A Whole New World…

Today, my friends, is a good day! Today is the day that I get to unveil my new blog design! When I started on this journey eight months ago, I told myself that I would consider a custom design after one year of blogging. As you can see things escalated quickly, and I’m sitting here today a very happy girl!

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Come on, like I wasn’t going to use Aladdin gifs with that title!

One of the reasons why I wanted to wait a full year was because I wanted to wait and see how much I liked blogging and how successful I would be at it. I didn’t want to make a big investment if I was just going to decide book blogging wasn’t for me. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that I absolutely LOVE blogging and I couldn’t be more proud of my little corner of the internet. So, I decided to take the plunge and make the committment.

I worked with the fabulously talented Anna of Anna Marie Moore Designs and Ashley is providing hosting through Book Host. These two make a dynamic duo and I cannot tell you how much I LOVE my design and all of the new little bells and whistles that I can add to my posts. I could not recommend these two women more…they have been so fantastic to work with. Super kind and ridiculously responsive! Everything you’d ever want in someone when you’re taking this enormous leap of migrating and updating your blog. It’s a detailed and complicated process but they have made it so simple!

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Best day EVER!

I hope you love my new look as much as I do, and please pardon any wackiness over the next few days as I figure out all these awesome new widgets and plug-ins. Let me know if you see anything weird or
out-of-place too, I’m learning as I go.

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Stacking the Shelves (1): January 1-17

I’ve always been a big fan of book haul photos and posts shared by fellow bloggers, so I’m pretty excited to be taking part in my very first Stacking the Shelves post today featuring books I’ve received so far this month.

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

Many thanks to Book Outlet for their amazing Boxing Day sale! I managed to snag all of the books pictured for less than $35 and that included shipping!

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Anne of AvonleaThe Luxe Series / Through the Ever Night / Reboot / Sapphire Blue
Emerald Green / Of Beast and Beauty / The Well of Ascension / The Hero of Ages

Next, we have a whollllle bunch of ARCs!! Look at all of these beauties! Some are borrowed, some are gifted from generous friends and one is from a fabulous publicist and her team that I’ve gotten to know over the past few months! Many thanks to Bloomsbury for the AMAZING Lion Heart ARC, Heather for the HarperCollins ARCs,  and also to Kristina at Gone Pecan, Jaime at Fic Fare and Nikki at There Were Books Involved for your fabulous generosity!

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Lion Heart / A Wicked Thing / No Parking at the End Times / Twisted Fate
Emmy & Oliver / The Sin Eater’s Daughter / I’ll Meet You There
The Boy Next Door / The Darkest Part of the Forest

I put myself on a six month book buying ban a few days ago (more on that below), but thankfully I squeezed this purchase in at the last minute! I can’t wait to read these two and have my entire world shattered.

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Red Rising / Golden Son

So…about that book-buying ban! I know, six months may as well be SIX YEARS when it comes to not being able to buy books. Here’s the thing, I reallllllly wanted a new blog design so I struck a bargain with my husband and told him that I would put myself on a self-imposed buying ban in order to hire a designer for a custom blog.

In my mind the trade-off is totally worth it because I have the most gorgeously new blog to debut to all of you on Monday! Anna at Anna Marie Moore Web Designs, is not only a seriously talented designer, but she’s also super kind and provides amazing service. She gave me a little snippet of my new blog to share with you all! Take a look…

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Make sure you come back MONDAY to see my brand new
blog design in all of its glory!

Fangirl Friday: Craft’ed Bookmarks

I was wracking my brain over the holiday season, trying to think of the perfect gifts to get my bookish buddies. Whenever I find myself seriously stumped for gift ideas I always turn to my trusted friends at Etsy! You can legitimately find ANYTHING there, whether it’s for yourself or a friend, the perfect gift is always waiting.

You can imagine my glee when I stumbled upon the shop for Craft’ed…a gloriously quirky and adorable store of handmade magnetic bookmarks. As I started to scroll through the options available I knew I’d struck gold. I’m sure you can guess by now that I bought ALL OF THE BOOKMARKS and gave them as gifts, and let me tell you, people loved them! I mean, check out the selection!

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Even better is that this store was created by two besties who turned their mutual love of crafting into something so much more. I had the chance to get to know Erica and Diana of Craft’ed after my slew of fangirl tweets over their bookmarks, and decided to have a little informal Q&A so we could all get to know them a little better!

Pssst! Keep reading after the Q&A for a special treat for ALL of my readers!
Plus…a chance to win some amazing prizes!

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How did you come up with the idea for Craft’ed?

We have been friends since high school and always had a mutual affinity for crafting! Anything from scrapbooking, dollar store trips to find inspiration on what to make next, knitting, crocheting, gift giving ideas, to Halloween costumes! One day, Diana came up with the idea to give her boyfriend a set of polaroid magnetic bookmarks as he loved polaroid cameras! Other people at craft fairs liked our bookmark idea and wanted them as well! From that point on, the addiction started and we have been creating new designs, focusing on magnetic bookmarks and cards 🙂

Where do you come up with the ideas for designs? Are they fandoms that you’re already a part of or are they inspired by other things?

A bit of both! Diana is the master designer and is always coming up with fun inspirations. Recently, we looked to our Instagram followers to figure out which designs might be the most popular! From that, came our New York and London bookmarks. Thanks Instagrammers!

What are some of your personal all-time favorite designs?

It’s so tough to decide since we love them all!!! Diana especially loves the Paris set 🙂 Erica loves the snail mail and nurse sets!!

What has been your favorite memory or experience since you started Craft’ed?

Our favourite memory has probably been our very first craft fair!!! That’s when we first starting selling our bookmarks, along with other stuff too – knitted/crocheted items, ornaments, and notebooks! The thrill of a first sale, someone loving what you made, is a pretty amazing feeling. Since then, we LOVE going to craft fairs! It’s so fun meeting customers and hearing what they think!!!

What does 2015 have in store for Craft’ed? Any new designs or products on the horizon that you’d like to share with your fans?

Funny you ask, we have just created a new design plan for 2015, full of funny, cute, and inspirational bookmarks! Most geared towards readers, some geared towards planners. We have a VERY special different product that may come later in the year, but we’ll keep that one a surprise 😉

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So, now that I’ve hyped up these adorable and amazing bookmarks, you totally want a set of your very own don’t you? Well, thankfully Erica and Diana are super generous (thank you ladies!!) and they’ve provided a COUPON CODE for 10% off at their Etsy store to all of my lovely readers! All you have to do is enter the following code when you’re checking out and the discount will be applied! The coupon code is….WHATSARAHREAD10

And to make this Fangirl Friday post even MORE epic…

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I’ll draw one name for a GRAND PRIZE giveaway where the winner (US OR CANADA) can choose $20 (US Dollars) worth of product from the Craft’ed store on Etsy! That’s right, you’ll go online and select which products you want, I’ll order them and they’ll be delivered right to your door!!

But wait…there’s MORE! Again, thanks to the generosity of Erica and Diana, I have TWO MORE amazing prizes (US & CANADA)! I’ll draw a second name and that person will win this set of London-themed bookmarks. The latest design in their perfectly adorable line-up!

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After that, I’ll draw a third name and they’ll receive this seriously cute cactus bookmark.

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Find Craft’ed online at: Etsy / Website / Twitter
Instagram / Facebook / Pinterest

365 Days of YA Reading Challenge 2015 – January Link-Up

The time has come!! Now that we’re more than halfway through the first month of the 365 Days of YA Reading Challenge, Kate and I are debuting the official link up  post for January! Thank you so much for participating in January’s 365 Days of YA Reading Challenge!  If you are new to our challenge check out the Epic Reads infographic and read our intro post.  We will have another sign-up post in February. Hopefully it’s been an amazing month of reading and you’re ready to share your reviews of the books you’ve selected from the Epic Reads infographic.

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We can’t wait to see all of the amazing books you guys have read this month and to celebrate that, Epic Reads has generously donated FIVE copies of Amy Ewing’s The Jewel to give away this month. Now, in order to be entered into the drawing, you must link up your January reviews/re-cap post/365 Days of YA Goodreads shelf at the linky below no later than Saturday, January 31st at 11:59mp EST.

Additional entries can be earned by taking part in the photo challenges Kate and I will be hosting each week. Stay tuned each Monday morning for a new photo challenge! Kate and I will announce them on our Twitter and Instagram feeds, and each week you submit a photo is another entry for our monthly giveaway! You still have time to get your entry in for this week’s challenge; a photo of your January TBR pile! Hurry up though, entries close this Sunday at 11:59pm EST. A new challenge will be posted by 8:00am EST on Monday, January 19.

Recap

  • Link up your January reviews/re-cap post/365 Days of YA Goodreads shelf no later than Saturday, January 31st at 11:59mp EST using the link below.
  • Please provide a DIRECT link to your post or Goodreads 365 Days of YA shelf.
  • Each person who links up their reviews/re-cap post/ Goodreads shelf will be entered into the January drawing for a copy of The Jewel.
  • Earn additional entries by submitting your photos in our weekly photo challenges posted on Kate’s Twitter and Instagram and Sarah’s Twitter and Instagram every Monday morning.
  • Five winners will be selected – US ONLY! For you international folks, stay tuned for our seasonal giveaways.

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Book Feels: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman, high priestess of FEELS! Honestly, I don’t know how she does it! She has such a skill for peeling back the layers and getting to the heart of the matter, and for opening up her characters to the reader in a way not many authors can achieve. I’m always left with such a deep sense of understanding after reading a Gayle Forman novel, even when the subject matter is completely foreign to me. I mean, I’ve never been on life support, or traipsed around Paris (or the world) trying to figure out what love truly is, and I haven’t dealt with the suicide of someone I hold close only to be left trying to pick up the pieces…but I can say that because of Gayle Forman’s books letting me in to the soul of her characters, I am infinitely changed.

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I Was Here is Gayle Forman’s fifth novel and a fresh departure from her last two sets of duologies, If I Stay and Where She Went, as well as Just One Day and Just One Year. I adored all of these books for their storytelling and honest emotions. There’s nothing I love more than reading a book that makes me feel as though I have been granted a special, inclusive look into the characters life. I Was Here does all of this and more! This book is a non-stop roller coaster of feels and my heart just ached for Cody the entire time as I watched her struggle through her emotions of trying to piece together the devastating clues.

We meet Cody when she is just coming off the suicide of her best friend. She’s lost, alone and struggling to make sense of what happened. Thanks to a cryptic note and a desire to understand what brought her friend to such a dark place, Cody embarks on an emotional journey as a way to piece together the clues and figure out what happened. With each new clue, she learns that there was SO much more to her friend than she ever knew. Experiencing Cody’s discoveries through her eyes is so emotional and overwhelming as a reader. I appreciated how well Forman unravelled the mystery surrounding Meg’s death and how she portrayed Cody’s grief and confusion. It all came off as authentic and I was just as invested in finding out the truth as the characters of this book were.

Forman knows how to give us relationships that are fulfilling and add so much to her stories. Cody’s somewhat strained and confusing relationship with Ben only adds to the layers of this story and by the end you’re cheering for them both to get their happy ending. Ben is the perfect foil to Cody’s character and brings to light a whole other side to her personality. They both have their reasons for trying to put the pieces of their lives back together, and watching them try to accomplish this as a pair is something so moving and beautiful.

I Was Here is an emotional and moving story of one young woman’s journey through grief, understanding and ultimately, her journey of self-discovery. If you’re a fan of Forman’s previous novels then there is no doubt in my mind that you’ll love this one as well. It hits all the same notes but in a very different, and very satisfying way.

Love It

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18879761I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Publication: January 27th 2015 by Viking Juvenile
Pages: 288 | Format: ARC | Source: Gifted
Pre-order this book

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

Waiting on…Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

I currently have this book sitting in my TBR pile and it keeps calling my name. First of all, would you look at that cover? It’s gorgeous! The colors, the typeface, the fingerprint heart…I can’t get enough! It’s kind of far down in the pile, but every time I go to grab a new book it’s like…

“Hey girl, why don’t you pick me this time!”

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I have so many more books to read before this one, but something tells me I’m going to cave soon and throw my reading list aside so I can read it. The description totally captivates me and I’m intrigued by the boy meets girl, girl loses boy, boy comes back years later and what happens next story line.

This book just GETS me!

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TMYK

13132816Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Publication: June 23rd 2015 by HarperTeen
Pre-order this book

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

Top Ten…2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t

I read a LOT of books in 2014! 102 to be exact, and considering I only read FOUR books in 2013, I would say that I was able to cover a lot of ground last year. I was shocked though, when I went to Goodreads to start pulling together my Top Ten list for this week and discovered just how many 2014 releases I never got to.

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

Before I even hit July, I had eleven books that I meant to read last year and never did. Such a sad statistic! I was finally able to work my way down to a top ten and here are my final selections.

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Snow Like Ashes / Red Rising / A Mad Wicked Folly
Dreams of Gods and Monsters / Cruel Beauty / Boomerang
The Chance You Won’t Return / Threats of Sky and Sea
The Art of Lainey / The Kiss of Deception

How many books did you not get to last year? Are any of them listed here? I’d love to hear in the comments below.