2011 Resolutions and Goals

Jumping on the bandwagon, here are some goals that I have set for myself for 2011.

1. Read & review more books!  I am getting behind on my manga series, so I am going to make a greater effort to catch up.  I also purchased a ton of books in 2010, and I have only read few of them.  I want to concentrate on reducing the backlog in my TBR.

2. Use time more wisely.  This one is going to be hard, because I waste a ton of time on Twitter.  I have also allowed myself to get addicted to Angry Birds, which is an insidious time suck.  I need to limit the amount of time I spend on these diversions.

3. Stay focused.  This one is hard, too, because I have the attention span of a very small bug.  Really.  Sometimes it is hard for me to stay on track and complete a task in a timely fashion.

4. Get organized.  I have made a lot of progress with this in the last few weeks, but I need to do more to keep things running smoothly on the blog and in real life. When I finish reading a book, I need to review it right then, instead of letting them pile up on the corner of the desk. I need to keep better track of release dates when scheduling reviews, and I also need to keep my Goodreads account updated with reviews.

5. Become more active in the blogging community.  I follow a lot of blogs, and I read a lot of reviews and posts, but I don’t always make the time to comment on them.  I will try to do a better job with this, though it is a challenge because I work so many hours.

6. Read more titles outside of my comfort zone.  The library has helped with this, and I have discovered a love of zombies and picture books.  I have also started reading more Middle Grade books, thanks to suggestions from the helpful librarians at Wixom Public Library.

7. Offer a greater variety of content.  I want to do more than just write reviews, but I don’t have the confidence to write more editorial pieces.  I also love doing author interviews, but sometimes I feel awkward approaching authors to participate in them, which leads to #8…

8.  Take more risks!  I am so conservative and reluctant to stir up the waters, and that needs to change.  I am an introvert by nature, which is why I love books so much, but I need to be more social.  This will be the hardest goal to conquer.

My number one goal for 2011 in my personal life is to eat healthier.  I have a love for Mexican food, Indian buffets, and ramen noodles, which is so not good for me!

What are your goals for the New Year?

2010 Debut Author Challenge – Wrap-up Post

The 2010 DAC is really the first reading challenge that I have attempted, and I had a wonderful time discovering new authors and new books to enjoy.  I kind of lost steam halfway through the year, and my skills at keeping organized for the challenge need work!  I ended up reading 45 titles, and I had so much fun that I signed up for the 2011 Challenge.  This time I plan to keep better records of my reading, and my goal is to read over 50.

For a list of books that I read for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge, click here.  There are a few more reviews that I need to post, so I will leave the page open until the end of January.  Then I will retire it so I can concentrate on 2011!

If you want to join in on the fun, visit The Story Siren for all of the details.  Thanks to Kristi for hosting this again!  If you are interested, my preliminary list of titles, though May,  is here.

100 Books in a Year Reading Challenge

Ergh!  I’m joining one more reading challenge, this one hosted by the ever entertaining Carolyn at Book Chick City.  Carolyn’s challenge is this: read at least 100 Books in a Year Reading Challenge.  I think this will help me keep my reading efforts better organized, because I do not want to post at the end of 2011 that I failed due to my inability to keep track of what books I have read!

Challenge Details

  • Timeline: 01 Jan 2011 – 31 Dec 2011
  • Rules – Read 100 or more books in 2011
  • All books can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.
  • You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.
  • At the beginning of Jan 2011, I will add a link so you can add your reviews but this is not obligatory.
  • You don’t have to have a blog to join in.
  • You can also follow each other’s progress and chat about the VC books you read on twitter too – just use #100BooksInAYear :)

That’s pretty simple, right?? I will be keeping track of books read on my 2011 Reading Challenges page, located here.

Review: Ridgeview Riding Club: Leap of Faith by Bernadette Kelly

 

Title: Ridgeview Riding Club: Leap of Faith

Author: Bernadette Kelly

Publisher:  Stone Arch Books

ISBN: 978-1434219329

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Annie’s back, and this time she is getting prepped for her first horse show.  She isn’t sure if she’s ready, but she doesn’t want to disappoint Reese by not going.  When her dad makes snide remarks about her skills and Bobby’s abilities, she changes her mind.  She is going to go, whether she is ready or not, just to prove how wrong her dad is about her!

Ugh!  I can’t stand Annie’s dad.  What a jerk.  The poor kid is going to grow up with a complex.  He belittles her constantly, and doesn’t give her credit for anything.  When Jessica can’t accept her own inadequacy and blames Annie for her own lack of riding skills, her dad treats her even worse!  It’s a good thing Annie has good friends who aren’t afraid to try to set him straight.  I wish her dad would go on an extended business trip overseas and not return until after the series wraps up.  He is so inconsiderate that he can’t even give her a phone message.

I felt bad for Austin.  His ego takes a battering when he takes a fall in front of an instructor he admires, and it almost derails his riding career.  It is mortifying to take a tumble, but unfortunately, it is a part of the sport.  This is why I don’t jump.  I have enough trouble staying in the saddle on the flat, and don’t need to add another level of potential fallage to my lessons.  And yes, I just made that word up.  Austin has to re-evaluate his reasons for riding, and he also has to accept that he is still just learning, too.  The only difference between Austin and Annie are miles in the saddle, and level of determination.  You can be the best rider in the world, but if you aren’t willing to work at it, you aren’t going to be successful and really enjoy yourself.

Ridgeview Riding Club continues to entertain, while accurately portraying life with horses.

Grade:  A-

Review copy obtained from my local library

GANTZ Live – January 20th – One Night ONLY!

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I almost forgot about this!  GANTZ will be showing at select theaters on January 20th, for only day only!  The thought of all of those live-action explosions and intense battle scenes makes me dizzy!  Here’s all the info you need to get yourself a ticket to the pulse-pounding excitement of GANTZ!

You’ve watched the series, you’ve read the manga and for one night on Thursday, January 20 you can see the GANTZ live-action World Premiere on the big screen.

NCM Fathom and NEW PEOPLE invite you to your local movie theatre for the GANTZ LIVE event. Follow characters Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato on their mysterious posthumous mission to eradicate an alien species bent on destroying Earth.

On January 20, find out if the players of this ultimate survival game can save the world and revive themselves. What were originally stunning illustrations translate into explosive action delivered in 5.1 surround sound. GANTZ will be English over-dubbed exclusively for this one night event.

Kazunari Ninomiya and Kenichi Matsuyama, the popular Japanese actors who play Kurono and Kato, will participate in an exclusive live interview following the feature. This Q&A is exclusive to GANTZ theatre audiences nationwide.

For more information, including a trailer, click here.

Tickets are on sale now. Check out www.fathomevents.com to learn more about GANTZ, find a list of participating theatres near you and purchase tickets.

Cover Shot! Rip Tide by Kat Falls

I absolutely loved Dark Life, so I am counting down the days until I get my hands on a copy of Rip Tide, the second book in Kat Falls’ series about an intrepid teen who lives in the ocean. The world of Dark Life is so well thought out and feels so real that it just sucks you in and doesn’t let go until you reach the last page.  Read it if you haven’t!

From publisher website:

The sequel to the acclaimed subsea adventure.

Return to the subsea frontier with Ty and Gemma! The mysteries of the deep are deadlier than ever. With time running out for his parents, Ty’s desperation leads the two teenagers to the underwater underworld…and into an alliance with the outlaws of the Seablite Gang. But one mystery soon leads to another. How has an entire township disappeared? Why is the local sealife suddenly so aggressive? And can the Seablite Gang be trusted…or are Ty and Gemma in deeper water than they realize?

Rip Tide will be in stores in August 2011

Out With a Bang Read-a-thon December 29th – 31st

Casey at The Bookish Type and Heather from  Book-Savvy are hosting the Out With a Bang Read-a-thon, December 29th – 31st.  Even though I will be working most of the time, I decided to participate most of Friday.  We are going out to an early dinner with relatives, so I will have most of the day to read.  I promise not to bombard the blog with updates, and will keep progress reports confined mostly to Twitter via Goodreads.   If I can make it through The Lost Gate, The Line, and Buntline Special, I will be very happy.

If you are interested in learning more about the read-a-thon and want to join in, click here or here for all of the details.

Review: Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs Vol 17 by Yukiya Sakuragi

 

Title: Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs Vol 17

Author: Yakiya Sakuragi

Publisher:  Viz

ISBN: 978-1421532578

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Chizuru’s friend Serina has had it with trying to raise her new puppy and returns it to Woofles. Suguri is angry but comes up with an innovative way to get Serina to see things from a new perspective! Suguri also begins channeling her doggie knowledge for other purposes…

Review:

This installment is a very mixed bag.  The series almost lost me with the continuation of the Milk/Serina story arc, where Suguri’s unconventional methods to make Serina man up and accept her responsibilities did not win me over.  I love her enthusiasm and her determination to make sure that all of the puppies in Japan are loved and well cared for, but all of the panty shots and the silly dog costume got on my nerves.  It didn’t help that I can’t stand Serina, and thought she was a waste of paper.  If the spoiled young woman can’t even take care of a puppy, I fail to see how she will ever be able to care of an infant.  I was so happy to see this particular storyline come to an end.

The rest of the volume was much more fun.  A large pet product company has approached Woofles for new product ideas.  This was much more entertaining.  With Lupin there to behave in unexpected ways, due mostly to his lack of training, the new gadgets are put through more abuse than the company could have imagined. 

This is Inubaka at it’s goofy best.  Because of the potential benefits, Show is totally onboard with Woofles’ crew coming up with some great pet product ideas, so there is a lot of pressure on everyone to brainstorm.  Only problem – most of them are sadly lacking in the creativity department.  While I wasn’t expecting much from anybody else, Teppei really disappointed me!  What a lame idea he came up with.  I know that part of brainstorming is throwing anything out on the table, but, really  Tepppei??  You couldn’t think of anything better than that??  You are supposed to be the smart one!

While I found parts of this volume a bit tedious, I am still looking forward to the next installment.  I am very, very curious to see what happens next as Woofles tries to partner up with big business.

Grade:  B-

Review copy purchased from Rightstuf.com