Thursday Thoughts: “I Need a Break”

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I truly underestimated how busy I was going to be at the beginning of this year. I have begun working way more, preparing my graduate school application, writing more reviews for our local newspaper, celebrating my birthday (which is like a month long celebration for me), and I’ve been trying to keep up with reading and writing for my blog- which I’m kind of failing at.

On top of that, my phone camera broke so I haven’t posted any pictures on my “bookstagram” and I’m currently sharing a laptop with my boyfriend because mine broke months ago. Technology is seriously failing me right now. 

SO, I really just wanted to share with you guys my plans for the next month:

There is nothing that makes me happier than reading a book and talking about it, especially all of these WONDERFUL new indie books that I’ve been reading. I’ve been receiving a lot of review requests and I am so impressed by all of these kind and hardworking writers that have allowed me to read their work. That’s why it’s even more difficult for me to admit that I desperately need a break! Not a break FROM reading and writing, but a break so that I can CATCH UP on my reading and writing.

I had a lot of fun blog posts planned for February, but I decided that it would be best for me and my readers if I took a month to envelope myself in literature, write tons of interesting posts and reviews, and just update anything and everything. During this time I will be making some pretty big changes to my blog, so it will be worth it!

Please be patient with me and please join me in getting excited about the future of Revitalized Reading!

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Book Review: How Will I Know You?

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How Will I Know You? By Jessica Treadway, Published December 6th 2016 by Grand Central Publishing

Synopsis:

In Upstate New York the body of teenager Joy Enright is found strangled to death. She had been presumed drowned until her body appeared in a wooded area at the edge of a pond. As the investigation develops, four characters tell the story from four completely different perspectives prior to and in the aftermath of Joy’s death. Harper, Joy’s best friend and one of the last people to see her before her death; Tom, the son-in-law of the police chief and husband of Joy’s English teacher; Martin, an African American graduate art student and the only murder suspect; and Susanne, Joy’s mother and teacher at the local art college.

Susanne’s secrets lead investigators to Martin, one of the few African American’s in the small town. Martin is immediately placed under arrest because of his connection to Susanne and Joy, but is he the one that killed Joy Enright? What motives did he have? The Chief of Police is certain Martin is guilty, especially with Harper’s testimony, but that doesn’t stop his son-in-law, Tom, from doing some investigating of his own. Joy’s murder is the catalyst to an abundance of revelations that have been slowly simmering under the surface of the small town, and Tom may just find out the truth.

My Thoughts:

This was truly a suspenseful read from beginning to end. The multiple POV’s helped to slowly piece the story together while slowly building the tension. I haven’t read any of her previous novels, but it is clear that Jessica Treadway has a way with getting into the minds of her characters and making them unique. Her writing is very emphatic, I felt so wrapped up in the emotions of each character that it was almost too easy to get through the book quickly!

What I loved about this thriller is that it focused on a murder case and the impact that racism can have on issues of this caliber. I may be reading the wrong books, but I haven’t read a lot of thrillers that made racial tension a main part of the story line. The honesty and explicitness was refreshing.  This thriller had it all- a psychological exploration of all the characters, a portrait of a small town hung up on gossip and deceit, the complicated and morose life of a struggling teenager, and the difficulties of overcoming racial prejudice. I will definitely be reading more Jessica Treadway.

My Rating: 4.5/5

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Thursday Thoughts: 30 Things to do Before I’m [THIRTY]

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I turn 27 in five days. At 25 I was fine. 26, okay! But 27 is me officially entering my “late 20’s”, and for some reason, I’m kind of freaking out! Someone called me 24 the other day and I dubbed them my best friend! I know I will be super excited when I finally enter my 30’s, but why does that mean I have to say goodbye to my 20’s?! UGH.

Anyways, enough with the pity party. I only have three years to get everything I want to do in my 20’s out of my system! Here is my list of THIRTY things I want to do before I’m 30!

  1. Get healthy! Not just exercising, but go to the doctor more often and take care of myself. I’m sure my 30-year-old self will appreciate it!
  2. Travel to a US city I’ve never been to. Seattle is on my list!
  3. Do more things by myself. Take a trip or just treat myself to a nice dinner.
  4. Finish a novel.
  5. Get a Master’s degree. Cause why not?
  6. Develop another hobby. If I wanna turn reading and writing into a career, I probably want to find another great hobby I can turn to when I’m feeling over-worked!
  7. Get engaged. It would be nice! Haha!
  8. Learn my family history. My great grandfather was a Tuskegee Airman. I would like to know what other wonderful secrets are hiding within my family tree.
  9. Learn to cook! Like, really cook! Unfortunately, my boyfriend does most of the cooking around our house.
  10. Learn a foreign language!
  11. Go on a thru-hike.
  12. Get out of debt. Uuugghhhh.
  13. Move somewhere entirely new…more than once!
  14. Start a daily journal. I write, but I don’t write every day. I’d like to start!
  15. Overcome a fear. I have a weird fear of driving in unfamiliar places. I’d like to face that fear in order to become more independent!
  16. Get (another) tattoo. I have a small tattoo I got when I was 18. I’d like to get more!
  17. Become a runner! I’m barely a walker right now! Haha!
  18. Pick a cause and become passionate about it. I feel like I’m passionate about a lot of things, but I’d like to choose a cause and put my all into it!
  19. See a Broadway musical! I hear The Cursed Child is coming to Broadway soon!
  20. Study English in England. Something I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe that’s where I’ll get my Master’s degree!
  21. Donate blood.
  22. Host a dinner party.
  23. Watch all the Star Wars, James Bond, and Indiana Jones movies. My boyfriend will thank me for that.
  24. Learn a really impressive rap song from start to finish. And then go karaoke and blow everyone’s mind!
  25. See all my favorite bands live. There are three bands/musicians I’ve been wanting to see since 2008: Coldplay, Radiohead, Paul McCartney.
  26. Read more news! I really try to, but then I get depressed.
  27. Visit wine country. My love for wine is right up there with my love for books.
  28. Take a girls trip with my best friends!
  29. Make more/new friends! You can never have enough friends!
  30. Start chasing my dreams! Like, really! Figure out exactly what will make me happy and GO FOR IT!

I hope you enjoyed my list of thirty things to do before I’m 30! Wish me luck with 27!

 

My 2017 Reading Goal!

 

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HAPPY 2017! I am so ready to begin a new year. 2016 was killing me, but it was also a great year for me to try some new things (THIS BLOG)- so I am thankful for that. It was such rough year, not only politically and socially, but it was difficult for me to get to my goal of 40 books this year, too. BUT I DID! You can see all of the books I read this year on my Goodreads page.

My Best/Worst of 2016:

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Top 5 Books I Read in 2016:
1. Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
3. Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst
4. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
5. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

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3 Books That I Wouldn’t Recommend:
1. Close to You by Kristen Proby
2. To All The Boys, I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
3. Façade by Nyrae Dawn

I think I succeeded in reading some wonderful books because I couldn’t even choose five that I wouldn’t recommend, so that’s good! For 2017 I chose to up the ante and read a total of 50 books that I will thoroughly enjoy!

My 2017 Reading Plan by Month:

January: 5 books
February: 4 books
March: 4 books
April: 4 books
May: 4 books
June: 5 books
July: 5 books
August: 3 books
September: 4 books
October: 4 books
November: 4 books
December: 4 books

It may seem a tad bit ridiculous for me to be planning how many books I read by month, but it will hold me accountable so I can succeed at reaching my goal.

5 Steps to Achieving My Goal:

1. Read for at least an hour a day.

2. If I don’t think I’ll like a book after the first few chapters, stop reading it!

3. Read outside my comfort zone, I may surprise myself.

4. Read reviews before I begin reading a new book.

5. Be open to recommendations from people I trust.

My plan is to not only read 50 books but to also read as many recommendations, classic novels, and independent works of fiction that I have time for. If you would like me to read and review your work, check out my review request guidelines. 

I have a really good feeling about 2017, guys! Let’s kick this year’s ass!

What is your reading goal for 2017? Let me know in the comments!

My [Harry Potter] Christmas Tree Tour

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I have been so excited to share my Harry Potter Christmas tree with everyone! I handmade all of the ornaments myself using cheap Dollar Tree ornaments, paper, and lots of Mod Podge. I am sorry about the quality of these pictures. I wanted to show how truly magical it is in person, but my apartment is so dark that I had to open all of the blinds to give you guys a better look! I hope you enjoy this mini tour of my Christmas tree!

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I wish I would have had more time and resources to make the top of my tree really extravagant, but alas, I did not. So I just topped it with a simple (but still awesome) Platform 9 3/4 ticket! And I, of course, had to put my Hogwarts house ornament at the very top! (Go Go Gryffindor!)

I printed off book covers, glued them to cardboard, and lined them with glitter. They were probably my favorite ornaments on the tree.

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I added different ornaments that really defined Harry Potter to me. The Deathly Hallows symbol, ornaments filled with potions (like the Felix Felicis one you see here), and Harry Potter’s acceptance letter. I used a mixture of canola oil and gold glitter for Felix Felicis, and I was so happy with how it turned out!

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I can’t forget the Golden Snitches with book page wings and my favorite quote, “I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good”! They are a little bit difficult to see, but the green ornaments have the Unforgivable Curses written on them with silver glitter!  You can also see my second “potion” ornament, Floo Powder, made with baking powder and multi-colored glitter!

I hope you enjoyed my quick little tour! Here are some close-ups and extras of my Harry Potter Tree! Click on the photos to get a closer look!

A list of all the ornaments I made:

  • Gryffindor House Ornaments (4)
  • Book Cover Ornaments (7)
  • Golden Snitches
  • Deathly Hallows Symbols
  • Lightning Bolt Symbols
  • Unforgivable Curses
  • Harry Potter Hogwarts Letter
  • Platform 9 3/4 Train Ticket
  • I Solemnly Swear I’m Up To No Good Quote
  • “Potion” Ornaments (3)
    • Floo Powder
    • Felix Felicis
    • Veritaserum

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