5th Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2014 Edition

It’s finally arrived…the very last day of 2014! Kind of hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your support this year…I don’t think I’ll ever be able to adequately express how much it means to me. On this last day of the year, I’m wishing you all a happy and healthy 2015…I can’t wait to see what it has in store for all of us.

2014 was an epic year for me and I’m thrilled to be taking part in Jamie’s Annual End of Year Book Survey! This post was a LOT of work and I probably shouldn’t have waited until yesterday to pull it all together, but it was so much fun reflecting back on all of the amazing bookish and bloggy things I experienced this year.

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Many thanks to Jamie for pulling this epic survey together, I’m so excited to share my responses with all of you.

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Number Of Books You Read: 102…which is two more than my original goal of 100 in 2014! Go me!!

Number of Re-Reads: Four – Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight.

Genre You Read The Most From: A tie between Fantasy and Contemporary/Romance

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Best Book You Read In 2014?

Wahhhh….do I realllly have to answer this? I’ve read so many amazing books that were published in 2014 and I shared my top ten with you here, but if I had to choose one from that list I would have to say Heir of Fire! But I can’t go without mentioning how much I adored I’ll Meet You There and A Court of Thorns and Roses which are 2015 releases. I would say those three books are the best books I read this year!

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Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Vault of Dreamers – I was super pumped for this book, but I was so annoyed with the main character that I ended up not enjoying it at all. Sad face! I was also disappointed with On the Fence, for some reason I just didn’t connect with it.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

The first book that pops into my head is The Book of Broken Hearts. I didn’t know much about this book when I picked it up and was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it and how moving it was.

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

Anything in the Throne of Glass series and I’ve also been pushing Heather Demetrios’ 2015 release I’ll Meet You There pretty hard for the past couple months.

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Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Am I allowed to answer with the Throne of Glass series again for best series and best sequel? Well, I am! Best series finale would definitely have to be Isla and the Happily Ever After!

Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

I really don’t even know where to begin with this one! Since I am new to Young Adult literature, I discovered so many new authors this year! Some favorites include Sarah J. MaasAC GaughenEmery LordHeather DemetriosLeigh Bardugo and Cora Carmack. You can also visit my Top Ten list from a few weeks ago to see some more favorite authors!

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I guess I played it safe this year since I can’t think of one book that was out of my comfort zone. I’m thinking I may need to make this a goal for 2015! Maybe a mystery or paranormal?

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The very first thing that comes to mind is a section in Crown of Midnight where my heart was literally pounding! So intense!

Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

A Court of Thorns and Roses, I’ll Meet You There and Heir of Fire!

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

Don’t make me choose between A Thousand Pieces of You and I’ll Meet You There! I could frame these covers and put them on my bedroom wall!

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

Most memorable character of 2014?

This is probably the hardest question of the whole survey for me. Honestly, I don’t even know where to start when thinking about picking just one character. Celaena, Rowan, Chaol, Nehemia and DorianAlina, Mal, Sturmhond and The DarklingReagan and DeeChloe and PatrickAnna and Etienne…the list could seriously go on and on!

Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

I adored the writing in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, as well as Days of Blood and Starlight! Still haven’t read Dreams of Gods and Monsters because, well, I’m just not ready for it to end! Laini Taylor is a literary goddess!

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

The most life-changing book of 2014 for me was Eleanor and Park. It was the first YA novel that I read this year that I absolutely adored and it inspired me to continue reading books like it.

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source: goodreads

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

In general, I can’t believe I waited until 2014 to read YA! Not sure what took me so long since it’s all I read now.

Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

I remember…watching that separation of sea and sky…and for the first time I realize that none of us are seeing the same thing. That all our horizons end in different places. ― Huntley FitzpatrickWhat I Thought Was True

She was not afraid. She would remake the world – remake it for them, those she had loved with this glorious, burning heart; a world so brilliant and prosperous that when she saw them again in the Afterworld, she would not be ashamed. She would build it for her people, who had survived this long, and whom she would not abandon. She would make them a kingdom such as there never had been, even if it took until her last breath. ― Sarah J. MaasHeir of Fire

This is the currency of friendship, traded over years and miles, and I hope it’s an even exchange someday. For now, I do what all best friends do when there’s nothing left to say. We lie together in all the darkness, shoulder to shoulder, and wait for the worst to be over. ― Emery LordOpen Road Summer

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

Shortest – Ocean and the End of the Lane at 181 pages / Longest – Heir of Fire at 562 pages

Book That Shocked You The Most

The only book I can think of that “shocked” me was The Young World. It was much more gritty and violent than I expected for a YA Dystopian and I almost gave up on it. In the end, I can’t really decide if I liked it or not.

OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Alina and Mal from The Grisha Trilogy. I know most people are all about The Darkling or Sturmhond, but Mal just makes my heart ache and I just want to give him a big hug.

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Celaena and Rowan in Heir of Fire, although, I can’t help but ship it!

Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Would you believe that all of the authors I read this year were from new-to-me authors? True story!

Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Ummm….that would be Anna and the French Kiss! Thanks Andi!

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

I met soooo many swoony boys this year! I wrote up a Top Ten Book Boyfriends post back in July, but since then I’ve met some more guys that I’d like to add to the list. My latest additions are: Rowan from Heir of Fire, Max from The Start of Me and You, Josh from I’ll Meet You There, Silas from All Broke Down and Jackson from Finding It.

Best 2014 debut you read?

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Source: Goodreads.com

source: goodreads

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I would have to choose The Grisha Trilogy hands down! Leigh Bardugo did such a phenomenal job of building the world of Ravka!

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

I absolutely loved Scoring Wilder, it’s a swoony, sexy and fun read without a ton of drama! PS – would you look at that cover??

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Off the top of my head I don’t think I could give a specific number but books that I DEFINITELY remember crying during are: The Start of Me and YouI’ll Meet You There, Heir of Fire, If I Stay, Where She Went and Lady Thief.

Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Wish You Were Italian is a fun and swoony romance set against the gorgeous back drop of the Italian countryside. It honestly doesn’t get much better than that, and you should definitely read it.

Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Heir of Fire tore me up into little pieces, spit me out, put me back together and then ruined me all over again! I loved every single moment of it too!

Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

The Ghosts of Heaven was completely different from any book I read all year, and I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to write me review for next week!

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source: goodreads

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Definitely The Vault of Dreamers! The main character frustrated me SO much!

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New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

Is it lame if I say all of them? Hear me out though! I discovered the book blogging community shortly after the new year in 2014 and since them I have discovered so many fantastic blogs! More importantly though are the people behind those blogs and I am so happy I’ve made so many wonderful new friends.

Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

Again, is it lame for me to say all of them? This is my first time ever writing book reviews and I am super proud of every single one of them!

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I really loved working on my Fangirl Friday posts!!

Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Meeting Sarah J. Maas and A.C. Gaughen was a highlight of this year! Not only because I got to meet two of my favorite authors, but also because I got to meet fellow bloggers Andi, Gail and Danielle!


Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

Definitely getting my very first physical ARC from a publisher! It was of The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, which is just so perfect because her debut novel, Open Road Summer, was my very first review on my blog.


Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

If we’re going by number of views it would be my Best of 2014 giveaway post from earlier this month! My Fangirl Friday post where I shared some amazing special edition book covers was my most viewed non-giveaway post!

I got the most comments on my Fangirl anniversary celebration and giveaway post and my most commented non-giveaway post was the top ten new series I want to read.

Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Any of my book reviews, especially the one’s I’ve posted in the last couple months since I started creating mood boards for each review and I’m pretty proud of them.

Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Honestly, the book blogging community as a whole was my best bookish discovery this year! I’ve met so many amazing people and read so many amazing books, I’ll be forever grateful for all the wonderful experiences I’ve had this year because if it!

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I sure did! I made a goal of reading 1oo books in 2014 and I ended up reading 102! Go me!

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One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

I have WAY more than one book that I wish I had gotten to this year, but Kiss of Deception stands out for me as the one I’m most eager to get to.

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source: goodreads

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

Again, I have WAY more than just one! Here’s a top ten list  I shared a few weeks ago! I’ve already read three of my most anticipated books, The Start of Me and YouI’ll Meet You There and A Court of Thorns and Roses, so I consider myself super lucky. Other 2015 releases I can’t wait for are Lion Heart, Six of Crows, Orphan Queen and Throne of Glass #4!

2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen…CANNOT WAIT!!!!

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

I shared my list of top ten blogging/bookish goals for 2015 yesterday, and one of my top goals from that list is to comment more!! I MUST get better about this!

A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Without a doubt…The Start of Me and YouI’ll Meet You There and A Court of Thorns and Roses! All three are truly stunning novels and I know they’ll make my top ten of 2015!

There you have it! ALLLLL of my responses to the annual End of Year Book Survey! Happy New Year everyone…here’s to an amazing 2015! xoxo

Top Ten…Goals for 2015

Here it is friends…my last Top Ten list of 2014! What a year it has been and I am so thankful for each and every one of you for your support and encouragement. 2014 has been an AMAZING year for me and I am so excited to see what 2015 has in store.

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

Reflecting on 2014 has been a great way for me to plan for 2015, and today I’ll be sharing the goals I’ve come up with for 2015. You’ll notice that a lot of my goals are related to my blog. I started What Sarah Read in May of 2014 and I never could have imaged how far I’d come in seven months! This blog and the experiences I have gained from it, are some of the best things that have ever happened to me…it’s honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

So, 2015 will be the year of taking my little blog to the next level. I’m SO ready to take the next step and create a more established and legitimate blog, and that can only be accomplished through achieving the goals I have set out below. Wish me luck you guys…I have a LOT of work ahead of me but I’m super excited about it.

General Reading Goals

  • Read 105 books – I read 101 books this year and I’m thinking even though I’d like to challenge myself for 2015, I also need to be realistic. 2015 has the potential to be super busy due to a potential job move, so I want to make sure I don’t over extend myself.

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  • Read 40 Fantasy novels – this should be pretty easy since I read close to 50 fantasy novels this year! It’ll be fun to make it an official goal and take part in the Flights of Fantasy reading challenge created by Alexa and Rachel!
  • Organize my Goodreads shelves – My organization system on Goodreads needs some help. Not quite sure what it needs or how to get there but I’m hoping to figure that out this year so my shelves can make a little more sense.

Blog specific goals

  • Write reviews within five days of finishing a book – I’m super guilty of sitting on books after I finish them and not working on the review right away. I’m hoping by sticking to this goal that I can write more thoughtful and comprehensive reviews.
  • Add a new original feature to the blog – I love all the creativity I see from other bloggers and I’m hoping to use it as inspiration for my own original feature on the blog. Would love to debut a fresh and fun recurring post to share with all of you in 2015!

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  • Create list system to better manage posting schedule – I have a solid system for tracking my TBR by using a paper planner/calendar, but would like a system that will help me keep track of what posts I still need to write and all the additional tasks that come with that. I found out about Wunderlist from Hannah over at So Obsessed With and it’s been a great tool. Can’t wait to see how it helps with my 2015 posting schedule.
  • Learn simple HTML – I’m thinking it would be a good idea to be somewhat knowledgable in HTML since I do have a blog and all.
  • Attend BEA in NYC – Keeping my fingers crossed that I’m able to pull this trip off. It would be my first time at BEA and I think it would be a really great experience and an awesome way to make some fantastic connections. I’m pretty sure I’ll have this expression throughout the entire week!

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  • Comment, comment, comment – I’m SO guilty of not staying on top of not only commenting on other people’s blogs but also to responding to comments on my own posts. It’s awful and I need to get better about it. This is one of my top priority goals for 2015.
  • Invest in custom blog design – I knew when I started my blog that I wouldn’t invest in a custom design until I was at least one year in. I just wanted to make sure it was something I was going to commit to and also enjoy before I made such a large investment. Now that I’m 7+ months in and I’m so committed to my blog and loving what I do, I find myself thinking more and more about a new design. Can’t wait to get that started this spring!
There you have it…my top ten goals for 2015. I know it’s going to be a lot of work but I’m committed and prepared to do what it takes to make my blog the very best it can be! What are some tips and tricks you may have for me? Any motivational words?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

EXCLUSIVE: Queen of Tomorrow Cover Reveal

Hi friends…happy last week of the year! Can you believe 2015 is a short THREE days away! I read a ton of amazing books this year (more on that this Wednesday) and I don’t know about you but I am SUPER excited about the epic year of reading that is ahead of us.

One of the books I’m really excited for next year is “Queen of Tomorrow” by Sherry D. Ficklin. You may remember, back in October, I posted my review of “Queen of Someday” , the first book in the Stolen Empire series. This series is a YA Historical Romance based on the life of Catherine The Great as a young woman, and if you’re like me and Reign is one of your favorite shows, then you’ll definitely need to read this series.

So, needless to say, today is a very special day on the blog because I get to take part in….

THE OFFICIAL COVER REVEAL FOR:

QUEEN OF TOMORROW by Sherry D. Ficklin

 

QUEEN OF TOMORROW by Sherry D. Ficklin

A Stolen Empire Novel, Book 2
The Queen Arrives on July 14, 2015
Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things start to look up. As a new day dawns, Catherine thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces that try to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Catherine soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia and her new empire. While navigating the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.
When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, Catherine glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it vanish at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Catherine must sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.

ADD QUEEN OF TOMORROW TO YOUR TBR LIST!

Queen of Tomorrow

READ THE FIRST BOOK TODAY:
Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophia will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.
Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.
Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.
In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

 

PURCHASE QUEEN OF SOMEDAY TODAY!
WATCH THE OFFICIAL BOOK TRAILER:

ABOUT SHERRY D. FICKLIN


Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

 

She is the author of The Gods of Fate Trilogy now available from Dragonfly Publishing. Her previously self-published novel After Burn: Military Brats has been acquired by Harlequin and will be released in 2015 with a second book in that series to follow. Her newest YA steampunk novel, EXTRACTED: The Lost Imperials book 1, co-written with Tyler H. Jolley is now available everywhere books are sold and her newest YA novel, Losing Logan, is due for release in 2014 from Clean Teen Publishing.






Want to READ MORE from Clean Teen Publishing? Check out our huge selection of amazing reads! There’s sure to be something for every reader!

 

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW about our GIVEAWAYS, NEW RELEASES, COVER REVEALS and MORE! JOIN OUR VIP MAILING LIST!
WWW.CLEANTEENPUBLISHING.COM

 

 

I Mustache You Some Questions

It’s the day after Christmas and I know a lot of us are still cleaning up from the wrapping paper explosions and massive feasts from yesterday! I thought I’d take a low-key day and share a quick and easy post with all of you. Just a fun meme that Andi’s ABCs tagged me for that covers all sorts of things you’ve always wanted to know about me! I know, I know…the anticipation is overwhelming right!? mustache-questions-300x300

Four names that people call me (other than my real name!)

  • Buggies: Don’t ask! LOL!
  • Betsey: a childhood nickname that I outlawed on my 18th birthday!!!
  • S. Diddy: one night my girlfriends and I were sitting around and coming up with our celeb nicknames. Somehow I came up with S. Diddy?! I’m pretty sure the wine had something to do with that!
  • I honestly can’t think of a fourth!

Four jobs I’ve had

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  • Bartender at my college pub
  • Corporate Communications Assistant at a large digital publishing firm
  • Senior Proposal Writer at a health insurance company
  • Assistant to a wedding photographer

Four movies I’ve watched more than once

  • Say Anything
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Lord of the Rings (all of them)
  • The Doors (I had this on a loop in college)

Four books I’d recommend

  • Fangirl: This book is like my old, comfy sweater. It just makes me feel good!
  • I’ll Meet You There: a February 2015 Heather Demetrios release that I read a couple of months back and it was an immediate all-time fave
  • Throne of Glass series: I know this counts as four books but I could never choose just one!
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: a May 2015 Sarah J. Maas release – just finished this one and I am absolutely obsessed! Another new all-time fave)

Four places I’ve lived

  • San Diego
  • Boston
  • Vermont
  • Rhode Island

Four places I’ve been

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  • Paris, France
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • Disney World
  • San Francisco

Four places I’d rather be right now

  • Martha’s Vineyard
  • Coastal Maine
  • Disney World
  • Paris, France

Four things I don’t eat

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  • Any kind of seafood – if it comes out of the water, I don’t eat it!
  • Raw tomatoes
  • Liver
  • Eggplant

Four of my favorite foods

  • Cheeseburgers
  • French Fries
  • Birthday Cake
  • Buffalo Wings

Four TV shows that I watch

  • The Walking Dead
  • Game of Thrones
  • The 100
  • Reign

Four things I’m looking forward to in 2015

giphy Gahhh….so many big changes are potentially on the horizon for 2015! I’m keeping them to myself for now cause I am crazy SUPERSTITIOUS and don’t want to jinx anything! It’s going to be a challenging year but I hope by this time next year that everything will have fallen into place.

Four things I’m always saying

  • Dangit!
  • I love you!
  • Seriously?!
  • You’re the best!

Four people I tag

Waiting on…Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

I took one look at the cover of this book and I HAD to learn more! It’s definitely got that steampunk vibe and the tagline “All is fair in love and revolution” is EVERYTHING!

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I really enjoy alternate reality novels, so this story of a British-ruled America that involves magic and rebellion was immediately appealing! I also love a good female heroine and it sounds like Verity is my kind of girl. There’s just something so satisfying when a young woman discovers her own inner strength! Girl power for the win!

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TMYK

22718701Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
Publication: 7/14/15 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pre-order this book now

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children’s young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.

Home for the Holidays…Blogger Wishes and Season’s Greetings!

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m enjoying my first full day of vacation! It’s also the very last day of my special Home for the Holidays feature here on the blog. I had such an amazing time these past two and a half weeks, and want to thank each and every one of you for following along with my very first special feature on What Sarah Read.

As a way to celebrate the season and end Home for the Holidays on the perfect note, I thought I would ask all of the bloggers who took part to share their biggest holiday wish! There’s a lot of fabulous wishes listed here and I hope that every single one of them comes true!

WISHES HEADERWISHES1Wishes2WISHES3I want to give a big hug and endless amounts of thanks to the all of the amazing bloggers who took part in this event. All of their posts were so much fun and filled with all sorts of holiday goodness…thank you from the bottom of my heart to Ginger @ GReads!Lindsey @ Bring My BooksSajda @ Across the WordsRachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf,  Morgan @ Gone with the Words, Andi @ Andi’s ABCs, Katie @ Spirit of Children’s Literature, Daphne @ Gone PecanEmma @ Miss Print, Lindsey @ A Bookish Sinister Kid, Jess @ Gone with the Words and Amanda & HollyGun in Act One!

Happy holidays to all of my readers! Thank you so much for all of your kindness and support this year! It’s the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. Here’s hoping all of YOUR wishes come true this holiday season.

If you missed out on any of the holiday goodness, then just
click here to get all caught up!

Home for the Holidays with Amanda and Holly from Gun in Act One

Today’s Home for the Holidays post comes from sisters Holly and Amanda who blog about books over at Gun in Act One. I’ve always wondered what it’s like for people who have to celebrate their birthdays on or around Christmas, so we have Holly to tell you all about how to spend your holiday-birthday.

Holidays header

In the spirit of the holiday season, my dear sister signed us up to write a holiday-book-blog post. And then, in order to do something different, she said, “oh, ‘’let’s write about holiday-birthdays!” Only one of us has a birthday that falls halfway between Christmas and New Year’s. Only one of us has been told for  years that if she was born a boy, she would be stuck with the name Rudolph. Guess who?

So, I asked her (about five minutes after this post was supposed to be written), dude, what is this supposed to be about? Holidays and books makes sense. Birthday holidays makes sense. Birthdays and books, even. But, holiday birthdays and books? #whatdidyousignmeupforsister

Then of course, I turned to the internet for inspiration,
and found some things like this:

shhh

and this…

peek

Which made me realize [insert sweeping generalization here] that there are two kinds of people with birthdays that fall on or around Christmas or the holiday season: those who feel cheated because they share the birthday spotlight with 8 lb, 6 oz baby Jesus…

baby jesus

…and those who don’t.

I’m quite sure that my family made an appropriately big deal of my birthday when I was just a young Jolly Holly, but as an adult, I’m sort of over birthdays (yeah, your’s too).

bday card

My new favorite image ever / Source

So with that I offer you, oh readers, a list of ways to spend your holiday-birthday if you’re in the “I don’t really need a 10 piece orchestra and someone jumping out of a cake to celebrate my 29+ birthday” camp (aka Camp Birthday Grinch).

How To Spend Your (or your loved one’s) Holiday Birthday

  • Movie Marathons: If you want a quiet, non-holiday-related way to spend your holiday birthday, why not relax with some good movies – maybe The Hunger Games (watch the first two at home, and then go see #3 in the theater – that would be a happy item on my holiday/birthday list this year!), The Godfather Trilogy, or The Bourne movies. I’m not saying you have to watch them all on one day, but the holidays are a good time for movie-watching when you’re partied-out. [Bonus points for me for working books – or at least book-related-movies – into this post!]
  • Find your birthday deals: Starbucks will give you a free drink during your birthday month! Stores will give you special deals (Anthropologie just sent me 15% off and I’m sure there are more to be found). I may be pro-understated birthday celebrations, but I also like free coffee as much (maybe more) than the next guy.
  • Game Night: If you want a slightly more social activity than #1, invite a few friends over for a game night. I know, that’s a bit cheesy for some, but there is no better time to embrace a little bit of cheesy than the month of December! (And if you need a ridiculous game, my newest fave is Telestrations. Google it. It’s a thing.
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights: If you’re the friend/family of a holiday-birthdayer, please do not suggest this activity for someone who hates to share the holiday/birthday limelight. For me, there is somehow never enough time to go on one of those driving routes with all the best decorations before Christmas, so I’d be a-okay to include this in my birthday evening.
  • Order Takeout: During December, it seems like more days than not include holiday-related-food-functions, between work, friends, and family. I love Christmas cookies and I love traditional Christmas Prime Rib (is that just us?), and growing up I really loved when my Dad would make barbecued ribs for my birthday dinner – on a cold December night in Chicago. These days (unless I’m within my Dad’s grilling range), I am all for ordering pizza. Zero effort, no dishes, extra cheese. Happy Birthday to Me.

Amanda: You’re welcome Holly for this opportunity to really reflect on your birthday before the actual day of celebration.  Does that count for my gift to you?  I’ll take your list of suggestions into account the next time we’re together on the big day! XOXO

holly1

 

This post totally cracks me up….ahhhh the struggles of holiday-birthday! I’m loving all of the celebration ideas, they’d be a blast even if it’s NOT your birthday! Make sure you stop by the blog tomorrow, as it’s the very last day of Home for the Holidays (sad face) and I’ll be sharing mine, as well as all of the other guest bloggers bookish wishes this holiday season.  See you all tomorrow!