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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A Book Lover’s Gift Guide

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I was baffled when I looked at the calendar and realized there are only TEN days left until Christmas! Where did the time go? I have barely even began my Christmas shopping! Luckily, I work extremely well under pressure and i’m used to waiting until the last minute. I love to give books as Christmas gifts because I love books, but there really are so many more fun options for that special book lover in your life!  Today, I’ve put together a list of eight fun gifts for book lovers! I hope this list  give you some ideas for this holiday season 🙂

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Photo courtesy of MyBookMark.com
  1. A unique bookmark like this ‘Gingerbread Man Legs’ one from My Book Mark. They also have book characters and animals to choose from!

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Photo Courtesy of Etsy
  1. Book inspired candles! Try these ‘Book Lovers’ Soy Candles’ from Frostbeard’s Etsy shop.

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Photo courtesy of Etsy
  1. A good literary coffee mug. Check out this Jane Austen mug from PonderandDream’s Etsy shop.

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Photo courtesy of Obviousstate.com
  1. Notebooks, like these author quote notebooks from Obvious State, make great gifts.

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Photo courtesy of Strandbooks.com
  1. A book inspired tote bag! Check out this, ‘Lost in the Stacks’ bag, and many others, from New York’s famous Strand Bookstore.

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Photo courtesy of Amazon
  1. Book art! Because who doesn’t love showcasing their love for literature? These prints from Vintage Book Art are beautiful!

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Photo courtesy of Etsy
  1. Book and music lover? You will love these vintage book ends from DIYMike’s etsy shop!

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Photo courtesy of bookofthemonth.com
  1. And if you’re feeling really generous, you can always buy a subscription to a “book box”. Book of the Month Club sends you a book every month! And right now, if you give a gift you receive a free month membership of your own!

Happy Shopping!

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Book Review: Among The Living

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Among The Living by Jonathan Rabb, Published October 4th 2016 by Other Press

“He had worked his way back to food, real food, with taste and texture and heat, and while his stomach had learned to reaccommodate it, the rest of him was having more difficulty. There were any number of reasons for it – obvious reasons such as memory and shame – but the simplest was that to savor a plate was to recognize his own worth and that was something not so easily restored.”
Jonathan Rabb, Among the Living

Synopsis:

Yitzhak Goldah (Ike) is a Holocaust survivor who travels to Savannah in 1947 to live with his distant cousins, Abe and Pearl Jesler. As a trained journalist, Ike is a quiet observer who is adjusting to life in America after experiencing the worst of humanity. As he is welcomed into the Jewish community, he becomes aware of a divide between Savannah’s Reform and Conservative Jewish congregations. The Jeslers are Conservative, but that doesn’t stop Ike from falling in love with a Reform Jewish woman. Ike also struggles with the social norms regarding the treatment of African Americans in the South during Jim Crow.

My Thoughts:

I picked this book up and read the synopsis, because it was brand new in our library, and was immediately interested in reading it. I don’t think I can call myself a Historian since I haven’t really utilized my history degree, but military history was always my favorite and Jonathan Rabb decided to take a fresh perspective on the Holocaust by giving us some understanding into the life of a survivor after the war.

Rabb gives us insight into the life of a man who is struggling to accept love and the mistreatment of another group of people after experiencing one of the most horrific events in history. His approach felt very authentic, as the characters where very cautious of the language they used and the positions they put Ike into. It was hard to read sometimes because you could feel the loneliness and solemnity, but that’s the reason it is such a great book!

I do wish that Rabb had gone into more depth concerning the relationships between the two denominations of Jews as well as the Jewish community and the African Americans during this time. I felt like he would begin to elaborate more on this and then slip back into an unnecessary story line concerning Abe Jessler and some illegal business with his shoe store, which, in my opinion, never really reached a full conclusion. This book may feel slow paced, but I found it to be quite wonderful! It may not have enough excitement to appeal to some readers, but it was extremely fulfilling and beautifully written!

My Rating: 4/5

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Thursday Thoughts: Dear 21 Year Old Me

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It doesn’t seem very long ago that I was celebrating my twenty-first birthday! It was one of the best birthday parties I’ve ever had! A small bar filled with people who were there just for me. I was a lucky gal! When I think back to when I was 21, in 2011, it kind of makes me cringe. There was so much I didn’t know…so much I wish I would have known. This is a letter to myself almost six years later. Enjoy!

Dear (21 Year Old) Danica,

Well, you’ve finally made it! The big 2-1! It doesn’t seem very long ago that I was standing in your shoes (I’m guessing a pair of patent black flats), but just know you will change immensely. Girl, you need to slow it down. Yeah, it’s fun to go out with your friends and drink so much you blackout, but when you wake up two weeks from today and you can’t stop puking…and you can barely move…you will look back and hate yourself for being so crazy. You can slow down; you aren’t going to miss out on anything.

Now that that’s out of the way, you need to know that you are awesome. You never take life too seriously and you are determined to stay young at heart! Well, guess what? That never goes away, so congrats! You are brave and confident, but you need to learn to be patient and don’t let your emotions rule you. It’s not the end of the world if someone gives you a dirty look…you’ll be fine. I know you are desperate for everyone to like you right now, but guess what? Some people aren’t going to like you…and that’s OKAY! You will have some of the best memories this year, but don’t spend too much time trying to re-live the memories. MAKE NEW ONES.

You NEED to stop comparing yourself to other people. It will break you. You’re going to struggle this year because you feel unaccomplished. You will spend more time lying on the floor of your room crying than you ever will in your life (so far). You are enough. You will get through this and it will all be worth it! Stop trying to force your ambitions…your calling will come in due time. The sooner you realize that you don’t need to “keep up” with the people around you, the better.

Please stop worrying so much about how you look. It’s all a mistake anyways. Five years from now you will look back and think “why are my eyebrows so thin”?! and “why am I wearing that ghastly black eye shadow”?! You don’t have to be super thin with perfect makeup…you’re adorable…own it!

And finally, THAT guy is not the answer. I’m actually kind of disgusted that you thought that you loved him, but i’m not writing to criticize you. Even though I desperately want to. (*cough*he’sanawfulperson*cough*) I know you think he might be the one that will make everything better, he’s not. It may feel like being alone is the worst thing in the world right now, but you aren’t alone! Open your eyes! You are surrounded by family and friends that love you. Get it together. You will feel heartbroken at first, but the pain will be worth it once you meet Brandon…which is in about 7 months…be prepared to fall completely in love like you’ve never known. And enjoy the wild heart-pounding ride!

Above all, stay true to yourself. You are unique, fun, and unforgettable. Knowing that about yourself will help you along the way!

Love,

26 (almost 27) Year Old Danica

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