What I Read…

It’s book day! It’s also nearly halfway through August. WHAT THE HECK. I know we all say the months fly by (except January 2018, remember that one?) but daaang. This summer has been a quick one!

I just got home from another work trip- this time to Indianapolis. We end up there about twice a year and always come home dead tired. I’m not really complaining, though. I like what I do & who I do it with so these trips are fun in their own way ๐Ÿ™‚

Enough chit-chat. On to the books.

Thanks for hosting this lovely Show Us Your Books link up, Jana & Steph! (Go visit them!)

The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
In 1961 NASA sent the first American into space (just after Russia beat us to it). In 1969 we were the first to put men on the moon. The wives never walked on the moon but without them their husbands’ dreams would’ve been just that.ย 
I know it’s borderline blasphemous to say this, but I recommend watching the TV mini-series before reading this book. There are lots of wives (and astronauts) to keep track of and the show will help you put a face/personality with the wife; at least for the Mercury 7 wives. I’m not typically one for space history, but I really enjoyed this book. It doesn’t have very good reviews on GR (mainly because of the “sassy” writing style) but I didn’t have a problem with it. I enjoyed learning about the marriages and women who made it possible for these men to travel to space. Trust me, without the wives behind them, the men would’ve failed miserably and never seen the moon.
Should you read it? If your interest is now piqued, then yes. Watch the mini-series first, though!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
Caught between two worlds, Starr Carter has suddenly lost another best friend to neighborhood violence- only this time it’s the fault of the supposed “good guys.” By speaking out she’s sure to make an enemy out of nearly everyone… in both of her worlds.ย 
This book was incredible. I’m from a very small, white Midwestern town. Certain conversations made my skin prickle and my face blush. I would agree with everyone out there and recommend this book to all people. It’s heartbreaking and funny and infuriating and suspenseful and filled with SO MUCH. I’m so glad I read it and annoyed with myself that I hadn’t read it sooner. I really can’t think of much else to say- you just need to read it.
Should you read it? YES.

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
After two years of suffering as the be-all, do-all assistant to professional football player and major asshole Aiden Graves, Vanessa has finally quit to peruse her own artistic dreams. But soon after her grand exit Aiden shows up begging her to come back- and this time, he promises, things will be different.
The more I thought about this book the more I convinced myself to push it into the 4 star range… It was cute and flirty, and parts of it have really stuck with me. The reason for the hesitant score is the repetitive nature. I liked Vanessa but her internal dialogue was usually about the same dilemma, over and over. I think the book could’ve been 100 pages less if that had been skimmed down or removed. Aiden sounded incredibly attractive. I loved that Vanessa was a an average, down-to-Earth woman. I think I’m starting to love the romance genre. So far they’ve been mostly the same formula, but you kind of know what you’re getting when it comes to this type of book. It’s a fluffy way to mix up my reading habits. I’m interested to picked up another Zapata (and R.S. Grey, too).
Should you read it? I know it’s one of Kristen‘s favorites and I really enjoyed it, so if romance is a genre you like then yes, you should.

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
It’s funny how one dress can affect so many different people and events…
There was nothing wrong with this book, but it didn’t have much pizzazz. All the stories were woven together like the movie Valentine’s Day or New Years Eve. It was adorable and cutesy, but there wasn’t much development and everything was tied up in a nice, neat bow by the final page. I loved all the stories surrounding the sales people at Bloomingdale’s. I also loved the emotional importance of findingย the dress for any occasion and how it makes a woman feel. It was sweet and accurate- I’m not one for fashion, but the right dress makes you feel incredible! Overall, just a cute little beach read.
Should you read it?ย Eh. Only if you’re in need of something super light.

Erin’s 9.0 Challenge started last month. Some people read all ten books in as many days (or less!). I am not those people. Here’s my progress:

|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: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
|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 110 points out of 200.

I’m currently working on the Prisoner of Azkaban. (I like to savor my HP reads.) I have On A Cold Dark Sea on hold at the library, After Alice is sitting on our coffee table, and I’m waiting for One Dark Throne to go on sale (Kindle version- fingers crossed!).

What did you read this month?

Life According to Steph

The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration | The 1970s

Welcome back! I know I literally JUST said I wasn’t going to be around much but this collaboration with Alexandra (and the Show Us Your Books link-up next week) requires my attention ๐Ÿ™‚

This week we’re exploring the 1970s.

On the first Tuesday of the month, February through November, we’re highlighting books & films from/about specific eras that we recommend! (Television shows, too, sometimes!) There’s no commitment or link-up during those months on your end, but in December weโ€™ll host a recap/link-up for the entire year!

My post is very light. I tend to avoid things set in the 60s and 70s because I just don’t relate to that era or the popular culture within it. I wish I’d had more time to read and watch more 70s entertainment but… well… life. So without further ado…

B O O K S

All I’ve got are movies today… Anyone have some 70s-set book recs?

M O V I E Sย 

(1970s) I know it’s super stupid and sexist, but Anchorman is a favorite in our family. I think it might just be the quotability. “You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole… wheel of cheese? How’d you do that? I’m not even mad, that’s amazing.”

(1971) Any time a high school teacher didn’t want to teach we watched Remember the Titans. Usually it was a social studies teacher- who was also a coach. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a GREAT movie. But it reminds me of lazy days in school. We are Marshall is another good football movie from the 70s (& I’ve been to that campus!).

(1973) Admittedly it’s not my favorite one, but X-Men: Days of Future Past is set smack dab in the middle of the 1970s. I love that it has lots of Jackman, Fassbender, McAvoy, and Lawrence, as well as a bunch of the lesser known mutants. That said, it’s essentially a gateway to the new wave of X-Men movies- bridging the time warp.

*dates indicate setting, not release

B O N U S

Nofin’.

On the Shelf…

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is definitely on my tbr list.

As far as movies go, I think Now and Then (1970) sounds cute.

I warned you this was a short post ๐Ÿ˜‰ Skip over to Alexandra’s blog to see her 1970s recommendations!

Can you believe weโ€™re already moonwalking our way into the 1980s next month?! Join us as we say goodbye to The Cold War, John Lennon, and Bob Marley, and say hello to leg warmers, heavy metal bands, and the Brat Pack!

Did you miss our previous decades-themed posts? Find them here:ย 1910,ย 1920,ย 1930,ย 1940,ย 1950, 1960

What I Read…

Apparently the reading bug bit me because I’ve been picking up and finishing books like crazy. And today I’m linking up with the fabulous Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books! to share them all with you!

(Happy 11th Birthday to my sweet little cousin Andria!)

I actually read these first two before the last SUYB link-up, but I was afraid I’d get burnt out in June and have nothing for today so I saved them. Plus, I had FIVE in May and that was crazy for me so I decided to hold off on more reviews. Who knew I’d end up with six this month.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
A collection of historically amusing and literature-rich comics.
Sometimes it’s nice to break up the novels and nonfictions with a few humorous and witty comics. I loved the ones about the suffragettes and anything with the Tudors. Occasionally she’ll draw short comics purely based off book covers- those are pretty funny. The Austen sisters comics had me laughing out loud, too. Beaton is a well-studied historian with a feminist flair and a snarky sense of humor. I think we’d get along nicely.
Should you read it? If you like history and classic literature then you’d probably find this collection extremely amusing.

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
Ella’s life is the perfect rags-to-riches fairy tale. A prince, a castle, a kingdom with servants- what more could a girl want?
This was a fun, quick read about Cinders-Ella’s real story. A.k.a. the one where she’s a witty and brilliant girl who gets sucked into one enslavement after another. I liked the twist on this classic tale. I liked that Ella was smart and strong and resilient. I know I’d have enjoyed this book a lot more when I was younger, but it wasn’t a bad read as an adult.
Should you read it? Maybe. It’s a good empowerment fairy tale for young teens.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
A criminal twist on The Breakfast Club: Five students walk into detention, four walk out alive. Who done it? And why? What are these four students hiding?
I loved this book. The title and cover alone absolutely hooked me. I was ready to end up hating one or all the teenagers- none of them were perfect and they most definitely had secrets. Nothing was how it seemed, though, and McManus managed to weave in some diversity while shattering stereotypes and growing her characters into well-rounded and self-aware young adults. I knew my heart would break when someone was outed as a murderer. I had my guesses about what really happened in the detention classroom, but I didn’t guess everything and I was never 100% confident. I really enjoyed the suspense and twists and overall outcome. It took me no time at all to read this book and I was always itching to pick it back up!
Should you read it? Yep. I don’t usually read suspense, YA, or contemporary. And I loved it.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
A short speech about feminist from an award-winning author & Happy African feminist.
I was told by many folks in Blogworld that this was a must read. They were all completely and totally correct. It’s short and it will take you a half hour at most. It will make you questions why girls feel the need to be likable (and therefore diminish themselves and their “aggressive” behaviors in society & business). It will draw comparisons between masculinity and money for males. (I’d honestly never thoughts about that.) It will force you to notice the societal stigma surrounding unwed women (cats, spinster, failure) and unwed men (bachelor, hasn’t picked one yet). It’ll piss you off. A few weeks ago someone was talking with K and made a joke about me spending his money. Not OUR money- his money. K tried to counter and slip in there that I sign the checks, but it didn’t matter. WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS, friends.
Should you read it? You betcha.

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5ย 
With dreams of opening her own restaurant in California, Eddy is on her way west to make it a reality. When tragedy leaves her stranded and weak in the desert she must rely on the kindness of strangers, including the handsome Rhine Fontaine, to help her get back on her feet.
Ho hum… trying my luck with another romance novel. This one was entertaining enough. I think I found it for free through the Book Bub emails & there were a handful of grammatical errors, but I can get past that. Eddy is the daughter of freed slaves and Rhine IS a freed slave passing as a white man (his father was the plantation owner). The divide and attitude between White Republicans and Black Republicans in the town of Virginia City was a big part of the story. I mostly enjoyed the flirting between Eddy and Rhine but the whole ending seemed kind of rushed. I also think a few things that the characters did might not have gone over so well in real life. But it’s a story so take it for what it’s worth.
Also, there are A LOT of romance novels entitled “Forbidden.” Lol
Should you read it? Probably not unless old west romances are your *thing*.

A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
A collection of fifteen short historical fiction stories featuring badass girls through America’s decades.
I don’t read a lot of short stories. I don’t dislike them, they just don’t usually cross my path. I liked the option of putting down the book and feeling complete after only reading 20 pages or so. As far as these stories go, I really really really loved them. They’ve all stuck with me in some way or another. Stories about bank robbers and protesters and pirates and more. Some girls lived to the end and some didn’t. Some girls pretended to be boys and some were incredibly feminine. It was a wonderful mix. One of my favorite authors, Marissa Meyer, contributed a story to the mix. The stories occurred between 1710 and 1968 and were all historical fiction, some even a bit fantasy. My favorite ones wereย Los Destinos,ย Pearls,ย Gold in the Roots of the Grass,ย The Color of the Sky,ย Pulse of the Panthers, andย The Whole World is Watching. I tried to whittle that list down. I couldn’t.
Should you read it? YES.

Erin’s 9.0 Book Challenge started this month, too.

|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: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
|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

Kicking things off with 10 points.

What did you read this month? Do you tend to read more in the summer or winter? I thought I was a winter reader but these past two months have been great!

Thanks for hosting, Steph & Jana!

Link up with us, friends!

Life According to Steph

The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration | The 1960s

Welcome to the Sixties, friends. This is an era that gives me total anxiety. For being the birth of the whole “peace & love” movement, it’s an incredibly violent decade. War and anti-war riots, violent sexual diseases and rampant drug use, Helter Skelter, the JFK assassination, etc. That’s A LOT to take in a 10 year span. Plus the violence associated with (and mostly against) the Civil Rights Movement, second-wave feminism, and the Gay Rights Movement.

There is NO part of me that wishes I was alive and active in the 60s. Flower child, I am not.

On the first Tuesday of the month, February through November, we’re highlighting books & films from/about specific eras that we recommend! (Television shows, too, sometimes!) There’s no commitment or link-up during those months on your end, but in December weโ€™ll host a recap/link-up for the entire year!

While I adamantly dislike the 60s, I admit there are some amazing books and movies set in this decade. (Check out Alexandra‘s recs, too… And wish her a happy birthday!!)

B O O K S

Lots of YA and middle school literature here. But also some of the best books ever.

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg) was first read to me in 3rd grade and I think I’ve read it half a dozen times since then. It’s cute and it’s set in a museum and it’s the perfect introverted kid’s (adult’s?) fantasy of running away and living in a museum ๐Ÿ™‚

One of my favorite books ever is The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster). It’s witty and adorable and chocked full of puns. I love it. It’s a good lesson about how life is only as dull as you perceive it.

I’d be remiss to go through the 60s without mentioning The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton). It blows my mind that this story was written by a 16 year old high school girl. I mean, pretty much all of US had to read it in hs, right?? So incredible. Stay gold, guys. Stay gold…

M O V I E S

One night, probably during a thunderstorm, I was laying on the couch with the dogs and happened upon The Night of the Iguana on TCM. It’s a strange, strange movie, full of vice and madness (originally a play by Tennessee Williams) but it stuck with me.

(1962) My family loves the movie Secondhand Lions. It’s a heartwarming classic and if you haven’t seen it, I URGE you to watch it. (Also, if you’re anything like me and you worry about the treatment of animals in film, here is the AH rating for the film. The lion, pig, and dogs were treat 100% humanely. Spoilers in that link, just FYI.)

(1962) I love the X-Men movie franchise and X-Men: First Class is my favorite film. It reveals a lot about some of the mutants’ pasts, it has most of my favorite characters, and it has all my favorite X-Men actors (although I wish we saw more of Jackman- there’s only a short scene).

(1964) One of K’s favorite movies EVER is That Thing You Do. Probably because the main character is a charismatic drummer and the whole thing is a little goofy. Plus it has Tom Hanks and Liv Tyler.

*dates indicate setting, not release

B O N U S

Last week Lindsay mentioned the You Must Remember When podcast on her blog. I am not a podcast listener- at all. But I got curious and tuned in to the one about Lauren Bacall. Dang. I am 100% hooked. Episodes 44-55 detail the Charles Manson insanity- which happened in the 60s. It’s nuts & perfect for history lovers. I might’ve consumed +8 hours of Manson Family-related history this past weekend…

I will definitely be mentioning this podcast in future RSFB posts, too. I listen to it on Spotify.

Back when it was on TV in 2015, I loved The Astronaut Wives’ Club (abc). The stories and acting and history drew me right in! It’s based on the true book by Lilly Koppel, which I plan to read soon!

I still can’t figure out why Pan Am was canceled… It has SO many big names and I loved the stories! Admittedly, I haven’t seen the last few episodes in the series but I plan to. This show starred Christina Ricci, Margot Robbie, and Michael Mosley to name a few.

On the shelf…

I’ve tried many time to read The Help but it’s always a DNF. I haven’t given up yet, though.

When these film trailers were released I wanted to see them, but then life got busy. I’m still hoping to watch The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Big Eyes, and definitely Hidden Figures someday!

The mini-series called The Kennedys caught my attention when it was first released and I remember watching the first episode, but then I got distracted. I’d like to go back and watch the whole thing soon!


Alright, that’s it from me today ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll find more 1960s books, movies, and TV shows over in Alexandra‘s corner of the internet!!

The 1970s saw political scandal, the rise of feminism, and environmentalism and anti-war protests. It was a weird time for the United States and the world. Weโ€™ll be sharing our favorite movies, books, and television shows that encapsulate the strange and groovy 70s. ย 

Did you miss our previous decades-themed posts? Find them here: 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950

Book Challenge by Erin 9.0 Selections

Is it that time again, Audrey?? Yes. Yes, it is.

Erin released the prompts for her next book challenge and I’m so excited! This four month reading challenge goes from July 1 to Oct. 31. I have a few work trips in there so fingers crossed I get some travel-reading done.

Ok, I’ll talk rules and dets after I share my choices ๐Ÿ™‚

Book Challenge by Erin 9.0

|5 points| Freebie (at least 200 pages): 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: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| One of the 100 books PBS calls “The Great American Read”Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (illustrated version) by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| Something related to water in the title: On A Cold Dark Sea by Elizabeth Blackwell
|25 points| A book youโ€™ve owned the longest (GoodReads list) but havenโ€™t read yet: 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

Ok… on to my sales pitch ๐Ÿ˜‰

Just kidding, it’s not a pitch. Erin hosts the most supportive and encouraging challenges, though. I use them as motivation to put down the remote or phone and pick up a book or Kindle. I read ONE book in my very first challenge- it’s not about how fast or many you read. It’s about enjoying the stories along the way. Absolutely ZERO pressure.

If you do want to partake, select your books and have them to Erin’s FB page before July (the earlier, the better- but she takes late joiners, too). Reading starts at 12:00am on July 1st and ends at 11:59pm on October 31st. One book can be a reread for you, but all categories must be different books (no doubling up to check off two categories) and all books must be 200+ pages. You can use audio and ebooks as long as they meet those requirements. Any questions? You can check out Erin’s FB page or ask me!

So tell me what you picked or would pick for each category. I won’t lie- I struggled a bit. Almost all of these are from my TBR list, though, so I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll FINALLY finish a challenge.

What I Read…

At the beginning of the year I was a reading machine….then I wasn’t. I didn’t finish Erin’s Challenge (part way through I knew I wouldn’t), I barely cracked a book in April, and I often chose sleeping or TV over reading. I was sick and we traveled quite a bit. I’m not making excuses- I fully own up to all my distractions. I’m back on the horse for now, though, and the horse is galloping.

(Obviously linking up with Jana and Steph today for Show Us Your Books!)

In other news,ย  I joined a book club at my church in May! We read Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I’m the youngest by quite a few years (10), but nevertheless I enjoy the company & discussion.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5ย 
At the close of WWII Juliet Ashton, a charismatic and fiery authoress, is looking for her next book topic. After exchanging a few letters with some literature-loving islanders of Guernsey she’s both curious & inspired.
Everyone I know who’s read this book has loved it. I’m not here to contest that. I want to be best friends with Juliet and I want to discuss literature with the Literary Society and I want to run through the fields and build sandcastles on the beach with Kit. It is a gorgeous story of a strong women who is dedicated to her career and her loved ones and reporting a true but entertaining story. It’s also about rebuilding one’s life after bombs have reduced all the one loves to rubble. Gosh, it was a crazy gorgeous story. I was never bored and I teared up a few times and I’m very grateful for everyone who encouraged me to read it!
Should you read it? Please do. It’s lovely and heart-warming and sad in a warlike way but so cozy.

Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle (Melton- at the time)
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5ย 
Carrying over from her blog Momastery, Glennon Doyle Melton shares her youthful struggles, stories of motherhood, and lessons on finding her own version of faith and God’s grace.ย 
(Honest rating is 3.5 stars but I round up.) This book was picked for me. When I joined my church’s book club they had just started this one- so I jumped right in. Glennon and her love-based faith reminds me of Jen Hatmaker and Brene Brown (although, admittedly, I’ve only read excerpts from and about them. I don’t know their backstories). Glennon is a recovered/ing alcoholic, drug addict, bulimic, & smoker. When she found out she was pregnant she stopped everything cold turkey (damn), married the baby’s father, and started writing to keep herself sane. Her stories are raw and honest and 100% rooted in love/grace/kindness. I loved that. She made me want to be a better person- but also emphasized that “better” is a term of worth and we’re already 100% worthy.
Should you read it? If what I said appeals to you, then yes. She’s not perfect, her past is spotty, and she takes a pretty liberal approach to loving Jesus- which I believe is 100% His kind of disciple.

Favorite Quotes:

“Brave is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.” p.123

“…when in doubt, mercy triumphs judgement.” p.140

“Everybody has the answers right inside of her, since we’re all made up of the same amount of God.” p.117

“Be confident because you are a child of God. Be humble because everyone else is too.” p.176


Arrogant Devil by R.S. Grey
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
Meredith is desperate for a new start- so desperate she leaves her million dollar life behind in California. Jack just so happens to be desperate for a house cleaner. Despite a rocky first impression and gruff boss, Meredith is determined to rebuild her life here at Blue Stone Ranch and win Jack over.
I don’t know if romances are my thing… That said, I stayed up until 2:30 AM ON A WORK NIGHT to read this book. So I enjoyed it… but I don’t know how to rate it in regards to other spicy novels because I hardly ever (possibly never?) read them. But I really, really loved Meredith. She was hilarious. I laughed out loud several times during her self talks & conversations with Alfred. I also appreciated that she was kind and friendly and never in competition with anyone else. Also, considering her life in California, I found her humble. I genuinely loved her character. While rough around the edges (because he was supposed to be), I enjoyed Jack, too. He was a hardworking ranch owner but he never looked like a hillbilly or heathen. I liked that. The story made sense and the side characters were fun. (Edith is probably the absolute best ever.) I think Meredith had a lot of growth confidence-wise and independence-wise, but she was never an unlikable character to start with. Based on the other reviews I’ve read, Grey tends to write great characters so I’ll probably pick up another of her book someday.
Should you read it? If you like romance novels or you want to try reading a romance, then yes.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
Nova hates the Renegades and knows that average people can be their own heroes- why should they lean on the inflated Renegades Council and the prodigies they employee? When the opportunity to take down the superhero establishment presents itself, Nova jumps at the chance and is immersed in the world of “good”,ย  but things aren’t always as they seem.
This was the definition of three stars. It didn’t blow my mind and I had plenty of issues with it, but it was entertaining and I enjoyed the story and I will definitely give the next book in the series a chance. Nova and Adrian are both great characters. Flawed but genuinely good at heart. There are secrets and lies and hidden identities, but fortunately no love triangles or anything that makes my eyes roll out of my head. There are way too many similarities to X-Men for me to ignore (but maybe that’s because I’m a big X-Men fan). I’m hoping that book #2 brings some depth to the Council and the Renegades as a whole. I want Nova (and Adrian, for that matter) to discover something shady within the all-too-perfect organization. I’m also curious about Max- I hope we get more on his past. This was a +550 page book, but it didn’t feel that long to me.
Should you read it? Only if the description really appeals to you. It’s action-y and a little YA. If you liked Meyer’s other books you might like it.

It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse- and How You Can, Too by Winifred M. Reilly
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…/5
Fed up with her husband’s behavior and on the verge of divorce, couples therapist Winifred M. Reilly stumbles upon a new approach. Can changing her own behavior and attitude really alter her partners destructive habits?
My marriage isn’t in trouble, but I like reading books on relationships and parenting and things like that. This one was interesting. (Steph mentioned it once and that’s how it came across my radar.) I think it could have been half as long. The last 25% is what really resonated with me. I think this marriage book would be helpful for longtime couples who find themselves having the same fights over and over again. It’s a book about a) finding happiness within yourself, not within your spouse and b) making changes to the daily script and not falling victim to the same old fights with the same old reactions and the same old results. Honestly, it made sense and I think the advice would work for two people stuck in a rut who still might love one another. I compared the stories and results to my own marriage, and I think there are some things I’d like to do going forward that might change the outcome of our two or three “consistent” arguments. I liked how the book focused on the reader- not the reader’s relationship. I think that made it helpful and applicable.
Should you read it? If you’re looking for creative ways to communicate and respect your spouse, it might be worth your time. Skim the first 50%, though. It’s mostly about the author’s marriage and failed reparation attempts.

Favorite Quote:

“When a prevailing belief in our culture is that people should either leave a relationship that doesn’t make them happy or pressure their partner to improve his or her performance, no wonder so few of us have any idea where to begin.”


Did you see that Erin’s 9.0 Challenge prompts are finally available? The challenge doesn’t start until July but obviously I’ve already picked out my reads. (Sharing those on Thursday!) If you’ve been on the fence about dipping your toes in the book challenge pond I’d encourage you to join in this summer! I can’t sing Erin’s praises enough as a host and the categories are so fun to match with books!

I honestly can’t believe I finished five books this month. I finished zero last month. I’ve been working on a few of these for quite some time, but I’m still happy with this month’s results.

What did you read?

Life According to Steph

The Roaring Swinging Fabulous Groovy Blog Collaboration | The 1950s

Hello! Fair warning- you will not find Grease on my list of recommendations. Welcome to the 1950s! While girls and boys were sipping on shakes in the malt shop the rest of the world was fighting in the Korean War, racing to space, and whispering behind closed doors about communism and capitalism.

On the first Tuesday of the month, February through November, we’re highlighting books & films from/about specific eras that we recommend! (Television shows, too, sometimes!) There’s no commitment or link-up during those months on your end, but in December weโ€™ll host a recap/link-up for the entire year!

I’ve mentioned this before, but music from the 1940s makes me happy. Some of those same artists trickled into the 50s (Sinatra, Crosby, Martin, …) but when the mid-century rock n’ roll starts I lose interest. (Which is funny, considering my father-in-law plays bass in a nationally recognized Elvis band.)

Alright, on to the recommendations…

B O O K S

I only have one book to recommend but it’s one of my favorites.

It’s the only TJR book I’ve read: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid) is so entertaining and engrossing. It spans a few decades, but it starts in the 50s. This book has star power, small twists, romance & friendship, and lovable yet flawed characters. I really loved it.

M O V I E S

(1953) I didn’t see it until I was in my 20s, but Roman Holiday is cute and fun and it includes Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck. When Peck was hired his contract gave him solo star billing. Halfway through filming he suggested newcomer Audrey be billed equally. (That didn’t happen in the 50s in Hollywood.) I really love both of these actors and their work outside their films.

(1954) If you’re new around here you might not know that I LOVE Clue. It’s one of my all-time favorite films. It’s silly and eerie and mysterious and star-studded.

I don’t have an exact year for this film’s settings, but many of the flashbacks in Big Fish are set in the 50s. I watched this movie a long time ago, but I need a refresher. I read that it’s based on a book and that the book/the plot is based on the Odyssey and 12 Labors of Hercules.

(1959) Again, it’s been way too long since I’ve seen it, but obviously Dead Poets Society makes the list. It’s a sad movie (especially now after Williams’ passing) but the message is good.

(1959) Another film I waited until my 20s to see, Chocolat is seriously so sweet (pun intended) and beautiful. It’s about the way we have faith and lose faith in other people, though in the end there is always something to connect us- even if it’s simply a love of chocolate.

*dates indicate setting, not release

B O N U S

I’ve only watched a few episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel but I loved them! I love the constant dynamic between upper class and lower class, male and female, Jewish and not Jewish. The show is very progressive for 1958 and that’s 100% the point.

On the shelf…

Books I want to read include…

Television shows I want to watch are…

Now be sure to hope over to Alexandraโ€™s blog and check out her 1950s recommendations, too!

The 1960s was a time of revolution and political unrest. From the rise of the Vietnam war to the death of President John F. Kennedy to the birth or hippies, the 60s were quite the time to be alive! Join us next month for our entertainment recommendations from the era!

Did you miss our previous decades-themed posts? Find them here: 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940