2019 Reading Goals: A Review

2019 reading goals

I made a post a few months ago talking about my 2019 reading goals and how they were going. With two days left in 2019, I think it’s time to look back on the goals I’d set for myself and see how I did.

51VC+mAmYULRead a book before I see the movie

Of all the books on my shelf I thought would satisfy this goal, The Girl on the Train is not the one I was expecting to read. I listened to the audiobook while I was organizing my bookshelves and I really enjoyed it. I appreciated the different narrations and I genuinely did not anticipate the ending. I was not a fan of the film adaptation – not just because they left out and/or changed a lot, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it even if I hadn’t read the book. Still, this has been on my TBR since it came out, I finally got around to it, I enjoyed it, and I’m going to need to pick up more Paula Hawkins.

91yzz1aYgeLRead a new release

I actually read more new releases this year than I usually do because I have a tendency to buy books as soon as they come out while the hype is strong and then get distracted reading things that have been on my shelf for a while. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but then more things sit on my shelf for a while before I get to them. When Daisy Jones and the Six came out, though, I knew I wanted to be able to jump on that hype train. It was so much deeper than I expected and I was completely swept away by the world of rock and roll. I immediately purchased The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but I still haven’t read that yet.

41dBfav8I+L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Listen to a book I loved reading

I read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard last summer and I was hooked. I immediately ordered Glass Sword so I could continue the series, but then hurricane Florence hit (lol I’m listening to Florence + the Machine as I write this) and my Amazon order was delayed over a week. By the time it finally got to me I’d moved on and started reading something else, then promptly forgot the entire plot of Red Queen. I got the audiobook out from my library and listened to I can continue on with the series and, after getting about 30% of the way through the Glass Sword audiobook, I’m not sure I’ll continue. I’ve heard the last two books are much better, but I’m feeling disheartened.

42265183Read a book by a minority

This also counts as a new release (I even preordered it!). Renée Ahdieh is a Korean-American author and the main character of The Beautiful, Celine Rousseau, is also of Korean descent. This book is dark and sultry and puts you right in the heart of 19th century New Orleans. It has creatures killing women and you don’t find out what they are until the end of the book and honestly this was exactly the paranormal book I was in the mood for. If you haven’t picked it up yet I seriously recommend you do so.

 

41FeBWJVggL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_Read a bestseller

I was uncertain about all the hype for Again, But Better since I had heard reviews from all over the spectrum. I’ve been following Christine’s YouTube channel for probably like six years now so I was curious to finally read her debut novel. The main character is very much Christine and it feels a little like a daydream about her own life, but it was cute. I found myself bored at times and I thought it could have been shorter, but I did enjoy it overall. I think if you’re in the mood for a new adult novel where the main character goes to a foreign country, falls in love, loses touch, then goes back to find her love interest, read Just One Day by Gayle Forman instead.

71AKFQHAdULRead something with a five-star rating

Going back and reviewing these goals, I realize I was a little ambiguous with this one. Something that has five stars on goodreads? Something I give five stars? I decided to go with the latter, and that’s The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale. Y’all, I devoured this book. This was another new release and so many people were talking about it when it was coming up but then as soon as it came out it seemed like it just disappeared. This is a dark, light fantasy tale inspired by the myth of Medusa and I couldn’t put it down. It’s lyrical and feels like a fairy tale and I strongly recommend this to anyone in the mood for something beautiful and creepy. Probably fans of Pan’s Labyrinth will love this.

51N877t5lEL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Read nonfiction

Confession: when I did my reading goals update in August I totally forgot about Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive. I slowly made my way through this between March and May while I was working on my thesis for my Women’s and Gender Studies degree, among many other amazing works, but this was the only one I read from cover to cover. It’s so much fun, so accessible to every level of academic background, and is such a unique look on modern feminism. Unfortunately, this is the only nonfiction book I got around to reading in its entirety this year, but I plan to remedy that in 2020.

A1agLFsWkOLRead a best of 2018

This was my first read of the year and BOY was it a great way to kick off the year. Children of Blood and Bone is an own voices YA fantasy that’s heavily inspired by West African myth and culture. This book had a movie deal before it was even released and it’s such a unique magic system with amazing characters, a fast-paced plot, and a rich setting. I gave this four stars when I read it and I honestly can’t remember why? I think about it all the time and I just started the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, so this series can both open and close my 2019.

41Yb0G32bcL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Read a book I loved from years ago

I haven’t read anything by John Green since The Fault in Our Stars first came out and I guess I was just feeling like I needed a good cry because I went back and reread Ye Ole Looking for Alaska. It was just about as soon as I finished this read through that I saw they’re making a Hulu series about it and I have a lot of feelings about it, but I didn’t let that cloud my reread. This definitely has some problematic elements that don’t hold up very well today, but it was just the wave of nostalgia I was craving.

 

511TB1iB9iL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Marathon a series

I was intrigued by Ruined when I first got it on kindle, but I did not expect to fall in love with it the way I did. It sucked me in and just would not let go. I have a tendency to purchase the next book in a series as soon as I finish the first one and then never read it, but that was not the case here. I don’t think I’ve marathoned a series since the first time I read A Series of Unfortunate Events and it was such a great experience. My problem is that they tend to be too long and by the time I finish the first or even the second I’m ready to move on to something else and enter a different world, but this trilogy is exactly the right length to get you attached to the characters and hooked on the plot. This is a politically-driven dark YA fantasy. Let me reiterate, dark. There is a lot of gore and violence, so be warned.

 

The goals left incomplete are:

  • Stop pretending I’ve read the book and actually do it
  • Read the oldest thing on my TBR
  • Finish a series I started a long time ago and never got around to finishing

Of all the goals I set for myself this year, I think I did pretty good! These challenges definitely inspired me to read things that I might not otherwise have read, but I kept them vague enough that I could pick books I was already interested in to fulfill them. I’m going to do a similar challenge for 2020 and I look forward to seeing how I do then!

Until next time!

_Tia

Where the heck have I been?

where have i been_

Life gets crazy, I’m sure you all know that. In the last few months I’ve been traveling, I’ve been working, I’ve gotten married, I’ve registered to go back to school, and, most importantly, I’ve been reading. So let’s have a lil recap, shall we?

When last we spoke I reviewed Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Don’t remember? Check it out here. I’ve read quite a bit since then but rather than write reviews for everything I’m going to do a shallow dive into each.

September

Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
StarStarStarStar EmptyStar Empty
I’ve been making my way through the Percy Jackson series via audiobook throughout the year and this was by far my least favorite. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this series but this fourth installment just left me bored. I know there’s only one book left and I want to read it so I can go on to read the other series, but I have no motivation to actually read it.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hendricks
StarStarStarStarStar
Somehow I have only read one other Rainbow Rowell book, which I recognize as a failing on my part, especially since I own six of her books. Pumpkinheads was the perfect thing to get me in the fall spirit. It was adorable, quirky, and the best romance. I adored the characters, the art is wonderful, and there are so many subtle jokes in the panels that you miss if you only focus on the dialogue. I seriously cannot recommend this enough.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
StarStarStarStarStar Empty
I stumbled upon this beauty at my local Barnes & Noble without having heard anything about it before. I was fascinated by the cover and when I read the synopsis I knew I had to have it. Sapphic teenage witches, what more do you need to know? Well, you need to know that the relationships between all of the characters are deep and meaningful, not just the relationship between the main character and her ex-girlfriend. You need to know that this has a pleasantly suspenseful mystery while still remaining fairly lighthearted. And you need to know that this was an absolute delight to read and I can’t wait for book two.

Apparently I then I had a month-long reading slump? Moving on…

October

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
StarStarStarStarStar Empty
I heard so much hype leading up to the release of this book (so much so that it was one of only two books I’ve preordered in all of 2019) and then it seems like as soon as it came out no one mentioned it? Well, I read it and I thought it was a lot of fun. It’s plugged as a vampire book, but if it hadn’t been advertised that way you wouldn’t know they were vampires until the very end. Another suspenseful mystery, some great 19th century New Orleans pageantry, and intriguing characters. I’ll be continuing with this series for sure, and I definitely need to read more of Ahdieh’s work.

October consisted of a ton of traveling and resting to recharge.

November

The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
StarStarStarStarStar
Yooooooo. Again, it seemed like everyone was hauling this when it first came out but then I haven’t seen anyone talking about it since then. This was a delightfully intriguing, supernatural mystery. A beautiful interpretation of folk horror within the parameters of YA fiction and without being too scary. This story was so creative and fascinating that I read it in basically one sitting.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard *reread*
StarStarStarStarStar Empty
I was obsessed with this book when I first read it, I ordered the sequel immediately, but then there was a hurricane and I didn’t get it for quite a bit and by then I was already reading other things. I decided to listen to the audiobook from my library to refresh my memory before moving onto the second. Upon starting Glass Sword, I got bored and stopped. Maybe I’ll finish this series eventually? I’m just not sure.

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
StarStarStarStarStar Empty
This was my favorite book that I’ve read for my book club so far. Since Makiia is a local author we also had the pleasure of discussing this with her. I’ve heard from other members that the companion novel, Song of the Abyss, is even better, but this was a delightful YA mystery/treasure hunt with slight paranormal elements in a reimagined medieval setting. It was so much fun and I’ll definitely be reading more of her work.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
StarStarStarStarStar
Confession: this was my first Holly Black novel. But it definitely will not be my last. My only hesitation for continuing the series: I purchased this first book in paperback because I wasn’t sure if I would like it and it was on sale but the last two books aren’t in paperback yet and I want my series to match.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
StarStarStarStarStar
Sweet precious babies.
✓ Adorable and vibrant artwork
✓ Excellent story
✓ Relatable and lovable characters
✓ No romance/Ace and Aro friendly
✓ Kicks gender norms in the teeth
A true inspiration. I need to buy this one.

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang
StarStarStarStarStar Empty
Let’s be real, how could I read The Prince and the Dressmaker and then *not* read Jen Wang’s other book? This story was very different and a bit heavier, but still great. This deals with gender roles and discriminations withing gaming/nerd culture, as well as unfair working conditions, class struggles, and being introduced to cultures different from your own. Also a precious story.

November was a solid reading month, to say the least.

Well, that’s about the gist of what I’ve been up to. Until next time, friends.

_Tia

2019 Reading Goals: An Update

Hello, hello! Reading goals are fun. They keep us motivated, they help us select what we want to read next, and they create fun ways for us to challenge ourselves and read outside of our comfort zones. I set several reading goals for myself at the beginning of 2019 and now that we’re more than halfway through the year let’s take a look at those goals and which ones I’ve achieved so far.

The first reading goal is the one that pretty much every avid reader is familiar with: the Goodreads Reading Challenge. This year I challenged myself to read 50 books since I knew I would have more free time than usual since finishing school and I wanted to push myself to read more than I ever have before. I have read 26 books so far this year, which puts me three books behind schedule. This is still much less behind schedule than I normally would be, and I’m confident that I will be able to attain this goal.

My other goals were small goals I set for myself as a way to diversify my reading list. The challenges bolded are ones I have completed, and I will list the book that satisfies the challenge.

Read a book before I see the moviePet Sematary by Stephen King
Read a new releaseThe Women’s War by Jenna Glass
Listen to a book I loved reading
Read a book by a minority – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Stop pretending I’ve read the book and actually read it
Read a bestsellerAgain, But Better by Christine Riccio
Read an award winnerAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saénz
Read something with a five-star ratingThe Postmortal by Drew Magary
Read the book that’s been on my TBR the longest
Read Nonfiction
Read a best of 2018Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Reread a book I loved from years agoLooking for Alaska by John Green
Finish a series I started a long time ago and never finished
Marathon a series

I have some plans for the challenges I still haven’t completed. A book I loved reading that I want to listen to the audiobook of is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. A book that I claim I’ve read but I totally never have is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. The book that has been on my Goodreads TBR the longest is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. A nonfiction book I plan to read this year is Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia. Two series that I started a long time ago and would like to finish this year are The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and The Darkest Minds Trilogy by Alexandra Bracken. I currently am marathoning my way through the Ruined trilogy by Amy Tintera.

I’m feeling pretty good about my current reading stats at this point in the year. I’m most nervous about The Name of the Wind, because it’s long and dense and I know will take a lot of time to read, so that could potentially affect my progress toward my 50 book goal. I also have not read it yet because I know so many fans of the series who are still frustrated that the third book has not been released, so I was trying to wait until that at least gets a publication date. Other than that I think my goals are very attainable and I’m confident that I’ll be able to reach them!

What are some of your reading goals for 2019? How are your reading challenges going? Are you happy with how far you’ve come? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

instagram | twitter | tumblr | goodreads

_Tia