Tag Archives: reading

*Super* Early Christmas Present

Standard
*Super* Early Christmas Present

Hi! When it comes to gift giving occasions, I simply cannot wait for the day of and ask my giftees if I can give them their presents as soon as they arrive in the mail. My sweet Johnny knows this firsthand because I don’t think we have ever waited until the day of a birthday, anniversary, or holiday to open gifts! This year, Christmas came especially early for us as we already gave each other presents last weekend lol. Take a look at the best give ever from my husband:

I like to do all of my present shopping way ahead of time so, of course, I had Johnny’s Christmas gift ready to go since the beginning of September. I guess I inspired him to shop early because he let me know that he had my gift too!

Knowing that each of us had our prezzies already was going to make it impossible to wait until Christmas. We decided to give each other a hint and if we guessed right, then we would tell each other. Johnny’s hint to me was “it is something that you have wanted for forever but never want to pay for”.

Right off the bat, I was stumped because there’s a million things that I would love to have but don’t want to pay for – mainly clothes related. Then, it clicked. My favorite comic book series, Sandman, by Neil Gaiman will have its own Netflix show which will be releasing soon. Johnny isn’t familiar with it, so I have been talking about it constantly and every time it gets brought up, I mention how much I would like to have the Sandman Omnibuses so I can have the complete collection.

As you can see, I guessed correctly because that is, indeed, what Johnny got for me for Christmas. It is, hands down, one of the best gifts I have ever received and I cannot wait to reread my favorite series in its entirety for the millionth time – no trip to the library required! 😀

One of my many favorite things about Johnny is how incredibly thoughtful he is. This gift is the ultimate testament of how he listens to me when I’m talking, even if I’m rambling about something for the hundredth time. That is the best gift of all – no matter how freaking cool the Omnibuses are! ❤

Who else is excited for the Sandman series on Netflix? Who has started their holiday shopping already? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: False Witness By Karin Slaughter Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: False Witness By Karin Slaughter Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we will be discussing a book called False Witness by Karin Slaughter – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Before we begin, however, I will be placing an extreme trigger warning on this book and post. False Witness covers every type of abuse imaginable, violence, rape, and drug addiction. It is definitely not a book to be read by the faint of heart. With that in mind, let’s get to it:

Big sister Leigh and little sis Callie spent their childhood in poverty and immersed in abuse at the hands of adults who should have been protecting them. Finally, the hunted became the hunters and the sisters murdered one of their abusers – the father of the child that Callie was babysitting. They cleaned house, covered their tracks, and lived their lives as if nothing happened afterwards.

To cope, Leigh worked hard to the point of obsessive and became a defense attorney for a major law firm. Callie, on the other hand, turned to hard drugs to ease her pain from scars both mental and physical. She would show up in Leigh’s life occasionally to steal money and possessions but mainly lived on the streets or seedy motels.

For over twenty years, the girls thought that they had gotten away with the perfect crime and did their best to keep it in the back of their minds. That is, until Leigh is hired to defend a new client on brutal rape charges. Who is he? None other than the boy that they babysat all of those years ago.

Andrew Tenant is clearly guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and everyone seems to know it. However, he expects to get off scot free because he has leverage over Leigh that will incriminate both her and Callie if she doesn’t succeed in trial… He knows that they killed his father. How, you may ask? Read False Witness to find out!

Let me start off by saying that False Witness in its entirety was insanely hard to read. Its content was nothing short of heartbreaking and deeply disturbing. Having said that, it was a book that kept my attention to the very end with twists, turns, and complete curve balls on every page.

The subject matter was, at times, unbearable. However, Karin Slaughter crafted the two sisters in such a way that I was rooting for them harder than I have for any other character in the books that I have read recently. Despite their flaws, both Leigh and Callie were likeable, smart, so strong, and sometimes absolutely hilarious. In fact, I liked them even more because of everything that they have gone through.

Slaughter hit hard in this book to the point that it was almost grueling. She shined a light on very real issues and wrote in such a way that it felt like you were reading a true story. The sense of urgency in this book was palpable. There were also delicious moments of comic relief that had me in stitches, which was much needed and appreciated.

I am going to award Karin Slaughter’s False Witness with a six out of ten star rating. While I can’t say that I enjoyed this book due to its graphic nature, I loved how it was written as well as the two main characters. If you can stomach it, False Witness is certainly worth the read. If not, please don’t bother with it because it is not worth damaging your own mental health.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Must Haves For Your Bedroom

Standard
Must Haves For Your Bedroom

After another long year in the pandemic lifestyle, it’s safe to say that everyone is going to want to hibernate this winter. And, where better to retreat than to your bedroom? Your bedroom should be your ultimate safe haven where you are cocooned in comfort and free to relax and be your best self. For the best in comfy cozy, consider the following in your bedroom:

Plush Bedding:

The best place to start in the bedroom is, of course, with the bed! After shopping for quality bedroom furniture for sale like your mattress and bed frame, it is time to dress the bed with comfortable and soft bedding. You can’t go wrong with light cotton sheets in the summer but during the winter, its best to adorn your bed with warm and toasty flannel or fleece.

Don’t forget comfy pillows both for sleeping and decoration. You might even want to consider a statement piece like a velvet headboard for an over the top luxury feel. That will make your queen sized bed truly fit for royalty!

Items That Sooth:

One of the first things that I bought for my bedroom in my apartment was a Himalayan Salt Lamp and I just love it! It provides the perfect glow to help you relax or set the mood for a scary movie night. Fairy lights or even sphere lights that look like the moon are also great options.

Your bedroom should have items that comfort rather than stimulate you and this can come in all shapes and forms. Think sound machines, your favorite plushie, or a photo album with pictures of your family. The bedroom is where people tend to go when they want to spend some peaceful time with themselves so save your bold pieces like loud artwork or unique patterns for the living room, instead.

Book Nook:

I don’t know about all of you, but reading before bed is one of my favorite parts of my nighttime routine. If you feel similarly, why not create a book nook in your bedroom? Stock a small bookshelf with your favorites or must reads from the library so you always have some reading material handy. A chaise lounge by a window would also be a nice touch. Cue the rain (outdoors or on a sound machine) for the ultimate reading space.

Create Calmness:

Testing out lavender or chamomile products before going to bed is always a good idea! You can sip on chamomile tea while taking a nice hot bath and crawl into bed with a cozy robe and a magazine. Or, how about some lavender scented lotion and pillow spray to help you drift off into the land of nod? Pampering yourself can be so soothing and will help put you in the right state of mind for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Think calm, soft, and soothing and you will have a bedroom fit for the royalty that you are for the most relaxing winter ever!

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Last Thing He Told Me By Laura Dave Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: The Last Thing He Told Me By Laura Dave Edition

Hello and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller by Laura Dave called The Last Thing He Told Me – without giving any spoilers away, of course. This book kept me on the edge of my seat with twists and turns on every page and an ending that almost made my cry. I simply could not put it down and devoured it in less than a week! Now, let’s get to it:

Hannah and Owen have been married for about a year and everything is going picture perfect. They live in a charming houseboat with Owen’s teenage daughter, Bailey, in Sausalito, California and Hannah constantly wonders how she got so lucky. Even though Bailey is not particularly thrilled over the relationship!

Hannah thinks that she knows everything there is to know about Owen until he doesn’t return home from work. Instead of calling, he has a note delivered to their front door with the simple message of “Protect her.” on it. Shortly after Hannah receives the note, we learn that the CEO of the tech company that her husband works for has been indited for major fraud and embezzlement. Fast forward a few days later and Owen has seemingly disappeared without a trace… That is, except for the huge bag of cash he left in Bailey’s locker at school.

As if Hannah didn’t have enough to stress about, the FBI and U.S. Marshals are hot on her trail and she knows that she needs to act fast to save herself, her step daughter, and husband. With the unlikely help of Bailey, they begin to uncover dark secrets of Owen’s past that could put all of them in unspeakable danger. This begs the question of if Hannah and Bailey really even knew him at all.

The Last Thing He Told Me was a fast paced, urgent read because every twist that occurred put everyone closer to being in harm’s way. This is why I couldn’t stop reading if I tried and it was definitely a nice change of pace from the lackluster Such A Quiet Place, which I finished recently. The Last Thing He Told Me also offered a story line that was incredibly unique which made trying to figure out the grand reveal pretty difficult. There were some things I got right and others that I missed and that made it even better.

What I liked the most about The Last Thing He Told Me were all of the different emotions that I felt while reading. Hannah and Bailey’s anxiety was palpable and they were both so easy to root for as they were thrown into such a life altering situation. I felt bad that Hannah’s fairy tale was cut short and awful that the only parent Bailey has left had disappeared off the face of the Earth. This made all of their discoveries and final heart wrenching sentence even more triumphant to the point that I was almost moved to tears.

I really can’t go into detail about Owen’s past because it would ruin the point of reading this book. I can tell you, however, that if you like a good thriller, then The Last Thing He Told Me is definitely worth the read. I am going to award it with an eight out of ten star rating. Laura Dave delivered with flawed but insanely likeable characters and a book that will keep you guessing until the very end. I highly recommend it!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: Such A Quiet Place By Megan Miranda Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: Such A Quiet Place By Megan Miranda Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving any spoilers away, of course, we are going to be discussing a thriller called Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda. Was it the best book I have ever read? No. Was it the worst? Still no. Now, let’s get to it:

Hollow’s Edge is a beautiful neighborhood where everyone knows everyone. The home owners consider themselves a family and you can often find them at each other’s places having coffee and barbecues or lounging together at the community pool. Not only is their free time spent with each other but their work lives also mingle as many of the neighbors are employed at the local college. It is a picture perfect place for thirty somethings to truly begin their adult lives with family or blossoming careers. However, if we know anything about thrillers, we know that Hollow’s Edge is anything but picture perfect.

A year and a half ago, the community was turned upside down by the murders of Brandon and Fiona Truett via carbon monoxide poisoning. With the utmost cooperation from the Hollow’s Edge residents, twenty-five year old Ruby Fletcher was convicted of murder and sent to prison. The neighborhood was completely shaken and everyone tried to move back to some sense of normality. That is, until Ruby’s charges were dropped after she served fourteen months thanks to an excellent lawyer and new evidence.

After being released from prison, Ruby waltzes back into Hollow’s Edge as if nothing happened. She invites herself back into the home she shared with her old roommate, Harper, and begins plotting her revenge for the wrongful conviction. Her erratic behavior frightens the community and they are sure that a murderer is walking freely around their tight knit neighborhood.

The people of Hollow’s Edge try their best to ignore Ruby but it is with much difficulty with every twist and turn she presents. And, when she is reported dead after a Fourth of July party, it becomes impossible. Are there two murderers in the neighborhood? Or was Ruby’s death just collateral for desperate community members trying to save face? Read Such A Quiet Place to find out!

Given the description, you would think that Such A Quiet Place would be right up Lil Red’s alley because I love a good thriller. And I did like this book. The story line was different than anything I had read before and that, in itself, is a huge plus. The grand reveal wasn’t the grandest ever, though, and I had figured it out well before the book was over despite all of the red herrings. While I do enjoy solving the major twist in thrillers, I like being completely blindsided better.

Megan Miranda’s writing style didn’t help the cause, either. This is not to say the book was poorly written because it wasn’t. However, I never got a deeper understanding of any of the characters because it was always skirted around with their outward cattiness. The book wasn’t boring, per se, but it’s not much fun to read about an entire neighborhood of people who are exactly the same.

I can’t say that I particularly cared for any of the characters in Such A Quiet Place. Although they were all pretty shitty people, it is nice to have someone to root for in a book and I just didn’t feel that connection to any of them. So, even when the plot twist finally revealed itself, I still felt underwhelmed.

Such A Quiet Place is a read that you could take or leave and I am going to award it with a five out of ten star rating. This thriller really didn’t do much for me but I did like the unique story line. Whomp whomp.

Which book are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Self Care Hobbies That Can Be Done From Home

Standard
Self Care Hobbies That Can Be Done From Home

Hobbies that can be done from home are so much more likely to be practiced often. And if they are much more likely to happen, then it can be such a good thing for your self care and mental health. Looking after yourself and finding something that you love to do, outside of work or school is important. So with that in mind, here are some hobbies that you can try from home to help you relax. Which are you going to try first?

Knitting:

Knitting is a wonderful hobby to try. The reason being, is that it is not only a mindful and relaxing activity, but it also gives you an end result. Want to create a scarf or make something for your friend’s new baby? Then get knitting. Seeing that you have created something by yourself can be a real confidence boost.

Painting:

Painting is something that can be really relaxing and mindful, and you don’t need very much equipment to get you started. You can go wherever your imagination takes you or take inspiration from your favorite artist or pieces of artwork. You could look here for some inspiration: https://davidhartgalleries.com.au/pro-hart/. You could choose paint, acrylics, watercolors, chalks, or other mediums, it is all about being creative and making it up as you go.

Baking Bread:

Another hobby that is practical, as you get something good to eat at the end of it, but that is calming and relaxing at the same time. Baking bread in a traditional way, such as by kneading the dough by hand and waiting for it to rise can be therapeutic and so, so rewarding. You can get creative with the types of bread and the flavors like sourdough, which will need a starter, as stated here: https://feastingathome.com/sourdough-starter/. So there are a lot of options for you to play around with.

Reading:

If you don’t think that you have much time for reading, then you might not have been putting as much emphasis on it as you have in the past. Reading can be pure escapism, as well as a way to learn new things. If you want to read more, then block out the time in your schedule and it will make sure that it happens.

LEGO:

Building with LEGO is not just for kids! You can get proper sets and kits to create something as it is meant to be or you can use what you have to create anything else that you can imagine. Some kits can take a while to build, so it can be a real labor of love. The perfect solution when you’re looking for something to do to relax at the end of the day.

Everyone needs a hobby to enjoy so why not try some of these ideas? Have fun!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Chilling Out

Standard
Chilling Out

Hello! These past few weekends for Johnny and I have been nice and relaxing which is a welcome change of pace after several super busy weekends in a row. I definitely know that I was feeling the effects of being on the move nonstop because I felt so exhausted throughout my work week. My job is quite mentally demanding so this on top of tired made me feel drained.

While I love going out and about with Johnny, a lot of my favorite things can be done just Chilling Out in our apartment. Like the following:

Pampering Party:

Pampering myself after a long day at work always makes me feel better. This means bubble baths, face masks, getting my nails done, and painting my toe nails. Johnny also loves to have his nails painted so I’ll usually do his fingers and toes too while the nail polish is out. Nothing pleases me more than an evening at the nail salon or testing out a new skin care product and it is a great midweek refresher until the weekend rolls around. A Pampering Party is my favorite form of self care and it gives me something to look forward to for once I get home.

Fun & Games:

Super intense video games are not relaxing to me in the slightest even though I love them. However, Pokemon Snap and Animal Crossing never fail to put me in the chill zone. Both games for the Nintendo Switch are insanely cute, laid back, and fairly mindless. They are also games that Johnny and I enjoy a lot so we play them often when we need some time to unwind. Our new hobby has been listening to The Last Podcast On The Left together and we will normally play Pokemon Snap or Animal Crossing while we have an episode on.

Soak Up The Sun:

I have been making great use of the pool at my apartment community this summer and it feels nice to be in the water and catch some rays in the evening. It is also the best time to go since it is not as crowded which makes it even more relaxing! Our apartment gets incredibly hot in the summer so I love having a pool two minutes away to cool off in. It’s hard to get in a chill set of mind when you’re sweating profusely lol!

Book Club:

Despite pretty much only reading horror and thriller novels, reading always helps me to relax and I try to finish a book at least every three weeks. Right now, I have been working on Candide by Voltaire which I have really been enjoying. Next on deck is a suspense novel by Megan Miranda called Such A Quiet Place. Nothing is better than settling in with a good book and I get transported to the chill zone as soon as I read one page.

It’s important to know what helps you to relax when you are feeling tired or stressed and the above are all surefire ways to unwind for me. Talk about an instant chill pill!

How do you like to relax? What makes you feel stressed? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Cool Encounters

Standard
Cool Encounters

Hi!! My husband and I love attending trivia nights together with our friends and, win or lose, a great time is always had by all. Because of schedule conflicts, we haven’t been in a couple of weeks but the last time we went was definitely an evening to remember for me… I got to meet one of my favorite comic book illustrators, Craig Russell!

For those of you who don’t know, I am a HUGE graphic novel/comic book fan and my all time favorite would have to be the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. Sandman is, easily, one of the finest works of literature I have ever read and I try to read the extremely lengthy series once every two years. One of the cool things about Sandman is that several illustrators worked on it and it was so interesting to see the beloved characters drawn from different points of view. Craig Russell just so happens to have worked on the Sandman series and he illustrated one of my favorite spin offs, The Dream Hunters.

When Johnny pointed Craig out to me at one of the opposing team’s tables on trivia night, I lost my shit (for lack of a better phrase!). He told me I have to talk to him after the games were over and I was so nervous because it really was like meeting a hero. I have at least ten tattoos from the Sandman series and one of my biggest pieces is an illustration by Craig!

During my little meet and greet with Mister Russell, he admired all of my tattoos and was blown away that his work was on me. We got to talk shop for over thirty minutes about Sandman, our favorite issues, and the upcoming Netflix series. Craig even encouraged me to let him know whenever I read any graphic novels he might like. He was also kind enough to take pictures with me and sign his autograph. It was basically the coolest thing ever.

I can’t wait to bump into Craig again and I will be prepared because I actually just finished another graphic novel that he illustrated – Coraline. I will have my copy ready to go for him to sign and am looking forward to hearing more of his amazing insights. ❤

Have you ever met one of your heroes before? What was it like? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Last Flight By Julie Clark Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: The Last Flight By Julie Clark Edition

Howdy and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing the thriller that I just finished called The Last Flight by Julie Clark – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Right from the start, The Last Flight had me on the edge of my seat and it was an unputdownable read revolving around two strong women. Now, let’s get to it but, first, I will be putting a trigger warning on this book as it deals with spousal abuse:

If you saw Claire Cook in the news or in a gossip rag, you would think she had it all. She is married into the powerful Cook family and her husband, Rory, is about to begin his campaign to become a New York senator. What you don’t see in the pictures, however, are Claire’s expertly covered bruises and utterly fake smile as she tip toes around her husband to keep him from losing his temper. The beatings have worsened and an incident unraveling from Rory’s past leave Claire fearing for her life. The only thing she can do now, is plan her escape.

On the opposite end of the country in California, there is Eva James. If you were a student on the Berkeley campus, you would be sure to have seen Eva skulking about and would brush her off as a loner just trying to get by. Eva’s hard facade is not by choice but, rather, out of necessity. If you passed Eva on the street, you would never guess that she is the chemist for a drug lord named Fish. With a DEA agent hot on her trail and murders being linked to Fish, Eva very well could be next. The only thing she can do now, is plan her escape.

After months upon months of creating a master plan, Claire and Eva are ready to execute them and come to find themselves in the same airport. A chance encounter brings them together and they decide to add one more curve ball to the mix: They are going to swap plane tickets. Will the escape of Claire and Eva be successful? Or will they wind up even worse off than they were before? Read The Last Flight to find out!

If you have read any Lil Red’s Book Club posts before, then you will know that I am partial to the back and forth narrator thrillers. The Last Flight alternated between Claire and Eva each chapter, which made it so hard to put down because I couldn’t read about one without reading about the other too! I devoured this Julie Clark novel and my only regret is that it wasn’t longer because I thought it was excellent.

In the world of “unstable narrator” suspense novels, it is rare to find one that revolves around two women who are both in a sane state of mind. The very real threat of danger for Claire and Eva rather than something possibly imagined added such a sense of urgency to The Last Flight because their lives are completely dependent on the success of their ticket swap. Each page introduced new twists and turns and it was exciting to read how Claire and Eva used their intelligence to evade their problems.

Although both of these women have their flaws, you will find yourself rooting for them the entire time and will be blown away by the outcome of The Last Flight. I highly recommend this read and will be awarding it with an eight out of ten stars for the fresh story line, strong heroines, and the anticipation I felt with every turn of the page.

What are you currently reading? Which book should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Let’s Find You A Nice, Relaxing Hobby

Standard
Let’s Find You A Nice, Relaxing Hobby

If you are in need of a new hobby, then you might want to try something that is relaxing after a long day. In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the nice, chill hobbies that you can take up, so keep reading if you would like to find out more:

Arts And Crafts:

The first thing that we are going to look at is arts and crafts. There is nothing stressful about this hobby, except when things start to go wrong! But, you might find that this is actually extremely therapeutic for you as it gives you something to do with your hands. You are creating brand new things and, the best part, is that there are so many different types of arts and crafts that you’re not just stuck with one. For example, if you find that painting isn’t for you, then you can move onto crochet or scrapbooking until you find your favorite.

Arts and crafts provides you with a creative outlet that helps you to convey how you are feeling. It could be exactly what you need to get rid of the stress of the day.

Reading:

Another thing that you can think about is reading. People don’t really see reading as a hobby, but it is and it is a fantastic one. You can get yourself lost in a range of different worlds, become someone else for a little while, and escape your own reality. The best books are the ones that you can’t put down no matter how hard you try and we suggest you try out an assortment of books to find what you like the most. There is a list of books for emergent readers if you are looking for ideas. Just prepare yourself, because the feelings that you experience when you read are real.

Swimming:

Finally, if you want to do something that keeps you active but that can be relaxing, swimming is your best option. This is a great option as you can just leisurely swim up and down until you feel as though you have had enough. The water relaxes your body and there is nothing but you and the water out in front of you in these moments. It’s a lovely feeling and you can feel your stresses melt away as you glide up and down the pool.

Trial and error is always going to be the best way forward when it comes to a new hobby. If none of the above examples are speaking to you – there are countless more activities to try! We wish you the best of luck finding what you’re looking for.

Featured Image By: Pexels