If we were having Tea (2)…

20638302_10210095186557818_268576923072112750_nI have seen this post many times over at Jamie’s page (The Perpetual Page Turner) and have always wanted to give it a shot. I think it’s fun, personable, and a great way to kind of get to know one another. So, with it being a new year I thought why not give it a shot? But there will be a bit of a difference…we won’t be having coffee. Instead I will be having tea.

If we were having tea…

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  • I would tell you that I am still going strong with my chapter of War and Peace a day. I honestly don’t know if I could sit down and knock the whole thing out. I am also working on Little Fires Everywhere, which I am super pumped about. Also listening to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for my classics club. Not sure how I feel about it yet. Are you reading anything right now?
  • I would tell you that I am doing my best to combat seasonal depression. My latest thing…coloring. I have been turning on a show that I have watched a few times and cracked open the coloring book to help me relax. How do you combat seasonal depression?
  • I would tell you that I am struggling with some massive cabin fever. It’s always cold here and I just need the sun to not be a lie (because here if the sun is out it probably means that it feels like -20 outside and the air hurts your face). How do you handle when cabin fever strikes?
  • I would tell you that I am in the process of refocusing my fitness routine. My husband and I are trying to focus at least 3 days a week on lifting, which I am loving. I am also really working on trying to get back into running so that I can accomplish some of my running goals for this year. Do you have a fitness routine?
  • I would tell you that my days are starting to fill up again, but with some pretty awesome things. When I first moved to this area I had nothing and no one besides my husband, and honestly we spent a lot of time just hanging out on our own in our apartment. It’s crazy how when you find a group of friends (or even just one or two more friends) your life becomes busy but in the best way possible. I have hockey games, fun runs, shows, movies, and all kinds of other things to look forward to. Maybe that will help this winter sadness. Maybe. How do you spend your time when you aren’t reading?
  • I would tell you that I am definitely struggling with getting back into the blog life. I love doing this, I really do. But I am definitely struggling with the balance of blogging and real life (because I honestly didn’t have a lot of issue with that when I first started this blog). I want this to be a blog that I am proud of, that we are proud of, but I think the start is making it a little bit more active.
  • I would tell you that I am struggling with my “career” choice. Can you call it a career? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’m not happy with where I’m at. Definitely struggling to see positives and find my way to something that I want and feel successful at. Things have been stressful at my current job but I have been feeling this way for a long time. Unfortunately I can’t turn off my feelings (my husband’s words) and just stop working there mid-school year. I am definitely riding the struggle bus, but don’t feel I can really give out more details than this. What do you do when you are feeling like you aren’t on the right path in your life?
  • I would tell you that I hate ending these things on a downer. So…let’s talk about how much I still love The Greatest Showman. I went to it again the other day and…SPOILER ALERT…it’s still good! Ok, not much of a spoiler but meh. HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MOVIE YET?

emily

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Let’s talk about…Kids of Appetite by David Arnold

I must be on a roll this year. I have actually drafted blog posts (that I haven’t actually published yet, but hey…drafted). I have been longing to read (I have just given up on watching whatever my husband is right now as we hunker down to both save money and avoid the cold and have been diving into my current reads). I actually finished a book and…I loved every minute of it.

This book has my heart. It had me laughing, crying, and cheering alongside the characters as they worked to overcome obstacles. It made me feel every single feel. It made me ache and made me excited at the same time. The book…Kids of Appetite by David Arnold.

33516292Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.
This is a story about:
1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

Add to your Goodreads | Buy this book | About the Author

NOTE: I am very nervous that I will not accurately be able to get all of my feelings out coherently. I also worry that my words just won’t be enough to convey how much love I have for this book. So note, I wanted to hug this book over and over again after I finished it. It has moved onto my favorite shelf. I am so excited to be new to the David Arnold fan club.

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The journey begins in a police station as Vic and Mad are giving statements about the murder of Mad’s uncle. Throughout the story we not only listen to the statements that they give, but we go back to the events of the past 8 days and uncover what happens and just who the Kids of Appetite are. I loved the setup of this book. I think it was great that it bounced back and forth so that you would only get a little information about the past before jumping in to the police station. It left you trying to fill in some blanks as far as if these two were guilty, or if their friends were. I felt that these police station scenes really helped set the tone of who Vic and Mad are, and what they are to each other. Though I rolled my eyes a little bit at the way that they talk (I just don’t know a single teenager with that kind of vocabulary), I found myself fully invested in their story and what was going to happen to them.

So…what are some amazing things about this book?

  1. The writing! I absolutely loved the writing. There are so many quotes that had me feeling all of the feels (and sobbing like a baby). I have finally, 16 years after experiencing it myself, found a description of what it feels like to find out a family member has cancer and what it’s like to watch them fight the battle that can end so quickly. Some of my favorite quotes…
  2. I found something I could relate to in each character. Vic lost his father to cancer and is watching his mother move forward from her intense grieving period in life. She is dating and just not who he remembers. I can relate to his struggles as he battles grief and the guilt that not everything is as clear as it once was. Baz and Zuz are refugees, and though I am not a refugee myself I have worked with a handful. Hearing the story of how they came to America in the book really hit me because it’s so much like what some of the students I have worked have gone through to get here. I have felt lost and alone and unsure where to go next, like many of these kids.
  3. I loved watching their relationships grow and deepen. As each character finds out more about the other you can see their relationships change, but for the better. They continue to gain and deeper understanding of each other, and see the things each person has gone through that no one that age should ever see. These terrible events brought them together and created a bond that I haven’t ever really known with anyone. Honestly, this story was about how your friends can become family.
  4. I loved all the characters. I honestly can’t pick a favorite one. Each one broughy their own selves to the story, and their backgrounds helped continue to move the plot along. They started off a bit unsure, and throughout the story they grew and matured. They weren’t perfect. They disagreed, argued, and had to have some space from one another. They made assumptions that they shouldn’t have made. But in the end, they made their relationships with each other the most important part, and there’s something to value in that.

Kids of Appetite was an emotional journey that really reminded me of a more modern take on Mad’s favorite book, The Outsiders. Parents were pretty much nonexistent and they were forced to grow up further than what their ages imply. From start to finish, I was totally hooked. I found myself really caring for the characters, to the point where I would comment on things out loud.

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I am honestly so thankful I found this book and glad that it was my first book of 2018. I cannot wait to read David Arnold’s other book, because if it’s anything like this one…well, then I will need to redo my favorites bookshelf.

emily

If we were having tea…

I have seen this post many times over at Jamie’s page (The Perpetual Page Turner) (I don’t believe she is the original creator of this, but I hope linking back to her page gives credit where credit is due) and have always wanted to give it a shot. I think it’s fun, personable, and a great way to kind of get to know one another. So, with it being a new year I thought why not give it a shot? But there will be a bit of a difference…we won’t be having coffee. Instead I will be having tea.

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If we were having tea…

  • I would tell you that we have to have tea because coffee makes me so sleepy. I know, you are probably giving me that look like I’m crazy but it’s true. Coffee typically makes me super sleepy. Anyone else have this problem?
  • I would tell you that I have a lot of reading going on right now. I am listening to Treasure Island as part of a challenge to read a classic each month. I have finished Kids of Appetite by David Arnold (loved it!) and have moved on to Reign the Earth by AC Gaughen. I am also reading War and Peace. My husband and I are doing a challenge where you read a chapter a day for the entire year (found on reddit). Are you reading anything right now?
  • I would tell you that I saw The Greatest Showman on the 1st and I am OBSESSED! The songs are constantly in my head and that could be because when I am not listening to my audiobook in my car (or while working out) that I am listening to that. I highly encourage you to see it if you haven’t because OH MY GOSH ALL THE FEELS!tumblr_os9fxwinjy1qd4rf5o2_500
  • I would tell you that my seasonal depression is coming in real strong. I know the country has been pretty darn cold lately, but up here…our highs have been from -3 to maybe 8 (and then you add in the windchill which actually makes it feel like -30). Even with the sun shining I have found that my mood stinks and getting out of bed is hard. Thankfully, a warm stretch is just upon us (but followed by more ridiculous cold…). Anyone have any tips for keeping that seasonal depression to a minimum?
  • I would tell you that I have been weirdly focused on fitness lately. Last year I decided enough was enough and I committed to a workout program that had me working out 6 days a week. Now I have to work out anywhere from 4-6 days a week or I am super thrown off. I have taken to weight lifting, yoga, and running, and even plan on trying to tackle a half this year. What do you do to stay moving?
  • I would tell you that I had an excellent winter break. I was able to be home with my entire family for the first time since last Christmas and it was a really good time. My brother just this week went to California for the next few months so I probably won’t be seeing him again until maybe this summer? A good time was had by all.25994492_10211072670274300_6690703015253191571_n
  • I would tell you that I am going to my FIRST EVER SHOW this year. I have adored watching Les Miserables or Chicago as a movie, but this year I am actually able to attend a show in March. I am super excited to get dressed up and bawl my eyes out while watching Les Mis happen right before my eyes.
  • I would tell you that I am getting the itch to get out of this area for some sort of vacation. It’s cold. There’s not a lot happening right now. I need warmth and sunshine. I am tired of the upper midwest (even though I love being from the midwest). Anyone have any travel plans for the winter?

Hope that you are all having a wonderful January. Hope that you are embracing winter, or at least diving into a really great book.

emily

 

 

Hello 2018

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Hi everyone! Yes. I still do this. I am still alive and still making doing my best to get through it all, but man…has this year been a weird one. 2017 is ending, and honestly…not that sad. There were a few good things that did happen, but I have definitely struggled on so many levels.

The year has ended with a stream of “not for me” books. I kept to my genres, I thought. I kept to my strong suits, I thought. And though the books weren’t at all bad, they just were falling flat for me.

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And then I picked up the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and fell in love. I fell in love with the characters, the island…everything. It shocked me that after a string of bad book that books written in letter form was what got me back in my groove. It wasn’t fantasy, which has always been my go to. It was historical fiction. It wasn’t young adult, which I seemed to stick in a lot over the past few years. It was adult. What. Was. Happening.

Then I thought back to the past year – heck, the past few months- and thought about what books have really been sticking with me. The Names They Gave Us. The Nightingale. The Alice Network. With Malice. All of these books had branched out of my “comfort zone.” I was starting to really read in a wide variety of genres. This is something that I have obviously not been paying attention to.

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I kept trying to return to what I thought was my reading home, but my reading home has been evolving and changing.

Now, with this in mind, I am ready to tackle some reading goals for 2018.

Obviously I still love fantasy, but I think I may be a little more picky. I think it may be the same with YA books. I have a list of ones that I am dying to try, but it’s not what it once was. I am adding in classics. I am adding in Adult fiction. I am adding in books that a year or two ago I probably wouldn’t have really thought too hard about.

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I am still a mood reader, so making a firm TBR is not really something I can do. But I am going to try to read more of what my mind wants and not try to overthink it. So…what am I going to do in 2018…

  • Slow down on the netgalley requests. I have a few eArcs to read that I am excited for, but after that I am taking a break so that I can kind feel of out where I’m at.
  • Read a classic a month. Some lovely ladies and I have come up with some choices so that we can read them together. Not all classics work for everyone, so it will be so awesome to have others to help me power through if I am feeling it’s not 100% for me (because I still want to read them and feel that I can learn more from them).
  • Have my husband make a few selection. I don’t think he ever reads these posts so maybe he will never see this (haha I am sure this is the one he will read). Whenever he has made a selection for me it has been a bit out of what I would typically select, but not so far as to be something that he knows I would absolutely hate. He knows me better than anyone, even better than myself. I think having him select a few for me to read this year would be fun.
  • MORE READALONGS! I would love to do more readalongs with you guys. So here’s to hoping that Arika and I can get some ideas going. Reading is always so fun in groups.
  • Read for fun. Don’t overthink it, just grab the book and go. I seriously debated Guernsey for so long. I picked it up and then put it down more times than I can count, and I really regret that. I put off a book that has become pretty near and dear to my heart. It could have changed my reading habits for the better these past few months. But you live and learn.

2017 was a year of pretty great reading. I didn’t read anything that I found to be absolutely terrible (though there were some things I disliked). I enjoyed most things and could always find some positives in all the negatives. I am not unhappy with how it went at all. But 2018…2018 is going to be a great year of reading.

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emily

Midwestern Book Nerd Reads #2

HEY EVERYONE! We have been quiet lately, and we apologize. Between being busy, to sickness, to studying for big tests, to life issues…it’s been nuts. But we are back and we are SO ready to get back to it. And what better way to get back at it than to start up with a read along.

If you remember, a few months back we did a Harry Potter readalong. It was so much fun to nerd out to Harry Potter with all of you, plus going back to Hogwarts was so fun. This time around we are reading something a little more serious, but a book that has been sitting on our TBRs just staring at us. If you haven’t read this one and are into historical fiction you should definitely join us. We are super excited for this…

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That’s right! We are digging into All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It has been something both of us have been dying to read and just haven’t gotten to yet.

This readalong will start on November 5th (SUNDAY!) and go until the week of Thanksgiving (let’s aim for finishing on the 19th…some of us have A LOT going on that week so it’s always good to have these things tied up by then).

Follow along with us on social media with the hashtag #mdwstreadalong. We will be talking about our progress, our feels, and any other questions and comments we may have. We are also open to starting up group messages or emails if there is enough interested.

So…will you be joining us? Let us know in the comments below! We are so excited about it and hope that you can read with us. T-minus 1 week until we dive into this beauty.

Additional question…what books would you be interested in reading as a group? We are always up for suggestions. Reading together is so much fun.

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall-like Book Covers

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Welcome back for another Top Ten Tuesday! We love this weekly post because it’s something that we feel we can get back into the groove of no matter how crazy life has been (and boy, has it been crazy). Between anniversaries, sword tournaments (apparently Emily knows some nerdy people), and work…it’s been tough to get our act together and get the posts up that we want to…but we are so thankful that Top Ten Tuesday makes it easier for us to really dive in.

This week we are sharing book cover that just look like fall to us. Some we may have read while others are sitting on that TBR waiting for us to tear into them (with respect…we would never tear books). So, here are some book covers that just make us think of the cool weather of fall…

Emily

Scarlet by AC Gaughen | Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco | Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling | The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier | The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente | Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver | The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton | The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen | The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

Arika

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows  | Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake | Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sara J. Maas | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling | The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert | Vicious by V.E. Schwab | Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake | Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller | The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Question: What are some book covers that have you thinking of fall?

Emily’s House Cup Reading Challenge

If you all follow me on twitter then you know that my reading habits have been the worst. I have let stress, anxiety, and my busy schedule take over my life and have found myself lacking in the reading area. It has sucked, a lot, and I have struggled to get back. Which is why I am SO excited to be joining….The House Cup Reading Challenge (hosted by Lauren of Live Love Read, Alex of Book Daisy Reviews, Kelsey of Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf, and Erica of Escape Under the Cover)

Basically throughout this challenge I will be reading books that fit into the following categories (which might I add…SUPER thankful that years 1-7 are reader’s choice! This will help me so much)…

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My goal is to at least get through the years before even looking at the extra categories. If you want to know more about the challenge and all the categories I would definitely head on over to one of the host’s pages so that you can check it out and join up.

And now that I have introduced most of that it’s time for me to declare my house and give you my Hogwarts student bio. Now, if you must know…I have gone back and forth about my house. Pottermore has told me one thing while every other quize I have taken has told me another. So I have decided to join along with the house that Pottermore gave me…

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Yes, I have fully committed to my Gryffindor house and am ready to help bring them to victory! A little bit more about my Hogwarts self…

Name: Emily
Hogwarts House: Gryffindor
Wand Type: Laurel wood with a dragon heartstring core, 12 ½” and rigid flexibility
Pet: I wish I could say dog, but that seems to be a pet that no one at Hogwarts has. So an owl it is!
Favorite Subject: I am a sucker for History of Magic.
Favorite Professor: Professor McGonagall…she is tough but fair

As far as what my TBR is…well that is kind of to be determined. I have made a fall TBR list recently and I will definitely be pulling from there, but it’s entirely possible that I will leave the list.

This challenge starts on Sunday (October 15th) and goes until Sunday, November 12th. If you haven’t signed up then you definitely should!

Let’s go Gryffindor!!

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emily

Throwback Thursday: Movie edition

Throwback Thursday

Hello everyone and welcome to another Throwback Thursday! Can you believe it’s already just about October? We are heading deep into the fall season. The leaves are starting to change, the apples are fresh for picking, and everyone’s beverages seem to be pumpkin flavored.

We have been bouncing all over with topics for one of our favorite features to do, and this week we have come up with a good one….movies. Now I know, you are probably thinking we are going to share those cookie cutter Disney movies that everyone loves (WE LOVE THEM TOO WE SWEAR). We thought we would take it to a different area. Though the movies may be made by Disney, they are a bit darker than we had imagined.

Emily

My family was pretty particular about what we were allowed to watch. My dad nixed movies like Alice in Wonderland even though I definitely watched them in secret at my Grandma’s (because when does grandma ever say no?). When I think back to my childhood it is mostly Disney movies, but there are a few odd movies that stick out. One in particular is way darker than I had realized and I am honestly shocked I was able to watch it. Here are a few trailers of some favorites from my childhood…

Arika

My siblings and I loved to watch movies just like my parents. Whether it was comedy, cartoon or drama, there was always a good movie to watch at our house. And now years later, I still love to watch movies and occasionally I see these classic movies on Netflix or even playing on TV. It is fun to stop and watch them and remember how we used to wish we were these kids in the movie. Looking back now, there was really an assortment of movies that we loved to watch and I can’t even just pick one category that would describe them other than they were awesome 90’s movies. (And you will definitely nod your head in agreement when you see the movies I am talking about!) Here are a few of my random/odd but awesome favorites…

Question: What were some of your favorite movies while growing up?

 

We Want YOU!

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Oh. My. Goodness. The excitement level at here at Midwestern Book Nerd is off the charts as are ready to introduce something to get us all more involved in the Midwestern Book Nerd experience.

Did you read the title? Do you think you know what is coming? Are you sure?

We. Want. You!

Yes. We want you on our blog! We have been wanting to get more voices heard, more love for books spread, and more discussions of what readers do when they are not reading on our blog. And honestly…the best way for us to do that is to get you involved.

So, without further ado…

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Who:

YOU! Yes, you reading this right now. Blogger or non-blogger, we are talking to you!

What:

Guest post on Midwestern Book Nerd. Talk about books, movies, tv shows, music, hobbies, or other things that you love. We want to hear what readers do outside of the reading world. Spread love about a hobby that no one has heard about (oh HEMA people, this would be perfect for you!) or push a book that you swear no one has read. There isn’t a specific topic in mind, just keep it you. Think of it as show and tell. A show and tell on Midwestern Book Nerd.

When:

SOON! We are ready to get this going ASAP. We can’t wait to see what you will have to share with us and with our readers.

Why:

Because we want to give you the opportunity to spread love to books, movies, shows, music, etc. We want you to be able to be involved in our blog too, because one of the reasons we keep this up is you. Yes, we love talking about books, but we also love the conversations with you.

What should you do if you are interested?

Send an email over to either Emily (midwesternbooknerd@gmail.com) or Arika (onceuponabookishnerd@gmail.com) for more details. We will have a template for you to use if you want, or you can come up with something 100% uniquely you.

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We are so excited to see what you all bring to the blog. There is so much in this world that we don’t know about. Books we haven’t ever touched, music that we’ve never heard, and things that we have never tried. Why not share those unique things with others?

And don’t worry. We have more awesome things coming up soon! This is just one of our exciting ideas.

We hope to hear from you very soon.

Throwback Thursday: Board Game edition

Throwback Thursday

Happy Thursday! Aren’t you excited that we are NEARLY through with this week? As we are getting back to school and back into routines I think it’s safe to say that we are ready for the weekend.

For today’s throwback we are thinking about the games we played as children. Yes, we all played tag and ran around outside, but we are focusing on the board games. We have quite the list of games that we look back at with such fond memories (some are a bit weird) and we cannot wait to share them with you!

Emily

A little backstory for you before I get into my favorites. My grandma was a shopper. She would scope out the best deals ANYWHERE. She would find these games at garage sales, with her Kohl’s coupons…honestly I don’t even know where these games came from sometimes. Her thing was that she would buy Christmas gifts all year long, meaning it was an excuse for the most ridiculous of games. Some that I really liked when I was a kid (I will only be posting commercials for them. I don’t think I need to defend this list of games and their unique-ness)…

Arika

Game night was always a fun night when I was growing up. I had so much fun, whether it was playing with neighbor kids or at grandma and grandpa’s house with siblings or cousins, there was always some type of game to play. My great grandfather even built a marble game that is still used today up at our families cabin where intense games still are had! But for board games growing up, I had to come up with some classic games I loved to play and provide you with the epic commercials for them that seemed to suck every kid into playing them!

 

Question: What board games did you play as children? Do we have any in common?