Tuesday, February 14, 2023

MoonaLisa: Spring Perfumes

 Happy Valentine's Day!

These perfumes were my choices from the MoonaLisa spring collection release last year. These scents were at the MooScents webstore and ran $15.95 each. Most are currently available right now.

Mon Citron Bijou (My Citrus Jewel)- Notes: A patchouli lover's dream! With lively all-natural grapefruit, and five other citrus oils, and earthy patchouli notes.
I had this as a soap sample a very very long time ago. I remembered it being a cheerful and energetic scent that felt clean, vital, and happy. It translates beautifully into the perfume. The patchouli is fresh and clean, robust with citrus and sunshine. It sparkles with lightness and natural beauty. This one will get worn often.

Aphrodite- Notes: Sandalwood, cinnamon, cypress and more. Spicy and woodsy. Represents "The Maiden", love, passion, Venus, growth and longevity.
I am embarrassed to say that I happened. I have so much perfume that I bought this a second time without realizing that I already had one. Yikes. I guess it isn't all bad news. I mean, after all, it is only 3mL so it is a very small amount. Good thing Moona is affordable! After smelling and wearing Aphrodite, I am happy I got an extra. I have a soft spot for sandalwood and cinnamon and this is an excellent rendition. The sandalwood is creamy and soft while the cinnamon is warming. The wood and spice marry beautifully.

Duchess of Willowdale- Notes: Amber, labdanum, Salome's Secret, mixed with dark decadent chocolate oils.
This is an interesting fragrance. The chocolate is dark with cacao and behind it is a sharp resin. The duchess possesses a razor edge smile. She may beguile, however, something nefarious lurks in the depths of her eyes. This is polarizing scent that pushes and pulls the senses. 

Chocolate Butter Run Beignet- Notes: Dark premium rich chocolate covers a deep fried beignet soaked in buttery rum sauce.
I have often read about the pure and simple magic of Moona's chocolate scents. I typically do not wear chocolate scents with much happiness but I wished to sample the wares. Chocolate Butter Rum Beignet is without a doubt a chocolate perfume. This one is sweeter, creamier, and easier to wear than the duchess. It is a straightforward gourmet scent. There is a caramel thickness and a vanilla lushness that compliments the chocolate. 

Aurelia- Notes: Delicious ripe raspberries top this lovely, raspberry jam filled white wedding cake, doused with vanilla cream, topped with dried rose petals, and with a hint of sandalwood ambered musk.
I used to adore the home fragrance wax tarts from Lasting Scent Candles that were all about the wedding cake and fruits. I must have been feeling nostalgic for that aroma when I tossed this into my cart. The raspberry is juicy, sweet and bright. It emits a sticky jam texture that brings to mind the wonderful raspberry scent that The Bathing Garden uses in wax and scrubs. The sugary jam melts away and the raspberries gain a tartness that glistens with subtle nuances of rose and vanilla. It never turns into Lush Rose Jam. This always remains a raspberry first and foremost. It is lovely.

Salome's Secret- Notes: A crushing blend of various amber resins mixed with a rich and boozy vanilla absolute, for a smoldering promise.
I had this perfume several years ago and after a bit of aging it became the most lovely gilded resin. I wore it frequently, received compliment frequently, and drained every last drop. When I saw it remerge I purchased two of these lovelies to wear at my leisure. If you enjoy amber perfumes, this one should be in your radar. Give it some age and wear with abandon.

Ostara- Notes: Rites of spring. Cedarwood, lavender, rose, clove, and a touch of dragon's blood.
Years ago I had Ostara as a wax tart from a Moona mystery bag and it was love at first sniff. Ostara is a earthy floral beauty that is soft and plush like velvet. The resins and roses and woods are pillowy and comforting, yet suggest a breath of a dirt floored cottage with fresh herbs strewn underfoot. It is peaceful and nurturing.

Field of Dreams- Notes: Amber with lavender kashmir, lavender absolute, and lavender.
This is a limpid lavender that starts with a watery herbal quality. As it dries down the the lavender moves from the its dewy water element into its earthen phase. A bit of ambery sweetness edges into the lavender. It is beautiful to wear if you area a lavender lover.

Bee's Knees- Notes: Honey, honeysuckle, and hyacinth.
This is not a scent profile I typically go for, but with the affordable pricing of MoonaLisa's perfumes, this is a wonderful house to get adventurous with. I had read some glowing reviews of this scent for people who enjoy honeysuckle, and this just happened to be a hole in my collection. Wearing this scent is akin to walking in a fairytale meadow, honeyed sunshine pouring through the air, flowers brushing claves and lending their fragrant pollen and perfume. The honeysuckle and hyacinth possess a liquid clarity without being screechy or overbearing. The honey offers sweetness and roundness to the florals. I love this one so much I also picked up the EDP format in order to layer them on my body and hair and clothing. This is spring in a scent.

MoonaLisa is open for spring scents currently at MooScents.com 

There are some stunning perfumes and soaps, candles, and such available now. I hope to get a few bars of soap. They are so generously sized and smell amazing.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Travel: Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands

Last summer, after a couple years of saving, we were able to fly out as a family to visit my sister, her husband and their new baby in Belgium. They are stationed near Peer, Belgium in the Air Force. It is a tiny base with no housing or schools or even a commissary. They have to drive to the Netherlands to visit the BX. But the street and town they live in is lovely. Very bucolic. There are horses in the backyard, wheat fields on the street, and a quaint temple at the end of it. 

They sleep with windows open. The doors are unlocked all day, even when they leave the house.

Meeting my niece for the first time was amazing. Ellie and Scarlette hit it off pretty quickly.

We made our way to the city center. The streets were immaculate, the buildings had fun details like this cheeky fella holding a shutter open.

We ate some gelato, fries with copious mayo, and walked around.

The poppies and wildflowers were everywhere. I was totally enamored.

We visited Antwerp, Belgium and went sightseeing, but I didn't take a ton of photos that day. It was mostly about soaking it in and spending time with the family. We drove to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg next. The Walls of the Corniche were awesome to see, encircling the city. They are called Europe's most beautiful balcony and I can see why. 

There was a small market going on in the city center. I picked up a few thrifted trinkets from a sweet lady. We visited the museum and ate at McDonald's of all places. The girls loved seeing the menu differences. And yes, instead of a Quarter Pounder, I had the Mc Royale. 

Luxembourg was Savanna's favorite place.

After that we rested a day and hung out at the house, watching TV, catching up. Then it was Scarlette's 13th birthday. She chose to go to a theme park in the Netherlands (I looked up a lot of different places, an arcade, a zoo, and more- this is what she landed on) called Eftling. It is an old fairy tale theme park that was utterly enchanting.

We rode rides, Scarlette and Dustin rode a roller coaster, we did a boat cruise, and walked through a fairy tale forest.

The food was surprisingly cheap. I am used to Disney and Universal prices. The huge hotdog I got was only $4. It would easily have been $14 at Disney. It was delicious too.

We spent a week staying at their home in Belgium. It was charming, beautiful and peaceful. The second week we all packed our bags and took the EuroStar high speed rail under the channel to the UK.

I will post that adventure next. We loved Belgium. Adam, the girls and I still talk about it. It was funny, even a couple nights ago Adam told me he had a good dream about being back there.

Monday, January 2, 2023

2023 Reading Challenge


Jay and I got together once again to create a reading challenge for 2023. I was thrilled with how last year's went for me. I got a ton of great reading done. It is all tucked away in my heart and mind, enriching my thoughts. We typically do close to 30 prompts, but with the coming year being extra busy for us we whittled it down to 25, that is two a month plus a bonus. Please follow along with us and use the hashtag so we can see what you are reading and recommending!

1. 2023 Word for the year- Inclusive. Choose a book with an author that has an IDD

(Intellectual and Developmental Disability) or topics or themes revolving around IDDs. 

2. Viva Magenta! or Rainbow Colors! Pick a bold cover with vibrant hues.

3. Read something by the best selling novelist of all time (only behind the Bible and Shakespear)- Agatha Christie. 

4. A blind pick: have a friend or partner pull a book for you, or close your eyes and choose. Some thrift book shops

even have blind paper bag buys. Those can be fun!

5. Seasonal: Read a book with a season in the title. 

6. Diving Deeper: Read about a topic you listen to podcasts about, watch documentaries on, or are learning about.

7. LOL!- Find a book that makes you literally laugh out loud, or at least crack some smiles- if not these,

then authored by a comedian.

8. Long-Ass Title: Find a book with at least seven words in the title. 

9. Absolutely Amazing Alliteration in the title.

10. Book set in Africa.

11. Weekend Escape: A book you can finish in a couple days.

12. Mood Reader: Read whatever feels good or fits your mood.

13. Miniature Delights: Read a book that is 5 x 7 or smaller. 

14. Book pairing: choose a book and a favorite chocolate, tea, or wine to enjoy right along with it.

15. Magpie: Choose a cover with stars, sparkles, glints, or shimmery attractive bits and bobs.

16. Book Shield: grab a book for when reading is your coping mechanism

17. 90s: set in, or written during

18. Enigmatic title: one that makes you do a double-take, in which you must find out more.

19. Eye-opening read

20. Speculative fiction: encompassing books that take place in our world but with an added

magical/supernatural/futuristic twist

21. Author you can't believe you haven't read yet

22. Library setting or Bibliophilia

23. Booked on a feeling: books that cause big feelings

24. Fantasy subgenre: for reference: High, Low, Epic, Historical, Urban, Magical Realism, Grimdark...

25. Reflections: cover or content

This year I would like to reading the last book in the Outlander series, I have it sitting on my shelf ready to go.

I would also like to add in The Outsider by Stephen King, some Emily Dickinson poetry, and a new series.

What are you hoping to get to?

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Ebb & Flow: December 2022

 The highs and lows of the month.

Moonalisa Cedarwood and Patchouli EDP

Perfume Oil:
Arcana Wildcraft Two Finger Ballet, Moonalisa Yule Woods, and Nocturne Alchemy Veil in heavy rotation.

Blood Moon Botanica Rose Gold Velvet

The Bathing Garden mini scrub samples, just used up Mrs. Cratchit's Christmas Pudding. Shannon's scrubs are a forever favorite. My husband even placed an order for me for Christmas this year. It was a sweet surprise!

Hair Care: 
Future Primitive shampoo bar and conditioning hair rinse, my all time favorites, any scents but currently in Nanook

Skin Care:
Blood Moon Botanica Moon Dew hyaluronic acid serum with a few drops of the Luminous Oil. Britton will be on break due to having a baby (last I saw she was even in the hospital at the moment in labor!). I should have stocked up a touch more but hopefully she will come back to making body care and such in the future. She is quitting social media, so her newsletter is the best way to follow her. She had an amazing podcast that I am still listening to, and she recently published a book, which I bought. I love supporting Britton.

Burning the old Bath and Body Works still. I have tried a few indie candles but other than Sihaya and Witch City Wicks, I just keeping returning to BBW for the size and price (on sale of course). Currently burning Fireside and Smoked Vanilla Whiskey, which smell amazing together. Other favorites this year: Flannel, Twisted Peppermint, Palo Santo, Vanilla Balsam, and Balsam & Firewood.

Candles From the Keeping Room Citrus and Balsam, as well as, Plumberry Spice. I ordered from Carol during each of her last openings and I am quite stocked up on her wax for when she retires. If she has any more openings I will place orders too. I plan on keeping my warmers going as long as I can. I did place a couple orders with Starlit Corner but the throw varied a lot. I am totally mesmerized by her videos. I also ordered from Vintage Chic Scents a couple times this year and enjoyed the fall scents I ordered. 

Sesame candy, toast, Slim Jims. 

DRAM sparkling waters (love them all!), coffee with that Target Marshmallow whipped cream on top, water.

Twenty One Pilots Vessel album that Savanna bought me for my birthday.

Married at First Sight with the girls, Unsolved Mysteries (with Robert Stack) with Savanna, and finished up Outlander. 

All over the place, really. Just finished Hausfrau about a woman whose life is flying off the rails, Mythos which is retold Greek mythology tales by Stephen Fry, and about to dive into some Virginia Woolf. I have the last Outlander book and need to finish that soon. Jay and I are doing another reading challenge and it will be posted January 2nd. 

Savanna turning sixteen! Already peeking at used cars. Planning on how to fit that into the budget. She doesn't want a party, but does want to visit Cornell's campus in Ithaca, New York. 

Not dreading, but I am a touch overwhelmed with work, the new lead position, and schooling at the moment. I know it is a season and only temporary. I don't want to look to the future all the time. I know it is vital to stay in the present as much as possible (especially when I feel like the girls are in their twilight with us). The program is 18 months and I have a little more than a year left. I can do this.

Plackers Grin No More cheap and disposable mouth guards. 

I bought some M. Barc Sandalwood Vanilla hair shampoo at Kohls in a rush. I used it and it felt.... off. Too thick, kinda dry. Weird smell. Turns out it was pet shampoo. Yeah. Do not recommend. 

The quickness at which winter break flies by. Christmas was chill this year. I didn't put up all my decor and the girls chose a tiny tree this year so I only needed about 1/4 of the ornaments I usually put up. It was nice. How is this low turning into a high? I don't know. Hm. My low is that my chickens are not laying eggs. They have been on strike for a couple months now between molting and winter starting. There. Buying eggs when you have chickens. Who are spoiled. A low.

Saving my wildflowers, herbs and some veggies from the freeze. This time I insulated them with tons of moss and then covered them with blankets and many survived! Woot!

How was your December? How was 2022? It was a great year for me overall. I got to see my sister, her husband and baby in Belgium. I got to see my other sister and her husband in Texas. I got a promotion. The girls did well in school. Toddles is still around. I got to be outside. I grew enough green beans to cook and eat. I found some thrifting treasures. Tell me about yours.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Ebb & Flow October

The highs and the lows of the month.


MoonaLisa Alexandria and Solstice Scents Vanilla Pipe Tobacco

Perfume Oil:

Arcana Wildcraft Cake Lust and MoonaLisa Strega


Cosmic Cleanse Magnesium Body Creme Unscented (I put lavender and peppermint oils in it)


Blood Moon Botanica Moon Dew and Luminous Glow facial oil combined morning and night. Britton is having a shop update November 11th-12th.

Lip Balm:

Evergreen by Firebird


Bath and Body Works Marshmallow Fireside


Candles From the Keeping Room Potpourri Spice


Moss Garden by Shoyeido (smells like vanilla ice cream to my students)

Work Bag:

Tote #2 by Siren Co. (still absolutely obsessing over it)


Whiskey Dog Wares bralette, freaking comfy as all get out.


Boar's Head Sweet Chili Garlic hummus


Dram sparkling water with or without CBD


Twenty One Pilots Scaled and Icy album


Breaking Bad for the first time through, new episodes of British Baking Show and Unsolved Mysteries


Completed reading challenge and pretty much reading school work right now. Everything Maria Montessori.


The holidays, small celebrations, Thanksgiving dinner, fires in the fireplace, winter gardening, bonfires, that sort of thing.


Making my eye doctor appointment for the 1,000th time. Kept getting pushed back due to unexpected meetings at work, the hurricane, and now... not sure when I will get to it. And I need glasses for the first time I think. Blurry vision life.


Old lady time.... Plackers Grind No More Night Guard. I crack my teeth and fillings from night time teeth grinding if I don't wear a mouth guard. These aren't awkward in my mouth and don't hurt me. And are cheap.


Tieks ballet flats. I fell for the hype and bought some but they are not comfortable and I regret it.


Feeling stretched. I added a leadership position at work to my plate but then other things happened and now I need take my training sooner than I anticipated. So I am taking my ESOL class, Montessori classes, and juggling the daily job and the extra position all at once. I know it will pass. My ESOL class will be done by Christmas. My Montessori training is 18 months. My leadership position is a 3 year tenure. I can do this. The girls promised to help me cook. Adam will give me grace. I just need to get the hang of it and be ok giving up my relaxing time. My reading. My gardening. Just for a bit. Just a little. 


I got to see my sister and my brother-in-law and my niece over the summer and I am still riding that high. Adam, the girls and I talk about it all the time. Thankful we were able to make it happen. I am also happy that I have been able to see some birds, the foxes, and an owl in our backyard.

How have you been doing? And hits or misses? What are you wearing? Smelling? Watching on TV? How is your life going?

Saturday, October 29, 2022

2022 Reading Challenge Completed

This was a year for reading once again. The minute the covers met each other for the last time, my hands found a new set of covers to part and explore. Little could I know that this was the surge before the drought. The next 18 months will be filled with text books and required readings. I will still find time to read for pleasure and I would love to make another challenge with my friend Jay, but I doubt I will make this much progress. But who knows! Maybe short stories will count.
 I keep my reviews short and the rating system is as follows: 
*- Meh, you could skip it.
**- Not bad, you might enjoy it.
***- Loved it! I recommend you give it a whirl.

 1. Join the Resistance- whether subverting Nazis in WWII-era France, opposing a current oppressive state or ideology, or fighting the patriarchy in a dystopian future, be a rebel with a cause.

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Conde is written by a French novelist from Guatemala who explores slavery and colonialism. She gives Tituba a voice here and does a phenomenal job of it. **

2. The lost art of handwriting- choose a book with the title written as script.

Changeling by Philippa Gregory has been on my shelf for ages. I finally got around to reading this story about a young couple who investigate evil in the name of the Pope in Italy in 1453. There is magic, secret cults, and constant adventure, but the characters felt flat and I was never truly engaged. I had the second and third books but didn't feel the need to read them. *

3. Daughters- explore the complex sibling relationships so often a theme in literature.

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews has been on my TBR list quite some time. I finally tracked it down at a used book store and the horror did not disappoint. Talk about complex sibling and daughter relationships. Yikes. ***

4. Atomic Elements- book with an element from the periodic table in the title (carbon, oxygen, gold, silver, neon...)

Banners of Gold by Pamela Kaufman is actually a second book in a series, but it was easy to read as a stand alone. Set during the Crusades and the time of King Richard, it had the potential to be enchanting, but was rather silly. The verbiage got on my nerves and the heroine was namby-pamby. *

5. Mist, haze, or fog-like cover.

Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianna Wiggins was a comet to the heart. A love story that melds science, illumination and human nature into a finely crafted tale that spans generations. If you only read one book from this list, let it be this one. I would give it four stars. Heck. I will. ****

6. Reuse, recycle, regift- a thrifted book.

The Twilight Wife by A. J. Banner is a thriller about a woman who has a diving accident and how the resulting amnesia is throwing a pall of suspicion over her marriage. I just didn't really care what happened. Never bought in. *

7. Back to the future- bridge time and distance with a dual timeline narrative.

The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack is a tale of mysticism and relics, where a tarot deck spans the past and the present and is mysteriously important. It was a decent story for a fun quick read, but nothing ground breaking. **

8. Neurodiversity- seek to gain a better understanding of mental health and the diverse abilities of those who process the world differently, in fiction or non-fiction.

Me Talk Pretty Someday by David Sedaris. I usually enjoy David's tongue-in-cheek memoirs, but this one was not one of my favorites. David is a gay middle aged guy with OCD and a jaded past who shares snippets of his childhood through his adulthood. He often makes me laugh out loud, however I barely smirked with this one. *

9. Protagonist over 50.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig definitely counts as a protagonist over 50, the lead character looks 41 but is centuries old. And he isn't even a vampire. It is a crafty and clever story. It took me on an enjoyable journey. Worth checking out for sure. ***

10. Summon your familiar- read from an animal character's perspective or from its close human companion.

The Gorgon and Other Beastly Tales by Tanith Lee is a compilation of several short fantastical stories. Many involve tales from the beasts' point of view. I fell down a Tanith Lee rabbit hole and don't regret it for one minute. I love her Bradbury-esque feminine take on the surreal. ***

11. Book maze-get lost in a twisty plot that keeps you on edge.

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is a twisty plot for sure. Another one of those popular thrillers that keep you guessing and read like a sprint. This one revolves around a lonely outcast and her unexpected invitation to a bachelorette party in the woods. ***

12. Heartsqueezer.

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison didn't simply squeeze my heart, but mashed it to a pulp. This tale may be extremely triggering to some, so beware. It was worth the gritty read for me though. ***

13. Inner child- pick up a children's or youth book.

The Book of Three by Llyod Alexander is a children's fantasy book about a boy who was supposed to be the caretaker of a prophesy telling pig, who somehow got loose. It was charming and I could see myself reading the rest of the tales on day. **

14. Memoir or Biography- dive into someone else's journey.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Yes, this really was my very first time reading it. It broke my heart and refreshed my soul all at once. It reminded me of the inner thoughts and feelings of my own girls and myself. It crushed me that this vibrant soul endured so much. I will probably re-read it again in the future. ***

15. Opening sentence hook that reels you in.

Verity by Colleen Hoover was literally everywhere I turned. I figured there had to be something to it. Another popular thriller with a spin. It started strong but then petered out for me. I could see things coming and didn't really buy into it. It wasn't terrible, but it was a case of over hype for me. **

16. Green. Because it is an amazing color.

Backwoods Witchcraft by Jake Richards was a fun and enlightening read. I love the Appalachian tales of folklore and magic and this fed into that a bit. I liked the merging of Christianity with the paganism, the gardening songs and the down-home perspective. **

17. Read your bliss- any topic or genre that makes you happy. 

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix was a Barnes & Noble pick by my oldest. She saw that rocking 80's cover and fell head over heels for it. The tale ended up being pretty awesome. It was a spooky story about a possessed teen and how her best friend deals with the fall out. ***

18. We might not get out of here alive- Survival fiction or non, fantasy or reality.

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup was a tale of survival that was harrowing yet hopeful all the same. It is the true story of a free black man who was drugged and kidnapped and sold into slavery and his quest to regain his freedom and his family. ***

19. Book of secrets- whether the international intrigue of a spy novel abounds, or dark family secrets are waiting to be unlocked; there's destined to be subterfuge afoot.

The Likeness by Tana French is from a series that follows several different detectives who all work or have worked together. They easily read as stand alone novels. This one follows a female detective who has to work undercover and live with a group of suspects but gets sucked too far into her role of deception. Quite thrilling. **

20. Gothic horror- I'm not saying it's haunted, but there's something going on in with house...

Devil's Day by Andrew Michael Hurley is British gothic horror in a folktale setting. Andrew does a phenomenal job of creating a slow burning spooky mind game. Is there foul play? Are the characters unstable? Are there other forces at work? I have thoroughly enjoyed all three of his books so far and highly recommend them for his melancholy English settings and maze-like relationships. ***

21. Missing link- a book that you want to read to finish up or continue a series.

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker is the sequel to a much beloved story, The Golem and the Jinni. It carries on the tale of two seemingly mismatched lovers and how they navigate a world of humans and misunderstandings. ***

22. Hearth & Home- nesting, homesteading, tending.

Old Wives' Lore for Gardeners by Maureen and Bridget Boland was a fun and fast read. It is a teeny tiny book about burying things in the night, planting by the moon, and all sorts of silly yet timeless things. ***

23. Memento Mori- death, grief, mourning.

From The Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury is a collection of short stories that has been sewed neatly into a novel that follows a supernatural family and how they navigate death and life along with their adopted human child. ***

24. Booktok, Booktube, or Bookstagram-discover what real readers recommend, and find out if that book is worthy of all the hype.

Year of the Witch by Temperence Alden came from a podcast I listen to. I quiet enjoy following along with Invoking Witchcraft with J. Allen Cross and Britton Boyd, and they often do guest interviews and one was Temperence. I picked up her book and it was a quick read about some basics regarding the Wheel of the Year. I did find it sparse and very introductory, probably fitting for some but I didn't really glean much from it. *

25. #Ownvoices- books about characters from underrepresented/marginalized groups in which the author shares the same identity. 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is the story of a black marriage in middle class America and how culture, norms, and expectations weave their influences over it. It is written by a black author and provides an eye opening perspective. **

26. The moon as muse- inspired by the moon; depicting moonlight, the night sky, or heavenly bodies on the cover. 

Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman. There are a few authors that I will forever pick up if I see their names upon a book spine: Bradbury, Atwood, Poe, and Hoffman. I love Alice's magical and lyrical take on life. This is the story set in Florida about a recently divorced mom and her teenage son adapting to this foreign, sometimes savage peninsula swollen with alligators, mosquitoes, and a moon that can induce madness.***

27. Never have I ever...-read a book about ___. Fill-in the blank with a new topic or genre.

Gudrun by Alma Johanna Koeing was a random book I picked up in St. Augustine at a tiny used book store. It is an ancient tale based off of a German epic (I believe?) and follows along a royal family for a few generations and how their choices in love and battle unfold upon one another. ***

28. Honoring ancestors- reading deeper about native lands or personal lineage.

Song of the Harp: Old Welsh Folktales by Linda Barrett Osborne intrigued me as I didn't really know much about Welsh folktales and I am about a quarter Welsh. These were translated tales and I found them charming, strange, and unique, of a bit rushed feeling. **

29. Dark Academia- An academic aesthetic that can be found in many genres, including contemporary fic, historical, mystery, fantasy, or horror. Book Riot categorizes DA as this: "The definition of it can be broad, but it requires some kind of an academic setting and a dark undertone or overtone to its story."

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo seemed to be everywhere on the internet. I actually googled "dark academia" for this prompt and this book was always the first choice. It had great marketing, what can I say? It follows the tale of hidden occult clubs in underground Yale and how an unlikely outsider is sent to infiltrate them. It made for an interesting read and I will definitely read the second book when it comes out. ***

30. Forged in friendship. A story about companionship.

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson fits this bill perfectly. It follows a young concubine and her gay male best friend who has the gift of making any map he draws come to life. They have to escape their kingdom once his lifestyle comes to light and they aim for the shelter of an island born of myths. ***

I had fun reading this year! I also had a great time adding to my book collection and giving some away as I read them. Books are my favorite souvenirs and I certainly picked a few up. So far I have read 58 books and I hope to squeeze in a couple more before the year tuns over into a new one. 

Of these books, I must say it again, please do yourself a solid and read Evidence of Things Unseen if you enjoy a meaty well written novel. How has your year been going in the realm of reading? Any authors you have fallen in love with? Any books I should pick up?