Goals and Resolutions–2014

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme I participate in when I can. It’s a great meme and is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my own list, but to read what other people come up with!

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This week we are talking about our goals and resolutions for 2014. They can be bookish, not bookish or a blend. I have personal goals and resolutions, but here I talk about my bookish goals and resolutions for the year:

  1. Move my blog to a self-hosting site–at this point I just need to create my header. That’s where I’m having a few problems since I don’t use Photoshop very well :-(
  2. Figure out what the header will be for my self-hosted blog–a continuation of the above, but deserves its own goal since I’m having so much trouble!
  3. Start participating in social media–Once I get my blog moved I plan to start with twitter (which I’ve never used before!)
  4. Write posts two to three weeks ahead of time–I plan to use a calendar and schedule my posts. Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer wrote a tips and tricks post a few days ago which talked about this as well as other ways to avoid burnout.
  5. Continue to post three or four times a week–I think this is my sweet spot for blogging. I feel trying to push myself more might lead to burnout.
  6. Read at least 100 books this year–This was the first year in quite a few years I didn’t read at least 100 books.
  7. Participate in at least four reading challenges this year–I only participated in one reading challenge last year and really enjoyed that one (New Author Challenge).
  8. Set a time limit in the morning and evening I spend reading other blogs–otherwise I tend to get lost reading blogs, sometimes not blogging or reading and feeling overwhelmed. When I try to do too much bloghopping I don’t even comment sometimes!
  9. Make sure I read and answer comments on my blog–this is a goal I’ve always had and want to continue. I enjoy comments so much and have met so many great bloggers and readers from comments and reading other blogs.
  10. Remember my reasons for blogging–to have fun, find great new books to read, find other people who read the same types of books I do, stretch myself by learning new technology as well as reading new authors and genres.

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Do you have goals and resolutions this year?

January books on my radar…

RadarEach month I write about the books I’ve noticed and think might be good. Sometimes they’re from favorite authors and other times I get excited by some new author I might try.

I don’t buy all the books (not during the month they’re released at least)–since I already have way too many books to read and sometimes these new books have high prices :-(

But the list I make each month helps me not forget books. The Goodreads links help me keep track of these books and I hope people reading my post may find some new books, too!

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January 7

This sounds interesting–especially the time period.

bitter-spiritsBitter Spirits

by Jenn Bennett

Series: Roaring Twenties #1

Published by Berkley Sensation

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

336 pages

Synopsis: Aida Palmer performs a spirit medium show onstage at Chinatown’s illustrious Gris-Gris speakeasy. However, her ability to summon (and expel) the dead is more than just an act.

Winter Magnusson is a notorious bootlegger who’s more comfortable with guns than ghosts—unfortunately for him, he’s the recent target of a malevolent hex that renders him a magnet for hauntings. After Aida’s supernatural assistance is enlisted to banish the ghosts, her spirit-chilled aura heats up as the charming bootlegger casts a different sort of spell on her…

On the hunt for the curseworker responsible for the hex, Aida and Winter become drunk on passion. And the closer they become, the more they realize they have ghosts of their own to exorcise…

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I haven’t read the first book in this series, but they both sound so intriguing and I don’t want to forget to read the first book–so I’ve included this book.

unhingedUnhinged

by A. G. Howard

Series: Splintered #2

Published by Amulet

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

384 pages

Synopsis: Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

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Jayne Ann Krentz is a favorite author, but I haven’t read any of her books recently. I have many of her older books which are comfort reads for me!

river-roadRiver Road

by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series: Unknown

Published by Putnam Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

352 pages

Synopsis: It’s been thirteen years since Lucy Sheridan was in Summer River. The last time she visited her aunt Sara there, as a teenager, she’d been sent home suddenly after being dragged out of a wild party—by the guy she had a crush on, just to make it more embarrassing. Obviously Mason Fletcher—only a few years older but somehow a lot more of a grown-up—was the overprotective type who thought he had to come to her rescue.

Now, returning after her aunt’s fatal car accident, Lucy is learning there was more to the story than she realized at the time. Mason had saved her from a very nasty crime that night—and soon afterward, Tristan, the cold-blooded rich kid who’d targeted her, disappeared mysteriously, his body never found.

A lot has changed in thirteen years. Lucy now works for a private investigation firm as a forensic genealogist, while Mason has quit the police force to run a successful security firm with his brother—though he still knows his way around a wrench when he fills in at his uncle’s local hardware store. Even Summer River has changed, from a sleepy farm town into a trendy upscale spot in California’s wine country. But Mason is still a protector at heart, a serious (and seriously attractive) man. And when he and Lucy make a shocking discovery inside Sara’s house, and some of Tristan’s old friends start acting suspicious, Mason’s quietly fierce instincts kick into gear. He saved Lucy once, and he’ll save her again. But this time, she insists on playing a role in her own rescue . . .

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January 14

Flavia de Luce is such an interesting character. However, I’m several books behind in the series.

the-dead-in-their-vaulted-archesThe Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

by Alan Bradley

Series: Flavia de Luce #6

Published by Delacorte Press

Genre: Historical Mystery

221 pages

Synopsis: On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office—and making spectacular use of Harriet’s beloved Gipsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit—Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.

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January 21

Sounds like a really good science fiction.

avalonAvalon

by Mindee Arnett

Series: Avalon #1

Published by Balzer & Bray

Genre: Science Fiction

432 pages

Synopsis: Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they’re damn good at it. Jeth doesn’t care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he’ll go to get the freedom he’s wanted for so long.

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January 28

An interesting premise.

uninvitedUninvited

by Sophie Jordan

Series: Uninvited #1

Published by Harper Teen

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

384 pages

Synopsis: When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

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The first book in the series was one of my favorite books of 2013.

lines-of-departure01Lines of Departure

by Marko Kloos

Series: book 2

Published by 47 North

Genre: Science Fiction

328 pages

Synopsis: Vicious interstellar conflict with an indestructible alien species. Bloody civil war over the last habitable zones of the cosmos. Political unrest, militaristic police forces, dire threats to the solar system . . . Humanity is on the ropes, and after years of fighting a two-front war with losing odds, so is Commonwealth Defense Corps officer Andrew Grayson. He dreams of dropping out of the service one day, alongside his pilot girlfriend, but as warfare consumes entire planets and conditions on Earth deteriorate, he wonders if there will be anywhere left for them to go. After surviving a disastrous spaceborne assault, Grayson is reassigned to a ship bound for a distant colony ? and packed with malcontents and troublemakers. His most dangerous battle has just begun. In this sequel to the bestselling Terms of Enlistment, a weary soldier must fight to prevent the downfall of his species . . . or bear witness to humanity’s last, fleeting breaths.

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The only book I know I’ll buy in January:

  • Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos

The rest of the books are on my watch list–for either reviews or price drops!

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What books are you looking forward to this month? What books have I missed?

Sunday Post–January 5

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kim at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to participate in every week and I thank Kim for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the House

We had a pretty quiet week. New Years was nice. We watched some football games on New Years Day and throughout the week. We’re Green Bay Packers fans so we were happy they won last Sunday. The game today may be harder…it will certainly be colder since it’s in Green Bay, Wisconsin (supposed to be below zero).

It was our anniversary this week and we had planned to take a long weekend trip, but my husband was sick and the weather was snowy and cold. He stayed home from work and went to the doctor a couple times, but is on the mend.

I spent lots of time reading and not much blogging. The Touchstone series by Andrea K. Höst I read is wonderful and all I wanted to do was read!

Blog

Sunday Post–December 29

New Author Challenge 2013 Wrap-up

Favorite Books & Reading Summary–2013

What I’m reading

The Silvered by Tanya Huff

What I read this week

Lab Rat One by Andrea K. Höst

Caszandra by Andrea K. Höst

E-books bought

I went a little wild with all the books I bought–so many good sales!

Caszandra by Andrea K. Höst

The first eight of the In Death series by J. D. Robb–Naked in Death is the first

Promise of the Wolves by Dorothy Hearst

Secrets of the Wolves by Dorothy Hearst

Stork by Wendy Delsol

Dead Set by Richard Kadrey

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Next Week

Around the house

We’ve put away most of the Christmas decorations so I’m hoping to get more done next week. I need to break out of the holiday mode and move into the January and Winter mode!

Posts on the blog

I still have several books from 2013 to review. I hope to post all those reviews by the middle of the month.

  • Books on my radar…January
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Review: Bloodfever & Faefever
  • Reading Challenges–2014
  • Review:
  • Sunday Post

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Are you making resolutions for the new year? Other new year plans or posts?

Favorite Books & Reading Summary–2013

Reading Summary

I read 88 books or novellas in 2013–way down from my 2012 total (118 books). I think the main reason for this is that I started my blog which took quite a bit of my reading time. I would like to’ve read at least 100 books which I’ve done for the last several years, but I’m enjoying blogging so I’m going to accept my reading speed plus I read some great books! When I’m reading a book I love I sometimes so down my reading so I can enjoy the happiness and joy of a great book!

Over half the books I read (60 books or 68%) were fantasy or science fiction. This includes paranormal and fantasy romance as well as young adult fantasies and science fiction. Most of the books I read were fantasies–either urban fantasies or just fantasies.

In 2012, I read many more historical romances than fantasies. This year I read 29 romances–including contemporary romance, historical romance and paranormal and fantasy romance. Most of the novellas I read were romances.

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Without further ado…in the order I read the books…

My favorites of 2013:

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Cinder started me reading more young adult books the latter part of the year)

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff

Stray & Lab Rat One by Andrea K. Höst (I’m counting this as one book even though it’s a trilogy, because the books are really just one continuous wonderful book!)

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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Honorable Mention

Really any of these books could be in my top ten. I loved them, too!

A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

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I could continue with a number of other books…I had a great reading year! The above books aren’t always my highest rated books, but these are books which stayed with me through the year. Sometimes after I read a book I can’t even remember exactly what it was about by the next week! The above books are books are really remember and enjoy remembering…lol…not books I hated so much I remember them.

All my favorites are fantasy/science fiction. I’m loving fantasy and don’t see that changing anytime soon!

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What about you? What have you been reading? Have you done a “Best of…” post?

New Author Challenge 2013 Wrap-Up

Happy New Year to Everyone!

I hope you all had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve and will have a wonderful year.

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New Author Challenge

Disclaimer: Artwork used (with permission) for the button is Anglerfish by Vlad Gerasimov.

I participated in the 2013 New Authors Challenge which is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. I’ve really enjoyed the new authors I’m reading this year!

The Literary Escapism Blog is hosting another New Author Challenge for 2014. Check it out and join the challenge!

I challenged myself to read 25 new-to-me authors in 2013. I won my challenge and actually read and reviewed 32 new authors in 2013!

On December 17 I even wrote a post (for Top Ten Tuesday) of my favorite new authors of the year.

Since I wrote that on Dec 17 I have another favorite new author: Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches)!

This was the only Challenge I participated in this year, but since this was a favorite part of my year this year I’ve decided to participate in several more challenges in 2014! I will write a post about them in the next week.

Sunday Post–December 29

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kim at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to participate in every week and I thank Kim for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the House

This week was family time. We played gamesDSC_0010 (dominoes and backgammon), watched a few movies (Elf, Despicable Me), walked around the neighborhood especially at night (looking at Christmas lights), talked, cooked, baked, ate a lot…it was all pretty relaxed and fun.

Our son was only here Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. His allergies and our cats don’t get along. Our two daughters left yesterday (Saturday) and that was a sad day for me. I miss them so much, but they are happy in the Midwest and our older daughter just got a full-time job, but will continue with her Master’s program. The job is 90 minutes away from where she’s living now so she’s moving (her Master’s program is available online).

Our neighbors invited us to a get-together at their home on Saturday night and that was lots of fun. We met more people in our neighborhood and enjoyed lots of great food, drink and conversation.

Blog

Sunday Post–December 22

Review: Poltergeist by Kat Richardson

Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

What I’m reading

Lab Rat One by Andrea K. Höst

What I read this week

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

E-books bought

Through the Evil Days by Julie Spencer-Fleming

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead by Christiana Miller

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King (Christmas gift)

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie King (Christmas gift)

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak

Geek with the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir

Lab Rat One by Andrea K. Höst

Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford

Next Week

Around the house

My husband goes back to work for two days and then takes the rest of the week off. Our wedding anniversary is on January 2 so we plan to spend some time in Baltimore, Annapolis and the Eastern Shore. I hope we can stay in a bed and breakfast in Annapolis!

Posts on the blog

I’m preparing end-of-year and beginning-of-year posts and preparing to move my blog to my self-hosted site. I’ve still got a few things to do so we’ll  see how it all goes.

  • New Author Challenge 2013 Wrap-up
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Review: Bloodfever & Faefever by Karen Marie Moning
  • Review:
  • Sunday Post

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What are your end of the year plans? New year plans?

Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

New Author Challenge

Disclaimer: Artwork used (with permission) for the button is Anglerfish by Vlad Gerasimov.

Deborah Harkness is an author I haven’t read before and so it’s part of my New Authors Challenge which is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Check out their blog and also the challenge. I’m really enjoying all the new authors I’m reading this year!

I think this is my last new author review of 2013! I will write a post wrapping it all up.

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a-discovery-of-witchesA Discovery of Witches
by Deborah Harkness
Series: All Souls Trilogy #1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Viking Penguin, 2011
E-book, purchased
579 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

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“The question of why you’re here–how we’re all here–really does consume you,” I said slowly, “I could see it on every page of Darwin’s book.”

Matthew studied his wine. “It’s the only question worth asking.”

What I like about this book:

  • Diana’s study of the alchemists…the way history–the past and present and maybe the future–is interwoven into the story.
  • Diana’s love of history.
  • The Oxford setting with the Bodleian library, the scholars, Diana rowing her scull all create a wonderful setting
  • The way so many lives and events are interwoven.
  • The relationships people have with Diana–Sarah and Em, Matthew, Ysabeau and Marthe, Marcus, Diana’s parents and so many others. They all revolve around Diana even while they have their own lives.
  • The richness of this story–history, languages, settings, characters, emotions–are all wonderful.

What I don’t like:

  • There are still so many mysteries…which is great, but I’m impatient!

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My thoughts:

I love this book! I’ve heard about it since it came out over two years ago, but heard more about it this year after I started my blog and began regularly reading other blogs. I finally bought the book and read it and am so glad I did! I’m also glad I don’t have too long to wait before the third book in the trilogy is published (July 2014)!

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Have you read A Discovery of Witches? How did you like it?