Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Challenge Wrap Up

Another year down, another chance to see how well (or not!) I did on accomplishing my challenge goals. I learned some things about myself as a reader, achieved some things I was hoping to do, struggled with others, and reassessed my goals for 2015. All in all, while this was a much lighter load of challenges this year, it was a fulfilling learning experience.

You can click on the title of each challenge to see the individual books I read for each one.

The Off the Shelf Challenge
Challenged: 15
Actually Read: 15


I am SO incredibly happy about accomplishing this goal! I never finish this challenge. Ever. This is the first time, and I am showering huge, gigantic thank yous onto Gina for motivating me to push through and complete it. I actually had to re-write this post because I was so convinced I was going to fail this challenge and then ended up shocking myself.

The books I read were not the ones I had originally intended to read, but I'm mostly ok with that. Even better, I ended up starting and DNF-ing a whole bunch of books that have been taking up valuable shelf space for years. Now I finally know I don't want to keep them (and I can use that room for new books!) I'm going to try this challenge again in 2015, and for the first time ever I actually think I might accomplish it!

I did end up reading an additional 16 books from my shelves (acquired in 2014), so I do think it is important to note that about half of the books I did read this year did come from my shelves. I think that does fall into the spirit of the challenge, if not the exact rules. Rogue that I am, I am going to break from the tradition of this challenge in 2015 so I can highlight these wins as well.

Historic Fiction Challenge
Challenged: 13-20
Actually Read:  25 (13 historical bio)

I'm very happy with my progress on this challenge. I firmly exceeded my overall goals, but what I'm most pleased with is the number of historical bio books I read. I learned a lot of history this year, which was what I was hoping to accomplish with this challenge. I like that my books ended up a mix of adult, YA, and MG and fiction and non-fiction. I also like that there was a lot of overlap in subject matter. I will definitely be participating in this challenge again.    

TBR Pile Challenge
Challenged: 11-20
Actually Read: 20

This ended up being a much easier challenge than I was expecting. In previous years I had spent most of my reading time focusing on new releases, so in 2014 I wanted to focus more on older books. I didn't include older books that were new 2014 discoveries to me since I really wanted to address those books that had been sitting on my TBR for years. I definitely accomplished what I set out to do.

One thing I did realize this year was that my reading tastes have changed a little, so books I probably would have loved when I originally added them to my TBR were only ok for me now. That was a good though sad lesson to learn and has motivated me to read through some of the books that have been sitting on my TBR the longest. That said, I don't think I will participate in this challenge next year. Instead, I'm going to use the Off the Shelf challenge to target these TBR books.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge
Challenged: 50
Actually Read: 65

I had originally set a goal of 60 books, but then trimmed that down to 50 due to a busy personal year. But, it looks like 60 was more doable than I was expecting, so I'm happy I managed to exceed my 50 book goal. I think I'm going to keep my goal at 50 again for next year. Changes in my life have made it harder to make as much time to read (not having a job where you can read for large chunks of the day will do that! Also, more stress) and the type of books I have been tackling, like the heavy historical books, do take more time. Eleven of the books I read had over 400 pages, which is also something I usually shy away from and I'm pretty proud I managed so many.

Reading Challenge Addict
Challenged: 4
Actually Completed: 4


How did you do with your 2014 challenges?
Feel free to add links to your own challenge recaps!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DNF Tiny Reviews: Shadowcry & Shades of Milk and Honey

Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw

I've been dying to read this book for years and I finally, finally started reading it June of this year.

And then DNF-ed it two days later. 

What a disappointment!

Everything was just flat. The characters felt soulless and the plot was nothing new. Now, you know me, the plot I could have dealt with because while it wasn't terribly original or imaginative and the world building wasn't as deep as I'd like, I'm a character girl at heart. All of those things could have been fine if the characters were great.

But they weren't. The main character was mildly irritating and completely uninteresting. She didn't stand out to me in any way and I didn't connect with her. Her love interest was boring and very young. The villain was definitely interesting and had the potential to really grab my heart, but with everything else lacking so much I couldn't stomach the frustration of falling for the bad guy.

Even with all that said, I still feel myself wanting to give it another try because I so want this book to be more than it is. It has so much potential! Unfortunately, it all falls flat. Try Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo instead.

Library book
Rating: DNF at page 167 of 311

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

I started this as a book club read with Ruby, but we both gave up on it about a third of the way through. Why? Pretty much because of the characters.

I could also say the wishy washy magic system and the total Jane Austen rip-off vibe (not homage, unoriginal RIPOFF) were major reasons I DNF-ed, but we all know if I had liked the characters I would have put up with all that (even though, yeah, it really was a lot of bad to put up with).

But I could not get over that main character. Whenever she came on the page all I could think was, "What a bitch!" She was snooty and mean to pretty much everyone around her and I couldn't help but think she deserved to be alone.

Until I met her love interest, and then I thought the two of them deserved one another, because he's just as bad as her. He's also an artist, and I always have a hard time swooning for artists.

Try Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Carolyn Stevermer to get your regency magic fix instead. 

Rating: DNF on page 106 of 304

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Books I got

Ok, so it's been a REALLY long time since I've done one of these posts. You can attribute this entirely to laziness and fear of the daunting task of actually recording all these books in a post because, honestly, did you really think I was abstaining from acquiring books?

Here's what I've been adding to my shelves lately. I'm going the cheat sheet route and letting Goodreads do the compiling work for me. Feel free to weigh in on any of your favorites and push me into bumping any of these higher up on my TBR!

Small Review's bookshelf: books-i-got

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...