My Reading Goals for 2019

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a lovely New Year’s Eve and have enjoyed your time with family and friends over this past holiday season. I personally have to work today. Booo! But I thought I would share my 5 goals for my reading life in 2019.

First I would like to achieve my forever goal of reading 50 books in one year. I’ve never gotten beyond 41 in the past 3 years I have done the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I hope to at least get as closely as possible and have been collecting as many books and audio books as I can over the past several weeks.

My second goal is to read from my shelves more, both physically and from my Kindle shelf. I own many books like anyone else does that runs a book blog, but I’m not good at reading what I already own. I like to call it the “Oooh something shiny” problem, where I pick a book I already own only to immediately replace it with a book I find in a store. Thus, something shiny. It’s a costly habit I would very much like to break.

My third goal could seem counter productive to my second one (depending entirely on how you view it), however, I hope to concentrate more on what is on my TBR list already. Now I do tend to add more and more books nearly everyday to it, but the beauty of using something like Goodreads is I can sort my TBR from oldest to newest. Therefore, whatever I place on my list 5 years ago can show up first rather than the three new books I placed there this morning. It should help me to cross off items from my TBR and make more room for new ones.

I want to expand on the genres I read from. If you read my last post, My Top 10 Reads of 2018, then you’ll know that 2018 was the year of the Middle Grade novels. The genre I have chosen for this year is Biographies and Memoirs. I don’t read much nonfiction in general, other than the occasional historical book; but mostly I like my fiction novels because I like to escape when I read. I hope to find some pleasure in reading about other people’s lives and will continue to read them for years to come.

My last goal for 2019 is to find my perfect reading spot. Right now I read in two places, my bed on evenings and weekends and at my desk at work on my lunch break. I would love to have a place perfect for me that feels peaceful with as little distraction as possible. As it stands now, I’m constantly diverted from reading either by my iPad, TV, or the sounds of the office during my lunch hour. I’d even enjoy reading outside more, but it is January and Georgia is at the moment experience consistently rainy weather. So being outside will probably me more reserved for Spring and the later half of Fall.

That is my reading goals for the new year. I’d love to know if you have any, so please share in the comments below!

Happy Reading,

Meghan

TBR Thursday: I’m Bringing it Back!

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I’m bringing back TBR Thursday!

I had originally gotten rid of it because I was barely finding the time to get all my book reviews up, yet alone attempting to add anything else.  But I have decided it is time to get this post series back up and running again.

I miss being able to share books I’m anticipating to read and I love sharing it this way rather than attempting to make a list of what I plan to read within the next month.  This also feels like a unique way of showing my TBR list and explaining why I want to read each book.

Raise your hand if your excited for TBR Thursdays again and be on the lookout for the first one tomorrow!

Happy Reading,

Meghan

 

My Reading Wish List

Like most people in the bookish community I have a long list of books I want to read but I also have a list of types of books I want to read. For example, in the summer I like mindless reads. I want something with romance where you know they get a happliy ever after and there isn’t too much in depth thinking while reading. So I’ve complied a list or 5 of the types of books I’m looking to read into the summer. And because I don’t have any titles in mind I though by sharing this list some of you might be able to give me a few suggestions.

1. A Feel Good Contemporary Novel

I’ve been reading a lot of young adult novels lately, especially fantasy and urban fantasy novels but I want to read a feel good contemporary novel that is out of the YA Genere. The only problem is I don’t know where to start or what author to go with. I don’t have any titles in mind and I get dizzy going through my goodreads to-read shelf. But here are my criteria for what I’m looking for. 1) Romance with a slow burn 2) Mild drama (I don’t want feel good all the way through) 3) But there must be a happy ending!

2.  A Must Read Historical Fiction

I love The Nighthingale by Kristen Hannah it is listed on my favorites read page for a reason. And a great example of must read historical fiction for me. Because when I read a historical novel I want to feel like I’m living in the era I’m reading about. The three things for this category I’m looking for is 1) Ancient History (I haven’t read whole lot in this era and I would love to explore it more) 2) Mild romance is fine but not required 3) Have Historical accuracy. I spent 3 years going after a history degree and I’m a self defined History geek, it drives me crazy when an author writes a historical novel with no research.

3.  Fantasy Series

I know I said I’ve been ready a lot of fantasy novels lately, but I want one not focused around a 16 or 17 year old main character. I do however love when the story has a strong female character. No damsel in distress for me. I know there are so many fantasy series out there and I also know some of you must have a favorite. Here’s what I’m looking for: 1) Great world building 2) Most books published (I have waiting for a new book *first world problems*) 3) Will cause a book hangover.

4.  A Memoir or Autobiography

I’m not a big nonfiction reader except for Christin living books. But I want to branch out of my comfort zone and something I’m looking to read is about a real life persons life. And I would let you know right now I’m an open book (no pun intended) with this genere. I will read about a political figure, actress, someone not famous, literally I will read about someone else’s life as long as it doesn’t bore me or is filled with useless detail.

5.  Cute Light Read

My last category on my list is a light read. Not a very long book, doesn’t require a lot of character building or character background.  I just started The Summer of Everything by Catherine Clark which is two of her books in one and I’m reading through these quickly and they are perfect for summer. I would love more authors that write books like this.

So let me know some of your suggestions because I would love to hear from you and explore new titles.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Biltmore Weekend

I’d like to share with you all my recent trip to the Biltmore.

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I’d like to share with you all my recent trip to the Biltmore. But first let me share a little background about the “house” above. The Biltmore Estate is located in Asheville, North Carolina. It is the largest privately owned house in the United States and was built by George Washington Vanderbilt in 1889. It would take another 6 years before the Biltmore would be complete.  There are 250 rooms with amazing views of the mountains and beautiful gardens.  And the saddest part is George was 26 when he set out to have Biltmore built, the same age I am know and this was only a vacation house.

Oh if only my family had money too.

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Being only about two and half hours away from Asheville you would think that perhaps I’ve been here many times before. But sadly I have only been one time before when I was about four maybe five so I don’t remember a whole lot about that trip. Which is mainly why I wanted to go back again so I left early Saturday morning and made my way to the Biltmore. I arrived at about 9am and because I was also staying at the Village Hotel on the Biltmore Estate that night I decided I would spend my day there as I couldn’t check in until 4pm.  And trust me there is plenty to do there besides touring the house.

Now even though I arrived early there were still a lot of people there within the hour. One thing you should know if you plan on visiting is that on the weekends and during their more popular tourist seasons, reservations are required to tour the house. They do this so that they don’t have too large a capacity of people there at once.

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The rooms inside are stunning. But I wouldn’t expect anything less of a large mansion from a wealthy well-known family.  And the Biltmore is a Gilded Age jewel. Of course I might be a little bias because before I decided to get a business degree I was history major. And I’m proud to say I’m a huge history geek but I especially love historical architecture.

My favorite room in the house is Edith Vanderbilt’s room. In fact it was my favorite the first time I visited as a kid and I loved it so much that the post card of the room was the only thing I wanted in the gift shop. I was entranced by the purple and gold through out and when I walked back through it was like I was four again.

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You may be wondering about the clothes in the room. The Biltmore sometimes runs extra exhibits in the house. From now until July 4, 2016 Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film will be going on. The house is also decorated as though a wedding is being hosted there.

And like any modern home (note the sarcasm) they have several amenities to bring entertainment.

Such as a personal library:

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Indoor pool:

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Bowling alley:

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And billiard room:

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Just your normal average house especially for 1895. But this is exactly what makes this place so grand. Not to mention the gardens and though I went too soon for the full blossoming of all the flowers and trees on the estate I still managed to see a few things but I would advise that if you would like to see the garden in all its glory then go some time closer to the middle of April.

Now I stayed at the Village Hotel which just opened last December and what I loved most about it is that it sits right next to the Antler Village and Biltmore Winery.  Antler Village was great. There are a few shops and restaurants which was great for me because I didn’t have to venture into town for dinner that night as I had literally walked about 7 miles that day around the estate and was exhausted.

But I did manage to treat myself to a few things:

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The tea is Passion fruit Peach black tea (exclusive to the Biltmore) and the ceramic mug comes from Tea Forte. The book in the back is a cook book with recipes used in the Biltmore house.  I can’t wait to try a few recipes from it!

I did also bring a book along with me, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson however I didn’t manage to read a lot because I found myself too busy exploring

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This was a really great getaway and I hope to get back soon. I believe that the Biltmore Estate is a place that should be on anyone’s bucket list for destinations in the US. It’s a prime example of the Gilded Age and a page right out of a history book. So I’d like to offer a few suggests if visiting:

  • If planning during a weekend or during the peak season plan to buy your tickets ahead of time. If you buy early on the Biltmore site the tickets will be $10 less than if you buy them at the estate.
  • Try to reserve a time early in the morning or come to the estate early. Even though I got there around nine that morning my reserved time wasn’t until 10:30 and it was already pretty crowded by then.
  • Make sure to bring water with you as the prices like most tourist places are higher than normal. You’ll especially want water when touring the gardens or walking the trail. As a side note: no food is or drink is allowed in the house except water.
  • The tour of the house took me about 90 minutes and I did the audio tour. I highly suggest this because unless your planning on paying for a guided tour not much extra information is offered about the history of the house. And the audio tour is cheaper.
  • Be patient. A lot of people will be there and you can’t really breeze through or go at the pace you want. It’s pretty much one long line of people going from room to room.
  • There are multiple gift shops all over the estate so don’t worry if you can find that one souvenir you want. Don’t worry you can probably find it in another location.
  • Take the time to tour the winery and visit the Antler Village. The winery tour is free and Antler Village has live music and a large grassy area for kids to run around on. Plus the Creamery has the best milk shakes.
  • Enjoy your time and don’t forget to visit the town of Asheville too.  The only regret I have is that I couldn’t spend a lot of time in the town as it was Sunday when I left and either things didn’t open until noon or they were closed.

I hope you enjoyed the post and that this encouraged you to check the Biltmore out someday.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Bonus Pictures:

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