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Monday, April 26, 2021

5 Tips for a Better Reading Habit | Book Chat

 If anything, #30DayBookBinge has taught me some lessons about how to build a solid, enjoyable, SUSTAINABLE reading habit.

So let's talk about that.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

SHADOW & BONE Advance Preview!

I know everyone in the bookish world is pretty geeked about Netflix's soon-to-premiere Shadow & Bone, an adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse (including the series of the same name as the TV show, as well as the companion duology, Six of Crows). It seems to me that, even people who didn't love the books or haven't yet read them are looking forward to this series. And I can't say I blame them; who doesn't love a good, huge-world, character-driven fantasy? 

Though the series doesn't make its Netflix debut until tomorrow, I've been invited to take part in a little virtual event -- and you're invited, too! 

The event will include an extended sneak peek of the series, as well as a cast meet & greet where cast members Jessie Mei Li, Ben Barnes, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Kit Young, Archie Renaux, and Executive Producers Leigh Bardugo and Eric Heisserer will be sharing behind the scenes stories and exclusive clips! 

It's all going down here at 4pm PT / 7pm ET. 

And just in case you've been living under a very solid rock and have no idea what I'm talking about, check out the trailer for the series below!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Backlist Love (17): Utterly Charming

 It's been OVER A YEAR since we've had a Backlist Love video! 

But I heard you guys loud and clear on my feedback form, so yes, BACKLIST LOVE IS BACK.

(It actually never should have left. I definitely recorded, edited AND uploaded a few more of these last year, and just... idek. I don't know what happened to them, I don't know if I deleted them. 2020 happened, and I take no accountability.)

ANYWAY, here are 3 books that have been out for awhile now, that maybe you've forgotten about or never heard about to begin with, and I RECOMMEND THEM.

Let me know your fave backlist titles in the comments, and if there are any themes you'd like me to use in a future BLL vid, let me know that, too!


SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY by Mary Robinette Kowal 
Historical Fantasy / Romance, 208 pages Published August 3rd 2010 by Tor Books
The fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had written Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

KEEPING THE CASTLE by Patrice Kindl 
Historical Romance / Coming of Age, 261 pages Published June 14th 2012 by Viking Childrens Books
Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors--or suitors of any kind--in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There's only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans . . .

SORCERY & CECELIA by Patricia C. Wrede 
Historical Fantasy Romance 326 pages Published 2004 by Harcourt: omnibus edition (originally published April 15th 1988)
A great deal is happening in London and the country this season. For starters, there's the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There's also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he's not doing a very good job of it--so just what are his intentions?) And then there's Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn't bothered to tell anyone where he is. Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. And the girls might be in fear for their lives . . . if only they weren't having so much fun!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

YOU Choose What I Read + #30DayBookBinge Check-In

Hello, hello!
Before we get into the grist of today's post, I just want to check in and see how those of you who are participating in #30DayBookBinge are doing! Have you read every day this month? It's okay if you haven't: just jump back in and attack it from a new angle! You got this!
And because I think accountability does wonders, I have a little challenge for you this week: post about it. Snap a pic of your current stack. Share a quote from your favorite read this month, or your current one. Ask people to vote on what you pick up next. It's totally up to you how you do it, but sometime this weekend or coming week, post about it with the hashtag #30DayBookBinge. I've found people who get involved (myself included) are far more likely to finish and consider the month a success -- plus community is half the fun!

I've made it pretty clear lately that I'm waffling HARD about my approach to reading -- and blogging -- lately, and though some part of me wants to take on all the challenges and plan all the things, another part of me wants absolutely no strings attached. So I'm in this weird kind of limbo where everything feels very nebulous and unofficial, in some way. 

And while I think I'm leaning much more towards the 'no-strings' side of things, that planning, plotting, puzzles-and-challenges side of my brain will never be satisfied unless there's something to toy around with. And with that in mind, I decided to tackle a project / challenge to myself that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, which dovetails quite nicely with my goal of broadening my reading horizons: I'm gonna read a bunch of books I didn't pick

I've had this idea kicking around for awhile now, and it was one of those things that I felt could be either amazing or disastrous, but either way, A Whole Thing. But the downside is, in the way I originally conceived of it, it would have been a big undertaking that would have eaten up a solid, continuous chunk of my reading time. But in my effort to approach things more casually and loosely, I had a little rethink and realized: it doesn't need to be one big reading vlog where I try to cram in as many of your recommendations as I can. It can be an ongoing series! And you know I love a series. 

So I'm kicking it off now, currently reading someone else's recommendation, and I have another on request that will be read soon. But I want to get as many different picks from as many different people as I can, because the whole point is to discover things I wouldn't necessarily have picked up otherwise. 

So below, you'll find a form (you know I also love a form) where you can send me one (or many) of the books you think I should add to my list for this project. It can be one you've recommended to me in the past and want to push me to finally read, or just one you think is entirely out of my comfort zone but that I should read anyway. It can be something you think I'll love, or you just want my perspective on -- or even one you think I'll hate! (But please be nice to me and limit the hate reads, at least a little bit. lol)
Any genre.
Any style.
Any format.
Any age range.

I'm going to compile a big ol' list and pull from them regularly to be part of a new series throughout the course of this year. Hopefully I'll find some new authors and styles to love (it's happened before!), and at the very least, I'll check off that box that says "read more widely in 2021" from my resolutions list! 
Thanks in advance for your recommendations, and keep 'em coming! 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Bullet Journal Walk-Through + April Plan With Me

I want to start by thanking all of you who filled out my feedback form last week; you guys have given me so much to think about, so many ideas to explore, and a renewed excitement for the work-side of book blogging. Thank you!

One of the things that came through loud and clear (in addition to everyone saying 'bring back 30 Day Book Binge!!')was that people want to see more art and journal related content. Now, I know that there is a divide between what my audience on youtube wants, vs what my audience here on the blog wants, and I figured bullet journaling was pretty firmly on the youtube side of things -- but actually, there were a good number of you who specifically asked me to share it all on the blog side of things, too! (For those of you who aren't interested in this content -- that's okay! I'll catch you in the next post.)

So today, I'm sharing not one but two recent bullet journal videos. In addition to this week's scheduled video, in which I did a full flip-through and discussion of this year's gorgeous (If I do say so myself. And I do. I love it so) bullet journal theme, "Celestial Floral," I also posted a bonus video where I took you along with me as I set up my spreads for the month of April. 

First up: my 2021 bujo so far...


And then we take a slightly more detailed deep-dive into the current month, with my harmony-themed, lavender-accented April layout:

So, are you a fan of bujos and planners? If so, what are some of your favorite themes and designs? And what are some of your go-to tips and tricks that you think beginning bujo-ers might find helpful? Let  me know in the comments, and you might be featured in an upcoming post. 
Thanks so much for watching!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

#30DayBookBinge Round 12 + FREE Printables!

Recently, when I asked you guys to tell me what you wanted to see from me (thanks for all the great feedback, by the way), there was a resounding cry of 30 DAY BOOK BINGE!! Which I was glad to hear! 30DBB has been super beneficial for me, and I've loved the idea of it helping a lot of you set a solid reading habit or power through your TBR. But to be honest, I wasn't sure if there was a lot of interest in it anymore. A few people here and there were popping up on the hashtag on twitter and instagram, sharing their progress through their stacks, but for the most part, it seemed like a lot of people had dropped off. 

I didn't want to keep shoving something in your face that you didn't want -- nor did I want to take on the work of making the accompanying printables sets for no reason -- but it seems that for a lot of you, you were just too busy reading to talk about reading! Haha. And I am a-ok with that; it is sort of the point, afterall. All I needed to hear was that there was interest, and I was game to bring it back. 

So we're launching into the 12th 30Day Book Binge! Yes, that's right. TWELFTH. [Side note: I don' think I've ever typed 'twelfth' in all caps before, and wow, that just doesn't even look like a word.] Most of you are probably familiar with what this is by now (it is the twelfth round, after all...), but for those of you who need a refresher: 

30 DAY BOOK BINGE is a quarterly (supposedly) reading challenge in which the goal is just to read something every single day for 30 straight days. What you read (books, poetry, the newspaper), the format you read it in (physical, digital, audio), and how long you read for are entirely up to you! The goal is just to make daily reading a habit, and to maybe knock out some other reading goals in the process (other challenges you're taking part in, school reading, whatever).

You can share your progress, your reading picks, ask for encouragement or give some of your own on social media with the hashtag #30DayBookBinge -- I LOVE seeing what you guys are reading, and what you have to say!

Now, as always, I like to sweeten the pot by giving you some special, limited edition printables to go along with each round of the Book Binge. These are created by me, specifically for each round of our "challenge," and they are 100% free for you to download and use.*

I changed things up a little bit this time around, so you will find all of the printables available sized to fit on a single sheet of paper.  (A previous bookshelf perma-printable is also available.) You can print on regular computer paper, cardstock, or sticker paper, and cut them out to use accordingly. They're intended for planners and bullet journals, but you can use them however you'd like. You'll find a half-size calendar, a bookmark, and a set of bookish circle stickers, all in this months LEMON theme. (I love lemons!) All of the printables are available as a printable pdf or as a png file, which you can use for digital planner apps.

You can download the printables for free >>>HERE<<<


You do not have permission to share, distribute, sell, remix, or use them in any way other than intended. This set was created by me, specifically for the 30 Day Book Binge; the images are hand-painted, and the entire set took a lot of time to create. Please respect that, and don't try to distribute or profit off of my hard work. 

I look forward to seeing you all active on the #30DayBookBinge hashtag, across all social media platforms, and I can't wait to see what you read, and how you put your printables to use! 


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