Fangirl Friday: Disney World Edition

I’m scheduling this post for the same exact time my flight leaves this morning…6:05am (YAWN), so by the time you’re reading this I’m either on my way, or may have just landed in sunny (hopefully) Orlando , or maybe I’m already on Splash Mountain! Yup! I’M…ON…VACATION! My husband and I will be spending seven glorious days at “The Happiest Place on Earth”…DISNEY WORLD! The first three days will be spent with my sister and her family showing how a Disney vacation is REALLY done, and then after that my husband and I will have another four days to ourselves. I am a huge Disney fanatic and so…freaking…excited about this trip!

The Magic Kingdom is a sentimental favorite for my husband and I. We love the classic Disney feel to it and it’s always the first park we go to when we arrive to Disney World. There’s nothing better than the feeling of walking through those gates, hearing the classic Disney music and looking down Main Street USA to Cinderella’s Castle. Ummm…no….YOU get teary eyed every time!

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Our favorite rides at this park are old-school Disney classics! They are original to Disneyland Park out in California and I am so happy they brought these favorites out to Orlando when they first built the parks. Splash Mountain is such a blast with all of the funny scenes throughout, and who doesn’t love a big plunge at the end with the very real chance of getting completely soaked? I’m a total diva and suit myself up in a poncho before we hop in our log. As much as I LOVE this ride I really don’t want to walk around the park afterwards soaked from head to toe. Out of all the parks in all of Disney World our absolute favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean. Don’t ask me why cause I don’t really have a reason for you. It’s probably because it’s the first ride we went on together during our first trip to Disney together, but we always rides it at least twice a day when we’re at the Magic Kingdom.

MK FAVE RIDES

Animal Kingdom is another favorite park of mine because they really do an amazing job of immersing you into the experience. The theming is top notch…I mean would you look at this view!

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My favorite rides at Animal Kingdom are Expedition Everest and Primeval Whirl. Expedition Everest is this amazing roller coaster that takes you through the Himalayan Mountains on a broken track and the mythical Yeti to attack! It’s a fast-paced and fun roller coaster with some of the best ride theming in all of Disney World. My other favorite ride is Primeval Whirl, and although it may be classified as a “kiddie coaster” this ride makes laugh so hard with all of its sudden twists and turns. Both coasters are a MUST ride for my hubby and I when at The Animal Kingdom.

AK FAVE RIDES

Next up we have Disney’s Hollywood Studios! This park is like stepping onto an old Hollywood movie set. I love all the neon lights and art deco architecture. It’s my husband’s favorite park theme-wise and I must say, it’s absolutely gorgeous at night.

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My very favorite THRILL ride in all of Disney is here as well…Tower of Terror! I love to hate this ride! When I get into that elevator car I seriously start to freak out and wonder what the heck I was thinking. But the second I hear that bell *DING* and the elevator drops I remember why I love the ride so much. You’ve also got Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at this park and if you love indoor coasters this one is for you. Plus, it’s all themed to the music of Aerosmith and this 80’s kid loves that!

DHS FAVE RIDES

Ohhh Epcot, I mean, I do love you. You’re in Disney after all! I just wish you had some newer and more relevant attractions. Out of all four parks Epcot would have to be my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy my time spent there but the theming really doesn’t do it for me and none of the rides really get me overly excited.

Epcot

What I DO love about Epcot is The World Showcase! I am a wanderlust at heart and have such an appreciation for different cultures, varieties of food and unique architecture, so World Showcase is like someone dropped me in the middle of travel bug heaven. I can get a margarita at the Mexico pavilion, a glass of wine in Paris, or a stein of beer in Germany! Are you sensing a theme here? The World Showcase at Epcot is such a beautiful area to stroll through and take in all the sights. Stopping at each pavilion to get a taste or a sip of something that each country is known for. Quick bit of advice, it’s better to go in the evening when the temperatures are cooler and you can check out the amazing fireworks show that takes place out on the lagoon.

WORLD SHOWCASE COLLAGE

It may seem a little early for Halloween, but Disney World is just getting into the swing of things with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go, and this year my husband and I will be able to attend opening night on September 1st. A special parade and fireworks show are featured that night as well as special character appearances and trick or treating. I’ve heard this event is not to be missed, so I’m pretty pumped we get to go …even if it is almost two months ahead of schedule. What can I say, Disney brings out the kid in me!

DISNEY HALLOWEEN

So, there you have it! Some pretty great reasons why I love Disney so much and why I am beyond excited to be visiting again! Be sure to check out my Instagram feed over the next seven days as I’m sure it will be filled with Disney photos! I just can’t help myself when I’m surrounded by the happiness and magic that is Disney World!

“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.”
– Walt Disney

CLOSING

All of the gorgeous photos in this post are courtesy of the fabulously talented Tom Bricker of the Disney Tourist Blog!

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Waiting on…Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

There’s nothing I love more than a fantasy novel set in a mystical land and filled with romance and intrigue. So, when I read the synopsis for Forbidden I knew I had to add it to my fall reading list! An epic tale set in the Mesopotamian desert featuring a heroine desperately fighting to break free of her tribes deep seeded traditions? Sign me up please!

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I’ve always been fascinated the with beauty and mystery of the ancient Middle Eastern culture, and this quote from the author nearly sent me into orbit I was so excited after reading it:

“The story is about the roots of belly dance in the ancient world of women, goddess temples, tribal warfare, betrothals, murder, blackmail…”

Ummm…you had me at belly dancing and goddess temples! This book was pitched as the YA version of The Red Tent, which is a book I read ages ago and absolutely devoured! The fact that Forbidden is even mentioned in same sentence as The Red Tent means that there is nothing left for me to do but (not-so-patiently) wait for it to come out this November.

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Oh, and you know it wouldn’t be a Waiting on Wednesday here on What Sarah Read if I didn’t do a little cover swooning! The rich and exotic colors mixed with the flowing dress just made my heart pitter-patter with delight!

***

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

Forbidden by Kimberly Griffiths Little
Expected publication: November 4th 2014 by HarperCollins
Pages: 397 | Pre-order this book

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet

Am I the only one out there who can’t believe that it’s already the end of August?! Where did the summer go? I’m usually the one so excited for Autumn to arrive since it’s my favorite time of year, but our summer around here was so cold and rainy and I’m just not ready to say goodbye. Hopefully September will be a nice warm month so I can soak it all in before the long, cold New England winter sets in.

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THANKFULLY, I have a ton of books on my TBR list, so I will have plenty of reading to keep me busy when things just get too nasty to venture outside. The only redeeming quality winter has, is that I can curl up on the couch next to the wood stove and read while the snow and wind are blowing. Seriously, that is pretty much the ONLY thing I look forward to in winter. Oh, that and my crock pot!

Like I said, I have a rather large TBR pile next to my bed (and on my Kindle) but I wouldn’t be a good book blogger if I didn’t have a long list of books that I want to read but don’t yet own. So, I present to you, the top ten books I really want to read but don’t own yet. YET!

cover source: goodreads

cover source: goodreads

Scoring Wilder / Queen of the Tearling / The Program / The Art of Lainey
The King / Sabriel / The Beginning of Everything / The Sea of Tranquility
A Darkness Strange and Deadly / Strange and Ever After

How is my top ten list looking this week? Any of your favorites on there? Do you have any books you’d add or remove? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

State of the blog…or listening to your little voice

It’s been a little over three months since I started this blog. Three months of meeting amazing people, making some fantastic friends and building up the humble beginnings of my little corner of the internet. I cannot tell you how much fun it has been to explore my creativity through coming up with original content and writing about what I love. The past few years have not been easy for me and in blogging I’ve finally found something I’m good at that helps me not to focus so much on the struggles in my life.

I am so excited to see where this journey takes me and am so enthusiastic and optimistic about where I’m headed.

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All that being said, I’m tired you guys! I haven’t had more than four days off in a row in more than 14 months and in these past couple of months I can literally FEEL my brain just shutting down. It’s a struggle for me to focus at work, to find motivation to do daily chores or even to do anything besides sit on the couch all weekend and do nothing! I HATE feeling this way! I want to be excited about life and ready to take on challenges. Starting the blog back in May gave me the charge I needed and it’s really the only thing I can get excited about these days. Unfortunately though, the stresses of my daily life, and the lack of energy and motivation have led to a SERIOUS creative block when it comes to my beloved blog.

Good news though, I have a vacation coming up and it’s only three short days away! I don’t think I can fully express how much I need this vacation! I can finally just stop worrying about what I have to do and just HAVE fun! BUT….the time leading up to my vacation is seriously stressing me out. All weekend I kept thinking about all the things I have to do before we leave, and for some ridiculous reason I got it in my head that on top of all the things I need to do before we leave, that I also wanted to have this big week-long feature on my blog. I seriously thought I was going to be able to come up with seven blog posts in like two days. I had BIG plans of busting them all out this weekend but plans had to change at the last-minute and we were away from home from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. When I got home last night the prospect of writing all those blog posts AND getting all the things done before vacation totally freaked me out and I SHUT DOWN!

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SO…as much as I would have LOVED to have given you all a week’s worth of fun and exciting blog posts. I’ve decided that I’m just going to take a break. Slow down. I’d love to get a few more posts up on the blog before I leave, but I’ve let go of my grand plans for this week and decided that my sanity is more important. I’m seriously bummed though because I really was looking forward to implementing the idea I had but sometimes you just have to know when you can’t make EVERY SINGLE good idea reality.

That moment has come for me and I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone. Posting will be light for the next three weeks since the first half of September is absolutely nutty for me. I’m pretty disappointed in myself and just plain sad because I feel like I have been on a roll lately and I hate to slow things down just when it was getting good. Honestly, this has NOTHING to do with blogging and everything to do with me just needing to take everything in my life down a couple notches. I really want to be good at this book blogging thing and want nothing more than to be as successful as so many of you out there. But, as I’ve been told SOOO many times my a lot of my blogging buddies, I cannot let blogging become something that stresses me out because that’s when it stops being fun. Blogging is still SOOOO much fun for me, so I’m just slowing things down around here for a short time. I’m hoping that my vacation will give me the re-charge I so desperately need and I’ll come back better than ever with the creative energy to give you all something amazing.

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Thanks so much to everyone for all of the love and support you’ve shown me these past few months…it means more than you’ll ever know.

Waiting on…I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m a Heather Demetrios fangirl! Admittedly, I’ve only read Heather’s debut novel Something Real, but it was so wonderful that I knew I had found something special in her writing. Heather has an innate ability to get to write truly authentic characters who you whole-heartedly care about. She gets right down to the core of emotions and pulls you through them to the other side. Heather’s writing just takes it to another level for me. PLUS…I’ve had the absolute pleasure of emailing with Heather just a little bit and she is quite possibly one of the nicest people ever. She’s so gracious, and kind and I truly appreciate all the love and support she has sent my way.

Red, vintage, neon motel sign on blue sky; Shutterstock ID 95002717

Which is precisely why I am eagerly anticipating the release of I’ll Meet You There this February. After reading just the summary for this book, I was reduced to a puddle of emotions and know in my heart that this will be a novel that I’m going to fall so hard for. Story-telling that delves into a character’s life at the precipice of something big absolutely slay me, and the story of Skyler and Josh seems to be just that. I’m ready to learn all about Skyler and Josh; who they are, what they feel…how they love perhaps?! Hopefully! I’m already invested in these two, all I want is to see them figure it all out. I want a story about real people, with real problems who make real choices that have real consequences. Are you sensing a theme here?

Before I go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that absolute perfection that is the cover of I’ll Meet You There! The design is so beautiful, with all that gorgeous color mixed in with the gritty and weathered roadside sign. You also get a real sense of the tone and feeling of this book just by looking at the cover. FYI…I made the cover photo below extra large so we could all bask in its glory. So beautiful!

The only thing that bothers me about this book is that we have to wait until February 2015 for it to come out! That’s over five whole months away! There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, we have Heather’s first installment of her new fantasy-adventure trilogy, Exquisite Captive, out in October. So, I guess that will just have to do won’t it! Thank goodness for that!

***

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Expected publication: February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt Books For Young Readers
Pages: 400 | Pre-order this book

If seventeen-year-old Skyler Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage-months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings them together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Gritty, romantic, and ultimately hopeful, I’ll MEET YOU THERE explores the complicated lives of an unforgettable cast of characters. This is the story of teens outside the picket fence. It doesn’t soften the edges of adolescence or the individual consequences of war; it’s life on the fringes—maddening, weirdly endearing…and completely screwed up.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books People Have Been Telling Me I MUST Read

Ahhh another Tuesday and another fantastic Top Ten list to have some fun with. This week I’m sharing some books that people have told me I simply MUST read! You know what I mean, that book your BFF is insisting you borrow or the series your Twitter buddy is seriously pushing on you (I’m looking at you Andi and Alexa).

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Unlike last week, this is a listing of books that I definitely WANT to read! All the recommendations and hype have totally gotten to me and they’re all on my MUST READ list! Now…when I actually get around to reading them is another matter!

Source for cover images: Goodreads

Source for cover images: Goodreads

Top Row: Sloppy Firsts / Graceling / Twenty Boy Summer

Middle Row: Shiver / The Giver / The Selection

Bottom Row: Pivot Point / Nantucket Blue / The Falconer

Finally, we have the entire Harry Potter series! Soooo many people are shocked and horrified that I haven’t read these books. Listen, I read book one (forever ago) and I really enjoyed it! I would love to finish the whole series at some point, but I’m faced with the same problem when considering the Game of Thrones and Outlander series. It’s a huge time committment and I have SOOOO many books to read. Like…all of them! ALL THE BOOKS!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Bout of Books 11: My Very First Bout

Happy Monday friends! This special late-breaking post is brought to you today by the Bout-of-Books Readathon! This will be my very first bout and I’m super excited to have an opportunity to challenge myself and to meet new bloggers! Oh yeah, and to take part in some pretty epic Twitter chats! For those of you not familiar with Bout of Books…

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The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

My goals

My goal is to read three books…a re-read of Crown of Midnight, a first read of Heir of Fire (eeek scared) and one other book. Since Heir of Fire is SOOO big I had to scale back my goal to just three but I would have loved to read four or five this week! My poor husband! When he comes into the room I’m gonna be all…

Updates

  • Monday

    Well, I managed to read about 200 pages in my Crown of Midnight re-read! It’s hard to imagine but I think I’m loving it even more the second time around. Let’s be honest though, the whole time I’m reading I’m thinking to myself….”AHHH! HEIR OF FIRE IS NEXT!!!” Hoping to finish Crown of Midnight by Tuesday night (another 200 pages) so I can dive into Heir of Fire on Wednesday night. Who wants to be on speed dial for that one? I’ve been told it rips your heart out. In the best possible way of course!

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  • Tuesday

    Well…another 200 pages down for Tuesday! I was able to finish my re-read of Crown of Midnight, and I can honestly say that I loved it even more the second time around! Sarah J. Maas is a genius and I will forever be a huge fan of hers. Now, the reason for my re-read of Crown of Midnight? I started Heir of Fire last night! Only got two chapters in since the clock was getting dangerously close to midnight (I turn into a pumpkin) but I can already tell that this MASSIVE book is going to be the end of me. I was already a mess after only two freaking chapters in. I’m scared you guys….very scared!

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  • Wednesday

    Big old FAIL WHALE for Day 3 on my part! I know…I know….flailing not failing! But you guys, I only read like 50 pages last night! I was sooooo freaking tired that I could barely keep my eyes open! Which is a total shame since I am loving Heir of Fire and just want to read it all the time…always…forever! I also spent a lot of time hanging with the hubby last night because he was feeling abandoned due to all of my blogging and reading lately. So, I will NOT feel bad about my lack of pages last night and instead focus on the quality time I spent with my man and the quality sleep I got. Tonight though, tonight I will READ ALL THE PAGES!

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  • Thursday

    Welp…I managed to squeeze out 100 pages last night. Which means I am about 150 pages into Heir of Fire and I’m happy to report I am loving it. Seriously, it’s pretty amazing! I have the afternoon off from work on Friday so if you need me I’ll be…

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  • Friday

    Coming soon!

  • Saturday

    Coming soon!

  • Sunday

    Coming soon!

If you haven’t already I really encourage you to sign up! I’m taking part in the Twitter chat right now and already having a blast! Happy reading fellow bout-ers!