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Carly Reads Here | Winter 2018

Does anyone else get a little panicked when the first book they read for the year ends up being one they didn't really like? To be fair, I hadn't been in the biggest mood to read when I started it, so that could have something to do with it, but I really expected to like The Wife Between Us a lot more (my thoughts below). Thankfully I fell into more of a reading groove and ending up reading more than I expected, and a few things I really enjoyed.


THE WIFE BETWEEN US | I had such high hopes for this book (the marketing kind of reminded me of Behind Her Eyes, as it claims it's the next blockbuster novel of suspense & to get ready for the read of your life), but was left so underwhelmed. There's a pretty big twist revealed towards the beginning of the book that I figured out (which never happens), so that fell flat for me. The suspense does eventually pick up, but between there being way too many side storylines, and the lack of surprise with the first twist, I just wasn't that into anything about this book.

TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN | This was the first book I've read by John Green and my interest only piqued after hearing countless bloggers rave about how good it was, specifically around the topic of mental illness. Initially I had a hard time adjusting to the book because the premise of searching for a missing millionaire felt very middle grade or even elementary, and the dialogue and conversations felt very adult, but eventually I got into the groove and it really grew on me.

I found Green's writing to be clever and engaging, but I wasn't crazy about the dialogue & there were some details that bugged me. I loved Aza's character and thought her anxiety and compulsions were really well expressed through Green's writing.

THE IMMORTALISTS |  I think I was nearly halfway through this book and still couldn't decide whether or not I liked it, but I couldn't stop reading. The book starts off with 4 children who go and see a woman who tells each of them the date they're going to die. Then it's broken up into four parts, with each part focusing on one of the children and how their lives end up playing out. This is probably something I wouldn't have gravitated towards on my own because of the magical element, but I saw Megan mention how much she loved it, and then I kept seeing it on lists of best of new releases so I was intrigued.

While the magical elements pop up here and there, it definitely didn't feel like the overall theme of the book, so I'm glad I didn't let that deter me from reading it because I really enjoyed it. The middle two parts were my favorite, but overall I enjoyed the writing and thought it was a really interesting premise for a book.

SURPRISE ME | The last two books I've read by Sophie Kinsella have been major favorites, otherwise I probably would have skipped over this book because the whole premise of it does not seem like my cup of tea. Basically a couple finds out they should live until they're really old-- celebrating 68 more anniversaries together. Instead of that news being a positive thing, they both kind of freak out, admitting they were never expecting to be married that long, which just doesn't make sense to me, because why would you be worried about finding out you get even more time with your spouse? I digress... It ended up not really being about that so much & the second half of the book was suddenly quite intense. Overall I did enjoy it and always enjoy Kinsella's characters. c/o netgalley in exchange for an honest review


I'm currently reading THE YEAR OF LIVING DANISHLY after Kelly mentioned it a few months ago. I haven't read any of the books on hygee, and I know very little about Danish culture, but so far I'm enjoying reading about the author's adventures as she settles into life in Denmark and tries to discover what makes it the happiest country in the world.

Linkup with Steph to share your recent reads, follow me on Goodreads, and see what I was reading last February.

What's New | Feb 2018

Happy first day of February-- also known as due date month around here, which is hard to believe. I feel like I've been pregnant forever, but also feel like the time has gone by so quickly.

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1. I was a bit hesitant at first but we've been using Hello Fresh the past few weeks and it has been really convenient. A few summers ago we used Blue Apron for a couple of months (thoughts on blue apron 21 meals later), and it was okay, but we kind of had a lot of gripes with it. Hello Fresh has been much better as far as the ingredient quality, variety of meal choices, and the portion sizes are a lot bigger-- we have leftovers pretty often. I do think their prep and cook times always take way longer than what the recipe says, but for the most part we don't have any complaints and have cut way down on food waste.

2. Back in December I had to do the 3 hour glucose screening so I was looking for a new show to watch while I passed the time at the doctors office and decided to give The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel a try on based on Lindsay's recommendation. I didn't know anything about it, but it was so good! I loved the acting and writing, and the fashion was amazing too. Definitely something I would consider re-watching sooner rather than later, while waiting for season 2.

3. I can't remember the last time I slept through the night, so my under eyes are kind of a lost cause, but I've been loving the Becca under eye corrector! I think it's the combination of the color and the consistency that really gives a nice brightening effect without looking like you're wearing concealer 3 shades too light.

4. Sharp Objects was my favorite Gilian Flynn novel and it's being made into a mini-series on HBO with Amy Adams-- here's to hoping it's just as good as Big Little Lies!

5. I've been contemplating some kind of "healthy" dessert/snack to try and satisfy my chocolate craving, and am tempted to try this Pinch of Yum recipe, but the sweetener options make me a bit hesitant because I've read conflicting things about agave nectar, and I don't really care for maple syrup-- but maybe in the recipe you can't taste it? I'd love to know if anyone has made anything similar or has any recipes they'd recommend.


Linking up with Kristen for What's New With You & TBB.

My Year in Reading | 2017

Merry (almost) Christmas! I look forward to sharing my favorite books of the year all year long, so it's hard to believe it's actually finally time for a best of books recap! 2017 definitely ebbed and flowed for me with reading. During the first half of the year I was reading a lot, then I fizzled out a bit until the end of the year where I was able to squeeze in some last great books.

As far as my star ratings go, I only gave two novels 5-stars, which really only goes to show how rarely I rate anything 5-stars because I read so many amazing books this year-- way more 4-star books than ever! The majority of my books were 2017 releases-- only three books I read this year were published before 2000, which I'm pretty sure is thanks to the All of the Books podcast. I didn't keep up with tracking my book stats, but I can definitely say I read diversely across the fiction genre.

Pachinko | My favorite book of the year! The story and writing were so beautiful with characters that stick with you. my review | purchase

Beartown | This was one of my other 5-star reads. I love Backman's writing and his ability to really bring an entire town to life made this such a moving story for me. Apparently he's writing a sequel!? Which makes me equal parts excited and nervous. my review | purchase

The Leavers | This was such a captivating and heartbreaking story that I didn't want to end. my review | purchase

What Made Maddy Run | This story really stuck with me, because it's such an important topic with really compelling writing.  Read this book. Talk about this book. my review | purchase

My Not So Perfect Life | Definitely one of the most fun books I read all year. I laughed out loud at times and really loved everything from the storyline to all of the characters. my review | purchase

A few other books worth mentioning: Behold the Dreamers, The Hate U Give, and On Turpentine Lane. Persepolis was an amazing graphic novel I read, and I loved the Sarah Anderson comics and I'm already looking forward to her third book coming out next year.

If you want to share your favorite books of the year make sure to linkup with Steph on Tuesday the 26th. See my favorite books from the past few years: best of 2016best of 2015; best of 2014; best of 2013

Weekending & Favorites | December

I would start this post by saying I can't believe Christmas is already just a week away, but this year has gone by so quickly I actually can believe Christmas is next week. I wanted to do a little combo post today with a couple of favorites & some weekending linking up with Biana.


I've always wanted to participate in Wreaths Across America, but would always find out about it too late, so this year I made sure to mark it down on the calendar. Instead of going to Arlington we went to the Alexandria National Cemetery, because I have collapsed arches, meaning my feet start to hurt really bad, really fast (can you tell I'm a really fun pregnant person?) and I thought it would be less walking. It was a bit different from what we were expecting, but a really cool thing to experience, seeing so many people gathered together to honor our fallen Veterans. I definitely recommend checking it out if you ever get the chance, it's held in Veteran cemeteries all across the United States!

We stopped by the Christmas Market downtown and braved the crowds to get a churro-- highly recommend! We were also planning on going to a Festival of Lights, but staying warm on the couch won out instead- hopefully we'll be able to squeeze in going sometime later this week.


I've had my eye on this oversized cardigan from Target for the past couple of weeks so I made sure to order it when I saw it go on sale again. I'm obsessed with the color and anything oversized so I thought it would be perfect. The fit ended up being kind of odd, I know I'm pregnant, but I don't think that was the problem, and I felt like it would pill really quickly so back it went. While I was returning it Target was having another sweater sale so I picked up this lightweight one instead for $14 as soon as I saw the color. It definitely doesn't have the same cozy factor, but I know I'll wear it all the time. I'm still stalking this Free People cardigan (though not exactly how I'd wear it) and wishing I would have got it when it was on sale during Black Friday.

A few weeks ago I made oatmeal butterscotch cookies from a recipe I found on Pinterest and they were divine! I used this recipe, and then realized it's basically the same thing that's on the back of the butterscotch chips (which makes me think of the Friends episode, the one with phoebe's cookies). So it's not anything too fancy, but after a previous butterscotch cookie attempt that didn't turn out the best, I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely make these again.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and holiday season spending time with friends & family!



Carly Reads Here | December

I guess I'm ending my Show Us Your Books posts on a high note this year because this is the post with all of the really good books! I came up one category short for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge (see my list here), and if it wasn't the category for a 600+ page book I might try and squeeze it in these last couple of weeks. Overall I was really happy with the challenge and everything I read was 3.5 stars or above so definitely no flops!

Favorites & Traditions

Happy December! We're officially in the Christmas countdown and I'm trying my best to feel as festive as possible and really enjoy the season. I love a good Christmas q&a and I thought I'd throw in some holiday photos as well since I've been trying to figure out how to better use our camera. We never remember to use it, but with a baby on the way I have a feeling we'll be taking a million photos and my phone camera is kind of the worst.

(More) Books to Bring Holiday Cheer

We're past Thanksgiving, so is it finally safe to talk about Christmas? Before this year I had never realized how opinionated people felt about other people choosing to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I always thought after November 1st was fair game, or honestly if you want to decorate your own house in August, it really wouldn't bother me either. Probably all just a sign I was spending too much time on Twitter...  anyway, last year I enjoyed the post I did on festive Christmas books, so I thought I would do a part 2 this year with some new (to me) books I read over the past few weeks. Part of me feels like I was just writing that post, when I accidentally read the second book in the Elin Hilderbrand series thinking it was the first book!

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