Hi all, it’s me again! This time I am coming to you with a count down to 2018 post and will be sharing what went well and what didn’t in 2017 and I am hoping from 2018.
One of my favorite authors (Lauren Layne – I am sure you’ve heard me mention her name once or twice in the passing…), recently have created a work book called “Life by Design – Your Best Year Yet“, of course I had to immediately purchase and download this workbook.
I am going to complete parts of it here and share with you, and parts of it I’ll spare you the gory details of my personal life. 🙂
Anyways… Here we go…
Part 1 – The Year in Review:
“The f-yeah list” (write down everything amazing about the past year. Big, small, personal, professional, emotional….write it down)
- I have started my blog and made so many new friends
- I have met and read so many new books and authors
- I have participated in NaNoWriMo, and even though I haven’t completed it, I have enjoyed trying my hand at writing a novel – I was able to write 20K words in 3 weeks and than life got in the way
- I have beta read and did minor editions for a few blogging friends and have discovered that, editing is NOT where my passion lay.
- I have also discovered that my passion actually lays with writing and I have decided to follow through with this and have started a project (currently it’s called “Cinderella Story” but the name may change, I will include part of the first chapter below for those of you that’d like to read it and give me feed back on it.)
- On another high note…. Here are some of my favorite reads during 2017… This is the year I got very into the YA Fantasy world so, most of my favorites will include that genre but will have some variety as well. 🙂
- Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
- ACOTAR Series by Sarah J. Maas
- The Raven Boys Series by Maggie Stiefvater
- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
- Ready to Run (I Do, I Don’t) series by Lauren Layne
- An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne
- In This Moment by A.D. McCammon
- Crushed by A.D. McCammon
- Canvas by Jacob Chance
- Clipped by Remy Blake
- Devastate by Marley Valentine
- The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
and many more…..
- I have also got introduced to so many new authors and their different writing styles and love each and every one of them… Some of them are mentioned above and out of all those authors 2 of them were actually brand new “debut” authors and novels. Huge congrats to A.D. McCammon and Marley Valentine for their debut novels and the sequels to those novels. All of which were lovely and emotionally crippling as a good romance novel should be.
- I have completed my Goodreads reading challange of 25 books by the middle of the year and have upped my number to 50 books. Currently am at 45 books read but that doesn’t include the re-reading I’ve done, and I still need to update it with the books I have finished last week. So close!!!
- On a personal note, there was lots of travel and family time and my little family and I loved every moment of each visit.
- The biggest highlight of the year has to be the fact that now when I tell my 3-year-old daughter that I love her, I get an “I love you more mama” instead of the usual “thank you mama” 🙂
Part 1 – The Year in Review
“The oh-f! list” – (what was maybe not so great last year? Go ahead! Vent! Lament! This is your safe space to rant, your shoulder to cry on)
- Well…. what went wrong this year… There were a lot of ups and downs to this year, I have shared some blogging and reading ups above and why not share some blogging and reading downs on here…
- Blogging downs… I find that each time I get rejected on a project I get deflated and forget that this is supposed to be fun and to share my love of books with everyone. Last year, sometime, I think around early September I have contacted my local library to see if they’d like to partner with me to do a “Blind Date With a Book” event, and was shut right down, saying that their volunteer coordinator usually takes care of special events and they have already have their partners in order… I was crushed, but moved on….
- Net Galley rejections are also a good one to bring me down… I mean what is it that I can’t seem to get it right to get approved by this site… It is what it is, I guess, and it’ll happen one day…
- I believe I have taken on too many ARC’s at points and fall behind in many things to get them read and reviewed, including the dates promised for the said reviews.
but…. lets move on to the DNF and lower star rating books of 2017 by me… (there wasn’t a lot of them)
- Now, let me tell you… I try to only review books I am going to give 3 stars or more, anything under a 3 star I won’t review, as I feel like I am bashing somebody’s brain child and that’s just not cool at all. So the below books will start from 3 stars and lower and the only one you can actually find a review on my blog is the 3 star book.
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (3 star review) – This book mostly just annoyed me, and I didn’t hold back in mentioning how annoyed I was about it.
- Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (4 star review) – This book was so hard to get into for me, found it rather slow, put it aside for a few months and than got it in audiobook, the only reason I have given it a 4 star review is because of the ending. Literally, the last page of this book was its savior for me.
- Nuts by Alice Clayton (DNF) – I like Alice’s books usually, but this series it felt like her writing style changed, rather than showing she was telling and I just couldn’t get into the story
- Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton (DNF)
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer (DNF) – Very slow start, therefore this book got put away by 7% – I might pick it up again at one point and give it a try but so far it’s a DNF for me.
- Inescapable by Amy A. Bartol (DNF) – This book started out very good, I made it to 50% and was loving it, until the main character started becoming a little whiner and started making all sorts of unreasonable demands and I felt it started getting rather silly from there than, so put it away for good measure.
Part 1 – The Year in Review
From the oh-f! list, what’s ONE thing about this past year that you REALLY don’t want to repeat. EVER.
- I would have to say the missed deadlines, and feeling of being overwhelmed to the point of not being able to focus on anything.
And from your f-yeah! list? What one thing are you most proud of/excited about this year?
- Ohhhh, there are lots of things that I am proud of in this year… First of all, I took a chance and started this blog, that was huge for me and was able to keep it going. What an amazing feeling it’s to be writing again and communicate with people from all over the world and to share my love for books with you all. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of my family and friends and you’re now included in that family.
- Another thing, I am very proud of myself about is that, I have taken a chance and gave NaNoWriMo a try, even though I didn’t finish the 50K words in 30 days, I still got to 20K words in 20 days, and that’s huge from someone that’s only been using 700 words or less in her reviews.
- Third and final thing I am very proud of (as you can see, I am keeping this strictly blogging and reading basis, if not I’ll write a book about my accomplishments and what not lol) is that I’ve started writing my own novel. That’s been my dream for so long and finally I am working on it. Fingers crossed I should be able to push publish in the new year.
Part 2 – The Year Ahead
Next Year’s Bucket List – What would make next year amazing?
Well, this here will be my bookish/blogging goals for the next year… Here it goes…
- Read 50 books and review them (hope for no DNF’s -fingers crossed-)
- Keep a schedule for blogging and stick to it, so that I won’t miss deadlines
- Pre-write and schedule my posts (rumor has it that this makes life so much easier)
- Don’t bite more than I can chew… 10 books a month is sometimes a bit too much (considering that I have a full time job, an a very active family life)
- Participate in NaNoWriMo again and compete it – 50K words here I come… in November 🙂
- Spend some time on my novel on a daily basis and push publish before the end of 2018
- Don’t get too discouraged by rejection, but figure out why I was rejected and better it so I can get approved for the next time around
**Well folks, this is what I got for you all, for the time being. If you’d like to take a look at or purchase this workbook by Lauren Layne, you can find it in her website (http://www.laurenlayne.com). I’ve only used about 4 pages to share with you, out of the 46 page workbook but if you ask me, it’s worth purchasing and completing as you will be able to keep yourself accountable for your goals set.**
Well, if you have reached this far down, congrats and thank you for sticking it out and reading my monologue. 🙂 And as promised to you, at the beginning of this post, I have included the first chapter of the book I am working on for your reading pleasure. 🙂 Feel free to share your ideas and thoughts with me, I’d love to here them.
It all started with a lost little shoe, in a parking lot of the mall… Who would have guessed somebody else’s Cinderella story was going to lead me to my Prince Charming.
The traffic in this town is horrible since they’ve decided to put those dreaded traffic lights at the end of the hill. It makes the entire town congested and takes about 20 minutes to get in and out of here. Today is one of those days where the lights aren’t timed properly and good luck if you can move an inch in an hour, but I’m determined to see through this and get to my destination.
Last year for my 26th birthday my mother bought me a 60 minutes reading with one of the better known mediums in the city. Now I’m not a religious or very spiritual person but my mother is and she’s very into the psychics and mediums and everything that comes with them. I’m a through and through skeptic when it comes to these things, I believe that these people are just very good at reading people and just fantastic guessers. But I’m bored and need a distraction today so I’ve finally booked my 60-minute reading and am on my way to go learn about my future and what’s in store for me.
After a 30-minute gruesome car ride out of the town of Cochrane, Alberta -thankfully with all my hair still intact- I reach the outskirts of the city of Calgary also known as ‘The Heart of the New West’ or what I like to call as a distant cousin to Dallas Texas. It’s a beautiful fall day in early September, the sun is bright and high, not a single cloud to see in the sky, the trees have started to turn color and it’s the perfect sweater weather… what else can I ask for… I drive for a few more minutes in a very cute and friendly neighborhood with manicured front lawns and white picket fences and park in front of the house number 20. I turn my car off and take a deep breath before I get out of the car to go knock on the door. I always prefer to knock on the door of people with home businesses rather than ring the doorbell, as I’m never sure if they are in with a client at that moment or have a sleeping person somewhere in the house.
I give the door a gentle knock and think to myself ‘Here goes nothing’ and wait for someone to answer. An eccentric looking 30 something woman with an ombré style blond and red hair opens the door ‘welcome to my house sweetie, come in, let me take your coat’. She has an infectious smile and a very calming aura about her that I can’t stop myself from smiling back, showing her all my teeth despite my skepticism. ‘Thank you very much Aubrey’ I say as I pass her my coat. ‘I’m Skylar, here for a reading’ as if she doesn’t know why I’m there.
‘The room is right this way’ she points down the hall to the first door on the right. It’s a smallish room with lots of tinctures, oils and crystals with a message table in the middle. I walk in and the first thing I notice is the smell, it smells incredible in this room, almost like a rain forest and there’s a very calming music with lots of soft drums and chanting. I immediately want to lay down on the message table and take a nap for an hour. She guides me in and walks in behind me ‘take a seat on the table, I’m sorry I don’t have a desk. I usually do all my readings and messages on here’
I do as instructed and hop on the bed. It makes a creaking sound as I land on it and I look at Aubrey to make sure I haven’t broken her table or it’s not going to give out from under my weight. She just smiles and hands me a pack of tarot cards.
‘Alright, here’s how it’s going to go’ ‘I want you to hold these cards a few minutes and then shuffle them, once shuffled you can put them on the table in front of you, and I’ll pick your cards and do your reading’ I nod at her explanation and start my shuffling. Once I’m satisfied everything is well shuffled I put the deck in front of me and touch it one last time.
‘Perfect’ she says and starts flipping the cards. She flips 8 cards and starts explaining what each of them mean.
‘There’s something in your life that you used to do a lot and were very proud to be doing it, whatever this is, is going to come back into your life again very soon and help you to reach your goals’ she points to a middle card and continues ‘see this card, it means you’re stuck and can’t move forward, until you make the decision to overcome this barrier you will be stuck in this place. To get on with your journey, take control over your life. It feels like you’ve given the reins to your life to someone else and they’re dragging you wherever they go weather you like it or not, it’s time to take that back’
I’m slightly flabbergasted as I know exactly what she means and that’s how I’ve been feeling for the better half of this past year. ‘I’m currently stuck in a job I don’t really like’ I mutter to her and she just nods and points to another card.
‘See this one, it symbolizes that things are about to turn around for you. All you have to do is make the decision and follow through with it’
Then she points the next card and continues ‘you’ve picked the money card, and I don’t really need to explain it to you what this card means, because it’s pretty self-explanatory but it all engages with making the decision. Once you take care of that stage, everything will start on a snowball effect, health, wealth, success. This card is where your dreams come true.’
At this point, I’m so emotionally exhausted from not wanting to believe a word she’s saying and can’t stop myself from gawking at how true everything she’s saying is. The last card is a single glass shoe, sitting on ice under the starry night, lit up by the moon.
She looks at the card and then at me with a small smile on her face ‘do you know that saying… see a penny pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck?’
‘Yes, I know the saying’ I reply, the skeptical in me is rearing its head back up because I feel this is where she’ll tell me about the tall, dark and mysterious man that’s in my future just like any medium would say to anyone who’s so desperate for love.
She smirks and says ‘see a lost shoe, pick it up and Prince Charming you will find’ in a very Yoda’ish fashion. It takes all my will power not to roll my eyes, although they want to do a full 360 in my head, and bust out laughing because this is exactly what I was expecting.
At the end of our reading I hand her the gift card and simply say ‘Thank you’ before I leave. I get into my car and immediately call my mother. She picks up on the second ring.
Mom: ‘Sooooo…. Tell me everything Sky… How was it? What did she say? Do NOT skip any details!’
Me: ‘if you let me talk mother, I will tell you what a hack your medium is’
There’s silence on the other end of the phone, its heavy with disapproval of my word choices and my tone.
Me: ‘ahhh’ I sigh ‘okay mooooommm’ I whine
She snickers just like she always does when her perfect plan to guilt trip me into something works
Me: ‘Well, it was actually very interesting at the beginning, she’s pretty much hit everything on the nose’
Mom makes a non-committal noise as if to say ‘go on’ and I continue ‘essentially she told me that I need to make a big decision and stick to it and that I was stuck in a place and to get out of it, I needed to take control of my life and take charge’
Mom: ‘oh Skylar, this is so exciting’ I could almost hear her jumping up and down in joy and excitement ‘I bet ya it’s about that job of yours that you’ve been stuck at forever’
Me: ‘hmmm that’s what I thought too’
Mom: ‘it’s time Skylar, if Aubrey has said it was time than it’s time to pull the plug on that dead end job and do something with your life’
Me: ‘yes mom, but I want a safety blanket before I pull the plug you know’ ‘I don’t really want to become homeless and unemployed all at the same time because some medium told me to’ I don’t let her get a word in before I continue ‘also she said something wonky at the end that made me believe that she was a hack, so I don’t know how much to trust her’
Mom: ‘and what was that?’
Me: ‘ahhhh, she said something along the lines of ‘see a lost shoe, pick it up, Prince charming you will find’ I say while actually rolling my eyes this time
Mom: ‘young lady, stop rolling your eyes at my medium’ she scolds
Me: ‘well, I mean what else am I supposed to do with that mom?’ ‘Anyways, I’m almost at the mall, going to do some shopping now that I have some time’ ‘I’ll talk to you later’
I send her kisses over the phone, we both say our ‘I love you’s’ and ‘talk to you later’s’ and hang up.