Thursday, November 23, 2017

BOOK CHAT: Thankfully Reading Weekend

It's late on Thanksgiving night, and I realized as I'm sitting in my turkey stupor that I never shared with you and announced my official participation in the Thankfully Reading Weekend.  I'm here to rectify that right now!

The Thankfully Reading Weekend runs from November 22-26, and there are no rules but to read as you like.  It's truly my kind of weekend!  I have been participating since yesterday as you can see from my Instagram account.  However, the first two days have proven to be quite slow in the reading department.  I'm hoping these next three days are filled with more books than the first two!

Here's the stack that I will be pulling from this weekend. 

I am in the midst of reading the top two books.  I am also listening to The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  I also recently remembered that I'm hosting a readalong of American Born Chinese this month over at Book Bloggers International, so I will likely pick that one up as a re-read this weekend as well.  I will live comment about it over in our Goodreads group, so feel free to join me.  In fact, I encourage it!!  It's a great book!!

Now, it is time for me to get some much needed sleep . . .  as soon as I read a bit more in one of my books!

Are you participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend?  What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

BOOK CHAT: October 2017 in Review

We are half-way through November, so I guess I better get October wrapped up!  Before I know it, November will be here and gone too!

The TOP POST for the month in both hits and comments was I SPY:  Jamie Ford.  Though my post BOOK CHAT:  September 2017 in Review did tie in comments, I'm going to just rule the Ford post as the winner in the month of October!

The TOP PIC for the month was my readathon stack.  No surprise there!  Readathon pics do tend to get a bit more traffic.

Thanks to the readathon(s) I participated in, I had a pretty decent month for reading.  I'm hoping that I still have a couple of good months in me to reach my Goodreads goal, but we will see.  Here's the full list of BOOKS READ in October:
  1. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
  2. Quiet by Susan Cain
  3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  4. March:  Book One by John Lewis
  5. March:  Book Two by John Lewis
  6. March:  Book Three by John Lewis
  7. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Of all those books, I have to say that the March series by John Lewis was my FAVORITE READ for the month.  I can't really separate those and narrow it down to just one book because I really view them as one.  The whole series was a truly powerful read, and is one that I will recommend over and over and over again.

NOVEMBER has already been a crazy month.  For those who may have missed it, I was volunteered to coach my daughter's basketball team ... on top of all the other activities for my kids!  I'm having a blast doing it, but boy is my schedule full.  I am feeling better about the very possibility that I will not have a working oven on Thanksgiving.  My husband and I have come up with a backup menu that will not involve an oven.  Now, I just need to get a bit more sleep, and I will be set to make it through the rest of this month.  Thankfully, I have a bit of extra time next week when I have a long weekend for the holiday.  I also hope that the extra time will translate to some extra time for reading and writing, so let's keep our fingers crossed that I am back soon here on the blog!

How was your October?  Are you currently reading any great books that you would recommend?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Still Alive, Still Reading . . . a Little!

I cannot believe how long it has been since I last checked in here on the blog!  Time seems to be flying by so much lately, and as good as my intentions are these days, they never seem to materialize here on the blog as I hope.  I'm sure that at least some of you can relate!

So, what have I been up to?

Work.  Work has been crazy, and some of that has to do with long hours for parent teacher conferences.  The conferences went really well, and I love working with the kids.  I just have been coming home pretty exhausted at the end of the day, and my reading lately has slowed down because of it.

Volunteering.  I have had some little projects here and there that I have been working on, mainly in regards to the suicide prevention projects that I have going on locally and within the state. 

Book Biz.  For those who missed it, I returned as an Independent Consultant for Usborne Books & More.  I only have a bit of time to devote to this, but I love the connections it has made and the fun conversations I get to have because of it. 

House Repairs.  So, this house that we bought has proven to be quite a project in and of itself.  The library is progressing nicely and we hope to have it ready for move-in by Thanksgiving.  Of course, our roof began leaking and our dining room ceiling has a huge hole in it, so we may be moving Thanksgiving dinner into the library for that day.  Oh, and my oven just died on us, so we are currently debating dishes that we can cook for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner in the likely case that we do not have a replacement by that time.  Combine all the house issues with the rest of the poor luck in 2017, and I really just want the year to be over with.

Kids' Activities.  My kids' activities have really ramped up the last few weeks with the start of basketball.  Daily practices for my boy has me on the road transporting him more than usual, and somehow I became the coach for my daughter's team.  It has proven to be challenging, yet fun!  This is on top of piano and Girl Scouts for my girl, of which the latter I have been helping with teaching lessons for coding.  Of all that I have going on, it is this right here that makes it all worth it though. 

Needless to say, all this has led to very little reading and next to nothing when it comes to writing.  I recently was asked to write some articles for a local publication and I had to turn down the opportunity.  There is really only so much that I can do and I am already feeling pretty stretched these days.  Afterall, I did just write a piece on self-care, and I had better be practicing what I was recommending!  I had high hopes to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but that idea was quickly thrown out the window when I looked at my calendar.  Maybe next year . . . or maybe I just need to spend more time throughout the year as a whole writing on a regular basis.  That is my ultimate goal.

I believe that is enough ramblings for now.  I will be back soon with a wrap-up for the month of October, and as always, I hope to share some thoughts on specific books.  There are so many that I really want to chat with you about!

What have you been up to lately?  Have you read any good books lately?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Readathon Results on Wednesday

It's Wednesday, and I have no idea where the last couple of days went!  I guess time flies when you're having fun ... or are really, really busy!  Somehow I got roped into teaching Girl Scout lessons and coaching my daughter's basketball team.  Sometimes, I have no idea how things like this happen!!

The one thing that I do know about though is the readathon this last weekend.  Here's a quick hour breakdown by the hour . . .

Hour 1:  Sleeping.

Hour 2:  Woke up, showered, got ready for the day.

Hour 3:  Check-ins with other participants.  Read 13 pages.

Hour 4:  Listened to 27 minutes while making a big breakfast with the family.

Hour 5:  Read 16 pages.

Hour 6:  Somehow I fell asleep and took a little nap!!

Hour 7:  Listened 46 minutes.

Hour 8:  Listened 36 minutes.

Hour 9:  Check-ins with other participants.

Hour 10:  Read 119 pages.

Hour 11:  Read 91 pages.

Hour 12:  Power nap!

Hour 13:  Read 82 pages.

Hour 14:  Dinner, then read 18 pages.

Hour 15:  Read 57 pages.

Hour 16:  Read 30 pages.

Hour 17:  Read 80 pages.

Hour 18:  Read 84 pages.

Hour 19:  Read 82 pages.

Hour 20-24:  Sleep!

The final totals for the day ended up being pretty good, and the relaxation and rest that I got was exactly what I needed.  Here are the final details . . .

Listened 109 minutes.
Read 672 pages.
Finished 5 books.

I call that success!!

Did you participate in the readathon?  How did you do?

Friday, October 20, 2017

BOOK CHAT: Readathons, A Readalong, and A Challenge

What a crazy week, but what better way to end the week than a readathon!  But first . . .

This month, I have been participating in a variety of readathons and challenges. 

The #FrightFall Readathon is hosted by Michelle of Seasons of Reading, and runs the entire month of October.  Participants are required to read at least one scary book.  That should be easy considering I love a little spooky during this time of year!  I will get to the specific reads shortly though.

RIP XII (or Readers Imbibing Peril) hosted by Estella's Revenge has been running since the beginning of September and will end at the end of this month.  I was not able to join in right away for this challenge, but when October hit, the time was right.

So, what have I been reading so far?  I was listening to Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian until just recently.  Then, I moved into listening to The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.  Conveniently, this latter book just so happens to be the readalong selection over at Book Bloggers International for our #12mos12rals project this year.  And, in case you missed it, we are now on Goodreads!  I was also working on finishing up Quiet by Susan Cain.  I hope to finish both of those reads tonight before falling asleep or first thing tomorrow because . . .

Now, the BIG READATHON is here!  The one that comes twice a year, and challenges you to read as much as possible for 24 hours.  Except, this one is a big event because it is celebrating its tenth year!  What?!  I cannot even remember how many of these I have participated in, but this one I wouldn't miss.  Life has been so crazy, and I need a day devoted to reading and relaxing.  I cannot wait.  In fact, I really should get to bed because the starting point comes early for me in the morning, and I should probably get some sleep.  Therefore, I leave you with my plans for reading tomorrow.  Some of the reads will overlap with the above events; others won't.  But, I do have a feeling that it's going to be some great reading no matter what!

Will you be reading for the BIG READATHON?  Are you participating in any of the other events mentioned?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I SPY: Jamie Ford

Welcome to my new feature, I SPY!  It's my focus on authors.  Sometimes it will be a focus after attending an author event.  Other times, and because I live in a place that does not always get a lot of author events, it will just be the opportunity for me to share a little author love for one reason or another.  Now, without further ado, let's jump in with the first author of my new series:  Jamie Ford. 

For those who may not be familiar with Jamie Ford, he is the author of the much acclaimed Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  I read this book a couple of years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed his story.  It was such a heart-warming read, and I could not have been more excited to know shortly afterwards that he is an author local to me!

After reading his first novel, I knew that I had to read more, so I moved onto his second, Songs of Willow Frost, listening to it on audiobook.  Where his first novel was one that warmed my heart, his second broke my heart little by little.  Yet, I found myself loving his work even more.  I knew that I would read his next book when it was released.

That third book has now been officially released, and last month, I had the opportunity to attend an event at a local art gallery to listen to him speak.  Just days before, my mother-in-law passed away.  It was an overwhelming week, and I was looking forward to it as a break from it all.  I had no idea that when I would attend this event with a writer friend of mine that I would be laughing so hard, and that it was exactly what I needed after a dark week.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes is Ford's newest story.  It is a book that I look forward to diving into, and hope to finish before this year comes to a close.  I want to know how this book will make me feel after his previous two books created such contrasting feelings.  But let's be honest, I think that he has already cemented himself in my line of author favorites.  At this point, I will buy any book that he writes.  I enjoy his writing style.  I enjoy the worlds that he transports me to.  I enjoy that he brings a touch of history into the present.  And, I am thankful that he was able to bring light into a very dark personal time with his sense of humor.  He's got me hooked!

Are you familiar with Jamie Ford?  Have you enjoyed his novels, either those previously published or his newest release?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Playing Catch-up & a Little Wonder

The last couple of months, I have been feeling so far behind in everything ... reading, blogging, work, and tasks around the house.  This last weekend, I finally felt like I had a couple of days to catch my breath and get all caught up on so many things.  I even got to spend some good time reading.  It has felt so good.

I still have a lot of catching up to do here, and I'm hoping to do a lot of that this month.  I want to talk about some of the books I've read this year, share with you all a couple of author events that I attended, and chronicle the journey of building my dream library.  There really is so much!!  I hope that I can find the time to blog all about it.

In the meantime, it's feeling good to be caught up on all the things, so I can finally enjoy a few things that I enjoy.  And, one of those things that I am enjoying these days is WONDER WOMAN!!  I went to the movie in theaters with my family (not the most family friendly for the younger crowd, in my opinion, but we did it anyways!) and this last weekend, we all watched it again from the comfort of our home.  This scene from the movie is so amazing, and I could watch it over and over again.  (If you haven't seen the movie, don't watch it.  You really must see the whole thing to fully appreciate it.)

How has your week been?  Are you loving WONDER WOMAN as much as I am?  Can we talk about just how much we love this movie?

Friday, October 6, 2017

BOOK CHAT: September 2017 in Review

It's time to check out how the month of September went.  It's going to be short because it was a chaotic month and reading and blogging took a huge hit.  Let's get to it!

There was no TOP POST for the month because I didn't post a single thing all month long.

The TOP PIC for the month was this solemn shot, taken on the day that our family and friends remembered my mother-in-law.  I thought it was very fitting in many ways for the day and in honor of this important woman in our lives.

My BOOKS READ for the month was sparse.  I was able to finish these two books, but that's it.  It was slow going, and I have found myself in the middle of way too many books again.
  1. Rat Queens #1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe
  2. Requiem by Lauren Oliver

With only two completed reads, it's hard to choose just one as my FAVORITE READ.  I think I'm going to with Requiem by Lauren Oliver.  It was a really good trilogy and I liked the way Oliver wrapped it up.  

As I've mentioned multiple times, SEPTEMBER proved to be a difficult, chaotic month.  I chaired my own Out of the Darkness Walk and had great success, but we also lost my mother-in-law when she passed away only days later.  Sleep came in bursts and I found myself ending the month with my sole wish of just getting more of it.  OCTOBER, on the other hand, I have great hopes for.  First of all, I got to start out the month with an opportunity of a lifetime ... seeing Stephen and Owen King speak about their newest book, Sleeping Beauties!  I hope to share more about this with you all very soon.  I also plan on participating in the FrightFall Readathon hosted by Michelle of Seasons of Reading as well as RIP XII hosted by Andi of Estella's Revenge (I'm shooting for Peril the First, which is four books total with a perilous theme).  I plan to post at least one check-in throughout the month, if not more.  Oh, and I am also planning to re-read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson with Tasha at Book Bloggers International.  We have started a new Goodreads group to aid in the conversation, so stop by and check it out.  Obviously, I plan to read a lot more this month, but I also plan to sleep a lot more.  I've got some major catching up to do!!

How was your September?  Are you participating in any of these events in October?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

BOOK CHAT: August 2017 in Review

I'm a little behind in sharing my monthly wrap-ups, so today I'm going to share August.  September is coming soon!

The TOP POST for August was twofold:  BOOK CHAT:  July 2017 in Review received the most comments; WEEKLY WANDERINGS:  Healing & Readathoning had the most hits.

The TOP PIC for the month was this little bookish beauty.  I received all of these little books from my grandfather.  He told me all about them growing up, but he never could remember where he put them.  While I was helping clean out my grandmother's house, I came across these little treasures and I have now added them to my own little collection.

I had a great month of BOOKS READ!  Check out this long list of books completed during August:
  1. El Deafo by Cece Bell
  2. Trickster:  Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection by Various Authors
  3. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
  4. Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan
  5. Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan
  6. Ms. Marvel #3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson
  7. Ms. Marvel #4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson
  8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  9. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  10. Paper Girls #1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Of all those books read, I think my FAVORITE READ is probably Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  It was fun to revisit Simon and Baz, even if it was in an indirect way.

AUGUST was a month that flew by way too fast.  It was filled with some trainings for work, and then the return to work itself.  I love that I get to work on the school schedule, and I love getting back to working with the kids.  SEPTEMBER was a big month to plan for, but I will leave that for when I wrap it up.  

Do you remember any highlights from August, or was that too long ago?!?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


I'm back!  It's been a while.  More than a month to be exact, and I really had no intention of being gone for so long.  Let me catch you up with what has been going on.

I organized my very own Out of the Darkness Walk to help in bringing awareness to suicide prevention and awareness.  The planning of this event pretty much took over my life, and I could not have done it without my super helpful family by my side and a few friends who stepped up for the day of the event.  I had more than 125 registered walkers, with about 100 in attendance, and we have almost raised $7000.  I call that a success!  I am currently planning to bring the walk back again next year, but I will be spreading the planning over a longer period of time and will have more people helping me this next time around.  The walk is a LOT of work for a single person!

After the event, I crashed.  I got a little sick and slept a lot.

Then, we lost another loved one.  My mother-in-law passed away a couple of weeks ago, and that has just been really, really difficult.  We had to make arrangements, and then we organized a memorial, and we find it just odd that she is no longer with us.  I think it will continue to prove difficult as we approach the holidays.  I have already lost a parent, my father, but a mother is different in its own way as I am discovering.  We are just taking it one day at a time.  Some days are more difficult than others, and we are thankful to crash into bed on those days and fall asleep to start a new day in the morning.

I'm hoping that life is finally slowing down for me a bit now, and I can get back to reading and writing.  With all that was on my plate, I simply have not been reading as much as I would like or writing in general except a few freelance pieces here and there.  I'm hoping that will change this month.  I'm going to start with a little catch-up this week, and then see where it will take me.  I have a ton of books that I want to chat with you about, and a couple of author events that I was able to somehow squeeze into my schedule, as well as a few more bookish things.  I've missed the book community, and I am looking forward to joining in again.

In the meantime, I'm heading to bed a bit early tonight in the hopes of cracking a book!  Wish me luck!

What bookish or non-bookish news do you have to share with me since I last posted?