Posted in Reading Life, Reading List

3 Ways To Spice Up Your Reading Life

Raise your hand if you love reading… but you feel like you read the same type of book all the time.  Or you always pick a book off the standard bestseller list.  Or maybe you read whatever a certain friend or family member chooses and tells you about.  But sometimes you probably wonder… what else is out there?

Since I’ve started The Biblio Blonde, I’ve gotten a fresh look at the huge array of books available to us.  Literally thousands of new titles are released every year.  The bad news is that in our human life spans, we can’t possibly read every book that’s ever been written.  The good news is, we can read a LOT of them and our choices are endless.

So are you looking to spice up your reading life?  Read some things you wouldn’t normally pick up?  Here are three ways to look beyond your usual choices, and intentionally seek out something new!

 

pile of books in shallow focus photography
Not exactly a picture of all the unread books in my house, but probably closer than I’d like to admit!

Find books in new places

It’s easy to look to the same source over and over again for our reading options.  But there are so many places to look for inspiration!  Here are a few ideas, and I’ll plan to expand on some of these in the coming weeks to feature some of my favorites:

 

  • If you normally use the library or order books online, visit a small independent bookstore in your area.  They usually have more titles by local/regional authors, and feature books that are delightful but not quite as well known.  These establishments also typically have a small but dedicated and knowledgeable staff that would be all too happy to point you toward your next favorite!

 

  • You can get great recommendations right from your favorite comfy chair at home by exploring book blogs! Bloggers read a LOT, and we feature every type of book out there.  Some bloggers only review cozy mysteries or YA titles… some read a wide variety and talk about everything book related.  Find a few new blogs to follow and try some titles that these book lovers rave about.  (Might I suggest starting with the blog you’re currently reading? 😊​)

 

  • Maybe you’re more visual, and love pouring over pretty pictures of fabulous books.  (I mean, who doesn’t?)  If that’s the case, #Bookstagram is your cup of tea.  Bookstagrammers host a subsection of Instagram dedicated to books, books, and more books… you’ll find colorful book stacks, shots of books and readers out in beautiful scenery, and great recommendations all the way around!  (And did I mention the props?  Bookstagrammers can take any theme or decorative item and make a book picture.)  You can start by following my Instagram account, and I’ll help point you toward more great book lovers!

 

 

Take up a challenge!

One of my favorite ways to branch out a bit with books is to take on a reading challenge.  You can find boatloads of these, and the beauty of each is that in checking off items on the list, you seek out titles you might not have otherwise considered!

Although I’ve participated in many challenges over the years, one that I’ve discovered more recently and highly recommend is the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge.  Modern Mrs. Darcy is Anne Bogel’s website… I’ve made no secret of being a huge fan of hers (see my review of her latest book) and the challenge is no different.  It’s not overwhelming, and it hits that sweet spot of making you intentionally choose some titles but leaving you a lot of space to personalize it.  Later in the year, I’ll post about some of the books I’ve been using to check off this list.  Here’s a graphic of this year’s challenge:

 

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Join the club!

Books are always better when shared with other readers.  So if there’s a book club in your area, why not try it out?  You’ll meet other book lovers, and even if a title chosen isn’t one you might not have considered on your own, you may find a new favorite author or topic!

There are, of course, all kinds of small book clubs out there based around a neighborhood or group of friends.  If you have access to one of these, try it out!  If not, another option is to check out your local library… most hold monthly reading discussions of all types of books.

One new club is through one of my favorite stores!  The Barnes and Noble Book Club began last year, and has since started meeting every month to discuss a new title.  The book selections have so far tended to be newer fiction.  What better way to spend an evening than hitting up B&N for a book discussion, some shopping, and a treat at the cafe?

If you’re not much on joining real-life groups (leaving the house can be so overrated!), how about a virtual one?  Many online book clubs are available too, including group reads by Modern Mrs. Darcy, The Pingel Sisters (who also offer monthly reading challenges), and more!

 

There’s never been a better time to be a reader… make the most of it and explore the bounty of titles out there!  Happy reading, friends!

 

 

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Spice Up Your Reading Life!  Find 3 ways to branch out with your book choices at www.thebiblioblonde.com!  Pin me to read later!

 

Posted in Reading List, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday (2/20/2019)

Hello, and Happy Wednesday bookish friends!

Nothing different to report here… it’s been snowing.  It’s still snowing.  It may snow forever.  So… I will just keep reading!!  Let’s see what books I have in hand… time for WWW Wednesday!

 

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words!  This is always a good mid-week status check of my reading list.  (You can see my last WWW Wednesday post here.)

It’s a fun way to keep up with what everyone is reading.  To join me, read my answers, then answer the same questions about your reading in the comments below, and if you like, in the comments on Sam’s WWW Wednesday post!  Simply use these three questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you plan to read next?

And now… onward to WWW Wednesday!

 


 

bigmagic

 

What are you currently reading?

My goal is to read one non-fiction book a month in 2019… there’s so much out there I’d like to explore, and I think this broadens perspectives.  To that end, my selection this month is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  This book is all about exploring creativity: why it’s important, how to overcome fear and embrace your creative side, and the attitudes and habits that help you reach your aspirations.  I’ve just started it, but I’m looking forward to gaining some inspiration for my writing, photography, and more!

 

Find Big Magic at:

Barnes & Noble    ~    Amazon

 


 

Animal farm

What did you recently finish reading?

A couple of days ago, I sat down to read Animal Farm by the great George Orwell… and I finished it all in one sitting.  It’s a short book, to be fair, but it’s just that good.  I’m going to share my review from Goodreads:

“All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”

I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book. I’m a big fan of Orwell and liked 1984, but this one was an incredibly short and fast read, and somehow more accessible. A timeless allegorical classic. While this is a commentary on Stalinist Russia and a cautionary tale about power, propaganda, and freedom…. its nearly chilling how one can still see these themes mirrored in modern times. If you haven’t read this, add it to your list.

Seriously, if you somehow missed this one in high school… go pick it up!

 

Find Animal Farm at:

Barnes & Noble    ~    Amazon

 


 

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What do you plan to read next?

I have Criminally Cocoa, the next book in Amanda Flower’s Amish Candy Shop Mysteries, waiting for me on Net Galley!  This novella is an Easter-themed addition to this series centered around a chocolate making family of Amish heritage.  This time, Bailey and her cousin Charlotte are hitting New York City to film Bailey’s new TV show… but have to discover who seems to be sabotaging things!

This is a really fun series that I’ve featured before (see my review of Premeditated Peppermint).  I also just reviewed the latest in the Magical Bookshop series, also by Amanda Flower; check out my review and author chat here!

 

Find Criminally Cocoa (e-book only) at:

Barnes & Noble    ~    Amazon

 


 

That’s my list this week!!  I have a lot of great reading ahead of me… in addition to a full Net Galley shelf, I recently won a couple of paperback ARCs.

I hope today finds you curled up with a great book!  As always… happy reading!!

 


 

This post contains affiliate links, which allow me the opportunity to earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.  Please see my policies for further information.

My thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a complimentary digital review copy of Criminally Cocoa.  All opinions are my own.

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday (2/13/2019)

I’m so thankful to be a reader!  I’m particularly thankful during this long, cold, and snowy winter that I love books, because it has been such a delight to curl up with great titles.

Time for WWW Wednesday to check out some of those wonderful books!

 

 

www-wednesday

 

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words!  This is always a good mid-week status check of my reading list.  (You can see my last WWW Wednesday post here.)

It’s a fun way to keep up with what everyone is reading.  To join me, read my answers, then answer the same questions about your reading in the comments below, and if you like, in the comments on Sam’s WWW Wednesday post!  Simply use these three questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you plan to read next?

And now… onward to WWW Wednesday!

 

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What are you currently reading?

Today I’m finishing up the first two books in the Braxton Campus Mysteries by James J. Cudney.  (I’m cheating just a little and wrapping these up in a package!)  I’ve “met” James through the book blogging and social media world… he’s a great guy who is not only an author, but also an avid reader and reviewer.  I recently did a cover reveal for the third book in this series… it’s releasing at the end of March so naturally, I wanted to get these two read so I could enjoy the new release when it comes out!

In Academic Curveball, we meet Kellan Ayrwick, who comes home to attend a retirement party for his father… and gets more than he bargained for when a murder occurs on the otherwise idyllic Braxton College campus!  In Broken Heart Attack, Kellan is getting to know his hometown all over again, and is becoming acquainted with one of the community’s more prominent families, when one of them suddenly dies under mysterious circumstances.  And the third book, Flower Power Trip, releases on March 30th.  Great recommended reads if you’re a cozy mystery fan!

 

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What did you recently finish reading?

Last week, I read and reviewed The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald.  This domestic suspense novel was a quick read, but a profound tale of a devastating loss, family secrets, and a mother’s fierce love and determination.

You can read my review here!

 

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What do you plan to read next?

I’m getting ready to pick up Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella.  This isn’t her newest title, but one that I bought months ago and haven’t made the time for just yet.  Kinsella writes great romantic comedy stories, so I thought the week of Valentine’s Day would be just right to dive into this book!  Here’s a little about it:

After ten years together, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, and beautiful twin girls, and they communicate so seamlessly they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years . . . and panic sets in. 
           
They decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep it fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me—from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to sexy photo shoots—mishaps arise, with disastrous and comical results. Gradually, surprises turn to shocking truths. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other at all.
           
With a colorful cast of eccentric characters, razor-sharp observations, and her signature wit and charm, Sophie Kinsella presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.

I think it sounds fantastic, and I’m looking forward to reading about a more established romance with a couple knee-deep in family life.

 

And that caps off my reading for the week!!  What about you, friends?  Any great titles you’d love to tell us about?  Drop your recommendations (or link to your own WWW Wednesday post) in the comments.  Happy reading… oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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This post contains affiliate links, which allow me the opportunity to earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.  Please see my policies for further information.

My thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a complimentary digital review copy of The Night Olivia Fell.  All opinions are my own.