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Dear 2013, Let’s Do This Thing

3 Jan

Resolutions for the New Year

There are so many things that I want to improve upon and accomplish this year in my reading and blogging, not to mention the things I would like to do in real life. (Mostly those involve eating healthier, losing weight, getting eyeglasses, and not spending so much money.) If you know me just a little bit, or have seen me mention it on Twitter, I’m generally bad at keeping to my to-do lists. I find that I write things down so that I can focus myself and plan and be all organized, but then the list CHAFES ME, friends, and I find myself taking sharp left and right turns off the list towards other things JUST BECAUSE. Primarily this applies to my reading schedule: I just can’t tell myself that I’m going to read these 10 books in the month of January and then expect myself to read more than 2 or 3. It’s like I have bookish ADD. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make the lists! It doesn’t mean I can’t try! So here are a few things that I want very much to do for my blog and my reading in 2013. My fingers are crossed!

1. Schedule posts

I need to work a little bit more on my time management, friends. I need to organize myself better, and I need to take away some of the feeling I often get of needing to read books faster and write my reviews immediately so that I have something to post. It’s a stressful way of doing something I enjoy, and I want to be able to forgo the former and keep the latter, if you feel me. Scheduling reviews ahead of time is a way to help because I do have books I can review. I have a handful right now this instant. They are all books that I’ve finished, in most cases, some time ago. None of them have reviews written. I’ve even slacked off on taking notes! I need to be better.

2. Read 100 books

I’m going to be posting about my specific reading goals and challenges tomorrow, but this is my main biggie challenge: 100 books. I was a little bummed that I didn’t meet my goal for this year, which started at 150, got lowered to 130, and ended at 123 books read. If I hadn’t started listening to audiobooks this year, the number would have been even smaller. But I can do 100 this year, guys. I WILL. I love reading too much to read much less. (Says the girl who does not believe in jinxing oneself.)

2a. Read at least 30 books that I already own

A corollary to number 2. Buying books is one of my biggest pleasure expenses that I allow myself. Other people spend their fun money on going out, or  the movies, or other things. I save my extra money for buying books. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to curb my itch to purchase books, but I certainly need to make more of an effort to actually READ the ones I do buy. I bought a TON of books this year; way too many of them remain unread. I need to make my money work for me, friends.

3. Reply to all of the comments on at least three posts a week

So I know that I’m kind of giving myself an out a little bit by not saying that I’m going to reply to ALL the comments, but the truth is that I just don’t know if I’ll be able to manage the time. Because commenting doesn’t take me 5 minutes. Or 10 even. I need at least a half an hour to do it right, and when I get home from work and finish dinner, it’s already 7:30, and it’s a contest between reading, writing posts, and doing other real life chores until 10 when I go to bed. So I don’t want to make a promise that I know will be asking too much, but I need to be better at doing this. So many awesome people comment on my blog and I need to find more time to reply to them and return the visit in kind. This one is really important to me, and I’m going to do my very best to stick to it.

4. Comment more!

See number 3. I need to focus more effort on sharing my thoughts and taking part in the community of bloggers I follow and the bloggers who visit me and new bloggers that I meet. I need to interact more and have conversations with you guys.

5. Start self-hosting my blog

Wanna know something a little pathetic? I actually have been paying for hosting services for about two months (it’s super cheap, but still), I just need to find some time and get my act together to move everything over and set everything up. It’s CRAZY daunting to me, and confusing, and I’m more than a little out of my element. But I need to do it. Sooner rather than later.

6. Limit myself to requesting no more than 2-3 books from NetGalley/Edelweiss per month

Ahh, NetGalley (and Edelweiss to a much lesser extent). You are crack to me. I need to take my foot off the pedal with this a little bit, and request ONLY books that I REALLY want to read. I sometimes feel like, because I don’t really get physical ARCs at all, in order to be reading the buzziest books–in order to keep up with the blogging Joneses, as it were–I need to use NetGalley hard core. But I’m overloaded and behind, and it makes me feel like a greedy tool. The only thing I can say is that I always intend to read the books! I just don’t always get to them. I need to get a better handle on my time.

7. Read and review at least 3 NetGalley/Edelweiss books per month

Friends, I need to uphold my end of the NetGalley/Edelweiss bargain a little bit better. Even saying that I’ll read and review 3 a month feels like I’m doing very little in the scheme of things. But this is part of the reason why I need to cool it when requesting books. I need to make the time to read the books I do get because that’s part of this blogging thing, too. It’s an obligation that I feel for myself, even if there really is no way the pubs can force bloggers to read and review their books from NetGalley. But I understand the give and take, and I agree to it every time I request an ARC. I feel like this answer straddles the issue of blogger obligations and what pubs can and should expect from us and what we as bloggers should be responsible for. To me, the answer to this is more of a personal manifesto kind of thing than a “written in stone” kind of thing. I appreciate that I’ve asked to read a book, and the pubs have agreed to let me read it early, as is their prerogative, with the understanding that I’ll do my level best to read and review it honestly, and so I feel like I need to stop dropping the ball as much. In Amyworld, it’s like an electronic gentleman’s agreement that I’m not honoring as well as I can. But seriously, I’m just doing me.

8. Take a breather when I feel like taking a breather

Honestly. I know it’s basically blogger cliche to say that my blog is supposed to be FUN and I should feel no worries nor have any qualms about shutting it down for a few days or a week or two if I’m feeling burned out or too busy or uninspired. But it’s really the truth. I don’t feel so worried about not posting every day as it is, mostly because I never really have, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t relish the little breaks I give myself. We all need to recharge the batteries, friends. It makes me feel fresher and better, and keeps me excited and eager.

BRING IT, 2013.

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Peace Out, 2012: End of Year Book Survey

28 Dec

end of year survey

(Side note: I’m purposely not including books that I’ve read this year that aren’t out yet. I don’t know why, because I would CERTAINLY have put Scarlet and Prodigy on this list. Probably because I don’t want to be a spoiler. Whatever my reason, only 2012 releases and earlier below. And, seriously, get on those two book up there. AWESOME x infinity.)
1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

Ok, then I will! First, though, I’m going to say that, by and large, I adored lots of books that I read this year. I feel like if I read a book that was the first in a series, I was made a fan for life. I am going to break it down into categories in a sec because I have way too many favorites that I want to share with you all, but I’m going to offer these two books right here as my tied for number 1 most favorite books of the year: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Fantasy: The Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussA Dance With Dragons by  George R.R. Martin, The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Sci-Fi/Dystopian: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Contemporary: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. SmithGraffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (I will stop now. Clearly, 2012 was the Year of the Amazing Contemp)

Historical Romance: Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Mixed Genre: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (historical fiction, paranormal), Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (paranormal, historical fiction, alternate history)

MG: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. OK, so just BEAR WITH ME HERE. I still wound up really enjoying The Raven Boys. Honestly, I did. I’m invested. I’m more than ready for book number 2. I felt all the things, thought the end was gripping, and the whole book had this really boss mysterious atmosphere that was amazing. BUT. It was definitely a slow start for me, and even though I enjoyed the whole thing, it still left me with lots of questions, and sometimes things that I didn’t understand on the first read. Which isn’t always bad. So you know essentially what this is, putting The Raven Boys here? It’s me saying that I was waiting to be instantly sucked into this one like I was to The Scorpio Races, and I wasn’t. Don’t give up this one, though. You’d be missing out.

Also, The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats, because I thought both main characters were unlikable…way unlikable. And Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, because I was expecting AMAZE, and got merely very good with lots of promise.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer. Guys? I’m pretty absorbed in this series about the Merrick brothers. The elemental stuff is interesting for sure, but I’m OBSESSED with their relationship. I love reading about them, mostly because I have never read any YA books about brothers, and this set is the bomb. Also, Unraveling by Elizabeth Morris, because I couldn’t put it down, and because it DIDN’T blind me with science–it gripped me.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

I seem to be recommending the Pink Carnation series to lots of people lately, which is excellent. I don’t know how many of them are actually going to READ it, but you know. And Tiger Lily. And, always, The Scorpio Races.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Completed series: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead & The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima

Incomplete: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer & The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Jodi Lynn Anderson, for one. Marissa Meyer for another. So awesome.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Hands down, This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. If you’re a regular round these parts, you should have an idea that I don’t really do zombies. I don’t like horror books. I don’t watch The Walking Dead (have NO desire at all, so sorry, fans). But this book was really outstanding. Lots of tension and fear and ANGST. And fear.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Cinder. Unraveling. Insurgent. Guys, none of these books were small, although Cinder was no doorstop at 387 pages long, But Unraveling was 445 pages and Insurgent was freaking 525 pages!! I read them all in less than two whole days.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

I am a big rereader. I reread the following books this year that I usually reread every year, sometimes because I’m just craving them and sometimes because I’m in a rut and I know that these books will at least temporarily get me out of it: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, Legend by Marie Lu. For sure, I’m going to reread Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, but I’m always struck randomly with the desire to reread stuff, so you never know.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Like I could pick just one:
Book covers

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

My immediate thought: Tiger Lily, yo. But other characters that I still think about, even after finishing their books months ago? The Merrick brothers from Brigid Kemmerer’s Elementals series, Cinder, AND OMG ALSO ALSO: KVOTHE.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Tiger Lily. No contest.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 

Book that made me cry the most: A Monster Calls, Tiger Lily

Book that made think the most about difficult things: Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser

Book that sucked me into the world the most: The Name of the Wind, Cinder

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 

The Name of the Wind, Vampire Academy, The Demon King. Egregious oversights x 3. All now rectified.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

Umm, what? How am I supposed to choose this?! WAH SO HARD! But here are a few of my favorites:

“Sometimes love means not being able to not being able to bear seeing the one you love the way they are, when they’re not what you hoped for them.” ― Jodi Lynn Anderson, Tiger Lily

“Still, the longer I was around her, the more I could see the colors of her mind and the recesses of her heart. There was a beast in there. But there was also a girl who was afraid of being a beast, and who wondered if other people had beasts in their hearts too.”― Jodi Lynn Anderson, Tiger Lily

“Mum says when wanting collides with getting, that’s the moment of truth. I want to collide. I want to run right into Shadow and let the force spill our thoughts so we can pick each other up and pass each other back like piles of shiny stones.”
― Cath Crowley, Graffiti Moon

“So young,” said Wyman Manderly, “Though mayhaps this was a blessing. Had he lived he would’ve grown up to be a Frey.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons (BOOM. Wyman Manderley is MADE OF BOOM.)

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 

Longest Adult book: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (992 pages)

Longest YA: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (549 pages)

Longest MG: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (586 pages)

Shortest Adult: Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson (264 pages)

Shortest YA: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (214 pages)

Shortest MG: Sleuth or Dare by Kim Harrington (179 pages)

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

This is actually kind of hard for me this year! Last year I had A Dance With Dragons to fall back on! But…if we’re talking about something that made me want to shout from the rooftops because it was emotional and gorgeous and I loved it so much? The end of Tiger Lily. THAT LETTER!

But if I’m being honest, I REALLY had to have a chat about a certain series-ending book that isn’t coming out until next year that I’ve been lucky enough to read early. (I know, I know, breaking my own “2012 reads only rule from up top there. BUT I MUST, JUST THIS ONCE.) Friends, it upsets me to say that I was not pleased. I can’t even tell you all what book I’m talking about because I don’t want to be mean or be a spoiler, but the more I think about it, the more I am disappointed pretty hugely. No lie? To me, it was the worst book of the series, which is a horrible way to go out, you know? Lots of venting necessary. I don’t think I’ll be alone, either. SIGH.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Romantic: Jase and Samantha from My Life Next Door. These two kids had a pretty strong relationship that really impressed me, mostly because I love how it depicted a young relationship that never rang false. I totally believed that Jase and Samantha were one of those high school couples who would for real stay together.

Also, for pure steaminess, Grayson and Leah from Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols.

Friendship: Cinder and Iko from Cinder. LOVE THEM.

Family: The Merrick brothers from Storm/Spark. Guys. I am more absorbed by the relationship between these brothers than I am in the paranormal element in this series. Seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever read any books that focused so much on the relationship between brothers, but the Merricks are wonderful because they struggle, they fight, they annoy each other, but they’re loyal and they love each other.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

The Name of the Wind. I still can’t figure out why I hadn’t read this book before, but basically EVERYONE told me that I had to read it because NOT reading it was dumb, and EVERYONE was right. This book was legit.

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012? 

Books Take You PlacesBunbury in the Stacks, and The Book Addict’s Guide. I can’t believe that I only just met Alyssa, Heidi, and Brittany this year. I CAN’T. Because they’re all wonderful, thoughtful, fun, ladies and all of that shows in their blogs. I love that they are some of my favorite people to fangirl with on Twitter over books that we’ve both–or all!–loved. It’s the best feeling. Check these ladies out, friends.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 

I really liked writing my review of Tiger Lily, with the quotes and all. And I also really enjoyed writing my review of Second Chance Summer, because it’s one of the only times I’ve ever welled up writing a review from remembering how emotional the book made me while reading.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

There were some great responses to my post about DNFing, which of course, I have not responded to yet because I’m a horrible slacker. Also, there was a fun discussion–well, it was fun for us Avatar/Legend of Korra nerds–on one of my recaps. I’ll talk about those shows all day.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

I am constantly blown away by the insightful, in-depth discussions on Stacked. I really enjoyed this one about what bloggers should expect from pubs, and this really fascinating post about profanity in YA and its impact on feminism in YA books. Seriously great, thought-provoking stuff. Reading Kelly’s posts helps me see things more clearly and organize my own thoughts.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

BEA. Again. It’ll probably be BEA maybe for a long time. It’s such a great event, and one I’m so glad that I can participate in with relative ease and at very little cost to myself. PLUS PLUS!! This year I got to meet so many awesome people!! Can’t wait to get together with them again next year and spend some more time hanging out.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

Mah birfday!! No, not MY birthday, my blog birthday. My baby is ONE!!!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

By Comments: Top Ten Tuesday (20)–Books I’d Play Hooky With–has 51 comments, narrowly beating Top Ten Tuesday (17) about my top ten favorite foreign edition book covers, with 42 comments.

By Views: This Excuse Me While I Fangirl post about Legend of Korra Fanart got 4,058 views. @$&!! 4,058!!!!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I’m a big fan of my Excuse Me While I Fangirl posts because I love getting my nerd on, so I’m always going to say that I wish people checked those out because I want to nerd out with people all the time.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I love trolling Etsy for bookish things! I know that’s a copout, saying Etsy, but it’s true.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

SIGH. Guys, I had such high hopes for my challenges this year. I was going at a great clip in the first half of the year on my Goodreads challenge and the Debut Author Challenge, but I started working in the spring and my reading time nearly went the way of the dodo. The one challenge I DID complete, though, was the Completely Contemporary Challenge. HUZZAH! Not so much for the Mythology Challenge and the Historical Fiction Challenge, and I outright BOMBED my own personal challenge to read a bunch of books I’ve had on my shelves forever. Oh well. I’ll probably lower my expectations for myself next year, knowing more about how I need to organize my time.

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Days of Blood and Starlight, for sure. Mastiff, because I refuse to list this book as the answer to this question THREE times. Bitterblue, which is happening soon with the Cashore Goodtimes readalong!!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

THIS QUESTION. So, ok. I know I’ve already mentioned Scarlet and Prodigy waaaaaaaay back up top there, but I’m going to bring them up again here because I loved these books and can’t wait to hold real finished copies in my hands. I also can’t wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After, The History of Luck (JANDY NELSON!! PLEASE!! RELEASE YOUR BOOK IN 2013!!), and lots more. LOTS.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

I want to get myself on something resembling a schedule. But mostly I want to be able to schedule my posts ahead of time. I almost never do this, and it’s a strain on my time. Thankfully it’s not something I mind doing, otherwise I’d go crazy! But I’d really love to be able to bang out a bunch of reviews and schedule them and not have to worry about finishing a book and writing a review instantly in order to have any content at all.

So, pat yourselves on the back, friends. You’ve just officially read the longest post on my blog.

Tripping Over My First Blogoversary

29 Oct

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Over the course of time, lots of things have happened on October 29th. John Glenn went back into space at age 77 (astronauts are the best). Richard Dreyfuss and Winona Ryder were born. Duane Allman, one the greatest guitarists in the WHOLE WORLD died on October 29th. The stock market crash known as “Black Tuesday” started the Great Depression on October 29th. In 1964, there was this MAJOR jewel heist from The American Museum of Natural History. And, one year ago today, I wrote my first post on Tripping Over Books. Small potatoes, friends, but a big deal in the life of moi.

I can’t believe it’s been a year already. This must be what new mothers feel like on their first baby’s birthday. What happened to the time? One year seems like both hardly any time at all, and more than enough time for something epic to have a huge affect on my life. I know I’ve said before that I feel like I can be more myself on this blog, talking to you all about books and nerdy things and life, and that’s the truth. So THANK YOU for every time you’ve visited, commented, shared your thoughts. It’s been an incredible year, and that is really all down to you. Here’s to another year full of awesome people, awesome books, and more good times than we know what do with!

Busting the Newbie Blues

12 Jan

Hey, Baby Blogger! How YOU Doin’?

Starting a blog can be lots of things all at once: exciting, nerve-wracking, time-consuming, confusing, and overwhelming. But for me, even when it was–IS–some or all of those things, it’s always something I look forward to, and I’m eager to do MORE. But it’s all about learning as you go, and that’s both good and bad sometimes.

Thankfully, the lovely folks over at Small Review are hosting this Busting the Newbie Blues event to get both baby bloggers and more established bloggers talking about the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. This is such a great event! You can check out more here.

Continue reading

Merry Happy!

25 Dec

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, MY LOVELIES! It’s our first Christmas together and I’m EXCITED for us to enjoy ourselves and be happy and jolly (this is my favorite Christmas word)! I feel like our first Christmas is going to be quiet, though, and cozy and snuggly and wonderful. Maybe next Christmas we’ll have EVERYONE over and it will be huge and crowded and crazy and we’ll drink too much and GET LOUD. But this year, it’s just us and a cup of cocoa and a nice fire and lots of good books to read. I like that kind of Christmas, too, and I’m BEYOND happy and thankful that you are sharing it with me, in whatever small way you can manage.

This blog is kind of like my Christmas gift to myself, because I love what I’m blogging about and I love talking to you all about books and I’m having such a great time with you all! Probably NEXT Christmas my gift to myself will be two weeks OFF from my blog because it’s driving me BONKERS, but let’s not be cynical on Christmas, hmm?

So ENJOY YOURSELVES and be safe and happy this holiday. And read lots of good stuff so we can talk about it soon! Love youuuuuu!

PS. Some quick business: No IMM this week; any goodies I got this week will be in NEXT week’s IMM. I’m going to try and get lots of reviews up this week, though, so keep your eyeballs open for ’em! Mwah!