31DaysofBlogmas, Reading

5 books I still haven’t finished…

I have a bad habit of buying books, setting them on the shelves that are in my room and telling them I will get to them soon.

Then completely 100 % forgetting about them and buying new books. And repeat.

The only thing that breaks up this cycle is that I will start some books, and get about half-way through and then set them down, fully intending to finish them soon, but I get distracted and start reading something else. And then you can press repeat on this situation. (seriously)

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So I thought I would talk about some of the books that I’ve half-started but actually haven’t finished yet. These are in no particular order just how I grabbed them off my “partially read” shelf.

1-The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I don’t know why I haven’t finished this one yet. I started it in September I think, and I fell so deep in love with her writing style and the story being told, and it was fantastic. But I just set it down, hoping to get back to it, but I still haven’t gotten back to it. It actually sits on my nightstand, shaming me to wondering how I haven’t finished it yet.

2-I believe in a thing called love by Maureen Goo. I know why I stopped reading this, it was because of the horrid second-hand embarrassment that I felt about the MC and what she was going through, so I’ve heard that it was really cute but I was so embarrassed for her I couldn’t complete it ūüôā

3- Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† This is simply because I haven’t had the time toIMG_1519 keep going after this one. I love the writing and the characters of them, but this sequel seems to be a bit harder for me to get into, but I do want to get this one finished

 

4- Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter. Granted this is a reread and I do slightly remember it, but I like to reread books before I complete series. And since the Dire King, which I preordered, and got, back in August….and still haven’t read.

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5-That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston. Being honest, the reason I set this one down is because I am not really excited about how the writing style/plot/characters are. I was really excited about this because…cover….let’s be real. But it is slightly….boring? I’m hoping it will actually get better as I finish but I just haven’t yet.

 

What are some of the books you want to read before the end of the year? Which ones should I push higher up on the priority? Let me know down below!

Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

 

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31DaysofBlogmas, Books

10 ways my reading habits have changed this year

Hello friends and welcome to my journey of blogging every day for December! Today I’m going to be talking about how my reading really has changed this year. (I was completely inspired by PaperFury’s blog post about how her writing style has changed, check it out here)

I used to be the person who would not only finish every. single. book I would start, but also give super high ratings to every single book that make me laugh. (Kid you not, when I have been going back and rereading some of these books, I shake my head and have to take down a star or two because past Stephanie threw those stars around like it was nothing!) And that made me think how much I have changed in the past year or so with my reading habits, I mean if ratings can change over the years, so have other things.

So in no particular order, these are some of the ways that my reading has changed over the past year.

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1- I have given myself full and absolute permission to DNF (do not finish) a book if I hate it. Or if I’m bored. Or if I just really don’t care. I have basically allowed myself to make reading fun again, because when I’m struggling through a book, it’s not fun. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of fun.

2- I have become much stricter on how I rate books. So instead of squeeing with delight at finding “A NEW ABSOLUTE MUST READ, THIS BOOK IS SO FANTASTIC ALL THE STARS”¬† like past Stephanie wrote on many Goodreads posts, (like girl just chill a bit) instead I try to read them critically. (Sometimes this process works, sometimes I still squee and flail) But for the most part I question, “Is this book really worth a full 5 star rating? Was there any parts that really irritated you or annoyed you or didn’t flow? Should it be more a 4 or 4.5?” and I go from there. Sometimes even the things that annoy me are still part of the strongest book, and other times they are the reason that it drops.

3- I have utilized my library SO MUCH more than I have in previous years. Pretty much every single Monday I have trounced over to the library, picked up my holds, dropped off books and happily made my way home where I have found either new favorites or a thankful heart (and wallet) that I haven’t spent money on this book because meh.

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4- I have found myself gravitating more towards annotating books and highlighting passages in them again. I try not to do this with books I’m unsure about, but the books I know I’m going to love and going to read, over and over again, I completely mark up. I figure honestly, if like 90 years down the road and I haven’t discovered the cure for mortality and someone is going through my books, I want them to find things out about me, like what my favorite passages were or what quotes stuck with me.

5- I have employed the “try the first chapter” method to a lot of these books that I’ve checked out from the library, simply because in deference to the first part, I am allowing myself to DNF (without feeling guilty) and I know what I like. If a character’s tone or the way things unfold are things I don’t like, I now don’t feel guilty for just tossing it in the reject pile. There are some rare times when I just keep going on in the book, hoping that it will change, but sadly it usually doesn’t.

6- I also have stopped reading a lot of the books that people have recommended to me. Or that I have seen on Booktube. Like I still might think about them, and probably get them from the library, but on a whole, I don’t rush out and get them right away because I have found that over hyped books tend to be ones that I dislike (or at least wish I had checked out from the library). So I either wait for the hype to go down, or I read books that are less hyped. This helps me in 2 ways, the first that I can actually read without so much emotion attached to the book and that the book is available easier from the library when you wait a bit. ūüôā

7- While I am still a bookdragon who would prefer going into books blind (without knowing much about them at all) because the synopsis usually spoils me for the book, there is something to looking up the reviews on Goodreads. If I’m struggling to get into a book or trying to finish something and just not really feeling it, I’ll check my fellow readers reviews of this book to see if it’s just me or if there are others who feel the same way. If it’s getting only high reviews, I know it’s just me, but if it’s not, then I know it’s actually the book. Sometimes that will actually help me finish the book.

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8- With a few exceptions, I have decided that if I was only mediocre about liking an author’s work, I will not purchase it until I have tried it first from the library. That way I’m not set up for a huge disappointment when I start reading it and it’s just not great. I’ll still give them a chance but I decided that it’s really wasting my money to buy a book that I’m not sure I’ll like or not (especially since I probably wasn’t full on board with their last book I read) This isn’t an isolated incident: I can literally point to 6 different authors that I was “meh” about their previous works and still ended up buying their newest works…and regretting it deeply.

9- Every 6 or so months I have been looking through my shelves. What are some books I haven’t read yet/lost all enthusiasm for/probably will not get to this year (or ever)? I sort out those books and then set them off to the side for one month. When that month is done, if I haven’t read them, they get donated. But if I have read them, they get to stay on my shelf. (Unless it was like a 2.5 star rating or under and then they go). I used to never do this, and my shelves and TBR were pretty much out of control. I just don’t want to waste shelf space on books I know I won’t reread or read for the first time.

10- I have made it more of a goal to reread a set amount of books per year. I love rereading old favorites or falling back into slightly new worlds, discovering why they might just make my list of new favorite books. There’s just something about rereading that I love. In the past I would just try and reread certain books and that’s it. But this year I decided that I wanted to reread at least a third of all the books I read this year. This has helped me so much, and as an added bonus because I have put this into my goals list, I don’t feel guilty by rereading books, even when I have a TBR pile that is massive. It’s like because it’s a goal, my brain relaxes and even comments that I should reread more books.

 

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So that’s 10 different ways my reading habits have changed this year. Do you do any of these? Or has your reading changed in the past couple of years? Let me know below!

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

~Stephanie

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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, 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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Books, BookTube, Reading

Why I no longer do a TBR list….

 

I am a BookTuber, and one of the things that I have stopped doing in the past couple of months is not posting a TBR list of books I want to read that month. (TBR=To Be Read)

I’m not knocking that those work.There is nothing more satisfying then looking at the list of books you wanted to get to and crossing all of them off and making sure that you let people know, you have conquered the ever elusive TBR pile, at least for this month.

But for me, they don’t work.

I have tried.

And I have failed. Numerous times in fact.

Posting TBR lists somehow always make me seem like I’m a failure at reading because to be honest, I don’t complete them.

I will actually avoid the books that are on my TBR because I’m just not in the mood for them. Or I was in the mood to read that certain book when I posted a video about it, but then as the video went up and the month went along, my feelings changed.

I would no longer want to read that book.

Or I would hear of a mixed review.

Or someone would tell me a different book that I just had to pick out and read because that one had all the feels attached to it.

So there are many reasons why I stopped posting a TBR. And you know what dragons?

It’s made me a better reader. It’s made me really¬†want to read more books because I tell myself I can read whatever I want in whatever order I want.

This is actually termed as being a mood reader, and there are so many readers who really understand this and go with the fact that they are just not in the mood for a book they said they wanted to read.

Now the only exception when I do post TBR posts is when I am doing a Readathon. And for those I always post a video with a TBR because there are usually challenges and contests attached to each one, and I like seeing if I can get through all of them.

Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I complete¬†all the challenges, and sometimes I don’t even complete one of them.

But¬†I keep reading. I guess that’s the most important part isn’t it? To make sure that we are still reading, still striving towards the unattainable goal of conquering our TBR pile.

What about you dragons? Do you do a monthly TBR? A yearly TBR? Tell me down below!

~Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Uncategorized

judgement free zone

So something happened the other day that kinda wrecked what I was going to talk about today, and even though it happened over a week ago, it still bothers me every single time that I think of it, or try and talk about it, so this personally is going to be a sort of rant, but not much of one.

For the seasonal time of the holidays in the US over here, I worked a second job as a bookseller at Barnes and Noble. I really do love telling people what I thought of certain books and what they should or shouldn’t get, (which is also why I started this blog) and I¬†love seeing kids get excited about reading.

So I was checking out this girl who was maybe about 8 or 9 and she was getting a couple of books, one of which was the Ever After High Book #3, which she said was one of her favorite series. Now, I had just come on shift and had passed the newest book when I came in so I told her about it. Her face lit up and she asked her mom and dad if she could get that one as well. Her parents agreed and she sprinted off and got it.

(this part was awesome, I love seeing kids run for books).

Then the girl asked if I had read them. Well, I had so I told her yes I have, they are pretty cool. The girl standing next to me on the cash register snorted with laughter but didn’t say anything until the girl left.

Then my coworker, still laughing, manages to say “Nice lie about those books, good thing you thought on your feet to sell more.”

Me: Why would I lie to someone? I don’t care if she bought another book or not, I was just letting her know.

And this dear readers was where it went down hill. This coworker proceeded to not only mock me, but also anyone who had the audacity to read something outside of their age group. She said “If you are older than 16 you shouldn’t be reading anything that is geared towards Kids or Teenagers.”

I couldn’t put into words precisely what I was thinking because I was so irritated.

I know I told her that she shouldn’t have any judgments on what people choose to read or not to read, and that age shouldn’t tell me that I can’t pick up a YA book and enjoy it.

I love YA, simply because there is a lot in there that you don’t realize. Not just the Hunger Games/Divergent/Twilight but more thought-provoking, more plot entertaining, more of a thrill than most of the adult books I’ve read. Age should never deter you from buying or reading a book, just because you are older than teen or YA, doesn’t mean that you should feel shame for liking or reading that book.

Let’s be real, all of us have a guilty book pleasure, one that we read but that we would never admit to anyone that we like. Maybe because of the stereotype surrounding it, maybe because it’s in the wrong section, or maybe because we just feel “too old” to be reading something that 12 year olds are reading, but let’s stop bookshaming each other. Let’s stop making the snide comments about age, or gender or whatever.

Do you like it? Do you enjoy it? Then why does it matter what others say or think? At least you are reading.

Personally I think that we need to just remind people that reading is reading, no matter what you are reading. (ok one exception because I know that I know that people are going to start twisting saying that I’m saying that kids should read whatever they want, no…the age rule doesn’t apply to them. They need to read in their genre, but for adults it doesn’t matter. Got it? Ok good)

For the record, when I got off of work that day I walked over to the YA section and picked up Jackaby which I had been waiting for, for about 2 months to come out, and went through her line. And when she rolled her eyes at me again, I laughed and said “I can’t wait to read this book. It’s for me.”

Cheers friends.

Stephanie

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