sunday ramblings 1.16.2022.

I’m sitting here in front of a fire in a cute little cottage in Ocean Shores, WA. My friend and I took a weekend trip to this cozy beach town on the coast of Washington. We were not, however, expecting a tsunami warning to greet us when we woke up on Saturday but you can’t really predict nature.

It’s hard to believe we are already 2 weeks into 2022 and that it’s already the middle of January. I don’t know what I’ve been doing these past weeks other than taking down some Christmas decorations and obsessively looking up cookie recipes online. I love cookies. You can’t go wrong with a good chocolate chip cookie (but only if the chips are milk chocolate) but I’ve enjoyed finding recipes that I hope to bake in the future.

I unearthed my new 2022 planner from beneath a stack of paper on my coffee table where I had put it when it arrived in the mail last month. I”m trying out the Plum Paper planner this year and I think it is going to work out nicely. I love that I got to personalize my planner. Plus, the paper is lovely and I love writing on it.

On the book front, I checked out a haul of books from the library earlier this week. I usually have a lot of books on hold at the library at any given time. I have a bad habit of finding books that I want to read and just adding them to my library hold list. Inevitably, they all seem to become available at exactly the same time so now I have 7 books checked out from the library. I guess I know which books I’ll be reading for the next 3 weeks!

Do you ever put a book on hold at the library and then when you finally check it out, you wonder why you put this book on hold? I definitely had that feeling when I was looking at my books. In one of the books I checked out, Falling, the synopsis seems so familiar to a book I read recently, Hostage, that now I am wondering what I was thinking when I put this book on hold. I liked Hostage so maybe I reasoned that I should like Falling as well? But do I want to read what looks like a very similar book? This almost seems like an Armageddon/Deep Impact situation. Maybe I’ll read Falling and do a side-by-side comparison between the two books.

I did pause the rest of my library holds so that I can get through these books before I check out more. I love the library but sometimes it’s just like a flurry of action and I get so flustered trying to make sure I’ve checked out all my books and making sure I’ve read the books I want to read before they are due back.

what I’m reading: concrete evidence by rachel grant.

A year ago Erica Kesling was blackballed from underwater archaeology after taking a job with Jake Novak, a notorious artifact stealer. Now she has a new job on the other side of the country and is working on clearing her name. When an intern begins working for her, Erica gets distracted by his sexy physique and charming personality. But Lee Scott is not really an intern. Rather, he’s been hired by the head of the company to find out who has been smuggling artifacts and Erica is his prime suspect.

There were things about this book that I liked and things I didn’t like. I thought the book had a lot of suspense and tension, mainly around what happens when Jake shows up again. My skin crawled every time he appeared on the page. He was a real creep and shady slimeball and made for some great anxiousness.

There’s a lot going on in this book. There’s a murder from the 1950s, artifact smuggling, tribal politics, Erica’s past, and something about a house that involves the characters going to the patent office. The book takes place in Washington, DC and I loved reading about all the places they go. Lee lives in the Watergate apartment complex and Lee and Erica ride the Metro around the city. I don’t know if the author has lived in DC or just researched the area but I think she did a great job of portraying the city.

This book is a romantic suspense and I have to admit, there were times I found the romance to be super cheesy. At one point, during the Erica and Lee sexy times, they got onto an analogy of baseball and Lee made a comment about they both were going to score and I’m not going to lie, it made me cringe so bad. The characters do fall in love super fast but what are you going to expect from a romance novel.

I did find Erica and Lee to be extremely frustrating and annoying at times, mostly when they kept saying that they couldn’t trust each other and tell each other their secrets. I mean, they claim to love each other but can’t tell the other the truth because they think one of them is behind the artifact smuggling. It was just so contradictory.

This is the first book in the Evidence series. I think it was a good beginning and that I will read more in the series.

To check out other reviews, find this book on goodreads or amazon. Please note, all links are affiliate which gives a small portion of profit to Rainy Days and Clichés. Thank you so much for your continuous kindness!

top ten tuesday: books I really liked but can’t remember anything about.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is Most Recent Additions to my Book Collection. But…I actually haven’t purchased any books lately so I don’t have anything to post about that.

So, I’m going rogue with a different top ten Tuesday topic – Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Much/Anything About. This was a topic a few years ago but I thought it sounded interesting and would let me look back and reminisce on some of my reading. I’ve been tracking my reading on Goodreads since about 2010 so I went on the site and looked at all the books I rated either 5 or 4 stars and looked for any that I couldn’t remember what the book was about. Spoiler alert – there were a lot! I narrowed my list down to 10 forgotten books for you.

Here are 10 Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Much/Anything About:

1. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thomson Walker. I read this book in 2015 and liked it enough to give it 5 stars. Unfortunately, I just read the synopsis and this book doesn’t even sound familiar to me. Am I sure I read it?

2. The Lake House by Kate Morton. I read this book in 2017. I can’t even remember what this book was about but I think that’s more because I get it confused with the Sandra Bullock/Keanu Reeves movie “The Lake House“.

3. Almost Home by Pam Jenoff. I read this book in 2010. I…do not remember this book.

4. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols. I read this book in 2012. I went through a phase where, even though I was not a young adult, I read all the young adult books I could get my hands on. This one got lumped in there and is now lost amongst all the YA books that blur together.

5. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I read this book in 2015. I vaguely remember this book about an IT guy who reads the emails of employees who work at his company and falls in love with one of those employees but that’s it.

6. The Heartbreaker Bay series by Jill Shalvis. I started this series in 2017 and I read about 5 or 6 books in this series. I recall that it took place in a town near San Francisco but there were so many characters and so many books that I could not keep up with everyone and now I couldn’t tell you who any of the characters are.

7. The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff. Another book by Pam Jenoff that I don’t remember reading! Apparently, I read this book in 2014 and that’s about all I can tell you.

8. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. I know I read this book because the synopsis sounds very familiar. According to Goodreads I read it in 2018 but that’s all I know.

9. The Accident by Chris Pavone. I read this book in 2015 for my book club and I just read the summary for this book again and I can’t believe I don’t remember anything about it. It sounds like a book that I would totally love and apparently I did but I can’t remember why.

10. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This book sounds so familiar! I know I read it in 2015 but I don’t remember anything about it. I couldn’t even tell you how it ends.

What books have you loved but can’t recall what they’re about?

what I’m reading: the invisible life of addie larue by v.e. schwab.

In 1714, Addie LaRue prays to the old gods to save her from an unwanted marriage. But the entity that answers her call is more devil than god and grants Addie’s wish for freedom. He will give her immortality until she is tired of living, but in exchange, she is destined to be forgotten by everyone. Addie lives the next 300 years and sees war, peace, and crosses continents, with no one remembering her or knowing her name. Until one day she crosses paths with a man named Henry in New York who remembers her.

I’ve been sitting here trying to think of what to say about this book. On one hand, I thought it was super interesting. Addie LaRue makes a deal for immortality but in exchange, she is cursed to be forgotten by everyone who meets her. Throughout the book we see little snippets of Addie’s life over 300 years. We see how she “meets” the same people over consecutive days, consistently orchestrating new encounters. Whenever she moves out of the eye line of someone, she is instantly forgotten. We see as Addie learns and uses this to her advantage to make her mark in the world.

On the other hand, this book was incredibly long and felt like it dragged at times. There was also a lot of repetition. I wished I had read this book in kindle form, that way I could run a search of how many times the author talks about dark curls falling over a brow.

I was really only invested in this book at the end, just because I couldn’t figure out how the author was going to conclude and wrap up the book. I don’t know that I love the ending of the book but I guess it was satisfactory. I feel that the author ended the book in the only way that she could.

This is the first V.E. Schwab (or Victoria Schwab) book that I’ve read and I really enjoyed the writing. I thought it was very lyrical and appealing. I have read some reviews that say the writing in this book is different than other books by this author but since I haven’t read any of her other books, I can’t speak to that.

I liked this book but I fear that, like Addie LaRue, it will soon be forgotten.

To check out other reviews, find this book on goodreads or amazon. Please note, all links are affiliate which gives a small portion of profit to Rainy Days and Clichés. Thank you so much for your continuous kindness!

2021 reading in review.

I read 58 books in 2021. My goal was to read 52 books so, in my opinion, I totally crushed this goal. Last year I was in a bit of a reading slump, but I read some great books this year.

Here’s my 2021 reading in review:

Number of books read: 58
This averages out to just a little bit over 1 book read per week.

Number of pages read: 21,159
Averages out to approximately 407 pages read a week.

Longest book:
Happily Ever After at 496 pages.

Shortest book:
The Beauty of Living Twice at 244 pages.

Average Book Length:
364 pages

According to Goodreads, my average rating was 3.2 stars. I tend to rate most books around 3 or so (or as Goodreads likes to say “It was good”). I only rated 2 books in 2021 as 5 stars.

Books by genre:
Fiction – 53
Nonfiction – 5

Books read for book club – 0
My book club met a few times last year but I was only able to join them in December when we did an ornament exchange. We are planning to hopefully meet more in 2022 so I am counting there being at least 1 book that I read for book club this year.

Books by acquisition type:
31 books were borrowed from the library
26 books were owned by me
1 book was borrowed from a friend

Books by format:
Paperback – 21
Hardback – 17
Ebooks – 20

I try not to buy hardback books, just because they are so expensive. Most of the hardback books I read this year were borrowed from the library.

Happy reading!!

december wrap up: don’t look up and ice cream.

I realized yesterday when I was writing up my 2021 year in review that I hadn’t done a December wrap-up. I probably should have published this before the year in review but, oh well! December was a busy month for me, workwise. I felt like I worked a lot of hours, especially in the days leading up to the holidays. I wanted to make sure I had finished everything before I left to go out of town. And then the last week of December has been sort of a bust. I was lucky that I was able to fly back into Seattle on the 27th and that my flight didn’t get delayed too much. Still, I made it home a good 5 hours later than planned. Then the temperature has been below freezing for the past week, which makes me not excited to go outside and do things. Hopefully, the coming weather will be better! Here is my monthly wrap-up of some of the things I’ve watched, eaten or drank, or just loved for the month of December.

What I’m watching:
In addition to all the Hallmark Channel movies I watched, I watched a couple movies on Netflix. I watched Don’t Look Up and I may be in the minority here, but I thought it was….fine? Maybe I don’t think too deeply about the movies I watch but I did not get that it was a metaphor for climate change and would never have guessed that if I didn’t read it somewhere. I thought it was interesting but it’s not a movie that I would likely watch again. One movie that I did like on Netflix was Single All The Way. I thought it was funny and cute and I could definitely see myself watching it next year during Christmas.

What I’m eating:
I know it’s wintertime and it’s cold outside but I have been obsessed with the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Peanut Butter Half Baked. It’s chocolate and peanut butter ice cream with pieces of peanut butter cookie dough and fudge brownies mixed in. I buy it just about every time I go to the grocery store. I try to make it last but let’s be honest – I usually end up eating the whole pint in one sitting. I can’t help myself! It has peanut butter and bits of brownie pieces, some of my favorite sweets.

What I’m loving:
It’s the end of the year so everything restarts on Jan. 1. It’s time for a fresh start and new planners and new journals. I love new beginnings and starting over in the new year. I have new goals and new plans for 2022 and I’m excited to put them into place.

See you next month!

what I did in 2021.

I can’t believe this year is finally over. Remember, at the end of 2020, how we thought everything would be different in 2021? And then it wasn’t? Oh well. At least we got through another year. I thought I would look back and review everything I’ve done this year

In 2021 I have:

  • pulled through year 2 of lockdown/quarantine
  • bought more face masks that I hope I will never need
  • walked over 983 miles around the waterfront and lakes in Seattle
  • drank so many caramel lattes
  • took the ferry to Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo
  • got vaccinated
  • participated in 3 virtual 5ks
  • discovered I don’t really like virtual 5ks
  • underwent a root canal
  • almost melted away during the summer heatwave
  • visited family in California
  • took an overnight trip to Leavenworth, WA
  • went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum
  • finally purchased new glasses after having the same pair for about 10 years
  • read 58 books
  • kept my plants alive for another year
  • transitioned to slowly going back into the office, three days a week
  • started journaling again
  • took hundreds of photos of flowers on my walks
  • saw my book club friends for the first time in 2 years
  • baked an apple pie from scratch for Thanksgiving
  • enjoyed seeing my family, sans masks, at Christmas
  • looked forward to what 2022 will bring.

Happy New Year!

5 things I love and 5 things I hate about hallmark channel holiday movies.

You know it’s December because the Hallmark Channel is airing its lineup of holiday movies nonstop. As a dedicated watcher of these Hallmark movies, I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to watch these cheesy and predictable films. Not only do I find them to be comforting and pleasing to watch, but they are also just the thing to get me in the holiday spirit. They are the perfect movies to watch when writing Christmas cards, wrapping presents, or just lounging around on a weekend day. That being said, there are some things about these movies that drive me crazy.

Here are 5 things I love and 5 things I hate about Hallmark Channel’s holiday movies.

What I love:

All the Christmas decorations.
I love seeing all the Christmas decorations, how every store and cafe and house goes all out with the decorations. Every home and city appears to be professionally decorated with miles of garland and every knickknack you could imagine. I watched one movie where two characters were walking down the street and just about every storefront they passed had some sort of decoration out front, like huge gingerbread men or nutcrackers.

Small towns.
So many of these movies take place in small towns and they look so cute! It makes me want to move to a small town so I could go to the coffee shop every morning where the owner knows my name and I can walk down Main Street and know every person I pass. And of course, I would go to the tree lighting ceremony and parade and there would be lots of stalls where I could buy hot chocolate and all the Christmas snacks.

The happily-ever-after endings.
Yes, all these movies are cheesy, but that’s what makes them so great. They all have a happy ending where the couple ends up together and everything is right. There’s rarely any real drama between the main characters and we are led to believe they live happily ever after. They are such low stakes and the only issue is which hotel the company holiday party will be at.

Stars from all my favorite 90s shows.
Where else could I watch Candance Cameron Bure, Lacey Chabert, Danica McKellar, and Alison Sweeney?

You can watch them anytime.
I have been known to watch Christmas movies in the middle of summer. In my opinion, they’re not just for the holiday season. Even though Christmas is a, if not the, main theme, you could really watch these movies at all times of the year.


What I hate:

All the Christmas decorations.
I have to wonder how the characters store all their Christmas decorations. Every house and apartment is just filled with some sort of decoration in every spot. There is garland around every window, there’s always a humungous tree, and ornaments and trinkets everywhere. I watched one movie where the guest bedroom was filled with Christmas decorations and I’m just sitting here thinking, “Where do they have room to store all this stuff?”

Winter clothes that are worn improperly.
This is my main complaint about Hallmark Channel holiday movies – the characters do not wear their winter clothes correctly. I can’t tell you how many times a character is in a movie, walking around outside where there is snow on the ground and/or it is actually snowing, and they have their coat unbuttoned. If it is cold enough for snow, then your coat needs to be buttoned or zipped up. People are usually wearing gloves, so we know it’s cold enough that your hands are cold, but not cold enough to button up your coat. Also, so many characters do not know how to wear scarves. I’ve seen so many characters wearing scarves on the outside of their coat, under their coat collar, or they are just loosely looped around their neck. This does nothing to keep your neck warm.

The bottomless suitcase.
We all know that there is usually a woman who goes back to her hometown or goes on a business trip somewhere and she usually only has about one suitcase. Yet, she somehow manages to have an extensive wardrobe that includes three different winter coats. How does all that fit into her one piece of luggage?

Everyone is a morning person.
It seems like everyone in these movies are morning people. They are always up early and doing Christmasy things, even when on vacation. I don’t know about you but when I go home to my parent’s house and am on vacation, I like to sleep in. I am not up at 7:30 with my hair and makeup done and an immaculate outfit on, just to get coffee.

The workaholics.
I don’t know where you work, but where I work Christmas is usually a downtime. It seems like in all the Hallmark movies, there is a big project that has to be finished by Christmas, or they have two weeks to put together the holiday party, or they have to travel on Christmas Eve. Also, a lot of promotions seem to come up around Christmastime. I guess I just find that odd since most places are ghost towns during the holiday season.

Did you watch any Hallmark Channel movies this year? What was your favorite?

what I’m reading: the christmas dress by courtney cole.

When Meg’s father dies, she puts her fashion world dreams on hold and returns home to Chicago to manage her father’s apartment building. Unfortunately, the building is practically falling apart and there’s no money to pay for any repairs. Meanwhile, Meg becomes friends with one of the residents, Ellie, who gifts Meg a vintage dress that magically fits her. The magically fitting dress inspires Meg to enter a fashion contest to hopefully win the money to save the crumbling building.

This is a lovely holiday read. It is charming and heartwarming and full of interesting characters.

I loved the relationships that Meg forms with all the residents. Whether she’s trying to win over grumpy Sylvie, having heart-to-heart talks with Ellie, or flirting with handyman Logan, I enjoyed seeing her interact with everyone. There were a couple of times where I got some of the residents mixed up and couldn’t figure out who was who, but it didn’t really have any impact on the story.

This is another book that I could see as a Hallmark movie. It has just that right touch of Christmas and magic as well as a bit of drama to keep the story interesting. There is also some romance and, although it’s a bit predictable, everything gets wrapped up neatly at the end.

There’s not much more that I can say about this book other than there was a part of the book, towards the end, that I did find to be a bit frustrating. It has to do with Meg’s reaction to something. However, that storyline is wrapped up fairly quickly so it didn’t bother me too much.

This is a cute holiday read, full of Christmas spirit.

To check out other reviews, find this book on goodreads or amazon. Please note, all links are affiliate which gives a small portion of profit to Rainy Days and Clichés. Thank you so much for your continuous kindness!

top ten tuesday: best books I read in 2021.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is Best Books I Read in 2021. At the time of writing this post, I’ve read 56 books this year. I couldn’t come up with the 10 best books that I read in 2021, but I do have 6 that are my favorite so far.

1. The Last Flight by Julie Clark.
I gushed about this book to a couple friends when we were talking about good books we had read and would recommend. I thought it was interesting and made me think. Read my review here.

2. Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn.
The first book I read in 2021 and it remains one of my favorite. I loved that the main character was into planners and calligraphy and organization. This book really brought a smile to my face. Review my review here.

3. The Runner by Stephen Leather.
I really liked this MI5/spy book. I looked to read more books by this author but he seems to concentrate on writing a series. Read my review here.

4. The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes.
One of the best science fiction books I read this year. I loved the characters and I loved the plot. I’m sad that this series only appears to have had 2 books in it and now there are no more to read. Read my review here.

5. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.
I still think about this book and its ending. The more I think about the ending, the more I like it and think that it was the best way to finish the book. Read my review here.

6. Battle Royal by Lucy Parker.
This book was super cute! It had lots of baking and baking competitions and I really liked the love story. Read my review here.

Those are my top reads of 2021!