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2016 Reading Recap!

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 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

April 2015 Review Recap!

Review Recap

 This has been one of the busiest months I’ve had in a long while! But at least I can say all of the busyness was of the fun variety. Unfortunately though, that means all of the playtime has severely cut into my reading time, but I still managed to get through some really good titles this month.

Books Read:

While I enjoyed all of these, my favorite has to be Angelfall by Susan Ee – I haven’t been so excited about a dystopian Dan Wells wrote Partials.

Books Reviewed:

The Novice by Taran Matharu – 2/5 stars
Series Review [so far] Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott – 3/5 stars

Invaded & Until Midnight by Melissa Landers – 4.5/5 stars
A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison – 5/5 stars

The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano – 4.5/5 stars!

And my favorite:

Havoc by Ann Aguirre

Havoc by Ann Aguirre

Havoc by Ann Aguirre – 5/5 stars!

I surpassed my normal reviewing quota (yeah right, like I actually stick to that anymore) by reviewing a whopping ten titles this month. Don’t be too impressed – all I did was figure out that I make my own rules for the blog and can review a whole trilogy at once if I want to (it’s liberating).

Waiting on Wednesday Features:

Huh, weird – no YA titles featured this month… Even so, I am absolutely thrilled for all three of these!

Top Ten Tuesday Features:

Top Twelve Authors Who Inspire the Aspiring Author in Me!

I miss being able to do the TTT with enthusiasm, but after participating for over two years, there’s not many lists I haven’t already created in one form or another… Still, when I do make one, I get really excited about it (see link above).

How was your month? Read anything amazing?!

by Niki Hawkes

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March 2015 Reading Recap!

 

Review Recap
I am knocking all of my reading goals out of the park this year, and that’s in no small part because of my “Read the best books first” mantra. Are you getting sick of hearing about that yet? I talk about it all the time because it has drastically improved my reading experience. In any case, here’s a look at my fantastic month in reading, reviews, and posts.

Books Read:

See… I told you I had a kickass month in reading. I can’t decide if my favorite was the conclusion to the Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano or Havoc by Ann Aguirre… It’s like comparing apples to oranges – they were both so good! I also loved Legion, Invaded, Abaddon’s Gate… Okay, I’ll stop. This “Read the Best Books First” thing is really working out for me.

Books Reviewed:

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkowski – 0/5 stars (DNF)
The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons – 1.5/5 stars
Skinwalker by Faith Hunter – 3.5/5 stars

The Assassin King by Elizabeth Haydon – 4/5 stars
Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey – 4.5/5 stars
Legion by Brandon Sanderson – 5/5 stars!

Overall, I’m quite happy with all of my reviews. I have a tendency to think everything I write is total crap (as most writers do), so the fact that I actually like everything I wrote this month is something to celebrate. :-)

Waiting on Wednesday Features:

Out of this line up, I am probably most excited for Soundless… but they are all going to be amazing, I’m sure. I also featured a bunch of upcoming releases in one of the TTT posts listed below.

Top Ten Tuesday Features:

Top Ten Fall 2015 New Releases I’m Excited About!

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR!

Other Fun Stuff:

I don’t have much in the way of adventures this month – I missed out on two or three amazing ones because I got sick. But I did have a few days off to soak in some puppy cuteness:
11039197_10203666015440192_3603732129280434817_nyou’re welcome.

How was your month in reading?

by Niki Hawkes

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February 2015 Reading Recap!

Review Recap

I read a little bit more than usual this month, which is saying something considering my average is more than most people read in a year (not including fellow book bloggers who would probably wipe the floor my numbers). I also managed to put together a decent number of blog posts, attend a writing conference, and reorganize my library. I am wildly impressed with myself. Let’s take a look at February 2015’s month in reading:

Books Read:

My favorite book for February is a tie between Dead Heat and Wither.

Books Reviewed:

Guardians of the West by David Eddings – 2/5 stars

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – 3/5 stars

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – 3.5/5 stars

Tinker by Wen Spencer – 4/5 stars

Stolen by Kelley Armstrong – 4.5/5 stars

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs – 5/5 stars!

Waiting on Wednesday Features:

I am equally excited for both of these titles, to the point where I will probably read both of them as soon as they come out.

Top Ten Tuesday Features:

Niki’s Top Ten Bookish Problems!

Other Fun Stuff:

10981219_10203404931353253_4121600290854703076_nAfter years of pining, I finally got the chance to meet my all-time favorite author Richelle Mead! It was a surreal experience, and I was so nervous I’m pretty sure I repeated myself three or four times “I love you, your my favorite author… Your my favorite… I love your books…” and so on. It was pretty pathetic. I blame the massive headache I was suffering from at the time.Even so, it was neat, and I got a couple of my favorites signed.

For the past two months I have been competing to become one of Julie Czerneda’s beta readers for her upcoming Clan novel. Aside from my master’s degree, I can’t remember ever working this hard towards anything in my entire life. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I am seriously putting my heart and soul into this thing. As of this moment, I’ve made it into the top ten, and have submitted my last round of quiz answers. I’ll find out if I’ve been chosen sometime after Wednesday… Wish me luck!

How was your month in reading?

by Niki Hawkes

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January 2015 Reading Recap!

Review Recap

Honestly I feel like this month is getting off to a slow start compared to 2014. Although, when you consider last year I was reading mostly YA while this year has been a heavy sci-fi/fantasy focus then that probably accounts for the difference. Because I have so many amazing books waiting in my TBR, it has made me a bit impatient with the longer novels… which is ironic, as most of the books in that TBR are 500+ page epic fantasies. In any case, here’s a look at what I’ve been up to:

Books Read:

I don’t normally read books from the same author back-to-back, but I’m making an exception this month for Czerneda because I’m competing become a beta reader for her next Clan novel. Wish me luck!

Books Reviewed:

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski – 3/5 stars

The Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey – 3.5/5 stars

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne – 4/5 stars

And my favorites:

Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey – 4.5/5 stars

Reap the Wild Wind by Julie E. Czerneda – 5/5 stars!

Other than lots of reading, not much else happened on the blog this month. I did do a

Top Ten Bookish Goals of 2015!

post, which I’ve actually been actively working on. It’s always nice to see progress that the goals you set for yourself. I also participated in a Read-athon midway through the month (and did atrociously, for what it’s worth). It was fun though, I’m totally doing it again in a couple of months.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot: I started a Writing Prompts page and of been updating that on a semi-regular basis. It has been really valuable in getting my creative juices flowing, and I’ve already seen improvement in my novel writing. #win

How was your month in reading/writing?

by Niki Hawkes

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2014 Reading Recap!

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 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 appreciates 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

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

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 89 books this year (9 books more than last year) totaling 38095 pages (6948 pages more than last year). And I enjoyed every minute of it! I’d like to note that next year will probably show fewer books but more pages. I am finally a little worn out on YA novels and have already started to shift my focus towards Fantasy and Science Fiction. Bring it on!

As you can see, 2014 was definitely filled with more good reads than bad ones. I still can’t believe how many five-star books came out of this year – I could fangirl over them for hours.

I’d like to note that most of the books in my 2 star category were ARCs, which is why I also had a goal to stop requesting so many. It took about three months of effort to stop asking for every title I thought I might want to read. Incidentally, that has also helped me enjoy reading this year – less obligations!

What did your year of reading look like?

by Niki Hawkes