Bookish Things

3 Ways to Save $$$ on Books

If you’re like me, your book-buying habit can add up quickly!

Luckily, there are many ways to save money on buying books. Here are the top 3 I use the most!

Buy from local bookstores with used books or Goodwill.

Thrifting for books might not get you that popular new releases, but it’s a great option for when you’re open to reading just about anything. In addition to offering used books at a steep discount, some local bookstores offer readers/buyers store credit in exchange for trading in their own used books. I’m a frequent trader with my own local bookstore and their program has allowed me pick up many used books for basically free.

Wait a few weeks to buy new releases on Amazon.

Unless you just HAVE to have that new book right away, try waiting a few weeks to a month before buying it off of Amazon. Typically, the price for a new release goes down a few dollars after the release date has passed. It also gives other readers and businesses a chance to provide used copies back to Amazon, which then sells those copies for significantly cheaper than un-read copies.

For God’s sake, use your public library!

By using your public library to its full extent, you might never have to pay for a book ever again. If you time it right, you can even be the first in line to read new releases if you stay on top of requesting a hold a few weeks before the ordered copy actually hits the shelf. I do this with my library and it feels so good to be the first person to read a brand spankin’ new copy for free!

Go forth and read, friends!

Bookish Things

How to Make Cash from Books…Without Being an Author

You don’t need to be an author to make money off of books!

If you’re an avid reader, you probably have lots of books hanging around the house. Sure, you could donate them to Goodwill, but with a little more effort and time, you can get some of your money back by selling them.

Here are 3 ways to make some spare cash from your unwanted books. FYI, you’re not getting rich doing this; it’s more just a way to make some spare cash to help supplement your book-buying habit.

Sell your used books to local bookstores.

Many small bookstores will offer cash for your used books, especially if they include popular releases. If the cash option isn’t high enough for you, ask if they offer in-store credit instead. Often, a store will give you more in credit than they will in cash so if you plan on visiting the bookstore again, credit might be worth it.

Sell rare or special copies on eBay.

If you want to sell a rare or special copy of a book, check on eBay to see what you could potentially sell it for. For example, many book subscription boxes offer special edition copies of popular releases (think colored edges or a special cover.) Many readers will pay to get their hands on one of these.

Sell your lightly read new releases on Facebook Marketplace.

FB Marketplace can be a bit of a hail mary so I list this last. I’ve seen some people have success selling books over Marketplace if they read a new release super quickly and then offer it at a steep discount compared to its current Amazon price. It seems to work best for brand-new and popular releases.

And there you go! Good luck!

Bookish Things

My Favorite Romance Novels of All Time

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing a quick list of my top favorite romance novels or series of all time!

To be honest, I don’t usually enjoy what I like to call “straight-up” romances, or basically a book where the romance is the main plot. I tend to enjoy books that feature a romance but the main plot centers around a different “thing.” Some of my favorite books combine fantasy with romance.

The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

If you’re a fan of fantasy, alpha men, romance and/or urban thrillers, you need to get your hands on these books. The first book in the series, Darkfever, introduces you to Mac, a young woman of Irish heritage who travels to Dublin to investigate her sister’s murder. That would be cool enough, but let’s say that some ancient fae and Irish witches get involved. And there are multiple love interests throughout the series. The series also contains a side series/arc for a side character who becomes an MC eventually.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I get that classics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I’ll stan Jane and Mr. Rochester till the day I die and I wish I didn’t. If you’re not familiar with this classic, let’s just say it’s even more problematic by today’s standards than it was when it was written. Think women kept locked away, men taking advantage of women who are employed by them, severe age gaps, etc. But if you can suspend judgment, it’s actually a very endearing romance and it’s hard to not admire Jane’s tenacity.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I find P&P less problematic than Jane Eyre for several reasons. Even though it takes place in the same general region in the same general time, Austen’s women have a bit more bite…mostly. (Let’s not talk about Lydia, okay?)

Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole

If you want to get into a world, and I mean really get into a world, this series is for you. Each book in this 18-book series features a different character and story. This series has been going for 15 YEARS so there’s a lot of ground to cover, but it is so worth it. These books have it all: vampires, demons, shifters, werewolves, you name it.

The Four Horsemen series by Laura Thalassa

If you want a series, but not something way too long, this is a good one. It’s just four books and each one features a romance with one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. But make them sexy. Was I initially skeptical? Yes. But they’re actually pretty good.

Bookish Things

The Advice that Didn’t Make It Into My Book

It’s officially been 4 months since I published my first book, “How to Become a Grown-Ass Woman!”

In case you’re new to this blog, I published my first book through Amazon in October of last year. My book is a short compendium of modern advice for women in their 20s and 30s. In the book, I cover a wide array of topics, including relationships, careers, side hustles, and big life changes.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback I’ve gotten from Amazon readers, Goodreads, book reviewers, and friends. Although I want to take my future writing into fiction, writing a self-help book has been an amazing experience.

In the interest of keeping my book short and sweet, I ended up having to cut down quite a bit of content in each chapter.

Here is some of the advice that didn’t make it into the book!


Realize that anything worth working toward takes time. Many products and programs out there promise big changes in really small time frames. (Think lose 30lbs in a single month diet programs.) But in my life, I’ve had to work hard to resist the temptation of these “shortcuts.” Building muscle takes time. So does adopting better eating habits or practicing good sleep hygiene.


Don’t be afraid to negotiate pay or salary. If a company revokes an offer because they think you’re asking for too much, it’s not a place that you’d want to work at anyway.


Figure out the best way for you to approach and pay off your debt. There are many methods to paying off debt. Some prefer to save up and then make a large payment; others like to throw small amounts at a balance to keep interest payments low. Both options are fine, it’s just whatever works best for you. I personally prefer to take my spare cash each paycheck and divide it in two: Half goes to the credit card debt and half goes to savings so I still feel like I’m paying myself a bit.


Know when to suck it up and go. I think most people enjoy the feeling of canceling plans or saying no to happy hour every now and then. And it’s well within your right to do so if you’re not feeling social from time to time. But to maintain a friendship, it’s important to know when to suck it up and go to happy hour. Good hints include whenever somebody is crying, has big news, or going through something traumatic.


Clearly define the “rules” of your relationship early on. This doesn’t need to be a formal sit-down but throughout the beginning of a relationship, you should ideally communicate with each other about what makes you tick. What things are important for the other person to do? What are your dealbreakers, i.e. cheating, horrible breath, etc.? Having these conversations early on helps set up expectations for later on so nobody feels blindsided.

Do any of these tips or ideas resonate with you? Feel free to share on social media and tag me! (@crafty_cay on Instagram and Twitter)

Bookish Things

My Reading List for 2023

Like many people, I participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge every year.

For 2023, I’ve set my goal to finish 50 books by the end of the year. I go through books like a fish through water so I could probably increase it a bit but I want to take it easy on myself, since 2023 is going to be BUSY. This year, I am house-hunting and getting married!

Here is a complete list, by genre, of the books on my Goodreads “To-Read” list:

Highlighted indicates an author that I’ve read previously.


  1. Fire and Blood by George R.R. Martin
  2. What Lies Beyond the Veil by Harper L. Woods
  3. A Hunt of Shadows by Elisa Kova
  4. Marrow Charm by Kristin Jacques
  5. The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi
  6. Song of Silver, Flame like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao
  7. A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon
  8. Galatea by Madeline Miller
  9. Wildblood by Lauren Blackwood
  10. Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo
  11. Witch King by Martha Wells


  1. The Ruined Maiden by A.D. Winter


  1. She is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran

Young Adult

  1. Defend the Dawn by Brigid Kemmerer
  2. All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace
  3. Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray
  4. Beasts of Ruin by Ayanaa Gray
  5. Foxglove by Adalyn Grace
  6. A Light in the Flame by Jennifer Armentrout
  7. A Thousand Heartbeats by Kiera Cass
  8. Chaos and Flame by Tessa Gratton
  9. Wings Once Cursed and Bound by Piper J. Drake


  1. The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
  2. Two Truths and a Lie by Meg Mitchell Moore
  3. Anywhere You Run by Wanda Morris
  4. The Villa by Rachel Hawkins
  5. The Family Game by Catherine Steadman
  6. What Have We Done by Alex Finlay
  7. The House Guest by Hank Ryan
  8. All the Dark Places by Terri Parlato
  9. Sisters of the Lost Nation by Nick Medina
  10. Devil in Ohio by Daria Polatin
  11. The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh
  12. I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai


  1. Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey
  2. The Porcelain Moon by Janie Chang
  3. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  4. Violeta by Isabel Allende
  5. Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman
  6. What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jimenez
  7. Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall
  8. The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

Are any of these books on your list for 2023? What books are you excited to read?

Bookish Things

My Top 8 Favorite Books From 2022 (And 2 I DNF’d!)

Not going to lie, 2022 had a lot of great new releases.

I surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal of 65 by a bit, which is nice, but this is the first year that the majority of the books on my list were new releases published in 2022. (By the way, you can follow me on Goodreads here!)

Without further ado, here are my top 8 favorite books published in 2022.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I saw this book making the rounds but didn’t think much of it until it happened to come across the popular table at my public library. I thought I’d give it a shot and wow, was I impressed. It’s rare to find a book that balances humor with deeper meaning and I think Garmus did it masterfully.

The Maid by Nita Prose

You can’t help but love the main character, Molly Grey, in this book. I loved getting to know a character who is truly different from anybody else.

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

I feel like it’s getting harder these days to find a thriller or mystery with an ending that truly surprises me or throws me for a loop. The twists in this one actually work.

The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell

The sequel to “The Family Upstairs,” but equally as satisfying on its own. However, if you’ve read the first book, this one is an even more powerful read. I wouldn’t say it is as twisty as the first, but it definitely is worth reading to find out what happens to everybody.

More Than You”ll Ever Know by Katie Guiterrez

Although the plot in this book is interesting enough on its own, the real gem of this story is getting to know main characters Lore and Cassie.

Belladonna by Adalyn Grace

Ugh, it’s been too long since I’ve come across a young adult fantasy that does pining and slow-burn romance right. Read this, enjoy it immensely and then get your hands on the upcoming sequel, “Foxglove.”

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

TBH, I’ll read anything by Moreno-Garcia but her latest did not disappoint. The best thing about this book, besides another strong female lead, is how the author blends together, seamlessly, a realistic environment that supports fantastical creatures.

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

I don’t usually go for pop-colored modern romance titles, but the nerdy love aspect of this book compelled me to pick it up. It was worth it. Nerdy, yet spicy. Very spicy, in fact.

Unfortunately, not all of the books I bought were winners in my eye. Here are two that I could not finish and why.

Court of the Vampire Queen by Katee Robert

Part of this was my own fault because I didn’t read the back cover before I invested–I simply heard about it, saw it getting popular, and thought, “Hey, I like steamy romances with fantasy-type lovers, let’s go.” Okay, well turns out that’s still true but I DON’T like books with dubious consent and reverse harem environments where the main MO is basically a race to see who can get the lady pregnant first. Not much makes me cringe, but that does.

Kingdom of the Feared by Kerri Maniscalco

Look, I loved the first two books in the series and I really wanted to love the heck out of this one. But I didn’t. The world-building got too confusing, I couldn’t keep motives straight and I even started to not enjoy the sexy scenes. Overall, I think Maniscalo aimed just a little too high with this final book.

Bookish Things

9 Etsy Gifts to Get For Writers and Book Lovers

Trust from an actual author and book lover going on 30 years; this is what the people want.

TBR, everything I included on this list I would be 1000% happy to receive myself.

The Writer Tarot Card Sweatshirt or T-shirt

Don’t know who in their right mind would turn down this tarot card/writing mash-up.

“I’m With the Banned” Shirt

We support banned books and if you do too, this is a great gift.

One More Chapter Glass Mug

Tired of basic white mugs? Gift yourself this classy clear glass one.

Custom Book Stamp

Once you’ve felt the sweet sensation of *officially* making a book yours, you’ll never go back.

Vintage Typewriter Cutting Board

The perfect gift for the dual writer-cook in your life.

Old Books Soy Candle

Old books do have a very unique smell so if this candle matches up, I’m impressed.

Typewriter Totebag

Everybody has things to carry. Writers and readers even more so.

“Is That Smut?” Jesus Bookmark

Honestly, you can’t go wrong here. Religious, not religious, doesn’t matter what your giftee is, this belongs in their stocking.

Pen Nib Earrings

I too also like to wear weapon-like things as earrings.

Just an FYI that I’m not getting any money from sharing these items–I just really like Etsy and I like sharing cool gift ideas I come across. (But if an Etsy seller sees this and like, wants to throw cash my way, hit me up.)

Happy holidays, y’all!