Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wrapping Up 2015 and January TBR

It's the last day of the year, and I'm a little sad to see it go, but excited to see where 2016 will take me next!  In April I returned to blogging after a year and a half.  Honestly, I thought I was going to quit for good, focus on different things, move on to something new.  I started out with a goal of reading 25 books throughout the year, as I wanted to ease back into blogging without much pressure.  As I completed my goal, I kept adding more to it.  Today I finished my 68th book of the year, which doesn't beat my record, but it's an accomplishment compared to the 5 books I read in the time I quit blogging.

I only went to one author event, but it was an amazing one!  I was lucky enough to be invited to have dinner with Renee Ahdieh in May, just after The Wrath & The Dawn released.  The food was delicious, the conversation was exciting, and we all fangirled over her amazing book, which is one of my favorites of the year.

Making more connections with other bloggers, authors, and publishers is probably the highest on my list of things I'm thankful for, and I hope that only continues to grow in the new year!

These are the books I've reviewed in 2015:
Divergent by Veronica Roth, Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby, I Hate My Selfie by Shane Dawson, Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Bagieu, Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger, The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine, On the Fence by Kasie West, The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang, Paper Towns by John Green, The Cage by Megan Shepherd, Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer, The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman, Between Us and The Moon by Rebecca Maizel, Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley, The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales, A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery, 99 Days by Katie Cotugno, Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally, Another Day by David Levithan, Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman, The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich, Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty, Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt, Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings, The Distance from Me to You by Marina Gessner, This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee, A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern, A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis, Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin, Popular by Lauren Urasek, The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle, Things I Can't Explain by Mitchell Kriegman, How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras, Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern, The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill, and My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins 

The books I managed to read in December:
-My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
-Fat Dad, Fat Kid by Shay Butler and Gavin Butler
-In Real Life by Jessica Love
-What's Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass

December was kind of bad for me, reading-wise...I don't know where the entire month went or what I was busy doing, but I only read half of what I normally read.  I definitely did not get a head start on my January ARCs like I wanted to.

The books I plan to read in January:

I know I'm aiming pretty high, but these are all books I'm dying to read!
I hope everyone has a safe New Year's Eve, and I can't wait to see you in 2016!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Most Anticipated of 2016

With the new year comes new releases.  Here are the ones I can't wait to read!

Of course, there are so many more that I'm interested in reading, and I'll definitely be adding books to my ever-growing wishlist throughout the year, but these are the ones that are calling to me the most right now! 

Best of 2015

As this year comes to an end, I wanted to highlight my favorite books of 2015!

Honorable Mentions:
Dumplin by Julie Murphy, Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel, The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West, What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi, A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis, and Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

Monday, December 21, 2015

Giveaway: The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

A gorgeously written tale of magic, friendship, and self-discovery set in a dream-like landscape filled with fairies. 

 After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.

 Early praise:
"Catmull’s take on fairies uses conventional elements in original ways, building a stunningly atmospheric, gorgeously complicated dream of a book. Genuinely frightening and eerie moments are drawn as masterfully as the joyous, glowing, peculiar images that populate Catmull’s version of a world inexorably linked to, yet separate from, our own. The gentle romance between Clare and Finn is understatedly believable, the quiet emotional core of a story that deserves the word epic.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In lovely lyrical writing, Catmull, author of Summer and Bird (Dutton, 2012), creates an unforgettable tale that begins slowly and gently, gradually and inevitably leading to a thundering crescendo…This is a haunting novel that contains all the darkness and light of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”—School Library Journal, starred review

Get this book before it goes on sale January 19th!
The publisher is holding a giveaway for 10 ARCs of The Radiant Road. 
Ends December 28th.  US residents only.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

That's What Chey Said: Organization and the New Year

For most things to run smoothly, some amount of organization is involved.  This applies to blogging as well...something I didn't really take into consideration when starting The Hollow Cupboards.  I just wanted a platform where I could have fun and post whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  As the blog grew, I realized that I wasn't the only one reading and I had to start putting out more content that readers, authors, and publishers would benefit from.

For a couple years, I just winged it.  I kept my to-do list in the back of my head and posted reviews immediately after I was done reading the books.  This worked for a while, as my motivation was at its peak.  I was working my way toward something, because as many of us know, a bigger blog means more perks, like recognition, friends, and ARCs.

I ended up burning myself out by mid-2013, and when I took a break, that turned into "Well, what's the point?  Maybe I should quit".  For a year and a half, I'd given up on blogging, and because of that, my reading also suffered.  Within that time, I think I read a total of 5 books.  Eventually, I remembered what I was missing out on and decided to dive back in, fully prepared to start everything over again, if I had to.

When I returned, I began making lists.  There were half a dozen, from books I wanted to read next and reviews I need to write, to discussion post topics and changes I could make.  I discovered Google Calendar next, where I plan which days I wanted to post.  After a while, I started doing what everyone's been doing for years--scheduling my posts.  I didn't realize how much easier that made things, and I vowed to keep up with it because then I could have regular content, even on my busy days!  Unfortunately, I realized that I kind of hate writing posts weeks or months in advance.  I'm a procrastinator...always have been.  As you can probably see from my total of 3 posts over the span of 20 days, I'm still working on that.

Halfway through the year, I became obsessed with watching planner videos.  Why didn't I ever think of using one before?  Even when it comes to writing, I prefer a physical notebook or journal.  After months of pining for a planner, I decided that the best time to get one was at the end of the year so I could get a head start on planning my TBR lists and write down the release dates of the review copies I receive.  As of right now, everything is color-coded and completely organized.  Though I don't do a majority of my planning until a few weeks in advance, I already have an idea of what my blog will look like from January to June, which makes me very excited for the new year!

How do you keep things organized?  
Do you have better methods that work for you?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December Book Haul

-Not After Everything by Michelle Levy
(Hardcover from Daisy Chain Book Reviews)

-Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
-The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
-Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano
(ARC and Hardcovers from Pure Imagination)

-Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

-My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins
-The Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo
-The Good Sister by Jamie Kain
-In Real Life by Jessica Love
(Hardcovers, Paperback, ARCs and cookie cutters from St. Martin's Griffin/Press)

-Sweaterweather by Sara Varon
(Hardcover from First Second)

-Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
(Hardcover from Blogging for Books)

-Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull 
(ARC from Dutton Books for Young Readers)

-The Word for Yes by Claire Needell
-Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth
-Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
-The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
-Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski
-Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore
-Shade Me by Jennifer Brown
-The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
(ARCs from HarperCollins)


-Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
-Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
-The Haters by Jesse Andrews
(eGalleys from Feiwel & Friends, St. Martin's Griffin, and Amulet)


-The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
-Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia
-Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

-Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup
-Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
-The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

-Ruined by Amy Tintea
-Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
-The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott

-This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
-The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele
-Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

-The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

-Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
-Wanderlost by Jen Malone
(eGalleys from HarperCollins and Simon Pulse)