Books of the Month: April 2021

I had a slower reading month; I actually started two additional books this month but did not finish so I wasn’t able to get through as many as I have stacked next to my bed. I include blurbs about each at the end of this post, just for reference of why I stopped reading each. Both left me wanting more and I couldn’t ignore the heap of books that I knew would be more intriguing. So in an effort of self care I moved on and honestly don’t regret it. That being said, here are the books I did finish this month:

The Poppy War was a surprise for me; a coworker recommended it and to be honest, it’s not one I would have personally chosen to read, but I’m happy I did. In book one of a trilogy, Rin, a war orphan peasant, has landed herself in one of the most prestigious military academies in her land. While there, she learns the art of war, but also the art of shamanism. When war does break out, Rin must fight for her people and decide whether or not to work with her gods, even if it means total destruction. I really enjoyed this book and its strong female lead. The first chunk of the story was a lot of world building and slower to get through, but once war broke out, the story really took off. I can’t wait to read the next book in the trilogy!

Honey Girl was another surprise, I was expecting a romance and got a coming of age story that was really nice. Grace Porter has been following her plan for 11 years, strenuously working to get her doctorate in astronomy. Once she has her degree, she struggles with getting a job because of who she is, so she decides to run away… to find the girl she married in Vegas on a drunken night weeks before. It’s sweet and really hit a chord, I also remember being done with school and feeling this large emptiness and not knowing how to define myself. I wish I had turned to therapy during that time. Very cute and quick read!

The Lost Apothecary was good but I feel a smidge let down by the book? I initially heard about it from someone who hyped it up A LOT so I went into it with really high hopes; not to say it wasn’t a good story, but I just want to set that stage before I continue. The story was about a woman who uses her late mother’s apothecary to help other women kill men, for lack of a better description? I loved the story of women supporting women and the present day story woven in that had a modern scorned woman on a hunt to uncover the lost apothecary. It was a fun read and I didn’t see some of the twists coming?

The Four Winds was phenomenal. I’ve always loved Kristin Hannah’s stories; she has a wonderful way of weaving a beautiful story with rich characters together to make a great book. The Four Winds is about a Texas family during the Great Depression/Dust Bowl, who decide to migrate to California to save themselves. When they get there, they only find discrimination and unfair jobs. It made me sad to think that America has always been routed in capitalism and the fear of outsiders? I feel like you could change the characters to Asian or Mexican and set it in the present day and the major themes would still be present, which was something I kept thinking about as I progressed through the family’s time in California. A must read!

Beach Read was talented brilliant incredible amazing show stopping, please read this book ASAP. January, a heart broken and uninspired author, moves to her late father’s beach house for the summer while she writes her next novel. She starts a friendly bet with the author next door that eventually spirals into something more. It’s a classic rom com that mocks rom coms and happily ever afters throughout the story, but I really felt these characters had actual depth to them. It made me want to write a book? Also, the books they each wrote over the summer, where can I read them? They sound really good? Finally, if you need any other excuse to read this book, it’s full of Taylor Swift references, particularly the ‘You Belong with Me’ writing messages on notebooks for hot neighbor across the way, so.

The end KILLED MEH.

The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Beach Read by Emily Henry

If I had to recommend one book, and this is really hard, I would say The Four Winds but if you can’t handle a heavy book right now, or you’re a Swiftie like me, pick up Beach Read!

What did you read this month?

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Books I Wanted to Like and Started to Read but Didn’t Finish: April 2021

East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I’ve been wanting to reread books we were forced to “read” in high school (aka sparknote) and I realized I wasn’t actually forced to read East of Eden but it sounded really good. It’s rated highly on good reads and I thought, ‘let’s do it!’ …but I found that Steinbeck’s writing still puts me to sleep after all these years. I couldn’t do it, and instead of forcing myself, I said ‘Goodbye John’ and moved on. Maybe another time.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I know somewhere, someone just flipped their computer off a table. I KNOW. I’ve had multiple people tell me Good Omens was an awesome book. I have seen the show and loved it (shoutout to Michael Sheen and David Tennant, also Jon Hamm) so I expected to love the book. I got about halfway through and just… couldn’t? I don’t know if it was the lack of chapter division? Or lack of Crawley and Aziraphale characters that are very prominent in the show? I could only read like 3-4 pages and I would call it a night. Seriously you guys, I spent like 10 days (1/3 of the month) trying to chug through this book and I only made it to when Armageddon starts happening. I decided to stop as there were other books I knew I would enjoy more. End of story, you can hate me if you want, but I stand by this.

Sincerely Seven: Week 10

Happy (almost) spring all! I know we’ve lost an hour but we get more DAYLIGHT and I am thrilled. I am not thrilled that we stayed up last night watching Outlander, so I went to bed later than normal, but had to get up at the same time because cat. Coffee is most definitely fueling me today, but when isn’t it? I also feel *disgusting* while I’m writing this, I made donuts this AM and already ate about three, so I should probably go for a walk, but I’ll more than likely lay here for the rest of the day..

Cereal Milk Donuts!
  1. I have been binging ‘Under the Influence with Jo Piazza,’ a podcast about mommy influencers, history of influencers, etc, and WHEW I would recommend. It really breaks down the influencer world in general, from the start and how it evolved over time, and I could not stop listening. I’m not a mom, but I do follow some influencers who are moms and it’s very easy for me to succumb to products that influencers suggest across the board.
  2. This weekend, I’m tackling donuts…. Cereal Milk Donuts to be specific (see above). It merges cereal milk from the iconic, Milk Bar, and the custard from Bread Ahead Bakery in London (they rose to fame in early quarantine for their instagram baking tutorials). You can find the recipe here. It is a bit involved and a 2 day process, so if you want a more no fuss donut recipe, try Erin McDowell’s recipe here (which is the base for the cereal milk recipe), SO easy and SO tasty.
  3. A friend shared this article with me this week, about Armie Hammer’s recent drama and his family’s legacy that led up to this point. You guys, it’s wild! It’s a longer read, but 100% worth it. The texts he apparently sent? Oof. Thinking about his wife (who seems lovely from Instagram) and his children…
  4. I’ve been seeing baked oatmeal everywhere, and I’ve never had, but these recipes look really yummy? I’ll have to try some this week, has anyone tried baked oatmeal?
  5. Loved this NYT opinion piece about Taylor Swift and her lyrics taking us back to nature. I loved even more that it was written by a 50 year old dad, proving anyone can be a TS fan. She is ~t i m e l e s s~!
  6. A fun article for anyone else missing Wandavision this week, Jac Schaeffer, director of Wandvision, explains how Kathryn Hahn was chosen for the role of Agatha. Kathryn Hahn has been a favorite of mine for awhile now (did you watch Mrs. Fletcher?), but I loved her in Wandavision! I also loved that the entire writing staff wanted her for the show. As they should!
  7. A nice reminder to get yourself into more ethical fashion habits, here are 5 reminders of things you can do to create a more sustainable closet. Follow my Poshmark closet here, and always remember to check Poshmark, The RealReal, thredup, etc for pieces before you buy new!

Hope you all have a lovely week ahead!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 8

Apologies for my absence over the last few weeks, I don’t really have an excuse other than laziness? And my birthday was last weekend so that counts for something right? I haven’t even been up to much, just cleaning and trying to re-organize my apartment (whilst simultaneously looking for a new one and convincing my boyfriend we need to move now). I mainly want to move because we’ve been in a one bedroom, together, working from home for 12 months now, and no we haven’t killed each other, but yes I feel like I live in a tin can and have been slowly losing my mind. I dream of moving back to Ohio and getting a whole house with plenty of space for storage and litter boxes and large beds, but for now, we’re here and I’m trying to make the best of it.

hike on my birthday, clearly did it for the view and this picture 🙂

Here’s what got me through my birthday week:

  1. The Golden Globes are tonight (fingers crossed for another Schitt’s Creek sweep)! Here’s everything you need to know.
  2. Girl boss of the MONTH is Whitney Wolfe Herd, the CEO and founder of Bumble, who recently became the youngest female billionaire after taking Bumble public (while holding her baby son). Talk about a boss showing the world a woman can run a company and be a mom.
  3. I just made these peanut butter cups from Butternut Bakery blog; they were SO easy and taste SO good. Please try ASAP if desserts are your thing, I’m already thinking about making more.
  4. Joe Biden has been trucking along as president, doing things he said he would, and things he said he wouldn’t. He’s also been finalizing all his cabinet picks, here’s a quick list I found helpful to keep track of everyone, just so we all know who we can hold accountable for the next four years.
  5. I loved this interview with Lana Condor, star of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before franchise. I love both Lana and her character, Lara Jean, and I loved that she touched on body image issues and a lack of asian representation in Hollywood. I personally feel like Noah Centineo gets more fame after TATBILB movies which is annoying, since Lana clearly carries the franchise on her back and he’s just….good looking.
  6. This week, I found out about Tis the Damn Readathon and uhm? how did I not know about this (Shawna, I’m looking at you and your wealth of Taylor related info)? I wasn’t planning on reading anything specific in March, but here we go I guess!
  7. Finally, I love James Corden and his carpool karaokes (who doesn’t), but I was dying after this tour bus interview with Prince Harry. I thoroughly enjoyed their conversations, that got a lot more serious than I was expecting? Though I can’t stop thinking about Harry knowing the words to the Fresh Prince song, did he really know all the words? Imagining the Queen watching American TV sends me into overdrive. Also, the obstacle course at the end that features Prince Harry’s athletic abilities (read: fit/hot body) was very enjoyable, but also how did he not get any mud on him?!? I don’t understand…

Here’s to a new week and a new month and hopefully being a wee bit less lazy!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 51

Another week, working through issues at work, only this week was coupled with having bad wifi, so I wasn’t in the best of moods. It felt like a longer week than usual; I only worked four days but it was a long four days, especially since it snowed here in Pennsylvania. We might actually have a white Christmas? I’m trying not to get my hopes up but also PLEASE. Although, I’m sick of shoveling, so maybe no more snow.

Can you believe Christmas is this week? I feel like I should be doing something… but I’m just listening to ‘Evermore’ and reading the days away.

This is my friend, Barney, enjoying a post walk rest.

Here are the things that got me through the week:

  1. Bustle interviewed Dan Levy and can we all promise to never stop talking about and watching re-runs of Schitt’s Creek? Like 20 years from now, it will be revered by most like Friends is today? But seriously, hearing about all the hard work and time Levy put into the show, like I can’t even fathom, even to the point of having paralyzing anxiety. Also, if you haven’t watched Schitt’s Creek, you MUST…NOW.
  2. This Tik Tok artist has been drawing Christmas characters in different styles, and I’m pretty sure I could watch these all day. I love see the characters especially in the Tim Burton style. He also does other celebrities and characters, in various drawing styles but these Christmas ones are more fun, love seeing this creativity!
  3. I found this article very interesting, about toxic positivity and how we all diminish someone’s pain when we try to help with reverse psychology to help someone. Saying things like, ‘it’ll be okay!’, or ‘there’s always next time’, or ‘this is God’s plan’, can force a person to feel like they are unable or shouldn’t be in their pain. This is definitely something I’ve been guilty of, and will now try to be better about after reading this.
  4. This Ranking of ‘Evermore’ songs by how much the author wants to stare out a window on a rainy day while listening…same.
  5. I spent the entire week researching the Dyson Airwrap because they make your hair look incredible. Does anyone have that could give honest feedback? Trying to research before I splurge!
  6. I really want to make a gingerbread house from scratch, but it seems like so much work and I don’t have my Kitchen Aid mixer here in PA. I’ll just stare at this mid-century modern house, and these Schitt’s Creek houses.
  7. Lastly, Kristen Wiig was on SNL last night and the “Mom Got a Robe” skit was absolutely hilarious, but a good reminder that you have 4 days to get your mom something nice!!

Merry everything and happy always to all my followers, I hope you have a good and safe holiday whether celebrating alone or with family.

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 50

Another week gone by, and nothing overly exciting other than I tested negative for COVID. It’s the small things at this point tbh. I also got a chess set (I told you I was obsessed with The Queen’s Gambit), but I’m basically a grandmaster now. Here are the other things that got me through the week.

The only exciting thing this week, watching TV with Aurora
  1. UHM Shifty Swifty released ANOTHER surprise album this week and like, I don’t know, is she trying to kill us? Evermore is kind of dark and sad, like a goth folk album, IMO? But I love ‘Willow’ and ‘No Body, No Crime’ and ‘Ivy.’
  2. In other important news, we are getting a vaccine for COVID which is really exciting and gives us something to look forward to. But let’s not forget, until you get the vaccine personally, continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and avoid large gatherings. ALSO, because of this, I’m wearing a mask for the rest of my life.
  3. I don’t know about you guys, but I love three things… butter, cheese and potatoes. Half Baked Harvest put them altogether for what I’m only assuming is a delicious and tasty dish, Crispy Cheesy Potato Stacks. I haven’t made them, but they’re on my ‘to be made’ list. I mean the name alone is making me drool.
  4. Anyone remember Olivia Jade? You know, Aunt Becky’s daughter, for whom Aunt Becky bribed college admissions for and is now serving a term in federal prison for? Well, she was on Red Table Talk this week and it was so satisfying to watch a privileged white woman get knocked down a few pegs? I do think it was a fruitful conversation and I truly do hope she’s sorry. I also think it was an important conversation and I would recommend watching!
  5. I loved this article about non-traditional holiday celebrations where women have created their own customs. I love the self-affirming travel and pet sitting abroad. Uhm, I will gladly travel to another country for a week or two to watch someone’s dog, though I think my family would have some choice words to say…
  6. Assuming most people are having low-key Decembers. If that is the case, here are all the new things to stream this month, on ALL the platforms. I’m personally looking forward to “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle“, “Wonder Woman” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. “
  7. Your daily reminder there are still good people out there….a Florida man paid of the utility bills of 114 families who were at risk of being turned off which is just so heartwarming and lovely. I would also encourage folks to donate time or money to those less fortunate during this month. I personally buy presents for children through my church’s Angel tree, or through USPS Operation Santa. I’ve also donated to this GoFundMe for snacks and flower donations to hospitals in State College, PA for doctors and nurses. I also like to donate in someone’s name as their gift, because that’s what this season is about!!

Hoping you have a beautiful week ahead, loves !

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 46

How is it the middle of November already? I truly don’t understand where these last few months have gone, but I’m happy to be back in Columbus. I’ve already started my Christmas shopping and am planning which cookies to bake for the holidays. Not too much happened this week other than flying east, worked and did some reading. In fact, I think I’m off to read some more. Here’s the things that caught my eye this week…

  1. The Crown is back and I’m binging my way through it under a pile of blankets. I’m so excited for this season; we finally meet Diana and the famous love triangle. My heart is breaking for her as I’m watching, I knew it was rough for her, but I’m shocked how awful it might have been (the show isn’t 100% true but gosh I can only imagine how hard it must have been). I’m also so excited for Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. Honestly though, they do a fantastic job casting everyone on the show.
  2. I want to bake these slice n’bake bourbon caramel pretzel cookies ASAP. Bourbon isn’t my drink of choice, so I’ll have to pop out to grab but they really do sound heavenly.
  3. Sir Paul McCartney sat down with Taylor Swift and the two had a very interesting conversation about quarantining, making music and striving for normalcy in their lives.
  4. If you need someone new to follow on Tik Tok, please check out Grandma Droniak. She basically just shows off her outfits and ITS SO PERFECT. She’s also on Instagram.
  5. With Thanksgiving coming up, multiple medical experts have given recommendations on how to best handle Thanksgiving with family. I’m very nervous as we are gathering with family, I think everyone is taking pre-cautions but still puts me on edge.
  6. For any GBBO fans out there, if you’ve ever wondered why they wear the same outfit over two days, Laura spills why. Not very exciting, but I always have wondered why they do this!
  7. The Schitts Creek mansion is for sale and well, America, it was nice knowing you, I’m moving to Canada.

Have a lovely week!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann