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READ/ Don't Read, Brutal and Funny Book Reviews in Miniature, Big Little Lies, Storied Life of AJ Fikry, Saints at the River, Aeronaut's Windlass

READ/ Don't Brutal Funny Book Reviews in Miniature, Big Little Lies, Storied Life of AJ Fikry, Aeronaut's Windlass via DevastateBoredom

Oh y'all, I posted that whole breathless monologue about how I was going to start blogging again, and then realized I had COMPLETELY spaced on how much work it is to actually blog.  Even a super simple book review post like I am doing here... so many links, images, formatting, alt text, ughhh.  No wonder it has been years since I managed it!  I actually had a mini panic attack and tried to POSTPONE that last post, announcing my (possibly unwanted) return to your inboxes, but then discovered it had automatically published already yesterday.  Ooooooooops... So here I am, trying to follow through with a promised book review post, but it is a stretch, I can tell you, ha!  Give me grace here, Invisible Internet Friends -- hold my hand and pat me on the back and say nice things to me!!  Thankfully, I found a draft of a book review post I started in June of 2018, so I will happily take that shortcut for today, courtesy of Past Me, and I will save my more recent reads for another post soon.  Knock on wood (link for a trippy but awesome sonic blast-from-the-past), it will be days and not years from now!

READ/ Don't Read, Brutal and Funny Book Reviews in Miniature, Big Little Lies, Storied Life of AJ Fikry, Saints at the River, Aeronaut's Windlass

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriary, READ/Don't Read, book reviews in miniature, Devastate Boredom
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty 

Mystery, Suspense
READ, but especially if you like whodunnits, Agatha Christie, etc

I loved this one! I found it through a book club and enjoyed it so much. (Note from the present: like I said in the intro, I wrote these reviews in the summer of 2018... since then I've read every. single. book. Liane Moriary has written. I adore her and I almost never find anything to be brutal about... with the exception of her newest, Apples Never Fall, which has some stuff I can nit-pick. However, I will save that review for next time!). I love how this book keeps you guessing at the big reveal from literally the first chapter... you know from the beginning that someone is dead, BUT you don't know who, and you don't know why.  Vivid characters, fun twists, and a satisfying wrap-up at the end. Current Day Me is also vaguely aware that Big Little Lies is a tv show now, but I think I was in a blind parenting haze of sleep deprivation when it came out, and I haven't seen it yet. I bet it is amazing though, bucket list to watch! Click here for a free kindle book preview

READ/Don't Read, Book Review in Miniature, Storied life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, via DevastateBoredom
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin 

Literary Fiction, Romance
Read, especially if would call yourself a "bibliophile" just casually, as if that is a normal word to use in a conversation, ha! (ummmm yeah, guilty...)

I picked this up on a whim off of Amazon Prime reading and I really enjoyed it! A sweet story about life and books and second chances. Note from the present: I have NO memory of this book, and I am not sure if that means it was honestly a tiny bit bland, albeit "sweet"? OR if I was just that sleep deprived in the moment reading it, which is possible. Apologies for repeatedly whining about being sleep deprived, but I not slept more than 3 hours in a row more than a handful of times in the last 6 years... and that realllllllly effs with a brain. I am leaving the "read" rating since I do trust Past Me, but just being honest about my lack of specific recall lol. This one is also a movie now, maybe I'll watch the movie and see if it jogs my memory... Click here to go straight to a kindle preview!

READ/Don't Read, Book Review in Miniature, Saints at the River by Ron Rash, via DevastateBoredom
Saints at the River by Ron Rash 

Southern Fiction
Maybe read, if the region is home for you or you enjoy environmental drama a la Erin Brockovich 

I felt like this story dipped into preachy territory more than once, but the setting in the Appalachian hills of South Carolina was vivid and enjoyable and the tension of the environmental dilemma (whether to disturb an untouched river's natural sanctuary status in an attempt to recover the body of a drowned child) was well depicted. My biggest peeve here was that the female narrator felt flat and one-dimensional.... I'm always interested in whether an author can pull off writing in first person for a character of the opposite gender, and this one didn't really work for me. The emotions felt stilted, and at one point the narrator quickly put on a little makeup... and chose blush and lipstick. I have since taken an informal poll among my friends, and all of us agree that lipstick, yes, but blush, no, not if you're choosing only two items of makeup to apply. All the friends I asked agreed that they would do lipstick and eye liner, or lipstick and mascara. That's just one example, but I almost would say that the author wrote it originally with a male narrator, and then decided after the fact that it would sell better if the main character was female, so just sorta switched all the pronouns and went with it. If you enjoy Southern Fiction already it's worth a read, but if you're new to Ron Rash (he's fantastic, I read this one because I've read two or three of his others and loved them), or new to this kind of regional literature, I would pick another of the author's books. Click here to go straight to a kindle preview!

READ/Don't Read Book Reviews in Miniature, Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher, via DevastateBoredom
The Aeronaut's Windlass by 
Jim Butcher
Fantasy, Steampunk
Don't read, unless you're a huge fan of detailed battle scenes

I expected to love this one... it's written by the author of the Dresden Files and the premise seems really cool... a steampunk world where people live in cities high in the clouds, navigating flying ships, and wielding magic... but I felt like this story got bogged down in detail. I had this sense that the editors would have been a lot more ruthless with a newer author but since Jim Butcher has such a loyal following they just kind of threw their hands in their air and were like, "do whatever you want, dude! Just give us another book!" The nautically-airborne battle scenes in particular were excruciatingly long and boring. I did like some of the characters a lot, and I totally would watch a movie version of the story when I could mess around on my phone during battle scenes, but I probably won't read any more of the series. (Note from the present, Jim Butcher actually hasn't published any more books in this series yet and it was released in 2015, soooooo I might not be the only one who thought the book lacked compelling momentum. Just sayin'.)
 Click here for a kindle preview though, if you want to check out those battle scenes to prove me wrong!

Okay dear friends, I DID IT.  I finished a book review post, haha, even if it DID technically take me four and a half years from writing the first words to hitting "publish." If you are here reading, pretty please leave me a comment to let me know!   

Even more importantly, if you have a book to recommend to me, tell me!!  I started reading again, REALLY reading, for the first time in years last spring when my dad died, and getting back to books is like coming home... but I have also missed SO much good stuff in the past few years! So recommend your favorites to me and I will try to catch up. And thank you for being here with me, truly! I am honored by your presence, when you could be looking at any content at all in this immense online wilderness, and I appreciate your eyes on my words. *HUGS*

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An Audacious But Hopefully Welcome Return to Your Life and Inbox

My friends! My dear, long-lost, invisible internet friends! It has been so long, are you still out there?? Do you still like me?? Heck, do you still remember me? Or is this act of popping into your inbox like this just total and sheer audacity, and you are giving me side eye and already stretching and limbering up your best clicking finger to unsubscribe? If that is the case I don’t blame you at all, it has been YEARS without a single line or whisper from me… You may be wondering, there on the other side of your screen, if I was kidnapped or something? And I basically was, by two tiny and surprisingly demanding humans I magically produced out of apparent nothingness. That was the beginning of five years of broken sleep, me googling “how much crying is normal even when the baby is touching me literally constantly,” and scrambling around in survival mode, trying to make sure I stuffed enough food into one end of these little creatures while expeditiously cleaning up excretions from the other end. SO. MANY. DIAPERS. And then of course there was that whole global pandemic and worldwide tragedy that further broke my brain and spirit, and other personal losses and challenges over the last five years, but we won't even get into all of that... besides sending solidarity to all of my friends still navigating a mental and spiritual return from the collective communal trauma we casually refer to as Covid-19.

Back to my kids though, because at least they are also entertaining and adorable, something nobody can say about global tragedies... 

These magical little beings that appeared out of nothingness somehow seem to feel that they have Squatters Rights of total ownership over me… talk about audacity! Most of the time I don’t mind, they are the light of my life and so on, wouldn’t trade it for the world, etc, although I really would like to negotiate for time enough in the day to remember how this keyboard thingy works. Just kidding, none of this was typed on a keyboard, it was typed on my phone squinting in the dark while trying to force one of the tiny humans to stay asleep for another hour, so our experience of the world the next morning would be slightly less desperate and toddler would be slightly less cantankerous. Ooo obstreperous! That’s an even better word! See, I DO still remember things like words, and how to stick a whole sentence together so that it mostly makes sense! Even though the majority of these sentences are way too long... I am going to leave them alone despite my inner editor absolutely losing her shit over my sloppiness. Oh, so sorry, excuse the french, I don’t think I ever used to swear on this blog did I?? Now when I get out of earshot of the Little Rascals I turn into a total world-weary, diaper-mouthed sailor, exhausted and pissy from navigating the oceans of toys on my floors and seas of existential doubt in my brain. Newsflash, kids are exhausting, who am I even any more??? What is the meaning of it alllllllll??
Okay, enough of that, if you are still reading you are such a good person and kind invisible internet friend. I am hugging you invisibly back! AND if you are still reading but feeling annoyed at my unwanted return to your consciousness, you know what to do! Click click click, and I will bother you no more. But if you DO want my continued presence in your life, I promise there will be more of what originally brought us together…. Tiny brutal and funny book reviews! Friday Frivolity! Capsule wardrobe fashion fun! That last one might take the longest to resurrect though, given that I currently live in leggings and tees, and remembering to stick a bracelet on my wrist is like, an empowering Seize the Day moment. But I have faith in us, we will get there again! And as for now, I have another post already scheduled, as proof I am committed to our online friendship despite my years of disappearance…. The glorious return of Read / Don’t Read, Funny and Brutal Book Reviews in Miniature! Last note, because I don’t want to leave while I am finally here chatting with you, seriously THANK YOU for reading all this tired ramble. I missed you! I know the Gods and Experts of the Internet say that blahgs are dead and their era has ended, but I would love it if you momentarily returned to the past to leave me a comment, or send me an email at devastateboredom at gmail and I’ll respond! AND if you are absolutely feeling wildly generous, would you consider forwarding this on to someone else who might also want to be internet friends, or give me a follow and share on facebook? I appreciate every one of you and every bit of kind encouragement more than you could know! Life is so often just a long hard slog, and we can't do it without our people. I hope you will be one of mine, and I would be honored to be one of yours in return. 💕

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5 Time-Saving Life Hacks for Tired Moms and Disorganized People in General

5 Time-Saving Life Hacks for Tired Moms and Disorganized Humans

5 Time-Saving Life Hacks for Tired Moms and Disorganized People in General -- Life-hacks, organizational tips, how to save time, how to get organized, tips, tricks, and strategies -- try Green Chef and read kindle ebooks for free! via Devastate Boredom
(Please note, this post contains affiliate and referral links, meaning that if you click and / or purchase items via those links, I may receive a small commission as a result, at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting Devastate Boredom!)  

Hello, dear, long-lost friends! It is I, Sarah Eliza, your favorite Boredom Devastator, Capsule Wardrobe Expert, and Exhausted Mom. I am eeking out this post, the first in many moons, because my friend Lisa at Syncopated Mama believes in me. She has been encouraging me to get back into blogging a bit, and also kindly consented to write about stuff pertinent to mom-life for February’s Friday Frivolitys. That part is because my friend Tara wisely suggested I write about stuff relevant to me right now, to make that writing easier on my poor sleep-deprived noggin’… so here we are! 

You should follow both of them on social media ASAP. They’re beautiful and inspiring people. 

And if you’re on my site for the Capsule Wardrobe stuff, and feeling confused (mom life, what?), don’t despair, I’m still going to write those posts too. If you get annoyed with my life updates you can always hop over to my Capsule Wardrobe newsletter list instead! I’ve got a newsletter update waiting in the wings for the spotlight really soon, I swear. 

Our theme at this week’s Friday Frivolity is 5 time-saving life hacks… which will be relevant to All Humans, since who doesn't like saving time?, but especially to ALL MOMS, since we would basically give our left arm for 15 extra minutes of sleep each morning.  Well, maybe not our left arm, because that would make lugging a baby around extra difficult, but at least a toe or something.  

So here's the scoop on 5 life-hacks, that have been helping to keep my life orderly lately. 

Time Sensitive!! Popping by with a Book Review for Sci Fi Lovers - STRUCK by Rachel Langley!

Time Sensitive!! Free download for Sci Fi Lovers - STRUCK by Rachel Langley!  Suspense, YA, Science Fiction book recommendation

Hello my dear, dear readers…. 

It is I, your long lost Boredom Devastator, Sarah Eliza, now "Mama Boredom Devastator" who NEVER gets bored because suddenly naps are fascinating and eagerly pursued at every opportunity… 😂

I have been stealthily working behind the scenes lately to dust off my blog (and dust off my brain) to make a Big Comeback.  This Big Comeback includes an exciting guest post series from ladies (and maybe gentlemen too, who knows!) who have used ideas and tips from my book Secrets of the Capsule Wardrobe to transform their closets.  Oh wait, does that describe YOU?  If so, you need to submit your info here, and maybe I’ll be highlighting gorgeous YOU in a guest post soon!  Stay posted!!

BUT back to important and time-sensitive matters at hand…  I have interrupted my Stealthy Behind the Scenes Work to pop by with a post and let my wonderful readers know about a fun free book download, available this week only – a YA science fiction title called Struck, written by none other than my talented cousin, Rachel Langley.   *applause*

Here’s the description of Struck from Amazon!

The headline read: A Deserted Town: Where Are the Missing?The missing. That’s what their friends and family had become. 

A Review - with video! - of the Newton Crib Mattress- Non-Toxic, Breathable, Innovative Magic!

A Review - with video! - of the Newton Crib Mattress- Non-Toxic, Breathable, Innovative Magic!

A Review - with video! - of the Newton Baby Crib Mattress- Non-Toxic, Breathable, Innovative Magic! Raman Noodle Design = Ultimate Breathability! Healthy, comfortable, and flame retardant free! A great affordable alternative to organic mattresses.  Green, eco-friendly and recyclable too! via Devastate Boredom

Don't worry, Baby L is just testing the Newton out in that pic!  We put sheets and jammies on before bed, I swear.  But don't you love the tiny toes and newborn shade of pink??  😜

*sponsored post*

Y’all.  I am SO excited about the product I get to review today!  The quality is amazing, the design so crazy-cool innovative, AND it fell into my lap right at the moment in time when I needed it!  How is that for serendipitous???  This review was basically FATED, y’all. 

How is that for a teaser??  :P 

The Search for a Non-Toxic Crib Mattress!

As I was preparing for the arrival of Baby Boredom Devastator, I tried to choose a lot of the items on my registry extra carefully to avoid exposing baby to toxins.  Our poor, polluted, plastic-stuffed, overworked world is so toxic right now that it isn’t easy, but as a Mama-to-be with a yen for research and a good dose of hormone-fueled OCD I was determined to at least LESSEN the amount of toxins my sweet baby girl would eat / breath / absorb.

READ or DON'T Read -- 2017 Mini Book Reviews, Part 1! Something for every reader!

What to READ and What NOT Read -- 2017 Book Reviews in Miniature, Part 1!  Big Magic, The Giver Quartet, Hallelujah Anyway, Hollow City, and More!

Read or Don't Read, Book Reviews in Miniature -- mini reading recommendations -- something for every reader! Big Magic, Hallelujah Anyway, Hollow City, The Giver, the Practice House, and more!  Memoir, fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, YA, etc. via Devastate Boredom

Hello friends!  Why yes, it is ME in your inbox / on your computer screen!  At long last!  

Hmmmmm three exclamation points in a row... I'm pretty sleep-deprived.  But at least my 4 month old reason for sleep deprivation is awfully stinkin' cute!  She also has a magical ability to sense whenever I leave the room where she is napping.  I leave NOISELESSLY, I swear!  And the white noise machine is BLASTING!  Yet somehow she knows if I leave, and wakes up 15 minutes later like clockwork.  So for at least some of her naps lately, I end up staying in the room with her, reading or writing.  And sometimes sleeping too, but I'm honestly not a great napper (sound familiar?) so more often reading or writing.  So, I have a TON of books to review for you, and I'm not even counting the parenting / baby books I'll save for another post.  As always, I'll do my best to give you a pithy review-in-miniature, with a READ / DON'T Read verdict for each.  You can check out past reviews here as well!

Maternity Wardrobe Style Hack -- Wear Your Regular Jeans Longer While Pregnant!

Maternity Wardrobe Style Hack -- Wear Your Regular Jeans Longer While Pregnant!

Pregnant? Delay buying maternity pants and wear your regular pants longer with this easy life hack!  Preggo style advice and tips, via Devastate Boredom

This will be a pretty brief post because... if you are able to see the photo above, you already know what I'm about to say. 😝

I promised a few days ago in my Ultimate Maternity Capsule Wardrobe post to share about a nifty little hack I used to keep wearing my regular pants for a pretty long while into my pregnancy.  I used this hack for long enough that when I went to the birthing center for check-ups, the midwives would laugh at me for not having bought maternity pants yet.  But they were the only ones who knew!  Nobody else had a clue.  (And the cows said "moo."  All those rhyming board books I'm reading to Baby L are clearly rubbing off on me, LOL)

Here are the pants-expansion hack instructions:  

How My Husband Rocked Our New Van Purchase - A No-Regrets Guide to Buying a Car from Mr. Boredom Devastator

How My Husband Rocked Our New Van Purchase - A Car Buying Guide from Mr. Boredom Devastator

Sponsored post

Tips and tricks for buying a new or used car, utilizing a car aggregator search engine like cars.com.  A guide for how to decide what car is best for you, research safety, plan for financing, and get a great deal, with no regrets! via Devastate Boredom

When Cars.com asked me to write a sponsored post for them, it was perfect timing because my husband and I had just recently purchased a new-to-us van in preparation for becoming parents a few months ago.  I looped my husband in on the task of writing this post, since he is, in all modesty, a bit of a genius in the realm of car research-and-search.  So, say hi to my husband, Andrew (aka, Mr. Boredom Devastator), as he shares with you his fine-tuned system for locating and purchasing the best possible car for you!

*Andrew waves*  Hello Devastate Boredom readers! 

Ultimate Maternity Capsule Wardrobe "How to" Guide, with Preggo Style Tips and Sample Mix-and-Match Wardrobes!

The Ultimate Maternity Capsule Wardrobe "How to" Guide, with Preggo Style Tips and Sample Mix-and-Match Wardrobes!

So much graat info here! - Curious how to make a Capsule Wardrobe for pregnancy?  Here is the ultimate Maternity minimalist closet guide, with easy fashion tips, pictures, and inspiration.. Simple, effortless, confident preggo style! Pregnant Project 333 ideas too! via Devastate Boredom

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Devastate Boredom through your clicks if you decide to shop!

Hello friends!  I'm typing frantically to get as much done as possible while the baby is napping... forgive any typos or unusually sloppy writing!!  Also, quick note, this post might not seem very relevant to you right now... if it seems like it might be helpful in the future, be sure to pin it so you don't forget about it! It would also be super nice if you shared this info with any friends who might find it more useful at the moment! 😊  Please and thank you... you're the best!

Knowing me and my passion for Capsule Wardrobes, you probably already guessed that I created a maternity Capsule during my pregnancy.  I'll be honest, it wasn't perfect, but I learned a lot about preggo style in the process!  This post will encompass a few different things -- the details of what my "hacked" Capsule looked like and how I went about putting it together, tips on general pregnancy fashion and how to make a fully mix-and-mach wardrobe, and a sample "ideal" maternity Capsule Wardrobe to get your creative juices flowing.  

Things on My Mind Lately - Baby! Baby! Baby!

Things on My Mind Lately - Baby! Baby! Baby!

Things on my Mind Lately - Baby, Baby, BABY!  Welcoming Baby Boredom-Devastator, birth announcement mommy-zombie style!

Holy moly, the past couple of months have just FLOWN by!  I gotta admit, there has been ONE THING on my mind for most of that time... Baby Boredom-Devastator!!  Our "little" baby L is now 7 weeks old and seems HUGE compared to how very tiny she was for a while there.  I know, I know, this is the littlest she will ever be from now on... But still... so much growing!  

Being a parent is crazy and wonderful.  My husband and I basically spend all day saying 'isn't she beautiful?' back and forth at intervals.  We feel so blessed to have her and blessed too that my husband works for a company progressive enough to offer generous paternity leave to its employees!  It makes such a huge difference to our overall stress and tiredness levels that both of us can be fully present during this amazing time of change and growth in our lives.  My husband also happens to be a champion diaper-changer and baby-soother.  So much to be thankful for! 

I'm currently writing this while wearing a sleeping baby in a sling, so I'm hoping for more nap-time-composed posts coming in the near future.  I've missed all my bloggy pals!  And I have so much to tell y'all about life with baby, maternity and nursing-friendly fashion, the books I've been reading lately (SO much reading), and more!  So stay tuned!  *HUGS*  (edit: Check out my recent Ultimate Maternity Capsule Wardrobe post here!)

PS  I'm just slightly a zombie in the picture above... baby girl was about four days old.  Look at those TINY FEET!! 😜

Here are some of the places you might see this post partying! 

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