Posted in Books and Reading, Food/Fitness, General, Life

Mid Month Check-In

How are we already through the month of January? January can honestly be one of my least favorite months of the year. We come back from winter break, everyone is sick– and this year has been worse than normal. Meetings upon meetings because apparently, we forgot how to teach over the break and they want paperwork that does not really matter til May!

But on a positive note, I had my birthday and my husband spoiled me! My reading has been good and I even am giving myself time to enjoy some other hobbies!

I won ten free classes to a local cross fit gym, and I have started cashing in some of those classes! My friends and I even joined the county wide Biggest Loser challenge for some extra motivation!

As of the 15th of the month the top 5 things I am enjoying:
1. My workout variety I have started implementing. From classes at Burn, to adding in some home workouts on mornings I want to sleep in just a little more!
2. Crescent City reread! I truly am pleasantly surprised at how much I am enjoying my reread!
3. My puzzle table my husband bought me. Those drawers are CLUTCH!
4. The Witcher— my husband & I finally are diving into this series. Henry Cavill’s grunts are my favorite!
5. Dexter New Blood— this was the ending I should have received years ago, but I will take it even now. I loved this mini series and the ending was very satisfying!

Current 2022 I want to focus on in the next few weeks: giving myself grace. I don’t have to have everything done right away all the time. I need to even use some weeknight evenings to set myself up for success. Trying to get it all done on the last day of the weekend was stressing me out to the max!

How is January treating you?

Posted in book review, Books and Reading

Review: A Flicker in the Dark

Today, I will be doing a post/extended review on A Flicker in the Dark. I received this book in my December Book of the Month box. Click here if you want to join! (Full disclosure: I get a free book if you join)

Though this was in my December box, it was an early release and just came out January 11! This book is a debut and I posted the full synopsis below.

Rating: 4.5/5
I really enjoyed this one. I found the psychological suspense aspect of this book to be well written. Though I think most people can figure out one of the twists, there are a few other ones that I did not fully put together. This is big for me as I do not figure out books often, so I am usually bummed if I figure it all out before the end.

Though our main character is not completely reliable, I did not feel like the author pushed the unreliable narrator trope too far. This is a trope I hope we begin to move past in 2022. Because after awhile it becomes offensive that the unreliable narrator is ALWAYS female, which leads to the stereotype that women are hysterical.

Another part of the book I thought was well done was how the atmosphere was built with dual timelines. This is another thing I am truly getting blah about, but this was 100% necessary for this story. I did not feel like the flow for either timeline was ever truly broken.

So why a 4.5 instead of a five? I did feel at times the pace at the beginning was a bit slow. Until the about 1/3 through the book, I felt like it was not something I wanted to keep picking up. But that is truly the only thing I did not “love”.

I highly recommend this psychological suspense! See below for the synopsis!

When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, her own father had confessed to the crimes and was put away for life, leaving Chloe and the rest of her family to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Now twenty years later, Chloe is a psychologist in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. While she finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to achieve, she sometimes feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. So when a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels from her past that aren’t actually there, or for the second time in her life, is Chloe about to unmask a killer?

From debut author Stacy Willingham comes a masterfully done, lyrical thriller, certain to be the launch of an amazing career. A Flicker in the Dark is eerily compelling to the very last page.

Posted in Food/Fitness

My Favorite Easy Recipes

Some of my favorite cookbooks!

Like many, I start the year strong. Cooking at home. Eating healthy. And by December, I am face down in a bag of peppermint bark. : ) This year, my husband and I are setting a major goal of eating home more– 5 days a week– and less food waste (talk more about that next month).

This month, I am really focusing on eating at home, which to me means quick and easy. So I have compiled a list of ten of my favorite recipes from around the internet. You will notice a quite a few are more paleo or Whole30, as that is how I try to eat most of the time!

  1. Sloppy Joes in a bowl by Physical Kitchness
  2. Broccoli & Cheddar Soup by Wholesome Yum
  3. Fathead Pizza Dough by Wholesome Yum
  4. Confetti Chicken Casserole by Fed & Fit (ABSOLUTE favorite in our house and reheats perfectly in microwave)
  5. Orange Chicken by Wholesome Yum
  6. Salmon, Broccolini and Asparagus Sheet Pan by Against All Grain
  7. Firecracker Chicken Meatballs by Little Spice Jar
  8. Crab and Corn Soup by Taste and Tell
  9. Honey Garlic Chicken by Damn Delicious
  10. Parmesan Garlic Spaghetti by Damn Delicious

I would love to know your favorite cookbook or recipe website!

Posted in book review, Books and Reading

January ARC Mini Reviews

For January, I finished a few advanced copies on Netgalley that I really enjoyed! Instead of doing separate posts for all of the books, which is part of the reason that blogging felt overwhelming, I am going to be doing some wrap up review posts monthly!

January 4th Releases
The Maid by Nita Prose

The Maid: A Novel by [Nita Prose]

Thank you to Ballantine books for the free Netgalley!
Rating: 3/5
This is considered to be a cozy mystery and to be perfectly honest, these can be a struggle for me. I find that sometimes they can move fast, while other times they dragged. And this was a mixture. The first 25% talked about a lot of cleaning. Once this picked up it was much better. I would say there were two twists total– one being very obvious and one not so much. The latter was a the ending and I found the ending to be wonderfully done.

January 18 Releases

Somebody’s Home by Kaira Rouda

Somebody's Home by [Kaira Rouda]

Thank you to GetRedPR & Thomas and Mercer for the free Netgalley!
Rating: 3/5
I found this book to be a mixed bag personally. I enjoyed the last 1/3 more than the first 2/3. The first part dragged by for me. The characters were all horrible people and Julie’s perspective truly slowed down the story, as Jess, Sandi and Roger’s POVs were more important in my opinion.

But once we got to the gritty part at the end, I enjoyed the story. I do wish the epilogue ended slightly different, but overall this book was fine.

January 25th Releases
The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf

The Overnight Guest: A Novel by [Heather Gudenkauf]

Thank you Park Row for the free Netgalley!
Rating: 4/5
Definitely enjoyed this one. This book is told in three different timelines. The switching is a little annoying at times, but overall it worked for the story. I enjoyed how this one wrapped up and felt vested in knowing the final verdict. I had most of it figured out early except for one aspect. I still felt myself turning the pages quickly as the story went on. Would recommend and was happy to find a new to me author!

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

The Appeal: A Novel by [Janice Hallett]

Thank you to Atria for a free Netgalley!
Rating: DNF

This book was a hard pass for me. I tried really hard to push through. But at 39%, I feel this is repetitive and I cannot fathom another 60% of emails. This book clocks in at OVER 400 pages— of emails and texts. I’m sorry but no. And I found the characters to be insufferable. If I had to read another email from Issy and her obsessiveness…

Posted in Food/Fitness

Fitness Goals

Me hitting my 250 bootcamps in 2021!

For the last two and half years, my workout routine has included 4-6 days a week at my local Burn Boot Camp. I LOVE my Burn Boot Camp, but my wallet does not. So during the last couple months of 2021, I started researching some different types of workouts that may be a bit cheaper.

This led me to the Peleton AP. But not the Peleton bike– remember I said cheaper. 🙂 So over Thanksgiving Break, my husband and I invested in an at home spin bike. We opted for a Sunny Fitness 1879 bike. I personally felt this was a steal. It is a $600 bike (before tax and shipping) and we got it for $425 including everything. From there I did a two month free trial (normally one month, but was a Black Friday deal) of the Peleton ap. After the trial it is only $13 a month.

Sunny 1879 bike

After a month of using the Peleton AP for cycling workouts, I have decided I am going to not renew my Burn membership. I worry because I struggle with motivation of working out at home, but I cannot justify the price of the membership.

For now, I will be doing a mixture of Peleton ap workouts, as well as, joining the YMCA for some of their classes. Both together still save me $50 a month!

What is your favorite type of exercise?

Posted in Books and Reading

2022 Book Challenges

My home library!

This year, as always, I like to participate in a handful of reading challenges. But let me digress by saying that I do not think reading is a competition. However, I have been trying to expand my reading the last few years and read books I already own. I went though a heavy stretch where I bought way too many books because #bookstagrammademedoit or because they were cheap and MAYBE I would read them one day.

The latter is my biggest goal– stop spending money on books or at least be a bit more particular about what I buy. So my first challenge and most important is The Unread Shelf Challenge. In past years, this challenge has been hosted by Whitney, but after offering an Instagram class and being truly butchered on the ‘Gram she has stepped away more. I still linked her website as the explanation of how it works is there!

My 2021 URS starting count:

Ways I will tame my URS
– Only purchase two books a month tops– unless my main BOTM pick or bought with gift cards from someone.
– Use the library if I want to read something to try and stop unnecessary purchases of books that will just sit on my shelf
– And of course read what the frick I actually own!

I really want to get my URS count to under 100 and keep it there! I definitely think this is possible as I have access to a huge library system!

The Pop Sugar Reading Challenge has been around forever, but I have never done it personally! I am truly not sure if I will do every prompt, as I do not like to needle my reading down that specifically. However, I am hoping that I will have URS books to fill these prompts already.

Posted in Books and Reading

Happy New Year!

Happy 2022 folks! 2022 is my year– at least that is what I am hoping for. The last couple have been a mixed bag, so I feel as if it is my time!

As many of you, I have some goals in 2022 that I hope to accomplish! These goals range from bookish (which is why you’re probably here), to fitness and nutrition, and finally some randoms.

Book Goals:
1. Read or listen to a book daily for 10+ minutes
2. Post min. 3 bookish blog posts a month
3. Buy no more than 2 books a month (not including my MAIN Book of the Month pick or any books bought using gift cards from others)
4. Keep my unread shelf to under 100

Fitness/Nutrition Goals:
1. Workout 5 times a week
2. Eat cleanish
3. Use all the damn cookbooks I own
4. Two fitness/nutrition blog posts a month

Non-Bookish Goals:
1. Learn to crochet and make 2 different items this year
2. Complete 1 puzzle a month
3. Complete one random lifestyle blog post a month

It feels like a lot and it probably is too much, but I feel like I need to branch out some of my hobbies and try new things– like CROCHET! I also got a Sunny spin bike at the end of 2021 and I want to expand my workouts.

I would love to hear a goal you have for 2022!