First month of a new year and I’m feeling like it was a productive month. I managed to post 7 reviews for ARCs (sure 3 were DNFs but it counts!), I finished my Harry Potter re-read that I started back in October, and I read a surprising amount of poetry. It was a fairly middle of the road sort of month where I didn’t love anything but I didn’t loathe anything either. Hoping I can find some to really love in February. 🙂
Best of the Month: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan ★★★★★
Last month my best of was also a re-read. I only list this one instead of Dark Matter which likely came in second as best of the month because I actually loved this even more than my first read which doesn’t happen often.
Least Favorite: The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici ★★★ The Book of Mirrors was definitely my least favorite. This one is being compared to Night Film and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter but I just do not see it. Don’t compare a book to another big name title just for interest. Never works out.
Biggest Surprise(s): Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire ★★★
You ever read a book and think it’s boring, mediocre, and you’re not quite sure what the fuss is about? Do you ever down the road try to re-read it and end up with vastly different results? That’s what happened with Rosemary and Rue for me.
Awww… my last rundown for 2016! I can’t believe it’s a new year already. But good riddance, I say.
I had kind of a crazy/amazing month in terms of posted reviews for two reasons: 1. I’ve started up a new DNFs in review post called “Life’s Too Short” so those count towards my totals and 2. I’ve dug up an old post style I used to do called Short & Sweet where my reviews are vastly shorter than my typical style. I knew my totals were going to be larger than normal but ddaaaamnnn… I wasn’t expecting 15. lol
Biggest Surprise(s): Wildest Dreams (Fantasyland #1) by Kristen Ashley ★★★★
I bought this on a complete whim for $0.99 and honestly wasn’t expecting to dive into it immediately. This one is very long but well worth it if you enjoy fantasy romance.
I can’t believe November is over. This year has been going crazy slow yet fast at the same time. After Thanksgiving, I took a week off from work just so I could sit at home and be my laziest self possible. I got a fair amount of reading (and listening) done so I consider it a success.
Best of the Month: The Hating Game: A Novel by Sally Thorne ★★★★★
This one was an unbelievable amount of fun. I rarely delve into contemporary romance but this one was a real treat and came at a time when I needed something fun.
Biggest Surprise(s): Heartless by Marissa Meyer ★★★★
After being left less than impressed with Winter, I was a bit hesitant to get my hopes up over this one. Pleasantly surprised to say the least.
Biggest Disappointment: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen ★★½
I had high hopes for this one for a while but kept pushing it off because of all the hype about it. Deciding to finally do a binge read of the entire trilogy now that all installments are out but after the first book I’m rethinking things.
October was all about the horror (and an impromptu Harry Potter re-read). I had a plan for the month and while it wasn’t a 100% success, I’m still pleased with the books I was able to find the time to read. Although I was mega-slacking when it came to actually posting reviews. Oh well, it is what it is.
Best of the Month: The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker ★★★★½
I read The Thief of Always earlier this year and loved it, knowing I wanted to read more of his works. This one popped up on sale yesterday for Kindle and I ended up reading it on Halloween (ending Ominous October with a bang) and WOW. Intense, gruesome, and definitely terrifying.
Least Favorite:Icebound by Dean Koontz ★★★
This one wasn’t terrible, but considering this one my first Dean Koontz I was expecting something far better. Maybe it just wasn’t the best one to read first.. I’ll still be giving him another shot sometime in the future.
Biggest Surprise(s): The Nest by Kenneth Oppel ★★★★ and Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn ★★★★
Both of these were titles I knew little to nothing about going into them. Both left me extremely impressed (and massively creeped out) and seeking out the authors other works.
Biggest Disappointment: The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics ★★
I have some hang-ups when it comes to YA horror but I decided to still give this one a shot. Suffice it to say it just didn’t pan out well for me and wasn’t nearly as creepy as I had hoped.
Didn’t have the best reading month but it was a busy and stressful month and I put in a few long days at the end of the month. Not even worried… just crazy excited for my reading plans for October! All the horror. 🙂
Best of the Month: The New Hunger (Warm Bodies #2) by Isaac Marion ★★★★★
I bought this ages ago and just never got around to reading it. With the third book being published soon I figured it was time I got it done. WHY DID I WAIT??? This was so fantastic and only made me more excited (if that was possible) for the new one, The Burning World.
Least Favorite:The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters ★★
I was super bummed by this one but it just didn’t do it for me. The historical aspect was interesting but failed to pack
the emotional punch I felt it should have.
Biggest Surprise: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★½
Biggest surprise only because I keep expecting at some point to fall out of love with this for some reason. Call me a pessimist. Still loving this one though and will be so sad to see it end. I’ll have to find a new favorite series to take days off from work when my pre-orders come in. 🙂
Biggest Disappointment: The Wolf Road: A Novel by Beth Lewis ★★★
I’d been saving this one because I was thoroughly expecting to adore this one. This one was good, but not nearly as fantastic as I was anticipating.
I’m not sure if I was having issues focusing but I tried listening to this one a least half a dozen times but couldn’t seem to make it past 15 minutes. Not sure if it was the narrator or what but it just didn’t work out.
Best of the Month: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
I’ve fallen back in love with this series. It was rocky for a few installments but things are good now. Just in time to see it all come to an end. *sniff*
Least Favorite: Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac I had quite high hopes for this one since I sure do love my time travel stories. I should have known though… you never compare a book to Outlander. It’s just not a feasible comparison, ever.
Biggest Surprise: The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan
This is one of the more ‘literary’ apocalypse stories and typically that’s never a go for me. Right time, right place or something because this one was a delight to read.
Biggest Disappointment: The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell
This had all the ingredients (haaaa… pun) to be a story that I could adore but NO. no no no no no. Bad. That is all.
Only one! I was really, really looking forward to this one too but it just didn’t work for me.
ARC August Results
I never even mentioned that I was participating in ARC August because I have a hard time committing to reading challenges. If I sign up and commit to read certain books my brain usually always ends up rebelling and I end up failing miserably… and I didn’t want to be like “Well, ARC August was a horrible failure and I read none. Yay me.” But instead! I just pretended to sign up, didn’t tell anyone, and I ended up successfully knocking out 7 from my ARC mountain (8 if you count the one I had to DNF…)
Least Favorite: The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough ★★★
This was an obscure little read and not at all what I was expecting. Beautifully written but I’m not sure I went in with the right expectations.
Biggest Surprise: The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish ★★★★½
HUGE surprise. Huge. I won this in a giveaway and shocked myself by starting it immediately (usually those things tend to gather dust before I give them the attention they deserve) but wow, this was so fantastic!
Biggest Disappointment: The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock ★★½
To say that Donald Ray Pollock disappointed me is quite possibly the most disappointing thing I’ve ever said. Suffice it to say I had massively high hopes for this one and it just didn’t pull through. It happens.
I went on a bit of a graphic novel rampage and I rarely review those so that’s the vast majority of this list. My other reads will (hopefully) get posted in August sometime.
I can’t believe we’re already done with the first month of 2016. Time sure does fly. I’m pretty satisfied with the amount of reading I got done, even with the slump I got into in the last week. I stuck with my goal this year of avoiding Saturday post dates to reduce my stress levels of trying to get a post up every day. I work two jobs at the moment. I have kids. It’s just not feasible, so I’m trying to cut myself some slack. And I successfully kept up with my new, epic reading spreadsheet which TOTALLY helps me stay all organized, thus making these posts all the more easier. All in all, I think January was a success.
Best of the Month: Heartburn by Nora Ephron ★★★★½
I’d been eyeing Nora Ephron for ages but finally took the plunge and oh man… I’m so sad she doesn’t have more novels for me to dive into. I did add all of her non-fiction/memoirs to my TBR though.
Least Favorite: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee ★★
I still don’t know why I picked this one up. I already knew I was going to enjoy it based on the things I had heard, but it was one of those I simply needed to experience it for myself.
Biggest Disappointment: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands #1) by Sarah Fine ★★
I had this series on my TBR for AGES. It was one of those I didn’t understand why I hadn’t read because they seemed like total me books.. but it almost ended being a DNF. I’m a definite black sheep when it comes to this one.
OUCH. December was a super rough month for me and I got very little reading done. Clearly. Not only did I get next to no reading done this month but I only managed to post 5 reviews. The holidays, what can I say. It is what it is.
Another reason for my low book read count this month was my DNFs. Typically when I DNF, I quit super early on so I don’t waste a whole bunch of time. With Fates and Furies and Krampus, I got at least halfway through, and especially with Fates and Furies I spent DAYS on it. Wasn’t worth it, I’ll tell you that much.
Best of the Month: Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker ★★★★★
Don’t you love it when you pick up a book with little to no expectations and it completely blows you away? This ended up being hands down my favorite book of the year. Going to be remembering this one for a long time.
Least Favorite(s): Just Fall by Nina Sadowsky ★★ This was a pretty unremarkable debut mystery that failed to impress me. Enough said.
Biggest Surprise: The Widow by Fiona Barton ★★★★
I was sent Just Fall, this, and one other but because I read Just Fall first my expectations were rock bottom for the rest of them. I was pleasantly surprised by this one, even if the damn blurb references both Gone Girl AND The Girl on the Train. Stahp, publishers, please.
Biggest Disappointment: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer ★★
I’ve been a huge Lunar Chronicles fan from the beginning so I’m not sure if my expectations were off the charts or what but this just didn’t do it for me. At all. Everyone and their dog has loved this so it’s clearly a black sheep situation.
Feeling quite accomplished again, but MAN was it a rough reading month. I had seven 2-star reads in a freaking row. That really discourages you from picking anything up let me tell you. I also took a bit of an unplanned break so didn’t have quite as many reviews. Just wasn’t feeling it. But I just knocked out a review for the first time in a couple of weeks so I’m feeling pretty optimistic that I’ve kicked the slump but fingers crossed anyways.
Least Favorite(s): A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis ★★ This one almost made it into the DNF pile/mountain for the month but I stuck it out only to wish I hadn’t. This one had such an incredibly promising start only to become a massive disappointment after the 15% mark.
Biggest Surprise: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper ★★★★★
I added this one to my TBR after seeing the trailer for the movie. It was one of those that in all reality would have sat on my TBR for ages, however, in an attempt to break my 2-star trend I picked up something wild and random (this book) and oh, wow. Loved this one. I added everything else from this author to my TBR before I was even finished.
Biggest Disappointment: M Train by Patti Smith ★★ Just Kids was such an incredible read so admittedly, it was a hard one to follow-up with anything that wouldn’t immediately be compared. I failed to be impressed at all with this all over the place read.
Plans for December
HOW IS IT ALMOST CHRISTMAS?? If you’re like me and excessively organize your Goodreads shelf, you have a wintery/christmas shelf that I always aim to focus on during this month. So I’ve got a few Christmas-y type reads that I’d like to spend some time on.
There’s also a new bingo card! I’ve made all my picks and I’ve applied my 14 review books to all squares in an attempt to start the year off on a good note. Hopefully I can stick with it. 🙂
How was your November reading month? Big plans for December?