Posted in Uncategorized

First Half of the Year Goals

Recently for Top 5 Wednesday, our prompt was 5 reading resolutions. Those are my top priority goals for the year, but I have a few others (bookish and blogish) I wanted to talk about (to help motivate me 😛 )

I don’t really make resolutions, and I try to avoid the words “have to” when it comes to my life (bookish or otherwise) because that’s almost a guarantee that I will fail. It’s like when someone tells you to do something you were already planning to do, but their command instantly makes you not want to do it. Know what I mean?

Anyway, resolutions or goals or plans or hopes, whatever you want to call them, I have some.

If I set a yearly goal, I will procrastinate until the middle of December because, “Oh, I have plenty of time to do that!” That’s why I’m just focusing on the first half of the year, for now.So, at the end of June, I can look back at this and see what I’ve done, and plan for the rest of the year.

This is going to be long, but I tried to bold bits to make it more easily skimmed.

Update my blog

I’ve already started on this, but it’s still kind of a big project.

What I still need to do is update some of my pages, and work out an actual review format. I also want to create a posting schedule. I’m waiting a little while to do that one, though, because I want to see how things go and identify patterns in my posting.

I’m sure there’s more, but those are the most pressing things, for now.

Read my comics and graphic novels

This is a big one that I’ve been saying I’ll do for about two years now. (Maybe three, yikes.) I don’t actually have a large collection ( 😦 ), but I have a horrible habit of saving a trade until I think I can get the next volume. I want to stop doing that, because I might find that I don’t want to continue the series. Plus, these are all titles I’m really looking forward to reading, but I keep putting them off.

I’m going to say my goal is to read at least three by the end of June.

Quality over Quantity

This is why I don’t set my goodreads goal very high. A few years ago, I fell into the worst slump ever, and almost gave up on reading altogether. I finally identified the biggest problem: pressuring myself to read more, more more!

While reading a lot of books is great, and I’m sure a lot of us would like to read more than we already do, I was putting too much pressure on myself, and it was sucking all the fun out of reading. Now, I focus more on reading books I think I will really enjoy, and less on the number of books I read.

Post more reviews

I doubt I’ll ever write a review for every book I read (especially because I do tend to re-read books), but my goal is to post reviews for at least 50% of the books I read. I might review re-reads from time to time, comparing how I felt about a book the first time around vs during the re-read, but mostly this is about new-to-me books.

Stick with tracking my stats

This year, I’m using the Book Riot tracking spreadsheet for a more in-depth look at my reading life.

I’ve adjusted it a little to track a couple more things, and I’m pretty happy with it so far. (Thanks to husband for helping me out with the things I didn’t know how to do…I loathe making spreadsheets, but love using them).

This is my first year using a spreadsheet to track my reading, and I’m super excited. I love charts 😛

Oh! I’m also using the Beat the Backlist spreadsheet. I considered adding columns to the Book Riot one, but the BtB one is pretty simple, so I don’t mind using both. (It’s because of the boxes with check marks, and the Slytherin-green 😛 I love it.)

Re-organize my bookshelves

This…this is going to be A Project, yikes.

What I want to do is take ALL my books off their shelves, then dedicate a bookcase (or 3 ugh) to my TBR books.

Honestly, this project might not happen. But, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, because I think it might help keep me motivated to get my TBR down, because I’ll be able to look at my books and see how many I still have to read (and how many I’ve already read).

Read at least one 500+ page book

I’ve already done this, by re-reading Goblet of Fire, but this is specifically for a book I’ve never read before. I have probably a dozen (maybe more, if I looked harder) chunky books I still haven’t read. Ideally, I would actually read at least two by the middle of the year, but…we’ll see.

Now that I’ve been working on this post for a few days (and am thoroughly sick of it haha), I’m starting to wonder why I bothered writing it 😛

The biggest reason is so I have an extra incentive to actually do the things. I have these goals in my bullet journal, but making them public gives me one more reason to actually (at least make an effort to) complete the goals.

Hopefully, when the middle of the year comes around and I do a mid-year post, I’ll be able to look back at this and say that I’ve accomplished what I’ve been wanting to do for a while. None of these goals are new for me, this is just the first time I’m taking steps toward–and planning how best to go about–accomplishing them.

Posted in book tags/memes

Book Blogger Hop: Jan. 18th-24th

This weekly hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, featuring a question about books each week. The purpose is to bring bookish bloggers together, basically. To participate, write a post about the question for that week and add your link.

The question this week is: 
Is there anything that drives you bonkers when you’re reading a book and it makes you want to tell the author a thing or two? (submitted by C. Lee @ cleemckenziebooks)

It has been a hot minute since I participated in this, wow. I keep meaning to do it, and then I forget :/ Anyway…

I keep writing and deleting, because my mind keeps going back to the way a lot of men write women in their books, but I don’t feel up to citing examples and the like right now.

So, I’m going with something that doesn’t just happen in books, but always drives me nuts. I don’t know what to call this, so I’ll just try to explain as briefly as possible.

There are characters who are close. One of them has something slanderous said about them. Their friend believes it, and doesn’t even take the time to actually ask for the slandered person’s side of things. Drama, for the sake of drama, basically. I can’t stand it.

I hate drama that exists for no good reason, period. It’s why I never liked soap operas, and I think why I steered away from a lot of contemporary books for so long, because every one I picked up had things in it like that. Drama because lives are in danger, or whatever? Fine. But drama because of gossip or whatever? Pass.

An example: In the second Harry Potter book, Hagrid is accused of something. Harry and co. just…believe it. They know Hagrid, and yet, they believe that he was responsible for this bad thing, and didn’t really try to get his side of things. It wasn’t until Ron and Harry encountered Aragog that they actually believed Hagrid wasn’t responsible.

I’m sure I could come up with other examples (and plenty of them), but that’s the freshest in my mind because I just re-read the book 😛

As for wanting to tell the author a thing or two…eh, that rarely happens for me. It’s their book, and they can write whatever. We all like different things in books, and that’s fine.

This is probably why I never read the Gossip Girl books, and gave up on the Pretty Little Liars books. The constant drama, drama, drama just annoys me.

This is probably my Slytherin showing, but I value loyalty. A lot. Not blind loyalty, of course, but friendship and found families are extremely important to me, and I can’t imagine taking someone else’s word (especially a stranger’s) over a close friend’s.

Posted in book tags/memes

Fairy Tales Friday 14

Fairy Tale of the Week:

“Old Rinkrank” by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm

I swear I think I’ve read this one before, but I’m not totally sure because so much of it is similar to other stories.

Once, there was this king who had a daughter, and he had a glass mountain built. Whoever could get across it without falling would be allowed to marry his daughter. There was this one person who I guess was already in love with the king’s daughter, and so the king said he could totally marry her…if he could cross the mountain.

The princess said she would cross it with him (apparently this was not a one-way love situation), and if he started to fall, she would help him. But, of course, something went wrong. They were like halfway over it, and the princess fell. The mountain opened up, swallowed her, and closed again instantly.

Her betrothed, and the king, were miserable about it all, and the king wanted them to find where she’d fallen and break open the mountain to get her back, but they couldn’t figure out where she’d fallen through.

The king’s daughter had fallen really deep into the earth, and landed in some kind of cave. (Gotta love fairy tales for letting people survive falls like that unscathed 😛 ) Down in the cave, there was an old guy who found her and wanted to make her his servant. If she didn’t agree to do everything he asked of her, he would kill her. So, she did whatever he wanted: cooking, cleaning, etc.

This guy apparently had a ladder he kept hidden, and would take it out in the morning, climb up and out of the mountain, and then pull the ladder up after him.

Years went by, with the princess doing all the chores every day, and then the guy would come home with a bunch of gold and silver every day. He started calling her Mother Mansrot, and had to call him Old Rinkrank.

One day, she’d had enough. While he was out, she closed all the windows and doors, except one small one. When Old Rinkrank got home, he knocked on the door and yelled for her to open up, but she refused.

Then there’s this kind of somewhat repetitive bit, reminiscent of the wolf calling to the three pigs. First he tells her to wash his dishes, and she replies that she already has. Then it’s making his bed, which she’s also already done. Finally, he tells her to open the door.

After that, he runs all around the house until he sees the open window. He thinks he’ll look in and see what Mother Mansrot is up to, and why she won’t open the door. He couldn’t get his head through the window, though, because his bear was too large. So, he puts it through first. But then, Mother Mansrot came by and grabbed a cord she’s tied to the window, and yanks it shut, closing his beard in it.

He started crying about it, but she still refused to release him until he gave her the ladder. He finally gave in and told her where it was, and she tied a really long ribbon to the window before she climbed up the ladder. From the top, she opened the window as she’d said she would.

After that, she goes to her father, tells him the story, and he’s super pleased to have her back. So is her betrothed, who’s still there. The mountain was dug up, and they found Old Rinkrank (and all his treasure). Rinkrank was put to death by the king, who took all the money, and the two lovebirds got hitched and lived happily every after.

This one reminds me a lot of Cinderella, and something else. Maybe Rapunzel? I know it was inside a mountain, and not up in a tower, etc., but something about the isolation and climbing makes me think of Rapunzel.

Anyway, I think we can all agree: if you see a glass mountain, maybe stay off of it, lest you fall into the earth and find some weird old man living inside it who offers you a choice between death or serving him :/

I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Posted in book tags/memes

T5W: Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

January 16th: Most Disappointing Reads of 2018
–These are books you read in 2018, not only ones released in 2018. 

Oh my gosh, I honestly had a hard time narrowing this down to just 5 :/ I think I could have made this a top 10, actually. But, finally, I decided on 5.

In no particular order, as usual…

Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel– Yikes. I actually only remember snippets from this one, and otherwise, just my constant loathing. I really did not enjoy this one, and I was so mad about that because I’ve always heard that it’s amazing. It is possible that it was so terrible because of the translation, so I gave it 2/5 stars (rounded up from 1.5).

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins– This book was so hyped, and I went into it without any expectations really, and I hated it. I saw the ending coming from early on (like, the first 20 pages at least), and I hated the characters and the writing, and I think I sprained my eyes from rolling them constantly. I almost DNF this one, but thought for a while that it might get better. I was wrong. I gave it 1.5/5 stars (I think 2 on goodreads, but I’m changing it to 1.)

Kill Creek

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas– I am so tired of thinking about this book and talking about it, so I’m just going to leave the link for my review and say that I gave it 2/5 stars for potential.

Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel

Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha– This one is up there with Cursed Child for books I wish just didn’t exist at all. The novelization of Hocus Pocus (the first part of the book) was okay, but the second part… Ugh. I also reviewed this one, and gave it 2/5 stars for nostalgia (exclusively for the first part).

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

The Diviners by Libba Bray– Hold your fire! Let me explain! I went into this with extremely high expectectations because I loved the Gemma Doyle trilogy, and this book has been sooo highly praised for years. It just didn’t deliver for me :/ I gave it 3/5 stars, and I might read the next book, but this one just made me sad because I didn’t love it as much as everyone else seems to.

What were some of your disappointing reads of 2018?

Posted in book tags/memes

Top 10 Tuesday: New Authors I Read in 2018

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.

I’m pretty sure this is supposed to exclude debuts, but I had to add in two of those to get to ten. (Besides, it felt kind of wrong to leave them off the list, because I did enjoy both of their books.)

In no particular order (except that the two debuts are at the end)…

Mackenzi Lee– I read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and fell head over heels for Lee’s writing. I didn’t love The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy as much, but I will definitely be checking out more of her books in the future.

Elizabeth Acevedo– The Poet X was one of my absolute favorite reads last year (I reviewed it here), and I can’t wait to read more.

Rin Chupeco– Oh my gosh, why (WHY?!) did I wait so long to read The Girl From the Well?! Because I’m a moron, that’s why. It was so good, and the sequel (The Suffering) might have been even better. I can’t wait to start The Bone Witch ASAP.

Marisha Pessl– Somehow, I tore through Night Film in just a couple of days back in November. It’s a hefty book, but it was so good I couldn’t put it down (check out my review for more info). I’m really looking forward to reading some of her other books as soon as I can get my hands on them.

Michelle Tea– I read her book Modern Tarot last year and absolutely adored most of it. It really changed the way I read tarot, and gave me a new perspective on things. I’m not going to go out of my way to grab her other books, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them.

Gail Carson Levine– Yep, it took me until I was almost 30 to finally read Ella Enchanted, and it was so much fun. I’m planning to try more of her books, maybe later this year, and I’ll definitely be sharing them with my kid.

Nina LaCour– I enjoyed the writing in Everything Leads to You probably more than the actual story :/ I just had such high expectations for that book, and it fell a little short. It was still really good, I just wanted to love it, and I came out of it just really liking it. Still, I’m looking forward to picking up more of LaCour’s books in the future.

Mark Dunn– I’m not sure if I’ll be seeking out more of Dunn’s books, but I did like Ella Minnow Pea a lot, and I definitely recommend it. (Psst! If you’re doing a reading challenge that has a task for reading an epistolary novel, this one counts, and it’s quite short and easy to read!)

Adrienne Young– Sky in the Deep (my review) wasn’t my favorite book last year, but I think I gave it four out of five stars. The writing was pretty good, and I’m really curious to see what else Young will come up with.

Shea Ernshaw– Okay, so The Wicked Deep (review) was also not my favorite book, and I did have some issues with it (that I can’t talk about because ~spoilers~), but the writing! The writing was so good! This was such an atmospheric book, and I’m anxiously awaiting something new from Ernshaw.

Who were some of your favorite new-to-you authors last year?