2017 Reading Round-up

Happy New Year!

Shall we dive right in? I had a few goals for 2017: read 100 books, finish my first novel and review at least one book every two weeks.

Long story short: I failed every single one of them. And you know what? That’s ok.

It wasn’t an easy year. Very little went as I intended, but I realize more and more, that’s just life. Yes, I neglected my blog, but I took more time to take care of myself which is an easy trade. I’ve written before about my relationship with books (Why I Love Books) and that is still true, but in the end, I think it was good to step away for awhile and focus on the real world.

But, it’s not all bad news. I did accomplish a few things. I still read 76 books. I not only started my novel, but have made reasonably good progress on it (by the way, if you are interested in possibly beta reading for me, we should chat). There is no pressure. I’ll finish it when I finish it. Ultimately, I’m really happy with where I ended the year, both personally and as a reader. The year had it challenges, but it was all worth it in the end. I’m calling it a win.

Back to those books I did read. As usual, my YA reading was a standout for me. I started the year with two great ones: The Blazing Star and A Study in Charlotte. It only got better and better. King’s Cage, The Last of August, Caraval, Crooked Kingdom. My favorite of the year was probably Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. It was brilliantly fun. You can explore the full list of everything I read on my Goodreads page.

My to-read stack for this year is already full and there are going to be several books coming out through the year that I am really looking forward to getting my hands on: War Storm, Queen of Air and Darkness, Legendary, My Plain Jane, The Ladies Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, just to name a few.

I should be back to sharing reviews with you soon and hopefully will be able to share some updates on my own book with you as well. I plan on making 2018 a really amazing year.

End of July Roundup

I know. I’ve been distant lately.

But truly, it’s not you, it’s me.

Writing a book is hard. I sort of suspected it might be, since I had never just written one before, but the reality is harder than I could have guessed. The good news is, things are still moving along well with the book, despite several stalls over the course of the month. I’ve just begun chapter 10, which is more or less the halfway point in my story. This journey has been excited and made me really proud of what I can accomplish, but it’s also been incredibly stressful. I second guess myself all the time. I’ve thought about giving up, because there is no way anyone would want to read this garbage.

But, I’ve kept going. I don’t write everyday, but I do most days, even if it’s only a paragraph or two. I’m not yet one of the super disciplined writers who can sit down and churn out several thousand words a day. Aside from discipline, I don’t really have the time. The book will get done, but it may take some time.

I’ve also been reading lots. Since reading is helpful in dealing with my stress and I’ve been VERY stressed out lately, it has helped make the month tolerable. I’ll have full reviews coming up on some of what I’ve read, which I’ll note, but otherwise, I wanted to summarize my reading list and maybe give you some ideas for your summer reading.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I’m late to the Grishaverse. I ordered Six of Crows several months ago looking for books with amoral protagonists and it languished on my TBR piled for quite awhile before I finally picked it up last month. I order Crooked Kingdom well before I ever finished the first book. The world Leigh Bardugo has built is rich and engrossing and the characters were fascinating. I will definitely be reading more from her in the future.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I’ve always had a soft spot for fairy tale retellings, so this seemed like it would be right up my alley. It was definitely well written and creative, but overall the story didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t expect a happy ending, and certainly didn’t get one, but I sort of hoped for something less bleak.

What the Raven Brings by John Owen Theobald and Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

Each of these books is, respectively, the second books in their series. You might recall I reviewed the first books (These Dark Wings and Menagerie) last year. I finally kicked myself into gear to read these. Look for full reviews of each in the next month.

Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

I was surprised as anyone to find out the legendary basketball player was not only writing books, but fiction books. With a soft spot for Sherlock and a great deal on Kindle, I decided it was worth trying. It was actually pretty good, occasionally bordering on a little stuffy, but hey, this is Mycroft we’re talking about. Definitely a worthwhile read if your into all things Holmes.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy– Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman

This has seriously been collecting dust on my TBR since November. Which is weird for me, particularly since I usually gulp down anything Shadowhunter related pretty fast. Once I started, this one was no exception. Despite 600+ pages, I read it in an entire day. It was enjoyable and certainly helped fill in a few gaps between the Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices.

Dragon Unbound by Katie MacAlister

The usual Katie MacAlister Dragon craziness, distilled down to novella size. Here, we finally get a little more with the First Dragon. Of course I loved it. I always do.

Dream World by Erin A Jensen

I had many of the same issues with Dream World as I did with the first book, Dream Waters, which I reviewed awhile back. It wasn’t a bad book, I’m intrigued enough to keep going, but it wasn’t great.  The switching between perspectives got a little confusing and I’ve seriously never seen so many variations on ‘pissing oneself’ in my life. This made it hard for me to read for long periods of time without having to step away. But, I’ll stick around and see what the next book holds.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Ok, so technically I read this one last month, but I’m including it anyway. This was one I picked up at the same time as Six of Crows and it waited in the TBR pile for awhile. I really loved this one, guys. It had moments where things got a little confusing, but I chalked that up to the atmosphere of Caraval. It was dark and magical. Cannot wait to read more.