June 12, 2019

June Goals (+ April/May Recap)

Well, I sucked last month! I had written out my goals for the month, intended to publish them and fell behind on doing the finishing touches, and next thing you know, the month's basically over. So.. I decided I'd wait and make them my June goals instead.

I feel like every time I get myself back into the swing, I fall right back off and end up where I was before. But as I've said before: it's a marathon, not a sprint, and so I'm committed to really putting in the work over the next few months for the blog to really reach its potential.

April and May were both really good months. I had a ton going on at work, I read a lot of books (yay!) and worked consistently towards my goals. I went on a girls trip in May, sadly having to forgo another trip only weeks before - because #adulting. I was a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding, and being there alongside his bride, who'd become a really good friend to me over the years, was such an honor. And, I stepped out of my comfort zone in some areas. So.. without further ado, let's recap what April and May had in store for me!


RECAP OF MY APRIL/MAY GOALS

1. READ 6 BOOKS // YEP! I actually read 9 books in April, and another 9 in May! Proud to say I crushed this goal! 

2. START A NEW BLOG SERIES // Also another YAY on my end! In April, I decided to start the What I Read This Month series showcasing the books I read, loved and didn't like of every month. In fact, it was starting this series that led me to the next point... 

3. CHALLENGE MYSELF IN SOME WAY // I was having a bawl recapping my books, talking about reading and sharing recommendations with readers and even through my Instagram Stories that I decided to challenge myself and do something totally out of the ordinary for me: I created a book group at the end of April. It started off with me inviting some friends – and then one thing led to another, and now we're at 700+ millennial readers! SO.. if you love to read, want to challenge yourself to read more or want people who won't shame you for constantly talking about all things literature, then you should join the group too! 

4. INVEST IN SOMETHING FOR MY WARDROBE // I've definitely decided that I'm going to start making mindful decisions about the items I wear, buy and love. So, in April, I invested in a couple pairs of shoes, including this beauty! (Also, the silver version of it is on major sale and you don't want to miss it!)

5. PLAN MY UPCOMING TRIP TO NEW YORK & NASHVILLE // Done and done! Sabrina, Sienna and I had a whirlwind extended weekend in NYC and Nashville. We got to say goodbye to NYC as Sabrina packed up her apartment, and then explore Nashville as Sienna makes her move there. The weekend was filled with lots of cocktails, tons of carbs and even more laughs – I'm dying to do it again! 

TOTAL: 5/5: This is a FIRST for me! April and May were really good months for my goals – and I'm excited and hopeful that I bring this same energy into June! 

JUNE GOALS

1. REACH 1000 MEMBERS ON THE BOOK DIARIES // Now that the group is over 700 members in the month and a half since I created it, I'm hoping to grow a little bit more this month and reach 1000 members. Plus.. I'm doing a little giveaway when I reach the milestone so I'm excited! 

2. SAVE MONEY // I feel like after a crazy month of spending (which May totally was!), I need to be a little more 'adult' and make better choices when it comes to money. So, that means no unnecessary spending this month: let's see if I can!

3. USE ALEX BEADON'S PROJECT STORYLINE // Last month, I registered for Alex Beadon's Project Storyline in an attempt to really up my game on Instagram Stories. But, since I bought it, I haven't followed a single day's prompts. I'm hoping to double down and focus on this more in June. 

4. GET BACK INTO EATING HEALTHY–CONSISTENTLY // I feel like this is a constant goal on the blog, but it's because I've realized how inconsistent I can be, especially when it comes to my health. I'll diet and eat really clean for two weeks, and then screw it up with a horrible weekend. I want to teach myself that it's ok to have a bad meal, but not make it a bad day, and to commit to 12 weeks of eating well and making an effort.

5. WORK TOWARDS BETTERING MY BLOG AND BRAND // There are so many things I want to do with The Caro Diaries as a brand, and I know what I need to do and put in place in order for them to happen. I know this isn't going to be an overnight process.. in fact, it'll likely take me months to do what I'm hoping to, but I want to make moves towards bettering my brand in some way, even if it's just taking a course that teaches me more about something. 

So, those are my goals for June! Hopefully I have as successful of a month as I had in the previous two!

Tell me in the comments.. what do you want to accomplish in April? 

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April 30, 2019

What I Read This Month: March

What I Read This Month is a monthly series, sharing the books I read month by month. You can follow along here

After starting reading a lot more in 2018, I upped my reading goal for 2019, committing to reading 52 books (so, basically, one book a week!). In order to do that, I'm holding myself accountable and sharing what I read month-to-month. If you're a book lover, follow along with this series, follow me on Goodreads where I chronicle every book I've read and want to read or tap through my Instagram Story Highlight where I share my star-rating as I read. 

I'm kind of playing catch-up in sharing my reads, so I shared January on Tuesday, February on Thursday, am sharing March today and then from here-on out, the previous month's on the first Friday of the new month (ie. April reads on the first Friday of May, May reads on the first Friday of June, and so on and so forth).

March was a slower month for reading than the previous two, even though I did exceed my goal of a book a week, because the first week of March was dedicated to Carnival, meaning I did ZERO reading! With a growing list of Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) books, I spent the time diving into some of these this month – lighter, more romantic reads, because I was tired and I couldn't handle any hard-hitting memoirs or thrillers. So, at the end of it, I'd read five books in March, still ahead of the goal!


MARCH
5 books


16 years ago, Sylvie's sister Persephone never came home one night after sneaking out late with her forbidden boyfriend. Missing for three days, her body was found, but answers were never gotten for the family. Now, all those years later, Sylvie returns home to care for her sick mother, and Persephone's then-boyfriend (who Sylvie truly believes is guilty) happens to be a nurse where her mother's getting treatment. All these years later, the home still brings back memories from that night, and of Sylvie's own guilt, and she's determined to find out what happened to her sister once and for all.

Shocker! Another thriller BOTM pick! It's no secret that there's not a thriller I don't like, so I had to add The Winter Sister to my box in February. I wasn't disappointed at all, even when I figured out the direction the plot was going in early on. Despite knowing what would unfold, it was an easy and compelling read for thriller lovers like myself.


IZZY IN EL MAREO (c/o): 2/5 stars 

Izzy needs a change, and so she takes a job at an international resort in Mexico hoping to shake things up. But soon she finds herself falling back into her same bad habits and she has to find a way to break it before she spirals back into the life she tried to run away from. 

This was my first ARC and I was soooo disappointed. I found it so difficult to like the character, and found myself wishing I could stop several times. Also, it was set in 2009 and I don't think that was ever made clear so I spent the better half of the book wondering why she was living in the stone ages of technology until I realized lol.  Also, this was 100% a situation where I chose the book because of the cover. What a let down!

Special thanks to River Grove Books!


GIMME SOME SUGAR (c/o): 4/5 stars

A young widow returns to her hometown in Georgia to start from scratch, face the ghosts of her past, and decide if she's ready to take another chance on love. After her (cheating) husband suddenly dies, Lucy and her son return home to Georgia for a simpler life, where Lucy intends to open her own bakery. Faced with the reminder of the loss of her parents, the small town gossip, a meddling mother-in-law who does more harm than good and her old BFF-who-grew-up-hot, this was a cute and easy read.

This is technically the third in the Southern Eclectic series, but it was easy to read as a stand-alone and I really enjoyed the characters that Molly Harper created. Definitely a light read for those romance lovers.

Special thanks to Gallery Books!


FAME ADJACENT (c/o): 4/5 stars

Inspired by the Mickey Mouse Club, this book follows a children's TV show where all the members went on to become really really famous (think boy bands and it girl status), except one. Now, 25 years later, Holly feels even more left behind as all the other members except her are invited to the anniversary special, and she's determined to show up and show them who they left out. One problem: she's in Internet Rehab after spiraling out of control. But that won't stop her.

To be honest, I didn't expect to like this book the way I did. Cue internet rehab funniness, a whirlwind romance with flawed characters and a plot line that'll make all 90's babies sing, and you get Fame Adjacent. I laughed, I cried, I swooned.. cannot lie, I experienced so many more emotions in this book than I was expecting. And of course, I didn't put it down til 4 am.

Special thanks to Grand Central Publishing!


THE FLATSHARE (c/o): 4/5 stars

After a bad breakup, Tiffy needs somewhere to live, but she has zero budget. With the only other option being a rundown dump, she accepts a spot in a flatshare – except this is more like a bedshare. Tiffy gets the apartment after 6 on weekdays and on weekends, and Leon gets it from 9-5 on weekdays. When the two finally meet and sparks fly (through the perfect meet-cute btw), a friendship unfolds in the best way possible.

This sounds like a typical romance, but truly it's not. Despite the best meet-cute, a ton of stolen glances and a near-death experience, the book also addresses some serious topics and deeper storylines for both characters, including wrongful imprisonment, gaslighting and emotional abuse. Seeing the story unfold from both of their perspectives made me fall even more in love with the characters and the book, and I found myself wishing Netflix would pick up the rights to turn this into a movie, like now!

The Flatshare is out on May 28th. Special thanks to Flatiron Books! 


BOOK COUNT: 17/52 

Have you read any good books lately? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!
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April 25, 2019

What I Read This Month: February

What I Read This Month is a monthly series, sharing the books I read month by month. You can follow along here

After starting reading a lot more in 2018, I upped my reading goal for 2019, committing to reading 52 books (so, basically, one book a week!). In order to do that, I'm holding myself accountable and sharing what I read month-to-month. If you're a book lover, follow along with this series, follow me on Goodreads where I chronicle every book I've read and want to read or tap through my Instagram Story Highlight where I share my star-rating as I read. 

I'm kind of playing catch-up in sharing my reads, so I shared January on Tuesday, am sharing February today, will share March on Monday and then from here-on out, the previous month's on the first Friday of the new month (ie. April reads on the first Friday of May, May reads on the first Friday of June, and so on and so forth).

February was another great month for reading. I went over my goal of a book a week, and I read overall really great books, including my first three books from Book of the Month, picks from both my January and February boxes. That being said, I read six books in February, and today I'm sharing them with you. 


FEBRUARY
6 books


This book was a true psychological thriller, following Jessica Farris, who joins a psychology study on ethics, run by Dr. Shields. As the study becomes more and more real, the lines get blurred between the study and reality, and soon Jessica finds her life being controlled by the study. But can she leave?

I really enjoyed this book! While I figured out the plot somewhat early on, it didn't feel like a drag to finish it, and I found myself sucked in by a series of twists. It's definitely an easy read for those who love the psychological thriller genre.


THE SILENT PATIENT: 5/5 stars
A Book of the Month pick

This book follows seemingly-perfect artist and wife Alicia Berenson, who one night after her husband returns from work, shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks a word again. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who's dying to work with Alicia and get to the bottom of what really happened that night. Will he get Alicia to open up?

THIS BOOK! I have recommended this book to literally everyone I know. For a debut novel, it was incredible. It had me thinking about it for days. I can't even write much more than this, except for the fact that everyone should read this. If you're a fan of psychological thrillers, you can't miss this one! 

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine – but no one has ever told her she should be more than fine though. She certainly weird, and lives a bleak life, filled with work, vodka and chats on the phone with her mummy, and not much social interaction. So when a guy from work named Raymond enters her life after they save an old man, the friendship opens Eleanor's life (and eyes) up, and maybe she's not as fine as she thought she was.

I really enjoyed this book, much more than I expected. I didn't think I'd like it based on the description, but the hype was real with this book and I decided to go for it. It was so cute, while still balancing difficult topics, and I found myself in love with the character, flaws and all. This is soon to be a movie, with Reese Witherspoon slated to produce, so read it before it's out!



A memoir by comedian and writer Lindy West, Shrill focuses on what it's like to be a woman, a feminist, fat, funny, loud and proud. The book was a huge success, eventually being turned into a series on Hulu.

I wanted to love it.. but I couldn't. The book was decent. There were some chapters I found so difficult to get through, while others were so easy to read and I found myself laughing alongside her. The book really opened my eyes to a lot of different things that Lindy discussed, like fat-shaming, rape culture and abortion, grief and love and loss. All in all, this wasn't a favorite of mine, but I enjoyed it for what it was worth. A solid 3-stars from me.


GOLDEN CHILD: 5/5 stars

When I saw this book as a Book of the Month option, I freaked out. It's set in my home country, written by a Trini author and was hand-selected by Sarah Jessica Parker (CARRIE!) for her imprint at Hogarth. All of my worlds were colliding, and I quickly added it to my box.

Where do I start with this book? Based in Trinidad and Tobago, this book follows a set of twins, Peter and Paul: Peter is the bright child – smart, obedient and destined for greatness, while Paul is not – born a little odd, and definitely with a little mental and intellectual delay. The family loves Peter more, their golden child, and one day Paul goes missing. In the process of trying to find his son, the father Clyde is faced with some serious decisions and has to come to terms with what life was like for the not-so-favorite son.

I can't write much more without giving it away, but this book haunted me. I seriously finished the book and sat in silence for ten minutes (this never happens), and then quickly made other people read it so we could discuss it. I still think about it often. Seriously, read it!


ALL WE EVER WANTED4/5 stars

This book follows a well-to-do town where privileged families are held to their own set of rules and standards. Sound familiar, no? When a life-changing situation involving a young girl from a not-so-wealthy family and an affluent young boy, actions and consequences are required and taken, by the families and the school they attend. The book switches between a few different view points, and touches often on the differences between those with money and those without, and just how different their moral compasses seem to be.

Don't want to give too much away, but I thought this book was real and relevant, and felt a little sick reading it considering how often these kinds of people get away in real life for the same (or worse) actions. It was infuriating reading the behavior pass from one generation to another, and I really felt sad for the characters. This was one book that was worth the read, especially considering the time we're in right now.

BOOK COUNT: 12/52

Have you read any good books lately? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!
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April 23, 2019

What I Read This Month: January

This is the beginning of a monthly series on The Caro Diaries where I share the books I read every single month. You can follow along here

As you may know, I started reading a lot more in 2018. In fact, between September and December last year, I read more than 30 books. This year, I've committed to reading 52 books (that's a book a week!). Since that's a pretty lofty goal, I want to make sure I'm keeping myself accountable by sharing what I read month-to-month. 

If you follow me on Goodreads (and if you don't, you definitely should), you'll see that I chronicle every book I've read and want to read, and I rate and review them once I've finished. I've also created an Instagram Story Highlight where I share my star-rating as I read. 

I'm kind of playing catch-up in sharing my reads, so I'll be sharing January today, February on Thursday, March on Monday and then from here-on out, the previous month's on the first Friday of the new month (ie. April reads on the first Friday of May, May reads on the first Friday of June, and so on and so forth). That being said, I read six books in January, and today I'm sharing them with you. 


JANUARY
6 books


This one is so cute! I started it just after my Christmas in Vermont and it's the perfect, easy read for a cozy day curled up on a couch in front of the fireplace! It follows a girl, Laurie, who experiences love at first sight on a bus one day – she looks and looks for this guy everywhere after, and cannot seem to find him, until one day, her BFF introduces Laurie to her new boyfriend.. who is none other than mystery man himself. The book follows her journey for love, and it was definitely a cute read.


THE HONEYMOON: 3.5/5 stars 

I didn't expect to enjoy this one, and to be honest, it was a hard one to get into right away – but once it hooked me, I couldn't put it down. A couple goes on their honeymoon, get a little drunk one night and get into a big fight, and the next morning, the wife wakes up and her husband is missing. Did he run away? Did he get kidnapped? Did he just go for a midnight swim and drown? Who knows.. but they'll definitely find out.


FINAL GIRLS: 4/5 stars

This was one of those books that everyone was talking about, so I read it to see if it lived up to the hype, and it totally did! The book follows this group of three women called the 'Final Girls': each a lone survivor of separate mass murders. When one of the three final girls is found dead, and there's a cryptic message from her only hours before her death in another's inbox, then things get interesting. I don't want to say too much cause I'll give the plot away, but the ending had me shook.


THE PROPOSAL: 3/5 stars

Unlike most romantic novels that end with a proposal, this one starts with one: an unwanted one. When Nik gets proposed to be her douchey, not-even-serious boyfriend at a baseball game, she has to awkwardly say no – and she gets rescued by super-cute Carlos and his sister Angela. Their friendship evolves, and turns into a super cute love story you won't be able to put down. (This technically is a sequel, though the books can be read out of turn.. you're just introduced to the characters in the previous novel).



Former psychologist Anna Fox is a recluse who stays home, drinks way too much and spies on her neighbors – until one day she witnesses something in the window of her new neighbors, and she needs to tell someone. But will anyone believe what she saw, and can she even believe her own eyes? 

This was another one of those books that everyone and their mother was talking about, and honestly I found it a little over-hyped. I'm a huge fan of psychological thrillers, and this one really disappointed me. I figured out the plot line (and almost all of the twists, even the huge one) pretty early on. If you're a fan of unreliable narrators (I'm usually not), then you might be into this one! 


THE WEDDING DATE: 4/5 stars

This book is actually the first book in the same series as The Proposal, and it was SO cute. Like, I had all the feels reading it! It follows type-A, workaholic Alexa who gets stuck in an elevator with a super-cute doctor, Drew, in their hotel. She's there to hang out with her sister, and he's there for the wedding of his ex.. to his best friend. Oof. The two instantly click, and just as they go off on their separate ways, Drew asks Alexa to be his date to the wedding. What follows is the cutest love story that'll make you wish you were in it! 

Have you read any good books lately? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

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