Random|| Life Update.

lifeupdate

Hey!

So I think I am battling a reading slump, which totally sucks! I was flying through books this month. I was making pretty big progress with my June TBR (check it out here). I read seven books (most were graphic novels) and then finished another that I had started in May. That’s eight books I read at the beginning of this month and I read them so fast too and I think I burned myself out, to be honest. My current read Love, Hate, and Other Filters goes back to the library in SIX DAYS and I am not anywhere near to finishing it, because I haven’t been in the mood to read. I am really enjoying it too and that makes it worse, in my opinion.

I also have things happening in my life that are taking over brain space. My mind is elsewhere. I’ve even neglected finishing some school stuff, ugh. I have a lot of things that need to happen in such a short amount of time. I try to stay composed though and realistically, I probably brush off a lot of important things. If things don’t make me happy or things I don’t want to do, then I tend to ignore doing those things for as long as possible. I also have this mindset that whatever happens, happens. I mean, that’s a pretty good mindset…to an extent. It’s good for things that are not really in your control. What’s happening now was totally in my control…

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I am a huge procrastinator, not going to lie. Example: I’ve known I was going to be moving for probably almost a year now and I have done nothing to move the process along to make it go more smoothly. I have three months now and….I’m fucked? Everyday I procrastinate things and then things happen that are no longer in my control and my trusty (not full proof, by the way) motto pops into my head “whatever happens, happens”. So when I say my mind is elsewhere, it’s on what the heck am I going to do about moving?

Where? How? How much is this going to cost? Savings? What savings? Things come up and there goes the savings. What about all the crap the hubby and I own? We own so much damn stuff, ughhh. What happen to minimalism this year? I had plans to toss pretty much all our stuff this year… <— I put that idea to the side and decided i’d come back to it later the next day after thinking it. I have four animals, who’s going to rent to someone with three cats and a dog? I’m sure there is ways around this, but I get paranoid they’ll find out and then we’ll be screwed. BLEHHHH. Life.

What about work? I am socially awkward (hence my blog name) and I also have MAJOR social anxiety…so the fact that I have to talk to my boss about potentially moving away but still REALLY wanting to keep my job is freaking me the hell out. I have the type of job that I can do it from home if needed. I have panic attacks thinking about this. If he says no, then we have to stay here; in this expensive city that realistically we just can’t afford anymore. Or if my boss says no and we still move to the cheaper city that I really want to move to, what am I going to do about a job? I can’t talk to people. SOCIAL ANXIETY SUCKS. I can’t handle finding a new job. Even thinking this is a possibility is scary as hell!

So what do I do when I can’t handle things? I pretend this is all a non-existent thing in my life and go about my life; doing whatever it is that I want to do instead of what I NEED to do. Sometimes I like to think I work harder (maybe even better) under pressure or a deadline, because I literally have no other choice but to do the work now that there is no time to stall or that word again…procrastinate. That’s not a good way to go about life either, by the way. Everything is a lot easier when you give yourself time to actually do things instead of trying to do a million things in a short amount of time on top of your regular life stuff. It only drives you crazy.

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I honestly had no intentions of this post to turn out like this. I was actually going to tell you guys I was in a reading slump and then post pictures that I took while at the park with my sister a couple weeks ago. I am so tired of adulting. Not that I really do much of it aside from pay my bills on time. That’s probably the only thing I got right as far as this adult thing goes. Sometimes I buy vegetables. I think I rambled way too much and I think I needed to just vent this all somewhere.

Anyway, this is part of why I’ve been so MIA on here. It’s also what kick-started this reading slump. I have so many things I need to figure out. I also need to figure out how to get over my fear of talking to my boss, because I really need to do it ASAP. The sooner the better, especially because we need to do know if we’re staying or going. Enough of that though. Here’s a lens ball picture of me that my sister took. I was taking a picture of her taking a picture of me through the lens balls, lol.

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I’ll share all of my other pictures soon. I have some from when my sister and I went to a park. I also have some from when we visited our dad and we went to another park. And then a TON more from the last 2.5 months. I’m sorry if I continue to be a little less active for awhile. This post pretty much explains why and also what my life is going to be like the next few months trying to figure all of this out!

In case you missed it;
Book Tag|| Mid-Year Freak Out.
Thoughts|| Be Prepared.
Thoughts|| All Summer Long.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

 

Photo A Day|| April 1-4.

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Hey!

I’ve been taking part in monthly photo a day challenges on my Instagram account (heyyitsashley) and I’ve been having a lot of fun with them (when I don’t fall behind on pictures). I figured I would also cross post them to my blog as well. I think for the purpose of blogging, I will post 3-5 per blog post that I do throughout the month. That way I am not spamming my blog with a million photo a day posts back to back. You can follow me on Instagram (linked above) if you want to see them daily though! Some of these pictures will be taken with my Nikon. There will also be some taken with my iPhone.

Days 1-4 of April.

This month the topics are the alphabet and the first week or so being numbers.  Coming up with a picture idea for numbers hasn’t been that easy. By the way, my caption game has not been on point so far this month. Emojis for everything. 😛

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Instagram Caption: happy easter! 🐣🐰 || photo a day • one.
Camera:
iPhone.

Took this one on Easter. I knew I wanted to use an Easter egg, because I wanted to post a “Happy Easter” picture. I love how this one came out. There were actually two pictures I took and I could not decide which one to use for my photo a day picture on Instagram. I chose this one and ended up posting the other one to Facebook. I’ll share the other one in another post when I do photo update post that I usually do. I think it’s been awhile since I’ve done one, actually.


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Instagram Caption: ❤️🧡💛 || photo a day • two.
Camera:
Nikon.

You may have seen this picture if you checked out my Butterfly World post (here). I decided to use it for this day, because I really wasn’t sure what to post for “two” and remembered these two guys and I hadn’t shared it to Instagram yet.


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Instagram Caption: 💜💜💜 || photo a day • three. 
Camera: 
iPhone.

I actually skipped this day until this morning when I was randomly taking pictures of some flowers. When I was looking at my pictures after I took it I seen there were three purple flowers that stood out, so I decided to post it a day late.


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Instagram Caption: 💙☁️🌳☀️ || photo a day • four.
Camera: 
iPhone.

I was trying to come up with ideas all morning for this one and then I seen the number “four” on my building at work. Took the easy way out and took a picture of it. It actually turned out really cool though, because you can see the reflection of the sky and trees on the number plate.

In case you missed it;
Wrap Up|| March.
Thoughts|| Love and Other Carnivorous Plants.
Book Haul|| March.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Wrap Up|| March.

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Hey!

March flew by pretty fast. I had a pretty busy month, as far as regular life goes. Fun stuff though! I had a birthday in March, celebrated the hubby and I’s first wedding anniversary, I got to visit my dad, I got to check out a new nature park (check it out here), I got to finally go to Butterfly World (check it out here), I got to go see Disney on Ice, I signed up for school and I am doing really well with the school work. Pretty awesome month, I would say!

Beast’s library that he gave to Belle is so much bookshelf goals!

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One of many pictures I took at Disney on Ice. I’ll post more in another post another time.

As far as reading goes, I didn’t read nearly as much as I had hoped to in March since I was so busy. I still read four books though, which is good. Here’s what I read in March. You can find a full list of these books and the other books I read this year over here. All will be linked to Goodreads below and I will also link to individual blog posts if I did a review for them.

Physically Read Books:
These are the books that I read by myself (not audiobooks) throughout the month of March.

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel – 4 out of 5 stars. – Review.
It was so hard for me to review The Roanoke Girls, because it was a pretty crazy/messed up book. It was good though and it had me hooked from the beginning. It was addicting and I needed to know what the heck was going on! Pretty twisted and disturbing. I would recommend reading it. Feel free to check out my review for more.

Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes – 5 out of 5 stars.
The Falling Kingdoms series means absolutely EVERYTHING to me. Morgan Rhodes has shattered my heart and picked up the pieces over and over again with this series. I am so sad that it’s over, but Immortal Reign was everything I hoped it would be and more. This series will forever have my heart.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – 5 out of 5 stars.
The Hammer of Thor was so good! I loved being back in this world and I can’t wait to read the third book. Loved the adventure and of course all the funny jokes and remarks. Rick Riordan is good with that. He is definitely one of my favorite authors. He always writes such fun books.

Love and Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves – 3 out of 5 stars – Review.
I liked Love and Other Carnivorous Plants. I thought it was a good story. It dealt with a lot of pretty important and tough things. Some being eating disorders, mental illness, alcohol abuse, questioning your sexuality. The second half slowed down a bit for me though, so it was hard to really want to be completely invested. I wish the pace didn’t change in the second half of the book, but it was still a good read. I would still recommend reading it. Feel free to check out my review for more.


Currently Reading Books:
These are the books that I started to read in the month of March, but didn’t get a chance to finish them yet.

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Huntress by Julie Hall

I am about 30% into Huntress and I am really enjoying it. It’s giving me Supernatural vibes with it being about hunting demons. I’m all for it.

What did you read in March? Have you read any of the books that in March? Feel free to link me to your wrap up posts, so I can check them out!

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| Love and Other Carnivorous Plants.
Book Haul|| March.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Book Haul|| March.

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Hey!

I have a pretty big book haul this month, but I only bought three of these books (not including the e-books I got). A couple were gifted to me for my birthday that happened earlier this month and publishers & authors sent me others for review. I am going to start with the three that I bought myself. This post may be a little lengthy with all my ramblings about them.

Oh and one last thing, I had every intention of taking pictures of my books this time. Nothing was working out for me though. I couldn’t get the right lighting and my books just did not want to cooperate with me. I called it quits. I did manage to get a picture of the stack though, just not each individual book. I honestly can’t wait to get out of this tiny apartment and into a place with more space, so I can get back into bookstagram the proper way and get back to sharing my pictures on here of my books too. I’m just in this tiny little place and there’s literally no good lighting or good anything for that matter. It’s so frustrating! Now onto the books that I got this month.

Physical Books I Bought:

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Children of Blood and Bone is one of my most anticipated books of the year. It’s got SO MUCH HYPE and I really hope I love it, because I usually don’t love hyped books as much as everyone else. I was able to have breakfast with Tomi Adeyemi last year at BookCon (and a few other authors at the Fierce Reads breakfast), which was pretty cool too. I’ve been eyeing Emergency Contact since I first seen it back in November, so I decided to finally just preorder it. I mainly ordered Aru Shah and the End of Time because it was a “Rick Riordan Presents” book and I love anything by Rick Riordan and need to own anything he likes! Even if he was to present me with his grocery list, I would gladly take it off his hands and read it a million times over. 😛 He has a couple others releasing too, which I need to go preorder, LOL. I haven’t read anything by Roshani Chokshi yet, but I do own The Star-Touched Queen, so I probably should read it soon! Aru Shah and the End of Time sounds really good though and like something I will fall in love with. I love books about different mythologies. The other two Rick Riordan Presents are also based off different mythologies as well.


Birthday Books:

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Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

My older sister gifted me Reign of the Fallen for my birthday earlier this month, which I was stoked for! I actually picked it out before my birthday, but she didn’t let me have it until my birthday. We went to Target and she let me pick a book out. Also for my birthday, I got these pretty awesome socks. Funny story, the hubby and my older sister got me the same exact ones. LOL. Totally fine, because I love them so much and now I have two. They say “fuck off, I’m reading”. 😛 My younger sister got me a copy of Olivia Twist for my birthday, which I also picked out. I’ve been so stoked about it, because it’s a retelling of Oliver Twist.

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Books from Publishers & Authors:

I was sent quite a few books from publishers and authors for review this month. Some ARCs and some finished copies. Here’s what I’ve been sent. I have a TON of reading to do. AHHH!

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Love & Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves (ARC)
Hot Mess by Emily Belden
Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles

I was sent a copy of Love & Other Carnivorous Plants from The Novl, which I am currently less than 50 pages of being finished with it and will have a review up soon. I read this book called Eightysixed by Emily Belden back in 2014 and the publisher reached out to me and asked if I wanted an ARC of her new book Hot Mess because she seen I read Eightysixed, so of course I said YES! She actually sent a finished copy though, which was cool! I even got it a few days earlier than the release date. I got a copy of Anatomy of a Miracle from Blogging for Books.

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Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray (ARC)
The Falling Between Us by Ash Parsons

I got a surprise package from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers that had a paperback copy of Defy the Stars and an ARC for the sequel, Defy the Worlds. I own the e-book of Defy the Stars, but I haven’t had the chance to read it yet. I am excited I have both now and can finally read them. Penguin reached out to me to see if I was interested in reviewing The Falling Between Us and I said yes, because it sounds so good! Super stoked about that one.

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Huntress by Julie Hall
Warfare by Julie Hall
Logan by Julie Hall
Dominion by Julie Hall
*I just linked Huntress, because the other books are in that series; Huntress is the first book.*
Lullaby by L.R. W. Lee

I was asked if I wanted to participate in an Bookstagram tour for the release of Dominion (book three) over on Instagram in April, so I said sure and I’m excited about it; I’ve never done one before. I haven’t had the chance to read the series yet, but I was sent all of the books to read and review. I will be doing a review on Huntress and then later the entire series as a whole once I read them all. I was also sent Lullaby by the author and I can’t wait to read it and review it. It sounds like something I’ll really like. By the way, I am living for all of these book covers!

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I Will Find You by Joe Kenda (Netgalley)

I haven’t been requesting books on Netgalley much these days, but when I seen I Will Find You, I took the chance. I was so stoked that I got approved. My older sister and I love Joe Kenda. We love watching his TV show on the Investigation Discovery channel. It releases in September and I am super stoked to read it! It’s basically about his life and some of the murder cases that he’s solved in his career.

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E-Books:

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Paper Princess by Erin Watt
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

I am not really big into superheroes or the DC/Marvel worlds, but LEIGH BARDUGO. That’s pretty much the only reason I got Warbringer and the $1.99 sale price helped too. I’ve been wanting to read Paper Princess for such a long time, so I finally decided to get it. Truly Devious sounded right up my alley and I was stoked to see it on sale. I’m pretty excited to read The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store. This is something I personally need to work on, because I LOVE THINGS TOO MUCH. *cries* It also goes along with what I said in the beginning of this post. No space in this tiny apartment and I own too much stuff. I’ve even had to pack away more than half of my books and get rid of some bookshelves, sigh.

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Anyway, that is all for my March book haul! What books did you get this month? Have you read any of the books that I got? Let me know and feel free to link me to your book haul posts, so I can check them out!

I plan to catch up on your blog posts and comments today and tomorrow. 🙂 I don’t usually get a whole lot of time during the week now that I am doing school and work. I’ll have some time today and tomorrow though. This weekend I have a ton of school stuff to do, like make a million flash cards.

In case you missed it;
Travel|| Butterfly World.
Travel|| Biscayne National Park.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Travel|| Butterfly World.

butterflyworldheader

Hey!

The hubby and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary over the weekend (March 25th). We decided to finally check out Butterfly World. I’ve been wanting to go for so long now. Here are a bunch of pictures that I took while there.

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There are different sections of Butterfly World. These first four pictures below are part of the area where the butterflies are. The garden area was really pretty.

These next set of pictures are of some of the butterflies. It wasn’t easy getting pictures when they were flying around like crazy. There were some that did land though, so that was cool. There were so many big butterflies and they were all so pretty too. My favorite were the blue ones, but it was so hard to get pictures of them; they never landed and when they did it was with their wings folded. With their wings folded, they weren’t blue. I did manage to get one picture with a few of them flying though (toward the bottom of the set of pictures).

A butterfly even landed on the Andy’s hand! That was pretty neat. We were just walking around and it landed on him. I was totally jealous, haha. I wanted one to land on me, but I knew I would have probably freaked out if one did. LOL. When they were all flying at me, I was freaking out. So probably a good idea they didn’t.

Once you leave the butterfly area, there are some other little garden areas with flowers and birds. There was also this cool suspension bridge.

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Walking across the suspension bridge you run into a little area that had some Macaws. They were really cool and I loved their colors. There were also some other little birds around. I got a few pictures of them, because they mostly just flew around.

Another garden area with some random flowers and plants. There was a monarch butterfly on one of the flowers, so I was able to get a few pictures of that which ended up honestly being my favorite pictures of the day. Below are the flower pictures.

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Overall, it was really neat, but I wouldn’t say that it was worth the price. It was $30 a person and it only took us 20-30 minutes to walk through the entire thing. If I wasn’t stopping to take pictures, it would have taken even less time. It was still really pretty and the butterflies were really awesome. I still really enjoyed it and happy that we went at least once. We ended up walking through it twice, because I didn’t like that we spent $60 for a 20-30 minute walk-through. The second time around we decided to sit down in the butterfly garden area and let the butterflies fly around us.

I got some good pictures though, so that was nice. I also got to hangout with Andy, which is always great. It’s rare that we have days off together. He has to ask for the day off work or I have to ask for the day off work in order for that to happen, so we don’t always get to do a many things together. I am pretty stoked that we got to hangout for our anniversary. We even got P.F. Chang’s for dinner and it was so good. I still think about that sesame chicken and dumplings days later.

That’s all for this post! Hopefully I’ll have a review of Love and Other Carnivorous Plants posted in a few days. I don’t have much left to read. I also really want to finish it before the end of March. I want to go into April with no unfinished books, because I have a ton of review books that I need to get to. I think I have at least 4-5 books that I need to read and review. I’ll have my book haul post in the next couple days too. I have quite the haul this month.

In case you missed it;
Travel|| Biscayne National Park.
Friday Finds #72.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Travel|| Biscayne National Park.

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Hey!

Over the weekend I went to go visit my dad with my younger sister and our mom. It was a really great time. While he showed my younger sister around his place, I was off taking pictures with my camera. I’ve been there before, so I seen the majority of it. My dad has the most amazing garden and plants. Here are a few pictures, but let me first tell you that this isn’t even half of his plants/garden. His entire place is surrounded and this is only a small portion. I still haven’t taken pictures of everything yet, but I did get a few of my favorite area.

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FAVORITE AREA BEING THE CACTI AND SUCCULENTS!! HOLY CRAP! I was literally in picture taking HEAVEN. Next time I go see my dad, I’m going to ask him if I can take a few plants home. He always asks us if we want any and I always say no. Next time I’m gonna say yes, lol.

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Found these guys on a couple of my dad’s plants. The caterpillar is going to turn into a monarch butterfly, which is pretty cool. The below picture is just a random picture of these little plants that are hanging from the big trees in his yard. I love the trees and I really love this picture.

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Most of these from my dad’s garden (like the hanging tree and the butterfly and lady bug) haven’t been on Instagram yet. Eventually they’ll make there way there. I hoard pictures to post later. So if you follow me on there, you may see these again! Instagram: heyyitsashley

After he showed my sister around, we were gonna go grab lunch. Before lunch though, we went to Biscayne National Park to walk around. He said he goes there a lot. It was so pretty there and I was super stoked to be able to take pictures. I’ve pretty much taken pictures of almost all the parks in my area, so it was nice going to a new one I haven’t been to. There were a ton of people out fishing and swimming there. There’s two parts to the park, but we only went to the fishing part, which was still so pretty. Here are some pictures I took while there.

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MOM & DAD.

We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch. I never been there before, but my sister swore they were amazing. I didn’t really get the hype. The food wasn’t that great. At least their chicken tenders weren’t. The beer was good though.

Well, that’s all for this post! I should hopefully be able to catch up with your blogs and comments in the next couple of days. Been a busy weekend and week so far for me with getting some school stuff done on top of work and trying to fit in some non-school related reading as well. I also got addicted to Nailed It (baking competition show) on Netflix and watched the entire season in a day. 😛

I was hoping to finish my current read (Love and Other Carnivorous Plants) by today, so I could get my review up, but I ended up going to the movies last night to see Love, Simon. So that didn’t happen. I hope to at least have it up before the end of the week. By the way, Love, Simon was AMAZING. I laughed and cried throughout the entire movie. The hubby even cried throughout the movie too, lol. SO MANY FEELS!

In case you missed it;
Friday Finds #72.
Random|| Birthday, School, & Other Things.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Friday Finds #72.

fridayfinds

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).


Hey!

I haven’t updated since Monday, so I figured I would do a Friday Finds post since I haven’t done one since December. I’ve been in the worst blogging slump and I haven’t been reading that much over the last couple weeks. I just haven’t been wanting to post or not sure what to post about. I think coming up with content to post is always difficult! Let me know what you guys want to see! I should hopefully have a ton of reviews coming soon with all the ARCs and review books I have lined up though.

Anyway! Here are some of the books that I added to my Goodreads TBR shelf over the last few months. There won’t be book descriptions this time since I am posting ten books, but I will link them all to Goodreads, so you can check them out! You can see more of my TBR over on my Goodreads account over here and feel free to add me as a friend!

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Hot Mess by Emily Belden
Circe by Madeline Miller
The Storm Runner by Jennifer Cervantes
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian

I am super stoked for Hot Mess and I’ll talk more about it in my book haul later in the month. Rick Riordan Presents The Storm Runner…Rick Riordan, enough said. I will also be talking more about Rick Riordan Persents in my haul post too. I am living for the book cover of Circe and Beautiful Mess. The Wicked Deep gives me Hocus Pocus vibes and I am all about that.

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Paper Cranes Don’t Fly Away by Peter Vu
Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield
The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley

I feel like these five books are going to give me ALL THE FEELS! Also, all of these book covers! HEART EYES FOR DAYS. New Markus Zusak book, YESSSSS!

Have you added any new books to your TBR? Feel free to link me to your posts if you have one or leave a comment letting me know what new books you added to your TBR. 🙂

What are your plans for the weekend? My younger sister is going to be in town this weekend. She’s a truck driver with her boyfriend, so she’s gone all the time driving around the country. So I’ll probably be hanging out with her a lot and the family. I am also hoping to be able to go to the movies to see Love, Simon!! I am DYING to see it, because I loved the book so much when I read it back in 2015.

In case you missed it;
Random|| Birthday, School, & Other Things.

I hope you have a great day and weekend!

ashleyblack