halloweeny books i want to read…(someday)

Isn’t Halloweeny just the best word?!?

I get joy from it, okay? Don’t gimme that look.

Just about everyone goes on and on about how this time of year is perfect for reading creepy, thriller, horror, Halloweeny books. And I don’t disagree! There are tons of said books that I would love to be picking up right now.

Except…it’s not going to happen. Simply because I have a bazillion other books I’ve been looking forward to, and I’m not very motivated to set those aside for seasonal reading.

SO. I’m putting this list together as more of a hypothetical one, although maybe it’ll actually be my TBR next Halloween? Who knows!

Read on for 8 Halloweeny books I want to read (someday).

Continue reading “halloweeny books i want to read…(someday)”

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am i overloading myself? quite possibly | quarterly goals

I don’t know about you, but I find goal-setting to be quite fun. You get to take a step back, reflect on how things are going in your life, and dream up ways to make it even better. Not crazy dreams, but practical dreams. Real, concrete ways you can feel good about yourself and your life.

Of course, those goals don’t always play out the way you plan for them to. But that’s okay! In my opinion, it’s the intent that matters most of all.

SO, that said, I thought I’d give myself some quarterly goals. for the first time ever. We have three months left in the year, and it seems like a good time to buckle down and achieve some of the things I thought I would (but still haven’t) way back in January. There’s just enough time left to get it back together and feel accomplished by the time the new year is upon us.

Read on for my 16 goals for October through December!

Continue reading “am i overloading myself? quite possibly | quarterly goals”

attempting to be bookish in the Real World — aka my weekend #fail

This past weekend, I went to my first ever real life bookish event!

It ended up being a bit of a fail. But it was also really really great.

So I went to see Leigh Bardugo at her “Midnight Tales” Tour in my city. My city! Cool authors never come here to homey ol’ Michigan. I was excited, and I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t go. So I did go–alone, mind you. I don’t have really any bookish friends in Real Life, and I also don’t mind going to things alone.

However, since this was my first bookish event, I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into. Hence…the eventual fails.

Continue reading “attempting to be bookish in the Real World — aka my weekend #fail”

i’m so giddy thinking about these books | anticipated releases for the last third of 2017

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

This post is basically just what the title says: 10 books that are coming out in these remaining few months of 2017 that I’m SUPER pumped about! I know people tend to do these types of posts quarterly…or perhaps just twice a year…but I’m going to be original and cut the year into thirds. Yes, I know I’m weird awesome.

ANYWAY, here we go, 10 upcoming releases and why I’m excited about them!

Continue reading “i’m so giddy thinking about these books | anticipated releases for the last third of 2017”

top 5 wednesday | september 20

I’m back again for another Top 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam at thoughtsontomes. Check out the Goodreads group if you’re interested in learning more or joining in on the fun!

Today’s prompt: Favorite Fancasts

Fancasts can be tricky things. Oftentimes, I find myself neither satisfied by fancasts nor pleased about actual castings. This is possibly became I don’t tend to picture detailed characters when I read. They’re more like blurry, faceless people. (I know, I’m weird.) Blurry, faceless people are rather hard to come by when looking for actors for TV and film.

That said, there are a few fancasts that either I’ve thought of myself or I’ve seen around the interwebs that do totally work for me. Read on for some of my favorites!

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Richard Harmon as Sevro

from the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown

Richard Harmon seems like such a perfect Sevro to me, other than his hair color–but dying hair isn’t so hard a change, right? He can pull off weird, threatening, sassy, and fierce so well. Plus, he’s slighter and shorter–both necessary characteristics for Sevro. Kinda scary, kinda awesome. He’d be so great playing a gritty, emotional character like Sevro.

Reece King as Ronan

from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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This guy has basically BECOME Ronan on Tumblr. I’m not sure if Reece is even an actor or just a model, but so many fans–me included!–think he has just the perfect vibe for Ronan. He looks dangerous, bored, snarky, and arrogant. Now, Ronan is supposed to be pale and Irish…but sometimes the fit of a character and actor goes deeper than skin color.

Plus, he knows fans like him as Ronan…and seems generally positive about the idea.

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Neelam Gill as Inej

from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

Another Tumblr favorite! Again, any fancast or ~aesthetic post on Tumblr for Six of Crows of Crooked Kingdom has Neelam Gill as Inej, and I love it so much. She has a fantastic presence–a confident yet demure way about her. Plus, she’s small, and (I believe) the right ethnicity look for Inej. She’s another model, but boy is she a great fit in my mind.

Luke Pasqualino as Kaladin

from The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

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*drools*

Okay, okay. This is a fancast that I found on the publisher’s website, created by Sanderon’s beta and gamma readers. Sanderson described the Alethi as a mix of Asian, Arab, Polynesian, and possibly more–a race not easily definable to us. Luke Pasqualino was listed as their honorable mention, but I think he fits the part so well. He can play conflicted so well, though he might have to bulk up a bit for the role! Plus, he’s just beautiful, and I wouldn’t mind watching him onscreen for the adaptation of 5/10 books. Just saying…

Honorable mention (also stolen from the Tor post linked above): Evanna Lynch as Syl, Kaladin’s wind spren sidekick. HOW PERFECT would that be?! I think I may have actually read Syl’s dialogue in her voice without realizing.

Hunter Parrish as Nikolai Lantsov

from the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

So this is one I came up with myself?! Still not entirely sure how I feel about it, BUT. I just love Hunter Parrish. I first saw him in Weeds, in which he plays a cocky, sexy, intelligent character. As Nikolai is so similar, it occurred to me that Hunter Parrish would be an excellent fit! Plus, he has a classically beautiful face (in my opinion, anyway), which looks quite princely. I would love to see him as Nikolai if these books ever become movies (which, by the way, WHY hasn’t that happened yet?!).

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There you have it! My top 5 fancasts. What are some of your favorite fancasts? Comment down below!

Until next time,
Brianne

when a prince’s bastard son becomes a royal assassin | series review

the farseer trilogy by robin hobb

Series Rating: ★★★★☆

Within the series: Assassin’s Apprentice (#1), Royal Assassin (#2), and Assassin’s Quest (#3)

A six-year-old boy is dropped off at a keep, returned by his family to the prince who fathered him. This boy comes to be known as FitzChivalry, the bastard son of Prince Chivalry, next in line to the throne. Fitz becomes a catalyst to a series of events that occur in the land of the Six Duchies throughout his growing years. Invaders from the sea, tension within the royal family, and mysteries of magic and Elderlings create the chaos in which Fitz tries to find his place, and eventually realizes that while here is a mere boy, he’s also a piece of a larger puzzle.

Recommended if you like:

  • coming of age stories
  • dynamic characters and relationships
  • subtle yet complex fantasy
  • long, winding plots and descriptive writing

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My Spoiler-Free Review

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This series is our hero’s backstory, and a tragic backstory it is. Fitz’s childhood is tough, heartbreaking, and challenging.  The story begins when the only family he’s ever known basically abandoning him, and continues as he tries to find his place as the bastard son of a prince in a world that doesn’t care about him. If you’re looking for a warm and fuzzy boyhood story, this series isn’t it.

That said, Fitz’s story will tug at your heartstrings in the very best way. Hobb accomplishes this by writing a cast of complex, developed, interesting characters, including Fitz himself. He grows from an innocent young boy to a slightly exasperating teen, and finally a matured young man. Other characters, though not protagonists or evolving in such a dramatic way as coming of age, still shift and complete their own character arcs and development in satisfying ways. More than anything, Hobb excels at character development, dynamics, and relationships.

Throughout the series, Fitz brings together a found family of sorts, and his relationships with these people are deep yet complicated. He clashes with these people and he doesn’t like them all the time, but they are his people. These characters and their relationships not only make you fall in love with this trilogy, but want to continue reading the entire Realm of the Elderlings series.

The plot, though slow and perhaps meandering at times, has many shades to it as well. There are two major conflicts within the series: the first and foremost, a war with invaders from across the sea. The second and more subtle: tension within the royal family itself. When Fitz begins training as an assassin, a King’s Man for his grandfather King Shrewd, he is inexplicably drawn into this tension, and as he grows older, he plays his own part in it. As a bastard, he inevitably creates unique situations and tension himself, and it’s all deliciously suspenseful and dramatic.

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Hobb’s writing is a delight. Though she tends to be overly descriptive, you can’t say she doesn’t write a vivid world. The details and pictures she gives makes the world of the Six Duchies come alive, and as you read through the series, each new location featured is just as vibrant as the rest.

The magic in this fantasy world is subtle yet interesting. There are two types of magical abilities. First is the Skill. This ability allows someone to read another’s mind, see through their eyes, and also speak to them in their mind, sway their thoughts, or cause them to see an illusion. This Skill is found mainly in the royal bloodline, so Fitz, although he’s a bastard, could develop it. The second type of ability is called the Wit; in many ways, it’s the opposite of the Skill. This ability allows one to bond and communicate with animals. However, it is seen as a perversion and not encouraged or fostered by any civilized person. Both abilities are featured in this series, and you can imagine how they could create some conflicts.

In sum, pick up this series for a magical, political, suspenseful story. You will fall in love with the characters, delight in Hobb’s descriptive writing, and wonder at the magic of it all.

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Have you read The Farseer Trilogy? What did you think of it? Leave your thoughts below!

Until next time,
Brianne

i’ve made some health and fitness goals

I’m once again here with a Friday post that expands the bounds of this blog. What can I say, I like to babble about whatever’s on my mind. I’m into it.

Anyway, today’s topic is health and fitness.

The backstory

A few years ago, I began my career as a teacher and had not a thought in my mind about health and fitness. I was much too preoccupied with lesson planning, grading papers, and catching up on sleep. Plus, I was on my feet all day long and most likely hit at least 10,000 steps a day–not that I had the tracker to prove it. Regardless, my unhealthy eating and lack of thought in the fitness department wasn’t affecting me too negatively.

About a year ago is when I decided to take a step back from teaching, move back in with my parents, and find a new job. I was no longer getting all those steps in, but I had a ton more time to do my favorite free time activities–read and surf the interwebs. Neither activity is particularly active, as I’m sure you all know. Unfortunately, these activities, combined with everything else happening (or not happening) in my life, made me progressively less fit by the day.

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Now that I’ve been working at the same job for four months, and am planning to stay on for longer, I have settled into a routine and realized just how gross I’ve been in terms of health and fitness. I’m not necessarily talking about weight here; just in general, I wasn’t thinking about what I was eating or being active. Simply put: I got lazy.

Then, a month or so ago, my best friend got engaged. I won’t say this was my motivation to start being better about health and fitness, but it may have been the catalyst. My younger sister and I both realized that if we wanted to look dang good in wedding photos, and feel good about ourselves in general, we would have to start taking action. And so we have!

How I’m taking action

I started by tracking my calories. Notice I don’t say “counting” like most others would. I like thinking about it as tracking, simply seeing what I’m eating, where the nutrients are coming from, if I’m getting enough protein and fiber in a day, etc. To start, I wasn’t even concerned with going over my “calorie limit.” I just wanted to get a look at what I’m working with and see if I could notice any trends.

I use the My Fitness Pal calorie counter, and you’d be surprised by how fun it is, especially if you get friends or family to do it with you. Yes, it can be depressing. It can be shocking when you learn just how much sugar is in that smoothie you just ordered, or how many calories are in a burger at your favorite restaurant. But it’s also extremely informative. It has helped me learn that I hardly ever get enough protein, I usually consume too much sugar, and I only get enough nutrients if I eat my fruits and vegetables. Sometimes easier said than done.

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Finally, the fitness. My sister and I both agreed that we would be more motivated to get active if we had the opportunity to do things together and possibly take some classes. So, our conclusion was to get a gym membership. It’s expensive, but I already feel that it’s worth it. So far, we’ve been going three times a week–two times to do our own thing (walk, use the bikes and other machines) and once to take a Zumba class. I think it’s been going great.

The number one reservation people seem to have about joining is a gym is worry over making time for it and getting their money’s worth. I’ve found that somehow I feel like I have even more free time in my days now that we’ve been going to the gym–how does that work? I suspect it all comes down to scheduling and prioritizing. When you make the time for something, you don’t notice that a little bit of your free time is gone. You still fit in all you want to do at some point in the week. And when you start to feel restless and ready for another workout, it’s a positive, doable thing, not something negative that will take time away from whatever else you’d like to do.

My overall goals

As I’ve gone through this experience in the past month or so, some overall goals have shaped themselves. This has been a real discovery process for me, and I am so pleased that it began in the first place and that it began organically, if you will. For the most part, anyway.

My goals aren’t anything specific; I think that’s where I would start getting frustrated with myself and possibly too obsessed with results. I’m thinking of a broader picture, here. This isn’t just a thing I want to do to lose weight right now. I want to make a lifestyle change.

So, my goals are simple:

  • Eat clean (aka cut out processed foods as much as possible)
  • Eat balanced meals
  • Be active (ideally, working out 3 times a week)
  • Do what works for me

That last one is the kicker. As I’ve read blogs, watched Youtube videos, and started my own fitness journey, I learned one important thing: There is not just ONE way to go about being fit and healthy. There are many ways. It’s up to me to figure out what works for me, and that will take some experimentation.

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Having this mentality is what will, I believe, give me perseverance with this life change. It has kept me positive and excited about it so far! I won’t deny that I’ve been stressed a few times, but I’m learning how not to be. It’s a process, and it’ll be a long one, but it will be worth it.

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Do you have any health or fitness tips to share? And what are your favorite ways to eat veggies? That’s honestly what I need the most help with right now! Comment down below!

Until next time,
Brianne