Sunday, October 19, 2014

Readathon: End of Event Meme

This 24hrs went by so quickly! I ended up going to sleep around 12am, but was back up at 5:30 when E decided to wake up for the day. Typically, Sunday is my day to sleep in (meaning 7:30), but today the husband got a 2nd day of extra rest, so I could finish up a book!

I had a lot of fun, knocked a bunch of books off my TBR, and had a great time connecting with new bloggers around the world. This readathon is unlike anything else I participate in and I'm definitely going to make it a priority from now on. Thanks to all the hosts and cheerleaders and organizers -- you guys are fantastic!

End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Around 11pm I began to really lose interest in my book. I just didn't want to look at pages anymore, so I slowly read a few more pages while watching an episode of Call the Midwife before crashing.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Both Boxers and Saints were quick, graphic novel reads that kept me turning pages quickly.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Nope, you guys are great! 

4. What do you think worked really well in this year's Read-a-thon?

I haven't participated for a few years, so this might not be new, but it seemed like the variety of mini-challenges was great. I didn't participate in a lot of them, just because I preferred sticking with my book, but they were fun!

5. How many books did you read?

5.5, plus some audio. 

6. What were the names of the books you read?

Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
Saints by Gene Luen Yang
Brave Mom by Sherry Surratt
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Small Victories by Anne Lamott
2nd half of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

7. Which did you enjoy least?

The Infinite Sea. The beginning was great, the middle and end totally lost me. 

8. How likely are you to participate again?

I absolutely will, as a Reader. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Readathon: Mid-Event Survey

Well, I've made it to the halfway mark! It's just about time for the little guy to go to bed, so I'll have to take a break here soon to tend to my bedtime duties, but otherwise, I'm going strong. I plan to read as long as I can tonight - probably 11-ish - and then get back up early tomorrow and finish up. I'm so glad I've checked all these books off my list!

From the main Read-A-Thon site:

1. What are you reading right now?

I'm about 1/4 into Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer and totally hooked. Glad I waited until this point to pick it up.

2. How many books have you read so far?

Belzhar will be my 5th. I've had a great mix of graphic novels and short non-fiction to keep me going, but the novels will definitely take me longer.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-Thon?

Saints by Gene Luen Yang. Loved Boxers, so Saints will be next!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

My husband was kind enough to take charge of our son for the day and planned lots of fun adventures out of the house. They did come back for nap time and now bedtime, and E insists I do those, so I've just taken short breaks. It's refreshing to look up from the pages for awhile anyway.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-Thon, so far?

I'm surprised with how many books I've gone through. I've always been a fast reader, but in recent months I seem to have slowed way down. Guess staring at pages all day long has helped me speed back up!

Readathon: Update #1

Well, it's about 7.5 hours in and I'm loving this. It's such a great feeling to be back, enjoying this awesome readathon event with all of you!

I started with (and finished) Boxers by Gene Luen Yang and read the rest of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. Started and just finished Small Victories by Anne Lamott.  I've also been listening to Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells while reading blogs and scrolling through Twitter.

My husband had the child out for the morning -- guy date! -- but, quickly ran back home with a "readathon porch delivery" for me. Flowers from the farmers market and more coffee. The man knows the way to my heart. Let me read all day and deliver me coffee?? He's a keeper. They're heading back out soon for more fun, while I keep it parked here!

I did get outside for some exercise and audiobook listening. Walked to my library to pick up another graphic novel and when my book didn't want to cooperate, I listened to the awesome Read Aloud Revival podcast. I love that one and highly recommend checking it out!


Totals

Pages read: 814
Books finished: 3
Time spent reading/listening: 6 hours 35 minutes




Readathon: Starting Line





It's here! It's here! As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I haven't done a readathon in just about 3 years, so this one is a big deal for me. Having a husband willing to take total control of our toddler is awesome and I'm looking forward to a full day of reading and connecting with all of you. Ya'll are my people. :)

Coffee is brewed, book pile is stacked (and ebooks ready), and snacks are in the fridge! The opening meme was just posted and my answers are below. I'll do a few updates throughout the day. Happy reading, friends!






What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I'm reading from Northern Virginia, just about 20 miles outside D.C. It's going to be a beautiful October day, so I'm sure I'll spend some time with my books on our back porch!

Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Probably Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer. I've heard so many great things about it and I finally got my hands on a copy. I'll probably wait until I'm getting tired to start it and hope it wakes me up.

Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Eek. I don't have any interesting snacks this time around. I used to go all out with my readathon snack stash, but I'm happy enough to just be reading this year. I'm sure I'll have some popcorn at some point in the day, so I'll go with that one.

Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm a self-proclaimed coffee addict, wife to an occasional reader, mom to a super-reader, and loved by an 8-year-old pit bull who will spend most of the day at my feet. She doesn't read, but she's a great cuddler. ;)

If you participated in the last readathon, what's one thing you'll do differently today?

It's been a few years, but I'm sticking with my past rules of taking lots of breaks to connect via Twitter and all of your blogs. That's part of the fun of this day! Can't wait to meet some new bloggers!

Friday, October 17, 2014

24 Hour Readathon and what we're reading lately

Up until Elliott was born, I always participated in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon events with all my blogger friends. Once he arrived, my free time obviously took a drastic nosedive and I just couldn't give up even a few hours during the day to just read -- no laundry, no cooking, no cleaning, no playing, etc. It just didn't happen. Well, E will be 3 next month and I've decided it's time for me to once again join the masses who participate in this awesome event. Tomorrow, starting at 8am (EST), I'll be reading all.day.long. My awesome husband has graciously told me he'll have a "man day" with our little guy and I won't have any responsibilities other than finishing my pile of books. If you're participating, let me know!

My blogging has definitely been put on the back burner lately, so my reviews have been nonexistent. We're reading, just not talking enough about the books! Below are a few we've been loving lately. 



Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

Wilson is one of our favorite authors and this is probably my favorite from the Bear series. The illustrations are fabulous and the color theme is great for the stage of learning we're in. The rhymes are always spot-on in these books and this one is no exception. 

Is There a Dog in this Book? by Viviane Schwartz 

I have never witnessed my child laugh at a book quite as hard as he laughs at this one. He finds hilarity in the cats being afraid of the cute little dog in the first few pages and is always excited to help "find" the dog in the last few pages, despite how many times we've read it. We've yet to check out the first two in the series, but they'll be added to our library list, for sure. 






Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

I read the entire Uglies series years ago and loved them, but this book was even better! It was suspenseful and had me totally sucked in from the first few pages. I loved the alternating chapters and the book-within-a-book concept. 

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

I should have known by the 2 authors that I would love this one. Though the concept isn't necessarily new (boy finds out he has a magical background, not sure he wants it), the writing is great and the plot thrilling. The characters were realistic and the setting well-described. Younger Percy Jackson fans will love it! 

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski

The author takes a whole new look at what it means to be a Christian, refreshing himself and me, as his reader. It's one thing to talk about all the goodness God brings us, but a whole other to actually experience that goodness. I was fascinated by the journey Yankoski took and was left thinking about my own spiritual life in a whole new light. 

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer

I have a feeling this is going to my "it" book of the year. I loved every single minute of my experience with this story and cannot stop recommending it. It will completely wrench your heart, but it's so beautifully done, you can't help but love it. The characters could be anyone you know -- they could be YOU -- which makes the relationships feel all the more real. Definitely check this one out. 

I do tend to talk a lot about our current reads via Twitter, so if you're looking for more frequent book talk, start there. 


Friday, September 12, 2014

The night before.




I started running 2 years ago and chronicled my journey here. How excited I was to be able to run 3 miles without stopping, the struggles I had, and the pounds I lost. However, my true love of running didn't show up until just about a year ago when it also became my form of cheap therapy. All of my insecurities and stresses poured out of me while I was running and so I just ran. A lot.  

I felt so much better when I was moving, but I don't think I ever truly let go of those things that were powering my legs to go. I just used them as fuel. Every day stresses, major insecurities, hurts, family drama, work stress, etc. I'd run and get out the frustration and anger, but it would always show back up, worming its way into my optimistic nature and positive attitude and leaving me mentally tired. 

This training has been amazing. Hard -- brutal some days -- but so worth it. I'm in better shape than I've ever been and most of all, I'm proud of myself. I haven't felt that way in a very long time and I know I deserve it. I've worked so hard and have fought against asthma, humidity, heat, time constraints, and my own brain telling me I'm not good enough, but I am. I am good enough for this. 

Tomorrow, when I reach that finish line (and I WILL reach the finish line) in all of my hot pink glory, I'm finally letting it go. I'm leaving it all out there on that course. It's going to be one of the hardest things I've ever physically done, but one of my very best friends, an ultra-marathoner, sent me a text today that said "when your legs and body get tired, run with your heart. Run with your spirit. You know why you're running, so just do it." And that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to run. And I'm going to run for me. 




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo


Nearing thirty and trying to avoid the inescapable fact that they have failed to live up to everyone’s expectations and their own aspirations, cousins and childhood best friends Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel seek respite in an oddly-shaped, three-story house that sits on a bluff sixty feet above the Mississippi.


As they work to restore the almost condemned house, each woman faces uncomfortable truths about their own failings. Lizzie seeks answers to a long-held family secret about her father in her grandmother’s jumble of mementos and the home’s hidden spaces. Elyse’s obsession with an old flame leads her to a harrowing mistake that threatens to destroy her sister’s wedding, and Isobel’s quest for celebrity tempts her to betray confidences in ways that would irreparably damage her two cousins.

Told in three parts from the perspective of each of the women, this sharply observed account of the restoration of a house built out of spite, but filled with memories of love is also an account of friendship and how relying on each other’s insights and strengths provides the women a way to get what they need instead of what they want. (description from publisher)

Check out the rest of the tour here

You can also head to Santo's website Facebook page or Twitter

I loved The Roots of the Olive Tree and can't wait to read this one! I was thrilled to be part of this tour, but just couldn't get the book finished in time. If this one is just as good as her first, you'll enjoy it for sure.