Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2014

I love lists, so I’m dipping my toes in the listy fun that is Top Ten Tuesday. This meme is run by The Broke and the Bookish and each week they post a new list for us to complete and share.

Just post your own list, link back to The Broke and the Bookish, and add your link to the linky tool to participate!

 

 

Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2014:

(Bookish, bloggish, real-lifeish.)

1. Read 100 books.

If I do nothing else this year, I want to keep up my reading habit. 

2. Blog regularly.

I’m not going to pressure myself with a set number of posts per week, or even per month. I just want to focus on coming back and getting something up on the blog on a regular basis, no matter the frequency. 

3. Read something truly challenging.

I want to tackle something that really pushes me. Something old? Something long? Something epic, or literary, or written in verse? It doesn’t matter what it is, but at least one book I read this year should scare me a little bit.

4. Subscribe to more blogs via email.

Once Google Reader went buh-bye, my blog reading dropped dramatically. Bloglovin’ and Feedly are fine, but I don’t like them as much, which makes it feel like a chore to visit them. I’ve found that the blogs I have subscribed to via email are not overwhelming to my inbox, and it makes it easier to stay current. Plus it’s easy to click the link and comment from my phone. Maybe my inbox will just have to be my new Reader. 

5. Develop my writing habit.

My critique group is in a transition phase, but I think we’re all feeling ready to get down to hard work again. This means it’s time for me to quit making excuses and get back to regular writing sessions. Look for Writing Wednesday posts every other week to keep me honest and accountable.

6. Get moving!

Hibernation time is over. I have real, major physical activity commitments this year and it’s time to start working toward those goals. That Half Ironman isn’t going to race itself.

7. Stick to a budget.

I’ve been lucky and lazy enough to get by without thinking much about the money I spend. This year, I want to set some spending limitations and sock away the rest to really pad our savings account. I tend to complain a lot about our small apartment, but if I want to buy a house I have to actually set aside money for that down payment.

8. Finish that draft.

My critique group has been enormously patient with my indecisive approach to plotting out my manuscript. That approach isn’t working, and has led to a draft that goes nowhere fast. This year I want to step it up, make hard choices for my characters, and finish their story.

9. Attend a writing conference and get querying.

Once that manuscript is done, it’ll be time to find an agent. This year is the year I want to start querying. I’ve also resisted writing conferences because they so often seem geared toward writers with completed manuscripts, but if I meet goal #8 then I can achieve goal #9.

10. Do what makes me happy.

I don’t want to fall into the trap of only doing something for the sake of doing it, just to be consistent. If I’m posting 3 times a week, but they are posts no one cares about, what’s the point? If I’m posting once a month, but it’s something fun and entertaining to read, and it makes me happier, then so be it.

“Do what you want, what you want with [your blog].” – Lady GaGa

What are your goals or resolutions for this year?

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Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

I love lists, so I’m dipping my toes in the listy fun that is Top Ten Tuesday. This meme is run by The Broke and the Bookish and each week they post a new list for us to complete and share.

Just post your own list, link back to The Broke and the Bookish, and add your link to the linky tool to participate!

Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List:

(These aren’t new releases, but books I have promised myself to get through ASAP.)

1. The Book Thief

I borrowed this from a friend over a year ago, and I promised her that while housesitting for her this month I’d finish it.

2. Ender’s Game

A book club pick – just in time for the movie!

3. Storm Front

I told myself I’d read this whole series over the next year, so I better get started.

4. Carrie

I haven’t read a Stephen King book in so long. With Halloween coming up, it’s the perfect time to dive back in.

5. Prodigy

I just finished re-reading Legend, so now I’m ready for the sequel.

6. Glamorous Illusions

Technically, I already started this one. I need to finish it before it’s due back to the library in a couple of weeks.

7. Murder in the Marais

This has been on my TBR for so long, as it combines two of my favorite things: mysteries and Paris. I finally picked it up from the library.

8. Clockwork Princess

I read the first two back-to-back and then forgot to come back to this one. I need to read it before I forget everything that happened.

9. Requiem

After a hundred million years, my library ebook loan finally came through.

10. Coda

This came home with me during birthday book shopping. I can’t wait to finally read it!

What books are you planning to read this fall?

Top Ten Tuesday – REWIND: Books I HAD to Buy

I love lists, so I’m excited to dip my toes in the listy fun that is Top Ten Tuesday. This meme is run by The Broke and the Bookish and each week they post a new list for us to complete and share.

Just post your own list, link back to The Broke and the Bookish, and add your link to the linky tool to participate!

It’s Top Ten Tuesday Rewind week, so I’m going back to one I was bummed I missed.

Top Ten Books I HAD to Buy…But are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread:

(This list should be waaaay longer than 10, by the way.)

1. Dearly, Departed

 Steampunk AND a beautiful cover…but I still haven’t read it. I think the zombie thing has me worried I won’t like it.

2. Falling for Hamlet

 This Hamlet retelling had me rushing to the bookstore. Someday I’ll get to it.

3. Railsea

 This looked like a dark fantasy I needed in my life. Then it got cast aside for other new things.

4. Wolf Hall

 Honestly, this one will require a certain amount of brain power I haven’t had the energy to devote yet.

5. My Fair Lazy

 Annoyed with dealing with Jen’s copious footnotes in Kindle format, I bought this in paperback. I think if it was on my Kindle I’d have read it by now.

6. Raised by Wolves

 Pretty cover! Hype! And then…nothing.

7. Across the Universe

 I keep telling myself I’m just not in the mood for sci-fi.

8. Eyes Like Stars

 This was bought during my buy-all-the-theater-books phase.

9. If I Stay

 I’ve only resisted this one because I know it’s emotional.

10. Ruby Red

Time travel and a pretty cover! But some not so great reviews made me put it down the list.

What books are still unread on your shelves?

Book Blogger Confessions: Blog Evolution

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme run by Midnyte Reader and For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday participants post and discuss common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

How long do you see yourself blogging? Do you think it’s okay for a blog to evolve over time? For example: You may have started out as a book review blog but now your interest is in cooking as well. Do you incorporate that or start over?

 I have had an online blog or journal in some format for 12 years. I’m not sure that this blog, in this format, will exist in decades to come, but I’d like to think that I’ll always have an online presence. 

I think a blog can evolve as long as the author is okay with a changing audience. This blog was created for readers, and mostly YA readers at that, so if I decide to start focusing more on running, say, or even on my writing, I have no doubt that my audience would change and likely grow smaller. And that doesn’t bother me. I want readers who connect with my content, pure and simple.

Where I get a little confused is whether a blog can have more than one focus. For now, I’m keeping my other interests confined to my weekly recaps. I’m afraid if I do book reviews, and a weekly post on writing, and a weekly post on running/training, and so on, that I’ll end up attracting no audience at all because there is no common theme. At that point it starts to feel like a journal/diary, and there are better (and more private) venues for that on the interwebs.

At the very least, I see this blog continuing on for a few more years. Let’s hope! 🙂

 

 

Book Blogger Confessions: Blog/Life Balance

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme run by Midnyte Reader and For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday participants post and discuss common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

How does blogging affect your *real* life? Are friends and family supportive? Do you find that blogging cuts into family time? How do you strike a balance between the two?

I generally don’t talk about my blog with people in my life. My family and husband and a few friends know it exists, and some of them follow my posts and even comment from time to time (mostly my fellow voracious readers: Mom and my sister). But generally, its content doesn’t apply to or interest most of my regular peeps.

That said, they’re very supportive, and my husband usually just lets me go about my business. He did object to the alarming increase of books that started to pile up, but I’m doing better about that these days. And while in the beginning (and during design changes) I was devoting hours every day to blog setup and upkeep, I’ve gotten better at managing my time and not doing blog stuff when we’re supposed to be doing things together.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Recommend

I love lists, so I’m excited to dip my toes in the listy fun that is Top Ten Tuesday. This meme is run by The Broke and the Bookish and each week they post a new list for us to complete and share.

Just post your own list, link back to The Broke and the Bookish, and add your link to the linky tool to participate!

Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most:

These books are made of SQUEEEEE!

1. Waterfall 

 

2. Outlander 

 

3. The Night Circus

 

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

 

5. Elephantmen

 

6. Leviathan

 

7. The Hunger Games

 

8. Map of Bones

 

9. Outliers

 

10. Child 44

What books do you recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday – Auto-Buy Authors

I love lists, so I’m excited to dip my toes in the listy fun that is Top Ten Tuesday. This meme is run by The Broke and the Bookish and each week they post a new list for us to complete and share.

Just post your own list, link back to The Broke and the Bookish, and add your link to the linky tool to participate!

Top Ten Authors I’d Put on My Auto-Buy List:

These are the authors whose books I would buy or read, no matter what. I won’t say it doesn’t matter which genre, because even I can by finicky, but for the most part, these are authors who have proven to write books I consistently like, and who I trust to tell a great story (whether it’s fiction or not).

1. James Rollins 

 Though I mostly stick with his Sigma Force series, I’ve liked everything I’ve read by James Rollins.

2. A.J. Jacobs 

 I already own everything he’s ever written, and A.J. Jacobs is the only absolute “auto-buy” author I truly have. No questions asked, I will purchase anything he writes. Ever. His approachable, self-effacing style perfectly complements his journalistic eye for truths beyond face value.

3. Diana Gabaldon

 (Obvs.)

4. Jen Lancaster

 Jen Lancaster is another humorous nonfiction author whose books I buy regardless of topic. Although her style can at times be over the top, she never fails to make me literally guffaw with laughter. 

5. Cassandra Clare

 Though I have yet to even start this spinoff series, I’ve already preordered book 3. Enough said.

6. Mary Roach

 Mary Roach’s books are so well researched on such taboo topics that I can’t resist her. Dead bodies, ghosts, sex, space flight, and digestion – if you like the weird or hard to stomach, you’ve found your woman.

7. Patricia Briggs

 Mercy Thompson is one of the best shifter characters ever created. Patricia Briggs gets the series book just right – the characters never feel stale or stuck in perpetual loops of similar scenarios. 

8. William Shakespeare

 Is this cheating? I’ve never read the full canon, but I know that I will, and I would never hesitate to see or read a new adaptation.

9. Rita Mae Brown

 I initially got hooked on the Sneaky Pie mysteries, but she now writes two other series (I’ve only gotten through one so far), and has a hefty collection of well-regarded literary fiction under her belt as well. I hope to read it all eventually.

10. Lisa T. Bergren

After reading the River of Time series, I’ll read anything Lisa Bergren puts out there.

Who are your auto-buy authors?

Book Blogger Confessions: Reading Genres

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme run by Midnyte Reader and For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday participants post and discuss common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

How has blogging and reviewing changed your reading habits? Do you read a genre now that you wouldn’t have tried prior? Or have you been turned off by a genre you used to love?

I read a lot more romance/erotica novels because of blogging. I think there can be a stigma toward the genre, and seeing how many people in the blogosphere enthusiastically discussed it made me feel like I was missing out on something or not giving it a fair chance. I mean, anyone who likes Outlander as much as I do should feel fairly confident they’ll like romance stories! 

I think I read more epic fantasy these days too. Book bloggers have exposed me to so many different types of genres and different recommendations within those genres that I’m giving more fantasy a chance where I wasn’t as into it before. Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind is not something I would have considered until I saw so many bloggers raving about it. I’m so glad I listened to them, since I loved that book!

I do find that focusing too much of my reading based on genre can lead to slumps, and blogging plays a role in that. Because my blog focuses mostly on YA books, I feel pressured to read more of them, and sometimes I just want to read a spy thriller. I’ve gotten better about reading in different genres to mix it up a bit more, and even joined some challenges this year to that end.

 

 

Throwback Thursday – Watership Down

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books. This meme is dedicated to shining a light on books or book-related media that aren’t just the shiny new releases. Post about anything bookish that was released five or more years ago, and link up to hop around and see what other oldies-but-goodies deserve a little more attention.

Movie: Watership Down
Written and Directed by: Martin Rosen
Based on the Novel by: Richard Adams
Released: 1978
Book summary from Goodreads: One of the most beloved novels of our time, Richard Adams’s Watership Down takes us to a world we have never truly seen: to the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests and riverbanks far beyond our cities and towns. 

It is a powerful saga of courage, leadership and survival; an epic tale of a hardy band of adventurers forced to flee the destruction of their fragile community . . . and their trials and triumphs in the face of extraordinary adversity as they pursue a glorious dream called “home.” 

Watership Down is a remarkable tale of exile and survival, of heroism and leadership . . . the epic novel of a group of adventurers who desert their doomed city, and venture forth against all odds on a quest for a new home, a sturdier future.

I watched the movie version of Watership Down several times growing up, and I fell in love with the story of these rabbits and their journey to escape developers and find a new, safe warren. The animation is of the 2D variety that most of us grew up with, but it gets really interesting during the mythology parts. The imagery of this movie has really stuck with me throughout the years, and I recommend it if you’ve never seen it. It holds a soft spot in my heart.

 

 

 

Library Explosion!

 
 
(Pay no attention to the shoddy iPhone photography.)
 
To prepare for my week-long staycation last week, I hit up the library. And…things got a little out of hand. This happens a lot when I anticipate lots of uninterrupted reading time, and I tend to use that as an excuse to pick up every book I’ve been drooling over at the library in one fell swoop. I did manage to get some goodies, though, so I thought it was worth a public shaming share:
 

The Passage by Justin Cronin
Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon

These are two books I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. I had hoped that during my break I could get through the ENORMOUS tome that is The Passage, so I wouldn’t have to lug it on the train, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Seriously, though, that thing must weigh at least 5 pounds. Bulky calf master! 

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Betrayed by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

I had Beautiful Creatures on hold for months, and though I eventually caved and bought the ebook, I still picked up my library copy to ease the flip-throughs I’d need for answering questions while Reading à Deux with Ruby. (Have you seen our first post yet? Come join in the fun!) Between Shades of Gray is up for discussion in my book club this weekend, and Betrayed sounded like a fun, quick read for vacation (which it was). I enjoyed the first House of Night book, and this one proved to be equally entertaining. 

Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

I attended a lecture on querying through my local SCBWI chapter where E. M. Kokie gave the presentation. It was phenomenal, and ever since I’ve been anxious to read her debut novel, Personal Effects. I saw it on the shelves and YOINK! I already finished Cinder since all anyone can do is rave about it, and in the very near future you’ll get to hear me rave about it too. So good! Finally, The Girl in the Steel Corset is a steampunk that I’ve been curious to read.

  

I also have these 4 books checked out in ebook form. (This is where I kick it up to a whole new level of crazy!)

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Insurgent by Veronica Roth 
Deadly Politics by Maggie Sefton
Hidden by Sophie Jordan

I’ve been wanting to read Deadly Politics ever since Felicia reviewed it, so I was really excited to get that one. I’m about 15% through Insurgent, but I think I’ll end up skimming to the end. I’m curious to see where the series goes, but it’s not really hooking me. I’m looking forward to jumping into Hidden, since I just finished the novella, Breathless, that takes place in the same world. MOAR DRAGON SHIFTERS PLEASE! (Side note: Can I please have the hair color of the shifter on the cover? kthxbai) And Bad Taste in Boys has been on my TBR for such a long time that I can’t wait to finally read it. Carrie Harris is hilarious, and I don’t think it will disappoint.

So tell me, am I the only one that gets a little carried away at the library?  😆