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In an attempt to get these posts up more often, this Recent Reads post isn't as long. However, maybe that's easier for you to consume anyway. Enjoy and leave a comment below with what you've been reading lately! 

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The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Basically: This is a WWII novel told in dual perspectives, past and present. In the past you have Alina, a young women living in Nazi occupied Poland. And then in the present, you have Alice, a mom who is struggling with her day to day life when her grandmother is dying in the hospital. You'll find out how their stories are connected by various secrets. 

My Thoughts: Historical fiction is my favorite, but I really have to space out my WWII novels because they get me in such an emotional state. This book is fairly straightforward. It's also done in that overdone dual women, dual timeline format. But, it's so well done and engrossing that I really enjoyed it despite that. I liked Alice's point of view the most, especially her relationship with her son who is on the spectrum. 

Rating: 5 Stars from me! I kinda wished for more twists, but I can get over that for the character development! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Basically: This is a story about 2 friends spanning 30 years - from playing video games together as children to designing games together professionally. 

My Thoughts: I feel that my expectations were very high for this one because it's been universally loved. It's taken some time for me to process how I feel about it! I did like the overall story and the journey of Sadie and Sam. Lots of character development! There were pages that I was glued to, and then sections I was bored in. But as soon as I would get bored, another section would pop up that I was completely engrossed in. Gaming is a huge theme obviously, and while I don't think you have to be a gamer to enjoy the story, it definitely helps. I'm sure dozens of references went over my head. 
Warnings for language and abuse. Both of these things were turn offs for me. 

Rating: 4 Stars. Maybe 3.75. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Basically: Fallon and Ben meet right before she is set to move to New York and they have an instant connection. After a great day together, they agree to meet again every year on November 9th. 

My Thoughts: Ugh. This woman knows how to get you to turn a page! I read this in one evening! So, loved the idea of two people meeting up every year and checking in with each other's lives. The twist was absolutely shocking to me. But after I read it the whole book was ruined and I thought it was creepy and weird and couldn't get past it.

Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Basically: Just like people speak different languages and dialects, this doctor has narrowed it down to 5 different ways people speak and hear love. Once you know your love language and the language of your significant other you can show and feel love most effectively. The languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and gifts. 

My Thoughts: I found this really interesting, and it made for a fun conversation with Blake. We just  had to laugh at our quiz results. I think we knew what each other's results would be, but there were still some surprises! My love language is by far words of affirmation. Knowing yourself a little better is always a good thing in my opinion. Overall, I think there is some valuable information here. The author definitely likes to toot his own horn, and most of this advice is already found in the Bible. 

Rating: 4 Stars  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Recent Reads #22

Monday, November 28, 2022

While I don't think I can choose a favorite part of our UK trip, Port Isaac might be it. I can't describe the charming beauty of this place! It's so photogenic, and we loved walking around taking it all in. My favorite day included doing the cliff walk (which was fairly arduous and muddy!), followed by a pint of beer at The Golden Lion, and eating *fresh* lobster at The Mote restaurant right on the water. It's just gorgeous and quaint. 

Plus, if you are a fan of Doc Marten or Poldark you'll love seeing the filming locations! We also did tea at The Cornish Cove and it was awesome. I never thought I'd like milk in my tea, but I totally get it now - it's great! Here are a few of my favorite pictures! This was the point in the trip where I was starting to feel sick, so I really wish I could have a do-over. 


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A Visit to Port Isaac, Cornwall UK

Monday, November 21, 2022

Run - 2 Miles - 219 Calories
Let's talk running! I decided to start from scratch and do the C25K program from the very beginning. I figured it can't hurt to get back to basics and build up to running a full 5K. Then I'll build off that towards my Half Marathon next April. Today was Week 2, Day 2. Love the C25K app for this. It has the plan already built in and will ding when it's time to run and when it's time to walk. 

And, this was my first run wearing my new shoes! I went with the Brooks Adrenaline 22s. I went to the store to try on the Ghost 15 (my usual preference!) but gave these a try and really loved how cushioned they felt. Plus, they were on sale and I had a little bit left over on a gift card! 

Peloton 20 Min Strength Workout - Total Body - 118 Calories
At this point I think we use our Peloton membership mostly for strength classes! The bike rides are always great, but I really have developed a love for the weight classes and the barre classes. Today Blake and I worked out together! It was just a quick 20 minute class, but it was tough! 

Walk - 2 Miles - 237 Calories 
I actually meant to run today, but it just didn't happen. We were just too slow to get going this morning, and ran out of time. I decided I really wanted to go for a walk (and even though I wanted to, it was hard to make myself go anyway) and I'm so glad I did. It was a gorgeous day and it really got my mood turned around. Isn't it funny that I burned more calories walking than I did Sunday running the same distance? Of course it took me twice as long to do the same route, but it's just interesting. 

Run - 2 Miles - 271 Calories
Today was Day 3 of Week 2 on C25K! It was a really good run and I'm feeling really good about doing this program. It was also a really brisk cool morning and that always has been my favorite season to run in. After getting back home I immediately got to work deep cleaning the house. So that's another workout in itself! Especially because I went to town on our couch and vacuumed it like there was no tomorrow. 

Run - 2 Miles - 233 Calories
This run was hard. Week 3 Day 1 of C25K meant a lot longer stretches of running and for some reason my shins were really tight. But I did it! And managed to dodge the raindrops before Tropical Storm Nicole blew through. 

Rest Day!
We had SO much happening Friday. It was a day off from work, but we were having some friends stay with us, our house was getting pressure washed, and I had a last minute doctors appointment all right away in the morning! Hence, rest day. Although, it was probably good to take a break anyway. 

Run - 2 Miles - 299 Calories
Week 3, Day 2! It was really brisk this morning, so it was sort of invigorating - but hard! I'm noticing that I need to do some more stretching before and after my runs. The Peloton app has pre and post run stretches so I might try that next time.

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Work Out With Me | This Week's Work Outs

Monday, November 14, 2022

I thought it'd be a fun prompt to go down memory lane today and talk about childhood books! Reading has always been a huge part of my identity and I think reading great books when I was younger totally spurred that on. These were a few series I loved as a kid:

The Babysitters Club

One of my 'core memories' is my grandparents handing me a box of my mom's old books that they had found as they were selling their house.(Actually now that I'm thinking about this, maybe they belonged to my Aunt, because I think my mom would have been too old for these....but I just always thought they were my mom's.) She had a dozen Babysitters Club books and I ate them up! It must have been the perfect age to give them to me. So funny, I thought the girls were so much older than me as I was reading them but they probably weren't. They just seemed so mature! I guess it's because I wasn't allowed to baby sit yet. I was definitely a Kristy, but thought Claudia sounded so cool. 

Sweet Valley Twins

I didn't read a lot of these, but I think these were also in that box of books from my mom. Twins were such a cool thing to me, haha! My sister and I were big Mary Kate and Ashley fans. Plus, one of the sister's names was Elizabeth - which was my middle name. Kids are funny, huh? Anyway I feel like these books gave me a glimpse into what it'd be like as a teenager or something, but I remember really liking them. I specifically remember this cover.

Dear America Series

These books guys. So, these were diaries from young girls in various historical events. I swear this is what got me into historical fiction. They were beautiful hardbacks with a matching ribbon. I felt so fancy reading these! I read several, but I think my favorite was the Titanic one. I have distinct memories of checking my Elementary school library for new ones often!

American Girl

Another Elementary favorite. Our library had a lot of the series! I first picked up Kirsten's, because I first read it as Kristen and of course that was mine name. But, I loved Samantha and Molly too! My bff in 5th grade got a Kirsten doll and took pictures of her and brought the prints to school so I could see her. (She barely took her out of the box, so this was a big deal. 😂)

The Chronicles of Narnia

Narnia was something special. My cousin was so into the stories that she convinced me to read the books and I fell in love with them. I like some stories more than others, but gosh it was such a journey reading them as a kid. I'm not sure if I should admit how many times I watched The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe on my tiny tv (like I think it was 10 inches max!) that my parents let keep in my room because it had a built in dvd player but no channels. 

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Favorite Childhood Book Series

Thursday, November 10, 2022

On our drive from London to Cornwall, we stopped by the neatest place! Stonehenge was on our list of to-dos, but a co worker recommended visiting Avebury instead. This is the largest Neolithic stone circles in Britain, and it's nestled in the sweetest little village. It was a great place to stretch our legs and explore. We loved chatting with the workers at the coffee shop, and definitely enjoyed a pint at The Red Lion Pub!

Ironically, we passed Stonehenge on the way back to the airport. It's literally on the side of the road! Avebury is completely free and I'm happy we chose to spend our time here instead. 


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Avebury Stone Circle

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Going to try a slightly different format with todays recent reads post! These posts usually take me a long time to put together because I read so much, so I'm going to attempt to do some quick recaps and one sentence style reviews. Let me know what you think, or if you prefer the more detailed format. (By the way guys! This is post 21! You've got so many book recommendations under this tag! And of course you can follow along on Goodreads.)

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Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Basically, it's the 90's and Carrie is a retired tennis player. She has to whether or not to come out of retirement to reclaim her title. This book is great. TJR is a writer like no other, and you will get swept up right into the story. There are so many F words in this book, I grew very weary of it. I do think some interest in tennis is a prerequisite for how much you may or may not like this. 
Rating: 5 Stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews

Basically, Letty is on the run with her toddler niece after finding her sister murdered. They head to a mom and pop beach motel in Florida to hide out. This one was just okay for me. Extremely predictable, and unnecessarily drawn out. Also, maybe the WORST cringy love scene I've ever read. 
Rating: 3 completely average stars. ⭐⭐⭐

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Basically, Persephone spent her summers as a child at the lake. Now a decade later, she has to come 'home' for a funeral and face the past. Told in past and present alternating chapters. So, this is a  tough one to review. I enjoyed it. The writing is great, and I honestly felt transported to a summer lake house. I preferred the childhood chapters. But, this story was SOOO much like Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren (which I LOVED) that I couldn't fully love it. 
Rating: Still a solid 4 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Josh and Hazel's Guide To Not Dating by Cristina Lauren

Basically, Hazel is really quirky and has a hard time dating. She and her friend Josh team up to try to set each other up on blind dates and of course they are disastrous. Christina Lauren is hit or miss for me. I either loveeee their books or just totally find them ridiculous. And this falls into the later category. It's just not that good. I'll put it this way, I'm even having a hard time remembering any stand out scenes. I do know it's pretty explicit and there is a plot point I personally dislike in books that I can't say without a major spoiler. 
Rating: 2 maybe 2.5 stars. ⭐⭐

Falling by TJ Newman

Basically, Bill is a pilot who is flying to JFK, and he just found out his family was kidnapped and to free them the kidnappers tells him he has to crash the plane. Was this the smartest book for me to read before going on a plane? Haha, probably not. Anyway, this book had a great premise. But, an almost boring execution. This felt like someone's first book (and it may well be) in that it was so straightforward and cliché it was unexciting. With a plot that should have been very exciting! 
Rating: 3 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐ Maybe it'd be a better movie?

The Inn on Harmony Island by Anne Marie Meyer

Basically, Shelby returns to her small hometown for the reading of her Grandmother's will and to face her past. BLECH. I totally got swayed to read this from TikTok! It sounded so good, but it was just plain bad. (Yet I finished it, so what does that say?) I cannot, I repeat CANNOT, get over the fact that they were former STEP SIBLINGS first of all. There is also a 3rd point of view that felt completely random and weird. There was a lot of set up in this book, and of course it makes sense now I didn't realize it's a series. 
Rating: Barely 2 stars. ⭐⭐

Cinder & Glass by Melissa de la Cruz

Basically, Cinderella meets The Selection (a series I liked a lot!). This was a fun YA retelling. Cute and straightforward! I don't have too much to say, but it's a great suggestion for your teen. 
Rating: 3.5/4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Basically, Jason is just enjoying his lovely life with his wife and son when he gets kidnapped and knocked out. He wakes up and it's like it was all a dream - his wife isn't his wife and he isn't a teacher anymore, he's actually an accomplished scientist. But, which life is real? I have been wanting to read this for long time, so I was so excited to finally get it at the library! What a story! It's complex and science-y but in an achievable way. Lots of twists and turns and I'd probably call this a science fiction thriller. I think it'd be a really great movie, and actually probably a lot easier to understand, ha! Warning for really bad language. I think that's what keeps this from being a 5 star read for me. I also felt that his relationship with his son should have been a little more forefront. 
Rating: 4.5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Recent Reads #21

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Admittedly, I wasn't all that excited about visiting London when we were planning this trip. Cities aren't really my thing, and I definitely get more excited about visiting nature. But, boy, I did not expect to enjoy London so much! I was excepting a New York City, but it felt more like the colors and the cleanliness. Chicago, but obviously much more historical and old! Maybe if you've visited both cities you know what I mean. 

Unfortunately, our flight from Ireland to London was severely delayed so we actually lost out on a lot of time in the city we were supposed to have. But, we made the most of it and packed in as much as we could!

If you are planning a trip, I highly recommend The London Pass. One fee and you get access to dozens and dozens of popular sites and tours. We got our money's worth and more. (Plus, there is cash back with Rakuten for the Go City passes!) 

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A Day in London! ✈️


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London Photo Diary

Tuesday, November 1, 2022


Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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