All of the Recent Releases | carly reads here

I'm sharing a second book post this month to focus on all of the recent releases I've read recently. I'm not sure how far past the publication day a book can be to still be considered a new release, but for the purposes of this post I'm talking about books published in January to March of this year.

The majority of the time I find new releases I'd like to read from the All of the Books! podcast, and I'm always interested to see what the BOTM club choices are each month. Another thing I've learned recently is to check out the recently added tab on my library home page, because you can often get on the wait list before the release date to help cut down on month long waiting lists.

The Animators | A debut novel about two friends who meet as art students and become animators together. Both Mel and Sharon experienced trauma in their childhood and the story looks at how that shaped their life and their work. This was unexpectedly heavy and hard to read at times, but  I thought the writing was excellent even though I struggled to connect with the characters.
January 31st; contemporary fiction

Dead Letters | You know when you're reading a book and it reminds you of something else and it drives you crazy until you can figure it out? That's how I felt reading Dead Letters, until I finally realized it reminded me so much of Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver. The story is about twin sisters, Ava & Zelda. Ava gets news that Zelda is dead so she has to return home even though she's sure Zelda is still alive and just playing games. Communicating through emails, social media, and letters Zelda sends Ava on a scavenger hunt to try and find out what really happened. Without spoiling anything, this wasn't my favorite, but you might enjoy it. c/o netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
February 21st; fiction/mystery

On Turpentine Lane | The entire time I was reading this I couldn't get over how much I was enjoying it. It's about a women who moves into a new house that has some interesting history to it. It's a little bit about her family, her love life, her job, the house-- it definitely gets a bit quirky, but it's the best light/fun/delightful book I've read in forever. Highly recommend if you want something with endearing characters and an overall cozy feel to it.
February 14th; women's fiction/romance

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth | I'm always excited when I come across YA that isn't fantasy or a love story, so this sounded really interesting. It starts off with a horrific cyber-bullying incident that occurs in middle school, then the second chapter switches over to high school and each chapter alternates between a teacher and different students and their struggles. While it was a clever format it just didn't work for me. The student's chapters each felt too drawn out and almost too stereotypical and the teacher had such poor judgement it seemed unrealistic and took away from other aspects of the story. I think it had a lot of potential, but I felt the author tried to include too many characters and too many tough topics in one book.  c/o netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
January 10th; young adult

 | This wins for most aesthetic cover and at almost 500 pages it's my longest book of the year so far. Pachinko is about Koreans living in Japan and it's told over almost a 100 year span starting in 1910 and follows one family, but many characters. Historical fiction usually isn't my go-to, and I've read very little about Asian culture or history, but this was my favorite book of the year so far. The pacing and passing of time wasn't what I was expecting and felt choppy at times, but somehow it worked. While parts were devastatingly sad, it was a beautifully told story with masterful writing.
February 7th; historical fiction

Next up I'm finally going to get back into Lincoln in the Bardo. I started it on audio a few weeks ago after hearing how amazing the narration was supposed to be (166 different narrators!), only to remember that audiobooks are not my jam- I just can't pay close enough attention and I was really interested in the story and didn't want to miss anything so I switched to a physical copy.

Have you read any great new releases recently?

Spring Things & Wish Listing

Happy first official day of spring! Even though it was still snowy and freezing for most of yesterday and I could do with a lot more 60-70 degree days in the forecast, but such is life. Despite the weather spring has been on my mind for a while, blame that early warm spell we got a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd share some favorite things & a mini wish list.

While fresh flowers are nice, and having the windows down to get fresh air is ideal, we're not quite to those temperatures yet so my floral candles have definitely been getting me in the mood for spring. My current favorite is the holland tulips soy candle I got last summer. It's the smallest single wick candle but the scent throw is amazing & I don't know if anything smells like spring more than tulips. I'm also excited to burn the pink magnolia candle from Target-- from what I found on the website it looks like this fragrance is back this year & available in this really pretty hobnail glass container.

Floral perfumes are my weakness in general. Daisy eau so fresh obviously wins for the prettiest packaging, but english pear & freesia is possibly my all-time favorite scent. While they're both very floral, I find daisy to be more on the sweet side.
a pink lip
My lips get crazily chapped during the winter and the Smith's strawberry lip balm is my all-time favorite. I've tried almost every other version of their lip balms and this one is my absolute favorite. While strawberry strikes me as more summery I wanted to mention it because it's a must if I'm planning on wearing lip color. 

I picked up the Smashbox Liquid Lipstick in babe alert during the VIB sale in the fall. While I immediately loved the formula, I originally planned on switching the shade because even though it swatched beautifully, it looked too orangey on the lips. I ended up trying it on again and actually really liked the color-- I'm not sure if it was the little bit of added color from our trip to Miami, but I think I'll really like it when I totally switch to my darker foundation. I definitely recommend checking out if you're looking for a liquid lipstick that really stays put and doesn't feel overly drying on the lips.
wish listing
With the change of seasons on the way, my wish list is growing a little bit.

(1)I've heard the Charlotte Tilbury lip liner in pillow talk is amazing, so I was really excited to see the shade was now being released in a lipstick formula. It's supposed to be the perfect pinky nude. (2)I'm pretty sure lolita was all of the rage last year, but Kerri always talks about loving Kat Von D lip products, so I'd love to try out the everlasting liquid lipsticks. (3)Apparently I'm all about the lips, but the new Buxum plumping lip liner seems really interesting & has great reviews so far. (4)I don't currently wear eyeshadow enough to justify buying this Smashbox palette, but the colors in the ablaze kit are gorgeous and I love how small and compact it is. (5)I'm not really bit into clothes shopping right now, but I've had my eye on this romper-- I love the structure of it & the burnt sienna color is one of my favorites. 

What's on your wish list for spring? Are you a fan of liquid lipsticks? Floral scents?

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

We finally had the opportunity to visit the Infinity Mirrors exhibit so I thought I would share our visit. Our experience was so different from what I was expecting. I guess because getting tickets was so stressful, and there seemed to be endless articles about it taking 2-3 hours to get through the exhibit, I expected mass chaos or something. Our tickets were for 10:15 and we got there about 15 minutes early-- there were a few people in front of us in line and quite a few people already lined up for the 10:30 time slot, but getting there that early didn't seem necessary. It was all really organized, as you're waiting outside you flash your tickets and get a sticker and a brief rundown of the event and then you get to go inside.

At that point you can check your bags and jackets downstairs, or head right up to the exhibit where you wait in a second line to actually have your tickets scanned before going into the exhibit. While there is an obvious flow, you don't have to go into the rooms in order (with the exception of the last room). Along with the six rooms, there were other amazing art pieces throughout the exhibit, but we kind of breezed over those to take advantage of there being no wait to go into the actual rooms. There were maybe one or two people in front of us and we got through the entire exhibit in about 30 minutes.

You get 20-30 seconds in each of the mirrored rooms and the time goes quickly, but not as fast as I was expecting. In one of the rooms I was actually ready to get out before the time was over. You go in four mirrored rooms, look into one amazing mirrored space, and on the way out pass through the obliteration room and make your mark by adding dot stickers wherever your heart desires.

We snapped about a zillion pictures on our phones, only to look at them later over brunch at B Too and realize that most of the pictures were pretty underwhelming (or blurry)... at least compared to the ultra creative photos splashed all over social media. Lately I've had to stop and remind myself not to compare myself so harshly to others. Life is more than a clever photograph, and the photos we take are our own experiences and memories and nothing in the world can compare to that, so if you're reading this take it as a friendly reminder not to be too hard on yourself.

We definitely hope to go back again while the exhibit is on display so we can take more time looking at the other artwork in the exhibit-- and get a few better photos ;)

carly blogs here; infinity mirrors; hirshhorn;
The exhibit is at the Hirshhorn until May and free tickets become available Monday at 12pm for the following week. It heads to Seattle in June.

Carly Reads Here | March 2017

show us your books, book of the month club, botm, behind her eyes, best thrillers
This post was originally going to be the post of all the new releases, but it turned into the post with all of the thrillers instead. After reading Behind Her Eyes I was in the mood for books I wouldn't be able to put down, and it definitely got me out of my reading lull.

Behind Her Eyes | After hearing all of the hype around the ending of this book, I wanted to read it so bad that I finally joined BOTM(link is my referral code) and eagerly awaited its arrival on my doorstep. It's a psychological thriller about a woman who has an affair with a man, who ends up being her boss, and then she accidentally befriends his wife. I absolutely loved the pace of this book, and how pieces of the puzzle are revealed as you're reading-- not all at once when you get to the end. But the ending made me kind of mad/disappointed. Still 4 stars and highly recommend if you like psychological thrillers.


Friday Things | March 2017

TGIF! Kind of, I'm a little bit bitter that it's going to be in the 30's all weekend. The early snap of warm weather tricked me into thinking spring was coming early and I'm having a hard time readjusting my expectations.
1. While I steered clear of the Christmas themed pop-up because of tales of how insane the lines were, I love all things cherry blossom so really want to try to make it to the pop-up cherry blossom bar. (I'm also really curious to see what happens with the bloom dates with the weird weather we're having)

2. Monk is one of my favorite shows and sadly it isn't available on Netflix or Prime- my mom text me last week to let me know it's going to be on Hallmark-- meaning I can set the DVR and binge to my hearts desire. I'll also add that I felt a little bit like Monk trying to make the above graphic because nothing was lining up correctly.

3. Makeup brush washing mats have been around for quite a while and I was always intrigued, but never enough to pay $20+. A few weeks ago someone mentioned picking one up at TJ Maxx, which was a genius idea, and I was excited when I found one there for $5.99. I was skeptical, because it is kind of gimmicky but it made cleaning my foundation brushes so much easier. Worth every penny!

4. I'm sure this is news to no one but Ed Sheeran released his full album last week and it has been on repeat ever since. He also released his North American tour dates & he's coming to DC in September

5. I wasn't a super fan of The Girl on the Train, but I'm still extremely excited to read Paula Hawkin's new book, coming out in May. On the subject of thrillers, my #showusyourbooks post on Tuesday is going to be all about thrillers I've read recently. Also on the subject of new releases, apparently there's going to be a third book about Louisa Clark (Me Before You, After You) by Jojo Moyes. I'm curious to see what people think because many people weren't fond on the second book.

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with H54Ffab favoritesoh hey friday.

Currently | March 2017

Happy March (and almost springtime), I'm always excited to linkup with Kristen and Gretch to share what I've been up to lately, and Joey for stuff & things.
photo @ convival dc
reading | A Man Called Ove, and I'm mentioning it here because I don't think it's going to make it into a reading recap post. It was the Beyond Words book club pick for February and such a great read. Such good writing, storytelling, character development... you'll laugh and cry.

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