Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In Five Years

Thanks to that fun little app called #timehop, I was reminded just the other day that five years ago I made the decision to go back to school and get my teaching degree.  My Facebook status said something about registering for classes, being nervous about the long road ahead, yet anxious to start this new venture.  That journey marked the beginning of me becoming a teacher.  Crazy to think it all started exactly five years ago, and here I am preparing to begin my second year of teaching.

That one little app got me thinking about what else began five years ago, and immediately I realized it was this -- GReads!.  Yup, next month marks my five year blogoversary.  I had ideas to write up this whole blog post in September celebrating five years of book blogging (& maybe I still will).  But knowing I'll be running full speed ahead with a new school year of teaching at that time, I thought I'd mention it a bit earlier, too.

In five years I've achieved a Bachelor's degree in Education, began my career as a middle school teacher, started a book blog, read an enormous amount of books, gained the most important and endearing friendships of my life, and have become an aunt to not one, but four little souls who light up my heart.  There is so much happy in just that one sentence.  So much to be proud of, excited for, and smile about.  I am both grateful and humbled for these experiences.

But these past five years have not always been easy, or happy.  There have been trying times, filled with guilt and remorse for taking so many detours in my earlier years.  There's been stress and heartache, followed by doubts and fears.  It's been a challenging road.  I can remember driving home from night classes, after I'd been working all day, just physically and mentally exhausted, uncertain of the end in sight.  I still feel a sense of something missing because I don't have a family of my own... yet.  Something I always imagined for myself by this age.

What I didn't expect in the past five years is what this book blog has brought into my life.  Yes, there have been amazing stories to read, but it's the moments between the pages that have truly affected me the most.  I've met some of my very best friends.  As I recently told one of them, you are my people... the ones I go to for a good laugh, the need to vent out frustrations with, and the people I want in my corner now and forever.  I know our paths would not have crossed if it weren't for this book blog.  And for that, my gratitude for this experience is immeasurable.

After I lost my mom in 2003, I had a very hard time finding my footing again.  As a twenty-two year old girl back then, I was so completely lost and heart broken.  I felt like my life had just ended, too.  And in a sense it did.  I found myself grasping for relationships, blindly walking through jobs, and living in that exact moment because I was too scared to even think about what might happen the following day.  To be honest, I don't even know who that girl was.  I am so far removed from her.  It was a such a dark, lonesome time for me.  And what makes it even harder is that I had no idea just how awful it was, not until recently.  It's a testament to who I was, and who I've managed to become now.

In five years I've repaved my own road.  In five years I've made choices to better myself.  In five years I've said yes, but I've also said no.  In five years I've worked my ass off.  In five years I've learned how to slow down a bit and just be happy.  In five years I've fallen in love with literature and have never wanted this love affair to end.  In five years I've seen precious lives being born, but I've also witnessed lives slipping away.

In five years I've survived.  But I want to do more than just survive in my next five years.  Don't you?

For those who have been with me in the last five years, thank you.  And for those I've just met, hello!  So much can happen in five years, I am proof of that.  It's the choices we make, the ideas we follow, and the dreams we conquer that determine our paths.  Always remember that.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sweet Summertime Reads 2015 with Brittany

Welcome back to another edition of Sweet Summertime Reads! All summer long I am featuring a different blogger to share their current summer reads + what's on their agenda for the summer.  Today I am happy to bring you Brittany from The Book Addict's Guide sharing her sweet summertime reads!  Check out what got her into reading during summertime and what she's got planned for this season.  Please welcome Brittany to the blog...

I’m so excited to have been invited back to Ginger’s blog to be a part of the Sweet Summertime Reads feature! (Thanks, G!) I’m very much a mood reader but don’t really read anything “in-season” except for spooky books at Halloweentime and select reads for the summertime!

A summery book can be different for everyone, but for me it’s usually one of two genres that get me in the mood for summer: light and fun contemporary romances or action-packed sci-fi/fantasy. I know, I know. Those are two VERY different things, but somewhere along the way, those came to mean summer for me. I wasn’t a very adventurous reader until I hit my 20s and got back into exploring new books thanks to recommendations from my friends (Yes… It was Twilight.) so when I tried to tan out in the backyard, I needed something good to read! I turned to the bookshelves that my sister and I shared and it pretty much consisted of all of the Harry Potter books and my sister’s collection of Meg Cabot adult romances (I actually didn’t know about The Princess Diaries until after Meg’s adult books!) and I re-read these over and over and over again because we didn’t really buy books at that point in time. Thinking back on it, these two genres actually make perfect sense as for why they mean summer to me!

Summer always means travel to me also! I don’t always take a trip but I at least usually go to BEA ever since I started blogging! Last year was the summer of traveling (I was out of the state three weekends in a row… to three different states) and choosing what book I’ll read on my plane rides is always so much fun! (I love photographing my travel reads too!) This year I was finishing A.C. Gaughen’s Scarlet trilogy on the way to BEA and naturally started reading SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo immediately on my way back!

So far this summer, I’ve definitely dabbled in both of my designated “summer book” genres! I’ve fallen in love with Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle series (THE NAME OF THE WIND and THE WISE MAN’S FEAR), inhaled sci-fi books like RESONANCE by Erica O’Rourke (following up DISSONANCE) and ILLUMINAE by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and I started re-reading The Lunar Chronicles starting with CINDER! I’ve also gotten fully engrossed in some fantastic contemporary reads like MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick and EMMY & OLIVER by Robin Benway.

It’s hard to say what else is in store for the summer since I ditched my read schedule this year! I’ve been picking up whatever book I’m in the mood for but I know I’ll be finishing the rest of my Lunar Chronicles re-read leading up to WINTER this fall (I’m actually hosting a read along (or re-read along) for the whole series with some help from Fierce Reads so keep an eye out for sign-ups!) and I’ve got my eye on FIRST & THEN by Emma Mills that I’d like to start soon!


Thanks so much Brittany for sharing your summertime reading picks.  I am 100% a mood reader too, so I completely understand not sticking to a schedule.  I always have hopes to read certain books during the summer, and then something else jumps out at me and I pick that one up instead.  And I can also relate to the Twilight thing (its what got me back into reading as an adult, too -- such a gateway book!!).

Be sure to check out the giveaway (open international -- Book Depository must be able to ship to you!) happening all summer long...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

+ Open internationally (Book Depository must be able to ship to you!)
+ One winner will be chosen to receive one book from the image above (provided that it is available)
+ Contest ends August 31, 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sweet Summertime Reads 2015 with Sarah

Welcome to Sweet Summertime Reads! All summer long I will be featuring a different blogger to share their current summer reads + what's on their agenda for this summer.  This week we're getting a double feature and I am happy to have Sarah from What Sarah Read on the blog today!  She is such an enthusiastic, lovable blogger and I always enjoy what she has to say.  Please welcome Sarah and see what she's up to this summer...

Happy Thursday's almost the weekend! Who doesn't love a nice summer Saturday doing the things you love? My idea of a perfect weekend is spending the day outside enjoying the beautiful weather, going on a date with my husband and of course plenty of reading time out in my hammock. Here's hoping your summer weekends have been fabulous and fill with lots of bookish fun.

We all know how much our friend Ginger loves summertime and I've been a big fan of her Summertime Reads feature every year. So I'm thrilled to be on Ginger's blog today sharing some of MY favorite summertime reads. When it comes to summer reading, my favorite spot to curl up with a good book is anywhere outside. There's nothing better than fresh air, the sun shining and birds chirping. Last summer my favorite reading spot was my hammock in the back yard, but this year since I moved back to the Boston-area I have not one, but TWO new favorite reading spots.

The first picture is from my sister's pool in her backyard. I mean, you don’t get much better for a reading spot than that right? The other two photos are from the park that's in my office complex in downtown Boston. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to sneak out here on my lunch break and read for an hour. It's a perfect way to de-stress and I get to squeeze more reading time into my day. I love it.

As for the books I love to read in the summer, I'll read pretty much anything but the I'm highlighting some books that give me that ultimate summertime vibe in the best possible way.

'Fangirl' by Rainbow Rowell may take place during the school year, but I still get those swoony summer feels when I read it. Must be the power of Levi! He's like a little ray of sunshine in Cath's life, and he fills my heart with warm, ooey gooey feels. This book is like the perfect summer ice cream cone; delicious and refreshing.

Emery Lord writes THE BEST friendships! Both 'Open Road Summer' and 'The Start of Me and You' feature incredibly strong female (and male) relationships that are so authentic and highlight what an amazing friend is made of. One of the best parts of summer is spending time with the people I love, and Lord's books remind me of how much I love my besties!

There's no one on earth who writes New England summer romances better than one of my favorite authors, Huntley Fitzpatrick. She captures the summer scene perfectly with its salt air breezes, cool ocean swims and hot summer nights. Whenever I read her books, no matter what time of year, I'm always reminded of how much I love being a New England girl in the summer!

Be sure to add these perfect summer reads to your TBR today, and prepare yourself for the ultimate summer reading experience! Thanks so much Ginger for having me and wishing everyone a summer full of perfect moments!


I've read all of these books that Sarah chose (currently reading The Boy Most Likely To & oh my! so good!), so of course I can back this post up 100%!!!  I am so jealous, Sarah, of your New England summers.  This summer girl longs to experience it at least once in her lifetime!  I am hoping to make this come true in the not so distant future.  Thank you so much, Sarah, for showing us your sweet summertime reads!

Be sure to check out the giveaway (open international -- Book Depository must be able to ship to you!) happening all summer long...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

+ Open internationally (Book Depository must be able to ship to you!)
+ One winner will be chosen to receive one book from the image above (provided that it is available)
+ Contest ends August 31, 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sweet Summertime Reads 2015 with Danielle

Welcome to Sweet Summertime Reads! All summer long I will be featuring a different blogger to share their current summer reads + what's on their agenda for this summer. I hope you'll join me each week! Today, Danielle from Love at First Page, is sharing her summer to-be-read pile, along with what she's up to during these hot summer days! Please welcome Danielle (aka my contemporary romance sister) to the blog...

Happy summer, friends! I hope everyone is soaking in the sun and having plenty of time to relax and catch up on reading. It's been rainy here in Louisville, Kentucky all week, so I'm anxious for the sun to make a reappearance here soon. As a lover of water parks, I'm making a trip to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari a few weekends from now. I'm hoping it's hot, hot, hot!

I'm so happy Ginger invited be to be a part of Sweet Summertime Reads. I've always been a summer girl myself, "born and raised" since my birthday is July 17 and I've always lived in the South. I can never get enough of the warm weather, no matter how hot and sticky, the flip flops, the short dresses, and the bright nail polish. Even though I work normal hours, it makes the day that much better when I know I'm waking up to pleasant temperatures and I can see the sun shining throughout the day.

Summers also bring back lots of memories, of those long, hot days with nothing but time ahead. There's definitely a nostalgic feel floating through the air. With that in mind, this summer I've been reading more books from my TBR pile. It's been great to not focus only on new releases or what's ahead, but to take a look back and see what I may have been missing. These four -- Fixing Delilah, Since You've Been Gone, Let's Get Lost, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe -- are all perfect summer books, too. There's friendship, traveling, unexpected romance, family secrets, and discovering yourself for the first time.

Thanks so much for having me, Ginger! Here's to a summer full of books and sun and love.


Danielle, your summer reading pile looks spectacular!  I am so excited for your to read Fixing Delilah, as its my favorite Ockler book (and easily in my stack of all time fave books ever -- no pressure! haha).  We are summer soul sisters through and through.  I can never get enough of it, either!  Thanks so much for sharing your sweet summertime reads with us!

Be sure to check out the giveaway (open international -- Book Depository must be able to ship to you!) happening all summer long...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

+ Open internationally (Book Depository must be able to ship to you!)
+ One winner will be chosen to receive one book from the image above (provided that it is available)
+ Contest ends August 31, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Paper Towns Giveaway

I am super excited to be hosting a giveaway, courtesy of 20th Century Fox, for the upcoming film release of Paper Towns.  Enter below for a chance to win a $25 VISA to see the film in theaters + Paper Towns buttons + a copy of the book with the movie tie-in cover!  Entrants must be US residents.

20th Century Fox
In theaters July 24, 2015

About the film:
Adapted from the bestselling novel by author John Green ("The Fault in Our Stars"), PAPER TOWNS is a coming-of-age story centering on Quentin and his enigmatic neighbor Margo, who loved mysteries so much she became one. After taking him on an all-night adventure through their hometown, Margo suddenly disappears--leaving behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. The search leads Quentin and his quick-witted friends on an exhilarating adventure that is equal parts hilarious and moving. Ultimately, to track down Margo, Quentin must find a deeper understanding of true friendship--and true love.

Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams, Halston Sage, Justice Smith
Directed by: Jake Schreier
Screenplay By: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, based upon the book by John Green
a Rafflecopter giveaway

One (1) winner receives:
$25 Visa to see the film in theaters
Paper Towns Buttons
Copy of the book (Movie Tie-In Cover)

Open to US mailing addresses only
Prizing courtesy of 20th Century Fox

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