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Currently Browsing: Year in Review
Jan
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Before and After… A Year’s Journey by Una

Before and After… A Year’s Journey by Una Twimom has suggested that if I wanted, I could share my weight-loss story with you.  At first, I thought it would be great, that maybe I could help inspire or encourage someone.  Then, after I was looking at the pictures of me through this journey, I was embarrassed and became afraid.  As I would have to admit how I got to be so heavy.  But an end of the year post is an opportunity to look back – not to nitpick and agonize over past wrongs; so the usefulness in seeing where you have been, will guide one where to go in the next year.   Since I was a kid, I thought I was fat.  It wasn’t until sixth grade that I realized or accepted that I was chunky.  I was not an inactive kid, mind you, I took horseback riding lessons, I danced – ballet, tap, character, etc.  However, when puberty hit, I got curves… generous ones, even with all the activities I was in.  It would be a long time before I would learn that I wasn’t fat, at least not then. As I entered into high school, I stopped dancing and horseback riding and threw myself into sports.  I played volleyball, soccer and swimming.  Most of my girlfriends did not play sports and were, for the most part, twigs.  They all wore single digit sizes in clothes.  I did not.  I was the double digit girl.  Much to my chagrin, my best friend played three sports and was a single digit size.  I figured, I was going to be “thick” and that was just the way I was.  I was not meant to be thin or skinny.  I was meant to be average… curvy, athletic.  As with most kids graduating high school, I went on to college.  Exercised less, did not really know to alter eating habits (since I wasn’t as active), although I ate fairly healthy.  My parents raised me well.  I had three meals a day – all food groups were correctly represented and consumed.  I love to cook so it was easy to watch what I ate. Fast forward to a few years ago – my hubby and I decided to try for kids.  I was a little heavy, but not far off from what I thought was my “normal”.  Being curvy, I accepted I wore women’s sizes, double digit because that is just what I am.  I figured I should get in...
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Dec
28

Year in Review – 2012

Year in Review – 2012 Here we are at the close of another year. This year my goal was to focus more on reading and less on the mechanics of blogging, and I’m happy to report it was a success! Emotionally and mental I was in a much better place, finding time to read and enjoying writing the reviews. I am happy to report that the total number of books read this year was 97 books, up 33 books from last year! My original goal was to read one book per week, but up’d the goal to 65 books (one more than 2011). I blew that goal out of the water! I had also challenged myself to read new-to-me authors this past year. Originally, I thought about one new author per month, for a total of 12 in the year, but when I realized I would exceed that rather quickly, I up’d that goal to 24 new-to-me-authors. I ended up reading 30 new-to-me authors! I am really proud of this accomplishment and plan to try and get at least 12 more new-to-me authors in 2013. Having the more relaxed mental attitude also helped with blogging. I am pleased to report that I published over 460 posts in 2012, up over 100 from 2011! My review team kept me busy! We added a new feature in late September called Saturday Conversations, a place where we take the time to chat about the things going on in our lives. On the downside, I finally said goodbye (for now) to my long-running Sunday Snippets weekly post back in October 2012, after the 124th post! I really have enjoyed blogging and discussing books with all of you. Although visitors were down in 2012, I know I have a great group of loyal readers, and I thank you each of you from the bottom of my heart. My blog is a labor of love, and I’m happy to share it with you all! Below is my TOP TEN for 2012… How did 2012 go for you? What were your favorite reads during the year? 10) My friend and sometime guest reviewer, Ang, came on board as a permanent member of the That’s What I’m Talking About review team. Ang enjoys reading historicals and contemporaries – creating a better balance of romance here at the blog. 9) I enjoy doing giveaways here at That’s What I’m Talking About, and the discovery of Rafflecopter has made giveaways so much easier for me! I...
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Dec
30

Year in Review – 2011

Year in Review – 2011 Well, another year has come and gone. I am happy to report that I have conquered another year blogging and reviewing so many wonderful books. Once again, my total number of books read has declined from 2010 to 2011, I’m guessing it will be roughly 20 fewer books this year than last. However, my total number of blog posts increased dramatically, going from 237 posts in 2010 to over 360 in 2011! The joys of adding to the review team, increasing author visits and more giveaways has all added up to a year of fun! I really have enjoyed blogging and discussing books with all of you. I hope you have enjoyed our time together as well! Putting aside my failed Reading Challenge and the disappointments of not keeping up, I have had a wonderful year! Below is my TOP TEN for 2011… How did 2011 go for you? What were your favorite reads during the year? 10) One big highlight was adding to the review team, for a total of six of us reading and reviewing books for That’s What I’m Talking About. B started late in 2010, while Una, Gikany, VampBard & Nima all joined me in 2011. I may need to change my blog name to That’s What We’re Talking About! 9) I finally started the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. I’ve been hearing what an amazing series this is forever, and I finally got around to reading it… well, the first 5 books or so. Anyhow, at least I started it! 8) STEAMPUNK! After testing the waters with The Iron Duke by Meljean Brooke in 2010, I came across another great steampunk book, Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris (Review HERE) Then later in 2011, was the Meljean’s second steampunk novel: Heart of Steel. I adore the Iron Seas series. I also had the privilege to read Theresa Meyers new wild west steampunk The Hunter. I was in gadget heaven this year!  7) It was the year of the HAWKE, when Nalini Singh released the tenth Psy/Changeling book (in hard cover): Kiss of Snow. (Review HERE) I wasn’t sure if I’d like the pairing with youngling Sienna, but Ms. Singh did not disappoint! 6) I celebrated by one year blogiversary back in January with a huge celebration (and tie in with my 40th birthday), and I also participated in Book Blogger Appreciation Week this year. That was a lot of work, but fun as I...
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Dec
29

G & U’s Top Ten Series to Reread

G & U’s Top Ten Series to Reread We the addicted to reading, Gikany and Una, have decided to come clean.  Everyone has those guilty pleasures.  Considering, though, the depth of our addiction, we do not just reread a book…Gikany and Una have a habit of rereading series.  *cough*  This has no bearing on us being late with our blog posts to Twimom.  *cough*  The following is a list of our reoccurring guilty pleasures.  We thought to share them with you in the off chance that you haven’t read them yet.  If you haven’t read them, we seriously recommend you do.  Why you ask?  Because we like to share our crack, uh, I mean our favorite books/series/authors…just check it out! Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs Psy-Changling series by Nalini Singh Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward  The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey  Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling Hurog duology by Patricia Briggs  Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn The Deed of Paksenarrion (it’s a trilogy) by Elizabeth Moon We know we have tried to entice you with the outstanding Patricia Briggs series (Mercy Thompson).  We did a review…we gave you snippets from her first book to tease you before her latest book (River Marked) came out.  So…in case that teaser wasn’t enough to convince you…we have brought you a NEW teaser from Moon Called because…you just gotta read it! Moon Called by Patricia Briggs “I’ll give him a call,” I said with relief. He picked up on the second ring.  “Warren, here.  Is this you, Mercy?  Where have you been?  Do you know where Adam and Jesse are?” “Adam was hurt,” I said.  “The people who did it took Jesse.” “Tell him not to let anyone else know,” Said Samuel. “Who was that?” Warren’s tone was suddenly cool. “Samuel,” I told him.  “Bran’s son.” “Is this a coup?” Warren asked. “No,” answered Adam from the backseat.  “At least not on Bran’s part.” “Excuse me,” I said.  “But this is my phone call.  Would you all please pretend that it is a private conversation?  That includes you, Warren.  Quit listening to the other people in my van.” “All right,” agreed Warren.  Having heard Adam, his voice relaxed into its usual lovely south Texas drawl. “How are you today, Mercy?” he asked sweetly, but as he continued his voice became gradually sharper.  “And have you heard the startling news that our Alpha’s house was...
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Dec
28

G & U’s Top Ten Heroines that Kick A$$

G & U’s Top Ten Heroines that Kick A$$ Gikany and Una read a LOT of urban fantasy and fantasy since it is our preferred genre (although paranormal romance rates right up there as well).  But something we’ve noticed this year in our reading is the increase in women that are not just heroines in the classic Gone With the Wind style, but more like…well, check out our list: Xhex (Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward) Kate Daniels (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews) Elena Deveraux (The Guild Hunters series by Nalini Singh) Lessa (The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey  Catherine “Cat” Crawfield (Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost) Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson (Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs) Tie between Kitty Norville (Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn) and Agnes Crandall (Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie) Tie between Mercy Smith & Indigo Riviere (both from Psy-Changling series by Nalini Singh) Jaenelle Angelline (Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop) Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins) We find ourselves drawn to these women, some that choose their “rough” lifestyles and others that find themselves in situations and the inner kick a$$ spirit rises like a phoenix within them.  The most delightful part of this is that the majority are in series!  So we not only see them in one aspect, one adventure, but see some of the evolve, grow, find love and yet remain scary women you do NOT want to cross.  Here is our excerpt from our #1 kick butt gal! Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward “You will leave now,” she said softly, “or I will drag you out of here by your hair.” The man had breath like a day-old tuna sandwich.  “I hate dykes.  You always think you’re tougher than you really—“ Xhex grabbed the man’s wrist, turned him in a little circle, and cranked his arm up to the middle of his back.  Then she clipped her leg around his ankles and shoved him off balance.  He landed like a side of beef, the wind getting knocked out of him on a curse, his body plowing into the short-napped carpet. In a quick move, she bent down, buried one hand in his gelled-up hair, and locked the other on the collar of his suit jacket.  As she dragged him face-first to the side exit, she was multitasking: creating a scene, committing both an assault and a battery, and running the risk of a brawl if his buddies in the...
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Dec
27

VampBard’s Top 10 ways to Blog About Smut Like a Ninja

VampBard’s Top 10 ways to Blog About Smut Like a Ninja When she’s not reading books for That’s What I’m Talking About, VampBard has a day job that really doesn’t need to know what she reads in her spare time. 10. Secretly, my favorite reason to have a Kindle is because I can read paranormal romance in public without using a book cover or wrapping my book in a brown paper bag. Doesn’t work for Playboy nor a pint of your favorite liquor; pretty sure someone would have eventually called me out. 9. Avoid discussing what you’re reading in public. Someone who knows someone that knows your boss may be listening. If you find yourself in a position where you THINK it’s safe to talk books, check again prior to beginning your conversation. Only a Ninja would triple-check a perimeter in that manner. 8. Be sure you have a virtual bookshelf, and that you’re using the same pseudonym that you’ve chosen to use for reviews (if any). Should someone figure out that you enjoy the same type of books, it’s OK to work together. Never. NEVER reveal your true identity. 7. There’s ‘job’ security in blogging romance novels. Everyone loves a ‘Happily Ever After’, and romance novels are the best way to find that blissful state. Supernatural Ninja Skillz are wicked awesome when you need to sneak in, read the super smut, and whip up a phenomenal review for an epic blog. 6. Sneak into blogging to justify your book habit. Seriously. That way, you’re doing something productive for society whilst perusing your favorite paperback. You can also use your Ninja mind-control skills to persuade people that every book you read is for review, and you’re on deadline. Easier if you have an e-reader and don’t have to hide covers! 5. Virtually stalk your favorite authors. Get to know them. Their websites and blogs are awesome places to get started. If you’re ready to stealthily slip into uber-ninja mode, find an author chat. 4. Be truthful when writing reviews. If you’re not, someone may find out your digital hang-outs and taunt you. Maybe. That’s the reason I give myself for being honest about what I’ve read. I’d have more ammunition to fire back, that way 🙂 3. Figure out your reviewing ‘voice’. Try on a few if you’re not sure. Writing voice isn’t like underwear. You can put it back if you try it on and don’t like it. 2. Find a fabulous sister-from-another-mother that’s completely into blogging, has a...
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Dec
27

VampBard’s Top Ten Book Hotties

VampBard’s Top Ten Book Hotties Whether you’ve read these titles or not, you should. Jus’ Sayin’. Whether you agree or not, this is how I picture my main men. Additionally, these are some of my favorite males from 2011 reads. Snag a tall, cool drink or grab a fan, and enjoy the eye candy! Happy Holidays! 10. Arik. The Aegis from Larissa Ione’s Immortal Rider. Even though there wasn’t the epic description in the book for me, I always pictured him as looking like Jason Lewis.  9. Max. From Of Course I Try by Seleste deLaney. I really loved Max and his mystery. I think he looks a bit like Johnny Depp. 8. Mr. Darcy, from Pride and Prejudice: the Wild and Wanton Edition. (side note: If you’ve not read this ‘smutetized’ version, it’s worth spending a few bucks to get it digitally when it goes on special!) From the first time I read Pride and Prejudice, I’ve always had a pretty static image of Mr. Darcy. Then, I see Colin Firth in a movie, **ding**ding**ding** There’s Mr. Darcy!  … HOWEVER…after reading the Wild and Wanton version, I’m thinking Mr. Darcy is more like Jude Law. 7. Matthias, from Infinite Betrayal by Gayle Donnelly and Robyn Mackenzie. Immediately, upon reading his description, I thought: long-haired version of Christian Bale.  6. Cardus, from Robin D. Owens’ novella, Heart and Soul. Not only do I love the world of Celta that Owens has created, I dearly love her character, Cardus. I picture him as a younger Rutger Hauer. 5. Rhage, a.k.a. Hollywood from the world of J. R. Ward. With his ‘Hollywood’ good looks, how’s a girl NOT to love Rhage? To me, he looks like Gabriel Aubrey. (see photo, left) 4. Rio, the dark and dangerous hero from Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series. Viggo Mortensen was the first image that came to mind when I read about Rio.  3. Strider, from Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Universe series. While a dearly love all of these tormented souls, Strider is my favorite. Because he is the keeper of Lies, it’s always entertaining to see how he gets around his inability to tell the truth. I’ve always seen him as Ryan Reynolds. 2. Tohrment. This warrior, also from the world of J. R. Ward, is my Brother. Great description of him… and I envision him as a blonde Chris Hemsworth.  1. Wrath, the Blind King from the world of J. R. Ward. Mmmm. Love me some Brothers!...
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Dec
26

Nima’s Top Ten List of Authors You May Have Missed

Nima’s Top Ten List of Authors You May Have Missed When I escape my real life into the pages of a book, I like to really escape, like into another dimension.  As a female reader, however, even the most fascinating time traveler or brilliant spaceship captain better have a love interest to hold mine.  I have yet to figure out what the magic formula is that designates one book as “science fiction/fantasy” and another as “paranormal romance.”  The cross-over is so common these days that there is virtually no distinction to me except with marketing. It hasn’t shown up in bookstore banners yet, but I have recently begun to see a classification popping up called Science Fiction Romance or SFR.  I have found Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changling series under both banners, even within the same chain of booksellers.  Maybe it’s a simple matter of shelf space. Every year romances far out-sell sci/fi, and yet sci/fi readers adamantly refuse to cross the aisle. (Ever notice they’re always next to each other in bookstores?)  I have discovered that many romance readers too refuse to venture where they erroneously believe science will over-power the story of relationships and descriptions of technology will make their brains hurt.  They’re both wrong!  So for you die-hard romance readers, let me offer you my 2011 Top Ten List of Author’s You May Have Missed Because They Were in the Science Fiction Section: 1. N.K. JEMISIN (Inheritance Trilogy) Description: Gods and mortals. Power and love. Death and revenge. In the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, gods dwell among mortals and one powerful, corrupt family rules the earth. Three extraordinary people may be the key to humanity’s salvation. Thoughts:  Look for an in-depth review of this series in 2012!  Some might say that Jemisin’s series is reminiscent of Greek and Roman mythology.  Some will draw connections anywhere they can.  For me, Jemisin’s style is unlike anything else I’ve ever read.  Let me just say that I have no idea why this author and her Inheritance Trilogy have gone nearly completely under the radar, even for sci/fi readers.  She has remarkable world-building skills and all three books are completely relationship driven.  Perhaps she is too much of both genres to be classified as one or the other.  Jemisin’s descriptions are so complete and so creative that if I could, I would love to live inside her head for just a day to see the scope of what she’s imagined before it’s edited and distilled down to the story we have in print....
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Dec
29

Year in Review – 2010

Year in Review – 2010 Welcome to the end of another year. This is my first year blogging, and it was interesting to see how my book list panned out. I read fewer books in 2010 than 2009, but that is understandable now that I’m writing reviews, completing author interviews, blog hopping and chatting with my gals (and guys) and Twitter.  I really enjoyed blogging and discussing books with all of you. I hope you have enjoyed our time together as well! I’ve listed some of my highlights and stats from 2010 below.  How did 2010 go for you? What were your favorite reads during the year? Thank you all for stopping by and supporting me and That’s What I’m Talking About.  Joyous New Year and Happy Reading!!   The Summary: I read 83 books; I read 21 comic books; I read 4 partial books (i.e. one novella out of an anthology); I read 4 free short stories; I had 1 DNF. Favorites of 2010: Published in 2010: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews Published prior to 2010: Demon Moon by Meljean Brook Seduced by the Storm by Sydney Croft New series (2010): Stormwalker Series by Allyson James Series prior to 2010: ACRO Series by Sydney Croft Guardian Series by Meljean Brook Favorite Non-Paranormal read in 2010: Decadent Deceptions by Keta Diablo Favorite Guilty Pleasure: Black Wade by Franze & Andaerle So without further ado, here is the LIST for 2010: Book #1: Heart of Darkness, anthology (January 2, 2010) Book #2: Wild Thing, anthology (January 3, 2010)Book #3: Lone Wolf, Teresa D’Amario (Janunary 7, 2010)Book #4: Shades of Midnight, Lara Adrian (January 9, 2010)Book #5: Gentlemen Prefer Succubi, Jill Myles (January 11, 2010)Book #6: Passion Unleashed (2nd read), Larissa Ione (January 16, 2010)Book #7: Wicked Enchantment, Anya Bast (January 19, 2010)Book #8: Succubi Like It Hot, Jill Myles (January 21, 2010)Book #9: Esctasy Unveiled, Larissa Ione (January 24, 2010)Book #10: Taken, Anya Bast (January 25, 2010)Book #11: Demon Moon, Meljean Brook (January 28, 2010)Book #12: Demon Night, Meljean Brook (February 6, 2010)Book #12.1: “Thicker Than Blood” from the anthology First Blood, Meljean Brook (February 6, 2010)Book #13: Demon Bound, Meljean Brook (February 12, 2010)Book #14: Demon Forged, Meljean Brook (February 21, 2010)Book #14.1: “Blind Spot,” Meljean Brook from the anthology Must Love Hellhounds (February 21, 2010)Book #15: Of Crimson and Collars, Audrey and Stella Price (February 22, 2010)Book #16: Archangel’s Kiss, Nalini Singh (February 25, 2010)Book #17: Without...
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