Sunday, January 31, 2016

Feel the Paper Love February: Roster of Events

Since I'm hosting the Feel the Paper Love February Challenge, I decided to think up some optional posts that would be applicable to "feeling the paper love". The first and last posts will have a link-up, and the others I'll just edit my posts so there are links to whomever chooses to post on the topic as well. 

All posts on this are completely optional, and feel free to combine them with existing posts. It doesn't matter if you post them sooner or later in the month- I added dates so I could not procrastinate as I am wont to do.

February 1st: "TBR for the Month". What do you plan to read, do you have a goal for a certain number of books, etc. I think mine will be titled: Ebook Rehab: Day 1. (With link-up).

February 14th: The 5 Books You Want a Physical Copy Of (i.e. books you borrowed from the library or have a digital version of, but would rather have a paper copy of)

February 20th: Paper Books: Pros and Cons. What aspects do you like about paper books? Which aspects do you not like (at all)? (A paper cut mention is obligatory).

February 28th: The 5 (Physical) Books You Treasure Most (i.e. books your grandma gave you, signed copies, books that hold fond memories for you).

February 29th: "Wrap-up Post" (how many paper books did you read; did reading paper make you read faster or slower; do you plan on reading paper books more often in the future). Mine will likely be titled: Ebook Rehab: Day 29. And I should have a link-up available for this one as well.

Happy Reading!

SFF: The 5 Series You Want to Finish Reading... Someday

Sunday Fun Five #46:

Now with an image to match my blog color scheme!
#46: The 5 Series You Want to Finish Reading... Someday
For the 14th of February: #47: The 5 Books You Want a Physical Copy Of

A Countdown of

The 5 Series You Want to Finish Reading... Someday

(Because Sometimes Procrastination Gets the Best of Us)

5. Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
I don't own the entire series, but I was getting some serious paranormal-things fatigue when I finished Dead as a Doornail, the fifth book in the series. Someday I'll get around to reading the rest of it.

4. The Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon (First Book AKA The Gift)
I greatly enjoyed these as a teen, but I've yet to read the final volume. I've also wanted to reread these and review them for the blog. I'll finish the final volume... someday.

3. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
I think it has been over a year since I read Death Masks, and I even had a highly favorable impression of it. What's been holding my back is I don't yet own the entire series (which is still being written), but once I get into a series groove it's hard for me to stop devouring.

2. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
I just finished the first one, but I know I want to finish this trilogy off someday soon. I still haven't collected any of it beyond the first book, but when I get the last two I'll be fully prepared to read them in short order.

1. Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz
My favorite pancake-flipper, Odd, has been waiting for me to finish his story since Saint Odd came out (last year). These are rather trippy books, to say the least, but I hope the finale will be all that I hope it is when I finally read that final book. I have a feeling I'll need some Kleenex.

Which series have you gotten behind on?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Reigniting Your Passion... For All Those Books You Bought a While Ago

I think if you're a book blogger, and you don't have this problem, you must be some sort of saint. You buy a book, intending to read it within the month. Other books come before it, of course, you can't just stop everything and read that one book, even if you were enthused about it to begin with. So the book languishes in the place you left it, forgotten until you begin your spring cleaning two, three, five years later.

You wonder why you picked up that book in the first place. What terrible reviews it garnered on Goodreads! Absolutely none of your bookish friends have read it. Did you just pick it up due to the price, or even just the cover?

In an effort to curb my own neglect of the books I already own, I've tried many things, none of which have been proven that effective. So my latest scheme is simple: put my TBR shelf in an area I walk by everyday, and make it look tempting. (Also, host a challenge to help me commit to reading the massive amount of paper books that I've gathered, which make up my version of a doomsday bunker).

Here's a look at my the-pile shelves before (and this was on a good day):

My the-pile shelves after:

I have a thing for book stacks.

I redistributed about half of my the-pile books into the hallway shelf, giving them both breathing room and a bookstore-vibe. I hope this method will help me with my goal, more than some others I've tried like:

-the-pile TBR Jar
 Why it didn't work for me: Even when I chose the genre, it didn't necessarily give me a book choice I was "in the mood for". I'm a mood reader. A piece of paper can't tell me what to read!

-Shutting Down My Review Requests:
 Why it didn't work (that well): I still have my review requests closed, but it didn't really force me to read books I already owned- I could just buy more instead!!! I did this for several other reasons, and don't regret the choice at all. Still, it hasn't slowed my consumption of freshly bought reads.

-Entering More Bookish Challenges/Read-a-thons
 Why it hasn't worked (that well): Again, I buy books like a bit of a machine. And since it's one of my holy trinity of vices (sugar, caffeine, and books) I really don't feel like going on a buying ban, especially since the other two vices likely hurt me more.

What have you tried to curb your to be read pile? Which methods have proven the most effective for you?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Early Critique: "The Custodian of Marvels (Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #3)" by Rod Duncan

Disclaimer: I was given a free advance ecopy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My opinion remains as forthright as ever.

To Be Released: February 2nd

If you haven't read the first book in The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series, there may be spoilers in this review for you. My review of The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter is here.

You know the weird sense of satisfaction that comes with putting the final piece in a puzzle? Or when you finally polish off a crossword, without once resorting to frantic Googling? That's the only way to describe the feeling I had when I finished this book- way too early, as it happens, but I was unable to put it down. Everything came into focus- not the way I had predicted, but in a flawless manner nonetheless.

I'm one of those people who only grudgingly give a book five stars. It's difficult for me to rate something so highly, likely due to my perfectionistic tendencies. But when I was finished with this book, I knew there was simply no other rating for it- The Custodian of Marvels was simply the perfect book for me. Between a heroine I've admired from the first book and daring exploits that may involve some former characters I thought had been left behind, this book had my recipe for bookish success.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'You’d have to be mad to steal from the feared International Patent Office. But that’s what Elizabeth Barnabus is about to try. A one-time enemy from the circus has persuaded her to attempt a heist that will be the ultimate conjuring trick.
'Hidden in the vaults of the Patent Court in London lie secrets that could shake the very pillars of the Gas-Lit Empire. All that stands in Elizabeth’s way are the agents of the Patent Office, a Duke’s private army and the mysterious Custodian of Marvels.
'Rod Duncan returns with the climactic volume of the Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, the breathtaking alternate history series that began with the Philip K Dick Award-nominated The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter.'

Elizabeth Barnabus has managed to evade or escape any sticky situations she's fallen into before- but this will prove to be her most audacious yet. She may be eminently resourceful, but she will need help to pull off the scheme. Tinker, her young friend, comes to her aid again in this story, helping to set her on the right path. I never truly thought having a younger boy as a sidekick would work out as well as it did, but he fits perfectly into the storyline.

I had thought on the role of the International Patent Office, but dismissed them as a quirk of nature in the first book of this series. As a fan of excessive worldbuilding, I assumed they had to do with the plot, but not in a paramount manner. Suffice it to say, the organization has a lot to do with the storyline in this book, bringing about the return of yet another key character.

The Custodian of Marvels surpassed my expectations, and not in a minor way. Whereas I had anticipated an exceptional book, I instead was gifted a rather extraordinary one, filled with action, suspense, and returning characters that left me cheering. If you find yourself in dire need of a steampunk or alternate history series, I sincerely endorse the Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series for your next reads!

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars for an absolutely marvelous steampunk heist!

Content: Ages 16+ for violence, theft, and banned books.

Page Count: 368 pages

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fortnightly Update #2: Urban Fantasy Bargains and an Unexpected Gesture

These past two weeks have gone by really fast- January 11th was my mom's birthday, and from there things at our place got more interesting than usual. During the week, it snowed a couple inches, coating everything in sight in the fluffy white stuff, save a weird puddle spot on our front sidewalk. Since our house was built (and built well) in 1903, we figured it had something to do with the water line from the street, but a man from the city water department was just as puzzled as we were over it. It seems we'll have to wait until spring and see if it's an issue with our sprinkler system (which is supposedly self-draining, but we have super hard mineral water) or we have some sort of aquifer below our feet- the ground here has a bedrock foundation, which we've heard from neighbors can cause issues if you over-water. If anything, we deprive our poor lawn...

On the same day we were having the puddle examined, someone drove into Wesley Crusher (my mom's blue pickup) but luckily he was mostly unscathed. As he was built the same year as I was born (1992), he isn't an eco-friendly fiberglass, but instead he's metal (which is why he's a Crusher). Whomever ran into him left a note with their details, but also a plastic mirror cover from their car. I think they may have gotten more crushed by Wesley than he was by them.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

the-invisible-pile Additions (including Urban Fantasy Bargains):

Please be as good as your cover looks, book! I hope this one isn't like Urban Shaman, which left a stale taste in my mouth after I finished it last year. I know I'm asking a lot of this book with that cover quip, but seriously- this is one of the best urban fantasy covers I've seen!

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs
I was warned by someone's review of this (I wish I remember whose) that the cover of this book was pretty deceiving/off-key with the tone of the book. I hope that's the case, because I've kind of griped about modesty while being badass in other books (not really about modesty as much as practicality- do you really want a boob injury/have it hanging out while fighting villains? I don't.). Regardless of the cover, I've heard good things about this book; and when Moon Called and Skinwalker went on sale for $1.99 for the Kindle version, I didn't hesitate to click buy.

Finished These Books:

Imago (Xenogenesis #3) by Octavia E. Butler
This may be the last book in the series, but the world continues to develop and be expanded. In other words, lots of detail, but in this book's case I find it a plus.

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb (links to my review)
I didn't expect to like it so much! It kind of took me by surprise, and I was also surprised I even finished it, given I've had trouble finishing my last few straight up fantasy reads.

The Custodian of Marvels (Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #3) by Rod Duncan
This is the best book I've read so far this year- and the only 5 Star rating I've ever given to a review copy. I hope my review turns out just as exceptional as I found the book!

Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis #2) by Octavia E. Butler (links to my review)
A marked improvement from the first book, which, in hindsight, feels like a prequel. I also love the cover- makes me wish I had a physical copy.

In the Blogosphere:

Interesting... all the reviews I liked in the past two weeks have been of books the reviewers rated 5 Stars. Maybe I'm hoping it'll rub off on me?

Laura W @ Blue Eye Books reviews Meritropolis by Joel Ohman, a young adult dystopian- I love the cover!

Erin @ The Paperback Stash reviews Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews, the first book in an urban fantasy series I devoured in 2014.

Laura @ Boats Against the Current reviews The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, the first book in the Stormlight Archive, which has become one of my favorites.

Tammy @ Books, Bones, and Buffy reviews The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster, a fantasy novella with a diverse cast of characters that quickly went on my wishlist.

Heather Duff @ Random Redheaded Ramblings reviews The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker (slightly ironic author name- J. Walker), a book which is being re-published by a traditional publisher. I bought an ebook copy of the book when it was still self-published because I love the old cover.

Soudha @ Of Stacks and Cups reveals How to Read More- which is always needed for those of us with never-ending TBR piles.

Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books posts about Blogging Your Own Way, which is a story I think a lot of bloggers can relate to and/or promote.

And, last but not least, Rachelle @ Fortified By Books joins in on the Feel the Paper Love February challenge I started. I had anticipated no one else would be interested, but I guess I was wrong.

In My Life (An Unexpected Gesture):

Having grown up in Montana, I hate to gripe about snow shovelling, especially considering the snow we have in Idaho really doesn't compare. However, last week, we had an unusual type of snow (yes, snow has types) that was really not made to be shoveled. The best description of it would be a thick, fluffy on top snow with slushy snow that had frozen overnight to the sidewalk (ours is rather porous looking, so it's really hard to scrape).

Anyway, I was scraping away so the snow/ice wouldn't make pedestrians slip in front of our house and sue us, when along comes the neighbor's snow removal service man. I watch him while I'm pathetically huffing and puffing with my shovel- he has a snow blower that makes quick work of the neighbor's snow issue. I mentally berate myself for envying the man and continue to shovel when I hear him come up behind me, snow blower on. I scurry out of the way, and instead of turning off his snow blower and going on his merry way back to his truck, he leaves it on- blowing my sidewalks completely clear of the dreaded snow/slush/ice, and making a path through my retired neighbors' sidewalks as well. Before I regain my stamina to run after him and kiss his boots, he drives off.

It's people like that who restore my faith in humanity. Technically, it would've been better business for him to come up and say, I'll charge you half price this time to do the main sidewalk (an offer that, despite my frugality, I would've likely taken). But instead he simply did it free of charge, not even lingering around so I could sing his praises. I live in a city filled with very nice people.

I hope those on the East Coast have some Unexpected Gestures heading their way! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis #2)" by Octavia E. Butler

This review is of a book that is the 2nd in the Xenogenesis Trilogy. There may be *are* spoilers for those of you who haven't read Dawn. My review for the first book in the series, Dawn, is here.

I bemoaned that the first book in this trilogy was very clearly a series starter- but now that I've read this book, it feels more like a prequel. While I never felt I could fully connect with Lilith due to her strange (but explainable) behavior, this book offers a new perspective on the aliens vs. humanity argument via her son Akin (A-keen), a human alien hybrid (called a construct in this book).

Akin brings us a somewhat neutral perspective. While he is logical enough to understand the aliens' refusal to grant humans their fertility back, he also gets to see what it is like to be a human on Earth, which isn't all that peachy. Personally, I find Ms. Butler's interpretation of humanity's reaction on the milder end of things- but then again, the aliens/Oooloi had messed with their bodies, so who knows what else may have been tweaked?

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'In this sequel to Dawn, Lilith Iyapo has given birth to what looks like a normal human boy named Akin. But Akin actually has five parents: a male and female human, a male and female Oankali, and a sexless Ooloi. The Oankali and Ooloi are part of an alien race that rescued humanity from a devastating nuclear war, but the price they exact is a high one the aliens are compelled to genetically merge their species with other races, drastically altering both in the process.
'On a rehabilitated Earth, this "new" race is emerging through human/Oankali/Ooloi mating, but there are also "pure" humans who choose to resist the aliens and the salvation they offer.These resisters are sterilized by the Ooloi so that they cannot reproduce the genetic defect that drives humanity to destroy itself, but otherwise they are left alone (unless they become violent).
'When the resisters kidnap young Akin, the Oankali choose to leave the child with his captors, for he the most "human" of the Oankali children will decide whether the resisters should be given back their fertility and freedom, even though they will only destroy themselves again.'

As you may have guessed, due to his being a construct, Akin is a bit different from your average toddler. He is basically an adult in a toddler's body, but he has the physical limits of a toddler, making it hard to escape when he's kidnapped. He is also conscious enough to the ways of the human to know they'll be freaked out by a baby who's talking in full sentences to speak as little as possible when he's with the resisters.

I could write about the themes in this book all day long: it's really a great thinking book. Racial prejudice, consent (of the sexual variation), and pretty much everything to do with what it means to be human is covered. What makes it hard to fully hash out those themes is I am a loather of review spoilers (because I choose to spoil myself on books all the time) and so I'm left shrugging my shoulders on what to share. Needless to say, the logical construct Akin finds racism most puzzling.

Adulthood Rites is a clear improvement on Dawn, which felt largely unresolved and more like a prequel than an actual book. Although I was exceedingly impressed with the themes in the first book, Adulthood Rites took those themes and ran with them. If you like science fiction that makes you think on things while reading, without being overbearing in page count, I recommend Adulthood Rites for your next read- as long as you've read Dawn first.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent sci-fi sequel that outshone the previous book!

Content: Ages 18+ since you have to read Dawn first, which is more intense with its violence and sexual content.

Page Count: 277 pages

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Announcing Feel the Paper Love February!

After I looked over the results of my year in review, it was clear I scored dismally on reading physical books- and physical books used to be the only way I would read books, until a few months prior to creating this blog. Therefore, this February, I'm challenging myself to read exclusively paper books- so I can feel the paper love again!

If you'd like to join me on this bookish journey, here are the rules:

1. The books you read must be paper.


1. Challenge yourself to read a set amount of paper books (handy if you have review copies on your ereader).

This challenge will last from February 1st-29th. Even if I end up being the only one being challenged, I will have a few relevant posts and discussions on the physical book vs. ebook pros and cons.

Here is the finalized Roster of Events.

And here's a link-up if you want to add your participation announcement from Twitter and/or your blog:

How many paper/physical books do you read in a year? Do you read more physical books or ebooks?

"Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1)" by Robin Hobb

I'd already made progress on my list of authors I wanted to read in 2016 by reading Octavia Butler's work, so I figured I may as well try reading Assassin's Apprentice to get Robin Hobb off my list as well. While I wasn't really impressed with the beginning of this book, I read on due to curiosity, which evolved into addiction at the halfway point. Fitz, for all his frequent insipidity, had begun to grow on me.

While you enter the book with the expectation of wild adventure, Assassin's Apprentice is a more mild form of the assassin storyline. Fitz has some growing up to do in the beginning, as well as progressing as a character before he can be all that the title claims he will be. I enjoyed Fitz's childhood days, but throughout the book I couldn't help but notice the lack of female characters. We have two minor female characters who I liked, but I would've liked it more if their presence wasn't as peripheral.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.
'Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals - the old art known as the Wit - gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.
'So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.'

Fitz grows up in the stables under the purview of his father's right hand man, Burrich, and develops a bond with the animals there- a bond that goes beyond the mundane. He can see, smell, and act through his link to the animal, which happens to be a magical taboo. While there are many animals featured in the book, it didn't precisely win me (for a slightly spoilery reason).

The villains featured in this book reminded me more of the Harry Potter type than the A Game of Thrones type. In other words, they're pretty dang mean and conniving, but it isn't as over-the-top as some books take it. There are scenes I read while wincing and peering through my eyelashes, though, as I wasn't sure if the violence would stop or continue. Funny how I never read A Song of Ice and Fire like that- I guess I anticipated the gore.

An interesting piece of dialogue:

"When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool, you end up sounding like a moron instead."
             ~Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb, page 209 Kindle edition

Assassin's Apprentice begins innocently enough, but builds complexity from those humble roots. In some ways, it's more a coming of age novel than it is your typical epic fantasy, but I devoured every word regardless. If you don't mind a slower start in your fantasy books and like some political machinations as the book progresses, I recommend Assassin's Apprentice for your next read.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars for an exceptional coming of age fantasy!

Content: Ages 16+ for some scenes where the violence gets pretty M-Rated.

Page Count: 480 pages

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2015: A Year in Review

This year in review will be a bit different than my previous one, which focused mainly on blogging. I also have a reading stats section, thanks to my diligent tracking of those stats during my month in review posts. Really, this is a giant comprehensive version of my month in review posts, or a conclusion to them. I'm excited to see the results!


Blog Post Pie Chart

 Days Elapsed Since Blog Went Online: 630
 Total Blog Makeovers: Approximately 1-2.
 Total Posts: 173
 Average Amount of Posts Per Month: 14
 Total Non-Review Posts: 89
  Confessions of an Insomniac Book Devourer: 6
  Sunday Fun Five Lists: 27
  NQAC: Biweekly Updates: 19
  Month in Review: 12
  Total Critiques: 84
  Average Amount of Critiques Per Month: 7

Pageviews For 2015: 13,023 (More than double last year's)
Comments: 125

Most Popular Posts of 2015:
Victorian Soul Critiques's First Blogiversary Party and Giveaways!!!
Color Me Happy: An Unofficial Guide to Adult Coloring Book Bliss
SFF: The 5 Video Game/Book Pairings to Experience Together
NQAC: Biweekly Update #22: Taking Up Genealogy and a Crazy Lazy Cat
Montana Book Roundup: Summer 2015
NQAC: Biweekly Update #24: Near the Year's End Reading
SFF: The 5 New To You Authors' Books You Want to Read in 2016
Querkles: A Fun Spin on Adult Coloring!
NQAC: Biweekly Update #16: Wishlist Binging and an Unanticipated Road Trip
SFF: The 5 Bookish Charities Santa Claus Approves Of
SFF: The 5 Reasons You Choose Not to Read a Book

Most Popular Critiques of 2015:
"Kesrith (The Faded Sun #1)" by C.J. Cherryh (Science Fiction)
"Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8)" by Ilona Andrews (Urban Fantasy)
O.o.O.C.: "Autobiography of a Face" by Lucy Grealy (Memoir/Autobiography)
"Twice Tempted (Night Prince #2)" by Jeaniene Frost (Paranormal Romance)
Early Critique: "The Sleeping King" by Cindy Dees & Bill Flippin (Fantasy)
O.o.O.C.: "Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal" by Ben Macintyre (Biography)
"The Island of Doctor Moreau" by H.G. Wells (Science Fiction)
Early Critique: "Unseemly Science (The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #2)" by Rod Duncan (Steampunk)
O.o.O.C.: "Born to Be" by (Emmanuel) Taylor Gordon (Memoir/Autobiography)
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1)" by Douglas Adams (Science Fiction)
"Local Girls" by Alice Hoffman (Magical Realism)

Most Visited By People From (Social Media and Search Engine Traffic)
1. Google
2. Bloglovin'
3. Twitter
4. Google+
5. Pinterest

Most Industrious Commenters of 2015:
1. Heather (Based on a True Story)
2. Laura W (Blue Eye Books)
3. Wendy (Musings of a Bookish Kitty)
4-5. Becca (I'm Lost in Books) It was a tie!
4-5. Rachelle (Fortified by Books)

A huge thanks to all my commenters, whether you were mentioned or not! You keep me blogging!

Most Awesome Blogging Moments of 2015:

My first blogiversary party! And then, shortly after it, I finished The Princess Bride, which was the theme for my party!

Being mentioned in Angry Robot's review roundup for my critique of Unseemly Science.

Not being part of any sort of blogging drama/scandals (I guess you guys haven't caught onto me yet). But seriously, I like flying under the radar and living a sheltered existence.

Discovering how to better use Twitter by using Tweetdeck. Before I had to diligently scan my (entire) feed.

I took a lot of time making my Color Me Happy post, and assumed it would be a flop (generally the posts I take time with never get many pageviews). However, it turned out to be one of the most popular posts this year!

Not feeling like a young blogger/spring chicken anymore (although I still kind of am), since I have my first year under my belt.

Being confident enough in my blog as it is to (mostly) shut down my review requests. I have plenty of books as it is, and my grandma's health is still worrying.

A Reading Year in Review (With Lots of Graphs):

Books Read in 2015: 100
Pages Read in 2015 (According to Goodreads): 29,708
Average Book Length: 297 pages

Main Character Stats:

Female Main Character: 45
Male Main Character: 26
Pair and/or Group of Female/Male Main Characters: 29

Has a Diverse Main Character: 21
Doesn't Have a Diverse MC: 79


 Urban Fantasy: 10
 Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance: 7
Urban Fantasy Category Total: 17 (Light Blue/Teal)
Fantasy: (6 Pale Pink)
Steampunk: 10 (Dark Purple)
 Sci-fi: 7
 Dystopia: 5
Science Fiction Category Total: 12 (Dark Gray)
 Historical Romance: 16
 Fantasy Romance: 1
 Paranormal Romance: 1
 Romance: 1
Romance Category Total: 19 (Pink)
 Historical Fiction: 6
 Historical Fiction/Magical Realism: 2
 Classic/Literature/Fiction: 6
Historical Fiction/Classics Category Total: 14 (Green)
 Graphic Novel: 2
 Comic/blog-style Memoir: 3
 Comic: 2
Graphic Novel/Comic Category Total: 7 (Light Purple/Violet)
 Memoir/Autobiography/Biography: 7
 Nonfiction: 2
Nonfiction/Autobiography/Biography Category Total: 9 (Med. Purple)
 Magical Realism: 2
 Contemporary Fiction: 4
Misc. Fiction Category Total: 6 (Turquoise)

Publication Year:

Published in 2015: 25
Published 2000-2014: 47
Published 1990-1999: 9
Published 1980-1989: 2
Published 1960-1979: 6
Published 1940-1959: 2
Published 1921-1939: 3
Published 1900-1920: 3
Published 1800-1899: 2
Published B.C.: 1

Self-Published, Small Press, or Other: 22
Traditionally Published: 78

Series Books: 61
Standalones: 39

Ebook Version: 82
Paper Version: 18

Books I Read in 2015 were:
From the-pile: 16
From the-invisible-pile: 31
For Review: 13
Recently Acquired: 40

Ebooks Bought in 2015 That I Haven't Read Yet: 36
Physical Books Bought in 2015 That I Haven't Read Yet: 30
Books Won or Given to Me That I Haven't Read Yet: 9

5 Stars: 3
4-4.5 Stars: 50
3-3.5 Stars: 42
2-2.5 Stars: 4
Unrated: 1

Counterclockwise from upper left
Author Stats (1 = 1 book read by x author):
Male: 29
Female: 63
Male/Female Team: 8

Diverse: 10
Not-so-Diverse: 90

Living: 87
Deceased: 13

Clearly, I need to assess my stats more often. I generally thought I was doing well diversifying my authors and main characters, but I've still got a long way to go. I knew I generally read more books by women than by men, but it's interesting to note all three of my five star ratings this year were for books authored by males. I am pretty satisfied with all the genres I branched out into, but it's weird that I'm not reading more straight-up fantasy, which has been my favorite genre since I was 12 years old. I also want to read more physical books, even though I generally go for ebooks due to their convenience (there are no new-book bookstores in my city). Overall, though, I'm happy that my ratings are higher this year and I didn't run into any books that were one-star worthy (or if I did, I quit them early).

Most Awesome and Most Random IRL Moments of 2015:

Adopted a cat.
He's pretty chill.

I went camping, had fun, and saw some moose, even though I felt like crap.

I turned 23, and ate cake (the most important culinary delight other than lefse).

How was your 2015 (now that you've had 19 days to think about it)? What were your best reading, blogging, and other moments?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

SFF: The 5 Authors You Won't Shut Up About

The Sunday Fun Five #45

Sunday Fun 5:

A Countdown of

The 5 Authors You Won't Shut Up About

5. Alice Hoffman, author of The Dovekeepers and Turtle Moon
Technically, she could be higher up on the list, as I read and review many of her many books, but generally I don't talk much about her outside my reviews and reading updates. This lady has a serious gift for storytelling.

4. Patrick Rothfuss, author of the Kingkiller Chronicle
So, I've never reviewed his books. The concept frightens me- what if I get it wrong and people judge me for not being 100% superfan legitimate? I haven't quite decided if I'll ever get around to it, but I will certainly go on a quest to find his signed books.

3. Brandon Sanderson, (the Benevolent), author of Warbreaker and the Stormlight Archive
Called the Benevolent rather permanently on this blog, this author has some serious fantasy chops. He can also write like the wind. He also had a signing in a nearby town, which I didn't go to for fear of horribly embarrassing myself. He's basically a superhero, author-wise, so it's no wonder I talk about him all the time (especially when waxing poetic about fantasy).

2. Ilona Andrews, authors of the Kate Daniels series and Clean Sweep
Technically, they are two authors (with one pseudonym), but they still make the list, as I became a fan of theirs in the course of reading and reviewing for this blog. I'm glad I was curious enough about the buzz surrounding their books to pick one up, as they are frequently one of my favorites to read (and elevate my mood).

1. Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale and The Heart Goes Last
This is another case where I'm too nervous to review the book I love best by this author. Cat's Eye probably ranks as one of the top five books I've enjoyed most to read, and one that I've connected the most with. Beyond Cat's Eye, there's a myriad of Margaret Atwood's books I've enjoyed, but most have yet to be reviewed on this blog. Hopefully I'll get around to it someday.

Who are some of the authors you mention all the time? Which book of theirs do you recommend most?

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