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BOOK LOVERS DAY!

Happy Book Lovers Day!

If you follow my blog, I assume you love books and reading as much as I do. It has always been a huge part of my life, and I would not be the same person I am if it had not been for many different novels growing up. I figured I would update everyone on some books I have recently finished reading to celebrate the day; along with what I am currently reading!

 

Five Books I Have Recently Finished Reading

  1. Death Overdue is part of the “A Haunted Library Mystery” series by Allison Brook. This book follows a girl named Carrie who works in a library in a Clover Ridge, Connecticut. The book is set during Halloween (my favorite) and involves a ghost who resides in the library, and a couple of murders both in and out of the library. It’s an amateur sleuth type of mystery, and I enjoyed the character development for Carrie throughout the book. I will definitely pick up a few more books from this series in the future.
  2. Pet Sematary almost seems like a silly book to write a review on. Honestly, everyone is familiar with this book by Stephen King. I had seen the movie years ago, but after seeing they were making a new one I wanted to read the book. I was absolutely terrified, but it was an amazing book. Again, I really feel like it would be ridiculous to explain to you how good of an author Stephen King is.
  3. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Loveit by Chelsea Sedoti has got to be one of the strangest books I have ever read but I definitely found myself really invested in it. It is a story of a teenage girl who leads an incredibly normal life, and then she inserts herself into a completely insane scenario for no good reason other than because she wants to. Throughout the book she navigates life, death, and love and it ends in a perfectly normal way but the journey through the book is full of twists. I would not recommend it for anyone younger than sixteen, but I am glad I read it.
  4. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis hit me right in my feelings. I have long been obsessed with the Chronicles of Narnia movies, but as a kid I never read the books. I figured I may as well start now, and I am so glad I did. Reading this made everything in the movies start to make sense. I am a sucker for fantasy type books for kids. Every single kid should read this book.
  5. In Conclusion Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham was so good. I actually did this in audiobook form, because I had heard that she narrates it. Lauren is Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, and that has been and will always be one of my favorite shows. I was very interested in this book for that reason, but I ended up really enjoying the content. It’s not long at all (probably an hour) but she lets us in on a glimpse of her past and how she got to the point in her career that she is at. It was very uplifting and motivating.

 

My current read: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. My younger cousin Will, who is wise beyond his eighteen years, recommended this book to me. It is absolutely wonderful so far. I love historical fiction, and I think this book will end up being a favorite of mine.

 

A little fact about me: My favorite book growing up (and to this day remains the book that helped me fall in love with reading) was: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews. It is a book that my future children will read, and hopefully the generations beyond it. Whenever I feel discouraged or in a rut reading, I pull it out and remember the things that book did for my imagination.

 

Happy Book Lovers Day everyone! Enjoy celebrating!

 

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Today is Harry Potter’s 38th birthday, so I felt like a post was necessary!

As a kid I was not interested in reading Harry Potter. I remember checking it out of the library, and then never finishing the first book. I saw the movies right when they came out, and I still watch all of them about once a year. When I was younger, Harry Potter didn’t fit into my genre of books I liked reading.

I visited Harry Potter World with my boyfriend a year ago though, and it was so amazing! From the Butterbeer to the Hogwarts Express, no detail got left out of this amazing park. I think I could go back once a week and still find something new to look at each time.

Since then I have read the first four books, and I plan to read the last three soon. J.K. Rowling is an absolute genius, and her writing is unparalleled.

Harry Potter’s influence on my generation, as well as younger and older generations, should always be celebrated.

(I’m a Ravenclaw, by the way.)

Ghosted

Monica was so excited she could barely sit still while Meghan was curling her hair. Meghan had been her best friend for over a decade, and today she had surprised Monica with tickets to a ghost tour while on their vacation in New Orleans. AND today just so happened to be Friday the 13th.

Monica had been a fan of all things supernatural her whole life. If it was weird or spooky, she was going to watch it. She was starting college in the fall, and she wanted to study Criminology. If it had to do with murders or mysteries, she wanted to know about it.

The girls had decided to venture to New Orleans for their first solo “adult” trip. The fun nightlife, the history, and the good food had landed them in New Orleans. The first two days had been fun, but with this surprise Monica had no doubt she would have the most fun tonight.

Monica knew Meghan didn’t believe in ghosts, but she loved her friend for being willing to sit through this for her. They finished getting ready, and went outside. Their hotel was right off of Bourbon Street, so they didn’t have far to walk to get to the carriage ride.

Five minutes later they were hopping up onto the carriage and listening to the tour guide’s instructions.

“When we get off at a stop for a guided walk through, please remember not to stray. These are old buildings and not all of the floors are stable. Not only that, but you may encounter a couple of spirits that aren’t happy you’ve disturbed them,” said the guide with a wink.

Monica’s eyes lit up, and Meghan shot her a glance. Monica knew Meghan would complain, but she couldn’t promise she wouldn’t explore the parts of the tour that were “off-limits”.

“Don’t look at me like that Meghan,” smiled Monica. “I won’t get us into any real danger. It’s just made up right?”

“I’m more worried about falling through an old floor board than a ghost,” said Meghan.

A few minutes later they were in the carriage slowly moving along. The guide went over the usual historical talking points, pointing out which buildings people claimed to see or hear things in. The carriage came to a stop outside of a dark alley beside a large, industrial type building.

“Okay, everyone off. This is our first leg of the walking tour; follow me!” said the guide.

Everyone filed along behind the guide through the alley and into a side door of the building.

“I wonder what this building was for,” mused Meghan.

The tour guide heard her question. “This was once a canning factory. It closed about thirty years ago though.”

“Why did it close?” Monica asked.

“Over the course of a year, six people were murdered here,” the tour guide said in a creepy voice that made their skin crawl.

“Did they find who did it?” another tourist asked.

“No,” said the guide. “The legends say that the murderer still comes back here occasionally. There have been a few unexplained disappearances in recent years near here, but the police have never been able to link them. Rumor has it, the murderer comes back every Friday the 13th and waits on someone to find him.”

Meghan shifted uncomfortably beside Monica, but Monica was too interested to notice.

“Oh, oh will we get to see where they were killed?” asked Monica.

“We’ll walk above the area on a raised level, but do not stray off of the path,” warned the guide.

“We’re definitely going to look around,” whispered Monica to Meghan. “What could actually happen to us?”

They walked along until they were raised above the area the guide had told them about. Monica looked around and there was an entry to a staircase to her right. She grabbed Meghan by the shoulder and pulled her into the staircase.

“Monica I’m scared, I don’t think we should do this,” whimpered Meghan.

“Don’t be a baby. We’re just going to look around and then we’ll go right back before they even know we’re missing,” said Monica.

Reluctantly, Meghan followed Monica down the stairs into a large room full of machinery. They were about to turn around a go back to the group when Monica saw a hat near one of the machines. It looked fairly new, so she wanted to check it out, thinking it may belong to one of those missing people the guide mentioned.

They creeped along and Monica reached for the hat. It was Pelicans cap, and she had been right- it wasn’t old at all. Monica looked up and as she did, a shadow ran along the back wall.

“Meghan,” hissed Monica. “Someone just ran by.”

“I’m sure you’re just seeing things Monica, but I’m really creeped out. Can we please go?”

Even Meghan had to agree that she was feeling uneasy and wanted to get back to the group. They turned to go back towards the staircase when they heard a thud.

“Don’t look back just run!” screamed Monica.

The girls ran as fast as they could, but when Monica reached the door to the stairs and threw the door open, she saw that Meghan wasn’t with her anymore.

“Meghan! Someone please help! She screamed.” Meghan ran up the stairs to find the tour guide and the group for help, but she couldn’t find them.

They were gone and no one heard her scream.

Outside, one of the tourists remarked that the girls were gone.

“They probably just took off for Bourbon Street,” said the guide. “Happens all the time.”

“Told them not to wander off,” the guide muttered under her breath, as she steered the carriage forward.

 

 

Happy Friday the 13th friends!

Out of my Comfort Zone Book Reviews

Happy Monday!

I have two new book reviews for y’all. I don’t read many books outside of mystery/crime fiction BUT these two books were so good. I’m glad I stepped away from my “norm” for a little while.

Dorothy Benton Frank is from Charleston and is one of my favorite authors. She had a book signing a few weeks ago, but I was sick and couldn’t make it. When I was in Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago and was checking out, there were signed copies of her new book at the register. Obviously I bought it, and I am thrilled I did.

By Invitation Only is the perfect summer read.  The book centers around Diane Stiftel and her family as they prepare for her only son to marry into a wealthy family from Chicago. The book gives us her point of view, her future daughter in law’s point of view, and the mother of the bride’s point of view. There are so many issues at play in the book, and the author does an amazing job of bringing it all together. The book has everything you could want in a story: love, heartache, surprise, and surprisingly a little bit of crime. I highly recommend checking this book out, as well as her other ones, especially if you are from Charleston.

The next book is an audiobook titled, A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline. It’s an emotional book told from the perspective of Christina Olson, a disabled farm girl. She is destined to live her life on her family’s farm, partly from her disability but also because of her pull to stay true to her family’s legacy. While her world is small, she does end up having an influence on the outside world. She becomes the muse for Andrew Wyeth as she hosts him for over twenty years at the family farm. She is the subject of one of the most well known American paintings of the twentieth century. The author blends fiction and fact incredibly well, and tells a story that will make you cry for the character one minute and be angry at her the next. This book is not one I would have normally chosen, but I am glad it was available through Overdrive for me to check out and listen to!

piece of the world

Mema’s Rolls

When I was younger, my grandma “Mema” made the most amazing yeast rolls. She was an amazing cook, and she taught many people how to make her yeast rolls. I was too young to really remember anything other than kneading the dough though. I have always wanted to try to make them, but I put it off.

A few weeks ago I found her recipe book and I recreated them. I was pretty concerned they wouldn’t turn out well, because a lot of people in my family have tried to make them since she passed away and have failed. Yeast is notoriously difficult, because just the slightest thing can go wrong and it can fall. If it falls, the rolls are going to be awful. I prepared the dough and I covered it with aluminum foil and put it on my balcony for it to rise. It needs to be in a warm place to rise, and outside in the South Carolina summer did the trick.

I could not believe they turned out so good. The minute I took a bite, I almost cried because it felt like I was back in her kitchen. If you can read her handwriting, I hope you will try to make them as well if you like to bake! Let me know how it goes.

 

recipe

 

recipe2baking

yum

baked

Top 3 Libraries I Want to See in My Lifetime

Libraries are my thing. I love the feeling I get when I walk into one, and local public libraries will always be where I feel at home. On the other end of the spectrum though are many massive, beautiful libraries that I would love to see. There are three in particular that I want to visit.

1)    Oxford University Queen’s College Library in Oxford, England

queens-college-library-oxford

 

2)   New York Public Library in New York City, United States

main-reading-room

 

3) Wiblingen Monastery Library in Ulm, Germany

wiblingen-monastery-library-in-ulm-germany

Let me know if you have been to one of these or if you think there are even better ones to add to my list!

What I’m Reading Right Now

Hi friends!

I am having a little bit of writers’ block for my blog, also known as “blogger’s block”. So, I thought it could be fun to see what everyone has on their reading lists right now!

Currently, I am reading Carrot Cake Murder- A Hannah Swensen Mystery- by JoAnne Fluke. She’s a favorite murder mystery writer of mine. Her reads are easy and fun. I’ve been reading her books for probably thirteen or fourteen years, and I have always enjoyed them.

We are going to be driving to Nashville next weekend, and it’s about a nine hour drive. So, by pure necessity since most of our trip will be while it’s dark, I have the first book from the Nocturne Falls series queued up on my Kindle App on my phone. The first book is titled: The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride. This book series was recommended to me by a follower. It reminded me a lot of the Disney movie Halloweentown (that I was OBSESSED with as a kid…and still am), so I was excited to hear about these books. They seem like a light, easy read also, so perfect for a long road trip.

My book is…umm coming along….sort of. It’s so easy to get sidetracked from writing, so I really need to take the time this weekend to sit down and write some more.

Happy Thursday 🙂

 

Bake Your Selfie for “Nailed It”

So a couple of weeks ago, I tried out for Season Two of Netflix’s baking show “Nailed It.” They have not announced the people who did make the cut for Season 2, but I haven’t heard back, so I assume that mine did not make it. They did comment that it was hilarious, so I can walk away knowing I at least made an impression. I had so much fun making the cookie for my entry, so I wanted to show it to y’all.

If you haven’t watched the show, it plays off of people always saying “Nailed It” when they attempt a masterful Pinterest creation, only for theirs to be pretty awful. The show is so funny, and I highly recommend it.

My little creation was no exception to the Pinterest fails. I have always been able to bake well, but decorating is a completely different story. It took me over two hours to do this, and I had never used royal icing before, but it turned out much better than expected. The challenge was to bake a cookie and decorate it to match one of my selfies, and then upload it to social media and tag them.

Doing this challenge has inspired me to continue trying to become a better decorator for baked goods, in the hopes that one day I won’t completely embarrass my future children.

Did I “Nail It”?

cookie

Audiobooks- a Love Affair

Hi, my name is Julie and I love audiobooks. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I am old school when it comes to reading. I refuse to get a Kindle, because it feels like I’m cheating on my books. Maybe one day I’ll break down and get one, but nothing will ever be able to replace the feel and smell of a real book.

One thing I have no problem welcoming into my life are audiobooks. They are the best thing to ever happen to driving. They allow me to “read” while I otherwise cannot, whether I’m driving or it’s dark in a car I’m riding in. They also give my eyes a rest, and after a day of staring at my computer and going through files, my eyes thank me for not reading a normal book. .

I’m currently “reading” (listening) to John Grisham’s The Whistler. Per usual, it’s an incredible book and he is everything I aspire to be in an author. It’s about judicial misconduct, murder, money, and a whole slew of other topics.

Audiobooks are easy to download and easy to listen to, but my favorite recent discovery is the app OverDrive. It has won me over even more for audiobooks, because it utilizes my library. You enter in your library card information and link your library, and you can check out ebooks and audiobooks onto your phone. I love this, because for me anything that keeps the county library relevant is a good idea in my book. (No pun intended).

What are you currently reading? I would love to hear from you!

The “Get to Know Me Tag”

Thank you so much GaillovesGod for nominating me to do this! I’m excited to share a little about myself with my followers 🙂

Below are questions & answers for all of the nominees  ❤

  • What are my strengths?
    • I’m not easily intimidated.
    • I don’t take no for an answer.
    • I can talk to anyone about anything.
  • What are my short term goals?
    • To continue to blog regularly.
    • To get my health back to normal.
    • I’d like to be accepted onto a baking show that I entered a contest for.
  • What are my long term goals?
    • To write my book and get it published.
    • To run for public office and be elected.
  • Who matters the most to me?
    • God
    • My family
    • My boyfriend Johnny
    • My friends
    • My English bulldog Nugget
  • What am I ashamed of?
    • That I’ve gained weight.
    • That I’m not always grateful for what I have in life.
  • What do I like to do for fun?
    • I love going to Disney World with my boyfriend.
    • I love going to Clemson football games.
    • I love a good glass of wine and a book.
  • What new activities am I willing to try?
    • I’d like to try white water rafting.
  • What am I worried about?
    • Not living up to my potential and wasting the talents I have been given.
  • What are my values?
    • My values come from God and my momma.
  • If I had one wish, it would be…?
    • to be able to talk with my cousin David.
  • Where do I feel the safest?
    • with Johnny
    • the Library
  • What or who gives me comfort?
    • Johnny
    • My mom
  • If I was afraid, I would…?
    • Call my Daddy
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
    • Passing the Bar exam and being admitted to the South Carolina Bar
  • Am I a night owl or early bird?
    • An early bird
  • What does my inner critic tell me?
    • That I can be better than I am, and I’m not living up to my potential.
  • What do I do to show my self, self-care?
    • I love getting my nails done.
    • I love going to yoga.
  • Am I an introvert or extrovert?
    • I am an extroverted introvert. I enjoy talking to other people and being with other people, but I retreat to my corner as soon as I can.
  • What am I passionate about?
    • politics, a good cup of coffee, and Clemson football
  • What do my dreams tell me?
    • That I need to work on being less anxious.
  • What is my favourite non-fiction book?
    • The only Non-fiction book I read is the Bible. I read some biographies every now and then, but the Bible will always be my favorite non-fiction book!
  • What is my favourite fiction book?
    • This is the hardest question on here by far. I love anything by Agatha Christie, John Grisham, the Hannah Swensen mysteries by JoAnne Fluke, and growing up Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew were all I would read.
  • What is my favourite movie?
    • Beauty and the Beast
  • What is my favourite band?
    • the Beatles or the Eagles depending on my mood
  • What is my favourite food?
    • Burritos
  • What is my favourite colour?
    • Black
  • What am I grateful for?
    • That I have a family that loves me and has sacrificed to get me to the point that I am today.
    • That I have a God who forgives every wrong I have ever made.
  • When I am feeling down, I like to?
    •    Listen to Disney music
  • I know I am stressed when?
    • I feel anxious or my face is breaking out.

 

 

Thanks for nominating me GaillovesGod!

I nominate:

PerfectlyTolerable

Alexx’s Keto Avenue

BaffledMum

Georgia’s Pampering