November Monthly Chit Chat

November News

First piece of news: CANCER FREE!

My dreaded biopsy results (after being told an additional test found my cells to be worsening) came back negative. I still have to go in every 6 months for monitoring purposes, which has been my life for the last five years.

I seem to have rekindled a love with my Kindle. The poor thing has been battered and beaten over these last three years. It’s hard to believe it has been that long already, but the magnetized thingymabobbers in my case have gone haywire. This was the original case I bought, so it was high time I got a new one! So I did. ūüôā

Life has been on the fly. School is rolling along, with or without me. Baby has fallen in love with her new friend, Lucy. You know how in The Wizard of Oz they followed the Yellow Brick Road? Well, with Baby and Lucy it is follow the Lucy’s Way Road. It was hard to leave on Monday after the long Thanksgiving break. Baby hid in the couch corner behind the man and didn’t want to leave. When I finally got her in the car, she was very mad that we were leaving her Lucy. It is such a beautiful thing to see her connecting so well with another dog when she’s been an “only child” for so long.

Winter has officially set in here in Texas, and I am dropping into my SAD period (seasonal affective disorder). It is high time for a beach vacation!

I also almost stepped on this bugger the day before Thanksgiving while coming out of the garage, and he was ANGRY! The man’s PTSD and constant scanning is the only thing that saved me. Then the next day, the same thing happened going out the back door (but a grass snake, I think).


The joke that I am The Snake Hunter is not funny anymore….this makes three…in one month…God is taking this joke way too far. ūüôā

November Reviews

November was better than October (4 reviews), but it was still on the light side for reviews. I also narrowed down my review template even further, so check out the December reviews for a new and improved layout.

November Reads



Noteworthy Posts

At the beginning of the month, I talked about Christmas Wish Lists since the ever-increasingly craze of Black Friday (should I say Wednesday?) was upon us.

About halfway through the month I decided to focus on one thing I am very thankful for: friendships. I took a look at several of my Favorite Friendships over the years from books.

On Thanksgiving, I paid homage to a Thankful Thanksgiving.

Challenges Updates

I am making progress quite a bit with so many of my challenges, but there is one I really want to complete by the end of the year and I really want to work on my NetGalley challenge.

Goodreads  126/52 books

NetGalley¬†¬†18/50 books Let’s just say I fail. Right now.

Shelf Love  72/40 books 

TBR Pile 78/50 books 

Story Sprites¬†– Round 2¬†— 8/20¬†squares¬†I am making big gains with this one! I’m still worried I’m going to miss some.¬†

Alphabet Soup¬†¬†—¬†Still no progress. I think I’m done with it for this year. I’m saving my N book for next year. I already marked down the review on my calendar for January, so I will do it!¬†

Book Blog Discussion Challenge¬†—¬†COMPLETED!

December Reads

November was an OK reading month. I had expected to get more read, but with being out of town each weekend, there’s only so much time. I look forward to December being even better! The man will be gone for half the month visiting his family for the holidays, so I plan to get a lot of reading done.¬†These are my most immediate books for review; most¬†are for review in December and the last few are for review in January. I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg with any Christmas reads yet, so those may come as surprise reviews in December! ūüôā






I’m giving away one ebook of Five Out of the Dark (Book #1) by Holli Anderson!

The giveaway starts today and ends 12/13.

Open internationally.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

AND check back on Thursday for another FIVE giveaway! 



October Monthly Chit Chat

October News


This month has been rough, and all of it is because of work. I am in a constant state of exhaustion and the Laws of the Universe stand against me. I cannot get caught up in anything, let alone get ahead. (Except for my Blog Ahead Challenge. More on that below!)

I have also been out of town every weekend all month, about an hour away from home. I’m actually in my old end-of-college-days stomping grounds. Baby has loved the change and her new boyfriend…who feeds her ice cream! How can I ever beat that?? ūüôā

Oh, and I also gained a part-time house guest. My friend from waaaaaay out of town is staying with me a few days each week because she got a job nearby!

October Reviews

I’m not going to lie. October sucked all around for me. I had very little time or energy to do any reading after all the hullabaloo at school each week. I got more read while I was away on the weekends than I did during the weeks for the whole month!

October Reads

I do not feel accomplished whatsoever. I felt like I should have read so much more.


Noteworthy Posts


October was my best month EVER in terms of traffic. I thought I had hit gold when December and January were competitive, but they have nothing on this past month. I am astonished because I feel like October was just a mush of nothingness. Thank you for visiting!

Does anyone else ever feel like that? I don’t feel like I got much of anything accomplished in the noteworthy posts¬†category, but here’s what I had:

My queries on How You Archive¬†Reviews¬†was a pretty big hit. It feels like it’s been so long I’ve already forgotten.

My other big post of the month was my segue and recognition of the changing seasons. Y’all, I hate the cold. And the cold really hates my body. My left knee gets stuck, like a hinge, in the cold. My back might as well be a frozen solid iceberg. Even my front door freezes shut, thanks to an original 1932 locking mechanism! But I’ve started coming around, and I had an under-appreciated post about fall and all of your favorite fall things. If you’re so inclined to share your love of pumpkin spice lattes and scarves and boots and cool weather and whatnot, check out the Favorite Fall Fascinations.

Challenges Updates

I am making progress quite a bit with so many of my challenges, but there is one I really want to complete by the end of the year and I really want to work on my NetGalley challenge.

Goodreads  118/52 books

NetGalley¬†¬†17/50 books Still 17. I’m working on the 18th! I need to get myself together on this one.

Shelf Love  71/40 books 

TBR Pile 77/50 books 

Story Sprites¬†– Round 2¬†— 3/20¬†squares¬†I went looking for this one a month after it started, so I didn’t get a good jump start on it. I think this one is going to be challenging just to accomplish one path!¬†

Alphabet Soup¬†¬†—¬†I¬†have found which book I’m going to read for N. Now I just need to work on Q. Suggestions welcome!¬†

Book Blog Discussion Challenge¬†24/24 posts I finished my year-long discussion challenge two months early! … Now what?

November Reads

October was a horrible reading month for me. I hope November proves better in that department. Here’s what I roughly have planned to read this month:


September Monthly Chit Chat

September News

September flew by! I seriously don’t know where the time has gone. Some important things happened in September. First, I keep forgetting to announce¬†that Baby and the house are flea-free! I’ve been meaning to…for weeks. Oops.

Second, I was diagnosed with stage 0 cervical cancer. I am hopeful and positive because on the cancer spectrum stage 0 is the best to have. ¬†It’s going to be another new, maybe difficult journey.

I got a lot of books in September. I bought some with free Amazon moneys, bought some at the Texas Teen Book Festival, and bought some more at my school’s Scholastic book fair. I am set in book buying for the year.

September Reviews

September shows just how much reading I accomplished in August, which was not much given all the time I spent at school preparing for the year and running the first two weeks. My students think I now live there and that there is a hidden bed that folds out of my cabinet.

September Reads

I feel like I got a lot accomplished in September, given everything else going on and the time constraints I’ve been under due to school.


Noteworthy Posts

In September I went to the Celtic Music Festival, which I talked about here, and I also went to the Texas Teen Book Festival for the first time ever! How cool is it that I went with my school’s librarian and my book friend? ūüôā

I’m starting to pay a little bit of attention to my stats and correlate to the content I’m putting out, particularly with Thoughts on Thursdays.

My Top¬†Ten Series I Haven’t Finished¬†was a popular post in September.

With the start of school I was inspired to know what y’all thought about Required Readings, and I was a little opinionated about Book Boyfriends.

Challenges Updates

I am making progress quite a bit with so many of my challenges, but there is one I really want to complete by the end of the year and I really want to work on my NetGalley challenge.

Goodreads  115/52 books

NetGalley  17/50 books 

Shelf Love  70/40 books 

TBR Pile 76/50 books 

Beat the Heat —¬†OVER¬†9/8 books¬†

Story SpritesOVER 15/20 squares The only path I completed was the pink (easy) path. I was so close to completing three others with only needing one more book with each.

Alphabet Soup¬†¬†—¬†I still need book titles that start with N and Q…I just need to go through my Kindle and find something.

Book Blog Discussion Challenge 21/24 posts 

October Reads

This is a new section that I am incorporating into the Monthly Chit Chat. I wanted to frame myself for preparing for the new month and what I anticipate I’ll read.

In October, I am anticipating reading at least these four books:

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August Monthly Chit Chat

August News

Our family has grown by six – yes, SIX – in the last month and a half. My brother and cousin both got married – to a pair of sisters – who each had two children of their own. It is hard to imagine these boys – whose diapers I’ve changed – married. Married with kids. And then my brother reported to Louisiana for a month and received the following award from his unit:


Yes, that is his face. Yes, that his his collection of cans from the one month he was in Louisiana. This fool is married. He bought a house. Didn’t even know his address. Heaven help us.

August is the official back-to-school month and I am proud to say I did not spend hardly any money on my classroom this year spent only more than half of my car payment on my classroom. The teachers have returned en masse and we all have the first week under our belts. But while I was celebrating a new year, I was also mourning the loss of my grandfather, whose funeral was the second day of school. Even though the year started off in a frazzled state, I am hopeful that this year will be a really good year.

Remember on that one FFF this past summer spring¬†that asked about a recurring dream? Yeah, well, not too far into July I had one of them. Except this time there were TWO ex’s in it, one recent and one from several years ago. Read that FFF post and you’ll know the rest of the story.

I also decided to change a few things around in the Monthly Chit Chat to capture better what I’ve actually done in the previous month, so some of the titles below have changed!

Noteworthy Posts

I want to say in the last two weeks or so I have been paying attention to the numbers. I know, it’s a love-hate relationship. I typically completely ignore them. August was my BEST MONTH EVER since I’ve started blogging! I thought I hit gold when January was the best, but that has been surpassed with 1,494 page views¬†in August. Wowzers.

I feel like the best post all month long was my Adolescent 101 Syllabus. I spent a godawful amount of time planning out that post and writing it. Other noteworthy posts that garnered plenty of attention were:

I have to shed some light on another event that was going around last month. It Starts at Midnight, The Thousand Lives and Bookshelf Reflections¬†all shared Shattering Stigmas post and it was phenomenal. Each posts focuses on something a little different, but they all encompass the focus on shattering the stigmas of mental illness. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go take a look. It is great insight into mental illness and the stigmas attached to them.


How in the world did I write NINE reviews for last month? Besides my children’s book streak, I think this is the most that’s ever posted in a month. I should look into that, huh?

Reading Challenges

Goodreads  108/52 books

NetGalley  16/50 books 

Shelf Love  68/40 books 

TBR Pile 74/50 books 

Beat the Heat —¬†NEW! I completed 6 of my 8 last year, so I’m shooting for 8 again.¬†

Story SpritesNEW!¬†11/20¬†squares I don’t know if I’m going to get all of these!¬†

Alphabet Soup¬†¬†—¬†I only need book titles that start with N and Q!¬†

Book Blog Discussion Challenge 20/24 posts 

Reading Updates



July Monthly Chit Chat

July News

My family kicked off July with a new baby and my brother came home from Hawaii for two weeks!¬†Unfortunately, we¬†didn’t get to keep the baby – my aunt was a surrogate carrier for a friend who could not carry to term.

I received news back from my June surgery – everything was benign!

I also took the plunge and became a Pink Drink-er! I have started drinking Plexus Slim to help regulate my blood sugar and to lose weight! If you would like to check out the products, have heard of Plexus, or you’re interested, I can help you out! I am excited to start a new journey to a new me and share my own success story.


Most Popular Posts

Other Posts of Note

Tours & Blasts

Reading Challenges

First, I’m actually sad that there is no summer BINGO series. I was checking back every day at¬†Great Imaginations¬†to look for the new BINGO card and get cranking on it. ūüė¶ BUT! I discovered there is something similar – maybe better – that they have started instead called Story Sprites.

Goodreads¬†Goal Met.¬†It’s the end of July and I have read a total of 100¬†books this year, far surpassing my goal of 52.

NetGalley¬†¬†Progress Made. I’ve completed a total of¬†14¬†NetGalley books. My goal is 50. I’m wondering if I’m going to meet it by the end of the year.

Shelf Love¬†Goal Met. I’ve read 66¬†books already on my shelves so far this year.

TBR Pile¬†Goal Met. I’ve read 71¬†books on my TBR by the end of June.

Story SpritesNEW! This is a brand new challenge taking place of the BINGO challenges. Although I miss those, this one sounds just as interesting to complete. There are only 20 squares, and I have completed 9 already.

Alphabet Soup¬†¬†On Track.¬†I’m down two!¬†N and Q titles are still needed.

Book Blog Discussion Challenge¬†—¬†On Track.¬†I¬†am preparing for September discussions.

Reading Updates

I think this has been the most successful reading months of the entire year. I read THIRTEEN books! Look for most of these reviews in August.





June Monthly Chit Chat

June News

Y’all, life is expensive! And I don’t even have kids yet. I’ve really been thinking lately about costs of items and services in our country. No wonder so many people are in such debt! I am proud to say, however, that I am slowly making a dent in my debt – school, car, and personal. I cannot wait until it’s gone, but now with paying for my surgery…girl be broke!

The month rounded out with teaching summer school, my surgery, and finally some days off. It was so nice sleeping in, Netflix binging, reading and writing for the blog. So nice. 

I have been away and quite neglectful the last three¬†months or so. I’ve also been neglectful of my plants, but thanks to all of the Texas rains I could be. The blog, though, is another matter. Is it possible to be in a real life slump? That’s kind of how I have felt. I have been putting it off and doing the bare minimum to keep it functional.

I am hoping I am out of that funk, and back on track. I got myself some new planning materials and I’m getting into the habit of planning ahead again- that conscious effort of doing so – and trying to keep myself on a blogging and reading schedule.

Most Popular Posts

Other Posts of Note

Tours & Blasts

Reading Challenges

Goodreads¬†Goal Met. At the end of June, I’ve read 87¬†books this year.

NetGalley¬†— ¬†Goal Not Met. I’ve completed 4¬†NetGalley books.¬†Yeah. Basically no progress.

Shelf Love¬†Goal Met. I’ve read 64¬†books already on my shelves so far this year.

TBR Pile¬†Goal Met. I’ve read 69¬†books on my TBR by the end of June.

BINGO Goal Not Met.  Final tally came in at 18 of the 24 squares.

Alphabet Soup¬†¬†On Track.¬†I still haven’t gotten any further on this one.¬†N, Q, U, and Y titles are still needed.

Book Blog Discussion Challenge¬†—¬†On Track.¬†I¬†worked myself through July discussion posts and am preparing for August!

Reading Updates


May Monthly Chit Chat

May News

Seriously. It has been that crazy.

I talked about the flooding in Texas in my Sunday Post, and you can read more about it in this article to get better insight.

School is *almost* over! However, not for me. I signed up to teach summer school, which starts next week. Blaaaaahhh! I know, I know. Stupidest idea ever…but not for my bills. ūüôā I hope it’ll be fun and a great learning experience for the kids.

May was a whirl. So many things going on at school, and the kids were just done. Thankfully book clubs held their attention spans (at least for some), and all the projects and grades have gone in. There were some who were stressing and down to the wire at the last minute, and I was definitely stressed all last week.

We are winding down the year. Three more school days, two with kids!

Most Popular Posts

Other Posts of Note

Tours & Blasts

Reading Challenges

Goodreads¬†— I have surpassed my goal of 52 books, but I’m still keeping track. At the end of May I clocked in at 83¬†books.

NetGalley¬†— ¬†I’ve completed 3 – about to be 4 –¬†out of 50 NetGalley books. It’s pathetic, I know. This summer I’m going to be blowing through these. I want all of them read and reviewed. I feel like it’s been a weight burdening me down.

Shelf Love¬†— I surpassed this one, too. I’m going for double or nothing. My original goal was 31-40 books, so I’m shooting for 80! I met my goal in April! May brought my total to 64¬†books.

TBR Pile¬†— I also met my TBR Pile goal. I’ve surpassed my goal of 50 books and finished 69¬†books in May.

BINGO¬†— I have completed 13¬†of the 24 squares, and I am listening to Great Expectations on audiobook for my Classic square!

Alphabet Soup¬†¬†— I still haven’t gotten any further on this one.¬†N, Q, U, and Y titles are still needed.

Book Blog Discussion Challenge¬†— I¬†am winding down on this one. I thought my April and May discussions were good topics, but now I’ve kind of hit a dead end. I’ll be turning to some of the suggested topics for future discussions.

Reading Updates