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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2015 Year End Reading Plans

Here we are barreling down to the end of 2015 already! How are you all doing on whatever reading resolutions and challenges you set for yourself? My only reading goal was to read 52 books, and that seems completely possible with 5 weeks left in the year. My list says I'm at 47, though I think I might be missing one or two and need to double check. So five books in five weeks, of which I have a lot of vacation time? Seems doable. (Unless this distracts me.)

Here's the list of what I'm hoping to read from, though it's entirely possible that I'll distract myself.

I have a ton of NetGalley books that I haven't reviewed, but I'd like to try not to get farther behind. These are the titles I have that have release dates between now and the end of January, plus the Christmas titles:

Home for Christmas by Lily Everett

Miss Featherton's Christmas Prince by Ella Quinn

Steal Me by Lauren Layne (Due out today!)
Proposal At the Winter Ball by Jessica Gilmore

Anything for You by Kristan Higgins
The Dirt on the Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones 
(and since I've only read the first two in the series, the six titles in between?)

Keep On Loving You by Christine Ridgway

And then there's the library holds that keep showing up in my Kindle:

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
 (reading this right now. It's both fascinating and depressing.)

Only a Kiss by Mary Balogh

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

The Martian by Andy Weir

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

Clearly, I will not read all of these. The library titles are all titles that I've waited through very long hold lists on, and since they are e-books I don't have any flexibility (ie, I can't hold them past my due date and just pay a fine, however rude that is to the next person.)  I'm fairly determined NOT to get more behind on NetGalley, and in fact I'd love to squeeze in a couple older titles.  What do you guys think? 12 books in 5 weeks? Plus the other six Darynda Jones? Totally doable, right?

What's on your holiday reading list?

Monday, November 23, 2015

So, about that hexagon quilt?

It's been a while since I've updated you all on the progress of the hexagon quilt. I know you're all just dying to know.  Mike has taken to teasing me that she'll be in high school before I finish- maybe a graduation gift? Despite his teasing, progress is being made and there is an end in sight.

I can't tell you how many hexies I've actually basted at this point, and it's possible that some of the ones I've basted won't make the final quilt (there's one print in particular that isn't really a white, or a pink and I can't figure out how to use it.)  I need to baste quite a few more white/neutral ones as well.

All that said, here's where it stands.  The hexies that are marked in pink or orange are all sewn together. (ok, ok, it's two large pieces. I ran out of my preferred thread yesterday and had to stop.) This is pretty darn close to HALF, right? (Just agree, it makes me feel good.)  The green border will be whites and I may or may not do a pink row around that. It all depends on what's leftover when I get to there.

I almost didn't want to share this one, because I love the Big Reveal at the end, but I couldn't help myself.  The whites stand out so much more in a picture than in real life. I'm planning to pay the extra money to have it long arm quilted, and have each flower quilted as a flower, if possible. Similar to this.

I'd hoped to have the top done by her fifth birthday (August 2015), and then by Halloween 2015 (3  years from starting it), but now I'm really just thinking this spring. Maybe to be done by her 6th birthday?  I've been working pretty steadily the last few weeks, but I'll slow down again when I need to baste and I have no clue on the quilting process. I'm sure that prepping it and then binding it will be a challenge.

I'm linking up with the Monday Morning Star Count again today. Be sure to go check on everyone else's progress too!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Five Random Thoughts on Friday

  1. I've gotten pretty good at preparing these Friday posts in advance. Today I totally forgot.
  2. I blame lack of sleep. Sleep has never been easy for my kids, as long time readers know. (Yes, we've tried that.)  Shockingly, Noah (the Bug), who has historically been the awful one, has been great for a month now.  And Lauren sleeps great- if she's in our bed. It's the oldest that is having sleep issues. 
  3. And then two nights I stayed up way too late reading. I so rarely get quiet time to myself and I just couldn't help it.
  4. I've barely put on my running shoes since the time change. I don't want to run in the dark. I don't mind the cold so much, but it's just never daylight. I'm considering running at lunch, but I'm not sure how to deal with being sweaty. Perhaps the cold weather will help with that. Does anyone else run at lunch or take a lunch time fitness class? How do you handle it?
  5. I've been thinking a lot about my life and how I spend my spare time lately. I clearly recognize where I'm wasting time that I could be doing something that's both fun and productive- like go for a run or read a book- and yet I just look at Instagram.  I need to make some physical changes in my environment to make them happen, stating with deleting some phone apps or turning off notifications. I need to clear a handy spot to work on hexies and I need to keep the dining room table clear so I can spread out. I need to get the basement set up so that going down there to work out isn't always a cleaning marathon first. So it'll happen, just I need to muster the energy to make some changes.  Am I the only one who identifies an goal and then spends way too long figuring out how to do it?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Five books from 2015 that I'd like to read.

We all know how I rarely break out of my reading ruts. I rarely read general fiction, even tho I enjoy it when I do, and I mostly just ignore non-romance bestsellers. Despite this, there are a few books that have caught my eye and I think I might attempt to get them on my Kindle soon.

Here are the first five that come to mind:

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

What else should be on my list?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

All Wrapped Up by Kimberly Kincaid

I read the first four Pine Mountain novels, so All Wrapped Up was a no brainer.

Here's the summary from Amazon:

Talk about a hot lead…
Christmas is coming to Pine Mountain—and it has a way of stirring up memories, good and bad. Nick Brennan may manage the Double Shot bar smooth as good whiskey, but his past is a hot mess. When he runs into a burning building to save a little boy, some people start thinking there’s more to his heroism than holiday spirit. And then the local reporter assigned to the story turns out to be gorgeous Ava Mancuso, the girl who got away.

Ava knows what it’s like to have a past. But the changes she’s seen in Nick since she knew him do more than set off her natural curiosity—his warm eyes and gruff charm have her instincts fired up. Still, all the chemistry in the world doesn’t erase history, even when Nick invites her to his little sister’s mistletoe wedding. Does he have a heart under all those secrets? Or is this going to be just another Christmas past?

I've been waiting for quite a while as Brennan was one of my favorites from the other novels, so I started reading this one pretty much the day I got it. Which probably makes you wonder why I'm just writing this review 6 weeks after it was released, huh? Well, it got tense for me. See, Brennan is trying hard to keep his life quiet. He has a tragedy in his past that he desperately wants to keep hidden. He suffers from it both physically and emotionally, but Ava's job is pretty much requiring her to figure it out and reveal it, or she loses her job.  I spent much of the book wondering how the job could possibly mean that much to her, and why didn't she just grow a backbone and stand up for herself already? It was a sucky job, and the potential she sees (that I don't) would be miserable too. So I dragged and dragged and dragged through the major parts of that. I just couldn't bear to see her hurt him for this crappy job. Fortunately, that was eventually resolved in a way I could live with, and the ultimate coming together was satisfying.  Did I end up loving Brennan/Nick as much as I thought I would? Yeah, pretty much. As it often happens, the hero carries the story for me far more often than the heroine.  Would I continue to read Kincaid? Yes- in fact, even more now that she got me through this potentially awful situation.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Christmas at Evergreen Inn by Donna Alward

Ok, so I thought I was getting a jump on things by reading Christmas at Evergreen Inn this weekend. I mean, it's a Christmas book, it won't be out until this month at least, right? Nope. Came out October 13th. Whoops. Hey, it's still before Christmas, right?

Here's the summary, from NetGalley:

Welcome back to Jewell Cove, where this holiday season, there happens to be no room at the inn...

When a December Nor'easter roars up the eastern seaboard, Jewell Cove cop Todd Ricker spends his day off being a Good Samaritan to stranded holiday travelers. But when the roads close and Todd can't make his way home, he discovers that the Evergreen Inn is full up. Until another Good Samaritan opens her doors and offers him a place to stay...

Lainey Price is not looking forward to Christmas, but just because she's not filled with the holiday spirit doesn't mean she's going to turn Todd out into the stormy night. Even if it means offering the handsome police officer the couch in her tiny cottage. But when the weather takes a turn for the worse, the two are snowed in for a wintry evening by the fire. With Christmas only a few days away, can Todd convince Lainey to open her heart to the season...and love?

It is probably not a good sign that I just read this over the weekend, and already forgot the characters' names. So let's start with them. First, Todd. Todd has no personality. I don't mean he's a "loser"- I mean he has NO personality. I JUST read this, and all I can remember is that a) he's a cop and b) he has the hots for Lainey and c) he shoveled the snow. That's it. He really didn't do anything at all to stand out in my mind. Now granted, this is a novella and there isn't a lot of time for character development, but I expected more than "he's single, she thinks he's a player, but he just never got around to asking her out."  Lainey has a bit more going for her. She has a little bit of a history, and some dread around the Christmas season. She has an interesting job (innkeeper) and a bit of family history. This doesn't mean I felt she was particularly well fleshed out either, but there were more facets to her than to Todd.

Then the romance. Guys, this book is basically one long makeout session. They make out, she resists because Reasons, they make out again. There was really no real conflict debate or outside anything. I know that I typically like the romance of a story more than the other details, but if nothing else this one has shown me how very necessary the other plot lines are to my enjoyment. Was this a bad book? No, not really, but it's very forgettable. Will I continue to read Alward? Yes, of course,  I very much enjoy her full length novels.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Five Christmas Ideas (for me, duh) on Friday

I hate when we decide to "go small this Christmas" cause that usually means "mom doesn't get anything good" so of course I'm finding All The Things.

1. This pretty pretty purse at Target.

2. This one is a close second.

3. By the time I convince myself to buy a $130 pair of shoes I don't need, these will be gone. (But I DO need trail shoes!) Ok, that is a seriously tiny picture. I hate it when websites won't let you link to the actual picture of the item. Click through, they are cool shoes.

4. Yes, another bracelet. I love the delicateness of this one.

5. I need a new winter coat, and I'd like to find something along these lines, but I hesitate about that collar.

What's on your Christmas list this year?

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