Category: Life

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?

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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.

However.

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!

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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. 😛

IN LIMBO

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:

Just…terrified.

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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GoodReads

 

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Sep 10

Sunday Post #4 – The Miracle Morning and Getting Back to Myself

Book Reviews, Books/Writing, Life 2 ★★★★★

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

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Bear with me folks, this post is part weekly update and part book review! This week I focused really hard on something I’ve been lacking a lot of lately – taking care of myself. I am always taking care of other people. At work, I not only take care of patients, I take care of co-workers that work under me or are less experienced. I also seem to attract anyone with problems and everyone likes to talk to me – which I find very ironic, since I am generally very quiet and keep to myself. At home, I take care of my husband – which is, of course, a mutual thing, but I still feel like I need to make sure he is happy and not starving, etc. etc. I do things for myself, of course, but I never completely immerse myself in any of them. I always have one eye and ear out on the people around me (even when I try my hardest to at least APPEAR like I am ignoring them in hopes I won’t be interrupted).

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Sunday Post #4 – The Miracle Morning and Getting Back to MyselfThe Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod
Published by Hal Elrod on December 7th 2012
Pages: 140
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars

What if you could miraculously wake up tomorrow and any-or every area of your life was transformed? What would be different? Would you be happier? Healthier? More successful? In better shape? Would you have more energy? Less Stress? More Money? Better relationships? Which of your problems would be solved? What if I told you that there is a "not-so-obvious" secret that is guaranteed to transform any-or literally every area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible? What if I told you it would only take 6 minutes a day? Enter The Miracle Morning. What's now being practiced by thousands of people around the world could perhaps be the simplest approach to creating the life you've always wanted. It's been right there in front of us, but this book has finally brought it to life. Are you ready? The next chapter of your life-the most extraordinary life you've ever imagined-is about to begin. IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP TO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL...

Last weekend, I read The Miracle Morning after hearing it much raved about, particularly by Kara over at Boho Berry. I was dubious, not going to lie. I already get up super early in the morning and the idea of voluntarily getting up even earlier wasn’t very appealing. However, I decided to give Mr. Elrod and his S.A.V.E.R.S. (Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing) a try. The book in and of itself was inspiring, with all kinds of motivating quotes.

I’m on my sixth day of The Miracle Morning, and while I’m not sure my actual productivity has increased or anything like that – I feel better. I feel better about myself, more motivated, more relaxed, more confident. I can’t recommend this book enough, and for EVERYONE – students, entrepeneurs, professionals – wherever you are, the principles in this book are applicable. Are they new? No. But, if you’re like me, maybe it had never occurred to you how to string all these things together for your own maximum benefit. Hal also has a way of writing that just makes you want to GO DO THINGS and also makes you think you can conquer the world – all very invigorating.

I want to point out that I was initially rather sketch on this whole idea, because I thought for sure it would be a gimmick to get you to buy more of Hal’s products. Actually, anything he references in the book as far as handouts, online community, etc – is FREE. I was very pleasantly surprised. I joined the Miracle Morning FB group, but haven’t really participated as to be honest I really prefer the bullet journal-centric Boho Berry Tribe group! It seems to have a lot of the same vibe – positive, energetic, uplifting, motivating – all while being just as obsessed with bullet journals and art stuff as I am. Haha.

Let me know if you read and give this a try! I’d love to hear how it works out for you. Or if you’ve already tried it, I’d love to hear about that too!

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With all that said, I am still trying to find a schedule that really works for me. Getting up early and having some “me time” has definitely helped, but I am still struggling to balance writing, work, and family commitments. I’ll figure it out eventually. In the meantime…

Next Week on the Blog:

Down the TBR Hole #25
A Super Almost-Secret Squirrel Announcement
Maybe a book review?

Yeah, see. Not so organized. But still here, and feeling hopeful and like I might actually start swimming soon, as opposed to just treading water!

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five-stars

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Aug 20

Sunday Post #2

Books/Writing, Life 2

sunday post

Linking up with Kimberly over on Caffeinated Book Reviewer today! I obviously fail at doing things on a weekly basis right now (my last Sunday Post was over a month ago…), but here I am again at long last.

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This Week:

Life has been nuts. And I mean absolutely NUTS. I totaled up how many hours I was spending at work or commuting to/from work, and it was over 70 a week. No wonder I was feeling exhausted and kept complaining that I needed a clone to get everything done! HOWEVER, on Monday this past week I was abruptly moved to a different position, one that cuts my hours in nearly half! After the initial shock (but I was JUST getting used to all you people!), I am delighted. This works out very well for me as I’m trying to transition out of full-time work and into full-time student/part-time work. Hopefully this also means I can get back into blogging regularly, and that both my reading and writing mojo will return!

sunday post

I did manage to finish a book this week, Silver Stars (Front Lines #2) by Michael Grant. It was really, really good. Really good. Also I had to show off this lovely bookmark a friend made for me!

sunday post

I STILL haven’t read ACOWAR. I am afeared of what is to come. Also that people don’t seem to be nearly as happy with it as they were with ACOMAF. But I am obsessed with my new book sleeve, which (shockingly!) actually fits it! I love the moon fabric. Anyone else geeking out over the eclipse tomorrow?

Next Week:

THE ECLIPSE!! Ahem. I’m way too excited for less than 3 minutes of strangeness.

Down the TBR Hole #21
Hyperbole and a Half – graphic novel review
Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1) – YA review

Those reviews are LONG overdue, I read them both before we moved from Korea! Eeeps. But, life. 😛

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Jul 09

Sunday Post #1

Books/Writing, Life 1

Linking up with Kimberly over on Caffeinated Book Reviewer today! Going to give the Sunday Post a whirl for a few weeks and see how it works out for me.

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This week we are supposed to FINALLY receive our shipment of stuff from Korea! And by stuff I mean our BED. I am sooooo tired of sleeping on an air mattress. 😛 Also by stuff I mean BOOKS!!! And shelves. I’m so excited to get everything put into it’s new place here. Of course it’s getting packed up again right before Christmas, but I’m choosing to ignore that for now. Hehe.

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This Week:

  • I was interviewed by Victoria Grace Howell over on her blog Wanderer’s Pen, for her post “So Your Character’s from South Korea...” – go check it out!
  • Not quite THIS week, but I started a blog for all my gardening and herbalism experiments! Check out The Bent Gardener. 😀

Next Week:

  • Down the TBR Hole #20 – finally getting back on the road with this meme and my ever-growing TBR pile!
  • Review of The Hate U Give (YA #OwnVoices)
  • Review of When Dimple Met Rishi (YA, #OwnVoices)

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Anything exciting going on in the book world this week? I feel REALLY out of the loop. Hope you all have a great day!

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Jun 05

New Digs

Life, Musings 11

First look at our new place!

This morning is the first time I have had time to truly relax in several weeks. Yes, there have been moments or even an hour here and there, but for the most part my husband and I have just been GOGOGOGOGO with barely time to breathe. We finally have our own place again, and are trying to settle in…the majority (as in, 85%) of our belongings won’t be here until the end of the month, so we are getting by on what was in our suitcases and the furniture we bought back home! Yay, new furniture!! For the first time in…ever? I’m so excited about it. We were so blessed and able to get amazing deals from some family friends who were retiring their furniture store.

I am IN LOVE.

I am probably the most excited about the roll-top desk that actually stayed in Virginia, due to difficulty of moving and the fact that we will be – drumroll please – moving back there in about 6 months! Why yes, I just love moving twice in one year, don’t you? 😛 But then we will be back HOME and it will all be worth it.

Tennessee isn’t TOO far from home, anyway, and it’s a lot like home. At least it is in the States. Even if some of the uber-conservative-fanatics I’ve seen have me a bit scared. 😛

Sadly I missed the release party for When Dimple Met Rishi, which was in Nashville only about an hour’s drive away from our new place…which we weren’t yet moved into. My pre-ordered book is still waiting on me there, whenever I get a chance to go explore and find Parnassus Books. Which looks amazing, and is obviously a huge priority but I am totally peopled and traveled out and want to do nothing but sit at home on my couch and vegetate. By which I mean read and drink coffee.

Traveling like a little champ.

Tristan spent the last month with my sister-in-law’s family, during which time my 13-year-old niece became super attached to him and I felt horrible taking him back. But I missed my little buddy so so so much! And he seems very happy to be home…he went right back to sleeping in our bed and between us. His fur-parents are much pleased to be back with him. 😀

I’m hoping to be back at writing reviews and updates this week. Not holding my breath, because I’m still not quite sure how work is going to go and of course there’s all the organization stuff that absolutely MUST be done. I’m also trying to start a little container garden on my porch but the season is so far gone already that I’m behind!

So, what have I missed? What’s your new favorite release from April and May? What’s coming up this month that I might have overlooked?

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Apr 20

Reasons I Missed Home

Life, Musings 2

Spring cherry blossoms in South Korea are beautiful…and so is the road ahead.

Not book-related. Well, mostly not book-related. Just me. On all the reasons why moving home after 2 years abroad is such a huge deal. I’ve had great times in Korea…mostly related to the people I’ve met, not the place. The place has been an experience too, and one I’m very grateful to have had…but I’m a homebody. I miss MY family. I miss MY mountains. I miss MY traditions, MY food…my freedom. I’m going home to the States, but I think these feelings can apply to anyone who loves where they come from and is uprooted.

  • I miss my family. My family is nuts. But I love them, and so I miss them. I miss knowing that no matter what goes wrong, I always have a safe place to sleep. I could call my grandma, many of my aunts or uncles, if something in my life went horribly wrong…and as soon as I could get to them or them to me, I would be loved and cared for. I am so blessed. I know so many people who DON’T have that…one of my life goals is to be that place and that person for as many people as I can.
  • I miss having friends that share my interests. Over here…the Americans I hang out with think all my artsy-fartsy-ness is weird, for the most part. Occasionally I’ll get a “Oh that’s so cool I could never have the patience for that!” comment, but for the most part…I’m just the weird nerd standing in the corner while everyone else gets shit-faced drunk. But I’m also the person they call if they don’t know how to get something done. So…yeah, whatever folks. I love you guys, but I’m tired of feeling like I have to defend the things I like to do. Also, I don’t speak enough Korean to really try to find a group of same-interest folks. In the past 3 months I met a Korean that I quickly became friends with, who I share lots of interests with, and it kills me that I have to leave so soon after meeting her. One of those people that you would have done anything to meet earlier.
  • English. I.e., my native language. And my native language is one of if not the most dominant language in the world. How the HELL do people who speak a very minority language survive? Obviously, most of them learn the language of the country they live in, but…goddamn. My hat is off to all those people. I can barely speak a few phrases in Korean. When I first got here, I would get a headache every time I went out because the sheer NOISE of another language being spoken. Now it’s familiar, even if I don’t understand much of it…but I still nearly cry when I go out and someone speaks to me in English. Watch me go home and just spend 2 days bawling in the street because EVERYONE speaks English.
    • That said, this really has opened my eyes to have immigrants and other non-English speakers must feel when they come to the US or UK (or Australia?). I’ve also realized how awkward it feels to not speak the main language of the country in which you live. I see people all the time who just EXPECT South Koreans to speak English. Um, why? This is their country. They speak Korean. We are not entitled to people knowing how to speak English here (even though many do…many more than would speak Korean if they came to the US). Americans…get over it. Stop expecting the world to bow to you. I love my country just as much if not more than the average citizen, even if I admit to and see the many faults our country and government have…but I respect and admire other countries and cultures as well, and I expect that I will have to bend myself to their country when I visit, not the other way around.
  • Cultural differences. I’m all for experience another culture as much as you can. However…I have a lot of hangups when it comes to food (I’m very picky, heh). Also, the personal space bubble. This is far from being a Korea-only thing, as lots of countries and cultures have a much smaller personal bubble than Americans or maybe even other Western countries…but I get really freaked out when people stand all up on me in line, or on a train, or when in a store. It’s not rude here for people to run into you or even push you out of their way…it’s just how it is. And it drives. me. nuts. For god’s SAKE let me breathe.

Does anyone ever truly get used to a place so different from where they were born/raised/lived the majority of their lives? I wonder. I see many people here who have come from the US or the UK and made South Korea their home, and I wonder if I am just a freak or if I just missed the secret to being so happy here. I love experiencing new places and people, but in the end…I don’t belong here. I will miss some people here, very very much. I hope we can stay friends through e-mail and FB and if they ever come visit the US, they will have first dibs on my guest room or couch, whatever I can offer. But in the end, I don’t belong here. This is not my home. These 2 years have been hard. REALLY FREAKING HARD. I’ve struggled in relationships, struggled with my own depression, struggled with feeling like I was doing nothing of value. On the other hand, I have made friends that I know will remain friends no matter how many miles separate us. I have made friends that transcend time and distance, and for them I am eternally grateful – they are what has made my 2 years here worth it. No cultural “experience” can match that.

I’ve learned that making a difference in the quality of people’s lives is probably the single most important thing to me, and knowing that has driven me to make decisions I might not have otherwise had the strength to make. It takes a lot for me to make a decision. I’m not a very decisive person, but I’m hella stubborn and once I’ve made a decision…it pretty much takes hell itself to change my mind. I’m looking forward to the new changes coming, even if they may prove difficult and require some sacrifices.

I’m looking forward to being home.

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Apr 15

To be Still

Life 0

See that face? Deceptively innocent. SO MUCH DECEIT.

It’s Saturday morning. I have 2 nights left in this apartment, and all our furniture was removed yesterday except what will be shipped back to the States (i.e., our bed, a card table, and the bookshelves). I’m sitting on a mattress topper on the floor, nursing my coffee and cuddling with my kitty. Said kitty is BESIDE himself with all the upheavals and goings ons. 🙁 Poor baby. I woke up at about 3:30 a.m. to him sitting on my chest CLEARLY preparing to heave up the contents of his stomach. In my sleep-addled state the only thing I could think of to do was roll over, which deposited him onto the floor JUST as he successful evacuated dinner.

ARGH. Cleaning up vomit in the wee hours in the morning is not my favorite. 😛 At least it wasn’t in his chosen place, i.e., ON MY FACE. Traitorous kitty.

So this morning I should be trying to finish up the two projects I am DETERMINED to finish before we officially move out (a knit toy for my goddaughter and a quilt that has been far too long in the UFO pile). I am also refusing to go sign out of the library until I have FINISHED the last book I have checked out from them, which MIGHT already be 30 days overdue. Ahem.

Anyone read Scythe? It’s pretty good. A new twist on the Grim Reaper business, that’s for sure! A little bit slow in the beginning but I’m almost 200 pages in now and OMG things keep happening. Hehe.

I am trying to allow myself to sit and relax, to center and just BE STILL. If I don’t, I know myself – I will go bonkers. My brain is going a million different directions. I need to just breathe. Breathe, breathe, breathe…

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Apr 13

Mini Sort-of Hiatus

Books/Writing, Life 3


Hi everyone!! Just a quick note…I’m not completely going on hiatus, but my usual posts are going on hold until I can get moved (hopefully about 2 weeks). I tried but I just don’t have the ability to do it all, I can’t concentrate! I’m still reading in the evenings – have to have SOMETHING to de-stress, but writing posts and reviews has kind of gone out the window. My place is a disaster zone, everything is halfpacked and everywhere and…AAAAAAAHHHH!! That picture up there? Yeah, that’s actually the floor of my spare bedroom right now. 😝

On the bright side, once we actually fly out of Korea, we’ll be on vacation for about 3 weeks and I should have plenty of time to catch up. 🙂 In the meantime, I’m throwing up some reviews on GoodReads now and then, so please go give me a follow if you haven’t already! See you all soon.

The Bent Bookworm @ GoodReads 

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