Friday, August 7, 2015

Reads and Randoms for July 2015.

This post is going up a little later than I would like considering that it's August already, but it's here!

Every month I'm doing a little recap of the books I read, as well as other random things that are highlights from the month. It's a fun way to grab everything that happened in a condense version, and allows me to give little reviews when I don't have time to write about everything (that's something I'm learning to come to terms with as I know I'll always be busy with school commitments, etc).

Anyways, July was a great month for both reading and general life excitement. Let's get into the fun stuff.

July Reads:

I ended up reading 9 books this month, which wasn't what I had planned on, but I'm happy with it. :) I read 3 more comics, listened to a full audiobook, and read a diverse chunk of fiction.

Fables Volumes 9-11 by Bill Willingham

I am still making my way through the Fables series. I did get through a big story arc, so I'm okay with waiting another month or two to continue the series. I know the last volume (22) just came out, so I do want to finish this series this year! If you like comics, this is definitely a great choice!

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

I love Andrew Smith, and with each book of his that I read, I fall more and more in love with his style of storytelling. I did manage to write a full post on this one, so feel free to check it out for my thoughts. I'm anxious to read the rest of his books (I have 3 to go), so they're on my wishlist to acquire. 

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Truthfully, this is not a title I would have picked up on my own, but there is a fellow English/Social Studies teacher at school who is also a huge reader. She reads a lot more contemporary fiction than I do, as well as memoirs, and sometimes our tastes are not the same. But I decided to give this one a go, and I'm glad I did! It's a very fast read with an interesting premise-woman faints at the gym and hits her head, and when she wakes, she thinks she's 29, not 39. It's a great story about our decisions in life and the "how did I get here?" question. I enjoyed it and have another of her books on my shelf (checked out from our media center). I'm hoping to get to it by the end of the summer. 

To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

I didn't put in my pre-order for GSAW until 3 days before it was released...mainly because I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. But, in an impulsive moment, I decided to reread TKAM and order GSAW. I read both within 4 days and posted my thoughts shortly after finishing (read them here). I'm still not fully sure how I feel about GSAW, but I'm glad I read it. 

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

After being incredibly indecisive about what book to read next, I took to instagram (follow me @alliedanielson) and this was the pick! I'm really glad you all bullied me into reading it because I loved it! It was a great story about a little known piece of American history, and it had a lot of elements I really love in a piece of historical fiction. My thoughts will be up in the next week. :)

The Martian by Andy Weir

This was probably my favorite book of the month! I gushed about it in a blog post already, but I want to restate that I REALLY enjoyed this (to the point where I'm thinking of listening to it again on vacation next week). I think the audiobook really did it for me, so if you're hesitant, go that route! I'm also super anxious for the movie to come out...just overall, phenomenal. 

Overall, July was a great reading month!

The Randoms:

My new planner. I know that's kind of ridiculous, but I love being able to organize myself in one location. I used to use planners religiously in college, but fell out of the habit a few years ago. It feels great to have a place to organize myself and set realistic goals for each day. I know it's going to help so much once school starts. 

Turning 30. Yep, hit the big 30 this month. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and my mom made that awesome cake. haha. We celebrated my sister, my sister-in-law, and my birthday on the same day! I also went out with friends and family the night of and had a great time. It wasn't as traumatic as I thought it would be. ;)

I actually did 2 painting nights this month. The painting above comes from an evening with the English department. We went out to dinner and then painted. It was a lot of fun to be out and away from school together. I also went with my mom and sister a couple weeks later. :) Torrie had never been, so it was pretty hilarious.

Spending a lot of time with family. Here I am with my sister and husband at a wedding. I spent a lot of time with Torrie this month while she was home (she left a week ago to go back to LA), and it was great. Sometimes I started to kick myself for not getting some school work done, or reading, or blogging, but family came first this month. 

My 30th birthday present from my husband. :) He custom-painted a bass guitar for me in my favorite color. I'm slowly learning how to play, and I love it. 

We took a few days to go up north to Matt's family's cabin and a group of friends came with. Torrie came, as she had never been up there, and it was a fabulous few days of good food, taking pictures, reading, and just having a great time being together with friends. Torrie is above taking some pictures in one of the fields. 

Torrie and I also took Zoey, my goddaughter and niece, to the zoo one day, It was really hot on the day we went (94??), but we had a great time with her. She's a riot and so sassy, and I love spending time with her. Our new thing is that I call her a weirdo and she tells me I'm a weirdo. :) 

Probably the biggest thing that happened all month was this. My first tattoo. :) Matt took me on my 30th birthday, and I was happy to get this-something I've wanted for a very, very long time. This line comes from Homer's The Odyssey, and is a great reminder that I can find inspiration and hope in anything.

Well, that was my July in a nutshell. Looking back at it, and all those pictures....I had a fabulous month. I've been so happy the last few months. It goes to show you what changing your mindset can do. Here's to a great August (which is already underway!). 


  1. I love posts like this, & I'm super excited you liked Orphan Train!! Also, that tattoo almost makes me tear up, because it comes from the book which inspired -- all of this. :)

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  3. The cake is so fun! Also, What Alice Forgot sounds really interesting. Thanks for the mini review!

  4. What an awesome bunch of randoms! Love that cake, tattoo, and painting!

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