My New Blog Home – I’m Moving (with a GIVEAWAY)!

YOU GUYS!!!  You guys, you guys, you guys.  CHECK IT OUT! I’M MOVING!

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I did it. I went ahead and took the plunge and now I have my own actual real-life .com web address, a gorgeous new blog header (and blog hosting!) courtesy of the awesome amazing Creative Whim, who you should seriously all be using for your web hosting/blog transfer needs.

So please come check me out at Oh Magic Hour’s new home and enter to be one of three prizewinners of up to four books.  All the details and information are over there!

I will NOT be updating this blog anymore after this post, so if you follow me here PLEASE consider joining me over there! Excited to keep talking books with you!

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Epic Recs (2): March with Danie!

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Ok – I loved participating in Epic Recs so much last month that I am doing it again!  Epic Recs is a really fun online book club idea hosted by Judith at Paper Riot and Amber from Books of Amber.  Basically they recommend books to each other every month that the other one has to read and review.  And they’ve opened this awesomeness up to others to participate in and they will even pair you up with someone who’s reading taste they think goes along with yours.  Can we just talk for a second about how awesome this is?  If you’re interested in more info and the rules and whatnot, check out Judith’s post here.

This month I am teaming up with one of my best blogosphere friends Danie from The Bookish Brunette!  Danie’s blog is so amazing and a must visit for basically everyone.  If you like my blog, you will DEFINITELY love hers.

So what are we reading this month? 

VA madman

I was actually pretty torn on what to recommend Danie this month until I read her most recent Top Ten Tuesday post!  In that post, Danie mentioned that she had never read anything by Richelle Mead and I just KNEW I had to recommend Vampire Academy.  I think Danie is going to really love Rose and REALLY freaking love Dimitri.  Even better, Rose and Lissa have (at least in this first book) one of my favorite friendships in all of YA and so I knew I had to recommend this for Danie.  When I first read this book, I got so swept up in the series that I basically marathoned all six.  I really hope Danie loves this series as much as I did!

Danie suggested I read The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd.  Here’s what she had to say about it:

“I am choosing this one because it was my all-time favorite of last year. And everyone needs to read it. It was beautifully written, and the story itself was perfect. I honestly have so much love for this book. I wasn’t interested in it at all, until I got the sequel for review so I decided to try it. And became obsessed with it. I push it on everyone. If the time period isn’t your thing, or the subject matter bugs you a bit, keep reading. Go into it with a completely open mind.”

I am have had this one on my radar for so long and really keep meaning to get to it.  I mean, that cover!  I am super-excited that Danie pushed this one on me and I can’t wait to see what I think.  Come back at the end of the month to see how we liked these awesome books! And in the meantime, definitely check out Danie’s post here to see what she thinks of her rec this month!

February Wrap-Up

Hey all!  I am starting a new thing here on the blog: the monthly wrap-up!  I will probably mess with the formatting a bit as I figure out the way that works best for me, but here we go!  The format for this first one was totally inspired by the awesome Rachel over at Tiger Lily Rachel (though hers, as usual, looks way prettier) – you should definitely check her February wrap-up out as well!

Overall Stats

This month overall was really strong, reading-wise.  I was able to complete 19 books, bringing my total up to 50 books for the year.  This is insane to me; the highest reading year I have EVER had before now was 132 books (still strong), but I am on pace to pretty much crush that.

My 19 books included two novellas and two graphic novels, and all together included a grand total of 6,041 pages.  Insane!  As usual, my most-read genre was YA (9/19 books), but actually some of my very favorite reads this month were adult novels.  If you want to see everything I read, and read at least a short review, you can check out my Read This Month shelf on Goodreads by clicking here.  I tend to leave this up for “last month” for at least a week or so.

Five-Star Reads

This month, I actually had three five-star reads (and a crap-ton of four star reads).  My five-star reads were:

The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Spinning Heart   vicious   never sky

I actually think that order is even the order I would internally rank those 5-star reads.  I actually gave Under the Never Sky four stars at first, until about a week later when I STILL hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it.  It was one of my favorite YA dystopians in awhile, and that is saying something.  Don’t know what took me so long, but I’m glad to be on-board that train now!

February Book Reviews, Features and Favorite Posts

I was able to write four book reviews this month (and honestly, I thought it was more!).  I will definitely focus on increasing this number for next month.  If you are interested in checking those out, here they are again!

A Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (5/5 stars)
The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson (3/5 stars)
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott (4/5 stars)
Unwind by Neil Shusterman (4/5 stars)

That last review was done as a part of Epic Recs, which is a really fun feature where book bloggers pair off together and make book recommendations to each other.  I had SO much fun doing it, and I highly suggest you check out that post to learn more!

I also participated in the Book Blogger LoveAThon this month and had the opportunity to meet so many more bloggers and add a TON of great blogs to my reading lists. I really need to update my blog roll and that is definitely on my to-do list.  To see what the LoveAThon was all about you can check out my LoveAThon 2014 category here! If you’ve never participated before, I HIGHLY recommend it next time it comes around! It was hands down the most fun I’ve had blogging!

My personal favorite post was actually made on January 30, but with the Academy Awards coming up, I want to give it a little more love and that was the Bookish Academy Awards tag that I filched from BookTube.  I had SO much fun putting this post together!  Check it out here!

I had SUCH a fun month blogging and reading.  I can’t wait to see what March brings!!

#LoveAThon – Mini-Challenge #4 – Mash-Up

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Hey all! I signed up to participate in the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon, hosted by Katelyn from Tales of Books and Bands and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books.  Basically this is an entire event surrounded around giving love to book bloggers out there and helping share the love.  What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend, am I right?  I am so excited to take some time this weekend to poke around the blogosphere giving love to the bloggers that really inspire me and finding new ones to follow!  To see all the details, check out either one of their blogs or follow the hashtag #LoveAThon on Twitter.  There are chats and giveaways and lots of fun to be had.  Join us!

This mini-challenge focuses around creating a mash-up between reading and other things we really love to do.  Technically, we are supposed to mash it up with a non-bookish pursuit, but let’s be honest – so far this year I have read 45 books.  I really don’t DO much else except hang out with the family and I didn’t think the normal readers of this blog would love a top 10 children’s books or something. Of course, I have some other hobbies like cooking and music and whatnot, but nothing really rises to the level of my love for reading. So! I decided to mash-up books with books!

I love a good book that is about books.  I’ve listed some of my favorites below, but I would also really love to know if you have read any other book-based fiction.

Top 5 Books About Books

1. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

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This book is like a cross between the National Treasure movies or the Da Vinci Code and an afternoon spent in your favorite bookstore. It explores the differences between e-books and physical books, and at the end of the day is basically just a love-letter to books themselves. Anyone who loves books will end up being charmed by this one.

2. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

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If Penumbra is a love-story about books, this one is a love-story about booksellers. Full disclosure, this one isn’t released until April 2014, and I’ll do a full review of it before that time. But suffice to say that if you’ve ever fallen in love with an independant bookstore or spent hours upon hours in a library, you cannot help but love this book. I guarantee that book bloggers will be highlighting the crap out of this one and I will be highly recommending it as it comes out.

3. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (and the entire Thursday Next series)

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The Eyre Affair is the start of an excellent series by Jasper Fforde, written in his usual irreverant, fantastical style. The books are set in mid-1980s London, and there is a part of the police force that is required to jump in and out of books to deal with things that may go wrong inside the pages.  There are scads of inside jokes for readers and book lovers and it’s just a really fun take on the importance and static-nature of literature.

4. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King (and the entire Mary Russell series)

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This one is a little different because it’s not exactly a study on books themselves, but it is a different take on a beloved character – Sherlock Holmes. This series is set sometime after the Conan Doyle writings on Holmes have been published, but as though Holmes was a real person all along. He takes on a new apprentice, one more his equal in many respects than the Doyle version of Watson (spoiler: he’s not actually as helpful as Martin Freeman) — a young, American woman. They go about solving crimes and foiling plots together in the usual Sherlock-ian manner, and it’s just a joy to see this different side of that character.

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

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This is an epistolary novel set in World War II made up of letters between an author looking for an idea for her next book and members of a book club on the island of Guernsey.  It’s been awhile since I read this one, so it’s less fresh in my mind, but I remember it being a really feel-good tale with some dark underpinnings related to the WWII setting. I’ll let this quote from the Goodreads summary speak for itself: “Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.”

Enter The Giveaway

My Love-A-Thon partner Rachel just posted an awesome review of Cress and Marissa Meyer just came here to Dallas for a book signing, so we thought we would take the opportunity to offer you guys a signed copy of the book!  Just follow the handy dandy steps in the Rafflecopter below anytime between now and Monday.  We will contact the winner by February 19!

Just click here to enter – a Rafflecopter giveaway!!!

cress

#LoveAThon – Mini-Challenge #1 – Book Spine Poetry

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Hey all! I signed up to participate in the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon, hosted by Katelyn from Tales of Books and Bands and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books.  Basically this is an entire event surrounded around giving love to book bloggers out there and helping share the love.  What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend, am I right?  I am so excited to take some time this weekend to poke around the blogosphere giving love to the bloggers that really inspire me and finding new ones to follow!  To see all the details, check out either one of their blogs or follow the hashtag #LoveAThon on Twitter.  There are chats and giveaways and lots of fun to be had.  Join us!

Part of the fun is the mini-challenges and this is the first one! It’s time for some Book Spine Poetry!  This is my first time trying my hand at this and it was actually so much fun!

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Ghost Story

Kiss of steel.

Gun, with occasional music.

Never Fade.

Unravel me, into the still blue.

Tell the wolves I’m home, under the never sky.

Okay for now.

Time for a #LoveAThon – Plus a Giveaway!

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Hey all! I signed up to participate in the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon, hosted by Katelyn from Tales of Books and Bands and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books.  Basically this is an entire event surrounded around giving love to book bloggers out there and helping share the love.  What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend, am I right?  I am so excited to take some time this weekend to poke around the blogosphere giving love to the bloggers that really inspire me and finding new ones to follow!  To see all the details, check out either one of their blogs or follow the hashtag #LoveAThon on Twitter.  There are chats and giveaways and lots of fun to be had.  Join us!

As part of the Love-A-Thon, the awesome hosts pair us up with another blogger to do a little interview and get to know them. I about lost my little mind when I saw I was paired with Rachel from Tiger Lily Rachel.  She is one of my favorite book bloggers and I am really excited to potentially introduce her to someone who might not already know how awesome she is.  She primarily blogs about books, but also music and gives some great blogging advice. I love the voice of her blog and think her reviews are spot on.  You should DEFINITELY go check her out if by some chance you haven’t already – and you can read my interview with her over there as well!

Interview with Rachel from Tiger Lily Rachel

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How long have you been blogging and what are some of your high points from your blogging history?

I’ve been blogging since July of 2012, so about a year and a half! I think some of my high points include getting the chance to interview Leila Howland (author of Nantucket Blue) and going to BEA.

What’s your favorite genre to read and why? 

My favorite genre is contemporary YA. It’s what I relate to the most and I love seeing how other people/characters deal with situations that I’ve been through.

What’s your go to strategy for busting a reading slump?

First I let myself take a few days off. Most of my reading slumps come from reading a lot of books one right after another, so sometimes I just need time away. Then I’ll pick up a book that I can almost guarantee I’ll like and that isn’t for review, and that generally helps.

What do you do with your time aside from blogging?

Well, I’m a student so I spend a lot of time in classes/doing homework. But hobby wise, I’m often out for coffee or lunch with my friends, and probably shopping too. I love to go to concerts with friends as well.

One of my favorite parts of your blog is your musical recommendations – do you listen to music when you read?  Do you have any other reading habits or traditions?

Aww, thank you! I do not listen to music when I read. I can’t concentrate at all and prefer to read in silence. One reading habit I have is I always have to read before bed or I won’t be able to fall asleep. It helps take my mind off of things and relax. I also can only read one book at a time. I was recently reading three books at a time and that was a disaster.

How do you prefer to read – e-reader, hard copy, library books, paperbacks?

Hmmm. I prefer to use my kindle when I’m reading in bed because I can read in the dark, and I love that I can carry hundred of books with me, but I don’t know if it’ll ever replace hard copies. I love holding a book in my hand.

 Top 5 books of the moment? (I’d never ask you to pick forever!)

Ooh! I like this one. Right now I’d say When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, Clean by Amy Reed, Moonglass by Jessi Kirby, and Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker.

What character that you’ve read do you think would make an excellent friend?

This is biased because I’m in love with him, but I’d love to have Perry from Under the Never Sky as my friend.

Where can we find you?

On my blog at Tiger Lily Rachel, on Twitter @tigerlilyrachel, or follow me on Instagram for bookish pictures at tigerlilyrachel.

Enter Our Giveaway

Rachel just posted an awesome review of Cress and Marissa Meyer just came here to Dallas for a book signing, so we thought we would take the opportunity to offer you guys a signed copy of the book!  Just follow the handy dandy steps in the Rafflecopter below anytime between now and Monday.  We will contact the winner by February 19!

Just click here to enter – a Rafflecopter giveaway!!!

cress

My First Epic Recs!

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I am so freaking excited!  This is my first time participating in Epic Recs, which is a really fun online book club idea hosted by Judith at Paper Riot and Amber from Books of Amber.  Basically they recommend books to each other every month that the other one has to read and review.  And they’ve opened this awesomeness up to others to participate in and they will even pair you up with someone who’s reading taste they think goes along with yours.  Can we just talk for a second about how awesome this is?  If you’re interested in more info and the rules and whatnot, check out Judith’s post here.

This month I was paired up with the AWESOME Kim from The Avid Reader.  Not only have I gained a really awesome book recommendation, but another really awesome bookish friend!  You should definitely check out her awesome blog if you haven’t already for some really amazing YA recommendations.

So what are we reading this month? 

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I checked out her shelves and IMMEDIATELY knew I had to push Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. It fit right in with her love for strong female leads, YA slow-burn romances, and desire to start a new series. I really hope she loves it – I sure did!

Kim suggested I read Unwind by Neil Shusterman.  Here’s what she had to say about it:

“For you, I was torn in at least three different directions… but then I read your review of The Darkest Minds, and your sheer enthusiasm for that book made me decide that I’m picking Unwind, by Neal Shusterman for you. You said that part of your love for The Darkest Minds stemmed from its close examination of Ruby’s character – how her past has shaped the person she has become. You’ll have a similar appreciation for Connor, Risa and Lev. This is one of my favorite books and I think if you like dystopian even a little you can’t help but love this one. It’s definitely one that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.”

I am super excited to dig into this one!  Come back at the end of the month to see how we liked them and in the meantime, check out Kim’s Epic Recs post here!