Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Once again, I've decided to join in on Joy's Readers' Workouts link-up. I keep hearing that one of the best ways to ensure that you stick with a weight-loss habit is to talk about it with others, and since this blog and my readers are important to me, I thought that I'd try sharing my progress with all of you.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been going to a gym for fitness boot-camp. So far, this has been the longest that I've ever stuck with a particular workout routine. Here's a look at some of what we did  yesterday:

Lunges, with & without dumbbells
Squats, using a 25lb weight
Flutter Kicks, with dumbbells
Running Laps

I know we did more, but I honestly do not remember the names of most of the exercises we've done. Sorry, but I just suck at that! Anywho, my biggest issue yesterday was just keeping up - I felt so light-headed during the workout, which I know is a direct result of what I ate (or didn't eat yesterday). I haven't had money for grocery shopping lately, so yesterday I had coffee for breakfast, popcorn for a snack, and udon noodles for lunch (the packaged kind - like ramen). Obviously, that's a pretty terrible meal plan for a workout day, but I definitely learned not to do it again! (Darn you, student loans!!!)

Results Thus Far: In addition to dropping a pant-size since I've started working out, I've noticed that my muscles have been toning up a LOT. When I flex my calves, all I feel is hard muscle, which is getting me pretty excited! Sadly, I haven't been seeing the numbers on the scale decrease too much, so these visual results are what have been keeping me going.

My Homework: While I'm glad that I've been sticking with my commitment to attend boot camp classes, I know that I really need to start making exercise a true habit by doing it on my own, as well. My current homework is to incorporate exercise on my "off days." Since I only have boot camp Monday thru Thursday, I'd like to try doing something on Fridays and Saturdays (I haven't yet decided if I want to keep Sundays off for rest, or do something light, like stretching). Maybe I'll just go for a jog in the park on those days. I also would like to browse through Pinterest for a 30-day challenge to complete (but nothing too strenuous, as I don't want to burn myself out or create an injury.)  I'll try putting together a plan, and I'll share what I come up with next week.

If you know of any great 30-day challenges you'd like to recommend, or have ideas for workouts I can do when I'm not at the gym, please let me know in the comments! Any ideas are greatly welcomed :)

Monday, May 18, 2015


Monday, May 18, 2015 with 1 comment

I discovered this tag on Mel's blog, The Daily Prophecy, where she stated that she will be tagging whoever wants to join in. It sounded like a fun way to share how I felt about certain "bookworm problems," so I decided to give it a go! This tag was originally created by Tiffany on her About To Read YouTube channel.

1) You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

#StoryOfMyLife. I honestly just read whatever I feel like reading at that particular moment. It doesn't matter if I have been dying to read a given book for years, if I don't feel like I'm "in the mood" for it, I'll wait until I am. Life is short, so there's no point in reading a book if I'm just "not feelin' it." This is why I hardly ever accept books for review - I don't want to feel obligated to read something within a certain time-frame, because my reading moods are constantly changing.

2) You're halfway through a book and you're just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

As I mentioned in the previous question, life is short. Most of the time, I don't even make it halfway through a book that I don't love - I'm pretty good at finding out within the first few chapters. I have no problem chucking something that I've started reading and end up disliking, but there have been a few instances when I've made myself push through - usually either when it's a review book, or when it's something that I have to read for school. But for the most part, there are just too many good books out there to waste my time on something that I don't enjoy.

3) The end of the year is coming and you're so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

Usually, yes. It bugs the crap out of me when I don't meet my goals. If I find myself falling behind on my yearly Goodreads challenge, then I find books that I know will be quick reads. This doesn't mean that I start reaching for short books - it means that I look for books that I know will interest me so much that I can probably read them in one sitting (such as m/m romances, thrillers, horror, etc).

4) The covers of a series you love do not match. How do you cope?

Not gonna lie, it really bugs me. Now, I don't really care if some of the books are paperbacks and some are hardcovers (as long as it's like: the first three are paperback and the rest are all hardcovers, instead of: books one, three and five are paperbacks while books two and four are paperbacks, 'cuz looking at that would piss me off), but if cover styles are completely changed midway through a series, I get really frustrated. Especially if the new covers are uglier (like the covers for Beth Revis' Across the Universe series). 

Right now, I am in the middle of coping with the change in covers for The Morganville Vampires series. I purchased the first eight books in their regular mass market paperback form only to discover that not only did they stop making them in that format, but also the covers look completely different. Double whammy. I may have to just re-purchase them at some point.

5) Everyone and their mothers love a book you really don't like. Who do you bond with over their shared feelings?

Honestly, I'm a bit of a hermit, so my method of "bonding" with someone over my mutual dislike of a book would be watching a YouTube rant or reading a blogger rant about it. If I'm feeling daring, I may even leave a comment.

6) You're reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I am totally okay with crying over a book in public. I don't think I've ever done it before, but I know that if I were to see someone else crying over a book in public, I would get excited about seeing someone else who's as in to books as I am. I'd also probably try to sneak a peak at their book's cover so that I could add it to my TBR.

7) A sequel of a book you love just came out, but you've forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?

I am not afraid to admit that I have done all of the above. For the most part, I will end up re-reading a series, but there have been instances in which I either just try to wing it, or search for a revealing review. I guess it just depends on the series. I've been putting off a lot of sequels lately just because I'm not quite ready to devote the time to re-reading all of the previous novels in the series (such as The Morganville Vampires, which goes on forever).

8) You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

For the most part, I don't really mind lending out my books. If I really love something, then I don't mind sharing it with friends/family/coworkers/etc. in the hopes that they will love it, too. There have even been moments when someone has borrowed something for too long that I just buy another copy for myself and let them keep it. If the book is cheap enough, it's no big. If it's a book that was rather costly, however, and I'm hesitant to lend it out because I wouldn't want it to be in anything other than pristine condition, then I may say yes, but then continuously "forget" to bring it until they forget about it or give up.

9) Reading ADD. You've picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

I hate reading slumps! When I'm in one, I usually end up just adding books to my Goodreads TBR without actually ever reading anything. I think the best cure for one is reading something that I know I'll love, which is usually something that has insanely good reviews, and has a really good synopsis. Once I find something I can fan-girl over, I'm usually pretty good about sticking with my reading,

10) There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

None, usually. I tend to add books I'm dying to read to my TBR all the time, but then when they're released I just never get around to them. I don't really have any extra cash thanks to student loans, so when I want to read a book I usually just wait until I can check it out from the library. The only exceptions are when they're books that are part of a series I already own the prior books for, or when it's a book that is something that I have to own to get the full experience from (i.e. a cookbook or graphic novel collection, or maybe something offbeat like S.), otherwise, I tend to buy my books used, which means they've already been out for a while.

11. After you've bought the new books you can't wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

Sometimes I read them right away, sometimes it takes a few months or even a year. I was dying to read The Ruby Circle when it came out - so much so that I pre-ordered it, which is something I rarely do - but I still have yet to read it. I started it, but then I got upset with Adrian's mother and put it down. Now I just think that I'm hesitant for the series to end, which is why I haven't picked it back up. As long as I don't read it, the story remains "to be continued," and will still have new content for me to read. I know, I'm a dork.

Like Mel, I, too, tag anyone who wants to participate! Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments if you join in so that I can check out your answers.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

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Better to be a hunter, not prey.

Ever since her partner was kidnapped, Aurora Sky has been on a personal mission to get him back. To do that she needs the vampire responsible for destroying her life.

In order to have a snowball’s chance at success, she’ll have to team up with her most loyal friends—including a certain vampire in black with a provoking talent for distraction.

Old cravings aren’t easily quenched, nor past passions. With knowledge comes danger and Aurora is at risk on all sides.

*Book 4 in the 'Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter' series*

It's rare for me to find an indie series that is just so consistently good, but Nikki Jefford's Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter has really taken the cake for me. For those of you reading this review that are not yet familiar with the series, I encourage you to check out my review of book one HERE, though I promise not to give away any major spoilers, nonetheless.

Book Four picks up right where the previous novel left off - so 'right after,' in fact, that I was momentarily disoriented since I hadn't read Book Three in almost a year. I kind of wished there had been a quick run-down of events in the beginning of the book, but I ended up getting sucked-in quickly enough that it soon didn't really matter. The story was just that good. (Background: Some secret government agency has created a group of 'vampire hunters' to free the world of dangerous vamps, and one of their newest recruits discovers that the agency might just be more of a danger than the vampires!)

In this novel, Aurora becomes more sure of herself and her goals, and finally decides where she stands in regards to Noel, Valerie, Fane, Dante, Jared, and Melcher. I really enjoyed seeing her grow over the course of these novels, and was glad to see that she now stands on solid ground in her relationships, both the good ones and the bad. I look forward to reading more about Giselle, too - she seems pretty cool! (Reminder: Giselle is the vamp who kidnapped Dante way back in Book Three, in order to get a hold of Jared, the psychopath responsible for Aurora's driving phobia, amongst other things.)

Anywho, I always find it hard to review sequels without just completely spoiling just about everything, so I think I'll cut this short. I don't really know what I can say, other than please, PLEASE give this series a try if you haven't done so already!!! It has a good premise which is well executed, and is backed by strong, developing characters. I'm sure that those of you who've already started it don't need to be convinced to give Book Four a try, since you'll already have an idea of the awesomeness that is sure to come when continuing the series, so there's no need to get into any nitty-gritty details and ruin things for you! Now, if only there weren't such a cliff-hanger ending! (C'mon, you knew it would happen!!! No real spoilers here, lol.) All I can say is: more, please?

Fun Fact: Looking over my reviews of the previous books, I realized that after Book Two, I began rooting for Dante, but after Book Three, I was equally torn between both Dante and Fane. Well, I can now say that with the release of this book, I have firmly moved onto Team Fane (though Dante is still the shiz!). Wanna find out why my mind had changed so often? Read the books!!!

I actually give this one a solid 4.5 rating, I just don't have a graphic for that :/

Check Out My Reviews of Books One Through Three:


Book one is currently FREE at all major online ebook retailers.

Bookaholic, nature girl, and animal lover.

Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands (WA) where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada in a town without a single traffic light.

She married the love of her life, Sebastien, while working as a teaching assistant in France. They reside with their Westie, Cosmo in Friday Harbor.

Loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Guys, you have NO IDEA how excited I was to open my email and discover that a Welcome To Night Vale novel was available for pre-order! I am completely in love with this podcast, as well as the people behind it, though sadly I've fallen a little behind in episodes recently...hence my surprise to hearing about this novel coming out.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the podcast, each episode of is narrated by Cecil, who works at Night Vale's local community radio station, updating listeners on the various goings-on in the area. It's all fictional, of course, but I still like to hope that such a town truly exists....*sigh*  Sorry, I'm fangirling here. But if your're curious, and this is the first you've heard of this podcast, I encourage you to check it out HERE. Now, to get back to the book, here it is in all its glory:

Anticipated Release Date: October 20, 2015
From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves...no matter where we live.

Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked "KING CITY" by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can't seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.

Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton's son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane's started to see her son's father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.

Diane's search to reconnect with her son and Jackie's search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: "KING CITY". It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures...if they can ever find it.

Why I Can't Wait To Read This

Because I love, love, LOVE Night Vale! I'm a huge Cecil fan, and I am completely in love with all the quirky and insane characters that pop up in the show, like: Carlos, The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home, and Khoshekh (the floating cat that lives in the men's room at the radio station!). I'm so excited to share the wonder of Night Vale with everyone, that I've even made it simple for you to check it out by embedding the pilot episode below for your listening pleasure:

What do you think?

And if you haven't done so already, feel free to join in by linking-up to your own Waiting on Wednesday post over at Breaking The Spine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

So, I've seen this feature when lurking around Joy's Book Blog and decided that now that I've finally incorporated steady exercise into my life, I should give it a try and join in! For the literally years my New Years' resolutions have always been to lose weight and become fit, but I honestly have never really made any steady attempts to incorporate regular exercise into my schedule - either I'd try something for a little while and then give up, or I'd put it off in the first place.

Since it was becoming pretty obvious to me that my discipline was lacking, and I was tired of wanting to lose weight but not really doing anything about it, I decided to take my supervisor up on her offer to sign up for a Fitness Boot Camp together at a not-so-nearby gym (it's really far, guys!). The class meets four times a week, Monday through Thursday, for one hour (6 pm - 7 pm), which means that I can change right after work and go straight there (work ends at 5 pm). 

So far, I've been going for about five weeks, and I've been seeing some results! The class is mostly strength training with a bit of cardio thrown in to mix things up, and it's ladies-only, so I don't have to feel too self-conscious about myself. Even though the numbers on the scale aren't dropping as much as I'd hoped they would, I've discovered that I've gone down a pant-size, and can run further than I could when I started before running out of breath, lol!

Here's a breakdown of what we did during yesterday's workout:

Ran laps around the building
Side-squats with hand-weights
Lunges with hand-weights
Flipped large tires
Performed Toe-Taps, Mountain Climbers & Push-Ups against the tires

I don't know if I left anything out, but we did a nice mixture of the above exercises, switching back and forth between each one until the hour was up. So far, my biggest challenge would be push-ups, since my form is terrible and my upper-body strength is still greatly lacking. But before this class, the only form of exercise I did was cardio (if any), so strength-training is completely new for me. I'm glad to be gaining some muscle, though - my legs already look noticeably better, haha! Now if only I could improve my diet....

Are any of you fellow readers out there incorporating exercise into your schedule? If so, how do make yourself stick with it? For me, I really need the scheduled class with a trainer that tells me what to do, otherwise I'd give up too quickly. Also, if any of you have any recommended reads for health & fitness related books, please share them in the comments below - I sure could use them! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
With this post, I am officially signing up for Bout of Books 13! I honestly didn't know this was starting today, but what a great way to come back from a hiatus, lol. Anywho, I've technically already started reading a couple of the books that I've included in my "books to choose from" list, but since I've only read a little bit of them, I added them to the list, since I'm hoping to use this read-a-thon as motivation to finish them, instead of watching Hulu. We shall see!
Finish reading at least 4 books
Participate in at least 3 challenges
Comment on at least 5 blogs per day


Books Completed So Far: Our December by Diane Adams

Currently Reading: Hunting Season by Nikki Jefford (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #4)

Thoughts: Our December was a really quick read - I honestly didn't notice that it was a novella when I started it, since it's an eBook. I thought I was going to love it, since it had high reviews on Goodreads, but I actually found the writing to be rather sappy and cheesy. I guess I couldn't see how the main characters could "fall in love" so quickly - I didn't believe it. I gave it 2 out of 5 stars, since I was still able to get through it. The premise was a good idea, I just wasn't a fan of the execution.
Currently Reading: Hunting Season by Nikki Jefford (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #4)

Thoughts: Wow, it sure has been a while since I've read the last Aurora Sky book! I started this one off a little lost, but it got so good that I'm back in it, now. I'm so picky with indie novels that I'm glad I found an indie series that I really enjoy so much - the writing is great, and I'm a true fan of the story! I'm already 50% through it. :)
Currently Reading:  Hunting Season by Nikki Jefford (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #4)

Thoughts: As always, I completely enjoyed this latest Aurora Sky novel. I love this series, and I can't wait for book five!
Currently Reading: Nothing

Thoughts: Today was a busy day, so I didn't have time to read :/
Currently Reading: Nothing

Thoughts: Spent time with my momma for her birthday! No reading today.
Currently Reading: Falling by Barbara Elsborg

Thoughts: It seems that I made up for not reading on Thursday and Friday by both starting and finishing Falling by Barbara Elsborg today. I thought it was a super cute romance! I then felt in the mood to finally read the first volume of Ms. Marvel, which I also liked.
Currently Reading: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Thoughts: This book is amazing!!! It starts off like an episode of Supernatural. Plus, look at that cover - it's gorgeous! Haven't finished it yet because I need to sleep and go to work tomorrow, but I got a good head start. :)

Hello, everyone! First and foremost, I would like to take the time to apologize for this unannounced hiatus that I have recently been on. It seems that I have been rather overwhelmed lately, and have had too much going on to truly dedicate as much time as I would have liked to this blog. 

Here are my excuses in a nutshell: 

  • In addition to my full-time job, I have recently started attending a fitness boot camp at a gym that is located a fair distance away from both my job and home. It's been working, guys! The only downside is that I go straight after work and don't get home until 7:30 pm. Plus I give my mom a ride to work afterwards, which is another hour gone from my day.
  • Also, my sister has recently had a baby, and I have been providing transportation to and from doctors' appointments and hospital visits. Just this past weekend, her baby was hospitalized to to severe jaundice!
  • And lastly, I have been trying my best to de-clutter and organize my childhood home. It's been a lot easier since having read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, but there's still a lot to be done. It's bad, guys.
My newest niece, Kali Quinn

I feel terrible about not posting for over two months, and for not announcing my hiatus, but I was honestly too busy to really get around to it. It is my hope that now that I have become more accustomed to my schedule/routine, I will be able to continue updating this blog in a regular fashion. My sister's baby is also being released from the hospital today, so having her back at home will really give us a lot of peace of mind.  

And so, with that said, I'd like you all to know that I truly appreciate your patience during this time. I really enjoy both reading and blogging, and it is my hope that I will soon be able to find an equilibrium in which my personal, work, and blogging lives can coexist. For now, please know that I will be trying my best - I already have a few ideas for posts that will be coming up soon!