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!

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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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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.

 

 

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth

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I know, I know… another series that everyone had either read or heard of, and I’m yet again super late to the fanwagon. But guys… I GET IT NOW. I devoured Divergent in two days, and I’m just itching to start Insurgent, which is currently at home on my bookshelf, just calling my name…

For those of you who haven’t read the series (or seen the movies) like me, here’s a relatively short summary. Beatrice Prior (Tris) lives in dystopian Chicago. At sixteen, she is about to make the biggest choice of her life by decided what faction she is meant to live in. Growing up Abnegation, she has always felt a part of her doesn’t belong in the selfless  and reserved faction, and her curiosity has her admiring the Dauntless, who are brave and appear to fear nothing. On the day of her aptitude test, she learns that she doesn’t specifically fit into any of the factions- Abnegation, Dauntless, Candor, Amity, or Erudite- but has an aptitude for multiple factions… making her Divergent. Unsure of what this means, Beatrice chooses Dauntless, and through her guilt tries to convince herself of the saying, “Faction before Blood”. As she sheds her old identity and becomes just Tris, her initiation is nothing like what she expects. Determined to make it through initiation, Tris learns more than what it takes to become Dauntless- she learns what it takes to be Divergent.

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I’m not sure if it’s the dystopian setting, the strength of the main character, or the barrage of intense action scenes, but I am HOOKED. Like, I even did the “What faction are you?” quiz. (Divergent, with Amity as the highest score). But I’ll contain my fangirling and keep this professional. Roth’s writing had me completely absorbed. I could imagine the Chicago trains always in motion, the Dauntless leaping on and off. I could see Tris’ train of thought, not as if I was reading her mind, but as if I was doing the processing myself. I could barely breathe during the fight scenes, and felt the punch in my gut when Tris states, “The bullet hit him in the head. I know because that’s where I aimed it.”

I’m so glad that this book lived up to the hype…in my opinion, it’s actually better. Highly recommend that you read it if you haven’t, and stay tuned- I know it won’t take me long to finish the rest of the series!

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Book Tags Galore!

I have some tags to catch up on! I was tagged by Andy, aka @places_and_books on Instagram to do #allthebooksof2017 “Favorite book(s) of 2017”, and I was tagged by Keith, aka  @sinkintotheink, to do the #wonderlandishlytagged, #currentlyreadingtag, #mytoptenbooksfrom2017 book tags! So here they are, fashionably (haha okay, really just) late!


#wonderlandishlytagged

🌹Alice (a book you lost)- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I swear I owned a copy, but I have no idea where it is. I can’t remember if I decided to donate it, or if I loaned it to someone, or if it just up and grew legs and walked out of my house. No clue!

🌹White Rabbit (a book you haven’t had time to read)- The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling. I have owned this book since last September when I decided I needed it to celebrate “19 years later…”, and just haven’t had time to read it. I will, someday, but I’m not in a hurry.

🌹Mad Hatter (a book that drove you insane)- The Circle by Dave Eggar. The boring, easily manipulated character. The mind control. The social media turned mandatory life necessity. I just couldn’t like this book, but I also had to read it and it’s creepily stuck in my brain now.

🌹Dormouse (a book that put you to sleep)- Beowulf. I had to read this in high school, and I know it’s full of action, but I just hated it with a passion and anytime we read it in class (first period English), I’d have to try hard not to nod off.

🌹Queen of Hearts (a book that destroyed your heart)- The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. This is such a gorgeous love story with so many plot twists and turns.

🌹Knave of Hearts (book hangover)- Can I predict a hangover? Yes? Okay, the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth. I am so high on them right now, I don’t wanna come down… but I’m on Allegiant now, so it’s coming whether I’m ready or not.

🌹Mock Turtle (made you cry)- The Fault in our Stars by John Green… Of course. Do I really have to explain this one?


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#currentlyreadingtag

📖Currently Reading- Allegiant by Veronica Roth

📖Genre- Dystopian

📖Why did you pick it?- I’d heard so much about the Divergent series and decided that it was finally time for me to read them, and bought the trilogy (and will soon add Four to the collection). They’re amazing!! I’ll be posting their reviews soon, so stay tuned!


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#mytoptenbooksfrom2017

For more details on these books, and to look at any other reviews I’ve done, please check out the Bookie’s Bookshelf!

  1. South of Broad by Pat Conroy
  2. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
  3. Burn Town by Jennifer McMahon
  4. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  5. Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn
  6. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  7. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  8. The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins
  9. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
  10. The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

 

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#allthebooksof2017

My favorite book that I read in 2017 was South of Broad by Pat Conroy. The writing was beautiful, full of details and laden with emotion. I adored the characters, especially Leo, for their vulnerability, their strengths, their pride, and their flaws. I bought my own copy so that I can visit South of Broad over and over again.


 

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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