On Banishing the Blogging Blahs

It was almost this time last year that I had my first bout of blogging blahs.  In all honesty, I nearly hung up my blogging hat because it just wasn't much fun anymore.  A few kind comments from some blogging friends and readers encouraged me to approach blogging in a different manner, which definitely helped to remind me of my priorities.  The biggest shift for me since that time has been to remember that I don't have to review each and every book that I read.  In fact, this year, I've been mainly writing reviews for only my ARCs or books sent to me from the publisher, plus the occasional other book if I feel like I have something that I must share.

Then, my blog design disappeared, and I found myself back in the blogging dumps again.  I found that I just wasn't excited about blogging when I had to look at my awful-looking blog, so the time in between posts was getting longer and longer, especially once I ran out of scheduled posts.  I thought about getting a new design, but it seemed like a big expense to invest in a blog that, once again, I wasn't sure if I wanted to even keep running.

But my wonderful husband convinced me to take the plunge and I am SO HAPPY with the result!  In the past few days, I have honestly logged onto my blog several times, just to squeal in delight with how happy I am that my site looks pretty again.  And, with the new design, I just feel EXCITED again to be back in the blogging community!

I'm sorry that I've been a little MIA for the last little while, both on here and on Twitter, but that will hopefully be coming to an end.  I miss you guys!  So, let's talk ... what have you read lately that's blown your mind?  What else is new?  Leave me a comment below!

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How to Love - Katie Cotugno

Wow.  This book.  Just wow.  When I originally started reading, I hadn't planned to review this one,since pretty much everyone has already read it.  I just finished savouring the last few pages, and lunged straight for the laptop ... this book left me with a yearning to share some words of my own.

First of all, as a relatively new mom, there were a lot of things in the story that I really emphasized with.  There were a few things about Hannah's character that bugged me a little (MY fourteen-month old couldn't have imitated the word "never" for example), but there were also a lot of characteristics that just reminded me of Marko and made me love the storyline so much.

Sawyer: here's a character that you just LOVE to HATE.  He drove me NUTS throughout most of the book, but so did Reena.  I mean, as awful as Sawyer is to her, she sticks by him and doesn't stick up for herself.

The aspect of the book that resonated with me the most is all of the unfinished phrases.  Reena especially, but some of the other characters too, have a tendency to start saying something and then just--  There's so much meaning and significance behind what's not said, and it turns into one of the more heart wrenching aspects of the book.  How many times do we make things turn out the way they do by way of what we don't say rather than what we do say?

If you're one of the few people left who haven't yet read this book, DO IT.  It's a story that will leave you breathless in its simple complexity.

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My New Look!

Hey guys!

Just a quick note to say that, in case you didn't notice, my new design is up!  I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to the fantastically talented Lea of Lea Christine Designs!  She incorporated my fairy image from my blog's beginning, and the essence of ME and what my blog is about, and made my site sparkle!

I'm going to be making a few changes around the site in the next little while, just some updating and housekeeping stuff, but I feel like this new design has reinvigorated my blogging zeal!

Happy reading y'all ... and have a great weekend!

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Life of a Blogger - Tattoos

My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat runs this awesome feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

Today's topic is tattoos.  I don't have any tattoos, nor do I have any desire to get one anytime soon (I am super needle-phobic!) but I am fascinated by literary tattoos.  Should I ever overcome my fear of needles, getting a tattoo with a quote or a literary theme would definitely be at the top of my list!

How about you?  Do you have a tattoo or are you planning to get one?  Leave me a comment below!
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Evergreen - Rebecca Rasmussen

I really didn't know what to expect when I started Evergreen, and what I found was an unexpectedly good story.

The book opens with Eveline's story, a young bride who is on her way to live with her new husband, Emil, in a little cabin in the middle of nowhere, a.k.a. Evergreen.  Their story is a sweet love story as she becomes pregnant and gives birth to their son, Hux.  But when Emil returns to his native Germany to see his ailing father, the story quickly takes a much darker turn.  In Emil's absence, Eveline ends up pregnant again and gives away the baby girl, Naamah.  The rest of the story is told from Hux's and Naamah's point of view, as we learn about this estranged brother and sister who learn how to find a place in each others' lives.

Although the story definitely had its darker moments, I found that the end feeling was of hope.  The message that shone through the darkness was that love can overcome fear and loneliness and heartache.  If you're looking for a read that will show you the lighter and darker sides of humanity, then check this one out!

Note: I received an e-galley of this book from Edelweiss.  The fact that I received this book for review did not influence my opinion of this book in any way.
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Life of a Blogger - Sports I Have Played

My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat runs this awesome feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

Today's topic is sports I have played.  I just wrote the fitness post for September, and am laughing to myself now (you'll understand when you read the next post in a couple of months!)  Team sports are not my thing ...

BUT, I did have one team sports experience.  In Grade 6, for some unknown reason, I decided to try out for the basketball team.  At the time, I was just over four feet tall (four and a half feet at the MOST), so I'm not sure what persuaded me to do this.  I'm sure that my elementary school probably had a policy that every student made the team, no matter what skills the student had (or, in my case, lack thereof).

I don't remember much about my first game -- only that I really, really sucked and my team got absolutely creamed.  It wasn't as much fun as I thought it was going to be, and I didn't play again for the rest of the season.  I seem to remember making excuses (Oh, I have piano lessons that day ... guess I can't make the game.  Oh well, next time!) 

And that was the last of my team sports experience!  How about you?  Did you play any team sports -- or are you as team-sports incompetent as I am?  Leave me a comment below!
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Life of a Blogger - Family

My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat has just started this awesome new feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

Today's topic is family.  I have a pretty small family and I've always wished that I had a bigger family with lots of cousins!  The family that I do have, well I love them lots!  Here's a list...

My parents.  My mom and day have been married for over 30 years and are still going strong!
My sister.  As I shared in a previous Life of a Blogger post, I have one younger sister, who is 27.
My aunt and uncle.  My dad's older sister and her husband.  They have a son who is MUCH older than me (at least 10 years older), but he lives pretty far away and I haven't seen him since he was much younger.
My aunt.  One of my mom's older sisters.  My mom actually has three older sisters, but we've lost touch with them over the years.  Only one of her sisters has kids and, as with the cousin above, they're at least 10 years older than me and I haven't seen them since I was little either.

And that's it!  See, a pretty small family.  By marriage, I've inherited a much larger family since my husband has a HUGE extended family, although the majority of them are in Serbia.  My father-in-law is the youngest of 13 kids!  And, best of all, my husband's younger sister is 5 years older than me and we get along SO WELL.  She's the big sister that I've always wanted!

How about you?  Do you have a big family or a small family like mine?  Leave me a comment below!
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