Monthly Motif: September Update

It’s time for another Monthly Motif reading challenge update! In September, the theme was don’t turn out the light and for being someone who doesn’t generally do well with spooky things, I think I did pretty well!

Books read:

Books not read:

  • The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager | I tried, I really did, but I could not make myself finish this book

October’s theme is new or old, which fits really well with my plan to read the books I’ve recently bought myself. I’m going with new, which is books published in 2018. I can’t even tell you how many books I have that were published this year that I haven’t read yet. So many. Feel free to leave me some other recommendations or check out my TBR page to let me know which ones I should prioritize!

Previously: January | February | MarchAprilMay | June | July | August


Are you participating in the Monthly Motif reading challenge? If so, what did you read for this month’s prompt? What’s your favorite spooky book? Let’s talk in the comments!

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About the Blogger!

Today I’m mixing things up with a slightly different post! I saw both Cassandra and Clarissa do this About the Blogger post recently and I figured that, since I recently hit 1,000 followers, it was as good a time as any to re-introduce myself. 🙂

This post was originally created by Bethany @ Bibliophile’s Binge.


Name: I am Sara with no H.

Age: 28

Education: I have a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Spanish. I’m also a CPC, which is a certified medical coder.

Location: Right in the middle of New Jersey.

Job: Given the CPC credentials, you probably won’t be that shocked to find out that I am a… medical coder. I’m the billing manager at a dermatology practice.

These are a few of your favorite things: my top four things are cats, coffee, books, and music. ❤

Is there a story behind your blog’s name? My story is actually the same as Cassandra’s story, which is pretty fitting since she is also The Bibliophagist. 🙂 Way back in 2013, I was trying to think of a fitting name for a book blog and googled words for book lovers. “Bibliophagist” came up and I thought… one who devours books, that’s me. I don’t know if I necessarily love the name of my blog anymore, but I am not nearly creative enough to come up with a new one.

What are you looking forward to right now? My trip to Tennessee next weekend, which I honestly can’t believe is actually happening. 😭😭

Favorite ice cream: There are really very few ice cream flavors that I don’t like… I love coffee ice cream. I also love cheesecake ice cream. I also love chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies and cream, and mint chocolate chip ice cream. I love most Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and every flavor of Talenti that I’ve ever had. I also like just plain vanilla. I just really love ice cream.

Coffee or tea? And how do you take it? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon. I just put half and half in my coffee and I don’t put anything in my tea. I usually drink either ginger tea or minty tea, but really, anything that isn’t straight black tea is fine with me.

Favorite thing to do on a rainy day: Honestly… I usually just read on rainy days. I guess if you want to know some things that I might do aside from reading… I like to sew. I also might get caught up on tv shows, although I don’t watch that much tv. Sometimes I also have dance parties all by myself. 🙂

Favorite movies: I don’t watch a ton of movies these days, but one of my all-time favorites is Across the Universe! I also watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail with my best friend approximately twelve million times when we were in high school, so that’ll always be one of my favorites too.

Favorite books: I think that my favorite book is The Hating Game. But I have a whole favorites page if you’re interested!

One item on your bucket list: I really want to take a trip all by myself!

Scariest thing you’ve ever done: Probably moving halfway across the country when I was 22 years old. I’m not really sure if it was a good decision or not, but I would absolutely not be the person I am today if I hadn’t done it.

Fun fact: Between Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin, I have been to more Andrew McMahon concerts in my life than probably all other concerts put together. One time I 🎵 waited for him in the rain, in the parking lot 🎵 and it was horrible but it also kind of made my life because I was living out the lyrics to one of his songs. You get a million bonus points and you’re my new best friend if you know what song I’m referencing.


I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me! What’s a fun fact about you? What’s your favorite ice cream and how do you take your coffee? Let’s talk in the comments!

Tag: You’re Not Good Enough! (Harry Potter Edition)

Thanks to Bibi for tagging me in this one! In the interest of full disclosure, it’s been eleven years since I picked up a Harry Potter book. I tried my best, though.


RULES:

  • Write 30 character names on pieces of paper. (You can use the character list from the bottom of the post or choose your own.)
  • Put them in a jar/mug/cup.
  • Randomly choose two pieces of paper for every question. In each of the 15 questions, you have to decide which of the two characters fits the question and which one is not good enough.

Instead of writing down all the names, I followed Bibi’s lead and put them into a randomizer! Then I just went in the order they showed up in, so the first two for the first question followed by the next two for the second question, and so on.


1. YOU ONLY HAVE ONE MORE SPOT ON YOUR SPELLING BEE TEAM. WHO DO YOU PICK TO COMPLETE YOUR TEAM?

Cedric Diggory vs. Hagrid

I have a feeling that Cedric would be a more appropriate addition to my team. After all, Hagrid tried, but he didn’t even spell “Happy Birthday” right.

2. BOTH CHARACTERS WANT TO KILL YOU. WHICH ONE WOULD YOU KILL FIRST SO YOU HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF SURVIVING?

Madam Hooch vs. Hedwig

I mean… I’m not going to kill Hedwig, so I guess I have to go with Madam Hooch.

3. YOU’RE ON THE BACHELOR/BACHELORETTE AND YOU’RE DOWN TO THESE TWO CHARACTERS. WHICH ONE ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE YOUR ROSE TO?

Luna Lovegood vs. Ron Weasley

Luna gets my rose, hands down. I love her.

4. YOU’VE BEEN CHOSEN FOR THE HUNGER GAMES. WHO WOULD MOST LIKELY VOLUNTEER IN YOUR PLACE?

Remus Lupin vs. George Weasley

I feel like Lupin is more likely to volunteer than George.

5. YOU’RE STRANDED ON AN ISLAND WITH AN ACTIVE VOLCANO. WHICH CHARACTER WOULD YOU THROW INTO A VOLCANO AS A SACRIFICE?

Hermione vs. Goyle

I didn’t even have to think about this one for half a second. Goyle.

6. YOU’RE THE NEXT DC/MARVEL SUPERHERO (WITH YOUR OWN T.V. SHOW, OF COURSE). WHO IS YOUR SIDEKICK?

Moaning Myrtle vs. Snape

Oh jeez. I don’t really want either one of these characters as my sidekick. I guess, for the sake of the prompt… I’ll go with Snape? He’s kind of terrible, but he’s less terrible than Moaning Myrtle.

7. YOU’RE A MANAGER OF AN AVOCADO ADMIRING COMPANY. WHO WOULD YOU FIRE FOR LACK OF COMMUNICATION SKILLS?

Malfoy vs. Sirius Black

I feel like Malfoy would be too busy sneering and rolling his eyes to get much communication done. And who could fire Sirius? Not me.

8. YOU’VE JUST FINISHED A BOOK IN WHICH YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER DIES. WHICH CHARACTER IS MOST LIKELY TO COMFORT YOU?

Filch vs. Umbridge

Neither of them?

9. UGH, IT’S HIGH SCHOOL. WHO WOULD MOST LIKELY BE PART OF THE POPULAR CLIQUE?

Dudley vs. Cho Chang

I’m going to say Cho Chang. I just don’t see Dudley being remotely popular.

10. THE DAY HAS ARRIVED – YOU’RE FINALLY A YEAR OLDER! WHO WOULD HAVE THE NERVE TO FORGET YOUR BIRTHDAY?

Dumbledore vs. Bellatrix Lestrange

Bellatrix is definitely forgetting my birthday.

11. YOU’VE JUST FOUND AN UPCOMING BOOKTUBE STAR! WHO WOULD IT MOST LIKELY BE?

McGonagall vs. Fred Weasley

McGonagall is definitely a booktube star. No question in my mind.

12. SLEEPOVER TIME! UNFORTUNATELY, YOU CAN ONLY INVITE ONE PERSON. WHO WOULD YOU INVITE?

Viktor vs. Molly Weasley

I would much rather have a sleepover with Molly Weasley. Plus, I’m sure she could use some time away from all those boys.

13. BAM, YOU’RE PREGNANT. WHO IS THE FATHER/MOTHER?

Voldemort vs. Percy Weasley

Oh GOD, I hope it’s not Voldemort. Not that I particularly want to have a child with Percy, but he’s infinitely better than Voldemort.

14. YOU’VE JUST WRITTEN A SUPER IMPORTANT TEXT. WHO WOULD SEE IT, BUT NOT REPLY?

Ginny vs. Neville Longbottom

Hmm, I don’t think that either one of them would intentionally not reply, but I can see Neville being scatterbrained enough to forget.

15. YOU’VE JUST WOKEN UP AND IT’S TIME FOR BREAKFAST. YOUR MUM’S BEEN REPLACED BY… WHO?!

Parvati Patil vs. Fleur Delacour

Oh, I don’t know. Fleur, I guess.


I’m tagging:

Hamad | Gerry | Leslie | Erin

You know the drill, no pressure if you’ve already done this or if you don’t feel like it. If I didn’t tag you, please feel free to do it and link back to this post so that I can see your answers! Also let me know if you like tags since I would love to tag you in things. ❤


The list of characters:

Cedric Diggory | Fred Weasley | George Weasley | Hagrid | Snape | McGonagall | Hedwig | Hermione | Ron | Ginny | Remus Lupin | Dudley | Voldemort | Neville Longbottom | Luna | Percy Weasley | Molly Weasley | Goyle | Malfoy | Parvati Patil | Viktor | Dumbledore | Madam Hooch | Sirius Black | Bellatrix Lestrange | Cho Chang | Filch | Fleur Delacour | Moaning Myrtle | Umbridge

Book review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Series: Creekwood #2
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads • TBD
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Source: Purchased

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

This isn’t the book I was planning to read for my final #killingthetbr selection this month. I was going to do yet another borderline erotic novel, but then I thought… I have been hating those books lately. I’d much rather read a fluffy YA contemporary. I searched through my shelves for something that I’d purchased more than three months ago that seemed like it would fit and came up with Leah on the Offbeat. I actually bought this book way more than five months ago because of a preorder incentive, but it’s been on my physical shelf since April.

I don’t know why I waited so long to read this.

I was a little nervous that I would dislike Leah. After all, I’ve read countless reviews that talked about how awful she is. And is she awful? I mean, sometimes. But what high school senior isn’t awful sometimes? Isn’t that kind of a trademark of being a teenager? It’s not like I’m going to be breaking down any doors to be Leah’s best friend, but I understood her.

The characters from Simon are all present and accounted for in Leah. I still love Simon and wish that I could have been best friends with him when I was in high school. I was so happy to see that his relationship is still as adorable as ever. Aside from Leah and Simon, we see a lot of Abby (who I liked more in Leah than I did in Simon), Nick (who is actually awful??), and Nora (who is the best). The thing that disappointed me was that Simon has to be the cutest, fluffiest, most adorable YA novel I’ve ever read that still manages to tackle some tough subjects and that’s what I was expecting from Leah. Unfortunately, that’s not what I got.

Leah is a good book in its own way. I liked that Leah’s mom was a fairly big part of the book, because absent parents in YA drive me crazy. I really related to Leah’s struggles with her mom starting to date someone new since that’s something I went through when I was in high school. I’m a little freaked out by the fact that Leah’s mom is only seven years older than me, but I suppose there are people I went to school with who have ten-year-olds, so it’s not actually unbelievable.

Aside from the single parent aspect, Leah also tackles bisexuality and racism. Now, I can’t really tell you if the bisexual representation is accurate or not, but I did appreciate Leah’s rant about someone who referred to themselves as “lowkey bi.” I also appreciated Leah not backing down when one of her friends made a horribly racist comment. That was such a great message to send and I don’t think I’ve actually seen a review that addressed it yet.

But despite all of those positives, I just felt like something that made Simon amazing was missing from Leah. What specifically that was, I have no idea. I still think this was a great book and I would absolutely recommend it if you’re in a YA contemporary mood.

You can really never go wrong with Becky Albertalli.

#killingthetbr: 5 months on shelf


Have you read Leah on the Offbeat? What did you think?
Let’s talk in the comments!


Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Debut Author Challenge Check-In

The Debut Author Challenge is a yearly reading challenge hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Participants are encouraged to read twelve or more middle grade, young adult, and new adult debuts. To count toward the challenge, the books must be published in the year they’re read. Jana provides a helpful list of debuts if you’re interested in participating!


It’s almost the end of September, so that means it’s time to do another Debut Author Challenge check-in. I last checked in back in June and I’d read eight debuts. Now I’ve read thirteen, which means I not only met my goal of twelve, but I actually surpassed it with three months still left in the year!

I’m still planning to read more debuts this year, so I can’t wait to see how many debuts will be on my list by the end of December.

Read so far: 

Debuts I actually own that I’m hoping to read soon:

  • The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
  • Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
  • Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

Books I might get from the library if I get a chance:

  • You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  • Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke
  • Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
  • Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Have you read any debuts this year? What’s been your favorite so far?
Am I missing any great debuts or should I strike some of these from my list?

Book review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Source: Borrowed

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

It’s taken me a pretty long time to write this review because even a couple weeks after finishing Circe, I wasn’t quite sure what to say about it. This is a book that I actually took the time to read slowly (over five days, which is almost unheard of for me!) instead of marathoning. It wasn’t because I disliked it, but more because there was just so much over such a long time period that I had to take some time to let it soak in.

One thing that I should probably mention is that while I know the basics of Greek mythology, I was never really super into it. I had a brief phase when I was younger when I wanted to learn all about the gods and goddesses, but it didn’t last very long before I moved on to something else. While I don’t think that extensive knowledge of Greek mythology is required to enjoy this book, it probably helps. I still liked it a lot with what I knew, but I wonder if I could have liked it even more.

Beyond what I’ve just written, I’m not sure what else I can say about this book. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was extremely well-written and I was so impressed by the author’s ability to write a book like this. I think that I’ll probably read The Song of Achilles at some point, although I’ll wait until I’m in the right mood for it.


Have you read Circe? Do you like Greek mythology?
Let’s talk in the comments!


Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Let’s Talk About: My spam problem

Well, here’s a post that I never thought I’d make. I usually go through my spam once a day just to make sure that no real comments have been accidentally filtered out. And for months, I’ve just kind of been silently shaking my head as I delete comment after comment after comment. One day, though, the spam was out of control and I had to tell someone.

So I thought, “Who appreciates my sense of humor and also actually knows that I have a blog? Hmm… Daniel.” So I sent him a million pictures and screenshots (okay, it was maybe more like ten) with some commentary and he told me I should write a post about it! So I did! And, honestly, he deserves like 95% of the credit for this because he also had the foresight to screenshot the best of the snaps and send them back to me. In case you hadn’t noticed, he really is the best.

So, basically, all of these Australian car places think that I’m a porn blog.

I don’t know what I ever posted that makes me literally get hundreds of spam comments each week that refer to me as a porn blog, but it’s a thing that happens and it’s blowing my mind. I got 227 spam comments in one day just while I was at work.

“Me and my neighbor were just preparing sex”
Wow, thanks for letting me know.

Sometimes I get really exciting and wonderful quotes. Other times, they randomly replace words in well-known quotes with “porn” and “sex” and some magic happens. In this case…

“Oh, what a tangled porn we weave, when first we practice sex deceive.”

This is possibly the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

Sometimes I’m just like… is SELL MY CAR trying to proposition me because I’d rather not.

“i am having a look ahead sex touch you”

“definitely you are going sex a famous blogger”
Thank you for the words of encouragement.

And other times I’m like, “Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t gotten any weird sex spam comments all day!” and then I find out that I should have kept my mouth shut.

At least my porn style is perfect.


Do you check your spam comments? What’s the weirdest or funniest one you’ve found? Do you know why all these Australian car places think I’m a porn blog? Let’s talk in the comments!