Bookmark Lit Bulletin: September 2014

bookmarklit bulletinHello friends! As you know, I introduced the Bookmark Lit Bulletin as a way of reviewing what I posted and did throughout the month. A lot of bloggers participate in Sunday Post or Stacking the Shelves memes, but I try to stay off the blogosphere on weekends. To that point, I post the Bookmark Lit Bulletin twice a month to serve that purpose. The first is posted for a mid-month update on the 15th, and the second is posted for a monthly wrap-up on the 30th or 31st. I post my book haul at the end of the month. For past bulletins, click here!

wrap up this month

bookish thoughts

As I’ve said a hundred times before, this month was super super busy in my personal life. Unfortunately I only managed to finish 10 books this month, which is kind of small considering how well I did last month! Most of the books were really enjoyable though. I’m happy I was given the opportunity by On The Same Page ARC tours to get two books this month (Damsel Distressed and Famous in Love). With ARC tours, you’re given a week to read the book before you have to send it along to the next person. Unfortunately that made me have to stop in my tracks with the book I was reading (my ARC of Trial By Fire, thanks Macmillan!) to read these two. Luckily it hasn’t been too hard to pick right back up with it when I can, though. I’m just grateful I had the opportunity for these ARCs, so I’m not complaining! Aside from that, I had completely forgotten I had a guest post due on the 27th until Andi reminded us all that week. Whoops! I read Just Like Fate in two days because it was so good anyways! Stay tuned for my post during Parallel Time Loop on October 13th at Andi’s ABCs. Since my reading has been very structured and scheduled this month, I’m glad that the books I’ve read have been great! I would hate to have a strict reading timeline and be forced to read books I’m not enjoying. I recently posted about my blogging schedule and started using Google Calendar to plan my posts better. It’s been great so far because I can see what I need to do, project out my review schedule, and plan when I need to read certain books.non bookish thoughts

This has been a CRAZY busy month. We moved into our new apartment at the beginning of the month, celebrated my birthday, went to alumni weekend at my college, celebrated our anniversary, and traveled to Maine for this past weekend. My boyfriend was given a paid week off from work because their customer changed their mind about shipment dates, so I was able to take off two days this week. We had some bookish adventures…until he was called back into work for the next day. I was able to head to the Big E with my mom for my second day off, so at least it wasn’t wasted. Otherwise, we’ve been enjoying our new apartment and laying low now that things have calmed down. I’ve been trying to make more personal posts on here lately, because I am always interested in learning more about the bloggers behind their blogs. It helps me vary the kinds of posts I make and share a little bit of my life. This was original going to be a book and lifestyle blog, so why not add a little of that in from time to time? Continue reading

Musing Mondays #9

musingmonday Describe one of your reading habits.

why get a library cardI’ve talked before about how long I went without a library card, but I’ve been thinking lately about how amazing and important library cards actually are. One of my reading habits over the past five years has been to just buy books. When I was younger (elementary school and middle school), the library was an amazingly huge part of my life. I would spend summer days at my grandma’s house walking to the library with my stepsister, getting ten books, and reading them outside in the shade all day. I would go with my mom and check out a bunch of books to read by the pool. I would go to the library after school and read books in comfy chairs until my mom would pick me up on her way home from work.

I spent my college years not reading (and buying books when I did sit down to read). My library card expired and I didn’t see the sense in renewing it when I was hardly home anyways. This continued after college, to when I moved into a new town and didn’t get a library card there either. Now that I’ve settled a little more into another town, I FINALLY went to get a library card. Now that I have one, I’m addicted to the library.

I made excuses for YEARS because I was too lazy to go get a new library card. I spent I-don’t-even-want-to-know-how-much-money on books that I could have gotten for free. Totally and completely free. I know, I can’t add the book to my collection. But as someone who doesn’t re-read books, do I really even need to add the book to my collection? If it becomes a favorite, I can buy the book afterwards! Authors aren’t going to get mad at you if you read their book from a library. They just want you to read it! This is especially the case for book bloggers. If I get a book from the library and then post a review, lots of people will read the review and a few people may actually go out and buy that book. If I didn’t share my thoughts, they may have never done that.

Do you take advantage of your local library? If not, September is Library Card Sign-Up Month – so do it!!

Musing Mondays are hosted by Should Be Reading, where we discuss bookish topics like reading habits, rants, what you’re currently reading, recent purchases, etc.

2014-08-02 22.50.11

200 Word Review: Private series

In honor of my intentions to finally finish the Private series by Kate Brian, I’m going to post a brief review here for the first 12 books of the season. Yes, somehow I’ll review all twelve books in less than 200 words. I want to play catch up a little bit because I know once I read the final books, I’ll want to post those reviews. It’ll feel too weird posting them without having some other semblance of a review for the rest of the series. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the entire Private series so far…

the basicsPrivate series (Books 1-12) by Kate Brian

Ratingfive stars
First impression: Oooh, this sounds like me!
Last impression: Kind of an odd twist…
Format: Paperbacks
Publishing Info: First book published July 1st 2006 / Goodreads
Other books read by authorShadowlands series, Sweet 16, Privilege series

summary

Private (Private, #1)Tradition, Honor, Excellence… and secrets so dark they’re almost invisible
Fifteen-year-old Reed Brennan wins a scholarship to Easton Academy—the golden ticket away from her pill-popping mother and run-of-the-mill suburban life. But when she arrives on the beautiful, tradition-steeped campus of Easton, everyone is just a bit more sophisticated, a bit more gorgeous, and a lot wealthier than she ever thought possible. Reed realizes that even though she has been accepted to Easton, Easton has not accepted her. She feels like she’s on the outside, looking in.
Until she meets the Billings Girls.
They are the most beautiful, intelligent, and intensely confident girls on campus. And they know it. They hold all the power in a world where power is fleeting but means everything. Reed vows to do whatever it takes to be accepted into their inner circle.
Reed uses every part of herself—the good, the bad, the beautiful—to get closer to the Billings Girls. She quickly discovers that inside their secret parties and mountains of attitude, hanging in their designer clothing-packed closets the Billings Girls have skeletons. And they’ll do anything to keep their secrets private.review h Continue reading

The Book Blogger Test Tag

book blogger testWhat are your top three book hates?

  1. Folding down page corners / dog-earring
  2. Folding the book in half so the cover gets all bent (I wish I had a dollar for every time I scolded friends who did this to MY books I lent them)
  3. People who shame others for reading YA when you’re not technically in the “age group” — read what makes you happy!!

Describe your perfect reading spot.

I’ve shared my 10 favorite places to read in the past, but I think my overall ideal reading location would be somewhere outside in the shade with lots of pillows and blankets, a perfect temperature outside, with a coffee (or a margarita! or a beer!) next to me.

Tell us three book confessions.

  1. I hate cover reveal posts on blogs. I’m sorry! I’m just sick of seeing the same cover over and over again. If you post more promotional things than reviews, I just don’t see the point.. If it’s your most anticipated read of the coming year and you’re excited about the cover, that’s perfect, but otherwise I’ll skip right by that in my feed.
  2. I think I’m starting to prefer my Kindle to real books. I know, I know. I really do love the feeling of holding a REAL book in my hands, but it’s so much easier to hold a Kindle. Plus I can read in the dark!
  3. I went through a book dry spell for quite a few years. College was just not conducive to reading for me, unfortunately. Now, I’ve read more books in the past five months than I’ve probably read in 2010-2013 combined.

When was the last time you cried during a book?

Literally this week. At my desk. At work….. Second Chance Summer slayed me.

How many books are on your bedside table?

I have one book in my purse (whichever book I’m currently reading, or my Kindle if that’s where the book is). Otherwise, I have my two Kindles and two library books on my bedside table at this very moment.

What is your favorite snack to eat while you are reading?

Honestly I don’t really like to eat while reading. Coffee is my absolute go-to, especially if I’m reading in bed in the morning. I can read and eat if I’m using my Kindle, but otherwise I don’t really do it. Something I can easily eat with my hands that isn’t messy!

Name three books you would recommend to anyone.

  1. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – so many family, first love, best friend feels all rolled into one.
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky – super classic for me.
  3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – anyone who doesn’t get COMPLETELY addicted and drawn into this book is crazy!

Show us a picture of your favorite shelf on your bookcase.

I just put up my new bookshelf so here’s the whole thing (bottom of post). Most of my books are still at my parents’ houses. Sorry for all of the pictures blocking the books… We haven’t found a home for the pictures of us yet in our new apartment!

Write what books mean to you in three words.

  1. Escape – books are a great way to escape from your own problems or escape into a new fantastical world
  2. Connect – they’re a great way to connect to other bloggers, readers, and authors; being in the book blogging world has made my life so much more exciting and full of (sometimes free!) books I normally wouldn’t get around to reading
  3. Necessary – not being in the middle of a book feels so wrong; I can’t believe I was able to go so long without reading during my college years… books are a necessary part of life at this point!

What is your biggest reading secret?

I rarely take notes when I read, even though I will definitely regret it when I write my review! I hate being distracted by the idea of writing something down; it makes it feel like homework instead of fun. Sometimes I’ll jot a note down in my phone or save it into the review’s draft on WordPress… That only happens if I don’t think I’ll remember it, or if I worded something so perfectly that I don’t want to forget it.

bookshelf

Now I tag YOU for the Book Blogger Test Tag!

Review: Just Like Fate

parallel time loop


the basics

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young

Ratingfour and a half stars
First impression: Can’t wait to finally read this
Last impression: GAHHH
Format: Paperback / 304 pages
Publishing Info: August 27th 2013 / Goodreads
Other books read by author: None

summaryJust Like FateCaroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline’s been at Gram’s bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape–both her family and the reality of Gram’s failing health. So when Caroline’s best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram’s side, or go to the party and live her life.
The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline’s fate into two separate paths–and she’s about to live them both.
Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she’s ever wanted.
Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending…

review h

Continue reading

Five on Fridays #1

fiveonfridayToday I’m introducing a “new” meme on Bookmark Lit. Friday Finds was getting to be too much work for me each week – I generally add a LOT of books to my TBR list each week. It took way too long to get the book images, create a post, link to the Goodreads, etc. If I only added a handful of books it wouldn’t be an issue. Regardless, I’ve seen this sort of post on a number of blogs lately but none of them seem to be attached to a specific meme. (Just to give some credit where it could be due, I’ve seen this kind of thing on Hello, Chelly! and Rosie Reads). This meme will basically be the top five things that have been on my mind this week! It could be book-related, but it may be music, movies, TV, personal life, food, etc! Without further ado, here’s the first Five on Friday!

shake it offI’ll admit that I didn’t like this song at first. I miss the old T.Swift with her country songs and long curly hair. However, once I went to my college for alumni weekend, my friends and I listened to it literally on repeat and I haven’t been able to stop yet. It’s now one of those songs that reminds me of a super fun weekend with friends. I tend to scream it and go crazy in the car when it comes on, just like my friends and I did. My boyfriend said he could just picture the three of us doing that all weekend. (I’m listening to it right now…CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP MOVINNN.)

schedulingreading

I posted yesterday about my blogging schedule, which has been something I’ve been thinking about a lot this week. I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to being organized and having everything planned out. Just ask my boyfriend – we can’t do anything without me planning it out until it’s not as fun and spontaneous as it could be. I’ve become pretty anal about scheduling posts and reading, but it’s the only way I can keep everything organized! I started using Google Calendar to plan out my reviews, posts, memes, etc. – I color coded everything based on if it’s complete or still needs to be worked on. It’s much easier to see when I need to read certain books or make certain posts. Lately things have been crazy because I tend to overdo it when it comes to signing up for bookish things. I’m currently in two ARC tours (and a blog tour for one of the ARCs), so I’ve been reading all of my books around that schedule. I normally like to read casually and just enjoy it… I need to get back into that and stop putting so much pressure on myself! Library books can always be renewed and I will always own the books on my physical TBR shelf.the big emini donutsIf you’re not from New England (or maybe more specifically Connecticut or Massachusetts), you have no idea what this is. The Eastern States Exhibition – more commonly known as the Big E – is a HUGE fair that comes to Springfield, Mass. every September for about three weeks. It has all the gross fair food you could eat, as well as rides, tents full of clothes and crafts you don’t need, and a whole building that has products that can only be described as “shit you could see on an infomercial.” I normally go twice per year. My boyfriend actually asked me out at the Big E two years ago, so we’ve made that a tradition for our anniversary. My mom also likes to take off time from work to go with me once a year too. They have cool state buildings for Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island, where stores/restaurants from those states come in and sell their stuff. It’s such a fun outing for fall time. On the side you’ll see a picture of my favorite thing of all time to eat at fairs – my mini donuts! ❤ goodreadsTHANK GOD FOR THIS UPDATE. I can’t believe it’s finally happened. Goodreads needed a major update to their app; I was so excited to see a major overhaul. The Updates feed was always impossible to read and never even showed the full book image or title. It was impossible to update progress in the book you were reading. They’ve made it so much easier to use for pretty much every feature! Of course, Goodreads still has a long way to go before bloggers fully enjoy it. (Ahem, half stars PLEASE!?)shock topMy boyfriend is not a drinker at all. We used to never really keep beer in the fridge or casually drink them at night while watching TV. He’s suddenly changed his attitude towards drinking now and we have been exploring the many flavors of my favorite beer: Shock Top. We have a variety pack in the fridge right now that has some great fall flavors. Our favorite is the Raspberry Wheat. It tastes amazing without adding an orange, but of course it’s basically mandatory to add one to most Shock Top flavors (especially the original). The Honeycrisp Apple Wheat is pretty good, but it tastes more like a hard cider than a beer. We also have the Belgian White and Pumpkin Wheat in the variety pack, but haven’t gotten a chance to try them yet because we both got sick and didn’t think drinking would help (lol). Pumpkin beer is a must for me during the fall season, but I generally don’t stray much from Shipyard Pumpkinhead. On my birthday I tried Leinenkugel Harvest Patch Shandy, which was by far the best pumpkin beer I’ve ever had, but I haven’t been able to track it down anywhere in the store 😦

Random Bookish Thoughts: Blogging Schedule

random bookish thoughtsToday’s Topic: Blogging Schedules!

Random Bookish Thoughts, a “meme” that (ironically, based on today’s topic) has no real scheduled posting day. Any time I think of a random bookish topic, I’ll share my thoughts on it. You’re encouraged to join me in the comments if you have any thoughts, too!

Do you have a blogging schedule, or do you post whatever, whenever? What’s your schedule look like if you have one? How often to you post reviews vs. memes/other topics?

I started this blog without any intention of creating a schedule for myself. I joined in on a weekly meme for each day of the week (aside from weekends) because I wasn’t sure what to post. You’ve heard my thoughts on weekly memes before. I like them – I think they can help inspire you to post when you normally may not cover that topic or even write on your blog for the day. Everyone’s responses are different and interesting; it brings people together. Aside from those memes, I posted reviews whenever I happened to write them; I posted other recommendation lists whenever I was inspired to. Now that I’m entering the third month with my blog, I have definitely created a blogging schedule that I (mostly) follow. I like to post every day on here, even if it’s just the daily meme or a recommendation list.

weekly blogging schedulemonthly blogging schedule

Continue reading

Bookish Adventures

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art & Montague Book Mill

My boyfriend and I took some time off this week and were able to have some bookish adventures! We were originally going to head up to Boston for the day, but Chris has been sick since the weekend and wasn’t sure how much walking around he would be able to do. I’m grateful that he agreed to this day though, because he is generally a non-reader (although I am slowly converting him! He’s listening to the Lord of the Rings audiobooks while working and has checked out some Lego books from the library. The key for helping non-readers is finding books about topics that interest them!). We ventured up into the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, which is around an hour from where we live in Connecticut. It’s so pretty up there with tons of farmland – it was the perfect time of year, too, since the leaves are starting to change!

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art1

Our first stop was the museum located on the campus of Hampshire College in Amherst. We were randomly looking into museums we could go to that were closeby and discovered this one. It was so cute – everyone remembers reading Eric Carle books as kids. The two featured artists within the small museum were Simms Taback, author of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, and Louise Fitzhugh, author and illustrator of Harriet the Spy.

I only took a few pictures inside the galleries (because you’re technically not allowed to), but I just wanted to show what the place looked like. One gallery featured the permanent exhibit dedicated to Eric Carle’s life and artwork. It was interesting to learn about his life and how he got started. Fun fact: he started in magazine advertising and design! He worked for various companies and magazines designing their artwork. He was approached by an author, who was impressed by his work, that asked him to illustrate a
book for him. The rest is history!

2The middle exhibit featured the Harriet the Spy. It was interesting seeing all of the illustrations from the book because it has been SO long since I read it. It’s amazing what people can do with pen and ink. It definitely made me want to re-read those books. I wish I could have gotten some pictures of the drawings.

The last exhibit was about Simms Taback and his work. He actually had a number of cute books that were featured, but the most prominent one that people remember is There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. I loved the way he integrated mixed media into his books. There was one cool picture of buttons that he made. Some images of buttons were real buttons, and some were ones he drew. You could tell when you were standing up close, but they all looked real when you stepped back from them.

Montague Bookmill

43I’d been drooling over pictures of this place for almost a year before I finally convinced Chris to go. The bumper sticker doesn’t lie – it is almost impossible to find. It took us about another twenty minutes to get there from the museum. It’s tucked in the woods right next to a river. They have other buildings near it and attached to it: a restaurant, cafe, arts collective, and music/DVD store. We browsed for a while but honestly I was a little disappointed in the selection. I understand that I won’t find all sorts of new releases at a used bookstore, but I always at least hope for some current books. All of the books in there were really, really old. The young adult section was very small and had a lot of titles and authors I didn’t even recognize.

The scenery and interior of the building were gorgeous though! I took so many pictures. Chris used his fancy camera and probably got a lot of better shots than me, of course. I was glad we went regardless of my small haul from there. We tried to eat at the cafe and restaurant there, but both locations didn’t really have food we were looking to eat. The restaurant was very expensive, and the cafe had some weird sandwiches that we totally weren’t in the mood for. We ended up going over to a nearby tavern and restaurant for dinner before heading home. I wish I took some pictures of our food because it was pretty good!

5When we returned to town, we went to our library to really cap off the bookish day! Chris got the next book in the LOTR series he’s listening to as well as the Lego book you see in the picture. I got another book to add to my pile…as if I really have time for library books right now! I currently have three checked out that I need to read within the first couple weeks of October. I’m sure I won’t have a problem finishing them, but I am unnecessarily stressing out about it anyways. I am totally addicted to the library now that we have our library cards. I can’t believe I went SO long without one. I had one in my hometown that I used for many years. It expired while I was in college and I never got around to renewing it (plus, as you know, I barely had any time to read during college). When I moved home from school, Chris and I moved in together in a different town. The library there was in a rough area of town so I kind of stayed away from it. By the time I was really getting back into reading again, we were planning a move to the next town over. FINALLY I got my library card and it feels so good. (Clearly, because I’m addicted already)

We went back to our apartment after finishing at the library and decided to read some books outside. We watched the sun set from our little gazebo and read until the solar-powered light in there turned off. My plan of getting my boyfriend to be a reader is totally working! It was such a beautiful day for our little adventure and I’m so glad that we went 🙂

Check out my bookish haul from the day!

6

 

200 Word Review: That Summer

the basicsThat Summer by Sarah Dessen

Ratingthree stars
First impression: I can’t believe I somehow missed this one!
Last impression: The ending made up for a lot
Format: Audiobook / 4 hrs 38 min
Publishing Info: April 6th 2006 / Goodreads
Other books read by authorJust Listen, The Truth About Forever, This Lullaby, Lock and Key, Along for the Ride, Someone Like You, What Happened to Goodbye, Keeping the Moon

summary

That SummerFor fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She’s nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley’s reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.

review h Continue reading