Reading Habits 

Okay. So when I took this picture I kind of didn’t realize that I should’ve posted it sooner rather then later because WHOA it’s February already! Where has the time gone? .

If you check my previous post, you’ll see that This Savage Song was part of my January Wrap-up. You can see mini-reviews of other books I finished in January by scrolling down to the previous post. 

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So let’s talk about what kind of reader you are. One of my daily habits I want to keep up is to read for at least 20 minutes a day. To help me stay on track, I’ve created this current reads tracker. It’s helped me so much by helping me see my reading progress on my books. I also update my Goodreads status to also keep me accountable. Also, since I read multiple books at a time, I can see which ones have grabbed my attention and which ones need more of it. 

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How do you guys track your reading? What are some reading goals you’ve set for yourself?

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I stayed up way too late watching a Korean drama Playful Kiss and then accidentally finished reading Son of Neptune. I’m listening to SON with my kids, but I wanted to see how much we had left and accidentally read the rest of it. 😅 How’s your Wednesday going so far? 

Book Challenge: January Wrap-Up 

For #planwithmechallenge Sections and lessons, I decided to try the TUL discbound notebook for my collections. This meant slicing pages out of my Leuchtturm 1917 to put into my TUL. I actually had been on the fence for weeks about it because taking pages out was a scary thought! With my Christmas money, I decided to go for it and I’m so glad I did! Featured here in my TUL is the reading section that contains my Genre Tracker. Lesson learned: You won’t know if you like something until you try! .

For #bookishfriendsJanuary17 Favorite read of January–I can’t decide! I can honestly say I enjoyed each and everyone of these books. From following Demi-gods on a quest to following a young girl who can sense gold to gold rush California, I enjoyed every minute of it! 

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For #squeakybookishlibrary Favorite New Author, he’s not new, but he’s new to me: Joe Abercrombie!

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For #livelaughbooksjanuary and #watermelanerdsjanuary January Wrap-Up–In addition to these novels, I also completed several graphic novels: Ms. Marvel volumes 2 and 3; A Silent Voice (manga); and Through the Woods. For my mini-reviews, please scroll down. ⬇️

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Phew! Six novels and four graphic book collections for January! Is it just me? Or has this month flown by so fast?! What were some of your favorites this month? Did you reach your reading goal?

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My January 2017 Reading Wrap-Up
📚Ms. Marvel Volumes 3 and 4–4.5/5 stars. I really enjoy this series because Kamala is so easy to identify with. Between keeping true to her cultural heritage and living in the Bronx and dealing with her super hero powers, she’s got her hands full but it’s entertaining and poignant at times too. 
📚A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Ooima (manga)–3.5/5 stars. The premise is about a boy Shoya who bullied a deaf female student Shoka in elementary school. Shoka transfers out because the bullying gets out of hand, but then Shoya’s classmates turn on him, putting all the blame on him. Years later, scared from the experience, he enters high school and is a loner and prepares to kill himself. On the day he’s supposed to do it, he encounters Shoka, the girl he bullied in elementary, and tries to make amends for his wrong doing. Overall, I thought the story was compelling and the characters’ emotions were raw from the hurt and betrayal, but I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. It was the type that left it slightly open ended which I’m okay with if it’s done well. I needed a little more reassurance that things would get better and in some ways it looked like it would. These characters went through a lot, so I had hoped for an ending that was a little more definitive. 
📚 Through the Woods by Emily Carroll is a collection of illustrated Gothic short stories. I initially checked this book out for Halloween but finally read it for the New Year. It’s definitely a book perfect for the Halloween season or if you enjoy Gothic stories. The stores are very much like Edgar Alan Poe’s–haunting with a twisted lesson. The illustrations went so well with the stories and were nicely detailed. 5/5 stars
📚Tales from the Shadow Hunter Academy by Cassandra Clare–5/5 stars. I didn’t know if I’d enjoy this collection because Simon Lewis was a good character, but I didn’t think I’d enjoy reading short stories about him. I checked it out if the library as a safe way to read them without commuting to buying it, in case I didn’t enjoy them. I’m so glad I gave these stories a try! I enjoyed not only reading Simon’s journey toward becoming a shadow hunter, but I also enjoyed the backstories of the minor characters from The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices. It was so neat learning about what happened to the characters and also how they were connected to the present characters. My favorites were The White Chapel Fiend, Nothing but Shadows, Born to Endless Night, and Angels Twice Descending. I highly recommend this if you’re a big fan of the shadow hunter series. 
📚Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson– 5/5 stars. Rae Carson is an auto-buy author for me. I loved her series Girl of Fire and Thorns and was thrilled to see she started a new series. It’s so different from her previous one–set in the gold rush era, but still retained a fantasy element. The main character Lee Westfall can sense gold. Lee is from Georgia and after a set of tragic events, she flees to California disguised as a girl, in hopes of finding gold and her best friend Jefferson McCaully. Sounds amazing already, right?! What I also loved about this story was how subtle Rae Carson touched on themes of diversity–mixed race identity and being a freed slave during a post civil war era; what being a confirmed bachelor of that time meant; and the restrictions on women’s roles based on society’s expectations. It’s so skillfully weaved into the story that it’s seamless. Highly recommend it! 
📚The Blade Itself by Joe Ambercrombie– 5/5 stars. I’m new to high/epic fantasy. My point of references are Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, so Joe Ambercrombie was different from what I had read. His writing is a lot more physically descriptive. The opening of the book shows a character falling off a cliff. There’s also a roughness to his characters that become endearing later–Im looking at you San Dan Glokta. I really enjoyed this and my only hang-up was not having the next book when I finished the first! 5/5 stars
📚The Lost Hero: Book 1 of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan–5/5 stars. If you enjoyed the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series, you’ll love this. This was actually a reread with my older boys. It’s had been such a long time since I read it that it was almost new to me. I love the introduction of the new characters Leo, Piper, and Jason. I can’t wait to see how they all come together in the rest of the series. 
📚The Novice by Taran Matharu–4/5 stars. This was a fun fantasy read. The main character Fletcher was likeable and I also like his friends Othello (dwarf) and Syre (elf). The story was a great adventure story and enjoyable. Although I didn’t find any problems with it, I also wasn’t attached to the characters as I usually get. It could be because I had to stop for long periods of time to read it because I was buddy reading it, but I am curious to see how the story turns out, so will probably read the next one. 
📚This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab–5/5 stars. I’m already a big fan of her Darker Shade of Magic series so I was excited to read this one. I loved it so much! It’s an urban fantasy where monsters are real. They come into being through violence and tragedy–a kind of evolution of negative human emotions. Even though this is a YA book, Victoria Schwab still delivers! I loved her characters August Flynn and Kate Harker. I also enjoyed the history behind how the monsters are created–so unique but also cleverly done. I can’t wait until Our Dark Duet comes out this summer! 

December Book Case Club Unboxing

This is a bit late, but I still wanted to share this with you all. This is my children’s book @bookcaseclub for December. It came after Christmas so it was a nice treat for my kids to get. .

We enjoyed all the books–so perfect for the holiday season, but they’re favorite was Santa Duck. It’s a play on words and rhyming type of story that my kids love. My favorite is The Mitten String. The author was inspired by one of her great aunts who was deaf and would tie a string from her to her baby at night to know if the baby cried. 

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Later this week, I’ll share the January box with you. Another fun set of kids’ books to show you! I’m signed-up for the kids themed box which includes 3-4 kids books ranging from board books to picture books. The monthly subscription is $9.99 per month plus shipping. Can’t go wrong with that deal! Use my Santucci15 code for 15% off your first box!

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Book Challenge: How did you find bookstagram?

For #grimdragon How did you find out about bookstagram? I started this account to build a platform for my writing profile, but I’ve been a reader all my life. I’m so grateful that I found bookstagram! I didn’t know it was there and when I found it, I loved it and was so happy to find other people who loved books and loved talking about them too. .

I had been using the #amreading tag and was still figuring things out, but people found me. (Hash tags really work!) The first person I met was Jessica @novelcravings who is so sweet and I’m happy to call a friend. She was one of the first to like my early posts when I first started out which are so embarrassing!😆 Then I saw she used a tag #bookstagram and my mind was blown! So many pretties!

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I remember Asma @oasisgirlmd, Alexis @dropandgivemenerdy, and Sarah @newleafwriter were the first big accounts to respond to my comments even though a lot of my comments back then were OMG THIS POST IS BEAUTIFUL. 😅 I was so touched they responded and when I got over my initial shock, I was able to have real conversations with them. They were so kind and inspiring that I wanted to participate more (and if I’m honest, up my bookstagram game a little too😁). 

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Amy @ladyofthelibrary was the first person who participated in a challenge I tried to host! Maëva @readinginhongkong was another friend I made because she was the first mom I found who talked about balancing mommy duties with the need to geek out and read in her captions. 

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It’s been a little over a year since I joined bookstagram and I’ve made so many more friends! 

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Fun fact: the first time I used the bookstagram tag was to share my birthday bookhaul on my 40th birthday. It’s literally a stack of books on a table. 🙈😳😂 Little did I know then what I was getting myself into! 

Owlcrate Preview!

I spent the morning taking pictures of all the goodies I got (see previous happy mail post). I can’t wait to share them with you! .

In the meantime, here’s a shot I took of all the preview cards from previous Owlcrate @owlcrate boxes with the book of that month. I took this in anticipation of January’s Classic Remix box. I’ve shared what the book was in my previous post about my January haul, but I’m excited to share the goodies that came with it too! Which books have you read here? I’ve read two (which were fantastic!) and I’m going to buddy read another this month. 

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How’s your Monday going? It feels good to get back into bookstagramming. I put up some BTS stories on my InstaStory, if you’d care to see. Getting back into shooting for BG feels like a habit I’ve got to relearn after being off for two weeks! I try to take blocks of pictures at one time. I just have to find the time! Do you guys shoot everyday? Or do you take a block of pictures at once? 

Book Challenge: January Book Haul 

So I’ve been trying my best to manage my book buying habits and I’ve done a pretty good job. This month I splurged because YAY for gift cards! .

I treated myself to the Joe Abercrombie First Law trilogy and Star Wars Catalyst (the prequel to Rogue One). Both were highly recommended by some of my favorite humans Corey @grimdark_dad and Holly @the_infinite_book_dragon. If you’re looking for Sci-Fi/Fantasy recs, check out Corey and Holly’s profiles!

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I also treated myself to Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth and The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. I was excited to find these at Costco! Roseblood was from the January Owlcrate and Like a River Glorious is the second book in The Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson (the first book is Walk on Earth a Stranger). Rae Carson is an auto-buy author. I read Walk on Earth a Stranger this month and loved it! I’m so excited to read the second book. I also got Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. I didn’t think I’d be getting it, so I checked it out from the library. But after reading “Nothing But Shadow”, I had to have it! And I’m so glad I got it. 

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I mentioned before that I’m trying to be better at book buying. I’ve been tracking my book and stationery purchases and it’s definitely made me more mindful of what I’m getting. I also try to buy used books or books online when I can. But a new habit I’m trying to keep doing is using the library. It’s actually saved me from buying books that I probably would’ve bought because it’s popular, but it turns out that it’s just okay. It’s also helped me decide on whether a book is worth buying too which is why I picked up Tales from the Shadow Academy Academy and the First Law Series—both of which I previewed through the library before buying them.

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What do you do to curb your book buying habits? I’d love to hear some helpful tips!

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Challenges:

#livelaughbooksjanuary and #watermelanerdsjanuary January Haul

Happy Mail!

Even though January was a tough month for me and my family (see previous posts), receiving happy mail helped to make it better. I have so much to share with you all! The January boxes for @owlcrate and @nerdy.post were AMAZING. Owlcrate’s theme for January was Classic Remix and Nerdy Post’s theme was Star Wars. I loved both of these boxes! I also received some cute planner stickers from @paperkumaco. Then my prizes for the 1 year anniversary giveaway for @riddlesteashoppe arrived too! Between caring for a sick family and all the rainy weather, this load of happy mail was wonderful. .

I’ve got it down in my bullet journal to take pictures of all the goodies. I’m at an age where if I don’t write it down, it won’t get done! I can’t wait to share everything with you all! 

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This is a spoiler free post, but if you subscribe to either of these services, did you get yours yet? What did you think? Who else has to write everything down so they don’t forget to do all the things?