Arrrgh, mateys! Annalyn decided to dress up as Izzy from Jake and the Neverland Pirates this year, which meant – of course – that Adrienne would be a parrot. (Coincidentally, she did eat quite a few crackers on Friday, which led to many Polly the parrot jokes. Because we’re hilarious like that.)

Annalyn wanted me to dress as the Pirate Princess (or is it the Princess Pirate?) from the Disney Jr. show, but I opted to stick to generic pirate attire instead. Mark was supposed to stick a hook on his hand and a patch on his eye at the least, but he woke up with an allergy attack on Friday and missed the Halloween festivities.

Halloween 20141

Every year we go to my parents’ house for Halloween. Their neighborhood is nicer and safer than ours – plus they have the Great Pumpkin video to watch. We ate taco soup, made-from-scratch pumpkin pie with made-from-scratch whipped cream courtesy of my brother, trick or treated to a dozen houses (all we were up to in the cold!), and made s’mores while we watched Charlie Brown. All in all, a darned good Halloween!

Did you do anything fun for Halloween?

The rest of October was just as full as last Friday. A birthday, a conference, a road trip and more. And since I didn’t write a September What I’m Into post, I’ve got two months of stuff to share. Here goes…!

Reading October 2014

What I’m Reading

Too many books, not enough time: this will forever be my complaint. [Do you think maybe in heaven we’ll get to read all the books we missed during our lifetimes? Does anyone else wonder about this???]

I read a lot of books over the past two months – as usual. Here are the ones that stuck out:

  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor – YA fantasy, first in a trilogy, super creative. It was weird, honestly, but also captivating. I have the next book in the series on my Kindle right now.
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay – This is a book of letters, written from a young woman to her anonymous benefactor. Samantha, the main character is obsessed with her books – especially those by Jane Austen, a coping mechanism that’s helped her throughout a rough life. “Mr. Knightley” and his foundation give her a generous scholarship and the only stipulation is that she write him letters. Even though I saw the “twist” coming well before I read it (and don’t even love Jane Austen…gasp!), I still really enjoyed this book.
  • Can’t Let You Go by Jenny B. Jones – I recently realized I’d never finished the Katie Parker series, so I quickly amended that situation. And just in time, because this follow-up book came out this fall. It takes place a few years after the original series, so the book is more new adult than young adult. And it’s called a novella, but it felt just about as long as a normal novel. And, of course, it was great, continuing Jenny’s streak of writing books that I love. (I figure I can call her “Jenny” since sometimes she replies to my comments on Facebook. That’s how this works, right?)
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith – This was the second Cormoran Strike novel by J.K. Rowling using a pen name. Like the first one, it’s a gritty detective story. And when I say “gritty,” I mean that the crime was super gross. But the book itself was detailed, complex, occasionally funny and interesting from start to finish.
  • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – I was wrong. Okay? I was wrong when I said that I didn’t like the first book in this vampire and witch trilogy. It was history and time travel and fantasy and romance, all rolled up together in a trio of very long, very interesting books. This final book in the series was jam-packed with characters, almost to the point of being too complicated to follow. But once I managed to wrap my brain around who was who, I found this book a satisfying conclusion that wrapped things up nicely and answered most of my questions.
  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill – Yes, it’s YA. And yes, it’s time travel. But it’s also a story that raises some really interesting ethical questions. Specifically, if you found out that someone you love would change and do something terrible in the future, what would you do to stop it from happening? (Assuming, of course, that you have a time machine. Of course.) I’ll admit that the cover for this one is pretty lame, and it kept me from reading it right away. But once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down!
  • Power Play by Catherine Coulter – Same old, same old with the FBI agents in this long-running series. But I keep reading them because I love the characters and the mysteries are good enough to keep me turning the pages. Nothing complex here, but I enjoy each book just the same.
  • Expertus by Holly Lauren – When one of my friends announces on Facebook that one of her friends has written and published a science fiction-y YA novel, I do not pass go and I do not collect $200. I go straight to Amazon and buy it. And then I love it and wait impatiently for book two. Expertus is the second book in the GenEx Saga series. I realize the word saga might make it sound a little soapy, but it’s not. Well, not much. I mean, it is YA, but it’s also well-written with interesting characters and believable dialogue, not to mention secret organizations and people with super powers. Of course, the problem with devouring book two is that you have to wait around for book three…


And the books I have lined up, on my shelves, on my Kindle and at the library (must pick them up today!):

  • Firewall by Diann Mills
  • Deceived by Irene Hannon
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan – The last in this series, so I’ll probably put off reading this as long as I can stand it!
  • Time’s Edge by Rysa Walker – I’m re-reading the first book in this YA time travel series before I read this one, book two. There were enough twists and turns (and I read it very shortly after having Adrienne) that I knew I needed a refresher.
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – Everyone says this is great, so I got it during a Kindle sale.
  • Time and Again by Jack Finney
  • Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful by Laurie Wallin – I met Laurie at Allume and am excited to read her book!


What I’m Watching

The fall season is in full swing – and when you combine that with a busy month (or two), it means we are way behind on our Friday Night Lights viewing. Poor Mark disagrees with my viewing strategy and doesn’t understand the importance of clearing off our DVR first. Priorities, man!

Someone asked me at Allume what my favorite new show(s) of the season are, and I have plans to write a longer post on just that soon. But until then, I’ll say two things. First, I’m not overly impressed with this season in general. And second, my favorite new show is Forever. If you don’t like procedurals, you won’t like this one. But I do – and so I do. It’s also got a fantasy/sci-fi element to it, which never hurts in my opinion.


I also discovered, on the day I forgot to cancel my free trial of Netflix, that I could watch the entire series of Greek. If you’ve been around here for a while and remember everything I’ve ever said about TV shows (seriously?), you might recall that I started watching this ABC Family show a few years ago when I was using my treadmill. I checked out the DVDs from the library and only allowed myself to watch them while I was on the treadmill.

But then I stopped using the treadmill, so I stopped watching the show. It was only fair. But since my treadmill is in storage at the moment and I’d already accidentally committed to one more month of Netflix, I figured it would be okay to finish the series. And it was. (I also realized it was available On Demand and watched several episodes that way.) I’m not [too] embarrassed to admit that I teared up watching the finale – and to falling down a rabbit hole of Google searches when I swear I saw the Kappa Tau house used in a recent episode of Franklin & Bash. Google let me down, but I’m still about 95% sure that the two shows used the same house.

this is where i leave you

I also managed to get to the movie theater a few weeks ago. Smitty and I went to a theater connected to a restaurant. I mean, the restaurant was inside the theater. Well, in the same building. And it wasn’t the kind of restaurant that served you inside the theater, but you could get your food to go and eat it while watching the movie. Which we did. In the dark.

I don’t know, guys. And I know this has nothing to do with the movie itself, but the whole setup of this theater was so confusing that I’m still thinking about it!

ANYWAY. We saw This is Where I Leave You. I tend to believe anything with Tina Fey is going to be good. Same for Jason Bateman. And this movie did not disappoint. It’s the typical big, dysfunctional family gets together for long weekend/reunion/holiday movie, although in this case the catalytic event is the father’s funeral. So if you don’t like that sort of thing, you might not like this either. But I liked it a lot. Smitty and I both laughed and cried through the whole thing. The critics I read later say it’s lame and not nearly as good as the book (I didn’t realize it was based on a book!), but whatever. I liked it a lot.


What I’m Doing in Real Life

Despite the crazy long list of books and very busy DVR I have going on, my non-entertainment life has been full this fall. Annalyn has started piano lessons, we took a trip to visit our friends in Springfield, I raised a little bit of money for Children’s Miracle Network with the Miracle Marathon (THANK YOU to everyone who donated!), I flew to South Carolina for the Allume Conference, and I went to Des Moines for both work and visiting friends. We also celebrated my nephew’s birthday and Annalyn’s.

Oh, and I spoke at a couple MOPS meetings, which was super fun. AND Adrienne has started crawling. Well, almost. She’s rocking and scooting and inching backwards.

Whew! No wonder I’ve felt so tired!

One last thing for you. In case you missed the news, Daniel Radcliffe (aka, Harry Potter) can apparently rap. Like a boss:

[Click here if you can’t see the video.]

What were YOU into in October? (This post will be linked up with Leigh. Read more What I’m Into posts there!)

What should you watch next?


Every month, we are bombarded with new TV series and movies—and it can be overwhelming to figure out what to watch! (I know, I know, what a problem to have!) I'm here to help. My monthly Watch Guides list out all the returning series, new series, and new movies, along with premiere dates and where to watch them. Plus, I tell you my personal picks for the month to help you narrow it all down.

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