Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! I am still kinda in a funk in the sense that I am reading plenty, but books aren't really wowing me right now. With a random exception here or there. Which could be the books I'm reading, sure, but it feels like me, if that makes sense.

^All my choices for Erin's challenge! 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely - Brigid Kemmerer
beauty and the beast retelling
This book was so good!! I kept hearing how amazing it was and I knew I would love it, and I did. But still, it took me almost 2 weeks to read, so that's how I know the funk is me and not the books I am reading. But anyway. This was such a fun, interesting, fantastic Beauty & the Beast retelling. Absolutely loved every second of it, can't wait for the next one.
lady opens a cupcake cafe after being made redundant 
I don't know why this was on netgalley when it was published years ago but I'm not complaining. It was cute. I enjoyed it for the most part but had a really hard time with how she kept going back to her dirtbag ex. I liked the ending, I liked the other characters, I liked the story. Take out how much of a doormat she was and I would have liked this a lot more. No big, it was cute and passed the time well enough.
Received from Netgalley.
Two Can Keep a Secret - Karen McManus
secrets, twins, missing girls and murder mysteries
I really enjoyed her first book and found it instantly unputdownable, though it had its issues. I found this one the opposite of unputdownable in the beginning, perhaps I am easily confused but I couldn't wrap my head around it all. Eventually it picks up and I liked it a lot. So even though it wasn't instantly unputdownable, I much preferred the story, the ending and the characters in this one. I'd definitely read her next one.
Recursion - Blake Crouch
sci-fi mystery thriller
Not my favourite of his, but I did like it a lot. I just think a lot went over my head and I don't know that I loved the topic. It eventually got unputdownable though, when it focuses more on the characters, maybe? I really liked the two main characters and I loved the ending. He really is a fantastic writer, he has a talent for mixing in the sciencey stuff and making it interesting and somewhat easy to understand.
Received from Netgalley.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone - Lori Gottlieb
memoir/self help
This was June's book club book and I admit, I was resistant to reading it. It was interesting, but some parts were super hard to read - that's on me though, don't think it was the content or writing that would bother other people. It was a really good book club book, lots of discussion.
Meet Me in Monaco - Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb
historical fiction, grace kelly, photographer + perfumer
I requested this purely based on their other book. I wasn't loving it as much as Last Christmas in Paris, but it was good - one thing was annoying me but I could brush it off if the story went where I wanted it to go. Then something else happens and it meant I finished the book irrationally bitter and cranky. I still liked it overall, I just would have liked it a lot more if something else had happened. How's that for a vague review.
Received from Edelweiss.

Parental Guidance - Avery Flynn
If you remember me talking about Butterface and Muffin Top - this is the same author. I adore her. I love the topics she writes about, I freaking love her characters, her books are just so bloody delightful. At first I was upset she was veering away from the Hartigans series, but after reading this one I am 0% upset. One of my favourite things is finding an author and knowing exactly what I am getting from them, Avery Flynn is one of them for me. If you are looking for fun, adorable, slightly steamy romances with realistic characters - pick up one of her books.
Received from Netgalley.
The Wallflower Wager - Tessa Dare 
This one doesn't come out until next month, it's the third in the Girl Meets Duke series. I didn't love it as much as the first two, but I did really really enjoy it.  It was funny and adorable and I wanted to squeeze the two main characters. The first one is still my favourite though!
Received ARC.
Lady Bridget's Diary - Maya Rodale
This is a mix between a P&P and Bridget Jones retelling - I know what you're thinking, Kristen, Bridget is a P&P retelling already so that's redundant but there are things in Bridget that aren't in P&P, so this is a mix of the two, and regency to boot. It was bloody delightful. Did I like it because of P&P/Bridget or because it was actually a fabulously wonderful time? Don't know, don't care friends.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown - Talia Hibbert
OMG. I cannot even with my love for this book. It comes out in November - I am never this far ahead with ARCs but there was no way I could hold off. Also, there's a cat! There needs to be more cats in books. The heroine is a chronically ill computer geek with an 'I almost died so I need to get a life' list. Also, the hero is dealing with the after effects of an emotionally abusive relationship and he's all emotionally vulnerable and not a dickhead about it. These things don't sound like they'd make a romcom, but gah. My feelings. My heart. I just, I just can't, okay. It is steamy because it is Talia Hibbert, but this is one of my top reads of 2019 fo shiz. Also, cat.
Received from Netgalley.

Still working on The Huntress and also The Wife Between Us

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend A Curse So Dark and Lonely if fantasy is at all your jam. I also did like Two Can Keep A Secret, Recursion & Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.

Read anything decent lately?

Friday, July 5, 2019

2019 June/July Goals

Hope everyone had a good 4th of July, whether it was a holiday or a normal July day for you. We are off today as well, so 4 day weekend yay! We aren't doing anything, which is absolutely lovely.

June was a bit of a bust, goals wise. Perhaps I am making the wrong kind of goals, especially book related (the least important ones). I did end up putting my clothes away (on the very last day of June, but still). I did not make any vet appointments, I did not finish the 2 BOTM books I started, nor did I listen to an audiobook I already owned... I did not delete any apps, I did not get reusable grocery bags. But, did I mention I finally put my clothes away? 4 months after my closet organisation birthday present?

Chelsea is embarrassed by how often I fail at my goals.

So, lets try July shall we...

go through and delete unnecessary apps on phone
empty spare room closet + under bed (it's turned into a bit of a junk room)
list things online, donate other things, send other things to thredup. just get rid of some stuff.
make vet appointment for penny
go to the gym/exercise 10 times
rip up carpet in sunroom + put new flooring down
do something out of my comfort zone, I don't know what yet, but I will think of something
get some reusable grocery bags and actually use them.
go through a car wash because lets throw a fun goal in there shall we.

9 goals, might be a little ambitious but all I can do is keep on trying.

You know that thing about how some people do well with external expectations and others internal, some are rebels etc etc. What if you are none, or all? I will never ever ever let someone down if they are relying on me - so external works for me... but posting on my blog or telling someone else 'to keep me accountable' is simply not the same as my friend waiting for me at the gym. I might fail my new years resolution if it is losing weight or going to the gym X times a week, but I'll kick butt at it if it's drinking a certain amount of water or cutting back on social media.

I like rules and guidelines and I love making goals. So why do I have such a hard time actually accomplishing them? I don't make them just for fun, I actually do want to tick all these things off my list. So how do I get better at that? Ugh. Am I the only one? I'm probably not, so if you have any suggestions do feel free to share.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

June 2019 Recap - What's New With You Link Up

Hello all, time for another what's new with you link up! Thanks again if you join me, I always appreciate it. You don't have to display the button if you don't want to, but don't forget to mention it somewhere in your post and check out some of the other posts! I'll be doing a monthly recap like I do every month. Just posting a bit early because of the public holiday.

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June was a pretty good month, with a few downer moments which is to be expected. It was my due date month, I took the day off so I could just hang out at home. My friends sent me flowers and Heather sent me a beautiful bracelet. I also got a lovely card from Bev. I admit I feel a little aimless right now, like the due date was the end of the tunnel kind of, but now it has come and gone and it wasn't the end of the tunnel. If that makes sense.

There is a Greek church near our gym that does a little festival each year so we decided to swing by after a workout one day. The food was delicious, we didn't stay long though.

The following weekend we went to the last Downs After Dark for the... season? Spring? I don't know. I think it starts up again in the autumn. It was super fun. I think I won like $4? I mean, overall I lost like $5 but I won $4 on the last race so I am counting it, ha.

Other things - went to blaze (yum), went to a little going away party for KC's coworker (their goldie is the cutest), I tagged along to KC's trivia he does with his coworkers (mozzarella sticks), we went to an impromptu breakfast after a morning workout (First Watch, eggs were amazing, potatoes were lacklustre how do you stuff up taters?), deer! and finally, I made lamingtons. What are lamingtons you say? Typically a sponge cake (but I made a pound cake) with chocolate icing and then coconut flakes. I don't like coconut normally, but I love lamingtons. I could have been making these for 7 years but I only just thought about it. I had no idea they'd be so easy. They were delicious, if I do say so myself.

I didn't work out as much as I should have, though I did start yoga again. I got some grooming gloves in an attempt to help Millie with her hair and though they work, it is hard to get her belly which is where most of her hair is (and where she gets the mats because she doesn't clean properly). The cats are occasionally hanging out in the sunroom with me though it is starting to get a bit too hot for them (not me of course).

As always, I read some books - though not as much as previous months. Technically still reading A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Book club was at my house (right after our AC went kaput for a couple hours, it is fixed now, KC could kickstart it manually while we were waiting on the $10 replacement part to come in). For some reason I never take photos of the food when I host, but we had burgers (thanks KC) and all that jazz.

In case you're curious about our sink hole, it has been completely repaired, and about a week after that they ended up re-paving the whole street (they are slowly working through our city/neighbourhood) so you can't really tell anymore.

And that's about it from me.

If you'd like to link up, please do so below.

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So, what's new with you? Hope everyone has a lovely 4th of July if you are in the US. We aren't doing anything except hanging at home, which is fine by me.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Link Up Reminder

Hello all! Just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - this Thursday the 4th is the next What's New With You link up if you want to join me! I'll be posting on the 3rd though, so it'll be open then.

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Friday, June 28, 2019

10 Audiobooks for your summer road-trip

I don't listen to audiobooks as much as I used to. I originally got into audiobooks back when my commute in Sydney was an hour each way (on a good day with no traffic). Really helped with my road rage. But now, my commute is the shortest it's ever been and I prefer music when lifting weights and podcasts while running. I also tend to get impatient and end up switching to actually reading so I can find out what happens. But, I still do listen to audiobooks, just takes me a lot longer to get through them.

Today I am joining fellow bookworms (check out their links below!) to share some audiobooks that may be good for any upcoming road trips (or your daily commute if you don't have any road trips planned, like me).  Of course, whether they are suitable for a road trip depends on your taste and who is in the car with you...

Here are 10 books I (mostly) listened to recently:

1. Then She Was Gone This was actually the first book in a long time that I listened to from start to finish without switching to an ebook or physical book. I loved everything about this audiobook - the story was fantastic, the narration top notch. Highly recommend for sure.

2. The Martian Do you guys remember when I wouldn't shut up about The Martian? This is by far one of the very best audiobooks I have ever listened to. It helps that the book itself was so bloody good, but I just adored the audio. So good!

3. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride This was SUCH a fun listen. If you like The Princess Bride, I highly recommend.

4. The Spiderwick Chronicles I think this is actually a movie as well, I mean, I know it's a movie but I don't know how many books the movie covers. Anyway. This is a childrens series, so great if you have kids or are like me and just like kids books occasionally. The books are super short too, like a couple hours each.

5. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology My favourite kind of audiobooks are celebrity memoirs, even if I don't know anything about the celebrity or I'm not a fan. Non-fiction in general just seems to work better for me in audiobook format, it doesn't hold my attention very well when I'm actually reading. Anyway, I liked this one because of what she talks about, but also she just seemed super fun.

6. We're Going to Need More Wine Like I said, I really enjoy celebrity memoirs. I knew nothing about Gabrielle Union before this book, but I love love loved it.

7. Wanderlust You may or may not be surprised to know that even though I *love* romance, I do not like listening to it. I know lots of people do, and zero judgement. I just.. don't. I read a lot faster than I listen, and I don't particularly want to listen to certain scenes. However. Richard Armitage narrates this (with a woman, but did I mention Richard Armitage?) so obviously I had to listen. I loved it, obvs.


8. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle I really, really, really enjoyed this book. It has a bit of a slow start but eventually picks up. I loved the narrator so much I wanted to listen to other stuff by him but nothing sounded good.

9. Becoming I never really like blanket recommendations because we are all different but I actually do think everyone should listen to this because she is amazing and if you don't think so, you are wrong, and that is that. Ha. Jk. I listened to another book last year by a political figure and even though I liked the person, I didn't love the book - it just wasn't as interesting or narrated as well as Becoming. This book made me cry for a million reasons, it made me laugh and smile and want to scream. It made me like her even more than I did before.

10. The Sookie Stackhouse series I recommend this series for one reason only - it was the series I listened to back in the day, my very first audiobooks ever. I ended up hating the last book with the fire of a thousand suns, so there is that.

Honourable mention: I've listened to several versions of P&P over the years, because why not. Obviously I love it, but wouldn't recommend it to everyone. I haven't listened to this one yet, but it's next on my list. Because I don't have 20 other books I need to listen to, just sitting in my audible library. Oops.

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Have you listened to any good audiobooks lately?

Friday, June 21, 2019

10 Summer Page-Turners

Joining fellow bookworms today (check out their posts, linked below!) to share some page turners for summer - of course, you could read these any time of year, but perhaps one of these books will be the perfect pool or beach companion for you this summer. I read predominately romance and this list could have been completely romance books but I tried to keep it to just a few.

My list is in no particular order, some I read recently and some over a year ago. The books don't really have anything in common except for the fact that I found them super readable and unputdownable. You know what I mean, when time flies and all of a sudden you're halfway through the book even though it feels like you just started? Or the cliche 'one more chapter and oops it's two am'? I love those kinds of books, then again who doesn't?

Here are 10 books (or series, oops) I found unputdownable recently:

1. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill - this actually comes out July 9th, so sorry for the first book on my list not even being out yet, but you should seriously add this one to your TBR. I loved this book. I loved the characters, the story, everything. If you don't like romance, please don't be put off, it's not the main focus and it's closed door.

2. Shades of Magic series -  My favourite thing in the entire world is discovering a series that is already finished or very close to being finished - I think I waited a month, maybe, for the 3rd book in this series to come out? I also pre-ordered it and let me tell you how much I never do that. This series is hard to explain - it's fantasy, there's magic and multiple Londons. The world building is top notch. My favourite thing about this series is that when I was reading it, I was enjoying it, but then a line or scene would just hit me in the feels and I wanted to squeeze the book with love. You know? No? Maybe just me? You know like cute aggression with babies and animals? I have like, book love aggression. I love the book so much I want to squeeze it. I need to reread this series. I would say this is the most 'complicated' read in my list, as in not easy breezy beautiful beach read.

3. Jar of Hearts - I'm not trying to brag or anything, I am not special, but it is totally normal for me to read a book in a day... it is not normal for me to read a non-romance book in a day though, they just aren't as captivating or unputdownable for me like romance is. I read this book in a day. It was unputdownable from the get go, though warning, it is super messed up.

4. Nevermoor - yeah yeah technically two books but they are children's/middle grade and if you like fantasy, fun characters, awesome worlds and talking cats you should read these books. Seriously.

5. The Flatshare - Ok, this is a romance but it also deals with some super heavy stuff (emotional/psychological abuse) and I thought it was handled really well. It's dual POV and Leon's POV took me a hot minute to get into, the way it is written, but other than that, I adored this book and it was so freaking readable. Not over the top steamy if I remember right.

7. Tailspin - ok yes, hi, this is romantic suspense, but to me that is different compared to straight romance. I love a good Sandra Brown book - I haven't been overly impressed with some of her older stuff, but her newer ones always hit the spot with me. Like I said, I love romance books so books of other genres really have to be good to make me want to read it over a romance book. SB is the only author that I have discovered that makes me equally invested in the suspense portion of the book. The love story is teeny tiny, really not a focal point. Mean Streak is still my favourite of hers, but I really, really, really liked this one.

6. Veronica Speedwell series - Okay, apparently I am incapable of suggesting just 1 book, I need to throw a couple of series in here. I think Heather read these first and we pretty much always have the same taste so I gave them a go. As with almost everything I read, there is a romantic subplot that I enjoy (there is even a teeny one in Jar of Hearts you guys, love is everywhere) but this series is about so much more than that! It's so freaking fun and delightful and such a gosh darn good time.

8. Long Way Down - before this book, I would have told you I do not read poetry. I do not understand poetry, I do not like poetry. The audio of this book, which I have heard is amazing, is less than 2 hours which tells you what a fast read this is. This was such an emotional read, very powerful and such an interesting way to tell a story. I highly recommend.

9. Fix Her Up - remember when everyone was reading The Kiss Quotient because of the hype and being shocked by the sex because the cover was so gosh darn cute? Trust me when I say Tessa Bailey's books make The Kiss Quotient look like.. I don't know, something without sex. So, please only proceed if you like romance. A couple of my romance loving friends did not like this one so it's definitely not a recommend to all the people kind of book.

10. Saga series - Ok, again, technically 9 books but they are so short and because they are graphic novels they are insanely quick reads. I could not put these down. Think Game of Thrones meets... I don't know, something sci-fi-y. They are very adult and put the graphic in graphic novel. I did not think graphic novels were my thing and these blew my mind and I am waiting impatiently for volume 10. If they sound remotely interesting, give them a try! And tell me immediately!

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There were a couple others I thought of as page turners, but because I listened to them I'm saving them for a specific audiobook post next Friday.

Have you read any of these? What was the last book that you couldn't put down? I've heard great things about The Idea of You from Influenced The Podcast, so that's my next read!