Category Archives: Discussion

Discussion: A Personal Post | On My Last Day of Work



I usually stick to the bookish discussions on my blog but heck, it’s my corner of the internet and I’m taking a day to write about something a little more personal and not really related to books.

Today is my last day at my current job. I’ve worked here for 8+ years, starting almost right out of college back in 2009 and it was my first major “big girl” job. I started out at the bottom, just working customer service and slowly worked my way up through this family owned company to manage new customer service employees and take on a different role that involved some more accounting. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever but the company has always been so good to me and it was such a secure job with benefits and all that adulting stuff!

Two years ago, I officially opened Novelly Yours and started making candles on the side, mostly as a hobby but sharing them with others by opening an Etsy shop. Fast forward 2+ years later, and I came to the point where I would be able to support myself with my business and take it full-time. I finally put in my two weeks notice (ahem, five weeks notice, apparently) and here I am today, on my last day in the corporate world, moving into being a full-time business owner and entrepreneur. It’s honestly not something I ever saw myself doing because I just didn’t have a dream like that until I happened to start making candles and found something I loved, so to say it was a dream come true is still true, but also something new!

I know that this is the right move for me and I knew I wouldn’t be at this job forever but of course it’s a little bittersweet! I’m mostly excited, a little nervous moving to a business where my salary is 100% based on what I do and how I do it, and just a tiny bit sad about moving on. I know it’s time but this place has been eight years of my life for 10 hours a day! I’m thankful for everything I learned here, from customer service to employee relationships to being a good manager, and everything in between. As much as no one wants to have an office next to their boss, working closely with the manager of the company offered me a lot of opportunities to soak up some knowledge that I didn’t ever expect to gain as far as seeing things from a business standpoint. Even though it’s time for me to move on, I truly appreciate how much I’ve grown and how much confidence I’ve gained in my workplace abilities and in my talents just from being here!

And now I move on to a new chapter of my life where I get to be my own boss, run my own show, dictate my own hours, and make all of the company decisions. It’s silly because it feels a little overwhelming to think of myself as this business-owner, but really, I’ve already been running Novelly Yours for two years so I know I’ve already been doing that but it sort of takes on a different weight when I know it’s my CAREER and I’m the sole person responsible for its success and of course, all the scary stuff like taxes and legal aspects.

I know moving to full-time candles will also allow me more time to be with my family, which is a seriously major perk and something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I hope to have more time to cook, clean, organize, plan, ship, read, and blog! I guess we’ll see how it all shakes out the first few weeks and what kind of time I’ll have because obviously I want to dedicate my work time to work first, but I think I’ll be able to do a lot with this new working set-up and I’m incredibly excited to set things up at my own pace!

And lastly, I’m going to be a little sappy and say thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey with Novelly Yours! I don’t think this business would have been nearly as successful without the support of the blogging community helping me kickstart this little adventure. You guys were my first customers, my first cheerleaders, my first motivation to make a better website and create better content, and I’m honored to have you in my corner as supporters and fans! Things have come a very long way since my first candles (like seriously though, I’ve learned so much and the quality has improved leaps and bounds over the years) and I truly appreciate those who bought some of those silly little first candles and still stuck with me as I figured out the best way to make the best candles! Thank you for everything you’ve done to help make Novelly Yours the success that it is today! I really couldn’t have done it without this community!

The Book Addict’s “GUIDE”… to Queens of Contemporary!

My reading tastes have changed a lot over the past few years, especially since I started blogging, but I still have a big place in my heart for contemporary romance and realistic fiction in my heart! I’ve been picking up a lot more light & fluffy contemporary stories lately, more so than the serious realistic fiction, but this compilation of Contemporary Queens includes a little of both!

This isn’t a comprehensive list of all of my favorites but it includes many of my favorite authors who currently have multiple books out, and I left a few off the list who I loved but I hadn’t read the majority of their current contemporary releases (like Elizabeth Eulberg and Robin Benway)! It also doesn’t include books of different genres from the authors listed below (like Kasie West’s paranormal duology and Rainbow Rowell’s dip into fantasy) to keep the list strictly contemporary!

The guide is mainly geared toward young adult authors and novels but also includes any “crossover” books by the same authors including Rainbow Rowell’s adult novels and Liz Czukas’s novels as Ellie Cahill for her new adult releases! Lastly, it also only includes full-length novels so any novellas or extras have not been included here (but you should totally check those out too)!

young adult contemporary


  1. Sisters In Sanity by Gayle Forman | Amazon // Goodreads
  2. If I Stay by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  4. Just One Day by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  5. Just One Year by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  6. I Was Here by Gayle Forman | Amazon // Goodreads
  7. Leave Me by Gayle Forman | Amazon // Goodreads
  8. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  9. On The Fence by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  10. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  11. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  12. By Your Side by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  13. Lucky In Love by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  14. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell | Amazon // Goodreads
  15. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Amazon // Goodreads
  16. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Amazon // Goodreads
  17. Landline by Rainbow Rowell | Amazon // Goodreads
  18. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord | Amazon // Goodreads
  19. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | Amazon // Goodreads
  20. When We Collided by Emery Lord | Amazon // Goodreads
  21. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord | Amazon // Goodreads
  22. Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas | Amazon // Goodreads
  23. Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas | Amazon // Goodreads
  24. Throwing My Life Away by Liz Czukas | Amazon // Goodreads
  25. When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill | Amazon // Goodreads
  26. Call Me Maybe by Ellie Cahill | Amazon // Goodreads
  27. Just A Girl by Ellie Cahill | Amazon // Goodreads
  28. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  29. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  30. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  31. My True Love Gave to Me curated by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  32. Summer Days and Summer Nights curated by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  33. Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt | Amazon // Goodreads
  34. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt | Amazon // Goodreads
  35. The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt | Amazon // Goodreads
  36. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland Amazon // Goodreads
  37. Nantucket Red by Leila Howland Amazon // Goodreads
  38. Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland Amazon // Goodreads

Who are your queens of contemporary? I also love Elizabeth Eulberg, Robin Benway, and Lauren Morrill but I need to catch up on some of their earlier books or latest releases!

Looking for more reading recommendations?
Here are some more posts to check out!

Discussion | It’s Hard to Say No


Book blogging covers many different degrees of content, opportunities, and of course the goals of book bloggers themselves.  Some of us choose to update sporadically and some of us update every day. Some of us are dying to get our hands on ARCs and some of us couldn’t care less about reading advance copies. I love the range of people and content that this community offers and I think it’s so wonderful to see everyone’s individuality through their blogs, what they write, and how they choose to express their feelings all on the same topics and/or books! I think it’s absolutely fantastic how diverse this community is in countless ways! But this post is for that corner of the internet who are “yes people” like I am. We have trouble saying no to good offers!

Gather ’round, fellow “yes people”! Let’s have a little chat about how to say no. Now I’m not saying that you have to say no to things but I’ve had several posts over the years about my personal experiences where I felt the need to put stress on myself to join challenges, participate in blog tours, accept books/ARCs when they were offered, and run promos for pubs/authors/bloggers. These are only a handful of the opportunities that are possible as a book blogger and I’m sure you know that the list goes on! I was one of those people who was just so excited about being a part of everything that I really and truly did want to say yes to nearly every offer.

When I was a newer blogger, I didn’t have as many opportunities as I do now so I really did say yes to just about damn near every pitch that was sent my way. I read books I probably shouldn’t have, joined blog tours when I wasn’t sure I would be keen on the book but felt like I couldn’t turn a publisher down, and hopped on read alongs/blogger projects because I felt bad saying no to the hosts. The silly thing is, this actually put more stress on myself. Sometimes everything worked out great and I had an absolute blast! But too many times I ended up scrambling to meet deadlines because I was doing so many things, rushing through reads, or simply not enjoying the book I was reading. The commitment added more pressure to my hectic blogging schedule and I ended up feeling worse about the content I was putting out and disappointed when I didn’t enjoy a particular book, especially if I needed to report that back to an author or publisher.

I’ve been blogging for almost four years now and I can honestly tell you that it really has taken me this long to be okay with saying no to people. I had to realize that someone else would be able to provide better content or feedback. Someone else might have more time than I do to put together a more thorough post (although really, I always feel like my posts are too wordy… like this one…). Someone else might really want that opportunity more than I do and authors/publishers will more likely appreciate my honesty that a book might not be a good fit for me and offer it to someone who is better suited to give it good feedback. It also really took me this long to put myself first. Sounds stupid, right? I’m reading and blogging for a hobby — how am I not putting myself first this whole time? But being a “yes person” often goes hand-in-hand in being a giver for me. I like to support authors/publishers/bloggers and like to do everything I can do help out. Sometimes I extend myself a little too far and I’ve started doing too many things for other people that I don’t have time to do my own things like read backlist books or post my own personal features. Not to mention that I also have a personal life and I need time to cook, clean, spend time with family, travel, hang out with friends, or simply sit at home and do nothing!

I was afraid to say no because I was afraid I would lose this opportunities if I did. I didn’t want it to seem like I wasn’t interested in working with a publisher because I kept saying no to their offers. The thing is, I didn’t stop to think that they contacted me for a reason and may end up offering me something more suiting to my tastes if I told them my reasons for why I was refusing the offer. Saying something like “I don’t think this book is the right book for me” or “I’m actually more of a fantasy girl than dystopian” is totally okay to say. I don’t personally know how the publishing/blogger relationship works on their end but I’m betting someone out there makes a note of what your preference is so they can pitch you the right books instead of wasting time/money on sending you a book that you don’t want to promote because it wasn’t right. Logic doesn’t win out over emotions sometimes I had to take a step back to look at it from a head vs heart perspective.

I also have a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), especially with blogger-run events/features. I hate saying no to things that sound like fun but I might be too busy to do them. (Note: I always complete an assignment once I commit but that doesn’t mean I’m not stressed while working to do so!) I didn’t want to hurt my blogger friend’s feelings when I said no to her event but something I’ve learned over the years is that people are generally understanding, especially when you give them genuine reasons why you just can’t commit at the moment. Mostly likely, they don’t want you to be stressed over a fun even that they’re planning because that really takes away from the fun aspect of it! My FOMO also applied a lot to book offers which was so silly because whether it’s an ARC, egalley, or finished copy, this book will be available to me in one way or another. If I say no to it now, I can always buy, borrow from the library, or borrow from a friend later. There will be SOME way for me to read it. I might pass on the opportunity for a blog tour but it’s really not the end of the world to pass on something that will end up stressing me out more!

That being said, I do still say yes to a lot. You’ll still see me in tons of places around the blogosphere because I really do enjoy being a part of so many things! No matter what I’ve committed to in the past or what I might commit to in the future, my participation is always genuine even if my stress levels run high sometimes! It’s still hard for me to say no but I’ve gotten MUCH  better at only committing to what I think I will have time for or what I will really enjoy and I think everyone can understand that when I do have to turn something down, there’s a real reason for it. It’s a bit painful to turn down a review copy or decline and invitation to a blog tour but I’m trying to keep in mind that I might not be the best fit for it and then someone else will get that opportunity instead. I could be making someone else’s day!

Do you have a hard time saying no? Do you have FOMO? What are your best tips to psych yourself up to politely refuse?

A Non-Review: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) – Leigh Bardugo

A Non-Review: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: September 29, 2015 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 9, 2015
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone.…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction–if they don’t kill each other first.

The “non-review” isn’t really something I intended to be a regular thing when I first posted it as my thoughts on REBEL by Amy Tintera but it felt appropriate to bring back for my thoughts about my SIX OF CROWS re-read. A “non-review” is less of a review of the actual book and more thoughts, feelings, and a bit of discussion based on how my reading experience went. I thought it would be a good thing to use for my SIX OF CROWS re-read feedback since I had quite a tumultuous time trying to write my original review.

Leigh Bardugo is one of my all-time favorite authors. I obsessively collect anything Grisha-related and just fell in love with her writing throughout the whole Grisha Trilogy. Naturally, SIX OF CROWS was one of my most-anticipated books like, ever so I was so disappointed to feel like it just wasn’t a five-star read for me (I mean, it was four stars so it’s not like I didn’t enjoy it). I read SIX OF CROWS several months before it released, immediately after I obtained a copy at BEA 2015 back in June. Since I had so many mixed feelings on how the book sat with me that pre-ordered the audiobook version so I could start it as soon as the book was released on sale to the public.

My experience with the audiobook was fantastic. It’s a cast of narrators, a different one for each point of view in the book and they pretty much all kill it. I had so much fun listening to the book and I really felt like that helped me connect to each voice even more which was something that I noted on my first read. I felt like I was left wanting more backstory and development of each character, something to pull at my heartstrings a little bit more since this crew of criminals is so hardened and tough and I really think being able to hear those voices brought a new level of connection to each one for me. I also really think that just re-reading the book helped a lot since I didn’t need to focus on the basics as much and I could shift to the details, personalities, and nuances.

Honestly, I think my biggest “struggle” with my original read of SIX OF CROWS was that I was just too excited. I’m usually complaining about the hype of a popular book that kills it for me (which really is just impossible to avoid when a community is so large and so excited), but how do you prevent your OWN hype from letting you down? SIX OF CROWS was honestly a fantastic book. I did bump up my rating from around four stars to four and a half (still not QUITE five for me yet) but I had to ask myself, what was really missing that I didn’t feel like I could give it a perfect rating? It had everything that I loved, everything was amazing… and I figured it out it was ME. I think I had just hyped the book up so much in my head (“omg a new book by my favorite author!”) that I had set it up to just totally blow my mind without even knowing how the book would feel. I spent time imagining how it would go, what it would be about, who the characters would be, etc that I essentially had an idea in my head of what the book would be and that turned out to be pretty far off. That’s not a bad thing at all — I mean, the book was GREAT and honestly better that it didn’t go the way I imagined! But I did have an expectation that just led me in a different direction and SIGH. It was my own damn fault.

The terrible thing about it all is how impossible it is to avoid hype. Whether it’s from the community or from yourself, there’s only so much you can do to avoid excitement and speculation. SIX OF CROWS wasn’t the only book to suffer from this self-inflicted hype either. It’s happened to me with more than one series conclusion this fall and I think that’s because I’m just SO excited for these books by my favorite authors that I’m just hyping it up too much for my own good.

The other dilemma I have here is that if a book is good, it’s good. If it’s hyped up and deserves the hype, you’ll still love it. It’s undeniable that QUEEN OF SHADOWS had some immense hype surrounding it and I still savored, adored, and absolutely fell in love with that book. I think I had the same amount of anticipation for QUEEN OF SHADOWS as I did for some other incredibly popular books lately, so that makes me even question if this is a valid reason or if I’m making this excuse because I just don’t want to say that I didn’t love these books from an author whose work I’ve obsessed over. I suppose it could be a mixture of both. Maybe I was okay with QUEEN OF SHADOWS because I really did have an idea of how it might happen and my expectations were closer to actuality. Maybe it was because things were still on the same track as the first three books (same characters, following the same plot, etc) whereas with SIX OF CROWS, I met all new characters, it was a different time and place, and I had a hard time adjusting to the same world but in a totally different aspect.

I’m not quite sure what the “right” answer is, but it if is me hyping up books too much for my own good, I hope I’m able to corral that a bit and quickly. I’ve still enjoyed all of these books but I do feel a sense of “that wasn’t quite what I thought it would be” and I don’t really know how to handle that. I’m not sure there is a way to avoid getting too excited for a book because that’s also what I love about being a reader! Books are a gloriously fun thing to be passionate about and it’s impossible not to catch on to that excitement and let it spread throughout the community to help support your favorite authors and push books into the hands of other people.

What do you guys think? Have you ever hyped a book up too much for yourself? Do you struggle with expectations changing your opinion of a book??


Discussion | Blogging Statistics: More Than Just Followers


A couple weeks ago, it came to my attention that there was a bit of talk going around Twitter regarding posting habits (what is “too little” and what it “too much”) and I felt really cringey that there’s still a sort of mention of what bloggers “should” and “should not” do (lots of quotes here, I know… Can you tell I don’t approve?) and what the “norms” are. I don’t often tweet out into the abyss about issues or THINGS but I just couldn’t hold my tongue…

I was mostly upset (and maybe a little ranty) because the tweet that I saw was regarding a person who was frustrated someone unfollowed them due to too many social media posts in one day. I know it’s disheartening when you see someone actively make the decision not to follow your account anymore, but it made me upset because it felt like the focus was on the number of followers for this person’s account and not the reason why they were posting in the first place.

I wrote a previous discussion post about how we as bloggers need to give ourselves a break and not worry too much about the so-called expectations of the blogging community. We read for fun. We blog for fun. It’s a hobby and it should always been enhancing our lives and happiness, not causing stress… and this whole posting thing really follows that message as well. This is the ONLY blogging “rule” I think we should abide by and sort of my own personal mantra for my blogging habits. The “blogger advice” posts are great, but to all bloggers — new AND old — remember that advice does not equal rules. I’ve had some bloggers ask me how I come up with ideas, how I schedule, how I write reviews, and even how to gain followers, and I’m always happy to share my experience and advice but the best possible advice I can ever give is to make sure you’re enjoying your time and that there is no wrong way to do something. What works for me may not work for the next person — and that’s a good thing. I think we’ve all created our blogs to have our own little corner of the internet where we can voice our opinions and share some awesome book information with the rest of the world and this is my one “should” — your blog should be that corner of the internet where you’re 100% free to find your own voice and what content works for you and the originality and passion for what you enjoy is what makes your blog successful, in my opinion, and what will attract the most followers to your blog. I think readers are able to see a genuine voice, original content, and something that they connect to and that’s the best way to “get followers”. I know it’s hard not to focus on how many followers your blog has, but trust me, they will come if you just keep doing what you’re doing in your own way.

Recently, I had a lot going on in my personal life and I couldn’t find the time to blog. I generally post every weekday (and that is in no way a “norm” — I just really enjoy posting and generally have enough content to fill a week) and there came a day when I just had nothing to post and no time to write something up even if I could come up with an idea. I find the time to blog because it’s something I enjoy  but in this case, my focus needed to be somewhere else. It was very silly to have that number of page views in the back of my mind and how it might drop if I didn’t post that day but I know that page hits isn’t why I’m blogging. I’m a human being who has a life outside of my blog and that is the most important thing to me ALL of the time. I do work hard on my blog but because it’s something I enjoy dedicating my time to. It was very weird letting go and leaving that day empty but in a way, it was also freeing. I didn’t have to post every day. I know that I like to, but it was kind of a reminder that this isn’t something I need to do. It’s something I like to do. I think we all get into our habits and whether they’re fun or maybe a little stressful, sometimes they’re had habits to break.

The other side of that posting “schedule” involves my social media habits as well. I’m sure we all feel that there are certain “norms” — like spacing out promo tweets between personal interactions or the amount of Instagram photos we post in a day — but honestly, along with your blog, your social media accounts are YOURS. You get to choose how often you post, who you interact with, what exactly you post, and what you deem important. These accounts are yours to do whatever you want (well, hopefully you’re being respectful throughout). Whatever you post and however you post it just shows more of your own personality and who you are. If someone unfollows you or doesn’t follow you because of what you’re posting or how often you post it, then they’re not your target audience anyway. Your followers enjoy your content and that’s why they choose to follow you or interact with you. The right people will follow you.

I know it’s hard when I’m sure a vast amount of us feel like blogging is a numbers game. How many followers does my blog have? How many people follow me on Twitter? On Instagram? How many page views do I get? And sometimes it’s really hard NOT to focus on the numbers. For me? I’ve always been a numbers person, even before blogging. I absolutely LOVE statistics so my blogging stats are something that I’m just naturally drawn to. I also can’t help that I have a somewhat competitive personality (sports, grades, board games — that’s just how it’s always been) so it’s not that I’m trying to beat out other bloggers in the numbers game, but I do tend to notice when my numbers grow and I can’t help that happy feeling that happens when I hit an exciting milestone.

It’s not a bad thing to keep track of your statistics and I don’t think anyone should feel ashamed for being proud of seeing those numbers grow. If you work hard on your blog, you deserve all of the followers and recognition and rewards for the work you’re putting into it. I WILL say that may be a harmful thing if you’re blogging IN ORDER to increase your stats. (This is speaking for the majority of us who are doing this as a hobby that we enjoy.) I enjoy blogging. I enjoy watching my follower-base grow. But really, more important than the numbers are the people behind them. I created my blog over three years ago with one idea in mind: I was reading some really good books and I wanted to share my reviews with people so they might be able to enjoy them as well. To this day, that’s still my number one goal. I started writing reviews to share that joy with other people and although the some formatting and content have changed over the years, that’s still my main goal — the reviews, the fun posts, the interviews, the giveaways, the discussions — it’s all because I like voicing my opinions in the hopes that it reaches someone else and enriches their life. I hope that each new follower I get is someone who appreciates the content of my blog and maybe one of my posts brightens their day or they find a new book that they’ll enjoy. I don’t have many extraordinary talents but knowing that this blog might bring a tiny bit of joy or excitement into someone’s life makes it worth it every day and that’s what really matters when I see those numbers grow.

It’s another one of those things where there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to blog. I enjoy keeping track of my stats because statistics are just something I always enjoy. Other people couldn’t care less about followers or statistics… But when it comes down to it, the people are always the most important part of this blogging experience and my blogging life. I’ve made life-long friends, received amazing opportunities, traveled to book conferences to meet even MORE bookish people, and have met wonderful authors. I enjoy talking books to people on Twitter every day and I’m so thankful for the community that I’ve gotten to know. I keep on hoping that my blog and my posts connect with someone out there and they’re enjoying what I write because book blogging is very much about the community and what are all of those numbers anyway? They’re the people behind the stats. And I value those individuals and the way they’ve enriched my life more than the statistics they might provide my blog any day!

So weigh in with what you think! Are you a person who follows stats? What are the reasons YOU  blog?


Discussion: In Defense of Instalove


A few weeks ago, Fierce Reads proposed an interesting question for the Twitterverse to answer… and for me the answer wasn’t easy! 

There’s a lot of animosity and instant negative reactions towards tropes like love triangles and instalove, especially because I think a lot of us have been inundated with both of these concept and/or seen them done errmmm… not well (to put it nicely) too many times. I know that when I hear a book has a love triangle or instalove, I instantly brace myself, preparing for impending doom BUT I don’t always think that’s a fair snap judgement.

It was really interesting to see the answers to this tweet and I was actually surprised to see SO many answers filled with rage about instalove! When it’s done poorly or clumsily, I’m not a fan of it either, but I don’t think it’s something to be counted out, especially when reading YA (come on. I know I suffered from instalove when I was a teenager). I feel like instalove is a term that can encompass more than just the negative instances so I was surprised to see so many reactions!

Okay, story time. I personally consider the way that I met my husband to be a bit insta-lovey. I went to a party with my friend (she had to convince me a little to be honest haha!) and I met Shane there. We instantly hit it off and he even scheduled his plans just to come out and see me if our groups of friends were getting together. He changed his entire opinion of marriage after we started dating (before we officially even started dating, actually). He never wanted to get married and here we are! On our way to our 1st anniversary.

I guess what I’m saying is that for me, it depends on how instalove is written. Do I believe in LOVE at first sight? No. You can’t LOVE someone instantly BUT I do believe in a genuine connection upon first meeting and an instant attraction which is a ridiculously good assistance to falling in love quickly. I firmly believe in insta-attaction and and instant connection but the love part does take time. I think where we have the most issues lies in books like fantasies, sci-fi, and dystopians where two characters meet and then all of a sudden are willing to do anything and everything for that person. In that case… no. That would be instant dedication and maybe instant obsession and attraction but that’s not quite a spark of love.

I also think that it’s such an issue in YA because we’re reading about teenagers. I can remember a VERY specific time when I thought I was in love… from dating a guy for a week. It’s a tumultuous time and easy for a teenager to think that they’re in love because they don’t quite know what love is and have a very strong attraction. Insta-love may be closer to a teenager truth sometimes but that also doesn’t mean it makes it any easier to read! (I much prefer the stories that feel more natural, even if teens do jump into the “L” word too quickly sometimes!)

I could read several books that could be deemed instalove based on a definition and never consider them to be instalove because the relationship just felt natural. I think we just notice when instalove isn’t written as well that sticks out in our brains, giving the concept a generally bad connotation! When it’s written well, I don’t even notice it. I just call it love!

Which is worse for you — instalove or love triangles? Do you think instalove can be written well? If so, what are some great examples?

Discussion: On Going in Blind



Very recently, I’ve started a few books — namely ARMADA and THE ACCIDENT SEASON — having totally forgotten what they’re about before I started them so the idea came to me to share a little piece of my reading habits: going into books (mostly) blind. 

I’m sort of a “read a synopsis once and done” kind of girl. Usually when I’m adding books to Goodreads or my TBR or my bookshelves, I read the synopsis (of course) to see if I’m interested and then don’t really read it again… maybe ever. It seems like a silly thing to do, right? I bet you’re wondering how I can possibly know what I want to read if I don’t know what a book is about, but that’s the beauty of being both a mood reader and an obsessive Goodreads shelver — I don’t really have to!

By the time a book lands on my Goodreads shelves, I already know that I’m interested in reading it. If I obtain a copy of it, I mark it accordingly so I know it’s available for me to read and each book that I add to my shelves, I put on a different shelf according to genre. Sometimes I’m a liiiittle bit off if the description is vague but mostly I can place what sort of feel it might have. This is where my mood reading comes into play: by the time I’m ready to pick up a new book, I’m picking based on what I feel like reading so I usually choose based on genre, whether that’s browsing my Goodreads shelves or staring at the ones in my home. However I decide to pick a book, one thing is for sure — I don’t pick it based on synopsis.

I usually don’t read the blurb again until after I finish a book (or during if I’m starting to feel like the book is taking a weird turn) or when I start writing my review. It may seem crazy to some but I love going into books blind. Why, you ask? Because I love discovering every little surprise and secret the way the author intended. I know that sometimes blurbs or synopses have to include some minor plot points in order to get that hook out to readers to get them interested so I like to totally forget the specifics of a blurb by the time I pick up a book to read!

It may not seem like much but I’ve discovered big surprises within the first quarter of a book which can often times be given away because that’s the first big twist in a story to get the reader invested in the book… But if I’m familiar with the blurb and then go to pick up the book, that’s no longer a surprise for me. It may not seem like a big deal but I find a book so much more enjoyable when I’m able to discover those things for myself. Big twists and surprises really enhance my reading experience and I often bump up ratings because of a good twist at the end of a book or a surprising moment that I just really didn’t see coming.

Of course, going in blind does have its drawbacks sometimes. I can think of a couple books where I forgot exactly what the synopsis said (like I usually do) but then missed clues to the actual feel/genre (I thought the book was sci-fi, for example, and it was much more dystopian) or hints about a genre-changing twist (from mystery to straight-up paranormal). Those sorts of surprises aren’t the greatest because then I have to totally reassess the book that I’m reading and I feel disappointed because the book wasn’t what I thought it was. The happy news is that A) that doesn’t happen to me often and B) if the book really was going well for me, those surprises would have flowed naturally and I would have been okay with the change instead of them feeling totally out of place.

Thankfully, I haven’t had many bad or frustrating experiences but not fully knowing every detail about a book’s plot before I start it. Going in blind almost always enhances my reading experience because I’m a TOTAL spoiler-avoider and even those little twists make a big difference!

How about you? Do you ever go into books blind or do you like to be fully prepared before you pick up a book? Does mood reading help you decide or do you usually pick based by a book’s description?

The Book Addict’s “GUIDE”… to Series! | Duologies

Duologies/duets/duos… whatever you want to call them, series that only span two books seem to be a new trend in YA and I am positively loving it! It’s so nice to be able to be invested and still get more to a story but not end in a trilogy (not sure why but I think people are getting tired of the trilogy! Too many of them?) and it’s easy to wrap up the series without going on forever. I like being able to get more of a story from the characters that I love but not worry about jumping into a series, not knowing when it will end and how many books it might add to my reading list!

Lauren from Bookmark Lit recently asked for duology recommendations and naturally, I put my recommendation hat on and I couldn’t stop the ideas from flowing! I’d actually been planning to do a “guide” about series for a long time but never quite got around to starting is so when this topic came up, it happened to be the perfect place to start! Without further ado, here are some of my favorite and also reader-recommended YA duologies!

** Note: Some of the duologies DO have novellas and/or prequels. Some are just short stories to bring more to the series and some actually include full-length releases. For the full-length releases, I did not consider this addition to make the series into a trilogy. They are not a continuation of the series and therefore remain a duology with an additional story, prequel, or novella.

This post is also part of a (hopeful) series (no pun intended)! I’ve got some plans to make a few more “guides” for trilogies and series spanning 4+ books!



All links will lead you to the first book in the series

  1. If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  2. Just One Day/Just One Year by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  3. Nantucket Blue/Nantucket Red by Leila Howland Amazon // Goodreads
  4. Also Known As/Going Rogue by Robin Benway Amazon // Goodreads
  5. The Rules for Disappearing/The Rules for Breaking by Ashley Elston Amazon // Goodreads
  6. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before/P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han Amazon // Goodreads
  7. Time Between Us/Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone | Amazon // Goodreads
  8. Dissonance/Resonance by Erica O’Rourke | Amazon // Goodreads
  9. Alienated/Invaded by Melissa Landers | Amazon // Goodreads
  10. Pivot Point/Split Second by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  11. Loop/Twist by Karen Akins | Amazon // Goodreads
  12. Reboot/Rebel by Amy Tintera | Amazon // Goodreads
  13. In the After/In the End by Demitria Lunetta | Amazon // Goodreads
  14. The Program/The Treatment by Suzanne Young | Amazon // Goodreads
  15. Starters/Enders by Lissa Price | Amazon // Goodreads
  16. Seraphina/Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman | Amazon // Goodreads
  17. A Need So Beautiful/A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young | Amazon // Goodreads
  18. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer/Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBrideAmazon // Goodreads
  19. Anna Dressed in Blood/Girl of Nightmares by Kendare BlakeAmazon // Goodreads
  20. The Dark Unwinding/A Spark Unseen by Sharon CameronAmazon // Goodreads
  21. Prisoner of Night and Fog/Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne BlackmanAmazon // Goodreads
  22. Born of Illusion/Born of Deception by Teri BrownAmazon // Goodreads


I actually wanted to include quite a few more in this post but some didn’t have covers, some weren’t 100% confirmed, and others won’t be out for um… years. But I did still want to mention them in the post because they’re either great reads or I’m really excited for their upcoming release!

  • The Orphan Queen/The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
  • The Wrath and the Dawn/The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
  • Passenger/Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
  • Untitled 2016 Veronica Roth duology

Which two-books series are your favorites? Any more to add to this list? Do you find duologies more appealing than longer series?

Looking for more reading recommendations?
Here are some more posts to check out!

  • The Book Addict’s “GUIDE” to “Crossover” Books: Know adult readers who want to get into YA? Or YA readers who want to pick up new adult reads? Check out this guide to “crossover” books!
  • The Book Addict’s “GUIDE” to Male POVs: Sometimes I’m just craving a good male POV or want to diversify my reading away from the females. Check out some of my favorite books from a guy’s perspective (mostly YA, some adult, some alternating male/female POV)!
  • If You Liked… If I Stay: For fans of IF I STAY, here are a few hand-picked selections of books you should read next!
  • If You Liked… Divergent: The “If You Liked” series is back! See which books I recommend for fans of Veronica Roth’s hit series DIVERGENT!

    Want to help me with my next post? Share with me your favorite YA trilogies!

My next project will be compiling a collection of YA trilogies. There are SO many out there that it will definitely be a big post but I want YOUR help to gauge which ones should make the cut! If you’d like to help, check out the link below! It’ll lead you to a Google Form where you can share which trilogies you think should be on this next recommendation list! Thanks for your help!!!

Which YA trilogies should be on the next recommendation list?
Let me know!

Discussion: Why We Need to Cut Ourselves Some Slack


Asheley from Into the Hall of Books had a great discussion the other day called Making Bloggy Mistakes which led to a fun chat with a few other bloggers on Twitter. Later on in the day, I was putting off writing the five reviews that had started piling up and was brainstorming what kind of new creative post I could come up with as I was doing my work (all the while pinning both just-for-fun things and helpful blog things on Pinterest) and the perfect post popped into my head. It wasn’t about anything particularly creative at all — in fact, it’s sort of the opposite.

I think we book bloggers all need to cut ourselves some slack.

Asheley’s post sort of started that idea swirling in my mind, but really the more I thought about it, the more I felt the need to post about it… My blog is turning three this year in April — hooray! — and I’ve learned a LOT over these past three years. From what I can tell, I probably hopped onto the book blogging scene right as it started “taking off”, so to speak. Maybe that’s my perception because I knew nothing about it at the time, but I feel like the “veterans” of the book blogging world tend to be going on their 4th, 5th, and 6th years (and beyond!) and I tend to know a lot of people who started right around the time I did — give or take. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve also seen quite a few veterans hang up their blogging hats too. They’ve all had their various reasons — whether that be more important things in life, starting a family, worn out by drama, or just burned out on keeping up with the blog — and although we miss their presence in the book blogging community, they’ve all had some wise parting words, the most important and most-often repeated of which is this:

You are reading and blogging as a hobby. Always keep it fun.

Those words always strike home with me since the whole reason I started blogging was just to have a fun outlet for my book reviews and had hoped to reach out to an audience who was looking for book recommendations. I didn’t know ARCs existed, never thought I’d talk to authors or publishers, and never thought my blog would come as far as it has today.

Starting in 2015, I decided to really make sure that I was doing this for fun. I mean, I always have fun with my blog but admittedly, sometimes I put way too much pressure on myself in a few different ways. For some people, “keeping it fun” may mean cutting down on the number of posts and reviews or not letting themselves get stressed about posting X amount of times each week… It’s hard work and I do work hard to achieve those, but that’s not the thing that I felt pressured to accomplish. It all had to do with reading.

I started blogging in 2012 and my eyes were opened up to a WHOLE lot more books than what I found in Borders (RIP Borders) and the used book stores near my house. Suddenly I was reading way more books based on other people’s recommendations and reactions, but hey, that was a good thing because that’s why I started my blog, right? But it was easy to get swept up in the popularity of a book or a blog or a post. I ended up reading books that were popular — which I might have done blog or no blog — and I wasn’t always enjoying them but now the difference was that when I didn’t enjoy the books everyone was raving about, I felt like I should have. I wanted to like what the popular bloggers liked. I wanted to be one of those bloggers who received ARCs from publishers and who authors talked to and who got tons of comments on their awesome posts — because really, how is that not appealing —  so what did I do? I read what they read.

That worked out okay sometimes. Most of the time, actually! I didn’t pick up EVERYTHING that was going around but I tried to read the books with the biggest buzz. I thought a book may not be for me but I tried it anyway. YES, I have found some books that I didn’t think I’d like and I LOVED them and that was a great experience… But I’ve also forced myself to read (and finish) too many books that I wasn’t enjoying.

I didn’t really start reading a LOT until 2011 and I started my blog in April of 2012 and it’s pretty interesting to see my reading habits and ratings broken down in percentages! Four-star books seem to always dominate and that seems about right, but I think what’s most interesting is the change in DNFs and two-star ratings. It’s hard to tell by the actual numbers but the percentages for two star books increased as did DNFs from 2012 to 2013 (right when I started blogging…) and I’m actually sort of surprised that the number of three-star books went down! I thought that would be higher. But the GREAT news is that my number of five-star books increased!

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(Yes, I made graphs and charts for this… Follow me here…) 

Anyway, I can analyze what I read in the past for days but really this shows me that I’ve been picking up too many books I knew I wasn’t going to like. I KNEW IT. I picked them up anyway because of obligations. So charts and graphs and ramblings aside, where am I going with this…?

Read what you want. Always.

In 2015, I’m REALLY trying to read what I want to read and not what I feel obligated to read. I know, I know, despite how many times we say that blogging is our hobby and we shouldn’t feel obligated to read anything, we all have those moments where we feel like we should read something — whether that’s because of a group read, because we requested it from a publisher, because we met the author, or any other number of reasons. It’s taken me three years of blogging to be okay with not reading everything (which is great since that’s impossible anyway). It may sound silly to some people who have never had this problem because they do always read what they want BUT I do think we’ve all been in that spot at some point in time and I’m sure almost all of us have forced ourselves to keep reading at some point in time.

Reading what you want is freeing but in a way it also requires a bit more work. I’m trying really hard not to request books from publishers or via Netgalley/Edelweiss if I really don’t think I’m going to read it SOON. There are plenty of books I’d like to read but I really don’t have the time to read them all as ARCs or egalleys. The books that aren’t a priority, I can wait until they’ve been published and then I can buy or borrow them. It will also free ME up to read what I’m really dying to read and not stare at all of those books that I requested and wonder when I’ll get to them.

So far in 2015, I’ve read 17 books. Only one two-star book so far and a couple three-stars but that was more “this book wasn’t what I thought it would be” versus “I don’t feel like reading this book but I am anyway”. I have been SO HAPPY with everything else I’ve read so far this year and I’m really excited to keep picking up books that I really feel like reading. Very long story short, I am giving myself a break!

This can extend to how much you want to put into blogging too.

I really love putting a lot of work into my blog so that’s not something that ever feels like a stressful thing for me, but if you find yourself struggling or rushing to finish a post, do it later. If you don’t want to post, then don’t. If you want to do something totally different that you’re not sure “fits” on your blog, do it anyway. Your blog is YOUR creative space and just because it’s a book blog doesn’t mean you can’t post other things on there. This is your hobby and you should feel comfortable doing what you want with it. Try not to worry about what other people are doing or feel pressure to fit a certain mold. I think it’s easy to fall into a competitive spirit and sometimes that’s fun or drives you to become a better blogger but I don’t think it should be something to stress about!

So what are your thoughts, friends? What sort of reading and blogging pressures do you feel? Do you ever feel like throwing your “plans” out the window and doing whatever you want? Do you think we put too much pressure on ourselves to be this “perfect blogger”?

The Best-Friend-Turned-Boyfriend Romance | Part 2

It was actually just about two years ago that I first posted the original “Best-Friend-Turned-Boyfriend Romance” post after watching an episode of New Girl that sort of inspired the whole thing. Immediately it set my feelings in tizzy because I LOVE best friends falling for each other and I felt inspired to write a post about it because it’s also one of my favorite tropes in literature.

In two years, I’ve done a LOT of reading (over two hundred more books and holy cow, when you put it that way, that number sounds crazy) so I thought it was time to update this post with a “PART 2”. I’ve read quite a few more “falling for the best friend” stories that I just HAVE to share with you if you haven’t read them! So open up Goodreads, get your TBRs ready — these are some books you HAVE to read!




ON THE FENCE had so many things that I love in a book — a tomboy, a great family dynamic, and a story about a girl and the boy next door. YES. Charlie (short for Charlotte) and Braden are best friends and next-door neighbors and I loved watching their friendship start to develop into something more. I absolutely LOVED them and this entire book from Kasie West! I highly recommend it for a fun and heart-fluttering read!
REVIEW: On the Fence – Kasie West


ALTHEA & OLIVER is a bit grittier of a novel, set in the 1990s. Althea has a bit of a rebellious streak and Oliver has a rare sleeping disorder that puts him out of commission for up to weeks at a time… But the two are best friends and stick together through thick and thin. Oliver is not RIGHT next door but he’s the boy down the street and that’s close enough for me! I really loved their friendship and it’s so intense seeing those romantic feelings develop after knowing someone for so long and so well.
REVIEW: Althea & Oliver – Cristina Moracho


LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE actually doesn’t come out until May, but I immediately picked up because of the romantic best friend possibility! It’s definitely an emotionally-charged book with feelings flying all over the place when Kelsey’s ex-best friend (and neighbor boy) David shows back up in her life. I was definitely on the edge of my seat trying to see what would happen to these two and even what DID happen to these two through the flashbacks throughout the book. Keep your eyes peeled for this one!



What I really loved about BETTER OFF FRIENDS was how much time we got to see these two characters — Macallan and Levi — as best friends before things started to happen. I LOVE witnessing that friendship portion and even though the book started out a bit younger (going from junior high through high school), I never felt like the characters were too young for me to relate. I also had a male best friend who lived next door (though I think Levi lived in the neighborhood and not really next door? But still.) and grew up with so it’s always something I really connect with! It’s always interesting when things start to escalate and then then characters have to reassess their feels. THE BUTTERFLIES I GET.
REVIEW: Better Off Friends – Elizabeth Eulberg


What’s interesting about this romance is that well A) it’s a fantasy trilogy so there’s a WHOLE LOT MORE than just a romance going on and B) it’s a three-book series so it develops over time instead of a single book. We meet Mal and Alina who have grown up together, who are best friends, and who would walk through hell for each other and it’s so incredibly interesting and touching to witness how their friendship evolves as the series progresses. At first I didn’t like them romantic feelings there — I know, with my affinity for this trope, how could I not? — but the more things developed, the more I loved the two together. It’s really fascinating to see this play out in a fantasy trilogy too!
REVIEWS: The Witch of Duva (Grisha Trilogy#0.5) – Leigh Bardugo // Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1) – Leigh Bardugo // Re-Read Review: Shadow and Bone // The Taylor (Grisha Trilogy #1.5) – Leigh Bardugo // Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2) – Leigh Bardugo // Re-Read Review: Siege and Storm // The Too-Clever Fox (Grisha Trilogy #2.5) – Leigh Bardugo // Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy #3) – Leigh Bardugo


Prom is a real struggle for Heart (yes, that’s her real name) as she tries to decide whether to go to the dance with her brother’s friend or with her group of friends… but all the while we see this THING start to develop between her and one of her best friends… and it is magical. I loved how everything unfolded and just thinking about everything that transpires gives me all the little feelings again! This was definitely a fun novel overall and I really fell in love with it.
REVIEW: Ask Again Later – Liz Czukas



I absolutely loved NANTUCKET BLUE. I just really related to Cricket overall but I also loved the romance in this book. It develops slowly but surely and it’s a teensy bit on the forbidden side due to who the boy is. It’s a friend but definitely someone she shouldn’t be falling for… so that kind of made me love it even more. I suppose you might be able to guess who it is once you start reading BUT I didn’t know going in how the story would unfold so you’ll just have to read it yourself to find out!
REVIEW: Nantucket Blue (Nantucket #1) – Leila Howland


Ellie Cahill is actually the pseudonym for author Liz Czukas for her new adult novels so if that name looks familiar, it’s because I just mentioned ALSO KNOWN AS above! WHEN JOSS MET MATT was absolutely perfection in my eyes. I loved every bit of it and it has an amazing friendship that of course turns into a jumble of feelings when friend Joss and Matt begin a sort of “friends with benefits” plan after a relationship gone very, very bad. I really just loved both characters and the friendship was fantastic so if you’re into new adult or looking to get into it, this one should be on your list!
REVIEW: When Joss Met Matt – Ellie Cahill


Well, the series isn’t over yet but it’s already broken my heart a few times (or really just set my feelings on edge). This is such a tight knit group of characters and it’s just so amazing to watch ALL of them interact. My feelings have sort of been all over the place but I think I’ve finally settled on a permanent space for them… that is, until the final book comes out this fall and everything could just totally break me. Anyway, if you haven’t read the series, there’s a major premise that if Blue (the main female character) kisses her true love, he will die. Naturally, that sets us up for all kinds of heartache and just THINKING about the scenes in the third book… Gah. WAY too many feelings. Soooo, if you like your feelings being messed with (in a good way?)DEFINTELY go read this series. You can binge read it this year. You’re welcome.
REVIEWS: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) – Maggie Stiefvater // The Dream Thieves (The Raven Boys #2) – Maggie Stiefvater // Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) – Maggie Stiefvater

 So that’s my new list of favorite best-friend-to-more books! Which of these have you read? Are there any more out there I’m missing? (I know there are… and I want them all!)