Blogmas | 12 Days Of Christmas Book Tag

Hello!

So, apparently I did not have a post ready for today when we started the week. Luckily for you, I have been sort of hoarding a few different tags in the past few months and thought I would give the only Christmas tag a go!

This tag was created by Lizzie Loves Books on her YouTube channel a few years ago. She didn’t have any rules that I thought I would share with you, so looks like we can just move on to the questions because personally, I don’t like tagging others, especially in the middle of the month where a good chunk of bloggers have probably finished their blogmas posts. If you do want to do the challenge, please link me to your post because I do like to read everybody’s answers.

A Partridge In A Pear Tree | What is your favorite stand-alone book?

It was really hard to chose my favorite; mainly because I don’t want to pick just one, but I did it anyways.

One of the first books I read after I graduated from high school ten years ago, was The Secret Diary of A Princess by Melanie Clegg. The reason why I brought up school is, I used to read so many historical fiction books in my teens. This one is about Marie Antoinette while she is making her way to France from her homeland Austria. It is very interesting to think about how these people were thinking at the time, and I tend to be drawn to them because I like thinking some parts could be exactly what they were doing while they were alive. This was my first book about Marie Antoinette and I was purely inspired by the film that came out in 2006, it is definitely one of my favorites ever, so this just added fuel to the fire basically.

Two Turtle Doves | Who is your favorite book ship?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, boy!

This one was kind of easy, although I had the same issue with the previous on which one to choose, so I just ended up picking both of them because I loved both of them.

Okay, the first couple that came to me was Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinisky. I’m still not happy about how the third book went but that’s just my opinion. Anyways, they were the perfect couple set in high school. I think the real reason why I was so for them is because I still love the notion of high school sweethearts and the fact it is basically out of style now really hurts me internally.

The other bookship is a little awkward because in the review for it, I wasn’t for it in the beginning but now I can’t stop thinking about it. The book is The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham. It is set during the mist of WWII and the main character Anke is a midwife who is helping all women bring their babies into the world, this means Jewish and the offspring of Adolf Hitler. I’m just going to leave that there for now.


Three French Hens | What about your favorite trilogy?

Well, since I’ve only finished one so far, it would have to be All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. There is one other series that I am loving but I’m not done with it yet. I’m hoping in the new year, I can add the final book to my reading challenge. The series is Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. It has really surprised how much I am loving these books but honestly I am such a fan of Louisa though and I think I’m just plain nosey to find out what happens next to her story!


Four Calling Birds | What is your favorite beast and/or creature?

I still think reading Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets was the worst idea ever, because like Ron, I am also scared of spiders and was a nice warning to what you would experience in the next book, dealing with the Dementors. The thing is, my favorite creature(s) were featured in Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.


Five Golden Rings | Show us five golden books!

From left to right: The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham, Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone, After You by JoJo Moyes, To All Of The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han & Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


Six Geese a Laying | What is your least favorite book?

The only book that comes to mind for this question is, The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. It was just pure awful! Too many characters for me to follow at one time.


Seven Swans a Swimming | Show us a book with water on the cover

This is sort of embarrassing but you asked…

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The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister


Eight Maids a Milking | What fictional food do you wish you could taste?

Okay, for me, it is unlikely I would ever get to travel to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, especially if this COVID mess continues but I would love to try butterbeer and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. Despite the fear of getting a jelly bean flavored as tripe sounds disgusting, I’d still like to get one to snack on and the other to basically sit as a souvenir.


Nine Ladies Dancing | What is your favorite dancing couples?

I feel like the only book I’ve ever read that has dancing mentioned was the Stefan’s Diaries series. Since the first book takes place before he and Damon are turned into a vampire by Katherine, and is set in the 1800’s, I do believe there is some form of dancing involved in it.


Ten Lords a Leaping | What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption?

If you haven’t been following me for very long, this might shock you, because my favorite is Me Before You. I thought it was as close as you can get to mentioning everything that happens in the book. I still laughed and cried in the same places and I just felt they were one. While I read the second book in January, I still kept having the image of Emilia Clark as Louisa, Jenna Coleman as her sister Trina and Janet McTeer as Will’s mother,


Eleven Pipers Piping | What about your favorite book-to-film soundtrack too?

I know this might be a little bias but the soundtrack I made for Alias: Sister Spy by Laura Peyton Roberts is my favorite, and before anybody asks, no, you can’t hear it because I made it for a final in my freshman English class in 2007. It’s bad enough I still remember when my teacher played it in class.

I had a software for our computer that allowed me to create beats with pre-recorded sounds of various instruments for Christmas the year before. At the time, we couldn’t afford internet so I had found the app as we would call them now, as my lifeline that whole summer going into my high school years. I want to say I did a 20 song collection that was inspired by the book too, and what is really interesting is that, I wasn’t into rock music during this time but I had strong rock and heavy metal sounds within the score.

Twelve Drummers Drumming | What was your favorite ending?

Out of all the questions, this was the one I’ve been thinking about the most and I don’t know the answer…

The safest one would have to be Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han. It’s the final book of the series and I really felt it when I read it, and I totally wanted to cry because I just thought it was the most perfect end to this story.

Before I leave, I have to say, I really tried to pick books that I hadn’t read this year but I couldn’t help it. These are the books that still live on in my brain at the moment, so trying to push them out of the way seemed like a bad idea but I was proud of myself for going back to see all of the 100+ books I’ve read since 2006! Of course, there are a few missing but that’s still a HUGE number for one person I think!

If you would like to follow my journey next year, click here to be directed to my Goodreads account.

snowflake

Blogmas | Things That Make Me Feel Christmassy!

Hello!

As I went looking through other blogs in late October into early November, I was trying to find new ideas for Blogmas and this one seemed fun to do, but my only worry is, I’ve probably done this in the past… If I have, I’ll just link it at the bottom for a bonus post. If not, whoohoo for me!

I was going to list 16 things, but with my luck I wouldn’t even make it passed 10, so I thought it would be better to go safe and do a little free write, so I hope you enjoy what makes me happy during this time of the year.


My sister and I are polar opposites when it comes to Christmas. She certainly enjoyed it growing up, as she was the loudest one of the bunch while opening gifts at our house and nana and papaw’s, but as she’s gotten older, her joy for the holiday is basically gone. She’ll still put up the tree, makes cookies with us and watch Christmas films, but she doesn’t feel very Christmassy inside, which is really but I’m not writing this to make her feel even more depressed about it by the way, there’s a reason for this I promise because I understand a lot of people out there do not like it, and I am trying to be respectable, including my sister, because I’ve been there. It is possible to absolutely despise holidays such as Christmas. I mean, you should see me going into the month of February, and Valentine’s Day. I am not one to be bothered with the lovey dovey stuff and I’ve been like this since probably middle school, and I definitely know I’m not alone with my thinking too, so if you don’t feel the love for a certain time of the year, that’s fine! You shouldn’t force yourself to feel something you don’t; the same goes for our guilt too!

For the last few years though, I’ve been increasingly obsessed with Christmas. I like almost everything about it, whereas when I was younger, I felt lost and it just seems like we switched our views about it somewhere going into high school and it’s honestly strange to explain, especially on a blog post. Anyways, with this year, my nephew Nolan is another year older and even though COVID-19 wants to crush everyone’s plans for the holidays, I don’t want to act like it already has, so I think that’s the other part of my intense feelings to want to celebrate Christmas like we always have in our family.

He really loved helping put up the family tree and usually, we wait until like the week of, to put it together so the fact that we did it the day after celebrating our Thanksgiving was interesting! Nolan helped me rearrange the limbs of the branches and gave them back to mimi (my mom) and Blondie who were storing each one on the stand. Once we got that done, he walked around in many circles with them to wrap the lights and tinsel from top to bottom. We even had a couple of short pieces that he would place inside and around the front end of the tree. He was utterly excited about his little addition!

Once we got to the ornaments, he literally saw each one and said, “BALL!” and we just hoped to sweet baby Jesus that he wouldn’t throw it! Thankfully, he didn’t but he would show each one to his parents, and was very cute about it! He loved putting them on the branches, and we were sure that he stayed safe on the ones with the hooks and pretty much gave him the ones that I tend to use, as they have string and ribbons around them. The final thing was when we got the nativity pieces and village out of the tote, Nolan was absolutely obsessed with them! He loves to arrange things in his own way and for the most part, the little houses my mom has always had under our tree, were standing on the windowsill in the living room for the better part of the visit. If the window is cracked open, he will actually leave a row of cars in that little section and we have many, many pictures of them. See below.

Recently, we baked our sugar cookies a week earlier than usual because my mom had the weekend off, and thankfully I said something or we might not had been able to do them this year.

It was a bit strange to add someone so little in our tradition. Last Christmas, Nolan was still at an age where he liked to put everything in his mouth and we just didn’t think he was ready for it. So, being able to include this year was exciting because it is something brand new to do. We’re all in agreement that he definitely enjoyed the cookies, the decorating part, not so much! Although, he did like the sprinkles. We even had to put some on his fourth cookie that he was holding tightly in between his hands. After finishing with the cookies, we switched tactics and was really glad he didn’t become confuse with it, because since I have finished with my projects, I have extra canvases left and we basically made him paint assortment of robots, snakes and various shaped cows. While he worked on his painting, the amount of focus on his face was so amazing to watch because his mommy was trying to get him to smile for pictures and he wasn’t paying her any attention at all. It was so cool and his painting turned out very beautiful!

Since the arrival of Nolan, he’s definitely been a factor to my festive side. Whenever he comes over and if I am not in my wheelchair at the moment, he will explore my room and point out certain things like my purple moon garland, he’ll say what they are and he knows his colors very well now, so anytime he spots anything purple, he’ll shout it out to anyone willing to hear him and he will sit up against the wall on my bed and chat with me a little.

He has so much energy radiating out of him that it is sort of easy to pull out a slice and hope you can get to that level with him enough so he keeps going with it. I am so excited to see him experience the snow, baking cookies, unwrapping presents from Santa, and enjoying papaw’s big breakfast he does every year. I am so thrilled to see the tinkle in his eyes for everything new and old, because obviously he is experiencing the holiday with new eyes! As this post was suppose to be about multiple things, I think I mainly love seeing the holiday like Christmas through his eyes. His innocence and the fact that he can talk more has really made a difference. He definitely has the same expressions that his mommy wear on her face when we were little, so that has been a little mind blowing for me!

What makes you feel Christmassy? You can make me a little list or write a gigantic story like this through my comments or DM. Whatever you decide, I’ll enjoy either way.

snowflake

Blogmas | How Do I Read? w/ TILISMA

Hello!

I had meant for this post to go out a lot sooner than this, but I never felt it was right to publish until Christmas was around the corner, so, this is a two-in-one kind of blog post as I answer a question you’ve probably had on your mind since the start of the year, how do I read? The other is going to be about a brilliant company that makes these cute and smart gift ideas for readers and students!


Back in August, I published a new installment of “Photo Diary” based around on how life was going and of course, I included lots of pictures of our nine cats. I mentioned that I was loving to read outside with them, but most importantly it gave you an insight of how I actually read where the book is propped on top of something, for me to use comfortably. The interesting part is, this is just one way, I actually have a total of four different positions to read in my spare time. Besides the use of the bench I take outside, I find myself using any flat surface to help me do things mainly because its easier to control when everything is at an even ground.

I’ve been known to surprise many people when they come around while I am enjoying a book, because of the distance between the pages and my eyes, it has never been an issue for me because honestly I’ve learned to make it work; like with everything else, I adapt to my surroundings! However, the thing that is harder to master is keeping the pages open easily. It wasn’t until July that I might’ve found a solution to this insecurity.

I follow and love a great deal of BookTubers (people on YouTube who mostly discuss bookish things.) and I was on Chelsea Palmer’s channel, watching yet another haul but she started off the video with introducing her audience to these neat products, by the name of TILISMA and the only description worth explaining on how they look is imagine Batman’s bat knifes he throws at crooks on the run and the sharp edges would pin the person up against the wall. If you have no idea of what I am talking about, this is what they generally look like.

Chelsea was gifted with all of their products, and in the video she showed everyone how to use them. The objective was simple: the holders would be placed in one hand and one hand only. They were designed this way, so that the reader inserts their thumb inside a hole that is measured to the average size and while your thumb is there, you could hold down the pages with as much pressure as you want to keep them separate while the rest of your hand on the other side basically holds the book to your desired advantage point.

I thought these were super cool! I do struggle with holding a book open on my own, and apparently it doesn’t matter what kind of idea I attempt to help conquer this, I haven’t been able to find the perfect way to enjoy a book without worrying I am going to lose my spot or worse tear a page because I can’t move fast enough! The thing that stood out in my mind was that I didn’t just think an average person could benefit from this kind of product, but I thought people with disabilities could enjoy them as well!

I ended up spending a greater part of my summer trying to get in touch with the company to explain how much this would help others with physical disabilities, who have limited movement in their hands (or in my case, feet), but we continue to depend on somebody else or find heavy but small objects to keep the pages open. So, after explaining my thoughts about their revolutionary products (or “hooks” as I like to call them) to the TILISMA team, I was asked to have a member of my family measure out the size of my toe to see if they could figure something out for me.

Unfortunately, it took forever to them to come in, thanks to the drama about the mailing system! It wasn’t until early September that I received three medium sized packages; I had array of holders in their individual packages at my disposal and they were even cuter up close and personal as they did in Chelsea’s video three months earlier!


So, I was gifted with the standard Hazelnut holder that has little curves that make a slight “S” shape and it is gorgeous! Every item is unique in their own ways, but mine has both a darker brown color but it also has this thick stripe of beige like when you cut into a piece of wood and you see the white flesh of the inside, the difference here is that the product is completely smooth. You can’t tell that it was homemade or real for that matter either!

Recently, my cousin gave me all seven books of the Harry Potter series and at the time I wrote this post, I was using this hook to help me keep the pages open. The one thing I had an issue was not necessarily the hook because I had grown to enjoy the width of the actual hook-like wings on the sides, for they made the opening more stable for me. I didn’t feel like I was giving it too much pressure, but since the books had belonged to someone else, the spine’s collapsing on itself and you really have to be careful with how you handle each one, so I’m glad I had something like this to keep reading easy on me. 

The next one is again a standard holder, but could be work easier with heavy, thick books as the design itself is without dips unlike the one above. For me, I think of it like an eye, the circular shape of a cat’s eye is actually the perfect way to describe it because where the hole is would be where the iris sits. I like the fact that it is this deep and rich brown, almost like a brownie hue, and it is pretty sturdy as well. I don’t feel like it could snap whenever I apply a strong act of pressure in the spine of the book.

One of their cuter items is this heard shaped holder. This was my mom’s favorite because it was a nice surprise to the whole thing! By the way, my mom was the only one I had shown what their products looked like, in order to gain advice on my idea several months ago, but I left this one out of the talk, because I wasn’t sure if I would receive one or not.

It is basically an outline of a heart in the wood with a hole in the middle to insert your finger through to keep your place. As much as I loved the design of this, I cannot use it myself because for me it’s too bulky, which I found to be odd, but so far I haven’t found a book where I can sit it comfortably so that part sucks; for now though, it is part of my decoration on my bookshelf.

Do you remember when I said in the beginning about how I had to have someone measure my toe? Well, there was a smaller version of the first standard hook stuffed inside a little box – but the big difference to the others is that it fits over my toe!!

I must have a really small toe considering how big the hole they carved out takes up a lot space of the design. I am still shocked on two things: the first is being the material being strong enough to withstand the large gap in the middle, and next, is it was as soft as the others and slides off so nicely! I love it so much that I tend to forget to put it away after I’ve stopped reading, and I literally just wear it around my family. Don’t worry, I try to hide it from my nephew because we don’t want him damaging it nor getting his fingers stuck either!


I wanted to say something special for the team of TILISMA before I go. Thank you so much for creating these little things. They are clever and so easy to use! I know you probably never thought someone such as myself would message you out of the blue like I did, but thank you for not only being patient but also working with me to (hopefully) reach a even bigger audience for you in the future!

If you would like to purchase any of the products featured above, click here to be redirected to their Amazon page. The reason why I did not link each one with the holder is because you might need a different size so I figured it would be much easier for you, to search through the various hooks and find the size you need on your own.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and I think if you are buying these for someone else, they will feel very appreciated that you thought of them. Here are some of my other photos I (and my dad too!) took of them so you can have a better idea of what they look like in real life.

If you decide to try out any of their products, please let me know because I would love to hear your thoughts about them as well. And if you have used any of the products, what were some of your first impression of them? Do you believe others that stuffer with limitations in their hands/fingers, could use them with ease? Why or why not?

snowflake