2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge

As a fledgling author, I’m always looking for ways to help me become a better writer. I’m also always looking for ways to give me that creative spark I’ve somehow lost over the years. About a month into 2017 I discovered the Goodreads Reading Challenge and decided to set a very lofty and probably (for me) unreachable goal of 100 books read in 2017.

I’m already way behind. 35 books read out of 100.

It has taken me, on average, about 4-6 days to finish a book. Since I’m mostly reading while walking on the treadmill or for the hour or so before I fall asleep at night, I think this is a pretty decent pace. However, it’s not going to get me to my goal. I am trying to only read books I haven’t read before and are over 300 pages in length. I know I’ll definitely hit 50 books read this year. I might even reach 75, but 100 is going to be really hard to accomplish.

Regardless if I hit my goal or not, I’d still say that the amount of books I’ve read this year (so far) is pretty impressive for someone who works 2 jobs and is trying to finish their degree. I’m proud of my progress.

I am, however, fairly bad at leaving reviews for the books I read. I often rate them when I finish, but I never actually leave a review. So, I’mma fix that here. It’s been months since I’ve read some of these, so apologies if the reviews aren’t very fleshed out or detailed – I’ve read so much this year it’s hard to remember!

Heidi’s List of Books She’s Read So Far

The Legend of Eli Monpress, The Spirit War, and Spirit’s End by Rachel Aaron

The Legend of Eli Monpress is an omnibus collection of the first three books of the series: The Spirit Thief, The Spirit Rebellion, and The Spirit Eater. Since my favorite book ever is The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, I was very eager to dig into this book, as the protagonist, Eli Monpress, seemed quite similar to Lamora. He’s a snarky, arrogant conman thief who travels the country with his swordsman best friend and a mysterious, powerful young woman. The magic system in this world was refreshingly unique (everything, and I mean everything, has a “spirit” and magic users have command over the spirits, provided they build relationships with them first). This series is a super fun read, and I thought it was just as good as The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Black Jewels Series by Anne Bishop

I broke my rule of not reading anything I’ve already read with this series, but for some reason I always feel the need to reread this series during the winter. Something about Bishop’s storytelling in this series makes me feel cozy and warm, like I’m curled up on a comfy chair under a soft blanket next to a fire. I absolutely love the magic system in this series, where the darker the jewel a person wears the more powerful they are. I also love how women hold the most power and rule throughout the world. This is one of those stories where I feel the desperate need to live in the universe, and I will reread it annually just for my love of the world. The story itself is okay, the writing is a bit melodramatic and there’s a lot of really bad misogyny,  but the magic system and worldbuilding just do it for me. I adore this series.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Midnight Sea and Blood of the Prophet by Kat Ross

I subscribe to both BookSends and BookBub, so I end up downloading a bunch of free or cheap books. This is me following the “read the genre you want to write” advice I see constantly. These two books are okay. They’re easy to read, the magic system is interesting (people are bound to what are essentially demons and use their binding to control the demon’s magic), but it feels very novice, like Ross is still figuring out her writing style.  I did enjoy reading them and I’ll definitely pick up the next book in the series, but I find the protagonist, Nazafareen, incredibly annoying.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Lunar Chronicles (Scarlet and Cress) by Marissa Meyer

I read Meyer’s Cinder, first in the Lunar Chronicles, last year and enjoyed it, but it took me a few months before the digital library I use had the next in the series, Scarlet, in stock. Cinder is essentially a retelling of Cinderella, however it takes place quite a ways in the future. The events of Cinder continue into Scarlet, which involves a character modeled after Red Riding Hood, and Cress continues the story with a character modeled after Rapunzel. This series is great. It’s a YA series, so the writing isn’t too deep, but the story has a great pace and Meyer did a fantastic job bringing facets of the fairytale characters’ personalities to life in a really interesting futuristic world.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero

Again, breaking my rule of nothing I’ve previously read, but come on, the movie is coming out later this year. I don’t even need to say anything about how great this book is. If you’ve ever seen The Room, READ. THIS. BOOK. If you’ve never seen The Room, read this book. If you’ve never heard of The Room, read this book. The sheer absurdity of Tommy Wiseau will make you wonder how he isn’t a fictional character, but no. He’s real. This is real. It’s all real. And it’s hilarious and perfect.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This is another book that I hunted down after reading multiple rave reviews, but I just… didn’t care… about it? The pace was glacial, the writing was really bland, and the two main characters just had no personality. I wanted to like this, I really did. But it really fell flat with me and I couldn’t find any sort of connection to the characters or story or setting.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer

Another pull from either BookSends/BookBub that sounded more interesting than it actually was. I don’t remember much about this book, to be honest. The main character, Charlotte, is a necromancer and she’s taken in by some secret society, but then nothing. It was really weak and not memorable, the main character was a bit insipid, and I just didn’t care for the plot or world at all.

Check it out on Goodreads.

Embassytown by China Miéville

Another rule-breaking book, BUT, I did read this for a class. Sort of. I took a linguistic anthropology course last semester and decided a reread of Mieville’s space opera was worth it. I LOVE this book. I’ve read most of Mieville’s catalog and this is quite possibly my favorite (or tied with The Scar). The first time I read this was for fun; this time I looked at it with more of a linguistic focus, specifically around how the language of the Ariekei was forced, made me enjoy it so much more. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Oh boy, do I have thoughts about these. Do me a favor. Go to the Goodreads page for the first book. Read the one star reviews. My thoughts mirror these reviews. I really wanted to like these books, since the idea of the world is interesting, but Kelsea is such a terrible character and everything else about the world bores me. I’ll read the 3rd one because I’m a stupid completionist, but just know I read these with utter contempt. Mostly for myself.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Hanging Tree and Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

I started reading the Rivers of London series last year and absolutely loved them. I think what initially pulled me into the books is the insane level of detail Aaronovitch provides for nearly everything. Peter Grant is probably one of my favorite urban fantasy protagonists simply because he’s not an arrogant show-off. He’s your average bumbling normal nerd who just happens to know magic. I read these two books out of order, accidentally thinking I had read every book in the series but after a chapter of Hanging Tree, I realized I had skipped the previous book. Even knowing how the events of Foxglove Summer before reading, I still loved every moment of it. Quite possibly my new favorite urban fantasy series – and I read a ton of urban fantasy these days.

Check it out on Goodreads.

Hounded and Hexed by Kevin Hearne

To be honest, I only read these because I was told the Iron Druid series is terrible. They’re not that bad, but I do agree with all the complaints about the main character. He’s shallow and arrogant and all around terrible. I do like a lot of the side characters, though, and the mythology is fairly interesting. They’re easy, quick reads that I don’t find sloggish, so I’ll likely continue the series.

Check it out on Goodreads.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

I absolutely loved the first Shades of Magic book, A Darker Shade of Magic. I am always drawn into new magic systems and worlds, and the idea of multiple Londons was so new and interesting to me. The second book, A Gathering of Shadows, was also good, but come on, you don’t name a character Alucard, no matter what. The conclusion to the series was definitely worth reading, but it was no where near as great as the first two books. I wasn’t a fan of the big bad from the 3rd book, but I did enjoy the conclusion. Not the strongest trilogy ending, but overall the series is quite good.

Check it out on Goodreads.

Wounded and Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

“Why do I do this to myself?” is the main thought that runs through my head every time I subject myself to a LKH novel (it’s because I’m a literary masochist). Do not ever read this series. Save yourself. Run away.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Scarlet Thread by D.S. Murphy

I just read this book last month and I honestly cannot recall anything about it. That says everything you need to know. It was free on whichever book list and wasn’t terrible, just not exactly memorable. An easy read.

Check it out on Goodreads.

Borderline by Mishell Baker

I’ve said before, I have been reading an awful lot of urban fantasy these days, and this was a refreshingly new take on the ‘average girl finds out about the supernatural’ theme that’s so prevalent in fantasy these days. Millie Roper is a paraplegic screenwriter who has borderline personality disorder and becomes entangled with a group that helps to protect the Fae in the US. I loved this. I absolutely loved this story. Millie is a strong, intriguing protagonist. Her disability was never portrayed negatively, and she owned up to her mistakes that led to her losing her limbs.  Admittedly, I am not very well versed in  mental disorders and know next to nothing about BPD, but Baker did a fantastic job explaining how Millie’s mental disorder affected her decisions and actions.

Check it out on Goodreads.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

I had heard about this book for a while and finally was able to snag a digital copy from my library. Holy crap. This. Was. Insane. I loved everything about this story (minus those mean old dogs). I read another review that said you just get thrown right into this story and it takes a while before your brain catches up to what you’re reading. That’s so true. I had no idea what to expect when I started this and came to find myself really upset when it ended, because I liked it that much. I loved the main characters (Carolyn, Steve, Erwin especially), I loved the violence, I loved everything. And the lions. I really loved the lions. Not since The Lion King have I felt more attached to two lion characters. I’ve read a lot of really good books this year (and a lot of garbage), but this is hands down my favorite I’ve read so far.

Check it out on Goodreads.

Currently reading:

Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1) by Jim C. Hines

Again with the urban fantasy! If you sense a theme, good on you! I’ve been slowly working on plotting and outlining an idea I had for an urban fantasy series, so I’ve been devouring other stories in that genre for some time. This one is another that I think pushes the norm for urban fantasy. It’s full of literary pop culture references, many that go well over my head, quick wit, and fascinating characters. I’m only about 1/3 of the way through it so far, but I’m enjoying it quite a bit. Will definitely be continuing the series.

When I run, I listen to audiobooks instead of music. I started this one a few weeks before I ran my last half marathon, and I found it really compelling. The audiobook has excerpts of answering machine/voicemail messages left by Clark, which I thought was a neat touch. But the book (which I ended up purchasing) has images, which I thought was more useful for trying to understand the opulence of the Clark family. I made it about 4 hours into the audiobook before stopping, and I haven’t found the time to go back to finish this yet, but I definitely will.

2 responses to “2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge

  1. Just started listening to audiobooks during this summer. I’m currently on my fourth, which is The Night Circus. I’m sad you didn’t like it. But your little review got me thinking about what I have heard so far. Basically nothing has happened and I don’t yet care about any of the characters, even though I am a couple hours in. I think the British accent is deluding me into thinking I like it better than I do… But all the audiobooks (my limited number) all have that slow, meandering, what-does-this-have-to-do-with-the-plot type of writing. Which I find supremely interesting about myself. What exactly dictates me choosing a book in print or on audio? Weird stuff.

    Like

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