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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Books, Reading, StephReads2018

2017 wrap up (oh my guys)

Y’all….this year seemed to fly by. And while a lot of people seem to be ready for 2017 to disappear, I can’t say I share that sentiment. Yes, this past year was hard, it was difficult at times. But because of the hardness and the difficulties I learned so much more than I would have if it had been an easier smoother year.

But I’m here to talk nerdy to y’all. Such as book stats! Yay!

                             ~Stats~

Books Read: 258

New to me books: 204

Books I reread: 49

Now this might look pretty impressive, but when I looked further down my stats, I realized 2 things, the first being that I had only read 64 new to me books that I owned. So how did I come up with 204? Easy, I read 143 books from the library. Which is still pretty impressive, but not exactly helpful when it comes to my TBR that I own.

Of the books that I checked out of the library, 13 were so good that I bought them for myself. Which again, nothing against my library, it helped save me tons of money because if I had bought those books and not liked all of them, I would have been out of luck.

The other thing that I noticed is that I have a tendency to not read my own physical books because I have library books that actually have a due date on them and so I should read them first.

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This was my best year reading for a while. Over the past 5 years, I have logged what books I have read, what books I have reread and this is the highest number of books that I have logged since 2013. (For those of you who are curious- 2013= 98 books read; 2014= 131 books read; 2015= 149 books read; 2016= 165 books read)

However, my average rating for these books has dropped a bit. According to Goodreads, my average rating of a book was 2.9 stars, whereas last year it was 3.8, and the year before that was 4.1. So even though I’m reading more books, the quality of the books is decreasing.

Now I know some of you will be like “Well just set your goal to 1 book then and that way you can read more of what you like” but the problem is with that, when I beat my goal for Goodreads, I lose all interest in trying to keep up with it more. For example this year, I beat my first original goal of 125 in May. So I changed it. And beat it again. And changed it to 200. And I beat that in November, and then decided I just didn’t really care if I read or not because I had already beaten my goal.

So I am one of those people that the goals actually work really well for me. And speaking of Goals, let’s talk about my 2018 goals.

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                                    ~2018 Bookish Goals~

1-Read 200 books.  This actually figures out to be about 16 books per month, which is actually pretty doable. (Most of my months average between 15-20 books anyway)

-> This breaks down to me reading 100 new/owned books; 50 rereads and 50 from the library. That way I’m not overwhelming my physical TBR status.

2- Take a photo of each book I read this year and post it on my twitter thread.  This was something I started last October, and I really enjoyed seeing all those photos of books that I had read. So I figured I might as well do that for the whole year, which is crazy but also sounds fun.

3-Post on here at least 2xs per week. I have gotten better at posting but I do want to become consistent with the posting. I can’t tell you what day I’ll be posting but my goal is to do it at least twice a week, which should be doable.

4-Read one non-fiction book per month. This is just to remind me that there is more to the world then YA fantasy. So this could be something about someone, about a place or about a time in history. I’m not putting a limit on this, but I want to read more intently.

5- Read at least 6 books where the author is not from the US in this year. Again, I want to read with more intention. This is a personal challenge for me, where I feel like just because I’m in the US, I read mostly US authors. And while that’s good, it’s also something that I need to learn to not gravitate towards.

6- complete the SOS and Beat The Backlist challenges. 

7-try to post to Bookstagram at least 4 times per week. There are some things that cannot be avoided and one of them is I can’t do a photo challenge every single day of the week, mainly because I tend to get burned out but also because I don’t like doing that much pressure on myself. So 4 times is doable. Hopefully.

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So yeah, those are my bookish goals at least for 2018. What about y’all? What challenges have you set up for yourself? What goals are you going to implement? Let me know in the comments!

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

~Stephanie

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September wrap up/book haul

Whoops, late again for another wrap up post. But it’s been a crazy and weird start to fall. Basically what happened in September (besides me totally not reading as much as I wanted to) was I got a second job, at Barnes and Noble. (I’m there all the time anyway and when the manager asked if I would be interested in getting a part-time job there, I had to bite my tongue to not scream out “YES PLEASE!” because I love working in a bookstore.)

So that happened, and with my weekends filled up thanks to that, and most of my evenings as well, this month I only read 19 books. Now that might not seem like a bad thing to most people, but my goal was 28 books; which was set before the job but still, failure here.

I did #SequelSeptember last month as well, and even though I didn’t get to any of the NEW sequels, which was actually kind of the point, I did manage to reread 6 books (5 that had sequels). The rest were new, but also were library books. So last month I didn’t make a dent in any of my TBR monster named Steve.

This month I also tried to take a pic of every single book I read, which was actually pretty fun and I’ll be continuing that this next month! (Plus it makes my post all pretty with pictures! (I’m not sure if I’ll show every pic for this month, or just a few highlights)

 

 

~Best: (4-5 star rating)~

 

Of my 4-5 star reads this month, only 2 were brand new to me: Around the world in 80 Days (which is actually now a new favorite) and the Attributes of God (again, a new favorite). The rest were rereads: Mere Christianity was the only reread that I read this month that was a stand-alone, everything else was a sequel/first of a series.

 

 

~Okayish(2.75-3.75 star rating)~

 

All of these were interesting, but not fully worth the full 4 stars (the road back to you I think I gave a 4 star, but it was more like a 3.75) There were some problems with all of them. Mostly it was the characters that got me in the end, in a Darkness Strange and lovely the main character swapped what character growth she had made in the first one, which made me not very happy. The weight of ink didn’t really know what tone it wanted to take with this historical fiction. And the Thief Lord was an interesting read but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something missing because it seemed to read like 2 different plot ideas, and was rather loose on what should be happening/too many characters to really care about.

(not pictured: what Jesus demands from the world. It was a good book but it seemed to drag on for a long period)

 

~Skip! (1-2 star rating)~

All of these had major problems mostly with the plot and the characters. Book of speculation tried too hard to be magical realism; Beastkeeper had absolutely NO CLUE what the story was or what they really wanted to do with the “plot” (of which there was none); spellbook of the lost and found also tried too hard to be magical realism but just pretty much lost all of it when the author tried to tie it together. And honestly, I don’t like Shel Silverstein’s writing style at all.

(Not pictured: welcome to nightvale and words in deep blue. WTNV was super boring and not at all like the podcast. Words in deep blue was a huge disappointment by not having deep characters, a good plot or any sort of conflict.)

~Book Haul this month~

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Look at all these pretties!! Ok, so this month I ended up purchasing/receiving 10 books.

Hunting Prince Dracula, WonderWoman:Warbringer and Enchantment of Ravens were all pre-orders (we aren’t going to talk if I’ve read those yet or not), I bought Americanah and Station Eleven because I’ve heard really good things about them. I found the Goldfinch in our bargain section at work for $6, with my discount came down to $3 (and I couldn’t beat that) and I got Language of the Thorns because it was autographed and a total impulse buy.

The Color Project is actually the replacement copy because there were some issues in the production and those of us who preordered got an ARC, so this was a replacement copy. And Gypsy Moth Summer and the Lost Letter were books I won in a giveaway in May, and finally received at the start of summer.

So that was my month of September. I’m hoping for October to do more reading of my TBR but I’m not sure if that will happen or not.

How was y’all’s month of reading? What was your best book you read? What was the worst? Let me know below!

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

~Stephanie

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I somehow read 150 books, and the year is only half over…

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One of the questions that I have gotten a lot in the past couple of months, from people who follow me on bookstagram or twitter is primarily “How do you read so much/so quickly/Are you magic?” ( I lie, no one has even hinted at magic with me, which is kinda rude because really I might have some magic in me, but no).

I never really know what to say to people who say this, so I thought I would just do a blog post about how I read, and maybe that would help somebody out? Or really, if I get more questions like this I could just point them to this blog and that would work as an answer….yep, liking that idea already. 🙂

So the first thing you should know is that even though I’m not really competitive with other people, I am beyond competitive with myself. And I will push myself harder and longer to just beat out what I did previously. (But not with others….just me) And so for the past 4 years, I have tried to beat my Goodreads reading goal. And I have succeeded. And every year at the start I increase my Goodreads goal by 5 books.

For example, last year’s goal was 120. By December 31st I had read 169 books. This year, my first goal was 125 books. By the end of May I had beat that and was working on 150. Well I beat that last week (by the time this posts I will have read 157 this year alone).

When people ask me how I read that much, I have to explain that I don’t really watch much tv. In fact, I don’t even have cable, just internet so therefore I watch what is on Amazon Prime or Netflix, sometimes Hulu if they have a show I’ve been meaning to watch. But usually I don’t. Sunday’s are usually my veggin’ out days, in which I will watch 4-6 episodes of a show (Usually Doctor Who or something else like that) but even then, there are days when I will watch part of an episode and think ” I would so rather be reading.” And so I turn off the show and read.

I also read a lot during the day. My job allows me to have 2-15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break. Usually I will be reading during those times, just sitting at my desk and diving into a story. And when I get home at night after work, even if I want to watch something on Netflix or whatever, I make myself read for at least 20 minutes before I do anything like that. Which of course usually turns into hours and me finishing a book, but still, sometimes 20 minutes is good and then I can watch a show or two.

I am extremely introverted. Not like the type portrayed in Hollywood where they stand on the side and don’t get involved with people. I am okay with people, for the most part, but what I mean is I get my energy from NOT being around people. Like after a hard day of work, it’s hard for me to want to do anything that regards going out around people. It drains me to be around people 24-7. So it recharges me to sit down and read.

 

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I also follow Reader Rule #1 which states profoundly–Never go anywhere without a book. I take a book with me to the Post Office, to the gas station, even to the bookstore because maybe I just have a hankering to read but none of their books. When I go and do doggie-sitting like I do, and I have to stay overnight, I have been known to take about 4 or 5 books with me. ( you might laugh but last time I went dog-sitting, it was an overnight job, I had my nightshirt and 8 books in my bag…true story) And in those little moments of waiting, instead of being angry that there is only one person who is working the Post Office (like seriously though, who does that?) I read.

I also read right before bed, usually about 30-40 minutes snuggled up, with covers and just reading to my hearts content makes me happy. Maybe not sleepy, but definitely happy. And, I read pretty fast. It’s actually common for me to finish a book within the day, sometimes it might take me 2 days but on the whole I can finish a book in one sitting, which also goes with the whole “introverted thing” that I have going on.

I personally think that I read so quickly because my parents would tell me “10 minutes till lights out” and I would try and read as fast as possible to get the book done with, because I hate going to sleep on cliffhangers. (Hence many times, especially since being on my own, I have dragged my poor body to work with as little as 30 minutes of sleep)

Many bookish people have asked me about slumps, and I don’t like to say this because up until a year ago I got them bad, but I just don’t get them anymore. It’s not like I’m reading amazing and wonderful action packed books every single day, nope. Sometimes those books are so boring that I don’t want to finish them but I do anyway (not always, there are those DNF’s I have) but I decided at the beginning of this year that I wasn’t going to allow slumps to be present in my reading life.

Basically anytime a slump starts to feel like it’s going to come on, I remind myself that I feel happy when I read books, that I like reading books and that I should read books. Sounds weird I know, but there are actually quite a few Booktubers/bookstagramers who do this, maybe not reminding themselves that exact thing, but they pretty much state that they don’t like slumps so for them slumps don’t exist. 🙂

I also try and read a certain amount of books per month. I started in January with a goal of 14 per month and just kept increasing it by 2 each month. It helps me to write it down in my journal not only of my goal but also what books I read that month. Which also, because I’m a visual learner, I like seeing my goal marked off with a huge “YAY!” (again remember I’m competitive against myself)

And when reading, I don’t limit myself to reading only one book. I tend to have anywhere from 1-4 going on at the same time. I try to not do the same genre simply because that does throw me, so for instance, right now. I am in the middle of Atlas Shrugged (which is a HUGE book), Huck: the remarkable true story of how one lost puppy taught a family about hope; the Thief Lord (a MG) and Letters from Vincent (biography). I’ve learned that if I give myself multiple books to choose from, not only will I read faster but I’m less likely to fall into slumps. Plus it helps my whole mood reading syndrome of which I definitely am a part of.

 

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The last thing people always ask is if I have any tips to help them read more, which of course I do!

1-Obviously bring a book with you everywhere. If you can’t do a physical copy, try Audible.com. They have tons of audiobooks, and while I personally cannot stand audiobooks, they might work for you. Or get your ereader fired up with some books (tons of sites have lots of free books for ereaders)

2-Try to read for at least 5-10 minutes per day each day, mainly just to get the hang of it. As you go on, you can always increase it, but try with that little space of time just to get back in the groove.

3-Use noise canceling headphones. Not for music (though I do read a lot of my books with music on the background) but rather for helping you keep your focus. They block out a lot of minor sounds so if you are someone who gets easily distracted, especially if you start trying to do this at work or somewhere there is a lot of background noise, this will help.

4-Don’t be afraid to branch out. If you have never tried YA, go for it. If you always read YA and never have thought of adult fiction, do it. Try to read at least something that is different for you, who knows, you might actually like it, and it might be a new favorite.

5-Set the phone down, preferably on airplane mode, with a timer set. That way not only do you have a set time that you can read, but you don’t get distracted by notifications and likes popping in on your phone. (Obviously if you are someone who people need to get a hold of you, don’t do that, but if you aren’t you might try it.)

6-Read multiple books. Try some different genres and let yourself get immersed in different stories

7-Try reading somewhere you don’t normally. Like if you always read on the couch, try the kitchen table, if you always read inside, try out by the pool or at a coffee shop. Variety is the spice of life after all.

8-Don’t be afraid to DNF (Do Not Finish) a book. Yeah I know I just told you to read all these books and all these steps, but honestly if a book isn’t working for you, you can stop reading it. It’s totally cool. DNF is absolutely 100% allowed.

Anyways, I hope this was helpful, at least to some people. If not, well…I had fun writing it so there’s that. 🙂

Do you have any tips for reading more? What is the best thing that works for you?

Happy reading y’all! And remember life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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June Wrap-up (otherwise known as I read HOW MANY books?)

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June was a weird month for me. Not because I didn’t do any reading (oh I did reading lads, lots of reading) but because I was dog-sitting at about 3 different places, making me only home for about 3 days in the past 3 weeks. Which isn’t bad, except when you have to come home, repack books and head back out. I’m finally home now, sitting in front of my lovely overstuffed shelves and thinking about how many books that I read over June.

I read a grand total of 27 books. Which is great! Until I look closer at my huge TBR mountain and realize that of that 27, 6 were from my personal shelves, and 3 were rereads. So technically while all the rest of them were from the library, I only managed to make 3 books off my physical TBR go onto my “Hallelujah, I read that book” shelf!

But at least I was reading, and I did save some money because I was at the library all the time. But that’s a different story for a different day! 🙂

Now, to the books!

The Best books I read in June (4-5 star rating)

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (Can you be a LoTR fan and not have read this? I finally read it, and I really enjoyed it, though I feel like the LoTR and the Hobbit are tighter and more cohesive, I did enjoy it quite a bit, and I can finally say that I have read it!)
  • Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston (this was so close to being a full 5 star rating, it got a 4.75 star from me. It was so good, a reimaging of Pride and Prejudice, but if Elizabeth accepted Mr. Darcy’s first proposal. I loved it and thought it was very well done, I didn’t like a few things which is why it wasn’t a solid 5 star, but if you like Pride and Prejudice, be sure to pick it up!)
  • The long way to a small angry planet by Becky Chambers (Road trip in space with what felt like the crew of the Serenity. I loved this book, it was a solid 4 star from me again)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (I read this in high school and let’s be real dude, I hated this book. But decided this year that I was going to reread some of the classics that people seemed to love and this made the list. I actually really enjoyed it, however I can understand why I didn’t like it when I was in school. But reading for pleasure and reading for a grade are 2 totally different things)
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandyha Menon. (Super cute book, I gave it a 4 star, it was super adorkable and sweet but it didn’t really blow me out of the water. It was honestly like a Hallmark movie but in book form, you knew they were going to get together and the fun was watching how they did.)
  • Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Retelling of Sherlock as the boy next door. Plus it was written by an Australian author, and I don’t know about you, but even if people don’t let me know it’s from ‘Stralia, I can tell, they have a very brash tone. Anyways, it was cute and gory and sweet…and yes there was murder and it’s quite nice, solid 4 stars)
  • All your worth by Elizabeth Warren (one of the better finance books I’ve read, and trust me I’ve read a lot of them, but this one made so much sense and I really enjoyed it)
  • The book whisperer by Donalyn Miller (this is a book that a lot of teachers use to understand/mimic how to teach kids to love reading. This was a lot of good points, not just for teachers but I would strongly say that if you have kids, this would be a good book for you too, or really any reader.)

 

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Books that were meh (3-3.75 star rating)

  • Nikola Telsa: A spark of Genius by Carl Dommeruth-Costa. (This was an interesting book, and since I really didn’t know much about Tesla it was good knowledge but it was a bit dry in the middle, mainly when it was talking about the science behind a lot of his experiments, still good to read though)
  • Make your bed by Admiral William McRaven (Don’t get me wrong, this was a decent book, but because it came from a rousing graduation speech, that is pretty much the feel you get through the whole book. And it was interesting, especially the Hell Week part, but for the most part I flew through this book quickly and it didn’t make too much of an impact on me)
  • Frogkisser by Garth Nix (retelling of the frog princess, sounds great, but in reality it felt too cobbled together, didn’t have much of a plot and seemed more MG then YA. It was still a decent read, but I think that had there been some more editing and lengthening of the story and plot, it would have been better)
  • The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron (disclaimer, this did get a 3.75 but I’ve heard that the other books in this series are much better. I enjoyed this one but even though it was fast paced and quick on the draw, it kinda forget some things, like introductions…world building….that sort of thing. And some of the stuff, hopefully will make sense when I read the sequel, but it didn’t make sense when I was reading it. I will be picking up the sequel though, cause I’m curious to see how it goes)
  • The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (so it was….weird….and different…and I feel like if it had been a bit longer I would have liked it more, but it just kinda dropped you into this story, but then was so open-ended at the ending…it wasn’t for me. I know lots of people who loved it, but I wasn’t one of them.)
  • The incredible adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil (I had so many high hopes for this book, but sadly it just didn’t live up to my hype. It was interesting but it…just felt like it dragged on and on without any real point?)

 

The books I wish I hadn’t read (1-2 stars)

  • The little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (Did you know that Danes are the best at being comfortable? Well if you didn’t, you will by the end of this insufferable, blowhard book which basically told me nothing new except that I now have a newfound hatred for the word Hygge. It was so not worth a read at all)
  • The zookeeper’s wife by Diane Ackerman (maybe if the wife of the zookeeper was done more in first person, rather then third; maybe if she showed more empathy towards the humans hiding from death and concentration camps then feeling bad for the animals; and maybe if we got it in a more linear way, I would have liked it more. But we didn’t, so I didn’t.)
  • Holding up the universe by Jennifer Niven (I was really hoping that I would like this one, I heard so many rave reviews, I was hoping that I would fall in love with this book, but sadly it was not to be. I didn’t like one of the main characters, had such a hard time liking even the writing style and …ugh…nope. not for me)
  • The Anatomical shape of a heart by Jenn Bennett (published under the title Night Owls for the UK….and I am a sad little melon of discontent cause I WANTED to like this book but seriously, it was not to be. Girl on girl hate, double-standards and manic pixie dream boy…not my cuppa to be honest.)
  • Hunted by Megan Spooner (black sheep opinion y’all, I had such a hard time with this book and I really wanted to like it. I love BatB and was really hoping that this book would be awesome but sadly it is a nope. I felt like there was very little character growth, I was MASSIVELY confused by the “twist” at the end and I just…I don’t care for it)
  • We were liars by E. Lockhart (I thought this was a pretty interesting book but the main reason I didn’t end up liking it was the tone throughout the whole book. Rich snobs and money and nah bro I’m good)
  • Books for living by Will Schwalbe (Nope. memoir disguised as a book about books which I didn’t ask for and certainly didn’t want. Also the tone of this “author” was pretentious, snobbish and downright rude. Hard pass)
  • Jane Austen: A life by Claire Tomalin (Y’all know I’m nuts about Jane Austen, and so I have a tendency to get books about her, and this one….was…so….BORING. Like it was about everyone else BUT Jane. And dry. And sleep inducing. And boring. pass)
  • The Assistants by Camille Perri (I love when I go into a book with little to no expectations and when I finish I think “That pretty much played out about how I thought it would” and this was one of those books. I think I would have liked it more had the characters been a bit more fleshed out…and if we possibly got a different view then the MC, who I can’t even remember right now. )

 

Books I reread:

  • Radical by David Platt
  • Restless by Jeannie Allen
  • Pride and Prejudice audiobook read by Rosamund Pike
  • breaking free by Beth Moore

 

So that’s what I read this month. There were a surprising amount of books I didn’t care for, whereas I feel like in May I had more books I liked. But this is the burden of being a reader, some months you get amazing results and others, you limp by and hope that the next month you do better.

Have a great day Dragons! And remember, life is too short to read mediocre books (apparently that’s what I was here for this month!)

Cheers!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

Top Ten Best books I’ve read this year (so far)

Today I’m linking up with the Top Ten Tuesday post from Jamie over at the broke and the bookish (you can check her post here) and the prompt is the best books that we have read this year, so far.

Um, somehow it’s already the middle of the year? When precisely did that happen, because I sure didn’t sign up for my year to be almost over, especially when I think of all the books I’ve yet to read.

I actually thought that this prompt would be easy to do, but even with all the books that I’ve read so far this year, I seem to have a shocking low number of books that were so impressive that they earned a 5 star. But Ce’st Le Vie, we go on. These are in no order at all, nor are they all ones that are brand new (I’m good but darling I’m not that good), they might have been from years ago, but they are new to me, so that’s all that matters.

Now to the lists!

1- Duels and Deceptions by Cindy Anstey. This is a Regency era romance, with snark and laughter and I loved it. This is by the same author who wrote Love, Lies and Spies, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one (it’s not a sequel, perhaps it might be considered a companion novel?)

 Synopsis:  Lydia is trying to have her life go to plan, which means getting hitched to the man her late father prepared. However, her life goes off track when she, and her new law clerk Robert, are kidnapped. Now she has to escape, save her reputation and just possibly fall in love? Oh dear. 

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2-The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis. MG. This is about a snarky dragon who gets transformed into a girl. And a very snarly girl at that. And there’s chocolate and snark and sass and dragons and I absolutely fell in love with this and with the writing! I loved it! (Also snark, sass, dragons and chocolate? It’s like the universe said I needed a book just for me and made it) It’s fantastic.

 

3-Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I am a sad little melon ball that it took me until THIS YEAR to actually read this book. Because I know for a fact had I read it back when it came out, I would have pushed it on every single person that I know. And ones I didn’t. I have never known a book that was so obsessed with books and love of reading and it’s just amazing. (Also bad reader confession, I actually saw the movie first, had absolutely NO CLUE this was a book and loved the movie….now that I’ve read the book, I want to go and read all of the series) This sadly was a library book so I couldn’t keep it, but I’m probably going to be getting the U.K. cover set soon, because now I must read the whole thing.

 

4-The girl who fell beneath Fairyland and led Revels there by Catherynne M. Valente. MG Actually this whole series is pretty much fantastic and super under-rated. I feel like hardly anyone knows about it, even though it has some essential and wonderful things, like snark, sass, a Wyvern (book loving dragon) and a very strong female character. I only had heard of this series in December and this has quickly grown into one of my favorite series.

5- The Finishing School quartet by Gail Carriger. Ok, So I know it’s only supposed to be one book but honestly this quartet is just filled with complete awesome and I love it. Again this is a very under-rated series, I didn’t even know what it was called until I got to the last one. It revolves around a finishing school that is not exactly what it appears, instead of tutoring young women how to find wealthy husbands, it instead tutors them in how to survive the supernatural. Werewolves, vampires, steampunk, rich friendships and snark and sass….it made my day to find this series. I’ve started recommending it to everyone who likes steampunk/alternate history.

6-Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston. An alternate retelling of Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth accepts Darcy with his first proposal, instead of giving him a proper venting. It is one of my favorite retellings, because it really does feel like Jane herself could have written it. I loved reading it, and was on pins and needles at some points, even though I knew what would happen! Don’t get discouraged by the rather hideous cover though, it’s still worth it.

7-The long way to a small angry planet by Becky Chambers. Road trip, with aliens, in space. Pretty much sums it up. I personally loved this book and thought it was so complex and different and brilliant. How the aliens observed the humans so reminded me of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (which is one of the few books I like that is a sci-fi book) and there was so much snark and sass and diversity and it was great! (*Side note: it is not an epic space battle book, it literally is a road trip book but it’s still really great because the characters have so much depth and grit….I love them)

8-Outrun the Moon by Stacy Lee. This was an amazing book. Dealing with a young Chinese girl, her parents and their expectations of her life, and the great earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco. It explored racism, friendship and what expectations/ideals parents might put on you, but that you sometimes have to go find your own path. I highly recommend this book, also because it surprised me. I knew it would be good, but I didn’t realize how good.

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9-The Color Project by Sierra Abrams. Ok so this is slightly cheating as it’s not out until July, but I got an ARC of this and I read it and fell in love with Levi and Bee and everyone. This is a book that is about learning to trust when you have been failed, learning to love outside your plan and being 100% exactly who you are. I loved it so very much (in fact, you can check out my entire squee-like review here if you want to) but seriously, go preorder this book, you won’t regret it.

10-The burning page by Genevieve Cogman. This is the third in the Invisible Library series, and this book was fantastic. The Invisible Library series deals with parallel worlds, dragons (yay!), snark, sass, kickin’ Librarians who are the guardians of the worlds, books, vampires and some romance. I honestly got into this series because of the cover, but the cover is just a small part of how awesome this series is. Please go check it out, you won’t regret it.

So that’s my list of the best books I’ve read so far this year.  There are quite a few new books that are on my radar that aren’t here yet, or even out in the world yet, but I can’t wait for them (short list includes The Dire King*, Retribution Rails, Wonder Woman, and so many others!) 2017 has been (so far) a great year for books, and I hope that it gets even better.

*Oh look, I almost made it through one post without mentioning my absolute love for the Jackaby series….and then I failed….oh well.

What were some of your best books this year? What books should I add to my list to check out? What is one of your favorites?

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

~Stephanie

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