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!
thegeographyofyouandme dearmrknightley Adobe Photoshop PDF peterpanannotated
   lola isla grimmlegacy grimmmemories
I have now exceeded my 2014 reading challenge goal of 45 books by reading 65 total.

Favorite Read:
secondchancesummer

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:
theoneandonly

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.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/r732LUuTiEk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

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:

thetroublewithflirting thebeautifulamerican waroftheworlds
                    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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Whole In The Clouds by Kristine Kibbee

Whole In The Clouds

“Don’t forget, dear. This is you. This is your strength and your compassion and all the love inside of you. This is you as you truly are.”

Whole In The Clouds by Kristine Kibbee
Published Nov 6, 2014 by Illusio Baqer (Zharmae Publishing Press)
Middle Grade Fantasy
Format: e-book; 156 pages
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

Cora Catlin is a misfit at best, and an outcast at worst. She feels out-of-place, as if everything is backward and something is missing from her life.

And then, on her first day of middle school, everything changes.

When Cora encounters an elfin stranger who speaks of the magical world Clouden, an entire kingdom hidden up in the sky, she can’t wait to leave her boring, humdrum life behind. As Cora travels to her new home, she finds herself transformed–and if that weren’t enough, she has to adjust to royal parents, talking Pegasuses, a raging war, and an alluring love interest as well.

Exploring this new land, Cora unearths wonders and secrets beyond her wildest imaginings, discovering the meaning of true friendship, love, and what it means to feel whole.

Thoughts:

Whole In The Clouds was a really refreshing read for me. I haven’t read a Middle School level book in quite some time, mostly because I’m suspicious of what I might find in them, but this one was not what I was expecting (in a good way). Right from the start I realized that Cora is not your typical twelve-year-old girl. She doesn’t daydream over boys, she doesn’t have sleepovers with her friends (because she doesn’t have any), and she doesn’t have any hobbies. Like many preteens, Cora is bullied by her classmates and because of this she is self-conscious about her appearance and she begins feeling lonely and out-of-place.

Seeing Cora as an outcast was really sad. The bullies in the beginning of the story gave me compassion for Cora right from the get-go, and then I developed a soft spot for her when I discovered that Cora loved adventures. (I love adventures too!) I was really excited when the fantasy aspect of the novel set in. I haven’t read very many recent fantasy novels, but this one borrowed a few qualities from Harry Potter and Narnia, two of my favorite series. After Cora finally arrives in Clouden, the novel develops this exciting & mysterious atmosphere.

There are several areas of the book that did seem a little cheesy and unrealistic to me, I have to admit, but there were also a lot of things I really liked. The most interesting thing for me was the difference between a person’s appearance in Clouden and their appearance in The Backworlds (or the real world for us). In The Backworlds, as we know, looks can be deceiving. A physically charming or beautiful person can really be evil or malicious on the inside. In Clouden, our inside characteristics are reflected in our physical appearances. Cora, who is kind, compassionate, and selfless, holds this ethereal presence in Clouden even though in The Backworlds she is mocked for her plain appearance. This “our outsides reflect our insides” idea resonated with me and I appreciated the extra virtue that those who are beautiful on Clouden aren’t vain about their appearances.

Cora squinted through the darkness at the mirror and was astounded to find someone else staring back at her. An ethereal girl looked quizzically through the glass. She had flowing copper-red hair that glistened like spun silk and a pair of the most haunting green eyes Cora had ever seen. Her skin was the color of baby-doll porcelain and when coupled with her slightly flushed rosy cheeks resembled strawberries and cream. The girl’s mouth, pursed in confusion, was delicately shaped, her lips a natural crimson that no makeup could duplicate.

Whole In The Clouds made me feel all sorts of emotions: happiness, sadness, suspense, anxiety, and I even gushed over the little bit of romance that was woven in. I was a little disappointed in how quickly and cleanly everything was wrapped up at the end, but I was satisfied in the ending and overall I really enjoyed Kristine Kibbee’s second novel.

Read This If…:

…you love characters who are pure-of-heart
…you wish your pets could talk
…you enjoy stories about good vs. evil
…you crave an adventure!

Final Musings:

Although Whole In The Clouds felt a bit cheesy at times, overall I really enjoyed the purity in Cora and her story. Cora is a very mature, caring, and selfless main character who has a heart for those around her. This novel is a fun fantastical read that deals with bullying, parent-child relationships, and believing the best in people.