The Summer Vacation Book Tag

It’s really weird to think about how summer vacation has changed since I was in school. When I was in elementary school and high school, there was a very clear summer break starting at the end of June until the first week of September. When I went to university and then college, it was a bit of a shock to get an even longer break — school ended around the end of April, and unless you had summer school (which I didn’t), you were off until September! It was such a long break that it was hard in the beginning to figure out what to do. I had a job for at least two of those summers, but after some terrible office politics, it didn’t work out for the following year. Summer vacations for me at that point meant some volunteering, some online summer classes, and luckily enough some kind of trip somewhere.

Once I started my full-time job, it was a shock again to have to redefine summer vacation, because in reality, there isn’t one. The program that I work for runs year-round. For the first few years that I worked there, we shut down for only two weeks in July, so that is when I would take a vacation if possible, or sometimes just stay home. It changed again this past year to allow staff to take their vacation time any time they want, with no real “summer break” for everyone. I guess I haven’t been able to get out of that mindset, since I’ve taken off the next two weeks for my vacation and I’m looking forward to it! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job but I definitely need a couple of weeks to refresh.

I decided to look for a nice summer-themed tag to kick off my vacation, and managed to find something perfect: the Summer Vacation Book Tag, which was originated by Em, whose post can be found here.

1) First Day of Summer – A new book you have been waiting to read

31180248Does it count if I’m already in the middle of the book? I’m currently in the middle of Leah on the Offbeat, which only came out at the end of April this year! Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favourites when I read it two years ago. I don’t remember specifics from that book about Leah at all, so I was a little worried going into this that I would need to know more, but so far so good. I’d been waiting for this one for a while — even though I originally wasn’t even sure I’d be able to squeeze it in this year.

2) Beach Day – A book that leaves you wanting more

24974996I have to say, a beach is definitely not something that leaves me wanting more. I actually hate going to the beach — I overheat very easily, and I’m not a strong enough swimmer to be comfortable swimming in the water. On the other hand, I finished Dear Martin just last night, and it definitely left me wanting more! The book was just over 200 pages, and it touched on so many interesting and relevant topics, but I think the story could have been even stronger if there was room to develop some of the plot points a bit more. Still a 5 star read for sure, but it definitely left me wanting more.

3) Portable Fan – A book where the romance is on point

28919058I’m a little confused about what a fan has to do with romance, but oh well. I’ll have to go with another recent read, and pick Autoboyography. This book is about a noy named Tanner, who is bisexual and has feelings for Sebastian, who is Mormon and struggling with his sexuality. I absolutely loved how this book handled all the complexities of the relationship between the boys, while giving a balanced depiction of the Mormon faith and how it affected both boys. This book very quickly has become one of my favourites of the year so far. I waited a long time for the library to purchase a copy, and I’m so glad that I finally got to read it! I was expecting to love it, and it was even better than I expected.

4) Slip & Slide – A book you were excited for but didn’t live up to your expectations

35604682This may be a controversial pick, but I have to go with Tyler Johnson Was Here. I expected this to be along the same lines as The Hate U Give, which I absolutely loved, and unfortunately it fell a little flat for me. I didn’t hate it or anything, and still ultimately rated it 4 stars. I just was disappointed that I couldn’t get into it as much as I would have liked because I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style. I found the characters underdeveloped, and there were certain plot points (ie. the romance) that did not add much to the story. There were some great insights raised by the characters, but I just didn’t connect with this one as strongly as I hoped.

5) Theme Park – A fantastical book that transported you to another world

160968248490112I mean, Harry Potter is still the obvious and strongest example of this one for me, but it seems only fair to pick something else.  I have started quite a few fantasy series in the past year or so, and several of them have very intriguing world-building. I think if I had to narrow it down, I would have to go with either A Court of Thorns and Roses or Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Both of these books had very interesting settings that I got absorbed by almost intermediately. I can’t wait to continue both of these series and find out what happens next!

6) Thunderstorm – A dark book that was lit up with streaks of beauty

the-madmans-daughterThis is a tough one. I’ve actually read quite a few books that could be considered dark, but it’s hard to remember specifics of some of them. I think I will go with The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, which was a very good mix of dark themes and some beautiful writing and character development. It was a series that I was hesitant to even start in the first place, and kept putting off the first book the year I chose it as part of one of my reading challenges. As soon as I finally picked it up, I was completely captivated and couldn’t wait to read the rest.

7) A book or series that you can’t get enough of

17675462It’s kind of hard to say when I have only read one book so far from many of the series that I have in progress, but so far I would have to go with The Raven Cycle. When I read the first book last year, it almost had the same feeling for me as reading Harry Potter for the first time. From what I have heard, the rest of the series carries on along the same lines, so I’m hoping it will be just as strong. I just need to find the time where I can read this one uninterrupted!

 

 

Advertisements

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2018)

The halfway point of the year really snuck up on me, but I feel like I say that every year! This year was probably my biggest challenge yet, with a total of 182 books across 5 challenges. Ideally, I would love to finish all of my challenges by the end of December this year but to keep it realistic, I’ve set the timeline for a few of the challenges to the end of March 2019. As of right now, I am 8 books behind schedule. I have read a total of 82 books so far (45% of my total) so I’m almost on track to finish within the year. To finish by the end of the year, I would need to read 15 books per month and I am currently averaging 13 or 14 every month.

Just for sake of comparison, last year my goal was to read 158 books and I was at a total of 70 by the end of last June. Last year, I commented that the books I read were a little longer on average than the previous year, and I think the same might be true this year as well. One of my goals was to complete several of the series that I have in progress, and many of those books are 500 – 600 pages! To be fair, I’ve been putting off reading some of those series until I have a few days off the devote to them, but I’m not entirely sure when that will happen. I’ve also been prioritizing reading more recently released books, which has been great! I’m usually really bad at keeping up with new releases, and although I’m still far from up-to-date, I’m at least reading books that have been released in the past year or two.

I decided to do this tag again because it is a great way to reflect back on my reading progress this year, and start to get excited for the second half! This tag was originally co-created by Chami (video here) and Ely, whose video/post I could not find.

1) Best book you’ve read so far this year

32620332This is a tough choice since I’ve already had quite a few 5 star reads this year. Of the 82 books I’ve read, I gave 5 stars to 34 of them (about 40%!) and many others have been 4 stars. I think if I had to pick just one book as the best I’ve read so far, it would have to be The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’m sure this will be many people’s choice for this question, but it is well-deserved. To be honest, I had very little interest in picking up this book at all but as soon as I saw rave reviews for it literally everywhere, I decided to give it a chance. It also helped that I saw comparisons to The Thirteenth Tale, which has become one of my favourites. I was absolutely blown away by this one. By the time I picked it up, I was worried that it couldn’t possibly live up to all the hype and I was surprised to find that it completely exceeded my expectations. I’m so glad I gave this one a chance!

2) Best sequel you’ve read so far this year

2923629924909347Considering I’ve dubbed this my “Year of Series” because of all the series I have in-progress, it’s no surprise that I’ve read quite a few sequels already. As I mentioned above, there are many more sequels I’m planning to read that I haven’t got to yet so the results may be a little skewed. I have to give this one to both Gemina and Obsidio, which I read back-to-back so I sometimes have a hard time separating what happens in each one. These books were just as incredible to me as Illuminae. It’s very rare for me to read sci-fi in general, and even more rare to read anything set in space. This series has completely opened me up to a new kind of book and I’ve since added quite a few space-themed books to my TBR.

3) New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

27188596There are so many new releases I’m looking forward to! If I had to pick one that I knew for sure I was going to read this year, I would have to go with War Storm by Victoria Aveyard. I’m among the minority who actually loved Red Queen, and that is one of the series I’ve committed to finishing this year.

I’ve recently become very interested in reading The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to fit it in this year. This book just came out on June 5, and with my local library closed until September, I’m not sure I’d be able to get a copy even if I did manage to squeeze it in. I’m also interested in reading Final Draft by Riley Redgate and The Perfect Mother by Aimee Malloy. If I don’t manage to get to these ones this year, they will definitely be high priority for next year!

4) Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Again, there are so many! It’s hard for me to keep up with new releases because I tend to plan my challenge lists in advance and although I leave myself some flexibility, I’m usually so invested in the books I already have in mind that I’m hesitant to switch. Here are some of the releases coming out later this year, that I’m most excited for:

5) Biggest Disappointment

23281658Definitely Immaculate by Kathryn Detweiler! I bought this book from Book Outlet  (luckily, only for about $1.50) because the premise sounded so unique. The book is about a teenage girl named Mina who becomes pregnant, despite the fact that she is a virgin. Mina’s friends and family assume that she is lying, and her boyfriend thinks she must have cheated. I’m not usually into books that have very religious themes in general, but this one luckily was not overly religious. Unfortunately, the book in general fell very flat for me, especially because the characters were a bit bland. The book was also overly long at 450 pages, and it became very repetitive. I actually originally rated this book 4 stars, but dropped it to a 3 after a day’s consideration because it was ultimately unmemorable and I thought so much more could have been done with both the premise and the characters.

6) Biggest Surprise

33413128Easy choice for this one. I have to go with Beartown by Fredrik Backman. I’ll admit that I was seriously dreading this book, which I chose for a prompt requiring a book about or involving sports. I have absolutely no interest in sports whatsoever, and I usually don’t enjoy books with a heavy sports focus. This book is about a small hockey town in Sweden, where a traumatic event involving one of the star players shortly before the semi-finals throws the town into chaos. Although I found the story a little slow at the start, I was immediately captivated by Fredrik Backman’s writing style. This was the first book of his I’d ever read, and I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed it. The “traumatic event” was not really a surprise to me. I predicted what it would be when I first added the book to my TBR, let alone when I started reading, but that didn’t really affect my enjoyment. The book had some incredible characters and some excellent insights in general.

7) Favourite New Author (Debut or New To You)

3143488325430566This was a tough one, since many of the books I’d read this year were by authors that I’ve read before. In the end, I had to go with a tie between two books, one for a debut author and one for an author who was new to me — Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant is Not Okay) and Connie Willis (Crosstalk). These were two of the books I was most excited to read this year, and I was very impressed by both of them! Eleanor Oliphant was a surprise because the story did not go in the direction that I expected at all, but it was amazing. I was expecting a Rosie Project-type story, but it was actually a powerful story about loneliness and coping with trauma. Crosstalk was a book that I’d been meaning to read for a couple of years, and finally decided to commit to it. It is set in a world where people can undergo a procedure to connect them with their partner to help become more attuned to each other’s emotions, and things go awry when the main character Briddey is somehow connected to someone else. Both were amazing books, and definitely two of my favourites of the year so far.

8) Newest Fictional Crush

29236299This is always the most difficult question for me since I’ve never been the type to get crushes on fictional characters. It didn’t help that many of the books I read this month were YA contemporary, which happened to have pretty generic love interests. I really liked C.B. from Crosstalk and Wallace from Eliza and Her Monsters, but I think if I had to pick one character, it would be Nik Malikov from Gemina. I just loved his interactions with Hanna and with his sister Ella, and generally loved any time he was on the page.

9) Newest Favourite Character

18584855Another tough choice, but I think I have to give it to Jest (and also Catherine) from Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I was a little worried going into this book after seeing such mixed reviews. Most of the reviewers I follow gave it 4 or 5 stars, but I’d also seen quite a few low reviews for it. I fully understand some of the major criticisms for this one, including that the ending seemed a little abrupt, but I absolutely adored this book. Marissa Meyer is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors, and I’m so glad I read this book. I loved the dynamics between Catherine and Jest, and I ended up loving each of them as separate characters as well. I loved all the references this book made to the original Alice in Wonderland story (and all the delicious food descriptions!), and this was a strong contender for favourite book up until I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

10) A Book That Made You Cry

31420736It’s rare for a book to literally make me cry, but I think the one that came closest so far this year was Bang by Barry Lyga. This book is about a boy named Sebastian who accidentally shot and killed his infant sister when he was only 4 years old, and is now considering suicide. This was by far one of the most powerful YA books I’ve read, and I loved how it addressed a unique topic and handled it so well. The characters, especially Sebastian, were so well-written and realistic. It was so easy to forget that Sebastian wasn’t actually a real person. There was one especially powerful section toward the end that had me almost in tears. This is definitely one of the strongest YA books I’ve read in a long time, and I’m so glad I read it.

11) A Book That Made You Happy

28111692This may be a bit of a silly choice, but I have to go with Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting by Brian Gordon. I’ve followed this comic series on Facebook for a long time because I find them hilarious. I am not a parent, but I have worked with kids, and have heard enough stories from my friends and co-workers who are parents to know how accurate many of these comics are. This book consists of a series of comics about parenting, with the family illustrated as ducks. I was slightly disappointed to find that I had already seen the majority of the comics online, so there wasn’t much in here that I hadn’t already read, but it was so much fun! I thought the duck characters were so cute, and it was so easy to see most of these scenarios happening in real life. This book was a lot of fun to read, and it definitely made me happy!

12) Favourite Book to Film Adaptation You Saw This Year

I have to give this one to season 2 of the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Like the first season, these adaptations have done an excellent job of bringing the book series to life. This season seems to have strayed away from the books a little more than the first season did, and while it was a bit of a surprise at first, it worked very well. The casting on this show is absolutely brilliant, and I can’t wait for the next season. I’d also give an honourable mention to season 2 of Thirteen Reasons Why. It wasn’t as strong as the first season, but I thought it was still quite powerful. I was so hesitant to watch it at all because it seemed so unnecessary to go beyond the original story, but I thought it was well-done.

13) Favourite Review You’ve Written This Year

I don’t really write reviews, but I will link a couple of my favourite posts that I’ve done this year:

14) Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought or Received So Far This Year

25526296I will change this one to the most beautiful book that I’ve read this year, because I want to give a special mention to Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. I generally don’t read novellas, but this one just sounded to good to pass up! It was another of my favourite books of the year. It was so beautifully written, and it was a very compelling story. The novella is about a boarding school for children who have returned from travelling to other worlds, and are now trying to readjust to their normal lives. This book focuses on Nancy, a new student who arrives to the school just before a series of murders begins. The story was amazing, and it definitely left me wanting more. I would have loved if this was a full-length novel, but I’m already looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

15) What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

There are still so many! I technically “need” to read all the 100 books remaining to finish my challenge within the year, but here are some of the books that I’m most excited for:

 

 

The Nope Book Tag

This entire weekend has pretty much been a “nope” for me. I had plans both days that got cancelled because we are in the midst of an ice storm. I actually first saw this tag a few months ago and I liked it because it reminded me of the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag. It may be a bit weird, but I tend to like the more negative tags sometimes because it is  fun to see some of the opinions that people might not share because of the potential for backlash. Plus, a negative tag seems to be a good fit for a gloomy “spring” day. This tag was originated by A Booktube Book, and the original video can be found here.

1. NOPE. Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simply because the ending was crappy.

I have to go with Requiem by Lauren Oliver. This it the third book in the Delirium trilogy, which I picked up because the concept seemed very interesting. The series is set in a world where love is viewed as a disease, and at age 18 people are expected to be cured by the government. The cure stops you from feeling love, and instead you are matched to someone to marry. The first book was great, and I even enjoyed the next two, as the main character Lena joins a resistance movement to rebel against the government. Unfortunately, the ending to this series was completely underwhelming and anticlimactic. It was a very strange way to end, and it was unfortunate since the rest of the series was pretty good.

2. NOPE. Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

Danielle Parkman from Saving Max. This book was so frustrating because it could have been amazing, but the main character Danielle was so annoying. Aside from the fact that the book is written in a very awkward tense, Danielle makes ridiculous decisions. She would literally be thinking “I really shouldn’t be doing this” as she proceeds to do exactly that. The book is about Danielle trying to prove that her son, Max, who is on the autism spectrum, did not kill another patient at the psychiatric facility where he is living.

Max was actually an equally irritating character because despite being labelled as having ASD, there was absolutely nothing in the text to support this. He was very skilled with computers, and there were a few mentions early on of aggressive outbursts that Danielle could not manage at home, hence why he was moved to the psychiatric facility. His behaviour is told to us but never really shown on the page, since these events happened before the story starts.

The entire book hinges on the premise that Danielle disagrees with the professionals’ assessment that Max is violent and dangerous, but the majority of the plot focuses on her taking matters into her own hands and trying to find evidence on her own. Never mind the fact that Danielle herself is a lawyer, and should therefore be well aware of proper procedures for acquiring admissible evidence. I think what was most frustrating for me about this book is that the ending was actually brilliant, and it’s the kind of book I really could have loved if the characters weren’t so frustrating.

3. NOPE. Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE. after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore.

I’ve mentioned this one recently, but I would have to go with the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. The first book was great, the second was mediocre…and the third was good, but a completely separate story from the rest of the series. It literally felt like I was reading some kind of companion novel that just so happened to involve the same characters.  I wouldn’t say that this trilogy isn’t worth reading at all, but I found it a bit odd that there’s so much hype around it when it’s so hit-or-miss.

4. NOPE. Popular pairing: A “ship” you don’t support.

Cassia and Ky from the Matched trilogy. I don’t know if they count as a popular ship, but I couldn’t by into them at all. Their relationship was rushed, and the characters were so underdeveloped that I couldn’t really see how or why they ended up together in the first place. I also can’t say I really support Bella and Edward or Bella and Jacob from the Twilight series, but that’s mostly because I didn’t like Bella as a character at all.

I’m sure I’ll get hate for this one, but I have trouble supporting Aristotle and Dante in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I think I need to re-read this one because I feel like I missed something when I first read it. I got the impression at the end that literally the only reason Ari went for Dante at all is because his parents basically said to him “Don’t you realize you’re in love with him?” It seemed like he was pushed into it before he was ready. I actually think these two would be very cute together and I want to support them, but the way it was written struck me the wrong way. To be fair, I read the book pretty quickly and may have rushed a bit so I might have missed something.

5. NOPE. Plot twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like.

I didn’t like the plot twist in We Were Liars because I didn’t find it shocking at all. I predicted it very early on (and the characters’ actions toward the end would definitely qualify for the next question as well).

In terms of an ending I didn’t see coming, I definitely didn’t expect the ending of My Sister’s Keeper,  although I’m one of the few who actually thought it was very fitting. The movie ending was a whole other kind of “nope.”

6. NOPE. Protagonist action/decision: A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE.

Thea in Who R U Really? The entire book is premised on the idea of 14-year-old Thea making bad decisions when it comes to the “boy” she met online, so in this case, it actually worked well for the story. That just doesn’t excuse the fact that her decisions were terrible. I get that she’s young, and I especially get that it can be hard to believe that your online friend isn’t who he says he is, but she had so many warning signs that she chose to just ignore and one particular decision toward the end of the book was especially stupid!

7. NOPE. Genre: A genre you will never read.

I wouldn’t really say never to anything, but I generally avoid non-fiction because I find it boring. I rarely read horror. I’m also really not interested in Christian fiction or anything else with heavy religious themes.

8. NOPE. Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition

I hate mass market paperbacks because I find them so awkward to hold because of the size. I get that they are supposed to be more convenient, but I tend to find them annoying. I also very rarely listen to audiobooks because I find I often tend to tune them out, and I don’t read e-books because it’s hard for me to focus on reading on a screen for a long time.

9. NOPE. Trope: A trope that makes you go NOPE.

Insta-love frustrates me. It’s one thing if it’s just a crush or initial attraction, but I find it very hard to believe that people will be so deeply in love that they are willing to do anything for each other after meeting once, when they barely even know each other.

I’m not a fan of love triangles unless they are very, very well-written (and this is often not the case). It’s usually way too easy to predict who the person will choose, so the triangle ends up being pretty unnecessary.

Poorly represented mental health conditions, especially when the condition is only mentioned when convenient to the plot and does not seem to exist otherwise, or when falling in love magically cures the person.

10. NOPE. Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read.

I’m really sick of hearing about Rick Riordan’s books absolutely everywhere. I’m sure they are great, but it’s getting to the point where the hype alone has completely put me off even considering them.

11. NOPE. Cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

It really bugs me when authors choose to write their book in epistolary format (ie. letters, diary entries), but where the entire book is just one massive letter that covers absolutely everything that was said and done in perfect detail. It ruins my immersion because it seems so unrealistic. No one can possibly record every single detail like that. For example, in Stolen: A Letter to My Captor, the book consists of 300 pages of a single letter, detailing absolutely everything from the moment Gemma was kidnapped. I think I would even accept it a little more if it was divided into multiple, still very detailed letters because then at least it seems a tiny bit more realistic. It just seems pointless to me to call a book epistolary, and then mask the entire text as one long letter.

12. NOPE. Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.

Not a fan of Jacob or Edward in Twilight at all. I also didn’t really think Alaska in Looking for Alaska or Margo in Paper Towns were very viable love interests.

13. NOPE. Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE.

I think the one and only book I would truly say this for is What If…Everyone Knew Your Name by Liz Ruckdeschel and Sara James. This is the only book I have ever abandoned, and with good reason. It is a YA choose-your-own-adventure story that follows a girl named Haley through her first time in a public high school. The reader can make choices for Haley about who to hang out with, what classes to take, what extracurricular activities to pick, etc. The problem is, the book is so poorly structured that the “choose-your-own” style does not really work.

The only reason I picked this book up at all was because I was at the library with an individual I support who was doing her work placement, and I needed something to read while she was doing her task. This book looked quick and fun. I quickly realized that it really just didn’t work at all. Choosing one path often brought me to pages that referenced characters I hadn’t met at all or events I hadn’t read, so it was a bit confusing to follow. The paths all seemed intertwined to the point where there wasn’t much purpose it picking between them, since everything referred back to each other anyway. I abandoned this book when I was about halfway through, and have no desire to try it again at all. It’s also apparently part of a series of 8, so I hope some of the logistical issues get worked out later on in the series.

14. NOPE. Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

Dolores Umbridge. Also, Abigail from Little Girls was pretty terrifying.

15. NOPE. Death: A character death that still haunts you.

Many of the deaths in Harry Potter.

16. NOPE. Author: An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

Honestly, Stephen King. I tried two books, and wasn’t that impressed with either of them. I wouldn’t necessarily say I had a bad experience, but it was enough to decide that his books weren’t for me.

The Reader Problems Book Tag

This is another one of those tags that I could have sworn I’d already done, but if I did, it wasn’t here. I know one of my Goodreads groups often does book tags as part of their read-a-thons a few times each year, so it must have been over there. This tag was originated on About To Read back in 2014, but it has become quite a popular one since then. I’ve felt like I’ve been in such a slump lately that I decided this would be a fun way to start thinking about my reading habits.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

Well, my TBR hasn’t hit 20,000 books yet but I’m getting dangerously close to 2000! Since I do reading challenges, I start each year with a list of 150 or so books that I want to read to fit my challenge prompts, so that cuts things down considerably. Of those, I choose based on a few factors. I get the majority of my books from the library, so I usually try to request as many as possible and put them on hold but suspended until I need them. To help me decide what to read next, I sometimes look at what my challenge groups have picked for Book of the Month or monthly themes and choose accordingly. Otherwise, it’s a combination of what I’m in the mood for and what’s available. I tend to release 10 or so at a time from the library, so I make sure that I have a mix of different genres and lengths in that mix to keep things varied.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

I have only ever quit reading one book, and that’s because it was something I picked up completely randomly while sitting at the library and hated. It was a “choose your own adventure” style story about a girl in high school, but very poorly written. The paths overlapped in illogical ways, so that following one thread of the story referenced characters or events from other storylines that you wouldn’t have read yet (or at all). Otherwise, I hate to DNF books, especially when I’m more than halfway through. It’s especially a problem when reading books for a challenge since I don’t want to “waste” the time I spent on the book by abandoning it, since I wouldn’t count a book I didn’t finish for my challenge. At least if I can get through it, I can cross a prompt off my list.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

I would absolutely try to catch up, and I have done that a couple of times in the past. Usually what I do is pick some graphic novels or shorter books that still interest me so I can read more quickly. Sometimes I do feel like it’s cheating to purposely put books off until the next year, even though there’s no one policing my challenge.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

It annoys me a bit, but not as much as it seems to drive other people crazy. I do my best to buy copies that all match whenever possible, but at the end of the day, the contents of the book are much more important to me than the cover.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

This is a tough one. None of my friends read as much as I do or have very similar taste to me. Come to think of it, there is one person I work with who also loves to read and we do tend to have similar opinions, but we don’t have much time to discuss books.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I would close the book and escape to a washroom or something to compose myself. This hasn’t happened to me, but then again I don’t do much of my reading in public.

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

It depends on the book. Ideally, I’d love to re-read the first one if it is a book that I enjoyed, but in reality what I usually end up doing is look for a synopsis or Wiki page that gives a detailed plot summary. I also have a (bad?) habit of waiting until a series has all been published before I pick it up, so I often end up reading them all pretty close together.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

I hate lending out my books! Lucky for me, no one ever asks. Most of my books are scattered in piles on my floor or put away in my closest since I don’t have anywhere near enough shelves, so it’s very easy and believable for me to say that I have the book but don’t know where it is.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

Good question, since I kind of feel like I’m in a slump now. I’m not the type to abandon books so I probably wouldn’t have started and stopped multiple in a row like this. For me, a slump usually looks more like taking absolutely forever to get through even a short book. To get over it, I usually read some shorter books or graphic novels, or pick up a book that I’m very excited for and pretty confident I would love, although this is a bit risky since the slump might affect my enjoyment. If all else fails, I’ll revisit favourites like Harry Potter or Jodi Picoult’s books.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

Given how expensive books have become, I’m hesitant to buy anything new unless I’ve read it and know that I enjoy it. I’ve recently started using Book Outlet to get cheaper books, and I’m a lot more flexible with those ones. I’ve received 2 orders so far, both of which were mostly books I hadn’t read but really wanted to. Otherwise, I mostly use the library.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

Longer than I would like! Another reason I don’t often buy books is because I have so many in my library stack that I know I won’t get to them any time soon. It’s actually pretty rare for me to start reading a book immediately after I bought it, which is a bit weird since if I haven’t already read it and I’ve decided to buy it, it’s something I really want to read.

The Intimidating TBR Book Tag

I really need to start keeping a list of all of the book tags I’ve already done. I was sure I had done this one, but can’t find a post for it. My TBR itself has become a little intimidating, with 1900 books that I want to read. To be fair, some of them are more “long-term TBR” (ie. lengthy classics), and others are books that I’d love to get to soon. I know a lot of people refuse to let their lists get so long, and weed them out as they go, but I have a hard time with that. I’ve gone through my list from start to finish (over several days, to be fair), and I’m still interested in everything on it. There are obviously some books that interest me more than others, but nothing yet that I’ve really decided that I’ve changed my mind about. I’m sure it will keep getting longer and longer as more books are announced every year!  This tag was created by Lindsey Rey, who apparently has taken all of her videos down so I can’t link to it.

1) A book on your TBR that you’ve been yet to finish

The only book that I have never finished was Journey to the Center of the Earth. I started reading it as part of the Book Study program at work, where each year we pick one book and read and discuss it with the participants. This was the book chosen the year I was there was a placement student, and my placement ended before the we had finished the book. To be honest, I’m not sure they finished the book since the staff running the group had trouble with the language and it would have been hard for them to lead the discussion. I never finished it because I was busy with exams, and then forgot about it. By the time I realized I never finished, I was far in enough in that I didn’t want to just restart, but it had been long enough that I couldn’t remember too much of the details.

2) A book you haven’t had time to read

This is an odd question for me, since if I haven’t read it yet, I obviously haven’t had the time to. I guess the closest fit would be either Ivanhoe or The Three Musketeeers because classics tend to take me a while, and I really want to read these when I have the time to devote to them properly instead of just a few pages here or there.

For a non-classic option, I’d say the all of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series or Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. Both are longer series, and I’m sure if I start them, I will want to read all of the books but it is such a time commitment.

3) A book you haven’t read because it’s a sequel

I have so many of these! That’s why I’ve devoted this year to finish off many of the series I’ve started. On the other hand, I’ve added quite a few full series to my list that I haven’t even started yet. I think I’ll go with Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, which is the sequel to Strange the Dreamer. I added this one to my list yesterday even though I haven’t read Strange the Dreamer yet, just because I love Laini Taylor’s writing.

4) A book you haven’t read yet because it is brand new

Still Me by Jojo Moyes! I’m one of the few who absolutely adored Me Before You, and I liked the sequel although not as much. I was surprised to find out that there was a third book on the way, but I’d love to give it a chance. This book was released just over 2 weeks ago, so I obviously have not been able to read it yet.

5) A book by an author you previously read and didn’t enjoy

Definitely any book by Jacquelyn Mitchard. I read Deep End of the Ocean and really didn’t like it. I have three more of her books on my TBR (A Theory of Relativity, Cage of Stars, and The Breakdown Lane) but have been very hesitant to pick them up because of how much I didn’t connect with the first one.

6) A book you haven’t read because you’re not in the mood

Well, most of the books that are still on my TBR are there because I haven’t been in the mood for them yet. The one example that really comes to mind is The Goldfinch, which I had in mind a couple of years ago for my reading challenge and kept procrastinating on because I was just never in the mood for it. Two years later, and I’m still never in the mood but I’m hesitant to take it off the list completely because I’ve heard it’s very good.

7) A book you haven’t read yet because it’s humongous

Anna Karenina!  Or, for a non-classic, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Both are books that I’d love to read, but I don’t have the time to devote to something of that size.

8) A book you bought just because of it’s cover

I haven’t bought anything just because of it’s cover, but I’ve definitely added a few to my TBR because of the cover (as long as the synopsis interests me). One that I added not too long ago mostly because of the cover was Jokes About Dead Girls, because the title and cover both seemed so intriguing. Unfortunately, this book is not out until next year!

9) The most intimidating book on your TBR

Probably War and Peace, Don Quioxte or Les Miserables. These three are definitely long-term TBR projects. They are intimidating because of the length and because they were written so long ago.

If I had to pick a non-classic, I’d go with The Memoirs of Cleopatra. It sounds fascinating, but the book is over 1000 pages!

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.

The 2017 Year in Review Book Tag

I wasn’t tagged in this one, but I saw it over on Destiny’s blog HowlingLibraries (linked here), and it looked like a lot of fun. This tag has kind of made me realize how out of touch I am with the news, since I didn’t get a lot of the references they made. I don’t know what it was this year, but it feels like in general there’s been quite a bit of negativity and stress everywhere. I’m hoping that this will all ease up with the new year, but if nothing else, at least I know I’ll have a lot of fun with next year’s reading challenges!

1) First Ever Doctor Who (Your favourite female protagonist)

23395680I had a few characters who were good contenders for this question, but I think I have to give it to Kady Grant from Illuminae, specifically because of her interactions with the ship’s AI system. Kady was a lot of fun to read, and I loved her devotion to the people she cared about, and her willingness to do whatever it takes to get out of bad situations. She is definitely one of the most memorable characters I read this year.

2) GCC Cuts Ties with Qatar (An author you cut ties with)

16115612This is actually a tough one for me to answer because (with a few exceptions), I have a self-imposed rule that I try not to read more than one book by the same author in the year to encourage myself to read a wider variety. I think the closest for this one would have to Khaled Hosseini, although I’m hesitant to say I cut ties since I would probably still read his books. This year, I read And the Mountains Echoed, and it was my least favourite of his books. I love The Kite Runner, and I really liked A Thousand Splendid Suns, but I found this one disjointed and not that interesting.

3) La La Land Oscar Mix-Up (A book that surprised you)

23492736I’ve mentioned this one before, but definitely The Status of All Things. I feel like it’s the kind of book you need to be in a certain mood for in order to enjoy, but I rarely read this kind of story and wasn’t expecting much from it. I ended up really enjoying it, and immediately went onto Goodreads to add more books by this pair of authors to my TBR. I love books that involve social media and books that are character-driven, so I guess it’s not a huge surprise that I ended up enjoying this one. I’m glad I decided to give it a chance.

4) Hurricanes and Earthquakes (A book that rocked your world)

17675462I have to give this one to The Raven Boys. After hearing about it non-stop for about a year, I finally decided to give it a chance, and I was really missing out! This book drew me in right from the first pages, and I was captivated the entire time. I put it off for so long because it seemed way too overhyped, although I should have learned my lesson from doing the same with Harry Potter. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, and find out what happens next! The characters are so well-developed and interesting, and although I found the plot a little confusing at first, it was easily one of my highlights of the year.

5) Louvre Abu Dhabi (Favourite book cover art)

26721568I’m not really one to judge books by their covers, although there are a few that catch my attention. What I sometimes find is that the books with the most appealing covers aren’t always the most appealing reads, unfortunately. I think I have to give this one to The Problem with Forever because I first decided I wanted to read it after the cover art caught my attention at the bookstore. This book was a 4-star read for me. It was a little on the lengthy side for a YA book, but the character development was great. I love the cover because of the beautiful blend of colours.

6) Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi Sells for $450 Million (A take-my-money book)

23299512Hands down, I have to give this one to This Savage Song. As soon as I finished reading it, I knew I had to buy this book and it’s sequel, and I got them both within a couple of weeks of reading it. I was going to put this one down for the book that rocked my world above, but once I saw this question, I knew it would fit best here instead. This is one of the few books I’ve read that literally made me want to run out and buy it as soon as I had read it, and where I actually followed through on that and bought it. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to read Our Dark Duet this year, but it’s top of the list for next year for sure!

7) Total Eclipse (A sequel that overshadows the first book)

13206900I was more focused on starting new series than on continuing ones I’d already started this year, so I don’t have a ton of sequels to choose from. The one series I did finish was The Lunar Chronicles, and I think Cress and especially Winter were excellent sequels. I loved Cinder, and I liked Scarlet but not quite as much. I thought Winter especially was an amazing ending to the series, and it was impressive that book that was so long managed not to feel like it was dragging. And as much as I enjoyed Cinder, that book was very predictable. I would love to read more by Marissa Meyer!

8) Muslim Ban (Favourite diverse read)

32075671I’m starting to feel like this book is becoming the Harry Potter of the year, where it’s almost a cliched answer to any kind of “favourite book” or “best diverse book” question, but I have to say The Hate U Give. I thought this book did a great job of making the issue so clear and accessible to a wider audience, and it really brought it to life for me. I’m sure we’ve all heard the news stories about police brutality and racial profiling, but this book brought it down to such a personal, human level that it was easy to connect with. I was very worried going into this book that it couldn’t possibly live up to all the hype surrounding it, or that the subject matter had overshadowed the book itself, so I was glad to find that it really was that great.

9) Italy Doesn’t Qualify for World Cup (Most disappointing book)

30555488The Underground Railroad! Can a book really count as disappointing if you weren’t sure in the first place how much you wanted to read it? I honestly had no intention of reading this book, and the only reason I picked it up is because it was chosen as a Book of the Month in one of my Goodreads groups. It seemed like everyone was talking about it, and everyone seemed to love it, so I thought I would give it a chance. I’m sure it didn’t help that I went into it expecting that I wouldn’t be that into it, but I just could not connect with the book at all and I found it very boring. The concept was great and thinking about the overall storyline afterwards, I liked what the author tried to do, but I didn’t enjoy reading it at all.

10) Prince Harry Gets Engaged (Favourite ship)

Easy one for this one — Cress and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles.

11) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Most anticipated book)

I’m not sure if this is meant to be my most anticipated book from this year, or for next year. Right now, the book I’m most anticipating for next year is What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, two authors that I only started reading in the last year or two, and that I’ve grown to really love. There is no cover art available for this one yet, so I can’t add anything, but the book is due out all the way toward the end of next year — October 2! It’s such a long time to wait!