Our Half Year Report + a Summer Book Giveaway

Estelle and I crossed the six-month blogging hurdle in May. How have six months already flown by? Oh, the books we’ve read and the people we’ve met. Everything about being a book blogger is pretty flippin’ fantastic. There are a couple reasons for today’s post.

We want to:

– reflect on the bookish resolutions we made for this year to re-motivate ourselves.
– do a little dance and celebrate our six (well, technically almost seven) month blogoversary with you guys.
– share our favorite books that we’ve read so far this year. That means we’re doing a GIVEAWAY. It is summertime, after all, and we want you guys to have the chance to take some of our favorites with you to the beach! That’s how this all ties into our Sweet Summertime Reads feature we’re doing with Ginger and Tara. Check out the end of this post to enter our super fantastic giveaway!

resolution accountability.


  1. Read 115 books this year. I’m currently 3 books behind the pace I should be reading, but I am about to go on vacation and am prepped with lots of books. I am not changing my goal, though I am nervous to be slacking. I dislike that I feel like I’m playing catch up. Estelle has been encouraging me to just keep pushing toward 115. I CAN DO THIS. (hopefully)
  2. Read at least one book/month from my shelves. When I wrote this last year, I wasn’t planning on attending book conferences. I’ve since gone to two (TLA and ALA) where I’ve gotten wonderful books. Considering those have been added to my shelves, I’ve been doing well with reading through those. I’ve read books I bought last year, too, but I haven’t tackled my old, old books.
  3. Pass along books I no longer want to own. I’ve done a few twitter giveaways of books I didn’t want to keep. I have a stack of books currently waiting to be taken to a children’s home. I am feeling better about decluttering my shelves, but there’s still room for improvement here.
  4. Don’t get caught up in a schedule and quit reading for me. Hmm.  Reading has not lost its appeal, but I do feel like during March and April, my life got chaotic and I couldn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to. I felt more selective about the books I was picking up and tried to be mindful of the review books I’d received. I never once felt overwhelmed by blogging, but I did feel let down by some of the books I had been amped to read. Though it wasn’t a scheduling issue, per say, it was something that really brought me down. Don’t worry – I’m back on the upswing of things and life is calm(er) now.
  5. Participate in book swaps. Thanks to the conferences I’ve attended and social media, I’ve met some amazing bloggers who have been generous enough to lend me books. I have also tried to send books out to other bloggers. I’m hoping this continues and I can be as generous as others have been to me.
  6. Have at least one author listed for every letter of the alphabet on our list of reviewed books. Well, we only have 7 open letters, so I’d say we’re making progress. Does anyone know GOOD books written by authors with the last names starting with Q, U, X, Y, Z? Help!
  7. Become a better writer. Well, I’d say this is pretty hard to quantify, but I am trying pretty darn hard to do this. I keep a notebook with all my thoughts and feelings while I’m reading so I can look back at that when I’m writing. One issue I wrote about was wanting to be able to write negative reviews. I’ve had to write a few this year (with a few more coming up) and while that’s never a great feeling, I believe it’s necessary. My hope is that you’ll find my reviews to be thoughtful, honest, and valid because I am willing to share the good and the bad.


 1. Read 100 books again. Well I’ve been on the road to reading 100 books so after some convincing from Magan, I decided to up my book goal to 120. I’m on some kind of a roll it seems!

2. On the other hand… I have not read 6 classics. I have not read even 1. But the good news is since I’m on my way to completing my first goal, I can buy time to read the classics and have the time to concentrate on them. I don’t expect to breeze through them… which is probably why I haven’t read one yet. Ugh. Must. Get. On. That.
3.  Thanks to my genius husband, I have gotten into the habit of taking notes on my books just like I wanted to do. He bought me this Book Lover’s Journal for Christmas. It’s small enough to throw in my purse and I’ve been pretty good at keeping consistent notes!

book lover's journal

It has been easier to write my reviews when I get behind. Which I still do. As I write this, I’m six books behind on reviews. Boo. But hey, notes make it easier and sometimes it’s easier for me to pick up a book instead of writing a review right after I’m finished.
4.  Because I’ve been reading so much (and even though I’m six reviews behind), I’m already scheduling book reviews for July which leads to…
5. Balancing my time better! I’m not always on the computer. I don’t always have to read a book that needs to be reviewed. And I’m going to the gym more. So this is working!
6. FAIL. I fail in every way in not buying books. I blame the authors. Stop writing awesome books. (Just kidding.) I need to really take a break this summer in purchasing anything. I have a ton of books from NetGalley that need to be read and years worth of books that have been making a home on my bookshelf.
7. I wanted to start writing my own young adult book. I’ve written a bit. Nothing book-like. I just need time. And that feels like a major excuse right now. I’m still hoping in the next six months I will have something to show for it. (Whether it’s good, that’s another story.)

our half year favorites.


  1. You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
  2. The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
  3.  The Princesses of Iowa by Molly Backes
  4. Mister Death’s Blue Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn
  5. Don’t Let Me Go by JH Trumble
  6. Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando (Goodreads)


  1. Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
  2. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
  3. The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
  4. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
  5. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  6. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

a summer book giveaway.

We will be giving away three books to one lucky person. Enter to win by choosing which three books you’d like from our lists above and let us know what they are in the comments below. Don’t forget to click ENTER on the Rafflecopter widget below!

Rules and Regulations: US entries only. Giveaway ends on June 15th. Winner will be emailed and here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

57 thoughts on “Our Half Year Report + a Summer Book Giveaway

  1. Em (Love YA Lit) says:

    Yeah! Goals! Checking in is always good. I think of your half year favorites, the ones I’m most excited to read are The Comeback Season and Mister Death’s Blue Eyed Girls. I’m also interested in Unbreak My Heart and Second Chance Summer because I’ve heard nothing but GOOD about them both!

  2. Hemborgwife says:

    Super exciting I have loved reading your reviews and finding new authors!
    The three books that sound good to me are:
    1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
    2. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
    3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

  3. Melissa says:

    Congrats ion hitting the 6 month mark!! I’d love to read You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and
    Insurgent by Veronica Roth

  4. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    It’s hard to believe the two of you have only been blogging for 6 months. It feels so much longer than that. Plus the work you have to show for it appears to be from someone who’s been blogging a lot longer as well. I love this home you’ve created here! The book blogging community definitely needs more of people like the two of you in it 🙂

    I am also way embarrassed to admit the number of books I’ve read this year compared to y’all, haha. Thanks for being a part of my Summer feature with me!

  5. elena says:

    CONGRATS ON YOUR SIX MONTHS!!!! The only one I can think of for Z is Gabrielle Zevin? I haven’t actually read any of her books but I’ve heard generally good things. Ahaha, Estelle, my goal was similar to yours in that for every 5 YA book I would read, I would read an adult. THAT DID NOT WORK OUT. Also, good luck on writing!! 🙂

    Also hm! Books I would pick: Unbreak My Heart, Second Chance Summer, and Pandemonium.

  6. Vivien says:


    Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
    Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
    Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

  7. Regina says:

    What a great giveaway! There are so many great books, it is hard to narrow it down to 3, I think I would choose the Mistresses of Iowa, Mister Death’s Blue Eyed Girls, and Second Chance Summer.

  8. Dani Nguyen says:

    Congrats on 6 months & thanks for the giveaway! The 3 books I’d choose are Pandemonium, Second Chance Summer, and The Comeback Season.

  9. Paige says:

    I like the idea of this half way post! I might steal the idea, but with full credit of course! =) The three books I want to win are Second Chance Summer, Unbreak My Heart, and Princess of Iowa! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  10. VeganYANerds says:

    Congrats on your 6 mth blogiversary! It’ll be ours next month, yay!

    You’re both doing so well with your bookish goals, and there are books in each of your favourites that I still want to read as well!

  11. Nisha says:

    Oh! This is exciting!

    Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
    The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
    Don’t Let Me Go by JH Trumble


  12. Hannah Henson says:

    100 books is such a great goal, ladies! Im really jealous of y’alls aweso,e book reading skills!
    Three books I’d like to have?!
    Insurgent by Veronica Roth
    Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
    You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

  13. Sharon @ Fictionally Inclined says:

    Congratulations on 6 months! That’s so exciting! You both are so wonderful and professional and organized; I forget you’ve only been around a couple months longer than I have.

    As for my book picks, I’d have to go with Shatter Me (already read it, of course, but SO MUCH LOVE), Second Chance Summer, and Princesses of Iowa.

  14. Emily says:

    I’ve been stalking your blog and haven’t said anything before now, but I just wanted to let you guys know that I think you’re doing so amazing and I love it. Keep up the good work!

    It’s so hard to chose between all these amazing books, but I’m going to go with:

    1. Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
    2. You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
    3. Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble

  15. Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl says:

    Happy 6 months, girls! That’s so exciting! And way to keep up on your blogging resolutions. 🙂 They say holding yourself accountable makes things happen. 🙂 Keep up the good work! I’d love to win:

    1. Insurgent
    2. Dreamland social Club
    3. The Princesses of Iowa

    Thanks for hosting such a wonderful giveaway!

  16. margie c {the bumble girl} says:

    Yay, happy 6 months to you both! How fun! Thank you for sharing your goals and for being so honest with them too! I have such a hard time keeping to my goals, lol, it’s good to see that even the bestest bookies slip too 🙂
    I am excited for:
    1. Second Chance Summer
    2. Pandemonium
    3. Unbreak My Heart
    Thanks for the giveaway too! Happy reading 🙂

  17. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase says:

    Congrats on 6 months!! I just hit the 4-month mark myself a couple of weeks ago. You guys seem like you’ve been blogging forever, though – your blog is so polished and professional!

    I loved reading all your goals! It seems like you’re doing good so far, and you can do it!!! I won’t be entering the giveaway because I’ll be on vacation when it ends and won’t be able to respond to emails and such in a timely manner, but that’s such a kind thing for you guys to do! I hope to have one on my blog soon as well!

    Good luck in your next 6 months and beyond!

  18. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase says:

    Oh, and if no one has mentioned it yet – you could read something by Markus Zusak for a Z author for your review list! I haven’t read anything by him but I’ve heard that The Book Thief is fantastic. I also want to read his other book, I am the Messenger.

  19. Joy says:

    Yay for six months! You guys have read some awesome books in this time. Of course, now you make us have the difficult choice…I’d love to read Princesses of Iowa, Survival Kit, and Unbreak My Heart. Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

  20. Elise says:

    I would love to win:
    Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
    Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
    The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
    Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  21. Cialina says:

    Yay! Congrats on the six months. 😀 I can’t believe it’s only been that long.

    I’d love to win Insurgent, Don’t Let Me Go, and Unbreak My Heart.

  22. Jasmine Rose says:

    Oooh, tough choice, but I think I’d go with Second Chance Summer, Shatter Me, and Pandemonium.
    Congrats on 6 months too 😀 I look forward to the next half year reading your posts :]

  23. brookea_2006 says:

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway, and congrats on 6 months! If I win, I’d love: 1) You Have Seven Messages, 2) Shatter Me, and 3) Unbreak My Heart.

  24. LisaILJ says:

    I would choose:
    Insurgent by Veronica Roth
    The Princesses of Iowa by Molly Backes
    Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

    thanks for the giveaway!

  25. Randi M says:

    I have the hardest time not buying books as well…My bookshelf is stacked full with books in front of each other. When my husband complains, I tell him there are much worse things I could be addicted to. 😉

    Thank you for the giveaway!!! So many choices! 😉 I would choose Unbreak My Heart, Second Chance Summer, and Don’t Let Me Go.

  26. Caroline R. says:

    I’d like to win Second Chance Summer, The Survival Kit, and … well I don’t really want a third, I just really really want those two, and hope I get them 🙂

  27. Marilyn H says:

    Congrats! Just found you! I would choose the following 3 books:
    Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, The Princesses of Iowa by Molly Backes, You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

  28. Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books says:

    Congratulations on your half year anniversary! (As I am now going through blog posts, I will, for sure, be commenting like crazy, so you have been warned, lol). Anyway, if I had to choose which books I would want to win…

    1. Second Chance Summer
    2. You Have Seven Messages
    3. The Survival Kit

    I love you girls! So glad we’re friends <3

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