27 May

A Day In the Life~ Before

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So I had the idea that it might be fun to share what a day in my life is like. Then I remembered that I really don’t do a whole lot with my day right now, and I often feel really unproductive. So I got to thinking that I really need to make some changes in the way that I am spending my time. That brought me to the decision to share what a day in my life looks like right now, and then as I work on making changes to the way that I spend my days, I’ll share an “after” look at a day in my life in two weeks. Ultimately I would like to share another day in the life post down the road after I’m working again.

So here is what my Wednesday looked like this week:

Free stock photo of coffee, cup, mug, bed

8:30am wake up and lay in bed trying to talk myself into getting up

9am finally get out of bed, check Instagram and Twitter while waiting for my email to boot up

Free stock photo of woman, apple, iphone, smartphone

9:15am check email, log into Facebook and play my games, log into my website to post today’s post to Facebook and Twitter, log into Bloglovin, log into Goodreads

10:30am Take shower, get dressed

Book in the hand

10:45am Read

11:00am start cycle over again with Instagram and Twitter, then Email, Facebook games, Write and post Review, read blogs on Bloglovin, check recommendations on Goodreads, take surveys, read. Repeat all of these

Free stock photo of food, sausage, hot dog, puff pastry

1:00pm Stop to help bring in groceries and make lunch for myself

1:30pm Return to my social media, computer, and reading cycle on repeat

Broccoli Shrimp and Carrots Food on Tray

6:00pm Make dinner for my parents and myself and eat it

7:00pm Return to previous cycle

Free stock photo of food, restaurant, summer, nuts

8:00pm Break for ice cream

8:30pm Return to previous cycle and continue until bedtime (1am).

And is it any wonder why I feel like I never get anything accomplished throughout the day? To be fair, I did get 4 posts written and scheduled on this day and finished a book. I guess this is what happens when you’ve been out of work for 6 months and get into a rut. As I said, over the next two weeks I will be changing the way I spend my days and hopefully add some more productivity to the mix.

Follow me on Bloglovin for more!

26 May

Review: All The Bright Places

All the Bright Places Book Cover All the Bright Places
Jennifer Niven
YA Fiction
Alfred A. Knopf
2015
Hardcover
378
Library

From Goodreads

"Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink."

This book… it ripped my heart out, squeezed it, and put it back bruised and bloody. Ok, maybe that’s was a little graphic, but really this book is a heart breaker!

Combining mental illness with grief and loss, Jennifer Niven has provided a compelling an poignant story about dealing with powerful issues as a teen.

Violet is dealing with tragedy and is basically hiding from life until she meets Finch. He helps her to understand herself, doesn’t let her hide from life, and helps her to move forward and open herself to the future.

Finch is troubled and hides behind various personas to keep the truth of his illness to himself. Because of my own experience with a similar disease, I connected so deeply to Finch’s character and thoroughly understood his thoughts, questions, and fears. Violet makes him want to be better, but he doesn’t know if he can be… and he’s afraid of breaking her in the process.

Together Finch and Violet are magic and everything that first love should be.

While this story broke my heart, and I wish that it could have gone another way, I was uplifted by the end and the promise of the future for Violet.

26 May

Favorite Authors~ Cherry Adair

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I really enjoy sharing my favorite authors with you. These are authors whose books I tend to grab whenever I see them. Some authors are known only for their niche, others are widely known and frequently pop up on the best sellers lists. I have a few more authors that I want to share with you, but I’m feeling like a weekly feature is not necessary for this category. I’ll be changing the frequency to every other week for this feature and will be looking at the possibility of adding another feature for the other weeks.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to share a favorite of mine who is a niche author and writes fabulous romantic suspense books… Cherry Adair.

Ms. Adair is best known for her T-FLAC series and the off-shoots from it (including Cutter Cay and Lodestone). All of her books feature strong heroes who could be special agents, even if they aren’t. While it is usually the hero who is rescuing or protecting the heroine in these novels, the ladies are no slouches and their assistance and expertise is usually necessary to the ultimate triumph over the bad guys.

The Mercenary (T-FLAC, #1)       White Heat (T-FLAC, #11)        Edge of Danger (T-FLAC, #8)        Black Magic        Undertow (Cutter Cay #1)        Afterglow (Lodestone, #2)

Because Ms. Adair writes mostly series novels (she does have some stand alones), characters continue to make appearances in later stories. I love this because I never have to let go of my favorites and get to check in with them down the road.

“Never run after a man or a bus, there’s always another one in five minutes.”
Cherry Adair (Kiss and Tell (T-FLAC, #2))

So if you’re in the mood for hot heroes, steamy couples, lots of action, and a bit of humor, pick up one of Cherry Adair’s books.

**Covers link to Goodreads

And if you still aren’t following me on Bloglovin, don’t forget to follow me today!

25 May

Review: This Year I Will…

This Year I Will... Book Cover This Year I Will...
M.J. Ryan
Nonfiction; Self-Help
Broadway Books
2006
Hardcover
221
Purchased

From the dust jacket:

"Every so often people get inspired (again!) to lose weight, get organized, start saving, or stop worrying- but a few months later they give up, frustrated. It doesn't have to be that way. In This Year I Will..., bestselling author M.J. Ryan offers breakthrough wisdom and coaching to help readers make this time the time that change becomes permanent.

Why do people find it so hard to change? The secret is that everyone has their own formula for making changes that stick, but most people don't know what theirs is. They think there is one way to lose five pounds, and another way to stay on top of their e-mail, but they don't realize that for all changes, there is one system that works best for each individual. This Year I Will... helps you lock on to your unique formula for planning, implementing, and seeing a life change through, so you can use it again and again to tackle anything else you do.

For anyone who has broken a New Year's resolution, fallen off a diet, or given up on fulfilling a dream, the ingenious strategies, inspiring stories, and sheer motivational energy of This Year I Will... will help you make a promise to yourself that you actually keep."

There are two things that I really like about this book:
1.The chapters are relatively short and easy to read
2. The author let’s you decide what you want to work on and provides ideas for just about everything.

I am a big fan of M.J. Ryan and have read several of her self-help books over the years. She writes simply and directly without a lot of extra fluff that is not needed. That is not to say that her books are dry, because they aren’t. She includes plenty of stories and examples along with her advice. But she doesn’t beat you over the head with multiple examples and anecdotes for each idea.

Most sections are under 5 pages long, so you can pick this up and read a section if you have 10 minutes to spare here and there in your day. And the book takes you through all aspects of change, from preparation to maintenance.

Ultimately, at the end of the book, you will receive some great advice for how to real a big goal or change a habit for good.

 

25 May

Page vs Screen #5: The Silver Linings Playbook

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The Book:

The Silver Linings Playbook
The Silver Linings Playbook
Author: Matthew Quick
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books

The Movie:

Product Details
Silver Linings Playbook

Screenplay: David O. Russell
Producer: Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen & Johnathan Gordon
Director: David O. RussellStarring: Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence

The Comparison:
I have read reviews of people who prefer the movie over the book for this one. And the movie is pretty terrific and stars two amazing actors and had a lot of Oscar buzz {including Jennifer Lawrence winning Best Actress}. I personally enjoy both the book and the movie, but can tell you that there are a lot of differences between the two.

If you’ve read the book, you’ll notice within the first 10 minutes of the movie that there are going to be a lot of changes. The main character’s last name is changed, as is the name on the Jersey he wears, even the song that triggers Pat’s outbursts is different. These are minor changes compared to most of the others, but are notable in my opinion. There is also a huge change in the timeline. In the book, Pat has been in the mental health facility for years and has no memory of the time that has elapsed, or really the details of why he was there. The movie has Pat with full memory of what occurred, and leaving the facility after only 8 months.

The book focusing on football and the Eagles. Pat is a loyal and dedicated fan, as are his brother and father. While Eagles football is still a big part of the movie, Pat’s participation in watching the games is not.

The biggest and most glaring changes occur with the relationships in the film. I won’t go into the changes with Pat’s ex-wife Nikki to avoid spoilers, but his relationship with his father, brother, friend, and therapist are all dramatically different between the book and movie. There is also the addition of two characters in the movie who were completely absent in the book- a police officer and a friend of Pat’s dad. I think the relationship between Pat and his father is much more positive and healthy in the movie, but his relationship with his brother is not. The book shows a much healthier and supportive relationship between the brothers.

The movie seems to rush Pat’s relationship/friendship with Tiffany. Granted there is a lot to fit into a 2-hour time slot, but the development of their friendship is overlooked. In the movie they are almost instantly friends, where in the book Pat is wary of Tiffany for some time before they truly become friends.

In the book, we are able to experience more of both Pat’s and Tiffany’s mental states and see the progression of their recovery. Their mental illnesses are more in focus. The movie doesn’t really spend time focusing on their illnesses.

The Bottom Line:
Based on my above comments, you may think that I didn’t like the movie, but I really do. I saw the movie the first time long before I read the book and really enjoyed it. Even after reading the book and going back to watch it, I still enjoy the movie. I just think that the book goes much deeper into the heart of the issues and the development of the relationship between Pat and Tiffany and the struggle with their respective mental illnesses.

**covers link to Goodreads/IMDB; titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

24 May

Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) Book Cover Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Mindy Kaling
Memoir; Humor
Three Rivers Press
2011
Paperback
222
Purchased

From Goodreads:

"Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka."

Mindy Kaling tells her story through a series of short essays from childhood through her time on The Office. She is humorous and engaging in the way she shares her life. The titles of each section are witty and fun, including such names as “The Day I Stopped Eating Cupcakes” and “In Defense of Chest Hair.”

I loved watching Mindy on The Office and picked up this book because I love her humor. I received a treat because her openness and warmth added to the experience and made it even more genuine.

Mindy shares her story in a way that we can all relate with. I identified with her childhood self who felt like she didn’t really fit in. We get to experience her insecurities and faux pas in work and love as she moves through life. The reader is there with Mindy as she works her first job in the industry, and able to celebrate with her when she lands a job writing with what would become a hit television show.

I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone looking to read a heartfelt and humorous look at life.

24 May

Top Ten Tuesday #4: Feelings Change

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish, where they provide a bookish theme for everyone to share their Top Ten each week.

This week’s theme is books that I feel differently about after time has passed. I couldn’t really come up with 10 books for this one. I generally either fall in love with a book (and stay in love), like a book, or not like a book in general. This doesn’t usually change over time for me. There are some exceptions to that rule, and here they are:

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life
When I first purchased the book {on a whim}, I thought it sounded interesting. Several months later it made its way to the top of my TBR and I just wasn’t feeling it. I thought I had made a mistake in purchasing it and set it aside, figuring I’d slowly slog my way through it over time {I have a problem with not being able to DNF a book completely}. When I came back to it again, I was energized and ready for the message. I loved it! And I continue to love it after re-reading a few times. I just needed to be ready to hear the message.

Eat, Pray, Love
Eat Pray Love
There was so much hype about this book when it first came out, but I was not interested in the premise at all. It took at least a year, maybe two, before I was in a place in my life that made me receptive to it. And once I read it, I was converted! This book was completely life changing for me!

Harry Potter Boxset (Harry Potter, #1-7)
The Harry Potter series
As an adult with no children when the Harry Potter books came out {I was 26 the year the first book was published}, it took a while for me to hear about them. When the series came to my attention, I just figured it was for children and still pushed it off the my radar. I wasn’t even initially interested when the movies first came out. It wasn’t until after hearing adult after adult rave about the series that I decided to give it a go… and the rest is history! I devoured the series from start to finish and re-read them every couple of years.

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)         Divergent (Divergent, #1)          The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)          All the Bright Places
YA Books in general
It wasn’t until after Harry Potter that I started to see that Young Adult fiction was so amazing. As an adult, I just figured it was below the level of reading that I was used to with types of novel I read. The discovery of such a well written series that engaged me completely opened me to what else might be out there. The next series I dove into was Inkheart, then I found The Hunger Games and Divergent. Now I am firmly entrenched in Young Adult fiction and adore almost everything I have read in the genre.

Coming Up for Air: Simple Acts to Redefine Your Life          Under the Tuscan Sun          Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen
Memoirs in general
I think my aversion to memoirs in general came from dry biographies and even autobiographies that I had to read in middle school and high school. While I felt some of the people I read about had interesting lives, the way the stories were written did not engage me. I figured memoirs would be the same way. Once I read my first memoir {Eat Pray Love}, it opened the door for more. I discovered they were engaging and full of the story-telling normally reserved for fiction. Now memoirs are one of my favorite genres to read.

What books have you changed your mind about?

If you aren’t following me on Bloglovin yet, you can follow me here!

**all covers link to Goodreads

23 May

Review: The Liar

The Liar Book Cover The Liar
Nora Roberts
Fiction; Romance
Putnam
2015
Hardcover
501
Library

From the dust jacket:

"Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …

The man who took her from Tennessee to the most exclusive suburb of Philadelphia, fathered her child and bathed her in luxury was not what he seemed. As Shelby is shocked to learn after Richard Foxworth drowns in the Atlantic Ocean, he's  left her in crippling debt.... He was an adulterer and a liar, as fake as the diamond he put on her finger. And when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds cash, a gun- and multiple IDs with Richard's picture and other men's names.

The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed....

Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown.... She also finds the promise of something more than comfort in Griffin Lott, a successful contractor with a cute Yankee accent.

...Her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and it threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning …"

I have always been a huge fan of Nora Roberts, and this book did not disappoint!

With just the right amount of intrigue, romance, and personal growth for Shelby, this story hit all of the right notes. Shelby’s family is strong and supportive, allowing her to heal but not wallow in her circumstances. Her daughter is a delight. And Griff provides just the right mix of tender and tough that you want in a love interest.

The characters are well developed, as is the plot line. While Shelby is welcomed home by family and friends, she still has to prove herself and explain just why she’s stayed away for so long. They trust and forgive her, but not without an explanation.

The romance happens fairly quickly, which is not unusual in a romance novel. While most people (or at least me), wouldn’t jump right into a new relationship so quickly, I think the jump is handled well in this case. There is resistance on Shelby’s part for just these reasons, but love will find a way.

As with all of Nora Roberts’s other books, I was entranced and enchanted all the way through!

23 May

Monday Update #6

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Recently Completed:

The Silver Linings Playbook      Your Best Year Yet!: Ten Questions for Making the Next Twelve Months Your Most Successful Ever     All the Bright Places
The Silver Linings Playlist//Your Best Year Yet!//All the Bright Places

Currently Reading:

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)       Shelter for the Spirit: Create Your Own Haven in a Hectic World       The Casual Vacancy
The Scorch Trials//Shelter for the Spirit//The Casual Vacancy

On Deck:

The Little Paris Bookshop       Being Single in a Couples' World: How to Be Happily Single While Looking for Love       Under the Wire (The Bodyguards, #5)
The Little Paris Bookshop//Being Single in a Couples’ World//Under the Wire

 

** covers link to Goodreads; titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

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21 May

Sunday Post #5: Adding Something New

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Life Happenings:
I spent most of this week trying to catch up on blog posts and reading other blogs that I missed last week. I am still not completely caught up, but I am closer than I was before I started feeling bad. Of course, I was thrown off a bit again this week because I spent an extra day up at my brother’s, which means no computer (I have my phone, but it’s too hard to post from there). I did post a ton of pictures of Cheshire on Instagram this weekend, so if you follow me (@fitkittymama), you had the opportunity to see lot of my little monkey. I started picking up my social media game this weekend, and it got me thinking about some goals that I have for growing my follower base. While I blogged (not super successfully) for 3 years on another platform, I’ve only been in the book blogger community for a month, so I have lots of room for growth. I decided to add a new section to my Sunday Posts each week for goals for social media, blogging, reading, and personal; each week I will focus on one goal for each category, then follow up with my progress the next week.

Last Week on the Blog:
Sunday Post #4: An Off Week
Monday Update #5
Review: Grey
Top Ten Tuesday #3: Books on a Whim
Review: Tales of a Female Nomad
Page vs. Screen #4: The Fault in Our Stars
Review: A Whole New You
Favorite Authors~ John Green
Review: Paper Towns
Why I Read Cat Blogs

This Week on the Blog:
Monday Update #6 5/23
Top Ten Tuesday #4: Feelings Change 5/24
Page vs Screen #5: The Silver Linings Playbook 5/25
Favorite Authors~ Cherry Adair 5/26
A Day in the Life 5/27

This Week’s Reviews:
The Liar 5/23
This Year I Will… 5/24
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? 5/25
All the Bright Places 5/26

Book of the Week:

All the Bright Places

Quote of the Week:
“‘You deserve better. I can’t promise you I’ll stay around, not because I don’t want to. It’s hard to explain. I’m a fuckup. I’m broken, and no one can fix it. I’ve tried. I’m still trying. I can’t love anyone because it’s not fair to anyone who loves me back. I’ll never hurt you, not like I want to hurt Roamer. But I can’t promise I won’t pick you apart, piece by piece, until you’re in a thousand pieces, just like me. You should know what you’re getting into before getting involved.’
‘In case you haven’t noticed, we’re already involved, Finch. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m broken too.'”
Finch & Violet, All the Bright Places, pg 227

This Week’s Goals:
Social Media~ Reach 100 followers on Bloglovin (follow me here)
Blogging~ Schedule all posts for the week by Wednesday
Reading~ Complete A Casual Vacancy & The Scorch Trials
Personal~Revamp resume

Notable Posts from the Blog World:
Introducing… Blog Boss Babe from Helene In Between
What Has Happened to Us? from Great Imaginations
5 Signs it’s Time to Do Less from Marc & Angel Hack Life
Trying to Figure Out What the Point Is from Reading is My Treasure
Searching Images for Your Website: Don’t Steal Them from Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Our Co-Blogging Experience and How You Might Be Able to Make it Work for You from Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist
How to Start Raising Backyard Chickens in 7 Simple Steps from Back to Her Roots
Is There Etiquette for Book Signings? from Once Upon a Bookcase
Up Close and (un)Conventional- BEA and ARCs from (un)Conventional Book Views
According to Society & Fiction, I Still Don’t Get This Female Thing from Happy Indulgence

How was your week?