I’m back on YouTube! Since I will be posting more bookish content along with my seasonal and lifestyle content, I wanted the BookTube Newbie Tag to be my first video back! Stay tuned for more bookish and seasonal videos, and subscribe if you aren’t already!
Booktube Newbie Tag Questions:
1. Why did you start this channel?
2. What are some fun and unique things you can bring to Booktube?
3. What are you most excited about this new channel?
4. Why do you love reading?
5. What book or series got you into reading?
6. What questions would you ask your favorite booktubers?
7. What challenges do you think starting a booktube channel will be the hardest to overcome?
If I’ve learned anything from reading reviews, spending time on Goodreads, and watching Booktube, it’s that everyone rates books in a different way. So, I wanted to create a guide to help you better understand how I rate my books! Let me know how you rate your reads in the comments below!
These are top-tier books for me! Any book I absolutely couldn’t put down, a book that’s a new favorite, or books I literally cannot stop talking about!
4 star ratings are my most common ratings on Goodreads, Storygraph, etc. These are books that I thoroughly enjoyed, but didn’t have that extra little thing to push it to a 5 star. I would recommend most of my 4 star reads to anyone!
These are books that I enjoyed for the most part, but there was something keeping it from being a 4 star (writing style wasn’t my favorite, it failed to keep my attention throughout the entire book, the plot lacked something, I saw every twist coming, etc.).
These are books that I finished, but had a lot of trouble getting through for one reason or another.
DNF. If a book is a 1 star read for me, I usually DNF it. I have way too many books on my current TBR to spend my time reading something that could possibly put me in a reading slump.
I can’t believe we’re already this far into summer! Being on the coast of NC, the summer weather tends to stick around a lot longer than most areas, but I’m still looking forward to fall! For my favorites this month I’m sharing some bookish things, my new favorite wall art pieces, and more!
Thriller Reader Mug: One of my favorite planner sticker shops Sweet Bean Plans has started creating new products including coffee mugs! I finally got my hands on one of the coffee mugs and I’m obsessed! I can’t wait to grab another one soon!
Book of the Month: I’ve only been subscribed to Book of the Month for 4 months, but I’m loving it! They always have a good variety of picks and add-ons, and you get a hardback for cheaper than retail! Sign up here with my link to receive your first box for $10.
Cloud Nine Candle Shop Wax Melts: I’m a huge candle and wax melt person! We have several wax warmers throughout our home, and I’m always switching up the scents (especially for the new seasons!). I recently placed a huge order with Cloud Nine Candle Shop and I am in LOVE with every scent I purchased. It all smells amazing and I can’t wait to place another order soon!
Beauty + Skincare
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides: I’ve been using this collagen powder for almost a year now. It’s one of the only collagens I found that I could use in water, smoothies, or coffee (because it has no taste) and was gluten-free! I’ve seen a big improvement in my skin, hair, and nails since I started using this.
Find Your Happy Place, Dr. Teal’s, and Buff City Soap Bath Products: When we moved into our new apartment, the thing I was most excited about was the bathtub (we didn’t have one in our last place)! I take a bath several times a week, and I love bath products! Bath salts, bath bombs, scrubs, etc. I always have a ton of stuff to use on hand! Lately, I’ve been obsessed with all things Buff City Soap (the bath bombs, bath truffles, and shower fizzy’s are a must), bath salts from Find Your Happy Place, and Dr. Teal’s bubble bath and scrubs.
Dashing Diva Nail Strips: These things are a must for my manicures! Nail polish, no matter how long-lasting, chips on my nails. Dashing Diva nail strips last two weeks and won’t chip! I love that they always have great seasonal options to pick from too! I can’t wait to grab some for fall and Halloween!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that I receive a small commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
Looking for a new read this spring? I’ve got you covered! From romance to mystery, historical fiction, and more. Add these books to your TBR now!
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley
“They were cowriting literary darlings until they hit a plot hole that turned their lives upside down.
Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten books topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven’t spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.
Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they’re forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they’d do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they’ve hated each other for the past three years isn’t easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.
While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.”
“It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in Linden, New Jersey, four teenage girls working the night shift are attacked. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, in the same town, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are attacked, and again only one makes it out alive.
Both surviving victims recall the killer speaking only a few final words… “Goodnight, pretty girl.”
In the aftermath, three lives intersect: the survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive her tragedy; the brother of the original suspect, who’s convinced the police have it wrong; and the FBI agent, who’s determined to solve both cases. On a collision course toward the truth, all three lives will forever be changed, and not everyone will make it out alive.”
“A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel.
In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect–a rich, eccentric twenty-three-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion.
Oregon, 2017. Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases–a passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea’s surprise, Beth says yes.
They meet regularly at Beth’s mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she’s not looking, and she could swear she’s seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn’t right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house?”
“A troubled young mother yearns for a shot at redemption in this heartbreaking yet hopeful story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.
After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.
The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.
The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.”
“The Nineties: a wise and funny reckoning with the decade that gave us slacker/grunge irony about the sin of trying too hard, during the greatest shift in human consciousness of any decade in American history.
It was long ago, but not as long as it seems: The Berlin Wall fell and the Twin Towers collapsed. In between, one presidential election was allegedly decided by Ross Perot while another was plausibly decided by Ralph Nader. In the beginning, almost every name and address was listed in a phone book, and everyone answered their landlines because you didn’t know who it was. By the end, exposing someone’s address was an act of emotional violence, and nobody picked up their new cell phone if they didn’t know who it was. The ’90s brought about a revolution in the human condition we’re still groping to understand. Happily, Chuck Klosterman is more than up to the job.
Beyond epiphenomena like Cop Killer and Titanic and Zima, there were wholesale shifts in how society was perceived: the rise of the internet, pre-9/11 politics, and the paradoxical belief that nothing was more humiliating than trying too hard. Pop culture accelerated without the aid of a machine that remembered everything, generating an odd comfort in never being certain about anything. On a ’90s Thursday night, more people watched any random episode of Seinfeld than the finale of Game of Thrones. But nobody thought that was important; if you missed it, you simply missed it. It was the last era that held to the idea of a true, hegemonic mainstream before it all began to fracture, whether you found a home in it or defined yourself against it.”
“New Girl meets Trainwreck in this hilarious and steamy rom-com by Lynn Painter. Bad luck has always followed Olivia Marshall…or maybe she’s just the screw-up her family thinks she is. But when a “What are you wearing?” text from a random wrong number turns into the hottest, most entertaining-albeit anonymous-relationship of her life, she thinks things might be on the upswing…. Colin Beck has always considered Olivia his best friend’s annoying little sister, but when she moves in with them after one of her worst runs of luck, he realizes she’s turned into an altogether different and sexier distraction. He’s sure he can keep his distance, until the moment he discovers she’s the irresistible Miss Misdial he’s been sort of sexting for weeks-and now he has to decide whether to turn the heat up or ghost her before things get messy.”
“Every story has its secrets. Every mystery has its motives.
“A long time ago, in another country, I nearly killed a woman. It’s a particular feeling, the urge to murder. It takes over your body so completely, it’s like a divine force, grabbing hold of your will, your limbs, your psyche. There’s a joy to it. In retrospect, it’s frightening, but I daresay in the moment it feels sweet. The way justice feels sweet.”
The greatest mystery wasn’t Agatha Christie’s disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it’s what she discovered.
London, 1925: In a world of townhomes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O’Dea became Archie Christie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie.
The question is, why? Why destroy another woman’s marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O’Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing?”
“Helen’s idyllic life—handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and cherished baby on the way (after years of trying)—begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class and meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be. Rachel doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks, and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with. She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears.
But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. And Helen’s not the only one who’s noticed. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history in unexpected ways. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets laying beneath the broad-leaved trees and warm lamplight of Greenwich Park.”
“Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name.
Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can’t believe Staphanie and her family aren’t just like her own, they are The Family–actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene–over their dead bodies–and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.”
“In the snowbound city of Kiev (now known as Kyiv), wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son–but Hitler’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious girl to deadly sniper–a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.
Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC–until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness. But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons and enemy bullets in the deadliest duel of her life.
Based on a true story, The Diamond Eye is a haunting novel of heroism born of desperation, of a mother who became a soldier, of a woman who found her place in the world and changed the course of history forever.”
“King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time–in bed and out–and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.
Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.
Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?”
“Finlay Donovan is―once again―struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she’s dealt with lately is that of her daughter’s pet goldfish.
On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he’s a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of hit-women disguised as soccer moms, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she’d like.
Meanwhile, Vero’s keeping secrets, and Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life. He may be a hot cop, but Finlay’s first priority is preventing her family from sleeping with the fishes… and if that means bending a few laws then so be it.
With her next book’s deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope. She can only hope there isn’t a noose at the end of it…”
“Dating Dr. Dil features a love-phobic TV doctor who must convince a love-obsessed homebody they are destined to be together.
Kareena Mann dreams of having a love story like her parents, but she prefers restoring her classic car to swiping right on dating apps. When her father announces he’s selling her mother’s home, Kareena makes a deal with him: he’ll gift her the house if she can get engaged in four months. Her search for her soulmate becomes impossible when her argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show, goes viral. Now the only man in her life is the one she doesn’t want.
Dr. Prem Verma is dedicated to building a local community health center, but he needs to get donors with deep pockets. The Dr. Dil Show was doing just that, until his argument with Kareena went viral, and he’s left short changed. That’s when Kareena’s meddling aunties presented him with a solution: convince Kareena he’s her soulmate and they’ll fund his clinic.
Even though they have conflicting views on love-matches and arranged-matches, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he begins to believe she’s the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate.”
“Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.
The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge
Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.”
“Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.
As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.
With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.”
Spooky season is almost over, and I spent a ton of my free time reading and listening to podcasts, having movie nights, and enjoying the few days of true fall weather we had here on the coast of NC. To end October, I’m going to do a quick wrap-up of all of my current favorites!
Lifestyle & Beauty
Plum Paper Daily A5 Planner: If you know me, you know how obsessed I am with my planners! Right now my lineup consists of a vertical weekly planner and a daily A5 planner from Plum Paper for on the go and work. This is my first time using a daily planner, and it’s safe to say it’ll be in my routine from here on out! Plum Paper planners are also super customizable, and the paper feels incredible.
Airpod Pro: My husband bought me some Airpod Pros a few weeks ago because I’m always using headphones. I’m constantly listening to audiobooks, podcasts, or music while I’m at home or work, and these are so much better than my other Bluetooth headphones! They’re well worth the investment if you use your headphones as much as I do!
My Home Office: We moved into a new apartment halfway through September, and we’re finally 100% settled (besides hanging up some wall decor and organizing). My favorite part about our new place is my home office/library! After having my desk in our bedroom for over two years, it’s nice to have my own space again. Once I finish decorating I’ll be showing you a full office reveal!
Buff City Soap: Last month a Buff City Soap opened in Wilmington, and I’ve already been twice! We finally have a bathtub again, and we were dying to get our hands on some bath bombs. The BCS bath bombs smell amazing and are super moisturizing! We also love the soaps and laundry detergent. I can’t wait to try more!
Dashing Diva Nail Strips: I’ve been obsessed with these nail strips for well over a year now! They stay on my nails for up to two weeks, give me a clean at-home mani, and come in a ton of fun prints and colors! They also do seasonal sets, which are some of my favorite sets that I’ve used!
Safe + Fair Granola: Since going gluten-free back in July, Safe + Fair has been one of my go-to’s for snacks! I have several bags of their granola in my pantry at all times. I put it on yogurt, add it to oatmeal, and just snack on it if I want something sweet. It’s a must-try if you’re dairy or gluten-free!
The Girl Who Drank The Moon: This book is an easy middle-grade read with a ton of whimsy, witchy magic, and a cute tiny dragon named Fyrian (who happens to be one of my favorite parts of the book). This book was perfect for this time of year, and one of my favorite reads of 2021 so far!
The Final Girl Support Group: This book is also perfect for this time of year, but unlike the other book this one is for horror and thriller lovers. It was a great option for a Halloween read! I’m only halfway through this one, but I can’t put it down!
Movies, Podcasts, Etc.
Drama Queens Podcast: OTH fans, you need this podcast in your life! I absolutely adore Sophia Bush, Bethany Joy Lenz, and Hilarie Burton.