When Everything Feels Heavy

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I know the darkness has always been there in the world but I feel like I’ve felt it weighing heavier on me more than usual lately. Maybe it’s that I’m paying more attention to current events and things. Maybe it’s the way I see everything on the internet so it feels all up in my face. Maybe things really ARE just especially bad right now more than usual. Whatever the case…these days I just feel heaviness. Like I have “heavy boots” to steal a phrase from a book I love. It’s murder and injustice and terrorism and garbage people and hate. So many awful headlines. So many scary current events.

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6 Years of Blogging? Say WHAT! (Plus A Different Sort of Giveaway?)

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As of yesterday this blog is 6 years old. OH MY STARS. That is a long time. I’ve said this before but I have always been surprised I lasted for more than a year at this as a serial hobby dropper. 24 year old Jamie who started this blog probably would have never imagined that at 30 she would have been able to keep this blog that long and really let it grow alongside her.

Look how cute I was like 3 months into blogging!!! And skinnier, oof!

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I didn’t write anything for yesterday because I just didn’t know what to say. What more can I say after 6 blog birthdays? I’ve done flashy giveaways. I did an embarrassing video my first year. I’ve thanked you all profusely and talked about how important this blog has been to me/how it has changed my life. All the things you’ve seen me through. I’ve reflected and given advice to people on this blogging journey.

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Home Sweet Home

I’m back!! Some of you might be like, “hmmm oops didn’t even know you left.”  I did though — thanks to the internet it maybe felt like I never went anywhere. I just got back from my two week trip to London and Madrid with my husband — I’ll share some pictures down below. I sooo could have done another week or two in other cities after these two weeks but 1) haha money 2) I missed our dog.  We had a great time at which maybe I’ll talk about in more detail later…or maybe I won’t. I haven’t decided because motivation is always a problem so we shall see.

I will slowly be catching up with responding to things (lols to my inbox right now) and getting back in the groove but I have a feeling this week might be S L O W.

I *DID* post while I was gone but did a crap job of promoting it via other social media so you may have missed it. So, maybe while I get my crap together, you can check those out in the meantime.

 

So here’s a little sneak peek of my trip in the event you weren’t following along on Instagram or Snapchat or Twitter.  I plan to go through our pictures from our real camera this week but these are just ones from my phone that are largely unedited.

 

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Segovia from the alcazar

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THE BEST OF THE BEST

I’ve been blogging consistently (mostly except like when I was planning my wedding) for the past 6 years. In those years I’ve written A LOT of posts — reviews, discussions, lists, all sorts of random goodness. I always thought I’d run out of things to say but lololol if you know me…that’s likely to never happen.

There are some people who I know have been along for the journey with me since the beginning and there are some who may have just come along in more recent years. And when I was thinking about what I’d post while I’m away on vacation for two weeks I started thinking how when I find a blog I like to dive deep into their archives when I have time. I’m the one who will be click click clicking around your website. So I thought it might be fun, whether you’ve been here for a few years or a couple days, to revisit some of my favorite and most popular posts I’ve done through the years.

I mean, because, really….as bloggers we spend a lot of time on these posts and I’d hate for them to be collecting dust and never seeing the light of day again. I always try to link to relevant old posts in my posts (such a good thing, for many reasons, for all bloggers to do if you aren’t doing that!) but sometimes I just want to shout, “HEY I WROTE THIS POST ONE TIME AND IT WAS GREAT AND YOU SHOULD READ IT!”

So, while I’m away, let me guide you through a tour of some of the blog posts you may have missed along the way (narrowing this down was sooooo freaking hard)! Hope you enjoy catching up/revisiting! And, I hope, maybe some of these will even spark a blog post or two for you! Would love to know if it does!

(NGL, it’s going to be light on the posts from 2010 and 2011, because while I’m proud of a bunch, they are ugly and need to be spruced up and reformatted (or are just outdated) and I never find time to do that.)

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Random Musings On Accessibility To Your Heroes

Things have changed so much in the author/reader space since my childhood/teen years. If I loved a book or something I didn’t have Twitter to jump on to exclaim my love for it directly to the author immediately. I had to write a letter on my best stationary (probably multiple times because I always would mess up or sound dumb), beg for a stamp from my mom, lick the icky envelope and mail that puppy…more than likely to the publisher who would then forward it and WHO KNOWS if the author ever got my letter. I sure never got a response. Sidenote: sometimes I really want to send snail mail to the authors of my most favorite books to show my appreciation rather than popping off a quick tweet or blog post.

I’ve talked about this before but authors, and our heroes/idols in general, are so incredibly accessible because of the internet. It’s great. It really is. I love being able to connect with an author whose book I loved. To talk to them about it. To show them my appreciation. To sometimes even create really good relationships past that. I love having some access to my favorites — to see the behind the scenes and get to know the person. To learn more about them. To go on this journey with them. It can all be a really positive thing.

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Truthwitch Pen Pal Blog Tour

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One of my FAVORITE books (like literally in my top 5) that I read in 2015 was Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. You can read my 6 reasons you NEED to read Truthwitch post if you need any more prodding at all. I devoured it immediately after I got it at BEA in June (yeah, I have no impulse control) and it’s been THAT book that I want to reread and talk about and yell about and READ THE SEQUEL TO (wah, 2017 why you so far away)…and OMG IT IS OUT TODAY!!!!

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Looking Back On My 2015 Book-Related Goals

Before my post with my 2016 bookish resolutions goes live on Tuesday I wanted to share how I did on my goals for 2015….because, you know, accountability and crap.

Last year I had an overall goal and that was to keep focus on why I do this blogging stuff. And I think I REALLY did a great job with that. That’s a harder one to quantify and measure but I really truly can say I think I did great with this.

 

 

Now for the individual goals I had last year:

 

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The essence of this goal was to add more diversity in my reading and as I looked back over my year I did this 11/12 months. I will be honest…me doing well at this challenge had less to do with me actually having this goal in my mind but more so just the things I happened to pick up — which did make me happy because it means that I had diverse books on my TBR or prioritized them for review. I know I could definitely do better and be even MORE conscious about this. I think me pretty much been successful in this goal was a fluke.

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Farewell 2015…I’m Coming For You 2016!

Last year I talked about my best moments of the year in my Best of Things Not Books post but this year I wanted to recap my 2015  a la 2012 style that I did and also really reflect upon it a la 2013 style with some lessons. It will be a mesh of the two I think.

So let’s start with the fact that 2015 was a pretty good year I have to say. I know it wasn’t for a lot of people but, for me, it was good. Not like BEST YEAR EVER. But not the awfulness of the past couple years where I feel like I struggled to make it out alive…just telling myself one day at a time. Reading my 2013 reflections brought up a lot of feels (what a truly awful year) as I was thinking about 2015. I remember the hardships so clearly but, having some distance, I’m just really proud of myself because I made it through. I persevered through depression and being scary broke because I had gotten laid off and so many times of being kicked when I was down and thinking “this can’t get worse.”

2015 has not been without it’s struggles or tears or days where I just want to be done. There were disappointments. Bad news. Really hard things I didn’t think I’d be able to handle. Days of just sobbing in the shower. Job rejections. Having to grieve my mom so intensely again after 9 years because my stepdad got remarried, we had to go through my mom’s stuff and I became a guest in my childhood home — the only place left that held so much of my mom besides my own memories (I talked about the fickle nature of memories this year). But weirdly the good seemed to outweigh the bad and I think my coping skills improved in 2015 and I think I worked to not let some of these things define me. I let go to stuff. I held on to even better stuff.

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Eight 2015 Debut Novels That Shouldn’t Be Missed

As I’ve done in previous years I wanted to highlight some of my favorite debut novels of the year! I always make it a point to read a lot of debut novels and I’ve really enjoyed, over the past 5 years, giving a debut novel a chance and watching over all these years a career propel forward. You just never know which debut novelist will become a favorite and I can say I’ve had this happen quite a few times.

 

Shoutout to Becky Albertalli’s Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda who was on my overall top 2015 releases and is MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2015. So obviously it makes this list!

 

 

Mosquitoland David Arnold

1.Mosquitoland by David Arnold: Honestly this was one of my favorite books this year and the only reason I didn’t put it on my overall top 2015 releases is because I knew I would put it on this list and there were some non-debuts I wanted to also get some attention! This book was like nothing I ever read and was really something special! (my review of Mosquitoland)

 

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2. Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul: This one was so unsettling the way this relationship between two (toxic) best friends is explored. There was something about it that was so different than anything I’ve ever read in terms of how a toxic friendship was explored. Plus the writing was great! (my mini book talk of Underneath Everything)

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6th Annual End Of Year Survey – 2015 edition!!

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My silly little survey I created for myself to highlight what I read in 2010 suddenly grew when a bunch of others jumped in and has turned into such a fun end of year event that I have LOVED hosting and has made my TBR list grow crazily! Seriously, 360 people linked up last year and I know even more participated on their blogs and on Youtube!! So without further ado: the 6th annual End of Year Book Survey!

I know the year isn’t over yet but, as I said in year’s past, this is the time I start reflecting on what I’ve read and start looking ahead because I NEVER get much reading done during December with the holidays and what not! I’ll be filling mine out soon (I know I said that last year and never did but I have motivation this year…last year I was just DONE with all the things) but I’ll be revising if I happen to read something absolutely earth shattering that would need to be on here!

So feel to fill this out whenever you feel like it (please credit me!)…whether that’s today or in January   — I know everybody will want to reflect at different points! Feel free to link up and share your End of Year Book Survey and visit others on the list!

 

Note: The survey is for books you read throughout the year, no matter when they were published, and is not limited to just books that came out in 2014!!

 

 

 

 

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Number Of Books You Read:
Number of Re-Reads:
Genre You Read The Most From:

 

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1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

 

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

 

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

 

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

 

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

 

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

 

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

 

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

 

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

 

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

 

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

 

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this yeaer that was the shortest and longest.

 

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

 

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

 

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

 

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

 

21. Best Book You Read In 2015That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

 

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

 

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

 

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

 

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

 

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

 

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

 

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

 

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

 

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

 

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

 

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

 

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

 

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

 

 

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

 

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

 

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

 

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

 

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

 

 

If you could, I’d love you to leave some feedback for any questions you’d LIKE to see on this survey in the future that perhaps I don’t have on here!

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