Category «Features»

SERIESous Discussion: Book Formats by Month


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Last month, I wrote a discussion post looking at how many books I read in a month and compared my 2016 and 2017 reading years. Doing that post and my “Where Do My Books Come From” post in December 2017 had me curious about the book formats I read on a monthly basis.

As you can conclude from my Where Do My Books Come From? post, I get my books from a variety of places. Nearly 60% of the books I read in a year come from the library & review copies whereas only 30% are from my personal owned collection. Of course, that’s something I’ve worked on changing this year as per my 2018 Reading Plan and we will see if I succeeded in December (but so far so good!).

But are those books I’m getting from library physical books or eCopies? How do the audiobooks I listen to impact my monthly stats? Do I read owned books for my Kobo or Kindle? How many review copies am I actually reading in a month? Those were the questions I asked myself while composing my Monthly Reading Habits post and now I am going to answer them.

In General:

eARCs (Authors/Tours/Netgalley) | Kindle (Owned) | Kobo (Owned) | Physical (Library) | Audio (Library) | eLibrary (Library)

I’ll be the first to admit that that graph is a lot to look at. I break things down further on and give a little more context but I wanted to provide the overview. Broadly speaking, in 2017 I averaged 20 books a month and I read those 20 books in a variety of different formats.

Digitally Owned & Digital Review Copies:

eARCs (Authors/Tours/Netgalley) | Kindle (Owned) | Kobo (Owned)

I had very mixed feelings when I saw this particular graph breakdown. On the positive side, I was happy to see that I read at least one book from my personal collection a month for 2017; but considering I averaged 20 books a month, it would be nice if that number was higher.

The other thing that really shook me up was the number of ARCs/review copies (from here out I will refer to all as ARCs) I read in a month. In 2017, according to my Reading Plan for 2017, I had a guideline of 3 ARCs per month. As you can see, I really only stuck to that plan for 3 months of the year. March and December were particularly bad–I nearly tripled the expected number.

Why so many ARCs despite the self-imposed rule? I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to miss an opportunity. A lot of the ARCs I read are sequels for already started series or are by authors who I like to support in any way I can. So while I may have already planned on the 3 books I’d read for X month, a last minute release or tour/opportunity can cause me to read more than I anticipated. It was something I noticed near the end of 2017 and one thing I really tried to keep in mind when creating my 2018 Reading Plan so that I wasn’t dedicating all my time to ARCs this year. The year started rough but I did my best to right the course and have gotten a lot better at saying “no”.

Borrowed From the Library:

Physical (Library) | Audio (Library) | eLibrary (Library)

I always thought that 80% of my books came from the library but my post investigating my books sources busted that myth. I actually get about 36% of the books I read in a year from the library.

It would be interesting to see what this graph would look like 3 years ago when I tended to have 30 books on hold at the library at one time. (Yeah, you see why I needed a change!) Back then I was reading a lot of eBooks from my local library. Now that I read more ARCs and try to read more of the books I already own, the number of books I get from my library’s eCatalogue stays pretty consistent month to month.

Why the sudden stop in physical novels? It’s mostly a convenience thing. My local library is pretty small but shares its collection with other ones in the area. Normally that means we have one copy and it usually is at another location so it’ll have to be brought in. If it’s a very popular book, I’ll be waiting a while. I find my eBook selection is much bigger, has more copies of the more popular books and has a shorter loan period so books turnaround much faster. Of course, there are no late fees with eBooks and I can get them any time without leaving my house which is handy for someone who works shift work.

My consistency with audiobooks is AMAZING! I’ll be honest, the main reason I did this post was to see if reading audio books impacts my monthly reading stats and clearly the answer is YES! As per my previous discussion post, I know that I read less books in 2017 compared to 2016 (21 books less specifically), averaging 20 books to the previous 22 books a month. But what if I eliminated audiobooks from my monthly totals?

2017JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecTotal
Difference:00444455344643
w/ Audiobooks231719192226242110161824239
w/o Audiobooks23171515182219167121418196

So clearly, listening to audiobooks was a great habit to pick up in 2017 if the numbers are anything to go by. Most of my listening is done during my drive to work (which is 2 hours roundtrip) but I do listen to audiobooks when walking my dog as well. Nevertheless, if I’m working a lot, I (obviously) get through more. It also depends on the length of the book as well and if I’ve adjusted the speed or not. Regardless, they have a positive impact on my reading stats each month and my drive wouldn’t be the same without them!

>>SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get Into Audiobooks!

Moving Forward:

I learned a lot from doing this post. Mainly that audiobooks have become a key format for my monthly reading habits. It also reaffirmed the fact that I have to get better at saying no to ARCs and sticking to my reading plan (something I’ve been working on exclusively for the last 3 months). I also want to make reading books I have purchased a higher priority. While I’ve been good about not buying as many books as I used to, I still have quite a collection to tackle.

What book formats do you read in a month?

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Monthly Inventory: July 2018

July 2018

Where did July go?! This month flew by in every way! Whether it was reading, life or work, I feel like the days just melted away in the summer heat.

I had a great July when it came to reading. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt in control of my reading. I wasn’t pressuring myself to read books by a certain deadline; I wasn’t overwhelmed with books out from the library and I could read whatever I wanted when I wanted. That’s the type of summer reading I like and want on my lazy days off and it’s something I’ve been striving for since I created my blog 5 years ago.

Some of my highlights from the month:

    • I decided not to put any books on hold at the library for July and August
    • I did a mini Goodreads purge of books I don’t have copies nor do I want to buy
      • I managed to remove 15 books from my TBR!
    • I have officially received and reviewed 100 books on Netgalley!
    • I started to schedule posts into 2019!

August is going to be a packed month for reading as well as life. I have some vacation time off but I’ve packed those days with events and the like. As for reading, I’m joining in on the annual Make Me Read It Readathon (a personal fave event) and participating in my second ARC August. So it’s going to be a busy one!

 

thoughts

Total for July 2018: 21 Books Read + 1 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 2 Books

Last July : 20 Books Read + 4 Novellas Read + 3 DNFs

Standout Read (★★★★★)


I’m just so in love with this series!

Biggest Let Down (★★)


My gut told me to DNF this one in the first quarter but I stuck it out. It was just OK as I really struggled with it and ended up disappointed.

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

Make Me Read It: Vote

Most Viewed Review

Series Review: Royally by Emma Chase

View this year’s archives for more posts and reviews!

 

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

   

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: Added 2, DNF’d 1 | 9 of 25 Titles Read – On Track!
Goodreads Challenge: 23 books added | 150/190 Books – Ahead!
52 Sequel Challenge: 5 Books Added | 29/52 Sequels – On Track!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 7 books added | 19/36 Books – Slightly Behind!

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

Make Me Read It: August 2018

It’s back! Hosted once again by hosted by Val @ The Innocent Smiley and Ely @ Tea and Titles. There’s still time to vote for what books I should read for the upcoming readathon! My goal is to read 3 of the 10 books you vote for during the readathon (and then the rest by the end of the year).

Vote here!

ARC August

I had a lot of fun participating in this for the first time last year and thought it was a great way to get through some of those ARCs I have still sitting on the back burner. This classic summer event hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat!

Most of these are titles I’ve received through Street Teams with the idea that “you get to them when you get to them” but I’ve really been slacking (as you could see in my last State of the ARC post last month). So the plan for this August is to get to most of these titles by the end of the month! I want to read the 3 that are due for August and at least 3 more from my ASAP pile. Here’s some of the reads I have on the go:

From Here to You (Crash and... Blood Will Out Heart of a Thief (Unforgivable #1) The Emperor's Daughters Captive of a Commoner The Right Fit

 

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. I do this on a monthly basis by going through 7 “new to me” books and 3 “sequel” novels and deciding what is a keeper and what is a pass.

This month:

Leo
Keep

Put Me Back Together
Keep

Picture Perfect (Picturing Perfect, #1)
Pass

The Thrill of It (No Regrets, #1)
Keep

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)
Pass

Forever & Always (The Ever Trilogy, #1)
Pass

Maybe This Time (Maybe, #1)
Pass

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)
Keep

Crossed Lines (Blurred Lines, #3)
Keep

Truth or Dare (His Wicked Games, #2; The Cunningham Family, #2)
Keep

Pass: 4 | Keep: 6

Did I give up on any too soon? Let me know in the comments below!

 

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

 

Here are some of my favourite posts that I’ve come across the past month:

 

Each month I have a list of 11 books I’ve selected to read for that particular month. These books include review copies and reading challenge picks. Here are some of the books I have ready to go for August:

The Diabolic (The Diabolic, #1) The Secret of Ella and Micha (The Secret, #1) Immortal Reign (Falling Kin...

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month?
Leave a comment below!

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SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


This post is completely inspired by Cristina @ Girl in the Pages who created an awesome post looking at her reading habits back in January of this year. In it, she looked at the number of books she read on a month to month basis in 2016 and compared it to her 2017 stats.

While I keep track of the number of books I read in a month in my Monthly Inventory recaps (even comparing the results to the previous year), I never do anything with those numbers. I’ve never taken them into the context of a year to actually confirm what I always believe to be my most productive reading months. So, after reading Cristina’s post, I decided to investigate!

>> SERIESous Discussion: Where do my Books Come From?

My Thoughts Before Looking at the Numbers:

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when looking at my 2016 vs 2017 numbers since I went through some big life changes. In 2016, I was finishing up my last school term (ending in April), had a three months of simulated clinical practice (May to July), and then went to my actual clinical placement in September 2016 until January 2017. February 2017 was dedicated to my licensing exam and then a much needed vacation before starting my new (and current) job in March. Long story short: I was no longer a student and was entering the world of work! (And true “adulting“).

And as such, I expected my reading habits to really change once I left school. Truthfully, I anticipated that I would be reading less than before. I’m not sure why I thought that though. I mean, if anything, they should increase because I wouldn’t have to spend my free time studying. But I was entering the working world of shift work and as someone who did most of her reading in the morning before starting her day, I didn’t know what to expect when I had to work midnights or evening shifts on a regular basis.

>>SERIESous Discussion: How “Adulting” Changed my Reading Habits

In general, I expected that January and July would be my biggest reading months. I say January because I’m usually pretty gung-ho about sticking with my new reading plans and resolutions. And I say July because I think I read more in the summer since I love nothing more than to sit out on my patio with a book when I have a day off or after work. (And I live in Canada, so usually July is pretty solid for weather).

The Actual Results:

The Breakdown:

I’ll admit, this graph is a little all over the place so let me give it some context!

In 2016 I read 265 books according to Goodreads, averaging 22 books a month, DNF’d 7 and logged about 400 hours of reading time on my Kobo. In 2017 I read 244 books, averaging 20 books a month, DNF’d 17 books and logged 404 hours of Kobo reading time. Not a huge difference in the grand scheme of things but a noticeable shift for sure in the stats.

Why the spike in August 2016? That was the month I tried out Kindle Unlimited (read about my experience here!) and wanted to fit in as many books as possible before my trial was completed. I choose to do the trial then because I didn’t have any other obligations (like school or work) so I had a lot of free time. I also read a novella series (Calendar Girl) that had 12 parts in total which Goodreads counts as a full, completed novel even if they were half the length.

Why the dip in September 2017? I spent half the month away on a vacation that didn’t leave me a lot of free time to read.

My Thoughts After Looking at the Numbers:

For the most part, I was right about my busiest months. I seem to always read at least 20 books in the month of January; though December seems to be the same in that respect. Probably because I’m scrambling to get in some last minute points for my various reading challenges before the year’s end.

I guess August is actually more productive than July as I had hypothesized. I do know that the Make Me Read It Readathon took place in August 2017 as opposed to July like it did in 2016 so perhaps that shifted my results a bit? I am curious to know though what August 2016 would have looked like without my Kindle Unlimited Trial altering the results. However, in the same breath, I think it goes to show that August does allow me more flexible reading time because I was able to read so many books in both years.

Moving Forward:

It will be interesting to see what the comparison for 2018 to 2017 will be! My life has gotten into more of a routine now that I only work and I seem to have gotten the hang of this shift-work thing. Audiobooks are becoming more of an everyday staple in my life as well so I’m interested to see if that changes things up even more because I do think it played a role in maintaining some of my monthly numbers in 2017 once I started working.

>> Be on the lookout for a post next month were I look at what formats of books I read in a month!

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Read-a-thon: Make Me Read It (August 2018) Vote! [Closed]

I always seem to miss when this readathon is first announced (seriously, ever year!) but I’m always so excited when I finally realize it is happening again! I’ve been participating since its inception 4 years ago and it is always one of the highlights of the summer for me.

I’m lowering my goal this year to 3 Books Read instead of 4 simply because of when this is taking place. While I have a few days off from work during the readathon, I have some other plans in the works that may alter my reading time. So, I’m aiming low but hoping high.

This one is hosted by Val @ The Innocent Smiley and Ely @ Tea and Titles.

The Challenge Details:

  • When is it? August 6th until August 13th, 2018
  • Tag? #MakeMeRead
  • How does it work? Make a list of books you want to read and then have your friends vote! You will then read the books in order of highest to lowest votes.
  • My Goal: Read 3 of the below books!
  • Why I need your help? I need your help voting for what books I should read!

The Selections:

Last year, I shook things up a bit by creating a voting list of 50% sequels and 50% books I own instead of the usual 100% from my TBR as I have done in the past. But this year, I’m going back to the personal TBR jar to pull out all my titles. Some will be brand new-to-me series, some are sequels, and a few are selections for my personal 5 Year 5 Book Challenge. And–as always–whatever titles I don’t get to during the readathon will be on my priority TBR list to complete by the end of the year.

Here are the books:

The Vote:

Even if you have never heard of some of these books, please vote! Pick your fave cover or title!

You can vote for up to 3 titles of your choice. Poll closes at 23:29 on August 4th!

Direct Link if it isn’t loading for you: https://polldaddy.com/poll/10062216/

Poll Results: (1) The Cage (1) Queen of Someday (3) Rush (3) Unfixable (5) Outlaw (5) Beautiful Oblivion (7) Dirty Filthy Rich Men (7) Tattoo Thief (9) East (9) Scornfully Yours

If you are doing this challenge, leave a link to your post and I will gladly vote for your picks!

Thank you for voting! I really appreciate it!

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Trope Thursday: Cheating [6]

Trope Thursdays: A monthly feature where I look at various reading tropes. Each month I will pick a trope and examine all aspects of it. I’ll discuss the classic features of the trope, what I love (or hate) about it and share some books that use the trope in their plots.


For me, this trope is almost always a “no-go”. I just don’t want to read about it when I escape to my “happy place” of reading because it depresses the hell out of me. Sure, it can add to the story in a way tat can be positive (I’ll talk about that below), but most of the time, it brings up unpleasant drama that I would rather not read…

July’s Trope: Cheating

Definition:

Cheating is the receiving of a reward for ability or finding an easy way out of an unpleasant situation by dishonest means.

~Wikipedia (“Cheating“)

Unfortunately, cheating cannot always simply be defined as having sex with someone outside of your relationship. Cheating comes in a variety of shapes and forms, but they are all equally devastating.

~DatingTips.Match.com (“Different Forms of Cheating in a Relationship“)

For the sake of this post, I’m classifying cheating as a situation in a book where a person in a committed relationship either has an emotional or physical relationship outside of that partnership. I’m not including books where the lead was cheated on in the past by a previous partner as that happened prior to the current story.

Simply put, physical cheating is the act of being sexually intimate with someone other than your spouse or significant other.

Emotional cheating may include physical intimacy but not necessarily so. Emotional cheating may begin as an innocent friendship. Eventually, an emotional cheater finds himself intimately confiding in the person, sharing thoughts, dreams and an emotional closeness that would normally be reserved for his mate.

~DatingTips.Match.com (“Different Forms of Cheating in a Relationship“)

Common Features:

  • Unfaithfulness
  • Love triangles
  • Possibility for Forbidden/Taboo Love
  • Torn between two friends/brothers/sisters
  • Unrequited love for a best friend
  • Character dating someone else when they meet

What I Love Like About The “Cheating” Trope:

I will admit that there is a certain suspense that can come about from a cheating situation–depending on the book. You start asking yourself, what will the fallout be when the truth is revealed? (See Avoiding Commitment). And if there is a love triangle involved, who will be with who in the end? (See Something Borrowed). If done well, it can add this anticipation and tension that can suck you in as a reader.

I think the biggest aspect of including unfaithfulness in a book is the potential to grow the characters. One of the first books I ever read with the cheating trope was Emily Griffin’s Love the One You’re With. Yes, I read it probably 20 years too early when I was 14 but the whole novel explored Ellen’s affair shortly after her first year of marriage with the guy she considers to be “the one that got away”. And while this book didn’t work for me in any way, the idea of using the affair to grow Ellen as a character is something I can appreciate as a reader. (Though it definitely does happen in that book). It tests the character’s spirit, morals and emotions which can really help to evolve them as a leading character.

What I Dislike About The “Cheating” Trope:

I’m not even a fan of reading sex scenes between characters who aren’t our two leads before they even meet. Icky. I’m one of those people who likes the “no cheating” disclaimer at the bottom of some of my contemporary romance synopses.

Perhaps this is the wrong view to have, but I view affairs as a mostly negative thing so I don’t want to read about them in my downtime. I don’t mind darker stories at all, I just find cheating to be a turn off.

I guess I don’t like how the characters can make decisions that aren’t logical to me. I get that emotions are high and so impulses can take control, but I often don’t like what those motivations turn the characters into. I just hate the dishonesty that comes about.

And more often than not, these situations involve a love triangle and I don’t enjoy books that have our cheater lamenting on and on about how torn they are between these two great people…

Books that Use the “Cheating” Trope Well:

I dunno if it helps that Darcy is such an unlikeable character that you can’t help but root for Dax to see why Rachel is the better option but this was a case where I didn’t mind the cheating. I think the other thing that helps is that Rachel has great personal growth from the affair. While  I would never condone cheating with your best friend’s fiance, Rachel does learn to become more assured in herself and fight for what she wants instead of being the doormat she has been her entire life.

>>Series Review: Darcy and Rachel

 

This is one of the only books I have ever read that has a “true love triangle” element to it (ie all three characters are in love with each other). The heart of this novel is Laney’s identity crisis and her relationships with both Armin and Blythe play crucial roles in that. The love triangle here provides an interesting dynamic to the story and one that keeps the reader on their toes as they watch Laney’s plan for revenge unfold.

>>Series Review: Avoiding

 

Others: No One Needs to Know

Books that Didn’t Use the “Cheating” Trope Well:

To be fair to this novel, it was originally published as a series of parts that was eventually combined into one novel so it does lack some of the depth you want. I was drawn in by the taboo nature of a girl falling in love with her mother’s boyfriend but I was never really sold on why these two would risk everything to be together.

>>Standalone Review: Illicit

 

This is a case of emotional cheating more than anything–which was interesting to read about for sure. However, I didn’t like how the situation made me dislike like Cami because her reasoning for stringing two guys along isn’t really explained. Sure, we get a good twist at the end that helps us understand her torn nature but I hated her reasoning throughout the novel about why she should stay in a long-distance relationship that clearly wasn’t working…

 

Others: The Vincent Boys


Do you enjoy books with the “cheating” Trope?

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Blog Tour: Forever Fixed (Fixed #6) by Laurelin Paige

Synopsis for Fixed Forever (from Goodreads):

Hudson Pierce-

You act so high and mighty, you and your perfect pregnant wife Alayna. With your perfect child and your perfect home.

You weren’t always perfect. Your past is filled with misdeeds.

Does your wife know all your secrets?

Would she stand behind you if she did?

You think because she’s on bedrest you can protect her? How sweet.

Sleep tight, you two.

-An Old Friend.

Other books in the series:

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #1 Top Contemporary Read of 2013
Series: Fixed Trilogy

There is a spinoff series called The Found Duet.

Author: Laurelin Paige
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a companion novel to the series called Hudson that must be read AFTER the trilogy. Chandler is a spin-off with another character. Forever Fixed is a continuation after Forever With You.

Book Order: Chronological, Companion (Hudson), Connected (Chandler)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: hot (BDSM in Chandler: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: June 2013 – June 2018
Source & Format: Candi Kane PR–eARC
Full Series Review: Here

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon / Kobo

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Fixed Series is my gold standard for contemporary romance. It has everything I love in a series: strong characters, a plot full of secrets and twists, and a steamy romance.

So what a great surprise it was to find out that there was going to be one more book in this series! I couldn’t wait to read it and see what Laurelin Paige had for my favourite duo.

The Plot:

It’s hard to return to a world that has been seemingly wrapped up without things feelings forced. I wasn’t sure where this story would go when I heard about its conception but I shouldn’t have doubted Laurelin Paige. Once again, she has recreated that sparkle I love so much about this series.

What I loved most about this novel is that it takes us past the happily ever after. It shows us what time can do to our favourite couples once we leave them after the epilogue. Are things really truly resolved? Can they truly move on from the past?

The Characters:

Hudson and Alayna are probably my favourite contemporary romance couple of all time and I think this book only reaffirms that statement for me. They are a fabulous pair that truly compliment each other in every way that matters. These two are partners, even when conflict is in the way. I just love the way they communicate and accept each other. We are SIX books into this series and these characters still manage to impress me with their growth and development.

The Romance:

What’s not to love about these two? They have explosive chemistry every time they are on the page together. But my favourite thing about them is that they are truly partners in everything that they do. They have some of the best communication I’ve ever seen between two leads and you know why they love each other.

My Rating for Fixed Forever: 5/5

Fixed in You 5/5  |  Found in You  4/5  |  Forever with You 5/5  |  [Hudson] 4/5  |  [Chandler] 4/5 | Fixed Forever 5/5

overall
This was just a fantastic finale from start to finish! I loved every minute I spent with these characters (and how the spin-off stories were seamlessly woven in) and the suspense of the plot had me guessing until the very end. Fans of the Fixed Universe will definitely not be disappointed in this grande finale!

Read if You Like: great sexual chemistry, solid characters
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance

 

similarreads

Laurelin Paige

With over 1 million books sold, Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.

Author Links:Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

You can enter to win a *signed* paperback copy by Laurelin Paige herself! Unfortunately this is only open to US residents at this time. Winner will be contacted via email so keep an eye out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not a US resident? Never fear! You can snag a free copy of the book yourself at any of these fine eBook retailers:

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon / Kobo

Book Tour Organized by:

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SERIESous Discussion: DNFing ARCs


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


To DNF or not to DNF ARCs

Back in 2016, I wrote a post about how I wanted to DNF more books. Not that I wanted to go out of my way to stop reading books; more like I wanted to be comfortable saying “this book isn’t for me” and putting it down without feeling guilty for doing so.

And I have to say, since I’ve created that post, I’ve come a long way. I DNF’d a lot of books in 2017 and I went through fewer reading slumps because I wasn’t pushing myself to finish a novel I wasn’t all that interested in. I’ve come to live by the philosophy “you aren’t going to enjoy every book you pick up” and I don’t get so down on myself for not finishing something. But not every reader feels that way.

Views About DNFing vary from blogger to blogger…

This is something I’ve noticed a lot when I read various discussion posts around the blogosphere.

…especially when it comes to ARCs/review copies.

ARCs and review copies (but simplicity sake, I’m going to refer to anything you get for review purposes as ARCs) are always a delicate subject to bring up but it gets even dicey-er when DNFing is brought up.

I get why lots of people don’t DNF ARCs. You are given the copy with the expectation you will provide an unbiased review upon completion. Giving out copies costs authors and publishers money, and not finishing it seems like a waste of their investment.

I want to argue that that isn’t the case.

See, you received that ARC in exchange for providing an honest review–a review that should not be influenced by your source or your means of obtaining it.

So isn’t DNFing a book your honest review?

Like I said above, you aren’t going to like every book you pick up. It’s unfortunate that you didn’t like this book despite the promising synopsis or cover or author, but that’s OK. You were asked to write an honest review and your honest opinion is that you didn’t enjoy it.

I’m one of those people who has DNF’d ARCs in the past. I don’t enjoy doing it by any stretch of the imagination. It sucks because all the books I pick up for reviewing purposes are books I’m genuinely excited to read. I go in wanting to love the book and sometimes that just doesn’t happen. And I never want to force it.

Remember: you aren’t obligated to give a positive review.

You are obligated to give an honest review for the novel you’ve been provided a copy of. Honest can mean positive or negative feedback. And it’s important for titles to have both available so potential readers can make a decision on whether or not to read it.

I still write full reviews for ARCs I DNF, though I rarely give them a star rating. I look at the book from a critical angle and try to articulate what worked and what didn’t work for me. That’s why all my DNF reviews on my blog have a different format than my usual reviews so I can highlight certain aspects. I also try to recommend who I think would enjoy the book given the features I saw/

Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t and I want my review to showcase that.

Do you DNF ARCs? Why or why not?

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Monthly Inventory: June 2018

June 2018

After a very busy May, June seemed like a break in a lot of ways. My main goal for the month was to catch up on ARCs and to read books I already had in my possession. And for the most part, I think I did that. I’m in much better shape now than I was at the start of June so I’m proud of myself. I would have liked to have spent more time on my blog as a whole but I did make the most of the spare moments I did have. The summer looks like it will be just as hectic at work but I’m starting to establish more of a routine so I’m optimistic I can make the most out of everything, including reading and blogging.

Since June is halfway through the year, I wanted to to focus on a mid-year review of all things. Like many people, I start the year with some lofty reading and blogging goals but I find by this point in the year, things just aren’t going the way I expected them to. I promised myself that I would re-evaluate my reading challenges and the like in June and tweak whatever wasn’t working going forward. So that’s what I plan to do in this Monthly Inventory post as well as my usual quarterly reviews that I do in this monthly feature.

Mid Year Freak Out Tag

I’ve seen this tag (and similar) floating around the blogosphere and thought it was a cute way to recap the year so far. This tag was originally created by Ely and Chami so thanks for that! I’ve altered some of the categories a little to fit my table presentation so hopefully everything is clear!

Best Book Read So Far

Royally Endowed (Royally, #3)

Best Sequel Read So Far

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

New Release TBR

Iron Gold (Red Rising, #4)

Can’t Wait for Its Release

Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices, #3)

Biggest Disappointment

A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)

Biggest Surprise

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Fave New Author

Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee

New Fictional Crush

Hothead by Stella Rhys
Drew

New Fave Character

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)
Magnus

Tear Jerker

Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez

Made Me Happy

When It's Real

Fave Film Adaption

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood, #1)

Fave Review Written

Prettiest Book Purchased

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

Need to Read by Year End

Restore Me (Shatter Me, #4)

 

thoughts

Total for June 2018: 14 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 3 Books

Last June: 17 Books Read + 2 Novellas Read + 4 DNFs

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Sweet Black Waves
It only took me two chapters to become completely enthralled by this Tristan and Isolde retelling. I felt every range of emotions while reading this and I am DYING for the sequel!

Biggest Let Down (DNF)

Gunslinger Girl
I’m not sure if this book was just marketed wrongly or if I interpreted everything about it wrong but this was a huge disappointment. Definitely not what I was expecting. I wanted a Western with a badass heroine and that was far from what this was. Instead, I got a dystopian novel set in the future with some allusions to the wild west and a heroine who was rather dull.

 

kobostats

Every quarter I take a look at my Kobo stats to see how I’m doing. My Kobo is my main reading device, used for personal and library books. My Kindle is used for ARCs but it lacks the statistic features of my Kobo.

As of:

June 30, 2018

June 30, 2017

Total % of Library Complete

23%

10%

Total # of Books Finished

2880

114

Total # of Reading Hours

2511

2309

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

Trope Thursdays: Love Triangles

Most Viewed Review

Blog Tour: Knocked Up

View this year’s archives for more posts and reviews!

 

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

thoughts

You can always get the full details for all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 2 books read | 7 of 25 Titles Read – Slightly Behind
Goodreads Challenge: 14 books added | 132/190 Books – Ahead!
52 Sequel Challenge: 0 books added | 25/52 Sequels – On Track!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 3 books added | 14/36 Books – Slightly Behind

View my Challenge Progress Here!

Mid Year Review:

I actually thought my stats would be much worse than they were since I have 2 good months of not really reading challenge titles. But I’ve pulled up my socks in the last 2 months and that has helped a bit. While I’m certainly behind on all my challenges, they are still within an obtainable grasp so I’m not going to modify them in any way. Most of the titles I have selected for July crossover for my various challenges so I think I will see an improvement in the near future.

 

In February 2017, I created a challenge for myself to bring my Want to Read Goodreads Shelf to 500 books. By the end of December 2017, I had brought the shelf down from 1205 to 511 books! The ultimate goal for 2018 is to get that number lower than 500 and also bring down my “sequel” shelf as well. I’ve decided that every quarter I will check my stats to see how I’m doing when it comes to cleaning up my TBR

Currently

December 31, 2017

Want to Read (New)

506

511

To Read (Sequels)

317

301

My Thoughts: I think it goes without saying that every time I lower the “new” shelf, the “sequel” shelf gets bigger. But I’m doing a good job of not adding too many books to my TBR each month. May was a tough month because I got a lot of great freebie reads from various newsletters. I also find that I’m not as picky as I once was with audiobooks–meaning I’m more willing to read a book in the audio version than the physical now that I listen to books on a regular basis and am very comfortable with them as a format.

 

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

I’ve seen this meme floating around and thought it was a great idea to help me tackle my TBR list and reach that less than 500 goal. The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. I usually do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time and have decided to do this on a monthly basis.

This month (7 “new to me” titles; 3 “sequels”):

Undeclared (Woodlands, #1)
Keep

No One's Angel (Chadwell Hearts, #1)
Keep

Come Away with Me (With Me in Seattle, #1)
Pass

The Proposition (The Proposition, #1)
Pass

Toxic Secrets (Secrets, #1)
Pass

Break Me Slowly (Shattered, #1)
Pass

Executive Seduction
Pass

Be with Me (Wait for You, #2)
Keep

By Referral Only (Whitman University, #2)
Keep

Renegade (MILA 2.0, #2)
Pass

Pass: 4 | Keep: 6

Grand Totals since January — Pass: 18 | Keep: 22

Did I make any mistakes with my decisions? Let me know in the comments below!

While this is a monthly meme hosted by Avalinah’s Books, I however will only be updating every quarter.

Since May, I’ve been working really hard on limiting ARCs in order to make my reading more manageable.  Every month I give myself the allowance of requesting 3 ARCs as per my 2018 Reading Plan. So far, I’ve been following that rule when it comes to requesting titles for the summer. I’ve stopped browsing Netgalley on a regular basis; I keep review opportunities in my inbox for a few days before I make a decision; and I closed off direct requests through my blog until the fall.

My Progress for January to June, 2018:

ARCs Read: 54  |   ARCs Overdue: 2+6*  |  Upcoming: 7

(March’s State: ARCs Read: 31  |   ARCs Overdue: 4*  |  Upcoming: 12)

*Some of these books are from my Street Teams and they are “read ASAP” but I consider them to be overdue given the date I’ve received them.

Going Forward:

I’m in an OK position when it comes to ARCs. Of the ones upcoming, a lot aren’t due until August or September so I have some time. I do have a lot of street team reviews that I want to get read for July so hopefully I can squeeze them in. Only 2 ARCs are truly overdue so they are a big priority for July. So far, I’ve been doing a good job of sticking to 3 ARCs a month and not signing myself up for two many opportunities. I’ve really been working on my impulse control by letting opportunities sit for 24 hours and reevaluating if should sign up or not and it really seems to be helping!

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

 

Each month I have a list of 11 books I’ve selected to read for that particular month. These books include review copies and reading challenge picks. Here are some of the books I have ready to go for July:

Contrite (Contrite, #1) At Any Price (Gaming the System, #1) Fixed Forever (Fixed #6) Watching You Set the Night on Fire (Cottonbloom, #6) Book Boyfriend

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month? Have you done a mid-year review of your reading and blogging process?

Leave a comment below!

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SERIESous Spoilers: A Whole New World

seriesousspoilers
SERIESous Spoilers: A feature where we discuss what happened in our favourite (or maybe not so favourite) books. Did you like the plot changes? The romance? What surprised you? What angered you? And what do you think will happen next?

This SERIESous Spoilers Pick:

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell | A Twisted Tale

warning2

Note: I read this as an audiobook so I say “listen” a lot.


–The first 25% is just the movie in book form–

It was a great play-by-play for the movie if you’ve never seen it–minus the amazing music of course. As a massive fan of the movie, I didn’t mind so much. However, it was a little boring to essentially listen to the movie without the actual movie flashing before me. I’ve probably watched Aladdin 100 times in my life so I’m pretty familiar with it all and I didn’t need the word for word recap.

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–Jasmine–

If you ask me who my favourite Disney Princess is, I’d say it’s Jasmine (well my answer is more complicated than that but nonetheless, I am a huge Jasmine fan). In the movie I always respected Jasmine’s drive to live her own life. She’s intelligent and quick; I loved that she attempts to save herself by tricking Jafar. Plus, she has a tiger people!

After I read the synopsis and saw that Jasmine is touted as revolutionary, I was super happy. She’s a strong character in the original movie and the idea that I’d get to see that be elevated in this book? Awesome.

Only, it doesn’t happen that way. She’s a bit of a dud of a character honestly. I didn’t like her at all. I can forgive her ignorance about the outside world, that’s not the problem. It was just her attitude and comments about certain things that rubbed me the wrong way. I thought she had the best character development of anyone–but the character depth was lacking for everyone so that isn’t saying much.

Image result for aladdin gifs

–The Lacklustre Romance–

As I’m sure you can guess, Aladdin and Jasmine are one of my favourite Disney couples. Economic factors separate them socially but when they are together, the sparks just fly. They have this deeper connection and understanding that I really wanted to see emphasized in this novel.

Was I the only one who thought the romance between these two was forced? I felt like Aladdin would have taken up with any beautiful girl that crossed his path if she batted her eyes at him.

Image result for aladdin gifs

It’s an insta-love but one that lacks a visible spark. They don’t really have those memorable moments like they do in the film and so I never grew to enjoy the romance.

–The Genie–

I don’t think I could do a post discussing this book without talking about the Genie! I actually didn’t mind this spin on the classic character. His somewhat cynical but accurate appraisal of the world was a highlight of the novel for me.

Image result for aladdin gifs

He was one of the only characters to get a decent backstory in this novel and I liked that. I wish he had a bigger role but in another way I’m glad because how do you top the original?

–The Ghouls–

This is perhaps the biggest “twist” to the original tale but it really didn’t work for me. It just made everything seem silly and ridiculous.

Image result for aladdin gifs

Part of the charm of the original movie (at least for me) is that it could be real. Yes, it has magic and flying carpets but the core of the story (that a street rat could save a kingdom and the princess can save herself) is a moral and feel good story. Not saying that can’t happen with ghouls; I’m saying the ghouls just took this story to a different level and in a way that didn’t really benefit the story.

–All of this because of a Parrot?–

Ok, I love Iago don’t get me wrong. He’s one of the most memorable sidekicks in Disney for a lot of reasons. But the whole idea that Jafar wants to recapture the love of Iago? Really? That’s the best motive we could come up with?

Image result for aladdin gifs

Why not make Jafar completely in love with Jasmine? Or perhaps her mother? Or throw in some lost paternity and make him the Sultan’s long lost older brother who thinks he should be in charge. Or keep it simpler and make him power hungry when it comes to magic. There are about thirty other ways to do it I think.

What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree?

Please leave a comment below!

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Giveaway: Signed Paperback of Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige

I don’t host a lot of my own giveaways on my site but I couldn’t resist this opportunity!

Laurelin Paige is one of my favourite authors and her Fixed Series is the gold standard for adult contemporary romance in my eyes. It’s one of my all time favourite series and one I make all my friends read! Fun fact: it is also one of my most viewed reviews of all time on my blog.

Fixed Forever (Fixed #6)

Pre-Order: Kobo | Amazon | iBooks | Nook

The 6th book in the series, FIXED FOREVER, is coming June 25th! I CANNOT wait! This was a book I didn’t know I needed until I knew it was coming!

Have you met Hudson Pierce yet? Find out where it all started in one of two ways:

Fixed on You (Fixed, #1)

You can enter to win a *signed* paperback copy by Laurelin Paige herself! Unfortunately this is only open to US residents at this time. Winner will be contacted via email so keep an eye out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not a US resident? Never fear! You can snag a free copy of the book yourself at any of these fine eBook retailers:

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