Monday, December 30, 2013

The End of My Blogging Year, 2013

This is the star on top of my tree.
I LOVE STARS. 


Hooray for making it through another year, right? 
WHEW, you guys, 2013 was a tough one for this gal - 
there were seriously some times in my own personal life that 
I wasn't so sure that I would make it!! 
I've been going days at a time, minutes at a time for a little while now. 

DRAMA!! 

But I did make it and I am making it - here I am now, in fact, sitting here talking to you like you all are right in front of me. That is one of the things I love about you all so much - you're so easy to talk to! As this year comes to a close and another one is about to begin, there are just a few bookish things that come to my mind. Without getting into my 'regular' life, my blogging life is absolutely amazing. There are no friends quite like my book friends and I believe in my heart of hearts that you all know that - whether I talk to you on the regular or not. We are a community that sticks together, that gets to know one another in varying degrees, and tends to respect one another - for that, I am truly grateful. 

I wouldn't have it any other way and 
I am honored every day to call you all my people. 

With that in mind, I want to talk books and bookish for a little bit: 

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I was fortunate enough to go to Book Expo America in New York City this past year. No pictures needed here because they won't do it justice. And neither will my words. But, seriously, NEW YORK CITY. Whoa.

First of all and most importantly, I will say that there is nothing quite like putting faces and precious voices to the blog names and twitter handles I've known for so long. To have these people that I truly call friends and reading friends become fully-fleshed, real, breathing people right in front of my eyes was a wondrous thing and I can't wait to do it again in 2014. 

ALSO, it was a dream come true to be in NYC for the first time - a bit overwhelming for this small-town Southern girl at first, but by the end of the week I was IN LOVE with the city and I've thought about it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. since leaving it. I can't wait to go back and DOGGONE IT after the year I've had, New York should probably be ready for ME

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2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Asheley has completed her goal of reading 150 books in 2013!
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Well, isn't this something? I never thought I'd make it to 150, but it just goes to show you that people that don't think they have time to read really can find time to read. My number includes books that range in size from novellas all the way to the doorstopper Anna Karenina as well as a ton of audiobooks, so it isn't like I was just actually SITTING ON MY BUTT reading all day, every day. Not possible in my life, people! A ton of this reading was happening while I was doing other things. I won't get on my soapbox about this, but I will say that I'm happy I achieved this goal and am excited to try to continue reading at this level in the coming year.

I will also say that I will not be participating in any challenges in the year 2014. 
Except for this Goodreads thing-y that I have pictured up above, which I do not really consider a challenge - in my opinion, it is more like record-keeping.

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Next up, over the last two months I have had to take a MAJOR blog break that has been due to some stuff beyond my control - we all have stuff in life that pops up unexpectedly: sickness in our family, personal issues, things like that - and for some reason a dumptruck unloaded on Asheley in November and December. 
My blog has been super slow and my reading of other blogs during those two months and in the months before that time was dwindling and then pretty nonexistent, which makes me incredibly sad. 
While I don't really make New Year's Resolutions, I do intend on getting back to at least part of my old super-awesome-commenting self. Part of what I love about blogging is the READING OF OTHER BLOGS. That's how it all began for me, you guys. Before I wrote one, I read many. And I read a bunch before I EVER had the nerve to begin leaving comments. And when I started leaving comments, my comments turned into novels. Before you know it, I made some friends from my rambly thoughts left in the comment-boxes on the pages belonging to other people. 

I MISS THAT TERRIBLY. 
I'm sure you guys miss it too - everyone loves getting comments from others
and I feel bad when I cannot leave them or even read what you all spend time writing. 

So, while I have started blogging again - HALLELUJAH! (This is so important to me!) - I also am working up to a point where I am soon able to carve out some time to sit down and read your blogs again. Please, please, please be patient with me as I'm having to completely restructure my life - this isn't necessarily a bad thing but it does involve a ton of trial and error, and I don't intend to give up my reading of blogs, I'm just slow on the come-around. I'm coming back. Be ready! 

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Finally, while I could really talk for ages about just about anything, 
I want to end with this: 

I've had a heck of a blast over the past month-ish reading 
seasonal/holiday books. 

WHAT IS THIS? I've never been this person before! 

I was inspired last year by another blogger and her love for seasonal books throughout the year and I thought to myself HEY! I CAN DO THAT TOO! only I didn't really get to reading these seasonal books until the end of the year this year, particularly when I was looking for something on the lighter side as I was having ALL THE DRAMA IN MY LIFE. 

Do you know what? I realized that I had a great time matching the books to the holiday and season even though I've ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS thought it to be a little on the dorky side (don't think me rude, I'm just being honest about my own thoughts - and now I see the error of my ways!). 

FOR SURE, in 2014, I plan to incorporate more of the seasonal and/or holiday books and novellas into what I'm reading. They're fun and I like them, doggone it! I don't want to wait until the end of the year, though, so I think I may just get started soon. You'll have to wait and see what I come up with if you stick around here. I've already made some plans. 

Since I got started a little on the later side this year, 
I want to list what I DID read and review on the blog lately: 


It seems like I read more holiday stuff than this, but this is what I have reviewed for you guys. Stop by if you will and let me know what you think. I think they all will fit just nicely throughout the year even though they are technically holiday reads, and the first two listed are novellas so they are quick and fun. 

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I think that's enough for now - Thank you all for being my reading friends and for reading my thoughts, as crazy and long-winded as they are. Thank you to the ones that leave me comments because they really brighten my day and mean a lot to me. Thank you for taking the time to give a book a chance because of something I said. Thank you for sharing your opinion with me, be it whether or not you liked a book or whether or not a book I'm talking about sounds like it might be for you. I welcome any and all discussion - that's the entire point of my little corner of this internet. 

I hope you've had Happy Holidays and here's to a great year ahead! 


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9 comments:

  1. Hope 2014 is hella better for you (and me too), and yay for blogging - stress relief ... and wine :-)

    Tanya Patrice
    Girlxoxo.com

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  2. I am so looking forward to what you will do in 2014! It will undoubtedly be amazing (and if it isn't, then just pretend it is)! Congrats on completing your reading challenge! I wasn't going to do one as I'm starting a new college this year and I didn't think I would have time but you have totally inspired me to do it so thank you for that :)

    Have an amazing new year!

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  3. Love this recap! I too had a slower end of the year as work kicked into overdrive and I'm still trying to complete my goodreads challenge (1.75 books to go and I can stay up late tomorrow to finish!) Looking forward to a great 2014 with you!

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  4. That's the good thing about this community -- we totally get the need for time off and reading slumps. The interaction between bloggers and love of books definitely keeps me coming back. Here's to a better 2014!

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  5. I am so blessed to call you a friend. I love you dear Asheley and I have the highest hopes for 2014 for you and may it be BURSTING with happiness and coffee and stars and amazing books! oxoxo

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  6. Happy New Year and congrats on another successful year :)

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  7. Happy New Year! I'm sorry 2013 had some personal drama, but here's to hoping that 2014 brings lots of peace and joy. I've missed you around the blogosphere, but I'm so excited that you're slowly getting back into the groove of things. I have the hardest time keeping up with commenting and reading other blogs - I'd love to get better at both or find a manageable system for both this year :) Hope our 2014 is filled with amazing reads, great friends and fabulous bookish discussions. xo

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  8. You are seriously one of my favorite people and I love that we connect on things beyond books! You're my FANGIRLING SISTER! :D

    I'm glad that things are starting to get better in regular life and that you've been able to get back into blogging because I DO miss you. I, myself, took a couple of breaks this year and it helped SO much.

    If I could, I'd totally be going to BEA in NYC to hang out with you and all the other lovely bloggers I've been dying to meet for years now. *sigh* Anyway, we'll meet soon, somehow. :D

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  9. Happy holidays, my dear Asheley! It's always a pleasure to visit your blog and read your thoughtful, well-written reviews. I'm always majorly convinced after reading them that I must read the book that you're talking about (especially when you're completely gushing over it)!

    It makes me happy to hear that things are getting better for you in real life. It feels like there have been tough moments for plenty of my blogging friends at the end of 2013, but everyone, you included, has been able to rise above them and fight on. I hope I can embrace that same attitude this 2014, especially since the beginning of this year has been a bit tough on me already.

    I sincerely hope we get to hang out and really chat at BEA! We should probably have guacamole and chips, just because we've always talked about that on Twitter.

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