Rock My TBR 2016 Recap

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Rock My TBR 2016 is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

As many of you may know, I participated in the Rock my TBR challenge over the past year. I made a fairly large list of 23 books that I owned and had hoped to read at least half of them (but honestly, reading all of them would have been cool too). The goal was to read AT LEAST 1 a month throughout the year so that you could knock out about 12.

So…how did I do? The list below should be pretty telling

  1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo completed 03/07/2016 
  2. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  3. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
  4. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman completed 11/05/2016
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  6. I Was Here by Gayle Forman completed 01/05/2016
  7. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers completed 05/08/2016
  8. Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson completed 08/24/2016
  9. The Rose Society by Marie Lu  completed 05/01/2016
  10. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson completed 12/21/2015
  11. Empire by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard
  12. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  13. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  14. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner completed 11/12/2016
  15. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  16. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes completed 02/08/15 
  17. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  18. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen completed 02/29/2016
  19. Dreadnought by Cherie Priest 
  20. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
  21. Valiant by Sarah McGuire
  22. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons completed 06/17/2016
  23. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

READ: 11

Yet to read: 12

Rock My TBR 2016 updates:

So…11 out of 23 isn’t TOO bad. Granted, since there are 12 months in a year I definitely should have gotten to at least 12, but I will take what I can get.

Top 3 that I read for this challenge….Shadow and Bone (I binged all her books this year), Grave Mercy, Heart of Betrayal. Least favorite was probably Me Before You, which you can look back at my February Update for my thoughts. Honestly, it was more of a “not the right book for me” moment more than a “this is a terrible book” moment.

I don’t typically participate in challenges because of being such a mood reader, so this was the PERFECT challenge for me. I can’t say I failed, but I definitely can do better. I loved how simple this challenge was to work with and how easy it was to set up buddy reads (because buddy reads are some of the most fun experiences I have ever had. Who doesn’t love being able to flail about some amazing books with fellow book lovers?).

Time to gear up to rock that TBR next year! Who else is participating?

QUESTION: Did any of you successfully complete reading challenges over the past year?

emily

Rock My TBR 2017…Emily’s Challenge

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If you guys remember…last year I jumped on to the Rock My TBR 2016 reading challenge hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler. I was pretty excited to find a challenge that could work with my mood reader ways. I was able to select a wide variety of books that HOPEFULLY would fit my random moods, and I think I was successful for the most part (will have a wrap-up in a couple weeks).

So…I was pretty excited when I saw that Sarah is hosting Rock My TBR again for 2017! I am so excited to compile a list to read over the next year and maybe even to find someone to buddy read a book or two with!

So, just a recap of how it works…I create a list of books and try to read at least one book a month from this list. These are books that I own that are kind of just sitting on my shelf. Books that I have EVERY intention of reading but just haven’t got there yet. My goal is to read AT LEAST 12 of these books by the end of 2017. Fingers crossed this works out! So…here is my list…

  1. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  2. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  3. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  4. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
  5. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  6. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo
  7. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
  8. Rebel in the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  9. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
  10. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
  11. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
  12. The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
  13. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
  14. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
  15. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  16. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
  17. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
  18. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  19. The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
  20. Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
  21. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  22. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
  23. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  24. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Let’s see how this year goes! Fingers crossed I get through at least half of these books.

QUESTION: What are some reading challenges you are participating in for 2017?

emily

Rock My TBR 2016: May Update

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Rock my TBR is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

Did you notice that I skipped April? Because I did. Because I read 0 (yes ZERO) books for Rock My TBR. I don’t know what it was. I had every intention of reading AT LEAST one, and was in the process of finishing a book but just didn’t get it down in time (instead I finished it on May 1st…SO CLOSE)

So…in May I finished…

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

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I was definitely excited to continue on in this series. Can you believe there is only one book left!? This whole anti-hero thing is not something I typically read, but I love how even though she is a bit of the anti-hero she still has empathy. She still cares for others and what happens to them. I did not write a review on this one because I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I absolutely loved a lot of the secondary characters, and I was totally and completely into the twists and turns of this plot. Really looking forward to what’s next in this series.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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I took my dear sweet time with this one. Life got in the way and really drug my reading down. Seriously, I was in the worst slump ever due to stress and craziness happening here but I finished it! And I am so sad that I took so long. I loved this book, and cannot wait to get further into this book. Here’s my full review of this book.

What’s coming up in June:

Other than that…not sure. I am not a HUGE fan of planning out my TBR because I am such a mood reader, but I know I am going to TRY to get more checked off my list. At this point I have read 7/23, and I know I can get in the double digits and try to read more than half of these books by the end of the year! Here’s my list in case you wanted to check it out.

How are you doing with your reading goals?

Let’s Talk About…Gravy Mercy by Robin LaFevers

9565548Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Add this book to your Goodreads list!

Reaction Upon Finishing:

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Wow. Wow wow wow. I am so sad that I had waited so long to read this. Seriously, it has been on my list for a few years, and it has been on my shelf in my house for the past year. I am so glad that I finally decided to read it and that I can cross off another book on my Rock My TBR list.

So…what exactly is it that I loved about this book:

  • Historical Fiction: This book reminded me SO much of the books that I devoured as a kid. I was very into historical fiction, particularly the medieval times. Reading this book transported me back to the feelings I had while reading as a child. I was excited and giddy and so incredibly pumped to be reading a book that involves duchesses and dukes. Not only that, but the book was largely based on events that actually happened. In the back of the book it is only lightly brushed on, but if you go to Robin LaFevers’ site you can find her author’s note with the history behind it. I just love how much of this was based on things that had actually happened. I think this helps me make further connections to the book and opens my eyes to historical events that I did not know about.
  • Ismae: I absolutely loved Ismae. She comes across as this highly trained assassin that could take you out oh so quickly, but you learn that there is more to her than that. She was strong and independent, but she showed caution. I know this sounds like something that isn’t a positive quality necessarily, but in most instances it really helped her out. She showed the importance of thinking about what you are doing instead of just going on and wrecking havoc. She showed imperfections too, and weakness, which made her more real to me. And even with those things, she never let that slow her down.
  • Plot Balance: I loved how this book was the perfect mix of action, adventure, intrigue, and romance. With a 500 page book I am always worried that the plot will get old or predictable, but not the case with this book. There was enough going on the whole time that I just had to keep reading to know what happened next. I felt that it flowed well and it all worked together to create a book that I came to love. I never felt bored throughout the entire 500 pages.

Bonus: ASSASSIN NUNS! This book was done in a way that you didn’t HAVE to keep reading (but obviously I will)!

I am so glad that I finally dove into this book. I had no doubt in my mind that I would enjoy it, but I didn’t know it would be among some of my favorite books. I definitely recommend this book if you are into historical fiction. I am definitely excited to get in to the next book!

Have you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts.

Buddy Review: Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

18712886Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.
Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.
Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”
Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her

Add The Queen of the Tearling to Goodreads

Before I dive in I just want to ask why…WHHHHYYYYYYY did I wait so long to read this book????

This book was a part of the #RockMyTBR challenge for this year. And what better way to tackle a book than to read it with a buddy? I was very excited to tackle this large book with Cilla over at Paved with Books, and it sure did leave a lot to talk about.

Initial reaction upon finishing:

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This book was fantastic, and everything I want in a good fantasy. It may have started off a bit slow, but once it picked up it kind of took off running. There was a lot of world building that needed to be done, and though that is important it is also something that sometimes loses me easily. This world was a brutal place. The author did not shy away from details about what happened and the awful things that people are subject to. Honestly, I think it shocked us a bit. tearling 1

Once those things were established though, and we knew the world we were in for the plot really took off. Kelsea proved to be a much stronger heroine that I had thought. She came across as so timid and shy right away, but her first few acts as queen are shocking and bold. She clearly dug deep into herself and found some courage that a queen needs. She kept me on my toes when I was reading because I honestly had no clue what to expect from her.

There were other amazing characters throughout this book. Pen, Carling, Barty, the Fetch (OH MY GOSH WHO IS THE FETCH AND WHY IS HE SO FETCHING!?)…and Mace…

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I honestly think that Mace became my favorite character by the end. He was loyal to a fault. He was reliable. He was talented at what he did. He knew his strengths and definitely honed in on them. And he supported Kelsea. Not always, but he definitely was there for her even when he questioned her.

There was so much action in this book. Honestly, there was little time for anything else. There were a few swoons here and there, but I was so concerned with how the country was doing on how Kelsea was going to solve all the problems that came with her ruling the country that I didn’t care (as much…I still care. I still want you two crazy kids to end up together). I feel like this really made the book fly by, and had me wanting more.

This book ended so perfectly! Seriously. I read plenty of books with a cliffhanger ending that has you BEGGING for the next book in the series. And it’s not that I’m not excited to read the next book in this series (I AM GUYS! I AM!) but I feel like it’s not a necessity. I definitely need to know what happens next, but it’s not urgent. If that makes  sense. I think this book set up for the plot of the next book really well, and obviously things are about to go down that I am not even full prepared for. I am definitely excited.

This book was very enjoyable. An adventure I definitely needed, and I am really looking forward to what is next.

Who else has read this book?

Rock My TBR 2016: March Update

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Rock my TBR is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

I was doing SO well. I was averaging about 2 books off of my list a month for the first two months and felt like I was owning this challenge, and then March happened.

I only read one book off of my list guys. One. Book. This isn’t to say that I didn’t have a fantastic reading month (I read somewhere between 7 and 9 books, which is CRAZY for me but YAY spring break!) but I kind of got off task. I went to the library multiple times and just went a little crazy because money is tight and I wanted to splurge (and there is nothing like free splurging!).

So the 1 book that I read…

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo completed 03/07/2016

This is definitely why I didn’t read anything else. I got stuck in a Grisha binge. I absolutely adore this series now and I just had to keep on reading. I loved the characters, the world, and the pacing of the book. The swoons were pretty good too. I just loved reading this book. I am so sad that it took me so long to get to. I was definitely eyeing this one when I used to work at a library back home and just never got around to it. MISTAKE! Well, maybe not. I am so curious how any of you survived the wait for the rest of the series.

So basically, that’s it. That’s all I accomplished. I guess I still read 1 from the list, which is a good thing. Here’s my list in case you can’t remember what is on it.

So…what’s coming up in April you may ask…

Other than that I am going to just wing it. I realize that having plans just doesn’t always work for me. Hopefully I read at least 2 in April, but we’ll see.

How are your 2016 reading goals coming along?

Rock My TBR 2016: February Update

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Rock my TBR is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

Another month done, and more goals have been accomplished! I am proud to say that I have really been sticking to this challenge to the best of my abilities and feeling really good about where I am heading.

In January I read 2 books out of the 23 that I had listed (list is located on the Rock My TBR 2016 page). This month has been a weird month for me personally. It’s been either up or down with very little in between. Luckily I don’t think it interfered with my reading TOO much, but I don’t know. Only time will tell.

So, this month I again read 2 books off of the list (that means I am down to 19 books guys!). I am really liking the progress I made. The books I read…

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes completed 02/08/2016.

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I hate this buuuuuuut….I seem to be in the minority with this one. I did not like this one very much. I love her writing so much, so I was very disappointed. It tackled some issues that I am personally not ok with, and I kinda felt like I was being forced to be sad. Like it was SOOOO built up to crush you, and I knew exactly how it was going to crush you (because it basically said it RIGHT IN THE BOOK IN THE BEGINNING) so I was kind of meh towards it. Hence my reason to not write a review up. It just wasn’t for me.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen completed 02/29/2016

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I was buddy reading this one with Cilla over at Paved with Books. We will be working on a post for our blogs about this one and getting it up SOON I promise. But I must say this was a great one and I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you all!

What’s coming up in March you ask???

How are your reading goals for 2016 coming along?

Rock My TBR: January Update

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Rock my TBR is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

One month down, 11 to go! Ok, that’s not REALLY how I am looking at the year, but I am in shock that I am already recapping one month of Rock my TBR. I feel like this is a good way to show that I am going to rock this challenge and do some damage on the books that I have had just sitting around this year.

As you read with my introduction post, I am really excited to finally find a challenge that makes sens to me. I am TERRIBLE at sticking to certain genres when I am making myself or anything like that, so being able to make a list with a bunch of genres is awesome and I have been making progress.

The goal is to try to read at least 1 book a month from my list over the next year. I MAY have gotten a slight head start (but who is really counting those last few weeks of December?) so I have read 2 books so far (out of 23)! You can see my list with completion dates here.

I completed….     21569527

  1. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary Pearson
    • I think I liked this one more than the first book! I don’t know what it was, but I felt like I was able to get deeper into the story and really get lost in the world. Not that this didn’t happen in book 1, but I was really working on keeping up with background info and such that I don’t know if I fully got lost. Oh. I got lost with this one.
    • CAN I HAVE THE NEXT BOOK NOW PLEASE!? 18879761
  2. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
    • This book really covered a heavy subject matter. A part of the world that has touched my life in some ways, but other people have felt it more than I.
    • Honestly, I am not even sure how to talk about this book. I didn’t cry while reading it, but I was angry. I was upset. I was confused. I was even a little hurt for the characters. I think the reason I haven’t actually reviewed it is because I have no clue how to do so.
    • This book shows the need for really making sure you SHOW your friends that you care for them. Love and compassion are such a BIG deal, and they need to see that. No matter what. You never fully know what someone is going through, and what if you could be the difference?

What is coming up in February?

I have more buddy reads planned for March and April! I am so excited to find people that also want to read the same books as me so that we can freak out about them together! fangirling

So needless to say, my reading has been pretty good so far this year. I am hoping that trend of awesome reading continues. How have your 2016 reading goals been working during the first full month of 2016?

#RockMyTBR 2016 Reading Challenge

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So if you know me you know that I am the most distracted reader EVER! I tend to go with my mood, which definitely leaves a large stack of books sitting in my house that I swear I will get to but…well, later. Because of this I tend to not do any challenges really because I just can never stick to them. I would love to do challenges that have me read a book from a particular genre or whatever, but I am not the right person for that. It’s cool. I can deal with it. Distracted reader RIGHT HERE!

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I saw this challenge floating around twitter and decided to do some digging. It just sounded interesting and like a possible challenge that I could totally take on. After reading the intro post over at The YA Book Traveler I knew this was for me!

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So basically I pick books that I already own and plan to read them over the next year. I have to try to read AT LEAST 1 book a month from this list. Judging by how many books I have read during 2015 (I think I’m at 42 right now, which will probably still go up before the end of the month) I decided to make for 1-2 books from this list a month. I hope to at least read 12 of these books, but maybe I’ll read more. WHO KNOWS!? I just know that there are books coming out in 2016 that I will definitely be wanting to read. So, here’s my list…

  1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  3. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
  4. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  6. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
  7. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  8. Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
  9. The Rose Society by Marie Lu
  10. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson *currently reading
  11. Empire by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard
  12. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  13. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  14. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  15. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  16. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  17. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  18. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  19. Dreadnought by Cherie Priest 
  20. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
  21. Valiant by Sarah McGuire
  22. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
  23. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

I think I can handle this guys! Right? HA, I hope so..

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Have you read any of these books? Because I would love to know what I should prioritize (the list was made based off of what came to me at the moment and in no particular order at all).

Are you hoping to read any of these in 2016?