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Carly Reads Here | April 2017

Six books, six different genres. I definitely have a pretty eclectic mix of books this month, including a couple that I really loved. I'll skip the long intro because my review blurbs always tend to be lengthy, but linking up for Show Us Your Books- stop by and share what you've been reading recently.

The Sign of Four | This is the second novel I've read by Arthur Conan Doyle, and admittedly my interest piqued because of my love of the BBC series. I really enjoyed every page of this-- you're met head on with Holme's cocaine addiction & it's the story where Watson meets Mary, so that's fun. The story read as fast-paced with the right amount of adventure and mystery, and I'm just a fan of Doyle's writing and miss the characters when I'm done reading.

Behold the Dreamers | So many feels. Behold the Dreamers is about two Cameroonian immigrants living in America seeking out a better life for their family as they await news on their asylum application status. This book was equal parts hopeful and heartbreaking with characters so complex that you felt like they could be someone you know. Some of their choices often made me frustrated and sad, but I think this is an impossible book to read and not feel something for the characters and their experience. This is such an important book, especially in today's society with ongoing misconceptions about immigration.
c/o netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Universe | This book has over 4-stars on Goodreads and more awards than I have ever seen on one book cover. It was moving and poetic and pulls you right into the story. It falls into the #ownvoices and #diversebooks realm, a story about two boys, Ari and Dante, who are struggling with their identity. It was one of those books that felt relatable even though I had very little in common with either character, and I think that's part of what makes it so endearing.

I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live In It
 | I saw this on some kind of upcoming book list and then it ended up being a read now option on Netgalley, and it was perfect for one of the Read Harder categories, so I was 3x excited to read it-- plus the cover wins some points too. The book starts off with the nostalgia of early internet days, which was fun to read about despite it not being relatable at all. I didn't meet a famous person in a chatroom when I was in high school and become BFFs with them and attend hollywood parties. I kind of lost interest when it turned into the author complaining about various types of social media- I think it was an attempt to be funny, but it just didn't work for me.  c/o netgalley in exchange for an honest review

When You Reach Me | This was a 2010 Newbery Medal winner and I enjoyed it so much! It's about a girl living in New York City, and she gets four letters from someone and she has to figure out what they mean. I loved the writing and all of the minor characters and their story lines. I wasn't expecting the time travel element, even though the mentions of A Wrinkle in Time should have been foreshadowing I guess. That element was a little confusing and not my favorite, but I loved the rest of the book so much that it didn't bother me.

Small Admissions | I dare say this wins for my least favorite book of the year so far. It had so much potential, about a woman in New York who loses everything after being dumped by her boyfriend. She ends up getting a job in a private school's admissions office and starts to get her life back on track. You don't exactly know what happened with the BF, so that kept me slightly interested, but otherwise I didn't mesh with the style/format of the writing or the lack of transitions. I could go on about how I found the characters all too outrageous, but I'll just sum up by saying I didn't like anything about this book and I'm apparently very picky with my chick lit choices.  c/o netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I haven't decided what I'm going to read next, I feel like there's added pressure to find a good book after reading one you really dislike.

Ten Things

Happy April! I thought I'd start out the month with something a little different and share some fun/super random things about myself to linkup with Kristen & Gretch.
  1. I'm an INFJ, and a true introvert (none of that extroverted introvert stuff). It's supposed to be a rare type, but it seems like it's really popular among bloggers which is awesome. 
  2. I have the biggest sweet-tooth ever and I don't think I've never met a dessert I didn't like... unless we're talking about key lime pie or cheesecake. 
  3. My favorite TV shows (of all time) are Friends, Downton, and The Wire. I love cheesy dramas too and am forever wishing Hart of Dixie could return. 
  4. Growing up my dream job was an architect, but I was really terrible at math so I never really gave it a consideration and I definitely regret it. 
  5. You've Got Mail is the one movie I can watch over and over again,  2005 Pride & Prejudice is a close second, and Bridesmaids never fails to make me laugh.
  6. I enjoy reading non-fiction just as much as I love a good novel.
  7. New York is my favorite city ever. I think there's a Gossip Girl quote or something that says when you're there you're never alone, but you're always on your own, and I think that's definitely a little bit of the appeal.
  8. I'm not really an animal person but a poodle is my dream pet.
  9. I'm that annoying person at the grocery store who checks like eight different cartons of eggs before choosing what one I want.
  10. Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorite verses and if I ever decided to get a tattoo, that would probably be my choice. 
What's your Myers-Briggs type? Do you find it to be accurate? Favorite movie or TV show?

Designing a Custom Phone Case

case app; caseapp; custom phone case; iphone 6
Happy Friday and last day of the month! This month completely flew by, but April brings the stretch of my favorite months so I'm definitely welcoming the new month. I'm embarrassingly excited for the last episode of Big Little Lies this weekend and can't wait to see how they wrap everything up. Season 2 of Good Witch is finally coming to Netflix next month, so I'm really excited for that. It's the little things right?

On to the subject of this post, I was really excited to partner with CaseApp to pick-out and design my own custom phone case. If you're unfamiliar with the website, they offer hundreds of pre-made templates and designs, but also allow you to customize your own phone case. The options are endless and you could easily spend hours on the website trying out different combinations of patterns, quotes, and clipart. I really liked that the design of the case wraps around the sides of your phone so you're not just left with white space.

My original plan was to use a personal photo, either from a beach trip or New York, but in the end I wasn't 100% confident in the quality of my photos. Instead I decided to slightly customize one of their marble backgrounds-- I loved the shades of blue and added the solid dark turquoise bit to bring out the darker shades in the marble. Knowing summer is right around the corner, I picked out this fun tropical print as well and can't decide which one I like better.

So the case looks great, but is it high quality? From a few weeks of use, it's super lightweight, but durable. I have dropped my phone on hard surfaces twice while using this case and didn't have any issues with cracking or scratching. It's hard to tell from the photos but the casing doesn't go around the top or bottom of the case, so that might be something to consider. They do offer a 'tough' option, that gives more protection, and still looks really great

Overall, I was impressed with the variety in designs, the customer service, and the cases. If you're interested in a phone or tablet case or a laptop skin you can use CARLY20 to save a little bit of money.

Do you tend to switch out your phone cases or stick to one over the lifetime of your phone? Where do you shop for cases?

CaseApp provided me with two cases in exchange for an honest review. 

All of the Recent Releases | carly reads here

I'm sharing a second book post this month to focus on all of the recent releases I've read recently. I'm not sure how far past the publication day a book can be to still be considered a new release, but for the purposes of this post I'm talking about books published in January to March of this year.

The majority of the time I find new releases I'd like to read from the All of the Books! podcast, and I'm always interested to see what the BOTM club choices are each month. Another thing I've learned recently is to check out the recently added tab on my library home page, because you can often get on the wait list before the release date to help cut down on month long waiting lists.

Spring Things & Wish Listing

Happy first official day of spring! Even though it was still snowy and freezing for most of yesterday and I could do with a lot more 60-70 degree days in the forecast, but such is life. Despite the weather spring has been on my mind for a while, blame that early warm spell we got a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd share some favorite things & a mini wish list.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

We finally had the opportunity to visit the Infinity Mirrors exhibit so I thought I would share our visit. Our experience was so different from what I was expecting. I guess because getting tickets was so stressful, and there seemed to be endless articles about it taking 2-3 hours to get through the exhibit, I expected mass chaos or something. Our tickets were for 10:15 and we got there about 15 minutes early-- there were a few people in front of us in line and quite a few people already lined up for the 10:30 time slot, but getting there that early didn't seem necessary. It was all really organized, as you're waiting outside you flash your tickets and get a sticker and a brief rundown of the event and then you get to go inside.

At that point you can check your bags and jackets downstairs, or head right up to the exhibit where you wait in a second line to actually have your tickets scanned before going into the exhibit. While there is an obvious flow, you don't have to go into the rooms in order (with the exception of the last room). Along with the six rooms, there were other amazing art pieces throughout the exhibit, but we kind of breezed over those to take advantage of there being no wait to go into the actual rooms. There were maybe one or two people in front of us and we got through the entire exhibit in about 30 minutes.

You get 20-30 seconds in each of the mirrored rooms and the time goes quickly, but not as fast as I was expecting. In one of the rooms I was actually ready to get out before the time was over. You go in four mirrored rooms, look into one amazing mirrored space, and on the way out pass through the obliteration room and make your mark by adding dot stickers wherever your heart desires.

We snapped about a zillion pictures on our phones, only to look at them later over brunch at B Too and realize that most of the pictures were pretty underwhelming (or blurry)... at least compared to the ultra creative photos splashed all over social media. Lately I've had to stop and remind myself not to compare myself so harshly to others. Life is more than a clever photograph, and the photos we take are our own experiences and memories and nothing in the world can compare to that, so if you're reading this take it as a friendly reminder not to be too hard on yourself.

We definitely hope to go back again while the exhibit is on display so we can take more time looking at the other artwork in the exhibit-- and get a few better photos ;)

carly blogs here; infinity mirrors; hirshhorn;
The exhibit is at the Hirshhorn until May and free tickets become available Monday at 12pm for the following week. It heads to Seattle in June.

Carly Reads Here | March 2017

show us your books, book of the month club, botm, behind her eyes, best thrillers
This post was originally going to be the post of all the new releases, but it turned into the post with all of the thrillers instead. After reading Behind Her Eyes I was in the mood for books I wouldn't be able to put down, and it definitely got me out of my reading lull.

Behind Her Eyes | After hearing all of the hype around the ending of this book, I wanted to read it so bad that I finally joined BOTM(link is my referral code) and eagerly awaited its arrival on my doorstep. It's a psychological thriller about a woman who has an affair with a man, who ends up being her boss, and then she accidentally befriends his wife. I absolutely loved the pace of this book, and how pieces of the puzzle are revealed as you're reading-- not all at once when you get to the end. But the ending made me kind of mad/disappointed. Still 4 stars and highly recommend if you like psychological thrillers.

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