bummer. It's a kids series, it was super cute, though as I don't generally read to/with children I don't know what age it would be suitable for, but I really did like it and recommend if it sounds like something your kids would like (last one comes out in December hopefully).

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

Life According to Steph

Do you take your kindle or real books when you travel? 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

May 2017 Recap - What's New With You Link Up

Good morning everyone! Time for another link up with Gretch & me, all we ask is that you link back somewhere in your post. Thanks a bunch. I'll be doing another monthly recap, but again - not much to recap this month. Life has been quiet and I'm not mad about that.

What's New With You

As I mentioned in my trying new things post, I went to kickboxing for the first time, tried to donate blood and ran a 5k at the zoo. And honestly, that sums up my month.

Of course, there was also mother's day, which we spent with my mother in law and chinese food. To feel like I was also giving props to my own mum, I wore a tshirt that we both bought back in LA.

In other news, we are about a week out from our holiday and does anyone else just run around like a chook with its head cut off before a trip? I feel like there is a million things I need to do and not a lot of time to do everything. Both personal and work related. I haven't even started packing yet - very unlike me as I'm sure you know! But don't worry, I have my list ready, duh. So I'm packed on the computer at least.

To be honest, I'm really worried/nervous about this trip. I am excited for New Zealand, but nervous for Australia. I can't wait to see my mum but I'm scared because I will fully understand the impact her stroke has had when I see her in person. Obviously, I'm just glad she's alive and (mostly) well, it's just hard to see your only parent in a situation you can't make better for them.

If you'd like to link up with us, please do so below!

So, what's new with you?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Link Up Reminder

Happy Monday Tuesday all! Just a quick note to remind anyone who wants to link up with us - this Thursday the 1st is the next What's New With You link up.

We hope you'll join us!

What's New With You

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trying new things

I am not good at trying new things.

The thing is, I'd kinda had myself convinced there wasn't anything new I wanted to try.

But lately I have been thinking about really trying new things, getting out of my comfort zone, not being so scared of everything all the time. I started thinking about this when I was watching No Tomorrow (bummed there is no season 2) and then Gina posted about taking chances.

The more I thought about it, the more this voice in my head kept asking me was I sure there was nothing new I wanted to try? I argued with the voice in my head (I'm sane, I swear) and said, self, I do lots of things! I run races, I just bought a new house and knocked down walls! I have been to Europe and I'm going to New Zealand in a couple months! There, take that! New things everywhere!

But still, the voice wouldn't shut up. It kept bringing things up things that I had smooshed into corners of my brain. Cooking classes, sewing, kickboxing, volunteering, donating blood, skydiving.. the list was longer than I had originally thought. It kept reminding me that life is short.

I have bookmarked a groupon for kickboxing classes. I actually bookmarked it way back about a year or two ago. I shit you not. It's right across the road from my work. It's really affordable to start and the class times are often and flexible. So what was stopping me? I have no idea. I just never hit purchase. I was so terrified. I kept telling myself it was because I didn't really want to, but I did! I do, brain. Shut up and let me do things.

But last week I did it. I signed up. I DID IT. This may seem SO silly. But it was a huge deal for me!! Just the signing up part, that was enough.

That day, I was so proud and kinda on a high from feeling all brave and whatnot, I went to participate in a blood drive at work - another thing I've always wanted to do but was too afraid. I enlisted/dragged a co-worker with me as I was too scared to go on my own (baby steps guys), and I went and.... I did not conquer. They sent me and my too low iron away. Very sad, but hey. At least I tried!

Even though donating blood was a fail, I didn't give up and actually went to the kickboxing class that I signed up for the next day. I really thought I would sit on the groupon purchase for at least a couple of weeks, but I told people at work and the ahole bros group to keep me accountable.

It was hard. Really hard. I was dripping sweat, I couldn't do half of the things they did, my fingers were so sore after punching, but I felt like a bad ass. I'm going back tonight and hopefully Thursday. I'm not sure if it's something I'll be able to do long term, it gets expensive after the first few classes (doesn't everything!).

Lastly, I signed up for a 5k at the zoo with my work. This doesn't sound like anything exciting, scary or 'new', but I'd never been to the Louisville Zoo and I'd always wanted to do the 5k there. But I didn't want to do it on my own, didn't even want to drive to a new place on my own. Things fell into place when my work decided to start doing 5ks as a team, and then I signed KC up as well. Funny story, KC doesn't run because he hurt his ankle like 5 years ago. I figured he could walk it and then we could spend the day at the zoo.

Well, we spent the day at the zoo, but KC ran it and beat me. How rude! But I did pretty well I think, it's a very hilly course and it was the fastest 5k I've done in a while (28:41). The zoo itself was fun, even though I have mixed feelings about zoos in general (don't we all...).

Of course, the new scary thing I did that day was touch a snake. I wasn't going to do it but then a little kid did it and I was like if he can, so can I! It felt so weird. Not like I expected a snake to feel.

So there you go. New things everywhere. Sure, they aren't big scary inspiring things, but I will get there. I've been in my comfort zone a long time, I'm not going to get out of it overnight.

When was the last time you ventured out of your comfort zone, and what did you do?