January Review

Well, January’s coming to an end and I’ve only read 3 out of the target 6 books for the month. I could make excuses, whine about how life is getting in the way, but the truth is, I just didn’t set aside the right about of time to read. And I’ve spent far too much time playing Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

I have the next few days off of work though, so I intend to get some reading done. I’m hoping to get 2 books in by Friday. Also, I’m going to try to make up at least two of the three books I’m behind this month. To that end, I have put the next two Barker and Llewelyn books on hold at my local library. I know I will read these books quickly. I wanted to spread them out more, maybe one a month, but with some catch up to do, I went ahead and changed my plan.

I finished the first Harry Potter book today. As I’ve read it many times in the past, I feel like I’m cheating on my goal to read books I own that I’ve not read before but, as I explained before, with the passing of Alan Rickman, I felt the need to read the series again.

Now, I’m off to get some reading in!

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The look I get when I’m on the couch and don’t let him up to cuddle.
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Sad days. Good books.

I was at work on Sunday when news broke of David Bowie passing away. It was surely a sad day. I spent most of the day humming the little bits of various songs of his that I could remember. Then, on Monday, I found more of his music and listened to it. I also vowed to watch Labyrinth again.

Today, I awoke to find messages on my phone. While checking them, I perused Facebook where I saw someone posted a RIP Alan Rickman picture. Confused, I went to my laptop and opened the news to see a ton of articles about Mr. Rickman’s passing. As saddened as I was by Mr. Bowie’s passing, I was left feeling numb after reading of Mr. Rickman’s passing.

Every year at Christmas, my husband and his dad love to joke about the “Die Hard Christmas Special”, since Die Hard inevitably plays on many movie channels on Christmas. The Harry Potter movies are some of my favourites, along with the books. As much as I felt a connection to Snape by the end of Book 7, Alan Rickman brought the character to life and made me truly love him.

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Severus Snape Quote, found on Tumblr.

There are many movies starring Mr. Rickman that I have not seen yet, but have always said I would watch. Now I feel as though I must rewatch old favourites along with finally sitting down to watch more of this very talented man’s work.

On that same theme, I feel the desire to reread the Harry Potter books and watch the movies again. I’ve begun to set in motion plans to have a Harry Potter marathon with a couple of friends. Now though, I am going to go crack open Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I kind of feel like rereading these is ‘cheating’ on my 75 book goal, as I initially set out to read the books I have yet to read on my shelves, but I figure such a sad day needs a little happiness, and the Harry Potter books have always made me feel happy.

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My collection of Harry Potter books, along with the collection of characters who hang out on my desk.

2 down, 73 to go…

Today I had the day off, so I sat and read To Kingdom Come by Will Thomas. As with the first book of the series, Some Danger Involved, I fell into the story and didn’t come back up for air until my doorbell rang and unexpected visitors popped the bubble hanging over my head. As soon as they left, I picked up the book and went back into the gritty world of Victorian England.

To say I devoured this book is an understatement. I read the book, save for the 10 pages I read yesterday, in a mere 5 hours! I’m sure that I would have read the next book in the series with such voracity as well and had two books read in a day if I had it available.

I am so glad my friend, Kim, suggested this series. I’ve fallen in love with Thomas’s writing and can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!

Up next is Before I say Good-Bye by Mary Higgins Clark.

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This picture of extras milling about the market scene for Crimson Peak makes me think of similar scenes described by Thomas in the series. Picture taken by me.

Peculiar books

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Source: RansomRiggs.com

I finished my first book today, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, and I have to say it is a peculiar book. My first thoughts of this book were “it had better live up to the hype, or I’ll be sorely disappointed”. Then, I began reading it and found that it was entertaining but similar to most of the young-adult fictions I’ve read in the past.

I enjoyed the beginning chapters of the book, they had a good flow, very interesting pictures, and I could relate to the main character, Jacob. However, the middle of the book, where Jacob finds the aforementioned home for peculiar children, felt weird to me. Maybe I just don’t have the imagination I had as a young-adult, but I contemplated putting the book down and finding a new one. I eventually decided to continue reading, to give the book a chance.

In the end, I wasn’t quite happy with where it leaves off, but I did come to like the book. It’s as peculiar as the children alluded to in the title. I’m unsure if I will ever buy this book, place it on the coveted space of my bookshelves, but I will reserve that judgement for after I read the next book in the series.

Next up for reading: To Kingdom Come by Will Thomas. The second installment of the Barker and Llewelyn series. I will hopefully pick it up at the library tomorrow, and if it’s anything like the first book, I will likely have it finished by Tuesday.

Good Reads, First Reads

After I decided I would make a reading goal for 2016, I began adding books to my To-Read shelf on Goodreads. The shelf already contained 194 books that I had added between joining in 2012 and early 2015, but I knew most of the books I owned, and had yet to read, were not on that shelf. I set out to remedy that, plus add newer books I’d heard of and suggestions from friends and family.

My To-Read shelf now sits at an uncomfortable 550 books. I say uncomfortable because approximately half of those books I own and have yet to read. It makes me feel somewhat guilty to know that they are there, just waiting for me to read them. Makes me feel like I’ve been neglecting them.

So, my goal this year is for the majority of the books I read to be the ones on my actual bookshelf. Of course I will add in some from my virtual shelf, especially a series my friend, who has her own blog, suggested, the Barker and Llewelyn series by Will Thomas. I read the first book, Some Danger Involved, in December and tore through it. I was hooked and wanted to read more. I decided that I would space out the rest of the series, so I didn’t grow bored or become trapped by this one series. I’ve added the second book to my list of January Reads.

Speaking of my January Reads, they are:

  1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  2. To Kingdom Come by Will Thomas
  3. Before I Say Good-Bye by Mary Higgins Clark
  4. A Soul to Take by C.N. Bean
  5. Detective by Arthur Hailey
  6. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  7. The Regulators by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
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January Reads, photo by me

New Beginnings, New Horizons.

Another new year has begun. Resolutions have been made, and started with enthusiasm. Goals have been set, some are unrealistic, some so simple they can’t fail, and some that push the limits of what you know you can do. I have made both resolutions and goals for the year 2016.

Normally they’re about the typical things, weight loss, eating well, etc. But this year I’ve decided that those never work, so why should I set yet another resolution or weight loss goal I’m not going to make and add yet another negative thing to my list of things I agonize over when anxiety takes hold? I decided I’m going to focus on happiness and learning, reading and crafting, friends and family.

So, this year’s resolutions:

  • To do things that make my husband and me happy;
  • To learn at least one new thing (i.e. photography or paper-making); and,
  • To spend more time with friends and family.

I have two goals for this year:

  • Finish my cross stitch kit that I started about two years ago, and
  • Read 75 books.

Finishing the cross stitch will require simply spending more time on it. Reading 75 books will require a lot more determination. That’s 6.25 books every month, or one book every 4.86667 days.

In 2015 I read a measly 5 books of my 50 book goal. So why push myself to read 75 in 2016? Because I know I can. Because I simply didn’t read for entertainment in 2015. I left life get to me. I forgot about my hobbies and focused on finishing school with the best grades I could manage, and then threw myself into a new job. I want to change that this year. I want to live and be happy. I want to see new horizons. Thus, the name of this blog, New Horizons Ahead.

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Niagara Falls, August 2012. Photo by me.