Reading, StephReads2018

Mid-Year Book freak out tag!

 

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Hello fellow booknerds!

I have literally seen this tag on pretty much everyone’s posts/videos right now and thought that it would be a cool idea to do, so no I wasn’t tagged, but I’m still doing it because that’s how I roll in the Shire here.

Before I get into the tag I wanted to give you a bit of an update of how my reading is going so far…and well, let’s just look at the stats.

So far this year I have read 118 books out of my goal for 200 for the year. Which is good, and yay I’m over half-way through, but last year, by this time I was about 20 books more in my reading challenge, so because I’m pretty much only competitive with myself, I’m trying to kick it into gear so that I can read more in the latter half of the year.

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This breaks down into:

Adult nonfiction: 25
Adult fiction: 34
YA: 23
MG (Middle-grade): 17
Graphic Novels: 10
Translated: 3
Foreign (not translated/read entirely in other language): 2
Audio: 2
Poetry: 4

I have to say, I thought that the YA category would beat the adult but obviously that didn’t happen. I am pleasantly surprised how many graphic novels I’ve been reading lately but they are starting to grow on me, especially how fast I can read them, so that makes me happy.

Now, on to the tag questions:

Question one: What is the best book you’ve read so far this year?
Honestly, this is a hard question to answer (this would be hard at any time of the year let’s be real) but I have to say two different books, mainly because the rating on those ones didn’t change.

I don’t know about you, but when I read a book and give it a rating, usually what happens is about 2-3 days after I read it and rate it, I decide that the rating I gave at first, really wasn’t the rating that it deserved.  So those books are Party of One by Joy Beth Smith and the Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. Both of them were read early in the year but I find myself thinking about certain phrases and also about the points made. And they are still ones I recommend to everyone, so that definitely means something.

Question two: The Best Sequel you’ve read so far this year:
I really haven’t read that many sequels this year. (Something I really do need to get on with because I have so many half-started series and haven’t finished them.) I would have to say Dire King by William Ritter (4th book of the Jackaby series) or the Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman (4th book in the Invisible Library series).

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You only thought you would get one blog post without a mention of Jackaby, didn’t you? Seriously though, as a wrap-up for the series, I felt that one was very well done, and gave me all. the. feels.

And in Lost Plot we got so much more of Kai and I was happy (though I did think at the end of the 3rd book that Vale would be featured in this one more but…he wasn’t…sad panda)

 

Question three: A New Release you haven’t read yet but really want to:
For me, this goes to A thousand perfect notes by C.G. Drews (aka Paperfury).
I ordered this from bookdepository and apparently it is traveling at the speed of a turtle running in peanut butter while looking at molasses because it STILL has not arrived and I am just ready for it to be in my greedy little hands so I can cry and have all the feels like I’ve been seeing all over the social medias (Yeah it sounds like a great heart crushing book and I cannot wait to inflict all this pain on me)

Question four: Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:
Kingdom of a Blazing Phoenix (companion novel to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns….which I still haven’t read….shush….I’m getting there…) and probably Muse of Nightmares (sequel to Strange the Dreamer). Also…Escaping from Houdini which is the third book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series…that I still have yet to finish. (Whoops)
Other then that, I don’t really know. I have a tendency to not actually pay attention to any new releases coming out later in the year because my brain still for some reason thinks that it’s like February and when I’m realizing it’s June…I kinda short-circuit.

Question five: Biggest disappointment:
There are two, Shadow of the Wind and Strange the Dreamer.

For Shadow of the Wind, it started out promising, atmospheric and moody all about a book that is going to kill people and about the cemetery of lost books and I was all about that…but after 150 pages it delved into a guy just wanted to get with a blind chick…and it was so boring.

For Strange the Dreamer…let’s be real, I loved the majority of this book. But there was a HUGE chunk of the middle that could have been easily edited out that wouldn’t have effected the story in any way, shape or form. Also there was a lot of repetition of words and ideas usually in the same page, and while I did enjoy the story (It still got 3.75 rating from me) I didn’t feel it lived up to the hype. (I’m actually going to be doing an in depth review on this one soon)

 

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Question six: Biggest Surprise:
Let’s Talk about Love by Claire Kann.

I am not normally for a contemporary. I like dragons and magic and dark stabby sort of books and this book is NONE of those things. It’s contemporary and cute and just such a good, wonderful book that I was shocked to see how much I loved it. Seriously if you haven’t read this yet, I highly recommend it. There were some times when I was just like “Girl use your WOrdS!” But as a emphatic 9 enneagram I completely understand the whole avoidance instead of confrontation and it’s so good!

Question seven: Favorite new author or new to you author: 
Emily X.R. Pan who wrote the Astonishing Colour of After. Her writing was so lyrical and beautiful that I just *swoons softly* also a high contest one is Melissa Albert for Hazel Wood, because again, beautiful writing. Yes please give me all the things they write because they are so good!

Question eight: Newest fictional crush:
Yeah, this is not really a new one but Charlie from the Jackaby series is still one of my all time favorite characters. He’s so sweet and nice and adorable and I just love him. A. Lot.

Question nine: Newest favorite character:
It’s a toss-up between Sammy and Annemae from Under a Painted Sky. They both have such strength, such amazing adventures and are deep true friends. There aren’t a lot of good girl friendships in YA and this one is so amazing, I just fell in love with both of them. (Also you should read this book)

Question ten: book that made you cry:
I cry at a lot of things. Hallmark commercials. Happy endings. Things that aren’t actually sad but make me feel things. And usually most of the non-fiction books that I read will make me cry in some way. That being said I think the last book I actually cried while reading this year was 84 Charing Cross Road, just because it was such a beautiful friendship built over the love of good books and yeah, it just made me want a friend or two like that.

Question eleven: Book that made you happy:
Under a Painted Sky. Hazel Wood. Let’s Talk about Love. Dire King. The Astonishing Colour of After. My Lady Jane. The Night Circus. Love Fortunes and Other Disasters. A Christmas Carol. Northanger Abbey. Princeless vol 1-2.
Yes some of those are rereads, but they are all ones that bring a smile to my face. They are just that good and memorable.

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Question twelve: Your favorite book to film adaptation:
I am counting this question as “from all time” because I haven’t really seen very many book to movie adaptations this year, so favorite one is of course Pride and Prejudice (95) or LoTR because both of those were so faithful to the books, and the casting was so amazing…*sigh*

Question thirteen: most beautiful book you have either bought or received this year:
I have a few of those, shocker I know, but World’s of Ink and Shadow, Vincent and Theo and the Astonishing Colour of After are all top contenders for this. Personally I love how publishers are starting to put forth more of a cover love appreciation and give us great covers because…let’s be real, that’s why most of us buy books in the first place, because of the cover.

Question fourteen: What are some books that you need to read before the end of the year:
Trick question, pretty much all of them?
Seriously though, I have about 15 books I want to read before the end of the summer and about 30 more that I want to read before November…and based on how my reading is going, I’m not sure how I might accomplish that. I do want to get to Vincent and Theo; Ink, Iron and Glass; midnight dance; Sky in the deep; and Hunting Prince Dracula this summer, but I’m not sure if that will happen or not.

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Anyways, that is the mid-year book freak out tag. Hope you have a great day and remember life is too short to read mediocre books!

Happy reading!

Stephanie

 

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Book Reviews, Reading, StephReads2018

The Astonishing Colour of After Review

It’s a truth that if you want to get me to read and love your book you need to have

1-an amazing cover

2- some sort of magical realism or fantasy (hopefully with dragons)

cat- really really good characters.

The Astonishing Colour of After has almost all of those things that I need. (Well, minus the dragons, but there’s definitely some magic involved!)

 

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First let’s just adore the cover of this book. It’s so pretty! (And the spine!!) I ordered the U.K. edition because I fell in love with the cover and because it was a floppy paperback, which if any of you know, is my all time favorite type of book.

Now…here’s the thing, this is going to be a non-spoilery review, though that being said while this seems like a wonderful and beautiful story, this deals with a lot of heavy topics such as depression and suicide. (This is not a spoiler, this is literally on the back of the book in the synopsis)

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So, first impression: This book is huge. I don’t know what the page count is for the US edition but my edition clocks in at 460 pages, which is slightly daunting.

This story starts with the suicide of Leigh’s mother and starts in the present tense, and then flashes back to when her mother was alive and back again. It’s slightly confusing though I noticed about half-way through the book that the chapters actually say which part it is. (Which was super helpful) But coming on the heels of this tragedy, Leigh’s dad decides they both need to go to Taiwan to meet up with the grandparents that Leigh never knew about. Leigh not only is having a hard time with the death of her mom, but also feeling some guilt about liking and kissing her best friend Axel, and she decides not to tell him that she’s going to Taiwan at all.

Instead of me just raving and going in circles, I’m going to point out some things that I just didn’t care for or that should have been caught during editing, and also some things that I loved.

Things that needed a bit of work:

-The cast of characters. Look I understand that we get the main character’s pov, and I understand that we need her pov, but the problem was that most of the other characters that interacted with her; her grandparents, her dad and even Axel, were sometimes flat and uninteresting. They didn’t really seem to have a purpose. I do have to say that they started to get more fleshed out towards the end of the book, but for the majority of this book I didn’t feel like we should care about them.

-the length. Did I mention that this was over 400 pages? This is not usually a bad thing but I felt like there was a section in the center that could have been scraped or tighter edited and wouldn’t have changed anything about this story.

Now to things that I loved:

-I loved the idea of Leigh and Axel having a colour moment. When things got weird or different, their first question to each other was “What Colour?” and they would explain the colours. Leigh also did this while describing things and emotions in Taiwan and it made me really happy because that’s kind of how I like to explain things, certain colours make me so happy.

-The setting! Oh my word, I’ve never been to Taiwan but reading this book was like I’ve been there. She describes the food and the way she felt and I just felt like I was seeing it all brilliantly displayed.

-The magical realism part. Ok, so this is where it gets a bit weird. Leigh is convinced beyond everything that her mom has turned into a bird. A big red bird. And she keeps seeing this bird everywhere. There’s also some interesting moments with incense and charcoal and memories but I’m not going to get into those. Also there was a slight twist at the end, which I kinda guessed but not fully, which is great!

Overall: even though there were a few difficulties and it was a pretty dense book- I liked it. I gave it 4.25 stars rating, and am pretty sure that I will pick this one up again because there was so much involved in it.

I do want to say, Emily X.R. Pan does not sugar coat what it’s like living with someone with deep depression/suicidal tendencies. This is not a happy book, but it’s a very real very honest book about these dark topics (and I did laugh quite a few times through out this because there were lighter moments) but warning you, if you think it might be too much, don’t read it.

I think for a debut it was wonderful and perfectly delightful. The lyrical writing reminded me of Laini Taylor and I read it in one night, so it’s pretty addictive.

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Synopsis

-When Leigh’s mother dies by suicide she leaves only a scribbled note–I want you to remember. Leigh doesn’t understand its meaning and wishes she could turn to her best friend, Axel, if only she hadn’t kissed him and changed everything between them. Guided by a mysterious red bird, Leigh travels to Taiwan to meet her grandparents for the first time. There, Leigh retreats into art and memories, where colours collide, the rules of reality are broken and the ghosts of the past refuse to rest…but Leigh is determined to unlock her family’s secrets, to remember.

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Happy reading you wonderful book dragons! And remember, life is too short to read mediocre books!!

~Always reading~

Stephanie

(originally published as a guest post on thatbookgal.wordpress.com )

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Reading, StephReads2018

Summer Lovin’ had me some books!

Hello Booknerds!

Today I am going to recommend some amazing and wonderful summery books!

But Steph, you might be wondering, It’s still May, which means it’s still Spring! Why not do a Spring book recommendation?

Well dear smol summer child, because in the MidWest (where I live) we only get spring for exactly 2 days here, and then the temperature jumps to the 90’s and we swelter and die for 6 months. So no, spring has actually already passed us by, and considering this past week was up over 95 degrees every single day, it’s now summer.

Now for these recommendations, not all of them take place during summer. And I know a lot of people tend to go more toward contemporaries during the hot months, which I sometimes do as well. Of course, I also tend to go towards murder mystery books, fantasy and also anything lighthearted and fun during the summer…so there’s that (and also the fall, winter, and spring but you know…)

So, on to the books!

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1- The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord.

Friends to lovers, cute sweet geeky boy and cute sweet shy girl, what’s not to like? Not to mention that even though this book is set in high school, there is no mean jocks or horrid cheerleaders? Like, seriously, everyone is so nice in this book and it makes me just so happy because I love seeing people break tropes and this is just such a cute read!

2-Love Fortunes and other disasters by Kim Karailus

A town where magic actually exists and true love is waiting for you in the form of a love fortune, well except for the slender few who get a fortune stating that they will never have love. This book has humor, fun, love (obviously) and a group of rebels that you would never guess. I adore this book and the companion novel, and if you aren’t craving some sweet chocolate pretzels at the end of this, well, maybe you should try again.

3-Girl against the Universe by Paula Stokes

I recommend this book pretty much all the time to people who are looking for a good read. Maguire is convinced that she is cursed. Mainly because it feels like every time something good happens, life spirals out of control and causes people she knows to be hurt and even die. She is going to therapy and meets Jordy who is also seeing the same therapist. But here’s the thing, there is good representation here, as well as the boy who meets the girl does not cure her- and that is such a good thing that I love it whole-heartedly.

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4-My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

This is a hilarious retelling of Jane Grey, the girl who was queen for 9 days during the Tudor period of history. However, instead of them making her lose her head (literally she got beheaded in actual history) they made this period of history a time where there was shape-shifters and magic. There are some of the best lines in this book and with the next novel they are writing coming out in June, now is the best time to fall in love with the Lady Janeites as they call themselves

5-The careful undressing of love by Corey Ann Haydu

The girls of Devonairre Street are cursed. For decades, the old women of the block have told the younger generations that any boy they love will die too soon. To fight the curse the girls wear their hair long and always wear a key around their neck, even though the curse has just become more of an accessory then an actual thing, except when Jack suddenly dies, Jack the boy that everyone loves, even without trying. And Lorna needs to decide if she is going to live with a curse like that, or try to break it. Absolutely creepy and fantastic.

6-The weight of feathers by Anne-Marie Mcelmore

Maybe you don’t want something funny? Maybe instead you would like something a bit darker and mysterious and while lyrical also dealing with prejudices and problems? Have I got the story for you: this is centered around two competing families, the Palomas who take to the water like they were born there, and the Corbeaus who flit among the trees like they have wings. Both sides hate each other, but when Lace and Cluck fall somehow in love, they must learn what is really important, and what is worth giving up.

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7-I believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. Student body president, varsity soccer star, and how she plans to get into Stanford. However the one thing that doesn’t seem to be a part of the plan is her getting a boyfriend, even though she decides that maybe the Korean dramas her dad is always watching will help guide her to be able to land Luka, the boy she’s liked for ages. However, love seems to have a thing or two up its’ sleeve and it doesn’t seem like Desi will ever find a boyfriend or true love.

8- Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Strangers to friends, cross country road trip, and maybe a hint of something more? What was supposed to be a pretty straight shot from California to Connecticut, turns into a road trip for the ages, giving Amy and Roger a chance to look where they might be going and what detours they need to have in order to not be staying the same.

9-The Colour Project by Sierra Abrams

Bee has a secret that she doesn’t want anyone to know, her name. That is, until she meets Levi who has started the Colour Project which is a charity organization. When an unexpected illness swarms her family and drains her summer of everything bright and possible, she is pushed to the breaking point and has to choose between keeping it together or letting someone in to see the mess her life has become.

10-Jackaby by William Ritter

You only thought that you would get through a list without some mention of Jackaby didn’t you reader? *insert maniacal laughter* Nope! Jackaby is one of my favorite books of all time, and I will never stop talking about it. Jackaby is like a mix between Supernatural and Sherlock, with a dash of Buffy set in an alternate 1900’s. I freaking love this book and series, and easily could read it any time, and well, I need to reread it this year I’m thinking.

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*Bonus*

Ok it was so hard for me to limit myself to only 10 books, but I realized that I had this whole list planned out and somehow I forgot Pride and Prejudice? Like, my all time favorite book of ever, I just forgot to mention? Nope. Sorry, I’m adding it on as a bonus feature. I could have said any of Jane Austen’s because I think for the most part all of them have some sort of summer scene but in reality my heart will always stop at the scene of Elizabeth visiting Pemberley and seeing Darcy….le sigh.

So there you have it, a list of 10 (ahem 11) books that I feel everyone should at least put on their radar for the summer. Or for fall. Or actually for the next week. Ok in reality, these are ones you should read as soon as you can.

What about you fellow booknerds? What are some books you love to read during the summer? Did I mention any of your favorites? Have you read any of these? Let me know below!

 

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

~Always Reading~

Stephanie

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monthly wrap up, Reading, StephReads2018

January 2018 wrap up (well, I’m late)

Hello fellow booknerds!

So I’m not really sure what happened to the month of February, but seeing as it ends tomorrow (!?!) I thought it would be about time to wrap up January. Yes, I am a whole month and some odd days behind on where I want to be, but on the nice part, that means that during March, you might just get more than one post. (I really am going to try to get better at updating, pinky promise)

So back to January….which was a definitely good reading month for me. But before I start getting into the pics of what I read and what I thought,I wanted to share how I’m doing on my bookish goals:

*2018 goals*

-Read 200 books this year (50 reread, 100 mine/new, 50 library): I read 31 books in January so I think this is one that I will have no problem accomplishing.

-Read 85,000 pages this year: This is a new goal that I decided to start in February because I am joining up with some of my friends that are tracking pages not just books. (I mean I’ll be the first to admit there is something about reading books that are huge but they don’t count for anything more then just one book…so yeah) I read 8,145 pages in January, so this is one that should be pretty good for me too.

-Read all of Charles Dickens works by 2019: This is something that was a slight goal of mine last year but I didn’t get to read all of them, so I’m giving myself one more year to get through them. I’ve read so far, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, the Pickwick Papers and a Christmas Carol. I’ve got Great Expectations warming up on my TBR shelf and will probably get the rest as I go on through the year.

-Read at least one non-fiction book per month: I actually read 3 non-fiction last month so again, a goal that should be easily filled by the end of the year.

-Read at least six books where the author is from outside of the US/is translated from a different language: I read 3 books in January where the author was from a different place, and one that was translated from French. This one takes a bit more to decode and I kinda like the mystery of finding out where an author is from.

So now, with that out of the way: To the books!!

In January I read 31 books, how I’m not exactly sure, I think witchcraft might be involved in some way. I also participated in the #24in48 readathon, which I completed with having read 14 hours and read 6 books I think? (I really can’t remember, it started blurring all together)

 

~Stats~

~The Great (4.25 stars and above)~

 

The majority of these were rereads this month. And honestly I’m ok with that. I would rather reread a fabulous story then get a meh book, which is happening with alarming regularity, and I’m not alright with that.

 

~The Pretty Good (3 to 4 stars)~

 

(Realizing that next month I’ll have to separate the 3 and 4 stars because there is a vast difference between “I really enjoyed this and it was something I would recommend” to “it’s ok and I finished it but there wasn’t much else there” But I’m not doing that tonight because…no…)

Also I’m noticing that my 3 stars are always right on the fence. There are 2 of the books up there that I could easily be talked into as a 2 but I decided to go with a 3. So, yet another reason for me to separate the 3 and 4 stars next month.

~The Meh (2-2.75 star rating)~

 

There are some on there that A LOT of people recommended me to read, stating that I would love them, and sadly…I didn’t. These books got the 2 star rating because they were boring. Or dull. Or too cliche. Or pointless. Or there was no plot. Or too much of one. Basically they weren’t written well enough to rate above a 2 but they weren’t the worst either at below. These books are just ones that aren’t worth it.

 

~The Hard Pass (Anything below a 2 star)~

 

Nope. These books failed me in so many ways.

-The sacred lies of Minnow Bly-This was a book about a girl caught in a cult, who ends up in jail. And I actually should have DNF’d this book because those are 2 things that I’m not into at all. It was graphic and disgusting and I want to really know if the person who designed the cover even read the book because Minnow HAS NO HANDS, and this is something that bugged me through the ENTIRE book when I would look at the cover.

-Brooding YA hero-this had SO MUCH potential. I was hoping that it would be snarky and sassy and hilarious. Instead what I got was…dull and excruciating boredom. Pages about shallow self-adsorbed jerks who I couldn’t care less about. The twitter feed is hilarious…but when you stretch those 280 characters into a full book, yeah the humor is pretty much non-existent.

-Fly on the wall- It’s a retelling of Metamorphosis about a girl who wishes she was a fly on the wall of the guys locker room. And it happens. (I don’t know why because it was never explained, ever). And this is one of the absolute WORST books I’ve read in the entire time that I have read YA. This girl not only becomes a fly but decides to basically become the worst type of voyeur ever. Like I’m talking she went on for almost 15 chapters about the differences between guys “gherkins” (I am not making that up, the author had EVERYONE calling the guys junk “gherkins” and the girls chests “muffins”; like seriously??) this book was disgusting and pointless.

 

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So that’s all the books I read this past month! How is your reading going this year so far? What books have you read that you loved? Hated? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great night and remember, life is too short to read mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading, StephReads2018

Reasons BookNerds need large TBR’s

One thing I’ve noticed with being in the bookish community is that right around this time of year we all start thinking about our large/huge/mountianious TBR’s that we have. And it doesn’t help that most of the publishers want to see us die a slow and painful death and therefore make sure we either have this lofty goal of “zero by whatever” or getting rid of a lot of our books. (Nothing at all against getting rid of books that you are no longer excited for or that you are going to rebuy-I literally just did that this past month and got rid of over 30 books, and it was so freeing!)

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But with the new year, a lot of people like to start things fresh. They want to have that blank space (cue some old T-Swift y’all) to really do some great reading, or get to some of their backlist books (I’m all about that! Most of my books this year that I’m going to be reading are from 2017 and prior)

And one of the most asked questions I get is “Why don’t you get rid of all your books? How are you going to read all these books? Maybe you should stop buying books”

And since hurting people (outside of my novel) is kinda frowned upon, this is my response to why BookNerds need a large TBR: (Enjoy!)

-We are mood readers. Which means that we will read what we want when we feel like it. There are so many times when I start several books trying to figure out what my mood is, and once I find it (usually from my TBR) I am so happy when I find it! And mood readers really don’t go with set TBR’s, instead we tend to set a “tentative” TBR meaning it will change when we want.

 

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-Comfort. There is a level of satisfaction  we get when we look at our bookshelves that are arranged how we want and we are surrounded by books. My worst day is always improved by me coming in my room and looking at my beautiful shelves.

-There is such a thing as free shipping. Of course you do have to pay for a few extra books to get it, but dude, FREE SHIPPING to a bookworm translates as “WE WILL PAY YOU TO GET 2 MORE BOOKS” and of course we do, because if there’s one thing we know is we have very low self control.

-Cousins to the free shipping, is the booksales. Buy 2 get one free, well, why not? I mean, basically you are getting a free book so you might as well right?

 

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-If something happens and you have to stay barricaded in your room for weeks on end, such as the zombie apocalypse or a snowstorm, you never run out of things to do. TV and phones require electricity, and if you are like most bookworms you have a plethora of candles so therefore you will still be able to read!

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-Cover love is a real thing and how most of my TBR grows.

-There might not be books you touch for YEARS (totally true story, I legit just finished a book I have had on my TBR for 4 years this past month and it became one of my new favorites!!) and in that case it is such a great satisfaction that you can look at it and smile, knowing you beat the book, not the other way around.

-Sometimes in your huge TBR you discover new favorites. I know for me, when I shop on BookOutlet I know next to NOTHING about say 98% of the books I buy, but when I read them, they turn into some of my most read and most loved books. (Actually I go into most books blind because when I’ve read the synopsis that usually spoils me for it)

-Most of my friends are talking about it, and all of the things that they say are amazing and therefore instead of just chancing it at the library (though I do that a bit too) I basically buy it if I find it pretty cheap, because…why not? (again I have very little self control when it comes to books)

 

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-I’m determined that 2018 is the year I turn into an actual BookDragon, and like any good Dragon, I need a shiny hoard to keep and sleep in, gold is really uncomfortable so therefore I need some new shiny books to sleep with and near and under….and shoot just build me a little book igloo. I can sleep in there. (as long as there’s a blanket and pillow because even though I’m trying to be a Dragon, I do want some comfort)

So those are some of the reasons that BookNerds need a large TBR. What do y’all think? Where do you fall in the TBR scale? Do you hoard them, or release them? Do you have a large TBR?

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

~Stephanie

 

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5 books I still haven’t finished…

I have a bad habit of buying books, setting them on the shelves that are in my room and telling them I will get to them soon.

Then completely 100 % forgetting about them and buying new books. And repeat.

The only thing that breaks up this cycle is that I will start some books, and get about half-way through and then set them down, fully intending to finish them soon, but I get distracted and start reading something else. And then you can press repeat on this situation. (seriously)

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So I thought I would talk about some of the books that I’ve half-started but actually haven’t finished yet. These are in no particular order just how I grabbed them off my “partially read” shelf.

1-The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I don’t know why I haven’t finished this one yet. I started it in September I think, and I fell so deep in love with her writing style and the story being told, and it was fantastic. But I just set it down, hoping to get back to it, but I still haven’t gotten back to it. It actually sits on my nightstand, shaming me to wondering how I haven’t finished it yet.

2-I believe in a thing called love by Maureen Goo. I know why I stopped reading this, it was because of the horrid second-hand embarrassment that I felt about the MC and what she was going through, so I’ve heard that it was really cute but I was so embarrassed for her I couldn’t complete it 🙂

3- Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco.                                                                            This is simply because I haven’t had the time toIMG_1519 keep going after this one. I love the writing and the characters of them, but this sequel seems to be a bit harder for me to get into, but I do want to get this one finished

 

4- Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter. Granted this is a reread and I do slightly remember it, but I like to reread books before I complete series. And since the Dire King, which I preordered, and got, back in August….and still haven’t read.

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5-That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston. Being honest, the reason I set this one down is because I am not really excited about how the writing style/plot/characters are. I was really excited about this because…cover….let’s be real. But it is slightly….boring? I’m hoping it will actually get better as I finish but I just haven’t yet.

 

What are some of the books you want to read before the end of the year? Which ones should I push higher up on the priority? Let me know down below!

Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

 

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31DaysofBlogmas, Books

10 ways my reading habits have changed this year

Hello friends and welcome to my journey of blogging every day for December! Today I’m going to be talking about how my reading really has changed this year. (I was completely inspired by PaperFury’s blog post about how her writing style has changed, check it out here)

I used to be the person who would not only finish every. single. book I would start, but also give super high ratings to every single book that make me laugh. (Kid you not, when I have been going back and rereading some of these books, I shake my head and have to take down a star or two because past Stephanie threw those stars around like it was nothing!) And that made me think how much I have changed in the past year or so with my reading habits, I mean if ratings can change over the years, so have other things.

So in no particular order, these are some of the ways that my reading has changed over the past year.

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1- I have given myself full and absolute permission to DNF (do not finish) a book if I hate it. Or if I’m bored. Or if I just really don’t care. I have basically allowed myself to make reading fun again, because when I’m struggling through a book, it’s not fun. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of fun.

2- I have become much stricter on how I rate books. So instead of squeeing with delight at finding “A NEW ABSOLUTE MUST READ, THIS BOOK IS SO FANTASTIC ALL THE STARS”  like past Stephanie wrote on many Goodreads posts, (like girl just chill a bit) instead I try to read them critically. (Sometimes this process works, sometimes I still squee and flail) But for the most part I question, “Is this book really worth a full 5 star rating? Was there any parts that really irritated you or annoyed you or didn’t flow? Should it be more a 4 or 4.5?” and I go from there. Sometimes even the things that annoy me are still part of the strongest book, and other times they are the reason that it drops.

3- I have utilized my library SO MUCH more than I have in previous years. Pretty much every single Monday I have trounced over to the library, picked up my holds, dropped off books and happily made my way home where I have found either new favorites or a thankful heart (and wallet) that I haven’t spent money on this book because meh.

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4- I have found myself gravitating more towards annotating books and highlighting passages in them again. I try not to do this with books I’m unsure about, but the books I know I’m going to love and going to read, over and over again, I completely mark up. I figure honestly, if like 90 years down the road and I haven’t discovered the cure for mortality and someone is going through my books, I want them to find things out about me, like what my favorite passages were or what quotes stuck with me.

5- I have employed the “try the first chapter” method to a lot of these books that I’ve checked out from the library, simply because in deference to the first part, I am allowing myself to DNF (without feeling guilty) and I know what I like. If a character’s tone or the way things unfold are things I don’t like, I now don’t feel guilty for just tossing it in the reject pile. There are some rare times when I just keep going on in the book, hoping that it will change, but sadly it usually doesn’t.

6- I also have stopped reading a lot of the books that people have recommended to me. Or that I have seen on Booktube. Like I still might think about them, and probably get them from the library, but on a whole, I don’t rush out and get them right away because I have found that over hyped books tend to be ones that I dislike (or at least wish I had checked out from the library). So I either wait for the hype to go down, or I read books that are less hyped. This helps me in 2 ways, the first that I can actually read without so much emotion attached to the book and that the book is available easier from the library when you wait a bit. 🙂

7- While I am still a bookdragon who would prefer going into books blind (without knowing much about them at all) because the synopsis usually spoils me for the book, there is something to looking up the reviews on Goodreads. If I’m struggling to get into a book or trying to finish something and just not really feeling it, I’ll check my fellow readers reviews of this book to see if it’s just me or if there are others who feel the same way. If it’s getting only high reviews, I know it’s just me, but if it’s not, then I know it’s actually the book. Sometimes that will actually help me finish the book.

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8- With a few exceptions, I have decided that if I was only mediocre about liking an author’s work, I will not purchase it until I have tried it first from the library. That way I’m not set up for a huge disappointment when I start reading it and it’s just not great. I’ll still give them a chance but I decided that it’s really wasting my money to buy a book that I’m not sure I’ll like or not (especially since I probably wasn’t full on board with their last book I read) This isn’t an isolated incident: I can literally point to 6 different authors that I was “meh” about their previous works and still ended up buying their newest works…and regretting it deeply.

9- Every 6 or so months I have been looking through my shelves. What are some books I haven’t read yet/lost all enthusiasm for/probably will not get to this year (or ever)? I sort out those books and then set them off to the side for one month. When that month is done, if I haven’t read them, they get donated. But if I have read them, they get to stay on my shelf. (Unless it was like a 2.5 star rating or under and then they go). I used to never do this, and my shelves and TBR were pretty much out of control. I just don’t want to waste shelf space on books I know I won’t reread or read for the first time.

10- I have made it more of a goal to reread a set amount of books per year. I love rereading old favorites or falling back into slightly new worlds, discovering why they might just make my list of new favorite books. There’s just something about rereading that I love. In the past I would just try and reread certain books and that’s it. But this year I decided that I wanted to reread at least a third of all the books I read this year. This has helped me so much, and as an added bonus because I have put this into my goals list, I don’t feel guilty by rereading books, even when I have a TBR pile that is massive. It’s like because it’s a goal, my brain relaxes and even comments that I should reread more books.

 

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So that’s 10 different ways my reading habits have changed this year. Do you do any of these? Or has your reading changed in the past couple of years? Let me know below!

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

~Stephanie

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