Books, Reading

You probably won’t like this…

I have been known to destroy books.

Not like ripping out pages or burning them or using them for modge-podge crafts or whatever.

Nope. I, a well known booknerd, someone who doesn’t like people borrowing her books, have done such evils as:

*Cracking the spines on paperbacks or hardcovers

*Dog-earring because I couldn’t find something to shove in it to save my place

*Splaying open the book also because I couldn’t find something to mark it

*highlighting several passages (so many all the time)

*making notes/writing in a book

*doodling on a page or two because I was on the phone and couldn’t get to a notebook

*accidentally dropping it in the ocean (I found it and it was saved but it did happen)

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The reason I’m telling you this? A couple of days ago someone posted a link to an article titled “11 things that will make bookworms angry” and every single one of them was about messing up the pages or writing in the books or cracking the spines. None of them were about the price, or the fact that some of the books are printed so cheaply that we cannot even shut them hard because the main cover falls off or about the stickers on books which are horrid to remove.

Nope, apparently what makes us angry as booknerds, is seeing someone mistreat their own property.

Which got me into a rabbit hole of thinking because when I was first becoming a lovely reader, I would frequent garage sales and thrift stores and library sales. I would scour the bookstore for the wonderful signs stating “Buy one get one free” because score, I get two books! Even when I started venturing into Borders (Oh I miss that place) I would still go for the massmarket paperbacks because they were under $6.00, so I could get about three of them at a time.

And to me, it didn’t matter if they became marked up and slammed back and forth in my bag, those marks were marks showing that I loved them and they were also recipients of my love.

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However, ever since I started doing my Bookstagram, I have noticed that pristine pictures of books have gotten better likes (well, as many as they can with that algorithm) and for some reason this has made me want to make sure that my books are perfect. That no visible scratch or dent or mark is showing and that the cover is gorgeous.

But does it really matter? I mean, the main reason I started falling in love with the cardboard and paste and glue and paper and ink was because of the stories that were inside it, not because they were “aesthetically pleasing” or “looked nice on my shelves” (though I won’t lie, it does make me happy when they look nice on there).

I actually like the look of used books better. I feel like there’s a connection between me and the person who read it last, a thin thread that we like the same book or the same author and for a brief moment in time and space were on the same page. That makes me happy.

I have friends on both ends of the spectrum. Friends who bend their covers of the books and all their books look second-hand (even if they were just bought that morning) and friends who have libraries that look like they were just unwrapped from the publishing. And that’s okay.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to want to keep your books pristine, if that’s what you want.

Or crack those spines if you want.

What I am saying is that maybe we could stop judging other booknerds for how they read books. People have different ways of showing love, and we need to be okay with that. You might not think that someone is a “real” bookish person because of how they do or don’t handle their books, but in reality, if we are reading, they we are all booknerds. We all love the same thing, words that transport us to a different time and space.

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~To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books (Carlos Maria Dominguez)

Happy reading and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

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Books, Reading

So….it’s September….huh…

I don’t know about many of you, but I absolutely love fall and all the things fall brings.

Sweaters.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes (yep, as long as those are available I’m getting one, or Pumpkin Spice Creamer because…yum!)

Crisp cool weather.

Rain.

Lovely scented candles that smell like caramel and apples and just make me very happy.

And perhaps most importantly, new books.

 

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(Literally in the first 4 days of September I bought these…I might have a bit of a problem)

While there are some books that come out in the summer months, I’ve noticed that during September is when the majority of new releases come out, and when my wallet starts whimpering and my shelves start groaning because OF COURSE I’m going to buy some books.

But this September I’m actually participating in a month-long readathon called SequelSeptember. In which we (the participants) try to read all the sequels that we have purchased for series but…haven’t quite…got around to them yet?

I am personally a master at this.

I find out that a book I really enjoy is coming out with a sequel, or the last book in the series is coming out.

I wait with anticipation, preordering it and constantly checking my mail. Then the glorious day arrives, IT’S HERE!! All celebration and happiness, until I go to read it and realize that I actually don’t remember anything of the previous books. And then I set my newest conquest on the groaning whinging TBR shelf and tell myself “One day I shall reread all these again”. (Which, spoiler: really hasn’t happened much at all this year. I have so many books I need to reread, see photo below!)

 

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So this readathon is something that I’ve been needing to do for a while. Not that it’s helping matters at all because I’ve been getting a TON of library books lately and all of them have been over 400 pages long (why must good stories take FOREVER and a day to write decent characters?)

There are about 7 series that I need to finish before the end of the year (I would say month but we both know how that will end…in failure) although most are duologys so that’s a small good thing. I’m hoping I can finish the Jackaby series, Into the Dim duology and the Blackhearts duology by the end of this month (I’ve already finished the reread of Into the Dim, so yay!)

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And I know that a lot of people would say “Just find a review and read that, so that way you don’t have to reread a lot of books” but see for me, that’s kinda the whole point. Also sometimes what I catch and what others point out in reviews are two totally different things…and I like rereading books.

It’s like coming home, knowing all the characters and the plot (basically) and knowing what is going to happen with them, it’s nice. And also it helps my goodreads goal so there’s that.

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(a ginormous stack of part of the library books that I have checked out…these do not really help my own personal TBR get down at all)

Anyways, hope y’all are having a great day!

Are you joining up for any readathons this month? Any books high on your radar for this month? What is something you are currently reading? Let me know below!

Happy Reading Dragons!

~Stephanie

(follow me on all my social media accounts: Goodreads- dreams_in_blue

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Books, Reading

Top Ten Best books I’ve read this year (so far)

Today I’m linking up with the Top Ten Tuesday post from Jamie over at the broke and the bookish (you can check her post here) and the prompt is the best books that we have read this year, so far.

Um, somehow it’s already the middle of the year? When precisely did that happen, because I sure didn’t sign up for my year to be almost over, especially when I think of all the books I’ve yet to read.

I actually thought that this prompt would be easy to do, but even with all the books that I’ve read so far this year, I seem to have a shocking low number of books that were so impressive that they earned a 5 star. But Ce’st Le Vie, we go on. These are in no order at all, nor are they all ones that are brand new (I’m good but darling I’m not that good), they might have been from years ago, but they are new to me, so that’s all that matters.

Now to the lists!

1- Duels and Deceptions by Cindy Anstey. This is a Regency era romance, with snark and laughter and I loved it. This is by the same author who wrote Love, Lies and Spies, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one (it’s not a sequel, perhaps it might be considered a companion novel?)

 Synopsis:  Lydia is trying to have her life go to plan, which means getting hitched to the man her late father prepared. However, her life goes off track when she, and her new law clerk Robert, are kidnapped. Now she has to escape, save her reputation and just possibly fall in love? Oh dear. 

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2-The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis. MG. This is about a snarky dragon who gets transformed into a girl. And a very snarly girl at that. And there’s chocolate and snark and sass and dragons and I absolutely fell in love with this and with the writing! I loved it! (Also snark, sass, dragons and chocolate? It’s like the universe said I needed a book just for me and made it) It’s fantastic.

 

3-Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I am a sad little melon ball that it took me until THIS YEAR to actually read this book. Because I know for a fact had I read it back when it came out, I would have pushed it on every single person that I know. And ones I didn’t. I have never known a book that was so obsessed with books and love of reading and it’s just amazing. (Also bad reader confession, I actually saw the movie first, had absolutely NO CLUE this was a book and loved the movie….now that I’ve read the book, I want to go and read all of the series) This sadly was a library book so I couldn’t keep it, but I’m probably going to be getting the U.K. cover set soon, because now I must read the whole thing.

 

4-The girl who fell beneath Fairyland and led Revels there by Catherynne M. Valente. MG Actually this whole series is pretty much fantastic and super under-rated. I feel like hardly anyone knows about it, even though it has some essential and wonderful things, like snark, sass, a Wyvern (book loving dragon) and a very strong female character. I only had heard of this series in December and this has quickly grown into one of my favorite series.

5- The Finishing School quartet by Gail Carriger. Ok, So I know it’s only supposed to be one book but honestly this quartet is just filled with complete awesome and I love it. Again this is a very under-rated series, I didn’t even know what it was called until I got to the last one. It revolves around a finishing school that is not exactly what it appears, instead of tutoring young women how to find wealthy husbands, it instead tutors them in how to survive the supernatural. Werewolves, vampires, steampunk, rich friendships and snark and sass….it made my day to find this series. I’ve started recommending it to everyone who likes steampunk/alternate history.

6-Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston. An alternate retelling of Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth accepts Darcy with his first proposal, instead of giving him a proper venting. It is one of my favorite retellings, because it really does feel like Jane herself could have written it. I loved reading it, and was on pins and needles at some points, even though I knew what would happen! Don’t get discouraged by the rather hideous cover though, it’s still worth it.

7-The long way to a small angry planet by Becky Chambers. Road trip, with aliens, in space. Pretty much sums it up. I personally loved this book and thought it was so complex and different and brilliant. How the aliens observed the humans so reminded me of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (which is one of the few books I like that is a sci-fi book) and there was so much snark and sass and diversity and it was great! (*Side note: it is not an epic space battle book, it literally is a road trip book but it’s still really great because the characters have so much depth and grit….I love them)

8-Outrun the Moon by Stacy Lee. This was an amazing book. Dealing with a young Chinese girl, her parents and their expectations of her life, and the great earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco. It explored racism, friendship and what expectations/ideals parents might put on you, but that you sometimes have to go find your own path. I highly recommend this book, also because it surprised me. I knew it would be good, but I didn’t realize how good.

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9-The Color Project by Sierra Abrams. Ok so this is slightly cheating as it’s not out until July, but I got an ARC of this and I read it and fell in love with Levi and Bee and everyone. This is a book that is about learning to trust when you have been failed, learning to love outside your plan and being 100% exactly who you are. I loved it so very much (in fact, you can check out my entire squee-like review here if you want to) but seriously, go preorder this book, you won’t regret it.

10-The burning page by Genevieve Cogman. This is the third in the Invisible Library series, and this book was fantastic. The Invisible Library series deals with parallel worlds, dragons (yay!), snark, sass, kickin’ Librarians who are the guardians of the worlds, books, vampires and some romance. I honestly got into this series because of the cover, but the cover is just a small part of how awesome this series is. Please go check it out, you won’t regret it.

So that’s my list of the best books I’ve read so far this year.  There are quite a few new books that are on my radar that aren’t here yet, or even out in the world yet, but I can’t wait for them (short list includes The Dire King*, Retribution Rails, Wonder Woman, and so many others!) 2017 has been (so far) a great year for books, and I hope that it gets even better.

*Oh look, I almost made it through one post without mentioning my absolute love for the Jackaby series….and then I failed….oh well.

What were some of your best books this year? What books should I add to my list to check out? What is one of your favorites?

Happy reading Dragons, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

My marvelous May wrap-up

Ok, so this is slightly late, but at least it’s not in the end of say June where I’m talking about the books that I finished in May. Priorities y’all. 🙂

Seriously though, I somehow got through 26 books in May.

I really don’t know how, perhaps witchcraft was involved because let’s be real, May was a crazy month for me. I had stuff happening every weekend, my birthday happened and Memorial Day, where I didn’t do anything but dog sit. So yeah, I’m as shocked as you to learn how many books I actually read this time around.

Out of all the books, they are separated into pretty much 2/3 categories,  new/library and rereads. I try to reread quite a few books each time, not that it helps me to conquer my TBR monster but hey, it makes me happy. The problem I’m finding is because I’m a mood reader, when I have a huge stack of library books around I need to tell myself that I’m in the mood to read such and such book. Which sometimes works, and sometime I have to renew them so that I can get them done.

So I read 18 new books and 7 rereads this past month. Of those 18 new books 15 of those were from the library. Which means I really only read 3 books that were brand new to me and were off my TBR. Which means that if I continue this rate of reading, I will read all the books in the library but yet I will still have a TBR that crushes me to death. I might have to work on this for this month.

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My 5-4 star reads this month

In May I managed to finish the Finishing School (haha lame pun I know) series by Gail Carriger. I had previously read her adult book and didn’t care for it, but the finishing school series worked really well for me. I felt like there was a ton of snark and sass, along with evil genius’, were-wolves, vampires and of course how to be a spy while still being a lady. The whole series is 4 books long and I rated it a collective 4.5 stars for the whole thing, (and all the books pretty much got a 4 star rating, or even a 4.5 rating) I strongly think it’s worth a read. (I got them from the library but I’m probably going to be picking them up in the next couple of months because they were so good)

I also got an ARC of The Color Project, and let’s be real, I geeked out over this book! You can read my whole review here The Color Project

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I also read The Careful Undressing of Love, which to be honest is a strange magical book which I quickly got involved in and really liked. I gave it a 4 stars, it had strange and beautiful writing, and I really liked it. (I will state though there is some bedroom times, not very graphic but they are there so just so you are aware.)

Other 4-5 Star books

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • Curtsies & Conspiracies, Waistcoats and Weaponry, Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Lord Edgeware Dies by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (reread)
  • Grace for the good girl by Emily P. Freeman (reread)
  • God is Able by Priscilla Shirer (reread)
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (reread)
  • The Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson (reread)
  • Let me be a woman by Elisabeth Elliot (reread)
  • Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs (reread)

 

3-4 star books

  • The only Necessary thing by Henri Nouwen (basically a rehash of many of his books, not really a fan)
  • Writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg (the tone was so much talking down to people that I could barely stand it)
  • Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (I really really really had a problem with how the MC treated her friend, I loved it up till that point which is why it’s only as a 3)
  • Until we meet again by Renee Collins (science and logic took a break with this book though it was semi-squishable, the fact that nothing was really explained made me unhappy)
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl (I kinda had a problem with this, mainly with the portrayal of the adults and such. Granted I wasn’t the intended audience but still…wasn’t great)

 

Major disappointments

  • The Assassin’s Curse/The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Man I had such high hopes for this duology but in all aspects it failed and failed miserably. The first book was pretty decent, but both of them had a tendency to drag on and on and on, even though they both were small books, it felt like they had been going on forever. I was not pleased)
  • The life changing magic of cleaning up by Marie Kondo (this one had some good points but on the whole, not worth my time. The only redeeming factor? It was a quick, easy read.)
  • The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis (ugh. rich snobs who share a necklace that cost more than my car. Not a fan)

 

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So that’s what I read this past month. I actually did read quite a few books that were really amazing and some that missed the mark. As always, what I don’t like is just my opinion. If y’all like it, or want to try it, please do! What works for me might not work for you.

That being said, have you read any of the ones I listed up there? What were you’re thoughts? Did you disagree with any of my ratings? Let me know below (courteously of course)

Have an awesome day Dragons!

And remember Life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

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Books, Reading

my literary love of the library

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When I was growing up, if we told my parents that we were bored, there would be only one thing said to us, “You can’t be bored, you have library books. Go read.” If however, we would say that we had finished them, and our sister’s books as well, they would tell us that we had ten minutes and they would take us to the library.

And then I would stagger out with another 20 books to read in a week and hoping my sister got some different Sweet Valley High or Nancy Drews then I did, so that I would have at least 40 books to last me for the whole 2 weeks.

I still frequent the library.

In fact, I just came from there today. Monday’s are always library days. It’s like me rewarding myself with books because I survived another Monday, but also that’s when the majority of my books are due, or when my holds show up. So I have just started going to the library on those days.

I really enjoy getting books from there, even though there are sometimes when I have to wonder what made that splotchy brown stain and hope that it wasn’t blood or something else, but maybe just dropped coffee?

This year I decided that I was going to implement a new rule so that if I wasn’t thrilled with a book I could just stop, and not feel guilty, and that is the rule of 50/5. If I’m not liking the book, not liking the characters and there isn’t something that is making me want to continue this book, after 50 pages or 5 chapters (whichever comes first) I can quit.

Growing up I was taught to finish each and every single book that I started, but even then there were sometimes when I just didn’t care for the book or I didn’t like what happened and would just set it down. Now because of my tenacious hold on my library books, I am totally fine with DNF’ing a book because it didn’t cost me anything. I didn’t pay for it, I didn’t get it for a gift, it was simply a book that while others might have liked, I didn’t care for, and that’s okay.

The truly great thing about reading is that there are so many books for so many different things. For instance, this time round at the library I happened to get a few YA books, but also I got a book about Nikola Tesla (because he fascinates me) a book about WW2 and a retelling of a fairy tale. On my hold’s list I have an autobiography about Theodore Roosevelt, a book about how to speak French fluently, and a book that I put on there because one of my friends just read it and said it was wonderful.

You don’t have to read what everyone else is reading and I think that’s what the best thing is about the library because if you are interested in it, they usually have it. And they never look down on the fact that your tastes range wildly from one section to the other. I mean, I browse my friends on goodreads (I’m dreams_in_blue on there if you want to be friends and see what I’m reading) and if I find something that sounds interesting it goes straight onto my hold list.

There are a few that I have already preordered simply because I know I’m going to love them (Short list: When Dimple Met Rishi, I believe in a thing called love, the Color Project, Sparks of Light, the Names they Gave us) but there are some that I would prefer to read from the library to see if they are worth it.

What about you friends? Do you utilize your library? What’s the best series/book you have found by random chance from there? What is one book you wish your library carried? Let me know down below!

Remember, life is too short for mediocre books! Happy reading Dragons!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading, Uncategorized

The Color project review (cue all the feels y’all)

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Every booknerd I know has “a list” of books they cannot wait to have in their hands, to cry over and love and basically recommend to ALL THEIR FRIENDS, and I am no different. My list was relatively short, and there were smatterings of different genres and one of the most anticipated reads was The Color Project written by Sierra Abrams.

I randomly got an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) at the beginning of May and sat down and read it in one sitting. Like I was so engrossed in this book and the story that I didn’t even put it down while I was making dinner (which is why that day I had very sad tacos consisting of tortillas, one piece of chicken, no sour cream or cheese and hot sauce on only one of them)

This book is pure 100% perfection. But of course I can’t just state that and expect y’all to go and get it (though you should) so I shall show you some lists of what I absolutely loved in this book! (because lists convince everyone, general fact.)

Can we first just talk about how ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS the cover is? The design and color and it’s just so pretty!! I honestly want to take ALL THE PHOTOS with this book because it is just so pretty!

-I adored Levi. He is precious and wonderful and real, no 2d romance trope for him. He is driven, having started The Color Project and loves to be goofy and just…. *Swoon* seriously, some of the girls who have already read this have been like “He’s mine” and I hate to tell them, but Levi is so totally mine it’s not even funny.

-Bee. Oh my gosh she is just a sweet little bundle of anxiety and worry and I LOVED reading about a character who actually had trouble stating what they were feeling. She is snarky and fearful but at the same time, she’s the person you root for. She does this thing where she will say something and then she will think “WHAT AM I DOING?’ and I relate to that so much y’all.

-Gretchen. Oh I’m Gretchen. I love her with her positive upbeatness and the things she says randomly and just…I now need a spin off story with Gretchen and what she is doing and a love story of her own (hint, hint Sierra)

It would take forever and a day to go through all the wonderful characters that I fell in love with so let me just stop there and start with some of the other things that I loved!

-Characterization: You guys know when you get into a book and realize that the plot is the only thing that you like because none of the characters are redeeming? NOT IN THIS BOOK!! Y’all, all of these characters are fleshed out and full dimension. They actually have side lives and laughs and different personalities and that is so wonderful to read about.

-Families. There are so many positive families in this book and I just loved them all! The Wescotts with their cute parent’s romance and the older brother and younger sisters, the single mom, and even the crew at TCP: and the best thing is that they ACTED like normal families, like the teasing and annoying habits but at the end of the day they loved each other and that was good. You can definitely tell that Sierra comes from a bigger family because how she treats her creations of family they are spot on! (Especially coming from someone who was older of 2 girls)

-The Feels. I won’t say much about this but one thing: THIS IS A KISSING BOOK AND I APPROVE! Seriously I kept telling Levi and Bee to kiss already because the feels are so real and wonderful in this book. Also, there may or may not have been some ugly crying. Just as a forewarning.

So as a wrap up (though I could go for quite a long time gushing about this book) if you are fans of Morgan Matson and Emery Lord you need to get this book. Sierra’s writing is phenomenal and does not sound like a debut novel. You need this book. Sadly it doesn’t come out till July but preorders are available (the links are down below for both the e-book and regular)

Favorite quotes:

-I was light and stardust in his hands.

-There is darkness but in that darkness are a million pinpricks of light and they are all shining at me.

-You should be doing all the things that will make you happy if the world does end tomorrow.

Synopsis: 

Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing that she doesn’t want anyone to know, her name. 

That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project. 

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giver up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her. 

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project–a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds–is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that has ever happened to her.

 

This book is incredible. I am so happy that it actually exceeded my expectations and I cannot wait for it to be out in the world for everyone to enjoy! Now if you’ll excuse me, writing about this book has made me realize I really need to reread The Color Project again.

Happy Reading Dragons!

~Stephanie

 

 

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Books, BookTube, Reading, Uncategorized

#Read30Days

 

I have a sort of reputation as being “The Bookworm” in my group of friends in real life. They call me when they have recommendations for books or when they have heard about a book but are wondering if it’s worth it or not. I generally can tell them if it’s good, or if I haven’t read it, if I’ve heard it’s good or not.

I actually like this reputation, not only does it make me feel awesome to help someone out, but usually I can walk away with a good book rec as well, which is always nice.

But lately I haven’t been reading as much as I would like to. In fact, I haven’t been reading much at all for the past 3 weeks. I still have finished a few books, and I still want to read, but I’m finding that it’s so much easier to just turn on Netflix or go to social media and let my brain just relax then it is to pick up a book and start reading.

It’s like I have gotten out of the habit of how much fun reading really is, which frustrates me, which then causes me to go back to Netflix because why would I pick up a book? (this doesn’t even make sense to me as I’m writing it but still)

So I was watching on SarawithoutanH’s booktube and she was having this same problem and decided to do a challenge to read for 30 days straight. Even if it was just for like 10 minutes or so, just to get her back in the habit of daily wanting to read.

And I first thought that it was a cool challenge but since I had no problem reading everyday, while it was cool, it wasn’t for me. Then I started thinking when I had read a book last, or really when I had picked up a book last. Before I knew it, I realized I was in the same spot, where I liked to read but at the moment I wasn’t reading.

So I decided to do this challenge. I’m going to do the #Read30days on my twitter, and I’m going to document it on my insta-stories, that way you can see how I’m doing. (Both twitter and instagram are dreams_in_blue for the newbies here)

Read for 30 days. At first I wanted to be super competitive with myself and try to finish a book a day, and that lasted maybe 5 minutes, 4.5 of them laughing hysterically at myself, and then I decided to just read each day. Solid uninterrupted reading time.

So I’m going to be doing this for the month of March. If anyone wants to join me, just let me know. This is super lowkey, just to let you know, the goal is just to simply get back into the reading habit, not to try and read as much as possible. (although that’s a good goal too)

Anyway Dragons, have a great night and remember, life is too short to read mediocre books!!

~Stephanie

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