Things I Really Love Right Now

I was going to write a serious post today. I started one about the controversy surrounding the Beauty and the Beast outrage. I thought about screaming ranting about the idiotic administration running our country. But I just can’t. If you’ve been around these parts long enough then you know that I have 0% issue with people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. You also know I loathe the people inhabiting the White House. So let’s talk about something that isn’t going to make me pull my hair out.

I’m going to link up with Kristen & Gretch for some “currently” updates and some favorite things that I want you to know about 🙂

Reading… The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. Atonement (Ian McEwan) is also on the docket. Last two books for Erin’s Challenge!

Watching… the series finale for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I tried to drag the series out as long as I could. I’m sad it’s over but pleased with how it ended. Now I’m trying to convince K to watch Firefly with me. (I’ve seen it, he hasn’t.)

Looking Forward To… my mom’s birthday celebration. Her b-day was Tuesday but I’m surprising her with an outing on Saturday. I can’t say much here because she reads this blog 😉

Planning… a fall vacation. We were going to go to Disney, but I couldn’t get K excited about it. He’s never been and wants to see it for the first time with a big family group or with a kid in the picture. Fine. Whatever. I was bitter about it at first, but now I’m looking forward to spending some time at Universal Studios (#DisneyForever) and on a cruise. We compromised.

Loving… my new job with K’s company. I feel so relaxed and fulfilled working for a company that I love and working alongside people that I really enjoy and working in an industry that’s had my heart for +8 years.

(Here’s what I was up to at this exact time last year!)

Now let’s talk about my recent favorites.
(I’m going to style this like Rebecca Jo’s Friday Favorites post.)

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Favorite Reads

I’m going to recommend two authors instead of books.

I’ve gone on and on about The Lunar Chronicles, so it makes sense that I recommend Marissa Meyer to those who love a little fantasy and adventure and retelling. Her newest standalone novel, Heartless, quickly became a favorite for me, too. (I’ll talk about it on Tuesday!)

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The second author that I’ve really enjoyed so far is Ashley Weaver. She writes a 1930s mystery series that centers around Amory Ames and her playboy husband Milo. They’re not thrillers, but they have an air of suspense and romance and betrayal. Plus they’re set in historical England- which is my fav.

Favorite Recent Purchases

Everyone has their favorite place to buy jeans. Mine is Old Navy. If you’re an ON gal check out these jeans! I have three of the same pair, all in different shades (medium wash, light wash and light pachuca). They are so comfy and flattering to my curvy hips!

Also on the recently purchased list: These pajamas from Marshalls (or TJ Maxx, I guess.) The same cross-cross shear pattern around the neck is also down the outside of each leg on the shorts. Perfect as the weather warms up!

…obviously this isn’t my body. Ha.

Favorite Lip Stuff

I’m not a beauty blogger, but I have three lipsticks/stains/things that I’ve been loving lately. Two are Burt’s Bees products (Pink Lagoon gloss lip crayon & Ruby Ripple moisturizing lipstick) and one’s from Wet N Wild (Lady and the Vamp balm stain). Last weekend I got three compliments on the balm stain!

Favorite Funnies

Have you tried any of this stuff? What’s something you’re loving lately?

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What I Read… vol. 3

This was a good month for reading. (Finally! ) I finished up The Lunar Chronicles, I checked a few books off Erin’s Challenge, and I started into Meyer’s newest novel, Heartless. Today I’m linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books!

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As you know, here’s the rating system…

Book Rating

and I include a brief summary, why I picked up the book, and what I thought. Then I give my oh-so-valuable opinion on whether or not you should read it and why. Images link to their GoodReads page (let’s be friends!).

. . .

Winter by Marissa Meyer | ★★★★★/5 winter
Summary: The fourth and final book in the Lunar Chronicles… It’s now or never as Cinder, Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, and Iko bring the battle to evil Queen Levana’s doorstep. Add a crazy lunar princess (Winter) and a stubborn but loyal royal guard (Jacin). What will it cost for goodness and kindness to overcome manipulation and power? | Why I Read It: Because I’m obsessed with this series. Duh. | What I Thought: My heart has shattered into a million pieces. Not because this story was sad, but because upon closing the back cover I immediately missed my friends. Originally I thought +800 pages sounded intimidating. When I got to page 300 I wondered how there was more to the story. Around page 600 things were getting cray. At 823 I found myself wishing for a thousand more pages and a million more words to keep the adventure going. Yes, my friends, this series is that wonderful. It’s fantasy and YA and the retelling of several fairy tales. If ANY of those things appeal to you, go start on this series. Adventure, romance, strong women and men, good verses evil, self-discovery, fantastic world development – this series has it all. I am devastated it’s over. (If you don’t believe me go look at Goodreads– all the books rate above 4 stars.)
You Should Read It Because… you enjoy a good futuristic/fantasy story. Actually, I never read futuristic stories and I loved this series. It was similar to HP in terms of friendship and growth and overcoming evil. If you love a good series, go read these right now.

(Other LC reviews: Cinder | Scarlet | Cress )

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer | ★★★★/5 stars-above
This book was a collection of 9 short stories surrounding the four main books of The Lunar Chronicles. It’s easiest to sum them up individually…
The Keeper: A short backstory about Scarlet’s grand-mère and the role she played in raising and encouraging a Lunar revolution.
Glitches [reviewed here]
The Queen’s Army [reviewed here] *
Carswell’s Guide to Being Luck [reviewed here] *
After Sunshine Passes By: When we meet Cress she’s locked in a satellite, monitoring (read: spying) on Earth. But how did she get there…?
The Princess & The Guard*: Winter is such a complicated character- her childhood in the palace and her relation with Jacin is revealed and explained in this tale.
The Little Android [reviewed here]
The Mechanic: In Cinder we learned how she and Kai met… but only from her point of view. This short story follows Kai’s experience in the busy marketplace that day.
Something Old, Something New *: Time has passed and the Rampion crew is back together on Earth. This reads like an extended epilogue.
What I Thought: I love these back stories on all the characters. Some are a little long and some seem slightly unnecessary (since the books cover so much), but I can’t get enough of this series (obviously ), so it’s ok. My favorite ones are asterisk-ed.
You Should Read It Because… You’re reading/have read the four main books. Marissa Meyer recommends reading the books/stories in this order.

Ok. I’m done talking about The Lunar Chronicles. For a minute.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | ★★★/5 a-wrinkle-in-time
(Listened to on Audible; Narrated by Hope Davis)
Summary: After their father’s suspicious disappearance, 12-year-old Meg Murray and her youngest brother Charles Wallace come across the path of three odd women: Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Witch. Together with their friend Calvin, the three children are whisked away and sent on a journey to find Mr. Murray. | Why I Read It: I had the book as a kid, but I never read it. I picked it up this time to fulfill a category in Erin’s reading challenge. | What I Thought: I had no idea this was considered a “children’s classic” and I didn’t realize that L’Engle was a Christian writer. Neither of those things matter in the grand scheme of this review, though. I listened to this book all in one shot while driving from Fairfax, VA to my town in Ohio. It was entertaining and it kept my interest the entire drive, but it didn’t blow my mind or change my life. I really liked Charles Wallace and I thought the overall message of the story was sweet and simple, but there were things that seemed too convenient and moments that dragged on just a bit. It’s targeted at kids and it’s considered a classic, so reviewing it is kind of tough.
You Should Read It Because… you enjoy children’s literature or Christian-based (fantasy) story-telling. Meg was a flawed but strong female protagonist which is rare for a religious sci-fi novel from 1962. Also, if you’re a strict book-before-movie person you might want to check this out. They’re currently filming this with Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, & Oprah Winfrey.

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer, Illustrated by Douglas Holgate | ★★★★★/5
Summary: With tension between Luna and Earth still high, the once-servant-turned-hero android Iko volunteers to take on the rogue hybrid-wolf packs plaguing Earth. | Why I Read It: This is Meyer’s first graphic novel and takes place after Winter. | What I Thought: Aces and stars, I love this series. I loved reading this in Iko’s voice. I loved getting a follow-up with each character and getting to see Holgate’s/Meyer’s illustrations. (I was nervous they wouldn’t match my mental image, but they did for the most part.) I loved how light this story felt, but at the same time I experienced fear and anger and joy for the characters. The only thing I hated is how long I have to wait for volume 2… *sigh*
You Should Read It Because… you read all the other books in The Lunar Chronicles and you loved them. I recommend reading the series before cracking open this graphic novel.

So…. here’s the update with Erin’s Challenge:

| 5 points | Freebie: Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber
| 10 points | Starts with the letter “W”: Winter by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | Six words in the title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
| 15 points | Has a (mostly) green cover: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
| 20 points | A homonym in the title: The One by Kiera Cass
| 20 points | By your favorite author: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
| 25 points | Set in the city/town/state/territory/county/province where you live: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
| 30 points | A “Rory Gilmore” book: Atonement by Ian McEwan
| 30 points | From a genre that you’ve never read/rarely read (*thriller*): The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
| 35 points | With time travel: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

I’m at 85 out of 200 points. I won’t be attempting the bonus round this time, fyi 😉 I’ve got a month and a half left to finish!

What’d you read this month?

Life According to Steph