Reading Challenges

Reading Goals | Mid-Year Check-In

Reading Challenge

In March I did a quarter of the year check in on my goals to see if I was either on track or falling behind. Since seeing everyone post their mid-year check-ins, I thought it might once again be a good time to revisit my own goals to see if I am on track.

Top Five Book I Want to Read in 2017

At the start of the year I picked 5 books off of my TBR I wanted to get to this year the most. You can find the post here. I am happy to say I achieved this goal I have read every book I picked. You can find a review of most of those books in my #TBRTakeDown Wrap Up. Since I did so well with this I think I want to add another 5. So here are my new choices.

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

18302455

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

 18302455

Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol 1, 1884-1933 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

 18302455

Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović

 18302455

Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

18302455

Giving Up on Series/Books I Am Not Enjoying

Check! If feels so good to just let go of a book I am not enjoying.

Becoming a More Critical Review/Reader

This is more of a reflective goal than a goal you can actively seek such as page count or books read, but I felt it was important for me to become more critical. In the past where I have read if a book made me happy it was automatically 5 starts even if it was not my favorite. I have to say that this year I have become less of a passive reader and have taken time to reflect on my reading THEN rate/review the book.

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 1.39.11 PM

Get to 0 by 2018

This goal is something I am having trouble with. At the start of the year I had 26 books on my TBR, which was great for me because it was well over 100 in the past. Currently, I have 34, but I have read 46 books so far this year. In theory I have read more than the books that were in my TBR, but I am not sure what happened. There are to many good book sales plus I went on vacation and picked up about 5-6 books. I think I am going to go on a Book Buying Ban or Read 5 to Get 1. I really crave the idea of walking into a bookstore of library and picking up a book and reading it then and there without adding it to a pile.

Post On My Blog at Least Twice a Month

Check!

Organize My Goodreads Shelves

Check! You can see all of my Goodreads shelves on my post  TAG | The Goodreads Tag.

Goodreads Reading Goal

I set this years goal at 50, which I do every year. I am very much on track having read 46 books so far this year.


How is your reading year going?

Sign Off

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

To Be Read

BookTube-A-Thon | July 24-30th 2017

TBR

The BookTube-A-Thon is a yearly week long reading marathon hosted by Ariel Bissett. Each year there are reading challenges, video challenges, reading sprints via twitter, and there is also a book depository link and coupon code you can use to buy some great reads. This year it is from July 24th – 30th. It starts midnight your time. I did this last year and really enjoyed it.  Without further ado, here are the 2017 reading challenges.

The 2017 Reading Challenges

1/ Read a book with a person on the cover.

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

22055262

What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

2/ Read a hyped book.

Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra. A while ago I heard this name all over booktube so I do hope I enjoy it and it is not over hyped.

22055262

Born into an affluent family, Leo outwardly seems like a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s: she lives with her wealthy married sister Christabel, and lacks for neither dresses nor trinkets. But Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it difficult for her to speak but curiously allows her to mimic other people’s voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her “Mad Miss Mimic” behind her back…

3/ Finish a book in one day.

Using any of the books I mention in this post.

4/ Read about a character that is very different from you.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Myself and the main character, Henry “Monty” Montaque, do not have very much in common.

22055262

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

5/ Finish a book completely outdoors.

Using any of the books I mention in this post.

6/ Read a book you bought because of the cover.

Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović. The cover of this book drew me to it right away, but once I read the description I knew I needed to have it.

22055262

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

7/ Read seven books.

Hehe… we shall see about this one.

So those are the four books I plan on reading this year for the BookTube-A-Thon. I also wanted to share the official announcement for this years booktubeathon. This is where you can find the most information as well as that link and code to book depository.


Are you going to participate in this years BookTube-A-Thon?

Sign Off

Crochet, Crafting, Art & More

DIY | TBR JAR

diyHello everyone, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just don’t know what to read next. Most of the time I pick my next read based off of what catches my eye, but sometimes that does not work. So I decided to make a TBR jar. Now of course I went to youtube to get some inspiration. I ended up getting inspiration from J. Bookish , although I did tweak it a bit because I did not want to wait overnight for it to dry. Now on to the DIY project!

Step One: Get the Supplies

 photo IMG_9761_zpsxld37w9d.jpgYou need a jar, Mod Podge, gel food coloring, a few paper plates, a paint brush, and any decorations you may want. I picked up wooden letters and a few small paper flowers. Depending on the decorations you get you may need a hot glue gun or super glue.

Step Two: Add Some Color


 photo IMG_9763_zps8fzf1ud9.jpg

For this step you are going to take your jar and add some Mod Podge, I recommend adding more than you think you will need. Then add a little bit of the gel food coloring. For the coloring I suggest starting off with a little and mixing it, then you can add more if you would like the color to be darker. Stir, stir, stir until everything is evenly mixed. This is important because it will show later on if it is not mixed correctly. P.S. don’t stir to quickly you will get air bubbles.

Step 3: Turn That Jar!

 photo IMG_9765_zpsay4y84cc.jpg

Now that your color is mixed you need to slowly rotate while slowly turning it side ways. This will evenly distruble the mixture inside the jar. If done to quickly you may have uneven coverage and air bubble.

 photo IMG_9766_zpsvd5zubgc.jpg

Once your entire jar is covered continue to rotate it and pour the extra color mixture onto a plate. Get as much of this out as you can because it will speed up your drying time.

Step Four: Let it Dry

 photo IMG_9768_zps7o6dwuxf.jpg

When as much of the liquid is out you place it upside down on a plate. Now at this point you have two options:

  • You can leave it like this and let it dry over night and continue tomorrow
  • Set oven to warm or 175 degrees F. Place the jar upside down for 10 min. on top of wax paper or foil. When those 10 min. are up it is now time to flip your jar over so the opening is facing up and keep in oven for another 20-30 min. If you take it out of the oven and there is still streaking you may need to leave it in for a bit longer.

While it is air drying or you are baking it in the oven now is a great time to either print and cut out the books on your TBR or hand write them. Even though I did not add reading challenges I think that could also be a fun idea.

Step 5: The Fun Part, It’s Time to Decorate!

 photo IMG_9769_zpstgy8ngfn.jpg

Here are a few of the decorations I picked up, you can get whatever it is you like. I did not end up using everything.

 photo IMG_9776_zpscgg0qhuy.jpg

Sorry you cannot really see the color of my jar in this picture. I had to place it on an oven mitt to protect my floor. Yes, I was to lazy to wait over night, I wanted to decorate! Anyway, I suggest planning out what you are going to place on your jar. As you can see in the top left I picked out my letters and flowers and laid them out. Now depending on what decorations you get you may need a hot glue gun, use some more of the glue we used earlier, or you have picked something that already has adhesive on it.

Step Six: Put in Your TBR Titles

 photo IMG_9782_zpsnr6fw1yo.jpg

Here is my final TBR jar. I really love how the color came out. It is light enough you can see all the papers inside, but dark enough that it colorful. I hope you enjoyed this little bookish DIY. I love this DIY because it is so customizable and does not require a lot of supplies. It can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it.


Do you have a TBR jar?

Sign Off

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Tags

T5W | July 5th|Books Without Romance

Blog

In the past I have never done Top 5 Wednesday, but this week I decided to give it a shot. This week the prompt asks us to list the top five books without romance or have a tiny bit of romance. I went to the Top 5 Wednesday goodreads group to get this weeks prompt. You can also find all of the prompts for this upcoming month.

Jackaby by William Ritter

18302455

I cannot speak more highly of a book/series. I love Jackaby and all the other cast of characters. Now, this book has some lingering eyes, but it barely even in the book. I will say there are a lot of people who want to see some of the characters shipped, but there is no romance in this book. Just  glorious supernatural adventure.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

18302455

Sabriel is way to busy trying to save her father Mage Abhorsen in the Old Kingdom. She is dealing with free magic and a companion that might not actually be on her side to worry about a true romance.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

18302455

This books is a wonderful story. Honestly a must read in my opinion.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

18302455

This is one of my favorite books. A high fantasy adventure following Bilbo Baggins. There is magic, orcs, elves, an angry dragon and much more…apart from romance.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

18302455

This books main focus is on Jonas and his internal struggle becoming Receiver of Memory. Being given this role causes him to question the society he has grown up in.


Can you think of any other books without romance?

Sign Off

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Tags

TAG | The Unique Blogger Award

Tag Tuesday

Thank you Dawlyn and Krista from Little Blind Book Finds for the Tag! Today for Tag Tuesday I will be doing The Unique Blogger Award. I love tags like this because every person creates the questions for the people they tag so no one has the same questions.

The Rules

  1. Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  4. Ask them 3 questions

The Questions

1.What inspired you to start your blog?

Going right for the hard questions, huh? Well I decided to make my blog because I wanted to talk about books. Now some of you may know I have a bookstagram and I had that first. But, while I LOVE bookstagram and still use it constantly I noticed there is a lack of communication which upset me. So I decided why not create a blog. While I made it a while ago, I really started using it this past January.

2. What advice do you have for new bloggers?

Have fun and post what makes you happy because people who enjoy the same stuff will find you. Also, blogging is meant to be fun, make sure you are always enjoying the content you are creating and don’t put so much pressure on yourself.

3. Name a book that you’ve read or want to read that you heard about from the blogosphere?

This is a really great questions, hum. I think one of the main books/series I plan to read because of the blogosphere would have to be A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I heard about it on booktube, but a review I read, which of course now I cannot remember, and it really sold me on the book/series. Apparently, my boyfriends love of commas has rubbed off on me.

My Questions

  1. Is there a quote from a book that has inspired you/changed the way you view things? If so, what is the quote?
  2. Who would you cast as the main characters of a movie adaptation of your favorite book?
  3. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I Nominate:

Jess

Nikki

Kristina

Sarah

Misty

Also, anyone else who wants to join in on the fun!

Sign Off

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Reviews

Review | The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle

Book Review

The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle

*I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

18302455If someone asked me to describe this book I would say it is poetic, passionate, and fast paced. It went by way to quickly for my liking, I wanted it to never end. In this historical fiction novel you follow the lives of  Freddie, Isabella, and Oskar against the backdrop of  in Italy during World War II. What I enjoyed the most is that their personalities are distinct, they do not feel generic at all. Isabella is a strong individual, she puts herself in so much danger to help others as well as project art. I went to art school for a few years and for me personally art is culture. It is a way to show how a group or individual feels, but also shows what they see around them. Art is very important. Freddie is a pilot during the war. His does gruesome work and is faced with danger often. During this time he bonds very well with his crew mates and you experience his point of view of the bombing, which I found interesting to read. Oskar, whose story is not really described in the description so I wont say much, but he is also a very distinct character who has a very important non-passive role in this book. I felt that this novel described a lot of the various roles citizens could have taken during the war.

I could easily go on about this, I honestly REALLY enjoyed this. It has all of the elements of a historical fiction that I look for. It takes place during an active time in history, the characters are involved in the events in different ways, and I genuinely connected with these characters. For me a bonus of this book was that it took place outside of Germany, France, and Britain. For me personally I had not read a WWII historical fiction that took place in Italy so it caught my eye even more than a historical fiction normally would. Over all I would say if you enjoy historical fiction, art, WWII related books, and you enjoy reading about characters that feel like real people you need to pick this up. I give this book an easy 5 stars!

Description

In 1937 Freddie (English), Isabella (Italian) and Oskar (a German Jew) become friends at an art school in Florence where they are taught by the dictatorial but magus-like Maestro and his sinister fascist assistant Fosco. When war arrives Freddie returns to England to become the pilot of a Lancaster bomber. Oskar, now a dancer, has moved to Paris where he escapes the 1942 roundup of Jews and arrives in Italy with his young daughter Esme. Isabella remains in Florence where she continues to paint. Until she is called upon by Maestro to forge an old master painting, apparently at the behest of the Führer himself, and as a result is seen as a Nazi collaborator by her neighbours.
The murderous skies over Germany and a war-torn Italy in the grip of Nazi occupation provide the setting for this novel about the love of a separated husband and his wife and the love of a man for his young daughter. Freddie and Oskar both hope to find their way back to Florence. But Florence’s heritage of preserving the identity and continuity of the past has never before been so under threat.


Book Information

Publisher: Cheyne Walk

Publication Date: (This edition) July 06, 2017

List Price: $13.99

ISBN: 9780993286308

Pages: 490 pages


Sign Off

To Be Read

JULY TBR | 2017

TBR

The Sign of Four by Sir Arther Conan Doyle
10644930

I have been slowly reading through all of the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories and I have started The Sign of Four and I really, really want to finish it this month.

A dense yellow miasma swirls in the streets of London as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson accompany a beautiful young woman to a sinister assignation.

For Mary Morstan has received several large pearls – one a year for the last six years – and now a mystery letter telling her she is a wronged woman. If she would seek justice she is to meet her unknown benefactor, bringing with her two companions.

Goodreads.com

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

10644930

I have a little bit of a funny story for this book. I was in the bookstore looking at new releases. Someone who worked there walked up to me and was so excited I had this book in my hands. She went on for about five minuets about  how much she liked it. While the premise of the book pulled me in this girls excitement sold me completely.

On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body.

Goodreads.com

Joyland by Stephen King

10644930

Once again I plan on reading a Stephen King novel. My aunt recommended this one to me and I already owned it so I decided to pick this one up next. What could go wrong in a theme park? Oh wait, Stephen King wrote it…everything. I am excited to pick this book up as well.

College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever.

Goodreads.com

Sign Off


What are you reading this month?

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Tags

TAG | The Goodreads Tag

Tag Tuesday

1. WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS ‘READ’?

The Fireman by Joe Hill

29875363

2. WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

29875363

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King

29875363

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

29875363

3. WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS ‘TO READ’?

Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

29875363

4. WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO READ NEXT?

I plan on reading The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.

29875363

5. DO YOU USE THE STAR RATING SYSTEM?

Yes, I actually have it posted on my blog [HERE].

6. ARE YOU DOING A 2017 READING CHALLENGE?

Yes, I have a goal of reading 50 books this year. I currently have 41 books read, so I am well on my way.

7. DO YOU HAVE A WISHLIST?

Yes, but I keep track of my wishlist on amazon not goodreads.

8. WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO BUY NEXT?

I have no idea, I usually just buy whatever book I feel like reading. But, I am craving a non-fiction read.

9. DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE QUOTES, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE A FEW?

“Life is tough my darling, but so are you” Stephanie Bennett Henry

“Kindness is an act of bravery, I think, just as hatred is an act of fear” William Ritter

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth” Buddha

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship” – Louisa May Alcott

“He thought much but said little” J.R.R. Tolkien

10. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?

Stephen King, Louisa May Alcott, Rainbow Rowell,  and William Ritter are my top authors.

11. HAVE YOU JOINED ANY GROUPS?

I have joined a few, but I don’t always read all of the books the groups read.

Top 5 Wednesday

NonFiction Pulitzers

Our Shared Shelf

The History Book Club

Supporting Bookstores

Non Fiction Book Club

12. HOW MANY SHELVES TO DO YOU HAVE ON GOODREADS?

Apart from read, to-read, and currently reading I have genre shelfs. I put books on these when I am done reading so I can see what types of books I am reading.

 

Sign Off


I tag: Kristina ,  Charlotte , Sarah , Misty , Nikki , and anyone else!

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Tags

Try a Chapter | June 2017

BlogSo my TBR is starting to make me a little uneasy. I am not sure if it is because it is half way though the year or I just feel like I need to cut it down a bit. Either way I decided to do “Try a Chapter” to see if some of the books on my TBR are actually something I would enjoy or the description tricked me into thinking it would be something great to read.

 

A Little Life

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.

Goodreads.com

Conclusion: Keep

Already a chapter in and I want to know what is going to happen to the character. Even though this book is longer I feel like it is going to go fairly quickly because it is so character driven, or at least seems that way at this point.


Annihilation

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

Goodreads.com

 

Conclusion: Unhauled

This book/series sounded so good. There was a mystery, science and exploration. Sadly, the writing was annoying. For me it took to long to get to the point. Even though I only read the first chapter I already started skimming, which is not a good sign. I do not mind slower books if they actually build up to something now and again, but this did not do it for me at all.


The Circle

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

Goodread.com

Conclusion: Unhauled

Sadly, this was not for me. I really, really wanted to read this then watch the movie. It seems that this book is not for me, I think I will rent the movie so I can see what everyone is talking about. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason I do not want to read it, but I know I do not.


 

What do you think of my try a chapter decisions?

Sign Off

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Tags

TAG | On My Shelf Book Tag

Tag TuesdayHello everyone, I hope everyone is doing well. Last week I ended up taking a week off to get some exciting personal stuff taken care of. Now I am back and ready to go with a lot of ideas and energy. So lately if you have not noticed I have been doing more tags, that is because I think they are so fun and I love reading other peoples answers. I am thinking about doing a “Tag Tuesday” type thing because I find them so fun. What do you think? Let me know. So this week I am doing the On My Shelf Book Tag. I have been seeing it for a long time around booktube and blogs and thought it looked like a lot of fun.

Directions: Pick a number between 1 and as many books as you have on your bookshelf. You can ask friends or go to social media for help or you can use a site like random.org. When you get the list of numbers (I picked 8) find the corresponding book for number and provide a memory. (Example: #7 find the 7th book on your bookshelf and share a memory).

The Books

100: The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins

My Mom and Dad took my to the bookstore on my birthday and let me pick out a few books. This is one of the books I picked up. I have not gotten to it just yet, but I am very much looking forward to it. It is a mixture of mythology, magic, and other lore.

142: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I read this as a ebook loan from the library when I was watching my friends puppy for the weekend. It was great he napped on my lap as I read this book in nearly a day. I would like to add that this dog is about 75 pounds and so not a lap dog. My legs went so numb, but he was being so cute I didn’t have the heart to tell him get off.

10: End of Watch by Stephen King

I have yet to read this Stephen King book because it is a third in a series I have not started yet. But, I will say that Stephen King has become my favorite author. I have yet to be disappointed by him. Even before his books I was in love with his work. When I was younger, most likely to young, I watched creep show and all the movie adaptations for his work and loved it. I remember watching the 6 hour TV version of The Shining with my friend. We started watching it in the afternoon and as things got more intense the sun went down. It was one of the best movie watching experiences I have ever had.

133: 50 Children by Steven Pressman

I picked up this book when I went to DC with my aunt and Mom. We spent the weekend going though all the museums and walking around the national cemetery. Somehow I ended up the tour guide for them since my aunt never went there and my Mom had not been there since she was a little girl. I remember learning more about my moms childhood and the wonderful times they had. It was very nice to hear the stories and spend time with an aunt I had not spent a ton of time with due to distance. I picked up this book on our last day when we went to the Holocaust Museum. I have to say that this museum was one of the best we went to not only because it was factual, but it also impacted us all emotionally as well.

36: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling

One of the funniest memories I have with this book is right before the movies came out for this book I decided to reread it so it was fresh in my mind. Well, I happened to get to a VERY intense/emotional part and I happened to be at Uni in between classes. Lets just say I was trying very hard not to ugly cry in public where everyone could see. Somehow I managed to pull myself together in time for class.

132: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

This was the first book I bought because of booktube. I had just started watching youtube maybe 6 months before that due to makeup tutorials and other lifestyle videos and decided to search books. Well, I stumbled into booktude and I am still have not left. So not only was it the first book I bought because of booktube, but it was the first Rainbow Rowell book I ever read. She is still an author I enjoy a lot and continue to read. I think she is the only author where I have read all of their work.

166: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Honestly, the only memory I have for this book is how happy it made me. I read it so quickly not much happened. I pulled it out and started reading it on a weekend. I stayed in bed all day and read it cover to cover. I think someone had to remind me to eat something I was so into the book.

53: Alice’s Adventures on Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Now, my moms other sister who I spent a lot of time with LOVED this book. In fact it was her favorite book. I picked up a lovely illustrated edition so I could read it since I somehow managed to only watch the movies. Being a book lover I want to read the source material. I will say I much prefer the only animated movie over the newer live action adaptations.

Sign Off.jpg


What is your favorite book on your shelf?

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads