July Blogging Challenge: Day 4

Day 4 – I am proud of myself for . . .

Ohhh this one is hard. I am not good at praising myself. Quite the opposite, usually.

I guess . . I guess  I’m proud of myself for making myself keep going? There have been many times over the past few months that I have wanted to curl up in a ball and give up. Anxiety, depression, pain, and other difficult personal situations have taken a toll on my well being, but for now, I am still moving forward. Every day is different. Every day is challenging. But I still keep putting one foot in front of the other. I keep moving, no matter how slow. And that’s gotta count for something.

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July Blogging Challenge: Day 2

~ A Favorite Childhood Book ~

As soon as I saw the topic for today, I knew exactly the book I wanted to talk about. This is a book I had completely forgotten about until a few days ago when I saw this tweet from Tor.com:

tor tweet

You can read their article here.

As soon as I saw that, I was immediately thrown back in time. The book is The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs. The story is about a young boy named Lewis who is bullied because of being a fat, weird kid. He goes to live with his uncle, who turns out to be a wizard, and then finds out that the next-door neighbor is also a witch. I remember my favorite character being Rose Rita, a feisty tomboy who was Lewis’s best friend and not willing to put up with any foolishness.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve read this book, but I remember being obsessed with it during my middle school years. It was spooky, but also very funny and heart warming. This book is also the beginning of a series, although the only other one I read was the second book, A Figure in the Shadows. I wish I could remember more details about the story. I do remember one other character that made me laugh, because he liked to swear a lot, but kept trying to not swear in front of the children. Finally at one point, he just gives up.

Come to think of it, I should probably track these down and re-read them, and maybe finish the series. They were a lot of fun!

July Blogging Challenge: Day 1

Hey everybody! Man, this blog sure does get dusty when I abandon it for so long. Need to do some vacuuming in here.

Ugh. I’ve been meaning to get back to blogging, I really have. I’ve been meaning to do a lot of things, actually. Unfortunately, life has been throwing me some curveballs lately, and some days, it’s all I can do to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Still, getting back into blogging on a regular basis was something I really wanted to do. After all, blogging is easy, right? Right? Just type up some stuff and shove it out on the Internet. Right?

Of course not. Or, at least, not for me.

Then one of my favorite authors, Dianne Sylvan, announced she was going to do a blogging challenge for July, and it just inspired me to get in there and do it. No excuses. No drama. Just. Do. It.

So here’s what to expect:

Smallish blogging. I like that. Makes the thought of trying to do this for 31 days sound much more manageable. So, without further ado . . .

Day 1 – My goals for July

I am setting two goals for this month, which I hope will be engaging and challenging, but yet within my scope to accomplish them.

Goal #1: Complete this blog challenge and get my blog in order. Okay, okay, this one sounds like a cop out, I know. But to be honest, it is more than just using the prompts above. Ever since I started this blog, it has been primarily about books. A large part of it will probably continue to be so, but I want to expand it more. Seek out new topics, chronicle some of my other interests. In that regard, hopefully there will be a few more posts this month than just the above 31, and maybe a few other surprises as well. I’ve got ideas, oh boy, do I have ideas! Now I just need the motivation to accomplish them.

Goal #2: Limit my time on social media. This one is a NECESSITY!! With all the bile and the ugliness and the ramped up negativity out there, I need to step away for my own mental health. I know it has increased my anxiety and depression, but it is so hard to stop. I started diving deeper into it a few years ago as I began to follow closer along with current events. Now, I’ve been telling myself that I need to immerse myself in this garbage just to be able to call myself an informed citizen. Not true at all. I do use it to keep up with friends, family and some fandoms that I follow, so I am not giving it up entirely. But I will be limiting myself to 30 MINUTES PER DAY on the socials, and that 30 minutes can NEVER be before bed. The other unfortunate side effect of this is that it has heavily cut down on my reading. Those of you know have followed me over the years know how bad that is.

So there we go! A new month, a new plan, and two new goals to hopefully keep up with. If anyone else out there is having blogging woes, maybe give this a try. And let me know if you do – was can drag each other across that July 31st goal line!

Happy New Year!

It seemed like it would never get here, but holy smokes, here it is! 2018! We made it!

As is my custom, I like to try and look at the goals I set for this year and see how I did. This year was a little rocky (to say the least), but I did manage to get at least some reading done. Let’s take a peek and see how it went.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My goal was to read 50 books for the year on GoodReads. I fell . . . pretty short of that, but not too bad. I made it to 32. A definite reading slump towards the end of the year, but for a good reason, not a bad one. I got to do several wonderful theater shows this year, which were great experiences, but unfortunately cuts way into my reading time. Since I will be starting 2018 off with rehearsals and hope to do more than just one show this year, I’ll have to see what I can do to make time for my reading. But here is the list of books I did get to:

  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  3. The Plantation by Stella Samiotou Fitzsimons
  4. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  6. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  7. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  8. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
  10. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  11. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  12. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  13. Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
  14. Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep
  15. Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep
  16. Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep
  17. Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep
  18. Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep
  19. Dollhouse by Anya Allyn
  20. Paper Dolls by Anya Allyn
  21. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  22. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  23. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  24. Polgara the Sorceress by David Eddings
  25. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  26. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  27. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  28. Armada by Ernest Cline
  29. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
  30. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  31. Marionette by Anya Allyn
  32. Music Box by Anya Allyn

Which brings me to my next goal:

I have a bad habit of starting series and then just not finishing them. Usually it’s not because the first books are bad, but I have a very bad book attention span. I see the next shiny new thing and off I go! I have a list of series that I have started and not finished (see my 2018 Reading Challenge tab for the current list), but I did manage to finish some this year. I wanted to knock out five, but only managed to finish three:

  1. Dollhouse series by Anya Allyn – COMPLETED!!
  2. The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo – COMPLETED!!
  3. Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep – COMPLETED!!!

I had also set the goal to finish all new series started during the year. I didn’t do that, but there is only one new series to add to the list – The Plantation series by Stella Samiotou-Fitzsimons.

New goals for 2018!

I have set my GoodReads goal at 35 for this year, since I have been slowing down as of late. I will up the goal if it seems too easy, depending on how the year starts. I think I will keep my Complete the Series goal the same – complete five off the list and then finish any new ones I start. I probably won’t get there, but it’s worth a shot.

I’m also going to try and keep blogging more, at least three times per week. Maybe more if I can get my act together. I’ve missed it terribly, but it’s always so hard to find time these days.

Setting any exciting reading goals for 2018?

Happy 2017!!

Greetings and salutations, blog folks! It has been a while since I’ve been actively blogging – sorry about that. It’s an unfortunate situation lately: I’ve lacked the time and motivation to do a lot of things. I can try to blame it on anxiety or depression, but the truth is I’ve been a bit lazy. And in some ways, 2016 has been a really frustrating year. It’s hard to get up the energy to be bubbly and excited about books when the entire world seems to be falling down the toilet (that may sound harsh, but it sure felt that way at times).

But here we are, at a new year, on an arbitrary day that humans have chosen to make a fresh start. It’s funny how the simple change of a calendar day can make people feel like everything is going to be different. In some ways, it can. New Year’s resolutions can be a motivation to make changes in your life for the better, although we all know how often those are kept throughout the year, especially for me. Typically, January 1st comes and there is a burst of energy and ideas about how to make this new year the best one yet!! . . . which usually lasts about a week, after which you slide back into the same old rut.

Man, this post just got depressing!

And that’s okay. I think part of why I stopped blogging was because I was finding it hard to think of uplifting/funny/exciting/silly things to talk about. I fell back into my bookish memes, because those are easy to write and have been a large part of this blog, but even those took a lot of effort to churn out. Which is why I stopped.

And when you think about it, that’s kind of dumb. This blog is my little corner of the Internet, and if I don’t want to be uplifting/funny/excited/silly, then I shouldn’t feel pressured into trying. I am allowed to be serious. I am allowed to be depressing, although I try not to make those posts too often. I assume that people don’t really want to read that sort of thing, but that’s not always true. I read depressing stuff all the time. Sometimes it’s comforting to know that there are other people who feel the same way you do, who are working through it, or who have made it to the other side.

So 2017. Anyone who knows me knows that I love making lists and love making goals, even if my cynical side knows that I’m not particularly good at keeping them. That’s never stopped me before and certainly won’t stop me now! My first goal will be to jump start this blog back up by posting every day for the month of January. That’s right. Every. Day. I got the idea from Wil Wheaton’s blog, where he did this for the month of December. It was a way to break out of a rut, to give himself permission to post anything he wanted, to free up his blogging juices, or as he put it, to “get past the internal gatekeeper slash critic who prevents me from using the one space on the Internet that is entirely mine.”

I like that. A lot. This is my blog. It doesn’t have to conform to anyone else’s expectations or be predictable, although it will still do both of those things from time to time. There have been several times I have wanted to talk about subjects that I didn’t think I would feel comfortable blogging about, but you know what? Why not! I mainly talk about books, but if I enter one of those horrid reading slumps, there’s no reason why I can’t blog about other things. I have from time to time, although very infrequently.

But yes, that is my first goal for 2017 – to blog every day, no matter how big, no matter how small. Free up the blog to free up my mind. May heaven help us all.

Just kidding.

I’m looking forward to it.

*sweeps off the front porch*

*pours a few glasses of lemonade*

Welcome to my little corner of the Internet. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy your stay.

New Year Goals and Accomplishments

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday season! This is one of my favorite times of the year. A time to reflect on the year previous and to look ahead to what’s to come. Plus I get to break out my lists, and you all know how much I enjoy my list making!

goodreads
My GoodReads goal was to read 75 books this year. I had toyed with the idea of raising that to 100, but I am very glad that I didn’t. I made it to 75, but only barely. Here’s my list:

  1.  The Magician King by Lev Grossman
  2. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
  3. Splintered by A.G. Howard
  4. Unhinged by A.G. Howard
  5. Deep Blue Secret by Christie Anderson
  6. Ensnared by A.G. Howard
  7. Rogue Wave by Christie Anderson
  8. Ambrosia Shore by Christie Anderson
  9. The Island by Jen Minkman
  10. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
  11. The Doorknob Society by M.J. Fletcher
  12. Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson
  13. Going Bovine by Libba Bray
  14. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
  15. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  16. Redshirts by John Scalzi
  17. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
  18. Crossed by Ally Condie
  19. Devilish by Maureen Johnson
  20. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
  21. Reached by Ally Condie
  22. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  23. The Impossible Engineers by M.J. Fletcher
  24. The Mapmakers Union by M.J. Fletcher
  25. The Detective Inspectors by M.J. Fletcher
  26. Skeleton Key Guild by M.J. Fletcher
  27. Valiant by Holly Black
  28. Ironside by Holly Black
  29. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  30. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
  31. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
  32. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
  33. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  34. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  35. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  36. One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey
  37. Fortune’s Fool by Mercedes Lackey
  38. Feed by Mira Grant
  39. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  40. My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent
  41. Deadline by Mira Grant
  42. Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
  43. My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent
  44. My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent
  45. If I Die by Rachel Vincent
  46. Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent
  47. With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent
  48. Blackout by Mira Grant
  49. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
  50. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
  51. Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
  52. Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan
  53. Concealed Power by K.J. Colt
  54. Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
  55. Blood Healing by K.J. Colt
  56. Blood Sacrifice by K.J. Colt
  57. Forsaken Power by K.J. Colt
  58. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
  59. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
  60. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
  61. The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
  62. The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross
  63. The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross
  64. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  65. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
  66. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  67. Mind Games by Kiersten White
  68. Scar Night by Alan Campbell
  69. Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig
  70. Perfect Lies by Kiersten White
  71. Blightborn by Chuck Wendig
  72. The Harvest by Chuck Wendig
  73. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
  74. A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
  75. Nirvana by J.R. Stewart
  76. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

So I did make it just over my goal, which is awesome. I think for 2016, I will be keeping the same goal of 75, but I will still see if I can shoot for 100. Hopefully I won’t have any more of those pesky reading slumps.

Reading colors your life
I am actually very pleased with my progress here. I listed 33 series that I had started in previous years, but had never finished. I wanted to try to finish one third of them, and I came pretty darn close at 10. I’m going to count that as a win! Here’s my list, making off the one’s I completed:

  1. Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black – COMPLETED!!
  2. Anna series by Kendare Blake – COMPLETED!!
  3. Phedre’s Trilogy by Jacqueline Carey
  4. The Blackcoat Rebellion series by Aimee Carter
  5. The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima
  6. Matched series by Ally Condie – COMPLETED!!
  7. The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross – COMPLETED!!
  8. Hellsbane series by Paige Cuccaro
  9. Book of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau
  10. The Rules for Disappearing series by Ashley Elston
  11. Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep
  12. Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – COMPLETED!!
  13. Scarlet series by A.C. Gaughen
  14. Legends of Dimmingwood series by C. Greenwood
  15. The Magicians series by Lev Grossman – COMPLETED!!!!
  16. Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins
  17. Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb
  18. Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin
  19. Splintered series by A.G. Howard – COMPLETED!!!!
  20. Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson
  21. Scarlett series by Maureen Johnson
  22. Arrows trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
  23. Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey
  24. Sevenwaters trilogy by Juliet Marillier
  25. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  26. Angelfire series by Courtney Allison Moulton
  27. Abhorsen series by Garth Nix
  28. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
  29. Books of Faerie series by Maggie Stiefvater
  30. Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater – COMPLETED!!
  31. Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud
  32. The Heartland Trilogy by Chuck Wendig – COMPLETED!!
  33. Mind Games series by Kiersten White – COMPLETED!!

I also tried to finish all the series that I started this year, and did pretty well. 

  1. The Water Keepers by Christie Anderson – COMPLETED!!
  2. The Doorknob Society by M.J. Fletcher – COMPLETED!!
  3. Between by April Genevieve Tulcholke
  4. Calliope Reaper-Jones by Amber Benson – NOT INTERESTED IN FINISHING
  5. Soul Screamers by Rachel Vincent – COMPLETED!!
  6. Healers of Meligna by K.J. Colt – COMPLETED!!
  7. Starbound trilogy by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner – COMPLETE UNTIL DECEMBER! NEW BOOK OUT NOW!!

So if I take the 23 left from previous years, and then add the two that I want to finish from 2015, that gives me 25 series left to work on. I’d like to knock another 10 out in 2016, as well as continue finishing new series as I go.

And there you have it! I’m really excited to start off this new year with some great books, both new finds and old friends. I will also probably try to do more with the Seasonal Reading Challenge over at GoodReads, just because it’s fun to try and fit my reading into their little puzzle.

What are your goals for the year? Are there any books you’re looking forward to in 2016?

Weekend Goals (Soccer and Otherwise)

So this weekend . . . yeah. It sort of got away from me. Not one, but two, soccer games (in order to make up a game from the two weeks we had nothing but all rain all the time) and a stomach bug, plus a crate of work that I brought home from the office in order to try to keep my head a float. Good times.

In better news, my daughter’s team won both of their games (yay!) and my stepson is feeling much better now. And I made progress on the work stuff. But it was one of those weekends where I feel as though I barely had a chance to breathe before it was over. It makes Monday seem to come so much sooner, and to be honest, most of the time when that happens, I just want to stamp my foot on the ground and refuse to be an adult for a while. This doesn’t really do anything, except amuse my husband.B-yxo0sWsAELUSSOne of the ways I try to make myself feel better is by either examining goals I have already set to see my progress, or to start setting new ones. Let’s start with the first. I had originally said I wanted to read 75 books this year, and then upped that goal to 100. I have now made peace with the fact that 100 is just not going to happen, due to depression and the accompanying reading slumps that go with it. 75 is still technically possible (I’m at 62 so far), so I’m going with that. I’m doing so by working on reading nothing but the series that I am trying to finish (goal #2). I had originally made a list of 33 series I had started in previous years and wanted to try and complete at least a third of those. I have completed six so far, which isn’t too bad, plus I actually own the books to complete four or five more (I don’t remember about one of them). That’s doable, right?

The other thing I am trying very hard to get motivated to do is to get back to working on my writing. It’s almost NaNoWriMo again and although I actually won last year, I never touched that project again since NaNo 2014 ended. It’s nowhere near done (especially since I don’t really have an antagonist – that’s a problem), so in the spirit of NaNo, I want to get back to working on it. Not to write another 50,000 words – I don’t think it needs that many more. Maybe more like 25,000 more words. Mostly what it needs is a lot of cleaning up, a lot of structure, and as I said, an actual bad guy.

Not that there isn’t conflict. There is. There are several characters who are clearly not good people. But I need an ultimate big bad, something to unite the characters to fight against. They’re all sort of fighting against each other, which is a bit sloppy. Oh well. At least I recognize the problem. We’ll see if I can actually figure out how to fix it.

Someday, I might actually go back to the original story I started working on when I first got serious about this writing thing. And maybe someday, I will also pick back up on Heritage, that little choose-your-adventure story I was writing on the blog a while back. It was silly, but I think it had some promise. Who knows. Mostly I just want  to get some direction back into my life, and getting this blog back on track is the first step towards THAT particular goal. We’ll see how it goes.

Hope y’all have a good week!