Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012!

With just hours to spare, I had squeaked by and made it to my yearly reading goal. Did I even think when I was younger that I would be spending New Years Eve speed reading books with a glass of wine? No, I did not! However, I can't complain. What's better than spending my time with a pack of wolves? Okay, maybe actually spending time with them and not just in my head. Can you guess what I finished off the year reading?

I had already finished Prince of Wolves and read right through Blood Rite, Just One Drop, and Out of the Dark by Quinn Loftis. I did enjoy this series very much! I felt like it was written more for teens, but I do realize it is YA. And I did truly enjoy the story, even though I still have one more book to read. You can't deny a hot Romanian prince. You can't say no to him! After finishing these three books, it brings me to a grand total of...

25, 243 PAGES READ!

WOW!  I actually made it. It feels so good! Last year I was really bummed I fell just a few hundred pages short of reaching my goal, but I was so incredibly busy, there was just no time to even crunch a last book in. So what will be my goal for next year? Obviously I have the UtopYA 2013 Challenge going on, where I pledged to read thirty books. That's at least 10,000 pages, give or take. And I feel like this year is really going to be a year where I take full advantage of being a reader. So, lets just go big or go home. 


Oh yeah, you read that right. I said go big or go home....that's why I threw in the curve ball of the extra page. I like last year that I actually included my pages read goal into my New Years resolutions and I made resolutions that were actually obtainable. I'm pretty notorious for starting something and not following through, so I have some new resolutions for 2013, as well as continuing on the traditions from 2012.

1. Don't give up on this blog. I hadn't planned on it, so don't fret here readers. But I need to be held responsible in times that I feel like giving up. So I want to blog at least once a week but aim for twice a week if I can. If you don't see me post for a few days, come holler at me and I'll be here. Don't let me down!
2. Read at least 30,001 pages. 
3. Try something new every month. This should be a fun one, right? Especially since I can share it with you guys. I haven't talked about it yet, but I have pretty bad anxiety, so trying new things doesn't always come easy for me. But that's the beauty of a resolution, right? 

There you have it, folks. I feel very blessed and excited to have only been blogging again for a few days and have already received a wonderful response and great comments. I really do appreciate them. I can't wait to keep up with this new journey in 2013. Hopefully it won't be too much of a crazy ride. But knowing me, you can except at least half that much! See you next, year! 

I'll leave you with this not so fantastic picture of Cupcake. She's been tired of me logging hours on the computer the past few days and pretty much demanded my attention by putting her face on the laptop. She's lucky she's so cute, I tell you.

Top 10 Books(and Series) of 2012

 I had planned to pick only a top five list for this year. I xouldn't. I just couldn't. I tried and tried and well, it's impossible. This year was filced with so many new discoveries of authors and stories that limiting it to just five would be just wrong! So here's my little version of my top ten, with my ramblings in between, in no particular order other than the order they were read in during the year.

Top 10 Books(and series) of 2012

I was originally drawn to this book because it appeared to follow my normal Dystopian genre love. What I wasn't expecting was to get sucked into this thrilling new world. The main character, Ellie, is a grungy, mouth like a sailor, and mildly crazy girl, who you will fall in love with and root for her the entire time. The rest of the characters all sport quirky by admirable qualities that quickly win you over. The best part about this book is a plot twist that I never saw coming. I'm fairly quick when it comes to twists in plots, and this one I didn't get until I was reading it, not a moment before. And even after I read it, I went back and reread the same sentences, just to make sure. This is a book that I think hasn't got the attention it deserves.

This was one of the first book series that I read that would open the doors to the paranormal romance genre I have grown to love so much. Which leads me to tell you, I was very skeptical at first of this book. Angels? Good vs Evil? Yeah, right. After finishing the series in two days, I changed. Heck, yeah, was more like it! As soon as I started reading I wanted to know why Jessica didn't sleep and why she has a crippling fear of angels. You will find all that out! Alex and Cole join in on the fun and of course, the love story is drool worthy. This book shows angels in a different light, and I loved that. There were many times where I started to doubt that there would ever be a happy ending for Jessica, including tears that were shed for her! This series does not disappoint, even with it's non-traditional views on angels.

This book was one of the first contemporary romance books I read. I really loved watching this hot, steamy, mess of a romance unfold. There were lots of mixed reviews when I found this book, specifically regarding the way Travis acts towards Abby. I decided to not lot reviews influence my decision prior to reading it(as I always try to do) and read it anyway. I'm so glad I did! It's truly a beautiful disaster. Abby and Travis bump heads, can't stand each other at times, and fight. But the love story they create is memorable. Travis is tricky and smooth and Abby wants nothing to do with it, until she falls in love with him despite it all. Although Travis is scary at times, he has a soft spot for Abby that only she can see. The book probably isn't every one's cup of tea, but it sure hit the spot for me! 

I was pretty much sold by just the title of Slammed alone. I'm a huge slam poetry nut and was not disappointed as this was a big part in this book! Layken is a favorite character of mine who meets the dreamy Will, who doesn't disappoint either. The book is fast past and the plot thickens quite a few times, so you're never bored and always trying to guess what comes next .Will was my favorite character in both books. He's a strong, supportive, and lovable man and takes care of Layken like any girl deserves, especially when times get tough, as they do for Lake. Point of Retreat was like an answered prayer when I didn't want Lake and Will's story to end! Although they both have two little people who depend on them, they prove that a family is a family, no matter how it comes to be. I butterflying loved these two books.

Tina was one of the first authors I reached out to on Facebook. LU2 wasn't out yet, and I wanted to keep up with the release info. So I liked her page on Facebook and left her a comment telling her how much I loved her LU. And then she did the most amazing thing. She commented back. My world will never be the same and this was when I knew Indie authors had stolen my heart. I even got to watch as she got picked up by a big name publisher and I felt super awesome to be a part of that! As for these two books, you can see I'm starting to fall deep for romance books. Who would have known, right? As for why I love these books? Well who doesn't enjoy a love story where a normal, small town girl, falls in love with the hunky movie star that's filming in said small town? Their whole love story is an adventure that you don't want to miss. Paparazzi, crazy fan girls(what are those?!), and friend drama is all included. What I love most about Taryn and Ryan's story is that they have to fight for their relationship to make it work. Besides the fact that Ryan is a movie star, they haven't got everything handed to them on a silver platter, and I like that.


Now here is when I turn into a giant fan girl. This series is one that I stumbled upon in the "books you may enjoy" section on amazon. Thank you, Amazon, for introducing me to this series and to Amy, who ranks right up there with Tina on her amazing love for her fan base! She puts up with all our crazy shipping and talks with us! For that alone, I urge you to check her out. But the series, that's a whole different ball game. You are introduced to Evie, a quiet girl who tends to keep to herself as she goes off to college. We meet lots of new players, including Russel and Reed. There's something off about Reed and with Russel, Evie feels comfortable and at home. Finding out about why she is this way with these guys is just the beginning! Evie is a strong willed, fiery red head who acts with her heart, not her head. But beware, she will capture your heart, too. Along with another character, Brennus,who you all better stay away from. I mean, who also fights for Evie's attention, and may lure you into his world as well. The thing I love most about these books is that Amy has created a whole new world full of people and creatures that don't exist. But with only her words, they come to life. You're never lost or confused as she explains everything new so eloquently. And you begin to wonder, maybe these fairy tale creatures are out there? You just have to find out for yourself!

I discovered this series thanks to the previous talented author, Amy Bartol. This was the first books I read from Shelly Crane(in fact, I didn't even know she had other books out! Silly me!) and I fell in love with the whole concept of these books - soul mates. What would you do if you knew once you found your one true love? A love that could heal you, you could hear each others thoughts, would give you special abilities. Sign me up! (Just kidding. I already found my one true love. I don't need any imprinting to happen.) But how could you not be mesmerized by Caleb and Maggie? Maggie gets her whole world turned upside when she discovered this whole new realm that Caleb was born into. Maggie and Caleb are the perfect ying and yang for each other. The whole journey all the way through their forever in Independence if breath taking and magical. It's not so far fetched in the paranormal genre where you think that it could never happen. It flows perfectly into what we all know and love about out world today. It was great to be a part of watching this series grow, and also seeing the beginnings of a movie! I can't wait for that to start production!

This was a series I was reluctant to read. Not because of the very adult content matter, but because I had read 50 Shades and I wasn't the biggest fan, only because it was so redundant. But this is not a review for that book. This is for the Dark Duet books. READ THEM. They did not disappoint me in the slightest. In fact, I was left wanting more. The whole time my jaw hung open, and again, not because of the amazingly steamy adult content. No! Because of the slightly twisted love story that developed. I was so intrigued on how both Caleb and Olivia flowed together. It's like coming down with Stockholm Syndrome yourself. You start to feel something for Caleb and then you begin to wonder if you yourself are sane? And then you think, shouldn't we hate Caleb? And yes, I use we because CJ;s writing put you directly into the moment. I felt like I was Olivia so many times in this book! When she was confused, I was confused. When she was happy, I was happy! Then Seduced starts and you're just taken through this flashback, flash forward, and present time mix of the same story. You meet some new, just as dark and lovable characters. You start to question Caleb and his motives. It's intense, raw, and dark - but a must read for yourself. My words don't do this story justice.
I bought Callie and Kayden the day it came out, and it sat on my to read shelf for a week or so before I got around to reading it. I didn't read the description prior to busting it open. I knew I loved Jessica and her writing, so I was sure I would love this book as well, and I did. It quickly earned the spot as best book written by Jessica! And how could you not love this cover! I felt so raw and very emotional when I finished this book. Callie and Kayden know how to strike at your heart and make you feel every emotion possible. Their relationship is slow and steady to build with minor set backs along the way. Both their hearts are broken in different ways, but together they learn how to heal each other. I'm chomping at the bit to hear the rest of their story. The ended tore my heart up! It better be put back together!

Oh, hello there again, Colleen! You're the only author who appears twice on my list. Pretty awesome! And she just made it to #1 in the Kindle Store with Hopeless. That's how good this book is. It's only on the bottom because I just recently read it. Colleen has an excellent ability to develop characters in a very short amount of time and make us love them. Sky, Holder, and even Six all seem like you could be their best friends in real life. They're easy to relate to. But Sky and Holder are a couple like I've never seen before. You know there's something different, something big, building in the story. Sky is two completely different people - the person people think she is and the person she really is. Holder is explosive and unpredictable with a past world full of hurt. But the clincher is their unconditional love for each other, even when they don't know they love each other yet. At times I felt like I wasn't reading a story about younger adults. My favorite attribute about this book was the fact that neither Sky or Holder ran away from their problems and they stuck it out until the calm came after the storm, especially Holder. He really manned up so-to-speak in this book, and gave men out there something to learn! That my friends, is something you don't see often.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

UtopYA 2013 Reading Challenge

I am super pleased, excited, nervous and very privileged to announce that I am co-hosting my very first challenge, the UtopYA 2013 Reading Challenge! In case you don't know what UtopYA Conference is, you can check them out on their blog! When I first heard about the conference in Nashville, which is just an hour away from me, I couldn't believe something so big was happening so close to me! I had silently made it a goal of mine to read as many of the attending authors and panelists books as I could for 2013. Tess over at My Pathway to Books had this great idea, too, and went above and beyond and issued a challenge! Then she so graciously took me under her wing and asked me to co-host!


*NOTE: you do not have to be attending UtopYA con to be a part of the reading challenge*
*this is an unofficial challenge and not affiliated with UtopYA*
The challenge is to reach your set goal.  There are 6 different levels to choose from.
5- Gnome
10- Fairy
15- Mermaid
20- Werewolf
25- Vampire
30- Angel

Challenge Rules
1. The books must be written by an author that is a panelist, exhibitor or attendee of UtopYA Con 2013.
2. The challenge will start on January 1, 2013 and end December 31, 2013 but you may join at anytime.
3. You don't have to have a blog to participate.  Just join in on the fun somehow! P.S. that means authors please participate too! We would love to have you.
4. The books can be in any format (ebooks, paperback, scroll, etc.)
5. To join the challenge
if your a blogger, make a blogpost with the challenge button and tell us what level you've picked and link your post to the linky. Everyone else, tweet/facebook/pin/goodreads etc. what level you picked with a link to this post and link the direct link to the linky.

Prizes (prizes are to be determined but they will be awesome)
1. The person that reads the most books by UtopYA authors (books read before the Con will count x2, so if you read 15 books before the Con it will count as a score of 30)
2. Everyone that reaches their goal will be entered to win a prize
3. there will be UtopYA challenges throughout the year so be looking out for those!

UtopYA Authors
If you're a panelist, exhibitor, or attendee of the 2013 UtopYA Con and you're an author, I would love to do a promotion with the reading challenge!  Please fill out this google doc if you're interested!

You can find the list of UtopYA author books on this GOODREADS SHELF.
*this list is subject to change due to additions to panelists and attendees*
Also come by and check out the UtopYA GOODREADS GROUP!



I've reaching for the stars! I'm going to go for Angel status! That's 30 books read from UtopYA authors. I know I won't be disappointed since this years line up is beyond amazeballs. Yes, this calls for the adjective amazeballs. Can't wait to see every one's updates along the way!

2012 Reading List

Alright, here it is. My reading list for 2012. This was a big year for me. My goal at the beginning of 2012 was to read 10,000 pages. Within three months, I had blown past that. So I set myself a new goal - 20,000 pages. That one took me a while but around October, I blew past that goal, too! So after consulting some friends, we all agreed I could make it to 25,000 pages by 2013. Well, there's one day left, since I am posting this a few days before 2013 gets here. Do you think I can make it?

{272} The Awakening by LJ Smith
{256} The Struggle by LJ Smith
{304} The Fury by LJ Smith
{320} Dark Reunion by LJ Smith  
{624} Shadow Souls by LJ Smith
{608} Nightfall by LJ Smith
{592} Midnight by LJ Smith
{432} Phantom by LJ Smith
{416} Moonsong by LJ Smith
{374} The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
{233} The Burn by Annie Oldham    
{298} Outside #1 by Shalini Boland 
{391} Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins   
{390} Arena One: Salverunners by Morgan Rce     
{400} Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 
{158} Ping by Susan Lowery 
{416} The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks 
{376} Branded by Keary Taylor       
{330} Foresaken by Keary Taylor   
{382} Vindicated by Keary Taylor 
{338} Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
{342} Closed Hearts by Susan Kaye Quinn
{224} Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik
{528} Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James
{544} Fifty Shades Darker by E L James
{592} Fifty Shades of Freed by E L James
{379} Flowertown by S G Redling
{200} Half Way Home by Hugh Howey
{315} After Eden by Katherine Pine
{315} Beloved Purgatory by Katherine Pine
{259} Exceptional by Jess Petosa
{437} Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
{354} Slammed by Colleen Hoover
{322} Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
{670} Love Unscripted by Tina Reber
{351} Pulled by A L Jackson
{274} Fallen by Laury Falter
{311} Eternity by Laury Falter
{321} Reckoning by Laury Falter
{448} Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber
{393} Inescapable by Amy Bartol
{394} Intuition by Amy Bartol
{426} Indebted by Amy Bartol
{297} Take This Regret by A L Jackson
{262} Captive in the Dark by Cj Roberts
{503} Seduced in the Dark by Cj Roberts
{165} Devoured by Emily Snow
{319} Significance by Shelly Crane
{314} Accordance by Shelly Crane
{281} Defiance by Shelly Crane
{416} Destiny Rising by LJ Smith
{393} REREAD Inescapable by Amy Bartol
{280} Infraction by Annie Oldham
{394} REREAD Intuition by Amy Bartol
{426} REREAD Indebted by Amy Bartol
{194} Lengths by Liz Reinhardt
{419} The Fallen Star by Jessica Sorensen
{388} The Underworld by Jessica Sorensen
{302} The Vision by Jessica Sorensen
{453} Incendiary by Amy Bartol
{270} Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn
{410} Independence by Shelly Crane
{302} The Lost Souls by Jessica Sorensen
{296} The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
{391} Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
{318} Stealing Grace by Shelly Crane
{230} Prince of Wolves by Quinn Loftis
{256} Blood Rite by Quinn Loftis
{239} Just One Drop by Quinn Loftis
{416} Out of the Dark by Quinn Loftis 

TOTAL:  25,243

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Year in Review

Well since I missed a whole year of blogging, here's a run down on my 2012 year!

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before? I ran a mile without stopping to walk! That's big for me, folks.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made three New Years Resolutions last year. To run in another race, to grow my hair out to its natural color, and to read 10,000 pages. I completed two of those, which is pretty good! I didn't get to run in another race. I trained for a half marathon during the Summer, and the heat and my allergies just killed my asthma and I had to stop training. But I did get up to running 5-6 miles at a time. I grew my hair out all the way to my natural color, but just recently bleached it back blonde again. I missed it! And I also blew past my reading goal. But that's a whole different story.

 3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, a few friends of mine did.
 4. Did anyone close to you die? Unfortunately, yes. Both my grandparents past away this year, within weeks of each other.

5. What countries did you visit? None! Sadly.
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? Some more of my husband! He's been gone for eight months out of this year. I miss him!
7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? None? Well, not true really. I wouldn't say specific dates, but more events. Hunger Games came out in the beginning of the year and I was super amped for that! I also got to fly home to San Diego and see my mom for the first time in three years. It was great to spend a week and a half with her and hang out.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? My reading! I just kept reading....and reading....and reading....

9. What was your biggest failure? Not being able to run that darn marathon. Killed me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just my regular asthma and allergies.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My Kindle Fire. Does that make me a huge super nerd?

12. Where did most of your money go? Bills and books. Story of my life!

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going home to see my mom. I missed her so much! I also go to spend some time with old friends and meet my friends kids that have been born since I've been gone.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012? Oh Gosh...Some Nights by Fun, maybe??

15. What do you wish you'd done more of? Going out and adventuring.

16. What do you wish you'd done less of? Procrastinating.

17. Did you fall in love? I've been in love for over 4 years!

18. What was your favorite TV program? Well, I got rid of cable this year. So I've been watching a mix of old and new shows. I watched all of Lost. I also started falling in love with New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Fringe, Parenthood, Glee, and of course The Vampire Diaries.

19. What was the best book you read? That's for a whole 'nother post!

20. What was your greatest musical discovery? YOUTUBE! No seriously. I fell in love with a ton of Indie artists, especially Jake Coco.

21. What was your favorite film of this year? UGH. Again? Very favorite? How about a favorite few? I love The Hunger Games and Pitch Perfect.

22. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned twenty-four and I went out to dinner at Olive Garden with my husband and a few friends. My best friends daughters birthday is the day before mine, so we celebrated together!

23. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Knowing that if I get through this year, my husband would be home!

24. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?  Comfortable with a little bit of spunk.

25. What kept you sane? My friends who helped keep me busy while hubby was gone and my Kindle.

26. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Oh Gosh! Zooey Deschanel, for sure.

27. What political issue stirred you the most? Well, it was an election year, so there was a lot to get excited about, but I think the one thing that ruffled my feathers was woman's rights.
28. Who was the best new person you met? All the awesome internet friends I met from various groups. Yall rock!   

29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012. Fight for what's worth fighting for.

Friday, December 28, 2012

It feels good to be back

Well, I guess you could say I am back again. After over a year break and a semi re-vamping of the blog, it feels good to be "home." I missed rambling away on here. I figured what better time to start blogging again that at the beginning of a new year? Yeah, I know I'm a little early, but that's because I have some awesome things I can't wait to start blogging about, so I got a jump start!

Looking back, I see my very last post was about my reading goal for last year. Funny, because that's what prompted me to start blogging again this year - reading. I got a Kindle Fire this year and just fell completely in love with reading all over again. And not only that, I began to reach out via social media outlets to the authors I began to fall in love with. This is when I discovered the realm of Indie authors. I thought I was a one of a kind reader, but apparently, I'm not! The whole Indie world is new to me and not only are the authors so friendly and personable, their fans are equally as great! I'm beginning to "meet" more and more people who share the same love for these books as I do, and it has just been a wonderful adventure.

So here we go, again! I hope to write mostly about my love for books, but also keep this as a space to enjoy my everyday adventures and musings. I do love having a mix of everything, as that's very much my personality - all over the place!

Here's to a new year and new and exciting adventures!