My Favorite Book Pins & Collection

Every reader loves their bookish merch. One of the most popular bookish swag over the years has increasingly been book pins or book buttons. While I do love my pins, I don’t really go out of my way to collect them. I haven’t really purposely tried to collect or buy them. Much of my collection has come from Book Expo, Book Con, author signings, and a few other bookish events like B&N’s Teen Book Fest and Epic Reads Day. I have also collected a few pins more recently from pre-order campaigns.

Today I’ll be shortly discussing and sharing my favorite bookish pins as well as a glimpse at my collection. I’ve definitely thought about getting a banner for my pins, but I really like using my own BookBub lanyards from Book Expo and Book Con.

My Collection

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My Favorites 

Harry Potter 20 Years of Magic- 20 years of magic later and even I still love some good HP merch. I received this at Book Expo 2018.

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Stay Sweet (inspired by Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian)- This favorite is likely influenced by the fact that Stay Sweet is one of my all-time favorite books. I received this from the awesome preorder campaign, which also included a signed bookplate and a Meade Creamery T-shirt. But what else could be cuter than an ice cream pin? I’m always tempted to pin this on to my denim jacket or vest, but I live in fear that it will fall off.

Alex & Eliza (inspired by Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz)- I have a love-hate relationship with the Alex and Eliza series (loved Alex and Eliza, really disliked Love & War, and will likely read All for One because I am Hamilton trash). I coveted this Alex & Eliza pin for a while, purely out of my love for Hamilton. This pin was originally included in the preorder campaign for the first book, but I received it from Penguin at Book Con 2018.

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MEET THE BLOGGER: Where & How I Write

This spring semester, I had to write about where I write for my writing and communication studies class. Thinking about where and why I like to write my school assignments made me think about where I enjoy blogging! Today I’ll be discussing my favorite writing spaces for blog posts, as well as how I write- ranging from how I dedicate time to blog writing, what programs I use, etc.

Where I Write

My desk: My desk both at home and at school is my go-to writing spot. I prefer my desk at home more just because I have more space to spread out (and yes the books on my desk definitely help my inspiration). I also find myself turning to my desk for when I need to schedule my blog posts for the upcoming week. I primarily write here for when I’m in the mood to write, but laying in bed and watching YouTube is calling me instead. Basically, it puts me in the ‘I seriously need to or want to write’ mood. I find myself having to go to my desk the most when it comes to creating reviews, since they can both the easiest- for when I loved a book so much and I can’t stop screaming about it- and hardest- for when I loved a book so much but can’t seem to put my feels into somewhat coherent words- blog posts. I do my best to take notes while I read, especially for reviews books, but I like writing reviews ASAP after I finished reading said book.

Bed: At home, using my bed as my writing space comes from my love for my bed and being cozy. At home, I love leaning against my Ugg pillow. At school in a college dorm room, your two sitting options are often limited to your desk chair and bed (another great reason to invest in a good mattress pad and good pillows for all 4 years). That being said, writing in bed vs. my desk adds some variety and I tend to associate my desk more with school work than ‘fun’ writing. I find myself the most productive writing in bed- and on the couch- for when I’m in the mood to write, but don’t feel pressured to write. However, I’ve actually gotten better about writing in bed for when I seriously need to write. This usually happens at night-time when I don’t feel like going to bed yet and want to be productive. Blankets and hot chocolate make for the best companions when writing in bed.

Outside: During the nice weather months, I try to find any excuse to be outside, especially after the winter. At school, I enjoy writing at a picnic table in my residential area or at a table outside the library. The nice thing about writing outside the library is that there are outlets available outside. At home, I like writing at our patio table or in a chair with my laptop in my lap and feet up. My only and uncontrollable dislike about sitting outside, especially at school, is that I like to have relative quiet while I write.

Notebook Vs. Keyboard: I haven’t physically written full blog posts in my blogging notebooks. I find myself only physically writing some ideas for my blog posts after I’ve read a book and want to jot down my thoughts or have sudden inspiration for blog post. This is usually out of laziness, aka me not wanting to turn on my laptop. That being said, I use my laptop to write blog posts.

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Writing Ahead/Making Sure I Have Blog Posts:

I rarely, if ever, write a post that needs to be scheduled for the following day on said day. I typically schedule the upcoming week’s posts the Thursday, Friday or Saturday beforehand, which means I need to have at least 3 blog posts prepared. Having posts ready causes scheduling, and blogging really, a much less stressful process. It’s especially handy when I have a week or two, mostly during school, where I don’t have time to blog. There are obviously exceptions to having posts ready at least a week in advance, like books for reviews that have a quick turnaround or monthly wrap-ups. I tend to put off wrap-ups until the very end of the month when I know I won’t be reading too many more books that month.

When I Write/Time:

I never have a specific time for writing, but I often will plan my days around if I need or want to make time for writing. I’ve never really timed myself writing, but I usually aim to set aside one hour if a post needs to be written (reviews can often take me 40 minutes-1 hour, while I can knock out two other types of posts within that time). It’s definitely not a thing I complain about, but I often find myself losing track of time when I’m really in the writing mode (which often leads to the creation of at least 3 posts).

Editing: I tend to not revise my blog posts right when I finish them in Microsoft Word. Instead, I’ll reread and revise posts when I’ve copied them into WordPress when I’m scheduling them for publication. The only issue within this strategy is that the finalized blog post often does not get saved back into Word and then on my external hard drive.

Saving: I write my blog posts in Microsoft Word. I use an older Mac- I believe it’s the 2012 or 2013 MacBookPro and yes, I love the disc drive- and while it runs pretty well still, I live in fear that I’ll lose my files. After writing a blog post, I then copy it in Google Drive. I tend to use the same strategy when it comes to my schoolwork, mostly because I just like Word better than Google Docs. I definitely need to be more proactive about doing so, but at the end of every month, I save that month’s blog posts to my external hard drive. I either just save my original drafts or I copy and paste the published posts from the blog.newfireborderWhere is your favorite blogging or writing spot? Do you have any specific blogging or writing strategies? Share in the comments! 

My Favorite Bookshelf Decorations

While the books on the shelves do the same, bookshelf decorations speak to the reader’s personality. This post is inspired by an April 2019 Top Five Wednesday topic entitled ‘Collectibles on Bookshelf’. At the time of this topic, I think I didn’t have time to write during that point in the semester (aka the start of finals season). From candles to Funkos to photos and more, I absolutely love all of my decorations, but I do have my favorites.

I’ve discussed my Funko collection previously on the blog and while I love them all, listed below are my current favorites.

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Luna Lovegood with Gryffindor Hat- I have the classic Luna Funko, but I always had my eyes on the Funko with her Gryffindor Hat. Once Barnes and Noble had her in stock again, I knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to have one of the best HP Funkos. I keep all of my HP Funkos on my Harry Potter bookshelf, but I love Luna so much that she sits on my contemporart shelf with my Parks and Rec Funkos.

Wonder Woman Funko- Wonder Woman is again one of my favorite Funkos, but I really love having her on my fantasy shelf and convenietly next to the DC Icons series.

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Parks & Rec Funkos- Okay all of my Parks and Rec Funkos are getting the spotlight here, aside from my Bert Macklin Hot Topic exclusive that stays in the box. Leslie would be able to relate to many of the strong female protagonists in the books behind her.

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BEST BOOKISH WEEK: My Friday at Book Expo 2019

The last day of Book Expo is always bittersweet. On the one hand, Book Expo is easily one of my favorite weeks of the year. On the other, by Friday, I’m ready to return to waking up after the sun has already risen and my back, feet and (weirdly enough my toes this year?!) aren’t crying from the fifteen pounds of paper I’m carrying around in my backpack and totes.

Friday was my earliest day at the Javits, arriving around 8:15. I had a lot planned for Friday, but it felt like a much calmer day. Much of this was because I had gotten most of my biggest or most wanted titles on Wednesday and Thursday. Maybe because Friday is the earlier end time of the three days, but the showfloor also seemed quieter. My top three somewhat achievable priorities for Friday were Christina Lauren’s Twice In a Blue Moon, Kim Liggett’s The Grace Year, and Ashley Elston’s 10 Blind Dates.

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Once the showfloor opened at 9 AM, I rushed to Simon & Schuster for Christina Lauren’s Twice in a Blue Moon, which I got, and I picked up Jason Reynolds’ new MG Look Both Ways. The rushing was not over, as I sped walked to Macmillan for a ticket for Kim Liggett’s signing. Throughout the convention, the Macmillan ticket lines were long, but having early ticket pickup times was such a smart move on their part. Although it was on my schedule, I really wasn’t expecting to get a ticket for Rainbow Rowell’s Wayward Son poster signing, but I did! As much as I would love to have a currently nonexistent Wayward Son ARC, much like my feelings about Marie Lu’s Rebel and Holly Black’s Queen of Nothing, if these ARCs existed, there would be absolute chaos. I was also excited for the poster because I have the Kevin Wada) poster for Carry On.

IMG_7495Right after Macmillan ticket pickup, I joined the line for a 9:30 drop of Brigid Kemmerer’s A Heart So Fierce and Broken. I tried getting this on Thursday, but the line was capped decently early. My ticket (aka post-it note) marked me as 55. While waiting to get the book, I watched a crowd gather at Penguin for a secret drop of 10 AM drop of 10 copies of Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was not there to see the results.

After the drop, I went to Workman and picked up How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian. You can probably tell by my haul, but contemporary books were my #1 priority this convention and this 2020 release was recommended by The Book Bratz. I then went to Fierce Reads Recommends, where I met with Jess from The Book Bratz, Cait from Cait’s Books, and Ben from Ace of Bens. I received The Liars of Mariposa Island by Jennifer Mathieu. I read a lot of Cuban literature this year at school so excited for this one (plus totally on the hype train for Amy Poehler’s adaptation of Moxie).

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STRESSING OUT OVER BOOKS WITH FRIENDS: My Thursday at Book Expo 2019

Don’t get me wrong, book conventions are all about being in bookish environments and having fun. But don’t get me wrong, they can be very stressful, even with a highlighted Excel sheet in tow. I couldn’t be more excited for Thursday, but this day was filled with many of my most-wanted books of the year and most of them were only available that day. My absolute priorities were Emery Lord’s The Map from Here to There and Ruta Sepetys’ The Fountains of Silence.

My second day of Book Expo 2019 started with my 8:30 arrival at the Javits with Dunkin’ iced coffee in tow. I took the half hour of sitting in line to go over PW Daily and read over my schedule.

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When I got on the showfloor, I picked up Cara Wall’s The Dearly Beloved from Simon & Schuster and Elizabeth Ames’ The Other’s Gold from Penguin. Penguin Random House was being pretty quiet about their drops throughout the convention, so I often just checked their booth whenever I had a break in the day to see what was going on.

My stress books and events didn’t start until 10:30, so I spent some time walking around, picking up Renegades swag and Nadine Jolie Courtney’s All- American Muslim Girl. From there, I lined up for Hachette’s 10:30 ARC drop, picking up Sarah Henning’s Throw Like A Girl and The Bone Houses, which I later passed on to Taschima from For the Sake of Reading. I got my desired fantasy and historical fiction reads, but contemporary was the name of my Book Expo.

Returning to stress, the night before I should’ve been able to get 7 hours of sleep. In reality, I only got about 5. Why? Because I was stressing out about getting an ARC Emery Lord’s The Map from Here to There. Now readers, I know that not getting this book would not have been the end of the world. There was another drop on Friday, not to mention that the finished shiny copy will be out in January. But let’s be honest: this book was in my top five most wanted books of Book Expo, if not my number 1 goal. I ran for this 11 AM drop right after Hachette. While a line had formed, my spot was close enough where I was guaranteed the book!

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FIRST DAY OF THE BEST WEEK: My Wednesday at Book Expo 2019

Book Expo has been on my brain since it ended last year. I can work Book Expo and Book Con into almost every conversation. My non-bookish best friends each got a countdown Snapchat for the past two weeks. That being said, this reader was more than excited to get to the Javits Center on Wednesday morning for the first day of Book Expo. My second time attending the convention, I had debated on attending for the full day on Wednesday, but there were many more book drops and signings than in years’ past.

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I arrived at the Javits around 9:30, picking up my badge and sitting for a few minutes reading through the Book Expo book. I also took advantage of the fairly empty lobby to take photos of banners. I soon left to head over to Bloomsbury with a few other bloggers through Blogbound Con. Bloomsbury hosted us for breakfast and discussed their upcoming 2019 and 2020 YA and children’s titles. We were each given an ARC of Phil Stamper’s The Gravity of Us-highly recommend checking this one out AND following Phil on Twitter. As everyone chatted after their presentation. I met Lili from Utopia State of Mind IRL. We knew of each other’s blogs, but it wasn’t until after we walked back to Javits together that we realized we were on the Small Town Hearts blog tour together!

IMG_7500We got back to Javits around 11:45, where there was a crowd waiting to get on the showfloor. If you were at the convention or having been following it online, you’ll likely know that much of the hype surrounding Wednesday was a 100 ARC signing of Leigh Bardugo’s adult book, Ninth House. While I wanted Ninth House like everyone else, I really wasn’t expecting to get a ticket for the signing, but I figured I would swing by Macmillan to at least try. I’m not sure what bookish goddesses were looking down upon me, but I managed to get a ticket to the later signing when I got on the showfloor.

While still in shock, I had a little lull in my schedule to walk around the showfloor. I picked up Shea Ernshaw’s Winterwood from Simon & Schuster, Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow from Hachette, a Pumpkinheads sampler from Fierce Reads (yes, I’m still sad this wasn’t a full ARC), and a ticket for Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker’s Mooncakes. At some point during my travels, I also saw and talked with Cece from Problems of a Book Nerd, who I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen in two years!

I then went to my first scheduled event of the day, which was an ARC and tote bag giveaway for Karen Dukess’s The Last Book Party. Despite that a lot of ARC drops line up and get capped before the scheduled time, many publishers (understandably) still wait until the designated time to start the event. However, I was glad that The Last Book Party started two or three minutes beforehand because I was then able to go to Sourcebooks’ 1 PM drop for Gina Lamanna’s Pretty Guilty Women and Kath Shackleton’s Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children. Right after, I made my way to Penguin Random House, where I talked with one of the publicists and received and Katherine McGee’s American Royals! This is one of my most anticipated books for the fall, but I wasn’t sure if it would be at Book Expo.
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OH MY BOOKISH HEART: Book Expo 2019 Haul

Book Expo, the best week of the year. And yes, in my head, I wrote that line in Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle’s best Treat Yo Self voice.

Book Expo 2019 was my second time attending this book convention centered around the publishing business. I was fortunate enough to be approved for a blogger pass, having the opportunity to meet various bookish people, from publishing staff to my fellow book bloggers. Last but certainly not least, one of the best parts of Book Expo was being able to pick up so many of my anticipated 2019 and 2020 releases.

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In 2018, I combined my Book Expo haul with my Book Con haul, but I decided not to attend Book Con in 2019. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Book Con because it was my favorite bookish experience as a reader before I became a blogger. I decided not to attend in 2019 for a variety of reasons. I felt I had spent enough money on Book Expo between my pass, travel and other expenses. I knew I would likely be physically and mentally exhausted from the 3 days of Expo (which I was correct about, being that I could barely feel my upper back and shoulders Saturday morning after ten hours of sleep). Book Con has honestly gotten crazier and crazier each year, especially for ARC giveaways and signings. If I had attended this year, I likely would have gone for some panels (which are often uploaded to Youtube), socializing, and maybe another book or two.

However, as you’ll be able to see by my haul, having books to read won’t be a problem for a while! I am absolutely head over heels in love with my Book Expo haul. Out of the 40 books that I picked up over the week, I only went for books that I knew I want to read or sounded like something I will actually read. It’s definitely easy to be caught up in all the free books and hype. I am so beyond ecstatic and thankful that I got all of my must-have ARCs. I ran a Twitter poll on Friday to best decide how to break down my haul, and the most popular answer was my haul for each Book Expo day. I’ll also be including the current release date for each title.

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