DREAM CRATE – LootCrate

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About a month or so ago I learned about a fan-related project being run by Loot Crate. If you haven’t heard about LootCrate, it’s a monthly subscription box. Similar to other subscriptions offered through various sites, it’s based around a theme and filled with various fandom items particular to that theme. Here’s a list of their past boxes and the items. As you can see it varies from crate to crate what kinds of items you’ll receive. What’s also great about LootCrate is that there are a variety of crates to choose from, whether you like gaming, anime, things for your pets, or just a crate filled with items to wear. The variety I think is one of the awesome things about LootCrate since it pretty much has something for everyone. So anyways, Loot Crate has been reaching out to various fans to put together their very own “dream crate,” which would have a particular theme, items, etc., and I have to say I was definitely intrigued. It wasn’t until this past week though when I read If We Were Villains that I was really inspired on what my Dream Crate theme would be!

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

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Like I mentioned, I was really inspired by one of my recent reads, If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. I loved the book and I thought it would be a great addition to a subscription fandom box about William Shakespeare. And since I actually enjoy Shakespeare’s works myself, I thought that this would make for a really interesting “Dream Crate”!! Researching for this crate got to be a little overwhelming because there were just SO MANY things I really wanted to include. I wanted some staple pieces (necklace, candle, etc) but I also wanted to include some interesting pieces that you might not usually find in your average book subscription box. It was really hard to narrow it down, but if I were in charge of crafting the make-up for this crate, this is what I would include:

  1. TWO Books: The first book has to be A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare – This is one of my favorites by Shakespeare and I’ve re-read it over the years. I just love the tongue-in-cheek humor and the two sets of lovers who get all turned around by the fairy’s spells. The second book in this crate would be a recent read for me, If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio – I read this book during March and just loved it. I thought it incorporated Shakespeare so well into the story and it was dark and mysterious and just a great read.
  2. An “A-Z SHakespeare” T-shirt from Woot.com I saw this on Woot one day and thought it was such a cute piece and the little characters on the shirt are so funny.Tshirt
  3. A Romeo and Juliet inspired necklace by LiteraryGiftsUK This piece is just gorgeous and I love that it comes with such a long chain. And the quote is touching.il_570xN.1073964411_fh0k
  4. This funky bracelet with a Macbeth quote made by WickedWordsmithCo I love the shape of this bracelet and the quote on it, this is such an interesting piece. And since Macbeth was so prevalent in the If We Were Villains novel, I thought this piece would pair great with the book as well. il_570xN.819912967_tojc
  5. A light-weight summer scarf with Romeo & Juliet quotes on it from Storiarts I have a different scarf from this company and I love the quality of their products. And I think the summer scarf is really stylish with the ribbon bow. rj_summer_01_580x@2x
  6. This “fandom” candle for A Midsummer Night’s Dream created by PretAGeek –  I love how many new candle places are popping up on the internet that sell candle scents inspired by books. This candle sounds like it would be great, and I’d be interested to see how it would evoke different thoughts on the play it was inspired by. il_570xN.1129020309_ihax
  7. This cat-Shakespeare mug from CatapostropheShop I know this is probably super dorky but I thought this mug was hilarious and adorable. I just wish it came in a different size since I like soup-bowl mugs to fit extra coffee!! il_570xN.1024369029_9alg
  8. And last but not least! I saw these thank you notes by ArteOfTheBooke and I thought they were really nice. I’ve been kind of collecting different designs of thank you cards lately and I thought these would be great and give the person being thanked a bit of a laugh. il_570xN.645749986_or7h

So! That is my DREAM CRATE, inspired by a recent read. Thank you to LootCrate for reaching out to me with this opportunity, I had a lot of fun finding different pieces for my Dream Crate!

2017 Monthly Status Update: March

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Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 15
# pages read this month: 2,722
# books read year-to-date: 28
# pages read year-to-date: 7,156

Favorite Books I Read:

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If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio – 4.5 stars

Other Posts this month:

Last Night with the Duke BLOG TOUR!!
The Enemies of Versailles BLOG TOUR!!
Wine and Cocktails – New Releases!

Status of 2017 Reading Challenges:

  1. Finish 2016 ARC’s from NetGalley that I missed – I got a chance to read one this month, so one down! Only 27 to go
  2. Participate in 2 reading challenges – Scheduled for May and August
  3. Other goals:
    1. Write shorter reviews – I’m trying! I think this past month I was able to get out a few shorter ones
    2. Continue establishing relationships – I think I’m doing it, we’ll see how it goes I guess!

Next Month TBR List:

-Windswept by Sabrina Jeffries (part-way through now)
-My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch
-I Sared the Duke by Anna Bennett
-The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
-Geekerella by Ashley Poston
-Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt
-The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister
-Running With Scissors by Auguston Borroghs
-Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
-The Whole Art of Detection by Lyndsay Faye
-The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo
-Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
-Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
-The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

That’s the general reading plan. Fortunately, tax/busy season will be ending for me in less than 3 weeks (only 16 more workdays!!!!!!) and then I have about a week and a half off where I will be spending a lot of time reading. So I am hoping to read everything in the list above and maybe catch up on a few other ones I missed in March as well!! Plus my husband and I are taking a couple trips that I’m really looking forward to, including a new quilting retreat in Ogunquit, ME! So stay tuned for some serious reading in April!

2016 Monthly Status Update: October

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A few days late but I’m catching up on my blogging! I meant to post this a few days ago but my work schedule has been just insane this week. October was a busy month for me between work and all the reading I’ve been getting done. Also went to Pennsylvania for the weekend. Lots going on in the next month as well, going to Florida next weekend and then Thanksgiving is just around the bend. But I am getting a good amount of reading done and reading some great things!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 10
# pages read this month: 3,305
# books read year-to-date: 102
# pages read year-to-date: 31,138

Favorite Books I Read:

Wow October was a great month for reading. This was such a hard choice for me to pick my favorites, I read so many good books.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – 4.25 stars
The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot – 4.5 stars
Faithful by Alice Hoffman – 4.5 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I had a great month and really didn’t dislike anything I read, which is great!

Other Posts this month:

My Brown-Eyed Earl BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY
Christmas Joy BLOG TOUR

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 20/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

November TBR list:

-Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell
-The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman
-When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall
-Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin
-The Amateurs by Sara Shepard
-Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
-The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries
-Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
-Mistletoe, Mischief and the Marquis by Amelia Grey

There are a lot of books on my backlog too so I’m hoping to have some time to dig into some of those but we will see how the month goes. Happy reading everyone!

2016 Monthly Status Update: September

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I can’t believe how fast September flew by. September is a big month for me since both my Mom’s and my birthdays are in the middle of the month. This past month we also went to Block Island, 2 weddings, and 2 birthday parties. Lots of events this month meant unfortunately less time for reading. Work is also starting to pick up for me so I will be reading even less in the next couple months but I’m hoping to keep active with my overwhelming reading schedule!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 11
# pages read this month: 2,530
# books read year-to-date: 92
# pages read year-to-date: 27,833

Favorite Books I Read:

At Risk by S.G. Redling – 4.25 stars
Now That It’s You by Tawna Feske – 4.25 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I read My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor this month and I didn’t particularly care for it, it was just a little out there for me.

Other Posts this month:

I was pretty busy this past month so I didn’t get a chance to do any other posts! Stay tuned for next month, I’ll have at least one author Q&A post.

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 19/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

October TBR list:

If I have extra time I’ll be working on my back list of ARC’s but I will also be trying to get some specific October books read:

-My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett
-Hero in the Highlands by Suzanne Enoch
-Till I Kissed You by Laura Trentham
-The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper
-Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
-The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot
-To Love and To Cherish by Lauren Layne
-Faithful by Alice Hoffman
-Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell
-The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman
-When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall

 

2016 Status Update: May

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MAY ROCKED! I got SO much reading done and I was able to participate in some great read-a-thon events, one of which I had never participated in before. May’s TBR list was intimidating but I think I really did a great job of keeping up with the schedule as much as I could. I gave myself a couple nights off to drink too much wine but having so many days off that I could devote to reading I think offset any breaks I took. And I had retreat for the last weekend of the month with pretty much two full days devoted to reading. Retreat was great this year and I loved spending time with my quilting ladies, be sure to check out my post about retreat below!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 18
# pages read this month: 6,228
# books read year-to-date: 57
# pages read year-to-date: 18,380

Favorite Books I Read:

The California Wife by Kristen Harnisch – 4.75 stars
People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper – 4.5 stars
The Beast of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood – 4.5 stars
Lana and the Laird by Sabrina York – 4.25 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

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I didn’t really like Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (2.75 stars). I just couldn’t really get into the story line on this one and it fell flat for me. I also didn’t particularly like Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt (3.25 stars) which was a HUGE disappointment for me because I usually LOVE her novels in the Maiden Lane series.

Other Posts this month:

Tall Poppy Book Giveaway
Author Interview!  – Mary Waters-Sayer – Author of the Blue Bath
Bout of Books 16 – Read-a-thon, contests, giveaways, and more!!
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 1
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 2
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 3
Bout of Books 16 Day 4 – If You Like This, Try This
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 4
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 5
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 6
Bout of Books 16 Update Day 7 & WRAP UP
Reading Retreat! 2016
Reading Retreat Read-a-thon Wrap up!

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 17/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 3/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

June TBR list: 

-Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax (NetGalley) (rolled from April TBR – didn’t get to)
-The Good Kind of Bad by Rita Brassington (NetGalley) (rolled from April TBR – didn’t get to)
-Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis (The Reading Room)(rolled from May TBR – I haven’t received from the publisher yet!)
-I Take You by Eliza Kennedy (LibraryThing)(rolled from May TBR – I haven’t received from the publisher yet!)
-How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell (The Reading Room)(rolled from May TBR – didn’t get to)
-Frayed by Kara Terzis (NetGalley)(rolled from May TBR – didn’t get to)
-Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne (NetGallley)
-Anything For Her by Jack Jordan (NetGalley)
-The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell (NetGalley)
-The Girl Who Came Back by Susan Lewis (NetGalley)
-The Creswell Plot by Eliza Wass (NetGalley)
-The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner (NetGalley)
-I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (NetGalley)
-The Girls by Emma Cline (NetGalley)
-If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton (NetGalley)
-The Vintner’s Daughter by Kristen Harnisch (own – for Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion)
-Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (NetGalley)
-Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall (NetGalley)
-Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Peak (NetGalley)
-First Comes Love by Emily Giffin (NetGalley)
-All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda (NetGalley)
-The Killing Game by Nancy Bush (NetGalley)
-Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner (NetGalley)
-Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries (NetGalley)
-Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney (NetGalley)

So that is the plan for June. Similar to my May TBR, June seems daunting with the amount of books I have on the list. I feel pretty confident in how well I did on the May list though, so I think June will (hopefully) be a successful month as well!

Happy reading everyone!

Bout of Books 16 – READ-a-thon, contests, giveaways, and more!!

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So over the past year I’ve periodically seen fellow bloggers participating in something called “Bout of Books” and reading their posts it has always seemed interesting/fun to me. So I decided to sign up for this coming one! I am excited to try it, though I’m still not 100% sure how it works. I do know that I’m supposed to read, which works out well for me since that is one of my favorite things to do! 

For those of you who don’t really know much about Bout of Books (including me), it is basically a week-long, no pressure read-a-thon that has been going strong since 2011! Here is a description directly from the Bout of Books blog:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

All in all it sounds like a great time to me! It isn’t required but I am nothing if not goal-oriented so I’ve decided to set some goals for the week. And luckily this time of year is pretty much my only slightly-slow season so I was able to take a couple days off to devote entirely to reading!! If you’d like to participate and would like to post goals (optional) they have a nifty template/help page that you can find here. Below are my TBR/Other goals for the week: 

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least 2 hours each day, with additional hours on the 2/3 days I am home during the week. Also the Saturday during Bout of Books is Goal Day for me so I can read all day (approx. 8 hours). 

My Goals

My goals for this read-a-thon are pretty much to learn the ropes. I’d like to participate in as much as I can: the daily posts plus reading every day plus whatever else there is (if there is anything else?). 

Books to Read

 

SO! That is Bout of Books and that is my plan! I am really looking forward to participating, it lined up perfectly with my busiest ARC month to date so I am really appreciative of the extra encouraged reading time!!! Hope you guys check it out and join up! If you do want to join make sure to add yourself to the page’s Sign Up Post by Tuesday, May 10th at 11:59pm! Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a different bookish topic and bloggers are asked to post their own top ten list based on the topic. This week is a listing of the Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year. 

I don’t have any particular order on these in terms of priority. These are all books from my Amazon wishlist that I put together for Christmas this year. These are just all books that  I’ve added to my to read list at some point during the year and are books that are higher up on the to read list so they made it onto the Christmas list. There is a variety of books on the list, I’ve been a little scattered lately in my reading.

  1. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
  2. The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri
  3. Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
  4. Newport: A Novel by Jill Morrow
  5. It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell
  6. Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
  7. After Alice by Gregory Maguire
  8. The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
  9. The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig
  10. The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

 

So what about all of you? Any particular books that you are wishing Santa brings you for Christmas this year?