June Roundup

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This summer is going to go by so fast, June had so much going on!

What’s new:

  • The Blog was updated! I can now be found under the name wandering and reading. I made the change on my blog-aversary. It’s so good to have a new name and a new layout. It feels fresh and more like me and my blog.

Current obsessions:

The past couple of months I’ve been posting about songs that have really had me obsessed. Today I’m really excited to mention that Dierks Bentley officially has a new album out. If you’ve been having a tough couple of weeks, I recommend you consider the album here. Below is a performance of one of my favorite songs off the album.

Speaking of some country music, can we just take a minute to appreciate the Queen and all she did at the CMT Awards. I mean, does anyone sing better than her?

Oh and I saw Keith Urban this month, I was pleasantly surprised but more on that in a later post.

However my summer jam this year, and current obsession has to be Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa. You can listen to it here.

The Adventures

Ummm we went to England! My first trip ever to Europe you guys! We saw Cornwall (hi Poldark!), Stonehenge (I mean, really?) and London (hello city life!) It was amazing! You’ll see a ton of posts about it in the next couple of months — everything you need to know about the trip and how to see what we saw, I can’t wait.

Books Read in June:

We did so much traveling, that I didn’t really feel like I read much this month. Which honestly, felt amazing. I took a break from my normal everyday life for over a week, it was the perfect refresh.

3.5/4 Stars

4/5 stars

5/5 stars

5/5 stars

5/5 stars

Upcoming:
July is going to be packed with moving out of our apartment and into our house! Which means the adventures will be on the back burner for a bit. But don’t worry, I still have some local Northeastern things to do! I can’t wait to tell you all about the house and how I’m feeling about it!

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Is Amazon Prime Worth It?

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It’s almost Amazon Prime Day! I wasn’t asked by Amazon to do a post on them but I figured since I’ve been waiting a few months for today that I’d let you know why I love Amazon so much and why, as a book reader on a budget I think it’s the best deal. Yes, I understand this means I don’t go to bookstores and yes that does in fact make me sad, I promise, I try to buy a few books a year at a bookstore.

If I convince you enough, and you want to try out Amazon, you can click on the link here to try out Amazon Prime.

Here’s why you should love Amazon

  • You can get credits for books simply by not doing the two day shipping. But don’t worry, it still comes in 3 days
  • But that two day shipping is pretty nice
  • If you love shows like Game of Thrones and Outlander, you can get the HBO and Starz apps for only $8.99/month and you can cancel at any time. For me, that’s a huge deal. It’s so much cheaper than a year and it’s cheaper a month
  • Books, Books and More Books are so easily accessible through Amazon and if you pre-order they have a price guarantee — meaning if you pre-order a book and the price goes up, you won’t be charged but if it goes down, you’ll get the best deal
  • I mentioned the whole credits for books by not doing two day shipping, well you can also get cash back if you get their credit card — it’s like 3% or 5% cash back that basically turns into money for your next purchase — it’s pretty awesome, but there are also really easy ways to get gift cards through bank reward points and honey
  • Free eBook every month– It’s called Amazon First Reads! You can choose, and they have some really good ones like Beneath A Scarlet Sky, In Farleigh Field and Daughters in The Night Sky. It’s an awesome little perk especially for book lovers like me
  • Amazon Music — we have two echos (love them and Alexa), and with Amazon Prime, you can stream a ton of music off your phone, off your Alexa or your computer, it’s an awesome little perk
  • Amazon Video — while some of the movies and tv shows are the same as Netflix, it’s another really nice perk to have with your membership. They also have some pretty great originals like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

I know, Amazon Prime is kind of expensive — roughly $100 dollars a year (unless you’re a student). But honestly, it’s so worth it — I definitely get all the perks within a year to make my membership of $100 a great investment. We are also buying off of Amazon, and while sometimes I wish I just went shopping, the convenience of it all when you work full time is perfect.

If I convinced you to give it a try — head to the link here. If you already have Prime — happy shopping!

Book Review: Darker Shade of Magic

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Author: V.E. Schwab

Pages: 400

Shades of Magic #1

Goodreads Synopsis: “Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.”

Review: I have been wanting to read this series forever. I see it posted on instagram all the time but for some reason, I just never got around to reading it. I finally had an Amazon gift card and decided it was time to buy it. I am so happy I did. This was such a fun and awesome read (though I did find two typos), I finished it in 3 days, I devoured it and I can’t wait for next my gift card to go out and buy the next one! Here’s all the reasons why I loved this story.

I loved Kell and Lila. They were so fun and lovable characters. Both were intricate to the story but neither felt forced. I also loved how easily everything flowed together, I loved that even when I wasn’t reading about Kell and Lila for a chapter, I was bored. It was the opposite, the supporting story lines were just enough. There weren’t too many of them, and they were short and to the point so I never felt like it was for nothing.

I also loved the segments, like it was an Act with different sections on top of the chapters. I partly loved this because it helped me determine what I was going to read, instead of two chapters, I would just read to the next act. The story was also so fast paced that it was easy to get lost in the action.

Speaking of action, that’s another thing I loved. There was never a dull moment in this story, I never found chapters boring, or misused. Instead of found every word important, every detail was concise (I want to be an Antari, or at least meet Kell!) and it all moved so smoothly. I loved the magic world with some people that didn’t have magic, I loved the loyalty, strength shown by the characters. It somewhat reminded me of Harry Potter at times, which is probably why I liked it so much.

I can’t wait to read the next adventure in Kell and Lila’s story.

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Book Review: Sarah’s Key

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Author: Tatiana de Rosney

Pages: 294

Synopsis: Sarah’s Key follows two very different story lines. We start by following Sarah, a young 10-year old living in Paris, France during WWII with her parents and her little brother. In July of 1942, her along with her parents (she locked her brother in a cupboard for safety) and all other Jewish members of Paris are arrested by French police in what is known as the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup.

Move forward to 2005, where Julia, a 45 year old journalist is tasked with writing a story about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ and what happened near the anniversary of the roundup. Through her research, Julia learns about Sarah’s story and the connection it has with her French family. A story that will change Julia’s life and her family’s life forever.

Review: If you follow my blog, you know I read a lot about WWI and WWII. In fact, this is the 7th book this year alone that follows different stories as it relates to WWII. I’ve read about Italy, Russia, Poland, Germany and now France. Each with a totally different perspective on the war, but all with the same outcome — pain.

I read a lot on WWII because it’s always about an event that I didn’t read about in school and I feel like I can’t fully grasp everything that happened without reading these stories. This is a significant plot in Sarah’s Key. People have forgotten or they just don’t know about events that took place in France. That story line never leaves this book, it follows to the very end and becomes an important reminder to never forget.

This story reminded me a lot Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah and Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum in the sense that we follow two different stor ylines and see them diverge together. If you’ve read them and enjoyed them, I bet this would be another one you would enjoy. But that’s where the similarities end.

De Rosney finds a way to break your heart in more pieces than you thought imaginable. I have read a lot of stories on WWII, I thought I’ve read it all (how very wrong was I). This story doesn’t falter in it’s detail of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup and the events that followed, it shows the inhumanity and the goodness all on one page. It speaks of the heroes and survivors. It reminds us that even after the War, the people who lived throughout it will never be the same, and for some it’s easier to forget than remember what happened. What was so interesting in this story was the beginning about Sarah, for most of her chapters you were never told her name (obviously we knew by the title), she was just known as “the girl”, which for many of Jewish descent was how they were viewed during WWII. For some reason this resonated more to me than anything else. It was a sad reminder of what people had to endure.

For more information on the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, you can go to the link: https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10008213

Then you have Julia, who is determined to not let the past be forgotten. Who, once she knows the story of the roundup and the French police involvement, she can’t stop thinking about the children and adults who perished. This is no longer a story for a journalist but a story for Julia and Julia alone, a story she must find the ending to, without she feels hollow. She is determined to find a way to let people who are still suffering from the aftereffects that there are people in this world that have not forgotten, who won’t forget. Her determination is one that is admirable. She doesn’t see these events as just that, she sees it for what it was.

My only critique of this story was all the involvement of Julia’s family. I actually enjoyed the family mystery and how it connected back to Sarah, it was interesting, it was a mystery and there were twists and turns I didn’t see coming. What I didn’t like was what I felt as an unnecessary story line (I’m sure others disagree). I won’t spoil what I mean by this, it also didn’t ruin the story for me, I could have just lived without it. In fact, I’m happy I read it, I’m happy I now know yet another tragedy from the War that I did not know before, because we should never forget.

Have you read Sarah’s Key? Or any of the other stories listed above? If so, comment below!

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars