Well I recently logged back into this blog to find that I wrote in it very little. Should I even try to blog in 2018. I have been told by several that I should give my typing fingers a job and write down my thoughts and all. So maybe, 2018 will be my year to make this blog a little more interesting. As goals apparently intimidate me, I guess I will just show up and write, just as I am doing now.
Let’s see what happens in the new year, shall we.
It is a new year and we all want to think this is the year that we aspire to step outside the box, try something new and be able to say at the end of the year that all was successful. I have set myself some goals that I hope help me find routine, experience new places in Europe, and fall in love with different types of genres throughout literature.
- I am hosting the Read Through Bookshelf Challenge 2017. It is basically reading the books that are already on my bookshelves and not buying more until I have read through several and donated the ones that got 3 stars or below and/or I do not find I would recommend to other book lovers. I will be using the hashtag #ReadBookshelves2017, if anyone wants to join in with me on this challenge.
- I am not hugely worried about my Goodreads goal this year because the challenge is my biggest concern but I did set my goal at 25 books and that is very doable.
- Extra reading breakdown is:
- Read 5 Short Stories collections
- Read 3 Non-Fiction novels
- Read 10 Graphic Novels
- Read some world news daily
- Travel to at least 3 different countries this year.
- Take more weekend day trips around Germany
- Photograph and blog more about these adventures.
- Start Grad School in the Fall
- Continue finding outlets to be creative
Blog | Social Media Goals:
- Post content on a schedule. I am thinking possibly Sunday and Wednesday for now that could change later.
- Share and engage on social media. I tend to not do this enough.
- Write more about the things I love, basically be more open on my blog.
The Any Book Book Club Goals:
- Find some adventures to engage the group in. Maybe a trip or something bookish.
- Find new ways to advertise to the community about this wonderful book club.
A look back on the year of 2016.
- I read 32 books towards my goal of 35 books.
- I read a total of 8,438 pages.
- My average rating was four ‘s
- I read very few Young Adult novels and I read more Fantasy, Graphic Novels, and Literary Fiction.
- Places I traveled with Donald were:
- Berlin, Germany
- Potsdam, Germany
- Rudesheim, Germany
- Places traveled with my sister when she came to visit in July:
- Rothenberg o.b. Tauber, Germany
- Rudesheim, Germany
- Soufflenheim, France (Pottery)
- Strasbourg, France
Sadly, I did not blog about these adventures in 2016, The good thing though I can always blog about it in the future!
Personal Life and Creativity:
- I abandoned my book blog Between Library Shelves to start this blog so I could broaden what I blogged about. So far, I am enjoying the content I am posting.
- I began to bullet journal as my main way to keep track of my planning, goals, and lists. It has been so much fun.
- Donald and I celebrated two years of marriage.
- Donald accepted an extension with his job which means we are in Germany for another two years.
- I have met some truly wonderful people while living her in Germany that I will call friends for years to come!
The Any Book Book Club:
- The book club made it to its 1 year anniversary successfully.
- We took our first Literary trip to Paris , France where we had a blast and created lots of memories.
- However, several of the most frequent club members PCS’d and I grieved the loss of them, and I feel it affected the book club for several months.
- We have a logo too thanks to Brian Cline!
The Postman Brought Me & My Family Wonderful Gifts!
Sorry this post is going up so late, I have no excuse really except procrastination, but hey that is one of my goals this year to work on and become a more consistent blog poster. But that is in another post.
This post is about all the great things me and my family received for Christmas! I participated in the The Broke and The Bookish Secret Santa again this year, I also, participated in the 12 Days of Christmas Swap over on CGSwaps.com and of course the family and I received gifts from our loved ones. So I will start out with the Secret Santa and end with family wonderfulness.
My secret Santa was the lovely Conny @theliteratigirl (IG); https://literati-girl.com
Her gifting was spot on! I loved everything and began using several of the stationary items right away. She individually wrapped everything, the presentation was inviting and I cannot not say enough good things about this package. Funny thing the odds that I could meet her in person is quite likely since we do not live that far apart from each at this time. *Smile*
What was in the package?
- Dog treats for my puggle, Kenzie, which she gobbled up in no time.
- Berliner Brot, she made herself and included her Grandmother’s recipe in the package so I can try and make myself someday.
- Stamps that have to do with reading, that I will be using in my bullet journal throughout the year.
- She created and bound a personal library notebook so I could keep track of all the books I have in my personal library. (I am slowly adding my books to it, and loving the concept.) I also, got a small calendar for my purse, and notebook to rate and review my books as I read them. SO THOUGHTFUL!!
- The books I received were:
- Lastly, I received a patch to sew on something and some chocolates.
Thank you again Conny for being an AWESOME SECRET SANTA!
12 Days of Christmas Swap hosted by CGSwaps.com
My swap partner was Brandi Leistikow. Blog: https://lipstickandtractors.wordpress.com
I really enjoyed receiving gifts in the mail from her every so many days. This swap is basically you receive 12 wrapped gifts that equal the value of $40 -$50 and send to your swap partner. I can’t wait to find out what she thought about things I sent to her. I have used several of the her gifts already and enjoying them all.
What I received:
- A giant candy cane which was devoured soon after it was opened.
- Some maple candies that was also devoured over the weekend. Yes I had a sugar high!
- A very cute bookmark, I love owls!
- The Vaseline creme brulee lip therapy that is getting lots of use since winter has rolled into Germany.
- The smoothing body lotion is getting lots of use to at this time.
- Socks! cause they rock.
- A super cute mug that I have been using to drink hot cocoa.
- Fairy lights.
- I received another package that is not pictured here that came after all the rest and it was more socks!
Thank you Brandi for being my swap partner it was nice getting to know you.
Christmas Haul from Loved Ones!
And last, but certainly not least, I received wonderful gifts from my loved ones! I am also including what my hubs received from me and family, and what Kenzie got for Christmas in the photos below.
What can I say we all had a lovely Christmas!
December 2016 was a wonderful time. I met two new fellow bloggers, spent time with friends, and Skyped with family and was spoiled beyond measure!
Tell me about your Christmas haul in the comments below!
This year was a pretty good year for me reading wise. I didn’t read that many books but I would say I read more variety than I have in the past. Interestingly, I read very little Young Adult fiction and more Graphic Novels. I also, read a fair share of Literary Fiction and Fantasy. I was just shy of making my Goodreads reading goal of 2016 which is not bad. Next year my reading goal is something completely different but I will talk about that in another post.
So without further ado, lets get on with my Top 6 Books of 2016!
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling – I know most people could not truly put this book down as a favorite of 2016, because most have read this book many many times. Well I am not one of those people; I have been reading this series through for the first time for a year now, and of the books I have read this is my favorite so far.
Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss – Again, I feel I am late this book series, but hey I hear the third book has not come out in years so maybe me reading it late will mean I do not have to wait so long for the 3rd to be publish. I loved this very large book, I breezed through it and did not want to put it down.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik – What a wonderful fantasy/folklore story that is frightening, intriguing and wonderfully written.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Let’s just say I cried, and that is rare when reading books.
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman – I have had my eye on this author for awhile and recently was shopping in a bookstore here in Germany and came across Britt-Marie Was Here, his latest novel, and thought what the heck. I loved this story, it was relate-able, funny and super sentimental in how this character unknowingly touched so many other characters lives in either cantankerous or spectacular ways and how these same people shaped Britt-Marie’s character growth throughout the story. Now I know I want to read all of Fredrik Backman’s novels.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – This book with its synopsis that pulls you into an apocalyptic story that is intricately overlaid of many years spanned, intertwining several lives that remarkably cross paths in the most unsuspecting moments and the conclusion that was as shocking of a twist that I didn’t suspect, but realize as soon as revealed as the ah ha moment. I will read again for I know there are many clues throughout the story that I missed.
So there they are my top 6 books of 2016! Let me know in the comments what your favorite books were in 2016 and why.
What were your fondest memories of Christmas growing up?
Me? I loved decorating the tree, participating in the Statesboro Jaycees’ Empty Stocking Fund, and spending time with my family. This year I am miles and miles away from my family, so my husband and I are trying to create our own traditions and memories for years to come. So this year we went on a search for the perfect real tree (per request from the husband) and found out that we are not the best at picking the perfect tree once getting it home and finding that it is just a larger version of a Charlie Brown tree. I will say it has character that I am trying to stifle and cover up with lights, ornaments and garland. The hub’s says, “my non-existent rest of the year OCD is rearing its ugly head,” funny I have to agree with him. In my defense, I want to decorate my home at Christmas time, as well as all year-long in a way that brings me joy and comfort.
So, I shopped this year for those fun but perfect pieces of decor that caught my eye. A few of these would be the silver and white deer, the centerpieces that boast candles, cinnamon sticks, and pine cones. I already had a good collection of Christmas gnomes so they too are on display. As I decorated, I found myself enjoying the process and my OCD simmering to a slow burn. I found my creative flow; and I feel in the end the tree with the gaping hole in the center, tree lights that tested my sanity, the ribbon bows around the deer necks, hunting down all the ornaments I bought from trips scattered around my house (organized chaos, or maybe just chaos), fairy lights that gave me a fit to untangle, LED candles that didn’t want to stay on, and presents wrapped under the tree; that I wholeheartedly accomplished the right level of Christmas joy and comfort for me to be proud to say I have decorated a house to make it feel like a Christmas home in a country that I never thought I would feel completely happy living in.
Traditions that the hubs and I have started here are:
- Advent calendars of some capacity – This year the hubs got a beer advent calendar and has been enjoying tasting craft-style beers throughout Germany. I also, sent my niece and nephew (that love to read) an advent calendar of books, and it has been a joy seeing them open them through photos.
- Christmas gnomes– I try to buy a new one each year, this year I did not have to do that because my really good friend gifted me one on my birthday. Instead of Elf on a Shelf in our house we have gnome on the roam.
- Collecting ornaments from our travels – Several of the ornaments above are from my travels since living in Europe. I have one from Paris when I went with several of the TABBC bunch for a literary trip to Paris, I have a Night watchman ornament from Rothenberg o.b. Tauber, and one from Strasbourg, France. I can’t wait to collect ones from my travels this year also.
- Visiting Christmas markets – We try to visit at least one new one each year. This year, we visited a very small, but crowded one in Boblingen, Germany.
Merry Christmas from me to you!
September was the month of exploring new cities, food, graphic novels and authors. It was also the month of finding great Mexican cuisine in the unlikeliest place.
- Travel: the new cities I explored were Berlin and Potsdam, Germany. They were both wonderful in their differences and similarities. The history of these cities were hard to consume in the short amount of time we were there, I thank our walking tour guide for his immense knowledge of both Berlin and Potsdam and I highly recommend him, if anyone travels to either location. [berlinwalks.de ~tour guide: Woester] I hope to have my post and photos up of the trip this week, so look out for that.
- Food: Potsdam, Germany ended up being the best city for food this month. Our lunch on the first day at the Braumanufaktur brewery and restaurant was delicious! I indulged in a wonderful Russian soup called Solyanka. Don’t worry, I’ve already found a recipe to cook this winter. Also, in Potsdam we found a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Cancun Haus. In Germany it is hard to find good Mexican cuisine and when you do find a place that understands that red sauce is not pasta tomato sauce, and that salsa and sour cream are really what should be served on the side of chips and your cuisine you jump up and down and have to tell EVERYONE about it!
- Graphic Novels: are still very new to me and I go on lots of recommendations when seeking out new series to read. This month Goodreads recommended that I read Amulet. I checked out the first three volumes from the library and devoured them, and then immediately requested the next three volumes in the series. It is middle-grade, female main character, a slew of wonderful side characters and action packed. I gave each of these 5 stars!
The Stonekeeper | 5 Stars
The Stonekeeper’s Curse | 5 Stars
The Cloud Searchers | 5 Stars
- Books: lastly, I discovered author, David Mitchell and his novel Slade House. This was a creepy novel and I have tried to figure out how to review it without spoilers. The best way for me to describe it is through a song and a movie. The song is Hotel California by The Eagles and the movie is The Skeleton Key starring Kate Hudson. Creepy! I gave it 4.5 stars and I think it is worth a read for anyone looking for a strange and eerie book.
What was some of your favorite moments of September? Tell me in the comments below.