January Wrap-Up

Every month I intend to create a bloggie wrap-up.  I swear to myself I’m gonna do it next month.  Then, the first of the month rolls around and I read Fyrefly’s and DevourerofBook’s, among others, and I say, “Ah CRAP! I forgot to do a wrap-up post!  Dang it!  Okay, I’ll do it next month, I swear…”  And you’ll know how many times I’ve actually followed through on that when I say, “Yay! This is my first monthly wrap-up post!”  LOL.

K, I have ADD bad.  I get distracted so very easily.  Sometimes it’s TV or gardening or doing stuff with the kids, and sometimes it’s computer games like SecondLife or World of Warcraft or the latest, face book apps.  SecondLife pulled me away from everything for about 5 months straight, and now I can’t remember the last time I was on.  With WoW, I’d learned a thing or two from SL, and so I didn’t go so long or so deep, but still I was absent for a while, traipsing through Azeroth.  Facebook games are so getting old, and I’m down to a few that have to be tended daily:  Farmville, the café game and the pet games.  I’m mostly still doing those because my mom is actually on facebook, SHOCK! and the kids play, too, so I play with them.

Where was I even going with that?  Oh, ADD… lol, I swear, that wasn’t on purpose!  Okay, I’m lost now… that was funny, and I laughed, and lost my train of thought.  Oh well, must not have been too important.  That’s why I like to outline things, and why I hate stream of conscious storylines.  I get lost enough in my own thinking, I don’t need to do so in a book!

Moving on…

I decided during Bloggiesta, that the best way to do a wrap-up post was to write it all month long, keeping track of commentors and other things that happen, so I started this post about a week after Bloggiesta, because I got distracted and it took a while to get back to it.  Maybe that’s where I was going with that up there. 😀

Maybe ADD is why I hate long paragraphs?  It feels like being trapped in a room with no windows.  I often skim through the middle of them, or just read the first and last lines of it and move on.

Moving on…

During the Month of January I:

Started my first book challenge, The Welsh Reading Challenge, because I wanted to read more books relating to my own heritage, but needed a little prod to do it and keep on track. The fact people joined the challenge was GRAVY 🙂

Joined a total of 13 reading challenges, 11 of which are being tracked on my Reading is Challenging! page, as well as two more at LibraryThing:  The 75 Book Challenge, and the Books off the Shelf ChallengeThe Sookie Stackhouse Challenge was in progress, though I don’t know if I can call it progress, since I have YET to pick up the first book. Actually, I picked it up, read 2 paragraphs, then put it back down… don‘t tell BethFish :-D.  This is the most challenges I’ve ever participated in, and I don’t expect to complete them all, realistically, but I’m hoping!

Spent a total of 21 hours working on blog improvements as part of Bloggiesta.  Thanks, Natasha! And after all the work everyone else did and the mini-challenges I wanted to do but didn’t get to, I now have a longer to-do list than when I started!

Created The Welsh Reading Challenge blog.  After reading how other bloggers who host challenges have found a separate blog is a better way to keep it all organized, I started the blog for TWRC during Bloggiesta, and had it open and ready for visitors about a week later.  We’ve also got a couple sponsors, some mini-challenges in the planning stages and some prizes on the way 🙂 Too cool!

Started a weekly award called The Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week.  I’m still trying to figure out the exact criteria for this, but right now it’s been for people who are doing something to make the world better.  Presenting Lenore received my inaugral award for her International Book Blogger Mentor Program, and She’s Too Fond of Books received the second for her post about Kiva.org and how micro-lending requires so little of us and can make such a difference in the life of someone overseas.

Joined the Tolkein Readalong.  I’ve been wanting to read the Lord of the Rings for a long time, but just needed the push.

Books read and reviewed in January:

Of Bees and Mists by Erick Setiawan ~ A magical and fantastic adult fable about love, self-respect and self-confidence, about doing what’s right and forgiveness.  I gave it 4 stars.  It counted toward my ARC Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, and POC Reading Challenge.

Fruits Basket, Volume 5 by Natsuki Takaya ~ I love the Furuba series, and volume 5 introduced Kisa, the tiger, and Hanajima’s little brother.  I gave it 5 stars.  It counted as a food title for my What’s In a Name?3 Challenge, Manga Challenge, and POC Reading Challenge.

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland ~ Atrocious, far-fetched and just plain BAD. 2 stars.  It counted toward my ARC Reading Challenge and New Author Challenge.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl ~ Filled me with warm feelings of childhood and chocolate, and was a pleasure to read cuddled up with Maggie.  I gave it 5 stars.  It counted for The Welsh Reading Challenge.

Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr ~ I read this one with Mags, and since it was a re-read for me, I had Maggie sit down and write her first book review.  I did help her with grammer and spelling, but the words and thoughts expressed are totally Maggie… lol… including her expressing how much she disliked having to sit and write a review on a snow day from school when she could be outside playing.  Mags gave it 4 out of 5 stars.  This counted towards my We Didn’t Start the Fire Challenge

Islands Apart by Ken McAlpine ~ Interesting reflection on life in our modern world and how our advances in technology are contributing to a decline in interpersonal relationships, as well as a disconnect from nature.  I gave it 4 stars.  This counted for my ARC Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, and We Didn’t Start the Fire Challenge.

The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine ~ Reading this felt like a prolonged hug from creepy Uncle Stan at the family reunion, but was a necessary evil.  Still, I stand by my 2.5 rating, which is based more on the writing itself than the book’s subject material.  I wasn’t wowwed by Levine’s writing, though it had some beautiful moments.  This book counted toward my ARC Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, and POC Reading Challenge.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein ~ I finished off this month with a comfort read and old friend.  Even though it was a third read through, not to mention the numberous times I watched the 1977 cartoon of it growing up, it still held my attention and kept me in suspense, a sure sign of a classic book.  5 stars for sure.  This was for the Lord of the Rings Readalong and counts toward my 451 Challenge.

People who Commented:

Bluestocking from The Bluestocking Guide
Kathy at Bermudaonion
Wendy, the Literary Feline at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Anna at Diary of an Eccentric
BethFish at Beth Fish Reads
Kailana at The Written World
Ita
debnance at readerbuzz
Care at Care’s Online Book Club (Hi, blogging buddy!)
Mona Everett
Aarti at B O O K L U S T
Annette
Sally906 at Sally906’s Reading Challenges
Sharon at Ex Libris
Eibhlin
Lynda at Lynda’s Book Blog
Ladybug at Escape in a Book
Aastacia
Amanda at Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker
Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit
Susan Evans at Well-Mannered Frivolity
Melanie at Cynical Optimism
Shannon at Flight into Fantasy
Sheila at One Person’s Journey Through Books
Janet at Fond of Snape
Vasilly at 1330v
Snowbell
Jack at Slightly off-center
Debbie at Debbie’s World of Books
Amber at Mommy Mania
Zee at Notes from the North
Meghan at Medieval Bookworm
Gina at BookDragon’s Lair
Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog
Jennie at Biblio File
Amused at Amused by Books
Michelle at Michelle’s Masterful Musings
Rebecca at Lost in Books
Lenore at Presenting Lenore
unfinishedperson at Unfinished Person
Marie at The Boston Bibliophile
Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books
Rhinoa at Rhinoa’s Ramblings
Traci at Traci’s Book Bag
Laza at Gimme More Books!
Grad at The Curious Reader
Sandra at Fresh Ink Books
BookMoot at BookMoot
Jackie at Literary Escapism
Janelle at Brimful Curiosities
Novroz at Novroz’ Life
Jennifer at Rundpinne
DanaB at Windows Wide Open
Nisé at Under The Boardwalk
Alayne at The Crowded Leaf
Violet at Violet Crush
Angie at Annie’s Home
JDaniel4’s Mom at JDaniel4’s Mom
Ann Marie
Joy at Joy’s Blog
Stephanie at Bad Mom
Emerald Yomi at Emerald Yomi
Debbie at Wrighty Reads (go lefties!)
Pippi at Pippi’s Postings
Memory at Stella Matutina
Petunia at Educating Petunia
Sarah at SmallWorld Reads
Lisa at Online Publicist
Myriam Kross
Guatami Tripathy at everything distils into reading
Ariel at Sycorax Pine
Nicole at Linus’s Blanket
Kay at The Infinite Shelf
jo at attalife
Dawn at For the Love of… Eloquence 
Kimberly at A Child of the King!
Mizhelle at Life Can’t Wait
Amateur Reader at Wuthering Expectations
Keely at The Un Mom
Rebecca Reid at Rebecca Reads
Molly at my cozy book nook
uninvoked at uninvoked 
Stacey at Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife
Lisa at Lit and Life
Vicki at Reading At The Beach
Callista at SMS Book Reviews
Farmlanebooks
Meg at write meg!
Marce at Tea Time with Marce
Jenny F at Have a Happy Day
Irene at Irene’s Desk
Wordlily at Word Lily
Beth at Weavings
Laurel-Rain Snow at Laurel-Rain Snow Creations

And that’s a total of 81 commentors so far (1/25)

Other fun facts:

Kitty Litter Cake (and Cat Litter Cake), Gary Larson (and The Far Side) and qoutes for The Book Thief are the most widely used search terms that bring people by, along with Confessions of a Shopaholic and Vampire Kisses bringing in plenty, too. “erotomania” surprisingly, brings in a fair share. Uh oh, do I have a stalker?

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Presenting Lenore ~ The Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week

I’ve been thinking about doing an award of some kind for a while, and just not known what I wanted to do.  I’ve also been wanting to do a “featured link” post every week and share the blogs that I’ve found recently.  So I thought, why not combine the two?

And so I give you:

Kool-Aid Mom's Award

Presenting Lenore

What’s given me the push to start this now is Lenore of Presenting Lenore’s new The International Book Blogger Mentor Program 2010.  I blogged about her initial announcement last week, and am excited to add that she’s now taking application for Mentors and Authors to share books and experience, as well as for Mentees who are outside the mailing lines to which publishers are willing to send. 

To be a mentor:

You must have an active blog that has existed as a book blog for a minimum of one year. You agree to send 2-3 books that were published with a traditional publisher in 2009 or 2010 to an overseas address (if you yourself are located overseas, you may elect to be matched up with someone from your own country, if available). Additionally you agree to look over the recipients reviews of the books and give them advice.

I can tell you that oversees postage is a little more than to send a card to your momma, but, for the most part, it’s not a bank-breaking expense.  About six or so months ago, I changed my Bookmooch preference to “will send everywhere” and was a little nervous at first, but what I’ve learned is that generally, the postage is about twice that the average domestic rate of $2.80 per book by media mail.  This means it usually costs between $5-$8 for one book and would be around $20 for a one-time shipment of 3 books that I’ve enjoyed to someone who might never be able to get their hands on a copy.  It’s an amazing chance to do something good and to make our great, big world a smaller, friendlier neighborhood.  I can’t wait to see who I’m matched with!

TSS ~ Bloggiesta and a Bitch Slap

The Sunday Salon.com
Good morning, bloggie world 🙂  The sun is shining bright and warm… through my window it’s warm, outside the temps are brutal.  I’ve been very productive with Bloggiesta housekeeping, mini-challenges and stuff, this weekend and I feel good.  I even finished a book, went to the grocery store, library and breakfast yesterday.  It’s just been a busy weekend!

Of course, it’s not all roses, either.  I have teenage people living here.  One who’s almost 17 and has recently returned to the mentality of a TWO year old, telling me “NO” and actually trying to stand on that.  Then there’s the 15-year-old who seems to have forgotten how to speak English, but is fluent in WHINE-ESE.  I bought a box of Cream of Wheat for the first time in about 12 or 13 years and she’s dying to try it.  But, instead of reading the box’s directions or waiting for help, she starts making it like instant oats.  She came in with the dessert bowl full of dry mix asking, “Is this how you do it?”  NO, it’s not how you do it… that’s enough to make a pot of the stuff!  *heavy and frustrated sigh* So she stormed off to her room, demanding I let her know when I’ve finished cooking her breakfast.  Grrr…..

Teenagers… dontcha just wanna BITCH SLAP them sometimes?

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Here’s a cool thing I wanted to pass along:

Introducting the International Book Blogger Mentor Program 2010

Lenore at Presenting Lenore is starting an International Book Blogger Mentor Program to help those who live outside the US and Canada be able to read and review the newer books that they’d otherwise not be able to receive as most publishers and blogging contests aren’t open to them.

Any book blogger who blogs in English about books and lives outside the US and Canada can apply. Each month I will pick one blogger to send 2-3 of my most recent review copies to.

I myself have always held my contests open to anyone, anywhere, so long as they have an address to send to, because I know it’s gotta suck to see a book you’d love to have, only to find out you’re geographically ineligible.  So Lenore’s idea is pretty cool 🙂

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Random rant….  Why is it that SPAMMERS suddenly think I’m a randy, philandering, inadequately equipped middle-aged man?  Judging by my INBOX… the one’s that my spam filter thinks I WANT to read, I’m in the market for Extenze… GAWD, I HATE those commercials! I want to rip that chick’s face off and monkey-stomp her… grrr……… AND that I’m in need of Viagra or the cheaper substitute.  The latest additions to my inbox are:

I missed you at the bar” – really?  That’s probably because I wasn’t there.

Why Wait have an affair with a cheating wife today” –  K, erm… I like to eat fish at the dinner table, cooked and with tartar sauce, NOT in the bedroom… or any other room they might want to hang it.  And eww… JUST… EWwwwWWWwwww… Not that there’s anything wrong with that, right Jerry?

Engagement Ring. Make your proposal memorable.”  Apparently, not only am I a randy cheater with a tiny willy, but I’m lookin’ to get hitched, too!

I’ve been deleting all these messages, then emptying the trash, but maybe I should keep ’em for a while, then share them all in a blog post.  WordPress’ Akismet filter seems to work better than Yahoo’s, maybe they should work together and then I won’t get such craptastic emails.  But, then again, what would I have to laugh at?

Listening to Bodies by Drowning Pool