Monday, December 30, 2013

Bout of Books 9.0 - Goals/Updates

Bout of Books


*Sings* Ce-le-brate Good Books Come On! *Ahem* It's time for Bout of Books 9.0, January 6th-12th with our favorite hostesses, Amanda and Kelly!  It's just the thing to get your 2014 reading started off with a bang!

Signup Here!

Link Your Goals up Here!

As for me, I'm going to concentrate on my Seriously Series Challenge list and see how far I can get!

Updates:

Currently Reading:



Finished:




Day 1:
Allegiant - 2:10 listened
The Getaway - 26%

Day 2:
Allegiant - 4:00 listened
The Getaway - Finished! 61 pages
Catacombs - Started 36 pages

Day 3:
Allegiant - 7:22 listened
Catacombs - 120 pages in

Day 4:
Allegiant -finished! 11:51 total
Catacombs -166 pages in

Day 5:
Catacombs - finished! 236 pages
Hunted - started listening
Photographs & Phantoms - started

Day 6:
Photographs & Phantoms - Finished! 64 pages
Hunted - 1:31 in, probably won't finish for the 'thon but that's still an hour and a half of "reading" I did for it! ;)
That Thing at the Zoo - started

Day 7:
That Thing at the Zoo - finished! 63 pages

Final:
Total Pages: 424 (60 1/2 pages per day)
Hours listened: 13:22 (1.9 hours per day)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seriously Series 2014



    I'm joining Kelly at Reading the Paranormal for the Seriously Series 2014 Challenge!

    For details and sign up, click on the image above, you know what want to join us!

    I'm going to concentrate most of my effort on finishing off or reading up to what I own of series that I have already started.

    Declared Levels:
    Series Started Before 2014: Seriously Spectacular Series Star
    Series Started in 2014: Semi-Serious
    Series Re-Reads in 2014: Semi-Serious


    Currently Reading
    Finished Reading


    Series Started Before 2014

    Series = 0/19
     

    Total Books = 0/32
     


    Format Author Series Title
    Audio Veronica Roth Divergent Allegiant
    Audio Kevin Hearne Iron Druid Hunted
    Audio Lauren Willig Pink Carnation The Garden Intrigue
    Audio Lauren Willig Pink Carnation The Passion of the Purple Plumeria
    Audio J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
    Audio J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King
    Paperback Ann Aguirre Sirantha Jax Endgame
    Paperback Molly Harper Jane Jameson Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors
    Paperback J. R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood Lover Reborn
    Kindle Carolyn Crane Disillusionists Head Rush
    E-book Carolyn Crane Disillusionists Devil's Luck
    Paperback Stephen Harper Dreamer Offspring
    Paperback Jennifer Rardin Jaz Parks Another One Bites the Dust
    Paperback Thea Harrison The Elder Races Storm's Heart
    Paperback Thea Harrison The Elder Races Serpent's Kiss
    Paperback Anne Bishop Black Jewels Shalador's Lady
    Paperback Anne Bishop Black Jewels Twilight's Dawn
    Kindle Sonya Bateman Gavyn Donatti The Getaway
    Paperback Sonya Bateman Gavyn Donatti Master and Apprentice
    Hardback Karen Marie Moning Fever Dreamfever
    Hardback Karen Marie Moning Fever Shadowfever  
    Paperback J. R. Ward Fallen Angels Crave
    Paperback J. R. Ward Fallen Angels Envy
    Paperback J. R. Ward Fallen Angels Rapture
    Paperback Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels Magic Mourns in Must Love Hellhounds (Kate Daniels 3.5)
    Paperback Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels Magic Bleeds
    Paperback Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels Magic Dreams in Hexed (4.5)
    Paperback Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels Magic Slays
    Paperback Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels Magic Rises
    Hardback Anne McCaffrey Tales of the Barque Cats Catacombs
    Kindle Christine Cody Bloodlands Blood Rules
    Audio Eoin Colfer HitchHiker's Guide And Another Thing...



    Series Started In 2014

    Series = 0/2
     

    Total Books = 0/7
     


    Format Author Series Title
    Hardback Ann Aguirre Razorland Outpost
    Hardback Ann Aguirre Razorland Enclave
    E-book Ann Aguirre Razorland Restoration
    Hardback Ann Aguirre Razorland Horde
    Paperback Katie MacAlister Silver Dragons Playing With Fire
    Paperback Katie MacAlister Silver Dragons Up in Smoke
    Paperback Katie MacAlister Silver Dragons Me and My Shadow


    Series Re-Reads In 2014

    Series  = 0/1
     

    Total Books = 0/5
     


    Format Author Series Title
    Audio Douglas Adams HitchHiker's Guide Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Audio Douglas Adams HitchHiker's Guide The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    Audio Douglas Adams HitchHiker's Guide Life, The Universe and Everything
    Audio Douglas Adams HitchHiker's Guide So Long and Thanks For All the Fish
    Audio Douglas Adams HitchHiker's Guide Mostly Harmless

    Saturday, December 21, 2013

    2013 Seriously Series Challenge Wrap Up



    2013 is not quite over, but I don't think my list is going to change too much in what's left.  While I did not complete my ambitious series list for this challenge, I did make progress and finished off or caught up to what I owned on 4 series started before 2013 and 1 series started in 2013.  This totaled:  4 audiobooks, 7 novels and 1 novella.  I did get started on a few of the others as well, and was able to read 9 novels and 1 novella in those series.  My original goal was for 34 total reads and I achieved about 65%.  Even though I only made a D grade, I'm still happy with what I achieved, and am definitely in for 2014!  Some of those I didn't finish I will carry over and we'll just give it another try!

    Series Completed:

    Series started before 2013

    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

    • A Breath of Snow and Ashes - finished 3/11/13
    • An Echo in the Bone - finished 8/9/13
      Simon Canderous by Anton Strout
    • Dead Matter - finished 1/9/13
    • Dead Waters - finished 5/25/13
    Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne (added 1/30/13)
    • Tricked - Finished 3/18/13
    • Two Ravens and One Crow - finished 4/27/13
    • Trapped - finished 5/24/13
    The Vampire Empire by Susan and Clay Griffith (added 1/30/13)
    • The Riftwalker - finished 5/22/13
    • The Kingmakers - finished 8/6/13

    Series started in 2013


    The Modern Tales of Faerie by Holly Black
    • Tithe - Finished 4/23/13
    • Valiant -Finished 9/9/13
    • Ironside - Finished 10/22/13


     Series not completed but made progress: 

     Series started before 2013

    Sirantha Jax by Ann Aguirre

    • Killbox - finished 3/5/13
    • Aftermath -  finished 11/15/13
    • Endgame
    Fever by Karen Marie Moning
    • Faefever - finished 9/28/13
    • Dreamfever
    • Shadowfever 
     Jane Jameson by Molly Harper
    • Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring - finished 1/10/13
    • Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors  
    Phaedre's Trilogy by Jacqueline Carey (added 1/20/13)
    • Kushiel's Chosen - finished 2/18/13
    • Kushiel's Avatar - currently reading

    Series started in 2013


    Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld
    • The Secret Hour - finished 2/24/13
    • Touching Darkness
    • Blue Noon (added 3/18/13) 
    Elder Races by Thea Harrison
    • Dragon Bound - finished 8/24/13
    • Storm's Heart
    • Serpent's Kiss (added 1/14/13)
    Jaz Parks by Jennifer Rardin
    • Once Bitten, Twice Shy - finished 8/1/13
    • Another One Bites the Dust

    Percheron by Fiona McIntosh
    • Odalisque - finished (4/2/13)
    • Emissary

    Enchanted Inc. by Shanna Swendson - the first one was cute, but I've decided I'm just not interested enough to continue.
    • Enchanted Inc. - Finished 1/27/13
    • Once Upon Stilettos
    • Damsel Under Stress 
    Fallen Angels by J. R. Ward
    • Crave
    • Envy 

    Tuesday, December 03, 2013

    Blogger's Mindset by Amanda Shofner

    From Goodreads:

    What makes bloggers give up and step away from their blogs?

    Burnout. Feeling overwhelmed or defeated. Over-committing. Jealousy. Life.

    Sound familiar? Your blogging experience is shaped by how you approach blogging and how you think about it. The Blogger’s Mindset is about finding your way to the right mindset.

    Learn how to build your blogging foundation and keep blogging when the blogging gets tough. Determine your why, who, and focus. Get real about your commitment and the nuts and bolts of blogging. Address your brand and evaluate your approach. Check your attitude. Find out what it takes to stick with it.

    The Blogger’s Mindset is an uplifting slap in the face. It brings the harsh realities of blogging to you while at the same time offering you encouragement to go on, find your purpose, get focused and make it work for you.

    There is good advice for blogging that is also good advice for life. I felt like Amanda wrote this just for me, addressing my negative self-evaluations and making me realize that no one else is making those comparisons, just me. You have to get rid of undermining thoughts; they are only a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The answers to success are inside you, Blogger’s Mindset gets you to ask yourself the right questions:
    • Why are you blogging?
    • Who are you blogging for?
    • What is your purpose?
    • How can you build a community?

    If you answer these questions truthfully, it might change your whole perspective about your blogging method and style.

    I put off reading Blogger’s Mindset until I hit one of those low points where I start asking myself, why bother? Who cares? Why am I doing this? It was the perfect time for it. While it would be helpful to bloggers at any time and stage of their blogging career, it was more powerful for me when I was experiencing one of those down turns and needed that pep talk/swift kick from someone who’s been there. I plan to keep it handy to look through again whenever I fall into one of those dips in the road.

    Visit Amanda's business website, The Path of Least Revision for tips, tricks and editing services.  She knows her stuff, she does!

    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Steampunk Chronicles #0.5) by Kady Cross

    From Goodreads:

    Finley Jayne knows she's not 'normal'. Normal girls don't lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she's offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined...

    An ebook exclusive prequel to The Steampunk Chronicles.


    I picked up The Strange Case of Finley Jayne as a Kindle freebie on 4/27/11, it is currently $2.51.  The steampunk theme is what attracted me and I was not disappointed!  There are corsets, a mad scientist, automatons and mechanical horses, fabulous!

    Right away Finley was a character that you could root for, she stands up for a child, reacting from the gut rather than propriety.  It costs her her job, but then we get to see that she doesn't come from a damaged family, but a loving one, even a loving step father!  It is this forthright aspect of her character that quickly lands her another position as a companion and this is where we get to begin exploring Finley's dark, other side.  It was pretty vague where her abilities come from, I kept thinking I had just missed it but read other reviews with the same question, so I hope that is revealed in the first actual novel The Girl in the Steel Corset which I luckily already own.

    I recommend this for a read-a-thon, for anyone enjoying the Steampunk genre, some mystery and some adventure!  It was a perfect read for the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge this month!

    Kady Cross's Website (you might also know her as Kathryn Smith!)


    Clean out your E-Reader Challenge Banner


    See what others are reading here:

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    A Grosvenor Square Christmas by Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, Anna Campbell, Kate Noble

    From Goodreads:

    Four breathtakingly romantic tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors.

    Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?

    1803 - The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen

    Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena—now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?

    1818 - One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

    Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind—by sweeping her off her feet.

    1825 - His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell

    At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.

    1830 - The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble

    Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson's Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up...

    You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?


    I picked up A Grosvenor Square Christmas as a Kindle Freebie on 11/1/13, at last check it is still free.  This was a fantastic, light hearted and heart warming collection of short stories all centered around the same location, across a span of years.

    Each story brings together a couple at Lady Winterson's Christmas ball.  I like that the circumstances of the couples are varied, from their ages, to their stations in society to have been childhood friends who finally realize what they really mean to each other.  I was also very pleased at the ending, though I can't say I was surprised, I mean Christmas stories generally end happily ever after, that's part of why we read them!

    I highly recommend this one if you're into holiday reading, especially if you are taking part in the many different holiday read-a-thon's.  It's light, fast and sweet.  I gave it a 4/5.

    Reviewed for the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge.

    Clean out your E-Reader Challenge Banner


    See what others are reading here:

    Sunday, November 10, 2013

    The Abandoned by Amanda Stevens

    From Goodreads:

    Every cemetery has a story. Every grave, its secrets. Enter the world of Amanda Stevens's Graveyard Queen series--where forbidden passion and secrets from the past are as restless as the ghosts--in the series prequel novella, The Abandoned.

    There are rules for dealing with ghosts. Too bad Ree Hutchins doesn't know them.

    When her favorite patient at a private mental hospital passes away, psychology student Ree Hutchins mourns the elderly woman's death. But more unsettling is her growing suspicion that something unnatural is shadowing her.

    Amateur ghost hunter Hayden Priest believes Ree is being haunted. Even Amelia Gray, known in Charleston as the Graveyard Queen, senses a gathering darkness. Driven by a force she doesn't understand, Ree is compelled to uncover an old secret and put abandoned souls to rest--before she is locked away forever....


    I picked up The Abandoned as a Kindle freebie on 4/10/11, it is currently at $2.51.  I had heard of the Graveyard Queen series and thought this would be a good way to see if I was at all interested in it.  I enjoyed this short story/novella even though it suffers from the same thing that turns me off of most of them, not enough time to develop the story which leaves the events feeling rushed and unrealistic.  However, ghosts and a secret society do have me intrigued so I may go ahead and give the series a try.  There was a lot packed into this story, Amelia Gray really features very little here, but I'd like to know more about her.  I gave it a 3/5.

    Reviewed for the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge.


    Clean out your E-Reader Challenge Banner


    Check out other reviews for this challenge here:

    Saturday, November 09, 2013

    Monster Read-a-thon November 9th - 15th

    I'm probably asking for it since I'm already doing the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon and the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge (links to the right on the sidebar) but like I've said before, I can't turn one down, so Monster Read-a-thon, here I come!

    I'm currently working on A Grosvenor Square Christmas (a Kindle Freebie) and Aftermath by Ann Aguirre (who I was lucky enough to meet this past week) so I will continue on those and see what comes up next!



    Winners of Blog Events and Blogger's Mindset by Amanda Shofner


    And the winners are... Everyone that entered! Congrats! I will be contacting you shortly to find out where to send your Kindle copies.

    For anyone finding this after the fact that would like to check these out, they are available on Amazon:

    Blog Events - see my review here

    Blogger's Mindset

    Also check out Amanda's website, The Path of Least Revision, for great tips and helpful services to make your written life easier!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Wednesday, November 06, 2013

    Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon November 7-11

    HoHoHo Holiday Read-a-Thon

    I am an unbelievable sucker. I really tried to resist signing up, for about a minute. Even after I've spent the whole day feeling stressed out by my hobbies because this week has been so busy at work, and then also busy in the evenings (I met Ann Aguirre *fangirl squeal*), I've still decided to join up. But I can make this work. I can fit it in with my other challenge, I can, I know it, and I can not be stressed about it, really!

    So here we go, the first of the Holiday themed read-a-thon's that I'm planning to probably take part in.  (What is this probably I speak of, we know I will, don't we? Yes, we do.)  The Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Read-a-thon is hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer, so clicky on the picture above to go learn more and join us!  I'm off to figure out what my goal will be!

    Goal:  TBD - stay tuned!  Probably some Christmas Freebies that I've picked up so that I can count them for the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge as well!




    Update/Finish: I only made it about 75% of the way through A Grosvenor Square Christmas, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and this RAT prompted me to pick it up sooner rather than later. I'll review it soon for Clean Out Your E-Reader as I'm hoping to finish it today 11/12/13!

    Monday, November 04, 2013

    Don't Die, Dragonfly by Linda Joy Singleton

    From Goodreads:

    After getting kicked out of school and sent to live with her grandmother, Sabine Rose is determined to become a "normal" teenage girl. She hides her psychic powers from everyone, even from her grandmother Nona, who also has "the gift." Having a job at the school newspaper and friends like Penny-Love, a popular cheerleader, have helped Sabine fit in at her new school. She has even managed to catch the eye of the adorable Josh DeMarco. Yet, Sabine can't seem to get the bossy voice of Opal, her spirit guide, out of her head . . . or the disturbing images of a girl with a dragonfly tattoo. Suspected of a crime she didn't commit, Sabine must find the strength to defend herself and, later, save a friend from certain danger.


    I picked this up as a Kindle freebie, currently the Kindle version can be purchased for $2.99.

    My first impression on reading this was to think how frustrating it would be to have a gift in which you receive visions that are symbolic messages, but that you still have to interpret.  You can never be sure that your interpretation is the right one.

    Not for the first time I was more intrigued by the side characters than I felt for the main character.  I really enjoyed Manny and Thorn, so I hope they are recurring characters in the rest of the series.  I'd like to know more about Dominic as well, but was honestly bored by Josh, he's so perfect it makes me suspect that something is up with him and I just didn't feel much spark between him and Sabine.

    My favorite quirky part of this was the cow painting, it was just cute and I'll leave it at that so I don't ruin the fun for anyone else!  I do really like the cover art, very pretty.  I'm a sucker for a pretty cover for sure!

    Having read the synopsis for the second book, I may go ahead with the series.  Don't Die, Dragonfly was an enjoyable, quick read and I wouldn't mind knowing what happens next.  I would recommend this as a read-a-thon selection for it's length, ease of reading and quick pace.

    Here is another review by Kelly at Reading the Paranormal, posted on Goodreads that I think expresses my thoughts very well.

    For more information on Linda Joy Singleton and her work, visit her website.

    This was reviewed for the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge.  See book reviews by other participants here:

    Clean out your E-Reader Challenge Banner

    Friday, November 01, 2013

    Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge - November 1-30, 2013

    Clean out your E-Reader Challenge Banner


    I'm as guilty as everyone else about grabbing all those freebies and then not getting around to reading them. Hence why this challenge is perfect! I've gone through and picked out some of my older selections that have been languishing about for a couple-three years now, and here they are!


    Don't Die Dragonfly
    by Joy Singleton

    Currently $2.99, freebie on 1/1/11

    Bite Me
    by Parker Blue

    Currently $9.39, freebie on 3/23/11

    Retro Demonology
    by Jana Oliver

    Currently $0.00, purchased 3/29/11

    The Strange Case of Finley Jayne
    by Kady Cross

    Currently $2.51, freebie on 5/1/11

    The Abandoned
    by Amanda Stevens

    Currently $2.51, freebie on 4/10/11

    Millie's Fling
    by Jill Mansell

    Currently $9.39, freebie on 3/18/11


    Going back and checking to make sure I got them as freebies, and seeing what some of them are now has unfortunately just inspired me to keep checking the freebie list because I've gotten some good deals!  Just this group should have cost me $26.79 but guess what?  FREE!  *cheers* *gets self back under control* *Ahem* 3 of these are novellas, bet you can guess which three from their current prices!  I'm going to declare the Lightly Clean level of 1-5 and we'll see how far I get, there are many more where these came from!

    This is also a blog hop, see what everyone else is doing here:


    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    Indexing by Seanan McGuire

    From Goodreads:

    “Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

    Good advice...especially when a story can kill you.

    For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

    That's where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you're dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn't matter if you're Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.

    Indexing is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s new urban fantasy where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.

    I really liked this, it was a fresh treatment of fairy tales. It was my first novel by this author and also my first try of a Kindle serial.  It was delivered over the course of 24 weeks, an episode every two weeks. What I really would have liked after reading this is that each tale type had been a full length novel, where McGuire could have developed the characters more, and delved deeper into each tale and it's variations. I would still like that, I think it would be fantastic! I feel like Henry and Sloane were pretty well fleshed out, but the other members of the team, especially Jeff and Andy, just aren't as full and alive as I think they could be in a longer telling. So I highly recommend this, even though I almost feel like the idea was a bit wasted in such a quick telling, I'm not at all disappointed in it, I just think it has a lot of potential and it seems more like an outline of what could be, rather than a finished product on it's own. More please! 

    Check out Seanan McGuire's Website for more on the author and her work, I know I will be!

    I also just learned that Seanan McGuire is Mira Grant!  I did not know that!

    Here is a blogpost from Seanan's live journal discussing Indexing, wherein the possibility of second "season" is mentioned though not confirmed.

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Giveaway: Blog Events and Blogger's Mindset by Amanda Shofner

    Have you participated in any online read-a-thons, giveaway hops, seen author tours or book carnivals  and had dreams of one day hosting one of these yourself?  These blog events are harder and easier than you might think.  You must remain organized or the event could quickly grow beyond your control, or not receive the attention you hoped for.

    In her book Blog Events Amanda gives some important tips on how to run a successful event, pointing out things you need to consider, and directing you to ask yourself some very important questions on the purpose behind the event, who it is serving, and how is it helping you the event owner?  For more of my thoughts, see my previous review here.

    The best thing about Blog Events is that it is general enough to fit any event, so while I mention read-a-thons because those are my passion, the principles in the book can be applied to anything you might want to do whether it's a hobby or business blogging event.

    I was able to pick this up as a kindle freebie soon after it was published, but having had the pleasure of participating in many of the read-a-thon's co-hosted by Amanda and getting to know her through Twitter and Facebook, I want to give something back by offering up some copies of Blog Events to you aspiring bloggers out there who I know want to hold more read-a-thons for me!


    But wait, there's more!  Hot off the presses, and I mean so hot it's not even out of the oven as I'm writing this, is Amanda's second book, Blogger's Mindset.

    From her website The Path of Least Revision, she describes it this way: 

    "What makes bloggers give up and step away from their blogs?

    Burnout. Feeling overwhelmed or defeated. Over-committing. Jealousy. Life.

    Sound familiar? Your blogging experience is shaped by how you approach blogging and how you think about it. The Blogger’s Mindset is about finding your way to the right mindset.

    Learn how to build your blogging foundation and keep blogging when the blogging gets tough. Determine your why, who, and focus. Get real about your commitment and the nuts and bolts of blogging. Address your brand and evaluate your approach. Check your attitude. Find out what it takes to stick with it."

    I am especially excited about this one because I can't tell you how many times I think to myself, why am I doing this?  Who even cares?  Does anyone even read it?  I can't keep up!  I should just quit.  So I step away for awhile, and find myself missing it.  But then I look at other blogs and think, wow, they're so much better than me, why do I bother? It's just a vicious cycle.  Well, the short answer is, because I like it, and I'm very interested in reading Amanda's take on the topic.

    Just in case you're wondering who is this Amanda Shofner anyway, and what makes her qualified to tell us these things? Check out her cred here!

    Now for the giveaway!  Two random winners will receive a US Kindle copy of both Blog Events and Blogger's Mindset, to get you excited and on the path to blogging happiness!  This giveaway will run from Oct. 23rd through Nov. 6th.  Good Luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater

    From Goodreads:

    Amaliya wakes under the forest floor, disoriented, famished and confused. She digs out of the shallow grave and realizes she is hungry...

    ... in a new, horrific, unimaginable way...

    Sating her great hunger, she discovers that she is now a vampire, the bloodthirsty creature of legend. She has no choice but to flee from her old life and travels across Texas. Her new hunger spurs her to leave a wake of death and blood behind her as she struggles with her new nature.

    All the while, her creator is watching. He is ancient, he is powerful, and what's worse is that he's a necromancer. He has the power to force the dead to do his bidding. Amaliya realizes she is but a pawn in a twisted game, and her only hope for survival is to seek out one of her own kind.

    But if Amaliya finds another vampire, will it mean her salvation... or her death?


    So I'm a read-a-thon addict, which isn't news to anyone. We just finished a read-a-thon called Fraterfest, hosted by Kimbacaffeinate at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the whole point of which, aside from reading in general, is to read books by Rhiannon Frater, Kimba's a fan.  So being in the spirit of things but unfamiliar with the author, I picked out one to try, and managed to not start it at all last year during Fraterfest.  Go me.  This year I was determined, it was Fraterfest, I was going to read a Frater book, darn it!  So I did, and even though I didn't finish it during the read-a-thon, finish it I have, and I enjoyed it!

    I like Amaliya, poor thing gets beat up in about every imaginable way yet comes out fighting every time!  She has a feisty little Grandmama too, do not mess with little Mexican Grandmamas, no sir!  The vampires in this world have the traditional weaknesses of legend, so in a way it's a good old-fashioned, but in a modern setting vampire story, with some necromancy thrown in for good measure.  I do like Cian, and even though she's kind of annoying, Samantha is pretty spunky too, but it's definitely Amaliya for me.  She just doesn't quit!

    Rhiannon Frater's Website

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

    From Goodreads:

    The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

    Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

    The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

    And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

    Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.


    I checked this out as an e-book from our local library because I saw it on many lists of various meme's I was participating in. I thought the cover was pretty, and was told it was a good zombie book for those who aren't real excited about zombies, and I have to agree with that. It's American historical, some steampunk, fighting the undead.  I liked Eleanor and Daniel and how she forced the Spirit Hunters to take her seriously.  It was an entertaining story and I'm looking forward to more! 

    Susan Dennard's Website

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon



    Dewey's is here again!  For 24 hours we're going to read and read and read!  I've got my book pile below with many more than I could get through but I like to have options!  My main goal is to finish Ironside, and if possible Something Deadly This Way Comes, but I may have to take breaks from those and so I have a few shorter easier books to choose from.  Like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle!  Who doesn't love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle?!  Oops, am I showing my age?  Probably, but we'll see if I love it just as much now as I did in grade school, lo these *mumble mumble* years ago...




    Updates: 

    Hours 1-2

    8:30 AM for me, and an hour and a half into the Read-a-thon.  My cat alarm made sure I didn't oversleep, and not really being ready to be up and around after hitting snooze on him (read: Fed the kitty!) I decided to start in on a kindle book, so I could read in bed without the light on.  I chose The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and I'm about 29% done.

    Hour 1 Mini Challenge:

    1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?  Kansas, US

    2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?  I think Something Deadly This Way Comes, and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, because it's been so long since I read it when I was a kid, I'm interested to see how it measures up to my memories.

    3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?  I have two tubs of cookie dough in the fridge, so there will be cookies, oh yes, there will be!

    4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  I like Geocaching, playing Guild Wars 2, and am addicted to read-a-thons! 

    5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?  I'm not sure how many times I've participated now, it's been a few years, I think I do it differently every time.  I'm considering an energy drink for those afternoon hours when I get so sleepy, I've never done that before, so we'll see.

    And now, back to the reading!  See you later!

    Hours 3-5



    I can't believe we're almost done with hour 5!  I've finished my first book, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer so I now have an official page count! Woohoo! 178 pages!  I'm munching on some chocolate peanut butter Pop Tarts with milk and they are tasty!  Next up is Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison.







    Hours 6-11

    So errands and lunch had to happen, but I managed to get 100 pages into Something Deadly even so!  I'll keep going on that one and see what happens for dinner.  Also, cookies have not yet happened, but a raspberry white mocha has, so yay!  Hope everyone is doing great!

    Hours 12-15



     Well it took me what seems like all day, but I finished my second book! 245 more pages, so I'm up to 423 pages total.  Now it's time for the traditional read-a-thon BBQ feast for dinner, and a computer game break.  It's time to switch to some shorter reads now. I need to visit some other folks too.  Also, thank you to the Cheerleaders!  I have done it myself before so I know it's a fun but also hard job.






    Hours 16-19



    I just loved Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle when I was a kid, so when I saw them at Half Price Books I had to snatch them up!  Just finished the 1st one as my 3rd read-a-thon and I have to admit, they are still fun!  She can just cure any childish bad habit!  Well, I think this does it for me for this year's Read-a-thon.  My total page count is  542 and 3 books!  Thanks again to the organizers and the cheerleaders, you all rock!






    Other Read-a-thoners Visited:
    Noumena12
    Frodo's Blog of Randomness
    Azuki's Book Cafe
    Sarah Says Read
    Branching Out

    Wednesday, October 09, 2013

    Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-thon Oct. 11-20

    It's time for the third read-a-thon I'm participating in during October, the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-thon hosted by My Shelf Confessions!  That's 10 days of read-a-thon people!

    I have some serious work to complete my goals for the Seriously Series challenge, so I will be working on those for this read-a-thon.

    Goals:

              • Aftermath - Ann Aguirre (307 pages)
              • Ironside - Holly Black (323 pages) - Dewey's goal
              • Endymion Spring - Matthew Skelton - Audiobook (10+ hours)
              • Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors - Molly Harper (337 pages) 
              • Something Deadly This Way Comes - Kim Harrison (245 pages) done!
              • Finish Pretty When She Dies - Rhiannon Frater (Starting at 48%) done!




    Updates:

    Day 1:  Listened to about an hour and a half of Endymion Spring, liking it so far!  Good, animated narrator.  Got through about 9% in Pretty When She Dies, which may only be about 18 pages, but I don't want to burn out before Dewey's tomorrow!

    Day 3: So Dewey's was yesterday and I finished 3 books!  Not at all what I planned, but that's okay!  I finished Something Deadly, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Today has been pretty slow on the reading, though I am almost 2 hours into Endymion Spring, and to 70% of Pretty When She Dies.

    Day 5: I finished something! I finished Pretty When She Dies and really liked it, so I'll definitely be reading the rest of those.  I'm on track with listening to Endymion Spring, about 5 hours in and it's around 10 hours long, so that should be no problem.  Now what to start on next?  It's between Ironside and Aftermath.

    Day 10 Final Wrap-Up: I have ended with about 1.5 hours left in Endymion Spring, and about 100 pages left in Ironside.  Not as far as I'd like to have gotten, but just taking part is fun, even if I don't make my goals!  See you next #WWReadathon!

    Monday, October 07, 2013

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven by Corey Taylor

    From Goodreads:

    In this book, Corey Taylor undertakes something never before attempted in the history of rock superstardom: he takes you with him as he journeys undercover through various ghostbusting groups who do their best to gather information and evidence about the existence of spirits. Some are more credible than others, and, frankly, some are completely insane, but all are observed with appropriate seriousness as Taylor attempts to better understand some of the spooky things that have happened to him in his life, especially that night at the Cold House.

    But that’s not all, folks. Taylor once again gives you a behind-the-scenes tour of his crazy life and the many beyond-the-grave events he’s encountered. (You’ll be shocked how often Slipknot has been invaded by the supernatural.) Taylor also touches on his religious background and how it led him to believe in much more than the Man in the Sky.



    I was excited to find this in the library catalog, being a fan of Corey Taylor and interested in the paranormal this seemed like it had to be a winner.  Overall I enjoyed the book and Taylor's conversational though rambling, tangented and almost stream of consciousness style.  That and his self-deprecating humor become part of his charm once you get used to them.  He knows he does it and often has to bring himself back on track, which is also hilarious. The stories he tells of his confrontations are great although I'm sure they were terrifying when they happened.  You really get the feel of a late night hang out, pass around the drinks, the walls have come down and we're sharing freely and speculating on life, death and everything session.  We've all had those convo's with our besties, where sometimes we tread ground we wouldn't otherwise dare to go.

    The first couple of chapters are a trial by fire in which he rants against religion.  Even agreeing with a lot of what he had to say it was difficult to get through.  I just wanted to get to the ghosts!  But it's his book and he can say what he wants how he wants and if we don't like it, we don't have to keep reading, right?  Right!  So I gave it one more shot and went on to chapter 3, which finally got us to the ghosts, bingo!  The rest of the book was much easier  and quite entertaining, also giving me the chills and thrills I'd hoped for, enough so that I had to quit reading it before going to sleep especially since my husband loves to make cryptic remarks to me and then roll over and pass out, leaving me afraid to turn the light out and wide awake.

    In the end I had a greater appreciation for Taylor as a person and his ability to deal with his many and varied experiences.  I absolutely love the pictures on the cover and the chapter headers in his old time outfit.  His expression on the cover just kills me, it's awesome. 

    Check out Corey's website for more info on his music and other books.
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