Wednesday, March 31, 2021

2021 Q1 Reading Roundup

 I wasn't sure how I wanted to do these reading roundups this year. I had toyed with the idea of doing them once a month, but as I mentioned before I'm hoping as the year goes on work becomes a little more normal/busy and I don't have as much time to read. So I decided to stick with what worked last year and bring you a quarterly reading roundup! 

Code Girls by Liza Mundy : 3 Stars - Nonfiction isn't my thing, but if it's yours I think this would be a great read! I'd love to read a historical fiction book on this subject now

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton : 3 Stars - This is not the type of book I would normally read, but with that said I really enjoyed it. I thought it was an unique story with an interesting narrator. I would put out the caution that there is violence and death

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis : 5 Stars - Really enjoyed this one! I was surprised by the final plot twist at the end. 

Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella : 2 Stars - This one fell flat for me and I think it's because I just couldn't connect with Ava. I just found her annoying instead of cute and quirky like I think was the idea

The Ballards of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins : 3 Stars - It's interesting to read a book with the main character as the villain. We always want to cheer for the main character, but that's not the point of this story.

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro : 3 Stars - Overall I enjoyed this book. I wanted to know more about Eva's life during the war years vs. her early life in the United States

The Mad Woman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell : 3 Stars - Confession : I've never read a Bronte novel. I felt that disclaimer was important to know when viewing my rating. I thought this was an interesting enough story, but I wanted more from the ending. It started slow (almost painfully slow) but then seemed to finish too quickly just as it was getting interesting.

The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse : 4 Stars - I honestly did not see this twist at the end coming. A great quick read if you like WW2 fiction or suspense novels

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum : 3 Stars - Beautifully written, but a hard subject to read. Trigger Warning : Domestic Abuse 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne : 4 Stars - Cheesy romantic comedy in all the best ways. I think my only complaint is I would have liked it more on the PG side of PG13 than the R side. Excited for the movie as I think it will transfer well to the screen

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Freidland : 3 Stars - Just okay. This felt like one of those books that a year from now I won't be able to recall the plot

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan : 3 Stars  - Not what I expected, but still a very fun read. Didn't love that it ended on a cliff hanger 

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfield : 5 Stars - One of the best books I've read in a while. This is a great read, no matter your feelings on Hillary Clinton

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver : 3 Stars - Overall a good piece of literature. I'd recommend this if you're looking for a quality read vs. a quick read

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes : 4 Stars - Just a really delighted read 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchet : 3 Stars - This was just okay. I liked how everything seemly came full circle at the end, but the idea of a mother leaving her children is just too tragic

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim : 3 Stars - I had such high hopes because the story was so unique, but the ending felt a little rushed and trying too hard to end in "happily ever after"

What did you read this quarter? What are you excited to read next? 

Monday, March 15, 2021

25 ways to bring joy to the every day

You may remember my goal for 2021 is to appreciate the every day things that make life good. If it doesn't spark joy, it's got to go! About a quarter of the way into the year I'm happy to report this strategy is working and I'm feeling more optimistic and hopeful than I did a year ago. I know many are still struggling, so today I wanted to share 25 ways to bring joy to your every day. Joy is so personal, so some of these may not apply to you, but hopefully they provide you a good jumping off point to fill your life with more joy! 

1. Donate to cause you care about

2. Order takeout from your favorite restaurant 

3. Listen to your favorite song on repeat 

4. Call a family member

5. Make a list of all your accomplishments in the last year 

6. Clean out your junk drawer 

7. Print out and frame a favorite photo 

8. Take a nap 

9. Read your favorite magazine 

10. Go for a walk 

11. Take a PTO day just because 

12. Treat yourself to a fresh manicure 

13. Get dressed up just because 

14. Reconnect with an old friend 

15. Clean out your closet and donate what you no longer wear 

16. Bake a batch of cookies 

17. Spend an extra 30 minutes for your favorite hobby 

18. Take a social media break 

19. Watch your favorite movie 

20. Sonic happy hour 

21. Spend an afternoon volunteering 

22. Preset the coffee maker the night before 

23. Enjoy an at home face mask 

24. Cook your favorite meal 

25. Make a fancy cocktail 

How do you bring joy to your every day?

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

My Ultimate Taylor Swift Album

In honor of us being a little over a month from the release of Taylor's version of Fearless, today I'm sharing my ultimate Taylor Swift album. Essentially I'm picking my favorite song for each number from across all her albums, and because there are too many great songs I've added 5 "bonus tracks" that didn't make the original cut. PS : I'm stealing this idea from TikTok, so I really can't take credit for it. 

I've long been a Taylor Swift fan so narrowing down here vast library to only 21 songs really was difficult. It also made me ridiculously excited for her to rerelease all her older albums! If she never put out a new original album I'd still think she's the greatest artist of our time. 

1. I Forgot that You Existed from Lover 

2. Blank Space from 1989

3. The Last Great American Dynasty from Folklore 

4. I Knew You Were Trouble from Red

5. All Too Well from Red 

6. No Body, No Crime from Evermore 

7. The Story of Us from Speak Now 

8. Bad Blood from 1989

9. Should've Said No from Taylor Swift 

10. Mary's Song from Taylor Swift 

11. London Boy from Lover 

12. Dress from Reputation 

13. This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things from Reputation 

14. Betty from Folklore 

15. New Year's Day from Reputation 

16. New Romantics from 1989 

Bonus Tracks! 

1. Red from Red 

2. State of Grace (Acoustic Version) from Red 

3. Picture to Burn from Taylor Swift 

4. Style from 1989

5. End Game from Reputation 

What songs would be on your ultimate Taylor Swift album? Did I miss your favorite?