Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections and 2012 Reading Challenges

As we look forward to the new year, it's also a time to look back and reflect on the old year.  While my blog was originally created in October of 2010, I really didn't become active in the community until February of 2011.  One of my goals for this year was to put more effort into networking in the blogging community, and though I feel I have accomplished that, I know there is still much to still learn as a blogger from both veteran bloggers and novice bloggers.  I still consider myself a novice blogger, and there's nothing wrong with maintaining the mindset of a student.  Even the veterans I follow are most likely still learning, and that's part of what makes them great.
For the new year, I aim to comment more on my fellow bloggers' reviews and review on a more regular basis.  I was very happy with how much reviewing I did in November, and my stats definitely improved in the latter half of the year.  With the amount of books I've squirreled away (like the book squirrel I am), I have more than enough to keep me busy even with the amazing new titles being released in 2012.  Because of all the books I've acquired in the past year, I feel inspired to participate in the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge.  Here's a picture of some of the titles I'd like to read for this challenge, and here's hoping I can do it in a year!

I'm also going to set myself a more realistic goal on Goodreads for 2012.  This year I felt pressured by wanting to read 75 books, and now that I'm down to the wire, I'm reading more graphic novels in order to attain that goal.  While they are books, I would like to have non-graphic novel titles for the majority (if not all) of my list.  So this year I plan to read 50 books that are not graphic novels for my Goodreads 2012 Challenge.  That's not to say I won't be reading any graphic novels, I just won't count them towards this particular challenge.

2012 promises to be a great year, and I'm looking forward to it as both a librarian and a blogger.  Here's to a new year for all of us, my fellow bloggers and my dear readers!

What reflections do you have for 2011 and what challenges for 2012? ^_^

Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Book Covers of 2011

Seeing all of the great lists for 2011 has got me wanting to make a couple of lists of my own for the past year.  I'm not sure I'll be able to make quite as many as some of my fellow bloggers, but I will do my best to showcase what I felt was the best for me in 2011.  Starting off, we'll hit the very first thing we see when we look at a book (and what we really shouldn't judge it by): it's cover.  Keep in mind, these can't be placed in any order because they're all just too beautiful to really give a number to on a scale.  Instead I'll list them by their published date.

By: Beth Kendrick
Publish Date: May 3, 2011
Reasons: Being a baker, this cover just makes me want to start baking (even though I don't have my own Cuisinart mixer like the one shown). It also makes my mouth water to see either meringue, whipped cream, or frosting being prepared.

By: Josephine Angelini
Publish Date: May 31, 2011
Reasons: The ocean backdrop along with the flowing tunic of the girl just emanates beauty (if not Greek mythology). It's simply gorgeous seeing the contrasting colors that also manage to complement each other as well. 

By: Tera Lynn Childs
Publish Date: September 6, 2011 
Reasons: Simply put...the hair. Just look at it wriggling and moving around! You know that's not a common talent for hair to do, and that means something is definitely up.

By: Claudia Gray
Publish Date: September 13, 2011
Reasons: The ocean and the moon really make this cover for me. It really sets the overall tone of the doomed ship's voyage while also giving a hint of the mystery behind some of the passengers on the Titanic.

By: Brian Selznick

Publish Date: September 13, 2011
Reasons: Lightning is both a beautiful and deadly thing. This cover definitely captures the more beautiful side of the element. Plus, again, the blue background is just a gorgeous tone.

Carrier of the Mark
By: Leigh Fallon
Publish Date: October 4, 2011
Reasons: Blue IS my favorite color, so it's only right that most of my covers seem to feature it. Her dress is just amazing, and while I'm not sure how it relates to the story itself, I'm definitely curious.

Awake at Dawn
By: C.C. Hunter
Publish Date: October 11, 2011
Reasons: The waterfall. Powerful and beautiful, it puts our dear heroine in a different perspective. Besides, now I want to find such waterfalls in Texas!

By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publish Date: October 18, 2011
Reasons: Simple elegance seems to be a theme for the Covenant series, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more lovely covers as more books are published.

By: Mary Lindsey
Publish Date: December 8, 2011
Reasons: I was very lucky to see the progression of covers for Mary's debut at both of her book signings. It was fortunate for readers that they chose to go with this cover having the girl, her dress fading into rose petals, and the white origami rose on the back cover. Breath-taking.

Touch of Power
By: Maria V. Snyder
Publish Date: December 20, 2011
Reasons: Despite the title, the cover shows a more gentle side and how we must take care when using abilities beyond the means of ordinary people. It offers a nice balance of strength and fragility, making it a very lovely image for the story.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (18) Post-Christmas

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where bloggers post about the books they have received in the past week whether for review, purchased, or checked out from our library. ^_^


Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Frost by Marianna Baer
(I won both of these for Marla's Birthday Giveaway over at Starting the Next Chapter. Thank you, Marla!)


(A wonderful gift from my wonderful, romantic beau in addition to Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas on DVD.)

Goddess of the Rose by P.C. Cast
Fateful by Claudia Gray
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (ARC)

(These three wonderful Christmas gifts came from Marla, and I am so happy and thrilled by all three! Thank you ever so much, Marla!  I'll bet y'all didn't know what a crafty person our dear Owl Queen was.  Take a look at the special homemade present she sent to go with the books and a tin of yummy yummy buck-eyes.)

NetGalley and Library Thing Early Review:

Daughter of the Centaurs by K.K. Ross (Thanks to Random House Books and NetGalley)
Enchantment by Pati Nagle (Thanks to Evennight Books and LibraryThing)

That's all for me for Christmas! What did you get in your mailbox? ^_^

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (29): Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new  Top Ten list will be posted by one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Everyone is welcome to join, just make sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish on our own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so everyone can check out other blogger lists. Have fun!

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011
(In no particular order)

1. Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
An exciting story featuring a strong, female lead and werewolves. (Review)

2. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
A perfect story to pair hot cocoa and holiday cookies with alongside a blanket. (Review)

3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Just. Plain. Awesome. Story. That happens to involve Irish horses. (Review)

4. The Princess's Dragon by Susan Trombley
One amazing dragon story after having not read one in so very very long. (Review)

5. Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
Learn the real story behind high school competitions (in choir). (Review)

6. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
A too funny, too thrilling story not to read and enjoy. (Review)

7. A Bride's Story Vol. 1 by Kaoru Mori
Family dynamics within a tribe after a rather unique arranged marriage. (Review)

8. Dear Bully edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carries Jones
Powerful stories from some amazing and strong people. (Review)

9. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Time travel + romance + ghosts = Phenomenal paranormal read! (Review)

10. Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
A great cavalcade of characters gathered at a summer camp for paranormals. (Review)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

As with the season, I must take a brief hiatus from blogging in order to spend time with my family.  I shall return on Monday hopefully with a belated IMM post though I might be able put up one more dessert recipe that's been used by my family since I was a young librarian. ^_~ Til then have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday with family, friends and cheer.

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

DJL Dishes Dessert: Snowballs!

With this being a big season of baking, I thought it was time to deliver a new dish.  Now, this dish is pretty simple, thanks to the fabulous and creative Angie Dudley of Cake pop and Cake ball fame.  You all might know her as Bakerella from  Anyways, today we're dishing on, you guessed it, cake balls made into snowballs!

Snowball Cake Balls Recipe


~ White cake prepared according to box mix
~ 1 canister of vanilla frosting
~ Blue and white candy melts
~ Blue and white sparkly sugar


~ Crumble the baked and cooled cake in a large bowl.  Be careful not to spill the crumbled cake out of the bowl while crumbling and crushing.
~ Add about 3/4 of the canister of vanilla frosting to the cake crumbles.
~ Mix well with a wooden spoon.  The mixture should have a slightly moist appearance.
~ On a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, roll cake mixture into 1-1.5 inch balls.
~ Place cake balls into refrigerator to help them set.

Coating Instructions:

~ Choose your color of candy melt (I picked white and blue for the winter theme).

~ Place candy melts into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.

~ Stir melted candy coating with a fork or spoon until nice and smooth.

~ Take cake balls out of the refrigerator and add into the melted candy coating.

~ Roll the cake balls to coat evenly, using a pair of forks to remove excess coating.

~ Place the cake balls back on the cookie sheet, sprinkling sparkling sugar over the top.

~ Let the candy coating dry, then serve and enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted by one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Everyone is welcome to join, just make sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so everyone can check out other blogger lists. Have fun! 

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings
(In no particular order)

1. Fateful by Claudia Gray
I'm telling y'all. Werewolves on the Titanic! That's all the reason I need.

2. The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick
It's about a baking competition, how could I not want this in my stocking?

3. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I was so taken with the utter warm and fuzzy feelings I got while reading Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, and this one sounds like it will have that feel, too.

4. Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Because every Christmas tree needs a fantasy novel by Maria under it. 

5. Destined by Jessie Harrell
While I already have the ebook (which I can't seem to open right now ^^;), I would just love a physical copy of the book.

6. All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Chocolate and coffee are illegal, and I want to know why...while eating a chocolate chip cookie with my afternoon cup o' java.

Okay, I know it's a two-for but I kind of need these, Santa, because I won Beautiful Chaos in a giveaway. Pretty please for the sake of the series?

8. The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
How can you not want to read about a baker, and a teenage one at that?

Because you can't ever have too many funny, YA contemporary romances.

10. Tokyo on Foot by Florent Chavouet
This title sounds like a great way to explore Japan (one of the countries I want to visit), and I'd love to see Chavouet's illustrations of his travels.
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