Blogmas Day 13: Invisible Holiday

We’re already 13 days into December….CHRISTMAS IS COMING! I feel so unprepared though. Hubby and I hardly have decorations up, and we definitely don’t have our tree yet. This weekend will be the big weekend for all things Christmas though. I am so ready!

So today I am going off the Bookending Winter prompt, which was created by Julia @ Fable Hunter. Today is her third day hosting and she’s been fab! So here we go!

TODAY’S PROMPT

*Holiday Exploration*
You received Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility for Christmas this year! Where would you go and what would you do? (Can be in the real world or a bookish one!)

harry_potter_spell_deathly_hallows_typography_gr_t_shirt-r1d60dd7f297f4e3da05fcf093c0e86e4_k2gl9_307In the real world, I would probably slip onto a plane (or two or three successively) and travel! Canada, Ireland, Russia…all over. With an Invisibility Cloak, I would do some MAJOR behind-the-scenes exploring of The Louvre in Paris! Another place I would do behind-the-scenes exploring? The White House. I’ve been in The White House before and there are ropes EVERYWHERE. It just makes you want to explore even MORE!

In the literary world, me and my invisibility cloak would be in the magical world of Harry Potter, for starters. I have always been curious about the House Elves in the kitchen and how they get everything done and up to the Great Hall. I would definitely snoop in Dumbledore’s office. And in the Potions Dungeon!!! AND the Restricted Section of the Library!!

Where would you go if you had an invisibility cloak?

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Blogmas Day 12: November Wrap-Up Part 2

FontCandy (40)Hump Dayyyy!! So rather than do a WWW Wednesday, I feel that I need to finish my November wrap-up first. What was I thinking, reading so many books in November that I need to put them in two posts?! Oh yeah, I’m behind on my Goodreads goal for the year and I need to catch up. 😛

35402204To pick up where I left off, the next book I read was a Middle grade ARC called The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane. I don’t always read middle grades, but when I do, they are mysteries or V.E. Schwab (i.e. City of Ghosts–LOVED IT!). I picked this one up because I wanted to boost my Netgalley rating but I really enjoyed it. The boarding school setting and trio of friends were extremely Harry Potter-esque, as was the mystery. That’s about where the similarities end though. I’m always intrigued by secret society mysteries, so if any of these things are appealing to you, I recommend picking up this book.

36082326Every Note Played was my 5-star read for the month. I chose this book because it was a finalist for the 2018 Goodreads awards. Turns out that it didn’t win, but oh my gosh, my heart. The book is about a famous classical pianist who is diagnosed with ALS. He is a divorcee, and turns to his ex-wife as his health declines. The story of this man’s journey is so incredibly vivid, it really feels like we are in his head. It changes POV’s with the ex-wife as she cares for him. This was the most bittersweet I think I’ve ever read. If you need a good cry, or a reason to be thankful for life as it is, this is the book to reach for.

37796866On a completely different note, my last book of the month was Vox. This is another book that was on Goodreads best books of the year for 2018 and it was a pretty powerful read as well. While I was reading Vox, it seemed like every other chapter, I just HAD to talk about what was going on in the book. I thought this was so ironic because the book itself is based in the future world where women are restricted to using only 100 words per day. The book is about silencing one gender, but yet the book is meant to spark conversation. I LOVE IT!! The book itself didn’t end the way I wanted it to. I feel there could have been an entire book after this! But alas, its a standalone.

So there we have it. My 6 reads for November. Thus far in December, I’ve finished 4 books. I’m still aiming to get as close to my Goodreads goal of 75 as possible. We’ll see!

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Blogmas Day 11: Tag Tuesday! Bookish ‘Naughty or Nice’ Tag

naughty-or-nice-temporary-tattoo-tt0138We survived another Monday, y’all! And how do we celebrate? With a tag for Tag Tuesday! I was “tagged” by Destiny @ Howling Libraries, and I have to give credit to Jenn for creating the tag. Here we go:

  • Received an ARC and not reviewed it – Naughty! I did this once and it hit my Netgalley score so hard I’m never doing it again. Next year, my answer will be “nice”! 
  • Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley – Nice! I am currently sitting at 81%. Its one of my New Years resolutions to get that number up. I WILL hit at least 90%, gosh darn it!!
  • Rated a book on goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did) – Naughty. I rarely ‘promise’ a full review to come. I think maybe once or twice I have. I really only rate or rate and review. Its all or nothing. I am trying to get better at this too.
  • dog-eared-book-e1358973316431Folded down the page of a book – Nice. I really don’t mind this too much, but I have so many nice bookmarks now I have no reason to fold. I used to though. Not anymore!
  • Accidentially spilled on a book – Nice. I am SO careful of my books. I do NOT spill.
  • DNF a book this year – Naughty. I also don’t think that this is a bad thing necessarily. I just have come to realize that it takes a lot of time to read a book, so why waste it on a book you aren’t enjoying?
  • Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it – Nice. I will admit that I cover buy relatively frequently. However, I always intend to read it. And I am ok at walking away from a beautiful cover if I’m not going to read it.
  • Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework) – Naughty. I do this all the time. But also, I have learned the skill of multi-tasking….working and listening to an audiobook!
  • Skim read a book – Naughty. Once you get past the point of DNF and then a book takes a turn for the worst and you just know you’re in for a LONG RIDE…yeah. Been there.
  • fol-book-sale-general-pic_img_0267Completely missed your Goodreads goal – Nice. I will PROBABLY miss my goal of 75. I’m not giving up yet though. I am currently at 62 books.
  • Borrowed a book and not returned it – Nice. I am not really a borrower unless its the library, and I bring those back!
  • Broke a book buying ban – Nice. A book ban is a book ban. I have SO. MANY. BOOKS. just sitting on my shelves that I need to read! (and so little money in my wallet)
  • Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about – Naughty. This I so fairly often. I very rarely write a review right after finishing a book. I Just need to let it sink in. But then sometimes I sort of forget to go back and finish a review….whoops.
  • Wrote in a book you were reading – Nice. I really don’t write in books unless its for school, and I’m not in school any more. At this point, if a note needs to be made, I make it on a Post-it or in my phone and come back to it later.
  • c1z93cykfzklFinished a book and not added it to your Goodreads – Nice. No way! If I read a book, I want “credit” for it! Those are going straight to GR!!
  • Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend – Nice. I have already mostly answered this one. I really don’t borrow books, but I will add that at the same time, I don’t really lend books either….for good reason!
  • Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book – Naughty. Sorry but….I just don’t trust people!
  • Broke the spine of someone else’s book – Nice. I definitely don’t do this. Maybe I would ask first, but I never initiated it.
  • Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged – Naughty – I literally just did this today! It really wasn’t too bad but I am so good at squishing and wrinkling them!
  • Sat on a book accidentially – Naughty. Uhhh, yes. Do you know how many books you have to pull out at a time to have booksta pics? A lot. They litter your furniture and floor. I’ve definitely sat on them.

So that’s all folks! My score: 7 Naughty/13 Nice. Woo hoo!! I’m a nice bookworm!! Where do you rate?

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Blogmas Day 10: Cozy Reads

What is better than a book, a blanket, a warm drink, and a blazing fire in the fireplace? Sounds like absolute heaven to me! The prompt for Bookending Winter from yesterday (yes, I’m a day late) is cozy recommendations. Allow me to hit you with some of my favorite reads to snuggle up in front of a fire with. What recommendations do you have for me?

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5. Vain by Fisher Amelie – I loved this book. It is a new adult contemporary that I was so into from the very beginning. Sophie is a spoiled, rich girl who feels she is invincible. When she gets busted for doing drugs, she is sentenced not to jail or rehab, but to volunteer work in Uganda. Vain did a great job–an amazing job–bringing the characters to life. I could cozy up and read this book for hours.

4. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I just added it to my list of life goals to cozy up and read this enchanting book in front of a fire.  This book was inspired by the classic A Thousand and One Nights. Hate to love is probably my favorite trope, and The Wrath and the Dawn hit the spot for me.

3. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana – This beautiful book is so underrated, in my opinion. It is another one that reads a little like a fairy tale. Apparently “enchanting” is my word for cozying up by the fire. The story is about a girl who is meant to wed the horrible Emperor of a neighboring kingdom. She flees the home she has always known and sets off on a transformative adventure. I loved how vivid the writing was in this tale, as well as the beautiful magic system in the book. If you like mythology, retellings, parables, anything like that, you’ll like this.

2. Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon – I have to add a little bit of suspense to this list so I’m going to go with this one, mainly because of the twist at the end. There is NO WAY to see this coming! At least, not to this extent. The entire book reads like a thriller where a child goes missing, there are strange phone calls, and a twisty-story line. You think its all real, until POOF! Mind. Blown.

1. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young – This is the perfect book to read in front of a fire! SITD has all the cozy things–family, friendship, community (eventually), and a little romance. Plus, the cold and forest-y setting is just meant for fireside reading.

So there you have it, folks. My top 5 fireside reads. So crank up that Yanni holiday album and cozy up. I hope you enjoy.

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Blogmas Day 9: The Afterlife of Holly Chase – GIVEAWAY and bookish playlist!

47682600_2286068788328770_4690194679113711616_nWhy hello and good evening, everyone! I would like to invite you all to join in my giveaway! I mentioned just a couple posts back that I run an Etsy shop. I make and sell booksleeves–decorative foam pouches to carry your books in so that covers and pages aren’t ripped, wrinkled, or ruined. I am giving away a booksleeve and a book on my Instagram this week. The booksleeve I chose for thia GA is my favorite pattern from this season. The book is one that I have read and reviewed before: The Afterlife of Holly Chase. It came out last year, but it has been receiving a lot of hype this year! If you want to check out my review of the book, you can do so here. What I did just for today’s post is put together a short playlist of songs that remind me of the book. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” – Holly is our cold-hearted, modern-day, teenage Grinch so of course, what other song would I choose? ‘I wouldn’t touch [her] with a 39-and-a-half foot pole!’
  2. “Jingle Bells” by Michael Buble & the Puppini Sisters – Its gotta be this version of Jingle Bells, friends. The setting of the book reminds me of a TV set that needed background singing sisters like in this song!
  3. “Baby Its Cold Outside” – this is my pick for Holly & Ethan. They both are stubborn people who are used to getting what they want. Plus, of course, the bantering back and forth.
  4. “Carol of the Bells” by Trans Siberian Orchestra – This one is the perfect pick because it is a rockin’ version of an original classic. And of course, if you haven’t gotten the hints yet, this is a spin on A Christmas Carol.
  5. “God Bless Us, Every One” – So lastly, this grand finale of a song is from my favorite movie adaptation of A Christmas Carol…the most recent one with Jim Carrey. To me this is the epitome of holiday songs and I can just picture snow and happy people and happily ever after.

So that’s my little list for you all. And now for giveaway details. Go find me on Instagram – username @thereadsinger. On my giveaway post, you’ll find all the steps to follow to enter. Just follow, like, share, and you’re in! There are optional additional steps for extra entries. Have at ye! I hope to see you there!

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Blogmas Day 7: First Line Friday!

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This is a new type of post for me, but I love it. First lines can either be really catchy, or just meh. I am so excited to begin tracking first lines here on my blog! If you’d like to jump in and track your own, this meme is hosted by Hoarding Books so I hereby invite you to share the fun, or share your latest link with us!


First line(s): “Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”

47579318_338876880176649_1344974544955244544_nA Christmas Carol is an absolute classic, am I right? I have read it once before and I was so amazed at the perfection of this piece of literature. If you haven’t picked up this one before, its an absolute MUST. And if that first line doesn’t make you want to read more, then I just don’t know what to tell you. Imagine reading this for the first time right after publication; before if ever became the sensation it is now. Who is Marley? How and why is he dead? What the heck am I reading?! These days, we all know the story. We know exactly who Jacob Marley is and what Scrooge has in store for him, but back then this could have been quite suspenseful! Scrooge adventures through Christmases past, present, and future with these ghosts to ultimately learn an important life lesson.

Have you read A Christmas Carol? Which movie version is your favorite? (I love Jim Carrey’s version!)

Soundtrack: “Silent Night” — Josh Groban

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Blogmas Day 6: The Read Singer

Did you know…..

46744432_759222051084233_6375760710462341120_nthat I own and run a small business? Well I do!! Its very, very small, but its my baby. At the very beginning of 2018, I made a comment to my husband that I wanted to figure out how to sew my own booksleeve so I didn’t have to continue spending money buying new ones each season. Well, my hubby is an idea man. He took my little “I’d kinda like to” and turned it into “Well if you spend money on a sewing machine to make them for yourself, then you might as well make & sell them for other people!” And thus, the seed was planted, and here I am running an Etsy shop called The Read Singer.

I got my official business license (yep, I’m registered with the county and everything!) in March/April and since then of course, there have been many ups and downs. Sales and then no sales. But I’m up to 50 sales which means that I’ve made probably at least 100 sleeves (whoa) and I’m not tired of it yet. I’d like to expand my shop and start making another type of product. Maybe rice bags or pin hoops? Bookmark holders or mug rugs? But I’m not quite there yet. Hopefully soon!

40628793_524192508027856_3957805933697957888_nIts another goal of mine to take a “business trip” to a book expo/con of some sort during some summer. Or anytime, really. Since I started my business, I have tried to choose patterns for sleeves that correlate to book and/or movie releases. Example: I found an Avengers pattern when the new movie came out. I had a Viking/rune-looking pattern when Sky in the Deep released. One of my best memories with the business was meeting Becky Albertalli and Julie Murphy and they loved my sleeves. I brought sleeves with that matched their books at their signing and they went gaga over them…as did several other people in the store. It was great marketing.

So just in case you’re wondering what my shop looks like, what patterns I have in stock (think snuggly flannels and winter holidays, as well as year-round fabrics), here is the link to check it out: The Read Singer @ Etsy!

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Blogmas Day 5: November Wrap-Up Part I

FontCandy (40)Well, tell me: how was your November reading?? Mine wasn’t too bad. Especially considering the bit of a slump I had been in in September. I finished six books in total, and there were two more I was hoping to wrap up but I didn’t quite make it. Oh well, 6 is pretty good! I am definitely going to be finishing short of my overall goal for the year of 75 books…but I had a super busy year so I’m not going to beat myself up too badly. And besides, we’ll see what December holds. I have readathons and buddy reads coming up so I should be pulling a pretty good number. If I can hit 9 or 10 for December, I’ll be happy. Even 8! But anyway, here is a rundown of my November finishes:

33977969Haunting the Deep is book #2 in Adrianna Mathers’ “How to Hang a Witch” duology. I read How to Hang a Witch last year and thought it was pretty good. What I really like about Adrianna Mather is her direct tie in her family line to what she writes about in these books–first to the Salem Witch trials (she is a direct descendent to Cotton Mather) and in this book to the Titanic (I think you can figure this one out). The books aren’t mind-blowing Blockbusters, but they are pretty sweet reads and I think they’re fun.

35305625Next up, I listened to the audiobook version of The Broken Girls. I hadn’t really heard of this one but it was up for a Goodreads Choice Award. Don’t ask me what category at this point…Mystery/Thriller, maybe? The book is told in dual time periods and revolves around a woman whose sister was murdered and an old asylum where a former refugee from a Nazi war camp was a student went missing decades ago. Again, not a heart-pounding thriller, but I liked the mix of history and mystery, and the writing was good. Also, the audiobook narrator was fabulous.

31952703Words in Deep Blue is next on my list. This one was also an audiobook and I flat out did not enjoy this one. It had a few charming little moments, considering that I am a sucker for book stores and heartbreak. There really wasn’t much heartbreak in the book, but there was some humor and a little bit of cuteness in the friendships. Overall though, this book was a flop for me.

So there is the first half of my wrap-up overview. More in-depth reviews to come! How did you do with your reading in November?

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Blogmas Day 4 – Tag Tuesday: Christmas Characters Tag

I have been looking forward to this tag since I first heard of its development! Anthony did a tad of brainstorming with our blog group and it got me in the Christmas mood WAY early. But I’m not mad. I love Christmas characters! You can go see the original tag on Anthony’s blog – Keep Reading Forward!

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santa-claus-sugar-cookies_exps173334_th133086b08_06_4bc_rmsSanta Clause – A Gift You Received or Want This Year
I am hoping to get the new anniversary editions of The Hunger Games and the special edition of Six of Crows. Its so pretty!!

Mrs. Clause – A Favorite Holiday Treat to Have Every Year
Peanut butter blossom cookies! Or really just the huge variety of Christmas cookies in general.

Ghost of Christmas Past – A Holiday Memory from Your Past
My younger brother and I have always loved Home Alone and can pretty much recite it line for line. When we were little (I was maybe 5 and him 3? Something like that?), we wanted to re-create the scene where Kevin sleds down the stairs in his house and out the front door. The thing was, though, that our front door didn’t QUITE line up. He could figure out how to turn, right? I mean, its like a race car going around the corner! Well, I think you can figure out that this didn’t all go out as planned. He went down the dozen-plus stairs on his plastic sled and went SMACK into the wall. Practically UP the wall, actually! 🤣 Its a story we revisit EVERY Christmas.

fotorcreatedBuddy the Elf – “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” – A Holiday Song You like to Sing Each Holiday Season
Umm, all of them! I usually make myself a new playlist every year too. There are only so many Christmas songs out there, but the versions and arrangements are infinite!

original-28011-1463671484-3Misfit Toys – An Unpopular Toy You Really Wanted to Get One Year
I don’t know about unpopular…but I know I wanted one of those XL Barbie heads, where you were supposed to be able to do their hair. I never had sisters or anything but I wanted to learn about playing with hair. I never got her. I’m kinda glad because looking at her now, she’s rather creepy….

Grinch – A Moment When Your Heart Grew Three Sizes
A few years ago, I was invited to sing at the White House at Christmastime as an alumni of the college I had just graduated from. I had put in a lot of work the year before to be able to go and my class wasn’t able to, but the year after they did. I was touched that I was invited to go, and that trip was so amazing.

Jack Frost – A Tradition You Like to Do Every Winter
Going out to get a live Christmas tree is something my husband and I do every year. We walk out into the forest at the tree farm and walk around until we find “the one.” Before we were together, I hadn’t had a real tree since I was very young. Now though, it has become a yearly tradition. We almost got married at the tree farm but decided against it for other reasons.

Hero Boy – A Moment You Believed in a Holiday Wish/Miracle
I absolutely believe in holiday wishes and miracles. I know that the holidays can be an emotional, and even lonely time for some. However, I also feel that there is a power and a beauty to them as well.

Cindy Lou Who – A Favorite Holiday Tradition
I love attending church on Christmas Eve. I haven’t been the most devout of Christians over the past few years of my life, but church on Christmas is a beautiful thing to me.

frosty_primaryFrosty the Snowman – A Memory Involving Snow or A Memory You Would Like to Have Involving Snow
This isn’t necessarily a specific memory, but I do remember a few times that I have been able to go out at night while it was snowing and just watch the snow fall. I find it fascinating that snowflakes fall from the sky, but they make no noise. That stillness is almost indescribable. And then fresh show shimmers and glistens. I’m not a fan of slippery surfaces and cold, but fresh snow and just watching it fall….I absolutely love it.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – A Holiday Activity You Like Doing
Christmas crafts! I am addicted to seasonal and holiday crafts!

Ebenezer Scrooge – “Bah, Humbug!” – A Favorite Holiday Saying or Quote
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” Also the quote from the Grinch where–and I’m paraphrasing here–“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas is

Spread the Holiday Spirit!
Tag 1-12 People!
Linda
Abbey
Jenna

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