Sunday, December 28, 2014

I'm Doing This! Hail To The King

Click HERE for challenge details
or to Sign Up!

Confession: I've never read anything by Stephen King before. 

Truth: Horror is not my favorite thing. I know Mr. King writes other types of books, but when I look at the size of most of them, I kind of think Nahhh, and then keep browsing for something else. More than one person has recommended more than one of his books to me throughout the past few years, and still I HAVE NOT picked these books up. More significantly, my guy Michael always tells me I need to read
something by him. He names book after book after book, absolutely SURE that I'll like them. 

Stephen King duck fan faces?

Oh my. 

I laughed out loud when I came across the 2015 Hail To The King Challenge, hosted by Cass at Books With Cass and Leah at The Pretty Good Gatsby -- I laughed because with a challenge like this, Cass and Leah have given me NO EXCUSES to keep brushing Stephen King and his books aside, especially when I've got a guy here at the house that so desperately wants me to give them a try. (King is his favorite, you see.) I stared at my computer screen for a while, heart pounding, because I KNEW I had to sign up. 

Why are you doing this, Ash? The 2015 Hail To the King will expose me to Stephen King for the FIRST TIME and hopefully make the husband proud. I'm not one of those die-hard fans that wants to re-read or read more King, you guys. I'm a complete and total newbie. This challenge is ready-made for me. <gulp>

What are the rules? According to Cass and Leah, here are the rules: 
  1.  Sign up at the bottom of [this] post.
  2.  Answer the questions your own Intro Post that lets us know you’re IN and your goals
  4.  Have fun! Post reviews of any Stephen King you read because for giveaways, that will earn you POINTS!
  5.  Take part in the Check In Posts! [6 total] That will also help you for giveaways, and for keeping track to see if you’ve LEVELED UP!
What are these questions they ask, hmmmm? 
1. What got you into Stephen King? 
I can't say that I'm 'into' Stephen King since I've never read any of this books, but maybe that will change over the course of this year -- who knows!?  
2. How long have you been a fan? Or are you a newbie? 
That also means that I'm not yet a fan, total newbie here, but my husband is a MASSIVE fan, as are some of my great real-life friends and great reading friends. This will be fun for me whether I love the books or not. I'm excited (and nervous)! 
3. First King book you read? [or plan to!] Did you like it? 
The first book that I *plan* to read is The Long Walk in both print + audiobook formats. It looks creepy but completely intriguing. Totally plan to blog about it, so I'll share my thoughts with the world. 
4. Level you’re aiming to achieve! 
I'm shooting for the Scaredy Cat level, 1-3 books, because I'm a total King noob. If I happen to go above and beyond 1-3, I'll be handing out high-fives and announcing it to the world on social media with the #hailtotheking hashtag.
Scaredy Cat: 1-3 Novels or Short Stories
Need a Night Light:  4-7 Novels or Short Stories
No Monsters Under MY Bed: 8-11 Novels or Short Stories
Daredevil: 12-15 Novels or Short Stories
FEARLESS: 16 and Up!

If you're interested in participating in Hail To The King, you can Sign Up HERE. Wish me luck! The last time I participated in an event because I was curious about it, I ended up LOVING it (it was an event for Contemporary YA and now I LOOOVE YA Contemps). Maybe I'll be a huge fan after this year! 

Do you enjoy Stephen King's books?

Are you participating in the 
Hail To the King Challenge?

Friday, December 26, 2014

I'm Doing This! The 2015 Book Blogger Organization Challenge

Click HERE for challenge details
or to Sign Up!

When I first noticed that the 2015 Book Blogger Organization Challenge was an actual thing, I thought it was one of the best ideas out there. I always struggle with keeping my blog up-to-date on every. thing. because I'm not as organized as I probably could be, and that's only partly because I usually don't know about the coolest apps and gadgets until someone else brings them to my attention. In fact, at the same time I found out about this challenge, I found about Wunderlist, and began using it immediately. (I still haven't begun to use it to its full potential, though, but I'm totally working on it!)

SEE, that's why I'm signing up for this challenge. Basically.  

Why are you doing this, Ash? The 2015 Book Blogger Organization Challenge caught my eye because it is an organized way to...well, get organized. It seems super laid-back, which I need. The host, Brittany from The Book Addict's Guide, is so encouraging and helpful about it already -- and it hasn't even started yet. You guys, I love this blog so much, but I always feel like I want to have little mini-organization sessions to make improvements. Time is always working against me, though! PLUS I tend to get side-tracked easily. This challenge seems like a great way for me to catch up on some of the things on my mental to-do list. (Because I don't have an actual to-do list. I'm not that organized. Yet.) Also, I'm not exactly "up" on tech-things and computer-things, but I'm hoping that lumping myself in with a group of like-minded people will give me an upper-hand in case I need to shout out for help or advice or opinions. 

What are the rules? There are basically no rules. Brittany has come up with guidelines to help us all stay organized, which I think is really awesome because it makes it feel less stressful for me. In fact, this Intro Post that I'm writing right now isn't even required -- I just wanted to spread the word about this challenge/event so more people know about it. We can all help each other, and I'm thankful that Brittany has taken the lead in getting things going! Here are Brittany's words about RULES: 
I put rules in quotes because really, there are no “rules” to follow. This is titled as a challenge, but it’s more of a way to consistently keep organized. The guidelines are simply this: follow the month’s theme and work on what you can. Not everyone will need each bullet point. Some people will think of more things to add under the theme...Work on anything related within the given month. There is no “failing” in this challenge. If you’ve done anything to work on your blog, you’re a success!
  • The Blog Organization Challenge will run from January 1st to June 30th. If all goes well, we’ll start all over in July (blog maintenance is constant!) and even add more things to work on because I know I won’t think of everything as we go along.
  • Participants can join in at any time! It’s never too late to join. I have a linky for sign-ups below (no sign-up post is required but feel free to spread the word that you’re joining in!) and do whatever you can each month. Everyone is bound to have a busier day/week/month so just do what you can when you can! And don’t forget to grab the button!
  • Feel free to make your own “mini-challenges”! I won’t be officially hosting any mini-challenges but if you have a discussion, how-to, or mini-challenge (past, present, or future), send me the link and I’ll include it in appropriate month’s post!
  • Want to chat about it on social media? Use the hashtag #BlogOrganization! Find a buddy, grab some ideas, get motivation, ask questions… Sky’s the limit!

So what does the challenge schedule look like? This is what Brittany has come up with for everyone so far! I think it's awesome.  
Want to see what the upcoming months have in store? Here’s a general outline of what we’ll be focusing on each month!
  • JANUARY: Reading challenges & resolutions
    • Picking challenges, making resolutions, scheduling, forming plans, picking reading/blogging buddies,
  • FEBRUARY: Blog maintenance
    • Updating old reviews, pages, layouts, features/memes, contact info
    • Clean up images, broken links
    • SEOs
  • MARCH: Social Media + Review Ooutlets
    • Update social media accounts: bios, who you follow, delete old accounts you won’t use, resolve to use some accounts more
    • Organize Goodreads shelves: duplicate copies, version of books, creating shelves, removing shelves
    • Cross-posting
  • APRIL: Graphics, HTML, CSS, Plug-ins
    • Update graphics for posts/memes/events, update button, update header
    • Learn Photoshop/Gimp/PicMonkey
    • Brush up or try to learn simple HTML and CSS (for layouts, fonts, etc). Take this month to delve into the scary world of coding! (Or at least teach yourself one new thing!)
  • MAY: Book clean-up + spring cleaning!
    • Culling shelves, giveaways, donations, giving back borrowed books
    • Reading books you were given as gifts, ARC catch up
    • Rearranging shelves, updating Goodreads again, giving back borrowed books
    • More cross-posting & cleaning up GR shelves
  • JUNE: Freebie
    • Recapping what you’ve organized, focus on biggest area of need, review TBR list
I'll be perfectly honest and tell you that I can't look at the list as a whole just yet because it is a little overwhelming for me -- this is nobody's fault but my own. This also means that the lines of this challenge may get a little blurry and I may end up working on some of May's list (for example) throughout the entire six months. THIS IS OKAY. This. Is. Okay. This challenge is not difficult and it will be fantastic for me, my blog, and my organizational skills as a whole. I hereby declare it! 


Brittany broke January's schedule down for us! Remember these are Brittany's words, not mine. I do not take credit for this list!

JANUARY’S THEME: Reading challenges, scheduling, & resolutions

  • Planning 2015 challenges
    • Research which 2015 challenges you’d like to take part in. See below for some ones that I’ve found and if you know of any more, leave them in the comments!
    • Pick a few specific books to read each month. I know some people mood readers and can’t PLAN which books to read (totally me) but last year I picked a few ARCs that I wanted to read in a specific month (or books for other challenges/read alongs, etc) and then I was able to read them within that month but any time I was in the mood for them instead of “read by X” date (which usually made me NOT want to read them).
    • Schedule challenge intro posts!
  • Picking 2015 resolutions
    • Think about what you want to do with your blog in the year to come. (Or even the next few months) Do you have a “big picture”? Anything specific you’ve been meaning to do? (Add a new feature? Finally switch to self-hosted? Add a co-blogger? Try new genres?)
    • Make a list and pin it up somewhere you’ll see pretty often (fridge, office, wall, etc) so it won’t fall by the wayside.
    • Make a Goodreads shelf! Have some books you know you want to read in 2015? Make a list on Goodreads (or a physical list) with new or older reads that you want to read this year.
    • Schedule resolution post!
  • Find a buddy!
    • Work better with motivation? Find a blog maintenance buddy & work on things at the same time!
    • Need someone to help you through some reads? Been meaning to read some big books but are intimidated by them? Grab a friend to do an informal read along!
  • Make plans to read and write!
    • Not everyone does well planning ahead or writing things down with a specific schedule… but if you’re one of those people (or want to try) now’s the time to look for a nice planner. Treat yourself with a nice one and maybe even fun pens or stickers to help keep you motivated to keep track and also stay on track! Pen and paper not your style? Trying using Google Calendars or Wunderlist! (Also super easy to move things around!)
    • Are you someone like me who has a limited amount of time to read or write? Try to pick a day/time to work on blog things or to read. Make a plan so your parents/sig other/friends will know you’re busy and you can schedule around it.

You can go HERE for a big list of even more 2015 challenges just waiting for more participants! 

You can also go HERE to sign up to participate in the Book Blogger Organization Challenge. Sounds like a great idea! 

I'm really nervous about being able to keep up with this one, you guys. But I'm going to do my best! 

Are you participating in 
The Book Blogger Organization Challenge?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'm Doing This! The 2015 Re-Read Challenge

The 2015 Re-Read Challenge
Click HERE for challenge details
or to Sign Up!

Okay, okay, okay. In 2014, I did not sign up for any challenges except for my Goodreads Challenge because I have a history of not following-thru with them. BUT there are a few this year that have caught my eye in big, big ways and I can't help myself. Enter Hannah from So Obsessed With and Kelly from Belle of the Literati and friends, I JUST CANNOT CONTAIN MYSELF. 

Why are you doing this, Ash? The 2015 Re-Read Challenge speaks to my heart and soul. I couldn't NOT sign up. As an extremely emotional reader, re-reading is one of the best ways to re-live all of the crazy emotions I feel so, so deeply while I'm reading WHICH I LOVE. Plus I couldn't resist the opportunity to group myself with a set of like-minded people and maybe some other people that want to try to re-read more. Also: I'm going to be re-reading anyway, so why not participate?  

What are the rules? Hannah and Kelly say there aren't many rules, and I believe them! They're making it easy, and I LOVE THAT. From their own blogs: 
Honestly, we don't want to have a lot of rules either. We want it to be as easy as possible for anyone to participate, including ourselves. All you have to do is write an intro post stating WHY you want to join and WHAT books you're hoping to re-read. Then, add it to the sign up linky. After that, just write a post each month recapping what you re-read that month and add it to the linky we'll post on our blogs each month. That's it! You've earned re-read bragging rights for the month. We'll explain it all below, but trust us... it's not difficult.
Do you have to review your re-reads? I don't have to, and I probably won't review them all. But this is a great opportunity for me to talk about some of the books that I've read and loved, but maybe have not shared on my blog for whatever reason. Maybe I read them before I was blogging or maybe I read them during that super-busy period of time this past year when I didn't pick up my computer for a few months. These gals have even been thoughtful enough to include a Re-Read Review Template to use if I want to! Check it out: 
Don't want to take time away from review books and get behind on posts for your blog? We don't either! If you feel like re-reading will set you back, you could write a re-read review. This portion is optional, of course, and not required to participate in the challenge or qualify for the giveaways. But if you're interested, highlight your re-reads with a re-read review. For example, we'll be answering these questions: 

WHEN I First Read

WHAT I Remember

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading 
WOULD I Re-Read Again  
BOOM. You're done! Post it. Add it to the monthly re-read recap post. Tweet with the hashtag #ReRead2015. You've got a post for your blog AND the challenge. Each post you link counts as an entry to our giveaways.
Reading books makes me happy, DUH. That's one of the things that brings this great community together. But there's just something about picking up a book that I've loved and basking in that story over and over again OR giving a book another chance that makes my reading heart go pitter-patter. This challenge was created for someone like ME and hallelujah for booknerds that GET ME down to my core. 

Here are A FEW of the books that I plan on re-reading. 
This list is INCOMPLETE: 

Here are the rest of the details from Hannah's Blog and Kelly's Blog. I encourage you guys to consider signing up for this one -- this will be fun! You can sign up HERE

The Re-Read Challenge Details
  1. This challenge will run from January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015. The sign-up linky will remain open until the end of January, but join at any time by adding your intro post to any monthly re-read recap linky.
  2. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it's a re-read.
  3. We will have two giveaways - one at the six-month point and one at the end of the year. Giveaway details posted closer to the halfway point!
  4. You don't have to follow our blogs to participate or be entered in the giveaways.
How You Sign Up
  1. Write a post about joining The 2015 Re-Read Challenge on your blog. In the post, include the banner, a link back to our sign-up page, the number of books you'd like to re-read and list some books you're hoping to re-read for the challenge.
  2. Add the direct link to your sign-up post in the linky below.
  3. Optional: Put the challenge button in your sidebar (grab link available at the bottom of the post).
  4. DONE. It's as easy as that to get started.
How You Participate
  1. Re-read some books!
  2. In the first week of each month, we will post a re-read recap on Belle of the Literati and So Obsessed With that includes a linky that will be open all month. Write a post detailing what you re-read the last month, and add the direct link to our linky to be entered in our giveaways.
  3. If you write any re-read reviews (it's totally optional!), add those to the monthly linky for additional entries (one per post) in our giveways.
  4. If you miss a monthly post, just link up your reviews and/or recap in the linky during the next month.

Do you enjoy re-reading?

Are you participating in 
The Re-Read Challenge?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ten Books On My Wishlist For Santa!

Click HERE to check out Top Ten Tuesday 
at The Broke and the Bookish

Ten Books On My Wishlist For Santa! 

Today I cheated and I'm not sorry! 

I have one series that is so, so high on my wishlist - the entire thing! 
The rest of my list is made up of backlist titles that would finish series that I have sitting on my shelves, unfinished.


Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters Series) by Juliet Marillier -- This entire series is at the VERY TOP of my wish-list to Santa! I want all six books because these are books that I have and will be re-reading for a long, long time. I don't own a single one of them but once I start adding this series to my shelves, it will be a happy day around this place. 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer --  I have the second and third books in this series on my shelf, but I'm missing the first! I have a Kindle copy, but no actual print copy. For shame!

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton -- I have the first two books in this series, but not the finale! 

Asunder and Infinite by Jodi Meadows -- I only have the first book in this series, and I need the rest of these beautiful books!

Days of Blood & Starlight and Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor -- While I have this entire series in audiobook format, I only have the first book in actual print. This is one of my all-time favorite series, so I NEED the second and third books on my shelves, Santa!

Under the Never Sky and Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi -- I actually have the middle book in this series because I won a signed copy (YAY!) but I need the first and third ones to sit on each side of it on my shelves. 

Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian -- I have the first two books in this series and love them! I need the finale pronto, Santa, please! 

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta -- I actually own the first and third books in this series. I'm missing this middle book! How did that happen?

Of Poseidon and Of Triton by Anna Banks -- I own only the finale in this series; I'd like to add the first two books to my shelves too. 

Nash, Rowdy, and Asa by Jay Crownover -- I own paperback copies of the first three books in this series and I love them! I'm behind on acquiring these books - the next three are on my wishlist for Santa! 

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin -- I have the first two books in this series and need to add this finale! 

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare -- Again, I have the first two books in this trilogy; I need to add the finale to my shelves! 


My list is full of backlist titles today because I have quite a few unfinished series on my shelves and I'd like to fix that! 

What's on YOUR wishlist for Santa?