Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Grownup // A Blogging for Books Review

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn is a short story about a woman working as a spiritual "reader" who is presented with an interesting case by a woman, Susan, who says her house is evil. As the story continues, the psychic visits the house and finds that Susan isn't wrong about her home.

This book was a quick, short read that was genuinely chilling.  It was creepy and thrilling, and I found myself reading most of it in one sitting.  The characters were well-developed, and although it might have been better if it was a full length novel, I found it to be a little lacking towards the end.  Once it was over, I didn't feel compelled by it in any way, but I generally love anything that Gillian Flynn writes, so it won't keep me from reading her other books in the future.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On My Bookshelf: November

I originally wrote October in this post title before realizing my mistake. Where did the year go? Even November feels like it is flying by. I honestly haven't been reading much because I've been so busy with school. The quarter ends in less than two weeks, and I have a big paper looming in front of me that I've spent too little time on. That being said, I'm still trying to read some as a break during my long days of school and work, but I'll probably have to wait for Thanksgiving to catch up on all the books on my nightstand.

This month, I'm reading:

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
Yes, Gillian Flynn as in Gone Girl. Her books terrify me, and this one in particular is actually just a short story that has been published solo (after appearing in a George R.R. Martin anthology). It will be an easy but scary read. It's a little belated for Halloween, but maybe it'll be perfect for a dark, rainy night, especially since with the time change, it gets dark by 5 these days.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
I've had this book on my to read list awhile, but I never really wanted to buy it for some reason. But I'm rediscovering the joys of public libraries, especially since the addition of ebook versions, so I've loaded up my Kindle with some rentals.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Happy Cooking // A Blogging for Books Review

I love cookbooks. Cooking is so satisfying to me, and even though I'm not adventurous enough to make meals sans a recipe, I love to experiment in the kitchen. Hence why cookbooks are so wonderful to me! Another thing I've always loved? Food Network and Giada. Which is why her new book, Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count...Without Stressing Out, is a welcome addition to my cookbook collection.

At first glance, this cookbook is beautiful. The food looks stunning and yummy, and the collection of recipes included in extensive. Although I'm not a fan that there are often times more than one recipe per page (making the book appear cluttered), there are great tips included among the recipes. These tips seem to include substitution suggestions, detailed instructions for special techniques, and just her words of wisdom, written as if we were the oldest of friends.

The variety of recipes in the book also appears to be extensive. The motto of the book seems to be "clean" eating without having daunting recipes. The are suggestions for smoothies and breakfast and dinner and everything in between. My only complaint is that some of the recipes have some hefty ingredient lists which is usually my biggest deterrent from a recipe--I do not want to have to buy a whole lot of ingredients that I probably won't use up before their expiration.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy // A Blogging for Books Review

I mentioned in my last blog post that for October I was reading Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy which is about an essayist/writer that solicited questions from other essay writers about writing. The questions vary from strange to hilarious, and the answers that Dinty Moore provide and just as obscure and funny. Some of the answers are better than others, but all the answers are followed up with an essay demonstrating what he replied about. Although I felt that the essays at the beginning of the book were better than the ones at the end, I really enjoyed this collection as a whole.

I had two favorite essays from the book. The first one is called "Dash It All" and was prompted by a question by Cheryl Strayed who was actually the only essayist who submitted a question that I had actually previously heard of as she wrote the ever popular book Wild. As such, it was her question that served as an advertisement of sorts for the book because having her name attached seemed to give it some credibility to me. The other essay that I thoroughly enjoyed is entitled "Mr. Plimpton's Revenge." This essay is humorous and well-thought out, and if there was ever an essay that I would desire to go back and read, this one is it.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

On My Bookshelf: October

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
This book has been all the rage recently, and I can understand why. I also see the appeal of decluttering our homes once and for all. The book is also wonderfully written, and it's made me peer into the clutter of my own life. I don't think I'm ready yet to undergo the process of cleaning out everything though. I'm feeling too sentimental and emotional right now to give anything away and properly go through what I don't need.

Dear Mr. Essay Writer Guy by Dinty W. Moore
This is the latest book I am reading from the Blogging for Books program, and I'm loving it so far. It is hilarious, and I think anyone who's written anything just for fun will enjoy this book. The full review will come once I finish reading it :)

Friday, October 9, 2015


Making: budgets on my Mint account
Drinking: Twinning's Lady Grey tea
Watching: Gilmore Girls reruns
Reading: the Throne of Glass series
Hearing: the hum of my computer
Understanding: that I don't always have the answers.
Knitting: (crocheting) all the flowers!
Wishing: cancer would just stop being a thing. I think we're all pretty fed up with it.
Enjoying: getting to turn the AC off
Liking: dinner tonight--quiche and green beans!
Loving: the memories David and I made this past weekend on our special date night :)
Hoping: to have an amazing time at Disney on Ice tomorrow with my littlest niece and nephew. The wonder on their faces should be well worth it.
Planning: ahead so I don't procrastinate my school work
Wondering: about God's great plan. "It's never been about your ability. Today's inability is His mercy."
Needing: to start knitting again... I miss my needles.
Wearing: shorts and a plaid button-down
Listening: to Alan Waits videos. This one made me ugly cry. But in a good way.
Eating: baklava and shortbread cookies :)
Thinking: about this past Sunday's church sermon
Writing: many reflective essays for my classes
Feeling: grace in the small things.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

All the Things

I need more than my ten fingers to count all the new things that have happened to me this summer. A lot has happened, and I can't believe that it's all already over. I think Chicago is always beautiful, but it's especially so in the summer. Everyone comes spilling out of their homes to soak up all the beautiful weather while they can, filling up the streets, celebrating the silliest things (the nude bike race comes to mind...), and just generally being happy.

But fall is pretty awesome too. It's the season of boots, knitted garments, and all the cups of tea, all of which can be categorized under my love language.

Yesterday David stopped at Mariano's after work to buy me Peruvian lilies (some of my favorite flowers!), and he asked me out on a date. So tonight, we're going to Lula Cafe which will check off another restaurant on our list of Bib Gourmand restaurants to try. It's pretty rare that we have such a fancy meal out since we're all about home-cooked meals, but every routine has to be shook up every now and again :)

And now that I think about it, I don't think I ever wrote here that in June David asked me to marry him! We took a long weekend to Door County, WI, and while we were walking the Lake Michigan shoreline in Cave Point Park, David got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I cried, and you didn't hear it from me, but David cried too. It was such a perfect moment. Truly the best start to the rest of our lives together :)

Oh, and I started grad school! Gosh, I've been negligent with news recently. I'm studying secondary education with a focus in math at DePaul University, and it's been so great so far. I love my professors (one is really more like a mentor), and despite the crazy workload, the past few weeks of classes have really reaffirmed for me that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be right now.