Girls with shuttlecock

When I think back on the last three months, it’s really all a blur. We moved and I went to Africa and I attempted to keep working from home even though both kids were home. We made it to the pool a couple times, and went out of town for a wedding.

And that is where our summer went!

This was definitely not a year for a summer bucket list — and that’s okay. Mark, Annalyn and I have lamented our lack of road trips, which translates into a lack of time visiting our friends who live out of town. And I’m sure both girls were hoping for a whole lot more time in the pool. But some seasons are mostly about survival — and that’s where we’ve been. Some great, big things have happened and the rest of the time has been about getting ready and then recovering.

I’m grateful for this season, for so many reasons. But I’m awfully glad to be moving into a new season now. This is our second full week back to school, and my second full week working two part-time jobs from home on top of writing. We’re getting into a routine and settling into some new habits and generally enjoying the honeymoon phase of the new school year.

With all that said, you might think I haven’t had time to read or watch anything fun. And I guess you might be right. I haven’t had time, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing it anyway. As I’ve mentioned before, reading is my favorite way to escape [avoid, hide from, you get the picture] stress and chaos. So here’s some of what got me through this interesting season…!

What I'm Into - reading, summer 2016

What I’m Reading

I used to be an all-mystery, all-the-time reader. But lately the mysteries I pick up are few and far between, while I’m drawn to YA (young adult) novels and time travel stories over and over. So, especially during a season of more stress than usual, I’ve got a long list of those comfort food reads.

YA Novels

  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: My friend Amanda told me to read this one so long ago, but I didn’t believe her. I read the synopsis and it didn’t sound good, so I just didn’t read it. And then I finally did and, well, she was right! This paranormal-ish story about a small town and a boarding school, plus a girl and more than one boyfriend possibility, sounds familiar but it’s actually something totally unique. I’m anxiously awaiting the second book in this series right now.
  • The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: This is the second book in an series that was called the YA version of Scandal. And I love it — the premise, the characters, the dialogue, the mystery. I couldn’t read it fast enough — and then I was so sad when it was over.
  • Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein: This was a cute YA romance in the vein of Morgan Matson and Kasie West. Fun, quirky, and left me hoping this author writes more books soon.
  • The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay: Oh, you guys. YOU GUYS. This book was really good. Well worth the mentions it’s gotten on some of my favorite book blogs. Two high school students who have lived really hard lives connect. It’s a far cry from a meet cute, and the whole thing unrolls slowly (but in a good way). I loved it. You should read it.
  • Everything Morgan Matson has written: I’d heard good things about this author but hadn’t read her books for some reason. Then one of them was on sale, so I bought it. Forever later, I got around to reading it and whoa! I loved it! I started with Since You’ve Been Gone and immediately followed that with Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer, and The Unexpected Everything. If you like Kasie West, read Morgan Matson. Cute summer love stories with realistic characters and dialogue. Second Chance Summer had such a great storyline about a father and daughter that I tried to convince Mark to read it. (He didn’t. But he totally should.)

Time Travel Stories

  • A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain: Good, although almost more of a historical novel than a time travel one.
  • Clockwise by Elle Strauss: Meh. This YA time travel was the first of a series, but I didn’t love it.
  • Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins: This wasn’t exactly time travel. More like a wrinkle or rip in time? I’m not sure on the technical parts, but I really liked it. It was YA with a Gatsby feel and reminded me once again not to judge a book by its cover. (I didn’t like this book’s cover. If that wasn’t clear.)
  • The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry: Bah. I liked this book okay as I was reading it but the ending was terrible. And confusing. And terrible. So disappointing.
  • Passenger by Alexandra Bracken: Okay. This was a serious (YA) time travel story. Lots of places and centuries and time traveling sickness. It took me a little bit to get into it, but once I did I could barely put it down. It was fantastic, and I’m so glad it’s the beginning of a series. You should read this one.

Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading

I found a collection of book lists for people who love Veronica Mars. So I requested about a dozen of the books from the list — AND THEY ALL CAME IN AT ONCE. So I have a whole stack of novels waiting for me, but I also have a matching stack of non-fiction reads. Some of my favorite writers have new books out now (or soon), and I can’t wait to dive in (or re-read or finish reading).

What I'm Into - movies, summer 2016

What I’m Watching

I’ve been watching a whole lot of Gilmore Girls, and not much else, honestly. I have a few episodes of Suits on the DVR, but other than that I’m just killing time until the new season starts. (I mean, FINE, I may have started watching a Hallmark show called, Chesapeake Shores, tonight while I wrote this post. But who needs to talk about that?)

I did see four movies this summer.

  • Captain America: Civil War was panned by the critics, but I don’t even care. It was silly and overstuffed and a bit dreary. But I had a whole lot of fun watching it!
  • Secret Life of Pets was not as funny as I’d expected. The trailer was all the best parts, really. But the girls liked it.
  • They also liked Ice Age: Collision Course, which I took them to see one afternoon when I’d had ENOUGH of their fighting.
  • Last but not least, Mark and I went to see Jason Bourne as soon as it came out (and as soon as we could get a sitter). It also got less-than-stellar reviews, but again, I could not care less. Was it basically the exact same as the other movies? Yes. Is that why I went to see it? Yep, sure is.

I could go on about other stuff I’ve been into this summer, but I’ve run out of time and spent a whole lot of words doing it. I need to get back in the habit of writing these posts monthly so I can pace myself!

And anyway, that’s enough about me!

My favorite part of What I’m Into is hearing and reading about all the things YOU have been into. So, please, tell us in the comments what you’ve been reading, watching, listening to, cooking, eating, DOING all summer long! I really want to know.

I’m linking this post up with my friend Leigh Kramer. I love reading all the posts linked up each month to find more recommendations for books, movies and more!

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