Book Series Review: Dan Brown Series

Recently (right before the new year actually), I renewed my monthly Audible subscription, knowing I wanted to read more books. Sure listening isn’t reading, but hey, I’m consuming the book right?! With that, I got a couple books that I wanted to have in my library (once you get them through the subscription, you have them even if you cancel or suspend your membership, which is really cool).

One book I had found, was from the author Dan Brown. I’ve read some of his work already, “way back when”, about a decade ago now. It was right before Angels and Demons (the movie adaptation) came out that I last read his work. I loved reading that book and watching the movie then. After that, I watched the Da Vinci Code. I loved it, and moved on, thinking nothing of it.

Some time later now, I stumbled upon his name again in the Audible library, with the latest Robert Langdon novel, released in 2017. I saw that character’s name and went gawkingly wide eyed. The middle schooler in me went “OMG I can’t even right now!”

You know I tapped that “buy now for 1 credit” button so fast, I don’t even recall seeing the “confirm purchase” deterrent- yes, there WAS NO DETERRING THIS GIRL!

Maybe it was the cold meds, maybe it was the book (in the Maybe it’s Maybelline slogan)

Come to find out, while letting the book download over LTE (I was on my way to work, okay! And no, I wasn’t driving- babe was…thanks babe!), there was 2 WHOLE OTHER BOOKS THAT I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HAPPENED.

“Buy 3 more credits for …” GIVE ME THOSE CREDITS DAMN IT!!! Haha…I was literally an irrational 8 year old with $20 to spend at the toy store, with too much sugar in her system.

So yea, I bought extra credits so that the other two books that I missed were technically cheaper, and have one extra credit to spare, when in all good reality, I’d be able to wait (if I had the patience…lol) until next month, where I could pick them up without coughing out this extra money, but oh well….Christmas money right?! (Thanks grandma’s)

Anyway, now that I have more books to listen to, due to my impatience, ya’ll in turn will get more reviews of books! Hopefully you like these reviews!

I’m reviewing each book as I listen to them, for reference. This is more for my end, since (1) I kind of went out of order and (2) it’s easier to review as I go, then upload this post, as I feel doing it out of order and individually wouldn’t be fair to you guys/wouldn’t be enough content for one post, each, while leaving you wanting to read the books.


Angels and Demons (Book 1) (Movie)

Obviously this is the series starter book. The nice thing about these books, is that it doesn’t really matter what order you read them in. Each book is it’s own adventure, kind of like the multiverse in comics.

This book does set up some character development on Robert Langdon though, the main character that is throughout this series. Picture him as the fit, attractive, while also dad-aged sub you had in high school.

Yes, this is that Angels and Demons that got a feature film. So did the next book. Yes, they did it backwards.

Assuming you’re not familiar, or it’s been clearly too long since the film was relevant (same boat girl, same boat. I read it right before the movie came out and watched the movie. I couldn’t tell you the actual plot to save my life, without googling it to see what the gist was. Hence why I’m re-reading it!), let me give you some info to lure you in!

So some major science guy is murdered, in Switzerland. But he’s not just murdered, he’s murdered by a group that is thought of as long dead. He’s branded and his one eye has been torn out, and the eyeball itself is eventually found in his lab, where only him and his daughter are the only ones who can get in.

What’s in that lab? The only thing that is 5-8 times more deadly, ounce for ounce, than the atomic bomb: anti-matter. What’s also missing? The anti-matter.

Since Langdon is a professor of symbology, especially religious ones, he’s called in, to decipher the branding initially, until they discover that the anti-matter was stolen. So there’s less than 12 hours for them to find this anti-matter tube, before it’s battery that keeps it stable, runs out of battery juice.

To make matters worse, it’s the day that clergy is voting on the next Pope, as the late Pope had just suffered what is thought to have been a stroke (no formal autopsies are done on any Pope). Why is this bad? 4 of the most prominent clergymen are missing…then there’s the call.

The caller is the one who will be killing one of the clergy, on the hour, starting at 8pm (20:00), and the big show of the anti-matter explosion, taking out Vatican City, occurs at midnight.

Each clergymen is murdered in a different way: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Each clergymen is killed in a different location. They must figure it out: Langdon, the scientist’s adopted daughter, and the higher ups in the Vatican City, that aren’t voting for the next Pope.

It’s a hot mess, which will keep you on your toes and wanting to keep on reading!


Da Vinci Code (Book 2) (Movie) (finished approx. 1/26/2019)

Oh boy! A murder one! It starts with Robert Langdon on a business trip in Paris, and a desperate call to his hotel room. He told the main desk to let it wait till morning, but they insisted otherwise.

Langdon gets dragged into a murder scene at the Lurve. As a symbolgist who now has some extra notoriety after the incident in Vatican City, on top of his regular work as a professor and a writer, he gets called in to help with this shit.

Everything points to the works of Da Vinci, and the murderer uses hidden things in the art work that is in the area.

*Please be nice to me, I didn’t write this right after finishing it, so I’m doing the best I can here*


Lost Symbol (Book 3) (finished 1/27/2019)

This book takes Langdon to the DC area, and he has a brief thing to deal with his mentor. This is the shortest book in the series, so this will be the shortest book review.

So Langdon is offered to do a speech in DC, from his mentor, but once he arrives, he quickly learns that the inventation was not set up to be a speech, but was a kidnapping to get more information.

He’s given the hand of his mentor, tatto’d with symbols (previously not a tattoo’d hand), and that’s only the start of the journey. He’s accompanied by security to figure this guy out, and see if his mentor is still alive.

Thanks to his fitness and swimming routine, Langdon survives being waterboarded even, in the process, because he wants to protect those he loves, and he doesn’t actually know the answers, which the kidnapper doesn’t believe to be true.


Inferno (Book 4) (Movie)

If this isn’t a direct reference to Dante’s Inferno, I don’t know what is. Basically a creative way to introduce someone to the Divine Comedy. Good recommended read for those in school.

This is a read and a half. 3 hours away from the end, and I still need answers. You’ll become lost about 5 hours away from finish, whatever that is in pages. It’s a journey and a half leading up to there, but then it takes another twist, and makes you reconsider investing in the book, because it’s half not worth it. BUT IT’S ALL WORTH IT! Really, I swear, even with the extra WUT there, as you’re nearly at the end.

Langdon wakes up in a hospital, with no recollection of what has happened over the last 2 days, nor how he landed up in Florence. He has a believable head wound, and a nurse telling him it’ll be okay. But is she a nurse? Is she even a legal resident of Italy?

The last thing he remembers is getting an invitation and him being back home in Cambridge. Now since he’s in a hospital, he doesn’t know what to make of anything.

Moments after gaining consciousness, he gets told that he had a head wound, and had amnesia, and had an odd thing in his internal pocket of his coat. But he doesn’t have an internal pocket on his infamous coat.

He also doesn’t have his Mickey Mouse watch that he’s had since childhood. So what’s really going on? He doesn’t know.

Until shots are fired right in front of him, and him and a nurse flee the scene, since he was told he had a guest just moments prior.

He’s been told that he’s being hunted. Or is he? Is it the nurse? Is it all just a ploy?

Someone wants to spread the 21st century version of the black plague, and wants to stay anon about it. Was Langdon involved and couldn’t recall? What did he even do? No one really knows.

No one knows until he gets saved, after his nurse friend flees, and he finally gets some answers. Now, is her fleeing, allowing him to get the answers he wants? Will this save the planet from the plague?


Origins (Book 5) (finished 1/6/2019)

This was the 2nd book I personally read, and third story/adventure I had with Langdon’s character. Reading this book made me want to go back and read through the whole series properly, and impatiently got more credits on Audible just to have all 5 right away.

Origins is a journey that Robert Landgon takes, when he is invited to a non-disclosed party/announcement launch that no one knows what this thing is all about. The host is a former student of his, that he’s kept in touch with, but through life and the student’s projects, they stopped keeping in touch until this invitation.

This announcement was brought through technology, and was about the two key questions we have as a species: “Where did we come from?” and “Where do we go?”. The student/host gets assassinated mid-presentation, and it’s a hot mess for the next not even 12 hours, like always.

Ugh, I hope there’s more adventures! I love it all. I plan on exploring more of Dan Brown’s work over the next while.


Have you read any of Dan Brown’s work? Have you read anything of his outside of these 5? Let me know how you liked them (and which ones you read, so I know!).

If not, what are you planning to read in 2019? What have you read already this year?

What are some good reads I should look into?

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12 Days of Christmas: Simple Saturdays

As I wrap up writing this series, I’m battling a winter head cold. The headache, I can’t speak much on if it’s my vision or the cold or both (probs both, let’s be real), but I have the nose going 3 different directions, the cough with the come-and-go tickle in the back of my throat (thank you tea!), and a light dose of fatigue.

While dealing with this, I figured why not talk about keeping a day good and simple. What better day than Saturday, right?

Why Saturday, you might ask? Why NOT Saturday is what I’d reply back, lightheartedly.

Saturdays are no better a day than Sundays, right? Plus, for those who are religious, Saturdays are great, because if we go back to Jewish culture, and outlook (like they don’t still exist…anyway), Sabbath is Saturday. Why do most of us consider Sunday the first day of the week? Because God created the universe in 7 days, and Sabbath is the last day, making Saturday Sabbath.

Another good reason to do Self Care on Saturdays, is that it’s your first day off, typically (lucky you! Mine’s Monday…kind of. 3rd shift makes things weird.). You can go grab all the good stuff form the store, go get stuff to take a good bath and rub some sort of face mask on your face, as you read a book. You can even go get a mani-pedi (or one of them…).

Now, men, don’t think I’m not including you. Try some of these things. As much as it tickles, go get a pedi and tell me you want to walk afterwards!

An odd thing to do, is take some time off from social media. You may not realize HOW MUCH TIME you waste on there. Sure it’s fun to look at the dog pictures, but it can get toxic, fast. I’m doing one now. You can go from limiting it to just an hour a day, to taking a weekend a month off, to a 30 day to even a year off!

Even limit which social medias you constantly turn to. Don’t know what to do in those moments where you’d be scrolling on social media? Look over your goals, break them down into something small enough to do, but able to accomplish. Try something new, or even catch up PERSONALLY with those you’ve been meaning to talk to.

Something else you can do, is to brew a cup of tea (spike it if you’re old enough and want to!), shower and put some conditioner in, braid your hair, and watch a good movie. Even re-runs or the DVR’d episode you’ve been putting off.

A final thing I want to mention, is to get some beauty sleep. Sleep in, go nap 2 hours after you wake up, even nap after you run some basic errands, go to bed early (or at a reasonable time, instead of staying up too late). Sleep is your friend. Have a glass of wine (or drink of choosing), unplug, and read a book, or listen to some non-lyrical but soothing music for a little bit before bed. Set yourself up for sleeping success!

On that note, I’m making myself yawn, so I think it’s time for me to find my wine wine and blankey for a nap!

How do you self care on the weekends? How about during the work week? Let me know, while I go take my nap!

Wine Wednesdays: What to Watch 2019

After the heavier posts (although fun as heck!) I’ve written the past few days, I feel like something easy and fun is in order. I hope as well, that you’ll be able to reference this post later on as well, when you need a moment to see what you forgot you wanted to watch!

As you would guess by the title, this is all about what’s coming out this year! Ill break it down by categories, from Movies, standard TV, and Netflix/Hulu/Prime type (exclusives).

Piur yourself a glass, and get ready to make lists!


Let’s start with Movies of 2019:

There are so many live actions coming out this year, from my childhood, and I’m assuming for a lot of yours! If you haven’t watched the original animated versions of them, GO WATCH THEM!!!!

Here’s this year’s animated films:
Aladdin
Dumbo
Lion King

Kids films:
Frozen 2
Lego Movie 2
Toy Story 4
Godzilla: King of the Monsters

More adult films (no not that kind!):
Avengers: End Game
Captain America
Glass
IT Chapter 2
HellBoy
John Wick 3
Men in Black: International




Let’s get into TV shall we? This will be stuff more on cable TV, and not readily available (at least new seasons) for those of us who pulled the plug on TV.

I’m most excited for Game of Thrones season 8 to come out. Grant it, babe and I are only on season 6, but we’ll binge watch it here soon.

Here’s some others:
Big Little Lies (HBO)
True Detective (HBO)
Veep (HBO)
Watchmen (HBO)
Fargo (FX)
Homeland (Showtime)
Peaky Blinders (BBC)
Liar (ITV)



Now, for the streaming services’ part. I’ll disclose what platform they’re on, and if they’re movie or show.

The Crown (Netflix, show)
Mindhunter (Netflix, show)
Stranger Things (Netflix, show)
Conversations with a Killer: Ted Bundy Tapes (Netflix, show)
Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix, show)
Lionheart (Netflix, movie)
Girl (Netflix, movie)

12 Days of Christmas: 2019 Plans and Goals

Oh boy, are you ready for 2019? I know I am! Especially since it’s now post-Christmas. If you need some last minute inspo for 2019, here’s your chance! From category goals, bucket list, to vibes (including music playlist!), this post has it all!

One of the easiest things you can do, is to set your vibes for the new year, regardless if it’s the actual new year, or if it’s YOUR new year (birthday). Mine is adding 5 too many playlists for each year. I start getting ideas early, based off those artists who release that year, and adding it to a hodge podge playlist, and things that still vibe with me (even older songs from the artists I love), and at the end of the year, I finalize a playlist. I’ll edit or update mid-year or before. If I’m taking a trip, like summer of 2018’s CA trip, I’ll make a trip playlist for that. I have a loose plan (as of writing this) of visiting family again, come fall 2019, so that’ll ensue a playlist, once it’s finalized.

I know a lot of us can’t afford big vacations (myself included….don’t think all the finances are one me….I’m SO grateful for my travels, and not financing it all, since I’m still a retail worker and working my budget out, let alone affording something as simple as a staycation in my area). If you can’t afford all those fancy things you see on insta, or your friends’ timeline, try some local things, either on the weekend, or try a weekend getaway. Try new restaurants. My dad and I tried some Mexican place in the late spring of 2017 and we never turned back!

Need ideas for a digital vision board for 2019? Music list for 2019? Click on each for ideas, and a look into mine. vision board is on Pinterest, and Music is on Google Music. Check out the Spotify version here!

I’m also going to share my planning journey on Instagram! So if you want to join this journey, and see if planning will help you, overall, feel free to join our family there! Follow me here for planning!

Let’s get into the nitty gritty shall we?!

Starting past what I’ve shared already, I’m currently using the Artist of Life goal planner, designed exclusively for 2019 from Aileen Xu of Lavendaire. I’ve used this the last 2 years, and was hesitant about updating it for 2019 but did it anyway. I updated my planner, to the Happy Planner (closest concept to mine) vertical BoHo style, instead of my typical of a standard desk one, and a big monthly style for meal planning.

For 2019, I’ve merged a lot to digital, most for econimical reasons, but in some aspects, it’s nice to have that edit-able aspect for meal planning, if something comes up that I need to move a “free day” around. I do like to add a few days each month for free days, as things can be spontaneous.

I LOVE routine and planning, but with those I love, and sometimes want to make time for (plus with sometimes getting free food), I have to mind and add in fluctuating meal plans especially. Prepping for things like blogging and social media isn’t too rough (depending on day really, and where we’re headed).

I currently have 33 things on my 2019 only bucket list. Most of it is the “grow the f*ck up and manage your budget” list, let alone losing some weight. Most of the weight, is more getting some of the sudden chronic issues under control for myself. In an odd way, it may help my man as well.

You’ll see a lot of the plans and updates, either monthly (foodie Friyays, monthly plans, quarterly updates) on our food/weight journey. Personally, I’d love to get myself to a sustainable 125-130 pounds (which won’t be this year…if I am heavier due to muscle weight, I’m okay, but I don’t want to be above 145 on a bad day.). Babe wants to be lesser than his current, but idk his goals, outside “not feeling sluggish” and “not this weight that I’m at now” type.

Trip wise, there’s some tentative plans I have for 2019. My dad and I have some plans, again this year. My grandparents and I are looking forward to more plans, but not near as drastic as this year’s was. All of it is still very loose, but that’s okay!

I’ll share things by the quarter and the month, throughout the year, which will give some suspense, as well as things to sort itself out.

What are some things you are planning for 2019? I’d love to see what you’re planning! And who knows, maybe you’ll inspire me and my plans!

Plan With Me: December 2018

This is the last month of 2018, can you believe it? It feels so odd for me. It’s like the year went by fast, then slow, but now that I’m looking back at the “slow”, I’m kind of like “Really? Where did almost 5 months go?”

I’ll be doing a 12 days of Christmas challenge at the end of the month, which will be better paced (plus shorter!) than my attempt at 31 days of Halloween.

Let’s jump into planning this month, shall we?

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A usual first step for me, after deciding what is happening that month, is laying it out on my whiteboard. Come next year (and really next month, if you think about it!), I’ll be doing things a little differently, so stay tuned! If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, you should. You get sneak peaks into my planning life, and into some of my posts on here! Plus, I’ll take polls and questions, that may feed into my posts!

Next is my budget, but I won’t share that. From there, I’ll start my grocery outlook.

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I usually start with what I have on hand, and what coupons I have in my arsenal. Sometimes (more often than I’d like to admit), I’ll land up having stuff that I don’t make in the list/outlook of dinners, due to leftovers, deals, or sometimes even just a tighter budget than I thought. I’m still working on this whole adulting thing here, so be easy on me haha!

This is my planning for this month. Very basic, but with the new year around the corner, I wanted to keep it simple, so that I could focus on the habits I want to build and create in the new year, plus have time to spend on how I want to create 2019 to be!

I’ve already started some habits, and some basic things like a vision board for 2019, but that’ll be shared later this month!

Are you changing up how you plan, in 2019? Share with me down below!

Thanksgiving: A Time For Gratitude

This year, instead of traditional Thanksgiving, celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November here in the States, I’m hosting and preparing Friendsgiving, held on the final Thursday of November.

It’s just how it fell, okay? Don’t judge me! haha. A couple years ago, we got a turkey from our neighbor, who got an extra, and as he’s only one man, asked us if we wanted it. Of course we took free food, especially a whole dang turkey! So I took to asking a coworker to see if he wanted to help my boyfriend and I tackle eating the thing.

This year, I bought the turkey, and invited a few more people over, plus the one that came over that year. I’ll make all the fixings, and hopefully we’ll have enough food, plus some leftovers (but not too much, like last year).

Since I’m in the limbo between actual Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving, I figured I would share some of the things that I’m grateful for, with ya’ll!

I’m grateful for the summer vacation I got to take this year. Sure it didn’t go fully as planned, but it worked out how it was going to work out.

 

I’m also grateful for the time I got to spend with my father during Lent/Easter. That was an interesting exploration, going to 4 different churches, in 3 different cities.

I’m grateful to have read 17 books so far this year, either through audio books or through my kindle app on my phone.

I am grateful for the basics, like a roof over my head, heat in the winter and coolant in the summer, food to make, and a job (as much as I may not like the job itself). I’m grateful for where I live even, and for the people that do actually care about me, even when I can be frustrating.

I’m also SUPER grateful for those of you who read my blog, no matter how I try and fail, and keep interested in what I have to share! I’m slowly finding what works and what doesn’t, and even with the small following I do have, I’m glad that I have you, and it does help me see why I wanted to pick this up in the first place. So thank you!

What are you thankful for this season?

Self Care Sundays: Quarter 3 of 2018 Review

We’re entering the last quarter of 2018, so to keep up with routine, I want to keep at least this: the quarter review and keeping up here, and keeping transparency.

I’ll be the first to say and admit, that I fail on goals. I slack on them as well. Lately, I’ve been working on forgiving myself on this manner. I just hope that you all give me some slack on my goals, since I’m just as human as you are.

With that, let’s dive into how I did in Quarter 3. It’s not the best, where I wanted to be, but it’s where I needed to be.

So let’s dog on me for not reading and reviewing my books on here right away.

Playlist for this review:
Uptown Funk
Old Fashioned

If you don’t know, or didn’t remember, I’m doing Lavendaire’s brand of the annual workbook. It helps structure goals, helps you think and create goals in areas where you might forget to, and in my mind, allows you to work a little each year, quarter, and month on goals you want to accomplish.

In the workbook, there’s a monthly, quarterly, half year, and annual review. It’s a great look book, personally, to help you stay on track, and see what you did throughout the month, quarter, and year.

The next one like this that I’ll be doing, will be a 2018 review!

So what am I proud of that I did this past quarter? Well, I started my $100 a pay savings, went to 2 concerts, did some self love retail purchasing, and got my wisdom teeth out.

How have I done on my goals, and what have I learned? Well I planned like I wanted to, I did a social media detox and worked on bettering a plan for when I do take social media breaks. I did something simple for my birthday (2 dates, one with my lovely boyfriend and one with my dad and stepmom.). The main thing I didn’t get to do/put much effort to, was the monthly reading.

For lessons I’ve learned, is that my gut knows a lot, and time will tell with what your gut knows. I should also pace myself on goals, and allow myself to re-evaluate them as needed.

What am I most excited for, moving forward for the last quarter of the year? Doing more reviews, getting into themed blogging (Blogtober, Blogsgiving, and 12 days of Blogmas). Also, working on some home goals that I wanted to do this year, especially for the colder times (making it more cozy and personally festive). I am also wanting to take some time to work on some basics for here, for ya’ll like a little list you can keep on your fridge for budget/time friendly meals that’ll make you feel better, even long term, mentally.

What do you guys have planned for the last quarter of 2018? How have you done so far this year on goals and projects? Let me know!