January 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up

Finally! I thought January would never end. What is it about January? Every year it seems to get longer and longer. This past January felt like it dragged on for months for me. But it’s finally over and it’s time to look back at my reading life.

 

 

 

Stats:

Total Books Read: 15 Books

Number of Pages: 5,081

Written by Men: 1

Written by Women: 14

Diverse Authors: 1

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 15

Paperback: 0

Hardback: 0

eBooks/Kindle: 15

Library Books: 11

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 1

Favorite Book:

I have three favorites this month. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, Cold As Ice by Anne Stuart, & Big Boy by Ruthie Knox

Reading Challenges to Date  (Click on the links to learn more about each challenge) :

GoodReads:  15/100

Book Riot Read Harder 2019:

Task 23: A Self-Published Book: The Handbag’s Tale   by Louis B. Shalako

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 

The Handbag’s Tale By Louis B. Shalako. This is also one of my lowest rated books. Click here for more information.

The Heaving Bosoms 2019 Reading Embrace

Because Witches: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Consent Boner: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

England Times: Irresistible by Mary Balogh

Hufflepuff-Slytherine Love: Cold as Ice by Anne Stuart

Medieval Times: The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux

Your Faves are Problematic: Ain’t She Sweet? by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Reading Women Challenge:

A romance or love story: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

A book you bought or borrowed in 2019: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Pop Sugar 2019 Reading Challenge:

A Debut Novel: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Blog Stuff

Bookish Posts:

The 5 Lowest Rated Books on my TBR

Across the web:

An idea for solving your TBR problem can be found on Book Riot that I think I’m going to try.  Strategy for actually reading the books you own.

 

So that was my January.  How was your January? Read any good books? Let em know in the comments below. Happy reading, y’all.

The 5 Lowest Rated Books on my TBR Stack

Back in the late summer and early fall, book blogs, Bookstagram, and Booktube was full of posts about the five lowest rated books on their respective TBRs. Some listed the books and others read the books and discussed why they agreed or disagreed with the low ratings on GoodReads.

So this new year as I look over my own teetering TBR I wondered what were the five lowest rated books of mine. And so I decided to list & then read my five lowest rated books on GoodReads. I will update and review the books and explain why I think the ratings are or are not justified.

***Edited to add: The books are the lowest rated as of  January 22, 2019.

The Handbag’s Tale by Louis Bertrand Shalako 2.13 Stars

Why it’s on my TBR: This is on my TBR because it is free for Kindle books. And its one of many free books I downloaded to my Kindle right after I received the Kindle back in 2011.

Why I think it has a low rating: Well. It is a self-published book. I’m guessing there are a lot of reasons?

***edited to add: I read this one over the weekend. The review is on GoodReads if you are interested.

 

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold 2.68 Stars

Why it’s on my TBR: I bought this at Target soon after reading Lovely Bones. Itsa one of my favorite books so I thought to give this one a spin.

Why I think it has a low rating: I started it at one point and realized what this book is about and it’s controversial. And I wasn’t in the mood to read it, so I set it aside.

 

 

 

 

Spring and Fall by Nicholas Delblanco 2.71 Stars

Why it’s on my TBR: I picked this up at a conference and it has languished on my TBR ever since.

Why I think it has a low rating: No clue.

 

 

 

 

Whiskey by Bruce Holbert

2.91 Stars

Why it’s on my TBR: This came to me via a Book box.

Why I think it has a low rating: It is a fairly new book and has very few ratings. So.

 

 

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam  3.08 Stars

Why it’s on my TBR: Another book box book. This book seemed to be everywhere when it was first published.

Why I think it has a low rating: I’m guessing that like The Almost Moon it is a controversial story.

 

What are the five lowest rated GoodReads books on your TBR? Have you read any of the books on my list and do you agree with the ratings?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

Here are links to a couple of posts that inspired me and my ratings rubric:

Click here to see my star ratings rubric.

Click here to read here to read Book Bums lowest rated books post.

And here is a link to Books and Lala’s five lowest rated books:

Quickie Book Review: Bone Gap

Author: Laura Ruby

Published: March 2015 Harper Collins audio book read by Dan Bittner

Length: 345 pages (in paperback. No pages listed for the audio book.)

Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Young Adult

Source: Free audio book from audiobooksync.com. Click here for more information on how to participate in this program.

Stars: 5 Stars

 

Summary:

Bone Gap is the story of Roza, a beautiful girl who is taken from a quiet midwestern town and imprisoned by a mysterious man, and Finn, the only witness, who cannot forgive himself for being unable to identify her kidnapper. As we follow them through their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures, acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness–a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

I’ve had this audio book for a year or two and finally made myself listen to it. I’m not really a fan of audio books and have only listened to a few. But this story could make me listen to them more often. Bone Gap is a free giveaway by Audiobooksync. Click on the link above to get more information about the program and how you too can receive free audio books.

Before I start the review I must point out the cover. I’m a huge sucker for book covers. If I like it I’ll probably buy the book. Which means I’ve read some awful books with gorgeous covers. I love this cover. Love it! And happily I love this novel too.

Like:

I am a huge fan of the magical realism genre so there are many things that I like about this book. Many of my favorite books over the last few years are books from this genre. So it really isn’t a surprise to me that I really love this book. I love the rural farm town setting, and the hints that something is just, I don’t know, off in this place. And I love that the off-ness of the place isn’t inherently evil. I love all the symbolism hinting at the off-ness of this place, this gap. The whispering corn fields that talk to Finn, one of the main characters. And Finn’s struggles with a mysterious problem. Roza, the other main character, and her struggle to find her place in the world are so well done in this story, not to mention her struggle as kidnapping victim. And Laura Ruby is a beautiful writer. I just loved hearing the writing so much that I went to Goodreads to read some of quoted passages for myself. And I really like Dan Bittner’s narration of the lovely passages which is so well done. This story is like a wonderful re-telling of fairy tale that’s been long forgotten.

One more thing: I love the reference to the OG of Midwestern magical realism Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. It’s done so delicately that if you blink you’ll miss it.

Not so much:

I’m not sure there is anything. But the resolution of the kidnapping is not my favorite part of the story. I want something more definitive to close that story line satisfactorily for me.

What I’ll remember:

Two things: First, Roza. She is a strong female protagonist. She doesn’t allow herself to be the victim of this story that must be saved by someone (aka male hero). She actively struggles against the man who has taken her captive, and in the end, makes a sacrifice to save herself and Finn. I like that young adult novels are making the heroines of the the stories more active in their own “saving.”

Second: The delicate use of magical realism in the story. It seeps into all the nooks and crannies, but doesn’t completely overwhelm and take over the story. If I had a friend (or a book club) that hadn’t read any magical realism but wanted to try it for the first time, this would be the book I will recommend. And really, if you haven’t read it yet, you should. Especially if you like magical realism and fairy tale re-tellings.

So let me know what you think in the comments below. Let me know if you have a favorite magical realism novel you would like to recommend. Or let me know what you think of listening to audio books.

Happy reading, y’all!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon October 2017

april2017It’s that time of year again. It’s Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon time! A full 24 hour period to devote to just reading! The readathon is this weekend, October21st and 22nd. Most exciting is that it’s the 10th anniversary of this readathon. Click here to read more about the story of this readathon. This is my fourth readathon.You can read about previous readathons here, here, and here.

As I write this I’m busy collecting the books I want to read during the event. I’m not focusing on a theme, although I’m am planning on reading some Ray Bradbury books that are October and Halloween related. Click here if you would like to see my Dewey’s Readathon bookshelf on Goodreads. Another thing I’m focusing on is reading shorter in length books because one thing I have learned is not to read “doorstoppers” during a readathon. I read a 500+ page book during my first readathon which made me feel as if I made no progress at all. While I know that its not a competition, I did get discouraged since I didn’t quite finish two books for that first readathon. So for the next one I read more 200 pages and under books which made me feel like I accomplished my goals as I finished each book. Now I focus more on page count and not worry about the number of books I read. I’m setting the goal of reading 1,500 pages.  And since I get a little stir crazy sitting in the same spot for hours on end, I will also have some audio books ready to go so I can get out and enjoy the lovely fall weather this weekend.

A new treat I have also planned for the readathon: spa day! I’m gonna spend some time with stuff slathered on my feet, hands, and face. This is a perfect time to use a deep moisturizer on my poor, dry, feet and heels. And fuzzy socks to keep my feet warm while I have them propped on a stool. On my hands more balms and lotions with my hands in cotton gloves to keep the book pages clean. And on my face some eye masks and face masks to treat my skin. And I’ll put a pitcher of water with cucumbers or oranges floating nearby. It will be lovely.

Another important part of this readathon is social media.  I plan on sticking to Twitter for most of my updates with three or four more detailed updates on my blog. You can find me here on Twitter. I am also planning on visiting Goodreads Dewey’s Readathon group and participation in the reading sprints which are held there. I will participate in as many mini-challenges as I can and cheer all my fellow readathoners on as possible. It’s such fun to know that so many other people all around the world are participating and cheering each other on. It’s one of the many really cool things about this readathon; we do it together.

Finally, food and drink is also much discussed and planned for the readathon. Since I’m going with a spa day theme, I”ll have pitchers of water to keep hydrated. Later on I’ll drink hot tea and cider and treat myself to some pumpkin cookies to keep my energy up. And perhaps the treat that I’m most looking forward to is the late afternoon/early evening large latte or flat white Himself will go and get for me. I don’t drink coffee after 4 pm because the caffeine keeps me awake all night. So this late in the day coffee is a special treat.

Of course, all of my plans for the readathon may change the day of. But one thing is for certain and it’s that I will be readathoning on Saturday. Will you? Let me know in the comments below if you are participating in this readathon. And leave the links to your social media or blog so we can cheer each other on. Happy readathon weekend, y’all!

July 2017 Wrap-Up

At the end of the month I like to reflect on my reading life. Here is a link to my June 2017 Wrap-Up, if you are interested. And now on to July! (FYI: all thumbnail covers are courtesy of GoodReads.)

July Stats

Total Books Read: 8

The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, #3) The One That Got Away (includes: Effingtons, #8.5) The Fortune Quilt Your Scandalous Ways In Scandal They Wed (The Penwich School for Virtuous Girls #2) A Notorious Countess Confesses (Pennyroyal Green, #7) It Happened One Midnight (Pennyroyal Green, #8) The Art of Fielding

Number of pages: 3,108

Written by Men: 1

Written by Women: 7

Diverse Authors: 0

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 8

Paperback: 0

Hardback: 0

eBooks/Kindle: 8

Library books: 6

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 0

DNF: 2

Funny Girl  The Mothers

I’ve not abandoned this books, but just didn’t finish before the end of the month.

Favorite book of July:  Really didn’t have a favorite this month…..

Challenges to date:

GoodReads: 66/75

Book Riot Read Harder 2017: 6/24 (I’m so behind on this challenge.)

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 1

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Purchased/Acquired:

My Name is Not Easy Remember to Forget Sugar The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor Shadows on the Moon  All of these books are audio books.

The Fortune Quilt by Lani Diane Rich One kindle book

AND

Quarterly Box #LIT05 (A book box I subscribe to) :

This is from my collection.

I had forgotten this box was coming so was pleasantly surprised when I found it on my porch. And I love the tote bag.

My Bookish Posts:

My favorite Jane Austen Swag.

My thoughts about NOT reading The Game of Thrones series.

Marking the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter.

Across the Web:

I’ve read a lot about cults in the last six months, so this essay on Lit Hub really caught my attention.

Across the Blogosphere:

Because I’m always looking for ways to improve my blog. 

Yesterday, July 30, 2017, was the 199th anniversary of Emily Brontë’s birth.

I love to read what others think of  one of my favorite books, Jane Eyre.

Why Literature Matters is a great companion piece to the Lit Hub essay I linked above.

How was your month of July? Did you read a lot or a little? Did you read anything that rocked your world? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 56, #37

It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate!

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here is my contribution:

The Art of Fielding

This is at the 56% mark on my Kindle:

This description of the professor is so good. It completely reinforces my belief that feather boas should be worn every damn day.    #lifegoals #readmyowndamnbooks #BookRiotReadHarder2017

Have you read this book? What did you think of it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to leave a link to your Friday56, too. Happy Reading, y’all.

June 2017 Wrap-Up

June Stats:

Total books read: 11

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle Have You Any Rogues? by Elizabeth Boyle And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane by Elizabeth Boyle Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, #3)

An Interrupted Tapestry by Madeline Hunter

Number of pages: 3,714

Written by Men: 2 (or is it 1 since I read 2 books by the same guy?)

Written by Women: 9

Diverse Authors: 1

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 10

Paperback: 1

Hardback: 0

Library books: 10

eBooks/Kindle: 10

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 2

DNF: 0

Favorite book of June:

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Interesting that a reread is my favorite read of the month.

Challenges to date:

Goodreads: 59/75

Book Riot Read Harder 2017: 5/24 (I’m so behind for this challenge.)

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 1

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Purchased/Acquired in June:

Of Beast and Beauty Beast Plus One If I Run The Red Umbrella The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories My Name is Not Easy

These are all free audio books from this website. There are about six weeks left to get these free audio books.

The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things Daughter of Time (After Cilmeri, #0.5)

And here are the two Kindle books. One I bought on sale and the other free. (So do kindle and audio books count as purchases? And if so have I totally screwed up my #ReadMyOwndDamnBookschallenge?)

My Quickie Book Reviews:

Vampire in the Lemon Grove

The Invisible Library

A Murder in Time

Across the Web:

I’m a huge fan of Tom and Lorenzo Fabulous and Opinionated  It’s a dedicated to fashion and read carpets, but they also do some wonderful analysis and critiques of tv shows and movies based on the costuming. If you are a fan of Mad Men, read their analysis of it via the costumes. Its amazing. They also do a smaller version of this for American Gods the TV show based on the Neil Gaiman novel.  Click here, here, and here to read their wrap up costume posts for the season.

In the Blogisphere:

This is a fun post about Favorite Female Book Characters.

And a lovely discussion about what writers do to themselves.