Thursday, April 2, 2020

March 2020 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... not that there is much to recap!

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Goodness gracious, what a month. It started off nice and slow, quiet and easy because February was a bit of a whirlwind. Then things started getting cancelled and now we are all staying home - as we should be!

The two most exciting things were getting my hair done (at the very beginning of the month) and getting my braces off (I was their last appointment before they closed for 2 weeks, woo!).

Did lots of yoga with Heather (and cats)- and a movie date watching one of my favourites!

Other virtual dates - book club, work coffee (tea) chats, girls nights... these kinds of hangouts have been vital to my sanity, seriously.

Working from home, thankfully. It's a bit of a tight fit with all my crap plus Millie and I am unable to play sims unless I download it on my work computer lol. Most days I have to put some birds on youtube on the tv so the cats will leave me alone (but then they are so cute and funny I can't help but watch).

Spending as much time outside as the weather allows... cannot wait for it to get warmer.

And the usual cats and books - lots of reading time lately, which, lets be real, isn't that different.

I've also been watching a lot of tv when my brain can't focus on books. Carole totally killed her husband, right?? 

Anywho. So that was my March and honestly will probably be my April too. I am okay with it - staying inside and keeping yourself and others healthy is where it's at.

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

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April Goals

It's finally April!

Touching base quickly on March goals - I did okay!

1. No spend month. I would say 90%  - only made like 3 frivolous purchases towards the end of the month.
2. Only read books I already own. I did! Ran out of steam a bit towards the end of the month, but I still knocked a lot out.
3. Make 2 appointments. LOL I made so many appointments you guys. Then I had to cancel them all.
4. Figure out what I want my morning and evening routines to be. I totally forgot about this goal.
5. Journal + gratitude journal 20 times each. Nope. I did about 15 times each. However, I'm actually happy with that because I did it without really thinking about it and I feel like it's a formed habit now.
6. Get back into yoga at home. Yes! It helps that Heather and I have been doing yoga 'together' quite consistently.
7. Close all 3 rings on the apple watch every single day. I did it! This goal probably kept me sane in March as it forced me to go for a walk or do some yoga to get those active minutes.
8. Track my habits. I did fantastically for about half the month and then gave up.
9. One diet coke with dinner. I did so well with this that most nights I don't even have a diet coke anymore.
10. Do something nice for myself each day.  Started out strong, fizzled out about halfway. A lot of my ideas fell through so I just kind of forgot about it.

In case you missed the Millie spam the other day on Instagram, here she is living her best life on my balcony. 

Now for April goals! I'm still aiming for 10 each month, so:

1. No spend. I am hoping a big purchase goes on sale and if it does, I'm gonna buy it, but nothing else.
2. Stay home.
3. Eat what I have and don't go to the store unless really necessary.
4. Get dressed every work day (and yes, I am one of the people wearing jeans though we'll see how long that lasts).
5. Yoga every day with Heather.
6. Get outside every day if weather allows.
7. Close all my apple rings. I upped my calories but you can't change exercise or stand, boo. Going to try for the April challenge of 20,300 calories too.
8. Read 10 books I already own.
9. Put stuff away. I have things here and there around my apartment that I haven't found a spot for or just keep saying 'I'll put it away tomorrow'. So telling myself they need to be put away or gotten rid of by the end of the month.
10. Get rid of 30 things. I'm actually ahead of my get rid of one thing per day yearly goal but I haven't gotten rid of anything on purpose since February, so.

And here is Penny absolutely completely content never going outside.

Also just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - tomorrow is the next What's New With You link up if you want to join me! 

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Like most people, I barely know what day it is so sorry for the late reminder. Hope everyone is staying home and staying healthy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! I have apparently read a lot of books since the last link up, so lets hop to it.

Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton
This is definitely not my usual kind of book, and I wouldn't say it was ridiculously enjoyable like my preferred genre, but the fact that it was enjoyable and that I found it interesting and thrilling despite knowing the story from the movie (though it's been a long time) and despite it being about a subject matter I didn't think I would find interesting... well, to me, that is a very good book. I'll definitely read the next one. 
If I Never Met You - Mhairi McFarlane
fake relationship, chick lit, rom-com
I absolutely loved this. Had such a great time reading it, though the beginning was a bit tough (for me, personally) it still absolutely flew by. It was paced so well, everything flowed perfectly. It was hilarious and adorable and I felt all the feelings. Mhairi's humour is right up my alley, always makes me laugh.   
Received from Netgalley. Publishes March 24th
What You Wish For - Katherine Center
duncan's story (helen's bro from happiness for beginners), grief, loss
This was funny and adorable. I laughed and I got super teary. I adored the main characters and her side characters are always fabulous and fleshed out as well. Center just hits all the nails on the heads when it comes to grief and loss and pain and life. I think her books are fantastic in general and even if you live a perfectly happy life, you will enjoy them, but I think they are most important and amazing when you are struggling. - well, they have been for me. They are uplifting without being preachy, realistic without being depressing. Not my favourite of hers but I did love it.
Received from Netgalley. Publishes July 14
Evvie Drake Starts Over - Linda Holmes
widow and former baseball player deal with stuff
This is one of those books that was good, yes, but it was also just the perfect book at the perfect time for me. I loved the characters. I loved the story. I laughed. I cried. Thought it was ridiculously readable and realistic. It touches on so many things. Letting go, moving on, loss, grief, friendships, mental health. It was intense but also silly. It strikes that balance of light and heavy so perfectly. When I was reading it, it made my heart happy. When I was done, I was even happier, but sad it was over. I missed it and the characters. What more can you ask for? I really loved the writing and would 100% read more from this author.
Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig
part memoir part self help re: depression
I really enjoyed this, personally enjoyed the self help-y parts over the memoir-y parts. He's just so great with the words. It left me feeling hopeful and motivated, but still a little blah about certain things. So. I recommend this, but I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone and everyone. Maybe people who suffer from depression and anxiety, people with loved ones who suffer from depression and anxiety, or people who are curious about depression and anxiety because they know no-one who suffers. So. Mostly everyone.
In Five Years - Rebecca Serle
woman gets glimpse of her life 5 years in the future and it's completely different
I should start every review with 'Heather made me do it'. First off, this is up here because I couldn't put it down, not because I loved it. It was very unputdownable in a WTF is going on kind of way. Secondly, people on goodreads need to stop tagging this as romance. Just stop. Thirdly, it's not predictable in any way (in my opinion) and there were lots of feelings. It's short, so it's a quick read. I honestly still don't quite know how I feel about it.
Lovely War - Julie Berry
first world war love stories told by gods and goddesses
I told you I should start every review with Heather made me do it. I was supposed to be reading books I already owned in March but she twisted my arm (jk of course) until I read this one and I'm so glad she did. I know the description sounds odd but it was so so so good. Yes, it has some love stories in it but honestly, unless you absolutely HATE love, give it a go. This has to be one of the most unique, interesting, captivating books I have ever read. I just finished this last night and still haven't gotten my thoughts together properly but if I can recommend any book today, it's this one, hands down. So, so, so good. And if you audiobook, do that. Trust.
Sadie - Courtney Summers
girl goes missing, told in podcast format
I listened to this and it was very well done. Very unique. Would have preferred a more unambiguous ending, but there you go. I felt like the ending was realistic. Which is sad. It's one of those books I'll think about for quite some time. Pretty disturbing.
mom gets some time to herself
Ooh, ooh, ooh did I have issues with this book! Did you know the shrugging woman emoji is actually a shrugging MOM emoji? I didn't know that either. But now we all know. Am I still allowed to use that emoji? Being, you know, not a mother? Some parts of this book really really annoyed me. But there were some funny lines, it was quick and easy. It was fine and fun and I'd recommend it if you're not the kind of person to get annoyed at stuff like that (unlike me).
Problem Child - Victoria Helen Stone
sequel to jane doe
I loved the first book and was super excited for this one... This one is much slower, much more 'tell' than 'show' in regards to Jane, which unfortunately made it a tad boring. We are told how messed up Jane is, but we already knew that and maybe more showing would have been better. I just didn't love it as much. Definitely a set up for the third book, which I was meh about until the ending and then I was like whoa. Need it now.
Received from Netgalley. Publishes March 24
You Are Not Alone - Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
psychological thriller, wrong place wrong time
I feel like this had potential, but it fell flat. Lots of coincidences in this book, character development was a bit lacking. It was all just a bit bogged down in stuff that didn't help the story. That being said, I was mildly curious to see the connections and where it was going so I didn't dnf. Also, this is ridiculous and means nothing, but they mention reading Pride & Prejudice and the sisters were Jane & Cassandra. so I’m sitting there the whole time wondering if there is an Austen connection or something, I searched through all the reviews to see if anyone else thought the same lol. The answer is no.
Received from Netgalley.
The Last Black Unicorn - Tiffany Haddish
I didn't know much about TH before starting this, I just saw a video of her talking about groupon and it made me laugh so I figured why not. I did really enjoy this, it was hilarious and seriously messed up. I really admire her for being as positive as she is. There are places I wanted more depth but it's still a lot more honest than a lot of memoirs. It's not amazingly written, so if you expect that you might be disappointed. If  you're offended easily, I wouldn't recommend. Like I said, I only knew the groupon story but I felt like I had a good handle on her humour based off that talk show snippet, but even I was a teensy bit taken aback at times. If you listen to this, there is a fun song at the end that I had in my head for days afterwards.
Never Have I Ever - Joshilyn Jackson
thriller/mystery about past coming back, betrayal, deception, etc
This was definitely interesting and twisty and disturbing. It was a bit too slow in the beginning for me. Took awhile to get going, though to be fair once it did, it really got going. I remember a couple of jaw dropping moments. I think I'd give this author another go, but I'm not champing at the bit to do so.
Carnival Row - Stephanie K Smith
This was an audible original and I picked it a few months ago because I knew I wanted to watch the show eventually. This book counts on you already being familiar with the show, even though it is described as a prequel. It also tries to do a lot, and that paired with the underdeveloped world meant it all went over my head.
Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince - VE Schwab
I loved the Shades of Magic series and I have loved graphic novels in the past, so I figured this was a shoo-in. Nope. Shoo-out. There was way too much going on each page and it was hard to tell what was going on. I figured everything would be as amazing as Saga. I was wrong.
Chassing Cassandra - Lisa Kleypas
Holy mother of all that is good in the romance world, this is one of the best historical romances I've ever read. Maybe. I don't know. I just adored it. I have enjoyed all the other books in this series a lot, but Marrying Winterborne was just in a world of its own for me. So I expected to like this one, a lot, but didn't expect to love it as much as I did, and now I need to re-read Winterborne to see which one I love more. Anyway, on to this book. It was just absolutely amazing and perfect and delightful. I loved Tom. Cassandra was fabulous as well, but lord. Tom stole the show, and my heart. Watching them fall in love, especially Tom, just melted my cold dead heart. It was beautiful and swoony and adorable.
Then Came You - Lisa Kleypas
Hey, another Kleypas book. This one was published in 1993 so lord, did it have some issues. Some seriously messed up stuff that just wouldn't fly in romancelandia today, and if you've read a recent Kleypas book you know she wouldn't write that stuff now anyway. But, if you can keep that in mind and shrug that stuff off, it's good. I read it in one sitting. I always tend to prefer her heroes over her heroines, she just writes them so well. I loved Lily, but Alex was just fabulous (in the end, he was not fabulous in the beginning). So yeah, it's kind of bonkers and doesn't really age well, but I did enjoy it and laugh at the ridiculous stuff. I've heard hardcore amazing things about the next one, so I can't wait for that.
Some Like It Scandalous & An Heiress to Remember - Maya Rodale
I liked book one in this series (Duchess by Design) but it didn't blow me away or anything, so my expectations were kind of medium for Scandalous and I ended up absolutely adoring it, smile on my face the entire time. So then I had super high expectations for Heiress (thanks Netgalley!) which was good and fine but not as amazing as Scandalous. But all in all, a fun and different historical romance series - set in gilded age NYC.
Love Hard - Nalini Singh
Yeah, Nalini can do absolutely no wrong in my eyes. Romance in all the genres- contemporary, paranormal, sci-fi, plus general mystery/thriller.. I adore her. This was no different. All the perfects. Fantastic. Loved it. Need more.
Received from Netgalley.

Watching You - Lisa Jewell

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend lots of books but mainly Lovely War.

Read anything decent lately?

Thursday, March 5, 2020

February 2020 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.

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Do you ever have a month that is super busy and you're so exhausted and you look back and can't remember what you did? That was February. It was so busy. Like, plans every night and weekend busy. I'm obviously not complaining since I was the one that made all those plans. But I'm looking back on my photos to write this post and I'm realising I don't have a ton to share. Mainly because some of the things I did or people I was with aren't blog material, and the things I would share - I forgot to take photos of, of course. Oh, and I was sick for like a week. So, that's always fun.

What I do remember about February:

Did lots of cleaning, organising and decluttering. Went to the container store in Ohio and also made an Ikea trip. Heather and I coordinated watching the two All the Boys netflix movies back to back. It was hilarious and fabulous, we were chatting the whole time which is 100% what I am like in real life if we were to watch a movie together. I'm a talker.

Had lots of little birthday celebrations. Dinner with my girlfriends, lunch with work people, drinks with volleyball friends. 

Hosted book club - food was buddha bowls. I would like to take a moment of silence for that wine glass, I broke it the next day and legitimately cried. It was my favourite. 

And of course, I read books and took photos of my adorable cats. Nothing new there.

It's funny that February was so busy but I really don't remember a whole lot and don't have a lot of photos to show for it. But I feel like I'm still tired from it! Part of that was being sick of course, that always takes me a bit to fully recover from. Thankfully life has calmed down a bit so I can recharge a bit.

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

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Monday, March 2, 2020

March 2020 Goals

Oops, didn't mean to skip February goals. Life got a bit crazy there for a hot minute. I set goals in my head but didn't write them down so of course I forgot them (and if I checked any of them off). I did okay with January goals though, so go me. Anyway. Back on track for March.

March has already started off pretty well, this was my day yesterday (normal Sunday bestie run not pictured) - the weather was beautiful, I hope it sticks around!

the mug and blanket were a housewarming gift from my lovely book club ladies 

I'm trying to stick to 10 goals each month. I don't want to go overboard, but I am trying to do a little bit each month towards my 2020 goals so I don't forget about any of them.

March goals:

1. No spend month. Of course, with exceptions - getting my hair done today, bills, petrol, groceries, future travel plans where other people are reliant on me doing my part. But other than that, no spend.

2. Only read books I already own. Exceptions are ARCs publishing in March + the next book club book that I already have from the library.

3. Make 2 appointments. Ugh, why is this so hard? All of a sudden we are in March and I still haven't made up the dermatologist appointment I had to cancel in January and I am well overdue for other appointments. 

4. Figure out what I want my morning and evening routines to be. I have ideas and I want to start to implement them, but I probably shouldn't try and do everything at once? I don't know. Will probably take some trial and error.

5. Journal + gratitude journal 20 times each. That's 5 times per week.  Also, at least try and start meditating.

6. Get back into yoga at home. I went to a few classes at a local studio and I liked it and would be happy going back every now and again, but I haven't practiced yoga at home in.... I don't even remember when.

7. Close all 3 rings on the apple watch every single day. Mine are set fairly low, so it *should* be easy. 

8. Track my habits. I have a bunch of little habits I have been working on lately, but I haven't been tracking or recording them anywhere. So I printed out a habit tracker and I am going to track them all and see how consistent I really am.

9. One diet coke with dinner. I did so well with this in January, until I went to the movies and got a soda as big as my head, then I fell off the wagon hard. I haven't had a single diet coke at work, so woo, go me, but sometimes I get a little carried away at dinner or on the weekends. So I think this is a good plan.

10. Do something nice for myself each day. Like a treat myself month. Except no spending, ha. So I might run out of ideas.

Also, a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - this Thursday the 5th is the next What's New With You link up if you want to join me! 

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So, anyone got some free/cheap 'treat yourself' ideas? I have plenty of face masks but I don't want to do a face mask every day. Throw your ideas at me if you have them!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! Got a few good ones to share today.

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
ten strangers invited to an island, one by one they die
Never thought I'd say this about an Agatha Christie book, but yeah, totally could not put this down. Really really loved it. Immediately watched the mini series thing right afterwards, which I probably shouldn't have done because it didn't hold my attention as much as it should have. Anywho. Loved it. Really loved it. Only wish I had read it years ago when my nana was still alive so we could talk about it :) 
The Place on Dalhousie - Melina Marchetta
australian amazingness, family and friends and netball
I bought this book as soon as Erin told me about it, even took it to Australia with me, but I kept putting it off. I don't know why, because I knew I would adore it, and I did. I want to cry with how much I love Melina Marchetta books. I want to live in them. One day I want to re-read all of the ones that are connected because I didn't remember enough about the other books when I was reading this one. I think this one might be my favourite of hers. I felt so at home. Made me want to play netball again (do we think there are any leagues in Kentucky? Probably not).
When We Believed in Mermaids - Barbara O'Neal
woman goes to nz after seeing her supposedly dead sister on the news
This one was a slow start for me but by the end I absolutely loved it and not sure I could tell you why. I really liked the writing and the story, but the characters just wormed their way into my heart and I think they are the main reason I loved this book (and the romantic subplot, let's be honest). I do have a small qualm though, the author is very clearly not from NZ and there were quite a few inaccuracies or... I don't know, generalisations that left me feeling a bit funny. So that bummed me out a bit, but obviously not something that would bother most people. I'm not even kiwi so it shouldn't bother me, and it really doesn't - I still loved it.
The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
ya fantasy
I really liked this! I really liked the world he created, the characters, the story. I had a super fun time reading it and will definitely continue the series.
Matchmaking for Beginners - Maddie Dawson
matchmaking and falling in love and lots of sparkles
I liked this. I had some slight issues with the whole sparkles and auras and all that jazz, and from a romance reader point of view there was so much wrong with this book - so I wouldn't recommend for true romance readers - but it was fun and light and cute and if you like fun and light and cute, I would recommend. 
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald - Therese Anne Fowler
the wife of f. scott fitzgerald
We aren't forced to read certain books in high school like it seems schools here are, so I knew nothing about her husband before starting this book, never read anything by him. This book made me not want to read anything about these people ever again. Was I supposed to like them?

Love Her or Lose Her - Tessa Bailey
This is the next in the series after the very popular Fix Her Up... I love Tessa Bailey normally but this one super didn't work for me. Partly because of the characters, partly because of the trope (marriage in trouble, blah). I don't think it was all me though, this just wasn't as good as her others and I had trouble seeing what little good there was because of the trope. I should have just skipped it.
Received from Netgalley.
Temporary - Sarina Bowen & Sarah Mayberry
You would think, combining two authors I absolutely hardcore love, that this book would just be an explosion of amazingness that I adored... and I did like it. But not as much as I expected. It was good and I liked it a lot, but I never got a feeling of 'I am reading a Sarina Bowen or Sarah Mayberry book'. It was missing their distinct voices, which is what I love so much about their books... anyway. It was good. Certainly not mad I read it.
Almost Just Friends - Jill Shalvis
My favourite thing about Jill Shalvis that 99% of the time, I get exactly what I am expecting, and how can you not love that? I don't mean story wise, I mean feelings wise. If you've ever read more than one book by her, you know what I mean. This is my favourite of her newest series. Lots of feelings.
Received from Edelweiss.

Jurassic Park and Never Have I Ever - I'm so close to finishing Never and I was really hoping to finish it before today, but... life.

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend Dalhousie for sure, Mermaids and the Agatha Christie book.

Read anything decent lately?