Beyond the Books ~ Interesting Posts Read Lately


Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted by Karen @ KissinBlueKaren. Each week features a new topic (mostly non-bookish). This meme is a fun, social weekly post.

This Week’s Topic:

What are some interesting posts you’ve read lately? 

I’m going to make my 3749238409th confession: I’m really bad about remembering posts. I have started having to bookmark things like crazy for posts with prompts like this.

One post I read recently was from Beth @ Fueled by Fiction. It was an old post I missed, but she recently mentioned it. The title caught my attention: Why People With Anxiety Make Hella Great Friends. With my recent diagnosis, I have embraced the fact that I have anxiety. Every single thing she listed about why people with anxiety make the greatest of friends (or people in general) is exactly right. I especially approve of the last item on her list. That has been me my entire life:

We’re hyper-vigilant and spend a lot of time pondering worst-case scenarios. Because of this, we’re often overly cautious.

I have tried until I am blue in the face sharing with my students and their parents the many benefits of reading, especially last year. This year is slightly better. When Rachel @ Confessions of a Book Geek posted about 8 Reasons Reading Is A Superpower! I fell in love with it. She simplified everything down and put in fun GIFs! I think I even reblogged her post.

This next one is actually a blogging tip from Karen @ Kissin Blue Karen. Back in November she shared Make Your Posts Pop With Hovertext. Of course because I am super lazy and have no time until summer, I haven’t checked it out yet and actually done it myself, but I have that post bookmarked!

Nereyda @ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite List shared her One Word for 2018. Her post is ALL about what The Man has been telling me in the last year and a half. Her word last year was STRONGER, and this year her word is ME. Everything she said is so perfect for what I also need to be doing every day for myself. Often I feel like women who are conscious and give no damns about their self-care are seen as high maintenance and even selfish at times. Honestly, at this point in my life, I don’t care if that’s how I’m perceived for going to the salon once a month or going on a mini shopping spree, taking an extra long shower or taking extra care with applying my makeup. I think we all need to practice better self-care. I know I need it.

Beyond the Books ~ Most Popular Posts


Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted by Karen @ KissinBlueKaren. Each week features a new topic (mostly non-bookish). This meme is a fun, social weekly post.

This Week’s Topic:

Most Popular Posts – Why do you think they got so much love? 

In order of views…

Top Ten Tuesday – Books for Readers Who Like Dead Poet’s Society

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros – Wonder

Book Review – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Book Review – One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

Book Review – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Book Review – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

How Dare You, Goodreads!

Teaser & Tuesday Intro – Somebody Like You

My Bullet Journal – Things That Didn’t Work

Book Review – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


It’s not surprise the Harry Potter reviews are popular. Everything HP is! A much-loved series of books. I think my post for readers who liked Dead Poet’s Society caught attention just because of the subject matter. It is a popular book and movie with older generations (meaning mine and older, younger ones aren’t in on it yet), but the themes found within the book are what resonate with so many.

Wonder was such a popular buzz book in 2017 that I think just the name alone attracted readers. I’m surprised that One Thousand White Women was so popular. I wouldn’t think it would be! My Goodreads post was full funny, and of course people take joy in finding out things that didn’t work out so well for others.


Upcoming Posts: 

January 18- List some interesting posts you have read lately (loved or hated)
January 25- Foods that remind you of childhood

February 1- Best Moments in Blogging
February 8- Romantic Movies/Shows
February 15- Blog(s) you read daily
February 22- Kids and Social Media

Beyond the Books ~ Blogging Goals for 2018


Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted by Karen @ KissinBlueKaren. Each week features a new topic (mostly non-bookish). This meme is a fun, social weekly post and I’m so glad that Karen has brought it back. I decided to join in and it turned out to be the week she discontinued it in 2016.

This Week’s Topic:

Blogging Goals for 2018



  1. Get my NetGalley percentage up to 20%
  2. Read 50 NetGalley books this year
  3. Listen to 8 audiobooks this year
  4. Complete 8 challenges this year



  1. Write 1 bookish discussion post per month
  2. Write 1 bullet journal post per month
  3. Use bullet journal weekly



Upcoming Prompts: 

January 11- List your most popular posts (why do you think they got so much love)
January 18- List some interesting posts you have read lately (loved or hated)
January 25- Foods that remind you of childhood

Challenges for 2018

This year I said I was going to par down my challenges, but this year I am actually doing the most challenges I’ve ever done since I started blogging five years ago. I wanted my focus this year to be more honed to addressing my NetGalley needs, so I found a few that will hold me more accountable to tackling that task. Then I threw in a few just for fun.

I’m really bad about linking up monthly or quarterly throughout the year. I don’t think I’ve ever kept up with that, so I am going to also work on that this year, too.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Goal: 50 books

I missed my 2017 goal by ONE book, so I might bump this back up to 52. I can’t decided yet.


Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

Goal: 26 books

I think this year might be my year! I spent the time to make a list for each letter of the alphabet.


A to Z Reading Challenge

Goal: 26 books

This one goes along with the Alphabet Soup Challenge. They’re both the same challenge, so why not?


Audiobook Challenge

Goal: 8 audiobooks

I met my goal of 6 audiobooks last year, so I am hoping to add a couple more to the list. I’m working up to eventually listening to one a month!


Bookish Resolutions Challenge


  • Get my NetGalley percentage up to 20%
  • Read 50 NetGalley books this year
  • Listen to 8 audiobooks this year
  • Complete 8 challenges this year
  • Write 1 bookish discussion post per month
  • Write 1 bullet journal post per month
  • Use bullet journal weekly


Broc’s Bookcase Bookopoly

Goal: Try new things!

OK. My goal in filling my board is 50-75%.


Discussion Challenge

Goal: 12 discussions

This is my first time participating in three years, so I’m a little nervous!


Full House Reading Challenge

Goal: Fill the squares

This is a just for fun challenge. If I can fill a square based on my what I’ve already chosen to read, great.


Mount TBR Reading Challenge

Goal: 60 books

This challenge is replacing Shelf Love and also goes hand in hand with my goal for NetGalley.


NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge

Goal: 50 books

This is my big goal of the year. Last year I hit 33, but I also wasn’t trying too terribly hard until the end of the year.


Reading Assignment Challenge

Goal: 12 books (2 per month)

This is a totally new to me challenge. I am joining to ensure I am reading at least two books from my list every month.


Bookish Bingo – Winter

Goal: Fill the squares

This is another just for fun challenge. I’ve been doing it for a couple years now.


Chapter Break BINGO

Goal: Fill the squares

I love participating in this monthly BINGO. It is just for fun and I’ve been playing for a year (or more?). You can use a book for more than one square, too!

COYER Winter Switch

Goal: 20 books

How Dare You, Goodreads!

I have been working furiously – well, as furious as a teacher who stays working at school until 8 pm (or later) most days and also is an events coordinator for the campus, oh and also is in charge of the hell that is yearbook (seriously, most ostracized group of students and teacher on any campus) – can. I was SO proud of myself for finishing two books over the Thanksgiving break and finishing a third earlier this week.

I knew that I was sitting at 44 books before finishing the one this week. That means I only have eight (really, seven) to go.


And then I actually LOOKED at my Goodreads Challenge tracker.


Do you know what that asshat said?!


“Three books behind schedule.”


How. Dare. You.

And then I quickly went through a series of emotions that looked something like…

All I can say about this is that Goodreads is being a dastardly “gentleman” and obviously lying, trying to pretend he is a slick, smooth snake charmer. Like, STFU Goodreads, you can’t math. I am NOT three books – or two, now – behind. Quit lying. Where’s yo momma at? I’m ’bout to get your momma on the phone. Let’s go. Where she at?


Do you ever feel pressured by your Goodreads tracker? 

Merry Mondays #6 – 2017 Resolutions


Merry Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Lillian @ Mom With a Reading Problem during the month of December to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season. Each week a different topic centered around the holidays will be discussed. This is my first year participating, and I’m trying to catch up on my missed Mondays.

Monday, January 2nd 

Today’s Topic: 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Has it come to this? The year I thought I’d get away…*sigh*. Apparently I did do NYRs last year. Whoooooops! Let’s revisit those and see how I did.

Resolutions from Last Year

Bookish & Bloggish

  • Read one book per week. While I didn’t read one book each week, I read an average of one book per week. 
  • Complete Alphabet Soup and NetGalley challenges.
  • Complete the 40 Book Challenge at school. (Ends in June) Ummm…I changed some of the categories and got close. 
  • Participate in quarterly BINGO type games. While I don’t fill in my card each month/quarter like I secretly hope, I enjoy playing and played all year!
  • Write one discussion post per month – so that means they have to be really thoughtful! Somewhere around June/July I completely lost motivation and creation for this. 
  • Link up weekly to the usual blog linkys. I didn’t keep up with this too well. :/ 

Personal Life

  • Say “NO” more often. While I am not directly telling people “no,” I do have a more cavalier, DGAF attitude and am refusing to add jobs or tasks to my plate. I even refused to be the walking encyclopedia for my brothers. I actually told them to “Google it.”  
  • Make more time for me. During the school year this is difficult, but it was what I was aiming for. I didn’t do so well on it. I only had real me time over summer.
  • Stay true to who I am. YEP!
  • Drink more water. Epic fail.
  • Take Baby on walks more frequently. I am a terrible mother.
  • Leave school by 5 pm at least two days a week. Nope.
  • Cook some of those delish meals from Pinterest. Ha!
  • Worry less. Stress less. This is a work in progress.
  • Write a novel with my good friend Pineapple? No progress.

Well, that was a resounding failure, right? Why do we do these things, again?

Hmmph. I don’t know. We like to build ourselves up and stay positive. I can respect that.

So, without further waylaying, here are the things I want to do better at this year. *Note, I make no promises! Just a promise to do better.

My 2017 Do Betters

Bookish & Bloggish

  • Meet my Goodreads goal of 52 books. This is an average of one book each week. (Super Secret Goal is 150. Shhhhh!)
  • Meet each of my other bookish challenges – for the first year ever.
    • Devote myself to increasing my NetGalley ratio by reading a minimum of 50 NG books. I am embarrassed to even say where I sit and how many books I have received.
    • Listen to an audiobook on average every other month.
    • Read a title beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
  • Continue to keep my blog updated. (Review Archive, Challenges, Monthly Chit Chats updated monthly)
  • Cross-post reviews to Goodreads and Amazon at the end of each month during monthly housekeeping.
  • Link up weekly to each meme’s linky. Link all posts to my Google+ group weekly.
  • Review my backlog of review books (ebooks) directly from authors. Only a handful come to mind.
  • I will TRY to stop grabbing freebies AND be super selective with new NetGalley offerings. I WILL read the synopsis each time and not fall for cover love.

Personal Life

  • Worry less. Stress less.
  • Leave school by 5 pm at least two days a week.
  • Say “NO” to new jobs or tasks pushed off on me by others. This primarily applies to my work life, but occasionally to my brothers.
  • Make more time for fun me things, like pleasure reading, dedicated Netflix binging (without multitasking), unfettered salon days.
  • Pay off all of my personal debt (excluding my car and student loan). Keep credit cards paid off monthly.
  • Work on my writing project. Perhaps in aims of working toward a writing partnership with my good friend Pineapple.
  • Finalize my curriculum brain child, Shark Week – a PBL, for national/international publication or sale.
  • Take Baby on walks more frequently.
  • Drink more water daily.
  • Lose 20 pounds – and keep it off!
  • Eat out “fast food” less. This requires me to be home and make a conscious effort to cook for both dinner and lunches.
  • Find new recipes to try. Also, maybe somewhere to stockpile easy access to recipes on phone? Any suggestions for a method?
  • Try new hair and makeup tips and tutorials.
  • Update my resume and apply for new jobs.
  • MOVE IN WITH THE MAN. Be a family under ONE roof! 🙂
  • Declutter. Papers, physical items, clothes, jewelry (?), email folders. Everything!

These are my “do better” resolutions for 2017. Do we have any in common? What are some of your top goals this year? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below. 

Beyond the Books


Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted by Karen @ KissinBlueKaren. Each week features a new topic (mostly non-bookish). This meme is a fun, social weekly post.

This Week’s Topic:

How did you do on your goals for 2016? What are you blogging goals for 2017?


My goals for 2016 were beyond what I think were reasonable. I try to overstretch myself and say I’ll somehow make up for it at some point in the year, and then life happens. Last year I selected 7 year-long challenges, including my Goodreads Challenge. I finished the year out by only meeting one of them: my Goodreads Challenge. I did less than 1/10 of my NetGalley Challenge, and about 2/5 on Backlist Books, Shelf Love, and TBR Challenges…which are all pretty much the same.

I failed. Hard. Core. 

No doubt. As the year wound down, I seriously thought about the challenges available and what I really want to accomplish and focus on for my reading. I decided to cut several challenges and try some new things.

For 2017, I am only focusing on four challenges (plus Goodreads, which at this point is a given). And they are…

audiobook-challenge-2017 shelf_love_2017_250x250 ng-ew-sign-up-post-square alphabet-soup

Goodreads: 52 Books

Alphabet Soup: 26 Books (A-Z titles)

Audiobook: 5-10 Books

NetGalley : 50 Books

Shelf Love: 51+ Books

I am also looking to participate in a new weekly meme feature. I had picked out this one, Beyond the Books, only to discover that Karen is discontinuing it! 😦 So…I’m still looking for something similar to this.

My 2017 Challenges

FB Photo_Mexican

First: Nicole has put together a comprehensive list of 2017 Reading and Blogging Challenges and A Novel Challenge is dedicated solely to challenges if you’re looking for something new or different.

I am changing things up for 2017. For 2016 I stayed with nearly all of the same challenges, but I have decided to change things up just a bit. Deciding on challenges is REALLY hard to do because in all honesty I want to do as many of them as I can because I am a Type A, super over-achiever. Realistically, though, that’s not possible and I feel that in the last two years I have significantly failed at some of them. So I had to stare hard at Nicole’s comprehensive list of 2017 challenges and give some the evil eye, trying to put themselves on my list so willy-nilly like they were.


These are the challenges I am committing to for the new year:

alphabet soup.jpg

Besides Goodreads (which I will do this year), this is the longest-running challenge I have participated in. Has it really been that long already? Wow!

The goal of this challenge is read one book that has a title starting with each letter of the alphabet. Each letter counts as one spoonful, and by the end of the year you want your soup bowl to be full of alphabet letters! You do not have to review for this challenge.

Goal: 26 Books – A through Z
(Unlike most challenges, this challenge does not have pre-set levels to choose from. It’s take all the letters!)

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book


The goal of this challenge is to read books that are in your personal library that were obtained before this year. You would think this is an easy task, but when there are so many new and pretty books being released each day, you have to make a concentrated effort to read the oldies.

Goal: 51+ Books – My shelves and I are going steady
While I only achieved about 1/2 of my goal this year, I’m still going to do it again! And I’m still setting my goal just as high! (This is also an incentive for me to get on that NetGalley challenge!)

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Chapter Break & Second Run Reviews


The goal of this challenge is to read galleys you received from NetGalley or Edelweiss so you can get to the desired 80% review ratio. They can be older galleys or brand new offerings! There is also a monthly link-up for reviews.

Goal: 50+ Books – Gold
Last year I failed my goal so hardcore it was beyond embarrassing. You’d think that would teach me a lesson! And I learned that I need to get my ass in gear! Seriously, what’s the deal, girl? I am keeping my goal the same this year even though I met less than 1/5 of my goal last year. I’m seriously eyeing this challenge for 2017.

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Bookish Things & More

The goal of this challenge is to listen to audiobooks. Plain and simple, easy peasy.

I started listening to audiobooks in 2015 and it was few and far between, and I tried to make a bit more of an effort last year. So why not join an audiobook challenge? Hello?

Goal: 5-10 books – Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this)

I listened to only four audiobooks this year, so I’m going to try to listen to at least one about every other month.

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Hot Listens & Caffeinated Book Reviewer

And these are the four year-long challenges I am focusing on in 2017. I’ve parred down my list quite a bit even from just last year’s challenges. I might still be struggling to get through just these, so it’s better to hone my attention on just these four. I will still be participating in seasonal challenges, like COYER, Chapter Break’s monthly BINGO, and Pretty Deadly Reviews’ seasonal BINGO. I do those just for fun!


Which challenges are you planning on participating in for 2017?

Summertime Challenge: Challenge Wrap Up

desert CAMPING

This is a summer challenge hosted by Parajunkee. It runs through the month of June and has weekly link-ups.

Challenge Wrap Up 

I have enjoyed participating in Parajunkee’s Summertime Challenge so much. This month has not been very productive for me in the least, especially since this should be my most productive month of the entire year. Indeed, that is far from the case, but I feel like I was productive in other ways than catching up on reading and scheduling reviews in advance.

This month I discovered some creativity lurking somewhere in my depths with some of my posts for this challenge, like my favorite things about summer and my other hobbies.

While this challenge hasn’t helped me get ahead with scheduling posts, it’s made me relax and take a break and appreciate summer for all that it is.


Summertime Challenge: City Summer Spotlight

desert CAMPING

This is a summer challenge hosted by Parajunkee. It runs through the month of June and has weekly link-ups.

City Summer Spotlight

In the summer my hometown hosts an annual festival that used to be one of the highlights of the year. In recent years the City Council opted to move it up a month to coincide with the famous Luling Watermelon Thump, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. Many native residents are convinced the city is trying to get rid of the festival. It is no longer the citywide celebration that it used to be, but it is one that I have attended every year of my life – and while in the womb! Last Saturday was the the 47th annual Western Days Festival, and I have attended 28 of those.

Western Days is a local community event that runs for an entire week the fourth week in June. Earlier in the week the city holds several events that finally culminate on Saturday. On Tuesday the Tiny Tot and Miss Western Days Pageants are held. On Thursday the carnival comes to town. The Tennis Court Dance is held on Friday night.

On Saturday a Grand Parade rides through Main Street, where Miss Western Days and her entire court reign. The parade also features all types of entries from floats, classic cars, hot rods, horseback riding groups, restored tractors and more. The parade usually lasts until about noon. Then the crowds head down to the park for a wealth of vendors, concessions, sand volleyball games, softball tournaments, a petting zoo, and other activities for the kids, including a rock climbing wall.

This is also the weekend when all of the classes get together for reunions and reminisce. The elderly always have joint reunions at a local business location to accommodate for the heat, and the younger classes (40 years and below) host their own reunions on their own, typically at someone’s house or property.

For my five year reunion, my class had small kiddie pools and lawn chairs strewn out on the back of a flat-bed 18 wheeler.

Below are some pictures from previous Western Days Festivals.