What’s Up Wednesday: 12.31.14

Hey y’all! I hope you had an amazing holiday season with your family and friends! I had a spectacular Christmas, thanks to my secret-keeping family. If you know me IRL, you know that I had a really bad wreck a couple of years ago and have needed a new car.  Being a college student, it’s hard to support yourself and save up when you can’t work a lot of hours or you’re not paid much. I’m not the best money saver (you know how tempting new books are!), but I’ve been working on cutting back on superfluous expenses. As it turns out, my dad found a car and has been working on it since June to get it up to wonderful running order, and I have a car!!!

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He’s a 2000 black Honda Civic coupe named Casey Boleyn Wyatt (John Casey from Chuck, Anne Boleyn, and Ben Wyatt from Parks and Rec). I love him!! I’m still in a bit of shock, but with the title and insurance looming over my head, there’s no time for it. I’m almost done with the paperwork and will hopefully be going to the office today to submit everything.

 In crafty news, I recently reupholstered my chair!! It’s so cute I can’t stop smiling when I look at it! I used navy cotton fabric with white polka dots. Perfect!!

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I am also currently typing this post while my boyfriend is snooze-a-roo in my sister’s old bedroom. I’ve casually mentioned him in posts before, but if you didn’t know: I’m in a long distance relationship. Josh lives in North Dakota and goes to school in Minnesota, while I’m a born and raised Texan. We only get to see each other 2-3 times a year, so it can be very difficult. But both of us are pretty independent people so it’s not too terrible most of the time. He gets to stay here with me from December 27 to January 9, almost two weeks!! I won’t be going to see him until August, so we’re trying to make time count and spend lots of time together. I’ve loved getting to show him little hole in the wall restaurants in my small town and introduce him to friends and family! It’s so wonderful having him around. I’m going to be so tired when he leaves because he does tons of favors for me: Josh, can you carry me to my room? I’m too sleepy to move. Can you tuck me in? Can you put The Paradise on my laptop? Can you turn me over? Can you plug in my phone? I’m the worst. I think he loves it, though. He can’t stop laughing and smiling at me.

 What I’m Reading: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (finally!)

Those are my big news items for this week! Next week, the boyfriend and I will be working at the bookstore together, so hopefully we can get a lot of organizing done. Sound off in the comments and tell me what you’re up to this week and what you’re doing to kick off the new year tonight!

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Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Bookish/Bloggerish Goals for 2015

As always, this is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful women over at the Broke and the Bookish.

1. Get back to a steady blogging schedule

I get into a blogging rut where I don’t want to do anything, so I just disappear. I want to make this part of a routine so I don’t drop it. I love blogging and having this bookish forum aside from my sister and best friend! I need to prioritize it more.

2. Post more content (tutorials, month in review, recipes and organization, etc.)

I never realized how much crafting I do inadvertently. For example, the other day I needed a coin sorter for my car (!!!! ) and when I couldn’t find the tutorial I was looking for, I just whipped one up and forgot to make a tutorial later. I’m the worst about it! So I want to put up more craft tutorials, do more recap posts like a month in review, posts that aren’t a meme or tutorial, and more posts on my other interests. This was never meant to be a dedicated book blog, but it’s what’s easiest for me to talk about. I want to get back to what I started this blog to be: an online journal where I can share my favorite interests and how I’ve explored them.

3. Get more involved in the blogging community

I’ve realized I know so few bloggers! The only one I really interact with is Amanda from Of Spectacles and Books, and I knew her before either of us started blogging! I need to remedy this, and I’m looking for ideas how.

4. Stay on top of reviews

I know some bloggers are super behind on their reviews, but I hate being more than five books back. I’m currently at around 8, so I’m thinking of doing a quick catch up review on a few at a time to knock them out. Then I want to stay on track so it’s no longer a stressor in my life.

5. Start queueing up posts

This is kind of the same thing, but not book specific. Top Ten Tuesday and Make it Happen Monday are harder to queue, but I can add to Favorite Things Friday throughout the week so it’s no longer one more thing keeping me from my weekend. I can also queue up book reviews, tutorials, tip posts, etc. There’s no excuse for me on this front, so I need to stop being lazy and set aside a couple of hours once a week up type up posts and schedule them.

6. Stop doing books for review for a while

Part of why I have reading ruts is because I get books to review and lose motivation. I don’t see these books everywhere, so the hype isn’t built up in my mind, and I’m not excited to read them. But I know I owe it to the author or publisher that sent me the book, so I don’t want to read something else first because I’ll feel bad. But then I get super stressed about reading a book I don’t want to read and I just stop reading altogether. It’s a terrible habit, so I’m going to take a break from accepting books for review for a while after I get caught up.

7. Don’t reread as much/read from my shelves

Y’all, I reread so much. 80% of the books I read this year were rereads. I’m the worst about it! I’m going to try and stick to a 5 new books to 1 old book ratio this year so I can knock books off of my TBR and still get some favorites in.

8. Find out if I want to use another platform

I love wordpress because I know how it works, but I hate the lack of html and customization. I’ve been looking at blogger, but I have no clue how it works! I need to do more research and work on getting to know it so I can see if I need to switch over.

9, Go to NTTBF

I would have added BEA to this one, but I would be going with my sister and she’s expecting a baby in early June, so I’m just going to put this off for a little while.  Haha. But North Texas Teen Book Festival is just in our backyard, so there’s no excuse for us to not make it there in March. I can’t wait!! The author list is AMAZING and I definitely need to work on reading some of their books so I don’t waste this opportunity.

10. Have guest posters once a month

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I want to finally put it into action. My sister is going to be a guest reviewer now and again, so I haven’t been slacking on it, but I need to see if I want to do more.

Those are my blogger goals for 2015! Let me know: Do we have any of the same goals? Do you have suggestions for other goals or for accomplishing these? What are you looking to get done in the new year?

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What’s Up Wednesday 12.17.14

Hey y’all! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve caught y’all up, so here we go!

Last week I got to say goodbye to the semester, and it was a happy parting. I got an A in my Kinesiology class, a B in my History class, and a C in Government. I know I should be sad that I didn’t earn a better grade, but honestly? Being in college has just made me complacent, grade wise. As long as I pass, I’m happy. Obviously, I work hard but I’m through with getting down on myself for not doing perfectly in subjects I either don’t care for or just don’t understand. I’ve never been wired for government, and after this next semester I’ll be happy to say farewell to the subject forever. It’s the only class I’m taking next semester, so I’ll only have to go up to campus four times! Yay!

I also recently (just a few hours ago) finished the Boleyn King trilogy by Laura Anderson. SUCH a good read if you’re into historical fiction/what-if’s set in the Tudor era. That’s my absolute favorite historical period, and I can never get enough. I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched the TV show or how many books on Anne Boleyn in my wishlist (I added about 35 just yesterday.) After I put up a review of the last book, I’ll be taking a break with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, my favorite book by the author I want to write my life story. I love historical fiction, but it tends to be quite heavy and I’ve been looking to lighten up the tone of the media I consume lately. Grey’s Anatomy was my show of choice for a few weeks and that show is SUCH a downer. When I finished what was on netflix, it was clearly time for something light and frothy: New Girl. Which is what I’ll be watching after I finish typing this up. Haha.

I’ve also been working on getting ready for Christmas, and the day after I get to go pick up my boyfriend from the airport for a  two week visit!! I can’t wait to see him and introduce him to my family, friends, and hometown. The countdown is less than two weeks and I get more pumped with each passing second. Haha.

That’s all I have for this week, but stay tuned for a review of The Boleyn Reckoning  later this week and hopefully a craft tutorial soon! Tell me what you’ve been up to in the comments, and let’s catch up!

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Make It Happen Monday 12.15.14

Hey y’all! Hope you had an incredibly productive week! Let’s see how I did…

1. Laundry
2. Finish putting library pockets in main bookshelf
3. Finish Boleyn Deceit
4. Get boxes for rest of gifts
5. Finish Mom’s gift
6. Make my sister’s gift
7. Get extra stuff for Chambers
8. Study and take finals (boooo but yay?)
9. Keep cleaning!
10. Get felt for bro-in-law’s gift.
11. Take out trash
12. Make Dad’s gift
13. Send Secret Santa box

I know, I know. I was doing so well! But some of these have reasons: I need to get supplies for Mom and Dad’s gifts from my mom, but she can’t remember where she put them. My sister’s gift idea has changed and I need to find a new supply for it, and my bro-in-law’s gift is going to be done with Mom, so I don’t need to make anything for it now. Also, I ran out of tape for book pockets and that’s one of my stocking stuffers, so I’m holding off on finishing that so I don’t waste money. I’m so full of excuses this week! But this has been a productive week already, so let’s see what I’ve marked off the list.

1. Send text book back
2. Wrap Dad’s gift
3. Wrap Mom’s gift
4. Wrap Chambers’s little gifts
5. Laundry
6. Start and finish The Boleyn Reckoning
7. Make Mom’s gift
8. Make Dad’s gift
9. Make Sis’s gift
10. Get supplies for Josh’s gift
11. Wrap everything
12. Clean out room for Josh

See? Already halfway done! If I get this stuff done, I’ll be ready for Christmas almost a week early! Who doesn’t love that?

Did you get stuff done last week? Or do you still have a long list for this week? Are you anywhere close to ready for the holidays? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review: The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Anderson

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Info: PB, Historical fiction, 416 pages, a few weeks

Synopsis: The regency period is over and William Tudor, now King Henry IX, sits alone on the throne. But England must still contend with those who doubt his legitimacy, both in faraway lands and within his own family. To diffuse tensions and appease the Catholics, William is betrothed to a young princess from France, but still he has eyes for only his childhood friend Minuette, and court tongues are wagging.

Even more scandalous—and dangerous, if discovered—is that Minuette’s heart and soul belong to Dominic, William’s best friend and trusted advisor. Minuette must walk a delicate balance between her two suitors, unable to confide in anyone, not even her friend Elizabeth, William’s sister, who must contend with her own cleaved heart. In this irresistible tale, the secrets that everyone keeps are enough to change the course of an empire.

First Impressions: I AM SO READY FOR THIS BOOK. I love love love the covers in this trilogy and just looking at them sends me off to Tudor gown doll makers to play like a child. I still have no clue which of the covers I love best.

Why I Chose This Book: I fell in love with Boleyn King and couldn’t wait to read the next one. Unfortunately, it took getting the last in the trilogy to kick my butt into gear. I reread Boleyn King while on a flight so I could remember all that happens.

What I Liked: So much! Dominic and Minuette are adorable and steamy together, so I loved when their perspectives came up, especially when they were together. In this book, you really see Dom struggling to keep the composure he’s become known for. And Minuette dives headfirst into court intrigue, which winds up with her in over her head. In the next book, I’m looking forward to seeing if she learns to swim, if someone dives in to save her, or if she drowns. (Did I stretch that metaphor too much? I can be a metawhore at times.)

One thing I really love about this series is that it’s not just romance, but also politics and court plots, and history. Laura Anderson does such a great job of weaving real life events into her alternative history that it’s difficult to see where the line of reality sits. She does so much research and you can really see that in her writing. I love love love learning about the Tudor family and books like this fuel that fire so much! (I actually just looked to see if I could take any history classes about the time period – and I am one class-hating girl.) I understand the politics of this time so much more than today, so it’s fun to delve into a world where I feel a bit more sure-footed.

What I Didn’t Like: I felt like we didn’t get to see enough of William’s growing love for Minuette from his perspective, so I ended up feeling like he was more antagonist than anything. I still love him, but since the romance between Dom and Min were forefront, it was frustrating to see a character I love pulled between two characters I love and end up hating one. Not a fun ride. I also wanted to see so much more of Elizabeth, as she’s such a strong character and has the best capacity to be a ruler (obvs). I hope in the next book we get more of Will and Elizabeth, and see how she takes the crown, if she does at all.

Ratings and Recommendations: Great for fans of Tudor set books, Carolyn Meyer, Phillipa Gregory, older fans of the Young Royals or Royal Diaries series. Contains multiple perspectives, politics, love triangle.

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Final Thoughts: This book had me asking my boyfriend for a closet full of gem-encrusted gowns. I can’t wait to read the next one, and I hope to see more of the two royals in the Holy Quartet.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, if you plan on adding them to your TBR, or if you wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot lance (ha! see what I did there?).

Happy reading!

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Make It Happen Monday: 12.08.14

Hey y’all! Hope you had a super productive week and got some stuff marked off of your holiday to-do lists. Let’s see how I did:

1. Govt quiz
2. Hist quiz
3. Finish Kine labs and binder
4. Finish wreath
5. Hang decor
6. Decide gifts
7. Wrap Secret Santa gifts
8. Laundry
9. Finish The Boleyn Deceit
10. Shelve birthday books
12. Clean room
13. Make Secret Santa card and gifts

Whaaat?! I’ve never gotten this close to finishing a list!! Awesome! Let’s hope I keep up with the momentum.

1. Laundry
2. Finish putting library pockets in main bookshelf
3. Finish Boleyn Deceit
4. Get boxes for rest of gifts
5. Finish Mom’s gift
6. Make my sister’s gift
7. Get extra stuff for Chambers
8. Study and take finals (boooo but yay?)
9. Keep cleaning!
10. Get felt for bro-in-law’s gift.
11. Take out trash
12. Make Dad’s gift
13. Send Secret Santa box

Busy week, but I feel pretty good about knocking some stuff off! I’m SO ready to say goodbye to this semester and hello to a break (and a two week visit from the boyfriend after Christmas!!!!) Are you getting ready for the holidays? What about finals week? Or do you get a super relaxing week? Let me know in the comments!

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Make It Happen Monday: 12.01.14

Wow! It’s already December and I am not ready for it! I really enjoyed my week of relaxation and crafting, but I’m happy to be back to work on the blog (and school I guess). Let’s get to the to do list!

1. Govt quiz
2. Hist quiz
3. Finish Kine labs and binder
4. Finish wreath
5. Hang decor
6. Decide gifts
7. Wrap Secret Santa gifts
8. Laundry
9. Finish The Boleyn Deceit
10. Shelve birthday books
12. Clean room
13. Make Secret Santa card and gifts

Already a great start! What are you working on this week? Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Are you psyched to start working on Christmas gifts and decorations and food? Let me know!

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