Thursday, January 26, 2017

Coloring Book Reviews: Atelie Fashion, Color Me Mindful Seasons, and In Bloom!

Right before Christmas I was lucky enough to get my hands on this trio of adult coloring books from Simon and Schuster and I'm finally, finally getting around to reviewing them.  A HUGE thank you to the publisher for sending them to me - I can't wait to fill the pages with beautiful colors!

This one might be my favorite of the three.  It's mostly patterns, with a slightly Russian influence in some places, but mostly just full of whimsy.  It's pretty divided between more simplistic patterns that will color quickly and intricate designs that will take me longer, which I like.

Color Me Mindful: Seasons starts with the New Year and takes you right through to Christmas.  It tends to be more intricate and the style reminds me somewhat of Johanna Basford's work, which is always nice.  

This is the only one I've had a chance to finish a page of yet, and I'm loving it.  Its pictures are less intricate, which makes them great for coloring when I want to finish something in one sitting instead of taking a few days to work on it.  I also like the botanical theme and the stylized artwork.

Thanks again to Simon and Schuster for sending these!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Goals and Plans for 2017

I've been promising to do this post and talk about my goals for a while now, and I need to just sit down and do it.  I'm a big fan of setting goals and having an idea of what you want your life to look like in general as a way to guide your every day decisions.  That said, I have a tendency to be a bit rigid when it comes to anything that could be interpreted as a rule, and, as the last year of my life proves, you never know what's coming and flexibility is a necessity.  I'm trying to make fewer goals this year and also make those goals broader.

Reading Goals
I have to say that I'd be disappointed to read less than 100 books in a year, just because I know what I'm capable of and I think that's a minimum.  Outside of that, I'm not going to obsess over a number.  I barely made 101 in 2016 and that was ok.  I hope to do more this year, but I'm not going to set a goal that places stress on me to achieve anything more.

My main goal for reading this year is enjoyment only.  I'm not going to worry about keeping up with reviews or even accepting books for review without much more consideration than I've given in the past.

I also want to be quick to put down books that I'm not enjoying for any reason.  Along with the goal of putting things down quickly if they aren't inspiring me or entertaining me, I want to also keep a record of what I'm putting down and why I'm putting it down.  That should help me look back over what I haven't enjoyed and make better choices in the future.

Read all of Shakespeare.  Yes, all of it.  Even the histories.  I've got a schedule and I'm starting a bit behind, but I think it's very achievable.  I haven't read Shakespeare since college and I'm super excited about getting back in touch with the Bard.

Life Goals
It's weird to come up with life goals with only myself in mind for the first time ever, really, as an adult.  I could literally try to do anything.  I'm keeping it simple in this area too, though with two main goals.  The first is to try to say yes to new opportunities, especially social opportunities.  Make new friends, try new experiences, meet new people, and be open to anything.  I want to say yes to new foods, new friends, new movies, and new experiences of all sorts.

My second goal is the exact opposite.  Say no.  Say no to things that take up time and space that I don't have to give or want to give and that don't bring joy and life to me or to others.  Say no to going and doing and making myself too busy to enjoy the experiences I'm saying yes to.  Say no to buying things I don't truly need and cluttering my (tiny) new home and space with things that are distractions from what matters.

Did any of you set any goals for the year?  I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 Recap in Statistics

This is a tragic post to write because my reading statistics for 2016 are at an all time low.  I had some really rough reading months.  I kept thinking it was a phase and I'd pass by it, but it really was just an eight or so month slump.  During the worst of it, I read only one or two books a month.

I did try a few new things this year in terms of keeping up with my statistics.  I continued to use my Google Docs spreadsheet, and I've also created one for 2017 that you are free to borrow.  I also downloaded the Modern Mrs. Darcy printable reading journal and started keeping a handwritten list as well.  I like handwriting and this gave me a spot to make some notations about who I read with and who I recommended to and anything else special about the experience.  I plan to do the same again in 2017.

The Basics
Books read in 2016: 101
Pages read in 2016: 25,798
Hours spent listening to audiobooks in 2016: 193 hours and 20 minutes, or approximately 8 days.

Best reading month in number of books: February
Worst reading month in number of books: September
Best reading month in number of pages: June
Worst reading month in number of pages: September

Male authored books: 28
Female authored books: 73

Adult Fiction: 32
Adult Non-Fiction: 29
Poetry: 1
Young Adult: 16
Graphic Novel: 23

Most frequently read subgenres: suspense/thriller, memoir, contemporary YA, and graphic adult non-fiction.

Ebook: 21
Hardback: 21
Paperback: 26
Audio: 23

Spent on books I read this year: $8.00
Amount I would have spent had I purchased each book: $1,176.96
Money saved by using the library, reading what I own, and reviewing: $1,168.96

Chattanooga Public Library: 59
Work Library: 5
Review via NetGalley: 18
Review via publisher: 4
Review via TLC: 7
Own: 5
Borrowed: 2
Given: 1

I don't do ratings on my blog, but I do give ratings on Goodreads, so these are the results of the star ratings I give out on Goodreads.  I gave one book one star, fifteen books two stars, twenty-two books three stars, forty books four stars, and twenty-two books five stars.

I continued to track books that fell into the category of what I'd consider "nothing" books.  Books that were neither good nor bad but were just completely unmemorable in any way.  This year was about the same as last year, with 15 total "not worth my time" books.  At right about 100 books, I maintained my 15% miss rate from last year, but it feels worse when I read half as many books.  I did DNF quite a few books this year, although I did a poor job of keeping track (see my goals post later this week for some ideas I have about this).

Hopefully 2017 will be a better and more fruitful reading year, but I'm not displeased with how I ended my 2016.  I think it wound up on a good note with some great books and I'm excited about what the next year has in store for me!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 End of the Year Survey

My very favorite book club event of the year has quickly become our Christmas pajama party and after a particularly difficult personal year and reading year, this year I was especially excited to snuggle up in my pjs with my best book buddies and talk about what we loved, hated, and failed to read in 2016.  A big thanks, as always, to Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner for hosting the survey.  I'll put my answers in black and the CYOA answers in red beneath my own.


Number Of Books You Read: 101 (my worst year in quite some time)
Number of Re-Reads: 25,798
Genre You Read The Most From: Adult Fiction


1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I had a decent list, covering a few different genres: Better Than Before, The Raven Cycle, Adulthood Is a Myth, and American Housewife
CYOA says: The Lunar Chronicles; In the Country We Love; Wink Poppy Midnight; Romancing Mr. Bridgerton; Starflight; Giant Days; Paris in Love; The Truth about Forever; A Darker Shade of Magic; In Real Life; The Woman Upstairs; S.; Jacksonland; and When a Scot Ties the Knot

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

Sadly, I also had a decent list of these from several genres: The Girl in the Red Coat, The Pocket Wife, Teeth, and Sweet Lamb of Heaven

CYOA says: Crimson Shore; Fates and Furies; Nos4atu; Heart-Shaped Hack; Out of the Darkness; Embassy Row Series; and YA fantasy as a genre

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

I went with the contemporary romance genre in general.  I tried it for the first time this year and found it actually pretty delightful, in small doses.  I particularly enjoyed Sex, Lies, and Online Dating, The Substitute Series, and the Hating Game

CYOA says: Modern Romance, 11/22/63, The Captive Prince Series; Being Mortal; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Fill-In Boyfriend, The Walls Around Us, and The Royal We

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

Starflight to the CYOA group, Better Than Before at the library, and The Sound of Gravel to my online besties.

CYOA says: The Captive Prince Series, The Rook and Stiletto, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Out of Darkness, The Royal We, and The Raven Cycle

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

The Raven Cycle (expect to see this repeated frequently from me)

CYOA says: The Lunar Chronicles, Starflight, The Captive Prince, Stiletto, Kings Rising, Sloppy Firsts, The Last Little Blue Envelope, Christina Henry's Alice series

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Rachel Gibson and Denise Grover Swank for romance; Joe Abercrombie for fantasy

CYOA says: V.E. Schwab, Marie Kondo, Julia Quinn, Claire Messaud, Catherine Lao, Elizabeth Hoyt, Kate Noble, and Kate Congo

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

Again, I'm going to go with the contemporary romances I read this year - the Writer Friends series, the Substitute series, and The Hating Game

CYOA says: Paris in Love, Jacksonland, The Secret Place, 11/22/63, The Royal We

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

The Raven King
CYOA says: The Female of the Species, A Darker Shade of Magic, Love and Other Perishable Items, Behind Closed Doors, Sharp Objects, and The Grownup 

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

Spark Joy, Better Than Before

CYOA says: Starflight, My Lady Jane, Tiny Beautiful Things, Bread and Wine, The Royal We

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
Wicked Bugs, Starflight, The Female of the Species
CYOA says: Six of Crows, A Darker Shade of Magic, Assassin's Blade, Casket Girls, Wink Poppy Midnight, For Real, S., Alice

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Ronan from the Raven Cycle
CYOA says: Iko from Cinder, the Six Characters from Six of Crows, Mr. Hemming from A Pleasure and a Calling, Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles 

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (particularly the portions that talk about books and reading) 
CYOA says: Wink Poppy Midnight, Love and Other Perishable Items, Six of Crows, Stiletto, The Secret Place 

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

 Better Than Before
CYOA says: 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, In the Country We Love, Jacksonland, The Catcher in the Rye, The Woman Upstairs, Nos4atu

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

 Raven Boys, Summer at Tiffany (this one has been on my shelf since 2008!)
CYOA says: Room, anything by Gillian Flynn, Miss Marvel, Throne of Glass, Cinder

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: September Roses (another that's been on my list for at least 8 years)
Longest: The Royal We
CYOA says: Shortest: The Princess and the Pony, The Snowy Day, The Queen's Army, In the Shadow of the Towers
                        Longest: Flame Caster, Mississippi Jack, 11/22/63, Nos4atu

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

Out of Darkness, Alice

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

Gansy and Blue from the Raven Cycle

CYOA says: Nina and Mathias from Six of Crows; Sam and Jack from Nuclear Heat; Damon and Laurent from Captive Prince; Ronan and Adam from The Raven Cycle; Cress and Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles; Chale and Selena from Throne of Glass; Jen and Eric from S., and Bex and Nick from The Royal We

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Harry, Ron, and Hermione; Noah and Blue; Polly and Hermione (Exit Pursued By a Bear)
CYOA says: Cinder and Thorne; Ronan and Blue; Felicity and Odette (Stiletto); Max and Nev (In Real Life); Jack and the girls (Nuclear Heat)

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

 Better Than Before; Starflight
CYOA says: The Boy is Back, Love May Fail, One True Love, Six of Crows, The Substitute

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

The Raven Cycle, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

CYOA says: Behind Closed Doors, Throne of Glass, The Madwoman Upstairs, Alice, Captive Prince series

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

Ronan from the Raven Cycle; A.J. Fikry
CYOA says: Jack from Nuclear Heat; Caz from Six of Crows; Doran from Starflight; the Duke of Wakefield from Duke of Midnight

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

The Hatching

CYOA says: How to Live by Katie Contigo; Throne of Glass; An Ember in the Ashes; Special Topics in Calamity Physics

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

The Raven Cycle
CYOA says: Smoke, A Darker Shade of Magic, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The Scorpion Rules

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

 Adulthood is a Myth, Texts from Jane Eyre
CYOA says: The Princess and the Pony, My Lady Jane, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Sloppy Firsts

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

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
CYOA says: Be Frank with Me, The Truth about Forever, A Reunion of Ghosts, Out of Darkness

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Grunt, I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro
Jacksonland, 84 Charing Cross Road, Wink Poppy Midnight, I Was Here 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
CYOA says: Out of Darkness, Alice

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

The Luck Archive; Paper Girls
CYOA says: Being Mortal, S., Becoming Djinn, Stiletto  

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

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

CYOA says: Behind Closed Doors, Throne of Glass series, American Girls, Don't Look Back, Crimson Shore, The Walking Dead comics


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

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own
CYOA says: Crooked Kingdom, Talking As Fast As I Can, A Winner's Curse Trilogy, Winter, Familiar #1  

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

Difficult Women 

CYOA says: Starfall, Court of Thorn and Roses, Scarlet Epstein Hates it Here, Strange the Dreamer

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

I'm going to be doing a post on my own goals tomorrow, so you'll have to wait for those, but I'll include CYOA's below:
  • DNF more books
  • Read Anathem
  • Get rid of more books
  • Read more non-fiction
  • Finish some series
  • Keep a list of DNF books
  • Have no more than two books at a time on my currently reading list
  • Read from my fantasy shelf