Tag Archives: books

January Books In My Mailbox

I got a little carried away with books this month. You would think that the haul I received for Christmas would be enough to curb my book-buying appetite for at least a couple of months, but I received about $100 in Amazon gift cards and a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card too for Christmas and well, gift cards practically burn a hole in my pocket where books are concerned. In addition to all the gift card funded book purchases, two of my 2013 pre-orders also arrived this month. 

January Books [50%]

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Altered by Jennifer Rush
Easy by Tammara Webber
Jinx by J. Torres
Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it by Scott Kelby
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

*Clickable titles lead to my reviews on GoodReads*

I only have one pre-order for February so you probably won't see a new "In My Mailbox" post until at least March. That is, if I can refrain from buying any additional books in February. *Fingers Crossed*

What books have you gotten lately?

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2013 Book Pre-Orders

There are some books I just must have on their release dates every year. Either they’re part of a series I’m in-love with or by an author I like a whole lot and want to show my support for. Usually there’s about 10-20 of them and last year I did pretty great at not buying that many more books outside of my pre-order purchases. As my TBR pile continues to live over a hundred, I hope to be even stricter with my purchases this year. So far this year, I plan on pre-ordering the following:

pre-orders

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices, Book 3) by Cassandra Clare

Inferno (Chronicles of Nick, Book 4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Dark-Hunters: Infinity, Vol. 1 by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Dead River by Cyn Balog

The Rules by Stacey Kade

Icons by Margaret Stohl

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

The Lost Sun: Book 1 of United States of Asgard by Tessa Gratton

Styxx (Dark-Hunter, Book 18?) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

*Not all of these books have covers yet*

I know there will be more, like Maggie Stiefvater’s Requiem, but there isn’t an active link/release date for it yet. I imagine a lot of the fall 2013 releases haven’t popped up yet so there will likely be a part 2 of this further into the year.

What books are you most looking forward to in 2013? Do you pre-order?

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?

October: In Review

For the first time this year, I’m not actually surprised that October was over in a flash. In fact, I’ll be surprised if the next two months don’t pass by just as quickly, if not faster. It’s just the nature of holiday season. This sucks for me since the beginning of fall marks the beginning of my favorite time of the year, but I try to not waste time moping about its fast nature and just soak up as much of it as I can while it’s here.

Writing: Even if the weather wasn’t an indicator of the changing season, I’d be able to tell it’s definitely fall because the writing bug is alive and well within me. Thank you, Autumn!

The month started off with me completing my Halloween short story. If you missed it, click HERE to read Intrusion! I’m rather fond of it and mostly because it came from a dream and while I often draw inspiration from dreams, stories rarely ever present themselves from start to finish the way this one did.

Since I finished my short story earlier than expected, I got to working on Dreamsters. After outlining the better part of the book I decided that the first two chapters I had written just didn't work so I deleted over 4K words. I haven’t added them all back yet, but I’m working on it.

Towards the end of the month we were hit with Hurricane Sandy, which left us without power for 48 hours. I used some of this powerless time to finally read my printed Crack the Sky manuscript (27 chapters worth) and see where I needed to pick it back up. It’s been a while since I read/wrote anything for Crack the Sky (like since March O_O), so I definitely needed a full read through before I could move forward. I was surprised to find that there was little to nothing I wanted to change at all, in fact I found myself captivated by the story which I hope can only be a good thing. But as I reached chapter 25, I shook my head in disturbed amusement over the remaining chapters. It is obvious to me that I must have written them when I still drank because they were horrible. The idea is there, but the execution is laughable. Needless to say, I’ve decided to can the last three chapters (3K words) and try again, not intoxicated.

So, where does that leave me for overall word count for the month? 3,895 words for October. Maybe you’re not completely wowed by that number, but I’m pretty okay with it considering it’s more than the month before. Plus, I’m hopeful that November will be even better.

Reading: For the most part I read the books I’d hoped to read this month. I am still in the middle of one unfortunately because it’s not really that good. Luckily I was smart enough not to let it keep me from other books and was able to read 7 books this month as a result! The titles of each below the picture are links to my Goodreads reviews on each book, if you’re interested.  

October Reads (Smaller)

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Gatekeepers (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 3) by Robert Liparulo
Timescape (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 4) by Robert Liparulo
Whirlwind (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 5) by Robert Liparulo
Frenzy (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 6) by Robert Liparulo
Vampire Knight, Vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino

Photography: I tried to take pictures of more than just Gideon this month. It’s fall, after all, which in my opinion is the prettiest time of the year. Because of this, I have lots to share this month! 

Gideon Pumpkin Patch
Gideon at the Pumpkin Patch

Milburn Orchard
Milburn Orchard

The Huff's
The Huff Family

Hurricane Sandy
Flooding in my walkway during Hurricane Sandy

If you’re wondering why there aren’t pictures of Gideon on Halloween, the reason is sad. As Hurricane Sandy struck Maryland, Gideon was rushed to the hospital with a 104 degree temperature and a potential meningitis scare. After several tests (including the all-painful spinal tap) they discovered an infectious sac in his neck obstructing his breathing and mobility. They decided to transfer him to the University of Maryland’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and attempt aggressive antibiotics before deciding if he needed surgery or not. Luckily, the antibiotics seem to be working, however he is still in PICU. This situation made the hurricane even worse than it already was. Halloween was nearly forgotten in the grand scheme of things, not that we could have celebrated it the way we’d intended to anyway. 

Music: It seems strange to say I don’t really have a lot to report in this area this month, but it’s sort of true. It doesn’t mean that music didn’t make me happy and that it wasn’t played non-stop like usual, it’s just that I spent more time listening to things I’ve already posted before than anything new, and mostly because Dreamsters playlist lived on repeat A LOT! But the one band I did listen to TONS was Relief in Sleep. And you’ll never believe what characters they woke up from a year long nap: The Cleaphytes. 😀

Relief in Sleep – “Collide”

Misc. Other: For anyone following my weight loss journey, I’m now officially in a smaller size of pants and at a total weight loss of 18 lbs. It’s a slow journey, I realize, but I didn’t gain the weight overnight and I won’t lose it that way either – at least not if I plan to keep it off (which I do). I’m impressed mostly in this past month to have still maintained a successful loss despite my seasonal favorite – pumpkin – being in everything. I even baked every weekend this month, but felt no obligation to keep the baked goods and found more reward in sharing them with others. I’m feeling rather proud of myself for this.

So, what kind of accomplishments did you have in October? What do you hope to achieve in November? Sound off in the comments!

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October Books In My Mailbox

I know I said I only had one pre-order left for the year and that it’d be the only book I’d be getting until Christmas, but I lied (kind of).

I blame this month’s stack of books mostly on Robert Liparulo for writing such an intense, amazing series filled with cliffhanger endings, but I also blame the publisher for discontinuing the print of the series in hardback (and so quickly at that). It was a complete struggle to even find book #3 available for a reasonable price, and #4-6 ran out of Amazon stock between putting them in my cart and trying to complete an order. I didn’t want to risk having to have part of the series in hardback and part in paperback by waiting so I snatched up the whole series as soon as I found alternate places to purchase them. I was also given a book as a gift for Halloween, so that almost doesn’t even count. 

This will be the last of the books I buy myself for the remainder of the year. I’m sure of it.*

Books (smaller)

Vampire Knight, Vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino
Gatekeepers (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 3) by Robert Liparulo
Timescape (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 4) by Robert Liparulo
Whirlwind (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 5) by Robert Liparulo
Frenzy (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 6) by Robert Liparulo
Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles, Book 4) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Did you get anything good in the mail in October?

*Unless something wildly out of my control happens, like a forgotten must-have pre-order, but I doubt this is likely.

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September: In Review

It really shouldn’t surprise me how fast September seemed to pass, but here I am marveling at the fact that it’s October already. I’m not all that disappointed as we’ve officially entered my favorite time of the year, but still, time really ought to slow down just a little. Anyway, what was I up to in September? Well, let’s see…

Writing

I don’t have some magnificent number to report. I’m hoping October and November are the months I wow you with a hefty word count since I’m statically more apt to write a lot in the fall, but I do have a number and one I’m not ashamed of. In fact, I’m quite excited about it because it’s for a short story I hope to share with you by the week of Halloween (for it’s “scary” nature). I wrote 2,188 words in September, which is about 2/3 of the way through the short. Can’t wait to wrap it up and then start working on my novels again this month!

Reading

Surprisingly I read quite a bit this month considering I also spent my free time writing. It feels nice to have a healthier balance, where usually one side of these two things suffers when the other is flourishing. Anyway, at the beginning of the month I made a list of at least 10 books I wanted to read before the years end and if those 10 books were the only books I read then I’d be okay with that, since I am more apt to write in the fall and holiday season always translates to less free time to do these things. But, I’ve already read 4 of those 10 books this month so I’m feeling even more confident I can beat my own personal goal and maybe even sneak in a few other books just for fun like I did this month. In September, I read 6 books as shown below (clicking the titles will take you to my reviews on each book):

September Reads

Time Untime (Dark-Hunter, Book 17) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Guardian (Dream-Hunter, Book 5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 1) by Robert Liparulo
Foxfire (Other, Book 3) by Karen Kincy
Hidden (Firelight, Book 3) by Sophie Jordan
Watcher in the Woods (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 2) by Robert Liparulo

Photography

     All of my planned photo shoots this month fell through. My sister got a new job and her schedule was so busy there just wasn’t time for them. But Gideon got his first haircut this month and sadly no longer looks like a baby, but a little boy instead. It had to happen, his hair was getting so long, but it’s a little sad to say goodbye to baby Gideon and hello to little kid Gideon. 
     

gideon 1

gideon 2

Music

As usual, music was mighty good to me in September.

Envy on the Coast – “Head First in the River”

The drummer of Artifex Pereo turned me onto this band this month and I totally fell in-love. To the point that picking a favorite is impossible, but there were a few that got more plays than others, this being one of them. 

Good Charlotte – “In this World (Murder)”

I’m no stranger to Good Charlotte. They grew up near me and I was very active in watching them climb to fame, but I lost track of them for a lot of years between then and now. Heather got me interested in them again and I’m so glad I’ve caught up because I missed so much great music. I’m sure this particular song will continue to get a lot of plays it will be perfect to write Crack the Sky to! 

Sleigh Bells – “Demons”

I’ve already posted a Sleigh Bells song before, so this isn’t new to me this month, but it got a ton of plays because it’s the song I’m writing my Halloween short story to. While the story doesn’t have anything to do with demons, the song definitely has the sound my characters would listen to. Imagine a bad ass walk sequence to this. :)

The Birthday Massacre – “Looking Glass”

I’m still a little baffled that my dad can take credit for me getting into this band this month. I would never imagine my dad giving this band a shot, but his new obsession with listening to Pandora on his iPhone has turned him onto all sorts of bands I’d never expect. Anyway, I like to describe this band as a merging of Evanescence and Depeche Mode, and really, that sounds pretty awesome already, don’t you think?

So, friends, how was your September? What great achievements did you have? What do you hope to achieve in October? Sound off in the comments! :)

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September Books In My Mailbox

There were a lot of pre-orders in September and one of the October pre-orders shipped early. Plus, I ordered two additional books because they were so incredibly cheap on discount, I couldn’t resist. This will be the last big month of books for the year as I only have one pre-order left for the end of October. It’s hard to believe I’ll receive nothing until Christmas after that. It kind of makes me sad, but I do still have plenty to read and with the holidays approaching my time will be largely occupied anyway. So, onto September books, yes?

September Books

The Blood Keeper (Blood Journals, Book 2) by Tessa Gratton

The Hunger Games Official Illustrated Movie Guide

Foxfire (Other, Book 3) by Karen Kincy

Watcher in the Woods (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 2) by Robert Liparulo

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, Book 1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Hidden (Firelight, Book 3) by Sophie Jordan

You guys get anything good in September?

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To Donate or Not to Donate

As my personal library of books continues to grow and completely surpass the shelf my dad built for them two years ago, I’ve been giving thought to donating some of the books I’m pretty sure I’ll never read again. It’s not that I didn’t like them; it’s just that they don’t have high re-read value to me. It would free up about 15-20 books worth of spots and it’d be nice if they got the love they deserved in someone else’s hands.

My local library’s YA section is meager and so it’s the first place that came to mind when I got my pile of donations together. So at my last visit I asked if they were accepting book donations, to which the librarian replied: always. But when I asked if they’d go on the shelves, she said, “No. We’d sell them, usually for about fifty cents to a dollar depending on what age group and condition they’re in.” When I gaped at her with disappointment, she said, “Well we have to make money somehow, how else could we host library functions?” And, okay, I get that, I do. But I was still so disappointed and she could tell. She said, “Look at it this way, kids who couldn’t afford the full price of the book can now get it super cheap if you donate it.” And I practically whined, “But they could have it for free if you put them on the shelves.” She just shrugged her shoulders at me.

My books are in nearly mint condition, that’s how anal I am with them. And some of them are only a couple months past release date, so practically brand new. If I were to resell them myself I could get a very high cost for them. But I’m not after the money. I wanted to be able to put them on the shelves, encourage teens to read something new that the library currently doesn’t offer them. And this isn’t an option now.

So what do I do with these books? I can keep them, move them into a cabinet so there’s more room for the ones I know I’ll re-read, but they’ll just grow dust and feel wasted. I suppose I could still donate them to the library and let them sell them. They’ll still find good homes (hopefully), even if I really wanted to give them away to a free source for reading. I just don’t know though, I’m so torn on the idea now.

Today it occurred to me that maybe I could visit the local high school and see if they’d add them to their shelves. Has anyone ever done this or have experience with high school libraries and the content they carry? 

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August: In Review

Somehow August managed to seem unusually long and fast at the same time. I know, this is impossible, but it happened. At the end of every week, I was blown away by how quickly it had passed, but every time I glanced at the calendar wishing fall was closer, it was still August. So how did I fare in this long/fast month?

Writing: I wrote 1463 words for my short story and finally finished it! This is the first short story I’ve finished in over a year so I’m feeling pretty happy about it. If you missed its original posting and care to read it click HERE for “A Pill for Bravery.”

Reading: I only managed to read 2 books this month. I’m not necessarily in a reading slump, but I was more interested in writing than reading this month. Nothing in my TBR pile is currently demanding me to read it and so I took advantage of the break and wrote instead. The books I did read at the start of the month are listed below. You can click the titles to see my “review” of each.

Photography: It wasn’t that great a month when it came to shooting my camera. I tried to on several occasions, but it seems like something always got in the way of a photo opportunity (like the time my sister’s kitchen nearly caught on fire right before we were about to take pictures. Yeah, that happened). Luckily, in the last week of the month, we were able to knock out a rather adorable photoshoot, one where I got to play with some new editing apps I bought. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. What do you think?

 “She loves me, she loves me not…” 

“Old Timey”

I have a cute fall based photoshoot idea I want to do with Gideon and my sister would like pictures done for her first year wedding anniversary to sort of recreate the moment so hopefully I’ll have lots of lovely pictures to share for September’s In Review.

Music: Oh, music was so good to me in August… So good that making this list a reasonable length was somewhat of a struggle. 

City and Colour – “Hope for Now”

I'd heard of this artist before, but finally just got around to checking him out this month and after listening to two albums worth of music, I'm sold. He has such a mellow and chill sound that creates such a moody feel. This particular song already belongs to my Crack the Sky playlist. It's making me extra eager to start writing it again!

O’ Brother – “Lo”

Credit goes to Circa Survive for me checking this band out. After they featured them on a sampler for their latest album Violent Waves, I just had to have more O’ Brother and it was such a worthy purchase. 

Grafitti6 – “Stare into the Sun”

My sister’s to blame for this one. She’s been getting a lot of music from me lately (and surprisingly liking it) and she wanted some Grafitti6. I’d never even heard of them, but since their album was on sale, I went ahead and bought it for her. I didn’t necessarily expect to like it, but how can you not want to dance to this song? And several others like it on the CD for that matter! 

Circa Survive – “The Lottery”

I was really looking forward to the release of this album this month and it did not let me down. I have three favorites, two of which will be featured on Crack the Sky and Beyond the Trees playlists, but this track I like just because

Other Life Stuff

After following several fitblrs on tumblr for the last few months, I finally decided to take my weight loss efforts seriously in the last week and half of July with a total lifestyle change to clean eating. I’ve forced myself to try new fruits and vegetables and found that I’ve been missing out on a lot of good, healthy food for a long time. I’ve adjusted my sleep schedule to get 8-9 hours a night and I’m feeling much more rejuvenated as a result, and I quit drinking. It’s not that I had a serious problem, but my weekends were being wasted with drinking on Friday’s and Saturday’s and it’s just empty calories. It also didn’t help going through my dad’s liver attack scare when I was already feeling like it was time for me to give it up myself. If my dad could quit cold turkey after drinking everyday for the last 30 years, there is no reason I couldn’t kick it too. I’m happier now that I have, I don’t miss it a bit. And in these last seven weeks, as a result of my lifestyle changes, I’ve lost 12.5lbs. It’s not huge, and I still have so much more to go, but it’s the healthy way to lose it and hopefully once it’s gone, it will easier to maintain since it will just be part of my life. I hope to begin a reasonable workout regimen in the coming month(s) as well, something that doesn’t feel like a chore and is rather fun instead. Hopefully I adjust as easily to this lifestyle change as I have the current one.

So, how was your August? Any notable achievements? What are you hoping to accomplish in September? Sound off in the comments! :)

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August Books in my Mailbox!

August Books

  • Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings, Book 3) by Jackson Pearce
  • Time Untime (Dark Hunter, Book 17) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I wasn’t expecting any books in August because even though one was released this month, it wasn’t slated to ship until all of my September pre-orders shipped so I was surprised to see it shipped separately. But I was even more surprised that one of the books to be released on Sept. 4th was shipped two weeks early! I know this doesn’t help the author’s first week sales, and for that I feel bad because that’s part of the reason I pre-order books from authors I like a lot, but I can’t complain about getting a book I wanted early because that’s just awesome!

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