#ReRead2015 September Recap

Sep 30, 2015

I was in a major reading slump in September, but I was able to re-read one of my favorite series of all time. I have something fun planned for October involving this series - so stay tuned to see it debut soon! I've now re-read 42 books this year, and I'm so glad I surpassed my goal and am continuing my re-reading streak.

September Re-Reads: 8 Books

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery
Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery
Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

If you're just joining the challenge, feel free to sign up now. 
And add your re-read recap and/or re-read reviews below!

Picky Pledge Check-In #3

Sep 29, 2015

What is The Picky Pledge? Well, it's a partnership between me and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books where we hold each other accountable for the books we've acquired in 2015. For more details on The Picky Pledge, be sure to visit the introduction post. We're excited about making more intentional reading choices this year! 

Alexa and I decided to post quarterly check-ins analyzing what we've learned so far and where we have room to grow. But I've also created a page to track my progress, which you can check out if you want a more in-depth look at what I've bought and read for review. With nine months down, here's how 2015 is shaping up...
For this section, we were inspired by our original stats post from earlier this year. Since our Picky Pledge keeps us on track with review books and buying, our check-ins will highlight the two charts relevant to those areas!


My reading has been all over the place this year! I was in a slump for the first quarter of 2015, but then I was able to break out of it during the second quarter. My desire to read dramatically improved, and I made it through a lot of books during that time. Then, the third quarter came around... and I've fallen back into a slump. I've read 124 books this year: 32 in the first quarter, 62 in the second and 30 in the third quarter. I hope that I'll feel that pull to read more this fall, but I won't worry about it if I don't.

I'm pleased with my breakdown: 25 were read for review, 16 were books bought in 2015, 13 were borrowed (library and friends), and 70 were books that I owned (TBR and re-reads). I'm definitely focusing more on books that I own (and re-reads) rather than review books, so I already feel like Picky Pledge has been successful!


As with my last check-in, my progress is good but not great. When comparing it to last year, I'm doing much better, but I know that I've still got room for improvement... I've purchased 74 books in 2015 (8 with gift cards and 66 on my own) and been gifted 25 books. My breakdown above only takes into account books that I bought on my own, since that's what I'm tracking with the Picky Pledge. Of those 66 books, I've read 17 since I bought them, 20 are on my TBR, and 29 were books I read prior to buying them (review books, different editions of a favorite, etc). I'm hoping that I'll finish the year strong and take what I've learned and do better in 2016!
1. It's exciting to read a pre-order as soon as it's in my hands! I've been trying to make fewer "spur of the moment" book purchases this year by pre-ordering the books I know that I want to own. Even better, in a lot of cases, I'm reading the book as soon as I get it. I forgot how much fun it was to read a book immediately rather than let it linger on my shelves. Plus, it means I'm doing a better job at being pickier about what I buy!

2. Buying books I've already read fills the shopping urge but doesn't add to my TBR. I recently wrote about this book buying quirk, and I really enjoyed the feedback I got on the post! I genuinely love spending money on books, supporting my favorite authors, and adding favorites to my shelves... It's been nice to focus on buying (and keeping) books that spark joy, as inspired by this book that I read a few months ago.

3. Re-reading old favorites shifts my focus from review books and reminds me of why I started blogging! I think this has been one of my best discoveries of the year, and one of the biggest things that has made the Picky Pledge worth it. I wanted to re-read 36 books this year, and I've surpassed that goal (with no intention of stopping). I've loved revisiting favorites and getting the added benefit of remembering my reading priorities.
1. I can't break out of a reading slump by buying books. This probably goes without saying, but it's definitely something I have to keep in mind. Sometimes I mistake not being in the mood to read anything with not being in the mood to read what I currently have in front of me, so I'll go out and buy something new. It rarely helps my reading mojo... and instead results in adding more books to my TBR. This isn't the solution!

2. When considering a review book, I need to consider whether I'll really read it by publication date. My goal is to read no more than 36 review books in 2015, and I'm still on track for this goal! However, there have been a number of books I've requested that I was genuinely interested in reading, but I never got around to them by their publication date. It would have made more sense for me to request those books from the library!

3. Tune out Twitter when new review books are added online! I've been a little checked out of everything online lately, Twitter included, but I've somehow managed to sign in on the days when books have been added to NetGalley or Edelweiss. Without fail, I always go look at what's new - even if I can't think of anything I've been wanting to read. I need to learn to ignore the excitement because I don't need more review books.

I'm Fall-ing for You

Sep 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their answers. I'm so obsessed with lists - so I obviously love this feature!

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR

I always enjoy this topic, and I usually do a pretty good job at picking stuff that I'm actually going to read that season. But sometimes I don't... I totally failed at my summer TBR and only read four books on it! There are at least two books from that list that I will read in the next few weeks - These Shallow Graves and The Immortal Heights - but I didn't want to repeat them in today's post. So, here are ten more books I hope to read this fall:

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling - I pre-ordered this special edition almost as soon as I heard about it, and I cannot wait to re-read this book for the first time. Gimme gimme!

2. After You by Jojo Moyes - I'll be honest, I'm a little nervous about this book because I don't really want a sequel to Me Before You. But I'm trusting that Moyes is writing a story that deserves to be told, so we'll see... 

3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - I enjoyed Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy, and I've heard such great things about this book already. I pre-ordered a copy, and I'm hoping to start it as soon as I get my hands on it!

4. Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama - I've had my eye on this book, but I think now is the time to read it. There's something about mermaids - dark and dangerous ones at that - that just feels perfectly suited to fall.

5. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand - I'm pretty sure that I had this on my Fall TBR last year, but I never read it so I'm putting it on my list again because it just screams fall read to me.

6. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce - I bought the box set of this series and mentioned it in a recent TTT post, and the reaction convinced me that I need to read this one sooner rather than later!

7. Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown - World War I + famed women's spy group = sign me up right now! I haven't read anything by Brown before, but I requested this book the second I read the summary on Edelweiss.

8. Da Vinci's Tiger by L.M. Elliott - I refuse to use the new cover of this because I hate it! But what can you do?! I love historical fiction, and this is a time period I don't know much about so I'm excited to dive in.

9. Every Word by Ellie Marney - I read Every Breath last year and thoroughly enjoyed it (though I never got around to reviewing it). I was thrilled when I was approved to read this for review, but I still haven't read it yet!

10. First & Then by Emma Mills - Alexa sent me this book because she said she thought of me the entire time she was reading it. She sent me some screenshots of the Austen references, and I can't wait to read it for myself.

Tune in Tonight: Jane the Virgin

Sep 18, 2015

I've always loved talking about movies and TV shows on my blog, but it wasn't until I guest posted for Book People Talk Movies (created by Lindsey from Bring My Books) that I even thought about making it a regular thing. But now I can't wait to share my absolute favorites - both old and new - with you every month!

The Stats

Jane the Virgin: The Complete First Season
TV Network: The CW
Length: One Season (2014-)
Genre: Comedy
Creator: Jennie Snyder Urman
Buy on Amazon | Buy on iTunes | Watch on Hulu

The Story

Set in Miami, Jane the Virgin details the surprising and unforeseen events that take place in the life of Jane Villanueva, a hard-working, religious young Latina woman whose family tradition and a vow to save her virginity until her marriage to a detective is shattered when a doctor mistakenly artificially inseminates her during a checkup. And to make matters worse, the biological donor is a married man, a former playboy and cancer survivor who is not only the new owner of the hotel where Jane works, but was also her former teenage crush. +

The Stars

Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva
Andrea Navedo as Xiomara Villanueva
Ivonne Coll as Alba Villanueva
Jaime Camil as Rogelio De La Vega

Justin Baldoni as Rafael Solano
Brett Dier as Michael Cordero Jr.
Yael Grobglas as Petra Solano
Anthony Mendez as Narrator

The Sneak Peek

The Sell

If you haven't heard anything about Jane the Virgin, you're probably a little thrown off by the name and premise. Maybe you're questioning my recommendation skills, but you've got to trust me! If you want a show with great acting, smart writing, tons of emotion and hilarious drama, this show is for you. Let me explain:

I'm a fan of The CW, but I was more than a little skeptical when I saw the trailer for Jane the Virgin. I mean, the title alone was enough to make me pause. A TV show about a virgin who gets pregnant after being artificially inseminated? That's asking for trouble. But I have to give credit to the show's creator and writers because they make the premise work. It sounds crazy, and it is, but it works in a way I never expected. I love the voiceover narration - it's so clever! The show is charming and has so much heart. It makes me laugh every episode, and sometimes I tear up too! If you ever needed a reminder that you can't judge a show just by its title, this is it.

I adore Gina Rodriguez! She's perfectly cast as Jane, and I was immediately invested in the character because of her. She captures Jane's strengths and weaknesses in a way that makes the character so believable and so relatable. For a show inspired by a telenovela - and containing much of the drama of one - it's so refreshing to see the honesty and stability Gina brings to the show. I rarely watch awards shows, but I was thrilled when Gina won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy. Her acceptance speech was AMAZING, and I particularly love the line in the gif above. I think it's because the show's diversity is so fantastic!

Goodness gracious, I love the relationships on this show! Jane's relationship with her mother and grandmother is probably my favorite, but they're all so interesting and complex. Family is really important to Jane, and it's so evident in the show. They love each other so much, and they've got each other's back even when they don't see eye to eye. It's so refreshing to watch! I love Jane's relationship with her best friend, and I'd love to see more of their friendship. She's got a complicated relationship with the men in her life - her longtime boyfriend, her boss and biological father of the baby, and her absent father. They each bring something special to the show! 

Jane the Virgin is inspired by a telenovela, and you can definitely expect a bunch of crazy (and shocking) surprises on the show! There's something unbelievable in almost every episode, but it never feels melodramatic or annoying. I can't explain it - just give it a shot, and you'll see what I mean. I was trying to pick my favorite twist, and I realized there are too many to choose from. Plus, I don't want to spoil any of them. Sometimes I'll see one coming, but more often than not I'm just as surprised as the characters are by what happens next!

A serious as this show could be, the tone is absolutely hilarious! Certain characters are more comedic than others, but there's a healthy dose of humor in every episode. I love that it doesn't take itself too seriously but still manages to infuse a lot of emotion into the show. I always look forward to the narrator's voiceover, but I think Rogelio wins the award for best lines. He cracks me up! If you want something that will make you happy every time you watch it, give Jane the Virgin a shot. (And then report back so we can discuss it!)

The Snippets

"Life is full of tough moments, you have to fight for what you want."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[Jane falls in the pool and Rafael jumps in after her]
Jane: “It’s FOUR FEET, Baywatch!”
Rafael: “I didn’t know if you could swim!”
Jane: “But I could stand!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  

“I made a vision board, but I didn’t think it would manifest so quickly. As father and daughter, we will conquer Hollywood together, much like Jon Voigt and Angelina Jolie. Only we will not be estranged. And I will be the much more famous one."

Recklessly Loyal

Sep 16, 2015

Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Macmillan; Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR
Pages: 342 pages
Source & Format: Publisher; ARC
Add on Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom. 

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him. 

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either. 

Thoughts on Tonight the Streets Are Ours
While everyone was raving about This Song Will Save Your Life, I was falling in love with Past Perfect. I bought both books on the same day and quickly became a fan of Leila Sales. I love her writing and so enjoy her stories - every character is unique and yet they all feel so relatable and real. When I found out she had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it. I loved the cover, and the summary sounded intriguing! As a blogger, I was drawn to the idea of a book where the heroine finds comfort in a blog.

Arden Huntley believes that her purpose in life is to take care of the people she loves, no matter the cost or sacrifice. She's recklessly loyal, and it's always been a huge part of her identity. But when her mom leaves one day - and her best friend takes advantage of her in a big way - she finds herself in a bit of crisis. When she discovers a blog called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," she quickly becomes wrapped up in the blogger's life. On a whim, she decides to take a road trip to meet him... It's a trip that will change Arden forever.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours opens with a promise:

"Like all stories, the one you are about to read is a love story. 
If it wasn't, what would be the point?"

And while it is a love story, it wasn't at all the kind I expected.

As always, I enjoyed Sales' writing. She's got a way with words, and there were so many sentences worth highlighting. I love that her characters feel real, even when they're unlikeable. I struggled with every character in this book at times. They make mistakes, they hurt the people they love, they lie, they're selfish... I didn't always like them, but I respected Sales' ability to capture what it means to be human.

I enjoyed the story, but I found myself questioning it while I was reading. Arden's obsession with Peter made me a little uncomfortable, and I couldn't stop thinking about how dangerous it was for her to go off in search of him. It would totally freak me out if a blog reader tracked me down in real life (and I don't mean introducing themselves at an event we're both attending). I never felt like there were consequences to Arden's road trip - or at least someone telling her it was reckless and unwise. This ended up being my biggest issue with the book.

Now, that being said, I did love what Arden learned on her trip to New York City. There's so much you can discuss with this book - online persona versus real identity, love and sacrifice, surviving the changing nature of a friendship, and more. Arden learns some hard (but important) lessons about what it means to love someone and how you can't sacrifice your entire identity in the process. There was a lot of growth with her character, and I was absorbed in Arden's discoveries and the way she changed.

It's not a favorite for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed Tonight the Streets Are Ours. I was swept up in Arden's story, especially the second half of the story. It's a quiet book, but it's one that left me thinking long after I finished it.

So Quotable
“But that's the thing: when you swear to take someone's side no matter what, sometimes you have to go to war for them.”
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

Let's Get it Started...

Sep 8, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their answers. I'm so obsessed with lists - so I obviously love this feature!

Top Ten Series I Want to Start

This week's topic is technically ten series I have yet to finish, but I couldn't think of that many. Most of the series I haven't finished fall into one of two categories: 1) series I don't plan on finishing or 2) series that aren't complete yet. So, I decided to twist this topic (since I do love series) and share ten that I want to start:

1. Lady Emily Series by Tasha Alexander - I bought the first two books in this series when I spotted them on clearance one day. I don't read many mysteries, but the historical fiction aspect seems right up my alley.

2. Shadowfell Series by Juliet Marillier - After falling in love with Marillier's Sevenwaters series, I bought a ton of books off her backlist. I have the entire series just sitting on my shelves and waiting to be read.

3. Maids of Honor Series by Jennifer McGowan - I put this series on my TBR after Morgan raved about it, and then she surprised me with a copy of the first book. The series is now complete, so it's the perfect time to start.

4. Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix - When I realized how much I was enjoying fantasy, I bought some of the "classics" that I felt I'd missed out on. This was one of them, and now I just need to make time to read it.

5. Song of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce - Here's another fantasy classic that I missed growing up! I bought a box set of this entire series last month, so I've got everything I need to finally binge them.

6. The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson - I've had this book on my shelves for so long! A friend gave me an ARC of it a while ago, and then I traded with Holly for the hardcover... and I still haven't read it yet.

7. Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson - Nick bought me this series for Christmas last year. I know so many people who love these book, and that's a big reason I want to read it. I hope I'm not disappointed!

8. A Darker Shade of Magic Series by Victoria Schwab - I bought this book not long after it came out, and I honestly thought I'd read it right away. Yeah, about that... It will be my first read from Schwab, so I'm excited!

9. Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch - I mentioned to Alexa that I was interested in this series, and she gave me the first book for Christmas. I'm excited that the second book will be out soon, so I can read both!

10. The Keepers' Chronicles by Becky Wallace - My #otspsecretsister sent this book to me in August, and I'm thrilled because it's been on my radar for months! She really enjoyed it, so I'm hoping I will, too!

Which series should I start first?

Buy the Book / No. 5

Sep 4, 2015

Buy the Book is a monthly feature where I share a gift guide inspired by something I've read. It's a little play on "by the book" since all of the gifts come directly from quotes or scenes in the book featured and, you know, since it's all stuff you can buy. I'm including a snippet from the book for each item so you'll know why I picked it!
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

"The cottonwood drinks much from the earth. Where their roots dive, water can be found."

1. Landscape Photography - Redrock Utah, Golden Cottonwoods, San Rafael Swell ($10+) - This photo wasn't taken in Arizona, but it's so close to what I pictured while reading! And the setting is a huge aspect of the book.

"They'd cleaned out his pocket and stolen his Colt right outta his belt. It were a beauty of a pistol - polished, white grip, engraved barrel, a finish so pretty, it shined. The weapon in my holster matches. Pa split the pair to give one to me, and now I can't even rejoin 'em."

2. Winchester® .45 Colt Nickel Bullet Head Stud Earrings ($24.95) - I loved the detail about Kate's Colt and how her father had the other one. Since there's a lot of shooting on her hunt for revenge, this item was a must!

"When prospectors first descended on Arizona Territory, they dug and drilled any which place till they struck gold."

3. Gold Nugget Bubble Gum ($12.98) - The search for gold, and the lengths people will go to when they're driven by greed, is central to this story. After all, it plays a part in why Kate's father was murdered...

"There's a mine and a couple of caches sitting in the Superstition Mountains, and we only found our way to it because of the journal."

4. Rustic Leather Journal ($53) - The journal is a pretty significant part of the story, and it's the catalyst for a lot of the conflict in this story. I know I'd be really stressed out if I had it in my possession!

"I turn my pace brisk and head for my horse. Soon as she comes into view, I swear."

5. 60s Metal Cast Horse & Saddle Figurine ($15) - I loved Kate's horse, Silver! Whether Silver was helping Kate escape trouble or hot on the trail of the Rose Riders, you could tell there was a bond between them.

"The Rose Riders don't care for nothing but money and riches."

6. LUSH Amandopondo Bubble Bar ($7.95) - Oh, these outlaws are bad news! They probably smell awful - like sweat, blood and alcohol - so it seemed only fitting to pair them with a rose-scented bubble bar.

"The cards get cut. Chips are passed out. The first hand is dealt."

7. Cowboy Print Playing Cards ($1.19) - This was one of my favorite scenes! I couldn't wait to see how Kate would do at poker and if she'd be able to accomplish her dangerous task. You'll have to read to find out!

"My letters ain't bad, and I can read just fine. Whole books and everything. He bought me Little Women when the first copies made it to the bookstore in Prescott. It were a gorgeous book, prettiest I ever seen - leather bound and thick."

8. Easton Press Edition of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott ($79) - Kate's voice was so authentic - tough and filled with slang. But I liked that this moment revealed another side of her character!

"Then I flip through the journal. Maps are sketched here and there, and other pages are filled with clues and instructions."

9. Arizona Easy to Read Map ($4.77) - If you're searching for something, you'll need to have a map handy! While you probably won't go searching for hidden gold, you could explore Arizona and imagine the Wild West.

"I ain't a boy, but I sure am dressed like one. Trousers and boots. One of my flannels. A flat-brimmed Stetson."

10. Stetson Austral Old West Cowboy Hat ($149) - I could totally picture Kate disguised as a boy! I knew I had to include a Stetson in this post because it's so tied to the way I pictured Kate and the outlaws she was hunting.

Guns, Greed, Gold and Grit

Sep 3, 2015

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 336 pages
Source & Format: NetGalley/Edelwiss; e-ARC
Add on Goodreads

Thoughts on Vengeance Road
When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate. 

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation. 

Thoughts on Vengeance Road
I've been craving historical fiction set in the Wild West ever since I fell in love with Under a Painted Sky earlier this year. It was so refreshing - a time period I rarely read about, a book that depicted the diversity of the Oregon Trail in a meaningful way, a story that completely sucked me in. When I found out about Vengeance Road, I immediately put it on my wishlist. It sounded right up my alley, and I was hoping it would be just what I wanted.

Kate Thompson's father is killed by a notorious gang of outlaws, and Kate wants to know why. What secrets was he keeping from her? And what did the Rose Riders want from him? She disguises herself as a boy and sets off in pursuit of justice. She ends up with more than she bargained for when she gets caught up with two brothers and an Apache girl who join her. Kate's looking for revenge, but she'll uncover a whole lot more on this journey.

I was hooked on Vengeance Road from the very first chapter. Bowman wastes no time in diving right into the action! I loved Kate's voice and could immediately see her spunk and spirit. Don't mess with this girl! She's such a tough, strong character... but I enjoyed that she had moments of vulnerability and weakness. She kept me on my toes, and that made for a really fun read. Kate is certainly one of a kind!

I found the pacing slowed a bit after the first few chapters, but it picked up again about halfway through. There were some moments I expected, but there were quite a few others that caught me off guard. I love when a book makes me ask, "Did that really just happen?!" If you're a fan of plot-driven books packed with action and adventure, Vengeance Road certainly fits the bill. Reading this book almost felt like watching a movie because I could totally imagine it as a summer blockbuster with a star-studded cast!

But my favorite part of the book was the setting. It's not a romanticized version of the West - there's danger and death around every corner! With the threat of outlaws and the brutality of the land itself, it's not all cute cowboys and the promise of gold. I felt like I was right beside Kate is she pursued her father's murderers and searched for a hidden mine. The place felt like a character, in a way, and I always enjoy when that's the case.

While I enjoyed Vengeance Road, there were a few minor things that kept me from loving it. I had some issues with the way Kate treats the Apache girl, though I know it made sense for the time period. I thought they were going to develop a friendship at first, but I soon realized it wasn't really going to move beyond them having a begrudging respect for one another. I wish it could have been more! And my other issue was the romance. It wasn't developed enough for me - certain aspects felt too rushed or glossed over near the ending. I wanted there to be more from it or for it to be dropped completely. I just wasn't invested in it!

Overall, Vengeance Road was a rip-roaring good read. The tough heroine, hunt for revenge, and thrill of the Wild West make this worth picking up - whether or not you're a fan of historical fiction. And let's be honest - it has one of the best covers I think I've ever seen. This beauty will look great on your bookshelves!

So Quotable
"I thought I'd feel better when it were all said and done. I thought I'd feel like the world had reset, like things made sense. But I'm still just as alone, just as mad Pa were taken from me, just as furious it can't be changed."
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

August 2015: Recap + On My Shelves

Sep 1, 2015

Adios, August! I know I say this every month, but where is the year going?! I can't believe we're this far into 2015. August was mostly slow with a few fun things mixed in! Now, if only I could get my reading mojo back...

1. Signed Books - I shared this picture on Instagram for the signed books tag, and it was fun to look through my books. I feel so lucky to have met so many incredible authors - and to have some bookish fairy godmothers looking out for me, too! These are a few of my favorite signed books, and I didn't even realize I had this many. 

2. #OTSPSecretSister - On the Same Page's Secret Sister Project started again in August! I was thrilled to come home to a lovely Austen-inspired note from my sister one day, and then I got an AWESOME package from her a week or so later (see the What I Acquired section!). I'm having so much fun already!

3. Mindy Mail Day - I adore Mindy Kaling. If I could have one celebrity friend, I'd pick her. I pre-ordered her upcoming book, Why Not Me?, and received some awesome goodies because of it. I love the Mindy pin and the licorice! Since I've got a few weeks before the book is out, I'm tiding myself over with The Mindy Project.

4. Painted Nails + New Ring - I love painting my nails, but I haven't done it in a couple months. I kept thinking about doing it this summer, but it was always right before bed and I didn't want to bother. Since I bought a new ring in August, I finally sat down with this polish and got to work. Why did I wait so long?!

Read 11 Books | Favorites:
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
Bounce by Noelle August
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines

Challenge Progress:
3 Fantasy for Flights of Fantasy Challenge
3 Re-Reads for The Re-Read Challenge
3 Diverse Read for Dive into Diversity
2 Series for Series a Month
"We're all of us afraid of many things, but if you make yourself smaller or let your fear confine you,
then you really aren't your own person at all – are you?"
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

"Who's the real you? The person who did something awful,
or the one who's horrified by the awful thing you did?
Is one part of you allowed to forgive the other?"
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

"Life is where you sleep and what you see when you wake up in the morning,
and who you tell about your weird dream, and what you eat for breakfast and who you eat it with.
Life isn't something that happens to you. It's something you make yourself, all the time."
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

"Guilt is anti-peace, and without the fruit of peace, there’s no real freedom and no real home.
Instead, there’s only the chasing of other, new desires we hope will fill the hollow."
Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines

"But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two:
an attachment to the past or a fear for the future."
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
[Most Popular]
Review: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Discussion/Feature: My Biggest Book Buying Quirk

[Personal Favorite]
TTT: Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors (My Austen syllabus was actually my favorite!)
Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Discussion/Feature: Favorite Factor: August 2015
1. The Myth of Blogging Turf by Nina from Nina Badzin - Estelle texted me a link to this article, and I knew immediately I'd be including it in my monthly recap! I love what Nina has to say about blogging turf - and the fact that it doesn't exist. Her point about bringing your perspective to everything you write is excellent!

2. 5 Tips for Talking to Authors at Events by Cristina from Girl in the Pages - I've gotten to meet a number of authors since I started blogging, and I always feel like I've missed the opportunity for a meaningful conversation because I just babble about my love for their books. These tips are so helpful - I'll be keeping them in mind!

3. Review Writing: How to Stop Hating It by Lauren from Bookmark Lit - I don't hate writing reviews, but I'm definitely not good at staying on top of them. When I get in the mood to binge read, I can end up with a HUGE backlog of reviews to write. I'm going to try to use these tips to help when I fall behind and feel unmotivated.

4. Nerding Out: Culling the Shelves by Lisa from Bookish Broads - I've been in such a book culling mood this year, so I enjoyed reading about Lisa's experience! I loved that she shared tips for culling your physical and virtual shelves - and makes a case for why it's worth doing. I'm definitely hoping to break free from my TBR!

Favorite Song #1: "Carry On" by Coeur de Pirate on Roses
Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist introduced me to this artist, and I'm so glad.
I had this song on repeat in August. The whole album was recently released - I need to listen!

Favorite Song #2: "Powerful" by Major Lazer feat. Ellie Goulding & Tarrus Riley on Peace is the Mission
This was another Discover Weekly find - probably because I listen to Ellie Goulding all the time.
When I wanted something with a little more energy, I turned on this song! SO GOOD.

Sherlock, Seasons 1-3 - I technically binge watched this is July, but I somehow forgot about it in my recap. Unforgivable, I know. Why didn't anyone tell me to watch this show sooner?! I'd been telling my husband we should try it, and we were hooked from the very first episode. It's so fantastic, and I adore Sherlock and Watson.

Suits, Seasons 1-4 - After binging Sherlock, we wanted to find another TV show fill out time during the summer slump. We decided to give Suits a try, and we were quite pleased with that decision. I enjoy the office dynamics, the cases and the tension created by Mike's lie. And I love Harvey and Donna's relationship!

Bought / Gift Card: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, The Song of the Lioness Box Set by Tamora Pierce, Percy Jackson and the Olympians Box Set by Rick Riordan (for Nick), To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander and Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines

From Alexa: A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan, Six Impossible Things by Fiona Woods and If Only You Knew by Kristan Higgins AND A PEETA'S BAKERY SOUVENIR

From Rachel: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

From #OTSPSecretSister: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace (and other fun goodies!)

Kindle: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

For Review: Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers, A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig 

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