Secret Santa!!

I am very, very excited! As some of you might know, The Broke and the Bookish do an annual Secret Santa for their readers. This was the first year I signed up and I’m so glad that I did! On Saturday, I received my present from Jody, also known as That One Girl Who Reads. Inside were three books from my GoodReads TBR, plus some Harry Potter fun stuff and chocolaty goodness!

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Eve & Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate

I am so excited to add these to my bookshelf! Thank you so much Jody!

Seriously, this brightened up my day so much. Everyone go and check out her blog. Do it right now!

And now I really need to get cracking and get my Secret Santa gift out. I’ve got the books, but just need to add some extra goodies.

Special thanks also to Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish for organizing all of this! It’s been fun!

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Stacking the Shelves – December 27th

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Greetings one and all! Guess who hasn’t been blogging? Me! Guess who is going to have that as a New Year’s Resolution? Yep, me again! Dusted things off, set up a new format with some nice wintery ambiance, and off we go!

For starters, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Yule or insert-chosen-winter-holiday-here. Or hey, hope you at least got a day off work. That works too! Since I got a whole bunch of lovely new books for Christmas (and a beautiful new Kindle Fire HD for my birthday, which happens to be today 🙂 ), I decided to do a “Stacking the Shelves” post, something I haven’t done in a while.

“Stacking the Shelves” is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. The rules are simple – all you have to do is gush over your latest book finds, whether hardcover, paperback, ebook, graphic novel, comic book, library book. Heck, if you got a really thick magazine that you’re excited about, that would probably work too.

Here’s what I got that I am super excited about:

  • The Shadowhunter’s Codex  by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis – a must for any Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices fans.
  • The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan & Maureen Johnson – Originally done as a series of short novella ebooks about one of my favorite characters, Magnus Bane, this is the hardcover collection of all of them.
  • The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black – It’s a Cassandra Clare Christmas! Not quite, but close. This is a new series that looks good. I love Holly Black as well, so looking forward to this.
  • The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer – I loved Chris Colfer on Glee back when I used to watch TV and this book series looks really cute. Plus my kids want to borrow it after I’m done.
  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – If you haven’t read this web comic, do it. Now. It is brilliant. Funny, irreverent, heartbreaking at times. Now I have a nice shiny physical copy to keep on my bookshelf.
  • Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle – This is a collection of three short stories by three authors who I love. Each story is different, but they’re all connected. Should be fun!

Did you get any books during this holiday season? If so, let me know in comments!

Halloween and NaNo Updates

Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween! This is one of the times of the year that I absolutely love my neighborhood – it is ideal for Trick-or-Treating. There are lots of houses with lots of kids and many of them go all out in decorating. There is definitely a festive atmosphere in the air. My daughter and I were joined by my mom, my stepson and his mom, and two friends. The hubby stayed home to man the candy basket. The kids brought home way more candy than should be allowed, but what can you do? We are entering that time of year – first Halloween candy, then Thanksgiving leftovers, then all the goodies that come with Christmas. No use fighting it.

It was also funny this year that my daughter, who has usually gone the pretty or silly route for Halloween costumes, decided that she wanted to be a scary zombie. It’s not an easy feat to make such a pretty girl into a terror, but I think we did a good job. The giggling lost some of the effect.

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She’s coming for you! Giggling all the way!

In other news, NaNoWriMo has officially started! So far I am doing quite well, although I almost always do pretty good the first week. It’s later in the month when things start to go downhill. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can keep going, but I am happy that I’ve already hit my word count target for today, and it isn’t even 8 o’clock yet! Not too shabby! If you are also doing NaNo and want to be writing buddies, you can find me here.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day . . .

And I’m feeling good!

Welcome to 2013 everybody! It’s so funny how bright and new and fresh everything always seems on January 1st. It isn’t, really. Not that much has changed from yesterday.  What makes me automatically think that today will be any different, just because the calendar has rolled over to a new year?

Somehow, it just does. I wonder about this every year, and I still can’t explain it.

Until recently, I’ve been really had about setting goals and keeping them. Yesterday’s post about my 2012 resolutions absolutely floored me. I kept nearly all of them? How did that happen? It makes me feel optimistic about the upcoming year. There is so much that I want to accomplish. I’ve never been one to just sit back on my laurels. I want to DO things, even if the idea is silly.

That said, here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013, based slightly off my goals from last year.

1. Finish editing Children of Light and start querying it. Yes folks, my novel has a name. It’s had one for a while, but I’ve been hesitant to use it for some reason. Giving it a name and using that name makes it feel real. Gives it a concrete-ness that I think I will need to get in the right mindset to finish it.

2. Do more with Bibliophiles Anonymous. As most of you know, my friend Jess and I started a podcast this past year. We’ve done really well so far, up to 14 episodes, but we’re not getting much exposure. I need to be more dedicated to finding outlets to get our name out there. It would be nice to actually have listeners other than just our friends and families.

3. Devote more time to my family and personal goals and less time to my job. This is a tough one. My hours, though finally cut down a bit, have been creeping back up over the past several months. I’ve started feeling really guilty for going in later when I knew that work was piling up on my desk. I need to be able to stand up for myself there and not let them try to snow me under with more work. Stand my ground!

4. Develop a daily routine. This one will also be tough, but necessary. I have a lot going on, let’s face it. Starting next Monday, I will officially be a graduate student at Southern New Hampshire University. I have writing to do, blogging to do, homework to do, housework to do, family stuff to do. I need to get organized, or things are going to start falling through the cracks.

5. The Happiness Project. This year, my mom and I are embarking on Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project. I figure it will be easier with help. We can push each other.

6. Reading Challenge. I came close to this last year, so this year I’m upping the challenge to 70. Between reading stuff for school and the podcast, I don’t think this will be a problem.

You’ll notice that there aren’t any weight loss goals on this list. That’s not to say that I won’t try to do something about getting healthier – I will. But it won’t be a formal goal.

Now, here’s what I plan to do with the blog. I think I did pretty well last year getting more into a blogging routine. My goal was to try to blog twice a week, and most weeks I do either three or four. I’d like to up that to five.

  • Monday – Stacking the Shelves (with Tynga’s Reviews) and other general announcements. I’ll also talk about the podcast a bit on Mondays too.
  • Tuesday – Top Ten Tuesdays (with the Broke and the Bookish). Can’t give that one up, it’s too much fun!
  • Wednesday & Thursday – Reviews. Both books and movies (oh my gosh, y’all, I saw The Hobbit and Les Mis and I have stuff to say!!!).
  • Friday – Happiness Project Update. Might even try to get my mom to write something here. 😉

So there you have it. My plans for 2013. Hope you all have a wonderful and prosperous New Year! I’m certainly going to try!

Year in Review!

Greetings all! I have returned after enjoying the holidays with my family. I hope you and yours had a nice holiday, whichever one you celebrate this time of year.

As 2012 draws to a close, it’s time to look over the year and see how things have gone and what needs improvement. I pulled up my New Year’s resolution post from last year and was actually fairly surprised.

1. Finish that #%$#@%$ book!

Since the rough draft is done, I think I can cross this off the list. Sure, the book isn’t polished. It’s not publishable. But it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. That’s more than I’ve ever been able to do in the past.

2. Do something about my job.

This one has also been taken care of, although my hours have been creeping back up over the past few months. That will change, especially once school starts. I will need all the help I can get at that point.

3. Blog at least twice a week and tweet at least once a day.

Yup, yup. I think I’ve more than taken care of that one.

4. Read 60 books this year.

Surpassed that goal by a fairly wide margin, and found a whole bunch of wonderful new books and authors in the process. Who could ask for anything more?

5. Get healthy.

And here’s where I dropped the ball. It’s not that I don’t want to try and get healthier, it’s just that it was hard to make it a priority with everything else going on. Which is stupid, since if my health goes, everything else will go with it. I guess we can see where improvements need to be made.

All in all, I would say that this year has been a fairly good one for me, if these goals are anything to go on. Naturally, I will have new goals for 2013, which I will put up tomorrow.

Top Ten Tuesday – Santa Edition

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Another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by “The Broke and the Bookish.” Now that it is officially the holiday season, it’s time to think about what really matters. Books I want for Christmas!!! Normally, I don’t ask people to buy me books for Christmas because it’s hard to say which ones I want. And I also buy so many of them on my own. But if I had to compile a list, the books below would certainly be acceptable.

Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I have been meaning to look for this book several times, but I always forget to get it. I’ve heard lots of really good things about it.

2. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – I read this book back in college. It’s one of those stories that really sticks with you. I’d like to read it again, but never bought a copy of my own.

3. The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble – Same as The Poisonwood Bible, really. The situation, not the story. The story is completely different. Another one I would love to add to my collection.

4. Anything about Broadway Theater – Not a specific book, but something I want regardless. I would love books about the history of Broadway. The behind the scenes stuff from shows, actors talking about their experiences. That sort of thing.

5. Anything about New York City – See previous comment about Broadway. History, interesting landmarks, stories. I love that place and want to know more about it.

6. Phantom by Susan Kay – This is one of my all time favorite books and I don’t own a copy. I used to, but it fell to pieces. Eventually, even duct tape wouldn’t hold it together again. I do have an ebook of it, but having a real book would be nice.

7. A Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray – I just realized that I have all of the Gemma Doyle trilogy except for the last one! This needs to be corrected!

8. Blackout by Mira Grant – I’ve already read Feed and just started reading Deadline with the lovely folks over at Mark Reads. This would round out the trilogy.

9. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare – But only if it’s out in trade paperback. I want it to match all the other Mortal Instruments books on my shelf.

10. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – I haven’t even heard much about Rowling’s next book, except that it’s nothing at all like Harry Potter. That’s fine. She’s still an amazing writer and anything she does is worth reading.

 

Valentine’s Day

So here it is. Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love and happiness.

It’s never been one of my favorite holidays.

When I was in high school, I was one of the kids who dressed all in black on Valentine’s Day, glaring at the giggly girls who walked down the hall carrying armloads of candy, Teddy bears, and balloons. They seemed so silly, so shallow and frivolous. It probably didn’t help that I never had a boyfriend in high school either. Once I grew up and got married, the holiday was a bit more tolerable. I had someone to buy me flowers and take me out to dinner. It was nice. But then something happened that forever damaged the day in my eyes.

My father died.

In the wee hours of February 13, 2001, my father passed away. He suffered a massive heart attack. It was quick. He had had no history of heart disease and, up until that moment, seemed perfectly healthy.

Needless to say, it has put a damper on Valentine’s Day for me. It’s hard to think about cute little candy hearts when all I can think about is how much I miss my dad. I always tell my husband not to get me anything, because I genuinely don’t want anything. I do always make sure to take flowers to my mom, because I know my dad would want me to. They are from him as much as from me.

This time of year usually brings on bouts of depression and anxiety, and this year is no exception. Some years are harder than others – this year is about medium. I always say that if I can survive from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day, I’ll be okay. So I guess that’s what I’ll celebrate today. That, and the memory of a wonderful father and husband who left this world far too soon.