Category: monthly rewind

December 1, 2017

Montly Rewind | November 2017

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I can’t believe it’s December. It feels like I was just melting in the August heat, but I blinked, and everyone is bundled up in sweaters and scarves. I’m not complaining – fall and winter are my favorite time of the year!

With work starting to slow down a bit for the end of the year, I can finally focus again on reading. It’s been hit and miss lately; either I don’t have the energy to keep my eyes open when I get home or the books I’m picking up just aren’t good fits for me. Fingers crossed I finally come out of the reading slump – there are some fantastic books coming out this month!

In our house, the holiday lights are up, the Hallmark ornaments are on the mantel, and Christmas music is on repeat! I’m excited to celebrate our first Christmas as a married couple (that still blows my mind).

Oh, and I’ve started blogging about my new writing project as well. It’s exciting, terrifying, exhilarating and exhausting all at once. And I LOVE it!

But to get down to what you’re really here for:

November 2017 Reads
A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)Till DeathThe Last Tudor (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #15)The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, #3)The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)HeartstoneSecrets in Death (In Death, #45)
November 2017 Reviews

Till DeathThe WidowThe Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir

Favorite read:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah  J. Maas

Favorite review:

A Backpack, a Bear and Eight Crates of Vodka by Lev Golinkin

Favorite working playlist:


Favorite playlist on repeat:


I’m hooked on:
What did you fall in love with this November?

Posted December 1, 2017 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 0 Comments

August 1, 2017

Monthly Rewind | July 2017


July 2017
May Designs

Summer is in full force in Northern California this year! We’re hitting our second big heat wave of the summer (read: temps over 100 degrees for multiple days in a row. Yikes!), which means there’s nothing better for me than to hunker down with a pile of books. Here’s what I’ve been checking out this month:

July 2017 reviews:

CaravalEchoes in Death (In Death, #44)The Book JumperNobody's Baby But Mine (Chicago Stars, #3)

And the books I read in July 2017 but haven’t yet posted on:

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3)Ghostland: An American History in Haunted PlacesOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Favorite read:

A Court of Mists and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I’m hooked on:
  • Joy the Baker’s Over Easy. Best. Pancakes. Ever.
  • Tana French‘s novels in audiobooks. Listening to the lilting Irish accents describe grisly murders and police procedures make sitting in traffic so much more enjoyable.
  • The Tide time management app. I use it for work, writing, blogging – it’s amazing what you can do in 25 minutes!
  • Shakespeare in the Park. Mom and M bought me tickets to the local Shakespeare in the Park festival! We caught the closing show of The Comedy of Errors last weekend. The perfect way to spend a beautiful summer evening.
On repeat:

What were your favorite reads in July? Share with us below so we can check them out!

Posted August 1, 2017 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 0 Comments

January 1, 2017

The 2016 End of Year Survey

There’s something so refreshing about the new year. Maybe not the resolutions – to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I kept one throughout the year – but the chance to start over, afresh, revitalized…[insert adjective here] grabs me every time.

After running myself ragged last year trying to keep up with the blog while balancing work (where I write 80% of the time), planning the wedding (where a simple DIY event became a much more involved ceremony), and my family and friends, I’ve decided to make some changes to how I view things. In short:

Image result for let it go gif

Seriously. I found a gray hair from all the stress of this last year (or I’m putting the blame there at any rate 🙂 ). But there’s more about this coming later this week – I bet you’re here for the survey!

Every year Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner puts together the annual End of Year Book Survey. All graphics and survey questions are hers. Click here to learn more or link up your survey!

And without any more ado…


Number Of Books You Read: 122
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: Romance/Fantasy



1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I have a few:

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

The Widow by Fiona Barton (review soon!)

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Ruthless (Lawless, #1)Series started: Ruthless by Lexi Blake (review soon!)

Sequel: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series ender: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Lisa Kleypas (how did I just discover her?!)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

I stayed pretty close to my comfort zone (fantasy YA, fairy tale retellings, romance, mystery, and thrillers) this year.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Empire of Storms, hands down.

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

The mermaid in Esther Dalseno’s Drown.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

  • Drown by Esther Dalseno
  • Salt to Sea by Ruth Sepetys
  • A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (review soon!)

13. Most ThThe Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randelought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?

Anything by Lisa Kleypas (again, how did I miss this?)

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

“I am not worried, Harry, I am with you.” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: The One You Want by Gena Showalter

Longest: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. MartinAfter the Woods by Kim  Savage

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

After the Woods by Kim Savage

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I have to pick one?

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Naomi Carson and her brother, Mason in The Obsession. #familygoals

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Book club pBlackhearts by Nicole Castromanick, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Teach Drummond of Castroman’s Blackhearts

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Illuminae and Gemina, hands down.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot, the queen of feel-good chick lit.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

Tie between Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Yes, even though I The Widow by Fiona Bartonknew what happened in the end.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Widow by Fiona Barton

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?


29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann. Here’s why.



1. OA Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)ne Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas


2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

The third Illuminae file installment and 6th Throne of Glass!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

To not be afraid to put a book down when it isn’t for me.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

None yet!

Posted January 1, 2017 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 1 Comment

October 1, 2016

September 2016 | Monthly Rewind

Pop Goes the Reader

It’s here! It’s finally autumn, time for turning leaves, gorgeous sunsets, dark lipstick, and the wonderful coffee drinks. Goodbye September, hello October.


September was a pretty good month. I started to hit my stride again with the blog, and after doing a little research, plan to devote some October weekend time to the maintenance side of the house. Keeping up with reviews is still a struggle, but you know, that’s okay.

We made major progress on the wedding planning! I found my dress and couldn’t love it more. Thanks to Danielle and Angela at Lace and Liberty for patiently explaining the differences between wedding skirts and putting up with my lack of balance for an hour. I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience!

Also, we hit our first wedding hiccup. I designed the map on the back of our invitations and sent it to print. What I didn’t realize was that they didn’t just add my map to the back – they recreated it. Okay, fine…until the invitations arrived. 45 cards of major typos (like “in” instead of “inn”…). The envelopes have misprints, a technology this company claims as their name to fame. They fixed the cards, but I’m still waiting on the envelopes. Ugh.

Bay of Sighs (The Guardians Trilogy, #2)A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3)Red Storm RisingDelphineThe Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)Tailored for Trouble (Happy Pants, #1)Lord Dashwood Missed Out (Spindle Cove, #4.5)The Forbidden OrchidN Is For Noose (Kinsey Millhone, #14)Not Quite Mine (Not Quite, #2)Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3)Apprentice in Death (In Death, #43)


September favorite review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

September favorite read: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

I’m hooked on:

  • Starbucks’ Chile Mocha with soy milk. Oh, my heavens. This mocha is quickly becoming a Sunday morning staple! I love the sweet and spicy combo – it takes away a lot of the intense flavor that I don’t like in mochas. But this one? Just right.
  • I picked up the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook and, you guys, I’m in love. I’m not a vegan, but her recipes hit the spot. Her Every Day Glow salad has become my go-to power lunch.
  • Sarah J. Maas’ Empire of Storms playlist has been dominating my Spotify this month. What can I say? I’m hooked!



Posted October 1, 2016 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 0 Comments
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September 1, 2016

Monthly Rewind | August 2016

May Designs

It’s been a loooong time since I posted a monthly rewind. Why? Well, it’s one of those stories that feels like it should be long, but really isn’t. See, I didn’t fall out of love with blogging…I think I more fell out of love with myself. Spring was very difficult for me: there were a few challenges in my life that brought me to my knees and shattered a lot of my self-confidence, particularly in my ability to write.

Over the past month, I’m slowly gaining the confidence back. It’s let me get back into writing, although it’s still been hard for me to write more discussion style posts.

I know reviews aren’t always the most popular posts, but thanks for sticking with me. In certain aspects, it’s been a rough year, and it means a lot to me that you haven’t given up on me yet. 🙂

While some parts of my life have been rough this year, others have been great – M and I are getting married! He proposed before summer started, and in the best way – while I was reading a book. I don’t know what else a book addict could ask for!

Anyway, down to it:

Review | L is for Lawless by Sue GraftonReview | Honeymoon Hotel by Hester BrowneReview | The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne LongReview | The Virgin’s Guide to Misbehaving by Jessica ClareReview | Ladies of Liberty by Cokie RobertsReview | Marrying Winterborne by Lisa KleypasReview | The Crown’s Game by Evelyn SkyeReview | Best Laid Wedding Plans by Lynette AustinReview | M is for Malice by Sue GraftonReview | The Glass Casket by McCormick TemplemanReview | Remembrance by Meg Cabot

Favorite review: Honeymoon Hotel

Favorite read: M is for Malice

I’m hooked on:

Running. I can only go a few days a week, but it’s the best way to manage my stress. It’s been amazing.

Second best stress management? Yoga. Yoga with Adriene has been the best way to end my day. Her 30 day yoga series is a great starter package:

The President’s 2016 Summer Playlist for hanging out:

and Yo-Yo Ma for writing:

And brides…you need to check out Lace and Liberty. Best bridal shop I’ve come across in a long time, and their customer service is amazing!

For September:

  • Look for more discussion posts! Want more? Follow me on Twitter for all things bookish (and nonbookish)
  • Romance, mystery, and murder, oh my!
  • Sleeping Beauty: what you didn’t know about the fairy tale

Posted September 1, 2016 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 0 Comments

April 1, 2016

Monthly Rewind | March 2016


April is here, and that means it’s time for pastels, iced tea, and happy books! Happy books always are so much fun to read on a lazy, sunny afternoon.

March was definitely a spring cleaning month for me. I read Marie Kondō‘s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and went on a two-day clean out of my things. While bagging up too many items for donation (where did I get so much stuff?), I had a few conversations with myself (as you do) and made some big personal decisions. Kondō’a book is all about being around what makes you happy, and I realized that I need to start living that.

On a lighter note, M and I have become gardeners (a sentence I never thought I’d write). We bought a lawn mower and weed whacker (which was an unexpected adventure at the local hardware store) and planted flowers, veggies and some cilantro. The tulips (a reminder of our trip to Seattle) came up beautifully (an accomplishment for someone who has issues keeping cut flowers alive), so I was heartbroken when the neighborhood dog started eating them…

I’m in love with this house. It’s so lovely to have something that’s ours, something we can really settle into.

I bet you’re here for the books, right? 🙂


  1. Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips ★★★★★
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
  3. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah ★★★★
  4. G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton ★★★
  5. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison ★★★
  6. The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine ★★★
  7. Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean ★★★
  8. Plus One by Brighton Walsh ★★★★
  9. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman ★★★★
  10. Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb ★★★★

I kept reaching for romance all month – it was my go-to lunchtime reading and kept the business trip flights fun!

My favorite review: Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

My favorite non-review post: Cinderella | History of Fairy Tales


I’m hooked on:


M watched this documentary about this a cappella vocal group and I found myself singing “On My Way Home” constantly afterwards. Their version of “Cheerleader” is stellar!

Emilie Pandolfi

His version of “Once Upon a December” came on while I was working one day and I fell in love. His songs have been my go-to writing/work music all month!

In April…

April 2016


Enough said.

On my April TBR:

What are you excited for this spring?

Posted April 1, 2016 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 0 Comments

March 2, 2016

Monthly Rewind | February 2016

Pop Goes the Reader
Pop Goes the Reader

February was a month of ups and downs: some crazy, some unbelievable, and some, well, just rough. But I found this solace in my reading; it was a mini escape into a different world, one where I could leave everything behind for the hour on my lunch break, the time I snuck in before work, those lovely quiet moments at home. Through everything, reading has kept me sane.

My favorite review: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Most popular review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

My favorite discussion post: In the Mood for Love? Top 11 Romance Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday

Most discussion post: The Greatest Literary Declarations of Love

Did you miss Love-A-Thon? It was so much fun! Huge thanks and hugs to The Novel Hermit, Alexa Loves Books, The Daily Prophecy and Stay Bookish for an amazing event!

I’m hooked on

Ultimate Covers playlist:

Peaceful Piano (especially for writing!)

Podcast: Stuff You Should Know
stuff you should know

Posted March 2, 2016 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 0 Comments

February 1, 2016

Monthly Rewind | January 2016

May Designs
January was, to put it simply, absolutely insane. The upside of all of the day-to-day insanity was that I spent almost all of my downtime reading, making January a great reading month! 
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (post to come!)
Most popular review:  A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
My favorite discussion post: The History of Fairy Tales | Major Players
Most popular discussion post: 2016 Blog Resolutions {Top Ten Tuesday}
I’m hooked on:
Image result for once upon a time
Once has been a hit or miss for me, but I turned it on while I packed for my work trip a few weeks ago and fell in love. I’m almost done with season 1 and can’t wait to watch the rest! 
M and I watched a lot of Grey’s but got caught up in other shows recently. We just restarted from the beginning and ohmy, I forgot how much I love this show.
Fave music playlists:


Excited for…
Stick around for…
Some fantastic website updates, the history of Cinderella, and some great reads! 

Posted February 1, 2016 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 0 Comments
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January 1, 2016

Monthly Rewind | December 2015

Monthly Rewind | December 2015
Sarah Hearts

I love December. All of the sights and sounds of Christmas, mixed with rain for California (yay!) and a slower time at work made for the perfect holiday. M and I got out to go look at lights Christmas Eve and had our first Christmas together in five years. One of the best yet!

As much as I love December, I’m excited to see what 2016 will bring. I’m feeling this might be the year I’ll stick to my resolutions – trying to be more specific about them instead of “eat more vegetables” or whatever. This is the year. I can feel it!
What are your resolutions this year? Share down below!
Monthly Rewind | December 2015
My favorite review: This Heart of Mine 
Most popular review: Career of Evil 
My favorite discussion post: the ten best books I read in 2015
Most popular discussion post: 2016 reading challenges



I’m hooked on:

Monthly Rewind | December 2015



My dad brought this over for me to watch a few months ago, but since I wasn’t too crazy about the movie, I wasn’t sure about the show. On Christmas Eve after I got off work, I finally sat down and watched it. 
It’s a touch too violent for me, so I zap through those parts, but I love Allison Tolman’s character. Her dogged determination to unravel the truth, even though no one believes her, is amazing. Always a fan of Martin Freeman (although it’s odd to see him talk with a Minnesotan accent), and Billy Bob Thornton’s character is hilarious and frightening all at once. 

This reading soundtrack is perfect for when I’m writing, blogging or working. It’s become a go-to over the month. Pair with Noisli, and you’ll be in the zone.

The Feelin’ Good playlist has been on repeat in our house. It’s just fun, upbeat music anyone will love. 

Monthly Rewind | December 2015

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’M HOOKED.

Excited for…

Yoga with Adriene’s Yoga Camp! (Starts today!)

Participating in Daily Page this year! I want to get back into writing, and a daily writing prompt is perfect!

Stick around for…

Monthly Rewind | December 2015
May Designs

I’ve got a new series I’ve been working on about this history of fairy tales! First post goes up this month and I can’t wait to share it with you! Look for more romances some contemporary, some historical – fantasy, and a little historical fiction. 

Posted January 1, 2016 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 1 Comment

December 2, 2015

Monthly Rewind | November 2015

Sarah Hearts, December 2015
Sarah Hearts


It’s December? Wait…what?


It’s time to put up the ornaments, buy a ridiculous amount of gifts, and listen to Christmas music. I’m in!
I had a great month in November! …feels so long since I’ve been able to say that. There were so many books that I’ve wanted to read/heard about and finally got to this month. It feels very accomplished. 
December 2015
the collector's society
most popular discussion
tips for new bloggers

in case you missed it…

Posted December 2, 2015 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 1 Comment