AWARD – Blogger Recognition Award #2

Today, I’m excited because I’ve been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award for the 2nd time!

Background: A Fall pathway lined with fallen leaves - text is centered and in white "Blogger Recognition Award" with a curly, fancy little white graphic above it

A special thanks to Roda over at Growing Self for nominating me! If you haven’t visited her blog before, I highly recommend it! She’s always writing inspirational posts and letting us have a look into her life. I enjoy reading her blog every day.

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.
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Since this is the second time I’ve been nominated for the award, I’m copying/pasting my answers from the first time!


How I Started Blogging

I started writing more and more book reviews about 3 years ago. I joined a couple of author-specific review crews and also the Cozy Mystery Review Crew on Facebook (now there’s also The Review Crew as well which focuses on more than just cozy mysteries). Then, approximately a year and a half ago, a little less than that, but that’s close enough, I joined NetGalley. When I joined NetGalley, I decided that I wanted to create a book blog so that all of my reviews could be found in one place. I also wanted a place for the occasional “life musing” that came to me. The first 6-8 months, I floundered a bit, trying to get a rhythm while fighting with my depression and anxiety, but since December or January, I’ve done much better at posting regularly and have started incorporating Book Tags, Author Interviews, Blog Tours, and other bookish things besides straight reviews. I now post an average of 3-4 times per week depending on what book I’m reading and what else is going on in life.


My Advice to New Bloggers

1) Find something you’re passionate about to concentrate on for your blog. If you’re not passionate about your subject, you’re going to get to the point where writing a post is just a drag and then it becomes harder and harder to make yourself post. Pretty soon, you’ve stopped blogging all together. It took me three tries to finally make a blog that I feel great about posting on and that I enjoy doing. I suppose given the fact that I am a librarian, I should have stumbled onto book blogging long before I did, but oh well. 🙂


2) When you first start out, try to blog every day. You may not settle into a daily posting routine, but you should try it at first to try and get your rhythm going. I didn’t do that and I really floundered the first few months. Now, I’ve settled into posting, on average, 3-4 times per week. I’ve made myself a separate blogging calendar on Google Calendar so I can spread out my reviews, giving me adequate time to read them, while still fitting other posts in around them. It works for me. You’ll find your own rhythm eventually. 🙂



My Nominations

If any of my nominees have been nominated too many times or just don’t want to do pass on nominations, no worries!! 🙂 I’ve chosen the ten of you because I appreciate your blogs and you!

Thank you again to Roda for nominating me!

My Novel: Watching a Glass Shatter to be Published!

I’m elated and excited to announce that my friend, Jay, from this-is-my-truth-now, has a publishing contract for his first novel, “Watching a Glass Shatter”!!!!! I’m extremely excited for him and happy for him as well! Congratulations, Jay!

Watching a Glass Shatter

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you probably know that I am a writer who has been working hard to find a publisher for the novel I wrote last fall. It is with extreme pride (and fear!) that I can announce today, “Watching a Glass Shatter” has taken a giant leap forward in the last few days. I have officially signed a contract with a publisher who is interested in helping me share my book with the world.

While it’s too early to provide any more details, I can safely say the novel should be published before the end of 2017. We are currently in discussions over various things such as book covers, formatting, editing, marketing and timelines. I spent 10 hours this weekend completing some final changes to a few open items with the novel, but it has been sent to the publishing company’s editing team for…

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Musing on an observation…

My new job is working in acquisitions at the library and part of that entails opening the boxes of received materials for my accounts. Some days I only get one or two boxes to open, some days I get more.

Today there were *21* boxes to open. Now, I’m mostly happy that I have more to do because I had finished everything on my to-do list about 1.5 hours into my shift. But, I’m going along, opening these boxes, taking out the lovely new books with their new book smell (you know the one, right? What bibliophile doesn’t know that lovely smell?) and I’m realizing that 85-90% of what I’m pulling out of these boxes are new cookbooks. Every size, color, and topic is seemingly covered in these cookbooks that I’m unloading. Everything from the small “Recipes every college student should know” to this ginormous “River Cottage A to Z” cookbook (and the equally weighty “Vegan” tome). Barbecue cookbooks, Paleo cookbooks, Ketogenic diet cookbooks, Vegan, bread baking, ice cream, roasted vegetables, and even a few ethnic cookbooks. I know, it may seem like I’m not going anywhere with this, but stick with me. 

I got thinking about it and we already have a large cookbook collection in the library and yet, here we are adding more. I’m not blaming the librarian for ordering them. Her job is to find the new items and have me order them, but it just makes me wonder why on earth are there so many freaking cookbooks out there?!?!


Maybe I’m the only one having some sort of existential crisis over this but come on! Why the heck are all these cookbooks needed?! One person cannot possibly cook everything in all the cookbooks out there. In fact, I’d hazard to say that for most categories, you probably wouldn’t even be able to cook all the recipes out there for that particular category! Then you’ve got all the cookbooks that are titled something along the lines of “My mother’s recipes” or “Recipes from my grandmother”. Who decides whose grandma/mom’s recipes are better than someone else’s grandma/mom? I definitely wouldn’t want that job!

Now I will admit, I’m not a big cook. I can cook. I can cook very well when I put my mind to it, but I don’t like to cook for a number of reasons. Yet, even I, who doesn’t cook much, am strangely drawn to these new cookbooks. Am I ever going to make any recipe I write down/copy? Probably not. But they still look and sound yummy.

What about you? Are you drawn to new cookbooks? Do you actually try the recipes inside or do you have all these cookbooks that you never use?

Tomorrow I’ll probably go back to not really caring how many cookbooks there are in the world, but after unpacking 21 boxes of them, I needed to muse on them.


End of the Month Update – JULY 2017

I realized I never did an end of the month update for July. It’s very late, but here’s a condensed version.

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Personal Life

July was a crazy month for me as I began training for a new job. I’m now in my 2nd week in my new position and loving it. 🙂 I still work for Ann Arbor District Library, but now I work in acquisitions and cataloging instead of on the desk. I love it. 🙂 Cataloging is what I concentrated on in library school so this job is right up my alley.

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Books Read and Reviewed

While I read 13 books in July, I only reviewed 5. I plan to write mini reviews for another 6 of those at some point in the semi-near future. Those 6 are all part of one series so rather than try to write full reviews for each one, I plan to just write mini reviews for them with a general overlook at the series.

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Site Metrics

Even though I had fewer reviews and fewer posts in general during the month of July, I still had two more visitors than June, plus lots of likes and comments. I’ll take it! I’m gaining more followers and I appreciate you all hanging in there while I pulled my hair out and went a bit crazy in July!

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Looking Ahead to August

Yes, I know, we’re well into August. Here’s what’s on the agenda for the month.



I finished this book over the first weekend of August and you can read my review here. It was a lot of fun and a great summer read. I’m looking forward to the next one(s) in the series!




I’m currently in a buddy-read of this book with Jay from this-is-my-truth-now. It’s a great book and I’m enjoying it immensely! When we’re finished reading/talking about it, I’ll post a review.




This is the first of two books that I’ve been asked to read by the authors themselves (and/or their publicists). I’m looking forward to it as it looks like something different from what I normally read!




This is other book that I’ve been asked to read by the author/publicist. This is also something different from what I normally read and sounds quite interesting!



Outside of those 4 that I know I’ll be reading, there are some blog tours that I’ll be hosting spotlights and guest posts for. I’ve also promised a friend that I’d read through the first three chapters of his novel and give feedback. We’ll just have to wait and see what else I end up posting about this month!

What are you reading or looking forward to reading this month?

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BOOK TAG – Get To Know Me Tag

I’ve been sitting on this tag for a while. Several bloggers that I visit daily have done this tag and while none of them have actually tagged me, I thought it looked like a fun one to do.


  • Vital Stats
    • Name – Valerie
    • Nickname(s): 
      • Val,
      • Aunt Val,
      • Babe (only one person can get away with this one),
      • Rainstar (my online nickname for a long time),
      • Pandy (only one person can get away with this one too).


    • Birthday – January 7th
    • Star sign – Capricorn 
    • Occupation – Librarian
    • Living in – Ann Arbor, Michigan (well, just outside of it technically)

Zodiac symbols in watercolor

  • Appearance
    • Hair color – Currently purple and brown as the purple’s starting to wear out.
    • Hair length – Shoulder length – You won’t see it much shorter than this as it becomes more curly and frizzy the shorter it is.
    • Eye color – Blue
    • Best feature – Eyes and Hair
    • Braces – Nope
    • Piercings – Nope – I used to have my ears pierced but I grew allergic to even the hypoallergenic earrings so they’ve closed up now. 
    • Tattoos – Nope. I’ve never found any that I really felt worth getting but I do admire other people’s ink.
    • Right or Left – Right tho’ I can write legibly with my left. It just looks like a preschooler wrote it. 
    • Picture: I took this picture after I got my hair chopped up to my shoulders at the end of June. You can’t see the purple real well, but that’s the current length at least. 🙂 



  • Firsts
    • Real holiday – I’m going to guess this is the British meaning of holiday as in “vacation”? I’m guessing. That would be Upper Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula when I was about 10 or 11.
    • Best friend – Michelle was my childhood best friend, Carlo in my teenage years and Jen is my current best friend. I’m still friends with Michelle and Carlo, we’re just not quite as close. 
    • Award – I’m sure I got ones before then but the first one I truly remember receiving was an award for scoring 100% correct on the Michigan standardized test we took in 4th grade.
    • Sports – T-ball when I was about 6 or 7.
    • Concerts – John Denver. I was 3. And yes, I do remember some of it. 🙂
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  • Favorites
    • TV shows – The West Wing – always. I also enjoy White Collar, NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, and Designated Survivor.
    • Color – Purple! Mostly darker shades, but even if it’s a lighter shade, I’ll choose it over other colors.
    • Songs – Ummm… how much time do you have? Just kidding. I’ll list just 5 with links to YouTube.
      • It’s Gonna Be Okay” by the Piano Guys – I love all The Piano Guys music but this one has extra special meaning
      • O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra – I love all of TSO, but this was the first song to make me fall in love with them.
      • On My Own” from Les Miserables – This specific version is sung by Lea Salonga whose voice I absolutely love.
      • El Salvador” by Peter, Paul, and Mary – This song is just so haunting.
      • On the Threshold of a Dream” by Moody Blues – I’m cheating on this last one because I cannot choose just one song from this album. It’s one of the few albums where I love every single song.
    • Restaurant – Amy’s Cafe in Buffalo, NY and Evergreen Restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • Shops – Target, Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Michael’s, and Enchanted Forest in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
    • Books – Again, I’ll just name 5 because there’s way too many.
    • Shoes – umm… I’m not really a shoe person. Whatever is comfortable, slip-ons generally.
    • Book genres – Cozy mysteries, Romance, Fantasy, Time Travel, LGBT, Middle Grade Fiction, Nature and History Non-fiction, and Steamy Romance/Erotica when I’m in the right mood.
line of books - some stacked, some standing, some leaning - books are blue, brown, red, green, and yellow
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  • Currently
    • Feeling – COLD! The air-conditioning is on a little high at work today and I even have the sweater that I keep here on and I’m still cold. 
    • Eating – Nothing but I’m about to have some cheese and crackers and a yogurt.
    • Thinking about – All the many things I need to do.
    • Watching – Nothing.
    • Wearing – Black knit pants, a blue and white plaid blouse, black sweater
    • Have kids – Nope. At this point in my life I probably won’t have any either. But I have an adorable niece and sweet nephew whom I love to the moon and back.
    • Want to travel – I wish but I’m not so good at saving for that kind of thing.


  • Do you believe?
    • In yourself? – Sometimes. I’m doing better at it.
    • God – I believe God exists. I don’t really believe that he cares tho’. 
    • Miracles – Not really, I’m pretty skeptical about things.
    • Love at first sight – Nope. True love takes time to develop
    • Ghosts – Ghosts, I’m not sure – Spirits, yes. 
    • Aliens – Yes. 
    • Soul Mates – Yes and I don’t believe they have to be romantic. I think you can find your soul mate in your best friend or a co-worker or a significant other.
    • Heaven and Hell – I believe an afterlife exists, but I don’t know that I believe these two places themselves exist.