Show Us Your Books: April edition

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This was a slower reading month for me than usual. Instead of 7-8, I only finished 6. Which is still a lot of books, I know, but I can’t help but feel like a reading slacker. I’ll just have to make up for it in April!

So what did I read? Check ‘em out:

The Martian by Andy WeirKristen highly recommended this book to me. I was hesitant because it’s science fiction which, as a general rule, I don’t read. But I’m glad she was persistent because this book was AMAZING!!! I mean, if you take out a bunch of the science, which bored me to absolute tears but the fact that the author has a casual, not too over the top science nerd writing style and the main character, Mark, is a smart ass definitely made up for it. It’s a crazy interesting story that’s not completely outside the realm of reality and that helped me enjoy the book a bit more. Also interesting is the fact that this was originally a self-published eBook that was picked up by a major publishing house and has absolutely exploded. Well deserved, too. 

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help That Actually Worked by Dan Harris–The memoir of a news anchor who had a panic attack live on TV. I liked the book, appreciated his self-deprecating humor and honesty regarding his issues and addictions, but to me, it was more of an advertisement for meditation rather than a memoir. If you’re into meditation, you might appreciate his journey more than I did. 

The Son by Jo Nesbo–I’d had this book on my to-read list for awhile and finally got the eBook. All 500 pages of it. I thought the length was a joke at first. It was not. Now, please understand that I love mysteries and thrillers but this book did not do it for me. It was too long, there were too many characters and subplots and the main story, or a good part of it, was completely implausible. That said, it did keep me interested enough to finish the whole book and I will read more books by this guy. 

Deadline by John SandfordErin talked about this one last month and it seemed like something I’d enjoy since it appeared to be in a similar vein to Nelson DeMille. Which it was. I liked the premise of main plot and found it to be an intriguing, engaging story with just enough humor and violence. The secondary plot? Meh. I could have lived without it OR he could have separated them into two books because both make interesting enough stories to hang out on their own. This a good beach/vacation/summer read. 

Stolen by Lucy Christopher–Loved this book. LOVED. Written from the perspective of a kidnapped teenage girl as a letter to her kidnapper, it was a fantastic story about Stockholm Syndrome that also has me terrified of the Australian Outback because why do all the dangerous things in the world live in Australia? Anyway. I enjoyed how the author portrayed both Gemma and Ty as sympathetic and she made them both complex instead of one dimensional characters which, in this kind of book, was completely possible. And the parts with the camel made me tear up. Read the book and you’ll know what I mean.

Mobile Library by David WhitehouseDisclaimer: I’m not 100% done with this book but I’ll finish it in the next day so I’m writing about it now rather than holding it over because I’m pretty sure my opinion won’t change. So. This book. I will say that it’s well written and descriptive and some of the parts (specifically, the bullying and the abuse and the longing for a mother who left him) were realistic and painful and that’s awesome reading. However. I found the primary relationship in the book–the one between Val and Bobby (who are 40 and 13, respectively)–moderately disturbing, and some of Bobby’s…habits disgusted me. As in, they made me nauseous. I think those two factors swayed my opinion more than they should so maybe if you read this, you’ll like it more than I did because they don’t bother you. 

If I had to pick my favorite from the month, it’d be The Martian or Stolen. Definitely add those to your to-read list (have I mentioned that the flurry of Goodreads activity on SUYB day is such fun to watch?). 

What did you guys read? Let us know! Nonbloggers, leave a comment with what you’ve read this past month.

 

One map, two stories

I loved Kristin’s post where she shared her map of states she’s lived in, visited, or driven through. In fact, I loved it so much I’ve decided to share mine, which actually tells two stories: where I’ve been and where I still need to go. 

Let’s have a look:

states map

Now let’s break it down.

I grew up on Long Island, went to college (and currently live) in Delaware, spent 6 glorious summers and one not so glorious year living in various parts of Pennsylvania so the fact that almost the whole East Coast, specifically the mid-Atlantic, is filled in shouldn’t be a surprise. I do need to finish visiting New England and although Maine isn’t filled in, I think maybe I might have been there at some point. I can’t remember so I left it out. Fun fact: my high school has graduated a number of notable alumni including Natalie Portman, Judd Apatow, and Idina Menzel. I don’t know any of them. 

The western states are covered mostly due to a 6 week tour I took in high school. It started in Seattle, went up through the Canadian Rockies, and came down through Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and ended in Colorado. I got to see a number of amazing sites including the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. I’ve also visited California and Colorado as an adult. Very different experiences.

The rest of the states like Michigan, Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois were the result of family trips, college visits, or blogging or work conferences. We actually flew to Texas a few weeks after 9/11 and the plane was so empty flying home they let all 8 of us travelling sit in first class. Free upgrade FTW!!! It’s also the only time I’ve flown first class. 

For whatever reason, I’ve missed most of the midwest and deep south. It’s not that I’ve purposefully avoided them, it’s just never been a priority to go there. However. Since one of my life goals is to visit every state, when I plan my cross country trip, I know which ones are mandatory to visit so if you live in those states, you need to let me know what I absolutely have to see when I visit your state.

And Alaska and Hawaii will happen, too, because I just really want to go there. 

For those counting, I’ve visited 28 states. Not too shabby. But still room for improvement. 

How about you guys? What does your states visited map look like? 

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This week in…: Volume 12

this week

This week in saving money…Fortunately I live an hour away from many, many outlet stores and since my child decided to grow and needed everything under the sun for the spring and summer, that’s where we went shopping. While my in-laws picked up the tab for her stuff (thank you, in-laws), I bought some stuff for me. Four t-shirt and a hoodie from the Old Navy outlet for roughly $30. That totally works for me. 

This week in cooking…Awhile back, I had found a recipe for zucchini bread muffins. I had more zucchini than is necessary on hand so I gave them a try. DELICIOUS. Only this time, I didn’t have vanilla extract. So I substituted almond extract. Even more delicious. 

This week in reading…Working my way through Stolen and Mobile Library, not The One Hundred Year Old Man as planned. Full review coming this Tuesday, April 14 for Show Us Your Books.

This week in watching…Nothing new, just lots of SVU reruns and anxiously awaiting the start of Orange is the New Black and True Detective in June. Oh, and we rented The Imitation Game last weekend. Great movie but I truly don’t get everyone’s obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch. Can someone please explain?

This week in listening…I created a movie songs playlist in Spotify. I’m quite pleased with it yet I feel like something is missing. What’s your favorite song from a movie? Let me know in the comments. I’m not sure, though, that I’ll listen to the new podcast about Adnan Syed (you know, the subject of Serial). I might give it a try. Maybe.

This week in things that annoy me…People who, in public, have conversations on speaker phone. The expression “on fleek” (seriously, what the hell is that? So we’re just creating random nonsense words now and then making them things? Let’s not even discuss the fact that I had to look up what it means and the fact that the first time I saw it was on a cheer bow and the second time was on Seth Rogen’s Instagram. Let’s also not discuss how ridiculous that last sentence makes me sound). Bi-polar weather. People who play the follow/unfollow/follow game on social media. My cat.

This week in things that don’t annoy me…Leftovers for lunch. Realizing that when my parents come to visit me this weekend, my favorite bagel store, which closes during Passover, will have reopened because Passover ended the day before they come down so I get my bagels (no one will ever convince me that bagels from anywhere other than New York are worth eating)!!! My daughter having friends over because I don’t have to come up with ways to entertain her or endure 2947326 continuous hours of Victorious, iCarly, and all her other Nickelodeon shows.

This week in internet reads…I’ve got nothing this week but I do have about a dozen links saved (does anyone else abuse the Facebook “save link” feature?) so be prepared for next week’s onslaught.

This week in funnies…hrhh_humor_9_16_655a hrhh_humor_9_30_654a irritating too legit

It was an uneventful week here in Delaware and it’s shaping up to be just as uneventful of a weekend, which is just fine by me. See you all on Monday when I’ll be completely ripping off one of Kristen’s post ideas. Have a great weekend!

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Dog Days: Meet Barkley and Dobie

I’ve been meaning to write about my dogs for awhile now  because, if you follow me on Instagram (which you totally should because I am not at all boring), you know that I take my fair share of dog pictures. Usually of my dogs. Maybe a random other one now and then. But usually my guys. 

Why? 

Because I’m that lady. 

Sure, I have a kid and all but my dogs were my first children and they […] Continue Reading…

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It’s happening. I’m on the #hashtaghumpday bandwagon.

 
This week is spring break. I don’t even know what I’ve been doing with myself except I’m really glad insomnia picked this week to set in. Because, you know, why sleep when you actually have a chance? #imexhausted

I bought three new candles yesterday and none of them were the scent I actually wanted because the Yankee Candle outlet didn’t have the Chocolate Truffle. But the ones I bought […] Continue Reading…