Bring On The Scary

This will probably be the first year ever that I won’t be carving a pumpkin for Halloween. We have always gone all out for Halloween with a full on haunted garage and everything and the pumpkins have always been a huge part of that. It is something I adore doing and usually put a crap ton of work into, but this year, I do not have the motivation. At all. Continue reading “Bring On The Scary”

Hunting

I’m really missing that I no longer get these encounters anymore. For over 10 years we had nothing but an open field behind our house. Until we put up our fence a couple of years after we moved in, we would get deer in the yard, right next to the house to eat my flowers. The day we moved in, a coyote took up residence against my back door and scared the crap out of me when I went to open it. After the fence was put up, we would often get sights like this one because it and the kids swing set that used to be there were the perfect perches for birds to stand watch and hunt in the field. Continue reading “Hunting”

Still Nothing, Still Waiting

It has been nearly a month since I asked for help on my latest creative project. The first two people I asked for help, I haven’t heard a single peep from since I asked and they agreed. Two weeks since I asked, nicely, for updates or progress from the third one that agreed to help and was told that they would be getting to it that weekend, which didn’t happen and again, silence. Continue reading “Still Nothing, Still Waiting”

Consolidating

Part of my recent rework here has been an effort to consolidate several of the places that I’ve been attempting to maintain across the internet. That means trying to move lots of images of my various artistic endeavors. For now, I’ve added a few galleries to my menu under Art, but I’m not certain I’m going to keep it like that. Continue reading “Consolidating”

Finding My Creative Groove Again

Until I was asked to work on the LOTR/Hobbit cake, I haven’t really done much creatively or artistically for quite some time. I just haven’t had the push or the drive to do so. The rare times I considered working on something, I found a way to talk myself out of it or to convince myself it wasn’t worth the time or the effort. Continue reading “Finding My Creative Groove Again”

Quietly Reading

While I have still been reading, I’ve just kind of been off to the side, doing it quietly.  Partly because there have been quite a lot of things going on that have kept me too busy and partly because I just haven’t had much to say about what I’ve read recently, no matter if it was really good or not so good.  I have still been updating my reading list on Goodreads with ratings, but I haven’t written any reviews recently.

I’m in kind of a reading funk lately.  It isn’t that I haven’t read anything good, but I want to find something new that really grabs me and I haven’t found that yet.  I have my handful of very favorite authors that I anxiously await anything new they put out because I know, without a doubt, that I’m going to love it.  Sadly, that is only a very small handful of authors that fall into that category.  I’d made it something of a goal last year to find a new one, but it didn’t happen, which I thought was really surprising as I figured it couldn’t be too hard with as much as I like to read.

Kind of like having a food craving, but not having the right food around to satisfy it, I’ve been reading all kinds of things to try and figure out what I feel I’m missing, even doing a bit of rereading a few books here and there.  There have been a few times I thought I’d touched on it, but it never really quite hit the mark.  Not sure if it is the sheer volume of books I read and I’m just getting bored or if it is that I genuinely want something I haven’t run across yet, but most of my reading hasn’t been all that satisfying lately, even if I have read some good ones.

I’ve even been shuffling books to the bottom of my reading list, or having to recheck them out later because I didn’t get to them in time, because even though I do want to read them, I’m just not in the mood at the moment for most of what is on my list.  Not a fan of the current slump, but it isn’t like it will be much of hardship getting over it, because… books, reading… yeah, not like you’ll have to twist my arm or anything.

Finding Balance

Apparently I don’t have enough things to do to keep me occupied, I have to go and create a bunch of blogs.  Not just one, because there are some things I need to keep organized and this is just one of ways I can be incredibly anal.  I debated a while about just doing a single blog, but I really wasn’t comfortable dumping the personal drama on the reading site and I didn’t think that everyone that wanted to read about books would care about the art or the cake.  It is possible, but there is no need to pump out a bunch of stuff that just may not be something someone wants to read, even if the main reason for all of this is for me. Continue reading “Finding Balance”

Exploring My Hobbies

To say that I’m a creative person would be an understatement. I have so many hobbies that I love doing that I spend a lot of time not doing them at times because I can’t decide which one to focus on.  I have actually been on something of a creative hiatus because I haven’t been overly inspired.  The last few months, I’ve had a few ideas fermenting in the back of my mind but they weren’t quite ready to come out and play, so I’m hoping that break is about over and it is time to get back into my studio. Continue reading “Exploring My Hobbies”

Non-Reading Summer Projects

I probably wont’ have a whole lot of time over the next couple of weeks to get very many books read and reviews written because it is closing in on my summer project time.  I am in the middle of one book that I will, hopefully, have time to sit down and finish later today.  After that, it might be a bit hit or miss.

Summer seems to be major project time for me, especially since my kids are home for the summer.  The last couple of years, the focus was on my boys’ rooms.  This year it is Baby Girl’s turn.  I’m going to be doing a full on re-do of her room starting with getting all of her furniture either cleaned up enough to be good or even repainted in a few cases where there are too many scuffs and scratches or even just had the paint wear off.

The next part of the project is going to be to repaint the walls.  As usual, I’m feeling a bit ambitious and won’t be doing just a simple paint the walls a new color.  No, we are doing two different colors with a new piece of trim about 2/3 of the way up the wall and a tree silhouette in one corner with a couple of cat silhouettes (’cause we can’t do a project in her room without including at least one cat), 3D flowers and butterflies (which I think we are going to have to make) in and around the tree, new bedding and curtains and a whole lot of rearranging of the stuff that is already on the walls so that the pretty new design doesn’t get overwhelmed.

I’m kind of in a hold patter with starting as I can’t get the paint colors until her comforter comes in.  I’ll be starting on getting the furniture ready and painted first.  One piece I even have to take to my Dad to get him to repair a small crack.  Since he will be fixing it in his spare time and everyone in the family is always demanding to take up every bit of that time with their own projects, he may not be able to get to it right away.

Even though this is probably going to be my biggest painting project yet, it will be well worth it when I’m done.  I absolutely love how a room looks when it has a fresh coat of paint, even more so when it is is a new color.  When we moved into this house over 11 years ago, all the walls were a very bland beige for the express purpose of me getting to repaint them all.  It was my blank canvas.  It has taken a while, but Baby Girl’s room is the last major room to get painted.  The only rooms that will be left will be the part of the kitchen over the cabinets and the laundry room.  Since I could care less about the laundry room and I’m not thrilled with trying to crawl around on top of my cabinets, I’m not certain I’ll ever do those rooms.  More than likely, I’ll start back at the beginning with new colors.  Not any time soon though.  This project will be more than enough to run my creative juices low enough I won’t feel the need for another paint project for quite some time.

Don’t Tempt Me: Dawn Atkins

Don't Temp tMeAuthor: Dawn Atkins
Book Name: Don’t Tempt Me
Series:
Order:
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Good
3+stars

 

Blurb:  Boudoir photographer Samantha Sawyer is seeking the perfect guy to help her with a little project—one that involves willing captives. Or experimenting with edible goodies. Or… The tricky part is that the fuzzy face of her dream-man has morphed into that of her new assistant, Rick West—whose gaze tends to make Samantha spontaneously combust.

But Rick forces himself to walk away, just as Samantha’s about to draw him in. She’s actually part of an undercover assignment, and partaking in her erotic world—enticing as it is—only makes his deception worse. Because once he’s tempted, there’s no going back…

Review:  I was wanting something different than what has been on my reading list lately.  Something lighter, and on the sweet side.  This fit that pretty well.  It definitely fell on the sweet side, right dead on the line of being too sugary.

The story was pretty decent and mostly believable, though both characters felt just a tad bit too mushy for me.  The balance between strong and sweet is hard to achieve without being cold and hard or falling into mushy.  These characters didn’t really come across as all that strong to me.  They worked within the bounds of the story, but they weren’t the kinds of characters that I could fall in love with and why the story only rated a 3.

I like there to be a bit more depth in my romance stories than what this story had.  This one was pretty predictable from the beginning as to what you could expect for the entire book.  There really weren’t any surprises and that drops this into what I’d consider a cookie cutter romance.  Decent and not a total waste of time, but just not all that special either.

Coming in May and Update

Current reading stats
New: 138
Re-reads: 28

How I choose the next book to read often depends on how many books are on my To Read list.  The fewer I have available, the more time I have before they are due back (if they are checked out of the library) and I will often just pick the one I’m most looking forward to.  The more I have on that list, with some getting close to their due date for return, I will pick up the one with the closest due date.

After finishing a book the other day, I went to look at all the books I had checked out and on my To Read list to decide which one I wanted to start next. I had quite a few on that list and was really torn because the bottom couple just weren’t books I was all that excited about starting because I wasn’t thrilled by the previous book in the series.  I ended up just going with one that I was way more excited about, thinking I had a bit more time to get to the others before I had to return them.

After doing this a few times and looking at my Coming Soon list of books that are getting released in the next month, I realized that Michelle Sagara’s next House War book, Oracle,  was due out on May 5th.  It has been a bit since the last release in this series and I thought it might be a good idea to do some re-reading.  IF I could get my To Read list under control enough that I’d be able to have time to do that.

Unfortunately, I had a ton of books on that list and a whole crapton on my hold list that would be coming available at random times along the way.  I finally decided that if I kept skipping over those bottom list books, then maybe I should just not bother with them all right now.  I ended up returning a bunch of books to the library so I could focus on the ones I was actually really excited about.  If I get really bored, then I’ll consider checking them out again at some point in the future.  Then again, I may not.  Seems I’m having difficulty finding the time to read all the ones I’d really like to at the moment, so why waste that time with the ones I’m just not all that jazzed about?

Besides, a Michelle Sagara book will ALWAYS take precedence over any other book.  Well, unless it is an Anne Bishop book.  I honestly don’t have a clue what I’d do if those two authors ever released a book at the same time.  Fingers crossed that I’m never quite that lucky.

Even after pairing it down, I still seem to have too many on that list.  If I truly want to have the time to re-read all the connected books from the House War series (that is an awful lot of reading because it connects with both the Sacred Hunt books and the Sun Sword series), I’m going to have to pair it down quite a bit more.  I may have to settle for re-reading just the House War books for now.

No matter what I choose, there is going to be a lot of reading in my future.  As if that is any different than any other day.  😉

 

March Update and Upcoming in April

As of right now, my current book count stands at 112 new and 27 re-reads.  Seems that I am continuing with my theme of re-reading some of my favorites this year.  This month, I re-read one of my all time favorite series, Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of ElantraI probably should have read House War (another favorite) first as that is the series that has the next book out (May5), but I’m sure that is going to be the next on the re-read list.

I’m doing a lot of re-reading because I am STILL struggling to find new authors to read that I love.  Heck, I’d be thrilled with even just one at this point.  Sure, I’ve found a couple of new ones that I like, but I don’t love them and that is getting frustrating.  I have grabbed more new books lately that don’t just jump out and grab me when I read the synopsis on the off chance that something will spark when I read the actual book.  That hasn’t quite worked yet, but I’m still holding out hope.

Something I realized the other day is that I’m not actually writing very many reviews.  While I think it is probably impossible for me to write a review for every single book I read (my current average is about a book and a half a day, so that would be a bit much), I do think I should probably be writing up at least a few more than I currently am.  I didn’t realize how difficult it might be to write up something on a book that isn’t either awesome or awful and since I haven’t found much in the first category and try exceptionally hard to avoid the second, that doesn’t leave me with all that much to write about, so I’m going to work on that for next month.

April 7th brings the new release in the Jane Yellowrock series, Dark Heir.  I’ve got that one on pre-order and cannot wait to get it.  The 7th is also the release day for Diana Rowland‘s latest in the Kara Gillian Series, Vengeance of the Demon.  This one I don’t have on my To Buy list, but I am on the waiting list through the library.  So glad that I know I’ve got some things on my upcoming reading list to really look forward to.

Can’t Wait! and Update for February

March 3 is the release date for the newest book in the the Courtyards of the Others series by Anne Bishop, Vision in Silver.  I’ve already got this on pre-order and will be getting started reading it as soon as it shows up on my reader.  Still going back and forth on trying to decide if I want to re-read the other two books in the series before it comes out as a refresher.  Gonna have to give that some thought.

So far this year, my book count stands at 78 new books and 15 re-reads.  Apparently this is going to be my year to go back and read some of my favorites again as I still haven’t really found a new author to grab my attention.  Not that I have much problem at all re-reading my favorites, they are favorites for a reason.

Along the Anne Bishop theme, I’ve re-read all the books in the Black Jewels world.  I’ve actually had times where when reading a book again after a while I realize that I don’t actually like it as well as I thought I had.  That is so not the case with that series.  I have a feeling it will be the same with the new Others series, so maybe I will go through with the refresher read after all.

 

So Far – January 2015

As of today, I’ve already read 19 books.  For the most part, while I have enjoyed what I’ve read, I haven’t just loved it.  I think I’ve gotten to a point where I need to find a new author I love to add to my favorites list, though.

Last year’s new author was Kristen Ashley.  I still have quite a few of hers to read, but as most of them are not available through my library at the moment, I’m having to read those as they come.

Other than those books, I haven’t been absolutely absorbed by anything I’ve read in a while, so I think I need to do some research into some new authors that I have yet to read.  Finding the Goodreads site recently is probably where I’m going to start.

I was lucky enough to get a couple of gift cards over the holidays, so that opens  my options up a bit more, especially with as stingy as I’ve been when it comes to what I’m willing to actually pay for now that I’ve discovered the wealth of options available to me through the library’s digital content.  Unfortunately, that wealth of options also means I’m more willing to read all kinds of stuff whether I actually like it or not just because it is available, so I may have to seriously rethink that as well.

2014 Final Book Count & Looking Forward

I managed to get my database updated with the last few books I read in 2014 and was a bit stunned by my final totals.  I really didn’t think it was possible to read more books than I did last year, but not only did I do that, but I did it by quite a bit.

Last year I hit 465.  This year, I hit a whopping 509.  507 of those were new to me books and only 2 were re-reads.  I really think I had one or two more re-reads in there, but I didn’t get my database set up figured out to keep track of those until way later in the year.

And yes, I have a database that I built to keep track of my books.  I started with a notebook that I kept authors, books and series lists in, but quickly outgrew that when I had so many that it was hard to find what I was looking for.  I then went with a binder that I could keep more organized, but again seriously outgrew that when I wanted a quick and easy way to see totals.  I still keep the binder for a fast look-up when I’m not wanting to get on the computer, but I doubt I will be doing that much longer as I’m about to the point where I’m going to have to split the one binder into two.

The database started as a simple thing that just listed the author, book title, series and order (if there was one) and the year I read it.  It has grown over the last year to add in additional methods of keeping organized as there have been several times I wanted to look up a book but couldn’t for the life of me remember the book or even the author, but I remembered the general subject.  Now, I have a genre/subject designation, re-read options, a notes section and whether or not I own the book.  I now have the ability to actually go in and search for very specific information and not have to spend hours looking up the books that I think are possibilities and reading the summaries to figure it out.  Yes, I’m such a geek when it comes to stuff like that.

Hopefully with the better organized database (I still have a ton of genre entries to fix on the books that were already there), it will be a bit easier when I need to go find the next book in a series, especially as some authors just don’t have clean websites that lists that kind of information.

As for 2015, I’m not setting a reading goal.  I seriously doubt I will want, or even be able, to read more this year than I did in 2014, especially if I’m going to spend any time at all writing about what I read.  I’m sure I will still read way more than is probably healthy while getting very little else done.

Beginnings

A few years ago, I got an e-reader for my birthday.  It didn’t take long to discover the convenience of the instant download when purchasing or that I could easily get books for it through my local library.  Lots and lots of books.  Books that I didn’t have to wait on or go out somewhere and get.  If I wanted to read it, it was right there.  Instantaneously.  That set off an interesting chain of events and a huge new addiction.

I’ve always been a big reader, but had this weird obsession of needing to own what I read.  I didn’t like going to the library to check books out because I hated having to give back a book that I loved.  When you do not have an unlimited book budget and you have a weird quirk about needing to own what you read, it forces you to become really picky.  Because of that, I really didn’t read a lot of books, maybe 5 or 10 a year depending on what my favorite authors at the time were releasing.

When I got my first tablet, it helped me to let go of that little obsession (that whole “you can have it RIGHT NOW” thing kind of began to overrule that little quirk), but also opened the door to me reading all kinds of books.  This lead me to find lots of new authors that I loved.  It also lead me to a whole lot that not only did I not love, but absolutely couldn’t stand.  I learned an awful lot about what I did and did not like in a book or an author.

For the last few years and through over 1200 books (no that is not a typo, I did say “huge addition”), I’ve found myself wanting to get some thoughts out of my head about what I’ve read.  There is only so much my poor hubby can sit and listen to about books, especially when he is so not a reader himself.  I figured this was a much better option than driving him crazy on a regular basis.