Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Weekly Words: Currently Living Life (Anxiously)!

Time: 9:46 PM MST

The Scene: Sitting in my big chair, just finishing up the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead that I missed over the weekend.

Reading: Not much these days.  I am finishing up a deeper read of Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King.  I originally read it for the class I was taking earlier this year, but didn't feel like I focused on it as much as I would have liked before finishing up the required assignment for it, so I picked it up to devote more time to it.  I am also listening to The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian on audiobook.  I am in the middle of a number of others, but none currently worth mentioning at this time.

Writing: Nothing ... at the moment.  I spent a good chunk of time writing papers for my class.  Then, I dove into Armchair BEA, organizing a lot of the stuff behind-the-scenes.  I finally feel like I'm catching up on life and can return to writing again very soon.

Blogging: My blogging has been pretty slim around here.  While I have been silent here, I did write a little something for Mental Health Month over at Book Bloggers International on the use of picture books in my work with young children.  Now that I have more time on my hands, I look forward to playing some major catch-up here on the blog, starting with some monthly wrap-ups of March and April.  Be watching for these soon!

Watching: I just got caught up on Fear the Walking Dead like I mentioned above.  I have also been watching Grimm and look forward to catching the season finale in the next couple of days.  Then, I will turn to catching up on some recorded movies that I've been saving.

Promoting: Book Bloggers International is currently hosting Mental Health Month on the blog, and we are looking for guest bloggers during the month of June to talk about Tech (i.e., apps, programs, or blogging tools).  If you are interested in writing for us, let us know via email at bookbloggersintl (at) gmail (dot) com.

Living:  Last, but not least, life has had some highs and lows.  Over the weekend, my BIL got married and we had an absolute blast.  We danced and partied and smiled and just had a fabulous weekend.  A huge storm hit right in the middle of the day, but thankfully it occurred after picture and before the ceremony.  Decorations were broken, but it still continued on and turned into an absolutely beautiful ceremony.  On the other hand, we returned home to a week of chaos.  In the last three days, my community has experienced two bomb threats at local schools . . . one of them being at my own kids' school.  I hope to never receive a call like that again, especially since I could do nothing while my children were evacuated.  Many of these cases are happening across the country, so we are not alone in this chaos.  We have one more day of school this week, and I hope that no more schools are hit with these scary situations.

How have things been going in your neck of the woods?  What are you reading, watching, listening, and/or living?

Monday, May 16, 2016

#ArmchairBEA & #BoutofBooks - Wrapping Up the Week!

Wow!  What a week filled with books and blogging!  In case you missed it, last week was two big events:  Armchair BEA and Bout of Books.  And, I made the crazy attempt to participate in both.  In short, I was unable to participate as much as I would have liked, but I did what I could and I will live with the results.  Let's take a look at the details . . .


I was only able to get up my Introduction post shared for this event.  A few unexpected things came up behind the scenes, and then I had my usual planning or organizing tasks that I had to tend to.  So, my life revolved a LOT around this event and its blog last week (and still this week!), but it really did not appear to be so here on the blog.


This is where I was more disappointed.  I did not get near as much reading in as I had hoped, and these days, I really need to get lost in a good book.  I haven't read near as much as I have in past years at this point in the year, and the stress that is surrounding me could be eased by a good book.  I think once I can finalize the details from Armchair BEA and get a big event out of the way this upcoming weekend, I may have more time.  Anyways, here's the daily details with final details for the readathon:

100 minutes
16 pages

33 minutes

0 - Absolutely nothing!

34 minutes

175 minutes

52 minutes

83 minutes
39 pages


So, that's a wrap!

Did you participate in either of these events?  What were some of your highlights of the week?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

#Armchair BEA: An Introduction

This is one of my own babies that is near and dear to my heart!  Seven years ago, I was chatting with a few fellow bloggers about how disappointed we all were that we didn't get to go to Book Expo America.  Somehow Armchair BEA was born and it has blossomed ever since.  I have been working behind the scenes on this event for almost every year since (I took last year off), and I returned this year to a great team that I have already enjoyed working with.  Unfortunately, it also takes a lot of time out of my day to plan such an event, so I am just now getting my first post up for the week!  Without further ado, let's get to the fun stuff!

What is the name you prefer to use?
The name is right there in my blog title -- Tif!

How long have you been a book blogger?
Later this month, I will be celebrating 9 years of blogging!  It's kind of hard to believe!

Have you participated in ABEA before?
Yep!  As mentioned above, I'm one of the co-founders of the event and have been involved in the event every single year.

Do you have a favorite book? If you cannot choose a favorite book of all time, pick your favorite book today - just this second. Remember that favorites are allowed to change if something affects you deeply enough.
I have many a favorite book.  A few of my all-time favorites include Harry Potter (of course!), Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Blindness by Jose Saramago, The Stand by Stephen King, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.  However, a couple of my favorite reads of the year so far are The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.  A close runner-up though is The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie.

What is your favorite genre and why?
Honestly, I will read just about anything.  However, I tend to be drawn to the paranormal, horror, and literary fiction.  And, though these are not genres ... I tend to read a lot of young adult novels and I adore graphic novels and comics.

How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all? (#ABEAShelfie)
Right now, almost all of my books are in stacks scattered around my house or in boxes.  We moved (AGAIN!) this last fall and in my new house, I will eventually have a library.  This is on my summer to-do list and cannot wait to have this room all to myself!!

What is the most interesting thing that you have learned through your reading this year so far?
This is a very timely question because I just finished taking a class on Indigenous and Native American literature.  Through this class, I learned so much about the Native people, the culture, and the beliefs; so much so that I feel like it opened a whole other world for me that has been right in front of my face my entire life!

Well, that's it for my introduction!  The other topic for today was diversity, and I honestly have been meaning to write a post on this for quite some time.  I do not think that I will get it written tonight, so I am going to try to get it written for tomorrow instead.  I think this is such an important topic to discuss, and I can't wait to share my own point of view on this one.

Are you participating in Armchair BEA this week?  Did you introduce yourself or talk about diversity today?  If so, please share!  I want to read all about you!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Call Me Crazy . . . #ArmchairBEA and #BoutofBooks

This week is going to be crazy, and I thought I would try to be crazy right along with it by joining in Armchair BEA and Bout of Books 16!

Armchair BEA is one of my personal biases.  I am one of the original founders, and am back again this year to organize the event from behind the scenes.  I am really excited about the daily topics and agenda, so we will see what kind of time I have on my hands to actually get something written for each day!

Bout of Books is one of my favorite readathons.  Now that I am officially done with my classes, I am hoping to get in more reading, and this is the perfect time to do so . . . unless my time is stolen by Armchair BEA.  Let's see what I can do!

I will not have a specific stack of books that I will be working towards this week, but rather reading on the fly.  I will be posting updates on Twitter and Instagram as time allows, so you can see my current reads there.

Well, wish me luck!!

Will you be joining in either Bout of Books or Armchair BEA?  Anyone crazy enough to join in both with me?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Readathon Wrap-ups

Hello from the other side . . . of the readathons that is!  (And, a little music video to go along with that because it is what I am listening to as I write this little wrap-up! Go ahead and give a listen while you read.)

Now for the actual readathon stats!  I'm going to break it down by day.  I obviously had some days of highs and lows, but overall I was pleased with my progress.  I didn't actually finish any books, but I did make significant progress in many of them!  Keep in mind when reviewing the stats, that I participated in both the Spring Into Horror Readathon all last week as well as Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon on Saturday.

Pages Read:  38 pages
Minutes Listened:  56 minutes

Pages Read:  110 pages
Minutes Listened:  91 minutes

Minutes Listened:  88 minutes

Minutes Listened:  39 minutes

Minutes Listened:  62 minutes

Pages Read:  113 pages
Minutes Listened:  202 minutes

Pages Read:  30 pages
Minutes Listened:  132 minutes


I was hoping for higher numbers for the physical books, but those numbers for the audiobooks are looking much better than expected!  I am so thankful these days for audio and the ability to multitask.  Now, I just need to find the time to blog and write again!!  I have only a couple weeks left of the semester and then I'm done with classes for a very long time.  I can do it!!

Did you participate in one or both of the readathons?  How did you do?  Were you happy with your results?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spring 2016 Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon

I'm back again, two times in one week, both times posting about a readathon!!  Woohoo!!  This time, I'm stopping in to officially declare that I'm participating in the Spring 2016 Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon, taking place in less than 12 hours, and running for 24 hours straight.  I know that there is no way that I will be able to read for the full 24 hours, and I really have no intention of keeping track of the total number of hours I will be reading.  I will, however, be reading as much as I can, checking in on Twitter and Instagram, and getting through these two piles of books as much as possible.  (These are the same piles of books that I posted about earlier this week for the Spring Into Horror Readathon, and both piles still apply.)

I may pull in a couple of short stories along the way, especially considering I picked up two of these kinds of books tonight at the bookstore!  If I do get to them, I will be sure to take a picture of the beauties and share on social media.

I will also be sharing a wrap-up post for both readathons on Monday morning, with specific reading and book details.  So, until then, HAPPY READING!!

Are you participating in the 24-hour readathon?  What are your plans for the day?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Into Horror Readathon 2016

The Spring Into Horror Readathon is in full swing, and I'm a bit late in posting that I am and have been participating!  It began on Monday, April 18 and will run for one full week.  The only catch is that you have to read one horror, mystery, or thriller novel.  It's perfect timing because Dewey's Readathon is taking place on Saturday, and I hope to participate in that one as well (but will post again later this week with updated plans for the day).

What are my plans?  To read as much as I possibly can!!  I have reading to do for my class as I begin to wrap it up.  I have reading to do for two different book clubs.  And, I have reading to do just for fun!  Let's take a look at the books for the week . . .

The King of Plagues is actually my current audiobook read and the book that I am counting as my horror/thriller novel.  I am currently in the midst of reading Green Grass Running Water.  The others I hope to get to by the weekend.

This other beautiful stack of books are picture books (not all pictured!) and some books for my final research paper for my class.  I will be reading these here and there throughout the week.

I will not be setting specific page or time goals for this readathon round.  My goal is to simply read as much as I can, and get through as many as the books pictured as possible.  I will be posting updates via Twitter and Instagram, a quick update for my Dewey's Readathon post later this week, and will share my final wrap-up post early next week.  Life has been very hectic the last few weeks, so I'm hoping to get my reading and writing mojo back very soon!

Are you participating in the readathon this week?  What are your goals and reading plans?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring 2016 Bloggiesta Wrap-Up

Last week, I participated in the fun week-long Spring Bloggiesta.  I had pretty high hopes to get back on track, and now is that time to check in and share with you what I was actually able to accomplish.  I've got thoughts as well, but let's take a look at the list first.
  • Back-up Blog (DONE!)
  • Back-up Template (DONE!)
  • Update Books Read in 2016 (DONE! -- Check it out here.)
  • Update A-Z Review Index (DONE! -- Check it out here.) 
  • Update BBI Blog Index (DONE!-- Check it out here.)
  • Update BBI Guest Post Index (DONE! -- Check it out here.)
  • Clean Out TO READ Notebook (currently at 4 -- NO CHANGE)
  • Clean Out Facebook Saves (currently at 153 -- DOWN TO 150)
  • Write Reviews (NONE)
  • Write Book Discussion Posts (NONE)
  • Catch-up on Feedly Reader (currently at 537 -- DOWN TO 214)
  • Finish Prepping Armchair BEA Website (DONE! -- I actually have a few things left to do, but I am waiting on a couple responses before it is completely finalized.  Be sure to check out the site here and be following for up-to-date news.)
  • Maintain Inbox Zero (DONE!)

Overall, I am content with what I was able to complete.  I spent more time on Armchair BEA prep than I had originally planned, but we are almost ready to launch all the goodness of the event starting this week.  I also got a good chunk of things done around the house and am in the middle of working on my taxes.  I'm hoping that the rest of this week will see me finish the other items on this list that I was not able to finish, and all of you will get to see me back to posting on a regular basis again.

Did you participate in Bloggiesta?  How did you do?  What was your biggest accomplishment from the week?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring 2016 Bloggiesta

I am so excited for Bloggiesta this time around because it is a full week.  Conveniently, I also happen to be on spring break from work and will have lots more time to work on the blog.  I really need this time!!

For those not familiar with this event, it is an opportunity to work and improve on your blog.  Challenges and tutorials are provided on the main site, and there are a number of participants to help commiserate with throughout the week.

I have lots of plans and lots of expectations for the week, even beyond the blog.  I have some house projects to complete, taxes to be done, and books that need to be read.  However, I will stick with the blog needs for this post.  Let's take a look at my list . . .
  • 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 4)
  • Clean Out Facebook Saves (currently at 153)
  • Write Reviews
  • Write Book Discussion Posts
  • Catch-up on Feedly Reader (currently at 537)
  • Finish Prepping Armchair BEA Website
  • Maintain Inbox Zero

I will be sharing updates via Twitter and will have my full wrap-up post here on the blog at the end of the event.  Let's hope this is the beginning of getting back on track for regularly posting here on the blog again.

Will you be participating in Bloggiesta this time around?  What does your to-do list look like?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

BOOK TALK: February 2016 in Review

February flew by.  Maybe it was because it was a short month.  Maybe because life was just so busy that I blinked and it was gone.  I'm kind of thinking it was a combination of the two!  The month started slow in both reading and blogging, but it picked up towards the end and March is already looking better.  Let's hope that it sticks!

Let's take a look at the stats for the month . . .

The TOP POST for the month is really no surprise.  Book Blogger Appreciation Week got me motivated to start blogging on a regular basis again, and it was the kick-off post Books = Me that was the big hit, in visits and comments.

The TOP PIC for the month was a bit of a surprise though.  I thought it would be the pic of my February TBR pile, but instead it was my post about my personal connections to the new release, The Flood Girls!  I loved this little surprise!

My BOOKS READ for the month was a bit longer than last month, though most of them were shorter reads.
  1. The Creature in the Closet:  Lord of the Hat by Obert Skye
  2. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  3. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
  4. Cogewea, The Half-Blood by Mourning Dove

Of this list, my FAVORITE READ was definitely Liesl & Po.  I enjoyed the others, but this one was an audiobook narrated by Jim Dale and was a good story!

I'm hoping for continued consistency in blogging during the month of March.  I also have a small TBR pile to choose from for the month, mostly from my class.  However, I am hoping for much more than this small pile because I have spring break from class and work.  That should hopefully give me lots of good time for reading and writing.  Of course, I also need to tackle some renovations and the dreaded taxes!!  Sounds fun, right?!?

How was your February?  Do you have any highlights that you want to share?