Wednesday, December 31, 2014

31 Days of Better Blogging

31 Days of Better Blogging

Parajunkee is hosting a Better Blogging Challenge again this year. She hosted something similar for 2014 and I had fun taking part, so thought I'd try it again this year! I like that the challenge is pretty flexible and you're not locked into doing every single task.

How to participate:

The daily topics/tasks are below, each day will be a different focus. How-to and tips will be posted on each day, in correlation with each task. Visit each day to get pointers on how to take care of your task, and join in the discussion. Or just do the tasks on your own schedule in your own time-frame. (

Daily Topics/Tasks:

Day 1: Let’s Get Commenting
Day 2: Time for Spring Cleaning
Day 3: About Me Refresher
Day 4: Top Commentators
Day 5: Friendly Feedback
Day 6: Planning Ahead
Day 7: Highlight Your Popular Posts
Day 8: Recycle Your Posts
Day 9: Social Media Checks & Balances
Day 10: Email Signatures
Day 11: Forums & Such
Day 12: Menu Systems
Day 13: New To Your Blogs
Day 14: Your Competitors
Day 15: Idea Journal
Day 16: The Buddy List
Day 17: Gals & Missions
Day 18: Social Network…Go!
Day 19: Change it up
Day 20: Reader Survey
Day 21: Blogger Love Note
Day 22: Check under the SEO Hood
Day 23: Pros & Cons of Blogging
Day 24: The Big Interview
Day 25: Blog Schedule
Day 26: Share a bit…
Day 27: Target Audience
Day 28: Contact Info
Day 29: User Friendly
Day 30: Brainstorm Time
Day 31: Put your blog to the test.

I don't expect to participate every single day, but will try to post at least two days a week. Let me know if you're planning to take part so I can swing by to share some comment love!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
The Secret Santa exchange hosted by the ladies over at The Broke & the Bookish is one of my favorite swaps! For some reason, it's just more fun shopping for a fellow book lover! There's an added layer of excitement that isn't there for other exchanges.

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
I was a good girl this year and waited until Christmas to open my package. My Secret Santa was Alex from Booksy Daisy Reviews, and she did a fantastic job! Look at all of the goodies she sent me! There was even a little Santa stocking full of more packages! You can't see them from this angle, but the packages had little notes on them explaining why she chose the item. Such a clever idea!

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
The goodies unwrapped! It's like Alex has known me for years and I feel so spoiled!

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
My new books!
Seraphina - I love dragons, so Alex thought I could give this one a good home! Looks good!
Fire - Alex loved this story and had to send me a copy when she saw it on my wishlist!
Talon - the newest book from one of my favorite authors!

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
The non-book goodies.
My favorite candy - red Twizzlers
Magnetic page clips - such a cute idea for bookmarks!
Godiva milk chocolate bar - yum!
A Dr. Who Titans toy of the 6th Doctor - love Dr. Who!

Alex, I can't thank you enough for my presents! I couldn't have picked out anything better, and it's like you've known me for years! I love absolutely everything, and can't wait to start reading my new books!

Anyone else take part in a Secret Santa exchange this year? Would love to see what you got!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Book Haul 12/27/2014

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the book.

For Review:

This was a surprise in my mailbox. I thought at first that I had agreed to review it and simply forgot to make a note, but this is not my type of read at all. Sounds intriguing, but I don't know when or if I'll have time to read it.

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

A luminous and unforgettable tale of two women, destiny, and identity in Afghanistan.

What did you receive this week?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

 photo Christmaspuppy.jpg

May you get everything under the tree that you wanted! 
If not, there'll be a huge sale tomorrow so treat yourself!

 photo Christmascats.jpg

And now, for your viewing pleasure....enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Shake Puppies - A great last-minute stocking stuffer!

Shake Puppies by Carli Davidson
Shake Puppies by Carli Davidson

Shake Puppies features two images of each dog placed side by side to capture the action of the shake- - the tousled hair, the distorted expression, the flying water droplets. The photographs capture the dogs in the most candid of moments and were shot against brightly colored backdrops to make them fresh, lively, and inviting.

Shake Puppies includes a roster listing the names, ages, and breeds of the dogs, as well as behind-the-scenes images that take readers into the studio with Carli Davidson and the smiling, playful pups. In the accompanying text, she offers never-before-shared insight into her creative process and reminds readers of the importance of animal adoption and quality pet care.

Funny and heartwarming Shake Puppies is a colorful assemblage of photographs that are startling and endearing, revealing and irresistible. (Goodreads)

Shake Puppies is an adorable book, stuffed full of cute pictures of puppies caught mid-shake! You cannot help but smile as you thumb through the pages, as nothing is cuter than a puppy! The author even includes some basic training tips at the end of the book, which is a nice touch. Would definitely make a great gift for someone, as who doesn't love puppies?

The song Shake It Off kept playing through my head as I enjoyed all of the pictures. No Taylor Swift in the below video, but it's still adorable! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Book Haul 12/20/2014

The Stolen by Bishop O'Connell, Death by Roses by Vivian R. Probst, and Truth by Julia Karr
In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

I know that I really shouldn't be accepting any new review offers, but this one sounded too intriguing to pass up! And the publisher was very understanding about giving me time to review the book, so how could I resist?

The Stolen by Bishop O'Connell
The Stolen by Bishop O'Connell

Tonight, for the first time in over a century, a mortal child will be kidnapped by faeries.


This was a surprise in the mail. About a week after receiving the book, I got an email asking if I'd be interested in reviewing the book. Guess she forgot that she had already shipped it to me! Sounds quirky enough to be a fun read, so I may sign up for the tour.

Death by Roses by Vivian R. Probst
Death by Roses by Vivian R. Probst

For the first time in nearly thirty years of marriage, Art McElroy Sr. buys his headstrong, disapproving wife a dozen yellow roses. Hours later he discovers her lifeless body seated on the toilet. Mae Rose McElroy's sudden death leaves a void in her family and in the entire Midwestern farming community of Fairview. It's a void Mae Rose will attempt to fill, herself, from the hereafter by meddling directly in earthly affairs. (Goodreads)


I joined a bookish Secret Santa swap on Facebook and received a book from my wishlist and a $5 Amazon gift card. Very happy with this swap!

Truth by Julia Karr
Truth by Julia Karr 

 Nina Oberon's life has changed enormously in the last few months. When her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council-ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all sixteen-year-old girls have. The one that announces to the world that she is easy prey to predators. But Nina won't be anyone's stereotype. And when she joins an organization of girls working within the Resistance, she knows that they can put an end to one of the most terrifying secret programs the GC has ever conceived. Because the truth always comes out . . . and the consequences can be deadly. (Goodreads)

What did you receive this week?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Darkest Part of the Forest book review

The Darkest Part of the Forest book review
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

**ARC received from the publisher**

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does… (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

One of the things that I really loved about this story is that Hazel is the hero. She wants to be a knight, fighting monsters and saving her town, rather than waiting passively for a Prince Charming to come and save the day. I love a good, strong female lead and Hazel fits the bill perfectly!

Hazel and her brother are raised by inattentive parents, left to their own devices much too often and getting into more trouble than was healthy. But if they weren't neglected, they wouldn't have had so many childhood adventures! The jury's still out though on whether or not that was a good thing.

Having unwisely made a deal with the fae when she was younger, things go from bad to worse for Hazel when the mysterious horned boy disappears from his glass coffin in the woods.

So many questions! Who is the horned boy? Where did Hazel's childhood sword disappear to? Who is leaving her cryptic messages? And when will the Alderking finally make Hazel pay up?

Really enjoyed this story! Holly is an incredibly talented writer who gives us great characters, an interesting plot, and a nice twist to the ending that I wasn't expecting. Well worth reading!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

November 2014 Wrap Up

November 2014 Wrap Up

Trying to get back into the swing of things, so thought this wrap-up might help.

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I need to read 8.33 books per month. No way will I make my goal because of the huge reading slump these past four months, but pleasantly surprised that I've managed to read 7 books:

  1. Redeemed by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
  2. A Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin
  3. Captive by Aimee Carter
  4. Brazen by Kelley Armstrong
  5. When by Victoria Laurie
  6. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  7. Superheroes Anonymous by Lexis Dunn


Another month of no blog hopping. Getting back into blogging is harder than expected. I miss it, but can't seem to muster the energy. Think I need to set myself some small goals as crossing items off a list seems to motivate me. Maybe start with visiting 1-2 blogs a day to get me back in the mood?


Recovery from my knee replacement has been slow. I flunked out of physical therapy after 4 months because there was nothing else they could do for me. Should be depressing, but I found it funny. I mean, who flunks out of PT? And at least they didn't keep taking my money, knowing that they couldn't help me.

I have a torture device knee brace I wear 3 times a day for 30 minute sessions to slowly straighten my leg, plus a huge list of exercises that's supposed to help. Doctor reminded me (yet again) that while most people recover quickly, my journey will take longer because I was in such bad shape to begin with. This is one time I really wish I was average! ha!

Am slowly but surely recovering my love of reading, which is a good sign! Still spending way too much time on Facebook and watching bad TV, but I'm getting there. I've been to the bookstore a few times and just being surrounded by books is therapeutic in and of itself.

Here's to a better December, and a rocking 2015!