Reading Challenge

#Armedwithabingo Q2 Check-in

This year, one of the challenges I’m participating in, is #armedwithabingo hosted by Kristi and Ariel. All the details for the bingo are here, and you can check out my first post about the challenge here.

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For the first quarter, I read these books:

Poetry collection – Ink Knows No Borders

Book in the middle of a series – Blizzard of New Moon (Magic Treehouse Series) by Mary Pope Osbourne

Book published in the last decade – A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahareh Mafi

A YA novel – Heart of the Moors by Holly Black

A memoir – Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Friendship/family – Drama by Reina Telgemeier

Fantasy – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Bestseller – The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Meant to read last year – Final Girls by Riley Sager

Nonfiction – You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time by Patricia Marx

 

And since the last post, I’ve added these books to my bingo board:

Book published in 2020 – Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell. This is my favorite read of the year so far, and you can check out my review here.

Book with multiple POV’s – Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reed

Book with a number in the title – The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie. This one was also enjoyable and though not one of Christie’s most popular series, I find I’m really enjoying the Superintendent Battle series.

Book a friend recommends – Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto.  I read this book as part of the Book Gizmo Book Club on Instagram.

A dystopian novel – The Jewel by Amy Ewing.

Not third person POV (first person POV) – Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell

Book by an indie author – A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Book with a Beautiful Cover – Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel. As soon as I saw the cover for this book, I wanted to read it, even without reading the premise. 🙂

Book you saw someone else reading – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Fred Rogers

How about you? How are your reading challenges coming? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

 

Uncategorized

Tips for Tackling Your TBR List

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If you’re like me, you probably have shelves full of unread books. I read a lot, and am planning to read twenty books this month to help whittle down the amount of books I own that I haven’t yet read. ( This is part of a reading challenge, and if you missed out on that post you can check it out here.)

People often ask me how I read so many books, so today, I wanted to share some tips to help you tackle your TBR. Since many of us are at home during this quarantine time, you may have more time to read than usual, so maybe these tips can help you get even more reading done. 🙂

1. Know your limits. A lot of things play into how many books you can read within a given time period. How fast do you read? How many other responsibilities do you have? Don’t try to compare yourself to other people. Set a realistic but challenging goal for yourself.

2. Mix it up. Read in a lot of different genres. I find this helps to ward off reading slumps. Once I start to feel fantasy-ied out, I switch over to mysteries or memoirs, and I find my interest in reading is renewed.

3. Read various book lengths and levels. This is another great way to avoid a reading slump. If I’m feeling tired of reading, I might pick a book of poetry or even a picture book I’ve been wanting to read. As an educator, I often read children’s and MG books as I need to stay up on the trends and know what is available for students to read,  but I also believe that people of any age can find enjoyment in a picture book. Many of them are worth reading simply because of the beautiful artwork they contain. And most of us know at least one kid that we could read to or recommend a book to.

4. Listen to audiobooks. This is one of the easiest ways to up your book count. I increased my yearly amount of read books by over a hundred, simply by listening to audiobooks. I listen to audiobooks in the car, in the kitchen, when I’m cleaning, and when I’m crafting.

You may be wondering if it’s cheating, or you may think you can’t focus on an audiobook. I understand your hesitation on this one, as I had similar doubts at first. But then I realized if I chose the right audiobook, I was engaged and even found myself laughing out loud. This is especially true for celebrity memoirs that are narrated by the said celebrity.

I would suggest starting with celebrity memoirs if you’re hesitant about trying audiobooks. Another way to determine if the audiobook is right for you is to read the reviews for the audiobook before listening to it. The success of the audiobook depends on the narrator. If the narrator does a poor job, it will be noted in the reviews.

5. Take a break when you need to. Yes, it is okay to take a break sometimes. Just like basically everything else in life, sometimes you just need to take a break and do something else. Every so often, I take as much as a week and a half off from reading, and am still able to meet my reading goal for the year. I find that I am able to go through several books quickly after taking a break.

6. Read what you want. This is another important one. Don’t be so focused on reading the things you think you need to read. Read the books that YOU want to read. So many times, people read something because it has been recommended to them by someone else, so they feel they must read it even though they aren’t really interested in it.  This just ends up wasting your reading time and can even put you into a reading slump. If you’re not interested in the book, don’t read it. If you’re worried about what your friend will think,  politely tell them that you just couldn’t get into the book, so you moved onto something else on your TBR list.

7. Don’t be afraid to not finish a book.  This kind of goes along with the previous tip, and is the hardest one for me to follow. I just hate the feeling of not finishing a book, but ultimately I know that I will end up wasting my reading time by trying to finish a book I don’t enjoy. I have gotten better than I used to be, but I am still working on this one.

8. Most importantly, have fun! This kind of sums them all up. Your reading time is supposed to be enjoyable, so make sure it is by reading the right things for you!

How about you? What is your best tip for moving through your TBR list? Let me know in the comments, and if you want to check out what I’m currently reading, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads.

Reading Challenge

My May TBR Stack

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For the month of May, I’m participating in #bookspinbonanza hosted by @TheAromaofBooks over on Litsy. If you’re haven’t heard of the Litsy app, you can find out more about it here. It’s the perfect app for readers!

Since the start of the year, I’ve been participating in the #bookspin, where the host draws a random number 1-20, and participants read the book from their list of twenty books that corresponds to that number. This month the bonanza twist is to read all twenty of the books in the order they are drawn. Here’s the graphic for #bookspinbonanza:

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So here are the twenty books I’ve chosen (they are all my own books so this also helps me with the #unreadshelfproject):

1. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

2. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeves

3. A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

4. The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson

5. Malice by Pintip Dunn

6. In the Hall With The Knife by Diana Peterfreund

7. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

8. The Secret Horses by Megan Shepherd

9. The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

10. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto (I’m reading this as part of @bookgizmo’s book club on Instagram)

11.  Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

12. Save Your Breath by Melinda Leigh

13. Shakespeare’s Landlord  by Charlaine Harris

14. Finish First by Scott Hamilton

15. The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis compiled by Caroline Kennedy

16. Secrets of Skating  by Oksana Baiul

17. My Side of the Story: Peter Pan by Kiki Thorpe

18. My Side of the Story: 101 Dalmatians by Daphne Skinner

19. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Mister Rogers

20. The Big Book of Disney Top Ten: Fun Facts and Cool Trivia

 

What are you reading plans for May? Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

 

Reading Challenge

Unread Book Bingo

One of the reading challenges I always participate in, is the unread shelf project, a yearly challenge where I try to read many of my own books that I haven’t yet read. During the past two months, Whitney, the host of the unread shelf challenge, has hosted a bingo challenge (more details here.) I love bingo challenges, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to participate in this one. Here is my bingo card:

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And here are the books I read:

Published before 2000 – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Backlist title – The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

From Favorite genre – The Jewel by Amy Ewing (YA Fantasy)

On shelf more than a year – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Blue Book – Ice Breaker: How Maribel Fairbanks Changed Figure Skating by Rosa Vina

Fiction – The Stillwater Girls by Minka

YA lit – The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir

E-book – Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

Published after 2000 – The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent

Any unread book – Tell Me Lies by JD Pomer

Red book – The Big Four by Agatha Christie

Nonfiction – In Other Words by Christopher J. Moore

Book from a series – The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (New Hercule Poirot series)

Last book acquired – Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell (check out my review for this book here.)

Less than 200 pages – If a Horse Had Words by Kelly Cooper

Audiobook – The Body in the Woods by April Henry

Chosen by friends – Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montegomery

Hardback – The Handmaid’s Tale: the graphic novel by Renee Nault

Author of color – The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

I was hoping to fill the board, but I got two bingos and had more spaces filled than not, so I guess I did pretty well. 🙂

If you want to check out all I’ve read so far this year, feel free to add as a friend on Goodreads.

How about you? Have you participated in any fun reading challenges lately? Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

#Armedwithabingo – What I’ve read so far…

So I just discovered this bingo, and I’ve added it to the reading challenges I’m doing this year. It lasts the entire year, and you get a personalized bingo card. It’s hosted by Kristi and Ariel, and you can find out all the details here.  The cool thing about this challenge is that it fits right in with any other challenges you might be doing.

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So here’s what I’ve read so far:

Poetry collection – Ink Knows No Borders

Book in the middle of a series – Blizzard of New Moon (Magic Treehouse Series) by Mary Pope Osbourne

Book published in the last decade – A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahareh Mafi

A YA novel – Heart of the Moors by Holly Black

A memoir – Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Friendship/family – Drama by Reina Telgemeier

Fantasy – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Bestseller – The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Meant to read last year – Final Girls by Riley Sager

Nonfiction – You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time by Patricia Marx

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Do you have any suggestions for any of the prompts? Let me know in the comments.

Also, if you haven’t seen the Little Women challenge and giveaway I’m doing yet, you can check that out here.

Reading Challenge

My Reading Challenges for 2020

I’m excited for a new year of reading and as always, I feel like I want to join every challenge I come across. Realistically, however, I know that’s not prudent. One, I don’t want to be too tied down by what I have to read, as I’m often a mood reader. And two,  I’ve found too many challenges make it hard to actually keep up with any of them. So I’ve narrowed down my challenges to these:

1. My county library challenge.  There’s a different topic for each month and you choose a book to fit into that challenge. January’s topic is “A Book That a Librarian Recommends”. I’ve chosen No Ink, No Borders, a book of poetry by immigrants and refugees. You can find out more about this challenge here.

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2. The Epic Reads Challenge/Book Club.  Epic reads is doing their challenge a little differently this year, They are giving  a monthly topic with their book club pick. January’s pick is A Very Large Expanse of Sea. There will be discussion about the chosen book on the Facebook group too. You can find out more about this challenge here.

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3. Books With A Past Bookstore Challenge.  This is one of my local bookstores. They are doing a challenge similar to the library one. The give a theme for each month, and you choose a book that fits that theme. The first theme is “A Book From you 2019 TBR list”. I’ve already read Final Girls by Riley Sager to fulfill this prompt. You can find out more about the challenge on their Instagram page here.

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4. The Goodreads Challenge. And of course, I’m also doing the Goodreads challenge. I’ve set my goal at 200 books which is higher than last year’s goal, but I also amazed myself by reading over 300 books last year, so I may have to make the goal higher if it seems like I’m going to do that again this year. 🙂

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For Writers, Reading Challenge

Litsy – An app for Readers

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Today I wanted to share about a new bookish app – Litsy. I discovered Litsy just a couple of months ago, but it’s already one of my favorite apps. You can download the app for iphone or android, or you can use it online.

Litsy is a mix between Goodreads and Bookstagram. You create a profile and you can post pictures, blurbs, reviews, or quotes. You can “stack” books you want to read as well as books you’ve already read. (You can also rate the books you’ve read.) For a bookworm, this is the perfect social media platform.

Here are some screenshots from my account:  1-of my feed,  2-books I want to read, and 3-books I have read.

My friend Raimey Gallant has a great post on her blog with all kinds of tips for using Litsy. You can check it out here.

Just like on Instagram, there are lots of games, challenges, and readathons to participate in. I’m participating in a halloween-themed readathon called #scarathlon next month, and am psyched about it! If you are already on Litsy and are interested, there still time to sign up. You can do that here.

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What’s your favorite bookish app? Are you on Litsy? What’s your handle? Let me know in the comments! (My handle is @Charityann.)

Book Reviews

The Lunar Chronicles – In review

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I finished The Lunar Chronicles over the last year, and I loved them all!  I enjoyed these books so much, that I wanted to share a little about each book and what I loved about them. If you haven’t read them yet, maybe this will convince you to. 🙂

For those who don’t know: The Lunar Chronicles is set in a futuristic world where some people live on Earth.  Some more powerful people called Lunars, who can create glamours and control humans, live on Luna. The Lunar Queen is evil and she is determined to rule all of earth as well as Luna.

There are four main books. Each book introduces a heroine and a hero based on a fairytale. I love they way their stories intertwine and each one’s story continues until the very end of the last book.

Cinder – A retelling of Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg girl who serves as a servant to her mean stepmother and her two stepsisters, one cruel, one kind. In a nod to the original fairytale, Cinder goes to the ball and falls for the prince. When she rushes out she leaves behind her robotic foot instead of a slipper. (I lent out my copy of Cinder which is why it’s missing in the picture.)

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Cinder’s courage and resilience. When things weren’t going well, she took action to try to change them. Also, I loved Iko, Cinder’s android friend. Iko was full of personality and was incredibly entertaining.

Scarlet – A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with hints of Beauty and the Beast as well. Scarlet lives on a farm with her grandmother. She meets Wolf, a beast-like man trained to be a special operative for the Lunar army. In a nod to the original fairytale, Scarlet always wears a red hoodie.

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship. Even though he was trained to kill, Scarlet’s love for him and his love for her kept him from turning into a beast. I also enjoyed the many different locales visited in this book, a trend which continued into the next book as well.

Cress – A retelling of Rapunzel. Cress is trapped in a satellite, and has to do the Lunar Queen’s bidding. In a nod to the original fairytale, a guy named Thorne frees her from the satellite, and is blind for a period of time. (In the original story, it was a thorn that made the prince blind). Cress also has really long hair that she ends up cutting.

Some of the things I loved about this book:  This book was my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles. I could relate to Cress with her small stature and her anxiety about new things. I also loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship.

Winter – A Snow White retelling. Winter is the stepdaughter of the Lunar Queen. She is beautiful and well-loved by the people, so of course the queen hates her. Winter refuses to use her glamour to control others even though  doing this makes her see things and gives her nightmares. In a nod to the original tale, the Queen tries to kill Winter by glamouring herself as an old woman and offering Winter toxic apple candies.

Some of the things I loved about this book:

It ended happily ever after!  It tied everyone’s stories together so well. We really get to see Winter’s strength and personality. Prior to this book, she seemed to just be crazy, so I had been wondering how Meyer was going to have a whole book about her. It was the perfect ending to a great series.

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Some companion books to the series include  a shorter book that tells the Lunar Queen’s origin story, a book of short stories, and a coloring book. There are also two graphic novels that tell about Iko’s escapades after the main books end. I just finished the first one and enjoyed it just as much as the other books.

The Lunar Chronicles has made Marissa Meyer an autobuy author for me. 🙂

If you’ve read the series, which book is your fave? What’s your favorite thing about the Lunar world? If you haven’t read the series, why not?! Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

Series to Finish #SeriesTF2019

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So I’ve found another reading challenge to participate in. It’s called Series to Finish and the goal is to finish all the series you’ve started. It’s hosted by Anna at Reader and Proud, and you can find all the details here: https://readerandproud.wordpress.com/2018/12/29/series-to-finish-2019/

So to start with, I’m planning to finish The Heirs of Watson Island series by Martina Boone. I’ve only read the first book so far.

Also, I want to read the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber. I  haven’t actually started this series yet, but have had it on TBR since I first received the first book, Caravel.

Throne of Glass  and A Court of Throne and Roses have also both been on my TBR lists for awhile, so I’d also like to finish these series.

I’d like to finish up all the books I own in the Stephanie Plum series. This is not YA, but it is a suspense series. I really enjoyed the first book, One for the Money. If you like the movie of the same name, you’d probably enjoy the books too.

I’m sure I’ll have more series to add to this list as the year goes on, but these are the ones I’m going to try to finish first. How about you? Are there any series you want to try and finish this year? Are you participating in this challenge? Let me know in the comments.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Books You Wanted to Read in 2018

I read a lot of books in 2018, but as any bookworm knows, there are always more books to read. So here are ten books I wanted to read last year, but didn’t get to.

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So, I’m going to read this year!) 🙂

And bonus perk – most of them are books I own, which will help me meet my #unreadshelfproject2019 goals. If you interested in reading about the reading challenges I’m participating in this year, check out this post.

1. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton.  I put this book on my TBR list as soon as I first heard about and before it even came out. I received a copy for my birthday, and, as often happens with my own books, it got pushed down my TBR list so I could finish library books that had to be returned. (I’ll be reading this book next month as part on my local library’s reading challenge.)

2. Caraval by Stephanie Garber.  I’ve heard so many good things about this book. I’ve had it on my TBR awhile, but I sort of hate waiting for the next book in a series, so sometimes I hold off on series until I know I’ll be able to read all the books.

3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber. This is the second book in the Caraval trilogy, and since the final book comes out this May, I’ll have just enough time to read both books before the final book releases.

4. Fierce by Aly Raisman. This is another book that’s been on my TBR list. Aly Raisman is an Olympic gymnast and her story is inspiring. She competed as a teen in the 2012 Olympics and then came back even better (at 22 yrs. old) for the 2016 Olympics.

5. Persuasion by Martina Boone. I’ve already read the first book in the Heirs of Watson series, and really enjoyed it. I purchased the next two books in the series and have had them on my TBR since.

6. Illusion by Martina Boone. This is the third book in the Heirs of Watson series.

7. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer. I love The Lunar Chronicles, and Iko is such a great character, so of course, once I finished the series I added the graphic novels (starring Iko) to my TBR.

8. Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer. This is the second graphic novel about Iko.

9. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve heard so much about this series as well, and I know it’s wildly popular. So hopefully, it lives up to it’s reputation. 🙂

10. A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Same thing with this series. It seems that a lot of people actually like this series better that the Throne of Glass series. So, I guess I’ll have to read them both and see what I think.

What about you? What books did you mean to read in 2018, but didn’t get to? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!