LFB Readathon Wrap-up!

Happy Monday! Well, the week long Love for Books Readathon is over... I enjoyed myself, but certainly didn't read even close to as much as I wished. It ended up being a really busy week for me and I just didn't get to commit to reading and blogging like I wish I could have. (check out my lofty goal post here)

Over the Readathon, I read for a total of about 10 and 1/2 hours. When I put it together and look at it based on my busy week, I am pretty proud of that! I only got to read two books though, Contagious by Scott Sigler (still not finished though!) and Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English. My total page count for the week is 659. Again, once I put it into perspective, I am pretty please with myself.

Some of my other goals consisted of reviewing my books read (since I only finished Handmade Gatherings late last night, I have yet to do that). I wanted to tweet while reading, and I did a teeny tiny bit. Pictures on IG while reading- of course. That is totally an easy go-to for me, so I met that.

I hope everyone enjoyed the Love for Books Readathon! I had a good time and even though I didn't really reach my goals. It still inspired me to really work on my 2014 blogging goals in general and get moving on my reading for the year. I committed to reading 80 books and have read 11 so far... That's better than 1 book per week (1.375 to be exact) so I like the track I am on at this point and hope to keep it up and increase it during breaks from work.
How are the rest of you out in the blogosphere doing with your blogging goals? I'd love to hear about what you've been up to! Have a splendid day!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Love for Books Readathon

my goals can be found on this post
love for books sign up can be found on this post

Monday 2.17.14
Books read: Contagious by Scott Sigler
Pages read: 25
Hours read: about half an hour

Tuesday 2.18.14
Books read: Contagious by Scott Sigler
Pages read: 45
Hours read: 1 Hr

Wednesday 2.19.14
Books read: Contagious by Scot Sigler
Pages read: 32
Hours read: about 45 mins

Thursday 2.20.14
Books read: Contagious by Scott Sigler
Pages read: 2
Hours read: a few minutes :(

Friday 2.21.14
Books read: -
Pages read: -
Hours read: 0

Saturday 2.22.14
Books read: Contagious by Scott Sigler
Pages read: 137
Hours read: About 3hrs

Sunday 2.23.14
Books read: Contagious by Scott Sigler and Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English
Pages read: 418
Hours read: about 5hrs

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Love for Books Readathon Sign-up and Goals

I'm a day late, but I am signing up for the Love for Books Readathon!

My Readathon Goals:
Hours to read: 
At least 1hr per weekday and 10 hours over the weekend

Books to read:
Contagious by Scott Sigler
Pandemic by Scott Sigler
Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English
Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomas

Reviewing Goals:
post 2 reviews from the above book list

Social Networking Goals:
Tweet during reading
Tweet reading progress periodically
Instagram pictures of my reading progress
{use hashtag #LFBReadathon}

Hope to see you guys around the web and enjoy your Love for Books Readathon!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

2014 Challenges

I really can't believe that it is already February and here I am JUST now thinking about 2014 Reading Challenges. I was reading over the long weekend and realized that I haven't actually signed up for any challenges for the year so I decided to poke around and see what is out there.
I also have been really bad about staying on track with hopping to blogs and checking in on my book blogger friends! I am not tech savvy when it comes to syncing all my bloggy stuff with my phone... I really gotta get on that- any tips? I'm also trying to stay up with Twitter more this year- I seem to go in spurts with it. I also want to join more challenges and participate in more read-athons and read-alongs.

My personal blogging 2014 goals:
~ read 80 books
~ interact with more book bloggers and visit blogs
~ join more challenges / read-athons / read-alongs
~ stay up to date with twitter
~ stay on top of reviews (review new reads within a week)

2014 Challenges I am participating in:

Level SILVER: 25 books
This challenge is designed to help us clear out our many egalleys! I know that I have a ton and every time I go on to check in, I always end up adding more titles. It is an endless cycle of goodness, but it is also an endless TBR addition. 

The Deets:
Challenge Host: Falling For YA
Challenge Dates: Jan 1, 2014 - Dec 31, 2014
Postings: monthly wrap-up and linky
Giveaways: throughout the year
Levels: varies between 5 (aluminum) and 100 (diamond)

Level RECRUIT: 6 books
This challenge is designed to push me to read some more dystopian reads. I love dystopian books but have really fallen off the bandwagon... my hope is that choosing recruit and reaching 6 books will reignite my love of good dystopian lit!

The Deets:
Challenge Host: Blog of Erised
Challenge Dates: Jan 1, 2014 - Dec 31, 2014
Postings: monthly review linky
Giveaway: end of the year
Levels: varies between 1-6 (recruit) and 19+ (leader)

Level AWARE: 8 books
This challenge is designed to increase awareness for mental illness. Considering my profession, this challenge hits home for me. I work with children with mental illnesses and I am a huge advocate for erasing mental health stigma. My hope is that this challenge increases awareness and pushes me to read new books relating to mental health.

The Deets:
Challenge Host: Opinions of a Wolf
Challenge Dates: Jan 1, 2014 - Dec 31, 2014
Postings: link in comment of sign-up
Levels: varies between 4 (acquainted) and 12+ (advocate)

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Brazilian Bracelets

About this book:
Schiffer Publishing // Jan 2014
If you love making meaningful gifts for friends or just desire a stylish accessory that doesn’t break the bank, this book is a must-have. Instructions for making Brazilian bracelets of various shapes and sizes are included, decorated with crosses, zigzags, diamonds, dots, and even fish, and adorned with beads and charms. In all, there are more than twenty projects and seventy-five different variations of bracelets, hair braids, and wraps shown, with step-by-step instructions. Intricate drawings, photos, and suggested color combinations guide you through the process. From quick and simple braids to more intensive and elaborate crisscross wraps, you may choose a creative path to follow or just let your imagination take over. Alter the suggested designs in order to make key chains, napkin rings, eyeglass straps, or even belt loops. Children and adults will enjoy creating new, exciting, and sometimes unexpected items. The necessary materials are inexpensive and easy to find.

My thoughts:
I absolutely adore making friendship bracelets. I was that kid who made them all the time... whether I was making them for me and my friends or teaching others how to make them, I always seemed to have a plethora of  floss bracelets lying around. As a camp counselor and babysitter, I was always making them with my kids. Once I became a middle school teacher, I began making them during summer school and earned free time with my students. No matter how old some of the styles are or how basic the designs, everyone still seems to love making friendship bracelets!
Needless to say, I was thrilled when this book came across my feed.

Brazilian Bracelets by Florence Bellot is filled with old school bracelet making fun. Very easy to follow directions make this bracelet book a winner. Even with as long as I have been making these styles of bracelets, there were still a few new designs in this book for me to learn. I've already made 3 bracelets with the simple instructions and am quite pleased. I also like the beautiful color schemes that the book uses as examples.
I have to admit that while this is a good book, it is also a bit unnecessary. You can find all these designs online with a quick Google search, without dropping $20. However, I would recommend this book to anyone who works with kids. Especially those of us who work without constant access to the internet. This is certainly a good book for novice bracelet makers and kids.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received an egalley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Book image and book information provided by NetGalley.


External Forces

About the book:
Dime Store Books // Sept 2013

It’s 100 years since the Genetic Integrity Act was passed and America closed its borders to prevent genetic contamination. Now only the enemy, dysgenic Deviants, remain beyond the heavily guarded border. The Department of Evolution carefully guides the creation of each generation and deviations from the divine plan are not permitted.
When 16-year-old Jess begins to show signs of deviance she enlists in the Special Forces, with her best friend Jay, in a desperate bid to evade detection by the Devotees. Jess is good with data, not so good with a knife. So when the handsome and secretive Sergeant Matt Anderson selects her for his Black Ops squad, Jess is determined to figure out why.
As her deviance continues to change her, Jess is forced to decide who to trust with her deadly secret. Jess needs to know what’s really out there, in the Deviant wasteland over the border, if she has any hope of making it to her 17th birthday. Because if the enemy doesn't kill her first, the army probably will.

Book trailer:

My thoughts:
External Forces by Deborah Nix is quite an engrossing novel! I enjoyed this book but while reading I wasn't really sure where it would fall on the rating scales for me. There was a lot about this book that felt familiar.... Things that seemed too similar to other ya dystopian books I've read. However, as I progressed on I found myself fully involved in this novel. Fleeting memories came up while I crossed those similar themes and scenarios, but I also began associating them with External Forces and saw this as a novel all its own. The characters are fairly typical young adults, but what did make them unique overshadowed the norm. The dose of romance is totally necessary for this type of book, and I have mixed feelings about it. The plot and overall story is well worth the read. I must admit that I was angry when I finished External Forces because I'm anxious to see what happens next. I can't wait for the second and third installments to come out!

About the author:
Deborah Rix has a long standing love of science fiction, some of her favourite authors include William Gibson, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Douglas Adams, Iain M Banks. Deborah Rix enjoyed a successful career in entertainment publicity, live music promotion, corporate communications, and event management. She lives with her family in Toronto, Canada, where she is the proprietor of The Lucky Penny, a neighborhood joint in Trinity-Bellwoods. Come by for a coffee. EXTERNAL FORCES is her first novel.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received an egalley of External Forces in exchange for a fair and honest review. Book information and image from NetGalley and author information and image from author website.


Find Momo!

Can YOU find Momo?!

About the book:
Quirk Books // March 14, 2014
Meet Momo, a border collie who loves tagging along on adventures and getting his picture taken. Find Momo is more than a photo book: it’s a game, and it’s up to you to find out where the playful pup is hiding. Fans of photographer Andrew Knapp’s popular blog and Instagram feed will love the whimsical pictures of Momo in his element and all-new adventures as he poses, peeks out, and camouflages himself in all kinds of places. From simple settings to more complex hide-and-go-seeks, there’s lots for dog lovers of all ages to discover.

My thoughts:
Lily wants to play 'hide' too!
I adored this photo journey! Andrew Knapp's photography is beautiful an his border collie, Momo, adds the perfect dash of whimsy to each image. Just like "Where's Waldo", the idea is to find Momo in each image. He loves playing hide & seek, and what started on Instagram has blossomed into a great coffee table book. I say coffee table book because this is a book that will never go on a shelf- it will sit on my end table or coffee table for years to come because people of all ages can enjoy this book. Some will love it for the stunning photography and others will love it for the fun of finding Momo. Whatever category you fit in, this book is sure to please. Some images are easy and some are hard but all are fun. I had a great time looking for Momo and have already browsed the book multiple times.
Quirk nailed it with this one- I can see many more editions of Find Momo coming out and pleasing audiences for ages. I sincerely hope that Andrew Knapp continues the game, both on his Instagram feed (go check it out- SUCH fun!) and in print form.

In addition to how fun it is- TWO images from Find Momo are from my hometown area. One house I knew immediately- you'll find a cute little home on page 92 that is from a bordering town, Endicott NY. The other image took a minute, but when I read the image description it dawned on me that what I thought was just a fleeting recognition of a fairly normal setting was actually an area I've passed on many occassions. Also nearby, the image of wood stacks on pages 80 and 81 is on 17C just nearby. Pretty cool that our little area of the Southern Tier is featured in Find Momo! I sure hope Momo and Andrew come back to the area and visit some of the other treasures of the Southern Tier and play hide & seek!

About the author:
ANDREW KNAPP is a graphic designer and photographer from northern Ontario. In addition to his work for wonderful clients including Oracle, FedEx, mini USA, Sony, and Walgreens, Andrew has filmed a TED talk and the INSTAMISSIONS web series in collaboration with MTV and Sony Xperia. Visit gofindmomo.com. Plus, 100,000+ Instagram fans can’t be wrong! Follow @andrewknapp and #findmomo to join in the fun.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Book information, cover image, and author information provided by the publisher Quirk Books.