Five Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

sociallyawkwardbookwormorange

Hey!

As of today, I have been blogging for five years! I know I say this all the time, but it’s still pretty mind-blowing! A big achievement that I made was reaching 1700+ followers. I never thought that was a possibility when I started this blog. I’ve gone through so much over the last five years with blogging. Sometimes I am really surprised I’m even still here. But I am so happy that I stuck with it, because I’ve met so many great friends and discovered so many new books through the blogging community. I am really excited to see what this next year has in store for me. I am really hoping to post more things, continue the friendships I made  over the years, and meet some new friends!

In the past I’ve done giveaways for my blogiversary and they’ve been successful, so I am going to do another giveaway this year! It will run from today (January 17) until January 31st. I will randomly pick and announce TWO winners on February 1st. 📖

You will win:
+ A book of your choice up to $20, so basically any book as long as it’s not more than $20.

How to enter:
+ Follow my blog (if you’re not already).
+ Comment your favorite book you read in 2019.

Do both of those things and you’re entered, pretty easy! This giveaway will be International as long as Book Depository ships to you. If you are in the USA, I can send from Amazon if you prefer that way.

GOOD LUCK!! & thanks for reading my blog over the last five years!

In case you missed it;
Release Day [January 14].
5 Star Reads of 2019.
Book Tag|| New Year’s Resolution.

I hope you have a great day and weekend!

ashleyblack

Release Day [January 14].

releaseday

Hey!

I wanted to share three books that were released today (January 14th) that I am excited to read. I was sent ARCs for the following books, but thanks to this dreaded reading slump I haven’t had the chance to read and review them yet. I wanted to talk about them and show them off though! Reviews will be coming for each one as soon as I get the chance to read them. Now onto the three books!

followers Followers by Megan Angelo

Goodreads Description: Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success. Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks. Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.


luckycallerLucky Caller by Emma Mills

Goodreads Description: When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year, she expects it to be a walk in the park. Instead, it’s a complete disaster. The members of Nina’s haphazardly formed radio team have approximately nothing in common. And to maximize the awkwardness her group includes Jamie, a childhood friend she’d hoped to basically avoid for the rest of her life. The show is a mess, internet rumors threaten to bring the wrath of two fandoms down on their heads, and to top it all off Nina’s family is on the brink of some major upheaval. Everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control―but maybe control is overrated?


findingmrbetter

Finding Mr. Better-Than-You by Shani Petroff

Goodreads Description: Camryn has been dating Marc FOREVER—since freshman year! She dropped out of volleyball to go to all his games, switched her schedule around to be in his favorite class, and has been busting her butt to get into Columbia so they can go to the same college. So when Marc suddenly, and very publically, breaks up with her a week into their senior year so that he can date the new transfer student, she’s absolutely devastated. But why be sad, when you can get even? Inspired by her favorite movies, Camryn decides that the best revenge is a Senior Year well lived, starring a boy who is ever so much better than her ex. With a little help from her friends, Cam is going to have the Best. Senior. Year. Ever. Or else!

There are a little over two weeks left in the month of January, so I still have hope that I will read these before the month ends and get my reviews posted ASAP for you guys! Let’s hope this reading slump ends ASAP and hope that I can finish my current read in the next day or two. By the way, I think I may make this a regular thing (type of post) on my blog for the ARCs that I don’t get the chance to read right away before they hit the shelves. I do mention them in haul posts, but it’ll be nice to showcase them in another post of their own as well. Just so that they can be on everyone’s radar and to know that I have not forgotten them!

Any books that were released this week that I should add to my TBR? Are you excited for any of the three that I mention?

I thought I would end this post with an updated picture of my bookshelves. I still want to reorganize them, but from far away it looks perfect. Any new books I buy aren’t in any order and I just add them to empty spaces, so I want to basically take everything off and completely reorganize…eventually. I need to find the motivation first, haha. I also need to find a new place for my unopened Funko Pops and miscellaneous things, because I’m eventually going to need that space for more books haha. 😛

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I’ll catch up with all of your posts and reply to comments later today or tomorrow morning. I am currently doing a ton of laundry and really trying hard to push through the reading slump to finish Thunderhead. I’m about 50% through with it and my Kindle seems to think I can finish it in three hours….I don’t believe that (especially with this reading slump and messing around on my phone too much), but we’ll see what happens.

In case you missed it;
5 Star Reads of 2019.
Book Tag|| New Year’s Resolution.
Mini Review|| Husband Material.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

5 Star Reads of 2019.

booksiread

Hey!

I thought it would be fun to do blog posts showing the books that I read throughout the year and what I rated them. This list is my five star reads and I’ll do posts for my other star rating books as well. They are mostly in the order that I read them, but I did group book series together. You can check out a list of all the books that I read in 2019 over here. Links to any reviews I did for these books are on that page as well. All titles linked to Goodreads.

greatalonecrookedkingdomjustforclicks

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell

thelittestarraynethetest

The Little Star by Randy Richburg (couldn’t find on Goodreads)
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (read twice)
Heartstopper Vol 1 by Alice Oseman
Heartstopper Vol 2 by Alice Oseman

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Summer of ’69 by Todd Strasser
The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

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Happy Messy Scary Love by Leah Konen
We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra
Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo (audiobook)

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Heroine by Mindy McGinnish
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Psycho by Robert Bloch (audiobook)

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Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (audiobook)

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (audiobook)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York by Kim Smith
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (audiobook)

I was actually really surprised by how many five star books I read last year. For some reason I thought it wasn’t as many. These are books that I absolutely loved and thought were really amazing. I’ll have my four star post coming in the next day or two.

What books did you give five stars to in 2019? See any favorites on my list?

I am pretty sure I’m in a reading slump and it’s only two weeks into the new year, ugh. Last year in January I read 10 books, but so far I am only at two! Another not so good thing, I went to turn on my desktop computer (there’s usually where I blog from) and for some reason it won’t turn on. I’m using my laptop now, but it’s kind of a pain to blog from here because my screen is so small. It’s not like a normal sized laptop, it has a really small screen. Not a good start to the new year, sigh. Hopefully I can figure out what to do about both the reading slump and the computer.

In case you missed it;
Book Tag|| New Year’s Resolution.
Mini Review|| Husband Material.
2020 Personal Goals.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Book Tag|| New Year’s Resolution.

booktag

Hi!

I seen the New Year’s Resolution book tag over on Kristin’s blog Kristin Kraves Books and thought it would be fun to do since it’s the start of  a new year!

An author you’d like to read that you’ve never read:

thesmallestpart

The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

I really want to check out Amy Harmon’s books. They always sound so interesting and I always see good reviews about them. I have the e-book of The Smallest Part, so maybe I’ll finally check out something by her this year.


A book you’d like to read:

infinityson

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

Infinity Son is one of my highly anticipated reads of the year and I really hope I read it this year. I am so bad at never reading my highly anticipated books as soon as I get them and a year+ will go by before I finally grab it off my shelf. I need to be better about this, haha. I am really excited to see what Adam does with a fantasy novel.


A classic you’d like to read:

janeeyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I’m not really that big a fan of classics, but I think I would like to read Jane Eyre. I also have this really cool edition of it that when you fold the pages it’ll spell out “READ”. I’ve had it for years and wanted it as a decoration for my bookshelves, but I also wanted to do it as I read through the book and never have. Maybe I finally will this year?


A book you’d like to re-read:

FALLINGKINGDOMS

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

I don’t really reread books that often, but I would like to reread the Falling Kingdoms series. I read the whole series back in 2018 I believe and I love it so much. I would love to read it again.


A book you’ve had for ages and want to read:

emmy

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

This is a tough one, because I own so many books that I’ve had for years and have yet to read. I think I will go with Emmy & Oliver, because it’s one I’ve had for a really long time and it was also one that at the time it was released was one of my highly anticipated releases that I never got to.


A big book you’d like to read:

queenofairanddarkness

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Big books scare me! I always tend to listen to audiobooks for those bigger books. That’s what I will probably end up doing with Queen of Air and Darkness at some point this year. I am actually (surprisingly) enjoying the Dark Artifices series and I am really looking forward to this third book. According to Goodreads this book has 900+ pages.


An author you’ve previously read and would like to read more of:

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

I read Emergency Contact a couple years ago and loved it so much. I would love to read more books from Mary H.K. Choi. I have the book that she published last year called Permanent Record and haven’t had the chance to read it yet. Hoping to finally read it at some point this year. I believe she even has a new one being released this year too.


A book you got for Christmas and would like to read:

ninthhouse

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

One of the books that I got for Christmas this year was Ninth House. I really enjoy Leigh Bardugo’s books, so I definitely want to try to read this one at some point this year.


A series you want to read from start to finish:

hiddenoracle

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

I would love to finally start The Trials of Apollo series. I love Rick Riordan’s books and I have yet to start this series. I believe there is a book five coming out in the Fall of this year, so maybe I will finally start the series once book five is released. I am really stoked for the series.


A series you want to finish that you’ve already started:

jackaby

Jackaby by William Ritter

I read Jackaby last year and I really loved it. I would love to get the other books in the series and finish it. I had so much fun reading it, so I think I would really enjoy the rest of the series as well. I think I actually have the e-book for the sequel, so hopefully soon!


Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2020?

I do set myself some reading goals, which I will link my blog post of all those goals at the end of this post. I am not always the best at sticking to them, but I still like to make a list. As for how many books I want to read this year, I have my Goodreads challenge goal at 60 books. That doesn’t include audiobooks (I count them separately). Last year I was able to read 63 books, so hopefully I will be able to again and more!

My family is coming to visit again for the weekend and I’m looking forward to that. We were supposed to take my niece to to Busch Gardens last Saturday for her birthday, but it ended up raining so we decided to save it for this weekend. Hopefully it doesn’t rain tomorrow, but the weather has been kind of iffy on my weather app, so I really have no idea. Anyway, I will catch up with you guys later this weekend. 🙂

In case you missed it;
Mini Review|| Husband Material.
2020 Personal Goals.
2020 Reading Goals.

I hope you have a great day and weekend!

ashleyblack

Mini Review|| Husband Material.

husbandmaterial

Husband Material by Emily Belden
3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Description: Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it. Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not. But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.


I received an ARC of Husband Material from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It was published on December 30th.

I read Eighty-Sixed from Emily Belden years ago and it made me want to read all her books, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read Husband Material.  I ended up giving the book three stars. I liked it and it had some really great moments, but I felt like it took awhile to get into it or for things to happen. I struggled a little bit with it and it wasn’t what I expected it was going to be. That doesn’t mean it was  bad book though, because I did like it and I really liked the characters. Charlotte had to navigate life the best she could after losing her husband. She battled with her own demons and guilt in regards to that and things from her past resurfacing. There were a couple little things that I didn’t see coming, so that was a plus. I’m glad it wasn’t too predictable. While I didn’t love Husband Material, I did enjoy it. I would still recommend checking it out.


I’ll catch up with your posts and reply to comments later today. I need to get out of bed and start my day. If I don’t get up now, I’ll probably end up laying here all day haha.

In case you missed it;
2020 Personal Goals.
2020 Reading Goals.
2019 Year in Books (Reading Stats).

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

2020 Personal Goals.

personalgoals

Hey!

I created a goals post for reading/blogging (linked at the end of this post), but figured I would do one for my personal goals as well. I had a list of goals for 2019, but I only accomplished maybe five of them. I want to try again and really hoping that I finally get around to some of these things! So what they?

Master my Nikon D3400 manual mode. I’ve had my Nikon for a couple years now and I have yet to really use it other than always having it on “auto”. I want to learn all the camera settings and really start learning the basics. I take pretty great pictures with it, but it’ll be nice to really learn the ins and outs and take even better ones.

Use Duolingo at least 15 minutes every day. I’ve been off and on with Duolingo for years. I’ve been going through the Spanish language with it. My dad is Guatemalan and it would be nice to learn Spanish. We were never taught growing up. I want to start the program over and do it every single day for at least fifteen minutes (can be more if I feeling up to it), so I can finally learn the language.

Learn to cook/make more meals myself & eat healthier. I have no idea how to cook and I honestly never really try very much. I’ve started to sort of learn and actually try in 2019, but a lot of stuff is just boxed or canned and I would love to learn how to cook with more fresh ingredients and spices. I also want to make healthier meals, because we don’t always eat the best things and we eat out way too much.

Setup a daily exercise routine & lose 25 pounds. Toward the beginning of 2019 I started doing this monthly exercise challenges and I did it for three months straight. I thought I noticed some progress, but for some reason I just stopped doing it. I want to try again and exercise regularly. I would also like to lose 25-30 pounds. I know I’ve gained quite a bit of weight over the last few years, so it would be nice to get healthy and lose some pounds.

Start a bullet journal. I’ve always wanted to start a bullet journal. In 2018 I even got two bullet journals and a bunch of supplies (pens, washi tape, stencils, and stickers), but never got around to setting them up. More because I have no idea where to even start! So I want to possibly finally do this.

Change my last name. I got married in March 2017 and I still have not changed my last name officially. I did on Facebook (LOL), but not legally. Lots of things prevented me from doing it and then everything with buying a house and all of that, I just figured it would be easier to just keep everything to same for now. I want to finally change my last name.

Get my driver’s license. This is LOOOOONG overdue, seriously. I think it’s my anxiety that really prevented me from ever doing this, to be honest. Well, when I was in high school, the fact that I never went to school stopped me at first. But then I developed some major anxiety about the world and driving and that’s the main reason now. I really need to work on my fear of driving and the world, so I can practice and finally do it.

Go through my closet and donate clothes. I own so many clothes (the hubby too) and we don’t even wear half of them. I want to finally go through our dresser and closet to get rid of clothes to donate and finally organize our closet. It’s so hard letting things go sometimes, but like I said, we don’t wear half of the clothes we have.

Complete a few house projects. Our house while it’s really great, it’s also a work in progress, because there’s quite a few things I would love to change/update. I’m hoping to do a few more things this new year. Like finally paint our bedroom and redo the flooring in there. We have all the supplies, just never got around to doing it before the year ended. I would also love to repaint the kitchen cabinets and repaint the entire inside of our house. Also a few little inexpensive things like changing all the doorknobs on the bedrooms/closets/bathroom doors.

Go on a trip somewhere. We didn’t really get to travel last year and we don’t really get to that often. I want to plan a trip somewhere for a long weekend (or even an entire week). Possibly Savannah, GA or Colorado. I would even love to go visit Maren (The Worn Bookmark) in Minnesota. All of these are actually possible if we try for them. But even if we can only make it to one place this year, I would be happy.

Complete Kingdom Hearts 3 & Pokemon Sword. I really need to finish these games, especially Kingdom Hearts 3 as I’ve had it for awhile now and have been slacking with playing! I really enjoy the game, but just haven’t been in the mood to play lately. I’m probably halfway through it now. I started Pokemon Sword and got my third gym badge. I need to get back into it, because I feel guilty that I really wanted it and spent the money for it and then after awhile stopped playing. I enjoy the game as well. I guess I’ve been more focused on reading recently instead.

I really just want to find out who I am this year, because honestly, I don’t even know who I am anymore. 2019 really messed with my self-confidence and shattered who I thought I was.

Do you have any personal goals that you hope to accomplish in 2020? Feel free to link me to your posts if you have one.

In case you missed it;
2020 Reading Goals.
2019 Year in Books (Reading Stats).
Wrap Up|| December.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

2020 Reading Goals.

readingoals

Hey!

I hope you’re having a great start to the new year. I thought I would once again post my reading goals for the year. It’s always fun to think about and to make lists. Some of these goals are repeats or similar from last year, because I really want to continue to stick to these goals this year as well or finally accomplish them if I haven’t in past years.

2020 Goodreads Challenge. I am going to keep it at 60 books for this year as I did last year. I’m in a weird place right now, so I want to make sure I have a good balance between focusing on things happening in my life and reading/blogging. I also barely accomplished 60 books last year (not including audiobooks), so I don’t want to increase it this year.

Read 25 of my own books. What I mean by this is reading older books I own. Books I buy this year don’t count toward this goal. I struggle a lot with this goal every single year, because new books get released and then I read a lot of library books and ARCs. I am drowning in unread books that I bought years ago. In past years I’ve had this count really high and never reached it, so this year I decided to go with a lower number and making it 25 instead of 40 like I had it last year. I think (hope) I can read 25 of my older books. I read 15 last year, so I think if I really try hard at this then I’ll be able to read 25.

Don’t fall behind on ARCs. I usually do really good with my ARCs at the beginning of the year, but toward the end of the year with the holidays always coming up quick, I always seem to fall behind. This year I also dealt with a lot toward the end of the year with things happening in my life and my mental health. I want to try to figure out a good schedule and work around it, so I don’t fall behind this year. I will say though, I did stay on top of my Netgalley ARCs. I love ARCs, I love to review them, but falling behind totally sucks! It takes all the fun out of it, which is never good.

Continue to buy less books. I’ve been pretty proud of myself with not buying so many books the last couple years. Not that I don’t want them, because I do. There’s so many books that I want, BUT sometimes I buy them and they sit on my bookshelf for years never being read. I have so many older books sitting on my shelves right now that I need to finally read. I’ve been using my library a lot for those new books if I am really dying to read them. Plus, things are going to be pretty tight money wise this year because I lost my job. I need to save as many pennies as I can.

Re-organize my bookshelves and my Goodreads shelves. They are both (real & virtual shelves) kind of a mess and cluttered right now. I want to clean up my Goodreads shelves, because there are so many books added to my “to read” shelf that I probably forgot about and might have lost interest in. My real shelves don’t really have much organization minus keeping paperback/hardcovers together and keeping authors together if the format is the same. I want to organize it better and maybe do some kind of theme/look. And this also brings me to my next goal…

Get rid of books I didn’t like or plan to reread. I didn’t do very great with this goal last year, but I am hoping that I will this year. I have so many books on my bookshelves that lets be real, I probably will never get around to reading or books I never want to reread. I want to sit down and really figure out which ones to keep and which ones I can let go. It’s so hard letting books go, but I know that other people will love to have them and they are just collecting dust on my bookshelf. I also really want to own books I love versus just having a ton of books taking up space that could be used for new books/new favorites.

Get back into bookstagram. I’ve been so back and forth with my bookstagram over the last couple of years. I want to put a lot more focus into starting my account up again. I’ve had fun with it in the past, so I really want to get back into it. I also loved following other accounts and checking out all the new books and bookish items. I haven’t really gone through my bookstagram feed in months, so I am probably missing out on so much! Hopefully I can get some new ideas and start it up again.

Focus more on my blog and new content. It’s not a surprise that the last couple of years haven’t been the greatest as far as blogging goes. I didn’t blog nearly as much as I wanted to, especially in 2019. I want to try to get a blogging schedule going and come up with some new content to include as well. I also want to start sharing my pictures again. I was out of space, but I gained a little extra space after upgrading my blog again. I also really want to try to come up with a more permanent solution for the photo storage situation.

I hope to be around more in 2020! I love having this blog and I love connecting with you. I’ve gained so many new followers and friends in 2019 (I have almost 1700 followers which is pretty big to me), so I am hoping 2020 is even better. I can’t wait to continue our friendships, creating new friendships, and reading all of your posts. 🙂

What are some goals you have for this year? Feel free to link me to your posts if you have one!

I’ll have a 2020 personal goals list coming soon. I don’t think I ever posted one in past years, but I thought it would be fun to do one for this year. Maybe by sharing it, it’ll help me to stay on top of things that I want to accomplish for myself outside of reading/blogging too.

In case you missed it;
2019 Year in Books (Reading Stats).
Wrap Up|| December.
Book Haul|| December.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack