Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 Oldie But a Goodie Challenge

I will be trying this for for the first time. Click here to sign up.

The Particulars: 

I am hosting this challenge again for 2018. Since I love it so and I know many of you adore participating in this challenge as well. This challenge is to try out those books that were published before 2010. This challenge is to be centered around historical romance. I know that there are many wonderful romance that have become forgotten or not top priority. This is a way for those to discover those hidden gems. Any of these books can be from your aging TBR pile or they can be recently added to your wish lists. Any historical romance published before 2008 is up for grabs.

Pick Your Level:

5-10 Books-The Newbie Looking For Swoon Worthy Adventure.
11-20-Seeking Passion on the High Seas.
30-45- The Pirate, Scot, and Duchess of Love
50-100+ Full Era Traveler of Romance and Passion.

The Rules:

Choose at least 5 books…Minimum.
Only romance books, and must have been published before 2008.
Must be a historical romance, but no limits to any time period or sub genre.
Keep track of your progress either through Goodreads or your own blog/website.

My Books for this one:
  1. The Ice Queen--Alice Hoffman
  2. A Time for Us--Christine Holden
  3. Green Calder Grass--Janet Dailey
  4. Jazz--Toni Morrison
  5. Little Women--Louisa May Alcott
  6. Mary Barton--Elizabeth Gaskell
  7. Pygmalion--Bernard Shaw
  8. The Doctor's Wife--Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  9. Carmilla--J. Sheridan Le Fanu
  10. Lucky's Lady--Tami Hoag
  11. Runaway--Heather Graham
  12. The Namesake--Jhumpa Lahiri
  13. The Truth About Forever--Sarah Dessen
  14. Summer's End--Danielle Steel
  15. The Parting Glass--Emilie Richards
  16. We Are All Welcome Here--Elizabeth Berg
  17. The Romance of Lust: A Classic Victorian Erotic Novel--Anonymous
  18. Mrs. Dalloway--Virginia Woolf
  19. Persuasion--Jane Austen
  20. Holly--Jude Deveraux
  21. Little Men--Louisa May Alcott
Challenge completed on December 26

Quiz; What Part of New Year's Are You?

Also somewhat free with this one. I'm not that lively.

Quiz: What Does Your New Year's Eve Say About You?

Agree with some of these.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Year in Reading

Well, another year almost over and I have completed my last book of the year. I chose to take tomorrow off from reading, should I finish my last book before New Year's Eve, and I'm glad I did. Who knows how hectic things are going to get tomorrow?

Here are my stats for the year from my Goodreads profile:

I can bet not too many people know about this book since it's written by someone in my county (though the author was originally from Maine).  And just how many people were required to read 1984 in school? I was, for one, though that was over 30 years ago.

I just learned that the Flights of Fantasy reading challenge I have been participating in for three years now is being retired, so that's another one gone ☹️But that's OK, since I've signed up for a challenge focused on fantasy. I'm still waiting on Poetry, Banned Books  and LGBTQ+. I really want to do those if they are offered. Feminist reading, also if that one turns up, even if it's not until February as in the last two years. If any of them don't take place, well, that's just that. Still not sure about horror or steampunk, since I didn't do so well on that last one. I may skip those.

On a another sad note, the link to the annual Mental Illness Advocacy challenge has been deleted. I'm totally sad, because I love that one and it's a topic close to me. I discovered this not too long ago, and since I've already signed up, I don't know whether to go ahead and still read for it or not, because I know I will be reading books on this topic. It's bad enough when a challenge gets deleted before the year is over, but this one has been deleted before the year has even begun!

Reading will resume on Monday.

Blossom Bookology

This is another new one.

Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from 
one to another mind.” ~ James Russell Lowell

Blossom Bookology

Like flowers, books have a language all their own and fill up our senses, each with their own essence.  Our Blossom Bookology reading challenge will take you around the world and engage your senses in a variety of ways.  Read a book with one or more of the following (but not limited too) and have fun exploring a variety of places and topics:  

One book per letter in the flower's name

Name of the flower in the title

Color of the flower in the title

Color of the flower on the cover 

 Takes place in flower's country of origin.

Plot includes cultural significance and/or symbolism 


Flowers of the Month

January --- Chrysanthemum: Mum's the Word--Kate Collins (name of flower in title)

February -- Rose: Hot Pink in the City--Medeia Sharif (color of flower in title)

March -- Clover: Green Calder Grass--Janet Dailey (color of flower in the title)

April -- Mountain Aven: Girls in White Dresses--Jennifer Close  (color of flower in title)

May -- Lily: Lily's Crossing--Patricia Reilly Giff (name of flower in the title)

June -- Tulip: Girl With a Pearl Earring--Tracy Chevalier (Set in flower's country of origin--Netherlands)

July -- Edelweiss: Carmilla--J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Set in flower's country of origin--Austria)

August -- Jasmine: The Wedding Date--Jasmine Guillory (Author named Jasmine)

October -- Marigold: Marigold and the Feather of Hope--J.H. Sweet (name of flower in the title)

November -- Daisy: The American Heiress--Daisy Goodwin (Author named Daisy)

December -- Holly: Holly--Jude Deveraux (Name of Flower in Title)

Challenge completed on December 10

Friday, December 29, 2017


Going to do this one again and will try to get 5 to 10 books.

2018 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 7th Annual Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge!
Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and/or 2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenges! I hope you all had as much fun as I did!
  • Low commitment…you can sign up to read just ONE book as an INITIATE!!!
  • Participants who choose to link up reviews will be entered for the end of year prize!!
Challenge Rules:
  • This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2018 – Dec 31, 2018. Link up a sign-up post (below).
  • Reviews: I will be handling this slightly differently than previous years. There will be only one post in January of 2018 to link all the years reviews rather than a monthly link up.  (Note: You do not have to review the books to participate, but only those who link up reviews will be entered for the prize)
  • Grab the reading challenge button (code & button below) and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate- you could track your progress and post reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.
  • Any full length book that includes a witch as a main character or includes major witchcraft elements counts. They may be fiction or non-fiction. However, they should not be reference books which are not read cover to cover-I will leave this to your discretion.
  • Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  • When you sign up in the linky put the direct link to your post about joining the 2018 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge, not just a link to your blog. If you do not have a blog feel free to link up to your Goodreads shelf for the challenge or other social media profiles.
  • You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  • Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2018, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  • Have some Witchy Good Fun !!!
Challenge completed on November 9

2018 Book to Movie Reading Challenge

I'll doing this again. I always try to read a book before it's made into a movie. I'm choosing Level 3B. Click here to see more and sign up.

Here is what I am reading:

  1. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas--John Boyne
  2. Lord of the Flies--William Golding
  3. The Best of Me--Nicholas Sparks
  4. Small Great Things--Jodi Picot
  5. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH--Robert C. O'Brien
  6. Brain on Fire--Susannah Catalan
  7. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant--Anne Tyler
  8. The Red Pony--John Steinbeck
  9. Little Women--Louisa May Alcott
  10. Ready Player One--Ernest Cline
  11. Hotel For Dogs--Lois Duncan
  12. The Silent Wife--A.S.A. Harrison
  13. Spare Parts--Joshua Davis
  14. Victoria--Daisy Goodwin
  15. Prozac Nation--Elizabeth Wurtzel (re-read)
  16. Sarah, Plain and Tall--Patricia MacLachlan
  17. Crazy Rich Asians--Kevin Kwan
  18. The Namesake--Jhumpa Lahiri
  19. Girl, Interrupted--Susanna Kaysen
  20. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--Douglas Adams
  21. The Handmaid's Tale--Margaret Atwood
  22. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies--Seth Grahame-Smith
  23. Dracula--Bram Stoker
  24. All Quiet on the Western Front--Erich Maria Remarque
  25. The Woman in the Window--A.J. Finn
  26. Mrs. Dalloway--Virginia Woolf
  27. Little Men--Louisa May Alcott
Challenge completed on December 26

Thursday, December 28, 2017

How to Befriend Other Writers


Sometimes writing can be a lonely old game. It is a somewhat solitary pursuit after all. Unlike other jobs, you don’t need anyone else to help you write, and indeed if you are writing a novel the ideas come from you and you alone.
However, while this may be true, there are many reasons why writers should try to find other writers to befriend. Other writers can be an excellent support network when times get tough, can pick you up when you aren’t feeling confident or have suffered rejection, and are super helpful to bounce ideas off and ask to critique your work as well.
A friendship group of writers can not only help you feel more supported, inspired and motivated to write, but can help you become a better writer too.
Of course, this may feel easier said than done. If you write at home, alone, day in day out, where are you supposed to go to find these other writers who could potentially become friends? Well luckily there are plenty of avenues to try, and for some of them, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home!
Here’s how to befriend other writers:

Local writing groups
Local writing groups are a great way to meet like-minded people and get feedback on your work.

Online forums
If you are a little time poor, online forums can be an excellent way to join in conversations about writing and learn new things.

Take a class
A writing class is a fantastic way to meet people and get support and tips on how to improve your writing.

Via social media
Connecting via social media is a quick and easy way to reach out to fellow writers and build a repertoire with them.

Place an ad
If you can’t find what you are looking for why not be bold and place an ad online or in a local paper to see if you can find a writing partner, or set up your own writing group?

Go to a writers retreat
Fancy some rest and recuperation as well as a relaxing environment to inspire you to write? A writer’s retreat may be just what you are looking for and the perfect setting to meet likeminded people.
Once you have made contact with fellow writers, it’s all about building relationships by offering to help them as well as getting advice and tips in return.

Offer to critique their work
So many writers are looking for feedback on their work. Whether you can help as a proofreader or give your opinion on their story, most writers welcome points of view and will likely offer to do the same for yours in return.

Post and comment on group boards
Get involved in the writing community by posting and commenting on different writing boards, giving advice and joining the conversation is a great way to build relationships and make new acquaintances.

Follow them on social media
Start the relationship by following them on social media, like their posts and leave thoughtful comments; this will get the conversation going and make them take notice of you.

Buy their books and leave reviews.
Authors love those who buy their books, especially those who take the time to leave reviews. Buy from indie authors, and they may well return the favour.

Be positive but helpful
Being too brutally honest or negative won’t make you any friends, so when critiquing try to find both good and slightly more constructive things to say!

Remember it is all about give and take!
Don’t expect your writing friends to help and support you if you offer nothing in return - there has to be a balance so you must be willing to put the effort in too.

Befriending other writers is well worth doing and can make such a difference to your writing life. So you are looking to expand your social circle, improve your writing, get motivated and potentially meet lifelong friends, then why not try the tips above and get your very own invaluable army of writing friends today?!

So far, I have only attempted some of these, including following other writers on social media and commenting on their blogs. And some have done the same on my blog. And I bought a book written by a local writer and left a review on Goodreads. 
But I still have yet to join any online groups. I'm still trying to decide if I should join ISWG. And someone in my town said there is a writers group, but there doesn't seem to be any activity from the group.
I would certainly like to go to a writers retreat or conference, but I just can't afford to do so. If anyone has been to one of these, how much is it on average? And how was it?
Incidentally, the local author who wrote a memoir is stepping down as the owner of  neighborhood bar on New Years Day and has written a second book, her first fiction book. I plan to go to her private NYE party at the bar on Sunday to say goodbye to her. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Winding Down the Year

It still seems impossible to believe that the year is nearly over. Only four days left until 2018. Wow, is it really that late in this decade? You know what people say about time flying.

As you have seen from reading my blog posts, I have been signing up for reading challenges for net year. I'm still waiting to see if the Book to Movie, LGBT+, Banned Books, Fantasy, Poetry and Feminism challenges are offered next year.  I haven't yet heard if any of them are. I don't yet know if the Steampunk or Horror challenges will be offered either, but I'm not certain about doing  either of those again. I'm a little sad that the Dystopian and Retellings challenge won't be offered, especially the Retellings one. I have really begun to like reading fairy tale retellings. If another similar challenge is offered, I'll definitely join.  BTW, some challenge posts don't go up until January, and for the past two years, the Feminist one didn't go up until February!

I'm also trying to finish up the challenges I entered for 2017. I have just begun reading what I think will be my last book of the year. I'm hoping to finish it by Sunday or even before then, since Sunday is New Year's Eve. Things on NYE can get a bit hectic, so I will be glad if I get a break from reading that day.

Next year will mark two years since I began my memoir. I'm still not done, but right now, I'm taking some time off to work on the other story I have begun. I first got that idea for that one in September 2016, and have only been working it on a little this year. I did some more work on it last night, and hope to do more the rest of this week.

No work until next week as the center I work at and attend is closed for the holiday week. It's been little boring not getting to go, but the week is almost over. I guess a Monday holiday made it go a bit faster.

No real plans for the New Year, but I intend to keep working on my writing. Maybe I should start using Wattpad or Fanfiction (I saw a challenge for reading Fanfiction). Anyone how has used these sites, let me know how they are.

There wasn't a lot of Christmas activity for me, and I don't anticipate a lot for New Year's Day either.

Monday, December 25, 2017


From Hannah Braime's website. Once again there is an option or 26 or 52 books, and I will be trying for the longer one.



DECEMBER 22, 2017
Are you ready for the 2018 reading challenge? Click to up your reading game and join the 26-book or 52-book challenge >
The 52-book 2018 reading challenge
Are you ready for the 2018 reading challenge? Click to up your reading game and join the 26-book or 52-book challenge >
  1. A book you read in school: All Quiet on the Western Front--Erich Maria Remarque
  2. A book from your childhood: Little Women--Louisa May Alcott
  3. A book published over 100 years ago: Sailing Alone Around the World--Joshua Slocum
  4. A book published in the last year: The Castle in the Mist--Amy Ephron
  5. A non-fiction book: The World's Strongest Librarian--Josh Hanagarne
  6. A book written by a male author: Black and White--Paul Volponi
  7. A book written by a female author: Mum's the Word--Kate Collins
  8. A book by someone who isn’t a writer: Born a Crime--Trevor Noah
  9. A book that became/is becoming a film: Running With Scissors--Augusten Burroughs
  10. A book published in the 20th Century: Lord of the Flies--William Golding
  11. A book set in your hometown/region: Blossoms of My Life--I.M. Dauntless
  12. A book with a name in the title: Catherine, Called Birdy--Karen Cushman
  13. A book with a number in the title: One With You--Sylvia Day
  14. A book based on a true story: Victoria--Daisy Goodwin
  15. A book someone else recommended: The Best of Me--Nicholas Sparks
  16. A book with over 500 pages: Barnaby Rudge--Charles Dickens
  17. A book you can finish in a day: The Acorn People--Ron Jones
  18. A previously banned book: The Red Pony--John Steinbeck
  19. A book with a one-word title: Night--Elie Wiesel
  20. A book translated from another language: Funny in Farsi--Firoozeh Dumas
  21. A personal growth book: Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes--Joyce Meyer
  22. A memoir or journal: 32 Yolks--Eric Ripert
  23. A book by someone from another country: Surfacing--Margaret Atwood
  24. A book set somewhere you’ll visit this year want to visit: Stranded With the Prince--Dana Marton
  25. An award-winning book: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH--Robert C. O'Brien
  26. A book you were supposed to read in school but haven’t yet should have had to read in school: The Brothers Karamazov--Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  27. A book with a character with your first name: Tuesday Nights in 1980--Molly Prentiss
  28. A book with a place in the title: 84, Charing Cross Road--Helene Hanff
  29. A book set in the future: The Future of Us--Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
  30. A play: Pygmalion--Bernard Shaw
  31. A scary book: Carmilla--J. Sheridan Le Fanu
  32. A funny book: Banana Twist--Florence Parry Heide
  33. A book of short stories: The Women on the Wall--Wallace Stegner
  34. A trilogy or series: a) A Court of Thorns and Roses b) A Court of Mist and Fury c) A Court of Wings and Ruin--Sarah J. Maas
  35. A bestseller: The Princess Diarist--Carrie Fisher
  36. A book you own but haven’t read yet: Every Soul a Star--Wendy Mass
  37. A book about philosophy: The Gathering of Zion--Wallace Stegner
  38. An epic poem: Metamorphoses--Ovid
  39. A Victorian novel: Dr Wortle's School--Anthony Trollope
  40. A book of poetry: Selected Poems--Anna Akhmatova
  41. A book with a colour in the title: The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe--Mary Simses
  42. A book with an appealing cover: Small Great Things--Jodi Picoult
  43. A book about psychology: Brain on Fire--Susanna Cahalan
  44. A book about science: Breakthrough--Jack Andraka
  45. A graphic novel: Breaking Up--Aimee Friedman
  46. A self-published book: Hot Pink in the City--Medeia Sharif
  47. A young adult book: I Hate Everyone But You--Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin
  48. A book from another country: A Man Called Ove--Fredrik Backman
  49. A book of non-fiction essays: Blues Legacies and Black Feminism--Angela Y. Davis
  50. A book by an author you haven’t read before: The Ice Queen--Alice Hoffman
  51. A book set in a country you’ve never been to: The Zone of Interest--Martin Amis
  52. A book set in the place you live today: The Alchemyst--Michael Scott
Challenge completed on November 16

Holiday Greetings and Humor

Wishing all a great holiday season.

And something I posted on my blog years ago that I just saw again:

Very funny take on the 12 Days of Christmas on this link: (link is no longer available, sorry)
If you do the math you will find out exactly what "my true love gave to me", and the results are quite disturbing. Upon further inspection you will see that the recipient of these gifts has been given the following quantity of items: 184 birds (which includes 12 fruit-bearing trees), 140 people, and 40 rings. That is a total of 364 gifts, or 376 gifts if you include the pear trees separately.

Where exactly would one go to procure these items?

I doubt your local pet store would have that many birds on hand to purchase. Aside from that, you can't buy people and give them as gifts unless you are a slave merchant.

What kind of band ensemble is this? You have 34 musicians, but you only have a wind and percussion section. Do you know nothing about music!?

What about the ladies and lords? Why are the 30 lords a-leaping? I suspect some type of torture is involved. You also have 36 ladies dancing. That is a suspiciously high number of female dancers. Should we assume that the 36 ladies are Rockettes, or perhaps strippers?

What's with the 40 maids a-milking? I would think they would be too busy cleaning up all of those bird droppings. What are they milking anyway? Maybe the 36 ladies are all pregnant…

The only somewhat sensible gift is the golden rings, but why so many? Unless you are a Hindu goddess with the subsequent arms, hands, and fingers for all of those rings, I would say it's a waste. Who else would benefit from 40 golden rings? Sonic the Hedgehog?

Whoever this "true love" is, I wouldn't trust them to do my holiday shopping.

Very interesting observations. I've often wondered how many gifts there would be altogether (see previous post). Yeah, really a band with only percussion and wind sections. I've often wanted to do a humorous piece like this, but I now don't think could never do any better than this one! Forty rings--I was immediately reminded of a line from the "Schoolhouse Rock" Multiplication Rock for the number six:
See that prince over there? (Yeah!)
The one with the fuzzy hair.
He's got six rings on every finger.
He don't wash no dishes,
Not with 60 diamonds.
Six time ten is 60, ten times six

Wow, that's even more rings than in the Christmas song! Yeah, whoever wears those 40 rings acquired on the 12 days of Christmas won't be washing any dishes either if they are wearing all those gold rings at once!

Yeah, why are we giving birds, people and gold rings as gifts anyway?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

2018 Diversity Challenge

I read on the blog that hosted the Diversity Reading Challenge that I did the last two years may not be offered next year. Then I saw this one that will be occurring  next year with the same idea, but with monthly themes.
  • January has been replaced with biracial awareness
  • LGBT pride month will take place in both June and July and will consist of a mini challenge to encourage reading of the different letters within the spectrum
  • March will be the only month that's non-fiction only, and will be for books about or written by women.

To help give people an idea of possible books to read each month, there is a link to a Goodreads list for each topic with examples of books that fit with the different categories.

I will be joining with intermediate status, as I will be completing all 12 months, and reading as many books for the summer mini-challenge as possible.

Summer Mini Challenge
Challenge completed on December 4