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!

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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!

Reading Challenges – Part the First

The year is drawing to a close, and that means that it’s time to look back over the year and see if I have made any progress at all on the reading goals I set way back last January.

2014tbrpilercThis one was a challenge found at Bookish. I had made a promise to read 20 books that were on my TBR list as of the end of 2013. This could not count any new books added to that list this year. I was also supposed to blog about it monthly and let you know my progress.

Meh. Didn’t happen. I did read 12 books that had been sitting around though, which was nice. Here they are:

  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  2. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
  3. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
  4. Comes the Night by Norah Wilson and Heather Doherty
  5. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
  6. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
  7. The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
  8. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  9. Splintered by A.G. Howard
  10. The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
  11. Matched by Ally Condie
  12. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Reading colors your lifeThis one I was really excited about trying to do, and, well, I didn’t make a lot of progress. In fact, I kind of made the situation worse. My goal was to finish up the series that I started in 2013, of which there were nine, and then be sure to finish all the new series that I started in 2014. Note that I’m not counting ALL the series that I never finished. Just for these two years.

Meh. Didn’t happen. But there was progress made.

Of the nine series from 2013, I only managed to finish reading three: the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill, the Cold Awakening trilogy by Robin Wasserman, and the Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black. I know I’m only temporarily done with Chloe Neill, because there are two new books coming out next year.

Actually, that was the case with most of these. Several of the series that I started this year are still works in progress, with new books coming out in 2015. I counted them complete as long as I read all the available books, and will most likely track down the new ones as soon as I can.

So this year – I started a grand total of SEVENTEEN series. Oy! And I finished . . .

Six.

Sigh.

The six I finished were the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor, A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, the Otherworld series by Yasmine Galenorn, the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, the Casters series by Norah Wilson and Heather Doherty, and the Splintered series by A.G. Howard. I still say that’s a LOT of progress, since the Martin books are huge and the Galenorn series has sixteen books in it. So that took a while.

Still, I read a lot of really good books this year. I will hold off posting my GoodReads reading challenge results, since I think I will be finishing one more book before the year ends, but let’s just say that I killed that one.

I think for 2015, I will be dropping the TBR challenge, just because I want to focus on working through some of these series. I’m putting together a list of ALL the series I want to finish, not just the ones from this past couple of years, so that will give me plenty to work on. Still working on the Seasonal Reading Challenge over at GoodReads too, just because it’s fun. I’ll start including info on that when I post reviews, which I will eventually get back to doing. I’ve read too many good books lately not to!

How are you doing on your goals for 2014? Are you going to be able to squeeze in a few more books before the year ends?

Top Ten Tuesday for January 7th

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Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by “The Broke and the Bookish.” This week, they have expanded their list to include non-bookish things as well because, let’s face it, even I’m not crazy enough to have ten separate reading goals for the year! That’s crazy! So this list will be a mixture of reading goals and other resolutions, starting off with the book stuff.

Reading Goals:

  1. GoodReads Goal – to read 70 books this year. This was a goal that I surpassed last year, but it was still a challenge. Going to keep it the same this year.
  2. TBR Reading Pile Challenge – If you have a ton of books piling up that you haven’t read yet, this is the challenge for you. I’m goal is to read 20 of them.
  3. Complete the Series – 2013 – There were nine series that I began in 2013 that I will complete in 2014. I already finished one! (although there was only one more book to read, so maybe this isn’t that much of an accomplishment) For a list of those series, you can check out my official page on my goals.
  4. Complete the Series – 2014 – This will be the year of no series left behind! If I start something, I will finish it, dang it!

Writing Goals:

  1. Get a consistent writing schedule – I say that I like to write, but I never seem to have the time. I will have a consistent writing schedule this year, helped along by the 5 AM Writers Club over on Twitter. They are awesome!
  2. Get more involved at Scribophile – I signed up over at Scribophile and haven’t really done much with it. It’s an online writer’s community, with critiques and discussion boards. What I’ve seen so far has been really cool. I just need to do more with it.
  3. FINISH MY REVISION OF CHILDREN OF LIGHT!!! This will get done this year!!!! I’m finally (mostly) happy with the first three chapters. Time to move on!
  4. Start planning out my (possible) next book, working title Ghost Girl. I haven’t told very many people about this one, but it’s a rabid plot bunny that has been jumping around my brain ever since I had a really weird dream last year.

Other Goals:

  1. Piano Lessons – Not for me. For my kiddos. They have been asking me to teach them piano, so I think I’m going to try and do that. I played years ago, and still play on occasion, but not as much as I’d like. This will be good for all of us, I think.
  2. Charity – Despite how much I complain about life (and I do complain A LOT), I realize that I am very, very, very, very lucky. This will be a year to do things to help other people. I have a few ideas, but I’m not going to go into it here.

So those are my goals for 2014. A lot of them, I know. You should see the official list that I have in a notebook. It’s much worse. There are bullet points.

But in any case, what are some of your goals for this year? Anything exciting or challenging?

Holidays and Challenges

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! As you can probably tell, I’ve been taking a break from blogging over this weekend to try and recharge a bit. I love my blogs, but they can eat up a lot of time and be very tiring.

I wanted to also let everyone know about the new challenge I’ve decided to take up for 2014 – yep, it’s never too late to start preparing for the next year! I will be participating in the 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge over at Bookish. I’m not sure what my goal for this will be yet, but according to GoodReads, I own 24 books that are currently on my TBR pile. This is, of course, not counting the other books that I have listed as TBR that I don’t own yet. So for right now, I will aim for 24 books. This might change once I figure out some other goals for next year.

Anyone else want to join? Just click the link above, or go to Evie’s website, and sign up.

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A Goal Met and A New Project

Happy Friday everyone! I am so glad the weekend is finally here! This week has been nothing but stress filled, anxiety ridden craziness.

I am happy to announce that I have met one of my reading goals for the year! Behold my list of 70 books that I have read:

  1. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle
  2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  3. Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle
  4. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  5. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
  6. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
  7. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  8. The Parish and the Hill by Mary Doyle Curran
  9. Deadline by Mira Grant
  10. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
  11. Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill
  12. Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill
  13. Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill
  14. Skinned by Robin Wasserman
  15. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  16. Drink Deep by Chloe Neill
  17. Biting Cold by Chloe Neill
  18. House Rules by Chloe Neill
  19. Lirael by Garth Nix
  20. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  21. A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
  22. Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon
  23. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
  24. Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings
  25. Magician’s Gambit by David Eddings
  26. Blackout by Mira Grant
  27. Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings
  28. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
  29. Abhorsen by Garth Nix
  30. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
  31. Enchanter’s End Game by David Eddings
  32. Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan
  33. Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan
  34. Shadow’s Fall by Dianne Sylvan
  35. Of Shadow Born by Dianne Sylvan
  36. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  37. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  38. The Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth
  39. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  40. Inferno by Dan Brown
  41. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  42. Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  43. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  44. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  45. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  46. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  47. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  48. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  49. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  50. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  51. Paper Towns by John Green
  52. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  53. 1984 by George Orwell
  54. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  55. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
  56. Mind Games by Keirsten White
  57. A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz
  58. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  59. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  60. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  61. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  62. The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
  63. The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King
  64. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  65. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
  66. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  67. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  68. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
  69. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  70. Divergent by Veronica Roth

And it’s only half way through October! This pleases me!

I also have an announcement to make. After being inspired by other blogs like “Mark Reads” and “Reading With A Vengeance,” I have decided to try doing my own chapter-a-day review blog. I am proud to introduce: “Chapter’d!

Chapter'd Icon

Why am I doing this? I don’t know, but it’s something I’ve thought about for a long time now.  I’m currently reading The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long. The first post went up on Wednesday. While I say that it’s a daily blog, I don’t know yet if I’ll post on the weekends or not. It might just depend on how busy I am. Please check it out! I’ve had fun with the first couple of posts!