A couple weeks ago I shared a comic on Facebook with two women talking about how fast this spring has gone by. One said she couldn’t believe it was already April, and then the other one said, “Um…you know it’s May now, right?” That’s how I feel. It’s still March, right? Summer isn’t here yet and I still have time to do all those things I was going to do in March and April, right? RIGHT???
Oh. Okay. Well then. I guess I’ll just keep this train moving and skip to the kind of post I usually share at the end of the month: What I’m Into. Why not? Apparently time means nothing to me.
I started a What I’m Into post for April but time got away from me (see?), and I never published it. Mostly because I never finished it. So today I’m lumping April and most of May together, just as they are lumped together in my heart and mind-that-can’t-gauge-the-passage-of-time.
What I’m Reading
Over the last two months I have been pretty stressed out about selling our house and moving and all that jazz, plus it’s time for me to get to work on a couple new writing projects that have been bouncing around my head for months. So, obviously I avoided and procrastinated LIKE IT WAS MY JOB by reading a bunch of books.
[Side note: Why ISN’T it my job to read a bunch of books?!?]
Unsurprisingly, most of the books I read were YA (young adult) in genre, with a couple Christian romance novels thrown in the mix. I know that may not be your jam, but when it comes to reading to escape, those types of books rarely let me down. Here are some of my favorites:
- Winter by Marissa Meyer: I’d had this final installment to the Lunar Chronicles for quite a while but had put it off, partly because it was ridiculously long (800+ pages) and partly because it meant the end of this series. It still took me quite a while to push through it, but I enjoyed every page. Especially the ones with Thorne and Cress (the Rapunzel-ish couple). If you like fairy tale retellings or sentient robots, I highly recommend this whole series.
- Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White: I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. White’s novels don’t always get the greatest reviews and I’d let that scare me off from a couple other novels. But since the description for this one described it as Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare, I gave it a try. And I’m glad I did. It’s a historical novel set in a world like ours…but different, and something about the magic or the dialogue or the main characters has stuck with me. Or maybe it was just the birds. Birds are creepy. (But this book is good.)
- The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury: Speaking of books that have stuck with me – and fairy tale retellings, this is one of my favorite reads of the past several weeks. It’s the story of Aladdin, if the genie was a girl. I really enjoyed this book – and not just because it gave me an excuse to rewatch Disney’s Aladdin and recite my favorite lines from Robin Williams. Not JUST because of that, anyway.
- I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones: I adore everything Jenny B. Jones writes, so it’s no surprise that this is at the top of my spring reads list. Her books have realistic characters with believable, snappy dialogue, and though they’re often funny, they also tackle some serious issues. This one was no different. And I’d like to go on record to say that Riley, the main boy character, is absolutely my favorite book boyfriend.
- The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne: I found this book by browsing on GoodReads. I used to browse bookstores and libraries; now I just click and wander through reviews and recommendations on GoodReads. Anyone else? ANYWAY. This YA novel is more coming of age than romance, though there is a boy. And it’s about politics but, unlike much of the news these days, shouldn’t make your head explode. I actually thought that, aside from the family story and the relationship story, the way politics was presented was thoughtful and thought-provoking.
Also Read: I’ve seen so many readers mention Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead as some kind of gold standard for YA paranormal, so I finally read it. It wasn’t terrible, but I didn’t love it and don’t understand all the hype. I also read Talon and Rogue by Julie Kagawa, the first two books in a series about dragons. I’d had Talon on my to-read list for a while, simply because of its pretty cover. But while they were okay (and I have the next book on hold at the library), I didn’t love these books either.
In the contemporary or realistic (aka, not paranormal or fantasy or sci-fi) YA department, I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (eh.), several books by Jennifer E. Smith (a little bland, but not bad at all), Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman (cute, though nothing new), The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak (predictable but still enjoyable), The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt (so much potential…missed), and Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum (really, really good).
And lastly, I did read a few books about actual adults. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell was pretty good – and made me realize, along with Tell Me Three Things, just how much I enjoy epistolary novels. I might just have to write an entire post about that. I also read the latest books by two of my favorite Christian novelists: Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg and Her One and Only by Becky Wade. I loved them both so much. Look, I know Christian fiction has a reputation of being simple and cheesy and lame and preachy and unrealistic. Rightfully so, in many cases. But both of these authors tell realistic stories about flawed but likeable people, characters and communities that yes, lean toward the quirky and heartwarming, but never veer into cheesy territory.
One last note about reading. If you don’t already use Goodreads (which, why not? Books and lists! Is there anything better?!), but love reading without spending your entire budget on books, I’d sign up now. Goodreads now has a deals program where they notify you if books you have on your to-read list are on sale. HELLO?! This is brilliant.
What have you been reading this spring?
What I’m Watching
May is the most emotional month for a TV fan. We’ve got finales, renewals and cancellations, and the network upfronts (where they announce the fall schedule and release trailers for new shows). SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT FICTIONAL PEOPLE AND THEIR FICTIONAL LIVES!!!
Where to start? Well, we can start with finales because I’ve barely watched any so far. My DVR is extremely packed with episodes I need to watch before I can even skim the entertainment headlines that are surely screaming spoilers about all my shows. As of today, I believe the only finales I’ve watched are for the four sitcoms I kept up with this year: New Girl (loved the wedding finale more than the entire season put together), Brooklyn 99 (it was good but I’m getting a little bored with this one), Grandfathered (yes, I watched it all year, and I loved the finale until I found out it was the last one of the series, not just the season), and Grinder (brilliant, just like the rest of the season…OR WAS IT?). All my serious shows either have not concluded their seasons or are waiting for me on my DVR.
Oh! Except for Suits! I watched that season ender a while ago, and — just like the rest of the season — it was INTENSE in all the best ways. I really do love this show.
I’ll catch up with Once Upon a Time, Madam Secretary, Jane the Virgin, Arrow and Flash soon. And I’m being SUPER nice to my husband and waiting for the weekend to watch the final episode of Castle (thank goodness they cancelled it, although I thoroughly enjoyed it up until this season) and Michael Weatherley’s last episode of NCIS (I’m not sure how I’ll like the show without Very Special Agent Tony Dinozzo, but I’ll give it a chance. Still, I anticipate many embarrassing tears shed when I finally get to watch the finale.).
As for the new shows coming for this fall, I’ll save all that for another post. But I’m relieved to see only a few shows I want to add to my schedule so far.
What have you been watching lately?
What I’m Listening To
I don’t remember why I was gone all day when Justin Timberlake released his newest video, but I was. I mean, clearly someone should have sent me a memo or a meeting request or something so I had it on my calendar, but that did not happen. Luckily, a friend alerted me with a message that said, “Not really sure why, but you are the first person I thought of when I heard JT’s new song. Get yourself to YouTube if you haven’t heard it already.”
Now, I’ll admit I had to stop for a second (A SECOND, okay?) to think about whose initials are JT. But then I was just so intrigued. A song made her think of me? So much so that she sent me a message? WHAT COULD IT BE? What kind of song was it? Would I even like it? Does she know me?
Apparently she does. Because I love “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” and I was positively DELIGHTED to know that this song and video made someone think of me. So delighted that I have worked this fun song into our YouTube rotation for the girls’ nightly dance party. They love it, too. Obviously.
What I’m Doing in Real Life
The majority of the past two months (and then some) has been consumed by house stuff. We got an offer on our house the second day it was on the market, but despite a contract and a [fairly] good inspection and making an offer on a new house and packing up half our things, that fell apart a few weeks later. So it’s been a lot of weeks of frantic cleaning and leaving the house to drive aimlessly during showings, and a lot of up and down and uncertainty.
But that’s not all that happened this spring! We also took a short trip to Colorado, which is one of my very favorite places. The weather and the mountains were gorgeous, and the girls were reasonably well-behaved on the plane. We had dinner with two different families, and I started a sugar fast with my friend Kate. (For those of you who know me, NO, I have not done a good job with that, but I’m TRYING. Except that time I ate dessert on vacation just because I wanted to. SIGH.)
Coming up soon I have a Choose Joy book signing in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Sara’s friends and family [DETAILS HERE!], as well as a super fun (in)courage meetup in Springfield, Missouri [DETAILS HERE!]. If you happen to live near either of those place, I really hope you’ll come by and hang out!
Finally, I did a quick search for some of the funniest videos I’ve watched over the past couple of months. Maybe it’s because we just celebrated Mother’s Day, but I noticed a distinct pattern here:
So, there you have it: what I’ve been into. Now I want to hear what YOU’VE been into! I’m linking this post up to What I’m Into with Leigh Kramer — a great place to find fun, smart recommendations about what to read, watch, eat, listen to or do next!