My TBR Pile

One of my favourite books is The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wrecker, and I first read it way back in 2013. Much to my excitement, I learned that there is now a follow up book, The Hidden Palace. I instantly added it to my ‘want to read’ pile, which varies little to my TBR (to be read) pile. I don’t really plan out which books I want to read, or what order I want to read them in. I tend to go by emotion / mood alone, and if I find that I’m not actually into that book after all, I’ll speed my way through it or it will fall by the wayside. I do tend to continue on with books even if I don’t enjoy them – except for one book that I just couldn’t read any further and I just gave up. I think I even wrote a review for it here some place. I know time is valuable, but I’ve always felt like in some weird way I almost owed it to the book to finish it. I know that makes absolutely no sense, but that’s how I felt.

Any way, my TBR pile is quite short these days because I haven’t the faintest idea of what books are releasing, or when. I haven’t actually browsed for books in a while and most of what I add to my pile is word of mouth and suggestions from others more than actually looking for myself. I’ve also wanted (once again) to get into some audiobooks but most of them are very expensive, and I just don’t see myself being interested long term. I know there are some sites that offer free trials of their audiobooks and I might look into that, and NetGalley also now has some audiobook options. It would be nice to be able to listen to a book while I knit, I’m curious if it would have the same effect on me it usually does – when I listen to audiobooks I tend to fall asleep almost instantly.

In any case, this is definitely a book that’s very high up on my ‘next to read’ list, if not at the very top. I’ve finished a few more books that I’ll get reviews up for in the future (we’ll see about that) and I’m currently reading Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan which is fantastic so far (I’m only a few chapters in, as a word of caution). What’s everyone else reading these days? What does your ‘to read’ pile look like? Do you have a physical collection or are you more likely to keep a digital collection of books? Let me know in comments, and happy reading!

August Book Goals – 2021

How did I manage with those July book goals? Well:

  • I completed reading volume 3&4 of Sunstone
  • I completed reading Rogue Protocol (Murderbot #3)
  • I finished reading The Book of Hedge Druidry: A complete guide for the Solitary Seeker

I actually managed to complete all of my goals for July! I made sure to spend time each night reading before bed, and fit in some reading here and there throughout the day, too, which is no easy feat with a 3 year old and a 5 year old constantly underfoot (side note, I should add the kids books to my reading goals too, we read every night together before bed).

The goal to update my book pledge on the Canadian site I’m a part of completely fell through because they announced that they’re shutting down and moving on to a new project! I was heartbroken to hear that, but I understand. They were running the site in their spare time, and I don’t imagine it was much of a money maker for them. I’ll be interested to see what they come up with next.

My August goals include:

  • Finishing 5&6 of Sunstone
  • Completing Age of Myth
  • Starting a new book
  • Posting at least 5 book related blog posts for the month of August

I think this should be a fairly manageable list to acomplish. I might slack a bit on the blog posts because I tend to be bad about that, but I’m trying to stick to it and make it a positive habit. Age of Myth is a joy to read, aside from the fact that I decided to purchase a physical copy, which means it’s not quite as easy to sneak into bed and read (I tend to use my kindle more than anything else) especially when my 3 year old daughter still has her crib in my room. I feel like this is a good year for reading, and I’m proud that I’ve been making time to enjoy it again. It’s important to me, even if it does end up being just a few pages here and there.

Happy reading!

Review: Desperate Duchesses, by Eloisa James

When the Netflix series of Bridgerton came out, people flocked to it. I didn’t realize it was actually a book well before it ever became a series, and while looking at the reviews I noticed that Felicia Day (who I happen to follow on GoodReads) had a recommendation for people who enjoyed these types of historical romance – and that’s how I came to find Desperate Duchesses. I attempted to read Bridgerton and I did NOT enjoy it at all. This book though? This book was magical.

If you’re a fan of The Queen’s Gambit (another Netflix show, what can I say) then you’ll appreciate this book even more, because there are some intense chess scenes in the book that will take you right back to that show. The author has a fantastic way with words, and this book was an incredible way to relax that did not require very much brain power but still kept me interested enough to turn the pages. It was like listening to a conversation take place instead of reading.

You’ll follow the story of Lady Roberta St. Giles as she tries to meet the man of her dreams (who she thinks is Duke Villier) but spread throughout the story is a number of other interesting characters, including her father (a poet) known as the Mad Marquees, and her distant cousin, Jemma, who is a bit of a calculating fiend, to be honest.

Without spoiling any of the book, I will say that the reviews of it can be quite harsh, so I’d give it a go yourself if you’re interested in those types of books and not rely solely on the public. Otherwise, I might not have given it a chance at all – and I’m so glad I did.

4/5 stars

July Book Goals – 2021

One thing I do on another blog where I write about video games and fiber arts (because those are related..) is post a monthly update / goals in order to give myself a bit of direction when it comes to these things. My life runs better with direction, otherwise I can spend hours just sitting and doing nothing at all, completely lost with whatever I had intended to do. That doesn’t meant I can’t go off track, it just means that during times when I need direction, it’s there.

July goals:

  • Finish reading volume 3&4 of Sunstone
  • Finish reading Rogue Protocol (Murderbot #3)
  • Finish 50% of The Book of Hedge Druidry: A Complete Guide for the Solitary Seeker

I have some non-reading but still book related goals to work on, too. I want to properly set up StoryGraph, which I’ve never used before but has come highly recommended by some friends. I also just downloaded their app, so I’d like to explore that in more depth. Maybe even do a post about some great book apps.

I’d also like to update my ‘My Book Pledge‘ page, which is a Canadian site sponsored by some of the larger publishing companies. They host a lot of competitions and I’ve been adding my books there for a number of years, very similar to the GoodReads book challenge that is hosted yearly.

These are not lofty goals, and I should be able to complete them with very little issue so long as I consciously make the time to read. The way I tend to work is that the more tired I am the less I want to read, which means in June I did very little reading because I was incredibly tired. In fact for the entire month of June I only finished reading one book, which was Sunstone volume 2.

I want to do better this month.

Have you set yourself up with any reading goals?

Oh Look, I’m Back

It has been over three years since I’ve done any writing on this blog, and yet I’ve kept it active and kept the domain name thinking that one year I might actually get back to it, and do some writing. Kids and life in general have kept me pretty busy without a lot of extra spoons kicking around. I haven’t given up reading by any means, but I rarely spoke about what I was making my way through, let alone wrote about it.

A friend recently started writing about their book adventures over on Dragons and Whimsy, and it inspired me to brush off the dust on my own, and start writing about the adventures I have in other peoples’ worlds. I’m hoping for one post a week, for now. Maybe that will keep me motivated enough to post more frequently. Not everything will be a review (this post is a good example of that) but it should all be book-ish.

With a 3 year old and a 5 year old under foot, a new puppy, and the pandemic still lingering, I have cut down my GoodReads Challenge quite significantly this year. I used to aim for anywhere between 30 and 50 books a year, and now I’m quite pleased if I manage 20. To me a book is a book is a book and it doesn’t matter if you’re reading graphic novels, novellas, or 1,000 paged books – at least you’re reading. I count everything on my challenge list for this very reason.

So far I’m at 12/20 books for the year and I’ve read some fascinating (and some not so fascinating). I’m trying to add variety to my reading, whether it be from Canadian authors (I try, but I just don’t seem to connect) POC, or a unique genre. Branching out of my comfort zones through books is really important to me. I’ll do a more in-depth look at each book that I’ve read this year, and hopefully toss out a few fluffier posts in between. In any case, it’s just nice to be talking about books again.

Goodreads Challenge – Progress Update

While I may not have been keeping up very well with the site, that doesn’t mean I haven’t managed to read a few books this year! I’m still hoping to get more detailed reviews up, but in the meantime this is what my 2018 GoodReads Challenge looks like. I really wish I were the type of person who could do audiobooks, but for some reason they continue to put me to sleep, no matter who the reader is or what I’m reading. If you have a suggestion for me about audiobooks I’d love to hear it! I feel like I could optimize my time better if I were listening along to a novel instead of just filling that space with xyz background noise.

One of my goals this year was to read books written by Canadian authors, and as you can tell by my list, I’ve managed a couple. My favourite would have to be American War, but there’s lots of time left in the year for that to change. I’ve been using CBC reads to find Canadian authors that I’ve never heard of before and so far it’s working out wonderfully.

I love branching out with my book genres and I hope I continue to find amazing new authors that I’ve never read before. What are you currently reading and how is your GoodReads challenge stacking up? I do hope to complete 50 books this year, but with a new baby on the way (due end of July) we’ll just have to see how things go.

Reading Challenge: 2018

I know, I have fallen behind in posting to this site for many months now, the last one being back in July 2016. I didn’t even write at all in 2017, even though I did read books. I can’t promise that I’ll be any better about it in the upcoming months but I do want to try. I set myself with a new reading challenge over on GoodReads for 2018, last year I managed 30 books which seemed a bit abysmal for someone who enjoys books as much as I do. Sure, things are busy, but even just a few minutes before bed can allow you to get some wonderful reading done.

So this year I’ve decided to aim higher, 50 books. 50 is what I would ‘typically’ read before having children, before moving to a new province, before my life became the complicated mess that it is these days. I am not sure if I’ll actually make it, but I am sure going to try. That’s approximately one book a week (give or take a few days) and so far I’ve managed two books for 2018. I don’t want to force myself, but on the other hand I don’t want to continue to fall so far behind, either.

Along with that new reading goal I decided that I wanted to read more Canadian authors, so I went to CBC Books and looked up what books people were talking about. My first two 2018 books were both by Canadian authors, and I’ll be talking about them more in the upcoming days (hopefully, again no promises). I’m trying to decide what I want to read for my third book of the year, something a bit different than what I’ve been reading I think (I’ve stuck to a lot of plain fiction).

Hopefully putting these goals down in text here on the site will inspire and motivate me to actually get the reading done (and the writing). I’m sorry for slacking so badly over the past year, and I can’t wait to share what I’ve been reading with everyone.

Suggestions on Where to Find Free E-Books

Books

Reading can be an expensive hobby, especially if you like to read books by your favourite authors as soon as they come out. So what about the time in between those authors when you’re still craving a book to read, but don’t necessarily want to shell out $20+ per book? Don’t misunderstand me here, I certainly believe that authors should be paid for their work, and being a writer myself I understand the enormous amount of work that goes into a publication, but I’ve also always been a big supporter of reading and I believe that it should be made available for anyone out there who wants to read no matter their financial standing – thankfully this day in age, with today’s technology, there are many options for low budget reading. You may not always get triple A reading material, but you’ll certainly find some gems.

One of the first things I did when I got my kindle e-reader was browse through the kindle store. It’s pretty easy to get lost, but they have a nice selection of books that are free for you to read, usually the classics. There’s tons of classics out there. If you’re not a fan of using amazon there are other options. One popular one is Project Gutenberg. A good one for free audio books is LibriVox.

Every day I get an email from BookBub and in this email they typically list a bunch of highly discounted books along with one or two free ones. The free ones are not free forever, they’re usually on some amazon deal that lasts a day, a week, or longer depending on the author. This is where you’ll see a lot of “not so great, but hey it’s free” books listed – and it’s a great place to find potential gems. The books are different every single day and this is probably one of my favourite ways to get free books and add to my e-book collection. If you’ve never checked it out before, I highly recommend signing up. One thing to note, if you check off any of the romance books in your preferences, chances are your daily email will be filled with that type of book. It just happens that there’s a large number of them, and they go free pretty often. I’ve got 14 free books in the lats 6 months according to my amazon orders placed, and while they certainly haven’t all been winners, they’re not always horrible and it’s a great way to do some budget reading. There are also a lot of sites like this one that will list all of the current amazon books that are marked as free.

If you’ve got a book review site, a blog, or even just like to write reviews for Goodreads there are even more options for you. You can sign up for a site like NetGalley and apply directly to publishers to read and review the books they have listed. In this case you’re much more likely to stumble across books you will really enjoy since you’re hand picking which ones you review. The books here are all represented by a publisher, and are not self published. Of course the downside in this case is that you may be declined by the publisher, especially if you don’t match the publisher’s requests. There are rules for this type of review, they have to be done in a specific time, and sometimes location is a factor. Publishers may only be looking for reviewers in the US, or in Canada, based on where their book is being released.

I’ve talked about these options before, but if you’re a fan of bundles, there’s the HumbleBookBundle that runs pretty frequently, though you may need to wait until you see books that you enjoy come up. They change each bundle, and the prices are fantastic. There’s also StoryBundle which supports Indie authors. Their bundles are less frequent, so you may want to sign up so you can get notice of when they run.

Another choice that is slowly making its way across cities is of course – your public library. Now this will absolutely depend on where you live. When I was in Ottawa I was able to sign out ebooks from the library web site and download them to my e-reader. Now that I live in a more remote area, I don’t have this available, and I miss it. Not all books will be available this way, and you still have to abide by library rules (they can only lend out as many “copies” as they own, and there may be a queue) but it’s a newer option that I really enjoy seeing come to life.

Have more suggestions for readers on how to get some budget ebooks? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your suggestions below!

 

Do You Bookclub?

15451058 The start of a new year is a great time to find motivation to do all sorts of projects that you may not otherwise think about. That includes promising to do more reading, too. Lately book talk has revolved around Emma Watson starting a book club on goodreads that anyone can join. Not only is this fantastic motivation from a celebrity but she’s ready some pretty amazing books, too. She clearly states that the club is going to focus on books about equality, as it pertains to her work with UN Women. The book club holds the logo “Feminism is for everyone” and the first book up for discussion is ‘My Life on the Road’ by Gloria Steinem.

I have been wanting to expand my reading and so I joined the reading group and I also picked up the book this weekend. I haven’t gotten very far into it yet, but I’m excited. The group has over 80,000 members which does make for incredibly busy discussions. I don’t plan on participating a great deal but I will lurk and read some of it. A lot is nothing to do with equality or women’s rights at all, but are Emma stalkers, hoping that she’ll open communication with them.

We need more book clubs like this. They don’t necessarily have to be the exact same subject, but we (society) needs to be encouraging people to read and we need to offer motivation for people to branch outside of their comfort zones in what they read – without judgement. I don’t care what people are reading as much as I care that they ARE reading.

The club seems to be very well rounded. There are some members who have read thousands of books and recorded them to Goodreads, and others who have only one or no books recorded. I’m interested in seeing what books make the list, and what others think about them.

How about you, do you belong to a book club?

Reading Challenges for 2016

Books

Each year I like to challenge myself with reading books. The past few years have felt less like a challenge and more like a goal I knew I could easily reach. My first year completing was 2013, and I set my goal to 30 books, and ended up reading 36. The following two years I set the challenge to 50 books and read a total of 52 books for the year. This year, 2016, I’d like to really challenge myself, and so I’m setting my goal to 65 books for the year – and I’d like half of those books to be audiobooks.

You may think that sounds a bit strange, purposely listening to audiobooks rather than choosing to read the books, however I think it’s a great goal for myself. These days I spend a lot of my spare time knitting and while I’m good at knitting, and reading, I’m not (yet) good at doing both at the same time. There are actually people who can do that, read and knit at once, but I am (so far) not one of them. I’d like to be able to fill that spare time with audiobooks.

Where to get these audiobooks was my next decision. There’s Audible which is one of the largest suppliers, but I’m not sure if I want to dedicate $14/m to a subscription or just pay as I go. I believe the $14/m only gets you a single book a month, and that’s certainly not going to be enough for me. Audiobooks are typically more expensive than regular books though there are free versions out there. The problem with free versions is you never know if the reader is going to be someone you can tolerate, and depending on the software you use it’s very easy to lose your place. I’ve signed up for kindle unlimited to test out the audio narration whispersync feature, I’m hoping it may be a good alternative to someone like me who doesn’t mind spending money on books or subscriptions, but who has a limited budget.

Have you set up a reading challenge for yourself this year or do you prefer to just take books as they come? Let me know in comments!