NaNoWriMo 2013 Kickoff!


Image from NaNoWriMo.org

It’s 9:00p.m., November 1st, and so far I have 0 words for NaNoWriMo. Sounds about right!

2013 marks my third or fourth attempt at NaNo. I haven’t won yet, but one of these years I will. This year I have quite a few fanfic projects I want to finish, as well as some original ideas that have been kicking at my brain for months.

I’m going to try to go back to weekly writing/blog/life updates, because I’ve missed doing them, and it’s fun to look back and see what I was doing/obsessed with.

So! Any other bloggers participating in NaNo? I’m always looking for writing buddies. Leave a comment :D

Armchair BEA 2013: Day 5: Wrap-Up

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Armchair BEA is an online event for those of us who can’t make it to BEA. I participated last year, and I’m excited to do so again!

Day 5: Wrap-Up

armchairday2 I’m sad to see another Armchair BEA come and go! It’s not really over for me yet, though, because I plan to spend the next week going through the post linkys and visiting more blogs. I didn’t get to as many last week as I would have liked, so I shall correct that. :D I don’t know why, but I almost always end up taking computer breaks when there are big blogging events going on!

I think my favorite part about Armchair BEA was remembering that I wanted to do some general posts on the blog! I had a Google Doc of ideas, but it got pushed down by all the reviews I’ve been writing so I forgot about it. Some of the topics include fanfiction, what I’d like to see more of in YA, great older books that get forgotten in the excitement of new series, and so on. Anything else you’d like to see me ramble on about?

If you’ve missed any, here’s a round-up of all my posts for Armchair BEA:
· Day 1: Introduction
· Day 2: Blogger Development & Genre Fiction
· Day 3: Ethics & Non-Fiction
· Day 4: Keeping It Real and YA

– leeanna

Armchair BEA 2013: Day 4: Keeping It Real & YA

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Armchair BEA is an online event for those of us who can’t make it to BEA. I participated last year, and I’m excited to do so again!

Day 4: Keeping It Real

“Keeping it real” is something I struggle with. Even after a year of seriously blogging, I don’t think I’ve figured it out. I’ve done reasonably well with keeping my blog updated (at least 2-3 reviews a week), but the one area I’ve failed in is being more social. I keep saying it’s a goal of mine, but I open my Twitter app … and have no idea what to say. LOL. I’ve tried to actually use my blog’s FB page more this month, posting pictures and some random status updates, but I know I need to do more. Social media guru in the making here … I just need to find time and a method that works for me.

I think socialness (is that a word?) is something that keeps readers coming back to blogs. What else do you guys as readers like to see?


Day 4: Children’s/Young Adult Literature

Why do I read YA? Because it’s FUN! I like how genres mix, how the books are fast-paced, the characters kick-butt, and the stories insanely creative. Also, when I was at the “appropriate age” for YA, the books just weren’t there. I was reading Stephen King when I was 10, maybe, because I’d read all the kiddie books.

That said, I do have some favorites from when I was a kid. The Little House on the Prairie series was my first boxed set ever, and I still have it. The spines have been nicely repaired with tape, over and over. I still read them every couple of years.

I read and liked Animorphs (K.A. Applegate), and wish I still had my copies. Spooksville was another series (Christopher Pike) that I wish I still had, but sadly they’re out of print. I think the witch in those books was one of the first bad characters I really liked.

– leeanna

Armchair BEA 2013: Day 3: Ethics & Non-Fiction

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Armchair BEA is an online event for those of us who can’t make it to BEA. I participated last year, and I’m excited to do so again!

Day 3: Ethics

I’m going to discuss ethics differently than I think other bloggers will. While I would be crushed if anyone tried to plagiarize me, I haven’t had that happen. I know other bloggers have, and I’m sure they can discuss that with much more expertise and experience than I can.

What I want to talk about is personal ethics. Making sure you use your blog the way you want to. It can be really easy to get swept up in the ease of cover reveals, promo posts, book blasts, memes, etc. They’re easy to put up. Definitely a lot easier than reading a book, writing a review, proofing the review, and getting the review post ready. Now, I’m not saying that’s wrong. If that’s what you want to put on your blog, great! But I think it’s important to consider your blog, and what you want to do with it. Don’t let it just become an advertising platform.

Personally, I don’t do things for books that I don’t like, aren’t the type I read, etc. I see my blog as a reflection of me, and I only want content up here that I would want to see. In a year or two when I’ve forgotten what I’ve written ;) I don’t see negative reviews as an aspect of that — I believe it’s important to post about why a certain book didn’t work for me, to give my honest opinion without bashing the book.

TL;DR version: think about what you post on your blog. Don’t feel like you HAVE to have a post every single day just to have one.


Day 3: Non-Fiction

I don’t mention it a lot on my blog, but I do read my share of non-fiction. I just find it a lot harder to review than fiction, so I don’t have as many posts about it. I have a B.A. in History, so I’ve actually studied it a fair amount, and have my favorite historical periods. A random sampling, if you’re curious: Tudor England, Ancient Egypt, Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, Russia under Catherine the Great, Argentina under the Perons, the European side of World War II. Yup. I’m all over the place.

I typically read biographies, autobiographies, or history books about things that interest me. A lot of the time after reading a historical fiction novel, it piques my interest in that person or period, and I seek out non-fiction books so I can learn more.

I’ve already mentioned it once during Armchair BEA 2013, but I think a great non-fiction book for a new-to-the-genre reader is MY LIFE IN FRANCE by Julia Child. It’s her autobiography, chock full of her voice, and it’s so damn interesting. I’ve read it countless times over the years; it’s one of those books I can open to any page and know exactly where I am.

– leeanna

Armchair BEA 2013: Day 2: Blogger Development & Genre Fiction

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Armchair BEA is an online event for those of us who can’t make it to BEA. I participated last year, and I’m excited to do so again! I really do plan to spend some time surfing other book blogs this time, unlike when I ran out of time during Bout of Books 7.0.

Day 2: Blogger Development

I actually have a longer post in mind for blogging, as I’ve been thinking about how I like to start blogs as a way to learn about something or keep myself interested in a topic. So far, only my book blog has gotten love and development, and as I spend the majority of my time working on it, I don’t have time to branch out into other areas I’d like to blog on, such as fitness and finance. Book blogging is a lot of work — and I’m prone to slacking every so often because I let myself get overwhelmed by scheduling too much stuff. Or I get a week of posts ready and scheduled, and then don’t cruise around the blogosphere to see what everyone else is up to.

That said, I do think my blog is a good reflection of me, and I would like to expand on that eventually. I don’t want to advertise or such on this particular blog, but maybe on others in the future. I still have lots to learn. I made learning more about SEO one of my goals for this year, but other than installing a WordPress addon, I haven’t gotten any further. I’d also like to get better about networking with other bloggers, but I always let this fall by the wayside because I’m behind in writing reviews or haven’t looked at Twitter in a week.

I would like to develop more relationships with publishers and authors, but I’m a wee bit nervous about doing so. I don’t really have a big following for my blog, so I feel like they wouldn’t be interested in me. That said, those I have worked with, such as Angry Robot, Joseph D’Lacey, and Deanna Chase, have been awesome. (Just picking a few off the top of my head — I don’t mean to leave anyone out!) I just need to get some more courage, because there are tons of authors I’d like to interview or have guest post on the blog.


Day 2: Genre Fiction

Genre fiction is about all I read. I just can’t get in to literary fiction, though I have read some of the more popular titles and enjoyed them. Most of the time, I’m reading to escape, or just to have a few good hours of enjoyment, and for me, I don’t want to read about middle-aged wives whose husbands leave them, or whose kids get kidnapped, etc. I know I’m really generalizing, and I don’t mean to knock people who do like literary fiction. It just isn’t for me.

Fantasy was my first love. I think I devoured every Xanth book (series by Piers Anthony) that I could get my hands on, quickly followed by Mercedes Lackey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and so on. A lot of my early years blur together, and though I kept lists of books read, they’ve been lost over the years. :(

Fantasy favorites:
THE FIRE ROSE by Mercedes Lackey
♥ the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey
♥ the Kingslayer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
♥ the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley
LIBRIOMANCER by Jim C. Hines
♥ the Star Wars Expanded Universe by various authors
♥ the Forgotten Realms series by various authors

Paranormal and urban fantasy came next. Some of my more recent favorites are:
♥ the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
♥ the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs
♥ the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost

Young adult, doh. YA is primarily what I read these days. It’s so much fun, and I like seeing vampires in boarding schools, faeries hiding in modern day, etc. I like the mixing of genres that occurs in YA, as well as the sheer creativity of what I read.

Recent and random favorites:
ASH by Malinda Lo
HUNTRESS by Malinda Lo
♥ the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
♥ the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
CINDER by Marissa Meyer
SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo
THE DARK WIFE by Sarah Diemer
INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows
ASUNDER by Jodi Meadows
BUNHEADS by Sophie Flack

So, a random sprinkling of favorites there. I also read historical fiction (primarily Tudor era, Egyptian, and French Revolution), some biographies/autobiographies, and anything else that catches my eye.

– leeanna

Armchair BEA 2013: Day 1: Introductions

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Armchair BEA is an online event for those of us who can’t make it to BEA. I participated last year, and I’m excited to do so again! I really do plan to spend some time surfing other book blogs this time, unlike when I ran out of time during Bout of Books 7.0.

Day 1: Introduction

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I have been blogging for over a year. More like two and some change if you count my first attempt at book blogging. As for who I am, well, that’s pretty obvious. My name is Leeanna. I’m in my twenties and live in the boring state of Ohio, which probably contributes to why I read so much. There’s just not much else to do! I have gotten back into playing World of Warcraft — any fellow players? — and have made the awesome discovery that I can read ebooks while I fish.

I got into blogging for a few reasons. One, I missed dabbling with websites. I started out with HTML back when Geocities was alive and kicking. Two, I wanted somewhere to talk about the books I read. Three, I missed having an online presence. Four, I wanted to communicate with others who had the same interests. And, five, I like getting to read books before they’re published!

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

farming I farm. I really do. I am ready for the zombie apocalypse! I figure zombies run slowly enough that I can just mow over them with the tractor and whatever I currently have on the back will rip them to pieces.

Also, farming is really boring. Just like me :D

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

This is an odd question for me to pick, since I have no culinary inclination, but I have a minor obession with Julia Child’s MY LIFE IN FRANCE. So maybe if she could cook me something that’s not too scary. No aspic for me!

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

Hogwarts. I’m sure that’s a shocker. Actually, I wouldn’t mind visiting Azeroth, which is sort of literary because there are World of Warcraft books. Anyways. Hogwarts. For sure. I love magical boarding schools as a setting, and Hogwarts is the best of the best.

Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?

I talk a lot about writing on my blog, because I want to publish my own book(s). For me, I got back into writing (long story) because of Harry Potter and fanfiction. Fanfiction is something that’s really important to me, and I think it gets a bad rap. I’ve even written college papers on the importance of fanfic! I keep meaning to write more about it on my blog, but so far I’ve only written one post: Zen and the Art of Fandom.

– leeanna

Bout of Books 7.0

boutofbooks7

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Alrighty! It’s been a while since I’ve done a readathon, so I’m again participating in Bout of Books.

I’ll update with my goals tomorrow, as I haven’t yet figured out what they’ll be. Lots of reading and writing reviews, of course! I want to visit other participants as well, and maybe find some new blogging buddies. Tonight I plan to have one long night of Warcraft, and then I’ll devote the upcoming week to reading and getting ahead.

Goals:
REVIEWS:
Review AMITY & SORROW by Pegy Riley
Review THE BOLEYN KING by Laura Andersen
Review VICTORIA REBELS by Carolyn Meyer
Review ALPHA GIRL by Kate Bloomfield
Review THE END GAMES by T. Michael Martin
Review ROSES HAVE THORNS by Sandra Byrd

FINISH AND FINISH REVIEW:
Finish/review DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS by Staci Hart
Finish/review SUBMERGED by Nicole Sobon
Finish/review TWISTED SUMMER by Lucy V. Morgan
Finish/review COMES THE NIGHT by Norah Wilson and Heather Doherty
Finish/review THE BORGIAS: THE HIDDEN HISTORY by G. J. Meyer

READ AND REVIEW:
Read/review THE PROGRAM by Suzanne Young
Read/review PULSE by Patrick Carman
Read/review DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers
Read/review DON’T TURN AROUND by Michelle Gagnon
Read/review CRYSTAL BONES by C. Aubrey Hall
Read/review INSIGNIA by S. J. KINCAID

As you can see, I have a LOT of reviews I need to write. I doubt I’ll get to all of them, but having yet another list is a good reminder that I need to get better about taking notes as I read! I’ve been trying to do this, because it helps, but sometimes I get through a book way too quickly or I’m too into it to take notes.

I’m also trying to give myself some variety with the books I need to read next, so we’ll see what I actually pick up to read.

Lastly, I want to get around to some of the other participating blogs and maybe make some new blogging friends. I’m also going to attempt to be more active on Twitter while reading. We’ll see!

Progress:
MAY 13:
Finished review for DEER IN HEADLIGHTS
Finished post for SUBMERGED
Read half of PULSE

MAY 14:

MAY 15:

MAY 16:

MAY 17:

MAY 18:

MAY 19:

– leeanna

Wicked Valentine’s Read-A-Thon

At the last minute I decided to sign up for the Wicked Valentine’s Read-A-Thon, mainly because I want to get a lot of reading done, and I think the bat on the banner is cute! I like bats just as much as I like owls.

The readathon runs from February 7 to February 14, and I’m going to put all updates in this post. I will probably spam Twitter and Instagram with updates too, so follow/interact with me there — links are on the sidebar.

Goals:
01: Finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
02: Read Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
03: Read Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
04: Read Blood’s Pride by Evie Manieri
05 Read The Holders by Julianna Scott
06: Review Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
07: Review Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
08: Review Blood’s Pride by Evie Manieri
09 Review The Holders by Julianna Scott
10 Review Incarnation by Emma Cornwall
11: Review Lady at the O.K. Corral by Ann Kirschner
12: Review City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
13: Review Trickster by Jeff Somers

As you can see, my main goal is going to be reviewing all the books … I hate getting behind in reviews. I might also start a reread of something fun, either Percy Jackson or World of Warcraft.

Updates:
February 7: I read to page 351 of Shadow on the Crown.

February 8: I finished Shadow on the Crown sometime in the early morning. Because I have quite a few reviews to write, I’ve picked up World of Warcraft: The Well of Eternity for a fun read. I even got a couple hundred words in last night, writing-wise. So far I’m having a good run … and I probably just jinxed myself.

February 9: Sick.

February 10: Sick.

February 11: Sick.

February 12: Sick.

February 13: Ugh! It seems to be my luck that I always have SOMETHING interfere when I try to do a readathon. I’ve been suffering from a weird cold for the past few days, which has put a huge damper on my reading/computer time. I spent most of the time flat on my back, a heated beanbag or pillow over my eyes, because I had such a bad headache. After a few days away, I feel oddly disconnected from the blogosphere. Fortunately now I’m almost back to normal, and I did get in a little reading time. With real books. How old fashioned :D

Here’s what I’ve read:
World of Warcraft: The Well of Eternity, War of the Ancients 1 by Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: The Demon Soul, War of the Ancients 2 by Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: The Sundering, War of the Ancients 3 by Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden

I’m in the middle of The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle and Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black. I had hoped to have a review up for Dance of Shadows yesterday, but got sidetracked with being sick. Both of these were actually started earlier in the week, and I anticipate finishing them before much longer.

I’ve been rereading the WoW books for fun, and I have to say that I’m sort of missing my days playing World of Warcraft. Uhoh.

February 14: The last day. Sadness. I didn’t get to hang out on Twitter like I’d hoped, but at least I got some reading accomplished. Not as much reading or reviewing as I’d hoped there either (I’m starting to sound like a broken record) but it was still fun! Today I finished The Hallowed Ones and am more than halfway through World of Warcraft: The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb. I may or may not finish it tonight.

And that’s it!

Total books read: 7
Total reviews written: 2

– leeanna

January 2013 Page Count Contest

I’m participating in Reading Angel’s page count contest. It’s a fun way to push yourself to read more. My goal for January is 6,000 pages.

Title Author Date Finished Page Count
Vampires Revealed Rebeka Harrington 01/01/13 106
Desires Revealed Rebeka Harrington 01/01/13 128
The Cadet of Tildor Alex Lidell 01/02/13 400
The Queen’s Vow C.W. Gortner 01/05/13 400
Broken A.E. Rought 01/01/13 320
Mind Games Kiersten White 01/08/13 256
The Last Queen C. W. Gortner 01/13/13 400
The Queen’s Vow C.W. Gortner 01/18/13 400
Counting One’s Blessings ed. William Shawcross 01/18/13 666
Incarnation Emma Cornwall 01/19/13 352
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone JK Rowling 01/20/13 332
Star Wars: Scoundrels Timothy Zahn 01/21/13 464
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets JK Rowling 01/22/13 341
Magisterium Jeff Hirsch 01/23/13 310
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban JK Rowling 01/26/13 448
daynight Megan Thomason 01/26/13 324
Lady at the O.K. Corral Ann Kirschner 01/28/13 244
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire JK Rowling 01/28/13 752
Marie Curie and Her Daughters Shelley Emling 01/30/13 211
       

Running count: 6,854

– leeanna

2012 Favorite Books of the Year

The only limit to this list was that I read the book in 2012. There’s a mix of books published this year and in years past. Several are books I’ve reread several times over the years, hence why they’re on my favorites list.

I went down my spreadsheet of books read in 2012 and picked out the ones that leapt out. So I probably missed a few favorites, but they’ll show up next year, I’m sure.

Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Date read: January 2, 2012 and November 5, 2012
Review: Haven’t posted it yet
I read Bunheads twice this year. I really hope the author writes another book set in the ballet world. Or any book — I’d love to see more from her.
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Date read: January 11, 2012
Review: See comment
I still remember how excited I was to see an ARC of this at work. I very excitedly emailed the teen librarian and asked if I could borrow it. I never reviewed this, because I was too full of squee to do so properly.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Date read: February 29, 2012
Review: Here.
A few weeks ago I got an email that my blog will be one of the ones listed in the paperback of Cinder as a thanks for supporting it!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Date read: April 27, 2012
Review: Here
I haven’t yet reread Shadow and Bone, but I definitely want to. It’s YA fantasy with Russian influences, and I’ve convinced at least one person to buy it.
The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
Date read: February 8, 2012 and May 17, 2012 and September 23, 2012
Review: Here
The review I linked is an old one, from my previous blog. Seeing as I’ve read The Fire Rose three times this year, and countless times over the years, it marks right up there in my favorites. It’s just one of my comfort reads.
Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs
Date read: May 22, 2012
Review: Cry Wolf and Hunting Ground
I love both of Patricia Briggs’s series on shifters, but Alpha and Omega slightly edges Mercy Thompson out for my favorite. Yet another series I’ve read multiple times since first finding it.
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Date read: July 7, 2012
Review: Here
I will always remember Incarnate as one of the very first books I saw when I got into the book blogosphere. The scavenger hunt the author did on her blog was the first event like that I’d seen.
Huntress by Malinda Lo
Date read: July 28, 2012
Review: Not written
Sometimes I get way too excited over a book to write a review for it. Huntress is one of those books. I love, love the author’s writing style.
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Date read: September 31, 2012
Review: Here
Libriomancer was the subject of my first ever v-log. This is one of those books that I really, really wish was true, because how cool would it be to use the magic in books?
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Date read: October 6, 2012
Review: Not yet reviewed
The Dark Wife is probably my favorite indie of the year. It’s a fantastic retelling of the Hades/Persephone myth.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Date read: October 10, 2012
Review: Not reviewed
This is one of my favorite classics, and I reread it once every year or two years.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Date read: November 5, 2012
Review: Not reviewed
Hands down, Kushiel’s Dart is my favorite epic fantasy. I had to buy a second copy this year because I wore out the spine on my first.

– leeanna