Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Reading and Blogging Resolutions for 2019

Happy New Year! All right, 2019: let's do this!

Yesterday I started writing a post to look back at 2018, but since it was another meh year for me reading and blogging, I just wasn't feeling it and scrapped the post. Not dwelling on what I didn't accomplish last year and instead making a fresh start for 2019 seemed like a better idea.

My overall goal for 2019 is to keep my goals simple, lol. As in not make them so ridiculously unreachable that I'm just going to end up a soggy mess of tears at the end of the year, sobbing over all that I failed to accomplish. XD So on that note:

  • Read 25 books. This was my number for last year's Goodreads challenge. I only made it to 17, same as 2017. If I can read just 2 books a month and squeeze 1 more in at some point during the year, it's totally doable.
  • Scheduled blogging time. Blogging was practically nonexistent on my radar last year because I let it be that way. I've been reading Ryder Carroll's The Bullet Journal Method, and it's been an eye-opener as far as thinking about how I manage, or more accurately, don't manage, my time. I'm switching over to bullet journaling for 2019 from the Passion Planner, and regular, consistent blogging time is a priority task for this year.
  • Move to WordPress/new blog design. I've wanted to move to WordPress for literally years now, lol, and I'm at the point where I realize this is one of those "just do it even though you have no idea what you're doing" type of things. So if you stop by the blog one day and it's acting all wonky, it probably means I finally took the WordPress plunge.

I hope everyone has an incredible 2019! Good luck with all of your reading/blogging challenges!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2019 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge

It's been a while since I attempted a reading challenge besides the yearly Goodreads one, but after thinking about how many books are piling up on my shelves and Kindle, I'm giving Novel Knight's Beat the Backlist challenge a go!

There are so many books that I wanted to read in 2018 but didn't get to, so this challenge is the perfect motivation for me to get those titles read in 2019! Here are some of the books that I'm planning to read for the challenge:

I'm also taking part in the Hogwarts mini challenge and will be trying to earn points for Ravenclaw!

If you've read any of these books, what did you think? Are you doing any reading challenges for 2019?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Adventures at YALLFest 2018

Yep, YALLFest was in November and this recap is posting in December, but that's been the story of my life this year—way behind on everything.

This was our fourth trip to Charleston, South Carolina, and every year just gets better. I'm going to get a little nostalgic here. It's crazy to think how much our lives have changed since Ally, Melissa, and I attended our first festival back in 2015. We adult, or at least attempt to adult, a lot more now, but no matter how hectic our schedules get, it's understood that we're going to YALLFest in November. Together. End nostalgia trip.

Our journey began once again in the rather early hours of the morning. By 3:30AM, we had our first cups of coffee of the day in hand and were ready to hit the road. Even the drive from Florida to South Carolina feels shorter every year, and a couple of hours later, we arrived at the Charleston Visitor's Center.

While the big day of author signings and panels takes place on Saturday, Friday's YALLCrawl also features some signings and events. I was excited to see that Jenny Han would be there on Friday so I could hopefully get my copy of To All the Boys I've Loved Before signed. I was lucky I got in line early because the signing was limited to about 100 people. Jenny Han was so sweet, and I got my book signed—yay!

While I waited in line, Ally and Melissa headed off to Megan Shepherd's signing. Afterwards we met back up and checked out Underlined's pop-up shop. I finally scored one of their Book Nerd shirts that I'd seen around the Interwebz. We then decided on both an early dinner and an early bedtime so we could rest up for Saturday's super packed schedule.

Having to work with too many Excel spreadsheets at any given time at work, I very, very geekily came up with the notion of creating—you guessed it—a spreadsheet of Saturday's events so we could prioritize. My cousins mocked my nerdiness, but that didn't stop them from referring to the spreadsheet throughout the day. I spotted other festival attendees carrying spreadsheets around as well, which I smugly mentioned to Ally and Melissa.

Fueled by bagels and coffee (we are still very much New Yorkers at heart!), the three of us were standing in front of the Charleston Museum, site of several publisher booths and author signings, by 7:30AM. And various lines were already forming. Ally and I dutifully joined the queue to secure wristbands for the Shadowhunter Army giveaway event later in the afternoon, where we received these goodies:

The festivities fully launched at 9AM, and from there, the remainder of the day consisted of a nonstop flurry of hustling from line to line. Besides the Shadowhunter event, my other musts were the Alexandra Bracken signing and the poster giveaway promoting the upcoming The Rise of Kyoshi, set in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Here is the poster, featuring the absolutely GORGEOUS cover art:

Ally and I have gotten books signed by Alexandra Bracken at every YALLFest we've attended, and so we had to keep up our annual tradition, lol. I love that my copy of The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy now says, "Use the Force, Lee!" It's just perfect for this Star Wars fangirl!

By the time everything came to a close around 5PM, we were both exhausted and exhilarated, and most definitely ravenous. A Five Guys cheeseburger never tasted so savory. After inhaling our meal, we retired to the hotel sated and happy with all of our new bookish memories.

And so another YALLFest was . . . on the books. :D I'm looking forward to reading these goodies that I picked up:

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers
Once a King by Erin Summerill
Where She Fell by Kaitlin Ward
The Graces by Laure Eve
Song of the Abyss by Makiia Lucier
Spark by Sarah Beth Durst
Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough
Quarantine: A Love Story by Katie Cicatelli-Kuc
Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott
Lovely War by Julie Berry
Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde
Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Review: The Omega Objection by G.L. Carriger

The Omega Objection by G.L. Carriger
The Omega Objection (San Andreas Shifters #2)
By G.L. Carriger
Gail Carriger
Format: eARC
Source: Author

To Sum It Up: Isaac has been on the run from werewolves for a good part of his life but finally seems to have found safety in San Francisco. Unfortunately, there’s a new werewolf pack in the area, and one of its members, Tank, begins working at the bar where Isaac is hugely popular with the supernatural set for the advice he gives. The chemistry between the two is instant, but as Tank worries that he’s a nobody who won’t hold Isaac’s interest for very long, Isaac fears that getting too close to a wolf will bring the trouble he’s tried so hard to avoid.

Review: The Omega Objection is the second installment in Gail Carriger’s sizzling San Andreas Shifters series, which is set in modern day San Francisco and centers around the San Andreas werewolf pack. Where the previous book, The Sumage Solution, focused on the pack’s Beta, Bryan, and snarky sumage Max, The Omega Objection is the intertwining story of pack member Tank, whose nickname and frame belie a gentle nature, and Isaac, a bartender who’s spent most of his life on the run from werewolves

What I’m really enjoying about this series is getting to know the members of the San Andreas Pack, both individually as well as seeing them band together and support each other like the close-knit family they are. I also love how diverse the backgrounds and personalities of both the pack and their extended family and friends are. The pack’s willingness to welcome all into its circle but always making it clear that joining is a choice proves especially important as Tank tries to demonstrate to Isaac that the San Andreas Pack is not filled with the monsters who haunt Isaac’s memories.

Although the book explores some weighty storylines, such as why Isaac has been hiding from werewolves for so long and Tank’s inability to see his worth to the pack, there’s plenty of humor and romance to balance them out. While this isn’t Max’s show, he still manages to steal a few scenes with his biting bon mots. Alpha Alec, first introduced in the short story Marine Biology, continues to grow into his role as the pack’s leader, and I really love how Carriger has created her own kind of Alpha. It’s her unique, often witty take on supernatural creatures in general that makes these novels so much fun to read.

With The Omega Objection, the series settles into its groove quite nicely, giving Isaac and Tank plenty of time in the spotlight while still checking in with familiar faces. I’m looking forward to reading about every member of this pack; perhaps the pack could add to its numbers so the series can continue for a good long while.

All in All: If you enjoyed The Sumage Solution, The Omega Objection will not disappoint. I’m so ready for the upcoming Colin/Judd novel!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

September 2018 Recap

Hello, friends! Can you believe it's OCTOBER????? Like, where did this year go???

Although there's Halloween stuff everywhere (with the occasional sighting of Christmas stuff), it is still IN THE 90'S HERE. The humidity has gone down a bit, but really! With every year I've been in Florida, I've missed crisp fall air and the trees changing colors more and more.

I've been reading and blogging on and off lately. It just always seems like there are higher priority things going on, I'm too tired by the time I do have a few minutes to spare, etc. I should probably really give audiobooks a try because I could listen while doing things like cleaning, but as with any new thing, I have to get over my initial skepticism, which is no small challenge, lol.

I hope you all have a spook-tacular October! If I weren't such a wimp, lol, I'd read some scary books this month. Instead my contribution to Halloween 2018 will be eating lots of Reese's peanut butter pumpkins, bats, and the like. :D

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