Tag Archives: books

Bye October, Hello November

I’ve seriously failed as a blogger lately. I wrote three blog this month and never even bothered to post them (or never found the time, because I was actually quite busy this month). If I’m honest, I think I might kill this blog in 2014 (that is if I can get my website complete by then). This place has just lost its luster for me.

In case you’re curious, here’s what I’ve been up to in October…

I spent 7 days baking this month. Not 7 all at once, but scattered about. When you think about it, though, that’s a whole week lost to baking. Whoa. But it was all for good reasons, even if it wasn’t for my own enjoyment, I’m pretty sure all the people on the receiving end of my treats were happy about it. Here are some pictures of a few of those goodies.

Treats

I didn’t read nearly as much as I’d hoped, and nothing nearly as creepy as I wanted for Halloween either, but I did read three really great books and one awesome comic! (Titles link to my GoodReads reviews.)

October Books ReadVicious by Victoria Schwab
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (library copy)
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Afterlife with Archie Vol. 1

Speaking of books, I also got some in the mail. One a long awaited kickstarter purchase and two I had no business buying, but couldn’t resist the sale prices.

October Books In My Mailbox
Let it Snow (Three Holiday Romances)
Necromancing the Stone (Necromancer, Book 2) by Lish McBride
Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy

Somehow, despite being busier than normal, I wrote 4150 words in October (yay for working my way back to those 5K days!) and 1K of those words were for a Christmas short story I’m SUPER stoked about. I really, really want to finish this one in time. I feel like it’s going to become my favorite short story to date.

I worked out (sometimes up to 3 times a day) 20 days of October. This is the most consistent workout regimen I’ve done in a long, long time and I actually don’t hate it. But I do hate how slow the process is. Despite being at this now for over 7 weeks and eating super clean, I’ve only lost 2.2lbs. and no inches. I was so frustrated in fact that I went to my doctor about it. She said I’m definitely doing all the right things and that it just might take a little longer for my body to adjust to the change (which isn’t what anyone wants to hear), but she also switched up my thyroid medicine and the time of day in which I take it and I swear it’s already making a difference two weeks in (in fact, I didn’t even lose those 2.2lbs until AFTER the switch). Having a thyroid condition is known to make weight loss even more difficult than it already is and I know this, but I need at least SOME progress so I hope that this switch lets me finally start seeing some results for all this hard work.

Some great new music came out this month and I played the crap out of it, along with a bunch of old stuff like Twiztid and ICP because this always happens when Halloween nears. Songs/albums you should check out for sure include:

Dance Gavin Dance – “Doom & Gloom”

 

Arcade Fire – “Normal Person”

 

The Head and the Heart – “Gone”

 

Plush Soundtrack/Emily Browning – “Close Enough to Kill”
(click the image to listen on my Tumblr because there isn’t a track available on youtube)

This past week I’ve been particularly busy first by helping out at Trunk-Or-Treat at church [PICS] and then by throwing my ‘Sister from another mother’ a baby shower with my real sister while she was in town [PICS]. And on Halloween, my sister gifted me another nephew!

Abel - Halloween 2013
Click HERE to see more!

Abel was born at 8.3 lbs., 19.5” and I’m already so, so in-love with him. After doing a small photoshoot with him in the hospital, I spent the rest of my Halloween with his big brother trick-or-treating. It was one hell of a way to say goodbye to October.

Unsurprising, fall is already turning out to be delightful though I do wish it’d slow down a bit so I could enjoy it more. How was your October?

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Oh yeah, I have a blog….

It’s been over a month now since I’ve wandered over to LJ. Oops. My apologies for completely failing to blog last month (and keep up with all of your blogs – I’ll do my best to catch up soon). It’s not that I didn’t want to blog, in fact I had several ideas for blog posts, I just never acted on them. Really, it feels like September 1st happened and then suddenly it was September 30th just like that. I didn’t realize how quickly time was getting away from me until it was gone.

So since I’ve failed to do all my usual postings, I’m just going to do a quick summary of September all in one post. I promise to make it as short as possible.

In September I….

  • Threw my sister a Baby Sprinkle for my 2nd nephew Abel (who’s scheduled to arrive on Halloween!). It was extremely overwhelming in the food prep department (12 hours the day before, 9 hours the day of), but overall a beautiful event. You can see pictures HERE.
  • Got THESE awesome books in the mail. YAY for the return of pre-orders!
  • Read 4 books. I really had hoped to read more, but since one of these 4 books was the size of 3 books there just wasn’t time for anymore.
September Reads

Boys that Bite (Blood Coven, Book 1) by Mari Mancusi
Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings, Book 3) by Jackson Pearce
The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle, Book 2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Styxx (Dark-Hunter, Book 23) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

  • Wrote 770 words. This is shameful, I know. I’m trying a new tactic this month to get back in my 5K game. Fingers crossed it helps.
  • Listened to a lot of random indie tracks. My favorite Music Friday tracks can be heard HERE, HERE, and HERE.
  • Started training for the Color Run. Mom and I get up at 5am to run before work. It felt insane at first, but I rather like it now – even with my forever aching muscles.
  • Went to the Milburn Orchards with Gideon like last year. If you’d like, you can see pictures HERE.
  • Saw the end of two of my favorite TV shows, Dexter and Breaking Bad. I wrote a reflective piece about show endings HERE.

So that’s basically it. Maybe you didn’t really miss much by my lack of blogging. How was your September?

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A Lesson in Shame

I haven't received a book pre-order since the end of June and that was just one book, so it feels a lot more like it's been since May really. For someone who buys books regularly, I'm exercising great restraint to stay away from book splurges. But the desire grows by the day and so to keep myself from giving into the urge, I decided to pull out all of the books I currently own, still in my to-be-read pile, to remind myself that in actuality, I have no need for more, I have plenty still waiting for my attention.

Partly, the problem is that I don't have one place to house all of my books. I have a bookshelf that's overstuffed and a curio cabinet that stores a bunch, and then I've got stacks of books hidden on end tables, underneath coffee tables, lined up in tidy piles in places I would otherwise showcase a knickknack and so this makes it hard sometimes to really grasp the library I truly have. I know that according to my GoodReads, I have read 185 books in the past few years, most of which I actually own. I have started to donate the few that do no have a re-read value to me, but for the most part I can guarantee at least 150 already read books in my collection. And because my book buying has gotten so out of hand in the past few years, and because I often get an abundance of books for birthdays and Christmas, it feels impossible to gauge exactly how many other books still exist in these hidden places waiting to be read.

And this is what I found when I dug them out…..

Hardbacks
TBR Hardbacks
(Click to enlarge)

Paperbacks
TBR Paperbacks

If you count the books within the books (like those B&N Leather-bound Collections) this totals to 97 books. Ninety-Seven. And this doesn't even include all the non-fiction I own. The guilt is too heavy to even imagine factoring in those, too.

Oh, the shame I'm feeling right now over my desire for things I don't need.

May: Books in my Mailbox

I’m not expecting anymore books this month so it seems like an okay time to post about May’s book purchases. Technically I should have just had the two pre-orders, but I had a strange urge to buy a few paperbacks (strange because I’m pretty much strictly a hardback kind of girl) and so I splurged.

IMG_2201 [50%]

Crash by Nicole Williams
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Icons by Margaret Stohl

I only have one pre-order next month (Tessa Gratton’s The Lost Sun) and then it will be September before my second round of pre-orders start coming in again. I truly hope I can resist the urge to buy anything new between then and now (Lord knows I already have plenty to read in my possession), but we’ll see.

What books have you gotten recently?

Hemlock Grove

What I’m about to write is definitely spoilery. I try to avoid this whenever possible, but there is no way around it this time. So if you have a desire to read the book or see the TV show and don’t want to know the details beforehand, stop reading now.

1

In April, Netflix started advertising the release of this show Hemlock Grove. The cool thing about it being a Netflix original series is that they release all 13 episodes all at once so you don’t have to wait week to week for more shows. As someone who prefers to watch TV shows in a marathon style, this alone intrigued me enough to check it out. Also, the trailer sold it pretty well, too with this wicked werewolf transformation. SEE!

2

So, obviously, I watched it. And I tore through all 13 episodes in two days because it was that good. The acting was stellar, it took place in this perfect fall, small town setting, and the characters were so strong I even shipped my first non-couple (Roman and Peter). Alongside this was a crazy plot that left you with more questions than answers with every episode that passed. You know there are werewolf gypsies, that much is clear, and characters being referred to as upir’s (which I didn’t know was some ancient Russian vampire, nor did they ever explore/clarify that), but those same characters were also referred to as dragons and angels. There’s also some sort of Frankenstein character who couldn’t speak, always had her hands wrapped up and glowed when her emotions were heightened, but you’re never told she’s a Frankenstein, I came up with this after some internet research. In the end, it isn’t clear really what most of these characters are supposed to be and it frustrated the hell out of me. In addition to the lack of answers, the last two episodes were full of so much action and detail that it was rushed far too fast for the viewer to take in. It was enough information to stretch across at least four episodes. After watching this obsessively, to say I was disappointed with the ending would be an understatement. Still, even with all the questions I have, I still LOVED this show.

And so I’m desperately praying for a second season and ordered the book it’s based on to read in the meantime in hopes that it’d resolve some of my questions from the show. Oh, boy, was this a mistake…

41r4lY3124L

For starters, I learned nothing more from the book whatsoever. In fact, they seemed to add some details in the TV show that the book failed to include. And the book’s ending was just as fast paced and confusing as the TV show. I can appreciate the fact that the TV show and the book’s dialogue was almost word for word, but otherwise, the book fell so flat I literally fell asleep every time I sat down to read it, making it take far longer to finish than a book it’s size should.

I hate to criticize grammatical errors in books because Lord knows I make a disturbing amount myself in my own writing, but seriously there were so many run-on sentences, so many instances where a comma was desperately needed, and then there were moments when the author seemed to forget they were writing in third person and like a pop up video interjected their own voice in first person with an opinion of the story or some footnote us readers should know without making it clear they were doing that. Hello, distraction. In addition to these annoying technicalities, the writing was stiff. It was like listening to someone with a monotone voice ramble on with big words that impress no one, about a topic the average person has no understanding of or interest in… eventually you just stop paying attention and this is why I fell asleep so often. I know that the things I loved about the show were present in the book, but they weren’t appealing the way they were in the show – it was a lot of ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’ and that’s just not the kind of writing I’m into. Maybe I’m being too critical of the book because I loved the show so much, but I can’t see myself even wanting to see the show had I read the book first.

Anyway, I just don’t know how to feel about the whole thing now. I have yet to find any evidence of a planned continuation for this story whether it be by book or show and so I’m not sure if I’ll just forever be left with these questions or not and it frustrates me. Any of you see this show or read this book? Care to weigh in with your thoughts?

Books In My Mailbox: April

It was both a good month for pre-orders and bonus books as birthday gifts!

IMG_2157 [50%]

Dead River by Cyn Balog
The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Rules (Project Paper Doll, Book 1) by Stacey Kade
Inferno (Chronicles of Nick, Book 4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Walking Dead Vol. 4 by Robert Kirkman

Have you gotten any good books lately?

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March: In Review

Doesn’t it feel like March almost didn’t happen? I could have sworn it was still February yesterday. Between being unusually busy this month and falling into a depressive state because of the season change, the end of March seriously snuck up on me seemingly overnight.

Writing:

I’m disappointed in my word count this month, though it’s still at least the minimum of what I’d like achieve every month. With the changing weather approaching fast, I was hoping to write as much of Dreamsters as I could before warmer weather pulls me away from it and summer novel starts to get chatty. Sadly, that didn’t happen. Maybe I’ll be able to keep Dreamsters alive in April, but Beyond the Trees (BTT or Summer Novel, whatever you’d like to call it) is already starting their summer dance in my head. I know it will be hard to keep it at bay much longer now that the temperatures are changing.

Anyway, total word count for March was: 5,064 words.

Reading:

Within the first few days of March I’d already read 3 books and I think that says a lot about how much I deprived myself of reading in February. I had high hopes of finishing my current read and another whole book before March was over, but this three day vacation weekend I’d planned to do that in ended up being more exhausting than my average workweek. Still, I did read quite a lot this month, almost all of which were really great reads.

March Reads

Carrie by Stephen King (part in a collection)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson, Book 1) by Rick Riordan
Reasons I Fell For the Funny Fat Friend by Becca Ann
Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, Book 1) by Jeff Lindsay
Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi (not pictured, e-book)
The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson, Book 2) by Rick Riordan
The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson, Book 3) by Rick Riordan
The Dark-Hunters: Infinity Vol. 1 by Sherrilyn Kenyon

(Titles are clickable and take you to my reviews on GoodReads)

I’d like to take a moment to say something that’s been on my mind a lot lately in regards to books. I read an e-book in March for the first time and am currently in the middle of another. I’d read a short story on my tablet before, but that only took a few minutes as opposed to the hour plus for these novellas. I always thought I wasn’t an e-book fan before, but now that I’ve read some, I can absolutely say I loathe them. These books I’ve bought on the tablet were only purchased this way because it’s the only format they’re available in, but I really wish they’d been available another way. For me, reading them on a tablet was like reading anything else I read online all day/night. And the story’s themselves are really good, but being forced to read them this way takes something away from the power of the story for me.

I just truly hope e-books are not the way of the future, not the end to the printed word. While I can tolerate an e-book here and there when I have to, I can never imagine myself learning to love them enough to choose them over a physical book in my hands.

Photography:

Even though I don’t love the weather change, I do have to say that, for photography purposes, the longer, brighter daylight has allowed for better photo opportunities. This probably means it will be a while before I test out my lights again because I’m just more comfortable in shooting in natural light so why not take advantage of it as much as I can, right? Anyway, I took lots of fun pictures of Gideon this month and the weather, but since I posted some of those in their own posts like ANNOUNCEMENT and WINTER’S FAREWELL, I’ll just share a few others I captured this month.

Blue Eyes
He's starting to look less like my sister and more like his dad.

Gideon in Lollie's Glasses
Gideon in Lollie's (my mom) glasses, with his dad. He think it's hilarious.

Easter Egg Hunting
At the church Easter egg hunt.

So, that’s it. March came and left with the quickness for me. How was it for you? Accomplish a lot?

P.S. Reminder – March Music can be found HERE!

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Books In My Mailbox: March

I was bad this month and bought additional books outside of my pre-order allowance. At least two of those additional books were rather cheap novella's, though, so I'm not feeling too terrible about it.

March Books

The Dark-Hunters: Infinity Vol. 1 by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Reasons I fell for the funny fat friend by Becca Ann
Destroy Me (Shatter Me, Book 1.5) by Tahereh Mafi (not pictured, e-book)
Unravel Me (Shatter Me, Book 2) by Tahereh Mafi
Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices, Book 3) by Cassandra Clare
Breathless (Firelight, Book 3.5) by Sophie Jordan (not pictured, e-book)

(Titles that have been read link to my review on GoodReads)

What books have you bought lately?

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February: In Review

February has been interesting as far as life achievements go. Well, maybe interesting is the wrong word to describe it. It was a sort of lopsided month, but for once this also doesn’t disappoint me all that much.

Reading:

Unfortunately I only read one & half books this month. I wrapped up Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it finally and while I think it was very informative, it wasn’t as useful to me as I’d hoped it’d be. I use different editing software so basically everything I read on that was useless to me and while I have equipment, I don’t have nearly as much as I’d need to completely recreate the book’s shots. Still, I think it will come in handy later down the road, the further into this photography thing I get. I also read Brenna Yovanoff’s Paper Valentine. You can click that title to see my review.

Writing:

I can hardly contain my excitement where writing is concerned these days.

First, I posted a short story for Valentine’s Day. If you missed it, click HERE to read In Pursuit of Jenna Mae.

Second, you may remember me saying I’d be participating in GRAPEMO this month and that my goal was to add 5K to Dreamsters. Well, not only did I meet that goal, I tripled it. It has been too long since I’ve had such a successful writing month and I can’t really even explain how excited it makes me that Dreamsters has grown from this baby of a project to a meaty 19K thing now.

As part of GRAPEMO, we were allowed to post teasers every Tuesday and Thursday. I didn’t participate in every opportunity, but I did post three snippets. You can check them out by clicking the following links: SNIPPET #1, SNIPPET #2, and SNIPPET #3. (Look for my LJ name and the title Dreamsters on the page and I’d suggest reading them in order.)

In addition to working on Dreamsters, I started a short story for St. Patrick’s day that I’m not really sure I’ll finish in time now, but we’ll see. :)

Total February Word Count: 15,842

Photography:

I didn’t get to use my camera nearly as much as I’d hoped to this month, but the pictures I did capture were adorable. At the start of the month my sister made Gideon this awesome Sock Monkey hat (I swear she’s a crocheting genius, she doesn’t even use patterns, just wings it when she gets an idea). Anyway, about this time last year, we had done a photo shoot of Gideon with his Sock Monkey doll (Click HERE to refresh your memory) so it seemed fitting to do something similar with this hat a year later. I swear my nephew is going to be such a little heartbreaker. Here’s the BEST OF:

IMG_0404 [50%]_edit [50%] IMG_0635 [50%]_edit [50%] Gideon/Sock Monkey 2013

So that was my month. For as fast as it moved, it wasn’t all that bad. How about your February?

P.S. Reminder: If you are looking for February music, click HERE!

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January: In Review

This month has managed to feel both long and short at the same time, which really shouldn't be possible. For the most part I've started off my 2013 resolutions pretty well, with the exception of weight loss – that's at a standstill at the moment, but I've tackled some other things worth being proud of like….

Writing

I had started a short story two years ago for Valentine's Day, but for one reason or another abandoned it a few hundred words into it (this happens a lot unfortunately). I suddenly got the urge to work on it again at the start of the month and finally finished it! I'm excited to share it once Valentine's Day is here. Keep an eye out for it! 😀

In addition to writing a short story, I've been plotting for Dreamsters. I'm not sure if it will be the book I aim to actually complete this year, but it's the one demanding the most attention at the moment (which I guess makes sense since I started it around this time last year). In February, I plan to participate in author Jeannine Garsee's GRAPEMO (which is like NanoWrimo, but cooler). My personal goal is to add 5K to Dreamsters. Even though I can change that goal as the month progresses, I really hope they remain chatty enough to actually complete or surpass 5K in February. I came somewhat close this month, so I really hope I've set a reasonable goal. Wish me luck! 

January Word Count: 4,201

Reading

Somehow I ended up reading a heck of a lot more this month than I set out to, but I'm not complaining. Getting a good jump start on my TBR pile for the year is A-OKAY with me. Most of the titles below the picture are links to the reviews I wrote for them on GoodReads. 

Books Read in January

Touched by Cyn Balog
Red Run: A Short Story by Kami Garcia (not pictured, e-book)
Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, Book 1) by Gena Showalter
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Jinx by J. Torres
Easy by Tammara Webber
The Archived (The Archived, Book 1) by Victoria Schwab

Photography

I did my first little mini shoot with myself to test out my new lights finally. You can read about that HERE. Outside of that, I only photographed Gideon once this month, but boy did it yield some cute pictures. So cute that Sock Dreams posted this photo on their social networking sites because he's wearing their socks! 

Gideon - Sock Dreams

On this day, probably the biggest highlight of my month occurred. Gideon's been addicted to phones for as long as he could get his grubby hands on them. He has several of his own "play" phones, but still fights to play with real ones. While shooting him in the socks, he started playing with the house phone – making it ring, playing the saved messages, etc… when suddenly he said, "HELLO!" It sounded a little more like "herro" but it was obvious what he was trying to say. It's the first full word I've heard him say and it totally made my day. I'm not sure if this link will work, but we got him to say it a few more times and recorded him. Click HERE if you want to hear it. 

Usually this would be the point where I'd review my favorite music of the month, but to not make this post as terribly long as it's been in the past, I've decided to make the music part of my monthly review it's own thing on the last Friday of the month called, "Music Friday" which is sort of a 'Best Of' of the weekly Music Friday posts I make on tumblr and FB all month. If you were reading this for the music and missed last Friday's post click HERE

Overall, January was pretty decent for me. How about you? 

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