I missed spring on my blog and don’t want to miss summer

Scorch, Elf and book
Scorch and Elf on my lap as I read one of my favorite books so far this year

You may have noticed I haven’t blogged for a few months. I didn’t mean for that happen, but as the days went by it was harder and harder to jump back in again. Summer’s here now. I missed Spring on my blog. I don’t want to totally miss Summer!

Blog updates in April

I stopped blogging in April to update and upgrade various parts of my blog. I’d been planning to do it since January when WordPress 5.0 came out. I thought it would only take a day or two, but one thing led to another . . . .

I worked on my blog much of April. I upgraded my PHP version as well as upgrading my theme. Since I upgraded my theme I decided to change some things on my blog and to freshen the look of the blog. This all took time since I didn’t know how to do some of the stuff I was doing. However, I finally did upgrade WordPress. 🙂

Frustrations

During that time I didn’t post anything since I was busy trying to get finished. As time went on I got frustrated and didn’t want to fix things or to blog. I still have things to change and fix and will gradually work on them. However, I didn’t even want to look at the blog for a while.  😦

Excited to reconnect

I’ve gotten past that now and am excited to reconnect. I know I stopped blogging at least one other time during the six years since I started my blog. Each time I thought I’d be back in a few days. Then as the days and weeks went by I had a hard time returning. Has this ever happened to you?

I don’t want it to happen to me again–but if it does I need to put a message on my blog that I plan to come back.

Spring 2018 Bloggiesta Sign-Up

Spring Blogggiesta Sign-up post

Spring Bloggiesta will be a week-long challenge, March 19-25th, where we all get focus on that massive to-do list for improving, maintaining, and generally making your blog great.

If you’ll be joining us, be sure to make a to-do list and link it below. As always, your to-do list can contain as much or as little as you want to do. Ideas for a basic to do list can be found at this link. You are welcome to copy it and use it however you see fit. Or visit other people’s to-do lists and steal borrow their great ideas.

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I did a Bloggiesta a couple of years ago and  meant to do one again ever since, but have forgotten to check for dates. I saw that this was happening so now is the time! I have ideas and plans for my blog that I want to work on and Spring Bloggiesta is the perfect time to do it. Check out the Spring Bloggiesta site to get some ideas of what you can do for your blog.

To Do List

  1. Finish and schedule at least two discussion posts.
  2. Finish and schedule at least three reviews.
  3. Check blog for broken links, speed
  4. Complete at least two challenges.
  5. Participate in a twitter party.
  6. Comment on other Bloggiesta blogs throughout the week.

Look back and look forward

2016 wasn’t my best book year…

But I did read some good books. My biggest problem was writing reviews. Lots of the books I read did not get reviewed–especially in the latter part of the year. There were good reasons for that, but since there were lots of good books and authors I didn’t highlight I want to change that this year. I also didn’t get to my reading goal last year. That doesn’t bother me too much since I read some good books and found quite a few new authors to read. And anyway that was last year.

So what happened last year?

Lots went on in my personal life:

→  My husband and I decided to retire a few year earlier than planned.

→  We decided to move to Iowa.

→  We bought a house in Iowa last March, but our house in Maryland didn’t sell until the first of October.

→  I moved in April, but my husband moved in July.

→  In September we went on a road trip from Iowa to Washington State. The trip was wonderful–we drove to several national parks including Jasper and Banff in the Canadian Rockies. However, we also hit a deer with our car while still in Canada.

→  Car repair happened in Spokane, Washington, but we didn’t get the car back until around the first of November.

→  About that same time my husband was diagnosed with cancer and started receiving chemotherapy and radiation. Luckily, the type of cancer is treatable and slow-growing.

→  November and December are always very busy family months for me–Thanksgiving and Christmas are wonderful, joyous, busy times of year for us. We were also very busy with my husband’s cancer treatments.

Reading and blogging life

I lost a little of my mojo from October through the end of the year. Reading was still a comfort to me, but I didn’t have time for quite so many books and some of the books I started just didn’t hit the mark and went unfinished.

Part of the lost mojo meant fewer blog posts–especially book reviews.

I made the mistake of requesting extra NetGalley books thinking they would spur on my reading…but not-so-much. I started to think of those books like homework–never a good thing for me. Even books and authors I knew I would enjoy didn’t get read.

Plans for 2017

→  No 2017 reading challenges right now.

→  No in-depth review of how I did with my challenges or my reading in 2016. I just want to move forward.

→  Reviews will restart with the books I read in 2017 plus a few NetGalley books I didn’t get reviewed in 2016.

→  A shake-up in my review style. I just haven’t figured out what yet.

→  I do plan a review post with mini reviews toward the beginning of each month for the books I didn’t review the previous month.

→  Short reviews on Goodreads for 2016 books.

→  I still set my reading goal for 100 books. This is a doable goal, though still means stretching a bit.

→  Finish reading my NetGalley books.

→  And no new NetGalley book requests!

What are your plans for 2017?

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No wireless = Frustration

My internet has been out much of the week. Sometimes I have a 15-minute block when it’s working after I reset the modem, but sometimes 0-5 minutes.

I’ve worked with the internet company, but so far they haven’t been much help. My techy daughter tried talking to them on Friday afternoon, but we were on the phone for two hours and they kept switching us back and forth between two departments with neither one helping.

I haven’t had the internet up long enough to get blog posts completed, comments made or read other people’s blogs. I’m hoping this post will get published, The week was frustrating as I tried to post, comment, go to websites and all sorts of other internet stuff and was unable to do much of anything.

Of course, the holiday weekend doesn’t help either. I’m hoping I can get someone at the internet company to help today. Fingers crossed I get this posted!

Yay! Internet working so far!!

Blog redesigns

notes from a readerholicI spent much of September thinking about my blog and how I want to update it. I tried out a new header during September. I wasn’t completely satisfied with it, but worked on refining my ideas.

Headers

I put up a new header on October 1. My idea is to have a new header each month during the year. I like to try new things so I hope having a new header each month will keep me happy. My plan is to keep certain elements in each header, but change other things in each header.

Some of the things I’ve decided while I pondered how I want the blog to look:

  • I love color!
  • I like to change things
  • I like simple, bold graphic images
  • Since I wear glasses that’s going one of my blog identifiers

Fonts

I was using a font that looked somewhat like handwriting for my header and heading. My idea was that helped carry through the “Notes” in my blog name, but I’ve gotten tired of it. I tried out another handwriting type of font, but have decided for now to use a very bold font for the header and headers.

Useful websites

I used a couple of websites to help me with the colors and graphics: Canva and Adobe color wheel. Both of these are great sites.

Test site?

I’ve tried to create a test site, but am still having trouble with that. I’d really like to test changes before they go “live.” I’ve found a site that explains how to create a test site, but the directions haven’t worked for me. Have any of you created your own test site? Can you share how you’ve done it?

And . . .

I will continue tweaking things some (I’m using the Nose Graze Tweak Me theme, after all!) I want to continue to refine my designs.

I still need to redesign my social media and I want to do more with social media.

Please let me know what you think. Let me know what you like and don’t like.

Thanks!

 

After Bloggiesta Goals Review

bloggiesta

I heard about Bloggiesta sometime last spring. This is the first time I’ve been able to participate and I’m excited to join in. Fall Bloggiesta runs from September 18 to 21. This is a chance to fine-tune my blog. I have a number of things I don’t always get to so I hope this will help.

The idea behind Bloggiesta is to spend four days working on perfecting your blog and connecting with other bloggers who are doing the same thing.

I didn’t complete too many of my To Do List, but I’m glad to get some of these things done. And I will have plenty to do in the future!

My To Do List:

  • Review my blog goals and resolutions I created last January
    • I have completed most of my goals for the year. I have a few ongoing till the end of the year and at least one I haven’t managed to do (writing posts two or three weeks ahead)
  • Figure out how to post Goodreads reviews and participate more with Goodreads
    • I didn’t get anything done on Goodreads. This will be a goal for the future.
  • Work on my labels/tags
    • What I actually worked on were my categories. I had changed some of my categories in the last couple of months. I went back and made sure all my posts have the same categories and organization.
  • Do at least two mini challenges
    • I didn’t get to do any mini challenges. 😦  However, I plan to work on two of the challenges this week–How to Use Flickr hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Must Do Actions Before Hiring a Blog Designer hosted Stacy @ The Novel Life.
  • Think about asking for review copies of books and figure out how to request them if I decide to do this
    • Another item I didn’t have time for. I still haven’t decided whether to ask for review copies.
  • Consider adding a policy page
    • I also didn’t work on this. A policy page is tied in to whether I decide to ask for ARCs.
  • Decide what I want to change about my blog layout
    • I changed a few things on my blog layout–trying to decide what I want to do. Also working on one of the mini challenges will help me decide if I want to hire a blog designer.
  • Comment on other Bloggiesta partipants blogs
    • I did comment on a few participant blogs.
  • Participate in at least one Twitter chat
    • I participated briefly in one Twitter chat. I had planned to do more, but was gone during the other three.

 

Blog Moved

notes-for-a-readerholicI finally moved my blog to my self-hosted site! I’ve been talking about it for several months and had decided the first part of 2014 had to be the time!

I kept the same name–Notes from a Readerholic–but the link is slightly different: notesfromareaderholic.com. I hope if you subscribed to my blog or followed me in the past that you will continue to do so. My old site at wordpress.com is automatically redirecting people to my new self-hosted site.

I have more updates to complete and plan to do a few more changes, but have decided to let people know this is the new site. If you have problems connecting let me know. Or if you find problems on the new site let me know that.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thanks!

Jan

New blog contributor

autumn-in-IAI’m in Iowa visiting my younger daughter Karen this week. I’ve finally talked her into occasionally contributing to this blog! I’m excited since she’ll bring a different point of view.

She wrote a post which will appear later today. It’s a post about banned books. I wrote about banned books yesterday and now Karen shares her thoughts. I don’t know how often she’ll write something…we’ll play it by ear.

Karen’s a 20-something who loves to read. We read some of the same books, but she has her own interests, too. I think she will soon add a post telling more about herself.

Now I need to work on my older daughter. But she just started graduate school so she’s pretty busy. Maybe she’ll appear here at a later date!

Sunday Post–June 16

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there!

Last Week

Around the House

A quiet week…some reading, working on the blog, lunch with our son.

Blog

I’ve been taking a WordPress Blog and Website class so I decided to take the plunge and move my blog. To my surprise it was a pretty painless process. I spent most of the time after the blog exported and then imported picking out a theme and then deciding on categories and tags. I still have a few more things to do and I may decide on a different theme, but I’m enjoying the process!

  • Sunday Post
  • Quote-Tastic
  • Top Ten Tuesday–Beach Reads
  • Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Books read

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

What I’m reading

Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander

E-books bought

mad-earls-bride

The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase

memorys-wake

Memory’s Wake (Memory’s Wake Trilogy) by Selina Fenech

blood-seduction

A Blood Seduction: A Vamp City Novel by Pamela Palmer

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Around the web

The Sync free downloads for this week (June 13 – 19)

June 13 – June 19, 2013
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton (Scholastic Audiobooks)
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, read by Robert Ramirez (Recorded Books)

Next Week

Around the house

A busy week ahead of us. We have a couple sets of visitors coming this week and next. Time to get the house cleaned!

Posts on the blog

  • Quote-Tastic
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Review: Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina
  • Sunday Post

Out with the New, In With the Old

I’m back to my old Blogger comment system. The way they were before I decided to fix what wasn’t broken. I like to tinker with things, but when they don’t work the way I want I get frustrated. I’ve been frustrated with this most of the week.

I’ve lost a few comments which were made after I switched to Disqus and I’m sorry about that. However, I have all the old comments formatted the way they were and I’m happy about that.

I’m sure Disqus is a good system. Many people like it and perhaps it’s so good that’s the problem. They apparently have problems keeping up with all the people who want to use their services.

I emailed Disqus after 36 hours when I didn’t have comments. They said it could take longer than the 24 hours stated at their site. The import was finally finished on Thursday morning (I started this process on Sunday), but for some reason my comments still didn’t show up (though I had over 2 billion reactions for every post!)

I’ve emailed their customer service again, but haven’t heard from them yet. This morning when I still didn’t have comments I tried to figure out how to delete Disqus from my site. When I finally figured that out I also figured out what was wrong and did get Disqus to work, but by that point I just wanted the status quo back.

As I stated on Tuesday: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m sure I will tinker more with the blog as I go along, but I hope future tinkering has a better outcome.

I’m sure Disqus would have worked fine for my blog. The problem was mostly with me–I made a mistake which made the comments not show up, but at best the comments wouldn’t have shown up until Thursday (on Tuesday they said they were moving me up in the queue). I’ve decided Blogger comments are just fine.