What I Read…

This month’s book roundup is a little light so I added a questionnaire at the end!

As always, linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!! Happy 4th Anniversary, ladies!!!

On a Cold Dark Sea by Elizabeth Blackwell
★★★/5
Three women board the Titanic, survive the tragedy, and live to rebuild their lives, but the weight of their choices do not sink with the boat. Twenty years later fate reunites them & old secrets and stories are brought back to the surface. 
I enjoyed this book, but it didn’t blow my mind. I loved that all three women came from different walks of life and the author opened the book with stories of their lives before the ship sailed. I liked how the story was set up. I thought the jumping around was easy to follow and it definitely added something to the women’s stories. But there were things I didn’t like… First of all, I feel like there wasn’t much of a point. There was a weird focus on romance- the ending was especially odd. It was also kind of slow. I don’t mind a slow pace in a historical fiction, but it reminded me of a British drama- very slow and building, small twists but nothing mind blowing, polite with hints at impropriety. It was a good story about the Titanic and how people felt after they’d survived- I really enjoyed the historical aspect of it.
Should you read it? If you enjoy historical fiction, reading about the first half of the 20th century, and British dramas, yes.

An Act of Villainy by Ashley Weaver
★★★★★/5 
When amateur socialite detective Amory Ames and her husband Milo are asked to look into drama at a friend’s theater they are both suddenly swept up into a world of acting and mystery.
I love this series. Weaver’s most recent book, Villainy, was just released in September and it’s the perfect installment in the Amory story. (I actually rate this book a 4.75 but I round up.) I love that she’s *actually* working with her husband, not against him, and I also love that their marriage is slowly but surely improving. This book had a few repeat characters and many new ones. I didn’t love the theater setting but it didn’t detract from the story in any way. I 100% did NOT see the ending coming, although it’s similar to an Agatha Christie in that I don’t know if there’d been enough signs for me to guess the ending (thus the docked .25 star). I hope/can’t wait for the next Amory story!
Should you read it? Yes, but read from the start of the series.

As far as Erin’s 9.0 challenge goes…

|5 points| Freebie: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
|10 points| Starts with the letter N: Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
|10 points| Has a mostly orange color: A Tyranny of Petticoats by various authors
|15 points| A book with an unlikable character: An Act of Villainy by Ashley Weaver
|20 points| From 100 books PBS calls “The Great American Read”HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban(illustrated version) by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| Related to water in the title: On A Cold Dark Sea by Elizabeth Blackwell
|25 points| Owned/TBR the longest (GoodReads): The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
|30 points| An emotion word in the title: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
|30 points| Each word in the title begins with the same letter: After Alice by Gregory Maguire
|35 points| A book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one (i.e. does the same kind of thing as you do day to day): The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

I have 165 out of 200 points!


I snagged this tag from Sarah Elizabeth!

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I’ll read any format, but I like hardbacks the best.

Amazon or brick and mortar?
Brick & Mortar for sure. I resort to Amazon when I need a Kindle book or a hard to find book.

Locally owned bookshop or big name chain store?
Any bookstore near me! I only have a locally owned bookshop in town, though.

Bookmark or dog-ear?
Usually a bookmark. I’ll dog-ear my own copies if absolutely necessary.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Alphabetize by author.

Keep, throw away, or sell?
What monster throws books away?! Usually keep. Occasionally gift or donate.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?
Keep it.

Read with dust jacket or remove it?
I don’t have an issue with the dust jacket. I leave it on.

Short story or novel?
I like both 🙂 It just depends on my mood.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
I don’t have much experience here, but I like anthologies.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
Usually at chapter breaks. If the authors ends every chapter with a cliffhanger then eventually I stop when I’m tired.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
It was a dark and stormy night 😉 Not so much thrillers, but adventure or mystery!

Buy or borrow?
Both.

New or used?
Both.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
I like tidy endings. If I’m planning to pick up a sequel immediately, I’m ok with cliffhangers.

Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading?
I like to read on weekend mornings and weekday nights.

Single volume or series?
Both.

Favorite series?
Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles. When I was younger I like American Girl books and The Magic Tree House and books by Eva Ibbotson.

Favorite books read last year?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid), The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood), The Bear and the Nightingale (Katherine Arden), The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein), And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie), The Sisters Brothers (Patrick deWitt).

Favorite books of all time?
Alice in Wonderland & the Harry Potter series.


What did you read this month?

Life According to Steph

Currently…

HEY HEY HEY! It’s fall AND it’s October! Welcome to my month, yo!!

Can you tell that I’m currently happy & enjoying this time of year?

Linking-up with Kristen for the best month’s edition of What’s New With You?. This is a long one…

Today I am currently:

Celebrating… my little Enzo! Today is his 5th birthday! I can’t believe our puppy baby is already 5. It hurts my heart and my head and my soul to think how little time we get to spend with our fur family. Good thing Enzo is living until the rip old age of 80. He’ll be putting me in a home some day.

Grateful… that my September challenge is over. I tried- I really tried. I am not a morning person. UGH. I think I’ve settled on a wake up time of 6:30am (most days). I was attempting to wake up at 6am every work day last month. I failed soooo hard. Yikes.

Moving on to… October’s challenge! This month I am not yelling or raising my voice with Lylee. Y’all… she is freaking stubborn and way too smart and incredibly defiant. She’ll still have to follow commands and be disciplined (inevitably), but I’m not going to raise my voice. (Lylee is a dog for anyone who’s new here.)

Working on… filling out my 2019 planner. I know many of you don’t think I’m nuts, but my husband & coworker give me quirky looks when I tell them that I order a planner/calendar/work planner for 2019. I don’t care- I love it.

My personal planner is from Plum Paper 🙂 (no affiliated links- I just thought I’d share pics)

(This is my third year with Plum Paper. Would anyone be interested in a planner post? Just highlighting how I like to use it?)

Reading… the last two books for Erin’s 9.0 Book Challenge! One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake and After Alice by Gregory Maguire.

Watching… all my tv shows that are back! The Good Place, Superstore, and The Voice are all back on tv! I typically catch the comedies on Hulu a day or two later. K and I watch The Voice together each week.

Listening to… Ben Rector’s new album Magic & Thomas Rhett’s album Life Changes. We just saw Ben Rector again (for the third time) two weeks ago and he was as fantastic as he always is! His music is very appealing and relatable for late 20- & 30-something year olds.

Planning… our Halloween party among other things. This year the theme is famous people- real & fictional. (So you can’t just say you’re a dog or a ghost, you have to be Scooby Doo or Casper.)

Paying for… our builder to come back and add on to our back porch. We also *finally* brought in painters and our kitchen, living room, foyer/hall, bedroom, and master bath are PAINTED!

Wearing… all the jeans, all the sweatshirts, all the cool weather clothes. Last spring I bought myself a pair of lace up Vans (these) and last month I got a pair of Chuck Tailors (these). I honestly didn’t realize how badly I needed these shoes. I either wears my Vans or my Chucks almost every dang day.

I also recently bought these jeans from ON (I LOVE THEM) & this lounge sweatshirt from ON (so dang comfy!).

And also I just got my hair done last night!

Looking forward to… meeting K’s cousin’s new baby, my birthday, a fall trip with my loves, our Halloween party, celebrating birthdays, a business trip in November, and Williamsburg with the family over Thanksgiving!

Eating… as many fall things as I can get my hands on. Soups, Halloween candy, fall flavored donuts, caramel apples…

Drinking… lots of fall flavored coffee in the morning and relaxing tea at night ❤

Praying about… the world. It’s infuriating. Lack of respect, equality, common sense, and human decency are not a part of this Christian’s agenda. (Don’t get me wrong, in addition to praying I’m also voting, making calls, and writing letters.)

Thinking about… how I love this month and hate the world right now. How being an adult looks easy when you’re young, then you arrive and it’s like shit. How much I love my friends and how fortunate I feel to have *real* people on my side and in my corner at this stage in life. How K might be springing a last minute company cookout on me this weekend, lol.

Donating/Ditching/Regifting… hundreds of items around my house for the #MinsGame! And tracking it all on Instagram.

And that’s it. That was a long-ish post. If you made it through, thanks! Tell me what you’re currently up to!

The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration | The 1990s

Hello & welcome to the decade of my birth. I know I’m bias, but I sure do love the 90s. From magazine ads and photos clipped and tacked on my wall to my Walkman skipping on the bus ride home to my Lisa Frank notebook filled with cursive and multiplication problems. So hella cool.

Also, while we don’t usually hit on music, two of my all time favorite bands originated in the 1990s. Dave Matthews Band started in 1991 and the Foo Fighters formed in 1994. If you don’t listen to them, you should 😉

Alright, let’s get back on track…

B O O K S

The Harry Potter series is set in the 90s. Maybe that’s why it’s so amazing and wildly successful 😉 Just kidding. Kind of. But obviously this series ends up on my recommendation list. The Battle of Hogwarts was in May 1998 so the six books preceding Deathly Hallows all occur in the six years prior.

M O V I E S

Once again, Harry Potter is at the top of my list.
(1991-1998) I am very passionate about the book > movie debate. And I don’t think that HP is an exception necessarily, but I will say that the movies possess a magic all their own, and the music and acting that accompany them are beautiful and amazing. So if you’re a staunch HP book lover and adamantly against the movies, give them a shot.

(1991) If you’ve ever questioned my love for Robin William’s acting then question it no more. Hook is one of two RW films on my list 🙂 If you didn’t just holler “RUUUUFIIIIOOOOO” in your head then you need to watch it again. I love how the old story of Peter Pan is brought to life.

(1995) I have one R movie on my list… I haven’t seen it in a long time and I probably won’t ever watch it start to finish again, but the movie Se7en is a series mind-twist. It’s violent and vulgar and 100% not my kind of thing, but I remember loving the story line when I first saw it. If crimes films (and 1990s Brad Pitt 😍) ARE your thing, you should watch this.

(1995) Has everyone seen the original Jumanji movie? Not the one with Kevin Hart and The Rock. I’m talking about the classic with Robert Williams and Bonnie Hunt and Kirsten Dunst. SO GOOD. I could do without the spider and mosquito scenes, but I just cover my eyes 🙂 For being a fun kids movie it makes me whole body shake with anxiety every time they roll the dice.

(1999) Soon after we first started dating my husband (boyfriend at the time, obviously) asked if I wanted to watch Notting Hill. I’d never seen it but shrugged and said sure. It’s such a cute movie and it’s super cute when your teenage boyfriend suggests it. I think he’s just always had a crush on Julia Roberts. Lol

(1999) I absolutely love the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. I think Julia Stiles is amazing and obviously Heath Ledger is crazy adorable. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt is cute, too! It’s a loose retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew & the late 90s fashion is on point.

*dates indicate setting, not release

B O N U S

The West Wing kicked off in 1999. Honestly, I think everyone should watch this series. Besides the actors being incredible, the stories are so humbling and intriguing and timely.

On Deck…

  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Joy (film)
  • The First Wives Club (film)
  • The To Do List (film)
  • Empire Records (film)

Go check out what Alexandra recommended from the 1990s!

Next month is our last month of recommendations! (HOW are we at the end already?!) We are diving head first into the first decade of the 2000s. The threat of global warming loomed larger, the War on Terror was born, and the world became obsessed with superhero films. Join us for a blast from the most recent decade.

Check out our past posts from this series: 19101920193019401950, 1960, 1970, 1980

Unconventional Halloween Movies

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of horror or violent films. I don’t mind creepy or sinister, but seeing people mutilate and harm other people isn’t my cup of tea. But I freakin’ LOVE Halloween. I love fake blood on the bathroom mirror, skulls on the mantel, bottles of ogre teeth and witches brew on the bar cart. LOVE. IT.

And I love watching films that put me in that spooky mood, even if they’re not traditionally Halloween movies. (Some of these are, though. I’ve written about my favorite Halloween movie before here.) This is the unconventional list that I’m planning to tackle this year!

Beetlejuice is one of my favorite films of all time. I’ll watch it all year long. | Every year around my birthday I watch the film Clue. I don’t know why I started this little tradition, but I did and I love doing it 🙂 | I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Rocky Horror Picture Show all the way through but it’s one of my mom’s favorite films. This year I plan to watch the whole thing. | I watched The Haunted Mansion a looong time ago- probably when it first came out. I love that it reminds me of the ride at Disney World! | Sleepy Hollow is such a strange film. It’s definitely not my favorite on the list but it’s spooky without being too gory. | Admittedly, Hocus Pocus isn’t my favorite Halloween movie (gasp), but I know it’s a classic and I still watch it almost every year. | I know Coraline is a kids movie but it freaks. me. out. Perfect for Halloween time. | I’ve never seen The Monster Squad but it looked cheesy and classic so I added it to the list.

I added some not-so-spooky but still fall-flavored films, too. Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of my all time favorite films ever in the history of me. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. It has nothing to do with Halloween and it’s the most adorable, quirky, witty movie ever. | The Blind Side is one of those movies that sucks me in every. single. time. I always laugh and cry and worry like I’m watching it for the first time. | Last but certainly not least, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a classic and deserves to be watched every single year 🙂

**You can find The Monster Squad on Hulu & Coraline on Netflix. There are also a bunch of cute monster/Halloween kids movies on Netflix, too.

What movies are you planning to watch this fall?

Stuff I Want…

IT’S ALMOST MY BIRTHDAY MONTH!!

Hello & welcome to my birthday/Christmas wish list. My family appreciates it when I put these together… To be honest, I like quirky things so you might find something you want on this list, too. Lots of mugs and books and snarky clothes…

Family & friends- I don’t need anything. My favorite part about this time of year is celebrating all the parties and holidays with you guys. I enjoy your company most of all ❤

Mugs

link | link | link

I have a mug problem but I can’t stop won’t stop. I love all of these so much.

(Kyle… I think I need another mug rack.)

Clothes

My closet has A LOT of dog & Harry Potter themed clothes. I like what I like.

link (lrg)| link (lrg)| link (lrg)| link (x-lrg)

Books

My mother-in-law is a wizarding saint. Every year for my birthday or Christmas she buys me the newest illustrated HP book (which has always been conveniently released in October). Since GoF is so massive they’ve pushed the date into 2019. SIGH.

I’ve become a pretty big library and Kindle fan, but I’d really like hard copies of these two books.

Etsy & Target Stuff

link | link | link | link (my laptop is a new MacBook Pro 13, no touch bar)

The baby goat picture would perfectly match the baby Scottish highland cow print I have! 🙂

Once upon a time Target had this ridiculously adorable goat rug. Now I can’t find it 😦

Also… I made this list a week or so ago. Then I found these items:

link (lrg) | link | link

I’m a little smarter this year. I put together an Amazon wishlist for people because adult gift registries are fun and helpful. So if you’re really curious you can go see it HERE.

I’m 100% in love with that Beetlejuice sweatshirt. If you’re new here, Beetlejuice is one of my favorite movies ever.

What’s on your Christmas wish list? It’s never too early 😉

The Fall Bucket List 2018

One Monday morning, not too long ago, a co-worker arrived & I greeted him cheerfully. He gave me a sideways look because a) it was a Monday and b) it was morning. Then I saw a lightbulb go off and he laughed and said, “You’re in a great mood because it’s cold outside.”

YOU BET YOUR ASS, I AM.

And that is my classy intro to this year’s Fall Bucket List.

This year’s list feels a little light but life has been busy and I won’t pretend like I’d enjoy filling all my free time with traditional fall activities. I tried to stick to stuff that I either enjoy doing or stuff that really need done.

Outside Stuff

  • Go to at least one festival
  • Take a vacation
  • Family Thanksgiving trip to Williamsburg
  • Get some mums
  • Get some pumpkins
  • Carve some pumpkins
  • Do a fall craft
  • Take a dog or two on a fall hike

Inside Stuff

  • Gather the necessary items for our costumes…
  • Host our annual Halloween party!
  • Decorate the house
  • Start & finish a project I’m working on with K
  • Try out three new recipes for dinner
  • Bake a new fall cookie
  • Drinks lots of apple cider
  • Meet my cousin-in-law’s new baby! (She’s due early Oct.)
  • Celebrate my bffs’ birthday!! (One in Sept. & one in Nov.)
  • Find a new fall cocktail to make at home
  • Get a PSL
  • Get 50% of my Christmas shopping done
  • Paint the house
  • Hang 90% of all art/pics once house is painted
  • MAKE. ICE. CREAM.(If I don’t do it this time around I’m selling my ice cream machine)
  • Scrapbook Year 4
  • Order Year 5 photos
  • Continue working on office & emptying my parents’ basement

Do I already have some things crossed off? Yes. Am I ashamed that I jumped the gun? Hellz no.

I’m working on my overhaul goals, too. This month has been… rough. But I’ll recap that during Kristen’s link-up at the start of October.

What’s on your fall bucket list?

Spring & Summer Recap

Oh hello, Fall. You beautiful, sexy, amazing, perfect, gorgeous piece of the year. I’ve missed you so. (I know we’re 4 days away. I know.)

Today I’m putting the end cap on my spring & summer bucket list before divulging my fall list. I’ll share my new list on Thursday, so stick around 🙂 Until then, let’s evaluate my summer…

  • Go to a major or minor league baseball game (Indian’s game with cousin & friends)
  • Visit the farmers market at least twice
  • Go on anniversary trip to Gettysburg
  • Go to country summer concert with friends (Kenny Chesney)
  • Go to summer concert with K (Jimmy Eat World)
  • Finish cleaning stuff out of M&D’s basement
    Making progress!
  • Finish purging unnecessary stuff (This is never done but it’s “done” for now.)
  • Have a garage sale at new house!
  • Go to the outdoor rootbeer stand (Fundays)
  • Go swimming!
  • Go to Trumpet in the Land (outdoor play)
  • Follow 5 new blogs
  • Set up home office
  • Set up basement workout space
  • Scrapbook & finish year 3
  • Summer vacation (Darlington, SC)
  • Paint the bedroom
  • MAKE SOME DAMN ICE CREAM

Not bad… not bad…

As far as things I did not do…
We more or less nixed the idea of a basement workout space for now.
Our plan is to paint many rooms at once (and hire someone to do it). Putting it on the fall list.
I made a lot of progress on my home office/craft room, but it’s not done by any means so I don’t want to completely cross it off my list.

I don’t know that I necessarily started following 5 new bloggers, but I started frequenting and visiting the sites of multiple blog-acquaintances in hopes of becoming blog-friends. Does that make sense?

I know you summer-lovers are dreading the next 4 months (5 months? 6 months? …who knows), but I am very happy to see this new season. Come back in two days for my fall bucket list!