Tag Archives: 2012 in review

2012 In Review: Music (Part 2) – Best *New Bands

*New to me, not necessarily to the world

Despite currently having 121 GB worth of music on my computer, I am always on the hunt for more. Something new, something I missed out on somehow, just anything appealing to my ear. While I come across plenty of music every year, there are always a few bands that really stand out over the others, bands that become favorites. This year I discovered a lot of really great artists, but the following four are easily my top finds.

letlive.

letlive

Cory Eaves, drummer of Artifex Pereo, can take credit for me falling for this band, though he probably has no idea. I think it was an ‘ask’ about his favorite bands or maybe bands he’d like to tour with (I don’t know, it was a long time ago), but he listed letlive. along with a couple other bands I already knew I liked and it spiked my curiosity. I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that a talented musician like himself would have killer taste in music, but I don’t think I was prepared for how much I would love letlive. I can only imagine the kind of energy they must create performing live and I really hope I get to experience it one day. I would later fall in love with many more bands because of Cory’s music recommendations, but letlive. will probably always hold the top spot.

Circa Survive

Circa Survive

It was April, my birthday weekend, and I was going through a music buying binge on Amazon after receiving a MP3 gift card. I’d already spent more money than my gift card offered when Amazon suggested I’d like Circa Survive, as if I needed more music at all. I don’t think that Amazon’s ever really been completely right with their suggestions to me, but you can’t really blame them since my music taste is so all over the place. But I previewed Blue Sky Noise and fell so head-over-heels for Circa Survive I spent even more money and acquired every album they’d released immediately. Amazon loves my wallet. Needless to say, this is a band I don’t see myself ever growing tired of.

O’ Brother

O' Brother

My newfound love for Circa Survive is the reasons behind my love of O’ Brother. When they announced their latest album’s release and tour, they offered a free download sampler of the bands they’d be touring with and on this sampler was O’ Brother. I couldn’t get enough of their sound and just had to hear more. Everything I’ve bought since has been so, so solid. It is absolutely a band worth checking out.  

Relief in Sleep

Relief in Sleep

I guess because I post music so often, it’s not uncommon for unsigned bands to contact me asking to be checked out (I assume this is why, no one’s ever actually said it, but I do get a pretty significant amount of requests like this). Unfortunately, I don’t get a lot of winners, but Relief in Sleep was the biggest winner of them all this year. They’re like this lovely clashing of old Paramore or Flyleaf against a perfectly complicated musical arrangement. I’m not sure what their future holds, but I hope it’s making more music and being further recognized by the music industry.

What were the best bands you came across in 2012? I’d love to check them out! 

**If you don't already know these bands, click their name or pictures to check out their sound!

2012 In Review: Books

I had really hoped I’d read more than I did last year and while I did, I didn’t exactly read as much as I’d hoped either, but it was close at least. Total, I’ve read 54 books this year!

It’s always really hard to put this list in any sort of order because mostly I read a lot of really great books this year, but I’ve tried to list them from most favorite to least favorite. Also, I’ve written small reviews for every book I read this year over at GoodReads so all of the titles are clickable!

Dreamhouse Kings Series by Robert Liparulo
(The House of Dark Shadows, Watcher in the Woods, Gatekeepers, Timescape,
Whirlwind, Frenzy)

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
(The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay)

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Infamous (Chronicles of Nick, Book 3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Guardian (Dream-Hunter, Book 5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Ghost and the Goth Series by Stacey Kade
(The Ghost and the Goth, Queen of the Dead, Body & Soul)

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Dull Boy by Sarah Cross

Endure (Need, Book 4) by Carrie Jones

Firelight Series by Sophie Jordan
(Vanish, Hidden)

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Starstruck by Cyn Balog

Foxfire (Other, Book 3) by Karen Kincy

Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck

Spell Bound (Hex Hall, Book 3) by Rachel Hawkins

Just for Fins (Fins, Book 3) by Tera Lynn Childs

In Honor by Jessie Kirby

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Life as We Knew It (Last Survivors, Book 1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Dead until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 1) by Charlaine Harris

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

Time Untime (Dark-Hunter, Book 17) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
(Carrie Diaries, Summer in the City)

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Purity by Jackson Pearce

Winter Town by Stephen Emond

Fallen Series by Lauren Kate
(Fallen-in-Love, Rapture)

~Miscellaneous Other~

The Curiosities: A Collection of Short Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, & Tessa Gratton

Scott Pilgrim Series Vol. 1-6 by Bryan Lee O’Malley
(Precious Little Life, Vs. The World, And the Infinite Sadness,
Gets it Together, Vs. The Universe, & Finest Hour
)

The Walking Dead Books 1, 2, & 3 by Robert Kirkman

Vampire Knight Vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino

I currently have 109 books in my possession and I know I’ll have at least 15 must-have pre-orders to add to my TBR in 2013. I suppose my goal is to cut that TBR pile in half if possible. I’d feel pretty good if I could report that I did that or close to that this time next year!

What were your favorite books in 2012? What does your 2013 reading list look like?

2012 In Review: Weight Loss

In preparation of writing this, I went back and read last year’s weight loss review. I sat here laughing at myself in the most pitiful way.

Last year, I vowed to return to Weight Watchers and lose my fat suit by my 30th birthday in April.

While I did return to Weight Watchers in January, I’d quit again by March because 40 bucks a month was just too much strain on my pocket, and by the time my birthday rolled around in April, I actually weighed more than I ever have. I’d reached a whole new level of shame.

Then one night this past summer, while perusing Pinterest, I stumbled upon a series of before and after pictures of girls from tumblr dubbed ‘fitblr’s’ that made my jaw drop. I read everything I could about each of them. How they began, how they succeeded. I tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could from these people who did exactly what I was trying to do. I followed their progress quietly at first, but eventually my intrigue over these ‘clean’ lifestyles they lead, while still eating more food than I would have ever dreamed you could eat and still lose weight, got the best of me. I had to give it a shot.

And so at the end of July I marked my starting weight and measurements down, took before photos, calculated my needed calories, and set out to try ‘clean eating.’ It was slow moving at first, it takes some adjusting to when you suddenly start paying attention to the things you eat and how they can/can’t benefit you, but I started to lose weight – in a healthy way. By the end of October I’d lost 20.1 lbs.

Things have been rocky since then, with the holiday season arriving and my uncontrollable desire to bake these days, but I’ve only gained 3 of those 20.1 lbs back. And while it’s still nowhere near the total weight loss I hope to achieve, I think that I at least have a better, more realistic formula to follow this year than last. I really hope when I’m reflecting on this journey at the end of 2013, I’ll have made enough progress to share my own before and after photos and join the league of successful fitblrs.

I suppose it’s time to give a little shout out to the four main girls who’s drive to live healthier lives encouraged me to do the same. Caitlen, Brynn, Shae, & Sharee, what you’re doing is amazing and inspiring. And I am really grateful for all of you.

Best of luck to all you out there trying to lose weight or just generally be healthier!

2012 In Review: Writing

It’s rather sad that another year of my life has passed without a completed novel in my possession. And my word count this year is only slightly better than last years, but at least I’ll report it this time because if you’ve been keeping track all year you can do the math yourself anyway.

28, 224 words in 2012. There, I said it. Maybe now that it’s out there and I have to carry the shame of all of you knowing it, it will force me to try harder in 2013? I sure as hell hope so.

So, why such a low number this year? Honestly, I’m not sure I have a good reason. I’m constantly thinking back to a few years ago when I wrote 134K words in less than a year and I try to understand what was so different then. What I’m doing wrong in comparison now. But I don’t have any answers. All I know it that this year I at least tried to be more consistent, to write every month, even if it was just a little. I didn’t always succeed, but I did write more consistently this year than last.

I also let shiny new ideas take off when they came to me instead of trying to suppress them for the sake of the current WIP like I have in previous years. As a result, I currently have 3 WIP’s. Yeah… I’m still not sure how well that sits with me because it hasn’t really amounted to a better word count, but it did keep me writing when I wouldn’t have been if I’d been sitting around waiting for my one and only WIP to feed me words. I suppose in 2013, one of my goals will be learning how to juggle 3 WIP’s more successfully.

And I started and finished a couple short stories again finally. After writing none last year, I felt like it was something I needed to work back into my writing routine. It’s good practice. And if nothing else, it helped increase my word count during those months when none of my books wanted to play nice with me. In case you missed those short stories this year, you can check them out here:

A Pill for Bravery

Intrusion

So, I feel sort of weird about this year in review because I’m not completely disappointed with my writing this year. I mean, it’s not really worth being proud of, but it’s also not worth hating. But I really, really do hope to achieve more in 2013. It’s time to be more productive, to spend my free time more wisely, to try harder than I have before. I’m not sure my confidence in this future can sustain another year of so-so success. I want the real thing. I’m hungry for it, even if the real thing is only reaching my own personal goals.

Writer peeps, how did you fare in 2012? What do you hope to achieve in 2013?

2012 In Review: Music (Part 1)

Top 10 Most Played Tracks

For the most part, if you’ve followed my Music Friday posts or my monthly In Review posts, you might be able to predict some of this list. But even if you see a lot of it coming, it’s still fun to see exactly what had the most plays overall for the year. Countdown to number one with me as we bring 2012 to a close!

10. Of Monsters and Men – “From Finner”

I’m sort of surprised this track made the top ten, but not because I didn’t love it – it’s just that I was sure there were other songs I’d listened to more. Turns out I apparently listened to this a lot more than I thought while working on Beyond the Trees this summer

9. Artifex Pereo – “Liable for Tragedy”

It probably shouldn’t surprise you that a song by one of my favorite artists made the top ten this year, especially since they did last year too. Now that their new singer lives near the rest of the band, I am letting myself get really excited for new music. I’ve got my fingers crossed that 2013 is the year! 

8. O’ Brother – “Lo”

Easily one of my favorite *new bands of 2012, but I’ll say more about them in Part 2 of my Music In Review posts! 😀

*new to me, not necessarily to the world

7. The Black Keys – “Hell of a Season”

It didn’t come as a shock that The Black Keys put out another solid album this year. They’ve somehow managed to capture that old school sound and make it work in the modern world so well that as long as they keep doing that I’m sure they’ll be around making quality music for a long time. 

6. Four Year Strong – “Falling on You”

I gave this band a shot this year after seeing so many people list them as a favorite. Loved the album this song comes from so much I had to have more. I can definitely see why so many people listed them as a favorite. They’re really consistent and the kind of band I imagine would put on one hell of a show at a summer festival. 

5. Thousand Foot Krutch – “Quicken”

Heather () got me into this band this year and I’m so glad she had so much to share. A lot of TFK songs came really close to being on this list with the rest of these. I’m a big fan of subtle Christian rock so any time I stumble onto something new I really like, it’s sure to get a lot of plays. 

4. Arctic Monkeys – “R U Mine?”

If you know me at all, my love of Alex Turner and Arctic Monkeys in general shouldn’t be news to you. They released a few singles this year that I ate up like candy and there’s talk that they’ll be making a new album in 2013. I can’t wait! 

3. Underoath – “A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine”

I started the year playing Underoath ad nauseam for the sake of two of my novels and then towards the end of the year played them ad nauseam all over again because of their disbanding announcement. I am really sad Underoath will never make new music again. Such a staple in the music industry. 

2. Mindless Self Indulgence – “Tornado”

After getting reacquainted with MSI last year, they became a huge influence for my novel Dreamsters this year. With a new album slated for release in March 2013, I have no doubt they’ll be a contender for this list once again next year. 

1. Shearwater – “Breaking the Yearlings”

It’s funny to me that this, of all songs, is still the number one most played song of the year because it reached it’s height in a course of a few days and I’ve hardly listened to it since. It’s not that I don’t love the song, but it’s definitely not my favorite of the year and I’ve never even listened to other songs by this band. But at the time I downloaded it on recommendation, I literally couldn’t get enough of it and it lived on repeat alongside nothing else for a couple days before I finally had my fill.

Do you keep track of your most played music throughout the year? What made your top 10 songs in 2012?

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2 of my Music In Review, where I pay homage to the best *new bands in 2012!

*new to me, not necessarily the world

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