Wrap-Up: February 2017

february2017-monthlyFirst off: Happy Dr. Seuss Day!

Teaching the bigger voldies has given me quite the perspective on time management. Where “time management” equates to “no time at all” for the most part. Seriously, how do fellow teachers deal all the time?! I swear I’ve only managed to rack in a couple hours of video game this weekend, and then it was back to grading, lesson planning, and browsing other math and science resources. Not to mention the fact that I’m also trying to keep regular schedule with reading and blogging…

Sigh. At best, it’s going to be an interesting next few months. At worst, I’ll not have done any writing or editing at all.

But it’s not all fatigue and sadness! Lots of good stuff this month, too!

Books Read

I was in a bit of a slump over the month, to a point where I’ve even gotten bored with audiobooks to a point where I just DNF it after the first few chapters. Hopefully I’ll find a balance of being able to read AND get other work done in the coming weeks.

Avatar: The Last Airbender, Smoke and Shadow, Vols. 1-3 by Gene Luen Yang || An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir || Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure by Bill Willingham || Gilded Cage by Vic James

Currently Reading

Let’s be honest here. I’ve probably pushed all books back in light of Schwab’s A Conjuring of Light being out. Sorry not sorry.

Portal of a Thousand Worlds by Dave Duncan || Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson || Truthwitch by Susan Dennard || A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Writing

Unless I’m counting blog posts and lesson plans, writing has pretty much been nonexistent. Not a good thing, but I don’t think that’s going to change until I’ve got a decent system in place to get through my regular workdays without being utterly drained of any motivation whatsoever, lol.

Movies

February is always my busiest month for movies, and for good reason! Now that the Oscars are over, I can finally take it easy with watching the other movies I wanted to get to this year. That said, there were some very good movies on the list that I watched this month. And, uh, I totally watched more than 8 movies, I just didn’t have room to add the rest…

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Moana || Hacksaw Ridge || Lion || Kubo and the Two Strings || Florence Foster Jenkins || Fences || Jackie || Hell or High Water || Nocturnal Animals (not pictured) || The Red Turtle (not pictured) || Captain Fantastic (not pictured)

Television

The Magicians, Season 1 – Honestly, this had something going for it, up until the characters kept doing stupid things, and I was just so over it.

Arrow, Season 3 – Yeah, still on this season, but I’m getting to the point where I had stopped a long way back!

Flash, Season 1 – Ditto.

Outlander, Season 2 – So I subscribed to a free week of Starz, which meant I totally binged a majority of the second Outlander season. I may have to resort to other streaming services to get to the rest of the episodes, though…

The Great British Bake Off, Season 3 – NETFLIX FINALLY HAS MORE SEASONS UP. Naturally, I just had to watch it.

Video Games

Dishonored 2 – Took me much longer to finish a stealthy, non-lethal run with Corvo, but that’s mostly because I haven’t been binge-playing video games in a while. I plan to do a couple more runs on this game, but I might wait another time.

Batman: Arkham Knight – A ways back, I totally rage-quit this game and stopped playing it for a while because the effing Batmobile Riddler challenges DROVE ME NUTS. I just went back into the swing of things, though. Might as well try to finish the game…before I contemplate heading back to Dragon Age

Fooding and Drinking

Last month there was a severe lack of food and drink pictures gracing my blog. This month, I needed to separate food AND drink apart, because there was a lot of both happening due to Valentine’s Day and it being my mother’s birthday among other things.

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Thin Mint Oreo and Kit Kat Brownies || Tutti Frutti Waffles || Apple Pirozhki || Pineapple BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza || Tiramisu || Waffle Fries || Marinated Prime Rib BBQ || Harvey Wallbanger Cake

I’d also visited The Way Station, which was the dorkiest bar I’d ever seen. And this is a good thing! I ended up ordering a few Doctor Who-inspired drinks, and they were LOVELY.

february2017-drinks

Galliano || 4th Doctor || 10th Doctor || River’s Red Mark || Barefoot Moscato || Mocha Madness || Moroccan Mint Tea || Vodka (for baking!)

Miscellany

Valentine’s Day was a pretty good day, considering. My bestie and I ended up just reserving a table at Max Brenners and fed on food and chocolate for the rest of the day. Soooo delicious.

I did do another Food and Fandom post, which means I’m good for the month. But now the cycle begins again and I probably need to start thinking about another F&F project to do in order to stay on top of my own Reading Challenge…

Nerdy News

I honestly don’t know why I insist on following up on the Mass Effect hype, because every single time I see an article, like character profiles (YES FEMALE TURIAN COMPANION RAAAAAAH), voice actor announcements (Margery Tyrell joins The Tempest crew as an asari, WHAAAT), and the fact that you can still actually decide which Commander Shepard is YOUR Shepard in ME: Andromeda (FemShep all the way!) only gets me overexcited about this game. And it’s not like I’m even planning to get it in March! I’m going to have to wait much longer than that, otherwise NO work is getting done…

On another space-related note: I am so eagerly awaiting for our First Contact with turians. NASA, make this happen. You’ve found the planets, so find the aliens. Just don’t try to wage war, please. XD

WHAT IS THIS NEVERWHERE SEQUEL, GAIMAN YOU ARE KILLING ME HERE I MUST HAVE IT.

You know what, I’d actually be interested in the Ford, Bernard, and Maeve Westworld Funkos. I wouldn’t mind if they suddenly came up with a Hector Funko. Rodrigo Santoro is a beautiful man.

Hayao Miyazaki getting bored of retirement and coming back to make more movies is really not surprising. He’s pretty much a workaholic, which is a good thing, because YAY MORE MIYAZAKI MOVIES!

My first reaction to there being a possible A Darker Shade of Magic movie was practically, “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG EEEEEEEEEEEEE.” My second one is, quite naturally, “OH GOD PLEASE DON’T EFF THIS UP I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.” So yeah. Excited and REALLY hoping for the best. And super happy for Schwab, who must be super-stoked about this news.

Food and Fiction 2017: A Reading Challenge

I’m trying to tell myself not to be silly-nervous about starting up and hosting a reading challenge this year, but I can’t help it, considering I’ve seen so many stellar reading challenges floating around already and I mean…another one? Cue groaning, am I right? (RIGHT?)

But all the same, I have been playing with the idea for a while now, and thought, well, why not? It seemed like something fun to do, and if all else fails, it’ll motivate me to at least continue to update my Food and Fandom section–which I hadn’t updated in a while…

(In hindsight, sorry about starting this a bit late, I should have started this earlier in the month, but what’s done is done…it’s not like I’m going to be closing off the signing up list or anything, though!)

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Food and Fiction Reading Challenge 2017

Intro

Plenty of fiction books talk about food. As a spec-fic reader, I am always in awe of the worldbuilding that goes about in the story, and one particular detail I pay attention to is how authors describe scenes where characters interact over a meal. These scenes are not groundbreaking or anything, and most of the time they don’t really move the plot along (unless you’re drinking wine at the Purple Wedding, hem hem…). But come on. It’s FOOD. What’s not to be inspired about it?

Challenge Guidelines

  • The challenge will run from January 1st, 2017 to December 31st, 2017.
  • Read a book of fiction with some mention of food. It could be as simple as a mention of a rare cup of aromatic Colombian coffee or a grand Mediterranean feast in some faraway kingdom.
  • Share your review of the book (short, long, a teeny status update) on your blog, Goodreads account or, heck, YouTube channel and other similar bloggy places.
  • Include a blurb about what food craving you ended up having after finishing the book! Blurbs can be: pictures of what you think the food looked like through the author’s description, accounts of you attempting to make the food or an interpretation of it, a recipe blog post of the food from the fictional book, or even pictures of where you went afterwards to satisfy a particular craving.
    • Examples (and reading challenge inspiration, really) can be found at my Food and Fandom page.
  •  You can set your own number of books you’d like to use for this challenge!

To Participate

  • Challenge yourself to read, review, and foodify a certain number of books. Again, it can be as little or as much as you want. Comment below to let me know you plan to participate and how many book-food-thingies you may be doing for the year. Also, you could tell me what food cravings you’ve had so far when you’ve read books.
  • Make sure to link me! I will be setting up a linky each month for you to show me what you guys have read and done. I love looking at pictures of food, obviously.
  • Spread the word! I will be using #foodandfiction for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, so feel free to use it so I can see what you guys have up. And share the love, because the more the merrier!

For 2017, I plan to do at least 12 food and fiction-related posts (once a month). This means I need to step it up! So with that all said, good luck and have fun with it!

And of course, feel free to comment below with questions, etc. Again, this being my first attempt at a challenge, I could be missing a few things and it won’t hurt to point me to the right direction. 😀

October Wrap-Up

October was filled with a lot of food, family, and friends. I thought my holidays would be busy, but turns out October is one of my busiest months yet, what with the baking for three (no, four) sets of birthdays on top of all the gatherings I ended up going to. Honestly, I don’t even think I read much this month or did a lot of book blogging, to be honest.

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Books Read

More DNFs, honestly, I’ve had a lot of those lately. It’s mostly because I’ve decided that I’d rather move onto a book I might actually enjoy than stick around for something I’ve lost interest in.

On a more fantastic note: I FINISHED THE WAY OF KINGS, YOU GUYS. Purple star stickers for meeeee!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn || The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter || The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson || Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick || The Help by Kathryn Stockett || Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Currently Reading

I meant to have finished The Diviners by Halloween for a Halloween review, but I also hadn’t expected my weekend to get super-busy. Sigh.

The Diviners by Libba Bray || Fate of Flames by Sara Roughley || An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir || The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Writing

  • My writing has gotten so minimal over the month that I needed a change of motivation. So I went along the lines of motivational stickers (because, you know, stickers makes me and my little voldie students happy?). For every writing and editing sticker I earn, I get one hour of video game time. Reading and other activity stickers are worth half an hour of video game time. Now that November’s here, this sticker system is IMPERATIVE for NaNoWriMo.
  • I’ve also managed to get myself a desk calendar for next year. This also coincides with my sticker system. Though I’ve been putting stickers up on my smaller calendar, which suits me fine for now.
  • Not much else went on writing-wise, unless you count my looking up video game walkthroughs for, um, research purposes. Yeah, don’t ask.
  • That said, my writing voldies are kicking their writing out of the ballpark. I had them writing horror fiction the other day because October, and they were writing beasts!

Movies

Didn’t actually get through a lot this month, mostly because I spent my TV time watching actual TV shows. But I did sneak a few Shocktober films in, along with animated stuffs. BTW, Kimi No Na Wa was SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. I love Makoto Shinkai.

october2016-movies

Read or Die OVA || Kimi No Na Wa || Rear Window || The Help || The Birds

Television

Justice League: Season 2 – Some of these episodes are friggin’ hilarious.

Midsomer Murders: Season 10 – What…how did I end up watching 10 seasons’ worth of this?!

Sherlock: Season 3 – Did an entire Season 3 re-watch in lieu of new Sherlock coming up in January. Always fun to have in the background while I decorated cake.

Steampunk’d: Season 1 – Netflix had this and I was all “YESSSSS.” Then I got to episode 3 where 10-12 people were trying to interpret “Asian Steampunk,” and I was all: “OH GOD HALP.” I’ll still watch it, though, because I love what the artisans are doing. And those clothes!

Stranger Things: Season 1 – I…totally marathoned the entire season on a Saturday. No regrets. It was SO GOOD.

Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1 – Admittedly, I watched the first episode and didn’t think much of the show. Past the first few episodes, though, things did pick up, and I’m almost done with season 1!

Westworld: Season 1 – Holy frell. This show is AWESOME. And mind-blowing. And and and…I NEED MORE.

Video Games

Dragon Age: Inquisition – Yep. Back to this game again. I would say I need a different game altogether, but my November is going to be spent writing, so probably focusing on one game is just fine for now. Even though I must have played this a gazillion times by now.

Fooding and Drinking

I feel like this is where the majority of my life went for the past few weeks, LOL! No, seriously, I’m a glutton. I make no apologies for it, and I must have gone through several aspects of different cultural food within the month. That’s a lot, even for me. I will be doing a Food and Fandom post regarding the Hodor brownies, but for all intents and purposes, that happened in October.

That said, I don’t think I’ve actually eaten much of what I baked. I have, on the other hand, done enough drinking to last me until Thanksgiving. Yep.

october2016-food

Nyan Cat Matcha Cake || Curry Puffs (Thai) || Bacon Cheeseburger || Papaya Salad (Thai) || Bibim Bap (Korean) || Flounder and Shrimp in Cream Wine Sauce (Colombian) || Hodor Brownies || Miso Ramen with Salmon Roe and Rice (Japanese) || Chocolate Almond Toffee

Random note: Cocktails are pretty…

october2016-drinks

Pimm’s Cup (British) || Lychee Martini (Thai) || Moscow Mule || Vodka Sprite || Pippa-Tinni || Mango Sangria (Colombian)

Miscellany

  • My best friend hosted a surprise birthday party for her mom, which was oodles of fun! A little on the short side, but paying for extra time on that particular venue might have been overkill. All the same, my cousins, siblings, and I certainly took advantage of the open bar and the photo booth.
  • Archery tag! I totally channeled my inner Katniss Everdeen for the day. That said, I’d probably be one of the tributes that died due to situational circumstances. Like Foxface or Glitter. Also, one of my cousins kept catching the arrows that I HIT HIM WITH. So much for being Katniss. By the time archery tag was over, I was pretty much ready to just keel over and sleep for a century or something.
  • Book signing with Schwab and Porter and other TOR authors! In light of NYCC happening, Books of Wonder held a YA TOR event that I had no problem attending, especially since I wanted Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. Per usual, oodles of fun to be had there. Also, I now have a Schwab-signed Kindle jacket. TREASURING IT FOREVER.

Nerdy News

I am super stoked over Netflix doing A Series of Unfortunate Events. I actually liked the movie, so was a little bummed that they never kept going with it. Definitely another show to look forward to in 2017.

Power Rangers remake. Hmmm. Well, the CG is fantastic, at least? I’ll hold judgment for when I actually see the movie.

There was a lot of hullabaloo regarding the Disney Mulan remake, especially when a leaked script detailed a white male lead as Mulan’s romantic interest (which has since ceased to become reality). Hell, when heard about the remake, my reaction was to roll my eyes. I mean, honestly, after movie producers and casting directors already butchered the Ghost in the Shell project, I didn’t have high hopes for Mulan getting any Asian casting. There are articles saying this might change and that the entire main cast of Mulan will be Asian, but again, not holding my breath until an actual cast list goes out.

I still haven’t finished my playthrough of Bioware’s KOTOR, and I’m not a big MMO player, but holy WOW. This Star Wars: The Old Republic trailer already tells a beautifully tragic tale. And it took less than 7 minutes to do so.

There’s really only one thing to say about more wizarding world installments: YESOMGAHPLSMOREQUEENROWLING.

For those who’ve got a fantasy novella they want to dust off and query away, some lovely news coming from TOR.

For those who’ve got little writing voldies with great science fiction writing minds, Dreaming Robot Press has something fun!

Ermahgerd. Now it’s time to get back to work. Happy NaNoWriMo!

September Wrap-Up

I’ve been a pretty bad blogger lately, and I think this has to do with my weekends not being free for the last few weeks. Since school has started (and thus, work for me), I usually try to spend my weekends recuperating and reading, but that hasn’t happened too much since I also wanted to do a bit of writing. Not to mention I’ve been neglecting writing posts and commenting on other blogs (I am sorry!). October will probably be as busy, but I am planning on plaguing my blog with much bakery goodness, haha.

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Books Read

I DNFed one book, which hasn’t happened in a while. Standout in September was definitely This Savage Song though I was also pretty partial to the Sleeping Giants audiobook.

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison || Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart || Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith || Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel || This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab || Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino || Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

Currently Reading

My goal this year is to at least finish The Way of Kings. Yep.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson || An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir || The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Writing

  • If I hadn’t gotten sick in the middle of September, I probably would have enjoyed the beginnings of autumn much better. Now that I AM better, though, I think it might be a good idea to take my usual suburban stroll. Yay sweater weather time!
  • Luck of lucks, my creative writing workshop actually went through this school year! I started my writing voldies off with beginning sentences in popular books. They seemed to have taken to that well enough. Maybe next week I’ll do something about scene descriptions.
  • I was in the middle of writing my Pokemon-inspired (yes, don’t ask just yet) short story but realized I wasn’t falling in love with the format I had written it in. Lo and behold, I finally came up with the type of way I wanted to tell the story! So I’ll have to start redoing that.
  • I’ve also now peppered my laptop with a ton of desktop post-its that remind me to do a healthy dose of reading and writing. Maybe I should just make a planning calendar for myself. This might be easier to maintain…
  • We are now funded! The 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is now in the green to be published next year. I get to see my “Rela” in print! *squees*

Movies

Binged on a few Gene Wilder movies (R.I.P. :() and went nostalgic on Practical Magic. Not much movie-watching, mostly because I keep coming up with other things to do. Like, erm, play video games *coughs*

movies-sept2016

Young Frankenstein || Blazing Saddles || Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory || The First Monday in May || A Royal Night Out || Practical Magic

Television

Justice League Unlimited – I really shouldn’t be surprised that this animated series isn’t really one for children. Really good, though, but I’ve always been a DC animated universe fan.

Gran Hotel – How am I not done with this show?! I feel like the episode dramas never end! SO GOOD THOUGH.

Midsomer Murders – Slowly chugging along this series. I would say I’ll eventually run out of episodes, but let’s be honest here, I’m not even halfway through the seasons. And I don’t really binge this either, considering I only really put this show on when I’m knitting.

Video Games

Dragon Age: Origins – Finished another playthrough here, which means moving onto the next installment!

Dragon Age II – I’m not sure how I feel about making my male Hawke funny, because now he’s Varric’s best friend…and I’m planning to kill him off in DAI. Oops?

Until Dawn – One of my friends was playing this game and making comments about how many people she’s managed to kill off. Naturally, this made me want to play the game. It’s a surprisingly short game, and I managed to binge-play the whole thing over again on one day. Insane, but doable.

Fooding

Much salted caramel goodness this way. And alcohol. Because why not.

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Salted Caramel Cupcakes (part 2) || Mojitos || Strawberry waffles with chocolate chips || Pork barbecue tacos || Salted caramel || Salted caramel coffee cupcakes

Miscellany

  • This year seems to be the year of the indie board games for my group of friends. For most of the summer, we’d been getting way too into playing Coup inside the house, on top of Resistance and Mafia. Our new favorite games also include Resistance: Avalon (which is pretty much Resistance meets Arthurian time period) and One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Lovely stuff.
  • My Pokemon Go zeal was almost nonexistent once school began, but I did manage to get my 400 magikarp candy and evolved to a Gyarados! Yaaaay.
  • The little voldies I’ve got this year are all sorts of voldie-ish. This is probably the first time I’ve thought that they earned their monikers. I’m practically exhausted every day dealing with them. Phew!

Nerdy News

Buddy System released in Pokemon Go. Naturally, I ended up walking my Jigglypuff everywhere. Up until I had my Gyarados, that is. Now I just walk him around for shits and giggles.

Not so nerdy, but I used to watch Project Runway religiously back when I still had cable. And someone who is a size larger than 12, I respect this article by Tim Gunn.

Not Mel and Sue!! Get ready, set, ba–*sobs*

Throne of Glass series to be produced on Hulu. This can go of two ways, to be honest. Although I’m not sure why they’re starting with Queen of Shadows. I’m probably going to try to avoid all news about the series until I’ve actually READ the pertinent books. I’ve already been spoiled enough as is…

THIS IS NOT A PERFECT ILLUSION, YOU GUYS. Mother Monster is back with an album in October. Alright, not nerdy either, but whatever.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast turns 25 this year, which means it was about time Angela Lansbury comes back to make people cry. She sings the titular song and it was beautiful, you guys.

I don’t know about you, but I thought James Corden and Usain Bolt in a race was killer. But it didn’t kill me as much as Corden becoming the sixth Backstreet Boy.

Jon Favreau of the live-action The Jungle Book fame has decided to take on The Lion King as his next project. I’m not sure how I feel about this, considering any “live action” performance of The Lion King is pretty much just HAMLET. I am now tempted to watch the movie, though…

Reader Problems Book Tag

I blame Joey at Thoughts and Afterthoughts for this tag, wherein I let you know the secrets to my healthy addiction to reading and the problems that follow therein.

THE QUESTIONS

1) You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

This is where my lists come in handy. Not that that has stopped me from picking books up to read just ’cause. Like those stacks of library books I impulsively borrowed even when I still have Netgalley ARCs I probably should have read by now…

I am trying this whole books-in-a-jar thing, but it will probably wait until after I’ve gotten through my reading lists this year.

2) You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or commit?

Depends on how annoyed or bored I am with a book. I rarely send books to a DNF status, though, and there was probably only one or two occasions last year where I put a book down halfway and moved on.

3) The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, yet so far away on your Goodreads Reading Challenge. Do you quit or commit?

WHAT END OF THE YEAR? But, if you must know, I’m NINE books ahead on my Goodreads Reading Challenge! Yay me! (Now whether or not my other reading challenges are doing well is another story…)

4) The covers of a series you love DO. NOT. MATCH. How do you cope?

I don’t. When I purchase series, I buy them all together (knowing that they’re complete), which is safe to say that the covers match. Of course, I’ve bought book series that are still incomplete, but these days it’s more likely the first designs will match the continuations (the Lunar Chronicles and Snow Like Ashes series come to mind).

This is probably why I gave my first copy of Sabriel to a friend as a present, because I went and bought out the entire Abhorsen series again with the new covers *coughsIhaveissuesyescough*

5) Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

Most of my rants about overhyped books go to my sister. She doesn’t read as much these days, but she seems amused whenever I get angry over a book everybody seems to love, lol.

6) You’re reading a book and you’re about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

SUNGLASSES!

In the event that I did not carry my sunglasses, I stop reading and just sit there and stare at people instead.

7) A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find the synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?

Hah, as it so happens, I’m on my re-read of the Abhorsen series right now, because I want to read the latest addition: Clariel. It’s been years since I’ve read the series itself, so I forgot a lot of things happening in the Old Kingdom. It’s mostly skim-reading, though.

8) You do not want ANYONE borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

Believe it or not, I used to have a sign-out notebook for whoever borrowed my books, lol! Nowadays, I normally just tell people I’m very protective of my books, and don’t really lend them out unless I am sure they’ll return it in tact.

9) You’ve picked up and put down five books in the past month. How do you get over your slump?

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I’m pretty sure I’m despairing over the slump. But more than likely I find other things to occupy my time, like video games. And television. And baking. Yeah.

10) There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

Ugh, really. Trying. Hard. NOT. To buy. It does help that Netgalley is letting me read ARCs of books I have contemplated purchasing upon publication. I will actually buy hardcovers or paperbacks of books whose stories intrigue me and have awesome covers (ugh, Red Queen is certainly on my list of things to get SOON).

11) After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf until you actually read them?

Looooool. Let’s just say I’ve bought books years ago that I still haven’t read.

The Tag-ees

I tag EVERYONE READING THIS. No, seriously, you guys are great sports. Go ahead and let me know about your book reading problems. 😀