Tag Archives: books

Live Lagom by Anna Brones

An inviting exploration of “the new hygge“: the Swedish concept of lagom–finding balance in moderation–featuring inspiration and practical advice on how to find a happy medium in life, home, work, and health.

Following the cultural phenomena of fika and hygge, the allure of Scandinavian culture and tradition continues in the Swedish concept of lagom. From home design and work-life balance, to personal well-being and environmental sustainability, author Anna Brones presents valuable Swedish-inspired tips and actionable ways to create a more intentional, healthy lifestyle. Instead of thinking about how we can work less, lagom teaches us to think about how we can work better. Lagom at home is about finding balance between aesthetics and function, focusing on simplicity, light, and open spaces. Health and wellness in lagom is a holistic approach for the body and mind–including connecting more in person, caring for self, managing stress, keeping active, and embacing enjoyment in daily routine. Live Lagom inspires us to slow down and find happiness in everyday balance. – Goodreads

The concept of hygge is huge right now; it’s pronounced hoo-gah, and it’s Danish. Why am I talking about hygge if this book is about lagom? Wtf is the difference? Why are so many fika, hygge and lagom books scattered throughout bookshelves of bookstores? And don’t get me started on Pinterest. It’s essentially (and this is boiling it down super simple) Nordic zen. It’s finding joy in the simple things; a cup of coffee while wrapped in a blanket, a simple cake, minimal decorations, connecting with friends and family.

This book follows the same concept. Lagom is balance in moderation. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review (thanks, Blogging for Books!)

I’ve done some research on hygge via the internet. Unfortunately, this book doesn’t really present any new material; in fact, much of the material in this book could have been condensed into a much smaller, easier to read volume.

The book covers all aspects of life — fashion, health, home, work, the environment — but my favorite part of the entire book was the last chapter, The Lessons of Lagom. This chapter succinctly (in two pages) boils down the concept of lagom and sustainability, and how it connects to our daily lives. Essentially, slow down and find balance.

Throughout the book are recipes and tips on how to find balance and simplicity in everyday life. I found the book difficult to sift through. I appreciated the simple and modern page design (it obviously fit well with the theme of the book), but again, repetitive information that could have been condensed down.

Overall, a good read on the concept of lagom. However, I wouldn’t recommend shelling out $16 for it. I rated it a 3/5 on Goodreads.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever. – Goodreads

Apparently, I read the first book back in May 2015. I don’t remember reading it. I ordered a sample on Amazon and seriously, did not remember a damn thing. So I purchased the book, read it, and still didn’t remember anything. Usually when I’ve read a book already and reread it, I at least have a spark or a vague idea. Nope.

Anyway, I enjoyed it much more the second time around, if my current review vs. my old one is anything to go by. I enjoyed the character building, and really didn’t mind Feyre. The book is reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, with a few darker elements woven in.

Now, this is a review of the series. I also read Court of Mist and Fury (#2) and Court of Wings and Ruin (#3). Rather than write standalone reviews for them, I’m going to review the entire series here.

I devoured the first book. I sped through the second book. But the third book? I’m a little sick of it, and I’m drudging through it. The primary element that kept me reading was the romance. Maas is fantastic at it and the tension in book one and two kept me interested. Once the tension petered out, I lost interest in book three. According to Goodreads, there are three more books slated to be published — I’ll be honest, I probably won’t read them.

They were easy reads. I enjoyed them. I was hooked and had a hard time putting them down, most of the time. If you enjoyed the Throne of Glass series, give these a shot. Maas is a great writer and does a fantastic job at weaving a story, constructing a magical world and building her characters. However, I’m ready for a new Maas series — I’m burnt out on this one.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Top Ten Tuesday: 12/19

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

  1. Harry Potter Juniper Boxed Set | Seriously, it’s gorgeous. I don’t have an actual physical set of Harry Potter books (THE HORROR!) but when I do, I’m investing in a beautiful set.
  2. Food52 Genius Recipes | If you know me, you know I’m obsessed with Food52. I just haven’t shelled out the cash to get this puppy on my kitchen counter.
  3. Jurassic Park/The Lost World Collector’s Edition | Jurassic Park is my favorite book. I had this edition at one point, but made the MASSIVE mistake of lending it to someone…and now I don’t know where it is.
  4. The Love Poems of Rumi | I love Rumi, and I simply haven’t had the chance to pick this one up.
  5. Whiskey, Words & A Shovel by R.H. Sin | Cold days, clouds and fuzzy blankets make me want to read poetry.
  6. Astrophysics for People In A Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson | I read the sample and enjoyed it but haven’t purchased the full version.
  7. A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book | I loved these books when they first came out. I remember thumbing through them, smiling or crying, and realizing that A) I wasn’t alone in many aspects and B) people have some pretty interesting secrets.
  8. The Shredded Chef | I’ve had this book on my ‘to buy’ list for ages.
  9. Humans of New York: Stories | I follow the Facebook page and imagine the book is good, too.
  10. Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo | The cover, the story, the author…yes.

 

Tagged , ,

Love Her Wild by Atticus

The first collection of poetry by Instagram sensation Atticus.

Love Her Wild is a collection of new and beloved poems from Atticus, the young writer who has captured the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of avid followers on his Instagram account @atticuspoetry, including superstars like Karlie Kloss and Shay Mitchell. He was dubbed the “#1 poet to follow” by Teen Vogue and “the world’s most tattoo-able” poet by Galore magazine, in Love Her Wild, Atticus captures what is both raw and relatable about the smallest and the grandest moments in life: the first glimpse of a new love in Paris; skinny dipping on a summer’s night; the irrepressible exuberance of the female spirit; or drinking whiskey in the desert watching the rising sun. With honesty, poignancy, and romantic flair, Atticus distills the most exhilarating highs and the heartbreaking lows of life and love into a few perfectly evocative lines, ensuring that his words will become etched in your mind—and will awaken your sense of adventure. – Goodreads

AHHHHH. This one hit me right. In. The. Feels.

I began following Atticus on Instagram several months ago and instantly fell in love with the simplicity of his poetry. In the simplicity I found connection and was able to relate to the prose. Some people like the simplicity, some people hate it. I happen to like it and found the read to be quick, light and enjoyable. Poetry is subjective — that’s what makes it enjoyable. Disclaimer over. I saw his book at Target and picked it up.

The collection is divided into three sections: love, her, and wild. The first section is about love and was my favorite. The second one was about “her”, presumably a girl the author was/is seeing. The final section was about youth and life. The book also features black and white photography with some of the poems. I liked most of the imagery, but occasionally found it distracting.

My favorite poem from the book?

I want to be with someone who dreams of doing everything in life and nothing on rainy Sunday afternoons.

I bought a print from Etsy and hung it in my house.

Overall, I enjoyed relaxing and reading this book. Is it as complex and abstract as Edgar Allen Poe or Henry David Thoreau? No, absolutely not. But if you’re into the modern aesthetic, give this one a shot (or at the very least, check out his Instagram — much of the material on his page was in the book).

 

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques

From one of the most exciting young chefs in America today, a cookbook with more than 80 recipes that celebrate impeccable technique and bridge her Korean heritage, Michigan upbringing, Boston cooking years, and more.

Kish won legions of fans, first by helming two of Barbara Lynch’s esteemed Boston restaurants, and then by battling her way back from elimination to win season ten of Top Chef. Her path from Korean orphan to American adoptee, sometime model to distinguished chef, shines a light on her determination and love of food. Her recipes are surprising yet refined, taking the expected–an ingredient or a technique, for example–and using it in a new way to make dishes that are unique and irresistible. She sears avocado and pairs it with brined shrimp flavored with coriander and ginger. A broth laced with pancetta and parmesan is boosted with roasted mushrooms and farro for an earthy, soulful dish. Caramelized honey, which is sweet, smoky, and slightly bitter, is spiked with chiles and lemon and served with fried chicken thighs. The results are delicious, inspiring, and definitely worth trying at home.  – Goodreads

I’m torn on this one. I love cookbooks, and I love experimenting with new recipes and expanding my skillset. I’m not an expert in the kitchen, but I like to think I’m a little more than a beginner.

I was unfamiliar with Kristen Kish prior to receiving this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. I don’t watch Top Chef, and I’m not up to date on the contestants. However, a close friend came over and saw this on my coffee table and became very excited. So — if you know who Kristen is, you might appreciate it more than me 🙂

The recipes in this book are ballsy and modern. There were some simpler recipes I will be trying, such as Braised Baby Potatoes. However, much of the book featured odd ingredients and things that simply aren’t available to me. I probably won’t be making Bay Scallop Crudo or squab in little ol’ Boise, Idaho (I also raised pigeons and can’t stomach baking an entire baby pigeon for dinner).

The book is beautiful. It’s thick, the pages are fantastic, and the photography is gorgeous. The instructions and ingredients are laid out very well.

Personally, this was not my favorite book and I will rarely use it. I think the book will be a bigger hit for others, especially fans of Kristen and those who enjoy cooking more gourmet meals. I rated it a 3/5 on Goodreads.

Tagged , , , , ,

A Well-Crafted Home: Inspiration and 60 Projects for Personalizing Your Space by Janet Crowther

A beautiful, practical book for both aspiring makers and seasoned crafters. Here are 60 projects for high-quality furniture, textiles, and accessories to enjoy all through the house–plus all the techniques you need for dyeing or sewing fabric, cutting leather, antiquing mirrors, working with wood, and much more.

A Well-Crafted Home
 includes simple, creative details that will tailor a space to your taste. More than just -DIY- crafts, these carefully designed projects call for good materials–like linen, leather, and wood–so the finished product will last you a lifetime. Ranging from beginner to more advanced, each item elevates a room in a way you’d never expect: a large-scale painting with an effortless -dot- design looks like a modern piece of art, flax linen bedding sewn with a few easy seams is gorgeous way to set off the bed (and is more affordable than you would think), and a copper pipe rack for hanging clothes is so pretty, you’ll want to keep it on display.
There’s something for every room in this book:

The Entryway: 
Dowel Wall Hooks, Reclaimed Wood Bench, Woven Leather Basket, Soft Planter Cover, Block-Print Pillow, Looped-Tassel Wall Hanging

The Living Room: Dyed Fabric Ottoman, Tassel Wall Banner, Bleach-Dot Lumbar Pillow, Flange-Edge Throw Pillow, Tied Shibori Throw Pillow, Gemstone Box, Air-Dry Clay Bowl, Rolling Trunk Storage, Glass-Cover Pendant Lamp

The Kitchen: Wooden Herb Planter, Rustic Footed Cutting Board, Quilted Cushions, Leather-Loop Tea Towels, Ombre Ceramic Vase

The Dining Room: 
Heirloom Linen Tablecloth, Indigo-Stripe Napkins, Leather Napkin Rings, Clay Candlesticks, Boro Stitched Trivet, Beaded Light Fixture,

The Bedroom: 
Framed Cane Headboard; Linen Bedding with Duvet, Shams, and Pillowcases; Simple Stitch Throw Pillow; Sewn Leather Pillow; Trimmed Waffle-Weave Blanket; Modern Latch-Hook Stool; Dyed Fabric Art in Round Mat; Natural Jute Rug; Painted Ceramic Tray; Acrylic Side Table; Refurbished Table Lamp; Boro Stitched Memory Quilt

The Closet: Copper Garment Rack, Leaning Floor Mirror, Wall Shoe Display, Thread-Wrapped Pendant Light, Liberty Print Hamper, Antiqued Mirror Table

The Bathroom: 
Natural Wood Stump, Oak Tub Tray, Knotted Rope Ladder, Terry-cloth Towels, Leather Wastebasket

The Outdoor Oasis: Simple Sewn Hammock, Painted Wood Stump, Restored-Frame Tray, Ice-Dyed Blanket, Colorwash Sheepskin

With beautiful photographs of rooms styled with all of the projects, A Well-Crafted Home proves that even the smallest touch of handmade can make a house a home.  – Goodreads

I. Love. This. Book.

I was so incredibly excited when I saw this as an option for a review on Blogging For Books (I received a copy in exchange for an honest review). I recently bought a new house and am having a fun time updating rooms and decorating — pretty much everything in this book is my “style”.

The instructions are easy to follow, the photos are gorgeous, and the projects are completely doable for someone who isn’t the handiest or craftiest person on the planet. Each project has the skill level labeled, from beginner to advanced.

If you enjoy DIY projects or things that resemble what is sold at Anthropologie, pick this book up — you won’t regret it. I’m looking forward to working on some projects for my new home.

 

Tagged , , ,

Morning Glory by Diana Peterfreund

Desperately in need of a job, yet still full of boundless optimism, Becky vows to land on her feet and stumbles into an opportunity at Daybreak, a floundering network morning news program in New York City. Abysmal ratings are only the tip of the iceberg: Executive producers seldom survive beyond the next commercial break, and the outdated cameras belong in the Smithsonian.

Promising the head of the network that she can reverse the downward spiral, Becky makes legendary newscaster Mike Pomeroy an offer he can’t contractually refuse. She successfully adds Pomeroy to the team, but he refuses to participate in any Daybreak fluff pieces and morning show staples like celebrity gossip, weather, fashion, and crafts. What’s more, he takes an instant dislike to his equally difficult co-anchor, Colleen Peck, a former beauty queen.The only bright spot in Becky’s career is Adam Bennett, a gorgeous fellow producer, but Daybreak’s dysfunction spells trouble for their blossoming relationship. As Mike and Colleen’s on-air chemistry proves more explosive every day, Becky must scramble to save her love life, her reputation, her job, and, ultimately, Daybreak itself. – Goodreads

I saw this on sale and thought, why not? I’d recently watching the movie version and was in a rare mood for some fluffy chick lit.

Some background — this was a novelization of the movie. The movie came out in 2010 and starred Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton.

I liked the premise of the story — I wanted to be a journalist in college and am familiar with the news industry. However, Becky fell flat as a main character for me. Becky is tenacious and dedicated to her job — as a result, she’s obsessed with news and her BlackBerry. Becky mentions how her dating life is a flop because she’s so addicted to her BlackBerry. Look, I’m a millenial. I understand being addicted to my phone. Hell, I forgot my phone at home during a short afternoon of errands this week and felt as if I’d lost a limb. HOWEVER, constantly checking your phone on a first date and then getting upset because said date is fed up? Nah, girl.

The other characters also fell flat for me. Adam, the love interest, had potential. Mike was my favorite character — perhaps I was picturing Harrison Ford’s character from the movie, but I thought he was the most dimensional and least annoying. Which is confusing, because his character was supposed to be annoying.

In all, it wasn’t a terrible read. It was light, it was fluffy, it was predictable. Personally, I’d stick to the movie and skip the book. I rated it a 2/5 on Goodreads.

Tagged , ,

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”  Read the rest of the summary on Goodreads.

Ready for one of those embarrassing, obsessive reviews? Good, because that’s how this one is going to be.

Let me start by explaining how I got my mitts on this book. I had some extra Audible credits and needed to paint my kitchen, so I downloaded this simply because I thought it was Aziz Ansari’s autobiography and I love Aziz, so I figured his narration would be awesome.

Much to my surprise, it was not an autobiography, but a well-researched book on modern dating. I spent eight hours painting my kitchen and didn’t even realize it because I was so sucked into this damn audiobook…even though Aziz kept telling me how damn lazy I was for LISTENING to the book instead of READING it. I was painting, okay?!

The findings and research in the book is lightened up with Aziz’s comedic relief. What I’m trying to say is….it’s hilarious. I enjoyed the humorous touch.

The book goes into texting, online dating, and how different cultures date in modern society. The book also looks at the history of dating (IE, back in the day, most people would meet someone in their ‘hood and get married to escape their parents).

One interesting concept covered in the book had to do with online dating and how it opens up our options. “The world is available to us, but that may be the problem,” said Ansari. Meaning, we have a difficult time settling with one individual because we KNOW how easy it is to shop for the next one or to see what is available at our fingertips.

Another concept addressed in the book is expectations we place on our significant others, which is different now than it was back in the day. We expect our SOs to be our soulmate, our confidant, our best friend, our travel buddy, our therapist, our sexual partner…basically everything. We expect them to give us happiness and give us joy. We rely wholeheartedly on our SO to provide these functions that, in the past, an SO wasn’t expected to provide. Personally, I think this is fascinating — how can you possibly expect one person to provide all of these services? Is it really up to another human to make you happy? I don’t think so. I think we place a lot of expectations on our relationships, which leads to unmet expectations, which often leads to failure. I believe an SO is someone who should complement your life, encourage you to be better and be your teammate. However, I don’t think an SO is your “other half”…I’d prefer to have another “whole” person to spend my life with — with our own respective hobbies, etc. — than a half.

If you’re expecting a humorous book detailing Aziz Ansari/Tom Haverford’s dating escapades, this book is not for you. This book is a sociological study of the evolution of dating…which, by the way, I rate a 5/5 and will be rereading soon.

Tagged , ,

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Mason doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.  – Goodreads

Get ready for a bunch of “self-help” book reviews, people. I’m doing house projects and these type of books are the easiest to listen on audiotape to while doing other activities — I have a tendency to get distracted if I’m listening to fiction.

I’m adding a read more link due to the excessive use of the F-word in the following review. Read more at your discretion.  Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her. – Goodreads

Ahhhh. This was one of those reads where everyone seems to love it, but I really didn’t care about it.

For one, the instalove was nauseating. Kalinda lives in seclusion from men for her life, and the first man she sees inevitably turns out to be her love interest within about five minutes. This occurred in the first chapter or two of the book, so I was already annoyed.

I was also annoyed because the first chapter details Kalinda as unattractive, a poor fighter, and generally unremarkable. However, in the first few chapters, she defeats a stronger fighter and is called beautiful by several other characters. What? I’m confused.

Basically the entire book was about girls fighting each other to win over the affections of a dude. I finished it, but I didn’t love it and probably won’t recommend it. 2/5 on Goodreads.

Tagged , ,
Advertisements