What’s in Your Bag… Bella Swan?

Confession time: I have a weird obsession with getting a peek inside other people’s bags. Those magazine features that show you what celebs tote around in their purses? Love them. Pinterest pics that give you a glimpse of what to carry in your school or gym bag? Can’t get enough of ’em.

What’s in Your Bag is a new feature that combines books with my curiosity and speculates what characters in books I’ve read would carry in their own bag.

The items I curate are based on the character’s personality & hobbies, facts mentioned in the book, and a little of my own imagination. If you have an idea of a character you’d like to see featured on WIYB, or you think of something they’d have in their bag that I didn’t list, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

In the first installment of What’s in Your Bag, we get a glimpse inside Bella Swan’s backpack:

Whats in your bag1WIYB bella swan

  • Because Bella is a no-frills kinda girl, she wouldn’t carry around a purse but a simple, worn canvas backpack instead.
  • Ray Ban sunglasses are cool without trying to be cool. Plus, she needs to shield her eyes from Edward’s sparkly bod when he starts to shine too brightly.
  • Every girl carries around lip balm. Bella carries Burt’s Bees because it’s practical and gets the job done.
  • Music is a must, so it only makes sense she has an iPod to listen to her favorite classical symphonies (including “Bella’s Lullaby”) on the go.
  • Bella is a bookworm who probably always has a book in her bag. Since Wuthering Heights is her favorite book, it only makes sense that she’s carrying it around as she reads it for the hundredth time.
  • Whether it’s to just keep her hair out her face, or pull it up in a quick ponytail to keep the vamps from sniffing her out, having an endless supply of hair ties is a given.
  • Between school and her supernatural life, Bella leads a hectic life. So when she needs to pull an all-night study sesh, keep up with Edward, or hang out Jacob and his wolf pack, she can maintain her energy with a quick snack. Plus, the potassium in bananas is great for preventing anemia (for the occasional vamp bite).

Bella Swan is the teenaged heroine in Stephanie Meyer’s YA supernatural Twilight series.

Murder, She Read

Murder She Readjessica fletcherAnyone who’s a fan of mystery series — be it TV shows, movies, or books — is bound to be familiar with the popular show Murder, She Wrote. Even though the show debuted years before I was born, I remember catching the reruns that seemed to always air in marathons — perfect for binge-watching at all hours of the day. I have fond memories of watching it with my grandma and as soon as I found out it was on Netflix I added it to my Favorites list ASAP.

A few years back while I was browsing a used bookstore I came across a Murder, She Wrote serial book. I’d heard of other TV shows that had been made into print series (i.e., Star Trek, Monk, The X-Files), but how had I missed that one of my favorite shows had been translated into books?? The series is written in first person and chronicles Jessica Fletcher and her mystery-solving adventures across the globe — exactly like the TV show!

One of the things I love most is that the books are all “written” by Jessica Fletcher, with Donald Bain as the co-author. Bain, who is the actual author, does an excellent job of capturing Mrs. Fletcher’s style and has been the sole writer of the series since the release of the first book, Gin and Daggers, in 1989.

Though Gin and Daggers was released in ’89 the series didn’t really kick off until after the second book (Manhattans and Murder) was released in 1994. Since then, more than 40 books have been published — all of which I’ve been working to add to my personal collection.

It’s no secret I’m a sucker for series; there’s something comforting about going back to the same town or set of characters. With the Murder She Wrote series, I’m able to tag along with Mrs. Fletcher and revisit Cabot Cove, which is especially comforting to me. With nearly 50 books already published (and no sign of the series stopping either!) it looks like I’ll be able to enjoy this classic cozy mystery series for a good while.

My Murder, She Wrote collection thus far :)

There’s An App For That: Bookworm Edition

I have no shame in admitting that my phone is my lifeline. It’s never more than, oh, 5 feet away from me at all times — and yes, that includes when I’m in the shower (don’t judge!). While I do have my fist-shaking, get-off-my-lawn moments about technology (Can someone explain the point of Snapchat??), I am most definitely on #teamiPhone when it comes to 21st century technology. Because my phone is pretty much an extension of my personality, it only makes sense that a good portion of my apps represent my bookish side.

These apps are bound to please readers, lexophiles, and the book-obsessed — I already own a few, and the ones that I don’t have will be downloaded in T-minus…

Apps for Bookworms

  • Want to listen to listen to audiobooks on your daily commute? Audible (free)
  • Want to read your Kindle books but left your Kindle at home? Kindle for iPhone (free)
  • Want to look up what that obscure word means in the book you’re reading? Merriam-Webster Dictionary (free)
  • Want to update your reading progress while on the go? Goodreads (free)
  • Want to survive the Hunger Games as Katniss? Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Panem Run ($0.99)
  • Want to play an addicting word puzzle game? Wurdle ($1.99)
  • Want to have fun while reading Pride and Prejudice? Stride & Prejudice ($1.99)
  • Want to create angsty refrigerator poetry? Instant Poetry ($1.99)
  • Want to check out audiobooks from your local library? Overdrive (free)
  • Want to find your next read based on its cover? Book Wall (free)
  • Want to create your own library database? Book Crawler ($1.99)

What are your favorite bookish (and non-bookish) apps? I’m sure there’s a sliver of memory left on my phone for just ONE (or two) more app suggestions!

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Wishlist

TTT logo

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started by the lovely (and creative!) Jamie of The Broke and the Bookish. After following along since TTT’s inception (and because list-making is a die-hard hobby of mine) it only makes sense that I chime in with my own top tens. This week’s topic is ten bookish things that I’d like to own — items on the list range from fandom souvenirs to accessories that contribute to or enhance my bookish obsession… Scroll down & take a look!

Check out my past Top Ten Tuesdays or head to The Broke and the Bookish for more Top Ten topics.

TTT book wishlist

TTT-bookish wishlist

1. Penguin clothbound classics ($20) // 2. Penguin book mugs ($10) // 3. “Too Fond of Books” tote ($15) // 4.  Out of Print literary classic tee ($28) // 5. Harry Potter ring ($28) // 6. BookBook laptop case ($80) // 7. Agate bookends ($25) // 8. Royal typewriter ($450) // 9. Ikea Billy bookcase combination ($250) // 10. Warby Parker glasses ($95)



Top Ten Tuesday: Gateway Books + Authors

TTT logo

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started by the lovely (and creative!) Jamie of The Broke and the Bookish. After following along since TTT’s inception (and because list-making is a die-hard hobby of mine) it only makes sense that I chime in with my own top tens. This week’s topic spotlights “gateway” books/authors that somehow led me to discovering a certain genre, book or author.

Check out my past Top Ten Tuesdays or head to The Broke and the Bookish for more Top Ten topics.

TTT-Gateway Books

1. Nefertiti by Michel Moran… gateway to historical fiction.

2. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri… gateway to literary fiction & short stories.

3. Mythology by Edith Hamilton… gateway to Greek/Roman mythology.

4. Majoring in Murder by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain… gateway to Murder She Wrote series (HUGE fan of the show!).

5. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss… gateway to READING! This was the first book I learned to read all on my own.

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell… gateway to Rainbow Rowell. Also, this book got me out of a major reading slump!

7. Truly, Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson… gateway to the romance genre (aka The One That Started It All).

8. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer… gateway to paranormal fiction.

9. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich… gateway to cozy mysteries.

10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins… gateway to the dystopian genre.



Happy New Year & Happy Birthday (to me)!

happy new years

2013 has been quite the roller coaster, with both ecstatic highs and frustrating lows. While I’m thankful to have accomplished quite a lot, I must admit that this past year definitely paved the way for room for improvement. So sayonara, 2013, and HELLOOOOOO 2014! I’m excited for the next 365 days and am determined to make this year better than the last.

I’m still working on my list of resolutions, but of course I’ve got a few bookish ones sprinkled in there. Like I said, last year was quite the roller coaster, resulting in a neglected blog and a reading slump that lasted WAY too long. I refuse to let that happen again. Books are my life (she says dramatically) and I need to get back to what makes me happy. As for this blog, I need to write for myself and stop worrying what others think and whether or not they do(n’t) like it. As much as I LOVE the book blogging community (another resolution is to become more involved with commenting, social media, etc.), it’s easy to get caught up in comparing my blog/reading speed/ARC piles to other bloggers. My plan is to look to others for inspiration, NOT envy. Besides, the only person who can do RtR justice is moi!

Along with today being the start of a new year, today is also my birthday! Talk about a starting-fresh double whammy! While today was pretty low-key, I made sure to do two of my most favorite things: browse the bookstore and eat cupcakes. I also indulged in a personal birthday prezzie to myself, but I’m keeping it hush-hush until it arrives a few days from now. Needless to say I’ll be obsessively stalking the “track my package” until then…

…Starting now! Kidding (maybe). But I do hear a red velvet cupcake calling my name. Happy New Year, lovlies, and here’s to a healthy, prosperous, and BOOKISH 2014!

happy new year

My Thoughts on “Emo” Books & Why I Avoid Them

“There can be no knowledge without emotion.” — Arnold Bennett 

Yesterday while chatting about scary movies (and why I avoid them them) with the beau, I confessed my extreme aversion to not just scary movies but to tear-jerkers too. He didn’t seem to understand why I prefer movies/TV shows that are cheery, comical, and over-all lighthearted. Not surprisingly, the same goes for books as well.

I got to thinking about my indifference toward books that are more emotional and “heavier” than the typical lighthearted, fun books that fill the majority of my shelves. I’ll admit, I tend to gravitate toward books that are typically more upbeat, but I look at it this way: reading is — and always has been — my escape. If I’m going to live on my own Fantasy Island, I want it to be happy-go-lucky, cheerful, and filled with sexy times (just being honest!). I don’t want to get over-emotional and become a blubbering mess because something tragic happened to a character who I’ve fallen in love with. (Reason #1 why I don’t read Nicholas Sparks books.) I don’t want crying on Fantasy Island, I want laughter!

All the feels!That said, whenever I hear buzz about certain books that actually seem interesting, I feel as though I’m depriving myself and not giving them a chance simply because I KNOW they’re probably tear-jerkers. Sure, I’ve read books that have made me cry, but in those instances, they’ve all taken me by complete surprise! The books I tend to avoid are the ones whose plots scream “Bring tissue!”

In an effort to experience all spectrums of the emotional rainbow, I’m making a personal decision to pick up at least one book that I’m sure is likely to “give me the feels.”

A few titles that have caught my interest while floating around the book world are:

Feel free to suggest any others that you think I should check out! I will definitely make sure I’m fully stocked with Kleenex before venturing into Emo City (the opposite of Fantasy Land, obviously).

ROAMING QUESTION: Do you tend to avoid certain books for emotional reason? Or am I just crazy for depriving myself from a whole world of great literature simply because it’s “too emo”?

#RWA13 Author Signing!

RWA Literacy Autographing

What better way to revive RtR than by recapping one of the biggest romance reader events of the year! After struggling with my reading mojo for months, when I heard that this year’s Romance Writer’s Convention was being held in Atlanta — and that they were having an event for the public — I knew I had to go! With over 400 authors (and easily double that many attendees!), the #RWA13 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing was hands down the BEST bookish event I’ve ever been to!

I didn’t know what to expect, but I did do a bit of research the day before by making a list of which authors I had to meet. On the day of the event, in true Georgia summer fashion, the weather was erratic — rolling clouds, sticky, humid temps… it looked like it was going to open up and start pouring at any minute — but I wasn’t going to let that stop me! I made it to the hotel with ten minutes to spare and right before the thunderstorms began (whew!). When I arrived, I stopped dead in my tracks — literally. The line to get into the atrium was insane! Silly me for thinking that I was just going to waltz in, when in fact I should’ve arrived hours before as opposed to mere minutes. Luckily, once they opened the doors the line moved quickly and before I knew it I was in a room filled with people just like me — bookish, rom-loving fans. The air was electric!

Even though there were hundreds of people mingling about and standing in line to meet their favorite authors, I was able to make my way around and meet all the authors on my list! Talk about fangirling — I altered between squeeing my love, tumbling over my words, to being speechless. I can say, though, that there were a lot of “Oh my god!” and “It’s such an honor to meet you!”

The Authors

The best part is, every single author I talked to was SO NICE and genuinely happy to be there, interacting with fans! Then again, why wouldn’t they be? They write happily ever afters for a living! Everyone knows that romance lovers are nicer people ;) In addition to meeting all my favorites, I also scooped up copies of each of their books — complete with personalized autographs!

Book Haul + Autograph

When I finally made my way to the checkout line, my final haul was 8 books, including a reprint of the first romance book I ever read. A respectable amount, I’d say — especially considering how many I could have ended up with. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I hadn’t come prepared with an empty suitcase!

Despite the crappy weather, I’m so glad I went and got a chance to mingle with “my own kind.” Now that I’ve gotten my convention feet wet, I’m already planning how I can attend the next event… RT Con, anyone??


Conquering A Case of the Mean Reds

Hello, darlings! Miss me? Today’s post is all about getting over a case of the blahs and digging myself out of a reading rut. Now that I think about it, those two things sort of go hand-in-hand since books make me happy… Anyway, I digress.

Confession: I haven’t read anything for pleasure in nearly TWO months! That’s the equivalent of a year in bookworm time! In that time, I’ve found myself bouncing between apathy, indecisiveness, and paralyzing fear that when I finally choose a book it won’t live up to my expectations. If you’re a book nerd like I am, I’m sure you’ve experienced this before and understand where I’m coming from. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, believe me when I say it S-U-C-K-S!

Between the cold, gloomy weather and a perpetual case of the Mean Reds, it’s been a blah couple of weeks. The only things I had the energy for were scanning through TV reruns on Netflix, mindless internet surfing and scarfing down Oreos. Pathetic, I know.

After a particularly melancholy weekend involving sweatpants and one too many cookies, I finally decided to get off my ass, take charge and tackle my to do list, which includes reading a damn book already (and hit up the grocery store, but that’s a given)! So, I’m doing just that. After a pick-me-up latte and an uplifting 90s playlist — Spice Girls and N*Sync will always have my heart! — I’ve already crossed off numerous things on the list, plus scheduled fun and exciting plans for me to look forward to the rest of the month. On the book front, I downloaded a handful of sample previews on my Kindle and tuned in to my first #TeaTime (hosted by the gals at Epic Reads) today. I’m happy to report that I’m more pumped than ever to dive in and tackle ALL THE BOOKS!

ROAMING QUESTION: Have you ever been in a reading rut or stuck with a case of the Mean Reds? What did you do to get over it?

Happy Release Day — Thrill Ride by Julie Ann Walker

happy release day - green

"Thrill Ride" by Julie Ann WalkerToday marks the release of Thrill Ride, the fourth book in Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knights Inc. series and by far my favorite so far. If you haven’t read it yet, run to your computer/local bookstore and buy it NOW! If you’re still on the fence (though why would you be?) hopefully my RT review will help sway you, and if you’re unfamiliar with the series, check out my review of the first, second, and third book. Oh, and FYI, even though characters reappear in each story, the series doesn’t necessarily need to be read in order.

So cheers, Ms. Walker. Here’s to happy sales and more sexy, brooding, bad-boy Black Knights to come!