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

Truthwitch pen pal blog tour


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:



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)


Underneath Everything

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!!



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!!






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



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)?


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?


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!

The Tale of Two (Warring) Bookworms Within Me

For as long as I could remember I’ve always dreamed of having Belle’s library in the Beauty and the Beast.


Or at least some beautiful room full of bookshelves or at the very least some customized built-in bookshelves that line the walls. I’ve scoffed when Will (or anyone outside of this community) says I’m hoarding books and have delighted in continuing in building my collection. I’ve oogled bookshelves and libraries on Pinterest and elsewhere:


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Recommendations Needed From YOU!

One of my favorite things about wandering my library or bookstore has always been how it puts me in a position to pick up things on a whim. I’m not marching in there to get something specific but am simply there browsing, discovering and taking my time. I think, especially after blogging for all these years, I’ve made it a point to regularly browse because it’s so easy to get caught up in reading what gets sent to me for review or what’s hot and new. It allows me freedom to just be drawn to something that interests me or that I might not have heard of (and I try REALLY hard to not consult social media/Goodreads all the time to look at ratings because I’m TOO affected and judge books by their ratings even though some of my favorite books I may not have picked up if I saw their rating).

Anyways, back to my point for this post. I was just browsing my library this past weekend and I saw a comic book that sounded interesting. And I was like “SELF, you have never read a comic book/graphic novel. LET’S DO THIS.” I read very eclectically am and always trying to broaden my reading horizons but this was one area that I haven’t ever dipped my toes into it.

The comic was Wytches and I’m super early into it but I picked it up because the cover looked creepy! I’m really enjoying it so far and I’m so glad I let myself be drawn to it and I’m wanting to dip my toes in even more.

WytchesWytches Volume 1

SO..that’s where you come in….


Queen of Shadows Blog Tour: A Throne of Glass Inspired Edition of Retail Therapy


So very excited to be on the Queen of Shadows blog tour with the Maas Thirteen — it has been such a great and creative tour so far! It’s no secret I’m a big fan of the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (if you don’t know about it…check out this post) and I was so, so pleased with Queen of Shadows!! Okay, pleased is being very, very tame. I haven’t been right since I’ve read it, to be honest.

I had two really fun, albeit VERY involved and time-consuming, ideas for my spot on this tour. I was so planning on devoting the time to doing one of them because, seriously, they were so fun (at least I thought so)….but then I went and adopted a dog on Labor Day so any and all time I had to invest in filming these ideas was GONE. But I shall save them for the next tour should the Maas Thirteen invite me back. Related, I tried to name the dog all of the following: Fleetfoot, Chaol, Dorian, Aedion and Rowan but Will said no. So if that I had worked out I could have just taken really cute pictures of my ToG named dog and posed him into scenes from the series. But alas, Will vetoed the names and we’ve found that the dog (Finnikin) won’t sit still long enough to take a photo of him soooo yeah.


If you frequent this blog you know I’ve been doing Retail Therapy posts (with varying degrees of consistency) since 2011. If you are stopping by from the blog tour, welcome to Retail Therapy in which I make you empty your wallets and feel zero percent bad about it.

It’s not enough that I spend money on books but I really like to spend money on bookish things and so I thought it would be really fun to highlight some of my favorite fan made products. I love how books inspire creativity in people. Especially with this series I’ve seen sooo many amazing displays of fan art — even songs inspired by this series and these characters!


*Clicking on photos will take you to the shop of the artist who made it*
*I do not own these photographs, they are the property of the artists I’ve linked*



Because really who doesn’t need more bookmarks!

Throne of glass bookmarks

Throne of Glass bookmark

handpainted throne of glass bookmarks* I may or may not have bought the last 2 of the *rattle the stars* bookmark here and will be giving one away at the bottom of this post. I’m not sure if she will make more or if they are sold out for good!*

Wall Art




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5 Questions With Leila Sales Plus She Interviews Me (GIVEAWAY TOO!)

If you followed my blog last year you know that Leila Sales’ This Song Will Save Your Life was one of my FAVORITE reads of last year. So obviously her new release, Tonight The Streets Are Ours, is one of my MOST anticipated books of 2015. If you want to check out what it’s about, hop down to the bottom of the post! So obviously I’m super excited to have Leila on my blog today because I adore her AND we have a fun interview post today — I ask Leila 5 questions and SHE turns the tables on ME and asks me 5 questions. And man, she asked some doozies! I have so much more respect for authors having to answer interview questions after getting the tables turned on me!!!

So, I’ll go ahead and hit Leila with some of my most burning questions!


1. If you wrote a blog outside of writer-y things what would it be about and what would you name it? If Teen Leila was living in 2015 and wrote a blog, what would it be about and what would you have named it?

For many years I wrote a blog called The Leila Texts: http://theleilatexts.blogspot.com. I would still be doing it if I were still getting text messages from random strangers every day! When I was in college I wrote a blog that was about my thoughts and relationships—really just a journal, except anyone with the URL could read it. I wanted so badly to be understood (a desire that I think a lot of teens and adults share), and I felt like if people read my blog, then they would understand me.

If I were a teenager today, though, I bet I would start a book blog. You guys have such a cool community. I would have definitely wanted to be part of it. Plus I’ve always wanted excuses to tell people what I think about books I’m reading.

2. Tell me about one of your best spontaneous, crazy nights that you’ve ever had!

New Years Eve this year was pretty great. My friend Emily and I went to a friend’s loft party until 4am, got breakfast at the 24-hour diner, drove to Spa Castle (it’s this giant warehouse of saunas and pools in Queens), got there right as it opened at 6am, and hung out in the spa until mid-afternoon.
Oh, and then there’s Halloween a couple years ago. Emily and I dressed up as two-thirds of the British band the Pipettes (we didn’t have a third friend who wanted in on this group costume), and we went to an house party with a killer sound system, and then a warehouse party overlooking the East River and we hung out on the roof and took a bunch of photos with a dude who was dressed as a lobster (I don’t know), and then went to my favorite indiepop dance party.

I could keep going, but suffice it to say that most of my best spontaneous and crazy nights include Emily.

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