Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hillary's Reading Story: Why I love reading & a formal introduction + 6 Book Giveaways!!!

Hi Bittersweet Enchantment readers! *WAVES* For a while now, I’ve been thinking about how awkward it must have been for me to pop out of the blue and start helping Beckie with reviews and such without formally introducing myself. I came up with an idea that since I never did this last year when I first joined Beckie, I thought I should do it this month since—coincidentally—it’s mine and Beckie’s birthday month (we’ve known this since last year)! I wanted to be able to tell you guys more about myself and also do a giveaway to show my appreciation for having been part of Bittersweet Enchantment for a year. I’m not sure how personal I will go, but bear with me as I start writing stuff from the top of my head. ;)

Me at 8 months. Notice Nala from The Lion King? Even as a baby I was into Disney! :D

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been reading for most of my life. I remember as a kid I would watch and read princess’ movies and books—this is where my love for Beauty & the Beast and Sleeping Beauty began—because there was something that drew me in about all those happily ever after stories that started out so tragically most of the time. I also think my mom was a big part in my reading life *THANKS MOM!* because she was the one who bought me those princess books and other types of kiddie books. One of my favorites was Spot the Dog by Eric Hill. I loved animals—still love them—back then, especially puppies so I loved this book when I was younger.

As I began to grow older, I would start reading books like R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps stories and occasionally The Baby-Sitters Club books when my mom got me some she would find at yard sales, the swap-meet, and even the goodwill. By the preteens I started getting more into horror stories like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. At my preteens I also read my first Stephen King book that I’ll admit took forever to read and my first adult books. Both from V.C. Andrews and don’t you dare judge me! :P I’ve read reviews on Goodreads where other readers admit to reading those before they were old enough to and under the covers with a flashlight. If you don’t believe me you can go look for yourself haha

Around fourteen/fifteen I started being emotionally distanced from friends and family; also known as depression. I didn’t read anymore around that time and kind of wish I had. Something happened in my life that is too hard to talk about most times, but it did change me. I call that time of my life my dark days and/or zombie days. I was emotionally detached and even though I still had my friends behind me and putting up with me, I still feel bad for putting them through what I did back then. Being depressed was not pretty for me. I went from dressing girly in all pinks, to black and gray and all dark colors I could find. I also lost a lot of weight back then when I became anorexic and bulimic. Something I did not seek help for and ended up having to scare myself out of years later. Around the same time I first got depressed, one of my closest friends had gotten into a series that I was adamant to read when she kept telling me to. Eventually though, I finally gave in and my world turned a full 360.

This was the time when Twilight—yes I said that title and don’t look me like that! I’m sure you’ve read it as well or at least heard most of the details about the books—was mostly under wraps. Not too many people were reading the book around the time—this was around early 2007—and somehow my close friend had found the book and had gotten obsessed with it. She would take the book with her to school every day until she finished it and that’s when she told me that she would let me borrow the book if I wanted to read it. I kept saying “No” because I was not into reading at the time. All I could handle was screamo and alternative rock music blasting in my eardrums when I was at home hiding in my room. After a few weeks of my friend asking persisting me to read Twilight and hearing a little about it here and there from other people I knew, I finally gave in and read the damn book. And POOF! My teenage years of reading began. After I read Twilight I asked my friend if I could borrow the sequel—New Moon—which I ended up reading three times, yes three times, before I gave it back to her and had to face that smug look on her face. That’s also around the time I realized I had many months of waiting to do for book 3 and a year for book 4 and I felt like I couldn’t wait. My friend ended up finding another series about vampires called Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead and my love of all Richelle Mead books began. She only had two of the books at the time so I borrowed those and found another person who had the next one. After that, I ended up buying books 4, 5, and 6 and never looked back. I was obsessed, yes obsessed, with vampire stories and couldn’t find that many. I ended up only liking Twilight, Vampire Academy, and the House of Night series’ the most.

It would be a few months before I found new genres to love. I can’t remember which books came after the vampires, but I ended up getting into books from Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Cynthia Hand. Alyson Noel, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver, and many, many more would come weeks, months, and years later.

As I kept reading until the end of my high school years to the beginning of my undergrad college years I would keep reading. Eventually I came across book blogs when I got obsessed with Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series. I saw that she wrote a ‘blog’ at the biography part of the back of the book. I visited it one day when I was bored and curious about what a blog exactly was. Amanda would write interesting stuff about her books, herself, and stuff she liked and occasionally she would talk about giveaways she was throwing where readers could win her books for free. I didn’t have a twitter account yet, but I made one on a whim and after that I found more and more blogs to follow. It would take about a year and a half before I crossed paths with Bittersweet Enchantment. Beckie was having a giveaway for a book called Being Henry David by Cal Armistead and I ended up entering, thinking I had no chance in hell of winning. It would come as a surprise when one day I opened my in-box to find that I ACTUALLY had won the book. I was ecstatic because that was the first book I had won from anyone, EVER. I subscribed to Beckie’s blog when I kept checking for new posts on a daily basis and weeks later an opportunity I never saw coming changed my life even more.

Long story short, Beckie was looking for a guest blogger who could help her post reviews every now and then or as often as possible. I emailed her to let her know I was interested since I had given up on my own blog. Beckie emailed me back wanting to know a little more about me and I ended up joining team Bittersweet Enchantment days later. All of this happened late last year and since then I’ve had fun helping out Beckie with reviews. Never did I ever see myself becoming a guest blogger or even a part-time blogger, but I don’t regret joining Bittersweet Enchantment. If anything, I’m surprised Beckie has kept me this long on her blog LOL! I’ve had moments where I skipped out of posting and helping for a month or so and she has never once gotten mad at me. I owe her a huge amount of gratitude and I can only hope that the readers and fans *YOU GUYS!* have accepted me as being part of Bittersweet Enchantment. I started reading YA a little later in my teens, but I know I will never get tired of books. In fact, I buy books way too often and I’m thinking I need to cut back a little—which will most likely be impossible to do. Books also helped heal me from that darkness from my high school years that loomed over my head and most likely saved my life. I’m not super depressed as I once was when I was a fourteen-year-old girl, but I’ve gotten better. It’s like I told my older sister once a long time ago: “Depression is like a scar. You may not feel it anymore, but it’s still there.” Sometimes I still deal with it, but reading has allowed me to escape from this real—sometimes dull—life to ones full of adventure and awesome characters. For as long as there are new books for me to read, I will keep reading for the rest of my life. Here’s hoping to another year of new books, posts, fun, and adventures! 

Sorry for the super long post! If you managed to read all of it, THANK YOU! If you didn’t, well that’s okay too. But I hope you enjoyed my post! Now on to the fun stuff! :D

The fun part begins where I tell you the details about the giveaway I’m throwing for the rest of this month. I’ll be giving away 7 books and you can enter one, some, or all of the rafflecopters to try to win a book. Here are the books I’m giving away:
>Roxy’s Story by V.C. Andrews
>HARDCOVER of Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon*
>ARC of Asylum by Madeleine Roux
> The Last Song & Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
>Shiloh by Helena Sorensen-signed copy
>Balancer by Patrick Wong-signed copy
~Cute owl not included~
*I won this book a while ago. When I received it in the mail it was bent on the top right corner. This book needs TLC and it’s still in pretty good condition.

Closes on Nov 30th.
Giveaway is open to US residents only!
You may enter as many of the giveaways as you like.
NO cheating! Entries will be checked.

If you are entering more than one of the giveaways below please note the same tweet is used for them all. You will need to copy and paste your original tweet url into all of the rafflecoptor forms. There is no need to edit the tweet message. :)


  1. I have seen these books and have often wonder what they are really about. Thanks for the contest.

    1. Hi Kai. Thanks for commenting! :D And I'm sure each book is interesting. I've read 5 out of 7 of the books I'm giving away ;) Good luck!

  2. I have read books from V.C.Andrews but not this one.

    1. I never got to read it because I didn't have book one. I hope you enjoy it though. Good luck! :)

  3. I would love to read don't turn around! never heard of it before but it sounds like a really interesting book!

    1. I haven't had the chance to read the book either, but I know I have to someday! Thanks for commenting and good luck! ^_^

  4. I have really been wanting to read Asylum but as for the others I haven't heard of them but they do seem interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. You're welcome Betsy! And Asylum was interesting ;) I think you might enjoy it. Good luck! :D

  5. I had heard of Don't Turn Around on Tea Time, but I haven't heard of the others!

    1. Thanks for commenting Emma! And hopefully you like Don't Turn Around. Good luck! :)


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my post, I really appreciate it. :) Feel free to leave a comment below, I love reading them and I always try to visit everyone back. *MUAH*


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