May & June Highlights

I haven’t done a highlights post in forever! It feels nice to be back into blogging regularly :)

Here is what I was up to the past two months…

I read 8 books.

Hitchhiker's Guide  Jurassic Park  Persuasion harrypotter whereshewent

      Fables  Seconds  Stealing the Groom

Which is a lot considering I was still coming off my reading slump last month.

Most Popular Posts

Where I’ve Been – It was nice to finally share with everyone our exciting news and explain why I’d been absent for several months.

25 Things: Ever After’s Château de Hautefort – I love that this post from last summer is still so popular, especially since it was on my bucket list for so long & I’d love to revisit it!

What I Watched

I finally got to catch up with my favorite web series! I updated my ‘Literary Vlogs’ sidebar to reflect some of the new YouTube shows I’ve been watching, like Northbound and From Mansfield With Love (adaptations of Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, respectively).

Northbound

I relate very much to Catherine Morland…and of course, who doesn’t love Henry Tilney?!

I also caught up on From Mansfield With Love, finally. It’s a harder Jane Austen novel to adapt, but the frequent cameos from the minor characters make it pretty interesting :)

May & June Highlights

  • Traveling – I traveled a lot the past two months. Probably more than a pregnant lady should, but I always had a buddy with me (either family members or Solo) and it was nice to visit friends and family.
  • 2nd Trimester! – After the first trimester’s ups and downs, it’s been like a breath of fresh air being in my second trimester. We also got to see our “little baby french fry” up close and found out it’s a boy! Since then we’ve been preparing our tiny apartment (and ourselves) for his arrival. Every time I see a friend has had her baby I get a tiny bit jealous! For now, labor doesn’t scare me, but I’m sure that’ll change in a few months!

    24 Weeks

    24 weeks as of July 6th!

  • VACATION! – Last week we went on a family reunion cruise. It was wonderful :)
    Key West

    My husband and me in Key West (we also visited Cozumel).

    Carnival

    Carnival Ecstasy

    Cruise

    My mom’s side of the family :)

    Matt and Ian

    My brother would probably kill me if he knew I put this online, but I love this picture so much! We were all pretty exhausted on the drive back from Miami.

    We also got to spend 4th of July at EPCOT so my husband and I got an unexpected Disney fix (thanks to my aunt’s sister who works at the parks).
    Epcot

    Matt

    Isn’t he cute? ;)

May & June Challenges

  • Feeling hungry all the time – This has been the one pitfall to my second trimester. I feel like I’m hungry so often, and most of the time the only foods I want to eat are sweets and junk food =P I’ve always been active and have had a fast metabolism, so it’s hard for me to limit myself but I don’t want to overindulge at the same time.
  • Missing having a job – I wasn’t able to find a job before we moved to Wilmington, and after I hit the 12 weeks mark I figured it would just be best for me to take it easy and pick up my job search early next year. But I miss having a routine and that extra income. If anyone knows of some reliable, non-telemarketing, work-from-home jobs, PLEASE let me know!

Things I’m Looking Forward To in July

  • More traveling – Hey, it’s better to get all this traveling in now than when after the baby arrives!
  • Catching up on reading – I’m trying to put a big dent in my Classics TBR plus I have tons of unread books on my shelves that I’d like to get to sometime this year.
  • Summer activities with friends – We have some game nights and beach days penned down for the summer that my husband and I are both looking forward to (although I’m much more hesitant about the ocean after the 8th North Carolina shark attack this year was reported a few days ago…).

July To Be Read

harrypotter  The Martian Wives and Daughters

My husband and I are continuing through our read along of the Harry Potter series. I started reading The Martian last month and although it’s holding my attention, it does take a while to read. I’m seriously behind on my Classics Club list, so I’m picking up Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters this month.

What was your favorite moment from June?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read (So Far) in 2015

toptentuesdayThe year is halfway over, and despite the fact that I took a 3-month long reading and blogging hiatus, I have read a decent amount of books so far this year! Which is great, because today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is about the top books I’ve read so far this year. Unfortunately, I’ve only read a handful of books that I really loved (meaning I gave them a 5-star rating), so I’m cutting this list down to 5 books.

Top Ten Five Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015

Jurassic ParkJurassic Park by Michael Crichton – I shared my review for this book last week, but this book was definitely a big hit with me. I loved the characters, the dinosaurs, and even the philosophy in the books (which is funny, since I usually stray away from books or discussions heavy in philosophy).

harrypotterHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – My first reread this year! I’ve been reading the series with my husband, who has seen the movies but never read the books, and even after having read this book so many times that the pages are literally falling out, I still enjoy it just as much. Eternal 5-star rating!

mara dyerThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – I feel like it’s been much longer than 6 months since I’ve read this book, but I still remember staying up really late to finish it because I had to know what happened next! It has so much: mystery, suspense, romance. Definitely my favorite book in Hodkin’s series and obviously one of the best books I’ve read this year.

earnestThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – An easy book to read in one sitting (or listen to on the way to and from work, as I did), Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy” had me laughing and hoping for a happy ending, and I was definitely pleased :) This is a great read for people who aren’t very used to reading classics.

PersuasionPersuasion by Jane Austen – Oh, I lied earlier. Persuasion was my first reread this year (although I did reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the same week), and it was also the first time I had reread this particular novel, my second favorite of all Jane Austen’s works. I still felt just as much for Anne Elliot, and I definitely still swooned at Captain Wentworth’s letter <3 This book has gotten me all excited for Austen in August in a little over month! (I’ll be following along with two blogosphere events this year: here and here)

Honorable Mention:

whereshewentWhere She Went by Gayle Forman – I read this sequel last month and never got to talk about it, but I definitely enjoyed it more than the first novel, If I Stay. That’s probably because I got used to Gayle Forman’s writing style. In If I Stay I wasn’t prepared for the whole book to take place over 24 hours and most of the plot happening in flashbacks, so I got a little annoyed, but this time I anticipated that and had more fun reading it.

Thanks for reading! What have been some of your favorite reads so far this year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer To Be Read List

toptentuesdayIt feels nice to be making these lists again :) This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is our summer reading lists! I have a diverse line-up for the months ahead, including science fiction, some classics, young adult reads, and a rereading of some childhood favorites!

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir – I read so many phenomenal reviews for this book last year, and after seeing the recent trailer for the movie adaptation coming out in October, my husband and I both want to read this sci-fi adventure.

Harry PotterHarry Potter Series (1-3) by J.K. Rowling – My husband, who rarely reads, recently voiced interest in reading one of my all-time favorite series. We started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone last week

senseandsensibilitySense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – For Austen in August this year I’m finally going to reread the first Austen novel I ever read. I also really want to watch the 1995 movie version again!

Jane Austen Book ClubThe Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler – Another book I’ve lined up for Austen in August. I absolutely adore the movie adaptation of this book, so I can’t wait to finally dive into the original version! I’m expecting it to be very different, but I hope to still enjoy it.

The Boy Most Likely To

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick – I’ve talked about my excitement for this spin-off before, but it’s finally almost here!

Jurassic ParkJurassic Park by Michael Crichton – This novel has been on my Classic Club list for a couple of years now, but since seeing the movie Jurassic World this past weekend, I really want to experience the book that created the franchise! I hear that it’s quite different from the films.

The Mysterious IslandThe Mysterious Island by Jules Verne – Every July for the past two years I have read a Jules Verne book to personally celebrate Bastille Day (the national holiday of France). This year I’ve picked The Mysterious Island to read!

War and PeaceWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – I started participating in a War and Peace Read-Along earlier this year, but I unexpectedly had to drop out halfway through. I’m hoping to finish this chunkster sometime this summer.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Books!

toptentuesday

Whew! I took an unexpected week off from blogging and I think it did me a lot of good. I’m going through some personal things at the moment, some of which I’m hoping to post about tomorrow on my late February wrap-up.

But for now, let me ease back into blogging with my favorite meme, Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)! This week’s topic is about our favorite books. For a long time now I’ve had a very stable Top 5, so for today I had to decide on my top 6-10, which was hard! I almost cheated…

Top Ten Favorite Books

AoGG Pride and Prejudice janeeyre Persuasion Harry Potter

attachments IMG_2049 tokillamockingbird littlewomen Hamlet

Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite book, but Anne of the Island should be on this list, too! I only left it out to make room for some others. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Persuasion are so close I could easily switch them around. Yes, my favorite Harry Potter book is the last! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows made me feel all the feels, and I thought it was the perfect ending to a favorite series. The rest of the books on this list probably don’t belong in that order, but I haven’t given it much thought before now. Those would be my next favorites, though. Attachments is my favorite book from this decade, so far. Short Straw Bride is my favorite historical novel. What else can I say to justify To Kill a Mockingbird‘s place in my heart and on this list? Little Women is another book that makes me feel so deeply! And Hamlet has always been, and most likely always will be, my favorite Shakespearean play (and favorite play in general, for that matter), no matter how cliché it sounds :)

There you have it: my ten favorite books! Do you like any of my favorites? And what are your most beloved reads??

The Classics Club Monthly Meme #31: Modern Classics

classics

I’m finally making time to answer The Classics Club’s Monthly Meme! This one sounded really interesting:

What about modern classics? Pick a book published since 2000 and say why you think it will be considered as a “classic” in the future.

This was a tough question for me to answer for two reasons: 1) the word “classic” means something different to most people (some people consider books older than 100 years classics, while others define classics as books that have had a fundamental impact on culture and literature); and 2) an example of a modern classic came to me so quickly I thought it was too cliche of an answer. But I’m going with it anyway because I sincerely think it will still be regarded as a classic to future generations of readers.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter

I’m cheating a bit because the first book was published pre-2000, but the last one wasn’t released until 2007 so it can still be considered at 21st century classic.

Why do I think Harry Potter will be labeled a classic in the future?

  • It persuaded a revival of reading. I know of people who do not naturally like to read, but they have read and enjoyed Harry Potter and have even desired to read other books afterwards. (Yay for converting people into readers!)
  • It has already been taught in schools. Isn’t that one of the requirements for a book to be considered a “canon”? I was always so jealous of my university friends who took lit classes that had Harry Potter on the syllabus.
  • Its themes are timeless. Harry Potter has similar themes to The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, two series that are also considered classics.
  • It has influenced a number of other writers and their works. Some of these authors include Christopher Paolini (Eragon) and Daniel Handler (A Series of Unfortunate Events). (Which works has J.K. Rowling listed as “probable influences” for Harry Potter? The Illiad, The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Emma, and The Sword in the Stone.)

Do you think Harry Potter will be considered a classic in 25-50 years? What other books do you think are or should be considered modern classics?

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Want With Me On A Desert Island

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a freebie! So I decided to finally post a top ten list I’ve tried to share several times.

Do you ever read a book and think, “I would want THAT character with me if I was ever in ‘x’ situation”? Well, I’m really keen on picking out characters who are resourceful. When I read Harry Potter, I’m thinking, “Man, I would love to have Hermione next to me in a natural disaster.” (Seriously, is there a situation I wouldn’t want to have Hermione’s help in?)

So, I’m doing a Top Ten Tuesday rewind post and sharing with you the Top Ten Characters I’d Want to Have With Me On a Desert Island

Hermione IMG_2042

Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter series) – I basically already said I’d want Hermione with me in any situation. She’s arguably the most prepared and resourceful character ever written.

Katniss Everdeen and Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games series) – Not the most emotionally reliable of characters, but Katniss is still brave, strong, and a hunter (which would come in handy when it’s time to eat!). And Finnick would be great at catching fish, and also at charming people into doing whatever he wants (in a good way, of course…).

JoMarch IMG_2048

Jo March (Little Women) – I’d want Jo around to keep all of our spirits up. You’d never be bored with Jo as company, and the way she nursed her sister Beth always made me cry. She’s a headstrong character, but she has a huge heart for other people.

Robin Hood (The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood) – Besides the fact that he can hunt and entertain, Robin Hood would be great at keeping everyone “united” (like Finnick). If we’re stuck on this island for a while, I can count on Robin to work out arguments and keep everyone in a good mood. Except for maybe Katniss, since she doesn’t have any people skills. Robin would also be helpful at surviving in the woods.

Anne and Gilbert IMG_2049

Anne Shirley & Gilbert Blythe (The Anne of Green Gables series) – I really debated between Gilbert and Prim from The Hunger Games, since both are doctors/healers. But I went with Gilbert because he’s a very wise character who I could also trust to be a leader in a chaotic situation. And, yeah, he’s not bad to look at either ;) And Anne’s imagination would come in handy when we’re bored. I would love to have story-time with her and Jo March.

Meredith Hayes (Short Straw Bride) – Meredith can make a happy situation out of anything. Oh, it’s your wedding day and there’s no cake? Well don’t worry, let me just whip some delicious cinnamon rolls out of scratch for you! Someone is trying to set the barn on fire? No problem! I’ll make everyone dinner and then personally go out there and stop the fire myself. Yeah, you’re pretty resourceful, Meri.

AnneElliot IMG_2043

Anne Elliot (Persuasion) – If anyone can stay calm during a catastrophe, it’s Anne Elliot. As soon as everyone starts freaking out about something, Anne is focused and swift-thinking.

Phileas Fogg (Around the World in Eighty Days) – If there’s one thing I know Phileas would be able to do on a desert island, it would be to get us off of it. I’m sure he’d just happen to find a boat somewhere or be able to flag down a passing ship that could take us all home.

Which characters would you love to have with you on a deserted island??

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Wish Could Have Their Own Book

toptentuesdayThis was such a hard post to write! I have no idea why, but I spent so much time wracking my brain trying to think of characters I’d want to see more of. I even had to ask my husband for suggestions ;) But I could only come up with nine! So you’ll have to give me suggestions for a tenth one…

Characters I Wish Could Have Their Own Book (or Spin-Off):

Sloane from Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – Firstly, I loved this book. It’s probably the second best book I’ve read all year (the first being Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments). Right after I finished it, though, I started thinking about how cool it would to read a sequel or a companion novel told through Sloane’s POV. We don’t see much of Sloane in the book, but we do get to see how interesting and conflicted she is. I would love to know what happens with her after the book ends.

Little John from The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle – This book is actually told through the 3rd person, but it obviously follows Robin Hood’s adventures, and the adventures of his Merry Men after they join the gang. I’ve always had a soft spot for Little John, and I’d like to see what could become of him after the band goes their separate ways.

Captain Wentworth from Persuasion by Jane Austen – I know there are already books from his POV, but I haven’t read any yet. I really want to though!

Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – I know I’m not the only one who’d love to read about Neville’s adventures after Hogwarts. I feel like his story was only just starting to begin when Deathly Hallows ended.

Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Another HP character for this list (she’s also my favorite). I’d love to have a story told from Ginny’s POV during her 6th year at Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were off hunting horcruxes but we know Ginny was fighting off Death Eaters with the remainder of Dumbledore’s Army. There’s so much potential for a companion novel here!

Bailey from Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares – This happens to be my favorite book from the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I loved how the Sisterhood’s stories were resolved, but I think it would be wonderful to know what happens to the next generation. It would be kind of fitting with the original origin of the Sisterhood.

Haymitch Abernathy from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I would love to read a prequel to The Hunger Games when we get to discover all of Haymitch’s back story. A lot of it was shortly covered in Catching Fire, but I want more!!!

Lucien from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – Another one of Morgan Matson’s characters for this list! She has awesome characters. Lucien is a very minor character, but he was so sweet and interesting! If you’ve read the book you know how his story is kind of just cut off, and I’d like to know what happens after his weekend with Amy and Roger.

Flynn Rider from Tangled – I can’t tell if I’d want to see a sequel with more of Flynn’s adventures or if I’d want to see one that involves his and Rapunzel’s (future) children. But I know there is plenty of potential for a Tangled sequel…Disney’s just making us wait =P (to be fair they did give us the Happily Ever After short)

Ok, which character would YOU like to see have his/her own sequel? Books, television, movies…which fictional character would you like to see more of?