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SERIESous Discussion: How I Became a Two-Timing Book Reader


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!


Five years ago, if you asked me how many books I was currently reading, I would have said one.
If you asked me today, I’d say at least two, if not three.

Over time, many of our habits evolve and my reading habits are no exception.

I was a pretty serial monogamist when it came to reading a few years ago. Meaning: I’d only read one book at a time. Why? Well, I liked the idea of getting through books quickly and efficiently. It seemed more productive for me to keep my attention on one book at a time so that’s what I did.

There were really only 2 reasons why I would start a second book while reading another.

One: I needed to read it for school.

Two: my current read was very long (or not completely holding my attention) and I needed to split up my reading time. I found that by reading only bits at a time, as I read something else, helped to keep me interested and subsequently finish the long/not-fully-invested-in book. DNFing a book was something I rarely did then; I toughed out nearly all the books I read (with some disastrous consequences).

Fast forward to now and you will see my reading habits have changed quite a bit.

Now, I have at least 2 books on the go at all times. Sometimes, I even have a third! Gah! The old me wouldn’t recognize the reader I’ve now become! It’s amazing how something you do everyday can change over the years without you really noticing the shift immediately.

Why the change?

I think there are a number of reasons why I’ve become a bit of a two-timer when it comes to reading.

ONE: I listen to audiobooks on a regular basis.

Now that I commute to work multiple times a week by driving, I need something to keep me entertained in my car. I went with audiobooks instead of the radio or my iPod and I am so glad that I did! Listening to audiobooks as I drive allows me to feel productive while simultaneously making the trip feel faster.

>> Learn how audiobooks have changed my monthly reading habits!

>> SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get into Audiobooks

So now, I always have a physical book on the go as well as an audiobook that I usually reserve for car rides (or dog walks) only.

TWO: I’m a Mood Reader

I’ve always had a bit of a pattern when it comes to reading. Say I just finished a YA fantasy novel, I usually pick up a New Adult romance right after. And after that, I pick up another non-contemporary novel and alternate back and forth. Other times, I read multiple books in that genre because I’m just in a genre-binge phase.

But sometimes, it depends on the type of novel I’ve just finished. For example, if I just finished a dark romance, I usually read 2 “lighter” romances right after to bring me back to a more happier place. Sometimes I’ll even start that lighter book while I read the darker one just to balance out my mood and give me something else to think about. That’s how I often find myself with multiple physical books on the go.

THREE: ARC / Request Responsibilities

For the most part, I usually only stick to one physical book at a time plus my audiobook. I find now that I take on more ARCs and participate in more blog tours, I’ve integrated my various deadlines into the order of books to read.

When I read an ARC, I usually try to only read the ARC and not pick up something else. I want to give the ARC my full attention because I’m being asked to write a fair review of it. But sometimes, I get last minute requests or the street teams I’m on have a sudden, surprise release and I try my best to get my review done in a timely manner to help the author out. So that might mean I start that ARC while finishing another novel in order to meet my deadlines.

FOUR: I Have More Time to Read in a Day

Because I my job involves shift work, I often have couple days off in a row after completing a stretch. While I love nothing more than to stay in bed all day and read, I sometimes find I don’t have the attention span to read only one book in a day. I liken it to watching TV. I love a good binge-watch as much as the next person, but sometimes, you’ve got to mix it up a bit and watch something else or do something else in between episodes.

>> SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month

This idea goes hand in hand with the mood reader in me. I enjoy reading a couple chapters of one book and then switching to another within the hour and repeating the process throughout the day. Sure, it’s probably more productive to only read one book at a time but I find the changes keep my mind and attention fresh for each book.

FIVE: It’s Part of my “To DNF or Not to DNF” Strategy

I mentioned before that in the past, I used to break up “Book A” into smaller chunks at a time while reading “Book B” so that I could eventually finish “Book A”. Three years ago I rarely DNF’d books and pushed myself to finish them regardless of my enjoyment. As a result, I went through a lot of reading slumps and that wasn’t cool with me.

I worked really hard on becoming comfortable with DNFing books in 2017; on putting down books that just weren’t capturing my attention or weren’t enjoyable to me. And in turn, I had a great reading year in 2017 with only a few minor slumps every couple of months that I quickly got over.

>> SERIESous Discussion: DNFing ARCs

One strategy I employed for books I was on the fence about DNFing was starting another novel I wanted to read. I found that by stepping away from the book in question, I was able to determine if I was truly invested in finding out how it all ends and if I wanted to keep reading. If I wasn’t, I stopped and marked it as DNF’d. And because I had already started another book that I was enjoying, I didn’t go into that slump of “what do I read now?” and dwelling too long in the disappointment that can surface when DNFing a book you were excited to read.


I know that reading multiple books at a time isn’t a ground-breaking thing. Lots of people have been doing it for years. But for me, it’s a method I’ve really only embraced in the last year or so as a regular habit of my everyday reading and I wanted to investigate why. I can’t wait to see what my habits are in 5 years from now!

How many books do you read at one time and what is your reasoning?

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SERIESous Discussion: Book Formats by Month


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


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

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

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

In General:

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

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

Digitally Owned & Digital Review Copies:

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

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

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

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

Borrowed From the Library:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving Forward:

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

What book formats do you read in a month?

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SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month


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


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

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

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

My Thoughts Before Looking at the Numbers:

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

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

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

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

The Actual Results:

The Breakdown:

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts After Looking at the Numbers:

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

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

Moving Forward:

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

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

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SERIESous Discussion: 5 Reasons Why Novellas Stop Reading Slumps


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!


Reading slumps happen to everyone.

From preventing them in the first place to getting yourself out of one, everyone has their own tactic for beating reading slumps. In the past, I’ve shared a lot of my strategies to thwart off reading slumps because they were a frequent occurrence in my reading life two years ago (i.e. reading year 2016).

>> SERIESous Tips: How to Prevent the Chore of Reading

Now, they don’t happen as much thanks to the changes I’ve made to my reading habits. But they still do happen, just not as long. In fact, as I write this (in November 2017), I consider myself to be in a slump and one that I would classify as my first major one in 2017. Which is pretty good to only have the first major reading slump in the 11th month of the year!

But as I am in this slump, I became inspired to write this post. I’ve shared how I avoid reading slumps in the past but I wanted to talk about how I get out of them when they do happen and why they don’t last for too long.

Answer: Novellas.

I’ve tried lots of things in the past and have had varying success (like reading a book from a favourite author or reading a book I normally wouldn’t). And these do often work but my tried and true method is reading novellas. Novellas are great anytime of the year, but I find them particularly helpful when I’m in a bit of a reading slump.

Reason 1: Quick Reads

I classify novellas as anything that has 20 to 150 pages. These are the books I can read easily in one sitting or in less 3 hours. Meaning, you aren’t giving up a huge time commitment but you get the satisfaction of completing something. More importantly, are getting yourself back in the habit of reading once again. And hey, if you don’t enjoy the book, you didn’t waste too much of your time!

Reason 2: Faster Plot Lines

The quick plotlines of novellas can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it cuts out the unnecessary drama and descriptions but a curse because sometimes things can feel rushed or incomplete. But what I want to highlight here is that you get to the main plot a lot quicker than some full length novels and that gets you invested early to see how it will all resolve.

Reason 3:  Often Leave You Wanting More

This idea works in two ways. One is that if you are reading a serialized story told in parts, they are notorious for ending on cliffhangers because they want you to read the next installment. And because of Reason 1, you can find yourself burning through a lot if you get yourself addicted.

The other reason–which is slightly negative I’ll admit–is that reading a novella may make you crave a full sized novel. Full size novels have the benefit of working out those slightly more complicated plotlines which can be missing in a novella depending on the style. Novels can also feature a larger cast of characters, and if you are like me, you often get drawn to these side characters. So reading a novella where these may be lacking may inspire you to pick up that novel you’ve been putting off for awhile.

Reason 4: Lots of Book Series Have Them

Novellas are often a part of your larger series. They can be short stories about side characters or alternative POVs or prequel stories to help build the world. The point is, sometimes returning to a world you are already familiar with–and likely enjoy–can remind you why you love reading the in the first place.

>> Fun Fact: This reason is how I got out of my November reading slump. I returned to the worlds of A Season for Scandal, Wolf by Wolf and Sins & Scandals by reading their novella installments.

Reason 5: Often Free!

Yes, FREE! Lots of author’s write novellas for their series as bonuses for readers. If your library has the series as an eBook series, they may have the novellas already. And you can often find the first one or two installments of a serialized series for free as a hook to get you into the series. Having an eReader can help but you can also use your tablet or computer or phone as most eBook retailers have apps.

>> Guide: Tips for Buying an eReader //  Guide: Using a Tablet for eReading

My point is, you don’t have to break the bank to get out of a slump. You can grab something that catches your eye and dive right in without worrying about spending your money!


Do you read novellas? How do you stop a reading slump?

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SERIESous Discussions: Lessons Learned from Blog Tours


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!


Truth: I didn’t know that blog tours existed until my 2nd year of blogging.

Embarrassing, I know, but I was in such a bubble during my first year of blogging (2013) that I didn’t know what was out there. Anyways, I started slowly with taking review requests in 2015, joining Netgalley and then in 2016, I officially joined the community of being a tour host.

I thought about making this a tips post but I really think this is more a reflection on my experiences being a tour host and how two years of hosting blog tours has changed my blogging and reading habits.

Lesson #1: I LOVE Helping Authors!

There are so many great books out there, from big-name publishers to self-published, and I love the idea that my blog post might help one person discover a book they never knew about. Exposure is everything, especially for those debut authors who are just emerging onto the scene. Just getting the email sign-ups for tours has exposed me to a lot of books I might never have seen otherwise.

More often than not, I often get to connect with these authors after the fact and I love that! I’ve had some great discussions and fantastic opportunities present themselves as a result. Those interactions remind me why I love blogging and reading in the first place: a shared passion for stories.

>>Some Blog Tour Organizers: Audiobookworm Promotions |  Lola’s Blog Tours  | Chapter by Chapter | Social Butterfly PR | Xpresso Book Tours | YA Bound Book Tours

Lesson #2: Keep an Eye on the Number of Requests

I’ve talked in the past about some of the tactics I use to minimize the feeling of reading as a chore but it is so easy to sign-up for blog tours when you are getting emails daily. Like I said, there are a lot of interesting books out there and it can be hard to resist clicking the “request” button for every title that gets your attention. But you don’t want to overwhelm yourself by creating more deadlines and commitments than you can handle.

I personally aim to do no more than 2 requests (blog tour or review request/opportunities) per month. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail but I find that ground rule keeps me from requesting all the books.

Using a calendar to keep track of all my posts allows me to see the bigger picture. Can I fit that tour in on those specific dates? Have I already applied/committed to review something that day? You have to be careful because most blog tours want their post to be the “top” post of the day and that may mean shuffling your schedule around to meet that requirement.

>>Tip Posts: Using Trello to Keep Organized | Organizing Requests | How to Start Scheduling Blog Posts

Lesson #3: Read the Book ASAP!

Most blog tours give you a month or more notice before your scheduled date and you often get the review copy a few weeks before the posting date. When I put in my book deadlines on my calendar, I aim to have the ARC finished at least a week before my tour stop…but that doesn’t always happen.

Reading the review copy at the last minute can have some unfortunate consequences. For one thing, you might not be able to finish the review on time. For another, you might end up DNFing the book or are unable to give it a favourable review (which defeats the purpose of a promotional tour though you are always encouraged to post your review later). Or something comes up and you just can’t post anything for the tour.

All the touring groups I deal with are great with recognizing that you won’t like every book you read and are very accommodating with changing the date or type of tour stop and/or making alternate arrangements. But my point here is that it can be stressful for all involved if you leave your reading to the last minute and arrangements can’t be made. You have to remember that it is a privilege to be awarded a spot on a tour, not your right as a blogger. If you are hard to work with or can’t make your commitments, it might affect your opportunities with that company later on.


Those are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned over the last year. Although blog tours can be a bit of work, I’ve found them to be extremely rewarding! I’ve discovered a ton of amazing books and authors over the last two years and I hope you have to by following my blog.

Do you participate in Blog Tours? Why or why not?

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SERIESous Discussion: Where Do my Books Come From?


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!


Do 80% of my books come from the library like I think? I investigate for the truth!

I was inspired to do this investigation after I read Lauren @ Bookmark Lit‘s post “Whose Books Am I Reading?”In it, she looks at where she gets her books that she reads on a daily basis. Are they purchased? Are they from the library? Review copies? Friends? And it got me curious about my own book acquiring habits.

See, I always say that 80-90% of my books come from the library. But I’m not sure that is entirely true; especially now that I read ARCs on a more regular basis and have a greater focus on reading books I already own.

So let’s break it down!

Book Sources for 2017

(Between January 1 to November 29, 2017)

Source:#%2016
Grand Total:221100233 (100%)
Purchased4520.379 (34%)
Library10647.985 (36%)
ARCs7031.669 (30%)

When I broke this all down, I was a little shocked. I really thought I got more of my books from the library. I was curious and looked at my breakdown for 2016. And again, I couldn’t believe it!

Lauren @ Bookmark Lit goes into further detail about release dates, borrowing sources, cost and more in her post but I’m going to leave it at this for me. However, I’m going to look at whether I’m reading sequels, standalone or inaugural series novels as it pertains more to my blog and its posts.

Types of Novels

(Between January 1 to November 29, 2017)

Type: #%
Grand Total221100
Standalone7433
Series14766.5
Book 1(53)(36)
Book 2(44)(30)
Book 3+(37)(25)
Novellas:(11)(7)

I was surprised when I got the totals back in two ways. One is that I really didn’t think I read that many standalone novels this year but in hindsight, when I first started listening to audiobooks I was mostly picking standalones so it makes sense.  (I mean, I did know that I had read more than I had post slots for and that’s why I stopped reading them after August but the number actually shocked me!)

The other surprise was the number of sequels I read. I really felt like I was lacking when it came to getting to the sequels this year. There were so many sequels releasing this year but I never got to them. In fact, when I was creating my 2018 reading plan, I focused almost entirely on sequels because I felt like I was failing at this…and I’m a blog that focuses on book series so it’s important!

Conclusion?

I think I sometimes fail to see the bigger picture. Doing my Monthly Inventory Recaps gives me an overview of the month but not necessarily the grand scheme. Perhaps in 2018 I’ll look more at the previous month as opposed to the previous year like I currently do. Because I’m really not doing as bad as I think I am when it comes to reading and I think it is a nice thing to remind myself of from time to time.

Ultimately, reading is a hobby that feeds my other hobby of blogging and I never want this to feel like a chore or like I have to meet a certain quota to be “successful” because “success” is very relative and personal when it comes to being a book blogger when it is all said and done.

Where do most of your books come from?

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SERIESous Tips: Picking the Perfect Travel Reads

For me, deciding what books to bring on a trip is just as important as figuring out what clothes I’m going to pack.

While packing for my big international trip back in September (and with the holidays right around the corner), I thought it would be a great idea to share some of my strategies for selecting the titles I take with me on vacation.

Use an eReader!

Before I got my eReader, finding space for books in my suitcase was a massive undertaking. For an overpacker like myself, it was a delicate situation that required a lot of foresight and sacrifice.

I remember on one trip, I brought 3 books thinking that would be more than enough to keep me entertained. It wasn’t. We had more travel downtime than I anticipated and I found myself bored that I couldn’t read.

eReading has solved that problem for me in a big way. Not only is my eReader super easy to pack, but it lets me have 100s of books at my disposal. I never run out of books to read when I bring my eReader and that’s just fabulous!

>> Learn more about eReading!

Now my biggest dilemma is deciding whether to bring my Kobo or Kindle.

Ask Yourself: What Will Your Reading Time Look Like?

It’s a good idea to get a feel for when you might find yourself reading on your trip. Do you have a long flight or lengthy travel time? Are you doing more of a relaxing trip where you will be reading most of the day? Or do you have an action packed itinerary where reading time will be minimal? I always look at what my reading time will be in order to determine what type of books I want to read.

When I go on my more “relaxing” vacations, I tend to pick novels that I can get lost in for hours at a time. I’m talking about the books you want to read in one sitting or books that are better if you read in a shorter time frame thanks to their somewhat complicated plots. For me, these are my YA fantasies or science fiction reads. 

On the other hand, when I know that my reading time will be limited, I pick novels that I can easily pick up and carry on with when I get the chance. These are my Romance and Contemporary reads. I pick these stories because they usually have (in general) fewer characters to remember and a simpler plot line to follow. They’re easier to pick up and immerse myself into even if it has been a couple of days since I last picked it up.

Start a Book Before You Go

I actually learned this tip from my local library and it’s something I keep in mind every time I travel. While I usually have no problem starting a new book, I find sometimes on vacation that it can be hard to get myself to start that new novel. By getting myself invested in the story before I leave, I find myself compelled to finish the book while on my trip because I need to see what will happen next. Being familiar with something–especially when you might be in an unfamiliar place–can really help motivate you to pick up that novel.

Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself (If You Can)

When I go on vacation, I try not to read any request or review copies because I can never be sure what my reading time will be like. As I said above, if I know that I will have lots of reading time because of flights or days at the beach, I might pick up a review copy or two on my trip. But in most cases, I avoid anything that will cause me stress since my vacation is supposed to be relaxing and I don’t want that negatively impacting my reviews.

>> Tips: Ideas for organizing review copies and requests

>> Tips: How to Avoid the “Chore” of Reading


A Note on Keeping Up With My Blogging

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing and so I try to limit all distractions, including my blog. That’s why I schedule everything on my blog so that I don’t have to worry about posting things while away. And it’s like I never left (well, besides the fact that I don’t respond to comments right away).

>> Check out my tips to help start you scheduling your blog posts!

But since I review 98% of the books I read, I do keep notes on the books I read while on vacation. Sometimes I do have my laptop and a WiFi connection so I write up a quick draft of a review and format it once I get home. Other times, I simply type out my review in an email or as a digital note on my phone and send it to myself later once I have an internet connection. That way, I don’t have to stress myself over what my initial thoughts were once I finished the book and it’s fresh in my mind.

How do you pick the books you read for vacations? Any tips?

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#ShelfLove Discussion: My Trope Addictions + Dislikes

One of the main reasons I picked the #ShelfLove Challenge this year was the seasonal discussions it had. It’s a fun aspect and one I think will help keep the challenge fresh throughout the year for me.

I have a lot of must read and must avoid tropes. So this was a hard topic to narrow down. But I did! I’ve selected 3 tropes I adore and 3 tropes I could leave in the dust! Coincidentally, I listed my favourite tropes for a Top Ten Tuesday list earlier this year so feel free to check that out and two years ago I did one for tropes I could do without.

For 2018 I plan on doing more with book tropes in a new feature so be on the lookout for that in a few months!

Tropes I Can’t Get Enough Of

Slow Burn Romance

This is a trope that is new to my “fave trope” lists. These are usually harder to find unless I read reviews before hand but sometimes, a slow burn romance is what I need to remind me why I love romances. All that sexual tension and anticipation is fantastic!

Trope Winners: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me |  Chasing Red

Forbidden Love

I love sexual tension and forbidden romances provide that in spades. You’ve got all that risk and you can’t wait for the reward. And I just love when love defies the odds.

Trope Winners: The Forbidden  |  Queen of Blood

Rockstar Romances

This is probably my favourite New Adult Romance genre. I will pick up any romance if it mentions a rockstar/musician love interest. I just can’t get enough of them!

Trope Winners: The Heartbreakers  |  Mayhem

Tropes That Can Drop off the Face of the Earth

Multiple Love Interests

Usually I’d say love triangles here (and I still do detest them) but lately, I’ve had to endure books where the lead has multiple people trying to win their heart. I’m talking love squares people! Apparently, the lead is so desirable that they can attract 3 significant others simultaneously! Ugh.

Trope Offenders: A Wicked Thing  |  Blood Rose Rebellion

Alpha Males

I can’t stand the men who think they can control their female counterpart. I like my romances to be a partnership where they can function as independent individuals but are stronger together as a pair.

Trope Offenders: BreathlessIndebted

Love At First Sight

I can understand instant connections but you need to elaborate on those for me. I want to see the romance blossom into something more than some unsaid connection. Physical chemistry is great but can these two hold an actual conversation? That’s what I like to see!

Trope Offenders: Real  | A Week for Love to Bloom

What tropes do you love and hate?

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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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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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