Books, Reading, StephReads2019, UnreadShelfProject

#theunreadshelfproject2019 Update

It’s no secret that I like having a big TBR. In fact, I have such a liking for it that I have named mine Steve. (Not sure why). But the problem that comes from a big TBR is unfortunately while I’m still excited for those books, they sometimes get shoved to the side while I get newer and shiner books, and then it just kinda repeats itself.

Last year, Whitney (@theunreadshelfproject on instagram) started the Unread Shelf Project, to basically start tackling her TBR. I found out about it in March of last year and kinda participated. She basically had a prompt for each month for what you could read, such as “newest book you purchased” or “Book that’s been on your TBR the longest”. You do the prompt, yay! If you don’t read a book that fits the prompt then she suggests you get rid of the book, thereby lowering your TBR either way.

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Last year I completed some of the challenges and wasn’t sure I was going to do it again this year or not. But then in December, she challenged us to just count our unread books. That’s all we had to do, just count them.

My number was…well it was higher than what I was happy with. I am okay with a large TBR, and I will never be one of those readers who gets their TBR down to zero. (To be honest just thinking of my TBR dropping down to single digits makes me stress a bit) But I do know that I like to have about 100-130 books on my TBR.

That number wasn’t what my books were. It wasn’t even close.

So I decided I was going to really do the UnreadShelfProject this year. I needed to cut back on some of my TBR and figured that this would be the best way to do it. So I jumped in.

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The nice thing about this project is that it’s pretty much set at your own pace. There are some people who want to get their TBR down by 10 books, some who have a need for it to get to double digits and some who just want to read the books that they got years ago.

For me, after counting all the books that I had unread on my shelf, I decided that I wanted to read at least 75 books off Steve the TBR this year.

I actually didn’t think that I would be very successful about it, not because I didn’t want to read all the books on my TBR but because I have a tendency to read the books I’ve checked out from the library first, mainly because they have a time-limit and my TBR books…don’t.

However, at the time of this writing, I’ve managed to read 30 books off of Steve the TBR. *throws invisible confetti*

If I keep going at this rate, I might pass the objective that I set for myself. And since I haven’t really stopped buying books at all, that might be a good thing. I do have to say I’m slightly surprised how many I’ve managed to get down, and I’m already wondering if I can beat the goal I set for myself this year.

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What about you bookdragons? Did you set any reading goals this year? Have you been reading off your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!

Have a great day and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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5 book wrap up, Book Reviews, Reading, StephReads2019, Uncategorized

Books 6-10 wrap up

So whoever thought that I would be more active on my blog this year by doing 5 book reviews/wrapups, y’all can go ahead and laugh because I sure did.

I’m slightly distressingly behind, but I’m hoping I can knock a few more of these out tomorrow since I don’t work, but that also requires me to stop reading for a spell and we all know that won’t happen.

Let’s jump straight to the books, alright?

Book 6: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

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462 pages, fiction. 4.25 stars, TBR.

Basically this is about the Count who is placed under house-arrest for about 20 some years in a hotel. And all the people that he meets and changes while there.

I’ll be real, I mainly wanted to read this book because I had read his previous work and loved it, and wanted to get this one. I actually won this in a giveaway on instagram and decided it would be one of the books I devoured in January. And it was the perfect book for cold and grim January. I did love it, though I felt that the ending was a bit sparse but on the whole I highly recommend it. It’s more of a character driven book then a plot driven though, so it does seem to take time to get going, but I loved it.

Book 7: The diary of a bookseller by Shawn Bythell

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312 pages, non-fiction, 3 stars.

This was a small diary of a bookseller who works in Scotland at a used bookstore. It was interesting at points, but because it was told in very short text, you don’t really get a glimpse of what the customers are like, what the business looks like or anything. Plus, and I hate to say this, but the narrator had this annoying habit of sounding like he was better than anyone just because he read books, and his customers wanted different things or different books. I think if it was redone to a different format, it probably would have been higher rated for me.

 

Book 8: The imaginary by A.F. Harrold

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221 pages, middlegrade, 3 stars.

This book was about an imaginary friend and the “Reals” that they dealt with but something felt off for me on this book. It could be that we didn’t really get much background on the bad guy, it could be that it wasn’t really told well or that the narrative seemed to be missing a lot of pieces. The author also seemed to try to be imitating Roland Dahl’s style to a very specific point and it just came off as him copying instead of imitating.

 

Book 9: Tiny Homes by Country Living

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196 pages, non-fiction, 3 stars.

I actually thought this would be something different than what it was. I thought it was going to be about people living in tiny homes, which I admit is something I find fascinating, but instead it just showcased a few of the tiny homes that people live in. So more style and form rather than how they do it. I am glad that I read this though because I got a few ideas for space saving tricks in my own tiny apartment so there’s that.

 

Book 10: Quiet girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung

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178 pages, graphic novel, 4.25 stars.

I have never run across something that so accurately describes me as an introvert than this comic. It’s fantastic and I absolutely loved it. Highly recommend for everyone to read, not just introverts.

 

During this time frame I also DNF’d (did not finish) 2 books.  The 2 books I DNF’d were Cruel Prince and Property of the Rebel Librarian. There were a few reasons, ok more than a few, for me to stop reading them, and the main one on both of them were the characters and their style. I really don’t want to go into it, but basically neither of these books were for me. And I’m ok with that.

So there we go fellow booknerds, only about 5 more to go before I’m caught up! 🙂

Happy reading, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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5 book wrap up, Books, StephReads2019

Books 1-5 read of 2019

Good evening fellow booknerds!

A few weeks ago I asked if y’all would like monthly wrap-ups or if you would like to see wrap-ups after every 5 books. And pretty much all of you wanted me to post every 5 books…so hey I’m slightly behind…like by a lot. I mean, not terribly, but considering I’ve already read 25 books for this year? Yeah, I have quite a few posts to do.

So, onwards and upwards yeah?

Book 1-

A broken way by Ann Voskamp.

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271 pages, Christian nonfiction, 4 stars. (reread)

One of the things I always try to do is to reread a book that either is an old favourite or a newish favourite to start the year off, and this year I chose this one. It is all about being broken and being willing to be used by God. I did enjoy my reread of this one and it didn’t really change from the rating I had before, so that’s always a good thing. I hate when you reread something and you decide on a different rating.

Book 2-

Little moments of love by Catana Chetwynd

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148 pages, graphic novel, 4 stars. (library)

This was adorably cute and smoosh-worthy. Absolutely loved all the little interactions with her and her partner, they were just so adorable! Very much reminded me of Sarah Anderson’s work, which is also cute.

Book 3-

Love and Friendship by Jane Austen

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251 pages, classic fiction, 3 stars. (TBR)

This was a collection of her scribblings and writings that never really made it into much of a story. I thought most of it was entertaining, but there was just so much scraps that it was hard to see what exactly would come of it. On the whole though, not bad.

Book 4-

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

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160 pages, classic fiction, 4 stars. (library)

This is a story about a woman who gets fed up with her brother always gallivanting around and having adventures and she decides to go and take an adventure herself. So she ends up buying Parnassus on Wheels, which is a mobile bookstore and having an adventure herself. This was such a cute fast read. I loved how they talked about books and personally it was such a delight to read.

Book 5-

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

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361 pages, YA sci-fi/dystopian, 3 stars. (TBR)

This deals with parallel worlds, a plague, magic and the idea that not everyone is what they seem, but it was not the best. It was fast paced enough where I basically read this in one sitting but the problem was that it was so fast-paced that you didn’t really get to know the characters. I felt that if it had been longer or even been the first part of a duology it would have been more than enough time to really flesh out the characters. As it was, it was pretty much like “these are the characters and this is the plot and go” sort of feel. I still did like it but like I said, it definitely needed just a bit more with it. I did whizz through this though so that is a good thing, but I didn’t really understand a lot of what was happening.

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So that’s my list of the first 5 books I read in 2019. Hopefully I can get the rest of the posts up before I finish too many more books!

How has your reading been so far? What has been your best book? Worst book so far?

Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Reading, StephReads2019

2019 Bookish goals (better late then never)

Hello fellow Booknerds!

So it’s pretty much the third week of the new year, and I’m finally getting on here to let you know my bookish goals for the new year. I would usually do a wrap up of last year but honestly, last year (even though I beat my reading goal for books) I didn’t do well on most of my challenges. I think that in part, that was because I decided to do so many (read all of Charles Dickens works, read 85,000 pages, read 12 translated works and 2 untranslated works, etc.) that I just basically did all the reading for my books challenge but forgot everything else.

This year, I started thinking about my goals for 2019 at the start of December. I didn’t want to just state a few things, I wanted to make sure that I was going to be able to really complete these goals. I want to look back on a year and be proud of everything I’m completing.

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So on to the goals!

Goal #1: Read 200 Books.  This is actually something that is one of the easiest on the list because for the past 2 years I have consistently read over 200 books. I decided to break it down this year into the following:

*Read 50 from the library

*Read 75 off of my own TBR

*Read 50 rereads

*Read 25 for whatever

This year I am really wanting to focus on getting my TBR down just a bit. I know a lot of people who like their TBR to be less then double digits but honestly, I can’t do that. I just personally have a lot of books that I want to read but keep forgetting about because they are on my TBR.

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Goal # 2: Read 80,000 pages.

Last year I had this idea that I should read at least 85,000 pages, but the problem was I didn’t think about how I should read bigger books to get this number up, and therefore I realized about November that this goal was not going to be hit. This year though, I really think I can do this, as long as I focus on the next goal.

Goal #3: Read 12 big books this year.  I want to read more big books (over 500 pages) this year. I feel like every time I get started with tomes I either get bored or I set it down so I don’t have to finish it. But this year, especially with the page goal that I’ve set, I want to focus on getting some of those ginormous classics out of the way. I’ve actually joined a buddy read for a few of them, so we’ll see how that goes. (spoiler alert: I’m either absolutely ahead of people when I buddy read, or I drag my feet about doing it and end up having to do it all at once so we’ll definitely see how it turns out)

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Goal #4: Read 12 CS Lewis books this year.  C.S. Lewis is one of my favourite authors of all time. And I’ve read a lot of his more popular works, but realized this year that there are quite a few that I have actually never read. So the past couple of months was spend collecting them, and while I’m still missing a few of the more rare ones, I am making this my goal to really dive into his writing this year.

Goal #5: Complete at least 2 series. Y’all, I am so bad about this. I start a series and get really enthused about it, but then the last one comes out or I don’t like one of the middle books and then I just set it down…forever. I also think that if I don’t finish the series that I somehow will keep all the characters safe and free from all harm, which is not how reading works. I have about 12 series that I have half-started (and about 4 of those are duologys) and I just need to buckle down and read them. (The other bad thing about this is that I will have to reread about 14 books just to get caught up on the series.)

Goal #6: Write on here at least once a week.  I think this is a constant with me, I want to be more consistent with blogging but because life literally happens, this happens to be the first thing to drop by the wayside. I do want to get better about being on here and being consistent though, and I am going to try to do 5 book reviews (basically wrap-ups for every 5 books I read rather then waiting till the end of the month, that might help me get more on track here)

So there you have it. All my bookish goals that I hope to accomplish by 2020. I really think that I can do it, especially with 2 of my friends and I competing with our reading goals this year so if I don’t complete all these, I can’t win. And for reading, I like winning.

What are your bookish goals for this year? Do you have a few that are leftover from last year? What’s your reading goal for the year? Come talk to me in the comments!

Happy reading dragons, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, Reading, StephReads2018

How I read over 200 books this year

I read a lot.

Like, over 200 books per year a lot.

Whenever I tell people that I read this much they usually ask me how I do it, or what kind of magic did I do to make that number possible.

And honestly, I never thought that this was some high sort of number, until I began looking at stats of average readers, where most people don’t even finish a book per month, let alone in the high 20’s per year.

So, I thought that it would be fun to tell you a bit about how I read so many books, and maybe some of them will help you out. (If not, no worries, I’m just over here reading like always)

One of the things I make sure to do is make reading a priority. Many people I work with at my second job don’t get why I don’t have cable (the main 2 reasons are it’s freaking expensive and I don’t need to have the distraction) but in reality, I’ve chosen to make my reading a main thing I do when I come home.

I do still watch netflix or amazon prime, and I watch some booktube videos, but on the whole after watching one or two episodes, I realize how much time I’m wasting and I turn it off and go to a book.

When I say I make reading a priority, I don’t mean that I neglect my writing or my job or whatever, I just mean that I am try to read every day for at least 20 minutes. I use the app Bookly which tracks how long you read each day and while I’m not super competitive with others, I love seeing how long that streak can go.

And this is difficult, especially when I work an 8 hour day at my first job, get home to brew a cup of coffee and then immediately set out for my second job and don’t get home till after 11 pm. But I find that if I don’t read anything during the day or even right before I got to bed, my mood is just not there.

Reading helps me relax, refocus and also make sure that my mental health is up.

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I also try and read multiple books at the same time. For some reason, I don’t like to read only one book at a time, it actually causes me to read slower when I don’t have the option of picking up a different book. Right now, for instance, I have 6 different books going on at once. I try to not do the same sort of genre for each book just so I don’t get confused, but sometimes I can’t help it.

I have always done this. I read books and sometimes the plot is lost or the character is dull or I just need a break from the 500 page tome that I’ve started and I go after a different book. (There are times that this backfires on me as there are some books that I just don’t feel like completing and are bugging me but that’s a different story)

Also it makes me feel really accomplished when I manage to complete 3 or so books in one day, because look at that Goodreads challenge jump up!

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Another thing I do for my reading is to acknowledge that there are some authors I just don’t like and won’t read. Most people will say you need to read widely, and I whole-heartedly agree with that, but I don’t want to spend time and money on an author when I know I don’t like how they write or what they write. There are too many books in the world that are waiting for me to find them and I don’t have time to waste on mediocre books/authors.

And just because I don’t like a book or feel like a book is for me, doesn’t mean that it might not be for you. One of the best things about reading is that it’s subjective to the reader, and what I like you might actually hate. We can all have our own opinions.

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This year I got super into graphic novels and to be real, I’m so glad I did. They basically go fast, pretty artwork and make me feel so happy because “Look how many books I finished because of them”. I wish I could say the same for audiobooks, but unfortunately I’m very picky on audiobooks. I have to have a narrator I like, I have to have read the book previously and I have to like the way they talk. (Kid you not, very unpopular opinion here but everyone in the book community seems to love Jim Dale’s narration of the Harry Potter books and I absolutely HATED how he voiced the characters)

I really wish I could read more audiobooks because then I would have so many books read, but I have 3 that I love, and that’s enough for me at the moment.

Another thing I do to challenge myself to read more books is something that’s really random but it’s to take a picture of each book and do a twitter thread with it. For some reason knowing that the thread pops up and shows not only how many books I’ve read but also how many pages and ratings I’ve given it, makes me want to read more just to fill it up.

And the last thing I do to read so much is just literally carry a book with me wherever I go. Anytime there’s a line (hello crazy holiday shopping) I pull out the book and read. Maybe it will only be a few pages, maybe it will be almost finishing the book, but I never really have a problem with waiting.

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So, yeah that’s pretty much how I read and such…which really wasn’t very full of tips as far as I can see, but maybe one of these will help you out!

Hope your day is going great, and remember life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, Reading, StephReads2018

5 books I want to finish before 2019

One of the most annoying things being a BookDragon is that I have a sad tendency to start books, get invested in them, and then when it gets boring or too stressful (I don’t know who says reading is relaxing because I barely experience that!) I tend to put it down and start a new book.

Which is sometimes good, because I am a mood reader and there are times when I just need a different type of book, but the bad part of me doing this is that I have quite a few books that I have half-started and.

just.

haven’t.

finished.

So these are books I want to read before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. I’m hoping I can get through all of them, or even at least part of them, just to finish them and get them off of the indeterminate shelf on my TBR that is aptly titled “Started but not yet finished”. (These are in order based on how long they have been sitting on my shelf half-started, and here’s my post of shame)

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1-Hunting Prince Dracula. Dude I have had this half-started on my shelf for over a YEAR and yet, I still have yet to motivate myself to read this book. I don’t know why because I absolutely loved the first one but for some reason I just haven’t been in the mood for this one. But now with the new book out already, I just need to up my reading game and finish this one so I can get to the third one.

(*Update: I looked on my Goodreads shelf while uploading this, I literally have only read 135 pages in this book and it’s almost 500 pages…whoops)

2-While Beauty Slept. This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and the main reason I stopped reading this one, was I got bored. It’s very…informative but super dry and not that much magic and well, I got bored. Not much else to say about this one.

3-Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. This is a creepy retelling of Snow White but with Asian folklore and it’s from the perspective of the wicked queen. I really enjoyed this one (all 80 pages I got to) but since it’s sufficiently darker than I was expecting, I put it down expecting to get to it in October…which totally didn’t happen. I do want to finish this one though, I think it’s written really well so far.

4-Goose Girl. This one I feel a bit cheated on. I knew it was a retelling of the goose girl fairy tale, but it’s pretty much a straight retelling so far which is a bit disappointing because I wanted something different and weird. I do have high hopes for the whole series though, and I think once I get past the first one the rest would be good but it’s just getting there that’s the problem.

5-East of Eden. This is a retelling of the book of Genesis and it’s a hunker of a book. It’s really interesting, but there is a lot in this book that I feel could have been edited out and tightened but so far it really is just something that I’m trying to get through.

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So those are the books I’m in the middle of right now, not counting Anna Karenina which I’m reading with a group on instagram and should be done with by the end of the year. I would like to start the new year fresh and not have to have any half-started books around but I’m not sure that would happen.

I have noticed though that with the exception of East of Eden, all of these are fantasies so I’m not sure how that will work out, and I try to not read the same genre back to back, so I might have to change that for this month.

And unless something drastically changes, I seriously doubt that any of these are going to be new favourites or 5 star reads, though some of them might be close to it. And I’d love to be shocked to find that a book I thought I had all figured out, would move to the top of my list, but I’m slightly doubtful.

What books are you in the middle of? Do you leave off books for a while or do you try to finish them straight-away? Let me know below!

Have a great day booknerds, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, monthly wrap up, StephReads2018

November Wrap-Up!!

This past month was actually a really good reading month for me! I didn’t really have a slump per say in October, but I definitely joined the struggle bus of what I didn’t know what to read!

Not so with November! In November it was like I hit the ground running and completed a lot of books within the first couple weeks.

I managed to read 20 books in November.

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9 were from the library, 1 was an arc (that I had on my shelf since August…whoops), 6 were brand new from my TBR and 4 were rereads.

I read a total of 7,027 pages this month, which I’m sure is helped because I ended up reading a few larger books, which of course helped my page count.

Breaking this down further:

*6 middlegrade this month (3 were rereads)

*2 biographies

*6 nonfiction

*2 adult fantasy

*3 Agatha Christie (and yes she’s in a category all her own!)

*1 Historical fiction

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I had a few disappointing reads, and a few that actually surprised me with how much I ended up liking them. On a whole though, this was one of my better reading months, because not only did I actually get to a lot of the books I planned to, but I also managed to knock 6 more books off of my TBR named Steve. All in all, a good month!

What about you fellow booknerds? What have you been reading this month? What was the best book, or the worst? Let me know below!

Have a great day, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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