monthly wrap up, Reading, StephReads2018

January 2018 wrap up (well, I’m late)

Hello fellow booknerds!

So I’m not really sure what happened to the month of February, but seeing as it ends tomorrow (!?!) I thought it would be about time to wrap up January. Yes, I am a whole month and some odd days behind on where I want to be, but on the nice part, that means that during March, you might just get more than one post. (I really am going to try to get better at updating, pinky promise)

So back to January….which was a definitely good reading month for me. But before I start getting into the pics of what I read and what I thought,I wanted to share how I’m doing on my bookish goals:

*2018 goals*

-Read 200 books this year (50 reread, 100 mine/new, 50 library): I read 31 books in January so I think this is one that I will have no problem accomplishing.

-Read 85,000 pages this year: This is a new goal that I decided to start in February because I am joining up with some of my friends that are tracking pages not just books. (I mean I’ll be the first to admit there is something about reading books that are huge but they don’t count for anything more then just one book…so yeah) I read 8,145 pages in January, so this is one that should be pretty good for me too.

-Read all of Charles Dickens works by 2019: This is something that was a slight goal of mine last year but I didn’t get to read all of them, so I’m giving myself one more year to get through them. I’ve read so far, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, the Pickwick Papers and a Christmas Carol. I’ve got Great Expectations warming up on my TBR shelf and will probably get the rest as I go on through the year.

-Read at least one non-fiction book per month: I actually read 3 non-fiction last month so again, a goal that should be easily filled by the end of the year.

-Read at least six books where the author is from outside of the US/is translated from a different language: I read 3 books in January where the author was from a different place, and one that was translated from French. This one takes a bit more to decode and I kinda like the mystery of finding out where an author is from.

So now, with that out of the way: To the books!!

In January I read 31 books, how I’m not exactly sure, I think witchcraft might be involved in some way. I also participated in the #24in48 readathon, which I completed with having read 14 hours and read 6 books I think? (I really can’t remember, it started blurring all together)

 

~Stats~

~The Great (4.25 stars and above)~

 

The majority of these were rereads this month. And honestly I’m ok with that. I would rather reread a fabulous story then get a meh book, which is happening with alarming regularity, and I’m not alright with that.

 

~The Pretty Good (3 to 4 stars)~

 

(Realizing that next month I’ll have to separate the 3 and 4 stars because there is a vast difference between “I really enjoyed this and it was something I would recommend” to “it’s ok and I finished it but there wasn’t much else there” But I’m not doing that tonight because…no…)

Also I’m noticing that my 3 stars are always right on the fence. There are 2 of the books up there that I could easily be talked into as a 2 but I decided to go with a 3. So, yet another reason for me to separate the 3 and 4 stars next month.

~The Meh (2-2.75 star rating)~

 

There are some on there that A LOT of people recommended me to read, stating that I would love them, and sadly…I didn’t. These books got the 2 star rating because they were boring. Or dull. Or too cliche. Or pointless. Or there was no plot. Or too much of one. Basically they weren’t written well enough to rate above a 2 but they weren’t the worst either at below. These books are just ones that aren’t worth it.

 

~The Hard Pass (Anything below a 2 star)~

 

Nope. These books failed me in so many ways.

-The sacred lies of Minnow Bly-This was a book about a girl caught in a cult, who ends up in jail. And I actually should have DNF’d this book because those are 2 things that I’m not into at all. It was graphic and disgusting and I want to really know if the person who designed the cover even read the book because Minnow HAS NO HANDS, and this is something that bugged me through the ENTIRE book when I would look at the cover.

-Brooding YA hero-this had SO MUCH potential. I was hoping that it would be snarky and sassy and hilarious. Instead what I got was…dull and excruciating boredom. Pages about shallow self-adsorbed jerks who I couldn’t care less about. The twitter feed is hilarious…but when you stretch those 280 characters into a full book, yeah the humor is pretty much non-existent.

-Fly on the wall- It’s a retelling of Metamorphosis about a girl who wishes she was a fly on the wall of the guys locker room. And it happens. (I don’t know why because it was never explained, ever). And this is one of the absolute WORST books I’ve read in the entire time that I have read YA. This girl not only becomes a fly but decides to basically become the worst type of voyeur ever. Like I’m talking she went on for almost 15 chapters about the differences between guys “gherkins” (I am not making that up, the author had EVERYONE calling the guys junk “gherkins” and the girls chests “muffins”; like seriously??) this book was disgusting and pointless.

 

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So that’s all the books I read this past month! How is your reading going this year so far? What books have you read that you loved? Hated? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great night and remember, life is too short to read mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading, StephReads2018

Reasons BookNerds need large TBR’s

One thing I’ve noticed with being in the bookish community is that right around this time of year we all start thinking about our large/huge/mountianious TBR’s that we have. And it doesn’t help that most of the publishers want to see us die a slow and painful death and therefore make sure we either have this lofty goal of “zero by whatever” or getting rid of a lot of our books. (Nothing at all against getting rid of books that you are no longer excited for or that you are going to rebuy-I literally just did that this past month and got rid of over 30 books, and it was so freeing!)

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But with the new year, a lot of people like to start things fresh. They want to have that blank space (cue some old T-Swift y’all) to really do some great reading, or get to some of their backlist books (I’m all about that! Most of my books this year that I’m going to be reading are from 2017 and prior)

And one of the most asked questions I get is “Why don’t you get rid of all your books? How are you going to read all these books? Maybe you should stop buying books”

And since hurting people (outside of my novel) is kinda frowned upon, this is my response to why BookNerds need a large TBR: (Enjoy!)

-We are mood readers. Which means that we will read what we want when we feel like it. There are so many times when I start several books trying to figure out what my mood is, and once I find it (usually from my TBR) I am so happy when I find it! And mood readers really don’t go with set TBR’s, instead we tend to set a “tentative” TBR meaning it will change when we want.

 

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-Comfort. There is a level of satisfaction  we get when we look at our bookshelves that are arranged how we want and we are surrounded by books. My worst day is always improved by me coming in my room and looking at my beautiful shelves.

-There is such a thing as free shipping. Of course you do have to pay for a few extra books to get it, but dude, FREE SHIPPING to a bookworm translates as “WE WILL PAY YOU TO GET 2 MORE BOOKS” and of course we do, because if there’s one thing we know is we have very low self control.

-Cousins to the free shipping, is the booksales. Buy 2 get one free, well, why not? I mean, basically you are getting a free book so you might as well right?

 

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-If something happens and you have to stay barricaded in your room for weeks on end, such as the zombie apocalypse or a snowstorm, you never run out of things to do. TV and phones require electricity, and if you are like most bookworms you have a plethora of candles so therefore you will still be able to read!

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-Cover love is a real thing and how most of my TBR grows.

-There might not be books you touch for YEARS (totally true story, I legit just finished a book I have had on my TBR for 4 years this past month and it became one of my new favorites!!) and in that case it is such a great satisfaction that you can look at it and smile, knowing you beat the book, not the other way around.

-Sometimes in your huge TBR you discover new favorites. I know for me, when I shop on BookOutlet I know next to NOTHING about say 98% of the books I buy, but when I read them, they turn into some of my most read and most loved books. (Actually I go into most books blind because when I’ve read the synopsis that usually spoils me for it)

-Most of my friends are talking about it, and all of the things that they say are amazing and therefore instead of just chancing it at the library (though I do that a bit too) I basically buy it if I find it pretty cheap, because…why not? (again I have very little self control when it comes to books)

 

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-I’m determined that 2018 is the year I turn into an actual BookDragon, and like any good Dragon, I need a shiny hoard to keep and sleep in, gold is really uncomfortable so therefore I need some new shiny books to sleep with and near and under….and shoot just build me a little book igloo. I can sleep in there. (as long as there’s a blanket and pillow because even though I’m trying to be a Dragon, I do want some comfort)

So those are some of the reasons that BookNerds need a large TBR. What do y’all think? Where do you fall in the TBR scale? Do you hoard them, or release them? Do you have a large TBR?

Have a great day Dragons, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

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Books, Reading

September wrap up/book haul

Whoops, late again for another wrap up post. But it’s been a crazy and weird start to fall. Basically what happened in September (besides me totally not reading as much as I wanted to) was I got a second job, at Barnes and Noble. (I’m there all the time anyway and when the manager asked if I would be interested in getting a part-time job there, I had to bite my tongue to not scream out “YES PLEASE!” because I love working in a bookstore.)

So that happened, and with my weekends filled up thanks to that, and most of my evenings as well, this month I only read 19 books. Now that might not seem like a bad thing to most people, but my goal was 28 books; which was set before the job but still, failure here.

I did #SequelSeptember last month as well, and even though I didn’t get to any of the NEW sequels, which was actually kind of the point, I did manage to reread 6 books (5 that had sequels). The rest were new, but also were library books. So last month I didn’t make a dent in any of my TBR monster named Steve.

This month I also tried to take a pic of every single book I read, which was actually pretty fun and I’ll be continuing that this next month! (Plus it makes my post all pretty with pictures! (I’m not sure if I’ll show every pic for this month, or just a few highlights)

 

 

~Best: (4-5 star rating)~

 

Of my 4-5 star reads this month, only 2 were brand new to me: Around the world in 80 Days (which is actually now a new favorite) and the Attributes of God (again, a new favorite). The rest were rereads: Mere Christianity was the only reread that I read this month that was a stand-alone, everything else was a sequel/first of a series.

 

 

~Okayish(2.75-3.75 star rating)~

 

All of these were interesting, but not fully worth the full 4 stars (the road back to you I think I gave a 4 star, but it was more like a 3.75) There were some problems with all of them. Mostly it was the characters that got me in the end, in a Darkness Strange and lovely the main character swapped what character growth she had made in the first one, which made me not very happy. The weight of ink didn’t really know what tone it wanted to take with this historical fiction. And the Thief Lord was an interesting read but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something missing because it seemed to read like 2 different plot ideas, and was rather loose on what should be happening/too many characters to really care about.

(not pictured: what Jesus demands from the world. It was a good book but it seemed to drag on for a long period)

 

~Skip! (1-2 star rating)~

All of these had major problems mostly with the plot and the characters. Book of speculation tried too hard to be magical realism; Beastkeeper had absolutely NO CLUE what the story was or what they really wanted to do with the “plot” (of which there was none); spellbook of the lost and found also tried too hard to be magical realism but just pretty much lost all of it when the author tried to tie it together. And honestly, I don’t like Shel Silverstein’s writing style at all.

(Not pictured: welcome to nightvale and words in deep blue. WTNV was super boring and not at all like the podcast. Words in deep blue was a huge disappointment by not having deep characters, a good plot or any sort of conflict.)

~Book Haul this month~

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Look at all these pretties!! Ok, so this month I ended up purchasing/receiving 10 books.

Hunting Prince Dracula, WonderWoman:Warbringer and Enchantment of Ravens were all pre-orders (we aren’t going to talk if I’ve read those yet or not), I bought Americanah and Station Eleven because I’ve heard really good things about them. I found the Goldfinch in our bargain section at work for $6, with my discount came down to $3 (and I couldn’t beat that) and I got Language of the Thorns because it was autographed and a total impulse buy.

The Color Project is actually the replacement copy because there were some issues in the production and those of us who preordered got an ARC, so this was a replacement copy. And Gypsy Moth Summer and the Lost Letter were books I won in a giveaway in May, and finally received at the start of summer.

So that was my month of September. I’m hoping for October to do more reading of my TBR but I’m not sure if that will happen or not.

How was y’all’s month of reading? What was your best book you read? What was the worst? Let me know below!

Happy reading Dragons and remember, life is too short to read 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

twitter- dreams_in_blue

instagram- dreams_in_blue)

 

 

 

 

 

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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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