Monday, July 25, 2016

Readathon Wrap-Ups: High Summer Readathon & #24in48 Readathon


This last week, I had the pleasure of joining in the High Summer Readathon.  When I went in to the week, I had no plan.  My plan was to read what I felt like, when I felt like it.  And, the result was a great success!  I think I need to do this more often, especially for those longer readathons.  I may not do it every time, but I like this more flexible option every now and then.  Now for the results of the week . . .

Monday

Minutes Listened:  68 minutes
Pages Read:  81 pages

Tuesday

Minutes Listened:  96 minutes
Pages Read:  49 pages

Wednesday

Minutes Listened:  104 minutes
Pages Read:  136 pages

Thursday

Minutes Listened:  178 minutes
Pages Read:  18 pages

Friday

Minutes Listened:  86 minutes
Pages Read:  104 pages

Saturday

Minutes Listened:  327 minutes
Pages Read:  227 pages

Sunday

Minutes Listened:  265 minutes
Pages Read:  24 pages

TOTAL MINUTES LISTENED:  1124 MINUTES (18 HOURS, 44 MINUTES)
TOTAL PAGES READ:  639 PAGES

When Friday hit, I was reminded that the #24in48 Readathon was happening over the weekend, and I had signed up to participate in it as well.  Good thing the two readathons overlapped, and they both had such great timing!

You can see the specifics above for each day, but this weekend readathon was more about the amount of time I spent reading.  The ultimate goal is 24 hours, but it is not necessarily required.  I did better than expected on the first day thanks to a painting project and audiobooks.  I was able to get in more than 9 hours of reading in the first 24 hours.  On Sunday, I finished up my painting projects and got in another 5 hours of reading.  That was about a total of 14 hours for the weekend.  Not bad for my first official participation in this event.

Last, but not least, I was able to finish a number of books throughout the week of readathons.  I leave you with the list of completions . . .
  • Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill
  • The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
  • Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

That's the most reading I've done in a while!!  My reading mojo is officially back!!

Did you participate in the readathons this last week?  How was your reading?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

June 2016 in Review

We are over halfway over with July, so it seems about right that I get my monthly wrap-up posted for June!  I'm a little behind . . . again . . . but, I will get caught up . . . starting now.  So, let's get to it!

I had a dual TOP POST in June:  The Interview With Sara Dobie Bauer, Author of Bite Somebody received the most hits (and is definitely worth your entertainment to check out if you missed it) and Announcing the #SchoolsOutRAT (School's Out Readathon) had the most comments.

The TOP PIC for the month was this reading beauty, courtesy of my new hammock.  This picture also reminds that I am not taking advantage of this view near as much as I should these days.  I need to make some changes to my priorities!


The BOOKS READ this month was a decent number.  I'm still way behind on my Goodreads Challenge, so I'm hoping to eventually catch up.  In fact, according to the challenge at the time that I am writing this, I am 14 books behind schedule!  Yikes!  I've got a lot of reading to do to catch up!
  1. The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
  2. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  3. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  4. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  5. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  6. Bite Somebody by Sara Dobie Bauer

Which of these books was my FAVORITE READ for the month?  A number of these were really good, but if I have to pick just one, I'm going to have to go with The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

As I mentioned earlier, I am participating in a lot of events during this month of July.  I am hoping with these events, I will get caught up on some reading and blogging.  Stay tuned . . . 

How was your month of June?  What are you most excited for during this month of July?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Slew of July Events: Sit Down & Write and #Firemanalong and High Summer Readathon

July is here and so is a large number of events that I'm joining in!!  Let's dive in!!


#Firemanalong
Joe Hill recently released his latest novel, a dystopia that involves a lot of fire!  A group of us are reading The Fireman and sharing our thoughts and comments as we read.  It's very informal, and you can join in at any time during the month.  I'm not currently that far into the book, and I'm already really enjoying it.  Follow along with the conversation by checking out the hashtag #firemanalong on Twitter and Instagram.


Sit Down & Write 8
Also, throughout the month of July is a writing challenge hosted by Michelle of Stories Inside.  It's a great time to work on your writing goals, and boy, do I have goals.  Let me count the ways . . .
  1. BLOGGING:  I have so many reviews and discussion posts to write, and this is the month to catch up on it all!  I hope to sort through all the books, determine which books I want to write reviews of, and write, write, write!!  Be watching my Instagram account because I think I may ask for opinions on which books in particular you all would like to see me chat about here on the blog.
  2. JOURNALING:  I've been wanting to get back into journaling on a regular basis.  A little something every day, even if it is short and sweet.  Some have recommended bullet journaling to me.  I'm not sure if the full format is the right form for me, but I may try my own little version of it over the next few weeks.
  3. WRITING:  I have been digging through all the unpacked boxes, searching for my notes and novel ideas.  I want to get back to one of those stories that I have started, and begin to add more to the story that may eventually become my first completed novel.
Wish me luck on all these many goals!!  I'm looking forward to getting back to a regular writing schedule.


High Summer Readathon
Last, but not least, I will be participating in the High Summer Readathon hosted by Michelle of Seasons of Reading.  It will take place July 18-24, and there is really no specific reading requirements for the week but to have fun.  I am going to go into this week with no specific reading plan.  Instead, I am going to read on the fly this time around, and see where it takes me.  I will be posting updates on Twitter and Instagram (links on my sidebar!) throughout the week, but will share a wrap-up here on the blog once the event wraps up.

Will you be participating in any of these events?  If not, want to join me?!?

Monday, June 27, 2016

#TBRTakedown 4.0 Wrap-Up & Reading Update

Last week, I was convinced to jump in on the #TBRTakedown 4.0 readathon.  The week was a bit crazier even than I expected, so I did not get as much accomplished as I had hoped.  I did finish one book, Bite Somebody by Sara Dobie Bauer.  (Shameless plug -- Did you see the interview with Sara last week?!?  The review is also on its way!)  But, that was it.  Here are the approximate numbers for the week . . .

Pages Read:  about 200 pages
Minutes Listened:  about 180 minutes

Thank goodness I am done with training and I'm hitting the books again this week!

I have decided that this is the slowest reading year that I have had in a long time.  My Goodreads Challenge currently tells me that I am 11 books behind my goal for the year.  It also tells me that I am in the middle of six (6!) books.  What?!?  Guess what I will be working on this week . . . catching up on my reading goal and getting rid of some of these books I'm currently reading.  It is no big deal to be reading three books at a time, but six is a bit much for me!!  I will also be working on some amazing audiobooks as I work on my household renovations.  I'm hoping to finish a room that has been in progress for months in the next week.  Then, off to the next room and one more room closer to getting to my library!!

What are you currently reading?  How does your reading look for the year so far?  Are you on track, or do you even keep track?


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Interview With Sara Dobie Bauer, Author of BITE SOMEBODY!

I am so very excited to introduce you to a special friend today, Sara Dobie Bauer!  She is the author of the newly released (and when I say newly released, I mean today!) of the book BITE SOMEBODY.  I am currently in the midst of reading this book right now and I am having a lot of fun with this one!  I will be back later this week to share my full thoughts, but for now let's turn our attention to my friend and give Sara a huge warm welcome!

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Tell me about your writing journey. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What has it been like to see your baby BITE SOMEBODY becoming a reality this week? 

Pretty sure I was born with a pen in my hand … which was probably really uncomfortable for my mom. I went to college and studied creative writing at Ohio University and left with at least 25% of my liver intact. I worked in the wine business for a while, then publishing, but I always wrote. Finally, a couple years ago, I took up writing full-time. I’m a columnist for SheKnows.com. I write marketing copy. Most importantly, I write short stories, personal essays, and novels. Seeing Bite Somebody in the hands of readers is a dream come true. I’ve been singing “Once in a Lifetime” all week, wondering how I got here.

Do you have any other published work that you would like to share? Any other projects currently in the works?

There’s a Bite Somebody sequel, but of course, we’re keeping details about that under wraps!

BITE SOMEBODY features Celia, who just so happens to be a vampire. (I love a good vampire story, by the way!) Throughout the book, you reference a lot of other vampire stories. What are some of your personal favorite vampire tales? Beyond the fangs, what are some of your favorite stories? 

I love The Lesser Dead and Suicide Motor Club by Christopher Buehlman. On the less violent side, I adore Michael Griffo’s Archangel Academy series. There will always be a place in my heart for Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. Non-vampire related, I’m addicted to Rainbow Rowell, Christopher Moore, and Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Oh, and I just finished Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which everyone should read. Everyone.

One of my favorite aspects of BITE SOMEBODY is that Celia has a vampire therapist. What made you include or inspired you to include this character in the story? 

Well, you know, Celia has some serious repressed issues that play havoc on her self-confidence and almost sabotage any chance she has with a romantic relationship with her neighbor Ian. If anyone needs a therapist, it’s Celia. Plus, as someone who’s been in therapy myself, it was fun to play with the stereotype of the oh-so-perfect holier-than-thou mental health expert with her wire rim glasses and probing, judgy face.

As a writer, what was the most influential piece of advice you received and who was it from? 

Elmore Leonard told me, “Don’t try too hard.” I laughed. He didn’t mean to stop being ambitious (I don’t think). He meant stop trying to be something you’re not. Don’t try to write like Hemingway or Dickens. Write like YOU. Embrace your own voice, and when you do that, writing is easy and fun. 

What do you enjoy beyond the books and writing? 

Staring at Benedict Cumberbatch (while always reminding my husband that he’s hotter, however). Cuddling with my dogs. Watching comic horror films like Reanimator, Army of Darkness, Trick or Treat, the list goes on. I’m a Halloween fanatic, and half my jewelry and clothes are covered in skulls. I love cocktail hour—expensive scotch or absinthe—and laughing really hard with my family. 

Going back to BITE SOMEBODY, is there anything else you would like to share about this novel? Any fun or weird tales that you experienced while writing or editing it? 

Well, it started out as a short story. I sent it to Shimmer Magazine, and although they really enjoyed it, the editor (E. Catherine Tobler) said, “This should be a novel.” I started writing the first draft in bed and finished it 41 days later. When World Weaver Press fell in love with it, my editor Trysh Thompson asked me to change the entire thing from first-person journal format to third person POV. So the weirdest thing? Seeing a 5,000-word short story turn into a 75,000-word novel that is now being shipped all over the country!

How can my readers find you on the world wide web? In other words, what are some ways others can connect with you (i.e., website and social media)?

I am super active (and possibly annoying) on social media. Come follow my shenanigans:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaraDobie 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSaraDobieBauer
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saradobiebauer/
Tumblr: http://saradobiebauer.tumblr.com/
Or just visit my website: https://saradobiebauer.com/

Let's turn the table here and ask my readers a question! What is one question you would like to ask the readers of TIF TALKS BOOKS? 

My question for you: What is the book that changed your life the most?

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About Bite Somebody: 

“Do you want to be perfect?”

That’s what Danny asked Celia the night he turned her into a vampire. Three months have passed since, and immortality didn’t transform her into the glamorous, sexy vamp she was expecting but left her awkward, lonely, and working at a Florida gas station. On top of that, she’s a giant screw-up of an immortal, because the only blood she consumes is from illegally obtained hospital blood bags.

What she needs to do—according to her moody vampire friend Imogene—is just … bite somebody. But Celia wants her first bite to be special, and she has yet to meet Mr. Right Bite. Then, Ian moves in next door. His scent creeps through her kitchen wall and makes her nose tingle, but insecure Celia can’t bring herself to meet the guy face-to-face.

When she finally gets a look at Ian’s cyclist physique, curly black hair, and sun-kissed skin, other parts of Celia tingle, as well. Could he be the first bite she’s been waiting for to complete her vampire transformation? His kisses certainly have a way of making her fangs throb.

Just when Celia starts to believe Ian may be the fairy tale ending she always wanted, her jerk of a creator returns to town, which spells nothing but trouble for everyone involved.

About Sara Dobie Bauer:

Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model, and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She spends most days at home in her pajamas as a book nerd and sex-pert for SheKnows.com. Her short story, “Don’t Ball the Boss,” was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize, inspired by her shameless crush on Benedict Cumberbatch. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she would really like to live in a Tim Burton film. For more about Sara, visit her website: http://SaraDobieBauer.com.

Where to Buy Bite Somebody: 

World Weaver Press http://www.worldweaverpress.com/store/p103/Bite_Somebody.html
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Bite-Somebody-Sara-Dobie-Bauer-ebook/dp/B01DL9M2UC

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mini #Bloggiesta Wrap-Up & #TBRTakedown 4.0

The Bloggiesta weekend has officially ended and here's a quick look at what I was able to complete from my original list.
  • Back-up Blog - DONE!
  • Back-up Template - DONE!
  • Update Books Read in 2016 (check it out here!)
  • Update A-Z Review Index (check it out here!)
  • Update BBI Blog Index (check it out here!)
  • Update BBI Guest Post Index (check it out here!)
  • Clean Out TO READ Notebook (5 --> 0)
  • Clean Out FB Saves (196 --> 185 -- a little progress was made)
  • Catch Up on Blog Reading/Commenting (didn't even touch this!)
  • Catch Up on Reviews (nope!)

I really did not work on anything until Sunday because I got a little sidetracked with other things . . . hanging with the family, working on editing pictures, visiting with family that was in town for the weekend.  We actually had plans for Sunday as well, but my dear daughter ended up sick, so I stayed home with her and viola, I got to work on my list!

I was not able to accomplish as much as I would have liked, but I made a dent on some tasks that have been around for far too long.  I will count that as success!  And, I will be continuing to work on these final tasks on the list this week in the hopes of getting all caught up.

In the midst of my Bloggiesta tasks, I was convinced by Jo of @thebrokenshelf to join in on the #TBRTakedown 4.0.  I will be in training all week, so I'm not sure how this will actually go, but I'm going to give it a whirl anyways!  I will be finishing up my current read of Bite Somebody by Sara Dobie Bauer (more coming this week!), listening to an audiobook (I'm currently in between reads, so I will keep you posted on what I can find), and working on this stack of review books that I have yet to get to.  Happy reading!!


Did you participate in Bloggiesta this weekend?  How did you do?  Will you be participating in #TBRTakedown 4.0?

Friday, June 17, 2016

#SchoolsOutRAT Wrap-Up


The School's Out Readathon has officially ended!  What a week it was!  If you participated in the event, be sure to let me know how you did by linking up below or leaving a comment with your progress.

As for my progress, I am pleased with the results and I had a great relaxing time in the process!  Here are the details from the week.  I had a slow start, but it definitely picked up by the end of the event.

Friday, June 10
Minutes Listened = 13 minutes
Pages Read = 4 pages

Saturday, June 11 
Minutes Listened = 0 minutes
Pages Read = 55 pages

Sunday, June 12
Minutes Listened = 0 minutes
Pages Read = 165 pages

Monday, June 13 
Minutes Listened = 127 minutes
Pages Read = 0 pages

Tuesday, June 14
Minutes Listened = 40 minutes
Pages Read = 0 pages

Wednesday, June 15
Minutes Listened = 192 minutes
Pages Read = 80 pages

Thursday, June 16
Minutes Listened = 210 minutes
Pages Read = 189 pages

TOTAL MINUTES LISTENED = 582 minutes (9 hours, 42 minutes)
TOTAL PAGES READ = 493 pages

Now, it's your turn!  Let me know how your week in reading went!

Did you participate in the School's Out Readathon?  If not, how was your reading in general?


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer 2016 Mini Bloggiesta

It's time for another Bloggiesta, and it's perfect timing for me to catch up on some much needed blog maintenance this weekend!

What is Bloggiesta?  It is a designated amount of time (for this mini event, it will be a weekend only) for bloggers to work on sprucing up their blogs and catching up on their overflowing to-do lists.  For more information, check out the dedicated blog here.

My list is a long one, but I'm hoping to get to some much needed tasks over the weekend.  In fact, I may take a bit of time on Friday to begin the work.  I will need all the time I can get!

  • Back-up Blog 
  • Back-up Template 
  • Update Books Read in 2016
  • Update A-Z Review Index 
  • Update BBI Blog Index 
  • Update BBI Guest Post Index 
  • Clean Out TO READ Notebook (currently at 5)
  • Clean Out FB Saves (currently at 196!!)
  • Catch Up on Blog Reading/Commenting (currently at 130)
  • Catch Up on Reviews

That final item on the list is what I really need to focus on this weekend.  I need to sit down and determine which books I plan to write discussion posts on, which ones I can combine into some shorter mini review posts, and ones that I want to devote full posts to.  The other items should be pretty quick fixes because I have been trying to stay more up-to-date on those since the last Bloggiesta event.  Wish me luck!

Will you be participating in the Bloggiesta event this weekend?  If so, what are your goals?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WEEKLY WORDS: #SchoolsOutRAT Check-In


It's been almost a week since school was dismissed and I was out for the summer.  I decided to celebrate with the School's Out Readathon, and I have had a good chance to read a little here and there, and for a few moments, a good dive into a book for a longer period of time.  I did have one day of training.  I spent one day catching up on some medical needs.  I spent a little time traveling today.  And, I am now left with only one day left of the readathon and a long list of things to do around the house.  Thank goodness for audiobooks and the possibility of multitasking!


I will share the full details of my daily reading, but I thought I would give you a quick check-in with my progress so far.  I have finished The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian on audiobook, but I really did not have a lot left when the readathon started.  I also finished Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  I am now in the middle of reading The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin and listening to Landline by Rainbow Rowell.  I also started listening to The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo with my son today on our travels.

What am I hoping to complete in the last leg of the readathon?  I hope to finish the audiobook of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  I hope to be done or almost done with The Storied Life of AJ Fikry.  I hope to listen to at least a couple more hours of Landline.  I guess we will see how tomorrow goes.  Wish me luck!

How has your reading been going this weekend?

Friday, June 10, 2016

The #SchoolsOutRAT Stack!


In case you missed it, I announced earlier this week that I decided to host a little readathon to celebrate the end of the school year.  What better way to celebrate summer vacation than getting lost in the books?!  And, today is the day to kick off the fun!  (The announcement and sign-up post can be found here.)

I had planned to share this post earlier today and already have a good chunk of reading in, but sadly, things did not work out as planned.  Last night, I was informed of the loss of a high school friend, her son, and her nephew in a tragic accident yesterday afternoon.  The news left me reeling, which resulted in not getting a lot of sleep last night, and me falling asleep on the couch this afternoon.  I am now feeling a bit better physically, though I find myself still feeling very sad and heartbroken, especially for my friend's family that has already suffered so much over the last few years.  Now that I am feeling more rested, I am looking forward to getting lost in some fictional worlds for a little while.

What are my plans for the week?  Well, I already finished my audiobook of Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian this morning, so I will need to find a new book to listen to.  I also plan to finish my current read of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  Then, I will be digging into my priority books from my June TBR!


I will be sharing updates on the readathon using the hashtag #SchoolsOutRAT on Instagram and Twitter.  There will be no mid-week check-in, but a wrap-up post with link-ups will be available the middle of next week.  I will post my wrap-up on Friday.

Will you be joining in the #SchoolsOutRAT?  What will be your reading plans?