Throne of Glass series

Aren’t they beautiful?

Sara J Maas. Have you heard the name yet? If not, you need to know that shes a brilliant author! She’s written the Court of Thorn of Roses trilogy and the Throne of Glass series. It’s the latter that I want to talk about today, since the last book of the series comes out in October! Kingdom of Ash has so many storylines to wrap up and it will have to be the most epic thing she’s written!

Throne of Glass, technically, starts with the book Assassin’s Blade. It is not one long story, but rather five short novellas that are a kind of prequel. You are introduced to characters who become important later on. I really recommend this as your starting point!

The first real book is Throne of Glass. It stars Celaena Sardothian, an amazingly efficient and smart alec assassin, the very best of Adarlan, who is released from the salt mines, where she was a slave. Her freedom comes at a price though, she must enter a competition to become the king’s champion (assassin). Prince Dorian and his friend Chaol, the captain of the guard, bring her back to the kingdom. The competition reveals many of the kingdom’s secrets, which sets up the rest of the series.

Crown of Midnight, book two, still follows Celaena through new adventures and devastating heartbreak. Characters we love leave us, causing Celaena to start down a new path, or a very old one, depending on how you look at it.

Heir of Fire brings Celaena to a new kingdom, new characters, and secrets revealed. Rowan, a fae warrior, comes on to the scene and he is a very harsh male. I will ask you to be gentle with him, he has reasons to be the way he is.

Queen of Shadows brings even more new characters, new problems to be solved. Celaena, or Aelin, is trying to do the right thing, for both her friends, and the kingdom, but her means are unbelievably crazy. The plans work out though, so stay with her to the end!

Empire of Storms will break your heart. It is amazing, and we get to know some older characters much better. Elide and Lorcan are my personal favorite as far as unlikely allies. There are many of them in this book. Enemies work together to try and stop a greater evil and ot makes for a great deal of reader entertainment! Remember, heart break, but worth it!

Tower of Dawn made a lot of readers angry. It’s just as brilliantly written as everything else, but at the end of Empire of Storms you have beloved characters in dire straights, only to skip back in time. We join Chaol on the southern continent and meet a whole new cast of characters. Chaol and Nesryn, another character from Adarlan, are in Antica to heal Chaol’s injury, and to hopefully raise an army to fight the evil trying to take over. Give this book a chance and, if nothing else, tell yourself that you need to know these characters before Kingdom of Ash!

Enjoy the books! They are beautiful and the although the stories can pull at your heart, they will also lift you up. My two favorite quotes from this entire series are

“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”

and

“You could rattle the stars. You could do anything, if only you dared.”

Those two quotes can see you through almost anything, and there are many more inspiring quotes to be had. Along with funny and quippy ones. Have you read these books? What did you think?

Sara J Maas Nerdy Post Box

Geeking out hard today!

Today in the mail I got my first Nerdy Post box in the mail! I have recently discovered these geek boxes and this is already my second Sara J Maas one. It’s such a thrill when they come in!

Morrigan quote shirt

I knew I had to get this box as soon as I saw the shirt that was included. This gorgeous Morrigan quote shirt features Illyrian wings and the three peaks and three stars of Rhysand’s tattoo. Nevermind the fact that the quote is super inspirational!

Being an awesome geek box it also included the following goodies. All of them totally swoon-worthy for a true Sara J Maas fan!

Double sided bookmark. Featuring Rowaelin and Feysand.

Carranam lip balm. Carranam is someone you can link magic with.

Beautiful Starfall enamel pin.

Amazing postcards featuring cities in both series and a coloring one.

Two quote cards, one about Aelin and one about Celaena.

Beautiful quote poster.

Really pretty sticker.

As you can see, Nerdy Post did an amazing job putting this box together!

Have you ever gotten a nerdy or geeky box? What was your favorite? If you could get one, what would you want the theme to be?

Panera Mac n Cheese

Dinner time

I’ve had this recipe saved for a while because my baby girl is the biggest fan of Panera. I used to be, but sadly, they keep changing the menu and their prices keep rising or the portions get smaller.

Its reached the point where Panera is her reward meal, always the mac n cheese, but I’ve been hoping for a copycat recipe! I finally found this one and girls weekend is the perfect time to try it out.

Recipe requirements:

  • 1 lb shells
  • 2 C sharp, white cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 1 C milk
  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 C butter

Start by melting your butter, then whisking in your flour. Add the milk, cream, salt, and pepper. Mix well and let simmer. I actually grated my own cheese for this, so wow for that! Add in the cheese, stirring as it melts.

Side note: this recipe was way too cheesy, even for my baby girl, so next time I’ll be cutting the amount of cheese to 1C.

Add the cheese to your cooked shells, and enjoy!

Month 1 Habit Tracking

Its somehow the end of August already. Does anyone know how that happened? It seemed like it would never get here, as I was so anxious to start using my new planner, and now it’s over. Weird how that works!

First time in my life using a habit tracker and here’s what I have to say about it:

1) It is really encouraging to look at the month as a whole and see how often you do something. Normally when I’m on a streak of something (exercise or my language app), the first missed day completely ruins my momentum! With the habit tracker, you have a visual reminder that, although you missed one day, you’re still killing it this month.

2) I was adding things throughout the month. When I saw how it impacted my daily behaviors, I realized just how much I could use this for. I can keep track of my social media use (Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr were the ones I focused on), it was also a reminder to check in daily with groups that I’m supposed to be active in. The habit tracker really helped keep me in line!

3) It is shockingly motivating to check off the little boxes. I got really excited to be able to say that I exercised, or did my yoga, etc. I came up with individual ways to mark each item too, which added to my fun.

4) The habit tracker helps you not feel so bad about the things you’re not getting done. Obviously you have to prioritize what is most important to you, and I need to rearrange my priorities a bit based on how my month went. By looking at a single day though, you’re able to see that you may not have accomplished one thing, but you still see how much you did. It’s very motivating!

I am very glad I started this habit tracker and am looking forward to how it evolves over the next year. I have a really good feeling about it!

Crazy Hair for my Crazy Life

It’s been a fun summer as far as hair color goes. I was being so good, not dying my hair for years, since I cut it off to grow healthy hair. Oh well, the road is paved with good intentions….

Spring Break look

Just before spring break I had some green put in. It was an experience walking around DC and having little kids from all over the world pointing and telling me my hair was green.

Later in the summer

Later on the summer I added a hint of blue, going for more of a teal color. Originally inspired by Five from the show Dark Matter. It’s interesting to see how people react to someone with non-natural hair color. Some people love it and have positive things to say. Others just glare. I had fun with it and it was kind of exciting to be out in the sunshine with my hair such a bright color.

Going blue for the fall

Now that the kids are back in school, my teal hair was fading, I debated going red, but given how the color wheel works, decided to try blue instead.

Already I’m in love with it. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from coworkers and Facebook friends. I do things like this for me, but it’s nice to get a good response from people!

Have you ever gone a crazy color with your hair? I have a friend that is the reason our old high school has their “no crazy hair color” policy. I’ve waited till my 30s, but I’m enjoying it! The closest I’ve come to crazy previously was when I dyed my hair black. I do not have a good complexion for black hair!

Black hair is not for me!

Reading Log Progress

Are there any avid readers among us? I am a fanatic when it comes to books. All kinds! Romance, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, etc. I’ve yet to find a genre that I can’t enjoy at least a little. I do of course have my favorite genres and authors, but all books deserve to be appreciated!

Last year, another reader friend of mine from Romania (ah the wonders of the internet era), was flabbergasted that I would reread old books when there were at least six series that I HAD to read. So late last year I promised her that I would not reread a single book this year. Everything would be a first time read.

Here we are, the end of August and I have read 78 new books so far. Not all have been full length novels, some are short novellas. Cassandra Clare is releasing a series of Shadowhunter novellas this year, leading up to Queen of Air and Darkness this November, and I love me some Clare!

My reading log notebook

I’ve always known myself to be a quick reader, jumping all in with a story, but seeing it laid out like this I can’t help but be amazed at myself. That’s a lot of freaking books!

I’ve discovered new authors, new worlds, and new fandoms. It’s a beautiful thing to fall in love with a world and then connect with others who love it as much as you do.

Do you keep track of the books you read? Set goals for yourself? This is my first year giving myself a guideline of any kind for reading, and I’m enjoying it immensely!

Some of my favorite books/series that I’ve reviewed here:

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Bloodlines

Caught Up

Vampire Academy

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Fault in Our Stars

The Mortal Instruments

The Infernal Devices

In Death Saga

Lords of the Underworld

And shockingly, I haven’t reviewed any of the series I’ve read this year! The world of reading is deep and wide, dive in!

Pagan Pride Festival

Today the family, friend, and I hit the 9th annual Pagan Pride Festival and we had a blast. I am a Christian, born and raised, and I still hold those beliefs. I will say that we had a ton of fun though and plan to go back next year.

Goodies from the Festival

My son collects rocks, and they had a large selection of stones, rocks, and crystals for him to choose from. My husband, brother, and son like sharp things, so they purchased assorted knives. My daughter is a fairy freak, so she got a tiny pewter fairy statue and a star shaped jar of pixie dust. I got myself a Pagan Pride tank top and have a beautiful new paper towel holder made by a local blacksmith.

Needless to say the artisans, vendors, and local shops represented were amazing!

They had food trucks there that had an amazing selection and I had myself an early dinner.

We waited till Sunday to go because I wanted to see Tuatha Dea perform and was not disappointed. They had a wide selection of songs, from Irish choices to Rhiannon, a personal favorite.

We’re definitely planning to go back next year! I do want to add that these are happy people. No one was rude, or snide. There was no judgement for anyone, no matter who they were there with, what they were wearing, or how they looked in general. Don’t be quick to judge someone based on their beliefs. Not every pagan is a satanist, not every Christian is judgmental, and everyone deserves to be weighed (not judged) by their own merits.