September just flew by! I’ve been keeping busy with my multitude of personal projects–they seem to be getting out of hand lately! Writing, crochet, blogging, keeping up with my TPT store, reading, working out…it’s been A Lot.
But it’s been a good month, and I finally feel truly ready for fall. (If only it’d stop being so abnormally hot around here…) I’ve been productive and busy and overall pretty positive about life. Which is great!
August was just about the perfect summer month for me. It started off with a vacation in Northern Michigan, boating and wine tasting and relaxing. It was filled with spending time with friends and sisters. My younger sister and I joined a gym and started working out together. I kept busy at work and busy at home. Overall, it was a nice balance of things, and I’m almost sad summer will soon be over (though fall is my favorite season).
I didn’t have a ton of success with reading until later in the month; I got into a slump when I just wanted to continue reading Robin Hobb and had to wait nearly a month to get the books from the library. *growls* Regardless, I’m currently in the middle of a few books that I should finish near the beginning of next month, so that makes me feel better about my measly list below.
Read on for my monthly wrap-up!
Total books: 6books
Total pages: 2,797 pages
Longest book: Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
Shortest book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Favorite book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Least favorite book: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Pieces of a giant robot are scattered around the world, and a team comes together to discover and study them. Told in interviews and journal entries, this story is dramatic, fast-paced, and full of science.
A boy returns to his hometown and uncovers memories he didn’t realize he had, of a girl named Lettie Hemptstock and her mystical family. A short story full of magic, suspense, a touch of horror, and childhood.
I wasn’t super crafty this month. I realized that when I’m not working on a specific project for a specific someone, I get bored easily. As such, when I finished my star baby blanket (below), I didn’t have much desire to work on other things.
But! I started thinking about what I’d like to tackle next off my to-crochet list, and I think next month (especially with the start of fall), I’ll be a lot more productive.
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mug cozy, headband, experimental odds and ends
neon baby blanket
body pillow cover
Here are some of my favorite blog posts from August:
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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two baby hats — and I created the pattern myself!
mint green and pink chevron baby blanket
hexagon blanket-turned pillow cover
body pillow cover
round yellow cushion cover
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:
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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thermos cozy — this was dearly needed
various baby hats
chevron gray and maroon afghan for my sister — finish today, on her birthday!
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
peachy ripple baby blanket (above left)
teal icicle stitch baby blanket (above right)
set of 6 gray hexagon coasters for my sister
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
a (second) set of 4 dahlia coasters
gray baby blanket (see above!)
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!
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!
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
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 Sandsby 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?
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.
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!
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!)
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)
that feeling when…: my slightly obnoxiously reflective and sort of unnecessary introduction post
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.