Blogger Recognition Award! (eeek!!)

GUESS WHAT YOU GUYS?!

I’ve been nominated by Victoria from Victoria Reads for the Blogger Recognition Award! It’s my very first award nomination, and I am SUPER STOKED!! So HUGE THANK YOU to Victoria, and for everyone else out there who is following and enjoying my blog! Y’all are the best!!

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– Rules –
• Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
• Write a post to show your award.
• Give a brief story of how your blog started.
• Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
• Select 15 other bloggers you’d like to give this award to.
• Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, providing a link to the post you’ve created. (Please make sure you do this step! Otherwise they won’t know you’ve tagged them until they check the referral portion of their stats.)

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How did my blog come to be?

I started blogging two years ago as a New Year’s resolution to read more and to start writing (and maintain!) a blog. I had started about six failed blogs before I thought about doing a book blog, which would be the perfect way to motivate myself to read and write. It took me a year and half to find my groove, and the past six months have been focusing on generating traffic, becoming a more involved blogger, and getting organized. It’s been such a fun venture, and I love being a part of the book blog community and chatting with other bloggers about their reads. Sometimes I still feel like a newbie, especially when I see so many amazing blogs out there, but that’s just another motivator for me to keep on blogging and putting my own thoughts out there.

Advice for aspiring bloggers/my fellow bloggers?

  1. Write for yourself and your own enjoyment- don’t put yourself in competition with others. It is sooo easy to look at all the great blogs out there and get down about what you’re putting into the blogosphere, but there is room out there for all of us to share our thoughts. 99.9% of the time, you’ll be welcomed with open arms, and that other .1% is not worth worrying about!
  2. Don’t be afraid to talk to other bloggers. I was so nervous about commenting on blog posts, because I didn’t want to pester the blogger with my trifle “great post!’s”. I’ve come to find out that bloggers like to know what you thought of their posts, and like to chat about things that interested you or stuff you have in common. It’s fun getting to know your readers! So please don’t think your constructive questions and comments aren’t wanted or won’t be acknowledged.

I nominate the following bloggers…

  1. Arrvee from Arrvee’s Book Diary
  2. Keith from Sink into the Ink
  3. Star and Fleur from WEBOOKINGLOVEIT
  4. Malanie from Malanie Fiction
  5. Darque Dreamer from Darque Dreamer Reads
  6. Sue from Sue’s Reading Corner
  7. Taiwo from Stuffed Shelves
  8. Vishaka from My Reading List 
  9. Kourtni from Kourtni Reads
  10. Alisha from IAMAGEEKINGGINGER
  11. Dee from deereadsthings
  12. Kristi from Confessions of a YA Reader
  13. Kerrie from comfy reading
  14. Kris from Boston Book Reader
  15. Evelina from Avalinah’s Books

…and I want you all to know I really enjoy following your blogs! You are all very creative and I enjoy reading reading your reviews, and I really admire the work you put into your sites and content!

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Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

After my Divergent bender, I needed something a little fluffy to read after to cure my book hangover. Cue Dessen.

I’ve read a few of her books back in high school, and have started a small collection at my house for just this reason. Whenever you are in a reading slump, reaching for a cute book that isn’t too long or too overly complicated (really, anything short and fluffy) is the best fix. Sarah Dessen is my go-to for such an occation, so I pulled Someone Like You off my shelf.

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The story is about Halley and Scarlett, best friends and neighbors since they were little girls. They know everything about each other, and balance each other out. Where Halley is the quiet, shy, thoughtful type, Scarlett is the strong, loud, take charge type. During the summer of their Sophomore year of high school, the two pick up cashier jobs at the local grocery, tan by the pool, and start mixing with the in crowd, meeting up with boys and sneaking around. Halley and her mother, a therapist who is slightly overbearing, start to feel tension between them as Halley starts to conceal more of her private and social life, and her mother tries to control Halley’s behavior. Meanwhile, Scarlett and a boy named Michael Sherwood start dating, and just as Halley is trying to handle the new dynamic with Scarlett, her mother sends her off (unwillingly) to a summer camp.

A week before the end of summer, Halley gets a late night call from Scarlett- Michael died in an accident. Halley immediately figures out how to get home to support Scarlett in her time of need. After all, Scarlett has always supported Halley, and that’s what best friends are for. But as the start of the school year rolls around, Halley learns Scarlett is going to need more than consoling, and it’s Halley’s turn to take charge.

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It’s a quick read at 281 pages, and though it’s a little young and predictable, it’s the perfect reset read- the kind where you don’t have to think too hard and know there is going to be a happy ending. It may be a tad boring, but this was a much needed read for me.

 

 

 

2017: A Summary & Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

Good golly, what a year it’s been.

2017 has had a lot of ups and downs for me, but overall it’s been a huge year of self growth, personally and professionally. In terms of this lil’ blog, I’m starting to get a good sense of where I want it to go, and what I’m doing. Where it all started as a way to keep track of everything I’ve read, it’s truly become a fun creative outlet for me. I didn’t think to do a recap last year, so I’m giving it a go as a last hurrah for 2017.

 

 

  • Still on my TBR: 89 Books, including the Divergent series, The Hate U Give and eight others from 2017, and nine classics including A Tale of Two Cities.

  • The most important things I’ve learned about blogging this year:
  1. FOLLOWERS HAVE GREAT ADVICE. Or, at least mine do. When I’ve posed a question seeking advice, not once has it gone unanswered. If you have a question, ask! Don’t feel embarrassed about it, whatsoever. And, don’t be afraid to post and chat with other bloggers! I was really nervous about posting comments because I didn’t want to ‘butt in on a conversation’. Turns out, it’s a great way to get to know the other bloggers out there!
  2. Don’t put pressure on yourself to read/blog/write/post/etc more than others. That kind of pressure isn’t going to make you succeed- it’s going to burn you out, and put a damper on something you obviously have a passion for. I have to remind myself that just because others are posting every day and reading books in a single setting doesn’t mean that I have to do the same. Be proud of your own accomplishments and don’t compare yourself to others.

There couldn’t have been a better time to be tagged by Megan @ Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest to do the Ring in the New Year Book Tag! She was tagged by the  Bookmark Chronicles to do the tag, and then tagged some of her newest followers, including me! So definitely check out both of their blogs when you’re done reading!

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Here are the rules for this tag:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you (that would be The Lexington Bookie )
  2. Link to the creator of the tag (Bookmark Chronicles – we are so thrilled to be the first generation of tagged bloggers!)
  3. Share the tag image.
  4. Answer the questions below.
  5. Tag friends (or not).

Q1 – Best book and/or series that you’ve read in 2017?

Since I answered best book, I’ll answer with best series, which easily goes to the Hunger Games. I did movie comparison reviews of them since they have been out for a while and are already so popular, but I really enjoyed reading them, and they kept me engrossed from book to book, needing to know what was going to happen with Katniss and Peeta.

Q2 – Authors that you’ve recently found and would like to read more of in the new year?

I’m so terrible at remembering author names (I’m terrible with names and dates, truthfully) but I’ve read two Jennifer McMahon books (one in late 2016, one in late  201) and I will absolutely be reading more of her books. I also have read two Paula McLain books this year and really enjoyed those, so I will be looking for more of hers to read!

Q3 – Most anticipated book turned movie/tv show?

I was really excited to read and see The Circle, since I’m a fan of Emma Watson… unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype, in my opinion. Here’s why.

Q4 – Name a character that you wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss with at midnight (if there is one).

Make me blush, why don’t you? If you asked me in general terms, I’ll always be looking for my Rhett Butler- reputation be damned, he could love a woman at her best and her worst. But a little midnight kiss from a character I met in 2017? It would be a race between Ian from the Host and Peeta from Hunger Games.

Q5 – What’s on your TBR for 2018 (5-10 will suffice if it’s an extremely long list)?

SO. MANY. BOOKS. Here’s the Top 10:

  1. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. The Divergent Triology by Veronica Roth
  3. A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay
  4. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
  5. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  6. Girls Like Us by Sheila Weiler
  7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  8. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
  9. Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy
  10. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

   
     

Q6 – How many books do you hope to read in 2018

My goal for 2018 will be 50 books! I’m going with one per week, and hoping that it’ll be a pretty reasonable pace for the year no matter what happens!

Q7 – Will you be participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge or any others (PopSugar, Down the TBR Hole, etc)?

I will be doing the Goodreads challenge for the first time! I am also hoping to host my first Instagram monthly challenge, but I haven’t worked on the idea yet. You guys will be the first to know when I do!

Q8 – Any New Year’s Resolutions (bookish, blogging /vlogging, or otherwise)?

  1. Read 50 books.
  2. Finish my outdoor house projects.
  3. Hit my savings account goal and pay off my moving expenses loan.
  4. Better self care & healthy choices.

So there you have it! The Lexington bookie is calling it a wrap on 2017, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring! Thank you all for following me here, and sharing your love of books with me on your blogs as well. It’s been great getting to know you, and I hope for even more fun in the new year!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

As the weather outside gets colder, I find myself dreaming of being outdoors more. Of course, in the spring/summer/fall I’m out and about soaking up the whatever kindness the Kentucky weather gives me, but by this time of year, I’m starting to feel the lack of sunshine. So, from my pile of December TBRs, I pulled out Wild, ready for an adventure with some cozy feels.

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Let me tell you, if you haven’t read it yet, the emotional journey in this book will have you cheering on Cheryl and every woman you know who is searching for inner peace. I connected with her as the narrator in the way that I connected with Liz from Eat Pray Love– I felt like her confidant, and she inspired me in so many ways.

First off, Cheryl is not a perfect person. She’s lost her mother, her husband, her family, her sense of identity, and dealing with these tragedies lead her to drugs, adultery, desperation, and poor attempts to escape her reality. She decides that the only way she can figure out how to face her problems is to go on a physical journey- hiking the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) from Southern California to the Oregon/Washington border- alone. Terrified and relatively unprepared, she sets out with her pack (lovingly dubbed Monster) and literally carries her baggage through the wilderness, getting stronger mile by mile.

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It’s excruciating and exhilarating all at the same time. Each step of the way, the reader in inside Cheryl’s head, reliving her past, figuring out how to handle what could come in her future, and yet staying in the moment with her as she sees some amazing views of the country. And, on the occasions that she meets up with those on similar kindred travellers, the reader gets to experience the camaraderie of people who walk the same path for all sorts of reasons.

I’ve seen the movie as well, starring Reese Witherspoon, and no matter which medium you partake in, it’s absolutely worth it. I highly recommend the book (although I know I’m not the only one, and Oprah beat me to it years ago). I’m glad I found this copy on a recent book haul, because it is certainly one of my new favorites.

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Hello December ❄️

… And hello Everyone!

Can you believe that we are already on the last month of the year? I have no idea where the time has gone, but I know it’s been a whirlwind!

I wanted to talk to you all today about my goals for my blog. Since June, I’ve been trying really hard to be more active here and on social media, and I’m loving being a part of the amazing the bookish blogging community. I made it a goal to post every other day, and to push myself to read as many books as I could in November- knowing this would be tough due to my day job work schedule being at it’s busiest. It was a little stressful, I’ll be honest, but I’m proud that I made it happen!

But now, I need to recharge a little, and I think that since the holidays are near, it’s time to give back some of the love you’ve all shown me. So this month, I’m going to do my first ever giveaway (!!!) and do more on my social media accounts. I’m also cutting my posts back (just a little!), in the hopes that I’ll be able to give myself some time for more social aspects of the holiday season- time with my family, evening gift exchanges with friends, and maybe the occasional outdoor adventures to enjoy this seasonal weather we’ve been having in the Bluegrass. On a more personal note, I’ve also put myself on a book buying ban for the month of December (Lord knows I bought enough to last me the winter this past month!) and am doing a no-spend month. The holidays, to me, are about giving, NOT getting, so I’m trying to give more than I get!

On that note, I need some help from you all. I have some giveaway ideas, but what would you recommend as good prizes? Comment below with your suggestions, or message me on Twitter or Instagram!

Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach

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If you’re like me, money isn’t exactly a strong suit. Actually, I could say I’m excellent at spending it, and not so much at saving it. So when I saw this book in Goodwill, I thought it must be a sign to get my finances straight before the new year began. I also thought all of you might be interested in what Mr. Bach had to say, so I’m going to give you a few of his pointers!

  1. “The problem is not income- it’s what we spend!” I’m guessing we all know this, but truthfully the most helpful advice is to put money away, not spend it.
  2. “Without values, goals rarely get accomplished. Values are key.” The obvious target audience for this book is women, and Bach easily shows how women understand the value of money more than men. We tend to aim it more towards security, freedom, and happiness, rather than just posession of stuff- cars and big houses and fancy vacations.
  3. “Make getting you financial house in order a priority.” I’m a bit of a neat freak, so I have a really great filing system. But I also have a stack of ‘to file’ papers and nothing organized enough to draw a conclusion out of my financial statements. It’s completely daunting to think of having to get all of it organized to use the information in this book, so Bach urges you to break it down. Get stuff in order. Then set aside time to read through the book. Then, set aside more time to go through your financials. It’s a process for understanding, not a race.
  4. The secret isn’t making more money- the secret is saving as much as you can! Even if it’s your daily latte money, set it aside and make that money work for you by gaining interest, etc.
  5. “Practice Grandma’s three basket approach to financial security.” The security basket for unexpected hardships, the retirement basket, and the dream basket for the goals you want to achieve.
  6. Learn the mistakes investors make. They’re human, and make mistakes too. Educate yourself, and don’t put blind faith into someone managing your money.
  7. Teach others how to be financially secure, such as your parents, children, and friends. (Haha, this counts right? Check!)
  8. Allow the choices you are making to reflect your values. This will help your overall focus of acquiring what you need to meet your needs and goals. And if you’re a believer in karma, what you put out into the universe will come back to you- so think of that when you think of why you need money.
  9. Get inspired! If you need motivation (like I did/always do), then get out there and find it! Books are one of my favorite ways to get inspired, which is why I decided to spend (splurge, haha) the $1.00 on it. If that wasn’t money well spent, I don’t know what to tell you! But there are plenty of other ways to be inspired to get financially secure- attend a lecture, take a workshop, talk to an adviser- whatever you need to do to get motivated.

Bach recommended reading this book in its entirety, and reading each chapter twice, before applying it to your own financials. So I’ve got some more reading before I really get to work. I hope this advice helps you out, or inspires you to ‘get rich’ too! I suggest picking up your own copy so you can reference all the good information. I’ve already flagged and highlighted mine the first time around!

The Book Lover’s Tag!

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Another book tag today, folks! Brigid at Watching the Daisies  posted the Book Lover’s tag not too long ago and said that anyone who wanted could give it a shot, so I’m taking mine! Also, feel free to have at it yourselves 🙂

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1. Do you have a specific place for writing?

If it’s handwritten, I’m probably on my bed or the couch, somewhere comfy. If I’m typing, I’m at my desk… or sometimes on the couch, if I’m feeling lazy, haha.

2. Book mark or random pieces of paper?

Hahaha… random pieces of paper. I LOSE EVERYTHING. I think bookmarks are gorgeous and I’d totally use them more, but I tend to leave them in books or they get crumpled in my purse or I set them somewhere while I’m reading and then walk away with the book in my hand only to remember I forgot the bookmark. *facepalm* I know.

3. Can you stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?

I can stop anywhere, but I prefer it be the end of something- like the end of a paragraph or a chapter or the end of a section of dialogue.

4. Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

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Coffee coffee coffeee. So yes. Also I eat and read on my lunch breaks pretty much every day.

5. Music or TV whilst reading?

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Music- yes, the earbuds go in if I’m in a room/car full of people and want to drown them out while I’m reading (haha introvert much?). TV- sometimes. Sometimes I want the background noise, so I’ll turn it on something I’ve seen before so I don’t lose focus on the book.

6. One book at a time or several?

One at a time, most of the time. Of course I’m reading two right now. But that’s my max.

7. Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I can read for longer periods of uninterrupted time at the house, so I prefer that, but I can read anywhere, except in the car on winding roads.

8. Read out loud or silently?

Silently. It slows me down to read outloud, which drives me crazy.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

If I can’t get into a book, I’ll read the last few pages. If I’m blown away- like, how did that happen?!- then I’ll go back and read the whole book. If not, and I can guess exactly what happened, then I’ll DNF that book and move on to the next. Life is too short to read something you don’t enjoy on your own time.

10. Break the spine or keep it like new?

I try to keep my books in new condition, really I do… but my track record points me to breaking the spine. Also, I buy a ton of used books, so many times they come to me well-loved anyways.

11. Do you write in your book?

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If it’s a gift to someone, I may write in the front cover a note, but most of the time I won’t write in a fiction novel. Textbooks are different- I highlight like nobody’s business.

12. What books are you reading now?

I’m about to devour The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky. I’m also reading Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach, trying to help figure out my financials.

13. Favourite childhood book?

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I made my dad read “The Three Little Kittens” and “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” about a million times each. He can still recite them, I bet!

14. All time favourite book? 

How can you choose favorites when you’ve read so many amazing books?!