Wednesday, March 29, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Reading & Reading About Writing


Time to do a quick check-in on my reading!  Last time I did this little check-in, I realized that I had my nose between the pages of too many books.  Has this changed much since then?  Nope!  I am still in the midst of way too many books, but that list has decreased a little bit.  Let's take a look . . .

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling:  Still reading this one with my kids.
  2. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce D. Perry:  Still reading this one as a book study for work.
  3. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume 1 by Arthur Conan Doyle:  Still dabbling here and there.
  4. The Brothers Grimm 101 Fairy Tales:  Still dabbling here and there.
  5. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood:  Set this one aside for a bit until I can get a couple of these other ones off this currently reading list.
  6. Fostering Resilient Learners by Kristen Souers:  Another book study for work, but I am almost through this one.
  7. 1984 by George Orwell:  Moved this one back to my nightly reading.
  8. The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian:  The current audio selection.
  9. Soulless by Gail Carriger:  Had to find an ebook of this after sitting in too many doctors' offices without a book, got hooked, and had to request it again.

Okay, so my list has only decreased by one book since the last time I checked in, but that is still less and I have moved a couple of books out since.

Now, onto another topic ... reading about writing!  Because I am always looking for my next read to add to my ever-growing list of books, I want to hear your recommendations on your favorite books about writing.  I have a handful on my shelf and another handful that I have already read, but I want to add more to my shelf and list of resources.  And, I could use a bit of inspiration and motivation these days.  Writing is getting better again, but there is always room for improvement!  Share your favorites with me.

I wish you the best for the rest of the week!  Happy reading!

What are you currently reading these days?  Do you have any reading about writing recommendations for me?

Friday, March 24, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Lumberjanes #1-5 by Noelle Stevenson

Do you ever feel like sometimes the online world is all talking about one book, and you haven't read it and now feel like you are missing out on something?  Honestly, I feel like this happens to me frequently and this time I had to get in the know, and as an added bonus, I got to discover a new comic book series along the way.

Lumberjanes features a pack of girls from all walks of life at a summer outdoor camp.  They share a cabin, but most importantly, they share a friendship that camp and all the adventures within only helps to grow stronger.

Beware the Kitten Holy kicks off the series and the summer.  We are introduced to the girls, getting to know their personalities as well as discovering what summer camp is all about.  We learn that both the girls and the camp are unique, and there is much more to this story than originally the reader suspects.

Friendship to the Max expands on this foundation.  The girls' friendships grow stronger and so does the story itself.  We learn answers to some of the mysteries presented in the first volume, yet know that there is more to come.  And, I wanted there to be more!

A Terrible Plan is truly self explanatory.  We get to focus in on two specific characters a tad bit closer, and their budding relationship -- well, until this terrible plan interferes.  Yet, we don't abandon the other characters; we are entertained by them as a bit of an intermission.

Out of Time introduces us to a whole new plot twist, but one that goes back into the history of the camp.  We get to learn more about where the camp came from and those that attended the camp back then, allowing the readers to have a greater understanding of the past as well as the present.  Then, we discover that the past comes back to haunt the camp and our precious set of friends.

In the most recent volume, Band Together, Stevenson moves from a more serious story line in the previous volume to one that is just plain fun.  The reader is introduced to the mermaids residing in the local lake, and all the angsty conflict that comes with it.

Lumberjanes is a fun new series that I look forward to following.  It is entertaining, but also provides themes that prove to be more complex.  As I was reading, I found myself frequently having to search out my books.  Where would I find them?  In my kids' rooms!  They wanted to read them too!  I loved seeing this love of reading, but what I appreciated more was the conversations that resulted from what a friendship looks like to even what love looks like in its many forms, even despite our differences.

I cannot close this post without commenting on the artwork.  I can't tell you what makes it stand out, but it does.  It's eye-catching.  It's colorful.  It's detailed, and I found myself wanting to just admire the art for extended periods of time while reading the story.

Now I must wait to experience the next installment.  In the meantime, I'm thankful my dear husband gifted me the books to enjoy when the desire arises.

Have you had the pleasure of reading Lumberjanes?  What have you thought of the series so far?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Bite Somebody Else by Sara Dobie Bauer #BiteSomebodyElse #Imogene4Life

I am so very excited to be a part of the cover reveal team for an author friend, Sara Dobie Bauer.  However, before we get to the very exciting cover reveal, let's first take a peek into Bauer's earlier work.

Last July, Sara debuted her vampire novel, Bite Somebody.  Here's a quick quote from my review that I shared with you all last summer . . .
She takes a risk, all while referencing some classic and modern vampire literature along the way, and creates a story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
I truly loved the cover of Bite Somebody.  It's fun and whimsical, and very suiting to the story that is within its pages.   When I heard that there was the possibility of being one of the first to see AND share the cover for Sara's sequel, I knew that I had to be in!  And, with that, it is time to share the new cover.  Drum roll please . . .


Do NOT read that cover description if you have not read Bite Somebody!  Spoilers abound!!


I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this book!  I am ready for another fun ride!

What do you think about the newest cover?  Are you excited to read this book?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Is It Friday Yet?


Is it Friday yet?!?

I know, I know.  It is only Tuesday, thankfully almost Wednesday.  This week has already been a long one, and I am surprised that I did not fall asleep at my desk this afternoon when I finally had the moment to sit down for five minutes!  I have a feeling the rest of the week is going to be just as crazy.

The good news is that I am feeling better!!  I probably did not get as much rest over the weekend as I had hoped, and I definitely didn't get in as much reading as I had wanted.  But, I am not in as much pain, and I am feeling much better than I was one week ago.  

The other good news is that I have some exciting news for an author friend of mine that I will be sharing tomorrow morning!  I'm finishing up the final touches on that post as soon as I publish this one, just to make sure it is already to go first thing.

I have not been posting as much here lately, but it is not because I have nothing to share.  I have been writing here and there behind the scenes, hosting a readalong over at Book Bloggers International of The Underground Railroad, and slowly attempting to launch another year of Armchair Book Expo (formerly Armchair BEA).  I'm hoping with all the positives this week, I am finally getting back on track to share more literary goodness with you here!

Until then, I will be working away behind the scenes, getting some posts ready, reading, and trying to thrive amongst the chaos of this week . . . because it is simply not Friday yet!

Are you wishing for the weekend already?  What does your week look like?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Sick, But Still Reading!


It's been a while since I have shared a WEEKLY WANDERINGS post, so I figured it was about time to check in!

Life has been so very busy lately, and once again, I'm not feeling really great.  My son just spent the last two weeks taking a hunter safety class.  My daughter is preparing to deliver Girl Scout cookies, and has had her usual crazy evening schedule of activities.  And, with all of that, it means that I have been helping to transport, study, and rearrange meals around all of this other stuff.  Thankfully, my husband has been so very helpful with it all lately, and my kids tend to be pretty flexible.

On top of all that, I have not been feeling well once again.  I have spent the last two days in and out of the doctor's office, having tests run, and I think (hope) that we have found the answers we are looking for.  I'm on some pretty high dose meds for the next week, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed this is the magic medicine to make it all go away.

Despite all this craziness, I have surprisingly still been reading!  I am currently still in the middle of too many books (11 to be exact!), but there are a handful that I am really focusing on these last few days.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  This is a really intriguing book, and one that I am having a hard time setting down.  I wish I had more reading time for this one!

The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian.  This is my current audiobook read that I just started over the weekend.  I have become a huge fan of Bohjalian's work over the last year, and am determined to read/listen to everything that he has ever written.

Soulless by Gail Carringer.  Today I found myself having to get some unexpected tests at the doctor's office and I didn't bring a book with me.  GASP!  It was driving me crazy just sitting there in the waiting room, so decided to download this ebook from Overdrive.  I typically do not read ebooks, but this one has me hooked and I have a feeling I will be looking for excuses to pull out my phone to read here and there.

I hope to pick up a few of the other books that I am in the middle of at some point this week.  I really need to narrow down all this stack that sits on my nightstand.  And, I'm really hoping now that activities have somewhat slowed down, my kids and I can get back to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  We are at the really good part!

Well, that is about it.  Hopefully, I will find the time and energy later this week to get some of my reviews posted.  I have a couple of them already written.  I just need to type them up and get them scheduled.  In the meantime, tell me . . .

How have you been doing lately?  What are you currently reading?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

BOOK CHAT: February 2017 in Review


February flew by so fast, and once I finally realized it was time to wrap it up, it was already a week into March!  Crazy, right?!?  What's even crazier is that February was a very slow month for me in both reading and writing, especially considering my amazing month of January.  I am thankful that the short month is over, and I'm ready to redeem myself in March.  With that, let's do a quick overview of the month . . .

The TOP POST for the month was one filled with lots of exciting news . . . BOOK CHAT:  So, This Exciting Thing Happened.  This little thing that happened was the big exciting highlight of the month, and I am still reeling from the excitement of it all!

The TOP PIC for the month was my little pic of the #12mos12rals selection for February, hosted by Tasha over at Book Bloggers International.  Now that I am officially done with the book, I must say I can see why there is so much love for the picture!


The BOOKS READ for the month were not actually a bad number, but it was definitely less than January.
  1. Lumberjanes #4:  Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson
  2. Lumberjanes #5:  Band Together by Noelle Stevenson
  3. Coraline by Neil Gaiman (audiobook)
  4. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  5. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley (audiobook)

My FAVORITE READ of the month was hands-down Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.  This was such an amazing book on so many levels, and it will likely go down as one of the favorite reads of the year.  I will be posting a full review of the book with my thoughts in more detail later this month.

I have lots to look forward to in MARCH!  I am hosting a readalong of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead over at Book Bloggers International for #12mos12rals.  I am working to get back on track for my reading, and especially am looking forward to a little three-day weekend.  Of course, I also should get my taxes done, and I will be helping to transport my daughter as she delivers Girl Scout cookies when they arrive later this month.  I know this all doesn't sound like fun, but it does sound like a good balance between the fun and the stuff I need to do.


Last, but not least, I want to just check in on my #ONEWORD for the year.  Writing took a hit this month for me.  I did so well with journaling in January, but in February I fell off the wagon.  I did not journal for about a week on a daily basis.  I tried to go back and make a few notes on each day, but some days will simply remain blank.  I did a bit better on the blogging front, and I won't talk about the other writing projects simply because there is nothing to write about.  March will be different!  

How was your February?  What was your favorite read of the month?  Any other highlights you would want to share?

Friday, March 3, 2017

READALONG: The Underground Railroad via #12mos12rals


During the month of March, I will be hosting a readalong of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead over at Book Bloggers International for #12mos12rals.  For more information, check out the announcement and full schedule here!  Discussion will begin Monday.

Book Riot made a special announcement earlier that is only a coincidence, but one with perfect timing.  You can find a FREE audiobook version of this book for the next few weeks over at BBC radio.

Have you read this book yet?  If not, would you like to join me in reading?

Monday, February 27, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Potter & More


If you are a regular reader of Tif Talks Books, you know that I am a fan of all things Harry Potter.  You would likely be surprised to know that after all these years, I had never connected to Pottermore.  I was waiting until my children were older, had read more of the books, and I could more fully enjoy the website with them.  

I am currently in the midst of reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with my kids, so it seemed like the right time to finally get connected to Pottermore.  My daughter and I sat down this last week, and we had a little fun getting sorted out.  Here's a few details of the results . . . . 

I was sorted into Gryffindor House!!  I had always suspected Gryffindor (or maybe I just desired it!) and it was so much fun and gratifying to see that Pottermore officially sorted me here.  For those who may not know, Gryffindors are known for being brave, courageous, chivalrous, daring, and bold.  Okay.  Maybe this doesn't 100% sound like me, but I am still honored.

As for the Ilvermorny House, I was sorted into Thunderbird.  I am not as familiar with this house, and look forward to reading more about it in the days and weeks to come.  According to the website though, Thunderbirds represent the soul and favors adventurers.

In other wizarding news, I discovered that my patronus is a Bassett Hound and my wand is a Redwood Wood with a Unicorn Hair 14 1/2" and Rigid Flexibility.  

Through my initial wanderings through the site, I also discovered the Fantastic Beasts mobile game.  My daughter and I decided to give it a little try and we have loved playing it a little each day!  It's a combination of hidden objects, little spells, and discovering new beasts through a bit of a detective approach.  

I still have so many things to discover on the website, and I will probably be doing some of it with and without my children.  Afterall, my kids have not yet finished the series and I am a strong believer in not spoiling books.

In life news, there have been some ups and downs over the last week and the schedule for the next couple of weeks is going to be absolutely crazy!  I'm hoping I can still find some time to get in a bit of reading, explore some more Pottermore, and play a bit of Fantastic Beasts with my girl.

Have you connected to Pottermore?  What house were you sorted into and what might be your patronus?  Have you connected to the Fantastic Beasts mobile game?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Random Thoughts & Links to Love


What a year 2017 has been!  I feel like it started out on a poor foot when my favorite comb of more than a decade broke in half.  And, things have only seemed to multiply from there.  Thankfully, little things have popped up here and there that help brighten the mood, put a smile on my face, and lighten that load that seems to be bearing down on my shoulders.  Today alone I received two pieces of good news, and I'm almost feeling a bit giddy.  Hooray!

I thought I would share just a few bookish links and thoughts that I have enjoyed over the last week.  I hope that they will bring a little laugh or light into your day!

ICYMI:  I will be hosting a readalong of The Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead over at Book Bloggers International during the month of March.  Today, I noticed over at Book Riot that you can get a free streaming audiobook of our selection, but it is only for a limited time!  Check it out, and join us!

A fellow book friend posted in one of my online book clubs this crazy picture that is blowing my mind.  It's not a public group, so I can't link to it, and I'm not sure who to give credit to on this picture.  (If you do, let me know and I will update with credit information.)  On the left is Emma Watson (Hermoine) and on the right, Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix).  Crazy, right?!


I always enjoy reading little facts behind a good book, especially children's books.  I already knew a couple of these (i.e., Curious George), but that doesn't stop me from reading them every time I see them.

I have always loved to read, but seeing more and more studies released that indicate the benefits of reading makes my little bookish heart happy, especially when they point to creating more empathy and simply being human.

I will leave you with these quick little links for now.

Which did you enjoy the most?  Any links that you want to share with me that I may have missed lately?

Friday, February 17, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Introvert Doodles by Maureen "Marzi" Wilson


"Whoever said there's strength in numbers lied."
Maureen "Marzi" Wilson is an introvert who found herself on a mission to better understand herself.  She turned to her own talents of writing and drawing to set out on this journey and discovered along the way that there was a world of introverts quietly living among her.  When she began to share her art, this quiet audience began to shout understanding and her little book Introvert Doodles hit the shelves.

I have sometimes seen some of Wilson's comics floating around the internet, and found myself silently chuckling in agreement.  I had no idea that there was a whole book of doodles.  That is, until Stacy from Stacy's Books sent me a copy in my little Secret Santa gift this last December, and now I cannot thank her enough.

Introvert Doodles is a book I will set on my coffee table or end table to visit whenever I need a little laugh, or when I need a little reassurance that I am not alone in this very extroverted world.  Because sometimes being an introvert can feel lonely and overwhelming, especially for one who works with people all day every day.  And, because sitting with a book at the end of the day, a book that you can relate to and makes you laugh, is just the right medicine for an introvert's soul.  Introvert Doodles is like comfort food.

I want to share a quick nibble of this comfort food with you.


There is more where that comes from; a feast really.  You can find this one and many more at the devoted Introvert Doodles website.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  Have you been exposed to Wilson's doodles?  Can you relate?