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    Life Lately

    Best Read of 2017

    I read 59 books in the year of 2017. My goal for 2018? 100. I know, I know, pretttyyyyy high stakes there but I’m going to work on hitting that goal by December 31st of 2018.

    Over the past year here have been my most favorite reads.

    Behind Closed Doors

    Not a Sound

    The Perfect Stranger

    It Ends with Us

    The Life We Bury

    Small Great Things

    I Let You Go

    Into the Water

    The Secret Life of Violet Grant

    The Likeness

    The Good Daughter

    Lie to Me


    All of those books have stuck with me in the last year and stuck out as some of my absolute favorites. I’ve already kicked off 2018 with some great books that will definitely be in the running for top books of 2018. For now, go get one of those books above, I promise you won’t regret it!

    Recent Reads

    What I Read: December

    For the last month of 2017 I read some of my favorite books of the year. I plan on posting all of my 2017 reads and my top 5 later this week but this past month may have been my favorite month so far!

    The Secret Life of Violet Grant

    5 out of 5

    This book was just so so good. I have truly loved all of Beatriz Williams novel’s I’ve read and this one did not disappoint. This book centers on the life of Vivian Schuyler who one day receives a package of a suitcase from a woman named Violet Grant. This woman turns out to be her long lost aunt’s suitcase and the story of her aunt’s life brings tragedy, love, and heartbreak. I couldn’t put this one down and loved how it ended.

    The Trespasser

    3.5 out of 5

    Antoinette Conway is one of the newest members on the murder squad when a call comes in to her and her partner, Steve, about a murder of a young beautiful woman. Thining this is another lovers quarrel gone wrong, Antoinette and her partner soon find out that there is more to this case than what meets the eye. And they continue to wonder why other squad members are so quick to charge the boyfriend rather than work to investigate this case more throughly. This was not my favorite Tana French novel but also not my least favorite- it was just okay.

    Maybe Not

    4 out of 5

    I just love Colleen Hoover. I should probably have read this book before her Maybe Someday book which also focuses on the same characters. This was a very short book (only like 80-100 pages or so) and focused on two people who accidentally fall in love with each other. Both having broken pasts they learn to navigate their new relationship and fall in love head over heels.

    The Good Daughter

    5 out of 5

    I was a little hesitant to pick up Karen Slaughter’s newest book, The Good Daughter, because I was so disturbed by Pretty Girls (that was a darrrrk book, friends). But this book did not disappoint and was so so good. This book focuses on two daughters, Charlotte and Samantha, who watch their mother get shot and are then held at gunpoint and forced into the woods to meet their fate. One sister gets away and the other is shot and burried alive. Suprisingly, both survive. Now, 28 years later, they are both forced to relive their past after a school shooting takes place where a 17 year old girl is thought to be the perpetrator. This was a page turner and was so so good.

    Lie to Me

    5 out of 5

    A play off of Gone Girl, this book focuses on a married couple who from the outside seem to have it all. The career, the money, the perfect house, etc. That is until one morning when Ethan comes downstairs to find a note from his wife, Sutton, declaring she’s leaving him and to not come looking for her. Ethan notices that nothing of his wife’s is missing; her phone, purse, lap top, everything is still at home. He suddenly begins to think something very wrong has happened to his wife. Unfortunately, getting the police involved puts him right in the spotlight as the suspect for his wife’s disappearance. I didn’t see the ending on this one coming at all and was pleasantly surprised by how the plot twist transpired.

    Little Deaths

    4 out of 5

    Two children are found missing from their mother’s apartment one morning in Queens New York in 1965. All evidence points to a kidnapping until the children are found dead just days later. The police turn all of their attention to the mother, Ruth, with her shady past and begin planning their evidence for her arrest. Pete, a reporter, decides he’s going to find out the truth on what really happened. This book makes you wait until the very last page (literally) to figure out what happened and I never saw this ending coming either. It’s a good one for sure.

    Slammed

    5 out of 5

    I’ve said it once I’ll say it again- I love Colleen Hoover. She’s just so good at what she does and this book was another of my favorites. This book focuses on 18 year old, Lakeyn whose family has recently moved to Michigan after the unexpected and tragic death of her father. Her family moves into a street where her new neighbor Will and his younger brother live. Their siblings immediately hit it off and she and Will quickly become attracted to each other. Through tragedy and the simple fact that Will and Lakeyn can’t be together you learn about each of their pasts and the struggles they currently face both together and separately. I read this one in one day (as I do most Colleen Hoover books because they are impossible to put down!) This was no different.


    I can’t wait to share my favorite reads of 2017! I ended the year with 59 books read and my goals for 2018 is pretty lofty of 100. We’ll see how that goes.

    Life Lately

    A Year in Review: 2017

    What a year 2017 was. Looking back on 2017 it was great but also extremly weird. We faced some hard core challenges, sickeness and health, fellowship, laughter, tears, and much much more. Here are a few highlights:

    January:

    This was probably the craziest month of the entire year to be honest. This was the month (just 9 days into the new year I might add) that Matt had his table saw accident.

    Sparing any gruesome images this is the only picture I can post that doesn’t look as bad as this accident truly was. Now, almost a year to the date later, I’m amazed by how his fingers have healed. Aside from re-learning his golf swing (which thankfully he didn’t do much of before anyways), he’s back to being able to fully function and do literally everything. It’s truly an incredible blessing and one that we are so thankful for.

    February

    With Matt’s injury in January, I spent February learning how to do my first big house project all by myself. I ship-lapped this entire wall in my house and aside from Matt helping hold a few of the big plywood slats at the top did this entirely by myself.

    This was a HUGE accomplishment for me and I absolutely love how this project turned out.

    March

    March was spent hopping around to a few new spots in our cute little town of Matthews. We checked out a new beer garden, a few new restaurants, and enjoyed spending time with friends on the weekend.

    April

    April was quite an eventful month for the Hall’s. April came with my 24th birthday and our first big party at our new house. We hosted beer olympics at our house and had the most fun with our friends.

    Shortly after this I can’t tell you what went on (happy birthday to me) but I can tell you that I heard everyone had a ton of fun, they drank all the drinks, ate all the food, and partied all the night.

    May

    May we enjoyed a much needed relaxing long weekend at the beach with my family. We ate, drank, and enjoyed some much needed R&R.

    Can’t wait to be back this year with this crew!

    June

    June we started a co-ed basketball league and it brought me back to the glory days of high school basketball. I loved every part of it, even though we technically didn’t really play in a “co-ed” league and all the other teams were 100x better than us I still loved being back on the court.

    July

    Another house project was completed in July. I decided to re-do our entire laundry room and ship lap the entire thing. This was quite the project and took much longer than the one wall I did in February.

    Overall, I love how it turned out but it was quite the project and definitely not for the faint of heart.

    August

    In August we experienced our first huge home ownership “pain” when we came home one day to find a main water line bust in the front of our house. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I essentially live filmed my sweet husband and brother in law trying to/fixing it. It was quite the event.

    They actually fixed it and then we got our water bill which was $800 and the water company wouldn’t waive it unless we had the reciept from the company that fixed it for us -_-. Turns out DIY projects only get you so far in life in the real world. Alas, our homeowners insurance covered this fix fo free (bless up and also if you own a home go and purchase exterior pipe insurance or something like that because this fix, yes, that tiny hole, was going to cost us upwards of $2,500 to get fixed without insurance).

    This also happened to be our 1 year celebration of buying our house. Oh the irony.

    September

    September came with a fun girls trip weekend with my cousins, aunts, and grandma in Asheville.

    We explored the Biltmore, drank lots of wine, ate lots of yummy food and laughed at many fun memories we’ve shared together.

    During this girls weekend trip, Matt went hunting with my dad and shot his first deer.

    If this picture doesn’t scream mountain man status, I truly don’t know what does.

    October

    October was fairly normal. Matt got hit on in the grocery store while buying candy for halloween, typical, and we went to an alumni event at the high school we graduated from.

    Matt played many a football games on this field and we loved getting to visit with friends and teachers from our high school glory days. Can’t believe I got so lucky to end up with that stud. All those Friday night lights where all the girls thought Matt Hall was quite the stud, he was friends, and still is.

    November

    November was a very busy month. A month of small house projects and a month of gathering with friends and fellowshipping. I put up this faux brick wall in our house (the entire project only cost about $35- and was SO fun to do!) in time for Thanksgiving.

    I love love love how it turned out and just need to paint/distress the shelves to be a bit darker now. Yay for 2018 projects to come!

    A week before Thanksgiving I decided to host a few teams at work and their significant others at our house for Friendsgiving. It was so fun and everyone brought food over, we watched football, had a fire outside, and fed my soul with happiness having our home opened up to our friends to come and visit in.

    A week after friendsgiving we hosted both sides of our family for Thanksgiving day. To say our November was full of fellowship (and lots of cleaning my house) is quite the understatement.

    What a month November was.

    December

    December was a month of parties and holiday cheer.

    We danced the night away at our work Christmas party and loved every second of it. We enjoyed Christmas with our family and friends, and took a few extra days off work to enjoy some time together to rest and recooperate for the new year ahead.

    Overall, 2017 was a year I will never forget. It started off rocky and challenging and ended with so much love and fellowship to make me so thankful for our family and friends we have in our life. While we are still learning, adjusting, growing, from what we learned in 2017 we are ready for 2018 and know it’s going to be a year that completely blows our mind.

    Cheers to 2018!

    Recent Reads

    How I Read So Much

    People are always pretty astounded when they hear about how much I read. I read a lot. I don’t say this to brag (or maybe I do…?) I say this because it’s true. It’s something I do everyday and it’s a huge stress reliever for me. A lot of my friends and co-workers will ask how I have the time to read so much so I figured it was time to spill the beans and tell the world how I make this happen.

    I always have a book with me

    Literally I always do. Whether it’s in my purse or on my ipad on the kindle app OR on my phone on the kindle app you best believe I always have a book. If I didn’t have a book with me all the time I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of all the times I could be reading (in between appointments, during lunch, after work, while waiting in the car for Matt/something). The first step in wanting to read more is to make sure you always have a book with you.

    I stress relieve through reading

    I know I mentioned it above but it’s truly the best way for me personally to relieve stress. For a long time working out was a huge stress reliever for me (and it still is when I’m actually diligently going to workout….. a topic for another day…). It helps me wind down from the day. If you’re like me, your mind goes 1 million miles an hour all day long even right before you go to bed. I over think and think through and plan all the time in my mind. The one way I can shut my mind down, get away, and stop thinking/worrying about what is going on is to read.

    I read every single night before going to sleep

    A lot of my friends say things like “whenever I start reading at night I always end up falling asleep so fast and not reading much.” BUT ISN’T THAT GLORIOUS?! Seriously, I love reading and then feeling my eyes slowly grow heavier. Our phones and technology can keep you up so much longer than you really should be from the blue light coming from those screens plus the holes you can get into when browsing social media. One minute it’s 9:00 and you’re looking at your phone on instagram and the next minute its 10:45 and you have no idea where the time went.

    I only read books I want to read

    I mean that. If I start reading a book and after the first 50-100 pages I just can’t stand to pick it up or know what happens I just stop reading it. If I am recommended a book that’s not a genre I typically like or want to read I will not read it (thanks for the recommendations though!) I like to read as a hobby and passion but not as a chore so it has to always be something I enjoy and if I don’t want to read it but feel obligated to I won’t enjoy it.

    I typically read more than I watch TV

    Again this is just a personal preference for me. Matt and I like to binge watch TV shows together that we like. If we don’t have a show going on or if he’s working in the wood shop then I’m either a) cleaning up around the house b) making food or c) reading. I do have my fall shows that I watch (Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Greys Anatomy) but those shows aren’t currently showing and so I just will read instead of watch something by myself.

    I like the challenge

    I know. I know. But seriously. Give me a big book or tell me I can’t finish it and watch me do it. I think books are like puzzles where in my mind if I like it I just finish it and do it. I get a huge sense of accomplishment in finishing a book and love to see the stack that piles up to be taken back to the library knowing that I finished those books.


    If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this (and realize that yes, while few, I do actually have friends) and haven’t wanted to tell me to get over myself then #YGG! (Mom, that means You Go Girl).

    I wish I could say there was more genius work that went into this but that’s really all there is to it. If you’re looking to read more, take one of the above pointers and do like Nike, just do it.

    Recent Reads

    What I Read: November

    A little behind on what I read in November (and to be honest, I was semi-disappointed in the books I read in November). I didn’t read very many and maybe that’s because all the books I read in November just weren’t my favorite. They weren’t horrible, but they just weren’t my favorite.

    On Mystic Lake

    4.5 out of 5

    Now I will say, I do love me some Kristin Hannah. I can’t lie in saying that I didn’t enjoy this book (and cry like I always do in her books). This book is all about a marriage crumbling and a woman who finds herself back in her hometown, depressed, confused, and searching for who she is without her husband. This book was heart wrenching but had quite a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming.

     

    Bring Her Home

    3.5 out of 5

    Shortly after the death of his wife and the mother of their daughter, Bill finds himself in the hospital looking over his 15 year old brutally beaten daughter. Her friend, has been found dead at the scene. Bill begins to piece together to find out who did this to his daughter and her friend and through a series of twists and turns realizes that he doesn’t actually know who his daughter is. This was quite the thriller but I guessed what happened like half way through the book (and was right I might add) but it was overall just an okay book.

    The Child

    3 out of 5

    This was just an okay book. It wasn’t anything too engrossing but it wasn’t boring either. The ending was by far the best but the entire book as a whole was just okay. I think I was just expecting more. This book centers around the remains of a baby that has been buried for years at a construction site where an old house once was. Kate, a journalist, sets her sights on figuring out whose baby this is and what happened. Her journey to find out what happens forces her to cross path’s with two women who believe it may be there baby. Without giving anything away, the ending was great but I felt that the middle was just a little slow overall.

    Without Merit

    5 out of 5

    I just love me some Colleen Hoover. All of her books are just so so good and they always end just so happy and wonderful and I just love her. This book is about a girl named Merit who lives with quite a family. Her family lives in a renovated church, her dad is now married to her mom’s once was live in nurse while the mom still lives in the basement, her twin sister is on the verge of being a necrophiliac and her family could not be weirder in her mind. This book walks you through a love story that happens from the rawness and sadness that Merit is truly feeling on the inside. This is a good one friends, definitely pick this one up!


    December is looking a little better in the book category. I’m hoping to do a post on my favorite books of the year and which ones really stuck with me. I have a few days off coming up that I plan on doing nothing but sit on my couch with the fire burning, Christmas music playing, coffee in one hand, and a book in the other.

    Please share with me what you’re reading lately?? I have a huge stack that I gotta finish up soon to get back to the library but am always looking for more suggestions 🙂