April 21, 2015

In Lieu of WUW

{Fun fact: What's Up Wednesday was based at least in part off of the Currently... post that had been circulating at the time. Thanks goes to Katy Upperman for reviving this and giving us a place to dish now that What's Up Wednesday is no longer.}

The spring sunshine. This was a fairly mild winter, but even so, it's always nice when spring rolls in. I love, love, love TOMS and Chucks weather.  I'm also in love with my Erin Condren planner and all the fun washi-ing and sticker-ing that has been going on with other writer/planner friends. It's a great way to start my week and is yet another fun creative outlet.

This has been a pretty decent reading month for me, with some new faves added to my list. I've recently read (and loved) SOMETHING REAL by Heather Demetrios, A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray, THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler, and BONE GAP by Laura Ruby. I also read I WAS HERE by Gayle Forman, which was good, but I didn't love love it. I'm currently reading OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord, and no big surprise, I'm loving it already.

I've been all over the map with binge-watching Netflix shows lately. I'm finally finishing up The Killing, which earns the prize for giving me nightmares twice in the past few weeks. I'm countering this with yet another Gilmore Girls re-watch. I'm also watching Game of Thrones, Outlander, iZombie, among others. Basically I'm watching too much TV in general.

Like always, my musical tastes tend toward playlists of a variety of artists rather than solely listening to entire albums by a single artist/group. Lately, there's been a fair amount of Ed Sheeran mixed with random songs I've picked up while watching Hart of Dixie, Grey's Anatomy, and a plethora of CW shows. (See what I mean about watching too much TV?)

About to get real here, folks. I could tell you all kinds of things I've been thinking about lately, but these days my brain is plagued by doubts and worry. A few weeks back, my husband lost his job and since the few substitute teaching shifts I'm able to get don't add up to much, we're both on the hunt for new jobs. Ugh. Not fun. So my mind is constantly occupied by job hunt-related stress swirled together with the self-doubt that comes with trying to write and hoping it doesn't suck.

The flip side to starting over career-wise is all of the opportunity that comes with that change. It's tough to stay positive, BUT there's always that anticipation that things could end up so much better than you're hoping for. There are so many things open to us that we might not have had the guts or the motivation to seek out had this whole unemployment crapola not been forced on us. The possibilities are kind of exciting and I'm choosing to focus as much as possible on that.

I'm wishing that a few entrepreneurial ideas I've come up with will maybe kinda sorta work out. You never know, right? Also wishing and hoping I can get the hang of baking macarons. We took the leap and attempted chocolate macarons over the weekend, and while they tasted yummy, they looked...not great. We've done some troubleshooting, so we know exactly what we need to do differently next time, so my wish is that Macaron-Baking Round Two will be much more successful.

The many ways I'm connecting with writer friends is one of the things making me happy these days → Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, email, etc... You ladies are seriously the best, and you make me smile every single day! ☺ The hubs and I have been rearranging things around here—the couch faces a different wall! no glare on the TV! the kitchen island is free of clutter!—and it's amazing how that little bit of change makes me feel lighter, happier to live in this place awhile longer. The pipe band I'm part of has decided on our next trip: Scotland + Ireland. Can't wait to visit Ireland in particular!

Our last trip (NW Europe) was incredible, so Scotland + Ireland should be wonderful too! (I've been to Scotland but not Ireland.)

So tell me, what are you currently up to?

April 1, 2015

SOMETHING REAL Is Something Special

My last review was more rant than rave, so I wanted to talk a bit about a book I just finished and totally loved. If you haven't checked out SOMETHING REAL by Heather Demetrios, I strongly suggest you do. She's quickly becoming a fave. Here's the story:

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before. (from Goodreads)


There was so much to love about this book. I had heard great things about it, and after reading (and really, really liking) I'LL MEET YOU THERE, I had high hopes for this one as well. It definitely delivered. SOMETHING REAL had me laughing one minute (the voice and humour were fantastic), raging the next, and choked up after that. I love books that do that to me.

Perhaps my favourite aspect of this book was the relationships. I'm all about the romance in books, and this one was particularly swoonworthy (I adored Patrick), but surprisingly the relationship I loved the most was actually Chloe* and her brother Benton™'s. It was so, so good, you guys. This book was all about family dynamics--good, bad, and really, really ugly--and these moments with Chloe and Benton™ were especially funny and heartwarming. Close contenders were Tessa and Mer who were the best kind of besties. 

SOMETHING REAL called to mind "reality" TV shows like Jon & Kate Plus 8 (then the less popular, trimmed down version sans Jon, Kate Plus 8) and 42 Million Kids and Counting...or whatever that hot mess is called. Obviously there are questions about the rightness or wrongness of forcing kids to live like zoo animals in front of a camera for millions of viewers. This book explores that controversy through Bonnie™'s eyes and experience and consequently made me so ragey at times that I wanted to scream at certain characters in the book. (Specifically at her RealMom™, Kirk, and that mulleted f@$k named Chuck.) I thought the author did a fantastic job of portraying it like it probably is: There's very little real about reality TV.

There was one storyline that I wish we had been given more of at the book's conclusion (The One With the Legal Stuff), but this absolutely did not take away from my enjoyment of this book. And I suppose it's realistic to not have every single plot point tied up in a neat bow, right? All in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read that was especially tough to put down. I highly recommend it!

* Chloe = Bonnie™ (Just to clear up any confusion.)