Challenge, News

2017 Challenges: #TBRChallenge #FitReaders

tbrchallenge2017

I will be joining this challenge again this year, probably complete with chastisement posts if I don’t follow through again. I had a lot of fun with it, though I am fairly certain my TBR grew 4 books for every one I managed to pull off it. Ceste la vie?

fitreaders-2017

I am also going to be adding a new challenge this year. I know some of my blagh this past year is from my poor health. Lack of sleep, stress, and probably most relevant has been my weight. In October 2016 I weighed at 196 pounds, I could not get up off the floor by myself. I used to be fit and active and just way more capable. SO I wanted to get back to that, I started out just tracking steps with Google Fit with my phone and went back to MyFitnessPal, moved to a basic pedometer I received for free through a work sponsored weight loss program, and a couple of weeks ago I “invested” in a FitBit Charge 2 that I got myself for Christmas knowing that I take things more seriously when I spend money on them (as I am known for being notoriously cheap). I am also one of those who does better if they put it all out there for people to look at so feel free to “friend” me on either of those services if you are using them too. I have lost 25 pounds, but that isn’t enough since the goal is to be healthier. To that end my reading is being done while walking around (safely in my own home or yard) and I am trying to exercise more. MY mantras are two fold.

  1. Never lay when I can sit, never sit when I can stand, never stand when I can walk.
  2. 16×625=10,000=6.25 minute an hour. Every little bit adds up.

Hence the challenge. I am not sure yet how often I will check in or how I will display my progress, or lack thereof, but display it I will.

december-2016-fitbit

And beyond that, I am just going to try to take a go with the flow and flexible attitude, which isn’t in my nature, but something’s got to give, and I need it to NOT be my body.

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News, Thoughts and Opinions

2016 in Review

We’ll just say that 2016 was not my best year, on so many metrics. It was slumpy, and frumpy, and cranky. So very cranky. And while I may not have read as many books as usual, or what felt like as many really good ones, compared to the average population I would say quite a bit of reading has been done. I read 275 books of which approximately 150 or so were not rereads.

I am going to try to highlight some of my favorites now:

I haven’t and probably won’t end up reviewing these, because the kind of gorging I just did is not conducive to thoughtful reviewing. But I just read the 8 books in Jean Johnson’s connected series Their’s Not to Reason Why and First Salik War. I first plopped book 5 of TNTRW on my TBR in 2014 with a note that I wasn’t going to start the series until the book was completed because I hate to wait, and then somehow I forgot about it. Meanwhile, a prequel trilogy was also completed before I got around to it. I picked of the first in First Salik War late on 12/27/2016 and blazed through both series even WITH family events and happenings by New Years Day 2017. Needless to say I was engrossed, and if this author ever returns to this world, so will I.

Beyond Surrender was a bittersweet end to a much loved series.

One Fell Sweep was my happy place.

Dark Deeds and Dark Minds was another world I could have happily continued to explore, but is now closed.

Archangel’s Heart

Alliance-Another series I am sad to see the end of.

The Undoing-Good quirky fun and I really need some more.

Magic Binds-the authorlords hit it out of the park as far as I am concerned.

And Warrior Wench, which is the only one that isn’t a five that I am throwing on this list, but it was just such a surprise for me that I had to include with the admonishment to gauge it by neither cover nor title.

I am not going any further, I am not speculating about the coming year, I am just going to make small goals and try to achieve them without stress.

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News, Thoughts and Opinions

September TBR Challenge 2016 –

TBR Challenge 2016

Topic: Random Pick (a built-in off-theme month – go where your mood takes you!)

If you are reading this, this is my public shaming that I did not follow through on my TBR Challenge 2016.

The mood in all honesty took me no where. I am completely floundering this semester. Readers may have noticed from my blog blurb that I am an audiologist. What you might not know is that I am an audiologist who works at a University and am on the Graduate Faculty. Traditionally I have seen patients, managed scheduling, coding, contracting and billing, as well as supervising students in clinical service provision, and teaching labs. This year due to a retirement, my teaching load has increased significantly, as well as increased research…on top of my traditional duties/ On the positive my students say I am doing well and they seem to be enjoying my class despite the fact it is extremely intense, and 3 publications I am involved with are going through the reviewing process. Should i get published I might just share it on this blog. On the negative, I can’t remember when I was last so exhausted (happily so, but still), and this is all on top of personal health issues, family health issues, and just innumerable other things. Anyway, I am doing quite a bit of rereading. And like I have told my students in the past, eventually you will get used to your new schedule….I just hope I haven’t been lying to them all those years.

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2 Year Blogiversary

Dang, two years already? Where has the time all gone? I think…or at least hope my writing has become better and more interesting. I have gotten into ARC reviewing, I have moved from Blogger over to WordPress (a decision I have not regretted), I’ve communicated with people like I never would have in real life, and I have read books, so many wonderful books! And people actually read what I have to say, which is probably the most amazing thing in the world when you think about it. Here is a list of all the countries who visited by blog in 2015:

United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, France, Ireland, Norway, India, Malaysia, Russia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Czech Republic, Spain, Singapore, Israel, Poland, Italy, South Africa, Mexico, Nepal, Macedonia, Hong Kong SAR China, Finland, Hungary, Portugal, Indonesia, Argentina, Cyprus, Switzerland, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, Austria, Belgium, Serbia, Slovakia, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Greece, Brazil, Venezuela, Honduras, Lithuania, Denmark, El Salvador, Romania, European Union, Mozambique, Turkey, Jamaica, Thailand, Ethiopia, Croatia, China, Isle of Man, Bangladesh, Colombia, Guam, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Pakistan, Jersey, Belarus, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia & Herzegovina, U.S. Virgin Islands, South Korea

Crazy right? Who could have imagined that one day it would be so easy to touch every corner of the world? And some of you even came back again 😉

And here are some of my more popular posts since I have moved over here:

Review – Dark Horse by Michelle Diener

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

When reading history, it should be accurate to be worthwhile. Or why Texas has stepped into a steaming pile of stupid.

Review – Linesman by S. K. Dunstall

Review: The Guardians (books 1-5) by Lola St. Vil

Review – Witch, Cat, and Cobb by J.K. Pendragon

Review – Here Be Magic: 8 Magical Tales From The Realm of Paranormal and Fantasy

3 Day Quote Challenge –Day Two

OpenLibrary Review – Julie Garwood’s Crown’s Spies

 

 

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New and more comprehensive ways to make room in the book budget.

No, this post isn’t exactly about books. But, making room in a budget is somewhat crucial to the process for most of us. So, I have been experimenting.

For one thing, I have been using the heck out of my library cards. And being able to get a card for the Houston Public Library (which any Texas resident can get for free) gave me access to a rather large digital catalog. Plus, checking out library books at midnight while wearing no pants has always been a dream of mine.

I’ve also found a way to rack up $5.00 Amazon giftcards pretty quickly with Bing Rewards. Pro-tip: hold off redeeming until you have Gold Status. I’ve made about $30 in the past 5 months, and frankly I am kind of lazy with it.

Another way I’ve managed is by saving or making money on the things I have to do anyway, most notably grocery shopping. There are so many options out there.

Here are the apps I use:

Ibotta

This seems to be the most successful app for people. You unlock offers by performing small tasks, then when you shop at specified stores you scan the items you purchased and then take a picture of your receipt to upload. When they have verified the items they credit your account. When you have reached at least $10.00 in rebates, you can cash out for things like Amazon gift cards. What sets this program apart from the others is the $2.00 referral bonus you can get when someone signs up with your code and redeems their first rebate (full disclosure that link up there puts me as your referrer, but you can just ask a family member or friend for their referral link if you really wanted), and the team activities. Basically your team is made up of everyone who signed up with your referral code, and all your Facebook friends. And each month there are team activity bonuses that make you extra money. The easiest way to do this is to have a lot of friends who are active using Ibotta, and there are a ton of people out there who are thrilled to be Facebook friends with someone else who is active. Check for Ibotta Facebook groups and the like for people to friend request. Pro-tip: If they are only Ibotta friends, make a Facebook list for Ibotta friends, and then add these people to your Ibotta List, Restricted, and then unfollow them. It keeps your Facebook account uncluttered.

Checkout51

Checkout51 is similar to Ibotta, except there are no referral bonuses or teams, and they don’t have as many items, but they do usually have produce and they don’t require specific stores.

Snap

Snap is Groupon’s version of the previous two apps. It has small selections, and the rebates don’t just expire, they can be used up, so you need to be fast. But it frequently duplicates Checkout51’s items, and there is not specific store requirement. There is also a referral bonus, but it is only $1.00. (Full disclosure-that link is for my referral code)

Receiptpal

This app you just scan receipts, basically any receipt though it works better with shorter ones. Earning are much slower to accrue, but it does make a handy space to keep copies of your receipts. And, you can cash out for an Amazon gift card.

Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

This app only works if you shop at Wal-Mart. basically, instead of you bringing in adds for them to price match, you scan your receipt and then they check for you and credit your account. Results are kind of mixed with this, but if you are shopping at Wal-mart, there is absolutely no reason not to do this. Plus the app lets you look at prices for things, so it is handy when you are shopping at other stores.

And the really nice thing, is you can use the same receipt for all of these programs. Of course this only works if you are only using them for things you would have bought anyway, OR if you get them ridiculously cheap, or free, or even make money on them. And this is edging into extreme couponing territory, but there are plenty of places besides the circulars and Sunday newspaper where you can get coupons.

Coupons.com

RedPlum

Common Kindness

Krazy Coupon Lady

And check your local stores, because some of them have coupons to print or other offers. I frequently shop at HEB which has an email you can sign up for that sends you great coupons like for produce and meats, and they have manufacturer’s coupons you can print. HEB also has in store coupons that are frequently amazing, but since it isn’t a national store I didn’t want to spend too much time on it.

So this is just what I do. Anyone else out there doing anything different? Do you have any suggestions?

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Most Anticipated Books of 2016

SONY DSC

Borrowed from:

http://www.jskesliencharles.com/2014/01/happy-new-year-2/

Now that I’ve looked back at how my most anticipated stacked up to reality and what my favorite books overall for 2015 were, it is time to speculate about this year. So, without further ado, here’s the list of books I am most looking forward to in 2016.

These are in order from latest in the year releases to earliest.

Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4) by Jeanienne Frost

Where the Wild Things Bite (Half-Moon Hollow, #5) by Molly Harper

Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, #2) by Gail Carriger

Troublemaker by Linda Howard (this is nostalgic)

Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15) by Nalini Singh

Night Shift(Midnight, Texas, #3) by Charlaine Harris

Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

White Tiger (Shifters Unbound #8) by Jennifer Ashley

The Undoing (Call of Crows, #2) by Shelly Laurenston

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9) by Patricia Briggs

Alliance: A Linesman Novel by S.K. Dunstall

Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb

These are established but do not have publication dates yet.

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9) by Ilona Andrews

Wired (Buchanan-Renard, #13) by Julie Garwood (This one may or may not be coming out, and is another nostalgic author)

Untitled (Guild Hunter #9) by Nalini Singh

Undead and Untitled(Undead, #15) by Maryjanice Davidson (This is the series finale)

Rainshadow#5/Harmony#13 by Jayne Castle (DUST BUNNIES!!!)

I am sure that there are others that belong on this list that just haven’t been announced. But this is what I’ve got so far. And always there will be suprises. Plus, I’m jumping on a TBR Challenge that should be fun, so there’s plenty to be excited for this year.

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