Top Ten Books that Feel Like Summer

I’m joining in Top Ten Tuesday once more, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s theme is a summer freebie.  I’ve decided to do my list around books that feel like summer–which, for me, means a lot of things.

Some summer reads actually take place in the sunny season–featuring fluffy, light romances that are prefect for reading on the beach.

Others are funny and fun, which put me in the mindset of summer no matter the season.

Something about summer always puts me in the mood for epic fantasy… or just something really long that I can sink into.

And then there are the books that are a summer tradition.  Not a year goes by that I don’t listen to Tolkien on audiobook.

Here’s the list…
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Weekend Coffee Share 5/20/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be bundled up in sweaters with our mugs clutched closely to our chests.  It’s been rainy and cold this week–good for reading and sleeping, bad for all the farmers who have work to be done.  I had picked out a colorful spring outfit to wear to work this morning, but the moment I stepped out of bed my body was like, “NOPE.”  So it’s back to cozy sweaters.

I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me.

This afternoon, I’ll be getting coffee with a dear friend who recently returned from three months in England.  She stayed at the same ministry, L’Abri, that I did a year ago.  I’m excited to hear about her experience and gush about how much we miss it. Continue reading

Inbox // Outbox 5/15/17

It’s time for another glimpse into my reading life.  I’m going to be going on vacation in a couple of weeks, so it might be a while until my next one of these.


Currently Reading:

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

When I was a kid, Gail Carson Levine’s stories were some of my absolute favorites.  I still read Ella Enchanted almost every year and it gets better each time.  When I heard that she was coming out with another book set in the world of The Two Princesses of Bamarre, I knew I had to read it.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Currently, I’m halfway through this brick of a novel.  Yes, over two weeks of listening only to this audiobook in the car has me only halfway.  The pacing is pretty slow, but I know that Sanderson likes to take his time.  The world building is incredible (no surprise there) and I am growing to love the interesting and complex characters.  It’ll probably be a few more weeks until I read the end, but I think spending so much time in this world will only make the conclusion more satisfying.

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Weekend Coffee Share: 5/14/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting on a blanket in the sun.  Spring is finally in full swing here in Minnesota and I am loving every moment!  I’d be sipping my usual mocha–what would you be having?

May is quickly slipping away… I can’t believe the month is half done already!

Today is Mother’s Day!  My parents have been away for most of the weekend enjoying fishing opener at a friend’s cabin up north.  They’ll be coming home later this morning.  My siblings are home for the weekend and we’ll be enjoying a nice brunch.  It’s not often that we’re all together.  With vacations, work, one brother doing an internship in North Carolina for the summer, we probably won’t be together for a while.

My family’s apple orchard is in full bloom!  We’ll be opening it to the public for a special Mother’s Day walk later this afternoon.  I hope lots of people come–it’s one of the prettiest times of the year.

It’s been a pretty quiet week.  I had shopping plans with a friend yesterday, but she cancelled, so I decided to go alone.  I spent WAY too much money… but really needed a new dress for all the weddings I’m attending this summer.

At work, I’ve been busy getting ready for our Summer Reading Program.  I’ll be away on vacation when the program officially starts, so I’m getting the pieces together.  While I know it’s going to be a busy summer with kids coming in, I’m excited for all the fun programs.  I’m doing preschool storytime, a marshmallow engineering event, a stuffed animal sleepover, and am starting a Lego Club.

Aside from family time, I plan to spend the rest of my weekend soaking in the sunshine.  I’ll be mowing the lawn this afternoon and will hopefully go for a hike tomorrow (I don’t work on Mondays).

That’s all I’ve got today… what have you been up to this week?  Do you have any Mother’s Day plans?  What would you share over coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up, hosted by Nerd in the Brain.

Weekend Coffee Share: 5/7/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be in my local coffee shop again, which has become a bit of a refuge for me on Sundays.  I’d be wrapped in a cozy sweater sipping my usual mocha and smiling sleepily at you.

How am I doing?  At the moment, I’m really tired and in a bit of pain… I’m recovering from yesterday’s adventures.

Short version: I got up at 6:30 AM, went to work, hiked 7.5 miles, went white water rafting, and got home at 11:30 PM.  It was an absolute blast, but my body is definitely in recovery.

Long version: You see, a friend invited me to go white water rafting yesterday evening.  The location is two hours away and the town I work in is right in the middle of that route.  It didn’t make sense to drive an hour home only to drive two hours again, so I spent my afternoon at a state park.  The park was beautiful–featuring a river with roaring rapids and endless woods where spring has only just begun to visit.  Stupidly, I decided to take the longest hike possible.  Three miles in, I realized I had bitten off more than I could chew, but it was too late to go back… so I powered through. Continue reading

Book Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

acowar_usI’ve been antsy with anticipation over this book for weeks and, oh my, what a payoff.  While A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR) wasn’t a perfect novel, it was a satisfying conclusion to a series that I have come to dearly, dearly love.


Title
: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

My Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

 

Summary: 

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

My Thoughts (Without Spoilers):

I took my time with the book, treating it like a delicate feast I didn’t want to end.  I read it slowly–carefully tasting each paragraph, savoring the pulse of the plot, not wanting it to end.  At night, the characters wove in and out of my dreams, calling me to keep reading.

For the most part, this was my state of being while reading this book:

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Without going into details, one of my favorite parts of the book was seeing more of Prythian and the people who live there.  We see several new courts and an array of wonderful new side characters.  There is an epic library, was a huge highlight.  I also loved that some of the more minor characters from the previous books take larger roles.

In the discussion ahead, I address some of my criticisms with the ACOWAR.  After I had written them out, I realized that it may sound like I didn’t like the book or am overly picky.  I’d like to note that you can be critical of a text and still love it to pieces.

SPOILERS AHEAD: Continue reading

Top Ten Best-Dressed YA Novels

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week is a cover-themed freebie, so I decided to feature my…

Top Ten Best Dressed YA Novels

I’m an absolute sucker for beautiful ladies in beautiful dresses and there are so many to choose from in Young Adult fiction!

TTT Best Dressed 1

TTT Best Dressed 2

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Inbox // Outbox 5/1/17

Inbox:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

THIS BOOK COMES OUT ON TUESDAY AND THIS IS ME RIGHT NOW:

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I feel like I don’t even need to say anything else.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I keep seeing this book everywhere and am deciding to give it a go.  While it looks pretty trippy and weird, it has a high Goodreads rating.  And the main character is a librarian… which, of course, is awesome.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

This has been on my TBR list for ages… in a moment of weakness, I ordered the audiobook from the library.  I love Sanderson’s fantasy books, but I honestly don’t know if I can handle listening to this one.  It is 45 hours long–which is even longer than the Geroge R.R. Martin books I listened to earlier this year.  So, while I still really want to read this book and am including it in my list this week… might not actually get to it for a while.

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Hiking in Spring

Lately, I’ve been going on hikes to prepare for an upcoming road trip.  On the weekend, no matter the weather, I spend my morning at my local state park.  There is a five mile loop that goes along the river and up into the bluffs.  It’s a great place to train and an even better place to think.

This morning, rain was in the forecast and I had the trail all to myself.  One of my favorite things about hiking is the way the cadence of my footsteps pushes my brain to places that feel high and rich.  As I scrambled over rocks, past trees, and up high hills, I found myself deeply moved by spring.

In Minnesota, spring comes slowly.  It comes in waves of warm and cool weather, rain and sun, green grass and sticky mud.

On the trail, most of the forest was still brown and dead.  The leaves were just starting to peek forth–a green blush against the rainy sky.  The ground was scattered with little flowers–pink and white and purple and yellow.

What a miracle it is, that life emerges from the bare earth. It reminds me that there will come a day where there will be no more crying, no more pain, no more injustice.

Spring comes forth in quiet radiance, whispering of life and peace and, best of all, hope.

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Weekend Coffee Share 4/23/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting at a table by the window at my local coffee shop overlooking the lake.  The sun is shining, but do not be deceived!  It is colder outside than it looks.  As I write to you today, I actually AM at my local coffee shop.  Much to the chagrin of my family, our internet is down for the weekend.

Today is super exciting because it’s Shakespeare’s 453rd birthday!!  Someday, when I’m on my own with a circle of friends who live near me, I want to host annual birthday parties for the Bard.  I think it would be so much fun to have themed snacks, games, trivia, and readings.  For now, though, I’ll just reminisce about the time I toured his house in Stratford-Upon-Avon and watch the adaptation of Twelfth Night I rented from the library.  Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play or poem?

At my library this week, we had a MASSIVE donation!  A man brought in ten large boxes of books!  My Friday had been shaping up to be pretty boring, so I was thankful for something concrete to do.  I spent most of my afternoon sorting books by size, genre, and author.  Our sale area has been pretty pathetic lately, so it was really nice to fill it up with good books.

I took Saturday off work so I could get out and enjoy Earth Day!  It was a beautiful day–so sunny and warm that I got to wear shorts.  I planned attending my local March for Science, but arrangements fell through at the last minute.  So I instead went for a long hike at a local state park and thoroughly enjoyed being out in this beautiful world we live in.

Today, I’m feeling a bit under the weather.  I don’t know if it was all the exercise I had yesterday (I spent an hour helping my mom in her garden in addition to the hike) or the cooking at the fundraiser breakfast we went to after church, but my stomach isn’t feeling too great.  Around noon, I did something uncharacteristic and took a nap.  I normally don’t attempt sleep in the day, but today I definitely needed it.

How was your week?  What would you share over coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up, now hosted by Nerd in the Brain.

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I found these tiny lovelies on my Earth Day hike!