Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I had a hard time coming up with this list, to be honest. I read a lot of new authors in 2018, but making a Top Ten list was still hard. So enjoy this mishmash of romance, fantasy, macho apocalypse, bananas horror (Bachmann), mystery, and non-fiction authors.

Kelley Armstrong & Jeff Wheeler & Jenn McKinlay

Ian Douglas & Franklin Horton & Ryder Carroll & Jacqueline Frost

Michael Cannell & Stefan Bachmann & Jane Harper

I hate not writing any notes, but my mother-in-law was here this past weekend and I had a ton of stuff to do this (aka Monday) evening. I’m clearly lagging behind on my ‘stay ahead of blog posts’, eh?

~Sarah~

Movies & TV

Mini Movie Reviews

Exactly what it says on the tin – I watch movies and then write mini reviews to post here. Groundbreaking.

I love science fiction movies.I watched a bunch this past week, so I thought it’d be good to use those for my first mini movie review post. I’ve added the descriptions from IMDB because I’m not sure how well known any of them are. Except Bird Box. Bird Box is popular.

Occupation

A small group of town residents have to band together after a devastating ground invasion.

Description from IMDB.

This is an Australian alien invasion movie, and it’s pretty okay. The characters are pretty one dimensional, and a few are needlessly antagonistic, but I liked the premise. I also enjoyed the explosions. The story was fine, really, it just tried to do too much. There were too many characters to follow in a single movie and way too many plotlines. Three different romantic relationships, family drama, teen angst, father-hates-girl’s-love-interest, pregnancy and childbirth in the alien invasion, and so forth. And those are just the ones that don’t have anything to do with aliens. I can definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a fun movie that has lots of explosions.

Bird Box

Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety.

Description from IMDB.

I read Bird Box a few years ago and it stuck with me. So I was excited that it was turned into a movie. I really liked it, but I wasn’t as in love with it as I was hoping to be. It’s still a movie I would definitely urge people to watch. The plot is solid, Sandra Bullock is fabulous as usual, and those kids are adorable. I don’t really have any complaints. Other than the end, that is. I really like the dark ending from the book and was kind of bummed it wasn’t in the movie. The ending they went with probably has wider appeal.

The Osiris Child

Set in the future in a time of interplanetary colonization, an unlikely pair race against an impending global crisis and are confronted by the monsters that live inside us all.

Description from IMDB.

I enjoyed this movie more than I probably should have. No ragrets. So, a dad finds out that the military-like corporation he works for is going to blow up the planet they’re orbiting (for reasons I can’t say), but plot twist, his kid who he’s generally estranged from is currently living on that planet. He steals a ship and gets to the surface. All I want to say here is that if you’re building high tech space ships to dogfight with, they should have a mechanism to see behind them. He makes friends with a prison escapee and the adventure is on. I don’t want to say too much more, but it’s an enjoyable movie. Also another Australian science fiction movie. Apparently I like them.

2036: Origin Unknown

After a failed mission to Mars, A.I./ARTI is now used for the 2036 mission with a few human supervisors. A monolith of unknown origin is found there. It will have a big effect on Earth.

Description from IMDB.

This is not a movie I’d recommend to anyone. Usually I can find a use case for any movie, but this one is just….not what I’m into I guess. Which is unfortunate, since I love Katee Sackhoff. To be fair, the first half or so was fine, but then it went downhill fast.

Top Ten Tuesday

Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
    • I love a good mystery and this one looks like a great one. Who doesn’t want to know why a woman shoots her husband in the face and then never speaks again?
  • The Au Pair by Emma Rous
    • The comparison to VC Andrews is enough to make me want to read this one. I’ll be requesting it from the library.
  • Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong
    • Is it cheating to put a book that’s next in a series you’re reading? I really enjoy the Rockton series. I discovered it while I was packing to move and I had both audiobooks and ebooks so I could read or listen when needed.
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
    • The buzz around this one is big, and it looks like a very interesting fantasy novel. It’s also huge. I’m excited.
  • Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
    • Written by the authors of The Illuminae Files. That’s enough for me, but the description also sounds great.
  • Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds
    • Not going to lie, I’m eagerly anticipating this one for Shane. He loves Alastair Reynolds and he can’t wait to read this one.
  • The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
    • I need to read more YA sci-fi, because I really love it and haven’t read much of it lately.
  • The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe
    • I love Katherine Howe. I’ve read all her books, and I’m not about to stop now.
  • The Summer Country by Lauren Willig
    • I haven’t read much historical fiction set in Barbados, but I’m very interested in this mystery.
  • Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
    • Pride and Prejudice plus a culture I’m fairly unfamiliar with? Sign me up.
Goals and Plans

2019 Blogging Plans

My 2018/2019 are *almost* done I promise, there’s just one more after this. It’s mostly because I ran short on ideas – I was going to review some books, both of which I wasn’t into and decided to skip reviewing them.

I’m planning on moving off of here and on my own server/other hosted site. With Gutenberg coming out, I want to play with all the new custom blocks plugins and WP.com doesn’t really give me the level of freedom I want at a price point I’m willing to pay. I do WordPress development as my day job and was originally just interested in blogging without doing any development. Now, though, I think I’d like to create a theme and maybe some custom blocks. I’m looking at using my personal AWS account to do it, but I might just go with a regular hosting site. Decisions, decisions.

I still want to do book reviews, but I’m not going to force one if there’s not a book I want to review. Or if I just haven’t finished a book since the last review. I want to read a lot more sci-fi and fantasy books that are a lot longer than most of the books I read last year.

I’m not worried about visits, or views, or followers at the moment. I’m just really enjoying blogging. This will never make money or be my career or whatnot, so I don’t have to try to hit goals like that. Obviously, I love seeing that people are reading my posts and I hope people like reading them, but I don’t want to lose that enjoyment because I’m chasing a number. I admire bloggers who do, though. They put in work. This might change – I reserve the right to decide I care about numbers at some point in the future.

Anyway, I’m off. I have a cat to snuggle with.

~Sarah~

Beach · Life & Family

New Year’s Day 2019

Shane had to work on New Year’s Day, but was done at 5am, so he came and woke me up (as well as made me breakfast). He was called back in, but was able to get done and back to the apartment before 7, so I just hopped into his car and we headed to the beach. It’s the first time we’ve gone to see the sunrise at the beach and it was lovely. It really was the perfect start to 2019.

I figured out how to optimize the camera for sunrise after I started shooting, so some pictures are much nicer than others.

These were taken directly before the sun began to rise – we really had the beach mostly to ourselves. A lady in a beach chair, a few people scattered down the beach, and a man with a metal detector (he showed up later) were really all there were. It started out really foggy, but cleared up really nicely.

We ended up in front of a bunch of seagulls and they were really fun to photograph. Apparently I love to take pictures of birds. Which is weird, since I hate birds in general.

Shane brought the drone he got for Christmas and took some great pictures. My favorite one is above – a stylized panoramic view of the beach that his drone’s software compiled.

Here’s to 2019.

Reading · Top Ten Tuesday

Best Books I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Happy New Year!

I hope that 2019 is the best year yet.

I realized while making this list that I read very few books I really loved in 2018. I can do better in 2019. Obviously not every book I read will be a winner, but I can definitely choose books that are more likely to be ones I really enjoy. Anyway, I’m fairly sick (thanks allergies), so I’m presenting this list without commentary.

  1. City of the Lost – Kelley Armstrong
  2. The Broken Girls – Simone St James
  3. The Queen’s Poisoner– Jeff Wheeler
  1. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride – Cary Elwes
  2. Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling – Michael Cannell
  3. Classic Style: Hand it Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out – Kate Schelter
  4. The Bullet Journal Method – Ryder Carroll
  1. Obsidio – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
  2. About a Dog – Jenn McKinlay
  3. Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate

I hope you have an excellent first day of 2019.

Goals and Plans · Life & Family

2019 Goals

I’m doing “19 in 2019” this year. It is *exactly* what it sounds like – I have 19 goals to complete by the end of 2019. I know I already made a post on my 2019 reading resolutions, but to be honest, those are secondary goals. Completing the PopSugar Reading Challenge will not further my plan for world domination, now will it?

Goals and explanations below:

  1. Go minimal.
    • Am I a minimalist at heart? Almost certainly not. Does it seem like a good thing to explore? Sure. I need a good & thorough investigation of all my stuff anyway, despite moving every year for the past 5 years, I own too much stuff.
  2. Reorganize the apartment.
    • This one goes with number 1 up there. There needs to be a better way to organize the stuff we have.
  3. No buying books in 2019. I own 110+ books that I haven’t read. I have so many books {that I have read} that I have to store them in bins in the garage.
    • There are 3 books I *do* want to buy next year, so they don’t count.
    • This is probably the goal I’m most likely to not meet.
  4. Respond to my pen-pal letters within a week {two if there are extenuating circumstances – like a hurricane}.
  5. Lose the 20 pounds I gained in 2018. Preferably I’ll lose more, but those 20 need to get out of town for sure.
  6. Keep the blog up all year.
    • I’ve been enjoying it for the past little while and while I think I’ll be making changes, I don’t particularly want to stop.
  7. Read the entire Bible.
    • I’m a Christian and have never read the Bible front to back so that’s probably something I should remedy.
  8. Complete Couch to 5K….finally.
  9. Revamp my wardrobe.
    • This one has been hanging out on my ‘ get to it eventually’ list & I’d like to cross it off.
  10. Make at least 24 new recipes.
    • We’re going Paleo in January, so I’m pretty sure this one will be doable.
  11. Track our spending all year & develop a budget.
  12. Make real progress on my novel.
    • I’m not sure what this looks like yet, so it’ll most likely be updated along the way.
  13. Go tech-free for a weekend every quarter. From Friday after work through Sunday at bed. No phone, no tv, no internet.
    • Phone calls to moms don’t count.
  14. Make a list of things to do in Myrtle Beach and do them.
  15. Be more deliberate in the things that I decide to do.
    • I think most people could handle working on this from time to time.
  16. Pay off my credit card. Obviously.
  17. This one isn’t for sharing.
  18. Neither is this one, don’t be nosy.
  19. Nerp.

Recaps

2018 Recap

This is my end-of-year stat blog post. Mostly for future me, so sorry if you’re hoping for a thrill.

Coffee & Crows

  • First post: 10 Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump – August 21
  • Number of views {as of today}: 559
  • Number of visitors: 361
  • Number of posts: 60
  • Number of comments: 41
  • Favorite search term used to find the blog: “crows and coffee grounds”

Read

Watched

**Note: I didn’t watch many movies in 2018, and I’m not sure I even went to one in theaters. I stuck with Netflix titles here (except King of the Hill) because I didn’t track the movies I watched and Netflix’s watch history is the easiest to use.**

Travel

  • Washington DC for Code4Lib (Feb 2018)
    • I spoke here!
  • Atlanta, GA for Code4LibSE (?)
  • Myrtle Beach for Shane’s interview (April 2018)
    • Then we moved here.
  • Mountains of NC, to flee hurricane (Oct 2018)
  • Nashville, TN for WordCampUS (Dec 2018)
  • A bunch of trips to my old hometown to go to work on-site.

I didn’t know I would be making one of these, so I didn’t do a good job tracking anything but my reading. I guess that’ll change with the bullet journal, regular blogging, and keeping a journal.

Blogmas

Wrapping Blogmas Up

I did it! Plus 2 days, even. What’s funny is that I’m only taking one day off – tomorrow – before I post a few posts before 2019 begins on Tuesday. I’m not really taking it off, I’m just not posting anything.

I learned a few things, too. Like being 2 weeks ahead was incredibly helpful. Seriously, it was so nice to not have to worry about posting all the time. I’m not sure I can keep it up, but I’m thinking about having ‘fill-in’ posts sitting in the draft folder so I have some in reserve if I fall behind. Also, the best laid plans are sometimes foiled. I had planned a few different posts that didn’t make it. Book reviews, a gingerbread house post, a post about a visit to Christmas lights. I just didn’t do everything I wanted to do, so I couldn’t write about them. Finally, I’m glad I don’t have to post 365 days a year. 27 days is hard enough, a year is too much.

I will most certainly not start 2019 being 2 weeks ahead in posts. I may not ever do that again {until next December, anyway}, but I definitely want to have several posts scheduled ahead of time.

My plans for next December {that I’ll probably forget, to be honest} are to basically follow through on the things I want to do. I didn’t get to go to see any Christmas Lights, which is a bummer, so I definitely want to go to the nicest ones next year.

Anyway, I’m super proud of myself for following through on Blogmas. Can’t wait to start 2019!

~Sarah

Blogmas · Life & Family

Christmas Recap

I thought I would have a lot more pictures from Christmas, but I didn’t take a lot. We spent Christmas Eve Eve with my parents at their place for a pretty excellent dinner. My brothers weren’t able to be there so it was just the four of us. I also scored some sweet Delft pottery from my parents’ Dutch adventures. I think it was my grandparents’ that they bought on a trip, but I’m not actually sure.

Christmas Eve I woke up at 6 am to help my mother in law (and Shane, to be fair) get ready for the party. I made Bread Pudding with Bourbon sauce, which is apparently my ‘thing’ now. People showed up around 4ish and there were a bunch. Shane’s cousin has 4 kids plus several of my MIL’s siblings and attendant spouses as well as Shane’s brother and his kids. Oh, all 6 kids are very, very girly girls, by the way. Also loud. So loud.

But I had a great time – my oldest niece is a month from 13 and she’s hilarious and genuinely fun to be around. My 9 year old niece is a sweet bundle of love. The other 4 girls are a bunch of energy, too. The youngest is about a year old (but is developmentally younger) and I got to hang out with her a bit. I love a baby…that I can give back.

Good food, good company, and my MIL’s cat letting me pet him a bunch (he’s a bit standoffish) made for an excellent Christmas 2018. The few pictures I took are below – some are from my parents, some from Christmas Eve.