March: Read This Month

March was the month of series, it seems. I reread Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. I finally read Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. I even started The Hogwarts Library and Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Quartet.

There were some digital reads in the mix, but the books far outweighed my Kindle usage for the first time in a long time!

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Here’s the full list:

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Cecilia by Fanny Burney

Cress by Marissa Meyer

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Selected Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The Horse Healer by Gonzalo Giner

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Dear Millie by Marco Previero

Lying by Lauren Slater

Four by Veronica Roth

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Mauprat by George Sand

A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly

The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase

Quidditch Through the Ages by JK Rowling

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

The Iron King by Maurice Druon

March Photo Challenge: Signed

Now that I am reading more current books, and adding them to my home collection, something that I have gotten hooked on is finding signed copies. Barnes and Noble is great for this, because while I haven’t been able to make it to an actual book signing yet, B&N usually has a stash of great books from great authors.

I realize now a days that signed books maybe aren’t as rare or valuable, especially when you can find them at big box stores, but it still makes them seem more special, when you pull one off your shelf and see your favorite author’s signature there!

Here are the three I currently own. They just happen to be three of my prettiest hardcovers, too! (Ok, the Ransom Riggs maybe isn’t “pretty” per say…he gets the creepiest title, though!)

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March Photo Challenge: Currently Reading

I am struggling to keep up with my Goodreads Challenge this year guys. Phew! Last year, I was zooming ahead of the curve, so I set my bar to 200, which is a little below what I read in 2014, and I’m barely keeping up with it.

But, this year, while I’m putting my number at the same level, I raised the bar on what I am reading. I’ve introduced a “Study Book” chapter every day, and I’m also reading a short story every day as well. And those are on top of my normal entertainment reads! So, I should cut myself some slack, right? Nope lol. I never do that. No slack here.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got going right now. I also just started Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea on audiobook, for when I’m doing chores and things, but that’ll take awhile.

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March Photo Challenge: Book Haul

I’ve been pretty fortunate lately, in that my book buying has been able to go up exponentially from what it used to be. I can buy a book or two when I feel like it, and add to my collection.

However, recently, we had Christmas and Tax Returns–which for me, usually means BOOK HAULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

I have been buying piece meal over the last few weeks, so I have some new orders coming, but here was a big one I did shortly after the holidays.

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I am so excited for all of these books. Those Mark Twains are gorgeous–from the 1920s! They are not in the best condition, yellowed, and a little beat up, but the binding is so lovely, and the pages smell so good! The other three classics are more modern printings of leatherbound classics, but they are pretty! The rest are just very necessary additions to my collection. Some I’ve read, some I haven’t.

I’ll post another haul, probably on my Instagram once I get all of my packages, so keep an eye out! Lots of fun things to come.

March Photo Challenge: Guilty Pleasure

I used to buy all used copies of books. Why spend the money on the new ones when I was just going to wear them out? I don’t remember the name of the site now, but I was part of this club at one point where I could trade back and forth with other members and get new “old” books all the time, just for the cost of shipping.

And then I discovered SERIES. Beautiful. Matching. SERIES.

You can’t just go buy used copies of them, because you’ll almost never find a matching set. It is possible, but difficult. Especially in the right condition. And it is so much lovelier to find them in a boxed set, if they come that way! Of course, that means I can’t buy it until after I’ve already borrowed the entire thing from the library…or wait until I buy it to read it. Catch-22!

Still, buying whole series and seeing their gorgeousness is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. These are just a few of them, I have many more!

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March Photo Challenge: Spine

This year I knew EXACTLY what I was going to spend Christmas money on. I had been watching the announcements for months about the new UK Boomsbury version of Harry Potter and I HAD TO HAVE IT.

As much a fan as I was, I still did not have a set of my own, and I was severely missing out. But the set was so expensive, so I just had not been able to purchase one yet. This was the set. This was the commitment I was waiting on.

And so, when the holidays were over, the very first thing I did was order my very own box. And I was not disappointed. Look how gorgeous they are!

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The box itself is gorgeous too, and the covers, and even the actual spines. Oh how I love these books!

March Photo Challenge: Someone Reading

I took this picture a few days ago, so maybe it’s cheating a little bit. But the weather here has been crappy, so the only person I have “seen” reading has been me. And it’s really hard to take a picture of myself reading.

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I thought it was a pretty good “Tumblr” picture though! Thanks to the rain the lighting was very soft and booky. If there is such a thing…

March Photo Challenge: Reading Place

When we moved to Texas, part of the transition was for me to pack up my cubicle in Indy, and begin working from home. I am luckier than most–my company had just begun reducing their office footprint and allowing our employees to telecommute, and so when my husband’s job transferred him, I didn’t have to start all over.

My office is now our bright second bedroom, overlooking the neighborhood. I have a giant picture window instead of gray cube walls, and I have nothing but piece and quiet to work in all day. Husband aside…for the most part. It’s quite a lovely situation!

I also get quite a lot of reading done at this desk whenever I am not working, and it is where all these blogs are written. I’ve shown you guys my reading couch, so I thought I’d show you my other reading place:  my desk.

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I have all my essentials around me at all times:  journal, laptop (I can’t show you my work computers, so those are off screen. The desk is really quite huge.), books of course. On my board are all the lists to keep track of challenges and goals. Baseball baseball baseball.

Hope you enjoyed a peek into this blogger’s life. Where do you like to read?

March Photo Challenge: Quote

There’s a blog post I’ve been trying to write for months now, but every time I sit down to write it, I end up trashing it for one reason or another. I wrote another version of it the other day, and it sits in my journal…unfinished.

And then today, when I was browsing Tumblr, one of my favorite current poets, Tyler Knott Gregson, posted his Daily Haiku on Love. And it is right along the same lines of thought that I’ve been trying to write, so it’s perfect for today’s Photo Challenge post.

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I have a lot of thoughts on this poem–I both agree, and disagree with it. I disagree, because as human beings, we are not the same. Absolutely not. And that’s why I couldn’t write it out all in one color. I couldn’t erase all of our differences–differences in sexuality, gender, race. Those foundations form the decisions we make, how we think and live and move in our world. Life would be incredibly boring if we were not different from each other. There would be no conversation and maybe no love. There might be peace, sure, but what kind of empty life would it be?

The part of the quote I do agree with wholeheartedly is the middle section. I almost wrote it in capitals. LOVE IS LOVE AND LOVE IS LOVE.

It seems like the simplest concept to me, yet this is the one thing we seem to struggle the most with in our society today. There are so many conditions on love. We can only love people in our own culture, or our own sexuality, or our own color. We can only love people who read the same books as us, or have never been divorced, or want the same life as we do. And what if the people we love have a crisis or change their beliefs or need help? How can we love them then?

I have been reading and reading and reading about so many things in the last year. The more I hear about, the more it goes into the “I need to understand this” file in my brain. That file is pretty much overflowing. There is so much pain in this world and always more hate than love, it seems. I’m not naive enough to really think that the answer is as simple as “Let’s all just love each other!” But wouldn’t it be nice if the answer WERE as simple as that? Read a little, learn a little, listen a little. Open your heart a little.

I can’t fix it for anyone else but myself. And sometimes I’m not always sure that I’m asking the right questions, and I often hesitate for fear of offending someone with my ignorance. But I do want to learn more about the things I do not know. Because the more I know, the more I can open my mind and my heart.

And maybe that is naive. But, LOVE IS LOVE AND LOVE IS LOVE. We may not all be the same, but THAT is why I love you.

March Photo Challenge: Recommendation

Since starting the blog last year, I have been reading more new books than I used to. Obviously, it helps my stats here, but mostly I’m just interacting with so many bloggers that I have been exposed to more reviews than used to see. My TBR list has just EXPLODED.

And suddenly, I have become an influencer. When I started this little blog, it was purely for my own entertainment, but people are actually reading my reviews! So, I must keep the content current, and provide you with my take on the best upcoming books to read.

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A friend told me about NetGalley awhile ago, and I am completely hooked, so now it’s my turn to pass on the recommendation. This is where I get most of my ARCs (Advance Reader’s Copies).

Here’s how it works:  You simply register with NetGalley for an account. Let them know what type of books you like to read, if you run a blog/where you’ll be posting reviews and such. Once you get your profile set up, you can start requesting books, and you’ll get emails tailored to your genre preferences telling you what is available next. Then you wait. If a publisher approves your request, you download the book, read it, and then review it! It’s that simple. You don’t always get every book you request, but I’ve gotten most of them. It just depends on the availability and how many people have asked for that particular book. (I have seen some people get really angry when they don’t get picked for an ARC, but to me it’s a privilege to get chosen.)

The books are all ebooks, and you can send them to your Kindle (which is what I do), or I believe there are other formats as well. They don’t cost anything, besides feedback to the publisher. These are prepublished copies though, so sometimes the formatting is a little strange, or there are editing markers–like (?) or (1.)–included in the text where it is obvious a change will be made before the book is actually printed.

Still, the privilege of a sneak peek at a favorite or new author, and getting to market a book on my blog is such fun! And I’ve gotten to do a couple book tours too, and even have gotten some comments from the authors themselves!

If you have a review blog, this is a fun way to get eyes on new books that are coming out. You’ll keep in touch with publishers and authors too, and let your readers know what’s coming!

 

Just a disclaimer–although NetGalley has given me plenty of books to read through their program, they did not ask me to write this post. These are all my own opinions.