The Dreaded Reading Slump (Or: What to Do When You Want to Read but Just Can’t)

I’m sure we’ve all been there. You pick up a book that sounds good, read a handful of pages but nothing’s catching your attention. So, certain it’s just a bad book or the wrong type for right now, you try another one, to much the same effect. Or, maybe you can’t even bring yourself to crack open any of your books.

The reading slump: the bane of book bloggers everywhere. (And most readers, too.) It can cause you to fall behind on your reviews, make you buy too many books in search of the one that’s ‘just right,’ and just generally wreak havoc on your well ordered life.

Symptoms

Frustration and an over abundance of books ‘started’ but not finished. General bouts of lethargy. Long minutes spent simply staring at your bookcase or mindlessly skimming through your kindle.

Causes

The direct cause of the reading slump is unknown. Contributing factors can include, but is not limited to, reading a lot and causing burnout, reading several bad books in a row, real-life stress intruding on your book reading. Also could be caused by frustration at the books – even if they aren’t ‘bad.’

Treatment Options

1. Change What You’re Reading

This can be as simple as switching genres – in which case it’s probably genre burnout. (I have totally been there.) If it’s more than just genre burnout, you might need to try reading some comics/graphic novels/manga – or even some fan fiction. (Fair warning, if you’re anything like me, you’ll vanish into fan fiction and quite possibly never return.)

2. Reread Some Old Favorites

Sometimes rereading a book that you love can be enough to jolt you out of a slump with a reminder to why you enjoy reading so much in the first place. Related:

3. Read A Favorite Author

If you’ve a favorite author that has books you’ve not read, you could try reading one of them. Beware, this does run the risk of you actually not liking a book because, no matter how much you love their other work, no author is infallible.

4. Quit Reading

Yes, I know, you’ve got all those shiny new books sitting on your shelf – giving you evil glares – and you want to read something. But, unfortunately, sometimes you just can’t force it. Take a break from reading completely. Maybe catch up on a show or rewatch a favorite. Play a video game. Listen to music or do some crafting. (If you’re feeling really energetic, you could always exercise or do chores, though, blech, who wants to do that?) The point is, do something, anything, besides reading and try to quit feeling guilty that you aren’t reading.

Hope this will be helpful because I’m pretty sure I’ve tried all of these during my last slump. (And I think it was the third one that got me out of it.)

Do you have any tips for those suffering from a reading slump?

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Top Five Mash-Ups (X meets Y)

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. I was super excited when I saw today’s topic, because I have a love/hate relationship with these sort of things, as I love seeing this sort of shorthand, but get so tired of everything being the same X meets Y. (And they have both encouraged me and discouraged me from buying books.)

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Jules Verne meets Jurassic Park

I have a powerful hunger for steampunk dinosaurs. I don’t know why. Don’t judge. (Bonus points for being a historical story.)

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House of Anubis meets Yu-Gi-Oh!

Okay, picture this: some weird boarding school (suspicious upon suspicious) where the students learn how to fight evil using cards! (No? Just me?)

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Babylon 5 meets Pacific Rim

I mean, what’s the only thing that could make Pacific Rim even more awesome? Set it in space! (‘Course I’ll probably at least try any book that notes using Pacific Rim as any influence.)

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Indiana Jones meets the Avengers

Picture a group of dedicated adventurers that fight the evils of the world. (Or, you know, like The Librarians in book form.)

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Dragon Age meets Magic: the Gathering

I don’t even know. Not really. I just love both these, and it would be so awesome to read a book with the mechanics of MtG with the attention to characters of DA. Or maybe I just want a game like that… (Inquisition isn’t, actually, my fav DA game – that honor goes to II – but you can hardly find good art for the first two games unless you want just individual character art.)

Whew. This was much, much more difficult than I thought it would be. And it still feels unfinished. (Mostly because right now I’m going through a major sci-fi binge and only one of these would be sci-fi.) Anyway, love to know what mash ups you’d want to see!

Top Ten Books that NEED a Sequel

Hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. (Absconded this idea from this blog.) So, this week is a freebie topic – something that I love and hate in equal measure. Usually what I do is a previous TTT topic – one that I missed or love – but this time around I wanted to talke books that need a sequel.

Standalones that Need a Sequel

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Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund

With a past too terrible to speak of, and a bleak, lonely future ahead of her, Aerin Renning is shocked to find she has earned a place at the most exclusive school in the universe. Aerin excels at Academy 7 in all but debate, where Dane Madousin?son of one of the most powerful men in the Alliance? consistently outtalks her. Fortunately Aerin consistently outwits him at sparring. They are at the top of their class until Dane jeopardizes everything and Aerin is unintentionally dragged down with him. When the pair is given a joint punishment, an unexpected friendship?and romance?begins to form. But Dane and Aerin both harbor dangerous secrets, and the two are linked in ways neither of them could ever have imagined

Notes: Very nice character development, but this book has so much going on in the background. There’s all kinds of talk as to what is going on in the wider world and I kept expecting our main characters to get pulled into it. They never do. I liked the book, but if it had been a series (2-4 books) I think I could have loved it.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend… and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.

Notes: Honestly, with the complicated world building and the deep characters and political story, I’m surprised this isn’t a series. It totally could be – even if the tale feels complete as is. (And, really, I just want this author to write more in this world.)

Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan

The future is coming…for some, sooner than others.

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when faced with a terminal illness, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World.

Notes: While I love Sullivan’s fantasy work, this book is without a doubt my favorite of his. I love the world that he created and would love to spend more time with the characters.

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Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings…or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

Notes: Not really sure where this could even go as a series, but I totally don’t care because it would probably be awesome. (Also, it’ll probably never even happen because it’s pretty much hated at Goodreads.)

Red Rope of Fate by K.M. Shea

In a land where humans and elves find it difficult to communicate, Tari—an elf—is bound to Captain Arion—a human military officer—in a ceremony designed to promote friendship between the two races. When the ceremony is over the pair discover that the impossible has happened: they can understand each other in spite of the language barrier.

Thrown into a storm of politics, Tari and Arion are put in danger by those who want humans and elves to remain separate.

To make matters worse, Tari realizes she has fallen in love with Arion, who has the emotional capabilities of a rock. As both societies dictate that an elf and a human can never be together, Tari must conceal her feelings. Unfortunately the taciturn Arion is watchful and attentive to Tari’s well being, constantly pushing her to her limits with his loyalty, friendship, and dreadfully informal habit of touching her.

If Tari and Arion survive, their tumultuous relationship will either strengthen their countries’ alliance, or cripple the human courts of nobility. The deciding factor will be Arion, and his indecipherable feelings for Tari.

Notes: I’d totally love a sequel to this book, seeing the characters again would be awesome, and there’s enough political stuff in here that makes me think not everything would be smooth sailing.

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns–and the heroines who use them all

Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician’s assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

Notes: Loved this book and the only thing that would make it better is if there was a sequel. Especially considering that the ending is the PERFECT set up for a sequel. (Seriously, p.e.r.f.e.c.t.)

Series that Can’t be Over (they just can’t)

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The Manifold Worlds by Foz Meadows

(An Accident of Stars & A Tyranny of Queens) (Synopsis from AAoS)

When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.

There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.

Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.

Can one girl – an accidental worldwalker – really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?

Notes: This is my current (and, quite possibly, all time) favorite fantasy series because of the character depth and development, the strong feminist message, the excellent LGBT+ representation and the racial diversity. I love this series and desperately want another book in the series – even if the story does feel complete. (Or, maybe, just more books from Meadows.)

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The Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells

(The Cloud Roads & The Serpent Sea & The Siren Depths & The Edge of Worlds & The Harbors of the Sun) (Synopsis from TCR.)

Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save and himself… and his newfound kin.

Notes: One of my favorite fantasy series, it features fly lizard style shifters in a truly alien setting/mentality. (They’re not just ‘rubber forehead aliens.’) As well as a matriarchal society, racial diversity and open and/or poly romantic relationships. (It also started out as a trilogy then two more books were added, so this might actually happen some day.)

Okay, so that’s only eight, but, still. I’d love any of these to get a sequel. (Or a continuing series, or whatever you want to call it.)

Quick Half-Month (April) Update

First up, I want to thank those people that have been so patient with me these last 2-3 weeks. I know I’m always saying I’ll do better with commenting and such and I don’t and I feel awful about that.

This month, though, I’ve had a couple excuses besides me just being lazy. I’ve been dealing with a tension/stress headache since the end of last month – and, naturally, in an ever perpetuating cycle, the headache caused me more tension and stress so that made it worse. I think it’s about gone, though I have a difficult time when I bend my neck certain ways and hold it one position too long. Where my computer usually is, I tip my head forward, and that’s the position that was causing me the most trouble. The good news is, the headache seems to be almost gone, so, yay!

Also, I screwed up my blog. lol Seriously, I was poking around and found something that I thought ‘ooh, cool, I’m going to change that’ and then I’ve spent the past month trying to figure out what I did. I think I’ve got that fixed now. *fingers crossed* I should be able to properly respond to comments now. (Sorry about that, guys. I’m a real dingbat sometimes. I mean, naturally it was something I did because I didn’t start having the problem until I did the thing. Was that my first thought, though? Noooo. Of course not. I thought something was wrong with WordPress. *sigh*)

In other news:

I’ve been thinking about trying a twice-monthly update, like I’m doing this month. I’m not sure it’d be totally feasible, because sometimes my month is super boring – and other times I read hardly anything in the first half of the month.

That hasn’t been the problem this month. (Though you’ll have to wait for my usual wrap up to see what I’ve been reading because I’m going to be backdating this post, anyway and I don’t have time to give you a complete rundown like I usually would.) I am currently in a bit of a reading slump. I just read a bunch of stuff and had two DNFs in a row and I’m just not feeling motivated to read. Maybe now would be a good time to put the finishing touches on my discussion topic for reading slumps…

Anyways, just wanted to give you guys a quick update and let you know why I’ve been … well, not here much lately. Besides my usual laziness. 😛

Review: Chainbreaker by Tara Sim

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Chainbreaker is the sequel to LGBT+ friendly steampunk Timekeeper.
Timekeeper on Goodreads
Chainbreaker on Goodreads

“I’ll always fight for the promise of an easier tomorrow. Right or wrong, selfish or not, this is what we want. Whatever it takes.”

Clocktowers are mysteriously falling in India, though time is still running. The Mechanics send Danny and Daphne to investigate. (Danny quickly, willingly agrees, even if it does separate him from Colton.) Though young, they have experience – thanks to the traitor Mathias (who Danny really wishes everyone would stop calling a traitor) – with broken towers and stopped time.

First up, I gotta say that I loved the way the story was told. Last book, nearly everything was from Danny’s perspective and, while that was good, this story being told by Danny, Daphne and Colton helped both to flesh out the characters as well as the world.

And, boy, what a world it is. I’ve experienced some second books in series that feel like a setup, a stopgap for the third, and this one doesn’t suffer from that at all. (Well, okay, it does a little, merely because the ending is pretty much a cliffhanger, but it also feels like the ending of one chapter of the story and the beginning of the next. Don’t know how I’ll wait to find out what happens, though.)

Anyway, we get a lot more information on the world – instead of just based in England, a good portion takes place in India, opening up the world physically. (I don’t know much about Indian history, but I will say that Sim seems knowledgeable.) Besides that, there’s a lot more information on clock spirits which helps to flesh out the world that’s been created. I do love the way that both history and fiction blend in this story.

The characters also develop more over the course of the story, growing up a bit (mostly, Danny, though he was already a truly likable, sympathetic characters) as well as us readers getting to learn more about them. (Daphne and Colton, and their parts made me adore them even more.)

I liked the addition of some real racial diversity to this story – even if there was some before though it didn’t seem like it at the time. (A biracial character that easily passes as white.) Taking place in India, we have a lot of Indian characters that play important parts which, I think, was one of the biggest contributing factors to me liking this book just a bit more than the last one.

Well, that and the development to the world. (That I loved so, so much.)

5

 

Content Advisory: Rather clean all around. Brief animal death, some descriptions of violence. In fact, pretty heavy on the general, unexplicit violence. Brief (somewhat poetical) description of death.

Top Five Spec Fiction Auto-Buy Authors

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. I was all set to say that while I like several authors, I don’t actually have any ones that are ‘auto buy’. Then I realized – yes, I do, even if I don’t call it that. Because I’ve got about a handful of authors whom I’m either making my way through the back catalogue of theirs, or that I’m impatiently waiting for the next release of. (This also wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, because I’ve discovered some authors have books already published that I have zero interest in. (Foz Meadows: I love her high fantasy series with a passion and have little to no interest in her vampire story. Gail Carriger: I adore her steampunk ‘verse, but have no interest in her urban fantasy stories.)

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Martha Wells

Books Read: 10

Without a doubt, one of my favorite authors – even if I do like her fantasy work quite a bit more than her sci-fi work. Also, she does have a couple of media tie-in novels that I probably won’t read: one for Star Wars and two for Stargate: Atlantis – one of which I read ages ago, when I was a pretty huge fan of Atlantis. And that was, strangely enough, the first book of hers I ever read.

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Jim C. Hines

Books Read: 7

Another one of my favorite authors. In fact, I love his Princesses series so much, that I gave his urban fantasy series a go – even though I am very definitely not usually a fan of urban fantasy stories. (I liked the first book enough to continue the series and the second book was better!)

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Rhiannon Thomas

Books Read: 3 (though that’s all she’s written so far)

While I’m not completely secure putting an author on this list that’s only written three books, I also love A Wicked Thing so much that I am quite willing to say anything she writes is an immediate purchases.

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Michael J. Sullivan

Books Read: 12

Though there would have been a time, not too long ago, that I would have very willingly said this was my favorite author, I think his writing style and my reading preferences have started to diverge. Not that his writing is changing, but I’m starting to look for more in my books than I get from his fantasy stories. Not his sci-fi, because Hallow World is one of my favorite books from last year. (I’m very curious to know if he’d still be on my auto buy list next year at this time.)

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Tanya Huff

Books Read: 6

Though I’ve barely made a dent in her huge back catalogue, I am having a blast with her books.  Mostly I’ve been involved with her sci-fi series, but I’m very excited to give a few more of fantasy series – and even her urban fantasy series’ – a go. Another author that I definitely consider one of my favorites.

This was really fun – and now I need to go order some books. (JK, though not really.) What spec fiction authors are your auto buys?

Top Ten Books I Liked – And Will Probably Never Re-Read

Hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic this week was one I almost gave a pass on. I mean, it’s difficult for me to say I’ll never re-read something. (I mean, I’ve even said ‘I’ll never read that book’ and five months later, I’m reading it. *cough*Cassandra Clare*cough*) But, there were a couple books that I need to talk about here and, well, the list was made.

The Well I Liked It Once (ages ago) Books

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Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

I was about 13-14 when I read these and loved them. I’ve got a set that’s old and battered from how many times I read them for a couple years. However, I’ve not touched them in ages. I mean, like over five years and maybe closer to ten, because… I have vague memories of the stories and, while they didn’t bother me at the time, I’m terribly afraid these stories would be sexist, racist and just all around bigoted. I want to keep happy memories of these stories, so I’ll probably never read them in fear that I’ll get very offended. (I’ll just get my Holmes and Watson fix with Elementary because I love that show.)

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin

I read this book when I was around 18 and just loved it. Everything about it was so perfect and wonderful and I just adored the romance. Now, looking back on it, I think I’d probably want to strangle Darcy. I mean, seriously. What I remember of him, the impression I have is that he’s a jackass towards the girl, constantly, but they’re together at the end because it’s ‘twu wuv’ – and, honestly, I think I’d at least dislike Lizzy now. So, I’m going to keep my happy memory of this book and if I ever get the urge – however unlikely – to refresh my memory of the story, I’ll watch the one with Keira Knightley. 🙂

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Weis & Hickman

An early introduction to fantasy (thanks to my brother) when I didn’t know what was good so I thought this was good. This has nothing to do with wanting to keep my good memories, and all to do with the fact that, if I read this now, I know I’d hate it. (And who has time to read a book they know they’ll hate?) (Okay, and maybe a little to keep my good memories, because I adored Raistlin.)

The Well, The Series Killed That For Me Books

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The Comet’s Curse by Dom Testa

This is more because how much I wound up not liking the series as a whole. The first couple books were good, but then it just started going downhill and, as much as I thought this first book was awesome… yeah. Probably’ll never re-read.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I loved this book. I mean, I loved it so much that the year I read it I was loudly announcing to everyone that Maas was one of my new favorite authors. Then came the sequel that I hate as I’ve hated few books. I mean, really. The more I hear about this series (and the author’s other work) the happier I am that I got out when I did so I have no real interest in re-reading this because it’s an exercise that would only make me mad.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

I put this book off for a long time, finally was convinced to read it and liked it more than I thought I would. But the sequel I just couldn’t get into. Maybe it’s because I suddenly realized that it was a romance thinly disguised as a fantasy and I just had no patience for that. Whatever the reason, I’m not even sure it’s still on my shelf.

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This is less the sequel screwed me over and more I went and spoiled myself because I detest one of the love interests and, oh, hey, shock, the girl winds up with the guy that I want dead in the worst way possible. (Not that the other ‘love interest’ was a particularly better choice if looked at objectively, but I liked him more and he was a much better character.) Besides, I borrowed it from my library and don’t own it so I don’t have to worry about it.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

I came really close to loving this book (borrowed from the library) and sort of almost hated the sequel (also borrowed from the library). Because of this, I have yet to convince myself that I should actually read the last in the trilogy – and I can’t imagine I’ll ever want to re-read this and remind myself of the imperfections that would probably be worse the second time around.

A Change of Fortune

Though I kind of loved this book, by the end of the series I was so put out. Each book was so similar: the couples were exactly the same, (slightly manic-pixie-dream-girl/stoic guy) they went through the same exact steps in their romance, (including, I believe, four random marriage proposals) and, if that wasn’t the greatest, [/sarcasm] the hero of the fourth and final book had a personality overhaul between book three and four so he’d fit the pattern better. (And I’m still bitter about that because I loved his character in the previous three books and was excited to finally get his story. Only it was no longer him, just a stock cardboard love interest.)

So, what books did you like that you just can’t see yourself ever re-reading?

Why Most of my Reviews are 4-5 Stars

I got thinking about this recently and, you know, it’s so funny because I say that I don’t trust people that always like something or always hate something. I mean, I’ve seen review blogs where they never have a good thing to say and other’s that constantly give out five stars and I get where I don’t really believe/trust either of them. So, I felt like it was time to clear up a few things.

DNF Books

Any more, I’m not at all afraid of DNFing a book if I’m sure it won’t get over two stars. Sometimes I keep reading the book, just to see how it turns out, but, more often, I’m also willing to move on a read something I’ll enjoy more.

By that same token: I do rate books low, but they usually don’t get reviews here on my blog. You see, if I read a bad book, one that I just dislike, chances are that I’ll post my ranting over at Goodreads instead of dropping a review here.

Spread the Love

As strange as it would sound – and just might – even though I come off cynical, I’m actually a very happy person by nature. Sure, I like complaining, but the fact is that I’d much rather use my reviews as a way to recommend a really great book than as a way to warn people off a book.

As much as non-critical reviews are difficult for me to write, I don’t believe even a five star book has to be flawless. To me, all five stars mean is that it was a perfect book for the reader. I have rated books five stars that I think have flaws, but I enjoyed them enough to say the book was perfect for me at the time.

Emotional Rating

To me, when I rate a book, it’s based solely on my emotions when I finish the book. I don’t think in depth about what I liked, what I disliked and what was just meh. I’m going with my gut, how much I just simply enjoyed reading it. (I almost said ‘how much fun I had reading it’ but I’ve enjoyed and rated high some books that I wouldn’t call ‘fun’.)

Does that mean that I’ve wanted to change my rating after awhile – raising it or, more often, lowering it? You bet. Does that mean that sometimes I write a review for a book before my opinion changes and then I’m looking at it and wishing I’d reviewed it differently – or not at all? Yup.

Finally, the most important reason my reviews skew higher.

After many years of reading, I’ve finally gotten better at picking out books I’ll like. That doesn’t mean I never get duds (see the section on DNFing) but it does mean that I know more which books I’ll have a better chance of liking.

How do your reviews tend? Do you have more 4-5 stars or 1-2 stars? (Or maybe you write a lot of – my dreaded – 3 star reviews?) Do you post reviews to different places and post your more positive ones at one website and your less positive ones somewhere else?

On the Subject of TBRs (&what I’m reading, what I’ll be reading next)

I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking about TBRs lately. I love them, because I love having some structure as to what I want to get read next. More than just looking at the list of books I own – and the list of books I want to own, being honest – I like having a list of a handful of books that I want to read. However, they also tend to not work for me, because what I want to read next changes so drastically.

Last month, about a third through the month, I put together six books that I swore I wanted to read next. I read two of them and don’t want to read the other four now. And I said those were going to be the next books I read. And month-long TBRs are just difficult for me, because, by the time I hit the halfway point chances are great I want to read something that isn’t on my list. (Let’s not even talk about how far the list has been thrown out by the final week in a month.)

This month, I had all these great plans for a TBR – but today got here and I still didn’t know what I wanted to read this month. (Which is, I’d guess, partially why I was so slow getting this up.) The truth is, I don’t want to do a month-long TBR because they are more hindrance, usually, than help. (Even if I do usually read most of the books on my TBR.)

And, because I usually plan for the next book while I’m reading the current one – but any further is difficult – I’ve decided to try something different. Starting today, I’ll try to post weekly, on Thursday, a little ‘what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next’. It’ll still keep me accountable to a degree, but offer me some freedom outside my seasonal TBRs.

We’ll see how this works and if I like it at the end of the month – as I’ll do my best to actually post every Thursday.

What I’m Currently Reading

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Former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is attempting to build a new life with salvage operator Craig Ryder on his ship, the Promise. Turns out civilian life is a lot rougher than she’d imagined-salvage operators are losing both cargo and lives to pirates. And when they attack the Promise, Craig is taken prisoner and Torin is left for dead.

When Torin finds out why the pirates needed Craig, she calls in the Marines to get him back-and to stop the pirates from changing the balance of power in known space.

So, I’m 140 pages into it, and I’ve almost covered the synopsis. (Sometimes, I really wish synopsis’ didn’t give so much away, especially because the one on the back of the book is even more spoiler-y.) I hope to have it finished by the weekend, though I’m not totally sure I’ll make it as it is, so far, my least favorite of Huff’s books that I’ve read. (It’s not bad, I’m just disappointed that it currently lacks the colorful, likable characters that the previous in the series had.)

What I’ll Be Reading Next

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Batwoman

As a part of the acclaimed DC Comics—The New 52 event of September 2011, Batwoman’s new series finally begins! The creative team of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman launch the ongoing Batwoman series, as Batwoman (a.ka. Kate Kane) faces deadly new challenges in her war against Gotham City’s underworld–and new trials in her personal life.Who or what is stealing children from the barrio, and for what vile purpose? Will Kate train her cousin, Bette Kane (a.k.a. Flamebird), as her new sidekick? How will she handle unsettling revelations about her father, Colonel Jacob Kane? And why is a certain government agency suddenly taking an interest in her? These are some of the questions that will be answered in this long-awaited series!

This deluxe hardcover colllect issues 0-5 of Batwoman, part of the DC Comics—The New 52 event.

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The Doctor’s Discretion

New York City, 1831.

Passion, medicine and a plan to break the law …

When Doctor William Blackwood, a proper gentleman who prefers books to actual patients, meets retired Navy surgeon Doctor Augustus Hill, they find in each other not just companionship but the chance of pleasure–and perhaps even more. The desire between them is undeniable but their budding relationship is disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious patient at New York Hospital.

Mr. Moss has been accused of being born a woman but living his life as a man, an act that will see him committed to an asylum for the rest of his life. William and Augustus are determined to mount a rescue even if it means kidnapping him instead.

Their desperate plan sets William and Augustus against the hospital authorities, and the law. Soon they find themselves embroiled in New York’s seedy underworld, mixed up with prostitutes, spies, and more than a lifetime’s worth of secrets. When nothing is as it seems can they find something real in each other?

I plan on reading both these over the weekend, regardless if I get The Truth of Valor Finished or not. (Sadly, I don’t think it’s going to be one of those that I can’t put down.)

How do you handle your TBR? Do you have monthly lists, read next lists, or is a just a total free-for-all? (I’m half thinking the later is what I should do.)

Top Ten Characters I Like From Books I Didn’t

Hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Ooh, this list was a tough one for me. Usually my hatred for a book makes me pretty completely forget any characters I like or could like. So, I had to rely a lot on fuzzy memory and, more importantly, any brief reviews I wrote on these books. (And my one star ratings on Goodreads.)

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Aeduan

I really don’t remember why, other than the fact that he seemed to be one of those ‘questioning’ villains in that he’d probably be jumping sides, soon. And his abilities were awesome.

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

Everyone except Meliara, the main character.

I remember have no problems with anyone besides the main character – though that could just have been because of how much I hate her.

Starfall by Melissa Landers

Everyone except Cassia. Mainly Renny. And Acorn.

While I still love the supporting cast – those that carried over from the first book, Renny has a special place in my heart. Especially for his willingness to play older brother to these teenagers.

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Eldest by Christopher Paolini

Murtagh

I’m pretty sure he was the sole reason I read this book. Well, that and the belief that it couldn’t be worse than the first one. (I was wrong.)

Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn

Nan (Mina’s pretty awesome, too, but it’s all about Nan.)

The following is a quote lifted directly from my review of this book: Her of the ‘two semesters of karate, a serious case of attitude and mace on her keychain.’ The best friend.

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Zuzana

She was, quite literally, the best thing about this book.

The Galahad Legacy by Dom Testa

Roc

It’s never a good sign to me when my favorite character in the whole series is the computer. *cough* Beg pardon, AI. The Roc. Who is awesomeness personified. Or, you know, computerified.

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The Spirit War by Rachel Aaron

Eli

Even though this is part of a series, it totally fits here because I rated this book only two stars and disliked a lot of things about it, except for the main character, Eli. He singlehandedly kept me reading the entire series. (The other books are better than this one, though.)

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Finn and George Holly

I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel to fill this list out, because all I’m basing this off of is my review wherein I say I like these two characters. I don’t even remember them and barely remember this book.

WoW: Shaman by Paul Benjamin & Rocío Zucchi

Kettara

One word: awesome. No, I mean she’s serious great and the only person in this story that has a shred of sense.

 

And, we’re calling it done. Do you realize how difficult it was for me to keep this from turning into another post of how much I hate these books? What books that you didn’t like gave you characters that you did?