1-Year Blogoversary! *cue happy-dancing*

First of all, I guess you guys should know that it’s not my actual blogoversary. The exact date I started this blog was August 16th, 2015, but I figured today was close enough.

To all of you wonderful people who are still willing to take the time to read my posts, THANK YOU SO MUCH! I know I haven’t been the most consistent blogger in the world in the last few months, so it means the world to me that you guys still value my content and what I have to say.

If you’re wondering why I’ve been so absent in the last couple months, most of it is, as you might have guessed, time. Or, more accurately, a lack of time. I won’t go into details, but I feel like I’m going to have a lot more time in the future to do more writing and blogging, which I’m incredibly grateful for. I’ve really, really missed it.

You can also probably tell by my post so far that I’m definitely out of practice with my writing. It will probably take a few more posts, but by then, I’ll have (hopefully) gotten into the flow of things.

And now, for the main part of this post, I just want to give you all a huge thank you. Each and every one of you puts a smile on my face every day, and I’m so incredibly grateful for that. Blogging has played such a huge role in my life over the past year – even though I might not have shown it in the last couple months – and, as cliche as it sounds, blogging has become a part of me, a part of me that I couldn’t have imagined my life without.

So, thank you to everyone who liked, commented or followed my blog. Thank you to those of you who sent me thoughtful emails – it truly made my day. Thank you to those who even just stumbled onto this page by accident – I really appreciate you making it this far into this post. I’m not one to care too much about stats and pageviews and whatnot, but it still manages to astound me when someone across the world cares enough to take the time to read my posts.

On a more personal note, I’ve had a few tough times in the past year, as I’m sure you all did. Blogging was my outlet during these tough times, my secret space on the internet, and it’s helped me get through so much. I’ve changed an incredible amount in the past year, but one thing has stayed my constant – the blogosphere. No matter how many days I decide not to write a post, no matter how few comments I post some days, you guys are always there for me. Posting the simplest of comments on one of my posts might seem like no big deal to you, but it means the world to me. It shows me that somewhere in the world, someone truly cares about what I have to say. I honestly could never have gotten through the last year without your guys’ support and generosity.

I know this post may have gotten a bit rambly, and maybe a bit repetitive, but I’ll definitely be working on this in the future. Just know that I love and appreciate you all so much, and I’m so incredibly happy to be back in this wonderful community!

Happy 4th of July!

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Hi guys! I know I haven’t been to active on the blogosphere lately, but I just wanted to give you all a quick shoutout to wish you a great 4th of July. Even if you don’t celebrate this holiday, I hope you have a great day!🙂

My question to all of you: what are you currently reading, and what do you think of it so far? Let me know in the comments! I just finished reading This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang, which I have mixed feelings about. Expect a whole bunch of mini reviews coming up on the blog in the near future!

Help Me Pick My Vacation Reads! | June 2016

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Hi guys! So, if you have been following this blog for a while, you may know that I’m a competitive swimmer and absolutely love the water. Because of this, my parents decided to get me something swimming-related for my birthday way back in December – tickets for the Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska!

If you don’t know too much about swimming, the Olympic Swim Trials spans over an 8-day period and is the most competitive swim meet in the world. It is also one of the most exciting and emotional sports events in the world because it’s the moment that decides whether or not thousands of swimmers will become an Olympian for the rest of their lives.

I have tickets to go see the first four days of this meet, which means that I have a few hours each day between prelims and finals to hang out and go to tourist attractions around the city. And when I say “hanging out,” you probably already know that I mean reading!

Yesterday, I went on a library spree and I’m very pleased with the books I checked out! However, I did pick up a pretty large number of books (10 to be exact, but I’ve already read 2), so I need your guys’ help picking out the four books I should take.

Anyway, on to the book haul!


Book Haul

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Have you guys read any of the books I listed above? What did you think? Which books do you think I should bring on my trip?

8 Beach Reads I’m Planning On Reading This Summer

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Hi guys! So, summer has started, and you all know what that means….beach reads! The following list I compiled to share some of the beach reads I’m planning on reading this summer.


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Have you read any of the books I listed above? What did you think? What are some of the beach reads you’re planning on reading this summer?

Now Quoting: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

13330943.jpgThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Published by Doubleday on September 13th 2011

Page Count: 387

Genre(s): Adult, fantasy, historical fiction, magical realism, romance

Format: Paperback, purchased

Would I recommend? Absolutely! I don’t read very many adult books because I tend to grow bored of them quite easily, but this one held my attention the entire time. The plot is so incredibly creative and unique and the author’s use of imagery and figurative language is absolutely astounding. I loved every second of it! I would especially recommend this novel to fans of Bone Gap and Challenger Deep.

My Rating: ★★★★☆


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

-Goodreads.com description

I just finished this book a few days ago, and I absolutely loved it! It did take me a bit of time for me to get into it at the beginning, but after I did, I was captivated. This book is one of the most beautifully-written novels I’ve read in a long, long time.

For those of you who don’t yet know, “Now Quoting” is a feature I try to do on my blog every week or two in which I share a quote from a recent read that particularly resonated with me and share my thoughts on it. I had a bit of a hard time choosing the quote from this book that I wanted to share with you guys because it contains so many amazing quotes, but I think I found my winner!


“I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me somewhere else, led me to someone else. And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn't end up with you.” 2.jpg


I just loved this quote, especially the first line. “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose…” This quote shows how stories can quite literally change someone’s life. Stories can teach you an important lesson, allow you to see the world through someone else’s eyes, and inspire you like you’ve never been inspired before.

I guess I just really related to this quote because while I may not be the best writer in the world, I feel like it’s my role and my gift to move people and drive people with my words. To educate them and empower them and inspire them. This is the reason why I get up early each morning and go to bed late each night to read and write. I want to change the world with my words.


Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think? What are some books that you’ve found particularly quotable lately?

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

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I know I say this a lot, but isn’t it insane how quickly time passes? It’s already the middle of the year, folks! And you all know what that means….it’s time for the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

Now, I wasn’t actually tagged to do this post, nor have I seen this tag anywhere lately in the interwebs (but let’s face it: I haven’t been an active blogger at all lately, so what do I know?), but I remembered seeing it a year ago over at Cait’s blog and decided to do it! (Yes, a year late. Whatever.)

Now, onto the tag!


Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2016.

17571215.jpgThings We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

By far my favorite read of 2016, and my only 5-star so far! (I know, that is kind of sad. We’re already halfway through the year and I’ve only read one 5-star book! I have read lots of amazing 4-stars, though.) This book affected me so much on so many levels; it’s been one of the most influential books of my life. I can’t even begin to explain how much this book meant to me, so I’ll just give you a link to my review of it. (Please check it out; it’s one of my best reviews!🙂 ) Anyway, I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone who is going through a tough time in their life. This book is not only a great comfort read; it also contains some important lessons and revelations that literally changed my life. I loved seeing the world through Quinn’s eyes.


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2016.

13206760.jpg Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Remember at the beginning of the year how my one of my goals was to start reading more series? Well, HAHAHAHA, that plan failed. I’ve only read 2 series this year, and the Lunar Chronicles definitely win this one. The first, third, and fourth book were pretty good for me, but the second book – Scarlet – was AMAZING. This is a very character-driven book, and while I didn’t necessarily dislike any of the characters in this series, none of the other characters even came close to my love for both Scarlet and Wolf, the main characters in this particular novel. If you haven’t for some reason started this series despite the extreme hype in the YA book blogging community, GET ON IT!


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To.

17838528.jpg The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Being the contemporary fan I am, this one would no doubt go to Morgan Matson’s newest book: The Unexpected Everything. I saw it when I went to the bookstore a few days ago, and OH MY GOODNESS that cover is gorgeous! (I was super tempted to buy a shiny hardcover copy of it, but unfortunately I was there to buy my friend a present and not myself.😦 ) Anyway, I have absolutely adored all of Morgan Matson’s other books, and this one sounds even more interesting! If you’ve read this one, let me know what you thought of it in the comments!


Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

27161846.jpg The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

This book technically came out a week ago, but I’m waiting until it comes out in paperback to buy myself a copy. I can’t say I know very much about this book, but once again, isn’t that cover the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen?! I literally want to print it out and frame it and put it on a wall in my room; that’s how pretty it is. Also, contemporary.

 


Biggest Disappointment.

13455498.jpgAnything But Ordinary by Lara Avery

I wanted so, so much to love this book – it sounded exactly like my kind of read! Unfortunately, I ended up being really disappointed. Although it was a relatively interesting and fast-paced book, there were still a ton of things that bugged me. The plot seemed disorganized and all over the place, the characters were flawless and boring, the writing style didn’t flow at all, and the ending made me so mad that I literally through the book across the room when I finished reading. Here’s the link to my review if you’re interested.


 Biggest Surprise.

18075234.jpgChallenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

I don’t know why I didn’t expect much from this book. It might have been that many of the reviews I had read on it said it was extremely slow-moving and confusing, or that the synopsis was so vague and relatively unexciting. But either way, I was so, so wrong. Challenger Deep is definitely one of my favorites so far from 2016, and probably one of the most beautifully-written books I’ve read in my life. The sheer quality of Shusterman’s use of imagery and symbolism and figurative language is absolutely astounding; although I admit I was a bit confused in some parts, getting to the end result was definitely worth it. An amazingly-executed and moving novel!


Favorite New Author.

157776211.jpgLeila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life was definitely a favorite for me of the first half of 2016. (I know, I have a lot of favorites!) Although this is the only book I’ve read yet by her, I had no hesitation whatsoever top add her to my favorites list after I finished this novel. Her writing is upbeat and lyrical, her plot unique and captivating, and her characters quirky and genuine. This was an extremely powerful read for me when I read it in early January of this year, and it helped me get through some tough decisions I had to make at the time. I will definitely be looking forward to getting my hands on her other books!


Newest Fictional Crush.

17571215.jpgColton Thomas

Because not only is he an adorable, amazing, sweet, hilarious, intelligent, nerdy, quirky guy – but he was also an extremely moving person to read about and he helped me see the world in a different way. (Yes, I’m referring to him as an actual person. DON’T JUDGE ME.) So, thank you so much for that, Jessi Kirby. PAIGE AND COLTON THOMAS ALL THE WAY!❤

 


 Newest Favorite Character. 

23466626.jpgLiterally everyone from Dreamology by Lucy Keating. Because oh my goodness, each and every one of them are so damn adorable. I’M IN LOVE.

 

 

 


Book That Made You Cry.

LITERALLY ALL OF THEM. (Yes, every single book I’ve read in 2016. I kid you not.)


Book That Made You Happy.

10188580.jpgHunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

I wouldn’t necessarily call this a particularly uplifting book (HA – as you can probably tell from the title and cover, it’s rather dark), but I was surprised to find that I actually adored reading it. I had just recovered from a massive reading slump, so it’s easy to understand how happy I was when I wanted to get up at 5:30 every morning to read. This book turned out to be AMAZING – the characters were quirky and hilarious, the plot was one of the most unique ideas I’d ever come across, and the writing was lovely. Highly recommend!


Favorite Book to Film Adaptation.

Me_Before_You_(film).jpgMe Before You by Jojo Moyes

I haven’t seen very many book-to-movie adaptations this year, but Me Before You was no doubt my favorite. Although there were a few things I wasn’t too happy about and it didn’t completely live up to the book (but then again, what movie does?), the overall result was definitely positive. The casting was in my opinion the strong part of the film – the actors playing Lou and Will were exactly how I imagined them to be! I didn’t get bored at any point during this film, and it certainly had the entire audience crying bucketfuls.


Favorite Post You Have Done This Year.

I am rather fond of many of the reviews I’ve done this year, especially on Things We Know By Heart, Anything But Ordinary, and Maybe In Another Life. Also, I liked the collection of mini reviews I did back in March.


Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year.

Definitely Dreamology by Lucy Keating. (See above.)


What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year.

All of them. If you’re friends with me on Goodreads, you can view my never-ending TBR list.

But, particularly:

  • One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  • Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
  • Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
  • Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
  • 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

I Tag….


As always, feel free to ignore this post if you don’t want to do the tag. Happy reading!🙂

Top 10 Beach Reads!

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

Hi there! I realize that I haven’t blogged in a reeeeeeeeeally long time, but I’m back again and excited about some of the posts I have planned for the future! This week’s topic was technically supposed to be your top ten books you’re looking forward to the second half of the year, but because I have very few anticipated reads coming out soon (all the books I was looking forward to came out earlier this year), I decided to settle on a different topic. While I was scrolling through all of the TTT archives, I found a great topic perfect for the start of summer: top 10 great beach reads! If you guys have been reading this blog long enough, you definitely know how much I love myself a good beach read.😉


12049227.jpgIn Honor by Jessi Kirby

Honestly, any Jessi Kirby book could be on this list, but I chose this one because it’s a road trip book and it has one of my absolute favorite OTPs! You guys know how much I love Jessi Kirby; her writing is gorgeous, her characters are fleshed-out and realistic, and she always has such a unique concept to write about. They’re fluffy and cute and light-hearted for the most part, but there are definitely some deeper moments as well – my favorite kind of book!

 


23466626.jpgDreamology by Lucy Keating

I actually read this book a couple months ago for the Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon and it completely took me by surprise by how much I loved it! And OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS, I completely fell in love with the couple in this story. Both characters are so adorable and nerdy and amazing! It’s one of those books that really make you wish you could be best friends with the main characters. Super sweet and fluffy, with a unique premise that definitely keeps your attention. Highly recommend!

 


19547856.jpgSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

If you’ve been around the YA book blogging community for very long, you’ve definitely read – or heard of, at the very least – this book. This is one of my absolute favorite reads, as well as perhaps the cutest book you’ll ever come in contact with. It will make you laugh, lift your spirits, and make you root for the couple in this book to get together like you never have before. It’s also incredibly well-written and will suck you in within the first chapter. An absolute must-read!

 


15777621.jpgThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I loved this book so, so much – definitely a favorite from 2016. It does deal with some deeper themes and is a definite tear-jerker, which is why some of you might be surprised to see this book on this list. However, darker aspects aside, this is an incredibly uplifting and inspiring book about how discovering your true passion – music, in Elise’s case – can literally save your life. The unique writing style definitely took me some time to get used to, but after I did, I recognized the extreme talent and passion Leila Sales wrote with.

 


1627267.jpgAudrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Hands-down the funniest book I’ve ever read. (Okay, I don’t read that many funny books – I’m more of a fan of deeper and darker books – but trust me, it will have you laughing out loud the entire time.) It’s also got pretty much my favorite OTP of all time (honestly, though – can James please marry me instead? Thanks.) and OH MY GOSH I loved every single character. It also has an unique and hilarious concept – seriously, you will be laughing out loud just by reading the synopsis – and it’s incredibly well-written. When any of my friends come to me looking for a good laugh-out-loud read, this is always my first recommendation.


Have you guys been enjoying the start of summer as much as I have? What are some of your favorite reads that you would add to this list?