You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

Way back in February, my KY bestie sent me this text:

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She raved about the funny, honest, and conversationally modern writing, and how spot on the author’s advice was. So, I decided that I should give it a read, too. Instead of waiting for the hardcopy, I decided to listen via audiobook, and I’m glad I did. It was like listening to one of your friends give you a reality check, encouragement and advice, and a plan of action all at once. Sincero actually narrates her own book, so you get the full effect of her own words as well. There’s 27 chapters and 256 pages, but the audio is just under 6 hours long, so it’s pretty quick-paced. I felt that because of the modern conversational language Sincero used, it was easy to follow along with her advice and the support behind it. I didn’t get lost in any new-age speak or bogged down in the science and research data.

Sincero explains from the beginning how our ego effects us as humans, and how to essentially deny the ego and take action to achieve happiness- mostly by changing our thought process. (Can you tell I’ve been trying to expand my understanding of what’s going on in my head?!) Summarized, Sincero wants us to:

  • Love ourselves as we are- meaning accepting that you are human, not a perfect robot.

“Your job is to be as you as you can be. This is why you’re here. To shy away from who you truly are would leave the world you-less. You are the only you there is and ever will be…”

“Imagine what our world would be like if everyone loved themselves so much that they weren’t threatened by other people’s opinions or skin colors or sexual preferences or talents or education or possessions or lack of possessions or religious beliefs or customs or their general tendency to just be whoever the hell they are.”

  • Stop worrying about what other people think.

“You are responsible for what you say and do. You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it…”

“Do not waste your precious time giving one single crap about what anybody else thinks of you.”

  • Follow your intuition, do what makes you happy and do it NOW.  Don’t wait for the timing to be “right”.

“Deciding means jumping in all the way, doing whatever it takes, and going after your dreams with the tenacity of a dateless cheerleader a week before prom night.”

  • Have a little faith- however you define it- and think positively.

“Positive thinking is key. Our thoughts are the most powerful tools we’ve got. Through our thoughts we create our realities.”

  • Don’t give excuses.

We put so much energy into coming up with excuses why we can’t be, do, or have the things we want, and designing the perfect distractions to keep us from our dreams—imagine how far we’d get if we just shut up and used all that energy to go for it instead?”

I could go on and on with the quotes, trust me. Sincero is completely chock full of these gems, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her. If you are into self-help books, need a pep talk, want to learn more about yourself, or need a little motivation to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve, You Are a Badass is the book for you- no matter what format.

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February Wrap-Up, Tags, & Giveaway Winner!

I don’t know about you all, but February flew by for me!!

I always forget just how short the month is, until I’m scrambling at the end of it! So, wrapping up the month, here are the books and their reviews from February:

  1. Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller
  2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  3. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  4. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
  5. The Princess Mutiny by L.J. Surrage
  6. The Tales of Beetle the Bard by JK Rowling
  7. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

It’s not as many as I had planned this month, but sometimes you have to go with the flow and I’m still impressed with myself, haha. I also knocked out a couple of book tags with this post, and added a shiny new One Lovely Blog Award to my Top Shelf! I’m still dumbfounded that my little blog was nominated, but it warms my little heart! I also nominated a handful of really lovely bloggers myself, so please give their blogs a peek too!

Also, I hosted my second giveaway for a copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wild, a pocket notebook, and a bookmark- and the winner is… Nirmala from Red Lips and Bibliomaniacs!

Now, let’s get on to the last book tags of February!

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#thegreatestshowmanbooktag
@veereading

🎩This Is Me- a book with an uplifting message:I Am Malala! Despite all the horrors in Malala’s life, this young woman still remained optimistic for change.

🎩A Million Dreams- a character who doesn’t give up: Peeta from the Hunger Games & Catching Fire. Peeta from Mockingjay gave up a little, but he was brainwashed so I forgive him. But prior to that, the boy didn’t give up on Katniss, and I thought that was adorable.

🎩Tightrope- a character you want to go on an adventure with: I really don’t know who I’d choose! And I’m not great at making decisions so I plead the fifth.

🎩The Greatest Show- a book that took you to another place: Every single book I read takes me somewhere. I’m actually planning to make a map of all the places I’ve “been” because of the books I’ve read! I’ll share it if I ever get it together!

🎩The Other Side- an unlikely friendship: Marie-Laure and Werner from All the Light We Cannot See. ____________________

#meetthebookstagrammer2

@potterheadsofwinterfell

👋Where do you live? 🇺🇸 USA!

👋 Do you plan bookstagram? Yes, absolutely. Planning keeps me on track!

👋 Dream job? Does winning the lottery and never working again count? No? Okay. Actually, I really love my day job. It’s a really good mix of things I enjoy.

👋 Authors you’d like to meet? I’d probably cry if I got to meet Rowling. But I’d also really love to meet Jodi Picoult.

👋 Happy song/ place/ food? Hall & Oates, You Make My Dreams / My family’s camp / Ice cream!

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@booksofthunder

🔥 Iron Man- book that made me laugh: Woulda Coulda Shoulda by Dave Feldman.

🔥Thor- character with strength you admire: Oh wow. Well, pretty much every autobiography or memoir I’ve read has a strong main character, so I couldn’t possibly choose.

🔥Captain America- book set in another era: I love the WW2 era, so I could list a ton. One of my favorites? The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

🔥Hulk- book that made you angry: I haven’t had a book that made me as grumpy as The Circle, but y’all know that, haha.

🔥Hawkeye- underrated book: I just mentioned Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult on my bookstagram! I thought it was amazing, but I hadn’t heard much hype.

🔥Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch- sibling love: Oh easy- Katniss & Prim!

🔥Antman- a book you want to read but can’t: I want to read The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons so bad, but I won’t buy it until after I finish the #unreadshelfproject2018.

🔥Loki- evil character that you like: Belatrix Lestrange! She is one crazy mothertrucker, but I also think she’s also kind of awesome, haha. Of course, Helena Bonham Carter is amazing, so that could be part of it.

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Okay, that’s enough fun for this month, haha. I’m ready to spring into March!

One Lovely Blog Award & A Giveaway!

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I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! Malanie at Malanie Loves Fiction nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award, and I’m seriously blushing guys! I’m seriously feeling the love! Coming from a blogger whose posts always make me giggle or want to read something, I am blown away! Thank you so much Malanie, I truly appreciate it!!

Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for the award
  2. Display the banner/sticker/logo on your blog
  3. Share 7 facts or things about yourself
  4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers that you admire and inform the nominees

So, funny thing about the timing of this nomination- the day before I was nominated, I was challenged by my wonderful bookish friend Megan at What Megan Reads to join in on the Get To Know The Bookstagrammer tag. So, I put together some photos with some fun facts- so I’ll share them here!

My Seven Fun Facts!

  1. I love horses! As if you didn’t know already, haha. I don’t own my own horse (they’re expensive fur-children), but I’ve worked with and ridden them since I was fourteen.
  2. I love going to live concerts- the louder, the better! Since I’ve moved to Kentucky, I try to make it to at least one concert a year because where I grew up, you had to drive a minimum of 2 hours away to see anyone of note perform. Here, I can get to three different venues in less than 1 hour!
  3. I enjoy hunting. I come from a long line of hunters, and I passed my hunter’s safety course when I was ten, and got my first deer when I was eleven. I love spending time in the woods with my father, grandfather, uncles, and siblings, and I really love being able to fill my freezer! Also, for anyone who is anti-hunting, I respect your position, but I don’t want any debates here. This is just me sharing a bit of myself.
  4. I’m a total cat lady. I have two of my own, Junior and Millie, and I grew up with three cats- Hootie, Hazel, and Penny.
  5. I love to travel! I have only left the USA once (Oh, Canadaaa), but I love roadtrips and exploring new places. I’ve been to 24 states so far, and want to see the other 26! Also, my wanderlust dream is to venture off to Europe someday.
  6. I hate cooking. I want to be one of those Rachel Ray- types, but even when I’m really trying, I still manage to overcook (ahem, burn to a crisp) or under cook everything. Therefore, my microwave is the most important cooking appliance I own. My sister got the chef genes in our family.
  7. I am an auntie many times over. My brother and his wife gave me a nephew and two nieces, and my other-brother and his significant-other just recently gave me another niece! I live close to my brother and his family, and it has been a joy to see those kiddos grow up and learn new things, and the laughter is endless with them! Oh, also, I’m an auntie to many of my friend’s fur-children!

I nominate the following lovely bloggers…

…for their strong, independent writing. You all write about the things you are passionate about, and even though I don’t know you, as a reader of your blogs, I can glimpse your personalities and interests based on your writing styles. I follow you all because I either share similar interests or feelings about the topics you discussed, and I find that ability to connect to your readers lovely. Thank you and congratulations to you all!

BUT WAIT, there’s more!

I also want to take the time to announce that I’ve gotten 200 followers on WordPress, 300 on Twitter, and 500 on Instagram! I am so thankful for everyone who has taken the time to check out my blog and socials, and I wanted to do something to show my appreciation! So I’m doing another giveaway!! This time, the prize is a gorgeous copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, a cute palm-sized notebook, and a bookmark!

Here are the entry rules:

  1. United States entries only. (Sorry all my international followers, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m still trying to figure out the international shipping system)
  2. Real accounts only- no spammers!
  3. Follow my blog, and comment below that you’ve followed (or are already following!)
  4. For a bonus entry- follow @thelexbookie on Twitter!
  5. For a bonus entry- follow TheLexingtonBookie on Instagram!
  6. Entries are open now, and close on Tuesday, February 27th (2017) at 12am EDT. I will announce the winner here and on social media, and contact the winner, on Wednesday, February 28th! The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize!

Good luck everyone, and again, thank you all for inspiring and motivating me, as well as celebrating with me!

January Wrap-Up (with book tags and other fun tidbits)

We made it through the yuckiest winter month here in Kentucky, and I’m hoping you all are having a warmer winter than us! It’s been the chilliest winter we’ve had in years (I think my first year here was *maybe* this cold), and I’ve been drinking a ton of tea (trying to cut back my coffee intake) and hot cocoa and mostly attempting to hibernate. Spring can’t come soon enough!

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Over the course of the month, I’ve posted the following reviews:

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  2. Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  6. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
  7. The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve

I also did one giant booktag post, and since I’ve got a few more to do, I’m going to do them here!  Keith from Sink into the Ink tagged me on Instagram for another couple of fun tags- #winterreads and #bythebook! And, I’ve been sitting on The Harry Potter Tag which I kinda stole from Jenny @ Jenny in Neverland, waiting for a good chance to do it! I’m going to keep the answers short since there are so many.

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#winterreads Tag

  • Hot cocoa & marshmallows (a nostalgic read): Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  • Snow drift (a book you binge read instead of going outside): Haha I’ll read anything so I don’t have to go outside in the winter!
  • Gloomy skies (a sad read): Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
  • Holiday spirit (a book that made you excited for the holidays): I don’t really read holiday books- although I did read One Christmas in Winter by Bell Renshaw.
  • Bah humbug (a book you didn’t finish):The Poet of Tolstoy Park by Sonny Brewer

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#bythebook Tag

  • Book on your bedside table?  Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller
  • Last book you read? The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve
  • Bookshelf organization? Singles by color of the rainbow, some by author on one shelf, some by series on another.
  • Book that disappointed you? The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  • Type of story that grabs you? Fast paced, likeable characters, with humor, thrills, or mystery.
  • Books you intend on reading? I’m gonna cheat this and say I plan on reading 50 books… which I know is not really what they’re looking for but I HAVE SUCH A LIST.

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Harry Potter Tag

  • What house are you in? HUFFLEPUFF, whoot whoot!
  • What is your Patronus? A tonkinese cat
  • What is your wand? Hawthorne wood with a phoenix feather core, 12 1/2 inches, slightly yielding.
  • What would your boggart be? Just like Molly Weasley, mine would be with my loved ones dead or dying around me.
  • What position would you play in Quiddich? Keeper if I made the team. Otherwise, an uber fan, haha.
  • Would you be a pure-blood, half-blood or muggle born? Half-blood. Dad’s definitely a muggle (he doesn’t care about the wizard stuff), but mom was always a fan of Bewitched… haha.
  • What job would you want to have after leaving Hogwarts? Definitely something to do with the care of magical creatures… probably specializing in Unicorns.
  • Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose? The invisibility cloak, of course.
  • Favourite book? Deathly Hallows or Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • Least favourite book? Meh, I can’t chose. They all range on a level of amazing and mind blowing.
  • Favourite film? Sorcerer’s Stone (the nostalgia!) or Half Blood Prince (the drama!)
  • Least favourite film?Deathly Hallows, both parts. It’s like they never checked the book for the details at the ending and decided to improvise. Ugh.
  • Favourite character? Molly is my kin, Remus makes my heart ache, and Fred and George as a duo always made me LOL until… I don’t wanna talk about it.
  • Least favourite/most hated character? Freaking Umbridge. Which is sad because she’s not even the ‘bad guy’. But Voldemort is a very very very close second.
  • Favourite teacher at Hogwarts? MCGONAGALL IS QUEEN.
  • Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts? *see least favorite/most hated character*
  • Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series? How could anyone?! It’s the most magical, amazing, extraordinary series ever!

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Phew! Now that those are done,  I have two more tidbits of news! First, I decided to give my blog a little facelift (I hope you noticed!), and am going to hopefully start incorporating more original artwork. I’m not much of a graphics person, but I want to challenge myself to it! Second, drumroll….. this month, I got nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award!! I am still so chuffed about it, because I’m just blown away that my little blog got noticed! So thank you all again for reading and commenting and enjoying my posts! Y’all make me feel so special!

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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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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Prior to reading, I had heard of the book and knew what it was about, so although I was reading about the reasoning behind a young woman’s suicide, I was prepared for it to be heavy. For those who haven’t heard of this book, it’s about a high school teen who left thirteen cassette tape recordings for each person who influenced her decision to take her own life. When I started reading, I was easily hooked, trying to see how these thirteen people affected Hannah so much that she’d decide to take her own life, and trying to figure out Clay’s charged reactions.

The further I read on, the more I was bothered by Hannah’s reasoning, and the dramatic narration of her suicide tapes. In the end, although Hannah states no one but herself was to blame for taking her life, each tape comes off as Hannah blaming someone and being the victim. This made it hard for me to be sympathetic towards her. As an adult reading a young adult novel, there are times when her reaction comes off as immature or melodramatic to me, which was also hard to ignore.

I do however think Asher did an amazing job pointing out how seemingly insignificant things can emotionally trigger someone, even if that person doesn’t outwardly react, and how they can start a chain reaction. And in my opinion, the ability to create an outlet for open discussion on a sensitive subject like suicide is worthy of applause. I’m still ruminating on Hannah’s anonymous note to her Peer Communications class and her classmates reactions.

I also think that Asher’s emotional reactions in Clay were really strong and made the reader feel exactly how Clay felt as he was hearing Hannah’s words. There were sections that I wish weren’t so interrupted by his calmer, inquisitive commentary, though I understand this helped aid the pace of the story.

I would also like to add that I haven’t seen the TV show it inspired, and I don’t think that the book glorifies suicide- I think the show and the popularity (and therefore exploitation of the book) glorified suicide. In all total honesty, I don’t think Asher meant for this book to go extremely deep into the mental nightmare of reasoning behind suicide, but I think he certainly gave everyone a taste and overall, created an excellent quick-read intended to be thought provoking and fuel discussion.

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Rose and Poe by Jack Todd

If you’ve read Shakespeare’s The Tempest, this may be a familiar story to you, but if not, imagine a Grimm fairy tale crossed with a contemporary crime novel, and you have Todd’s beautifully written tale, Rose & Poe.

At first, we’re introduced to Rose, the single and fiercely devoted mother of Poe, the simple minded, gentle giant who works hard to please others- especially Miranda, the lovely daughter of Thorne. Then we’re introduced to a series of other characters from the small fictional setting of Belle Coeur County (set in New England), including Thorne (aka Mister Sir Mister), a possessive father who is slowly losing his mind to dementia; Airmail, the skeezy speedster courier who has his nose in everybody’s business: and Skeeter and Moe, two young boys who think they are tracking Sasquatch (aka Sasquank).

Each character’s individual stories develop and become intertwined with Poe. Though he lives a rather sheltered life, everyone in the area knows who he is. He’s kind of hard to miss, being somewhere between eight and nine feet tall and seven hundred pounds, six fingered and six toed, with a size eighteen shoe and signature Oshkosh’b’Gosh overalls. Though simple minded, he’s been raised in the small town by a loving mother and taught to be a kind, hard working citizen. Yet, many don’t accept his social limitations and therefore ostracize him, and though his mother has protected him from as much as possible, there are still experiences that Poe suffered through just because he was different. With no one willing to defend him, Rose has always come to his rescue.

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(In my imagination, he looks a bit like this guy, except maybe a bit homelier)

The one night, Rose’s worst nightmare happens- Poe gets into a situation that Rose can’t get him out of. She knows he is innocent and wouldn’t harm a fly, but with little evidence to prove otherwise, Poe is in serious danger of being committed for a serious crime. Even with Rose doing all she can from him, nobody is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and being a pariah already, they don’t care to wait for the trial to have Poe hanged. Todd keeps his readers at the edge of their seat awaiting the final word on Poe’s predicament.

I actually got this novel from an Instagram giveaway from Megan at whatmeganreads and ecwpress.com. I probably wouldn’t have picked it out for myself, but Megan loved it, posted a rave review, and since we have similar tastes in books, I thought why not see if I could win a copy! I was pretty surprised, but super excited, that I won it because it is such a great book. Also, I was surprised to see many Vermont references, including the county that I grew up in! Small world, coincidence, or fate that I should end up with this book? Who knows. Anyways… there’s no sugar coating in Rose & Poe, so the reader becomes very empathetic to the main duo. Todd builds this honest and fierce relationship between the characters and reader from the start, and it’s hard not to become involved in the novel. I, too, give it a seal of approval, and suggest you give it a shot- you won’t be disappointed.

*This is an honest review, and there were no stipulations of providing a review as a winner of this giveaway.*