One of my main resolutions this year was to read more. My goal was to read just one book a month as a start but I ended up reading 26 books so far this year! I'm going to try to end this year with a bang and to finish it out with reading a book a week.
My first book is a little bit of a cheat because I've already read half of it. I picked up Pumpkin Picking with Murder by Auralee Wallace (how cool is the name Auralee?!) from Book Outlet in the fall when I was looking for some fun seasonal reads. It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect from the title, its a murder mystery that takes place during a fall festival. So far it's cute so I hope to finish it up soon so that I can move on to Christmas books!
My next book is Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis which is also a bit of a cheat because I'm almost done with it. I feel like this was the book of 2018 for 20-something women. It's a self help book with some religious aspects in it. So far I've liked it and found some good quotes and advice but nothing super ground breaking. It's been a pretty easy and quick read so far, I like books like this because I can read it while also reading a novel since it doesn't have a story that you have to follow.
I bought Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron last year around Christmas time but never actually read it. I am now part of a book club and this is our December book so I need to read this ASAP. It's about Jane Austen and her family solving a murder during Christmas, how exciting!
So I am a total sucker for any book with romance and dogs and if its also a holiday book it's probably guaranteed to be my new favorite (I'm looking at you Pupcakes). A Gift to Remember by Melissa Hill was another book I got on Book Outlet when I was shopping for seasonal books, it sounded so cute and the perfect book to read before Christmas.
Next on my list to read is China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan. This is the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, which if you haven't read that yet please get on that ASAP, and if you haven't seen the movie yet also do that ASAP. I ate up the first book, it was definitely one of my favorites of the year so I can't wait to read this one!
My last book of the year is When's Happy Hour by Betches. I wanted to end the year with a self-help book (that doesn't sound quite right but I'm not sure what else to call it and that's what it is on Amazon so). This is a quote from the back of the book and I feel like it sums it up perfectly "It’s time to channel your inner Elle Woods, Miranda Priestly, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Per our last email, you better read this."
What books are you hoping to read before the end of the year?
One of my unofficial goals for 2018 is to read more and watch Netflix less. Part of this was getting a book subscription, which you can read about here. When I get subscription boxes I become the biggest fan girl of that box. I totally dive into the community pages, talk to other subscribers, and follow all social media related to the box. In the OwlCrate Facebook groups I noticed that lot of people were posting about buying books from BookOutlet, which I had never heard of, but I love a good discount so anything with outlet in the name sounds great to me.
BookOutlet is a website where books are sold at a 50-90% discount because they are either excess stock, returns, or have a scratch or dent. All of the books are brand new and unread. The books are color coded on the website so that you know if you're buying a scratch and dent or a bargain book copy.
As soon as I went on the website and saw the huge inventory of books, some of which I already had on my "to buy" list, I knew it was going to be really hard to restrain myself. I was cautious because buying books at such steep discounts seemed like a scam (don't worry, it's not). They offer free shipping for all orders over $35 so I decided I'd buy just enough books to get free shipping and then wait to buy more until after my first order came in and I could make sure the quality was good. Since the quantity of books was so huge I just decided to judge a book first by it's cover and second by it's description.
I ended up buying 10 book for a total of.... drum roll... $35.01! Couldn't have planned it better if I tried.
Going in the order that I stacked them, the first book I bought is Austenland by Shannon Hale. ($4.29 from BookOutlet, $14 cover price)
"Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man - perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?" (from BookOutlet.com)
One of my favorite books when I was in high school was Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman which was about a high school age girl who is obsessed with Pride and Prejudice and is searching for her own Mr. Dacry. Sounds familiar, right? As soon as I read the description for Austenland I was immediately reminded by how much I loved Enthusiasm and thought this book sounded like the 20-something-year-old equivalent. This was a bargain copy book which means that it's supposed to have a small mark on it but I couldn't find one, all I could find was this wrinkle in the back cover.
first & then by Emma Mills
($3.19 from BookOutlet, $9.99 cover price)
"Devon is a high school senior, wondering if she really wants to go to college, what to do with her cousin Foster (a freshman!) who has moved in with her family in Florida, and whether she likes Ezra, the stuck-up football star at her school." (from BookOutlet)
The second book I read in 2018 was Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills and I totally loved it! The way she wrote the characters in Foolish Hearts just made me fall in love with all of them. The first thing I did when I went on BookOutlet's website was search for Emma Mills and see if they had any of her books (spoiler: they had two) and I immediately put them in my cart. Unfortunately, I was too eager because I put this one in my cart twice and didn't even notice until I was checking the shipping tracking. Oops! I am hoping that she writes the characters for first & then just as well as in Foolish Hearts because then I think I'll fall in love with this books too. This was a bargain copy and both copies I got had almost identical marks on them.
The Pug List by Alison Hodgson
($1.88 from BookOutlet, $15.99 cover price)
"'What if a wheezing, sneezing, allegedly house-trained, ticking time bomb of an orphan pug is the key to helping a family feel at home again, after an arsonist set their house--and life--on fire? If you asked me, I would have said it's a bad idea; we can do better. Unfortunately no one asked me, and The Pug List is my family's story.'
In the fire's aftermath of insurance battles royal, rebuilding plans, parenting in the face of life's hard questions and a scorching case of post-traumatic stress, now is absolutely the worst possible time to adopt a dog. But to Alison's seven-year-old daughter, Eden, it's the perfect time--and The Relentless Campaign begins.
Until one day Alison peeks inside Eden's diary--dubbed "The Pug List"--and realizes in one fell swoop that her girl's heart is on the line, and resistance is futile ("The pugs make me happy FOREVER.").
Enter "Outrageous" Oliver, and the hilarity, healing, and irresistible hope that follows." (from BookOutlet)
The second thing I searched was "Pug". I love pugs, as you can tell from the name of my blog, so naturally I love novels about pugs. Honestly, this one wasn't a book I was sure about buying. I love stories about pugs coming into people's lives when they're at a low point and helping them recover (surprisingly, there is more than one book that I've already read that falls into this category). This book though seemed extra sad, and I don't handle sad well. I like to read fun books to escape the sadness of the real world. Since this book was so inexpensive I decided I'd buy it so that if I'm really craving reading a book about pugs I could have one to pick up. This was a scratch and dent copy and the scratch was so small on the cover that I barely noticed it.
A Pug's Tale by Alison Pace
($2.19 from BookOutlet, $15 cover price)
"Hope McNeill has worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for years, but this is the first time she's been able to bring along her pug, Max (without sneaking him in in her tote bag). The occasion is a party for an Animals in 19th-Century Art exhibit, but the evening ends badly when a small but important painting seems to be missing. The Met needs Hope's - and Max's - help. And Hope has to keep it all a secret from her beloved, Manhattan DA Ben Brown." (from BookOutlet)
Another pug book! I had read Pug Hill by Alison Pace before, really enjoyed it, and was eager to read another book by her. I am really excited about this book because it continues with the same character from Pug Hill (although it isn't really clear if it is a sequel or not) and it still takes place in New York City and at the Met. I just love books about pugs! This was a bargain copy and has a small red dot on the bottom.
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
($6.99 from BookOutlet, $17.99 cover price)
"Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida - especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming." (from BookOutlet)
Don't these descriptions for Emma Mill's books just draw you in? (note the heavy sarcasm) I bought this book because like with first & then, I want more of Emma Mills. I'm hoping she writes more lovable characters with a fun story for this book. Plus this cover art is just beautiful! Her books definitely have a cohesive style to them and I absolutely love it. This was a bargain copy and has a small black dot on the bottom of it.
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
($3.19 from BookOutlet, $9.99 cover price)
"Andie must learn to embrace the beauty in chaos in this New York Times bestselling novel about friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.
Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.
Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby - pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.
So it’s no surprise that Andie has her summer all planned out too.
Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all - working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?" (from BookOutlet)
Did I buy this book because it has a pug on the cover? Absolutely. Does it also sound like a good read? Yeah. This book sounds like a fun, light read about young love, friendships, and family bonding but it is surprisingly thick at 519 pages. This book might be meatier than I expected so I'm really excited and curious to read it. If there are actually pugs in the book is yet to be determined. This was also a bargain book and has a red line on the bottom of it.
Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman
($1.19 from BookOutlet, $16.99 cover price)
"Meet Erin. Smart student, great daughter, better friend. Secretly the mastermind behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. Totally unaware that her carefully constructed life is about to get crazy. It all begins when her ex-best friend sends a letter to her blog - and then acts on her advice. Erin's efforts to undo the mess will plunge her into adventure, minor felonies, and possibly her very first romance. What's a likely fortune for someone no longer completely in control of her fate? Hopefully nothing like: You will become a crispy noodle in the salad of life." (from BookOutlet)
This was the book I added to my cart when I was just barely short of free shipping. Even though it was my cheapest book I think it sounds adorable and I'm looking forward to reading it. It takes place in San Francisco which is one of my top 5 favorite places in the US. Also, two of the three main characters are Chinese so I'm hoping that this book has some cool cultural references in it, I always love reading books from the perspective of someone who has a different heritage than me. This was a bargain copy and has a small black dot on the top edge.
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
($6.39 from BookOutlet, $17.99 cover price)
"In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.
Jamie and Charlotte are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved Uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate - after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring - the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.
So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other." (from BookOutlet)
This is the second book in the Charlotte Holmes series. I read the first book, A Study in Charlotte, and thought it was such a cool re-imagining of the Sherlock Holmes stories. These books take place in modern day where Holmes and Watson were real detectives and Charlotte and Jamie are their descendants who, through a long series of events, become friends and end up having to solve a murder together because of course they do. In general, I hate reading series because it is always expensive to buy all of the books so I was really happy to find this book on BookOutlet, especially since it is only released as a hardback right now which makes it even more expensive if I were to pay full price. This is listed as a bargain book copy but I think it's actually a scratch and dent because I couldn't find a mark on it but it did have some damage to the cover. This is the only book out of my haul that I think has "significant" damage but it's still small, the content of the book is good, and it will still look good on a bookshelf once I'm done reading it so it's all good in my book (accidental pun!).
Last but not least, Caraval by Stephanie Garber.
($6.39 from BookOutlet, $18.99 cover price)
"Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever." (from BookOutlet).
This was a book that was included in an OwlCrate box before I subscribed and everyone in the book club Facebook groups raves about it. It was on my TBR list so I was excited to be able to get it at a discount! This was a bargain copy so it has a small black dot on the bottom edge.
Overall I am super impressed! The prices are seriously unbelievable and the quality is so much higher than I had expected. Most of these book are barely any different than they'd be if I had bought them full price from a book store. Now I just need to read them all before I can place another order! Let me know in the comments or on Facebook if you'd like to see review posts for each book as I read them.
What books are on your to be read list?
I think I found the greatest online shop ever, or at least the most fun one. It's called
Shop Miss A and everything on the site is $1, yup, just one dollar. It's like what you always dreamed the dollar store would be, without the disappointment of what the dollar store actually is.
They have cosmetics, brushes, false eyelashes, hair accessories, jewelry, cosmetic bags, and miscellaneous cute things! Seriously, I spent hours browsing this website and adding things to my cart. Plus I love that it's guilt free shopping since it is so inexpensive. Plus when items are so cheap it's easy to go outside your comfort zone because it's no risk. I'm obsessed!
Here is a haul of everything I bought from Shop Miss A. All products cost $1 unless noted otherwise. Overall I am so happy with my purchase! The packaging is so stinkin cute and all products are cruelty free. Including shipping, my whole order of 13 items was less than $20 which is a total steal.
I also got five little travel bags. I got two that are larger and have a drawstring close. I am planning on using these for my upcoming trip to Hawaii for either storing dirty clothes, wet bathing suits, shoes, etc. They are the perfect size for shoes. socks, and bras. I got three smaller bags with zip closures. I was planing on using these for things like hair accessories, skin care, etc. The pink one is part of their Paw Paw line so it is $1.55 and benefits the rescue and adoption of animals.
MY final thoughts...
For each item being only $1 the quality is amazing, I found some really great products. I also think this website is great for finding party favors, stocking stuffers, and fun small gifts for friends. Happy shopping!
I love movies, I especially love seeing them in theaters. I think my love of movies and movie theaters comes from my dad. Saturday mornings growing up usually consisted of my dad giving me and my sister a newspaper or driving to the theater and having us pick out a movie we wanted to see. He'd then order a large popcorn and nap through the whole movie because he was really only there for the popcorn and comfy seats, and that was before the seats got really comfortable. Going out to movies with my dad was one of my favorite things growing up so I think that just carried into adulthood because I love going to the theater to see whatever the newest box office hit is. Here is a list of some of my favorites from this year, along with some TV shows that I fell in love with in 2017.
* The "fighting fuck toy" is a hyper sexualized female protagonist that is portrayed as bad ass when in reality they are put in a movie to please the heterosexual male audience. This term was coined by Caroline Heldman and was used in the documentary Miss Representation which I highly recommend.
What were some of your favorite movies and TV shows from 2017?
I'm pretty sure everyone knows that I am obsessed with subscription boxes. They are just so fun and are a really cool way to try new products at a lower cost. I do think, though, that in order to fully enjoy the subscription box experience you have to have an open mind. Understand that you won't love every item in a box and that's just part of it. I hold on to items I don't like and I give them them as gifts (you're welcome mom!). Sometimes part of the experience is trying an item and realizing it's not for you before you buy a full sized version. As much as I love the boxes I get it is definitely time to say "au revoir" to some and "Kon'nichiwa" to others! So lets dive into which boxes I'm keeping, ditching, and adding in 2018.
Do you get any subscription boxes you love?
A little about me
Natalie. 26. Mechanical engineer. Mining and Minerals Engineering graduate from Virginia Tech. I love pugs, pink, crafting, feminism, makeup, and reading.