Category Archives: Ramblings

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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How do you follow your favorite blogs?

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I’m curious how everyone follows their favorite blogs. There’s so many ways to follow a blog nowadays that the possibilities are kind of endless. That is, as long as your blog is signed up for that particular website/network. You can subscribe via email, follow the RSS feed, follow via Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and the list goes on.

I try to limit the website/platforms I sign up for because there’s just no way I can follow/participate on them all. So, for me, I follow blogs via Bloglovin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I never sign up for email subscriptions because between the spam, my personal emails, and the blog emails, I would feel way too overwhelmed if I got bombarded by tons of emails a day.

 

I use Facebook to keep in touch with all my family and friends back home, so I like that I can also follow blogs/authors on there as well. It’s kind of a one-stop-shop for me. However, as we all know, Facebook has gone downhill and it no longer likes to show everyone the feed from the pages they’ve liked unless they interact with the page on a regular basis. I know this because I rarely get any interaction on my page and when you compare it to the number of people that follow the blog on there, the numbers just don’t add up. I also asked my sister, who follows my blog on FB, if she was seeing my posts and she had never seen a BSA post on her feed…Ever. So, she went to the page, liked a few posts, and now she gets the latest updates from my page. It’s also a bit wonky that whenever I like a page I have to hover over the “Liked” button on the page and edit the notifications for that page to make sure I actually get the page’s updates on my news feed. So, that’s why I don’t just solely follow my favorite blogs/authors on Facebook.

 

 

I also like Twitter because bloggers and authors usually posts short updates about their day, what books they are reading, pictures of where they are, and also link to their latest posts. Twitter is more of my chatting platform to talk to everyone. I personally use it for both blog and personal aspects. I try to keep my posts book related but sometimes I go off topic and will talk about things going on that day, post pictures of something interesting that I caught on camera, and then also post links to my blog posts.

 

 

Then of course I have my trusty Bloglovin feed that is strictly for me to go through all the blogs I follow. This is primarily how I follow a blog and comment on their posts. I just like that I can put the blogs in specific categories. Since I’m a foodie, I also follow a lot of food blogs. So, it’s nice to be able to click on a tab and only get the post updates from a certain set of blogs instead of getting them all at once. Plus, Bloglovin only shows you the website’s latest posts. It’s not a social network where you can chat with people. Another thing I like is that I’m a visual person, and Bloglovin doesn’t just list the latest posts from the blogs you follow. It will show you the top/featured pictures on the post, the title, and a snippet of the post itself. So, I’m able to cruise through posts and see what everyone is posting and a lot of the times a picture will snag my attention and I click to the post in order to read more, even if the title isn’t something that would normally hold my interest.

 

 

I actually just recently opened an Instagram account. I was honestly getting tired of all the ranting, complaining, and political stuff I was seeing on Twitter and I kept hearing about how calm Instagram was. So, I decided to make an account and share bookish photos. I can see why everyone loves this platform because I’ve spent quite a bit of time scrolling through all the pretty pictures on there. I’m completely new at Instagram so I haven’t really spent a lot of time searching for people on there. I kind of just stumble across other book lovers and follow them. Probably after the holidays, I will sit down and search for authors and other bloggers on there so that I can follow them on the Instagram platform.

 

Now, I’m not saying the other platforms are bad, it’s just I feel like, for me, that’s more than enough for me to connect with readers/bloggers/authors. I actually fought getting an Instagram account. Primarily because I don’t have a smartphone and uploading a picture on there is a bit more lengthy than just taking a picture on my phone and loading it up. I actually have to take a picture on my camera, load the picture up on my desktop, then transfer it to my dropbox account, and then fire up the Mister’s tablet, and then upload the picture onto Instagram from there. Which is why you won’t find me blasting Instagram with photos. I know there are a lot of other ways to follow blogs/authors, it’s just that these are the platforms that I use. They are not right or wrong. They are just what works for me. However, I would like to know…

How do you follow your favorite blogs/authors?

 

 

 

Oy With The Poodles Already!

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I don’t know about you guys but I’m REALLY excited about today. While a lot of people are out rushing between stores trying to get the best deal, I will be sitting at home, in my pajamas watching the Gilmore Girls Reunion, while I stuff my face with all sorts of bad-for-you foods. I kind of had to do some prep work at the beginning of the week for this day. Since my friend came down for Thanksgiving and plans to stay for a Gilmore Girls marathon afterwards, I decided to go all out and make a feast. There will be coffee (of course), that’s always a given when it comes to a Gilmore Girls marathon, but I also plan to have hot dogs, popcorn, shrimp fried rice, cream cheese wantons, egg rolls, and leftover pie in lieu of Twinkies. Aside from the egg rolls, I’m making everything… thus the need to prep for two big feasts this week. I know it’s a bit overboard but I love this show.

Which is why I stood in a two hour line for a cup of coffee with Luke’s Diner logo on it the other month. I’m not going to lie, it was cool standing in line chatting with other fans. In fact, the people in front of me were a mother and daughter duo. They were super sweet and definitely made the hours of standing in line seem not quite as bad.

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Gilmore Girls isn’t simply a show I got into once all the hype about the reunion started picking up. Oh no. When I was a teen, my mom and I would plop down on the couch and watch the latest episode of Gilmore Girls every week. Every. Week. I always made sure to be home for the show. Now that the show’s over, anytime my mom flies out to visit, we always have a day where we pop in Gilmore Girls and watch a bunch of episodes. So yeah, even though the show has been over for nine years, we’ve kept the Gilmore love alive here. Which is why I’m so freaking excited about today! I can’t wait to see what everyone in Stars Hallow have been up to. I love that they were able to get the cast back for this. My favorite character from the show is Sookie. She’s always just so bubbly and scatterbrained and I love it! So, I was really excited when I saw that Melissa McCarthy came back to play Sookie. :claps hands excitedly: I’m just so happy to have my all-time favorite show come back. I wish it was longer… but I’ll take what I can get. 😉

 

Who’s your favorite character from Gilmore Girls?

 

 

 

It’s officially SUMMER!

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It’s the first day of summer which means everyone’s going to want to be outside enjoying the summer and no one’s really gonna wanna be cooped up in the house. Well, at least I don’t anyway. 😛 I’m going to enjoy the time I have left here since we live right near the beach. I can actually hear sea lions barking from my house. It’s pretty awesome and I’m sad to say I will be moving away from it soon. So, things may quiet down here for a bit. The Mister’s job has transferred him to a different location which means that we will be moving… again. Ah! It will be two years in July that we moved to this house and we are already packing up and moving again. I’ve been slowly going through things and donating stuff to the local food bank/thrift store in town. I’m not going to lie, when the Mr. told me he wanted to move, I looked around at all of our stuff and sort of panicked. We tend to collect things over the years, throw it in a closet, and forget about it. So, I did end up donating a lot of my back-up giveaway books. Sorry, but I just didn’t want to have to lug them during the move just to store them for giveaways. I did hold onto a couple of ARCs of Recreated by Colleen Houck that I’ll be giving away below. 😉

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Even though the next month will be spent packing, moving, and unpacking… hopefully I will have some time to relax and enjoy the summer months. I’m also a little worried about boxing up my books. Mainly because, what if I want to read a book but I’ve already boxed it?! Which is probably why I’ve already told the Mr. that the last thing to get boxed will be my books. Like, as the moving truck is pulling up, I will be up here boxing up my library of pretties.

I’m going to still try to schedule posts and be on social media but once things go into full gear and we’ve actually started the full on moving process where my computer gets packed up… well, there may be some down time until I get to the new place, unpack my dino computer, and get internet hooked. But, that’s all in the future since we don’t even have a place yet. We will [hopefully] be driving down this week to look at potential houses. So, keep your fingers and toes crossed for us.

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Okay, enough rambling. 😛

 

Giveaway time!

I’ve got 2 copies up for grabs.

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US/CAN only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Summer Reading Challenge… Passport Style

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There’s a lot of different reading challenges out there. Some are geared towards certain genres, others are a test to see how many books you can read in a certain time frame, and I’ve even seen some that were strictly to help those of us who have fallen behind on reading all the those ARC’s we get. I used to take part in challenges when I first started blogging and they are a great way to get your rear in gear if you are looking to kick your reading into high gear. I especially like the challenges where you dust off those books that have been sitting patiently on your shelf for a while. However, I haven’t taken part in challenge in a while… until now! My friend included me in her family’s summer reading challenge. You may have remembered last year I was asking for recommendations for a bingo challenge I was doing. Well, this year her family decided to go with a passport theme and I have got to tell you, I AM EXCITED!

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I looked through the passport and filled in a handful of books that I currently have that could fall under the different categories, but there are a bunch that I’m drawing blanks on. So, I am hoping you guys can help me out and recommend some books to help me complete my passport for the summer.

 

  1.  A book published before 1986.
  2.  A book by an author from an African country or a book set somewhere on the continent.
  3.  A book that is set in or was written by an author from South America.
  4.  A book that is set in or was written by an author from Australia.
  5.  A book by a scientist or a nonfiction book that features science.
  6.  A mystery novel.
  7.  A book that has an award. (any award. I was even told it could be one given by a blog 😉 )

I prefer to read new adult, young adult, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and contemporary adult. Basically something with a little bit of romance in it. Obviously #5 is going to be a tough one for me since non-fiction isn’t my preferred genre of choice and science is like a foreign language to me. So I’m hoping there’s a scientist out there who wrote some romance or a shifter book for me to enjoy, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

 

My first RT Convention Experience

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So, I’m back. Technically I’ve been back for almost a week but I sort of needed a little R&R after the convention. I knew it was going to be hectic and chaotic, I just had no idea how bad it truly was. First off, I want to give a huge shout out to my roommates Jen (Not Now, I’m Reading) and Brandy. They took me under their wing and helped me survive the craziness. If it weren’t for them, I’d have probably been in the fetal position in my hotel room after the first day. It took me a day to realize that what they said was true. That I couldn’t do everything I wanted and that I’d have to take “time off” from events in order to recharge and eat. It also helped that I ran into D.T. Dyllin on the first night and she took one look at me and dragged me out to eat. I was running on fumes at that point trying to chug along through my first day. >.< Big mistake. Needless to say, I felt like a helpless kitten living on the streets for the first time. I was so lost and overwhelmed. I had this idea that it would be easy and fun–like all the pictures you see on Twitter and blogs after the event–I had no idea that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. There were lines…

 

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I’ll be at #RT16 next week!

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Mostly everyone in the book blogging world—and also the reading world—has heard about the RT Booklovers Convention. The first time I’d heard about it was when I was stalking… er, I mean visiting one of my favorite author’s websites and saw that they were going to be in Los Angeles that weekend at this RT Convention. I got really excited, told the Mr he was driving the 4 hour trip with me so that I could meet her. Then I realized that I had no flipping idea what day it was and that the convention’s book fair was the previous weekend. Waaah waaaah. Yeeeah. That was a pretty low moment for me. There may have been a glass or two of wine that night. And the RT Convention hasn’t been my way since… until this year! :cue the Rocky theme song:

That’s right! Homegirl has put on her boxing gloves and is finally stepping into the ring to redeem herself. The moment I saw that RT was going to be in Las Vegas—a mere 6.5 hour drive for me—I immediately started pestering the Mister about it. Needless to say, even when I told him the cost to simply attend the event—not including travel/hotel/food expense— he didn’t even bat an eyelash at me. *God, I love that man* So, I’ve been sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for the event to finally come… and it has!

So, this is just a heads up that I will be “out of the office” until next week. 😉 Heck, some of you may have noticed that I’ve been MIA for the past week or two. That’s because I’ve been shopping and pretty much going nuts trying to get ready last minute for the convention. I didn’t actually procrastinate this time but my steampunk costume had to be ordered in pieces online and well nothing worked out for me. I didn’t even have boots for my outfit until two days ago. It has been a stressful to say the least.

Anyways, if you’re going to be at RT this year, be sure to send me a tweet. I don’t have a smart phone (yes, I’m totally old school) so I will only really have access to twitter on my tablet.

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?

 

 

Eight long months but we crossed the finish line!

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weebsYou may remember way back when to my post in June when I announced that blogging for me may be a bit sporadic due to the discovery of one of my fur-babies having lymphoma. Her doctor gave her a high chance of of beating the cancer since it was a total fluke that we’d even caught it at such an early stage. After months of treatment, my little girl is finally in remission!

We got really lucky. Not only did the vet catch the cancer before it even fully developed into something more serious, but my little girl took the chemotherapy like a champ. I’m pretty sure I took the trips to her oncologist a lot harder than she did. Thankfully, she didn’t have any of the side-effects from the treatment that some animals experience. Sure, there were days where she just wanted to be by herself and sleep, but that was it. Her side-effects were pretty much cosmetic. She lost all but one whisker and the fur by her ears thinned out a bit.

Needless to say, I’ve kind of been in celebration mode for the last week with her. She’s been getting spoiled even more so than before now. We even got her a ball pit to play in. I’m surprised the Mr. approved that idea.

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I still can’t believe it’s all finally over. Eight long months of wondering if we made the right decision and whether or not the chemotherapy would even work. This news could not have come at a better time since at this same time two years ago, I unexpectedly lost my fur-baby, Snickers, to cancer. So needless to say, I really needed this good news.

I’m just so glad that Weeble’s kicked cancer’s butt and can go back to the care-free lazy days that she’s used to. 🙂

 

 

Series or stand-alone novels?

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One of the things I always look for when I see a new book is whether or not it’s part of a series. There have been a few times where I’ve picked up a book not realizing it’s part of a series or the first book in a series. Sometimes that’s a good thing because if I like it I get more of it, and sometimes that’s not a good thing because sometimes I just want a complete story.

It seems like a lot of books out there are part of a series. Sometimes it seems like a successful story gets turned into a series because it did well in sales. If you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, why write one story when you can create a world that never ends. :cue “The Song that Never Ends”: that’s how I feel sometimes about a series. Now, I’m not saying that’s the only reason why an author writes a series but you have to admit, there are some series out there that have you wondering why they haven’t just moved on.

When it comes to series versus stand-alone novels, they each have strong and weak points. With a series, you know what you’re getting into. It’s essentially the same world, same set of characters, and the same conflict. So, you know what to expect as a whole. Plus, it gives you more time with the characters you’ve started to care for. However, at the same time you can get bored after a while. With stand-alone novels, even though you may like the author, you are taking a risk every time on whether you will enjoy the setting, characters, and how it all pans out. Not to mention if you love the story, your time with it is limited. On the flip side, each book is exciting and new because it’s a story line you have not read before.

My favorite series are the ones that change between characters of the same world. That way, I get something new with following a different set of characters but I’m still in the same world as before and may periodically see the previous characters in the following books. However, there was that one series that I loved and it followed the same character around for the whole 6 books series. You may have heard of it, Vampire Academy? Yeah, that one. So, there is always an exception. 😉

In the end, I’m definitely more of a stand-alone person. I like getting a complete story. Which is why I cannot stand serials. Plus, with a stand-alone I sometimes feel like all the filler has been removed because the author only has “x” amount of words/pages that they can work with. So there is no need to draw out scenes or conflict. Also, I tend to get bored really easily and I usually find that with a series I really only end up liking the first book anyways. I can’t tell you how many series I’ve started only to never pick up the following book, or I have and I wound up not finishing it. I wish I could get into more series. It would be nice to have a reliable world that you love to visit. So, let me know if you have a series that you love.

 

Which do you prefer, series or stand-alone novels?