Monthly Archives: December 2015

December Wrap-Up

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It is the FINAL Wrap-Up of the year! I mentioned in my Christmas Haul that I would post the rest of my non-bookish gifts that I received, so stay tuned for that down below. I will be posting something that reflects on this year’s blogging experiences & my 2016 goals. And then after that you should see a January 2016 TBR. I just wanted to clear that all up in advance.

But now onto my December Wrap-Up. This month I was striving to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge. This year I set the goal of 30 read books because I didn’t start officially reading as a commitment again until the summer of 2015. So that gave me around 6 months to read as many books as I thought I could, also thinking about school and such. I originally set it to be 25, but then around mid-August I decided to add 5 more. And I am pleased to say that I DID reach 30 novels (not including my DNFs). Goodreads doesn’t count re-reads so it is going to say 29/30.  I think I am just going to change the read date to early 2015, so at least it’ll say I completed it. But, originally I read Looking for Alaska by John Green in 2014. That is one thing that I hope Goodreads changes in 2016.

Here are the novels that I finished in the month of December:

Five-Seven-Five by C.E. Wilson

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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*I was sent this novel in exchange for an honest review*

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life: Volume 1 by Bryan Lee O’Malley

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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The Dinner by Herman Koch (full review here)

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I guess I could’ve read more this month since I was on Christmas break, but really I was just trying to reach my goal and then focus more on this blog and other necessities. However I think I did have an overall successful reading experience this month — 3 of the 5 novels that I completed were pretty great, so that was awesome to end with for 2016.

I DID create some art pieces this month; most of them are not completed so I think I’ll leave them out until January…

OH! And one more thing until we get into my top posts this month. I think I mentioned in several posts but mostly here that I would be going to my local Wal-Mart and buying a good amount of toys and items for the less fortunate children for the holidays. I did get the opportunity to buy toys for ages 3+ and I wrapped every single one. I took the toys to my grandmother’s church and gave them out to the children and it was a great experience. I did have some leftover cash after purchasing the toys, so later on this week I plan on moving that cash onto my debit card in which I will donate to a charity of choice. But yes, I just wanted to share that information with you guys since I had some people asking me about my success with that event. I am setting a goal for next year, so stay tuned for that in my 2016 Goals post.

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Top Two With Most Views:

Top Two With Most Comments: 

Top Two With Most Likes:

Thank you for all of the interactions this month! Please feel free to check out those top posts 🙂

And PLEASE don’t forget this month’s Feature with Followers:

  1. Cristina @ My Tiny Obessions | December 6th, 2015
  2. Jesse @ Books at Dawn | December 13th, 2015

Also if you haven’t taken my blog survey PLEASE do so — I promise it won’t take too long.  I want to hear your thoughts about my blog since you’ve been possibly following me! I’ve only been blogging for about 5 months, but I still want to know how I can improve & what I do/don’t need to change for next year! (If you haven’t noticed I have made some changes already!) THANK YOU TO ALL IN ADVANCE — you are AMAZING!!

[CONTINUE READING IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE REST OF THE NON-BOOKISH ITEMS I OBTAINED FOR CHRISTMAS!!!]

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Subscription Box: Uppercase Box | #3

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Hello my lovelies! Today I am happy to share one of my newest subscribed boxes — UPPERCASE! This is my third box since I started my subscription and so far I am still in love.

BUT WAIT! If you haven’t taken my 2015 blog survey, PLEASE DO! Your contribution & thoughts will be taken into consideration for the new year. It will only take a few minutes, I promise! Thanks to ALL in advance! 🙂

Uppercase Box | Young Adult Monthly Book Subscription Box

From Uppercase, every month you’ll get an amazing young adult book that you’ll absolutely love! Every book you get from Uppercase is a brand new, hardcover book that’s signed by the author or comes with a signed bookplate from the author. Every Uppercase book is always published within the last month. It is extremely uncommon for a subscriber to already have a finished copy of the book and it almost never happens. 

There are three current options that you can subscribe to:

  • Book Exclusive Plan – $17/month [Brand new hardcover, YA book, signed book or bookplate, reading experience with exclusive content, & a personal hand-written note to you]
  • Expert Plan – $23/month [everything listed from the Book Exclusive Plan, except you also get 1-2 high quality bookish items]
  • Personalized Plan – $29/month [you will fill out a personalized reading profile which is used along with your Goodreads profile (if available) and each month you will receive a book based on YOUR specific reading preferences and tastes. No author content or reading experience]

However, I am currently subscribed to the Expert Plan. I received everything promised, and I am very excited to share those today.

I’m kind of late for this unboxing post because I received my package around the 18th of December, but I guess that’s okay, lol.

So if you’ve seen my previous two posts, you know how the package arrives. Originally when you take it out of the mailbox it comes in this white, bubble-wrapped package. And then in the inside is the drawstring bag that I personally use to keep some of my color pencils in..Here are the items that came in this month’s subscription:

Items Included:

  • Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
  • Signed Bookplate from Erin Lindstrom
  • Wood Cherry Blossom Bookmark from Mitercraft
  • 2016 YA Quotes Calendar (Uppercase exclusive)

I am honestly so in love with the bookmark that they sent this month! It is sturdy and the fact that it is handmade is really intriguing! I am currently using it in the novel I am reading. Speaking of novels, Lindstrom’s sounds very interesting so I am excited to read that as well. The Quotes Calendar is so cute, however I don’t think I’d use it. The quotes are nice & the illustrations are well done. So I’d think I’d just hang it on my wall for decoration. I was thinking of doing a giveaway with the calendar but it’s an exclusive so I don’t think I will…

***ALSO throughout the book, they add post-it notes – each with a special code that you can enter on their website to unlock exclusive content, videos from the author, additional backstories, and interact with other Uppercase readers. How cool!

As always, if you have ANY questions or comments, I would love to chat!

*Disclaimer: Uppercase currently ships to U.S. and Canada, including APO addresses and Puerto Rico only.*

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time…

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2015 Blog Mini-Survey!

2015 is gradually coming to an end, so before it hits January I wanted to do a sort of bookish survey that reflected on my reading experiences this year.

If you guys didn’t know, I did not start to officially read again until about the summer of 2015 (mid-July). So that gave me about 6 months to read as many books that I abandoned on my bookshelves. I began to buy more books, I used my Goodreads account more often, and hey, I started this blog! (but that’s for a later post) Anyways, so while some readers may be able to read 3+ books a week, during school I found myself sometimes reading around 1 novel in 1-2 weeks. So as you can see there were some issues that came along when I wanted to read. But, with that being said I DID reach my 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 30. I originally set it to be 25, but then mid-August came around and I decided to increase it a little. I am somewhat happy with what I did read this year — some books were absolutely great, while of course, others were not so great. And that is why I am going to be completing a survey to reflect on this month’s reading experiences. Some of the topics were taken from The Perpetual Page Turner, so thank you to her. However, I did not answer everything from her survey.


# of Books Read: 30 (not including DNFs, but including re-reads)

# of Re-Reads: 1

# of Pages Read: about 8,125+

Shortest Book Read: Never, Never: Part One by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher (159 pages)

Longest Book Read: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (555 pages)

Most Read Author: Nicholas Sparks

TOP 5 FAVORITE READS OF 2015 (not necessarily published in 2015) (there are some others but these made this list):

TOP 2 LEAST FAVORITE READ NOVELS (not necessarily published in 2015, not including DNFs):

 

Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.): BookOutlet! I honestly had no idea of BookOutlet until I watched a ton of Booktube videos & I started blogging. I also am thankful for Blogging for Books & of course Goodreads (but I already knew about Goodreads before hand).

Book That Put A Smile On My Face/Was The Most FUN To Read: 19351043Nimona by Noelle Stevenson — this novel was absolutely hilarious at times and I had an awesome experience with the art style and characters. Hoping to read more of Stevenson’s work in the future. Check out my full review here

 

 

Book That Made Me The Most Mad (doesn’t mean I didn’t like it): 13089710The Kill Order by James Dashner — check out my full review here

 

 

 

Book That Shocked Me The Most: 

21480930Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This novel was so intense and I could barely put the book down at times. The film wasn’t as great in my opinion, but the novel had me hanging off my bed sometimes. Check out my full review here.

 

 

 

Favorite cover of a book I read in 2015: 

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XODUS by K.J. McPike

Favorite new author I discovered in 2015:

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Colleen Hoover. This novel was absolutely amazing and now that I own part two, I am super happy and excited! Can’t wait to read more of Hoover in the future.

 

 

 

Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book I Read In 2015:

There are several passages from different novels that I read that I loved, but this one stuck with me the most: “You told me once of the plants that lie dormant through the drought, that wait, half-dead, deep in the earth. The plants that wait for the rain. You said they’d wait for years, if they had to; that they’d almost kill themselves before they grew again. But as soon as those first drops of water fall, those plants begin to stretch and spread their roots. They travel up through the soil and sand to reach the surface. There’s a chance for them again.” Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Book I Was Excited About & Thought I Was Going To Love More But Didn’t:

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And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

One Book I Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be My Number 1 Priority in 2016:

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This is definitely going to be read in January!!

Most challenging thing about blogging or my reading life this year: The most challenging thing about blogging was keeping my posts consistent & continuous and getting comfortable with what I was posting. My reading life was complicated as well because of school, but I mean, I can’t do anything about that.


And that completes my 2015 Mini-Survey! I honestly love surveys so this was a good refresher to remind myself of my success during this half-year of reading.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! PLEASE take the time to fill out this quick survey for me; I want to hear your thoughts about my blog since you’ve been possibly following me! I’ve only been blogging for about 5 months, but I still want to know how I can improve & what I do/don’t need to change for next year! (If you haven’t noticed I have made some changes already!) THANK YOU TO ALL IN ADVANCE — you are AMAZING!!

P.S. I would like to say a quick THANK YOU to these specific bloggers for their interactions with my blog!! Thank you for making my first year(ish) of blogging a little more enjoyable! You guys are awesome!(Thank you WordPress for this information, too!)

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  1. @hermionefowl
  2. @sue’s reading corner
  3. @readbooksanddrinkcoffee
  4. @onlytruemagic
  5. @transhaan

Thanks for reading & I’ll see you next time…

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Christmas Book Haul! [& other bookish items]

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Hello, hello my lovely internet users! Today I am bringing you a Christmas Book Haul! Firstly I must say a huge, huge, HUGE, thank YOU to my wonderful parents — they are the ones who purchased ALL of these novels for me. So if you guys somehow find my blog and see this post, this THANK YOU is for YOU!! ❤

Anyways, so yes, like I said I did not personally purchase any of these novels. One came from my Uppercase Box (that my mother pays for) and the other ones came from Amazon I believe. So without further blabberings, here are all of the awesome novels I received this Christmas:

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From top to bottom:

  1. Never, Never: Part Two by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
  2. A Note of Madness by Tabitha Suzuma
  3. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
  4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  5. Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom [from Uppercase]
  6. You by Caroline Kepnes
  7. See Me by Nicholas Sparks
  8. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
  9. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Again, I am REALLY happy with all of these purchases. I am extremely jubilant that I finally got my hands on Spark’s newest novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, AND Never, Never Part Two. These three will definitely be one of the first few novels I read in 2016.

I did receive some other bookish items for Christmas, so I thought I’d share those as well. I will share the other non-bookish items in my December Wrap-Up!

 

The cute bookmarks are from Etsy — I will link the two shops here:

  • Coffee & Donuts bookmarks
  • Marvel bookmarks: I can’t seem to find those ones again on Etsy, but if I do I’ll definitely link it!

The Books & Coffee t-shirt is from Redbubble — link here.

And the Book Lover’s Soy Candle: Bookworm is also from Etsy — link here.

The bookmarks are so, so cute and I can’t wait to use them because I’ve been in need for some bookmarks. The Books & Coffee T-Shirt literally describes my life, and the soy candle smells so great and I am very excited to light it!


And that is all for today’s haul! I hope you all enjoyed and if you have any comments or questions in regards to anything shown above, don’t be scared to chat with me down below in the comments!

Thanks for reading & I’ll see you next time…

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Review | The Dinner by Herman Koch

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Title: The Dinner

Author: Herman Koch

Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Page Count: 292

Format: Paperback

Publication: February 12th, 2013

Source: Received book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review

“A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.”


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I thought I was going to enjoy this novel, I really did. I confess — I labeled this one as DNF (read: 21%) (my second & last DNF of the year)

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Okay, so before I go into my negative thoughts of this novel, I do think I should say the positive aspects first. Firstly, the cover is intriguing. I thought it was very unique and it looks like something I’ve never seen before. The synopsis sounded interesting as well, but unfortunately I don’t think it did justice in regards to what I did read. This part of the synopsis, “Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation,” was what I was most interested in but I didn’t get to get to that part because I couldn’t proceed past the beginning, and that is very unfortunate. I did enjoy the somewhat informal writing style — it was what kind of helped me continue reading for how long I did.

And now onto the negatives. For me, the first thing I have to enjoy or even have in a novel in order to complete it is a connection with the main character. Or in this case, ANY character. I had no connection with any character whatsoever. I don’t know if it’s because they were adults and I’m only a teen, or if I am just overly weird. But if I can’t relate or sympathize with the narrator or main character, then I will feel distant from the text. And that’s exactly what I was. I REALLY wanted to continue reading this novel because of the alternating reviews on Goodreads. Some people say it’s a “European Gone Girl” and I really liked Gone Girl. But when the beginning of a novel is slow and there’s a mini-me inside my head saying, “hey, what are you doing? You have other novels to read too!”, it doesn’t help, haha. But I will give the author some credit for the unique writing style.

However even though I did not enjoy this novel at this time of year, I am considering reading it again sometime next year when I feel like giving it another try. I know there are some other good aspects of this novel, and I truly want to get there. But at this time, I don’t think I would do the novel & the author justice if I skimmed the pages and gave a half-assed review.

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So what’s my rating?

I gave Herman Koch’s, The Dinner, a…

out of 5 stars

Let me know down below your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this novel!

Thanks for reading & I’ll see you next time…

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‘Tis the Season Book Tag!

Hello and welcome to another tag! I was tagged by the wonderful Lala @ Lala’s Book Reviews & Analee @ Book Snacks, so thank you to both Lala and Analee for thinking of me!

1.) DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE WINTER READ?

I actually don’t, but when it’s that time of year I usually like to read a lot of Contemporary…Preferably anything by Nicholas Sparks that I haven’t read yet, haha.

2.) FIND A BOOK WITH BLUE ON THE COVER!

I still have yet to read this one!!!

3.) FIND A BOOK THAT YOU’D USE AS THE STAR ON A CHRISTMAS TREE!

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One of the best novels I read this year!

4.) PICK ONE FICTIONAL PLACE THAT WOULD BE PERFECT FOR A WINTER VACATION!

Who-Ville from How the Grinch Stole Christmas & Horton Hears a Who!

5.) PICK ONE FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU’D TAKE WITH YOU ON YOUR VACATION!

Okay, I know this may sound REALLY weird, but I think I would want to take Ty from Stolen by Lucy Christopher. I know he’s a kidnapper and all, but I feel as if he weren’t, he would be a great person to take because he’s really interesting to me and he loves the outdoors. Also he’s artsy like me, and besides the captivity thing, he could be a cool friend! Please don’t judge me…lol.

6.) NAME ONE BOOK ON YOUR WISH THIS YEAR!

Ummmmm…just one??? How about you just check out my To-Read section on Goodreads…

7.) FAVORITE HOLIDAY DRINK, TREAT, & MOVIE?

I would say my favorite holiday movie would be either Elf or The Polar Express. I watch Elf when I am in the mood for a laugh, and the Polar Express when I want to snuggle up and feel like a child again!

I don’t think I have a favorite treat, but my favorite holiday drink is either your classic hot chocolate with marshmallows or the Peppermint Mocha at Starbucks!


 

And that completes this tag! I actually had a lot of fun doing this tag, therefore I am opening this tag up to anyone that would like to do it themselves! Consider yourself tagged if you are interested!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time…

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Captivating Covers [#11]

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For more information about Captivating Covers, click here.

Hello and welcome back to Captivating Covers! I haven’t posted this one in a while, but I thought “why not” because a new year is coming and I shall be making some changes with my blog anyways…(more info. for that coming soon).

I was going through my recent finds on Goodreads and I found this absolutely amazing cover that I obviously wanted to share with you guys today. Hint: This novel is a finalist for the 2015 Book Shimmy Awards!

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TITLE: Ten Thousand Skies Above You

AUTHOR: Claudia Gray

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

Published: November 3rd, 2015

LOOK AT THIS COVER!!!! No wonder why it’s a finalist — this cover is absolutely gorgeous! I adore the watercolor-looking aspect and the scenery/setting is great. The title font is just right and the color contrasts are so unique and stunning to look at. I would not mind buying this novel just because of the cover…

But with that being said, the novel itself DOES sound quite intriguing. So if you are the complete opposite of me and you think the cover is horrible, perhaps reading the synopsis will persuade you to pick it up…?

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