Dec 31, 2015

Monthly Re-Cap: December 2015

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

And it's almost 2016! Wow 2015 flew by!

December was a hectic month for everyone I think. Holiday parties, baking, cookie swaps, decorating, un-decorating for some, the holidays in general, shopping for the holidays - just typing all this I am feeling relieved that it is all over.

I am happy to say that since I work at a university I have off from the 24th through January 3rd so that gave me lots of reading (and/or napping) time. I was really trying to get through all the books I have been holding on to for a while now - most ARCs and E-galleys that I had forgotten about or avoided for any number of reasons...I have read a handful and have today left so I will see if I can get anything else read :).

What did you do in December? How were your holidays
And have a safe and happy New Years Eve!!

What did you read or listen to in December? 

Link me up in the comments section! 


     ~~Books Read in December~~     

               Cupcakes vs. Brownies: Zimmah Chronicles Book 1 (An Epic Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure)  Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2) 27250848Forbidden  Ennara and the Fallen Druid (Ennara, #1)  Harley Quinn (2013-) #22  Harley Quinn (2013-) #21  Harley Quinn (2013-) #23  We'll Never Be Apart   The Geography of You and Me

~~Links to Reviews ~~


Dec 30, 2015

Recent Reads: Harley Quinn #21-23 by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti

Harley Quinn (2013-) #21Harley Quinn: Tug A' War
Series:Harley Quinn #21
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date:  December 2015


Format: Comic
Source: Bought/Own



Goodreads Synopsis: 
Harley’s trip to California takes a dangerous turn—she stole a stone-cold killer’s gig, and he’s not taking it well! They say Hollywood has a dark side…but so does Harley Quinn!
Harley #21 was the conclusion to Harley's trip to California to retrieve a daughter for a woman back home. She runs into an old pal, Deadshot - as you can tell from the cover. Harley remains her quirky, adventurous self in this installment and thus ends this story line in the comics with all the pizzazz you would expect. There is a lot of violence but it is also funny.


Harley Quinn (2013-) #22Harley Quinn: Sy Borgman and Harley Quinn Must Die!!!
Series:Harley Quinn #22
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date:  January 2016


Format: Comic
Source: Bought/Own



Goodreads Synopsis: 
The enemy of Harley Quinn’s friend is her enemy-and enemies don’t come much meaner than Sy Borgman’s one-time lover, geriatric super-spy Zena Bendemova! Improbably enough, she survived getting impaled by a rhino, but she’s really not taking that massive attack of horniness very well!
I always find it strange that death really doesn't mean anything in comics, a former enemy is back and Harley must try to save a friend before getting her head blown off by evil crews. She takes it all very well and I love how she never really cares that there are people trying to kill her - it happens so often I guess it is commonplace for her. This comic really didn't have too much going on, Harley arrives back from Cali to find herself in the middle of something but really that is all that happened - it was  a build up issue.


Harley Quinn (2013-) #23Harley Quinn: Kingpin Queen
Series:Harley Quinn #23
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date:  February 2016


Format: Comic
Source: Bought/Own



Goodreads Synopsis: 
It’s all-out action on two fronts as the Gang of Harleys must split up to tackle two missions at the same time! Zena Bendemova’s vendetta against Harley has to be stopped before innocents are caught in the crossfire…and they have to bust Mason Macabre out of prison before he gets killed! There’s no way Harley will be ready for this shocking twist ending, though...
After the last issue, this one was awesome. There was so much resolved that started last issue and new twists - I really like when  comic leaves a big twist. Obviously they can't do it all of the time but when they can I really get into it. I can't wait to see how Harley deals with this situation. Harley is a whirlwind of personalities - she is crazy, violent, sarcastic, and oblivious, but she can also be affectionate, sympathetic, and even pleasant and in this one we see a little of everything as she deals with an enemies and tries to rescue not one but two friends.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth

The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date:  January 12, 2016

Goodreads Synopsis: 
“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.

She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.

On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…

Why I Am Waiting:
First off - this cover! So beautiful. This sounds like a wonderful fantasy/horror and anything involving powers seems to strike my fancy. I cannot wait for this one :)

Dec 29, 2015

Recent Reads: Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Source: Received from Netgalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #2
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  November 2013


Format: Ebook



Goodreads Synopsis: 
Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy--won't Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.
I have really enjoyed these first books in the Finishing School series, the characters are fun, the plots interesting and I love all the spying. This book was a wonderful follow up to the first installment; Sophronia's adventures are still occurring - which she loves, and there are mysteries everywhere. In this book we get more into the politics between the werewolves, vampires, and picklemen, I found it all very interesting and the world building wonderfully done. 

I have to say however that these books tend to be a bit slow going, don't get me wrong there is a lot going on throughout, but the main action of the book really is in the last 2 chapters or so with a lot of  build-up throughout. I think some might find this plot arc too slow for their liking and give up before getting to the fun bits. I didn't though, I knew to keep reading after the first book was set up in a similar manner. 

I really love how the girls always get into a mess and have to work their way out of it - strong females are wonderful. I also loved the humor, there is always the comic relief of a mechanical wiener dog if nothing else. Bumbersnoot makes me giggle and I love it. If you are a fan of mysteries I think this is a great series for you to begin. 


Dec 28, 2015

Discussion Day: Balancing Life and Blogging

Today is a Discussion Day here at Cover2CoverBlog. I am trying to start these a little more since they seem fun :) I hope you enjoy and if you have any topic suggestions let me know in the comments.

Today's Topic
The Balance: Life and Blogging

As an avid reader, with a job, and animals, and a house, and a blog -- with other hobbies too there is a lot of planning and balance that goes into a successful life and blog. So that is what we are talking about today -- how to find that balance...

Let's start by talking about how I can to begin blogging, I feel like everyone has a different reason and I think they are important.

I began blogging in the beginning of 2012. This was after I finished my Master's and was working full time and teaching as an adjunct but was bored out of my mind... after spending so many hours doing research and homework and papers etc - I had way too much time on my hands. So my husband told me to start a blog... I mean I was already devouring books and reading all sorts of book blogs anyway, so why not? Well I did and it is a lot more difficult than I expected and I have so much more respect for bloggers (still do).
I learned so many things, how to review more effectively, how to add in other types of posts, some HTML - to fix the broken things, how to create templates, how to scheduled posts, etc but I was still feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. (I kind of love this pressure situation, I like to feel busy).

Now years later, I am still learning and I love that but I have also started pushing myself further, for example I am writing this post to schedule a head of time (by 2 months!) thanks to Blog Ahead. However there is a lot that goes into this type of thing, so back to the topic of today's post: 

The Balance
How I plan for Cover2CoverBlog & Life

You may not know this but I LOOOOOVE planners, I have a bunch (I am a crazy person). I also LOVE to color code. Here are some examples of what I use: 

Weekly Planner:
I have a weekly planner that is my everything planner - home, work, blog - all of it in one place. I write my chores that need to get done, my posts that I want up, my reading/reviewing schedule, my bills that are due, and any meetings or dates I need to remember for work.

I also have a Blog Planner:
This paper planner came from Confessions of a Home Schooler and I use ti for my blog - posts, giveaway, stats, plans etc - this ends up copied into my weekly planner and on my GMail calendar.
 My GMail Calendar:
Is used for when I am online going through emails with review/tour requests to easy see what I have coming up. At least once a week I review all my calendars to make sure they match. (I'm a little OCD).

These calendars really keep me organized. I bring them almost everywhere in a purse (along with a good book) and can refer to them whenever I need to. This really helps to make sure I get important home things done as well as blog things that might otherwise slip through the cracks. 

Other things I do to help with my blog/life balance is keep lists - this is one I use a lot, my TBR spreadsheet, sorry for it being so tiny - I have colors and codes for everything I need so when I go to review it is all here. Purple means it is complete, green for scheduled, and blank for things I need to do still. I organize it by month.

 So how is this balance?
It seems like I have too many lists for blogging and not enough things for life outside of it. Well... My weekly planner really keeps me grounded in ALL the things that I NEED to get done. When things happen that alter that plan, first I stress a little, then I shuffle as needed. I have found that this schedule really helps me stay super focused - so I can blog and then move on and not feel like I SHOULD be blogging or that I forgot something important.

I also don't normally post on a Saturday, that is because I don't like to have to prep a post on Friday and that leaves my Saturdays open as 'me time'. I do things around the house, my husband and I do projects, I knit, watch movies and TV or catch up on reading if I feel like it -- no blogging obligations on Saturday and I have kept to that for the most part. [If you see a post on a Saturday it was pre-scheduled by a lot of days :)]

I am a planner and always have been, now if I could just get my hands on an Erin Condrin LifePlanner I would be SOOOOOOOO happy :)  ... some day...(they are $$).

I have found that over the years I have never stopped loving my blog and blogging in general, but I also really only blog for me - if people read it and like it, that is wonderful and I heart you all! - but I started this as an outlet for my feelings about books and that is how it will stay. 

If I don't feel like reading, I don't. If I don't feel like posting, I don't. That is just how it has to be since this is a hobby. I am completely ok with that!

*** UPDATE ***
I got a new planner :) It is the Levenger Circa Disc Bound system and I am loving it. I bought larger discs than it came with and the planner insert and the hole punch SO EXCITE!

Happy reading, happy blogging everyone!

 How do you balance? Let me know in the comments.