Tuesday, December 5, 2023

November 2023 Reads

This month I read 11 books bringing my total to 121 for the year! One of them has a high chance of being a favorite for the whole year, yay!

Another really solid month of reading - I had a couple of 5 star reads and several other really good ones! 

The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith - This is the 7th book in the Cormoran Strike series {written by JK Rowling under a pen name}, and I LOVE these. The first few were just 'run of the mill' mystery novels, but they have been getting better and better. These are just absolutely fantastic and I love Strike and his partner, Robin!

Leslie F*cking Jones by Leslie Jones [audiobook] - Oh my goodness was this hilarious. I haven't watched SNL in years, but I loved Leslie Jones' Game of Thrones commentaries, so I was definitely interested in learning more about her. Listening to this definitely added to it because Leslie was hysterical. The book itself was heartfelt, funny, heart-breaking, insightful. Thoroughly enjoyed this!

You, With a View by Jessica Joyce - This was a fun rom-com. The premise took me a minute to get into {a girl finds letters from her grandmother's first love that she didn't know about and ends up going on a roadtrip they wanted to take...and the first love is the grandpa of her 'nemesis' and they both come}, but I ended up really enjoying it!

Draco Malfoy and the Mortifying Ordeal of Being in Love by isthisselfcare - It's impossible to believe this is fan fiction. This was absolutely fantastic. The story follows Hermione and Draco as he has become an Auror and is protecting Hermione from a threat. The plot was absolutely top notch with some good surprises, and I felt the author did a really good job of addressing the painful past between Hermione and Draco and made their relationship's growth feel natural and real. I'm not sure I can ever read the original series again without thinking of this and kind of wishing for this ending ha.

Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen by Michelle Icard [audiobook] - I don't remember where I saw this online, but it caught my eye because we have a 14-year-old! And I'm so glad I listened to it! It applies to tweens/early teens, and it was so good I want to buy a physical copy to read again and highlight. I highly recommend. I like that the author didn't put her opinion out there but just talked about HOW to have these important conversations with our kids and had practical examples. So whatever your beliefs are, this book can help!!

Tilly in Technicolor by Mazey Eddings - This was a quirky YA read about 2 neurodivergent teenagers who end up working together on an internship and of course falling in love. I thought it was really cute, but I didn't love the main character, Tilly, for a while - it took some time for her to grow on me and that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book. By the end, I really loved them both!

Chomp by Carl Hiassen - Drew and I read this together, and I knew Carl Hiassen was a bit of a quirky writer, but this was QUIRKY. She liked it a lot, and I thought it was ok, but it is 100% geared towards kids, so my review doesn't really count, ha. It's about a boy whose father is an animal wrangler and they go to help on a 'reality' TV show and the star is an idiot and hijinks ensue. 

Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros - THIS SERIES IS EVERYTHING!!!!!!! I know fantasy isn't for everyone, but I am obsessed. I didn't want this book to end, and now I'm listening to the audiobook. This 100% could be a series I buy for myself. Please I am begging you to read Fourth Wing and then this!!!

A Power Unbound by Freya Marske - I read the first book in this trilogy {A Marvellous Light} last year and LOVED it. And then I read the second book {A Restless Truth} last month and slogged my way through it. I was apprehensive to read the conclusion but ended up really enjoying it! The first book remains my favorite, but this was a good conclusion. This is a fantasy LGBTQ+ trilogy set in the early 1900s so it shouldn't be surprising that I enjoyed it! {grin}

She Memes Well by Quinta Brunson - I got this book in a work gift exchange last year and finally cracked it open. I love Abbott Elementary and didn't realize Quinta was the creator in addition to the star. I knew nothing about how she got her start in Hollywood and found this very enjoyable!

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett - This was our Blog Friend Book Club pick of the month...and I have mixed feelings. It follows Sabine who has just lost her husband {who she was in love with, but he was gay and had a partner} and learned he had a family she didn't know about. It was a very interesting premise, and the writing had some really beautiful moments, but I think my biggest challenge with this was wanting more. Sabine was just kind of a 'meh' character - she was living her life as second fiddle {the assistant, the wife whose husband doesn't love her}, and I wanted more from her. It also had a very abrupt/weird ending, so I enjoyed it mostly but also was looking for more.

My average for the month was 4 stars and for the year it's 3.7, so I'd say this was a solid month! I'm at 121 books read with a goal of 125. Since I started tracking my reads, the most I've ever read in a year is 124 books, so I'm very excited for my final number!

Monday, December 4, 2023

Thanksgiving Fun

We had a great disconnect for Thanksgiving! The kids were off of school all week, and I took the week off to enjoy the time with them.

I actually also took off the Friday before Thanksgiving week to go to A Christmas Affair - a big shopping bazaar hosted by The Junior League. It's become a tradition for me, Kristen, and Susannah to go. I don't necessarily buy a lot of gifts, but it's always a fun time!

We also had a plank challenge at the gym. I didn't go crazy with it like I did a few years ago, but we definitely had fun!

Body Pump planking!

Time with friends is the best!

We also did our Christmas decorating. Trent didn't participate, but I had a blast with the girls.

We had a good couple of Thanksgiving celebrations. We spent Thanksgiving Day with Brent's family and the Saturday after with my family. I made a chocolate pie and a pumpkin roll for both parties. The girls love to bake, so we had a lot of fun baking.

The pies before the homemade whipped cream topping!

My Thanksgiving morning 'huff and puff before you stuff' workout

The girls slept in our room, I had a good laugh to see Paige like this on her pallet.

I didn't take any pictures of people at Brent's parents' house, but I did take pictures of all the desserts!

My finished pie, the pumpkin roll, and a dessert charcuterie!

Friday we were largely bums, but we had 1 fun activity - Brent bought a cold plunge, and we all tried it out, ha. The kids were so funny!

Helping make whipped cream for Saturday's pie

We went to my cousin's house about an hour away and had a great showing from my mom's side of the family!

First cousins and spouses {10/12 cousins made it!}

The Swopes


The current youngest baby, Nolan. 
Patty's baby will take over for a few months,
and another one of my cousins is having a baby in May!

Love my mama!

Happy 72nd birthday to my dad!

And happy 45th to my beautiful sister!

And that's a wrap on Thanksgiving week! We were all exhausted on Sunday, ha. And the countdown to Christmas is on!!!