Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What I Am Reading: January Releases and To Be Read

Everyone knows that I am a bookworm.

A major, major bookworm.

So much so, I decided to start a new monthly feature on this lovely blog, since lighting in my house can be sort of daunting for videos all the time. At the beginning of the month I will do a releases that I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the current month.

So lets get this party started!

Here are the releases that I am most excited about in the month of January:

New Book Releases for the month of January

1: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

This particular book is being touted as The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Eleanor and Park is one of my favorite books and holds a deep place in my heart so when I heard this, of course I was excited. This book is released. Here is the book description: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

2: The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins

My lovely boyfriend has gotten my hooked onto psychological thrillers with a true crime edge. So when I read the description for this, I had to get it. Plus it is called "Hitchcockian". Who can not love something that is compared to Hitchcock? This book will be released on January 13, 2015. Here is the book description: Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

3: Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falloff

Who does not enjoy a good mystery with some love and entitlement? This girl does! This book will be released on January 27, 2015 and here is the book description: Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now. There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam's best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand. To figure out what happened, Sam has to rely on the playlist and his own memory. But the more he listens, the more he realizes that his memory isn't as reliable as he thought. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he'll finally be able to piece together his best friend's story. And maybe have a chance to change his own. Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.

4: The Last Vampire Vampire by Seth Grahame Smith

I am probably the only one who enjoyed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith. Combination of history and vampires? Score for me. So when I heard through a website I am part of that a sequel was coming out and that I had the opportunity to receive an advanced readers copy -- I jumped all over it. This book will be released on January 13, 2015. Here is the book description: In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln's shocking death. Henry's will be an expansive journey that first sends him to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash. Along the way, Henry goes on the road in a Kerouac-influenced trip as Seth Grahame-Smith ingeniously weaves vampire history through Russia's October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination. Expansive in scope and serious in execution, THE LAST AMERICAN VAMPIRE is sure to appeal to the passionate readers who made Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a runaway success.

What I Am Reading in the month of January

I have decided to set a reading goal for this year. Originally it was to read 100 books, like last year, but it became daunting and I did not see an end in sight so I lowered it back down to a goal of reading 52 books considering there are 52 weeks in a year and I can knock out a book a week. So with that said, here is what I am reading this month.

1: Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block

This book was released in 2002 and yes it is another book recommendation from the lovely boyfriend. The perils of dating another bookworm....but I digress. He reads true crime/mystery/thriller which I will admit I am not that versed in so I am glad for the welcome change. I am currently reading this book. Here is the book description: Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kim knew it also—and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn't deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn't deserve her death. The alcoholic ex-cop turned p.i. was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfront pier. Now finding Kim's killer will be Scudder's penance. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the slain hooker's past that are far dirtier than her trade. And there are many ways of dying in this cruel and dangerous town—some quick and brutal ... and some agonizingly slow.

2: Level 26: Dark Revelations by Anthony E Zuiker

Another book series recommended by the boyfriend. This is the third and final book in the Level 26 trilogy created by the visionary of CSI. Yes the television show on CBS. This book was released in December 2011 and here is the book description: The conclusion to the groundbreaking Level 26 trilogy, a series of edgy, unconventional thrillers about an FBI operative tasked with the ultimate search-and-destroy mission: to take down the world's most dangerous serial killers.Anthony E. Zuiker's Level 26 novels have blazed a highly successful interactive trail, with a groundbreaking cross-platform combination of novel, Web site, and hi-def video: There are more than 100,000 registered users on, all of them eager to see what happens next. And for the finale to his trilogy, Zuiker has outdone himself. In Dark Revelations, Steve Dark faces the most intricate, intense, and explosive case of his career. The killer calls himself Labyrinth, and the riddles, puzzles, and wordplay with which he announces his new targets have caused a worldwide media sensation. The case has already claimed a number of highprofile individuals as victims-not to mention several government agencies, which have tried and failed to stop a growing global panic. But what point is Labyrinth trying to make? Who will be his next victim? It's up to Dark to assemble a team from among the smoking rubble of the international crimesolving community, find Labyrinth wherever he may be, and put a stop to the mayhem, once and for all. Can Steve Dark solve the biggest riddle of them all? Only time will tell.

3: The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame Smith. See under January Releases about this book.

4: How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larabalestier

I do not remember exactly where I heard about this book but the question remains -- if you have a fairy, why would you want to ditch he or her? That is the question that ran through my head when I saw this title/heard about this book. This book was released in September 2009 and here is the book description: Everyone in New Avalon has a fairy. Though invisible, a personal fairy is vital to success. It might determine whether you pass a math class or find the perfect outfit. But all fourteen-year-old Charlie can do is find parking spaces—and she doesn’t even drive. At first, teaming up with Fiorenza (who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart’s desire, she’ll have to resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy.

There you have it. These are the January releases I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the month of January. All of these books can be found at your local bookseller or conveniently right on Amazon or Book Depository. Happy reading!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Goals and the Mantra of "I am Off Duty"

Some questions I asked myself while I wrote my 2015 goals list which will be posted after I write this were:

1. What am I bored of?
2. What do I want more of?
3. What can I let go of?
4. What would give me peace of mind?
5. What am I devoted to?

Here are my personal answers.
1. I am bored of compulsively checking my Facebook to see if my statuses or what I post is either liked or commented on. I remember back in 2003 when I visited Paris, France -- I was not tethered to my telephone or my computer. I walked around, took in the sights and smells of the city, and just enjoyed my time in the present. While I did miss that instant communication, which was not rampant like it is nowadays, it was freeing. The fact that I was enjoying myself and not giving a care (the fuck it attitude that my nerdy bff Veronica and my boyfriend try to instill in me) was a welcome enjoyment. I need that back in my life.

2. I want more spontaneity in my life. I live my Monday through Friday life as a routine -- wake up, talk to my love as he is going to work, get ready for work, go to work, come home, so on and so forth. I am a creature of habit and if that habit is broken, things go haywire, i.e. me falling in my schools cafeteria causing me to bunk my head on the concrete floor and sustain a mild concussion. Now just because my Monday through Friday life is a routine one does not mean my weekends should be. The only routine thing my weekends should be is my lovely Humira shot and methotrexate pills as well as seeing/talking to my George. Other than that, if something just comes up -- I will learn to say yes.

3. I can let go of the feeling that I always need to be "on duty" and that if one of my friends is mad, he or she will be glad again. (Love that bit of advice that I received from my George). Sometimes I need to learn to say no and that if I am having my own issues; that I can not be there 24/7. It also works both ways -- if I am having my own issues, which I do, I need to know that I can depend upon my friends and believe me I do know who is there for me.

4. I think learning that just because my friends or family do not message or text or call me all the time does not mean that they do not love me. That will give me peace of mind. For some strange unbeknown reasons, I got it into my head that unless my phone is "blowing up", that I am not loved. Things/shit happen to people all the time. As long as I hear from them, I should be fine. The only person I need to hear from every day knows who he is and he makes me feel amazing and loved every day. The only thing I will say is that I am tired of the constant initiation I need to do or the lack of attention I receive. If I took the time out to send you a message say hello, get back to me somehow. Do not leave me hanging. That is a pet peeve of mine.

5. I am devoted to writing more blog posts in the future as well as the possibility of getting back into book reviews. I am not going to put a deadline or a time frame on this but if I feel the need to write/blog, I will do it more.

With that being said, here are my 2015 goals. I do not say "resolutions" as I feel that word already will lead me into failure world.

1. Keep a positivity journal. Write down every time something happens to me that makes me feel good — a friendly comment, a gift I get, unexpected luck, etc. At the end of the year I will have a journal of positivity and happy memories.

2. Read one book a week. (0/52)

3. Start my day with a positive thought at work. Utilize my 2015 Happy Notes calendar for this.

4. Watch 100 movies. (0/100)

5. Unless on the computer with George via Skype, get off the computer at 9pm.

6. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

7. Attempt to go to bed every night at 11pm and wake up at 6am every day.

8. Take a class at Havens Kitchen

9. Starting January 1, 2015 — DO NOT USE THE AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT CARD. Learn the power of a budget and necessities.

10. Save $50,000 by December 31, 2015

11. Do not be so “on duty”. People should come to me not just to solve their problems. Start saying no more often.

12. Complete a A-Z Author Reading Challenge.

13. Finally get my drivers license!

14: Create a Positive Quote Album on Facebook and post one every day for 365 days.

15: At end of my workday, write down three positive things/what I am grateful for.

What about you? What are your goals for the new year?