my week in pictures 6/8 + may recap & check-in!

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I’m a Julep fiend. I absolutely love their polish and this month’s box was especially beautiful! As if the colors weren’t enough, it also came with Pixie Stix (!!!) and a quote from Melina Marchetta (!!!). Good luck topping this one, Julep!

There’s an art exhibit in town that I’ve been dying to check out (you might remember when I first talked about this – the tentacles had just been installed but the galley wasn’t officially open). Yesterday was such a pretty day and after a trip to the farmers market, Matt and I headed over – literally across the street. If you follow me on twitter, be on the lookout for photos of me in my Wild Things shirt!

I recently cleaned out my bookshelves and all this empty space makes me want to fill it! Lucky for me, I’ve been finding some amazing deals!
BOUGHT
The Roald Dahl Omnibus by Roald Dahl
A house isn’t a home without a Roald Dahl collection – and y’all know I’ve certainly talked about my love for the man many, many times! The subtitle is: Perfect Bedtime Stories for Sleepless Nights and that really sums it up. I think a lot of people aren’t aware Dahl wrote fiction for adults too – and if you think his childrens’ stories are deranged, you haven’t seen anything yet!
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
This book came as a complete surprise to me: I stumbled (literally! I nearly tripped over it) at work and immediately bought it. This is one of those books I wanted to read since I first heard about it, but never imagined I’d be able to find a copy so soon. I’m VERY excited to dive into this one – so excited, in fact, that I nearly set aside the review copy I had been reading just so I could get to it sooner!
Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub
A few years ago I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of this one and, for whatever reason, declined. I’ve been kicking myself for it ever since. This novel is a fictional account of a girl who came from nothing and becomes a starlet in the golden age of Hollywood. As interested as I am, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and my hopes high: two people who share a VERY similar taste in books with me weren’t too impressed with this novel. Maybe this one will be an exception?
I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s miiiine! I’ve been looking for this book since JANUARY. The wait list at the library is a mile long. I’ve heard nothing but the best things about it and some of my favorite bloggers swear by it. This book tells the tale of a women who disguised herself as a man in order to fight alongside her husband in the Civil War. Also? It was inspired by real letters. Oh my heart. From what I hear I need to buy a box of tissues before starting this one!

FOR REVIEW
Archetype duology by M.D. Waters
I received a copy of the second book, Prototype, and the publicist was kind enough to send along the first book. I’m actually really interested in this duology – it’s a nice break from the longer series and, even though it’s dystopian, I’m seriously enjoyed the sound of it! A woman wakes in the hospital with no memories, her husband gives her new ones, but she feels like something’s off. These memories don’t seem right: she has flashes of a war, a camp, another man. Emma goes through the motions day-to-day all the while trying to fight to remember just who she is.

Talk to me! What books did you get this week? Do you have any cool art galleries near you?? Are you a nail polish junkie too??

In Case You Missed It
My Best Friend, Maybe is Caela Carter’s sophomore title and I really enjoyed it! Caela’s not afraid to tackle tough subjects and I rejoice at the flood of LGBT titles that have been coming out. Although the ending was a little sitcom-y, I tore through it in a single sitting and that earned it 4/5 stars.
Sarah Jio’s Goodnight June is my first novel of hers and likely to be the last. I had been looking forward to it for months and was so horribly let down I was tempted to DNF it! Writing that feels more like a debut effort and a main character who has everything handed to her gave this book 2/5 stars.

may

REVIEWS
The Cracks in the Kingdom (The Colors of Madeleine #2) by Jaclyn Moriarty 3/5

While I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the first, it was still a solid second novel and worthy sequel, setting up the scene for a fantastic third book!

Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey 4.5/5

My reviews usually contain more substance, but there’s nothing more than needs to be said for Buzz Kill. I devoured it in a single sitting – though I really did try to make it last!

Doing It at the Dixie Dew (Dixie Dew Bed & Breakfast #1) by Ruth Moose 3/5

Doing It at the Dixie Dew wasn’t a bad novel at all, but it wasn’t a stand-out story either. This was a solid average read if there ever was one and I’m a bit worried people might get the wrong impression by that. Let’s just say that if you’re a fan of cozies and want a new series to read, give this one a shot. If you’re brand new to the genre, however, this isn’t the one I would recommend.

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia 2.5/5

Take away Jack Nicholson and all that’s left is a book with many, many (too many!) characters and far-reaching aspirations it can’t quite attain.

Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes 5/5

There were twists I didn’t see coming and some I could have done without, but overall, this is Jojo Moyes and she’s phenomenal. If you’re brand new to her, 1) you should seriously fix that! and 2) Silver Bay shouldn’t be the book you go with for an introduction.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 5/5

All the Light We Cannot See is a haunting, lyrical novel that broke my heart a hundred times over – and I would gladly allow it another hundred shots.

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes 5/5

I Am Pilgrim is a sweeping 700-page behemoth of a novel that spans multiple decades and continents and I could have easily read another 700 pages. I’m typically hesitant to give in to hype, I’ve been burned in the past, but with this novel, the hype is not only deserved, but actually doesn’t do the book justice. I Am Pilgrim is greater than the hype.

Love By the Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan 5/5

The more I think about this book, the more I love it! Love by the Morning Star was intriguing, it was surprisingly raunchy in some parts, it was thought-provoking.

FEATURES
my week in pictures 5/4: superhero 5k & Free Comic Book Day!
my week in pictures: mother’s day: Mother’s Day & Pittsburgh’s Race for the Cure!
my week in pictures: two-week edition: food festivals, summer movies, & preschool graduation!

MISC
Coincidental Reading
Lately I’ve noticed that some unrelated books – wildly different genres/topics/age levels – have had startling similarities.

If you’re a long-time reader of the blog you know I’ve been tracking some goals I made at the beginning of the year. There are two parts to my goals: reading and requesting. Let’s see how I did in May!

READING

At my April check-in, I had read 33/60 books, or 55% of my year goal. At the end of May I had read 51 books, or 85% toward my goal! I only read ONE library book, but I binged on a few graphic novel series! I had so much fun reading those, I actually had a hard time getting back to the books I have for review!

The second part of my reading goal dealt with taking the time to make smart decisions about what I choose to read. Did my ratings reflect that?
5 stars: 10
4 stars 26
3 stars: 7
2 stars: 5
1 star: 2
DNF: 1

Not bad! In April I had doubled my March 5-star reads (bringing the total to 6), and I’ve added quite a few since then. I’d like to think it’s because I’m focusing more on what I like and the authors I enjoy rather than a case of me being a big softie. :)

My 4-star reads also shot up – April had 16 – and that’s largely because of those graphic novels I binged on. SO much fun! Unfortunately, I’ve added two more 2-star reads, but the 1-star & DNF groups remain the same.

REQUESTING

I’m not sure if it’s worth checking in with this part every month. In April I hadn’t bothered and I can only think of one I requested in May. Perhaps I’ve managed to successfully change my habits for the better in this aspect!

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2 thoughts on “my week in pictures 6/8 + may recap & check-in!

  1. Hannah says:

    YAYYYYY! I’m obviously shouting because you finally got I Shall Be Near to You! I legit cannot wait for you to read it and report back. Also, the cover for All the Birds, Singing is GORGEOUS. I mean, damn. I can’t wait to see what you think of it so I know if I want to read it or not. Haha! My fingers are crossed that you’ll enjoy Laura Lamont more than I did. Either way, we’ll have to discuss.

  2. Estelle (@thatsostelle) says:

    I love these! I didn’t order this month’s Julep box. :( I know, I know. I felt like I already had the colors but I’m sad about the pixie dust and the quote :( :( Next time! I read the Laura Lamont book a few years ago and I really liked it. Slower than I normally like but I thought the story was very interesting. Hope you enjoy!

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