Book Talk: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Book Talk: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs WallerA Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller by Sharon Biggs Waller
Publisher/Year: Viking Juvenile- January 2014
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
Other Books From Author: None, this was her debut!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”


When Vicky gets kicked out of her French finishing school when someone finds out she has posed nude for her art class she’s sent home to face her parents who are outraged at how she’s disgraced the family and they are trying to marrying her off to save the family name and her social status. While she tries to pretend to play nice with her parents rules and plans for her life, she really is applying to the Royal College of Art behind their backs, finding a growing interest in the suffragette movement and spending time with a man her parents and their social circles wouldn’t approve of. She dreams of being an artist but at what cost?



Historical fiction used to be my one true love, friends. In the past couple years I haven’t read as much of it but this book reminds me why I LOVE it so much. The truly excellent historical novels, like this one, transport me so flawlessly into this sliver of the past and leave me with this insatiable thirst to research that time period or event or find more fiction set in that time.

So what was so great about A Mad, Wicked Folly?

1. The setting: London in 1909 = Edwardian era goodness! The height of the suffragette movement there! Plus Vicky’s world is high society and balls and pretty dresses. I was just so immersed as Sharon just so perfectly and with detail painted the setting for the reader to feel instantly transported to that time. I could feel the tension in the social structure and in the women’s rights movement as well.

2. Vicky is such a dynamic character: Girl is FEISTY and incredibly passionate about her art and I loved it. She’s not a perfect character and that’s what I loved about her. She only really seems to be interested in the suffragette’s works at first because it can further her dreams of going to art school. She has her prejudices, due to her upbringing, that will make you cringe. But it all felt so realistic. How her eyes were opened to the things that the suffragette’s were fighting for. How she looked differently at the social constructs after the things she experienced. I loved watching her growth SO MUCH as she fights to be able to create the art she so desires, asks the hard questions and questions

3. It made me just feel so thankful for these suffragettes: Reading this book and watching what the suffragette’s are doing in this time just made me so grateful for all these women who did so much to give me all the right’s I have. They were laughed at and jailed and treated AWFULLY and still they fought. It was so incredibly inspiring and I just love reading about strong, passionate women. Made me not want to take forget how far we’ve come but also so sad for the ways that as women we still are not looked at as equal to men.



factors+plot, characters, romance, setting, writing
- Nada.

Re-readability: Yes!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Already have one thanks to Jen!

a5historical fiction lovers, people who like reading about strong women, people who like reading about women’s rights subjects, people who are new to historical fiction (bc this one is SO great!).

a8A Mad, Wicked Folly was just one of those books that reminds me why I love historical fiction — I felt so transported to the setting, found myself immersed in the characters ad plot and it gave me this fierce need to LEARN afterwards. I loved Vicky’s journey as she fights to pursue her art when society is positioned against her and then having her eyes opened to the injustices of the time which make her question everything she was ever told.

review-on-post-itA Mad, Wicked Folly


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?



The Perpetual Page-Turner


Beyond The Pages — Enjoying It For What It Is

Beyond the Pages is my way of sharing the things books make me think about and interact with and want to talk about shared experiences with people. Some of my best conversations have happened because of something that came up in a book. I’m pretty personal in my reviews but I’d like a way to not bog down my review with a huge paragraph of personal experience so this is my way to be able to share it. Some times it will be serious and sometimes just random and fun but I hope we can connect! PAST Beyond the Pages here!



The book that inspired this conversation:

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid


After I Do
(Goodreads // Amazon)

What It Is About:

Lauren and Ryan have been together since they were in college. Now, many years into their marriage, it’s all fallen apart. In an attempt to figure out what to do next, they decide to take a year off from their marriage — no communication at all — in the hopes that spending some time apart they would fall back in love again or figure out what their future is. They both end up on a journey of self-discovery and that year questions what they think about love and marriage and their ideas of it.

What I said about it:

 “I’m so used to reading books about people FALLING IN LOVE that it was refreshing to read something different. I honestly was glued to this unraveling of love but then also this year of self love and reflecting on the marriage and the love for each other.”  Read my full review from last year here!

What It Got Me Thinking About:

It made me think about A LOT re: marriage but I’m not going to get into that because VERY PERSONAL. But today I’m talking about this quote from it:

“Isn’t it nice … once you’ve outgrown the ideas of what life should be and you just enjoy what it is.”



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I feel like if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 29 years of living is that there is no one way that life should be or is going to turn out. And I feel like, while I’ve really embraced the idea in this quote in the past couple years, I find myself in each different stage of life battling it.

We learn from an early age — through movies, tv, and what is around us — what life is supposed to be like. You go to school, go to college, get a good job, get married, have some babies, grow old into retirement and then die. But there are so many variables and details it doesn’t account for. It’s easy to get thrown for a loop when suddenly you don’t find your life checking that next box.

When I was kid, I thought life should include your mom and dad staying married forever.  They got divorced and suddenly the new normal was being a child of divorce, which came with its struggles, but ultimately brought me a stepdad who is like a second father to me, a stepmom who has become like a mother when my own mother has passed and a little sister I wouldn’t have if my parents stayed together.

When I was a teen, I thought life looked a certain way until it didn’t. I went from fun Friday nights and school day dramas to watching my mom get sick from brain cancer. You don’t think, when you are that young, that your parents won’t be there with you into adulthood. You don’t have to think about dying much until it is in your face and then it becomes such a reality. This is by far one of the hardest things of life and it is hard to see any good things but it definitely made me grow up a lot and gave me the ability to help people who have gone through things like this — including Will when he lost his dad.

When I was a college student I always thought I’d get out of school, get a good job and start my career in marketing. That’s what was supposed to happen. That was the goal we’d all been working toward with all my studying and good grades. Little did I know when I graduated in 2008 that I’d face one of the worst job markets, that I’d work retail hell at minimum wage for a year, get a part time job in marketing, then FINALLY a full time job that I hated. And I would have never guessed that after I landed that full time job, that a year and a half later, I’d get laid off. I would have never guessed that, here we are 2 years later, and I’m nannying so we can pay the bills and still not in my career.

Before I was a wife, I had ideas of what marriage would be like. In my 2 1/2 years, while it’s been great, there was nothing that could have prepared me for what marriage really is. How hard it is while being wonderful. I’d had all these notions in my head for what marriage SHOULD and WOULD be like and I tried so hard to keep us there…until I realized that we can’t fit a married people mold. That our marriage is our marriage and we can’t compare it to others or what we think it should look like.


There’s so many expectations of what life should be like. In my head I should be in a successful career, maybe buying a house and just feeling more like a grown-up. I don’t. I feel way behind in my career and like I’m a fake grownup. But I’ve realized the more I’ve tried to compare myself to that picture of what life is supposed to be like, that I’m super unhappy. I can’t measure my life or my marriage on some stick that god knows who invented. Our lives can’t and won’t follow that. And the best thing we can do? It’s to just embrace the place we are in our life. Take every single deviation from “the plan” for what it is and enjoy the crap out of it.

For me, it’s as simple as reminding myself the good things about my place in life right now. The ACTUAL reality of my life. Not what I’m missing out on or where I should be. When I’m upset because I feel like a failure career-wise, I take a deep breath and think about the fact that in the summer I’m enjoying a nice day at the park when most people are in an office wishing they were outside or that in the winter I can wear sweatpants and hoodies to work. I think about the lessons I’m learning that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. And there are so many of them.

I could sit here and focus on what life should be/where I should be at or I could embrace what it is and find some freedom in that. It’s not always sunshine and roses but it is what it is and I’m not going to waste my one, precious life here on earth in the rat race of trying to make my life mold to a certain way.


Also check out: On Being LikedYou Mean I Have To Work At This?, What Will You Do With Your One Precious Life?

Book Talk: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

Book Talk: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn HeasleyDon't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen- April 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Where I Belong (which I own and DO want to read still), A Long Way From You

I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”


Imogene’s mom is a popular mommy blogger whose living has been made by writing about being a mom and sharing every step of Imogene’s childhood with the internet. Now that Imogene is older she doesn’t want all these personal details shared especially because all the kids at her school KNOW about it and she’s been embarrassed by all the intimate details she’s revealed from crushes to first periods to embarrassing pictures. When a school project forces Imogene to start a blog, she decides to use the blog to speak out and tell her mom just how much she doesn’t like being the scrutinized subject of her blog and the whole world knowing every detail of her life — a life she’s trying to figure out for herself.

a2*has things to think about re: all the interneting I do*

a4Ah…so this book. I almost put it down. Truthfully? I kept going because I really wanted to, for once, make my Goodreads goal and so I pressed on. Even though I really should have reminded myself of THIS. Anyways, I really liked the concept of this book but it didn’t quite pan out the way I had hoped.

What I Liked:

- the plot: It was new and fresh and as a blogger felt kind of relevant to me — the daughter of a popular mommy blogger is fed up with her mom’s invasion of privacy and being the focus of her blog (seriously HER MOM WROTE ABOUT HER FIRST PERIOD). I thought it was interesting to explore this culture of the internet and blogs and how it affects those close to us. Plus when you read a book about blogging you are like nodding your head about so many things.

how it made me think about the internet: I think in some areas it was just kind of shallow in its exploration of the internet, being connected and privacy but it did provide this springboard for me to really think about it. It posed some interesting thoughts and questions!

What I Didn’t Enjoy:

- Imogene’s POV: So I didn’t realize, because I didn’t read the summary SUPER well, that Imogene is in 9th grade. I typically don’t go for books with MCs that young personally unless I’ve heard AMAAAZING things or that the MC is a bit more mature. But honestly? She felt way younger than 9th grade. I have a nephew in 9th grade and I just think she came off to me more as 6th or 7th grader. I struggled with her voice the whole time. It was just toooo young for me as a personal preference. I think this one will be better for younger teens for sure and readers who aren’t bothered by this. So this was PROBABLY more a reader preference rather than something technically wrong with the book.

- the writing: Something with the writing just annoyed me a lot. From the blog posts Mommylicious makes to Imogene’s voice itself, it just never jived with me. Mostly every voice just felt contrived and just kind of fakey to me. I can’t explain what I mean by that but nobody felt like a real person.

- Mommylicious herself: I don’t have to like characters to like a book but Imogene’s mom is the worst. I mean, her whole Mommylicious things was so grating and over the top. I mean, I know it was probably intended to be exaggerated like that but I couldn’t take it seriously. Her blog post sounded like something some valley girl teenager would write but somehow she is like mommy blogger royalty. I could have handled that as annoyed I was. But even by the end of the book I never felt like her mom ACTUALLY understood how awful she was. Even after Imogene tries to tell her a million ways. Like WHAT TEENAGER WANTS THEIR MOM TO WRITE ALL THEIR MOST PERSONAL DETAILS ON A BLOG THEIR PEERS CAN READ?? But she just never truly GOT it in my mind.

- The drama was just so over-the-top and threw me out of the story: I eye-rolled a lot. Sage getting mad at her was so over-the-top. Reactions to things were over the top. Mommylicious’s reaction to everything was over the top.  What could have been an actually interesting plot just kept pulling me out of the story from so much ridiculousness and drama that felt so contrived.



factors+ I liked the plot in theory and I REALLY did appreciate the thought-provoking questions it posed re: internet, privacy, disconnecting, etc.
- Pretty much everything else.

Re-readability: No
Would I buy a copy for my collection? no

a5Tweens maybe?

a8I’m so wholeheartedly disappointed in this one. There was such great potential here but mostly I felt it was very silly though I am appreciative of all the thinking it made me do about all my Internet-ing. I think, for it to have been the book for ME, Mommylicious wouldn’t have to be so ridiculous and over the top (those blog posts just made the tone so, so silly) because there was a lot of room to explore the idea of a famous mommy blogger and the daughter she talks about all the time. It didn’t need to be a SERIOUS book but I needed to be able to take it seriously.

review-on-post-itDon't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Healy


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
* Have you read any books that deal with being connected, the Internet, etc? I’m just really fascinated by it! (YA or adult)


The Perpetual Page-Turner

December 2014 Rewind — A Little Belated!

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Follow me on Instagram to see more images from my month


1. Celebrated Christmas: For the first time since Will and I got married I was able to travel the 4 hours to my dad’s to spend Tuesday through Sunday there! It hadn’t worked out with days off in the past two years so I was thankful to spend the holiday with my family.

2. We went to Will’s work Christmas party — It was fun to meet all the people that Will works with and see how quickly he’s become well-liked and friendly with people at this new job! We had a great time and I got to wear a pretty dress. (If you check out this post you can see a pic from it)

3.I took a decent amount of time off from the blog: I was really intentional about making December very low key and taking time off. I didn’t post a lot of discussion posts or reviews but rather did lots of best of 2014 lists and did a fun week of handmade Etsy giveaways. And I also scheduled lots of days off from posts. My plan WAS to use some of that time to get ahead in January but I ended up not doing a thing. Oh well, I needed the time.

4. I got sick 2-3x- It was AWFUL. I hadn’t gotten sick in a while and then it kept hitting me. I got a cold, then was out for the count with aches and a high fever and then NYE I woke up at 3:45 puking and spent my NYE in bed!

5. I participated in Secret Santa: At my other blog, The Broke and the Bookish, I host a Secret Santa and this was the 5th year and there were over 300 people who participated! My Secret Santa, Maggie, was the sweetest ever and I loved all my lovely presents and I had such a blast shopping for my Secret Santa Ellice over at Paper Riot.



I put all my Monthly Rewinds in a Spotify playlist so you can listen to them here now !

1. Honest — Kodaline

2. Awakening — AURORA

3. High – Young Rising Sons (Um, I don’t know how this didn’t end up on my October or November rewind??)

4. Wicket Youth – Sego

5. Tears – The Tragic Thrills

6. Cloudline — Joseph

Honorable Mentions: Lampshades on Fire by Modest Mouse (AHH NEW MODEST MOUSE), Palm Trees by Lowell, 1965 by Zella Day, That Time of Year by Charles William (I’m LOVING him — see last month’s pick!)

Check out the rest of my December playlist



I read 11 books this month!


1.  Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
2. A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller (also made my top books of 2014 that deserved more attention)
3. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer



I didn’t do a ton of reviews for the month of December because of my break + I find people are so busy and they don’t get much attention in that month! But you guys seemed to like my 11 books that deserved more attention in 2014 which is a whole lot of once sentence reviews! :)




“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”   – Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

** this is taken from the ARC so it is subject to change.

“We try to explain how we feel, but there aren’t always the right words or the words we have fail. But with music, you can hear a piece and say, Yeah, that’s it. That’s exactly how I feel. — There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos


1. I Didn’t Intend To Write This Post- This was a spur of the moment post and I’m glad I did post it. I posted it while I was away so I haven’t had time to get to all the comments but I love you all <3

2. So I Sat Here Ready To Declare My Goodreads Challenge– Loved hearing your thoughts on what I was contemplating!

3. 18 YA books I Cannot WAIT For In 2015: So much to look forward to!!

4. My Book Related Goals & Resolutions For 2015: Let’s hope I will accomplish these things!

5. My top twelve 2014 releases : It was so hard to narrow but these ones definitely stuck out!


Either my favorite backlist books I read in 2014 or my Beyond The Pages where I talk about Station Eleven! I definitely wanted to just discuss the crap out of the stuff I talked about.



I STILL didn’t do anything on Youtube this month. Good thing I made this my resolution for 2015!



1. On Creating Safe SpacesI feel the same way about my blog and also really need to go through my personal Facebook. I’ve always felt like my blog was this safe space where I am more honest and more myself than anywhere else other than my home and with my closest friends and family.

2. New Years Resolutions To Transform Your Life: I really liked thinking on these ones!

3. Be Kind Whenever Possible: A hundred amens to this post. I often feel kindness gets discounted just as Alex does. And it’s sad because I don’t think kindness means being passive or weak or not able to have an opinion like I’ve heard so often. A reminder for me that I can always choose kind even in unpleasant things.

4. Why Minimalism Should Be Your 2015 Resolution: This was a good read! Because circumstances of the past couple years I’ve definitely become more of a minimalist which is so the opposite of who I was. I don’t reject buying things or keeping things but I definitely have become more thoughtful on everything I buy, what I consume, the amount of choices I give myself, the clutter of my life. I don’t think I could live the way some of those I’ve seen in the minimalism movement live but that’s okay…I’m paring down what I need to and putting less value in STUFF…and it makes me happier and more free to be honest.

5. Why I Don’t Do Reading Challenges: I’ve been feeling like the only one who doesn’t do these but they just don’t suit my reading habits (see: what it is like to be a mood reader) or personal habits. Gillian’s post explains really well why I don’t do them despite so wanting to!


1. Gelato Fiasco — This brand is amazing! I had the Torched Marshmallow S’more gelato and it was TO DIE FOR.
2. All these Etsy shops I featured- I love the bookish Etsy community!
3. My new infuser water bottle: I’ve been wanting one and Will told his mom to get it for me for Christmas. It’s DELIGHTFUL and I’ve been putting oranges and lemons and cucumber in it depending on what I have on hand. The cucumber water is real good but I love the taste of the orange and lemon water together!



1. Going ice skaing: We didn’t go in December because it was just too busy but this month for sure!
2. Genevieve’s 3rd birthday: I cannot believe she turns 3. HOW? I remember the day I became an auntie and it seemed like yesterday.
3. Eric’s INKED release party: Eric Smith’s YA debut, INKED, comes out in January and I’m so excited to be going (and dragging Will along) and celebrating here in Philly!



 What’s one thing you really want to work on in 2015?

My answer is something I tweeted, “I want to care less about things that don’t really matter and more about things that actually do matter.” I spend so much time thinking/stressing/fixating on things that don’t actually matter in the big picture. It’s easy to fixate on that person who unfollowed you and rack your brain all day on why or to get in a spiral of social media scrolling and get nothing done or get yourself worked up about something that doesn’t matter and let it affect your day, etc. I want to just be more accountable to myself with where I’m spending my time, my energy and my thoughts.




Pick a category (or 5… or all of them) and tell me what went on in YOUR life this month!! What sort of things were noteworthy for you this month? New obsessions? Any new song recs?? Best books you read this month? Great posts I missed on your blog? Answer to my question of the month?

15 YA Debuts I’m MOST Excited About!

Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Most Anticipated Debut Novels Of 2015 (I have 15 haha)

So let’s get to it….in no particular order!

list of 2015 YA debut novelsteen novels new release 20152015 books debut

Mosquitoland by David Arnold: First, I love this cover. And I just need to meet Mim. Everything I’ve heard about this novel makes me especially anxious to have it in my hands!! Plus sounds like a promise of a road trip and some quirky characters? YES PLEASE THANKS.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera: I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS ONE SINCE ADAM ANNOUNCED THE NEWS! Adam is a fabulous book person and I’ve already heard AMAZING things about his debut. Seems like a little bit of Eternal Sunshine vibe but I really love this sentence from the Goodreads that makes me even more excited about it – ” offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.” Sounds like it’s going to be a challenging and thought-provoking novel!

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon: The main character is literally ALLERGIC to the outside world. How intriguing is THAT? And then a boy moves next door and she knows she’s in trouble because she’s totally going to fall in love with him.
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia: Man, it got me instantly for fans of Wes Anderson & Silver Linings Playbook. I can’t help it. As Goodreads succinctly puts it, it tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion.

Even When You Lie To Me by Jessica Alcott: This has a bad teacher vibe but I’m very, very intrigued. Also this brings me back to when I had a mega crush on a teacher in high school (HE WAS YOUNG AND HIS BUTT LOOKED REALLY NICE IN HIS BANANA REPUBLIC PANTS) though acting on it would have never happened and I would have been appalled if he did.

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi: This looks like such a fun book about romance and friendship about a random, fun night that brings a group of friends together and an attempt to relive that night a year later when one of them, who abruptly left town, returns and tries to bring them all back together. It says for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti and it looks like a fun read!

We all Looked Up by Tommy Wallach: So I’ve been RIDICULOUSLY excited about this one since I met Tommy at a Blogger/Author Party at BEA 2014 and he told us about it. An asteroid is plummeting towards earth and all the main characters can do is make the most of the potential time they have left and wait to see what happens.
The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman: Hi, my name is Jamie and if you mention Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in marketing copy I WILL FORGET IT IS MARKETING COPY TO LURE ME IN AND I WILL BE LURED EASILY/SALIVATING LIKE A DOG. It’s one of my favorite movies!

The Conspiracy Of Us by Maggie Hall: Sort of like a YA Davinci Code which excites me!

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas: A re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty that shows what happens after the happily ever after!

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio: This one sounds so good! It’s about a teenage girl who suddenly finds out at a doctor’s appointment, after trying to have sex for the first time doesn’t go well, that she is actually intersex meaning she looks like a girl on the outside but actually has male anatomy inside. Trying to come to terms with this revelation is hard enough and gets complicated by this information being spread to the whole school.

 An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: Oh man, I was instantly interested when it said it was set in a Rome-like world. YES PLEASE. Plus it’s fantasy which I’ve been getting more and more into. On Goodreads it says it is “about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom.

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez: I was sold when it said 13 Reasons Why meets Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury: This sounds like an exciting new series! The main character is the Goddess embodied so she kills people with one touch and lives in the castle where she is the executioner of prisoners and is also supposed to marry the prince who is immune to her touch. Sounds action-packed with promise of a romance and kingdoms at war!

Inked by Eric Smith: This is not Eric’s first novel but it IS is first YA novel and I couldn’t be more excited about it! It sounds like quite the unique and exciting high fantasy novel!


<<Also, I should mention these two debuts I’ve ALREADY read and HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend — you can read a little about them here!>>

Simon vs the homo sapiens agendaMy Heart & Other Black Holes


So tell me…which debuts am I missing that you think I should ask to my TBR??

Mini Review Time: 2014 Backlog

So, I purposely took a lot of time off from normal blog things in December (reviews, discussions, etc.) and did lots of end of year lists and fun giveaways to give myself some rest. But I also did a lot of actually RESTING and doing NO blogging stuff. Which means I got a lot of reading in. I’ve created quite a backlog for myself so I’m going to just highlight some things I read recently but am not going to have a whole dedicated post about.


Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall


Whistling Past The Graveyard

This one was an adult historical fiction novel that takes place in the South in the 60’s. The main character is a nine year old girl named Starla who lives with her strict grandma (her dad works on an oil rig and isn’t home) and she decides to run away to Nashville to find her mom who she hasn’t seen since she was 3 when her mom left to become a famous singer. Early in her journey she gets a ride from Eula, a black lady who has a white baby with her, and the two become unlikely companions on the road. I really enjoyed this one — it was both a reminder of the harsh realities of segregation and the fight for equality but also incredibly heartwarming. Their adventure held my attention the whole time and my heart was just bursting with love by the end as family begins to take on a whole new meaning for Starla.



Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

AHHH the second book in Marissa Meyer’s series was EXCELLENT. We still get to follow Cinder but we are introduced to some amazing new characters — namely Scarlet but also Wolf and Thorne!! I was so excited to have Cinder’s perspective still but getting to know these other characters and watch their stories intersect with Cinder’s was something that just kept the pages turning for me! It was a great sequel that set up well for the rest of the series but still stood as an important book and helped develop some new, great characters. Lots of action and things revealed and I finished the book with racing heart from what went on and knowing what is to come!!





All Of You by Christina Lee

All of You by Christina Lee

I haven’t read a TON of new adult romance (okay well been able to make THROUGH a lot of it — favorites are Boomerang & All Lined Up) but this one was enjoyable enough that I devoured it in one day. I was in need of a light-ish, quick romance and this delivered — and it especially delivered a new guy to swoon over for sure! Avery is into just hooking up and no commitments — a lot thanks to her mom’s mistakes that have affected her and her own desire to not turn out like her mom and rely on men and lose control of her own life. Then she meets her new upstairs neighbor — a hot tattoo artist and a virgin who wants his first time to be with someone he loves — a lot to do with his own family situation.

Their chemistry is undeniable and I kept flipping the pages to see how their very different ideas about sex and relationships would be at play considering the strong feelings they developed for each other. It was sexy and just what I needed though sometimes a LITTLE bit corny at times (but this maybe this is also me still being a newb to romance). If you don’t like pretty detailed sexytimes in your books, this might not be for you! ALSO BENNETT TOTALLY DEFIES NEW ADULT DUDE STEREOTYPES THANK YOU JESUS. And he’s hot. Did I mention that?



Have you read any of these? What did you think?

The Five Best 2015 Books I Read In 2014 & Highly Recommend

I made lists of all my favorite 2014 releases, 2014 debuts and the best backlist books I read in 2014. But what about the best 2015 releases I’ve read so far? I will be talking about these all in greater detail later on in their own post but I wanted to spotlight the best 2015 books I read in 2014 and think you should ABSOLUTELY have on your TBR-list!


I'll Meet You There Heather Demetrios

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Out February 3, 2015

WOW. Just wow. Listen, if you love contemporary and even if you only read it once in a while…you NEED this book on your list for 2015. It is pure perfection. One of the best books I’ve read in a while!!

What It Is About: Skylar has been planning her way out of her small town and the future that would await her if she stayed. She’s gotten into art school and has been working her minimum wage job as summer starts to ensure she gets there — until her mother loses her job and starts slipping back into some bad habits making her wonder if she’ll ever be able to leave her and head off to art school at all. At the beginning of her summer she’s reunited with Josh, a boy she used to work with who is back from Afghanistan after his leg gets blown off, and she encounters a different Josh than the one who has left and they find an unexpected friendship despite their differences.


I Was Here Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Out January 27, 2015

Ah Gayle Forman. This was quintessential Gayle Forman in that she managed to do something so completely different than everything else she’s written but in that same signature Gayle Forman way — an overload of feels, brilliant and compelling writing and an emotional story that just hits ya hard. This one was heavy but oh so good!!

What It Is About: Meg and Cody were the ultimate bffs. And then the ultimate unthinkable devastation happens — Meg commits suicide and Cody is at a loss because her best friend is gone and she didn’t see it coming. When she goes to clean out Meg’s room at college, she meets her roommates and realizes that there was a lot Meg hadn’t been telling her when she was away for college — a boy who broke her heart and an encrypted computer file that makes her question Meg’s suicide.


The Winner's Crime Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Out March 3, 2015

You there! Have you read The Winner’s Curse? YOU SHOULD. Because it’s amazing and this is the sequel to that. A sequel that was amazingly, devastatingly, overwhelmingly fantastic and beautiful and soul-smashing and JUST SO PERFECT. See, it leaves me forming crazy run-on sentences because I CAN’T EVEN PUT WORDS TOGETHER.

What It Is About: Well, it’s the sequel to The Winner’s Curse and I don’t want to be too spoilery. JUST GO READ THAT ONE OKAY? Or read my review of The Winner’s Curse if you need more prodding! Beautiful writing! Great setting! Two amazing main characters! Political craziness!


Simon vs the homo sapiens agenda

Simon vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Out April 7, 2015

This is one debut that should NOT be missed. It made my heart so happy. It was an utterly charming story that I couldn’t put down and Simon is a most endearing character! Definitely one of my new favorites!!!

What It Is About: Sixteen year old Simon is gay and hasn’t yet come out to anyone — until a classmate finds an email of his to Blue, a boy he likes and has been writing back and forth to anonymously from his school, and threatens to out him unless he helps him get a girl that Simon is friends with. Not wanting to screw up things with Blue or let someone else tell everyone that he’s gay, he goes along with it all while trying to navigate this growing relationship with Blue and shifting dynamics amongst his closest group of friends.


My Heart & Other Black Holes

My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Out February 10, 2015

This one was also a great 2015 debut! Very heavy feeling but ultimately hopeful despite the intense sadness that pulses through this book.

What It’s About: The main character has spent much of her life plotting her suicide because she doesn’t want to end up like her father — a man who committed a violent crime that has made her a pariah amongst her peers. She realizes that she won’t carry it out on her own so she finds a website that helps you find a suicide partner which leads her to Roman — a boy so haunted by a tragedy in his family.



Have you read any of these/are they are on your radar?? Let me know if you added any to your TBR from my list!

Best Of 2014: All Things Not Books!

The past two years I brought you the best of all things NOT books and it was fun so I figured I’d do it again! If you want to read all my best of books posts we’ve got:

End of Year Book Survey (my answers still to come)
Best 2014 Debuts
Best 2014 Releases (Non-Debuts)
Best Backlist Books I Read In 2014
Most Underrated Books Of 2014


So let’s get to this:

best music 2013

21 Favorite 2014 Albums

(in no particular order)



Taylor Swift – 1989: I have a long history with Taylor Swift’s music (I saw her at a very small venue when her first album hit which is crazy for me to think about considering how she sells out arenas) and have loved her for a long time. I’ve been nervous about her full descent into pop but I have to say that this album is perfection and I’m so pleased with her new sound and am impressed with how she’s been able to reinvent herself and having a blast doing it!

Hozier — Hozier: This makes me incredibly happy. You see, in my 2013 roundup I named Hozier’s EP as a favorite of the year and I was SO hoping the whole album would be fantastic and IT WAS!!
Broods – Evergreen: If you follow my Monthly Rewinds you know that Broods got listened to a lot by me. Every time a new single was released after their first one (I think it was Mother & Father I don’t know), I fell in love more..and the whole album is just fantastic!
Milky Chance – Sadnecessary: I know everyone fell in love with Stolen Dance when it came out as a single (rightly so I love it tooo) but my introduction to them was first with the song Down By The River and THAT was my pick from the EP rather than Stolen Dance when I highlighted them in my June Rewind — apparently I can’t pick the song that will be the most popular. That and Flashed Junk Mind are just as excellent as is the rest of the album so you should listen to it!

Sir Sly – You Haunt Me: They were excellent live as well and I got Will into them so THAT was a win for me! My favorite songs from the album: Gold, Ghost, & You Haunt Me.
Bleachers – Strange Desire: Okay, so I was reading this music blog I love and in February of this year they mentioned this song called I Wanna Get Better and I LOVED It. Then I add them to my Spotify list and read their bio and OMG HE IS THE GUY FROM FUN!! I didn’t realize he had a new side project so pretty much I stalked them for new singles and every one was SO GOOD. The full album? AWESOME. To be honest, I like Bleachers much better than FUN at this point! Saddest day when they came to Philly to play and I WAS ON VACATION.
Thumpers – Galore: I loved the two singles Unkinder (A Tougher Love) & Sound of Screams when they came out and then I really got into Marvel, The Wilder Wise and Now We Are Sixteen.
Twin Forks – Twin Forks: This album is so fun! I first got into them after hearing the song Back To You on Reign and then I waited impatiently for the full album!
Vance Joy – Dream Your Life Away: I first heard Vance Joy’s single From Afar last year and I freaking loved it and then 2014 became the year of Vance Joy for me because I listened to his music like no other. Getting to see him live was a highlight of my year and I’m excited he is opening for Taylor Swift when I see her this year!! (Favorite songs besides From Afar: Riptide, Mess Is Mine, Wasted Time, First Time)
Wild Cub – Youth: Okay so apparently this was originally released in 2012 but was re-released with more songs this year (I just found hear it this year) and was no longer a self-titled album. It is a band that Keegan DeWitt ( who I love) formed and it’s got a very 80’s feel I’ve gotta say. Fave songs: Thunderclatter, Wild Light, Colour, Wishing Well.
NONONO – We Are Only What We Feel: Last year I fell in love with their single Pumpin Blood (the acoustic version is great too) and then I kind of forgot about them until Spotify let me know their album was released. I was pleasantly surprised actually!! Fave songs besides Pumpin Blood: Jungle, One Wish, Hungry Eyes
Banks – Goddess: I feel like I named her EP as one of my favorites in this post last year.  I actually almost forgot to put her on this year because so many of these songs were in my 2013 playlist. I had to double check and I was like oh right…her album came out THIS year. Favorite songs: Waiting Game, Beggin For Thread, Change, Drowning, This Is What It Feels Like

Mary Lambert – Heart On My Sleeve: WHAT A BEAUTIFUL ALBUM!!! Her voice & those lyrics. I remember as soon as I heard Same Love by Macklemore I HAD to know who that voice was singing the “she keeps me warm” parts. Then I found out who she was and found out that that part was actually part of her song She Keeps Me Warm. And so I hit follow on Spotify and then this majestic album was released. Favorite songs: When You Sleep, Secrets, So Far Away & Wounded Animal.
Paul Otten – Welcome To Life: So I have a playlist called “FULL ALBUM, I NEED YOU” for all these artists I find that only have one or two songs and I’m dying for a full album. He pretty much was the reason I started this playlist despite having a backlist of music..I wanted his new stuff. Fave songs: I Got Your Back, I Can Wait, Who We Are, All the Stars (my all time fave song of his is Girl, You’re Alright but it’s not on this album)
The Colourist – The Colourist: This was another one on the “need a full album” playlist. I’ve featured them a lot on my Monthly recaps. Fave songs: Little Games, Tonight(Young Hearts), We Won’t Go Home, Wishing Well
Lucius – Wildewoman: I love their voices! Reminds me of a lot of the indiepop bands I used to love in college. Fave songs: Turn It Around, Tempest, Two Of Us On The Run, Until We Get There
MØ – No Mythologies To Follow: I actually found them originally because of their cover of Say You’ll Be There (yes the Spice Girls song) and then this album was delightful. Fave songs: Walk This Way, Never Wanna Know, Waste of Time, Slow Love

Jenny Lewis — The Voyager: Jenny Lewis is my queen. HS & College Jamie loved Rilo Kiley (RIP). More Adventurous was one of my favorite albums EVAH. I loved what she did with The Postal Service and also with The Watson Twins. Seriously, I cried when Will and I saw The Postal Service last year and I got to see my queen. LOVED this new album!
Bishop Allen – Time Flies: Their album Charmed School was my favorite when I heard it for the first time my freshman year in college. Almost 10 years later and I’m STILL smitten with these guys! Fave songs: Start Again, Skeleton Key, Crows, Why I Had To Go

Jukebox the Ghost – Jukebox the Ghost: I’ve liked them for a couple years now but I REALLY love this album. Fave songs: The Great Unknown, Postcard, Sound of A Broken Heart, Girl
Andrew McMahon – Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness: I first heard one of his songs on my local alternative radio station and became hooked! He’s coming here this winter and I want to see him! Fave songs: Cecilia and the Satellites , High Dive, Canyon Moon, Driving Through A Dream

 >>More choices on my Fave 2014 Albums<<


EPS/Singles I Loved:

The singles that Charles Williams has put out, Ryn Weaver’s Promises, Zella Day, Mighty Oaks EP, BØRNS EP, Eliza and the Bear EP, Little May EP, The Hunts EP, The new CVRCHES single!!!

Concerts I Went To:

I only went to two this year because MONEY but they were good ones.

1. Death Cab For Cutie — Will and I went to Atlantic City around Memorial Day and saw DCFC. They have been a favorite band of mine since high school (early 2000’s) and it was so nice to see them live again because the last time I did was college.

2. Radio 104.5 Block Party — Saw Grouplove, Sir Sly, Vance Joy, Wolf Gang, & Bricks + Mortar. This was so fun AND FREE…despite the fact it rained in the beginning so we were soaking wet for most of the show.

You can see more of my monthly music choices in my Monthly Rewinds



Best shows I started watching this year (some long overdue & some new!) in addition to the shows I’m already watching (Parenthood, The Walking Dead, Revenge, The Voice, Nashville, Scandal etc.)

The 100: My favorite show out of EVERYTHING I watched this year and in a LONG time. The pilot is iffy and it took me a couple episodes to get OMG OBSESSED to the point I binge watched it all night and ignored Will! WATCH IT! Seriously..if you take ONE REC FROM ME…ONE…EVER…DO THIS!

How To Get Away With Murder: More Shonda Rhimes goodness (my Thursday night is all Shonda with Grey’s, Scandal and now this!). The storytelling is kind of jarring at first but it keeps me on the edge of my seat and Viola Davis is a BADASS. Thank you Shonda for all these kickass females you’ve given us!

The Killing: Will and I were late to this show and REALLY loved it!! I was really sad for it to end. REALLY SAD.

Sherlock: I watched the first season of Sherlock and REALLY loved it! Can’t wait to continue on!

Chasing Life: This show surprised me! It’s an ABC Family one and I just gave it a try thinking I probably wouldn’t love it but surprisingly got sooo attached to it!



Begin Again: Oh this movie! SO GOOD SO GOOD. Mark Ruffalo and Kiera Knightly were perfection. It made my heart happy really. Will even liked it!
Short Term 12: I actually watched this after Rainbow Rowell recommended it and SHE WAS RIGHT. Very good film!
If I Stay: It was amazing to see this book come to life on the big screen! The music translated really well!
Veronica Mars movie: OMG! I was devastated when the show ended how it did. GRRRR. I have been waiting so long for this (and backed the project on Kickstarter) so Will got us special tickets to see it for a (belated) Valentine’s date! It was one of those experiences where I wanted to cry joyful tears (okay I did) from being reunited with characters who feel like family. OMG I AM CRYING NOW. LoVe forever!!




In past years I had a whole beauty section because I bought more things because I’m a beauty addict. However, this year I again had to limit it to what I NEEDED and also I’m switching over a lot of my stuff to natural beauty products so I’m in transition right now trying to find favorites and finish up when I’m using now (props to Betty for being my on-call guru when I need help).

favorite things of 2014

Yoga with Adriene: I want to go to classes but no $$. So I found Adriene and, while I’m still VERY new to all this, I’m excited that I found her because she is PERFECT!

Fleece lined leggings (got mine from Forever 21): game changers

Aztec Secret Healing Clay: Love making masks with this!

Alima Pure: There’s a brand I really want to try that’s liquid which is what I normally use (I used Makeup Forever & Stila foundations previously) but it’s too much $$ for right now so I opted for this which is a lot like Bareminerals (which tbh I didn’t really love before) because it’s cheaper. Betty doesn’t approve of this one those because of the particles you can inhale ;)

Gelato fiasco torched marshmallow gelato: As I tweeted when I tasted it, I wish I could live in this gelato forever!

Nourish Organics face wash, Shea Butter & Face Lotion: Love this brand! Not the deodorant though. NOPE NOPE.

Trader Joe’s Treats:  Sea Salt Butter Scotch Chocolates // Dark Truffle Chocolate //Watermelon Cucumber Cooler — I LOVE FINDING NEW THINGS HERE. Always.



Here’s five blogs I loved and discovered this year!

1. Oh Sweet Basil

2. Oh My Veggies

3. Young Adventuress

4. The Nectar Collective

5. Dishing Up The Dirt



1. BEA! Always love spending time with my friends and other bloggers in this community!

2. Chopping six inches off my hair: I had been growing my hair out for as long as I can remember really and I just was really sick of it getting tangled and being a pain in the ass as it got longer. But I was so scared to chop it off for some unknown reason. But I finally did it and it was such a freeing feeling and a welcome change!

3. My sister Angela getting married! I was Maid of Honor and it was so awesome to be part of that day because this is my little sister + I LOVE her now-husband. And Will and I watched their kids while they went away for their honeymoon and had so much fun spending times with the littles.

8937_10204007313597471_3649129177119325781_nstory of my life everyone smiling nicely and I’m a dork!


4. YA Runs A 5K — what a great group of bloggers and authors who joined together for this!

Bs6grBxCMAA5ijXWith Susan Dennard & Sarah J. Maas

5. Will getting a new job (ummm and winning Employee of the Quarter already…he would kill me if he knew I was bragging about him): It was such a good move for us — better job, more opportunities, more money. He’s learning a lot and it’s a good company so YAY! And he’s already making a good impression within the first year so that’s always good.

10690224_640304484222_8272314740322117474_nWill & I at his work Christmas party!





Tell me if you listened to/watched/used/did these things!! Also, I’m so down for other recs if you think there is something I’d like! Tell me what your best moments were!

So I Sat Here Ready To Declare My Goodreads Challenge Number…

And then it hit me.

I’m not sure that’s how I want to challenge myself this year when it comes to my reading life.

There’s nothing WRONG with the Goodreads challenge. I’ve participated and enjoyed it for the past few years and was fully intending to participate in it again. Even when I barely make my challenge and read way less than everyone else. I’ve been okay with it. (This year I was an overachiever and read 1 past my goal…my goal was low so I set myself up for SUCCESS. 91 books YAY).

Even though my Goodreads reading challenge is not the end-all-be-all of my life by any means, it still is this presence breathing down my neck. It’s everywhere. I mean, most years I’m 30 books behind and not caring so it’s not like it really IMPACTS me or that I take it SO seriously. But it’s always there (especially when I think about picking up a chunky book or a book I know will be a slower read aka non-fiction or super literary adult fiction). Even though any pressure with it is mostly self-imposed even for someone who approaches it very low key, there is still a degree of pressure just by even logging into Goodreads and KNOWING that damn widget is going to let me know where I stand. (Mostly, it’s always YOU ARE BEHIND!)

And I’m not just not sure I want to focus on a NUMBER this year. Maybe I will but at this current moment I’m leaning towards no.

I keep thinking about all the other ways I COULD challenge myself this year in my reading life. Reading more diversely, tackling some classics, getting back into adult fiction, reading genres I’m not well read in, reading more non-fiction, etc. etc. (basically the resolutions I set for myself).

And sure…all these things could be done in conjunction WITH a “number of books read” challenge. But I know my focus will be on that reading count number because I like shiny little widgets and straightforward goals. I read therefore I contribute to my total count per year. I’m feeling a little burnt out from keeping keeping such a close eye on my number count every year.

What I need to wrestle with:

Do I WANT a number based challenge this year? Would it be so freeing not to think of a numbers based challenge? Do I want to challenge myself for the year AT ALL in terms of my reading life (haha funny because I already came up with reading resolutions before I wrote this post)? Or do I just want to read? Not focus on fulfilling any sort of quota. Surely, I want to be aware of what I’m reading and be intentional, but not have to check off and keep track of things outside of WHAT I read. JUST READ. Maybe in the simplicity of that kind of reading year I’ll have my best reading year yet. Who knows! Maybe the next year I’ll realize it’s more fun to try to shoot for a goal or challenge myself– whatever that may be.


But I really think 2015 may be the year of no number based challenges for me. I’m not even going to keep TRACK of how MANY I’m reading this year until I tally it up at the end of  2015. I’m just going to read. Just as an experiment.



Are you doing any challenges? Which ones? Are you aiming to read a certain amount of books or pages? Do you feel pressure when you do set those kind of goals or is it a GOOD sort of pressure for you? Is anyone else feeling like they don’t want to keep track of how MANY books they read until the end of the year?

Book-Related Goals/Resolutions For 2015

Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Ten Bookish/Blogging Resolutions For 2015

I have one simple blogging resolution before I get to my readerly/bookish goals:

To keep focus on why I do this. I’m a pretty chill blogger about things — no strict schedule or feeling obligated to post if I don’t want to. I do what I want. Always. But 2014 was a hard year for me. I LOVED everything I did on the blog, felt creative and happy with what I’m putting out there. But I also really struggled. I don’t know what it is. I’ve been at this for almost 5 years and maybe this is a natural growing pain — the landscape has changed (good and bad and just DIFFERENT), a lot of my very best friends who I met when I started have since quit or have stepped back and that’s really hard for me, I’m desiring less to be part of a marketing plan, I wonder if I’m irrelevant these days, I’ve felt disconnected from the community (and have struggled to comment and read blogs — for many reasons I don’t have room to talk about here), I wonder what the future holds for this blog, etc. Some days I struggled to remember why I even did this. While there was great joy, there were some joyless days in my role as a blogger. I want to strip away EVERYTHING and really focus in on WHY I started this back in 2010 and keep my vision on that. Stop letting the distractions and the CRAP that can come with blogging affect me. I do this (and this was my entire reason for starting this) because I want a space to talk about books/being a reader and share what I’m reading and how I interacted with it. That’s pretty simple. All else should fall into place from there — no guilt, no obligations, no letting the blog dictate my reading, no falling into the trap that feels like I’m reading TO blog, etc. I need to re-find myself as a blogger I think as I go into year 5 of blogging and keeping it simple is where I need to be.



On to my other goals:



In 2014 I somewhat consciously and somewhat NOT read more books than usual from characters who don’t come from my background and I really enjoyed that. So in 2015 I want to be intentional about that and read 1 book a month featuring a character that is a different race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or socio-economic background, etc than me. I really enjoyed the different perspectives and the shared ones of just being HUMANS in this crazy world. (LOOKING FOR RECS!)

Earlier this fall I talked about how in THEORY I like re-reading but outlined why I don’t do it more often and in that post I expressed that in 2015 I wanted to challenge myself to do this more. So, formally, here it is. My ten books I want to re-read list should prove to come in handy! Asheley told me how she LOVES doing re-reads via audiobooks so I’m thinking I’m going to try that route sometimes to help me with this goal!

I am pretty sure that “finishing series” has been a resolution of mine every year and every year the list of series I am in the middle of GROWS. But in order to achieve this goal, until I hit the 8 finished series goal, I am NOT allowed to start a new series until I make progress in or finish a series. THIS IS GOING TO BE SO HARD.


I need to seriously read books I’ve owned for a long time or get rid of them. That’s just how it needs to be. They have been collecting dust despite my desire to read them at SOME point. My book buying habits have drastically changed in ways because of THIS but before I used to buy A LOT of books at an alarming rate and still a lot of them sit.

I used to read non-fiction A LOT more before I started blogging — memoirs, history books, travelogues, humor, etc. Always very random, random things too.  I love learning and I’ve been missing the non-fiction especially this year for some reason as I’ve been VERY heavy on fiction for the past 5 years or so. (LOOKING FOR RECS!)


I used to be all about the audiobooks but in the past year or so stopped. I used to listen while I was on the treadmill, while driving and doing things around the house like hanging up and folding clothes. This will help me with my re-reads goal above. (LOOKING FOR GOOD AUDIOBOOK RECS)

I have been too focused on hitting my Goodreads goal and so I have been ignoring the chunky books on my shelves. THERE, I ADMITTED IT. I can’t help it. It’s this dumb internal pressure that’s like MUST FINISH LOTS OF BOOKS. I want to read some chunksters this year.


This gets overwhelming and I get lazy but, even if I wasn’t blogging, this is something I would want to do as a READER. I’m not really going to worry about doing it for SUPER popular books but I want to make sure I’m leaving reviews for smaller to midlist titles I love. This one is a pain in the butt but I REALLY do want to support the authors I love in the best ways I can & I truly believe this does help. TTT10

My resolution for 2014 was to get back INTO Youtube and I did that. I kind of dropped off here towards the last couple months of this year so I want to commit myself to making AT LEAST 2 videos per month. I’m hoping I’ll do more but I’d like to make this my minimum! Come follow my Youtube endeavors!

What are your bookish/blogging goals for 2015??

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