Category Archives: Miscellaneous Bookish Stuff

Blogging Resolutions 2017

Wow, the beginning of 2017 has been crazy around here, we’ve all gone through a serious combination of illnesses (including pneumonia) but we’re okay now. This is why I’m only posting these today. Better late than never, eh?

My blogging resolutions for 2017

  • Complete my challenges.
  • Comment back more (and keep up to date on my own comments).
  • Not stress as much – this one is a must.
  • Read 3 classics, 3 French books, 3 Slovenian books, and 3 translations.
  • Keep my NetGalley ratio at 80% or higher – I did really well last year and I don’t want to do worse this year.
  • Stick to 3-to-1 rule for buying books and 2-to-1 rule for starting new series.
  • Review ARCs within the week of their publication date.
  • Review all old (read in 2016) books by the end of January (this is going to be hard, so let’s say February 15).
  • Finish at least 7 series.
  • Blog twice a week.
  • Read more diverse books.
  • Have 3 posts written as a buffer at all times – this is hard but takes off so much pressure!
  • Allow myself to DNF more – because life’s too short to read books I don’t like.

And that’s it! 

What are your resolutions for 2017? Do you even make them?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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The Best Books I Read in 2016

The year has come to an end. Finally, most people will say, given that 2016 has been a pretty tough year. But as I said, it has been a good year for me, and these books made it better. Books have the power to do that sometimes. I divided them into categories and linked to my reviews where they’re available – I’m still behind with writing them, oops.

It has been a year of comfort reads and losing myself in fantasy worlds, so the list reflects that, I think. The lists themselves are in random order.

Best of Fantasy

Best of Romance

  • To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne – this one spawned a binge of Layne’s backlist. I haven’t reviewed any others yet but I fell in love with her stories! I especially loved Blurred Lines.
  • How Not To Fall and How Not To Let Go by Emily Foster – maybe the only romance that made me cry? I *loved* them!
  • Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn – I read this one twice and I still think it’s great!
  • Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie – okay so it’s not just a romance but it was laugh-out-loud hilarious.
  • The Year We Fell Down and the entire Ivy Years series by Sarina Bowen – sports NA romance at its finest, really.
  • Act Like It by Lucy Parker – very good + bantery.

Best of Other

  • When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore – gorgeous writing and packs a real punch.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – this was fantastic. Not my usual fare but so good!
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I loved the book so much but the movie just wasn’t that good.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – one of the few Sci-Fi titles I read this year. I loved it!
  • Saga by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan – I really need to catch up with this one.

 

Which books will you remember most from 2016? 

Was it a good reading year for you?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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My Ultimate TBR List + Challenges

ultimate-tbrI’ve been thinking a lot about how many books I buy and how many I read – starting somewhere in the middle of 2016, I’ve been keeping meticulous notes on my book expenses and so on. I also pulled unread books off our bookshelves and made one hell of a mess, then put most of them back again.

The bottom line is that I have a huge number of unread books languishing on my shelves while I fall prey to new shinies and spend too much money on books I really don’t need to read (like over-hyped YA fantasies or bad romances – cue Lady Gaga). I know my list isn’t nearly as long as that of other readers but it’s too long for me and I need to fix it because I really want to read these books!

So I decided to make this ultimate list of all the books I already own and want to read (we do own books that I haven’t read but have no intention of ever reading – like Moby Dick, purchased (and read) by my husband). And in 2017, I want to bring it down by … let’s say a half. These are books I genuinely want to read, not just those I think I ought to read, either. And it doesn’t include re-reads! A lot of them are huge fantasies (hello, Robin Hobb!) so I hope I’ll get some of them out of the way.

I’ve been putting some of them on my seasonal TBR lists (see summer, autumn, and winter), and I think I’ll keep doing that because it seems more manageable that way.

backlist-reader-challenge-2017I’ll keep linking back to this post in each monthly recap to report on my progress – and I’m joining two reading challenges to keep myself motivated! And before you ask – YES, they are very similar but I’m joining both because I’m hoping more people looking at me fail with keep me accountable and on track.

The first is The Backlist Reader Challenge 2017 hosted by The Bookwyrm’s Hoard. The rules are really straightforward: the books that count towards the challenge must be published before 2016 and must already be on my tbr list or pile. Then I need to review the books I read and add them to the linky on Lark’s site.

beatthebacklist2017The second is Beat the Backlist challenge hosted by NovelKnight. For this one, the books read must be published before 2017 (which is even more lenient) and I have to create a tbr list (see below). There’s also the option of joining the Hogwarts house cup mini challenge – go Gryffindor!

I’m probably going to read some e-books I already own that have been published before 2016/17 but I’m definitely focusing on cutting down my physical tbr pile. If I happen to buy (or get) more books to be put on this list, the ratio stays the same. I’ll figure it out as I go along.

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The List (forgive me for not putting the titles in italics, I don’t have the patience for that):

  1. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden
  2. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  3. Dune by Frank Herbert
  4. Nikolikje by Neil Gaiman
  5. Dobra znamenja by Neil Gaiman
  6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  7. To noč sem jo videl by Drago Jančar
  8. Vreščji mojster by Walter Moers
  9. Več kot to by Patrick Ness
  10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  11. Norveški gozd by Haruki Murakami
  12. The Book of Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland
  13. Irish Folk and Fairy Tales
  14. The Secret Life of Words
  15. Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
  16. Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
  17. Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
  18. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
  19. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Suzanna Clarke
  20. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  21. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  22. Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb
  23. Forest Mage by Robin Hobb
  24. Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb
  25. Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb
  26. The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
  27. Fool’s Fate Robin Hobb
  28. Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
  29. Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb
  30. Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier
  31. Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  32. Un Secret by Philippe Grimbert
  33. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
  34. Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
  35. Castle in the Sky by Diana Wynne Jones
  36. Biographie de la faim by Amelie Nothomb
  37. Les Catilinaires by Amelie Nothomb
  38. Le Fait du prince by Amelie Nothomb
  39. Tuer le pere by Amelie Nothomb
  40. Antechrista by Amelie Nothomb
  41. Chercher le vent by Guillaume Vigneault
  42. Champagne by Monique Proulx
  43. Le Sexe des Etoiles by Monique Proulx
  44. Le Combat d’hiver by Jean-Claude Mourlevat
  45. Deviški samomori by Jeffrey Eugenides
  46. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
  47. Laurus by Jevgenij Vodolazkin
  48. The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
  49. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

e-books

  1. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
  2. First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
  3. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  4. Us by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen
  5. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

I’m sure there are more but these are on the top of my digital tbr for now.

Read

srcek

I am also joining the Discussion Challenge, which was the best challenge I participated in last year. It’s hosted by Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon at It Starts at Midnight and involves writing discussion posts. It’s a great one for building your community and meeting lovely new bloggers who have something to say!

I’m trying for the category called Creative Conversationalist, which means I’ll be writing at least eleven discussions this year. Let’s do this!

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Have you read any of these? Which one should I pick up first?

Are you joining any reading challenges this year?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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My Winter TBR

winter-tbr16Since I’ve had some success with creating these to-be-read posts in summer and autumn, I’m continuing with my choice of winter reads.

Now, in the previous two editions, I picked a mix of books I already own and new releases I knew I’d be reading immediately. For the winter version, however, I picked only books from my shelves (both virtual and physical), because I need to tackle my existing mountain of books – one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2016 was to stick to a 3-to-1 rule when it comes to buying books. I managed to cling to it for about four months before it all fell apart.

If I manage to read them all by the end of February, I’m rewarding myself by buying a book from my too-long to-buy list (I mean, I’m probably going to be buying other books in the meantime, but yeah. I need rewards.)

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These are the books I’m hoping to read (in no particular order):

  1. Chime by Franny Billingsley – this is a re-read for me, I read it years ago, before I started blogging, and I remember next to nothing about it. Alicia recommended it, though, so I remembered I had it somewhere on my shelves. I want to give it another try!
  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – look, you guys, I might actually read it this time (this is a transfer from the summer, ugh).
  3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – whew what a tongue-twister of a title! I have this one in Slovenian translation, my mom recommended it to me. I need to read outside of my comfort zone(s) every once in a while. (read in December)
  4. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness – I recently re-read and reviewed A Discovery of Witches because I want to finish this series! (DNF in December)
  5. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – I won this two years ago in a giveaway and still haven’t finished it. It’s time, I think! (read in December)
  6. Un Secret by Philippe Grimbert – the only French novel on the list. I’ve had this one for years, it came recommended by a professor at Uni (wow, that was a long time ago) and it was one of those impulse purchases while I was on vacation (I think).
  7. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami – oh, another “old” book from our shelves. Seriously, I think we’ve had this one since before we moved in together… (Slovenian translation)
  8. More Than This by Patrick Ness – I have this one in Slovenian translation as well, which is a pity (not that I think the translation is bad, I just like reading originals if I can), but it makes no sense to buy a book if I already own it.
  9. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta – this was a Kindle deal, I had to get it. (DNF for now – in December. This book is so fucking depressing I can’t handle it.)
  10. Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb – I’ve been in the middle of this one for months and it’s high time I finished this series!

Aaaand I think that’s more than enough. We’ll see how it goes, I’ll absolutely be reading other books in between (I’m sure my obsession with romance won’t just magically fade away).

srcek

What are you reading this winter?

Which of these should I tackle first? 

I’d love to hear from you! :) 

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Witchy Reads

witchy-readsI’m not a fan of horror stories, so you won’t find a lot of them on my blog – and I certainly haven’t read enough of them to be any sort of authority. The fact is that in Slovenia, we don’t traditionally celebrate Halloween. We do observe All Saints’ Day on November 1st as well as Reformation Day on October 31st (both are holidays), but dressing up in costumes is reserved for February, when Pust happens. Nowadays, people sometimes do Halloween parties but that’s more an excuse to dress in skimpy costumes and get drunk – nobody actually thinks about why the holiday is there to begin with. Eh.

Halloween isn’t just about ghosts and serial killers, though, even if the movie marathons run at this time of the year tend to lean in that direction. It’s about witches, too, and witches just so happen to be my favourite supernatural creatures!

Samhain being one of the most important holidays for witches past and present, this time of year is especially appropriate for reading books about witches. And I’ve read a fair number of them! These are some of my favourites (in no particular order).

  • The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle. Yeah this is one of those books I keep pushing on you folks. It’s a great seasonal read, if you haven’t tried it yet, maybe I can convince you: go read my review and another gushing post I wrote about it.
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I don’t know why I never reviewed this one but it’s pretty damn fantastic. I’m planning on re-reading it soon as I recently re-read Fangirl, too.
  • Half Bad by Sally Green. This is a trilogy and I just read Half Wild – but I still have to read the last one. I like the story a lot though it’s a bit darker than your usual paranormal YA.
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Okay so maybe I wasn’t as impressed by this one when I re-read it recently (I still have to review it) but it’s a good blend of historical facts, romance, and mystery, plus the witches are pretty badass, so it deserves a spot on this list. Again, it’s a trilogy and I have to finish it.
  • The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab. This is her debut and also the first of her novels that I read – before I even started blogging (this is totally an “I read Schwab before she was cool” moment lol). I love the fairytale feel of this one, it’s haunting.
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik. One of my all-time favourites. Seriously, I’ve now read this book at least five times (I translated it into Slovenian so it’s sort of a must) and it’s still great. Books that can be read multiple times in the space of one year are rare indeed and this one is fantastic.
  • Book of Shadows by Kate Tiernan. Ohh, I recently re-read most of these. I first read them when I was about… 13? Maybe? Anyway, I bought the first two books when we were in the US, actually, and fell in love. I was seriously interested in Wicca for a while because of them!
  • Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling. Obviously.

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Tell me your favourite witchy reads! I need more seasonal recommendations. 

Do you dress up for Halloween?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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Recent Romance Reads

Ooh, I love alliteration, sorry. I’ve been reading more romances lately, probably because I need fluffy stories in my life. I am very happy with reading fluff at the moment, though I’m trying to offset it by reading other stuff as well. Just so there’s some balance. Anyway, these are some romances I’ve enjoyed – I can heartily recommend all of them if you need an evening of uncomplicated fun.

what-happens-in-londonWhat Happens in London by Julia Quinn – this is an older title but it’s so good. It was a re-read for me, actually, and I enjoyed it as much as the first time. Harry and Olivia are both intelligent and curious by nature, so their story was a joy to read. I also liked the fact that Harry wasn’t your typical alpha hero, he’s not a rogue or anything, and it’s very refreshing for a historical romance. This is the second part of the series but it definitely can be read separately – I don’t remember a thing about the first book and I had no problem with it. Also, I think it might be one of my favourite Quinn books (if you like historicals and are unfamiliar with Quinn, you should really reassess your priorities). ;) I’d give this one 4/5 stars.

 

Charlie All Nightcharlie-all-night by Jennifer Crusie – despite the horrific cover, this was a fun, fluffy contemporary romance with a bit of a mystery thrown in. I read it because I’ve previously enjoyed Crusie’s Bet Me – and while this one didn’t quite match the fun tone of that great story, I still enjoyed it a lot. I have Becky to thank for pointing me in Crusie’s direction – I think her books are perfect for curling up on the couch when you need some comfort in your life. They’re like the bookish equivalent of good chocolate chip cookies. This one gets 3/5 stars.

 

 

Act Like Itact-like-it by Lucy Parker – this is the most recent title of the three and the one that surprised me the most. Quinn recommended this one recently, she said it was one of her favourite books to re-read and I can definitely see why! It has an enemies-to-lovers plot with a slow-burn romance, which ticks two of my “yes please” boxes. The hero, Richard, is an asshole at first but I thought the transformation/reveal of his true nature was very believable. Lainie is a great heroine and I liked her a lot. The fact that the story is set in London and that both the main characters are theatre actors are just bonus points in its favour. I’m definitely looking out for Parker’s next book! 4/5 stars to this one.

The Goalthe-goal-elle-kennedy by Elle Kennedy – I’ve been waiting for this one and it was pretty good. It’s the last in her Off Campus series that I’ve enjoyed a lot and Tucker’s story was really touching at times. I wished Sabrina would relax a bit and let Tucker help her sooner but we need the drama, of course. Tucker is such a good guy, though! I think he’s my favourite hero of this series. I liked reading about the other “players” but Tucker’s a quiet guy with great manners and a heart of gold. You know I’m partial to good guys. Anyway, the cover is… stunning, if a bit cringe-worthy. I think these covers are the reason I read most of my romances on my Kindle… Also, compared to the other three books of the series, this one features much less hockey! And it definitely should be read last – there’s some overlap of the story. 3/5 stars.

srcek

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Do you have any fluffy recs for me? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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