Lets Talk · Uncategorized

Lets Talk | Posting Update & Blog Changes

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Hey everyone, this post is going to be a little different than my normal. In the next few months there are going to be quite a few changes in my life, hopefully all for the better. Since I will be busier because I am working towards something that is a huge goal of mine. I am going to be cutting back on my blogging from 3 times a week to 2. Maybe this will temporary or last forever, only time will tell. But, I wanted to just talk about it a bit and explain why there is a sudden change in my posting.

I have been blogging for some time and I have met some amazing people and I really love talking to everyone. I have found such awesome books since blogging and really opened my eyes to a lot. I don’t want to lose that connection and experience because I am working towards something else, but I need to be realistic.

Chances are this new project is going to take a ton of my time and I will be stressed out of my mind. Who knows if I will even have much time to read, I really hope I do. Anyway, when I decided a change needed to be made I posted a poll on my twitter and on my instagram to have your input.

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So, according to my twitter poll, the most popular choice was Sunday/Wednesday and the same went for my instagram poll as well. So over the next few weeks I will slowly start to make a change to this new posting schedule. Thanks for all the input who saw the polls and voted, it really helped.

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Thanks for reading! I hope in the next few months I will get to share really exciting news with all of you.

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Let’s Talk | Reusable Straws

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So for some time I really enjoyed drinking soda, coffee, tea and most of my drinks through straws, even when I was younger. I am not sure why, maybe because it bothers my teeth less or I am less likely to spill my drinks all over me.

Regardless, of my love of using straws I stopped using them for various reasons. The first being money and the second being waste. So I eventually decided I would get some reusable ones to carry around with me. I will say I did save up a bit and I have previously had a metal straw and promptly gave it to someone else because it has a weird metallic flavor to it. So, this time I ordered some glass straws from a company called Simply Straw. The reason I went with this company is because it is made in California, Women Owned, and they are able to be used with hot and cold beverages. In addition, I can hand wash and or throw it in the dishwasher. Also, the nice bonus of a lifetime guarantee.

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-My Experience-

I have been using glass straws for nearly 2 months at this point and I will be 100% honest. While I do love using them I found a few faults. While I was using my straws the biggest drawback is after using them. I often had no where to store the dirty straw because I did not want to restore it in the same container because I was worried about germs and contamination. So I often had to just throw it in my lunch bag and do a deep clean once I got home, but depending on what I drank it sometimes settled in the straw was REALLY hard to clean at times.

Due to that the 3 I had tended to all be in need of a wash at the same time so I could not use glass straws exclusively because 2 of my straws are really skinny the brush cleaner does not fit in there so I had to wash them in the dishwasher.

Moving forward I will continue to use these straws, but I need to find a better way to store and maybe find a good “dirty” pouch. I also feel like I will need to invest more in this, which I don’t really see myself being able to do currently. Maybe add a few here and there to make this really doable.

-Overall-

Likes

  • Less waste
  • Feeling fancy!
  • Reusable/Well lasting

Dislike

  • If you don’t have a sink around, you can’t clean it. I feel like my pouch was getting dirty.
  • Finding the right size is hard, I needed to buy multiple and will need more
  • Investment $$$

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What do you think about reusable straws? Do you use them? What other ways do you cut down on waste?

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Lets Talk | Five Star Predictions

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So, for readers there is nothing better than a 5 start book. As I read more and more I have been able to determine if I will like a book, but I find it harder to predict a 5 star read. So, I wanted to flex that muscle a little and really take a hard look at my TBR and see if I can predict some 5 star reads.

When I rate a book 5 stars it means a few things. First, the plot and characters were really enjoyable. It was not completely predictable and flowed nicely. Characters were not annoying or if they character has a fault it is to display a particular lesson or commenting on something else through their writing. I have to find myself surprised, angry, happy, excited, elated in combination or separate. The characters need to be distinct. But, overall I need to enjoy the ride, then entire ride.

5stars

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My Predictions

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

After reading this description I knew I needed to have this book. It seems like a mixture of magical realism and science? Also, kind of a sad future we may be heading for? It seems like a warning letter to what we as a planet to become and honestly, I just really love the idea of this book so much.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

I picked this as a Book of the Month book late last year and I vividly remember it being the second description I read and knowing right away that I needed to have it. It tells a story of women throughout history who have done so much for the world, but have remained silent, it seems like a historical fiction of sorts.

Bringing Down the Colonel by Patricia Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "Powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington

I got this book as a gift and I love it so much. I have heard whispers of this case, but I am very excited to learn more about it. Since it is was one of the first major cases of a women coming forward and saying she was assaulted by a man in power. It seems like it will be a very hard hitting factual book.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room

I will be 100% honest here. I am basing this off of the cover. I know, don’t judge a book by the cover, but the vibe I am getting from the cover has me really excited. Also, to be fair I would not have bought this book if it was not part of my Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist. But, I am very happy I did because the description is interesting as well.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

I really loved the first book in this series, The Cruel Prince, and I have love quite a few of Holly Blacks novels in the past. So, I think it is safe to say that I will love this one as well.

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What was your last 5 star read? What do you think about my predictions?

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Lets Talk · Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Finding Balance | Netgalley Backlist & Rules

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Overall, I have to say I am pretty good with keeping up with my Netgalley list now. I used to be fairly bad at it. I would often go on requesting sprees because I was not sure if I would or would not get approved for books. I figured most were a long shot and I would just up my odds by requesting a bunch. Well, that approach did not work.

When I first started I had no system or rules in place, so I would just pick a random ARC I needed to review and read it every so often. I did not account for when it came out or how long I had on my shelf. I was kind of overwhelmed and I had a ton on my kindle. I really had no idea where to start so I pick threw a dart and read that one.

This was not the best course of action for me. I saw more and more books go into the 6 months or older section and I became stressed. I was getting approved more often as I handed in reviews, which I was excited about, but then I had more and more books coming into my kindle that I previously. One day I was just so over whelmed I took a day and just went through everything. When I did this I came up with a few rules and tracking system that helped me.

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My Tracking System

I made a really simple tracking system for myself. I write down the title, if I reviewed it, when it is to be published, and when it will be archived. When I go to read an ARC, I go to this list and I look at the published date to determine which one I will read next.

You may notice that I do not track which books I request. I used to, but now I only pick one ARC to request per month. You can see from the above image I have an ARC for February, March, April and July. I only requested one per month so I can’t get over whelmed with the ARCs coming in. Having one ARC a month means I can still read all the books I have on my shelf without worrying about getting my reviews in.

My Rules

Now these rules are just what works for me, that does not mean they will work for you, but I thought it would be interesting to share.

  1. Request one book per month, dependent on the release date.
    • This limits the amount of ARCs coming in
  2. Read the an ARC the month before it’s release date.
    • Takes the pressure off
  3. As soon as I get an approval email, add book to the ARC Tracker
    • This ensures I don’t forget a book I am approved for.
  4. Only request books I would pay to read.
    • This one is my top rules, this makes sure I request only books I will want to read asap. I will not want to put them off and I know I am not taking ARCs away from others who really want to read them.
  5. No book can make it to the 3 month or older shelf.
    • Ensures I keep my feedback ratio over 80%

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The Current State of my Netgalley

Feedback Ratio: 87%

31 Approved  |  27 Feedback Sent

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How do you manage your requests and netgalley reviews?

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Lets Talk · Reviews

Let’s Talk |Fall Book Recommendation Test & Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs Review

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So, I don’t know about you, but I always see quizzes where they ask you to answer a bunch of questions and then will recommend you a book. I don’t do many of them, but I decided to do the following one that was created by bookish.com. This one asked a bunch of questions and then in theory would recommend me a book I would love to read this fall.

So I answered a bunch of questions, some you can see how they would relate to a book recommendation, others not so much. There was a question about the type of Halloween candy I liked most and I still cannot understand what the connection between a book and a candy. Not to mention they didn’t even have the candy I liked the most.

That is one thing that has made me skeptical in the past about these quizzes, sometimes the answers don’t really apply to myself. I wish there was a Other option for some of them, but I can see how they would not be an option so I just pick the closest thing. When I was done with the quiz I was given Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Now I was curious to see if they actually recommended me a book I would enjoy reading or not.

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What Happened

So I started reading this book in the middle of November, it was a perfect book to read during non-fiction November. So, at this point the quiz is in the positive.

This was a very honest book, which I was not sure if I was going to get. I thought it would not be as deep and show so much of the negative aspects of her relationship with her father. The main reason I thought this was because he has passed and people tend to get rose colored glasses when someone has passed. People focus on the good things, which I think is a great thing to do, don’t get me wrong. But, I really liked that she was honest about the downs as much as the ups in her relationship with her father.

Another thing I liked about this book is that it was really well laid out and the story of her life slows very well. I have read memoirs that read choppy and seemed to be disjointed at times. This one is quite the opposite. Also, I really enjoyed that she didn’t just talk about her father even though he is a very well known individual. I really enjoyed learning about her and her story. I liked hearing about her experience in college and as a child even though I had no idea who she was before reading this book, to me that says a lot.

I would say the only reason why I did not give this story a full five stars is because I didn’t really get anything that affected how I saw things in my own life. I know that can sound bad, but when I read a memoir about a person the only way I would give it a five is if it impacted how I lived my life or influenced how I saw a particular event or idea. I hope that make sense. I do highly suggest this book if you are looking to read a good memoir.

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Have you read a book that was recommended to you by a quiz?

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Lets Talk · Reviews

Let’s Talk | Book Breeze App Review

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So a few weeks ago you will notice that I started using the app the bookish app Book Breeze created by Zendo Mobile. As far as I am aware this app is only available on the App Store, hopefully this will change in the future. This app is a reading tracker that focuses on collecting data regarding your reading speed, how many hours you spend reading, and how many pages you read. Now the version I am going to be talking about is the paid version of the app. While the free version has everything BUT the speed data and the ability to read more than one book. So a lot of the things I talk about will still be relevant to those using the free version.

Image result for book breeze

What I Liked

So, Book Breeze has a lot going for it as a reading tracker. It is easy to snap a picture of the book you are reading and manually add author, title, and numbers of pages. It also allows you to add a book even if you are in the middle by adding what page you are on. This process is straight forward and you don’t need to add any other information to get to using the app.

Starting a new reading session is easy, you go right to your books pages and click on the cover of the book you want to continue, then click “continue reading”. As soon as you start reading it will start the stopwatch of sorts and record you time until you click stop or pause. I love the fast that you can pause your reading instead of needed to hit stop every time you need to get up real fast for one reason or another. Another great thing is that if you forget to start your session you can add a session by adding the numbers of pages you read and how long you were reading at any point. Sometimes I still forget, but it is easy to fix with the way they set this up.

The last thing I thing they do wonderful is having a straight forward and interface that is not overwhelming. It is easy to navigate and new users I feel will be pros fairly quickly. The graphs and data that is shown is not complex and are very usable then it comes to actually looking at the data. Some apps I have come across make things more complicated then they need to be, Book Breeze does it right.

What I Didn’t Like

You cannot DNF a book without loosing all the data for the book or is stays on your current list forever. I am someone who often DNFs books because I don’t like to force myself to read something I am not enjoying. One thing I think they need to add to this app is either the ability to DNF a book or add a tab to the book category that would remove the book from Current, but allow you to keep pages read data.

Another thing I do not like is the fact that under stats you can only see 2 weeks, 1 month, 1 year, and 10 years. While we do have This week under the reading tab, if you do not take a screen shot to write down what you read this past week on Saturday night you will now have to do some math to figure out what you read in a single week. While it is not a lot of hard work, it is something that I think could be improved upon.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I think this is a wonderful app and if you are on the market to find an app to track your reading habits or get more insight into your reading pattern it is worth giving a shot. While it does have its faults in my eyes, I am still going to use the app and hopefully they will make some great updates in the future.

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Do you use a reading tracker, if so which one do you use?

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I paid for this app on my own, this post is not sponsored in anyway.

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Let’s Talk | TBR Jar Experiment

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So I know a lot of us book lovers have a huge owned TBR or TBR list and some of us in this community use a TBR jar. In the past I have made one or two of them, but I never really stuck with them for one reason of another. It might have been because I had so many incoming books I didn’t keep up with adding them, I am not really sure. Either way I always failed even though I have even posted a DIY for one a year or maybe even longer. You can see that DIY here: DIY | TBR JAR.

So for the month of October I decided that I would try the famious TBR jar once again and really commit myself to the process. So I went to the thrift store and picked up a small TBR jar and wrote down every book I owned that I still needed to read.

As you can see from the picture above my little jar was VERY full. I might have needed to get a larger one or I need to hurry up and get reading. Now, once I wrote down all the titles It was time to pick my next book.

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So this was the first book I picked out of the jar I picked a very recent addition to my TBR, Salem’s Witch House. I read it pretty quickly and I am glad I picked it up sooner rather than later. If you want to see what I thought in detail about this book you can read my post: A Week in Review | October 1st -October 6th. I will say I did not like it as much as I thought I would, but it was just not what I thought it was. It really stinks when a description was a bit misleading.

The next book I picked was a book my aunt lent to me and wanted to hear my opinion on. I was very happy to picked this book because I did not want to put it off since she is interested in hearing my opinion. I will say that this book was a wild ride and it was truly all over the place. If you want to know what I thought in a lot of detail you can read my post: A Week in Review | October 7th -October 13th.

When I picked this from the jar I was so happy and excited to pick this book. Mainly because I needed to read it for the BN book club and I did not think about that when I started this experiment. Sadly, I ended up loosing this book and needing to pick up another book.

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Reflection

So, upon having used this method for a few weeks. I can say it has its pros and cons. The first thing I liked about this was how easy it was to just pick a book and read. There was no staring at the bookshelf and being overwhelmed by choices. This happens to be from time to time and I can see that it really did cut down on that. The second pro is the fact that it really does show you how many unread books you own. Even though I have 2 book shelves that are pact with books, I mainly just see that I am lucky enough to have those books. I don’t see how many I truly have left unread because they are all spread out. This really forces you to see a visual representation that cannot be ignored and is more meaningful, at least to me, than just seeing a number.

Now, while there are some pretty serious pros to having and using a TBR jar, there are some cons as well. The first you can mainly see in my last pick. I was planning on taking part in the book club, but if I did not pick it there was no way I could have. So having books with a deadline would not work well with this format. Another con would be not really being able to pick what you are in the mood for. While this kind of helps in some situation when you are not in a specific mood, if you want to read a thriller and you picked a nonfiction or a general fiction book you would not be very thrilled. Being a mood reader, this was something I was really afraid of.

Overall I really think a TBR jar has its place in a bookworms life, especially for a mood reader like me. Sometimes I have no idea what I want to read and this could help me. Moving forward I plan on only using my TBR jar for when I am stuck on what to read next. I also think it would be fun to pick a book from the jar once a month just to get me to read some of the books I have been putting off.

I made the decision to kind of mix Books and Lala’s Closet unhaul series and My Reading is Odd TBR jar. Both of these youtubers are amazing and you should check them out ASAP! Anyway, I think I will be pulling a book per month, My Reading is Odd normally pulls more than this, but I don’t want to overwhelmed myself too much.  Now, if I do not read that book in that month off it goes from my shelves, kinda like Lala did in her series.

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What do you think about TBR Jars? Do you use one? How come?

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#Blogoween | Character Inspired Costume

Blogoween

Prompt:

Monday 15th: Shapeshifter
What characters would you like to dress up as at Halloween?

For me I think one of the best book characters to dress up as would be Coraline Jones from Coraline written by Neil Gaiman. The first reason I would say this is because even though this is a kids book, it is creepy and really has halloween vibes to it. I mean other mother and a black cat? The first time I saw other mother illustrated I was spooked and the black cat is just icing on the halloween cake.

Related image
Comic and Cosplay

The second reason might be very obvious if you look at the picture above. Dressing up as Coraline is a comfortable costume. I can wear jeans and sweaters so I wont be too cold and if it is too cold I can wear a rain jacket as another layer and it wont take away from my costume, it only adds. Also, thanks to Comic and Cosplay you can see there are different outfits you can wear depending on your own personal style. I know I would prefer to wear the blue and white stared sweater and black jeans with blue booties. That is my comfort zone. While someone else would feel better in a red and white stripped shirt and jeans.

I have to admit that Comic and Cosplay did a great job with creating these board and helping others to dress up as this character. They really were able to look at the character at a few points in the story and find real world equivalents for people to wear. I might even use this as my costume this year, time will tell on what I decide to be.

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What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

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#Blogoween | Bookish Monster Bender

Blogoween

Prompt:

Tuesday 9th: Bookish Monster Bender
You’re transported into a random book but a bad surprise awaits you. Everything is horror and death, because the story is now a monster version of what you know. The objective is to create a monster bender version of book characters. You can choose who you want and imagine a dark horror version of them and their novels.

So the first book that popped into my head was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Chances are that is no surprise to you, it is always the book I think about first. Anyway, I was thinking an interesting twist on this story would be if our dear Beth became a zombie.

SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Image result for beth from little women

So in the story little women Beth, one of the four sisters, tragically dies from an illness about halfway through. She is very young and she is one of the kindest and sweetest souls. As you can see in the image above, she looks very ill. She has dark circles and is very pale. Most zombies are described as having pale skin and their eyes are darkened and sunken. So it would not be hard to imagine Jo turns to discover that Beth has died, but then an hour later while her sisters and Marmee are preparing her body. Her eyes spring open and lock eyes with Jo. Jo, who had slept on the couch in her room and kept her company day and night.

Now, the story changes. There is no loss, but the family now needs to care for ailing Beth in a whole different way. They now need to track down brains of freshly passed individuals or even animals. They need to keep her occupied and under control in the house. How would they explain her absence or the accountant of death, but people can see the shadow of her at night due to the flickering flame?

Would the family continue to be the family that are, or would this terrible secret change them?

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I know this might not be quite what the prompt wanted, but I thought it was an interesting idea. It is fun to think what would certain characters do if they were faced with something like this.

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#Blogoween | Creepy Crawlies

Blogoween

Prompt: Friday 5th: Creepy Crawlies
What fictional monsters/creatures would you hate to encounter?

Image result for dementor

Alright, I thought long and hard about this and I think the worst fictional creature or monster, one that I would really hate to meet and it would have to be a Dementor from Harry Potter. I mean it is a faceless creature shrouded in torn and eerie black cloak, if you can even call it that. It makes everything cold, I absolutely hate the cold. It takes all of the happiness and makes you feel like it will never come back. It is a horrid creature even if you are passing by it on the street. If you happen to get its attention it can give you a “kiss” and steal your soul. I don’t know about you, but I want nothing what so ever to do with a dementor.

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What creature would you hate to meet?

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