Month: October 2018

ARC Review: Toil & Trouble Anthology

Posted October 31, 2018 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Review: Toil & Trouble Anthology

I recently worked my way through this anthology in the week leading up to today – Halloween! – so I thought it would be perfect to post it today. I’ve had the egalley for a while and mixed in the audiobook too. As usual with anthology reviews, you can see reviews for each story below, along with the cumulative star rating in the book info area above. The cumulative rating for the stories came to about 3.25 stars, so I decided to round up to 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this anthology overall more than my ratings may imply. There were a lot of great stories and it comes as no surprise to me that my favorites were more contemporary-oriented. It was harder for me to get into the historical ones or straight-up paranormal/fantasy. However, it’s nice that this feels super well-rounded! I think there’s a story in here for readers of all genres and types. Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia This story was actually my first foray into bruja books. I’ve had some on my TBR but I don’t often read witchy books to begin with. I loved the main character, Luna, and her interest in (or abilities related to) astrology. The fact that her story/romance involved fighting with an astronomy enthusiast was awesome. Opposites attract, eh? Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer Interesting and odd, but not for me I guess? I know it’s hard to do a lot in a short amount of pages but this one, unfortunately, felt a […]

Top Ten Tuesdays #207: Halloween

Posted October 30, 2018 / Top 10 Tuesdays, Weekly Memes / 0 Comments
Top Ten Tuesdays #207: Halloween

Halloween Over the Years & Some Favorites Top Ten Tuesdays were started by The Broke and the Bookish and are now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where we make lists of our top ten books (or something else!) based on that week’s prompt. The topics are provided ahead of time and can be found here. Book links bring you to Goodreads or my review. I can’t lie, I’m not really a Halloween person. There are a lot of movies I like to watch each year and think dressing up can be fun, but I’m not really a Halloween-ish reader or fan of super scary movies. I thought I would do a little round-up of Halloween-related posts I’ve done and highlight some spooky-ish favorites from over the years. Guest Posts for Fortnight of Fright I’ve participated in Fortnight of Fright multiple times since I started blogging and had the pleasure of posting on the blogs of all three hostesses 😉 I’ve talked about less spooky Halloween media that I love, as well as my birthday trip to Salem from last year. 2014: Halloween Movies & Shows on Tripping Over Books 2015: Less Creepy Halloween at Books Take You Places 2017: Birthday Trip to Salem, MA at Book Addict’s Guide    Top Ten Tuesdays You can always count on a TTT post to highlight Halloween near the end of October! Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve done some fun Halloween-related posts over the years. Here are some highlights… Books/Movies to Read/Watch for […]

November & December TBR – Finishing Challenges

Posted October 29, 2018 / Book Lists, Features / 4 Comments
November & December TBR – Finishing Challenges

I always do some check-ins in the middle of the year and again toward the end of the year, because you know I’m trying to finish my challenges successfully! I try to make a big TBR post that highlights all of the books I should read before the end of the year and usually writing this in November kicks me into gear. How is the year almost over?! HELP. Because I can’t decide which end-of-year books I want to read dependent on the month (and have a separate holiday TBR posting mid-November), I thought I would highlight what books I should read OVERALL between Nov/Dec to get my challenges done with.  My monthly TBR feature here shows my progress based on last month’s TBR, my plans for this month, and anything else I might be thinking about from a reading perspective. Sometimes I feature a little poll at the bottom so you guys can help me figure out a certain title I should read from a group of books. October Progress        Another successful TBR month! It helps that I’ve been binging that series, TBH, but still! I’ll take progress wherever I can. From left to right above… I read two more Rose Gardner books, my two book club picks for October (one early in the month and one later), one blog tour book, an egalley I was hoping to get to for the Halloween feels, and a library book. Book Club EOY TBR    The Reckoning of Noah […]

No Spend November

No Spend November

I attempted No Spend April a few years ago and it wasn’t the most successful thing ever? I like the sound of No Spend November and genuinely think I can make this happen. My weddings are officially done for the year but I do have some general spending to do for next year’s weddings and Christmas. This November I am aiming to not spend money on myself at all and limit my spending on other people, food, etc. I just developed a monthly calendar that shows all of my expenses, so I’ll include that here. Here’s my plan of attack. Budget / Expenses I didn’t disclose the dollar amounts here but I put them in order from most to least expensive. Yes, my student loan costs more than my half of our monthly rent. I otherwise have various payments for my car, streaming services, and more. Student loan Rent for the house Car loan Car insurance Credit card monthly payments Internet Sling TV and Netflix Blog hosting Wrestling-related streaming services Dropbox Premium Weight Watchers Rules (1) Only spend money I have on hand – nothing goes on a credit card I actually don’t have many credit cards in general: one store card, one regular one, and a Paypal Credit account that I use mostly for airline tickets and other expensive items like that. I hope to not use any of my credit accounts and focus on using my savings from the month on paying them down. (2) Dining out is […]

Blog Tour | The Witch of Willow Hall (Giveaway!)

Posted October 25, 2018 / Book Reviews / 7 Comments
Blog Tour | The Witch of Willow Hall (Giveaway!)

I always attempt to read fall-time reads (books about witches, Halloween, and other general creepiness or mysteries), so this book seemed like it’d be right up my alley. I like historical fiction books but generally prefer that they have some kind of fantasy/paranormal elements to keep me going, so again – this was a great option for me this October! I’ll be honest, it was still mostly out of my wheelhouse. I also decided to mix in the audiobook in between reading the egalley. I kind of liked the narrator’s voice because it did seem to match the time period, but it was always a little jarring when I pressed “play” and heard it again after a while. Her voice is very unique and somewhat off-putting at times, which unfortunately can affect the characters for me. I’m glad I mixed up listening and reading though, so I could picture the characters in my own way when I finished the book off via egalley. The first quarter of the book spent a lot of time setting the stage and allowing the family to settle in to their new surroundings. They were shamed out of Boston, for some mysterious and scandalous reason that takes a while to come out, and are settling in New Oldbury, MA. They start to get some visitors (the father’s business partners) who grow close to the family and don’t seem to know about their scandal. There are weird occurrences in the house that mostly affect the two […]

Autumn Decorations and Adventures

Autumn Decorations and Adventures

I love September and beyond. Sure, summer is great, but I prefer not to sweat all of my makeup off immediately. My birthday, anniversary, and the start of football season in September bring me a hell of a lot of joy. I make big autumn plans and bucket lists every year, which usually involve many decorations, pumpkin picking, and other falltime activities around New England. I thought I’d follow up with you and share some of my decorations this year, as well as other autumn highlights and adventures! I also decided to work on the TBB Asks survey this month because it’s fall-themed (it’s supposed to be from the beginning of the month but oh well). I like all the fall colors, but I often dress in maroon/burgundy shades and lately some mustard! Apple cider should always be cold. LOVE it, especially when it comes fresh from a local orchard. Nope, I’m not a caramel kind of gal. I don’t like it when it’s all sticky (like on a caramel apple or in a candy bar), but I don’t mind something with caramel flavoring (like coffee). Hmm this should be tougher because I love all things pumpkin, but apple cider donuts are my freakin FAVORITE THING. They are so sugary and delicious. Our farmers market usually has a truck with fresh ones but they haven’t been around lately as much 🙁 I love long cardigans because I will mostly wear them with comfy leggings and a basic shirt underneath. In […]

Top Ten Tuesdays #206: Villains

Posted October 23, 2018 / Top 10 Tuesdays, Weekly Memes / 5 Comments
Top Ten Tuesdays #206: Villains

Fascinating & Complex Villains Top Ten Tuesdays were started by The Broke and the Bookish and are now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where we make lists of our top ten books (or something else!) based on that week’s prompt. The topics are provided ahead of time and can be found here. Book links bring you to Goodreads or my review. I originally wasn’t even going to do this topic because honestly I’m not REALLY one to love villains, care about them, read books from their POVs, etc… I decided to instead take the plunge and talk about some of the most fascinating villains overall: the ones I love to hate, the ones I hate that I love, the most intriguing ones – you name it. The last time we had this topic, I did “villain superlatives” and also listed ~punchable~ characters (not villains, just annoying people!). Here are some of the most intriguing villains I’ve read about… The Darkling from the Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo Catherine from Heartless by Marissa Meyer Dinah from the Queen of Hearts Saga by Colleen Oakes AIDAN from the Illuminae trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Levana from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer Ignifex from Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge Basically everyone from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black Lirael from The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett   The Descendants (Mal, Jay, Evie, Carlos) from The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz Legend from the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber

ARC Reviews: Little White Lies and The Geography of Letting Go

Posted October 22, 2018 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Reviews: Little White Lies and The Geography of Letting Go

I loved THE FIXER duo so much (and it should be a trilogy — still something that makes me incredibly sad and bitter) and have been saving THE NATURALS series for when I’m desperate for more words by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I decided not to resist this one though… and I’m glad I didn’t wait! I read it during ARC August and was definitely what I needed to break the semi-slump I was in. I was just forcing myself to read (not because I wanted to read) and this book changed me for the month. It centers around Sawyer, a young mechanic who learns that her mom’s estranged family are filthy rich and only live 45 minutes away. When her grandmother shows up and offers her half a million dollars for college/life if she moves there and participates in the debutante season, she can’t resist the opportunity to find her biological father at the same time. She quickly falls in with her cousin, Lily, and her friend, Sadie-Grace… and unfortunately also with the evil Campbell. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story, to be honest – I was kind of expecting something similar to the REBEL BELLE series with all of the ball gowns and southern traditions (minus the paranormal stuff). I did kind of get that, but there was a great mix of contemporary-mystery that Jennifer Lynn Barnes does so well. If you like her writing, I would have to recommend this book. It’s easy and addicting […]

My Go-To Trader Joe’s Shopping List

My Go-To Trader Joe’s Shopping List

I have been loving Trader Joe’s for a long time, but the closest one in Connecticut was 40 minutes away when I lived there initially. When we moved to to Maine, there was a Trader Joe’s right down the street. I got used to shopping there for probably 75% of our groceries and reserved most meats and quick trips for the Hannaford within walking distance. I was sad to move back to Connecticut and leave my favorite grocery store behind but we FINALLY got one in the same town that I work in! In honor of this big milestone in my life (lol), I thought I would round up some of my favorite Trader Joe’s foods  for you. I recently did a grocery store analysis to share if online shopping for snacks and non-perishables was worth it, and there were quite a few categories where surprisingly TJ’s was the cheapest option! One thing about TJ’s is that they rotate their stock seasonally A LOT. There are some things you can always find there, for sure, but a lot that comes and goes. They don’t have a full website of products either so I had to be creative when finding images. Most of these were taken by me in my many trips to the freakin store.   Pita Bite Crackers with Olive Tapenade This is my number one go-to snack in general, let alone from Trader Joe’s. I would save up calories all day to snack on this at the end […]

Review Round Up | Evidence of the Affair, So Close to Being the Shit…, and My Lady’s Choosing

Posted October 18, 2018 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 1 Comment
Review Round Up | Evidence of the Affair, So Close to Being the Shit…, and My Lady’s Choosing

In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews! Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think I was one of the first people to hear about this short story. I randomly saw it when browsing on Amazon and was shocked that there was no information about it. I immediately preordered and read it within the first week it was out. I couldn’t wait for new TJR words and I’ll be honest – the short story length was needed in my monthly reading goal. As expected, my reaction was “holy shit.” I’ve never felt so moved by a short story before and it should really come as no surprise which author made me feel this way. There was a lot packed into these pages. I thought I saw where some parts were heading but still ended up surprised by the end. Leave it to TJR to write a novella only through letters and STILL make me feel all the things. I’m really not a short story person and I don’t hesitate to recommend this to other people who feel similarly. If you like her other novels, just give this one a read. I think the ending was close to perfect, which is usually my issue with short stories. The books never feel complete. […]