Finished 2 more books! Nadia Knows Best is the 2nd book I've read by Jill Mansell. The first was Rumour Has It. I talked about that one when I went over my summer reads last year. I actually felt about the same about Nadia Knows Best as I did about Rumour Has It. It was pretty enjoyable. I read it fairly quickly. But again, I wasn't super invested in the characters. I'm not sure what it is, but I just don't get into her characters like I do in some other books. The weird thing for me, though, is that I'm still willing to pick up another one of hers if I'm in a book slump & just need something to read. I have a couple more on my Kindle that I got for like $1.00 one day. So maybe I'll try out another sometime in the future.
Now, the second book I read was The Art Forger. This book was actually really good! I enjoyed the mystery aspect of it. It's about a woman who is a painter and her job is to do reproductions or famous paintings for a website called reproductions.com. She is asked to do a reproduction of a famous painting and when she is investigating the famous painting, she actually starts to believe that it is a forgery itself! So it was really interesting! I don't know much about art or paintings, but I still was able to get into it! I definitely recommend that one. Again, not my absolute favorite, but it's great writing & great characters & definitely one of the better books I've read.
I finished 2 more books! Splendor, the final book in The Luxe series was great! I wasn't sure that I liked the ending, but after giving it some thought, I really did. I think the character of Diana Holland is one of my favorite female characters in a young adult book. She's really strong. I definitely recommend this series! It's not my absolute favorite series ever, but it's up there!
I also finished Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. This one was ok. I mean, on the one hand I must've liked it because I finished it in less than 24 hours. Literally couldn't put it down! But on the other hand, now that I've finished it, I just don't think it was the best. For one thing, it was a little more risque than I usually like to read. Nothing too bad, but just more than I usually go for. I also wasn't crazy about reading what happened to the characters - and by that I mean it's very sad. It's about abuse and stuff and I didn't totally realize that before I started it. I got it for free on Amazon and I figured I'd give it a shot. Again, if you're looking for a quick read, this is great for that, but don't expect to be blown away by great literature or anything.
Just checking in to say I finished book 3 in The Luxe series! I flew right through Envy and enjoyed it as much as I did the first 2! It's been a while since I've gone through a series like this! I'm really enjoying it. Onto book 4!!
Books 1 and 2 on my list of 50 for the year were actually finished in 2013. This was unintentional. I started reading The Luxe on December 29 and thought I'd finish it in 2014 and it would be ok. Well, instead I got totally sucked into it and finished the first 2 books in 3 days. It is currently January 1 and I am on the 3rd book right now, Envy.
The Luxe is basically Gossip Girl, but set in 1899. So if you are at all interested in Gossip Girl, or the lifestyles of the rich & fabulous back when girls wore beautiful dresses like those on the cover, then this book is for you. It has drama, romance, forbidden love, family struggles, money, social climbing, etc. I was really impressed by how quickly I was drawn into it.
The second book, Rumors, just continues the story and I was just as captivated by it as I was by the first one. There are 4 books total in the series and as I said already, I'm currently in the beginning of book 3.
I'd definitely rate both of these at least a 4 out of 5, so check them out!!
I've chosen a word for 2014 that I'm going to focus on. I prayed about it for a while and honestly didn't have to do as much soul searching as I thought I would because it was pretty apparent to me what word I needed to focus on.
I'm going to try to simplify in all areas of my life: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, relational and financial. I'm trying to give myself a goal with each area to help myself simplify. Some may not seem like simplifying to you, but to me they are.
Physical: Work out at least 3 times a week
This strangely adds more to my week, but I want to make sure my time is spent on things I should be prioritizing and not on things I shouldn't.
Mental: Read 50 books this year
Again, this adds more time in this area, but it means I have to take time away from other areas. I'm going to stop watching some TV shows and stop surfing around on my iPad and focus on reading.
Spiritual: Spend time daily reading the Bible
This is something I strive to do anyway, but it just can get pushed aside in the day to day and it should be the first thing I focus on. I'm going to try to wake up earlier and do this really intentionally.
Emotional: Blog more
I know this is a weird place to put blogging - as an emotional goal - but for me, blogging has always made me slow down and stop and think for a little bit. And the reason why I haven't done it much in the last year is because I haven't allowed myself time to slow down and stop long enough to do it. So setting aside time to stop and reflect through blogging is helpful for me emotionally.
Relational: Monthly dates outside the house with Lewis (& friends)
Lewis and I have regular time throughout the week that we hang out and watch a movie or something, but we need to focus on getting out of the house for some dates. It requires us to stop and talk and it's just exciting. I also need to do the same with some of my girlfriends. We will fit time in here and there but it's never really consistent and I want some intentional time with people I love.
Financial: Do not purchase clothing in 2014
This is the hardest one for me. It really is going to be a huge challenge, but I've been thinking a lot about it and I didn't think a month or even 2 months was enough time to set this goal. I want to cut it out for the entire year and see what kind of a difference it makes.
Honorable mention thoughts:
I have signed up for an account with mint.com to try to track our finances. I would love to pay off some student loans this year.
I'm also going to try to not bring school stuff home unless it's absolutely necessary. I've gotten into this habit of working a lot at home and I just won't have time honestly.
I will finish my Masters in June and I want to start my Rank 1 in August. These are huge steps for me and I'm excited about them!
I would also like to save up the majority of our money for Christmas gifts before December. I have a few ways I'm going to try doing that and I'll post later about how that goes.