July 27, 2016

BookBags (40): Luck of the Irish


Monthly feature where I pair books with bags or share what's in a bag (mine or otherwise!) est. 4/2013.

I can't stop thinking about my trip to Dublin so it seemed fitting to feature books that take place in Ireland!

See Me + Rogue Bag 36 | I read this recently (review to come soon!) and it's a fun, paranormal romance that reminded me of the countryside in Ireland. I thought this Coach bag was a perfect match. 

Darkfever + Cedar Street Stripe Maise | The Fever series is one of my ultimate faves and when I visited Trinity College, I couldn't help thinking of Fever since it was mentioned in the book multiple times. The different shades of blue on the bag go nicely with the cover. 

Daughter of the ForestUrban Apartment Shopping Bag | If you haven't read the Sevenwaters series yet and you love fantasy, you have to. It's an epic series that had to be included here. Plus it was super easy to find a bag to pair with it!

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Which bag + book pairing is your favorite?
And have you read any of these books?

July 26, 2016

Review: The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown
pub 6/12/16 by Mira
Adult - Contemporary Fiction
The Choices We Make is an intense reading experience and I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say that. It's a book I'm sure will bring out extreme reactions for different people and that's ultimately what impressed me the most. It's thought-provoking and honest and makes you feel like you know these characters in real life, which is why I felt so strongly about what they were each going through.

Hannah and Kate have been best friends since the fifth grade and they have the kind of relationship that has stood the test of time and made them feel like sisters. Now they're adults, both married and still as closer as ever. Kate and her husband David are happy and have two beautiful little girls. Hannah and Ben were happy but their inability to get pregnant or decide on what the future holds has placed a strain on their relationship. Hannah (and Ben) are understandably heartbroken and this is where Kate's big, generous heart steps in. She offers to be Hannah's surrogate and is willing to use one of her own eggs to do so.

We alternate between Hannah and Kate's perspectives and your heart breaks for each of them in different ways. The more obvious is Hannah. She so desperately wants a child of her own and wants to experience pregnancy like so many other women around her. It's hard not to ache for her when she thinks this dream will never come true. At the same time, I ached for Kate. I loved her giving personality and I often thought Hannah was so incredibly lucky to have her. But at the same time, I was scared for the offer she was making. That she wasn't fully realizing the depth and complications of this decision. It seemed like everyone, especially her husband David, tried to emphasize what this meant and all Kate could think about was making Hannah happy. And when an unexpected tragedy strikes these two couples, those complications and fears are escalated in a way that was raw, honest and extremely evocative. My emotions were all over the place and heightened with every page I read. I mean.. Karma Brown's writing just does that to you and while I loved Come Away With Me, it's The Choice We Make that ensured I will read anything by this woman.

Do I recommend?
I can't say yes enough! But be prepared to laugh, cry, feel rage, heartbreak and everything in between when you read this one. My review honestly doesn't begin to do this book justice so just read it.

July 25, 2016

Photo Session at Duke Farms


When I decided to buy my Sony Alpha a6000, two of my cousins were already into photography which made learning how to use my camera that much more fun. We'd had done a little photo walk before but then I found a list of "15 Amazing Places In New Jersey That Are A Photo-Taking Paradise" and wanted us to go to at least two of these places before the summer ended.

This past weekend we finally went to one spot – Duke Farms! It's a beautiful location with so much to see. Of course we picked the day of a heat wave to be outdoors so we only covered about 1/4 of the farm. There were greenhouses, flowers, sculptures, lakes and more. We're definitely going to go back but during the fall when the leaves are changing color and it's a bit cooler. I have to admit the heat was definitely distracting while taking photos but I took a few that I'm super happy with. Here are five of my favorite shots!