12/30/15

2015 End of the Year Book Survey


Although I've been in a major bookish/blogging/reading slump for the last few weeks, the light at the end of the tunnel is Jaime's end of the year book survey.  Reviewing and reflecting on the past year of reading and blogging is always one of my favourite parts of the year, and I'm hoping that it'll also give me a clean slate feeling so that I can start 2016 with renewed enthusiasm for reading and blogging!


Number of Books You Read: 53
Number of Books You Re-Read: 1
Genre You Read The Most From: Probably contemporary

1. Best Book You Read in 2015?
I think I'll give this award to The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord.  Although I really enjoyed Open Road Summer when I read it last year, it didn't blow me away like it did for everyone else.  But I couldn't get enough of The Start of Me & You, and was absolutely enthralled by the friendship in this story.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
My co-worker raved about Kirsten Ashley's Rock Chick and convinced me to read it.  I didn't expect to love it, but it definitely confirmed for me that I'm not much of a romance novel reader.

3. Most Surprising (in a good or bad way!) Book of 2015?
My husband bought me The Rosie Project for Christmas last year, and I expected to like it, but didn't expect to laugh out loud while reading it!

4. Book You "Pushed" the Most People to Read (and they did) in 2015?
I recommended Tell the Wolves I'm Home to my book club, and everyone loved it!  My next book choice is Before I Fall, and I have my fingers crossed that they'll love that one too.

5. Best Series you Started in 2015?  Best Sequel of 2015?  Best Series Ender of 2015?
I binged the entire Grisha trilogy in 2015, and loved it so, so much.  I'll give best sequel to Queen of Shadows and I suppose City of Heavenly Fire can take the best series ender title, since it was one of few series that I actually finished this year.  It was a decent series ender, but the series definitely went on too long in my opinion.

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2015?
Taylor Jenkins Reid -- I read, and loved, both Forever, Interrupted and After I Do.

7. Best Book From a Genre You Don't Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?
I started Jennifer L. Armentrout's Luxe series this year, and I don't usually gravitate towards books about aliens!  Although it's super cheesy, it's still fun.

8. Most Action-Packed, Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2015?
My Secret Santa got me Lucy Christopher's Stolen last year, which I read right away.  It was so unusual in its narrative style, not to mention addicting since I wanted to find out what happened.

9. Book You Read in 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I'm not a huge re-reader, and haven't planned any re-reads just yet.  There are a few series starters that I may re-read just to refresh my memory, but they weren't read in 2015.

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2015?
This book is beautiful -- just beautiful!

11. Most Memorable Character in 2015?
Although I can't remember the characters names, I think I'll go with the characters in Colleen Hoover's Ugly Love.

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2015?
Black Iris -- the writing is equal to the beautiful cover pictured above.

13. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2015?
My book club read I Am Malala and, although I wouldn't say it was life-changing, it definitely was a thought-provoking read.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
Tell the Wolves I'm Home -- so many bloggers that I trust LOVE this book, and I'd had it sitting on my shelves for years!  It totally lived up to the hype.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
When Judith @ Paperiot posted this quote on Instagram, I instantly added the book to my TBR and downloaded it later that afternoon.  A quote has never affected me this way before...

Girls love each other like animals. There is something ferocious and unself-conscious about it. We don't guard ourselves like we do with boys. No one trains us to shield our hearts from each other. With girls, it's total vulnerability from the beginning. Our skin is bare and soft. We love with claws and teeth and the blood is just proof of how much. It's feral.

And it's relentless.
~ Black Iris by Leah Raeder

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.
Longest -- A Storm of Swords (1,177 pages!)
Shortest -- The Demon in the Wood (30 pages)

17. Book that shocked you the most?
I'm honestly not sure that I was actually shocked by any of the books that I read this year, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the first three books in Abbi Glines' Rosemary Beach series.  After I finished reading the first one, I immediately downloaded the second because I wanted more of the story, and I haven't had a contemporary book affect me that way in a long time.

18. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)
Although I still don't fully understand the whole "ship" thing, I'll go with Celeana & Chaol again.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
The friendship in The Start of Me and You.

20. Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you’ve read previously?
Most of Colleen Hoover's books are a bit hit and miss for me.  I liked Hopeless, but was definitely irritated with the characters during parts of the story, and didn't like the Slammed series at all.  But I LOVED Ugly Love.  I guess this was a shocking read too?

21. Best book you read in 2015 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick.  My co-worker begged me to give her books a try, so I did!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
I'm not really a "book boyfriend" kind of girl.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
I didn't read a lot of debuts this year, but I'll go with Tell the Wolves I'm Home because, as far as I know, it's her only novel.

24. Best worldbuilding / most vivid setting you read this year?
Same answer as last year -- the Throne of Glass series!

25. Book that put a smile on your face / was the most FUN to read?
The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect -- laughed out loud during both books, which I rarely ever do!

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015?
I SOBBED during Ugly Love -- full on messy crying.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
Brie @ Slice of Brie raved about The War That Saved My Life, which is a middle grade novel.  I don't read much middle grade these days, and don't see many middle grade books getting much bookish buzz, but this was definitely a solidly good read!

28. Book that crushed your soul?
Ugly Love again?

29. Most unique book you read in 2015?
Definitely Black Iris.  It was so beautifully written, but with an unreliable narrator and I'm still thinking about it months later.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
Hmm, I'm not sure that I actually had a book instill rage in me this year.  


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
Astronomical Books.  Helia's blog (and her Instagram too!) is beautiful and her writing is so gorgeous.  Many of her posts have really made me think.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
I didn't write many reviews this year, but I was pretty happy with 99 Days.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
Probably my post On Being You, where I wrote about taking my blog in a slightly different direction.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
When I first stumbled across Helia's blog, I went back and read all of her posts from the beginning and absolutely LOVED Is My Writing Meaningless?  I immediately started a response post of my own which, sadly hasn't been finalized yet, but hopefully will be in the new year.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Ugh, NOTHING this year.

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2015?
Honestly, it's been a bit of a low blogging/reading year for me.  I've definitely enjoyed the challenges that I participated in, and even getting the Lose Time RRReading Readathon set up, even if the readathon itself was a bit of a flop.  I'm hoping to get my blogging mojo back in 2016!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My haul posts are usually the most popular, but this year it's the top ten books that I had recently added to my TBR!  Most of the time, I forget to link up my TTT posts, so this must have been one week that I actually remembered -- ha ha!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I decided to start a new thing and wrote about my yoga journey, which didn't get any love at all.  Brie left me the sweetest comment on my follow-up post about giving up on perfection, which has inspired me to keep going.  I think I also need to network a bit with yoga bloggers, since my blog is going in a bit of a different direction now?

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
This was the year that I discovered Book Outlet -- and my shelves exploded.  I'm going to try to take a little break from this site next year, as I definitely need to focus on the books that I already own!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I participated in three challenges this year, but didn't do very well at any of them.  I didn't set myself a goal for the Flight Into Fantasy challenge, and I did read some fantasy books this year, so I'll count that as complete.  The other two challenges were the Prequel & Sequel Challenge, where I went crazy on series at the beginning of the year and then slacked, and the TBR Pile Challenge, but I kept focusing on the books that I bought this year, which means I didn't read many off my shelves.  Oh, and I did reach my Goodreads goal, so that's good!


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
I'm still trying to clear up my last outstanding review copies, so hopefully I'll be getting to Julianna Baggott's Burn really, really soon.  I would also like to read Winter and Six of Crows soon!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
A Court of Mist and Fury for SURE and the yet-to-have-a-title fifth installment of the Throne of Glass series.

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I haven't had my eye on any debut books for next year, but I'm excited to see what's on everyone else's horizons for next year!

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
I don't think I have any current series that are wrapping up next year -- shocking, I know!

5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging in 2016?
Keep having fun, whether it's posting what I want or reading what I want -- 2016 will be fun and stress-free!  And definitely hoping to get out of this icky reading/blogging slump that has been a constant presence in my life for the past couple of months =(

If you filled out this survey, please leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by!  Thanks, as always, for stopping by!

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12/29/15

Looking Back at My Bookish Resolutions for 2015

I love the end of the year for all of the self-reflection that comes around!  My bookish resolutions for next year are coming up, but I thought I'd take a moment and look back at last year's resolutions first....

1. Read what I want when I want.
I definitely rocked this resolution!  I don't think I fell victim to any bookish hype this year, and focused on reading what I felt like reading at the time.

2.Not be afraid to try new things.
I definitely read more fantasy this year, with one specific example being Shadow & Bone.  I'd picked up Shadow & Bone a couple of years ago, but couldn't get into it, so I returned it to the library.  Lauren @ Lose Time Reading raved about the book, so I gave it another try and ended up marathoning the series!

3. Stay true to myself.
I definitely stayed away from the popular bookish train this year, and read what I knew I'd love, rather than just what others were reading.

4. Read books that I own.
I kind of set myself my own version of a book buying ban, where I decided that I wouldn't buy a book unless I planned on reading it right away.  While this did have some success (I bought 34 books this year, not counting my Christmas books, which I haven't hauled yet).  I did read almost half of them, but found that this was keeping me away from some older unread books.

5. Continue to make progress with my series.
I rocked at this goal at the beginning of the year, but burned myself out on series as the year progressed.  I did finish four series, and got caught up on another, so I'll consider this a success =)

How about you?  How did you do with your bookish resolutions?  Leave me a comment below -- and thanks for stopping by!

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2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge Wrap-up!

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Hey guys! First of all, we want to thank you guys SO much for participating! We were thrilled to have such a great turnout for the third year in a row. We're also excited to be hosting it again in 2016! (If you missed it, here is the signup post.)

I know this past year we said we were planning better (and more fun) things for the challenge, and I'm afraid we kind of dropped the ball. Life happens, what can we say? But we really want to do better and more fun things in 2016! We hope our lack of hosting participation won't discourage you from participating again next year.

2016 Wrap up

Here is the linky for you to add your final progress post to. (Please don't add every single review!) This linky is only for others to see how you did. It does not get you an entry into the giveaway. For the giveaway, please see the Rafflecopter below.



Giveaway


To win, you must be following BOTH challenge hosts and you must have also signed up on the original sign up post for the challenge. The final progress post is also mandatory for the giveaway so we can see that you participated. If you don't provide the link to your final progress post, you will be disqualified! The giveaway ends Jan 31st and winners will be announced on this post. If you win, we will notify you by email and you will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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12/21/15

2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge Sign-up!

preqseqbutton2016

It's time for another year of the Prequel & Sequel Challenge! Last year we both suffered from some epic blogging slumps, but we're giving it another go in 2016!

Welcome to the 2016 Sequel & Prequel Challenge, hosted by Novel Heartbeat and Writer Grrl Reads! The goal: To read as many prequels and sequels as you can. You set your goal at whatever number works for you.

Guidelines

  1. The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st.
  2. Any books started before Jan. 1 will not count.
  3. All books in a series count for points (see below)
  4. Novellas count, either prequels or sequels (i.e. #0.5, #1.5, #2.5, etc).
  5. Books can be of any publication date. They don’t have to be released in 2016.
  6. In order to get 10 points for a completed series, there must be at least 3 full-length books in the series.
  7. You can still get sequel points for a duology, you just can't get the 10 bonus points for finishing it.
  8. Sign-ups will be open until December 1st, 2016.
  9. To join, add the URL of your challenge post to the linky widget. (If you’d like to wait, it’s ok to use your blog URL and send us your link as soon you get the post up)
  10. At the end of each quarter (every three months), we will post a linky for you to add your sequel reviews to. The linky will rotate between our blogs on alternate quarters, so you can link up at Novel Heartbeat at the end of March and September, and over at Writer Grrl Reads at the end of June and December. If you have a ton of reviews for the quarter, you can always link to wherever you're keeping track of your progress. This will make it much easier for us - not only is it less posting, but it will be easier to keep track of how many points everyone has.
  11. We will try to do some giveaways throughout the year for participants (as long as we can afford it), as well as some mini-challenges and read-alongs ... so stay tuned for further details!
  12. There will be a giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge!

The Point System

For each prequel and sequel read this year, points will be awarded as follows:
  • 1 point for each prequel or sequel novella read and reviewed
  • 2 points for each full-length sequel read and reviewed
  • 10 points for completing and reviewing a full series (doesn't require novellas)*†
  • **You do not get points for the first book in a series
To get points, you must review the book/novella somewhere. If you want to earn points, please link up your reviews at the end of each month, and enter the number of points earned (we will give examples in the linky). Each point earned is an entry into the giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge. So, the more sequels you read, the better your chances of winning the giveaway! Plus, we are also considering one prize for the "overacheiver award" -- the person who gets the most points!

*The 10 bonus points is for finishing a FULL series. That means that all books must be published (unless you got an advance reader copy early). i.e. If you are completely caught up on a series, and the next book is not releasing until 2017 (and you do not have an advance reader copy), that does not count toward the 10 bonus points.

If you started the series before 2016, you can still get the bonus points for finishing it if you reviewed the other books in the series at some point. For example: You read The Hunger Games in 2015, but read Catching Fire and Mockingjay in 2016 - you would get 2 points for both sequels and 10 bonus points for finishing the series (14 points total). You don't have to start the series in 2016 to get the bonus points.
10-25 points: Newbie
25-50 points: Amateur
51-75 points: Advanced
76-100 points: Professional
101+ points: Veteran
So let this year be the year that we stop whining about how many sequels are sitting on our TBRs or cluttering up our shelves! Take control of your reading destinies and sign up to read with us!

Grab a button:


Link up!



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12/16/15

Hollow City - Ransom Riggs [A DNF Review]

It makes me sad to write this review, because Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was one of the very first books that I read and reviewed on this blog.  I loved it so much, and was completely blown away by the uniqueness of the mixed media in the book.  I thought it was a perfectly creepy standalone book, but I was intrigued when I found out that the story would be continuing.

I picked this book up a few times, after Hallowe'en last year, then again in the spring and finally during October this year.  Each time, the story just wouldn't hold my attention and I found myself setting it aside.  I think I'd prefer to just remember Miss Peregrine's as a standalone, and give the rest of the series a pass.  I know that so many others have loved this series, but it's just not for me.

I received a copy of this book for review, but this did not influence my thoughts on the book in any way.

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12/15/15

Adult Onset - Ann-Marie MacDonald

It's no secret that I love Ann-Marie MacDonald's books.  I've gushed about my love for Fall on Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies in my Friday Favourite posts.  It had been ten years since I'd read The Way the Crow Flies when I heard that Ann-Marie was publishing a new book.  I was overjoyed and could barely wait to get my hands on a copy.  When I received a review copy from Random House, I waited until I had an uninterrupted stretch of time so that I could really delve into the story and enjoy it in its fullest.

I had high hopes for this book, and didn't end up loving it as much as I had hoped that I would.  The story centres around a mother and I thought that I would identify with the main character a bit more.  There were moments where I saw myself reflected in her character, but on the whole I didn't connect with the story as much as I had hoped that I would.  Also, when I was close to finishing the book, I abruptly ran into a blank page in the middle of a chapter.  It was jarring and seemed misplaced, so I thought that my book was misprinted.  I actually stopped reading and made a trip to the bookstore so that I could see if my book was misprinted and, if so, exchange it for a new copy.  When I got to the bookstore, I found out that it was an intentional blank page, but it still didn't quite make sense.  This disrupted my reading of the final pages of the book and left the ending a bit anticlimactic.

I'll definitely read anything else that Ann-Marie MacDonald writes as she's still one of my favourite writers of all time, but I was still underwhelmed by this book.  Hopefully, her next one will blow me away!

I received a review copy of this book, but this did not influence my opinions in any way.

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12/14/15

All My Puny Sorrows - Miriam Toews

It's funny how you read a book years and years ago, and remember it, but in a completely different way.  I read Miriam Toews' A Complicated Kindness for a book club many years ago, and always thought that I liked it.  When All My Puny Sorrows popped up as a potential review book, I requested it right away, eager for another of her stories.

I liked All My Puny Sorrows, but I didn't love it.  The premise was immediately intriguing, as it's the story of two sisters.  One sister is determined to die, while the other one struggles between wanting her sister to be happy and wanting to keep her alive against her will.  The story has Mennonite roots, like A Complicated Kindness, but it wasn't the basis of the story.  The book had its touching moments, but the story dragged a bit at other times.  On the whole, I liked it and I might try Miriam's other book, Irma Voth, which I've heard is her best book.

As a random aside, this is my Goodreads review from A Complicated Kindness, which also pretty much sums up my thoughts on All My Puny Sorrows...

Weird. Weird. Weird. There were lots of moments that made me laugh out loud but, on the whole, it was a little strange. It's the story of 16 year old Nomi who lives, and rebels, in a Mennonite town. Her writing style is interesting enough that I might try another of her books. Maybe it was just the subject material that made this book a little tough to read? Nomi is a likeable character though, slightly eccentric and more than a little odd.

A review copy was provided by Random House, but this has not influenced my thoughts on the book in any way.

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12/2/15

On My Nightstand - December 2

Although I'm not really writing reviews these days, On My Nightstand is a weekly-ish feature that allows me to share what I'm currently reading, some thoughts on what I just finished reading and what's coming up next from my TBR pile!

Recently shelved as read:

I finished Colleen Hoover's November 9 and it was pretty good.  Her books don't usually blow me away, but they're decent reads.  This one was a little cheesier than most, but I enjoyed the fact that she's a reader and he's a writer.  A solid three stars.

On my nightstand:

Honestly...nothing.  I thought I'd try to finish Beautiful Disaster, which I put down in favour of Queen of Shadows, and haven't picked back up yet.  Then I thought I might tackle the next book in the Lux series.  I'm not really in the mood to read right now, and although I have some highly anticipated new releases on my shelf, I don't want to pick them up if I'm not in a reading mood, because I don't want to be disappointed with a book that I was sure I'd love.

Calling my name from the shelf:

See above =)  Do you have any recommendations?

How about you?  What are you reading this week!  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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12/1/15

Book Haul [21]

It's been a long, long time since I shared a haul!  I haven't bought any books since Queen of Shadows back in September (although I ordered it in August -- feels like such a long time ago!)  I went a tiny bit crazy on Book Outlet, but I think I'm done with that site for a while, and then treated myself to two new releases when I got my raise at work.  Here goes...


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I inhaled the entire Grisha trilogy earlier this year, and loved it, so I'm excited for a new story set in the same world.  Plus, who can resist that gorgeous edition with the black edged pages?


Winter by Marissa Meyer
I was planning to read both Six of Crows and Winter before the end of the year, but I still haven't read Fairest and, honestly, haven't felt like reading much of anything in the last couple of months, so I'm going to save this book for when I really feel like reading it.


Unspoken, Untold and Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Lauren @ Lose Time Reading binge read this series a few months ago, and encouraged me to pick it up.  When I saw all three for super cheap on Book Outlet, I figured it was a sign!  I ordered them all in paperback, but received two library bindings and a paperback, which I'm a little bit bummed about.  Oh well, I'll live.


Pure and Fuse by Julianna Baggott
If you've followed my blog since the beginning, one of the early book that I reviewed was Pure, the first book in this incredible dystopian trilogy.  I loved Fuse just as much and, despite the fact that Burn is the oldest unread (and totally expired) e-galley on my Netgalley account, I still haven't finished this series.  Burn is out in paperback now, so I've put it on my Christmas wishlist and will definitely finish this series next year.  For sure.  I hope.


Darke by Angie Sage
I read Magyk many, many years ago and really liked it.  Then, I found the next three books in the series for really cheap at a used bookstore.  This is book six, so I'm still missing book five, but I would really like to revisit this series.  It's been a while since I read middle grade consistently, and I would like to give it another shot.  I hope that I like the books, since I've invested in purchasing the rest of the series!


Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano
I was going to buy this when it was originally released, but I'm glad that I waited because I like the new covers better.  I'm hoping to wait and read this once the third book is out, because I have a feeling I'll binge read the entire series.  Lauren's writing is just perfection, and I know that Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea loves this series too!

That's it for this haul!  Have you read any of these?  Any suggestions on what I should pick up next, or another book that would break this reading slump?  Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by!

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