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My Year in Reading | 2017

Merry (almost) Christmas! I look forward to sharing my favorite books of the year all year long, so it's hard to believe it's actually finally time for a best of books recap! 2017 definitely ebbed and flowed for me with reading. During the first half of the year I was reading a lot, then I fizzled out a bit until the end of the year where I was able to squeeze in some last great books.

As far as my star ratings go, I only gave two novels 5-stars, which really only goes to show how rarely I rate anything 5-stars because I read so many amazing books this year-- way more 4-star books than ever! The majority of my books were 2017 releases-- only three books I read this year were published before 2000, which I'm pretty sure is thanks to the All of the Books podcast. I didn't keep up with tracking my book stats, but I can definitely say I read diversely across the fiction genre.

Pachinko | My favorite book of the year! The story and writing were so beautiful with characters that stick with you. my review | purchase

Beartown | This was one of my other 5-star reads. I love Backman's writing and his ability to really bring an entire town to life made this such a moving story for me. Apparently he's writing a sequel!? Which makes me equal parts excited and nervous. my review | purchase

The Leavers | This was such a captivating and heartbreaking story that I didn't want to end. my review | purchase

What Made Maddy Run | This story really stuck with me, because it's such an important topic with really compelling writing.  Read this book. Talk about this book. my review | purchase

My Not So Perfect Life | Definitely one of the most fun books I read all year. I laughed out loud at times and really loved everything from the storyline to all of the characters. my review | purchase

A few other books worth mentioning: Behold the Dreamers, The Hate U Give, and On Turpentine Lane. Persepolis was an amazing graphic novel I read, and I loved the Sarah Anderson comics and I'm already looking forward to her third book coming out next year.

If you want to share your favorite books of the year make sure to linkup with Steph on Tuesday the 26th. See my favorite books from the past few years: best of 2016best of 2015; best of 2014; best of 2013

Weekending & Favorites | December

I would start this post by saying I can't believe Christmas is already just a week away, but this year has gone by so quickly I actually can believe Christmas is next week. I wanted to do a little combo post today with a couple of favorites & some weekending linking up with Biana.

I've always wanted to participate in Wreaths Across America, but would always find out about it too late, so this year I made sure to mark it down on the calendar. Instead of going to Arlington we went to the Alexandria National Cemetery, because I have collapsed arches, meaning my feet start to hurt really bad, really fast (can you tell I'm a really fun pregnant person?) and I thought it would be less walking. It was a bit different from what we were expecting, but a really cool thing to experience, seeing so many people gathered together to honor our fallen Veterans. I definitely recommend checking it out if you ever get the chance, it's held in Veteran cemeteries all across the United States!

We stopped by the Christmas Market downtown and braved the crowds to get a churro-- highly recommend! We were also planning on going to a Festival of Lights, but staying warm on the couch won out instead- hopefully we'll be able to squeeze in going sometime later this week.

I've had my eye on this oversized cardigan from Target for the past couple of weeks so I made sure to order it when I saw it go on sale again. I'm obsessed with the color and anything oversized so I thought it would be perfect. The fit ended up being kind of odd, I know I'm pregnant, but I don't think that was the problem, and I felt like it would pill really quickly so back it went. While I was returning it Target was having another sweater sale so I picked up this lightweight one instead for $14 as soon as I saw the color. It definitely doesn't have the same cozy factor, but I know I'll wear it all the time. I'm still stalking this Free People cardigan (though not exactly how I'd wear it) and wishing I would have got it when it was on sale during Black Friday.

A few weeks ago I made oatmeal butterscotch cookies from a recipe I found on Pinterest and they were divine! I used this recipe, and then realized it's basically the same thing that's on the back of the butterscotch chips (which makes me think of the Friends episode, the one with phoebe's cookies). So it's not anything too fancy, but after a previous butterscotch cookie attempt that didn't turn out the best, I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely make these again.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and holiday season spending time with friends & family!

Carly Reads Here | December

I guess I'm ending my Show Us Your Books posts on a high note this year because this is the post with all of the really good books! I came up one category short for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge (see my list here), and if it wasn't the category for a 600+ page book I might try and squeeze it in these last couple of weeks. Overall I was really happy with the challenge and everything I read was 3.5 stars or above so definitely no flops!

Favorites & Traditions

Happy December! We're officially in the Christmas countdown and I'm trying my best to feel as festive as possible and really enjoy the season. I love a good Christmas q&a and I thought I'd throw in some holiday photos as well since I've been trying to figure out how to better use our camera. We never remember to use it, but with a baby on the way I have a feeling we'll be taking a million photos and my phone camera is kind of the worst.

(More) Books to Bring Holiday Cheer

We're past Thanksgiving, so is it finally safe to talk about Christmas? Before this year I had never realized how opinionated people felt about other people choosing to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I always thought after November 1st was fair game, or honestly if you want to decorate your own house in August, it really wouldn't bother me either. Probably all just a sign I was spending too much time on Twitter...  anyway, last year I enjoyed the post I did on festive Christmas books, so I thought I would do a part 2 this year with some new (to me) books I read over the past few weeks. Part of me feels like I was just writing that post, when I accidentally read the second book in the Elin Hilderbrand series thinking it was the first book!

Friday Favorites | November 2017

Friday posts are always my favorite to read for some reason- it's so fun to read random bits of everyone's week, or see what people have been loving lately.

Affiliate links are used in this post and I'll earn a small commission for any clicks or purchases.

I started reading Anxious For Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World with the P31 online bible study and I have been loving it. Anxiety is a hard thing to talk about, or even put into words, but I've constantly found myself nodding along with what I'm reading and constantly underlining and highlighting.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark has been my treat of choice lately. As someone who struggles with self control when it comes to candy, I love that these are individually wrapped, and they're rich enough that you really do feel satisfied with just one (or maybe two).

I practiced pretty good self control during the Sephora sale, mainly just because two of the things I really wanted were out of stock before I could order, but I did resist adding anything else to my cart. I restocked on my day time moisturizer, the trusty Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion+. I'm really excited to try the new Lancome mascara, and I'm finally going to try the avocado eye cream because my under eyes definitely need a little TLC. Even though it has amazing reviews, I was always a little put off by it because I don't like avocado, but I'm hoping it won't bother me.

I also got this Becca kit, mainly for the Backlight primer, because I'm almost out of the one I got in this post, and it's probably my favorite primer I've ever used, but I definitely didn't need the full-size. I'm also really excited to try the under eye corrector that comes with the kit.

The holiday season is always a little crazy, but it's such a great time to give back where you can. We have to miss the turkey outreach at our church this weekend, but we're hoping to put together a few baskets to drop off at SOME next weekend. If you're local to the DC area they're collecting baskets through the 20th!

On the subject of Thanksgiving, does anyone have any favorite appetizers?

linking up: high five for friday; friday favorites;

Carly Reads Here | November

carly reads here; book bloggers; show us your books; book reviews
I'm so happy to be back linking up with Steph and Jana today to share a couple of books I've read over the past few months. I got in a little bit of a reading slump around June and never really broke out of it. I'm guessing it had something to do with intense morning sickness combined with basically just wanting to watch endless episodes of Jane the Virgin, but I have read a few books here and there. Hopefully by the next show us your books, I'll have finished one or two of the books I want to finish before the end of the year.

The Lying Game | This book was a bit slow and when I think about it not very much happened, but I read it in 24 hours which is rare for me, so it definitely kept me turning the pages. Four girls who became friends one year in boarding school, meet up 17 years later after one of them send a text that says she needs everyone. It kind of gave me those PLL vibes, where you just want to shake the people for still not going to the police. Admittedly the whole premise of the book was a little bit silly to me and I didn't totally get the ending, but I enjoyed it nonetheless for a quick suspense.

Young Jane Young | This was a pretty solid three stars for me-- which isn't bad, I was just expecting to like it a tad more. Basically a woman who changes her identity after having an affair with a congressman and moves from South Florida to Maine. It focuses more on the new life she creates for herself and her daughter based on everything she went through. It was split up in 5 parts, each told from a different point of view. The part told from Jane's daughter's was told through emails she sends to her pen pal-- which was clever, but I realized I wasn't in the mood to read about an angsty 13-year-old. I did really enjoy the first and last parts, and I think there were some strong messages about feminism and workplace harassment.

One of us is Lying | This surprised me in the best way possible and had one of the best YA romances I've read in a long time (it's a mystery/thriller btw). It's about a group of five high school students from different cliques who end up in detention together one day, and one of them ends up dead, but you don't know who did it. From the first few chapters I really enjoyed the tone of the book. The characters all seemed real-- it didn't feel like an adult trying too hard to sound like a teenager, which I think can sometimes happen in YA.

What have you read lately?
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