June 30, 2016

June Recap + Flights of Fantasy Update

Life lately
I've always looked forward to June – and not just because it's my birthday month! I love the beginning of summer. It starts to get warmer, the sun stays out longer and I always make a bunch of plans. So far I've been to two ballets, one concert, various outings with friends and I turned 33 in Dublin. It's safe to say that my summer has been off to a great start.

This month's favorites


"I never promised you anything
I couldn't do
We tried to bury it and rise above,
bury it and rise above..."

On the blog
Book Reviews
Everything else

After reading 7 fantasy books last month, I honestly had to take a break! So I've no fantasy books! (I tried to read Thorn Jack but ended up DNFing. Oh well!)

How are you all doing on your challenge?

Feel free to link to any of your #FlightsofFantasy updates
 or a recent fantasy review in the linky below. 
And if you haven't joined the challenge yet, you can sign up here.  

June 29, 2016

Birthday Soundtrack (+ Giveaway!)

It's my birthday today! As you read this, I'm currently in Dublin with one of my dearest friends and my first time to really spend this day away from friends and family. I still wanted to share a little something today because if I'm being honest, I feel like I've spent the first half of this year thinking "OMG I'm going to be 33!".

I don't feel like I'm 33 and even though I often say that I'm old, I don't actually think that I am. But there's just something about that number getting higher that does freak me out a little bit. Maybe because it makes me aware that there are still a million things I want to do! And despite what's been a rocky past six months, I'm happy and healthy and excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.

To celebrate, I wanted to share a birthday soundtrack and the exactly lyrics that made me include these songs. And if you scroll some more, I'm giving away two of my favorite music-related books. Listen and enjoy!

You bury it, bury it, bury it and rise above
You bury it, bury it, bury it and rise above

Broods - Mother & Father
I don't want to wake up lonely
I don't want to just be fine
I don't want to keep on hoping
Forget what I had in mind

Yuna - Planes 
I got friends but I'm still shy
Sometimes I laugh sometimes I cry
I don't like planes
But I love to fly, love to fly

Mapei - Don't Wait
Old friend indeed, come build me up
Come shed your lie, it makes me shine
You get the message, don't you ever forget it,
Let's laugh and cry until we die!

James Bay - Let It Go
Everything's that's broke
Leave it to the breeze
Why don't you be you
And I'll be me

Kings of Leon - Manhattan
I like to dance all night
It summons the day
That's how I play

The Strokes - Someday
No, I ain't wastin' no more time
And now my fears
They come to me in threes
So, I sometimes say, 
"Fate my friend,
You say the strangest things
I find, sometimes"

Florence + The Machine - Shake It Out 
And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
'Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out

Jess Glynne - Don't Be So Hard on Yourself
Don't be so hard on yourself, no
Learn to forgive, learn to let go
Everyone trips, everyone falls
So don't be so hard on yourself, no

STRFKR - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun 
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have 
That's all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done

I'm giveaway away two music-related books I love: 
Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein and Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally. 
It's US only and open until July 13th. Good luck!

June 27, 2016

Books in Real Life, Episode 13: When We Collided

For this month's Books in Real Life we chose... When We Collided by Emery Lord! We're both huge fans of this author and couldn't wait to feature another book of hers so we were happy to find two things in When We Collided that we could do. The main characters, Vivi and Jonah, meet for the first time while painting pottery so that was #1 on our list. Then Jonah's family owns a restaurant, which means not only is Jonah a great cook but he makes pizza for Vivi on her first night over his house. So after painting, #2 was definitely going to a nearby family-owned restaurant for delicious pizza. 

June 24, 2016

Bestie Saturdate

One of the beautiful things about New York is that I never get tired of it. Even though I'm there every single day, I can still get excited about picking a day to spend in the city with my best friend and plan a whole itinerary around what we can do. And I don't think I'll ever run out of things to explore! 

So after throwing out lots of different ideas (my main ones being the Degas exhibit at the Modern Museum of Art and ice cream), Carina sent me an email with the subject line "Saturdate" with our entire day planned. We went this past weekend (you might've seen a couple of these pics on my Instagram!) and it was the perfect day. Warm but breezy summer weather, lots and lots of walking (we're putting our Fitbits to good use!) and just so much fun. 

Here are some pictures from our day!

First selfie of the day • One of displays before entering the MoMa
"A Strange New Beauty", Edgar Degas • I had never seen this painting before and it was one of my favorites at the exhibit. 
My other favorite - I wish they had a print. • In their sculpture garden; it gave me Beauty & the Beast vibes
At Cuba for lunch, which is now one of my favorite restaurants • Mango mimosa, yum!
Yucca frites and ceviche • Lechon asado con mojo (all so delicious!)
Snowdays ice cream; I got "Made in Taiwan" and Carina got "Got Seoul" • While walking to the subway, we saw Three Lives & Company bookstore and had to go in. 
First Carina said we looked "too happy" then later she called this our "drunk happy" photo. I think we just look happy and I love it! • Washing Square Park which I don't think I had ever been to before.
Making our way to Brooklyn Bridge • We're here and I wasn't at all embarrassed to whip out a selfie stick for this occasion!
But I did bring (and use) my fancy mirrorless camera and this was one of my favorite shots.
I can never resist a skyline shot • We made it!

What are some of your favorite places in New York?

June 22, 2016

Short & Sweet (12)

As you've already noticed, I've added mini-reviews to the blog and since then, I've started to look at this feature differently. I realized I wanted them to be truly short and sweet. So I've come with up a new format! I'm breaking down each book by specific categories and keeping it down to a couple sentences max per section. Hope you like the update!

pub 3/31/15 by Signet
Adult - Urban Fantasy
1 Line Summary: Trez and iAm both want to escape the past but when they both find love, how much are they willing to sacrifice for the women they've each fallen for and for each other?
The Couples: I expected to see the continuation of Trez and Serena's story which I genuinely did enjoy. But I liked the romance between iAm and (well, I can't tell you) even more.
The Plot: Learning the Shadows' full back story was interesting but what gave me all the feels were certain scenes with the Brotherhood and their shellans. Just seeing everyone together and seeing how they had accepted Trez and iAm into the fold. J.R. Ward does such a great job of describing their dynamic.
Reservations: The usual, which for me includes anything to do with the Lessers and the Band of Bastards.
Do I recommend?: Yes! I enjoyed this more than I expected to and I hope the author never stops writing this series.

pub 2/2/16 by Loveswept
Romance - Contemporary
1 Line Summary: Famous football star Jackson Burke thought he had it all with his career and the supposed love of his life but now he's retired because of an accident, a divorcee, trying to start a new career and falling of his ex-sister-in-law.
The Couple: I adored Jackson and Mollie (the ex-SIL) together. I wasn't sure if it would work for me because ending up with your sister's ex-husband sounds really strange but their chemistry made it believable.
The Plot: I mean it's a love triangle between a guy and two sisters so you can only imagine what this entails. There's drama, miscommunication and sexy times but it didn't feel over the top to me.
Reservations: This is the second book in a series of companion novels so I can't help but compare it to its predecessor. I liked this but I liked the first book more.
Do I recommend?: I do! Lauren Layne's writing is fun and engaging so I personally know I'll continue to check out her books.

pub 5/16/16 by Metal Blonde Books
New Adult - Romance
1 Line Summary: Both Blake Crawford and Amanda Newland want to make names for themselves so when they get paired up for a creative writing assignment, sparks fly on the page and in real life.
The Couple: I really, really liked Blake and Amanda together. There was banter, chemistry, fun times and romance between them the entire course of the book. Even with a little bit of drama, I was very into their story.
The Plot: It was so tongue-in-cheek! Basically these two decide to make money fast by writing erotic fiction and selling it on Amazon for a $1.99 (I totally buy romances and NAs for this price all the time!). I got a laugh out of listening to them dissect cheesy titles, common romantic tropes and just talking about writing period.
Reservations: It's definitely lighter than what I'm used to from Karina Halle so I completely different expectations going in. I ended up enjoying it obviously but beware, this is not her typical stuff!
Do I recommend?: Yes, read Karina Halle books my friends!