Top 5 Books of 2015 (so far)

June marks the midway point of the year, so I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak of what might end up on my Top 10 of 2015 at the end of the year! We’ll see how many of these end up on that list at the end of the year.

For the record, I have currently read a total of 40 books this year and my Goodreads goal is set at 80. Of course my ultimate goal would be 100 books this year, so I could end up reading way more books in the second half of this year than I did in the first, or vise versa.

My requirements for this list were that I had to have read them for the first time this year, no rereads, and they also had to be books that I rated 5/5 stars. Some books that I really enjoy get rated a 4/5 stars but anything I would truly consider a favorite is getting a 5/5 star rating from me!

So here’s to my favorites so far! All of these titles will be linked to their respective Goodreads pages if you would like to find them!

5) Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

4) The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

3) Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

2) The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

1) Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

If you make a post similar to this please leave a link in the comments and I would love to see it!

Haul: Week of June 22nd

I’m back to normal sized hauls! I was gone on vacation but a couple of things arrived for me while I was gone. 

 
I got these stickers from VictoriaPlans on Etsy. Big Brother is my favorite show and I couldn’t resist these! Now I get to see them on my weekly spreads 3 times a week until September. 

 
Since I got the Ready to Ship planner I got a coupon code to order a free personalized planner from ErinCondren.com. I picked the the “Gray” geodes cover. It does look very purple in person. Loving how it looks on the rose gold coil. I also got one other cover that I wasn’t so pleased with! 

 
The reason I don’t like it as much is completely my own fault. The colors I picked just don’t have enough contrast so you can barely read my name. I do love this cover and will most likely order it in a different color scheme sometime soon. 

This coming week I think I only have one thing coming! We’ll see if I’m bad and end up purchasing other items. Until then, enjoy your week!  

Weekly Spread: June 22nd – June 28th

Last week was a busy (but fun) week for me! I started off the week preparing for my vacation with my boyfriend and his family, and the second half of the week, I was gone. Most of the posts you guys saw this week were things I wrote in advance.

June 22-24

You can see here most of my to-do items were things like packing and just preparing for the trip. It was pretty laid back and I only worked one day. I used more of my usual stickers from my favorite shops on Etsy, ScribblePrintsCo, OneOrangeSnowflake, and LibbieandCo. If you have any questions about stickers always feel free to ask!

June 25-28

The second half of the week here my vacation was in full swing! We drove back on Sunday! I got to use the June mystery box from ScribblePrintsCo which I was so excited to use! You can see where I hauled this box here.

For the most part this week didn’t have a lot going on planning wise, especially the second half of the week which was mostly decorative. This was my last week in my 2015 Erin Condren Life Planner and I will be moving into my 2016 Erin Condren Life Planner starting today! I won’t be posting a look at next week this week because I was gone and I’m trying to catch up on things! You can look forward to seeing my full spread a week from today though!

I’m going to drop a couple of pictures from my trip for you guys to see!

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Starting Unfinished Series

Starting unfinished series is starting to be an issue in my reading habits. When I say “unfinished series” I am talking about series that have started, but not all the books are published yet.

I am someone who will admit that I am usually caught up in the hype of books. I read blogs and I watch BookTube which both keep me pretty informed about new books that are coming out. If I see a few of the reviewer that I trust saying that a book is amazing, I usually want to hop right on that bandwagon and read the book!

There are a few reasons why this is becoming an issue for me. The main reason is because by the time the next book comes out, I usually don’t remember what happened in the last one. No matter how much I enjoyed the book, I can never really seem to remember. There tend to be so many books that I read between reading a book and then reading the sequel that I will most definitely get a few story lines mixed up. My main solution for this would be to reread the previous book/books and then continue with the new one. I can rarely force myself to do this with how many books I have that I want to read. It feels like a waste of time. Which either leaves me reading a sequel and being confused, or never reading the book.

Another issue for me has been losing interest in the series all together. Being as young as I am (18) things in my life are changing pretty quickly. No matter how much I enjoyed a series initially, if I started it when I was 14 and it didn’t end until I was 16 or 17, my tastes completely changed in that time period. I won’t find the same characters relatable.

I also start to feel like I’m on an agenda for purchasing books. There seem to be sequels to series I’ve already started coming out constantly. Living life on a budget I feel obligated to buy these books first, even if I don’t feel like I am going to get to them soon. I am trying to decrease my TBR pile and this isn’t helping me! I need to stop buying books that I know I will be putting off for awhile!

One last petty reason I have for not liking to start unfinished series is because I am someone who prefers to buy books in paperback. I also like my books to match on my shelves. So when I new book in the series is released I am faced with a choice, either have a series that doesn’t match, or wait more extended months to get the book in paperback.

Overall, I think I just need to start having more restraint. I have plenty of series now that I have started and are now complete or series that I am interested in that already are complete. I don’t need to be starting anything new for the time being. I am sure there will be a few books that I feel the need to read immediately which is fine, but I will make an effort to stay away as much as possible. I will of course continue to purchase my favorite authors right away with no regrets.

Does anyone else enjoy their series more if they marathon them? Do you struggle with these same conflicts?

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Rumble Cover

Can an atheist be saved? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of faith and forgiveness with brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance.

“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was…my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”

Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have not been satisfied by an Ellen Hopkins book in awhile.

As someone who has questioned my faith, and struggled myself with deciding what I believe in, I was completely intrigued by this synopsis. Although this storyline went mostly where I expected it to, I found the characters very transparent. I could tell most of the things that were going to happen long before they did, which also made this book very anticlimactic.

Ellen Hopkins does write in verse, but I was finding this one not nearly as “poetic” as some of her others.

So although my thoughts are very brief on this book, I have greatly enjoyed other books by Ellen Hopkins including the Impulse duology and the Crank series.

The picture of this book cover and the synopsis were both found on Goodreads. You can find the Goodreads page for this book here. And feel free to add me to see what I’m reading more frequently right here.

Haul: 2016 Erin Condren Life Planner

The new Erin Condren Life Planner’s were released. I hopped on the bandwagon on launch day and purchased myself the new planner. I got the rose gold read-to-ship planner in the vertical layout. Erin Condren is now offering a horizontal layout too, which I plan on getting to use during the school year.

Let this be said that this is the first time I have ordered an Erin Condren around launch time. This is only my second Erin Condren Life Planner and I ordered my 2015 one just in April. I probably would have waited on getting a new planner but the changes she made to this planner for 2016 are going to be way more functional for me! I’ll post more about how I will be utilizing this planner in a different video, but for now, I’m just going to give you a little look at the planner!

These pictures aren’t the best quality, I just took them quick on my phone. This planner will be around for awhile so I’m sure you’ll just much better pictures from me in the future!

Let’s start with how the planner looks from the outside.

Front CoverBack Cover

First we have the beautiful rose gold coil. It looks so amazing in person. There is one thing to consider when you order a dipped coil, with wear it will chip and start to look worn a little. If this is something that bothers you, stick with the regular coils! The rose gold is currently sold out and they are trying to get more in stock but she also offers a gold foiled option, and a platinum option along with the regular coils.

The ready-to-ship planner comes with this pre-set cover. I love the quote on the front “And so the adventure begins”, and love the herringbone design on the back even more! These covers are interchangeable so you can switch your covers out as you please! When you order the ready-to-ship planner they also send you a coupon code for a free personalized cover. You do still have to pay shipping for that cover when you order it, but it is a great option! Erin Condren offers loads of different customizable covers! I have two covers coming for me in the mail so I will talk more about customizable covers when those come!

FoilName Space

Immediately after opening the planner there is this beautiful foiled sheet covering your “This is my life” page. This is a spot for you to write you contact information in case you were to ever lose your planner.

New Page

They then added this new page. There are twelve little sections here that you could use for a variety of certain things. I will be using this page to track my account growth. I will be tracking my blog and Instagram progress, as I’m just starting off I think this is a fun way to see my growth over the course of a year!

Notes PageQuote

Another new thing added back to the 2016 planner is a note page before the beginning of each month, along with a quote!

Monthly SpreadMonthly Spread 2

Now I flipped to August because I already had stuff written in July, but the monthly view stayed pretty much the same. It is very plain which leaves room for YOU to write what you have going on in the month! There are major holidays marked very small at the bottom of the boxes. Then on the far right side there is a space that says “GOALS” where you can write other things for the month!

Weekly ViewWeekly View 2

The most important part! The weekly spreads have been revamped and look great! I’m choosing to show you September because it is the only month where the colors were changed. It use to be green and purple and now it’s a kind of grey color and purple.

Starting in the top corner they have a new spot where the little monthly calendar use to be that says “Thankful Thought”. The lined area below that now just has a little flag and then space to write things like weekly to-do’s.

The major changes to me are that they changed their dates. This style in much more simplistic than it has been in the past. I think it makes the planner look much more professional, but I will miss how pretty they use to be. The headers that used to say “morning”, “day”, and “night” are now blank so you can use the sections how you please! This is a huge deal for me because that’s not how I plan! They also took away the writing above the lines at the bottom.

Each week looks like this in the coordinating monthly colors. The monthly colors are (with main color first and accent color second):

January – Pool/Tangerine

February – Light Pink/Red

March – Lime/Aquamarine

April – Orchid/Turquoise

May – Peony/Pool

June – Teal/Coral

July – Red/Navy

August – Gold/Green

September – Taupe/Purple

October – Tangerine/Mocha

November – Teal/Tan

December – Jade/Baby Blue

Notes SectionGraph PaperBlank Pages

At the end of the planner there is a notes section which includes 6 pages of lined paper, 4 pages of graph paper, and 5 blank pages.

Blank Sticker, RedBlank Stickers, Blue

There are also stickers provided in the back, some are blank like this example shown, and some come with words pre-printed on them like “birthday!” or “vacation!”.

Folder

Then there is a folder provided in the back, which is much better quality than it has been in years past, that you can use to store things in. It comes with a perpetual calendar where you can write dates that are the same each year like birthday’s and anniversaries.

Inside Calander

Example of the inside.

Zip Pouch

Lastly there is a zip pouch which comes loaded with some goodies! There is one coil clip which can be used to clip important things like invitations or pictures into the coil of your planner. There is a sticker and a postcard. There was 3 referral cards which can be used to give people your referral link so they can take $10 off their first purchase. You can find my link here. Lastly, there were a few compliment cards in there that you can give to your friends or family for a nice surprise!

Overall, I am super excited about this new planner. I think the blank headers are going to make it so much more functional for me and I like that they went for a more professional look this year. I will share more thoughts once I actually get to start using this planner!

Once again, if you would like to get $10 off your first purchase at ErinCondren.com you can use this link https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/baileyblickenderfer0320.

This site provides a lot of personalized items and not exclusively planners so if you have never checked it out you should!

If you have any questions about this new planner leave them down below and I will be happy to answer them for you!

Weekly Spread: June 15th – June 21st

June 15-21

This past week was not a very successful planning week for me. I wasn’t getting much of the things done on my checklists and my decoration just seems off. I wasn’t very busy and I feel like I wasted a lot of my free time watching Netflix instead of being productive.

15-17

The first part of the week I started out thinking I was going to be doing #RainbowThon, after a couple of unsuccessful days, I gave up on that. This was not a good reading week for me. Although it looks like I was getting a lot of stuff done because my checklists are checked off, they were mostly very minor things I wanted to get done.

18-21

Here you can see I really started not completing my checklists and really not even writing things in them.  I was working a lot but I work evening shifts so I was wasting most of my days. This week here is very jumbled with my vacation countdowns because I have 2 coming up pretty soon! One this week and then one in about a month! The full box I used on Thursday doesn’t even match the color scheme so what was I thinking? I think this is what really threw me off for the design of this week.

It is Monday and I am turning a new page in planner. Hopefully I’ll have some slightly better habits this coming week!

Next Week: June 22nd – 28th

This is my last week in my 2015 Erin Condren Life Planner! Next week I will be jumping into my 2016 Rose Gold Life Planner! I know I said that I would post a review of it but I’m not sure if you guys want to see that! I know there are a lot of different reviews going around. If you still want me to post one like or comment on this post!

So let’s take a look at the first half of my week!

June 22-24 2015

I am preparing for vacation and I leave on Wednesday! The first part of the week for me will basically just be preparing for this trip. I am going to North Dakota with my boyfriend and his family because he has family that lives there. There are also a couple of things that I am very excited about here that you guys can see! It is Christopher and I’s 9 month anniversary when we leave on Wednesday, and Big Brother is starting again. I am a little upset that I am going to be missing the first few episodes of Big Brother but I will be catching up as soon as we get back! I don’t know if you guys have seen my “Finish a Book” post-it’s before either. I put 7 of them in my planner every month and evenly disperse them. I take one off when I finish a book. Usually I am ahead so you never see them, but I’m not having the best reading month!

Second half of the week, vacation time!

June 25 - 28 2015

It’s mostly blank except for my shipping reminder and “Finish a Book”. On Friday the #CrushYourTBR 24-Hour read-a-thon is going on, which I am going to try to participate in depending on what plans we have for that day. I am sure this spread will look beautiful once I get all my vacation stickers in here! I am planning on using the stickers that came in my June mystery box from ScribblePrintsCo on Etsy.

My goals for this week are basically to get back into my reading habits, enjoy my time away, and try to save some money! I am starting a budget in July that I will probably be posting more about in the weeks to come.

If you are new to Erin Condren, use this link and you can get $10 off your first purchase! $10 off link.

Handling My Reading Slump

I have a confession to make. I’m in a bit of a reading slump right now. I had planned on doing #RainbowThon this week, going in with high hopes even. I’ve only managed to read about 200 pages.

There are only a few things that tend to cause slumps for me. It usually just boils down to, something else is grabbing my attention. Right now, I have multiple things distracting me and taking up my time.

1) Orange is the New Black season 3. No regrets about this, but I’m almost done!

2) My new 2016 Erin Condren Life Planner came in! (I still plan on posting about this!)

3) I’m preparing to leave on vacation next week

So I haven’t finished a book since Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews on the 8th. No big deal. I am hoping that once I leave for my trip I will have much more time for reading.

My book posts might be slightly slacking until I can get back in the groove of things, but I’m trying over here!

What was the last book you finished?

Top 5 Wednesday – June 17th: Books you Read in One Sitting

Books that I read in one sitting are almost nonexistent for me. I am a pretty slow reader and a pretty distracted reader. So although I read a lot of books, it’s because I do it frequently, not for extended periods of time.

I can obviously read through short stories and graphic novels in one sitting but that’s not what I want this list to be entirely of. I will use one of each but the rest of the books are going to be short books, that I read rather quickly, not necessarily in one sitting.

These are all books that I gave 5 stars and would recommend you read. A true “top” 5!

5) Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling (short story/speech) – 80 pages

4) Night by Elie Wiesel – 115 pages

3)The Walking Dead,Volume 2: Miles Behind Us by Robert Kirkman (graphic novel) – 136 pages

2) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – 107 pages

1) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – 213 pages

As I made this list I realized that most of these books I actually read quite some time ago. Also, two of these books were books that I read for class (Of Mice and Men & Night). I would consider all of these books “out of my comfort zone” books. I think the length of them probably helped me enjoy them more.