October Highlights

October was a big month for me. I dealt with a lot of different transitions as my husband and I entered our second month of living in the States. I revamped my blog, I discovered a lot of things about myself, and I came to some conclusions about where I want the future to take me.

Here are some of my highlights from the month of October:

I read 10 books this month!
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I have now exceeded my 2014 reading challenge goal of 45 books by reading 65 total.

Favorite Read:
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Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

As always, Morgan Matson’s writing impacted me deeply. This book more so than her other two. It’s one of those books that I label as “life-changing.”

Least Favorite Read:
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The One and Only by Emily Giffin

Normally I don’t post negative reviews, but I couldn’t even finish reading Emily Giffin’s latest book. It’s really long, slow-moving, and morally questionable.

Favorite TV Show:
As hinted at by this post, my husband and I started watching Supernatural and we’re hooked! We’re already halfway through the second season. I love Sam & Dean!

But on a lighter note, Green Gables Fables is my favorite current YouTube series and a couple of weeks ago they released this video which has been my favorite of the series so far. If you’re not familiar with Anne of Green Gables, this is the follow-up to my favorite scene from the book.
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Most Popular Post:
Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Totally Want To Be For Halloween
But my post on Sleepy Hollow last year was also really popular this month.

Favorite Memories From October:

  • Trick-or-Treaters!! This is probably the first Halloween I was able to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, and I never thought I would enjoy it so much! At first I was worried we wouldn’t have any kids come by, because this neighborhood is fairly small and out in the middle of the woods. But we actually had quite a lot! And they all had such amazing and cute costumes. And Solo was there to greet each kid that said “Trick-or-Treat!” and I think they were more into petting him than getting any candy :)
  • This month I also got to spend a lot of time with my family, which I really needed. Even though we didn’t do anything big or exciting, it as a lot of fun just watching football with my dad and brother, going shopping with my mom, and going to the movies or out to dinner with everyone.
  • Earlier in October Matt finally received his green card! Now if only we could find jobs…

November To Be Read:

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                    loveunexpected amostinconvenientmarriage

Things I’m Looking Forward To In November:

  • This week I have a job interview! It’s my first positive result from my job search so far. I’ve applied to so many jobs and received a few negative responses, but yesterday I finally received some good news. I know nothing is guaranteed yet, but it’s still encouraging to make it this far.
  • Next weekend is YALL Fest! It’s my first book conference/event and I’m going with my friend Regina @ The Sunflower Pages. There will be several of my favorite authors there, but I think I’m most excited about Rainbow Rowell and Ann Brashares. I’ll post all about it afterwards!
  • This is the month of THANKSGIVING! Last year I did my daily 30 Days of Thankfulness posts, which I won’t be doing again this year, but I encourage you all to think about what you’re thankful for this month & to share those things with others :) I’m thankful for my family, because without them I’d be lonely, miserable, and homeless.

What were some of your favorite highlights from October?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Reading

toptentuesdayI’ve seen this meme from The Broke and the Bookish quite frequently on several of the bookish blogs I follow, and I finally decided to jump on the bandwagon. I only wish I had done so sooner because the past two memes I would have loved to answer! I think I’ll still do them though, maybe for the next two meme questions which don’t strike my fancy as much :)

So without further ado, here is my post for the Top Ten Best Books To Read During Halloween (in no particular order):

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  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – I love the gothic elements in this novel, and it is guaranteed to freak you out if you’re like me and find yourself reading until the wee hours of the morning.
  • The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe – I first read this short story in 8th grade and it is still freaks me out just thinking about what the main character does at the end (no spoilers from me)! If you love books and themes that involve disguises, then check this one out.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe – Poe is the master of short stories, especially gothic ones. I would recommend any of his works for Halloween reading, but this one is full of creepy imagery.

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  • Macbeth by Shakespeare – This is what I am currently reading, and it definitely fits the Halloween atmosphere with its witches, murder, and ghosts. And it also revolves around the theme of “nothing is as it appears.”
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – To me, this is the most Halloween-ish of the Harry Potter books. There is lots of mystery and suspense, as well as other dark gothic elements. I love the film version of this movie as well, especially how everything seems to have this foggy grey filter.
  • A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner – (I picked a French cover for this one because the English one was wayyy to creepy) this is (so far) the only thing I’ve read by William Faulkner that I actually like, and that may be because of how it is written. There are no 10-page long sentences! And I do love the suspense he creates.

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  • The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell – Another short story I was introduced to in the 8th grade (I had an amazing English teacher!). The premise: being hunted (literally) by a psychopath.
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker – A classic. I don’t know if I need to say more about why this is on my list.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Another classic, but this one surprised me when I first read it in 12th grade. I enjoyed it a lot more than most of my peers did at the time. Fun fact: Shelley originally wrote this for a horror story competition she was having with some friends, including her husband Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.
  • The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne – Ok, so half of these entries are short stories, but I love short stories! This one has a great moral and a climactic ending.

What are some of your favorite spooky reads?

Autumn Sentiments

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Me too, Anne-girl. Me too…

Autumn is my favorite season. Well, that’s what I say during this time of year. But when April rolls around I’m all like, “Springtime is my favorite time!” But the beauties of autumn last longer than the springtime ones, and I would rather wear comfy sweaters, boots, and scarves than shorts and flowery prints.

This is the second autumn I will be spending in France, and I have definitely been feeling homesick for all of my favorite American traditions that I will be missing again this year. While I know that French people love to have get-togethers and dinner parties, Americans love to celebrate everything. We revel in holidays and seasonal goodies, especially during this time of year, when we spend a lot of time with family and close friends.

So what am I missing the most from my homeland right now?

Seeing my favorite colors everywhere: Bring on the neutrals! I love the reds, oranges, yellows, browns, golds, and blacks combined that really make me feel like autumn has arrived. I’m sure in the States right now you can see those colors everywhere you go (and you Americans may already be getting tired of them); not so much here. But, fortunately, the trees are finally changing colors and that is just as beautiful.

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Yeah, we like to stick to character…

Halloween (and candy): France doesn’t celebrate Halloween, and when they do they only focus on the evil and scary side. What I love most about Halloween is costume parties, especially themed ones. And my favorite costumes have been Robin Hood and Thing 2, nothing scary or demented…Also: day-after-Halloween candy sales!

Autumn-scented candles: Ahh. Nothing like those $5 Walmart fall candles to make your home smell amazing. My favorites of course are the pumpkin pie and vanilla scented ones.

e736dfad0696f08c62b39b9963f456f8Autumn-themed movies on TV: My favorite would be the ABC Family Harry Potter marathons, although they do those practically every holiday weekend, and that’s why I adore this tumblr conversation. So hilarious and so true. I also love watching 90s chick flicks and Nicholas Sparks movies during this time of year, my current favorite is Safe Haven, which is also my favorite Sparks novel. Here’s a cool list of some other great films to watch during Autumn.

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My trying to get a picture with my brother on Thanksgiving a few years back…he hates pictures.

Thanksgiving: This is my favorite holiday, and not because of the food, although I love Thanksgiving Day meals. No, my favorite part is just spending time with loved ones–watching the parade, helping each other out in the kitchen, playing games and football, going to the movies after eating entirely too much pie, going on Black Friday scavenger hunts around town together…I love it all, and that’s why it’s so hard for me to be away from family for Thanksgiving. But this year my husband and I are celebrating an authentic American Thanksgiving with our French family!

Starbucks: Yes, they have Starbucks in France, but the closest one is over an hour away in Lyon. We will probably be stopping there on our way to the airport in December!! Since the weather has gotten cooler I’ve been craving Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Apple Chai Infusions (my fav…it’s like apple cider but better).

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My roommates and I at HHN in 2010.

Halloween Horror Nights: This is a tradition I used to do most years when I lived in Florida, but my favorite years were probably the last two times I went, in 2010 and 2011. Theme parks with friends are a blast, but theme parks in the dark with haunted houses are even better! So many fun memories from Universal’s HHN…I would love to be going there again this year!

Bonfires and hayrides: Here’s something that’s very American–sitting in a wagon full of itchy, scratchy hay while you ride around in the dark with friends…bundling up in warm clothes, looking at stars, telling spooky stories before heading back to the bonfire to make s’mores (another very American thing). Mmm, sounds like fun to me!

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A 2009 FSU night game…I miss these days!

Football season: Saved this one for last because this year my desire to watch football in the States is even greater than it usually is, since my Alma Mater Florida State University is having an amazing season and I have to either miss the games or stay up all night watching them, which is what I did last Saturday for that phenomenal Clemson game. Going to bed at 6:30am never felt so worth it! Fortunately I have found several people over here who enjoy American football and who understand my crazy desires to pull football viewing all-nighters :)

What are some of your favorite fall activities?