Tag «seriesous discussion»

SERIESous Discussion: Reading Book Purchases ASAP

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!

If all the books on my Kobo eReader were physically brought to life, my room would surely look like this:

Image result for falling under books gifs

I’ll be the first to say that I am terrible at reading books I buy; especially those that I buy for my Kobo because they are out of sight and out of mind. That’s why I’ve made it my mission over the last year to read more of the books I own with various reading challenges and by limiting the number of books I read from the library and for review.

Earlier this year, I started to read some books I pulled from my TBR jar…and promptly DNF’d them. Which was a hard thing to do because I hate leaving books unfinished on my eReader (I like my “% of library complete” stat to be as high as possible)–especially ones I’ve spent money on– and I just loathe DNFing books in general.

I know it is impossible to like every book you read, but I try to buy books that I know I’ll like–obviously. I mark all the books I buy on Goodreads and give a little ranking for how excited I am to read them when I first come across them or buy them to give myself an idea of my expectations when I do pick up to read.

So I was a little surprised when 2 of the books I DNF’d were marked “high anticipation”–meaning I was really, really excited to read them. This called for an investigation.

Covet (The Clann, #2)Case #1Covet by Melissa Darnell

When I Purchased It: November 2012

Why I Picked It Up: It’s a sequel to a book I read in 2012

Why I DNF’d It:

It’s been so long since I read the inaugural book (August 2012) in the series and despite my wonderful notes, I struggled to get back into the story.

I’ve also realized, I don’t particularly care for the common tropes in YA paranormal romances at this point in my life. They come across as petty and simple and I just want more out of my paranormal reads.

Undescribable (Undescribable, #1)

Case #2 – Undescribable by Melissa Darnell

When I Purchased It: March 2014

Why I Picked It Up: I like the “playboy” finds love trope

Why I DNF’d It:

This book didn’t grab my attention right away. It was so slow and dwelled on unnecessary aspects for too long.

I also didn’t like the one-dimensional leads. I’ve come to realize I like my leads to have a little more depth to them; especially if they have 3 books focusing on their relationship.

The lesson: my reading preferences definitely change as the years go by.

I have no doubts that if I had tried to read these books when I bought them all those years ago, I would have finished them. I might not have given them super high ratings, but they would be marked as “read”. And I kind-of regret not doing that because I feel bad that I didn’t enjoy these novels as much as I wanted to.

And it worries me going forward that the 29 standalones/series I bought before 2015 are going to be books I’m going to end up DNFing because the interest just isn’t there…

So if anything, this reaffirmed my book buying ban. The idea that I shouldn’t go out of my way to buy more books and that I should focus on reading the books that I already own. In a dream world, I’ll be at the point where I can buy books and read them soon after purchasing them because I’ve read everything else in my personal library.

What about you?

How backlogged is your personal TBR? Ever read a book and went, “I would have loved this 3 years ago?!”

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SERIESous Discussion: How “Adulting” Changed My Reading Habits

Since I started my blog in 2013, I’ve been an academic student. Whether it was as an undergrad degree or completing my post-graduate schooling, I’ve only ever talked about my experiences reading from the perspective of a student. And now that I am finally “adulting” and starting the career that I’ve worked so hard for over the last few years, I’ve noticed quite a few changes to how I read. Below, I’m going to talk a bit about what these changes are and how learned to adapt to them.

Problem #1: Bye-Bye Morning Reading Session

Solution: Workout Instead

I’m a morning person so getting up early has never been a problem. Part of the reason I was able to read so many books in the past is due to the fact that I would get up earlier than I needed to so I could devour some pages. Getting that extra 20-60 minutes really helped me read books faster.

But now, I’m more pressed for time in the morning and simply can’t afford to “just read one more chapter”. I need to be somewhere at a specific time and the time it takes to read one chapter can vary from book to book. So my solution was to find something that had a set time-frame and so I decided to do my workout routines instead. Now, when I get home, I don’t have to dread working out and can instead reward myself by reading.

Problem #2: A Total Commute of 2 Hours Every Day

Solution: Listen to Audiobooks!

Commuting longer than 10 minutes is quite the change for me. It would be different if I was taking public transit because I would just read but I have to drive myself 1 hour each way. So I can’t really read while I drive and my voice can’t take me singing for 2 hours every day either 😉

Before I started my job, I used to just listen to nonfiction audiobooks. I had never listened to a fiction audiobook and so I decided it was worth a shot. I’m really glad I did because it is a great way to pass the time and I actually feel like I did something productive while I drive.

Problem #3: I Moved Back Home

Solution: Set A Reading Time.

I’m really lucky that I am able to move back home for my job. It’s saving me a lot of money which is great. But it is also a big change because I’ve lived on my own for the last 3 years. It’s so easy when you live alone to just read a book all day and not feel guilty but now that I live with other people again, I have more of a social life!

Now I make sure that I go to bed at a set time (which is hard to do when you work shift-work), usually 30 minutes before I want to sleep, so I can read a few chapters before I fall asleep.

These definitely aren’t “problems”, they’re simply changes to my everyday habits that I’ve formed over the last 6 years. I always try to seize every opportunity when it comes to reading (you can see some of my tips here) and that’s what I have to do here as well. It’s just really hard to change your every day habits.

Anyone else struggle with transitioning from student to functioning adult?

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#ShelfLove Discussion: What Books Have Collected the Most Dust?

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.

Top Unread Books That Have Been On Your Shelf the Longest

Bring on the shame!

For this topic, I decided to break it down in a few different ways. The #ShelfLove Challenge is all about books I’ve purchased over the years and, right now, I have 3 “sources” so to speak. I have the books I buy for my Kobo, my Kindle and for my physical bookshelf. So I’ll be sharing some of those below:

Physical Bookshelf

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1)

Publishing Date: October 2008  |  Date Purchased: Before 2010

This is one of those classic cases where I bought the book and then read a completely different series by that author first. I originally bought Lament because it was a faerie story and I adore those. But since then, I’ve read two series by Stiefvater and had mixed feelings on them. I’m not sure if this book will survive my cleaning purge but we will see.

The Time Traveler's Wife

Publishing Date: 2003  |  Date Purchased: 2009

Back when I was still buying physical books, this one was on sale for $5. I remember the movie had either just been released or was just about to be so I figured why not? I’ve actually loaned this out to at least 2 people and have yet to read it for myself.

Kobo Bookshelf

Love Struck

Publishing Date: 2011|  Date Purchased: December 26, 2011

Probably the most embarrassing one on this list because this novella is a total of 53 pages. I adored Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely Series so it was a no brainer to pick this one up during a Boxing Day sale. Hopefully I can find the 30 minutes it will take to read it this summer…

Stolen Away

Publishing Date: January 2012|  Date Purchased: February 7, 2012

Alyxandra Harvey is yet another author I adored as a teen and had to pick up during a sale. Surprise, surprise it’s about faeries! I’ve currently marked it as a “no-go” for now but I’ll probably attempt it in this summer because faeries are something I can’t resist for too long.

Kindle Bookshelf

Possessed by You (Torn, #1)

Publishing Date: May 2014 |  Date Purchased: September 2014

I actually bought the trilogy boxset when it was on sale for $1. I think at the time I was on an adult erotica/contemporary kick and I liked the deal. I’m not sure if I will ever get around to it but I’ll definitely give it a try.

Typist #1, Working for the Billionaire Novelist (Billionaire Novelist #1)

Publishing Date: November 2012 |  Date Purchased: November 2014

For some reason, I was able to get Books 2-4 for free and decided it was an interesting enough concept to get the first book which was only $1. They’re novellas so I think they will make perfect summer reads.

I’m sure you noticed a trend of “I’m not sure if I’ll read it but I’ll try”. Truthfully, a lot of these I’ve marked as pass on my TBR this year because I’m trying to reduce the number of books on my Goodreads “Want to Read” list. The idea was, if I’ve gone 5+ years without reading them, then I don’t need to hold on. But honestly, I’m such a mood-reader that I can never say never.

Have you read any of these? What’s your oldest TBR item?

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SERIESous Discussion: What Makes a Book Reread Worthy?

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!

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.

~Oscar Wilde

Now who am I to disagree with the great Oscar Wilde?

(Well, I do. But I digress…for now.)

I was inspired to write this post after reading numerous other discussion posts on why people reread books. As someone who rarely rereads books, I have to admit that I was a little surprised by the number of people who do reread on a regular basis. If I do reread a book, it’s books simply to remember what happened in the previous novel, not just for the sake of revisiting a world.

Now, that isn’t to say that I don’t have some books I wouldn’t mind rereading. In the last two years, I’ve started to accumulate physical copies of my favourite series. Because I mostly eRead and/or borrow books from the library, if I do find a series I particularly love, I want it on hand. I want to be able to share it with friends and family…maybe even my future kids one day.

So what makes you want to pick up a book again?

For me, I have two main criteria: characters and the plot.

The series that I have on my shelf have some of my favourite characters ever. They made me laugh, they made me swoon and they probably made me cry. Basically, they made me feel a variety of emotions while I was reading. I love when that happens.  These characters feel like family to me and I couldn’t imagine my reading life without them.

Personal Examples: The Mortal Instruments  |  Vampire Academy

I think it goes without saying that when you reread books, you’ll probably catch things you missed the first time around. This is especially true in series that have intricate, overarching plots where things are constantly building as you read. I love books with complicated plots and I can’t wait to reread these bad boys again to appreciate their stellar writing.

Personal Examples: The Winner’s Trilogy  |  Rook

Now, I do have to give a special shout out to those books that just make you happy. These are the books that you go back to simply for the fact that they can cheer you up and make you smile.

Personal Examples: Victoria and the Rogue  |  Never Love a Highlander

To go back to the quote from Oscar Wilde, I have to say that I disagree. I may never read that book again, but if I enjoyed it, I don’t consider it a waste of time. It’s the same situation with movies and TV shows. You’ll develop your favourites that you will constantly return to. But in between those favourites, you’ll watch entertaining pieces that you will appreciate for what they are in that moment and there is nothing wrong with that.

So what makes a book reread worthy to you?

What are some of your go-to rereads?

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SERIESous Discussion: Is “Predictable” a Spoiler?

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 have to give a shout out to meena @ Tattooed Pages for inspiring me to write this post after I read her post on What’s a Spoiler? earlier this year. It really got me thinking and made me ask the question:

Is saying a book is “predictable” a spoiler?

I know I’ve been guilty of saying a book is predictable in my reviews in the past. It’s been the reason I’ve down-rated quite a few books in the past as well.

So let’s play out both sides of the argument.

Why I think it is a spoiler:

If I read a review of a book and note that the reviewer says it is predictable, that may or may not stay in my mind while I read. I like to think I’m pretty sharp and can figure out what is going to happen early on. So, once that starts to happen and I remember that the book is “predictable”, the momentum of suspense is going to die down a bit because I probably have figured out what is going to happen. There goes the fun in trying to find out how everything is going to work out in the end.

Why I think it isn’t a spoiler:

Reading is such a subjective thing and one that is influenced by your personal experiences and past reads. If this is your first time reading a dystopian novel, you are probably unfamiliar with the common tropes. Compared to someone who has read multiple dystopian novels, you might have a harder time predicting what will happen. You might not be able to see what will happen or maybe you will guess wrong. So knowing that a book is “predictable” beforehand might not influence your reading experience too much.

What about noting that there are “lots of plot twists”?

Again, this is a hard one to have a definitive answer for. If you know ahead of time, you might start anticipating plot twists when there aren’t any. Or, it may not bother you at all.

So in short: I don’t have a definitive answer!

However, I know that I am going to be more aware of saying those very things in my reviews. I strive to be “spoiler free” in my reviews but, as you can see, it’s challenging sometimes!

What’s your stance?

Is saying a book is “predictable” or has lots of “plot twists” spoilers?

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SERIESous Discussion: How Long is TOO Long Between Books?

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!

Waiting for sequel novels–especially when you pre-ordered the inaugural book and finished it the day it was delivered–can be torturous!

We all know that books go through quite the process in order to be published. Authors are people too with lives and families and other responsibilities. Even if we wish that that wasn’t necessarily the case.

But how long is too long between sequels?

To read them that is.

I’m not talking about waiting for the publishing date. One year between books–the standard for most YA novels–is a long time, but it’s out of the readers’ control. You can’t do anything besides wait or reread the previous novel.

What I am talking about is: how much space between you reading Book 1 and Book 2 is acceptable?

This past summer, I caught up on a lot of series I hadn’t read in 1-plus years. Meaning the plots and characters weren’t fresh in my mind. I had to put a lot of trust in my personal summaries as well as previous reviews to get me in the right mindset to read the sequel.

And it came with mixed results.

I’m a series-a-holic (obviously) and I like to read my books as close together as possible because my memory is absolute crap. So for series that had more intricate details–I struggled to get back into the flow of things and subsequently rated the book lower than I expected. Whereas series that were more romance based or focused on a different set of characters–I rated them as I usually would.

Case and Point:

Finale (Hush, Hush, #4)

I LOVED Hush, Hush when I first read it in October 2009. And I kept up religiously with this series every year the sequels were published–except for the very last novel, Finale. I pre-ordered it in September 2012, lugged it with me every year through undergrad (end of 2014) and yet I still hadn’t finished it (as of June 2016). That’s nearly 4 years!

Part of it was my own personal hype–I didn’t want one of my favourite series ever to end even though I was dying to know how it all wrapped up. The other issue was that I got into other series and simply forgot.

But I did eventually read it this year thanks to some major changes to my reading habits and reading challenges.

And I did not like it at all!

I feel like the biggest issue was me simply not remembering the plot details and being so far removed from that series since it had been nearly 5 years since I read Silence (Book 3).

So Lauren, why this long ass post?

I wrote this post because I’m getting ready to clean up my Goodreads TBR. What that means is that I want to eliminate books I probably won’t ever read and finish series I have left hanging incomplete.

My issue is that I have a lot of series that remain unfinished that I haven’t read in years! And I can’t decide what to do!

Should I reread the previous books? Just dive in and hope for the best? Or write them off as incomplete series?

The “finisher” in me really wants to wrap these series up. But the “practical” part of me wonders what I can possibly gain by reading a series I haven’t touched in 3+ years? If I haven’t thought about it in 2+ years, is it really worth bringing back up to the surface?

Which is why I raise the question:

How long is too long between sequels?

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SERIESous Discussion: Let Fiction be Fiction


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!

It’s no secret that I read a lot of New Adult Contemporary novels. I cycle through them like good candy.

So that means I come across a lot of reviews for NA works and a common comment I see is “it wasn’t realistic”. I’m sure I’ve said it in my own reviews before as well.

And I get why people (myself included) say that. When you read a contemporary novel, you expect a certain amount of truth. I mean, I basically equate “contemporary” with “everyday life”. It’s a novel that doesn’t take place in some mythical world or has lead characters that are not human. If the character goes through a particularly hard time like moving away from home or the grief of losing a loved one, you might even label it as “realistic”.

But at the end of the day, it’s still fiction.

That means you can have over the top scenarios and situations a regular, everyday person wouldn’t face. Like a vindictive ex-girlfriend who hatches some elaborate scheme to get the boyfriend back. Sure, they kinda suck when they get to be soap opera-y but it’s still fiction. It’s not supposed to be real.

 1. literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

Which is why it grinds my gears when people get upset at novels like Fifty Shades of Grey and the like for being “unrealistic” or pushing boundaries.

Yes, Fifty Shades is not your everyday romance. It romanticizes a relationship that many see as abusive and because of that, it often gets slapped with a “unrealistic” label.

But let me remind you that it is sold in the fiction section of the book store.

Meaning it is an “imaginary” story and to a certain extent, it can have some artistic license in what it can do. It can create over the top drama because it isn’t supposed to be real. It’s a fantasy that is supposed to appeal to the reader.

Now this isn’t a conversation about Fifty Shades or the themes presented. It’s just an example that most people seem to be familiar with regardless of whether or not they have actually read the book. I could have picked any TV drama to prove my point.

And my point is, I agree with people when they are concerned with how culture integrates art (like books and TV) into their lives. When something is presented as normal and is done so in many ways (and gains notable attention for it), people start to think it is OK to have in everyday life. Like the idea that violence in video games breeds violence in real life (though that has been disproved in many studies). If you appropriate a certain attitude in society, it becomes the norm.

But where I differ is: why can’t people let fiction be fiction?

I tend to see novels as conversation starters. They open discussions about topics that society would usually shy away from. Look at the number of discussions that started regarding sexuality and romantic partnerships after Fifty Shades was released. It created a national dialogue that got people thinking and talking.

I just don’t understand why people look past the fiction label. It’s a fictional story meant to entertain its readers. And so long as the reader knows that, I don’t see any problem with it. But what we need to do as readers is make sure people do understand that. That they know when fiction is being fiction and not simply life imitating art.

How do you feel about fiction imitating life?

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SERIESous Discussion: When Your Fave Author Switches Genres


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!

We all have those authors…

You know, the ones that you will read anything that they ever publish because they write amazing books. You don’t even need to read the synopsis because all you see is their name on the cover and you are sold.

But what happens when they completely switch genres?

Like I said above, it probably doesn’t matter. You’ll read anything by them regardless of what the critics or fellow reviewers say. You have faith in them and know that you more than likely enjoy the hell out of that book.

So I suppose my question should be:

Do you change your expectations when they change genres?

Personally, I know that I struggle with this.

Case and point: Richelle Mead. Her most recent work, The Glittering Court, is actually the inspiration for my this post.

Richelle Mead writes two of my all time favourite series: The Vampire Academy and Bloodlines. Now both are set in the same world and are classified as YA Paranormal Romance. I’ve also read her adult Paranormal Romance series Dark Swan. Basically, I equate Richelle Mead with strong female heroines in paranormal worlds.

So when she wrote Soundless, which is YA Fantasy/Mythology standalone, it was quite the change for me. It had a great concept but the execution wasn’t what I wanted nor expected. I wanted something fast paced like her previous works–something loaded with action and a strong, independent heroine I could admire. And that didn’t happen.

I did the same thing with The Glittering Court as well. I thought the book could have had a faster pace because I know Richelle Mead can and has produced books with faster plot-lines before.

Now, I’m not saying that I want a carbon copy of the author’s previous works for all their future works.

Far from it actually. I hate authors that seem to follow a formula. I want a book to surprise me and entertain me. And if it follows the same sequence of events with the same character traits–yeah, I get bored.

It definitely happens though. Authors have the subjects and character types they are comfortable with. I think Jennifer L Armentrout is a perfect example of that. You always know when you are reading her books because they all have the same basic foundation–it is what she is known and liked (and disliked) for. And you get comfortable with that too as a reader–it’s what makes an author a favourite or a must-read.

And sometimes, authors want to break out of that mold and write something new. It gets tiring writing the same thing all the time. Readers change genres (I know I rotate genres what I read on a weekly basis) and even bloggers change the type of posts they do on a regular basis. If all goes well, they will get some new fans in addition to their previous fans who like and support their new work.

But there will always be those fans that compare the new book to the old.

It’s human nature to compare things. I try to be really cognizant of that fact when I write my reviews. While I like to compare new works to old works for context but I don’t want it to be the entire basis of my review.

Yet I struggle to not do that when I read.

When I read that book, I might think to myself “well this isn’t as exciting as BLANK was”. And I really wish I could stop because I almost feel like I’m not giving this book a chance. ESPECIALLY, when it is a genre change. I shouldn’t expect a fantasy mythology novel to have the same type of action as a paranormal romance but I can’t help it.

It’s what I am comfortable with and I’m not always the biggest fan of change, even if it is my favourite author.

What about you? 

How do you feel when an author changes genres?

Are you constantly comparing?

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SERIESous Spoilers: A Court of Mist and Fury

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

This month’s SERIESous Spoilers Pick:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas | A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy

It was probably one of the most anticipated sequels this year so I think it goes without saying that I wanted to share some of my thoughts on it. Please join me!


–So Long Happily Ever After!–

In my series review, I state my problems with Tamlin and Feyre’s romance. In short: my biggest problem was Tamlin’s alpha tendencies and how it made their relationship pretty unhealthy to me. I wasn’t totally sold on it though I did warm to it in time because I did see why they would connect romantically.

So, I think it goes without saying that I wasn’t totally disappointed that things didn’t work out between the two of them. Their relationship is SO UNHEALTHY and I’m glad that gets touched upon in this book as well. Feyre’s character development in this area really impressed me–even if it did seem to take her forever.

It weird though, in this series I’m not a huge fan of the romance overall. I’m rather indifferent to Feyre (I think her jaded personality in ACOTAR prevented me from totally loving her) and I would say the same about Rhys. It’s bizarre for me because I’m not really attached to any of these characters in any way. Not like I am in the Throne of Glass Series or, say, The Mortal Instruments Series.

BUT, I do prefer Rhys for Feyre and I loved watching their relationship develop as a romantic partnership. The key is the partnership part–I love when the romance makes that the focus.

–Reversal of the Beauty and the Beast Story–

In ACOTAR, it’s pretty obvious how the Beauty and the Beast Story works. Tamlin is the Beast and Feyre is Belle who challenges and eventually frees the Beast. Rhys might be the Gaston but his role isn’t as romantic as that, though he is the “bad guy” to a certain degree.

But what’s so great about ACOMAF is that we see these roles shift. Gone is the “is-it-Stockholm-syndrome?” story and instead, we get one that focuses on the healthier side of things.

What happens if Belle had had the choice to stay like Feyre did in Rhys’ court?

What if Belle was able to grow and exert her independence in a positive way?

What does a love look like that isn’t simply a result of forced proximity and protection?

Perhaps the English Literature student in me read too much into this aspect, but what I think Maas did here is pure genius and is easily what made this book a 5 star read for me.

–What’s going to happen next?–

I was warned that some serious shit goes down at the end of ACOMAF but I wasn’t totally prepared for everything that happened. So many great plot lines to be resolved! I thought there was going to be a little more bloodshed but I love these deceptive games that are now afoot!

What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree?

What are you looking forward to the most in the next book?

Please leave a comment below!