Friday, July 22, 2016

Sweet Summertime Reads: Giveaway #3

I cannot believe the summer is already almost over! Where did it go??!! Some of you may bask in all its summery goodness until the end of August/early September, but this teacher's summer ends the minute I step foot back in the classroom, which is just a few short weeks away... Until then, I've got one more Sweet Summertime Reads giveaway to share with my readers.  As before, you'll get a box of summer goodies, but this time, the two books will be the winner's choice!  Books must be available on Amazon, no more than $12 each, and have already been published.  Other than that, it's your choice! This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only.  Good Luck!!!

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Be sure to follow the #SweetSummertimeReads hashtag on twitter & join the #SweetSummertimeReads2016 photo challenge on Instagram for more summer fun!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sweet Summertime Reads 2016: Heidi's Recommendations

Excited to have another veteran of Sweet Summertime Reads featured today. Heidi is one of the first bloggers I "met" in this community and have always appreciated her passion and enthusiasm for literature. She brings it again with this week's recommendations and I could not be more grateful! Before we get to that though, be sure to check out the following...

Like taking pics? Check out #SweetSummertimeReads2016 photo challenge on IG

Hello fellow GReads! fans! Heidi from YA Bibliophile here. Many thanks to Ginger for all the time she puts in to organizing Sweet Summertime Reads! I'm so pleased to be here for the 2016 edition. Before I get to my recommendations, a bit about me. I started my blog in 2009 but didn't start posting regularly until sometime in 2010. I can't believe it's been that long! I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing half the time :) In my day to day life I'm a middle school librarian. I get to spend a good portion of my working hours talking to teens about books. Dream job, right? Outside of work and reading I love to spend time with my nieces and nephew and geek out about the things I love (Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Princess Bride, Pride and Prejudice and so many more things!)

Find me online:

Between being a librarian and blogging about YA books I spend a lot of time immersed in the world of young adult books. Summer is usually my time to read uninterrupted and I love it. This year I've been in a bit of a YA slump and it is totally bumming me out!!! However, I think I just need the time to refresh. I've been reading a ton of my other love... historical romance novels! It's finally gotten to the point where I miss YA novels and I can't wait to dive back in.

For this post I'm recommending some of my favorite YA books that I wish I could read again for the first time this summer.

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

You'll notice they're all contemporary reads... they just scream summer to me! Each and every one of these books left me with a dreamy sigh. Some made me laugh. Some made me cry. Each is a book that I know I can count on when I need a pick me up. To me, that's what summer reading is all about!


A girl after my own heart!! I completely agree with Heidi, about these books screaming summer!  Oh how I wish I could read some of these for the first time, too.  I guess it's a good thing I've been all about the summer of re-reads!  Thanks, Heidi, for featuring your Sweet Summertime Reads recs with us.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

35 Years Young

Have you ever looked back on your life and seen a very distinct fork in the road? There may have been multiple paths you could have taken, that would no doubt take your life in different directions, but you chose one specific road.... and look where it's led you.  When I look back on six years ago, I see that fork in my own road of life.  It was the summer I turned 29 and I made the decision to go back to school.  I also threw around the idea of putting my thoughts of what I read down on virtual paper.  Never did I realize that this path I chose would lead me to where I am standing today.

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Today I turn 35 years old.  Age has always just been a number to me, no real distinction of where I should be or want to be in life.  I've learned along the way it's just a symbol to signify time passing by.  Sometimes that represents sadness for me.  And that's okay, to feel sad.  It just reminds me that I've lived a good, healthy, happy life thus far.  But other times it's a representation of happiness.  Look what I've accomplished!  Wow, I've come far. -- Those are all thoughts that race through my mind as I turn another year older.

The reason I am even writing about this on my book blog today is because it always comes back to the choices I made those six years ago.  I was such a lost soul, who felt I was just going through the motions of life.  Time was passing me by and I never felt any real purpose.  Sure, I had good days and I was happy.  But when I stepped back and looked at the big picture of who I was and who I strived to be, it just felt grayish and uncertain.  I wanted to see more defined strokes, exuberant colors, and unfinished marks.

Who would have thought that picking up a book, falling in love with the storytelling, wanting to share those thoughts & emotions with the great wide world of the Internet (or even a classroom someday) would land me here.  Crazy how one decision, or perhaps a series of choices being made by myself, led me to this current route.  I love my life.  I love the people I've chosen to share it with, and the ones who have embraced me in their life as well.  The world can be hard and ugly sometimes.  It's important to fill your days with beauty.  

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I am 35 years old today.  I am also 35 years young today.  This journey I've found myself on hasn't always been easy.  Just getting to that classroom, and fulfilling my want to teach was a struggle and continues to be a challenge every day.  But it's a battle I want to keep striving for.  Some days I'll win, and some days I may lose.  And that is okay.  I've put so much of my time and myself into this blog.  I share these words on what I read because I truly believe the written word is a powerful tool.  It can ease the soul, while expanding our minds.  It brings together people from all parts of the world to talk, laugh, and love over something as simple as a story.  I want those kinds of people forever in my corner.

This isn't a declaration of my choices, but simply a celebration of the fact that I am still standing, still learning, still moving forward.  35 years has taught me a heck of a lot.  But I also know the next 35+ years will teach me even more.  My story isn't nearly over.  Some days it feels like it's just beginning...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Facts About GReads!

I've been a member of this book blogging community for quite some time & so I thought this week's Top Ten topic would be fun for new & old(er) readers to get to know me better.  Below are ten facts about me & this blog.  Some items on the list you might already know, while others may be new information.  Regardless, I hope this closer look at who I am & what I blog about makes you want to keep coming back for more!

About my blog/reading...

1. I established this blog in September of 2010 -- Yup, it will be six years coming very soon! I had no idea what this blog would come to mean for me and my future. I just knew I liked to read books and wanted to share my thoughts on those books with likeminded people.  If someone had told me that it would open doors for my career in teaching, or cultivate some of the very best friendships of my life, I wouldn't have believed it.  But it's true. It has.

2. I used to read paranormal YA, & that was it -- Remember Twilight and every vampire/werewolf/super-powering-being paranormal romance that came after? Yeah, they cluttered my shelves.  But then I discovered contemporary romances and have never looked back since.

3. I was blurbed for the ARC of When We Collided by Emery Lord -- This has been a dream come true for me as a blogger. I've always wanted to be blurbed for a book, so when Bloomsbury approached me to read a super early copy for feedback, I was beyond flattered and extremely excited.

4. I've never followed a reading schedule -- I know a lot of bloggers plan ahead with their to-be-read piles for the month. Or join reading challenges to read specific books according to xyz.  I have always been, and will forever be, a mood reader. This makes sticking to a reading schedule virtually impossible.  I always consider my review books from publishers first, but when it comes to reading what I want -- anything goes!

5. I've had the same layout on my blog since 2012 & don't plan to change it anytime soon -- I see blogs changing designs & though they look absolutely gorgeous, I just don't see that happening again for me & my blog.  I'm happy with my design and I think the familiarity of it after all these years is important to sustain.

About me...

6. I'm obsessed with pineapples -- I feel like this is a fact about me that most people already know, but it's true! My obsession started last summer and it's only grown bigger since then. All the pineapple things I have are: phone case, jewelry, clothing, dish towel, art, pillows, book ends... and I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting!

7. I have three nephews + a niece -- I may never have kids of my own, & that's okay (I think? Something I'm still trying to come to terms with). But these little ones I am so very thankful for. Being their Aunt is one of my very most favorite things in the world.  So happy to be so close to them and getting to see them grow up.

8. I'm a middle school teacher -- Another fact about me that most people know already, but it's true! Right now I'm on summer break and recharging myself.  But in just 4 weeks, I'll be back at it again. Teaching is exactly where I am suppose to be. I love it so very much. I've always wanted a job that is fulfilling and challenging, and this one definitely brings that!

9. The travel bug bit me hard when I was younger & still stings today -- I just recently visited the Pacific Coast in California and fell in love. Next on my travel bucket list to mark off one day is spending the summer in New England, seeing the Carolina beaches, visiting Nashville, and one day (hopefully soon?) experiencing the beauty of Hawaii! And those are just the US destinations! Watch out world!

10. In just a few days, the 14th of July to be exact, I turn 35 -- How is this possible??! I feel like I just turned 30! Man, don't blink, right?!  I'm never been one to complain about getting older. I've always embraced it. Age is just a number, right?! It's definitely more about how I feel inside and out. And right now I am feeling pretty good!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sweet Summertime Reads 2016: Sarah's Recommendations

Hey! Hey! Back again with an all new Sweet Summertime Reads for ya.  This week, Sarah from What Sarah Read! is recommending some of her vacation reads... while she's on vacation!  I love that she's spending some time at Martha's Vineyard, along the New England shores this summer (as I've stated before, it's on my travel bucket list!).  Before we welcome her to the blog, make sure you check out these happenings...

Like taking pics? Check out #SweetSummertimeReads2016 photo challenge on IG

Happy summer, everybody! My name is Sarah and I blog over at What Sarah Read! I’m so excited to be a part of Ginger’s amazing 'Sweet Summertime Reads' feature again this year and can’t wait to tell all of you about MY favorite summertime reads. I’m actually on vacation right now in Martha’s Vineyard, a gorgeous island off the coast of Massachusetts. My husband introduced me to the beauty of the island and for the past eight years I’ve been lucky enough to call this place my home away from home. I mean check out these gorgeous photos I’ve taken over the years!

If I'm doing this thing right, I'm currently enjoying everything Martha's Vineyard has to offer...either shopping in Edgartown, grabbing an ice cream cone at Mad Martha’s, exploring a bookstore or enjoying the beautiful outdoors. When I’m not doing that, I'm usually planted on a lounge chair with my nose buried in a book. Either way, as you're reading this, I'm definitely living my best life. I adore vacation and any time I get the opportunity to break out of my everyday schedule and experience something new, well, I'm a very happy girl. Where ever I end up going for vacation, I always make sure to spend some time relaxing with a plans, nowhere to be, no obligations to fulfill. It's perfect!

When I started thinking about sharing a list of the perfect summer books, my mind immediately went to my favorite vacation reads. It’s an eclectic list for sure, but I'm hoping that my selections will introduce you to a new book or two.


There's nothing better than laying out in the sun (with a high SPF sunscreen of course) or swinging in a hammock while reading a feel good story that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Some of my favorite contemporary young adult novels are perfect picks for those warm summer days when all you want to do is smile. So, in order to really channel the bright and fun energy of summer you should read anything by Emery Lord, anything by Huntley Fitzpatrick or the Thunder Road series.


I love me a good fantasy read and can't think of anything more perfect than getting lost in one while lounging on the beach or by the pool. Some of my favorite fantasy series that I would suggest are the Throne of Glass series, the RemnantChronicles (the last book, The Beauty of Darkness, comes out in August!), the Shades of Magic series and the Grisha Trilogy. All of these epic fantasies will whisk you away to another world!


My list of summer reading wouldn't be complete if I didn't include a few steamy books to go with the steamy temps outside! Fair warning, these books are mature in content, so if that kind of thing doesn't float your boat, then definitely move along. BUT...if you're like me and don't mind a little sexy times in your books, then definitely check out the Stage Dive series and the Rusk University series.



Thanks so much Sarah for sharing your eclectic mix of vacation reads! I'm sure any reader could find something to enjoy from your list.  If I were spending the summer in New England, I would definitely be reading Huntley Fitzpatrick's books since they're set there... and since they're fabulous summer (well, anytime!) reads!!

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