January Highlights

It’s hard to believe February is upon us. January didn’t necessarily fly by for me, but a lot of things happened in my life and I know February is going to be just as eventful.

So here’s what I was up to last month!

I read 12 books!

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This was a huge surprise for me, because last month I was all upset that I couldn’t find enough time to read as often as I did before finding a full-time job.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Book Club Reads – I had so much fun chatting with other bloggers about these books! Tuesday’s posts always bring the best conversations :)

What I Watched

Gilmore Girls – Ok, HUGE surprise to everyone: my dad has gotten hooked on Gilmore Girls. My mom and I started watching the show back in September, but we’ve been taking our time. And this month we started watching it again and my dad watched one episode with us and was completely pulled in. So much so that he’s gotten upset when we watched episodes without him. I feel like I’m in some alternate universe where my dad, whose favorite shows are The Walking Dead and Forensic Files, suddenly enjoys Gilmore Girls. But hey, I’ll take it!

East & West Vlog – A new YouTube series based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. It’s just starting, but I really enjoy the actress who plays Margaret (also, she goes by Maggie!). I’m looking forward to seeing what the creators have in store for this one.

The Writing Majors – Another new YouTube series, but this one is really unique! It imagines Jane Austen, Emily Dickenson, and Oscar Wilde as grad school roommates. The actors are incredible and the episodes so far have been very enjoyable.

What I Listened To

This month I really dived into audiobooks! With my long commute, I’ve been trying to use the time for books, and it’s only taken me a couple of months to really get adjusted to listening to audiobooks. It’s amazing how weak my listening skills have become over the years. I have to really concentrate to actively listen, but I think it’s a good exercise :)

I also listened to Serial! For those who know me, when I discover something I love, I completely binge watch/read/listen. So, I listened to the first Serial podcast on my way to work last Friday, and I finished it just after midnight on Saturday. I HAD to know how it ended. The story-telling was so captivating that it’s hard to stop listening.

January Highlights

  • Watching Gilmore Girls with my family!
  • Starting to find my feet in my new job – things are finally starting to make sense!
  • Having deep conversations (or just really interesting conversations) with fellow bloggers! Meeting and conversing with other readers and bloggers is my favorite part about having a blog :)
  • Feeling more “adult” – This month we bought a car and paid off more bills, and I also just did a lot more “adult” things, like wine-tasting and making more independent decisions.

January Challenges

  • Although we moved back to the States at the end of August, we’re still transitioning. We’ve had to make big decisions about our future, and although I can’t reveal them yet, I am excited about them & about sharing them with the blogosphere in a month or two :) (and before anyone speculates, NO, it’s not about a baby).
  • Trying to multitask less. I read this blog post from I’d Rather Be Reading about singletasking, and it really helped me grasp how attached I am to multitasking. If I’m not doing two or more things at a time, I literally feel like I’m wasting time. So I’ve been actively trying to only do one thing at a time sometimes, for instance, while I’m eating. Lunch time at work is a great time for me to just take a step away from the computer or my phone or even from reading. It gives me a half hour of reflection time instead, and it’s also nice to detach from technology, too.
  • I almost forgot this one: we bought a new car!New Car

In February I’m Looking Forward To

  • Crossing off as many things from my 25 Things List as possible! I feel so behind, but some of those things I’ve known for a while I won’t be able to do (like visit England), and that’s ok. I made this list thinking we would still be in France and hopping on a train to the UK was easy to achieve. Instead I’m trying to enjoy the bucket list items I am able to cross off. Right now I’m crocheting myself a nice afghan :)

February To Be Read

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I’m still getting through My True Love Gave To Me for my book club (our next read is A Thousand Pieces of You which I’m stoked about!). I’ve also started the last book in the Mara Dyer series, but I’m sad for it to be over so I’ve been taking my time.

What were some of your highlights from January? Are there any books you’re looking forward to reading this month?

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Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Releases I Wanted To Read But Didn’t

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish, is all about 2014 releases that I didn’t get a chance to read! Most of these are on my priority list of books to read this year, and some of them I have already started!

Top Ten 2014 Releases I Plan On Reading In 2015

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The Mara Dyer series – I didn’t even learn about this series until the final volume, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, came out just before YALL Fest. But I got to meet author Michelle Hodkin and I’m so happy I did because I just finished reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I am obsessed! Favorite book of the year so far (I know it’s early but I don’t care). Can’t wait to finish this series, but I already know I’m going to have a major book hangover.

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Meeting Michelle Hodkin at YALL Fest in November :)

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet – I checked this book out from the library WEEKS ago, but I still haven’t gotten past the first couple of chapters (not because I don’t want to read it!). I know that Ashley Clements, the actress who plays Lizzie in the YouTube series, has narrated the audio book and I’m so tempted to just listen to that during my commute.

Open Road Summer – My friend Regina lent me her copy of Emery Lord’s celebrated debut novel, but I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet!

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend – I got this for Christmas so I will be reading it soon!!

A Thousand Pieces of You – I can’t wait to get my hands on this gorgeous novel. I hear it’s a series, too?

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Elevated – I think the only reason I didn’t buy this book the moment I heard about it is because it’s written in verse and I have to be in the mood for those types of books. BUT, I still want to read it :)

The Selection series – Now that I finally own The Selection (thanks to my TBTB Secret Santa), I can work on reading this series!

Safe and Sound – Ever since connecting with T.S. Krupa on Twitter I’ve been wanting to read her book. Plus this book takes place in North Carolina and I love that state.

The Here and Now – I love science fiction/fantasy and I love Ann Brashares. I got her to personalize this book for me while I was at YALL Fest so I’m even more excited about actually reading it :)

My True Love Gave To Me – I know, Christmas is over, but we’re reading this book in my Book Club this month and I’m excited! I was also thrilled when my mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas! I’ve been wanting it for so long.

Are any of these books on your To Be Read List as well? What are some books that were released within the past couple of years that you’re still wanting to read?

Top Ten Tuesday: Series & Sequels

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is about sequels! Unfortunately, I don’t read very many series, but there are lots of series I want to read. So I’m altering this meme to include series I’ve already started and ones I’ve been wanting to start as well.

Top Ten Series & Sequels I’m Excited to Read

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Where She Went by Gale Forman – Earlier this year I read If I Stay, and although I liked it, it is a heavy book with lots of feels. I’ve really been wanting to read Where She Went since then, but I’m saving it for when I’m in the mood for an intense read. Where She Went is told from Adam’s POV which is exciting!
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick – I had to use the cover for My Life Next Door since the cover for the sequel hasn’t been released yet! This one is coming out sometime next year and I’m really excited for it. My Life Next Door really bested my expectations, and I know its sequel will be amazing as well.
Clockwiser by Elle Strauss – Clockwise was one of my favorite reads from last year. It’s a YA time traveling story that was really fun and actually inspired me to write a short story last year. Clockwiser continues where it’s predecessor left off, and the time-traveling becomes even more dangerous when the main character’s brother gets transported back to Civil War America…and enlists!
Silenced by the Yams by Karen Cantwell – This is a murder-mystery-romcom series that I really enjoy. The first book in the series, Take the Monkeys and Run, is actually the first book I bought when I received my first Kindle. I read the sequel, Citizen Insane, last year and I’ve been wanting to finish the series ever since. I love this romance series because it focuses on the main character trying to fix her relationship with her husband.
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner – I haven’t actually read The Maze Runner yet, but I broke my cardinal rule by seeing the movie earlier this month (gasp!). I will get around to reading this series, I just need to carve out time to marathon 4 books.

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Virals by Kathy & Brendan Reichs – I bought the first book in this series for my husband while I was at YALL Fest. I’ll probably read it too, since I love Bones and this book is told from the POV of her great-niece.
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner – Another book I bought for my husband at YALL Fest, this series is about an internet gaming kidnapper. Yep, that looks really interesting!
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – I haven’t read the first book in this series, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, but while I was at YALL Fest I bought the second book (the first was sold out) because my friend wanted to get her copies signed. Michelle Hodkin was so nice and took several minutes speaking with each of her fans. This book looks dark and mysterious, probably something I should have read during Halloween, but it’s on my Christmas wish list so if someone doesn’t gift it to me I’ll be buying a copy myself.
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn – I’ve been itching to read this series. The second novel Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold, comes out next year. Katie Finn is Morgan Matson’s pen name, and I know these books differ from her other ones, but I have no doubt I’ll like these ones just as much.
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray – I haven’t read this book yet, and I couldn’t even tell you what it’s about, but the cover is gorgeous and it has a lot of my favorite genres AND there are 2 sequels in the works according to Goodreads, so I’m adding it to my TBR. I think I put this on my Christmas wish list, too!

What are some sequels (or series) you’re excited about reading? Clearly a lot of the sequels on my list have been out for a while–do you have any recs for current series?