Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! Also, happy birthday to me! What a fun coincidence. I am 32. That's weird.

Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds
Poetry is not normally my jam, but I really liked this. It is super short but delivers a lot. It was very emotional and I thought the whole elevator thing was a super interesting way to tell this story.
Last Christmas in Paris - Hazel Gaynor + Heather Webb
epistolary format, world war 1
I have been meaning to read this for over a year, ever since Heather recommended it. I don't read books in epistolary format often, though Guernsey is one of my faves of all time. It can be frustrating because you miss a lot when you are reading letters because you don't get to read things as they happen, only a report of them. Anyway. Beautiful story, heartbreaking, flawed but realistic characters. Loved it loved it. Oh, and ignore the christmas in the title. They talk about christmas like we would any time of year - we should do XYZ at christmastime, but it's not a christmassy book.

The Winter of the Witch - Katherine Arden
I do wish I'd read this series back to back rather than a year between each, but I didn't realise it was going to be a trilogy when the first came out. My memory is awful and the story can be confusing at times, but I muddled through. The love story is my favourite part of this series (surprise, surprise) and I do wish it was a teensy bit of a bigger part - not in a detailed way, but in a they don't even spend a whole lot of time together way. I enjoyed this one more than the second, it was a bit of a struggle at times but the magical delightful parts made it worth it. There is a part that broke my heart and I totally spoiled it for myself, needing to know that this character would be okay in the end and I have no regrets. 
Received from Netgalley.
Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan
crazy rich asians
This was book club's most recent choice and it wasn't exactly a hit with everyone. I didn't hate it, but it didn't blow me away. I have never read a book with so much unnecessary crap - the brand names, this person related to this person and neither of them are in the top 20 characters, their family owns this company, etc etc. There was just so much that was not important to the story at all. However, I did think the story had something compelling about it, I wanted to know what was going to happen, but it was so bogged down it was hard to find the story within all the unnecessary crap. For a 500 page book, it was a very quick read. The movie was cute.
The Dreamers - Karen Thompson Walker
infectious disease that makes people fall asleep 
This was definitely captivating, and I was so curious to know what was going on. It was creepy and kind of terrifying in a 'if this really happened' kind of way... but I was pretty unimpressed by the ending and super annoyed by one of the characters and what he did. I get that he was making his point from earlier in the book, but I kind of wanted to push him in front of a bus. I see a lot of people comparing it to Station Eleven, which I hated.
Received from Netgalley.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows - Balli Kaur Jaswal
murder mystery, romance + erotic stories by punjabi widows 
I'd heard really good things about this one so my expectations were pretty high. It took a bit to get into, but overall I liked it. The main character was a bit frustrating at times, but I really liked her. There is a lot going on but that didn't really bother me. I really liked the ending and thought everything wrapped up nicely. I liked it, but I didn't love it. Can't put my finger on why.
The Girl He Used to Know - Tracey Garvis Graves 
eleanor oliphant meets love and other words - comes out april
I loved On the Island so I had high expectations. This author tends to write very simply, so her books are very easy reads - it bothers some people so just FYI. My description above is the best I could think of, but it's definitely more chick lit than romance. Annika has some social anxiety and is on the spectrum, similar but not exactly like Eleanor. I did enjoy this one because it was nice and easy, but it gets super emotional towards the end and I wish I'd known about something because it was too hard for me to read (but it would have been a spoiler, so oh well). It also wraps up too quickly and without a much needed epilogue. I recommend if you're in the mood for a light-sprinkled-with-heavy-AF-shit read.
Received from Netgalley.
Dear Mrs Bird - A.J Pearce
typist for advice columnist in world war 2 
At first, this was very much 'passing the time just fine' kind of book with nothing spectacular or interesting happening. I was liking it well enough but didn't think it was anything special. But then sad things happened and it wormed its way into my heart. I liked the way the main character grew, I loved the friendship aspect, I liked the ending. It was a mix of comedy and tragedy, heartwarming and heartbreaking. I liked it a lot.
I Owe You One - Sophie Kinsella
typical kinsella book, miscommunication and mishaps galore
I know I shouldn't be surprised that this is a typical Kinsella book, because, you know, she wrote it, but I was still a bit bummed. I had high expectations after loving My Not So Perfect Life. I thought Surprise Me might have fallen flat for me because of the plot, and her next one would be more like MNSPL. But nope, this one is full of characters being doormats, not communicating, misunderstanding each other and stupid shit happening as a result. It passed the time more than fine, I'm not mad I read it, the ending was cute.
Received from Netgalley.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz 
tattooist in world war 2
Wow am I in the minority with this one! Thankfully all but one person in book club felt the same, so we are all in the minority together. I don't understand why this is so popular. I had high expectations and the book did not meet them at all. I feel a bit heartless but it's not the subject or story I disliked, it was the writing. It ruined everything for me. I'm sure the real guy and his wife were lovely and I would have loved to hear their story, or read it, if it had been written by someone else. I was not surprised to learn this was originally written as a screenplay. I'm not judging anyone who did like this one, but it was 100% not for me. Also, this is a perfect example of me not liking the book but I will watch the mini series when it comes out to see if it's any better in that format.
Forget You Know Me - Jessica Strawser
friends are skyping and a masked intruder enters one of the houses
DNF - I really enjoyed Not That I Could Tell so I had high expectations for this one, but I couldn't get into it. I tried, but then I saw several bad reviews from friends and figured I wouldn't be missing much so I gave up.

Professor Feelgood - Leisa Rayven
My book bestie Heather sent this to me and kept telling me to read it, I don't know why I kept putting it off but once I started I couldn't put it down. I definitely liked this one more than the first, though this one had its flaws as well. But I liked the trope and setting better, I liked the characters and the story. I want more from this author!
Elements of Chemistry trilogy - Penny Reid
Not my favourite Penny Reid by any means, but it was fun and quick. I'm glad I didn't have to wait in between the books because I would have been super cranky. The heroine is fun and quirky, the hero is a bit annoying at times but really comes into his own in the last - which was my favourite. It was cute and I recommend if you like Penny Reid.
Earth Bound - Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner
I read the first two in this series and though I liked them, they didn't blow me away. I wasn't expecting much from this one but I loved it. I loved the characters, the story, the setting, all the things. 10/10 would recommend if it sounds like your jam.

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend Long Way Down, Last Christmas in Paris, Dear Mrs Bird and anything else that sounds like your jam.

Read anything decent lately?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

January 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.

Grab button for What's New With You
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January was an insanely quiet month for obvious reasons. The month started off with the termination of my pregnancy and the rest of the month was about recovering and just getting through each day. I received a care package from my friends that included food and those gorgeous flowers, books from Heather and a necklace from my besties.

I got sick at the end of the month - it's funny, we had book club on a Sunday and then like two days later half of us were sick with the stomach bug. We blamed it on the book, which unfortunately was a bust for all but one of us.

Other things this month - I read a lot and took a lot of photos of my cats.

I'm still doing my vegetarian challenge, it's easy and so far hasn't been that different from my normal eating habits. I felt like it was getting a bit boring sharing the photos of the same meals, so I wanted to try new recipes. We made these cauliflower & chickpea tacos (kind of, I am a horrible recipe follower) which will be a new staple for sure, and we've been loving the crescent roll braid. Then I got sick and all the other new recipe ideas went out the window.

If you like baileys and have a trader joe's near you, I highly recommend their version - it's delicious and I think I like it more than baileys.

And that's basically all I got up to in January.

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

Inlinkz Link Party

So, what's new with you?

Monday, February 4, 2019

2019 - February Goals

First off, I wanted to say thank you again for all the kind words on my post about our baby. It's still hard to talk about but I don't want to forget or act like she didn't happen, so thank you.

I'm going to try this monthly goals thing again.

Chelsea is so impressed at having a phone shoved in her face

Obviously our plans/goals for this year changed drastically when we realised we wouldn't be bringing our baby home in June, so I'm thinking of all the things we can do now that we couldn't if she arrived. Needless to say I'd give up all the house projects or paying this or that off for the alternative, but onwards and upwards. I'm not trying to be callous, just need things to focus on. I made a deal with myself that I'd let January go by with no structure or rules, but I'd have to buckle up in February. I didn't go to the gym, I didn't pay attention to what I was eating as long as I was, I spent too much money trying to comfort myself. All these things are fine, I did what I wanted to do and it helped me. But, I can't let my spending get out of control again, so time to buckle up.

In February, I'd like to:
  • Spend no extra money - bills and groceries etc are all obviously okay, also it's my birthday and I have two things that will cost money, plus a hair appointment, but other than that, no books, no new skincare products, no makeup, no solo eating out, no clothes, no booking things for the future. I can't cancel my book of the month yet, so I'll be charged at the end of the month, but I think that's it.
  • Eat - I'm still doing my little vegetarian challenge, but I am still having to force/remind myself to eat. I was sick last week and couldn't keep anything down, but I went longer than my sickness dictated because I was waiting to feel hungry, which didn't happen. There is a part of me - 15 year old Kristen - who wants to stop eating to lose weight, but thankfully almost 32 year old Kristen isn't an idiot. It's easier when I am around people, for some reason, but alone, I will eat a bite and stop. 
  • Read a BOTM book - I have too many of these just sitting around. I mean, I have a lot of books sitting around, but I get these ones before they are published sometimes and then they sit there for a year. The oldest is from almost 2 years ago. Oops.
  • Deep clean the house - it's been a bit too long for my liking, understandably so, but still.
  • Go to the gym once during each work week - let's start small. Nothing crazy, just getting there.
  • Stick to budget - this goes hand in hand with not spending extra money, but sometimes when I try not to shop I spend more at the grocery or whatever. So I need to make sure I behave in all financial areas.
I think that's all I want to tackle in February. They are relatively easy goals, I have other things I want to focus on this year but not ready for them yet.

Also, a reminder to anyone who wants to link up - this Thursday the 7th is the next What's New With You link up if you want to join me!

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These are my BOTM books I haven't read (probably shouldn't read the newest first but it sounds so interesting):

If you've read and recommend any of them, let me know!