Update to Blog Pages

Hello! Hopefully I’ll have a “real” post for you later this weekend, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve completely re-done my book review pages. They’re much prettier and more visual than they were before. 🙂 You can access them from the main menu above. ^^

I’ve also added a page called “Reading Challenges” so I can keep track of my progress for reading challenges this year. This is probably more for me than you, but it’s there nonetheless. 😀


❤ Annette


My Original TBR

I found this the other day and thought it’d be fun to share. It’s my original TBR… from when I was a kid… in the nineties.

The cover says “Groovy” and has a large smiley face, likely to mimic the super-popular Lisa Frank style.


And since there was no Goodreads (nor did we have internet), I wrote every book by hand. And if I found a series I wanted to read, I’d write down every. single. one.


I’m fairly sure most of these came from those awesome Scholastic Book Club flyers that got sent home every once in a while. I’m also fairly sure I never got around to a lot of these. In that way childhood TBR was very similar to my current one!


Gel pens were also the thing back then. (I also exchanged them with my pen pal, because those were also a thing.)

What was your first TBR like? How did you keep track of the books you wanted to read before Goodreads and the like came along?

❤ Annette


Finishing the Series Challenge

Remember how yesterday I said I didn’t want to participate in any reading challenges? Well…. I found two I’m going to participate in. 😀 This one, hosted by Celebrity Readers, is entirely focused on finishing series. I did a lot of that in 2017, but I am still so into doing it for 2018 a well!


I’m not going to force myself to read anything if I’m not feeling it, but here are some of the series that I would like to finish:

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davis

Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

A.I. Love You by Ken Akamatsu

Christmas Around the World by World Book

Confectionately Yours by Lisa Papademitriou

Hardcore Self Help by Robert Duff

Paradox by Rachel Bach

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Follow Your Heart by Melody Carlson

Embassy Row by Ally Carter

They also have different levels based on how many series you finish – I’d love to make it to “A-List”, which means I would have to finish (or get caught up on) 9 series! Think I can do it? 😀

What series would you like to finish this year?

❤ Annette

Beat the Backlist!

So I definitely didn’t plan on participating in any book challenges this year… until I found this one! The entire goal of this challenge is to read books that were not written in 2018, which is exactly what I had planned on focusing on this year! (To be honest, I don’t often read new releases, especially now that I don’t go to the library that often.) This challenge is hosted by Novel Knight. (<– That link has all the details if you want to join too!)

As of right now, I only want to read 12 books this year. I’m sure that’ll change as I read throughout the year, but I want to allow myself the freedom to tackle some of the longer, more difficult books on my TBR.

Are you doing any book challenges this year? Which ones?

❤ Annette

My Favorite Christmas Tradition

This is going to be a super short post, but since one of my favorite Christmas traditions is book related, I wanted to share.

Every year on Christmas Eve, after we’d eaten Christmas dinner, gone to mass, and gotten into our pajamas, we would all pile on the couch and my dad would read us The Night Before Christmas. Even if we’d gone to midnight mass and it was super late, even if some of us were in high school, even if my Dad was almost falling asleep at the end of each sentence, we always read it. And I love that that was our tradition!

IMG_5613 (1)
My sisters, my dad, and me (my mom took the picture)

Our favorite version of the book is this one (which I still own).

(affiliate link)


We also had a mouse family version similar to the one below, which we read if we couldn’t find the other one. (We were all avid readers, so books roamed our house quite a bit. :))

(affiliate link)

I hope you and your families and friends have a wonderful Christmas!

❤ Annette


Why Books Are Good for Babies

Books are awesome! But do you ever wonder why people read to babies? Or why doing so is important? Even having books around for babies to play with is great for their development. I want to give a couple of reasons why below.

This is stuff that I remember from the early childhood literacy class I took while working on my Elementary Education degree. If any of this sounds incorrect (or if there’s updated research on the subject) I’d love to know – send me the sources so I can keep up to date. 🙂

  1. Reading to babies (and children) help them to understand that books contain information. Unlike any other object, books can carry many different meanings. Their rattle makes noise and provides entertainment, their blanket is soft and provides comfort, their bottle contains food, which quenches hunger. But books can be about colors or numbers or shapes or animals or so many other different things. Reading to them even from a young age can help them grasp this concept. We read so often for information and understanding this is a big step in learning to read. (As they get older they’ll start to tell stories of their own, learning concepts such as beginning-middle-end.)
  2. Reading to babies also helps them know the direction in which to read. For many countries/languages this means left to right, up to down, and front to back. So when you see a baby pick up a book and hold it upside-down, just remember that even in that moment, they are learning how to read.

    My little sister, Gina, learning how to read
  3. Exposure to pretty much anything as an infant helps them with visual development. So helping them learn to focus on pictures or words in books definitely can’t hurt. 🙂
  4. Reading to them can help them develop a joy for reading. Since reading is pretty crucial in a school career and then is used constantly in many actual careers, it’s important to get them off to a good start! If it’s something they enjoy, it’ll be something they spend more time doing. And the more practice they get, the better they will be at it. This will help with reading speed, comprehension, vocabulary, and so much more.
  5. Reading helps them develop language skills. This includes vocabulary, but also includes intonation and the different phonemes (sounds) required for their specific language. The more they are talked to and read to, the more they are going to learn.

Did I miss anything? Or is there anything you’d like to add? Let me know!

never fade
This is my dad, me, and my little sister Emily. 🙂

❤ Annette

My Least Favorite Literary Technique

Before I tell you what my least favorite literary technique is, I’m going to tell you which books I plan on discussing. That way if you don’t want spoilers, you can move away from this post now.

  • Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck
  • Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Glitch series by Heather Anastasiu
  • Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
  • Tangled Up by Robyn Neely

My Least Favorite Literary Technique








My least favorite literary technique is when amnesia is used as the reason two love interests can’t be together. I don’t mind amnesia as a plot point, per say, there are plenty of great books that use it well, but I do mind when it’s the sole excuse for why two characters can’t be together. Here’s why I hate it as a technique:

  1. There needs to be a stronger reason for two characters not to be together. This can be internal conflict or external conflict, it can be with just one character or both, I don’t care. There needs to be a real reason they can’t be together, an actual problem. Characters can struggle to reconcile different lifestyles or backgrounds; or deal with personal issues that make them not fit for a relationship. But at the very least, they remember each other an can actually work on the relationship.
  2. This is such a weak excuse to further the plot. It’s very deus ex machina. The author created characters who have no problems… wouldn’t it be convenient if one forgot the other? Forget having to come up with an actual plot point or actual conversations, just give an easy excuse for them to not be together. It’s also sometimes used to get rid of one character in a love triangle and that just seems like a cop out.
  3. It hurts too much to read. If the author is even semi-decent, I’ve connected with the characters and I’m invested in their relationship. When that is suddenly ripped away for no (real) reason, it hurts. I know some people read to feel and some people enjoy reading sad books, but it’s just too much for me. I’m fine reading books where the characters are going through tough times, I just don’t want to go through them too.
  4. If the characters to manage to work past the amnesia to restore their memory partially, I feel like the resulting relationship isn’t quite the same as the one I was rooting for in the beginning. Sure, it’s technically the same characters, but it sure wasn’t with the ones I shipped.

I’ve seen this technique used in a couple variations. Usually it comes through a spell or interference from a deity. Sometimes it’s done through brainwashing/torture, and in one book I read they just performed a lobotomy to remove the character’s emotions. (So he could remember, I guess, but he couldn’t feel.)

As I mentioned before, this technique is present in many books. Sometimes I got over it because I liked the story enough to keep going, but nevertheless, it was there. The ones that come to mind are:

  • Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck
    • This is my least favorite use of the technique ever. The author is skilled, but connects you to the characters just enough to rip your heart out when the memory thing happens. This is probably my least favorite books series of all time, because it just hurt so much to read.
  • Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Glitch series by Heather Anastasiu
  • Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
  • Tangled Up by Robyn Neely

So that’s my least favorite literary technique. What’s yours?

❤️ Annette

YouTube Video Related to “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”

(Post contains affiliate links)

So after reading and writing a review on So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson, I recalled a YouTube video I watched a while back. The video is by one of my favorite YouTube channels, SciShow. In it, they discuss the different psychological reasons for internet trolling. So if you were intrigued by Jon Ronson’s book and want to learn more, this is a great video to watch. And if you just like awesome YouTube videos, you’ll probably like it too. 😊

Penryn and The End of Days Fashion: Post-Apocolyptic Practical

I thought it would be fun to make some fashion boards based on the Penryn and The End of Days series. All four of the outfits come from book three. Sorry if they’re not perfect – they’re the closest I could get with what I could find on Polyvore. 😊

(This post contains spoilers for End of Days by Susan Ee.)

Post Apocalyptic Practical
Penryn’s outfit choice in The End of Days, when they go to an abandoned mall to shop.
Paige's Outfit


The outfit Penryn chooses for Paige at the same shopping excursion.
This comes from page 61 of End of Days.
“‘You won’t always be fighting, Penryn. There will come a time when you’ll be so bored that you’ll wish you were fighting.’
‘I can only dream.’ I pull out the dress and lay it against me, feeling the soft, sparkly fabric.
He reaches out as if he can’t help himself and runs his forefinger along the shoulder of the dress. ‘If I were human, I’d plow the nicest farm for you.’ He sounds completely sincere. ‘Better than anyone else’s. It would have golden pineapples, the juiciest grapes, and the most flavorful radishes in the entire world.'”
Time to Relax

Clearly the least attractive outfit from the set, but when you’re living in post-apoclyptic times, you make do with what you’ve got. I did the best I could with Pooky Bear.


Did I miss any outfits? Which of these are your favorite?

💗 Annette