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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Mid Year Challenge Stats Update

2018 Books I Already Own Challenge
All right, so since we've finished the first half of the year, I thought I'd check in stats-wise to see how I was doing with my challenge versus overall reading...

My Challenge Status in Stats:
Total books read to date - 85

Books read for work/review - 23
Percent of total books exempt from challenge because they were for work/review - 27%

New total of books to consider for challenge - 62

Books read from my personal collections (physical, ebook, audiobook) - 44
Percent of total books applicable for my challenge - 71%

Books read as "cheats" that I then bought and added to my home collections - 10
Percent of total books "cheat to own" - 16%

Books read as complete "cheat" books - 8
Percent of total books are "cheat" books - 13%

So, overall, not counting the books I was required to read for either work or professional reviewing, I didn't do too badly so far! I read 44 books purely for the challenge from my collections at home.  I read another 10 books as "cheats" that I then decided to add to my own collections... and lastly, I've read 8 books purely as "cheats." Not too bad for the first half of the year, especially with a month and a half as pure "cheat" time!

Here's the list of titles that meet the full parameters of my challenge (AKA I owned them before the challenge began): 
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Blood Rose by Andrea Cremer
Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Princess and the Stableboy by Rebecca Rynecki (reread)
Dark Descendant by Jenna Black
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Darker Days by Jus Accardo
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
Talon by Julie Kagawa
Rogue by Julie Kagawa
Rebel Heart by Moira Young
Raging Star by Moira Young
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Prudence by Gail Carriger
Imprudence by Gail Carriger
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
Claimed by the Gods by Eva Chase
Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Power of Five by Alex Lidell
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
Mistake of Magic by Alex Lidell
Aquicorn Cove by Katie O'Neill
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
My Wish for You by Kathryn Hahn
Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop
The Plastic Magician by Charlie Holmberg



Monday, July 2, 2018

June Challenge Wrap Up Post

2018 Books I Already Own Challenge
So, here we are at the beginning of July, and though I had the best intentions of diving back into my 2018 Books I Already Own Challenge in the month of June, it kind of got away from me and became a second cheat month.  I'm a little disappointed in myself honestly.

But on to the recap. All links below take you to the title's entry on goodreads.com. Here's what I read in June:

Audio Books I Own
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Physical Books I Own
The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop *Book Expo 2018
Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco *Book Expo 2018
My Wish for You by Kathryn Hahn *Book Expo 2018

eBooks I Own
Power of Five by Alex Lidell
Mistake of Magic by Alex Lidell
Claimed by the Gods by Eva Chase

Books borrowed from the Library
War Storm by Victoria Aveyard
Riverdale Vol. 1 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas *several of the individual stories already owned in ebook version

Official Cheat Book: Competence by Gail Carriger

Required Reading
(Work) Murder in an English Village by Jessica Ellicott
(Professional Review) Son of the Dawn by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan
(Professional Review) Twice Bitten by Lynsay Sands
(Professional Review) Language of the Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
(Professional Review) Grigori by Lauren Smith

So, other than not getting back on track with my challenge, I found June to be a frustrating month in general reading-wise.  I did not get through the one nonfiction book I wanted to for the month (No Ego by Cy Wakeman) so I'll be working on finishing that in July.  I blasted through a bunch of great audiobooks, but was so frustrated after finishing War Storm that it took me a little bit to get back into the rhythm of physical reading.  Thus the easy ebook choices... short, romance fantasies... and the shorter books like the graphic novel and the two childrens' books from the Book Expo.  I need a palate cleanser, I guess.

I seemed to hit my stride again towards the end of the month, so I'm hoping now with a fresh month's start to leap back into my challenge and keep progressing through the books I own at home.  I'm planning to do a post in the next few days just giving a half-year progress update on my challenge reading and where that leaves me with my collection at home... 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Furyborn by Claire Legrand
The Empirium Trilogy, book one 
Sourcebooks Fire, 2018 - ARC received from PLA 2018, Signed, Finished copy now owned in my personal collection

Oh, do I love Claire Legrand's writing.  She is a stellar talent that pulls me into her dark, imaginative worlds in the same ways as Neil Gaiman and Laini Taylor.  I already highlighted her book Winterspell (see my review here) this year as one of my favorites that I've read as part of my 2018 Books I Already Own Challenge.

This book is a behemoth, but it flew by like I was reading a contemporary two-hundred page book.  I fell deep into the worlds of Reille and Eliana, exploring how each worked and how different they were, though you know from the beginning that somehow they are connected.  Connected, but with 1,000 years, a tragedy, and a takeover separating them.

As the chapters progressed, I found myself desperately turning the pages.  Legrand is an EXPERT at these alternating chapters.  Each would end with just enough of a cliffhanger that I would want to skip the next chapter to jump to the continuation of that particular character's story, but I also recognized how exquisitely she unfolded both stories in a way that tied them together and if you read one girl's story without the other, you would miss so much.  This book was like the best kind of runaway train that I was sprinting to catch! And when it ended?  Let's just say I CANNOT wait for book two.

Highly recommended to readers who like high fantasy, dark kingdoms, strong female characters, and plot lines that intertwine (eventually... LOL).

Claire Legrand is now officially one of my all-time favorite authors.  This is her second book to make it onto my top books read in 2018 list.  I was super excited to get to meet her at this year's Book Expo, and though I already had a signed ARC (thanks Miss Kim!!!), I stood in line to get a signed, finished copy of this book, essentially so I could meet her and gush about how much I loved the book. I was so excited, I forgot to take a picture of HER, just this one of her signature on the title page.  LOL. 

Claire was asking everyone if they were a Sun Queen or a Blood Queen (based on the prophecy in the book) and then signing in the corresponding gold or red sharpie.  When she asked me, knowing I'd already read the book, I told her I couldn't decide as both were created from great tragedy, only for one it became her downfall, and for the other it was her origin... Claire and the woman from Sourcebooks Fire decided I was a Sun Queen... and I think I'm okay with that.  I won't tell you why, but if you read Furyborn, you can let me know if you agree!