Bookworm Blogging, Not Books, Personal

200 Follower Giveaway!

200follows

I’m incredulous at the fact that I’ve finally hit 200 followers! I am so grateful to be part of this community and am so glad you’ve all chosen to join me on my blogging journey. To celebrate, I’ve decided to do a book giveaway! The prize will be any one book less than $20 on Book Depository. The giveaway is international, but only includes countries that Book Depository will ship to. In order to receive the prize, you have to be comfortable providing me with a shipping address.

There are several ways to enter! To earn entries you can follow me on twitter, tweet about the giveaway, and/or comment on this post. In order to officially enter, please use the rafflecopter information provided below. Good luck to everyone, and thank you again for your support! 🙂

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Not Books, Personal

Unique Blogger Award 1 & 2

I was tagged for the Unique Blogger Award by both Steph and Rachel. 🙂 Thank you both so much!!

The Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you
  • Answer the questions
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award
  • Ask them 3 questions

Steph’s Questions:

What is the lock screen and home screen on your phone? (I’m just curious)

Lock screen is my roommate’s cat and home screen is… my roommate’s cat. Different pictures. I just love this cat a lot, okay??

What’s something you were really into/obsessed with when you were a kid?

HORSES. I was THE horse girl. Also books, obviously. 😉

What was the best birthday you’ve had?

Last year! I threw a party at my apartment and most of my favorite people were there and there was pizza and drinks and youtube karaoke and lots of laughs. I’ll cherish that party forever. 🙂

Rachel’s Questions:

Where’s the farthest place from home that you’ve traveled to?

Mexico! I went for a few hours once while we were staying in San Diego visiting family.

What is your favorite fictional relationship?  Either romantic or platonic.

Potential spoilers for Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom and The Raven Cycle ahead???

I am currently OBSESSED with Jesper and Wylan right now. And Blue/Gansey also destroys me.

What is one food that your town/state/country is known for, and do you like it?

My general region is known for maple syrup, and I love it! My dad had a sap house set up when I was a kid and we made our own from the trees in our backyard (we lived in the woods).

I tag:

Avery @ Red Rocket Panda
Ashley Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile
Wendy @ What the log had to say
Destiny @ Howling Libraries
Danielle @ The Introverted Book Nerd
And anyone else who would like to do it. 🙂

My questions:

  • If you could have ANY (non-fictional) animal as a pet, which animal would it be? In this hypothetical scenario, there are no legal limitations and you are able to give them the best care possible.
  • What and where is your ideal vacation?
  • What is one thing you love about yourself?

Please let me know if you do this so I can see your answers!

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Not Books, Personal

Boskone 55 Day 1

Hey everyone, I went to my first SF/F convention last weekend! It was a pretty spontaneous decision. A few weeks ago I was looking at Tamora Pierce’s events page and noticed that she was slated to be at an event right here in Boston! I took a look at the schedule of events and between the awesome panels and Tammy being there all three days, I decided to get tickets.

I ended up going alone, which I didn’t mind at all. That way, I got to go to all the panels I wanted to go to and could take breaks whenever I felt like it. It was really nice! There was so much going on that I decided one blog post would not be enough. SO, for the next couple weeks, I’ll be doing a post a week about the convention! This post will cover my first day.

I left work a few minutes early so I could make it over to sit in on an interview with none other than Tamora Pierce herself. She was hilarious and had a lot of interesting things to say. She talked about why having publishers is helpful (“If I had to do all that stuff, how would I write?”), said that she is pro-fanfic (but doesn’t read them because she doesn’t want to accidentally steal fans’ ideas), and revealed how she creates such dynamic characters (bases them off of real people!).

Directly afterward, I went to a panel called Exploring Gender in Speculative Fiction. The speakers were Stacey Berg, Suzanne Palmer Julie Holderman, Stephen P. Kelner Jr., and Inanna Arthen. They discussed a lot of different pieces of media where the idea of gender, or a gender binary, is played with in some way. One of the ideas mentioned was that SF/F may be a safe place to explore things that could otherwise be considered strange or scary by some. Julie also said one thing that I particularly related to: “It takes an incredible amount of emotional energy to educate people about yourself all the time.”

I took a couple hours for dinner and relaxation before going to Evolution and Alien Psychology, featuring Stephen P. Kelner Jr. again. This was one of the most fascinating events I attended the entire weekend. Most of the discussion was based around evolutionary psychology and the potential impact of certain environments upon species. It was a lot of speculation, which I really enjoyed. There’s a lot to take into consideration for authors who are writing fictional species.

By then it was 10pm and waay past my usual bedtime, so I headed home to get a good night’s rest for the next day. I was already unbelievably excited, since the first day had been so much fun already! Next week I’ll be publishing my Boskone Day 2 post, so keep your eyes peeled. 🙂

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Not Books, Personal

One Lovely Blog Award [tag]

I was tagged for the One Lovely Blog Award by the One Lovely Wendy (see what I did there? 😉 ) @ What the log had to say.

THE RULES:

-Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog

-Share 7 things about yourself

-Nominate others (up to 15)

-Include this set of rules

-Inform your nominees

1. I have three tattoos and I really, really, really want some more. My first was a truffula tree from The Lorax, my second was a bundle of lavender, and my most recent was a nautilus. I have three or four more ideas in my head, but I need to find the perfect artists AND save up some money!

2. I have lived in New England (USA) my entire life, but I haaate the cold and the snow. I have absolutely no cold tolerance and often compare myself to a small lizard — I just want to lounge in the sun all day.

3. I got into baseball over the summer and went to around 10 MLB games between May and October. My sister and I are talking about splitting season tickets for next year because we both go so much that it just makes sense.

4. Jurassic Park is my FAVORITE movie. I love the first three with my whole heart and thought Jurassic World was a travesty to the series, but fine as a standalone movie.

5. I loOoOoOove cephalopods so much (note the nautilus tattoo). My apartment is filled with cephalopod paraphernalia and I have an aquarium membership (also split with my sister). People usually give me octopus stuff for gifts and send me pictures of anything tentacle-related they see.

6.  I listen to podcasts whenever I’m walking somewhere and most of the day at work. I listen to a lot of podcasts. I can’t even tell you how much time I spend listening to podcasts.

7. I love snail mail. I love writing letters and sending people things and recently invested in a bunch of stickers to use for letters and cards!

I nominate:

Anna @ reading peaches
Rachel @ pace, amore, libri
Destiny @ Howling Libraries
Rachel @ Rachel Reading
Kathy @ Books & Munches

Bookworm Blogging, Personal

Joe Hill Book Launch [recap]

Good morning, everyone! I’m practically falling over my keyboard after last night’s adventure, I was in such a buzz that it took me forever to fall asleep. Anyway! Onto the exciting stuff.

Last week, I was scrolling through Facebook, when I happened to see an event for Joe Hill’s book launch of Strange Weather. It was taking place at Brookline Booksmith, a local bookstore (probably my new favorite place). I had an appointment beforehand, so I wasn’t sure I would make it over in time–in part because I didn’t know what kind of turnout to expect, and whether I’d make it inside or not. Luckily, I managed to get in and had plenty of time to buy a copy of Strange Weather and to settle into my seat in the back row.


Joe’s introduction was hysterical–the employee told the story of the first time they had met him and then he stepped up to the mic. I could barely see him from where I was seated, but he was such a dynamic, animated speaker. He read an excerpt from the story “Aloft” (a graphic piece that drew some laughter from the crowd) and then spent most of the hour doing a Q&A. He was kind to all of the question askers, and told plenty of funny stories, along with giving serious answers. Some highlights:

  • On reading as an author: “If you’re not consumed with jealousy, you’re not reading the right things.”
  • When asked for writing advice (paraphrased): Don’t sit down to write a novel, sit down to write one good scene. Or one good sentence. Build up from there.
  • When asked about the shared universe theories: “Some people think this means that all these stories take place in the same universe. What it really means is my dad and me both like to fuck around.”
  • A question-asker mentioned that King name-dropped him in Sleeping Beauties: “Did he?! I haven’t read it yet!”


All-in-all it was a great experience! After the reading, everyone lined up for autographs and photos. I told him that I was blown away the first time I opened up Locke & Key because half my family lives in Nahant, MA and he responded, “oh yeah, it’s literally Nahant.” For those of you who don’t know, Locke & Key takes place on the fictional island of Lovecraft, MA and Lovecraft very closely resembles the town my mom grew up in. I’ll put some side-by-side photos below for comparison. You’ll see what I mean, I saw the resemblance as soon as I opened the comic. 

In addition the the aerial shot, inspiration was also drawn from Swallow Cave, and from the old bunkers scattered around the island. I’ll have to get some more comparison shots at some point.


Anyway, this was an incredible experience and I’m so glad I made it. I’m definitely going to keep my eye open for more events at Brookline Booksmith (Mark Z. Danielewski is doing one in a couple weeks and I’m stoked!!!). Have any of you attended a bookish event like this? What was it like? Let me know in the comments!


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Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging, Personal

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Ah, I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by the wonderful Rachel @ pace, amore, libri! Thanks so much, Rachel!!

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator has given you.
  3. Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  4. List the rules and display the award

The Questions:

What’s the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?

The last movie I saw was actually It Follows, and I LOVED it!! I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, but the cinematography was gorgeous and it was sooo well-done. I read like three different articles about it immediately after finishing (like, as the credits were playing). Highly recommend you watch it, if you can do horror movies. I get scared SO easily, but I still managed through it with just a couple jumps!

Do you have any weird or random talents?

I am an EXTREMELY fast typist. People end up in awe of my typing speed a lot of the time. I also make a very, very aesthetically pleasing soft serve ice cream, I got that twist talent.

What’s your favorite song at the moment?

X Gon’ Give It To Ya by DMX, it’s not my usual genre, but, well, I got into it after hearing it a lot as Xander Bogaerts’ walk-up song at Red Sox games.

What time of day do you do most of your blogging?

Afternoon or early evening! That’s when I’m typically at my most productive.

What’s your favorite museum that you’ve been to?

The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washingon, DC! It’s honestly breathtaking.

When’s the last time you went to a wedding?

Last August, so about a year ago! (I did the bride’s makeup!)

Do you have a celebrity doppelganger?

The lead singer of Pomplamoose!

Image result for pomplamoose

If you were a cat, what color cat would you be?  (Very important question.)

Calico, or slate grey!

Do you have a favorite publisher or publisher imprint?

No, I’ve only very recently started paying attention to which publishers publish which books–I’m a bad book reader.

Have you ever dressed up like a fictional character?  (Bonus points for photo evidence.)

Many! Mostly for Halloween. Pikachu, Catwoman, Peter Pan. I know I’ve got a picture of the Pikachu one somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it…

What’s your favorite thing about your city (or state, or country)?

I love that there are so many beautiful things to see here in Boston!!

I tag:

Wendy @ What the Log | Destiny @ Howling LibrariesHolly @ Nut Free NerdLauren @ Wonderless Reviews | Christine @ The Story SalveArya @ Arya’s Fangirl Lexicon | Sydney @ Sydney’s Shelves | Beth @ Reading Every NightAmanda @ Literary WeaponryMelanie @ Mel to the Any | Lauren @ Lauren’s Page Turners

My Questions:

  1. How long have you been blogging for?
  2. What’s the best book you’ve read so far in 2017?
  3. How many cats is an ideal number of cats?
  4. What’s your favorite musical artist?
  5. Where is your perfect vacation?
  6. Are you a writer as well as a reader?
  7. Drink of choice? Alcoholic or non-alcoholic, doesn’t matter!
  8. What’s your preferred method of travel?
  9. What’s your aesthetic?
  10. What’s your favorite season?
  11. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Not Books, Personal

Unplanned Hiatus

Happy Sunday, everyone!

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t made any posts and haven’t done much in the way of comments or interactions for the past week. I’ve had some health and some work stuff come up and just wasn’t able to get onto WordPress. I barely got any reading done, and I also didn’t do much on Twitter either. Anyway! I have three posts queued up for this week and, uhh, I think one or two already written and queued for next week, so I’m back!

I’m also still planning on doing the Make Me Read It Readathon and am excited but nervous about that! Any general motivational advice would be much appreciated, as it has been difficult for me to find the energy or time to do anything!

Not Books, Personal

Road Trip 2k17

So!!! My family and I went on a road trip to Washington, D.C. recently to visit some family. I hadn’t been down in a few years and I haven’t taken a proper vacation in years.


I don’t even want to talk about how much coffee I had during this vacation.


Compulsory Starbucks bathroom selfie! Why am I wearing a flower crown on a road trip? I don’t know.


Obviously cats are the most important part of any vacation, so here’s a handsome one.


We went to the National Zoo! This was the Amazonia exhibit, which was really cool because the animals weren’t fenced in! They were all around us.


I went to Duck Donuts for the first time… and the second… and the third. They’re fresh, made-to-order donuts with whatever toppings you want!


This is Cat #2! He’s an angel and my baby and I love him. His name is Malbec. 💕


I got liquid nitrogen ice cream for the first time and it was so cool???????


Me and Malbec bonding 



We went to a Nats game and their park is STUPENDOUS, but their mascots are a little creepy. This is my mom and I with Teddy. I also met Screech in an elevator, but didn’t get a picture!


My final picture: me and Lincoln (my second picture with him–I got one at Nats park too!). This was taken at Gettysburg on our way home.

All-in-all it was a great vacation! It was so lovely spending time with family I don’t get to see often and it was nice to see a different part of the country for a bit. I don’t travel nearly as much as I’d like to, but I’m hoping to do a bit more starting next year!

Bookworm Blogging, Discussions, Personal

Diversity in Books [discussion]

I’ve been seeing discussions about this going around, and figured I’d throw my opinion into the ring. As a disclaimer: I am a queer cisgender white woman, so while I can speak to some aspects of diversity in media, I obviously can’t speak to them all and hope that y’all seek out the voices of other minorities to get their thoughts as well.

Diversity in media is so, so important. Growing up, I did not see many lgbtqia+ folx in books or movies or television shows. I lived in rural New England in a small town and heard slurs thrown around as insults on a daily basis. Even at a young age, it was clear to me that being gay was a Bad Thing.

I was so sheltered in my exposure to lgbtqia+ information that I didn’t understand anything about the fluidity of sexuality. Even as a child, I knew that I wasn’t straight because I liked girls. But I knew I wasn’t a lesbian because I liked boys. I spent years lost and confused, thinking I was some kind of freak of nature. In middle school, I met someone who identified as bisexual and it turned my entire world upside-down. I still remember the sense of relief that flooded through me–there were other people out there like me, and there was a word for what I was feeling.

Even today, living in a city and surrounded by lgbtqia+ friends, my heart skips a beat when I see an indication that someone may be Like Me. When I see two women walking down the street holding hands, when I see someone with a rainbow bandana, when another woman casually drops the word “my girlfriend” into a sentence. Butterflies fill my stomach and I feel giddy and a smile blooms on my face. I feel less alone, I feel relieved, I feel right in the world.

Growing up in rural New England, I didn’t get to see any of these things. Sure, I had a handful of lgbtqia+ friends, but we were a minority. Most of us were either not out or were getting called slurs behind our backs if we were. Even if we weren’t. Sometimes kids just sensed there was something different about us, and those slurs were the only thing they had to pin to us.

One of the only things that made me feel better was seeing people like me in media. Seeing lgbtqia+ people on TV shows or in books was like the ultimate Where’s Waldo. I was starved for representation and would take any scrap I could get. Most of the media I took in reinforced negative stereotypes, queerbaited, and/or depicted lgbtqia+ lives in an overwhelmingly negative light (tragedy everywhere!). I had to make do with what I could.

Today, I feel a lot luckier. The world is a little more open, I live in a more accepting place, and it’s easier for me to find representative media. But there’s still so much missing! It’s still difficult to find “popular” media that doesn’t reinforce negative stereotypes or depict lgbtqia+ folx as living these sad lives. We deserve happy endings, too. We deserve realistic, healthy representations.

This doesn’t just go for lgbtqia+ representation, either. All underrepresented groups deserve this kind of representation. We all deserve to see ourselves as belonging to the world. Without that, it’s easy to feel lost.

I’ve seen some people say that it’s not necessary to intentionally seek out diverse media. I wholeheartedly disagree. While “popular” media is growing somewhat more diverse, it isn’t just going to happen on its own. Coming from a not-so-diverse area, a lot of my social circle is comprised of white Americans. So a lot of the media I’m exposed to is white, American media. In order to diversify my worldview, the onus is on me to seek out media that provides representations of groups of people I may be less familiar with.

I’m not saying we need to force ourselves to read things we don’t like. But if you like YA fantasy, maybe find a list of YA fantasy featuring people of color. If you like historical fiction, find historical fiction featuring lgbtqia+ main characters. The beautiful thing about bookish communities is that a lot of people love to give recommendations! If you can’t find a list of diverse books that fit your specific interests, put a call out asking for recs or use some google searches or consult a librarian. There is certainly diverse media out there that you will enjoy, but it’s unlikely to fall into your lap in large quantities. If you want to consider yourself an ally to any group of people, you need to do the work to support and understand them.

I also think it is a necessity to emphasize Own Voices in every way. Find Own Voices books, read Own Voices reviews. If I read a diverse book that talks about something I have no experience with, I try to look for Own Voices opinions on it before I write my review and before I form my final opinion. You may think the representation is fine, but maybe you’re not picking up on something that deeply hurts the people within that group. And that’s not your fault, but the opportunity to learn more is still there.

Authors writing about communities they don’t belong to can walk a fine line at times. I agree that it is not fair to expect perfection–of anyone–but if you are attempting to write about something you have not yourself experienced, you need to work to ensure that you are writing proper representation. Research is important, but I think having Own Voices folx provide feedback before you finalize your work is important as well. If you are writing a book about a bisexual woman and you’re straight, get the opinions of some bisexual women! Obviously no one person speaks for an entire group, but getting a few opinions from people within that group can be the difference between a flimsy caricature and realistic representation.

I don’t think I’m anywhere near perfect when it comes to reading diverse books (and that’s something I need to change) and my opinions are not the end-all of this discussion, but these are just some things I’ve been thinking about lately. I think it’s easy for people in positions of privilege to say that diversity is too overemphasized, but take a minute to imagine what it’s like not to see yourself anywhere. It’s easy to feel broken and like you don’t belong, like the world is saying “we don’t care if you’re here or not.”

Anyway, this got way heavier than I was expecting! If you made it this far, I applaud you. I guess my take-home here is really that diverse media has always been and continues to be important to me. Whether or not you feel it impacts you directly, supporting diverse media supports marginalized communities, both by making them more visible to the world at large and by making you, specifically, more aware of them and of their struggles and achievements.

Thank you all so much for reading. Please, please, please feel free to comment letting me know what your thoughts are! This is something I’m passionate about, but as I stated earlier, the discussion doesn’t end with my opinion.

Bookworm Blogging, Monthly Wrap-Ups, Personal

June Wrap-Up

Books I read:

  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. 4/5 stars, review.
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. 5/5 stars, review.
  • Policing the Black Man edited by Angela J. Davis. 4/5 stars, review to be posted July 11, 2017.
  • The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry. 4/5 stars, review.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. 2/5 stars, review.
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus. 4/5 stars, review to be posted July 7, 2017.

Average rating: 3.83 stars
Books read: 6

Misc. Posts:

Reading Goal Progress:

This year I have read 30 books so far! My original goal was 35 for the year, so yesterday I bumped it up to 50. It’s kind of my white whale, for the 3 or 4 years I’ve been keeping track I haven’t hit 50 books. This year is the year, I can feel it. I’ve started prioritizing reading again and I’m loving it!

Anyway, this means I’m 6 books ahead of schedule and have completed 60% of my goal, which isn’t too shabby for being only 50% through the year.

Notable Posts by Others:

Blog Stats:

  • I currently have 43 followers, which I feel is pretty good, since I started this blog at the end of April.
  • In June, I had 190 visitors, which is over 4 times as many as I had in May
  • I published 11 posts in June (4 more than May)
  • I had 338 views in June, more than 5 times as many as May!
  • I attribute this growth to connecting more with the book blogging community, blog hopping more, and posting more frequently.

Personal:

  • I went to a Red Sox game with my sister on the 11th and it was loads of fun, even though they lost and we were sad. In a brush with fame, we saw pitcher David Price driving out of Fenway after the game!
  • I FINALLY(!!!) got a Boston Public Library card as soon as I found out that you don’t need to be a legal resident of Boston to get one (I live in Boston currently and still have a New Hampshire license BUT!! my paystub has my Boston address on it and proves I work in Boston)
  • I went on a ROAD TRIP!! My first vacation in years. It’ll have its own post.
  • I went to another Red Sox game with a friend of mine! (If you can’t tell, I kind of like going to baseball games)



Thanks for reading! How was June for you? Let me know in the comments. You can also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads.