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Random Ramblings About 2016 and My Top Ten Books From the Year

Well, 2016 is almost over and all I have to say is thank goodness! This year was crazy, and while I had some good times, I also had a lot of stress. Depending on how long you’ve been following the blog, you may or may not know that I moved this summer. We only moved an hour away from our old location but we made the move because the Mister’s job relocated him to a new office and that office was an hour away… in horrible city traffic. It was taking him at least two hours to get home every night. So, we decided to pack up our stuff, in the middle of the summer heat, and move. I’m pretty sure we moved during a heat wave. Anyways, that was brutal and not something I ever want to do again. Mainly because the Mister refused to drive the massive moving truck we got, which mean lil ol’ me drove that behemoth. And let me tell you, the people in SoCal do not like to use their garages or driveways for whatever reason. So I had to maneuver this thing through small residential roads with cars lining both sides. It was not fun.

 

One thing I LOVED about 2016 was the fact that I finally got to go to RT convention. I’d been following it for years watching it bounce all over the map but never making it to my neck of the woods. Then, when they announced it was going to be in LA, only a six hour drive for me, I bought a ticket and went. I had a blast. Granted at the time I was wondering why anyone in their right mind would do this year after year. I mean, it is stressful and oh so overwhelming. You had multiple classes, parties, and panels going on at the same time, then you only had like ten minutes to rush to the next event. However, if it was a party, there were people lining up for it like an hour in advance. So, there were a few times where I got in line for something only to not make it in, not get a goodie bag, or not get a seat. It was all about sitting in lines for parties. Which was the fun part because you got goodie bags with books and author swag. Plus, those goodie bags were reusable tote bags (which I love!), AND most of the time it was a way to interact with your favorite authors one-on-one. Not going to lie to you though, the most rewarding thing I found were the panels. Sitting in a small room while you favorite author, or maybe even an author you’d never heard of before (happened to me a lot since my roommates and I were mixing our schedules together), and you got to listen to how they created something that thousands of people now read. Anything from, how to write humor, where it comes from (lot of it they take from personal conversations), how to write a steamy scene that’s believable, how to co-author a book when you don’t even live in the same state, how to write suspense, how to write sports romance when you are not in fact a pro-athlete. I mean, there was just so much behind-the-scenes stuff I learned that I honestly found that to be the most rewarding.

 

I could go on and on about all that happened this year behind the scenes and that would probably explain why I’ve been a bit absent here and there. 2016 has been poppin’ and while I’m sad to see it go, I’m ready to see what 2017 has in store. However, I would like to take a moment to list some of my favorite books that I read in 2016. I mean, this is a book blog after all. I have to talk about books. 😉

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Ramblings of a Book Sniffer: Social Media

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All blogs have some form of social media or another. It’s just one of the many ways a person can follow a blog. Considering most people have a social media account of some sort, it’s a lot easier to “like” or “follow” a page than it is to subscribe via email or to bookmark a website to check up on later. So, yeah, social media for blogs is a big deal. However, I’ve noticed everyone does their social media sites differently and it makes me wonder which way is best?

I’ve come across some Twitter and Facebook accounts that only post a link to their latest post and that’s it. There’s blogs that post both their stuff and also post the links to other blog’s posts as well on a daily basis. Then there are some that use Twitter and Facebook as a way to connect with their readers and talk about what’s going on in their personal life as well as linking up to their latest blog posts. I fall under the latter. However, I have to wonder, is that what people want?

Does anyone care that I’m currently sitting down with my cat to read the latest and greatest in an awesome series, or that I’m finally able to stream an episode of Outlander? A lot of the time I feel like I’m talking to myself since no one responds. So it makes me wonder, am I doing it right?

 

Personally, I like following blogs who use their social media as a way to talk to others, not just for promotional purposes. I generally tend to not follow Twitter accounts that just post link after link without any real tweets. Mainly because I’m on Twitter and Facebook to talk to people. However, and I know, I know I shouldn’t look at numbers but let’s be honest here, we all do it at some point, I find myself looking at the blogs that just use social media to post the links to their latest posts and they have a huge following. So, again I ask, would it be better if I just hooked my social media accounts up to a platform that will automatically share my latest post for me without actually interacting with anyone? Is that what people prefer?

I guess this discussion post is both to the readers and bloggers out there.

What do YOU prefer when it comes to following/reading social media updates from a blog?

 

 

Ramblings of a Book Sniffer: Happy New Year! 2015

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Ramblings of a Book Sniffer: Author Pseudonyms

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A week of craziness.

So, you might have noticed that I’ve gone a bit silent recently. If you follow my Instagram, then you know why, but for those of you who aren’t on Instagram I’ll fill ya in. So, The Mister and I went to San Diego last week to attend Comic-Con. Leading up to our trip, I was scrambling to get my costume in order, figure out a way to dye my hair purple, and make sure the kiddos and plants were all set-up for our time away. While, I did have a friend house sitting while we were gone, I still wanted to make sure everything was in order so that she didn’t have to worry about too much stuff. So, for the past month I’ve been a bit scatterbrained trying to get ready for the big convention.

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You were a crazy year, 2018!

I can’t believe the year is already over. So much happened in 2018 that I feel like it went by really fast. This year included one of the toughest moves, mainly because it took us months to find a house. It was a very bittersweet move, too. I was sad to leave my old neighborhood because I had some pretty awesome neighbors who all pooled together to help me look for my tortoise when she busted out of her enclosure like the Kool aid man last December. Plus, the location was pretty awesome since I was far enough away from downtown to not have to deal with the chaotic traffic, but close enough that I could zip on down for lunch if I wanted to. However, I was also glad to leave and move to the Joshua Tree area because this place is familiar to me, I’ve spent almost half my life here. Due to the Mister’s job, we move around quite a bit, but we somehow always manage to end up back in this location. So, while San Diego was great, I didn’t really have any friends, a job, or a sense of purpose down there. However, here I have a great group of friends, and I pretty much immediately got my job back at the national park. So, yeah… bittersweet.

Obviously, once I got my job back, life picked up for me and I found myself being a bit more busy that I’ve been used to. I will admit that my presence on social media and the blog have slowed way down because I suck at managing time. When I get time off from work, I just want to veg out on the couch and read. So, I am hoping that with this new year I can get better about setting time aside for the blog and reconnecting with you guys again. I don’t know what the new year will bring, but I wish you all the very best and I hope that 2019 is a good one.

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Favorite Book-to-Movie Adaptations

 

Some of us get excited at the idea of our beloved books being turned into movies/shows, and then there are some of us who cringe when the news breaks about the upcoming adaptation. Which is understandable because so many times I sit down to watch my favorite book be played out on the big screen only to sit there horrified at the train wreck in front of me. Seriously, do some of these writers and directors even read the books they are trying to bring to life? However, there are times when the people in charge know the material and get it. So today I want to talk about a few of my favorite book-to-screen adaptations.

 

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I read romance…. get over it


 

Happy Valentine’s day, everyone!

 

Today’s the day of love. Although, I don’t fully understand Valentine’s day nor do we celebrate it… but that’s a post for another day. Today I’m talking about romance novels and how they are perceived to the general public. Because seriously, what’s the deal with people hating on romance novels? I love them! I mean, there’s so many sub-genres to romance that it’s pretty much everywhere. In the Star Wars franchise there was Hans and Leia, and Anakin and Padme. Indiana Jones had Marion. Heck, even in Lord of the Rings there was Arwen and Aragorn. Now, I’m not saying all stories have romance, but there are movies out there that I gravitate to because of the romance that the Mister loves because of the story line. So, how come when I say that I like romance I immediately get the look that says, “Oh, you like those books.” Just because I like romance, I’m automatically put into a box full of books with Fabio on them. Even if all I read are Fabio romances, what’s the big deal?! It may not be an autobiography on Eleanor Roosevelt, but at least I’m reading something.

 

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Top 10 books I read in 2017

I can’t believe it’s already 2018! Last year was a little chaotic for me. It seemed like there was always something going on, and my reading/blogging took a hit because of it. Thankfully, I was able to talk my sister, Jodi, into coming on board and helping me review for the blog. She loves to read and has a different genre preference than I do. She likes more Stephen King and paranormal books, whereas I like romance novels. So, it’s been great having her help out because she will be adding a little something different to the blog.

While I never did meet my Goodreads goal for the year, I did read a little over 100 books. So, I am not too upset with my reading from last year. While there were a lot of duds for me, there were also some really amazing books that I read last year. A few of which surprised me. I just want to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite reads from last year.

 

Top 10 books I read in 2017

 

Haven by Mary Lindsay [review]

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

 

 

The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren [review]

It’s been twelve years since tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a few students survived that fateful night—a group the media dubbed The Ones Who Got Away.

Liv Arias thought she’d never return to Long Acre—until a documentary brings her and the other survivors back home. Suddenly her old flame, Finn Dorsey, is closer than ever, and their attraction is still white-hot. When a searing kiss reignites their passion, Liv realizes this rough-around-the-edges cop might be exactly what she needs…

 

 

Menagerie by Rachel Vincent [review]

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

 

 

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne [review]

A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes.

 

 

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen [review]

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

 

 

Ride Wild by Laura Kaye [review]

Brotherhood. Club. Family.
They live and ride by their own rules.
These are the Raven Riders…

Wild with grief over the death of his wife, Sam “Slider” Evans merely lives for his two sons. Nothing holds his interest anymore—not even riding his bike or his membership in the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. But that all changes when he hires a new babysitter.

Recently freed from a bad situation by the Ravens, Cora Campbell is determined to bury the past. When Slider offers her a nanny position, she accepts, needing the security and time to figure out what she wants from life. Cora adores his sweet boys, but never expected the red-hot attraction to their brooding, sexy father. If only he would notice her…

Slider does see the beautiful, fun-loving woman he invited into his home. She makes him feel too much, and he both hates it and yearns for it. But when Cora witnesses something she shouldn’t have, the new lives they’ve only just discovered are threatened. Now Slider must claim—and protect—what’s his before it’s too late.

 

 

Trust by Kylie Scott [review]

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

 

 

Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle [review]

He lost his mentor.
He lost his K9 partner.
He almost lost his will to live.
But when a ruthless killer targets a woman on the run, Theo and his new K9 companion will do whatever it takes to survive—and save the woman neither can live without.

Grieving the death of his partner, Theo Bosco has no room in his life for distractions. Though his instincts scream that he should avoid Juliet ‘Jules’ Jackson, he can’t seem to stay away. It doesn’t help that Theo’s new K9 companion has fallen head over paws with Jules’s rambunctious family.

Or that when he’s with her, Theo finally knows peace.

When Jules rescued her siblings, whisking them away to the safety of the beautifully rugged Colorado Rockies, she never expected to catch the eye—or the heart—of a cop. Yet as Jules struggles to fight her growing attraction to the brooding K9 officer, another threat lurks much closer to home…

And this time, there’s no escape.

 

 

Master Professor by Tara Sue Me [review]

Students are begging to be held after class…

Andie Lincoln is madly in love with Terrence Knight–her childhood friend-turned-Hollywood’s newest golden boy. But he’s a Dominant and wants her trained as a submissive before he’ll consider a relationship with her. He enrolls her at the RACK Academy with strict instructions for her teachers: Do whatever you need to, but don’t take her virginity.

Fulton Matthews, the director of incoming students, is enthralled by Andie. Though he questioned her enrollment at first, watching her discover her submissive nature is hotter than his most intense fantasy. Under his control, her sexual awakening brings him to his knees.

Yet they can go only so far. Andie belongs to another, and Fulton is bound by a contract that strictly forbids relationships between teachers and students. But when Terrence comes to collect his prize, Fulton discovers it’s not easy to let Andie go. . .

 

 

Written in Red by Anne Bishop [review]

No one creates realms like New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans.

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

 

 

What were some of your favorite books from 2017?

 

 

Some of my favorite holiday movies

‘Tis the season to be running around getting last-minute stuff done before the holidays. While Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday, I am not a fan of all the stress that goes along with it. It doesn’t help that all my friends and family are three time zones away from me. So, I have to purchase and order stuff way in advance so that I can wrap it and ship it out in time. Craziness I tell you. However, while the weeks may be non-stop between various errands and last-minute post office runs, I always make sure to veg out on the weekend and watch some of my favorite holiday movies. Ironically enough, this book blogger does not read holiday books… and I’m sure there are a ton of holiday romances out there. I just like my movies. Plus, if I’m being honest with your guys, I’ve been trying to read the same book for almost two weeks now. 🙁 Not because it’s bad or anything, I just don’t have time to sit down and read. So, movies are definitely my thing.

 

While I don’t read holiday stories, I do feel like I still get bookworm points for watching the Harry Potter saga every year. We always start watching the movies around Halloween time, and then slowly watch a movie every weekend up until Christmas. I’m not overly sure when it started but it’s been a thing of ours for the last handful of years. All I know is that it’s the perfect holiday series to watch because they incorporate the holidays into the films. So, while it’s not a movie that revolves solely around Christmas, it does have mention the holidays, and they open presents… so that has to count for something, right?

 

 

We also watch Elf every year. I mean, how could you not? It’s a story about a human baby who crawls into Santa’s bag of presents while Santa is putting presents under the tree. He travels all the way to the North Pole (where they realize that there’s a stowaway on board) and is raised by the elves. When he’s an adult, he decides he wants to meet his real father and makes the journey to NYC to find his dad. Let’s just say that things don’t go quite as planned. To me, there’s no better holiday story out there. It’s funny, endearing, and it never fails to put me into the holiday spirit. Plus, The Mister loves everything Will Ferrel is in, so this is an absolute must for us every year.

 

 

Another must for us is Four Christmases. While The Mister is a huge Will Ferrel fan, I seem to love any movie Vince Vaughn is in. Then you add Reese Witherspoon into the mix and you have a really great duo. If you don’t know about the story, it’s essentially about this couple who instead of going home for the holidays, they make up this crazy lie about volunteering in some third world country when they really go on an exotic vacation. However, due to bad weather, all flights are cancelled and they are strong armed into going to see their families for the holidays. Both of their parents are divorced… and their families are a bit dysfunctional and crazy, which makes for some hilarious moments. The Mister and I have even used their code-word “Mistletoe” when we are out and about, and one of us has had enough and is ready to get out of there without outwardly saying so.

 

 

And last but certainly not least, one of my all time favorites is White Christmas. I used to watch this movie with my parents when it would play on the TV every year around the holidays. So, when I got married and moved away, I made sure I had the movie on DVD so that I could watch it every year like I did growing up. It’s just a classic. The story revolves around two old Army pals (who are now big entertainers) who come across their old commanding officer (who runs a snow lodge) while on break for the holidays. The only problem is… there’s no snow. Needless to say, there are no visitors staying at the snow lodge when there’s no snow. With money being tight and the future looking grim for their old commanding officer, they decide to put on a Broadway show at the lodge to attract people to visit. There are a couple of surprises thrown in there for him and let’s just say it’s kind of emotional. I cry my eyes out every time they line up in their old uniforms and sing “The Old Man”. Gah. It guts me every time… but they are happy tears. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about.

 

 

Oh wait! I forgot to mention our actual Christmas day tradition! So, a couple years ago, when The Force Awakens came out, a couple of friends of ours asked us if we wanted to see the movie with them on Christmas morning. The Mister and I had nothing going on and hadn’t seen the movie yet so we decided to go. I’ve honestly never been out and about on Christmas before. Usually I stay inside, play with my new gifts, stuff my face with food, and watch movies. So, it was a whole new experience going out to eat and going to see a movie on Christmas day. The following year, we were just hanging out around the house when The Mister randomly tells me he wanted to see the new Star Wars movie. He really liked going on Christmas day the past year and wanted to do it again. It was fun, but our friends weren’t able to come out with us, so we just wound up going to see the movie and then coming straight home. Since The Mister has declared this our new Christmas thing, I got together with our friends and we looked for a fancy movie theater, the one with recliner seating, and was able to find one that still had seats available on Christmas day. Seriously, who knew Christmas was the day to see Star Wars? We are clearly not the only ones who have made a tradition out of this. Anyway, it’s a relatively new tradition here, and one that is reliant on Disney cranking out a Star Wars movie every year right before the holidays. But as long as they keep on the same schedule, we will have a fun Christmas day tradition. 🙂

 

Anyway, those are our Christmas movie traditions. There are so many holiday movies out there though. What are some of your favorite holiday movies to watch this time of year?