Month: July 2014

What I read: June 2014

Better late than never, I’ve got a rundown of the books I read last month. I didn’t read many, mostly because I started several that are still waiting to be finished–so maybe I can wrap those up later this month.

Books I read in June 2014

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, by Rhonda Riley (paperback, 421 pages). Two out of five stars. This book was a little too strange for my taste, which is saying a lot. I also felt like the writing really dragged in some places, which gave the narration a really stop-and-go feel. Overall it was just okay, but nothing I’d really recommend. The only reason I stuck it out was because I wanted to see what sort of strange ending the author would come up with, but…it was really just kind of ho-hum.

The Vanishing, by Wendy Webb (paperback, 304 pages). Three out of five stars. This started out as a really juicy horror mystery that I couldn’t put down. But the last fifty pages were such a mash of coincidences and hasty writing that it felt like the author ran out of room and said “Oh, shit, I’ve gotta wrap this up!” A fun beach read, though.

Z for Zachariah, by Robert C. O’Brien (paperback, 249 pages). Three out of five stars. This is a bit of a throwback sci-fi entry, very short, very easy to read. I felt like the ending was kind of “open”, if you know what I mean; some readers might feel like it was a non-ending. But overall I liked it.

Books I read in June 2014

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), by Robin LaFevers (hardcover, 549 pages). Four out of five stars. I’m not gonna lie, I totally picked this up because of the cover, and I was not disappointed. It’s about a girl who joins a convent of assassins, set against the backdrop of Duchess Anne’s attempts to claim her rule over Brittany in the 1490s. I felt like this was a really good blend of action, intrigue, romance and historical fiction.

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2), by Robin LaFevers (hardcover, 385 pages). Three out of five stars. This wasn’t as good as the first book in the trilogy, but I liked it better than I expected, given that this installment switches over to a new character POV (and I usually hate that tactic). Sadly I have to wait until November for the release of the final book in the trilogy.

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1), by Patrick Ness (hardcover, 479 pages). Three out of five stars. This book is really geared more toward 12-15-year-olds, I think, but that’s the risk you run with YA: not all of it is going to carry over to adult bookshelves. Still, it was fairly good, and I do think I’d like to read the rest of the trilogy to see how Todd’s story plays out.

Taken (Taken #1), by Erin Bowman (hardcover, 360 pages). Three out of five stars. This book started out really great, but the second half was way too rushed and felt kind of so-so. I may finish the trilogy later, but I’m not in a terrible hurry.

Blog every day in July, #9: Most embarrassing story

Allieology

 

Embarrassing stories. I don’t have any really epic ones, like trailing toilet paper through an airport or CCing all my bosses on a sensitive email, or anything similar that would just make you want to die.

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But one thing I am really good at is embarrassing myself by being clumsy. I can be standing perfectly still and trip. Yeah, I don’t know how I do it either.

When I was sixteen and working at a fast-food joint they made a really big deal about not slipping on wet/greasy floors. So what do I do on my first night as a closer? Run around a corner and slip and slide through the kitchen.

Once I was walking down the street with a guy I liked and tripped over my own two feet, tripping him in the process. Ugh.

What sort of embarrassing stories do you have to dish?

 

A week’s worth of Thought Questions: #120-#126

Lake and mountain photo by Nick West

(Photo by Nick West via Unsplash)

I got these questions from Danielle’s blog Underland to Wonderland, where I came across a post in which she talked about the website Thought Questions and their 365 thought-provoking questions to ask yourself. My friends Katrin, Celeste and Jasmine have also been answering these questions, so be sure to go check out their blogs too!

#120: What can money not buy? Love and real relationships. It can, however, buy cats, books, and tea, which is the closest you may come to buying happiness.

#121: If you left this life tomorrow, how would you be remembered? Probably as a sass-mouth.

#122: Beyond the titles that others have given you, who are you? A daydreamer. I’m constantly thinking of new storylines, new things I’d like to do, new inventions that I’ll DIY at home. I seem quiet a lot but my mind is really going 100 MPH.

#123: If you could live the next 24 hours and then erase it and start over just once, what would you do? Probably tell a few choice people what I really think of them. It would be good to get it off my chest without any repercussions. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person.

#124: Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first? No. Question everything!

#125: What word best describes the way you’ve spent the last month of your life? Stressing. Stressing about work, stressing about deadlines, stressing about my giant to-do list…I am finally getting to a point where I’m nailing down a lot of loose bits, and I’m so glad. I want to spend the rest of the summer relaxing, not worrying about all the things I have to do!

#126: What makes everyone smile? A smile, and generally, baked goods. I can’t think of anyone I’ve met who doesn’t smile when given a surprise cookie.

Blog every day in July, #8: Things I do while I’m alone

Allieology

 

Technically I suppose some of these things also count as “guilty” pleasures, which we covered earlier in the week. But I think of them more as “weird tics” because I don’t really stop and think to myself, “Hm, this is a guilty pleasure. Better feel a little bad about it.” It’s more like, “Hey, I’m home alone. I can do whatever I want without being judged.”

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Read a book without stopping. This is one of those solo activities that I try to squash a bit when the husband is home, because we get so little time together anyway. But if he’s gone and I don’t have any work to do, you know I’m parking myself somewhere cozy with a book and tea and not getting up until I’ve turned the last page.

Eat out of containers. Who doesn’t do this? But really, why set the table when you can just grab a spoon and dig in?

Talk to the cats. A lot. This, uh, may not be normal. But I’ve got to talk to someone. It’s better than talking to myself.

Skip the bra and pants. I’m not one of those crazy girls who goes to Wal-mart in their pajamas at 3 AM, I swear I’m not. But who wants to go to boob jail in the privacy of your own home, especially when it’s 90 degrees out and you could just wear a t-shirt and boxers? Not me.

Eat cereal for dinner, right out of the box. Sometimes I just can’t be bothered to cook for one, especially if I’m buried in a new book.

Clean. I actually really enjoy cleaning and moving the furniture around, provided I’m alone. I like to have some privacy for my chaos and endless consultations with the cats about whether I should arrange the bookcases by author or genre. I don’t need another person butting in with their unasked-for opinion.

Goof off on the computer. Another solo activity. Pinterest, computer games, catching up on celebrity gossip…I can waste so much time on the computer. And no one is looking over my shoulder when I search for “ways to get permanent marker out of pants” to point out that it’s called “permanent” for a reason. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Sit and do nothing. I feel like it isn’t socially acceptable to do nothing at all. But in the summer, I sit on the deck and…do nothing. In the winter, I cocoon in my electric blanket and do nothing. And I LIKE IT. I’m pretty much always busy these days, because on top of my regular job I went back to working as a freelance writer on the side, so I’m back to having two full-time jobs. So sometimes when I have free time, I don’t want to do anything; I just want to sit and let my mind wander.

What things do you do when you’re along that other people might find odd or judge you for?

 

My Writing Process blog tour

Computer keyboard

(Photo by Rayi Christian W via Unsplash)

I was recently asked by my friend Katrin at Land of Candy Canes if I would join in the My Writing Process blog tour. You can find her lovely post here. I’m so honored that she nominated me–on top of being one of my favorite bloggers, Katrin is just an all-around cool person. She introduced me to veganism and was the driving force behind making that final leap from vegetarian to vegan. She’s just as crazy about books, tea and animals as I am, and she’s got great style. I’m so grateful to have her for a friend and I hope you will check our her blog and love it as much as I do!

Now, on to my writing process!

What am I working on? Right now, I’m trying to get back into the swing of posting on a daily basis. I have several reviews I’d like to share, I’m still answering Thought Questions, and I would really love to start posting more recipes. I just never seem to take adequate notes and pictures while cooking!

How does my work differ from others of its genre? I started out primarily as a beauty blogger, but I started throwing in lots of other stuff–book roundups, cooking posts, pictures of animals. I still love blogging about style but I tend to go all over the place, whereas it seems that a lot of bloggers really have a “niche”. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

I also talk a lot about my vegan lifestyle and how this affects my fashion, beauty and culinary choices. So that makes me different from the average style/food blogger.

Why do I write what I do? Well, I blog about animals and veganism because I’m quite passionate about those topics. Also, books: I can never get enough of books and reading, and blogging is a way to connect with other bookworms. When it comes to my style posts, I’m quite keen on blogging in this area because I feel like it’s really hard to find trendy yet budget-friendly beauty and clothing items that are also vegan and as “green” as possible. I hope my blog helps others on the lookout for these items; I know it’s fun for me to chat with other bloggers interested in the same items!

How does my writing process work? I’d like to say that I have a “writer’s notebook” or a special process for drafting posts, but I don’t. If I have a really big multi-post project that I want to work on, like my seven-day “How to grow your blog” series from January, then I’ll usually plot it out a bit on a sheet of paper before drafting up the posts and saving them for later polishing. With reviews, I’ll jot notes during testing and then draft the post when I’m ready to publish it. Some posts I schedule ahead of time, like the Music Monday posts, while others (like Ten on Tuesday) are totally spur of the moment.

Who’s up next? Unfortunately I wasn’t able to list three other bloggers in this space, since a lot of people were already busy with summer vacation and couldn’t join in at the last minute. (Totally understandable!) But I do want to nominate Elle from ElleSees. She blogs about budget-friendly beauty and posts tons of reviews and how-to guides (my favorite are the hair how-to’s!), with lots of tips for those of us who are short on time, looking for a budget cosmetic dupe, or want to DIY something nifty. I love her honesty and warmth–her down-to-earth nature really shines through in her blog. I hope you’ll enjoy her blog as much as I do!

Thank you all for reading, and thank you again Katrin for the nomination!