September Wrap-Up 2019 (Birthday Edition + Books)

Hey there friends! As per usual, September is like Christmas for my family and I. A lot of birthday celebrations (including mines), parties, etc. Therefore, in September, I rarely if ever get any reading done. It’s been like this for years since I’ve been an avid reader. I just always find myself doing something other than reading on my free time.

For today’s post I’ll be talking about what I read, books I acquired, and what I did on my birthday!!! (in that order)


What I Read

 

  1. The Whisper Man by Alex North – DNF
    This is a thriller novel about a serial killer who’s now on the hunt again 20 years later. Although this book sounds amazing, I had a hard time getting into it. The writing style didn’t work for me. Ended up DNFing.
  2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah★★★★★
    A Historical Fiction novel set in WWII about 2 sisters and their survival. This book. Wow. Wow. Wow. There not enough words to describe everything I felt. I listened to the audiobook while also reading along and OMG did I cry! I now understand all the love and hype of this novel. I would highly recommend!
  3. Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker★★★★★
    A second chance contemporary romance about two people who met when they both were camp counselors as teenagers. Something unbeknownst to us readers happens and 13 years later, they meet again. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!!! This book was such a page turner and it was so very cute. It was exactly what I needed.

Books Acquired

FE0A1EF3-6946-40BD-8DF6-BE8933FF9516This was my Book of the Month selections for September. I have only read one of the three. In my previous post, I had mentioned wanting to read This Tender Land and The Last Time I Lied. However, laugh out loud, that was clearly a joke. I do plan on getting to those in October though. While writing this post, I am 50 pages into The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager which I am thoroughly enjoying. And so far, October, has been a pretty good reading month for me.

Like I always say every month, if you’re ever interested in BOTM, please let me know. I can send you my referral link and we both get a free book!

 

 

 

 


My 30th Birthday

This section is going to get a little personal. I turned 30 on September 20th. For those of you who don’t know, I have always hated birthdays. September is actually a very hard month for me mentally and emotionally. I wrote a poem about that, here it is if you want to get a sense of what I mean:

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“i was born in september. this month, where it’s supposed to be a celebration is usually the one where my darkest thoughts come alive. finally, not this year. it’s always been a little ironic since september is national suicide prevention month. if you or anyone you know is struggling please call 1-800-273-8255. they’re also available for online chat. you deserve to be here.”

I didn’t want a birthday celebration. I dislike parties. And this was a welcoming of a new decade while saying goodbye to my 20’s. I wrote a poem about that too!

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I took this birthday into my own hands and booked myself and my mami a flight to Las Vegas. In reality, we really went for the Grand Canyon (#1 on my bucket list) because that’s where I wanted to spend my birthday and I ended up doing just that. Among other things of course!

I had such an amazing time out there. I drove two hours to get there and I was emotional. This is something I’ve been wanting to do since I’ve seen photos of the Canyon (for years). I knew it was going to be an experience. Once we reached over a mountain while driving and saw the Grand Canyon, I started CRYING. Mami was clearly nervous because I was driving. However, the energy, the peace, the cleansing of soul is something that I cannot describe word for word, it simply needs to be felt and experienced. For the first time, I told myself “this is how every birthday should feel like, a welcoming.” And it most definitely was! I loved how I started off my 30th birthday!

While driving to the Grand Canyon we made a scenery stop and saw this beauty:

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After spending the day at the Grand Canyon and getting back to Vegas, we went to a birthday dinner at this amazing Cuban Restaurant (Cuba Cafe). The day after, we decided to go to Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Red Rock Canyon.

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That same night, we decided to take a walk in the Las Vegas Strip! I’ll be completely honest, I wasn’t really fond of everything there. I guess because I live in a huge city myself (NYC), therefore I felt like I was home all over again. I preferred the nature views instead of all the people lol. BUT I did take pictures! Some hotels were really beautiful inside. We also caught the Water Fountain show at the Bellagio.

On Sunday, after spending time at the hotel’s pool, we went to a Cirque du Soliel show called “O” which was amazing! My mom has never been to a show and I needed to take her to her first one. She loves water as well so I thought “O” was perfect since they do a lot of water works. No pictures of Cirque du Soliel except the ending because that wasn’t permitted. After the show, we went to Fremont Street which was fun and hilarious. We saw a lot of wild things.

Monday was our last day. We had to check out early from the hotel but our flight didn’t leave till later that night. Mami and I both decided that we wanted to see the mountains once more and so we drove to Boulder City, Arizona and went to Hemenway Park which is known for their bighorn sheep. We saw them walking and up-close. It was perfect. It was a great last day of our trip.

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We got home that Tuesday morning (9/24) and let’s just say that I fell in love with Arizona. I think I can safely say that a piece of my heart stood there. I’m extremely happy that I went to my number one spot from my bucket list (Grand Canyon). It was an ethereal experience. I can’t wait to go again and check out the North and South Rim. I also want to go to Sedona.

I’m grateful to have what I do in order to experience such greatness. And I am extremely blessed to be where I am at in life, with peace of mind and genuine happiness. I still have my lows but it’s great to know that I’m not the same person anymore, that I can overcome anything thrown my way, that I know how to cope with the hardship when it does come (thank you therapy). I know that one day New York won’t be home anymore and maybe one day I’ll bring you along with me when that journey comes.

If you’ve stood this far, thank you. I send all my love xo.

Life Update, Currently Reading, & September TBR

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Hi everyone! It’s been a while! Just out here enjoying life and still figuring out this new life schedule of mine. I read nothing but The Diviners in the month of August, therefore no August Wrap-Up will be posted. Instead of reading, I watched all the seasons of La Casa De Papel and How To Get Away With Murder. I was also having fun and going out. Sometimes I think of doing blog posts of places I’ve visited. However, I’m the type of person who likes to enjoy the moment rather than take pictures of every single thing so I guess that’s a wrap lol.

giphy-55ALSO!!!!!!!!! It’s September!!! Which means it’s my birthday month!!! I turn 30 on the 20th. I’ll be going to Vegas and the Grand Canyon (team virgo all day every day!! earth sign gang!!!). I have a lot going on, many of my loved ones also celebrate their birthday this month. Therefore, I know that audiobooks will be my best friend cause I won’t be getting much reading done. It’s alright though! I refuse to be hard on myself because life is worth living and I love being a happy bitch.

Okay but now that I’ve given you a little life update, let’s get to the books because that’s what y’all are here for!

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Currently Reading

21853621In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.

France, 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

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Currently listening via audiobook and reading along with paperback. I’m close to the 200 page mark and loving it! I can definitely see why this is a favorite. It’s gripping! Every time I put it down, I look forward to picking it back up.

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September TBR

So many books, so little time! I have a little TBR pile that’s sitting on my bedside. However, it’ll be getting side eyed this month. Therefore I chose three books that I’m sure I can get too; one hardcover book, one audiobook, and one ebook (two of them mostly for my plane rides to and from vegas/nyc).

Hardcover Book (Historical Fiction):

25813942For fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing, a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression, from the New York Timesbestselling author of Ordinary Grace.

1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an en­thralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.

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Audiobook/Hardcover (Thriller):

36626748._SY475_Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she—or anyone—saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings—massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

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Ebook (Suspenseful Romance):

36602208._SY475_“Must be slim, able to stand for long periods of time, and be impervious to the cold.”
The headline caught my attention.
“Hours are negotiable, pay is minimal, clothing absolutely forbidden.”
The second line piqued my curiosity.
“Able to hold your bladder and tongue, refrain from opinions or suggestions, and be the perfect living canvas.”
The third made me scowl.
“Other attributes required: non-ticklish, contortionist, and obedient. Must also enjoy being studied while naked in a crowd.”
The fourth made me shudder.
“Call or email ‘YOUR SKIN, HIS CANVAS’ if interested in applying.”
The final made my heart race.
I should’ve kept scrolling past the advertisement.
I should’ve applied for the boring receptionist job at minimum wage.
I should’ve clicked on any other job where I got to keep my clothes on.
But I didn’t.
I applied.
My interview is tomorrow…

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That’s all for today! Any fun things you got going on in September? What books do you plan on reading? Let me know in the comments xo

Instagram: @chicnerdreads
Twitter: @chicnerdreads

The Who Am I Tag

It’s been forever and a day since I’ve done a tag but I really wanted to do this one after seeing it everywhere. Especially after my twin Lilly@LairOfBooks did it and I started checking out the links lol.


What is the meaning of my name?

The meaning of Gretchen is “pearl” and it is originally from Germany.

Fun fact? My name is very known in the town my family is from in Puerto Rico. There are a lot of girls named Gretchen 😉


What is my Myers-Briggs Personality Type? (Link)

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According to my personality test:
The Advocate personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As members of the Diplomat Role group, Advocates have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is that they are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.

Things I find to be very true about myself:

  • It makes sense that their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet Extraverted types, but they would all do well to remember that Advocates need time alone to decompress and recharge, and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw.
  • Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to Advocates
  • Combining a vivid imagination with a strong sense of compassion, Advocates use their creativity to resolve not technical challenges, but human ones.
  • Seeing through dishonesty and disingenuous motives, Advocates step past manipulation and sales tactics and into a more honest discussion. Advocates see how people and events are connected, and are able to use that insight to get to the heart of the matter.
  • Speaking in human terms, not technical, Advocates have a fluid, inspirational writing style that appeals to the inner idealist in their audience.
  • Advocates have strong beliefs and take the actions that they do not because they are trying to advance themselves, but because they are trying to advance an idea that they truly believe will make the world a better place
  • Advocates are extremely private when it comes to their personal lives, using this image to keep themselves from having to truly open up, even to close friends. Trusting a new friend can be even more challenging for Advocates
  • People with this personality type are likely to exhaust themselves in short order if they don’t find a way to balance their ideals with the realities of day-to-day living

What is your Zodiac Sign?

the-virgo-personality

i used the same website that Lilly used and omfg this is so real!!! Link here

  • Virgo doesn’t just talk about it… they do it.
  • Virgo has an analytical mind that’s capable of finding solutions to tough problems.
  • Virgo gets frustrated by incompetence and stupidity
  • Virgos are sensitive and emotional… even if they don’t show it
  • Virgo is a perfectionist… sometimes to a fault
  • Virgo has a hidden wild side that only a lucky few see
  • Virgos are born skeptics who don’t believe something until they see it for themself
  • Virgos have strong opinions and they aren’t afraid to voice them
  • Virgos are worriers and over-thinkers
  • Virgo is a lover not a fighter and they generally try to avoid confrontation
  • However Virgo is NOT a pushover and knows how to stand their ground
  • Virgo hates being lectured and judged
  • Virgo can be bossy but only in the name of getting shit DONE
  • Virgo is attracted to confidence, ambition and intelligence
  • Virgo can sometimes come across as cold but the truth is they are just cautious about opening up
  • Virgo can seem cool as a cucumber whilst simultaneously being on the verge of a total nervous breakdown
  • Virgo stays organized and can’t stand clutter
  • Virgo is calculated and doesn’t make reckless decisions
  • Virgo is modest and humble
  • Virgo is always working hard to improve their future
  • As a friend Virgo is loyal til the end

What is my Hogwarts House? (Link)

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I’m half Slytherin too.


What are my Learning Styles? (Link)

Your scores were:

  • Visual 11
  • Aural 10
  • Read/Write 10
  • Kinesthetic 11

You have a multimodal learning preference


Am I Right or Left Brain Dominant? (Link)

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why am i not surprised??? lol


What is my Blood Type?

I am Type O Positive


What Career Am I Meant to Have? (Link)

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OMG YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


What Divergent Faction Do I Belong In? (Link)

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That’s the Slytherin in me lmao.


What does my birth order say about me? (Link)

I am a Firstborn and according to the link, this is what it says (I disagree with a lot of this):

Stereotype: Natural leader, ambitious, responsible.
Why it’s true: The eldest, for a while, has no competition for time (or books or baby banter) with Mom and Dad. “There’s a benefit to all of that undiluted attention. A 2007 study in Norway showed that firstborns had two to three more IQ points than the next child,” says Frank J. Sulloway, Ph.D., the author of Born to Rebel.Firstborns tend to be surrogate parents when other siblings arrive, hence their protective and responsible nature.
When it’s not: Parents can set high expectations for a first (or only) child. “When he feels like he has disappointed his parents or can’t measure up, he may veer off in another direction,” says Kevin Leman, Ph.D., a psychologist and the author of The Birth Order Book.


 

I don’t know who to tag but if you would like to do this go ahead!! Did you find any similarities with me? Let’s chat in the comments ❤


Instagram: @chicnerdreads
Twitter: @ChicNerdReads
Goodreads: Gretchen (ChicNerdReads)