May Reading Wrap-Up

May. The month I read all the books.
{As always, covers link to Goodreads pages.}


What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick – I enjoyed this sophomore novel — perhaps not quite as much as Huntley Fitzpatrick’s debut, My Life Next Door, but WITWT was just the right book to get me into that lazy, hazy summer mindset. Protagonist Gwen is compelling, her brother Emory is a joy, and love interest Cass is as adorable as can be. But, I think WITWT‘s setting is my very favorite part. I kind of want to be an island girl, even if that means being “the help” when I’m not soaking up sunshine at the beach. 🙂 

Frozen by Erin Bowman – I’ve gotta say… I liked Frozen even more than its dystopian predecessor, Taken. Poor Gray. He’s grown so much and is becoming a true leader, but life keeps throwing the cruelest of challenges his way. Thank goodness he’s got Bree on his side. While their relationship is complicated, she’s just the constant he needs. Of course, that’s not to say Emma’s out of the picture — though things concerning her take a major turn in this novel. The twists keep coming, and Erin’s writing is just as beautiful in Frozen as it was in Taken — perhaps even more so. I can’t wait to see how this trilogy concludes in Forged


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – I don’t know what it is about Jenny Han’s writing, but I’ve been enchanted by every one of her books, and Boys is no exception. I’ve heard from some reviewers who were put off by Lara Jean’s young-ish voice, but I think she’s adorable. She reminds me of Claudia Kishi, and I can totally relate to her feelings of uncertainty when it comes to boys, as well as her idealistic tendencies when it comes to family and romance. I love the way Lara Jean’s connection with her father and sisters is portrayed, and I love the way her relationship with Peter develops into something surprising. Can’t wait to read P.S. I Still Love You!


The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond – This one came recommended by my friend Sara, and I thought it was pretty fantastic. I loved the unconventional family set-up, and the budding romance was sweet and different and rather mysterious. Gotta give major credit to an author who writes a romantic interest who might be lying about everything, but charms you into loving him anyway. Summer is set in the Pacific Northwest where I grew up (automatic bonus points), and there’s this whole subplot involving cougars (yep) that I found particularly unique and heartbreaking. This one’s a recommend if you’re looking for an under-the-radar summer romance.  


Easy by Tammara Webber – I don’t read tons of NA, and while the NA books I’ve picked up have been sexy and wildly entertaining, I wouldn’t describe them as deep or super high quality. Easy is very different, though, and I flew through it in two sittings, then immediately bought its follow-up, Breakable. Jacqueline is such an incredible protagonist. She goes through a terrible ordeal in the novel’s opening, but she’s no wilting flower. And Lucas… If you like mysterious, tattooed, damaged-but-ass-kicking book boys, you will positively swoon for him. He and Jacqueline develop such a genuine (also, hot) relationship over the course of this novel, and I shamelessly loved every second they were on the page together. Easy‘s a big NA recommend. 


Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae – I normally don’t read books described as “clean teen” (I like my YA on the edgy side, thanks), but I follow Kristin Rae on Instagram and she’s just so delightful, I couldn’t help but buy her debut. Good move on my part, because Italian is super cute. Pippa’s a fun narrator, and her travels through Italy gave me a serious case of wanderlust. Darren and Bruno, her boy possibilities, are appealing in completely unique ways, and Chiara and Mogan both serve as fantastic BFF figures. While this whole novel was charming, it was the last few pages that really cemented my fondness for it. Adorable.


We Were Liars by E. Lockheart – The hype surrounding this book is through the roof, and for good reason — it’s incredible. It’s one of those that’s best read without a lot of background information, but I will say that We Were Liars totally and completely broke my heart. And it surprised me. And it was unputdownable. And it made me want to be a better writer. E. Lockhart’s prose is gorgeous: spare and clean, yet beautifully poetic. This one’s going to be a 2014 favorite for sure.


Push Girl by Jessica Love and Chelsie Hill (June 3rd, 2014) – At first glance, Push Girl is simply an issue book. Kara’s been dealt an incredibly challenging hand and she’s facing struggles the average person’s probably never even considered. But this novel is so much more than the issues it covers. It’s a hopeful, honest, uplifting story about change and friendship and taking a stand. It’s about healing and traveling unexpected paths and — while Kara hates this word — it’s inspirational. Push Girl is  emotional and deep, but there are moments of fun, too. Plus, it’s incredibly well-written. Do pick it up when it becomes available next week! My full Bookanista recommendation is HERE


Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah (October 8th, 2014) – Yikes. This debut gave me the shivers. It’s scary in this subtle, confusing way that makes you want to devour it in one sitting. I love books that are unpredictable, books that make me question the narrator and the facts she presents and the words she chooses, and Of Scars and Stardust is definitely one of those. And the writing… so lovely and evocative. I read this novel over a few 90+ degree days, yet I still felt cold every time MC Claire set foot in a cornfield. If you like twisty psychological thrillers, pick up Of Scars and Stardust up  when it debuts this fall.

That’s it! What’s the best book you read in May? 

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What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Huntley Fitzpatrick’s What I Thought Was True and really enjoyed it. Perhaps not quite as much as her debut, My Life Next Door, but WITWT was the perfect book to get me into that lazy, hazy summer mindset, and its love interest, Cass, is adorable as can be. I also read Erin Bowman’s sophomore dystopian novel, Frozen. While I’m still recovering, I *think* I’ve decided that I liked Frozen even more than its predecessor, Taken. Poor, poor Gray. Also, my love for Bree knows no bounds. Now, I’m reading Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, which is delightful. I’m a huge fan of Jenny’s Summer trilogy, and Boys is certainly stacking up. Its protagonist, Lara Jean, reminds me a bit of my favorite Baby Sitters Club character, Claudia Kishi. Both girls have Asian lineage (Lara Jean is Korean American, while Claud is of Japanese descent), but I think their similarities run deeper. Lara Jean and Claudia both possess this genuine sort of innocence that’s just so charming, and they’re both into artsy things and have distinct, unique personal style. So far, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is totally winning me over.

  

What I’m Writing: Well. I’ve been trying to plot my new mystery WiP (that follow-up/sequel/whatever I’ve been hinting about) for days, but to be honest, I’ve only been muddling along, filling in bits here and there, and mostly just mentally flailing about. Yesterday, though, I had an epiphany: I’m not going to be able to solve this mystery along with my characters like I originally planned (my misguided attempt at pantsing, I guess). I NEED TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS, ALL THE DETAILS OF THE MYSTERY, BEFORE I BEGIN TO DRAFT. So, I spent most of Monday and Tuesday prewriting, filling in the background stuff that’s necessary for plotting my characters’ journey. Things are going much smoother now. Yay for literary breakthroughs!


New favorite workspace…

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Lots of summery things, like beach-going and  early morning strolls with good ol’ Daisy.

  
I know it’s not yet summer in most areas of the country, but we’ve had a string of 80+ degree days and this sun worshipper is loving it. I’m already so tan!


I was lucky enough to win Sara Biren’s Blogoversary Giveaway, and on Monday I received the oh-so-amazing prize package. Sara even surprised me with an under-the-radar YA romance that I can’t wait to read, and sent super cute Hello Kitty hair accessories for my girl! Happy, happy mail! Thanks so much, Sara!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: This, a thousand times…


I’m proud of my daughter and all of her positive personality traits  — she’s astute, kind, courageous, witty, and compassionate — but few things thrill me more than seeing her engrossed in a story. I took the above photo about an hour after tucking her into bed for the night. She was supposed to be sleeping, but really… How can I be mad at her for sneaking in extra time with a book — especially when I remember doing exactly the same thing when I was her age?

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

February Reading Wrap-Up

So much contemporary YA this month! What can I say? It’s my very favorite genre; I just can’t get enough! Here’s what I read in February…
(As always, covers link to Goodreads pages.)

Leap of Faith by Jamie Blair – I absolutely adored this book. Faith is such a strong, real girl, and love interest Chris is sweet and charming as can be (every single scene with Chris and Addy — I melted!). Jamie Blair took a concept that has much potential for melodrama (neglected teen girl on the lam with a stolen baby) and spun it into a heartfelt and compelling story. My only (tiny) complaint is that I wanted more from the ending. Not a different ending — just more. I fell so in love with these characters, yet I was left feeling a little uncertain about their futures. Maybe Jamie Blair will write a sequel?!

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher – I’ve made no secret of my love for Lucy Christopher’s Stolen: A Letter to My Captor (Ty = Best Antagonist Ever), so I was expecting a lot from The Killing Woods. Guys, this book is a trip. It’s intense and bizarre and dark and disturbing. It requires some suspension of disbelief regarding memory loss and general teen behavior, but I’ve gotta say… I dug it. The dual POV narration is fantastic, the British slang is awesome, and the constant sense of unknowing is haunting in the best way. About halfway through, I was sure I had it all figured out, but nope. The conclusion is just plausible enough, and it definitely left me reeling.

Stolen (A Taken Novella) by Erin Bowman – It’s possible I loved this novella even more than its full-length predecessor. Bree is my favorite character from Erin Bowman’s debut Taken, so even though I have a serious aversion to eBooks, I had to read this story. And I’m glad I did! It shed so much light on Bree’s background and her behavior in Taken, and it very much broke my heart (Lock… *sniffle*). After reading Stolen, I can’t wait for Taken‘s follow-up, Frozen.

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott – I totally judged this book by its cover (gorgeous) and then I saw that it was written by Elizabeth Scott and, well, I had to have it. I’m such a fant of protagonist Emma. She’s confused and misdirecting her anger all over the place, but she’s also incredibly compassionate and fiercely loyal. Other things I love about Heartbeat: Emma’s genuine relationship with Olivia, her best friend. Also, Emma’s developing romance with Caleb the car thief — so sweet and real and butterfly-inducing. And finally, Elizabeth Scott’s amazing writing and absolutely enviable teen voice. My full Bookanista recommendation is HERE.

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi – Such a fantastic conclusion to a trilogy I’ve followed since its debut. Perry and Aria are one of the few YA couples  I buy into completely. Their feelings for each other strike me as so genuine (his hand on his heart ♡), and while they make mistakes, the respect they show for one another is refreshing. Also, Roar? He’s a loose cannon in this book (understandably so), but still… he can do no wrong in my eyes. I love the bond he has with Aria. And Soren? Never thought I’d say this, but he totally grew on me! When he calls Brooke Laurel — the best! If you’ve been putting the Under the Never Sky trilogy off, I highly recommend reading it now. Consistently amazing.

In Honor by Jessi Kirby – I adore Jessi other contemporary YAs, Moonglass and Golden, but In Honor is far and away my favorite of her novels thus far. Mostly, that has to do with Rusty. Don’t get me wrong — Honor is a wonderful protagonist and I can totally see myself being friends with her, but Rusty… The football and the boots and the beer and the smirk and the Texas twang. Yowza. Aside from Rusty and his swoonworthiness, In Honor is a really beautiful story about love and grief and growing up and letting go, with a fabulous road trip as its backdrop. The Shake Shack even makes an appearance! Also, the bit about Paula Peaches is pretty much the greatest little fictional anecdote ever.

The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry – Aidan is a fantastic protagonist. He’s been through tons, but he doesn’t spend much time feeling sorry for himself. His inner commentary about learning to live life with just one arm is fascinating. Similarly, Kate is a winsome character. She’s got a lot going on with her recent diabetes diagnosis, plus her boyfriend’s just kicked her to the curb. She’s not sitting around having pity parties either, though, which is a big part of why The Summer I Found You is such a quick and enjoyable read. Aidan and Kate just work, and it’s a joy to watch their relationship blossom, even through awkward moments and missteps.  My Bookanista Recommendation is HERE.

So… What’s the best book you read in February? 

What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Lucy Christopher’s The Killing Woods and found it dark and strange and very compelling. I didn’t love it like I loved her Stolen, but I was certainly entertained. Next, I read Erin Bowman’s Stolen: A Taken Novella, which I adored. It focuses on Bree, my favorite character from Erin’s dystopian debut Taken, and gives all sorts of awesome insight into her history. Her backstory totally broke my heart and made me love her even more. I also read Elizabeth Scott’s Heartbeat, a lovely, romantic contemporary. I’ll talk about it in more detail in tomorrow’s Bookanista post. Now, I’m reading Veronica Rossi’s Into the Still Blue, the final book in her Under the Never Sky series. *sniffle* I’m so bummed that this trilogy is coming to an end!

  

What I’m Writing: I’m still plugging away at my first revision pass. I’m nearly done, only a few scenes to go, but they’re the scenes that need the most work. Back in October I rushed the ending just to get there and I’m pretty sure I’ll be paying for my hastiness over the next few days while I try to make sense of it all. In brighter news… I kind of love my story. It still needs work and I know my CPs will tear it apart in the most loving of ways, but the bones of it — the characters and the romance and the tragedy of it all — I think it’s working.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Congratulating my husband, who has managed to become published before me. I’m much more proud than bitter. Promise. 😉 If you’re interested in how HBO’s “The Wire” can be applied to the special operations and intelligence communities, or any organization that’s involved in irregular warfare or unconventional warfare, you can can read his article HERE.


I made Danish Puff! This is another of my favorite treats. It’s great for brunch: almond-y and not too sweet, simple, and very pretty. My little family and I devoured these in a day. (Also, thanks to Juliana for calling me out on my failure to include a treat in last week’s WUW. I’m back up to speed today!)


Over the last few days, I’ve watched almost all of first season of Friday Night Lights. I have no idea how I’ve neglected this show for so long, especially considering my fondness for teen dramas (Dawson’s Creek, Beverly Hills, 90210, The Vampire Diaries, etc), but FNL is SO GOOD. Tim Riggins… Swoon.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: See above. The romance and angst and perfectly imperfect characters of Friday Night Lights have me all kinds of inspired. I can’t wait to watch more! In other (amazing!) news, my friend Elodie has taken control of her magic and decided to self-publish her contemporary YA novel ONE TWO THREE (you can mark it To-Read on Goodreads HERE). Congrats, Elodie! I’m so excited for you! As far as writing inspiration, there’s this article from Writers Helping Writers about Writing Extreme Emotion Without Melodrama. There’s such a fine line between the two, and this post has some awesome tips. Definitely check it out. And, finally my girlie, who drew Daphne in our driveway the other day. She’s so artistic and sweet. She inspires me every day. 

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

December Reading Wrap-Up

I’m so glad December is finally over! My family and I have moved across the country and we’re settling in to our new Florida home. I’m looking forward to the day I can say we’re completely unpacked, because then I can start binge reading again. Until then, here’s what I read in December…

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – Oh, this book is so very lovely. It’s one I might have overlooked if not for a recommendation from Corey Ann Haydu. I’m so glad I took her word regarding its amazingness. Main character June’s evolving relationship with her older sister is one that’s complicated and harsh and real, and it kept me turning pages late into the night. And then there are the descriptions of paintings and the woods and Finn and Toby’s apartment, not to mention June’s uncertain yet heartfelt teenage voice. Such a special book.

Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano – This one required significant suspension of disbelief, but once I was able to let go of my plausibility questions, I started to really enjoy it. Perfect Ruin makes use of some tried and true dystopian tropes, but thanks to Lauren DeStefano’s enchanting writing, manages to make them feel fresh and different. And holy cliffhanger! I’m ready for Book 2!

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (audiobook) – Historical fiction is not my genre of choice, but I adore Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution, and I as soon as I saw an A Northern Light audiobook at my library, I knew it would be perfect for my road trip across the country. A Northern Light is such a rich and beautiful novel. I loved learning about farm life in 1906, and I thought the way the mystery of Grace’s death was woven into Mattie’s story was truly brilliant. There were so many captivating characters in this story, and the way they all laced in and out of Mattie’s (and each other’s) day-to-day life was incredibly clever. Recommend!

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (audiobook) – I’ve owned a physical copy of this book forever, and I’m a big fan of Sara Zarr’s Sweethearts, Once Was Lost, and How to Save a Life, yet for some reason I’ve neglected to pick up Story of a Girl. I’m happy to have finally remedied that problem, because this book is exceptional. Main character Deanna is so frank and complicated and relatable, and her relationships with her family and friends are interesting and complex. Sara Zarr herself reads the audiobook, which feels very personal and cool.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (audiobook) – So… My feelings on this one are rather muddled. Overall, I thought it was an engaging and haunting story. The details of the war and Daisy’s plight are gripping, and the writing is some of the most beautiful and evocative I’ve read. That said, I had a hard time coming to terms with a pair of cousins (fourteen- and fifteen-years-old) falling passionately in love. Yikes. Also, this is a very somber and affecting story, and while the audiobook narrator read well, I found her voice too chipper for the tone of the story. She describes scenes of absolute horror with inflection that’s hard to take seriously. So, yes… I’m torn.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young (audiobook) – My friend Erin Bowman recommended this book to me awhile back, and I’m so glad I finally got a chance to read it. Blood Red Road is an action-packed survival story set in a terrifying post-apocalyptic future. Protagonist Saba is sharp and strong and very well characterized, love interest Jack is the best sort of smartass, and Saba’s siblings are both fascinating in their own right. This story never stopped being exciting, and I’m very much looking forward to reading Book 2, Rebel Heart.

Tell me… What’d you read in December?

2013 YA Superlatives Blogfest :: Head of the Class

The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest (hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me) runs Monday, December 16th through Thursday, December 19th. All of our fantastic participants will highlight favorite books published in 2013 using a variety of fun superlative categories. The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest is all about promoting the extraordinary young adult books published this year, so if you haven’t already, draft a post and sign up to participate at the end of this post. We can’t wait to see your favorite reads of 2013!

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My Books Pubbed in 2013 Reading List (starred books are 2013 debut novels): Shades of Earth, *The Tragedy Paper, Just One Day, *If You Find Me, *Nobody But Us, *Taken, Through the Ever Night, Eleanor & Park, Requiem, *Pretty Girl-13, *Uses For Boys, This is What Happy Looks Like, Quintana of Charyn, *The S-Word, The 5th Wave, *Nantucket Blue, *The Sea of Tranquility, Golden, *Strands of Bronze and Gold, Where the Stars Still Shine, Dare You To, All I Need, Out of the Easy, *OCD Love Story, The Dream Thieves, *Canary, The Truth About You and Me, Fangirl, *My Life After Now, September Girls, *Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Dead Silence, Invisibility, Just One Year, *Fault Line, Allegiant, *How to Love, The Beginning of Everything, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, *Unteachable, Dangerous Girls, and *Reclaimed (Covers link to Goodreads pages!)

Today’s Categories for Best in Show…

Favorite Dystopian

   
I couldn’t narrow this category down to one. Both Through the Ever Night and Taken have amazing worldbuilding and beautiful prose. Love them both.

Favorite Science Fiction

The end of this book almost killed me, but… phew! I thought it was a fitting and fantastic conclusion to a trilogy I’ve followed since its release.

Favorite Fantasy

I read this trilogy over the course of a few weeks last spring, and I’m still in awe. I’ve never cared so much for such a huge cast of characters. Brilliant high fantasy.

Favorite Contemporary

   
Because this is actually one story, right? Allyson and Willem really did give me all the feels, not to mention a wicked case of wanderlust.

Favorite Action/Adventure

This one’s sci-fi as well, and it’s intense. Expertly plotted and full of action and twists. I couldn’t put it down!

Favorite Historical Fiction

I adore this gritty but beautiful glimpse into life in a 1950s New Orleans brothel. Protagonist Josie is one of my favorites of the year.

Favorite Comedy

This is a stretch, but I don’t read traditional comedies, and Fangirl actually does have several funny moments. It’s also deep and thoughtful and romantic. Love.

Favorite Mystery

This book kept me guessing until its final pages. It’s raw and twisty and bold, a scary look at foreign legal systems and the ruthlessness of friendship and love.

Favorite Romance

   
I couldn’t pick just one! How to Love and Eleanor & Park are stories of challenged but genuine devotion, and they both gave me all the first love tingles.

Favorite Paranormal

This book is surreal and atmospheric and totally weird, but I dig it. The writing is lovely and the symbolism is fascinating. Plus, look at that cover!

Favorite Family Drama

    
Two heartbreaking but hopeful stories with similar themes of love and devotion and healing. Both protagonists have exceptional fathers, too.

Favorite Genre Bender 

This book is a trip, and I could not put it down. I’m such a Gansey fan… I’d read a story about him grocery shopping if Maggie Stiefvater published it.

Tell us about your favorites, and make sure to link your post with all of the other Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest posts…

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What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Carol Rifka Brunt’s Tell the Wolves I’m Home and I thought it was a beautiful story. That said, it’s not a book that would have normally attracted me, so I’m incredibly thankful for Corey Ann Haydu’s recommendation. I loved this novel! Now I’m (slowly) reading Lauren DeStefano’s Perfect Ruin. So far, I’m super impressed with the worldbuilding, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the story plays out.

What I’m Writing: I’ve slacked on my revision over the last week, and I’m so bummed about it. I’ve just been so busy with the holidays and my husband’s upcoming grad school graduation and our impending move. I haven’t had time to sit down and focus on what my manuscript needs. Boo. I keep picturing myself all comfy on the couch in our new Florida home with my story document opened in front of me… Can. Not. Wait. In other news, I finished my blog posts for the Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest, which begins this Monday! Looking forward to sharing my favorite 2013 books with you, and to reading about the books you’ve fallen for this year!

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What Else I’ve Been Up To: Blah. Need you ask? Organizing, purging, packing. The moving truck comes Friday. We’re loading all weekend. We sign out of our house next Wednesday. I can’t wait to be done with this nonsense.

   
Some girlfriends and I hosted a graduation party for our husbands this weekend. Of course I put myself in charge of desserts. I took a break from packing and instead spent two full mornings baking. I was so happy!


I got the cutest winter mug for #SipSwap a few mornings ago. As soon as I unwrapped it, I fixed myself some tea and ate some M&Ms. Because I am a grown up. Thanks so much to Simon Clark for sending such an adorable mug!

   
My girl is *almost* as graceful as I am. Last week at school she hurt her face on the jungle gym (I still don’t completely understand how), but she’s healing quickly. When I told her to not to pick at the scab on her forehead because it would leave a scar, she got all excited and said, “Really? Like Harry Potter?!” And then I was the proudest mom ever.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: I watched The Descendants over the weekend, and I absolutely loved it. I’d heard it was good from several people and I’ve been intrigued by the trailer since I saw it ages ago (plus there’s the whole Oscars thing), but it’s one of those movies that somehow slipped by me. It’s finally on HBO (yay!) and I couldn’t pass it up. Oh, it was so, so good. Flawed but incredibly likable characters. Poignant, but with moments of perfect humor (Sid! The best!). A gorgeous setting (Hawaii!). And Shailene Woodley — what a talent. She’s going to rock Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars. If you’ve yet to see this one, I highly recommend it. Amazing and inspiring storytelling. Here’s the trailer…

Tell me… What’s up with you today?