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text 2017-11-23 15:15
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 5 (Second Time) - Advent
Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews
Burn Bright - Patricia Briggs

I am actually looking forward to my birthday in January. I plan on visiting a former boss in Florida and doing a huge spa day. I really want to wash 2017 off me and hope that 2018 brings better days. Last year with my birthday on inauguration day I just tried to keep a low profile. 


I'm also excited for some new books though! 2018 looks to bring updates to some of my favorite series as well as new books that sound so good!


Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews (May 2018)

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs (March 2018)

The Outsider by Stephen King (2018)

Untitled Hill of Hill by Joe Hill (June 2018)

Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery (January 2018)

Head On by John Scalzi (2018)

Lies Sleeping (7th Peter Grant) by Ben Aaronovitch 


Tasks for Advent: Post a pic of your advent calendar. (Festive cat, dog, hamster or other suitable pet background expressly encouraged.

–OR– “Advent” means “he is coming.” Tell us: What in the immediate or near future are you most looking forward to? (This can be a book release, or a tech gadget, or an event … whatever you next expect to make you really happy.)


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text 2017-11-19 01:39
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 4 (Second Time) - Penance Day

I decided to discuss suggestions/ideas for book blogging.


1. Be honest. I can't tell you how many people I unfollowed on blogs and Goodreads who I started to feel where just shills for the authors. Readers can tell when you are passionate about a book. And we can also tell when you probably haven't read it, especially when you get whole swatches of information wrong in your review. 


2. Try to always comment back. I know everyone is busy, but I try my best to always comment back if someone comments on my reviews or updates on Booklikes, Goodreads, and Twitter. I like to discuss books with people who love to discuss books. Sometimes it's nice to hear you are not the only one who didn't get a book. Or it's great when you can squee over a book you love with someone else.


3. Don't obsess over your follower/friend count. I know it can be discouraging when a review you worked hard on has three likes and a super reviewer comes along and knocks you clear off. I love blogging cause it allows me to talk about books and any old thing that moves me. I get happy if only one person liked my blog post or only one comments. 


4. If something isn't your thing, don't force it. There are whole genres that people don't like to read. If you don't like romance, don't force yourself to in hopes you gain some followers. I genuinely love to read across many genres. But I don't see the point in struggling to get into reading an author or genre cause it's getting hyped in the book community. 


5. Don't spam. Seriously. I get authors are on Booklikes and Goodreads and for the most part it's all been good. I don't take review requests and the only time I did it this past year was because the author reached out to the site I posted at and asked with the caveat I could say no. They just thought my reviews were hilarious. It of course freaked me out. I read the book and thankfully didn't hate it. But I genuinely stay away from things like that cause I don't want to be hit with requests all the time. Reading books on a schedule doesn't appeal to me and this is reason number 2,325 why I just decided to leave NetGalley alone.


6. Interact with others bloggers. You do that and you'll be surprised at how much good stuff is out there. I met some people here on the Amazon forums, but others I met through discussion threads and thought, gee they don't sound unhinged and maybe since we like the same books they are okay too. I'm always amazed when I see a blogger with a huge follower count with very few people they follow. I love the interaction between bloggers that it's a shame many don't take advantage of it.


7. It's okay to DNF. Seriously. I have beaten myself up for force finishing a book and have now tried to stick to my 25 percent rule. If at 25 percent I am not feeling it, I'm not feeling it.


8. It's okay to take breaks. Real life happens. People will be there when you get back, probably with a cat picture or two just for you.


9. It's okay to not just focus on books. I love reading about everything. Books, movies, plays, something that just stuck in your that day. Blogs and podcasts are the new thing, so be as creative as you want.


10. Don't tell people how they should review. That one gets my blood up every time. It stuns me when anyone strolls into a review and tells the reviewer their opinion is wrong. Look I get it. I love Roxane Gay, but not everyone is going to love her books. And it makes absolutely no sense for me to roll into everybody's review that gave her a one-star and tell them they're an idiot for not getting her brilliance.


11. Try to keep experimenting with what works. Heck some of my best reviews/comments came when I live update a book for a day or two. I get a kick out of making everyone laugh. Never forget "Holly". 


12. Don't be afraid to use gifs. Heck I know some readers hate them, but for me using gifs to show what I felt about a particular book is better than me spewing for a paragraph about how irritated/happy/sad/mad I am. 


13. Reading challenges can be fun and can bring a whole new group of followers/friends to your blog or account. We readers tend to flock to those who love books. So if you have the time, taking part in one or many reading challenges can be fun.


14. Don't overbook yourself. I found this out the hard way. Participating at four separate sites earlier this year burned me out. I finally decided BL and GR and that's it. Posting to more than those two places was a lot for me to track. 


15. Have fun. 




Tasks for Penance Day: Tell us – what has recently made you stop in your tracks and think?  What was a big turning point in your life?  –OR– Compile a catalogue of theses (it needn’t be 95) about book blogging!  What suggestions or ideas would you propose to improve the experience of book blogging?


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text 2017-11-17 15:18
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 3 (Second Time) - St. Martin's Day

Pic from my Kindle library



Sorry no wine. Just smart water to help me stay hydrated. My fever was almost 100 degreesearlier. Yuck!


Tasks for St. Martin’s Day: Write a Mother Goose-style rhyme or a limerick; the funnier the better.  –OR–

Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background.  –OR–

Bake Weckmann; if you’re not a dab hand with yeast baking, make a batch of gingerbread men, or something else that’s typical of this time of the year where you live.  Post pics of the results and the recipe if you’d like to share it.


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text 2017-11-17 15:11
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 2 (Second Time) - Bon Om Touk

I went to Boston on vacation in September and had a good time exploring the city. I had a terrible time with the friends I met up with, but that's because they only wanted to drink and be insufferable after that. I ended up getting annoyed and went for a two hour run and got some great shots of the water surrounding Boston.




View from my hotel looking at Charles River, Boston Massachusetts



Me taking a photo at Harvard Bridge after a run in Boston, Massachusetts


Harbor photo taken at Gloucester, Massachusetts


Tasks for Bon Om Touk: Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you're living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.


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text 2017-11-12 16:34
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 13 - Christmas

Without fail my family's Christmas traditions stayed the same until my parents passed away. 


We always put the tree up after Thanksgiving. My Dad got a fake tree one year and we all rebelled. It had to be real. When we got older, my brothers and I would set it up, and decorate it though cause my dad wasn't strong enough at that point to go hauling around a Christmas tree.


The whole house would smell of pine and I would come home everyday after school and sniff it.


After three days we would decorate the tree. Lights first, and checking that all the lights worked. And then the Christmas decorations would go on next. My mom kept every handmade decoration we made, plus always buy new balls each year.


Before I knew Santa wasn't real, presents only appeared from our grandparents and other relatives. The week before my brothers and I would write a list to Santa and my mom would explain she would mail it to Santa Claus later. Kids, we have no idea :-)


My dad would always ask was I good his year and I would be honest. I was good, but could be better, and would think Santa would understand why I kept trying to smother my younger brother.


We would wish for snow, cause without it, it didn't feel like Christmas. The night before we put out cookies and milk and worry Santa couldn't get in cause we had no chimney. My dad explained Santa was magic and could get in anywhere. 


We would watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and any other Christmas movie we had on VHS back then recorded and go to bed. 


We end up trying to stay awake and get yelled at if we didn't sleep Santa wasn't coming.


And then every Christmas day at 7 am we start knocking at our parents door asking them to get up so we can see what Santa Claus brought. Rule was we were not allowed to set food downstairs til both parents were up. My mom would put on coffee and start making breakfast. And then we could open presents as we got our pictures taken.


Even though I live alone now I still will put out a small Christmas tree after Thanksgiving and smell the scent of pine in the house everyday! I also still watch the same Christmas cartoon shows and go to bed. Rule is we can't open presents til Christmas day, so my brothers and sister will require a photo check everyday to ensure I haven't been opening things. 



Tasks for Christmas:  So. many. options.  Post a picture of your stockings hung from the chimney with care, –OR–Post a picture of Santa’s ‘treat’ waiting for him.  –OR– 

Share with us your family Christmas traditions involving gift-giving, or Santa’s visit. Did you write letters to Santa as a kid (and if so, did he write back, as J.R.R. Tolkien did “as Santa Claus” to his kids)?  If so, what did you wish for?  A teddy bear or a doll? Other toys – or practical things? And did Santa always bring what you asked for?


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