The Rapid Fire Book Tag

I don’t why, but I was absolutely convinced that I had already done this tag and posted it here. This tag was created by GirlReading last year, and it consists of a bunch of questions about a variety of reading preferences. I was reminded of it not too long ago, when I saw it on IceBreaker’s blog (here), which is actually what prompted me to finally go back through my own archives and check whether I’d answered these questions before. And since I always forget to tag people — if you haven’t done this tag yet but would like to, consider yourself tagged!

E-Book or Physical Book?

Definitely physical books. I have a lot of trouble reading books off a screen, for some reason. Whenever I read anything on a screen, I have a tendency to skim through it way too fast and not actually read properly.

Paperback or Hardback?

I’m on the fence with this one. Hardbacks are so expensive, but they are usually much more durable. Paperbacks are lighter and easier to take with me when travelling (not that I travel so much), and usually pretty inexpensive but they bother me when the spines crack. In a way, it depends on the book. For most books, I don’t mind paperbacks, but for longer books I prefer hardbacks so they don’t break.

Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

If the question is what I do more often, then definitely online. The nearest bookstore is about half an hour away by bus and the books can be kind of pricey so I don’t shop there very often, although I love to browse! I actually don’t buy books too often in general since I use my library a lot, but when I do I often order them online.

Trilogies or Series?

It is complete dependent on how they are done. I don’t mind longer series if the books are good and there is enough going on to actually justify multiple books in the series. The only drawback I find sometimes with longer series is that I sometimes get bored reading all of the books in a row since it feels like too much of the same world. That’s more down to my reading habits than the books themselves though, since I could just alternate books from the series with something else.

Heroes or Villains?

I love a good complex villain, but there aren’t too many books that I know of that seem to have them. I also like reading about heroes as long as they aren’t the “almost perfect in every way” kind. A lot of hero protagonists can get pretty generic.

A book you want everyone to read?

I always have a hard time with these kinds of questions because it’s impossible to pick something that would be to everyone’s taste. The one that keeps coming to mind is The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult, which is by far the best book set during the Holocaust that I’ve ever read.

Recommend an underrated book?

I’ve mentioned this one before, but Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia. The main character is obnoxious and some people might have trouble with the book because of that, but it is one of the most unique YA stories I’ve read and the synopsis really does not do it  justice.

The last book you finished?

This may be slightly embarrassing, but Rules by Cynthia Lord. I also finished off The Wind in the Willows for the first time yesterday.

The Last Book You Bought?

I bought 18 books through BookOutlet, so I think that’s a bit too much to list although my Instagram photo can be found here. The last book I received was Blood Sisters, which arrived yesterday, that I got for free from a Goodreads giveaway!

Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

I usually just use regular bookmarks, but I’ve probably used scraps of paper or a pen before too if I didn’t have a bookmark available.

Used Books: Yes or No?

I prefer to get my books new if at all possible, but in reality I end up getting most of them used. I tend to prioritize buying my favourites brand new if I can, and everything else can be used as long as it is in good condition.

Top Three Favourite Genres?

Contemporary, fantasy and psychological thrillers

Borrow or Buy?

I usually borrow since I have a great public library nearby, but if I read something I really love, I’ll buy a copy.

Characters or Plot?

Both are important, but I’m more likely to get frustrated by poorly developed characters than I am by a mediocre plot. So I’d have to go with character.

Long or Short Books?

Medium, really. I find short books tend not to develop the characters/plot as much as I would like, but long books tend to lose my attention (with some exceptions). If I had to pick, I would pick longer books so it would have more time to develop.

Long or Short Chapters?

Depends how they are done. In general, shorter chapters because it’s easier to find a suitable place to stop if needed.

Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

  • Harry Potter (of course, lol)
  • The Raven Boys
  • Me Before You

Books That Makes You Laugh or Cry?

This might seem a bit weird, but it is much easier for a book to make me cry than it is to make me laugh. I love funny books, but I prefer books that have a strong emotional impact. Those that make me cry tend to be more memorable.

Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Depends on my mood. I’m not always in the mood to read very descriptive chapters about what a world looks like, although I do enjoy reading about their social structure. On the other hand, fictional worlds can be fascinating when they are well done. When the book is set in the real world, the focus can be on the characters and story immediately, which can be good if I just want to jump straight in.

Audiobooks: Yes or No?

I very rarely listen to audiobooks, and when I do it is usually because I’m having trouble getting through the physical book. The one audiobook that I really loved was Jeremy Irons narrating Lolita, but aside from that, I generally prefer physical books.

Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

I wouldn’t say judge, but I do notice covers. I have been intrigued by books on Goodreads because of the cover art, but I’ll always check if the synopsis is something that interests me before I add it to my TBR. Cover art doesn’t put me off reading something unless it is really scary or disgusting.

Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

Book to movie, just because I don’t watch a lot of TV and don’t always have the time to devote to series. I think TV adaptations have potential to be more faithful to the book, but because they have to go on for longer, there is also a lot of room for the story to diverge from the books and that can be good or bad depending on how it is done. Book to movie adaptations tend to frustrate me when they skip over or change a lot of the story, but it’s usually a good way to capture the spirit of the story.

A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

Definitely The DUFF! I hated the book, but the movie was great. Also, I wasn’t a fan of The Devil Wears Prada book, but I love the movie.

Series or Standalones?

Up until recently, I would have said standalones hands-down, but I’ve read so many great series over the past year that I may need to change my mind. Series are more of a time commitment though, so I still read predominantly standalones.

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Top 5 Wednesdays: Forgettable Books

When I first thought about books that were forgettable, my mind jumped to my reads that I rated 3 stars or lower. As I looked at my Goodreads list of books I read, I realized that in some ways, these books were more memorable although not always in a good way. It was often very easy to remember what exactly I didn’t like about it. I was surprised to realize that some of the most forgettable books were actually books that I really enjoyed. I found that some of the books in the 4 star range were the most forgettable. I remembered enough to know that I enjoyed them, but couldn’t remember to much detail about the story or what I really liked. I’m sure a part of this is because I read so many books in total throughout the year that it’s impossible to have a distinct memory of them all. In fact, what tends to separate a 5 star reading from 4-star books is how likely I am to remember them long-term.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks

46799I don’t know what it is about this book, but despite reading it multiple times, I have no memory of it whatsoever. When I was a teenager, I went through a phase where I read so many of Beatrice Sparks’ series of “anonymous” diaries of teenagers going through problems such as pregnancy, drug addiction, eating disorders, etc. This book focuses on a teenager named Alice who spirals into drug addiction after having LSD in a drink at a party. I read the book, and a couple of years later, realized I had no memory of it whatsoever and tried it again. It’s now been years since I’ve read it, but even pretty soon afterwards, I couldn’t tell you what happened in it or any details at all about the plot. It’s weird because I do have some memory of a couple of Beatrice Sparks’ other books, so it wasn’t just the format or the writing style that I found unmemorable. It was something specifically with this book that I’ve never been able to figure out.

2) Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

25756328This book was only a 3-star read for me precisely because it was so generic and forgettable. It is about a teenage girl named Lina who is spending the summer in Italy due to her mother’s dying wish for her to know her father. While there, Lina receives the journal that her mother kept while living in Italy herself, and starts to uncover some of her family’s secrets. I’m honestly not 100% sure why I thought I’d enjoy this book because I’m not a big fan of the whole “teenagers grudgingly travel to Europe” nor of travel books in general. I was hoping that the story would be strong enough on the character side to keep my attention, but I found Lina irritating and she seemed so clueless about things that should have been really obvious. It was a quick and fluffy read, but completely forgettable.

3) Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

26240663I was pretty excited to read this book last year because of the whole “seven deadly sins” concept. The book is told from the perspective of seven high school students who each represent one of the sins, and whose school is faced with the scandal of a student-teacher affair. It was a great concept and I liked how the sin that the characters represented was not always immediately obvious. I also really liked how the author tried to incorporate a range of sexual orientations and especially how the author challenged attitudes toward women and toward sexuality. While I enjoyed the book well enough at the time, and ultimately rated it 4 stars, I can’t remember anything at all about the specifics of the plot. Considering I only read this book in November 2017, I would expect to have at least some memory of what it was about.

4) When We Collided by Emery Lord

25663637This was another case of a book that I enjoyed for the most part while I read it, but pretty quickly forgot about afterwards. The problem with YA contemporary is that they all start to feel pretty similar after a while, especially when you read many close together. This book is about Vivi, who suffers from bipolar disorder, and Jonah, who is attempting to hold his family together after his father’s death and mother’s subsequent depression. I think part of the reason that the book was so forgettable for me is because I had a hard time buying into the relationship between the two main characters. It felt very, very rushed and they did not seem to be very well-suited for each other. It seemed like a very similar story could have been told if the characters were platonic friends, and it might have been that much more believable. Instead, we were expected to just accept that the characters were together and in love, with very little development to back it up. It was a decent book and I’m glad I gave it a chance, but definitely not the most memorable YA contemporary I’ve read (and I’ve read many)!

5) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

12294652Maybe I just need to be more selective about the YA contemporaries that I read. I was on the fence about whether to include this book or What I Thought Was True which I read this year. I decided to pick this one because I actually really enjoyed it at the time, but can’t remember much of the story. This book is about a teenage girl named Samantha who falls in love with Jase Garrett, the boy next door whose large family is (for some reason) looked down on by others in their community. Samantha’s mom is running for state senator, and I remember her being an absolutely infuriating character but I can’t remember why. I liked the relationship that developed between Samantha and Jase, but I also thought both characters seemed a little on the one-dimensional side. It was another book that I enjoyed at the time, but forgot about pretty much as soon as I finished.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Bookish Resolutions/Goals

My reading year has been off to a bit of a slow start so far, but I’m already keeping pretty much on track. It probably was not the best idea to start out with 4 books in a row that were about 500 pages each in terms of balancing things out, but I’ve been enjoying them so that’s what really counts. A couple of weeks ago, the Top 5 Wednesday group led by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes asked about our Top 5 goals for the year, which I posted about here. When I first saw today’s topic, I struggled to come up with anything since I’d already mentioned my most important goals. I decided to break things down a little further to some of my less quantitative goals.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) Read more recent releases

By recent, I mean books that were released in the past 3 or 4 years. I’ve never really kept track of the publication date of the books I read, but there have been so many newer releases that I’m very excited for and I’d love to prioritize. In part, this will be covered by my goal to finish off some of the series I have in progress, many of which had books that were released within the past couple of years. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a habit of avoiding books that seem to be overhyped although I often end up enjoying them. I’m trying to learn to stop letting the hype get in the way. I don’t have a specific number of books that I want to read, but looking ahead at what I have planned for the year, I’m definitely noticing a lot more recent books.

2) Read more books that have been on my TBR for more than 2 years

This probably seems contradictory to my first goal, but I have a lot of books that have been on my TBR since 2015 when I started my Goodreads account and that I still haven’t read. I think it’s somewhere in the range of 400 books added that year, although many of those are more long-term TBR books (ie. lengthy classics). I go through my TBR frequently, and I have yet to find any books that I’m that motivated to remove completely. I decided that since I’m still interested in reading them, it would probably be a good idea to prioritize some of them so I don’t go another year with the same books as always sitting there. To be fair, some of the books that I haven’t read yet are because my library does not have copies available. Like my first goal, I don’t have a set number that I want to read, but it is nice to see some of the books I’ve been meaning to read for ages lined up.

3) Read more thrillers

I think “more” might be an operative word here, since up until now, I have not kept track of how many books I read per genre. I enjoy thrillers, especially psychological thrillers, but for some reason I never seem to pick up very many of them. My go-to genres still tend to be YA contemporary and fantasy, but I definitely want to make an effort to read a few more thrillers in 2018. I didn’t want to attach a specific number to it because I wanted the freedom to mood-read and change my plans if needed to fit what I’d like to read, but I’d like to squeeze some in. Looking back quickly over my Goodreads pages for my last three years of challenges, it looks my number of thrillers have been quite low. In 2015, I read only about 3 thrillers. In 2016, I read about 4, and in 2017 I read about 8. I think part of the increase each year is that in general I read more books each year, but given that I’ve enjoyed all the thrillers I’ve read, I’d like to try some more.

4) Read some graphic novels

If you had asked me a few years ago, I probably would have said that I never read graphic novels and probably wouldn’t enjoy them. Through my reading challenges, I’ve discovered quite a few amazing graphic novels that I probably never would have tried otherwise. It’s really opened my mind to a new kind of reading and I now try to build a few graphic novels into every year of my challenges. Aside from pushing me outside my comfort zone a little, these books are a great way to pick up the pace when I feel like I’m falling behind since I can usually read them in a couple of hours. Last year in particular, many of the graphic novels I read ended up being my favourite books of the year. I have quite a few lined up for this year also, including finishing off a manga series that I’ve been meaning to finish for a long time. Again, I was hesitant to quantify this with an actual number to allow flexibility, but I definitely want to read at least a few this year.

5) Be less intimidated by longer books

I have a hard time getting started on longer books sometimes, and by “long” I generally mean anything over 500 pages. I think part of the problem is the whole reading challenge mentality, where I know I want to finish my books in time and it sometimes feels like these books take forever. I can generally read between 100 and 150 pages per day during the week, which is pretty good considering I have a full-time job! Sometimes just the thought of a book taking me a week to finish puts me off because I feel like it’s going to put me really far behind on my challenge, but I don’t want to let that scare me away from reading a book that I want. I think my goal to finish off the series I have in progress will help because several of the books are long and are books that I very badly want to read. I just need to time them out properly so I have the time to devote. I already kind of regret not reading Our Dark Duet over a weekend where I could have had the time to read most of it straight through.

6) Participate more actively on my Goodreads challenge groups

I used to very actively participate in my Goodreads challenge groups, especially one which seemed to really welcome participation and was set up in such a way where discussion seemed to be encouraged. Many of my other groups tend to use a thread format that just asks what we are reading for each prompt, which doesn’t seem to leave much room to discuss. This one specific group has always been a lot of fun, but I found myself not participating much last year. In part, it was because partway through the group people started complaining of an overall negative atmosphere, which led to myself (and presumably others) being essentially reprimanded by moderators and cautioned to ensure our comments were a bit more positive. I was very offended to be singled out, especially after the moderator specifically mentioned that I was not one of the worst culprits in terms of negativity. At least it was done through private messaging. It led to an atmosphere where it seemed that people were being censored, and I got tired of second-guessing every message to make sure it was positive enough for their standards. I’d like to get back into it because it was fun to discuss the books I was reading!

7) Keep blogging consistently

I’ll admit that I’m sometimes not very motivated to keep up with my blog. Up until now, I’ve loosely committed to doing Top 10 Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday every week, plus another post of my choice sometime over the weekend. Sometimes the last thing I want to do by the time I get home from work is sit down and write a blog post. Whenever I can, I try to pre-write my posts over the weekend when I might have a little more time and I think I’ve been good about keeping up. I find that with habits like this, as soon as I start to let it slide, it is not too long before it falls apart completely (ie. using my exercise equipment). I would love to be able to keep my routine through the year. For me, blogging has never been about getting a ton of followers or becoming any kind of famous, and I want to keep doing it as long as it is fun for me and doesn’t start to feel like a chore.

8) Get more variety in my blog content

I know most bloggers tend to feature a lot of reviews, but I tend to find them very difficult and annoying to write. I’ve tried out a few features over the past year, including Stacking the Shelves, Book Tags, and my Reader Struggles series. Some of these posts have been the most fun for me, and I’d love to branch out and come up with some new ideas to keep the blog fun for myself, as well as for everyone else. Strangely enough, I find it more fun sometimes to write about the books that I haven’t read yet than about books that I’ve already read. I’m always looking for ways to talk about different books and avoid repeating the same ones I’ve already discussed to death. Suggestions are always welcome!

9) Buy some books!

I know most people tend to put themselves on a book-buying ban, but I’m the opposite. Up until recently, it had been quite a long time since I had bought myself more than a book or two. I’ve complained before about the cost of new books, and that’s definitely a factor! Another big issue for me is my complete lack of shelf space, but I still want to own copies of the books that I love. I’ve recently made my first order from BookOutlet during their Boxing Week sale, and I was quite impressed by the quality of the books I received. I would love to try them again next time they have a deal going on. I’m quite picky about the quality my books when I spend hard-earned money on them, so it was a bit of a leap for me to even being open to BookOutlet. I’d still like to buy some of the books I’m most excited for brand new, but I think BookOutlet could be a good compromise to buy some of the books I want at a more reasonable price.

10) Enjoy what I’m reading!

This one seems straightforward but it may not always be so easy. I’m generally pretty good at picking books that I’m going to enjoy, and I’ve had a pretty good streak over the past three years of challenges, with most of my books earning at least 4 stars. There are very few prompts this year that I’m dreading, and even fewer books that I’m not at least a little excited for. Of course, there’s always the chance that a book I’m expecting to love will completely fall flat, but I’m not too worried! My main goal is to make sure reading stays fun and relaxing for me. I spent so many years while in school where I had no time to read what I wanted, so it’s great to have the chance to get back into it now!

Stacking the Shelves (#3)

I can’t believe it’s already been over a month since my last Stacking the Shelves post! My TBR has now reached just over 1850 books, and as much as I try to tell myself to slow down and not add so many, it’s hard to resist when there are so many lists out now about upcoming releases. I think in the past month alone, I’ve added close to 80 books to my TBR, and I’m sure there will be more! Obviously it would be way too much to include all 80 here, so I will limit myself to books that I’ve added in late December and early January and that currently have cover artwork available. If anyone is interested in seeing Stacking the Shelves posts more often, please let me know!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week. It is hosted by TyngaReviewsand ReadingReality

1) American Panda by Gloria Chao

35297380I literally added this one to my TBR about an hour ago, although I’d been considering it for a couple of weeks already. I’ve been hearing about this book for a while, but from the cover artwork, it seemed like a typical high school romance story. I like those, but I have a ton of them on my TBR already and I need to be in the right mood to read them. I finally looked at the synopsis properly today and realized that this book is a little different since it takes place in a college setting, and seems to focus more on the main character Mei’s relationship with her parents and her brother. Mei is a Taiwanese-American teenager whose parents want her to become a doctor and marry someone Taiwanese, but it is not what she wants for herself. There seem to be a lot more culture-clash books coming out lately, and it is a storyline that definitely interests me.

1) I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

35658909This is another book that I added to my list earlier today after looking at a Buzzfeed list of upcoming new releases. This book is about a 15-year-old British Muslim girl named Muzna whose parents are controlling and force her to move to a new school to separate Muzna from her best friend, who had been shamed in a scandal. The Goodreads synopsis also suggests that the book focuses quite a bit on racism and Islamophobia, as well as the identity conflict between growing up British but with parents who were immigrants. I had not heard of this book at all until today, but it sounded very interesting. This book is due out on January 25, and although I’m not sure I’ll get to it this year, I knew I wanted to add it to my TBR to remind myself to pick it up later.

3) Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun

32497573I added this book to my TBR earlier this week after talking about it with a friend on Goodreads. I’d heard about this one before, but the intentional spelling errors in the title annoyed me a bit at first so I didn’t really bother to look for more detail about it. The adorable cover artwork won me over. This book is the graphic novel about an alien who is sent to observer Earth, and apparently is based on a popular Twitter account (hence the spelling issues, I guess). This book was a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for graphic novels, and has received great reviews. I’m hoping the typos don’t irritate me too much, since the book just seems so cute! What seems most interesting is that so many of the reviews have commented about how this book seems to be a mix of philosophy and self-help, which seems like a very interesting combination.

4) The Gift by Louise Jensen

34445662I actually have not read a single one of Louise Jensen’s books yet, but all of them are on my TBR. I think I added this one to my list before even realizing that it was one of hers. This book is about a girl named Jenna who has received a heart donation from Callie. Thankful for her second chance, Jenna becomes closer to Callie’s family, only to realize that something does not seem quite right about Callie’s death. This is one of many psychological thrillers that I have on my list since it is a genre that I really enjoy, but don’t often read. Part of what appealed to me about this book in the first place was the cover artwork, although I have to say that the writing on the card attached to the gift puts me off the cover a bit since it just doesn’t seem necessary. I definitely need to try at least one of Louise Jensen’s books!

5) Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

35959737I read You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott last year for a reading challenge prompt requiring a book about sports, which is definitely outside of my comfort zone. I figure any author who can get me to enjoy a book about sports is worth re-reading, although that book was a 4-star read, not a 5-star one. This one is due out in mid-July 2018, and focuses on two friends who compete for a position on a research team, decades after a fight that ended their friendship forever. Given that it is still more than 6 months until this book is released, there is not a ton of information about it yet but the cover caught my attention and the storyline seemed very appealing. I was glad to see a Megan Abbott book that was not so sports-focused, as the others on my TBR have been.

6) The Last Good Girl by Allison Leotta

25987144Books like this always make me a little hesitant, since Goodreads has it marked as book #5 featuring the character Anna Curtis. I have not read any of the other books in the series, and I’m always a little unsure about jumping into these kinds of series in the middle. Usually, it is not such a big deal and the books are mostly standalones, but sometimes there are references to events in previous books and it bothers me to not know what happened. Looking at the other books in the series, they are mildly interesting but this one was by far the most appealing. This book is about a case involving a college freshman who has disappeared after filing rape charges against a young man in a fraternity, who also happens to be the son of a very powerful politician. It definitely seems like a book that is very timely given all the current discussion of sexual assault and #MeToo.

7) Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard

35495848Sara Barnard is another author that I have never read, but I have all of her books on my TBR. Goodbye, Perfect is due out early next month, and focuses on a girl named Eden whose close friend, Bonnie, runs away with her secret boyfriend just days before the start of their exams. Eden is shocked to learn that Bonnie’s boyfriend is actually their music teacher, but she is sworn to secrecy about her friend’s whereabouts and does not want to betray her, even though the case is being investigated by police. I’m honestly not really expecting this book to necessarily be a 5-star read, but it does seem like the kind of story I would probably enjoy. I’ve read a few interesting books about student-teacher relationships from different perspectives, and it seems like this could be a good one to add to that list.

8) Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

32972117If I remember correctly, I discovered this book through the Goodreads recommendations pages. This book is about a town where the popular girls in school keep turning up dead, and a girl named Penelope believes she might be next. All of the girls who died were members of an exclusive club called The Larks, and the only people who seem to have a connection to all of them are Penelope and an unusual boy named Cass. This book has been compared to Mean Girls (which I love) and Pretty Little Liars (which I’ve never seen, but would like to try). I don’t think I’ve seen very many thrillers that are set in high school, and definitely not high school thrillers that involve multiple deaths. It sounds like it has a lot of potential.

9) Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

31207017This was another book that I’d been hesitant to add to my TBR until I really looked at the synopsis properly. This is an own voices book about an Indian-American Muslim teenager named Maya who is conflicted between the life her parents want for her, and the life she wants for herself. Everything is turned upside down when a horrific crime is perpetrated hundreds of miles away from where Maya lives, causing the people in her community that she has known all her life to be consumed by fear and bigotry. This book is still very new, coming out in a couple of days, but had already received high ratings on Goodreads. Unfortunately, the comments about it have been a little more mixed, especially when it comes to the romance aspects of the story. I guess I will have to see for myself when I get a chance to read it!

10) Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

36605525I honestly can’t remember how I found this book, but I’m pretty sure it was through a list of anticipated upcoming releases. This book is about a Japanese woman who takes a job at a convenience store while in school, and decides to stick with it into her adult life because she likes the predictability of it. By the time she reaches her mid-30s, she realizes that although she is comfortable with her life, her family is worried that she is not living up to society’s expectations. This book appealed to me because it seemed to be along the lines of The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr, which I really enjoyed last year, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, which is one of the books I’m most anticipating this year. I don’t necessarily read a lot of books in translation, despite them being a popular prompt in my reading challenges every year, but this is one that has really caught my attention and seems right up my alley. The English version is expected to be out in June of this year, so I may need to see if I can squeeze it in.

11) Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

35839475It seems to be a recurring pattern here, but this is another author that I’ve never read but I have all of her books on my TBR. My mom recently read one of Clare Mackintosh’s books and highly recommended it, and I’ve heard great reviews of both of them so far. I’ve already decided to prioritize at least one of them this year, for a prompt requiring a book with a twist ending. This book is due out in March, and it is about Anna, the adult daughter of a couple who both committed suicide two years ago. Anna is now a mother herself, and wants to uncover what really happened to her parents, and quickly learned that their deaths were not exactly as they seemed. This is another of the many thrillers that I have on my list, and although I probably won’t get to it this year, it still seems like a very intriguing story.

12) Dating Disasters of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager

9781335017055.inddIn the past year or so, I’ve really started trying to branch into a bit more adult contemporary, and this book sounds like a lot of fun! This book is about a woman named Emma Nash who decides to document her dating life on a private blog. I love books that have a social media focus, so as soon as I saw that blogging was a central component of the story, it caught my interest. This one is definitely very different from all the psychological thrillers I’ve been adding lately, but I’m actually starting to really look forward to it. Unfortunately, it is not out until May 1, and it will probably take my library system a lot longer to actually get a copy, so it may be a while before I even get the chance to read it. Actually, looking at the Goodreads page now, I noticed that it has been classified as YA, although I’m not entirely sure why. This book looks like it could be hiliarious!

13) The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

31451047I was hesitant to add this to my TBR because although I absolutely loved The Rosie Project duology, I’ve heard that this one is nowhere near as good. Even a coworker of mine, who has pretty similar reading tastes, said she could barely get through it, so that was not very promising. This book is about a man named Adam who suddenly reconnects with a woman he was involved with more than 20 years before. I think the story has some potential since I really liked Graeme Simsion’s writing and characters in The Rosie Project books, but I’m not so sold on the storyline. I still think this book is worth a chance, and I added it to my TBR to remind myself to pick it up at some point, but it’s not very high priority right now.

14) The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan

23848035I completely forgot about this book until I started looking back at my recent additions to my list. It is about a woman named Izzy, a newly single mother, who moves back to her childhood home in Philadelphia with her five-year-old. When her ex-husband shows up with his new girlfriend, Izzy decides to invent a boyfriend of her own and blog about him. Her elderly neighbour Mrs. Feldman decides to step in and show Izzy the kind of trouble that lies can create, despite the popularity of her blog. I’m not entirely sure how exactly Mrs. Feldman fits into the story here, but it sounds like a fun story. I’ve read YA books about lies and online worlds causing problems, but I don’ think I’ve read many books about that kind of storyline about adults.

15) Jokes About Dead Girls by Richard Denney

34232531Goodreads listed this book way too early! This book is not due out until June 11 2019, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to read it. This book is about a 16-year-old high school student named Kylie who has committed suicide, and her death has become a hashtag on Twitter. Some students decide to screenshot portions of Kylie’s Twitter page and stick them to locker doors, and a book of jokes making fun of Kylie is being passed around the school. A couple of students decide to take it upon themselves to put an end to the jokes. I’ll admit the title put me off at first, but the cover artwork caught my attention, especially the cartoon-y ghost in the corner. I don’t know why Goodreads has already put this book on their website when it is more than a year and a half away, but I can’t wait to read it!

Top 5 Wednesdays: Books You Didn’t Get To in 2017 (But I Likely Will in 2018!)

I’ll admit when I first saw this topic on the list, I was a little disappointed because it seemed to be basically the same as the Top 10 Tuesday topic this week. Not that I can really blame them, since it’s a great topic choice. Just to differentiate the posts a little, I decided to interpret this one a little differently, and mention 5 books that were released in 2017 that I did not get a chance to read during that year. I do feel like I made a bit more of an effort to read more recent releases, if not from 2017 than at least for the past couple of years. In part, it was because I felt like I was starting to get stuck putting off newer books in favour of others that I’d been meaning to read for a while. On the other hand, the new releases can be a little tough to get a copy of sometimes. Honestly, I could easily list way more than 5 books from 2017 that I’m looking forward to reading this year, but I’ll try to limit myself (and also limit myself to books I haven’t discussed to death already).

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

33163378Honestly, I was not really looking forward to this book until very recently. I chose it for a prompt in my 2018 reading challenges requiring a book about feminism, and I picked this one because many people on the Goodreads board were raving about it. I’ve read Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu, and it really impressed me. I have all of her books on my TBR. This one specifically is about a girl named Vivian Carter whos is fed up with the sexist attitudes in her school, and creates a n anonymous feminist zine to distribute to her classmates. It sounds like such an interesting concept and if the writing is anything like Devoted, I’m sure I will love it. I’m slowly learning to buy into the hype sometimes when it comes to books, and with all the rave reviews I’ve seen, I’ve started to get really excited for this one.

2) Dear Martin by Nic Stone

24974996This was another book that I wasn’t so sure about since it seemed quite similar to The Hate U Give, although after I read and enjoyed that book, I started to be more interested in this one too. This book is about a young African-American man named Justyce who is involved in a confrontation where shots are fired by a white off-duty cop. One of the things that really interested me about this book was the idea that Justyce starts writing a journal addressed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to try to help himself work through the racism he faces. Martin Luther King is a historical figure who I’ve always been very interested in, and it seems to be a relatively unique angle on this story. It was another book that I was hesitant to try at first, but it’s starting to become really exciting!

3) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

29283884I think this book has reached my limit on avoidance due to overhype. It always gets to a point where I finally start to look past the hype and think that maybe the book really might be as good as everyone suggests. I heard about this book literally everywhere all through 2017, and I wasn’t that interested at first because for some reason I assumed it was about pirates. I have no idea where I got that impression from at all. Once I started to see all the rave reviews come in about how funny this book is and how interesting the characters are, I started to change my mind. I think all but one or two of the reviewers I follow on Goodreads have given this at least 4 stars, so it seems like it might actually live up to all the hype. Plus it seems to fit very nicely into a challenge prompt requiring a book that involves at least one of the seven deadly sins.

4) Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

31123249It almost feels like there were so many interesting books that I wanted to read in 2017, that I couldn’t possibly be excited for all of them at once. This was a book that I added to my TBR about halfway through the year, and then essentially forgot about until recently. This book is about a Muslim Indian-American teenage girl named Janna who is trying to figure out what kind of person she wants to be. The synopsis also hints at someone in her community who has done something wrong (I’m not sure what. No spoilers, please!) and Janna needs to decide if she wants to speak up about it. This was one of the last few books that I added to my reading challenge plans for this year. As I was browsing my TBR, it seemed to all of a sudden jump out at me as something I really wanted to read so I made sure to find a place for it.

5) Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

15837671In a way, John Green has kind of become the new Nicholas Sparks for me. I always tend to read his books, although I’ve never really loved one enough to give it a full 5 stars either. I really liked The Fault in Our Stars, and I’ve read a couple of his other books which I liked but didn’t love. Yet every time John Green puts out a new book, something about it still interests me enough to want to read it. It seems to be the theme today, but this was a book that I was not necessarily super-excited for at first because the plot seemed a bit weird. The synopsis talks about 16-year-old Aza investigating a mysterious billionaire for the possibility of receiving a reward, and that plot didn’t really appeal to me much. However, I’ve since heard that the book has very good OCD and anxiety representation and I’d be interested in that aspect of it. Since I tend to usually like John Green’s books, I think I’d probably enjoy this one too.

Top 10 Tuesdays: 10 Books We Meant to Read in 2017 but Didn’t

Toward the end of each year, when I start looking at the prompt lists for different reading challenges, I make myself a semi-tentative list of the books I want to use for each category. Part of the reason I plan in advance is to make sure I can fit in all the books I’m most excited for, and part of it is also the practicality of depending on the library. Although I’m generally pretty good at picking books that I’m excited for, it’s inevitable that there will be at least a few that I change my mind about. Often toward the end of the year, I end up switching things out when I know I don’t have enough time to enjoy the book properly, or when I’m just not excited at all for it anymore. I try to avoid switching too much because it sometimes feels like a bit of a cheat to me, even though I know it isn’t. Here are ten books that I planned to read this year, that I didn’t get to, for a variety of reasons.

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

1) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

320Let’s get the big one out of the way upfront. Every year, there is at least one book that I plan on reading that I just keep putting off and putting off until eventually I scrap it from the list. A couple of years ago, it was The Goldfinch, and last year it was One Hundred Years of Solitude. It chose it for a difficult prompt requiring a book  set in South or Central America, by a South or Central American author. To be fair, I wasn’t super excited to read this book in the first place, and as a result I kept procrastinating on it. It didn’t help that it was a lengthy book that I just didn’t think I would have time for as I got closer to the end of the year. It didn’t help that I saw very mixed reviews. I’ve learned in the past that if I go into a book expecting that I won’t like it much, it’s almost guaranteed that I won’t be into it. I consider this book more of a long-term goal.

2) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

14935I’ve been meaning to read more Jane Austen for a while, and I think I’ve had this book in mind every year so far that I’ve done a reading challenge. I kind of burnt myself out on classics over the past couple of years, so I ended up being pretty unmotivated. I love Pride and Prejudice, and I liked Northanger Abbey, and I would love to read the rest of her books at some point. I’ve decided to take a break from classics for this year, but this is one of the only exceptions I’m considering. The main reason I didn’t read this book last year was because I ran out of time and didn’t have the patience for the more old-fashioned language. I know Jane Austen is usually a little more accessible than other classics, so I would still like to give it a chance.

3) Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

30002998I think this was the first year in a long time that I didn’t read the new Nicholas Sparks book within a few months of it coming out. Nicholas Sparks used to be my favorite author, and although I still enjoy his books, most of them only reach the 4-star mark for me. I kept putting this one off because I wanted to buy my own copy, but the hardcover was so expensive! I ended up buying the paperback version, and continued putting it off because the book was close to 500 pages and the plot synopsis didn’t grab me that much. This book is a pretty big departure from Nicholas Sparks’ other work, focusing on the breakdown of a marriage and the husband’s bond with his young daughter instead of on a the romance. It ended up being the first book I read in 2018 because I didn’t want to put it off anymore, and as expected, it was 4 stars.

4) Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

1472878This was another book that I really wanted to read, but I kept putting it off because of a combination of the nearly 500 page length, and because it was a book I owned and I was prioritizing my library books. By the time I got to it, I only had a few days left of the year and didn’t think I’d be able to finish in time, so I decided to switch it out for something shorter, and prioritize it this year instead. This ended up being the second book I read (although two 500 page contemporary books in a row might not be the wisest start). This book is about two best friends, Tully and Kate, over the decades of their friendship. This ended up being one of those frustrating books that was exactly between two star ratings, and Goodreads does not allow half-stars!

5) Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

32075662I think this is the one book that I am genuinely shocked that I did not get to. Immediately after reading This Savage Song, I just knew I had to go out and buy the duology. I bought them both not long after, but put off reading this one so I could work through my library books first. It was one of the books I was most excited for, and I just ran out of time. I originally planned to make this my first book of 2018, but I ended up picking the Nicholas Sparks book instead because I had a day off work and figured I would need to the time to devote to it. I am currently in the middle of this one, and looking forward to reading the rest of it! This Savage Song was easily one of my favourite books last year, and so far, this one is just as good!

6) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

5659This was a book that I put off for strategic reasons. I had it in mind for a prompt last year requiring a book from the BBC’s Top 200. As my Goodreads group started voting for prompts for this year’s challenge, I was disappointed to find a prompt that required a book from Amazon’s Top 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. Looking through the list, I realized that I’d already read all the books that interested me most, and the remaining books that were on my TBR tended to be lengthy classics or books that I just was not in the mood for. When I saw The Wind in the Willows on the list, I decided it was the best available option and since it was pretty easy to replace for the 2017 prompt, it seemed logical to switch. I know very little about this classic, although a version of it was performed at my elementary school. I can’t say I really remember enjoying it much, but I think it’s worth trying again.

7) Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life by Sandra Beasley

9833965I’m generally not a fan of non-fiction, but this book sounded very interesting. I had a prompt for one of my reading challenges last year that required a book about food, and I had another book lined up for. I had to request the library to purchase that one and it seemed that it would not be available in time. When that book actually showed up, I decided to put this one off and use it toward a different prompt for 2018 instead. This book is about a woman who grew up with severe food allergies as well as other allergies to mold, dust, etc. I have a family member who has severe allergies, and I also work with participants in my day program who have a variety of allergies. It sounds like this book would give a very interesting look at the topic, and I’d love to give it a try.

8) This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee, and 9) Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

2281180719223830I had a lot of trouble finding options that interested me for my challenge prompt requiring a steampunk book. These two books appealed to me most, but they were both books that I had to ask the library to buy. They didn’t end up getting copies in the system until it was much too late in the year for me to get them in time, so I had to find something else. I’ve managed to work This Monstrous Thing into my plan for 2018, and I’m thinking of trying to squeeze Ticker in as well. They are both very interesting, although I wouldn’t really consider steampunk (or even sci-fi) a genre I really reach for.

10) The Princess Bride by William Goldman

21787I think I must be the only person in the world who has never seen this movie. I wanted to read the book for a tricky prompt requiring a story within a story, and I’d heard great things about how funny it was. Every time I went to release holds from the library, I found myself putting this one off in favour of other books that appealed to me more. As I got to November and December, I realized that I’d pretty much lost any interest in reading it and decided to switch it out for something else. I’m sure I would have been more driven to try it if I had seen and loved the movie like everyone else, and I would still like to give it a chance at some point, but as of right now, it doesn’t appeal to me much.

Reader Struggles: Meme Mini-Series (#7)

Of all the memes that are on the list, I think this one may be the biggest problem for me:cover-up

I am a fairly fast reader, especially when it is a book that really interests me. I can generally finish a book in 2-3 days, given that I can only read in the evenings after work. When I get really into a book, accidentally spoiling it for myself becomes a big problem. I’m so excited to find out what happens next that I can’t wait and, as much as I don’t want to skip ahead, I sometimes tend to glance at the next page. Most of the time, I stop myself right away and don’t see more than a couple of words, but sometimes the two or three words that I do see are very important.

When I’m really enjoying a book, I don’t want to rush through it too much, and I definitely don’t want to ruin it for myself. Spoilers are not always a big deal for me since I’m often more interested in seeing how the story develops, and not necessarily the end result. Although it is irritating to have someone spill how a book ends, I can be okay with it because I still want to know how the characters reached that point. In some ways, I find it a lot more frustrating when I spoil the book for myself. At least the very least, spoilers from other people are beyond your control, but theoretically, I should be able to prevent myself from glancing ahead to the next page. One of the most irritating parts of it is knowing that I shouldn’t look ahead, but doing it anyway, all while thinking “I shouldn’t skip ahead!”

Short of physically covering up the next page, I’m not even sure what to do to prevent this. Actually, as silly as it may sound, I sometimes have purposely covered a page to not ruin it for myself. I sometimes even find myself rushing through the page I’m currently on so I can get to the next part, in some bizarre attempt to avoid glancing ahead. I rush to get there “properly” so I get ahead of the temptation to glance, I guess. Either way, I have to remind myself to slow down a bit and really enjoy the book I’m reading.