Monday, January 30, 2017

January Rewind



Read 
Man, this month was an off month reading wise for me.  I read our January book, My Lady Jane which I thought was really cute.  I read the Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson which I also really enjoyed.  I started the MisAdventures of a Awkward Black Girl.  I haven't finished it yet, but I'm finding it enjoyable. 
Watched 

I watched a documentary called "Jesus Camp" and it was absolutely terrifying.  I follow a lot of different cult movements and I was very aware there was a evangelical movement wherefore they homeschool their children and teach them to become involved in politics to fight out their specific culture wars but watching it the day before the #muslimban was written into law was very jarring.  It made me realize that is exactly what we are watching being played out in the White House and it is very unsettling.  I'm very late to this documentary since it has been out for 10 years but I watched it at the right time for it to hit me hard.  Kids speaking in tongues is enough to freak anyone out.


Listening
I listened/watched Neal Brennan's and Garfunkel & Oat's new standups on Netflix. They were both great and totally worth checking out.  Garfunkel & Oats are one of my favorite girl duos and if you take anything from this post, watch "Pregnant ladies are Smug". You will thank me. (No offense to pregnant ladies at all, of course, some people are just ridiculous!)

Also this month:
1.  Feminist Group
This month I joined a local feminist/women's advocacy group to try to figure out how to make a difference locally.  It has been very informative and I'm very interested to see where it is going and what we will accomplish.

2.  Sewing Accident
I've been sewing since 2009 and have never had any major sewing accidents.  Over the weekend, I had my first.  I'll save you the gross details but there was a needle stuck completely through my finger. It also caused me to have my first panic attack which was interesting and perspective altering. Hopefully I can avoid anymore sewing related injuries because sewing is part of who I am.

3.  Happily Ever After Club
Since 2012, I've participated in a yearly cross stitch club hosted by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  You get one pattern a month and stitch them all together to create a completed sampler.  This year, they choose to do a Happily Ever After book theme which I totally love.  Plus the boarder is floral and to die for.  I was actually thinking about skipping this year's sampler to focus on other projects but couldn't pass it up once the theme was debuted.

Read 
This month has been such a weird reading month for me. It feels like I didn't get to fit in as many books as I wanted to, which is always a bummer. I did manage to get to The Run of His Life: The People v. OJ Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey was a reported who was there for the entire OJ trial, so he has a really interesting perspective and got a lot of access to people and materials that most people didn't. Like a lot of people, I picked this up after watching American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson (the show was based in large part on this book). Even with watching a dramatization of this, I still found the book fascinating on so many levels. True crime lovers should totally check this one out. 

Watched 
This month is was my turn to pick an hour long show to watch (my boyfriend Jarrett and I take turns choosing shows) and I settled on Black Mirror. I feel like I'm so late to the party on this one because damn it's a really interesting party. We are on season 2 right now and every single episode has been thought provoking. I'm officially on board the Black Mirror ship. 

The Oscar nominees were announced last week so we are also officially starting our Oscar watching tradition. Each year we watch as many Oscar nominated movies as we can and then we each fill out a ballot for a bet. Winner buys a fancy dinner. So far the standouts for me have been Moonlight and Life, Animated. 


Listening
Jen has been a long time fan of the tv show Adam Ruins Everything but I don't have cable so I haven't been able to check it out yet, besides random clips I see on Facebook. I found out that there is actually an Adam Ruins Everything podcast and it's wonderful! Adam sits down with experts he talks to on the show, but gets to spend 45-60 minutes talking about their expertise with them. Each episode is really interesting and engaging, even without watching the show, I have had no problem jumping in. 


Also this month:
1. Women's March STL 
Like most people I know and interact with, I've been horrified and fired up for action since Trump was elected (I almost throw up in my mouth each time I have think/say something about Trump being elected). I participated in the Women's March in St. Louis with about 20,000 other people (more than 4 million worldwide!). It was moving, emotional, and amazing to be around so many people who are just as ready for action as I am. We made a huge statement, but now it's important to me to keep showing up. I'm also now a monthly donator to the ACLU. There are so many ways to get engaged and take action. 

2. The beebs turn 7 
My babes turned 7 this month and it feels insanely old. I have 7 year olds? How did this happen? They decided on checking out City Museum and the cat cafe in STL for their birthday celebration. They are definitely my kids. They have developed into these funny, goofy, smart, empathetic, nerdy kids who I have so much fun talking to. They observe so much of the world and want to know the reason behind things that can be hard to explain. I have a feeling 7 will be even better than 6, and 6 was pretty dang good. 

3. Computer problems 
Ughhhh. The last week in December my computer decided to freak out and shut down. After spending an hour with Apple support, I was able to get it working again by doing something called Internet Recovery. I repair the disk and it works again....for a few days anyway. I don't want to buy a new computer if I can help it, mostly because I would have to buy Office and Photoshop again. Thankfully I have a work computer I can use in the meantime, but I think it's finally time to make a visit to the Apple Store to see if I can fix this once and for all. I bought an external hard drive so once I back everything up it's off to be repaired. 



Saturday, January 28, 2017

2016 End of Year Book Survey {Jen}

2016 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 78
Number of Re-Reads: I think about 6 series worth
Genre You Read The Most From: YA, duh.

Best in Books


1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

Since I think I mentioned this one the most, it should probably win.  The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Illuminae


5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?


Series Ender: The Raven King
Best Sequel of 2016: A Court of Mist & Fury
Best Series Started: Illuminae
  

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Jeff Zentner


7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

A Court of Mist & Fury by SJM

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

The Winner's Kiss

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Alex Craft from The Female of the Species.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

The Heart and Other Black Holes by

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

The Darkest Minds by Alex Bracken

 

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?


 It's a ridiculous one:

“To be honest, she may be kind of scared of the register. Or maybe she can’t add. She is a Christian. I don’t think they believe in math.”
― Andrea Portes, Anatomy of a Misfit

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest - Jonesy (comic book) - 32 pages
Longest - A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin - 1125 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Empire of Storms by SJM

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Feyre & Rhysand in A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas 

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The ladies in Three Dark Crowns.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

The Year of Yes by Shondra Rhimes, and I'm so glad I read it!


22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

My biggest fictional crush this year was more on the friendship in Truthwitch than the actual people. Serious friendship goals!

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis.  

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I'm going to go with SJM, Empire of Storms. Sea Monsters and serious ass kicking!


25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

This has to be a toss up between Giant Days and Lumberjanes. These two comics never disappoint.


26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I think rereading the Harry Potter series was seriously the "hidden gem". It was so great getting to reread that childhood series.


28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

Illuminae



30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Passenger, by Alex Bracken and sadly I didn't love it.



Your Blogging/Bookish Life


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

I'm forever behind on blogs, unfortunately.


2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I wrote a solo review on The Lunar Chronicles series.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I think we had a pretty great discussion about the results of the election that I'm pretty proud of.  Heather was the sole author of this post but it was great.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Hands down, Bookcon 2016! It was the best bookish experience of my life.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

 Again, Bookcon 2016!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I think just figuring out a blogging schedule and setting aside enough personal time to get blogs prepped.

 

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

I think out Blogiversary post was the most popular!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I think all bookish posts since that's the biggest reason we started this blog!

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I think my biggest discovering was Bookcon in general and connecting with other bookish people.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I really struggled with Goodreads Challenge reading goal this year because sometimes it feels so daunting and like I have to succeed.  I decided to set a 25 book goal last year and I smashed that out of the park.

Looking Ahead 


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

My Best Friend's Exorcism

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

Throne of Glass, book 6, by Sarah J. Maas.

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Book Jumper by .

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas.


5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Personally, I want to make individual book reviews and independent artist spotlights a regular thing in 2017.


6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Since I've only finished one book in 2017, I have zero 2017 release recommendations.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

3 Reasons You Should Read The Darkest Minds




Hey there, book lovers! In December, we read The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Dystopian has kind of fallen out of favor in the past few years, so it was really cool to revisit this genre. 


Ok so let's revisit what this book is all about: 
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.
 



1.  One of the better Dystopians 
Heather says: 
Remember in like 2010 when every book ever was a dystopian? The Hunger Games really kicked off that trend and I got dystopian fatigue real quick. I don't think I've really picked one up in awhile. However, maybe it's because I took such a long break from the genre, but this was such a fun dive back into the dystopian game. The world was interesting and a little heartbreaking. It was such a treat to read another Alexandra Bracken book and to really find myself immersed in the world. 

Jen says: 
If I would have picked this book up back in that dystopian era Heather is describing I think I would have absolutely loved it. I do feel like my reading preferences have matured and I didn't love this one but I was super into the world building for sure. I also agree with Heather it was nice to see a Alexandera Bracken book I could get into.

2. Quick paced 
Heather says: 
I really enjoy books that jump into the action and keep you guessing. This was definitely one of those books. There were a few different plot twists that I wasn't expecting to happen for a few more books. I liked that the pace kept your interest and didn't let things drag out when it didn't need to. I think the key to a good dystopian is to balance world building with action and Ms. Bracken did it perfectly. 

Jen says: 
I agree. I think this a a major part of what the book has going for it. It really keeps you entertained and there isn't a lot of slow parts.  I feel like so much happened in this first book it could have seriously been a stand alone. I own the other 2 books but I don't feel a huge urge to read them but this could be more because series have felt kind of grinding lately.

3. Lovable gang of misfits  
Heather says: 
The main group the story follows were so adorable and wonderful. When Ruby first joins up with Liam, Chubs, and Suzume they don't all exactly mesh well. I loved that there was some tension, especially with Chubs and Ruby, but eventually they become one of those "friends who are like family" type of groups. If I had to be stuck in a dystopian world with weird powers, this is the gang I'd choose. 

Jen says: 
Oh man, I agree completely. This group of kids were a lot of fun. I think I even fell a little in love with Liam. He was definitely a really good heroine type character who had you swooning a bit.  Where we left all of the characters was pretty heartbreaking.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 End of Year Book Survey {Heather}

2016 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 94
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: YA & memoirs  


Best in Books


1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Tiny, Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Add all of these to your TBR lists immediately. I promise they are all worth reading. 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Girls by Emma Cline
Ok so this was on so many lists as one of the best books of the year. I was so excited to       read it since it seemed right up my alley. Cults and murder, I'm down. However, it fell so         flat for me and ended up being something I didn't enjoy at all. 

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics
A book I preordered to read in October and it wasn't nearly as creepy as I hoped it                 would be. The last 50 pages were great, but it took so long to get to that greatness and it       didn't quite make up for how slow the rest of the book was 

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit 
I was expecting this to be a light, funny read that touched on feminist issues. It was so           much more than that. So deep and thought provoking and made me angry multiple               times. It's a must read for every woman, especially if you identify as feminist

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter 
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid 


5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?


Best Series Started: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Best Sequel: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Best Series Ender: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle) 

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Caroline Kepnes 

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don't really have a bookish comfort zone. I feel like I give everything an equal chance. So maybe I didn't read out of my usual zone this year? 

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid 
You by Caroline Kepnes 
Both of these books blew me away. I found myself reading them in like a day, I literally         could not put them down. I would say that You fits more in the thrilling/unputdownable           and Maybe in Another Life would be just unputdownable.

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, to prepare for the next book to be released! 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

The Vegetarian by Han Kang 


11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Nimona

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 
This book you guys. I think about this book weekly. One of the most touching and                 thought provoking books I've ever read in my life. 

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes 
Presence by Amy Cuddy 

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman 



15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?


“I think I have to believe that life will work out the way it needs to. If everything that happens in the world is just a result of chance and there’s no rhyme or reason to any of it, that’s just too chaotic for me to handle. I’d have to go around questioning every decision I’ve ever made, every decision I will ever make. If our fate is determined with every step we take . . . it’s too exhausting. I’d prefer to believe that things happen as they are meant to happen.” 







“You want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.” 




“If you're going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.” 



“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.” 



“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding and my dear one, you and I have been granted a mighty generous one.” 




16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: Lumberjanes Vol. 4    112 pages 
Longest: It by Stephen King      1,116 pages 


 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Without You, There is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elites by Suki Kim 
This was recommended to my by one of my favorite people. I listened to it on audiobook and would highly recommend that. It's shocking to get an inside glimpse in North Korea, a place that's notoriously locked down. It was so powerful. 
     

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Feyre & Rhysand in A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas 

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Susan, Esther, and Daisy in Giant Days

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid 


21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison 


22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Elias Venturuis in An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir 


23. Best 2016 debut you read?

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Lumberjanes 
This comic series is one of my favorites! I'm so glad Jen let me borrow it. The world               building is really fun and cool. I would be so into going to a kick ass camp for kick ass           ladies. 


25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy 
Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch 


26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed 


27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

Replica by Lauren Oliver 

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by John Krakauer 
This book was amazing and powerful, definitely a must read. Just be prepared to get             supes outraged at all the rape culture bullshit that is not only prevalent in our everyday         lives but especially on college campuses. 


Your Blogging/Bookish Life


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

Both of these are new blogs to me this year and they would probably be better described as lifestyle book blogs, which are my favorite kind honestly. I need to become better at commenting on blogs because these two are some of my favorites. Both ladies are so wonderful and have insight into life and books that I find completely relatable


2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

Probably our Summer of Harry Potter reread discussion. It was so fun rereading Harry Potter with Jen this summer. It was also something I really needed, as my mom passed away right in the middle of this reread. Harry Potter brought me comfort after losing my mom. It means more to me now than it ever did, if that's possible. 

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I really loved the post on hard to style pieces that we did this summer. I got to wear a lot of things I love that at first seemed like they wouldn't work together but totally did. 

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?


BookCon, hands down. It was such an amazing bookish experience that I'm so glad I got to share with Jen. I don't think we will make it to BookCon 2017 in NYC, so I'm really glad we got to go when it was in Chicago and close to us. 

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?


Once again, BookCon. Definitely the best bookish blogging thing to happen to me this year. 

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Consistency. Jen is legit the best because she is just always down for us to do this as fun, despite not being as consistent as I want it to be. It's one of my top blogging goals for 2017. I want to start planning ahead content and posting 2-3 times week consistently. 

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

I decided to go by most views, and it was our outfit post all about overalls. I love our outfit posts so this makes me really happy! 

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?


Any book discussion post! I love talking books but those just aren't as popular. We recently decided to revamp the way we do book discussion so maybe that will help? Feedback is also appreciated! 


9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?


BookBub! They send you emails every day with all the book sales they can find. It can be hit or miss, sometimes I don't see anything I want for days. However, at least once a week there is a book or two I've had on my TBR that is on sale for Kindle for $1.99. Totally worth signing up and it's free! 


10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?


I did the Goodreads challenge and blew it away! My goal was to read 75 books and I finished at 94. I honestly didn't think I'd hit 75 so it was a nice surprise to get to 94. I'm trying to decide if I want to keep 75 as my goal for next year or if I want to up it a little, to like 80 or 90. 



Looking Ahead 


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon 
This has been on so many best of 2016 lists, I wish I had gotten to it sooner! I'm adding it to my Amazon cart to add to my bookshelf that can't hold any more books. Yay! 


2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zenter 
I was so impressed with The Serpent King that I already pre-ordered Jeff Zentner's next book. 

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 
Another book that's getting a lot of positive buzz for focusing on the Black Lives Matters movement 

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas 

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?


-Consistent posting
-Defining our blog style (more bookish posts and outfits!)
-Growing a little more in our niche
-Making more blogger friends 


6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Still not cool enough to have gotten any 2017 ARCs, maybe next year!