TV: Big Little Lies

I read Big Little Lies at least a year ago and absolutely devoured it. It was just so well done and well written and I loved every single page, every word. So good! I was pumped when I heard it was being turned into a tv show. And then it said HBO and I was bummed because we have never subscribed to the channel but it keeps getting so many fun shows!

So when my cable company changed and thus the lineup of channels changed–I decided I was an adult that pays her bills and why not splurge on some super fast internet and channels I’d love to have. THUS- I have access to HBO. WHAT? I know.

So, this weekend I declared a binge weekend. Movies, tv, books. Relaxation happy Erika central.

I have only watched one episode as of right now, and the casting is ON POINT. I love it. and it feels like the book. It’s what I saw when I was reading it. I’m alllllll over it. Here’s hoping it continues in this fashion.

Now I am getting myself a bowl of ice cream and curling up to continue my binging because I can. 😉

Don’t forget to do you whenever possible. Because it is the best thing for you.

Bout of Books #20

Yup! Another readathon is coming up and right on time for my giant stack of “really want to read these in August” books!

New to Bout of Books? Here you go:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Now! TBR time!

Let’s talk the week of the readathon first. This particular week is a happily busy one so I’d like very much to be relaxing with a book each day (in other words: PERFECT TIMING). It is what we merchandisers call “seasonal changeover” week. I am clearing out Graduation to put up Halloween! Woop Woop! This means I get a good amount of hours and I travel around most of the week,
This week also includes Dog Duty while the Sister takes the Niece off to see Mr. Shawn Mendez as a last hurrah before she starts her Sophomore year of High School (WHAT?!!!). So I shall be trapped in someone else’s home which usually means I get lost in books and tv while trading off chasing the pups with The Momma.
And! More book related, the 26th is turn in day for the Adult Reading Bingo at my local library. So, I havvvvvve to get some reading in!

SO! My TBR for this week and the rest of this month is as follows (Oh and totally a large list, I know) :

  • Kiss My Tiara by Susan Jane Gilman
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Re-read)
  • Outline by Rachel Cusk
  • H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  • I Love You, Michael Collins
  • Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner
  • Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
  • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Not to mention I would like to read a couple e books because holy crap do I have a lot on my Kindle I haven’t actually read but was so excited to acquire.

So! there we go! Who else is bout of booksing next week? Goooood Luck!

Good with Words

I have been a writer my whole life.

I know, that sounds like something you say. “Oh! of course, I’ve allllllways been a writer. Comes naturally!” ((Note: I totally said this in one of those put on wannabe British accents in my head))
Really though, I have been a writer my whole life.

When I was young, I would make up stories about my stuffed animals or the posters on my sister’s wall.
As part of a project at school when I was maybe 8 or 9, my Dad took me to a couple of cemeteries and I wrote stories about what happened to some of the people there based solely on their headstone or plaque. I enjoyed it so much, it became one of our things.
In school, I always loved the assignments that included essays or get creative in them.

On my own, I filled books with my daily journals. Another book was for my random pieces of stories, a lot of them based on dreams I’d had. Yet another was for my poetry.

I’m fairly certain that poetry itself saved my life.

I was not a happy teenager. I laughed a lot and I loved to have fun but I was not happy. Not even slightly. I was ashamed of my own coping methods. I was afraid of being abandoned by my friends (a common theme in my chosen group of friends). I was not a good student so I was constantly stressed that I was letting my parents and their notion that I was a smart kid down. I was not a happy teenager.
So I wrote. I wrote all the time. In classes, on the bus, at the dinner table, in bed. All the time.

It was my way out. Writing has always helped me organize my thoughts. It’s why I loved the notion of blogs. (I started my first at 15 on Diaryland). You get to organize your thoughts and let out whatever you want to and HEY! you may connect with someone else too.

So when I say I have been a writer my whole life, it is sincere.

I used to dream about writing books or being paid to actual share my poetry.

For a good decade I was actively working on a book about my dating experiences.

I am good with words. Sometimes, I feel that I am better in writing. I mean, seriously, if you’ve had a conversation with me you’d totally get that.

I’m not caught up in the dream anymore and I’ve recently been thinking about pulling out the old binders and the slew of spiral notebooks and just reading them again. Seeing what’s there.

I feel like it could be an adventure. There are things I’ve written that I read back and can’t place in a time line at all. Things I read and I go, hold up, who wrote that?

I’m sure the adventure of going through my writing means I’ll be sharing because I never did have a problem with sharing it.

I have always been a writer so why not write and come by it honestly.

 

 

Rapid Fire Reviews: Let’s Catch Up!

Books. Books. Books!!

I think I read all four of these in July but as I’m not sure, we’ll just call this a catch up of reviews.

Note: These reviews are 100 % my opinion and may contain spoilers. 

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
HOLY FUCK! This was one hell of a ride. I mean, this haunts you the way Gone Girl does. You are reading and suddenly in the middle of this insane story that can’t possible be going the way you think it is.

This is trigger after trigger after trigger. The story centers around a horrific sexual assault and it is discussed extensively throughout the story. In great detail due to the basis that a psychologist is working on retriving memories a drug cocktail took from the victim.

This book will disgust you and intrigue you and confuse you and by the end you are thoroughly impressed by the writer’s ability to weave the fucked up web they weave.

ALSO! The move rights for this have already been sold! Kind of excited to see if it holds up to the book.

Such a good read but I stress–sooooo many triggers in this.

Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner
I have no idea why it took me so long to read this. One of my favorite movies is In Her Shoes so I’ve been interested in reading Jennifer Weiner since that came out. This was fluffy yet somehow empowering in that vein of “chick lit” we all know and love. I really enjoyed it but, if it wasn’t that I’d already acquired it’s sequel, I’m not sure I would continue with Cannie’s story. She was a wee bit annoying.

Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny
OK! Truth time! I get recommendations from everywhere. This particular recommendation was made by one (super famous hobbit) Dominic Monaghan. Ummm, I love him. Like, I think he is the most adorable man ever. Did you see The Wild? OMG I love that show-I so hope it magically comes back because watching him gush over animals is my favorite. ANYWAY. I follow him on Instagram because super adorable man who posts super interesting things including book recommendations.
Because who better to suggest a fantasy read then a freakin’ hobbit, right?
So! On to this book, the story is really interesting. It’s about a man who wakes up with no real memory and discovers he’s kind of royalty in this alternate world, Amber.
This book is the first of 10 in the series. There was a lot of world building and sort of back story so I finished it confused but kind of intrigued to continue. Not sure yet. I may pick up the next one since one of the local libraries has the whole thing. We shall see.

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
This is my first foray into the “cozy mysteries” genre and let me just say; it was fun! I adore the main character: 34th in line to the throne and hilarious, Georgie. I liked that it was an actual mystery- I wasn’t sure who had done the crime or not. I wasn’t sure if the dapper man who shows up was a catch or crook. I loved it. I also enjoy that there is a woman who is sexual and in an inner circle of well to do people. And! A gay couple! I will definitely continue with this series.

 

 

August with Nicholas Sparks

Hello and Happy August!

This month, there is a theme to my reading. Mr. Nicholas Sparks!

Why do you ask? Well, here’s the thing. My Mom is quite the reader and she discovered Mr. Sparks way back when Message in a Bottle came out. She has read every, single book. She owns every movie adaptation. He is her absolute favorite.

Somehow. I have never read one of his books. I have seen all of the adaptations. Mom claims I will love his books. And since we do own them all. And it just so happens that August is Mom’s birthday month. I am going to read Nicholas Sparks for the month of August.

I’m not sure that I’ll only read him but I would like to attempt to read a few at the very least.

I am starting with Two by Two and A Walk to Remember.

Leave  a comment with which of his books you think I should pick up this month?

Amazon Lover

I love lists.

Love them.

I make them all the time. I have a planner I refer to as my “life” that lists my work schedule, my goals for each day, appointments, etc. etc.
I have a notebook that lists each “pay day” and whatever finances I hope to take care of or need to get to with that particular income.
I have a notebook that keeps track of my reading challenge lists-just because I like having something physical to look at sometimes.
and I have a massive Amazon wish list.

I have been shopping on Amazon since I was 18. The first thing I purchased was Eminem’s Marshall Mathers lyric book. I started a wish list then. Just adding things I’d like to buy eventually all willy nilly.

A few years back I realized my wish list had grown to insanely long and how would anyone that actually wanted to shop for me be able to figure it out. So I organized.

I separated everything into their own little categories.

When I am feeling particularly unfocused or restless I’ll go and sift through my lists and remove things I may have purchased else where (like a book sale where I acquired 20 new books, perhaps).

This past year, I have really been utilizing my library A LOT. Because of that, I made myself a whole new pretty list and moved the books from my well established Bookworm list to a private Borrow Me! list.

Because though I want very much to purchase allllllll the books, I can’t swing that all the time and currently, I am officially out of space to house books until I clear some of these shelves! So I borrow. I support my lovely local library. I borrow and borrow some more. And you know what, my state has some fannnntastic stacks! Thank God for Interlibrary Loans!

And moving around the lists gives me something to focus on that isn’t causing me more stress. It’s a focus that has no time constraint. That wont cost me money. That isn’t impending deadlines. It’s just something fun for me.

Whatever works, right? 😉

On the Amazon Lover front–today! I successfully purchased an upgrade for myself. I am DVD collector. I love movies. I love TV. I love stand up. I love live shows. I love the fact that you can purchase your favorites and just watch them to death. Which means, I love the Netlix annnnd Amazon Prime Video. So, since my well loved DVD player died a horrible death due to a power outage this week; I have upgraded to a BluRay player WITH streaming capability which makes me sublimely happy.

I feel it is important to find ways to treat yourself even if you live paycheck to paycheck.

Today, I spent some time playing with my lists because I needed to do something for me that calmed me. Then I did some finances and I ordered Mom some lovely new clothes she’s been eyeing. I went ahead and ordered myself that upgraded player so I can enjoy my TV time the way I love too. I even picked up the shampoo Mom prefers and a pretty new stand so my TV and new player and cable box can all live in harmony and actually fill the space they’re in.

Lists are calming for me. Shopping is incredibly fun for me. And knowing that I saved a ton of money getting things that will make us smile and feel good; that is certainly a step to less worry.

 

Rapid Fire Reviews: The Girl From The Sea

OOOOOOOoooooOooo! Bitches be crazy!

Note: This review is 100% my opinion and may contain spoilers

This is a short read, like just under 300 pages. It’s billed as a “psychological thriller.” Basic synopsis is a girl washes up on a beach with no memory and the more she learns about herself the more crazy the story becomes.

Now, I picked this one up off my favorite shelf at the library: New to the Library. Sometimes they are new releases, sometimes its just something that was added to the stacks recently. I always seem to scoop up fun stuff there. This one had a weird vibe to it. The cover has a chick looking all exorcisty floating out of water or drowning although to me it looks like floating.

The blurbs on the back compared it to The Girl On The Train annnnd Gone Girl so I excepted a thriller and a half. I mean, I remember actual moments where I had to remind myself to breathe when reading Girl on the Train. And Gone Girl had that crazy ass other half where you went “wooooaaahhh, bitches be crazy.”

Although this did pack a punch in the last 30 pages or so, I would not compare it to either of those books. I didn’t feel that exhilaration you get from a thriller. I wasn’t gasping or shocked. I was absolutely intrigued by what the hell happened to Mia.

And! I actually liked Mia! I feel like it’s been a minute since I liked a main character. Amnesia Mia was all kinds of empowered and her inner monologue was relatable. And thennnn–bitches.be.crazy.

I liked the book. I enjoyed the twist to the story in the end. I would certainly pick up another book by Shalani too. It was a good one.

and as happens when you read a good book, I jumped right into my next read.

Happy to feel back on track.

Rapid Fire Review: Weekend Reads

I managed to read two books this weekend. Well, technically I finished up the second this morning but it still counts.

Let’s get the more disappointing one out of the way.

Note: These reviews are 100% my opinion and may contain spoilers. 

The Girls by Emma Cline

I have seen this book everywhere. At local book stores, in ads online, on booktube; everywhere. I heard it was chilling and interesting and all those buzz words that make you want to grab it up. It has a cool looking cover that suggests the story inside takes place in the 60;s. The blurbs! OMG. They were fantastic. They also leave me to believe we were reading different books.

Personally, I have always found the whole Manson Camp story fascinating. The fact that decades later he still maintains his innocence in the whole thing. The fact that the women involved were so devoted to him. I watched that fantastic show Aquarius and loved every episode (and that dude that played Charlie was perfectly cast). So, the fact that this story used that as a jumping off point intrigued me.

And it stopped there. Now, I read the whole thing. I found myself determined to finish it because surely it had to get better.

I didn’t hate it. Here’s why: Emma Cline is a beautiful writer. I mean, straight up haunting and flowy and borderline conversational. That redeemed the not so interesting story.

I kind of hated Evie. She was annoying. BUT! She is also 14 when the story opens so she should be annoying. Her mother was even worse. UGH! The girls that were in the camp itself were varying degrees of the mean girls in high school. Just grimy and eventually psychotic mean girls.

Russell was gross and skeevy and did not come across as charismatic at all. If he was some kind of ringleader here, shouldn’t he have a little charisma. I mean, Evie talks about him just willing people to give him things but he never felt like that kind of character.

The whole Evie and Suzanne friendship, worship, love thing just..how do I explain it? I didn’t hate it and it felt like the devotion you have to people who show you attention when you are young (hell, sometimes even as adults). I also didn’t love it, it felt contrived and obvious. Like that moment in a movie when they have two girls kiss for no apparent reason.

The entire book felt like something should be happening and then it would shift to a new part of the story which was so very aggravating. It’s told in a past and present Evie perspective so it swip swaps THE WHOLE TIME.

I feel like, I may try reading something else by Emma Cline because I liked the actual writing, not the style of this story (or really this story at all), but her actual writing. But yeah, not a fan.

Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman

Yesterday, Mom and I went on a little adventure and went to five different Little Free Libraries. I have this abundance of books kicking around in my storage room that just are not getting claimed on Book Mooch at all so I figured it was time to set them free in the world. If you’ve never seen or heard of Little Free Libraries, they are exactly as they sound: tiny little boxes filled with books that you can take for free and your encouraged to leave books as well.

I ended up getting a hardcover Liane Moriarty book that I am super excited to read, Shop Girl by Steve Martin, Mom grabbed another Debbie Macomber book (she’s addicted) and this one.

This book is a memoir told in sketches. The sketches are fashion related as the title suggests and they are lovely. It’s a quick read, just a tiny little book, but I really enjoyed it. I liked that glimpse into someones life and the styles for each year.

And that is what I read this weekend!

I have a pile of four more books from my library to attack and two out of three had that creep factor promise I’m in the mood for so hopefully one of them delivers.

My People Are The Best People

I use that phrase a lot when I talk about my friends. “My people are the best people.” A simple phrase that means everything.

When you start out as a child making friends, you don’t realize how much it will mean in 10 years that they still know your name. If they’re still nice to you when you reach high school, you’ve hit the jackpot.

I also identified as the “weird” kid. I read a lot at a young age and before a lot of my peers. I have always been loud when excited and quiet when I’m getting the lay of the land. I am social and also reclusive. I am individual to a fault (if that’s even possible). I have always been super inquisitive which has been mistrued as annoying, plying, and even insubordinate n my life.

I moved at age 8 and then again at age 14. So I dealt with the fun that changing schools and neighborhoods brings. In high school, I chose to surround myself with some, well for lack of a better word, assholes.

In the end, there is a pretty large group of people I went to high school with that as an adult I am friendly with. But there are only two that were my friends then, knew me then, and are still kicking around now (they count in the “my people” group.)

I purposely went to school away from home. I only applied to one school in my state because my advisors begged me too. I quickly accepted the offer to go to a tiny little Catholic college just one state away and moved in just shy of three months after graduation.

The first person I met was my RA. And somehow, we became friends.

It started because she had a photo of herself with Joey McIntyre and I am a Blockhead for life. We figured out that she lived super close to me, went to the same high school as my Dad, and it seemed insane that we hadn’t crossed paths before.

She was my savior more than once during the two years I spent at that school.

I left the same year she graduated and we kept in touch.

I saw her a couple times and then I lost her number.

About a year later, I ran into her at my crappy retail gig and we started hanging out.

And that’s it. I met her 16 years ago and we are still friends. And I mean real, true, friends.

Now, I am not negating that I have friends that I’ve known longer or that they are important to me, but I was compelled to gush about this particular person because she did something amazingly thoughtful and I am still all shocked and super excited about it.

Somehow, she seems to always know what I need. I believe that I have a similar trait. I’ve always prided myself on being a good friend.

We are travel buddies because we 100% get how the other one operates.

we have had few arguments and all of them ended in a real conversation that is since chuckled about.

I remember her showing up at a party years ago and escorting me out. I didn’t ask her to. I had my car with me and I was at a friend’s home I would’ve stayed in if needed. But there was some drama brewing and when she sent me a random “whatcha doing?” text, my response made her drive over and steal me.

She has taken me drunk shopping so I could sober up before I went home.

There have been many occasions of us just aimlessly riding around to take a break from life.

We talk so often that when we go a couple of days without saying hello, it feels insane.

I have had an emotional year. In fact, I’ve had an emotional couple of years. Emotions are not something I am 100% comfortable expressing, even at 34.

She has gone through her own emotional years. Her own craziness.

We attempted to take a real break from life in March and treated ourselves to a vacation. We were so exhausted halfway through, it’s a wonder we even made it. And then we had the trip home from hell. Not to mention, we were kinnnnd of broke.

We’ve been talking about taking a day trip to one of our closer to home favorite places. We already determined we’re spending her birthday next month at the beach (weather had better cooperate with that). So when she texted me with a list of dates a few weeks back, I figured we were probably planning a day to go play in our old college town.

I am caretaker to my Mom. She is in no way as bad off as she was a couple of years back but in true Mom fashion, she was curious about what we were doing next weekend on our little adventure. I told her that I didn’t really ask I just knew that it was a day trip. She wanted a more definitive time line to ease her own anxiety so I asked my friend what was up.

She replied that she really felt I needed a break from life so we would be heading to Boston in the afternoon and we’d be home late that evening because we have tickets to see Wicked.

I really do need a break. In a whole mess of ways. That’s part of why I love to read so much: the escape. The fact that she knew that and planned something like this, just speaks to why I say my people are the best people.

Because they are.

I am a musical nerd and haven’t seen Wicked yet. I’m so pumped about it and also shocked about it. I didn’t expect such a gesture.

I don’t know why though.  This is the same friend that’s helped me take a break throughout 16 years. Saved me from drunk disasters. Acted as my GPS before you could actually afford GPS.

She was the friend that came to the hospital the night my Dad passed away. She sat in a waiting room alone in a hospital I know she hates to be in for the same reasons I do and refused to leave until we were ready to leave.

Really that whole experience solidified the my people are the best people thing. The fact that my friends came out and helped in the ways they did meant a lot. It was nice to keep shocking my family. They apparently didn’t realize my friends were quite so awesome.

And this coming weekend, I get to go and have adventure with my peep. I get to know that we’ll have fun and be obnoxious and laugh our asses off because that’s what it’s like when we’re together.

I get to know that I wont have to do anything for anyone else that day.

and I get to see Wicked! With a friend that will totally sing along with me.

I am excited. I am humbled. I am grateful. I am blessed.

My people are the best people.

 

Rapid Fire Reviews: Gemina

Note: This review is 100% my opinion and may contain spoilers. 

 

HOLY SHIT! I mean COME ON! This book was a ride, to say the least. If you have not jumped on the Illuminae Files train and you enjoy Sci-Fi reads with a YA flare, PICK IT UP NOW.

I was audibly yelling at this book while I read it. I said the phrase, “plot twist,” out loud and then sat with my jaw hanging while I continued.

This was such a good sequel. If you have not heard of Illuminae (my review is Here) it is a story that takes place in space after a crazy massacre happens and everyone escapes to different ships in a fleet. The first book follows Kady and her people and her lovely adventures with Aidan. Aidan is the AI system aboard the ship and he is by far one of my favorite elements of this story.

This book takes place aboard another ship and follows Hanna and her people. Now, in the first one, I loved Aidan so much that I about threw the book from excitement when I realized he was popping up again in this one.

My favorite part of this one was the surveillance updates. Whatever employee was writing those was just 100% snark and sarcasm and I loved it.

The book is made up of all kinds of different documents, just like Illuminae, and the addition of Hanna’s journal was beautiful. I loved the artwork.

If you follow me on GoodReads you will have seen the journey this book took me on. OMG the weird little slimy drug providing creatures were things of nightmares. Those poor cows! Also, cows in space?! hahahaha.

I absolutely loved this one from beginning to end. I may wager that I liked it even better than the first. I can not WAIT for the third installment. It was pushed back already but is slated to be released in March 2018.