Tag: behind the canon

January 1, 2017

The 2016 End of Year Survey

There’s something so refreshing about the new year. Maybe not the resolutions – to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I kept one throughout the year – but the chance to start over, afresh, revitalized…[insert adjective here] grabs me every time.

After running myself ragged last year trying to keep up with the blog while balancing work (where I write 80% of the time), planning the wedding (where a simple DIY event became a much more involved ceremony), and my family and friends, I’ve decided to make some changes to how I view things. In short:

Image result for let it go gif

Seriously. I found a gray hair from all the stress of this last year (or I’m putting the blame there at any rate 🙂 ). But there’s more about this coming later this week – I bet you’re here for the survey!

Every year Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner puts together the annual End of Year Book Survey. All graphics and survey questions are hers. Click here to learn more or link up your survey!

And without any more ado…

 

Number Of Books You Read: 122
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: Romance/Fantasy

 

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I have a few:

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

The Widow by Fiona Barton (review soon!)

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Ruthless (Lawless, #1)Series started: Ruthless by Lexi Blake (review soon!)

Sequel: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series ender: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Lisa Kleypas (how did I just discover her?!)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

I stayed pretty close to my comfort zone (fantasy YA, fairy tale retellings, romance, mystery, and thrillers) this year.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Empire of Storms, hands down.

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

Easy.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

The mermaid in Esther Dalseno’s Drown.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

  • Drown by Esther Dalseno
  • Salt to Sea by Ruth Sepetys
  • A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (review soon!)

13. Most ThThe Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randelought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?

Anything by Lisa Kleypas (again, how did I miss this?)

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

“I am not worried, Harry, I am with you.” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: The One You Want by Gena Showalter

Longest: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. MartinAfter the Woods by Kim  Savage

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

After the Woods by Kim Savage

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I have to pick one?

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Naomi Carson and her brother, Mason in The Obsession. #familygoals

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Book club pBlackhearts by Nicole Castromanick, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Teach Drummond of Castroman’s Blackhearts

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Illuminae and Gemina, hands down.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot, the queen of feel-good chick lit.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

Tie between Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Yes, even though I The Widow by Fiona Bartonknew what happened in the end.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Widow by Fiona Barton

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

GEMINA. OH MY GOSH.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann. Here’s why.

 

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. OA Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)ne Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

 

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

The third Illuminae file installment and 6th Throne of Glass!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

To not be afraid to put a book down when it isn’t for me.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

None yet!

Posted January 1, 2017 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 1 Comment
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October 11, 2016

You Might Like… | 10 Books I Found on GoodReads

Top Ten Tuesday

I’m a creature of habit. From my coffee order to my daily tasks at work, I like sticking to the familiar. The same extends to books: I have a tendency to stay with familiar authors and storylines. That’s where GoodReads saves the day.

Without the GoodReads recommendation feature and the ability to see books your friends are reading, I would still be reading the same books over and over again. Thanks to GoodReads, I’ve discovered books like Six of Crows, Cinder, The Star-Touched Queen. Here are the top books I fell in love with thanks to GoodReads!

You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery

 

You Deserve a Drink by Mamrie Hart

Because, really. You do.

 

 

The Girl on the Train

 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

A must read before you see the movie.

 

 

Passenger (Passenger, #1)

 

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Science fiction meets a powerful magical family in this tale of time benders.

 

 

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

 

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

A modern YA science fiction full of suspense, romance, and amazing typography. Add in computer reminiscent of Hal and you’ve got a winner.

 

 

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1)

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

One of the best historical romance authors of our time strikes again with this major winner. Romancing the Duke is one of my all time favs.

 

 

 

The Fairest of Them All

 

The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon

The classic fairy tale Rapunzel is turned on its head in this remarkable fairy tale retelling.

 

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Quite simply the ultimate fairy tale retelling

 

 

Fangirl

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The queen of feel-good reading has another winner in Fangirl.

 

 

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

 

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Kaufman and Spooner hit it out of the park in this YA science fiction, threaded with incredibly vivid characters and heartbreakingly romantic scenes.

 

 

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

A stunningly romantic, beautiful story of two lost people finding themselves in each other.

Posted October 11, 2016 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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October 1, 2016

September 2016 | Monthly Rewind

Pop Goes the Reader

It’s here! It’s finally autumn, time for turning leaves, gorgeous sunsets, dark lipstick, and the wonderful coffee drinks. Goodbye September, hello October.

 

September was a pretty good month. I started to hit my stride again with the blog, and after doing a little research, plan to devote some October weekend time to the maintenance side of the house. Keeping up with reviews is still a struggle, but you know, that’s okay.

We made major progress on the wedding planning! I found my dress and couldn’t love it more. Thanks to Danielle and Angela at Lace and Liberty for patiently explaining the differences between wedding skirts and putting up with my lack of balance for an hour. I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience!

Also, we hit our first wedding hiccup. I designed the map on the back of our invitations and sent it to print. What I didn’t realize was that they didn’t just add my map to the back – they recreated it. Okay, fine…until the invitations arrived. 45 cards of major typos (like “in” instead of “inn”…). The envelopes have misprints, a technology this company claims as their name to fame. They fixed the cards, but I’m still waiting on the envelopes. Ugh.

Bay of Sighs (The Guardians Trilogy, #2)A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3)Red Storm RisingDelphineThe Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)Tailored for Trouble (Happy Pants, #1)Lord Dashwood Missed Out (Spindle Cove, #4.5)The Forbidden OrchidN Is For Noose (Kinsey Millhone, #14)Not Quite Mine (Not Quite, #2)Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3)Apprentice in Death (In Death, #43)

 

September favorite review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

September favorite read: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

I’m hooked on:

  • Starbucks’ Chile Mocha with soy milk. Oh, my heavens. This mocha is quickly becoming a Sunday morning staple! I love the sweet and spicy combo – it takes away a lot of the intense flavor that I don’t like in mochas. But this one? Just right.
  • I picked up the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook and, you guys, I’m in love. I’m not a vegan, but her recipes hit the spot. Her Every Day Glow salad has become my go-to power lunch.
  • Sarah J. Maas’ Empire of Storms playlist has been dominating my Spotify this month. What can I say? I’m hooked!

 

 

Posted October 1, 2016 by Ellen in monthly rewind / 0 Comments
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July 12, 2016

10 Bookish Facts About Me

Top Ten Tuesday

As a longtime, hardcore bookworm, books have made a huge impact on my life. Here’s a few bookish facts about me that you might not know.

  1. I earned my degree in English lit. My favorites? Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, and W.B. Yeats. Best contemporary book I read in college? Possession. YOU. MUST. READ.
  2. My grandpa bought me the first Harry Potter book and launched my lifelong love of reading. I still remember the bookstore clerk handing us the book, saying “There’s this great new series about a wizard…”
  3. I usually prefer books over movies, but with the big epics (think Outlander and A Game of Thrones), I love being able to see the characters first, then read them.
  4. Oh, and the first time I red Outlander, I hated it. Blasphemy.
  5. I named a family cat Sebastian because I was reading Twelfth Night in college.
  6. On our last move, I had ten paper boxes (you know, the ones offices get paper shipments in) full of books.
  7. I am on a lifelong book-buying freeze, unless I absolutely love the book. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to fit them all in our house.
  8. Anything by Sarah J. Maas and Amie Kaufmann are excluded from that ban.
  9. We always do a literary tour stop and bookstores on our vacation! Seattle has been the best so far.
  10. There’s a very good chance our firstborn child will be named Hermione. Don’t tell M.

Share your top ten Tuesday post below! I’d love to get to know you. 🙂

Posted July 12, 2016 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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September 3, 2015

My Bookish Travel Must Haves

I always have mixed feelings about traveling: I love the chance to visit new places, people watch at the airports, and (most of all) buy new books! Traveling can be a bit of a bummer though: long lines, cranky people (me occasionally among them), and being away from home can really be rough. Here are the top six things I’ve always got in my carry-on to make traveling a little more enjoyable.


Books // All sorts of books. I’ve started restraining myself to the large sagas, like The Hobbit or Outlander to save a little space. 


Ereader // I still prefer having a paper book in my hands, but when it comes to saving space, you can’t beat an e-reader. I usually put my Kindle in my checked bag and my Nook in my carry-on. Why? One has web access (helloooo Netflix!) and the other does not.


Charger // Multipurpose portable battery and cord. A lifesaver on those long flights.


Music // I know, I know. Planes are loud and those fancy, noise-blocking headphones are expensive. I agree. But having a little music to people watch by in line makes it all the more enjoyable. 


Mini book light // Every time I get on a plane, I can’t get the light to either be bright enough or to face the right way. I usually end up squinting, trying to read in the haphazard light, which only gives me headaches. This handy little device is perfect!


Scarf // Maybe this isn’t bookish, but it’s close. A nice warm scarf to snuggle with instead of an airplane blanket? Yes please. 

Posted September 3, 2015 by Ellen in the canon talks / 1 Comment
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May 3, 2015

8 Amazing Books to Cure Your Downton Abbey Hangover

When I find a story I truly love, it gets stuck in my head. And when I say stuck, I mean stuck. It’s like a need to return to the show or book, to see what on earth happens next, if the characters I love and cheer for make it through. Downton Abbey’s next season comes out in November…



…I don’t know how I’ll make it to November…




If you’re like me, reading books with the same themes, narrative, and setting help cure the hangover. I hope you find the perfect fit!






Atonement Ian McEwan


A story about a family in the 20th century, a childish mistake, guilt and forgiveness, McEwan’s Atonement grabs you from the moment you open the page. Each character is put in such extraordinary situations, forcing them to show their true colors. I read McEwan’s story years ago, but the power of his narrative has stayed with me all the while. 












At the Water’s Edge Sara Gruen


Gruen’s tale of a woman at the crossroads of two different worlds is simply fascinating. Maddie journeys to Scotland with her husband and their socialite friend, Hank, to discover the Loch Ness Monster. Instead, she discovers more then she ever intended to, but finally becomes her own person.














Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclare Castle Fiona Carnarvon


Lady Almina’s story is extraordinary: a woman before her time, the her life and the tales of Highclere Castle are a must for any Downton fan.
















Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired “Upstairs, Downstairs” and “Downton Abbey” Margaret Powell & Leigh Crutchley



Perfect for the reader yearning for the real life stories of the servants in these great halls. It isn’t quite as peaceful as “Downton Abbey” makes it look…








A quick note before we get started: I had no intention of selecting all classics, but when I looked down at my list, well, there they were! These are some of my favorites and I hope you enjoy!





Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen


Oh, my heart: one of my favorite novels, seated in the heart of class issues. What society says is right doesn’t always win out against what the heart wants…sounds a bit like Sybil, doesn’t it?














The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde


Ah, no wait! Don’t skip this one: I know the cover’s weird – I couldn’t find a pretty one. I read “The Importance of Being Earnest” for one of my British Lit overviews in college and fell in love with it. Wilde’s witty dialogue and ridiculous situations allow him to deeply examine the social structure and how it affects us.












Pygmalion George Bernard Shaw


Another example of a strange cover (sorry guys). My own copy is a battered 1970s paperback, so I couldn’t swap with my own photo. Pygmalion, the inspiration behind 1964’s film, My Fair Lady, delves into social divides, class structures, and what’s truly beneath it all. 














Selected Poems and Four Plays W.B. Yeats


Every time I pick up this book, I find myself entranced by Yeats’ words. There’s such passion in his work that it’s impossible to not be touched, whether you’re just skimming through or had an Irish Lit professor like I did who insisted we heavily annotate the poems. Starting out with Yeats? Read “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” and “Easter, 1916”.

Posted May 3, 2015 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 1 Comment
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April 22, 2015

Hump Day How To | GoodReads Shelves



GoodReads is a great site for discovering new books, connecting with friends and, most of all, talking about old ones. One feature on GoodReads has really come in handy in these past few years: shelves! 


I love to sort, classify, and organize anyway, so keeping my book records neat was a must! For book bloggers, it’s so easy to be able to pull a genre list, reference how many books I’ve read by x author, or find a new read. 

Making a new shelf is pretty easy. Down on the left hand side of your My Books screen is a little link that looks like this:


<< You can add any shelf, from my favoritesbooks read in 2015 to horror.

You’ll need the basics:

<< The wishlist is something relatively new for me. When Christmas, birthdays, or other gift-giving occasions come around, it’s so easy to just send over a link, complete with books I can’t wait to read/add to my collection!

However, these top lists are a bit different: Unlike the lists below, where a book can be in many shelves, the books in the all, read, currently-reading, to-read, and wishlist (if you choose to add it) can only be in one of these shelves. For example, you can’t list a book in both read and currently reading.

Build your shelves from there! 





Mine have grown from years of blogging into a bit more than I originally anticipated, but I love having all the information at my fingertips!

Granted, you don’t need all of these, but I love it for archiving. I classify ARCs, Netgalley, library and owned read books to make my annual book wrapup a piece of cake. I have my reading challenges, both past and current, as well as what year I read certain books (again, to make my end of the year post easier!). 


This feature is so customizable and I love the ability to satisfy my need to organize. Being able to search by genre has made pulling books for my Top Ten Tuesday posts so simple. Make your shelves exactly what you need. 

Need to sort and tag multiple books? The Batch Edit feature is great for that. Just click the box of the books you need to tag and away you go!

GoodReads’ shelves have become an invaluable tool for me. Building out the original structure of my shelves took a little while, but once it was set up, it was so easy to just tag each book as I finish reading!


Questions? Want more info? Did I miss something? Let me know! I’d love to know what your shelves look like or what system works best for you. 

Posted April 22, 2015 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 2 Comments
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January 14, 2015

Behind the Canon | My Daily Blog List


Everyone writes differently, therefore everyone blogs differently. I loved to read routine or how-to posts, especially about blogging (and makeup, but we’ll stick to the original theme here). I still devour these posts on the weekends, because my routine is constantly evolving and changing. Right now, these are the top items on my daily blog list! 


write a post.
Okay, so this might be a little basic, but bear with me. When I first started blogging, I wrote a review as I finished a book, but the irregularity of this bothered me. If I get one post written per day, then there’s always something to post. I always feel so accomplished when I have posts scheduled, but that’s still a far-away goal. One post a day keeps the the blog updated, me on my toes, and keeps me reading.


schedule social media.
Social media is an amazingly powerful tool that is a must for any blogger’s toolkit. Social media is the best way to reach out to new readers, connect with old, and spread the word about what’s new on your blog. I didn’t realize the full potential of the power of social media (especially Twitter) until recently. Scheduling my posts, tweets, etc early each morning lets me go to work without worrying about spreading the news about my posts. HootSuite is my personal favorite. 


answer email.
I am so bad at answering email that I had to add it to my daily list. Answering email is crucial to keeping a good reputation. Remember, be patient, be kind, and never write anything you wouldn’t want broadcasted at Times Square. 


read blog feeds.
Reading through my Bloglovin’ feed is one of the highlights of my day. Grab a glass of wine or cup of coffee and I’m set. Feedly is another popular reader. I love the clean layout of Bloglovin’s home page – it’s so much easier on my eyes. 

comment on three blogs.
Usually I find myself following links and reading through blogs, so my required three quickly raises to more. Three is a great launching point – it helps you become so much more active in the community. 


follow seven people on twitter.
Like reading three blogs, following seven people on twitter quickly raises to more. The blogging community is fabulous. Go meet them!


add reviews to goodreads/amazon/barnes & noble.
Again, something I tend to not do unless it’s on my list for the day. Adding reviews to these sites is a must for a book blogger; not only does it widen your potential reading audience, but it helps authors. 


write down two new blog post ideas.
Two. Just two. You can do two!


update author archive and currently reading.
If you don’t have an author archive, think of this as the one task you must do every day to keep it from becoming overwhelming. If I don’t update my author archive every day, it quickly becomes a huge task that I keep putting off. But putting one author in a day? Not so bad. 


What’s on your daily blog list? What is the task that helps you stay ahead of the game?

Posted January 14, 2015 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 8 Comments
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January 7, 2015

Behind the Canon | Daily Blog Routine

When I first started the Canon, I had no idea how much work went into a blog. For me, it was a total learning curve – I knew nothing about html (still very little) and filling up a blank site with my thoughts was a teensy bit terrifying. I devoured how-to posts on blogs and Pinterest, paid attention to what my fellow book bloggers were doing, and slowly put together this routine. 




Complete my daily blog list. (complete list coming next week!)
My daily blog list is adapted from a few I found on Pinterest, taking out certain elements I don’t use (like Instagram) and adding in those I do (GoodReads). There is something so satisfying about looking down at my list and seeing all of the items checked off. 


Check out Bloglovin or any other blog reader you prefer. 
Bloglovin’ is my personal fave – the clean lines of the site make it easy for my eyes to read after I’ve been staring at a computer screen for most of the day. I love the ability to search out new blogs too! 


Why check your feed every day? It’s good to stay in touch with the community – even if I’m exhausted, I’ve found it so relaxing to read through my feed at the end of the day. I always feel inspired afterward!


Outline one post.
If I have a little extra time in the morning or while dinner is cooking, I whip out my blog calendar and write notes for an upcoming post. It’s so much easier for me to sit down to write with some sort of outline in front of me rather than just going for it. I’ve fallen in love with these cute notebooks from May Designs – they fit perfectly in my bag. I try to stay ahead on my discussion posts. They tend to be the trickier ones for me to write. If I outline, I’m more productive when I have time to sit down to write. More productive means I’m able to schedule more posts. The more posts scheduled, the happier the book blogger!


Read
Seems fairly straightforward, right? Book blog = read. After starting this new job, I had to find time in my day to read – it’s amazing how quickly a day goes by now. I keep my current book in my car at work so I can read on breaks and my lunch, as well as sneaking in a little time while dinner is cooking (it’s burned this way before, so be careful). 

What is your daily blog routine? Do you follow a daily list like me?

Posted January 7, 2015 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 5 Comments
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December 30, 2014

The Canon’s Top Ten Goals and Resolutions for 2015

2014 was a year of learning for me – life, love, and it all – but today, let’s talk about blogging. I made some pretty lofty goals…ones I could meet when I worked early mornings or late evenings, but as a 9-to-5er, my perspective has changed, and my blog goals have as well.


* I will only request books on NetGalley that I really want to read.
* I will be more particular and specific in my reviews.
* I will be more active in the book blogging community.
* I will follow my daily blog list.
* I will cut myself some slack – I don’t have to post every day.
* I will finally master Google Webmaster.
* My blog calendar will be more of a suggestion than a requirement.
* I will finally write down some of those blog ideas floating around in my head. 
* I will make one new feature.
* I will meet my GoodReads goal of 160 books in 2015.

Posted December 30, 2014 by Ellen in top ten tuesday, Uncategorized / 3 Comments
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