Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Announcing the Father & Son Month of Frights!

It has been far too long since I hosted an event here at Tif Talks Books, and I decided that this time of year would be the perfect opportunity.  I have been wanting to read more books by Joe Hill for the past couple of years, but never seem to.  I have also been wanting to read even more of one of my favorite authors, the infamous Stephen King.  The light above my head lit up with the connection and I decided it was time I devoted a month of reading to a father and his son!

Let's get to the details:

What:  Father & Son Month of Frights -- A focus on reading anything and everything by a father (Stephen King) and his son (Joe Hill).

When:  October 15 - November 15, 2015

Where:  Hosted right here at Tif Talks Books.  We will have a midway check-in on Saturday, October 31 and a wrap-up on Sunday, November 15.

Who:  Anyone can join in!  Just link up a blog, Twitter, Instagram, etc. in the comments below.  We will be chatting all month long via social media using the hashtag #fathersonfright.

Feel free to use the image above to help spread the word.  If you have questions or comments, post in the comment section below.  I look forward to having you join me for a month of fright!

Will you be joining in?  What books might be on your list to read?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Maunder: September 2015 in Review

Where did September go?!?  I cannot believe how fast time is flying by and how little I am reading and blogging these days!  Let's just take a look at my monthly wrap-up to prove my point.

The TOP POST was actually three-fold, which is amusing considering that I really didn't share much this month.  The most comments appeared on the latest edition of my Bloggiesta task list as well as my monthly wrap-up for August.  However, I think that the post with the most hits SHOULD have received the most comments.  If you have not had the opportunity to check out #30Authors:  Jamie Ford on The Swans of Fifth Avenue, I definitely recommend that you do!

The TOP PIC featured my big news of the month -- moving into my new house and picking out a room that will be devoted to my new library!  Right now, that room is filled with boxes and furniture that belong elsewhere, but I have big plans for this room and I will be sure to share some updates once we get started on making it my own.

My list of BOOKS READ this month was minimal.  It may just end up being my least amount of books read in a month in a long time.
  1. Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
  2. 13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt

Books were definitely not a highlight of my month; moving into my new house was and my time devoted to it and all the changes reflect that.  October will be bringing some fun things though (besides some additional renovations!).  I will be kicking off a month-long event that will be announced later this week.  I am participating in the FrightFall Readathon hosted by Michelle (more of my reading plans coming with that event I just mentioned, and updates will be posted via Twitter and Instagram).  And, most importantly, I will be returning to the college scene as a student for the first time in over a decade!  I am taking an extremely condensed class this month over three very long weekends.  I am excited and nervous and anxious all at the same time!  I am sure that October will fly by even more than September has, but hopefully with more reading and writing in general!

How was your September?  What big plans do you have for October?  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monday Maunder: Currently (3)

Time:  8:46 PM MST (And, yes it is Tuesday, not Monday ... AGAIN!)

The Scene:  Sitting on my couch catching up on the latest episode of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD.  It's my first time using a DVR, and I'm loving that I can catch up easier on the shows that I miss.

Drinking:  Nothing. 

Reading:  I am beginning Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson.  And, I am currently listening to Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup on audio.

Writing:  Once again, not much.  Life has been so crazy with getting our house in order that I have really not had much time to do much else.  I am finally home with few plans this weekend and am hoping for a huge push on a few of these reno tasks.  If I can get through my current list, then I will have more time to work on things such as writing in the evenings.  The other renovation tasks are not as important and we can take our time on them.

Blogging:  I had a good spurt a couple of weeks ago, and then I went silent again (except my weekly ramblings).  As I mentioned above, I'm hoping to get through these last few priority renovation tasks and I can get back to a better reading and writing schedule in general.

Watching:  I have not had time to watch much of anything, but there are two shows that I am trying to make time for.  I am still watching FEAR THE WALKING DEAD (obviously from my scene above!).  I don't like it as much as the original, and I find myself still waiting for more action and more zombies.  Despite that, I'm still watching.

The other show is HEROES REBORN.  I was so bummed when the show was originally cancelled.  When I saw that a different version was being released, I knew that I would be all over it.  I enjoyed the first episode, and I look forward to seeing what more is to come.

Promoting:  I am hoping to promote a little event of my own making soon, if I can finally get the information posted.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, and be watching for it!

Listening:  I have mostly been listening to my audiobooks, since I tend to be in the middle of about 2-3 at a time.  (They just keep expiring before I have time to finish them!!)  However, I have also been listening to a variety of "Chill" stations on Spotify, from piano music to afternoon chill and more.  It is just what I need when I am currently surrounded by so much chaos!!

What is currently on your mind and schedule?  Any good books or shows or promotions I should know about?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Maunder: Bloggiesta Wrap-Up

Last week, I shared that I was going to be participating in Bloggiesta over the weekend because I desperately needed to get caught up on some blogging tasks.  I thought I would also add this other ridiculous list of things that I needed to get done with the house since we just moved.  If it were a typical Bloggiesta weekend for me, this would be my cue to share with you the big ol' list that I had planned with updates on what I completed.  I am not doing that this time around.  You may be wondering why and I will tell you . . . because I simply did not touch one item on my blog list.  And, the other list that I shared was not much better.  I was able to knock off a few of those items, but there is still soooooo much to do!  In the end, I am considering my Bloggiesta weekend to be a big failure.

I still need to complete all of those tasks and finally get caught up on all things blogging.  I have a huge list of reviews to write and quite a few discussion items that I would like to pursue as well.  Therefore, I am going to consider the rest of the month my alternate Bloggiesta time.  For the next nine days, I will be working on that original list that I shared.

As for that other list . . . I will be working on that list as well, and then some!  The nice thing is that my little family is now only in one house.  We have completely moved out of the house we were renting and cleaned it up.  I finally have found myself spending more time actually reading (and not just listening to audiobooks).  I still have a HUGE mess in our new home, but I am taking that a little at a time and making it a point that I spend a little time each evening reading and writing.  It is the perfect way to end my crazy days!

With that, I will be signing off here and heading to spend a little time with my journal and my book.  I am not leaving disappointed at my lack of progress on my lists, but rather satisfied with all that I was able to complete with the option once again available for a little time away from it all!

Did you participate in Bloggiesta?  How did it go for you?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bloggiesta: September 2015

Today kicks off another round of Bloggiesta, and boy am I in need of this event right now!!  My new house is in chaos and cluttered, and my blog has been empty for far too long.  Time to rectify both of those things (though I have a feeling I will have more luck with the latter).

Before getting to my plan for the weekend, let's get a brief explanation of Bloggiesta.
In short, Bloggiesta is a blogging marathon revolving around ticking off those items on your to-do list and improving your blog while in the good company of other awesome bloggers doing the same thing. Our awesome mascot Pedro (Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize) is ready to break out the nachos, enchiladas, drinks, mariachi music and whack a pinata or two! It’s nothing short of an awesome fiesta!

Now for my list of things to do . . .
  • Back-up Blog 
  • Back-up Template 
  • Update Books Read in 2015 
  • Update A-Z Review Index 
  • Clean Out TO READ Notebook (2)
  • Clean Out Saved FB Posts (70)
  • Catch Up on Reviews
  • Catch Up on Blog Reading (1000+)

And, should I also include my list of things that I want/need to get done with this move?!?  Let's just do it for fun's sake (and maybe a bit of my sanity).
  • Prepare guest bedroom for guest on Friday evening.
  • Shampoo carpet in master bedroom.
  • Shampoo carpets in kids' rooms.
  • Clean out closets and organize clothes.
  • Finish moving everything over from the rental. 
  • Clean the rental.
  • Have all beds set up and made.

Whew!  I think I am going to have a busy weekend!  Here's to hoping it is as productive as I hope it to be!

Will you be participating in Bloggiesta?  What is on your agenda?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#30Authors: Jamie Ford on The Swans of Fifth Avenue

I am so excited to announce that I am back for another year with #30Authors!  Last year was this event's inaugural year, and it was a huge success.  This year is proving to be just as fabulous!  And, to add to the excitement, I am excited to announce that I was paired with a fellow Montanan.  Not just any Montanan, but one that lives in my own town and that I had the pleasure of meeting just a couple of weeks before I knew that I would be paired with him.  I have more to share about these experiences, but for now let's move on to the awesomeness of #30Authors.


#30Authors is an annual event connecting readers, authors, and bloggers. Throughout the month of September, 30 authors review their favorite books on 30 blogs in 30 days. The event has been met with incredible support from and success within the literary community. In the six months following the event’s inaugural launch, the concept was published as an anthology by Velvet Morning Press (Legacy: An Anthology). Started by The Book Wheel, #30Authors remains active throughout the year and you can join in the fun by following along on Twitter at @30Authors, using the hashtag, #30Authors, or purchasing the anthology. To learn more about the event and to see the full schedule, please click here.


Before Paris Hilton’s sex tape, Kim Kardashian’s sex tape, and Donald Trump’s hair (please, dear God, no sex tape), there was a time––not so long ago, when extreme decorum went hand-in-manicured-hand with extreme wealth.

Oh, sure, that deportment may have only been a veneer of courtliness. Like the way famed socialite, Babe Paley, was never seen without her make-up (even by her husband) but it created a visceral barrier between social classes.

We were all common blue-collar, common folk while they were capitalist royalty, whose feculence did not offend.

That is, until Truman Capote came along and ripped back the curtains of gentility and set fire to the world, accidentally burning his own bridges in the process.
**Sidebar moment**

But that’s the beauty of being an artist. You don’t belong to any one social class—you transcend them all.

I’ve met senators, governors, and once signed a book for a justice on the US Supreme Court.

I’ve also visited prisons and inner city schools that were run like prisons.

The access is amazing but you never truly belong.

**Okay, sidebar moment over**
Melanie Benjamin’s latest novel, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, ushers us into the final act of that gilded age. When Capote’s larger-than-life personality swims with and later against the current of New York high society.

It’s a delicious tale of when gossip became an art form, a spectator sport, and eventually a lethal weapon.


I could write my own bio of Jamie Ford, but it would never compare to his own description. I highly encourage you stop by his website for his own personal bio. Then, spend some time perusing the site to enhance your day.

He is the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as well as Songs of Willow Frost. I've read both books and I think you need to pick them up if you have not already.

Jamie Ford can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

BY MELANIE BENJAMIN (from Goodreads)
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife comes an enthralling new novel about Truman Capote’s scandalous, headline-making, and heart-wrenching friendship with Babe Paley and New York’s society “swans” of the 1950s.  
Centered on two dynamic, complicated, and compelling protagonists—Truman Capote and Babe Paley—this book is steeped in the glamour and perfumed and smoky atmosphere of New York’s high society. Babe Paley—known for her high-profile marriage to CBS founder William Paley and her ranking in the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame—was one of the reigning monarchs of New York’s high society in the 1950s. Replete with gossip, scandal, betrayal, and a vibrant cast of real-life supporting characters, readers will be seduced by this startling new look at the infamous society swans.
To learn more about Melanie and her books, check out her website.  Be sure to check out her recommended ways to purchase this book here.


If all this amazing is note enough for you, be sure to check out the #30Authors giveaway!  It features 18 books + a BookJigs Prize Pack!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Monday Maunder ... Tuesday Ramblings

Surprise, surprise!!  It's not Monday!!

This last weekend was the official move date for my family into our new home.  We spent the whole weekend packing and moving items ... because I was not organized at all this move and did not have a bulk of our stuff packed.  Thankfully, we are moving just down the street and we can throw things in our cars and transport them as needed.  In fact, many of my items are sitting in our old home awaiting their arrival to our new home.  We have to be out of the old place this coming weekend, so thankfully, we have a few more days to finish up the final moving stages.

With another move on our plate, life has proven to be chaotic AGAIN ... STILL!  We still have so many updates to make to rooms that much of our items are strewn from one end of the house to the other, and far from their proper locations.  My books are packed away in boxes, and many are still stacked in the other place.  The internet has been causing us problems, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that we may have fixed that issue.

Ultimately, that is the bad and the ugly.  What about the good?!?  Well, we are in our new house!!!!  And, I love it even when I see all the work ahead of us.  Now, I just need to get organized and spend a little bit of time each day writing and updating the blog.  That all starts tonight!  My goal was to start on Sunday night.  I'm two days behind, but I am getting back on track.  I call that good!

Now, I'm off to finish scheduling some posts for this week and then I'm heading to bed with a book.  With all this work, I find myself really looking forward to my bedtime routine!  I may only read 2-3 pages, but it is better than nothing, and I know that I will eventually get back to more reading in the near future.

How has your reading been going?  How about your life in general?  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Maunder: August 2015 in Review

August has come and gone, which means it is time to look back and review the month.  Let's get to it . . .

The TOP POST for the month was not hard to find because I did not post a whole lot!  I'm hoping to turn that around this month, even if the month is off to a slow start.  Both of the top posts were Monday Maunder posts.  All the Good received the most hits and comments, but I Need a Vacation tied in the category of comments.

The TOP PIC is this beauty!  I'm sure wishing I was back there, even though so much good has happened since then.

Reading was slow this month, but the ones I did read were really good!  There were a number of audiobooks that I almost finished before they expired on me, so hopefully, I will have surge in those during the month of September.  Anyways, here's the list of BOOKS READ this month:
  1. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
  2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  3. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Looking at this list, you would think that I would have a hard time picking a FAVORITE READ; however, it's not hard at all.  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet easily takes the cake this month!

August may not have been good in the categories of reading and blogging, but it sure was good in general.  I was able to go on my first real vacation in years.  I started a new job that I am loving, even if I come home exhausted with work to do in the evenings.  And, we finally were able to set a closing date on our new home (that we spent most of the long weekend cleaning and renovating because we closed this last week).  

September has a lot of great stuff coming!  #30Authors returns this month, and you will get to see some of that action right here again this year.  We will be moving into our new house this month, whether the renovations are done or not.  And, if I can get my act together, I am hoping to announce an event that I will be hosting next month that will go well with RIPX!  Stay tuned!!

How was your month of August?  Do you have anything exciting planned for September?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Monday Maunder: Currently (2)

Time:  8:50 PM MST (And, yes it is Tuesday, not Monday!)

The Scene:  I am currently sitting on my couch watching The Big Bang Theory, attempting to get caught up on my long list of things to do!

Drinking:  A large cup of chocolate milk.  I actually drink it with only a slight hint of chocolate, which my husband thinks is crazy!

Reading:  I am currently reading 13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt.  I am also in the midst of a number of audiobooks because they keep expiring before I can finish them.  At this very moment, I am currently in the midst of listening to Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  There is no way I will finish it before it expires, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of the other ones I'm in the middle of will become available instead of starting a new one.  Last, but not least, I am still reading Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan with my kids.  With all the recent chaos, we really have not had the chance to read together.  I'm hoping we can get back to our regular reading now that we are back in school and are working out the usual routine again.

Writing:  Not much, and it is driving me crazy!  I have soooooo much that I want to write, but I just haven't found the time to actually sit down and do it.  I'm really working to spend a little time every day writing in some form.  So far, I am failing.  Thankfully, tomorrow is a new day and I can try again.  

Blogging:  Some day, I will be back to posting more regularly on this blog.  I'm sure going to try this week to get something other than my weekly ramblings posted, but we will see how things go.  Please stay with me while I get this new schedule figured out!

Watching:  I really have not had much time to watch TV or movies.  I have been trying to keep up with Masterchef and I have watched the first two episodes of Fear the Walking Dead.  I'm a huge fan of the former, and the latter is warming on me.  I thought the pilot was a bit slower than I expected, but this latest episode had more to offer.

Promoting:  The latest Book Bloggers International Newsletter!!  In case you have missed it, the team over at BBI has created a new monthly newsletter sharing all the amazing that is happening on the blog as well as in the book blogging community in general.  We share the current theme, what is coming up, featured giveaways from around the blogosphere, and a handful of book blogger events coming up.  It's pretty cool, so be sure to subscribe!  

Listening:  I have been listening to a lot of music lately, mostly cool recommended lists from Spotify, from Chill, Relax, Focus, etc. while I work on things at work.  It has been just what I need lately!

What is currently going on in your life?  What are you reading, watching, and listening to?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Maunder: Bout of Books 14 Wrap-Up

Another week has passed and another Bout of Books readathon!  Let's take a look at the results . . . or, in this case, the lack of results!!

Total Pages Read:  154 pages (all within Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, and I'm still reading!)
Total Minutes Listened:  189 minutes (all in Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie, and I'm still listening!)

I did not finish any books, but to be honest, I am still pleased with my results.  Why?  Because I was busy, busy preparing for my new job that actually officially began today.  For those of you who are familiar with the time of year known as back to school, you will know that I ended up spending more of my time preparing for the school year to begin.  I completely forgot about how much time goes into cleaning up a new office, getting organized, and decorating before the kids start school.  Last week, that is exactly what I was doing in addition to a bit of training, and I am still working on it this week.  I've got one more day left before the kids return, so let's hope I have another productive day tomorrow!!

On the new job front, today was my first real day back.  Overall, it was good, despite the crazy travel schedule with meetings held all over town.  Thankfully, that is not a common occurrence!  Tomorrow, I hope to begin meeting the families and kids that I will get to work with and spending more time with the teachers.  Wednesday will be the big day though!  I have a feeling that I will be in bed early most nights this week, especially if I am as exhausted as I was today!

I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a great first day back for both my kids and myself this week.  And, I hope for those of you in the midst of all the back to school chaos experience only the best as well.  I will be trying to get posts scheduled this week, but it may be another week before I go back to more than one post.  Either way, I am still going to be trying to write every single day!  I really need to get back in the habit.

Did you participate in Bout of Books?  If so, how did you do?  Are you in the midst of the back to school chaos?  How does that seem to be going for you?