How do you review? (10)

Aka, random things I think about when I read books that you really can’t write in book reviews.  

-I love princes getting punched in the face.  I need this to occur more often

-Blue eyes really creep me out.  Especially light blue eyes in males

-Of course he needs to have a manly bedroom of dark wood and black stone because he’s a ~man~

-SERIOUSLY PEOPLE, STOP CUTTING YOUR HANDS OPEN.  IT’S BAD FOR YOU.

-Who would ever think having a bunch of high strung rebellious gamer dudebros try and follow military discipline is a good idea and would end well?

-10 minute conversations magically happen in a span of 2 minutes

-That was one of the better love triangles I have ever seen.

-No one ever noticed how the ‘stray dog’ was super clean all the time and questioned that it might actually be a pet?

-I feel like I’m reading fanfiction for a fandom I’m not a part of.

-Why would she cry when they found him alive? He’s alive! Happy is better

 

-I both like and am irritated by the writing style of this book

-I love the feel of a chunky paperback in my hands.  The buttery feel of the study spine.  I love it.

-Mildly interesting, eternally frustrating

-Who the fuck throws spitballs in school anymore?  Especially in High School?

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Anticipated 2018 Releases

Late to the party, but it’s still 2018 so it still counts.  This list is going to attempt to be my most anticipated releases, and will likely be from mostly the beginning of the year, but such is the nature of things.

A Sword Named Truth (cover not yet final)

Two of these were found on last years list (linky) and two I have managed to read already!  Hopefully I can continue that trend and read more of my anticipated reads then I managed last year. 

2017 Book Awards

Just in time for the end of the awards season, here are my bookish winners, taken from the books I read in 2017 and excluding any re-reads.  

Best Actor aka Best Male Protagonist

Mark Watney (Any Weir)

Best Actress aka Best Female Protagonist

Rachel Chu (Kevin Kwan)

Best Cinematography aka Best Plot Twist

The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov (not particularly twisty, but good plottage occurred in this book)

Best Costume Design aka Best Book cover

Scythe by Neal Shusterman and Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Best Supporting Actress and Actor aka Best M/F side character

Astrid Leong (Kevin Kwan)

Eliza’s Brothers (Francesca Zappia) and Khalid’s cousin (Renée Ahdieh)

Best Original screen play aka most unique world/setting

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Best Adapted screen play aka best book-to-movie adaption

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Best animated feature aka a book you want to see animated

Saga by Brain K Vaughn and Warcross by Marie Lu

Best director aka best new writer discovered

Kevin Kwan

Best short film aka best short story/novella

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Best visual effects aka best action

Warcross by Marie Lu (not overly action-y but would be great to see the visual effects of this in movie form)

Best documentary aka best historical fiction/non-fiction

Working Stiff by Judy Melinek

Best picture aka best book

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

2017 Goals: Did I fail?

Here are my original post and my mid-year wrap-up.

To sum, if you don’t like clicking links, half way through the year I was doing pretty good but there were a few goals that were not going as planned.  

1. Continue on with this Book Blogging thing 

I had another slump, and I really need to re-think my blog.  More like redesign and put more effort in.  Anyway, I’m still kinda here so this still kinda counts as a win.

2. Clear out my drafts file  

Didn’t happen.  But honestly, have a few handfuls of half-ideas or half- written posts is not a bad thing, despite what early 2017 me thought. 

3. Keep the number of books on my Goodreads ‘To-read’ list under the number of books in my ‘Read’ list

This mess of a goal is a) a mess and b) still kinda worked out in the end.  I would still like my list to be smaller than it is, but I’ve had a good reading year where I took a number off the list and added about as many as I read.

4. Make better reviews 

I did not achieve this goal.  Sure, it’s open-ended so I could find some way that I did manage it (and my brain is already supplying a few for me) but the reality is I think my reviews got worse not better.  Rereading my review for The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet really brings this point home as the review I would have written for it now would not have been as good. 

5. Reduce the number of unread books on my bookshelf by half (of the total number I started the year with; aka have 6 or fewer unread books by year end)

There is a saga with this goal, and I will do a check-in eventually for this but overall I didn’t achieve this goal, but still consider it a success because I did read a lot of books that have been sitting on my shelf for years.  

6. A tough one: Stop feeling so guilty about not reading.  Conversely, stop feeling so guilty about reading.  

As I explained in my check-in, this one ended up not being tough and fixed itself quite nicely.  As a result I both read and didn’t read this year and I felt great about both!

In the Check-in I also talked about my a few side goals and trends I was hitting.  My Goodreads goal I ended up actually committing to more then the first half of the year and upping the ante to 75 books, which I achieved.  I also continued to read diverse types of books (generas and formats).  Since I wasn’t doing as many reviews in the end of 2017 my emphasis on audiobooks reduced but I always acknowledged reading them in my round-ups.  Finally, my commitment to indy and self-published books waned in the last half of the year, but I might try for it again in 2018.  

Final comments: I did feel I read a bunch of forgettable books this year, even though on average my star ratings were quite high.  I need to think on this and determine if I want to address it in my 2018 goals.  

Audiobook review: Protector of the Small

Protector of the Small is my favourite series.  Fullstop.  I love this series and I talk about it and the author all the time.  I recently did an audiobook re-read and while I could talk about this series for days, today I want to focus and review the audiobooks.  Not enough people talk about and review audiobooks and I have been making a concerted effort this year to do so whenever I read by audiobook.

So here we go!

These books were read by Bernadette Dunne and I really liked her narration.  She does different voices and I liked most of them.  Dunne also speaks clearly and at a pace that I can easily speed up the audio and still understand the book.  Not all productions you can do this, though I think most audiobook productions nowadays keep this in mind when recording, or so I’d like to think.

While she does a great job, this is my favourite series and I’m rather picky.  One thing I noticed is some of the emotional cues in the book were not done to what I had hoped for.  For example, in the prologue of the first book there is a scene where Lady Alanna is very angry but the narration doesn’t go as far as I would have wanted and you can barely tell she was angry.  However, everyone imagines books differently and I need to learn to be open to other people’s interpretations.

For part of Squire I read and listened to the audio and noticed there were some (minor) differences between the text and the spoken words.  This at first bugged me but the differences were minor and mostly helped the listener better understand what was happening.  I’m not sure if it was intentional on the production part or due to a difference in what was given to Dunne to read (like a different version of the story), but over all it didn’t matter to the story.  However, those that read and listen might notice and get frustrated at this.

Overall I do highly recommend not only this series but the audiobooks as well!  

If there is something you would like me to cover about these audiobooks or others, please let me know!  I would like to be better at reviewing audiobooks.  

TBR pile accounting


One of my reading goals I have this year is to reduce the number of unread books on my bookshelf by half.  At the time of writing that goal I hadn’t counted the number of unread books I had, but thought it was around a dozen.  So here is the official count!  Plus a few little tidbits of information on the books thrown in.  

1. & 2. & 3. Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen (Abhorsen trilogy) by Garth Nix

Bought: July 2014 

On shelf: 2.75 years

This was my only buy the whole series at once before reading it moment I’ve had.  I have heard good things about it by good people and started reading the first book and though I found it interesting, it didn’t immediately drag me in and force me to read the rest.  I will hopefully attempt to read it again. 

4. The Diviner by Melanie Rawn

Bought: ~August 2012

On shelf:  4.5 years

I bought this to be a plane read before my study abroad and I did actually start it but didn’t get too far into it as I’m not really a plane or bus reader, even though I can actually read in moving vehicles (I just prefer to look out the window or sleep).  Since then I haven’t attempted it and have lost interest.  This book is the most likely one I will donate, but I am also curious to know what it’s about.  I bought it because Rawn had another companion book that sounded good but was suggested I read this one first.  

5. Brimstone (Pendergast #5) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child 

Gifted by a friend Christmas 2014

On shelf: 2 years

This is a favourite book of a friend.  I’m told you don’t need to read them in order and reading the back of the book I realize it does sound interesting.  This sounds like an urban fantasy book which I generally don’t reach for but I’ve become more adventurous recently and I have being doing some group creative writing in an urban fantasy setting so now could be a great time to finally pick this book up. 

6. The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4) by Cinda Willams Chima 

Gifted by a friend Christmas 2014

On shelf: 2 years

I have read most of Chima’s books and have liked or loved them, though I have yet to read the last of Seven Realms books.  As it’s my friends favourite series and she knows this, she got me a copy of the last book in the series to finish it off though I haven’t been in a rush to do so. 

7. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Gifted by a friend 2016

On shelf: ~1 year

This is a first edition, signed Atwood book.  A friend gifted it to me since she already had personally signed copy.  Atwood is not normally my cup of tea,  but this book does sound good: it’s about a social experiment where pairs of couples switch between life in prison and normal life.  

8. Snow like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Stolen/given to me by family member

On shelf: ~8 months

The family member didn’t really like this book and so when I went to borrow it he said I could keep it.  It been on my to read list for a few years so I think it was a win-win for all.  Though we do generally have similar tastes in books so the fact that he didn’t like it too much has me hesitant but I think it’s more he’s growing out of the genera then anything wrong with the book.

9. Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson 

Bought: Summer 2015?

On Shelf: ~1.75 years

I’ve heard excellent things about this book from BookTube and even though it has a love triangle I am curious.  I’ve started it once and got about 2 chapters in but wasn’t in the mood to read it at the time.  Whenever I travel it’s the book I drag along with me so I think it’s only a matter of time.

10. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J Maas

Christmas Present 2015

On Shelf: 1 year

This is a series that I have up to this point enjoyed.  I do expect to enjoy this book but for some reason have yet to get to it, likely because I am strange and liked the first book more then the second and feel like I won’t like this book, even though I’m also sure I will.  At the same time, I feel like I will like it and that is why I haven’t read it?  It’s a strange situation to be in, but I hope to get to this book soon. 

11. Half Bad by Sally Green

Bought: Summer 2015?

On Shelf: ~1.75 years

I have been interested in this book for years and around the time it was really hyped on BookTube I found it for 6$ in the book store (for a hardcover!).  Witches are generally not a theme I read about, but this one sounds good and I will likely get to it soon.

12. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Bought: July 2014

On Shelf: 2.75 years

I bought this before learning about BookTube and seeing all the hype about this series.  The cover dragged me in and everything I have heard about the book in reviews has only made me want to read it more, yet I haven’t gotten to it yet.  For shame!  Another one that I will likely get to soon. 

Note: Most of these books are part of a series, but unless indicated otherwise, they are the first of the series.

Average wait of time: 2.15 years

Number bought versus number gifted: 8 bought, 4 gifted

Approximate percent of bookshelf that is unread: 10-15% (I forgot to count all my books so this is a rough estimate)

For the record, because there are 12 books and I want to reduce that in half by the end of the year that means I want to have 6 unread books on my shelf by the end of the year.  If I buy more books I haven’t read I still want to have 6 or fewer.  If I give away books I haven’r read that means I have to read fewer books to hit the 6 unread books. 

Oh! and I *do* have copies of the first four Game of Thrones books, but they are currently in the ‘donate’ pile in my room, so I’m not counting them.  

You are a reader!

thoughtsThe average person in the US (and likely Canada and many other countries of the world) reads less then 5 books a year.  If, like me, you think that is a very small number, congrats you are likely a reader!

Now, the word reader means a person who reads.  Despite what anyone might tell you, it does not specify what type of things you need to read to be a reader.  It can be books, poetry, short stories, novellas, zines and magazines, fanfiction, instruction manuals, ‘trashy’ internet erotica, role-playing posts…..the list is a long one.  The list I provided is also only things that a ‘reader’ might read, but reading is something essentially everyone does on a semi-daily basis.  Reading a menu or a price tag would make you a reader by the above definition.  

However, in colloquial terms ‘a reader’ tends to be someone who reads ‘a lot’ (and also the types of things I mentioned above and not the ‘everyday’ things), but as the average person reads fewer then 5 books in a year, anything more then that can be classified as ‘a lot’.  That means 10 books a year can make you a reader.  So that ‘only one book this month’ you read?  Congrats, you are still a reader!  ‘I only read a few magazines or fanfic’.  Still a reader!  

Don’t let the words of others define you or bring you down.  You may not read as much as you want or as much as the gatekeepers to reading might say you need to, but if you think you are a reader, CONGRATS!! You! Are! A! Reader!