Thursday, December 31, 2015

Read Harder Challenge–the Results

This is the first year I’ve done an official challenge (beyond the Goodreads book count).  I was drawn to the Bookriot Read Harder Challenge because it had very diverse categories, several that wouldn’t be too hard, and a few that would be a really big stretch for me. Twenty four categories is exactly 2 a month and since my goal for the year was 100 books read that didn’t seem bad at all.

Well 2015 is over and I did not complete all 24 categories.  I did complete 19 total and four out of the five categories I was most concerned about when the year started.  Even though I didn’t finish, I’m so glad I participated and I would never call this a failure because I read so many books outside my comfort zone that I never would have otherwise.  I read several books I’d never have heard of without the challenge.

Pre-challenge I’d never even heard of a microhistory, but I read When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning in January and its one of my most recommended books of the year.  Jane Eyre has been on my TBR for a long time, but I don’t gravitate towards books written a long time ago.  On Elizabeth’s strong recommendation, I finally read it in August to complete the “Book written 150 years ago” and fell in love with Jane and Mr. Rochester. 

Even categories I wasn’t concerned about resulted in some great reads.  I’d always planned to read The DUFF, but just never felt compelled to pick it up.  Since the author wrote it before she was 25 it fit in a category I was struggling with.  I went in with average expectations and The DUFF was awesome.  There was so much more to this book than I expected going in.

As for the unfinished categories, I attempted at least one book in each of them – I just have very little luck forcing myself to read things I’m not enjoying.  I’m keeping those categories in the back of my head to try and complete someday.  I’m definitely planning to participate in the 2016 Read Harder Challenge.

Monday, October 5, 2015

What am I Missing?

I’m having a great reading year.  Truly read – I’ve read 90 books easily on track for my goal of 100.  I’m participating in the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge, and I’ve completed 19/24.  I’m not certain I’ll complete the final categories (I’ve attempted at least one book in each), but I’ve definitely stretched my reading comfort zone this year.

I struggled at the midyear point to limit myself to my favorite 10 books read over 6 months.  Seriously, I have read some awesome books this year and across so many genres that I have books to recommend to anyone who asks for one.  Some years I struggle to come up with 10 books at the end of the year.

Over the past month I’ve been feeling like I was missing something in my reading and yesterday I think I figured out what it was.  Every other year I read 1-3 books that grip me to the point that I IMMEDIATELY reread them.  I finish the last page and then start over (or read books 2 and 3 and then start the series over).  The books that do this for me aren’t always the quote/unquote BEST books, but I emotional invest so completely that I’m not ready to leave them behind.  I read the first three books of Twilight through three times in a row before coming up for air (the final books wasn’t out yet). 

Here are the books that have been immediate rereads for me since 2011 (when I started tracking my reading).



Summer prettyAlways have summerSummer without you


The Fault in Our StarsLola and the boy


this song will save your lifeFangirlGoing too far


unstickystars still shine

I’ve had a few books come really close to that this year.  I read Daughter of the Forest earlier this year and just now reread it. And I read/listened to Jane Eyre about a month ago.  I went back and listened to some of the parts I read.  But nothing has made me immediately restart the same book in it’s entirety, and I’m missing that feeling.

Any suggestions?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10.

Top 10 Tuesday

This week is “Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR”.  Ignoring the fact that I only read 4 books from my Spring List and 2 from my Summer list, it’s still fun to make a plan. 

Late Fall is the season I enjoy  the most fantasy so I’ve stacked my fall plan with a lot of fantasy.

Carry OnCareer of EvilQueen of ShadowsAsh BrambleSeige and StormWalk on EarthWinterDark TriumphTonight the Streets are OursSaturn Run
What’s on your list for Fall?  Anyone else love to read fantasy this time of year?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

Top Ten Clues You’re CluelessVery Brief Summary

Chloe drew the short straw to work on Christmas Eve at GoodFoods Market.  The presence of her crush, Tyson, is a slight silver lining, but considering she can barely speak coherent sentences to him it’s not enough.  All her co-workers are very different so she doesn’t have any friends at work.  To add insult to injury, when the charity money the store has been collecting for a month is stolen, Chloe and her co-workers are accused of the crime.

The Good

Top 10 lists – Chloe writes top 10 lists for everything – Top 10 things she likes about Tyson, Top 10 Worst Mom Phrases, etc.  I’m a sucker for Top 10 lists.

Diverse Cast – The characters are diverse and amazing.  Liz Czukas found the perfect way to give each character depth and a backstory in a pretty standard length novel.  At the beginning of the book, none of the characters interact much.  Several of them dislike each other based on stereotypes and misunderstandings.  By the end of the book you can see genuine friendships Thermometer liked itbetween Chloe, Tyson, Gabe, Zaina, Micah, and Sammi.  Possibly even a romance down the line.

Minimal Angst / Not Romance focused – Chloe isn’t overwrought.  She’s self conscious like most teenagers, but doesn’t take it overboard and that makes reading this a pleasant experience.  I also loved that while we know right away that Chloe has a crush on Tyson, that relationship is not a focus of the book.  She gets to know him just like she gets to know the rest of her coworkers. 

The Bad

Not so Mysterious – I was fairly certain almost immediately who stole the charity money and absolutely certain by the midpoint of the book.  It wasn’t that big of a deal for me, because the mystery wasn’t the focal point of the novel for me.  I cared way more about the interaction between Chloe, Tyson, Gabe, Zaina, Micah, and Sammi than the mystery.

The Results

A really fun book that made me immediately add Czukas’ other book to my TBR.  I can see myself re-reading this down the line.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Top Ten Book Cover Trends

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10.


This week is a Freebie.  I was going to do top 10 Book covers, but I couldn’t narrow it down to anything close to 10.  So here’s my “Top 10 Book Cover Trends”.  See what I did there? 

Title Focused 5 booksEyes Front 3 booksOne bold Color 5 booksFace in Profile 5 booksPretty Dress 3 booksSarah J Maas 6 booksPost its torn paper 4Facing away 5 booksBlue Green 3 booksNo Trend

In case you were wondering, I just squeezed 44 books into this Top 10 list.  What cover trends are you drawn too?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Top Ten Series I Have Yet to Finish

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10.


This week is “Top Ten Series I Have Yet to Finish”.  This topic was done three years ago – here’s my 2012 post.  I thought I’d have trouble coming up with another ten, but it actually wasn’t that difficult although some of these are series that haven’t been completely written yet and I just haven’t read book two.

Ruin and RisingSiege and Storm1. The Grisha Series by Leigh Bardulo

I read Shadow & Bone last year and immediately ordered the second and third books from Amazon.  I thought I’d read them right away, but they’ve just gotten away from me.  Maybe Winter this year since that’s my preferred season to read fantasy.



2. Bounce by Noelle August

I know it’s only been out for a week, but it’s right up my comfort alley and I loved Boomerang so it’s shocking and I didn’t jump on it right away.


P.S. I Still Love You3. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

I love Jenny Han and I was so anxious for the next book after finishing To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before.  I think this book is a victim of my library usage this year.  Library books are taking priority over books I own.


Shattered WorldTheir Fractured Light4. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars was great, but somehow when I had This Shattered World checked out from the library I was never in the mood.  I fully intent to finish the series, but I’ll probably binge books 2 & 3.



5. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

I blew through Everneath and Everbound, but have lost my enthusiasm for the series for unknown reasons.  I still think I’ll finish it eventually.

The Hunted


6. The Hunted by Matt De La Pena

The Living was an amazing thriller.  The premise is so believably possible that it added a scary element.  I just haven’t gotten to The Hunted yet.


Dark TriumphMortal Heart7. His Fair Assassin Series by Robin LaFevers

I really enjoyed Grave Mercy.  I didn’t feel the need to rush out and read the next two, but was excited to have them as options the next time I was in the mood for historical fantasy.


Rose under fire


8. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Companion book, not series but I’m counting it anyway.  I got this from the Secret Santa last year and still haven’t read it.




9. Endlessly by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy and Supernaturally were so much FUN.  I can’t remember what distracted me from finishing the series, but I will.


10. City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

Totally cheating here.  This book isn’t out yet, but the last book in the series came out three years ago and the release on City of Mirrors keeps getting pushed back.  It was suppose to come out last year and now it’s projected for 2016 and there’s still not even a cover.  I need to know what happens.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

August Recap

I had a very solid reading month after a disappointing July.  I read 13 books.  I posted one review and I’m really proud of it…Not the review exactly, but I’ve been trying to achieve that formatting in HTML for awhile and finally got it. 

Books Read

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Girl, Stolen by April Henry

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
The Royal We by Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks
Crazy for Love by Victoria Dahl
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Challenge Update

I finished two more books for the Read Harder Challenge from Book Riot this month.  Ironically, neither of them are the books I mentioned as in progress in my July Recap.  In total I have 19 complete out of 24, and hoping to finish All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr for sure in September.

On My Blog Roll

Gotta love unique book storage even if some of it isn’t practical.  I WANT the checkmarks!

19 Rad Bookshelves For Your Home (Or Dream Home)

I want self-driving cars ASAP so I can read on my commute.

Why Google's self-driving cars will be great for cyclists and pedestrians

And this one gave me an idea for a post.

An Odd DNF Scenario

In Other News

I picked up two bookcases and a hutch on Craigslist to turn my basement into a library of sorts so you can probably anticipate a post on book organization in the future.

I helped my parents move a couple weeks ago (with only a few weeks left to use the pool) and we’re still waiting for Cox Communication to visit the apartment to install.  The original schedule for install was 8/16.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Top Ten Characters I didn’t Click with

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10.


This week is “Top Ten Characters I didn’t Click with”.

This is a topic I want to TALK about, because sometimes it’s really a mystery as to why I click with some characters and not others.  I’ve connected to some wonderfully brave heroic characters and some terribly unlikeable characters so why didn’t these characters that MANY others readers love click with me?

These are characters I didn’t connect with emotionally.  If they annoyed me or made me angry they aren’t on the list.

Mia If I stay

I have never been able to figure out why I didn’t connect with Mia.  I could relate to her relationship with her family, but I just didn’t get emotionally involved like I would have expected, ESPECIALLY because I have a younger brother with almost the exact same age difference and our relationship was very similar to theirs.

Liesel book thief

I liked the book, but when the narrator is Death it’s natural to feel a distance from the characters.  The ‘voice’ of the book is just so neutral.

Anna Moonglass

I know a lot of people love Jessi Kirby, but so far I haven’t connected with her characters.

Frances More like Her

I loved Liza Palmer’s first two books and really identified with both heroines so needless to say I was anxiously awaiting More Like Her but the book just didn’t do anything for me and I didn’t really care about Frances.

Victoria mad wicked folly

Feminist fighting for suffrage in England.  This SO should have been right up my alley, but it was a fight to finish the book.

Francesca Saving

I’m the one person who doesn’t really get Marchetta. I liked this book, but didn’t click with Francesca. 

Lina Between Shades of Gray

I’m a crier and this is such a heartbreaking topic/book, but without fully investing in the MC it ended up missing something for me and I don’t think I shed a tear.

Laureth She not invisible

I liked Laureth but never fully connected.  Again she had a younger brother that she was close to.  I almost wonder if the obsession with coincidence cause the disconnect.

Brie Catastrophic History

I think when the main character is already dead it takes some of the tension out of the story.


Another book I liked with an main character I didn’t really connect with.  Luckily I liked the plot enough to continue the series because I have loves every new book in the series more and more.