2017 A Reading Year in Review


I want to take the time to really sit down and evaluate my reading and posting of the past year and look at my goals for the new one.

So grab a cup of tea and start reading (warning this post may be long as at the moment I have entirely too much time on my hands) 🙂


In 2017, I had five separate goals set out for myself for the year.

As an annual tradition of mine, I brought back the POPSUGAR reading challenge (click here to see the 2018 challenge, where there are links to prior years).

If you are not familiar with this challenge, there are a set of goals to complete all relating to specific details, like book covers, genres, publication year,etc.

I completed 29/40 of these goals, minus the advanced ones, and I am quite satisfied with that. I always enjoy pairing my books to these challenges and they send me along to books I’d never have considered before.

Next, I hoped to complete the A-Z author and book title challenge, which prompts you to read a book by an author/book title (two separate challenges, not interchangeable) for each letter of the alphabet. The former challenge yielded a bit more success than the latter with 17/28 letters completed. Narrowly though, I was able to hit 16/28 with the book title challenge.  I’m mildly disappointed with this because I was really hoping to get more completed within those two challenges.

My third challenge was a self-created classics challenge which I decided to add because I wanted to touch upon more classics. My idea was to pre-select five classics to pick that I had to read this past year. Unfortunately, I didn’t read ANY of them.


I’m so salty about this, can you tell?

Finally, I wanted to as an overarching whole read 45 books. In this challenge, I completed 29 out of 45 books, which I am happy about because with college, I expected to accomplish less.

For 2018, I am going to be resurrecting all challenges and altering the classics challenge. I think I am going to cut my classics challenge instead to a goal of simply completing two classics this year and I will select them based on mood. I am also hoping to post at least twice a month on my blog 🙂

Thanks for reading until the end! What challenges did you complete last year? What was your favorite and least favorite book?


Kiss 4



Take a Moment


So finals week here at college is quickly approaching. Not only do I have the stress of my upcoming exams and papers that are due for my finals grades, but many of my teachers have been piling on work that they want to get in before the end of the marking period.

It is very easy to get extremely overwhelmed and falling into the stress trap that many people do and so I’m writing to just tell you this:

No matter what is going on in your life or what your are under pressure to complete or decide, allow yourself to take a moment of calm.

Easier said than done I know.

How I do this is by reading, watching videos or TV, or simply closing my eyes and appreciating the things that I have.

Recently, someone exposed me to the idea of savoring. This is basically when you take a mundane occurrence in your life that calms you down and appreciating it. For me, that is laying in bed and thinking about the first moment I am there and how relaxing it is to have no responsibilities other than to lay and sleep. For you, it could be taking off your shoes, breathing in fresh air, taking a shower, etc.

Whatever it is, make sure you take a moment to relax and I highly encourage you to try this technique I have found it very useful!



Kiss 4


Thanksgiving Book Tag


Thanksgiving here in America is fast approaching so naturally I searched a Thanksgiving book tag! I was not tagged in it, but it’s cool I’m still going to do it!!!!!!! Remember everyone to buy your food humanely 🙂

Thanksgiving 1

Here are the Rules:


1. Thank the person who tagged you!
2. Have fun filling in the answers with your favorite books!
3. Tag 5 blogs you’re thankful for to join in the fun!
This tag was created by Thrifty Bibliophile


Here are the questions:

History: Choose a book set in America.


Thankful: What book are you thankful for?


Thanksgiving Dinner: What book features a meal that makes you say “yum”?


Pumpkin Pie: Choose a book you think is very sweet


Food Coma: Choose a book that’s been on your TBR list forever that you really need to read.


After Dinner Drinks: What book is your guilty pleasure?


Drunk Uncle: Choose an unpopular book that you like.


Black Friday Shopping: What was the last book you pre-ordered?



That’s all for now! I tag anyone who wants to do it 🙂

Have a great weekend,

Kiss 4


Current Halloween Read


Halloween is getting closer and closer so I recently picked up a book in the hopes that it would get me in the Halloween spirit and I will say that it certainly has been an interesting read. This is a book I purchased on a whim from the Books-A-Million store in my local shopping mall as it was on sale and caught my eye.

If you know me, you know that I 100% believe that ghosts are real and am genuinely fascinated by the paranormal subject as well (sidenote if anyone wants me to do a paranormal favorite youtubers list or favorite paranormal sites and legends lmk in the comments). So when I saw that this book was all about ghosts I jumped on it!

Then waited about a year to finally read it…oops…

Upon further examination, I read that this book is considered a classic in the paranormal field and so what better novel to lead up to Halloween with?




Fifty years before Paranormal State, Ghost Hunters, and Most Haunted, there was Hans Holzer—a man known as the “Father of the Paranormal.” Holzer pioneered ghost-hunting methods still used today, and brought ghosts and ghost hunting into popular culture in the second half of the twentieth century.

Ghost Hunter presented some of the first-ever case studies of haunting investigations, taken from Holzer’s own practice in the New York City area—ranging from Civil War-era spirits to the tormented ghosts of murder victims.

For devoted ghost-hunting aficionados curious about the practice’s history, there is no better place to start than the first book Hans Holzer wrote, Ghost Hunter.This is the 1963 book that launched his publishing career and gained him international fame.




What book are you reading to get into the Halloween spirit?

Kiss 4


A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)


*May contain spoilers for the first two books.*


Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release Date: 5/2/2017


5 star kiss


Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.


This book was a near perfect continuation of Feyre’s adventures. It provided beautifully descriptive detail and further character development. Feyre really became a strong, dominant personality in this book which I felt was an amazing transformation from the first two novels. I think this was the author’s intent and I personally really enjoyed it. I also felt as though the reader was able to explore the minor characters in more detail as well, which was not extraordinarily present in the other two stories.

I do think that the plot moved rather quickly, which was great from that standpoint. Yet, there was something missed in the relationship between Feyre and Rhysand. I think that there should have been more included about their relationship development, because most of the book was largely focused on their various tasks.

Overall, this book was fantastic and I cannot wait to read the next novel released! I would recommend this serious one hundred times over to ages 17/18 + as some of the content is a bit mature.


Kiss 4





Finally Fall Book Tag


So it’s officially-in my mind-pumpkin season! Why can’t I just say fall? Because I feel like for me fall is just pumpkin everything, which I love! I am going to be doing the Finally Fall Book Tag, which I first saw over at Reader Rayna, which links to the original post.

Let’s Boo-gin! (sorry, I had to)

Free stock photo of food, healthy, vegetables, agriculture Free stock photo of holiday, autumn, fall, decoration

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!


This book has so much detail embedded in the setting. The plot basically builds off the tiny details in the setting and is impossible to continue without examining the setting closely.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.


This book is written so well. It is descriptive and creative while still maintaining elements of dystopia. It definitely address many underlying topics, which to me strengthens the novel for the reader.

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.


I recently finished this book after loving the movie! I was not the biggest fan of the writing style, BUT I loved the subject and learned so much in the course of the book development.

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.


I would LOVE to be part of the Camp Half Blood Crew!

5. The colorful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

I don’t have a good pic to upload! If you have one send it to me; I love to see them!

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.



This book is super cool because it’s a physical version of the book in Fangirl. 

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.

I don’t think I have actually ever read a legitimately scary book, so if you have suggestions send them my way!

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.


This book is less heartwarming and just funny, which I think is great for a cold day!

9. Fall returns every year: name an old favorite that you’d like to return to soon.



10. Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favorite cozy reading “accessories”!

My mermaid blanket and some tea 🙂

11. Spread the autumn appreciation and tag some people!

Anyone that wants to do it!

Happy Fall,

Kiss 4


Current Read (Yes I’m Somehow Managing This Feat in College)


So I didn’t have time to write a super complex post so I thought I’d just do a quick current read update 🙂

Right now I’m reading:


I LOVE THIS SERIES!!!! I cannot say that enough; I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy and am loving this one so far.

Has anyone else read this? What did you think?

What are YOU reading right now and should I add it to my TBR list?


Kiss 4



Back To School Tag (Original)


As stated in my last post, I’m starting classes in a couple days and moved into college yesterday! I’m sure many of you are headed back to school as well!

I’m curious, what is school like at your grade level in your country? Comment below 🙂

I thought I’d pump myself up and you too hopefully by making a back to school tag.

Here are the questions:

  1. A new school year leads to new beginnings, what new book do you want to start this school year?
  2. If you’re going to a new school, it can be a scary change. What book are you going to slip into your bag to give you a boost?
  3. You make a new friend and the first thing they ask you is “what’s your favorite book?” How do you respond?
  4. Uh oh, it’s time to pack your suitcase for college and it’s too full! What book are you going to sacrifice to make some room?
  5. You’re almost late to class, but you sprint back to your room to quickly grab your current read. What is it?
  6. Create a school related acronym using book titles!


There we go! I’ll post my answers next weekend; I tag YOU 🙂

Thanks friends and good luck in your new school year!


Kiss 4


The Mediterranean Table


Author: Unknown

Publisher: Sonoma Press

Release Date: 8/10/2015


5 star kiss


In the age of green smoothie detoxes and elimination diets, it’s easy to forget that you can actually enjoy flavorful, satisfying food and live a more healthful life. The cuisine of the Mediterranean is some of most nourishing and delicious in the world, and The Mediterranean Table includes more than 150 recipes that promise to make keeping the Mediterranean diet a natural, simple lifestyle change.

While other Mediterranean cookbooks have a strict culinary focus or a strict diet focus, The Mediterranean Table marries the two—and proves that you don’t have to have a Sicilian grandmother to fill your kitchen with the flavors and traditions of this classic way of eating. With cooking tips, easy-to-prepare recipes, detailed nutritional information, an at-a-glance meal plan, and regional spotlights for every recipe, The Mediterranean Table will take readers on a culinary journey through Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, all while sharing a time-tested tradition of healthy eating.


I have to say, the synopsis is spot on! I love cooking, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering I love food  but it is. I honestly thought that I’d hate the time, money and effort involved, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’m heading back to college in a couple weeks and have a kitchen in my new dorm! So I went out to the bookstore and bought a cookbook (which *side-note* can can we talk about how expensive they are?).

I’ve been on a self-imposed, calorie-restrictive diet so I knew I wanted a healthy one which also provided me with a calorie count AND had food I liked in it. So I searched and right before I was going to give up, I found this gem and began using it to practice before I got to school.

This book is full of recipes, some are easier than others, and a WHOLE section detailing the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. It provides a list of places to find hard-to-locate ingredients. Overall my two favorite recipes I’ve made are spinach and feta stuffed chicken breasts and vegetarian kofte. I would HIGHLY recommend this and let me know if there are any cookbooks I should try next. Apparently Nevel from ICarly released one, which like obviously I want.

Have a Great Weekend,

Kiss 4




Giveaway+Author Interview: Kiera Gillett


One of my favorite authors to work with contacted me and asked if I could feature her new book so I said OF COURSE. Kiera Gillett is such a sweet person and I really and truly hope that you read her books and support her (no she didn’t tell me to say this). Below is an interview mixed with author-written questions and questions of my own. The giveaway is mixed in with the answers, so make sure to read it! Check out the book here and enjoy!

Displaying ebook4.3bweb.jpgDisplaying keira and oskar.jpg
The fourth book in Keira Gillett’s Zaria Fierce Series, Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well released earlier this month. It continues the story, set in the same magical world of Norway, but this time following Zaria’s changeling friend. Never fear though, the whole gang is back, a little older, and ready to navigate through new adventures, crushes, and teenage trolls. Today, I am pleased to bring Keira Gillett back to talk about her newest book. There’s also a giveaway at the end, so stay tuned!
About the Author: Keira Gillett
Hi everyone! I’m Keira Gillett and I am from Palm Bay, Florida. By day I am a technical publications librarian; by night I’m a children’s author. I own a dog, named Oskar, after a giant ruler in the Zaria Fierce Series I write. He’s my little foxy-baby, and has me wrapped around his little paw. We have lots of fun adventures together, which you can follow on Instagram with the hashtag #oskarpie.
Kathy: Keira, let’s get started by you telling us a little bit about yourself.
Keira: Thanks for having me back, Kathy! I’m so thrilled to be here. When I’m not writing books, I love to watch sci-fi shows, Korean TV dramas, rom-coms, Survivor, and heist movies. I also read a ton, but this year has been a slower year than most for me, mostly because I discovered Survivor and watched every season I could get my hands on. Oops. LOL I also got married this year to a wonderful man. The wedding itself was beautiful and Oskar got to be a part of the occasion. Every week or so my husband and I really enjoy getting together with friends. We cook dinner and play board games. Our newest obsession is escape rooms. We’ve done four so far, and a fifth one is happening very soon. Our current escape rate is 50%, though we like to say its 75% because we had a bum lock in one room and only got partial time back for it.
Kathy: It’s great that you bring that up. I saw escape rooms mentioned on your blog. Can you share a little about that and how it relates to writing?
Keira: The post discussed why I thought authors should do them. It’s a great way to research how clues and teamwork help or hinder investigations and puzzle-solving. Many of my favorite books involve clever riddles and plot lines with many interacting pieces – clues and people. I play escape rooms for fun, but the benefit I can see for my writing is tremendous. I won’t say too much more, other than that puzzle-solving is particularly important for book five in the series.
Kathy: Tease! I can’t wait to see how that plays out. So what can you tell us about Aleks’ story?
Keira: One of the things I love about Aleks’ story is that it brings us full circle through the world. We visit the trolls and elves again, just like in book one, but these have changed. The kids are a little older and wiser, and they’ve traveled to these places before. They have established friends and enemies. A new dragon is on the loose and all that makes a difference on the plots and story woven.
Kathy: Why did you decide to switch the main character from Zaria to Aleks?
Keira: Zaria fought her dragon. Plus, I knew there was a story to tell in Niffleheim, which brings me to Aleks. His character arc always intrigued me and I wanted to explore it more. I grew up on the Little Mermaid (which ties with Beauty and the Beast as my favorite Disney princess movie), and I always thought it was neat that Ariel wanted to be human. Most character plots involve ordinary people wanting to be extraordinary (and yes I am aware that being human to Ariel would be extraordinary to her, but you know what I mean).
Aleks’ internal struggle focuses on his heart’s deepest desire – to be human. It’s sometimes puts him at odds with his human friends, like Christoffer, who would love nothing more than to be magical. There’s also a deadline for turning human hanging over his head. If Aleks’ isn’t home for his sixteenth birthday, he will have missed his one and only chance. So to him there’s nothing worse than a dragon with bad timing making a move.
Kathy: What was your biggest challenge while writing this book?
Keira: There were a few. The first and foremost was defining limits to Zaria’s magic, because on the surface it sounds like she has it made. If she can think it up she can make it happen. In the previous book we established that her magic isn’t tied down and can’t be gagged because she doesn’t need – to paraphrase Professor Snape – “foolish wand-waving or silly incantations” – to make things happen. Hand motions and words aren’t how she produces magic, but this can’t get out or the dragons will come at her with guns blazing. It then became important to establish that just because she can’t be locked up, doesn’t mean she’s infallible, or the instant solution to problems the kids face along the way. Sometimes it requires good old-fashion teamwork and legwork.
Kathy: What advice do you have for new writers?
Keira: I find that there are three hurdles for new writers and I ran into all three. Some were easier for me to jump over, but others required me to be persistent and patient. The first hurdle new authors face is starting a book. You have an idea and you talk about it, but are reluctant to start. It could be because you have no idea how to start, or you think it’s going to turn out bad, but whatever the reason, roll up your sleeves and dig in. The second hurdle is getting past the opening sequences and chapters. You start second guessing everything you wrote before. Now the idea, which so excited you, may feel stupid or garbage. Ignore that. That’s just nerves. Keep plugging away. If you’re stuck at this hurdle, and it’s not that you’re worried your enthusiasm deflated, it could be because you’re not sure where to take the story next. In that case, make yourself write a little each day until you get past that slump. Analyze your favorite book or series and see how that author approached the middle section of their story. It may inspire you. The last hurdle is finishing the book. Don’t let the story languish and gather digital cobwebs. It deserves and ending and so do you. You’ve come this far, now is not the time to run out of steam. My advice for new writers is to just get in there, get up to your elbows in your story idea and just go for it. Lay it all out on the table and get her done. The first draft is for you. Go on tangents, take the road less traveled, do the obvious thing, whatever. Editing, polishing, fleshing out, tightening up, that all happens in drafts 2 through (insert number here), until you’re satisfied with the telling.
Kathy: Have you reflected any characteristics of yourself or people you know in your characters?
Keira: Oh goodness, yes! Zaria is my bookworm happy self. She and I could gab books all day long and be satisfied. Christoffer is my “I think I’m super funny” self. He also has a bit of my husband’s humor too. Merry is very much my mother – a cool, work from home, you can totally play hooky with me, always there for you kind of mom. Vingar takes after my dog Oskar when he’s being playful and silly. Nori in all her annoying traits is probably how my siblings see me LOL I promise I’m not that bad, she’s a bit of an exaggeration. For the most part though, the characters are themselves.
Kathy: You’ve written several books prior to this one, how has your writing process changed since then?
Keira: I’m more inclined to write sequences in the books out of order. I’m currently drafting book 6, but book 7 and book 9 in the series have called to me and I’ve taken the time to write those scenes out so I won’t forget them. Other than that I think the process is pretty much the same. I partially plot, and I leave enough blank to have the characters take me where they will. I know the ending I’m aiming for, but the journey is as much for the characters and reader as it is for me.
Kathy: Thank you Keira for dropping by. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us here at Novelty of Life. I’ll let you introduce the giveaway.
Keira: The pleasure is all mine! I hope everyone loves Aleks’ stories as much as they have loved Zaria’s.
To celebrate the release of Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well, I’m hosting a giveaway for interested readers. The winner will receive a dragon scale necklace (in the color of your choosing) that I will make for you, and a Dropcard containing a digital copy of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest and other goodies. Open internationally. Ends 8/6/2017.
To enter leave a comment on this blog asking me a question or sharing who your favorite Zaria Fierce character is and why. To get a bonus entry share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #zfgiveaway. For another share your favorite Zaria Fierce book cover on Instagram using the same hashtag #zfgiveaway. Good luck!
Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well by Keira Gillett
Book 4 in the Zaria Fierce Series
“It’s time for you to come home.”
Something strange is happening in Norway and Aleks Mickelsen is the only one to notice. It began innocently enough; his mom stuck the car keys in the fridge and couldn’t find them, and Christoffer forgot how to get to Aleks’ house – silly things like that. But what started out as minor idiosyncrasies in others became more disturbing as people began having accidents. Automobiles snarled traffic as people drove through red lights, a worker at a factory was hospitalized after he jumped the safety rails to dislodge a piece of metal, and Geirr nearly crashed his airplane into another after landing on the wrong runway. What was going on? All Aleks wanted was to get through the next few months in peace and quiet, because when he turned sixteen, he would finally be fully and completely human. The last thing he needed was another adventure.
Thanks again Kiera!
Have a Great Day,
Kiss 4