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note to self: go outside

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." —  Henry David Thoreau credit My phone died recently. Not like died because of its charge — permanently died. I'm not the only one whom this has happened to, I'm sure, and this isn't a complaint. Rather, it's an observation on how different the landscape of my life has been without it. I've been reading more, watching more TV, doing less doomscrolling. I found that I've missed my phone a lot less and simultaneously a lot more than I expected. And I've been noticing a difference in my mental state. My mental health is, apparently, linked in part to the device I hold in my hand 99% of the time. Who knew? However, it's still been challenging lately, for more reasons than just my phone, and my sister invited me to go outside with her. Th

What I Read: December

Ah, yes, here we are... January is almost done... and I'm just now getting this up. This is super late because I was gone for a week this month going across two time zones and spending a week in Pennsylvania with my friend Ashley (whom some of you may recognize from A Novel Idea and Youer than You)! Then January was a mess of chronic pain and absolute busyness. But now I'm back to recap the last month of 2016 and all the books I read, which are many. I made up for my complete lack of reading in November by reading a lot in December, and I am okay with that.

Stay tuned for my recap of my 2016 reading as well!

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

This book. I guess I didn't quite expect it to be so heartrending. Colleen Hoover books are pretty simple, right? Get in, get out, nobody gets hurt?

Yeah, no, not really. It Ends with Us is probably one of my favorite CoHo books to date. It had important things to say. It was enthralling, it was emotional. It was happy at times, but then it was awful at times. It was a well-written, nuanced book, and I loved it.

Trigger warning, with a spoiler, highlight to read: This book focuses on an abusive relationship.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

You know those books that, no matter what, they're doomed because you read them right after an amazing one? That was this book for me. I seriously enjoyed it, and there was nothing wrong with it, but it didn't live up to its predecessor. It was such a good read, though. The twist was heartbreaking. I'm glad I read it.

Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

This book kept me enthralled, and I loved that the main character made some pretty dubious decisions (morally gray main characters can be so interesting). I also loved that the love interest was diverse! The point in this book when everything fell apart was super well-executed.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

This one is another CoHo favorite, and I'm not just saying that because I share a name with the main character. This book was so much deeper than I was expecting, and it was honestly amazing. (Obviously I need to just become Colleen Hoover's fan club president right now because apparently I read and recommend everything she writes--and for very good reason.) But seriously, this one's worth reading.

Never Never Trilogy by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

This trilogy was super helpful because it helped me reach my reading goal of 80 books. They're 3 novellas of 90-ish pages each, so I blazed through each one. Did I get the answers I wanted? No. Was I satisfied by the end? Not at all. Do I regret reading them? Not really. Was it intriguing? Absolutely, yes.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

This book is a monster, but I am okay with that. I wouldn't have made it through it without my friend Ashley. We read it together, doing a certain number of chapters a day, and that made those 900-some pages blaze past like lightnight. And gosh, was this book amazing. I love Harry Potter.

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

This book took me so long to get through because it was very emotionally draining. I count that as a good sign, though. I felt the way Eden was feeling (which was awful), and that's a sign of good writing. Objectively, this book was really good. Emotionally, this book made me feel so sapped. But it's an important book with a very important message, and I don't regret reading it. (And that cover. ♥)

Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

My only complaint about this book is that it was so short. This is good because, again, it helped me reach my goal of reading 80 books before the end of 2016, but oh my gosh, no. I need more, please. 

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry

This book was one I didn't feel super emotionally invested in, but it was a fast-paced, intriguing thriller, and it kept me turning the pages, so I count that a success.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I liked the back story we got in this book on Tom Riddle and his family, and the extra Dumbledore was awesome. I also liked the added twist of who the Half-Blood Prince was. But at the time, I wasn't okay with the ending of this book at all. *Aaron Burr voice* No. NO WAY.

Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano

This book was unlike most of what I usually read, and I absolutely loved it. It actually did remind me a lot of a male-centric version of The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma in the best of ways.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

This is another favorite of mine by Colleen Hoover. (Who here is surprised, really?) I loved the way both music and Ridge being deaf were highlighted and featured and woven effortlessly throughout the book. Another highlight of this was the CD that was created to go alongside the book. I still get the songs stuck in my head! I loved that aspect of it.

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

I first heard of this book because it was targeted unfairly by trolls and given a bunch of one-star reviews on Goodreads before it was even out. I rated the book five stars, even though I hadn't read it, to help offset the negative reviews, and I then resolved to read the book as soon as I could get my hands on it. I found it on Netgalley and requested it and was really thrilled to receive it. I wasn't disappointed. This book was so great. The writing and prose were beautiful, and I could feel the beach and saltwater vibes. I also loved the diversity. I found this book a safe place, like a retreat, and I find myself thinking about it still, a month or so after finishing it. This is a fantastic debut, and I can't recommend it enough.

What was your favorite book you read in December?


  1. Wow that's a lot of books hahaha, good job on that! I totally feel what you said about 'It Ends With Us'..I picked it up at the end of summer when I was in the airport all day, thinking 'hm this should be entertaining and will make time go by fast', literally never saw the pain and the heartbreak coming. I'm glad in a way though, that it took the twist that it took. It made the book more meaningful, and every now and then, I still remember it for that.

    Hopeless was also one of those books that wasn't necessarily a five-star read but that was really memorable. I read it a few years ago now, and it has stuck in my memory still. That's a sign of an author doing something right!

    Great post, keeping up the impressive reading! -Sam.x

  2. Ahhhh, Harry Potter!! I think Goblet of Fire and Prisoner of Azkaban were my favorite books. :)

    It Ends With Us is definitely on my "maybe" list! It sounds like such a well-written book with a great message; I'm just not sure if the content would hit too close to home for me.

    I actually had a pretty good reading month in December, but I think the book that surpassed the rest was Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith and The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic were awesome as well, though!

    Happy February reading!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

  3. Wow that's a lot of books! I've never read a Colleen Hoover book, but everybody keeps raving about them so I guess I must read one.


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