Wednesday, January 6, 2021

21 for 2021 & Word of the Year

Now that I've got my book list finished (priorities), I'm ready to talk about the rest of my goals for this year. This is my...4th? 5th? year doing one of these lists. Obviously the amount of tasks gets a bit larger with each year (not sure how many more years I'm going to be able to keep this up), and this year's looks a bit...ambitious, at first glance. But I'm weirdly organized with habit trackers and motivation? Who knew.

Maybe my Virgo side is coming to light more as I age. Who knows. The point is....even the things that might look hard to accomplish have been planned out into a reasonable situation, and I'm pretty excited about it. I mean, anything's gotta go more smoothly than 2020 did.

Here's what I hope to accomplish in this new year:


My 21 for 2021 list | www.jennrych.com

 

1. Do Yoga with Adriene's 30 day challenge in January. 
2. Send a handwritten letter or card every week (or at least 50 for the year).
3. Read 30 purchased-before-2021 books that are already in the house. (1/30)
4. Finish working on the mudroom.
5. Organize our family recipes into a recipe binder.
6. Workout 125 times.
7. Read 100 books. (2/100 done)
8. Write 100 blog posts. (2/100 done)
9. Complete 6 months of my healthy habits challenge.
10. Read + study a course in miracles.
11. Get the covid vaccine.
12. Start a little embroidery side hustle.
13. Try 30 new recipes. (1/30)
14. Keep a weekly manifesting day.
15. Keep a weekly spiritual practice.
16. Make an Etsy or other handmade purchase monthly.
17. Organize & backup all my pictures and clear up my phone.
18. Keep a weekly hygge evening with Matt/the family.
19. Watch through my Hulu list.
20. Complete my critterpedia and/or museum on Animal Crossing.
21. Free space for a 2021 goal that comes up later.

I've already gotten started and I am so excited to knock out this list. I've gotten some loved ones involved on some of these, too, which makes them extra exciting.

I also love to choose a word for the year - I'm not the very best at remembering my word by the time we hit July, but it bubbles up for me every now and then and redirects my focus when it does. I'm really excited about this year's...it's actually two words.

2021 Word of the Year | www.jennrych.com

For me, it means a couple of things. It is first a reminder to approach all of my goals and life changes with careful, loving, progress. A lot of the time I find myself so excited by whatever ideas or goals I have that I hyper-focus on them before completely burning out. And then nothing ever gets 100% done. I don't like the idea of maintenance, but I've been the hare in the tortoise vs hare race of my life for too long and nothing truly worthwhile gets done. Changing that!

It's also a reminder that as we come out of this pandemic - based on some obvious assumptions, like that we'll have access to vaccines and that time and better leadership will begin the process to getting this under control in the next year or so - to be kind and careful with myself and my family. We're all going to have to re-adjust to a totally new normal, and I'm sure a lot of it is going to feel exhausting and overwhelming. It'll be important to rest and be careful with ourselves and each other.

I love goal lists and hearing about people's words of the year, so if you've got either, share them with me? I'd love to see it! Lots of luck to all of us - Happy 2021!

Monday, January 4, 2021

A Year in Books '20 - '21

Okay, get ready for it - I say it every year. This is my favorite list of the year!

I looove looking back at the books I've read and plotting what I hope to read in 2021 (even though it never, ever goes the way I plan it). That's okay. Time spent researching and plotting with books is never time wasted, to me.

Alright, ready? First up: all the books I read in 2020.

Books I read in 2020 & Books I want to read in 2021 | www.jennrych.com

1. The Shift by Wayne Dyer
2. Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi
3. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
4. The Farm by Joanne Ramos
5. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
6. You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley
7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman &
8. American Royals by Katharine McGee
9. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
10. Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash
11. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith
12. Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli
13. The Upside of Falling by Alex Light
14. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
15. Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
16. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
17. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
18. Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
19. Becoming by Michelle Obama
20. Open Book by Jessica Simpson
21. Moment of Truth by Kasie West
22. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
23. Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
24. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim
25. Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton
26. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
27. A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger Von Oech
28. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
29. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
30. Beach Read by Emily Henry
31. The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
32. The Bro Code by Elizabeth A Seibert
33. We Are Called to Be A Movement by William J Barber II
34. Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
35. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume
36. The Noticer by Andy Andrews
37. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
38. You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn
39. The Switch by Beth O'Leary
40. Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
41. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
42. Well Met by Jen DeLuca
43. Self Care for Virgos by Constance Stellas
44. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
45. Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale
46. Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein
47. For Everyone by Jason Reynolds
48. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
49. Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano
50. What You Wish For by Katherine Center
51. A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
52. Almost Everything by Anne Lamott
53. Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
54. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
55. How I Resist (Anthology)
56. Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider
57. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
58. Gumption by Nick Offerman
59. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
60. Melania and Me by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff
61. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab
62. Nothing Like I Imagined by Mindy Kaling
63. My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsberg
64. The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice by Donna Kaufman (and others)
65. World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
66. The Return by Nicholas Sparks
67. This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens
68. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
69. The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle
70. Home Body by Rupi Kaur
71. A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday
72. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
73. Normal People by Sally Rooney
74. The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere
75. Majesty by Katharine McGee
76. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren (again)
77. The Answer Is... by Alex Trebek
78. The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
79. Ex-Mas by Kate Brian
80. The Cosmic Power Within You by Joseph Murphy

I said it in my post of my favorite books that I read in 2020, but this was an awesome, record-breaking year for me - even with a pandemic reading lull nestled in there! I attribute that to: my BOTM subscription, the Reading Rush, listening to audiobooks because the library isn't fully open, getting inspired/new ideas from a new bookish friend, aaand you know - lots of time at home. Like, all the time.

2020 Stats:
59 Novels
19 Non-fiction/memoir
2 poetry
14 ebooks
11 audiobooks


Allllll The Books I Want to Read In 2021


2021 Books

BOTM Books I Have Waiting
1. What Would Frida Do? by Arianna Davis
2. The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
3. The Dating Plan by Sara Desai
4. Outlawed by Anna North
5. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
6. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
7. A Rogue of One's Own by Evie Dunmore
8. The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
9. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Other Books I Have Waiting
10. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
11. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
12. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
13. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
14. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
15. Things You Save In a Fire by Katherine Center
16. The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
17. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
18. Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
19. My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
20. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
21. Anne + Henry by Dawn Ius
22. The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
23. The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Kohen
24. Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt
25. Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
26. Crosstalk by Connie Willis
27. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
28. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
29. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
30. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
31. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
32. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
33. Atomic Habits by James Clear
34. Curiosities of the Finger Lakes by Melanie Zimmer
35. What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
36. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
37. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
38. Say You Still Love Me by KA Tucker
39. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


New 2021 Releases

New 2021 Books I'd Love to Read
40. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (May 11)
41. Much Ado About You by Samantha Young (Feb 2)
42. Shipped by Angie Hockman (Jan 19)
43. Float Plan by Trish Doller (Mar 2)
44. Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau (Apr 6)
45. The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan (Apr 6)
46. The Layover by Lacie Waldon (June 15)
47. To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters (Apr 6)
48. Love Songs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris (Jan 5)
49. The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Jan 26)
50. You Have a Match by Emma Lord (Jan 12)
51. Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle (Apr 6)
52. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren (May 18)
53. The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (Aug 17)
54. A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas (Feb 16)
55. Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli (Apr 20)
56. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (May 25)
57. A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin (May 11)
58. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (June 1)
59. Sunkissed by Kasie West (May 4)


Brand New 2021 Books

Backlist Books I'd Love to Read
60. Accidentally in Love by Belinda Missen
61. Love in Lockdown by Chloe James
62. The Spark by Jules Wake
63. Christmas Island by Natalie Normann
64. The Roommate by Rosie Danan
65. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
66. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
67. Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras
68. The Player Next Door by KA Tucker
69. The Simple Wild by KA Tucker
70. Wild At Heart by KA Tucker
71. Forever Wild by KA Tucker


So, that's a little bit of a weird number to leave it on but - I know that the Reading Rush and releases later in the year will fill in the gaps and likely, take over some of the picks above. Plus, I have 11 more book boxes coming to me from BOTM in 2021, so I'm going to leave it there. My goal is to hit 100 books in 2021...I've never done it before but I've really, really wanted to so...I'm gonna try, baby.

If I missed something that you think I need to read in 2021, do tell!


This post contains, like, a crap ton of affiliate links at no cost to you. That means if you click through or shop from one of these links, I may make a small commission. It's super tiny! But still helps me run this blog, so I am wildly grateful. Thank you so much for your support! xo

Friday, January 1, 2021

Friday Favorites - Christmas 2020

Happy New Yeeear!

We made it! I know that the world isn't going to magically right itself because we turned the 2020 corner, but these next 12 months have got some promise in them, ya know? I've got a bunch of new-year goodies to share soon, but I wanted to wrap up my Christmasing a bit before I get there. Here we go!

My favorite thing about this Christmas was the fact that we got our snowy wish! The boys and I wished and hoped and visualized for a snow-filled holiday, and we got it! We woke up to the most gorgeous winter scene - our yard looked like a postcard. We got a big blast of lake effect snow in the days that followed, and we went out and braved the elements as a family for a bit (and then followed it all up with some hot cocoa bombs). It's been a couple years since we've had a snowy Christmas, so this was a silver lining for a year when we couldn't visit our family.

Another favorite thing was the fact that my gifts this year were basically all geared towards coziness, cooking, and skincare. Like hello....have we done anything else in 2020? 

Bearpaw Slipppers

These Bearpaw slippers are the best thingsss. I love them so much! So simple to slide on and so incredibly soft and cozy. I had a couple pairs of bearpaw boots that I wore into the grooound so I was really excited to get these.

This bunch of coziness is so exciting to me...so perfect for my quarantined, school-at-home, rarely put together situation. The two sweaters are so adorable (currently wearing the grey eyelash one and never want to take it off again), the Office hoodie will get worn until it explodes, and the argyle style pajamas are the softest things I've ever felt. Plus a bunch of cozy socks, a current must.

Not pictured is the buffalo check heated blanket my mom got me - because my cats have taken ownership of it and I'm not sure when they will allow me to use it again. ;)

More coziness. Barefoot dreams socks are the actual dream, and I love all these cute scrunchies. They came in some discounted gift sets from Target and I love them!

I was seriously hooked up in the beauty department! Moisturizers, my favorite mascara, eyeliner and brow gel, makeup sponges, chapstick, and two of my all-time fav Essie colors (pret-a-surfer and licorice - my other favs if you're curious are bikini so teeny and as if.)

While we're on the topic of beauty, here's another seriously quarantine gift I received. Since May-ish I've been cutting my boys' hair with CRAFT SCISSORS. No joke. They're the best scissors I have, but they're 100% not for hair. And because I didn't have clippers, I had to sort of wing it with smoothing out their cuts. It took forever, and we all hated it. I'm so excited to up my hair cut game with these! Also, my mom gave me the dry brush, and I've always been really interested in them - can't wait to try it.

Crock Pot Dutch Oven SkinnyTaste Cookbook

So, into the kitchen now...I am SO EXCITED about this dutch oven! I've wanted one for a long time and just dealt without forever. It's kind of insane how heavy it is (a little afraid of how I will wash this beast? Haha) but I'm so so thrilled for all the goodies I'm going to make in it. Particularly rustic little round loaves of bread and yummy, cozy, winter dinners. I'm really excited about this cookbook, too. I LOVE Skinnytaste recipes, and this book is based on things you can do with your short-cut appliances like the Instant Pot, Crock Pot, Air Fryer, and Dutch Oven as well as Sheet Pans and Skillets. My kinda cooking.

These are little things, but make me stupidly excited. I've wanted some glass storage for meal prep and just working away from plastics for a while now, so I'm really looking forward to making use of these! The Rae Dunn spatulas were a cute little surprise, I love them! My sister in law sent them along with a set of His & Hers insulated wine tumblers. So cute. I also got a new stainless 1.5 qt saucepot that I didn't think to take a picture of before it made it through the wash. I've needed a second one for all those times I went to grab my only one and realized it was already in use on the stove. 

Biden Harris Mug

Another favorite is my new favorite mug! My sister made it, as well as matching ones for herself, my mom, and our oldest friend. In the early hours of Christmas morning, before any of our kiddos were awake, we were all chatting in our group chat when I opened it. We all had time to wish each other a Merry Christmas before the chaos began, and I was so excited to fill my new mug and virtually cheers my new mug twins. That's a favorite memory of Christmas, for sure!

This was a totally unexpected gift that made me so, so happy! One of my best friends snuck this in a Christmas card that showed up a few days before Christmas and it totally made my day. I love it SO much! 

Schitt's Creek David Sweater Ornament Kamala Harris I'm Speaking Ornament

The ornaments that Matt and I gave each other this year were a favorite! We watched through Schitt's Creek together this year, so not only is it symbolic and funny, but I meant the sentiment his ornament, too, so it was perfect! I told him to picture David singing it to him whenever he looks at it, haha. (I got his here.) And I only have a stock photo of my ornament because you know, shipping problems, but he totally knocked mine out of the park, too! I love it!!

One of my favorite things of our entire holiday was a new Christmas Eve tradition we started. It was based on the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod. I put together a book box for each of the boys and Matt. They all had a book (multiple for the kids), a bookmark, a pair of cozy socks, and some nicer-than-normal chocolates like Lindor and Dove. We took turns opening our boxes, then after we donned our new socks, we sat and read books together and snacked on our chocolate. It was calm, peaceful, cozy, and so, so enjoyable. I'm super excited to keep this one going!

It was a weird year, for sure. But there were still some happy favorites, and I'm so grateful for all we still had this year. <3 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

My Favorite Books of 2020

Okay, guys....we're finally almost done with 2020. So close!

And while I have a lot of grievances with this year, my reading experience is not one of them. I had a definite lull at the start of quarantine - I couldn't shut my mind down enough to get lost in any one else's story. The world just seemed so dangerous and unknown at the time - nothing else mattered.

But despite that, I beat my personal record for books read in a year. I'm a little bummed I didn't make it to 100 (darn you, quarantine lull!) because that's a personal goal of mine...but there's always next year!

I also expanded my reading horizons. Mostly thanks to Book of the Month (how did I ever live without it?) and a friend with a similar voracious love of books. So some of my favorites for the year are typical (love love a good romance), but there were some surprises, too. 

So here's what blew my socks off this year. (In no particular order.)

Best books of 2020 | www.jennrych.com


In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
I just said that these were in no order, but this may be my favorite. I can't even explain why? There's just something about this particular love story...all wrapped up in Christmas and a little bit of the supernatural. *Chef's kiss!* I first read this book as an e-arc through NetGalley over the summer, and loved it so much that I bought a BOTM copy when it was the top choice in December. I've never purchased a book that I'd already read...I feel like I've crossed an obsessive line, haha. I re-read it a few weeks ago and it was just as good as the first time. Love love love it, and I recommend it constantly. (See my original review here.)

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Sigh, Fredrik Backman! This man understands life. He GETS how beautiful even the ugly and hard parts are. And not only that, he is skilled at articulating his understanding. He has a gift, truly. This was such a great book in so many ways. It was full of complicated relationships and mistakes, but it also had humor and heartwarming interactions. It was his most quickly-moving book, too. His books normally take a while to digest, but this was such a smooth-flowing treat. I adored it. (So did Matt! I had him read it and he said it was one of his top 2 of the year!)

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
This book was the biggest departure from my usual preferences....but something was urging me make this my BOTM pick in October. I'm so glad I did! The first half of the book moved slowly - full of an abundance of details and names set in the 1700's. It required a lot of attention and patience. However, as Addie's life took a new path in modern day America and we got to see her working towards the resolution to her predicaments, I was hooked. Invested. Enthralled. Even through the slower parts, this book was gorgeous - both in craft and story. It was a whole experience, and you should definitely add this to your list in 2021 if you didn't get to it this year. (See my original review here.)

My favorite books of the year! | www.jennrych.com

Beach Read by Emily Henry
Another BOTM pick! So are the three above. I think that means that Book of the Month knows what they are doing! This one had such an adorable premise - dueling writers, a hate to love scenario, reinvention of lives, and an indulgent romance. Though I wish it had actually been a little bit more beachy than it turned out to be, I enjoyed this book SO much. (See my original review here.)

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
This is a gorgeous book. I might be a little biased, as the writer has spent many of her years in my area so she feels like a bit of a hometown hero, but this was so well done! It's part memoir, part nature-based non-fiction, part poetry, and all beautiful. I adored it. Reading it was a whole vibe. (See my original review here.)

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Backman, my man! That's almost enough to explain why it was a favorite. Again, it's his ability to capture the human condition with beautiful words and his talent for putting his characters into unique, evolving situations that made this a favorite for me. It moves a bit slow (as I feel some of his other books have as well), but it's so beautiful and well-done that I didn't mind. I cried. It was gorgeous. (See my original review here.)

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley
This one is harder for me to recap because I read it allllll the way at the start of 2020 - in another world. One without a pandemic and endless repetitive days conducive to reading. My perception of...well, everything...has changed so much since then that it's hard to even remember my mind back in January. I know that I adored the mixture of the supernatural dream world mixed with the longing and love tied up in all of these characters, and I was totally gutted by how this book ended. (It's coming back to me now...ah, the hurt! The adoration!) This book rides a rollercoaster of emotion and leaves you wanting to know how, why, when, and why again. I loved it. (See my original review here.)

Becoming by Michelle Obama
This one was a favorite less because of the content (though it was very interesting and informative) but more because of the gorgeous way Michelle Obama writes. She tells a story with grace and poise and beauty with little bits of humor woven in - the same way she presents herself in life. Reading this book was calming and comforting in an unexpected way, and for a while gave me an intentional and flowing lens with which to see my own daily life. It's so well done. Listening to her, whether through the written word or a televised speech, is always a treat. (See my original review here.)

Matt asked me to name my very favorite book from this list and I couldn't. Best I could do was top 4, and I'll leave you to guess which four those are. ;)

SO - did you read any of these and love them too? What were your favorite reads of the year? Let me know so I can check them out while I'm building my 2021 list! 



This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you! This means that if you click through or shop from one of these links, I may make a small commission. It's super tiny, but still helps me support this blog. Thank you so very much for the support! xo

Monday, December 28, 2020

What I Read in October

I am a seasonal mood reader to the max, so I love to pick a mixture of spooky(ish), atmospheric fall, and interesting fantasy books for October. Some of them didn't fit the bill this year, but that's fine, too. There's no rules here, only a Virgo-inspired neurosis. 

So here's what I enjoyed this October:

Books I read in October | www.jennrych.com

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (4 stars)
I'd heard so much about this book over the years, and while it wasn't Halloween-ish in the least the whole "monsters" thing felt like a fitting start to October and I was anxious to read it. I loved the mixture of Eliza's real-life story mixed with the fictional internet comic story she writes. It was sad at times - complicated, full of real life themes, and just as her fictional story reveals itself to be about depression at its core, Eliza's story is, too. It's done beautifully and artistically (albeit with a couple of hang ups that bothered me - like when Wallace guilts her choices for his own personal gain). It was both playful and serious, sad and triumphant, and overall a quick and satisfying read. Definitely check it out!

How I Resist - Anthology, Edited by Maureen Johnson (4 stars)
This is a really great anthology of articles from writers, actors, influencers, and social activists of all kinds focusing on the topics of social issues, racism, and politics. It was written with young adult readers in mind, but that's really only evident in the opening piece. It's a great resource for any age! Each entry is done in the unique style and voice of its author - some reading like poems or interviews, others that read like a journal entry - even a song or two. There is so much to chew on in this book, and 2020 was a great year to digest it.

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider (4 stars)
I often find heavily discounted books through Book Outlet or other sales, and I never really have high expectations for them. Enough to want to read them, but I try to read them with a different lens. There's a reason they're so cheap, right? But every now and then...one of them surprises me. This was one of those books. It had a supernatural element to it (one that was at times, a little cheesy), but it was full of real world struggles and the angst of unrequited love and unfinished business, and I loved it. These characters stuck with me. Rose has a secret - her brother, who passed away after a tragic accident, is her constant companion...as a ghost. Through the book, she juggles her relationship with her dead brother, her school commitments, chasing her own dreams, and rekindling a relationship with her childhood best friend. It's a great story, I loved it!

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (3 stars)
This was a really fun, perfectly Halloween-ish book. There's witchcraft, there's undead teenagers, and there's Mila - being a regular teenager while also mourning the loss of her best friend and her confusing feelings over the witchcraft she'd been practicing. I liked the story a lot, but there were some parts that I just could not get over. This is going to make me sound super crazy pants, but I literally deducted a star for a specific detail. A detail I could not believe went unmentioned in all the GoodReads reviews I saw! Mila and her friends cast a spell that causes someone to grow actual mushrooms on their body. The imagery of this was TOO well done. I was so so disturbed by it that my skin was crawling through most of this book, and I could not get it out of my head! So, kudos to the author for that, but...gross. I can't. If you don't want that living rent free in your head, don't read this one.

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Gumption by Nick Offerman (4 stars)
So I picked this one on a whim with an Audible deal and I'm SO glad I did! I love Nick Offerman, so it was going to be good regardless. But I actually learned things about some major players in our country, and I did so while laughing (and adoring) the humorous way he presented their stories. This was so, so good. He has a voice and a vision that crosses the aisle while remaining true to his values at the same time. Such a great read, and if you can listen to the audiobook - do. It's great to hear his voice sharing these stories and delivering his own humor the way only he could.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams (4 stars)
This was a super enjoyable, satisfying story. It opens as a marriage (between Gavin and Thea) is on the rocks, and follows them through putting the pieces back together. Gavin facilitates this by joining a book club with his professional baseball playing teammates and reading romance books that help him patch up the holes in his relationship with Thea. It's heartwarming and cute, and yes....pretty dirty. Loved it.

Melania and Me by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff (3 stars)
I listened to this one just because I could - my mom had the audiobook and I was curious. Nothing in it was shocking - in the way that I wouldn't have expected anything else. It was interesting and enlightening in some ways, though - and I felt a lot of sympathy for the author. How you feel about this one is going to depend on your affiliations and morals, of course, so I'll just say that if you're interested in it, it's worth the read.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (4 stars)
Man. As time has gone on and I look back on this one, I wonder if I should up my rating. It's only sitting at a 4 currently because the first half of the book is sloooow. Full of details and a slow crawl through years and decades in European countries, centuries before our time. However, once you start dabbling in the modern day part of the story, it gets good. Not just good - incredible. This story is SO. GOOD. The main character, Addie is immortal. On the day of her arranged marriage, she makes a bargain with the devil (or someone akin to the devil) that gives her both freedom and immortality. In exchange, no one remembers her. And so, in an instant, her parents and neighbors have no clue who she is, and she has nowhere to go. We then follow her as she navigates her lack of home and identity - her only relationship with that of the dark god who granted her wish, usually on the anniversary of her deal. One day, though, she meets someone who remembers her face, and eventually her name. What ensues is beautiful and heartbreaking and gorgeous and incredible and so many other things! I can't describe it in any way that will do it justice. It's just, incredible. Read it read it read it!

Nothing Like I Imagined by Mindy Kaling (4 stars)
I loved this little series of audiobooks! I love Mindy Kaling. I love hearing her stories, and also believing in my heart of hearts that her children are also BJ Novak's and that they are secretly a family and not just BFFs. There was nothing particularly profound here - they were just funny, and witty, and entertaining, and so so easy to relate to - even without being a part of Hollywood. She's the real real, ya know? They're quick and adorable, and definitely worth a listen.


Aside from some super disturbing flesh mushrooms (shudder) October was a great book month. More soon!


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