Image

Tackling the TBR [21]: March 2017

tackling the TBR

It’s once again time for my favorite feature: Tackling the TBR! There’s nothing I love more than picking out which books to read next, and this slightly organized method of reading has really amped my enjoyment to the next level. Bring on the mantras!

Read the best books first.
&
Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying.

However you put together your TBR for the next month, the goal is to reduce the amount of obligation in reading and increase the fun.


Here’s a look at how the system works:

1. Identify the titles that take top priority in your TBR.
2. Combine them all in your own Tackling the TBR post.
3. Throughout the month pick from that pile as the mood strikes you.

Here’s what mine looks like:

March 2017 TBR Tackler Shelf:

The Demon King and Traitor’s Blade are both Buddy Reads with my Goodreads group, which should be fun (come join us!). You may  have noticed that instead of the usual hodgepodge, I have several books by Marissa Meyer and Peter Brett. I’ve been in the mood to really immerse myself in series lately, which to me is an all-or-nothing venture including short stories out the wazoo. Of all the things on my list this month, I’m most excited to start Winter (Cress was amazing!).

Tackler Carry-overs:

I decided to expand my TBR tackler selection list to include titles on previous Tackling the TBR posts that I either didn’t have a chance to get to or am currently part way through. It gives me a more accurate snapshot of my progress over time and more potential high-priority titles to choose from each month. Up until this point, there have only been about five or so carryover titles, but as I am trying to be conservative by relying on the library for a lot of these books, I fell victim to the endless waitlist in January and still haven’t caught up. That said, many of these books are in “currently reading” status.

So many books!!! So little time.


Niki’s Incomplete Series Challenge [Via Fantasy Buddy Reads]

January 2017 Titles Tackled:

Finished Series: 0
 Series Brought UTD: 3
Series Progressed: 3
New Series Started: 2
Abandoned: 0

Overall I didn’t do too bad in February, but as I’m planning on starting a bunch of new series over the next couple of months, my numbers aren’t going to look that stellar going forward…

2017 YTD Tracker:

Finished Series: 1
Up To Date Series: 6
Series Progressed: 4
New Series Started: 7
Abandoned: 1

Last year I had a goal to finish a lot of high-priority series, and I did just that with 14 series finished (some of them with 10+ books that I’d been working on for ages) and 18 brought up to date. I wanted to keep the momentum going in 2017 with this nifty little tracker added on to my monthly TBR. I might make it it’s own feature, but for now, let’s go team for 2017!!!!


Now, I can tell you from experience that this Tackling the TBR experiment is so much more fun and rewarding when there’s more than one person (me) participating. Does anybody want to play along?

Even if you don’t specifically use my system, feel free to share your versions of how you manage your TBR pile (and the links to your posts if applicable) in the comments!

Maybe we can help make each other’s systems even better. :)

What books are you Tackling this month?

by Niki Hawkes

Image

Tackling the TBR [20]: February 2017

tackling the TBR

It’s once again time for my favorite feature: Tackling the TBR! There’s nothing I love more than picking out which books to read next, and this slightly organized method of reading has really amped my enjoyment to the next level. Bring on the mantras!

Read the best books first.
&
Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying.

However you put together your TBR for the next month, the goal is to reduce the amount of obligation in reading and increase the fun.


Here’s a look at how the system works:

1. Identify the titles that take top priority in your TBR.
2. Combine them all in your own Tackling the TBR post.
3. Throughout the month pick from that pile as the mood strikes you.

Here’s what mine looks like:

February 2017 TBR Tackler Shelf:

I have a couple of novellas/short stories on this month’s line up to help me focus a little bit on last month’s carryovers (people were especially slow returning things to the library in January). I’m starting The Warded Man as a buddy read with my Goodreads group, so that should be fun, as it has been collecting dust on my shelves for ages. AND HOLY CRAP I GOT THE NEW ROBIN HOBB!!! I will be dropping everything to read that one first. :)

Tackler Carry-overs:

I decided to expand my TBR tackler selection list to include titles on previous Tackling the TBR posts that I either didn’t have a chance to get to or am currently part way through. It gives me a more accurate snapshot of my progress over time and more potential high-priority titles to choose from each month. Up until this point, there have only been about five or so carryover titles, but as I am trying to be conservative by relying on the library for a lot of these books, I fell victim to the endless waitlist in January. Many of these titles I put on hold at the beginning of December… something is not right here. I need the next Kate Daniels book, like, yesterday!


Niki’s Incomplete Series Challenge [Via Fantasy Buddy Reads]

January 2017 Titles Tackled:

Finished Series: 1
 Series Brought UTD: 3
Series Progressed: 1
New Series Started: 5
Abandoned: 1

Overall I didn’t do too bad in January, but as I’m planning on starting a bunch of new series over the next couple of months, my numbers aren’t going to look that stellar going forward…

2017 YTD Tracker:

Finished Series: 1
 Series Brought UTD: 3
Series Progressed: 1
New Series Started: 5
Abandoned: 1

Last year I had a goal to finish a lot of high-priority series, and I did just that with 14 series finished (some of them with 10+ books that I’d been working on for ages) and 18 brought up to date. I wanted to keep the momentum going in 2017 with this nifty little tracker added on to my monthly TBR. I might make it it’s own feature, but for now, let’s go team for 2017!!!!


Now, I can tell you from experience that this Tackling the TBR experiment is so much more fun and rewarding when there’s more than one person (me) participating. Does anybody want to play along?

Even if you don’t specifically use my system, feel free to share your versions of how you manage your TBR pile (and the links to your posts if applicable) in the comments!

Maybe we can help make each other’s systems even better. :)

What books are you Tackling this month?

by Niki Hawkes

Image

Tackling the TBR [19]: January 2017

tackling the TBR

It’s once again time for my favorite feature: Tackling the TBR! There’s nothing I love more than picking out which books to read next, and this slightly organized method of reading has really amped my enjoyment to the next level. Bring on the mantras!

Read the best books first.
&
Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying.

However you put together your TBR for the next month, the goal is to reduce the amount of obligation in reading and increase the fun.


Here’s a look at how the system works:

1. Identify the titles that take top priority in your TBR.
2. Combine them all in your own Tackling the TBR post.
3. Throughout the month pick from that pile as the mood strikes you.

Here’s what mine looks like:

January 2017 TBR Tackler Shelf:

Surprisingly, I made my way through a lot more titles in December than I thought I would, which frees up plenty of space for more books in January! Initially, I was going to dedicate 2017 to books I already own but haven’t yet read. Sadly, my family is in transition as our new house is being built and all of my books are in storage… So, until July or August when I get to pop open 1000 boxes and hug all of my books, I’ll just continue to focus on high priority titles in general. From this list, I am most excited to read the Hollows (The Turn) prequel by Kim Harrison!

Tackler Carry-overs:

I decided to expand my TBR tackler selection list to include titles on previous Tackling the TBR posts that I either didn’t have a chance to get to or am currently part way through. It gives me a more accurate snapshot of my progress over time and more potential high-priority titles to choose from each month. I’m looking forward to all of them. :)


Niki’s Incomplete Series Challenge [Via Fantasy Buddy Reads]

2017 YTD Tracker:

Finished Series: 0
Up To Date Series: 0
Series Progressed: 0
New Series Started: 0
Abandoned: 0

Last year I had a goal to finish a lot of high-priority series, and I did just that with 14 series finished (some of them with 10+ books that I’d been working on for ages) and 18 brought up to date. I wanted to keep the momentum going in 2017 with this nifty little tracker added on to my monthly TBR. I might make it it’s own feature, but for now, let’s go team for 2017!!!!


bob

I am also participating in my favorite Read-a-thon in early January. Here’s a little more about it:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Instead of bombarding your feed with daily posts, I’m just going to update my progress as the week goes by. This is convenient because the books I’ll be reading through are the same ones as on my tackler shelf. I admit I don’t normally change my habits for the read-a-thon, finding amusement in tracking what I already do. But this time around, I’m actually going to make a concerted effort to read more books. Wish me luck!

Niki’s Goals:

– Finish 3 books

– Read 800 pages

Daily Updates:

 Monday:
Pages: 261 / Books Finished: 1

 Tuesday:
Pages: 176 / Books Finished: 1

Wednesday:
Pages: 87 / Books Finished: 0

 Thursday:
Pages: 52 / Books Finished: 0

Friday:
Pages: 139 / Books Finished: 0

Saturday:
Pages: 96 / Books Finished: 1

 Sunday:
Pages: 144 / Books Finished: 0

Total:
Pages: 955 / Books Finished: 3

CHALLENGE A SUCCESS!!!


Feel free to share your versions of how you manage your TBR pile (and the links to your posts if applicable) in the comments. Maybe we can help make each other’s systems even better. :)

What books are you Tackling this month?

by Niki Hawkes

Image

The Obsessive Bookseller’s Top Ten Books of 2016!

I love looking back at the end of the year and picking out a handful of books that really rocked my world. I read almost sixty books this year, and there were so many good ones that it was hard to narrow it down to just ten. Without further ado, I give you:

The Obsessive Bookseller’s Top Ten Books of 2016:


Shadows for Silence by Brandon Sanderson

Book Info: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: Brandon Sanderson is one of my top authors for his epic world building, amazing characters, and great writing. I’ve read (and loved) almost everything he has published and Shadows for Silence was just as good. I loved it because it had a perfect mix of characterization, setting, story, pacing, action, and resolution, all wrapped up into one neat little package. It felt like a snippet out of a fully developed novel, but was self-contained enough to stand completely on its own. I highly recommend it to Sanderson fans, and lovers of the genre in general. [Read Full Review]


Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Book Info: Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Genre: Science Fiction [adult]

Reason for Recommending:  As the conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy, Morning Star was my favorite of the series. Not only did all the moving parts converge for one epic finish, but it also provided more depth of character and had its fair share of heart-wrenching moments. This series is one of the most unique I’ve ever read, even though it’s comprised of many elements I loved from other top series. A next-generation continuation of the series (Iron Gold) is coming out August 2017, which is really exciting! [Read Full Review]


The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Book Info: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: This series is an experience, and one of the most unique I’ve ever read. The world building is ridiculously creative and the characters are nothing if not atypical. The real brilliance lies in the writing, though. Jemisin weaves her story through three different perspectives, the most compelling of which is told in second person (which utilizes the “you” pronoun – “You walk to the edge of the cliff. You don’t much like heights.”) Which is a writing style you don’t see very often because it’s difficult to pull off. This is one of those books I’ll reread. [Read Full Review]


Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Book Info: Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for RecommendingIt has been a while since I’ve read a new fantasy that I liked as much as Blood Song. Even though the last two books in the trilogy take on a different direction, I still am really glad I read this series. The first one is easily the best of the three. It’s a compelling coming-of-age story that reminded me of the school setting and camaraderie of Harry Potter while being told with the same atmosphere and grit that made Game of Thrones so good. That might be overselling it a bit, but if you like fantasy, Blood Song is a must for your list! [Read Full Review]


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Book Info: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: Uprooted was a fun story about a girl apprenticed (against her will) to the stuffy local wizard. The two main characters had an awesome dynamic and really made the book special. This is the first book I’ve read by Naomi Novik, and I can tell you I liked it so much that it definitely won’t be the last. This stand-alone novel was incredibly well written. [Read Full Review]


Elite by Mercedes Lackey

Book Info: Elite by Mercedes Lackey

Genre: Teen Post-Apocalyptic

Reason for Recommending: I love it when high fantasy authors take on young adult literature. Elite is the second book in Mercedes Lackey’s Hunter series and it shaping up to be one of the best YA’s I’ve read yet. The first book takes a couple of chapters to get going, but after that it boasts smart characters, excellent pacing, and lots of action. This is definitely a great series to pick up if you’re still suffering from a Hunger Games hangover. [Read Full Review]


The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book Info: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Genre: Teen Fiction

Reason for Recommending: Imagine if ABC’s Scandal was re-envisioned as a young adult series, and you’d have The Fixer. It has a ton of political intrigue, interesting (if a little over the top) characters, and great writing. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is responsible for my all-time favorite series (The Naturals, which I think is absolute perfection), and The Fixer is just as good. It takes a few chapters to get going, but once it does, it doesn’t let up! [Read Full Review]


The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Book Info: Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: Yet another Sanderson to make my list. Bands of Mourning is book six in the Mistborn saga, three in the four book Wax and Wayne series. It brought ties from the first trilogy into play and was packed with lots of humor, adventure, and excitement. I know it’s going to be a while before the author has a chance to finish off this branch of the saga, but I can’t wait to see what he has in store next. [Read Full Review


No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron

Book Info: No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Reason for Recommending:  I love this series because it is truly a hybrid of genres – it reads like an urban fantasy, but the inclusion of dragons gives it a very low fantasy story line. And the characters and overall presentation is so fun and accessible that it could also fit in the YA genre. No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished is the third book in the series and my favorite so far because of how deeply it dives into some of the most interesting characters. I loved every moment and highly recommend this author as often as I can. [Read Full Review]


Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Book Info: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Reason for Recommending: This is a recent read for me, as I just finished it a couple of days ago. It’s a book three in the Kate Daniels series and I have to admit that I thought book one was fairly average and didn’t have a lot of positive things to say about it. Fortunately, my Goodreads friends urged me to keep reading and I am oh, so glad I did. It is shaping up to be one of my favorite urban fantasies – it’s fun, creative, and so funny on occasion that I actually laugh out loud. If Harry Dresden had a female counterpart, I feel like Kate Daniels would be it. I’m very new to this series, but things are looking good… [Review to Come]


There you have it – my best books of 2016! Did any of my titles make your top ten list?

by Niki Hawkes

Image

2016 Reading Recap!

heart-book-facebook-cover

 The end of the year is finally here! And I’m celebrating by putting together the post I’ve been most looking forward to: the annual book review recap!

 I started a book blog for a couple reasons, but one of them was because it is a great way to keep track of all the fantastic books I’ve read (one that didn’t involve a journal and printouts of the covers – the method I was using before I discovered the wonders of blogging).

Sharing my love of books has become a passion all its own, and I have discovered some profound things in my own reading habits that I may not have otherwise. Most notably, I have come to truly appreciate the idea that life is too short to read boring books. This epiphany hit me in early 2013. It was eye-opening because I realized the books I was most looking forward to reading were getting left on the shelf in favor of books I felt like I was obligated to read (does anybody else have that problem?). Anyway, I made the decision to read the books I was most excited for first rather than last and, as this post will illustrate, it has made for one of the best years of reading I have ever had!

So without further ado, here’s a look at The Obsessive Bookseller’s year of book love:

1 Star: didn’t like it at all [maybe even DNF]

1.5 Stars: didn’t like it, but it had some merit

Nothing this year… everything was pretty cut and dry

2 Stars: it was okay

2.5 Stars: it was a little better than okay, but I’m not sure if I liked it or not

3 Stars: I liked it

3.5 Stars: I liked it, but not quite as much as a 4 star book

4 Stars: I really liked it!

4.5 Stars: I really, really liked it!

5 Stars: I LOVED it!!!!

I read 60 books this year (27 books less than last year) totaling 25144 pages (12184 pages less than last year). And I enjoyed every minute of it! Considering I’ve been dealing with chronic dry eyes for the entire year, I’m happy to have read anything. In 2017, I hope to continue reading only high priority titles and wrapping up a few series.

I feel like I am fairly hypercritical of books, but that isn’t reflected accurately in this year’s lineup. I did a pretty good job picking up books from authors I already loved and not forcing myself to continue on with authors I didn’t. I also stopped requesting arcs from authors I hadn’t read before, and that when a long way towards increasing the average rating of all my titles this year.

Don’t be surprised if you see a title on this line up with the different rating then what I assigned it in my reviews. When comparing a single book to a whole year’s worth of reading, it tends to skew everything – I’m totally grading on a curve, lol. Stay tuned for my Top Ten Books of 2016 list on Friday, December 30th. The list might surprise you in how it differs from this line up – how I evaluated a book in the star system does not necessarily dictate which ones I still have warm fuzzy feelings about months later and which ones I am super excited to talk about with others.

What did your year of reading look like? :-)

by Niki Hawkes

Image

Tackling the TBR [18]: December 2016

tackling the TBR

It’s once again time for my favorite feature: Tackling the TBR! There’s nothing I love more than picking out which books to read next, and this slightly organized method of reading has really amped my enjoyment to the next level. Bring on the mantras!

Read the best books first.
&
Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying.

However you put together your TBR for the next month, the goal is to reduce the amount of obligation in reading and increase the fun.


Here’s a look at how the system works:

1. Identify the titles that take top priority in your TBR.
2. Combine them all in your own Tackling the TBR post.
3. Throughout the month pick from that pile as the mood strikes you.

Here’s what mine looks like:

December 2016 TBR Tackler Shelf:

No doubt about it – Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs is the highest priority on this month’s Tackler Shelf (I’m so excited!). I have a lot more 500+ pages fantasy this month, so I doubt I’ll be able to make it through more than half of these titles.

Tackler Carry-overs:

I decided to expand my TBR tackler selection list to include titles on previous Tackling the TBR posts that I either didn’t have a chance to get to or am currently part way through. It gives me a more accurate snapshot of my progress over time and more potential high-priority titles to choose from each month. I’ve already started 3 of the 5 carryovers on the list. :-)


Feel free to share your versions of how you manage your TBR pile (and the links to your posts if applicable) in the comments. Maybe we can help make each other’s systems even better. :)

What books are you Tackling this month?

by Niki Hawkes