On the tenth day of #blogmas …

…we’re back to the Book Blogger Hop! For those of you who don’t know, the Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books but is now maintained by Billie B. at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, and receive new followers. There is a new prompt each week so feel free to jump in any time!

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Q: If you celebrate Christmas, do you feel the need to stop reading anything BUT Christmas-themed romances once the season starts?

A: Nope. I love Christmas, and I try to read as many Christmas-themed books as possible but I don’t ONLY read Christmas books. I don’t “restrict” myself. That all being said, I probably do read about 80-90% Christmas or winter books. Its just what I’m in the mood for. I still read different genres within the Christmas theme….not all romance. Mostly mystery or some contemporary romance or classics/historical fiction–there is just so much out there! So far, I have finished reading Kiss Me in New York and I just started reading Christmas at Hope Cottage. I’ll maybe get through one or two more holiday reads before the end of the month?? We’ll see!

I’m always up for recommendations if you have any for me! Please feel free to tell me if you’ve read any good holiday/wintery books lately! 😀

Currently watching: Jim Carey’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

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On the sixth day of #blogmas …DIY holiday gifts for students/classmates/etc.

Its HUMP DAY, y’all! I hope you are all having a good week! The holidays are drawing nearer and I hope things aren’t getting too stressful. I have a couple of Secret Santa packages to start wrapping. As I was starting to do so, I was trying to think of an extra treat to put in them and I realized that I have a couple extra treats that I made up from my classmates and realized that I should share that with the blogging world because they are SO CUTE, if I do say so myself. So here goes:

CANDY CANE REINDEER

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

– Candy Canes of any kind (these are Sweet Tarts, but you can use traditional Red/White peppermint or any other combination you like)

– Googly eyes

– Pipe Cleaners (again, any colors…if you want them to be traditional and have black or brown antlers, then get black or brown pipe cleaners. As you can see, I opted for neon colors)

– Pom pon balls (I chose red for Rudolph, but again, black or brown could be more traditional)

– Pencil

– Hot glue gun

INSTRUCTIONS:

Choose your candy cane and your pipe cleaner. Fold pipe cleaner in half and then hook it onto the bend of the candy cane. Tightly pinch and twist several times so that the ‘antlers’ are secure. We will come back to these.

Next, place a dab of hot glue on the end of the candy cane’s hook. Place a pom pon on the glue and hold briefly. Then find 2 googly eyes. Spread the hot glue about one inch above the nose and press the eyes firmly into the glue.

Lastly, take the pencil and hold it straight up against the pipe cleaner. Beginning about half an inch from the base from the head, coil the pipe cleaner around and around the pencil. Once the pipe cleaner is wrapped all the way around the pencil, slide the pencil out. You may then decide how tight or loose you with your reindeer’s antlers to be. (See above)

Happy Crafting!!

What I’m listening to: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

22663629All righty, I’m a little bit torn about this book. First off, I listened to the audiobook and I feel like that always throws my rating off a little bit. Was it the book I did/didn’t like or was did the reader throw my bias a bit? I actually thought the reader was pretty good on this book. She has a dramatic voice without being over the top or whiney or overdone or anything like that. I thought she was right where she needed to be. So great job to the narrator, in my opinion.

It is important to go into this book with an open mind. Just read the synopsis and go with it–don’t assume this or that, just let the story unfold. I’ve read several of the other reviews on this book and trust me, readers who expect one thing or the other only set themselves up for disappointment and this book truly is unique.

What Kali Wallace has done with Shallow Graves–in my opinion, at least–is create a unique kind of story. I don’t think I have read a book quite like this, where the main character wakes up dead and not remembering why. The mystery is who killed her, what type of creature she is, what other creatures actually live in the world, who is friend and who is foe, and how is she supposed to move on from here. There are several creep factor moments and then the book has its lulls…but overall, I was pretty entranced with the book so I recommend as a good fall/Autumn book!

Book soundtrack: “Graveyard” by The Devil Makes Three

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Tag Tuesday: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

3581b9d3642ab0640f56ac757077b052Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you all have had a fun month of reading and celebrating in your own ways! I have read a few spooky books, baked some fun things, watched a couple good movies, and overall had a pretty good month!  Like usual, of course it all went fast and I can NOT believe tomorrow is the first day of November. Almost time to start prepping for Christmas. Really?! Wow. All of that being said, I’m trying to savor fall for at least another couple of weeks. I absolutely love Christmas, but fall never seems to last long enough.

All right. So now for the reason we are all here. The tag of the week: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I found this one on the blog of Danielle at Welshie Books and Thoughts. She Googled for a Halloween tag and found this one so…mad props girl! Here we go!

1. Carving pumpkins- What book would you want to carve up and light on fire?

194m9p0pttis2jpgOh my gosh, The Vampire Diaries. Awful! Let me say this though: For those who read the books first, they usually think the show is awful. Well, I’m in the party of those who watched the show first and think the books are cheesy as hell. So my recommendation…pick one or the other and stick to it!

2. Trick or Treat- What character is a trick, what character is a treat?

My favorite tricky characters have always been the Weasley twins! Talk about guys who work toward their goals and have a blast doing it!! They are funny, they are good people, they are great to their family, did I mention that they are hilarious?? I just love them!! Best tricks ever. As for treats, I’ll take my treat in the form of Jean-Claude from the Anita Blake novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. I feel like he’s always licking his lips and being seductive and I just love him. I love a good paranormal romance and this series is my perfect poison to get me addicted and keep me reading!!

3. Candy Corn- What book is always sweet?

Hmm, always sweet? The Hunger Games. I absolutely love The Hunger Games. At all times, and in all places, I love HG. Love the story, the characters, the message, all of it. No, the violence is certainly not sweet and the idea of rebellion and the twisted plot of people against government is not sweet, but again, the idea that ordinary people can make a difference and remake their own reality is such a powerful one.

4. Ghosts- What character would you love to visit you as a ghost?

This one is tough because there are many!! I think I would definitely like to visit Dumbledore! My favorite thing about old Dumbley is his wit and his knowledge. I would want to learn so much about the wizarding world, but yet I would also want to know about him, and yet I would just want to hear tales of his adventures and about plain old nonsense!! I think he just has stories to tell and things to say!

5. Dressing up in costume- What character would you want to be for a day?

outlander-outfits-1I would love to wear any of the big gowns from when Claire was in France on Outlander! Even her English dresses are pretty too but in France, WOW. Emma Watson had a couple dresses I’d love to wear as well from Beauty and the Beast but overall, I’d way rather be Claire for the day and spend time with Jamie. YES. PLEASE. (!!!!)

6. Wizards and Witches- What is your favourite Harry Potter moment?

Oh my gosh, really? How can anyone pick a favorite HP moment?! McGonagall stepping up her game and defending Hogwarts? Harry defeating Voldemort?

7. Blood and Gore- What book was so creepy that you had to take a break from it for a while?

The Shining and Doctor Sleep. Pretty much any scary/creepy/gory books I can’t read before sleep and books like these I just have to read really slowly so I don’t ingest them too quickly and then have nightmares!! I love reading them but my imagination goes wild!

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ARC August Update

Hello, everyone! Its about halfway through August, so I am figuring that now is a good time to officially declare my goals and update my status for the ARC August event. So here is what I am working with:

Physical ARCs:

  • The Best Kind of Magic ✔
  • Little & Lion
  • The Spellbook of Lost and Found
  • Girls Made of Snow and Glass
  • First We Were IV ✔

eARCs

  • Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined – in progress
  • Assaulted Caramel
  • Grave Errors
  • Meddling Kids – in progress
  • A Conspiracy in Belgravia

 

The ten on my list are the ten being published the soonest, or whose dates have just passed and I need to get my reviews in to the publishers/Netgalley (oops!). Basically the ones that I need to catch up and keep up on. Finishing all ten would be a dream, but if I finish half of them I’ll be pretty happy. As always, the more the merrier.

Are you participating in ARC August? What are your goals? How is your progress?

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Tag Tuesday: The TBR Tag

Happy Tag Tuesday, everyone! Today’s tag is The TBR Tag and it is brought to you by the darling Maggie @ The Caramel Files. She did this one a few weeks ago and now its my turn!

How I Keep Track of My TBR Pile: My TBR is A) on my bookshelves and B) on my Goodreads account….and its a very big list!

Is My TBR Mostly Print or E-books: Honestly its hard to say. I went to one book convention and have gone on several book buying binges, but most of the ARCs I get are ebooks.

How I Determine Which Book From My TBR to Read Next: I consider mostly ARC deadlines, any challenges I’m doing, and what season it is and what I’m in the mood for.

A Book That Has Been on My TBR the Longest:

6493208 – Since 1/2/12

A Book That I Recently Added to My TBR:

335741431 – Added 8/6/17

A Book on My TBR Strictly Because it Has a Beautiful Cover:

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A Book on My TBR That I Never Plan on Actually Reading:

17926775 – I mean, maybe. It has a good rating but it is super-low on my list of priorities.

An Unpublished Book on My TBR That I’m Excited for:

32336276 – Of course. Coming soon!!

A Book on My TBR That Everyone Has Read but Me:

7896527 – Wow, old cover!

A Book on My TBR That Everyone Recommends to Me:

16096824 – Yes, this is on my TBR!

A Book on My TBR That I’m Dying to Read:

22055262 – I know, I am so behind on all the goods!!

The Number of Books on My TBR:

1,112 on my Goodreads TBR list. Who knows how many on my shelves!! How about you?

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Upcoming Challenges & Readathons

All right, friends, I am charging ahead at full speed with my reading. I found myself some more mischief to get into (wink-wink). I’ll start small and get big.

20616344_992337268009_763503611_oSo first off, for this week, I am participating in the #Alphabethon . This is the third year for the event, which was created by @banterbooks. This round’s “theme” revolves around the letter C so all books should be connected to the letter C somehow. Author, character, title, setting, cover item, etc. There are seven challenges going on throughout the week as well as sprints being hosted through Twitter and overall it seems fun! I have already posted my TBR and completed one challenge (read a book in a location that begins with ‘C’ other than a couch for an hour…I read in my car).

For the first two weeks in August, I am participating in the #Unhaulathon . Since I am on a buying ban for this month, this is a great time for me to participate in a challenge and readathon like this. Basically, the goal of the readathon is to read books that have been on my TBR for over a year. The hosts encourage readers to then “unhaul” (give away, sell, trade, etc.) books once we finish them or decide we just won’t get around to reading them…but I doubt I will be going that far. I recently went through a culling of my shelves so I’m in a pretty good place. However, I do have plenty of books on my shelves to choose from and I do not need to buy more right now as much as all of the new releases (and old releases and just all books in general) I see are tempting. So that’s that. I have not come up with an “official” TBR for this readathon yet, though I plan to within the next couple of days.

The final event I am signed up for (so far) is ARC August. As the title suggests, this runs all month. I will dedicate a full post to this within the next few days as I round up the ARCs that I have that are “due” in August and early September that I will be prioritizing. I have a couple that I am really excited about. I will aim a little high, knowing that I probably won’t hit them all.

And there you have it, folks. That’s how August is rolling in! Let’s keep it strong, shall we? Game on!

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The Wrapping Up of All the Things

As always, the end of all things came too quickly. More specifically in this case #24in48, the Biannual Bibliothon, and even more significantly, JULY!! How did July get by us? I guess we say that every month. Ah, well. Time to wrap it all up.

o7f2dlnf_400x400To begin the recap, for #24in48, I completed my full 24 hours of reading plus just a little more and I felt so accomplished! In those 24 hours, I finished All Things New, and I came close to finishing Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All. I also made some progress on The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, but for whatever reason, that is a really slow read for me. It just doesn’t hold my interest very strongly.

dcj4gyko_400x400Next up was the weeklong Summer Biannual Bibliothon, which just wrapped up yesterday. My week was busier than I anticipated, unfortunately, but I did get some reading done and some books wrapped up. So during the Bibliothon, I finished Once and For All, I started a new cozy series (because they tend to keep me out of slumps and I am really anticipating fall!) called Curse the Day and I finished that book as well, I started and finished Erin Watt’s When It’s Real, and I have been reading First We Were IV and When I am Through With You. So that’s 3 finished and 2 progressed through. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with that!

And now for the overall July breakdown:

★★★★★ The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

★★★★ Hook’s Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself by John Leonard Pielmeier

★★★★ When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

★★★★ All Things New by Lauren Miller

★★★ Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

★★★★ Curse the Day by Annabel Chase

★★★★ When It’s Real by Erin Watt

So that’s it, folks. 7 books total finished for the month. 3 of them were ARC’s read before their publication dates. Average rating = 4.0

Its so weird for me to be reading so many contemporaries. As I mentioned earlier, I was craving that cozy/witchy mystery with fall coming up because I just felt a slump coming on and I think it is partially because of the genres I’m reading. I tend to read more YA contemporary romance in the summertime. It just feels right to me. I’m glad that I have been because I have been finding some gems and obviously, from the ratings above, I recommend them as well! Until next time, I also highly recommend finding yourself a readathon or two to participate in. It boosted my reading from 4-5 books read per month to 7! Sure it takes a little organization if you are going to commit and there are optional challenges you can participate in but they are all in good fun. Goodluck and as always, happy reading!

Currently watching: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

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“When Its Real” by Erin Watt

30731416When It’s Real was my first read by Erin Watt and I didn’t go into it with very high expectations. Having just come out of a let-down contemporary by another author, I was all the more ready to be crushed once again by the genre. To be completely honest, the book started off a little slow, but after about 30-40 pages, I was in love with both the “him” and “her” voices in the story. Hate-love is my trope and this was my type of book! Oak and Vaughn put each other in their places in the best of ways and it was just great. There was humor, sweetness, just the right amount of anger and snap in both characters. Plus every contemporary romance has to have an excellent cast of supporting characters and this book has it. Oak with his bodyguards (hilarious!) and Vaughn and her family…they were all a perfect compliment to the plot. I really enjoyed it.

Let me back up for just a second here and give you a more specific summary of the book. As I mentioned, the “him” is Oakley Ford–a super hot, teen rock star who hit it big when he was young. He is the son of super-star actor parents, so he has pretty much always been in the spotlight. He wants to be taken seriously and write his own music and really make a new and unique sound for himself. Enter: Vaughn Bennett. She hasn’t exactly had it easy growing up either. She lost her parents in a car accident and graduated early in order to help take care of her younger siblings. She and her older sister work hard to care for ‘the twins,’ and when the opportunity to be Oakley Ford’s fake girlfriend presents itself, the money that comes along with it is irresistible.

Then of course the fake relationship begins and Vaughn is repulsed by the arrogant Oak. Also, she has a “real” boyfriend that the publicists have to stage a fake break-up with. Needless to say, the real douche of the story is the boyfriend, but I’ll let you read all of that for yourself. The story really picks up and for me, I could not put the book down. To be honest, it was the first book I stayed up past my bedtime reading in a long time. Especially in this genre!

So if I “really enjoyed it” so darn much why didn’t I give it 5 stars? Well I’d say a solid 4.5 that I would almost have rounded up to 5 if not for the slow start. Also, there was a lot of underage drinking, drugs (pot, though not mentioned specifically), and sex. Granted its the ‘rockstar lifestyle’ and Oak is an emancipated minor but still…his ease of access to it bothered me. Oh well. Can’t knock a book too bad for that. It was still awesome and I will be checking out more Erin Watt in the future!!

Listening to: “Waiting for Superman” by Daughtry

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Day 5 Blogger Challenge ~ Biannual Bibliothon

Hello everyone! I hope that if you are participating in this challenge, your reading is going well and you are finishing mountains and mountains of books!! I, for one, am not. Not for lack of trying though. I’m less than 3 hours from finishing When Its Real by Erin Watt and I am LOVING. IT. Apparently Hate –> Love is my favorite romance trope. Or one of them, at least. I am also about 150 pages into First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy. I hoped to have this one finished by its release day on 7/25 but that didn’t quite happen, and that’s ok. Book’s still good so far!

Anyway, day 5’s challenge is a Character Connection – picking a character whom I connected with on a personal level and discuss what they should have done differently in a certain bookish situation. The character I choose is Louna from Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All. I didn’t give the book the highest rating but I felt a connection with her past and I finished the book recently so its fresh in my mind.

So Louna is a girl who is just finishing up high school and is in her last summer before college. She works for her mom’s wedding planning company and she is extremely skeptical about happily-ever-afters (pretty rough for someone who works in the wedding industry!). The scene Louna definitely needed to do differently was one where a bride was getting cold feet and worrying about her future, and she looks Louna directly in the eye and asks directly “Am I going to be ok? Am I going to have my happily every after?” And Louna absolutely freezes in terror. She cannot answer this bride who is literally about to walk down the aisle!!! If it were me, I would swallow down my past, put on my big girl, professional panties, and make something up. Wouldn’t you think that you should have a plan for a scenario like that? Wouldn’t you think her mother would have helped her plan for a moment like that? I mean (I don’t want to give away spoilers in the book as to WHY Louna doesn’t believe in love), her mom and her partner know her history so you would think that they would help her to figure out something to say, or some way to deal with these situations!! So basically, if it was me, I would ALWAYS have an Ace in my sleeve. Some cliche pearls of wisdom to share. And I feel like most wedding planners do!

And that, my friends, is my input for today! Happy reading!

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