Monday, April 30, 2018

April Challenge Wrap Up Post

2018 Books I Already Own Challenge
Hello fellow readers! Though April felt like an extremely short month and I found the weather wholly depressing, it was actually a pretty successful reading month for me! Giving myself a little more leeway in my books choices definitely felt more natural so I think in June I will use this method again to help me work through my 2018 Books I Already Own Challenge.

Here's what I read in April 2018:
Audio books I Own
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (review post)
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Physical books I Own 
Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (review post)
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

CHEAT BOOK: Everless by Sara Holland

Required Reading:
(Work) Dead and Breakfast by Kate Kingsbury
(Professional Review) #Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid
(Professional Review) The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delaney
(received from author for review) Guns, Rations, Rigs & the Undead by K.E. Radke
(received from author for review) How to Marry a Werewolf by Gail Carriger

I have two more books, one a nonfiction physical book and one fiction audiobook that I'm almost finished with, but not quite, so those will be finished in May.  I tried to squeeze them in today, but there just isn't enough time! LOL.  Oh well...

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to May, as I decided to give myself an entire CHEAT MONTH.  So many new books from series I love are coming out this month that I couldn't figure out how to resist so I'm just gonna go for it and get back down to challenge business in June.  I'll post my list of expected reads in the next few days.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The Folk of the Air, book one
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018
ARC owned in personal collection from BEA 2017

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Oh, how do I love my dark faeries. And no one does dark faeries quite as well as Holly Black.

For about six months this book was lost in a pile of books I'd gotten at the Book Expo. Just lingering on the floor in my "library room" forgotten. I cannot believe it took until the book was actually published for me to remember exactly how excited I was that Holly Black was going back to writing the dark fae that I LOVED so much in her earliest books!! (If you haven't read her Modern Faerie Tales series, start with Tithe)

After so much hype online in the last few months as bookstagrammers have been absolutely lauding this book I finally convinced myself that since I owned the ARC I was not stepping outside of my reading challenge parameters and allowed myself to dive in. *happy sigh*

Jude is the type of strong/fragile female character I love the most. She is weak, technically, in the land of the Fae. She recognizes her weakness and works to overcome it in whatever ways she possibly can, using all of the tools - smarts, manipulations, physical strength - that she can pull into her arsenal. AND SHE LARGELY SUCCEEDS. Seeing a character who has tremendous odds to overcome gain even the smallest victories just makes my heart sing. And Holly Black is a master at weaving from a scene where she is bullied and made small right into one where she outmaneuvers whatever foe she faces just then.

I cannot wait for the second book, The Wicked King, due out in 2019.
Recommended for readers who like dark fantasy and especially dark fae.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Wayward Children, book one, 2016 - audio book owned in personal collection

What a stellar concept for a book! McGuire asks the question - what would it be like to be a child who journeys to another world then has to return and try to reintegrate into our society? When your entire worldview has changed, can you just go back to pretending it never happened?

The answer for Nancy and the other Wayward Children in her "boarding school" is a resounding no.  They want nothing more than to return to the otherworlds they visited. The ones that accepted them as they truly were in their hearts. Others (think similar to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz) are more than happy to forget and move on, but Nancy simply can't.  She finds both comfort and friendship with the only people who can understand, even partially, what has happened to tear her life apart.  Not going to a foreign world... but having to COME BACK. 

This novel is short, but absolutely stellar.  Dark, mysterious, heart-wrenching, and lyrical. I cannot wait to delve back into this world with the next book in the series. Definitely a recommended read for fans of dark fantasies.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April Challenge Reading "Plan"

2018 Books I Already Own Challenge
So, it's April 10th.  And it's snowing. I feel like Mother Nature has abandoned us, and the prolonged winter is making me a little depressed.  It's sapping all my energy... and all my nicely made plans and goals have sort of fallen to the wayside. *sigh*

Well, not completely.  So, as everyone knows by now, I have been working fairly diligently at reading books off of my own overstuffed bookshelves.  Books that have been sitting unread for years.  I have been good and set up a reading plan each month, and stacked the books by my bed, and tried not to deviate (too much) from those very strict plans.

And I'm about to pull my own hair out and abandon the whole project. WHICH I REFUSE TO DO.  Even if it seems winter will never end and I will never see a nice sunny day again and oh, god, I think I have seasonal affective disorder... Okay, refocusing.

Sorry about that.  Anyway, so... after much thought towards the end of March and then the first few days of April, I decided to change things up a little. I have always been a mood reader and I'm feeling severely stifled by how strict a TBR pile I've been trying to stick to each month.  So, for April my plan is to actually NOT make a written plan.  I have a loose idea of what books I might read from my shelves, but I'm not going to pull them ahead of time.  I am going to give myself the freedom to walk among my shelves and just pull something that I haven't read before that seems like what I'm in the mood for, and hopefully enjoy it!

I'm hoping that by loosening the reins, but still maintaining the focus of books I already own, I can stay within the bounds of my challenge... Keep your fingers crossed for me! I'll let you all know how I made out at the end of the month.  😊

Thursday, April 5, 2018

March Challenge Wrap Up Post

2018 Books I Already Own Challenge
Well this is certainly a belated post! LOL. The end of March and the beginning of April have sort of been all over the place for me, so this was the first real chance I've had to sit down and collect my thoughts and record what I'd done for the 2018 Books I Already Own Challenge.

Here goes. The link back to my March Challenge Reading Plan can be found here.

Here's what I read in March 2018:
Audio books I Own
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

Physical Books I Own 
Prudence by Gail Carriger (review post)
Imprudence by Gail Carriger (review post)
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

eBooks I Own
Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

CHEAT BOOK: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (review post)

Required Reading: 
(Work)  Whispers Beyond the Veil by Jessica Estevao
(Professional Review) Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst (audio book)
(Professional Review) Cadaver & Queen by Alisa Kwitney (audio book) (review post)

Thoughts from March?
One, I finally was able to say, 'No, I didn't enjoy that and so I do not feel obliged to finish this series.' I had loved Ruby Red so much I was excited way back when to read both Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green, but when I read book two this past month, I hated it.  I would have pushed myself in the past to finish the trilogy out of a sense of obligation to find out how it ended, but now I really know that there are just FAR too many books out there to waste my time if I truly don't care. So, another series got donated to the Library book sale... Secondly, I realized I kept feeling more and more stifled by the way I'd structured my challenge.  I had built a list of books I wanted to read in March, and I'd been trying to stick solely to that, but I am a mood reader by nature, so I realized I have to loosen the reigns a little. I'm going to try something less structured in April...

All in all not a bad reading month, though I certainly read less than I did in both January and February. How did you all do?