Cori McCarthy Took My Heart Again, AKA: Now A Major Motion Picture, Book Review

Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cori McCarthy, I love you! Just about 2 years ago I was writing about how I wanted to read everything you’ve written (Post You Were Here being added to my favorites list with a 5 star rating), and you’re pretty much making me squee and cry all over again. I am so very very glad that I was able to receive an ARC of this from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Fans of Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell) and even Morgan Matson – read this! You’ll get characters with actual feelings and problems, a super cute romance, nerdy stuff, and a love of escaping into fantasies and books and movies. I laughed, smiled, and had to hold back tears multiple times – they would probably have been streaming if I hadn’t been reading in a public setting, haha. I’m almost 30, and the coming of age/growth stuff still hits me in the feels. I look back at my review for You Were Here and find myself saying the same thing: “I loved all the characters and wish that Cori McCarthy would give us novels about each character by themselves.” She does a great job of the setting of Ireland too — I was able to visit for my honeymoon, and you truly do get lost in it, as is mentioned a few times. And again – the romance is truly “squee” worthy, though of course it’s just never enough. It was definitely on the lighter side, as the plot truly did revolve around other things. This is not a book that’s only focus is the love story between two people. You could say that it’s a love story in a whole lot of other ways, though.

My only qualms: the absent mother. She truly might as well not exist, for she meant absolutely nothing to this book except as some other stressor in Iris’ life. This is the only character that I either wish was removed or more details were given.

Some are wishing for Cori McCarthy to pull a Rainbow Rowell and publish the book form of the story – I want this 50x more than I wanted Carry On, because it doesn’t just seem like Fanfiction. Carry On really was like Harry Potter hybrid – Elementia seems more of a fantasy — it has more potential. But more so than an Elementia book do I want a 2nd Now A Major Motion Picture book, because I feel like maybe there’s more mystery to the grandmother (and maybe the mother?) … and you could also throw in some of Iris next step in life? And Eamon being successful? And…and… well. Maybe there doesn’t need to be another; I just want more!

View all my goodreads reviews.

You can get some of the books I mentioned here:

The Mara Dyer Trilogy (+ The Shaw Confessions #1) – Quadruple Review Time!

Prepare yourself! I waited until I finished every part of this series (that’s out as of now) before I decided to post the reviews. So here they are, from oldest to most recent.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So the Mara Dyer series starts off with Mara (saying her name is not really Mara) writing down her story at the suggestion of lawyers. This is the only instance of this being mentioned, and I finished the first two books without even remembering this fact. She’s in the hospital after a building collapsed, killing her best friend Rachel, boyfriend Jude, and his sister Claire. But she can’t remember anything surrounding the events… and for some reason she thinks she did it.

Flash forward, and maybe possibly Mara can kill things just by thinking them. Maybe. But all of this is sidelined so much by a beautiful boy who is unkempt, notices her, and of course – has a British accent and is a “bad boy”(let’s throw in a bunch of heart-throbby future boyfriend duh’s in). And she’s at a private school with some snooty evil people who pick on her. And she hallucinates a bit (or does she?) At this point, I’m super intrigued with the story – how are these people dying? why don’t animals like her? is she seeing ghosts or dead people or are they real?… but I definitely feel like it’s a bit jumbled because of the way the school stuff is thrown in. And then Noah (the scruffy boy) pretty much becomes attached to her instantly, and part of me really just wants to facepalm. But you know, I’m a sucker. So I still like it all.

The first half of the book and the second half almost seem like different entities to me, with the first half being rated far lower than the second. I take it back – separate those into thirds, with the middle section being all over the place. But anyway.. by the end, you are faced with of course, a cliffhanger that draws you into the much BETTER and more organized second novel of the series.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now this was jam packed full of fun. Most of the non-sense and jumping around from the first book of the trilogy seems to have been resolved, as Michelle Hodkin truly catches her stride. I managed to read all 500+ pages in a workday, so it’s definitely interesting.

Mara finds out more about herself (and others) in the second installment, and so many things that were not believed before become true now. You get to see a lot more of Jamie in this book as well, which is a delight. You’re also met with new (and old) characters and a whole new storyline. It’s got the continued nice smidge of romance and more mystery and thrill.

Definitely the best out of the three – you won’t want to put this one down.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is not quite like the other two parts, but just as gripping – maybe even more so than the second. It’s also quite a bit darker, as you get to see a new side of Mara that maybe she didn’t even know was there. May not be for the light of heart (or younger audiences).

If you’re expecting a lot of romance in this one, you won’t get it – but it’s totally worth reading because you really do not only discover a whole lot more, but you’ll be thinking about it every time you take a break from reading.

A lot of fans and reviewers say that the ending was perfect for the series, and that no more was needed. I on the other hand felt differently – I felt that there was so much left to be said, and so many questions. And so many new ideas that popped up in the end-story. Unlike, say The Mortal Instruments series, I feel like this series NEEDS more books. Yes, there is a “sequel series” in The Becoming of Noah Shaw, but that switches point of views, and I really think that it could have continued on as just being part of the Mara Dyer series.

The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1)The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Spoilers from the Mara Dyer trilogy.

So many things could have happened after the Mara Dyer trilogy, yet this was somewhat unexpected. I read a bunch of reviews saying not to even bother reading this, but I did anyway because I still had so many questions after The Retribution of Mara Dyer. It ended great, but there was still so much more. We’ve got all of these kids with abilities, with potentially even more out there. Mara’s changed, but we don’t know how much. And Noah’s dad is still alive. And then there’s Professor A. K. – definitely not a book of closure.

So then we get this new series that’s in Noah’s point of view. I’m excited about it, but then I realize that the Noah at the end of Retribution is not quite the Noah we see in Book 1 & 2. There’s no where near as much snark, sarcasm, funniness.. And I managed to get through 75% of the book before I realize that nothing really had happened. Sure, you find out a little bit, and you’re definitely still left asking more and more questions, but this is definitely one of those starts of the series where it seems as it could only get better – because that last 7% definitely made the book.

If you felt unsatisfied after the Mara Dyer trilogy, then you should definitely read this. Just know that you’re not going to get everything that you want quite yet.

View all my Goodreads reviews.

Low Carb Cooking (Mostly Baking) 101

Hello all, and Happy New Year! I haven’t posted in forever, and I’m super sorry about that. Maybe I should have made one of my New Year’s Resolutions “blog more often,” haha. Anyway, I started off the year with a lovely case of the flu, but thankfully I feel much better! And now that I feel better, I can get back to eating low carb again since I’ve been doing the horrible “holiday slack.” I’ve had a few friends and family members ask me about eating low carb since A) I’ve essentially been on and off it for over a decade and B) I’m technically in a “program” through a doctor’s office and have the medical suggestions, and they have made the decision to try it themselves… So, I wanted to write a little post about some of the baking and other cooking staples that are helpful to have around for some good healthy cooking!


I’ve made sure to link each of these items to Amazon – they can get pretty pricey if you buy them from the grocery store, and Amazon has them at much better prices. If you have a bulk foods store like Winco, you also can sometimes find a lot of the ingredients for super cheap!

  • Almond Flour – this is key for baking in replacing flour. You’ll notice that most recipes require it. I like Blue Diamond a lot – the link is for a 3lb bag which can still go pretty fast.
  • Coconut Flour – sometimes paired with almond flour for textural reasons, but can also be used by itself in some recipes (like Zucchini Bread!)
  • Xanthan Gum – key for texture issues (thickening, stabilizing). The link is for a smaller bag, because you won’t use much of it in most recipes.
  • Erythritol – a sugar alcohol to be used in place of sugar! Your body doesn’t recognize sugar alcohols, so they are able to pass through your bloodstream without problems. Fewer GI problems than some other sugar substitutes.
  • Swerve Sweetener, Confectioners – Swerve is one of the best sugar substitutes, though slightly pricier than some. I recommend at least having the powdered version on hand.
  • Swerve Granular Sweetener – just in case you don’t mind spending a little more for a GREAT sugar substitute. (It also can be easier because it uses the same measurements as regular sugar).
  • Pyure All-Purpose Blend Stevia – there are many different options for Stevia sweeteners, but I have been particularly fond of Pyure, but there are many other options for this (Natural Mate Stevia All Purpose Natural Sweetener, 1 Pound). This is also a sugar substitute.
  • Truvia Brown Sugar Blend – A lot of recipes have a brown sugar ingredient involved, so this is a good option.
  • Premium Dark Chocolate, Sugar Free, Low Carb – I’ve become a huge fan of ChocZero – they’re less expensive than some other forms and they taste great! You can’t really use milk chocolate for anything, so having Dark Chocolate (it’s got to have a high percentage) in the pantry can be a big help.

Having given you a bunch of sweetener options, here is a link to the best sugar conversion chart that I’ve found: Sugar Conversion Chart (Wholesum Yum). You can mix and match which sugar option you want to use per recipe, so it is 100% necessary to use a conversion chart.

Other Handy Pantry Items

  • Psyllium Husk – This is a super handy/easy way to add a little extra fiber to your diet! Any time you’re cooking, just pop a little of this in. Having extra fiber in your diet can help to negate carbs and is just overall good for you.
  • Liquid Stevia Drops – This is a combo pack for liquid Stevia drops — I use them in my coffee on the reg!
  • Al Dente Carba-Nada Egg Fettuccine – Carba Nada is a great pasta option! It’s definitely not for the super low carb/keto people, but for an occasional use, it really isn’t bad. This is a 6 pack.
  • Steaz Half and Half, Green Tea with Lemonade – These have become my new favorite beverage option – with NO carbs. They’re a little pricey, but if you’re lucky, you can find them super cheap somewhere. They’re also 16oz. cans so that’s not horrible.
  • Zevia – These can be a life saver for some soda-drinkers. It’s soda for sure – carbonated and flavored. It couldn’t replace soda for me, but I know a bunch of people who love it. It’s also regularly entering grocery stores.

And Sometimes You Fall Apart Unexpectedly

So I haven’t posted anything in a while, which hurts my heart a little. I haven’t really been able to concentrate too much on reading again which absolutely sucks for me, because it really helps with a lot of my anxiety. I want to read… like I really do. But then I think about picking up a book and it’s like my body physically won’t let me do it. Or I can’t make the decision on what to read. Which absolutely sucks when I have so many ARCs to review… because by the time I actually read them they won’t be “advanced” anymore. Oh well.

But part of the reason I’m posting right now is because I’m trying really hard to keep myself from not having another severe panic attack like the one I had last night. Last night: I was just at work, shelving and organizing books when all of a sudden my face started going numb and my fingers started tingling. I got up and went to my desk, and my fingers started cramping up. Well for me, that’s a major symptom of a panic attack. I of course then tried to get to my xanax in my purse, but couldn’t open my bottle. I went to my friend’s office because hers is actually private, whereas mine is just the library, and sat at her desk and waited until she got back from wherever she was so that she could open my bottle. I took my xanax and then sat on the floor behind her desk for about half an hour, half sobbing with my hands all cramped up while she tried to find calming noises like whale and tribal sounds to play in the background for me. As I’m half sitting, half laying on the floor with no feeling in half of my face, I feel as if I just keep growing smaller and smaller and smaller in the large shell of my body until there is nothing left. I keep waiting for something to change, something to start making me feel like I’m not disappearing inside of myself, but the xanax is just not working. I thank my friend and just leave work, with one hand still immobile. I drive myself to my chiropractors office which is only 5 minutes away, since I have an appointment at 5:30. Yeah, most people would probably cancel but calling and cancelling or not calling and just not going is causing me even more anxiety at this point. At this point it’s only 4:40, but I pretty much walk in sobbing and tell them that I’m in the middle of having a panic attack and is there please a massage therapist available who can try to calm me down for 20 minutes. Of course I’m super embarrassed even in the midst of the panic because the office seems even more crowded than normal, and all three of the receptionists whom I adore are there, and my chiropractor sees me and looks worried, and I just want to run away right there. They manage to get me in with one of the massage therapists for a little while and he works on me but my right hand is just not uncramping and the fact that even the relaxation therapy isn’t an instant fix and now I took two xanax over 45 minutes ago and feel no difference and I’m just really trying my hardest not to sob in front of this guy who I’ve met a total of one time. He doesn’t seem to like the fact that I’ve taken a double dosage of xanax and I try explaining to him that I rarely ever take my xanax. Which I keep saying that its xanax but it might be ativan. I don’t even know anymore. All I know is that it never worked. And this is the double dosage prescription that I was given of which I already took two.  So I’m pretty much just convinced that apparently my panic attacks just go away with time. Which in this story, it’s now been about an hour or so since it started and 45 minutes since I took the medication, and I have only gotten the control back to one of my hands. I eventually get out of the massage room and back into the chiropractors office where he tells me that I’m not looking like I’m feeling too great. I re-explain the whole panic attack thing. I also haven’t mentioned that all of this could have been a lot worse, because my fairly frequent panic attacks in my teen and college years involved me puking for hours in addition to all of these other symptoms – so at least that’s not happening. But anyway, he has me lay on the table and starts adjusting me and of course just everything hurts because I feel like my whole body is a cramped shell at this point. I’m half sobbing into the table-paper and am embarrassed when I get up and it’s so wet that I’ve ripped it and my stupid mascara is everywhere even though I’m surprised there’s even any left at this point. He adjusts my neck upright and talks me through two of the points of my neck being connected to my face and my hands. My face never stops being numb but my hand does stop cramping quite as much. I manage to stop crying on and off on my way out of the office, of course apologizing profusely, and try to distract myself by running “errands” at Safeway. Of course they don’t have half the things I need so I bust to tears in the jelly aisle. I’m glad I’m wearing a big jacket and there are a lot of people because I can just not exist really. I end up getting things I don’t need at all – peppermint ice cream and a DiGiorno pizza because fuck it. I get home and pretty much just lay of the couch sobbing, with my fingers cramped up again and my face still numb. It’s now been over 2 hours and I just don’t know what to do. At some point Brian gets home, but really the rest of the night is a blur. I just know that I went to bed still feeling like I was in a shell of a body, and I had horrible dreams, and I woke up with crusty eyes.

The thing with Borderline Personality Disorder.. or even depression.. or other mental disorders… is you never really see them coming, and despite medicine being great to an extent for some people, it really can fail you when you need it the most. It’s now been over 18 hours, and I’m still trying not to explode all over the place. I came into work late, and I’ve been debating on trying to talk to my boss but I’m afraid that I’ll just end up bursting into tears and sobbing on the floor of his office, and I don’t even really know this guy. Plus I still feel like there is this stigma with mental illness where people think that people are just making it up. But no – it really is taking everything I have to just be here and sit here without bursting into tears. Normally I’m begging for people to come in here to talk to me, but today I’ve already had like 4 people offer me food and I just can’t handle it. I want to go home. I want to just lay on the floor of my closet or bathroom and be a shell for the rest of the day.

I haven’t had a day or days like this in quite a while thank goodness but this is also the worst day or days I think I’ve had in a very long while. And it all pretty much came out of freaking nowhere. I mean a big part of my going to therapy and stuff is to try to figure out the though processes behind my bad thoughts – like what starts it. In this situation, I was literally shelving books – putting them in order, so I was mentally saying numbers and whatnot. And then bam, the panic set in. But I know that all of this panic is about my mother. My mother who is on the literal other side of the country. Who I won’t get to see for Thanksgiving, and who is having a 4 incision surgery on Tuesday that I can’t be there for. My mother who has already been through so much and doesn’t freaking deserve any of this. And I can’t control any of it, and I can’t help – and see- my just thinking about it has my face starting to get numb again. Cause found. Still don’t know how to fix it though.

5 Tips on Budgeting and Debt From Someone Who Really Just Likes To Research

As someone with a lot of anxiety issues, I have a tendency to stress out a little bit more about paying bills on time and things like that. Over time, I’ve managed to build up a lot of debt through schooling, job problems, etc. etc. But there is one thing I have going for me, and one thing that my family has always been pretty good at – we know how to manage debt. I may be overwhelmed now, but I have a plan, and I’m on my way to getting out of it. But anyway, my anxiety paired with my being a librarian-research nut has caused me to look up and read a lot of different ways to make life easier by budgeting and paying down your debt in different ways. Again – I am by no means a financial expert, but I do have a few tips (and resources/guides from others) that might help you in managing your debt.. and help keep you a little less stressed!

1. Get a free credit report. This can help you figure out if there are any cards, inquiries, or late payments, and ultimately give you your credit score. Sometimes your bank or credit card company will have your FICO credit score updated every month, and it should be visible on your account page.Two other places that offer free credit reports are:

  • FreeCreditReport.Com 
  • Credit Karma (also available as an app)
    • For me, this one has my score lower than pretty much every other score system out there, so it may be a good benchmark for your “worst case scenario.”
  • Your banks and credit card websites! Most banks and credit card companies have the option to view your credit score for free each month online. Just browse through your account page, and you should find something for it. I know for a fact that Wells Fargo, Discover, Chase, Barclay, American Express, and CapitalOne have the option.

2. Keep track of your spending. There are a lot of ways to do this, but it is one of the most important ways to help keep track of your finances. Have you ever taken a step back and looked to see how much you’re spending on food? I know that the first time my husband and I both had full time jobs, we went a little nuts and ate out constantly. Before I realized it, we were spending well over a thousand dollars a month on food alone! It’s important to take note of your needs first so that you can have money to focus on your needs when you can’t anymore (which is how we learned the hard way and racked up a bunch of debt).

  • Daily Worth has a great guide on several different budgeting apps and spending trackers out there. I managed to find a great one for me early on, so I haven’t experienced too many others.
  • Mint
    • I personally am a huge fan of Mint and have been using them for years. Mint allows you to sync all of your accounts (even 401(k)s, student loans, car payments, and if you list your car info it will even calculate it’s worth!)
    • It will have a list of all of the transactions from every single account. It categorizes them already, but you have the option to change or add the category for each item.
    • It has a bill pay section where you can pay your bills directly from the app (or desktop site).
    • It has a budgeting option, where you can physically make your budget. You insert in about how much income you get each month (if it’s not fixed, aim for a lower amount). Then you can put amounts for each of the different categories of spending – rent, credit cards, food, auto insurance, etc. The bars will fill up as you spend in those categories, and you can even have it alert you if you have spent too much in a category.
      • You can set a savings goal, and add this goal as part of your budget.
      • You can also set other goals like “vacation” or “pay down your debt.”
    • There is a spend analyzer which shows you how much you have a tendency to spend in each category, which can help you figure out where you’re spending too much.
    • It also gives you a credit score that keeps updating.
    • Because it keeps track of your transactions from all of your different counts, you can also search through your transactions for all of the ones from a specific place: for example, I try to keep track of how much I spend at doctor’s offices via this method.
    • The only problem that I’ve had with Mint so far is that it has problems linking certain accounts sometimes. It can’t link my 401(k) or USAA accounts for security reasons, even though it did at one time. But that’s a minor flaw.
  • Bullet Journaling. I mentioned how I recently got really into this in a previous post, but bullet journaling is a great way for you to be mindful of your life and can also be a creative way to keep track of your spending. There are many ways to include budgeting in your bullet journal, whether it be writing down what you purchase each day or making different budgeting charts.
    • Apartment Therapy has a great guide with some awesome Instagram images of budget layouts for bullet journals.

3. Debt Consolidation. Consolidating your debt into one area can be one good way to reduce your monthly payment, save on interest, and pay down debt faster. There are many ways for you to do this.

  • Open up a new credit card with a free balance transfer option and zero interest for the first year. Transfer over your highest interest cards to this account, and pay it off as fast as you can.
    • Chase Freedom is one of the many options that you can use. I just got one with a free balance transfer offer. If you click on my link, you will get a $150 bonus after spending your first $500 in 3 months.
  • Take out a personal loan, and transfer your debt to this loan. You can do this through many places, including banks.
    • I suggest first writing down all of your current interest rates and averaging them out (add all the percentages of each card together and then divide by the number of cards). When you apply for a loan, you will want to make sure that it is less than this number, or else you will not be saving on interest.
      • Ex. Chase – 22.49%, American Express – 18.49%, Discover- 17.99%, Barclay 24.49%, Citi – 24.49% (22.49+18.49+17.99+24.49+24.49 divided by 5 = 21.59%)
    • If you are approved for the loan at a decent interest rate (so for the above example, if you got any offer under 21.59% you would be saving money), this will allow you transfer your chosen amount of debt and make only ONE payment, instead of payments on several different cards. This can help you pay debt down faster and accrue less interest.

4. Debt Reduction Calculators / Snowball & Avalanche Methods. Do you have a lot of credit cards, loans, etc. and you don’t know which to pay off first? There are many different methods of making payments that can help reduce how much you pay in the long run. Making minimum payments just won’t cut it sometimes, and if you can even add in an extra $100 a month, you can make a huge difference on how much interest you pay over time. But where should you put that $100? Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I find debt reduction calculators to be a lot of fun and really fascinating.

  • The best tool I have found (and use myself) is an excel sheet debt-calculator available here.
    • It may look complicated, but it’s fairly easy to use and can ultimately give you a list of how much to pay on each card each month, and then how long it will take you to pay off each item.
    • It only allows you up to 9 (it says 10, but only 9 seem to work for me) different items, but you can pay $9.95 to increase it to 20 items. I suggest just using the free one and just entering in your 9 highest interest items.
    • How to Use:
      1. Find and write down all of your cards, loans, etc. with their interest rates, minimum payments, and current balances. If you can’t find the interest rate and minimum payment amount, they are normally located on your account statements.
      2. Fill in the top section of the excel sheet with the information you just collected about each item and today’s date.
      3. In the “Monthly Payment” area, put how much you are willing to spend each month on these cards/loans.
      4. Select which strategy you would like to use. If you want to save the most money over time, choose the Avalanche method. If you want to see results faster, select the Snowball method. You can also do custom methods if there’s a specific order that you would like to pay the accounts off.
      5. The chart will then calculate the bottom box and table for you with payoff dates, interest paid, etc!
      6. If you click the next sheet tab (at the bottom of excel) that says “Payment Schedule”, you will see a sheet with exactly how much you will need to pay for each card each month (so cool!) The chart will show you exactly when you will pay off all your debt.
  • You don’t have to use an actual tool to pay down your debt if you don’t want to, but it is generally best to put more money on one payment rather than spreading it out among payments. The interest rates play a big part in your card’s balance. If you pay off the highest interest card first with only the minimum payments for the other cards (Avalanche method), you will be paying much less over time.
  • The Avalanche method mathematically is the most effective way to pay down your debt, but some say that it is not the best way. Another way is the Snowball method (which Dave Ramsay, a pretty well known Financial Advisor, suggests using), which involves paying off the lowest amount first. Some say that this works better because you’re more motivated when you see that a card is paid off and are more likely to continue the process.

5. The Envelope Method. One simple way to aid in budgeting and to make sure you’re not spending too much on specific things (like food) is by using the “envelope method.”

  • To use this method, figure out how much you can spend each month, and then divide your expenses into categories. Get some envelopes and write the category names on them.Then allot an amount for each category, withdraw cash, and put the amount of cash for each category in its respective envelope.
  • Now when you go to pay for things, you can take the cash out of it’s specific envelope. This way, if you notice you only have $50 left in your food envelope and you still have 10 days left in the month, you will know that you can’t eat out and need to plan your meals.
  • You can make an envelope for all sorts of things, and you can either choose to place the leftover money in next month’s envelope to “roll it over” or you can potentially even place it in a new envelope as savings for something!
  • Just a note – my husband and I have found a lot of success with this method especially when used for food spending; though we aren’t very good at following it perfectly, it definitely does the job of helping us decrease our monthly spending on food.

This all may seem a little overwhelming, but it’s really not as much as it seems. You can look into stuff little by little and maybe you’ll get just as excited by it as I was when I first discovered half of it! I hope some of this is somewhat helpful. If you’ve got any questions or comments… or even suggestions and complaints, please comment! I’ll eventually be posting another finance-related post on couponing and stuff once I get the chance, so keep your eyes open 🙂

Zenn Diagram

Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Man, I really love stand-alones because you’re less likely to get a cliffhanger of an ending, but I’m quite sad that this one is over! Eva is a math genius with a quirk – if she touches people (or certain things) she can “see” them. She gets “fractals” and can essentially learn lots about someone which has essentially caused her to stop touching people and objects unless she has to. When you can’t touch people or things, you’re going to come off to be somewhat odd – and Eva’s oddness has had her avoid guys pretty much her entire life. And then Zenn comes along.

There were a lot of interesting story arcs of this book that I wasn’t really expecting. I liked the tension and dramatic parts, but I also loved the fact that unlike many other romance books, there’s always something that causes an intense break up halfway through the novel, so you just spend hundreds of pages wanting that to happen. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen exactly like this in Zenn Diagram.

I’m surprised to look around and see lower reviews, because I sped through this and liked every minute. There is a hell of a lot of cheese, but I mean, who doesn’t like some swoony lit? I felt that it wasn’t overly predictable – some of the things that I thought were going to happen did not. I honestly thought there was going to be more drama with the best friend and her boytoy but no. It was simple and sweet with the drama in the background that’s really out of everyone’s control. I’m trying to come up with things I didn’t like, but I can truly get past them all to give this a 5 star rating. It made me squee just a little (and quite possibly yell that the ending was semi-abrupt).

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

View all my Goodreads reviews

Artemis – Just As “Sciency” As The Martian!

Artemis by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Available in November 2017

Andy Weir does a great job at making SO MUCH SCIENCE so very, very entertaining. And believable! I read that much of what was in The Martian is actual feasible, so I wouldn’t think twice about it being the same for Artemis.

I was very glad that I was able to get an ARC of this from Netgalley. I absolutely loved The Martian, and even though it was on a slightly different subject, the way that Andy Weir writes is right up my alley. Artemis is about a “petty thief” living on Artemis, the only city on the moon. She gets an offer she can’t refuse and it ends up being a little bit more than she expected. If you like books about space, science, snark, and a little thievery, this may be for you.

The main character in Artemis is a 26 year old Saudi Arabian girl named Jazz. And, just like Mark Watney, she’s got a lot of extra commentary that can be pretty entertaining at times. I won’t say she’s quite as likable as Mark Watney (she’s a little too sure of herself), but she does the job. You’ve got a lot of other likable characters who are from all around the world, because that’s the thing – Artemis was “created” by Kenya, and it’s definitely a city with all types of people (and seemingly no discrimination by race). I wouldn’t say there’s too much visual description on characters – I really have no idea what anyone looks like in this book, but that’s fine with me, I guess.

You get a lot of world building – there’s a map of the city included in the book, and Jazz goes throughout the different city bubbles, so you get to learn what kind of futuristic moon-city there may be one day. Of course she’s not wealthy or anything, but you get to see some of that too. It all definitely makes me want to live on the moon.

Overall, I’m taking off the 1 star for some of the “funny comments”/snark by Jazz and others being a little overdone at times. With Mark Watney in the Martian, you could kind of expect it because he’s by himself and essentially trying to talk his way out of dying alone. But Jazz is surrounded by a lot of people who know that she’s “this way” and it still just seems a little overdone at times. Either way, it’s fast paced and definitely worth a read!

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You can pre-order the book through amazon by clicking on the link below 🙂

The Beautiful Ones

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The one thing I can say about this book is that I definitely rushed through it pretty quickly – I finished it the second night I was reading it, in a epic binge-reading session. So I definitely at least “liked” it.

Some things that didn’t quite make sense to me or I didn’t quite like:

  • The Title: Though “the beautiful ones” are mentioned occasionally, they really aren’t a huge part of this book. They aren’t described, and you would think that maybe they’d have a purpose or the plot would be related to them but I just didn’t get that.
  • Nina being fond of insects: Is it just me or is this becoming a common theme in books that are set in this victorian-esque time period? I feel like I keep reading about female characters who are into bugs or butterflies or beetles.
  • This is supposed to be Sci/Fi?: The only thing included in this book that is science fiction is that two of the characters are telekinetics in a world where people know it exists, but that is literally it. They don’t really do anything with it (I mean there are bits, but it’s not a focal point by any means.) The publisher claims this to be Romance and Science Fiction, but they really should just take the Science Fiction out.
  • Slow Pace: I felt like I read 500 pages of Nina pining over Hector when the book wasn’t even 500 pages.
  • Nina’s age: They say Nina is 19 and turns 20, but she is truly treated as a child throughout the book. What’s this about? We’ve got all these other kids running about saving the world and this kid can’t even tell when her cousin’s messing around with her?

One thing the book definitely has going for it is character development, at least with one character in particular. I rarely dislike characters so quickly, but man did I want to rip Valerie’s face off. Also, the book does a great job at making you move with the ebb and flow of the the plot. And I definitely still wanted to see some matchmaking made toward the end.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Mask of Shadows

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

There is a lot of negativity going around about this book, but I genuinely liked it.

A lot of different reviewers are going on and on about how this is The Hunger Games or it’s got the same plot as 5 million other books, but I didn’t necessarily see that. Sure, there are numbers involved (but they are numbers according to entrance to become an assassin – similar to Throne of Glass) but that doesn’t mean that it is just like the number districts in The Hunger Games. There are people competing to become an assassin, but it is not at all like it was in Throne of Glass. I’ll admit that I found it pretty boring towards the beginning, but similar to Divergent, I felt that the second half of the book was much quicker and better than the first. If you eliminate a large chunk of the descriptive nature you may get a much more entertaining book.

One of the great things going for this book is that there is gender fluidity! It actually took me forever to figure out whether or not Sal was a boy or girl until I realized that they wanted to be identified by what they were wearing – you don’t really see this very often in YA books, so it is really nice to see that. Do I think they could have done more than this? Absolutely yes.

There were a few problems with the book. With as much as you see the Left Hand, I still couldn’t remember who was who. There were some over-dramatized moments, especially with Elise, that bothered the crap out of me. And Sal is the most teary eyed character I’ve ever read about in my life. It also seems like you’re going to get a lot more magic or more of these “shadows” but you just don’t — though this definitely may occur in later books! Despite the flaws though, I still liked it – and even though it may have some common characteristics of half the other fantasy YA novels, you know what, I’d still continue to read the series.

I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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New Reviewer and a New Obsession

Hallllloo everyone! So I know I’ve pretty much overloaded the blog with recipes and reviews, but hey, that’s what it’s supposed to mostly be about. And with that being said, I had an idea. After talking with a friend after her and her husband came to visit us in Oregon last weekend, I figured it would probably be a good idea to have somebody else write book reviews (and other stuff if she wants) as well! That way we can have more than one opinion, and even more book options! So my friend Heather will be joining the Shelf-Righteous team 🙂 We have very similar taste, but she has read a lot more than me lately, especially in the sci-fi world. I asked her if she would be interested, and she said she’d always wanted to but just didn’t want to do it by herself and her other friends had no interest. So this is perfect! I’m not sure when she will start posting, but I think I’ve got her all set up! It’d be helpful if you know.. my web-developer husband actually helped me more with this like he told me he would, but whatever, I’ve been wanting to re-learn some things anyway.

So on a completely different note, I wanted to talk a bit about my new obsession: bullet journaling. I literally just started my journal yesterday, so I’m no expert, but I’ve spent hours upon hours on pinterest and google, looking at other peoples’ ideas on page layouts. So what is a bullet journal? 

The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above.

So why am I all of a sudden so into these? Well, I mentioned in the intro that I have a slew of mental illnesses. One of these is ADHD, and another is Borderline Personality Disorder. I have a really hard time focusing on things, and I have a really easy time getting obsessed with things (ha). I make a bunch of lists, notes, and have a lot of random thoughts that I constantly forget all the time. So I figured after happening upon these one day, why not try to organize some of my thoughts and life and do it in a creative way? Not only will it help me track things like taking my medication and other daily tasks that are totally necessary but sometimes very hard for me to do, but I can also make goals for myself, track my moods, and write down what’s going on in my brain. Sometimes my therapist asks me what was going on right when my mood flipped, and most of the time I can’t really figure it out. Maybe my bullet journal will encourage me to write it down. I also read this one article about having a “fuck box” in the journal, where you just rant about the things that piss you off – the things that make your mood jump horribly. I’m not really sure if it will help with anything, but I might as well try, right? It can also do a lot for me in terms of tracking my weight loss and food goals and even financial stuff. If you know me well, you know that I can get pretty obsessive when it comes to paying bills and using debt reduction trackers and stuff online. Honestly, writing it down and having it easily accessible at all times would probably make me feel a lot better and hopefully encourage me to do a lot better financially. There are so many things you can do with bullet journals, and I’m really excited to start this journey. So maybe you’ll get some blips of my journal throughout the blog, or maybe not. We shall see.

Here are some pictures of my bullet journal pages so far. I’ve messed up A LOT. So you definitely have to play around before things turn out the way you want them to.

9 Month Calendar (Here’s a pretty Mess-Up! It was supposed to be a 12 month… and I accidentally did a lot of wrong numbers and had to glue another sheet over the top!)

October Front Page and Monthly Tracker

Here’s a partial-weekly segment. It’s a wholeeee lot of messed up.

As for other updates, I’m in the middle of reading Linsey Miller’s The Mask of Shadows, so be prepared for a review of that at some point. I got my next book from Blogging for Books as well, so that will probably be coming soon too. I’ll try to post where I get all my books at some point as well.