Jan 01

2017 Reading Challenges and Goals

Books/Writing 9

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I always get SO EXCITED this time of year, with so many plans for reading and new projects…aahhhh! I love lists and lists of goals…and especially reading challenges. 😀 I’m trying not to overextend myself this year, but last year I feel like I kind of…UNDERestimated how much I could read in a normal year.

 Funny, because…I did the same thing in 2015. Even more spectacularly though. 😛

Ahem. Better overachieve than underachieve though, right? I get all kinds of depressed when I don’t make goals, so I try to be reasonable and realistic when setting my number goal for the year. My number goal for 2017 will be higher, but not TOO high…I do have a big move coming up, as we’ll be moving back to the States some time in spring (despite all the upheaval and stupidity I’ve seen happen in the US in the past couple of years as I’ve been overseas…it’s still home and I miss it terribly). But that’s for an entirely different post! As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been signing up for reading challenges left and right this week. This is an overview of all of them!

GoodReads 2017 Challenge: My goal is 75 this year. I’m hoping for closer to 100, but that move is scaring me. Plus, I’m going to a month-long school for work in February or thereabouts, and I anticipate that cutting into my reading time a lot too. Damn work.

 

2017 Audiobook Challenge: My goal is 10 audiobooks this year. Small number, because my audiobooks tend to be HUGE. Like at least 15+ hours. Hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Loupe and Melaine at Hot Listens.

 

 

 

2017 Debut Author Challenge: I’m aiming for AT LEAST 12 new authors this year. I’d really love to read more, but sometimes it’s a bit exhausting wading through the myriad of so-so new authors, even only the ones on NetGalley! All the same, I really want to support debut authors. Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Back to the Classics Challenge 2017: Time to get back into reading some oldies but goodies! I’m aiming for all 12 categories this year, as I’m sure I can find some shorter ones and I definitely plan to read 3 children’s classics. Hosted by Books and Chocolate.

 

 

 

Banned/Challenged Books Reading Challenge 2017: Because freedom of speech is important. For everyone. The fear of ideas and knowledge is one of the most crippling fears across the world. Hosted by the Book Dragon’s Lair.

Beat the Backlist 2017: WHOOHOO!! I’m super excited about this one, a chance to “get credit” for a bunch of the books already sitting on my shelves. My goals is 40 of the 70 (!!) books listed in my sing-up post. Hosted by Austine at NovelKnight. Also includes a fun Harry Potter House Cup mini challenge! I’m playing for Hufflepuff, naturally. 😀

Diverse Reads Book Challenge 2017: I read quite a few diverse books in 2016, but I want to make it a point this year. My goal is 12, one for each of the monthly topics put up by Read.Sleep.Repeat and Chasing Faerytales. I’ve already picked my books for January and February!

 

Newbery Reading Challenge 2017: My goal is at least 25 books, between Newbery Awards and Newbery Honor books. I love children’s literature and really need to brush up on my recommendations for younger readers, since it’s a topic that comes up in conversation fairly often.Hosted by Smiling Shelves.

 

 

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: My goal is 10 books, either fiction or non-fiction but probably leaning towards nonfiction. I’m very curious about all things pagan and metaphysical, even though I don’t consider myself religious. Hosted by Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf.

 

 

 

And THAT’S IT, folks! Are you participating in any of these? Any other reading challenges? The only other one I kind of wanted to find was re-reads challenge, but I couldn’t find any that I liked. I think there was one that was hosted on FB but I find FB groups kind of hard to follow so I gave it a pass. Here’s wishing you all the best in your new year, in both your reading and all your other endeavors!

P.S. Be sure you enter my new celebratory GIVEAWAY! 😀 Open internationally.

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Dec 31

300 Followers Book Giveaway!

Books/Writing, Giveaways 24

I want to give a huge shout-out and thank you to everyone who has followed my little book blog in the past 5 months! In honor of ALL YOU WONDERFUL people I’m having a book giveaway. 😀 I’ve had a ton of fun and am continuing to have fun reading and sharing books with each and every one of you. I love getting to exchange thoughts and ideas with other bookworms, and there are SO MANY more reviews and thoughts I want to post! I’m hoping to add some more author interaction in 2017 as well as some more original content.

What: A paperback copy of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted or Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, shipped direct to you from The Book Depository! Winner’s choice. I wanted to let people choose between a standalone and a series starter, and I loved both of these!

 

 

Who: Any blog follower from ANY COUNTRY that TBD delivers to! You can see the list here.

When: Open from now until January 14th at 12 a.m., Seoul time.

How: Enter how you follow in the Rafflecopter linked below, subscribe via WordPress or Bloglovin’, leave a comment, Tweet and follow, share the giveaway on social media…lots of ways, and up to 20 entries possible per person! Links are in the right-hand sidebar. 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Dec 31

2016 End of Year Survey

Books/Writing 12

2016 was my first year of book blogging! I had written reviews here and there before, but in July I really started taking it seriously. So I’m very excited to participate for the first time in the 2016 End of Year Survey hosted by the wonderful Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner!

Note: The survey is for books you read throughout the year, no matter when they were published, and is not limited to just books that came out in 2016!!

Number Of Books You Read: 104 (might make 105 before New Year’s!)
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult/Fantasy

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I’m cheating and saying the Lunar Chronicles series. I discovered these books in February, and my library just HAPPENED to have all 4 on the shelf at one time. I sped through them in 8 days, 5 of which I worked a 12-hour shift. These books singlehandedly broke me out of a rather horrible book funk.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

City of Glass (Mortal Instruments #3). I loved the first MI book, the second one was ok, and then this one…I had to DNF. I just couldn’t deal with the angsty and stupidity and I’m still bitter about it.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

My Lady Jane. I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it much when I first saw it in my OwlCrate box, but then I started seeing glowing reviews…and then I read it and LOVED it. Somehow they pull off the whole Monty Python infused Lady Jane Grey story and it’s awesome.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Um, I don’t know how many people actually took my book recommendations! I probably recommended Outlander the most, because it’s my favoritest of favorites. 😉 New books though…probably A Court of Mist and Fury (and by necessity, A Court of Thorns and Roses because obviously you have to read the first one to fully appreciate the second).

Nope, not obsessed AT ALL.

Outlander!!

The ACOMAF set came from NerdyGrlDesigns, and the Outlander set from JanesTinyThings.

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Series – Oh gosh. This one is really hard! I started SO MANY series this year! I’m going with one I haven’t finished yet – Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. While it wasn’t in my most read genre of the year, they were ALL fabulous. I haven’t read the latest one yet, but so far my lowest rating has been a 4/5 stars and I don’t see that going down. I sincerely hope not.

Sequel – To a series I started last year, is how I’m taking this question. And for that the prize goes to Gail Carriger’s Imprudence! I adore Gail’s writing and her alternative history/steampunk Victorian London. LOVE.

Series ender – Wow. I, apparently, have a real problem with finishing things. I only finished TWO series this year and I loved both so I can’t choose. Gail Carriger’s Manners and Mutiny (Finishing School #4) and Marissa Meyer’s Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4).

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Traci Chee, author of The Reader! She’s now on auto-buy. 😀

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China – I don’t usually care for memoirs, but I asked in a reading group on FB for recommendations to cure a book hangover, and this did the trick! It was hysterical but also enlightening.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

 

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I’ll probably re-read both ACOTAR and ACOMAF in preparation for the release of ACOWAR. 😀 😀 😀 Speaking of which…OMG MAY HURRY UP!!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

While I only gave the book 3/5 stars, THIS COVER. I love it so much. I love the eye, I love the gold lightening. It’s what really drew me to the book!

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Rhysand. So predictable of me, I know, and the same answer 9,999 other book bloggers are giving. I can’t help it!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

I adored Kate Morton’s The Lake House. It felt as though I fell through the book and into the places she described. While it’s not a face-paced book, I personally LOVED the switching back and forth in time and the gradual unfolding of the mystery. Beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

I’m actually skipping this one…because I read almost entirely FLUFF this year, not going to lie.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

The Bell Jar, by Cynthia Plath. This was so good. I don’t even have words, and probably need to add it to my rereads for 2017 list.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016? 

“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal.
I was a survivor, and I was strong.
I would not be weak, or helpless again.
I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

Feyre, in ACOMAF by Sarah J. Mass.

“There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”

Rhysand, in ACOMAF by Sarah J. Mass.

Notice a trend? I think SJM comes up with some of the BEST INSPIRATIONAL LINES EVER.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

My shortest and longest were both by Marissa Meyer! Haha. I crack myself up. But they were The Queen’s Army (which is arguably more of a short story, but whatever, GoodReads), and Winter.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Probably Red Queen. I was really expecting to love it, but I thought it was HORRIBLE. Sorry, Red Queen peeps.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I don’t read books for the romance. In fact, my cold little jaded heart is usually over the moon when characters DON’T end up HEA…that said, I love Feyre and Rhysand. Love. Adore. Idolize.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Honestly? The Bennet sisters in Eligible, the modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

And I’m back to Gail Carriger’s Imprudence on this one! I really can’t believe she’s not more popular.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

ACOTAR and ACOMAF. I had decided not to read it after seeing a bunch of meh reviews for ACOTAR, but then people started RAVING about how much better the second book was. So I gave it a shot, and, well…you see.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Take a guess.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

The Reader, by Traci Chee!

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys. This book is set practically IN my hometown and gave me chills.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Love & Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch! Such a fun read. Perfect for summer, in my opinion.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

In the Woods. Yes, really. If you haven’t read it, do. Please. Do yourself this favor.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Er, to be honest…I didn’t read any I would consider HIDDEN. Sadly. I was pretty mainstream and read what the popular kids did this year. Need to work on that.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

ACOMAF. I sat in my chair clutching it to my chest after finishing, just staring into space.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

Hmm. This one is hard, but I think Jackaby by William Ritter. It totally turned the whole Sherlock Holmes thing on its head for me, in a fun way.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

I’m going with Red Queen on this one too. I was so disappointed I was MAD. Really mad.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

Well, this is hard. Really hard. Because there are LOTS of book blogs that I love! AND I discovered almost all of them in 2016. However, I’m going to go with Paper Fury. Cait is so positive and her posts never fail to be entertaining and fun, I just love her! Especially with her referring to characters as cinnamon rolls and pineapples.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I don’t really have one…

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Don’t really have one of these either…

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Oh oh! I had the MOST FUN with the Halloween Read-a-thon hosted by Lauren over at Wonderless Reviews! SO MUCH FUN. Hopefully next year I’ll get to do some things outside of the virtual world. I’d love to go to some author events.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Well, right now I’m pretty stoked about going over 300 blog subscribers a couple of days ago!! So if you haven’t subscribed, you can do so via WordPress or Bloglovin’. 😀 😀 *points to right-hand sidebar*

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Getting over reading slumps caused by real life. Like November. I barely read at all because I was just so depressed. Sad panda.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Oddly enough, it’s my 2017 Audiobook Challenge sign-up post. Not sure how that happened, but ok!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I really wish it had been one of my reviews that was the most popular. Any review. Hehe. I’ll just keep working on it!

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Oh gosh. I’m obsessed with magnetic bookmarks. They’re so teensy, and so collectible, and there’s one for EVERYTHING. See above ACOMAF collection. Hehe.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I was aiming to read at least 50 books this year. Apparently, I underestimated my ability to read in a year that didn’t involve intense personal upheaval. Hehe. 😀

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

Well, it would be As I Darken, but now I think I’m going to save it for the May Diverse Books Challenge. We’ll see if I can hold on, since it was under the tree for me this year…

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

 

Elizabeth May’s The Fallen Kingdom (last in the Falconer trilogy) and of course Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Wings and Ruin!

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Stephanie Garber’s Caravel. It sounds amazing and I’m agreeing awaiting my preordered copy!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

Oh, well…see above #2!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Reading – I’m in a LOT of challenges for 2017, and I have high hopes of completing most of them. My number goal is 75. It maybe should have been 100, but we’re going to be moving in April/May, back to the States, so I anticipate that will slow me down a lot.

Blogging – I hope to increase my followers to at least 1,000 by the end of the year!  Also, I want to interact with some authors maybe via interviews, etc. I’d like to attend maybe some publishing and or author functions. I really want to increase my contacts with authors and publishers as well as other bloggers! Hopefully the challenges will help to facilitate that. 🙂

Writing – I’m adding one more area here, because I’ve been steadily plugging along on the fantasy novel I plotted during NaNoWriMo, and I want to have the first draft finished by the end of 2017. Totally reachable if I stick to my 2,345 words a week goal!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Um. Well. The 2017 releases I’ve already read, I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. 😛 Isn’t that sad? But, you know…maybe I’ll get some good ones later on! I do have ARCs of The Fallen Kingdom and The Bone Witch that I’m itching to dive into.

And there we have it! If you made it to the end of this post, congratulations and THANK YOU for sticking with me! Thanks for reading and here’s to a great 2017! Did you post your own 2016 End of Year Survey? If so leave me a link in the comments!

 

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Dec 28

2017 Diverse Reads Book Challenge

Books/Writing 5

2017 diverse reads book challenge

My last challenge sign-up post guys, I promise. I PROMISE!! I know, I know…I’ve gone off the deep end. *looks askance at the growing list* But most of them will overlap at some point. In some way. Or hell, who knows, maybe I’ll just read 200 books in 2017. Wouldn’t that be awesome?!? Anyway, this is for the 2017 Diverse Reads Book Challenge, hosted by Shelly of Read.Sleep.Repeat. and Mishma of Chasing Faerytales! The goal of this challenge is to “encourage the reading and support of diverse books and marginalized voices.” I really want to branch outside of my typical reading this year, to step into others’ shoes. I’m really excited about the monthly challenges they’ve come up with, and I think I’m going to try to make each of my choices an #ownvoices book. Not sure I will be able to get my hands on one for each month, but I’m going to try.


HOW DO WE CLASSIFY A BOOK AS DIVERSE?

The main character – or one of the leads, who preferably has a POV – has to belong to a diverse group. According to the definition of We Need Diverse Books
“We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.
*We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.”
Furthermore if you have any doubt regarding whether a book is diverse or not, feel free to ask either Shelly or Me via twitter. I am @chasingfaes and Shelly is @shellysrambles.

CERTAIN THINGS TO KNOW

  • The books you read can be MG/YA/NA or adult, as well as in any format – paperback, hardcover, ebooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, anthologies, short stories etc.
  • The books you read can be released at any time, can be ARCs and can be rereads. And it can coincide with another challenge you’re taking part in.
  • The challenge will run from January 1st to December 31st, and you can join in at any time you want.
  • You don’t have to have a blog in order to participate, but we’d prefer if you review or talk about book in some platform, namely twitter, instagram or goodreads
  • We don’t have levels or points, as we’re trying to promote the reading of diversity, and we want you to set your own goals!

WHAT’S NEW THIS YEAR?

We have created mini challenges for each month! We have designated a theme for each month, and while you are not required to read a book that falls in that particular category, this is something we created for those who like to challenge themselves a bit.
January – Stories based on/ inspired by diverse folktales/culture/mythology
February – POC/ Biracial/ Multiracial Main Character/Lead
March – Disability
April – Mental Health
May – Religious Diversity
June and July – Sexuality and Gender Identity
August – Non Western Setting
September – Ownvoices
October – Intersectionality
November – Diverse Retelling
December – 2017 Releases

 

We have created a reading list to help you with choosing your reads for the challenge. It’s categorized according the monthly themes, and it’s in Read Only mode, so if you have more recommendations or links/resources, do let us know in the comments or via twitter so we can add them to the list.

And that’s it, folks! If you have favorite diverse books please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear what you have to say! I’ll be compiling my own list at some point. 🙂

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Dec 28

Newbery Reading Challenge 2017

Books/Writing 0

newbery reading challenge 2017

I love children’s literature, and I’m fascinated by how the art of writing for children has changed and developed over the years. Even from the time the Newbery Award was founded in 1922, the style of writing has changed ASTRONOMICALLY, from the stilted horribleness that is Smoky the Cowhorse in 1926 to more modern books like the entrancing The Grey King and poignant The Giver. With that thought in mind, I’m excited to link up with the Newbery Reading Challenge 2017, hosted over at Smiling Shelves! Newbery Honor books are also included, as well as Caldecott Award books (but for less points). I’m aiming for the Lowry level of 60-74 points, which will hopefully be about 25 books.


Here are the rules:
Each book you read is worth points. You get:

  • 3 points for a Newbery Medal Winner
  • 2 points for a Newbery Honor Book
  • 1 point for a Caldecott Book (Both Medal winners and Honor books are worth a point this year!)

In addition to that, you pick a level to aim for:

  • L’Engle: 15 – 29 points
  • Spinelli: 30 – 44 points
  • Avi: 45 – 59 points
  • Lowry: 60 – 74 points
  • Konigsburg: 75+ points

You can get to this level with any combination of points you want. You can read all Newbery Medal winners. You can throw in a few Honor Books. If you want, you can even read 75 Caldecott Medal winners! How you get to your point level is totally up to you.

Also, anywhere in the point range for your level counts as completing that level. So for example, if you signed up for the Avi level and read 46 points’ worth of books, then you have completed that level!

List of Newbery Medal Winners & Honor Books
List of Caldecott Medal Winners & Honor Books

Challenge Guidelines:

  • Rereads count (because you were probably a kid when you read it last, and your perspective on the story just might have changed since then).
  • Audiobooks and ebooks count.
  • And paper books count, too. :)
  • All books must be read between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017. Books begun before January 1 don’t count.
  • Books can be used for other challenges as well.
  • You don’t have to have a blog to participate. You can link up reviews from Amazon, Goodreads, etc., or just hang out with us in the comments!
  • Reviews are encouraged, but not necessary. There will be a headquarters page for you to link up your reviews if you want to share your thoughts.
  • Choose your point level. You can always aim for a higher point level, but you can’t move to a lower one.

To join the Newbery Reading Challenge 2017 visit the sign-up post on Smiling Shelves

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Dec 28

2017 Debut Author Challenge

Books/Writing 0

 

Yet another challenge! A lot of these are going to crossover, thankfully. 😉 The 2017 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I really want to support new authors, especially since I hope to be one myself one day! I’m very excited to see what new voices I can discover this year. Last year I didn’t read THAT many debuts, so I really want to increase the number this year and read AT LEAST 12 new authors.

 

 

Last year my hands-down favorite debut was Traci Chee’s The Reader, which I absolutely adored. I also really enjoyed Jenna Evans Welch’s Love and Gelato, and Zoraida Cordova’s Labyrinth Lost.

  

Since you might want to check out my reviews on those:

And now here are the challenge details!


Challenge Objectives:

  • To introduce readers to this year’s wonderful group of debut authors.
  • To challenge readers to read 12 or more (or less! It’s up to you!) middle grade, young adult, and new adult debuts this year.

Challenge Rules:

  • You must post your thoughts on each debut book you read in order for it to count towards the challenge. You can post anywhere: your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. If you can link it up, it counts!
  • You can join the challenge whenever you want.
  • The debuts must have a publishing date in 2017 and must have been read between January 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018 (this extra month allows readers adequate time to read December debuts) in order to count.
  • Each review gives you an entry into the monthly prize pack drawings. Make sure you post the links to my monthly link-ups. I always post these link-ups on the first day of the month.
  • This challenge is open internationally, as are the monthly prize packs.
  • I don’t care what language you write your reviews in, I just need to know which book you have reviewed so I can verify your entry. When you post your link in the Linky, please include the title in English.
  • Use the hashtag #2017DebAuthC so we can all see what everyone’s up to!

Which Books Count:

  • The book must be classified as middle grade, young adult, new adult fiction.
  • The book must be a full-length novel and not a novella.
  • The book must be the author’s MG/YA/NA 2017 debut. (If the author has published adult fiction before, but this is their first MG/YA/NA book EVER it still counts. If the author has published a YA book before and this is their first MG or NA book, it does not count. We are reading the author’s first book for young people, excluding picture books.)
  • Self-published books do not count, so if the author has self-published a MG/YA/NA book before and this is their first book published by a traditional publisher it counts toward the challenge.
  • ARCs are fine, but only if you read them the year they are published. (If you read a 2017 debut in 2016, it does not count. If you read a 2018 debut in 2017, it does not count. This way, participants who do not have access to ARCs are not at a disadvantage.)
  • Since this challenge is international, some books will be debuts in some countries and not in others. This can be tricky and put some books into a gray area, so here’s what we will do. If the book came out this year in your country for the first time, even though it was available elsewhere, then you can count it. I’m going to trust you, so please be honest.
  • Please feel free to tweet, email, etc. me if you do not know if a book counts or not. I am happy to help you.

Helpful Links:


Are you planning to try to expand your list of favorite authors in 2017? Who were you favorite debuts from the past year? Leave me a link in the comments if you decide to join us in the 2017 Debut Author Challenge!

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Dec 28

Back to the Classics 2017

Books/Writing 5

Introducing my entry into the Back to the Classics 2017 challenge, hosted by Books and Chocolate! I might be approaching overboard with the challenges buuuuut one can never have too many books or book lists. 😉 I really want to read more classic literature again. I got a little burned out in college (yay English major with a focus on literature), and at that time I was a TOTAL book snob and wouldn’t read books that I considered just fluff and fun. Little did I know that sometimes you NEED a little brain candy to recharge. Anyway, this challenge is about adding some of classic literature back into my book diet. 🙂 The book I’m most looking forward to (dreading?) tackling is Jane Eyre. I’ve somehow never managed to read it but everyone seems to love it!


The challenge will be exactly the same as last year, 12 classic books, but with slightly different categories. You do not have to read 12 books to participate in this s

  • Complete six categories, and you get one entry in the drawing
  • Complete nine categories, and you get two entries in the drawing
  • Complete all twelve categories, and you get three entries in the drawing

And here are the categories for the 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge:

1.  A 19th Century Classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2.  A 20th Century Classic – any book published between 1900 and 1967. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later, such as posthumous publications.

3.  A classic by a woman author.

4.  A classic in translation.  Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language. (You can also read books in translation for any of the other categories).

5.  A classic published before 1800. Plays and epic poems are acceptable in this category also.

6.  An romance classic. I’m pretty flexible here about the definition of romance. It can have a happy ending or a sad ending, as long as there is a strong romantic element to the plot.

7.  A Gothic or horror classic. For a good definition of what makes a book Gothic, and an excellent list of possible reads, please see this list on Goodreads.

8.  A classic with a number in the title. Examples include A Tale of Two CitiesThree Men in a Boat, The Nine Tailors, Henry V, Fahrenheit 451, etc.

9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title.  It an actual animal or a metaphor, or just the name. Examples include To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The Metamorphosis, White Fang, etc.

10. A classic set in a place you’d like to visit. It can be real or imaginary: The Wizard of Oz, Down and Out in Paris and London, Death on the Nile, etc.

11. An award-winning classic. It could be the Newbery award, the Prix Goncourt, the Pulitzer Prize, the James Tait Award, etc. Any award, just mention in your blog post what award your choice received.

12. A Russian Classic2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, so read a classic by any Russian author.


Please be sure to go check out the sign-up post on Books and Chocolate! I’m looking forward to choosing my books and stretching my reading muscles a little more this year. If you sign up for the Back to the Classics 2017 challenge, what classic are you most looking forward to?

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Dec 27

2017 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge

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The 2017 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge is hosted by Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf. This is a little different than most of my reading challenges for this year. I don’t consider myself a religious person, but I do have spiritual beliefs of a sort and I really want to learn more about paganism. So for this, I’ll probably mostly be reading nonfiction books. I’m aiming for the Maiden level (6-10 books).


Rules

  • This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2017 – Dec 31, 2017. Link up a sign-up post (below).
  • Reviews: I will be handling this slightly differently than previous years. There will be only one post in January of 2017 to link all the years reviews rather than a monthly link up.  (Note: You do not have to review the books to participate, but only those who link up reviews will be entered for the prize)
  • Grab the reading challenge button (code & button below) and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate- you could track your progress and post reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.
  • Any full length book that includes a witch as a main character or includes major witchcraft elements counts. They may be fiction or non-fiction. However, they should not be reference books which are not read cover to cover-I will leave this to your discretion.
  • Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  • When you sign up in the linky put the direct link to your post about joining the 2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge, not just a link to your blog.
  • You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  • Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2017, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.

Anyone else signing up for this one?

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Dec 27

Book Review: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Book Reviews 6 ★★★★

Book Review: Deep Blue by Jennifer DonnellyDeep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Series: Waterfire Saga #1
Published by Scholastic Inc. on May 6th 2014
Genres: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 340
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Goodreads four-stars

Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation - and burden - that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother's hopes.
The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin's arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina's darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

The Waterfire Saga was brought to my attention by Sara over at Freadom Library! I was intrigued by the mermaid aspect, and they sounded like fun, quick reads with enough substance to keep me from rolling my eyes the entire time. She did say that it was more on the towards-middle-grade side of YA, and after finishing this first book I whole-heartedly agree. I’m not sure why these are even in the YA category other than the age of the characters. Anyway, without further ado, I present my review of Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly!

“You fear you will fail at the very thing you were born for. And your fear torments you…instead of shunning your fear, you must let it speak and listen carefully to what it’s trying to tell you. It will give you good counsel.”

Feels:

Well, to start off with I got a serious case of deja vu.

Thankfully it moves past that pretty quickly. There are some similarities throughout but I think that’s to be expected given the mermaid subject and the intended audience. I loved the emphasis on friendship and sisterhood that is this story. There is no prince on a white horse and these princesses have to save themselves.  In the end that was what really increased the rating for me.

Characters:

The main character is Serafina, the princess of one of several underwater merl realms. While I feel for her as she goes through the massive trauma that is the first several chapters…I never quite connected with her. Her best friend is Neela, the princess of another realm – and I adore Neela. She’s so funny, and warm, and her obsession with sweets is SO relatable. I mean who doesn’t try to distract people from hard things by giving them delicious food?

The other princesses that they collect in their quest aren’t drawn out as fully, but they’re interesting and I want to know more! Ling, Becca, Ava, even cranky Astrid – they all obviously have stories of their own and they are all so beautifully different in backgrounds, their skills, even their appearances. I really like the fact that the sisterhood between them all is the main emphasis of the story. While, yes, there is a prince, and at first it seems like a romance is going to be a main part of the book – it’s not. Several times I thanked all the stars that Sera was not one of those heroines who got completely distracted by her crush from the rest of the world.

Plot:

The plot was all very dramatic…there’s a prophesy, there’s a dream, there’s magic…nothing all that new in the fantasy world. Again, at first I was about to throw the book across the room because it seemed all Little Mermaid-ish…but then people started dying and there was blood and spells and I was ok. Because every mermaid needs a little trauma to grow her up, am I right?

Please excuse my desire for bad things to happen to characters. It’s called PERSONAL GROWTH, ok?

The romance completely takes a backseat after the first few chapters. I have a couple of theories on what happens to Prince Mahdi. I’m really looking forward to seeing if I’m correct in the next book(s)!

Worldbuilding/Description:

Donnelly does an excellent job of creating an underwater world that we can almost see and touch. It sounds lovely and enchanting! Once all the explosions and stuff have died down, naturally. She has invented words and at least part of a language for these books, I believe. There are at least words in another language that I don’t recognize and that is only identified as an “age-old tongue.” So that’s AWESOME.

I didn’t enjoy the constant puns. I’m not entertained by puns in general, so maybe they’re really not that bad. But between the puns and just some awkward turns of phrase, I did a fair bit of eye-rolling.

  • Money = currensea.
  • “Getting our wrasses kicked!”
  • “We don’t swim on ceremony.”

Just stop. No one is going to forget that mermaids live underwater. Seriously. Also, there are several instances where we are told what the characters are feeling. Such as “Serafina was so excited, she was talking a million words a minute,” and “Serafina, frustrated by Astrid’s unwillingness to talk…” I find that style of writing extremely irritating, but it wasn’t so pervasive that I couldn’t skim over it.

Rating:

Overall, 4 stars. Until the last chapter I was pretty sure it was going to be a 3.5 star book, but then that cliffhanger…I’m sold. I’m excited to see what happens in the next book!

four-stars

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Dec 26

Beat the Backlist Challenge 2017

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I am so excited to find this challenge! Creating reading lists and goals for the coming year is one of my favorite parts of the new year. I’m so happy to have an official challenge for my backlist, haha. I even found another book blogger to follow in the process, since I saw Kourtni’s post about it, and then Lia’s, and followed them to the wonderful host, Austine at NovelKnight!

I’m totally copying this from the info post, because I’m too lazy to make all my own links when they’ve already been put together in such a lovely, logical way.

The Beat the Backlist Challenge is focused on knocking off titles that have been on your TBR for a while, or even ones that get pushed aside for new releases. Over the years, and especially this one, we’ve noticed that new releases are getting more and more attention while our TBRs continue to grow. While we LOVE new releases, we also want to show some of those older titles love too.

This challenge doesn’t have levels or a set number of books you need to read.

YOU set your own reading goal. YOU pick the books. YOU read at your own pace.

Table of Contents

Challenge Overview | FAQs | Sign-Up for the Challenge!

FUN STUFF!

Readathon Weekends | Twitter Chats | Instagram Challenges | Banners/Icons

So, my official TBR List is going to be limited to books I already own, either physical copies or ebooks. I’ve been trying to read down my bought books for the last year, and well…I didn’t do so great last year, as you can see on my Official 2016 TBR Page – I only read 20/45, so slightly less than half. I even had a successful book buying ban January through June of 2016, but I totally fell off the bandwagon the last 6 months. Anyway!

I’ll be putting up a page for my TBR 2017 Beat the Backlist Challenge, but here is the list for right now. I know that I won’t read all these and that I will read other books not on the list, but this is a good place to start. I’m not even going to try to link all these to GoodReads…sorry, guys. There’s 70, in case anyone was wondering. 😛 My GOAL though, is 40 books off this list.

The Aeronaut’s Windlass – Jim Butcher 2015
The Ageless Agatha Christie – J.C. Bernthal 2016
And I Darken – Kiersten White 2016
Animal Reiki – Elizabeth Fulton 2006
The Animal Reiki Handbook – Kathleen Prasad 2009
The Art of Discworld – Terry Pratchett 2004
Atlantis: Ancient Legacy, Hidden Prophecy – John Michael Greer 2007
Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) – William Ritter 2015
Beauty: an Overland Ever After Tale – Caroline Lee 2016
Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
The Book of Crystal Spells – Ember Grant 2013
Cast On, Kill Off – Maggie Sefton 2012
Clicker Training for Cats – Karen Pryor 2003
Crystal Healing – Judy Hall 2010
Devotion – Adam Makos 2015
The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe – Edgar Allen Poe
Everland – Wendy Spinale 2016
Fear the Drowning Deep – Sarah Glenn Marsh 2016
The Fiery Cross – Diana Gabaldon 2001
The Fifth Elephant – Terry Pratchett 2000
Finding Fraser – KC Dyer 2016
First Lord’s Fury – Jim Butcher 2009
Flawed – Cecilia Ahern 2016
Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) – William Ritter 2016
Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) – Kendare Blake 2012
The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer 2016
Halloween – Silver Ravenwulf 1999
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) illustrated – 2015
Heartless – Marissa Meyer 2016
Herb Magic for Beginners – Ellen Dugan 2006
The Highly Sensitive Person – Elaine N. Aron 1997
J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth – Daniel Grotta 1996
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
June – Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Know You, Know Your Horse – Eunice Rush
Labyrinth – Kate Mosse 2006
A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell #3) – Laurie R. King 2014
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – Bill Bryson 2007
The Love That Split the World – Emily Henry 2016
Magick of Reiki – Christopher Penczak 2004
The Making of Outlander – Tara Bennett 2016
Maskerade – Terry Pratchett 1997
Modern Book Collecting – Robert A. Wilson 2010
Monstrous Regiment – Terry Pratchett 2003
Nicotine – Nell Zink 2016
Night Watch – Terry Pratchett 2002
Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson 2001
Pardonable Lies – Jacqueline Winspear 2005
The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin – Stephanie Knipper 2016
Red Queen (Chronicles of Alice #2) – Christina Henry 2016
Root, Petal, Thorn – Ella Joy Olsen 2016
The Secret Chord – Geraldine Brooks 2015
Sepulchre – Kate Mosse 2008
The Serpent King – Jeff Zentner 2016
This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab 2016
Three Dark Crowns – Kendare Blake 2016
The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
The Trespasser – Tana French 2016
Vassa in the Night – Sarah Porter 2016
War Stories II – Oliver North 2004
War Stories III – Oliver North 2005
Waterless Mountain – Laura Adams Armer 1993
The Wayward Bus – John Steinbeck 1947
The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (Flavia de la Luce #2) – Alan Bradley 2010
Wintersmith – Terry Pratchet 2006
The Wodehouse Companion – Richard Usborne 2002
The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware 2016
Worlds of Ink and Shadow – Lena Coakley 2016
Write a Novel and Get It Published – Stephen May 2012
Wyrd Sisters – Terry Pratchett

The idea here isn’t to make this a competition, but to help you shrink your TBR with a bunch of other people doing the same thing. BUT if you’re looking for a little extra motivation for this challenge…

Hogwarts House Cup Mini Challenge

Hogwarts House Cup Mini Challenge

Mini Challenge Information | Points System | Reading Sacvenger Hunts | Challenge Names | Sign-Up!

I’m also EXTREMELY excited that there’s a Harry Potter House Cup mini challenge to go with it…I’m planning to play for Hufflepuff! I’m something of a Ravenpuff, but I always feel bad at how much Hufflepuff is made fun of.

I foresee LOTS of posts about this challenge, since the majority of my TBR books are backlist books. I’m SO excited!! I might even try to do the Instagram challenges…we’ll see. 😉 Thanks so much to NovelKnight for putting it all together!

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