Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And the Total is:

I have been blessed with parents who instilled in me a great love of reading. Ever since I can remember, I loved books. From dad reading "Hide and Seek with Grover" in Grover's voice, to wanting to host a 'read a thon' when my friends complained about being bored during summer vacation, to feeling like I was the only person in middle and high school who read for fun. I read a lot, and a couple years ago, after being introduced to Goodreads, I decided to see how much I actually do read. Sadly, the Goodreads goal setter/reading tracker just hasn't worked for me (or my mum) so I decided I'd keep track here on the blog. 

This year I read: 

55 books, 24,439 pages

In 2013 I had set a goal to read 13 book every quarter, and I reached that goal, no problem. I didn't quite match that goal this year, thanks to many wonderful life events that I am so happy were able to occur. So as an added bonus, I tracked how many pages were read as well. I'll keep it up in 2015 and see if I can beat either book total or page total. Stay Tuned. 

2014 Books
  1. The Woodcutter by Kate Danley (344) : Goodreads Review Buy it on Kindle, only $3.99
  2. Remember Dippy by Shirley Reva Vernick (176) 
  3. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau (268) : good inspiration book, not a how to guide ;)
  4. The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson (A Repairman Jack novel) (448)  : this one was 'revised' recently and it was glaringly obvious at times what was 'revised' in it. Originally it was written back in the eighties, and it still had a lot of eighties details, then all of a sudden someone was listening to an iPod.... I wish they had left it unrevised. People who read are smart. They're not going to wonder what a Walkman is. 
  5. A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin (288) 
  6. The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (388) 
  7. Willow by Julia Hoban (329)
  8. The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony Audible audiobook version
  9. Legacies by   F. Paul Wilson (A Repairman Jack novel) (448) : Note on  my previous note. This novel came 10 years after the first one. So now it makes sense that the first one got revised, however, I still feel like it would have been fine to not revise the first one and just set this one in the same time frame.... Still loved it though.
  10. The Revenant of Thraxton Hall: The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Vaughn Entwistle (336)  - advanced reader copy 
  11.  Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis- audio version. I really need to get a hard copy of this book. It's one of my favorites! 
  12. Death in the French Quarter by Kent Conwell (214)
  13. The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball (376)
  14. Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (435)
  15. Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (416) 
  16. Cold City by F. Paul Wilson (368) 
  17. Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (545)
  18. Dark City by F. Paul Wilson (368) 
  19. Conspiracies by F. Paul Wilson (416)
  20. Two Graves by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (484)
  21. Out of Range by CJ Box (320) 
  22. Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout (304)
  23. The Puzzle of Piri Reis by Kent Conwell (272)
  24. The Eye of God by James Rollins (410) 
  25. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool (306)
  26. Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey (336) 
  27. The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (400) 
  28. In Plain Sight by CJ Box (224)
  29. Altar of Eden by James Rollins (398)
  30. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (552) 
  31. All the Rage by F. Paul Wilson (512) 
  32. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick ( 391) *Angsty teen romance warning
  33. Death Without Company by Craig Johnson (271) 
  34. Free Fire by CJ Box (368) 
  35. Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (384) 
  36. Pines by Blake Crouch (309)
  37. Wayward by Blake Crouch (322) (Unfortunately the author falls in love with the F-word in this book)
  38. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (420)
  39. The Last Town by Blake Crouch (285) (Continues his love affair with the F-word.)- Loved and hated the ending of this. It's one of those books that leaves you satisfied, but also frustrated.... if you know what I mean. 
  40. 'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy by Leslie Langtry (325)  ( I read this for a book club, otherwise I don't think I would have found it. It was GREAT!) [And I'm super happy this book club is not a Jane Austen love fest like all of the other 'book clubs' I've participated in.]
  41. Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck (360) --- Warning: Christian Romance. I got through it but I got really sick of the "I'm saving my kiss" "What does God want me to do" junk. (Sad, I know. I'm a Christian but I don't like it when people are all in your face about it. Plus, not everyone thinks and feels the same way I do, but in this book that's what it was like. EVERY PERSON was asking the main character what she thought God wanted, and to follow God. Ugh.) Having said that, I did like the plot and kind of wish there was a second book so I could keep being 'friends' with the characters. 
  42. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (272) It seemed longer... in a bad way. 
  43. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (232):   This was a fun, quick read (for a grown adult that loves reading... for a child it might take them a little longer to get through it). First off, don't go into this thinking it will be like the movie because it wasn't anywhere close to what the movie was like. The only thing in common was that in both Ella wants to break the curse of being obedient. I will not comment on which was better (the book or the movie) because I liked both of them. 
  44. White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Pendergast 13) (368)
  45. Divergent by Veronica Roth (487)- So I decided to read this to find out what the big deal was about these books. To be honest, I have that freaky Twilight Zone feeling that I've read them before, but I can't be sure because they are too recent for me to have read them already... Still a little unsure what the big deal is about them. 
  46. The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell (328) 
  47. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (525)
  48. Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell (336)
  49. Blood Trail by CJ Box (320)
  50. The Castle Behind the Thorns by Merrie Haskell (332)
  51. Kindess Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson (288)
  52. Allegiant by Veronica Roth Goodreads review  (526)
  53. The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (408)
  54. Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen (326)
  55. How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy (196)
Abandoned (sad, I know):
White is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi: This book had really high scores/ratings on Goodreads. And I cannot figure out why. It was horribly written, IMO. I do know that new wave/ 'prose'/ modern art folks will like it. But I got just past page 80 and couldn't bring myself to continue. At that point I was yet to identify a plot. And the narration kept jumping around so even if there was a plot, there was no way to find it between jumping back and forth between the house (yes the house) talking and the girl talking. I think the grandma and mom may have added a word or two here and there... Anyway, not the book for me. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Beginnings and Endings.

Several years ago I had a Young Woman's leader who told us about an afghan that she had in her home. She was getting ready to move into their first home and her mother asked her what colors her home would be in. She told her mother. Unknown to my leader, her mother then went out and bought the supplies to make her an afghan to use in their new home. Her mother began that afghan.
Unfortunately, her mother passed away before she was able to complete the afghan. A member of the church stepped in, and again unknown to my leader, took the partially finished afghan. She put a label on it where it had been stopped that read something to the affect of 'made with love by your mother'. This lady then went on to finish the afghan and delivered it to my leader.
Great story right? I loved hearing this and have thought for years how wonderful it would be to be able to give a service as precious as that to someone. To be able to ensure that they got what their mother, or grandmother, intended them to have, even if they were unable to complete it themselves.

When an opportunity presented itself to me a few months ago, I didn't have to think twice about helping out.  A lady from my ward approached me with two nearly finished Christmas stockings in hand. She explained to me that one of the other ladies in the ward had lost her mother over the summer. This mother had made Christmas stockings for all of her children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren. She had two great-grandchildren arriving soon, and so the stockings were made. However, the names were not decided on yet, so that part remained blank on the stockings. None of the family knew how to knit, and were feeling a bit lost and disappointed that Great Grandma had left stockings for these children, but the stockings were 'incomplete' and no one could finish them. I took the stockings, and got the names of the children, and finished the stockings.I feel like maybe I was able to provide a good ending for those families and that they will feel like Great Grandma was able to have completed the work she set out to finish. (In more ways than just knitting.)
The completed stockings, with one provided to me so I could duplicate the writing.
In light of this, I had wanted to make stockings for myself and my husband. One co-worker pointed out that I would need to make one for each child we would have to which I responded "duh". Sometimes I get a little deep thought-ed (if that is such a thing). And I really enjoyed that I was able to provide an ending for one family, while providing a beginning for another. I loved making our stockings! I am so very grateful that I have been blessed with the talents I have that center on the home and family, and am ESPECIALLY grateful that I had an opportunity to use those talents to serve a family in need of the comfort a simple name on a stocking could bring.

My husband's stocking: He wanted "real Christmas colors"
My stocking! I wanted to tip my hat to my wonderful Scandinavian heritage and chose colors that I not only like, but could maybe be considered traditional Scandinavian-ish. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Super Awesome Mega Giveaway

If you haven't visited AND liked our Facebook Page, now is the time.

In December I like to do an end of year Fan Blitz. IF we reach 100 fans by December 31, I will do a Super-Awesome-Mega Giveaway. If you like the page, you can enter the giveaway ;) The catch is; WE HAVE TO REACH 100 FANS, or the giveaway will not be Super-Awesome-Mega.

Here's some previews of what may be included in the giveaway:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December Means PHD's!

Being in grad school doesn't leave much time for myself these days. So when December rolls around and my classes are done, I find myself with 4 whole weeks of nothing. This is a time I look forward to all year long.

This year I am spending this time working on all my PHD's and stashbusting. PHD? Aren't I supposed to be on break? Yes, yes I am. In the crafting world PHD means "Project Half Done". And the stashbusting, well. I need to pay for school before I can pay for new yarn and fabric for myself.

On my List this Year:
Christmas Stockings for my new husband and myself
A new Pair of Gloves for myself using the sKNITches yarn, "New Tradtions" dyed to match UT's colors
Finishing up the Noro Blanket

Then systematically working my way through the remaining yarn in my stash until I either run out of ideas or I run out of yarn.

I have several 'quilts' that are partially done as well, that will hopefully be finished up too. And the fabric stashbusting, well... I have some things I've been meaning to make for myself (some skirts, a new dress shirt) and the rest can just become what it tells me it wants to become.

Keep an eye out here, our Facebook page, and on the Etsy shop for updates. (Previews and maybe even a Super-Awesome-Mega Giveaway)