My 2013 Recap!

Well, another year has ended, and I’m always amazed by just how fast time flies by. Although working full-time has slowed my ability to post as regularly as I did when I first started this blog, I’m still proud of what I’ve accomplished. I even made the decision to read less books so that I could be involved in NaNoWriMo for the first time, which was a great experience that has encouraged me to devote more time to my writing.

All in all, I read 15 novels, totaling 4,635 pages, ranging from young adult romance to WWII satire to mythological comedy. I’ve ordered them from best to worst, so click on the links for my reviews and add some to your 2014 reading list!

Image via Goodreads

5 out of 5
1. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman (2011)
2. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker (2012)

4.5 out of 5
3. Every Day by David Levithan (2013)
4. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (2003)
5. Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent (2013)

4 out of 5
6. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (2005)

3.5 out of 5
7. Awaken by Meg Cabot (2013)
8. I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen Kirkman (2013)
9. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
10. Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O’Brien (2013)

3 out of 5
11. Gilded Age by Claire McMillan (2012)
12. My Nerdy Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson (2007)

2 out of 5
13. Jinx by Meg Cabot (2007)
14. Nerds Like It Hot by Vicki Lewis Thompson (2006)
15. Pop Kids by Davey Havok (2013)

I also watched four movies related to books in some way, whether the film adapted the novel or vice versa. There’s many others I missed out on this year, so I foresee a few much-needed movie nights in the new year!

Image via Geek Tyrant

4.5 out of 5
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

4 out of 5
3. The Great Gatsby (2013)
4. Some Like It Hot (1959)

So what were your favorite novels and movies of 2013? And how will you be celebrating NYE…with a bang or just a good book?

15 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2014!

Hi everyone!

It’s been a lazy Sunday for me, after finishing my Christmas shopping and wrapping like a madwoman yesterday. Today, I’m just making some chicken and dumpling soup, organizing my stuff both online and IRL, and preparing for the last work week of the year before celebrating the holidays with family and friends.

I’m also reading my 15th and final book of 2013: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. It’s been an absolutely exquisite read so far, and I can’t wait to see how it all will end. What a fantastic way to close the year!

I also figured that since I’m reading my 15th book on the 15th of December, why not share 15 things I’m looking forward to in 2014? Sure, I could have picked 14 things to coincide with the new year, but I’ve always been a slight overachiever! So here we go!

1.     Celebrating my 25th birthday (on the 15th of September, no less!). One of my best friends is planning a surprise vacation for me, which I’ll find out about when we reunite for Christmas. She’s the perfect party planner, so I’m crazy excited!

2.     Paying off my student loan. My grace period ended last January, but in a year, I’ve managed to put over $3,000 to my student loan thanks to doubling the minimum payments and using my tax refund. I hope to eliminate the remaining balance so I can snowball those payments into my savings!

3.     Reading more books! Waiting for me on my bookshelf right now include Reached by Ally Condie, Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella, and When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro.

4.     Hollow City. The sequel to Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is finally being released on January 14th! Here’s to more creepy photos!

No shirt, no problem!

5.     The parade of pecs…I mean, of Greek myth movies. The Legend of Hercules (Jan. 10), Pompeii (Feb. 21), 300: Rise of an Empire (Mar. 7), and Hercules (Jul 25). Sure, they’ll probably hack the history, but hooray for chiseled chests and six-pack abs!

6.     The Hobbit: There and Back Again. I’m waiting to see The Desolation of Smaug with my family next weekend, but I’m pretty confident I will love it and this finale.

My Spidey sense is tingling 😉

7.     The Amazing Spiderman 2. Ok, last movie-related one, I promise. But it’s Andrew Garfield–’nuff said!

8.     The return of Community. Despite the drama off-screen, including Donald Glover’s early departure, I’m crossing my fingers for #SixSeasonsAndAMovie Cool cool cool!

9.     Game of Thrones, season 4. I realize that I’m wasting most of my bullets on the things I watch, but oh well! How could Peter Dinklage NOT make my list?

Blackjacks FTW!

10.     K-pop comebacks. Rumors are circulating that Korean girl bands 2NE1 and Girls’ Generation are planning to release albums early next year, and many more groups will be revealing new songs and videos. If you don’t know k-pop besides “Gangnam Style,” you’re missing out!

11.     Traveling to new places. I better boost my vacation fund, because the world is too big to sit in one spot for long!


12.     Trying out new recipes. My “Nom Noms” board on Pinterest has a bunch of untested meals, and I’d like to get my cook on! I’m partial to anything with Nutella as an ingredient!

13.     Reaching 40,000 total blog views. And based on my stats, I should reach this milestone in a few months!

14.     Renewing my domain. I can’t believe I’ve been using for almost a year! It’s been a wild ride!

15.      And of course, blogging! 2013 has been an incredible journey, and I know it’s only going to get better next year!

So what are you looking forward to in 2014? Let’s raise our glasses to another 365 days of awesomeness!

My 2012 Recap!

2012 has been one of the most fantastically significant years of my life yet: I graduated with my Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism, nailed a full-time marketing job at a super-computing company in the Bay Area, settled into my own apartment (twice!), and met more people and explored more places than ever before (including three getaways to Vegas and a two-week vacation in Tokyo). I feel like all my hard work and determination is paying off, as I’m adjusting to life as an independent adult with a flourishing career and a bright future ahead. I’m so excited to see what 2013 will hold!

This year I also upped the ante on my reading goal, from 20 to 25 books. With everyone going on that I listed above, it was a struggle to keep up, but I managed to finish in the nick of time. According to Goodreads, I read over 7,500 pages in 2012, the longest novel of which being I, Claudius at 468 pages. (Although, to be honest, “read” is defined loosely, since four were audiobooks). Most were contemporary fiction, but I also made room for a handful of classics.

To recap, here’s the list of the 25 books I read this year, sorted from highest to lowest rated:

A heartbreaking must-read

5 out of 5
1.  The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)
2.  I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (2012)
3.  Bossypants by Tina Fey (2011)
4.  The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (2011)

4.5 out of 5
5.  Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)
6.  The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (2012)

4 out of 5
7.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2011)
8.  Underworld by Meg Cabot (2012)
9.  Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer (2012)
10.  The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss (2012)
11.   Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (2011)
12.  Something About You by Julie James (2010)
13.  The Innocents by Francesca Segal (2012)
14.  Truly, Madly by Heather Webber (2010)
15.  Secrets of a Shoe Addict by Beth Harbison (2008)

3.5 out of 5
16.  Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon (2012)
17.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
18.  Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (2007)

3 out of 5
19.  The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905)
20.  My Week with Marilyn by Colin Clark (Published in 2000, Based on events in 1956)
21.  I, Claudius by Robert Graves (1934)

2.5 out of 5
22.  Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell (2011)

2 out of 5
23.  Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1933)
24.  Crossed by Ally Condie (2011)
25.  The Trial by Franz Kafka (1924)

I also watched seven movies based off books or literary themes, five of which I personally read before seeing either in theaters or on DVD.

Again, they’re listed from highest to lowest rated:

Worth the wait!

4.5 out of 5
1.  “The Hobbit” (2012)
2.  “The Secret World of Arrietty” (2010 Japan, 2012 USA)
3.  “The Hunger Games” (2012)

4 out of 5
4.  “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012)
5.  “My Week with Marilyn” (2011)

3 out of 5
6.  “Midnight in Paris” (2011)

1 out of 5
7.  “Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1” (2011)

Although I didn’t accomplish as much as some book bloggers, I’m proud of this list because its diversity. I’ve experienced stories about everything from Roman emperors to famous celebrities, from corrupt farm animals to kids with special powers, from the Armenian genocide to the ancient Greek underworld. Sure, there were a few duds, but I also found tales that will remain at the top of my recommendations.

I hope my recap gives you some ideas for what to add to your own lists in 2013, and I wish you all a very happy new year! Here’s to 365 more days of books and blogging!

Love, Book Club Babe