To Be The Girl On The Back Of A Bike
Review: The Garden Of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

What I'm Into (April 2017 Edition)



Spring is mostly here in the Twin Cities (except for a return to the cold this past week) and it feels like things are moving along in my personal life too. I got some much awaited good news and feel like more is around the corner. Is everything coming up roses? Not completely but it feels good to have some answers and purpose. Now I just need the weather to stop faking us out and life will be grand! 


Read and Reading

PicMonkey Collage

What an epic heart-racing conclusion to the Shades Of Magic trilogy! I have loved every part of this adventure and Schwab drew it to an admirable end with A Conjuring Of Light. Make no mistake: she also crams a lot of story in there and my heart was in my throat half the time because I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Lila, Kell, Rhy, and Alucard each have a big role to play in saving their London from Osaron. They are such incredible characters and I love what they bring out in each other, whether they're antagonizing or looking out for one another. But the character who most captivated me was Holland, a character I previously loathed. This novel- and really, the whole trilogy- has a lot to say about the people who are worth fighting for and the lengths we'll go to protect not only the ones we love but our communities. The way magic is woven through the tale continued to fascinate me, particularly how good is pitted against evil and the shades of gray in between. I'm sad this trilogy is over and also crossing my fingers Schwab will find it in her heart to give us a spin off. I rarely read fantasy but this trilogy was a worthy escape.


I was curious to see where Cavallaro would take us in The Last Of August, the second installment of the Charlotte Holmes series. How would Charlotte and Jamie cope with the aftermath of everything that happened in the first book? Spoiler alert: not all that well. But we barely have time to take that in before they're plunged into another mystery involving Holmes's missing uncle and poisoned mother. The mystery element kept me guessing, as did the now prickly nature of Holmes and Watson's relationship. Charlotte is a conundrum to Jamie- rightfully so in terms of her personality and also her need to recover from being raped a few months prior. This sets the tone for this book- they are trying to get back to one another but Charlotte is not ready to be what Jamie wants her to be, she's not ready to explore the romantic side of their friendship. At the same time, they don't have time for much self-reflection or processing together what they've gone through because Moriartys are afoot. The introduction to August was such an interesting element, as was the German art scene. I could not stop laughing during the auction scene! I really enjoyed this overall, even if it left me with questions and my jaw dropped over the ending. Book 3 better give me some of the answers I seek! 


Homegoing was simply stunning. Gyasi manages to pack a lot of story into each character's chapter and the way it strings together was breathtaking. My heart broke for each character and the ramifications of their ancestors' choices, as well as the horrific legacy of slavery. What each family goes through is still relevant to us today, as the last few chapters make clear. I'm not entirely sure about the ending but I'm very glad I read this. 


You can see all the books I've read at Goodreads

Currently reading: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander), The Art Of Happiness (Dalai Lama), Virgin: The Untouched History (Blank), By Her Touch (Anders)




The Baby-Sitters Club Club continues to bring me so much joy. I laugh so hard when I'm listening. Jack and Tanner's insights about these deceptively simple books makes me think I'm back in English class. And then you have an episode like Jessi Ramsey, Pet-sitter and they add the Tracking Jackie segment, which includes a clip of Jack from LOST yelling "we have to go back" and I swear I will love them forever. 

The Popcast brought us Pop Culture Personality Types and I'm pleased to inform you I'm a RAJI. Take the quiz and tell me who you are.

Josh Groban on How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black was so delightful! I loved getting to know more about him and his career, even though I wish they'd mentioned his Ally McBeal appearances, which is how I first discovered him back in the day.

There was so much wisdom packed into Discovering Romance and Navigating Approval: An Interview with Faith Salie on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. I'm going to have to listen to it again and take notes!




  • Meeting Kim Van Brunt for breakfast at People's Organic. It was so good to catch up!


  • I helped my friend start organizing her closet and it was seriously so fun. Clothes tell us so much about a person, from the style to the memories attached to each item. I walked away feeling like I knew my friend better. Plus, she couldn't help but style me in a few of her pieces and now when I wear them, I'll think of her.


  • My parents sent me flowers, just because. The bouquet lasted almost two weeks!


  • I got into the MLIS program at St. Kate's!!! The very reason I moved to the Twin Cities. I'm so relieved and excited. My first class (Intro to Library and Information Science) starts the first week of June. Holy buckets. 


  • My acceptance letter went to my friend Annie's house (she's serving as my official mail lady) so she was there to celebrate the good news and even happened to have a bottle of chardonnay in the fridge. It was meant to be!


  • My friend Karin and I are trying to get together once a week to work on our creative projects. So far we've talked more than we've worked but I think the accountability will pay off in the long run. One way or another, I'm going to finish the revisions on my novel and move forward with self-publishing. 


  • Dianna and I met up at a library book sale. Being in a room full of cheap books is my happy place, though I behaved and only bought one.


  • Chris Ann, Kelly, Allison, and I had a wonderful time catching up over dinner at Public Kitchen + Bar. We've seen each other separately but the four of us haven't been together since October and there's a special magic when we're all at the table together. I adore them.


  • I went back to my hometown for a quick Easter weekend. First stop: my cousin Adam's house. The two of us hung out for a while before meeting up with his brothers, sister-in-law, the kids, and his girlfriend. It was seriously the best time. My cousins and I gravitate toward each other at any family gathering and I've spent one-on-one time with them but we've never hung out as a group before. We were much overdue and vowed to make it more of a priority. It was so good to catch up and eat beer can chicken and hang out at Jon's house.


  • The next morning I headed to my parents' house for Easter brunch. It was great seeing my mom's side of the family (which included more time with Adam.) The weather was gorgeous so we sat outside while the girls had an Easter egg hunt and then enjoyed dessert on the deck.


  • Erin and I went to Muldoon's for a drink. I'm so glad we were able to see each other! I'm so glad Muldoon's was open Easter night!


  • I went over to Donna's house to hang out for a couple of hours. Always good time spend time with my roomie. I can't believe how many years we've been friends now.


  • This Little Free Library.


  • I snagged Megan for a quick breakfast before I headed out of town. I was sad to miss out on seeing her family but such are whirlwind trips.


  • I started a temp job doing data entry. In a case of positive reframing, I'm telling myself data entry is like a treasure hunt. This works better at the beginning of the work day.


  • Talking to my best friend on the phone while sitting outside in 70 degree weather.


  • Haley and I got together and I brought my Enneagram bag with me (filled with these books) so you can guess as to what most of our conversation was about.


  • I dogsat for a week, which brought me back to one of my favorite neighborhoods. The elf house is ready for spring! I want to befriend the creative force behind this.


  • I won three book giveaways in a week! One from a book blogger, one from Goodreads, and one from an author. This is the third or fourth time I've won multiple books in the same week and I am a big fan of this trend.


  • Peace Coffee with Sarah. I love that place.



Favorite Instagram:


  I love spring. 

(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)


On The Blog:

I shared a story about muddied friendship in the aftermath of a relationship: To Be The Girl On The Back Of A Bike



What I'm Into

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