Feature and Follow Friday!

January 16, 2014 Katie A Uncategorized 57 Comments

featuredbloggerHosted by Parajunkee, and Alison!

Hi everyone!

First let me just say how excited and thankful I am for this opportunity. I want 2014 to be the year where I finally get my blog up and running and have fun. Reading and making new friends has always favorites of mine, so I when I started blogging I knew I had found the right place for me – a community who welcomes me with open arms and friendship.

I’m Katie, a twenty-something girl living in Northern California. I’m a student at a local community college and working with kids part time. I’m usually found curled up with a book, watching tv/a movie, or spending time with my family/friends and my girlfriend. I’m incredibly laid back and I love exploring Northern California with my family/friends on weekends or vacations.

The question of the week is…Who is your blogger BFF? Tell us a little bit about him or her? If not tell us why you need or don’t need a blogger BFF.

Hands down, my girlfriend Molli over at Books and Whimsy! Molli the one who really inspired me to start reading again, but she also encouraged me to start blogging in the first place. Even though I’ve had a hard time getting my blog up and running, she has always been encouraging, supportive and reminds me to blog how I want to blog and to always, always have FUN blogging.

We’ve read some amazing books together, made some amazing bookish memories and I know that she will always be at my side. Without her I wouldn’t have even known about the blogging community or any of the amazing books I’ve come across in my short time of blogging.

If you don’t know Molli yet, you really should get to know her. She is so amazingly sweet and kind and always willing to help others. She’s told me about so many books that have touched me. We have so much fun together, we laugh until we cry and she makes me the happiest girl ever. Not only do I love her very much, but I am so incredibly happy to have her as my blogger BFF and in my life.

I can’t wait to get to know everyone and make some great new blogger friends! πŸ™‚ Thank you for stopping by!

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New Year, New Features!

January 16, 2014 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

Hi everyone!

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks brainstorming new ideas for the blog that will keep me inspired, excited and managed to come up with some new features that I can’t wait to share with everyone. I’ll tell you all about them shortly, but first I wanted to catch you up on my year so far.

The great news? My hand isn’t broken! I can’t tell you how relieved I am. I’m still in and out of a splint until I regain my strength, but that nasty half cast like splint is gone and in the trash. This makes it so much easier to do everything – typing was impossible, eating was a challenge and I couldn’t hold a physical book, ugh! Plus it left me stressed over what I’d do if it was broken and the semester started.

I caught a massive head cold that turned into bronchitis and a sinus infection and had to miss two days of work because of it, but the rest sure helped. I bounced back quickly and I’m back at work and learning a new routine for the month. The girls and family are doing great and have lots of fun activities going on that keep them busy. I’m happy to be back and the winter break was much needed and refreshing.

Reading? Oh, yes.

I’ve read two books this year so far and loved, loved, LOVED both! ME SINCE YOU was amazing and heartbreaking and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS killed me, but left me reflecting on life and those who make an impact in mine. I’ll review both soon. I’ve started my third book but haven’t had much reading time while I adjust to a new work schedule, but I hope to finish reading it this weekend.

As for the new features…

HEART TO HEART: I’ll use this feature/column for posts that could be tough in subject matter, or when I really just feel like opening up to everyone. Posts featured here could be on family bumps in the road, my coming out experience, health issues, etc. I want to use this feature to reach out to others and remind them they are NOT alone. This will also feature books that inspired me and touched me in a way that tie into a topic.

THE WHIRLWIND LIFE OF KATIE: General life updates, more than likely in the form of a monthly wrap up posts. It’ll include funny stories from day to day life, photos, favorite books I’ve read, etc. I’ll try to include things like my updated reading goal number and a discussion question. Totally laid back, random and fun – just like me!

I have an exciting feature coming up soon that I’m starting with my girlfriend Molli of Books and Whimsy that I am super thrilled about. We had such a fun time tossing around names and ideas and once she said it? We knew that was it! I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

I hope everyone is having a great 2014 so far and I can’t wait to catch up with you! Stay tuned for a lot of fun over here. πŸ™‚

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A look back on 2013

December 31, 2013 Katie A Uncategorized 2 Comments

2013Β  was quite the year for me, and it’s hard to believe that the year is over. It really feels like the entire year flew by. There were good moments, great moments, memories that will last a lifetime and moments I’d really like to forget (but I know that those are the ones that make me stronger).

READING: While I don’t think I’ll make my goal of 30 books in 2013, I’ve come really close! This year was more hectic than I though it’d be and a math class overtook my life so reading fell off the charts. I also encountered a reading slump or two that factored in. Overall, I’m really thrilled with the books I’ve read this year!

Most of the books in some way touched me. These books made me take a step back and reflect on who I am as a person, what I’ve gone through and how far I’ve come. I was able to heal some old hurts just by reading these books. I was able to find myself lost in a whole new world in many of them.

I can’t wait to see what books 2014 brings my way, so if you have any suggestions – I’ll add them to my ever growing TBR list!

LOVE:Β What a year for love. When I think about 2013 – I think about falling in love this past July. Molli spent a few days out here in California with me and I wouldn’t trade those days in for anything. We fell in love in Monterey, in late nights talking until we fell asleep and in all the silly things we did. We had breakfast on the beach and our first date. Our first kiss was the 4th of July.

We celebrated one year together. We’ve grown closer and more in love. We’ve made our FaceTime dates a thing that work and keep us up late even though we both say we need to go to bed. We spent summer mornings and afternoons napping in each others arms.

2013 was our year – as we said it would be – and I am so excited to see what 2014 brings for us. I’m counting down the days until I have her in my arms again.

Adventures: I did quite a bit this year! I went to my first book signing in the Bay Area where I met Jessi Kirby and was able to thank her in person for the book that touched me. I met and had brunch with Tamara Ireland Stone and later on attended the launch party for Time After Time. I welcomed a new niece into the world and it’s such a joy seeing her grow up. I surprised Molli with a “defaced” copy of UNRAVEL ME for her birthday (such a hard secret to keep!).

I celebrated seven years at my job. I had ups and downs. I met new friends who have become more than friends to me – they’re like family. I learned that some friendships can work best with distance, I became closer to my closest friends. I’ve grown in a year and I’m more confident in who I am.

I’ve started to live my life completely out as a lesbian and have pushed those who don’t accept me out of my life. I’ve worked hard to get the toxic relationships out of my life in 2013 and kept them out. I’ve faced challenges of my past and growing up, but they made me stronger.

And then at the end of the year… I fell going to the store and I’m dealing with a possible broken hand. How fun!

LOOKING AHEAD….

I want 2014 to be even better than 2013. I want to read more books than I did this year. I want to love more. I want to travel more. I want to spend more time with loved ones. I want to write more. Take more photos. I really want to blog more, even if it isn’t a review – I need to get back into blogging.

There are a few things I’m looking forward to in the new year and I’ll use this list to end 2013 with.

1. Seeing my girlfriend again in April. Expect a lot of photos and happiness.

2. Books! So many books to look forward to, I don’t even know where to begin.

3. Traveling. Yosemite, Monterey, (hopefully) San Francisco, I’d love to get to Disneyland for my 30th. I wanna get out to TN to where my girl is to see her and her friends/family.

4. Laughter. I’m really a big kid at heart and a goof (ask my girlfriend!). I want to laugh more in 2014.

5. Love. 2013 was full of love, but I want 2014 to be filled with even more love. β™₯

Happy New Year, everyone! Thanks for sticking with me and being so supportive and encouraging this year. I can’t wait to bring in 2014 and spend more time with you!

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Review: Allegiant

November 4, 2013 Katie A Reviews 3 Comments

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)Allegiant by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I am pretty underwhelmed with Allegiant. It was not the thrilling conclusion I thought it would be and while I did enjoy some parts, I honestly found myself trudging through most of the book.

While I flew through Insurgent, this book seemed to drag.Β  I hated that.

My biggest issues were: the world building – these guys had no idea about the world outside the factions, so I think the world building could have been better – more detail, less info dumping.

I really needed less of Tris constantly gloating about how she was “right”. I HATED that. Okay, we get it, Tris – you think you’re right constantly, but it’s annoying and downright rude.

There was simply too much information to keep track of along the way. Most of it, to me, was a giant info dump. With the world building it was so much of a info dump, along with other parts of the story. It was too overwhelming to keep track of everything and left me pretty confused.

I am usually not bothered by switching of the POV – but it just didn’t work for this book. It confused me too much and I found myself constantly flipping back to see if I was reading Tris or Four. It just… didn’t work.

The ending… I don’t know. At some point, I had figured out what would happen, so while I wasn’t entirely surprised – it wasn’t an ending I was happy with – or proud of.

All in all… three stars. It was not the conclusion I thought it would be and left me wanting a lot more from the story. I’m pretty bummed about the way this series ended after having enjoyed the first two books so much.

View all my reviews

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Summer Recap + Giveaway

September 17, 2013 Katie A Giveaway 0 Comments

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View from my breakfast on the beach, July 2013.

What a crazy summer!

Yet, it was the best summer of my life.

JUNE: Mostly worked, but started reading my growing stack of books for the summer. Lots of time at the pool, with friends and family and relaxing. It was weird not to have any homework, but I quickly settled into my summer routine and looked forward to the next month. Life kept me busy, work kept me busy but whatever was thrown at me was handled quickly. I made some rough choices in terms of friendships, but they needed to be made.

JULY: Best month ever. July was the month I finally had my girl here. It was the best week of my life. I’m not just saying that. Having her here with me for a week solidified everything – we fell in love, we made future plans and I have never been happier in my life. We got to take a vacation together and just enjoy each other. Even before she left, we had made plans for our next visit. I read as much as I could, and the stack of books kept growing. I got my drivers permit in July, super exciting!

AUGUST: Back to work, back to school. What a whirlwind month. With an emergency dental appointment or two that ended up working out just fine, settling into a new school routine and balancing work – it was hectic. I also realized in the midst of all this chaos that I really did miss blogging and started to really make the effort to blog at least a couple times a month. I went book shopping quite a bit despite being in a reading slump and found two books to pull me out of it.

SEPTEMBER: Summer is pretty much over. I’ve had my first exam since returning to school for the fall semester, made winter and spring vacation plans with my girlfriend and have struggled to get into a routine so I’m not exhausted anymore. I’m looking forward to reading some more books once I’m fully settled and planning/celebrating my birthday next month.

With summer over – I’ll call it my summer of books – there were books everywhere. I quickly ran out of room for all of the books I bought this summer and I’m constantly rearranging them, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This summer also meant the relaunch of my blog and I thought to celebrate what a great summer I had I’d do my first giveaway… Are you ready?

One lucky winner (US only this time, but the next will be international!) will receive CITY OF BONES and CITY OF ASHES in paperback!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope everyone had a great summer! What was your favorite part of the summer? What was your favorite book (or books) that you read?

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Review: Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

September 15, 2013 Katie A Reviews 1 Comment

stars

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Read: September 2013

First of all, a big THANK YOU to NetGalley for this ARC. I’m so excited to have a chance to read and review this book.

When I settled in to read WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE, I had no idea that the story would touch me as much as it did. It was a very pleasant surprise, and the story was so beautiful and touching that even hours after finishing it, I’m STILL thinking about it.

Callie has returned home after being taken by her mothers years ago and now has to face the challenge of living a life she isn’t familiar with. She’s used to being on the run and the life she and her mother had. Settling in to a family and a new life isn’t easy.

I love that the story doesn’t cover that up. So many books and movies show someone coming home after years of being gone and immediately adjusting. Life isn’t like that. It’s not an overnight change or adjustment. I’ve been there – many times growing up. It isn’t easy, it isn’t fun (there are fun moments) and it’s hard as hell.

The characters in the story are fresh and vibrant – jumping off of the page with enough detail and personality to make you feel as if you’re right there with them. The family dynamic of the story is what truly touched me. I felt like I was a part of the big Greek family – a family who welcome Callie home with open arms.

On a personal level – I could relate to Callie and the relationship she has with her mother. I know what it’s like to be all too familiar with a life that is taken from you, and then you’re shoved into adjusting to an entirely new life. I knew how frustrated, unsure and wary she felt.

I know on a personal level how hard it is to adjust to a new life. I’ve been there. It was hard. It was stressful. It was an adjustment full of tears, fights and pain – but I made it – just like Callie did. We both had to make some hard choices – but in the end we both knew what was right for us.

This is a story that will always remain close to my heart and one I’m already looking forward to telling friends about.

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Review: If You Leave by Courtney Cole

August 24, 2013 Katie A Reviews 4 Comments

ImageRating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Read: August 2013

I knew right away that IF YOU LEAVE would have some sort of impact on me, but I wasn’t sure how it would. I was blown away by the story and found myself relating more to what Gabe and Maddy were going through more than many readers probably could.

We got a glimpse of what Maddy went through and her parents relationship, which is where things really started to hit home for me. My parents divorced when I was a kid and it wasn’t pretty for awhile. It was hard, but I understood where she was coming from when she told Gabe:

“Waiting for her to be strong and change our lives. But she never did. I hated her for that.”

We both wanted change, we both wanted our lives to be better than they were. More than anything, we wanted change. We didn’t get much of that change, but the above quote hit me and made me realize that I could relate to Maddy on a way that maybe others couldn’t – in a way, it made me stronger.

Both Gabe and Maddy have to face their demons, and their fears. They have to figure out where they both stand in order to be together and to make things work. It wasn’t easy for them, and it sure as hell wasn’t easy for me to read about. It broke me. I spent most of the book in tears while I read. If I wasn’t crying over Gabe and Maddy, I was crying over what they each had to face.

Their story hit hard and at the end?

I knew exactly how each of them felt. They had found the person they are meant to be with. No matter what shit they faced in the past, they had both come so far to be where they are now. They both faced their fears and took some huge steps on the road to healing in order to be together.

If there is one message from the book that truly hit home and something I fully believe in, it is this:

“Sometimes the hardest situations make for the best happily-ever-afters.”

No matter what Gabe and Maddy have faced in the past, or what they went through to finally be together – they both came to realize that even the hardest circumstances can weave together so beautifully at the right time to make an absolutely perfect happily ever after for two people who deserve it more than anything.

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Making it Work: My Long Distance Relationship

August 22, 2013 Katie A Uncategorized 4 Comments

ImageI’ve had quite a few people ask me about how I’m doing in terms of being in a long distance relationship and how we are making it work. Look, I won’t lie – being apart is hard. Harder than I ever expected it would be, but we know that we want to be together, to have a life together – and so we’ll deal with the distance and make it work.

We always do.

We always have.

When she left to go back home to Tennessee (I’m in California), it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. In just a few short days that passed all too quickly, we had become so comfortable together. Being apart was something I dreaded. I knew that I wanted to be with her, not away from her.

We have made it work, there are days that are much harder than others – but we know that for now, all of this will be worth it in the end. We have some pretty exciting plans ahead of us for our future,Β  but there are things we are doing in the meantime to make everything work and make the distance bearable.

FaceTime Dates: Oh my goodness. This help so much. I can see her. She can see me. She can see all the stupid expressions I make and we can just be together despite the distance. We try to have a FaceTime date at least once a week if we can, and that really helps so much.

It gives both of us a chance to see each other and really spend time together. It’s something we both really look forward to and even though it hates us and keeps disconnecting on date nights, we deal with it. πŸ˜‰

Text Messages: To be pretty honest, we are usually texting all day long. It isn’t the same as hearing her voice or seeing her through a FaceTime call, but it helps because we are still in contact, still talking and still spending time together. I know it will help even more now that I’m headed back to work, she’s working again and classes are starting again.

It’s a quick little something that keeps us in touch throughout the day when a phone call or FaceTime just aren’t an option.

Phone calls: Sometimes FaceTime just doesn’t want to cooperate for us, and sometimes it’s just not an option so there’s phone calls. I get to hear her voice, hear her laugh and we can spend hours on the phone talking (same with FaceTime, and it never seems like hours). Again, it helps bridge the whole distance gap and gives us time together when we can’t physically be together.

Music: There are so many songs that remind me of her, or us and I know she has a ton of songs that make her think of me or us. We’ve made a few playlists – ranging from the smooshy songs to other songs that remind us of moments together. I know as time goes on, there will be more and more playlists. There are songs that instantly melt me into a puddle when they come on or songs that make me laugh. Music is always going to be yet another thing that helps bring us together despite the distance.

Letters: It’s no surprise that we both love to write, and letters have always been one of my favorite things. I have a letter she sent me last fall folded up in my wallet so it’s with me everywhere I go. Before she left, we agreed to write letters as often as we could and the first had to include something along the lines of “favorite moments of us”. I’ve been working on it for a bit now and can’t wait to send it off to her. It’s the little things like letters that help, another thing I can keep with me even if she isn’t here with me.

Visits: As often as we can, depending on finances. Airfare isn’t cheap, we are at the point in our relationship where things are serious and we want (and need) our own space and privacy, so we’re booking hotels for visits. Right now we have a short visit planned for October, hopefully one around the winter holidays and I’m hoping to spend my entire spring break with her.

Planning for our future: We both know what we want, and we are both planning for a future together. Everything is really starting to unfold and come together in order for that to happen and it’s very exciting. It’s not something we talk about in public often, but we know that we have the support of our closest friends and family. We are very excited for our future and I get all flaily when I think about it.

Being apart isn’t easy, it isn’t. It’s harder than I ever thought it would be (and I knew it would be hard), but we are making it work because we have to. We’re strong enough to make it through the temporary distance until we can start building a life together wherever we end up. We are getting through the distance because we’ve never been happier together and we know what we want – a life together.

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Welcome to… Worn Down Glories!

August 10, 2013 Katie A Uncategorized 7 Comments

I can’t believe it! I’m finally re-launching my blog and I am really excited to be doing this. I had taken quite a bit of time off from blogging while work and school owned my life, but I realized this summer how much I missed it. There were a few changes in my life that ultimately pushed me to start fresh and I knew a fresh start was exactly what I needed.

I plan to use this blog for a mix of book blogging and posts about my personal life. I have way too many exciting things going on in my life at this point that I want to be able to share with friends and readers.

easterI guess you are wondering who the heck am I?! I am Katie, known as softeyes on Twitter (which is where you can find me most of the time). I am a twenty something girl from sunny Northern California. I’m a full time student majoring in Early Childhood Education. I read as much as I can (I have stacks of books to read this summer and keep adding more). I absolutely adore my friends and family. My small, tight knit group of close friends is considered my family and I’ll do anything for them.

I am happily in love with Molli and we’ve been friends for five years and will be celebrating one year together this fall. We have so much to look forward to and I am so happy to be in love and to have her in my life. When she was out here visiting this summer for a week – it was the best week of my life. We fell in love here in California and made some solid, yet exciting plans for our future together.

Yes, I said I read as much as I can… admittedly there isn’t much reading going on when I’m in school but summer and any other break I can get my hands on (winter or spring,) quickly make up for that unless things get hectic. My favorite thing to do after a long day is come home, curl up in bed and read. Chances are, if you come over to my house? You’ll find me reading. πŸ˜‰

Stay tuned for the first review I’m posting fairly soon and possibly a giveaway to celebrate the launch of my new blog. I promise you, there is a lot more excitement coming over the next few weeks!

I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to Angie for helping me get this blog up and running and for all of her hard work to help me. It means so very much to me! You are amazing.

I’m really looking forward to getting to know you all, so please don’t be shy and come and say hello!

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