Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bout of Books 14: It's a Wrap!

Another Bout of Books has come to an end. I extended it out for an extra day, hanging out in the tent for one last night, but now the tent is on its way down until the next read-a-thon. It's a little bit of a sad day.

Darian returned home Sunday night and managed to get himself a little more reading in before the read-a-thon came to a close.

Darian's Stats:

Currently Reading:

Minutes Read: 214 minutes

Pages Read: 143 pages

Books Read: 0 books

His participation in Bout of Books, though minimal, got him away from his tablet for a little while, so I'm calling it a success.

Elle's Stats:

Currently Reading:

This book is really weird, but totally awesome. I'm speeding through it.

I managed to meet the majority of my goals and I'm pretty stoked with my progress. I skipped out on the mini-challenges this time simply because I wasn't really feeling it and preferred spending my time with my nose in a book, but some of them were pretty creative and I enjoyed seeing other people's involvement. I still have quite a bit of blog reading to get caught up on, so I'm looking forward to hearing about even more great books and Bout of Books experiences.

Books Read:

I completed three ARCs during Bout of Books and am a good portion through the fourth. With three more books out of the TBR and in the "read" pile for this year, I'm calling this one a total win. Bout of Books never disappoints!

If you didn't participate this time, but want to get in on the action, the next Bout of Books is scheduled for January 4th - January 10th of next year. It's a long time to wait, but there will be other read-a-thons in the meantime. Next up: 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bout of Books 14: Progress Report #3

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It's a week long read-a-thon that begins at 12:01am on Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever timezone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog
-From the Bout of Books team.

Only one day left for Bout of Books. I hate that these weeks seem to go by so quickly. I've been getting some decent reading in, but not as much as I originally planned. (Isn't that always the case?) This was partly due to a week that filled up with other random "have to's", but also partially due to the fact that I passed out on my couch this afternoon and inadvertently took a three hour nap. Whoops.

I'm back in the tent for the evening, nice and cozy in the blankets. The lantern is up and the laptop is plugged in. After this post, it's back to reading until I can't keep my eyes open any longer.

Darian provided me with some updated stats before he took off for his mom's house this morning, so here's where he sits.

Darian's Stats:

Currently Reading:

He tells me that he's almost finished with it, so he must at least like it somewhat.

Total Pages Read: 76 pages

Total Minutes Read: 111 minutes

Total Books Finished: 0 books

He'll be back tomorrow evening and will probably get in another little chunk of reading before all is said and done. His tablet seems to be a pretty big time suck so we've had to have some chats about being responsible with his time use so that his dad and I don't have to lay down the law and restrict his privileges. Teenagers...

Elle's Stats:

Currently Reading:

I should be able to finish this one up by tomorrow. It's pretty good. Sad and a little depressing, but good.

As you can see, I'm not doing so awesome on the mini-challenges. For some reason, I just haven't been feeling them this time. Oh well. I'm not going to force myself to do them, so I suppose those will just be goals left unmet. That's the best thing about Bout of Books. I just let my reading do what my reading does. Low pressure.

I've learned that I quite like my tent living situation this week. If it wasn't for having to trek across the lawn every time I need to use the bathroom and the fact that it gets crazy hot in the mid-afternoon, it would be perfection. Perhaps this is a sign that I would enjoy living in one of those mobile "tiny" houses that have become so popular. Pretty sure Collin would divorce me if I tried to make him life that lifestyle...

How is your Bout of Books going? I've been awful about checking up on everyone else's progress, but I promise I'll make the rounds in the next week or so. I've just been enjoying my isolated little cave (other than hanging out at the two Bout of Books Twitter chats). Sometimes I'm just a little antisocial.

Now, I think it's time for me to get back to the books. Happy reading!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bout of Books 14: Progress Report #2

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It's a week long read-a-thon that begins at 12:01am on Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever timezone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog
-From the Bout of Books team.

Happy Friday everyone! I had a couple of busy days and my planned lazy week of nothing but reading has turned into everything but. Apparently I'm not allowed to have time off.

But...there has been some (and will still be more) reading. I'm not giving up. The tent has been set up in the yard, complete with super awesome air mattress and cozy bedding. You've already seen the fantabulous setup if you follow me on Instagram. I even attached a lantern to the ceiling so I have light for the dark hours late at night. Oh...and I have an extension cord running out across the yard, so I am fully powered for all of my electronics. I did spent the night out there last night and it was awesome. I plan on repeating through the weekend, save for mid-afternoon reading since it's a sweltering mess in my yard for a few hours in the middle of the day. 

Currently Reading: 

Both of these books are ARCs. I started reading Things Unsaid after I finished my amazing success with Everything, Everything. (Seriously...read it.) Unfortunately, Things Unsaid gave me a bit of trouble, so I have put it aside for now and started reading The Color of Our Sky last night. The plan is to finish The Color of Our Sky and then give Things Unsaid a second chance. 

Being a mood reader, I can't just bail on a book without at least factoring in the possibility that the problem is me. However, if it doesn't work on a second pass, then the book in question becomes an unfortunate DNF. Here's hoping that will not be the case.

Remember how on Sunday I revamped my reading list thanks to receiving a bunch of new ARCs? Ya...well...this week another NINE have come through. Yes...NINE. I'm drowning in beautiful, beautiful books. (Figuratively...they're mostly digital copies.)

Added to the list:

1. Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley
2. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
3. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (YES!!!)
4. The Shore by Sara Taylor (Double YES!!!)
5. State of Grace by Hilary Badger
6. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (Woohoo!! Shaina!)
7. The Girl Without a Name by Sandra Block
8. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
9. The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by ScottWilbanks

Obviously, I need to step up my reading game.

Darian's Stats:

Yes...Darian has been doing some reading. He's only doing a short term amount of participation since he's going to go hang out at his mom's house for the weekend, but some reading is always better than none. 

He didn't set any goals this time around, so it's just boring ol' stats for him.

Currently Reading:

It took me a while to get him talked into this series. We'll see how it goes. He's hit those teenage years where things have to be cool, so this might be too girly for him. Who knows. I'm hoping the werewolf/vampire/warlock components keep his interest because Cassandra Clare is freaking awesome.

Total Pages Read: 42 pages

Total Minutes Read: 50 minutes

Elle's Stats

I did set goals, so I get the fancy graphic. Here's how I'm doing...

I'm slacking a little in the mini-challenge department. Here's hoping that I can get my act together for the weekend. I'm on track to get more than halfway through my minutes and pages goals this evening.

For those of you participating in Bout of Books (or just those of you who love reading), the second Twitter chat is tomorrow morning at 10am CST. These are notoriously crazy and fun. Come join in by using the hashtag #boutofbooks for the hour. It won't disappoint!

Now...if you'll excuse me...there is serious reading to be done!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bout of Books 14: Progress Report #1

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It's a week long read-a-thon that begins at 12:01am on Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever timezone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog
-From the Bout of Books team.

Well hi there! Welcome to day two of Bout of Books 14! The reading has commenced with great success. I took part in the most fantastic Twitter chat ever last night and we had a marvelous time. I'm actually still sorting through the reading suggestions and bulking up my TBR...because we all know how much I need that (sarcasm is dripping heavily here).

I was surprised by the announcement earlier this evening that Darian will be joining in on the festivities. He has no stats right now, but at some point he apparently plans to put down the tablet and start reading. He starts school tomorrow so I wasn't sure he'd be up for it. I have a feeling he was swayed by the fact that he usually gets to eat a pile of junk during read-a-thons. He's also increasingly psyched for the tent now that he found out we have an air mattress on the way. Super hardcore reader guy.

As for me, reading is well underway. I have a nice pile of ARCs that I'll be working on--quite a few that I'm overly excited for. It gives me very high hopes that reading will be a mega successful endeavor this week. Yay!

Currently Reading :

This book is unbelievably awesome thus far. I'm totally loving it. The characters give me a bit of a Rainbow Rowell vibe and there is a touch of an American Beauty undertone for me in Olly's family situation. It's reading like a breeze and it totally gives me all the feels.


I'm changing things up just a smidge from previous Bout of Books read-a-thons. (I also discovered about an hour ago that this is my FIFTH time participating, not the fourth as I had previously thought.) I'm tracking things as I have in the past, but I'm using a fun new graphic.

Because...well...why not?

I'm not going to lie...I'm kind of happy about this.

I haven't done any of the mini-challenges yet, but that's just because I haven't really been home today. This will likely change tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm getting back to my wicked awesome book.

How is your Bout of Books so far?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bout of Books 14: Start Your Engines!

Tonight at midnight marks the start of Bout of Books 14! (I'm in the mountain time zone so I still have a couple hours until it's official over here.)

I finished up my summer courses with a seven hour streak of finals yesterday and now I have a week of relative down time before I start the serious craziness that will be my 16 credit fall semester. (Yes, I have officially lost my mind.) Obviously BoB is landing at the PERFECT time. I even have a pretty light week work wise. It's gonna rock.

I do have to work a pretty full day tomorrow, but after that it's mostly just gonna be a whole lot of me bonding with my Nook. The plan is to put up the tent at some time later in the week and spend some lazy reading time out in the yard. It's super smoky outside since our entire freaking state is apparently on fire, so I haven't quite decided which day that will be. I just took Shaina's advice and bought an air mattress on Amazon. It should be here Wednesday, so that night is a likely candidate. (Great idea by the way Shaina. I got a screaming deal and I'm stoked.)

In terms of reading I'm somewhat flying by the seat of my pants, but realized earlier today that I have a fairly large handful of ARCs in my possession that require reading. I thought I only had about four. Turns out, I have nine (with at least another three somewhere in the custody of the postal service). So...I will be making a valiant attempt to read a nice handful of them. On the agenda (in no particular order...and with no promise that there won't be a John Green novel shoved somewhere in the midst):

1. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
2. The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi
3. The Color of Water in July by Nora Carroll
4. Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul
5. Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer
6. Made with Love by M.K. Shaddix
7. The King's Assassin by H.L. Wampler
8. Finding Love in a Coffee Shop by Jordan Lynde
9. Reasons to Love a Nerd Like Me by Becky Jerams

This is an amendment of my original plan, but I'm keeping the books from my earlier list on deck for substitution as needed. I'm a horrible mood reader, so I need options. Potential stand-ins:

1. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
2. Splintered by A.G. Howard
3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
4. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
5. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
6. Paper Towns by John Green

I'm getting a little wound up for things already. That's going to make it a bit tough to fall asleep tonight, which is seriously unfortunate since I have to be at work bright and early tomorrow.

I'm planning posts near the end (or very early beginning since I tend to post after midnight) of at least every other day. The first one will likely be late tomorrow night. I'm so excited for Bout of Books! It's one of my favorite times of the year!

Monday, August 10, 2015


It's a quiet week here at the house, relatively speaking.

Darian is at Grandma's for his annual summer week with her. Collin is in Montana teaching some medical training at a wind farm. So it's just me and the animals for a few days. The good news is that the timing is pretty much perfect because this week is the last week of my summer courses and things are going to be crazy.

Watching :

Before Collin left yesterday, we had a little bit of together time. We have a tradition that at least twice a year we watch my favorite movie Love, Actually together. (I think it has become one of his favorites as well). It had been a while, so we cuddled up on the bed and watched it on Saturday night. It was really quite nice.

Reading :

It's just been a whole lot of academic reading over here for the past few days. But better things are on the horizon!

I recently got a digital ARC of Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything. I am SO excited to start this book. As soon as I am done with this semester, I'm diving in.

Listening :

I got speakers for my office computer last week! Yay! The Spotify playing has resumed. Among the fun ones playing on my list... Joywave's "Now".

Learning :

I've discovered that I actually quite like linguistics. Since the English major that I'm going for has a slot for emphasis, I have been toying with the idea of changing that emphasis from creative writing to linguistics. I think I'll probably take another linguistics course to fill some of my necessary upper division credits and see how I feel. The good news is that I'm also fairly decent at it. That's a change from my first degree in biology, where those classes were always the most difficult for me and the hardest fought grades.

Making :

Today I did a crap ton of food prep. I started the 21 Day Fix (it's a workout plan by BeachBody -- the same company that does Insanity and P90x). I'm not historically big on plans like this, but after gaining 25 pounds since our wedding two years ago, I've pretty much had it with my ever expanding waistline and thighs.

I picked up a ton of good fruits and veggies this morning. I then spent a few hours getting things chopped and divided, cooked some chicken, roasted some sweet potatoes, and cooked brown rice, lentils, and quinoa. Things are all bagged or in Tupperware in the fridge so that portioning out will be easy for the next week or so. Doing this stuff ahead of time is pretty much the only way to ensure that I'll have a lunch made and won't be tempted to eat out on the days I work.

Thinking :

I cannot tell you how happy I will be when I finish up this semester. The last seven weeks have been intense. Last week was probably the worst one. Working five full days and having things to do during my evenings really didn't leave a ton of time for school work. When each class requires about 3-4 hours of dedication each day, that can be a bit of a problem. There were more nights that I went to bed after 2am than there were nights when I went to bed before then. Not cool.

Feeling :

My thighs are on freaking fire. Seriously. I knew I was out of shape, but holy heck. I did my first workout this morning (it's 30 minutes every day) and I have been hobbling around ever since. I'm a little bit worried about what things are going to be like for me tomorrow. Even worse...what kind of shape am I going to be in when I have to go to work on Wednesday? Oy...

Wanting / Needing :

I both want and need to start going to bed earlier at night. I'm totally drained. So...I think I'm going to have to overhaul my daily routine in a few weeks. I say a few weeks because my next semester starts on the week of the 24th. I know that trying to restructure right now will be completely worthless since I'll just have to do it again once classes start. Either way...the goal is to start having lights out by no later than midnight. We'll see how that goes...

Loving :

I'm enjoying that the weather has gotten a little cooler around here. We've been sitting in the mid to upper 80's for the last week or so and it's heaven, especially since our air conditioning is kaput. It's quite lovely to not be sitting in my house sweating all evening. I'm hoping that the 100 degree heat of the earlier summer months is now completely behind us. Come on fall!

Planning :

We've been talking about a few trips lately. I desperately need to get out of town. We never went on a summer vacation trip, so we've been working on getting a plan for our fall vacation (the week of Thanksgiving). We have a general plan, but I'm not jinxing it before we get things lined up and get a little closer.

I think Collin & I may go out of town for a few days in September for my birthday and our anniversary. We have to line up his mom to come stay with Darian since school will be in full swing, but we've been talking about heading up to Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. It's loosely on our five-year plan to move up there after Darian graduates high school, so this is going to be a small test run to make sure we really do like the area (and the weather) as much as we think we do. (And yes...I am aware of the whole crazy earthquake/natural disaster prediction.)

I'll probably be a little quiet around here this week thanks to the pile of work I have to do to finish up my classes, but the good news is that next week is Bout of Books 14! Worry no more...you'll be seeing plenty of me shortly.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bout of Books 14 is ON ITS WAY!

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It's a week long read-a-thon that begins at 12:01am on Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever timezone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog
-From the Bout of Books team.

If you're a reader and you've never done a read-a-thon, this is the one to join! Bout of Books is always a blast. This will be my fourth Bout of Books and I'm super excited already.

I have been SO incredibly lucky with the Bout of Books timing this year! Bout of Books 14 takes place during the one week I have in between my summer semester and my fall semester. I'm so stoked! I'm actually going to be able to do some reading people!

Darian starts school that week so I'm not holding my breath that he'll join. Since I'm going to be in the middle of my 21 Day Fix the snack table won't be quite as enticing for him. Junk food seems to be his weakness.

If you're wondering, yes...I am planning on busting out the tent again. I need to sweet talk Collin into buying us an air mattress before then though because our yard is a bumpy disaster. I need more coziness.

I'm totally going to be counting down the days for this one. Summer semester is sucking my will to live. I'm so ready to break free! (Can you hear Freddie Mercury singing in your head now? I can.)

Anywho...here's my grand plan...

Elle's Bout of Books...

Elle's Bout of Books 14 Goals:

I'm keeping the same goals that I had for Bout of Books 13. They seemed to work for me well last time. If it's not broke...

1. Read every day.
2. Read a total of ten hours (600 minutes).
3. Read at least 3 books.
4. Read at least 600 pages.
5. Participate in a Twitter Chat
6. Participate in at least three mini-challenges.

Elle's Bout of Books 13 Reading List:

I'm continuing the "by the seat of my pants" approach to a certain degree. I do have some books that I'm planning on having as options, but I think the TBR jar might get its inaugural run during BoB 14.

As for the ones I will have on standby:

1. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
2. Splintered by A.G. Howard
3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
4. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
5. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
6. Paper Towns by John Green

The Plan

It's back to the spreadsheet! I didn't use it for my last read-a-thon and I totally felt lost. Apparently I crave organization too much. (Though you wouldn't know it by the current state of my bedroom closet.)

I'll probably be doing update posts every other day with a wrap-up post sometime between the 24th and 26th. I start classes on the 24th, so I can't guarantee I'll get around to it that day. Challenges may be posted in the update posts or as their own separate post, depending on how I'm feeling about it at the time.

All Bout of Books updates will be posted on the Read-a-Thons page.

What about you? Are you a reader? Are you going to take part in Bout of Books? It's one of my favorite read-a-thons during the year. Come join in on the fun!

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