Monday’s Minutes : #AMonthofFaves2016 Edition

“Monday’s Minutes” is a weekly post in which I track my bookish life.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.  This edition is a little bit different than what I usually do since I’ve decided to combine my usual “Monday’s Minutes” with today’s A Month of Favorites topic, “This Is How We Read.”

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Currently Reading:

  • The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien – for #FanspeakTheRing
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
  • The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

towers starlight shadows

speculation Christmas Carol

Challenges:

Total pages read this week: 282

Total # of books for the year: 78

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

Most read author: Lorna Barrett

Total # of Ebooks: 12

Total # of hardcovers: 6

Total # of paperbacks: 36

Toal # of audiobooks: 24

Month I read the most: August (11 books)

Month I read the least: February (1 book)

Hint for my favorite read of the year: It was a re-read of one of my all-time favorites.

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Where I do most of my reading.

What are you reading this week?

Bookish Gift Guide 2016

Image: Stephanie Kilgast
Image: Stephanie Kilgast

It’s that time again!  The Christmas tree is up, the holiday decor has been strategically placed around my office, and the questions of what to get me this Christmas are being asked by my loved ones.  So, in the spirit of last year’s Holiday gift guide for book lovers, I’ve put together another wishlist, broken up by price point as best I could.

I am not in any way affiliated with any of the companies linked to or mentioned here, and I’m not receiving any form of compensation for clicks, sales, or this post.

Gifts $25 and Under

Gifts Under $50

And of course, my list wouldn’t be complete without including an online store that has just about everything a book lover could want: Gone Reading.

#AMonthofFaves2016 – 5 Popular Books Worth the Hype

Quite a bit has been horrible about 2016.  Instead of discussing all that, however, I’m joining Andi at Estella’s Revenge, Tanya at Girlxoxo, and Tamara at Traveling with T to share all the wonderful that 2016 offered.  While I probably won’t do every topic they’ve scheduled for this month, I’ll do as many as I can because I absolutely loved A Month of Faves the last time I was able to join in.

I’m going to assume the 5 books for today’s topic can either be popular books published this year or popular books we read this year, regardless of publication date.  Since I’m woefully behind on all that is new and shiny, I’m going with the latter.  I’ve read exactly six 5-star books this year, out of the 78 I’ve read so far (The one that I didn’t put on this list is Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, but only because I enjoyed Furiously Happy even more).  That may change to seven (The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler has been phenomenal so far), but for now, here are my five books that are totally worth the hype.

  • The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – I knew the story would have to end eventually, despite not wanting it to, but I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to “The Raven Cycle” series than The Raven King.

Raven King

  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – Click on the title to read my review, then head over to thebloggess.com to get a taste of awesome that proves this book is a must-read.

Furiously

  • The Martian by Andy Weir – This was my favorite book from my Sci-Fi Summer reading challenge.  Click on the title to read why.

The Martian

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – Click on the title to read why this is one of the most important books to have come into my life.

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  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – This is a frequently challenged or banned book.  In fact, it’s being challenged, and defended, in Iowa right now.  I listened to the audiobook during Banned Books Week, and it’s probably my favorite banned book.  I wish I had read it when I was a teenager.

wallflower

#AMonthofFaves2016 – These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Quite a bit has been horrible about 2016.  Instead of discussing all that, however, I’m joining Andi at Estella’s Revenge, Tanya at Girlxoxo, and Tamara at Traveling with T to share all the wonderful that 2016 offered.  While I probably won’t do every topic they’ve scheduled for this month, I’ll do as many as I can because I absolutely loved A Month of Faves the last time I was able to join in.

Today is all about our favorite things.  So here’s my list:

  • My fave thing to eat this year – Shortbread.  I’ve made it twice, and it’s dangerously easy to make.  It was loved by all at Thanksgiving.

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  • My fave thing to drink – This year, it’s been all about tea.  I’ve been big into tea for quite a while, but my BFF gave me a gift of assorted teas from Teavana, and then I discovered Pique tea, and then the Boyfriend bought me the best version of a pumpkin spice tea that I’ve ever had, and then I fell in love with oh so many more different teas along the way.  I had to put a moratorium on tea buying until I found another tea I wanted to try of course….
  • My fave smell – The wonderful candle that the Boyfriend’s Mom got as one of my Christmas gifts last year.  It’s not often that it gets cold enough to burn candles, but when I do, my go-to candle is that one.  I don’t know why, but I call it my “Outlander” candle.20161130_195707
  • My fave thing to wear – I haven’t loved pajamas nearly as much as when I went back to work full-time.  Where I work is fairly casual, but nothing feels as right as pajamas after a long day at work.  Nothing makes me crankier than telling me I need to put on some real clothes and go out to do anything after I get home from work.
  • The fave thing I saw – “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”, quickly followed by the “Wonder Woman” and “Beauty and the Beast” movie trailers.
  • My fave purchase – Do I have to pick only one?  Not counting books, it’s a tie between the reading gloves from The Print and Plaid Company, and the book pins from Pigsey Art.

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  • My fave thing to do – If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you might remember me complaining about not having much time to read while I was in college.  HAHAHAHA!  Oh, silly college student me!  Though I still manage to read an average of 300 or so pages a week despite my full-time job and other adult responsibilities, it feels like I have no time to read at all post college.  In fact, most of my reading is done in the car via audiobook during my commute to and from work.  Another way to make me cranky very quickly is to tell me I don’t have any time to read during the weekend because I have to be an adult and get stuff done.
  • The fave place I visited – The Texas Book Festival!  This was the first year I was able to go, and I had a blast!  I was lucky enough to have just gotten my overtime pay and therefore was able to afford all the hardcover books I bought to get signed.

Thursday’s Things: The Holidays Edition

Home Alone Gif

‘Tis the Season to be jolly, so here’s a list of Holiday bookish things to help make that happen!

  • Gone Reading Shop – Didn’t find anything in my 2015 Holiday Gift Guide that would make the perfect gift for your favorite reader?  Check out this shop dedicated to reading and book-related products.
  • 36 Best Audiobooks for Your Road Trip and Beyond – Traveling to visit family and friends and need an audiobook?  Check out this list from Book Riot.  I recommend Bird Box by Josh Malerman, and while I haven’t read Landline, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park and Fangirl are excellent options.
  • Book and Dessert Pairing Guide – These book and dessert pairings would make great and inexpensive gifts.  Instead of just buying a book, make or purchase a snack to go with it.  You could even add tea, coffee, or hot cocoa mix to go with it all, and if you’re really “crafty,” place everything in a basket, wrap it all up, and top it off with a bow.
  • 60 Bookish Films Streaming on Netflix – Are you tired of watching Christmas specials, but sticking your nose in a book would be rude while you’re with family?  Give one of these bookish movies a try (be warned: not all of them are all-ages friendly).
  • 12 Books That Will Lift You Up When You Are Down – Many of us get the Holiday Blues or suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  While reading isn’t a cure-all, I’ve found it does help to lessen a case of the blahs.  Reading also helps reduce stress, another common problem during this time of year.
  • Project Night Night – Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids out there who are homeless.  This is a great bookish alternative to Toys for Tots.  Consider donating $25 towards a Night Night Package (which contains a security blanket, a children’s book, and a stuffed animal inside a canvas tote bag) or build your own and mail it to one of the donation centers they list.
  • 5 Bookish Charities Santa Claus Approves – If you’re looking for even more bookish charities to support this Holiday season, check out Litha’s list over at Victorian Soul Critiques.
  • Free snowflake patterns inspired by Game of Thrones – Here’s some DIY snowflake decorations.
  • 10 Classic Christmas Carols and the Stories Behind Them
  • Holiday Tradition and a Book – I was a guest blogger over at Michelle’s blog Because Reading is Better than Real Life, and I wrote about A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  Check it out along with the other guest posts throughout December.

The 2015 Book Lovers Holiday Gift Guide

Image: Stephanie Kilgast
Image: Stephanie Kilgast

Several people who love me are having difficulty figuring out what to get me for Christmas.  So, I decided to do another Holiday gift guide for book lovers.  Like last year, it’s my wishlist.  Unlike last year, I have included more comic book stuff and broken up the list by price point as best I can.

I am not in any way affiliated with any of the companies linked to or mentioned here, and I’m not receiving any form of compensation for clicks, sales, or this post.

Gifts $20 and Under

Gifts Under $50

Gifts Under $100

 

Tuesday’s Tunes and Things #4: Christmas

I’ve been watching all my favorite holiday movies, and reading a couple of my favorite holiday books, while eating popcorn, drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows, and wearing my Hobbit Cardigan, favorite pajamas, and fuzzy socks.  The playlist below is the much shorter version of the Christmas music I love to have on in the background until I get sick of it and take it off my mp3 player until next year.

Christmas Playlist

Thursday’s Quotables #11: Harry Potter

Harry Potter Christmas

This is the last Quotables of the year!  If you love Fantasy, you probably love Harry Potter.  It’s not a guarantee (I’m looking at you, Boyfriend.), but chances are you do.  I feel like the books are Winter books, so I decided to dedicate this Quotables to the Boy Who Lived and his friends.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

These two quotes, when put together (if you know the context, of course), show that following the rules isn’t always the right thing to do.  That’s one of the many things I love about the Harry Potter books; the events and what Harry and friends do in response shows that it’s more important to think for yourself and do what your heart knows is right, rather than following along with what everyone else is doing.

“When in doubt, go to the library.” – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

In an age when it’s so easy to find all the wrong information on the internet, this is becoming more and more true.

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

This quote is the truth, especially when it comes to fuzzy socks.  I don’t mind getting books, though.

There are way too many quotes to put them all here, so I’m sure I’ll return to them in a later post.  What are some of your favorite Harry Potter quotes?  Whether from the book or the movie, tell me in a comment 🙂

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A Month of Favorites: Winter Survival

Throughout December, Estella’s Revenge, Girlxoxo, and Traveling with T will be sharing their fave bookish (and sometimes not-so-bookish) experiences from the year and they’ve invited their readers to join in on the fun! The schedule and details are posted at Estella’s Revenge.
Today is about the 5 Must Have items to survive Winter:
  1. Fuzzy Socks – They’re so soft and comfy and they keep my feet warm.  Often, they’re infused with aloe.  I find mine in the foot care section of the drugstore/HEB/Target/wherever there is a foot care section.  They last longer if I let them air dry after washing, but sometimes I just want to put them on right after they’ve come out of the dryer.
  2. Large Men’s Cardigan – The Boyfriend calls this my Hobbit Cardigan.  I put it on at the first sign of Winter temps and I don’t take it off again until it becomes uncomfortably warm.  Mine is originally from the Gap, but I found it on Ebay.  I will cry when the day comes that I can no longer wear it.
  3. Warm pajamas – My favorite pair of pajamas is a pair I found a couple years ago by Nick and Nora sleepwear.  Zooey Deschanel’s character, Jess, in the show “New Girl” started a trend of fun and comfy pajama sets that were, of course, way over priced.  Nick and Nora Sleepwear are just as fun and comfy and have the added benefit of not breaking the bank.
  4. Harney & Sons Holiday tea – I hope they never stop making this tea!  I’ve only been able to find their teas at Target, but if the day comes that I have to order online, I will do so with only a brief and mild complaint.  If anyone has ideas for what to do with the metal tins, please leave a comment.
  5. My Favorite Winter Reads – I could never survive the Winter without my favorite books.

A Month of Favorites: Five Fave Winter Reads

Throughout December, Estella’s Revenge, Girlxoxo, and Traveling with T will be sharing their fave bookish (and sometimes not-so-bookish) experiences from the year and they’ve invited their readers to join in on the fun! The schedule and details are posted at Estella’s Revenge.
Today is about my 5 favorite books from last Winter.  The links are to goodreads:
  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – Though I read this in December of 2013, it still falls into last Winter, so I’m counting it.  It’s my top favorite book on my list of all-time favorite books, and I try to find time to read it every Winter.
  2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – This is another one that I read every Winter.
  3. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – I’m not the type to jump on bandwagons, no matter how much the internet is talking about something, so one day long after season 3 of the show was already over, I sat down to give the 1st episode of the 1st season a chance because I didn’t have anything else to watch.  24 hours later….I started reading the book.  Well, I slept first, but then I started reading the book.  I’m really hoping to read the 2nd book before the end of this Winter.
  4. Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free by Charles P. Pierce – “Take the saddle off the dinosaur!” is my line for anytime I see something ridiculously stupid.
  5. Before the Chop by Henry Rollins – I usually read one of Henry Rollins’ many books during the part of Winter when I’m at my most grumpy and cynical.  It’s not so much because he’s grumpy and cynical (though he often is in his books prior to this one), but because he writes from an insightful human perspective instead of one slanted towards a political agenda, and he’s extremely well-read.