Holy moly I can’t believe that September is almost over! I figured I better talk about my August reads before it’s too late. I had a surprisingly great reading month. I read 10 books in August. 4 of those were novellas and 5 were eARCs either from NetGalley or Book Sirens. Let’s start with my lowest rated book which was an ARC from Book Sirens called The Fabulous Miss Fortune by Jessica Gleason. This is about a timid woman who is determined to become a popular attraction at the circus being a fortune teller. She decides to take her fortunes and predictions in her own hands and well, things get murderous. I just don’t love really sexually explicit books and thats on me it’s not that it wasn't needed in the book but it’s just not something I enjoy reading. The story wasn’t bad I just didn’t connect with it. 2 stars. Next up is A Flicker In The Dark by Stacy Willingham. This is about Chloe and when she was 12 girls started going missing in her town. Eventually her dad confessed to the crimes and went to prison. Now 20 years later Chloe is a psychologist who is planning her wedding. She’s finally starting to feel like she’s able to put the past behind her but then a girl goes missing in her town and then another. Is she being paranoid seeing parallels from the past? I enjoyed this, I didn’t love it. There were a few twists, one or two I figured out but not all of them. I didn’t love the main character, she just kind of bothered me. I do think it’s worth the read. 3.5 stars. Next up is Out There Screaming: An Anthology Of New Black Horror. This was an ARC from NetGalley. Jordan Peele was an editor on this and I was so hyped for it! Unfortunately this didn’t really work for me. I was so hyped for some great horror, some seriously spooky folklore and I was left unsatisfied. There were a few really great stories. It started out strong but I found so many of them to be too cryptic and confusing or just overall bad and not at all scary. Definitely check it out because everyone has different likes and dislikes but this was mediocre for me. 3-3.5 stars. Next up we have The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson. This is a novella I received from NetGalley. I really enjoyed this. It had great gothic Christmas vibes. I don’t want to give anything away but it was a fun twisty book about two college girls and the one girl invites the other to her manor for Christmas break. Strange things start to happen and I’ll leave it at that. I really enjoyed the writing style of this. A lot of it is written in diary form. 4 stars. Next up is The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa. What a sweet, charming book. I ended up enjoying this way more than I thought I would. This felt like a love letter to books and reading. This is about Rintaro who is grieving the loss of his guardian and best friend, his grandfather. He is a recluse who is doesn’t seem to care about anything since the loss of his grandfather. One day a cat shows up and tells him he needs a book lovers help to save books. I’ll leave it at that but I highly recommend for a quick uplifting read. Next we have Silent Key by Laurel Hightower. Another ARC from NetGalley. I don’t really know how to describe this book. The cover makes you think this all takes place underwater or something and it does not. Water is a big theme but I do think the cover is a bit misleading. This is a horror/thriller but also low key a romance which I actually enjoyed! It’s also a mystery/paranormal story that I do think went on a little too long and got a bit confusing but I really loved the hauntings and characters. The writing was great and I need to read her backlist. 4.5 stars. Next up is Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This is a series which I believe will have 7 books in it. It is scifi, dystopian, magical realism. It’s very Hunger Games-esque but on Mars and also Greek mythology thrown in. The writing is fantastic and I liked the world building going on. I’m still not sure if this genre or series is for me but I will at least read the second one and go from there. I would recommend it. 4.5 stars. Now for my 5 star books! First is The Only Safe Place Left Is The Dark by Warren Wagner. This wan an ARC from Book Sirens and its a novella. I absolutely loved this book! Finally a new take on a zombie apocalypse. Not just a new take but an interesting, heartbreaking take. Even the zombies themselves were a fresh take and they will break your heart! The parallels between the apocalypse and the HIV/AIDS epidemic was really clever and made for such a wonderful story. This will scare you and break your heart! 5 stars! Next up is The Quiet Tenant by Clémence Michallon. This is very dark, disturbing book about a serial killer, his 13 year old daughter and the woman he has spared. I absolutely loved the writing in this book. The chapters were quick but impactful. They read almost like a stream of consciousness which really made sense because the mind would be altered being held captive for so many years. This was a pulse-pounding psychological thriller and I highly recommend! 5 stars! Last but certainly not least we have Razorblade Tears by S.A Cosby. Wow what an amazing book! This is a hard read. It deals with a lot of tough subjects such as homophobia, racism etc. There are some really gruesome, graphic scenes as well. This is the story of a white father, a black father and their two murdered sons. The fathers are on a quest for vengeance after their sons are murdered. These two have nothing in common aside from being ex convicts and both being ashamed of their gay sons. This was hard hitting, heartbreaking and tackled so many important conversations. The writing was fantastic. I highly recommend this, it was one of my favorite reads this year. 5 stars! There you go! That is everything I read last month. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought. I hope you check some of these out and enjoy! Happy Reading!
Monday, September 4, 2023
Hey! I figured it was time for a bit of a weight loss update. I guess in this case a weight gain update. Although I am down weight since the beginning of the year for sure. It has just been so much harder to lose weight since going through menopause and dealing with all that comes with it. Weight just seems to cling on for dear life now. Ive lost about 3 pounds in the last 3 months, which I know is not great but I can tell that I am losing inches and getting stronger which makes me so happy!! I am able to fit into a few things I wasn’t able to a couple of months ago. Something that I have been trying to work on even more than just weight-loss is my relationship with food. I have had overeating/binging tendencies in the past and I have really been trying to work on that. Please note that I have not ever been diagnosed with any kind of disordered eating this is me expressing what kind of issues I have. I knew if I started restricting things I would fail. I knew that would put me into a bad head space. So, I have been letting myself eat whatever I want, within reason. I’m eating what I want but I’m eating normal amounts. I really feel like this has been helping me a lot and I do feel like my relationship with food is improving. I have also been documenting everything I eat over on the Lemon8 app. Everyday I post what I ate and if I got any movement in that day and how I felt. Honestly, I love it over there and it has been keeping me accountable. I know “what I eat in a day” type videos or posts can get a bad wrap but I don’t feel like I am promoting anything bad or dangerous and at the end of the day it’s just for fun and ultimately just for me. I have been doing Caroline Girvan’s Iron Series again for the 3rd? time. It is my favorite series of hers and she is coming out with another Iron Series next month! I can not wait! Also, I recently got my bike working again and I can not even tell you how much I’ve been loving it. I wish I would’ve been riding bike all Summer! It has really got me excited to move my body and it’s so freeing as silly as it sounds. Working out should not be a punishment. It should be something that makes you feel good and something you don’t dread. There will come a time where I will probably get more serious about my nutrition but for now working on my relationship with food is key and I’m really proud of where I’m at now. I will probably take my measurements soon-ish because I am curious if those have changed at all. I will add a picture of me from June and one from yesterday (August 22nd) I know it is kind of hard to tell but I do feel like my stomach has gotten less poofy and I do think I’m dropping some inches. I’m just going to keep on truckin on my health safari and take it day by day. Any tips or anything you want to share about your personal safari I would love to hear it. I call it a safari because I hate the word “journey” it is so cringe to me.Thanks for following along and I hope the next time I have an update I will be down more pounds and at an ever better place with food 😊
Monday, August 28, 2023
I love thrifting! We love being environmentally friendly! I love the thrill of not knowing what you’re going to find. It’s basically the only way I buy books now. I like to support my library used book sales and used bookstores/thrift stores. You would not believe the books I have found while thrifting. Brand new new releases, classics and everything in between. I’m trying to acquire all of the classics and have a really great start. I also would love to find all of Stephen King’s books and I have a good collection started there too. Something else that I’ve been enjoying looking for are paintings/art. I’m trying to go for a more rustic, cottage type look in my home and the thrift t store is a great place to look for decor. I know thrifting and flea markets are all the rage now and for a good reason. Don’t be afraid of picking up pieces that are a little worn or need a little love. Especially if they are inexpensive and well made. Good quality pieces are worth a little extra effort. Also, not to be woo woo here but I totally believe in manifesting what you’re looking for. I can not tell you how many times I’ve thought of a book I wanted to find or a piece of decor and that same day I will find exactly what I wanted! No joke! It works! Remember your thrift stores when its time to decorate for the holidays. They always have a fun selection of holiday decor and its a budget friendly way to decorate for the holidays. You can find so many good deals but make sure to watch out for overpriced items. Just because you found something you are looking for doesn’t mean anything if its crazy overpriced. Know what something is worth and how much it’s worth to you. What are your favorite things to thrift? Are you anti-thrift store? How come? I’ll share a few pictures of some hauls from this Summer.
Monday, August 14, 2023
I started gardening last year after watching a few YouTubers, mainly Gary Pilarchik and Becky from Acre Homestead. It turned into something that I am very passionate about and love doing. I love seeing something I grew from a tiny seed into something I can then eat and feed to my family. Last year we had 3 raised beds and some flowers and herbs in pots. This year we decided to try two in ground beds along with our 3 raised beds. Not everything in those in ground beds have been a huge success but I’m still learning and we weren’t sure how soil would do. So of course I did start some things from seed indoors weeks before we were able to get stuff in the ground. I think I started the last week in March. What I start indoors are tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, kale, and some herbs and flowers. My flowers did horrible this year unfortunately, along with a lot of my herbs. 3 things that did do well were my Coleus, Celosia and lemon balm. Oh my goodness plant some lemon balm just for the smell! I will be planting way more of those next year. Lettuce does not need to be started indoors necessarily but I like to give them a head start and stagger the planting so that we have lettuce all summer long. So, in our 3 raised beds we have peppers, lettuce, kale, and onion in one bed. I also have a small container just of onions. Next bed has snap peas, carrots and green beans which I think are garden staples and very easy to grow. The last raised bed is all tomatoes. I planted Roma, San Marzano, cherry, Wisconsin 55 and I think a couple others. We will have plenty of tomatoes! In one of the in ground beds I have more peppers, summer squash, cucumbers and pumpkins. I tried planting strawberry plants but I don’t think they did anything. The other in ground bed has corn (major fail) cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini and more pumpkins. I absolutely love growing pumpkins and squash. The plants get so big and beautiful with their bright flowers. Just make sure they are able to grow and trellis/cascade where they need to. I recommend putting them on the edges of wherever you plan on planting them. There is nothing better than going out tot the gardens and seeing that something has grown. We would love to expand the garden in the backyard and basically make our whole backyard a garden. I’m also hoping to plant some garlic this Fall. I’ve never done that before so we’ll see how it goes. Things I would do different next year. No corn or get it in the ground way earlier. Way more flowers!! I miss having so many pretty flowers all over. Way more peas and beans. Like at least double. Maybe no kale although I’ve been giving a lot to my sister for her bearded dragon Gordon. Way more onions. I am having way more success with onions this year and I’ve loved having the scallions. They are so good! I honestly feel like I could double everything. I know that my soil probably needs some work too. I’m always learning and experimenting so that the next year can be bigger and better. Hopefully I will be able to do some preserving and canning this year. Our apple tree is also producing like crazy so I see more apple pies in my future. How are your gardens doing? What has been your favorite thing that you’ve grown this year? What are you doing differently next year if anything? I’ll include a few pics of the season and hopefully it continues to give us lots of goodies! Happy gardening :)
Monday, August 7, 2023
Somehow we are more than halfway done with this year and I have managed to read a little over 50 books. There have been some flops but there have also been some major hits. I’m going to give a few of my favorites in different categories just got make it easier. I have to save the best for last so let’s start with just general fiction. I’ve read a couple of really great historical fiction/general fiction books but by far my favorite is Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau. I just finished this last week an absolutely loved it! It is a coming of age story but so much more. Mary Jane is 14 years old, very shy and quiet. Her parents are very by the book and they keep her on a tight leash for lack of a better word. Mary Jane decides to take a nanny position for a sweet girl in her neighborhood. She soon learns that not every parent parents the way that hers do. The Cone family is much more boisterous and free spirited. There is lots of yelling and chaos going on but there is also a lot of love. Throw in a rockstar who is also staying with the family for the Summer to help with a drug addiction, and his famous wife and you have a very interesting book. I cannot emphasize enough how much I loved the characters and the relationships in this book. I laughed, I cried, I didn’t want it to end. It was so beautiful. Please check it out.
Ok next is Sci-Fi and I have a couple but 1 that takes the top. I’m not sure if you would call this sci-fi or horror or both but I’m adding it here. The Deep by Nick Cutter. I don’t even know how to explain this except that it takes place deep in the ocean and it’s freakin terrifying! I think you should go in knowing nothing and enjoy the ride. The ending could’ve been better. Next is Kindred by Octavia E. Butler which I would definitely say is sci-fi because it involves time travel. Even though this book was written what 40 some years ago, it felt so current. Not outdated at all. A black woman finds herself being taken back in time to the Antebellum South. She finds herself in a very dangerous position but ends up saving a white boy and that ultimately saves her. She gets transported back to the present but it doesn’t last long before she’s back in the past. Every time she get transported back its for longer and longer periods of time. She is a subjected to being a slave and endures absolute horrors. It’s a terrifying look into racism and slavery and a must read! My number one sci-fi read has to be Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Wow this book got me out of a huge reading slump and brought me back to life. It was fast paced and exciting and really kept you guessing. Our main character wakes up to find that this life is not his life. His wife is not his wife and his son was never born.This is a mind bending, time bending book and it will leave you on the edge of your seat!
Fantasy/Cozy Fantasy is next and I have 2. First is Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. Yes the hype is real. This is not at all my genre but I had to see what the hype was about and I am so glad I did. This is about Viv who is an orc. She is tired of battling and fighting and she wants to settle down and open her own coffee shop. It might sound kind of dull but it is charming and you will fall in love with the characters. Next is The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. This started out a little rough for me. It was a little slow and I was nervous I wasn’t vibing with the writing but I stuck with it and ended up loving it. This is essentially about a social worker who works with magical children. It is beautiful and heartbreaking and has such a wonderful message. Yes I cried.
Ok romance is next. I think I’ve read like 2 romances lol. They just aren’t my favorite. But, I read The Happy Ever After Playlist but Abby Jimmenz. This is book two in a series but I don’t see any reason they cant’t be read as stand-alones. It did have my least favorite trope in it which I won’t say because it could be a spoiler but dang it if I didn’t end up loving the characters. If you enjoy books about musicians and trying to move on after a spouse death then give this a try.
Next up is mystery/thriller/suspense. I actually have a few but I will keep it short. The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz. What a fun, ridiculous book! Keep an open mind with this one and enjoy the ride. A writing retreat with an eccentric author turns into a competition that is a little more than they bargained for. Another crazy but fun book is the newest by my guy Riley Sager. The Only One Left is a modern day (set in the 80’s) Lizzie Borden. There are so many twists your head will spin! I’m serious. It is so ridiculous and fun. I loved it. Next is the second book in the Finlay Donovan series. Gosh I loved this on. I think I loved it more than the first even. Finlay gives me so much anxiety but I always fond myself laughing along. I’ve heard the third book isn’t that great but I’m still looking forward to reading it. Look Closer by David Ellis was another one that will make your head spin. The most morally gray characters. You don’t know who’s lying, who’s telling the truth and who you should be rooting for. Another one that will keep you guessing until the end. Behind Closed Doors by B.A Paris was a a lot more suspenseful than I was expecting. Grace’s new husband seems like the perfect man. He’s handsome, attentive and kind. Things change quickly after the wedding and what seems like the perfect marriage is anything but. Read this book! It will have you so frustrated but it’s still worth it. My favorite thriller by far was Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier. Wow! This was incredible. Amusement park, the shadiest characters imaginable, corruption, lies and creepy clowns and dolls. Need I say more?This was a lot grittier and darker than I was expecting and I’m really happy it went in that direction. I just loved the story and all of the seriously messed up characters. Slight trigger warnings and honestly check them before most of these books. Highly recommend this one. I can’t wait to read more from her.
Ok we’ve come to my favorite category, horror! I’ve read some fantastic horror books with year so I’ll try to be quick. First, Grady Hendrix, my king! Minus his new book which was a major miss for me but let’s not go there. I’ve read like 3 or 4 of his nooks this year but my stand outs were My Best Friend’s Exorcism and The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires. My Best Friend’s Exorcism is basically exactly what it sounds like lol. It’s set in the 80’s and I loved the friend group and their relationship. His writing is so fantastic. Hilarious and ridiculousness one second and then serious and disgusting the next. Genius. The Southern Book Club was even better than I was expecting. I did not think it was going to make me so emotional and give such important social commentary on housewives/moms and even racial injustices. Not what you expect from a vampire book. That’s Grady for you though. Don’t get me wrong this book is disgusting and horrifying too. It really has it all and I highly recommend. Moving to more extreme horror we’ve got Maeve Fly by CJ Leede. Again, this is extreme horror! Major trigger warnings. Proceed with caution. Maeve Fly is giving psycho Elsa from Frozen, she’s giving female Patrick Bateman. She is an absolute psycho but you somehow feel sorry for her and kind of like her. Maybe that’s just me lol. I did feel so conflicted reading this because she is nuts but heck if I didn’t love her. The ending had me heartbroken. I can not wait for her next book! Ok my favorite book of 2023 so far is….. Delicate Condition by Danielle Valentine. This comes out August 1st and is the inspiration behind the newest season of American Horror Story. Think of it as a feminist Rosemary’s Baby. I know this isn’t going tot be for everyone. I know some people are going to find it silly and weird but I dont know it resonated with me on a deep level. I might make a whole post just dedicated to this book. I could write a thesis on this book lol. Major trigger warnings of pregnancy, miscarriage, infertility, IFV etc. It’s really hard to read at times. It felt so real at times it felt like I was reading a memoir or something. I just bawled my eyes out reading it and I can’t wait to get my own physical copy to annotate. Does it get a little kooky, crazy? Sure, but I even enjoyed that. As someone who has gone through infertility and other hormonal things it was just a big hug like “you’re not alone.” It was so comforting and beautiful even though its horror. The authors note at the end was wonderful! How many times have you heard that? She wrote more about the issues that women face as far as not being taken seriously especially with doctors (also a theme in the book) being talked down to or completely ignored if their male partners are with them. She also wrote about the maternal mortality rate of Black women in the U.S which if you don’t know about you should! It is worth getting the book just for the authors note honestly. I thank her so much for this book and I will be reading it again. Again, I could write a whole post on this book and I just might. I have more books that I really loved but this is long enough. This was the best of the best but stay tuned for more reviews and bookish content.
Monday, July 31, 2023
I really got back into reading last year after doing a challenge with the The Trevor Project and then I found BookTok, BookTube and Bookstagram. I recently deleted TikTok so I won’t be recommending anyone specifically from there but I have quite a few to get through. I will say their channel or page name and a little about their content. This is in no particular order.
BooksandLaLa- Youtube- Kayla is one of my favorites to watch. I love her as a human and I really really love how she edits her videos and the ideas she has for her videos. It keeps things interesting and a 40 minute video can just fly by. She reads a lot of different genres which is fun and I have got some great recommendations from her.
Megwithbooks- Youtube- Megan’s videos are so fun! She has the funniest edits and does a lot of fun content. I don’t always agree with her but that’s the beauty of the book community. She really enjoys mystery/detective books.
Hailey Hughes-Youtube- Hailey is so good! She is my horror queen! She reads a lot of horror and thriller/suspense and I have gotten some amazing recommendations from her. She is also a therapist which I think is so cool. Her videos are pure fun and it just feels like a safe space.
Gabbyreads-YouTube- Gabby is another super cute and fun booktuber. One of my favorites to watch not only for her recommendations but she’s also a Swiftie and has fun vlogs about her life. She reads a lot of horror, mystery/thriller, suspense and some romance and general fiction. You can really tell all of the effort that she puts into her videos and they are a lot of fun to watch.
A Clockwork Reader-YouTube- Hannah is a really sweet Youtuber. She reads a lot of fantasy, general fiction, and romance. Not really my thing but I still enjoy watching her because she has such a calming presence and I like hearing her thoughts.
Ashley’s Little Library-YouTube- Ashley is someone I’ve found more recently. She reads a lot of horror and thriller books. She also reads a lot of ARCs which I like since I’ve been reading more of them myself. She does a great job explaining all of her thoughts and she’s concise and to the point.
Reading Wryly-YouTube- Elizabeth is another person I’ve found recently. She is someone who I could see being bffs with. I love her content and I find myself agreeing with her often. She reads a lot of horror/psychological thriller and general fiction/nonfiction. I have gotten incredible recommendations from her. She is a bit of a smaller channel so please go check her out!
Books With Emily Fox-YouTube- Emily is an interesting one lol. First of all she is beautiful and her winged liner is always on point. Her reading is kind of all over the place. Fantasy. Sci-fi, nonfiction, mystery/thriller. A little bit of everything. We dont’t always agree but I have got some great recs from her and I enjoy her commentary a lot.
Throne of Pages-YouTube- Isabella is just the cutest! Her videos are edited so well and always have cute little anime animations and sweet music. She reads a lot of classics, general fiction, fantasy etc. She is the reason I am reading War and Peace even though she only gave it 3 stars lol. Another channel that feels like a safe space.
emmie-YouTube- If you are a very literary person who enjoys really digging deep into books and enjoy classics, literary fiction, anime, manga, and romance then you will enjoy her content. She is also finishing her degree so she has some content surrounding that. She is very calming and quiet and sweet. Another safe space.
Baker_Reads- Instagram- I’m pretty sure Brandon is the reason I started reading extreme horror. He has hands down some of the best horror recommendations out there! He does really great reels about specific horror tropes and they are always spot on.
Spooky Curious- Instagram- I unfortunately do not know her name but I just recently found her while scrolling on Instagram. Absolutely phenomenal horror recs! A lot of horror that I haven’t heard of and those are the kind of books I’m looking for. I want books that aren’t necessarily the most well known or popular. Again, she makes really great specific recommendations like “books that give A24 vibes” “books so disturbing but you cant stop reading.’ YES! That is what I want.
Ok those are my most watched probably. Some folks that re worth mentioning are Haley Pham, Destiny Sidwell, Sara Carrolli, Jack Edwards, Carolyn Marie Reads, How To Train Your Gavin, CriminOlly, Jess Owens, Ellias, Riley Marie, Jesse The Reader. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone but let me know who are your favorites to follow on social media and what genres you are into. I should’ve said I enjoy reading horror, sci-fi , thriller/suspense, mystery, classics, general fiction and some romance but I dont really vibe with spicy romance. I would love any recommendations :)
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Long time no talk…. again. I don’t mean to totally neglect this space but it happens. I really want to try to post here at least once a month so hold me accountable! I thought I would share about my reading so far this year. So far I have read 52 books which I am so happy about. My goal is 80 for the year, although I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to hit 100. I am currently reading War and Peace and that has taken a lot of my focus. My goal is to finish it by the end of the year. I also discovered NetGalley this year and have been reading a ton of eARCS (advanced reader copies) If you havent signed up for that yet and you’re a big reader you definitely should. My favorite book of the year was actually an ARC and I will talk about that in another post. I did start a book club this year over on the Fable app. It’s called The TBR & DNF Book Club. I have a few members but none that are really active but that’s ok because I still want to give it 100% and follow through and it’s helping me go through my never ending TBR pile. Books and reading have become such a passion of mine and I’m so glad I have fell back in love with reading. I owe a lot of that to BookTube and Bookstagram. I think I will do a separate post on my favorite bookish content creators. Also, I have been loving the app Lemon8 and have been posting a ton of bookish content over there along with some what I eat and thrifting content. My name is LifeInCrumbs over there. Ok that is a brief catch up on my reading endeavors.I do plan on talking about my weight loss and my “health safari” as I call it (I hate the word journey) so stay tuned! Do you have a favorite book this year so far? I would love to hear down below.