Check In- Reading Like I Used to

So at the beginning of the month, I set aside 5 books that I wanted to read. They all were for a challenge or one of the things that I said I wanted to accomplish this year. They were all books that I really wanted to get to, I wanted to pick them up and start reading right now. Beside them was a stack of library books that I wanted to read as well.

I passed by these stacks every day while I read something else. Thanks to audiobooks and ebooks, I have finished 16 books so far this month. And not one of them was from the stack of 5 or the library books. They were either books that I had started in December and finished earlier this month or review books that I was able to get on audio. I was working through my Netgalley and Edelweiss titles. A feat in and of itself. But not what I wanted to do this year.

But I also noticed something else about this stack (and the way that I was thinking). My first thought was that I was no longer sure if I would be able to finish these books by the end of the month. First of all, with the rate that I was going through books, I really should have no problem getting through those five books. Secondly, two of the books were part of series that I wanted to finish up . One I wanted to re-read from the beginning and the other I just wanted to pick up where I left off. But it was just that one book that I had picked out. Because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it through the series in a month. But why did I think I only had a month to finish my stack. It’s my new thinking that was getting in the way of going back.

2019 is supposed to be the year that I buckled down and focused and achieved some reading goals, all of which was designed to help me read more of my own books. And this made me realize that there were more things that I would need to let go of so that I can get back to reading like I used to. The main one was the goals I had set and the challenges that I wanted to participate in – even the ones that I was excited for. Which makes me sad, since I had started the year off so well in achieving those goals. But there is freedom in this too. I know have a book cart with all of the books that I want to get through. And it doesn’t matter if it takes me a year to finish them (it won’t). It will help me get through some things (mostly reading books from my own shelf). There’s even a shelf for library books! It will also allow me to see movement on my shelf.

While I will still be tracking my reading ( I think that it’s fun) I will be changing the way that I do reviews. In reality, we don’t really talk about every single book that we read.We talk about the ones that we really love or hate. So from no own, I am going to write reviews for those books that stand out, either because I really liked them or because I really didn’t. As far as Netgalley and Edelweiss titles go, I may review them or not. I may do a mash up or group review books. I don’t know. But I am no longer going to promise a full review on my blog. I do jot my thoughts down on Goodreads.
If someone has reached out to me about a specific book, then that book will get a full review on one of my blogs. 

It’s time I got back to reading like I used to, which means focusing on reading. That also means that this post is long enough!

Always Shine!


Review: The Bone House by Brian Freeman

The Bone House by Brian Freeman 
March 29, 2011 – Minotaur Books
352 pgs. – Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Source: Library
Format: Print

4 stars ****

To be completely honest, I would never have picked this book up if it had not been for the random trip to the library. 
I kind of hate when mysteries start with a ready-made suspect, it rarely ends with that suspect being the person who actually did. So it immediately tells me that I can’t trust the writer. Besides that, this was extremely well written, I found that I just couldn’t put it down. I knew that Mark wasn’t the murderer, but I was curious as to how far down that road he traveled, and we are left having to have faith that Mark is telling the complete truth (doubt it!) It does seem like a lot of things going on, but in the end they do all tie together. This is one mystery where you don’t have too many likable characters, and I am okay with that. Cab is the investigating detective and while I like his style, I’m still not sure if I actually like him as a character. In the end, the reveal is done smoothly. Looking back it makes perfect sense. And you realize that misdirection was used expertly and done so without treating the reader as an idiot. But, because I enjoyed this mystery and the way that it all comes together I will definitely be reading more from Freeman.

Always Shine!

Review: The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
August 1, 2017 – HarperTeen
288 pgs – Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Off My Bookshelf, Edelweiss
Format: Audio

2 stars ** 
I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

This may be a case of where I went into this book expecting one thing and got another. Sometimes this works in advantage of the books, this was not one of those times. I can’t say that I knew a lot about this book before I started. I knew that it was about a girl drowning and losing her memory. I had even heard of it being called a coming of age story. But, nothing really happens in this story. Everyone lies to her for one reason or another. But, in the end her memory is still gone and she decides to just be who she wants to be without worrying about who she was. It was well written, but I just didn’t really see the need of this story and I didn’t really care about any of the characters.

Always Shine!

Review: Ride Hard by Laura Kaye

Ride Hard by Laura Kaye
April 26, 2016 – Avon Books
320 pgs. – Adult, Romance, Erotica,
Source: Off My Bookshelf, Kindle
Format: Audio
4 Stars 
This is the first book in the Raven Riders series. I picked this up because I had the second one for review and thought that this looked like a series that I would enjoy. And I did! I can’t wait for the next book. This is an adult romance book, IE an erotica book. The story was interesting and the romance was enjoyable for the most part. Failing or being unwilling to communicate was the biggest problem Haven and Dare faced when wanting and attempting to get a relationship started. Haven’s father putting out a reward for his daughter, who was treated as a prisoner would have been the other problem the couple had to address. 
If you are looking for a good story with sisizzling hot sex scenes that leave you panting for release, then this book is definitely for you!

Always Shine!

DNF Review: The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse

The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse
September 11, 2018 – Tor Teen
320 pgs – Young Adult, Thriller
Source: Off My Bookshelf, Netgalley
Format: Audio

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

 I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded really interesting. But the execution wasn’t. I made it halfway through the book, and yet I am still not sure what is going on. Two people are trapped in a building in the middle of the desert. They are not sure if they can trust themselves, let alone themselves. Every so often, it resets and they have flashes of their previous time being trapped giving them needed information. They are trying to find their way somewhere but they don’t know why. There’s always someone else in the building but never clear who that is. There’s weird creatures out there too. All in all, the ingredients were there for a good read, but I found that I simply wasn’t interested. I didn’t care about the characters or their situation.

Always Shine!

The Way That I Used to Read Vs. The Age of Booktube

First this is not a Booktube bashing post. I am not a booktuber- but I follow so many, that I might as well have my own channel. I even considered it. But changed my mind, it’s too much work for me. But, this morning I was looking at my bookshelves and I was very excited about what I was seeing. I am looking forward to reading every single book on my shelves- even though some of them will eventually be rehomed. Last year, I said it a lot and this year I want to do it- I want to read like I used to. But what does that mean, and why is it so hard to do it?

When I say I want to read like I used to, it is about more than just reading to enjoy reading. Reviewing books is the whole reason I started this blog, and yes when I sit and think about the amount of books that I have for review, I do get a bit overwhelmed. But that’s not the problem. My first instinct used to be let’s go to the library, rarely did I have an agenda or a particular book that I was looking for. I would find the next Kelley Armstrong as a happy surprise, not because I was stalking the websites of Bookstores or because Goodreads sent me an alert.

I wanted to branch out and be a part of a reading community. Not very many people in my life actually read, and those that do I didn’t see often enough to discuss. Or I know that I read across so many genres that I was sure that no one would be interested in my books or what I had to say. So I started watching Booktube videos, and lived in the community vicariously. I felt connected, I had found my people.  But something else happened. My shelves were neglected for the next shiny. I stopped going to the library as much as because I didn’t want to wait in line for the new shiny. THIS IS NOT BOOKTUBE’S FAULT. I am going to buy books regardless, I will always want the latest book, especially those by my favorite authors.

But what Booktube is responsible for is the awareness it has brought to me about all of the good books coming out and already out that I didn’t know about. But that’s sort of its job – to make people aware of the good books out there.

But I want to read off my own bookshelves. I want to read the books I am excited for, and finish up my authors collections that have been neglected. i want to talk to people in real life about the books that I’m reading – I want to find my people  in real life. I can’t go to book conventions- as much as I would like to. I am too old for the exhilaration that is BookCon and BookExpo.

Though it will be hard, and I feel that I may make some people unhappy, but I am stepping away from Booktube, I am no longer going to lurk in the background watching videos. Not because I don’t enjoy the content – I do! I am going to miss the new content that I know is coming, But, because I need to focus on my shelves. I want to get back to reading like I used. Which means I don’t need to know about every book that’s coming out. I need to see what my library has, do surprise trips to the bookstore without an agenda.

I’ll check in with you at the end of this year, and let you know how this year’s reading has gone. Now I need to figure out how to stop those Goodreads alert.

Bye Booktube! It’s been fun. See you  in a year!

Always Shine!