2017 Recap

Though it was a major challenge to reach my goal of reading 100 books in 2017, I’m proud to report that I did it!!  At the end I had to cop out a bit and read a bunch of graphic novels.  I don’t know that it actually was cheating (since I never said what type of books I would read).  I still have reviews to catch up on, but at least the reading is done!

An overview of my 2017 reads on Goodreads – Click on the link to see what I read this year!

(Click the “View More” button at the bottom right to see all the books I read in 2017.)

 

WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY 2017 READING CHALLENGE:

Factor in the time it takes to write a book review.

If I had simply been reading for pleasure without taking notes or writing book reviews, I could have easily met my 100-book goal.  Trying to review almost all of the books I read took up a good chunk of time, though, and I didn’t plan for that.  Lesson learned.

 

There’s something to be said for reading for pleasure.

I have a type-A personality, so when I set my reading goal for 2017 it became almost like a law in my mind.  Nobody told me I had to read 100 books, but since I had made up my mind to do it, I really pushed to get it done.  That made for some reading that was forced and not always as enjoyable as I like it to be.  For 2018, I’ll be following a more natural and interest-based reading plan.

 

I have a tough time filming videos.

First, it’s difficult to find a time that is quiet at my house.  My children are loud when they’re awake, the cat likes to make noise when the video camera is turned on, and certain rooms in the house are noisy because of traffic.  Lighting is a major challenge because the best lit rooms are too noisy due to traffic and the quietest time to film is at night when there’s no natural light.  *sigh*  The silliest reason that I have difficulty filming is that I’m camera shy.  I can hang out with someone and be goofy and have fun all day, but put a camera in front of me and I become a clam.  I’m trying to overcome that and continue with the videos because I’d like to push past that personal barrier.

 

I LOVE sharing books with other people!

One of the greatest pleasures I got out of blogging this past year was in sending books to other people.  I love the idea of spreading book love not only around the United States, but around the world.  As you can see from the photo below, I ended up sending books to seven different countries.  That’s pretty cool!  I hope to send books to even more countries next year.  I also sent books to 15 different states!

 

Keep it fun!

I lost sight of the importance of just having fun doing this, because I got so caught up in my goals.  While it’s great to have goals, I want to be able to continue to blog about books for the long run.  That means I have to enjoy what I’m doing.  I’ll never lose my love of reading, but if I push myself too hard to meet arbitrary goals, I might burn myself out.  I don’t want that to happen.

World Giveaways 2017.jpg

Countries I sent books to in 2017:

  • Bangladesh
  • Canada
  • Ecuador
  • Indonesia
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • USA

US Giveaway 2017

States I sent books to in 2017:

  • California
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

There you have it–a shortish look at my year blogging about books.  I’m excited for what’s to come in 2018!

Happy New Year to all of you wonderful readers out there!

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Thrift Store – Young Adult Reading Challenge #1

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Having finished the romance reading challenge, I’m ready for a break from that particular genre.  I found these five books in the young adult/juvenile section at my local Goodwill and am looking forward to reading them!

I read the Twilight series several years ago, but never formally reviewed them.  And I have to say that I don’t mind reading them again.  Even though they’re rather teenager-y books, they are also strangely addictive.  The Hunger Games series has been recommended to me by more than one person, but this will be the first time I’ve even taken a look inside one.  What can I say?  I tend to shy away from the latest craze, sometimes shunning that item for years.  There must be a contrariness built into my nature.

READING LIST:

Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

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Wizard’s First Rule is the second to last book from my Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge.  Almost done!  I had never heard of this book, nor the author, Terry Goodkind.  It can be a little intimidating starting a thick book with no clue about whether or not it will be a good one.

Wizard’s First Rule is an epic fantasy adventure story in which Richard (the Seeker) has to defeat the evil Darken Rahl.  He is aided by a beautiful but powerful woman, a wizard, and a few others.  The majority of the story is taken up by their journey to find a magical object which must be hidden from Rahl, and by the many scrapes they find themselves in.

I am still conflicted about this book. Was it good? Was it bad? Did it mess with my brain? Probably so. There are parts of it that I really like and parts of it that made my stomach churn.

The frequent graphic violence (including sexual violence), is just so overwhelming. If that had been watered down dramatically, I think I might have liked the novel more. Of course the writing isn’t stellar, but it’s hard to fairly assess anything else in the book when all you can think about is a dominatrix, a pedophile, and people’s heads cracking open like melons.

What I liked:

  • I liked the variety and different types of characters.  It seems like there was a lot of thought and imagination that went into the diverse inhabitants of this fantasy world.  You get to see people who are pure and people who are quite diabolical.
  • I liked that they were going on an epic adventure and that their journey took many detours (it reminded me of The Lord of the Rings quest).
  • The beginning and end of the book.  The last third of the book, in particular, really picks up in plot twists and complexity.  Even though there were parts of this book that I didn’t like, I will probably read the next in the series because the end of the book was an interesting segue into the next.

What I didn’t like:

  • The main characters seemed almost bipolar at times, going from saying they would protect someone with their life one minute to holding a sword against that person’s throat the next.  Real people don’t act that way, but hey, maybe they were under extreme stress?
  • I felt like the book could have been shortened by not repeating phrases over and over.
  • One of the characters seems to me to be almost a rip-off of the Gollum character from Lord of the Rings.
  • I understand that terrible things happen in war, but personally I was very uncomfortable with how candid the author was about things like sexual exploitation and gory violence.
  • The middle of the book was more difficult to get through–I had to force myself to keep reading.  It seemed like it was lacking any urgency in keeping the story going.

So, there you have it–my mixed feelings on this book.  I feel like there are definitely people out there who would really dislike this book because of some of the intense subject matter.  If you’re uncomfortable with the occult, gory violence, or sexual themes, I would recommend you skip this one.

Possible Objections:

  • A lot of violence & gore
  • Not very subtle references to sexual violence against women & children
  • Sexual themes, including S&M and references to anatomy
  • 2 instances of the b-word
  • Occult themes

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Thrift Store – Fantasy Reading Challenge #1

TS Fantasy Challenge 1 WM

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When the kids and I were at the thrift store about a week ago, I had the bright idea to do a reading challenge based on the books I found there.  I went for both a fantasy challenge and a sci-fi challenge (which I will document later).  It seems like thrift stores carry a good number of fantasy and sci-fi titles, some of them being unique finds.

Based on my made-up rules, I could only choose novels from the adult section, and they could only be from a series if they were the first.  It wouldn’t make much sense to read book #2 in a four-part series, if I hadn’t already read the first book.  Picking the books out took longer than I anticipated because there were so many that were part of a series.

In the end, I came up with the stack you see above.  I don’t know what to expect of these books, but I’m optimistic about a couple of them.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these titles and what you thought of them.  Later!

READING LIST:

YOUTUBE VIDEO:

Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge #1

Rainbow Cover – Reading Challenge

Rainbow Challenge 1

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Since the books for my family/friend recommendation reading challenge are coming in a bit slow, I’ll be starting another book challenge.  (I can’t just sit around not reading!)  I may end up reading books from both challenges simultaneously, depending on when they come in.

I saw this idea in a few places on Pinterest and really liked it.  I went to the thrift store and found six titles that I wanted to read and which made a rainbow.  They look so pretty all grouped together!

The only difficult part was that I had to find books of a particular color that I actually wanted to read.  There were really only two rows of books, so this was a bit of a challenge. Victory was mine, however, after an extended time browsing books.

I’m really looking forward to reviewing these books for you guys!

Without further ado…

READING LIST:

YOUTUBE VIDEO:

Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge #1

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Friends & Family Top Picks – Reading Challenge

F&F Top Picks Challenge 1

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I was trying to think of some fun, quirky posts to write for my blog when the idea of setting reading challenges for myself sprang to mind.  I have several reading challenge ideas, but decided to start by simply asking friends and family about their book recommendations.

The replies I got were interesting, running the gamut from spiritual books to a book about cadavers.  Hey–my cousin is a paramedic–the subject must be familiar to him.  Anyhow, I’ll start by reading the first five books that were recommended. I think that by keeping the number of books at a reasonable number, I’ll be more likely to complete the challenge.  I’ll revisit the list later on down the road when I feel like having another Friends & Family Top Picks Reading Challenge.  Boy, that title is a mouthful.  As I finish each book, I’ll post a review right here on this very blog.  So keep your eyes peeled!

Following, you will find the books that were recommended with the first name of the person who did said recommending.  I must confess, suggestion number four makes me feel a bit squeamish.

READING LIST:

YOUTUBE VIDEO:

Friends & Family Top Picks Reading Challenge #1

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