Monday, May 29, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: #ArmchairBookExpo is Coming!

It's been a while since I checked in.  I can't believe the month has passed so quickly, but the good thing is that we are just that much closer to summer break!  Things do not necessarily slow down when summer hits, but it does change and I'm really in need of a change right now.

The end of May also signifies a HUGE event coming our way, and one of the reasons I have been so busy behind the scenes these days.  Armchair Book Expo (what used to be Armchair BEA) kicks off this Wednesday!!  We have some really fun stuff planned this year, including some pretty amazing giveaways (some of which are a surprise)!!

Armchair Book Expo originally began way back in 2010, and I somehow managed to get in on the creation of this event.  I have only taken one year away from the project, but have been going strong every other year.  We have grown and evolved, but this year I am pretty excited about what we have coming your way.  So, if you haven't clicked on over and checked it out, click here now!  Go check it out, register for the event, and plan to join in on the action in whatever format best suits you.

The other thing that I have had going on this month is a readalong that I'm hosting over at Book Bloggers International for THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie.  Let me tell you ... that book was amazing.  It was sad.  It was hilarious.  It pushed me out of my comfort zone.  I plan to write a detailed account of my thoughts here in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, you can check out all the discussion questions over at BBI.

What else has been going on in my neck of the woods?  Projects, projects, projects.  Beginning to wrap up the school year.  End of year activities for my own kids.  And, for the kids at the school where I work.  Tending to a sick family member.  Reading some good books.  Yes, I have had time to read this month, and I'm really not sure how I am doing it.  All I have to say is that I am thankful for audio books these days.  The month of May has truly been a bit of a beast, but I am trucking along and somehow getting things done and still taking a little time for myself.

With that, it is time for me to take a little Tif time.  I'm going to kick up my feet, grab one of the many books on my nightstand, and read a bit before heading to bed.  Good night!!

How have you been doing lately?  Do you intend to participate in Armchair Book Expo this year?  

Monday, May 22, 2017

BOOK CHAT: April 2017 in Review

Whoa!  Wait a minute!

It's almost the end of May, and I am just now getting my monthly wrap-up post done.  What is going on here?!  Let me tell you ... this month has been crazy busy.  I have been back to the hospital with a loved one.  I attended a funeral back in my hometown for a family friend.  I've launched my new business (more information to come on that one!).  I've been working a LOT behind the scenes on two additional blogging projects.  And, the end of the school year is quickly approaching and I am swamped with stuff with my own kids and school stuff.  So, I've been here.  I haven't forgotten this little blog.  And, surprisingly, I'm still finding time to read!!  Okay, let's get to the details from April, and then we can talk some more about what's been happening in May.

I have two TOP POSTS from April . . . Weekly Wanderings:  Spring Into Horror Readathon had the most hits and comments, but Weekly Wanderings:  Spring Break is Coming did tie that one in the comments.

The TOP PIC for the month was this beauty from reading outside.  What book was I reading?  Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, of course.

My list of BOOKS READ in April was a bit short.  Thankfully, I can say that May will have more than this!
  1. The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
  2. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  3. Superheroes! by Laurence Maslon

Which of these three was my FAVORITE READ for the month?  I think I would have to say Superheroes! by Laurence Maslon.  I listened to this one on audiobook, and it was fun to hear real-life interviews with such artists as Stan Lee, and the number of random facts in this book proved to be intriguing.

So now let's talk MAY!  In case you missed it, I am hosting a readalong again this month over at Book Bloggers International.  We are currently chatting about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  Well, I'm chatting about it.  Not a lot of people have joined in (yet), and this is a fun one to talk about.  Seriously, this may be one of my favorite books of the year!  Also, I am working on preparing for the big Armchair Book Expo (formerly Armchair BEA) event that happens next week.  For those that are not familiar with this event, it is one that runs parallel to and in partnership with Book Expo in New York City.  It features tons of interaction, giveaways, guest articles, and reporting from the event in NYC!  I am the only remaining founder of the event that remains active in the planning, and it takes a LOT of planning.  Last, but not least, I have launched my new business as an Independent Consultant for Usborne Books!  Probably not the best time of year to add something to my plate, but I am officially up and running and going for it.  Feel free to follow me over at my new Facebook page, Tif Hearts Usborne Books.  I will likely keep blogging and business life separate unless I am sharing general news during one of my Weekly Wanderings posts.

Phew!  What a month!  At the time that I write this, I officially have 12 days left of school + 3 days of trainings before I am officially on summer break.  And, I cannot wait for a little break!  I'm looking forward to extra sleep, extra reading, and extra relaxation.  Speaking of which, I'm going to go get in a bit of two of those things ... sleeping and reading ... right now!  

How was your month of April?  How is your May treating you so far?

Monday, May 8, 2017

READALONG: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

It's time for another readalong alert!  I am hosting another readalong this month over at Book Bloggers International.  If you have the opportunity, grab a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  It's a quick read, and I would love to chat with you all about the book as we read it together.

You can view the month-long schedule here, but we start discussion TODAY!

Have you read this book, or is it currently sitting on your shelf to be read?  What other books by Alexie have you read?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: #SpringHorror & #Readathon Results

How is it already Thursday?!?  I cannot believe that this week has flown by so fast, and I am just now getting up my results from the latest two readathons.  To be honest, this week is always hard for me because it is the anniversary of my father's death.  No matter how hard I try, it always throws me for a loop and this year has been no exception.  I feel like my days get a little darker, then the really dark day hits, and then the light slowly begins to appear again.  Thankfully, I am now on the lighter side.  So, what better time to finally sit down and share my readathon results!

For those who missed it, I actually participated in the Spring Into Horror Readathon as well as Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon.  I am going to share my full results from the former first, and then will include my notes from the latter afterwards.  With that said, let's get to it!


I already shared my breakdown here, so I leave you with just my totals.
222 pages 
524 minutes (8 hours, 44 minutes)


Monday, April 24
15 pages
61 minutes

Tuesday, April 25
0 pages
29 minutes

Wednesday, April 26
9 pages
25 minutes

Thursday, April 27
4 pages
59 minutes

Friday, April 28
0 pages
0 minutes

Saturday, April 29 (READATHON!!)
106 pages
137 minutes

Sunday, April 30
0 pages
25 minutes


I didn't quite double the numbers during the second week as I had hoped, but I am completely pleased with these numbers.  Now, let's take a quick look at the breakdown for the day of the 24 Hour Readathon.

Hour 1:  Sleeping

Hour 2:  Waking up, showering, and eating a bit of breakfast.

Hour 3:  Online check-ins.

Hour 4:  I forgot that I had a scheduled call at this time, so I only got in 20 minutes of audiobook.

Hour 5:  20 minutes of audio, 14 pages read.  I really enjoyed reading a bit more of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with my kids during this hour before the chaos hit!

Hour 6:  11 minutes of audio, 6 pages read.

Hour 7:  26 minutes of audio.  I may have fallen asleep for a bit.

Hour 8:  Went to visit briefly with my grandmother when I got a message from an unexpected visitor.  It was my uncle and I hadn't seen him in almost a year, so I met him for a bit to catch up.

Hour 9:  Continued visiting with my uncle when I received a notification that I needed to check on my grandmother again because of a fall.

Hour 10 & 11:  Checked in on my grandmother, got her cleaned up and tended to, and set for the rest of the night.  All was fine!

Hour 12:  Finally back home and listened to 22 minutes of audio.

Hour 13:  35 pages read.

Hour 14:  20 minutes of audio.

Hour 15:  18 minutes of audio.  Husband made a phenomenal dinner and then went to get us all some ice cream!!

Hour 16:  15 pages read.

Hour 17:  24 pages read.

Hour 18:  12 pages read.  Everyone else finally goes to bed and I am the lone reader still awake.

Hour 19:  Fell sound asleep with my book resting on me!  My day took a heavier toll on me than I realized, so I just went to bed.

Hour 20-24:  Sleeping!

As you can see, I had a couple of unexpected visits and I just didn't get the reading time I had hoped.  Oh well.  I still had a great time and I count both readathons a success.

Did you participate in either of these readathons?  How did you do?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

BOOK CHAT: It's #Readathon Time!


Okay, okay, I've been participating in the Spring Into Horror Readathon for almost two weeks now, but the readathon I'm talking about today is the BIG one!  It's the one that has probably been around the longest and it runs for only 24 hours.  It's known as Dewey's Readathon or the 24 Hour Readathon, and it is filled with tons of fun, especially considering the numbers that participate.

What will be my plans and goals for the day?

To read and relax as much as possible.  If I end up working on something, it will hopefully be something I can do while listening to an audiobook.  If not, then I'm going to try to save it for Sunday instead.  During the last big readathon, I read for at least a portion of 16 hours throughout the day.  I'm not sure I will get in quite that much reading, so my goal is to get to 12 hours.  What the numbers look like within those hours we will just have to wait and see.

What will I be reading?

Anything I feel like it at the time!  I'm hoping to spend a good portion of my time catching up on some comics and graphic novel collections.  I will also have all my current reads, some short story collections, and my audiobook to choose from.  Here's a couple of quick pictures of books that I will be dabbling in throughout the day . . .

At the time that this goes live, I will likely still be in bed.  But, I will be awake shortly, ready to get the books read.  I will be posting sporadically throughout the day on social media (Twitter and Instagram) to share my updates.  I will post a full update on Monday, so I have a little time to recuperate and catch up on things around the house that I will be ignoring tomorrow while I read.  Until then, happy reading!!

Are you participating in the readathon?  What's your plan for the day?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

Ove is a grumpy, cranky old man.  Nobody seems to be able to follow the rules.  Everybody seems to be making choices that Ove doesn't agree with.  He sees things in all black and white, and he just does not have the time and patience to add the color.

However, one day a family moves in next door and changes everything, beginning with running over his mailbox.  Ove becomes challenged in his ways.  His routines are destroyed, and people become attached, whether Ove wants the attachment or not.

I had so many people recommend this book to me, so I decided to give it a try.  In fact, I chose this book for the first read of Book Bloggers International 12 Months, 12 Readalongs project (#12mos12rals).  I posted weekly discussion questions and encouraged others to join in the conversation.  (Discussions linked here:  Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.)

At first, I found the book difficult.  Ove was so negative, which resulted in the negative feelings being transferred to myself.  It just gave me a crabby feeling about the book and I found myself not wanting to pick it up.  In addition, I was not expecting so many triggers related to suicide.  It was this that I wish I had known more about before opening this book, to be better prepared before experiencing the topic so deeply multiple times.

Then, something changed.  I reached a point in the book where I found myself wanting to pick up the book and even having a difficult time putting the book down.  I found myself understanding, appreciating, and eventually, loving Ove.  I never expected that to happen, or the tears I shed at the end before the closing of the story.  I never expected to end up adoring the story that started out so frustrating and boring to me.  I think A Man Called Ove just proved that feelings can change, especially once we take the time to understand . . . understand where someone comes from  . . . understand what someone has experienced . . . understand why someone might believe in one thing or another.

I leave you with one of my many favorite quotes from the book:
"You only need one ray of light to chase all the shadows away."
A Man Called Ove is a ray of light.

Have you met Ove?  What did you think of his tale? 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: #SpringHorror Readathon Midway Check-In

A week has passed since I last posted about joining the Spring Into Horror Readathon, so I thought I would take a few moments to share about my reading in that time period.  Before going into my thoughts and additional comments, let's take a look at the daily details.

Monday, April 17
113 pages
12 minutes

Tuesday, April 18
5 pages
119 minutes

Wednesday, April 19
0 pages
23 minutes

Thursday, April 20
10 pages
58 minutes

Friday, April 21
10 pages 
29 minutes

Saturday, April 22
67 pages
121 minutes

Sunday, April 23
17 pages
162 minutes

222 pages
524 minutes (8 hours, 44 minutes)

In addition to these totals, I have completed two books:  1984 by George Orwell and Superheroes! by Laurence Maslon.

So far, not so bad.  Now, because the big 24 Hour Readathon is coming up this weekend, let's see if I can double these numbers by the time this readathon ends on Sunday night.

Are you prepared for the readathon this weekend?  How has your reading been this week?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Spring Into Horror Readathon

My spring break is officially over.  Tomorrow I head back to work.  I didn't get near as much done as I had hoped over this short little break, but I did get in a bit of reading.  And, I want to keep that going, so why not join in a little readathon?!

Spring Into Horror Readathon runs from Monday, April 17 (yesterday) through the end of the month, April 30.  Two full weeks of reading and the only parameter is that I must read something scary.  I think I can handle that, especially considering that the BIG readathon is coming up right towards the end of this one!  I never really shared an April TBR pile that I had planned to pull from, until now.  This is the stack that I will be pulling from through the end of the month, for both readathons . . .

Those books laying down are those that I am currently in the middle of; the ones standing are the ones that I hope to read, especially during the upcoming 24 Hour Readathon (though I will be sharing an update on my stack once we get closer to that event).  My hope is that by the end of the month, I can get rid of my large stack of books that I am currently reading; get it back to my usual three (one in print, one on audio, one with my kids).  Hopefully, this little extra rest that I was able to get over my spring break will give me the boost that I need!

Are you participating in this readathon?  What about the upcoming 24 hour one?  What is your reading plan?

Monday, April 10, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Spring Break Is Coming!

I am two work days away from having a little spring break, and I cannot wait for them to be here.  The schedule has been packed.  Numerous unexpected things have popped up (including snow!).  I have barely been reading.  And, I have a huge stack of things to do sitting on my desk that I barely touch each night.  The one positive thing that I have going for me is that I finally filed my taxes.  Oh, and I only have two more work days until my little break begins.

I will have four work days off.  It's not a full week, but I am going to take advantage of each day as much as I can.  Many of the days are filled with meetings or medical appointments, and tackling that growing pile of things to do.  One day may be filled with traveling.  But, I am going to make it a point to do a little something for myself, including read, every single day of my break.  Because I need a little spring added to my step, and I think this is just what I need these days.

Two more days.  I can do this.

Do you get a little spring break?  What do you do to get in a little care for yourself during these busy spring months?

Friday, April 7, 2017


I could be checking in today on the craziness of my week, but lately that seems to be the story of my life.  Instead, let's talk about one ... well, actually two ... of my favorite things ... GRIMM.  If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you will know that I am a fan of fairy tales, particularly those by the infamous Brothers Grimm.  I used to host a weekly feature a number of years ago called Fairy Tale Fridays.  I discontinued it, but continue to return to fairy tales over the years, in my reading, blogging, and writing.

Six years ago, a new TV show debuted called GRIMM, and I knew that I had to check it out.  Each episode took on some familiar tales, and some not-so-familiar tales, and brought it's own unique spin.  The show was weird, and tended to be violent, but I was determined to not miss a single episode because I became so invested in the characters.  Nick Burkhardt was a detective with a family secret that quickly turned his life into a tailspin.  But, this little secret sent him on a journey that would bring some unexpected friends to his side, my favorite being Monroe.

Last week, the final episode of the entire series aired.  I did not expect to feel so sad to see this show end.  It's one of the few shows that I have watched beginning to end in real time, and I will miss this group of friends.  This group of friends, different in so many ways and historically bred to be enemies, joined together to make one unbeatable team.  They won me over, but now it is time to say good-bye.

Good-bye GRIMM.  You are gone, but not forgotten.  You will go down as one of my faves, not only because the show was creative and brilliant, but also because it taught all of us that despite our differences, we can band together to fight for the good of humanity.

Are you a fan of GRIMM?  What did you think about the series finale?