Challenge, Thoughts and Opinions

#FitReaders – Weekly Check-in January 6, 2017

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I can not quite figure out what day I want to check in, but I suspect it will be on Saturdays some time. I feel pretty good about how active I have been. Sleep is of course an ongoing issue, but getting up off my butt is feeling more natural. I even increased my daily goal from 10,000 to 15,000 steps per day. I am nerving myself up to actually DO the virtual 5K, I am certainly doing way more than that a day spread out, but somehow the idea of it is a little terrifying when put into one event.

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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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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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Thoughts and Opinions

Comfort Reading, what’s yours?

I haven’t been posting much, because I haven’t been reading as much. Add to that the crazy sauce that is current politics and the yee-hawdists out in Oregon, and my limited attention span has been divided. And even what I have been reading hasn’t been new stuff. I have been sick, and then getting better from being sick, and dragging myself through days where even bathing seems a horrible exhausting experience. So naturally, I have been re-reading. I think I think the first sign I was in a re-reading rut was when I picked up the Harry potter series at the end of December. Here’s what I have read or re-read since the end of December:

And if this blah feeling remains I will probably go back to old school Amanda Quick or Julie Garwood, because those are very much comfort reads for me and are usually what I go to. Though I may be leaning to pick some Ilona Andrews up instead. I wonder what it says about me that this time I’ve gone for fantasy.

So what do you guys read or re-read for comfort? Or do you switch to something besides reading?

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Thoughts and Opinions

3 Day Quote Challenge –Day Three

Closet Library

So this is day three of the three day quote challenge (can I say how glad I am to get this out of the way, so stressful), which I was nominated for by Wendy Vickers Black. Her blog is absolutely hilarious and heartfelt, you’ve simply got to check it out, it is one of my favorites. And probably this is another surprising quote, because when it comes to quotes in books, they don’t always stand alone, it is all the context and the emotions in the book that really give it meaning.

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Publish a quotes on 3 consecutive days on your blog.  The quote can be one of your own, from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
  • Nominate 3 more bloggers each day to carry on this endeavor.

My quote for day one:

“I awoke in the closet again… I reached over and touched the closet wall to remind myself the dream was over. The sleek paint felt cold to my fingers. Since I made such frequent visits here, maybe I should just move in. Install a toilet, a sink, build myself a nest…heh.”  Ilona Andrews, Gunmetal Magic

I love this book, I love this series, and I love this quote. So fun facts about this book, it features a heroine who isn’t the central one of the series, and I love when authors manage to get me to care about more than just the main hero and heroine in a series. And of course it is well known that I adore this series. But what really gets me on this particular quote is that this is a strong female character. She is a badass, a tough shifter who is an expert marksman and takes no guff off anyone. And she still winds up hiding in the closet sometimes, but better yet, it doesn’t detract from her kickass personality at all. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I need characters like that.

My nominees for day two:

  • Willfull at A Willfull Woman… Who has wonderful taste in books and is one of the most ethical readers I know.
  • Books Are My Reality Who has a quirky sense of fun and no shame (rightfully so) about anything she likes to read.
  • And Monica over at Coffee and Bookaholics who posts interesting things as well as gorgeous pictures on top of her lovely book reviews.

Be sure to check them out, they are all blogs worth devoting some time to.

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