Olympic Book Tag

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Although I watched exactly none of the Olympics - I was a bit busy with work and trying to plan a move - I still really love Olympic time.  I was also super proud of those from my home state!  Maryland took home so many medals this year!  Anyway, when Kristen posted this book Olympics, I knew I had to do one myself!  This was so much fun to fill out, it was neat to look through all of the books I've read over the years!

*all links are to my reviews.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I loved every second of this book.  It captured me from the very first page and I flew through it!  This is one of those books I'd recommend to anyone, especially lovers of World War 2 historical fiction.  This is also one of the very few WW2 books that have ever made me laugh!  Just read it, you wont be sorry!

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

And this is another reason I love these kinds of book tags, I had completely forgotten about this book until I was scrolling through Goodreads trying to remember the road trip books I've read!  I read this book in one sitting and absolutely loved it.  It was funny and quirky and I just couldn't put it down. 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

I really like and agree with Kristen's answer for this: No love triangle is a good love triangle! I always have a preference, and that makes me cranky at the author for even trying with the other one, it always feels so pointless. I know some people are like 'team this or that' but I have always been firmly in one team, normally the team the author wants you to be in, and I just don't give a crap about the other one. And then eventually when the other one dies, kills the main characters sister or falls in love with the main character's daughter and the main character gets angry - it just makes it feel so forced to me, like stop it, it was never in the running.

That being said, the only time I've ever thought 'oh crap, I don't know who I like, I like both of them!' was Throne of Glass. 

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

This book just jumped all over the place.  There was one part of the story that I really liked but I didn't really get how it tied into everything else.  This book was just really just a jumbled mess in my opinion, but maybe I just didn't get the connections like I was supposed to.  Who knows?

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

 I really loved this book because I read it when I was craving some travel.  This book takes place in, I think, six different countries over the course of one summer.   The main character really begins to learn about herself while experiencing the world.

The Enemy by Lee Child

I don't read a lot of books with a ton of bloodshed, but I'm fairly certain this one had a good bit.  I really enjoyed this book and have read a few other books by this author. 

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

I wouldn't say this book had a ton of plot twist but it did have a few.  I am usually one who can predict what is going to happen in a book, but this one through me for a loop!  I highly recommend it to people who love a good mystery.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

It's not at all hard to make me cry, so this category was easy in the sense that I could have chosen from 100's of books.  I chose this one because it was the most recent to make me cry and also because it's now one of my all time favorites.

Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

I literally thought this book was never going to end.  It was slow and boring and totally not worth the time.  Just don't read it.

Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I absolutely loved this series and I actually still have all of them.   And yes, I watched the show.  I also really loved The Babysitters Club, The Bailey School Kids, and American Girl (Molly was my favorite).

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This was a hard one for me.  I absolutely loved this book and cried like a baby several times while reading it.  I also really loved Where the Red Fern Grows, which was my first favorite book.   I don't know why I continue to read dog books, they always make me sob!

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

I have expressed my distaste for this book several times, but I really hated it and had a really hard time finishing it.  I hate cheating and cheaters so the entire premise of this book pissed me off to no end, and I had no clue that this is what the book was about or I never would have picked it up.  I think the only reason I powered through it was because I was reading it as part of a challenge.

Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Harry, Ron, and Hermione have a great friendship and will always be my favorite trio! 

Racing Savannah  Miranda Kenneally

Technically this book doesn't count because horse racing isn't an Olympic Sport.  But I'm using it because there are Equestrian sports in the Olympics.  I really loved all of Miranda Kenneally's books and even though they're young adult, I'd recommend them to anyone. 

GoodReads Tag

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I am absolutely in love with Goodreads!  I discovered it back in 2012 and have been using it to keep track of my books ever since.  When I was little I used to keep lists of the books I read and when I finished but unfortunately always seemed to lose them.  I love keeping track of my books and seeing what other people are reading.  There are so many books I've read that I probably would have overlooked if not for friends on Goodreads.  I saw this Goodreads Tag on Carly's blog and loved it.

1. what was the last book you marked as read? Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag.

2. what are you currently reading? I'm about halfway through Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag.

3. what was the last book you marked as 'to read'? Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

4. what book do you plan to read next? I haven't decided yet but I'm thinking maybe Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas.

5. do you use the star rating system? Yes and I love it!  I do wish you could give half stars, though.

6. are you doing a 2016 reading challenge? Yes, and I am failing majorly at the moment.  My goal is 65 and I have only read 29, making me 13 books behind ... yikes!

7. do you have a wish list? No. I use my TBR list as a wish list, but I mostly get books from the library.  When I'm ready for a new book, I go through my to reads and make a list of a few books from that list, that I am in the mood for.

8. what book do you plan to buy next?  I am making an effort to use the library exclusively except for books in series that I already own.  I guess the next book I'll buy will probably be the next book in the Throne of Glass series.

9. do you have any favorite quotes? share a few.  I have a bunch, but one of my all time favorites will always be this one from Harry Potter "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live".

10. who are your favorite authors?  J.K. Rowling, Khaled Hosseini, Sarah J Maas, Sarah Addison Allen, Alyson Richman, and Kristin Hannah.

11. have you joined any groups? I used to be in a bunch of groups but they started getting annoying.  The only one I'm in now is the blogger book club, Beyond Words.

12. how many shelves do you have? 4 - To Read, Currently Reading, Read, and Favorites.

Do you use Goodreads?

Busch Gardens, Virginia

Monday, August 29, 2016

I love love love this place! I was originally going to do separate posts on each trip to Busch Gardens, but I figured that would be silly.   So, here is a slight recap of all of our trips to Busch Gardens this summer.

I have zero pictures from our first trip because we didn't know about the lockers and didn't want to take our phones.  It wasn't originally the plan for us to go this day, and the weather was a bit cooler, but we were OK with it.  This was the day that we learned that active duty military gets one free day at Busch Gardens each year!  We definitely took advantage of that!   We hit up all of the roller coasters and that took most of our day.  We ended up eating lunch in "England" this day, I had fish and chips.   We had a great day and left completely satisfied with our time there.

The second time we went was at the end of July.  It was brutally hot out, but we lived.  We are roller-coaster people, so once again, we made our way through all of the roller coasters.  I can't remember what "country" we at in during this trip, but I'm sure it was good.  At around 2pm it started to rain, which was OK because that was the time the Irish Step Dancing show started.  We dipped in there and enjoyed the show.  When we came out it was still raining but it was a nice relief from the heat.  While we were standing in line for our last coaster of the day, operations shut down due to lightning in the area.  We stayed in line for about 20 minutes but it wasn't letting up.  We planned to leave the park at 4 anyway, so we just went ahead and left at this point.

The final time I actually went with my sister the day before Josh's AIT graduation. It was her first time there so I was super excited for her to experience my favorite park!  My sister decided to be a chicken shit and only ride one roller coaster.  I rode all of them except for Alpengeist because that one gives me a headache.   This was a great day because all of the lines were super short.  I was able to ride in the very front row of the Griffon, my favorite ride, with only a 15 minute wait.  Yay for weekdays and school being back in session.  After I rode the roller coasters, we checked out the Irish dancing show, the Aviary, got some food, and checked out some of the other rides.   I really enjoyed our day here and so did my sister.

Brantley Gilbert

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Way back in June, I went to see Brantley Gilbert with my sister, my friend Laurie, and Laurie's friend Audrey.   Laurie and I have been concert buddies for years and we knew I couldn't move away without us going to a concert this year!  My sister had mentioned wanting to go to a concert, too, so I looked for one that would satisfy everyone.   I saw that BG was going to be in VA at the end of June, which was perfect.  We ended up getting pit tickets at a great price!  We were super excited. 

The day of the concert was an adventure.  I decided I was going to drive Josh's SUV so we'd have more room and so we could open the hatch and sit in the back.  My sister and I noticed a slight squeaking sound when I turned it on for the first time, but it went away pretty quickly so we didn't worry about it.  We ran errands all morning and had no issues.  Then we got on 95 to go pick up Laurie and Audrey.  About 1 mile from the exit I needed, the check engine light came on and the car started shaking.   We pulled over and my sister noticed it was overheating.  Long story short, we called my Mom and she and her friend came down to look at the car and add some coolant.  We got the car about another half mile before it started acting up again, so I had to have it towed.  My Mom took my sister back to my house to get my car and she met me back on 95.   The tow truck was only a minute behind her so I left the keys in his truck and we went on our way.  The next day I found out from my mechanic that it was the water pump, thermostat and some belt thing.  Ugh.  On the positive side, at least it didn't happen while we were in VA.  Luckily we had planned to leave for the concert pretty early just in case we hit traffic, so time wasn't an issue.  

The rest of the drive went smoothly and the concert was awesome.  We tailgated in the parking lot for about 1.5 hours before heading in.  We headed in fairly early to try to get as close as possible.  For Colt Ford, we were a bit further back which I didn't care about since I'm not really a fan.  We managed to squeeze up a little further for Justin Moore and then we ended up getting pretty damn close by time Brantley Gilbert came on.  Some people got in a fight and a big spot opened up so we jumped right on that!

Brantley Gilbert puts on a great show and we had a fantastic time!  There was only one song that he didn't do that I was hoping he would.  My favorite songs that he did were "If You Want A Bad Boy" and "One Hell of an Amen".  One thing I love about country music concerts is that the artists are so patriotic!  This concert was no different.  Every single one of them thanked our military members and veterans.  Fantastic show and I will definitely be going to see BG again!

Hayley Larue Design