Tag «monthly features»

Trope Thursdays: Slow Burn Romance [2]

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.


Round 2 of my new feature!

As I said in the description above, the idea is to look at common book tropes and dissect them each month. I’m going to pick a variety of tropes–including ones I hate–and dig a little deeper. First, I’ll define what that trope is and then list some common features. Next, I’ll pick some examples of the trope in action and why it works (or doesn’t work) for that particular story. And then finally, I’ll open the floor to you to tell me your thoughts on the trope or recommend some reads to me.

Slow Burn Romance

Definition:

A romance that develops gradually over time as the characters get to know one each other more.

Common Features:

  • Friends to Lovers
  • In Love With Client/Coworker/Partner
  • Hate to Love You
  • In Love With the Enemy
  • Teach Me to Love
  • In Love with Someone “Forbidden”

What I Love About The Slow Burn Romance Trope:

I’ve only recently come to realize that I love the slow burn romance trope. For me, one of the things I need to see the most in my romances is a deeper connection. Insta-loves don’t work for me because the connection is usually superficial or based on something “unspoken”. But slow burn romances let you see how these characters work together over time. How they compliment each other; how they slowly realize the other person is what they have been looking for all along. That’s when the looks become a little longer; and the thoughts turn into attraction; and the tension between the two leads becomes palpable.

While researching this post, I read some other bloggers’ thoughts on the slow burn trope and I think Liana @ Coffee Time Romance sums it up very nicely:

The slow burn romance means the characters can flirt with the idea of love before ever admitting they are in love. It gives them a chance to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, it gives the readers a chance to see the couple through the good days and the bad so that when the characters finally reach Happily Ever After there is no doubt that they will really have forever together.

~Liana @ Coffee Time Romance (Post: The Beauty of the Slow Burn Romance [Sep 4, 2015])

What I Dislike About The Slow Burn Romance Trope:

Sometimes I can be a little impatient when it comes to my romances. There is only so many “near-misses” a girl can take before she’s screaming at the pages for the couple to kiss!

Like I mentioned in my last Trope Thursday Posts about Fake Relationships, the problem with the slow burn usually lies in the characters or the plot itself. If the plot isn’t very strong, I usually want the romance to be of a greater focus so that something is happening in the book. But if it too is just puttering along, well, that can make for a boring read. And when it comes to the characters, I want to like them. So if I find one character is “undeserving” of another, slow burn romances can drive me nuts because I don’t see that deeper connection.

But it’s also important to note that having the characters wait a long time to establish that romantic relationship doesn’t always make a slow burn romance. You need to have those moments that show a connection happen along the way. It isn’t enough to just stick a couple of calendar days between their first meeting and that moment when they finally take the next step. You’ve got to develop it in some way.

Another time slow burn romances can fail is in a series where the romance is spread out over multiple volumes. Once the couple gets together, that tension often disappears because they get into that “honeymoon” phase of the relationship. Their relationship becomes this inevitable fact and you lose a bit of that “will they or won’t they” thrill. Either they become this perfect couple or they have to break up for the sake of the plot. It can make for a boring read in the subsequent sequels if their slow burn romance was the main focus/plot-point of their first book because what else do you have to look forward to?

Books that Use the Slow Burn Romance Trope Well:

The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire, #1)
I found Blackhearts to be a very character driven story–which isn’t surprising because it is an origin story of sorts. Anne and Teach are both such intriguing characters on their own but when they share a scene, the magic really happens. They just have so much in common and watching them discover that was such a treat as a reader.

Their romance follows along the lines of one that is almost forbidden due to their positions in society. So while the attraction might always be there, they really do try and fight it in order to stop their hearts from breaking.

>>Series Review: Blackhearts

 

 

Not only is this one of the longest romance novels I have ever read (the Kindle version has over 600 pages which is absolutely CRAZY!) but it also has one of the slowest burning romances I’ve ever seen.

Why? Well these two don’t start as friends and they aren’t even that attracted to each other but that’s what happens over time. You watch their relationship evolve from boss/employee to partners to friends to lovers. It’s a hard thing for these two very independent people to learn to trust someone else but over the course of the novel, they learn to do that.

>>Standalone Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

 

 

I had already written this post before I started this book. But as I was listening to the audiobook, I knew I just had to include it in this list.

The slow burn of Royally Endowed takes place over the course of years. This is a case where calendar days in between works as there is a never ending list of (realistic) obstacles along the way. It toys with the “will-they-won’t-they” idea until you know something has to give. And when it does, you can’t help but exclaim in joy.

 

Others: Play |  Smut

Books that Didn’t Use the Slow Burn Romance Trope Well:


This one is more a case of a slightly misleading synopsis and the idea of sticking calendar days in the way. I went into this book thinking the romance was going to be the main focus of the story and it wasn’t. In fact, the leads don’t even meet each other until the 50% mark. And when they do, they ignite pretty quickly. So despite the great chemistry and tension that we do finally get, the romance left something to be desired for me due to its execution.

Review: Crossing Stars

 

 

OK! Before everyone gets mad at me for this one hear me out! When I read the synopsis for The Raven Boys, I thought the main plotline was a romance between Blue and Gansey (all that stuff about her true love it mentions). So imagine my surprise when there is nearly zilch in the romance department in The Raven Boys!

I know that the romances are all slow burn and grow over the next 3 volumes but I needed something early on. I found the plot to be slow so this was one of those cases where I would have appreciated something else (like a romance) to focus on to keep the plot moving.

>>Series Review: The Raven Cycle

 

Others: A Stardance Summer |  Changling


Can’t get enough slow burn romances? Be sure to check out my Valentine’s Day Post!

Riffle Lists: Slow Burn Romance (Live February 14th)

 

As this is only my second post for this feature, please let me know what you think about its structure/topics be commenting below. I am more than willing to modify it in the coming months!

Do you enjoy the Slow Burn Romance Trope? Any recommendations?

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Monthly Inventory: January 2018

January 2018

January was an interesting reading month for me. I created my 2018 Reading Plan so I had a few “to-dos” to accomplish this past month. Did I meet them? Yes for the most part! I did request more ARCs than I anticipated (and set for myself)…oops. I also had to squeeze in a few other books because my “big city” library card expires mid-February now that I no longer live there for school. I tried my best to take out the books I don’t have access to with my local library and read them.

Thanks to my excellent planning, I managed to read all the books on my set TBR list according to my Reading Challenges while simultaneously reading those “big city” books (ie I made sure the books for this month’s reading challenge were the titles from that library).

I’ve also changed this summary post as well! There are some thing I’m only going to do every quarter and I’ve introduced some new features like my participation in the Down the TBR Hole meme and introducing the titles I have set to read for the new month. Enjoy!

thoughts

Total for January 2018: 24 Books Read + 2 Novellas Read

Last January: 21 Books Read + 2 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 3 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Sixth Street Bands #4

I’ve been reviewing Jayne’s work since her first novel in the Sixth Bands Series and it is CRAZY how much her writing has evolved since that first book! This story was absolutely awesome and I felt every emotion reading it. Love!

Biggest Let Down (DNF)

Frigid #2

JLA is in my Top 10 most read authors according to Goodreads but the last few of hers I’ve tried haven’t been overly successful. I didn’t love the first book in this series, Frigid, but I was really excited to read about the next set of leads in Scorched. Unfortunately, their immaturity really bothered me and I ended up DNFing the book.

 

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:

January 31, 2018

January 31, 2017

Total % of Library Complete

23%

20%

Total # of Books Finished

270

531

Total # of Reading Hours

2511

2150

*Note: After an update midway through 2017, the statistics changed for my Kobo. It no longer counted library copies towards the Total # of Books Finished (though it still counts the hours). Hence, there is a decrease in my current numbers for that statistic!

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

My 2018 Reading Plan

Most Viewed Review

Blog Tour: Fake Wife

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: Royally Screwed & Loop | 2 of 25 Titles Read
Goodreads Challenge: 26 books added | 26/190 Books
52 Sequel Challenge: 6 titles added + 1 DNF | 6/52 Sequels
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 4 books added + 1 DNF| 4/36 Books

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

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)

510

511

To Read (Sequels)

312

301

Clearly, not a big improvement. I picked up a few freebie reads this past month, including some sequel novels. But, it’s only month one and I hope that my upcoming vacation in February will help decrease those numbers.

 

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. I usually do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time.

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

I will be going through 10 books each month (7 “new” books/series and 3 previously started series) to see if I am going to keep them or move them to my “pass” shelf. I’m going by the date I added them to Goodreads, starting with what I added in 2012 and working my way towards 2018. Here are this month’s contenders and what I have decided to do:

The Kite Runner
Keep

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)
Pass

The Seduction of Phaeton Black (Paranormal Investigator, #1)
Pass

Ironskin (Ironskin, #1)
Pass

The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)
Keep

Tempting the Best Man (Gamble Brothers, #1)
Pass

Game for Marriage (Game for It, #1)
Keep

Dream Dark (Caster Chronicles, #2.5)
Keep

Angel Fever (Angel, #3)
Keep

Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)
Pass

Pass: 5  |  Keep: 5

Did I make any mistakes? 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 as per my 2018 Reading Plan. These books include review copies and reading challenge picks. Here are some of the books I have ready to go for February:

Free Me (The Found Duet, #1) Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor, #1) Paper Hearts (Hearts, #2) The Savage Blue (The Vicious Deep #2) Darkest Night (Sons of Broad, #1) The Amber Elixir (A Two Realms Novella Book 1)

 

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

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Trope Thursdays: Fake Relationships [1]

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.


Thanks for reading!

I’m super excited to finally share this feature with everyone! This was a feature I thought up in the summer of 2017 when I was creating a discussion post about tropes. I’ve been slowly working on bringing it to life ever since. It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to do exactly in the post as well as come up with a banner for the feature. (Don’t ask why I picked an owl, I just think they are cute and I wanted to know if I could create my own in Photoshop. Answer: yes).

As I said in the description above, the idea is to look at common book tropes and dissect them each month. I’m going to pick a variety of tropes–including ones I hate–and dig a little deeper. First, I’ll define what that trope is and then list some common features. Next, I’ll pick some examples of the trope in action and why it works (or doesn’t work) for that particular story. And then finally, I’ll open the floor to you to tell me your thoughts on the trope or recommend some reads to me.

So let’s begin! For my first ever Trope Thursday, I picked a personal favourite:

Fake Relationship Tropes

Definition:

Relationships that are formed between the leads for some purpose that requires the pair to appear to be in a romantic partnership. This purpose can be mutually beneficial or one-sided but both parties agree to fake romantic feelings to reach the end goal.

Common Features:

  • Fake girlfriend/boyfriend
  • Fake marriages (marriage of convenience)
  • Fake fiances
  • Slow burn romance

What I Love About The Fake Relationship Trope:

If I had to pick one trope to only read forever, it would likely be this one. I just love it so much! The main reason I can’t get enough is the development of the romance. In my romances, I want to see that deeper connection happen between my leads and I find I almost always get that in fake relationship novels. These characters become so ingrained in each other’s everyday life (and often in an accelerated way or during a time of high pressure) and they start to see the other person for who they are as a human being. They pick up on the quirks or the motivation for certain actions and that’s why they start to fall in love.

But don’t forget all the delicious tension of stolen kisses or lingering touches that may mean a little more! Usually the tension is just boiling over and the lines between love, lust, fake and reality begin to blur. I just love those moments where caution is thrown to the wind and the leads get carried away…

What I Dislike About The Fake Relationship Trope:

I generally don’t have any problems with the trope itself, usually it’s the plot or the characters that cause me to rate a fake relationship book lower and not the use of the trope.

Often time these stories can be cliche but I don’t particularly mind.

I do find that sometimes these novels can suffer from the time-frame of the novel depending on the situation and/or character development. Because people often need a fake boyfriend/girlfriend for a couple days or a month, the relationship can be too accelerated if not properly expanded upon with character development or a reasonable set of circumstances.

Books that Use the Fake Relationship Trope Well:

The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire, #1)
The chemistry between these two is off the charts! This is the classic “I’ve known you forever” type of situation with a shared past of hurt.  I adored their connection and how they use their marriage of convenience to grow as people and as partners for each other.

>>Series Review: Marriage to a Billionaire Series

 

 

One Week Girlfriend (One Week Girlfriend, #1)

One of my all time favourite New Adult reads. What I loved about this one is that these two don’t know anything about each other. But that quickly changes as they are thrown into a tense situation. Again, these two just got each other and watching them start from nothing to build such a great foundation had me swooning throughout!

>>Series Review: One Week Girlfriend

 

 

Others: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me  |  The Matchmaker’s Playbook

Books that Didn’t Use the Fake Relationship Trope Well:


It’s a shame the synopsis is so grossly misleading for this story. Regardless, this one failed to deliver on a few key things. For one, I felt like our hero wasn’t as developed as he could have been. Things also happen at a very quick pace and that stopped me from being a huge fan of the romance.

>>Series Review: A Billionaire Love Story Series

 

 

Despite great sexual tension between the leads, this story didn’t work on a lot of levels. For one, both leads were incredibly irritating. It’s hard to root for something more between them when you don’t like either lead. It also suffered from an overly dramatic (and quickly resolved) plotline.

>>Series Review: Billionaire Series

 

Others: His Hired Girlfriend


Thanks for reading my first ever Trope Thursday monthly feature! I hope you come back next month to see what I have in store!

As this is my first post for this feature, please let me know what you think about its structure/topics be commenting below. I am more than willing to modify it in the coming months!

Do you enjoy the Fake Relationship Trope? Any recommendations?

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Monthly Inventory: December 2017

December 2017

Can you believe it’s the end of 2017 already?

I know I can’t! This was a year of big changes for me. I (finally) said goodbye to the student life and hello to my career in healthcare. Starting shift work has brought a lot of challenges my way but it has also been super rewarding.

One way it has been rewarding is in terms of my reading and blogging! I really didn’t think I’d get to read that much this year now that I wasn’t a student but I definitely proved myself wrong. While I might not always get the chance to read first thing in the morning (my favourite time to read), I still find plenty of time to sit down with a book or two and get some pages in. I even got into audiobooks which has helped immensely in terms of reading stats and keeping me entertained during my commute.

As for blogging, I was able to schedule posts well into April 2018 so that’s been a huge burden off my shoulders. There are some days I don’t get a chance to check in at my blog so it’s nice to not have that worry on a regular basis when work and life get in the way.

I don’t know what to expect for 2018. I have a few plans when it comes to reading (expect that post the first week of January) and I’m introducing at least one new monthly feature to my blog so I’m very excited.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for my annual recap of my favourite books from 2017!

thoughts

Total for December 2017 (as of Dec 31st): 21 Books Read + 3 Novellas Read

Last December: 22 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 1 Book

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Rebel Belle #1

I didn’t think I’d like this book as much as I did but I loved every minute of this! The premise was so much fun, I laughed a lot and I was just plain entertained! I highly recommend this as an audiobook!

Biggest Let Down (DNF’d)

The Unnaturalists #1

I’ve had my eye on reading this for nearly 5 years and it was a huge let down. I felt extremely lost in what was happening and the world and because of that, I just couldn’t get into it.

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.

**NOTE: Due to a new update on my Kobo, it looks like my past library reads don’t count (hence the drop in nearly 300 books) as they don’t remain on my Kobo. Now only Kobo books I own are counted towards my Total % of Library Complete stats.**

As of:

December 29, 2017

December 31, 2016

Total % of Library Complete

22%

20%

Total # of Books Finished

264

523

Total # of Reading Hours

2511

2107

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

Service Review: Kobo Super Points

 

Most Viewed Review

Blog Tour: Fragile Chaos

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 finalized summary (as of December 29th):

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 2 titles this month |  10 of 25 Titles Read // 1 Year Complete!
Goodreads Challenge: Completed as of September 6  | 237/175 Books
#ShelfLove Challenge: 5 TBR Items added this month  | 51/50 Books
Judge By the Cover Challenge: None — what a fail of a challenge!
Classics Challenge: None |  3 books this year

View my Challenge Progress Here in detail!

Overall: This was perhaps the my worst year in terms of reading challenges. I usually blow them right out of the water and I didn’t really do that this year (with the exception of my Goodreads challenge). I really think the mood reader in me took over so I kinda just read what I wanted when I wanted–which truly was my goal for 2017. After years of reading according to deadlines it was nice to just pick up a book on a whim because the synopsis intrigued me (as opposed to adding it to my neverending TBR and getting to it years later). I’ve taken my experience this year to heart and have used it to craft my 2018 Reading Challenges which you can read more about below:

2018 Reading Challenges:

I’m keeping it simple this year and sticking with 3 (plus Goodreads of course) challenges for 2018. I like to do different reading challenges each year but this year, I couldn’t find any that met my specific goals for 2018. So I opted to create my own challenges based on my 2018 Reading Plan (look for that post in January!).

My Goodreads Goal this year is 190 Books.

5 Year 5 Book Challenge 2018 Edition!

I decided to bring this personal challenge back because it focuses on specific titles. I also like that it helps me get some of those backlisted titles off my TBR. This makes it easier to do a purge when I’ve read all the titles from that year that are still of interest to me. The goal is the same: read 25 selected books I’ve been “highly anticipating” from the last 5 years (5 for each year).

>> View the titles I’ve selected here!

52 Sequel Challenge 2018

After I couldn’t find a reading challenge to meet my sequel needs, I just created my own to hold me accountable. The idea of this one is to read at least one sequel novel from a previously started series a week for 2018. That means I hope to read a grand total of 52 sequels (minimum!) in 2018.

Tackling the TBR – The 2018 Challenge

I’d like to get a few titles I’ve had on my eReaders off my TBR list this year–as I do every year. For this challenge, any title I own prior to 2018 will count once I read it. The minimum goal is 24 titles in 2018. However, I’ve also combined this with my sequel challenge where 1 book each month is a sequel from my personal collection so in theory I should reach 36 books by the end of 2018.

 

In February, I brought back my Tackling the TBR feature and announced my plan to get my Goodreads TBR down to 500 books. And I’m happy to say that I got my results down to 511! It’s a little more than 500 but considering some of those are ARCs that will be finished in January, I call it a success!

So how’d I do it? If you followed my monthly inventories, you would have noticed my numbers had really fluctuated since February. Some months I was up; others had me down. In November I said I was going to do a purge and that was exactly what I did this month.

One day, I went through all my titles on Goodreads and brought my “Want to Read” (the shelf I use for inaugural books and standalones I would like to read) from 619 to 513. Here were some rules I used to remove books:

  • Date added — if it was in 2012 (and not a classic novel), I removed it
  • I marked it as “unsure expectations” and it had been there for 3+ years
  • I didn’t mark it with any anticipation tags — especially if it was a “freebie”
  • I didn’t have a source to read it and it had been there for 3+ years
  • I read the synopsis and wasn’t excited to read it

Without further ado, here are my current standings:

  • Current TBR Shelf: 511 books (YAY!)
  • TBR Shelf at end of November: 619 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books
  • Total # of Books Removed: 694 (WOWZA!)

Note: When I say “remove”, I moved these books to my “Pass” shelf so I know if I had considered reading them at some point in case I ever revisit them.

For 2018, I’d love to get that number below 500 but who knows! My main goal for 2018 is reading sequels so my focus will be moved to my other “to read” shelf and bringing it closer to 200 titles (it currently sits at 300).

Here are some great posts that caught my eye around the blogosphere this month:

So what type of posts can you expect in 2018? Here’s a preview of what I have in store for the first quarter:

  • A new monthly feature looking at book tropes
  • New Tips posts for enjoying audiobooks and keeping track of sequels
  • New Discussion posts about reading slumps and hosting blog tours
  • The return of The Perfect Match!
  • A Trilogy Review Blitz!
  • Lots of great series reviews!

How would you sum up your 2017 reading/blogging year? Did you accomplish everything you wanted to?

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

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Monthly Inventory: November 2017

November 2017

As I created this post, I struggled with how to describe the month of November. It seems like just yesterday I was plotting out my NaNoWriMo story and writing the first chapter. Overall, I think the best way to describe it all is panicked.

Just before my big trip in September, I noticed that I had neglected my two challenges for the year quite a bit. October wasn’t much of a help because real life got in the way and November was the month of finishing up the various requests I had taken on. I have a new plan for each of those challenges so you can find that below.

I also went through my first major reading slump of the year in November but I quickly got out of that. Look for a post in the new year about my tried and true tactic.

One positive is that I created my reading plan for 2018 based on my experiences of the last 3 months so hopefully that works out!

thoughts

Total for November 2017: 15 Books Read + 3 Novellas Read

Last November: 23 Books Read + 2 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 1 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Dance Off #1

This novel reminded me what I love in a great adult contemporary romance: sizzling sexual tension; strong leads and just the right amount of drama to keep you interested. I found a new must read author with Alexis Daria!

Biggest Let Down (DNF’d)

Reign of Shadows

I really wanted this to be the book that made me love Sophie Jordan’s works but alas, that was not the case. I DNF’d this one pretty quick and I think I’ve reached the conclusion that her books are definitely not for me.

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.

**NOTE: I finally figured out why my Kobo stats went all wonky a few months ago. For some reason books I had reopened lost their “read” status so they went away from my stats. So after going through 30 pages of books and marking them all as read again, my stats somewhat returned! It looks like my past library reads don’t count (hence the drop from 516 to 262) but now I can keep track of the books I own at the very least!**

As of:

November 30, 2017

November 30, 2016

Total % of Library Complete

22%

19%

Total # of Books Finished

262

516**

Total # of Reading Hours

2479

2082

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

 

TTT: Books I Want my Kids to Read

 

Most Viewed Review

 

DNF Series Review: Starbound

 

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: 9 of 25 Titles Read

New Target: Read the last 2 titles from 2012 and repeat challenge in 2018

Goodreads Challenge: Completed as of September 6
#ShelfLove Challenge: 1 TBR Item added this month

New Target: Technically, I’ve completed the challenge since I’m in my chosen range but I would like to hit 50 books by the end of 2017 and I’m currently just 5 books short

Judge By the Cover Challenge: None — what a fail of a challenge!
Classics Challenge: None

New Target: Let’s try again next year!

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: 619 books
  • TBR Shelf at end of October: 614 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books
  • Total # of Books Removed: 0

New Target: I hope to do a purge in December of back-listed titles and get this number closer to 500.

NaNoWriMo Update

Despite starting with one story and quickly scraping it for another I was way more interest it, I had a pretty good month of writing. While I didn’t win this year, I definitely wrote more than I have in the previous years combined! So that’s a big win for me. I created a kick ass outline that I will be using moving forward. I’m hoping to make writing a weekly thing (daily just isn’t going to work with my current work schedule) but I feel really good about how I left things despite not reaching that target word count.

I have quite a few review copies to get through these first two weeks but the rest of the month is dedicated to getting those last few titles in for my challenges. I’m excited to do my Top Picks post for 2017 (it’s going to be so tough to decide and I have new category ideas!); tweak my reading plan for 2018 and create a new monthly feature I’m excited to share with you all.

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

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Books I Want my Kids to Read

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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 Books I Want my Children to Read

This list is a weird mixture of books I read in my childhood and books I’ve bought with the intention of sharing with my (someday) kids. Since 2011, my book purchases have been mostly eBooks but if there is a book or series I particularly love, I make an effort to buy it for my personal collection. So all these books on the list below are books I own (the exception being the Legend Series but that’s next on my list to buy!) and am holding on to with the hopes of sharing and passing on one day.

Why did I pick these books?

Well the classics from my childhood are Franklin, Bernstein Bears and Arthur. I spent countless hours as a kids reading those books with my family over the years. Nancy Drew is the ultimate classic–most of the Nancy Drew novels I own are from my mother’s childhood collection so they share a special place in my heart. I also adore mystery (my whole family does) and that’s something I want to pass on.

The rest (Legend, Winner’s Curse, Vampire Academy, The Mortal Instruments, Hunger Games and The Infernal Devices) are some of my favourite YA series ever! They each feature strong characters, amazing worlds and brilliant plots. They helped shape my reading world and I want them to do the same for my kids one day.


Do we share any books? What’s your criteria for sharing books with your children?

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Leave a Link to your TTT in the comments below!

Monthly Inventory: October 2017

October 2017

I can’t believe October has come and gone!

This month just flew by! It definitely helped that I spent a majority of it on vacation. I managed to get more books in than I expected–and in particular sequels for novels I’ve been putting off for awhile–so I always consider that a positive! My blogging lacked a little but I’ve got more time on my hands this month so I’ll be making up for lost time.

NaNoWriMo is happening again and I’m going to try my best to participate again this year. I’m not sure what story (I have two from the last two years I’ve started but not completed) I will be writing but I’m hoping this event will help instill in my the everyday habit of writing a little bit. If you participate and want to be buddies, here’s my profile.

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Total for October 2017: 16 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read

Last October: 15 Books Read + 4 Novellas

October 2017’s DNFs: 1 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

NSFW

Ever since I finished Play last year, I’ve been waiting for Charlie’s story. AND BOY, IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT! I loved every minute of that book.

Biggest Let Down (DNF’d)

Fallen Isles Trilogy #1

I just found this book to be terribly slow. I was more than 60% in and not invested what-so-ever; which is not a good sign. So perhaps proceed with caution if you want to pick this up.


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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: Currently Re-evaluating
Goodreads Challenge: Completed as of September 6
#ShelfLove Challenge: 1 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: 614 books
  • TBR Shelf at end of September: 612 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books

I blame some really good eBook deals for the sudden spike in my TBR numbers…

November is for Reading Challenge Catch-Up!

Since August, I’ve really failed with my personal reading challenges. My Goodreads one is easy because it counts everything I read but my challenges that are a little more specific have gone by the wayside.

In theory, I have more than enough time to salvage my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge. I have 15 books to read if I don’t count the sequels to get through by December 31st. I also have to finish 5 books for my #Shelflove Challenge as well. Completely do-able.

However, I went a little review copy crazy for the first half of November and this morning I got a little request happy at my library and took out 3 books that do not work for my challenges. I’m hoping with the time I have off from work in the next week, I can power through some novels and get myself in shape! Even if I get 3 books finished this month from my challenge, I can dedicate December to only challenge reads!


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

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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!


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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: 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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