Midyear Audiobook Challenge Check-In

So it’s time to see how I’m doing on my audiobook challenge.  I’m actually really proud of my progress on this one because my goal for the year was to read 16-20 audiobooks and at the midway point, I’ve actually managed to read 18!  That’s huge for me since up until last year, I hadn’t had any luck trying to read audiobooks.  So here’s what I’ve read so far (oh and 16 of these are also doing double duty for the Beat-the Backlist Challenge so consider this an update for that challenge as well.

 

     

The first four books I read were the The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater.  I was a little nervous about it going in since I had read but not loved her more recent book, All the Crooked Saints.  Thankfully I ended up really enjoying the series, with each book being a four star read.  I really loved all of the characters in the series, especially Ronan Lynch and it just feels good to have The Raven Cycle off my TBR since it had been there for about 3 years.

 

Books 5-8 have been some of my favorite audio reads so far in the challenge, especially The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which is all around one of my favorite reads of the year to this point.  It was 5 stars all the way!  What If It’s Us was a super cute 4-star romance for me, while Crazy Rich Asians was 4 stars of crazy fun.  And I highly recommend the audio version of On the Come Up.  I think it makes Bri a more likable character than just reading the print version, plus you get to actually hear her rap, which was so cool  That was a 4.5 star read for me.

 

Books 9-12 were some fantasy reads that I tried on audio and really loved.  Plus it was nice to make some progress on my series reading too.  I really enjoyed Catwoman: Soulstealer on audio, so much so that I may go back and try Marie Lu’s Batman book that way since I skipped over it after hearing meh reviews.  Catwoman was 4 stars for me, as was City of Ashes, the second book in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series.  I’ll probably continue that series on audio as well.  I had actually been in a fantasy slump for a couple of months until I read Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes on audio, which I loved and rated 4 stars.  The biggest surprise out of all of these fantasy reads for me was Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. I was just writing in a recent Top Ten Tuesday post how his books were really hit or miss for me.  Well, this one was a huge hit with me.  Gaiman himself narrates it and the story is just beautiful.  It actually reads like a fairytale, which just made the audio version seem like the perfect way to enjoy it. Stardust was a 4.5 star read for me and is now my favorite Gaiman book.

 

Books 12-16 are a hodge podge from different genres.  Murder on the Orient Express was my favorite from this group.  I thought the narrator was fantastic and the murder mystery gripping.  It was a 5 star read for me.  The Song of Achilles was a lovely read as well, one that I would recommend to anyone who loves Greek Mythology. I rated it 4 stars and look forward to reading Circe from the same author soon.  Pride was such a fun read.  It’s a Pride and Prejudice retelling set in modern day Brooklyn, and it’s filled with sass, snark, and romance just like the original P&P.  I gave it 4 stars as well.  Queenie was the one disappointment from this lot.  It started out so good but then I just became so frustrated with the main character and her pattern of making bad choices, all the while admitting she was well aware they were bad choices.  It got to the point where I just wanted the story to be over so I didn’t have to hear from her anymore, lol.  I rated 3 stars, just because I did enjoy the first part of it.

 

And finally, books 17 and 18.  Lily and the Octopus was an interesting read.  As a pet owner, I found it a very emotional read, but from a more objective standpoint, it was a little hard to get into, just the whole concept of referring to what was on the dog as an octopus was a little jarring.  I ended up rating it 3 stars.  Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere was a fantastic and moving read.  I loved the way the story unfolded and thought the narrator was great.  I read somewhere that this book is being made into a limited series and I can’t wait to watch it.  I rated the book 4.5 stars.

 

* * * * * *

Are you participating in the audiobook challenge?  If so, how are you doing on it?  I have to admit that I’ve been somewhat of an audiobook junkie now and look forward to seeing just how far I can surpass my original goal in the second half of the year.

 

Iron Throne Readalong Sign Up Post

I’ve been reading the A Song of Ice and Fire books on and off for the past few years.  I just purchased the fifth book in the series late last year but found that, with spreading the books out as much as I did, I’ve forgotten a lot of what I had previously read.  I had been thinking about going back and doing a re-read before starting book 5 and now, after having watched the series finale of Game of Thrones, I’m definitely in the mood to go back and experience George R.R. Martin’s story in full.  I had been planning to just do a re-read on my own but when I saw that Novelknight and Of Wonderland had put together an incredible series readalong, I decided this was a much better option for me.  I love the schedule they have put together because it gets the series read completed in a timely manner (34 weeks) but still allows plenty of time for reading other books and of course, for life in general.  If you’re interested in joining in, you can read the complete details of the readalong HERE and I’ve posted the reading schedule for book 1 below.

 

 

2018 HoHoHo Readathon Sign Up Post & TBR List

 

Even though I’ve been saying I’m going to cut back on the number of challenges and readathons I participate in, the HoHoHo Readathon, which is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer,  is one that I enjoy too much to give up.  It’s so much fun and it really helps get me into the holiday spirit.  I’m a bit last minute getting this part together but I have finally decided what books I’m going to try to read for the readathon.  Here’s my sign-up post, complete with my Christmas/Winter-themed TBR list as well as the rules for the readathon in case anyone else is interested in signing up.

 

My 2018 HoHoHo Readathon TBR List

 

      
 

2018 HoHoHo Readathon Details and Rules

 

It’s time to sign up for the Sixth Annual HoHoHo Readathon hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer.  Gather up your favorite cocoa, comfort foods, holiday music and books and join in the fun! For this event books and audiobooks with holiday or winter themes count.  You can participate for a day or cozy up by the fire and hang out every day. The more you participate the more entries you will earn for the Participant Giveaway.

The event will be longer this year after feedback from last years Twitter Party. It all begins on Friday November 9th and ends at 11:59pm on Sunday November 18th. We will have a Twitter party on the 18th at 3:30 pm (EST)

 

  • Link-up (it is not necessary to link to goal post, just link to the account/blog you will be using)
  • Before or on November 9th post a goals post to your blog.  If you do not have a blog, declare your intentions on social media and link to this page, then create a shelf on Goodreads with intended books) Be sure and link back to Caffeinated Reviewer. If you do not have a blog or Goodreads account and wish to participate you could use Instagram or Facebook. Contact me if unsure.
  • It might be a good idea to a friend, like or follow me on whatever social media site you use so we can see your progress. Just mention Ho-Ho-Ho so I can follow you back.
  • Grab the image and share! Tell your friends, post the image and link on social media using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google + or Instagram. Be sure to include a link to this page, so others may join.
  • Participate in at least one challenge to be eligible for grand prize
  • Read/listen to as many Holiday or Winter themed books as you can. (Winter can be new years setting, snowstorm etc. If you are unsure contact me)
  • Tweet your progress using #hohohorat
  • Twitter Party! Sunday, November 18, 2018, at 3:30 pm (EST) #hohohorat Come chat about the books you have read. There will be prizes.
  • Challenge schedule and Grand Prize widget will post on November 9th at/by 8 am (EST)
  • Read-a-thon starts on November 9th 12:01 am (your time zone) and ends on November 18 at 11:59 pm (your time zone)
  • Challenges will be open from 8 am (EST) on the 9th and stay open until Nov 18th at 11:59 pm (EST)
  • Grand Prize Raffle will be open until November 19th at 11:59 pm (EST) to allow you to submit entries.
  • All winners of challenges and the grand prize will be notified by November 20th.

Summer TBR Wipeout 2018: Wrap-Up Post

 

This week marks the end of the Summer TBR Wipeout 2018 Challenge.  A huge thanks to The Candid Cover for hosting it again this year.  As always, it has been a lot of fun and I got a ton of reading done for the challenge this year so yay!  My original goal was to read 15 books and I’m excited to report that I actually managed to exceed that goal with a total of 18 books, including every single book off of my original TBR list for the challenge.  Being the mood reader I am, I think I’m most excited to have actually stuck to that list. That may be a first for me, haha!  Anyway, on to the books.  As far as reviews go, I have written full reviews for the three books on here that were ARCs. For the rest, I’m just going to give a quick reaction on each and move on so that I don’t continue to fall behind on my reviews.

 

COMPLETED BOOKS SINCE LAST UPDATE

 

    

    

 

VICIOUS by V.E. SCHWAB –  My love for Schwab’s books has only continued to grow now that I have finally read Vicious.  As much as I adore books that feature anti-heroes, this book was practically written with me in mind.  If you love books that feature villains, or you’ve read and loved Schwab’s other series but somehow haven’t picked this one up yet, GO BUY THIS BOOK! You won’t regret it!  5 STARS

THE RAGING ONES by KRISTA & BECCA RITCHIE – Part epic space odyssey, part coming of age story, The Raging Ones is one of the more unique books I’ve read this year.  Check out my full review HERE. 4 STARS

CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by TOMI ADEYEMI – I just finished reading this book tonight and all I have to say is WOW!  Out of all of the hyped books I’ve read this year, I think this one most lives up to and exceeds the hype.  It’s an intense and sometimes painful story that is filled with all too relevant themes such as oppression and racism.  It’s also beautifully written, with exquisite worldbuilding and characters that I adored, especially Zélie and Amari.  I loved everything about this book! 5 STARS

THE POINT by JOHN DIXON – An exciting story about an outcast with supernatural powers who finds herself enrolled at West Point Military Academy where they hope to train her to be the ultimate weapon.  Check out my full review HERE4 STARS.

HOW TO STOP TIME by MATT HAIG – This was a fascinating read that is actually kind of hard to describe.  It’s science fiction in the sense that it features a character who has been alive for over 500 years because he doesn’t age as normal humans do.  It also, however, reads like historical fiction because the author uses flashbacks to take us back to earlier periods in the character’s life where he often encountered famous figures from history, such as William Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin, Captain Cook, F. Scott Fitzgerald, etc.  Finally, I’d even go so far as to call it a romance because it does follow the main character’s love of a woman and how that relationship has impacted him for most of his very extended life.  Just an all around unique and creative read that I very much enjoyed.  4 STARS. 

VOX by CHRISTINA DALCHER –  A terrifying novel about what could happen if a radical religious group managed to rise to power in the United States with the ultimate agenda of silencing women.  This was a gripping read that I just could not put down once I started reading it!  Check out my full review HERE4 STARS

 

* * * * * *

 

Well, that’s it for my challenge.  If you participated, I hope you had as much success as I did!

 

Summer TBR Wipeout 2018: Update #2

 

It’s time for my second update for the Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge hosted by The Candid Cover!  It feels like this challenge has just flown by, but regardless, I’ve managed to knock a lot of books off my TBR so I’m very happy with my progress.  My original goal for the challenge was to read 15 books and to try to stick as closely to my tentative TBR as possible.  For the first update, I was able to read 6 books and for this second update, I read another 6 and am about two-thirds of the way through a seventh book.  I did veer from my tentative TBR a little but overall I think I did pretty well following it, especially considering what a mood reader I am.

Anyway, so going into the final stretch of the challenge, I’ve read 12 2/3 books, which means I’ve almost achieved my goal.  I still have 5 unread books from my original TBR, however, so I’m going to really strive to finish all of those.  We’ll see how it goes!

 

COMPLETED BOOKS

 

    
    

 

NEARLY COMPLETED

 

 

WHAT I PLAN TO READ NEXT

 

     
 

Best of luck to everyone as we move into the final stretch of this challenge!

Summer TBR Wipeout 2018: Update #1

 

I can’t believe we’ve already made it to the first update post of the Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge hosted by The Candid Cover, but here we are!  I don’t know if I’ll get through all 15 books that were on my tentative TBR for this challenge, but I’m pretty pleased with my progress so far.  I’m especially thrilled to have finished another George R.R. Martin book as well as the final book in the Grishaverse trilogy.  Overall, I managed to 6 books for this first update (5 from my original TBR + 1 library book that became available sooner that I expected it to) and I also made a good start on a 7th book, In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. Go me!  LOL!  Anyway, here are all of the books I’ve read so far and what books I’m hoping to get to next.  4 of those are from my original TBR and then I added Not the Girls You’re Looking For, another library book that became available sooner than anticipated.  Wish me luck!

 

COMPLETED BOOKS

 

 

WHAT I PLAN TO READ NEXT

 

I hope everyone who is taking part in the challenge is getting a lot of reading done!

Summer Reading Challenge: Summer TBR Wipeout 2018 – Intro Post

 

I know I made a post not too long ago talking about challenge fatigue and about how I debating whether or not to continue with my challenges because I was struggling to keep up with the administrative aspects of challenges.  The Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge, hosted by The Candid Cover, however, is actually a challenge that I really enjoy.  It is designed so that there’s more focus on reading and less focus on the administrative side.  It’s win-win in that sense and so I love it!

Last year when I did this challenge, I was able to knock 12 books off my TBR, so I’m hoping to read 1 or 2 more this time around.  Below is the schedule for the challenge, along with the list of books I’m hoping to read.  It’s a mix of books that have been on my TBR for years, some ARCs that I want to get read for July and August, as well as a couple of 2018 releases that I’ve been meaning to get to and keep setting aside.  I started A Feast for Crows this weekend since it’s over 1,000 pages and probably the most challenging book on my list, and it’s also the one I’m least confident I’ll finish in time. I managed to read over 200 pages on July 1 though, so we’ll see how it goes. 🙂

 

THE SCHEDULE:

June 3- July 5: Sign-ups open!

Week of July 1st: Introductory post- What books are you planning to read this summer?

Week of July 15th: Update post #1- Tell us how your reading has been going so far. What books have you read? Were they enjoyable? What’s next on your TBR? Etc.

Week of July 29th: Update post #2

Week of August 12th: Wrap-up post- How did your summer reading go? Did you wipeout some books from your summer TBR?

 

THE BOOKS

 

        
    
       
           
                        
     

Are you looking to finally knock some backlisted books off your TBR this summer?  Maybe you should consider taking the Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge too.

March Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge Sign Up & Goals Post

 

Even though I’m already taking part in a backlist challenge, I had a poor showing in February and only finished 3 of my backlisted books.  I decided to take part in the March 2018 Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge, hosted by  Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer because I think it will be a great way to jumpstart my backlist reading again.

 

The rules are simple: for the entire month of March, you focus on reading/listening to books in your TBR pile released before March 1, 2018. They can be eBooks, physical books or audiobooks. Let’s clean off those shelves and finish those series and trilogies!

RULES

  • Link-up! This is open to everyone. If you do not have a blog then link a shelf entitled Take Control 2018 from your Goodreads account. It is a good idea to friend me if your shelves are private.
  • Create a Goals/Updates/Results post (can be combined) It can also be a shelf created on Goodreads. Be sure to friend Kimberly so she can see it.
  • Begins midnight March 1st, 2018 and ends March 31, 2018, at 11:59 pm.
  • Read/listen to books from your TBR pile.
  • ALL books/audios must have been published before March 1,  2018. I don’t care where you got them, so old ARCS count.
  • Post a review to Goodreads, or your blog then add the URL link it to the Rafflecopter for an entry. ( These can be a mini review. Just one or two sentences)
  • You can combine events, challenges etc.
  • Page count must be over 100 pages to qualify.
  • The rafflecopter will only allow you to enter up to two books daily, so update as soon as you finish a book.
  • Use hashtag #TakeControlTBR
  • Twitter Party March 11th @ 2:30 pm (CST)  Come chat about books you have read and win prizes.
  • Earn extra entries for participating in the Twitter Party
  • Rafflecopter will close on April 2, 2018, at midnight and a winner will be chosen within 72 hours. Open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to you. Prize: New 2018 release valued at up to 20 US dollars or 1 Audiobook Credit from Audiobooks.com. I will do pre-orders as well. (may request eBook copy from Amazon or B&N)

 

TENTATIVE READING LIST

I hope I’m not being over ambitious, but I’m setting a goal of 10 backlist books to read this month.  I’ve come up with a tentative reading list, but this is subject to change since I’m such a mood reader.  As of this moment, I’m in the mood to read the following titles, all published prior to March 1, 2018, per the rules:

  1. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Tarnished City by Vic James
  4. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  5. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  6. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
  7. Nemesis by Anna Banks
  8. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  9. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  10. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

 

Wishing the best of luck to all who are taking part in the challenge!  Let’s take control of those TBRs!

A Look Ahead to My 2018 Reading Challenges

Designed at canva.com

 

It’s that time of year again! Time to start thinking about what reading/blogging challenges I want to participate in during 2018.  I love taking part in challenges, but I like to pick challenges that I think won’t overwhelm me and make reading suddenly feel like a chore.  There are so many great challenges out there for the upcoming year though, that it’s easy to find a few that I think will be perfect for me.  So, please consider this my as my sign-up post for the following challenges:

 

1.  GOODREADS READING CHALLENGE

 

It’s not even time to sign up for the 2018 Goodreads Challenge yet, but I already know that I’ll be doing this one.  My reading goal for last year was only 60 books, so this year I’m pretty sure I’ll be increasing that, possibly as high as 90.  I love this challenge because aside from marking the books you’ve read, Goodreads keeps track of everything else. All I have to do is read.  The only stress is self-imposed and that’s if I set my goal too high.

 

2.  2018 BEAT THE BACKLIST CHALLENGE

 

 

I did do a separate sign-up post with all of the rules, etc., for the 2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge here so that I could post my intended TBR. I participated in this one last year and loved it because it helped me to knock 24 backlisted titles off my TBR.  Since I was able to make it through 24 backlisted titles by September last year, I’ve decided to increase my goal to 30 for 2018.  Wish me luck!

 

3.  2018 NEW RELEASE CHALLENGE

 

The rules for the 2018 New Release Challenge are simple:

  • Books have to be released and reviewed in 2018.
  • Other challenges can be used as well, if you are participating in the Netgalley / Edelweiss challenge or in the COYER challenge, books can count towards more than one challenge, as long as the ones you use for the 2018 New Release Reading Challenge qualify to the other rules.
  • The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages, it can be in any format though, physical, e-book, ARC or audiobook.
  • The New Book Release Challenge is open from January 1st through December 31st 2018, and sign-ups are open until September 1st 2018.
  • You don’t have to be a blogger to participate, you can link to your review on Goodreads or Booklikes instead – so don’t be shy!

There are five levels  in the 2018 New Release Challenge:

  1. 1-30 books per year – New Release Newbie
  2. 31-60 books per year – New Release Pro
  3. 61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran
  4. 101-200 books per year – New Release Enthusiast
  5. 200+ books per year – New Release Obsessed

Since I will also be trying to focus on finally reading backlisted titles this year, I will be aiming to read 20 new releases, which would put me firmly in the New Release Newbie level.

 

4.  2018 DEBUT AUTHOR CHALLENGE

 

 

I love to read debut authors so I thought this challenge was a great fit for me, and at a goal of 12, I think it’s going to be quite manageable even with all of the other challenges I’m taking part in .

Challenge Objectives:

  • To introduce readers to this year’s wonderful group of debut authors.
  • To challenge readers to read 12 or more (or less! It’s up to you!) middle grade, young adult, and new adult debuts this year.

Challenge Rules:

  • You must post your thoughts on each debut book you read in order for it to count towards the challenge. You can post anywhere: your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. If you can link it up, it counts!
  • You can join the challenge whenever you want.
  • The debuts must have a publishing date in 2018 and must have been read between January 1, 2018 and January 31, 2019 (this extra month allows readers adequate time to read December debuts) in order to count.
  • Each review gives you an entry into the bi-annual (two times a year) debut book giveaways (you will get to choose the book you win). Make sure you post the links to my bi-annual link-ups. I will post these link-ups on the first day of January and July.
  • This challenge is open internationally, as are the bi-annual debut book giveaways (provided Book Depository ships to you).
  • I don’t care what language you write your reviews in, I just need to know which book you have reviewed so I can verify your entry. When you post your link in the Linky, please include the book title in English.
  • Use the hashtag #DebutAuthorChallenge so we can all see what everyone’s up to!

Which Books Count:

  • The book must be classified as middle grade, young adult, new adult fiction.
  • The book must be a full-length novel and not a novella.
  • The book must be the author’s MG/YA/NA 2018 debut. (If the author has published adult fiction before, but this is their first MG/YA/NA book EVER it still counts. If the author has published a YA book before and this is their first MG or NA book, it does not count. We are reading the author’s first book for young people, excluding picture books.)
  • Self-published books do not count, so if the author has self-published a MG/YA/NA book before and this is their first book published by a traditional publisher it counts toward the challenge.
  • ARCs are fine, but only if you read them the year they are published. (If you read a 2018 debut in 2017, it does not count. If you read a 2019 debut in 2018, it does not count. This way, participants who do not have access to ARCs are not at a disadvantage.)
  • Since this challenge is international, some books will be debuts in some countries and not in others. This can be tricky and put some books into a gray area, so here’s what we will do. If the book came out this year in your country for the first time, even though it was available elsewhere, then you can count it. I’m going to trust you, so please be honest.
  • Please feel free to tweet, email, etc. me if you do not know if a book counts or not. I am happy to help you.

 

5.  2018 BOOK BLOGGER DISCUSSION CHALLENGE

 

Writing discussion posts continues to be a fear/weakness of mine, so I’m hoping this challenge will push me to write more of them this year.  So as not to stress myself completely out, I’ll be aiming for one post a month, for a total of 12 discussion posts, which would put me firmly in the Creative Conversationalist level.

Here’s All You Have to Do:

  • The 2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge runs from January 1st until December 31st, 2018.
  • Sign-ups will remain open until December 31st, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Central. (So, you can sign up all year long! Come join us!)
  • Create a sign-up post announcing your intention to participate and link up below. There is no need to say what your discussion posts will be about – just tell us that you’re joining and let us know what your goal is. (Please note, you may do this in an update post, or a post of other challenges—you’re not required to make a completely separate post—but you can if you’d like!)
  • Please link back to both challenge hosts and include the challenge button in your sign-up posts.
  • There will be a kick-off post on January 1, 2018 on both Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight where you’ll be able to leave your links for any January discussions. At the beginning of every month, a new post will go up on both blogs for that month’s links. Every month, we’ll update this 2018 Book Blog Challenge Page with the links to that month’s Challenge linky—so you’ll always know where to find the latest link-up!
  • Share it! The more people we get to participate in this, the more awesome discussions we can all be a part of and the more fun it will be! So, invite your friends to join us!
  • This challenge is to help get us discussing books and book blogging, so talk about whatever you want as long as it’s relevant to book blogging. Discussions can be book related or book blogging related (or generally blogging related—no discussions about things that are completely off-topic like travel or fashion, etc). Discussions can also be about you personally if it’s a get-to-know-you type post.
  • If you forgot to leave your discussion link in the challenge month in which you posted the discussion or the linky list closed before you had a chance to leave it, you can leave it in a future month. (No duplicates, though.)
  • There will also be monthly giveaways, so make sure you check in each month!
  • Every month, we’ll feature our favorite posts from one randomly chosen participant. There will be extra options in the Rafflecopter for commenting on posts by our featured blogger.
  • Use the hashtag #LetsDiscuss2018 to share your progress and connect with other participants on Twitter.
  • Have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments!

The Levels:

1-10 – Discussion Dabbler
11-20 – Creative Conversationalist
21-30 – Chatty Kathy
31-40 – Terrifically Talkative
41+ – Gift of the Gab