Reading Road Trip Giveaway! Win Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Welcome to my Reading Road Trip Giveaway!  Hosted by I Like These Books & IceyBooks, the goal of the Reading Road Trip is to spotlight all 50 states with giveaways.  Think of this as the ultimate in armchair travel.

Today I want to present my state to you.  Welcome to Michigan!  The Great Lakes State, we are surrounded by beautiful state parks and lots and lots of water.  Lakes, rivers, ponds, and even a swamp or two.  While this means high humidity in the summer, it also means water skiing, swimming, boating, fishing, and hanging out at the beach, and skating, snow mobiling, and snow angels in the winter.

Michigan has four distinct seasons, and though I hate our long, cold winters, I love the change in scenery that occurs year round.  Here are some fun Michigan facts (to see more, visit this website) -

The Mackinac Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It spans 5 miles over the Straits of Mackinac.

The painted turtle is Michigan’s state reptile. (There was a painted turtle in my backyard a couple of weeks ago!)

The Detroit Zoo was the 1st zoo in America to feature cageless, open-exhibits that allowed the animals more freedom to roam.  (This is still a cool place to spend an afternoon!)

Standing anywhere in the state a person is within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes .  (That’s only, like, an hour away at the speed most people around here drive!)

Isle Royal Park has one of the largest moose herds remaining in the U.S.  (Moose!  In Michigan!)

Michigan has more shoreline than any other state except Alaska.

Click below for a larger view of Michigan.  Our state is shaped like a mitten, which is something you will need if you visit in the winter.  It gets cold here!



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What else do I like about Michigan?  I live in an area with lots and lots of horse farms.  I am only 10 minutes from where I board my horses.  I am only a short drive from a state park, where I can go trail riding.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Now for my giveaway!  I am giving away a copy of Courtney Allison Moulton’s Angelfire.  Courtney lives in Michigan, and she is a horse enthusiast, too!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter widget.  Extra entries for following.  US shipping addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July Reading Goals and June Wrap-up

In order to help myself tackle more review books, both print and digital, once a month I will be posting a list of books that I hope to read during that month.  I work more efficiently when I have a game plan, so hopefully these monthly posts will keep me focused on my goal of reading and reviewing more books, and will make my TBR not seem so intimidating.  By breaking away chunks of the TBR mountain, I can better manage my reading. In theory, anyway!

I only managed to read 12 books in June, and I think my favorite was Burn Mark by Laura Powell.   I am still trying to get my asthma under control, and the medication I’ve been prescribed makes me tired.  Once I start feeling like myself again, I know I’ll be rockin’ out the books again.

I probably will not get through half of these, but I will try my best to clock in more than 12 books for July!

Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe

The Marked by Inara Scott

The Taker by Alma Katsu

Last Real Cowboy by Donna Alward

Body & Soul by Stacey Kade

The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone

Horse Camp by Nicole Lea Helget

Rodeo Rebel by Debra Kayn

The Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert

Library Wars Vol 7 by Kiiro Yumi

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Wreck of the Nebula Dream by Veronica Scott

Jiu Jiu Vol 1 by Touya Tobina

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

The Drops of God vol 1 by  Tadashi Agi & Shu Okimoto

Chase Me by Tamara Hogan

Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine by Jayne Fresina

Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half  by Samantha Grace

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

What’s on your reading list for July?

Ready! Set! READ!!

Armchair BEA–Introductions

 

 

 

While I would love to go to BEA, unfortunately, the timing never seems to work out for me.  I actually had everything but the plane ticket booked last year, but had to cancel to due to a family illness.  Once again, the book lovers Mecca is out of reach this year, so I decided to participate in Armchair BEA again.  You can learn more about this event by clicking this link.

To get things rolling this year, participants are asked to answer five questions, and then hop around and visit other participating blogs, so here goes:

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I am Julie, aka Manga Maniac.  I have been blogging for about 7 years, and when I started the blog, I mostly reviewed manga and graphic novels.  I started blogging as a way to keep track of the storylines for all of the all of the series I was reading, and I enjoyed doing it so much that I haven’t stopped!

2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012? 

I am currently reading Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill.  It’s a zombie western with some steampunk elements tossed in for good measure.  I am enjoying it so far, but the pacing is faltering near the end.

Some of my favorites so far this year include: The Song of Achilles, Lies Beneath, Storybound, The Marriage Bargain, The Stubborn Dead, and Born Wicked. 

3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I am terrified to speak in public!  This is kind of funny because I don’t mind sharing my writing, and I live to show my horses.  I just have a really, really hard time speaking in front of even a small group of people.

4. What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?

I love to interview authors!  I enjoy learning about how they came up with their stories and characters, and what they like to read when they aren’t working. 

5.  Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

When I first started blogging, I was only reading manga and graphic novels.  Now I find myself reading everything but graphic novels.  I became burned out on them, especially when my favorite series were canceled or my favorite publishers shut their doors (CMX, I still miss you desperately).  I hate not knowing how things end, so it was discouraging to have so many series left dangling.  There are several that I still love, but I’m letting a few volumes pile up before I start getting invested in them again.

What about you? If you are participating in Armchair BEA, please link your posts so I can drop in and say “hi.”

June Reading Goals and May Wrap-Up

In order to help myself tackle more review books, both print and digital, once a month I will be posting a list of books that I hope to read during that month.  I work more efficiently when I have a game plan, so hopefully these monthly posts will keep me focused on my goal of reading and reviewing more books, and will make my TBR not seem so intimidating.  By breaking away chunks of the TBR mountain, I can better manage my reading. In theory, anyway!

I read 15 books in May, and there were so many goods ones it’s hard to pick a favorite.  I think Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai was excellent, and When You Were Mine by Rebecca Searle was a pleasant surprise.  Some of my reading time was taken over by blog maintenance issues, which I find very stressful to deal with.  I had to change the blog template, and I’m not sure that I like this one.

June might be a slow reading month for me; I’ll be out of town at a horse show for a week and sometimes it is difficult to squeeze in reading time.  There are so many other things to do – like eat!  Anyway, here is what  I would like to read in June.

Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

The Marked by Inara Scott

The Taker by Alma Katsu

Last Real Cowboy by Donna Alward

Body & Soul by Stacey Kade

Transcendence by C J Omololu

Horse Camp by Nicole Lea Helget

Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs

The Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert

Burn Mark by Laura Powell

Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Wreck of the Nebula Dream by Veronica Scott

Deep Autumn Heat by Elizabeth Barrett

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

Blood Before Sunrise by Amanda Bonilla

Chase Me by Tamara Hogan

Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine by Jayne Fresina

Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half  by Samantha Grace

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

What’s on your reading list for June?

Ready! Set! READ!!

This is Not In My Mailbox

funny cat pictures - Lolcats: Ohai hooman


see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

While trying to the avoid getting caught up in the Drama that has been the YA blogging community the past week, I do have some strong opinions that I want to express.  If you are tired of the plagiarism scandal, please scroll down to the photo I have added to this post for your enjoyment. 

Early last week, Kristi from The Story Siren was busted for plagiarism.  Her lack of judgment was actually discovered by the fashion bloggers she stole content from way back in January, but at her request, they choose to keep quiet about the discovery after she deleted the posts with the filched content.  Jane from Dear Author and Sarah from Smart B*tches caught wind of the cover up and exposed her dishonesty on their blogs.  Why am I even mentioning this?  Because as someone who loves books and loves words, I am not going to support her blog any longer by linking to her site, participating in her memes or entering her contests.  I urge you to do the same, if you love authors and their words as much as I do.

I am writing this post on Wednesday evening because I will be out of town over the weekend.  Because Kristi’s published apologies are vague and don’t actually take ownership of her indiscretions, I am including links so that you can read about the mess for yourself.  Form your own opinion of how to handle the situation.  I have a very difficult time supporting a blogger, a prominent leader in the YA blogging community, as well as an aspiring author, after she has been caught stealing another’s words and representing them to the community as her own. 

After reading her two non apologies, I was appalled.  She did not take ownership of her misdeeds, and in order to truly be forgiven for a crime, the perpetrator needs to actually be remorseful for their actions.  She does not do that.  She instead worries about her connection with publishers and authors, with little regard for her readers, the sole reason for the existence of her blog.  Instead of fessing up for her plagiarism, she says that “It was a confusion of inspiration and plagiarism on my part.”  That left me in a confusion as to the sincerely of her apology.  She dances around the issue, instead of accepting her guilt. 

If you are interested in reading more about this, check out these links -

Rachel from Parajunkee’s View

Jane from Dear Author

Sarah from Smart B*tches

B from Beautifully Invisible

V from Grit and Glamour

These are bloggers that I respect.  They have integrity, they are well spoken, and they don’t shy away from the truth.  That is behavior that I expect from a “leader” in a blogging community.  What I don’t expect are lies and half-truths.  Plagiarism is a big deal.  It gets you kicked out of school or fired from your job.  I don’t understand the lack of concern from Kristi’s most ardent admirers.  The reason I hear is that she is nice.  Guess what, guys? People thought that Ted Bundy was a charming guy, too. 

To borrow a page from The Story Siren (see, I am giving her credit), I will be moderating any comments received on this post.  Insulting comments will be deleted.  I will be out of town most of Sunday, so comments probably won’t start showing up until later in the day.

And here’s your picture

cute animals - Daily Squee: Hamster Love
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Have a great Sunday!

It’s Almost Here – Bloggiesta 2012!

It’s almost time for Bloggiesta!  If you haven’t heard of it, check out this post at It’s All About BooksSign up while you’re there!  Here’s more information about Bloggiesta:

It’s time! Do you plan to fiesta with us the weekend  of March 30, 31 and April 1? Do you have things you’d like to do on your blog that you haven’t managed to get to in forever? Do you want to do those things with lots of other bloggers from all over? Talk things over with them? Bounce ideas off them? Learn from them? Teach them too?

This is a great event that will help you focus on some of the mechanical and maintenance aspects of running a blog.  Need to clean up that sidebar or spruce up your review templates?  You can do it during Bloggiesta! You can also participate in mini-challenges and network with other bloggers.  I participated last year, and learned many useful skills to keep my blog running smoothly.  Check it out if you haven’t participated before, because it is a lot of fun. 

Book Blogger Confessions-Positive Results of Book Blogging

Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they be discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

 Question for Monday March 5th is:

Let’s talk about the positive side of blogging! How has blogging influenced your real life in a positive way? (not related to books or reading) Have you learned to be organized or are you more social now for example?

We’ve mostly been venting about the downsides of blogging (& don’t worry we’ll be getting back to those topics) but I know blogging has influenced my "real life" in many ways.

My Answer:

Blogging has helped me learn more about HTML and the mechanics behind websites.  It has also taught me about promotion.  I work at a computer company, and most of our sales are through a website, so blogging has made me realize how important a site’s appearance is.  It has also made me aware of how important Twitter and Facebook are for getting the word out there.   If I am having a problem with a company, I will send a Tweet to their Twitter account, and it still amazes me how quickly I get a response from that, after getting no response from more traditional methods of contact (and, yes, US Bank, I am talking to you).

Blogging has also helped break down my reluctance to reach out and connect with other bloggers and authors.  I am typically an introvert, and the thought of contacting people I don’t know used to fill me with dread.  Now, I realize that the worst response I can get is a “no” to an interview request, or no reply at all.  Most of the time, I am pleasantly surprised with the results of my outreach, and have only been shot down twice.  This helps me at work, too.  It’s so much easier to send an email or call when I have questions about products or services that we are interested in purchasing.

I have learned how to better manage my time, too.  I have discovered the importance of lists and making schedules, which helps quite a bit with my RL job.  You can never plan too much, or project an activity too far in advance.  Having a plan, one that is both flexible and attainable, keeps all of my job tasks flowing smoothly.

How about you? How has blogging positively influenced your real life?

 

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