Binge Watch Complete: The Santa Clarita Diet

I’ve been doing a lot of binge-watching lately and I thought it would be fun to stray a bit from books and talk about some more TV shows! With this feature, I’ll be sharing a little bit about my binge-watching experience and things I liked about the show! 

** Disclaimer: These posts may contain VERY MINOR spoilers for the shows in discussion. I will never reveal big twists or plot points but if you haven’t watched the show, there may be some very broad plot points discussed. **

THE SHOW: THE SANTA CLARITA DIET
METHOD OF VIEWING: Netflix (Seasons 1 – 3)
SHOW COMPLETE? No, but caught up through currently released seasons

I really love a good dark comedy and surprisingly zombie shows seem to be getting added to my Netflix watchlist. I’m not usually a big zombie person but add some comedy into it, and I am so there. (I’m also currently watching iZombie right now. I think I’m almost done with season 2). I had heard good things about The Santa Clarita Diet and I’m so glad I finally watched it!

I zipped through the first two seasons so quickly! They’re so easy and fun to watch and it was a great show to watch while I was working. Light enough that it kept me motivated and my focus was able to drift a bit but still with an interesting plot and that great comedic punch. I love that Drew Berrymore took on this role and I think it’s so much fun seeing big actors taking on roles for Netflix movies and TV shows! I feel like Netflix originals were kind of low-budget at first and not something people really cared to be a part of (maybe that was just my perception? Who knows) and I love how they’re kind of the most amazing shows out there right now. So many of my favorites are Netflix originals and we’re starting to see a lot more big name actors bringing them to life!

Anyway, I digress. The show is just absolutely delightful. I love the entire cast and I think Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant have a great chemistry.  I really, really love how the zombie concept isn’t hidden from their daughter as well and it’s really a whole family affair. I love the nerdy boy next door and how his zombie folk lore knowledge really starts to help everyone out.

It’s also just a really fun take on the zombie concept! I was never a fan of zombie stories but this has a bit more of a different plot line and I like how each season takes the characters a little bit closer to discovering why and how this happened and if there’s anything they can do to stop it or reverse it. There are little mysteries that each season solves and leaves open to pick up in the next season and nothing is solved too quickly. We meet other undead/living dead and see how their interactions with main character Sheila (Drew Barrymore) affect the entire crew.

If you love dark comedy and haven’t watched this one yet, I highly recommend it! I’m sad that I flew through season 3 so quickly because I always want more of this show but I’ll be anxiously awaiting its next season!


Have you watched The Santa Clarita Diet? Tell me some of your other dark comedy favorites! I always want to watch more!

Mini-Review: Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Mini-Review: Dark Matter – Blake CrouchTitle: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Publishing Info: July 26, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Scribd
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: July 17, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

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DARK MATTER was a little different than I thought I’d be but it was so cinematic and entertaining with an excellent sci-fi thread! I was expecting it to be more psychological and almost a little scary like a thriller and it was much more sci-fi and alternate universe, which I also love. The book went through an number of different scenarios and changed tone a few times, still consistent with the Book’s overall tone but adapting with what the characters had experience and changing so we could follow what would happen next.

The audiobook was also highly entertaining and I was engaged the whole time! I think because of my expectations I was looking for some particular thrill in there but I really did enjoy it from start to finish, and I also really enjoyed Blake Crouch’s writing style! There was a lot of great story there and the details all felt pertinent.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Interesting sci-fi concepts. This book felt really unique and packed with sci-fi elements that I wasn’t even expecting!
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. I thought this was going to have a few more thriller elements in it, and while it was jam-packed with things, for some reason I was just left wanting a little bit more.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I  really enjoyed this one and I think other sci-fi fans who like a fast-paced story will too!

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BOOKS LIKE DARK MATTER

             

Discussion: Someone Just Said “Audiobooks Aren’t Books” and You’re About to Get a Rant

discussion

AUDIOBOOKS

I was on Instagram this morning, as I usually do to catch up on what happened overnight, and I came across an account that had a whole post on how “audiobooks aren’t books”. I kindly replied but that statement just rattled around in my brain all morning and the more I thought about it, the angrier I got so I figured why not rant about it to the book community.

We all have very strong preferences on the way that we read. Some people prefer reading on their e-readers, some love physical books, some love audiobooks, and many of us appreciate reading in any form. Books make us passionate, so much so that we even get get passionate about the method that we read and let me tell you, I am VERY passionate about audiobooks.

This isn’t just a rant in defense of “audiobooks ARE books”. It’s an exaggeration, but to me that’s like saying the Earth is flat. Audiobooks are literally published and sold by publishing houses. They’re sent out for review to readers and bloggers. They are absolutely categorized and described as a book. They’re not movies or shows, they’re not plays. They’re books. Just because someone is reading it out loud and you’re not using your eyes to read the words on the page doesn’t mean what you just took in wasn’t reading a book. Every single word the author wrote is contained in an audiobook and they’re not cut down or edited (note: expect in special cases like some full cast audiobooks that read more like plays BUT I would say almost always a full, unabridged version is published first. Those are often more like special editions. MOST full cast audiobooks I’ve listened to still contain all of the text).

Traditionally, reading is done with your eyes (duh). I agree, that’s absolutely different than listening to something. You don’t have to know how to read or spell to listen to something, that’s an obvious fact. But there are many, many books I’ve only read/listened to as an audiobook. Does that mean I never made a connection to any of the books I’ve listened to? I know as well as someone who read the words on the pages with their eyes how that story goes, what happened, and can provide an accurate summary and review. Sometimes I remember even better after listening than I do with reading. Listening to an audiobook provides a new way to retain information and the timbre and cadence of the narrator’s voices often help me remember actual quotes and passages better than they would if I was reading a hardcover/paperback/ARC.

Isn’t that also saying that a parent reading out loud to their child, for example, isn’t reading? What if someone is blind and can only listen to audiobooks? Does that mean they never read a book? Sure, we’re putting limitations on things here, but if it counts, it counts and it COUNTS.

I’ve only ever listened to THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater on audiobook and I’ve listened to it at least seven times. I know the story backwards and forwards and even better because I can hear the narrators reciting the text. I can’t imagine anyone, including the author, saying I didn’t read that book because I never read the words on physical pages. I would imagine authors want people to read their books, no matter the form, and audiobooks are absolutely one of those forms.

The argument this poster was making was that people who are just listening to audiobooks while they’re driving or cleaning the house aren’t reading and I’m still gonna argue that one hard. See all the points above etc etc but also… don’t you WANT people to read? For people who are that busy that they only have time to listen to audiobooks in the car or while they’re cleaning, isn’t that great that they still have the time and want to read at SOME point in time? They’re choosing books they really want to read but otherwise don’t have time to. Reading is not defined by a quantity. It’s not “you have to read ten books a year minimum for any of your reading to count”. Maybe those people aren’t avid readers but they’re not claiming to be.

I am an avid reader. I work quite literally almost all day. I go to the shop to work from 7:30 – 5 and then come home, make dinner, eat, and go back to working on the computer until I’m too tired to work anymore. My ONLY designated sit-down-and-read time is a couple of hours on the weekends so I listen to TONS of audiobooks while I’m working. I still know what happened, with a good audiobook I’m probably even more focused than when read paper pages, and I still review them for my blog. If I didn’t post that they were audiobooks, you’d have no idea that was how I read them because I can review a book accurately and entirely through that method. I just don’t see how it’s “not reading”.

I’m also super defensive and in promotion of audiobooks because of how many reads they make up for me each year. I read 133 books in 2018. 102 of them were audiobooks. That means I only had time to sit down and read 31 books that were physical copies and wouldn’t that be a travesty if I limited myself to only 31 books instead of 133 if “audiobooks weren’t books”?

I think almost all of us are in acknowledgement that audiobooks ARE books, even if we don’t all like or use them. Listening to an audiobook makes the story no less absorbed and especially depending on the best method of learning for a person, it can even make a story better absorbed. It’s like arguing a fact so I’ll stop arguing, but man, I was consumed with rage by that thought and you got a good rant out of it!


I (hopefully) think we can all agree here! So tell me instead what your favorite audiobook is because I’m always in need of more!!

Top Ten Tuesday – May 14, 2019: Book-to-Screen | Dare I Say It? The Movie/Show Was Better

TOP TEN TUESDAY
May 14, 2019

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlThis week’s topic was Book-to-Screen Freebie so I’m sharing my favorites that I think are — dare I say it? — better than the books!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday but hey, I’m trying to get back into the blogging groove. It’s something I miss doing and I really liked the topic this week!

DARE I SAY IT? THE MOVIE/TV SHOW WAS BETTER

1.THE PRINCESS BRIDE (MOVIE) | The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies from my childhood (and my whole adult life as well) and I didn’t read the book until I was an adult. I loved how closely the movie follows the book for the most part but I think the movie does a fantastic job of capturing the fantastical elements along with perfectly timed comedy and subtle (and not-so-subtle) jokes. The cast of the movie is just too perfect, plus nostalgia and the movie for me will always be better than the book.


2. THE MAGICIANS (TV SHOW) | I actually really enjoyed The Magicians as a book series but I just fell in love with the TV show. The actors are just so enjoyable, Quentin is more tolerable, and well, I still hate Alice no matter what (maybe even more in the TV show…) but I love how the SyFy adaptation ended up straying from the books and becoming its own thing. It opened even more doors for this story to continue, add more characters, and find new ways to incorporate this story line. Things from the books still pop up in new and fun ways so it’s still fun as a reader to see them continue to be combined but in unique fashions!


3. DEXTER (TV SHOW) | I watched the TV show before I read the first Dexter book and the show was just so much better. Michael C. Hall is the perfect Dexter and such a great actor in this series. I loved how the show adapted the book and how the actors really made this concept into such a great show. I never ended up continuing my reading of the series because the show was so much better and I finally finished binge-watching this year!


4. THE NOTEBOOK (MOVIE) | This was another book that I didn’t read until after I saw the movie and I enjoyed the movie so much more! The actors just have so much chemistry and I liked how the movie organized the timelines a little bit differently. I just loved how the movie felt and brought this story to life! The book was still very good but the actors really made this what it is.


5. THE PRINCESS DIARIES (MOVIE) | Yet another series that I didn’t start until after I saw the movie! The movie actually changes quite a lot, from location to parents to basically the entire plot, but I actually liked how it updated it a bit for the times since the book was written (although now even the movie is outdated at this point) and I kind of liked the changes it made. The book was still enjoyable and I’m still working my way through this series, but head-to-head challenge? I think the movie wins out for me, just slightly.


6. GAME OF THRONES (TV SHOW) | Don’t get me wrong, I loved A Song of Ice and Fire… but the TV show is giving us an ending when we’ve been waiting for YEARS to even get a continuation of the series as the sixth book. The books left us in a TERRIBLE spot that until the TV show, we were just left waiting to see what the heck happened to our favorite characters. Plus, the TV show took me two weeks to binge watch versus 8 months to “binge read” the books. (If I really wanted to binge read them now, I’d do it on audio and be done in less than two weeks but I was taking my time when I first read them). The show gives us clarity on why characters like Davos are important and have POV chapters (which he’s way more enjoyable on the show than the books) and the TV show also really helped me when reading the books so I could put faces to the many names of the many characters. I love them both, but the show is here now soooo….


7. AMERICAN GODS (TV SHOW) | I’ll admit it. I had a little bit of a hard time getting into AMERICAN GODS when I read the book. I didn’t know how things would come together and it kind of took me a little bit to get a grasp on it. Once I got into it, I was loving it! Knowing what I know (and forgetting what I knew), the TV makes for a more enjoyable experience for me and I was already loving the characters and story before the show even began. I also really love all of the actors and the imagery in the show is stunning.


8. TRUE BLOOD (TV SHOW) | I actually read quite a few of the Sookie Steakhouse books (after watching the show…) but I just enjoyed the show so much more. I felt like the show was a little darker, more intense, and I enjoyed all of the actors……. except for ya know, two of the main characters (Sookie and Bill. Sorry not sorry). I also liked how this show took some liberties and kept pieces and concepts from the books but kind of made them better. I never did finish the TV series but it’s been so long at this point I don’t know if I could pick up where I left off.


9. SLEEPY HOLLOW (TV SHOW) |  Sure, the TV adaptation of THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW was totally different but I LOVED it. Well, for a while. I didn’t even watch the last season because things got stupid and lost their charm. I thought Tom Mison was just darling as an Ichabod Crane transported to modern day America and the history + paranormal was just so much fun!


10. YOU (TV SHOW) | This one is kind of a toss-up, but I really liked seeing this story brought to the screen and seeing a different side of things! It was fun seeing people watch the show who haven’t read the books and didn’t know how creepy Joe really was, as well as getting everyone’s opinions of Beck. I actually found her less annoying in the show but people still thought she was stupid so that’s… good? It was just really fun to see this one adapted and I’m curious to see if/when they come back with the next season, where that will go since the first season covered all of book one! I did enjoy YOU as a book quite a bit (especially the narrator for the audiobook) but the show helped keep things on track whereas I felt the book kind of just strayed into long narratives at times.


Which book-to-screen adaptations have you enjoyed as much as or more than the books? Any of these that you agree with?

Mini-Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine (Trouble #1) – Stephanie Tromly

Mini-Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine (Trouble #1) – Stephanie TromlyTitle: Trouble is a Friend of Mine (Trouble #1) by Stephanie Tromly
Publishing Info: August 4, 2015 by Penguin
Source: ALAMW15, Scribd
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: July 16, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Of course I didn’t like Digby when I first met him. No one does.

The first time Philip Digby shows up on Zoe Webster’s doorstep, he’s rude and he treats her like a book he’s already read and knows the ending to.

But before she knows it, Zoe’s allowed Digby—annoying, brilliant, and somehow…attractive? Digby—to drag her into a series of hilarious, dangerous, and only vaguely legal schemes all related to the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that might be connected to the tragic disappearance of his little sister eight years ago. When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can’t say no.

But is Digby a hero? Or is his manic quest an indication of a desperate attempt to repair his broken family and exorcize his own obsessive-compulsive tendencies? And does she really care anyway?

This is a contemporary debut with razor-sharp dialogue, ridiculously funny action, and a dynamic duo you won’t soon forget.

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I had seen a lot of really good reviews for this book for some trusted reviewers so I was pretty bummed that this wasn’t what I expected. It had its laugh-out-loud moments but it was just a little too silly at times for me. Sometimes it felt like it was trying too hard and other times it really was as clever people praised it to be.

Overall though, I just really didn’t connect with the characters. They seemed too much like caricatures and not actual people. There was just too much going on and too much that didn’t seem believable. I doubt I’ll continue on. It was okay but I don’t feel the pull to keep going. I am glad that I read it though. I always want to read any clever, smart book and it did have its moments.

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Kept Me Hooked On: More YA mystery/thrillers with a side of comedy. I really love the comic relief in hijinks books. It’s such a fun way to keep things light in a dark situation.
Left Me Wanting More: Character depth. I just really didn’t connect to them and they often felt too surface-level.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I didn’t quite love this one but so many other people really praised it! Check out your favorite reviewers to see whose opinions you might fit with!

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BOOKS LIKE TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE

             

Legendary (Caraval #2) – Stephanie Garber

Legendary (Caraval #2) – Stephanie GarberTitle: Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber
Publishing Info: May 29, 2018 by Macmillan, Flatiron Books
Source: Scribd, ALAAC18
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: May 2, 2019
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Caraval (Caraval #1)

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever...

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun.

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I re-read CARAVAL in order to prepare for LEGENDARY and yeahhhh. I didn’t need to do that. Let’s back up and assess how this read went for me.

So CARAVAL? Was just an okay read for me. I wanted to love it and expected to but so much of it just felt messy (maybe because it was far too whimsical for my taste?) and totally lawless. Anything could happen, characters (and readers) were intentionally duped and led astray but not in that good way where they’re clever and figure things out, and the villains were SO nasty that it was just disgusting and uncomfortable. I was hoping for a little change after we had gotten some of that stuff out of the way in CARAVAL but I think LEGENDARY actually got worse.

LEGENDARY follows Tella’s story from her POV and I wasn’t excited for it because I found Tella really annoying and immature in CARAVAL and while some people said it helped being from her POV in this book, it really didn’t do anything for me. I still found her far too impulsive in all the wrong ways and like Scarlett in CARAVAL, she just had a one-track mind and had blinders on for almost literally everything else.

Where I felt like the game of Caraval was totally random and lawless, I kind of felt like the whole plot of LEGENDARY followed suit. It was sloppy, choppy, and hopped around without and real transition or groundwork. So much time is spent on the visual aspects and imagery that there’s no real world building aside from the bare-bones structure of Caraval itself and the overall outline of where this book is going. The two books don’t really connect together aside from the fact that this takes place after the events of CARAVAL and the girls’ mother is mentioned a handful of times in CARAVAL without any other backstory to go with it, really. I feel like some really good world-building would have included mentions to any of the Deck of Destiny, more about their mother’s disappearance, or any single mention of the Fates. Plus it’s still pretty muddy how all of this magic even works. So much of it was a rumor and then we’ve got the power of the Fates and the cards and how did this all work out again? I know in fantasy novels sometimes magic just IS but the abilities and limits to the magic in these books goes from being “the closest thing to magic”, which makes you think it’s not magic at all, to actual magic like a magician type, to being compared to godlike, to Fates which are powerful beings and they came from where and why? There’s just a lot of groundwork that could have been laid for LEGENDARY in CARAVAL that wasn’t and this felt nearly unconnected plot-wise. I feel like the game of Caraval was included in this book purely to connect the two because it really wasn’t necessary for them to play the game at all in this book and it didn’t really add anything to it. The magic could have been incorporated in some other way and had a better flow to push things forward instead of making things fit into this Caraval box again.

I still find the whole concept of Legend himself confusing. We find out his true identity in this book but he was kept as two separate characters for so long that I feel like I only know one of them and I still don’t really know Legend. His story just seems to change to fit wherever the plot is going and there’s still so much that just doesn’t feel right. Too much of him still seems like an idea and not an actual character.

This book just didn’t do much for me. It actually irritated me more than I enjoyed it. I’ll still read/listen to Finale to finish it but I don’t even know where this series is going. There’s not a real series arc so I don’t even know what the plot of FINALE might even be. CARAVAL was pretty much only about finding Tella, and then LEGENDARY was pretty much only about finding their mother soooo. What now?

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Kept Me Hooked On: Descriptive Fantasy. Stephanie Garber is great with her descriptions and really brings worlds to life! The books are definitely highly sensory.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot flow. CARAVAL was lacking some flow to me and LEGENDARY felt even messier in that regard. I feel like things could have been arranged much better.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

This series is HUGE with the readers out there but there are also some like me who feel the same way. If you liked CARAVAL a lot, I feel like you’ll like LEGENDARY!

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BOOKS LIKE LEGENDARY

             

Listen to Your Heart – Kasie West

Listen to Your Heart – Kasie WestTitle: Listen To Your Heart by Kasie West
Publishing Info: May 29, 2018 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Amazon
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Date Completed: July 10, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1), The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, Split Second (Pivot Point #2), The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side

Talking to other people isn't Kate Bailey's favorite activity. She'd much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school's podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she'll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate's surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend ... until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West's adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

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I’m a big Kasie West fan and she’s definitely an auto-read/auto-buy author for me! LISTEN TO YOUR HEART was another fun, cute, classic Kasie West book but sadly, this isn’t my favorite Kasie West novel. I just didn’t connect with the set-up the way I had hoped and I didn’t feel the chemistry of the characters. Kate fell a little flat for me and I’ve seen better main characters from Kasie West before, so knowing what else I’ve read, she just didn’t bring that vibrance to the page that other characters have.

The podcast concept was really cute and I liked the modern Sleepless in Seattle sort of feel, but I thought the author could have played up the calls in a little bit more, adding more to the fun podcast concept and feel. I really didn’t like the misdirection and best friend conflict, though I did really appreciate the friendship and how the girls didn’t have to be enemies or get in a fight.

I also REALLY enjoyed the setting. Kate and her family live in a “lake town” and she lives for her time out on the lake. I absolutely loved the feeling it gave me and made me anxious for camping, outdoors, and summertime!

Overall, LISTEN TO YOUR HEAR was still a cute novel but didn’t hit my feels the way other Kasie West books have. I wish there was more that would have stood out to me but I didn’t love this one as much as I wanted to.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Outdoor summer stories. This wasn’t really ABOUT being outdoors but I loved Kate’s connections to the lake and I’d love to read more stories about people in nature!
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. I wish I connected with it more somehow! It was a cute novel but I felt like it could have used a lot more depth.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I always enjoy Kasie’s novels and there are a lot of mixed reviews! Some people were on the fence (no pun intended (that’s one of her book titles…)) and others absolutely loved it! It’s worth the read.

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BOOKS LIKE LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

             

What I Loved [April 2019]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

I thought it was going to be a small reading month because I took almost two weeks to binge watch Game of Thrones from start to finish, but I actually managed to finish some physical copies on my weekend reads and sneak a few more audiobooks in there!

 

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BOOKS READ (10):

APRIL READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 10
  • # BOOKS DNF: 0
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 0
    • 4.5 STARS: 0
    • 4 STARS: 4
    • 3.5 STARS: 1
    • 3 STARS: 4
    • 2.5 STARS: 1
    • 2 STARS: 0
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 7
    • ARC: 2
    • HARDCOVER: 1

 

MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in April:

  • Game of Thrones (HBO Go): Seasons 1 – 7 (binge watch); Season 8 episodes 1-3 (as they premiere)
  • The Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix): All of Season 3 (caught up on current seasons)
  • Shameless (Netflix): Season 4, episodes 11 – 12; Season 5 (all)
  • The Magicians (SyFy via website): Season 4, episodes 11 – 13 (as they premiered)
  • American Gods (Starz, via Xfinity Stream): Season 2, episodes 4 – 8 (as they premiered)
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix): Season 2 (all, caught up on current seasons)
  • The Order (Netflix): Season 1 (all, caught up on current seasons)
  • Impostors (Netflix): All of Seasons 1 – 2 (series complete)

I had a great time binge-watching Game of Thrones and getting all caught up! I had seen seasons 1-2 before but I started back from the beginning since it had been so long.

I was hoping for a lot more from The Order, to be honest. The trailer made it seem a lot witchier and it dealt more with the secret society part and had a lot more to do with werewolves. *shrug*

Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans WelchTitle: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Publishing Info: May 3, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Book Outlet
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Date Completed: July 7, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

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This was such a great and wonderful for summertime or really any time someone might be looking for a cute contemporary novel! I really enjoyed the whole book from inspiration to romance and even a little mystery. The Italian setting was gorgeous and made me really want to visit Italy and I truly loved all of the characters too!

I was a little worried when the book started out with grief after Lina lost her mother because I generally like to stay away from books surrounding grief and death as of late, but of course it’s a normal part of life so it still has its place in a cute contemporary novel, keeping the reality in the novel. I actually thought it was a nice balance to the romance and kept some things grounded when the romance was sitting around Italy! It also ended up being a vital part of the little mystery of the book too as Lina follows her mother’s journal to try to find clues about her life.

I really loved all of the characters in this book and everything about LOVE & GELATO made me feel like I could leap right into the pages and join the novel. I could easily picture the Italian setting and imagine this book as a cute movie. Each one of the characters felt like a real person and invite the readers into the story. It was such a natural thing to follow them on this adventure and I was really able to lose myself in the story.

I had a lot of fun reading LOVE & GELATO and there was just something about this book that I really connected with. It instantly made Jenna Evans Welch an instant read author for me and I’m so excited to continue to read her works!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Travel stories. I really loved the setting in Italy! It made me feel like I was there and it was a fun way to travel without traveling (though it made me want to).
Left Me Wanting More: Cutesy moments. I actually really liked the romance but I was expecting the book to be a little more “cutesy” and a little less serious. I still loved it but I can always do with some more cute times.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I really enjoyed this one! Something about it just made Jenna Evans Welch and instant read author for me and I can’t wait to read more!

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BOOKS LIKE LOVE & GELATO

             

Review in a Tweet | Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

REVIEW IN A TWEET is a feature that I need from time to time when I don’t have a ton to say in a review. Sometimes even mini-reviews are too long to write when you finished a book months ago and didn’t write a single note down on Goodreads. But the good news is that I started tweeting and saving very, very mini book reviews!

Today’s Review in a Tweet is actually more of a book review that could fit in a tweet instead of actually tweeting it… Oops! I haven’t been on Twitter much lately because frankly, it’s not a place I enjoy much anymore so I often forget to post. I miss the fun and interaction I used to have there but I’ve felt like it’s become much too negative for me to enjoy it anymore so I’ve been sticking to Instagram recently, but I did like this quick and easy review format where I still get to share feelings about a book without a full review write-up!

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING had been on my radar for a long time, but the concept of it wasn’t really something I was interested in jumping into right away. I finally picked it up before creating a contemporary-inspired candle box because I like to read all of the books for which I create candles and other items, so I wanted to give EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING a try. I thought it was going to be much heavier than it was and I was afraid of really feeling sad or heartbroken, but instead it had a fun romance, a good message, and even a twist! Here were my initial reactions to reading it that could probably fit in a long tweet:

That was a lot different than I thought it would be and I really enjoyed it! I liked how the story developed, I really enjoyed the characters, and there was even a twist I didn’t see coming. There was a lot to appreciate here and I was afraid it would be sad or dramatic, but it was very realistic and down-to-earth. Quite a solid read!

So there you have it! Not the most exciting book review, but I really wanted to share my thoughts on it regardless. I’ve been moving away from a lot of serious/sad contemporary or realistic novels and things having to do with disease or dying just aren’t what I’ve been in the mood for, as real-life as they may be, so I’m definitely glad I still read this one!