july wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

July was a busy summer month for me! I did lots of hanging out with friends and family, a trip to Chicago, working, and of course, reading and crafting and blogging! I didn’t do quite as much reading as I hoped–I think I was slightly in a weird slump for a little while. I read a lot, but didn’t finish many books. However, I’m off on vacation tomorrow so I’m sure I will make up for that in the days to come!

Read on for my monthly wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 5 books
  • Total pages: 2,278 pages
  • Longest book: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  • Shortest book: Poison Study by Maria V Snyder
  • Favorite book: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  • Least favorite book: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

(most beautiful covers, July edition)

mini reviews

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: ★★★☆☆

I found this slow-paced, with a love square that was really unnecessary. Some characters were intriguing, but the overall story was nothing special to me. Read my full review here.

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder: ★★★★☆

This book has such an interesting concept. I really liked reading Yelena’s journey as she became a food taster and discovered more about her magic. Plus, the slow burn romance was delicious. Read my full review here.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab★★★★☆

This book was a great follow-up to This Savage Song, but I still had some qualms with it. August was lovely, Ilsa was awesome, and Kate was a little confusing. Also, the monsters were monstrous. Read my full review here.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee★★★★★

This book is SO LOVELY and you must go read it now. It’s exactly what you’d expect from reading the synopsis–a wacky, adventurey, romantical historical fiction book. Read my full review here.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb: ★★★★☆

This is an intriguing start to this enormous series from Robin Hobb. There is so much going on, and poor young Fitz is caught up in the middle of it all. This is a must read if you love little orphan boys who bond with puppies as they try to find their place in the world.

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crafty things

I finished my first official commissioned project this month! My sister’s friend is soon to have a baby girl, and I made a minty green and pink chevron blanket for her. My sister seems pleased with how it turned out, and I am too! Plus, I was able to use some of the leftover yarn to experiment with some baby hats and create an original pattern. Success!

completed

  • two baby hats — and I created the pattern myself!
  • mint green and pink chevron baby blanket

in progress

  • hexagon blanket-turned pillow cover
  • body pillow cover
  • round yellow cushion cover

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bloggish things

Man, I was a busy blogger this July! In case you haven’t realized, I created a blog posting schedule, FINALLY. It shall be:

Mondays = book reviews
Wednesdays = bookish posts
Fridays = crafty, personal, writing, or random posts

ANYWAY. Here are some of my blog highlights from this month:

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How was your month of July? What were some of your highlights?

Until next time,
Brianne

june wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

I wasn’t around the blogosphere very much during the beginning of June…oops! I went through a reading slump, and I think that also affected by blogging motivation. But I’m back, for now anyway! And I have a few posts queued up for the next few weeks, so I’ll hopefully be around during July too.

Read on for my monthly wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 6 books and 1 audiobook
  • Total pages: 2,725 pages read and 393 listened
  • Longest book: Morning Star by Pierce Brown
  • Shortest book: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • Favorite book: Morning Star by Pierce Brown
  • Least favorite book: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

(most beautiful covers, June edition)

mini reviews

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: ★★★ 1/2

Don’t tell anyone, but I blame my reading slump on this book. It took me forever to get through, and while I think I liked it, I think I also disliked it? It wasn’t quite what I expected it to be, and while I adored the characters, the writing just wasn’t for me.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson: ★★★

This book felt like another typical YA read; enjoyable but definitely a few issues going on with it. The love triangle for once wasn’t terrible, and I didn’t even mind the main character, but the story wasn’t in any way exciting or original for me.

Red Rising series by Pierce Brown: ★★★★★

I’m giving this series an overall 5 stars, even though I rated the first two books only 4 stars. However, with how much I loved the final book and how it really completed the journey, I think the overall series is worthy of 5 stars. It’s a definite new favorite series, and I can’t wait to read more from this world next year! Please read if your love space and excellent characters and character development.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh: ★★★★

I listened to this on audiobook, so a few of the details were lost on me. But overall, I really enjoyed this! It’s not really a Mulan retelling, but it IS unique in terms of YA. Plus, I didn’t find Mariko annoying, and I definitely swooned over Okami. So, success. Can’t wait for the next one!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: ★★★★

This book is just lovely. It’s much more of a character study, and not action-packed, but I think it’s really hard to dislike this book for that or for any other reason. The world and the characters are amazing and full of depth, and the book is thought-provoking and heart-warming.

DNFed

The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

I didn’t really mean to DNF this one; I would have finished it if it didn’t become due at the library. However, the fact remains that I did set it aside and could have finished it if I really wanted before returning it. I was enjoying it well enough, but like I said in previous posts, I think I’ve grown out of Rick Riordan’s books.

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crafty things

Once again, I kept myself busy with crochet this month! I started a bajillion projects and finished hardly anything. But I still love it. I’m also still thinking about an Etsy shop, but for now I’m more focused on finishing some projects and also getting an Instagram started! You can now find me at @briannecrochets if you’re interested.

completed

  • thermos cozy — this was dearly needed
  • various baby hats
  • chevron gray and maroon afghan for my sister — finish today, on her birthday!

in progress

  • hexagon blanket-turned pillow cover — I made the tiniest bit of progress on this!
  • body pillow cover — this is still going, ran out of yarn though
  • white and purple star blanket
  • round yellow cushion cover
  • mint green and pink chevron baby blanket

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bloggish things

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How was your month of June? What was your favorite book you read or crafty thing you made?

Until next time,
Brianne

may wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

I had a great balance of activities in May. Read a decent amount, completed a few bigger crochet projects, made decent headway on a story I’m writing, and started a new job! Plus, summer has finally arrived, and I couldn’t be happier for the sunny weather.

Read on for my monthly wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 6 books and 1 novella read, 1 DNF
  • Total pages: 3,044 pages
  • Longest book: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
  • Shortest book: The Hope of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (novella)
  • Favorite book: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
  • Least favorite book: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

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mini reviews

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas: ★★★ 1/2

I was disappointed with this one. I will always love Feyre and Rhys, but this conclusion to their story really fell flat for me. I didn’t really like the plot, the ending, or the writing.

Read my full review here.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: ★★★★

I liked this! It was a solid YA read–which I think is both a compliment and a complaint. The writing was good, the romance was sweet, and most of the characters were nicely crafted. I’m planning to read the sequel in June.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson★★★★ 1/2

My last (adult) Sanderson book–of COURSE I loved it. It took me a little longer to get into this one, as it’s more heavily focused on religion and I didn’t enjoy Hrathen’s chapters as much. But eventually I was totally sucked into Raoden and Sarene’s story. I didn’t want it to end!

The Hope of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★

A very sweet (and short!) novella that felt like a sentimental epilogue to Elantris. Loved it.

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan: ★★★★

This was fun! Riordan has his book formula down pat, and yet he manages to make each book full of new adventures and diverse characters. I think maybe I’ve outgrown these books, but they’re fun to read when the mood strikes.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab: ★★★★

This one was different yet more than I expected. The more I sit on it and think about it, the more I think I really liked it–especially my newest book boyfriend, August. *heart eyes* However, I did have some issues with the ending and overall pacing.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover: ★★

Blegh. Didn’t enjoy this one, but I can see how others might. It was the entertainment I needed at the time, but it’s the kind of contemporary I can never seem to enjoy at all. Not to mention it’s all about domestic abuse, which I was completely clueless about before I started reading.

DNFed

The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

I’d read a few good reviews about this one, but by about 30 pages in, I had to set it down again. I didn’t love the characters, and the setting was too high school for me. And again–contemporary (even with a touch of magical realism–though I’m not entirely sure if this book has that or not) just isn’t doing anything for me at the moment.

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crafty things

I was busy with crochet this month! Baby blankets are too fun to make. I know of a few expectant moms through my friends and sisters, so I might get commissioned to make a blanket or two in the next few months. These blankets ended up being great practice! Plus, I am still definitely a novice but my finished products don’t come out looking too shabby, do they?

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completed

  • peachy ripple baby blanket (above left)
  • teal icicle stitch baby blanket (above right)
  • set of 6 gray hexagon coasters for my sister

in progress

  • hexagon blanket-turned pillow cover — I’m lazy and procrastinating on this
  • body pillow cover — somehow ended up extremely messy, but it’s going
  • chevron gray and maroon afghan for my sister — chipping away at this daily!

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bloggish things

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How was your month of May? What was your favorite book you read or crafty thing you made?

Until next time,
Brianne

 

april wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

As you’ll see if you continue reading any further through this post (heck, even if you just take a look at the picture of my reads for April), you’ll notice I was rather single-minded this month. *coughs embarrassedly* Yes, every book but ONE that I read this month was written by Brandon Sanderson. I just couldn’t help myself! I can be incredibly indulgent at times, and discovering a new favorite author is one of those times I don’t feel the need to hold back.

So, the bookish section of this wrap-up might be a bit of overkill. BUT! At least take away a glowing recommendation from me to get yourself some Sanderson books and start reading. I have loved him THAT MUCH. Seriously. You might as well just walk away from this post and read one of his books instead, you’ll be much better off.

But, if you insist on staying…read on for my April wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 7 books and 2 novellas read, 1 DNF
  • Total pages: 4,544 pages
  • Longest book: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • Shortest book: The Eleventh Metal by Brandon Sanderson (novella)
  • Favorite book: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  • Least favorite book: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

batch mini reviews

Mistborn Era 2 (Alloy Era) by Brandon Sanderon: ★★★★

Overall, I enjoyed this series (so far), but I did have some problems with relationship developments in the later books. I thought this era started off really strong, but books 2 and 3 just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Still good reads, especially for the simple fact that the Mistborn world feels so familiar and wonderful to go back to.

The Eleventh Metal and Secret History by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★

I read these two novellas in the Arcanum Unbounded bind-up (if that’s what it’s considered, not really sure). I don’t usually bother with novellas, but Secret History in particular was AMAZING and so worth it. Sanderson is so indulgent with his stories sometimes (but I’m not complaining), and this was definitely, 1000% one of those times, but Secret History was also just so fascinating! And just a good read, too. After being slightly disappointed by the Era 2 books, I was so relieved and happy to feel at home again with these Mistborn novellas.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones★★★

I bought this book a while back and finally got around to reading it (as I attempted a break from Brandon Sanderson…ha). This book was dark and creepy yet fascinating. In the end, it didn’t quite work for me but it was still an intriguing read. For more of my thoughts, you can read my full review here.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★

I LOVED THIS BOOK. As a standalone book, this one would be a great way to break into Brandon Sanderson’s writing without too much pressure. I found the romance and slightly less complex magic system to be really approachable and enjoyable! Plus, I’m just coming to adore the way Sanderson creates these fantasy worlds with gods and magic and religion and real characters. Highly recommend this one. Read more of my gushy thoughts here.

The Stormlight Archive (books 1 & 2) by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★

WHAT TO SAY about this epic series. OH my goodness. I only just finished book two after a whirlwind of reading; these books were utterly unputdownable. This is the epitome of an epic series, and it’s so easy to get sucked into the epicness of it all. As always, Sanderson writes each book in a way that it can stand on its own, with its own arcs, and the characters he crafts are completely irresistible. With each book at about 1,000 pages each, SO MUCH happens yet in the grand scope of things, this story has only just begun. I cannot wait for the third book to come out in November. Keep an eye out for a full review on these soon (if I can manage to get my thoughts straight at all).

DNFed

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Everyone was gushing so much about this one that I picked it up from the library and got about 100 pages into it, but it just wasn’t jiving with me. Perhaps I’m not a huge fan of flowery writing? I just wanted to skim to the ending, and not because I was excited to know what was going to happen. I liked Lazlo, but I just didn’t care about the story being told. So far, at least. I’d like to try and pick this one up again, but I now have mixed feelings on it.

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crafty things

I was a little lazy this month with my crafting. I was so sucked into reading that I often had to force myself to take a break and make some headway on my projects…but I also let myself get lazy and start new things instead of working on WIPs. But productivity is productivity, right?! I think so.

I’ve started thinking about opening an Etsy shop, but a whole host of concerns comes along with that, namely: my lack of self-confidence, my lack of original patterns, and–most important–my lack of an amazing store name! I’m still considering it, but it’s not something I’m expecting to start up anytime soon.

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My first completed baby blanket!

completed

  • a (second) set of 4 dahlia coasters
  • gray baby blanket (see above!)

in progress

  • peachy ripple baby blanket — almost complete (you can catch a peek in my April reads picture!)
  • hexagon blanket — haven’t touched at all lately
  • more coasters — attempting to design a decent original pattern
  • body pillow cover — not yet started, ideas only so far!

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bloggish things

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How was your month of April? Read any Sanderson? If not, let me know so I can natter on at you about why you should. 😉

Until next time,
Brianne

 

march wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

Since this is my blog and I get to do things my way, I figure I’ll take this opportunity to not only share my monthly wrap-up on bookish and bloggish things, but also my crafty things!  (The main reason for this is that everyone I know is sick of hearing my blabbing about my projects, so I need somewhere new to let out my nerdy excitement. I figure my lil blog will be the perfect place.)

Without further ado, here’s my March wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 6 read, 2 DNF
  • Total pages: 3,390
  • Longest book: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
  • Shortest book: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  • Favorite book: Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  • Least favorite book: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

mini reviews

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab: ★★★★★
I was lucky enough to binge-read this series in one go, and A Conjuring of Light was the perfect series finale. It tied up all the loose ends, gave me all the feels, and had me bawling my eyes out for days afterward. (I’m not kidding.) Schwab did not let up on the action or the heart-wrenching POVs for the entire book.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: ★★★
I didn’t love this one very much, unfortunately. It was all right, intriguing enough to get me reading until the end. But I didn’t connect with Amani and although I loved Jin, the relationship just wasn’t doing it for me. Also, the pacing of the book was all over the place, and I felt pretty meh when I finished. Not super compelled to keep reading the series.

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay: ★★★★
This was a very sweet spin on a fairy tale retelling. I loved, loved, loved the relationship between Aurora and Niklaas; something about falling in love even when the girl is disguised as a boy speaks to me. The plot was simple in this one, but there was enough action that I was never bored. A very cute and easy read.

Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★
I’m grouping these together because the trilogy really just consumed me for the course of two weeks, and I enjoyed it so, so much. I was unsure about the series at first because I don’t usually read adult fantasy. Something about it just intimidates me. Also, I tend to like books best with a healthy dose of romance, or at least so I thought. This trilogy really made me realize my tastes aren’t quite what I claimed they were. I was just fine with only the smidgen of romance Sanderson gave us in the trilogy, and the adult fantasy-ness of the novel was hardly something to be intimidated by! I embraced the added complexity of the plot and realized it was exactly what I’d been missing in some YA books I’ve tried over the past few months. It didn’t hurt that Sanderson is a masterful writer (how many times can I say this about him? I used that word at least once in every Goodreads review I wrote for these books). He made me care so deeply for all the characters in the trilogy and their struggles and triumphs. I am still deeply devastated by the ending–I can’t stop thinking about it–but as I’m beginning the next set of books in the series, I think I’m slowly forgiving Sanderson. I mean, when he can produce so many great, high-quality novels, how can I really hold anything against him?

DNFed

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I picked this one up at the library because I saw it on the shelf and I had heard good things about it. I’ve skim-read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and it wasn’t my favorite, but I know she’s a big author these days so I wanted to give her another try. Since Carry On seemed like more my kind of novel instead of the usual contemporary she writes, it seemed like a good idea. Wrong. I only made it about 50 pages in before I got bored. It seemed kind of silly and I didn’t enjoy the characters. I skimmed most of the ending because I wanted to know how the romance came about, and I was glad I didn’t make myself wait until the last 100 pages to find out.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
I was surprised that I really kind of hated this book. I battled with myself so hard before setting it down. I’ve read the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas and loved it! I had heard so many good things about her and was excited to try another series to continue soaking up her greatness. Unfortunately, Throne of Glass was on a totally different spectrum than ACOTAR. Mostly I really disliked the main character and found the writing juvenile. I think others have said the books get better as the series goes on, but I’m just really over the hype at the moment. Maybe I’ll pick up book 2 or 3 another time to give it another go.

Pax by Sarah Pennypacker
This was one of the middle grade books I got at the library because I had convinced myself I wanted to spend my free time becoming a teacher-friendly book reviewer and read books that might be found in classrooms. I have obviously decided to take my blog in a different direction; I just couldn’t find it in me to dedicate all my free time to reading books that weren’t the ones I was most interested in. I have only just rediscovered my love of reading…I want to spend as much time as I can catching up on all the good books I missed. So, I gave up on the middle grade books, for now at least.

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crafty things

I have been busy this month teaching myself to crochet and experimenting with patterns. I have bought way too much yarn, made lots of terrible attempts at projects, yet also found my groove and made some cool things. Rest easy, you can anticipate MANY more pictures coming soon!

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My darling mug cozies! I’m just so in love with them.

completed

  • a set of 4 dahlia coasters
  • many mug cozies (although technically they are still awaiting the last touch: a button)
  • one or two washcloths (can’t quite remember what I did at the beginning of the month!)

in progress

  • more mug cozies
  • a baby blanket (need to get more yarn to complete)
  • a hexagon blanket (which will probably take me years to complete, ayyy)

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bloggish things

  • that feeling when…: my slightly obnoxiously reflective and sort of unnecessary introduction post

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I suppose that’s that! March was a pretty good month in terms of bookish and crafty things, and I’m excited about April as well–especially since I’m unexpectedly starting off the month with a week off for break! I will never complain about having more time at home to do allll the things.

Until next time,
Brianne

that feeling when…

There’s a particular feeling you get when you finish an excellent book. You know the one I mean. Anyone who loves reading–actually, anyone who has even read just one book that they connected with–knows this feeling. It’s like your mind is whirling, yet it’s at peace. You’re deliriously happy yet screaming despairingly because the book is over. You’re about to burst from emotion but can only stare at a wall trying to comprehend what’s happening to you.

That feeling.

Somehow, I lost that feeling over the last few years. I’m not sure how; looking back, I think I was just too preoccupied with life, with pursuing other feelings, with the go-go-go that success seems to require these days. I was taken over by trying to figure my life out. And that was okay. More than that, it was necessary.

Now, though, I find myself in an odd place. Two years ago, I thought the go-go-go would never end, that I was on a rise to the top and nothing was going to stop me. I was wrong. Lots of things have stopped me. And I now find myself at a standstill of sorts, in a melancholy, slow part of life in which I’m not quite sure if I’m happy but I do have more free time to read. And, of course, I have time to rediscover that feeling.

That feeling is what’s getting me through my days right now. Sort of a depressing thought, but it’s true. I have other things going for me, of course, but letting myself get lost in a good book for a few hours a day is what I most look forward to and what I can’t stop myself from doing. One of my unofficial resolutions for the year was to start reading more, and boy, have I accomplished that resolution and then some. I’ve read at least a little almost every day of the year so far, and I’ve rediscovered my love for books, which may or may not be my one true love and calling. (Still trying to figure all that out.)

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Most recently, I finished the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Each one of them gave me that feeling and then some. Shoot, I could keep reading this series for days (and well, *ahem*, that’s exactly what I seem to be doing, but that’s beside the point). Reading these books, I was transported to a new world, made some new friends, loved and lost and learned and triumphed. The experience was wonderful.

I consider myself really quite lucky that reading the Mistborn trilogy wasn’t the first time this year that I’ve gotten that feeling. I’ve been able to catch up on so many books I missed out on over the past few years, and I’ve made plans to continue reading even more. I have rediscovered this passion of mine, and I don’t see myself letting it go very easily ever again.

That’s what brings me here, I guess. I need a place where I can gush about books that make me feel that type of way, or critique books that didn’t quite hit the mark. And maybe more, who knows? I used to fancy myself a writer once upon a time, so maybe I’ll use this blog to tap back into that. Maybe I’ll be inspired to revisit old writing projects. Or maybe I’ll just share pictures of all my knitting and crochet projects like the little homebody I truly am.

Either way, I’m here and giving this thing a shot. I promise I’m friendly, so don’t hesitate to say hello should the desire arise. We’ll see where this thing takes us.