Happy New Year! Wow, 2016 truly felt like a whirlwind of a year. Honestly I feel like I'm still back in May and June! It feels like after those months everything sped up way too fast!
So as perusal I'm doing my end of the year posts! Starting off with my resolutions for reading in the new year! Yeah! Ah, 2017! My fresh reading start.
This year I don't think I really changed my resolutions much. As normal I'll talk about how I did in 2016 and what I'm aiming for in 2017. Green means it's the same, and purple means I'm changing things up!
1. Read more! Read 100 books and more!
So again, I didn't quite make it. However, I did read more! In 2015 I only read 67 books. In April I even read 8 books in one month. Though I burnt out and lost that head start it gave me when one of my other addictions took over. (Dramas. I entered a new level of addiction and I'll probably be bringing it up again in another goal/resolution.)
So despite not reaching 100 I am pleased. This year was very stressful and despite it all I like to think that I kept up well on my reading and even my blog posts. Even though I had to cut back some for time in the "real world".
So I feel positive vibes for reaching for 100 again! Even if I don't get to it that number will keep pushing me on. Even though in the past not being able to read 100 books made me sad about the years I used to hit 200 to 300 easy.
That's all right! Especially because of goals number 7.
2. Catch up on series and finish some!
For me this didn't just entail starting up where I left off and finishing the series. To be quite honest some of the series I had left off had huge gaps of years inbetween. Which I feel like you can easily lose your way. Forget amazing things about the characters and miss things (besides awesome or long running jokes!).
Up front I will confess that my goal to FINALLY read past book 1 for the Cal Leandros series was a fail. My fear is still very much there. Despite the fact that I faithfully by everything Rob Thurman puts out. It's odd I know. Cassandra Palmer series was also another I didn't keep pushing through, but that was more due to the lies about the release dates.
My big series victories involved actually rereading books. I picked two that I really wanted to get back into. The Sookie Stackhouse books! I quit reading them at book 7 when the delay of paperback copies finally took their toll. Right now I've only reread up to book 4, but they reminded me why I love reading so much. Not to mention I think they're some of my best reviews. The series is actually finished and I've been dying to finish them. Besides Sookie I also picked out the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Unlike Sookie I dropped them because books 5 & 6 (Vischous and Phury's) main couples disappointed me. Phury's especially because it made me hate him. Over the years I've always wondered about the other cast of characters because each book doesn't just focus on the lead couple. They tell multiple POVs with wonderful stories. I missed them. So much so that I wanted to see if it was a mistake that I didn't like those books, or that I ever liked the series. I'm up to book 4 and I definitely like them! I'm staring at book 5 with trepidation, but I really want to keep going. (Plus, I've bought every book in the series and the spinoff books.)
Rereading definitely helped with my goals last year. I still plan on pushing ahead with the ones I've ranted about here, and others not mentioned. I'm also proud of staying on top of my current series. With ebooks helping to stave off that paperback wait gap. (Though I still heavily grumble at the price of ebooks. ESPECIALLY when can buy hardbacks cheaper than ebooks most of the time. Shame publishers. For shame.)
3. Mix up my genres!
Okay. So if I reflect on this I didn't do that great of a job. Yet, I did read sci-fi, high fantasy, steampunk, historical, and after frther reflection I didn't do to shabby. What makes it feel like I wasn't branching out is that most of the genres listed all have fantasy/paranormal elements.
Yet with science fiction and high fantasy making a comeback in Young Adult I think I will be reading more! As I've had really solid luck with them in 2016.
I'm not going to feel guilty about the genre merging/blends in adult titles. It's fun and why be so critical?
Besides I read contemp. Who cares if it's ertoca. Or the science fiction smut I indulged in. ^_- I say it's a win.
4. Post reviews for every book read!
In 2015 I had every review written, but not posted. So this goal normally tends to linger into the next year. Well it's a pass for 2015! This is important to me as I won't rate a book unless I've written a review. (Unless I'm adding it from before I joined Goodreads. There's still a lot of books I've read, but don't actually have on by GR shelves.)
By not rating it makes the OCD in me need to write a review so that I can post and get my shiny stars.
As mentioned this year was a bit hard due to real life, and while I think I kept up on my reading well . . . it kind of knocked me down on my reviews. Just look at those starless books in the picture below!
To be fair I do have reviews written for half, three are actually posted on Book Whispers and I've just been too lazy to post them everywhere else. Sadly the other half do not have reviews even written! I have notes, but haven't gotten to the reviews. Reviews are really emotional and time consuming. If I'm lucky I might spend only 30 minutes writing them. That's not including the notes I took while reading and the eventual process of getting the review post worthy.
Normally I make myself write the review no matter what. Which has led to some of my best/funniest ones. Or worst/boring ones. It depends. Sadly I was just too tired or didn't have a computer near me for long lengths. So this year I still have a chance to get her done.
But I promise myself to keep upholding my goal to write a review ASAP after finishing the book. At least I did outlines and notes to save me.
5. Read from all the age groups!
Check, for last years goal of "Read more Young Adult titles!" I'll keep it simple goals 7 & 8 helped me with this. I kept a healthy mixture of adult and young adult.
This goal officially gets it's own number this year, as I'm branching it out from just being "Read more Young Adult titles!" to what you see above. While I probably won't be reading children's books, but I'm not saying never. I think middle grade/independent books have a lot to offer. Not to mention that there's been a huge explosion in the genre. Plus, I really do need to read more of the Percy Jackson books and spin offs.
6. More challenges!
Another check! Not only have I learned to have fun with the challenges they also kept me reading. Not to mention giving me a nudge outside of my comfort zone. Whether the challenges involved a totally different genre, or finding a new author!
One of my favorite challenges was Creature Comforts, in one of my fave GR groups. If you really do it you cover about 90 books! So that challenge alone kept me pushing for my 100 books a year. The challenge has you find books in categories like werewolves, vampires and so on. I missed some last year, so this year I plan to do better. Especially for Gargoyles! I love gargoyles and have been meaning to pick up a lot of books that have them.
7 & 8 Utilizing my DNF (did not finish) powers and have fun while reading!
These two goals ended up being the most important ones for me! Especially as a lot of times they went hand in hand. That's why though they still get separate numbers they are "one".
Deciding to have fun with reading meant that I didn't need to feel ashamed for rereading books. Because by rereading not only did it get me back into the series, but it let me revisits books that reminded me why I fell in love with reading.
To keep having fun I needed to be able to drop a book. So DFN powers came in handy. Especially as YA titles sometimes need to be tossed to the curb. (And repeatedly kicked and then you yourself need to undergo a cleansing ritual.) Funny thing is I actually dropped a few adult titles that where just bad. Such as not suffering through Fifty Shades of Gray. (People, quit asking me to review it. I will not enjoy it if I keep "pushing forward".)
It also allowed me to quit reading some books that I wasn't in the mood for. I than went back to them and enjoyed them.
That one good book decision to have fun and DNF led to more great decisions.
Such as saying no to review requests, I have too many. Then I had a brilliant idea to preview said requested books on Amazon so I could know to run for the hills. (Trust me doing this has saved me from reading poorly edited work and bad writing.)
Not to worry about reading the books only being released this year.
It also suddenly got me reading and reviewing the books I requested on Netgalley. For some reason I feel guilty if I read those over self pub and small pub requests. See one good book review leads to another.
9. Balance reading better.
Ah, so this is the goal I mentioned in goal number one. The reality is I have a lot of other addictions besides reading. TV and movies for one. I've given up on a lot of shows. Either they've ended or, in the case of Once Upon a Time, the show has gotten bad writing. I just don't care anymore.
It really helped me out for the first 4 months of the year. Especially April in which I don't think I watched a single TV episode. Except for Dancing with the Stars. (I like to watch that while writing posts for Book Whispers.) Oh, and Grey's Anatomy. (Because apparently even with my fave characters all gone I just can't give up. It's that kind of commitment.)
(I can never give up movies.) Thing is dramas (AKA Asian dramas such as Korean, Chinese, and others) took the place of American TV shows. I kept a good balance in the first four months of the year. Then it consumed me from May to September. Shockingly in about August I found a fairly decent balance between the dramas and reading. I've discovered by using my DNF powers for dramas that I can drop bad shows and enjoy the good ones. Just like with books. So I can enjoy both my addictions to the fulles. I also like to buy good TV shows on DVD to consume. Poldark, Sons of Anarchy, Gilmore Girls, lots of BBC/Masterpiece classics, Game of Thrones, and so on.
I've discovered instead of feeling bad about my vices and trying to pick one over the other it's smarter to blend them all in. Indulge when I need to binge and try to give them both equal attentions.
Balance is the key to happiness. Or a good addiction.
10. Stick to my ratings!!
So I noticed that despite giving books from certain publishers good ratings, if I gave them 2 to 1 stars on other books from the same publishers I've gotten denied.
Or even a small publisher. I rated a indie publisher book a 2 star and even waited to post my review until after the buzz of the book's release. However, they never wanted me to review another book and dropped me from the mailing list.
So anytime I request a ARC I start to think about which books got 1 to 2 star reviews. Then which publisher they're from. The thing is one publisher I gave almost every book I requested a 1 to 2 star still approves me. And this year I actually hit some good ratings with them.
Not to mention a few comments from other reviewers questioning my ratings.
So lately I've thought about how or why I rate. ARCs that I couldn't finish, or forced myself to speed read to give it a totally fair go, deserve a 1 star. Because if I can't finish it, it's bad. However, I give 1 stars to books that are poorly edited or written. People have pointed out just because I didn't like the book doesn't mean I should lump it in the same group as the poorly written stuff.
My rating scale is a bit different from others. Sometimes, most times, I will continue a series that I have a 2 star review for the first book. 2 stars are hopeful to me. 1 is a catch all sure, but there isn't a 0 for rating scales. Or maybe a negative 1 would be a good idea.
After much thought I don't think I should feel bad for how I rate. What I write for my reviews explains it. I try to be polite about it and have solid reasons to back up my decision.
So my goal is to stay honest and most importantly not to doubt myself.