Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 2016 Reading Recap

Picture of the month: The day I got a Kazookie.

The year has gotten off to a great start! Here's what I read this month:

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: All three couples come together to solve the world's problems in this fabulous conclusion to a fabulous trilogy.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold: A quirky coming of age story about a girl who takes off across the country to find her mother.

Blues Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards by Janette Rallison: Her best friend moves away, a new family moves in. Suddenly, she is mixed up in making sure the new girl doesn't get in trouble and also trying not to fall in love with her brother, the new boy.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: The authors rambles and thoughts on dealing with grief during the year after her husband dies.

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway: Oliver was kidnapped, and then comes back ten years later. Will his friendship with Emmy continue?

Smile by Raina Telgemeier: What's it like to be a sixth grader dealing with normal sixth grader things on top of major orthodontic work due to an accident?

Favorites this month: Their Fractured Light, Mosqitoland and Emmy and Oliver. Tons of fun the lot of them!

Plans for February:

  • Re-read Little Women for our #LittleWomenRAL! Join us!
  • Read 100 pages in Moby-Dick.
  • Finally get to Winter.
  • Finish Endure.
  • Finish The Red Queen.
  • Read Half Wild.
  • Finish Twitterpated.
  • Umm.... should I add more to the list?
How was the start of the reading year for you? Any awesome plans for February?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Book: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Another one of those books that I went into knowing nothing and was pleasantly surprised. This is bit of a heart wrenching story about a boy, Oliver, who his kidnapped by his dad at age 7. His childhood friend, Emmy, along with his family and the neighborhood and everyone looks for him for ten years, never really giving up hope, but thinking they'll never see him again.

Then one day,  he suddenly comes back.

And now, how does everyone deal with that? You'd think it would be a happy joyous occasion, yes? But in reality, there are so many things and feelings that have to be dealt with, and it pretty much makes everyone crazy.

Meanwhile, Emmy and Oliver take their childhood friendship to a whole new level and it's all sorts of sweetness and swoon worthiness.

Bottom Line: I read it in a day and could not put it down. I have a feeling you'll do the same.

Other Reviews:

The writing is strong and the secondary characters are great side-kick material and while it is hard to believe some of the things Emmy is able to get away with, I read this in one sitting, I liked it so much. From The Book Nest

But the book is thoroughly Emmy's point of view, and it works awfully well that way too. She's the only one that Oliver feels normal around, and their growing intimacy allows him to tell his story to her. From Confessions of a Bibliovore

A touchingly moving story that will tear at your heart and the struggles that come after such a huge dramatic experience. But love can conquer so very much, and Emmy and Olivers bond and connection was just perfect! From Bewitched Bookworms

I loved the way family and friendship were portrayed -- real, funny, and sometimes messed-up. From YA Romantics

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Book: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Genre: Non Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

We voted this in for book club reading since everyone had heard such awesome things about it. We heard it was sad, but we heard it was good too.

Well. The sad part was true. As for the good part... I'm not so sure.

In this book, the author rambles on about the death of her husband the year before... and the sickness of her adult daughter, both of which hit at the same time. She goes through her thought process every step of the way, how she relived that night over and over, how everything she saw sent her down a memory vortex, how she believed it wasn't real and that he would come back, how if only she had done such and such a thing, it wouldn't have happened, how everyday she remembered what they were doing the year before on that day when he was still alive. And so on.

I think for people who have gone through similar events, knowing how this particular person got through it might ease some of their pain. Maybe it would help for them to know that they aren't the only one with such thoughts.

She also did a lot of research on the grieving process and threw in a bunch of psychology. For some, this might help them. For others, I'm sure it just sounds like a bunch of craziness.

There was also lots of medical talk, and reminiscing about connections with people who's names had no meaning or basis for me. Those parts I tended to truly skip over.

Bottom Line: I imagine some would find the book helpful and interesting, but I was baffled through the whole thing that it got such astounding praise and won awards and things. I just didn't get how a rambly book like this rises to such heights. Very interesting.

Other Reviews:

The only thing I found even a little insightful was at the beginning, when she talks about grief being a mental illness rather than some temporary condition. From Confessions of a Bibliophile

I guess my point is to not go into this book thinking that it’s going to be easy. It’s absolutely worth it — this was a fantastic book — but it can be emotionally difficult to read. From Sophisticated Dorkiness

Readers won’t find any self help for grieving here but might recognize the various stages of grief and take comfort that they’re not alone in them. From Dear Author

It’s beautifully written, deeply personal, and incredibly moving. From S. Krishna's Books

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons to Participate in Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Did you hear the news? The lovely ladies from The Estella Society are bringing back Book Blogger Appreciation Week! I'm so happy to see this! So happy, in fact, that I want you to join the party!

Ten Reasons You Should Participate in BBAW

1. It's one of the first book blogging community events that I can remember from back in the good old days.

2.Which means it's full of nostalgia!

3. And full of fun.

4. Plus, it's easy and casual and low key.

5. And it features blogger interviews, which you know you like.

6. And anyway, it's being revived by The Estella Society (like I mentioned already) and everything they do is fabulous!

7. Of course you'll see everyone talking about it and you won't want to be left out!

8. Also, maybe your blogging has slumped and this will pop you out of it.

9. Or maybe your blogging is in the first stages of slumping and this will prevent it.

10.  But most importantly, you'll make new friends!

Want to sign up? Fill out this form.

See you there!

(P.S. This post brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday wherein today is a FREEBIE and so I took advantage and killed two birds! )

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Movie Review: The 5th Wave

Movie: The 5th Wave
Genre: SciFi Adventure
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Alex Roe, Nick Robinson, Liev Schreiber
Rating: PG13
My Rating: Two thumbs up

It's always a little nerve wracking when a favorite book is made into a movie, am I right? And this sure is happening a lot these days, and so we are getting pretty used to it, but for me, it was especially like this for The 5th Wave. I loved loved loved the book, even listed it as a favorite the year I read it. (Review here if you are interested.) So it was both cool and scary when I heard it was going to be a movie.

And I'm happy to say I think they did a great job adapting it! Yay for that! It feels like it followed the book really well and everything was how I pictured it. Some tightening here and there, but not much really. Same cliffhanger ending! (Actually the book was worse.)

I thought they did a great job portraying what an apocalypse situation must be like, with one thing after another hitting you, and just when you think you get used to things, it changes again. And the paranoia that comes when you feel you can't trust anyone. I can't even imagine. So even though I totally knew what was going to happen, I was still on the edge of my seat.

And though we didn't get to know Evan Walker quite as well as we did in the book, I still think his character is awesome, because he portrays the whole idea of what makes someone human. I felt his compassion and his softness and his heart all come through loud and clear in the movie. And I love it.

Why do people, and kids especially I guess, love these types of movies (YA dystopian end of the world stories) so much? I think it's because it shows teenagers being strong, resilient and in charge of their survival. They have to rise to the occasion and figure it out because there is no one else there to do it for them. I also think these sorts of movies are popular because they are exciting and scary, simple as that. Though do be warned (and I said this in my review of the book) this one does seem especially brutal.

I did wonder about the twists in this movie. I thought perhaps having NOT read the book would make it even better, but my sister (without having read the book) said she saw them coming a mile away. So I don't know, maybe everything is too predictable, but all I know is that when I was reading the book I was gasping and moaning a lot.

And can I just say, what a cute kid they got to play the little brother! Sheesh.

And Evan Walker wasn't bad except... except that I can NOT get over how much he looks like my nephew. Which kind of weirds me out.

Alex Roe as Evan Walker

The nephew.

What say you?

So bottom line: If you've enjoyed other YA novel adaptions featuring strong resilient teenage heroes doing their best to survive the end of the world, you'll probably enjoy this one as well!

Here's the trailer in case you missed it:

Are you a fan of the book? Have you seen or do you plan to see the movie? What did  you think?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards by Janette Rallison

Book: Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards by Janette Rallison
Genre: YA Romance
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I love Janette Rallison books! They are so much fun! A bunch of hers were free on Kindle awhile back, so I snagged them up. And though I have a gazillion books already going, I started reading this one and before I knew it, I'd finished! I love how these fun fluffy books tend to sneak in amongst the "deep thinking" books because, you know, they are a ton more fun to read! Well, sometimes anyway. Lots of times actually.

So this one is about Cassidy who is sad that her best friend has moved away. When a new girl moves into the house, she's determined to be her friend, despite the fact that the new girl is trouble. But she (the new girl) has a brother, who Cassidy at first deems a 7 or so on the scale but who quickly (QUICKLY!) moves up and OFF the scale! Together they team up to help this new girl (named Elise) get it together.

Like I said... FUN!

My only complaint... more kissing please! :)

Bottom Line: Read Janette Rallison books when you are in the mood for a romp that will make you laugh. Any of them really. I promise.

Other Reviews:

Janette Rallison cannot go wrong in my mind. Her books are always enjoyable and so funny with cute romances. From Clean Fiction

It also doesn’t help that the cover art is so mushy and sweet but I was surprised to find that it’s focused more on friendship and family problems. From Geeky Mythology

This is the kind of book you’d love reading in relaxing summer holiday, preferably in a hammock. From Catch the Lune

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Recently Added to the TBR

I've been adding books to the pile like crazy! Here are ten that have risen to the top:

What books are on your TBR pile at this very moment? Be sure to link up over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Currently: Feeling Full of Bloggiesta and Super Junior

Listening: Yeah, you are wondering what I mean above in the title by Super Junior, yes? I mean, I'm pretty sure you've never heard of this band. But. If you are in the mood for something a little different  (Korean) and yet feels a lot the same (pop rock), then here you go! Sadly, this week I got a Kendji CD too, meaning, now Kendji and Super Junior are competing for air time! But the music intake for me has been fabulous this week.

Watching: Funny thing... Super Junior fits this category too. Because they are so much fun to watch dance! Do you think I'm suffering a midlife crisis here? Always and forever. Bring it on. It's hard to pick a favorite, but this song is for sure one:

And once again, I only have my sister to blame because she points out these things to me and drags me along for the fun. I've been begging her to write and post about her all-consuming obsession with these beautiful boys but the thought overwhelms her. So here I am posting instead because, you know, maybe just one of you might listen/watch and join us in our Kpop journey!

Wait? How did the Kpop thing get started you ask? It's all because of the Kdramas! I think I mentioned that last time, right? Check out this website ( and watch one . And see what you think.

As for other things I watched this week... how about Star Wars VII for the third time? Yes. And I saw new things (like the scar that Rey left across Kylo Ren's face) and loved it all over again.

Reading: I finally finished the first couple of books of the year this week. All fabulous. Mosquitoland was especially hard hitting. But I have such a love for the Starbound trilogy and finishing that one this week was bittersweet. WANT. MORE.

Oh, and we announced our Little Women Read Along this week. Did you catch it? Come read with us! Because, you know, we have way too much fun doing read alongs and you don't want to miss it.

Writing: I went to a critique group. That always sets me back at least a week. Still trying to pick it up again. I tried to re-write the first chapter but it wasn't working still, so I went back to revising the existing one. Still not right. And so... I flounder.

Blogging: BLOGGIESTA! It's happening now! I have done the basic catching up stuff. I hope to clean out email here shortly. And I don't know what else. Nothing really big this time I guess. Do mark your calendars for March 21 to 27 when we'll have our week long spring cleaning event. Please come and participate then! (Hmmm... I will be doing Comic Con at the end of that week, so that should be interesting. Sigh. Too many fun things going on always at the same time!)

Health Watch: Zumba happened three times one week, and twice another. Which is better than nothing, but that amount is going to be totally useless. So that needs to change. (What I'd love to do now is learn the dance routines of Super Junior and turn that into my "Zumba" exercising. How fun would that be?) Eating is still a problem. Which it will be for... oh... ever.

  • We've been kid-less all week so that's been really strange and weird and has pretty much thrown me off.
  • The whole David Bowie thing followed by the Alan Rickman thing has hit me harder than I would have expected. Though, it's so awesome that when these people leave us, they leave behind work that will last forever. It makes one think about one's own legacy and what there is to leave behind. Know what I mean?
  • What else? I can't remember.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Book: Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Genre: YA Contemp

Well, this was one of those books I picked up and read not knowing a THING about it and in the end was happy for the experience!

It's a simple story of this girl, Mim, who is living with her dad and stepmom when she overhears something that makes her think her mom is sick. So she runs away to go to her mom who is nearly 1000 miles away. And this story is her adventure. The people she meets, the guy she falls for, and the things she learns about herself.

I love stories like that.

And in the end, things aren't quite as she thought they were and she's all, oh. Oops. And then it ends but there's stuff that I still wanted to have happen and I have a feeling this is a stand alone! Argh!!

The best thing about this is the voice of Mim. You know, when you are learning to write, they talk a lot about voice. Let this book be an example of one really awesome voice! Wow! Mim is feisty and fierce and smart and witty and very very intense. Also a little messed up. And that is what makes this book so so good. Beware, she has a pretty foul mouth too. But she is sweet and cool and... messed up.

It's an intersting mix of sad and funny. You know the kind, where you feel bad laughing at the situation these characters are in, and then you end up weepy eyed afterwards. Yeah, that kind.

Bottom Line: Loved this one. So glad I fit it in between all the other books that are calling to me right now!

Other Reviews:

I absolutely adored this book; it's such a powerful and poignant debut. From Book Chic Club

Arnold dances down the dotted yellow line of humor and tragedy with grace. He melds the immensely sad and harrowing together with the hilarious and strange into a mix that is beautiful and real. From Walking Brain Cells

So often with books about journeys the endings tend to fizzle out or get the shaft, and although the ending was petty short, I loved it. It gave closure while leaving doors open for Mim, and in the end I just want to know that, in her fictional world, she found her way back to that game. From Ex Libris

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Join Us for a Little Women Read Along in February

Is this a book you've thought about reading forever but have just never managed it? NOW IS THE TIME!

Is it one of your favorites and you never pass up a chance to read it again? NOW IS THE TIME!

We had so much fun hosting some read alongs last year that we are doing it again! NOW IS THE TIME to join Jenni, Kami and me and read Little Women with us this February!

Here's the schedule:

Chapters 1-17 from February 1-10: Discussion post Feb. 10 on Suey's blog
(Twitter chat Feb. 10 at 7:00 pm Mountain.)
Chapters 18-33 from February 11-19: Discussion post Feb. 19 on Kami's blog
(Twitter Chat: Feb. 19 at 7:00 pm Mountain.)
Chapters 34-49 from February 20-29: Discussion post on Feb. 29 on Jenni's blog
(Twitter Chat: Feb. 29 at 7:00 pm Mountain.)

Movie watching: March 4 or 5: We'll let you know what day and what time as it gets closer.

We'll be chatting and tweeting throughout the month using the hashtag #LittleWomenRAL. Please, let us know what you think as you read! That's always so fun, the impromptu discussions!

We'd love to have you join us! Let us know if you are interested by linking up here. (It would be awesome if you did a post on your blog to spread the word and link up that post!)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Book: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Genre: YA Scifi

What an awesome ending to a trilogy! In this book, all three couples... Tarver and Lilac from the first book (These Broken Stars) and Flynn and Jubilee from the second book (This Shattered World) and a new couple from this book, Gideon and Sophie, who both have ties to the previous characters... all come together in a final crazy nail biting show down! And now... I'm so sad to be done!

These books have it all! (Remember when we talked about plot and character last week and how you truly need them both?) Yeah, these books are dripping with both awesome plot and awesome characters. In this last book, we meet Gideon who is a well known computer hacker and Sophie, who is running away from said computer hacker, among other things. 'Course she doesn't know who Gideon is and when she finds out, she is steaming mad. But alas, it's too late and she is already head over heels. And of course she is because Gideon is IRRESISTIBLE! And then they are both running and at the same time, trying to figure out how to bring down the bad guy. And when they go to do that, they meet up with the characters from the past books and BAM... let the crazy begin!

Gah. I love these books so much.

Bottom Line: If you haven't read them  yet, what the HECK are you waiting for?

Other Reviews:

The authors were very clever in how they make everything fall into place. From The TBR Pile

This was probably my favorite book in the trilogy. All the action! All the intrigue! From A Backwards Story

Their Fractured Light is not only a stunning execution of a cover (seriously, how do they keep doing that!?), it’s a phenomenal execution of ending a beautiful and magical science fiction story. These authors have managed to pull off something incredible here and I want everyone to experience it. From Such a Novel Idea

(P.S. In changing up my reviews, it appears I'm going to just go back to how I was doing them years ago... mostly just a vomit of feelings. I still like to see what others say, so I'll leave those links for now. Anything else I should add or take away? What do you want to know about the books I read?)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mini Bloggiesta To Do List: Winter 2016

January 16 and 17

Wow. I can't believe it's time to do another Bloggiesta! Four years now that I've been heading these things up after Natasha handed it over. Did I say wow already?

Anyway, if you'd like to work on your blogs... add something... change something... delete something... catch up on something... NOW IS THE TIME! Join us! It's this coming weekend for a Mini Bloggiesta on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 16 and 17 and also Monday the 18th if you have a free day and want to keep working. Find all the details over at the official blog. If you want to let us know you're in, write up a to do list and link it up over there.

Here's my list:

  • get caught up on review archives
  • get caught up on pinning reviews
  • add new 2016 Books Read page
  • play with a new review format
  • host a Twitter chat (Sunday the 17th at 2 pm Eastern!)
  • post some reviews to Amazon 
  • clean up email
  • think of more Book Banter topics
That's about all I'll be able to worry about this time. Let's do it!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book Banter 7: Plot vs. Character

Okay everyone! Time for another Book Banter! And we picked a hard one this time: Plot vs. Character! Which team are you on?

Because as we all know, the two elements of a story work hand in hand to make it a good book, but we also all know that we tend to enjoy one over the other. Or can give one a break but never the other one. Am I making sense?

Of course, Jenny and I are on opposite teams... AGAIN... when it comes to these two parts of a story. Here's what we have to say about it:

Suey says:

I remember at one point if someone were to ask me if I was a plot person or a character person, I’d fret and wring my hands and hum and ha and stress about the answer. That was years ago and since then I’ve learned that I lean much more toward the character side of things over the plot side of things. (Not say one is more important than the other… because as we all know, a story needs both.)

Anyway… my three reasons:

  1. I’ve noticed that when others complain “but nothing is happening!” I’m like… “really? But stuff IS happening… the characters are talking, right?”  So I guess my first reason is so what if nothing is happening as long as the characters are relating… meaning… they are bantering, talking, discussing, interacting, figuring stuff out, thinking, worrying, pondering. All those things ARE something. Which means… something IS happening! Was that a clear reason? Let me restate: Characters interacting is something happening!
  2. Characters make me happy. Sometimes plot goes over my head. Sometimes I miss the details and the ins and outs and the complicated nature of what’s going down… but I GET the characters! They fascinate me. They seem like real people. They are awesome, cool, vulnerable, crazy, swoony, and so many other things. They are the heart of the story and the part of the story that make me interested, much more so than the plot ever does.
  3. The questions that often arise in plot… where did that dead body come from and who killed it? Or who’s going to win the war and how? Or why is he going on this journey and will he get there?  etc etc.... they make me lose interest. If those questions start being discussed in too much detail I get bored and start skimming to see if I can find where it “gets back to the story” which for me is when the people show up again! To restate: plot questions are boring!

Of course, I enjoy a fast paced, moving, crazy good plot! Of course I do! BUT… the people are where it’s at!

Jenny says:

Three Reasons That Plot Rules!

1. Even if the characters suck, if the plot is good you keep reading! I just read a book where this very thing happened. The characters were, meh, but the plot was so gripping I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down! I was riveted. Now, sure, ideally one wants good characters they can root for. Even just one but admit it, if the plot is speeding along at a breakneck speed, you're enjoying it.

2. Character driven books are so boring! I've read far too many books where NOTHING happens! It's all character development, character angst...blah blah blah! Character driven books are like watching reality TV. It's all talk and drama and I, for one, get so bored!

3. Plot is everything!  Conflict, even if it's about characters, is plot! And we all know we need conflict in a book. Plot is what keeps us reading. If we love our MC but she has nothing standing in her way, no conflict, nothing happening, it's boring. Who want's to read about that? Not me!

(Disclaimer: I love characters and they are important to me, but if I had to choose, I'd choose plot.)


So there you have it! Two viewpoints on the ongoing discussion of the question, which do you enjoy most: plot or character??!! (Don't forget to give Jenny's blog a visit today too and see the discussion over there!)

So, which side of the fence do you land on? Which team do you root for? Which book do you find less boring, the character driven one or the plot driven one? Let us know! Give us your reasons! Banter back with us!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Book: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Genre: YA Fantasy
For: fun
From: Christmas!

Short Synopsis: This is the second book after A Kiss of Deception, which I read and loved at this time last year. Since the reveal at the end of that book is pretty huge there will be massive spoilers from here on out for THAT book in order to tell you about THIS book.

So. Lia has been captured by Kaden and taken to his kingdom of Venda. She is now the prisoner of their king, though after awhile, this guy let's her have a pretty free rein. Turns out, the people of this kingdom are quite taken with her. This is an interesting twist and she plans to use it. Also, Rafe has been captured (because he was following her remember?) and they get a few moments, here there,  to plan their escape. It's going to go down in a big big way! Or is it?

Oh my gosh, the plot is so much more complicated than that! And you know, I actually didn't spoil a whole lot because you still don't really know who Rafe and Kaden are, now do you! And I'm not telling.

My Response: Loved it. You know....these books remind me of The Winner's Curse books... if you know and love those! And the ending of this one.. well both of them... AH!!! I NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW! I love these characters and these boys and the conflicts and the craziness. I love the world and the writing and the story. This middle book moved a little slower and didn't have quite the mystery of the first book, thus the little lower rating. But still. Sheesh.

Bottom Line: A great series for historical fantasy lovers and lovers of intense reading!

Other Reviews:

Her character development is sky high in this book, and the manipulations and deceptions that she has to resort to just to stay alive and the protect the ones she loves are many in this book. From Bewitched Bookworms

High Expectations for Book 2: Met! From Edgy Inspirational Romance

One of the greatest bad guys EVER. Oh, he's creepy and much to intelligent and powerful and dynamic and devious... and self-serving. From Colorimetry

In the end, The Heart of Betrayal delivers another gut-wrenching story with an ending that is sure to make readers groan in frustration and wait impatiently for book three. From Ex Libris

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Resolutions

Many pooh pooh the whole New Year goal making tradition, but I can't seem to let it go. I have an overwhelming urge at the change of the year (or the season, or the school year) to make an effort to start again, to recommit, to make lists. Here are some thoughts I've had for various areas of my life... for now:


  • My Goodreads number for this year has been set at 80! 
  • I want to read more adult books, more non fiction books and more classic books.
  • And yet, I still want to keep up with the favorite YA authors and series and local authors and their new books!
  • I want to host a couple of read alongs again. (We are thinking of a Little Women one... soon. Very soon!)
  • I will probably not accept many ARCs this year or request much from NetGalley. 


  • In order to make way for some other goals, I think blogging will take more of a back seat role this year. We'll see how it goes... and maybe you'll not notice much. Maybe it will make me too crazy, but basically, I plan to not blog as in, not every day. Maybe more like three times a week or so. Unless I have way too much to say!
  • I want to shake up my review system a bit, but I'm not sure how. I'm going to bag the discussion question and just write a quick blurb and a quick reaction. We'll see how it goes and maybe the change will also end up being very subtle.
  • I want to keep Book Bantering with Jenny!
  • Visit more blogs and reconnect with long lost blogging buddies!
  • Get caught up on print out some blog posts and adding them to the binder.


  • This needs to become more of a priority, like... ahead of blogging.
  • I want to make changes to the first book according to feedback from beta readers.
  • I want to finish and revise the recent Nano book and start getting feedback for it.
  • Which means the other book will still have to wait it's turn for some attention.
  • I want to start researching agents and the like. Freaky! Which means maybe NEXT year I'll be ready to query and pitch. Maybe.
  • I plan to attend two conferences. Maybe more.
  • I hope to keep the online writing group going. And if that doesn't work.. find a real, in life serious writing group. Sigh.
  • Keep going to UVW when I can. Renew membership in March.


  • Zumba, every day! (Or, at least four or five times a week.) Other strength exercises that work for me and that I have the ability to do. (Whatever that is!)
  • Eat healthy. (Just as soon as all the chocolate in this house is gone! LOL!)
  • Finish the hexagon wall hanging quilt!
  • Clean up some hoarder stashes found in various corners of this house! Get rid of junk!
  • Figure out what it means to be a grandma and do it. (Babysit? Re-enter the picture book world? I don't know!)
  • Make some vacation movies... print up the pictures.
Well, I'm sure there's more, but I'll stop there. And yeah that's more than ten, but that was just a guideline, right? 

What do you have planned for the new year? Link up over at The Broke and the Bookish today!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines

Book: Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Fun (Local/Utah authors)
From: Bought at a writing conference awhile back

Short Synopsis: Eleanor is being forced by her ruthless dad to go to the rival kingdom and marry its king in order to seal the agreement and solidify new alliances. She is not happy. She'd rather stay home and marry one of her dad's guards. But, she goes, and finds out the king is not so bad after all, and in fact when lots of strange things begin to happen, she finds herself on his side more than her own kingdom's.

My Response: Another fun romp of a fairy type tale from this author. Some fun twists and turns here and there, some fun bantering and flirty fluff. Lots and lots of Welsh influences and a creepy mythical tone. I love stuff like this!

Bottom Line: Very fun for lovers of fairy tales and flirty fantasy fun!

Other Reviews:

Eleanor must learn how to sort out the truth and the lies that have surrounded her for her entire life. I loved watching the characters learn and grow together. From I Am a Reader

There was lots of mystery in the book as we have no idea who’s right and wrong and who exactly the villain is. From Book Binge

The pacing of this book is fantastic! We get little bits of information at a time which kept me endlessly reading one more chapter until I was done From Mel's Shelves

They start as purely enemies, but when they actually meet, “stranger danger” becomes a scary reality for Eleanor. They go from enemies-strangers to frenemies to something more and I love the growth of that undeniable bond between them. From The Mistress Case

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Currently: Feeling Pumped, Mostly

Listening: At this very moment I'm blasting some Blueman Group percussion-y songs, which I love love love. Like this:

Well, at least they cleaned up the mess they made, eh? :)

Watching: My sister Megs has decided that I must join her in her fascination with Korean drama... so I've downloaded the app Drama Fever to my tablet and have fully immersed myself into one called Lie to Me. It's very fun, silly, convoluted and sappy. But fun. I said that already, right. So far so good. I will keep watching.  Also, I finished The 100 season two and will probably maybe perhaps watch it live on TV when it starts up again soon. I missed Sherlock on Friday night so I'm hoping they re air it this week as they say they will. Also... Downton Abbey!

Scene I just watched from Lie to Me

P.S. I also watched Star Wars (the new movie) twice since last we Currently-ed. I would love to see it one more time at the Imax before it goes away. I wonder when that will happen, if it hasn't already.

Reading: If you've been keeping track, I've been posting  a gazillion year end posts this past week. I hope you've enjoyed them all. And for some reason I can't settle on what I want to read at the moment, so I've started a pile all at once. I think I'll settle on Their Fractured Light. Deal?

Blogging: I'm hoping to change things up this year.. maybe do my reviews differently, maybe not post as often, maybe. I don't know. I feel like something needs to change a bit. But I'm not sure what. We'll see. MEANWHILE... BLOGGIESTA! January 16 and 17! A mini one! JOIN US!

Writing: I'm ready. So ready. I took all of December off and now... BACK AT IT! This is going to happen guys. I will post specific goals on my other site here soon.

Health Watch: Eating is crap still, but I did fit in Zumba three times this week. Working back up to every day. This is also GOING to happen! I'm also hoping to learn better how to make vegetarian stuff. Not to say we're turning vegetarian, but let's say we maybe will be 3/4 that way. That can be a thing, right?

Crafting: So I made a baby quilt and gave it to my new grandbaby-to-be for Christmas. I did a crappy job as I'm so out of practice, but maybe it's start to doing some more stuff like this:

  • A lot of changes will be happening at our house these next few months and it makes me anxious. Here's hoping I make it through. If you notice something off...that's why!
  • Looking forward to writing conferences that are coming up!
  • Looking forward to some plays/musicals that are coming up!
  • Did I tell you I got Josh Groban tickets for the summer? YEP!!
  • My back and my neck and my foot have hurt all these weeks of holiday. Do you think I'm dying? Or maybe.. I'm just getting old?
  • I have not been at work for two weeks. It seems like another world. 
  • I have a new primary class to teach at church today. Twelve 8 year olds, nine of them boys. Help me now! 
  • I want to buy CDs from Amazon but they are all expensive imports. It frustrates me. I think I might cave anyway.
  • We watched Some Kind of Wonderful over the holiday. I love that movie:

I've shared it before, and I'll share it again. Best scene ever.

And so... what have you been up to these days?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Guest Post: Thoughts on Star Wars The Force Awakens (An Alternate Viewpoint)

Today I give you a guest post by my son who, as you can see, did not inherit the love of Star Wars from his mom. I'm sharing this because I enjoy seeing another side of things, and because I want to show that feelings I take for granted are not necessarily shared by all.  Perhaps some of you will also enjoy seeing another viewpoint.

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It’s safe to say that I didn’t have high hopes for the new Star Wars movie. All I saw in it was a corporate scheme to make a quick half a billion at the expense of a cultural jewel. I was slightly irked when I heard that they we’re going to add another trilogy to a trilogy that was already three movies too long. However, I’ve been surprised by some of the new movies coming out lately, and I thought it would be at least entertaining and worth my while to keep up with the hype.

The major concern that I see among the brave few who are willing to criticize this movie is that it is simply a re-make of the original Star Wars movie. The protagonist starts out as a nobody living on Tatooine, cultivating dreams of seeing the stars while barely able to make ends meet until she meets a curious little droid. Sound familiar? She is then pulled away from her home planet when her village is attacked by the evil “First Order” who is searching for said droid. It’s by sheer chance that she ends up fleeing Tatooine in the beloved Millennium Falcon, and meeting up with Han Solo shortly afterwards, who enters the film, almost literally, right out of nowhere. The rest of the film follows the timeline of the first movie just as well, with Rey, our modern and more politically correct Luke, finding her powers slowly until in the end, she destroys the Death Star with her politically correct sidekick. Except for this time the Death Star is even bigger than the last two, The size of an entire planet. I can only imagine that we have but two more films to wait until we can see Rey fight off a Death Star the size of an entire solar system. Some people seem to like the fact that it’s the same story we heard three decades ago, but for me it makes for a very boring and predictable movie.

As I mentioned above, Han Solo’s emergence into the film is wholly unexplained, and far too much of a stretch for me to justify any other reason for him to have been included other than the nostalgic kick his character provides. Of course, everyone knows that there is hardly any other reason for Solo to appear, but I feel like they could’ve tried harder to make it less obvious. The character that bugged me more was Kylo Ren, who completely ruined the precedent dark mystere and confidence of the sith lord set by Vader. He came off as a whiny teenager with daddy issues who took his angst a bit too far.

The humor in this film was pathetic and distracting. Most of the jokes originated from Finn, who played the part of the cute, clueless black sidekick and they made me feel like I was watching a juvenile Disney channel TV show.

One thing that I can’t stand about these types of films is how incredibly unrealistic they are. The first scene that bugged me was when, Rey, a young and inexperienced pilot, is able to outrun and outmaneuver a trained New Order Tie fighter while flying an ancient broken down ship that she has never flown before. That’s too much to handle. Many similarly grotesque instances of good fortune take place throughout the film, but the worst was at the end when Finn, a lowly ex stormtrooper, is not only able to wield Luke’s light saber, but successfully uses it to fight off Kylo Ren, a sith lord in training.

All in all, this was one of the worst films I’ve seen in a very long time. The characters were shallow and not worth caring about, and there might as well have been no story line at all. By the end I felt like all I had done was give myself a headache by listening to an entire library of explosion and laser sound effects. I would barely feel justified giving it half a star.

And so, what do you think? Harsh, or justified? Let us know in comments!

Friday, January 1, 2016

December 2015 Reading Recap

A fun picture taken Christmas Eve

December, as we all know, is a crazy month, but I pushed through a few books anyway!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: Something happened aboard the space ships carrying refugees from an invasion... the documents complied for this book tell the story.

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt: A girl struggles to fit in despite her struggle with dyslexia. 

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon: Maddy has an illness that keeps her stuck inside, but when she sees a cool dude moving in next door, she wants to escape for the first time in her life.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Celeana is freed from the slave pits only to be forced to compete in game where the winner becomes the kings assassin. 

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord: Paige has made a goal to start over this new school year and put the death of her boyfriend behind, only, things don't turn out like she plans.

The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens: a retelling of the four gospels of the New Testament by Charles Dickens for his children.

Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines: Eleanor is sent to marry the king of the rival kingdom but when she gets there, she gets confused as to who's the good guys and who's the bad.

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary Pearson: Lia finds herself a prisoner in the kingdom of the Assassin and ends up playing a life and death game with their leader.

Favorites of the Month: The Start of Me and You, Everything Everything and Illuminae! 

Plans for January:

  • Read The Year of Magical Thinking for book club
  • Read Their Fractured Light
  • Read Winter
  • Finish Twitterpated
  • Finish Red Queen
  • I have no idea what else I hope to get to!
How did your December go?


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