Hello December ❄️

… And hello Everyone!

Can you believe that we are already on the last month of the year? I have no idea where the time has gone, but I know it’s been a whirlwind!

I wanted to talk to you all today about my goals for my blog. Since June, I’ve been trying really hard to be more active here and on social media, and I’m loving being a part of the amazing the bookish blogging community. I made it a goal to post every other day, and to push myself to read as many books as I could in November- knowing this would be tough due to my day job work schedule being at it’s busiest. It was a little stressful, I’ll be honest, but I’m proud that I made it happen!

But now, I need to recharge a little, and I think that since the holidays are near, it’s time to give back some of the love you’ve all shown me. So this month, I’m going to do my first ever giveaway (!!!) and do more on my social media accounts. I’m also cutting my posts back (just a little!), in the hopes that I’ll be able to give myself some time for more social aspects of the holiday season- time with my family, evening gift exchanges with friends, and maybe the occasional outdoor adventures to enjoy this seasonal weather we’ve been having in the Bluegrass. On a more personal note, I’ve also put myself on a book buying ban for the month of December (Lord knows I bought enough to last me the winter this past month!) and am doing a no-spend month. The holidays, to me, are about giving, NOT getting, so I’m trying to give more than I get!

On that note, I need some help from you all. I have some giveaway ideas, but what would you recommend as good prizes? Comment below with your suggestions, or message me on Twitter or Instagram!

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Ya-Yas in Bloom

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Ya-Yas in Bloom is the last book in the series, and I liked it only slightly more than Divine Secrets. Wells opts to change up the narrators again, bouncing between the Ya-Yas and the Ya Yas Petites, as they jump from past memories to present states discussing religion, parties, antics, and relationships. This book is also shorter than the last two at just 258 pages, making it seem to me a much quicker read.

In the last of the series, the Ya-Yas and their children are delving into more stories from the past, including how the Ya-Yas first met, Sidda’s first directing ‘gig’, Baylor’s Buckaroo debut, and more crazy Ya-Ya moments that pull the families together. It’s all clever writing, funny moments paired with somber moments, in a way that makes you feel more like the narrator is conversing the memory to you at a kitchen table.

Now, overall, to sum up the Ya-Ya trilogy, I’d have to say that Little Altars Everywhere was my favorite. I devoured it. But the other two felt repetitive because many stories from Altars were delved into with more detail in the following books. I liked learning more information about the stories, but my imagination was pretty close to the written information in the second and third books, and therefore it really slowed the pace of the books down. That was the biggest turn off for me. I also had a hard time with Siddalee, who happened to be a prominent character as the eldest Walker child, and key observer of the Ya-Ya antics. She tended to beat a dead horse about the relationship problems with her mother- she loved her, she resented her, repeat. I understand her wounds ran deep, but the complicated relationship was very tiresome.

I’d also like to note that the movie inspired by the books is very different. They cut out a lot of the melodrama, and added more humor. I would say, if you were interested in this series, read Altars, skip the rest of the books, and then watch the movie. You’ll get the gist.

Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells

I finally got around to reading the first of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood series. I’ve had this book on my TBR list for about three months now, and I was dragging my feet about reading it. But once I started reading, I had a hard time putting it down.

Little Altars Everywhere follows the life of the Walker family and the lives around them There’s Vivi Abbott Walker, the mother and a cornerstone of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and then there’s Big Shep Walker, the farmer father. These two have four children (well, five counting an infant son that died four days after he was born)- Siddalee, Little Shep, Baylor, and Lulu. Each one has their own stories to tell, and every story is brutally honest. Each character has their own growing pains, vices, and struggles, and holds nothing back from the reader when discussing them.

Vivi talks about her glory Ya Ya days, of when she was popular and fun, a wannabe actress in New York, a walking party. Then, when she became a mother, things changed. She made sacrifices. She loved her children, but she loved herself more. And drinking more. And before the kids are even old enough to understand what she was happening, she turned into a violent and abusive woman, trying to fight her inner demons brought out by alcoholism.

Big Shep, used to the torrid actions of his wife, tried to provide for his family- be the family man, without having the time to actually be with the family. More often than not, when he was with his wife, they were arguing, making up, and then arguing again. And when things got to be too much, he would run away to duck camp, and hide out. He wanted to do right, but he didn’t have the stomach- and in other ways, the clout- to do it.

The four kids are pretty much left to their own devices, and nurtured as much as possible by Willetta, their housemaid. As they grow into adults, they reflect on their childhoods and the way their parents influenced their adolescence and adulthood.

I absolutely adored this book, even with the heartbreaking issues caused and brought about by Vivi’s alcoholism. I love the voices that Wells has given her characters- each sassy, blunt, honest, witty… reading the book was like sitting in a room, listening to your family bickering. The sarcasm that flies, I tell ya! I’m really looking forward to reading the next in the series- the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood – and getting to learn more about the four Ya Yas. If you haven’t read this book, I give it two thumbs up, and suggest you at least watch the movie that the book inspired!

Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

Texts From Jane Eyre is another very witty and clever book that I highly recommend for a change of pace and a good laugh. The book is comprised of short “screenshots” of text conversations between some of literature’s most memorable characters and authors, including Jane Eyre (hence the title), some done in a modern style and some retaining their classic voices.

Because it’s such a short book and again, I don’t want to spoil it for you, here are just a few classic characters you will “chat” with:

  • Circe:
    • “where did the pigs come from Circe?”
    • “i don’t know, a pig farm, a pig mommy and a pig daddy who loved each other very much…”
  • Jane Eyre:
    • “I KNEW IT. DID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF MY ATTIC WIFE IS THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT”
    • “yes. Absolutely.”
  • Hamlet:
    • “darling i don’t mean to criticize but you really hurt your father’s feelings last night”
    • “hes not my real dad. why do you even like him”
  • Nancy Drew:
    • “do you think you can come get me?”
    • “are you tied up again?”
    • “i’m just over at the cave by the old mill”
    • “so you’re tied up…in a cave.”

If you giggled at any one (or all!) of these, then you’ll really enjoy the rest. It’s a perfect way to get to “connect” with some of your favorite literary characters in one place. It’s fast paced, light fare, and well worth checking out!

 

 

 

 

Oy with the Gilmore Girls Booktag!

So I follow HappyWhenImReading.com (you should too!) and she posts some really fun stuff, like this #GilmoreGirls book tag! So, being that I just finished reading “Talking as Fast as I Can” by Lauren Graham, I’m in such a Gilmore mood that I thought I’d do the tag too! Ok, I’ve got my coffee- let’s do this!

 


Lorelai: A character with a witty or sarcastic sense of humor

Jo from Little Women. I totally wanted to be like her when I was preteen. Such a smart, sassy spitfire!


Rory: Favorite classic

Gone with the Wind, hands down.


Luke: A book you secretly love but are afraid to admit

Haha, I mean this was really close with the Twilight series, but the 50 Shades of Grey series. I’ll plead the fifth on the explanation, hahaha… haters gonna hate!


Lane: A musical character

Mia, from If I Stay. Not only was the book good, but the movie soundtrack made me appreciate the cello a lot more.


Dean: Your first book love (character or book you first loved)

Oh gosh… Well I remember many bedtime stories that I loved, including Dr. Seuss books, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and Three Little Kittens, but I’d say the first books that I started reading (and not my dad) were the American Girl series. I loved their adventures and being taken back to their respective time periods. I can’t remember who my favorite was, though!


Sookie: A book you’ve devoured

There are too many to count, and sometimes it’s just easy to speed through a short novel. So I’ll say I’m going to interpret “devoured” as “completely absorbed”- which in case I couldn’t get enough of South of Broad. Even though that took me a week to finish, I was sneaking every chance I could get to read it. And you bet when I get my own copy, I’ll be rereading it!


Jess: A book you love, that gets the most hate

Any Twilight fans out there? Yeah, me too. Even though people hate (and for crying out loud, it wasn’t meant to be a classic piece of literature!), I loved the series and the conflict between characters and the fantasy and the action… but yeah, it is a little embarrassing to admit sometimes.


Miss Patty: A book that was ruined by the hype

I never could get into the Lord of the Rings series (pause for effect). And then, the movies were super hyped (ORLANDO BLOOM!) and I said well I’ll watch the movies instead, and then I couldn’t even get through the movies without getting lost… so yeah. LOTR, not my thing.


Emily Gilmore: An expensive book

I really don’t pay attention to prices of books because on the regular, I buy most of my books cheap, second-hand, and well loved ❤

But, oh gosh, my college textbooks were stupid expensive (though my program director did try and keep the costs down). So, I kept all the ones that I knew I’d use as a resource. I can’t remember which one was most expensive, but if you really want some exciting equine resource textbooks, check out: Equine Veterinary Medicine, Clinical Anatomy and Physiology for Veterinary Technicians, Horse Business Management, and Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary! (But seriously, equine nerds, eat your heart out!)


Paris: An uptight character

My girl Hermione, obviously! That is, until she learned how much fun breaking the rules can be!


 

As much fun as that was, that was also a super hard tag. It could be my over-caffeinated brain or the challenge itself, but either way I hope you enjoyed, and feel free to give it a try!

 

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Where are my Gilmore Girls fans out there?!

Welcome welcome! So, I just had to read Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham for so many reasons.

  1. Because I love “Gilmore Girls“.
  2. Because Lauren Graham is hilarious.
  3. Because everyone who has read this said it’s hilarious.

So for all thee above, I checked it out of the library and read it in two sittings. And it is hilarious, and enjoyable, and makes me believe that Lauren Graham and I should be friends… just saying. Although, I think I’d have an awful time keeping up with her because she seems to like having a million things on her plate!

Being a biography, the book covers Graham’s childhood, to how she decided to be an actor, to her big break on “Gilmore Girls“, and then to her latest project of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life“.  It was interesting to “get to know” Lauren, and to peek at how she came to be Lorelai Gilmore. The bio is full of comedy, sarcasm, and a little satire. But between all that is also a lot of great advice- some Graham’s, some “Old Lady Jackson’s”. Each chapter is fast pace

I don’t want to spoil it for you, as it is a relatively short book, but here are some of my favorite parts:

  • “I hadn’t really seen “Slap That Bass” as much of a comedic song, but maybe I was wrong? So I decided to go with their response and sort of shimmied my shoulders, adding even more personality and pizzazz.”
  • “The Top Secret Hollywood Secrets Food Chart”
  • “Paper Towels, a Love Story”
  • “Where ‘Oy with the poodles already” was born! I’ve said it on command for you in airports across the land, but honestly I forgot where exactly in the show it appeared.”
  • “But life doesn’t often spell things out for you or give you what you want when you want it, otherwise it wouldn’t be called life, it would be called vending machine.”
  • “It’s his variation on the Pomodoro technique, called Kitchen Timer, and it’s transformed the way I write…I love it so much that it makes me want to touch my fingertips together in that wonderful symbol we just invented in the last decade.

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I highly recommend the read, especially if you’re a fan or if you need some light reading or humor in your life. I promise you’ll walk away from it with a smile and a good dose of laughter! 

Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It – Intro by Elizabeth Gilbert

So if you didn’t see the review I did for Eat Pray Love, please start there– I’ll wait.

Ok, you with me? Good, because my Lord this woman and her freaking book. Here is physical proof that A BOOK CAN CHANGE LIVES. Change LIVES, people. A whole book, based off one bestseller, that influenced so many people that they actually could create a 200 page, short story style book with the accounts of those that felt like their lives were changed in some way because of that book.

So obviously, this is why I urge you to read Eat Pray Love. And then when you’ve done so, read …Made Me Do It because there are so many people like you out there, with their own story and their own struggles and their own coping methods, and all they needed was a friend who understood. And there lies unapologetic Elizabeth Gilbert, who put herself out there via a novel and said, “I’ve been through this, too.”

Now, at first, as I started reading this I thought it would be a bit dramatic…you know, “Oh I read this book and it changed my life and it’s my bible.” I mean, I know about fandoms, and this compilation seemed like it would be fandom material. However, my frame of mind reverted to how I felt reading Eat Pray Love, and their stories were heartfelt, inspirational, and just as resonating as Gilbert’s. The people in …Made Me Do It took their journeys to a point where they could have an out-of-body reflection upon their situation, wrote about it, and in many cases stated that they are still progressing. THAT inspired me. They all shared that exact feeling of “It doesn’t have to be this way, and I have the power to change it.”

So, if you need a little motivation or inspiration, please, check out these books. Buy them, so that you can mark them up and reflect upon them when you feel the need to. Let these people, who shared their stories, influence you to share yours.