Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Books Lately

Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! I tried to knock out a few netgalley books since the last link up, I'm still not ahead but isn't that always the way with netgalley. Getting there!

My photos are always with Penny because she is a) the only cat that ever lays on me and b) the only cat that allows me to rest my book on her. It's quite handy really, until she moves, which she always does because you know.. cats.
One of Us Is Lying - Karen M. McManus
breakfast club meets gossip girl meets pretty little liars

I've had this book forever and I kept putting it off, don't know why. It was addicting and I really wanted to know what happened. I did guess the ending, but I guessed several other endings too so I was bound to be right with one of them. I read it in one sitting, liked the characters and the story. I see why some people wouldn't like it or be offended by some of the 'twists' but they did not bother me.
Received copy from Netgalley.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things - Bryn Greenwood
follows the relationship between a man and girl with 13 year age gap

This is one of the most disturbing, sickening, heartbreaking books I've ever read. I had some issues with the direction of the book towards the end, regardless of how realistic, and of course with the whole 13 year age gap which wouldn't be the end of the world except things do get physical when she is like 13. This is not a true romance, it's not super graphic or erotic, and like On the Island you might find yourself rethinking things, rethinking your gut reactions. I don't know. I read a review that said this was a hard book to read and even harder to put down and I agree completely. 
The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah
family moves to alaska in the 70s

This is actually my first Kristin Hannah book after The Nightingale. I loved that one so much I didn't think any of her others would be able to compare, but when I saw this on netgalley I couldn't help but request it. I do not think the synopsis does this one justice, it sounds dreadfully boring but it is anything but. The pacing is a bit odd, really slow at first and super quick at the end. I loved the characters and their relationships. This book is heartbreaking and I felt all the emotions. I teared up several times, nothing like the all out sobfest of The Nightingale though. I definitely need to check out more from this author!
Received copy from Netgalley.

Surprise Me - Sophie Kinsella
couple freaks out when they realise they have 60+ years left together

This is a typical Kinsella book in my opinion, the characters get into stupid sticky situations because they don't think or research things properly and there's a lot of miscommunication. It passed the time just fine though it did feel like there was a lot going on, almost like it was two books smooshed into one (which is funny, given a quote in the book). Definitely not my favourite of hers, my expectations might have been a tad too high after loving My Not So Perfect Life, but if you're a fan of hers already you might enjoy it. 
Received copy from Netgalley.
Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie
murder mystery on a train

I picked this up for 2 reasons - 1) the movie, I have a strange obsession with reading books before watching the movie, even if I don't really have an interest in the book or movie (I didn't say it was a logical obsession) and 2) my Nana is a huge Agatha Christie fan. She owned and loved all of them. She can't read anymore, her eyesight is too bad. I've always meant to pick up one of her books, but my Nana hates Jane Austen so I figured our tastes would be pretty different. This book took me two months to read, which is an age for me. Even though it took me a long time, I really enjoyed it overall. It was funny and interesting.
Artemis - Andy Weir
a criminal-ish and a conspiracy on the moon

I ignored this one for several months because my expectations were way too high. Andy Weir probably should have pulled a JK Rowling and published this under another name because everyone will compare, and I'm sorry, it just pales in comparison to The Martian and Mark Watney. Which is a bummer, obviously. I liked the overall story and I was definitely interested, I just would have liked more from the characters and their relationships. Overall it was an enjoyable read that passed the time just fine, I don't regret reading it.
Received copy from Netgalley.
By the Book - Julia Sonneborn
persuasion retelling

I love Persuasion retellings, as I might have mentioned a time or twenty. I had high hopes for this one but it was very disappointing unfortunately. I wasn't a fan of the writing, the story itself didn't focus enough on Adam (Wentworth) and Anne as much as I'd like, there was a love triangle.. honestly, the other guy is probably what ruined it for me. Sometimes drastic changes in retellings work, sometimes they don't. This one just didn't sit right with me and I struggled through it. Womp womp.
Received copy from Netgalley.
How to Stop Time - Matt Haig
man lives for over 400 years

I...... nope. Note to self: if you find a book dreadfully boring and not matching the synopsis, DNF it. I loved the concept but this fell super flat for me. The main character was insufferable and so boring. It goes back and forth all over time (he is 439, after all) and we meet lots of famous people (come on now, just because you're old doesn't mean you will have met every bloody person who will turn out to be famous in a century or two). I didn't hate it but I didn't love it and have already forgotten it.
Received copy from Netgalley.
Nemesis - Brendan Reichs
girl survives being killed every 2 years but also the world seems to be ending plus a little bit of hunger games/lord of the flies

This was the book Gina and I decided on this month and I think we'd both like to apologise to anyone who read along with us... this book was a mess. It sounded good because of the girl getting killed every 2 years but somehow surviving that, and that's why I picked it up. I admit I didn't read the entire synopsis because I didn't think it would be much more than that, because why would you need more than that? This book tried to fit too many things in, answered about 10% of the questions that arose and the answers were lazy with someone explaining shit. Should have DNF'd.

Linking up with Steph & Jana.
Life According to Steph

Gina and I will be reading Homegoing before the next link up if you'd like to pick it up as well. I've heard nothing but good things, hopefully it is better than the mess that Nemesis was.

TL;DR - I recommend One of Us Is Lying and The Great Alone.

Read anything decent lately?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


I feel like it's been ages since I did a currently post, so figured I'd share a few things about life lately.

Reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry and listening to Seriously... I'm Kidding. I'm not exactly a fan of Ellen, I'm not not a fan, but I like celebrity books. I'm actually not really in a reading mood lately (like, the past week) so instead of reading I have actually been watching TV (I don't know who I am either). I go through phases and apparently right now it's a not really into reading phase.

Watching Downton Abbey. I still haven't seen the last season and I got a hankering to rewatch it all, so that's what I am doing. I am bracing myself for the deaths (that I know about) that basically killed me the first time I watched it.. I'm sure no one will, but no spoilers for the last season please!

Thinking about house projects. The kitchen is still not technically 100% finished, but we're already thinking about our next projects. I am super against another big renovation for at least a year or two, I just can't be bothered living through that just yet. So, bathrooms are out even though I hate them. We are going to hopefully tackle the exterior in the spring/summer and basement towards the end of the year.

So here's what we want to do to the outdoors. We might do all of these or only some. Time and finances shall tell.

- A fence. We are on a side lot so we have a bowling alley kind of backyard. But we have a HUGE front/side yard and we've seen people fence in part of their side yard to make it a backyard, if that makes sense. We have to get a permit for the fence and plan it out, this will likely be the most expensive and time consuming project. They might even say no, which will be annoying.
- Extend the front porch. This will obviously also be expensive and time consuming, it's not as important as the fence and I have no idea where to start or if we'll even end up doing it. I've seen people online do wood over it and extending it that way, I don't know if that would look good or if we should try and do concrete? Then I can stain it or something to match? I don't know.
- Footpath/side walk thing. We have these stepping stones from our driveway to our little porch thing and I'd like it to be an actual path. 
- Paint the shutters. 
- Landscaping. I want to put a little border around the flower beds and tidy them up, plant new flowers and do the whole mulch thing (gardener, I am not). We also need to get a stump grinder and remove some shrub things.
- Little free library! 

'Scuse the crappy picture, I google street viewed it. The little tree on the right is gone now, we need to get the stump grinder for it though, the other two trees will stay. The fence will go up in the left corner, if that makes sense. I want to extend the porch to the right, so it will go basically line up with that window on the right.

Working on finances. Exciting stuff, I know. We have a couple of things to pay off, a savings goal in mind, house projects we want to tackle, a grocery budget that's out of control and one of us is addicted to buying books. Even at $1 or $2 each, I've already spent over $100 and purchased 60 (yes freaking 6-0!) books this year. It's freaking March! What the bloody hell? I need to slow down. My bestie suggested a book buying ban for the rest of 2018 and I'm not ashamed to say that sounds terrifying but I am at least going to try for several months. I do get those no rush shipping credits from amazon, so I will try and just use those for books. I literally (yep, literally) have 500+ books on my kindle or shelves at home so to say I do not need to buy any books would be an understatement.

So there's that. No books for the forseeable future.

Saving $5 a day- yesterday, I figured out if I saved $5 a day, I'd have an extra $1,500 by the end of the year. So I decided to start doing that on top of the savings goals I've already got planned. I have a spreadsheet that details where my money is going every week for the rest of the year. I also use mint, but spreadsheets are so fun, right?

Excited about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie! The trailer is out now and I think I've watched it about 300 times since Heather first told me about it. It is one of my favourite books of all time and I just.cannot.wait. I laughed so hard at the end of the trailer where they make fun of the title. I am going to watch this on my own because I don't want to listen to KC snoring (jk) or making fun of it, and I don't know anyone else who'd want to see it or understand my love for the book. I am SO excited!

Trying to decide if I will sign up for the Kentucky Derby mini marathon. I have not been running consistently lately, though I'm slowly getting back into it. I could catch up enough so that I'd at least not die and I could run with my friend. Honestly, when registration opened, April was so far away and I was hoping that I would be far enough into a certain situation that running a half marathon would not be possible or very fun. That did not happen so that means I can run if I want to. Problem is, it is $85 (when it first opened I think it was like $50) and that doesn't really jive with my 'no unnecessary expenditure'. Price goes up on the 15th of this month though, so I have to decide soon. I've only missed the mini once since I moved here and I like that little tradition.

So that's all that's going on with me currently. Trying to save money so that I can eventually spend it.

Any money saving tips I might not have thought of yet? No shopping or buying books, meal plan and try not to eat out, we don't have cable.. what else can I do?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

February 2018 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 a monthly recap, and it was birthday month, yay!

What's New With You

Like I said, February was birthday month and I like to celebrate sporadically throughout the month and use it as an excuse to for all the things. 'It's birthday month! Buy the things! Eat the food! Lay around all day!'

But besides that, I actually had some proper celebrations too, all in one weekend:

Dinner & cocktails with my girlfriends:

^ one of my girlfriends brought me cadbury creme eggs #friendship

A cooking class date night I've always wanted to do, and I roped in a few of my coworkers and ended up going to a bar afterwards (don't think I've been to a bar in a couple of years!). Louisvillians, it's Cooking at the Cottage and was super fun. You can BYO and make it even more fun.

^ don't know if you can tell but they had normal chairs for very high tables, so when you sat down you felt like a little kid at a giant's table. It was a tad silly.

 ^ most of the people I work with are my age or older, and we have one youngen who we call... youngen. She randomly showed up to the bar for like 5 minutes, so we had to document it. Don't ask me why I'm standing like that because I have no idea.

Finally, we did a Board & Brush class! This was SO fun. I highly, highly recommend. I am definitely going to do another. You do all of it yourself, with their help of course. I felt super fancy and accomplished after I did it, not gonna lie. I got stain all over my hands, of course.

So yes, that was all in one weekend and let me just tell you, I have not consumed that much alcohol since I was like 22. It was insane and I'm good for like a year now. Nah just kidding. I like alcohol, and I like drinking to enjoy it, whereas when I was 22 I was drinking to get drunk. That's no fun the next day, and thankfully I was totally functional each day following a celebration, zero hangovers. Success.

Then the following weekend, my friends and I went to a masquerade thing at Louisville Palace, I've always wanted to go there - it's really pretty inside. It was like fancy dress but we were only there for a couple of hours and it's probably not something I would do again but I had fun with my friends.

Other things in February: cake and nothing bundt cake!

Pizza and meat pies - I have found several bakeries in the US that make and ship meat pies, I finally tried one. They are good and I will eat them all but likely won't get them from this specific place again. The pizza was my birthday dinner. Yum.

Got some presents from near and far! Nail goodies from Gina, books and choccies from Heather, and a bunch of food from home (which I managed to make last until the end of the month, except for the chicken salt which will last for like a year).

We also went to dinner with my mother in law, brother in law and his fiancee - sort of a couple of birthday celebrations and congratulations on their new house (I'm so excited for them) but the only picture I got was of the dessert - crème brûlée so freaking good.

Finally at the end of the month we had book club - this time we had brunch style food, so good. I have always wanted to join a book club but was worried because I don't think I am very good at talking about books, I either say 'I liked it' or 'I didn't like it' but I feel like book club is actually bringing that out - we've chosen a few books that really encourage discussion and it's just a bunch of fun. I never would have been in a book club if it weren't for my friend, so thanks Jenni! Our latest book was Rabbit by Patricia Williams, very interesting and funny.

So that's all for me and February! If you'd like to link up with us, please do so below.

Here's to March! March is a fun month to me because it's when fun things finally start happening and we get to shake off the blah of winter. It's one step closer to summer, which is a bonus in my book!

So, what's new with you?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2018 - 3/12 - February Goals

2 months down! I am finding that monthly goals are the way to go for me, even if I am not accomplishing all of them, they stay on my mind and I like the quick turnover and the ability to change them up because life changes and goals change, also my mind just changes a lot.

Here's a picture of my pretty little idiot, Chelsea.

February Goals:
- No new library books & read the ones I have 
Pass! I didn't get to them all because I have a problem with borrowing too many, but I read what I could and returned the rest.

- Meal plan and stick to grocery budget. 
Fail-ish We meal planned all but one week I think, but still went over the grocery budget. I know I could 'stick to' the budget if I increased the budget, but I don't want to. There has to be a way to spend less, we spend way too much for just the two of us. It is going down steadily but I still want to be under the amount I've set for us.

- Read all netgalley books with published dates that have passed. 
Fail-ish - I was way too overzealous with this one, no way I could have read all my library books and all my netgalley books, but I still made a sizeable dent. As of right now, I have 5 books that have passed their published dates.

- Gym 3 times a week.
Fail - I have some excuses - I was sick, it was my birthday, I dislocated my knee... but there were plenty of days nothing was wrong and I was still lazy.

- Paint my nails twice. 
Pass - I painted them twice the same colour, but it counts.

- Try to limit book purchases to not at the library books only. 
Pass-ish - I technically purchased 2 books on sale that the library also has, plus I pre-ordered one in a paperback that the library has in hardcover (I own the first 2 in a series in paperback and normally I don't care about matching, but for some reason this time I do) however in all of those cases, I used a gift card I got for my birthday so does it count? Does it?

- Limit eating out/bad (but awesome) food to already planned events. 
Pass-ish - Didn't eat out except for pre-planned birthday events. I probably had some bad food at home a few times, but it was birthday month so that was a stupid goal anyway.

If we are friends on Instagram then I've shared a million times how Millie loves the pig rug in the kitchen (me too Millie, me too) and she loves it so much she doesn't care if you need to stand on it to, say, do dishes. It's adorable. This could be only adorable to me but I don't care. So I'm sharing.

March Goals:
- Read all netgalley books with published dates that have passed. Same deal as last month. I will catch up one day!

- No library books. I need to start working on books I own, but when I have library books (or netgalley or kindle unlimited) I feel a need to read those first because of deadlines/value for money, but then I just keep getting/borrowing more, and I never get around to reading the books I own. So that's my focus this month. I might have a library book come in that I've been waiting for, but besides that, no library books!

- Meal plan and stick to grocery budget. Will this ever not be a goal.

- Gym 3 times a week.

- Go back to kickboxing at least once.

- Try to limit book purchases to not at the library books only. Even if I'm not reading library books this month, I don't need to be buying books if the library has them.

- Catch up on blogs. I am caught up on emails, but now I need to work on blogs.

- Try one new recipe from a cookbook.

Also, just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up with us - tomorrow is the next What's New With You link up.

What's New With You

I always love February because it's my birthday month, but I don't like it as much here because it's cold and winter-y. So I'm okay saying goodbye to February and hello March. I'm thinking I should just change my birthday to a summer month while I live here, which will be the forseeable future. I can have two birthdays? Yeah?

Do you have a favourite cookbook? I have bought a couple recently but I want to build my stash.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Link Up Reminder

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, February 13, 2018

Books Lately

Yay book day with Steph & Jana! I have read a ton of books since the last link up. I don't share every book I read, so if you want to see all the books I read but don't talk about here, lets be friends on goodreads!

^ I also read A Curious Beginning but will save my thoughts until I finish the series.
Hidden Legacy series - Ilona Andrews - 5 Stars
paranormal romance trilogy

Yep, that cover is beyond ridiculous, I think it's a requirement for paranormal romance books. If you like PNR, I highly, highly, highly recommend. This was my first series from this author duo and I am hooked. The characters are fantastic, the writing was all-the-yes, it was funny, interesting, I just loved everything about this series and highly recommend.
Living Out Loud - Staci Hart 5 Stars
sense and sensibility retelling

Another fantastic Austen retelling from Staci Hart! I don't think I have ever loved a S&S retelling, but this was fabulous. It only tells Marianne's (er, Annie's) side and Elinor's (or Elle's) will be the next book and I. Cannot. Wait.

Seeing Red - Sandra Brown 5 Stars
romantic suspense

This is my third Sandra Brown book, Mean Streak was one of my top reads last year and I was let down by the other book (Lethal), so I was nervous going into this one. No need, I thought it was fantastic. Right amount of mystery/suspense + a little bit of romance. I would say this is like 50/50 for which genre it belongs in, I wouldn't call it just a romance. The mystery was really interesting, I had no idea where it was going and I was definitely on the edge of my seat. 

Received copy from NetGalley
The Beau & the Belle - R.S Grey 5 Stars
romantic comedy

Another hit out of the park from RS Grey. I might be partial because I'm slightly obsessed with her, but I loved it. This is like a romantic comedy movie, only better. Hilarious, the writing is fantastic, the setting is everything, I just love her books.

Received copy from author.
From Lukov with Love - Mariana Zapata5 Stars
romance about two figure skaters

To say I was champing at the bit to read this one would be a massive understatement. Ever since she announced it I've been obsessively checking Amazon to see if it had been released. I fully admit I am a Zapata fan girl, so I am not sure if this was absolutely amazing or if I was just determined to love it. I wish certain things were developed more, it wasn't my absolute favourite of hers but I still loved it. I recommend if you like her other books.

Young Jane Young - Gabrielle Zevin - 3 Stars
aftermath of congressional intern having affair with boss

It was hard not to have high expectations after AJ Fikry. This book was fine, I was interested, I really liked the characters and the story, but I just wanted more. It was so incomplete. It was also different than what I expected based on the synopsis. It passed the time just fine. The ending was abrupt. Overall it was just okay.

Received copy from NetGalley
Silent Child - Sarah A. Denzil 3 Stars
child went missing and turns up again 10 years later

This is a hard one for me, I was super into it and basically read it in one sitting, but it was frustrating. I wasn't a fan of the writing style and the ending was ridiculous. I didn't necessarily see anything coming, but I was disappointed by the way the author wrapped things up.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman - 4 Stars
eleanor is very much not fine

This is a hard book to review. Overall, I liked it, I like the story and the message it sends, but lordy Eleanor was hard to like sometimes. It made it hard to get into, plus parts of the book were just boring. But I'm glad I did push through because it got better and I really did like it overall.

Most Of All You - Mia Sheridan - 4 Stars
romance where both characters had a hard childhood/something happen to them

This is my second Mia Sheridan book and I liked it more than the first (Grayson's Vow). She's quite popular in the romance book world so I had high expectations. For some reason I keep expecting super intense reads and that's not what you get. Anyway, I liked the growth that both characters went through, this was a very sweet all the feelings kind of book. Not mad I read it and got it on sale. This is the book Gina and I read together this month and I think I liked it a bit more than she did.
Wish You Were Here - Renee Carlino - 4 Stars
guy gets all weird after one night stand, months later girl tries to find him

I liked Before We Were Strangers and absolutely adored Swear on This Life. So my expectations were high for this one. Unfortunately it disappointed me just a bit. I still liked it, I liked the idea of it, I felt the emotions. I just had a few issues with it. I felt like the synopsis was a bit misleading and I didn't always understand the characters actions. That being said, I definitely didn't hate it, it's just not my favourite from this author.

Received copy from NetGalley
The Royal Treatment & The Royal Wedding - Melanie Summers - 4/3 Stars
royal romance

Predictable, fluffy but oh so enjoyable. I didn't enjoy the second as much, but it was still cute and I'll read the third when it comes out. Recommend if it sounds like your jam.

Received the second from NetGalley

The Girl In The Tower - Katherine Arden - 3 Stars
Oh man, I struggled with this one. I do not know why but I just didn't enjoy it as much as the first, though there were certainly some good parts and overall I liked the story, I still want to read book 3, it just wasn't as... enchanting as the first one. The first half of the book was really slow, though the second half really picked up and was just wonderful. I feel bad rating it a 3, but at the end of the day, even if I want to read the next one, this one did not hold my attention as well as the first, and it was not as enjoyable a read.

Received from NetGalley

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend ... well, everything and nothing depending on if it sounds like your jam! My favourites were all the ones up top. The only one I wouldn't recommend is Silent Child.

Gina and I will be reading Nemesis by Brendan Reichs before the next link up if you'd like to pick it up as well. It was one of the daily e-book sales I shared in the last couple weeks. The start of the synopsis grabbed me: It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Read anything decent lately?