Sunday, July 15, 2018

2018 May + June Wrap-Up (what happened I don't even know...)


May and June... interesting months those two.  Usually I have something to say about how the last two months went but honestly, these two kind of flew by in monotony.  Is that weird?  That's weird.  June did end up being the first month in a very long time where I DNFed a book.  In any case, I have plans to make July and August much less monotonous so here's to past boringness!


Statistics:

Pages Read: 8,169
Total Books Read: 21
Rereads: 8
DNF: 1


There's this weird case of alternating productivity... I read more books in February, April, and June (alternating months) and fewer in January, March, and May.  Does anybody else have this?  It's like my reading slumps alternate months or something.  My reading is also trending downward overall so something needs to be done about that.  Also, there's a little sneak peak at how things are going in July for you (things are going terribly who am I kidding).

Reviews Posted: 16 (I bounced back from the last wrap-up!!)

Average Ratings:



So June marked the lowest average rating on record for me.  I really want to be more frugal with my stars from this point onward.  It just always seemed like I ended the year with an average rating above four stars which was kind of ridiculous.  Still, it's weird to see.

Number of Authors Read: 15
Number of Series Books: 18
Number of Standalones: 3

The Books (in order of date read):
Read:

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) (5 stars) (Review)
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #5) (4.5 stars) (Review)
The Alfaeren Legacy by Marc Jacobs (The Alfaeren Legacy #1) (2.5 stars) (Review)
Envious Existence by Katie Keller-Nieman (Envious #3) (3.5 stars) (Review)
Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #11) (4 stars) (Review)
Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #8) (4 stars) (Review)
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (The Arcana Chronicles #1) (3.5 stars) (Review)
Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #4) (4 stars) (Review)
The Masterminds by Olivia Wildenstein (Masterful #2) (3 stars) (Review)
Right Under Your Nose by Holly Tierney-Bedord (4 stars) (Review)
Thirst by Michael Carson (2 stars) (Review)
Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #40) (3.5 stars) (Review to come!)

Reflections:
This was a pretty up and down month.  High points include A Court of Frost and Starlight, Empire of Storms, Murder in Three Acts, Peril at End House, Restore Me, and Right Under Your Nose.
Low points include The Alfaeren Legacy, The Masterminds, and Thirst.
I also had a few meh books this  month: Envious Existence, Poison Princess, and Elephants Can Remember.
All in all a pretty mixed bag.  I was hoping to find more hidden gems as I whipped through 6 books I received for review.  Typically, with that number, there are at least two good ones and at least one of those is a gem.  I don't know if I'd go as far as to say Right Under Your Nose is a gem, but it's a very well-done book so maybe that counts with my new system.  I'm still figuring this all out!


DNFs:

















The Unlovers by M. Salomon (The Heart #1) (1 star) (Review)

Reflections
This was so surprising to me because typically, I never DNF books (I have this weird complex where I need to see how things turn out, even if I dislike everything about a book).  Still, this book was just a hodge-podge of issues that I couldn't get over.  Check out my review for more detail.


Rereads:

Ignited by Corrine Jackson (Sense Thieves #3) (4 stars) (Review)
Q by Luther Blissett (4 stars) (Review)
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Robert Langdon #2) (4 stars) (Review)
The Jewel by Amy Ewing (The Lone City #1) (4 stars) (Review)
The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #6) (4 stars) (Review)
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (Blood of Eden #1) (5 stars) (Review)
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) (5 stars) (Review to come!  Maybe, honestly I don't know it's been forever...)
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) (4.5 stars) (Review)

Reflections:
As per usual, there are the typical rereads in the mix.  Honestly, since I've been tracking my rereads and paying more attention to them, I've been noticing that I read the same books like clockwork.  I'll reread the same books every month or every two months depending (look up to the first chart at the beginning to see that cycle I was talking about).  It's just so strange!  I did reread Q, The Da Vinci Code, and The Mystery of the Blue Train so I could write a review so those aren't exactly pleasure rereads although I did enjoy them all the second time around.  If you remember my last wrap-up, I started rereading Q then so it took me a whole month and a half to get through!


Currently Reading:
Nothing at the moment!  I'm in a bit of a momentary reading slump.  I've got a couple of Agatha Christie books that need reviews so I'll probably reread those and post another round up ASAP!  (also, if you haven't seen my new project page, check it out!)


Movies (not counting rewatches):

47 Meters Down
Erased
Seeking Justice
Game Night
Black Panther
Pink Panther 2
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Tomb Raider (2018)

Reflections:
I cut down a bit on my movie consumption from the last two months.  There are a couple really good ones in the mix, though!  Black Panther was absolutely amazing and I loved every second.  The family dynamics were especially well done.  I can't wait to see Infinity War and see how everyone meshes together.  Game Night was hilarious and slightly ridiculous (still worth the watch, though).  Tomb Raider was a pretty good origin story (just be aware that it is an origin story going into it) and I loved how they integrated the fantasy into the current world.  Seeking Justice was... interesting.  I started out strange and then progressed to creepy.  More than anything, I just wanted more of a picture of the whole network (it's based on this network of people who get influence other people to kill their enemies).  Pink Panther 2 was appropriately funny but not entirely memorable (a good mindless comedy, if you will).  47 Meters Down was a little vague but overall, a good thriller.  Murder on the Orient Express was also pretty good (not overly memorable but I loved the casting).  It was a good adaptation, though, and I'd recommend it if you're looking to see the precursor to the 2018 one and maybe compare the two!

TV:

Criminal Minds
Mindhunter

Reflections:
I'm now on the 12th season of my rewatch of Criminal Minds and I'm still loving it!  I'll probably end up rewatching it again!  I really should start other things but it's just so good!  I did start watching Mindhunter in the last week of June (I've literally only watched the first episode).  It's interesting, for sure, but it's also kind of weird watching it after I've already seen Criminal Minds and kind of know all the answers...  I don't know, I'm going to reserve judgement until I've watched the first season.



On the Blog:
Reviews:
Everywhere You Want To Be - Christina June
By a Charm and a Curse - Jaime Questell
A Court of Frost and Starlight - Sarah J. Maas
Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas
Q - Luther Blissett
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Alfaeren Legacy - Marc Jacobs
Envious Existence - Katie Keller-Nieman
The Unlovers - M. Salomon
Agatha Christie Review Round-Up: Part Eight
Poison Princess - Kresley Cole
Restore Me - Tahereh Mafi
The Masterminds - Olivia Wildenstein
Right Under Your Nose - Holly Tierney-Bedord

50/50 Fridays:
Best/Worst Book Read in April
Series on Your TBR You'll Keep/Get Rid Of
Book You Can/Can't Bring Yourself to Reread
Book You Wish Was Recommended to You More/Less
Favorite/Least Favorite Read in May
Favorite Book Starting With A/Z
Favorite Book With a Short/Long Title
Favorite/Least Favorite Title
Favorite/Least Favorite Genre

Wrap-Ups:
March+ April Wrap-Up

Other Memes:
I Heart Characters: Wicked Witch

Miscellaneous:
A Guide: The Basics of HTML
A Beginner's Guide to 'New' YA Fantasy


Around the Blogosphere:
Nancy guest posts on Perspective of a Writer and shares her ultimate guide to graphic novels!
Bomma taught me how to create my drop down menus (this post went up last year but it's amazing and I had to share it!)
Clare shares her Pride Month TBR.
Dani talks about pingbacks and other ways that you can increase your blog traffic.
Lia discusses DNFing books and why it's so stressful.
Mia explores the different types of readers with literally the best memes ever.


Instagram: (follow me @blueeyebooks)



Life Update:
The spring semester is now over and that means summer (and my summer job) have arrived!  I'm working at a department store again this summer (something I really didn't want to do but I was super late in applying to internships) but they did give me a raise for coming back so I'm not going to complain.  I ended the school year on a high note.  I didn't get a 4.0, but I got close enough and I landed on the Dean's List yet again so that's amazing.  I'm also now the Vice President of Communication for the Honors Program Student organization at my university which I never thought would happen.  I mean, I'm a self-described introvert and I don't really take charge but surprisingly, it's been working out well!

With the end of the semester also comes moving season.  I moved back home for the summer and now I'm getting ready to move again into a house with my other housemates in the fall.  I feel like I just got everything unpacked and now I have to start repacking and making trips to the house!

Finals were waaaaay more stressful than I anticipated but I did really well in all of them (in my Environmental Chemistry course, the professor even talked to me on the way out and told me that my group's presentation was excellent).  The project was to find an issue that was an environmental chemistry problem and to propose a solution.  My group chose ocean acidification (if you don't know what that is, this is a great informational website) and I even made a graphic (below) to go along with our 'organization'.  Still, because they took more time than I anticipated, I wasn't able to do anything for my blogoversary (most notably, get that ever-anticipated giveaway going) so that'll happen this summer or this fall (likely in August because it's easier to ship things from my university than from home).



I also finished crocheting a blanket!  This is the same blanket that I was 'finished' with last year but I finally got around to putting a border around it so that's really cool.  Picture below! (also, sorry for the overall bad lighting.  There's a terrible thunderstorm moving through right now that's going to last for a while so there's no natural light to be found)

My blanket draped over a chair (is there any other way to display a blanket??) along with my new pillow I ordered from Society6.


I also bought a few dresses from the thrift store that I'm hoping to have the time to transform this summer while I have access to my sewing stuff.  I also need to embellish a dress for the ball that the university hosts every spring (which I'm hoping to FINALLY go to this year!).  Pictures below (pardon all the books on the floor... I may have also run out of shelf space this summer... Never fear!  I just bought a new bookshelf that I'll be taking with me back to university)!

I LOVE the bottom of this dress but the top needs updating so I'll probably restructure the bodice and make it into a lower-cut sweetheart neckline and open up the arm holes a bit.
This is the dress I'm going to embellish.  All it needs is an embellished belt (I'll probably go for beads instead of stitching) and some beading around the neckline (or possibly beading down the back a la Aelin's dress in QoS.  That would be a bit more of a project but totally worth it).  I'm also exploring the idea of building a petticoat underneath to lift the skirt a bit to make it fit for a ball.
I actually made this dress during winter break but after I finished, I didn't really like the design so much in person so I'm going to tweak it a bit.  First, I'm going to get rid of the zipper in the back and make it a lace up (using grommets).  Then I'm toying with the idea of adding some boning and making it strapless (or at least moving the straps further out).  I'll also probably change the neckline to a sweetheart and add a belt.  It has pockets already and I made it out of a light velvet and I love it :)
I'm just going to do a few minor things to this one.  The sleeves are a little tight so I'm going to take them off and restructure them so they're either cap sleeves or open sleeves; think renaissance).  It's also a bit short for my taste so I'm going to either add a tulle overlay or find a complementary fabric (probably black or cream, let's be real) to create a band at the bottom of the hem and the bottom of the sleeves to lengthen it.


I've also been getting to reconnect with a lot of my friends from high school which has been so amazing.  We're all taking such different paths and it's really cool to see what everyone has been up to.

I've also been getting into editing photos and becoming more active on Twitter (as evidenced by the new Instagram section above!).  I've finally been able to try out GIMP (basically free photoshop) and I've really been getting into it!  I spent a year learning about photoshop and programming a while back and it was so much fun so I'm loving this.  I highly recommend it if you don't want to go all in and buy Photoshop but you still love editing pictures.  Once I get everything figured out, I'm hoping to post a sort of 'How to GIMP' post :)  I read about it when I was researching my Wonders of Images post.

Lately I've been baking a bit more.  I've been OBSESSED with The Great British Baking show and I finally made myself actually start learning all the things I've been wanting to.  Lately, I've been trying out a few ice cream recipes (let me just say that fresh mint ice cream tastes so much different that mind ice cream that uses extract) as well as a few bark and truffle recipes.  My goal by the end of the summer is to have made a pie entirely by hand (pastry, here I come!).

And last but not least, there's some construction happening on the blog!  I've changed up my tab organization system (yay drop-down menus) and I'll be changing my header, button, profile image, etc (short version: basically everything) very soon as well.  I'm also organizing my review archive in more ways so it's easier to find exactly what you're looking for (as well as helping me figure out what series' I need to finish) so while those links don't work right now, they will very soon.



Whew!  That was some update!  So tell me things!

How were your May and June??  Do you have the same sort of 'alternating month reading slump' that I do?  Do you edit your pictures?  Have you seen Mindhunter (opinions please because I don't know how to feel so help)?  How do you feel about Nicolas Cage movies?  Do you ever reread books just so you can write a review?  Let me know down below and I hope you all have an amazing July and August (I think doing two months at a time is a winner because I'm much too disorganized to do a wrap-up every month)!

24 comments:

  1. Phew! What an update post. I don’t even remember all the things I wanted to say.
    Sorry July's reading isn’t going great. Game Night was hilarious and ridiculous. I love your dresses and would love to see after pictures. I wish I baked more but my waistline can’t take it.
    Have a great rest of the month. Good luck with all the craziness!

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    1. It is! I didn't realize how long it was getting until I finished it and then I had to scroll all the way back up to the top. I think maybe I'm going to have to start to split it into two (one for books and the other for life) but we'll see how it goes. Haha I thought so too! I kept yelling at the people in it because they were making horrible decisions but that made it really fun to watch :) I'll for sure be doing an update post when I can! I did entertain the idea of making a new series where I show what I've been sewing/crafting lately. I hope you have a lovely month as well, Jenny, and thanks for stopping by!

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  2. My reading seems to bounce around from month to month too. June was a terrible reading month for me, partly because I got bogged down in a book I wasn't feeling and that slowed everything way down. Ergh. Still you'd think it'd be a little more consistent! Oh well...

    I need to read some Christie. I've been meaning to for a while. And Mafi's stuff. I'll have to check out the Christie reviews since I don't really know where to start with her stuff.

    I thought Tomb Raider was pretty good. I took a chance and saw it in the theater and was pleasantly surprised. And I recently watched the 2018 Orient express but have never seen the earlier one all the way through- I'd like to finish it off and compare 'em!

    Great recap! Have an awesome week!

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    1. Really? I thought I was the only one! For most people, it seems, there's always sloping trends instead of ups and downs that are consistent. I totally get that feeling! I'm reading the first Agatha Christie book in a while that I'm not really crazy about and it's just slowing everything down. I really should DNF it but I'm awful at doing that.

      I'd definitely recommend starting with some of Christie's more popular works (Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None) or some of my personal favorites (Cat Among the Pigeons, Evil Under the Sun) just to get a feel for her style. They're also the ones that you'll be able to fully enjoy without having read her other books in the series' (I've pretty much only read Hercule Poirot so far and some of the inner series' books have references to other books). I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of her work!

      I agree! I am glad that I watched the Angelina Jolie version first (just to get the overall story) but I thought the 2018 one was so much better in terms of the story and continuity. Haha and I have yet to watch the 2018 Orient all the way through! I hope you enjoy the one from 74 :)

      Thanks for stopping by, Greg!

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    2. Thanks for the recommendations! After watching the movie version of Orient I definitely want to try the book, to get some of those delicious character interactions. :) And death on the Nile appeals to me, too, I guess because of Egypt and river cruise lol. I will definitely note Cat Amon The Pigeons and Evil Under The Sun as ones to try.

      I thought Angelina kinda overshadowed th role in some ways, just because she was Angelina, and by contrast Alicia Vikander seemed more low- key in the role? Yet at the same time she was tough and determined, and more realistic too maybe. I was surprised how much I liked it!

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    3. No problem! I hope some of them (or all of them) work out for you! I have a whole page dedicated to my AC reviews (The Agatha Christie Project) if you're interested in my reviews of them :)

      Yeah, I completely agree with that. She was more Angelina than Lara but Alicia really embodied the character. I was too! I was expecting to not really enjoy it because I didn't actually enjoy the Jolie version too much but it was really good!

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  3. I love Criminal Minds! Those dresses are very nice. As for Nicholas Cage, due to the memes he's been used in, I have trouble keeping a straight face thinking about him, so I'm not sure I'd watch any of his movies. I would re-read more books but I have soooooo many books I need to read for the first time so for now, rereads are not my priority.

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    1. Yes!! Another person!! I absolutely love the show - I can't stop rewatching it over and over and it's kind of a serious problem :) Thank you!

      Haha yeah I completely get that. I seem to have this prejudice in my mind that all Nicholas Cage movies are mediocre at best when he's actually done one or two really good ones. I wish I had your mindset about rereads! I want to read more books and rereading less would help that but I just can't stop myself from mood reading some of my old favorites :) Thanks for stopping by, Wren!

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  4. I loved reading this wrap up! You've got so much reading done! I do totally understand about it fluctuating from month to month though! And I love how you can adjust your dresses, it's a skill I've always wished I had myself, but sadly don't :)

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    1. Thankfully! July's reading has been less than stellar (one read and one reread so far...) so it's good that I'm only a little behind instead of a lot behind :) Haha it's definitely a skill that I've had to work on. Thanks for stopping by, Lindsey :)

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  5. I'm about to read Restore Me! I hope I enjoy it. :) I thought Game Night was hilarious. It was a little bit out there, but it was just a ton of fun. I didn't like 47 Meters Down that much, but simply because I was getting SO anxious while watching it. I've also been reconnecting with my high school friends this summer (I go to university now, so I don't see them often) and it's been amazing! Like you said, everyone is on different paths and it's wonderful to see how they are all doing. I hope you have a wonderful July!

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    1. Oooo I hope you love it as much as I did! I completely agree about Game Night; while it was slightly out-there, it was hilarious and a good movie for a fun night in. I was too! I kept having to minimize the video screen (I was watching it on my laptop) and work on something else while it was going to distract myself :) It's so great, isn't it? I haven't been able to see my friends as often as I'd like to this summer but hopefully that'll change. You too, Genni, and thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Wow, it sounds like you've been insanely busy and I had no idea you are a talented tailor. I love that long blue dress - looks very glam :-)

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    1. That's for sure! It's the kind of busy where you don't even remember what you did... Haha I wouldn't call myself talented but I have had a LOT of practice :) Thank you! I'm hoping to figure out my embellishment strategy this week (placing the beads and such) and then started to sew them in next week. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

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    2. We need 'after' photos in a new post alongside these 'before' ones :-)

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    3. It may be months in the making but I'll be sure to post some in progress pictures in my future wrap ups (or maybe this is a new series in the making; who knows?) :)

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  7. Wow, I agree with Stephanie, you have been busy! Can’t wait to see the dresses transformed! ♥️
    Months can fluctuate, depending on what’s going on in your life and the books you read. Sometimes after reading a particular book, I have to find somthing light and funny, either in book form or on tv.

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    1. Haha is it weird that I can't wait either? I need more time in the day!

      I have to do the same thing! I've always had to do it with genres of books so maybe that's what's happening: I'll overload on books so then I'll have to turn to movies or something. Thanks for stopping by, Dani!

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  8. I love criminal minds! I watched it awhile back and ended up binging most of the seasons really fast. Also I love the graphs at the beginning of your post, they're really cool. I honestly can't remember some of what I wanted to say because there's so much. I love the dresses you got, especially the red one.

    Hope you get out of your reading slump soon!

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    1. Haha I did the same thing the first time I watched it! It's so lovely :) It's so strange to go back and watch the first season after watching the twelfth (Reid's baby face tho!).

      Thank you! I really like them too; they help me really see how I'm doing reading wise.

      I do too! I'm hoping to alter it soon so I can start wearing it.

      Thank you, Erika, and thanks for stopping by!

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  9. You read so much! I am glad there were some good books in there among the bad ones. Also rereads too. You watched some good movies too. I want to watch Game Night and Tombraider myself as well. I love Black Panther and re-watched it recently! Also, your dresses are beautiful <3 Congratulations on all your academic achievements. You did wonderful! I hope the summer job is going well for you ^.^

    My recent post: https://oliviascatastrophe.com/2018/08/6-mini-movie-reviews/

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    1. May and June were very productive! I'm sorry to say July has been less than stellar but hopefully August will make up for it. I hope you like them as much as I did! Game Night is definitely one of those movies that you watch with all your friends! Ooo I definitely want to rewatch Black Panther at some point too! It just has such a fabulous vibe :) Thank you! It is! It pays okay which is pretty much my main concern at this point but I will be happy when the summer is over and I can put it behind me (well, except for Thanksgiving and winter break). Thanks for stopping by, Olivia!

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  10. Gorgeous stats!!!! And holy you read a lot of books! I wish I could get through that many. July was an AWFUL reading month for me. So glad you loved ACOFAS too! And obviously TOG reads.

    I need to read the Shatter Me series!

    I enjoyed Tomb Raider and I need to watch Black Panther!
    I've been watching /Scorpion and loving it.

    Love your bookstagram shots!!! And that crochet blanket is gorgeous!

    Thanks for the massive update! Loved it!

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    1. Thank you, Di! Haha well if it's any consolation, July has been the worst reading month of the year. I'm hoping August will pick up a little but I'm still in a bit of a reading and blogging slump.

      You must!! I love the unique writing style that Mafi embraces.

      I'm glad :) I thought it was pretty good as well!

      Thank you!! It's a new thing I'm trying out and I'm really enjoying all the photo editing and such. And yes the blanket!! I've never done anything as big as a blanket before so I'm pretty proud of myself that I actually finished it.

      <3 Thanks for stopping by, Di!

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