Book Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Synopsis:All The Bright Places

Title – All The Bright Places  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

Author – Jennifer Niven (Website, Goodreads)

Published – January 6th 2015

Classification – Young Adult

Summary – When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom… Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet forgets to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

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Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Synopsis: anna-and-the-french-kiss

Title – Anna and the French Kiss  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

Author – Stephanie Perkins (Website, Goodreads)

Published – December 2nd 2010

Classification – Young adult

Summary – Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s not too pleased when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new friends, including the handsome Etienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken – and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with a French kiss she’s been waiting for?

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Book Review: Let It Be Me by Barbara Speak

Synopsis: Let It Be Me

Title – Let It Be Me  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

Author – Barbara Speak (Website, Goodreads)

Published – June 16th 2015

Classification – New Adult Romance

Summary – Arianna Dubray is nothing like the girl she left in Baltimore. Once a Prada shoe wearing, Michael Kors bag carrying, on top of the world seventeen-year-old girl, Arianna knew that her life would never be the same when she got out of the car in middle-of-nowhere Montana.
Canyon Michaels is the keeper of his own dark secrets. Plagued by his family name, he’s forced to prove the town wrong and make it on his own.
The last thing Arianna needs is a reason to stay, but with every passing day the decision to leave becomes harder. Once their paths cross nothing can tear them apart, other than the secrets that start to surface and the nightmares that soon become their reality.

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Expanding My Mind

The goal everyday is to learn something new. Personal mentors, daily reading, and podcasts on my specific industry are all things that influence me daily.

Why I Expand My Mind Every Day

In this post I wanted to share the other personal growth podcast and recordings I listened to today.

I think it is important to pick up books, listen to podcasts, and read blogs that are outside of my specific industry. I may just be a nerd when it comes to learning and growing but I am fired up after I listen to something that teaches me something new, expands my mind to new ways of thinking, or takes a different approach to a well-known subject.

As puts it “the people we choose to surround ourselves with impacts the way we think, act and feel on a day-to-day basis.” What is great about the internet is that I can be “surrounded” by all sorts of people on my time. Rich people and poor people have the same brain, just given different nourishment.

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely

Today, I listened to a few different things. First I started a book on CD in my car: Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa begins her book with a story about her negative self-talk. I’ve read many books recently about self-talk and the law of attraction, specifically What To Say When Talking To Yourself by Shad Helmstetter and The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.

Isn’t it crazy how once you focus on a specific topic it pops up everywhere!?

Adventures In YA

Once at my desktop, I listed to Adventures In YA‘s podcast. They always share their latest reads and I like to find out which books they recommend. I am finding that every time I listen to them I am adding a few books onto my TBR pile.

My Taught You

Lastly, I stumbled upon a blog post by Kisha “Coach K” Proctor listing a few good podcasts that “every #BossBabe should listen to.” The first one, Myliek Teele of My Taught You, sounded good so I gave it a try – and I am hooked! In fact I listened to two of her Q&A podcasts. Digging around her site I also see she has quite a few podcasts about various books. In fact I found book recommendations left and right! (See, leaders are readers!)

Book Review: The Rose and The Dagger

Synopsis: The Rose & The Dagger

Title – The Rose and The Dagger  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

Author – Renee Ahdieh (Website, Goodreads)

Published – April 26th 2016

Classification – Young Adult Fiction

Summary – The sumptuous saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrazad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

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How I Created My Literary Wedding

Why I Decided To Have A Literary Wedding

I’ve been picturing my wedding since I was little. But I had no idea it was going to be as perfect as it was! Once the ring came and I said yes – it was game on! I scoured the internet and Pinterest for the perfect decorations and dress ideas.

And that is when I found out there are such things as literary weddings.

As you all know, I’m a huge book fan (or book nerd, however you want to phrase it). When I stumbled upon Buzzfeed’s Ideas for a Bookish Wedding and Popsugar’s Ways to Add Literary Charm to Your Wedding, I thought “why don’t I incorporate this into my wedding?”

However, I didn’t want every single detail to be about a book that the wedding day turned into some sort of comic con wedding – not saying I don’t like them, but they don’t fit my husband and me. That would be too over the top for me.

I saw inspiration of weddings that surround one particular story, such as Alice In Wonderland or Harry Potter or Gatsby.  But again, this wasn’t really me. I like TOO MANY books to have a wedding just based on one!

When I told family and friends about my inkling to incorporate books into our wedding to make it a “literary wedding,” they sorta cringed their nose and asked how I was going to do that. Honestly I had no idea. But slowly and surely I started finding ideas on how I could. It was all coming together! And once I showed them some of my ideas, they got almost as excited as I was!

Without further ado, here is how I created my literary wedding:

Engagement Pictures

My brother is a talented photographer that takes pictures in his spare time as one of his many hobbies. He loves to try out different things with his pictures. When I told him that I’d love to incorporate books into the engagement photos and showed his some picture ideas, he was all aboard. (His website: http://ck–

We took the engagement pictures and used them on the Save The Dates. They were also compiled into a glossy book that guests signed (hello guest book!).

Literary Engagement Pictures


Save The Dates

The Save The Dates were the first thing invitees saw  – their first glimpse into our literary wedding. I designed my own using an engagement picture with a book on the front. The back explained our relationship in a “long story short.” The postcard sized Save the Dates were ordered off VistaPrint.

I’m sure not many of the guests knew it was going to be a book-filled wedding by looking at these Save The Dates, but they were soon to find out!

Save The Dates

save-the-date-frontSave The Date


The invitations were the next thing our guests saw. We got soooooo many compliments on them. I designed the invites in Photoshop to be printed double sided on this card stock and folded in half to look like a book (of course). The “title” was The Wedding.  On the inside left was a library card pocket. I bought them on Etsy here and glued them to the card stock on the inside left. I designed a 3″ X 5″ RSVP card to look like an authentic library return card. Guests would mark down if they were coming or not on this card and place it in the return envelope I also had in the invite.

Honestly, many guests asked if they had to return the RSVP – they wanted to keep it!

invitation-tallLiterary Wedding Invitations

Literary Wedding Invitations

Table Decorations

I saw many book table decorations on pinterest. There are so many different ways to stack and arrange them. Some are tied with twine or lace. Some are topped with flowers or candles.

I had to narrow down my options to try to get an idea of how mine were going to look. For example, since the wedding was outdoors and had many bright colors, I couldn’t go with the vintage looking ones. I also didn’t need table numbers because I wasn’t going to have assigned seating. From there, I ended up compiling those photos as inspiration to create my own. I knew they wouldn’t turn out exactly like the pictures anyway.

My family and I gathered a ton of books. We pulled books from our own bookshelves we weren’t going to read anymore. Goodwill and Bethesda stores as well as public libraries sometimes ran promotions for $1 or $2 a bag. Books at garage sales were also cheap. I didn’t care what kind of books they were – I just wanted the spine and cover to be some sort of neutral color.

Once I knew roughly how many guests I had and how many tables I needed for eating, I split the books into piles. I ended up with about 3-4 books a table.

We stacked them and hot glued them together like so:

Literary Wedding table setup

Literary Wedding Table Setup

Literary Wedding Book Decorations

This one made it on the dessert table:

Literary Wedding Dessert Book Decorations

Paper Flowers

These paper flowers made out of book pages were one thing I didn’t think was ever going to happen! I had no idea how I was going to be able to spend time trying to fold pages of a book for hours on end and have them look professional.

Thank goodness for my mother-in-law, who found this tutorial from, brought me a sample of one she created from the directions. I absolutely gushed over how well hers turned out and how perfect they would be for decorations.

With some of her friends and a couple bottles of wine, they created about 50 of these little paper flowers – some big and some small. They even took the time to paint some of the edges with a light pink paint! I chose to spray some with a coat of spray glitter.

Literary Wedding Paper Flowers literary-wedding-paper-flowers

Picture Backdrop

With all the books we got for the table decorations, I had a few grocery bags full of plastic covers that came on the hardcover books. I kept them instead of throwing them away because I knew I’d find some use for them – and I was right!

I saw this pin and really wanted to recreate the fun group-photo scene without having a photo booth. Photo booths are quite expensive and just about every wedding has them.

To create a backdrop, we used a staple gun to adhere the book covers to a 5’ by 3’ fiberboard my dad had laying around his shed. Then we took a couch that was just sitting in my old bedroom and WA LA!


Literary Wedding Backdrop

The Programs

In the natural DIY fashion, I knew I wanted to design and print my own wedding programs for the ceremony. Commonly programs are condensed into a one pager but I wanted ours to be designed like a book (duh).

We went to Office Depot and printed them all off for under $80. Each invite was 2 pages, front and back. They were then folded in half and the “spine” was hole punched to bind together with this twine string.

Literary Wedding Programs

Vow Book

This was one of the last bookish features I added to my wedding day. My husband and I knew we wanted to write and recite our own vows for a section of the ceremony. As I was writing and piecing together the ceremony, I just pictured us pulling out a folded up, wrinkly, stained, piece of lined notebook paper – and that doesn’t seem appealing. Instead, I thought it would be cool to have a mini book that had our vows written on the inside pages. Turns out I wasn’t the first to think of this idea. If I had more time I’d probably would have made our own but I found these vow books on Etsy that we could order customized with our names on the cover. How cute are they!?

Literary Wedding Vow Books

Reading Vow Book Reading Vow Book

The Wedding Cake

The cake was my husband’s task I assigned him. For the guests we ordered a big sheet cake. But for the cake to cut, he surprised me with just the perfect looking cake! With some help from a family friend, he designed this open-book cake with a quote from The Notebook.

Literary Wedding Cake

Card Drop Box

With my brother’s natural creative talent again, the card box fit right into the literary theme. I described to him that I wanted a card box designed like the library’s drop box. He said he could do it and a few weeks later he emerged from our wood shop room with this card drop:

Literary Wedding Card Box literary-wedding-card-box


There you have it! My literary wedding!

If you have any questions about any of the things I mentioned here, please ask! And as always, connect with me on Facebook or Instagram.

How I Created My Literary Wedding

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Synopsis: Thirteen Reason Why Cover

Title – 13 Reasons Why  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

Author – Jay Asher (Website, Goodreads)

Published – October 18th 2007

Classification – Young Adult Fiction

Summary –  Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice explains that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spend the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself – a truth he never wanted to face.

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Book Review: The Wrath & The Dawn

Synopsis: The Wrath & The Dawn

Title – The Wrath & The Dawn  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

Author – Renee Ahdieh (Website, Goodreads)

Published – May 12th 2015

Classification – Young Adult Fiction

Summary – In this re-imagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad plans to avenge the death of her dearest friend by volunteering to marry the murderous boy-king of Khorasan. But Shahrzad discovers everything is not as it seems within the palace. 

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Book Review: Stiff by Mary Roach

Book Review by Miss Kristine’s Reviews

Synopsis: Stiff cover

Title – Stiff  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

Author – Mary Roach (Website, Goodreads)

Published – 2004

Classification – Non-Fiction

Summary – Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers – some willingly, some unwittingly, have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

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Book Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

Book Review by Miss Kristine’s Reviews

Synopsis:The Program by Suzanne Young

Title – The Program  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

Author – Suzanne Young (Website, Goodreads)

Published – April 30th 2013

Classification – Young Adult Fiction

Summary – Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a bank slate. Because their depression is gone – but so are their memories. 

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they’ve made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And the program is coming for them.

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