Monday, October 30, 2017

Link Up Reminder

Happy Monday all! Just a quick note to remind anyone who wants to link up with us - this Thursday the 2nd is the next What's New With You link up.

We hope you'll join us!

What's New With You



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Expat Qs


1. WHERE WERE YOU BORN, WHERE DID YOU GROW UP AND WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

I was born in Melbourne, a place called Kew, I spent the first few months of my life there and then we moved to Sydney, where I stayed for twenty something years. Now I live in Louisville, Kentucky. 

2. WHAT MADE YOU LEAVE YOUR HOME COUNTRY?

It had always been a dream of mine to live in America, my obsession with America started when I fell in love with the babysitters club. I met an American living in Australia, we became friends, she went home, I went to visit her, met my husband, made him marry me and here we are.


3. WHAT TYPE OF REACTIONS DO YOU GET WHEN YOU MEET NEW PEOPLE AND TELL THEM WHERE YOU ARE FROM?

Why? Why here? Why would you leave Australia? I get it, if I meet any Australians in KY my first question is always what the f*ck are you doing here? 

4. WHAT WAS THE EASIEST/HARDEST PART IN ADJUSTING TO YOUR NEW COUNTRY?

The hardest part was that I actually originally intended to come here for a year, but then I ended up staying. So I never felt like I got that closure. 

Other than that, the language has been the hardest for me. We all speak the same language, but we really don't. There are different spellings for one, and different words, the same words are pronounced differently or used differently, I've gotten laughed at or corrected more times than I can count. I wouldn't mind except that some people really cannot understand that the word might be different for me, I'm not being an asshole on purpose. I don't use Australian words when I know people won't understand them, like I said, that's an asshole move. I've had to change the way I talk because only an asshole would continue saying eat in or take away when they know it won't be understood, just say for here or to go, you know? But then I lose take away and start saying to go at work, then in my normal life, and before you know it I've forgotten what take away means. Plus I say 'for here' which sounds like 'for heeyah' so then I start over enunciating the R which makes me sound like a complete tool. 

The easiest part was that I knew KC and other friends before I moved here. That made my life so easy, especially because I lived with one of my friends and got a job at her dad's restaurant (see above mentioned take away vs to go). I am still friends with those people and I don't feel like a novelty to them.


5. IMAGES, WORDS OR SOUNDS THAT SUM UP THE EXPAT EXPERIENCE YOU’VE HAD SO FAR.


 ^^ hahahaha

But really? My expat experience isn't really very expat-y anymore. It's just life. I work, I read, I sleep, I pay my bills, hang out with friends, I got married, bought two houses and have 3 cats. It's just life now.

6. YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD OR DRINK ITEM IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY

Oh my gosh. So many options. I honestly like things about food and drink here vs specific items, if that makes sense? I love the portion sizes because I really like food, I love the bread before the meal, the multiple sides with everything, chips with sandwiches, ridiculously large sodas, free refills, and how cheap everything is. 

As for specific things, there are more that I don't like or freak me out that are 'American' in my head. Like making sweet potatoes or pumpkins into something sweet, drinking milk at all let alone with a meal (vomit), anything cinnamon-y, peanut butter and jelly (let's not mention jelly vs jam I DON'T GET IT) and I should probably stop before I offend someone.

7. WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU SAID “YES” TO IN YOUR NEW CITY THAT YOU WOULDN’T SAY “YES” TO, BACK HOME?

Erm. I don't think anything? Getting married? Hahaha. I probably travel more here because it's easier, closer and cheaper. I never would have bought a house at home, ever ever ever.


8. ARE THERE ANY CULTURAL NORMS/PHRASES IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY WHICH YOU CANNOT STAND?

I don't know if this is America wide or just in Kentucky but lord it drives me crazy when people use here or anymore incorrectly. Drives me BONKERS. 

I'm not good with examples, only pointing it out when it happens (which I'm sure everyone around me appreciates). But off the top of my head:

Here: It will be hot here soon, I'm going to eat here soon. They don't mean physically here, it's like an extension of soon. People say it without saying soon, but like I said I'm not great with examples. It doesn't bother me as much as anymore though and perhaps it isn't wrong, it just feels wrong in my head.

Anymore: like, instead of 'these days'. Anymore, the cinema is so busy and I don't like going. Groceries are so expensive anymore. Anymore I've been trying to eat more vegetables.

The other day I used here the way Kentuckians do and I almost slapped myself. Kidding. Also I googled the anymore thing while I was writing this and apparently it's pretty common but it is nails on a chalkboard to me.

9. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST DOING IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY?

Again, for me it's just life now. And life is pretty fun to live. Other than that, I love travelling to other places. It's so fun, easy, cheap and close to do so. 

10. DO YOU THINK YOU WILL EVER MOVE HOME FOR GOOD?

Likely not. KC and I joked that we would move home if trump became president and I'm still here, aren't I. There are a million and one reasons to stay, there are a million and one reasons to go home. I like to just ignore it.


Anymore, I forget I'm even an expat. OMG KIDDING. About the use of anymore in that sentence and forgetting I'm an expat. As if.

So tell me. What the bloody hell is the difference between jelly and jam. Kidding kidding. But really. Also, jello is a brand, right? But you call it all jello? Even if it's a different brand? Like kleenex or coke, but they are tissues and soft drink (or pop or soda or whatever). Does jello ever have a different name?  Just curious.

I can't believe I am coming up on 6 years since I moved here. I wonder if there is a point that I stop calling myself an expat. I don't think I will ever stop calling myself/identifying as an Australian, no matter how long I live here. Just like I was born in Melbourne and never really lived there, just visited family, I am Victorian or a Melbournian, always will be. It never comes up here, but back in Sydney, it was a big deal. Just like here, I imagine, when you move from state to state. You'll always identify with the one you're 'from', right?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Books I just HAD to buy... and still haven't read

Inspiration for this post: past topic from Top Ten Tuesdays

I feel like I have grown and come far enough that I can now say I don't have a shopping addiction anymore. Which is great. I still buy things, sure, but I don't have as big a problem with impulse purchases, or buying things that look great on other people, or a mountain of credit card debt because of all of my stupid purchases.

But.. I still have a teensy bit of a book buying problem. I am definitely better than I once was, but I still like to buy books. It used to be because I wasn't a member of a library here, so I had to rely on my ebook library from back home or books I purchased. Now I am a member of the library (best day of my American life, sorry KC) I buy books when my library doesn't have them or I want them sooner than the library can give them to me. Also sometimes they are so cheap or I know I'll love them and want to own them, so I just buy them. Which is fine. I'm allowed to buy books. I'm a grown ass woman. Also, I love books and reading so it should be fine, right?

Except, when I buy a book, I do one of two things: 
- I read it as soon as I get my hands on it.
- I put it away and don't touch it for years.

There is not really a middle ground for me. But I want to be better about it, so I thought sharing this today would give me the kick up the butt I needed to get to these books that I just HAD to own.


The rest of the Outlander series. I read the first Outlander, loved it, bought the rest and.... that was in 2015. Oops. At this rate, I need to re-read the first one before I continue with the series, which truthfully isn't that much of a hardship.
Frederica and Cotillion - I adored The Grand Sophy so, so, so much that I immediately added all of Georgette Heyer's historical fiction to my TBR and purchased 2 of them. In 2014. Problem is, I know they can't compare to The Grand Sophy, so I'm nervous to read them.
Jane Eyre - yeah, I know. I own 3 copies of this, one I bought in Paris (in 2015)! But I still haven't read it.
The Goddess Test - I accidentally spoiled something for myself by reading the synopsis of the second book, so I'm trying to wait until I forget it.. but honestly, that's stupid because it's not even a spoiler, you know it has to happen for the series to continue, so I need to get over it and read it.
Anna Karenina - another one I bought in 2014. I think this might have been a case of I *should* read it or reading it will make me smart and worldly or something. But on the shelf it sits.

All Our Yesterdays - I was drawn to this book like a moth to a flame, or like a Kristen to a book. Yet I still haven't read it.
The Eyre Affair - this book sounds SO interesting and unique. I have no idea why I haven't read it yet. Another one I bought in 2015.
I Capture the Castle - saw this one on so many favourites lists so I bought it in 2014 or 2015 and yep... still on my shelf.
Shadow and Bone - I am 97% sure I will love this book, which is why I bought it sometime last year. Perhaps I will get to it before I am 50. Maybe.
Across the Universe - it has over 100,000 reviews on Goodreads and sounds right up my book alley, which I am sure is the reason I bought it in 2014. I should probably read it.
Deep blue - mermaids! Sold! I bought this and then read another of her books and was not a fan, so now I'm scared of this one. At least I've read all the others in the picture below...

I Am the Messenger - honestly, I am terrified of reading this. There is no way in hell it can come close to The Book Thief and I shouldn't compare the two but I know I will. 

Matched - 2015, I think? I might have been super into YA and dystopian books. I read less of them now but I still read them. I'm sure I'll get to this one eventually.
Love Walked In - I don't know what made me buy this book in 2016, the title, the cover or the recommendations.. I don't know why I haven't read it yet. Story of my life.
The Life Intended - pretty cover, author's name is Kristin, described as Sliding Doors meets PS I Love You.. have you ever met a book that sounds more like my jam?! Why haven't I read it?
Open Road Summer - Jamie has recommended this one so many times, so I bought it in.. 2015? Maybe earlier? And yeah. Oops.
Emmy & Oliver - totally bought this because it was super hyped when it came out and the cover is gorgeous. That was in 2015. The cover is still pretty, not that I can see it wedged in my bookshelf the way it is.

^ At least I've read 4 books out of that pile...

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - lots of my goodreads friends like this book and it ticks a lot of boxes for me yet.. it's still sitting there.
The Lumatere Chronicles - purchased all 3 of these because my library didn't have them, I seem to love Melina Marchetta as an adult even though I hated her books as a teen.. I'm sure I will love these but on my shelf they sit.
The Shadow of the Wind - another one that sounds SO interesting and my goodreads friends love it. But... still unread. I bought this in 2016 so.. not that bad.
Jurassic Park - yeah, I know the story, seen the movie a zillion times, but I've heard the book is amazing. So I bought it. Aaaaaannd yep.
Heartless - pre-ordered this because I adored The Lunar Chronicles. I am not an Alice in Wonderland fan, so I'm nervous. I bet myself $100 that I will re-read The Lunar Chronicles before getting to this one.
Disruption duology - this one makes me laugh the most because I needed this book series so badly that I bought it from an Australian website because it wasn't available in the US. I shipped it to my mum and made her bring it with her on her last trip to the US. That was well over a year ago. It's available in the US now and I still haven't read it.


So there you have it. So many books, not enough time to read them all! I know there are even more than the ones listed, I just focused on the ones that I had that feeling of omg absolutely must own this book... so it can sit on my bookshelves for years. According to my goodreads shelves (because we all know I love to obsessively organise) I have 19 books from 2015 and prior, 58 books from 2016 and 55 books from this year. See, I have a problem.

I think my problem is that most of the time I am in the mood for a certain book and I'm not going to force myself to read something I'm not in the mood for. I think yes I want to read this.. just not right now. Which pushes it back and back. That's why I have so many books, whether it's library, netgalley or owned - must have options!

Have you read any of these that I just *had* to own? If so, which should I finally get around to reading?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Books Lately

3rd anniversary of this link up! Time flies when you're having fun, and this is the most fun I have in blogland every month, so thank you Steph & Jana - also, please never ever ever ever stop.

I am still on my romance kick.. honestly, I'm always on some sort of romance kick, but I don't always talk about the romances I read during the link up because I know they aren't everyone's jam. I normally just talk about the ones I really enjoyed or think other people will like. So when I am on a bigger than normal romance kick, I have more to talk about. If you ever want to see all the books I read but don't talk about here, lets be friends on goodreads!

Black Dagger Brotherhood - J.R. Ward - 3/4/5 Stars
romance series about vampire brotherhood

My friend Sara (hi Sara!) recommended this series to me and I gobbled it up. I liked some books more than others, I don't know if I will continue because it started getting too samesies, but if you like fantasy romance (romance people), I recommend. The characters names are absolutely ridiculous though (Wrath, Phury, Rhage, Zsadist....), but you get used to it. I only read the first 6, my favourites were 1, 2 and 3.
Kulti - Mariana Zapata - 5 Stars
soccer romance.. but way better than that sounds

This one was good, really good, I enjoyed it more than Under Locke but nowhere near as much as The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. It was hilarious and I adored Sal. Her inner dialogue was fabulous. Zapata's books are slooooooooooooow burns, you really get to know the characters and watch them build a friendship/relationship. That's good for people who don't like any adult scenes in their books, but it can get a little frustrating (ahem) when you know it's coming eventually. Again, I really enjoyed this, wanted to stay up all night to finish it but had to function at work the next day so I didn't. Still not as fantastic as Winnipeg, but I'll take it.
The Vixen and the Vet - Katy Regnery - 5 Stars
beauty and the beast retelling with veteran 

Ignore the cover. I LOVED this book. It's short, quick, sexy, adorable. It's a Beauty and the Beast retelling, so it's ridiculously unrealistic and predictable but if you like romances I highly recommend. And by romance I mean romance so make sure that's your jam. Also, this author regularly uses her books as fundraisers with proceeds going towards charities that are related to the book (for example, this one donated to Operation Mend and Pets for Vets) so high five to her. I also read Never Let You Go (Hansel and Gretel retelling) and Don't Speak (The Little Mermaid retelling) which are also in the 'series' though they aren't connected in any way. I enjoyed them both.
69 Million Things I Hate About You - Kira Archer - 5 Stars
romance, girl wins lotto, decides not to quit but to see how far until boss fires her

Oh my goodness. Nadine recommended this and I am so glad she did!  This book made me actually laugh out loud, several times. This is a romance so if that's not your jam, stay away. Basically it's a hate to love story, in the challenge of who can blink first they end up falling in love. It's not overly dramatic or angsty but it's not boring either. This is such a cute, light, quick story and I highly recommend it. Bonus, it's only 99 cents on amazon (not an affiliate link!).

Received copy from NetGalley
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor - 4 Stars
time travel but with humour, romance, mystery and adventure

Took me quite a bit to get into this one, but then I was waiting on my friend and reading this to keep me occupied, so when she arrived I was like DO YOU MIND I AM READING and couldn't wait to get back to it. There are a lot of characters and normally when it's a super character focused book the plot isn't really heavy but there was a lot of plot and things going on. I loved the writing, very simple but enjoyable. There was one page I literally read like 7 times and then when I finished the book, kept going back and reading that page. So good. I requested the rest of the series from the library.


The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy - Sara Angelini - 4 Stars
modern day pride & prejudice but with lizzy a lawyer and darcy a judge

You know I love a good P&P retelling. If, like me, you just like any semblance of similarity to P&P at all, or you like romances and don't mind a few adult scenes, you might like this. I almost didn't read it but I'm glad I gave it a go as it was seriously enjoyable and fulfilled my P&P retelling need. Not for the Austen purist, honestly you could change the names and no-one would compare it to P&P, so it's good for the non-fans as well.
Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe - Melissa de la Cruz - 4 Stars
modern day pride & prejudice but with darcy a girl, lizzy is a guy named luke

Oh look another one! I really enjoyed this one, it was super quick and easy, it wasn't too christmassy to be reading in September. It actually hardly felt like a P&P retelling because of the whole Darcy is a girl and Lizzy is a guy named Luke, I kept forgetting who was supposed to be who. It was fun, light and cute, don't be turned off by the P&P title if you're not a fan, just think of it as a cute christmas romance about childhood enemies becoming lovers.

Received copy from NetGalley
The Things We Wish Were True - Marybeth Mayhew Whalen - 4 Stars
secrets in a small neighbourhood

I liked this one more than I expected to when I began it. It was a bit boring at first, but all of a sudden I really like and care about all of the characters (and there are quite a few of them). You see some of the twists coming and are surprised by others. It was an enjoyable read.

Received copy from NetGalley
teenager living on reservation transfers to an all white school

This was a cute, quirky book. It was also pretty heartbreaking and I definitely teared up a time or two. I liked it more than I thought I would. This was an interesting book and I thought it talked candidly about a lot of heavy subjects, skated over some seriously heavy things like I'd accidentally skip a line and someone had died. Overall, I recommend it, it was the right mix of happy and sad.
Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon - 4 Stars
girl has disease where she can't go outside, everything will kill her

The hype with this one meant I had super high expectations and I was really preparing for a super intense read, which I don't think I got. It's still good, interesting and surprising, I do recommend it. It's a quick feel good with a dash of wtf read.
Rugby series - L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid - 4/5 Stars
romance series about guys in a rugby team

I loved Penny Reid's series with the beards and this series was just as good. I asbolutely loved the first one, 2 & 3 weren't as good but still funny. Cute little romances that pass the time just fine.
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman - 4 Stars
good & evil try and stop apocalypse - but funny and sarcastic

This book took me FOREVER to get through. KC was reading it on one of our long flights and kept reciting funny lines and telling me I should read it. So I did, and then he didn't even finish it (rage). This book was hilarious, interesting and very unique. But something was missing for me, I kept getting distracted easily or putting it down. I switched between the ebook and audio several times, neither clicking with me. Overall, glad I read it, doubt I'll ever read it again, not inducted into the cult of good omens lovers, but still recommend.

 Jane, Unlimited and Mansfield Park (gonna be honest, bored out of my mind right now) 

Here's where I'm at with Erin's challenge - one book left!


• 5 points: at least 200 pages – My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (448 p)
• 10 points: starts with the letter “B” - Bully by Penelope Ward (333 p)
• 10 points: a (mostly) yellow cover - The Look of Love by Sarah Jio (286 p)
• 15 points: a picture of an animal on the cover -Lingus by Mariana Zapata (275 p)
• 20 points: published in 2017 - Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (393 p)
• 20 points: a compass or cardinal direction in the title – East by Edith Pattou (507 p)
• 25 points: one of the most commonly banned books – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (230 p)
• 30 points: fictional book about mental illness - Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (278 p) 
• 30 points: non-human main character – Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (299 p)
• 35 points: based on a Disney movie - The Vixen and the Vet  by Katy Regnery (295 p)

Linking up with Steph & Jana.


TL;DR - I recommend....... well.... if you like romances, any of the ones I talked about. If you don't, I recommend Just One Damned Thing After Another if it sounds like your jam (it's really not too sci-fi-ish at all), The Things We Wish Were True and Good Omens.

Read anything decent lately?