Monday, December 31, 2018

A Look at 2018: Goals

Happy New Year's Eve, friends!

It's the last day of the year, and I can go head and accept the fact that I have been a terrible blogger, reader, and reviewer this year. I barely read anything! I barely reviewed anything! It has been a tough year in blogging/reviewing.

I'll try to put together a Statistics post, as I usually do every year, but chances are, the stats aren't great, and I don't want to know about them.

2018 was a huge year in change for me. I did a lot of things, outside of reading and blogging. As much as I love reading and blogging, I had to put those things in the backseat.

So in this post, I want to look at the goals I had for 2018, and goals I have for 2019.


My bookish goals for 2018 were the following:

- Reply to comments on my blog. I really dropped the ball last year. I have so many comments to reply to on my blog, from March 2017. I have no idea how I'm going to catch up. I'm doing pretty okay with returning comments on other blogs though.

- Comment on new blogs. I feel like I pigeonhole myself into commenting on only the blogs that I have saved to my bookmarks, or that auto-fills in the URL bar! I need to find new blogs.

- Be more active on Twitter. I've really moved away from Twitter, and I'd like that not to be the case. So we'll see how that goes.

- Meet bookish peeps in real life. This is always fun!


So how did I do?

Reply to comments on my blog. I did really badly with commenting. I haven't replied to anyone in a long time. I'm so sorry. I'm thinking about turning off the comments section. Comments are pretty sparse (as they should be - I haven't commented on anyone else's blog in a long time!).

- Comment on new blogs. See above. I've done terribly with commenting in general.

- Be more active on Twitter. I think I did this pretty well, especially towards the end of the year.

- Meet bookish peeps in real life. I ACTUALLY DID REALLY WELL WITH THIS! I met Lena M. at Renee Ahdieh's Smoke in the Sun event in Fairfax, and at Sabaa Tahir's A Reaper at the Gates event in D.C.!

(Lena and I at the Smoke in the Sun event)

Of course, I got to meet Renee Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir too!

Renee Ahdieh, my sister (in blue), and me!

Me and Sabaa Tahir


Some of my personal goals in 2018 were:

- Pay off my student loans.
- Buy a car.
- Travel more. 2018 is the first full year of me working (I graduated from undergrad in May 2017), so travelling is now possible!
- Create a personal Instagram account.
- Start dating/putting myself out there.


How did I do?

- Pay off my student loans. Y'all. I did this. It was thousands of dollars, and I was no a zero dollar budget for at least six months, but as of April 2018, I am student loan free!

- Buy a car. I did this too! In May 2018, I bought my first car. I've never had a car. I've never shared a car with my siblings. So this is my first car. I love it! It's a new RAV4 and it's beautiful. Its name is "The Captain".

- Travel more. I have a wanderer's soul and I absolutely travelled! One of my goals is to visit all of the national parks. This year, I went to Harpers Ferry (West Virginia), C&O Canal (Great Falls, MD), and Independence National Historical Park.

Great Falls, MD

Great Falls, MD

I also went to ICELAND! I started in Reykjavik and did a road trip across south Iceland. It was beautiful! To see all of my gorgeous photos, you'll have to follow my personal Instagram (@alyssasadventuresinwonderland). There are some really great shots, if I may say so myself!

Gljúfrafoss (Iceland)

- Create a personal Instagram account. Here it is! @alyssasadventuresinwonderland

- Start dating/putting myself out there. This was a big one, and a very personal one. I haven't ever dated ~seriously~. I had some brief "dating" experience in my freshman year of college but I really don't count that for various reasons. I'm happy to say that I went on some dates this year! I joined the dating app Bumble. I have met some great guys (the most recent being a doctor), and I haven't gotten catfished or sent d*ck pics or run into any creepers, so I'm calling this a win! No boyfriend yet though. I guess I have to leave something for 2019...


My Goals for 2019

(Both bookish and non-bookish)

- Figure out a blogging schedule that will work for me. Currently I'm posting something on the blog every day. I've done this for six years straight. I don't think this is feasible anymore. It was "easier" when I was in high school, and college, but now as an adult with everything I have going on, it's difficult. I think I'll need to cut back on the days I post. I'm at peace with this decision. It's what's best for me, for sure.

- Figure out how to get my reading mojo back. I went from reading 200+ books in a year to not even reading 50 books. Life is tough, especially when you're trying to experience every second of it. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that you're just not into the same things anymore. Or you have to accept the fact that the daily/weekly schedule that you had for yourself in a different part of your life isn't necessarily going to work in a new chapter of your life. I'd like to read at least four books a month. That seems doable; it's a huge step back from previous years. But it may work for me now.

- Travel more. I love travelling! I am going to southwest Florida in a few weeks. And then perhaps some other small domestic trips. And hopefully in September, a trip to Italy with a brief stop in Switzerland!

- Keep dating, but also, find a boyfriend? This is tricky because obviously I can't force some guy to like me. But I'd like to go on more dates. And hope that I meet the right guy for me.

- Start learning a new language. I tried to teach myself Icelandic last year. I was mildly successful in terms of pronunciations, and grammar, but I've forgotten everything I learned. I am fluent in Spanish so I might try Italian (especially with the Italy trip in the works)!

- Spend more time with my friends. Whether "IRL" or bookish - I'd like to see my friends more. I am going to push this, this coming year. 

- Attend ALA in D.C. this summer. YEARS ago, maybe like three or four years ago, I remember being so excited to see that ALA would be held in D.C. in 2019. I remember thinking, I'll have graduated by then, and hopefully have a great job, and a car, and I'll be able to GO. Well, I think I will actually be able to do this.

Some bonus goals that might not happen (and that's okay):

- Take swimming lessons. I don't know if I'll have time or money for this, in 2019, but it would be cool. I hate not knowing how to swim. I hate going to beaches or hot springs or lagoons or swimming pools and not being able to flop right in. Or knowing I'll basically die if I fall into a body of water. I need to fix this problem ASAP!


With all that being said, I think I had a great year in 2018. My bookish life wasn't so great, but my personal life was filled with great accomplishments. I have God to thank for that. I'm excited to see what 2019 has in store.

Please tell me how your 2018 goals went! What are some of your 2019 goals?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Science in Fiction (#45): 2019 YA Science Fiction

Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!

Well, I haven't done one of these posts since September! It's about time I posted about science in fiction. This month, I'm showcasing some 2019 YA science fiction books!

A Soldier and a Liar
A Soldier and a Liar by Caitlin Lochner
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: February 19, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

In a world on the brink of war, four superpowered teens must learn to work together for peace in Caitlin Lochner's action-packed debut novel, A Soldier and A Liar.

Lai Cathwell is good at keeping secrets. As a Nyte, a supernaturally gifted teenager who is feared and shunned by the ungifted, this skill is essential to survival. Orchestrating her own imprisonment to escape military duty has only honed her ability to deceive others. But when rebels start attacking the city, Lai is dragged back into the fight with a new team of Nytes.

Thrown together with Jay, a self-conscious perfectionist consumed by the desire to be accepted; Al, a short-tempered fighter lying for the sake of revenge; and Erik, an amnesiac hell-bent on finding his memories and his place in the world, Lai realizes she's facing an entirely different kind of challenge--one that might just be impossible. But if this team can't learn to work together, the entire sector will be plunged into war.

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Book One of the Aurora Cycle series
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They're not the heroes we deserve. They're just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

The Similars (The Similars, #1)
The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Book One of The Similars series
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):
When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn't care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver's exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.

Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver's face. 

Sky Without Stars (System Divine, #1)
Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell
Book One of the System Divine series
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 26, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

A thief. An officer. A guardian. 

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.

Honor Bound (The Honors, #2)
Honor Bound by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre
Book Two of the Honors series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: February 19, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

Savvy criminal turned skilled Leviathan pilot Zara Cole finds new friends and clashes with bitter enemies in the second book of this action-packed series from New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre that’s perfect for fans of The 100 and The Fifth Wave.

Zara Cole was a thief back on Earth, but she’s been recently upgraded to intergalactic fugitive. On the run after a bloody battle in a covert war that she never expected to be fighting, Zara, her co-pilot Beatriz, and their Leviathan ship Nadim barely escaped the carnage with their lives.

Now Zara and her crew of Honors need a safe haven, far from the creatures who want to annihilate them. But they’ll have to settle for the Sliver: a wild, dangerous warren of alien criminals. The secrets of the Sliver may have the power to turn the tide of the war they left behind—but in the wrong direction.

Soon Zara will have to make a choice: run from the ultimate evil—or stand and fight.

Tell me about some of the science fiction books you're looking forward to reading in 2019 - Young Adult, adult, or otherwise!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#314)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, December 23rd to Saturday, December 29th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Sinless (Eye of the Beholder #1)  Fearless  Bookends: Collected Intros and Outros

Thank you, HarperCollins! These were unsolicited and a nice surprise!

From my #TBTBSanta:

SO MANY AMAZING GOODIES! Thank you, @Tzivi! She did such a great job and picked out the perfect gifts! It's clear that she put so much thought into everything. =) If you're not familiar with #TBTBSanta, check out the hashtag on Twitter!

I hope everyone had a great week, and for those that celebrated, a wonderful Christmas! I had a fantastic Christmas with my family. Happy early New Year's, book fam!

Also, random fact, today is my blog's blogoversary! SIX years! I'll post something about it... eventually. This year (2018) was a tough one for me. But I'm excited for 2019!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Happy New Year!

Hey y'all! I'm taking the day off from blogging and so I wish everyone a very happy New Year! 

Don't forget about all of the amazing giveaways I have posted. So many goodies to be won! Click on the image below:

Image result for happy holidays images
(Image source: Public Domain Pictures)

Be sure to look out for my blogoversary post - tomorrow! 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#309): The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons!

My hand slides back into his hair and grasps the silky strands at the base of his skull. Pulling him down, I rise on my toes, and press my lips softly to his. I don't want to hurt his injuries, but I need him to know that I feel it, too. All the need. All the fear.

His answer is the tilt of his mouth, the parting of his lips, and then there's only the warm, wet feel of his kiss, and his soft shirt, bunched in my fist. His fingers spanning over my waist, pulling me closer, and the tiny sigh that slips from my throat.

- ARC, page 334

Kristen Simmons always delivers with the swoons! I highly recommend any of her backlist too!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#313): We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

We Hunt the Flame

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Book One We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing in Arawiya, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a world inspired by ancient Arabia.

This sounds great! Anything inspired by ancient Arabia is fine by me. Did you know that Hafsah used to blog (as a book blogger)? I can't wait to read her trad-published debut!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Twelve Days of Giveaways: Day Twelve!

Hello fam! Today is day twelve of the Twelve Days of Giveaways. I'm doing twelve days of bookish giveaways, with a giveaway posted each day until December 25th. Which is today!

Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate!

Today,  I'm giving away twelve books published in 2018! This prize pack consists of adult fiction and Young Adult fiction. It's a mix of formats (ARCs, finished paperbacks, finished hardcovers). Good luck!

Zenith (The Androma Saga, #1)

True to You

Magpie Murders

Love Songs & Other Lies

Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces

The Life and Death Parade

What to Read and Why

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

American Road Trip

Words We Don't Say

Slow Burn (Anchor & Sophia, #2)

Dirty Little Secret (Wild Rose Ranch #1)

The Giveaway:

Win twelve books of 2018! Open internationally. Ends 12/31, midnight EST. Good luck!

Image result for happy holidays images
(Image source: Public Domain Pictures)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Twelve Days of Giveaways: Day Eleven!

Hello fam! Today is day eleven of the Twelve Days of Giveaways. I'm doing twelve days of bookish giveaways, with a giveaway posted each day until December 25th. One more day to go! 

Merry Christmas Eve, to those who celebrate!

Today,  I'm giving away a copy of Long, Tall Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown, and Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips! A holiday romance prize pack!

Long, Tall Cowboy Christmas (Happy, Texas #2)  Heroes Are My Weakness

Image result for happy holidays images
(Image source: Public Domain Pictures)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Twelve Days of Giveaways: Day Ten!

Hello fam! Today is day ten of the Twelve Days of Giveaways. I'm doing twelve days of bookish giveaways, with a giveaway posted each day until December 25th. We're almost to day twelve!

Today,  I'm giving away a hardcover copy of The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin! Good luck!

The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1)

Image result for happy holidays images
(Image source: Public Domain Pictures)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Twelve Days of Giveaways: Day Nine!

Hello fam! Today is day nine of the Twelve Days of Giveaways. I'm doing twelve days of bookish giveaways, with a giveaway posted each day until December 25th. Only a few days to go!

Today,  I'm giving away a signed copy of Sightwitch by Susan Dennard! You must enter on Twitter. RT the tweet, and follow me (Alyssa_Susanna) and Susan (stdennard) to enter. You get one bonus point if you follow my bookish Instagram (theeaterofbooks). Good luck!

Image result for happy holidays images
(Image source: Public Domain Pictures)

Stacking the Shelves (#313)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, December 16th to Saturday, December 22nd?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Thank you, HarperCollins! I can't wait to binge-read these two.

An IceyDesigns pin

Thank you, Kaitlyn! My #TBTBSanta from last year - she's the sweetest. This was a great surprise.

Who's the Beast? pin

Thank you, Olivia A. Cole! This is from her preorder campaign. If you preorder or request An Anatomy of Beasts, she'll send you goodies! See her website for more details!

I AM SO EXCITED FOR CHRISTMAS! I get to see some family I've not seen in over a year. And time off from work is always appreciated. Happy holidays, everyone!