Tag «monthly features»

Monthly Inventory: September 2017

September 2017

This was a weird month.

In terms of reading: This wasn’t a very good month, but I always knew that would be the case. I spent half of the month on a much deserved vacation that had me reading only a couple pages every few days. I made up for some of that time on my many flights but it was nice just to see the world and not worry about getting books finished. However, I did pledge to only read sequels for the Month of September and in that respect, I did succeed. AND, I completed my Goodreads goal for the year which means the rest of the year is just a bonus for me.

In terms of blogging: While on vacation, my blog went down and I didn’t even know it! It seem to be a problem with my host who was moving servers so my site was down for a couple of days. I did have some scheduled posts though so be sure to check out my blog feed to see if you missed one!

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Total for September 2017: 10 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read

Last September: 23 Books Read + 3 Novellas

September 2017’s DNFs: 0 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Black City Trilogy

I’m embarrassed that it took me this long to finish this series! What a phenomenal series (I gave every book a 5/5 which is quite the achievement!). This series always delivered and the finale was no different.

Biggest Let Down (★★ )

A Wicked Thing #2

I should have DNF’d this novel way before the 30% mark but my curiosity got the better of me. One of the slowest novels I have ever had to endure. I swear, 90% of this book was just rehashing things we had already discussed in the previous novel OR, even worse, in the previous chapter.

kobostats

I thought it would be fun to keep track of my reading progress on my Kobo every month. While I do own a Kindle now, I mostly use my Kobo for everyday reading. As per my #ShelfLove Challenge, I really want to increase the Total % of Library Complete by the end of the year.

As of:

October 9, 2017

August 31, 2017

Total % of Library Complete

10%

19%

Total # of Books Finished

120

124

Total # of Reading Hours

2445

2418

Don’t ask me how I lost 4 finished books in the last month. This new Kobo update is really killing my stats!


thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

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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: Took September off

October’s 5Y5B picks: The LoopMaid of Secrets

Goodreads Challenge: Completed as of September 6
#ShelfLove Challenge: 0 TBR Items added

Judge By the Cover Challenge: None
Classics Challenge: None

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

In February, I brought back my Tackling the TBR feature and announced my plan to get my Goodreads TBR down to 500 books. Here are my current standings:

  • Current TBR Shelf: 612 books
  • TBR Shelf at end of August: 606 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books

 

November is Catch-Up!

I’ve really let my personal challenges fall to they wayside. But with my hours at work being reduced and no other commitments, I’m really going to use November to catch-up on series and novels I’ve let fall through the cracks. I really want my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge to be complete (or mostly complete) by 2018 and I would love to see a change in the percentage of my Kobo library that is finished. And it would be a fantastic bonus if I could get my TBR on Goodreads to be much closer to the 500 mark that I so desire.


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

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SERIESous Tips: How to Start Scheduling Your Posts

Last year, I posted a Tips Post about Scheduling Posts. I’ll admit, it wasn’t the most helpful post ever: I mostly focused on why scheduling works for me and how I keep track of my schedule. Not a lot of sage advice.

I schedule everything well in advance–months usually–and I love it! It makes everything so much easier for me as a blogger. And when I tell people that, I get a lot of questions of “how do you schedule so far in advance”?

So I wanted to create a post with some tips/ideas on how I think you can get started. You don’t need to do all of these but I think one or two can get you on the right track!

Tip #1: Not Posting Everyday

This is just a personal preference for me but there is no way I could create enough content to post everyday (props to those that do!). Part of the reason has to do with Tip #2 below but the other reason is that I like time between my posts. I try to have at least 1 day between posts, ideally two.

One reason is that I don’t check my blog everyday for some reason or another. In turn, that means I only get to browse my subscription feed a couple times a week. When I do browse the feed, I see posts from the last 2-3 days anyways so I don’t see the need for me to post everyday to make sure people see my posts. Again, this is just a personal preference and I know everyone has a different thought of this!

Idea: Keep a calendar of when you plan to post! That way you can see what you are posting and when.

Tip #2: Schedule Certain Posts on Specific Days

This is the main reason why I’m able to schedule so many posts in advance. When I created my blog 4 years ago, I knew I wanted to focus mainly on book series. But I also knew that I wanted to post standalone and new series reviews–just not all the time. And so, I created Single Sundays & Fresh Fridays respectively. That means I only post standalone reviews on Sundays (unless it’s a promotional post) and I try to alternate them every other week. So, if I write 4 standalone reviews in a month, I have posts for almost 2 months (4 posts for 8 weeks). Pretty Sweet!

Idea: Weekly memes are a great way to get some day-specific posts or create your own feature that is weekday specific!

Tip #3: Spend a Day Writing Posts

I know that’s hard to do for some people but one of the reasons I schedule so many posts is that I get these spurts of inspiration and just churn out the posts. I then use my don’t-post-everyday & day-specific guidelines to schedule them throughout the upcoming weeks. I consider it an investment of sorts that pays off later when I go away on vacation (like I did with this post) or am going through a reading slump and I don’t have to worry about posting.

Idea: If you are a lengthy writer, try breaking the post up into segments or separate posts  (and post over a couple of days) to get more content!

Tip #4: Write Posts on Your Hiatus

People go on hiatuses for many reasons. I went on a lengthy one my first year of blogging simply because I didn’t have enough material to be posting consistently. So while on hiatus, I would write posts and schedule them for after my slated return. My reasoning: no one was expecting new posts during that time I was away so I didn’t need to use my newly crafted post immediately.

I know that this can be hard to do depending on your motivation for the hiatus, but this could even be a week randomly in a month where you focus solely on writing posts and not publishing them right away.

Tip #5: Draft, Draft Draft!

The drafting feature on WordPress is my favourite! Rarely do I have enough time to compose a post from start to finish. But I can often spare an hour or less everyday working on something for my blog.

I also like having those drafts started so when I do feel inspired to blog/write, I can just finish something I already started instead of creating something from scratch.

Pro-Tip: Make sure you leave notes to yourself so you can pick up where you left off! It’s easy to forget your train of thought if you write something over days instead of in one setting.

Tip #6: Get Comfortable with Blogging a Week (or more) Ahead

One of the downsides to scheduling posts is that you don’t get that instant gratification from publishing something you just wrote. That post you were so excited to share won’t be out there for days (or more) and it’s hard to contain your excitement sometimes.

For me, it doesn’t help that I have such a crappy memory either. So when that post I wrote two months ago finally publishes, I’m not entirely sure what I wrote. BUT, that gives me a great excuse to read over my post with a fresh set of eyes. I catch a TON of typos and mistakes when I do. Sure, it sucks that I already shared it but I like revisiting those posts and reliving the idea all over again.

My point though with this tip is that you have to focus on the week(s) ahead and not just the current week. That can be a hard change to get used to but it’s worth it. Especially when you can’t guarantee that you will have the time to create fresh content that week.

Pro-Tip: Instead of focusing on my posts for the current week (because they are already done), I instead get to spend more time blog hopping and doing site maintenance when I check on my blog.


Scheduling blog posts is an adjustment that needs to happen over time. Like any habit, you have to do what works best for you and that can mean you have to try a few techniques out before you find one that is perfect for you.

I hope that you find some of these tips helpful 🙂

Anything I Missed? Do You Schedule Your Posts?

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SERIESous Discussion: Not Reporting Assaults in Novels


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!


I got inspired to write this post after reading a particular book (which I won’t name because it is a bit of a spoiler but I will vaguely recap the situation). After a scene where the heroine is sexually assaulted in the novel and decides not to press charges, I got really upset.

Here are some statistics:

From Statistics Canada:

  • Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
  • 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
  • 11% of women have physical injury resulting for sexual assault

And a lot of women don’t report it because:

Some felt young and powerless, or ashamed, or they blamed themselves or just wanted to move on. Many felt reporting would do little good.

(Global News Article)

That’s an unfortunate fact of sexual assaults and one that has been the focus of change for years. However, things don’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

So why are assaults rarely reported in fictional novels?

While I’m a firm believer in letting fiction be fiction, I also think it can be a vehicle to start discussions. But I’m very alarmed by the  “letting it go without consequences” trend I’ve been reading in novels lately.

See, in the book I was reading when I was inspired to write this post, the girl gets assaulted at a club when the guy she was dancing with takes her outside. He started to undress her and it stops when a classmate walks back, causing a distraction. The “hero” does the right thing by using his phone to subtly call for help. In the end, the club manager arrives along with the police and asks is she wants to press charges. Her response is “no” because she 1) doesn’t like the attention it brings (which I understand because it is a part of the larger plot of the novel–even if I don’t necessarily agree with it) and 2) feels that the fact that there will be a police report (meaning the police showed up) is enough to prevent the assailant from doing it again.

Um Excuse Me?

No, it won’t. Because who’s to say the next time he tries something like that, the girl won’t feel the same and reach the same conclusion? Add to that, the fact you’ve just subjected another girl to the same horrible situation as you and this time, there might not be some “hero” to help save her.

And thus a cycle of abuse continues.

I can’t help but feel like this is normalizing the situation. It makes it seem like it is an event that you can easily portray as a one-off and forget. That isn’t the case at all. There are a ton of New Adult novels that focus on what sexual assault can do to a person’s psyche after the fact. There are a ton of real life stories too that remind us of that. Nor are you a hero for taking it in stride or letting him/her off the hook for their actions.

This isn’t to say that assault is always ignored in novels.

I can think of a few great examples I’ve read over the years. Deeper by Robin York focuses on a heroine who is trying to remove revenge porn her ex posted of her online via the legal system. Veronica Mars not only dedicates an entire TV season to a sexual assault storyline but it also has it as the focus in one of the spin-off novels as well. You Against Me by Jenny Downham focuses on the rape trial of the female lead’s brother against the male lead’s sister and the affect it has on everyone in their family and community as a result. But they seem to be few and far between lately.

In Conclusion:

I do understand that not all sexual assault cases are cut and dry. It’s easy to sit on the outside of the situation looking in and say “you should’ve done this or that” without being fully immersed in the situation. It’s a deeply personal situation.

However, I can’t help but feel that in the world of YA fiction–especially ones toted as realistic fiction–you should have the leads make those hard choices. Set an example for those younger minds who are reading these novels they probably relate to in some way or another. You don’t need to sugar coat the outcome; trials are hard for all parties involved. You don’t necessarily have to follow through in legal detail either. Just be a part of that movement to standardize consequences for your actions instead of just brushing them aside like it’s no big deal.

Because the reality is: it is a big deal and we need to treat it like that.

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Monthly Inventory: August 2017

August 2017

Where has the summer gone?

Normally at this time of year I’d be preparing to head back to school for the umpteenth time like many of you probably are. However, I’ve finally finished school (!) and am a productive member of society and it feels great.

Well, most of the time.

This August I really felt the struggle to keep up blogging and reading. There were days where I didn’t look at my blog and my reading was simply one chapter before I fell asleep. I felt like I was getting nothing done. Thankfully, I’ve got a great blogging schedule and had my posts for the summer scheduled wayyyy in advance so it looked like fresh content was always on the horizon.

So maybe I bit off more than I could chew for the month of August but I had a great time with the various readathons I participated in and blog hopping when I could.

September is going to be an interesting month. First, I’m taking 2 weeks of much deserved vacation at the end of the month (though I foresee very little reading time besides the flight). And second, I’ve decided to only read sequels for the month. More details on that below!

thoughts

Total for July 2017: 17 Books Read + 4 Novellas Read

Last August: 17 Books Read + 27 Novellas

August 2017’s DNFs: 2 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Leave the Night On

When I learned that there would be a new books to the Cottonbloom Series, my summer was made! This series has everything I love in a solid adult romance and Trentham did not disappoint with this new sequel!

Biggest Let Down (★★ & DNF)

The Changeling

I think my 2 star rating is very generous considering I didn’t enjoy a single thing about this book. Have you ever read the synopsis and thought you were getting one story but when you started you get something else instead? The synopsis for this one was grossly misleading and the book itself was terribly dull. It’s a shame because the idea is really interesting–but who knew you could make it so boring?

kobostats

I thought it would be fun to keep track of my reading progress on my Kobo every month (and compare it to last year’s numbers). While I do own a Kindle now, I mostly use my Kobo for everyday reading. As per my #ShelfLove Challenge, I really want to increase the Total % of Library Complete by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, with Kobo’s latest update they’ve changed the way they calculate statistics and it has drastically altered mine. It seems like they only count Kobo books now for total # of books finished (they used to include the eBooks from the library that I would add). But for some reason, that has changed my total % complete as well. At least my total # of hours seems to have stayed.

As of:

August 31, 2017

August 31, 2016

Total % of Library Complete

10%

19%

Total # of Books Finished

124

500

Total # of Reading Hours

2418

2007

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: 8 of 25 Titles Read — DNF’d 1 title

September’s 5Y5B picks: The LoopMaid of Secrets

Goodreads Challenge: 21 books added
#ShelfLove Challenge: 5 TBR Items added

September’s #ShelfLove picks:  & Legacy

Judge By the Cover Challenge: None
Classics Challenge: None

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

In February, I brought back my Tackling the TBR feature and announced my plan to get my Goodreads TBR down to 500 books. Here are my current standings:

  • Current TBR Shelf: 606 books
  • TBR Shelf at end of June: 611 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books

 

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

thoughts

Make Me Read It: August 2017

I didn’t meet my goal this year of reading 4 books but I really enjoyed the ones I did get to! The ones that are sequels are on my list for my Sequel September plan.

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) Phoenix (Black City, #2) Hitched: Volume One (Imperfect Love, #1)

ARC August

This was my first time participating in the classic summer event hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat and I really enjoyed it! I powered through these at the start of the month and only have two left for September so I call that a success! Here’s what I read:

Leave The Night On (Cottonbloom, #4) Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1) His Ex's Little Sister (Insta-Love on the Run Book 1) The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries, #1)

Sequels for September!

When your blog is dedicated to book series, you keep an extra eye on what ones you have to finish and which ones need a little more attention. And lately, I’ve noticed I need to get some sequels under my belt! This summer, I’ve been really good at starting new series but not so great at finishing them. I’ve got quite a few series reviews in my draft folder just waiting to be finished and I have lots of Fresh Friday posts that need some updating.

So for the month of September, I’m only going to be reading sequel novels for series I have already started. Now, there are a few exceptions. I do have a standalone ARC I need to read this month and I will likely have to start a new series for audiobooks so I can entertain myself on the way to work. Otherwise, I’ll be taking a break from my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge so I can focus on getting those sequels read!


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

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SERIESous Discussion: What is the Perfect Series Length?

DISperfectseries

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!


I think it’s pretty obvious that I enjoy book series.

And since I started my blog nearly 4 years ago, I’ve read lots of series with varying sequel lengths. For me, a series is anything with at least 2 books set in the same universe. Now, some authors write books within the same world but don’t classify them as the same series (like Until It’s Right by Jamie Howard or Everything Between Us by Mila Ferrera), leaving each to be a standalone. Basically, I go with whatever Goodreads tells me unless I’ve investigated further on the author’s webpage.

But I’ve started to wonder: is there a perfect length for a series?

When I first got serious about my reading 10 years ago, it seemed like a lot of series were 4 books in length (like the Hush, Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick or the Fallen Series by Lauren Kate). But then I read the Vampire Academy Series, which is 6 books, and decided that was the perfect number…

Until I read the Immortals Series by Alyson Noel and decided I could have done without 2 books in that 6 book series.

In the last two years, duologies have become my new favourite thing. From Hopeless by Colleen Hoover to The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows and The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel–I was totally onboard with these condensed and rich story lines.

So then I came to the conclusion: maybe it depends on the story trying to be told.

I’ve talked about what I call the “Book Two Slump of a Trilogy”. I wish I had a flashier name for it but I’m going to keep it simple. As per my Review Guide:

Book Two Slump of a Trilogy – where the sequel novel isn’t as exciting as the first book but is needed to progress the plot enough to set up the finale book of the series”

Basically, these books are needed to progress the story, but they can be absolute bores to read.

So could you remove that middle book and still have a positive outcome?

With the emergence of duologies, I’ve started to wonder if some trilogies really need to be trilogies. And I think the short answer is, no, not everything needs to be a trilogy. Of course, there are some really strong trilogies out there like The Red Rising Trilogy or The Winner’s Trilogy. Nevertheless, some stories could definitely be told in two books; maybe even one! There’s no need to spread it out over multiple sequels…

Besides money and marketing that is.

I get it though. I’m sure it’s easier to market a trilogy (or more sequels) to readers. You want to get the fan base that will go gaga whenever the next book is released. Because if you get people attached to the characters, they’ll come back for more and tell everyone about their love for this series.

I mean look at the slate of Pixar sequels to come in the next 3 years.

People love familiarity. It’s comforting.

But in the same breath, it also gets old real fast. And I think to a certain degree, it takes away from what it was before; especially if the newest editions are not of the same quality (like Syliva Day’s Crossfire Trilogy Series — talk about a series that didn’t need more than 3 books!).

I guess my point is: not everything needs to have multiple sequels for it to be successful.

Yeah, it would have been great if the Orphan Queen Series continued on for 5 more books in theory, but (IMHO) it would have really dampened the story. I think the Mythos Academy Series is a good example of that where the subsequent sequels started losing their excitement. Or even any of Sarah J Maas’ stories were the popularity has driven more sequels than original conceived and I think the series has suffered because of it.

My Conclusion: Strongly written stories last a lot longer than stretched out sagas that never seem to get to the point.

I’m looking at you Pretty Little Liars TV Series.

What do you think? What’s your perfect series length? Do you agree with me?

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Monthly Inventory: July 2017

July 2017

Honestly, this month was a blur!

I feel like I was just posting my Canada Day 150 post for my favourite Canadian Authors and here I am, listing everything I did since! And I did a lot! You can find out more below.

One of the major highlights was officially scheduling my first post for the new year! It’s a little scary that I’ve run out of dates to post in 2017 but that’s mostly due to the fact that I’ve read a lot of standalone novels this year. Once I finish When Dimple Met Rishi in a few days, I’m only going to be reading novels that are part of series.

Also below, you will find my intro post to my first ever ARC August participation. While I told myself not to request a lot of ARCs this summer, I had a lot of opportunities for sequels and fav authors so I couldn’t resist. Oops

thoughts

Total for July 2017: 20 Books Read + 4 Novellas Read

Last July: 17 Books Read

DNF’d: 3 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Everything, Everything

I was so charmed by this book and this story. I devoured it in one sitting.

Biggest Let Down (★★)

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin

If this wasn’t the last book in the story arc, I would have DNF’d it. I thought this was so, so boring. It just lacked the shine to it the previous installment had (admittedly, that one is hard to top since ACOMAF was epic) and seemed like lots of talking, not so much action.

kobostats

I thought it would be fun to keep track of my reading progress on my Kobo every month (and compare it to last year’s numbers). While I do own a Kindle now, I mostly use my Kobo for everyday reading. As per my #ShelfLove Challenge, I really want to increase the Total % of Library Complete by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, with Kobo’s latest update they’ve changed the way they calculate statistics and it has drastically altered mine. It seems like they only count Kobo books now for total # of books finished (they used to include the eBooks from the library that I would add). But for some reason, that has changed my total % complete as well. At least my total # of hours seems to have stayed.

As of:

July 31, 2017

July 31, 2016

Total % of Library Complete

10%

18%

Total # of Books Finished

123

481

Total # of Reading Hours

2371

1951

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

-are getting married! (3)

Read-a-Thon: Make Me Read It Vote

Most Viewed Review

Single Sundays: Zenn Diagram

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: 8 of 25 Titles Read — DNF’d 1 title

August’s 5Y5B picks: The LoopMaid of Secrets

Goodreads Challenge: 24 books added
#ShelfLove Challenge: 6 TBR Items added

August’s #ShelfLove picks: Just Breathe & Legacy

Judge By the Cover Challenge: None
Classics Challenge: None

August’s pick: finish Jane Eyre

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

In February, I brought back my Tackling the TBR feature and announced my plan to get my Goodreads TBR down to 500 books. Here are my current standings:

  • Current TBR Shelf: 611 books
  • TBR Shelf at end of June: 614 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books

 

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

Here are some of my favourite posts that I’ve come across the past month (I found a LOT!):

thoughts

Make Me Read It: August 2017

There’s still time to vote for what books I should read for the upcoming readathon! My goal is to read 4 of the 10 books I’ve picked during the readathon (and the rest by the end of the year).

This Is So Not Happening (He's So/She's So, #3) The Savage Blue (The Vicious Deep #2) Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) Phoenix (Black City, #2) Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2) Trust in Me (Wait for You, #1.5) Hitched: Volume One (Imperfect Love, #1) Derailed (Clayton Falls, #1) The Bet (The Bet, #1) Caught Up in Us (Caught Up in Love, #1)

Vote here!

ARC August

This will be my first time participating in the classic summer event hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat! I signed up for more ARCs than I should have but that’s what the summer is for right? I don’t have too many but I’d like to get the books slated for September release finished before September.

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

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SERIESous Discussion: How I Fell in Love with Audiobooks

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!


My first venture into audiobooks didn’t happen in 2017 nor 2016. I had actually tried to listen to audiobooks nearly 7 years ago when I had to commute to my summer job.

It failed miserably.

When I started my new job this year–and subsequently a 1 hour driving commute each way–I wanted to make the drive productive and decided audiobooks were the best way. If I couldn’t physically read my book, why not listen to it instead?

After my failed attempt in the summer of 2011 to listen to YA fiction, I knew that I had to start with a different genre. Last year, I did start to listen to nonfiction audiobooks, specifically celebrity memoirs, and had great success. But I never breached the fiction world.

See, nonfiction worked for me for quite a few reasons:

  1. I could miss a few lines here and there and not miss out entirely on the plot
  2. It helped conditioned me to the listening/narrating aspect of books
  3. The narrators were (usually) people I was familiar with and liked as entertainers

But there are only so many nonfiction and celebrity memoirs that a girl can be interested in. I wanted to make the jump into fiction so that I could get some of those TBR titles off my never ending list. (Also, it would keep me distraction free while driving. I cannot stand listening to commercials on the radio and am constantly scanning for songs).

Deciding on that first title to read was a big step for me. It had to be the right novel. I didn’t want something overly complicated in plot nor one with too much detail where I would zone out and miss that vital plot piece.

So that ruled out fantasies or dystopian novels for the time being…

I then decided that a contemporary novel would be a good idea. I love romances but the idea of someone narrating a sex scene to me in my car made me feel iky.

So there went the romances…

At the time I started my job, adult mystery/thrillers were my current obsession and so I thought that would be good approach. They’re suspenseful, they often lack complicated world building and rarely have detailed sex scenes.

And that’s when inspiration hit!

One of the reasons I loved my nonfiction books was the celebrity narrator. Knowing the narrator and their style helped get me acquainted with the narration. For example, as a fan of The Colbert Report, it was super easy for me to enjoy Stephen Colbert’s America Again and understand the humour.

When it came to fiction, I knew that sometimes actors and other celebrities narrated fiction novels. And that’s when I thought about the Veronica Mars novels.

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars, #1)

This was the perfect choice for a few reasons:

  1. These books were set in a world I was already familiar with
  2. Featured characters I loved
  3. Were based around a mystery
  4. And the best part: the first novel is narrated by Kristen Bell!

You can read my full review of the series here but I’ll just say that I absolutely loved every minute!

Listening to this series helped me to get used to the delivery of fiction audiobooks.

For example: only having one narrator doing the voices for all the character dialogue. One of the reasons I failed all those years ago was that I couldn’t keep myself from laughing during the audiobook version of Uncommon Criminals, where the female narrator tried to do Hal’s voice. It just sounded so ridiculous to me. It also helped me adjust to following multiple plot lines by simply hearing the plot developments as opposed to reading the words with my own eyes.

I sometimes struggle with written humour in novels. The greatest example of that is with Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?. I DNF’d the actual novel because I didn’t find it funny; but when I listened to the audiobook (that Mindy herself narrates), it became a 5 star read. Sometimes, I need the audio delivery of the sarcasm and wit to get the humour.

Which is why my next audiobook experience was AMAZING! I honestly believe I enjoyed Simon vs the Homo Sapian Agenda way more by listening to it than I would have by just reading it. The narrator’s dictation was perfection and something I think I would have failed to capture just by reading the text myself.

So after these three novels, I was in love with the audiobook experience! Not only do they make my drive go faster, but they also help me enjoy books in a way I was completely missing out on before.

And the best part is that I’ve started integrating them into my everyday reading habits. If you’re my friend on Goodreads (add me here!), you’ll see I always have (at least) 3 books in my “Currently Reading” section. Now, one of those books is the audiobook I’m listening to. I’ve even started listening to whole series through audio versions and love it!

It makes me wish that I was successful 7 years ago. Imagine the series I would have finished by now!

Do you read audiobooks? Any tips? Share your experience below!

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Tag it Thursdays: How I Read Tag

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Tag it Thursdays: I occasionally get tagged by fellow bloggers to complete various tags. Once a month I will post my response. Please, feel free to tag yourself if any of these tags interest you!

This month’s tag:

How I Read Tag

I found this tag last summer on two blogs: Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian and later, McKenzie @ Bookish Things and Tea’s blog. I wanted to do this particular tag because it asks some cool questions about reading and blogging–not just the typical/standard ones. Enjoy:

How do you find out about new books to read?

Definitely Goodreads! Their “Readers Also Enjoyed” side widget is deadly! Kobo also does a great job of recommending books to me as well since I do get so many from them.

And of course, all the other blogs out there! I’ve made it a point to make sure I note which books I find from others (because how many times do we comment that we will let someone know our thoughts and never follow up?) along the way.

How did you get into reading?

Both of my parents are active readers so reading has always been a part of my life from an early age. But I credit The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants for reigniting my regular reading habits. I devoured that book in a weekend and loved every minute of it. Afterwards, I wanted to get that feeling back and so I became an active library patron from then on. It also helped I had to commute 1 hour each way to my high school and so I had time to kill and reading was a great way to do that.

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How has your taste in books changed as you’ve gotten older?

When I was a teenager, I couldn’t get enough of YA paranormal reads. I pretty much picked up every title my library had. However, I’ve recently discovered I can’t stand them! All the petty problems are just not for me anymore. I find myself getting more annoyed by the character’s and their antics than I am enjoying them.

I’m also outgrowing certain authors as well. I adored Meg Cabot as a teen and as I get older, even her adult novels are loosing their appeal. Lots of authors have a formula that works for them and I find the more you read by them, the more you start to see it. It can make books rather boring.

How often do you buy books?

This year I’m on a bit of a self-imposed book buying ban while I try to clean up my eReader. So lately, I’ve been buying books sporadically whenever there is a very good sale. And that varies month by month so I would say that I buy 0-5 books on a monthly basis.

How did you get into book reviewing?

Because I read so many books in a year (150+), I wanted to help others decide what was worth their time. My friends always ask me about books and so it’s a role I’m comfortable in. I decided to focus on series in particular because I had just finished a series I had invested 3+ years in and it had the shittiest ending ever and I wish someone had told me the whole series wasn’t worth my time. (That series was Delirium BTW)

My other motivation was to have a place to remember how I felt about a particular book! I have a crappy memory and sometimes books get lost in the shuffle so it was great to have a place to keep track of everything.

How do you react when you don’t like the end of a book?

This one is tough! Anger is the first thing that pops into my mind. If it’s a physical book, I probably close it a little too forcefully but since I mostly eRead, I don’t get to do that. Then I take some time and try to rationalize why the ending would be what it is before I compose my review.

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How often do you take a sneak peak at the ending to see if there is a happy ending?

NEVER! I hate spoilers with a passion and why reveal the biggest one of all!


Don’t forget to check out Krystianna’sMcKenzie’s answers! Thanks for bringing it to my attention <3

Please Tag Yourself and Link Back for me to read!

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Monthly Inventory: June 2017

June 2017

Was it just me or did June just fly by? I honestly don’t know where the month went!

Overall, June was a mixed bag. I more than likely signed myself up for more ARCs to read this summer than I should have (oops). All the library holds I had came in within 3 days of each other at the end of the month (Murphy’s Law). And I made very little progress on my various reading challenges (ugh). However, I read some of my most anticipated books, finished my first ever series solely through audiobooks and cleaned up my list of pending requests–so I can’t complain too much.

July is all about saving my 2017 reading goals. I’ve signed up for the Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge in the hopes I can focus on getting some of those titles I’ve procrastinated on. I’m also not putting a single book on hold at the library (unless I need it for the TBR challenge) which is a really big deal for me. I hope it pays off!

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Total for June 2017: 17 Books Read + 9 Novellas Read

Last June: 15 Books Read + 2 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 4 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Review: The Dark Artifices Trilogy

I’m not surprised this book is here. Damn, I was rivoted by this one. I just love this series so much. I’m devastated I have to wait 2 years for the finale. 🙁

Biggest Let Down (DNF’d)

Review: Mr Right Swipe

I absolutely loved the concept of this one: a 30 something single woman exploring the world of online dating. Unfortunately, the maturity was lacking and the humour just wasn’t for me.

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I thought it would be fun to keep track of my reading progress on my Kobo every month (and compare it to last year’s numbers). While I do own a Kindle now, I mostly use my Kobo for everyday reading. As per my #ShelfLove Challenge, I really want to increase the Total % of Library Complete by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, with Kobo’s latest update they’ve changed the way they calculate statistics and it has drastically altered mine. It seems like they only count Kobo books now for total # of books finished (they used to include the eBooks from the library that I would add). But for some reason, that has changed my total % complete as well. At least my total # of hours seems to have stayed.

As of:

June 30, 2017

July 3, 2016

Total % of Library Complete

10%

17%

Total # of Books Finished

114

472

Total # of Reading Hours

2309

1913

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Should Have Started by Now

Most Viewed Review

Blog Tour: Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne

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

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Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

 

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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: 7 of 25 Titles Read

July’s 5Y5B picks: The Loop & The Iron Wyrm Affair

Goodreads Challenge: 26 books added
#ShelfLove Challenge: 15 TBR Items added

July’s #ShelfLove picks: The Opportunist & Retrieval

Judge By the Cover Challenge: None
Classics ChallengeNone

July’s pick:TBD

View my Challenge Progress Here!

In February, I brought back my Tackling the TBR feature and announced my plan to get my Goodreads TBR down to 500 books. Here are my current standings:

  • Current TBR Shelf: 614 books
  • TBR Shelf at end of May: 611 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books

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You can still join in on these discussions:

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

I guess I didn’t really blog hop last month! I will remedy that for July!

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July 1st was Canada’s 150th birthday and I thought I would pick a Canadian song for my song of the month for June. Everyone knows Chris Hadfield as the Canadian astronaut but he also does music too! This song is pretty Canadian if I do say so myself 😛

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

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Series I Should Have Started by Now

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Is a weekly meme feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers post their Top 10 List for an assigned topic! I will not be participating every week, but I will occasionally take a shot at it! You can always find these lists (past, present and original) on my Riffle Page!

This Week’s Topic:

Top Ten Series I Should Have Started by Now

When your blog is focused on review book series, you amass quite the collection of series to read. I’ve made it a mission this year to reduce my TBR on Goodreads to 500 titles, but that’s a hard thing to do when there are so many great novels out there.

These novels are combination of titles everyone raves about and the ones I’ve been hotly anticipating to start. Though I did make a consious note not to add any of the series that I’ve put on my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge.

(In no particular order):


Do we share any series?

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Leave a Link to your TTT in the comments below!