December 5, 2016

October & November 2016: Recap + On My Shelves

I know I sound like a broken record, but where in the world did 2016 go? I had a wonderful fall packed with so many lovely moments and memories, but I still can't believe it's already the end of the year!

1. A Bookish Event - I already talked about the In the Company of Women tour in a post, but it was worth mentioning again. The panel of female entrepreneurs was so inspiring! Although I don't aspire to run my own business, I have so much respect for people who take that risk and live their dream. It's been nice to sit down at home, flip through the book and read interviews with a variety of creatives. 

2. A Wedding in the Family - My little brother got married in October, and it was such a lovely wedding! It was so fun to celebrate him and his bride, to see out-of-town family members, and to dance the night away with my husband and baby. My brother met his wife at my wedding five years ago, so they decided to get married at the same venue that I did. It definitely made their wedding a fun trip down memory lane!

3. Fall Family Fun - Nick took a Friday off work in October, and we went to a cool farm that's not too far from our house for a little fall fun. There was a corn maze, pumpkin patch, petting zoo and farmer's market! We had the best afternoon and took so many adorable photos of our sweet boy. I can't wait to go back when he's old enough to really participate in the activities! I have no doubt it will become a family tradition.

4. My Growing Baby - Our boy turned six months old in November, which is absolutely crazy to me. He's growing and changing so fast! The past two months brought a number a new milestones - sitting up, eating solid foods, babbling and CRAWLING. He's into everything these days, which is exciting and exhausting. Ha! But it's been incredible to see his little personality start to emerge and watch him make new discoveries every day.

Read 17 Books | Favorites:
Six of Crows + Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Disruption by Jessica Shirvington
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Honorable Mentions:
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you'll meet a boy
who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet.
And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won't matter
because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does.
Only that boy earns your heart.”
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

 “I would have come for you. And if I couldn't walk, I'd crawl to you,
and no matter how broken we were, we'd fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that's what we do. We never stop fighting.”
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

 “Letters tell the truths a person will not speak. They contain the deepest of feelings,
the wisest of stories. Letters are powerful. They contain messages of hope, love, change.”
Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

 “Unattended hurt, anger, and bitterness can destroy even the best marriage.
Lean honestly into every hard place, each tender spot,
because truthfulness hurts for a minute but silence is the kill shot.”
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

 “The way he said her name made my heart cramp.
In all my years of word collecting, I've learned this to be a tried and true fact:
I can very often tell how much a person loves another person by the way they say their name.
I think that's one of the best feelings in the world, when you know your name is safe
in another person's mouth. When you know they'll never shout it out like a cuss word,
but say it or whisper it like a once-upon-a-time.”
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

 “All books are judged by their covers until they are read.”
The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
I honestly didn't think I'd blogged about anything during the past two months, but I did manage two share two posts that I loved writing: A #BossBabes Book List (with a recap of a fun bookish event I attended in October) and So Obsessed With: The Fall 2016 Edition. There are a number of posts I'm hoping to write in December - it's one of my favorite blogging months because I love reflecting on the past before moving into a new year!
1. Low Reading Months by Lauren from Bookmark Lit - This post was particularly timely for me. I'm used to reading approximately 150+ books per year, and this year I've read around half that many. There are plenty of reasons for the decrease, but it's still so weird to see the sharp decline. So, I enjoyed Lauren's tips!

2. 7 Tips for Raising Kids Who Love to Read by Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy - Another month, another bookmarked post from Modern Mrs. Darcy. I just love the content on this blog, and I probably could have chosen a number of other posts to highlight. But this one was my favorite since I'm hoping to raise a reader.

3. On Reading Epiphanies and Getting Back to Bookish Roots by Laura from Scribbles & Wanderlust - I'll probably always have a soft spot for posts reflecting on how blogging has changed someone's reading habits and how react to that change. I'm excited to see if Laura is able to accomplish her purpose!

Favorite Album #1: Georgica Pond by Johnnyswim
I already talked about this album in a recent post, but I had it mention it again.
I love Abner and Amanda's voices and had this on repeat for weeks. The title track is my favorite!

Favorite Album #2: The Weight of These Wings by Miranda Lambert
I listened to a lot of country growing up - it's just not my go to music anymore.
But I love anything from Miranda Lambert, and I'm so glad her new album didn't disappoint.

Bad Moms (2016) starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn - I have a soft spot for Kristen Bell because of Veronica Mars, which made me interested in this movie when I first heard about it. But I knew I didn't want to go see it in theaters, so I waited until it came out in Redbox. I'm glad I did because I wasn't a fan. It just wasn't that funny to me. Several of the moms just came across as caricatures - in an eyeroll-y way.

Finding Dory (2016) starring Ellen DeGeneres - Finding Nemo is such a great movie, and I was looking forward to watching the sequel. The biggest question in my mind was whether or not it would live up to the original. And while I still love the first movie more, this was an enjoyable follow up. The story made me so sad, even with the humorous moments, because I kept imaginging how Dory's parents must feel. #sobs

Ghostbusters (2016) starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones - I was standing at Redbox, flipping through the new releases and spotted Ghostbusters. I wasn't really interested in it but thought Nick might be, so I rented it. Y'all, this was probably the biggest surprise of everything I watched! I really enjoyed this movie and laughed so hard. The casting was seriously perfect!

The Legend of Tarzan (2016) starring Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie and Christoph Waltz - This was another movie Nick and I wanted to watch but didn't get a chance to go see in theaters. But it worked out for the best because it's way more fun to watch movies at home in your jammies! Anyway, I had mixed feelings on this one. The animals/CGI were so unbelievable, but the story was interesting because I liked the casting.

Bridget Jones's Baby (2016) starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey - I went and saw this movie at the beginning of October - all by myself. If you have kids, you probably know just how much of a treat that is. Haha! I love my baby, but I now have a much deeper appreciation for things like solo trips to the movies. That being said - I wasn't a huge fan of the movie. Bridget's antics just wore on me by the end.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol - I adored this movie! To be honest, I was a little surprised by just how much I loved it. I'd heard a lot about it and was excited to see it - but it was even better than I could have imagined. Eddie Redmayne solifided his place as my favorite. *swoon* Now I can't wait to see the next installments! 

Moana (2016) starring Auli'i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson - Nick and I both enjoy Disney/Pixar movies, so we were excited to go see this movie together. The animation was incredible, and I was a big fan of the music. I can't get the song "How Far I'll Go" out of my head - it's just so memorable! I enjoyed the humor and was a big fan of the agency that the story gave Moana, although it wasn't my favorite movie overall. 

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2016) starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel - I had such high hopes for this revival, and I ended up really disappointed overall. Everything just seemed awkward, I guess. I hated some of the characters' decisions, wasn't crazy about the open ending and wanted to fast forward through multiple scenes. Oof. (That being said, there were definitely a few moments that I loved!)

Poldark: The Second Season (2016) starring Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson - Oh dang, where do I even begin?! I intended to watch the second season week to week but ended up waiting a bit, which was perfec because I got to binge most of the episodes quickly! I wanted to murder Ross (he does NOT deserve Demelza), but it made for great discussion with Kelly. And now I can't wait for the next season!

Bookish Event: In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney (in What I Loved)

Bookstore Browsing & Bargains: Molly on the Range by Molly Yeh, Heartless by Marissa Meyer, She Reads Truth by Rachael Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, Greenglass House by Kate Milford and When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad

Pre-Order Purchases: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines, Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham and This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

The Movie Made Me Obsessed: The Case of Beasts by Mark Salisbury and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Book Outlet Breakdown (Middle Grade): Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks, Summer of Lost and Found by Rebecca Behrens, The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Kat, IncorrigibleRenegade Magic and Stolen Magic by Stephanie Burgis, All Four Stars and The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman, The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Frederick Vogel, Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica George, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu, The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila Howland, Nooks and Crannies by Jessica Lawson, Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell, When You Reach Me and Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Steveson and The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood 

Book Outlet Breakdown (Young Adult): Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson and Spoiled and Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Book Outlet Breakdown (Adult): Re Jane by Patricia Park, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley and The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet by Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley

From My Mama: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore, Parenting by Paul David Tripp, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst and None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

For Review: Life in Balance by Donna Hay, The Flavour Principle by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol, We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk, Who's That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane and Disruption by Jessica Shirvington

From the Author: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Kindle Deals: Ross Poldark by Winston Graham, Frederica by Georgette Heyer, The Cecilia and Kate Novels by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer and The Falconer and The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May

Netgalley/Edelweiss for Review: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, Maud by Melanie Fishbane and The Capsule Wardrobe by Wendy Mak

Discounted Audios: In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and Anne of Green Gables by Rachel McAdams

October 31, 2016

So Obsessed With: The Fall 2016 Edition

Some of my favorite posts are ones where bloggers highlight the products they're loving lately or the things they're currently coveting. Posts like that always put new products on my radar and give me great ideas for gifts. I love this kind of content so much that I decided to start incorporating it into my blog by highlighting my loves and lusts and each season. Rather than give it a creative name, I thought my blog name was more fitting. So, here's what I'm so obsessed with this fall:

1. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Sheer in Morning After ($17) - I kept seeing advertising at Ulta for Urban Decay's 120 new lipstick shades, so I made it a point to check them out in the store one day. While the selection was really picked over, I did end up purchasing this shade. It's a pretty pale pink, and I couldn't resist.

2. Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Face Wash ($24) - I usually just stick to drugstore brands of face wash, unless I'm trying to deal with a breakout, but every now and then I'll splurge on Purity. It's one of my favorites! I love that it can remove all my makeup but is gentle enough that my eyes never sting.

3. Butter London Nail Lacquer in Sloane Ranger ($15) - When I saw this color in the bottle, I wasn't too impressed. It seemed just okay to me. But then I looked at swatches of it on a few nail polish blogs and fell in love! Thank you, Google Image Search, for convincing me to spend way too much money on Butter London. 

4. Butter London Glazen Eye Gloss in Frosted ($24) - Before this came out, I saw it on Butter London's Instagram and was so intrigued. The consistency is similar to pudding, but it looks like dry eyeshadow once it's applied. I sampled it at Ulta and love it! I'm hoping to snag it if Butter London has a Cyber Monday sale. 

5. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo ($14.50) & Conditioner ($16.50) - Is there a difference between cheap and expensive shampoo? Probably not, but I always get sucked into buying a fancy brand. I usually change brands every time I run out, but I've stuck with this one recently.

6. Trouve Drape Front Leather Jacket in Brown Saddle ($329) - I stalked the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in July and fell in love with this jacket. It was half this price, but I still debated ordering it. It sold out before I'd decided, so I called Customer Service and they tracked one down for me. IT WAS WORTH IT BECAUSE IT IS PERFECT.

7. Hush Puppies Cyra Catelyn Chukka Boot ($98.95) - Ugh, I hate buying shoes. My feet are long and narrow, so I can have a hard time finding shoes I love that fit correctly. Thankfully, these were the perfect fit! I've wanted this style for a while, and I'm so happy it's finally cool enough outside for me to wear them.

8. Madewell Leather Transport Satchel in True Black ($188) - I got this purse for my birthday, and I absolutely adore it! I love the combination of black and brown + the size is perfect. Although I'm carrying a diaper bag more often these days, this is still my go to purse when I'm out and about by myself.

9. Kendra Scott Tessa Stud Earrings in Raw Cut Lapis ($60) - These are technically sold out (sorry!), but I still had to include them. I bought these gorgeous lapis studs at a small boutique while I was on vacation, and they're my favorite earrings lately. I love that they make a statement while still being small/practical!

10. All Four Stars by Tara Dairman and Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier - I've been in a major Middle Grade mood lately, and All Four Stars is high on my TBR. It sounds adorable! And fall puts me in the mood for fantasy, so I recently binged the Blackthorn and Grim series (Den of Wolves is the last book) and thoroughly enjoyed it!

11. Starbucks Iced Vanilla Soy Latte - Although I've never been a huge coffee drinker, I've become obsessed with iced lattes lately. They're just so delicious! I downloaded the Starbucks app and created a Rewards account - that's how committed I've been. Cassie is pleased she helped create a coffee monster.

12. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life - OH MY GOSH, I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER 25. SERIOUSLY, CAN IT GET HERE SOONER?! I hope you've seen the new trailer that came out last week. I've already watched it four times, and it looks beyond perfect! I love these ladies, and it's a dream come true for this show to be back.

13. Georgica Pond from Johnnyswim ($11.99) and Inheritance from Audrey Assad ($7.99) - Johnnyswim is a fantastic duo, and this album doesn't disappoint! I've had it on repeat lately. I found Audrey Assad's Inheritance when I was searching versions of "Be Thou My Vision" on Spotify. This album of hymns is so gorgeous!

14. Outlander: Season 2 ($29.99) - So excited this is finally out on Blu-Ray/DVD! I don't have Starz and couldn't justify getting it just to watch this show, so I've been looking forward to this release for quite a while. Dragonfly in Amber wasn't my favorite book, but I can't wait to see it come to life on screen. 

October 17, 2016

A #BossBabes Book List + Giveaway!

Although I'd heard of Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge, and own Design*Sponge at Home, I found out about her most recent book on Instagram a few months ago. In the Company of Women is a collection of advice and inspiration from more than 100 female makers, artists and entrepreneurs. Grace is passionate about the creative community and writes in the introduction:
Activist Marian Wright Edelman said, "You can't be what you don't see." Visibility is one of the most powerful tools we have in inspiring people to pursue their dreams and educating them about all the amazing options that exist. My goal with In the Company of Women is to provide motivating and relatable examples of all kinds of women running their own businesses, so that any woman, anywhere, can open to a page and see herself reflected. 
And honestly, I think she's accomplished her goal! She interviewed so many talented women who run their own businesses and has compiled their stories, their successes and struggles, their dreams and goals, and their advice and inspiration in this book. I can't say enough good things about the combination of gorgeous photography and compelling profiles! I'm not an entrepreneur, but I've still found so much to love in these pages. I'm still going through my copy - the format makes it perfect to read a little bit each day.

Before the book came out, I found information about the book tour. I was so excited to learn there was a stop in Atlanta, and I immediately texted one of my friends about going with me. She's an artist, and I knew she'd be interested in learning more about turning a passion into a business! I bought a ticket to the event, which included a copy of the book and a cool tote, and was able to attend last week. I'm so glad I went!

Grace Bonney led the discussion with three inspiring women:
It was a fascinating event! The women talked about what they wanted to be growing up, how they ended up where they are now, dealing with criticism, the lie about work/life balance, the problems with comparison, the challenges (and rewards!) of being a boss, and so much more. If the book tour is coming to your area, I'd highly recommend going. Grace was the perfect panel moderator - giving the discussion structure while still making it feel like a conversation. And I love that each tour stop features a different group of entrepreneurs!

I'd been thinking about recapping the event, but finding out that today is National Boss's Day was the perfect motivation to create this post. I also got a really fun coloring and activity book in the mail last week - Boss Babes by Michelle Volansky - and have an extra copy to give away! So, both of those things inspired me to create a list of books about boss babes from history, profiling boss babes today, and sharing how to become a boss babe.

Explore the books featured on the list (left to right by row):

3. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

9. Do It Like a Woman... and Change the World by Caroline Criado-Pérez

11. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
12. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

What's your favorite #bossbabes book?
Who is your favorite boss babe?

And don't forget to enter to win a copy of Boss Babes!
* Giveaway is U.S. only. *

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 10, 2016

September 2016: Recap + On My Shelves

So long, September! I'm a week late with this recap, but I still wanted to post it because September was a pretty good month for me. I'm hoping October will bring fun adventures along with the changing temperature!

1. Empire of Storms - Of course, I have to start with the release of my most anticipated 2016 book! I couldn't wait to get my hands on Empire of Storms, and it certainly didn't disappoint. I raced through in two days - desperate to see what danger awaited these characters! I had a major book hangover after I was done.

2. Welcome, Fall! - Although it's still hot here in Georgia, I'm so happy that it's finally fall! I usually have a harder time saying goodbye to summer, but this year was a little different so I'm glad to put the season behind me. We've been taking family walks every evening after dinner before the baby goes to bed, and it's my favorite.

3. Meal Planning - Now that I'm staying at home, I decided it was time to step up my cooking game. I want fewer last-minute dinners and less take out and more healthy, fresh, homemade meals. So, I found a great resource that's been helping me make plan meals, eat fresh and save money. I'll post more about it soon!

4. Starbucks Addiction - I cut out caffeine from my diet this year, but I treated myself to some Starbucks recently after a doctor's appointment. I've never loved coffee, but somehow it just hit the spot. And now I want it ALL THE TIME! It's becoming a problem, y'all, because I can't afford to have this as a long-term addiction.

Read 6 Books | Favorites:
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

“Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will always love you.”
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

“Yeah, but broken isn't the same as unfixable.”
Winter by Marissa Meyer

 “One should never save cake for later when it can be eaten now.”
Winter by Marissa Meyer

“I thought my magic would save us all. But it turns out, all the magic in the world is rubbish
compared to good people who take care of their own.”
Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
1. What Being a Blogger Says About You by Cassie from The Casserole - I really enjoyed reading Cassie's discussion post on five qualities that most bloggers have in common! While every blogger is different (and blogs for different reasons), I think there's a lot of truth to the idea that there are some commonalities between us.

2. 15 Audiobooks That Enhance Your Reading Experience by Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy - I go through phases with audiobooks - obsessively listening for days/weeks and then ignoring them for just as long - but I'm always on the lookout for recommendations. Some audios truly do make the reading experience even better! 

3. Why I Love Hate to Love (And a Teeny Rant on Instalove) by Gillian from Writer of Wrongs - I love this post so much that I wish I'd written it myself. Gillian perfectly articulated what I love about this particular trope and referenced so many of my favorite fictional relationships. Plus, her gifs are legitimately perfect.

Favorite Album: Conscious by Broods
I didn't realize this album came out in June, so I was thrilled when I discovered it on Spotify.
So, it became the soundtrack to my September! My favorite song is probably "Heartlines."

Scandal, Season 5 - I binged the first four seasons of this show right after my baby was born, so I was excited when I realized the most recent season had been added to Netflix. To be honest, I feel like the show has really lost its way and gotten more ridiculous with every season. And yet I kept watching!

The Mindy Project, Season 4 - I finally caught up with this show. I'd made it about halfway through originally, and then I just never made time for it. But I started thinking about it after working on my TV show post in September, and I'm glad I finally got around to it! Now Cassie can stop pestering me about it... Ha!

New Girl, Season 5 - I was addicted to New Girl for the first three seasons, but I eventually stopped tuning in when I felt like I had too many shows going on. I watched the fourth season over the summer, and I was so excited when I got the notification that this season was added to Netflix. Now I can tune in again every week!

Bought: Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman, The Girl in the Castle by Santa Montefiore, Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (in What I Loved section)

From My Mama: All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth

For Review: We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk

Bought for Kindle: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

For Review: Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander and Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier

September 29, 2016

Danger & Deception On Every Page

Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Release Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Macmillan; Swoon Reads
Pages: 368 pages
Source & Format: Publisher; ARC
Add on Goodreads

Brief Thoughts on Love, Lies and Spies
I hadn't heard much about this book when I requested it from the publisher, but the summary sounded right up my alley and the cover was eye catching. All great reasons to read a book, right? Love, Lies and Spies is set during the nineteenth century. The heroine, Juliana Telford, is more interested in researching bugs than getting married. But her father sends her to London for a season, so she hatches a plan to secretly publish their research... and refuse to become attached to anyone. That's when she meets Spencer Northam, a spy for the War Office. Like Juliana, he's more interested in his work than in marriage, so the two agree to pretend to fall for each other. What could go wrong? While the premise appealed to me, I think the most I could say about this book is - it was cute. I found the story really boring overall, which was disappointing. There wasn't enough spying or action! There was some deception and miscommunication, but not in a fun espionage way. It definitely focused on the romance, but that fell very flat for me. I wasn't invested in Juliana and Spencer - together or individually - because their relationship seemed predictable and rushed. Sadly, this just didn't live up to my expectations.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows

Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins; HarperTeen
Pages: 491 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover
Add on Goodreads

Brief Thoughts on My Lady Jane
My Lady Jane is unlike anything I've ever read before. It's the story of Lady Jane Grey - the sixteen-year-old girl who got roped into a scheme to put her on the throne as the Queen of England. Her dying cousin, King Edward, planned to name her as his successor to prevent his sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, from ruling. Jane had marry Lord Guildford Dudley to secure her position, but it wasn't long before everything unraveled. That's a quick version of history. My Lady Jane, however, imagines that there is much more to the story. It takes a lot of liberties with history as it blends comedy, fantasy, and romance. The summary on Goodreads compares it to The Princess Bride, which seems fitting. But it also should have been my first clue that this book wasn't for me because I hate that movie (I'm sorry, I'm sorry). My Lady Jane is playful, imaginative, and quirky. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and it asks you to forget what you know about history and lose yourself in this alternate version of it. But y'all, I didn't find it funny! It was just a little too silly for me. But so many readers have loved this book, so don't take my word for it.

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Penguin; Viking BFYR
Pages: 482 pages
Source & Format: Borrowed; Hardcover
Series: Lady Helen #1
Add on Goodreads

Brief Thoughts on The Dark Days Club
The Dark Days Club caught my eye one day while I was scrolling on Instagram. Someone posted a photo of a finished copy, and I immediately wanted to read it. The cover and endpapers looked so fantastic in real life! I managed to find a copy at the library a few days later, and settled in with this Regency adventure about Lady Helen Wrexhall, a young woman who discovers a dark side to London when she learns that it's infiltrated by demons. I haven't read a lot of historical fantasy/paranormal, but I was definitely intrigued by the story. I have to praise the author for the sheer amount of research that must have gone into this novel. It was evident that she wanted to accurately portray the time period, and I certainly appreciated it. However, I think the level of detail may have contributed to my issues with the pacing. The book felt overly long at times, and it took forever for anything to happen. I occasionally found myself skimming passages. And honestly, I just didn't enjoy the paranormal aspect of this book. The stuff about the demons - how they hide, how they feed and how they're killed - did not interest me one bit. 

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer

Release Date: June 2002
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; HMH BFYR
Length: 7 hr and 26 min
Source & Format: Bought; Audiobook
Series: Bloody Jack #1
Add on Goodreads

Brief Thoughts on Bloody Jack
A few months ago, I was trying to figure out how I wanted to use some Audible credits that I had saved up. I was researching audiobook and narrator recommendations, and I kept coming across mentions of the Bloody Jack series and narrator Katherine Kellgren. The summary intrigued me and I loved the sample I listened to, so I took the plunge! In eighteenth-century London, Jacky Faber is finally able to leave behind a life on the streets to become a ship's boy aboard the HMS Dolphin. But there's a problem... Jacky is a girl. Will she be able to keep her secret from the rest of the crew? I won't give away the answer to that question, but I will tell you that this was such a delightful read! The narrator was absolutely fantastic, and listening to the book definitely enhanced my reading experience. The dialect made sense and the characters came to life with Kellgren's performance! As for the story itself, it was filled with adventure and intrigue. Jacky was a plucky heroine that I couldn't help but root for, and the secondary characters were quite memorable, too. And now I'm so excited to see what happens in the next book!
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