What have I been into? Oh, you know, a little vacation, some more adjusting to working from home, and a little thing like the first trimester of pregnancy. Believe me, adding nausea and exhaustion to those first two things? Not something I’d recommend.
Thankfully, those pesky symptoms seem to be tapering off as I near my twelfth week, although I still seem to get tired much easier than usual. Ah well, the energy (and nesting? is that now? I can’t remember.) of the second trimester are scheduled to kick in any day, which coincides well with our final push to finish a crazy amount of home repairs in order to list our house for sale.
I’ve been into a few other things this month, too. Here they are.
What I’m Reading:
- The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg: When I saw that Janet Evanovich was starting a new series based on a new character, I was excited. Her last several Stephanie Plum books have been a little same-old, same-old, while on the other hand I enjoyed her stand-alone novels with co-author Dorien Kelly. And this one promised to have a White Collar sort of flavor. I took this one on vacation, and it was a perfect “beach read.” Fluffy and fairly funny with a decent plot and characters, I enjoyed it and wished it would’ve lasted a bit longer. So, you know, basically the book equivalent of a regular-size bag of M&Ms. [Short review: It was good and I’m looking forward to more in this series.]
- Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck: I’ve really liked all of Rachel Hauck’s books that I’ve read, so when I saw this new one mentioned on Twitter, I reserved it at the library right away. I loved the first three-quarters of it, and then last part was just okay. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. It was somehow too simplistic after what had been realistic-for-a-fairytale. There was also some weirdness with the Christian part of the book that didn’t quite sit right with me. It didn’t seem genuine…or something. Still, I’m a sucker for girl meets boy, boy turns out to be famous person stories – and this definitely fit that bill.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: I just…I don’t know, you guys. I’d heard SUCH great things about this “magical” book, and I simply did not love it. It was vague and confusing and, after a while, kind of boring. I like books about magic, so that wasn’t the problem. And certainly the word pictures were gorgeous and original. But vagueness to the point of unnecessary confusion just gets on my nerves.
- A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: So. Another book that people whose opinions I trust and often agree with just adored. And then there was me. I liked it okay, although it was longer and more detailed in the history and science department than I liked. Oh, and there was the thing about the vampires doing vampire things. But when I got to the end – the VERY ABRUPT END – that demands I read the next book in the trilogy for any sense of resolution? Ooooohhhhh, I was irritated. I’ve had Just About Enough of trilogies that don’t wrap anything up until the last five pages of book three. Just. About. Enough.
- A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson: I’m going to write more about this one soon. But for now, just know that it is truly delightful. I laughed and cried through the entire book – which I read in one day, because I really could not put it down. Hudson, aka BooMama, is lovely and her family is lovely and their relationships and stories are lovely. I loved this book.
I’ve started reading The Unwired Mom by Sarah Mae. As in, it’s hitting me in the gut, so I’m taking it slow. Sarah Mae is incredibly honest about her journey with the pull of the internet and that elusive “balance” we all imagine we can attain someday – and this book is speaking to me.
And I’m also in the middle of Victim of Grace: When God’s Goodness Prevails by Robin Jones Gunn. This book tells the stories of Gunn’s glimpses of God’s mercy and goodness and amazing plans for her life, and it’s just beautiful. Every chapter has made me cry (the good kind of God-is-so-good tears, not sad ones), and I’m savoring this book.
Finally, don’t miss the posts from the Compassion bloggers who have just traveled to Nicaragua.
What I’m Watching:
Last summer got away with me in so many ways, and I missed a lot. Obviously time with my daughter and connecting with my husband are my biggest regrets for that season, but I’m going to be honest. Not watching So You Think You Can Dance for the first time in eight seasons left a pretty big gap, too.
So I’ve been so excited to renew my dedication to the only reality show I watch – and the very best one on television, of course. Nigel and Cat and the rest are just as brilliant and funny and awkward and delightful as always, and the dancers? Well, they are incredible. As always. And, hey, good news for you! The top 20 just performed for the first time last week, so there’s plenty of time to catch up and dive in!
I also went and saw Man of Steel. And, I just don’t know. Maybe I’m weird, but I honestly didn’t love it. It was Very Serious and SO VERY LONG. And over the top with the destruction in the last [long] act. Like I told Mark, I probably could have fallen asleep at any point and NOT BEEN SAD TO HAVE MISSED THE REST OF THE DANG MOVIE.
Blergh. I normally love superhero movies, and action movies in general. But this one was not my favorite.
What I’m Eating:
For the past several weeks, the only thing that has sounded consistently good has been a plain bagel with plain cream cheese. And so, I’ve been eating a lot of plain bagels with plain cream cheese. Recently, I’ve also added Little Debbie Cakes to that short list of foods that sound appealing.
This is not a good thing. And I promise, just tonight, I told Mark that we cannot buy any more boxes of said processed bites of heaven. We just can’t. (*sad tear*)
Thankfully, apples have also made the short list. They’ve felt lonely, there on the list with the puffy carbs and processed goodness. Because there sure haven’t been any other fruits…or vegetables…on that list. But they’ve hung in there, those apples. They’re strong. Brave. Fruity.
Okay, fine, so I don’t have a whole lot to discuss in the way of food. It was bound to happen at least once in my life, right? But what I can give you are a couple of easy [and tasty!] [and one of them is even healthy!] ideas for your 4th of July parties later this week.
Idea #1 (the healthy one): Flag Fruit Kebabs – or Kabobs. Or skewers. I should’ve just named them skewers. But no matter what you call them, this is an easy, festive, healthy dish to take anywhere.
Idea #2 (the other one): Loaded Baked Potato Salad. I’m not sure what we’re doing for the 4th this year, but whatever we do, I hope it involves potato salad. Preferably of the loaded type. You should make it, too.
Best of This Blog:
- Party of Four (the one where I announced my pregnancy)
- The Magic of Me, Too (the one I hope you didn’t miss)
- The Games We Play (the one where we discussed board games)
Last but not least, this doesn’t really fit under any of my normal What I’m Into categories, but you’re going to want to read it. Because Oh My Word, it is funny. This lady is hilarious and, I suspect, more than a little nuts. But a brilliant and funny writer, so just go read her story: Proving for all time, that you NEVER KNOW what is on the other end of a Craigslist ad by Victoria Elizabeth Barnes.
What were YOU into in June? Tell us about it in the comments!
This post will be linked up to What I’m Into at HopefulLeigh. And this post includes affiliate links.
I’m so sad you didn’t love A Night Circus or A Discovery of Witches. I mean, we’re allowed to have different opinions about books but I seriously loved both of those. Other people have complained about the length and historical detail in ADOW (and its sequel) but I soaked it all up, maybe because I’ve had mostly horrible history teachers so I felt like I was learning so much about an interesting era. But also, I loved the main characters and the fantastical world Harkness created. I was almost going to give Hauck another try but I see that book is only so-so. I’ve read maybe two of her books and they irritated me so much, which is too bad because some of the plots could be great.
This season of SYTYCD is especially intriguing to me because some of the dancers are truly going to have to stretch and grow if they want to stay in the competition. It’s not quite an equal playing field so we never know what curve balls they’ll throw at the dancers and who will step up. I still can’t get over the guys’ sand dance and Travis’s blindfold routine.
I’ve been reading Victoria Elizabeth Barnes’s archives the past couple of days and LOVING her wit.
Thanks for linking up with What I’m Into!
I did like the world that Harkness created. And the characters, mostly (although I can definitely see where some critics of Matthew are coming from with his overbearing, I-can’t-help-it-I’m-a-vampire personality). But I didn’t love it. And I was seriously bummed to realize it was yet another trilogy. Could somebody please just write a standalone book?!
I actually loved The Night Circus, and I’m often one of those people who wonders if I’ve read the same book other reviewers read! I admit it was written a bit differently, and I’ve heard a few friends say they didn’t like it because of that.
Lots of people love it! I thought I would, based on who I’d heard rave about it. I will say – and probably should’ve mentioned in my post – that it’s possible I’m a harsher critic now that I’m pregnant. I’m really grumpier than normal in every area. ;)
Definitely more than a little nuts.
p.s.- I just tried to read Game of Thrones… because everyone said HOW GREAT it was. After 80 pages, I had to bail.
Haha! Now, really, how are you possibly following up on every ping? Or is it just the ones that call you nuts? ;) I meant that in the most loving way, of course – and couldn’t stop giggling to myself when I listed something on craigslist last night. Believe you me, the person who answers my ad is NOT going to be as thrilled with my faded princess playhouse as you were with your kingdom mirror!
I too really, really wanted to love Night Circus, but as I read it on Audible, it just didn’t all the way work for me….I’m glad to hear that maybe – just maybe – I’m not alone.
Does that mean you listened to it as an audio book? I’ve never done that. Then again, maybe I should’ve looked up Audible before asking what’s probably a dumb question…
I’ve been considering Night Circus for my list. No worth it huh?
I received Sarah Mae’s Unwired mom for free and am looking forward to checking it out – I think we all struggle with this issue!
Also thinking about that Boomama book but I’ve never read her blog and I didn’t really like Bigmama’s book (also got for free on the kindle app.) and it seems kind of similar. Is it? Should I still give it a go?
I don’t know. You might like it! But it’s just very…vague. And not in a normal whodunit mystery sort of way. I just felt confused the whole time, and that irritated me. (However, I am easily irritable these days, so there’s that fact to consider.) It IS beautifully written and a truly original and interesting story. So…I don’t know. :)
Well, I have to admit that I haven’t finished Big Mama’s book yet. I’ve started it, though, and it strikes me as very different than BooMama’s book – though both are written in the same voice as they use on their blogs. A Little Salty is a funny, touching collection of stories about Sophie’s family. It made me think fondly of my own family and miss those who’ve passed away and wish I’d taken time to write down some of my own family’s stories. I really loved it. (And have already passed it on to my mom and my brother, both of whom loved it.)
Well that does sound different – and perfect for me right now! I think I’ll have to read it then. :) Thanks Mary. x
I ended up liking The Night Circus, but I totally get what you’re saying. I think if I had listened to what pretty much everyone was saying about it, I’d have been very disappointed. That said, it was incredibly slow-moving.
I have The Unwired Mom and can’t wait to read it. I’m glad to see you liked it.
Yes, the slow-moving got to me. But I think part of that is that I’ve read so my YA in recent years that my reading attention span has just shortened. I’ve been seeking out longer, more complicated novels to try to retrain my brain!
I feel like the Internet has shortened my attention span. It bothers me, but I’m not sure what to do about it. I listened to the audio version of The Night Circus, BTW. Normally I choose audio books in the suspense/crime fiction genres so they hold my attention. Let’s just say my mind tended to wander quite a bit when listening to The Night Circus!
See, I normally love suspense/crime fiction. This one just wasn’t for me.
SYTYCD is the biggest thing I miss about not having cable + a DVR. (We just watch TV or Hulu & Netflix now.) They make it so hard to watch online! Last year I didn’t watch at all, either, because it was such a pain. But I missed it. You’re right, it’s certainly the best reality show on TV. And now I’m seeing tweets about different routines and it’s *killing me* not to know what people are talking about!
Ohhhhhh man, that stinks! I did find videos of each routine in Fox.com – and a pretty straightforward and detailed recap on Hitfix.com. If that helps. (If you want to go to that much effort for a TV show…) :)
I loved the Night Circus. I thought it was so beautifully written. And she conveyed so much passion between the two characters before they even touched! But it is definitely not a straight forward novel.
I also really liked Witches.
I think what you said in a comment about reading YA a lot is right on–I don’t think those books are as challenging and re-entering adult fiction is an adjustment. I read the first Beautiful Creatures book and downloaded the second but haven’t read it yet because I got irritated at the juvenile characters! ;) Anyway, we are not all always going to like the same books–that’s why there are so many out there!
And I’ve never watched SYTYCD.
Night Circus was beautifully written, yes. It just wasn’t enough for me to love the book. I guess it’s not surprising, really. There are some writers and bloggers who I love personally but don’t love their writing because it’s so flowery and poetic. This is kind of the same thing.
Witches had a lot of good things going for it, and I’ve got the second book on reserve at the library. I’m just so weary of trilogies!
Good to know about Beautiful Creatures. I’ve thought about starting that series but wasn’t sure if I’d really like it.
obviously like your website however you have to check the spelling on several of your
posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to tell
the reality however I’ll surely come again again.