Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Link Up Reminder

Hello all! Just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - this Thursday the 2nd is the next What's New With You link up if you want to join me! 

Grab button for What's New With You
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Friday, June 12, 2020

Friday random stuff & thoughts

I keep thinking I want to blog more but then I think my life is super boring and I don't have that much to talk about anyway. Then I go and write this long ass random jumbled post. Happy Friday!

Yesterday would have been my daughter's first birthday. If she was born on her due date, that is. I took the day off to just not be around people. Perhaps one day it will stop hurting. Perhaps not. So much has happened in a year. Last year, I got this watercolour print made from one of the ultrasound pictures. I love it. I wish I had more, more to remind me of her, but it's not like I ever stop thinking about her. There's no real point to sharing this except that I want to. Sometimes I worry people think I am looking for attention, or bringing it up just to bring it up. Everyone is different, perhaps if I was still married and had been able to get pregnant again, I wouldn't talk about my first daughter as much. I don't know.

I got this table from Ikea ages ago and finally put it together the other day. I didn't realise how much I missed sitting down to eat or be on my laptop instead of sitting on the couch. Also, Millie loves it, which is of course all that really matters. It extends, you know, for all the dinner parties I host.

Yoga with Adriene (and Heather)
Sometime in mid-March, Heather and I started doing yoga 'together' and we did the 30 day Home challenge in April - one of my goals was to do yoga every day (oh hey goals, totally forgot about you for May and June) and then we continued with the May calendar and again in June, though we've been a bit more flexible in June with doing random videos rather than following the calendar exactly. So anyway, that's almost 3 months of yoga every day. I feel like it's done wonders for me, mainly mentally, but also in improving my yoga practice. Sometimes it's 40 minutes, sometimes it's 5 minutes. I really enjoy the habit now and it's something I don't really think about. These are from April, when I wanted to record each day for the goal I totally forgot about:

Buffalo Tempeh Quinoa Bowls
I got a purple carrot box through Kaity and this was one of the meals. I'd had tempeh before but this was the first time I cooked it myself - it was so good that I've already made it twice on my own and can see it becoming one of my staples. When I made it on my own, I skipped the celery mainly because I forgot to buy it, I didn't feel like the radishes added a whole lot so I skipped them too and I made the sauce with greek yoghurt instead of vegan sour cream. Next time I think I'll add cauliflower to beef it up a bit more... except, you know, without beef. A strict recipe follower, I am not. It doesn't look the best but goodness gracious it was tasty.

There are lots of things I am trying to do right now, I won't go over them all here, but I will share this guide for unpacking your anti-blackness from Brittany at A Little Britt of Fun if you've not already seen it. It's full of resources, links, things to do, ways to educate yourself. It is something I have saved and will revisit often.

Books are something I think about and talk about a lot. In the past, I know I've thought that I read what I read, and that's all there is to it. I don't think a person should read a genre they don't want to read, reading is for an enjoyment, etc etc. I'm not going to go pick up a book just because it is by a diverse author, I'm not going to not pick up a book because it is by a diverse author. I'll just read whatever as long as it sounds good and it's one of the genres I like. I told myself that was good and right and enough. I figured that other people were doing their jobs and getting BIPOC authors out there. I didn't see my part in it, or rather, I didn't accept my part in it. But now I realise that ignoring the problem is accepting the problem, and that's not okay with me. I'm realising it in a lot of areas, but books are what I'm talking about today. I'm still a mood reader, I still want to read the kinds of books I want to read, but now I recognise it is completely on me to seek out the books by BIPOC authors that do appeal to me. What did I think, they would just miraculously fall in my lap? I've also saved articles with podcasts to listen to or things to watch, but I read more than I listen/watch, so that's why I'm talking about books.

Non-Fiction on my TBR
I've been really into non-fiction this year, though I've read mostly self-help/development kind of books. A lot of these were on my list already, but I put them off for stupid reasons, I've purchased most of them or got them from the library so hopefully sooner rather than later.

Fiction on my TBR
The A.I. Who Loved Me - this finally came out on ebook after being an audible exclusive for 6 months. I love Alyssa Cole.
With the Fire on High - this has been on my list ever since Tanya shared it one SUYB. I know I've borrowed it from the library twice, just didn't get to it in time. That cover is gorgeous and I've heard nothing but good things.
The Vanishing Half - I have heard amazing things about The Mothers but just think because of something in that book it's not the right choice for me, personally, for about another 10 years. Netgalley declined me for this one and sometimes that makes me bitter and not want to read the book, but Heather loved it so I can't wait to read it.
Shades of Love series - I am pretty sure I heard about this from The Fated Mates podcast, sounds right up my alley.

The Water Dancer - I have this from the library now, but haven't been in a super reading mood lately. Soon, hopefully. Something about that cover just calls to me.
Opposite of Always - this sounds so unique! I love a good time travel book, not gonna lie.
Such a Fun Age - I've heard this one will make me feel lots of feelings. Can't wait.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls  - that cover though. I've heard mixed things about this one, it's been on my list for ages and I'm curious.

Binti - this is a novella and it's been on my radar for a long time. Finally borrowed it from the library because it sounds fantastic and should be a quick read.
The Boy in the Black Suit - I absolutely loved Long Way Down and have been meaning to read more by Jason Reynolds.
This Is My America - popped up on netgalley and sounded awesome. I saw the 'fans of Jason Reynolds' and I was sold. Also, yes, am a sucker for a gorgeous cover. Comes out in July.
Here to Stay - another netgalley one, I'd heard fantastic things about her book American Dreamer but M/M romance is not my jam. This one sounds delightful. Comes out in August.

Books I've read and would recommend
most of these are romance because most of the books I read are romance

The Wedding Date - I know a lot of people have issues with this one, and I didn't enjoy the later books in the series, but I did really like this one.
Sin & Ink and Passion & Ink - listen, these are steamy AF. but so freaking good. I need more from her.
Hoops series - these are heavy books, not light reads at all, I have to space them out for my poor heart.
Chloe Brown & A Girl Like Her - my love for Talia Hibbert knows no bounds.

Queenie - oh, Queenie. I still think about her like I knew her or something.
Reluctant Royals & The Loyal League - contemporary, historical, dystopian, and a new thriller (below) - is there anything Alyssa Cole can't do?! 
When No-One is Watching - I know I just shared this book on Tuesday but I seriously thought it was so good. I might be a teensy bit biased because I do love Alyssa Cole so much, but.... maybe not.
Final Hour series - these books are fantastic, some of the best romantic suspense I've ever read.

Long Way Down - seriously, even if you don't like poetry (I don't normally), you should read this. 
Red at the Bone - I loved this one so much. Her writing is so beautiful.
We're Going to Need More Wine - she's so fun and honest and I feel like she's my friend now, like I was inordinately happy when she welcomed her daughter.
Year of Yes - I read this years ago and still think about it. Have been meaning to re-read it.

Alrighty, well that's all from me. I had a weird week with the anniversary of my due date (my daughter's would be first birthday? I don't know what to call it) and I'm thankful it is almost the weekend. My brain is trying to tell me I had something planned on Saturday, but I can't quite get a grasp on the memory. I really need to write things down or actually remember where I wrote them down. I'm sure it will come to me.

If you have any book suggestions you didn't see me mention above, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! Almost forgot about it until Heather reminded me last night. I feel like I'm worse with the whole 'what day is it' now that I'm back in the office vs when I was at home. Or maybe not. My brain has left the building. I haven't finished a book in a week, didn't read at all over the weekend, so all of these books seem so long ago.

When No-One is Watching - Alyssa Cole
thriller set in brooklyn neighbourhood, gentrification, racism, conspiracy
This was fantastic! It started a bit clunky for me, a bit slow, but it really picks up. Holy moly, this book did not go where I expected it to. It doesn't read like a true thriller at first, the suspense builds up sneakily and a lot happens at once. I saw some reviews complaining about the pacing because of that, but it didn't bother me. I loved all the characters, the writing, the setting. I also really appreciated learning all the history. Parts of the present day were ridiculously hard to read and it made me feel so sad and sick, so I can't even imagine how hard it would be to live with that disgusting behaviour day in and day out. I thought this was a fantastic, well written, timely, thought provoking book.
Received from Netgalley. Publishes 15th of Sept.
Oona Out of Order - Margarita Montimore
woman wakes up each birthday in a different time in her life
I had heard mixed things about this one so I was on the fence - then it was book club's pick so the choice was made for me. I'm so glad, it was really enjoyable! Very unique. Oona was a teensy bit hard to like at times, just because she refused to listen to her past self and some of the decisions she made, oy vey. I do think the book could have benefited from a few random one page chapters with some of the years we missed - nothing too in depth, but I feel like it could have added a lot to the story - things like living through terrorist attacks you knew were coming, or knowing when someone was going to die, etc. Anyway, not perfect, but super readable and I really liked it. It made me feel lots of feelings.
The Jane Austen Society - Natalie Jenner
small town, after second world war, austen fans
I almost didn't read this arc because the audiobook is done by none other than the magical wonderful gorgeous amazing Richard Armitage, but I couldn't wait after Heather loved it so much. I might listen to it just for funsies. I think my main problem with this book was that people kept comparing it to Guernsey, which is not this book's fault. Guernsey is one of my all time faves, so nothing really has a chance 'against' it. They aren't similar story wise, but definitely vibe wise. This is a slow, quiet, sweet book. It deals with some seriously heavy subjects but still somehow has a light feel to it. Lots of characters, took a bit to get to know them all. I think this would make a great movie/tv series and I wouldn't be surprised if it's already in the works with how much hype this was getting prior to publishing - and did I mention Richard Armitage? This is her first book!
Received from Netgalley.
Oh hey, for fun:

I should count how many times I've shared that gif on this blog. 
Mrs Everything - Jennifer Weiner
follows the lives of two sisters, 1950s to present day
I think I need to change up my category thingys because this was fantastic and I really liked it, but it was not unputdownable and took me a long time to read. It's been a long ass time since I've read a Jennifer Weiner book. Everyone kept talking about this one so I knew not to expect the same style as In Her Shoes or Good In Bed. This is one of those books that follows someone's life and because life can be a bit depressing because, you know, it's life, these kinds of books can be a bit depressing. It's not a bad thing, it's just sad because you get invested in their lives because you get know them so well. I mean, it's a good book that gets you so invested, right? I did really like this, I cried, I got angry, I laughed. I feel like I know these women now.
The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King
fantasy, dragons, magic, murder
This is my first Stephen King book, because I'm not a horror fan *at all* but I was assured that this was absolutely not horror at all (why are people tagging it as horror on goodreads? stop). I'm glad I gave it a go, I really enjoyed it! It was super unique. Definitely a bit slow, but I felt like it was developed really well and I really got to know all the characters and the world. It was solid. I liked it.
Open Book - Jessica Simpson
I was a big fan of Jessica's music back in the day so it was super interesting to read about her experiences and remember my own thoughts (like when the video for I think I'm in love with you came out). Made me really think about how vicious the media and that cycle is - as a teenager, I saw her in those videos and wanted to look like her because I thought that was normal and I was abnormal, when in reality she was being pressured about her weight and not eating. I know it as an adult and I think we're in a slightly better place these days, but hearing her talk about things that I had such strong memories associated with was kind of surreal. Anyway. It seemed to me like she was really honest without ever coming across mean or petty. Overall I really liked it.
Untamed - Glennon Doyle
Hello gorgeous cover. I really enjoyed this one, some parts more than others. I love how raw and honest the author is. I really related to a lot of the stories, and not so much to others. It's kind of scattered and not a whole lot of rhyme or reason to the order, but I thought it worked well. I liked her message and can understand why people find her so inspirational. It was thought provoking and I feel like it's the kind of book that inspires you to examine your own thoughts/opinions on the things she talked about. I think I highlighted like half the book. Really liked it.
Rock Bottom Girl - Lucy Score
I really, really, really disliked another book by this author so I was hesitant to read this one - but I don't like listening to the episodes of Not Your Mom's podcast without reading the book, so.... I'm so glad I did! I loved this one. Older characters, hilarious, sweet, adorable. It flew by for a 500 page book.
Wolf Gone Wild - Juliette Cross
This is another case of 'read a book by this author and didn't love it but NoYoMo made me read it' and I am so freaking glad. Love love loved it. Gorgeous cover, unique story, fun, silly, adorable, just all around fabulous. Definitely recommend, I think this would be great even for those who don't normally like paranormal.

I am in the middle of 9 books. Nothing is grabbing me right now. But I am enjoying this new one by Abbi Waxman - comes out on the 16th of June.

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend When No-One is Watching but while you're waiting for that one, Oona or Jane Austen were super enjoyable. I think everyone should read Untamed, just because I feel like we can all get something from it.

Read anything decent lately?