Reading · Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Upcoming Releases

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I don’t track a ton of upcoming releases, so instead of fulfilling the real prompt ‘Upcoming Releases I’m on The Fence About’, I’m going to just make a list of upcoming books I’m looking forward to. I’ll leave out the ones I listed here though. Since I’m on a book-buying ban *and* trying to read books I already own in 2019, I’ll probably only end up reading The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter. She’s an insta-buy for me, book ban or not.

  • The Invited ~ Jennifer McMahon
    • I like the look of this one – a couple flees suburbia just to build a house and end up building a haunted one. I already own, but haven’t read, her other book The Night Sister.
  • The Last Letter ~ Rebecca Yarros
    • I think this is the only romance on this list. I don’t know why but the letter in the description caught my interest.
  • The Missing Years ~ Lexie Elliott
    • Missing dad + Scottish Highlands + creepy house + possible ghosts? Might be a contender for Creepy October/Blogoween.
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton ~ Sara Collins
    • This looks so amazing I can’t do it justice here – just go read the Goodreads description. I might have to get this from the library in 2019.
  • Never Tell (D.D. Warren #10)~ Lisa Gardner
    • I may not get to this one for awhile, but I’ve read the first 7 D.D. Warren books and once I’ve read through some of the books I already own, I’d love to read 8 through 10.
  • The Night Olivia Fell ~ Christina McDonald
    • A mother tries to figure out what happened to her daughter – a chain of events that ends with Olivia falling off a bridge while pregnant. Seems like a good mystery.
  • The Raven Tower ~ Ann Leckie
    • I’ve been looking to get more into fantasy lately so this one caught my eye immediately when I saw it on the Goodreads giveaway page. The author is apparently a great sci-fi writer so we’ll see how that translates!
  • The Victory Garden ~ Rhys Bowen
    • I love fiction set during and directly after WWI and the description of this novel seems really touching and I think it looks like a really good read.
  • The Lost History of Dreams ~ Kris Waldherr
    • I got really into Gothic historical fiction last year and the reviews for this one are so, so good. If I decide to do creepy October again this year this might be one of the books I get for that.
  • The Last Widow (Will Trent #9)~ Karin Slaughter {not pictured}
    • I cannot wait for this! It’s on the “okay to buy during No-Buy 2019” list. It’s been awhile since there was a Will Trent/Sara Linton book and I’m pumped.
Life & Family · Monthly Recaps

February Wrap-up

What I Read

  1. Duchess by Deception ~ Marie Force {ARC from Goodreads}
  2. Alaskan Holiday ~ Debbie Macomber {ARC from Goodreads}
  3. Avalon ~ Mindee Arnett
  4. The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House ~ Stephanie Lam {begun, not finished yet}
  5. An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford, 2) ~ Charles Todd {begun, not finished yet}

What I Watched

Movies:

TV Shows:

What I Cooked/Ate

  1. Hummus wraps with veggies and {a fairly mild} hot sauce. They also have cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, and banana peppers.
  2. Sweet potato hash with chorizo and eggs.
  3. Eggs Bennies, of course. We’ve been cutting back but it still happens.
  4. The traditional Steak n Shake monthly meal.
  5. We also had pizza twice and got Chinese take-out once. I’m trying to not eat out, but it was a rough month. This was not the total amount of fast food I ate in January.

What I Did

Image of a sunrise at the beach with a bird in the foreground

Sat on the beach with Shane as the sun rose on New Years Day. A super hopeful beginning to the year.

Visited Huntington Beach State Park with Shane and his mom. We went to see Atalaya again, since she’s never seen it. I love that park.

I also spent a weekend at my parents’ place. I stopped by on my way home from campus on Friday and left on Sunday morning. Shane even came and spent the night with me on Saturday night. This is big because my parents’ dog has a habit of biting at Shane.

I can’t talk abut a lot of stuff that happened this month, but basically it’s been a really rough month and I spent *a lot* of time sitting on the couch playing Solitaire on my phone.

Used a couple bath bombs from Christmas and they made the water look like Kool-Aid. Big fan.

Finally found a doctor down here. The appointment was rescheduled twice but 3rd times the charm. I really like my doctor and she’s super responsive.

~S~

Life & Family

Bullet Journal – 1 Month Update

I definitely bit off more than I could chew…again. It’s not super surprising, considering that’s kind of my thing, but I’ve changed it up for February so it should go a bit better.

What Worked

Almost nothing, honestly. That’s not entirely true – while I really only used one of the month-specific spreads (and only made a single weekly layout), I actually did use some of the longer-term Collections.

The monthly spread I did use was the Read/Watched spread that I used to make in my journal. It’s literally just a list of stuff I read and stuff I watched over the month. Books in the top, movies in the middle, and tv shows at the bottom.

January was a slow month in terms of things I needed to track, so the only spreads I really used were the lists of tv shows and movies to watch and the next books to read (aka a list of books I already own) to mark stuff off of.

The best use of my bullet journal was list making, which makes sense. It’s kind of soothing to write my lists in there, for whatever reason. I also looked at my Winter Bucket List and 2019 Resolutions spreads a few times as well.

What Didn’t

Roughly everything, obviously. Mostly trackers, actually. Apparently I hate tracking things. I also didn’t have much to track. I didn’t use my letter tracker or my library tracker at all and my Thankful For tracker and Spending Log fizzled out super quickly. Habit trackers didn’t catch on either. I have a planner, so the weekly spreads felt redundant – why am I redrawing something I already have?

I also had a rough month in real life, so that may have something to do with it. I know that’s why I didn’t do any meal planning in there, I didn’t eat in a way that made any sense for most of the month.

The Plan

So for February I’m going back to basics. I’m pretty much just going to do Read/Watch spread and weekly to-do lists without any daily separation. I’m also going to set up a meal planning spread, because that’s actually something I would really like to start doing.

Anyway, there’s the update. Hope your January went well!

~Sarah~

Top Ten Tuesday

Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

There are SO many books I wanted to read last year and wasn’t able to. I may not even get to them this year because the books never stop being published.

  • Jackaby by William Ritter
    • I’m not sure why this book caught my eye, but it definitely has. I can’t wait to read it!
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
    • I love books with amnesia in them, but this one is even more interesting because my friends seem to either love this book or feel very ehhhh about it. The cover is super cool, too.
  • Florence & Giles by John Harding
    • In keeping with my newfound love of gothic horror novels, I had to add this one. It looks so creepy and good!
  • The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo
    • I mean, who doesn’t want to read a book called The Girl Without Skin? It has mummified Vikings, murders, and so forth. It looks super twisty and interesting.
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager
    • This looks like a great thriller that will be a really fun read.
  • No Exit by Taylor Adams
    • Another great thriller, with the added fun of being trapped in a rest stop with a kidnapper.
  • Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
    • Just sign me up for any Karin Slaughter book ever. She’s an auto-buy author.
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
    • Scalzi is hit or miss for me, but this looks like a book I could really enjoy.
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    • I legitimately don’t understand how I didn’t read this in 2018. It has such rave reviews, and I read the first few pages when I first got it which hooked me immediately. But I was reading a different book and it slipped off my radar.
  • Avalon by Mindee Arnett
    • I can’t wait for summer, because I think reading this on the balcony at night is going to be so much fun.

~Sarah~

Life & Family

20 Random Things About Me

As a child of the MySpace era, I did lists like this all the time as a teenager. I haven’t done one in so long, so this is pretty nostalgic for me. Maybe I should break out the 5000 Question Survey from LiveJournal – I was in college when that came out so I never actually did it, but I was aware of it. Okay, I won’t really do that – I have things to do in my spare time.

  1. The best day of my life was the day I picked Laurie up from getting all his teeth removed and he laid on my chest for about 30 minutes. He’s never done that before or since. Laurie is one of my cats, if you’re new here.
  2. My first job was as a maintenance worker with the Youth Conservation Corps at a Revolutionary War site. We did things like pull VW buses out of the woods, broke apart house foundations, spread mulch, and moved enormous piles of bricks by tossing them brick by brick at each other. I loved that job.
  3. My grandfather asked my mom to give her last baby his family name since his son wasn’t having children. My parents threw the name I was supposed to have (Victoria Elizabeth) out the window & let my oldest brother pick my new first name.
  4. I love archaeology/anthropology/history/anything old & follow a bunch of specialty news sites to keep up with developments. I wish it was a feasible career for me, but it isn’t for a variety of reasons.
  5. I’m really interested in the first half of the 1900s at the moment (especially the period between the World Wars), but will also happily read about any time period other than my own.
  6. I read/watch a lot of British media, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s because they do a lot more that’s set in the past, which lines up with my interests.
  7. I’m also obsessed with the future & space.
  8. I did not mean to become a web developer and am frequently surprised by how easily I slipped into the role. I never thought I’d work a desk job.
  9. As a kid, the first thing I can remember wanting to be when I grew up was a farmer.
  10. I spent the first 6 years of my life in Germany & the Netherlands and the only reminders of my time overseas are my intense love of Brie, a small Delft collection, and a plethora of pictures.
  11. The local German registrar rejected my middle name and my parents had to appeal to get it approved. Even though I’m not German and my name technically followed the German naming laws.
  12. I want to write at least a few novels, but I get so worried about being terrible at it that I never get past writing basic scenes or background information. One day.
  13. I have always wanted to do a 101 in 1001 project, but it’s never worked out with my life. I’ve been thinking about trying again starting on my 32nd birthday in March, because life is never going to settle down so I might as well try again now.
  14. I am a dog person who happens to also be a cat person. People talk about how unfriendly cats are, but I appreciate the sass as much as I appreciate a dog’s pureness.
  15. I’m using DuoLingo to start learning German. At different times in my life I’ve tried to learn French, German, Spanish, and Welsh. I decided to focus on one, and somehow German won. I think it’s mostly because it’s a fun language to speak. Welsh is like speaking in poems, so I’ll probably do that next. Neither of these languages will probably ever come in handy.
  16. I started Bullet Journaling this month, but haven’t really kept up with the actual planning part of it. It’s fun for brainstorming and making lists, keeping track of movies, books, etc, but I don’t really touch the weekly situation. I think I started too ambitious.
  17. We have moved every 9-12 months for the past 5ish years and I’m ready to stay in this apartment for another year.
  18. I love a good hot beverage – hot chocolate, tea, coffee – and generally have at least one cup of hot chocolate or tea in the afternoon/evening. Coffee every morning.
  19. My favorite genres are science fiction, fantasy, historical, and suspense/mystery. Both reading and watching. I love watching sci-fi as much as reading it
  20. I would love to travel all over the country and world, and I have a list of places I want to see. Mostly I want to go back to Maine, though.

~Sarah~

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I had a hard time coming up with this list, to be honest. I read a lot of new authors in 2018, but making a Top Ten list was still hard. So enjoy this mishmash of romance, fantasy, macho apocalypse, bananas horror (Bachmann), mystery, and non-fiction authors.

Kelley Armstrong & Jeff Wheeler & Jenn McKinlay

Ian Douglas & Franklin Horton & Ryder Carroll & Jacqueline Frost

Michael Cannell & Stefan Bachmann & Jane Harper

I hate not writing any notes, but my mother-in-law was here this past weekend and I had a ton of stuff to do this (aka Monday) evening. I’m clearly lagging behind on my ‘stay ahead of blog posts’, eh?

~Sarah~

Movies & TV

Mini Movie Reviews

Exactly what it says on the tin – I watch movies and then write mini reviews to post here. Groundbreaking.

I love science fiction movies.I watched a bunch this past week, so I thought it’d be good to use those for my first mini movie review post. I’ve added the descriptions from IMDB because I’m not sure how well known any of them are. Except Bird Box. Bird Box is popular.

Occupation

A small group of town residents have to band together after a devastating ground invasion.

Description from IMDB.

This is an Australian alien invasion movie, and it’s pretty okay. The characters are pretty one dimensional, and a few are needlessly antagonistic, but I liked the premise. I also enjoyed the explosions. The story was fine, really, it just tried to do too much. There were too many characters to follow in a single movie and way too many plotlines. Three different romantic relationships, family drama, teen angst, father-hates-girl’s-love-interest, pregnancy and childbirth in the alien invasion, and so forth. And those are just the ones that don’t have anything to do with aliens. I can definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a fun movie that has lots of explosions.

Bird Box

Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety.

Description from IMDB.

I read Bird Box a few years ago and it stuck with me. So I was excited that it was turned into a movie. I really liked it, but I wasn’t as in love with it as I was hoping to be. It’s still a movie I would definitely urge people to watch. The plot is solid, Sandra Bullock is fabulous as usual, and those kids are adorable. I don’t really have any complaints. Other than the end, that is. I really like the dark ending from the book and was kind of bummed it wasn’t in the movie. The ending they went with probably has wider appeal.

The Osiris Child

Set in the future in a time of interplanetary colonization, an unlikely pair race against an impending global crisis and are confronted by the monsters that live inside us all.

Description from IMDB.

I enjoyed this movie more than I probably should have. No ragrets. So, a dad finds out that the military-like corporation he works for is going to blow up the planet they’re orbiting (for reasons I can’t say), but plot twist, his kid who he’s generally estranged from is currently living on that planet. He steals a ship and gets to the surface. All I want to say here is that if you’re building high tech space ships to dogfight with, they should have a mechanism to see behind them. He makes friends with a prison escapee and the adventure is on. I don’t want to say too much more, but it’s an enjoyable movie. Also another Australian science fiction movie. Apparently I like them.

2036: Origin Unknown

After a failed mission to Mars, A.I./ARTI is now used for the 2036 mission with a few human supervisors. A monolith of unknown origin is found there. It will have a big effect on Earth.

Description from IMDB.

This is not a movie I’d recommend to anyone. Usually I can find a use case for any movie, but this one is just….not what I’m into I guess. Which is unfortunate, since I love Katee Sackhoff. To be fair, the first half or so was fine, but then it went downhill fast.

Top Ten Tuesday

Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
    • I love a good mystery and this one looks like a great one. Who doesn’t want to know why a woman shoots her husband in the face and then never speaks again?
  • The Au Pair by Emma Rous
    • The comparison to VC Andrews is enough to make me want to read this one. I’ll be requesting it from the library.
  • Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong
    • Is it cheating to put a book that’s next in a series you’re reading? I really enjoy the Rockton series. I discovered it while I was packing to move and I had both audiobooks and ebooks so I could read or listen when needed.
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
    • The buzz around this one is big, and it looks like a very interesting fantasy novel. It’s also huge. I’m excited.
  • Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
    • Written by the authors of The Illuminae Files. That’s enough for me, but the description also sounds great.
  • Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds
    • Not going to lie, I’m eagerly anticipating this one for Shane. He loves Alastair Reynolds and he can’t wait to read this one.
  • The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
    • I need to read more YA sci-fi, because I really love it and haven’t read much of it lately.
  • The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe
    • I love Katherine Howe. I’ve read all her books, and I’m not about to stop now.
  • The Summer Country by Lauren Willig
    • I haven’t read much historical fiction set in Barbados, but I’m very interested in this mystery.
  • Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
    • Pride and Prejudice plus a culture I’m fairly unfamiliar with? Sign me up.
Goals and Plans

2019 Blogging Plans

My 2018/2019 are *almost* done I promise, there’s just one more after this. It’s mostly because I ran short on ideas – I was going to review some books, both of which I wasn’t into and decided to skip reviewing them.

I’m planning on moving off of here and on my own server/other hosted site. With Gutenberg coming out, I want to play with all the new custom blocks plugins and WP.com doesn’t really give me the level of freedom I want at a price point I’m willing to pay. I do WordPress development as my day job and was originally just interested in blogging without doing any development. Now, though, I think I’d like to create a theme and maybe some custom blocks. I’m looking at using my personal AWS account to do it, but I might just go with a regular hosting site. Decisions, decisions.

I still want to do book reviews, but I’m not going to force one if there’s not a book I want to review. Or if I just haven’t finished a book since the last review. I want to read a lot more sci-fi and fantasy books that are a lot longer than most of the books I read last year.

I’m not worried about visits, or views, or followers at the moment. I’m just really enjoying blogging. This will never make money or be my career or whatnot, so I don’t have to try to hit goals like that. Obviously, I love seeing that people are reading my posts and I hope people like reading them, but I don’t want to lose that enjoyment because I’m chasing a number. I admire bloggers who do, though. They put in work. This might change – I reserve the right to decide I care about numbers at some point in the future.

Anyway, I’m off. I have a cat to snuggle with.

~Sarah~

Beach · Life & Family

New Year’s Day 2019

Shane had to work on New Year’s Day, but was done at 5am, so he came and woke me up (as well as made me breakfast). He was called back in, but was able to get done and back to the apartment before 7, so I just hopped into his car and we headed to the beach. It’s the first time we’ve gone to see the sunrise at the beach and it was lovely. It really was the perfect start to 2019.

I figured out how to optimize the camera for sunrise after I started shooting, so some pictures are much nicer than others.

These were taken directly before the sun began to rise – we really had the beach mostly to ourselves. A lady in a beach chair, a few people scattered down the beach, and a man with a metal detector (he showed up later) were really all there were. It started out really foggy, but cleared up really nicely.

We ended up in front of a bunch of seagulls and they were really fun to photograph. Apparently I love to take pictures of birds. Which is weird, since I hate birds in general.

Shane brought the drone he got for Christmas and took some great pictures. My favorite one is above – a stylized panoramic view of the beach that his drone’s software compiled.

Here’s to 2019.