my ears have been mostly happy lately | audiobook reviews

Time for a new blog feature! Woot.

I’ve listened to a handful of audiobooks over the last few months, and I thought I’d do a roundup of little reviews! Most of these have already been mentioned in my monthly wrap-ups, BUT today I’ll be including an addition to the review: comments on the audiobook recording itself. Sometimes you never know if you should read a book or if listening to the audiobook would be a better experience. I’ll give you all you need to know for 5 audiobooks I’ve listened to in the mini reviews below.

Continue reading “my ears have been mostly happy lately | audiobook reviews”

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september wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

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!

Read on for my monthly wrap-up.

Continue reading “september wrap-up”

august wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

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!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 6 books
  • 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

mini reviews

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb: ★★★★☆

Fitz and all his adolescent adventures. He’s definitely a teenage boy in this one, but his continued story is full of even more political intrigue, his frowned-upon Wit, and complicated relationships.

Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb★★★☆☆

Fitz and the fool, Nighteyes, a journey across the land, and an impossible quest. A slow-paced yet wonderfully character-driven finale to this trilogy.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: ★★★★☆

Three mums, some kindergartners, a bully, and an eventual murder. Touches on deeper topics than you’d expect. A quick and enjoyable read. Read my full review here.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik: ★★★★☆

A girl, her best friend, a wizard, and a prince. A book full of magic and a corrupted wood. Whimsical and full of lovely descriptions. Read my full review here.

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.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: ★★★☆☆

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.

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crafty things

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.

completed

  • star blanket
  • infinity scarf
  • mug cozy, headband, experimental odds and ends

in progress

  • neon baby blanket
  • body pillow cover

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bloggish things

Here are some of my favorite blog posts from August:

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

Until next time,
Brianne

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