June 2018 Recap

June was a pretty good reading and blogging month for me, as you’ll see below, so I’m going to take a moment to talk about some life updates. My parents’ dissolution was completed this month. It’s been a very stressful several months and there has been a lot of changes in our family and I’m glad we can all finally move on. My mother has been staying with me, in my one bedroom apartment, for over 7 months. (I’m not sure what the qualifications are for sainthood, but I’m pretty sure I meet them haha.) She is finally going to get back to her condo soon and I think we’re both pretty pleased about that. Maybe one day I will do a whole post about the events that led up to all of this. I think it could be kind of cathartic. It’s felt like a poorly written Lifetime movie. Anyways, on to the books!

Books Read: 14

Adult: 12
YA: 2

Favorite Book I Read This Month:

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The Promise (DI Imogen Grey #4) by Katerina Diamond

  Books Reviewed: 9

The Book of Me by Peng Shepherd – 3/5 Stars

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering – 4/5 Stars

The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash – 4/5 Stars

Providence by Caroline Kepnes – 2.5/5 Stars

Find You in the Dark by Nathan Ripley – 2.5/5 Stars

One Small Thing by Erin Watt – 4/5 Stars

The Date by Louise Jensen – 2/5 Stars

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage – 3/5 Stars

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall – 3.5/5 Stars

Books Read in 2018 Overall: 82

Funny Fridays:

I assumed you owned a bookstore.

June 8th

Blessed are the children of the bookworm for they shall inherit the books.

June 15th

June 22nd

Other Posts:

May 2018 Recap

Top Ten Tuesday: My Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Given up on / Don’t Plan to Finish

Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 2018

Bellarke

bellarke reunion hug | Tumblr

I’ve never been a huge fan of the show The 100, but I’ve watched it – mostly as background noise – since it’s been on. I’ve always shipped Clarke with Bellamy and that has basically been the only reason I’ve stuck with the show for so long. However, I’ve really been enjoying this season so far and decided to go back to the beginning because I don’t remember who a lot of these characters are or how they got there. Between the current season and the first couple of seasons I’ve re-watched now I’ve become, like, a #Bellarke super fan. I spent so much time on Pinterest lately looking at Bellarke pins. It’s a problem, but I can’t help myself. I ship them so hard!

Looking forward to July

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There are 2 author events I’m really excited about in July. As part of my favorite Summer tradition, Linda Castillo will be in the area for her book tour. (Look for my review of her latest book on July 2nd). She is also holding a writing seminar while she’s here that I’ve signed up for. I am also going with book buddy Amanda to see one of my favorite authors, Linwood Barclay!

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The Elusive 5 Star Rating and Backing Myself into a Corner

We all know that rating a book is completely subjective and we are probably pretty hard pressed to find two reviewers who do it exactly the same. I’ve never actually shared what my star ratings are supposed to mean because honestly I’ve never been completely sure. I haven’t really set up defined parameters, but have tried to just go with a gut feeling. That said, I will try to define what my star ratings mean a little later.

Mona lisa- Parks and Rec

When I first started this blog, I had it in the back of my mind that maybe, possibly, eventually I could become good enough that I could find some site that would like to hire me to write reviews.  So I wanted to be able to really critically review books, based on many aspects of writing and not just on how much I enjoyed a book. And giving, say, Anna and the French Kiss, 5 stars is not something that would convince anyone of my critical analysis skills.

8 Reasons Why I Love "Parks and Rec"

So in that spirit, I started out this blog by being pretty harsh with my ratings. Once I realized that this would never be anything more than a hobby, I started to become a little more generous, but I still haven’t ever given a book 5 stars. And now, after 3 years of blogging, I feel like I can’t change my mind about how I rate. If I suddenly lower my standards when it comes to 5 star ratings it feels unfair to the books I’ve read previously. I’m also afraid that by those new standards, I could end up with 5 star rated books that are not as good as some of my 4 star rated books. And yes I realize this doesn’t really effect anyone except myself, but it really give me anxiety sometimes.

I got Craig Middlebrooks! You are super intense and care very deeply about a lot of things. You have difficulty modulating your voice, but it’s just because you CARE TOO MUCH!

This also makes me really suspicious of other people’s 5 star ratings. There are some reviewers out there that seem to pass them out like candy to every book they read. When every book is 5 stars, how can I trust their opinion? Of course, when most of my books are around 3 stars, it appears that I don’t really have much of an opinion. But, still, there are so many hyped books out there that I find just ok and everyone else is giving it 5 star ratings and I just can’t wrap my head around it.

Dear Makers of Telephone Books: NO. - Blogtown - Portland Mercury

Ok, so what’s my rating criteria??

1 star – Completely awful with basically no redeeming characteristics.

2 stars – Has a couple of redeeming qualities, but mostly complaints. May include: terrible writing, unlikable or underdeveloped characters, outlandish or boring plot.

3 stars – Is enjoyable and pretty well-written, but nothing that really stands out from the genre. It could be something I really enjoyed, but I still have issues with writing/plot/characters, etc. or something that had great writing or a couple of great characters, but lacked in every other aspect.

4 Stars – Both enjoyable and well written. Stands out amongst similar books. Have only a couple, minor complaints.

5 Stars – Perfection. Completely enjoyable and really well written. Not a single complaint.

small gold and silver glittery stars | Tiny Gold Metallic Stars Glitter by Theglittersource on Etsy:

Some books I’ve reviewed that have come close to 5 Stars

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Golden Son by Pierce Brown

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

What are you review rating criteria? Do you think you’re too generous or too harsh? Do you think I should lower my standards for 5 star reviews or hold out for that perfect book?

Olympic Book Tag

Olympic Book Tag

I saw this tag over on Brandie is a Book Junkie and since I am a little obsessed with the Olympics, I knew I had to do it.

01 - Olympics

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I read this book in one sitting.

02 - Olympics

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My One and Only by Kristan Higgins.

03 - Olympics

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. There are not many books that can pull off a good love triangle, but this one definitely does.

04- Olympics

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Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan. This is a re-telling and I think maybe I should’ve read the source material to really appreciate it.

05 - Olympics

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Truly Madly Greekly by Mandy Baggot. I don’t actually remember if this takes place in the summer, but it’s definitely a beach read, so I’m counting it.

06 - Olympics

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Golden Son by Pierce Brown. And I loved every second of it!

07 - Olympics

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

08 - Olympics

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

09 - Olympics

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The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen. Not a lot of plot, but loads of character development.

10 - Olympics

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The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. I read so, so many of these books as a kid.

11 - Olympics

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White Cat by Holly Black. This isn’t necessarily about animals, but the white “cat” plays an important role.

12 - Olympics

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. While I liked many other books by this author, this one just drove me completely insane.

13 - Olympics

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I just loved the group of friends in this series.

14 - Olympics

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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Ok, this one isn’t actually about the Olympics, but it does have a side character that’s an ice skater trying to get into the Olympics.

July 2016 Recap

Free Yearly Calendar - July 2016 - the vertical design will work great in my 2016 planner binder. Will be printing out copies for myself & my daughter!:

Another month where I was a horrible book blogger. *Sigh* While I did have a pretty good reading month, I only reviewed a couple of books. I did have some fun with a couple book tags and wrote one original discussion post, so that’s something, I guess. I met and exceeded my Good Reads Reading Challenge goal for 2016 of 75 books. I thought about increasing the goal, but I think I’ll probably just keep it so I can feel accomplished about something. Not a whole lot has happened on the personal front this month. My dad had another health setback, but it seems to be improving, so that’s good.

Books Read: 15

Adult: 4
YA: 11

Books Read in 2016 Overall: 82

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Books Reviewed: 2

The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen – 3.5/5 Stars

The Playboy’s Proposal (The Sorenson Family #3) by Ashlee Mallory – 3/5 Stars

Funny Fridays:

...and the Lit Police have been summoned!:

July 8

That Would Be Like $1 A Second!!! :):

July 15

I met a wonderful man. He's fictional, but you can't have everything.:

July 22

The exact reason I usually end up staying up late reading.:

July 29

Other Posts:

June 2016 Recap

The Bookish Book Lover Tag

I Love You, but I Don’t Like You Right Now: Pet Peeves About the Book Blogging Community

Among the Wicked Book Tour Stop

The Goodreads Book Tag

Shadows and Opposition (Lux Series by JLA) Cover Reveals

Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 2016

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Bookish News:

Final Divergent Movie to go straight to TV

This news made me laugh. This is what happens when you alienate the fan base by making the movies almost unrecognizable from the books! I know a lot of people enjoy the movies, but I thought they were awful (sorry Theo James!).

Stephenie Meyer is wring an Adult Thriller

Whether you loved or hated the Twilight series, there’s no denying the impact it had on the book world. I am actually really interested to see how she handles writing for adults – especially in one of my favorite genres. The Chemist comes out November 15th!

Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Trilogy gets a Comic Book Prequel

The prequel comic book will feature the Sons of Ares, the uprising that Darrow later joins in the Red Rising series. I’ve been saying forever that I want to try some comics/graphic novels, so this just might be my first.

Looking Forward to August:

There aren’t any books coming out in August that I’ve been waiting on. On the personal front, my sister, brother-in-law, and niece will be visiting for a week towards the end of the month! It’s been several  months since I’ve seen them and my niece is now crawling and starting to walk a little and I’m so, so excited to see her!

2016 Resolutions

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in a classy way with this free printable Happy 2016 banner in black and gold.:

I’ve never been great at keeping resolutions. For example, I did not meet any of my 2015 Resolutions – Reading one hard-cover a month (I did read more physical books, but not one a month), reading one book I discovered on another blog a month (I stopped keeping track of where I saw books I added to my TBR by February), read Harry Potter (never even tried and decided I probably won’t ever read it), Revise my rating system (never attempted), re-read and review old favorites (I re-read a lot, but didn’t review any), use more gifs and graphics (except for the gif tags, I only used a couple). BUT, 2016 is a brand new year with lots of possibilities and disappointments waiting, so I might as well set a few goals I can lament about next year.

Bookish and Blogging Resolutions

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1) Read 75 books.

Since my first Good Reads Challenge in 2013 I have surpassed my goal. Each year I increased my goal, but have read less overall books. Because of another of my other resolutions I’ve decided there will be a number of DNFs, so I wanted a smaller goal for new books.

2) Request less ARCs.

I DNF-ed a couple of ARCs last month and I just really hate doing that. But I’ve also reached the point in my reading life where I’m not going to force myself to finish something I’m hating. I also am such a mood reader that I may be super interested in a title when I request it, but don’t care about it anymore by the time it’s actually available. I plan on only requesting ARCs for books I’m already waiting on/dying to read and not just ones that might be interesting.

3) Read My Books.

I have several books I won from Giveaways last year that I haven’t even opened, as well as a number that I bought when they were on sale that have been just been collecting dust. In addition, I download free Nook Books All. The. Time. I want to try to get these read this year instead of getting more library books or ARCs or even buying new ones. I have a feeling that a lot of the free Nook Books are smutty romances that I don’t generally appreciate, so I’m anticipating there will be a lot more DNFs in my future.

4) Quality over Quantity for Posting.

I know a lot of bloggers set goals for a more consistent blogging schedule, but I’m kind of going in the opposite direction this year. I don’t want to post things, just to post things. I also can not promise how many reviews I’ll have any given week or month. I want to do less memes and tags and only do them when I really want to and not just because I haven’t posted something in a few days. I’ll stick with my Funny Fridays because I always find funny things on Pinterest and I’ve been told by some people that they like it, but I’m going to cut way back on the Top Ten Tuesdays.

5) Try to Care Less.

I admit, I get very caught up in stats. I get jealous when people get ARCs I was denied, when they’re given pretty, sparkly ARCs/swag from publishers, when they announce they have more followers than me and have only been doing it for a couple months, when they’re in long Twitter conversations with multiple parties, when they’re making money on their blogs, when a post I really loved writing doesn’t get any likes or comments…you get the picture. This year I do not want to try and make my blog bigger or better. I want it to be something I do because I enjoy it and if I happen to be the only one who ever reads it, I want to be ok with that.

Personal Resolutions

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6) Use my Elliptical on a regular basis.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times I used my elliptical last year. Several years ago I lost a lot of weight by counting calories with My Fitness Pal and working out on my elliptical. I was up to 45 minutes 6 days a week. Then things happened and I stopped exercising and tracking calories and gained all of the weight (and then some!) back. I want to work my way back up to what I used to do on it.

7) Do not order pizza Order less pizza

I don’t cook, I live alone, I often let my anxiety get the better of me when it comes to going to a crowded grocery store after work, so I order A LOT of pizza. Which is a problem in itself, but I also can’t order just pizza. I usually get wings or a dessert, too. I want to eat healthier this year and save some money, so I want to limit ordering pizza to maybe once a month. I wanted to try ordering no pizza, but really, that’s just setting me up to fail.

8) Update my Resume/LinkedIn and keep my options open.

I hate being that person who only stays a couple years at a job, I know it looks like crap to employers, but I really can’t see myself staying where I am long term. My job has changed a lot in the past year and if rumors are to be believed, it’s going to be changing even more drastically in the coming year. I’m also a little afraid of being laid off again (I’m back with the same agency that laid me off four years ago. I was in a different position that they mostly got rid of and now it’s sounding like they may be getting rid of some of this position eventually, too). I don’t think I’ll be actively job seeking right now, but I want to be ready if something comes up.

9) Write More.

I crashed and burned at NaNoWriMo this year, but it did make me want to finish a draft I started the previous NaNo. I also wouldn’t mind taking the parts of the NaNo draft I gave up on this year and using it for something else.

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10) Find a Church.

It’s been way longer than I’m comfortable admitting that I went to church on a regular basis. I’ve really struggled with my faith in the last few years and this year I don’t want to just get healthier physically, but spiritually. I’m exciting to start an online Bible Study I found and I want to eventually find a new church to join. At the very least, I do have a couple of standing invitations to join some people on a Sunday.

So there are my 2016 Resolutions. Hopefully I can keep a least a couple of them! Do you make resolutions? What are some of yours?

November 2015 Recap

Download iMOM’s Free November 2015 printable calendar. I spy feathers…and more feathers.:

I posted a lot more than I thought I would in November – thanks to not being invested in NaNoWriMo like I thought I would be, but it still wasn’t really a quality blog month. I did read a couple of really great books, though! AND I met my Good Reads Reading Challenge goal of 115 books!

Books Read: 7

Genres Read:
Adult: 1
Young Adult: 6

Books Read in 2015 Overall:

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Books Reviewed: 4

 Kissing her Crush (Sugar City #2) by Ophelia London – 3/5 Stars
Zeroes (Zeroes #1) by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti – 3.5/5 Stars
First & Then by Emma Mills – 4/5 Stars
Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo – 4.5/5 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesdays:

Debut Authors I Want Sophomore Novels From

Bookish Thanks

Funny Fridays:

books:

November 6th

Ever feel like you spend too much time reading? Yeah. Me neither.:

November 13th

Me every day of my life:

November 27th

Other Posts:

Prepare for the Daemon Invasion
NaNoWriMo 2015 Update #1
Adobe Digital Editions + Nook Help Needed!
NaNoWriMo 2015 Update #2
Award Tags
NaNoWriMo 2015 Update: Final (Probably)
Happy Thanksgiving!
Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 2015

Looking forward to December:

I have a couple ARCs I need to get read in December and there are a few releases I’m looking forward to. And I’m hoping to FINALLY start Winter.