Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Favorite Books of 2011

Let me start out this post by saying I have read more this month since I decided to quit "officially" running a book blog then I have since June. I find that a bit ironic.

My goal was to read 100 books this year, and while technically there are a few more days until 2011 ends, I have accomplished reading 34 books. I obviously slacked hardcore as a reader.

Favorite Reads Published in 2011

Favorite Series 

Other Favorites

 Favorite Book Read in 2011 But Doesn't Come Out Until 2012


What was YOUR favorite books this year??

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Goals - How did I do?

At the beginning of the year I made a post about all the things I wanted to do in 2011. (Read it here) The only other time I looked at this list was when I did a 6-month check up. It was kinda funny reading over it now and what I wanted to accomplish and knowing all the things that weren't on this list that I DID accomplish. And I know it's still technically 2011, but I plan on being pretty MIA until next year with Christmas coming up (2 days people!!) and then my nephew (!!) flying in next week! So let's type out my goals and see how well I did!

Write.  I didn't finish a novel, BUT I did write a very crappy rough draft of one in NaNoWriMo. And because of that really crappy rough draft-not-even-finished-draft I have a better view of my story. A better plot line. And the drive to get my dream back. I wouldn't trade that struggle for what I'm feeling now.

Get healthy. Around June of this year I started having some massive stomach problems. So massive in fact that I ended up spending way too much money at the doctor's office, a trip to the ER, and missed class and work because of it. I may not have dropped 50 pounds, but I did loose 15. I started a work out routine, and I like it. But mainly, I learned that even if you are bigger, you can still live a life. You can still love yourself. And I think having a healthy mind frame is equally important.

Try new things. Did it. Got out way more this year. Stopped being such a hermit. Stopped shutting everyone out. Took some risks. Laughed at myself. Go mad at myself. Cooked new foods. Acted like a fool, and have no apologies for it.

Get another tattoo. This didn't happen. Dang it.

Keep up my GPA. I didn't strive as well as I could have, but I still did pretty good. In some ways I'm disappointed in myself, but in other ways, I'm okay with the choices I made.

Go to concerts. I DID THIS! I didn't get to see Seether. I HAD TICKETS TO SEE SEETHER! But they cancelled :( I did go see:

Theory of a Deadman
Stone Sour
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Adelita's Way
Drive A 
Puddle of Mudd
Papa Roach
OH the Fire
Sent By Ravens
Nine Lashes
......and I "kinda" saw Ha Ha Tonka. Didn't get to stay for the show, but I did talk to some of the band members so that "kinda" counts, right?

Dress more girly. I never busted out a skirt, but I did wear cuter clothes. By cuter I mean a non-band shirt.

Don't let it get me. I still have those moments like anyone does. I noticed more than ever the heaviness I feel when I let things weigh me down. When I just don't brush things off. I know how sick I've made myself because I get upset over things I have absolutely no control over. Sometimes I can even stop myself and say: Hey. Wait a minute. Why are you upset? It's not worth it. This situation is not worth it. This person is not worth it. It's a process and I'm okay to work with it.

Enjoy life and be more productive with it! I may not have done a lot of things I wanted to do in 2011, but I think my family and friends can agree one thing I did do in 2011 was get back to me. For the past couple years I've let things drag me down to this deep hole that I thought I never was going to get out of. Depression, in whatever form it comes in, is a dark and scary place that can eat you alive if you let it. 

I'm not letting it anymore. 

I look back at so much time wasted and I regret it. I regret shutting myself out from others. For feeling like I'm starting all over at the age of 26. 

But I'm not regretting things anymore. 

This was my year of growth. My year that I got back to me, got back to the things that matter. What I learned most importantly about life is pretty simple: Faith, Friends, and Family. Life is a sad, sad place with out those three things. Glad I know I have it in mine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sister Road Trip: Day Two Part Two

Remember that time I started doing a series of posts about my road trip back in April/May then I slacked off severely because I kinda forgot about it then I didn't blog for like ever? If you missed it, you can catch up with this:

Day One
The Best Hotel You'll Ever Stay At
Day Two: Part One

All caught up? Good. Here we go!

Soooo after leaving the Music Hall we headed down to the Ryman Audtioriam. The inside of the place was simple but yet beautiful. We sat down in the pews to watch a short movie, and I found it really interesting that the Ryman was first built as a church. The pews we were sitting in were the original ones from all that time ago. After it was turned into an entertainment place, they still respected it as a church so no liquor was or is allowed to be served there. Back in the day when artists did show up to preform they would sneak out the back door, cross the alley, and drink over there before they took stage. There were tons of country music artists in the video talking about the Ryman, and one said something on the lines, "Yeah and even Pasty Cline played here." Which if you watched Country Strong you would know why my sister and I nudged each other with a snicker.

We could roam around freely, which the place wasn't that big, but they had little displays set up that we browsed. Then we went up front to get our picture taken on stage. They encourage people to sing into the microphone and even play the guitars. My sister and I, while we pretty much use music as oxygen, don't have a musical talent in our body. (Very sad if you ask me, you think we may have been blessed but no.) The photographer told me that I was the spitting image of his granddaughter. He just kept shaking his head saying he couldn't believe how much we looked alike. So I guess I have a twin somewhere in Tennessee!

After we left The Ryman, we headed downtown. Because of the marathon race, every single bar, shop, and restaurant was packed full of people. So we didn't get to go inside to a lot of places due to full capacity. We did stop at a Charlie Daniels museum.

Our lunch consisted of Margaritaville and then more shopping until we decided to go back to the hotel to drop off our stuff and get ready for the night for MY BIRTHDAY!!

We had a new shuttle driver on the way downtown and the guy pretty much told us girls to be careful because we could get raped and murdered down there. Yeah, that made us feel real safe.

Wildhorse was a lot of fun! Great live music, FRIED PICKLES, and an amazing drink called: Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy. They also had line dancing lessons, but my sister wouldn't get out there with me and I wasn't drinking enough to go out and do it myself. We hung out there for a good portion of the night then decided to roam around a bit more before we caught the shuttle back to the hotel.

I'm not for sure if it was a full moon or what in Nashville that night, but all the crazies had came out to play. We ventured back down towards The Stage and other bars because I really wanted to hear some more bands, but there were lines everywhere and people getting into fights. They were totally ruining my birthday buzz  so we bypassed a crazy man with balloons then headed back up to the shuttle area where we met 2 girls who were staying at the hotel. They also thought Nashville was full of crazies because one was chased by a woman screaming nasty things at her that I won't repeat.

Our next shuttle driver looked a lot like my brother-in-law's dad, and he was a riot to ride with! We stopped a couple times to pick up people from our hotel then all chatted it up back on the way. By the time midnight rolled around, I announced it was sadly no longer my birthday, and we got back into the hotel where we decided to end our night with the best pizza my mouth as ever encountered.

And that concludes Day Two of the Sister Road Trip. Stay tuned because my goal before this year ends is to finish this post!

Next Up: What Happened on the Way to Memphis and How I Got Drunk in the Jungle Room

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book Talk: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
(Seven Realms Series - Book One)

Release Date: September 2009
Publisher: Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy - Series
Pages: 506
Source: Library
Sites: Amazon | Goodreads

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell. For as long as Han can remember, he’s worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off. 

 While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer catch three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. After a confrontation, Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won't use it against them. Han soon learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. 

Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, Princess Heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of relative freedom with her father’s family at Demonai camp – riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Although Raisa will become eligible for marriage after her sixteenth name-day, she isn't looking forward to trading in her common sense and new skills for etiquette tutors and stuffy parties. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems like her mother has other plans for her--plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.


Since my newest story consists of a lot of fantasy type elements, I thought it was probably a good time to ya a fantasy novel. Now I've read a few of them, but it's never been my go-to genre. And if you're like me then this book is definitely a great place to start your love for it!

What I love so much about the start of this series is how well written it is, and how I really never got confused. Everything is played out so nicely and the world is richly done with so many characters and events intertwining with one another.

Let's start with my favorite character: Han aka Cuffs. THIS BOY y'all! *dies over the computer and swoons* Han is in retrospect a bad boy. He has a very tough exterior, and he used to be the leader of the Raggers. But Han has heart. He has so much love for his younger sister and doesn't want her ending up in that life. So he does what he has to do to help provide for his family, but trouble just seems to follow him wherever he goes. That trouble leads to a very interesting plot along with those cuffs on his wrists.

Then there is Princess Raisa who is about to approach her sixteenth name day (I love that wordage by the way). This princess heir is not your average oh let me put on my dress on and prance around cause I'm a princess type of character. Raisa is smart. She is very curious and she doesn't want to just marry some prince and sit on a throne for the rest of her life. She wants to learn. She wants to travel. She wants to swamp some more spit with  boys. She has no problem speaking her mind or finding out what is really going on in Fells. That's when Han and Raisa come together.

Since I am apparently on a character kick here, I have to mention how much I adored Amon, Raisa's best child-hood friend who has now turned into a hunky solider who is all about protecting Raisa and Fells. He is quite possibly the only one who can talk some sense into this stubborn princess, but doesn't always succeed. Then there is Micah, son of a very powerful wizard. He's hot in that I-know-you're-a-bastard-and-you're- really-gonna-tick-me-off way. And he does succeed nicely into ticking me off, but he is such a great "villain" along with his father I cannot not like them. Other side characters like Dancer, Raisa's father, Willo - there are just so many great side characters that richly add to the process the book starts to take.

What really brings this whole series into a nice start is the world the author has created. There is A LOT going on in this book, and it does start off slow, but it's one of those things where you need all that information. The writing is so vivid and detailed, I couldn't get enough of it. And it has magic folks. Who doesn't enjoy some magic?!

Basically you need to read this book. You'll thank me later.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's a Charlie Brown Christmas?

A few years back I ditched most of my Christmas decorations and/or lost them in a couple moves. So when I moved into my new place back in August, I was all sorts of excited to buy new stuff for Christmas. Then ya know bills happened, and I really wish I didn't ditch/lost most of those decorations. I went cheap this year for my Christmas tree ($20 on the Blitz AND I got it before the sale happened *evil snicker here*), and as my BFFF liked to point out via Facebook when I posted the picture: It's a Charlie Brown Christmas!

Yes. The tree is standing on a box. It's a 5 foot tall one, but I felt weird being taller than the tree. (I am NEVER taller than anything besides small children.)

Oh lookie! I also got some cupcake ornaments! 

*whispers* I am so hitting up the after Christmas sales this year for a bigger tree. I'm just not letting this little guy know about that. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weight Loss Sucks: Let's Kick This Sucka Into Cardio Drive

After months of going to the doctor, an ER visit, and one trip to a specialist who didn't tell me jack squat - I'm FINALLY starting to find some sort of happy medium with DIMB (Demon In Mah Belly) Syndrome. I had to quit a lot of things including: COFFEE (!!!), red meats (this really wasn't too hard though some days I wish I could stop at a drive-thru), chewing gum (yep, you heard me right), and fried foods.

I haven't done the best job of kicking most of these things out completely yet. I do work in a deli so sometimes it's a bit hard not to snack on something fried. Since I've been way more strict on myself, I ended up loosing about 10 pounds in November. Another thing that has helped a lot, besides the handful of natural medicine pills I take every day, drinking a gazillion things of water or hot tea, is working out.

I'm horribly lazy even on my most energetic days so I started The Biggest Loser Cardio Max Weight-Loss DVD just here and there last month. I've stayed on the first basic one that is only supposed to go for 2 weeks. Didn't add in the weights or anything - mainly just weening myself into it. Now? I'm pulling out the big guns, busting out the weights, and doing it full force.

Even on days where I just want to sit on my couch or hit the snooze button, I will be getting up, I will be plugging the ear buds in (because who can stand work out music on these things?!), and moving my butt 5 days a week. It's gonna suck. It's gonna take a lot, but I know in the end getting myself healthy will be worth it not just for all my stomach problems but for my mind set as well.

Welcome first week of doing this sucka right!!

What about you? Do you have any workout systems that you really like? Feel free to tell them to me because at some point after I get through this one, I'll need something new to torture myself with.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Welcome to the merging of Just Your Typical Book Blog

It was almost three years ago on a nice little winter night (it was Janurary so I doubt it was nice & I was more in likely freezing) that I was talking to Cheryl on MSN (because we lived there those days) when the following conversation happened:

Cheryl: I'm going to start a book blog
Moi: Sweet!
Cheryl: Yeah and you're going to help me
Moi: Sweet!

Needless to say, it obviously doesn't take much to convince me of things.

Over the course of almost three years, a lot of awesome things happened. I got to interview authors (!! WHO ARE ROCK STARS IN MY HUMBLE OPINION !!), make new friends, make great blogging buddies (haiii Sab and Erica), participate in great things (whaddup Contemps!), and of course read a lot of GOOD books!! Also in that time Cheryl left the blog, I took many upon many "breaks" from getting what I like to call the "book bloggers blues". Sometimes I felt like having to review books took the fun out of it. Having to write authors telling them I didn't care for their novel was pretty freaking difficult. I dumped way more books than I read them in the past year. I've created memes, I've failed at meme's, but all in all I'm very glad that Cheryl and I started book blogging because I know there would be a lot of books I would have never came across. And a lot of discussions and people I would have never got to "meet".

This year I've really sucked at blogging, both here and at JYTBB. I went in the new year thinking I would stick with it and do all these awesome new things, but school, work, and real life took up A LOT of time. From someone who used to be a huge hermit, it was different but in a very good way. (And I think my friends are happy I am no longer one.) The decision to merge Just Your Typical Book Blog into my this blog had been on my mind for the past few months. And today, I finally decided it's going to happen.

So up above you'll soon be seeing stuff that I used to have on JYTBB. I plan on bringing my Rock This! Thursday meme here too where I interview authors and bloggers about books and music. (Shoot me an email: if you wanna do one!) I also decided for the time being I wouldn't change my Twitter name: @JYTBB or the e-mail address.

You'll be seeing posts about books because I plan on reading a CRAP TON over winter break. And if you were a follower of JYTBB, I hope you'll be one here too, and I hope you enjoy my other posts :) If you're already a follower, I hope you'll enjoy my upcoming Book Talk.