Lists & Recommendations

Lists | Top 9 Books I Want to Read in 2019

Lists

So every year there are always a few books I am really excited to read. I make it a semi-goal to read them by the end of the year because I have a very good feeling I am going to like them all very much. While a lot of people have been posting the 19 books I want to read, I am going to keep mine at 9 because I don’t want to just throw some books in that I am not nearly positive I will love. So, where are the books I really want to read in 2019!

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange TreeThis is a book I am very much interested in. I have read a few of Shannon’s books in the past and I really enjoy her creativity and her writing. When I found out she was writing a standalone I was very much excited. Between the teasers and cryptic tweets from her as well as the mention of forbidden magic, I was pulled in and I preordered the book.

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the “powerless” Woman Who Took on Washington by Patricia Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington

So, this is a little sneak peak or a throw back to my Christmas Haul. I am unsure of when I am actually going to post this so it could go either way. Anyway, I received this from someone at work and I have to say they really surprised me by picking a book I love the sound of. This is a nonfiction account of one of the first women to sue someone of power during the gilded age in the USA. I am curious to see how this topic is handled and if it becomes biased.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

This is another book I have preordered and I am excited to get it in the new year. I have always liked Holly Black and I read the first book in this series a few months ago. I ended up liking it more than I thought I would and decided I was going to jump into this continuation. I want to know how two characters in particular deal with one another. I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva by Rosemary Sullivan

Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva

This is a novel I picked up in my local independent bookstore. I just happened to be roaming and I came across it. This book has a bit of buzz around it and I read the description and I am very much interesting in learning more about the daughter of one of histories more notorious figures. It seems to be pretty straightforward and I am judging on its size is going to be very detailed.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

The Clockmaker's Daughter

I picked this up from Book of the Month a few months ago and I really want to get to it. It seems like a mix between a historical fiction and a thriller and I am excited about it. I mean, I love history and I have been really enjoying thrillers, how can I not like this book? On top of that I have been hearing quite a few wonderful things about it.

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

So this book has a very interesting dejcitption. There is mentions of scientists, near death experiences, strangers, and talking trees. While that seems all over the place, it kind of is, but when you read the entire description it sounds a lot better. Anyway, I picked this up on a whim mainly because it sounds like it has to do with nature and protecting the last of the forests on Earth. Plus, how can you not be pulled in when all those things are mentioned in the same description?

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

This is a kinda historical fiction, at least I think it is. It talks about women throughout history doing this they feel they need to for one reason or another. While this is not nonfiction I have heard that they author has done a very good job of bringing a lot of the feelings and events that plagued women during various time periods. I am keen on reading this very soon and I have heard great things.

The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson

The Bird's Nest

This is the next Shirley Jackson I really want to read. Last year I have discovered her works and I have enjoyed all and some I absolutely loved! This book seems to follow a girl who is gaining more and more personalities that are more and more extreme. I am unsure if this will be about mental illness or not since the author writes horror and its could be possessions, but I am very curious to find out how Jackson is going to shape this story.

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Murder mystery, Freaky Friday, and thriller all mixed into one has me very interested. The description of the book just says there are 8 days and 8 witnesses and the. main character needs to figure out who the killer is by reliving the day over and over again, but from different bodies. I am think this is very clever and interesting way to write a murder mystery/thriller and I am really excited to see how it was executed.

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What book do you want to read this year?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Operation Find A Hobby | Jewelry Making

FindAHobby

Welcome to the next installment of my journey into finding a new hobby. This time I tried my hand at jewelry making. I want to take the time to thank Ashley for giving me the idea. I also had no idea what I wanted to make so I put a poll on twitter and you guys voted fro necklaces.

So I went to my local craft supply store and got a few supplies. I really did not have a lot to go on because I have no idea what I would have actually needed. I decided since this was my first time making jewelry I would take the “easy” way.

I ended up picking up pliers, some gold colored wire, 3 pendants , some fasteners and some chain. I also ended up getting some fake leather cord to make a bracelet. This actually was a lot cheaper than I thought it would be since I picked up a lot of things that were on sale. I know when I am trying something new I don’t like investing a lot of money in it. 

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Once I had an afternoon that I could take time to create me new jewelry. I first decided it would be easier to play with the idea of making a bracelet and a necklace. I learned that making a bracelet is a lot more difficult than a necklace. You can see in the following picture the bracelet I made, you can see that the stone was way to heavy and would not play flat. I even took off extra length, but it continued to turn and move around so I ended up trying to make it into a necklace instead.  

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 The Outcome

I ended up making a total of 3 necklaces. I ended up tossing the idea of making a bracelet, I was getting a bit too frustrated. But, below you can see the three necklaces I made. They are all different lengths. The one on the left it s along necklace, I think I will get a lot of use out of, the middle is a short, almost choker length necklace and the one of the right sits right above the collar of most of my shirts.

Refections

Overall I liked the outcome of this little experiment, I walked away with 3 new necklaces that I adore. Might I add I LOVE the color of the pink stones? It is also very satisfying to make something with your own hands that you can wear out and about. The process itself had a few hiccups. The first obvious one was the bracelet, the stone would not cooperate at all. The second was the jump rings, I had so many of them bend funny and had to get new ones. It may be due to my inexperience though, I noticed after a bit of time it happened less and less.

I don’t think I will be needing to make jewelry in the near future, but when I need a new piece I think I will go to the craft-store or etsy and see if I can find a pendant or stone I really like and make something I love. I will also repair one of my favorites if they happen to break. I am not sure if I would just sit and make jewelry if that makes sense. I had a blast with this installment and I love what came out of it. I can’t wait to continue my journey. Thank you again Ashley  for the idea, I had a ton of fun.  Keep the recommendations coming!

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Did I do a good job? What should I try next?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Operation Find A Hobby | Scrapbooking

FindAHobby

Welcome to the third installment of Operation Find a Hobby. This round I tried scrapbooking.  Now, I shall admit I have some limited exposure to scrapbooking. A few of my family members used to do it constantly. So I was able to get some first hand guidance. But, before I get any further if you have not see my previous posts in this series, you can find them here; Operation Find A Hobby | IntroductionOperation Find A Hobby | Embroidery, and Operation Find A Hobby | Puzzle. Now lets get into my experience trying scrapbooking!

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So first things first, I needed to figure out the actual purpose of a scrapbook. Now, this may just sound silly, but I felt like there was more to it than just taping pictures together. So, a quick google search gave me this definition thanks to Merriam-Webster.

Definition of scrapbook : a blank book in which various items (such as newspaper clippings or pictures) are collected and preserved

For me this still did not seem right. So I decided to actually go to some family members who used to/still scrapbook. I liked their definition a bit better.
Without rambling to much they pretty much told it is a way to celebrate and remember memories, milestones, and  events. Creating a scrapbook was a celebration, anyone can just put their photos and such in an album. But, creating a scrapbook and taking the time to create a page from nothing is giving value to the memory and honoring it. That seemed a bit more appropriate to me. Mainly because of the effort that people put into scrapbooks. When I was searching for some ideas/inspiration and from previous layout there were some detailed layouts. It seemed more than just “preserving items”.
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Now with scrapbooking you need supplies and some of these can get expensive. Let’s just say I used quite a bit of coupons and waited for the supplies to go on sale. I also raided the closets of loved ones. While I was confident I would like this hobby, I was not comfortable with investing a lot of money in a maybe.
I also felt that this hobby needed a but more planning than the previous ones I have tried. Completing a puzzle, all I needed to do was buy one. With Embroidery I was able to buy just one kit and complete it. These were more or less already set up for me where scrapbooking is something I would have to come up with from nothing. So I decided I needed a focus before I went and bought everything.
I ended up deciding that I would use my book to highlight a year and each layout would focus on a month. I then expanded on this and came up with a color pallet;  yellow, green, pink, gray, and off white.  With this I was able to get the creative supplies and the practical ones. Once I collected them from either the store or from others I got to work making my March pages for my scrapbook.
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My Book

My Supplies

Images, scissors, and paper cutter.
Paper backgrounds, stickers, and letters.
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 The Outcome


On this page I wanted to highlight the books I read this past month. So I printed out each of the covers and then decided to highlight my top three, which you can see at the center. I also wanted to remember that I got a new netgalley badge so I added those images to this page as well. I thought the pattern change at the center and the leaf stamps made the page pop a bit more. I will be keeping this method in mind for the future.

On this page I made it a bit more personal. I highlighted a conversation with an author I adore, even though it was totally not substancial in the eyes of some. For me I never thought I would have the guts to talk and ask one of my fav. authors a questions and actually hear back from them. I also added the description of my new netgalley badge on this page. Another things I added that I love is the buddy reads I did this month and who I was reading them with. Just a heads up if you ever want to buddy read a book you can always tweet or message me. If I can chances are I will buddy read a book with you. I find them so much fun!

Refections

Okay, I have to say that I really enjoyed this. It was a lot of fun to just take the time and make this. While it did take time. It took a lot less than putting a puzzle together, thats for sure. I enjoyed picking through my memories and deciding which bookish ones I wanted to remember and honor. I really just enjoyed the entire process, for me this was almost therapeutic. It is very rare that I truly take “me time”, so doing this was almost like meditating and made me more mindful and reflective on the things I have done over the past month.

I also loved that this was create and I was able to make something with my own hands. I enjoyed the fact that I was able to talk to my family members about something I had never talked to them about before. It was nice having a new topic to discuss. Overall, I have to say that this hobby is a winner and I am going to be doing it again in the future. Divider

Well, I am going to continue on my quest to find a new hobby!

Which hobby should I try next?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Operation Find A Hobby | Puzzle

 

Welcome to my second experiment with finding a new hobby. This month I decided to take a shot at putting together a puzzle. I also want to take this time to thank all of you who have suggested hobbies for me to try. I have them all written down and I plan on trying quite a few of them. Also, if this is your first time seeing my Operation Find a Hobby series you can find the other two posts here: Operation Find A Hobby | Introduction , Operation Find A Hobby | Embroidery. Without anymore delayed here is my experiment with putting together a puzzle.

Now, I have always hated doing puzzles. So you may ask, “Luna, why are you trying to put together a puzzle if you hate it?” That is a very normal question that I can only answer with, I don’t know. I always found them to be annoying and time consuming.  I never thought the payoff was really worth it. So I thought, why not try it? It has been YEARS, maybe my view has changed.

With this experiment I decided to try and give puzzles the best shot. I chose a 500 piece puzzle, 1000 was just to much for an amateur like it. I also decided to get a puzzle I thought was very beautiful and tied to something I already liked. So I happened to be in a local hobby shop and I happened to find a book inspired puzzle. Honestly, what are the chances of that?

The puzzle I picked up was a Nancy Draw one, it consisted of 27 book covers and 5 illustrations pulled from the stories and quotes. They style of the illustrations were varies and I found that to beautiful. It was like seeing an evolution of the character. Below you will see a picture of the puzzle box. If you really like it here is an amazon link to the product, it is not an affiliate link. COBBLE HILL Nancy Drew Mysteries Jigsaw Puzzle.

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So a night when I had nothing planned I decided to break out my crafting mat and get to work. I decided to work on the floor so the mat was necessary for the puzzle to lie flat. From a young age everyone always told me to put together the edges of a puzzle first so that is what I did. Now this is just me being curious, does everyone put puzzles together this way or do some of you just find pieces and start putting them together? Anyway here is a picture of when I got the edge of the puzzle put together and the second photo is of the finished product.

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First off I will say, NEVER do a puzzle on the floor. My back, which never really hurt me, was so sore and it hurt. For the next few days I had to continuously stretch it until it got better. Complete a puzzle at a table where you can sit at a chair and you wont be bent over for so long.

Anyway, the puzzle took me about 4-5 hours to complete. The pieces were approximately 3/4 of an inch roughly 2 cm, in diameter so they weren’t horribly small so I was able to see a great deal of detail in a lot of the pieces. Others were pretty difficult like the illustrations that were not on the book covers.

Overall, I will admit I was not a huge fan of putting together a puzzle. That is not to say I hated it. While I was very happy when I finished, I just found that it was not a huge pay off for my 4-5 hours. I could have written a bunch of blog posts, read a book, or embroidered something and felt more accomplished. I just don’t think I have the personality for puzzles, I envy those who do. I am going to keep this puzzle and maybe do it with a group of friends one day, but I don’t think I will be buying anymore.

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Well, I am going to continue on my quest to find a new hobby!

Which hobby should I try next?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Operation Find A Hobby | Embroidery

FindAHobby

Welcome to my first experiment with finding a new hobby. This month I decided to take a shot at embroidery. You know, where you somehow take a needle and colored thread and make a very beautiful design. Honestly, some of the pictures I have seen have blown my mind.  Now I have tried this one in the past, so I thought it was a perfect place to start. A few months back I even reviewed an embroidery book because I dabbled in it. You can find that here: REVIEW | Coloring with Thread by Tula Pink.

When I finally decided that I would give this a real try I scoured the web for patterns and  raided my local craft store. I also raided the homes of one of my friends who had a ton, A TON, of thread to spare. While I want to try a new hobby, I didn’t want to invest a ton of money in it. In my exploration I found an awesome etsy shop called StudioMME. Here she has a ton of kits for projects and she also has a subscription service where you get a kit sent once a month to your house. This included the fabric with stencil, thread, and directions all I needed to buy was a hoop and some needles. I placed my order right away!

The main reason I approached this hobby by getting kits was due to the fact I had no idea how to pick thread, determine how much I needed or how to properly transfer patterns. I felt like the best way to truly test this hobby was to have everything  could have messed up on picked by someone who knew what they were doing. This way I could truly see if I enjoyed it without the possibility of me just getting frustrated at my own mistakes.

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Here is the progression of me doing some of the embroidery.



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So embroidery is not something that is done quickly, it takes a lot of time and concentration. One thing I learned was you need to be very careful where you place your needle, because it will show up uneven if you aren’t super careful. You can kind of see an example of this if you look at the letter C. Over all I am very proud of what I created. I have never finished a project previously and for the first time I don’t think it is that bad.

I also enjoyed the process. Every time I sat down to work on my welcome pineapple I would either catch up on a television show on netflix or listening to an audiobook. Even with all the concentration it was very relaxing. I found myself rushing home a few times so I could work on it. Something I never thought I would do.

Verdict: I will 100% continue doing this. In fact I already started a new project!

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Even though I have found something new I enjoy, I still want to explore more hobbies.

Which hobby should I try next?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Operation Find A Hobby | Introduction

FindAHobby

So you know how everyone says, “New year, new me” in January? Well, this series is along those lines. In December I decided to take part in the Reddit Secret Santa and Holiday Card Exchange, it was so much fun! Well, if you are unfamiliar with this it is a gift exchange  through a website called reddit.com. If you have never looked into, I suggest you do. Anyway, to take part in this Secret Santa you need to fill out a questionnaire and about things you enjoy, organizations you like, and a question that asked about my hobbies.

This question took me such a long time because the only thing I could come up with is reading. I am not saying that reading is not a good hobby, I was just surprised I could not even come up with a second one. I ended up asking my boyfriend and my best friend for help. They too could not name anything other than reading. I’m not sure exactly why, but this really hit me.

I think it really bothered me because I realized I did not have time to try new things. I think it bothered me because I thought I was defined by more than just reading. I think it bothered me because I seemed so one dimensional. Now I want to be clear, there is nothing wrong with just having reading as a hobby, reading is a great hobby! I just realized I want to have more. I want to spend my time doing multiple things I love doing. I want to grow.

So, if you could not tell by the name this series is going to be about me trying a new hobby every month. I think it will be a lot of fun taking a month to learn something new and maybe even learn more about myself.

I know this is not book related, but I hope you will all join me on this little adventure. And, who knows maybe I can do some of these new hobbies while I listen to a good ol’ audiobook.


If you have any suggestions for hobbies, I would love to hear them.

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Goals

Reading Goals | 2018

Reading Goals

A new year and a few new goals for my blog, my reading, and myself. I don’t know about you, but I love setting goals for myself. I find it motivating and I am always excited to see if I hit them at the end of the year. For now I am going to share the goals I have for my blog and reading in the new year.

  1. Update my blog post headers
    • I loved designing so I want to introduce a few new headers and give myself that time to be creative.
  2. Read 50 books
    • Every year I set my reading goal at 50. It is an average of a book in little over a week and I tend to not stress out about it.
  3. Read 30,000 pages
    • I though this page goal would be fun.
  4. Try new things
    • This year I want to experiment a little outside of what I normally post, spice things up a little bit.
  5. Complete the 2018 POPSUGAR reading challenge

2018 Reading Challenge


What goals do you  have for yourself this year?

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