Friday, February 19, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Blogging Challenge

YES!  It's nearly that time of year when the BEST blogging event hits the internets...

This will be my fifth year participating and I'm so incredibly excited.  My first year was a bunch of random posts about things I liked or whatever popped into my head that was associated with the letter of the day.  Year two brought about all things Oregon.  Three was dedicated to authors who inspire me.  And last year was all about music that moves me. 

Needless to say, I never stick to one genre year to year.  And I've already decided what this year will consist of...and it is daunting!  I'm terrified to attempt it, but I'm really excited about it. 

If you're interested in participating, please sign up!  Check out the co-hosts and past entries for inspiration.  I promise you can do this...even if you think you can't!  I never thought I could.

Look for my theme reveal post in March :)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Writer's Workshop: Happy National Wine Day

February 18th...National Drink Wine Day...yum!

How do I take my wine?  Great question!

To be honest, it took me quite a while to enjoy wine.  I started off, as most do, with the whites...a Reisling...a Pinot Gris...a Gewuertztraminer.  All were pretty tasty, though I did prefer the slightly sweet, not too-dry options.  Sweet wines have never been my thing. 

Between 2006 and 2007 I was living in Vienna, Austria teaching English at a high school just outside of the city, in Klosterneuburg.  The region is HUGE in the wine business and the school I worked at was actually a boarding school for students whose families were in the fruit growing or wine industry.  These students would eventually be taking over the family business or starting wineries of their own.  Needless to say, I learned a LOT about wine that year.  I also learned that you don't have to drink every single taster that is put in front of your face.  Ugh...that was a bad drive on the autobahn.

After that disastrous tasting in Austria, I kind of swore off drinking wine for a long, long time.  It all smelled and tasted like vomit or raw meat (reds).  Not pleasant or appetizing at all.  Give me a nice, refreshing IPA any day!

Fast forward to the last few years and I have really gotten back into wine drinking.  It helps that I live in a pretty awesome wine industry region of Oregon (yeah buddy) and am literally surrounded by excellent wineries.  That being said, I have developed a much better appreciation for the complexity of wine.  I have moved on from the introductory whites and have embraced the glorious reds.   

My tastes now tend to run toward Old Vine Red Zins and Blends.  Mmm...
Some of my favorites (not all are from Oregon...):
So, what kind of wine are you drawn to?

Writer's Workshop is hosted by Kat at Mama's Losin' It

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

End of Year Book Survey: 2015 Edition

The End of the Year Book Survey
This is my second time participating in Jamie's End of the Year Book Survey and I'm so excited to wrap a great year of reading up!  If you're interesting in participating, simply pop over to Jamie's site, The Perpetual Page Turner, and check out the categories.

2015 Reading Stats
Number of Books Read:  84
Number of Re-Reads:  2...I am not a big fan of re-reading books
Genre Read the Most:  Literary Fiction

Best in Books
Best Book You Read
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell...because it made my heart so warm and fuzzy :)
Book You Were Most Excited About, Thought You'd Love, But Didn't
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.  I had such high hopes and I was very disappointed...
Most Surprising Read
Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan.  I love this book so much!
Book You "Pushed" People To Read
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson.  Really, I push people to read either of Lawson's books...and her blog.

Best Series Started?  Best Sequel?  Best Series Ender?
StartedAll The Things I've Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin.  This was chosen solely on its cover (for a challenge) and I loved it!
SequelThe Fate of Ten (Lorien Legacies #6) by Pittacus Lore.  This one was probably my favorite in the series thus far...and I can't wait until the next installation.
EnderBlood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy #3) by Nora Roberts.  I didn't love this series, but it was the only series completer I finished last year...
Favorite New Author
Elizabeth Wein

Best Book From a Genre You Don't Typically Read/Out of Your Comfort Zone
Seeders: A Novel by AJ Colucci.  Science Fiction/Thriller.  Really good!
Most Action Packed/Thrilling/Un-Put-Downable
The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore or Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall or Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes.  Gah!  There're too many to choose from...
Book Most Likely to ReRead
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell or any from The Lorien Legacy Series by Pittacus Lore.

Favorite Cover
Yes Please by Amy Poehler.  I could have chosen one that has a beautiful dress (as so many did), but this one popped out to me.  Yay for hot pink!
Most Memorable Character
Habo from Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan.  I just wanted to cuddle him in my arms and protect him from the world.
Most Beautifully Written
H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald for its sensitive dealings with grief, acceptance, and moving on or Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson for its honest portrayal of anxiety, depression, and social disorders.

Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing
This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman
Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2015 To Read
1984 by George Orwell.  This was never required reading for some reason.  I love Orwell and I can't believe it took me this long to read it!  So good!
Favorite Passage/Quote
"How strange the way we wade into disaster, step after step, not realizing how far we've gone until we're drowning." The Hundred-Year Flood by Matthew Salesses

Shortest/Longest Book
ShortestMarvel Zombies 4 by Fred Van Lente (128 pages)
LongestThe Walking Dead, Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman (1088 pages)
Book That Shocked You
Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk.  It's pretty graphic in some of the sexual situations...
OTP Of The Year
Cath and Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. adorable...
Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship
Queenie (Verity) and Maddie (Kittyhawk) from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Favorite Book from an Author Read Previously
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
Best Books Read Solely Based on a Recommendation
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  I loved this book so much.  So much!
Newest Fictional Crush
Will Cooper from Slammed by Colleen Hoover...I guess...
Best 2015 Debut
Shadowgirl by Kate Ristau.  Though technically not Ristau's first book, it is her first fiction I'm counting it!

Best Worldbuilding/Vivid Setting
Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy.  It is such a fun series and you can really see the paths the characters take.  The hamster fortress?!  Awesome!
Most Fun to Read
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes.  The behind the scenes shenanigans of such a beloved movie were great to read through. 
Book That Made You Cry/Nearly Cry
The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore.  I can't give anything away...but Eight! 

Hidden Gem
Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall or Shadowgirl by Kate Ristau.  These two Northwest authors are off to a great start.  Both stories are engaging and suck you in.
Book That Crushed Your Soul
Fairest by Marissa Meyer...only because I could totally see where Levana was coming from...but I still couldn't excuse it!  Ugh...
Most Unique Read
Liz A Stratton Closes the Store by Maren Bradley Anderson.  A great independent read based on the comedy, Lysistrata.
Book That Made You Mad
Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan.  I wanted to hurt everyone who was after Habo. 

Blogging/Bookish Life
New Favorite Blog
Victim to Charm.  I have really enjoyed the variety and thought-provoking issues that Sabina posts about.  It's also pretty random that she's a fellow Oregonian...who just happens to live on the other side of the country at the moment.
Favorite Review Written
The Cellist of Sarajevo: A Review It's such a beautiful, quiet book.  I really slacked on my reviews the past year, so there weren't that many to choose from. 
Best Discussion/Non-Review Post
Top Ten Tuesday:  Freebie!  I went with a selection of series that I had recently begun and needed to finish.  There are, not surprisingly, quite a few!
Best Event Participated In
Bookish Bingo was awesome!  I am also a huge, huge fan of the A-Z Blogging Challenge and have been participating for the past several years.  It really promotes consistent posting.
Best Moment of Bookish/Blogging Life
It's really lame, but when Matthew Salesses favorite my Tweet about his book, The Hundred-Year Flood
Most Popular Post
Most popular by views:  Writer's Workshop:  I'd Live There
Most popular by discussion:  Writer's Workshop:  Disney Princesses
Post You Wish Got More Love
All of them ;)
Best Bookish Discovery
Bookperk and Ebooks
Reading Challenges/Goals Completed
GoodReads Challenge 2015 (84 books); The A-Z Blogging Challenge; Bout of Books 13, 14, and 15; the 3rd Annual Beat the Heat Readathon; Bookish Bingo New Year Edition 2015; and a few personal reading challenges with fellow readers.

Looking Ahead
Book Not Gotten to in 2015/Top Priority in 2016
All the books!  There are so many that I totally meant to read last year but wasn't able to get to.  I'm hoping to finally knock some of my TBR down...
Book You're Most Anticipating (non-debut)
Duh!  The newest Harry Potter!  I am so freakin' excited for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!!!

2016 Debut You're Anticipating
Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa.  This book sound so intriguing.
Series Ending/Sequel Most Anticipating
The Winds of Winter by George RR Martin...if it ever gets published!
Hope To Accomplish in Blogging/Reading Life
Consistency in blogging.  I start off really well at the beginning of the year and then fade away...
2016 Release You've Already Read/Recommend to Everyone
Nothing...I can't believe I haven't read a 2016 book yet!  Whoa...

Whew...what a long post!  Thanks for sticking it out :)

Happy reading!