Friday, January 30, 2015

Literary Link Love: January 2015


Literary Link Love is back!!

In December, I missed posting my monthly wrap-up of links I shared in the social media stratosphere.  Life was crazy, links were few.  BUT, now I am back and boy, do I have some good stuff for you!

Do you want to raise your children to read for fun?  If so, this piece from Scholastic has some great ideas to lead your child down that very path.

I am a huge fan of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, but some of these little facts totally blew me away.  Can you imagine what a Sendak/Dahl would have been like?!?

Remember the Scholastic Book Fairs?  Can you relate to this?!?

Are you in need of a good laugh?  Because these chalkboard signs will help you with that.

I want ... no, NEED this in my life.  All Harry Potter fans probably do.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I recommend you check out the latest art that will be released in an illustrated edition.  The detail is amazing!

This kids is one smart cookie!  "Books are like dessert."

In case you missed it, Goodreads released their Best of 2014 books.  Do you agree with these choices?

Scholastic released a detailed report re: Kids and Reading.  If you have not yet seen it, take some time to check it out.  All of it.  Or, if you are limited on time, there is the key findings here.

Last, but not least, I hope you have seen this AMAZING GIVEAWAY I am hosting thanks to Candlewick!  If not, get on over and check it out.  It closes TONIGHT!!

Whew!  That was good stuff right?!?

What have been some of your favorite links to share this month?  Any of these particularly catch your eye?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Fever

Welcome back to Wordless Wednesday!

It's been a while since I posted a Wordless Wednesday post, but I am now back with a little spring-like photo for your enjoyment.  We are experiencing warmer than normal temps in my neck of the woods, which is creating a bit of spring fever  . . . which is not necessarily a good thing because I know deep down that it will not last!


For more Wordless Wednesday selections, click here.

Are you experiencing spring fever these days, or are you covered in snow?!?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Maunder: Winter's Respite Readathon


Welcome Back to Monday!!

Last week, I did not get much blogging done.  I did get some good reading in though.  I finished off Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn as well as Saga, Volume 3 and Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan.  This week, I am hoping for a good week of blogging, writing, and reading, and the Winter's Respite Readathon will help with the last portion of that goal!


The Winter's Respite Readathon is hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict as well as Seasons of Reading.  It will last this entire week, Monday through Sunday, and has no parameters except to have fun reading.

I have already finished one book at the time of this writing.  It was my audiobook of Ape House by Sara Gruen.  I listened to the last 50 minutes of it this morning and then went out to search for my next audio read.  This is what I chose . . .


As for my print books, I will be catching up on some graphic reads for the first part of this week until I can get my hands on my new copy of my latest book club read.  These are my graphic options that I will be choosing from . . .




As for that book club read, this is it.  I have to have it read in one week, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it arrives sooner rather than later and I can dive right in.


Last, but not least, I will be working on my latest read with my kids -- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

If I am lucky, I will get lots of writing done this week as well, both for the blog and in general.  Here's to hoping that the week proves to be productive!  As usual, I will be posting updates on Instagram and Twitter throughout the week, and I will post my wrap-up in my weekly ramblings.

Are you participating in the Winter's Respite Readathon this week?  If no, what is on your agenda?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Maunder: January 2015 Mini-Bloggiesta Wrap-Up


What a wonderful, productive week and weekend!

On Friday, I posted that I would be participating in the latest edition of Bloggiesta.  Let's revisit my list of things to do with some additions as well as some notes on each . . .
  • Back-up Blog -- DONE!
  • Back-up Template -- DONE!
  • Update Books Read in 2015 -- DONE!  (You can view it here.)
  • Update A-Z Review Index -- DONE!  (You can view it here.)
  • Update Book Bloggers International Blog Index -- DONE!  (This was one of the items that I added to my list over the weekend.  You can view it here.)
  • Update Book Bloggers International Guest Post Index -- DONE!  (This was the other item that I added to my list over the weekend.  I was on a roll.  You can view it here.)
  • Clean Out TO READ Notebook -- Did't even get this one started.
  • Clean Out Email -- DONE!  (My inbox was emptied and I cleaned up my account in general, increasing my available space by 20%!)
  • Catch up on Feedly -- DONE!  (All caught up ... for now!)
  • Schedule Wordless Wednesday Posts -- Nope, not even started.
  • Write & Schedule Reviews -- Still have 9 books that I need to write reviews for.

I had some unexpected plans come up on Saturday and didn't get to work on my list at all.  Today, proved to not be very productive either.  BUT, I would definitely consider my Bloggiesta weekend a success!!  I will actually be continuing to work on this list throughout the week, and will hopefully be able to cross off those final items on the list.

In other news, I finished reading The Maze Runner trilogy this last week and started reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.  I have a few options of what to read next, but I am not sure which one I will be in the mood for.  I will keep you posted in next week's ramblings!

Did you participate in Bloggiesta this last weekend?  How did you do?  What are you currently reading in the midst of blogging updates?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mini Bloggiesta: January 2015

It's that time of year again to work on cleaning up the blog thanks to Bloggiesta!!  This time around it is a mini event, only running a few days - Saturday, January 17 to Monday, January 19 to be exact.  Bloggiesta is one of my favorite events because it helps me get those tasks done that I always tend to procrastinate on.  So, without further ado, let me share my list of things to do over the long weekend . . .
  • Back-up Blog
  • Back-up Template
  • Update Books Read in 2015
  • Update A-Z Review Index 
  • Clean Out TO READ Notebook (currently sits at 29!)
  • Clean Out Email (i.e., catch up on emails and delete older emails)
  • Catch up on Feedly (currently only sits at 34, so I just want to stay caught up and cheer other participants on)
  • Schedule Wordless Wednesday Posts
  • Write & Schedule Reviews (9 books currently need reviewed)

I am also hoping to get out and play in the mountains this weekend, so that will limit my time to work on these tasks.  I am still hopeful and confident that I can still cross the majority of these tasks off my list.  I will let you know the results in my weekly ramblings on Monday night, but will also post updates on social media throughout the weekend (most likely Twitter).

For more information on Bloggiesta, check out their website.

Are you participating in Bloggiesta this weekend?  What are your goals and/or plans?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Candlewick Top Picks!

I am so excited to announce an amazing giveaway, courtesy of Candlewick Press!  Before I get into the details, however, let's take a few steps back and look at some recent news.

TIME magazine recently compiled a list of their 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time as well as their 100 Best Children's Books of All Time.  There are so many great titles on these lists, both old and new.  If you have not already had a moment to check out these lists, be sure to click on over and check them out.

Candlewick Press, an independent children's publisher that has been around for more than 20 years, is excited to announce that TEN of their books have made these lists.  Which titles come from Candlewick?  Let me list them for you . . .
  1. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  2. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  3. Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
  4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  5. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  6. Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci
  7. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
  8. Journey by Aaron Becker
  9. Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
  10. We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

Now for the exciting giveaway news!  Thanks to Candlewick, I am able to offer readers of Tif Talks Books a young adult pack of winners!  ONE winner will receive the first SIX titles listed above in paperback (as pictured below).


GIVEAWAY DETAILS
  • The 6-book paperback prize pack is available to US and Canada residents ONLY.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Entries will close on Friday, January 30 @ 11:59 PM MST.
  • To enter, please complete the form below.
  • Winner will be emailed and required to reply within 48 hours with their mailing address to qualify.  If no response is received, a new winner will be drawn.
  • Winner will be emailed and announced here at Tif Talks Books.  Winner address information will be passed on to the sponsor for mailing and will be used for no other solicitations.



Thank you to Candlewick Press for your generous gift!  If you are interested in learning more or following their latest updates, you can find them in the following ways:


Best of Luck, and Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015: My Year to Persevere

Over the last couple of years, I have moved to a theme for the year -- one word that I want to live by and remind myself to work towards throughout the year.  In 2013, it was DISCOVER.  In 2014, I worked towards RESOLUTION.  For 2015, I have struggled to find the right word, but now I believe that I have found it . . .


PERSEVERE.

According to dictionary.com, persevere means . . .
to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.

The latter half of 2014 found me struggling with health issues that trickled into a lot of other areas:  personal and professional responsibilities, reading, writing, and more.  After a lot of conversation, I made the decision to resign from my job, get healthy, and re-evaluate my personal and professional goals.  That's where PERSEVERANCE is really going to come into play.  I need to figure out how to maneuver through all these obstacles and continue to move forward, possibly on a completely different path.

That's a big word, so let's take a look at some smaller goals that I hope to tackle along the way in 2015 . . .

  • GET HEALTHY:  For me, this means being more conscientious about the food that I eat, how I eat throughout the day (shooting for smaller, more frequent meals), and increasing my exercise.  Sadly, my regular workouts were one of the first things that disappeared when I started that job.  These need to return.
  • READ MORE:  I found myself not reading for days on end towards the end of the year.  This is not normal for me and I found that the lack of reading impacted me tremendously.  Reading every day, even if it is for 5 minutes will help to improve my mind and mood.  I also want to continue working on the dozens of series that I am currently in the middle of.
  • WRITE MORE.  I love to write, and I want to do more of it.  I want to get back into freelance writing.  I want to finish a novel.  I want to try my hand at short stories again.  Thankfully, I have an amazing online writing group to help keep me motivated, accountable, and excited!
  • BLOG CONSISTENTLY.  I want to get back into a regular blogging schedule, sharing new posts, reviews, discussions, etc. at least 3 times per week.  I plan to continue my weekly ramblings in Monday Maunder.  I am excited to continue sharing some of my photos through Wordless Wednesday.  I will also share my Literary Link Love once a month.  Beyond that, you can expect book reviews, discussions, participation in bookish events, and anything else that may come to mind.

When I look at all of this, I think it is feasable.  I can do this.  I can and will PERSEVERE.

What is your one word for 2015?  What about your goals?  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Maunder: Bout of Books 12 Wrap-Up


This past week, I participated in Bout of Books 12, a week-long readathon that is vastly popular.  It's a week filled with lots of activities, but I choose to usually focus on just reading.  In fact, this time around I did not even make a Twitter chat.  BUT, that's okay!  I had a great time catching up on some reading.  Here's a quick round-up of what I was able to accomplish throughout the week.  (You can view my original goals here.)


Minutes Listened:  233 minutes
Pages Read:  449 pages
Books Completed:  1 (The Scorch Trials by James Dashner)

I was pretty happy with these statistics, but I gotta say that I was able to fulfill an even more important goal.  My Feedly Reader had really gotten out of hand over the last month.  I was having a hard time keeping up, commenting on blogs, and simply getting my reader below 500 posts to be read.  In fact, at the beginning of the week, my reader stood at 619 posts.  I knew it was time to do something about it, so I did!  I slowly began weeding through all the posts.  As I progressed, I found myself cleaning up my reader and deleting blogs that I no longer read on a regular basis for various reasons.  I deleted a number of blogs that are no longer active.  And, I closed out Bout of Books on Sunday evening with a completely empty reader!!  Of course, I awoke to more posts to review this morning, but it felt so good to get that cleaned up and hopefully, it will make it easier to stay up-to-date on in the weeks and months ahead.

This week proved to not be all about reading.  I was also able to get a few monthly/yearly wrap-ups written and posted as well:  December 2014 in Review, Books Read in 2014, and The BEST of 2014.  I was hoping to get my goals post for 2015 up, but I have been struggling in finding my word/theme for the year.  I *think* I may have found it, so that should be going live tomorrow.

What a great start to the new year!  With an eventful first full week of 2015 starting with Bout of Books and some pretty decent reads, I can only hope that it reflects all that will come!

Did you participate in Bout of Books 12?  How did you do?  Are you having a good bookish start to 2015?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The BEST of 2014: Books, Pics, & Posts

Yesterday, I shared with you the complete list of the books that I read in 2014.  Today is the day that I break down the BEST . . . the BEST reads, the BEST posts, and the BEST pics from last year.  Buckle up and let the BEST ride begin!!





The BEST of the BLOG

I reviewed all the posts from 2014 here at Tif Talks Books, and narrowed them down to the TOP 5 (in no particular order) thanks to the most hits and the most comments.  Four of them came from big events that I participated in, but the final one was where I decided to open up about a personal side of me that I have never shared before.
  1. Bloggiesta Challenge:  Get Organized {Evernote + More}
  2. Dewey's Readathon:  April 2014
  3. Monday Maunder:  Armchair BEA -- Introductions & Literature
  4. Armchair BEA:  Author Interaction & More Than Just Words
  5. Monday Maunder:  Breaking My Silence
Were there other posts from the blog that stood out to you in 2014?


The BEST of the PICS

Switching gears to the TOP pics that I shared on Instagram in 2014.  Please note that all pictures shared on Instagram are taken only with my smart phone.  Most of the pictures that I share in my Wordless Wednesday posts are taken with my good ol' camera and tend to be my personal favorites . . . most of the time!  These TOP 5 pics are listed in descending order based upon the number of likes they received (the number of likes at the time of this posting are in parantheses next to each title), with the top pic being the last one. 

October Readathon Stack (32)


Christmas Goodies #2 (35)


Library Book Sale (36)


Christmas Goodies #3 (38)


Big Horn Sheep (47)


Have any other images, either from Instagram or my Wordless Wednesday caught your eye?


The BEST of the BOOKS

Last, but not least, let's take a look at my favorite reads.  Whereas I covered the TOP 5 in the above two lists, my favorite reads will look at my TOP 10.  It is harder to narrow down my favorite reads!  I am going to break it down to my personal BEST reads, but will follow it up with a slightly shorter list of HONORABLE MENTIONS for the year.  (Please note that these are from the books that I personally read in 2014, not necessarily published in 2014.)  I have also linked up to my reviews, for those that are available.

Starting with my BEST reads, in no particular order . . . 





I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga








The following books may not have made the BEST list, but they are still worth mentioning as HONORABLE MENTIONS because they were still that good . . . 

Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson




Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand




Okay, that last one was not a single book, but the series.  I have not yet read the whole series, but I am sure having fun with it and look forward to reading the remaining series in 2015!

What were your favorite reads of the year?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Books Read in 2014

At the beginning of the year, I had set the goal of reading a minimum of 75 books for the year.  As you can see from this list of books read in 2014, I was able to not only meet this goal, but exceed it!  Woohoo!!  For your convenience, I have also linked up the reviews for those written.
  1. Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
  2. A Life in Hand:  Creating the Illuminated Journal by Hannah Hinchman
  3. Jack of Fables #8:  The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham
  4. Jack of Fables #9:  The End by Bill Willingham
  5. The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins
  6. Fairest #1:  Wide Awake by Bill Willingham
  7. From a Buick 8 by Stephen King
  8. Stitches by David Small
  9. The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
  10. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  11. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  12. Runaways #1:  Pride and Joy by Brian K. Vaughan
  13. The Unwritten #6:  Tommy Taylor and the War of Words by Mike Carey
  14. Ivy and Bean #3:  Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows
  15. The Infernal Devices #3:  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
  16. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
  17. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  18. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  19. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  20. Chew #1:  Taster's Choice by John Layman
  21. Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones
  22. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  23. The Dyerville Tales by M.P. Kozlowsky
  24. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  25. Runaways #2: Teenage Wasteland by Brian K. Vaughan
  26. Runaways #3:  The Good Die Young by Brian K. Vaughan
  27. Chew #2:  International Flavor by John Layman
  28. Chew #3:  Just Desserts by John Layman
  29. Chew #4:  Flambe' by John Layman
  30. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #5:  The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney
  31. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #6:  Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney
  32. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #7:  The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney
  33. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #8:  Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney
  34. Tommysaurus Rex by Doug TenNapel
  35. Sleep Donation by Karen Russell
  36. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  37. Sookie Stackhouse #1:  Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  38. Batman:  Li'l Gotham #1 by Derek Fridolfs
  39. Batman:  Year One by Frank Miller
  40. Batman:  The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb
  41. Batman:  The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder
  42. Sookie Stackhouse #2:  Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  43. Runaways, Deluxe #2 by Brian K. Vaughan
  44. Runaways, Deluxe #3 by Brian K. Vaughan
  45. The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
  46. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  47. Sookie Stackhouse #3:  Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
  48. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  49. Sookie Stackhouse #4:  Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
  50. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  51. Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1:  The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  52. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  53. Sookie Stackhouse #5:  Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
  54. Sookie Stackhouse #6:  Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
  55. Sookie Stackhouse #7:  All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
  56. Future Flash by Kita Murdock 
  57. The Walking Dead, Book Nine by Robert Kirkman
  58. The Walking Dead #19:  March to War by Robert Kirkman
  59. Fables #19:  Snow White by Bill Willingham
  60. The Walking Dead #20:  All Out War Part 1 by Robert Kirkman
  61. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  62. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  63. World War Z by Max Brooks
  64. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  65. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
  66. Feral by Holly Schindler
  67. Ghosting by Edith Pattou
  68. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  69. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  70. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  71. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
  72. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  73. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  74. Revival by Stephen King
  75. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
  76. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
  77. The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

Yes, that's a total of 77 books for the year.  Breaking it down a little further, that is 22,454 pages read in 2014.

For a portion of the year, I brought back my old feature of Fairy Tale Fridays once a month.  I did not continue with it for the entire year, but here were the selections that I did feature while it was running.
  1. The Frog King by The Brothers Grimm
  2. A Fairy Tale About a Boy Who Left Home to Learn About Fear by The Brothers Grimm
  3. Cat and Mouse in Partnership by The Brothers Grimm
  4. Little Briar-Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty) by The Brothers Grimm
  5. The Peasant and the Devil by The Brothers Grimm
  6. Our Lady's Child by The Brothers Grimm
  7. The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids by The Brothers Grimm
  8. Faithful John by The Brothers Grimm

How was your reading in 2014?  Did you meet your goal (if you even set one)?