Category Archives: Life

Fave Five: Summer Songs

Once upon a time, I decided I wanted to start a feature called Fave 5, and then proceeded to only do the feature twice, both times involving trips I took. But I wanted to revive it again to talk about the music I have been enjoying this year, particularly this summer.

My relationship with music is when I love it I LOOOOOVE it, but I listen to a very limited group of artists and have a particular taste that I don’t even know how to quantify. To make this list more diverse, I decided to limit my list to to songs that have been officially released as singles (not necessarily radio singles, just released singles) so they wouldn’t all just be from the forthcoming The Gray Havens album I’ve had the pleasure of obtaining early as a Kickstarter backer. Also, to keep it in the summer theme, I limited myself to music released this year, so I couldn’t put any of Echosmith’s music from their EP released last fall even though I’ve listened to it a good bit this summer. On to my choices, in no particular order.

1. Magnetic by Phillip Phillips

Hello, saxophone. Seriously, I’ve seen Phillip Phillips in concert twice now and his band is incredible, and they’re on full display in this song.

2. Over My Head by Echosmith

I really enjoy Echosmith and this is such a fun song. I’m looking forward to their new project whenever it releases.

3. Better Than I Used to Be by Mat Kearney featuring Afsheen

While he’s not what I consider one of my favorite artists, I do enjoy a lot of Mat Kearney’s songs and I just love the vibe of this particular song. I practically had it on repeat during my vacation in Destin in May.

4. Forever On Your Side by Needtobreathe featuring JohnnySwim

This is the title track of Needtobreathe’s new EP and it definitely has a fun vibe to it. I also enjoy the accompaniment on it from Johnnyswim, and look forward to seeing them perform this song live together later this month when I see them in concert!

5. Storehouse by The Gray Havens

I am 110% obsessed with this song. It’s definitely a Christian song with the theme of repentance and redemption, but even if you’re not a Christian you might still enjoy listening to it once for its cool vibe. This is exactly why I love The Gray Havens, because they write very spiritually mature lyrics and pair them with very masterful, artful music, unlike many other Christian artists I won’t name who are fond of the copy & paste functions and chord charts (which I’m not completely hating on but it does get a little old). Their new album with this song comes out in October, and if you like this song you should pre-order the album because the whole thing is AMAZING.

What have you been listening to this summer? (Chances are I haven’t heard of it because I’m oblivious to popular music but share anyway!) 

What I Read in June + I Met Stephanie Garber!

June was another month that felt slow for physical reading, and I’m just resigning myself to the fact that this is the pace I am going to read at in my current life phase (which seems to be perpetually busy for unknown reasons). And that’s fine. Audiobooks are helping me read more overall, even if I feel like it doesn’t completely count, even though everyone assures me it does! And it guess I should acknowledge that it really does, considering some of my favorite books so far have been ones I listened to… stay tuned for my top 10 books I’ve read so far this year list next week!

Audiobook reads:

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalo

The Siren by Kiera Cass

Physical reads:

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

I enjoyed all of these, with my top two faves being Stalking Jack the Ripper and Legendary, which is great because I got to meet both authors in June!

So Stephanie and I actually go back a little ways, when once upon a time we met through blogging! She hopped onto Heidi Lang and Kat Bartkowski’s blog when the two girls were Stephanie’s Pitch Wars mentees, and we got to know each other online. Flash forward to her selling Caraval (and Heidi and Kat are also published now with the delightful middle grade A Dash of Dragon and upcoming A Hint of Hydra), and it’s been so fun to watch her dream of becoming a published author turn into a reality! So when she announced her book tour for Legendary and I saw Nashville’s Parnassus Books on the list, I was ecstatic that I would have the chance to meet Stephanie in real life!

I have to say, I was really nervous! I think Stephanie knew I was coming, but I still wondered if I needed to be like, “Hey, it’s me, Amy!” or if she would recognize me on her own. Thankfully, it only took her a couple of seconds of looking at me to recognize me and was instantly like, “Can I give you a hug?” Of course! Stephanie is just the sweetest and everything about the evening was so fun. I had just listened to Jack the Ripper on audio the week before when I realized Kerri would be at the event too, and while I’m sad I didn’t have a book for her to sign, I told her I enjoyed it and she gave me an autographed bookmark for Escaping from Houdini, which I am excited for! 

I love how books and writing can bring people together!

Tell me what your favorite book you read in June was! 

What I Read in April

Audiobook reads:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

Somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of The Radium Girls by Kate Moore: This nonfiction account was feeling very repetitive so I skipped ahead to close to the end to learn the resolution.

Physical reads:

Emily Of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs (Started in January and read one section a day until April 10)

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth (finished May 2)

Everything I read this month took me a long freaking time to read for one reason or another. But my clear favorite was The Glass Sentence, an amazingly unique story with incredible world-building and a loveable, independent heroine. I can’t wait to read the two sequels and I highly recommend it!

What was your favorite read in April? 

What I Read in January

I’ve decided to try a new feature this year, where each month I recap what I read. (I was inspired by by Chelsea at The Girl Who Loved to Write.)

You would think I made a New Year’s resolution to read a bunch of audiobooks, but it honestly just sort of happened as I started running low on my podcast queue. So while I only read three books with my eyeballs from start to finish in January, I’ve read eight additional books thanks to the wonders of the audiobook.

The Audiobook Reads:

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead (Middle grade contemporary)

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Septys (reread) (Young adult historical fiction)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (Non-fiction/self-help)

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater (Middle grade fantasy contemporary) – The narrators were absolutely perfect for bringing this story to life!

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (Humor)

Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (reread) – I listened to this solely because it was narrated by Eddie Redmayne, ha ha… (Fiction)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (reread) (Young adult fiction)

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (reread) (Young adult fiction) – I actually can’t remember if I finished this in January or early February but let’s just say January…

Read With my Eyeballs:

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows (Young adult fantasy)

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (Classic literature)

(DNF at page 146) Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore (Young adult fiction)

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes (Young adult contemporary)

Favorites?

I have to say that rereading Salt to the Sea was such a good life decision, holy cow. Read it if you haven’t already! The audiobook of it was pretty good too. I also still love The Hunger Games. As far as new reads, I really enjoyed Goodbye Stranger, Rilla of Ingleside, and Girl Against the Universe. Time will tell which is my real favorite of the month.

DNF Already?

I can’t believe this. I purposely set aside about one book a year without the intention of ever picking it back up. Most years it’s late in the year, last year it was March, and this year it was freaking January. And it was a book I bought in hardcover. Disappointed is such an understatement. The concept was so cool, but I just didn’t like any of the characters.

Next month I hope to format this in a way that’s a little more interesting and in a more timely fashion. Let me know what you would like to know about my reads each month!

What did you read in January? Which was your favorite? 

Monthly Recap: December

My slacker self is finally getting around to my last monthly recap for 2017! I have to be honest, December was a bit of a blur, as the Christmas season tends to be. So this recap will be pretty brief.

Books I Read

What Light by Jay Asher

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (reread)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (reread)

I Am Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton

#bookstagram Images of the Month


Watched

Some Christmas movies, Star Wars: The Last Jedi (I shared my brief thoughts here), and we finished up our rewatch of Star Trek Voyager (top episodes posts coming soon) and started Enterprise.

Looking Forward to in 2018

A fresh start! Some things I’ve got planned: a concert in April in nearby Chattanooga, vacation to Florida in May… That’s all for now. And March Madness will be here before you know it and I’m hoping for another appearance and stellar performance by my Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders! Fingers crossed!

What was your favorite memory of 2017? Mine is visiting Savannah in September.