Category Archives: Special Blogs

Dewey’s Readathon Opening Survey

My TBR

Opening Survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?


Lithia Springs, Georgia


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?


I look most forward to making great progress in the Darkhaven series


3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?


Tortilla chips and cheese dip!


4) Tell us a little something about yourself!


My name is Nicole. I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I started reviewing books in 2013. I’ve gone through a few blog names. None of them really fit me. In 2015, I developed the name Willow Star Serenity. It suited me. Willow Writes And Reads is my blog name now. I adore it. I’ve entertained changing it to The Introverted Readathoner, but I am rather fond of my current name.
I also hate talking about myself. It makes me feel very conceited.


5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?


I’ll be sticking to my schedule as much as possible. The fact that I woke up with a very sore throat, congestion, and little to no voice will help this very much. I’m looking most forward to potentially making more friends and finding out if anybody is reading the same books as me.

Thank you for Reading!

Note: All book covers (with the exception of gallery book covers) have links embedded in them so that you can go directly to the amazon page for them. It does take you off the blog page. You can If you click ctrl before you click it, it will open in a new tab instead.

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You can leave a tip for me on Paypal and Ko-Fi. All contributions are welcome, but not expected.

My Ideal Reading Space

Once upon a time, I had a dedicated reading spot. It consisted of cushions on the floor with two make shift end tables on each side. One table for holding my books. The other for my tea and snacks. I also had a candle on each side. Sometimes on a wax warmer and sometimes to burn. I have since moved a few times and haven’t set up a new reading area. I plan to here soon. I think it would be good for me. This all got me thinking of my ideal reading area and what it would consist of.

Reading Space

Obviously the first step is a space. For me personally, I love a big cushy chair/love seat. I like to move a lot. I also like to keep table near me to hold the stuff I use while reading. I always like to have a stack of books around me so if I want to put my current down, I have something else to pick up right away.

Hot Beverage

My main go to is hot tea. I love all flavors of tea. Give me a good tea and some honey and I’m happy. However, I also love hot chocolate and coffee as well. I find a hot beverage just very soothing to have around while reading. I also keep water around as well to stay hydrated.

Snacks

I’m not sure if I’m the only one that has this thing, but I love having snacks around while I read. Even if I don’t eat any of the snacks. Just having it around is good enough. My favorites to keep around are popcorn or chips. Every now and then when I have the money to spare, I love to have nuts around and chocolates.

Candles

My favorite thing to have around is candles. I love all scents. Lately, I’ve been into sage and citrus scented candles. I alternate between burning candles and using a wax warmer. Eventually, I’d like to start making my own candles. I think it might be a bit cheaper. Especially with the way I use them.

I like to have other stuff around me, but these are the things I have to have at all times. Sometimes, I like to keep paper and pen with me on the chance that I may be inspired to write something down to talk about later. I also keep my phone around me for when I’m inspired to post to Instagram. I’d love to hear about your ideal reading space!

Thank you for Reading!

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You can leave a tip for me on Paypal and Ko-Fi. All contributions are welcome, but not expected.

New Blog Plan

Due to some additions to work and schedule life, I won’t be posting personal blogs on weekends. For the most part. I would ideally like to maintain posting at least once a day, so if I have no blog tour scheduled for a weekend day, I’ll come on and talk about some book related topic or update on my reading.

Monday: Weekly Reading And Blogging Plans. I’ve liked doing this. And people seem to react pretty positively to this.

Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesdays. For the weeks that I don’t really want to do the assigned topic, I’ll do a top ten book topic that I choose.

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday.

Thursday: Audiobook. If I can’t think of a specific topic to talk about, I’ll post the current audiobook(s) I’m listening to

Friday: Book Haul. I’ll post the books I’ve collected and bought over the week.

I loved the Reading Wrap Up for Sundays, but having to approve all of my pingbacks got a little tedious. Especially with my schedule filling up and Sundays being my only off day now. It may be brought back.

Thank you for Reading!

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You can leave a tip for me on Paypal and Ko-Fi. All contributions are welcome, but not expected.

The Sunshine Blogger Award XIII

I have been honored to be nominated for this award by A Little Haze Book Blog. If you haven’t checked her blog out, please do so. I fully recommend it. Not only is she a beautiful person, but she also runs a beautiful blog.

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Questions set by Laurel (And A Little Haze Book Blog)

Why did you start book blogging?

Because I discovered it was a thing. I moved a lot growing up, so I never really formed a lot of long term and lasting friendships. I especially never connected with anybody who loved reading as much as I did. I wanted to connect with people who loved reading as much as I did. It’s been amazing!


What are your favourite parts of book blogging?

In all honesty, connecting with people. There’s a part of me that would love to make a living doing this so that I can expand things I do. I’d eventually love to run a podcast and dab into narrating as well. But I digress. The best part of book blogging is connecting with other bloggers and readers.


What are your least favourite?

The pressure I feel sometimes. I get behind and it makes me feel like I’m less than human. I know that most of that is self inflicted. I just hate letting people down.


What advice do you have for new book bloggers?

Be authentic to what works best for you. Don’t go chasing something that works for somebody else. We all have things that work best for us and things that don’t. Pressuring yourself into trying to do something out of your comfort zone will turn your blog into a chore rather than a pleasure real fast.


What makes you want to read a book?

The cover and the hype. I don’t read blurbs. I love to go into books “blind” so to speak. I try to learn as little as human possible about the book. I tend to enjoy the element of surprise when it comes to books. But I love an eye popping cover that intrigues me to know more.


What were your favourite reads of 2019?

The Harry Potter series to start with. The Kings of Linwood Academy is another. The Stephanie Plum series. I could go on. I read quite a few great reads in 2019!


What books were your least favorite of 2019?

Married To The Alien Doctor


What books lived up to the hype? Which didn’t?

Most of the books I read I hadn’t heard of until after I’d gotten my hands on. I didn’t fully become as active in blogging as I am now. I’ve dabbed in blogging off and on since 2013, but I started taking it seriously around August of last year.


What are your favourite tropes and why?

I really like the damaged to love romances. They seem a bit more realistic to real relationships than most romances. I also really love the paranormal spats.


Who in the book world (blogger, youtuber, bookstagrammer, author, friend, etc.) inspires you the most?

There’s an author I met in 2018. She and I connected instantly. She’s gone through a lot and she still keeps going strong. She takes criticism and works out something that works best for her and for the readers. She learns and grows every day. It’s amazing.


What is one book that helped you through rough times (or taught you something valuable?)

The Help. I really related to the main character in the story so much. She didn’t really believe in the opinions of those around her, but she didn’t know if she could branch out on her own. She found herself closer to those who everybody looked down on than those she should be close with.

It’s hard to choose 11 people. Especially since most of these die with me. Not complaining. People get busy. Plus, I read a LOT of amazing blogs on a daily basis. If you read this, you are tagged. I’d love to see your answers. I’m also going to steal Laurel’s questions at all. Please comment your blogs so I can read your answers!!! Or tag me in the blog!

Why did you start book blogging?
What are your favourite parts of book blogging?
What are your least favourite?
What advice do you have for new book bloggers?
What makes you want to read a book?
What were your favourite reads of 2019?
What books were your least favorite of 2019?
What books lived up to the hype? Which didn’t?
What are your favourite tropes and why?
Who in the book world (blogger, youtuber, bookstagrammer, author, friend, etc.) inspires you the most?
What is one book that helped you through rough times (or taught you something valuable?)

Thank you for Reading!

Maximize your reading options with Kindle Unlimited. Maximize your reading time with Audible Membership.

You can leave a tip for me on Paypal and Ko-Fi. All contributions are welcome, but not expected.

The Mystery Blogger Award

I was tagged in this by A Little Haze Book Blog. Thank you. It’s a true honor to be included in these things. I welcome all book tags and awards. If I miss any, please feel free to let me know!

If you read this and enjoy it, feel free to include yourself tagged. Please tag me in your blog or put your link in the comments.

The reason and story behind this blog is a mystery! There are some basic rules though!

The Rules

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. (@OkotoEnigmasBlog)
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  • Share a link to your best post(s).

Three things about myself:

  1. I’m a very avid reader. Since I started actively reviewing and interacting with authors and other readers more frequently, my reading has doubled. Actually, I think it’s tripled! I used to average reading 50-60 books a year. This past year I read a little over 200!
  2. I’ve suspected that I was born left handed. I write with my right hand, but I do everything else with my left hand. For the past few months, I’ve passively practiced writing and drawing with my left hand.
  3. I love coloring. I’ve loved coloring before adult coloring became a thing. I used to get children’s coloring books from dollar stores. I’m glad there’s options for adult coloring books. Though they can be overwhelming sometimes. I also am addicted to word searches. I used to get those at the dollar store as well. I love getting both coloring books and word search books as gifts. I also love getting art supplies.

Emer’s Questions:

Do you think there is a place for one star reviews in the blogging community?

While I have never made a one-star review, I do understand that there are people who use them for books they didn’t really enjoy that much. Personally, if I proclaim any book one or two stars, it’s a book I don’t finish. I absolutely refuse to review a book I did not finish. If I’m asked to review the book, I will privately reach out to the author or person who requested it and explain why I won’t be reviewing. I do like reading the one-star reviews. The constructive ones anyways.


How do you feel about audiobooks?

Audiobooks have changed my life completely. It has literally maximized my reading so much! I can read even when I’m not able to actually read. I listen when working out and cleaning. I listen when playing games and scrolling the internet. Anything where I can listen to the book while doing the activity (even blogging), I am listening! I even color and do word searches while listening. It’s amazing!


Have you ever emotionally identified with a character or plot in a book that you felt the author was writing the words that are etched on your soul?

Zoey Redbird at the very beginning of the House Of Night series. I know how it feels to have family want nothing to do with you for who you are and for standing up for what you believe in. There are things she does later in the series that I don’t fully connect with, but at the beginning of the series, I felt like I was almost reading about myself.


What was the last book (or film) that made you cry?

The book that comes to mind is called My Life As A Country Album. It’s a really amazingly beautiful book. It’s tragic though. I fully recommend it for those who haven’t read it. If memory serves, I believe it’s on KU. Even if it’s not, it’s more than worth the price. I want to reread it now just thinking about it!


What ice cream flavour do you think best represents your personality? E.g. are you vanilla with sprinkles? Maybe you’re a decadent salted caramel? Or maybe you’re a scoop of rocky road?

I’m not really sure. I really feel like it would have rainbows in it somewhere. Probably vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. I’ve never thought of this kind of question. It’s brilliant really!

Just a reminder, I’m tagging anybody who reads this who wants to join!

My Questions:

  1. What are your thoughts on Audiobooks?
  2. What was the best book to movie adaptation? The worst? Have you ever watched an adaptation that was actually better than the book?
  3. What’s your book rating system?
  4. I’ve been considering doing video book reviews. Do you do any book related videos? Or watch them? What are your thoughts?
  5. What is a book that you read that has stuck with you forever?

Thank you for Reading!

Maximize your reading options with Kindle Unlimited. Maximize your reading time with Audible Membership.

You can leave a tip for me on Paypal and Ko-Fi. All contributions are welcome, but not expected.

Blogger Recognition Award

I was nominated for this by Dear Kitty. Some Blog. I am truly honored! Go check her page out if you haven’t already!

The rules of this award are:

1. Post an image of the award.
2. Thank your nominator.
3. Give the story or history of your blog.
4. Give two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.
5. Nominate 10 other bloggers and link to their blogs.
6. Comment on their blogs so they know of their nomination.

My blog is a bit of a complicated story. I’ll keep it as short and sweet as possible. I have been reading all my life. I didn’t really know many other readers. Actually, I was shamed a lot for wanting to read so much. It was a lonely life. I’ll say that.

September 2013, I discovered that I could write opinions on the books I read online! I can’t tell you how much that’s changed my life. I’ve met many amazing authors and fellow book lovers. Lately, I’ve been meeting some pretty amazing narrators as well. I am so blessed. I’ve even attended a book con (Literary Love of Savannah) the past few years.

In August of 2019, I made my blog here. I changed the name to Willow Writes And Reads. It’s stuck. I have felt more home since I made this blog than I have before. With the blog. I’ve felt at home since I joined the book community. This blog has grown so much and I can’t wait to see it grow farther. Thank you everybody who has read and followed my blog. You’re amazing.

My Advice:

  1. Follow your passions and run with it. Don’t ever make blogs that you don’t have much interest in. It will show in the blog. Don’t feel you have to follow a theme or schedule. I don’t mean don’t schedule blogs. There are people who find scheduling posts helpful. I use scheduling for the tours I do and most that I’ve planned out. Most of my blogs are spur of the moment so those aren’t scheduled. Go with your heart. Follow your passion. The rest will follow.
  2. Interact with your readers and read blogs similar to yours. It’s an amazing way to make new friends and connect with people. I have met quite a few people since starting this blog. If I could meet them in real life, I’d totally hug them. It also helps to know you’re not alone. You can help people out and seek advice from others as well!

If you’re reading this blog and you are a blogger, I’m tagging you. There’s so many great blogs that I really can’t choose just five! Please tag me or leave the link in the comments! I’d love to read your blogs! If I’m not already following you, I’ll follow you!

Thank you for Reading!

Maximize your reading options with Kindle Unlimited. Maximize your reading time with Audible Membership.

You can leave a tip for me on Paypal and Ko-Fi. All contributions are welcome, but not expected.

Awesome Blogger Award

I was nominated for this award by A Little Haze Book Blog. I fully recommend everybody check out her blog. I’d also suggest you follow her for terrific blogs. Thank you for the amazing nomination!

What is The Awesome Blogger Award?

The award was created by Maggie @Dreaming of Guatemala. This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.

Processed with Rookie Cam

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Credit the creator
  • Tag this post with #AwesomeBloggerAward
  • Answer all the questions given to you
  • Nominate some people
  • Write 10 questions for them to answer

Questions From A Little Haze Book Blog:

Who is your favourite side / supporting character in a novel?

I’d have to say Aphrodite LaFont in the House of Night series. She’s feisty and not always a likable character, but she’s fiercely loyal and intensely honest. If you have her on your side, you know you can count on her. Even if you want to strangle her.


What book do you think had the best world building?

I’m going to go with His Dark Material Trilogy here. There were multiple different worlds referenced in the book. It’s pretty creative.


You need to escape your house (for some reason) and can only bring five books with you. What books would you take?

I could be impossible here and say my Kindle and iPad, or use them as two of the five. They would probably be coming with me anyway. Picking five is hard! I guess I’d take the first five House of Night books!


Which fictional character do you most strongly identify with or feel that is most like you personality-wise?

I’m torn between Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy and Audrey Rose in Stalking Jack The Ripper. Ironically enough, both have the name Rose. They are both fierce, loyal, and dedicated. They are also both very insecure with themselves, and have the weight of the world on their shoulder.


What animal would you want as your superhero side-kick?

I would have to say a dog! It’s hard to choose. I’m an animal lover!


Which genre of books is the most unfairly under-rated in your opinion?

I would have to say sweet romance. I’d also say they are misinterpreted too. I’ve seen negative reviews on sweet romance novels for “not having enough sex or heat”. That’s the point. They don’t have sex. It’s focused on the romance entirely. A lot of them keep cursing from their books as well.


What is your favourite flavour of ice cream?

Butter Pecan!


Would you rather read a great plot with average characters or a boring plot with amazing characters?

I’ll have to go with amazing characters. If the characters are amazing enough, they will make the story great!


Do you annotate your books?

I don’t. I don’t even write notes on what I read. I should. I just get so absorbed in the story. I feel like taking notes would take the enjoyment away.


If you could switch places with any character (book, TV show, or film) for a day, who would you switch with and what would you do?

I can’t remember her name right now, but there’s a character who comes in later in the House Of Night series. She’s blind, but once she’s marked she gets her vision back. She’s also marked as a red fledgling. She sees people’s auras. I’d love to be her.

Thank you again for nominating me for this post. It makes me feel special and important to be included in things like these. Joining the book blogging community was the best thing I ever did. I feel so included.

If you are reading this and you have a blog, I nominate you. There are too many bloggers I follow to only choose a few.

My questions:

  1. When did you first find your love of reading?
  2. Where is your favorite place to read?
  3. Do you have a reading goal on Goodreads or anywhere else?
  4. When did you start your blog? Give us a brief history of your blog!
  5. If you could give advice to future book bloggers and reviewers, what would you say?
  6. What’s your favorite book snack?
  7. Do you participate in readathons?
  8. Are you a member of any book clubs? (Please give links for any online ones that are open globally!)
  9. What other things do you enjoy? Reading is great, but I’m sure you have other things you love as well!
  10. What are some of your goals for the year?

I can’t wait to see your responses! Please tag me in your blog or put your link in the comments here! I wouldn’t mind if you do both! Again, I’m nominating every blogger who reads this!!!!

Thank you for Reading!

Maximize your reading options with Kindle Unlimited. Maximize your reading time with Audible Membership.

You can leave a tip for me on Paypal and Ko-Fi. All contributions are welcome, but not expected.

Overwhelmed And Weekend Plans

IMVU: TwilightStarShadow

It’s amazing how somebody can be progressing well and falling behind at the same time. January was an insanely productive reading week. I believe I almost managed to average a book a day. Which is a HUGE accomplishment for me. However, I was swamped all month long. And I’m the type if I don’t get things 100% done, I don’t feel I was productive enough.

My mind has also been running into overtime as well. I attempted to do some freelance, but I don’t think I was going into the right direction. Especially with the pay to work ratio. I won’t talk about that publicly. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. It’s just a lot. I made mistakes. I’m not perfect. But mistakes or not, it just wasn’t a right fit for me.

I had a lot of things going on this month. I had little to no organization whatsoever. I now get the phrase “running around like a chicken with its head cut off”. Fully. I had schedules that were great, but they weren’t working out for me. On top of all that, I’m still attempting to find a job. I’ve had some promising leads, but something has happened. I have full faith that things will be looking up soon!

This past week has been the most productive for me. I tweaked my schedule in a way that works best for me. I also made some to do lists based on priority. It’s insane how therapeutic that is. I can’t even explain it. I still have a lot to do, but I’ve made progress. I even have my February schedule set up.

I also edited my schedule for the blog as well. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, I’ll post specific topics. I have it listed in my schedule section. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I’ll post about WHATEVER. Of course, I’ll post book reviews and tags on any day, but those are the exceptions.

This weekend, I’ll be posting quite a few blogs. I’ll space them out as much as I can. I have three book award responses to post. THREE! Thank you! I feel so special! I’ll also be posting 6 book reviews. Actually, there’s a potential of 8 reviews. I have 2 books I should be finishing this weekend. We’ll see.

Another announcement to make. I’m getting back into photography. Right now, I’m just doing some reading up and studying on it. I don’t have access to my cameras at the moment. I am also planning on getting back into my drawing lessons and studying a bit of calligraphy. I’ve also found some coloring groups to get into to get back into that.

Thanks everybody for your patience with me. I’m trying to be all about positive thinking. Sometimes it’s hard with the darkness trying to take me whole! It’s strange. I feel alone sometimes, but then I also push people away. Now that I’m more organized and feel a bit more grounded, things will be back to normal on Monday.

Here are the award blogs I’ll be responding to:

The Awesome Blogger Award
Blogger Recognition Award
They Mystery Blogger Award

Thank you for Reading!

Maximize your reading options with Kindle Unlimited. Maximize your reading time with Audible Membership.

If you’d like to contribute to my page, please send it to my Paypal. Any amount is very appreciated. Thank you! And thank you for reading my blogs. I’m honored to have you as a reader!

100 Followers!!!!!

I am beyond thrilled at this milestone. I am so thankful to everybody who takes the time out of their day to read my blogs. You make me dedicated to keep on posting. I promise to get better with consistency.

I feel like I should do a top 100 post to honor this great achievement. If this is something you’d like to see, please feel free to comment the top 100 things you’d like to see. I am so thrilled. I never thought I would get so far! Fear and anxiety kept me from pursuing this. I’m glad I ignored it for once!

Thank you again for following me and reading my blogs. You are the reason I keep posting. A special shout out to those of you who read every single one of my blogs. You are seen and appreciated. You make me feel special!

Thank you for reading!

Maximize your reading options with Kindle Unlimited. Maximize your reading time with Audible Membership.

If you’d like to contribute to my page, please send it to my Paypal. Any amount is very appreciated. Thank you! And thank you for reading my blogs. I’m honored to have you as a reader!

Personal Goals For 2020

For years, I have been formulating and dismissing plans. I’ve listened to terrible advice and believed them. I believed all the negativity I was told. I’ve also been guilty of being negative about things myself. That’s one of my unofficial goals. Be more positive. Think more positive.

  1. Be more consistent with my goals. I will do my best to schedule the ones that I can schedule. Most of the blogs I make aren’t really things I plan out. I will make sure that they are posted on the day they are planned out. With the exception of book reviews.
  2. Work on expanding freelance. By the end of the year, I’d like to have at least four services to offer. I’d also ideally like to be full-time if at all possible.
  3. Interact with more bloggers. I would like to find more bloggers in the book community to interact with. Others to support. Take more time to read more blogs.
  4. Work on reducing my to read list. I have a lot of books I said I’d review for tours or just in general that I had to sideline for various reasons. This year, I’d like to significantly lower that list. If not completely clear it. I’d also like to have ARC copies read by their release date when possible. If not, as close to them as I possibly can.
  5. Find some writing, photography, and voice acting/narration training/classes. I’d like to get some training on these things. Maybe even consider making a profession of them starting next year.
  6. Get and keep a job. I’d ideally like to find something part-time so I can focus on growing my freelance. However, I’m open to a full-time job if it’s overnight. I’d also prefer a job from home since I don’t drive.

I have never really taken the time to set actual goals. It is a big relief. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off me. I mean I’ve planned things. I’ve talked about ideas and dreams. I’ve never actually set it up as a goal. I have a feeling that good things are going to be coming my way!

Thank you for reading!

Maximize your reading options with Kindle Unlimited. Maximize your reading time with Audible Membership.

If you’d like to contribute to my page, please send it to my Paypal. Any amount is very appreciated. Thank you! And thank you for reading my blogs. I’m honored to have you as a reader!