Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge: January Update

 BookishResolution Challenge 2016
The 2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge is hosted by Laura @ Trips Down Imagination Road and Michelle @ Because Reading and you can sign up at this link. For this challenge you must have 2 of 3 main goals, Blogging, Reading, and/or Personal and then subcategories for these goals.

My goals:

Reading Goals

1. Read at least 6 Classics. This was a goal I barely completed last year, but something I want to continue doing. So far I haven't started this goal yet, but it is still early. I am thinking Frankenstein will be my first read for this.
2. Read at least 70 books this year. I did not do this as a goal for the Bookish Resolution last year, but I did have it as a goal. I just missed it by 8 books, so I want to challenge myself on it this time. I have finished 8 books so far, so not bad!
3. Finish at least 4 series. I did well with this last year, but I have several more series that I did not finish. Another goal I haven't started yet, but hope to soon.

Blogging Goals

4. Blog at least 10 times a month. I met this goal for 7 out of 12 months, so I want to try this one again. I blogged 35 times in January!! This is three times my usual amount, but I did participate in two three read-a-thons, so that really helped.
5. Complete at least half of the challenges I sign up for this year. I came very close to completing this goal, but not quite. I will be signing up for challenges soon. So far I have started 8 challenges out of 16, so not a bad start. I may have a reading challenge addiction. :)
6. Be more active commenting on blogs and on Twitter. By more active, I mean getting on Twitter and commenting on blogs at least once a week. I did really well with this. I have been checking Twitter at least once a day and at least commenting on tweets. I have commented on a few blogs each week, but want to work a bit more on the blogging comments part.
7. Review at least half of the books I read. I basically just stopped writing reviews at the end of the year and I would like to do better with this in 2016. So far I have reviewed 6 out of 8 books and hope to write another review soon, so this is off to a great start!

Personal Goals

8. Lose at least 20 pounds. We are going to try Biggest Loser at work and our theme this year is Libraries Transform, which is ALA's theme. I gained back most of what I lost last year, so I would love to lose that weight again and maintain the weight loss. Hahaha! I will be working on this heavily during Lent.
9. Eat and drink healthier. I would like to eat at least a vegetable or fruit a day. I eat horribly and am not in good shape. I would also like to cut down on coffee and sodas, because that is all I have been drinking lately. I have managed to eat at least a veggie or a fruit a day, but not much more than that. I did better on sodas, until the end of this month and I am very slowly cutting down on coffee.
10. Exercise more. I would love to exercise at least a few times a month and possibly up this to a few times a week as I get in a bit better shape. I don't want to push things too fast, so for the first month or so, I would like to exercise at least 3 times a month. I barely managed to squeeze in exercise, so I really need to work on this next month.

My reading and blogging goals went well, but my personal goals not so much. I hope to work harder on them in February and get a bit healthier! 





Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mirrored by Alex Flinn

This was my TBR read for January and also a COYER read. It is also my first read for the Retelling Challenge. It also works for Reading Bingo as a book with a one word title and for Full House as Published 2015. I received this as an e-galley on Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Mirrored
Harper Teen

This is a twist on the story of Snow White and does feature an appearance from Kendra! Violet has always wished she was beautiful and has always been jealous of Jennifer and her group of hot, mean girls. When Jennifer takes away Greg, Violet's only friend and crush, Violet feels like she is left with nothing. However, unbeknownst to Violet, she is a witch. When she is attacked by two boys, Violet calls birds to save her and she meets Kendra. Kendra teaches her to use her powers and tries to be Violet's friend. Violet, however, wants revenge and to be beautiful. She uses her powers to become the fairest of them all, but she can't steal Greg from Jennifer. After Jennifer is cruel to Violet, Violet makes a dog attack her and scar her, but still Greg loves her. Fast forward, Greg and Jennifer are married with a beautiful girl, Celine. Jennifer fears animals and with good reason. Jennifer is attacked all the time and one of these attacks in a zoo proves fatal. Violet then swoops in on Greg and Celine is left with a beautiful, wicked stepmother. Celine does everything to downplay her beauty and to stay out of Violet's way. Having only one friend, Laurel, Celine does what she can to stay away from home and both girls bond over their crush on rock star, Jonah Prince. Celine even gets the leading role in a play to spend more time away from home and meets Goose, who is only 4'5", but doesn't let his size dictate his life. Celine likes Goose, but can't tell his intentions. While struggling with all this, tragedy strikes, and Violet wants Celine dead. Celine must depend on Goose and Kendra to help her survive and when all else fails, she must depend on true love.

I love Flinn's twists on fairy tales. Beastly is still my favorite, but this one had some interesting ideas. We get to see inside the "evil queen's" head, when we hear Violet's story. I really did not feel sympathy for her or Jennifer or Greg, but it was nice to see the motive. Then we get to see into "Snow White's" head. Celine does provoke sympathy and has the sweet, innocent quality that Snow White from Disney had. I also liked seeing into Goose's head. Using someone who has dwarfism was definitely a twist, but I worried that it would be too much. Flinn does and doesn't make it an issue for Goose. She does by showing he suffered bullying, just like Violet and Celine, but that he conquers this by using humor. She shows how the humor hurts him at the same time. I also like that she shows he can be the "hero," jumping over balconies, conquering fears, and that he can be a love interest. I was worried about it, but I think she did a great job. Overall, Kendra is still my favorite character and I felt so bad for her throughout this book. She tries so hard to do right, but there is always something she is unable to prevent, showing that magic, while powerful, is limited. If you want an enchanting tale with multiple points of view and a love that will have you cheering, then read this book! 4 cups of cocoa.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Winter's Respite Read-a-thon Wrapup



This is hosted by Michelle @ Seasons of Reading and True Book Addict, Castle Macabre and The Christmas Spirit blog.

I finished 2 books last week, The Shack and Magic Steps. I read 376 pages in The Shack (large print version) and listened/read roughly 100 pages in Magic Steps.The Shack was pretty intense and I am still thinking about this book. We have book club tomorrow night and I will be interested in seeing other people's thoughts. Magic Steps was a reread for me and I love the series! I also managed to start The Blue Sword and read 100 pages in it. This one is also a reread, but it has been years since I read it and I don't remember anything. It is good so far and will work for a couple of different challenges I am doing this year. Overall I read 576 pages and chatted a bit on Twitter, so not too bad. How did you do?

Thanks to Michelle for hosting!



Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow

This was my first nonfiction read for the Nonfiction Challenge and was also my read for the Full House challenge for the category of Thought Provoking Book. This was a book club book that I would not have picked up on my own, but I am glad we read it!
The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship
Gotham

This is written by Jeffrey Zaslow, who most people know as the person who helped to write The Last Lecture. I have not read The Last Lecture, but I did enjoy his writing style in this book. A man writing about female friendships seemed strange to me. Could he capture what it is really like to have a lifelong female friend? Would he just make the usual snide comments about PMS and menopause when the women were emotional? Would he try to explain everything away or would he actually listen? He really seemed to present the women as they see themselves, but also providing a bit of push when they wanted to downplay items. He is interviewing the women in their 40s and talking to them about a friendship that spans elementary school to adulthood for some and high school to adulthood for most. 10 of the 11 women were still living at the time of the book, one died mysteriously in her 20s, but the other 10 still think of her on an almost daily basis. Zaslow looked at letters, diaries, pictures, and gathered oral recollections from the women, their friends, families, daughters, and people from their high school to show how important female friendships are and to see how these women have managed to keep their friendship going so long.

You can't help trying to identify with a particularly woman and then thinking about how you are not like others. To me, Jenny, who is married and just starting to have children, would be the one that reminded me of myself now. If I start a family now I will be in my mid 30s and been married 8 years, just like she was when she had her first child. The same ideas of is it too late and having to adapt after going that long without a child, resonate with me. I also identify with Sally, who was treated a bit badly by the friends, who wanted her to be more outgoing and more talkative with boys and how ostracized her for a time. This has happened with me and my friends. They would get tired of me and the fact that I did not date much and was not as cute as they were and would drop me for awhile. When their boyfriends broke up with them or other girls were mean to them, they would come back to me. It still happens with a few of them, but I have some stronger friendships with people in my circle and have come to accept the "mean" girls as they are. I think for any woman who has spent a decade or two with her friends can relate to this book.

The women's stories were fascinating and at times ordinary, but still likable. The sections on the studies of friendship were a bit dry and statistical, but parts of them were interesting. It was only at those points that I doubted Zaslow's ability to tell the story of female friendship. He felt the need to tie it to those facts and to make sure this was a fact-based analysis. While statistics are important, friendship is something that is so much more. These brief sections were the only time I lost interest and he did quickly get back to the narrative.

Would this have been stronger if written by a woman? That would be the question I would have if I saw a guy writing about women. I think he did fine with it. He has three girls and is strongly attached to his wife, so I think he probably discussed this in detail with them. I also think he brought out more from the women than if they were talking to another woman. When I talk with other woman, I both complain, but gloss over my faults. I think when we talk to men, we are more honest with words, but less so with emotions. I wish Zaslow had asked his wife to talk to the women too to gain the emotional insight, but his use of private emails and diaries did help with this a bit. I think he managed to leave out his own bias quite a bit, so overall he did well.

This really made me think about my own friendships and that I am lucky to have friends from elementary school and college who know me and love me. It makes me think about past hurts, past joys, and hopeful futures. 3.5 cups of cocoa and a very interesting read.





Friday, January 22, 2016

Story Sprites Round 3 Challenge Signup

StorySpriteHeader2016
So I noticed this challenge on Rachael's blog, Rachael Turns Pages, as a challenge she signup for and I thought it looked really fun. The Story Sprites challenge is hosted by Great Imaginations and here is a link to the signup. The goal is to complete a path by April 1st. You pick a color and complete those squares. You can do more than one path if you want. I am having a hard time choosing which path to take! I think I am going to try for purple, but I may try for more than one color if I get on a reading kick. Thanks to the bloggers at Great Imaginations for hosting!

Round 3 Board

Reading Bingo Challenge Signup

So I could not help signing up for a couple more challenges. Jessi's Reading Bingo had been on my eye for a bit.


NH reading bingo

This is hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat and you can signup at this link. I love book bingo challenges and this one looks like one I can complete. I will try for a line or two, but I would love to do a coverall! Thanks to Jessi for hosting!



Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

This was my first Reading Assignment book and my book for January. It also works for the Flights of Fantasy challenge and for my Full House challenge as Would Make a Good Movie. I hope to read the rest of the books for the Prequels and Sequels challenge, but as the first book, it does not count for that.
Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)
Simon Pulse

So I love Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens series and mentioned that on Twitter, so a few people recommended Alanna to me. I know Amy from Tripping Over Books and Kristen from The Book Monsters both raved about the book, so I had to pick it up. I made it one of my reading assignment books, because I knew I would make sure to read it then. I loved it!

Alanna and her twin, Thom, want different lives than the one their father has planned. Really their father ignores them most of the time, but does decide that Thom will be a knight and Alanna will go learn to be a lady. He does not care that Thom wants to be a sorcerer and definitely would not let Alanna become a knight. He has never even thought about the magic that they both have and usually leaves the servants to deal with them. Alanna hatches a scheme that she and Thom will trade places. Thom will go with Maude, who has trained their magic and how is supposed to take Alanna to the convent, and Alanna will go with Coram, pretend to be a boy and try to become a knight. While practicing their magic, Alanna has a vision of a black city, which could be a bad omen for the switch, but instead pushes the two servants to support the switch. They do and Alanna is able to train as a page and to get the chance to be a squire when she turns 14. While at Duke Naxon's, Alanna trains with the Duke's son, the Prince, and other boys who quickly become her friends, well all of them, except Ralon. Ralon bullies her and Alanna knows to prove herself, she must defeat the bully. She will have to defeat him, an illness, and her own changing body to try to achieve her goal. She must find friends along the way, friends who will keep her secrets, if she can survive her years as a page.

Alanna is only around 11 at the start, so she is not yet growing into her female body, so it does seem plausible that she could pass for a boy. I loved how strong she was and how she faces her own battles. I also liked Jonathan, the Prince, and George, the Rogue, King of Thieves. The boys feel the need to protect her(him), but also let her try her own strength. I also like the magical elements, which we only really get a glimpse of at the end. Magic was the interesting part of the Circle books, so I am interested to see how it plays out in The Song of the Lioness series. I really enjoyed the world of Tortall and can't wait to get started on the next one in the series. It was really an easy and fast paced read. 5 cups of cocoa.







Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon Midweek Check in



So far I have read 173  pages of The Shack and listened to 2 CDs of Magic Steps. I was without Internet for a few days staying with my parents so that I could get to work quicker. The Shack is interesting, but not exactly what I thought it would be, but it should make for an interesting book club discussion!




Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I am taking part in Lynn at Smoke and Mirrors and Bex at An Armchair by the Sea's Little House Read-Along hosted at this link. Each month a different Little House book is assigned and January's book is Little House in the Big Woods. All of the original Little House books will be rereads for me, but a few of them like On the Way Home and West From Home, I don't remember reading. I have also not read Pioneer Girl or A Wilder Rose at all, so those will be new for sure. I repurchased the whole set last year, so I will have the original books. I believe I also have On the Way Home and West From Home at my parents'.
Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)
Harper and Row

Laura Ingalls loves her home in Wisconsin and loves living with her Ma, Pa, Mary, and Baby Carrie in their log house in the Big Woods. Her grandparents, aunts, and uncles live just a few miles away and it is easy to take the horses and wagon there in a day. Laura is a bright child who is a little more mischievous than her beautiful blond sister Mary, but knows she must mind her Ma and Pa. Living in the 1870s, she is entertained by playing with corn husk dolls and a Christmas present of a rag doll. It was a simpler time, but one that had its own challenges. There were bears and panthers in the Woods, a quickly changing world with new machines, and her family had to make a living off of their land. Laura's straightforward and easy to read style makes it easy to see why this is a classic.

Historically, this book provides information on how they made straw hats, certain foods, remedies for stings, how to load a rifle and how they made bullets. It provides great insight into things we don't do any more. It also shows us how the family dynamic worked back then. I loved learning how Ma braided hats and made hulled corn and loved hearing Pa's stories to the children.

Being that this is set in the past, prejudices do come out. In this one, they are not as overt as in later books, but I know the series itself is often chastised because of the treatment of Native Americans. Pa makes a remark about playing "Indian" in this book and sings about a "darkey" at one point. When I was a child I did not notice this and when my parents read it to me, they read it as is and did not talk about prejudice in the past. I will say I love the series and it is a childhood favorite of mine, but if I read it in a classroom or to children, I may mention that there are words and ideas that we know are not true now, that they did not know back then. I do this when talking about Martin Luther King Jr and The Civil Rights movement and reading books that talk about the hate. I don't think the books need to be censored and I think children are smart enough to understand that times change.

This is one of my favorites in the series and the one I have reread the most. I think about how different life was back then, but also how things like love and family are timeless. I think sisterly squabbles and Laura worrying about her brown hair make this a read that children even today can relate to. As an adult reading it, I love hearing about the past, hearing about how they live off the land and could be self-sufficient. I love seeing the love of the family and their joy in the simple things of life. Laura is my favorite character in this one and I love how she is even honest about her childhood behavior. 5 cups of cocoa!




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall

This is another COYER read and one that I checked out in ebook form from the library. This is the 3rd in the Apple Ridge series and the only one not a Christmas book.
The Scent of Cherry Blossoms (Apple Ridge #4)
WaterBrook Press

Annie is Old Order Mennonite, not Old Order Amish, but that does not keep her from having a crush on Aden, who is Old Order Amish, and whose family is co-partners with her grandfather in a small diner. To Englischer's their beliefs may not look that different, but they are. Annie uses electricity, believes in a more strict courting, and loves her grandfather's farm, especially the cherry trees. Annie is able to avoid Aden and her feelings toward him, until she gets into an argument with her mother, because her mother is not strict enough with her brothers. Annie is banished to her grandfather's and Apple Ridge and begins helping out at the diner, when Aden's brother, Roman, who is paralyzed is sent to help their uncle with a mechanical problem. Roman depends completely on Aden and he hates it. He was always the one to help Aden with his stuttering and he was always the one to court girls. When an old friend tries to get Roman to court her, Roman shuts her out. Roman also notices the budding romance between Aden and Annie and he and Annie's grandfather will do everything in their power to keep the couple apart. They know it will lead to censor on the part of the one who leaves behind the faith. Is this just a doomed crush or is it love? Can one embrace a different faith to be with the other?

This was a more complex book due to the fact that the couple had different religious beliefs. There may not seem to be a big difference in Mennonite and Amish, but there is. For awhile I thought that it would be wrong for either one to break his or her vow, but coming from a marriage where my husband is Protestant and I am Catholic, I know such things can work. We did not have to deny our churches to be married, but we do have to respect each other's choices and we do go to separate churches on the weekends. For Annie and Aden this would not even work, because it would be required for one to switch. This was a hard one to decide if it ended the way it should, but I think Cindy was respectful of both faiths in the book. A little more dramatic than the other four in the series, but a good read. 3.5 cups of cocoa.








Monday, January 18, 2016

The Dawn of Christmas by Cindy Woodsmall

This was a read for the Christmas Spirit challenge that I did not get around to reviewing and was also my first COYER read for the COYER Going Back to Basics challenge. This was an ebook I borrowed from the library after reading The Sound of Sleigh Bells for book club.
The Dawn of Christmas: A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country
Waterbrook Press

Sadie gave her heart to an Amish man who then cheated on her with her cousin. Since both her cousin and intended denied the affair and Sadie was the only witness, the community thinks the stress of the impending nuptials made her overreact to an innocent accident. Sadie's father believes her and allows her to leave the community for a bit and do volunteer work in Peru. He also allows her to work at a Mennonite store until four years later he decides it is time for her to come home.  There she meets Levi, who feels pressure from his parents to settle down and get married. He sees the pain his brother went through when his wife left him and their young child and Levi decides he will never get married and never lose his heart to a woman. Levi and Sadie get a brilliant idea that the two will pretend to court and then break up allowing Sadie to use the "heartbreak" to travel back to Peru and give Levi a few more years from his meddling parents. When pretending leads to something more, can they both forget the past and experience the joy of Christmas and possibly a life together?

These books are sweet and easy to read. There is only a bit of drama and I love how they revolve around the community of Apple Ridge, PA and how the author brings in other characters for past books. I don't know if they are accurate to the Amish life, usually the Amish in my area joke that they read Amish fiction to see what they are supposed to be doing now. ;) I look at them as completely fiction with only the slight basis of fact as an Englischer would see when looking at an Amish community. This is the 4th book in the series, but third Christmas story, so I read this one and The Scent of Cherry Blossoms out of order, which gave away the ending of Cherry Blossoms a bit, so I recommend reading them in order, even if it is Christmas and you want to read only Christmas books. ;). I would give this 4 cups of cocoa and it was a nice finish to the series.


24 in 48 Wrapup




  1. How many books did you read? Pages? I finished 3 books and am still working on 2. I read a total of 926 pages and listened to one hour of audio.
  2. How many hours did you read? 14! I can't believe I read that much.
  3. What do you think worked well in this readathon? I liked that the updates were spread out in 6 hour increments and I liked the Twitter hashtag.
  4. What do you think could be done to improve the readathon for next time? I really enjoyed it. This was my first time participating and it was really stress-free. I can't think of anything to add or change.
  5. Will you participate in a future 24in48 readathon? Yes, because it is stress-free and you can choose how active you want to be. Even though I did not make it to 24 hours, I still do not feel like a failure. I hesitated to sign up,  because reading for 24 hours would be unlikely for me, but I am glad I signed up! There was no pressure or guilt in not making it. Many people were like me and just read until they could read no more and we all felt like we accomplished a lot. Thanks to Rachel for hosting!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

24 in 48 Hours 37-48



I was able to do some chores and listen to a random audiobook that was currently available on Overdrive, so far it is pretty good. It is A Potion to Die For and is a cozy mystery about a witch who brews love potions.

Hours read: 14
Pages read: 212-535 in The Girls from Ames, so 323 pages total and finished, Little House in the Big Woods 24-238, so 214 pages total and finished, and Mirrored 11%-100% so 89% total and finished, listened to 1 hour of A Potion to Die for by Heather Blake, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 522-565 so 43 pages.

24 in 48 Hours 24-36



Most of these hours I spent asleep, but I am getting started reading now!
Hours read: 9
Pages read: 212-430 in The Girls from Ames, so 218 pages total, Little House in the Big Woods 24-238, so 214 pages total and finished, and Mirrored 11%-57% so 46% total, listened to 1 hour of A Potion to Die for by Heather Blake

Saturday, January 16, 2016

24 in 48 Hours 13-24



Hours read: 6.5
Pages read: 212-353 in The Girls from Ames, so 141 pages total, Little House in the Big Woods 24-180, so 156 pages total, and Mirrored 11%-57% so 46% total

Hour 4: I took a bit of a break from The Girls from Ames and reread some in Little House in the Big Woods. I am participating in a readalong of the series hosted by Bex and Lynn and January's book is of course the first in the series. I reread this last year too and only got through Little House on the Prairie last year, so I decided to restart the series. I am not taking a break from that and reading Mirrored. I love Alex Flinn's retellings and this one is a twist on Snow White. I feel sorry for Celine (Snow White), but felt little sympathy for Violet (evil stepmother) and no sympathy for Celine's mother and none for her father either. It is an interesting read so far.

24 in 48 Readathon Hours 1-12

 
Introductory Survey:
  1. Where in the world are you reading from this weekend? I am reading from Southern Indiana today.
  2. Have you done the 24in48 readathon before? This is my first one.
  3. Where did you hear about the readathon? I had started noticing blog posts about 2 weeks ago and then Twitter posts during Bout of Books. I made the decision to join late Friday.
  4. What book are you most excited about reading this weekend? I really want to finish The Girls from Ames for book club, since our meeting is next week.
  5. Tell us something about yourself. I am a librarian who likes mainly YA books and I love history. I also love unicorns and have collected unicorn items since I was little.
  6. Remind us where to find you online this weekend. I will be posting on my blog and hopefully on Twitter @SarahFlood.
 I also posted my reading nook for the day on Twitter:
Hours read: 3
Pages read: 212-272 in The Girls from Ames, so 60 pages total, Little House in the Big Woods 24-102, so 78 pages total, and Mirrored 11%-15% so 4% total

Hour 1 Reading:
I just started reading and at the moment I am reading The Girls from Ames for book club. It is a nonfiction book about the friendship of 11 women and how they have remained friends since high school. 10 of them are still living, but they also talk about their memories of the 11th girl. So far it is interesting, but the parts on the studies of friendship are starting to weigh me down and I prefer the sections that are about the women's lives.



Friday, January 15, 2016

24 in 48 Readathon Signup



This is hosted by Rachel at 24 in 48 readathon and can be accessed at this link. This starts on January 16 and runs through January 17. I have never tried this readathon, but I did try the Dewey 24 hour readathon twice. One time I did really well and the next time not so much. This is a long weekend for me and for once we don't have to run to several different places, so I am going to attempt to get in the hours.

My reading list
The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow (book club)
The Shack by William Paul Young (book club)
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (reread)
Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Mirrored by Alex Flinn
In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling

I may switch up a bit, since I am trying to read for an extended period, but a few of these I need to get started on and finish.

Thanks to Rachel for hosting!


Monday, January 11, 2016

A Winter's Respite Read-a-thon Signup



This is hosted by Michelle @ Seasons of Reading and True Book Addict, Castle Macabre and The Christmas Spirit blog and you can sign up at this link. There are no requirements, except to read! Michelle's readathons are always stress free and all about reading. 


My reading list:
The Shack (book club)
Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (book club)
In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce (audio, reread)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (reread)

Thanks to Michelle for hosting! 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bout of Books Day 7 Update and Wrapup

Bout of Books

Day 7:
Morning
It is the final day of Bout of Books! I hope to get some reading done, but I have a major headache right now from my sinuses. The sudden onset of winter here has made my head a bit haywire and we have around an inch and a half of snow and a layer of ice under that, which worries me about work tomorrow. One of the downfalls of being the boss! I will update as I get a bit done today. Good luck everyone!

Evening
It took quite awhile for my head to do better. I did a bit of socializing today, but not much. I was able to finish 118 pages in The Girls from Ames, so not a bad reading day!

Wrapup
Total I finished two books: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall and Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce and I read a total of  547 pages, which is awesome for me. I am about a fifth of the way through The Girls from Ames, so I have a nice start on my book club book. I was able to visit about 45 blogs and am following two new blogs. On Twitter I tweeted around 150 tweets this week and followed about 15 new people, so not bad at all on the social aspect. I think I did okay as a Bout of Books expert, I would like to have been a bit more active, particularly once I went back to work. I enjoyed it and would definitely do it again. I think overall I had a great Bout of Books and thanks again to all the great hosts!



Saturday, January 9, 2016

Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge Wrapup



This was hosted by Michelle at her The Christmas Spirit blog and I managed to read 5 books for Challenge and have reviewed 4 of them! I met my Mistletoe go and also the Fa La La La Films, since I watched 7 Christmas movies, including The Santa Clause, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, and Polar Express which are my favorites. Thanks to Michelle for hosting this! I can't wait until the next one!

My January TBR: And the Winner is...

MyTBRList
This is hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading. Thank you to everyone who voted! I had 9 votes this time and over half of them went to this book:
Mirrored
HarperTeen


This will also help fulfill a couple of the year long challenges I signed up for, so I hope to start reading it tomorrow. I love Flinn's twists, so I am eager to start it!






Bout of Books Day 6 Update and Comfy Reading Spot Challenge

Bout of Books

Day 6 is here! I hope to get some reading accomplished and participate in the Twitter chat today. I was able to do both! The chat was fun as always and I met a lot of great people. So far I have read 48 pages and I finished Alanna. Two books down this week! Hopefully I can read a bit of The Girls from Ames for book club. I was able to read 20 pages in The Girls from Ames, so that is a start!


Today's Challenge is hosted by Stephanie at Once Upon a Chapter.

The Comfy Reading Spot Challenge
Stephanie wants us to show her our favorite comfy reading spots. I chose my favorite meditation chair with the throw pillows that I usually end up in the floor by the time I finish reading and praying.

Thanks to Stephanie for hosting! I am loving everyone's spots.




Bout of Books Day 5 Update

Bout of Books

Day 5 was all about reading. I did socialize a bit, but my day was absorbed with work until the evening. We went out to a local TexMex place to eat dinner and then I was finally able to read a bit more of Alanna. I read 82 pages and have less than 50 pages to go! I really wanted to do Kristin's Scavenger Hunt and my grand plan was to take pictures at my work library, but was so overwhelmed by work that I forgot! I did not eat lunch until after 2 that time and was talking on the phone with work calls while I ate. It was a great challenge and I loved all the pictures I saw. Hopefully Day 6 can be a Bout of Books day!


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Bout of Books Day 4 Update and Villain Mashup

Bout of Books

Day 4 Update: Well, I work a 10 hour day today, so we shall see what I accomplish outside of work. I read absolutely nothing, but I am having a blast socializing! I commented on another 7 blogs and several tweets. I always forget to count the tweets. I also enjoyed Cynthia's minichallenge!

The Villain Mashup is hosted by Cynthia at Bingeing on Books

Villain Mashup:
Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
Random House
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5)
Scholastic

I would go for a mental battle for my two villains. I would pair Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter against Jannoula from Shadow Scale. Jannoula is a ityasaari, a half-dragon\half-human, and we know how Umbridge feels about "half breeds." I would mainly like to see Jannoula take Umbridge out. Jannoula would have her mind controlling abilities and Umbridge would have her stubborn prejudices that Jannoula would have to work hard to overcome. I believe Jannoula would win, but it would be a long mental battle!

Thanks to Cynthia for hosting!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Challenges Signups 4 of 4

I am going to post my 2016 challenge signups in four separate posts, so that they link to the signup pages on each individual blog better. I will update my progress on the 2016 Challenges page on my blog. Thanks to all these great hosts for putting together these challenges!

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This is hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeats and Melissa at Winter Grrl Reads and you can sign up at this link. I almost met this challenge last year, so I am going to go with Newbie Level again and hope I can reach past the 10 points. I have several series I need to finish and a few I want to start, so hopefully I can do this.



This is hosted by Adriana at She's Got Books on Her Mind and you can sign up at this link. I almost complete her Reading Road Trip Challenge last year and this one looks like fun. It is reading books with royalty in them and I am going to try for Baroness Level of 4 to 6 books. I know I want to read a few fairy tales and she has some neat discussions planned.



This is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date and you can sign up at this link. I was looking for a good book bingo type challenge and this one looks like fun.



This is hosted by Lynn at Smoke and Mirrors and Bex at An Armchair by the Sea and you can sign up at this link. I started rereading the Little House books and stopped at Little House on the Prairie. I really want to reread these, so this read-along is perfect.

2016 Challenges Signups 3 of 4

I am going to post my 2016 challenge signups in four separate posts, so that they link to the signup pages on each individual blog better. I will update my progress on the 2016 Challenges page on my blog. Thanks to all these great hosts for putting together these challenges!




This is hosted by Sandy at Somewhere Only We Know and Holly at Words Fueled by Love and you can sign up at this link. This is one of the few challenges I completed last year and I really need to complete more series. I am aiming for Level 1 and I hope to finish at least 4 series again this year!



grab button for Bookish Things & More

This is hosted by Stephanie at In Wonderland and Katrina at Bookish Things and More and you can sign up at this link. I definitely want to read more steampunk this year and I am going to aim for Shipmate, which is 1 to 5 books. I also want to read the Parasol Protectorate, so I may join in that readalong in February!



This is hosted by Jackie at Literary Escapism and you can sign up at this link. I don't think I can reach 100 authors, but 15 new authors seems reasonable.

2016 Challenges Signups 2 of 4

I am going to post my 2016 challenge signups in four separate posts, so that they link to the signup pages on each individual blog better. I will update my progress on the 2016 Challenges page on my blog. Thanks to all these great hosts for putting together these challenges!



This is hosted by Jen at The Introverted Reader and you can signup at this link. This is a new challenge for me and I am going to try for Dilettante level. I need to read more nonfiction and we only have a couple of nonfiction books for book club this year, so I hope this reading challenge will help me to read more nonfiction books.



This is hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block and you can sign up at this link. This is my third time participating and I love this challenge. It allows me to reread my favorites and to compete in a challenge, so what's not to love! I am going to aim for Feeling Nostalgic which is 8 books, but I hope to read 10 again this year.



This is hosted by Mel @ Daily Prophecy and you can sign up at this link. I have missed my goal the past two years, but with Mel expanding the rules a bit, I am going to challenge myself to the same book level with the new name of Goose Girl! I hope to read at least the 5, but really hope to read 7 retellings this year!

2016 Challenges Signups 1 of 4

I am going to post my 2016 challenge signups in four separate posts, so that they link to the signup pages on each individual blog better. I will update my progress on the 2016 Challenges page on my blog. Thanks to all these great hosts for putting together these challenges!


Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2016 Alexa Loves Books Hello Chelly button










This is hosted by Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books and Rachel @ Hello, Chelly and you can sign up at this link. I want to try some new fantasy authors and finish some fantasy series. I am going for 10 books as a goal.





This is hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate and you can sign up at this link. Yes, I am signing up for this again and yes, I know I haven't met my goal for the past two years, but I am going to read 6 classics for this challenge this year!

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This is hosted by Julie at Smiling Shelves and you can signup at this link. I almost met my goal last time and I am going to stick to my same goal, the L'Engle level. I hope to read this year's winners and some older titles.

Bout of Books Day 3 Update and Rainbow Challenge

Bout of Books

Day 3 Update: Well it is back to work I go! I will be less active today reading and blogging, but I still hope to get some things accomplished. I was able to comment on 8 blogs and several Twitter posts. I did not read a single page yesterday, but I did complete the Rainbow Challenge!

Today's challenge is hosted by Ranty Runt of a Reader and is the Rainbow Challenge. You can post a picture with the covers showing the colors of the rainbow or an acrostic type poem of author's last names spelling out the rainbow. I decided to go with the poem.


Rainbow Challenge:
Authors' Names

R- Rowell, Rainbow

O- Oliver, Lauren

Y- Yancey, Rick

G- Green, John

B- Bronte, Emily

I- Isaacs, Susan

V- Viguie, Debbie

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Reading Assignment Challenge Sign up

2016HWLogoButton

This is hosted by Berls at Fantasy is more fun and Michelle at Because Reading and you can sign up at this link. There are so many books I need to finish and then just ignore, so I am hoping to do this challenge to finally finish a few of these books. I am going with Reading Level 1: 12 books total, one a month.

My list in no particular order:
1. Alanna by Tamora Pierce
2. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
3. Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
4. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan
5. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
6. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
7. Inventing the Great Awakening by Frank Lambert
8. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
9. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
10. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
11. The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
12. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Thanks to Berls and Michelle for hosting and good luck everyone!



Bout of Books Day 2 Update and Would You Rather Challenge

Bout of Books

Day 2 Update:
I completed today's mini-challenge, finished the last 25 pages in Scent of Cherry Blossoms and read 76 pages in Alanna, commented on 9 blogs and several twitter posts, so not too bad!

Today's mini-challenge is hosted by Writing My Own Fairy Tale and is Would You Rather. Lori has created 5 interesting and slightly difficult questions to answer, some because you want both choices and others because you don't even want to think about the choices.


Would you rather:
Lend books to someone who dog-ears pages or to someone who reads with cheesy Cheetos fingers?
Ewww! I would rather lend books to someone who dog-ears pages. I work in a library and hate playing the "what stain is this" game. With dog ears, we just unbend the page, but if the stain is brown then we get sick!
Would you rather:
Be able to meet one character of your choice or meet one author of your choice?
Difficult question! I think I would rather meet JK Rowling than Hermione, just because I could meet all the characters through Rowling's incredible mind.
Would you rather:
Never be allowed in a book store again or never be allowed in a library again?
Since I work in a library, I would rather never be allowed in a book store again. With a library, I can request any book through ILL and a bookstore may or may not have a particular book, especially in the case of older titles. My husband would also agree with this answer for me, because eventually library books have to go back, unlike the piles and piles of books I own.
Would you rather:
Have to choose one of your favorite characters to die in their book or have to pick one of your favorite couples to break up in their book?
Since I have read both scenarios in books and I read a lot of YA books, having favorite couples break up is easier. I still mourn the loss of a few characters from HP 8. 
Would you rather:
Be required to read Twilight once a year for the rest of your life or The Scarlet Letter once a year for the rest of your life?
Well, I sort of like both of these, so it is not a punishment necessarily. I have reread Twilight more times than The Scarlet Letter, but not as a once a year thing. I would probably go with Twilight, as long as it is just the first book, because it is an easier read and I can quickly finish it. The Scarlet Letter takes me a bit longer, but it is still a wonderful read! If I have to read the whole series, I would rather read The Scarlet Letter, because after the first book in the Twilight series, I want to yell at the characters all the time for their stupid actions.

Thanks to Lori for hosting this challenge!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Bout of Books Day 1 and TBR Post


Bout of Books



Hooray! It is finally Bout of Books time again! My books for this round are as follows:
Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow
Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall
The Shack by William P. Young
Alanna by Tamora Pierce
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

I am also a Bout of Books expert this time, so I hope to comment on several blogs and be active on Twitter.

Day 1 Update
I participated in the #insixwords challenge today and there have been some amazing six words used by participants. I have commented on a blog or two and a few tweets. I will update this periodically throughout the day, but will be visiting my mother some today. She is a newly diagnosed diabetic and they had to keep her overnight in the hospital last night. It is going to be a major adjustment for her and for all of us and I hope we can get back healthy again. I hope to see you all at the Twitter chat tonight at 8 EST.

Update: Mom is out of the hospital and learning to adapt. Her blood sugar is still high, but she is on medication now and that should help soon.
I was able to attend the Twitter chat, which was a blast! I have read 160 pages in Scent of Cherry Blossoms today. Hopefully I can read a bit more tomorrow. I did comment on three more blogs and lots of tweets!




Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge Signup



2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge hosted by Laura @ trips down imagination road and Me, Michelle @Because Reading. - See more at: http://www.becausereading.com/2016-bookishresolutions-sign-up-post/#sthash.93dM2pHM.dpuf

BookishResolution Challenge 2016


The 2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge is hosted by Laura @ Trips Down Imagination Road and Michelle @ Because Reading and you can sign up at this link. For this challenge you must have 2 of 3 main goals, Blogging, Reading, and/or Personal and then subcategories for these goals.

My goals:

Reading Goals

1. Read at least 6 Classics. This was a goal I barely completed last year, but something I want to continue doing.
2. Read at least 70 books this year. I did not do this as a goal for the Bookish Resolution last year, but I did have it as a goal. I just missed it by 8 books, so I want to challenge myself on it this time.
3. Finish at least 4 series. I did well with this last year, but I have several more series that I did not finish.

Blogging Goals

4. Blog at least 10 times a month. I met this goal for 7 out of 12 months, so I want to try this one again.
5. Complete at least half of the challenges I sign up for this year. I came very close to completing this goal, but not quite. I will be signing up for challenges soon.
6. Be more active commenting on blogs and on Twitter. By more active, I mean getting on Twitter and commenting on blogs at least once a week.
7. Review at least half of the books I read. I basically just stopped writing reviews at the end of the year and I would like to do better with this in 2016.

Personal Goals

8. Lose at least 20 pounds. We are going to try Biggest Loser at work and our theme this year is Libraries Transform, which is ALA's theme. I gained back most of what I lost last year, so I would love to lose that weight again and maintain the weight loss.
9. Eat and drink healthier. I would like to eat at least a vegetable or fruit a day. I eat horribly and am not in good shape. I would also like to cut down on coffee and sodas, because that is all I have been drinking lately.
10. Exercise more. I would love to exercise at least a few times a month and possibly up this to a few times a week as I get in a bit better shape. I don't want to push things too fast, so for the first month or so, I would like to exercise at least 3 times a month.

Thanks to Michelle and Laura for hosting! This is a fun challenge and one that you can make work for you!















2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge hosted by Laura @ trips down imagination road and Me, Michelle @Because Reading. - See more at: http://www.becausereading.com/2016-bookishresolutions-sign-up-post/#sthash.93dM2pHM.dpuf
2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge hosted by Laura @ trips down imagination road and Me, Michelle @Because Reading. - See more at: http://www.becausereading.com/2016-bookishresolutions-sign-up-post/#sthash.93dM2pHM.dpuf
2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge hosted by Laura @ trips down imagination road and Me, Michelle @Because Reading. - See more at: http://www.becausereading.com/2016-bookishresolutions-sign-up-post/#sthash.93dM2pHM.dpuf

My January TBR List

MyTBRList

This is hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading. Each month you pick three books on your TBR list and people vote on the one you should read that month. I took a break in December and I am ready to start the new year off right! I am picking 3 books from my Kindle to tie in with the COYER challenge. These were all eARCs from Edelweiss and they were all runners up last year for My TBR.

First Choice:
Oblivion (Nevermore, #3)
Atheneum
Oblivion by Kelly Creagh. Kelly worked at Louisville Free Public Library until her writing career took off. I loved the first two in the series, with their gothic type horror and romance based on Edgar Allan Poe. This finishes the series and I am anxious to see what will happen to Isobel and Varen.
Second Choice:


The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, #2)
Scholastic Press

The Iron Trial was my best middle grades read of 2014, so I was excited to get an egalley of this one. It is reminiscent of Harry Potter, but the authors have created their own elements.
Third choice:

Mirrored
HarperTeen

I love Flinn's fairytale twists and I like that she is bringing Kendra back for this one. This is a twist on Snow White.
I would be happy with any of these choices and hopefully this will make me read on my Kindle more! Remember you can vote on these even if you are not participating in the meme itself.
Thanks to Michelle for hosting!