Carly Reads Here | end of the month edition

Everything We Keep | This was a Kindle Unlimited book that caught my eye and was already on my tbr shelf after reading Olya's review. I read this in less than 24 hours because it was so addicting. The author did a really good job setting up the characters and storyline in part 1, and then really kicked up the suspense element in part 2. I had a MAJOR problem with the plot though, and I don't want to give anything away, but the little side story romance was soooo unrealistic and ridiculous to me and didn't fit in at all with the main theme of the suspense/thriller.
All The Breaking Waves | I liked Everything We Keep enough that I wanted to read another book by Lonsdale while it was free with Unlimited. I made an assumption that it was going to be the same type of a book (thriller/suspense) only to find out it was more general women's lit with magical realism. I was skeptical at first, I don't think I've ever read any adult fiction that was fantasy, and this reminded me of Hope Floats and Good Witch in a weird way.

I gave both of the books 3 stars on Goodreads, but I definitely liked Everything We Keep a lot more. It was more 3.5 stars and All The Breaking Waves was more like 2.5.

Adulthood is a Myth | I originally got this to take to Miami but in the end decided against it because it's a comic and I ended up reading it all in one sitting right when I got it. It ended up being a good thing because I didn't want it to get bent or anything weird because it's a book I'm so happy to have in my collection. I love Sarah Anderson's illustrations and humor and you'll especially enjoy it if you're an introvert.
Summer Rental | I wanted a paperback beach read for our trip to Miami and despite never reading any Mary Kay Andrews, this had been on my tbr list since 2014. I got this used for around $4 and it was fine to read at the pool, but I really didn't care for it. I found a lot of the descriptions awkward and the characters kind of boring and predictable.
The Shadow of the Wind | I am totally kicking myself for waiting until the end of my library loan to start this one. I don't think I was in the right mood and I had to rush through most of it, when I think it probably would have been better enjoyed at a slower pace. It's a story about a boy in Barcelona who discovers a book with an interesting past and author. Daniel wants to find out more and it starts off innocently enough until there are many dark twists and turns and mysteries revealed alongside his own journey of self discovery. The writing was beautiful, the dialogue was smart and engaging, and the storyline was intriguing, but I found it hard to follow at times. I think it might have been to do with the timing of when I read it though. Regardless, I think there's something enchanting about reading a book about books.

Thanks to the Beyond Words book club for choosing this book to read and review this month. Next month we're reading A Man Called Ove and you can always linkup your book related posts on the last Friday of the month!

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Read My Shelves | pt I

The idea for this post came to me the day after New Years, as we were in the midst of attempting to rearrange our oversized furniture in our living room. I got slightly distracted rearranging the bookshelf and thought, I really need to prioritize reading some of these books. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but the physical books I own definitely get neglected-- or more easily shoved further back on my TBR list. My library books always take priority, and then e-books in general are just more convenient to read most of the time.

I decided to pick 6 books to read in the first six months of this year. I tried to pick a variety, but they were obviously picked based on my mood at the time. I'm sure I might switch up one or two, but I really want to read 6 books from my physical bookshelf. I didn't realize it until writing this post, but I picked 3 fiction and 3 non-fiction.

Bird By Bird | This book is almost always recommended for a wonderful book on writing. It's subtitled instructions on writing & life, both of which I think I can use in 2017.
Love's Executioner | Yalom shares ten stories of psychotherapy-- I've wanted to read this since 2013 when my professor in a course on clinical work with children recommended it-- he was one of my favorite profs ever.
Unfair | This is from Blogging For Books, and I kind of started it last year (and really liked the chapter or two that I read), but never really committed to reading it. I'm planning to use this for one of the categories in this book challenge, for a book that addresses current events.
Shotgun Lovesongs | I've wanted to read this book since I saw it on a best of list when it came out in 2014, but the library didn't have it as an option, so I finally picked it up over the summer at a used bookstore. I've seen a few people (alyssa) rave about how much they love it, so I'm really excited to finally dig into it.
Middlesex | This is another one that had been on my TBR list forever (2012), so I finally picked up a copy at a used bookstore and have been starring at it on my bookshelf ever since. I'm not super familiar with the synopsis but I have a feeling I'm really going to like it.
Go Set a Watchman | My dad loaned me this after reading it when it came out in 2015. I think this one has been avoided more because of the weird pressure to follow up To Kill a Mockingbird, and in general I'm very leery about reading sequels, or even second books by an author I love because I'm worried they won't live up to my expectations.

Do you hoard books, or do you read them as you buy them?

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Current Hair Routine

I'll start this post off with a full disclosure: I very rarely do my hair-- it's pretty much always in a braid or a bun, I haven't had a professional haircut since January 2014, and my hair type is super straight and fine (the photo above is from April with the Conair You Curl XL & a little hairspray probably). I had big plans to take some recent pictures of my hair, but it hasn't really left a bun in days so... Anyway, the real reason for this post is because I've been using a few newish products that I wanted to share and my normal routine does switch up a bit in the wintertime.

Outside of winter I dry my hair maybe once every 1-2 months-- normally I'm all about the air dry! In winter I don't have that luxury because most of the time it's too cold to go to bed (or go anywhere) with wet hair. Before using my hair dryer, I spray the Bumble & Bumble Invisible Oil Primer as a heat protectant. I usually dry my hair about 50% and then use half a pump of the Verb Ghost Oil that I picked up during the VIB sale in the fall. I had originally planned on purchasing the B&B Invisible Oil, but this caught my eye instead. I liked the philosophy behind the brand and it was a much better price point $14 for 2oz. 

The first time I used it I used a full pump (it suggests using 2-3), and it was waaay too much so I'm always very careful to only use half a pump, halfway through my blow dry. For some reason I don't like it as much when I use it on completely wet hair, though it can be used for a heat protectant. This makes my hair so incredibly soft and smooth. Once it's dry I'll sometimes add a tiny bit more throughout my hair and it really does help encourage me to style my hair (aka wear it down or something).

My current shampoos of choice are Biolage and Redken, though I'd love to throw a drugstore option into the mix, so let me know your favorite. I've been using the Living Proof No Frizz conditioner and always have my HG Fekkai Glossing conditioner on hand too. I meant to purchase the PHD conditioner, but got the No Frizz instead and have been pretty happy with it.  

Like everything else if you live in a cold climate, my hair gets super dry in the winter. I've mentioned coconut oil before, but I get into a routine of applying it to my ends (and then using whatever is leftover on my hands through the rest of my hair) about twice a week on nights when I know I'll wash my hair the following day.

Does your hair suffer in the wintertime? What are some of your must-have hair care products or tools? 
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Carly Reads Here | January

2016 brought me some wonderful reads, but there's nothing quite like a clean slate and the excitement of wondering what books you'll read and love. The first three books I read at the end of December, but still wanted to review them, so they're also in this post.

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15 in 2017

Happy New Year! This was originally supposed to be a 17 in 2017 list, but I couldn't come up with 17 things I wanted to share, so it got shaved down to a completely random number. I don't know that I'd call these goals, it's more a list of things I'd like to accomplish or turn into habits at some point this year.

  • Keep my Netgalley queue in check
  • Complete the Read Harder Challenge & the Modern Day Mrs. Darcy Challenge
  • Daily Gratitude Journal
  • Complete a devotional/bible study (starting with Ephesians that I got forever ago & never completed)
  • Send 24 just because letters 
  • Organize a bullet journal
  • Complete photobooks from our recent trips (the most tedious task ever)
  • Run another 5k
  • Fitness specific goals
    • Squat my bodyweight 
    • 3 unassisted pull-ups (currently soo far away from this one)
    • 3 unassisted pistol squats 
  • Budget/track our grocery spending
  • Intentionally dine out (out of interest, not out of desperation)
  • Connect and commit to a church
  • Appreciate the weekdays 
Some thing are measurable, some are vague, some I'll probably revisit often and others will be more of a challenge. What are you hoping to accomplish or work towards in 2017? 

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