April 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

Well, well… no, the title of this post is not a typo. This is my April wrap-up… being posted at the end of May. April was a WHIRLWIND of a month, and here’s why:

  1. On April 1st my husband started a new job, for which we relocated to a new state. With that came all of the house buying/selling fun and packing/moving/unpacking wonderfulness. The good news is that I LOVE our new house and at this point we’re about 95% unpacked and settled!
  2. At the very end of March, my husband and I found out that I’m expecting! So on top of all the moving business, I personally struggled with some extreme exhaustion and a little bit of morning sickness.

All that to say that April was a pretty slow reading month and an even slower blogging month. I did still manage to get through 6 books, which I think warrants its own wrap-up. Continue reading to see the six books I read and my thoughts on them, and come back on Monday for my May wrap-up!

This month’s quick stats:
6 books (1 audiobook)
1,114 pages
6 authors (5 female)
1 nonfiction | 5 fiction
Year-to-date quick stats:
33 books (2 audiobooks)
9,732 pages
30 authors (18 female)
12 nonfiction | 21 fiction

Title: Those People
Author: Louise Candlish
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 282
My Rating: 3 stars
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Thanks to NetGalley and SFK Press for providing me with this eARC in return for an honest review!

Brief Summary: This thriller is about several neighbors on one street who are forced to deal with a new couple moving in down the road. The new couple is causing serious disturbances throughout the neighborhood with their loud metal music blasting every night, their used car business taking up valuable street parking space, and the eyesores created by their home renovations – which do not appear to be quite up to code. It seemed only a matter of time before someone got hurt, but when an innocent person ends up dead in an accident on the new home owners’ property, everyone in the neighborhood finds themselves looking guilty.

My Thoughts: I was SO intrigued by this story and the beginning of the book had me absolutely hooked. I loved the alternating perspectives between each of the neighbors and the alternating timelines before and after the accident though police interviews and first-person narratives. It really showed the neighborhood dynamics well and exposed the issues outsiders don’t often see between neighbors and family members. I was intrigued by the mystery, but it became a little convoluted because of how many characters were followed and how many of them realistically could have been involved in the accident. (I suppose it makes for a good mystery to have multiple likely subjects, but literally everyone had a motive and an opportunity here, which then had the inverse effect – no one stood out as guilty).

The reveals in this thriller seemed underwhelming to me. This could have been due to the fact that there were multiple, which again is usually a good thing in thrillers, but in this case left me feeling like I needed more closure in the end. Maybe a reread of this one would help some of the details and intricacies of the mystery fall into place, but I probably won’t be picking it back up for a while.

Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Genre: Classic
Pages: 141
My Rating: 4 stars

Brief Summary: This classic may not need much of an introduction, but the synopsis of this story is that a farm full of animals decides to revolt against the farm owner (a human) and try to run the farm themselves. They determine all of these new rules for the farm including no animal shall kill another animal, all animals are equal, and above all else – two legs = bad, four legs = good. Eventually the farm politics get shuffled and some animals feel slighted by other animals’ actions, and the utopia that was their animal farm turns into a political mess.

My Thoughts: It’s exposed right in the introduction of the book that it is an allegory based on Communist Russia, and knowing that going in definitely gives the story some added depth. I do not consider myself a political person, so this story actually did a great job of making the political claims easier to understand and not so convoluted with political figures and parties. It’s a classic that I’m glad to have read because of its deeper meanings and implications.

Title: Girl Code
Author: Cara Alwill Leyba
Genre: Female Nonfiction
Pages: 143
My Rating: 4 stars

Brief Summary: This is a female entrepreneur empowerment book at its finest. Cara is a super inspiring woman and this book draws inspiration not only from her successes, but several other girl bosses’ successes as well. Through interviews, storytelling, and even worksheet pages, this book aims to give you whatever motivation you need to do that thing you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t yet.

My Thoughts: Is anything in this book absolutely profound? No. I’m sure all of these points have been made in other books by other female entrepreneurs. I really liked the interviews with other women, though, because it allows the reader to get multiple perspectives and pull inspiration from whoever you connect with the most. It’s also a quick read, so you can get the information you need and get on with your life!

Title: Bring Me Back
Author: B.A. Paris
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 291
My Rating: 5 stars

Brief Summary: This thriller is about a man named Finn who is still struggling from the disappearance of his girlfriend, Layla, 12 years ago. Although Layla’s body was never found, the officials and those around him have all considered her dead. He’s not so sure, though, and suddenly signs start appearing all around him to make him think she’s still alive – and she wants to come back to him. Not only does he have to deal with his emotions related to her disappearance, he also has to consider how Layla fits into his life now, 12 years later.

My Thoughts: I was just saying I needed a really great thriller to get into, as all the recent ones I’ve been reading have been disappointing. Well, this one absolutely did it! I loved the premise, I loved the writing style and book format, and I really, really enjoyed the twist(s). I had a few theories about the ending, none of which ended up being true. Some veteran thriller readers MIGHT be able to crack the mystery here, but I thoroughly enjoyed being surprised and not seeing it coming. This is the second 5-star thriller I’ve read from B.A. Paris (I also loved Behind Closed Doors), and now I’m doubly excited to get to The Breakdown, her only other thriller, which I happily already own!

Title: Daisy Jones & The Six
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 0 (audiobook)
My Rating: 4 stars

Brief Summary: This book is a unique historical fiction following Daisy Jones & The Six, a fictitious rock and roll band from the 1970s. Told exclusively in interview format, each member of the band retells the story of the band’s rise to success in their own perspective.

My Thoughts: I have seen all of the hype surrounding this book, just like I had seen the hype before picking up Evelyn Hugo. In Evelyn Hugo’s case, it completely lived up to all of the hype and then some – it was an easy 5 stars. With Daisy Jones, although not a 5-star read for me, I can absolutely see why the hype is there just the same. First of all, the storytelling is so unique – the interview format provides insight to each of the character’s minds, but only as much as they’re willing to put on record. Plus, we have to deal with the inaccuracies of human memories – there are many instances of two characters’ memories conflicting with each other’s, which makes for a humorous but also realistic interview feel. The plotline itself is also intriguing, as everyone wants to know the behind-the-scenes and the making of successful musicians. I found some parts to drag just a little bit, and some of the characters less intriguing than others, which is why this book is ultimately only 4 stars for me. But for anyone with a particular interest in 70s music or feminist characters, I think this book knocks it out of the park. If I wasn’t convinced before, I’m now fully on the TJR train and will be reading every book she writes in the future and hopefully getting to all of her past works someday, too!

Title: Nine Women, One Dress
Author: Jane L. Rosen
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 257
My Rating: 2 stars

Brief Summary: This contemporary is about nine women in and around New York City who all end up, in one way or another, buying/wearing/borrowing the “it” dress of the season. (For clarification, the same dress design, not all the same physical dress).

My Thoughts: I was really excited for this one, as it was giving me major Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants vibes. I was simultaneously disappointed and relieved to find out its not (disappointed because I LOVE the Sisterhood, relieved because nothing can really live up to it).

In short, I did not enjoy this book. My biggest struggle was trying to keep track of all of the characters. There were so many different storylines happening and I didn’t connect with any of them. Think about it – 9 women is a lot to keep track of, let alone all of the side characters they’re each interacting with. The book wasn’t long enough to fully develop or wrap up every story, and they didn’t intertwine as much as I thought they would. Ultimately I felt dissatisfied and disappointed in the book and don’t think I would recommend it to anyone!

So that was April! Again, my May wrap-up will come on Monday – since the moving process and pregnancy are obviously ongoing, it was another slow reading month – but I can feel myself getting energy back and am excited to get back into the swing of things (reading and blogging included) in June!

Let me know if you read anything great in April or May – I really didn’t get a chance to read many blogs within the last couple of months either, so tell me your highlights 🙂

5 Books to Read if You’re Short on Time

You know what’s really fun? Watching Booktube videos or reading bloggers’ TBRs that consist of 20+ books in one month. Those people are incredible. But my monthly cap is right around 6-10 books, and I’m sure most people (non-readers) see even THAT amount and think it’s an outrageous number of books to get through. People are busy with jobs and kids (and Netflix) and often don’t have hours upon hours to devote to reading. If you’re looking for book recommendations but want to keep it quick, this list is for you: five of my favorite books with low page counts.

A Business Book

Title: Leadership and Self-Deception
Author: The Arbinger Institute
Pages: 180
My Rating: 5 stars

If I could recommend one book for all of my coworkers, bosses, and family members to read, it would be this one. Marketed as a business book, it does go into strategies to get more out of your team and become a better team player yourself. But the brilliance is in the fact that these strategies carry over into all parts of your life, from family to romantic relationships to one-off conversations with people you interact with every day. Plus, the book reads like a novel, with a main character learning these lessons right along with the reader, preventing it from sounding too preachy and also addressing some of the “what about in this situation?” questions you might find yourself asking. For anyone looking to improve themselves personally or professionally, I highly recommend this book.

A Classic Novel

Title: The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho
Pages: 197
My Rating: 4 stars

I’m not the biggest classics reader, but I’m trying to change that. I’ve always been nervous about them not living up to the hype, but in my opinion this one certainly did. It’s an entertaining story with many life lessons intertwined, and not over-explained or as wordy as some classic novels seem to be. If you’re dipping your toes into classics, I’d recommend starting with this one.

A Contemporary

Title: The Sense of an Ending
Author: Julian Barnes
Pages: 163
My Rating: 5 stars

This book caught me completely by surprise! I’d describe it as the adult version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower – very nostalgic in tone and deals with some hard-hitting subject matter. If you’re looking to completely shake up the way you view the world (and are prepared for a shocking ending), definitely give this book a try.

A Female Nonfiction

Title: Girl Code
Author: Cara Alwill Leyba
Pages: 143
My Rating: 4 stars

This is my most recent read on the list! I find that a lot of female nonfiction books to repeat the same information, some of it inspiring but most of it over-the-top and cliche. This book has a view of those moments, but the format makes for a quick read and with interviews from several girl bosses, you get a variety of perspectives. If you’re looking for inspiration to start a new job or try something you’ve never done before, this should do the trick!

A Thriller

Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Pages: 293
My Rating: 5 stars

I was trying to keep all of the books on this list under 200 pages, but I actually don’t know of any thrillers that meet that requirement. I’m sure they’re out there, but I haven’t read any of them! So for this list I’d rather recommend my favorite thriller for someone who doesn’t want to waste their time sifting through the mediocre. This book is terrifying because of how realistic it’s made out to sound, and really makes you wonder what you would do in the main character’s situation. And at under 300 pages, I’d still argue it’s shorter than most other domestic thrillers!

I would LOVE to hear if any of you have recommendations for short reads. Sometimes a quick book in the right genre is exactly what you need to get yourself out of a reading slump, sometimes you need to squeeze a short book into your goals for a particular readathon, and sometimes you’re just busy and don’t want to spend a week (or more) on a single book! Let me know your favorite book with the smallest page count.

Bookstore Scavenger Hunt

Okay… this is a challenge I saw Rebecca at Bookishly Rebecca complete on her blog (see the post here), and after reading through it I KNEW I had to try! Rebecca did this scavenger hunt on her own bookshelves, but as a newer book blogger still building up my collection, I decided to go for it in a bookstore where it would (hopefully) be easier for me to find a book that meets each step’s requirements!

I think I’m supposed to tag others do to this, but I’ll just extend it to everyone – if you think you’re up to the challenge, I’d love to see you attempt the Bookstore Scavenger Hunt! (Be warned, it’s harder than it looks).

Step One: Find your favorite book.

At the time of doing this challenge, I had not yet found my favorite book as an adult. (I might have found it in March, though – see my Buzzwordathon Wrap Up to find out which book that is!) So I went ahead with my favorite book from middle school, Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes.

Step Two: Find a book with an author who has the same first or last name as author #1.

Easy, right? Well, let me tell you – it took me a LONG TIME to find another Kevin on the bookshelves! But eventually, I did.

Do You Realize? by Kevin A. Kuhn, a science fiction novel about a middle-aged man stuck in a rut who finds himself presented with the opportunity to beta-test an app that allows him to journey through alternate versions of his past.

This was a SUPER exciting find – this book gives me major Dark Matter vibes (a book by Blake Crouch which I LOVE), so I was already pretty stoked at this challenge finding me a book I’d never heard of but am excited to read!

Step Three: Open the book to page 74, line 3. Pick two words from that line and find another book with those two words in the title.

Also easy, right? I opened up my intriguing new book to find page 74 and…

line #3 reads “and so few connections…” which left me pretty stuck. I tried all combinations: and-so, and-few, and-connections, so-connections, and few-connections. Even with the help of Goodreads, I couldn’t find any books with those words in the title, let alone any that my local Half Price Books had in stock. So, I went with Plan B: starting over.

My other favorite childhood books were the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park. With this new author’s name, I soon found another Barbara on the bookshelves: Barbara Kingsolver. I opened up one of her books to page 74, line 3 and found:

“could swear it was the quiet that woke her, the fact that their talk of” which gave me SO many more options for book titles! I ventured into the mystery/thriller aisle and eventually found The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb.

And even though the word in the sentence was “quiet” and not “unquiet,” I still counted it!

The Unquiet Grave is set in nineteenth century West Virginia and is based on the true story of the Greenbrier Ghost murder trial. Although it doesn’t sound like a book I would choose for myself, it gave me all I needed to know to move onto the next step!

Step Four: Find a book with similar context.

I pretty much only had to turn around in the aisle to find the perfect book to fit this prompt, An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd.

Clearly the titles are similar, but beyond that this book is also an American historical fiction novel centered around a murder mystery.

Step Five: Upon finding that book, find a diverse book with a similar title.

For this one, I didn’t necessarily want to find a third book with “grave” in the title, so I went another route – an unmarked grave would not have a name on it, right?

Didn’t take me long at all to find The Girl Without a Name by Sandra Block. This book is about an unnamed African-American girl wandering the streets of Buffalo who is found and brought in to a psych ward for studying. I know that having an African-American main character does not automatically make a book diverse, especially in a book set in the US, but I think this might be as good of a match as I was going to find.

Step Six: Pick a main character’s name from that book and find another book that has that name in the title.

Well, the main character of my book is unnamed, which makes this challenge tough. The doctor is named on the back of the book, Dr. Zoe Goldman, but no books were coming to mind with Zoe in the title. I did also notice that the unnamed main character is called Jane Doe, so I ran with that – I know of a book with Jane in the title!

Hello, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I was extra excited about this one because I don’t own the book and I’ve been interested in picking it up – so this gives me the perfect excuse! (Also, how adorable is this Charlotte Bronte collection? It’s not the one I bought, but it is cute to look at.)

Step Seven: Open that book to a random page and pick a word without looking. Find a book with that word in the title.

I went ahead and opened Jane Eyre randomly to page to 322, laid my finger near the top of the page, and found myself on the word “stranger.” Back to the thriller section I went to find The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda.

Step Eight: Buy or check out your books!!

This was an awesome challenge! Although I had heard of some of these books before, I definitely hadn’t heard of all of them, and wasn’t planning on picking them up on my own accord anytime soon. This gave me a nice push.

The three I decided to actually purchase were Do You Realize? (a sci-fi that I had never heard of but looks up my alley), Jane Eyre (a classic I’ve been meaning to pick up), and The Perfect Stranger (a thriller I have heard of but hadn’t made my decision on whether to pick it up or not). A great variety I would say, and the perfect excuse for new books!

I would love to do this again sometime, in a new bookstore and with a new starting point. I love how limitless the options are and how easy it is to find books you hadn’t heard of before or weren’t planning on reading. I highly encourage this challenge to anyone looking to find some new, underhyped books!

Thanks again to Bookishly Rebecca for introducing me to this challenge! 🙂

Blogger Recognition Award

Thanks so much to BW Reviews for tagging/nominating me for this!! Love your blog and the advice you gave 🙂


  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog letting them know you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

How My Blog Started

This year is the first year I’ve set a serious reading goal for myself – 52 books, way more than I’ve read in recent years combined. I wanted a way to keep track of the books I read and my thoughts on them, all in one place. Originally I had planned on posting them to Twitter, but really quickly I realized I needed more space than 280 characters can provide. So I started a blog, and after browsing other blogs I found a whole bunch of other things I wanted to write than just monthly wrap-ups. Only about a month and a half later, I’ve found my groove with about 3 bookish posts a week!

Advice to New Bloggers

I’m still VERY new at this, so feel free to take with a grain of salt 🙂

  1. Create a schedule! It helps so much when starting out to keep you on track for monthly posts (wrap-ups, TBRs, etc.) but then also shows you exactly how many other posts you need to plan ahead for any given week or month. I think a lot of new bloggers are nervous to create a posting schedule for the fear that it will create unneccessary pressure to post when you’re out of ideas, but for me it was the opposite – I had too many ideas when I was brand new, and a schedule helped me properly space them out and get used to scheduling posts on certain days. And if I need to skip a day every now and then, it’s easier not to sweat it when I’ve got a schedule in place and a plan to get back on track with regular posts.
  2. Blog hop not only to find new blogs to follow (and hopefully get some to follow you back), but also to get blogging inspiration! It can be easy to fall into a rut with the same ideas, same posts, same layouts week after week. But there are sooo many creative bloggers out there to pull inspiration from – and they would love a shout-out if you do decide to post something similar to what they have done!

My Nominations for the Blogger Recognition Award

I only have 10, but you all rock! Thanks for showing me the way!!

April 2019 TBR: Reading Books I ALREADY Own

Sooo last month I claimed that I don’t typically like to stick to TBRs, but I created one for March anyway in preparation for an ambitious readathon. Turns out I actually enjoyed having the TBR pushing me to pick up the next book on the list right after finishing one! So I figured I’d try it out for another month.

I’m new to this book blogging thing, and I’m already falling victim to impulsively buying books I see someone recommend or that calls my name at the bookstore, making my physical TBR grow faster than I can keep up with. Plus I’m moving this month! Which means book mail could easily get lost in the house-moving shuffle, a risk I’m not willing to take. Due to all these factors, I want to focus my efforts this month on reading books that I already own. I’ve got ten on the list now, and if I could get through more that’d be great!


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Color Purple by Alice Walker


Influencer by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey


Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Here’s to hopefully another month of 10+ reads! Have you read any of the books I’ve listed above, or do you have any books on your TBR this month that you’ve owned for a while and been meaning to get to?

March 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

March was another AWESOME reading month for me! So awesome that I read nearly the same number of books in March as I did in January and Feburary combined. Fingers crossed I can keep this momentum going!

A large contributor to the 13 books I was able to complete this month was Buzzwordathon, a week-long readathon during which I read 7 books. Instead of repeating my thoughts, here’s a link to my post recapping the 7 books I completed that week and what I thought of them! Spoiler: I think one of the books I read became my new favorite for the year, if not all-time 🙂

As for the other 6 books I completed in March, below are the mini-reviews starting with my least favorite (1 star… yikes) up to my two 5-star reads. Feel free to let me know how you’re doing on your reading goals so far this year and if you’ve read any of the books I list here!

This month’s quick stats:
13 books
4,192 pages
13 authors (6 female)
5 nonfiction | 8 fiction
Year-to-date quick stats:
27 books (1 audiobook)
8,618 pages
25 authors (14 female)
11 nonfiction | 16 fiction

Title: Not All Migrate
Author: Krystyna Byers
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 205
My Rating: 1 star
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Thanks to NetGalley and SFK Press for providing me with this eARC in return for an honest review!

Brief Summary: This book is about a man named Mark who has just lost his wife and two daughters in a car accident. When the autopsy report comes back, the doctors tell him that his wife had had an unknown drug in her system at the time of death. This prompts Mark to look into the drug, why his wife had been on it, and who had sold it or given it to her in the first place.

My Thoughts: Right off the bat, I was extremely intrigued by this book’s synopsis. Unfortunately, instead of being suspenseful or realistic in any way, this story was just all-around strange.

To start, we never get any information on what kind of man Mark was before losing his family other than the fact that he worked a lot of long hours at his corporate job. While it’s understandable that a tragedy like this would change him, it became unfathomable that his new personality or behaviors could ever resemble the hard-working family man he supposedly was before. All of the other characters in the book were even less-developed than Mark, so I wasn’t invested in any of them.

The second and biggest problem I have is with the book’s plot – Mark is supposed to be searching for answers about his family’s accident and the myserious drug his wife was on… but once he finds the drug, he becomes an addict himself and loses sight completely of his original goals. (That’s not a spoiler, this addiction part is essentially the entire book). I just didn’t get it, or believe it. With that said, while this book was very much NOT for me, it is possible that someone else could find it entertaining because of the out-of-the-box storyline and graphic drug experiences. I just warn that if you are looking for a traditional thriller, this is not it.

Title: He Will Kill You
Author: Charlie Gallagher
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 314
My Rating: 3 stars
Content Warnings: Domestic abuse, rape
Thanks to NetGally and Joffe Books for providing me with this eARC in return for an honest review!

Brief Summary: Told in multiple perspectives, this book primarily follows two women, Grace Hughes and Maddie Ives. Grace is a victim of domestic abuse and a prisoner within her own home. Although she’s spoken with the police before, she’s too scared to seek the help she needs in order to escape the danger she’s in. Maddie a detective with a passion for saving women in abusive relationships and is doing everything she can to bring Grace to safety. Maddie’s also on the police team for an unrelated crime within the same city: a car bomber on the loose and sure to strike again.

My Thoughts: I was so drawn in at the start of this book. I was heavily invested in all of the different storylines and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen. Around the halfway mark, things started to change (and the big twist was revealed, I suppose) and I began to lose interest. Although I was satisfied with the ending, it didn’t quite live up to everything I was hoping for. I did write an entire spoiler-free review for the book, which you can read here if you’re looking for more details to help determine if this book is for you!

Title: Things My Son Needs to Know about the World
Author: Fredrik Backman
Genre: Nonfiction/Humor
Pages: 208
My Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me with this eARC in return for an honest review!

Brief Summary: This book is actually a collectino of essays that Backman has written for his infant son to read in the future. They range in length, in format, and in tone – from silly to serious, and everything in between.

My Thoughts: This book is really sweet. If you are a fan of Fredrik Backman as an author, you will love reading this and getting to know him better as a person and as a father. The essay format helps prevent any one part becoming too long-winded or redundant. Overall sweet, funny, and meaningful.

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 288
My Rating: 4 stars

Brief Summary: This memoir follows Jeannette, her three siblings, and her parents as they roam the country in and out of homelessness and poverty. Starting with stories from her very young childhood through present-day, she describes all of the hardships they went through and triumphs they had as a family and how they continued to impact her even as a successful adult.

My Thoughts: Oddly enough, I found this book both heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time. Some of the stories were really tough to read, as no one could ever wish for children to go through the things that Jeannette and her siblings did. But, she saw the good in most situations and upheld an overwhelming love for both of her parents despite their flaws and lack of responsibility when it came to raising children, which I think is really admirable.

Title: The Girl He Used to Know
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 291
My Rating: 5 stars

Brief Summary: This novel follows the love story of Jonathan and Annika, told within two different timelines. The first timeline is about when they first met in college and how they fell in love the first time. The second timeline is ten years later, when they are reconnecting and rekindling their love. We know that something happened within those ten years to cause them to break up and fall out of love, but we don’t know what.

My Thoughts:This book is BEAUTIFUL. I found myself completely falling in love with both of the characters, twice. The really special thing about this book is that it features Annika, who has high-functioning autism. Throughout the story we learn about the difficulties she faces trying to pick up on social cues and navigate through uncomfortable situations in which she doesn’t know how she’s supposed to behave. The beautiful thing is that Jonathan loves her not despite her mental health issues, but actually because of them, and not in an unrealistic way. We as readers fall in love with her at the same time, making it feel completely genuine.

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 400
My Rating: 5 stars

Brief Summary: In this novel, Evelyn Hugo is about as big of a star as they come. Now an elderly woman, she’s finally decided to provide an exclusive interview to unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant about her life that has been kept secret for so many years. Through the interview, Evelyn walks through each of the seven husbands she had throughout her life, their impact on her life and career, and if she has an answer to the question everyone’s been asking, “Who was the love of your life?”

My Thoughts: I don’t know if there’s much I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said – it has been sooooo hyped…. and it’s completely worth it. The story is complex, well thought-out, and perfectly told in a unique format. The characters are dynamic and easy to relate to – even if you don’t always like them. The message is important and the ending is impactful. I loved it.

And that’s it! I’m pretty glad I had a separate Buzzwordathon wrap-up to keep this list from getting too long. Let me know if you prefer long wrap ups or several smaller posts!

Mystery Blogger Award!

Image created by Okoto Enigma’s Blog – creator of this award!

I was nominated for this award by Angelica at The Book Cover Girl, and I so appreciate it!

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates, it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma

The Rules

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Facts About Me

  1. I’m an extremely picky eater! I actually don’t like any fruits – it’s both a taste and a texture thing. I don’t like how squishy most fruits are and their flavors are usually way too overpowering for me.
  2. I constantly cycle between growing my hair down to my waist and then chopping it off to my shoulders. I just recently did another chop 🙂 I’m lucky my hair grows REALLY quickly, so I use it to my advantage and change it up often! I’d love to dye it rainbow colors… but that’ll have to wait until I don’t have a corporate job anymore, if I ever get to that point!
  3. I’m moving in two weeks! I currently live in Minnesota and am moving down one state, to Iowa. Right now I’m near a big city, and this move will bring us a little more to the middle of nowhere so it will definitely be a change in scenery. But I’m super excited for a new house to decorate!!

Angela’s Questions for Me

What’s on your bucket list this year?
Reading 52 books! I’ve never had a reading goal before, and I was actually a little worried that 52 would be too many. But I’ve already completed 27 books, which puts my over halfway and WAY ahead of schedule!

If money was not a problem, what is one thing you would do?
Travel to Thailand!

What is your favorite movie?
I have a lot!
Hush – my favorite thriller, and it’s on Netflix!
The Imitation Game – amazing movie about codebreaking
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – SO funny, and I love all of the actors
We’re the Millers – also SO funny, possibly my most-watched comedy
Titanic – my very first favorite, hahaha

What is the first book you remember reading?
Junie B. Jones is the first series I remember owning and reading constantly. I also have a random memory of reading a Berenstain Bears book to my class in Kindergarten, and I’m assuming that was around the time I learned to read in the first place!

What is your Hogwarts house?
I have recently discovered I’m a Hufflepuff! HP enthusiasts, feel free to let me know any interesting things about Hufflepuffs!

Bonus: What’s your favorite emoji?
My most-used is definitely the crying laughing face. But my favorite emoji, even if I don’t get to use it often, is the big pink bow!

My Nominees

Questions for My Nominees

What is one piece of advice you’ve gotten that has stuck with you for years?

What are your hobbies other than reading, writing, and blogging?

What is your most-watched TV show?

What is your beverage of choice (can be alcoholic or non)?

[Designated weird question]: What do you keep in the truck of your car (if you have one)?

Links to my Best/Favorite Posts

10 Things that Make Me Happy | International Happiness Day

International Women’s Day: Disney Princess Edition

Whew, that’s it! This was a long one. Thanks again to Angelica for nominating me and for Okoto Enigma for creating this award 🙂

Buzzwordathon Wrap-Up | 7 Books in 7 Days | Did I Succeed?

Last week I attempted to read 7 books in 7 days and WOW… that was a lot of reading. I was participating in Buzzwordathon, a readathon hosted by Booktubers BooksandLala and ChelseaDolling Reads with the goal of reading as many books with the designated buzzword(s) in the titles as possible. This round’s words were Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. I went for all of the words plus one extra – 7 books in total.

Did I succeed? Technically no.. but I was SO close. I’m still extremely happy with and proud of the reading I got done and even may have found my new favorite book…. 😊 Read on to find out what books I got through and my thoughts on each of them!

Title: The Woman Who Smashed Codes
Author: Jason Fagone
Genre: Historical Nonfiction
Pages: 341
My Rating: 4 stars

Brief Summary: This historical nonfiction/biography is about Elizebeth Friedman, a codebreaking expert who decoded enemy messages for the US throughout both World Wars. She and her husband, William Friedman, also a code breaker, essentially invented the modern science of cryptology and are now regarded as the “Adam and Eve” of the NSA. This book tells Elizebeth’s story from her very first job deciphering hidden messages within Shakespeare’s works through her most secretive work unmasking Nazi spies and playing a large part in winning WWII.

My Thoughts: Ummm, I want to be Elizebeth Friedman when I grow up. I find the subject of cryptology extremely interesting (The Imitation Game being one of my favorite movies), and Elizebeth’s intelligence, bravery, and humility is super inspiring. This book is pretty long and sometimes reads like a textbook, but the story is very interesting and I’m really glad I got to learn about Elizebeth’s life.

Title: What We Saw
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Genre: YA Mystery/Contemporary
Pages: 321
My Rating: 3 stars
Content Warnings: Rape and Sexual Assault

Brief Summary: We jump into this story the day after a big high-school party at which the main character, Kate, got so drunk that she had to be taken home early. While Kate is recovering from her hangover and piecing together the previous night’s events with her friends, it becomes clear that much more went down than Kate had originally thought. The next week, a charge of sexual assault is filed by one of Kate’s classmates against some of the school’s star basketball players, which causes uproar from the school and community. Kate then finds herself looking for answers – did it actually happen, and if so, who is responsible?

My Thoughts: This book is clearly important, as it covers a highly sensitive topic so relevant in today’s society. I think it does a great job of keeping the story and descriptions appropriate for young readers, while still being clear with its message. I found some parts of the writing repetitive (so. much. fist bumping.) and the ending was predictable, but I can definitely appreciate the book’s intent and would absolutely recommend it to a young adult audience.

Title: Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Author: Maria Semple
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 347
My Rating: 4 stars

Brief Summary: Through a string of letters and emails, 15-year-old Bee is piecing together her mother, Bernadette’s, life from before she went missing. The fact that Bernadette is so mysterious and secretive with her identity has put a serious strain on her relationships with neighbors and other moms at Bee’s school. But would she really abandon Bee and her husband right before they’re supposed to leave for an Antarctic vacation? Bee’s determined to find out not only where her mother is, but what she’s seemingly been hiding from everyone in her life.

My Thoughts: First off, I love the format of this book, told primarily in emails and letters. It allows us to get a little glimpse into each the characters’ perspectives, without reading all of their thoughts – we only get to know the things they’re willing to reveal to put down on paper. I thought the storyline was great, fast-moving enough to stay interested in the mystery at hand but with enough detail to feel like we know the characters pretty intimately. I agree with all of the high praise I’ve seen about this book, and think it will make a great movie!

Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 336
My Rating: 5 stars

Brief Summary: This story takes place almost exclusively within Shaker Heights, an affluent neighborhood with strict aesthetic guidelines and expectations of its residents to maintain a pristine image. We first meet the Richardson family, made up of 4 children in high school, a hard-working lawyer for a father, and a mother who is filled with a sense of pride and generosity by renting a nearby home to a struggling artist and her high-school aged daughter. The two families get to know each other quite well, but suddenly find themselves on two different sides of a custody battle between a Shaker Heights couple attempting to adopt a baby whose birth mother is putting up a fight. Everyone in the community seems to have a different opinion on what’s best for the baby, which proves to be a much more complex question than it appeared upon first glance.

My Thoughts: I think this might be my new favorite book. I loved it SO much. All of the characters were well-developed through extensive backstories (I think this is where some people might find the book to be slow, but I really enjoyed reading the backgrounds) and the plot connected with me deeply. It made me think hard about what I would do in the situation, who I would most likely side with, and how easily opinions can change once you know personally the people on both sides of the argument. Celeste Ng did a really nice job interweaving multiple story lines in a realistic and impactful way – and I already can’t wait to reread this story!

Title: When to Rob a Bank
Authors: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Pages: 350
My Rating: 3 stars

Brief Summary: This book is actually a collection of blog posts taken from the Freakonomics blog, created by the authors who originally wrote the book Freakonomics. These blog posts speak on similar topics – interesting ways that economics shape our world and ways we can use that knowledge to our advantage.

My Thoughts: I had seen a lot of negative reviews on this book, perhaps because some of the blog posts are not politically correct or present an unpopular viewpoint. I actually really enjoyed it for that reason – it made me look and think differently about a number of issues I previously thought were pretty black-and-white. For example, it talks about why we shouldn’t necessarily be looking to eliminate all plastic packaging when it comes to food items, and in another post about the actual environmental effects of car emissions and whether walking short distances is as environmentally-friendly as we’ve been taught to believe. Other sections were purely entertaining, like a collection of 6-word mottos for America and the best aptonyms of all time, which are names that sound similar to the person’s profession (e.g. a funeral home director named Eikenberry (“I can bury”) or an insurance guy named Justin Case). Yes, there were a number of articles that I skimmed because I was disinterested and some that I did not agree with, but in my opinion the good outweighed the bad and made it worth the read.

Title: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 354
My Rating: 2 stars

Brief Summary: This book is told as one long letter from high-school-aged Min to her now-ex-boyfriend Ed, detailing all of the reasons they – spoiler alert – broke up. She’s writing it to go along with a box of things she is returning to Ed, so each chapter highlights a different item and explains how it specifically contributed to their breakup.

My Thoughts: After reading this book, I have to wonder if I’m just not a fan of YA contemporaries. I found myself the whole time thinking “you should have broken up with him a long time ago because this guy is a complete d-bag.” I think the concept of this book is great, love the breakup letter accompanying the box full of returned stuff, and I really enjoyed the illustrations done by Maira Kalman. I just didn’t like the story or the characters, too much immaturity for me to feel like I could relate at all!

Title: How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
Author: Jordan Ellenberg
Pages: 437
My Rating: TBD!

Brief Summary: This book is described by Goodreads as the Freakonomics of math – aka how math is everywhere in the world and how by understanding it a bit better, we can understand trends and explanations for social, economic, and environmental activities all around us.

My Thoughts: Unfortunately, this is the one book I did not complete this week. I am about 300 pages in though, so I’ve gotten a decent feeling for it so far – and as an engineer I’m loving everything about this book. I loved math growing up, especially calculus because it really does explain so much of the world. This book is doing a really great job of taking those complex concepts and simplifying them so that even people who are not mathematically-minded can understand and appreciate how much the mathematical concepts are reflected in the real world. Waiting for the aha-moment that this book promises: how we can use this information not just to understand our world but to really shape our own lives and start to make different decisions because of it!

Other than finishing this last book, I think I’m a little burnt out from reading and probably will take the rest of March off. But I had a lot of fun creating this TBR for Buzzwordathon and definitely will be taking part in more readathons going forward!

Book Tag: Two Truths and a Lie

Image by Reader Voracious – feel free to use in your post!

I was tagged to do this by What’s She Reading? – thanks, girl!

How to participate:

  • Create a post with your two bookish truths and one bookish lie – but be sure to keep it a secret so your readers can guess!
  • Reveal the lie in a spoiler at the bottom of your post – you can use this HTML code:

(unfortunately this code isn’t working for me… so I improvised!)

That’s it! Here are my statements:

  1. I have recorded several introductory Booktube videos but have been too afraid to post any of them.
  2. There’s something inside of me that does not let myself DNF books, even if I’m not enjoying them.
  3. I prefer buying books used rather than brand-new, even though I know that it provides less support to the authors.




This is time for you to think about your guess…




Which one’s the lie?

Number one! I LOVE watching Booktube and I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a channel, but I haven’t gone so far as to actually film anything – yet!

Did ya get it right? 🙂

I tag the bloggers below – apologies if any of you have already been tagged or have even already done it! Happy Friday!!

10 Things That Make Me Happy | International Happiness Day

Who knew International Happiness Day was a thing? Not me… but I’ll use it as an excuse to write about ten things that just make me happy! 🙂

Number 1: MY FAMILY!

I feel extremely lucky to be so close with my family – which includes both of my parents, two brothers, my husband, my in-laws (seriously, I love them), and a whole bunch of supportive aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.

Number 2: Making Spreadsheets

Nope, not a joke. It’s probably a good thing my full-time job is being a project engineer (project manager) where I pretty much have to make budget and timeline spreadsheets on the daily. But my love for organization spreads to wherever I can make it: wedding planning, books I own/want to read lists, now blog planning!

Number 3: Escape Rooms

There is something SO FUN about escape rooms to me. I love solving puzzles and playing games, and this is a nice combination of the two. Highly recommend doing a Google search to see if your city has any and doing one if it does! Pictured above: my cute extended family after a day of multiple rooms in Des Moines, IA.

Number 4: Halo Top Ice Cream

I am NOT a healthy eater. I’ve never eaten more than a few bites of a salad and vegetables don’t exist in our household unless they’re technically a starch. BUT I have fallen in love with the “lower-calorie” ice cream that is Halo Top and it makes me feel just a liiiiittle bit better about my eating habits. Chocolate chip cookie dough is the way to go, but my husband likes the PB cup one best.

Number 5: The Amazing Race

I LOVE THE AMAZING RACE. I love competition TV shows in general, but if I could choose one to go on, it would definitely be The Amazing Race. I have competed in two of my own versions, one being when I was an intern at a big company and they organized an Intern Amazing Race as a way to explore the city, and once on our honeymoon – we did the Amazing Cozumel Race as our excursion in Cozumel, Mexico 🙂

Number 6: Crafting

I grew up with an engineer for a father, always bringing home projects to work on with his large-scale vinyl cutter and 3D printer, and a crafter for a mother, who made scrapbooks for every phase of my life and all of my childhood halloween costumes. I’ve been trained well, and now there isn’t a DIY I don’t think I can tackle!

Number 7: Playing Softball

I have played softball since I was VERY little (t-ball age) and played fastpitch competetively through my senior year of high school. Since then I’ve continued playing slowpitch through coed leagues, which has been a really fun activity to do with my husband in the summer.

Number 8: Watching YouTube Videos

My watch history contains a bunch of different categories: makeup gurus, book reviewers, cleaning videos, daily vloggers, gamers (cough cough, Sims 100 baby challenge videos), and more. It’s a near addiction at this point.

Number 9: Tailgating

I went to college at a school where football is life. And so is tailgating 🙂 Nothing like waking up at 5 AM to eat and drink and get excited for a football game, especially with all of your closest friends, family, and giant stuffed bison!

Number 10: Beach Vacations

I mean… is there anyone out there who DOESN’T enjoy these?

So with that, Happy International Happiness Day! What things in your life make you happy?