Images from Shho, Darren Deans, and Kolobsek
Go back to school
I’d like to go back to school and finally get my Master’s degree. I’m not sure what to get it in yet, whether I’ll get my Master’s in English or in Library Science. It’s just been so long since I’ve been in school, it’s kind of a scary thought.
Save more money
Aside from building my savings, I also want to build my retirement fund. I want to start an IRA, probably a Roth, so I can start saving for retirement. Social Security will probably be nonexistant by the time I retire and I do not want to work for the rest of my life. At least, not more than I have to. So unless I win the lottery, this is a must. The sooner, the better.
Pay down debt faster
I have some credit cards that I still need to pay off, as well as my car. I have about 3 1/2 years left on the car. But I’m more worried about the credit cards. I don’t use them anymore, thank God, but I want them mostly paid off by the end of the year. The holidays always kill me.
I’ve been doing this pretty well for the past couple of months and I want to keep that momentum going this year. Hopefully at least 2 quality posts per week. Wish me luck!
I had a pitiful showing last year. I only managed to read 50 books. For me, that’s pretty ridiculous. The past couple of years the numbers of books I’ve been reading is decreasing, but I want that to change. So, I’m hoping to at least double last year’s goal in 2014 and make it 100 books, if not more. I’m hoping that participating in these reading challenges, as well as some books clubs on the message boards I’m a part of will help me with that. I feel unaccomplished if I don’t read more. Must be the English major in me.
I want to travel more! All I did last year was take a 5 day cruise. I used to travel a whole lot more years ago. I want to do more of that this year. I have a cruise planned for November, hopefully I’ll be able to go. But I also want to be able to do something else. I want to go on at least one other trip. I don’t want to regret not traveling when I’m too old to do it. I’m young, I should enjoy it!
What are your goals or resolutions for 2014?
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC won in a contest by book publicist Lauren Donovan. Reviewed for my personal pleasure.
My Rating: 4/5
Summary from GoodReads:
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.
Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.
When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.
This was a really enjoyable book. I have always been a fan of figure skating, so I definitely had no problem with wanting to read the book. In fact, I loved the movie “Cutting Edge” when I was younger, so the whole hockey player trying to be a figure skater angle was right up my alley. The hockey and figure skating scenes in the book were really fun to read. I really loved seeing the girls out of their element, trying to figure out how to hide that they had no clue what they were doing.
The chapters in the book went back and forth between each girl’s point of view. I’m normally not a big fan of changing points of view in a book, but this one really worked. You got to see how each girl was doing at the different camps. While the girls were so different when it came to their personalities and the lives they came from, they were going through similar problems. They were trying to keep everyone from finding out that they were not who they said they were, but at the same time getting through the problems that made them switch in the first place.
On that note, I really loved both Sloanes. Sloane D. came from a hard situation and needed hockey to go to college. Only her life at home was making it difficult for her to focus and she’s become angry, which is why she is sent to camp in the first place. Sloane E. seems to live a charmed life with her wealthy parents, one of whom is senator. But a family secret is weighing on her and it’s affecting her skating, which she isn’t even sure she wants to do anymore. Both girls want out of the life they currently have and when they meet, it’s like fate! I liked to see their interactions with each other from both of their points of view. It’s really interesting how they each see the other in the beginning and then at the end of the book.
Now, I will say that some of it is hard to believe. Despite the fact that it’s been a while since Sloane E. has competed, I can’t believe that no one at the skate camp knows that she looks like. So that part was kind of a stretch for me. I mean, her dad is a senator and they are in the paper or on tv a lot. Not to mention the fact that no way is one cram session enough to learn about either hockey or figure skating. So how they really thought they could pull it off is kind of crazy, especially considering the fact that they actually did it. I also felt like the romance wasn’t really that developed. I really like Sloane’s D.’s boy. He was really sweet and mature, and he seemed like a real person. I really wanted to see more of them and learn more of their back story. Sloane E.’s boy, on the other hand, I was kind of ambivalent about. The fact that he was a player in the past and is now just ‘reformed’ is just so odd to me! And there was no talking about it, no explanation about it at all. It was just, ‘That’s not me anymore’. I’m sorry, but when it comes to teenage boys, I just don’t buy it. I can’t believe that Sloane E. bought it either.
Overall, it was a good read. I really loved the story and the girls. It was a light read and had some really great moments in it, especially as the girls learned about who they really were as people. The Sloanes became friends through the whole thing and I think that’s what I loved most of all. Despite it’s faults, I enjoyed it immensely. I think I’ve become a fan of Lauren Morrill. I will be checking out her books in the future.
What do you guys think? It’s my first real review. I hope you enjoyed it!
Image from The Broke and the Bookish
This is a meme from The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday they offer a new topic for you to create your list from. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I Read in 2013. While I didn’t read as much as I wanted to, there were a few books that definitely topped the list.
Images from Goodreads
1. Dark Witch by Nora Roberts – I love Nora Roberts in general, but I especially love her series. This is a new one that takes place in Ireland and is full of magic. Pure gold! I can’t wait for the other two books to come out. She never disappoints.
2. Alice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter – I love, love, loooooved this book! It was so different from what I was expecting, but in such a good way. I also loved the second book in the series. Impatiently awaiting the third book!
3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein – Ok, so it took me forever to try to read this book. And I have no idea why, because it was great! It was a very easy read and I loved the story. It makes me want to try to start on Lord of the Rings again.
4. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – This was such an amazing book! I’ve never seen a book with these types of dragons and I loved it. While the story was kind of slow in some areas, the story itself completely overshadowed that. I cannot wait for the next book, which is taking way too long to be released!
Images from Goodreads
5. Catherine by April Lindner – This is a sort of remake of ‘Wuthering Heights’. While I don’t think it matches up to that book necessarily, on it’s own it’s a pretty great book! I loved the characters and the storyline. As long as I’m not comparing it to the classics, it’s a great read! Just take the book on it’s own.
6. How’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – I love this book! I think it’s a great read for all ages. This is one of those books where I watched the movie and then found out there was a book and I had to read it. I really loved the movie, but the book blew me away as well. Great for kids and adults!
7. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter – I love this series and this new book did not disappoint me! I love Kat and Hale and everyone! Plus, I love a good heist movie so these books are perfect for me.
8. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – I really can’t even describe how much I loved this book. I raced through this book and the sequel. I read them both in about 3 days, I think. And that was probably just because of a little pesky thing called a job that I had to go to. They were amazing and I don’t know why it took me so long to read them. I am waiting on the edge of my seat the the last book to come out.
Images from Goodreads
9. Legacies by Mercedes Lackey – I love Mercedes Lackey! I really need to read even more of her books. This is the first book in a four part series. I’ve read the first three and I’m waiting for the last to come out. I feel this is a trend for me. The plot is pretty amazing and I love the characters! Much better than I thought it was going to be. Great for those fantasy, YA lovers.
10. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – Ok, yes. I gave in to the hype. I started the books after the movie came out. I couldn’t help it! Peer pressure, ok? I decided to start the Infernal Devices series before the Mortal Instruments series, despite the recommendations to read in publication order. I’m a little OCD that way. I prefer to read in the order of the timeline. I loved this first series! Tess may be one of my favorite characters I think. Although, Bane was pretty nice!
What do you guys think? What were your favorite books of the year? And why do I start series that are still unfinished? It’s like I’m punishing myself or something. The waiting is killing me!
Also, I hope you guys have a Happy New Year. 2013 was pretty great, see you next year!
I’ve been finding that the past couple of years, I’ve been reading fewer and fewer books. That’s not a good thing! On my old blogs, I used to participate in reading challenges all the time, so I’m thinking that may help encourage me to read more books. 50 books in a year really low for me. So here they are!
This first challenge I found on Twitter and I thought I’d it look interesting! Icey Books is hold their 3rd annual Standalone Reading Challenge. The challenge is to ready 15 YA or MG (Middle Grade) standalone novels released in the US in 2014. I have to read them between January 1 and December 31 of 2014. Since I love YA books, I figured why not?
This next one is hosted by Bookish. Also just for 2014, you basically have to read all of those book that are on your ‘to read’ shelf that you keep saying you’ll get to, but you never do. I have soooooo many of those! I literally have a box under bed of books that I have to read but I keep buying more books and adding to the pile. Or I’ll get distracted by another book that is recommended to me. I have such reader’s ADD, it’s ridiculous. Anything from 2014 and earlier counts. No books released in 2014. For right now, I’m aiming for the level ‘A Friendly Hug’ which is 11-20 books on my TBR pile. But hopefully I’ll read more than that.
This ‘Jumble Your Genres’ Challenge is hosted by Corrie The Book Crazed Girl, Lovin’ Los Libros, and Readers Live A Thousand Lives. This challenge is basically to help widen my horizons as a reader. Every month a new genre is given that we have to read and review one or more books for. I like this one. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a rut when it comes to my reading. Hopefully this challenge will help to open my eyes to interest in genres I may not have otherwise read.
Ok, so I couldn’t resist one more.This one is pretty self explanatory. Basically I try to read as many historical fiction novels as I can in 2014. Both YA and adult books count, as well as any sub-genre of historical fiction. (Since historical fantasy counts, so does steampunk. Yes!) I’m going to aim for ‘ Slipping through time’ which is 6-12 books for this challenge.
These are the ones I’ve found so far. Maybe I’ll find some more as I troll the book blogs. I can’t wait! I’ll making a separate page to list the books I read for each challenge, as well as linking specific reviews as I make them. Will you be joining the challenge fun next year?
Original Image by Robert Proksa
I just wanted to tell all of you to have a Very Merry Christmas! Or a general Happy Holiday for those that celebrate something different. This is a time of year for friends, family, giving, and self-reflection. Now that Christmas is here, the new year is just around the corner!