WWW Wednesday: August 15th, 2018

Good evening, readers!

And the countdown is ON! In exactly one week (August 22nd) my kids are going back to school! In the meantime, we have a bunch of doctor appointments, school open house, teacher meet & greets, IEP reviews, last minute school shopping, and tons of other stuff to get done over the next week, so it will probably be another slow week on the blog front. But I will try to get a review or two posted this week if I get the chance.

For now, it’s time for WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesdays

This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

To join in on WWW Wednesday, just answer these three questions and post the link to your responses on Sam’s blog and in the comments below.


I am currently reading:

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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The World’s Bestselling Mystery

“Ten . . .”
Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious “U.N. Owen.”

“Nine . . .”
At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead.

“Eight . . .”
Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . one by one they begin to die.

“Seven . . .”
Who among them is the killer and will any of them survive?

I’ve really enjoyed all of the Agatha Christie books that I’ve read so far, but everyone I talk to says that this is THE Agatha Christie book to read. It’s supposed to be her absolute best work. I haven’t actually started reading it yet (I just finished reading When Elephants Fly this morning), but I’m really excited about it. I hope it lives up to my expectations!


I finished reading:


What I’m reading next:

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

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A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.


That’s my WWW Wednesday for this week. What have YOU read this week?dorie

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Book Review: The Light of the Fireflies

Title: The Light of the Fireflies
Author: Paul Pen
Publisher: AmazonCrossing
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: April 1st, 2016
Pages: 338
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible

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Book Blurb:

A haunting and hopeful tale of discovering light in even the darkest of places.

For his whole life, the boy has lived underground, in a basement with his parents, grandmother, sister, and brother. Before he was born, his family was disfigured by a fire. His sister wears a white mask to cover her burns.

He spends his hours with his cactus, reading his book on insects, or touching the one ray of sunlight that filters in through a crack in the ceiling. Ever since his sister had a baby, everyone’s been acting very strangely. The boy begins to wonder why they never say who the father is, about what happened before his own birth, about why they’re shut away.

A few days ago, some fireflies arrived in the basement. His grandma said, There’s no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light. That light makes the boy want to escape, to know the outside world. Problem is, all the doors are locked. And he doesn’t know how to get out.…

My Thoughts:

This is a very dark book dealing with some heavy subject matter, which won’t be to everyone’s liking. However, it is incredibly well-written and engrossing. I couldn’t put it down!

The first half of the story is very unsettling and creepy and, well, strange. The narrator is a 10-year-old boy whose name is never mentioned. In fact, none of the characters are named; they are just referred to by their relationship to the narrator or speaker (mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma) which gets pretty confusing at times, especially in dialogue since the relationship changes based on who’s speaking. In the first few chapters, we read about the day to day activities of the boy and his family, who all live underground in a basement dwelling. Although no-one will talk about it, it’s clear there was a major traumatic event last time they were outside. Everyone in the family has been badly burned and disfigured except for the boy (because he was in his mom’s belly during “the fire”, as she explains to him at one point) and his sister even has to wear a white prosthetic mask to cover her face at all times. The boy was born in this basement and has never seen the outside world. His only view of the sun is a small ray of sunlight that comes in through a crack above. No one will answer his questions about why they live underground, or why they can’t ever leave.

In the second half of the book, we find out the answers to those questions and so much more as it flashes back to reveal what happened 11 years earlier. But that’s where the book became really disturbing and even infuriating for me. All of the family members (especially the parents) do despicable things for the sake of “family”, and their justifications are weak and shallow. I can’t say any more without spoiling it (and trust me, you do not want this book spoiled; this is the kind of book where the less you know going into it, the better), but I was legitimately angered by the actions of the family. And then I was very, very disappointed by the ending.

I know, it sounds like I hated this book, and to be fair, I don’t think I’m going to be re-reading it anytime soon. However, despite the dark content and unlikeable characters, I actually really liked it. It is certainly a very unique, one-of-a-kind book—I’ve never read anything quite like it before. It was also very well-written and a smooth translation. If I didn’t know beforehand that it was translated from another language, I wouldn’t have been able to tell. I’m definitely going to be looking into more books from this author.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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Book Review: Before and Again

Title: Before and Again
Author: Barbara Delinksy
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre(s): Womens Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: June 26th, 2018
Pages: 558
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible

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Book Blurb:

Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends―and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made―though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she takes satisfaction in working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.

Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself―or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.

My Thoughts:

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I expected it to be fluffy and light-hearted, but instead it was gripping and emotionally raw, even heartbreaking at times.

The story starts off with the main character, Mackenzie, attempting to navigate with her young daughter to a playdate in an unfamiliar neighborhood. She takes her eyes off the road for a split second to look down at her GPS and ends up causing a tragic accident which takes the life of her daughter. As if losing her daughter wasn’t bad enough, the prosecutors decide to make an example out of her and her face is splashed over newspapers and social media across the nation. Her marriage falls apart, like most do after the loss of a child, and her friends shun her. Even her own mother turns her back on her, blaming her for not only the death of her only grandchild, but also the death of her husband, Mackenzie’s father.

Four years later, Mackenzie is on probation and living a quiet life in a small town in Vermont. She goes by a different name now (Maggie Reid) and keeps her past a well-guarded secret. She has a new career, new friends and acquaintances, and she is slowly starting to repair her broken heart. When her closest friend and coworker’s son is accused of computer hacking, Mackenzie makes the decision to stand by her side, knowing all too well the consequences of negative media attention. But as more and more secrets are revealed, Mackenzie’s past starts to threaten the private, quiet life she has worked so hard to create.

Before and Again deals with a lot of heavy emotions, including the loss of a child, unresolved grief, family drama, friendship, forgiveness, and a second chance at love. However, for a character-driven novel, there are also plenty of plot twists and turns, making it hard to put down. The 500+ pages went by super quick.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

WWW Wednesday: August 8th, 2018

Good evening, readers!

It’s been yet another CRAZY hectic week here and yet again, I haven’t posted all week. I had planned to finish editing and post a couple reviews from my backlog, but I never got around to them. Just two more weeks until the kids start school again, and then things will calm down a LOT so I’ll have more time to dedicate to my blog.

But for now, it’s time for WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesdays

This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

To join in on WWW Wednesday, just answer these three questions and post the link to your responses on Sam’s blog and in the comments below.


I am currently reading:

Vox by Christina Dalcher

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Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.


I finished reading:


What I’m reading next:

When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer

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There are some battles worth fighting even if it means losing yourself.

T. Lily Decker is a high school senior with a twelve-year plan: avoid stress, drugs, alcohol and boyfriends, and take regular psych quizzes administered by her best friend, Sawyer, to make sure she’s not developing schizophrenia.Genetics are not on Lily’s side.

When she was seven, her mother, who had paranoid schizophrenia, tried to kill her. And a secret has revealed that Lily’s odds are even worse than she thought. Still, there’s a chance to avoid triggering the mental health condition, if Lily can live a careful life from ages eighteen to thirty, when schizophrenia most commonly manifests.

But when a newspaper internship results in Lily witnessing a mother elephant try to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty, Lily can’t abandon the story or the calf. With Swifty in danger of dying from grief, Lily must choose whether to risk everything, including her sanity and a first love, on a desperate road trip to save the calf’s life, perhaps finding her own version of freedom along the way.


That’s my WWW Wednesday for this week. What have YOU read this week?dorie

WWW Wednesday: August 1st, 2018

Good evening, readers!

I know it’s after midnight AGAIN… And there’s been radio silence on this blog all week. So to start with, I’m still here! And I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting you all! We paid a visit to my sister and her family this week. She lives in the middle of nowhere, in a complete dead spot (no cell signal whatsoever with any carriers), and she doesn’t have internet at her house right now. It was actually pretty nice unplugging for a few days and spending much-needed quality time together without screens. But since I wasn’t expecting it (she thought she would have her internet up and running before our trip), I of course didn’t get a chance to post a blog entry explaining my absence. So I’m sorry for just kind of disappearing, but I’m back now and I’ll try to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Quick side note: I’m going to be making some changes to my blog over the next couple weeks and there are some exciting things coming, so make sure to stay tuned!

But for now, it’s time for this week’s WWW Wednesday.

WWW Wednesdays

This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

To join in on WWW Wednesday, just answer these three questions and post the link to your responses on Sam’s blog and in the comments below.


I am currently reading:

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

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Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

Beauty and the Beast was my top favorite Disney animated movie growing up and the 2017 live-action retelling with Emma Watson is one of my absolute favorite movies ever, so it’s no surprise I am loving this spinoff book by Jennifer Donnelly. From what I’ve read so far, I can already tell it is going to be a very enjoyable, enchanting read.


I finished reading:

Despite having plenty of family activities planned, I still managed to finish both of the books that I brought with me to my sister’s house (like usual, most of my reading was done at night after everyone else was asleep anyways). It might not be as much reading as I normally do, but considering the circumstances, I’m okay with it.


What I’m reading next:

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

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Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

I think I’m going to read this book next. I picked up my copy on a recent trip to a thrift store—a beautiful hardcover edition in like-new condition for just $1! Since it’s a book I’ve been interested in for awhile, you better believe I was on that deal like white on rice! Now I’m excited to get started and find out whether it’s as good as everyone says it is.


That’s my WWW Wednesday for this week. What have YOU read this week?dorie

WWW Wednesday: July 26th, 2018

WWW Wednesdays

This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

To join in on WWW Wednesday, just answer these three questions and post the link to your responses on Sam’s blog and in the comments below.

Soooo… it’s a little past midnight again. But I think I can still count it as Wednesday, since I haven’t gone to bed yet. Right? 😉

What can I say? It’s been another busy week. Just one more month of summer vacation…


I am currently reading:

I started reading Sadie (and admittedly, didn’t get very far into it) when I got a notification that my copy of Murder on the Orient Express was available from my library. I’ve been waiting for so long to read it—I couldn’t wait any longer and immediately downloaded it to my Kindle app. So now I’m going back and forth, reading Sadie whenever I get a chance to sit down and read a physical book, and otherwise making my way through Murder on the Orient Express on my Kindle app while I’m out and about. I really don’t like reading multiple books at once, though, (I feel like I’m not giving each book my undivided attention) so I’m trying not to make this a habit.


I finished reading:

I finally finished Anne of Green Gables! Now I just have to decide if I want to re-read the rest of the books in the series or if I’m going to wait for another time…

I also got side-tracked by two awesome thriller novels: Lies by T.M. Logan and The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker. Let me just say, The Fourth Monkey was an excellent, excellent read and I wish I had picked it up earlier! I am already planning on buying book #2 (The Fifth to Die) on my next payday. Lies was also a great read, but you’ll be seeing a full review for that… sometime… hopefully soonish… 🙈 I really need to finish my backlog of reviews!


What I’m reading next:

I actually have no clue what I’m going to be reading next, and I’m too tired tonight to try to decide. But whatever it is, I’m sure it’s going to be great!


That’s my WWW Wednesday for this week. What have YOU read this week?dorie

Friday’s Book Excerpts

Happy Friday, readers!

Each week I share book excerpts with:

  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current book, as well as any first impressions or initial thoughts they might have. 
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences, and post them.

This week I will be pulling excerpts from my current read: Sadie by Courtney Summers.

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Synopsis:

A gripping novel about the depth of a sister’s love; poised to be the next book you won’t be able to stop talking about.

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial-like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.


Book Beginning:

It’s a beautiful day in the city. The sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky.


The Friday 56:

I continue to let the nasal blare of the car horn fill this desolate section of the neighborhood as I watch the boys’ gangly legs propel them down the street. When they turn a corner, I let it go and it’s completely silent and still. I’m parked in a cul-de-sac lined by houses in various stages of development, a large billboard advertising a community completion date that seems impossibly close. There’s a swampy-looking pond just across the way from me, little ripples in the water made by hovering bugs.


What are you reading this weekend? Feel free to join in with lines from your current read!

WWW Wednesday: July 18th, 2018

WWW Wednesdays

This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

To join in on WWW Wednesday, just answer these three questions and post the link to your responses on Sam’s blog and in the comments below.


I am currently reading:

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

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Everyone’s favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.

Since I finished reading The Future Will Be BS Free early this morning, I haven’t started anything else yet, other than continuing on my re-read of Anne of Green Gables. But since I keep getting distracted by really intense storylines in my other reads, I haven’t made much progress this week.


I finished reading:

 

I did not get around to reading I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara before my library loan ended. 😞 So I’m stuck back at the bottom of the wait list on OverDrive, unless I give in and just buy myself a copy. But I still read an interesting mix of good books this week! I think the one that surprised me the most was Believe Me by JP Delaney. You can read my review of it here.


What I’m reading next:

Sadie by Courtney Summers

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A gripping novel about the depth of a sister’s love; poised to be the next book you won’t be able to stop talking about.

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial-like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

This may change, but right now I’m thinking I’ll pick this one up next. It’s an ARC that I received in the mail and it looks really good!


That’s my WWW Wednesday for this week. What have YOU read this week?dorie

Book Review: Believe Me

Title: Believe Me
Author: JP Delaney
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Release Date: July 24th, 2018
Pages: 352
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible

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Book Blurb:

In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

One out-of-work British actress pays the rent on her New York City apartment the only way she can: as a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers, hired to entrap straying husbands. When the cops begin investigating one of her targets for murdering his wife–and potentially others–they ask her to lure the suspect into a confession.

But with the actress pretending to be someone she isn’t, differentiating the decoy from the prey becomes impossible–and deadly.

My Thoughts:

“Sometimes, when you wear a mask too long, you find it sticks to the skin.”

Talk about twists and turns! When I first started reading Believe Me, I had no idea of the mind trip I was about to take courtesy of JP Delaney. 

I’ll admit—I broke the cardinal rule and judged this book by its cover. 🙊 I got an advanced copy in the mail a couple months ago, but kept passing over it to read other books from my TBR list that looked more interesting. I had never heard of the author before; I haven’t seen any buzz about it in the blogging community; the blurb sounded interesting, but there was nothing about it that really stood out to me; and, if I’m being completely honest, I’m not a big fan of the cover art. Now I wish I had picked it up sooner!

This book kept me guessing the entire time. The main character and narrator, Claire, is an enigmatic person and right from the beginning, I wasn’t sure whether I could trust her or not. In fact, I questioned the reliability of every character at some point or another in the storyline. Just when I thought I had it all figured it out, the story took a sharp turn and I found myself clueless once again. But while the twists are unexpected, it’s easy to see they’re well planned out and incorporated into the rest of the storyline perfectly. This book really lives up to its name!

There are some parts of the story, dialogue heavy scenes, that are written like a play or a script, playing off Claire’s role as a struggling actor. When I first came across this, I thought it would get annoying, but as it turns out, it didn’t bother me at all. It was still really easy to follow along and if anything, doing that added a little something extra to the story.

Once I started reading Believe Me, I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing it in one sitting. If you like psychological thrillers where you don’t know who to trust and everything you think you know is wrong, you need to read this book!

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Thank you to Ballantine Books for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Book Blogger Hop 7/13-7/19



Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week’s question:

Does a cluttered blog have you not returning? By cluttered I mean too many columns, small type, too many photos, difficult to follow, etc.  (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)

My answer:

I normally read other blogs under the “Reader” tab of my WordPress app, so I don’t see the full webpage, just streamlined posts. So I guess this question doesn’t really apply to me. However, in the rare cases when I’m actually browsing blogs on my laptop, the only thing that really bothers me is when there are pop-up messages prompting me to subscribe. If I like the content and want to read new posts, I’ll subscribe. It’s as simple as that. The pop-ups are unnecessary and just plain annoying; if anything, they make me NOT want to subscribe! Otherwise, though, I can’t see myself dismissing an interesting blog just because of its aesthetics, cluttered or not.

What about you? Are you bothered by cluttered blogs or pop-up messages? Let me know in the comments below!

*If you’re here from the linkup, please leave your link in the comments so I can make sure to stop by and see your answer too.