25 Favorite Books I Read in 2018

You guys… I tried making this post 18 Favorite Books I Read in 2018, but GODDAMNIT I READ 160 BOOKS THIS YEAR AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO NARROW THAT LIST DOWN TO JUST 18 FAVORITES?!

It wasn’t worth being cute. Anytime I thought about cutting a book from this list, I felt a deep sense of betrayal and I was pretty sure the Book Gods would smite me.

Also… I 100% cheated and put books in a series together if I loved them all, so… whatever. THIS IS MY BLOG I CAN DO WHAT I WANT!

#dramaqueen

Anyway, Happy New Years Eve! I’ve been loving reading your End of the Year Wrap-ups. I hope you enjoy this one:

 

Here are my favorite books that I read in 2018:

In no particular order.

Madly, Darkly Duet by Trisha Wolfe

This extremely dark romance is the first of its kind that I read and absolutely adored. These were the first books by Trisha Wolfe that I read, and I was hooked. Her way with words are basically magic.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

This was a recent read for me, and it was 100% worth the hype. I’ve been so into contemporary lately, it definitely took a book like this to pull me back into the fantasy worlds I love.

Until it Fades by KA Tucker

I was so surprised by this novel because it is a trope that I’m not a big fan of and usually avoid (single mother trope), however, it is also a sports romance (which is one of my favorites), so when my sister recommended it to me and told me the premise (a girl rescues a man who happens to be a famous athlete), I decided to read it despite my hesitations, and I’m so glad I did!

Caraval & Legendary by Stephanie Garber

I was absolutely swept away by Caraval and fell even harder in love with this world and its characters in Legendary. In fact, Legendary’s MC, Tella, is one of my all-time favorite MCs.

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

I mean… this is a love-to-hate, ice skating sports romance, what more can I ask for? Also, Mariana Zapata’s hilarious name-calling and put-downs in this were so epic.

Continue reading “25 Favorite Books I Read in 2018”

Raising Little Readers: How I Instill a Love of Reading in my Kids

It’s 12:30pm on a Saturday and my youngest daughter, Violet (3yo) is napping with her dad in my room.

Vsleeping

I’ve been sitting and reading a book for about 20 minutes when I notice that my oldest daughter, Roree (5yo) has been extremely quiet for most of those moments.

Feeling like an awful mother, I decide to see what she’s up to, fully expecting that she has fallen asleep herself in the middle of the playroom floor, which wouldn’t be the first time.

Instead, I find her lounging on her bed with a book in her lap and two piles of books on either side of her.

My heart absolutely soars.

Roree

Continue reading “Raising Little Readers: How I Instill a Love of Reading in my Kids”

Things I Thought I Hated in Romance Novels (And the Books That Proved Me Wrong)

I’ve seen these questions asked many times in the book blogging community:

What do you hate in romance novels?
What tropes can’t you stand?
What are your romance novel pet peeves?

I used to have several definitive answers to this question, but slowly, as I’ve read more and more romance novels, I’ve come across so many books that have proven me so very, very wrong.

Now, whenever this question comes up, I struggle.

I struggle because even though there are many books that get these things wrong, there are still those few who get them right and part of me feels like I’d be betraying those great books if I listed those pet peeves. I know, it’s silly, but for those of you who view reading books as time spent with close friends will understand where I’m coming from.

And even if I haven’t come across a book that defies me yet, I know that one may exist – I just haven’t read it yet.

Honestly, I think this mindset could go for any genre of books. I mean, if the story is good enough? The things you think you hate can easily turn into the things you love … if done right.

 

Here is a list of my romance novel pet peeves… and the books that proved me wrong:

Continue reading “Things I Thought I Hated in Romance Novels (And the Books That Proved Me Wrong)”

Finding Time to Read

I’m pretty sure all of us here in the blogging world have quite a bit more going on in our lives than just reading and blogging about books.

I’m no exception. With a more than full-time job, an almost 2-hour daily commute, and two young kiddos… finding time to read is a lot like piecing together a puzzle.

My weekdays begin at 5am and I don’t stop going until 8pm.

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How I Organize My Goodreads Shelves

I have an ulterior motive for this post… if I’m being honest, I’m writing this post because I want YOU to share how you organize your Goodreads shelves.

This could quickly become torture for me because I imagine finding someone else’s way of organizing their shelves on Goodreads that I like better than my own… and then I’d have to spend half of my life reorganizing them… it’s a vicious cycle.

Anyway, I organize my Goodreads shelves very simply and with a definite purpose. Goodreads is essential to me since I have a pretty decent sized home library, I need to be sure that I’m not buying books that I already own. Whenever I go to a bookstore or book sale, I have my Goodreads app open and the scanner up as I browse.

Here is how I organize my shelves:

goodreadsshelves

I have the regular bookshelves: Read, Currently Reading, and Want to Read. I added Did Not Finish to those main shelves so that the books that I don’t finish aren’t categorized under Read or Want to Read.

As for the “sub shelves” (I don’t actually know what they are called, but they are the shelves that act more as tags than their own shelves) I have them broken down like this:

 

ARC

Books that were provided to me by authors or publishers before they have been released in exchange for review consideration. As you can I see, I clearly don’t read a lot of ARCs. I’m extremely picky when it comes to readers copies because I always feel bad writing a negative review of a book that was given to me (that doesn’t stop me of writing a negative review if I don’t like a book, though.)

 

Autographed

Books that I’ve gotten signed by the authors and/or cover models and/or audiobook readers. When I started going to book conventions, I realized I wanted to keep track of all the books that I’ve gotten signed by authors.

 

Favorites

This shelf is mainly for my Goodreads profile since they are displayed there for anyone to see. I’m actually terrible about keeping this shelf updated, though. I think it’s a really important shelf because I know I usually will browse people’s favorites shelves before I friend them on GR to see if we have similar tastes.

 

On Audible

Knowing what books I have on Audible is really important for me. This way I don’t accidentally buy it in another format (unless I love it and want several versions!).

 

On Kindle

Same as my Audible shelf, I like to know what books I have on my Kindle so that I don’t accidentally buy the physical copy or audio copy.

 

On My Bookshelf

These are books that I own the physical copy of. Same as my Audible and Kindle shelves, it’s good to know what I already have in my collection (and what I still need!)

 

Reader’s Copy

Like the ARC bookshelf, I don’t have many here. These are books that I receive in exchange for review consideration, but they aren’t advanced copies, they are already released.

 

Shameless Book Con

These were books by authors who attended Shameless. I had every intention of reading as many as possible before the convention, but that didn’t happen LOL!

 

TBR ASAP

These are the books that I want to read immediately. Sometimes they are books that I already own in some format, but sometimes they are books that I don’t own. Trust me, narrowing down this shelf to under 200 books is actually really good compared to the thousands I have listed as straight up Want to Read.

 

Written By Me

Books that are written (and published) by me… Well… book. Singular (for now).

 

I’d love to read a breakdown of your Goodreads shelves! Please tag me or leave a link in the comments if you do!

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts: Negative Book Reviews

I’m not a big fan of controversy, so though I’ve read a few posts on this topic, I’ve avoided it on my own blog until now.

One of my favorite blogs recently posted about the subject, and when I started writing a comment on her post, I realized I had a lot more to say than I originally thought.

So, I’m finally biting the bullet.

After all, typically, my blog is a pretty light-hearted place. I mean, I read primarily romance novels and I have a butterfly rating on each of my reviews that rates the butterflies books give me… It’s all pretty flowery over here most of the time. LOL!

However, I do have a pretty strong opinion when it comes to this particular topic: reviewers giving books negative reviews.

The great thing about this topic is that every single reviewer (whether you have your own blog or you just write reviews on sites like Goodreads and Amazon) every single one of us has a right to our own opinion on the topic of negative reviews: whether we post them or not, where we post them, what books we give them to, etc.

There are a couple of things I’ll say, right off the bat, on this topic

First, I am not a fan of people who give negative reviews that are intentionally mean and/or snarky.

I’m not a fan of trolls in any form, so it is no surprise that it makes me really uncomfortable to read negative reviews that bash an author or readers that like a book, even if there is humor involved. No matter how popular the book is… but even more if it is a book by an indie author.

I’ve stumbled upon quite a few reviewers that do this regularly and I have avoided them since. Because, frankly, it makes absolutely no sense to me why someone would read a book that they know they won’t like just so they can write a snarky review.

Maybe someone can explain this to me so that I understand? (I’m not saying that sarcastically, I’d really love to understand why people do this.)

Second, I don’t like it when reviewers give higher ratings to books just because they were given to them by authors or publishers.

Trust me, I get it. I know how difficult it is to give a low rating to someone who gave you a book in hopes that you could help promote it, but it does a great disservice to those of us who are reading your reviews for honest recommendations. I’ve seen this enough times now that I’ve started to go into reading reviews of ARCs with a certain skepticism… or I avoid ARC reviews entirely.

Personally, it’s because of my own discomfort, that I rarely review ARCs unless I fully, truly think I’ll love the book. I mean, there are so many amazing books out there — why waste my time reading books I know I won’t like?

I state very clearly in my review policy that I will be completely honest in my reviews WITHOUT bashing or being intentionally mean if I don’t like it. I also explain that I may not even post the review or finish the book. I receive the ARC in exchange for a review CONSIDERATION.

Also, I know that there are reviewers who do not post their reviews of books they didn’t like at all and that is completely fine. Again, it’s a personal preference and I respect everyone’s choice.

As for me? If I don’t like a book, I’ll tell you.

I look at it from the angle of a reader of reviews. Obviously, I expect (I almost wrote “hope,” but, no, I definitely expect) that the reviewer is 100% honest no matter how they come by the book.

Reviews, to me, are much more for the readers than it is for the author. It isn’t about making the author happy, it’s about helping readers decide what books to read.

To me, negative reviews aren’t about telling a reader not to read the book… it’s telling the reader what you, personally, didn’t like about the book in case they have similar tastes. That doesn’t always mean that the reader will share your opinion.

In fact, I discovered a new favorite author and a new favorite series by reading a one star review of a book.

This reviewer absolutely hated this book, but as I read the review and she talked about what she didn’t like, all I could think was, “That book sounds AWESOME!” Then I read it, and subsequently bought every single book in the series and spin-off series.

Now I’ve found a new favorite author… thanks to a one-star review.

At the end of the day, your blog is your blog.

It’s your choice whether you post your negative reviews or not, I just hope that you understand the authors and readers of the books that you don’t like are human beings, too, so mocking and/or bashing them is pretty lame… no matter how many likes or comments you get if you do it.

Your turn. What are your thoughts on negative reviews? Do you post them? Why or why not?