Who knew International Happiness Day was a thing? Not me… but I’ll use it as an excuse to write about ten things that just make me happy! 🙂
Number 1: MY FAMILY!
I feel extremely lucky to be so close with my family – which includes both of my parents, two brothers, my husband, my in-laws (seriously, I love them), and a whole bunch of supportive aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.
Number 2: Making Spreadsheets
Nope, not a joke. It’s probably a good thing my full-time job is being a project engineer (project manager) where I pretty much have to make budget and timeline spreadsheets on the daily. But my love for organization spreads to wherever I can make it: wedding planning, books I own/want to read lists, now blog planning!
Number 3: Escape Rooms
There is something SO FUN about escape rooms to me. I love solving puzzles and playing games, and this is a nice combination of the two. Highly recommend doing a Google search to see if your city has any and doing one if it does! Pictured above: my cute extended family after a day of multiple rooms in Des Moines, IA.
Number 4: Halo Top Ice Cream
I am NOT a healthy eater. I’ve never eaten more than a few bites of a salad and vegetables don’t exist in our household unless they’re technically a starch. BUT I have fallen in love with the “lower-calorie” ice cream that is Halo Top and it makes me feel just a liiiiittle bit better about my eating habits. Chocolate chip cookie dough is the way to go, but my husband likes the PB cup one best.
Number 5: The Amazing Race
I LOVE THE AMAZING RACE. I love competition TV shows in general, but if I could choose one to go on, it would definitely be The Amazing Race. I have competed in two of my own versions, one being when I was an intern at a big company and they organized an Intern Amazing Race as a way to explore the city, and once on our honeymoon – we did the Amazing Cozumel Race as our excursion in Cozumel, Mexico 🙂
Number 6: Crafting
I grew up with an engineer for a father, always bringing home projects to work on with his large-scale vinyl cutter and 3D printer, and a crafter for a mother, who made scrapbooks for every phase of my life and all of my childhood halloween costumes. I’ve been trained well, and now there isn’t a DIY I don’t think I can tackle!
Number 7: Playing Softball
I have played softball since I was VERY little (t-ball age) and played fastpitch competetively through my senior year of high school. Since then I’ve continued playing slowpitch through coed leagues, which has been a really fun activity to do with my husband in the summer.
Number 8: Watching YouTube Videos
My watch history contains a bunch of different categories: makeup gurus, book reviewers, cleaning videos, daily vloggers, gamers (cough cough, Sims 100 baby challenge videos), and more. It’s a near addiction at this point.
Number 9: Tailgating
I went to college at a school where football is life. And so is tailgating 🙂 Nothing like waking up at 5 AM to eat and drink and get excited for a football game, especially with all of your closest friends, family, and giant stuffed bison!
Number 10: Beach Vacations
I mean… is there anyone out there who DOESN’T enjoy these?
So with that, Happy International Happiness Day! What things in your life make you happy?
I’m so excited for this week!! Today marks the kickoff of Buzzwordathon, a readathon hosted by booktubers Booksandlala and Chelseadolling reads. The goal of the readathon is to read as many books with the selected buzzword (or in this case, buzzwords) in the title as possible within 7 days.
This round’s buzzwords are Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. I’ve picked one book with each word in the title, plus one extra. I do have physical copies of each book, but I think I’ll end up supplementing with the audiobook formats if I start falling behind throughout the week!
See my picks below and let me know if you’ll be participating in this readathon – if so, what books are YOU planning to read?
The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone – a historical nonfiction about a woman who cracked enemy codes and played a meaningful part in WWII.
What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler – a thriller/mystery (I believe) about what happened at a crazy party.
Where‘d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple – a contemporary about a mother who suddenly goes missing.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – a character-driven contemporary highlighting family dynamics and small-town politics.
When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – an economic nonfiction with insights and essays from the Freakonomics blog.
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler – an illustrated contemporary/romance about exactly what it says – why a couple broke up.
How Not to Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg – a nonfiction described as “the Freakonomics of math,” unveiling the secrets of math and the value in using them to your advantage.
Check back in on the 25th to see if I succeeded! Happy reading this week 🙂
Title: He Will Kill You Author: Charlie Gallagher Genre: Thriller Pages: 289 Release date: TODAY! March 15, 2019 Content Warnings: Domestic abuse, rape
The Synopsis (Spoiler-Free)
Grace Hughes is a victim of domestic abuse and a prisoner within her own home. Although she has spoken with the police before, she’s too scared to seek the help she needs in order to escape and become safe from the danger she’s in.
Maddie Ives is the detective with a passion for saving abused women and is doing everything she can to bring Grace to safety. Maddie’s also on the police team for an unrelated crime within the same city: a car bomber on the loose and sure to strike again.
Told through multiple perspectives, this thriller follows the victims, and police, and multiple other civilians that all work together to tie this story together.
I LOVED the first half of this book. Many different storylines and characters were continually introduced, and I was immediately captivated by Grace and wanted nothing more than for her to break free from her abuser. Unfortunately, about halfway through the book, things happened that changed the main storylines (the big twist I suppose, hard to give any details without spoiling!) and I kind of lost interest. The book became more heavily focused on the police-chase aspect of the story and less on the civilians, which were the characters I personally felt more connected to.
The storytelling and pacing of this book were great to the end, and I think there are a lot of people who will really enjoy this entire book. I would certainly recommend it to the people who are into police-focused mysteries. I do think it noteworthy to mention that the book is pretty heavy with police and European jargon, which went over my head a lot of times – but there is a glossary in the back that defines all of the acronyms and specific terminology, which is very helpful! Wish I would have known about it going in!
My overall rating of this book is 3/5, and I do think I would pick up another novel by Charlie Gallagher if the synopsis were of interest to me!
Disclaimer: This book was provided to me in ebook format by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and Joffe Books!
Welcome to my first WWW Wednesday! This meme/tag (not sure exactly what the difference is) is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To participate, you just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments of other people’s for them to look at. If you don’t have a blog, you can just leave a comment with your responses. Onto the questions!
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
I’ve recently discovered the wonderful world of NetGalley and reading eARCs on my iPad. Because of this, and because I’m saving most of my monthly TBR books for next week’s Buzzwordathon, all of my current reads are actually eARCs.
I am currently reading a delightful little book called Things My Son Needs to Know about the World by Fredrik Backman. This book is a collection of short essays written by Backman intended for his infant son to read in the future. I have already read A Man Called Ove by Backman, and this is a really great way to get to know him better as a person and a father. The essays I’ve read so far are very sweet and actually pretty funny.
On Sunday I finished a book called Not All Migrate by Krystyna Byers. I wish I had good things to say about this book.. but it was just NOT for me. It’s a story about a man who recently lost his wife and two daughters in a car accident caused by his wife. The autopsy report comes back saying that his wife was on some unknown drug, so the man decides to go hunting for the drug itself and the person who sold/gave it to his wife. This sounded like an interesting premise to me, but in reality the book was confusing, graphic, and all-around strange. I could go on about the things I didn’t like about it, but I think that’s unnecessary – I’ll be posting a more in-depth wrap up at the end of the month with all of my thoughts. I’m sure there are readers out there who would actually enjoy this book, but it left me feeling extremely confused and uncomfortable.
The next book I’ll be picking up is a thriller called He Will Kill You by Charlie Gallagher. I don’t know much about the plot, as I like to go into my thrillers blind, but I’m hoping it’s more straightforward than my last read and that I really enjoy it! I plan to post a full review of it on Friday, as March 15th is the book’s publishing date.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers of these books for providing me with the electronic Advanced Reader’s Copies in exchange for honest reviews!
Let me know if you think any of these books look interesting to you, or if you participated in this meme and have a link to share!
Title: The Girl He Used to Know Author: Tracey Garvis Graves Genre: Contemporary Romance Pages: 291 Release Date: April 2, 2019
The Synopsis (Spoiler-Free)
The Girl He Used to Know is the love story of Annika and Jonathan, told through two different timelines. The first is the year the couple first met, in college at a chess club meeting. The second is ten years later, when the two unexpectedly meet agian in a grocery store and their love rekindles. As the book alternates in timeline and perspective, the entire story is revealed including what happened within those ten years and all of the struggles Annika and Jonathan have had to face, both as a couple and individually.
This was EASILY a 5-star read for me. I fell in love right alongside the characters and was completely engrossed in the story until the very end. As charming as the story is, it’s also raw and deeply vulnerable at times, and I could not get enough.
The topic of mental health is addressed beautifully in my opinion, as Annika struggles with an autism-spectrum disorder that makes it difficult for her to pick up on social cues and read other people’s emotions. I love that it is not depicted as Annika’s entire identity, nor as a disability. In fact, Jonathan – and I as a reader – fall in love with Annika not despite her disorder, but because of the way she copes with it. The way she navigates social situations and treats other human beings is special.
Before reading this book, I truly didn’t think I was a fan of romance books. Something about this one, however, is different, and the word romance doesn’t seem appropriate for the level of respect, love, and trust these two characters have for each other. I see myself rereading this book several times in the future, and am looking forward to exploring more novels written by Tracey Garvis Graves.
Disclaimer: This Advanced Reader’s Copy was sent to me by St. Martin’s Press and the SheSpeaks program in return for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to #ReadTheGirl!
Happy International Women’s Day! I am SO EXCITED to write this post because it is about to include all of my absolute most favorite things: Disney princesses depicted as the badass bitches they are, female engineers, and books.
I wanted to combine one of my favorite online posts of all time, If Disney Princesses Were Engineers, created by A Hedy Journey (which you should absolutely go see in its entirety HERE), and a super fun book tag I’ve seen floating around called the New Disney Princess Book Tag, created by Mandy from Book Princess Reviews and Zuky from Book Bum.
In order to keep this post to a reasonable length and also to avoid completely plagiarizing the If Disney Pricesses Were Engineers post (seriously, click on the link and go see the whole thing), I am choosing to highlight my SIX favorite Disney princess, show which type of engineering they best embody, and share the book I feel best fits the book tag prompt assigned to them. Here we go!
All princess images and captions were taken from A Hedy Journey’s post, I am not taking credit for any of them, just want to share the brilliance!
Ariel (from The Little Mermaid) the Biomedical Engineer – after her experiences losing her tail and gaining painful new legs, Ariel developed a sympathy for prosthetics users and went on to be a Biomedical Engineer, working with robotics for amputees.
Ariel, of course, lives under the sea. Her associated book prompt is a book that has a water/ocean setting:
This is really stretching my memory here, but Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes was one of my favorite childhood books about a girl who spends the summer at her grandmother’s house near the ocean and is dealing with grief of a lost classmate. I LOVED this book, and this is reminding me to pick it up again and reread it.
Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) the Computer Systems Engineer – Belle became curious about wireless communications technologies after trying to understand how the Beast’s magic mirror worked. With Computer Systems Engineering, she discovered that there was something more than that provincial life and something even more interesting to her than reading books: coding!
Belle is the beauty with the books, prompting for a book with the best bookworm or book lover:
Annika from Tracey Garvis Graves’ The Girl He Used to Know is an extremely introverted woman whose love for books is frequently mentioned throughout this novel. Annika suffers from an autism-spectrum disorder that makes most social situations too much for her to handle, so books are her haven. I love this character and this book!
Jasmine (from Aladdin) the Aerospace Engineer – after getting a taste for experiencing A Whole New World on the magic carpet, Jasmine became determined to travel to space, studying Aerospace Engineering in preparation for becoming Agrabah’s first astronaut.
Jasmine’s promt is a book with an unlikely love story, in terms of romance OR a book you didn’t expect to love so much:
Brace yourself for this one… Flowers in the Attic is V.C. Andrews’ novel about four children who are forced to live in the attic of their grandparents’ house after their father suddenly dies and their mother is no longer financially able to support their previous living arrangements. Potential spoiler here if you are ever interested in reading this 1979 novel: the oldest brother and sister fall for each other because there is no one else to fall for as they grow up in isolation. Highly controversial, but about as unlikely as it gets!
Elsa (from Frozen) the Civil Engineer – in order to ensure that her ice sculptures, bridges and buildings were structurally sound, and that upon thawing, that they didn’t flood Arendelle, Elsa undertook studies in statics and hydrology, becoming a Civil Engineer.
Elsa’s newfound love for colder climates prompts a book in a winter/cold setting:
Dark Matter is a brain-bending science fiction novel with a pivotal scene happening in the middle of a blizzard. Sorry, that’s the closest I’ve got for this one, I admit it’s a bit of a stretch 😊
Merida (from Brave) the Electrical Engineer – whilst trying to determine exactly what wisps are made from, Merida stumbled upon Electrical Engineering and is currently doing a PhD on electronic weapons calibration. However, she actually spends most of her time mucking around with the Van de Graff machine in her lab.
Merida determines her OWN fate, prompting for a book where there is no love story or love interest:
The Roar is a middle-grade dystopian novel about a set of twins who are separated by the government and try to fight their way back to each other in order to overthrow the forces that did this to them. No love story necessary here, just two independent siblings fighting for their family.
Mulan the Materials Engineer – Mulan’s interest in swords developed beyond swordswomanship and into steel production, leading her to study Materials Engineering in order to seek work in a foundry. Luckily, all those years spent with Mushu the dragon meant that Mulan had developed a tolerance of being around high temperatures so she loved her new work environment.
Mulan is the princess who saved her country. Her book prompt is for the fiercest heroine:
I don’t read much fantasy (at all, really) so I don’t have
any fierce, battling heroines that come to mind. But Grace from Behind Closed
Doors does, as she’s fighting a different kind of battle: an oppressive
husband. I don’t want to give much else away about the storyline, but I believe
that this woman needed a special kind of strength just to attempt to fight her
way free from this villain.
What do you think about this post? I’m not sure what exactly my goal was for putting this all together, but I hope these princesses, these engineering careers, or these books inspire you in some way or another on this International Women’s Day!
If I missed your favorite princess, please, again, take a look at the If Disney Princesses Were Engineers blog post (I linked it 3 times for ya!), and if you are interested in participating in the New Disney Princess Book Tag, I tag you to answer all 13 of the prompts on the original tag! Thanks for reading!