Tis the Season | December TBR

December is always hit or miss, right? Maybe I won’t be able to read much because of the holidays, traveling, etc. But then again, maybe with the holidays I’ll be able to pawn my baby off on family members and get some serious reading done without interruptions? Wishful thinking I’m sure.

As you might be able to tell, December is also my last ditch effort to complete my year long reading goals. I’ve done alright so far, but still have a few things to check off the list…

What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

California Winter | November Wrap-Up & TBR Update

This month hasn’t been great blogging wise (you might have noticed) but it’s been pretty good reading wise! I was able to snag some library copies of a couple of my anticipated November releases, so that was awesome. It always feels like I’m slogging through a book that’s taking me too much time, so then I’m surprised when I see how much I’ve actually read in a month.

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 12
Books currently reading: 
3

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 383
TBR at the beginning of November =305
Books added to TBR = 2
Books read/deleted from TBR = 7
Total on TBR now = 300

How did your reading go this month?

Cooler weather at last! | October Wrap-Up & TBR Update

The heat has finally dialed it back and we’re having some nice cooler weather where I don’t feel like I’m dying every time I step outside. I’ve had a tough blogging month…but we’ll see how next month goes.

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 17, 2 DNF
Books currently reading:
1

I didn’t really realize that I’d read so much this month. A couple of them were graphic novels and then I had to binge the Harry Potter books because the audios all got checked out to me at once basically. So those things helped.

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 383
TBR at the beginning of October = 342
Books added to TBR = 8
Books read/deleted from TBR = 45
Total on TBR now = 305

How did your reading go this month?

Holly Black Mini-Reviews [Part 2]

Click here for my first set of Holly Black mini-reviews.

mini-reviewsI read all three of the books in the Modern Faerie Tale series when I was…in junior high? That seems about right, but honestly I can’t believe I read these books back then. All three books are pretty heavy in the language department and the second book also has heavy drug use (a fancy faerie drug, but still). Regardless, I read this series again as a refresher for the new Folk of the Air book. I just wanted to make sure I had the full context of Holly Black’s Faerie.

Tithe

This book is so much darker than the Folk of the Air series. As I’ve read her newer stuff, it’s felt more polished while this felt dark and gritty. I found Kaye and Corny to both be pretty likable. There were times I found myself having a hard time with them, but it usually passed quickly. Roiben is everything you could want in a cold faerie knight, but I didn’t always understand his attachment to Kaye. What drew him to her in the first place? Why did she have such an impact on him? In a world like Faerie with extraordinary beings, I find it hard to believe that Kaye really stands out. In the end, though, I do like them as a couple. Overall, I didn’t like this book as much as I remembered liking it, but I do think it’s a great introduction to how Holly Black does faeries. 3.5/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | eBook

Valiant

I liked this one the least of the three. I didn’t feel like there was any real plot for the first 75% of the book. I would have liked more scenes of Val making deliveries for Ravus or perhaps more investigation into the faerie poisonings. Similar to Tithe, I wasn’t totally sure I bought Ravus’ feelings for Val, though I felt like they perhaps had a little more context. I did like the homelessness representation–I haven’t read many books depicting that. Another thing to note is that this book introduces the concept of lady knights which Black returns to in other books. 3/5

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Ironside

Out of the three books, I felt like this one had the strongest plot and I liked how this book brought the first two together. Kaye and Roiben make a cameo in Valiant, but this one really ties everything up in a neat little bow (though Ravus did NOT get enough screentime). As far as characters go, Corny was a little harder for me in this one while I found Kaye and Luis to both be much more likable than they had been in the previous books. One sticking point for me plotwise, though, is I didn’t feel like it was ever really explained WHY Roiben didn’t want Kaye to be part of the court? And I feel like that’s a pretty key piece of information–I mean, it’s why he gave her the impossible quest in the first place. But even with that, I found this book to be pretty good and I enjoyed my reread of the series. 4/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

White Cat

To be clear, this book is NOT part of the series above. It’s the first book in a separate series (and all of the covers are AWFUL). I wanted to like this book so much, I really did. Unfortunately, it was just okay. If I didn’t know better, I would have guessed that this series was written before the Modern Faerie Tales. It just felt rough and undeveloped. Especially compared to her most recent series, I just didn’t feel like this book was written that well. I felt confused for most of the book regarding the “magic” system and how things worked. It really felt like I was playing catch-up the whole time and that made it hard to enjoy what was happening. This book was about a family of con artists and SHOULD have been right up my alley, but I was having too hard a time trying to figure out what the story was and what Cassel was trying to accomplish. As a character, I liked Cassel and I found the other characters to be interesting as well. There were definitely things about this book that I found interesting, I just think it suffered from poor structure or something. In the end, I don’t feel compelled to pick up the rest of the series. 3/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | eBook

9 books my baby loves

My baby just turned 1 1/2! It’s crazy how fast that time has gone by, but I also simultaneously know that 18 months is no time at all. My baby does NOT like my reading to him (goodbye dreams of snuggling up before bed reading a book together). He doesn’t like me holding books or turning the pages, but then he turns pages too fast for me to actually read so… It’s been a struggle–he’s just too independent I guess. Regardless, I wanted to share with you guys some of the books he’s loving lately.

Baby books

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst – The board book version has black and white illustrations with Alexander being the only character in color. There’s a lot more text compared to some other children’s books too, so it surprised me that D likes this one so much, but I find him paging through it all the time!

Don Quixote: A Babylit Spanish Language Primer by Jennifer Adams – We got a few of these classics for babies, but D especially loves this one. It has words in English and then the same words in Spanish on the opposite page. A lot of times with books, D will pick out one page especially that he likes, and this one has a page with goats that he always turns to.

I Love You, Blankie by Sheryl Haft – D is rather attached to his own blankie so I guess this one resonates with him? This is a special favorite of his. If I ask him if he wants to read a book, there’s a more than 50% chance that he’ll pull this one off the shelf. It’s such a cute read too, so I don’t mind! (Not that he actually lets me read it to him, but it’s cute to page through).

Baby Shark by John John Bajet – My mom found this as a board book somewhere an sent this to us. D really likes the song (obviously) and will make little pinching motions with his fingers when he wants to read this book. It’s pretty cute. His favorite page in this one is the Great White Shark page.

Baby Touch and Feel: Baby Dinosaurs by DK – We have like three of these books and he loves them all, but he’s been really into the Baby Dinosaur one recently. They’re great because they have both soft and rough textures. For a while D was super into rough textures, so these were perfect.

Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions by Abrams Appleseed – D has always loved this book ever since he was a little(r) baby! He loves the mirror in the back and looking at all the other babies. I also saw a pic where one of Beyonce’s twins was reading this so…you know it’s got to be good if Beyonce’s giving it to her babies.

That’s Not My Panda by Fiona Watt – There are other books in this series, I believe, but this is the one we have. They all look super cute though! D loves scratching the panda’s back and feeling the soft belly at the end.

Never Touch a Monster by Make Believe Ideas Ltd – This is just one more touch and feel book that has super fun textures. We also have the dragon one and it looks like there are others in the series as well!

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy – This book is so great! It’s really basic with words and pictures grouped together in categories. D used to love the bath time pages with all of the babies, but lately he’s been gravitating more towards the animal pages.

Weeding my TBR | sharing tips and my own progress

I don’t know about you guys, but when I first started blogging, I threw everything on my TBR! Okay, not everything, but basically any book that got any amount of hype. Here I am, almost five years later and my TBR has grown immensely. There are so many books on there that I have no recollection hearing about. And every time before now that I’ve tried to weed my TBR, I’ve become overwhelmed. Goodreads doesn’t have a very good weeding feature that I’ve found–every time you remove a book from your “Want to Read” shelf the whole page reloads and then you have to rescroll to where you were…it’s a process. So every other weeding attempt has found me giving up after deleting like 10 books, max. But I think I’ve finally found a way to clean up my TBR!

Weeding my TBR

Sort your TBR first

One of the biggest difficulties with my previous weeding attempts is that it’s hard for me to remember what I’ve already taken a look at and decided to keep. When I was still working at the library, we would divide big group weeding projects (thousands of books) up into sections that made it a lot more manageable, so I did something similar here. I alphabetized the titles in my TBR list and just took it one letter at a time–I didn’t have to do everything all at once. There are a ton of different ways you could sort it–author, publication year, page count, whatever! Just pick a way that works for you and stick with it throughout the whole project.

Figure out your weeding standards

Another thing I learned from library weeding–you don’t have to look at every book. If there was something that was in good condition and was circulating well, then we just left it on the shelf. Similarly, if there’s a book on your shelf that you already KNOW you want to read, then just go ahead and leave it.

But for the books you do want to look at, you’ll have to decide what determines if it will stay on your list. Here’s the process I go through:

  1. I reread the synopsis–does it grab me? This is the most important step for me because if it doesn’t sound interesting to me anymore, then I’m probably going to remove it.
  2. I consider the overall star rating. Anything under 3.75 may act as a little warning flag for me.
  3. Last, I consider my Goodreads friends ratings. Most of my Goodreads friends are other bloggers that I interact with and I trust their ratings more than the overall Goodreads rating. If the Goodreads rating is low, but my friends are giving it 4 or 5 stars, I’m more likely to keep it.

You can obviously use whatever standards you want, this is just how I’ve been doing it.

Remember the sunk cost fallacy

Sunk Cost Fallacy is something that we talked about in my Econ classes A TON. Humans act in this really irrational way where we’ll do something even if we’re not enjoying it because we feel like we have to for whatever reason. For example, people will overeat to a point where they’re super uncomfortable at a buffet because they feel like they need to “get their money’s worth”. In my case, I’ll keep a book on my Kindle even if I’m not interested in it anymore because I paid for it. This has been a huge sticking point for me, but finally I think I’ve gotten past it. Don’t let the fact that you bought a book make you keep it on your TBR if you’ve lost all interest in reading it!

How well did it work?

This is the first year that I’ve been trying to keep track of my TBR growth. At the beginning of the year, my TBR was at 383 books. By the beginning of August, I was at 469 books which is an 86 book increase. That’s not even taking into account books that I’ve read from my TBR, so with that in mind I’ve probably added over 100 books to my TBR so far this year.

I started this project towards the end of August, so I’ll use 469 books as my TBR starting point. It’s taken some time to get through it all and even though I’ve been adding books in the meantime as well, I’ve gotten it down to…..drumroll….306┬ábooks! That’s a difference of 106! It’s crazy to me that I had so many books chilling on my TBR that I wasn’t interested in reading anymore. It’s almost like I’m starting over fresh! I can now move forward with my lighter, more concise list. It feels like I can actually go to my TBR to pick my next read now instead of feeling crazy overwhelmed by it! I know that I’m actually interested in every book on my list. I was reminded of so many books that I feel EXCITED about and I’m going to try to actually use my TBR in the future instead of just adding books to it.

It’s reading season | October TBR

I had a really great summer reading-wise (and otherwise) and I’m excited to carry that into fall as well! This time of year is really great for spooky and atmospheric reads (for obvious reasons) so we’ll see what I actually end up reading.

There we go! I’m getting close to finishing the Flavia series and have been thinking about starting Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series to replace it. Any thoughts on that?

What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!