Friday, April 7, 2017

March 2017 Reads

On The Fence by Kasie West
Another adorable YA romance from Kasie West, one of my favs! This one is about a tomboy in a family of brothers, including a brother-type from next door that grew up as part of the family. The main character goes through some emotional growth over the loss of her mom, and evolving into more of herself, while noticing that her relationship with her neighbor is changing. Loved it!

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
This book makes a perfect beach read - its flowy, descriptive prose has a pace perfect for sitting by the pool or lying under an umbrella by the shore. It's a little more slow moving than most YA books, but it's done in a gorgeous way as you get pulled into the magic and beauty of scent and plants and aromatherapy. It has just a slight hint of fantasy woven through real world struggles - parent/child, first love, high school hierarchy. It's a beautiful book!

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna
I had no idea how artistic this book would be (duh, the cover should have been more of a clue), but the creative way this book presented the choice between passion and responsibility was fun, inspiring, and pretty. I loved it! It was entertaining, but also made me think without tying my mind up in complicated questioning. It's a quick must-read for creatives and not-so-creatives alike.

My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
I expected this book to be a little more fun, but it was veeery cheesy. I gave it three starts, and it only earned its third star for a few passing moments in the love story part of the plot. I mean, it's YA...always a bit of a lottery. I can't blame it too much. If you're interested, though, it's about a girl who gets a job on a movie set that came to her small town for the summer and finds herself tangled up in a bit of a love triangle.

What Falls From the Sky by Esther Emery
I really really wanted to explore the path that this author took through this story - a year without the Internet. She took it to the extreme: canceling her internet service, ditching her smart phone. I don't think I could go that far, but I've been craving distance from our endless connectivity, so it was fascinating to study her experience. She described a life that was rich in creative, domestic, and social pursuits, the ways she grew as a result, and the hardships she faced as she navigated the uncharted waters of living somewhat off the grid. It was a beautiful, inspiring story that I can see myself turning to again.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This. Was. Perfect. Toootally totally perfect. She completely spoke my language in regards to creativity, passion, and intentional living. It was a gorgeous and comforting read, and it was a perfect thing to take on vacation with me to push along the inspiration of a break from reality. I had this one from the library, but may need to add this to my library of creative wisdom!

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Current Stack // March

Co-Creating At Its Best by Wayne Dyer & Esther Hicks
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
What Falls From The Sky by Esther Emery
Ask and It Is Given by Esther & Jerry Hicks
Wheat Belly by Williams Davis
The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
On The Fence by Kasie West
The Places That Scare You by Pemo Chodron
My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna
Reality Is Not What It Seems by Carlo Rovelli
Beautiful Money by Leanne Jacobs
Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Friday, March 3, 2017

February 2017 Reads

For being such a short little month, I sure fit in a lot of books in February! It was a cold and miserable time in our long, looooong winter, so I cozied up with books as often as possible! Here's what I tackled:

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
I love Anna Kendrick! This look into her life and start as an actress was super fun to follow. I love her humor and her insistence on being seen as just another gross human being. ;)

The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg
This was a quick, cute intro to Hygge - it was exactly what I needed on a very Winter Bluesy day. If you're curious about it, this is the perfect little resource to get you in the Hygge mindset! You can tread the entire thing in an hour or less!

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
I read this book over Valentine's Day weekend, thinking it was a perfect romance read for the timing. I loved escaping to Italy with Lina and being a part of her adventure in self-discovery and finding love along the way. This is only the third book I've read that's set in Italy, but it reminded me of how much I enjoy "traveling" there.

Co-Creating at Its Best by Dr. Wayne Dyer & Esther Hicks
I grabbed this book on a whim at the library and was compelled to read it that night. Its format was easy to fly through, but its content was enormouslyinsightful. If you believe in The Secret and the Law of Attraction, this is the best start to taking that further and understanding the teachings of Abraham. I know this all sounds hokey and crazy, but nothing has ever made so much sense to me before, once I was finally able to wrap my mind around it!

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
This my very favorite kind of YA - where the love story is just the right level of cheesy, the writing is still good, and the humor enhances the characters. This is a seriously cute story of a girl that writes on a desk during class and is surprised to get a response. As the days go on, she becomes pen pals someone who shares her seat, and ends up surprised by their identity. It's cute and fun, and it started my love of Kasie West's fun YA romances.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Another perfectly adorable Kasie West story about a girl who gets dumped in the parking lot before prom. As a strong, action oriented girl, she fixes the situation by finding a guy to stand in for her date. The story that evolves is perfectly suspenseful and sweet, and she learns a lot about herself and her place in the world in the process. Super cute and fun - loved it!

Wheat Belly by William Davis
My family and I went gluten free in August of last year, and wanting to know more I grabbed this book on a recent library trip. I wanted to take my GF dedication to the next level, and this book was perfect! I learned so much about wheat - why it is totally garbage in modern times, why it causes so many problems, and that everyone has some level of irritation in their body because of keeping it in their diets. I went from thinking a GF diet was a temporary situation to deciding that I will NEVER go back! My body is noticeably different since letting wheat go, and this book supported every last one of my feelings. The author is a cardiologist with loads of personal experience and patient stories relating to wheat and illness, but he also has a great sense of humor that keeps an otherwise dry topic interesting and sometimes entertaining. I recommend a read to literally every single human being - drop the wheat!!!! And use this book to help you get there.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This was a gorgeous story, full of well-written contrast and thoughtful issues. As the reader, you find yourself pulled into Madeline's situation, rooting for her freedom and her full life right alongside her. I can't wait to see the movie! The other again shows her talent with words, her quick sense of humor, and her emotional understanding of the struggles in life.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

January 2017 Reads

Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks
This isn't the first time I've started a year with Nicholas Sparks - it's almost become a bit of a tradition. I have been less entranced with the Sparks books over the years, but the one thing I can credit this particular novel with is that it's not a recycled version of all that came before it (as many of his novels had become). However, I found it barely relatable (and that's just because of my life experiences), and often stressful and unsettling to read. The few times it actually spoke to me were when his daughter was struggling with the circumstances of his marriage. Meaning I related most closely to the 6yo in the book, and that was odd, but made sense as I was about her age when my parents divorced. The main characters in the book were my age - the MC was nearly exactly my husband's age, but he was painted as older and out of touch (there was a mention of him not knowing how to text with two hands, for example - I'm thinking Mr. Sparks is making assumptions about his age vs what it was like a decade or so ago when he was the MC's age. I assure you, my 36 year old husband texts with two thumbs and knows as much about social media and technology as someone ten years younger than him.) He also demonized the wife in the story, and made their conversations impossibly frustrating. Maybe this was just creative expression, depicting how we can only ever know one side of the story as someone tells it, but knowing that he divorced in his personal life last year (likely when he wrote this), it felt like a petty stab at his ex. I did enjoy the ending, despite the sadness surrounding it, but stomaching the huge amount of depressing and traumatic experiences he squeezed into these pages was an unpleasant reading experience, and I was happy to be done with it.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Cute story that I was excited to read through, but basically your run of the mill YA romance. The author herself won this book it's 4th star: she was legitimately funny, didn't cause me to cringe at any point, and jumped right into the exciting part of the story right off the bat. No boring backstory before the hook - love that. She used hilarious slang and her obvious sense of humor was all over the place. This is a perfect indulgent, fun read, like an alternative to TV. I'd love to read more YA by this author!

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

This book was full of faith and trust. It toyed with fate in a real and magical way, while also facing racism with honesty and beauty. The author was as funny as she was real, and her characters reflected that. It wasn't a book that had me starving for more every time I had to set it down, but it was an important, dreamy story that was told beautifully.

Flower by Elizabeth Craft & Shea Olsen
Mixed (mostly good) feelings. This was indulgent and swoony in the exact ways I love YA to be, but there were many moments of unrealistic ridiculousness (be prepared to suspend your disbelief, and not even in a fantasy/magical way, in a "this would never happen in real life" way), and also some reactions and interactions that will make you feel like this relationship is an unhealthy one. It is, at times, a little dark and iffy. But it's exciting and delicious in all the ways YA should be, and I found myself wishing for more time with Tate when it ended. (PS, love Elizabeth Craft - I picked this one up out of loyalty to her & her sister, and I'm glad I did!)

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
This was SO fun! You know how sometimes memoirs can hit some slow moments, or just phases that you find difficult to relate to? This book had none of that. Lauren was hilariously funny and entertaining the entire time, and I loved the behind the scenes pieces from Gilmore Girls. I flew through this one in a day, so fun to read!

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Current Stack // January

100 Mindfulness Meditations by Neil Seligman
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Wheat Belly by William Davis
The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg
Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
4 Ingredients Gluten-Free Cookbook by Kim Mc
The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Date Night At The Library

Maybe it doesn't sound thrilling or romantic that we went on a date night at the library of all places, but this was SO much fun. Most of the time, I have to request my books from their online system because I have 3 noisy little boys, and searching for what I want just takes too much time and proves to be way too stressful.

So this evening, we had no rush, no worry, and I slowly wandered the aisle and grabbed anything that caught my eye.

SO excited to tear into this stack!

We visited Starbucks for some coffee after the library, and then wandered Target, was basically the best date night ever ;)

Friday, January 6, 2017

An Ambitious Year In Books

I almost never end up reading exactly what I set out to read, but I make these endless lists, anyway. It's hard to account for the things that get released later on, or the things you randomly discover on the shelf during a library trip, but having at least an "I'd like to read" list for the year is something I do consistently anyway.

So here's what I hope to find in my 2017, knowing full-well that I'll miss many of them.

1. Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford
2. Talking As Fast As I can by Lauren Graham
3. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
4. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
5. The Other Life by Ellen Meister
6. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
7. I'm Glad About You by Theresa Rebeck
8. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
9. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
10. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
11. Crosstalk by Connie Willis
12. Flower by Elizabeth Craft, Shea Olsen
13. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
14. The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
15. Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett
16. Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe
17. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly
18. The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
19. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
20. A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole
21. Where One Goes by B.N. Toler
22. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
23. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
24. Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han
25. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
26. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
27. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
28. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
29. Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do by Chris Guillebeau
30. The Places that Scare You by Pema Chodron
31. 279 Days to Overnight Success: An Unconventional Journey to Full-Time Writing by Chris Guillebeau
32. Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron
33. Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron
34. Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion by Pema Chödrön
35. Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chodron
36. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
37. The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale
38. 100 Mindfulness Meditations by Neil Seligman
39. The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg
40. All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
41. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
42. My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
43. Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock
44. #famous by Jilly Gagnon
45. The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up by Adrian Gostick, Scott Christopher
46. Why We Get Fat by Gary Todd
47. Slim By Design by Brian Wansink
48. Everyone We've Been by Sarah Everett
49. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
50. Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
51. All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers by Alana Massey
52. Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
53. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
54. The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
55. Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
56. Lucky in Love by Kasie West
57. Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz
58. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett