Saturday, December 30, 2017

*Stacking the Shelves* 30 December 2017

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too, which covers the books I receive through Netgalley. And since I am currently technically a displaced person (all my things are packed up on a boat and I don't have a home to call my own at the moment), I'm not currently buying any physical books. So my STS post will feature all the books I've been one-clicking on Amazon. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor - I one-clicked this book on sale for $1.99 (it appears to be $1.49 now). I'm just really intrigued by the blurb. 
Daughters of the Night Sky by Aimie K. Runyan - This was my Kindle First (except it's got a new name and I can't remember it right now) selection for December. If you are an Amazon Prime member and haven't already gotten your free Kindle First book for December, this is one of the options and you have two days to take advantage. 
The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn - I got this audiobook on sale for $2.95 as the Audible Daily Deal a few days ago. I figured it'd be good to have handy for next year's 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee - This book has been all over the blogosphere on all sorts of peoples lists that I've been checking out, so when I saw it on sale for $2.99, I had to buy it. (No longer on sale.)
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli - This is another book I've seen all over the place, so I really want to read it. It was also on sale for $2.99 at the time of purchase. (No longer on sale.)
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci - I snagged this audiobook as the Audible Daily Deal for just $3.95. I own a physical copy of it already, but this gives me a greater chance of getting it read since I can listen while baking or cleaning. 
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill - I snagged this on sale for $1.99 (no longer on sale). I just found the blurb intriguing so I need to read the book, at some point. 
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - I received a $5 off a Kindle book promotion thing from Amazon that expires on the 1st, so I used that to splurge on Seraphina. I read a sneak peek of this book from Netgalley and really wanted to read more, so this was a great time to buy it. 
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones - I managed to get this book on sale for just $2.99 (no longer on sale). I've wanted to read this book pretty much since it released (I think), so finding it on sale was awesome. 
Resolve by Carla Susan Smith - I won a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program. It appears that one of the changes they're making is that ebook copies can be gifted as ARCs prior to release to still generate reviews for release day (I can leave a review right now even though the book hasn't released yet). It used to be ebooks giveaways couldn't end before release day. 
An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer - I snagged this beauty for just $3.99 on sale (still on sale) because it'll be good for next years 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller - I got this on sale for $2.99 (still on sale). The cover is gorgeous and the blurb sounds good. 
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab - I snagged this on sale for $4.99 (still on sale). I've heard a lot of good things about this series and so I've been interested in getting it for a while now. This seemed like a great time to start. 

So that's all the books I picked up this week. It's a bigger list than last week, but still fairly tame for me. 

What new pretties have you added to your shelves this week? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can stop by and see your new books. It may take me a while to return comments, but I will do it when I have the time.*

Friday, December 29, 2017

*Book Blogger Hop* 29 December 2017

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
What character or characters would you not mind sharing a New Year’s kiss with? (submitted by Kitty @ Vicarious Bookworm)
This is a tough question because I don't typically do the book boyfriend obsession thing. There are plenty of characters that I'd like to find a man who is mostly like that (were I to get divorced but my husband is mostly awesome), but I don't typically want that specific person, partially because they already have a partner and I'm not a home wrecker, not even a fictional one. But for the sake of this question, I'll try to think of some characters that I'd absolutely have kissed had I met them before they met their SOs.

Carter Stevens from The Spark of Life series by Ginna Moran. This boy (and he's like barely 18, so definitely still a boy) is so sweet and has a boy next door vibe to him. I would love for my daughter to date a boy like him when she's older.

Jesse Drake from Separation Anxiety by Lisa Suzanne. Jesse Drake is pretty much the closest character to my fantasy man as I've encountered to date. He's considerate, he's hot, and he has an amazing kitchen in his house. If I met him before Veronica did, I'd definitely share a New Year's kiss with him.

Ethan Scott from Taste Test by L.B. Dunbar. While Ethan is in his 20s (I think, if I remember right), he still seems very much like a boy to me (I'm practically ancient at 29* after all). But he's another guy that I'd be thrilled if my daughter were to date someone like him.

Nadyah from The Draga Court series by Emma Dean. She is a courtesan and her job is to make others feel special. Plus she has years of training in the seductive arts so she knows her way around a kiss. I also imagine if the Kalans celebrated New Year like we do, their celebrations would be amazing and to kiss Nadyah, I'd have to be part of that.

So there you have it, a few fictional characters I wouldn't mind kissing on New Year's Eve. Which fictional characters would you smooch to ring in the new year? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can see your answer as well. It may take me a while to return comments, but I will when I have time.*

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

*Top Ten Tuesday* Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2018 (Dec 26)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is books I'm looking forward to in 2018. This list would be much easier for me to build if I wasn't currently sitting in an almost empty house, because I would just take a gander at my recent Goodreads wins to pick out some of the books that have arrived that don't release until 2018. As it is, I don't have that resource handy right now (damn me for not building this list ahead of time) because my 102 boxes of books (as well as the rest of my worldly possessions) are on their way across the Atlantic (possibly on their way to the boat right now, but same basic difference). What this intro should tell you (if you're an author) is that I'm a horrible blogger if you want me to get the word out about your upcoming releases in advance, because I'm absolute shit at that. I'm much more likely to see that a favorite author has a new release a week after release day and then one-click it (and then it will languish on my Kindle for ages).

Anyway, on to the hastily cobbled together list.

The Sky Is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith - This book releases in January and I just might actually have it read by release day because I adore the cover (and it's dystopian so right up my alley.)
Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake by Sarah Graves - I happen to be known for my cheesecake baking skills at my husbands current job. Any potluck event I'm expected to make at least two (and I actually really like making cheesecake so it doesn't completely suck). Because of this, I feel like I already have an affinity for this late January release.
A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong - I don't read a lot of non-fiction and when I do it's typically celebrity memoirs, but this is a topic that I'm very interested in learning more about.
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele - This is another non-fiction book on a topic that intrigues me. Additionally, it will be helping me with a few of my 2018 reading challenges.
Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown - I feel it is important to state that a part of the reason I'm excited about this book is that the ARC is printed on the good paper (maybe I'm weird, but there are some books I just love to hold because of the type of paper they are printed on). Since the paper used for printing does inspire a desire to read the book though, it is definitely one for my list.
A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow - This title and the cover have me so intrigued by this book. It is one I simply must read.
Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking - This book releases right after the new year, and I actually kept my ARC copy of it with me so that I can read it on my long plane ride across the Atlantic. My Facebook wife has already read it and she says it's pretty amazing so I'm excited to dive in.

So those are some of the books that I'm most looking forward to reading in the new year. Below find some titles and links to a few books that I've worked on that I'm excited will be releasing this coming year (a couple of them have involved quite the wait.)

Living Ghost by Ginna Moran - I recently finished proofreading this novel, and if you enjoy paranormal YA, you should definitely check it out.
Jasmine of Draga by Emma Dean - I'm working on proofreading this novel right now. It's perfect for the person who enjoys erotica and science fiction (and strong dominant women).
ISAN by Mary Ting - I first proofread this book over a year ago and have been anxiously awaiting it's release. It's a solid dystopian with lots of action, and I'm thrilled that it's finally going to be available to the public.
Realm by Alexandrea Weis - This book doesn't release until July and it's not even available for preorder yet, but I first proofread it like two years ago, and it is hands down my favorite Alexandrea Weis book. It's historical fiction (so pretty different from most of her books) and it's just high time this book was released.

So what books are you looking forward to reading in 2018? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can see your most anticipated books too. It may take me a while to return comments, but I will do it.*

Saturday, December 23, 2017

*Stacking the Shelves* 23 December 2017

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too, which covers the books I receive through Netgalley. And since I am currently technically a displaced person (all my things are packed up on a boat and I don't have a home to call my own at the moment), I'm not currently buying any physical books. So my STS post will feature all the books I've been one-clicking on Amazon. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

Mooseletoe by Tiffinie Helmer - I snagged this as a freebie (no longer free). I think it was shared on the Celebrity Readers Facebook page, but I'm not 100% sure on that. 
The Christmas Cottage by Samantha Chase - I got this book on sale for $1.99 (it's still only $2.51 right now) because Christmas and I didn't own it yet. And even though I know I'm going to fail to achieve Santa status in the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge I'm hosting this year, this book may come in handy next year. 
The Girl From Venice by Martin Cruz-Smith - I snagged this on sale for just $1.99 (no longer on sale). It was a Kindle daily deal this past week and it's set during WWII, which as you should all know by now is an era I find highly fascinating. 
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson - I won an ebook copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program. 
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris - This audiobook was the audible daily deal yesterday and I was able to get it for just $2.95. I may manage to squeeze one more holiday read in this year through this book, but probably not because I have a lot of proofreading to do right now. 

And that's it. That's all the ebooks and audiobooks I picked up this week. Once again, I spent very little time on a computer (because my desktop is in a box, in a container, on it's way to a boat to take a trip across the Atlantic ocean right now, and I don't like using my laptop all that much) and had three days this week where I didn't have much time online at all because we had our router disconnected so it didn't accidentally get packed up (it has to be returned to the internet company before we leave). So for anyone not paying attention, the key to me not having a massive book haul is to not be able to go to the thrift store and not spend much time on the computer. 

What about you? What new books have you added to your shelves this week? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please leave a link to your post so I can stop by and see your new pretties. It may take me a bit to make the rounds, but I will absolutely return all comments when I have time.*

Friday, December 22, 2017

*Book Blogger Hop* 22 December 2017

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
Have you ever asked co-workers to give you a book or B&N gift card if they got your name for a Secret Santa gift exchange? If so, did you get whet you asked for? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
I have never worked at a job where we did things like Secret Santa gift exchanges. Most of my work experience has been in food service in a college town (we're talking major state university) and what spare money the average college kid has goes towards partying or school books, and the other adults that are working food service just don't have a whole lot of spare money (I was in the latter group, although living with a roommate and then being married, I was comfortable enough that I could have swung a $20 Secret Santa gift if necessary.) I'm not sure I would have felt like it was appropriate to ask for gift card to a specific place though, and probably wouldn't have wanted to. I find gift cards to be a bit impersonal and try to avoid giving them because I feel like gifts should be something that makes the giver think of the recipient when they see it, and I spent enough hours talking with my coworkers every week that I feel like they'd surely be able to find something at the store that just screamed "Katie!" without them having to resort to a gift card. For example, the right pens would make a perfect gift for me that anybody I've ever worked with should be able to think about. I was very possessive of my pens, but would lend them to coworkers with threats of death if they were not returned (why I had coworkers that came to work without at least two pens in their pockets every day I don't know, but I always had at least five). They weren't super expensive pens, but they were also not cheap pens either...I think a variety pack with like seven pens would have cost around $8 and I would have loved the present. It would have been personal and fitting and within budget.

So no, I've never asked a coworker to give me a book or a gift card, and I likely never would.

What about you? Have you ever asked a coworker for a book or gift card as part of a Secret Santa gift exchange? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can see your answer too. It may take me a bit to return comments as my life is currently in major upheaval, but I will stop by when I have some time.* 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

*Top Ten Tuesday* Books I Hope Santa Brings (Dec 19)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is books I hope Santa brings. (Here you go Mom, my Christmas wish list for the year!)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Illustrated by J.K. Rowling - Sure I already own like four copies of this book, but I don't have one with pictures in it. And no, I don't NEED picture books anymore, but what Harry Potter fan wouldn't want this book in their collection?
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated by J.K. Rowling - I already own four copies of this book as well, but none with the pictures.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated by J.K. Rowling - Like the previous two books, I already own four copies of this story, but none of them the illustrated edition, so I need it.
Falling Up by Shel Silverstein - I managed to lose my copy of this book during our last move and it's one I really want my kids to read, so I kind of need a new copy.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein - This is another book I managed to lose the last time we moved (and since I've looked in literally every box that's been in our garage the past three years, I'm assuming these books are just gone...stolen by gnomes or something).
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stane: Scots Language Edition by J.K. Rowling - I've read like the first page of this on Facebook and I think reading the entire book in Scots language would be a hoot.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Hufflepuff Edition by J.K. Rowling - So I really want all four house copies of this book, but I NEED the Hufflepuff edition. #PuffPride #Hufflepuff4Life
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo - I want this for my least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Mr. Sam Shearon's Creepy Christmas by Sam Shearon - This is an adult coloring book, and I need more of those. I'm also a fan of Mr. Shearon's artwork where book covers are concerned, so I expect this to be a pretty awesome coloring book.
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey - I included this book on my finishing the series challenge list, so I kind of need it so I can read it.

So there you have it, ten books I'd love to find under the Christmas tree on fake Christmas (we're not doing Christmas on Christmas day because all of our stuff will already be packed up on it's way back to the states.) Since my parents are still my Santa however, I wouldn't get the books until I see them anyway. So it works to wait for them until fake Christmas.

So what do you think? Should I send my mom this link directly or just wait and see if she discovers it on her own?

What books are you hoping Santa will bring you this holiday season? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can visit you back. It may take a while as my house is in upheaval this week, but I will come check out your posts when I can.*

Monday, December 18, 2017

Why I Should Boycott Goodreads Giveaways (But Probably Won't)

A couple weeks ago Goodreads announced some changes they are making to their giveaway program starting in January. I first found out about it on Facebook when I saw a post written by Clarissa Wild about the changes. You can read her original post by clicking on her name. A little bit later in the day (or maybe the next day) I also found a link to the post about the changes on Goodreads (while surfing Facebook). You can see what Goodreads has to say about their program changes here. While the Goodreads post goes a bit more in-depth into the changes, the basic facts between the two posts are the same. And that got me thinking.

If you've been following my blog with any regularity at all, you're probably aware that I'm a Goodreads Giveaway addict. I have a monthly mail call post dedicated to the physical books that I win on Goodreads (and it's pretty extensive every month). I love entering giveaways and I love winning things, especially when those things are awesome free books. But these changes from Goodreads have me conflicted.

For starters, do they really affect me as a reader? No, except yes. I know for a fact that Ms. Wild is right that indie authors will not be able to host giveaways anymore, or at least they won't be able to host many giveaways any more. The cost that Goodreads is instituting just to host a giveaway is exorbitant, and I can't even see a real good reason for it. I definitely don't see a reason why authors would want to pay it with the new restrictions in place too (I'll discuss that more in depth in a bit). So fewer indie authors hosting giveaways equals fewer books to be won, which will result in me winning fewer books (it's a numbers game, the more giveaways I can enter, the more giveaways I will win...fewer giveaways will result in fewer wins, so that's how this will affect me as a reader).

So now I'd like to discuss some of the things Goodreads is offering as the reasoning behind charging for giveaways. First, they say that giveaways boost exposure for books. True. I've learned about way more books by entering the Goodreads giveaways than I ever would have without them. But I've only bought about a handful of books that I first saw through giveaways that I didn't win (probably, I don't know for sure because I do have a one-click addiction too, and I can't always remember where I first heard about a book). But there's more! Starting January 9th, when a person enters a giveaway for a book on Goodreads, that book will automatically be added to their to-read shelf and by extension their Goodreads newsfeed. Except, that's not entirely new.

As you can see in this screenshot I took while entering giveaways a week ago (when I first started thinking about this blog post), there is an option for me to add this particular book to my to-read shelf. I have been adding every book I enter for a chance to win to my to-read shelf for the past four years. I'm sure there are some entrants that don't do that, but there are also definitely some that do. But I enter all the giveaways, so my personal Goodreads newsfeed is inundated with loads of books, and I bet most of my friends on Goodreads (except Suanne Laqueur) just scroll past them, which means me adding the books to my TBR shelf doesn't really have any impact on the book's exposure in the first place.

But not all giveaways currently offer you the option to add the book to your TBR shelf when entering (as shown by the above screenshot). I'm pretty sure those books are already added to my TBR shelf right now, which means this proposed change by Goodreads isn't much of a change to begin with. This will just now be the default for all giveaways. Which means there is one less box for me to make sure I've checked (but that box came pre-checked anyway).

But the big change Goodreads is making on January 9th, that is not good for pretty much anyone involved, is that giveaways will now only be open to people with a US mailing address. That wouldn't affect me even if we weren't moving back stateside because I have a US mailing address here due to my husband's job, and most giveaways are already only open for US and maybe Canada by the choice of the giveaway host. Honestly, the only reason to have a US only restriction is for Kindle book giveaways and that would be easy enough to do on it's own while still allowing authors and publishers the option to giveaway books in other countries. If an author or publisher wants to pay to ship a book internationally, Goodreads should let them.

How many people from all of these countries that aren't the US probably entered this giveaway, giving the book exposure in all those countries do you think?

So all of this makes me feel for authors. I'm outraged on their behalf even though it really won't affect me personally much at all, because while some people don't think the Big 5 will pay to host giveaways on Goodreads, I personally imagine they'll just start factoring those costs into the overall publicity costs for new releases. They may offer fewer copies, or they may switch to offering Kindle copies which they won't have to pay to produce and ship, but I don't see this affecting the number of Big 5 sponsored giveaways. No, the only authors this really hurts are the indies and authors signed by small presses. So how do we get Goodreads to change their policy? Boycott, either from giveaway sponsors or from readers. It will be more effective if the readers do the boycotting though, because if even just one person hosts a giveaway ever starting January 9th, Goodreads has made more money on giveaways for that one giveaway than they have in the entire history of the program. They really have no reason to care. That means it's really up to the readers to get Goodreads to change, and that's why I'm pretty sure change will not happen.

Because like I already said in the title of this post, I probably won't boycott the Goodreads giveaways, and I'm certainly not going to abandon the site altogether. I love how I can track my reading through the yearly reading challenge, and as far as I know, there isn't another site out there that provides that service (if you know of one, be sure to tell me about it in the comments). And if I'm not prepared to commit to a boycott in protest, how many other giveaway entrants won't be either?

So why won't I boycott the Goodreads giveaways starting January 9th? Partially because I'm a bit greedy where books aren't concerned and I want to win all the books so I can read all the books. But also partially because I want to see how the program changes when Goodreads starts charging authors and publishers to use it. And I've been aggressively entering Goodreads giveaways for four years now (basically entering every giveaway available for books written in English, and sometimes in other languages when I'm not paying enough attention of intrigued by the prospect). Beyond that, I've been keeping photo albums of my Goodreads wins on Facebook for two of those four years, so I know that I win more than 1 book per day on average (I'm nearing 400 books won for 2017 right now). If there is anyone in a position to talk about the changes from a reader's perspective, I'm probably it (or at least one of the somebodies that could do it). And maybe I'm just trying to rationalize my desire to keep entering the giveaways. I want to examine the changes because it gives me an excuse to keep entering when I know, deep down, that I should abandon the giveaways to show support for indie authors.

So that's what's going on, and now that I've gotten my two cents in, I want to know what you think about these changes. And I'd love to know if you're reacting as an author or reader, but if you're not comfortable  divulging that, I understand. - Katie

Sunday, December 17, 2017

*2018 A to Z Reading Challenge*

Because I don't have enough insanity in my life right now, I've also decided to sign up for the 2018 A to Z Reading Challenge hosted by Ginger Mom & The Kindle Quest. This challenge is super easy, except also not because there aren't a whole lot of books out there that start with the letters X and Q, and just trying to hit all the letters to begin with can be somewhat daunting as well. Honestly, this is a challenge I've tried to do a few times in the past, and I somehow always forget to mark books down as I read them (and have yet to read a book with a title that starts with X for sure), so I've always failed it, but I'm going to try again because I think it's a fun idea even though I'm already pretty sure I'm going to fail to hit all the letters. But you know what they say, "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you." Thank goodness this is all about books and there is no potential death involved. 

So what books do I think I might read for this challenge this year? Here are some possibilities that I'm already planning on reading to meet other challenge goals. If you have any suggestions for my empty letters, please drop them in the comments down below because I can use all the help I can get. 

A: Amputee's Guide to Sex, The by Jillian Weise
B: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Long
C: Courage to Soar by Simone Biles
D: Death Before Daylight by Shannon A. Thompson
E: Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz
F: Framing the Black Panthers by Jane Rhodes
G: Garden of Shadows by V.C. Andrews
H: Hate U Give, The by Angie Thomas
I: In a Different Key by John Donvan and Caren Zucker
K: Kill Order, The by James Dashner
L: Love Like You've Never Been Hurt by SJ McCoy
M: Mole Mama by Diana Silva
N: No Land's Man by Aasif Mandvi
O: Oops-A-Daisy by Melody Delgado
P: Princess Diarist, The by Carrie Fisher
Q: Quest of Perkins Vale, The by L.B. Dunbar
R: Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
S: Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel
T: This is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe
V: Voyage, The by Tammie Painter
W: When They Call You A Terrorist by Patrisse Kahn-Cullors and asha bandele

So this is where I'm at right now with books that will fit at least two challenges for me that I've already listed elsewhere on my blog. I'm only missing 5 letters at the moment and I get a free letter if I feel the need to use it. So with any luck at all, having the books listed out (and meeting other requirements as well) will help me to actually be successful this year at the A to Z challenge. Wish me luck. - Katie 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

2018 New Release Challenge

The other day I was thinking to myself how awesome it would be if every single book that I read next year could qualify towards a challenge, but it can be so hard to get some books to fit into specific categories and such (especially where approximately 1/3 of the books I read are proofreads and I don't get to decide what they're about etc.) But then I found the 2018 New Release Challenge, hosted by (un)Conventional Book Views. This challenge, right here, makes every single proofread I read next year (except for the ones that won't be published until 2019 but there's just no way I can make those books count for challenges period) qualify towards a challenge. And since I'm also taking part in the Beat the Backlist challenge again, basically every book I read will qualify towards one of these two challenges. 

Like the Beat the Backlist challenge, I expect this to be an easy challenge to accomplish my goals with. I'm keeping my expectations low and merely shooting for the New Release Pro level, which requires that I read between 31-60 new releases next year. I anticipate proofreading around 30-40 books again next year, so even if I read no other new releases, I'll hit this goal. With any luck, I'll manage to eke my way into the New Release Veteran level, but I'm not going to hold my breath on that one. 

I'm not even going to pretend to try to list some of the books I plan to read for this challenge since I am counting on most of these books being proofreads and I don't learn those titles sometimes until I have the books in my hand (I literally just put the author name down in my calendar when scheduling books for proofread). But this is me declaring my intent to participate in this challenge. If nothing else, I hope it encourages me to write my reviews in a timely fashion in the new year. - Katie 

*Stacking the Shelves* 16 December 2017

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Week six of my thrift store detox, and this was the last week I could have gone to the thrift store if I had wanted to. The movers come next week to pack up my entire life and put it on a ship. Thank goodness for laptops and iPads though. I at least won't be completely disconnected from the world while all my precious beauties are in transit. This has me a wee bit stressed at the moment though, because I have to make sure I have everything we need to keep with us packed up and separated from everything else, but I'm also still trying to sort through our stuff to get rid of things we just don't need (and I'm really not good at that). But that means that my one-click finger has been somewhat busy this week (probably) because buying books makes me happy and when I feel happy, I'm a bit less stressed. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

The Godfather by Joe Mantegna - This was the audible daily deal a week ago, and I snagged it for $5.95. Call me weird, but I've NEVER seen or read The Godfather, so now I have the chance to remedy that. 
How to Instant Pot by Daniel Shumski - So I don't have an instant pot, but I did buy a Crock-pot brand multi-cooker during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, and I'm pretty sure it does the same thing as an instant pot...If not, at some point I'll just have to get an instant pot. And since the book was on sale for $1.99 (no longer on sale), I figured it was the best time to buy it. 
The Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Kate Rowinski - I have a little bit more faith that this book I purchased on sale for $1.99 (no longer on sale) will help me out with the Crock-pot multi-cooker because it's not brand specific. 
The Gender Game by Bella Forrest - I got this dystopian novel on sale for just 99 cents (still on sale, or that's just the price of the first book in the series). I'm a big fan of dystopian books, and this one sounds really interesting. 
The Gender Secret by Bella Forrest - This was also on sale for just 99 cents (no longer on sale). It's the second book in the series, so a good time to snag it. 
The Gender Lie by Bella Forrest - The third book in the series was also on sale for just 99 cents. That will get me almost halfway through the series for less than $3. 
Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson - I snagged this book for just 99 cents (still 99 cents) because it's a holiday novel and we all know that I love those, right?
Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander - I snagged this book on sale for just $1.99 (no longer on sale). Theoretically, I don't need any more Christmas novels for a while, but it's just so hard to pass them up when they're on sale. 
The Beachside Christmas by Karen Clarke - I got this on sale for 99 cents (no longer on sale) because Christmas. 
Odysseus Awakening by Evan Currie - I snagged this book as a freebie (no longer free) because I like science fiction...and I didn't notice that it was the 6th book in a series. Oh well. 
Christmas Presence by Lisa Hobman - I snagged this holiday novel because it's only 99 cents.
Christmas at the Castle by Melissa McClone - I snagged this as a freebie (no longer free). I think one of the Celebrity Readers shared it on Facebook. I highly recommend following them because they're super good about sharing sales and freebies on good books. 
Kisses for Christmas by Skye Warren - I got this as a freebie (still free). Not sure where I saw it posted, but it was probably somewhere on Facebook. 
One Snowy Night by Jill Shalvis - Snagged this holiday themed book for just 99 cents (still 99 cents). There seems to be a theme to this weeks books.
Tales From Cushman Row by Suanne Laqueur - I buy everything Ms. Laqueur writes because even though it always pains me to read it, I love it so hard.
The Play of Death by Oliver Potzsch - I got this sixth book of The Hangman's Daughter series on sale for just $1.99 (still on sale). I'm super behind on the series, but loved the first book so much that I never miss a chance to get one of the books on sale when I see it.
Princess of Draga by Emma Dean - I try to buy the ebook for every book I proofread (I figure it's the least I can do), and I'd somehow missed this one when it released.
The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan - I got this on sale for just $1.99 (no longer on sale). I've heard such great things about Riordan's writing that I try to buy the books when I find them used or on sale.
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter - This book has been on my radar for quite a while, so when I saw it on sale for $4.99, I bought it. At the time, I still hesitated a little because that's a bit high for a book on sale typically, but the normal price is $21.99, so still a great bargain.
Outlier: Reign of Madness by Daryl Banner - This is the third book in a series that I plan on trying to finish reading next year, and I only just realized I didn't own it yet yesterday, so I bought it.
The Complete Circuit Trilogy by Rhett C. Bruno - This is another series that I plan on finishing, and since I could get the entire series in one book for just $2.99, it seemed worth it to me (especially since I really enjoyed the first book and would have paid $2.99 for it alone).
Once Upon a Royal Christmas by Robin Bielman - I snagged this freebie (still free) because it was recommended by Lenoreo from Celebrity Readers. Also, Christmas themed and I need all the Christmas themed books.
Gather Round the Sound by Various Authors - This was an audible freebie (maybe just for audible subscribers, I'm not sure). I pretty much never say no to a free audiobook though.

So that's all the books I picked up this past week. I'm definitely expanding my holiday themed romance library by leaps and bounds, so I'll be well-prepared for the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge again next year.

What books have you added to your shelves this week? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can see all your new pretties.*

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Friday, December 15, 2017

*2018 Finishing The Series Challenge*

You may not know this about me, but I am notoriously bad at finishing book series I have started, especially since I started blogging. I honestly couldn't tell you how many series I have read one or two books from and no more off the top of my head (I'll be using my Goodreads read shelf for most of this post). But I want to try to be better about catching up/keeping up with the series that I have started in the future, so I am joining Celebrity Readers for the 2018 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge (just click the title for more information on the rules and to sign up). 

While I probably have at least a dozen series that I need to finish right now, I'm setting my sights low for this challenge, because I want to keep my expectations realistic. And my life is going to be in some major upheaval next year with pretty much everything changing, so I don't even know what to expect for myself for the year. So rather than setting my sights high and then failing to even come close to achieving my goal, I'm only going to aim for the C-List. 

So what series do I intend to finish? Honestly, I can't plan that far ahead either, so I'm just going to list several options for series that I need to finish, and we'll work from there. 

The Hangman's Daughter series by Oliver Pötzsch - I read the first book in this series for book club several years ago. I super loved it and have bought all the subsequent books in the series, but I haven't cracked a single one of them. There are six books published now, with a seventh coming in 2018, so I'll have to read six books to finish this series. 

The Dollanganger series by V.C. Andrews - I've read Flowers in the Attic, and I think I got partway through Petals on the Wind when I was in high school. I would definitely do this series starting with a re-read of Flowers in the Attic though, since it's been so long since I originally read it. That would mean I'd have five books to read to complete this series. 

The Timely Death Trilogy by Shannon A. Thompson - I read the first two books in this series, and then the original publisher went out of business so the third book was not published, for like over a year, until Ms. Thompson signed with a new publisher. I was so ready for the final book after finishing the second, and then I couldn't get it forever, and my enthusiasm maybe this will be the year that I finally read it. 

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica A. Roth - I read Divergent and then nothing else (because I started blogging and for quite some time felt like I couldn't pick my books anymore and had to only read books that were sent to me for review). It's a series that I really need to finish, so I can finish watching the movies. 

The Riven Wyrde Saga by Graham Austin-King - This is a trilogy and I've read the first two books from it. I'm not sure what happened and why I haven't read the third, but I need to. So it goes on the list of potential series to be finished this year. 

The Summer Lake series by S.J. McCoy - There are 13 books in this series and I've read one of them (book #4). I really enjoyed it, and it's definitely the type of series I'd seek out if I wanted to read contemporary romance, I just don't often get the urge to read contemporary romance. But this is a series that I want/need to finish reading, so maybe this will give me the impetus to do so. 

The Sensations Collection by L.B. Dunbar - There are 5 books in this series, and I have read two of them (#2 and #4). That means I'll need to read three more books to finish off this series this year. 

The Osteria Chronicles by Tammie Painter - There are currently three books in this series, and I've read only one of them completely, although I have been "currently reading" the second book in the series for about two years now. So I'll have to read 1.5 books to get current with this series this year. 

The Circuit Trilogy by Rhett C. Bruno - I've read the first book in this trilogy, so I'll only have to read two more to finish it. It's definitely a serious contender for the year. 

The Outlier series by Daryl Banner - There are currently three books in this series and I've only read the first. That means I only have two other books to read to get current, but they are kind of massive books, so finishing this series this year is a bit iffy. 

The Fish Tales by Suanne Laqueur - This is a four book series and I'm about ready to finish reading the second book. The author is super mean to her characters though, so reading her books is emotionally taxing, which makes it slow going. I have this series in audio though, so I will definitely be able to finish it in the new year. 

The Legendary Rock Star series by L.B. Dunbar - This is a 5 books series and I've currently read two of them, which means that I need to read three books to get current with this series. I own all of them, I just need to read them. 

Finding Nate series by Ginna Moran - I've read the third and final book of this series...but not the first two, so I should read those at some point. 

The Maze Runner series by James Dashner - I've read the first book in this five book series, which means I have four more to read to get current. My husband is getting more and more insistent that I get caught up so that we can watch the movies, because I refuse to watch the movies without reading the books first, and I'll get super upset if my husband watches the movies without me, so he's basically just SOL right now. 

The Sirens series by T.L. Zalecki - This is just a two book series at the moment, and I've read the first book, so I only have to read one more book to be current on it. This one is definitely doable, if I just remember I need to do it. And it has the added bonus of getting me another Kindle Scout nomination review written. 

Knitting in the City series by Penny Reid - I've completely read one of the books in this 7 book series, and I'm part way through a second (which is also part of another series that will be listed here shortly). I've kind of got my work cut out for me on this series, but maybe this will be my year to get 'er done. 

The Winston Brothers series by Penny Reid - I have been "currently reading" Beauty and the Mustache, which is technically part of this series (and also part of the Knitting in the City series) for a few months even though I haven't finished an entire book from this going to be 6 book series yet, I DID start the series before 2018, so it totes counts. 

The Devil's Night series by Penelope Douglas - I'm pretty sure this series will have three books by the end of 2018, and I've currently read one of them, so that will leave me with two to get caught up (but maybe just one if the third book isn't ready yet before 2018 is over). I'm super ashamed of myself for not being current with this series. 

The Wolfegang series by Jillian Ashe - I've read three of the five full-length novels that are part of this series, and all of the shorts, which puts me two books behind. I believe there is going to be at least one new novel in the series next year for sure, but as Ms. Ashe is one of my proofreading clients, I know for sure I will be reading anything new in the series...I just gotta' go back and get books 2 & 3 read to be fully current. 

The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey - I've read the first of three books in this trilogy, that means I have two to go. They're kind of expensive and I'm kind of a cheapskate though, so that's a large part of my reason for not reading more from the series yet. 

The Everything series by Kerry Lonsdale - There will be three books in this series by the end of 2018, and I've currently read one of them. I have a copy of the second book, and the third is not yet released so I don't have it yet, but will have time to get it before 2018 is over. 

The Draga Court series by Emma Dean - I'm more current on this series than anyone else can be as Emma Dean is one of my proofreading clients. I'm pretty sure she has more books in mind for the series for next year though, so I'll have something to catch up on. 

So I have 22 for sure series that I could finish next year. If I could just commit and only read the series that I already have started, I could be an absolute rock star on this challenge. But I have commitment issues, so I'm sticking with my plan of being a C-lister (which should be super easy to accomplish as I have a few series from clients on this list, and there may be a couple other series from clients that I'm just not aware will be continuing at the moment). 

So do you have what it takes to commit to finishing any series that you've currently started reading and stalled on? - Katie 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

*Book Blogger Hop* 15 December 2017

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
Which book(s) would you like Santa to bring you this year? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
I don't usually rely on Santa to bring me books that I want because it is far easier for me to pick them up myself when I find a good deal on them, and even if Santa were bringing me books, I'd be absolutely okay with him picking them up used (although he's never done that before). With that being said, there are a few books that I really want but I just can't really justify buying for myself (because I have not found them used at my thrift store).

So what books am I hoping that Santa will leave under my tree this year? I desperately want the illustrated editions of the Harry Potter series (the first three books are out now), but I just cannot justify buying a fourth set of Harry Potter books for myself (the third set was a quite a stretch). I'm also like three years behind on Stephen King releases at this point because I don't buy Stephen King books until I know whether my parents bought them for me for Christmas (and with proofreading and blogging I haven't had as much time for "fun" reading as I used to, so I've been neglecting poor Mr. King. I'm sure he's real torn-up over it too.)

And I think that's really pretty much it. I buy so many books on my own, and while I typically wait for used copies or ebook sales, I have so many books currently in my possession that I desperately want to read that I don't feel the need to ask Santa for newer books that I can't justify paying full price for, because I can be patient and wait for a sale.

What about you? What books are you hoping to find underneath your tree this year? - Katie

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2018 Platypire Diversity Challenge

Because I'm a glutton for punishment and still desperately trying to read more diversely, I am once again joining the Platypire's (and my arch-nemesis) in the Platypire Diversity Challenge. Now this challenge kind of sucks for me because it requires that I read certain types of diverse books in specific months, and I suck at that. You can find out more information about what is being featured and sign up to join the challenge here. 

Since I did a horrible job of reading and reviewing the correct diverse books in the right months this past year, I'm setting my sights a little bit lower with my goal this year. Add to that the fact that I don't know how long I'm going to be "homeless" (living with my parents without my stuff) in 2018, and trying to commit to too much is just a bad idea. So I'm personally aiming for Beginner Status, so I just have to hit the diversity reading category once every other month to succeed, and that should be fairly easily doable, I think. 

This is the part of my post where I'm supposed to talk about what books I plan on reading to meet my challenge goals, but if you've read like any of my previous list posts, you should know by now that I do not do well at sticking to lists, so the following books are just books I'm considering reading because they meet the criteria for certain months, but my actual list is absolutely subject to change on a whim. 

January: Biracial Awareness - I honestly have nothing I can think of that would fit this criteria that I haven't already read. I would recommend Sorry Not Sorry by Naya Rivera though if you're looking for something to read in January.

February: Black History Month - Framing the Black Panthers by Jane Rhodes
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Kahn-Cullors & asha bandele (I won this book on Goodreads and I think it's being shipped to my parents house)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

March: Women's History Month - This is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe (Could also be read in February)
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Courage to Soar by Simone Biles (Could also be read in February)
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (Could also be read in February)

April: Arab Heritage Month - Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Edited by Larry Siems)

May: Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month - When the Future Comes Too Soon by Selina Siak Chin Yoke
Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz

June and July: LGBT Pride Summer - I feel like I tend to stumble upon LGBT+ books and cannot think of any I have to read off the top of my head, but for sure hit me up with some suggestions in the comments. 

August: Mental Health Awareness Month - In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

September: Hispanic History Month - Oops-a-Daisy by Melody Delgado
Molé Mama: A Memoir of Love, Cooking and Loss by Diana Silva

October: Physical Disability Awareness Month - The Amputee's Guide to Sex by Jillian Weise

November: Native American History Month - Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

December: Religious Minorities - No Land's Man by Aasif Mandvi

So as you can see, I clearly have enough potential books to read to surpass Beginner's Status in the Platypire Diversity Reading Challenge, but having to actually stick to this list and get the books reviewed in a timely fashion (that's going to be the real challenge I think) makes me hesitant to set my sights any higher. 

I'm also open to suggestions for any of these categories, so hit me up with those in the comments. - Katie 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

*Top Ten Tuesday* Favorite Books of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is favorite books of 2017. Ugh. I hate lists like this because it's just so hard to narrow down my choices. On top of that, I always feel like if I use too many books that were proofreads, people will think my lists are just biased trying to drum up business or something, so then I err in the other direction and try to just not include any of them, but that's dishonest too. And it's just so annoying. But I'm going to give it a shot anyway. Here are some of my most favorite books I read in 2017 in no particular order.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I listened to the audiobook version of this book just last week while doing my Christmas cookie baking for my husbands work party. I made soooo many cookies because I had a lot of cookie ingredients in my cupboards that I needed to get used up before we move here soon, and that means I had a lot of time to listen to audiobooks. Even though I just finished listening to this book, I want to listen to it again already and that's quite abnormal for me.

The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne - This is one of the books that I read for my 12 Books of Christmas Challenge, and it provided everything I look for in a cheesy Christmas story. It had all the warm fuzzy feelings you want from a Christmas romance, and I would highly recommend it.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - This was a book club pick recently and I found myself just absolutely devouring it, which is somewhat rare for me lately, especially for book club book picks. And it's not that I don't enjoy the books, it's just that I often get sidetracked for deadline books like proofreads, and they just fall by the wayside to languish on my currently reading shelf for months until I finally find some time to finish them. While I didn't have this book finished in time for the original meeting, it was finished within a week of the meeting. If you enjoy reality tv, you'll probably enjoy this book.

A Very Mer-Merry Holiday by Ginna Moran - It is very possible that my feelings about this book are biased. Not only was I hired to proofread it, but I also helped brainstorm some ideas for the basic plot with Ms. Moran. That being said, I absolutely love what she did with those ideas, and much like The Holiday Gift, this was ultimately a very warm, fuzzy, feel-good holiday tale. It has the added benefit of being set in Australia, which just doesn't get enough Christmastime recognition with it's warm sandy beaches in December.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - If you've followed my blog at all, you are probably aware that I really like WWII era historical fiction (at least you should be because I kind of talk about it a lot), so it's no surprise that The Book Thief would make my list of top books read this past year. It has the added benefit of starring a main character who also loves to read. And there are so many feels, so just be sure to have some tissues handy while reading it yourself.

Lost Boy by Christina Henry - I have been absolutely loving classic story retellings lately, and this Peter Pan prequel absolutely blew me away. If you've ever wondered how Captain Hook came to be in Neverland in the first place, and just why he hates Peter so much, this is definitely the book for you.

Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan - This book is like an ode to all the hot-mess moms out there, and I personally think it's particularly relevant for anyone on social media (which is just about everyone). It is so easy to feel like a horrible mother when you're bombarded with images of other moms being perfect (because that's all you see of their lives on social media), but this provides a bit of a reminder that most moms just aren't telling you everything, and that you're probably doing a pretty damn good job at mom-ing yourself.

Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison - As a viewer of The Girls Next Door, I was interested to get a more in-depth look at what went on at the Playboy Mansion, and I actually got more than I bargained for from this book. I'm smart enough to know that reality tv is not exactly realistic, but I felt like this book really filled in some of the gaps. I'm also smart enough to know that not all the things written in this book are entirely accurate either, but I found it entertaining nonetheless.

So that's only eight books, and there are several others that I would add to the list, but I have less to say about why I liked them so much which would screw with the formatting of this post, so I'm just going to leave you with eight.

What are some of your favorite books you read in 2017? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can stop by and see your lists too.*

Have you joined the 12 Books of Christmas Challenge yet? Find out more details and sign up here!