Category: Books/Writing

Jan 07

Platypire Diversity Challenge – Diverse Books Challenge 2018

Books/Writing 0

(new graphics are still forthcoming!)

Last reading challenge for 2018! This one will overlap the other two, obviously based on when the book was published. I didn’t quite make my goal in this challenge last year, but the diverse books challenge I participated in really helped bring a lot of books to my attention that I might not otherwise have heard about. Yes, I cut way back on the number challenges I’m participating in this year, but I feel that diverse books are so important I really couldn’t leave them out.

Sadly, Chasing Faerytales and Read.Sleep.Repeat didn’t renew their diverse books challenge this year (life happens, I totally get it, but they did such a fantastic job last year I was really hoping they would be able to continue!), so I had to find another one. So, for 2018 I’m joining the Platypire Diversity Challenge.


I love that their monthly theme lists are on GoodReads! Also that I apparently own a book for the January challenge, which is Biracial Awareness. Speaking of monthly theme lists:

Speaking from the POV of someone who is in the majority, as far as race and sexual orientation, I think it is so so so soooo important for us to read outside of our own comfort zones. There is so much more to the world than just our  personal viewpoint and experiences. Too many people have been silenced for too long. I want to do a full post on this at some point, but this fabulous quote from a post on SwoonReads by Christine Barcellona puts it better than I can right now:

Diverse books empower, vindicate, normalize, and make visible readers who might otherwise feel forgotten, invisible, or like they’re imposters whose stories don’t deserve to be told…[and] because the world contains more than one story.


Jan 05

Book Blog Goals 2018

Books/Writing, Life 4

book blog goals

Book Blog Goals

We all have them. Whether it’s to review a certain number of books per year, to be a well-known bookish name or personality, or to finally get the ARCs you request – we all have them. I sat down this week and started rethinking my goals for this blog. I want to be reasonable, but I needed some real action points! Not just some half-assed “Well, I’d kind of like to…” No. So I came up with what SHOULD be – barring any major catastrophes – an obtainable list of book blog goals for The Bent Bookworm in 2018!

  • Focus on Young Adult books. I’ve come to the realization that the me that was reading books 5 years ago (who only read YA every now and then) is not the me that is reading books right now. I read a LOT of YA and they tend to be the books I get most excited about. I’ve decided to focus the blog more – which means there probably won’t be any reviews HERE of adult mysteries, historical fiction, or romance. I do plan to continue with writing reviews of the other-than-YA books I read and posting them to GoodReads, so be sure to follow me over there!
  • Post 3 times a week. Not 3 REVIEWS, which is more than even my non-school-laboring brain can handle. 3 posts. All book related in some way, with at least 1 review. I’ll sort out a couple of memes that I hope to keep up with later on.
  • Read what I want. I’m not going to be using – well, hold on. I don’t THINK I will be using Netgalley this year. Last year I got super stressed out with trying to read books on time, via ebook (I have a Nook, which sometimes is great and other times is just awful). I really despise the necessity of ebooks. Like no, I don’t like to carry 10 books around in my bag, so I own an e-reader, but I don’t LIKE them. And I requested too many NG books and didn’t finish them all and there is all this leftover guilt that literally makes my heart pound. So NO. NO MORE. I did receive a few physical ARCs which I found much easier, so if I have a chance for any more of those I might early review some books, but overall I really just want to read whatever strikes my fancy and so I won’t be requesting very many, if ANY, ARCs for this year. Less stress.
  • Make the blog pay for itself. Not my books. If I don’t have money for books, there is always the library. BUT, a self-hosted site does come with some fees, and I would really like to be able to monetize just enough to pay for those. I won’t be doing big annoying ads, but I do plan to start/restart an affiliate program and possibly a Ko-fi or Patreon type thing. If I did that, I would want to create exclusive content for supporters…so I’m not sure it’s worth the extra stress on myself – on the other hand, I don’t think I get enough views to support only through affiliate programs.

So what’s not on this list and why? Might be a pretty glaring omission for a lot of book bloggers…

  • NO FOLLOWER/STATS GOALS. Say what? Yeah. At least for right now. I found I was getting way too discouraged when I saw how slowly my numbers were growing last year (and of course, not growing at all when I took an abrupt hiatus). I may re-evaluate this in a few months, but for right now I want to blog just because I like it. No stress. That’s going to be a huge focus for me this year – less stress and self care. I will still post in lots of places and leave links for people to follow me – but I won’t be stretching for numbers and not setting a goal for that is going to help free my creative brain.

How about you? If you’re a blogger, what are your book blog goals for 2018? Do you find that you’re pretty good at sticking to goals or do you find yourself revising them through the year? What do you think of my lack of a numbers/stats goal?


Jan 04

2018 New Release Challenge

Books/Writing 0

2018 new release challenge

Along with my Beat the Backlist challenge, the 2018 New Release challenge created by (un)Conventional Book Views will (I hope) make up the rest of my “number goal” in books this year! Since my goal is 52 overall, and I’m trying for 40 backlist books…that would mean 12 new releases! Of which…I already have 4 pre-ordered. Ahem. This year I am not attempting the debut author challenge. As much as I love supporting new authors, that one was a real struggle and real guilt inducer for me last year. I felt guilty for not being supportive and even more guilty if I didn’t like their book (because OMG IT’S THEIR FIRST ONE AND I WANT THEM TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND AND AND). Maybe another year when I have more time on my hands, but I want to enjoy new releases by authors I already love with the OPTION to pick some debuts.

My goal of 12 definitely puts me in the “New Release Newbie” category for this one! That made me laugh, because I feel like I am absolutely obsessed with new releases…I add them to list after list and feel like I read a lot of new releases last year…maybe not. I’m excited to see how many I actually get to this year!

Potential list that I’m leaving lots of blank spots on because there are many SEQUELS coming out this year, that I want to read…the first book of which, from LAST year, I still haven’t read but I have hope.

  1.  Reign of the Fallen, by Sarah Glenn Marsh – out January 23rd – read her debut last year, much <3 so this one is preordered!
  2. Purple Hearts, by Michael Grant – out January 30th – last of this trilogy, which I have absolutely loved, an alternate history of WWII in which women are allowed to be combat soldiers.
  3.  Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland – out April 30th – Civil War history, zombies, and diversity, YES PLEASE.
  4. Competence, by Gail Carriger – out on July 17th – I pretty much love everything Gail writes and this is the 3rd in the Custard Protocol series.
  5.  My Plain Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton – out on June 26th – OMG GIVE ME MORE the first one was so good!!
  6. Aru Shah and the End of Time, by Roshani Chokshi – out March 27th – loved The Star-Touched Queen but fell off the bandwagon and haven’t read the sequel, so this is a good one to go back to!
  7. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi – out March 6th – this just sounds fascinating. Also, DEBUT!
  8. Gunslinger Girl, by Lyndsay Ely, out January 2nd (oh look!) – intriguing. Old west + futuristic? Hmm. Also, another DEBUT!
  9.  From Twinkle, With Love, by Sandhya Menon – out June 19th i.e. NOT FREAKING SOON ENOUGH – I loved Sandhya’s first book and am desperate for this one!
  10.  A Girl Like That, by Tanaz Bhathena – out February 27th – oooohhh mystery YA with diverse rep and another debut!
  11.  Love, Hate, & Other Filters, by Samira Ahmed – out January 16th – this sounds like it’s going to make me reevaluate my perceptions so naturally it MUST be read.
  12.  A Thousand Perfect Notes, by C.G. Drews – out June 7th – this is by one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Cait @ PaperFury, so of COURSE.

As always, list subject to change, especially since none of these books come out any later than July! I actually have QUITE a few more titles on my GR 2018 Releases shelf if you want to check that out. I’m sure the list will continue to grow, too.


Jan 04

Beat the Backlist 2018

Books/Writing 3

beat the backlist

I’m participating in Austine’s awesome Beat the Backlist challenge again this year! Even if I was woefully short of my goal last year…at least according to the reviews I posted. I actually think I was reeeeally close to making it, but I didn’t take time to go back through my GoodReads list and add them all up. So this year I’m trying to be more realistic with my goal…no moves on the horizon this year (knock on wood), but I am starting school again, so there’s that. Also I’m not feeling super motivated at the moment even though I desperately WANT to be motivated…so yeah. I’m just aiming for 40 backlist books this year. I haven’t decided on ALL the titles, but there are quite a few on my physical TBR that have been screaming at me so those are on the top. Sorry, I’m not taking time to link every single book…but  I DO hope to review 90% of the books I read this year, so keep an eye out!

  1. All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. Wild Beauty, by Anna-Marie McLemore
  3. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daugher, by Theodora Goss
  4. Monstress, Vol 2, by Marie Lu
  5. The Aeronaut’s Windlass, by Jim Butcher
  6. A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab
  7. Romancing the Inventor, by Gail Carriger
  8. Romancing the Werewolf, by Gail Carriger
  9. The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli
  10. Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard
  11. How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather
  12. Hounded, by Kevin Hearne
  13. The Fiery Cross, by Diana Gabaldon
  14. Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake
  15. The Serpent King, by Jeff Zentner
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Yes, I’m leaving a bunch of those blank. While I have MORE than enough books on my TBR shelf to cover 40, I know from previous experience that I don’t do so well with strict lists and schedules. So I’m leaving this open to wherever the book muse should take me in 2018!

Are you participating in Beat the Backlist 2018? Be sure to check out the full signup details and think about it if you’re not already!

ETA: Oh, so I was assigned to the Story Sorcerers team! I’m really excited to see the different teams this year, I love the names so much. <3


Jan 01

Happy New Year 2018! And a life update

Books/Writing, Life 9

Happy New Year, everyone!

Why yes, I did fall off the face of the planet. Why yes, life has run me over since about September. Why yes, it has been a struggle to just get out of bed and take a shower. Why yes, I did manage to continue to go to work and slap on a smile. Why yes, I turned into a zombie as soon as I got home. Why yes, it kind of sucked.


I am finished with my old job and I moved back to Virginia (husband had already been here for several weeks due to his new job starting before mine ended) right before Christmas. Like, literally RIGHT before. I put up our tree 2 days before Christmas. I start school on January 15. I am super, super excited about that, but I’m still struggling a little – ok, maybe more than a little – with the transition. I’ve worked full time for 8 years. I am suddenly…kind of adrift, feeling very ill at ease. I have really felt unable to deal with anyone or anything for weeks. If it weren’t for people asking me to go places or do things I probably wouldn’t leave the house much. Speaking of…

I love our new place – it’s an actual HOUSE, the first of my adult life, and even though we are only renting I love it to pieces. It’s older, with plenty of room for us, a couple of pets, anyone who wants to come visit for a night or even a week, a fenced yard, and a creek right down the hill. I absolutely love it.

As far as reading…I sadly did not actually finish a SINGLE ONE of my reading challenges this past year. About August I started struggling with a reading slump. The Halloween Read-a-thon of October helped some, but after that I went into even a bigger slump and I think I finished 1 or 2 books in November and December. It sucked. Again, HOWEVER. I have high hopes that things are turning around. I’m setting new goals for this year, but in MODERATION. I knew when I started my eleven-billion challenges last year that I wouldn’t finish them all. I did think I would finish at least the 75 books in 2017 challenge, but I underestimated the effect of 2 moves on my reading mojo and life in general. Moderation is going to be key for me this year, in adjusting to school, lack of a job (at least a full time one), managing my Etsy shop, blogging, and some other things I have dreams of starting. I’m working on my sign-up posts for the THREE challenges I have decided to do for books this year, and also some brand new plans for the blog.

2017 really taught me that I can’t neglect myself. My mental health, my physical health, my heart. It was as a struggle of a year, I’m not going to lie. The last couple of months especially. I truly felt like I could barely function and like I had nothing more to give, to anyone, and wanted nothing more than to be left alone. I know that’s not normal or healthy, and I’m happy to say I am starting to feel better. I do think that a lot of those feelings had to do with neglecting myself, not listening to my heart and body when I needed rest. Hopefully 2018 will be better for that!

Expect a few more posts this week on reading challenges, goals, etc…after this week there won’t be quite so many in a week!

I wish you all the very best in 2018! Happy new year, everyone!


Nov 11

So How About Life?

Books/Writing, Crafting, Life, Pets 4

Time for a life update! I’ve been posting significantly less lately, even though I’ve actually, FINALLY, been reading more. My problem right now is actually FINISHING the books I’m starting, but that’s an entirely different post. 😛


Lately, I’m just…in a lot of limbo. We knew when we moved into this house that – much as we LOVE it – we wouldn’t be staying here long. My job contract is up in December and I am going BACK TO COLLEGE FULL TIME in January. Just a lee-tle bit excited about that. Yes, this is for my 2nd bachelor’s degree instead of doing the normal thing and getting a master’s, but due to an English degree not having ANY of the required classes to apply to any sort of graduate medical program…yeah. So, bachelor’s degree #2 it is. I don’t really mind – I am DYING to start classes, and actually be studying all this super cool stuff (I should be able to skip most of the super BORING classes since they transfer from the first degree, say what). I am having a little anxiety over the fact that I won’t be working a full time job. First time in like…7 years? 8 years (yes, I am OLD)? Eeeeeep. That’s super freaking scary. And is causing me a lot of stress. To where I feel like this on the inside:


And probably look something like this on the outside:

I don’t know what I’m doing buuuut I’ll pretend it’s all good.

Because everything is GOING TO BE OK. JUST BREATHE. Heh. Easier said then done, but I’m trying.

Cool Things:

  • Tomorrow I’m going to a Maggie Stiefvater book signing at Parnassus Books in Nashville!!!!! There are not enough exclamation points in the WORLD. Not only is this my first EVER author event, but, um, HELLO this woman wrote the Raven Cycle – which, no, I have not finished yet, but the first two books of which connected with me on such a deep soul level that I am ready to call Henrietta my hometown (partially because I am CONVINCED she patterned it off of my ACTUAL hometown, but I digress). I might be on a Raven Cycle re-read/reading binge at the moment.
  • NaNoWriMo is going…ehhh, ok. I am behind, but not so far behind that I couldn’t feasibly catch up. Just shy of 12K at the moment. So why am I writing a blog post instead of my novel? Because COME ON, people, this is NaNo. 😛
  • I have some SUPER CUTE new book sleeves up in the shop! I am just in love with these little winter forest animals in their adorable scarves and hats. <3 I don’t know why this photo is fuzzy here, it is not fuzzy anywhere else, I promise.
  • I went to my first drag show. It was awesome and I was awkward but I had so much fun. I was NOT drunk enough for some of those songs, though, haha! Naturally I have no good pictures, because club lighting.
  • I’m thinking about starting a YouTube channel! But not book-related. More animal/pet related. Because I adore animals and am extremely passionate about not only them and their care, but on educating people and debunking myths/false information spread by pet stores and the general public with regards to those topics. Once we move, I plan to have fish again, and hopefully husband will be getting his service dog puppy. Fingers crossed. I would, of course, love to have another cat, as well as maybe a chameleon and some other things, but I am ALSO a strong believer in taking things slow when it comes to adding animals to your household, so. We shall see.

    “What’s that, Mom? A kitty TV (i.e., aquarium) and a new brother or sister for me?”


So that’s my life for right now! How about you? If you’re doing NaNo, how’s it going? What do you think of a pet themed YouTube channel?


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Oct 10

NaNoWriMo 2017

Books/Writing 5

Yessssssss my friends, it is here again!! Last year, instead of stressing myself out trying to finish a 50K word novel, my goal was to completely plot my novel (in case you’re not familiar, check out National Novel Writing Month 2017). AND I SUCCEEDED. There was SUCH a happy dance! So naturally, I’m doing it again this year! If you have already decided or are on the fence, check out the main page and then hop over and add me as a writing buddy!

I did not, however, succeed at finishing said novel this year. Currently “Rising of the Sun” sits at 18,598 words, according to my Scrivener file. Just a leeeeetle bit short of my goal of 120K. But, not to be deterred, today I sat down to figure out my goals and plans for NaNoWriMo 2017. First up was reading over my (FINISHED! I just have to keep pointing that out, I’m so proud of myself) outline.

And this was my face, because I seriously HAVE NO MEMORY of writing some of this stuff. Like where TF did this come from? Did this actually come out of my brain? I mean, it must have…right?

Well, regardless – my goal for NaNo this year is to add 50,000 words to my novel. Based on the size of my outline, I would say the finished word count goal of 120K is probably a gross UNDERestimate, haha. For this month of #Preptober my plan is:

  • Re-read outline in entirety
  • Read already written 18,000 words – DO NOT EDIT! Inner editor, now is not your time…
  • Fill in major character sketches for both MCs
  • Fill in major character sketches for 4 other characters
  • Fill in DETAILED plot outline for next 3 chapters
  • Find or put together writing playlists (Apple Music? Spotify?)

Do you have plans for NaNoWriMo 2017? Have you participated before? Do you think it helps you as a writer? What are you doing for #Preptober?

Links to Help Prep for NaNoWriMo 2017:



Oct 08

Halloween Read-A-Thon 2017

Books/Writing 9

It’s that time of year again, everyone!!! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays!  Wonderless Reviews is hosting the Halloween Read-A-Thon over on her blog again this year. If you haven’t seen it already go over, check it out, and sign up! This year she’s offering a giveaway and I’ve decided to contribute as well (if you’re in a hurry, scroll to the bottom of this post for details). My TBR this year is mostly encapsulated in this picture.

  • Girl of Nightmares, by Kendare Blake – I read Anna Dressed in Blood last year for the read-a-thon
  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora Goss – I meant to read this a couple of months ago, but it didn’t happen.
  • Hunting Price Dracula, by Kerri Maniscalco – Another sequel, look at me go! I read the first book in this series for the Halloween Read-A-Thon last year as well…I sense a trend.
  • The Diabolic, by S.J. Kincaid – This has been out for ages and now the sequel to IT is about to be released, so it’s about time!

I’m not sure what else if anything I will get to this month, so I’m going to leave it there for now. And now for…*drumroll please*

I’m giving away a Halloween book sleeve (yes, made by yours truly)! I took pre-orders for these but they are no longer available in the store, so you’ll be getting the only one I have left!

I’m totally stealing rules from Lauren here:

  • The giveaway opens NOW and closes on the 30th October. You can enter anytime between those dates. The winner will be announced on the 31st October (or as soon as I can get to it).
  • The giveaway is international – I really hate leaving folks out, so even though shipping is outrageous I’m spreading the love!
  • You don’t have to complete the challenges to be eligible for the giveaway. You DO have to have signed up on Lauren’s Halloween Read-A-Thon announcement post (yes, I *will* check).
  • 18+ or a parent/guardian’s permission. Sorry, folks.
  • I accept no responsibility for lost or damaged packages.
  • Enter the Rafflecopter below! Or click the picture above. 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading, everyone!! And a happy, spooky October to you. 😉 😀

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Sep 28

How to Get Over a Reading Slump

Books/Writing 6

Granted, this title is super pretentious, because no matter how many strategies you have to get over your reading slump – they happen. We’ve all been there. I think a big part of the key is to not FREAK OUT when they happen, because there are a lot of things we can do to ride it out and get back to the books we know we love! Slumps happen for a lot of reasons. You may be completely blindsided by your sudden lack of interest in (or just inability to concentrate on) that book you’ve been anticipating for months, or you may know exactly what is bothering you. Through the years I’ve become a lot better at pinpointing the cause of my slumps, but I still find myself in the depths of book despair at times. Regardless of the reasons for your reading slump, here are some ideas to help you break out of it!

1.  Re-read your favorite books. My go-to re-reads of late have been the Harry Potter series. I’m on #4. There’s something very comforting and reassuring about re-reads. Whether you like HEA endings or something else, re-read a book that left you satisfied and proud to have on your shelf.

2.  Listen to audiobooks. There’s something about the change in format that really helps my brain. I’m actually combining these first two for my Harry Potter re-read. I love the narrator (Jim Dale), his voices for the different characters are AMAZING!

3.  Go to the library. Libraries help assuage my need to BUY ALL THE BOOKS that kicks into overdrive when I go to an actual bookstore. I can walk out with an entire armful JUST BECAUSE THEY LOOK PRETTY, with no guilt at all over whether or not I read them. I can take them home if I want to. I can read them (or not) if I want to. And then, for the love of all that’s sacred, return them.

4.  Organize (re-organize) your bookshelves. Or stacks. Obviously, if you don’t own physical books, this might not help. But I’ve found many times that going through all my books I inevitably find one that piques my interest – either by re-reading it (please tell me I’m not the only one who occasionally finds a book that I know I have read but can’t remember a thing about it upon seeing it again) or being motivated to finally read it.

5.  Give some books away! Share the love. Introduce a child to the wonderful world of books! Or, simply remove them from your virtual TBR. Sometimes we get overwhelmed by that towering TBR and just need some space. If you have stacks of physical unread books, go through them and be honest – are you actually still interested in that book, or do you just feel guilty when you look at it? If all you feel is guilt – GET RID OF IT! Donate it to a library, a thrift store, or to someone you know who might enjoy it. Go through your GoodReads TBR and kick off books that you don’t remember or that don’t interest you anymore. It’s very freeing.

These are just a few things that have helped me through reading slumps. I still sort of feel like I’m in one now, but I am still reading (albeit slowly) by using some of these ideas. What are ways you break out of your reading slump? Book hangovers?


Sep 15

Presenting: Bent Needle Designs BOOK SLEEVES!

Books/Writing, Crafting 6

book sleeves

Makers and dreamers. Readers and artists. So often we are one and the same. People who read, dream. And people who dream usually have one or more creative outlets.

Introducing my creative outlet: Bent Needle Designs Etsy store! I started off making organizer and project bags for OTHER makers, but recently expanded into making the ever-so-popular book sleeves! I’m very proud of these and after using them myself for several weeks think any on-the-go reader will love them as well. The books I’ve been dragging around with me during my reading slump are still in pristine condition, no bumped edges or bent pages. It really is the best thing I’ve done for myself and the condition of my library in ages, haha.

I am especially excited about these Halloween themed prints! Some of you might remember from last year’s Halloween Read-a-thon, I LOVE HALLOWEEN.

Right now there are both hardcover and paperback sleeves in stock, so check it out and see what you think! More will be listed this weekend, in the gorgeous Rifle Paper Company fabrics. 🙂

There is also a special, instant coupon when you subscribe to the shop newsletter, so definitely sign up – not only will you get the coupon, but advance notice of sales, new designs, etc.

Don’t worry, I won’t be turning this into a sales blog – but I did have to share and will post new bookish stuffs every now and then. Happy reading!