2016 Resolutions – How did I do?

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At the beginning of the year I did something I almost never do – I made some resolutions. I generally fail at every resolution I’ve ever made so I didn’t have high hopes for myself, but I thought maybe writing them down and sharing might shame me into sticking with them. So did it work?

1) Read 75 books – WIN!

I surpassed this one quite awhile ago! I ended up with 136 books (though I’m in the middle one I anticipate finishing before 2016 ends). I also had more 4 star reads and less 2 star reads than any year before!

2) Request less ARCs – WIN!

I think I did better at this. Out of the 136 books, 30 were ARCs. While I don’t have numbers from the previous year, I think this is pretty good. While I did have a few spontaneous NetGalley requests, I really tried to limit myself to books I already had my eye on or a ones that I really, really thought I would like.

3) Read My Books – FAIL!

I didn’t do as good with this one. I read 29 of my own books this year – and most of those were ones I won in giveaways this year or bought this year. Only a few were from my backlist.

4) Quality over Quantity for Posting – WIN!

While I’m not sure how quality my posts were, I definitely posted less this year. I didn’t pressure myself to post things just to post things. I only did a handful of Top Ten Tuesday posts this year. I did start doing Top 5 Wednesday, but just started within the last couple months and didn’t do that many of those either. I did tags only when I really wanted to.

5) Try to Care Less – WIN!

This was mostly in relation to not having Blog Envy. There were times I still had very low blog-esteem, but for the most part I think I’ve done a decent job at just enjoying myself on the blog this year.

Personal Resolutions

6) Use my Elliptical on a regular basis – FAIL!

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. I can probably count on my hand how many times I used it this year. Epic fail.

7) Do not order pizza Order less pizza – FAIL!

I did really good at this for about the first half of the year. I still ordered it more often than I should, but I did better at just getting a pizza and not any of the “extras.” Then I discovered Marco’s cinnamon-squares…This is also around the time my MyFitnessPal logging and weight loss seemed to derail a little. Something I will continue to work on during 2017.

8) Update my Resume/LinkedIn and keep my options open – FAIL!

Nope. Despite really, really needing to, I did not do anything regarding this. I did have the opportunity to make a lateral move at work into another position, but I decided against it. Plus, I have heard that if you have 10 years of government service you can get school loans forgiven. I need to find out if it’s just state work or if county work counts too, because I’ll have 10 years of OPERS overall this year, but only 8 with the state. HOWEVER, if that dream job did reveal itself, I would quit in a heartbeat.

9) Write More – FAIL!

I had my worst NaNoWriMo showing ever this year. I wrote one day and didn’t even meet the daily goal. I didn’t write anything else all year long. I did see an ad for an online writing course taught by James Patterson that I’m considering. It’s $90 and at the end of it he picks someone from the class to co-write a book with him. Not that I would win that. But it might be the kick in the butt I need. Has anyone ever heard of this???

10) Find a Church – FAIL!

Another huge fail. My spiritual life is in desperate need of an overhaul in 2017. I did get a great church recommendation that I still want to try out when I can finally make myself go.

Overall, it seems that I did a pretty good job at my reading/blogging goals, but completely failed at all my personal resolutions. Here’s hoping 2017 is a little more personally productive!

Did you make 2016 resolutions? How did you do? What are your 2017 resolutions?

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December 2016 Recap

Well, December just seemed to fly by! I had a couple weeks in a row of posting something every weekday, which is something that hasn’t happened in  VERY long time (lots of memes and tags, but I enjoyed them!). My Christmas spirit has lasted all throughout the holiday which is another thing that hasn’t happened in awhile. I see a lot of people say 2016 was the worst thing ever, but for me I didn’t think it was any worse than any other year. Below is my small Christmas Book Haul – I got my 3 favorite books of the year and a couple of B&N gift cards.

I can’t decide yet if I want to post a 2016 Recap or not, so in the event I don’t post it there, be sure to check out my Year in Books from Good Reads (and feel free to leave me a link to yours – I love these lists!).

Books Read: 10

Adult:  7
YA: 3

Favorite Book I Read This Month:

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My Lady Jane! I basically had zero expectations for this book and I ended up absolutely loving it! It’s so funny. Definitely one of my favorites of the year.

Books Read in 2016 Overall: 136

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Books Reviewed: 3

More Than Friends by Jody Holford – 3/5 Stars

Once Upon a Wine (Black Dog Bay #4) by Beth Kendrick – 4/5 Stars

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows – 4.5/5 Stars

Funny Fridays:

What book are going to read this weekend? http://writersrelief.com/:

December 2

A day without reading is like... Just kidding. I have no idea.:

December 9

Are you finished with this book? Every book ever physically, yes. Emotionally, I will never ever EVER be finished with it :

December 16

People sit around on their phones, but when I pull out a book, I'm "antisocial":

December 23

Other Posts:

November 2016 Recap

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want to Finally Read in 2017

The Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

The Jingle Bell Tag

Top 5 Wednesday: Series That Got Worse with Each Season

Top 5 Wednesday: Fictional Items You’d Give as Gifts

Merry Christmas!

2016 End of Year Book Survey

Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 2016

Looking Forward to January:

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I’m excited for By Your Side by Kasie West and On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins. Both their books are always so cute and they will be the perfect pick me up while we’re in the middle of Ohio’s winter. Other than that, I have a couple reviews already drafted so I’ll hopefully start the new year of blogging on a high note.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 2016

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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Marry Me at Christmas (Fool’s Gold #19) by Susan Mallery. Read November 28-December 1. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute. I liked both Madeline and Johnny – especially Johnny. He had such a great sense of humor. Definitely a good addition to my holiday romance book binge.

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Mistletoe Between Friends / The Snowflake Inn by Samantha Chase. Read December 3-5. 3.5 Stars.

4 stars for Mistletoe Between Friends and 3 Stars for The Snowflake Inn so 3.5 Stars overall.

I liked Lily and Cameron a lot in Mistletoe Between Friends. It was a friendship-to-love / Fake Relationship story so of course I enjoyed it.

The Snowflake Inn had it’s cute and sweet moments, but I thought Grace and Riley’s relationship happened WAY too fast. I was more interested in the relationship between Corrine (Riley’s mom) and Ben.

Overall, though, both were cute holiday romances.

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What Light by Jay Asher. Read December 11-12. 3 Stars.

I’ve been really into holiday themed reads this year and I was really excited when my hold for this came in at the library in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, What Light did not come close to living up to the hype for me. It was ok. There were some good things – mostly Caleb and how he’s grown up and learned from past mistakes. And how sweet he was. And how he went to church and wasn’t portrayed as a religious nutcase. But I never really became invested in the romance between him and Sierra. I really disliked all of Sierra’s friends and while I felt like her relationship with her parents was better than in a lot of YA books, there was something about it that just seemed a little off. I was bored for big portions of the book. But the writing wasn’t bad and there were some cute moments, so I can justify giving it 3 stars and not something a little lower.

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Summer of Sloane by Erin. L Schneider. Read December 13-14. 2.5 Stars.

This is one of those trainwrecks that you can’t look away from. It was drama, drama, drama and after the initial shock value (Sloane’s best friend is pregnant – by Sloane’s boyfriend! *Not a spoiler because you find this out within the first 2 pages of the book*) and the broken nose/hand incident it stopped being fun. There’s a wealth of cheaters and poor communication. There are completely absent parents except for the very occasional times they had some life lesson to impart to Sloane. I think this would have made more sense as an NA novel than YA, like if Sloane was a junior in college instead of a junior in high school then things would have seemed a little less desperate? It’s mentioned repeatedly how Sloane needs to make decisions for herself and not let other people control her moods, but the whole book is about whatever relationship she’s in or who she’s fighting with.

I will say the one thing I really liked about it was how Sloane’s relationships with Mick (the best friend) and Tyler (the boyfriend) turned out. ****THIS IS SLIGHTLY SPOILERISH**** I thought that by the end they’d be all best friends again, but that doesn’t happen. She makes peace with one and has an even bigger fall out with the other – for reasons that go beyond the cheating/pregnancy incident. I liked that there was a focus on the need for forgiveness, but also that just because you can forgive somebody, that doesn’t mean things can go back to the way they used to be.

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Just a Kiss (Summer Harbor #3) by Denise Hunter. Read December 15-18. 3 Stars.

After really hating the previous book in this series, I am so glad I went back to enjoying this author in this book. My biggest complaint with Hunter’s writing is that the female lead is almost always awful, but I actually liked Paige in this one. She was a little oblivious at times, but overall she was kind and thoughtful and was there for Riley even when he didn’t appreciate it. I liked Riley and thought the struggles he went through were probably pretty accurate to someone living through the changes he was. Though I thought the end was almost a little abrupt and would have really appreciated an epilogue, I did think this was an overall good ending to the series.

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Still Life (Chesapeake Valor #2) by Dani Pettrey. Read December 18-19. 4 Stars.

I enjoyed this one! I think Pettrey gets better with each new book. I really liked the characters, the mystery, the message, and definitely shipped the romance. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. Read December 20-23. 3.5 Stars.

I think I went into The Perfect Stranger with the wrong expectations. I thought it was going to be really suspenseful and have a big twist. I spent my time trying to figure out what the big twist would be and I think in the process the smaller twists and turns of the story were not fully appreciated. This was a good mystery, but I still find myself slightly disappointed at the lack of thrill and suspense. Full review to come closer to release date. 

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

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My True Love Gave to Me. I think that I will probably never finish this. This is the third time I got this from the library and the first ever at the right time of year. This time I read the first two stories. I just don’t think short stories are my thing. Each one is like one really long chapter and we all know how much I hate long chapters.

****************DNF****************

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Anatomy of a Player by Cindi Madsen. Officially DNF-ed at about 23%. I really didn’t like either of the characters and I was not remotely invested in how the story was going. I’ve read and liked several other books by this author, but this one is just not for me. (And I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate that cover).

2016 End of Year Book Survey

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This survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner and is always so much better than the end of year posts I try to make up for myself. Though I originally wanted to not use the same book for more than one or two answers, I decided just to go with the most honest answer, despite how many recurrences. Fair warning: this survey could also be called The Red Rising Survey.

Number Of Books You Read: 136 (as of 12/26/16)
Number of Re-Reads: 19
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary

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1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I gave five books 4.5 Stars and while I could narrow it down to maybe my top 2 or 3, I think I’ll just name the 5 – in order I read them.

1. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown

2. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

3. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

4. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

5. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, et al.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

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The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn, but the conclusion to the series just really underwhelmed me.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I thought it would be really light and cutesy and was definitely surprised by the great character development and the major ups and downs they went through. It was a good surprise.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. While it could have *possibly* been because I read it the month before the final book came out, I’m totally taking credit for at least a couple people I know reading and loving it after I read/loved/hyped/talked endlessly about it. 🙂

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Ok, we all know the answer to this one. SorryNotSorry

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Started: Red Rising

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Sequel: Golden Son

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Ender: Morning Star

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Pierce Brown, obviously.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I’m a broken record and I know it. But I don’t really read sci-fi and the Red Rising trilogy is amazing.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Golden Son. The pace was so, so fast and there were so many surprises!

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Such a cute, quick read.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

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This Adventure Ends

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Kaz Brekker will always be one of my all-time favorite characters. I loved him just as much in Crooked Kingdom as I did in Six of Crows.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

There isn’t really a book that stands out for this one. Though I think I described Pierce Brown’s writing as both beautiful and brutal in one of my reviews.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Though I haven’t been officially diagnosed, after reading this I am pretty positive I am OCD. I understand so many things about my life now that never made sense before. Mental Health Awareness, guys. It’s important!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

Red Rising, yet again

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

I’m awful at these questions. I don’t have one.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: The Crown & The Arrow by Renee Ahdieh – 9 pages

Longest: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – 698 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Golden Son. It had so, so many little twists and turns. I think the reason it was my favorite of the series is because it just continually surprised me when not many books can these days.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Lucy and Josh from The Hating Game.

Kaz and Inej from Crooked Kingdom

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Sloane and her friends from This Adventure Ends (though there is one romantic part to that, it focuses more on the friendship)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

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I had zero interest in My Lady Jane but all the hype made me read it and I LOVED it. I rarely agree with hype, but I really thought this one deserved it.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

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Garret Graham from The Deal. Even though he’s the kind of guy I usually hate in books – and in life.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Red Rising

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

My Lady Jane! So funny!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner made me ugly cry at a few parts.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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I discovered Beth Kendrick’s Black Dog Bay series this year and it’s one of my favorite chick lit series ever.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I’m going to go with The Serpent King again.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

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Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy’s behavior absolutely INFURIATED me.

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

I love you all!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I am usually very disappointed with how my reviews come out, but it always makes my day when someone says they want to read the book based on my review. So the most recent review where that happened is for My Lady Jane.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

The Elusive 5 Star Rating and Backing Myself into a Corner. I talked about my very strict rating system and how I’ve loosened up slightly from when I first started. But through the comments I also learned a lot about other reviewer’s rating criteria and as a result I am far less angry when I see 5 star reviews for books that I don’t think deserve it.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to 3 author events this year and they were all great (Linda Castillo, Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer)! I also got to finally meet my long-time-online-book-world-friend, Amanda!

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5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Hmmm, I’m not really sure. I would probably go with getting my Six of Crows duology signed and meeting Leigh Bardugo (as stated above).

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

There seemed to be frequent reading slumps where NOTHING sounded good. Though I was often disappointed with the number of posts I had done at the end of most months, I am happy that I didn’t pressure myself to do posts I didn’t care about just to fill the days.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

By views since I don’t know how to look it up by comments: Review: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) is the most viewed post of the year. The most viewed post that I actually wrote this year was my 3 Year Blogaversary Giveaway.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Any reviews, really. Even though I’m sure it reads like I just throw them together, reviews take me so long to write so when some of them – especially on books I really loved – get really low views, it’s sad.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Book Outlet! Though I wish they had more of the books that I was looking for, I got most of my Christmas book shopping done during their Black Friday sale. It’s definitely a site I will be re-visiting.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

The only challenge/goal I do is on Good Reads. I had reasons to go really conservative at 75 books, but as of 12/26/16 I’ve read 136 books (181% of my goal).

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

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I’m not sure if it will be the first book I read, but I really need to read Twisted Palace by Erin Watt!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

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Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I can’t really think of anything. I always seem to be the last to find out about good debuts.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

There are a couple sequels I can think of, but neither are ones I’m super interested in.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Go to more author events!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

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The Young Wives Club and Still Life are my two favorite 2017 releases I’ve read so far.

Top 5 Wednesday: Fictional Items You’d Give as Gifts

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This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Fictional Items You’d Give as Gifts.

Today we will show you how to draw TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) from Doctor Who. Learn how to draw the TARDIS with the following simple step to step tutorial.:

1. The Tardis from Dr. Who. For the person who likes to travel.

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2. One of Hatta’s special hats from Heartless for the person in need of a little boost in some way or another.

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3. A glass of Lennie’s family’s moonshine from Down with the Shine so a wish can be granted. The perfect gift for that person who is impossible to shop for.

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4. Kell’s coat from A Darker Shade of Magic for the person who loves to travel at a moment’s notice.

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5. A stele from the Shadowhunter world. Because who wouldn’t want to be able to give themselves an invisibility rune every now and then?