Miscellaneous

Picture Books 2016 #2: Quirkiness, Crayons, and the Scientific Method

This review contains spoilers for various picture books.

Full disclosure: I actually read these in the final days of 2015. But they’re being reviewed in 2016, so I think it’s perfectly reasonable to put them under the umbrella of 2016 regardless.

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman

This was an adorable and genuinely funny story about a baby wolf who is adopted by a rabbit family. His elder sister is convinced he’s a threat, but she just can’t get her parents to believe that he’s going to “eat them all up”. The scene that brings the two siblings together, though, is the real gem.

…though you can read some uncomfortable subtext into the wolf’s bunny costume if you’re determined to take it as a metaphor for interracial adoption and find unfortunate implications here.


The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

The illustrations are utterly adorable and ridiculous, and so was the story. It fits perfectly in a world of children who love the quirky humor and art of shows like Adventure Time and Gravity Falls–and since those shows have such a huge periphery demographic, I think that alone implies that (young) adults will get a kick out of reading this with their kids, too.

Honestly, the whole thing is spectacular, and I love it.


This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary

Yeah, I don’t get the hype for this one.  It’s just a girl with an imagination. Straightforward and simple, and while I appreciate the bucking of gender stereotypes, that’s really all it had to offer.


The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt

In the sequel to The Day the Crayons Quit, Duncan gets a series of postcards from his various crayons. They’ve all being doing interesting and amusing things… and I just can’t be fucked to care about this anymore than I did about The Day the Crayons Quit.

It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, and there’s some genuinely endearing bits here… but apparently I just don’t like anthropomorphic crayons. That’s a weird foible to have, I’ll readily admit, but it looks like that’s just the way things are working out. Alas. No more crayon books for me, please.


Mesmerized by Mara Rockliff

I love this one! It’s definitely one of my best books of 2015! It uses the story of Dr. Mesmer to teach children about the scientific method and the placebo effect, and that’s fucking awesome.

I seriously cannot recommend this enough; I’ve never seen a better educational picture book. (…said with sincerest apologies to my beloved Magic School Bus series.)

Looking for a great book for the young reader in your life? Check out these and similar books below!
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Miscellaneous

Picture Books 2016 #1: Dr. Seuss, Interstellar Cinderella, and More

This review contains spoilers for various picture books.

Full disclosure: I actually read these in the final days of 2015. But they’re being reviewed in 2016, so I think it’s perfectly reasonable to put them under the umbrella of 2016 regardless.

I Will Take a Nap! by Mo Willems

Did I just take acid? What the fuck just happened to me? It starts out with the same kind of “let me sleep!” plot line that Goodnight, Already! had, but then this takes a distinct turn for the strange. The illustrations are great, and… I kind of want to just hand this to someone when they’re tripping and see what they make of it. (Is that a odd thought to have?)

…and that’s my roundabout way of saying this was super amusing in the weirdest way.

Otter in Space by Sam Garton

This is a children’s book that apparently ties into the author’s blog, I Am Otter: The Unheard Ramblings of a Modern Day Domestic Otter. I can only imagine this story is more endearing if you’re familiar with that, because as it stands alone… I’m not really affected either way. I’m not interested, amused, put off, or anything. I have genuinely zero opinions about this book and am only left with the sense that I’m missing some kind of context I need to actually enjoy it.

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss

Honestly, the Seuss biography in the back, which included information on his various pets and how this manuscript came to be discovered and published, was more interesting than the book itself. But it’s probably a fun read for an animal lover or a child expecting to get a pet soon. It’s likely the perfect way, in fact, to get a child thinking seriously about what kind of pet they want (and from there, you can do some actual research into caring for their chosen animal before you go out and grab one, unlike the children in this story).

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood

Guys, I genuinely cannot gush about this enough. I don’t give out many five star ratings, but this easily snatches one up for itself.

The art is spectacular, and the concept is great. It’s like a punk-ish space fantasy (Is spacepunk a thing? Can we make it a thing?) with a feminist angle; here we have a fairy godmother godrobot who gives Cindy not a dress and a pumpkin carriage but a space suit and brand-new tools so she can fix her spaceship, stepsisters who are wicked instead of ugly, and a Cindy who she earns the prince’s attention not by being pretty and demure but by rescuing him with a timely spaceship repair. And, perhaps best of all, it bucks the notion that a fairytale’s “happily ever after” must be a wedding (or worse, babies) between a teenage girl and a generic Prince Charming. This whole damn thing is spectacular; this is how you do a feminist retelling of a fairytale. This is pure fucking gold.

The only flaw I can possibly come up with is that a child will likely have to be familiar with the Disney (or Disney-esque) retelling to fully appreciate this. But, seriously, there’s no way to prevent a child from eventually hearing that (and I’d argue there shouldn’t be, since it’s a cultural cornerstone for better or worse), so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Waiting by Kevin Henkes

It’s a super simple story about toys sitting on a windowsill as the seasons–and years, presumably–pass them by. There’s not much to it, but it’s kind of cute and sweet.

Looking for a great book for the young reader in your life? Check out these and similar books below!
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Reading Challenges

2016 Reading Challenges

2016 Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge

The 2016 Hardcore Rereading Challenge is being hosted by Lois Johnson over at You, Me, and a Cup of Tea; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Reread books you’ve already read!
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016
How: Reread physical books or ebooks or “reread” audiobooks to reach your goal. Sign up for the challenge here.
Levels:

  1. Rereading Itch | 0 – 15 books
  2. Rereading Bug | 16 – 25 books
  3. Rereading Fever | 26 – 35 books
  4. Rereading Paralysis | 36 – 50
  5. Rereading Coma | 50+
I’m going to be aiming for Rereading Itch, though I may increase my goal at some point during the year.

  1. Chasing the Dream (Dolphin Diaries, #5) by Ben M. Baglio
  2. Racing the Wind (Dolphin Diaries, #6) by Ben M. Baglio
  3. Following the Rainbow (Dolphin Diaries, #7) by Ben M. Baglio
  4. Dancing the Seas (Dolphin Diaries, #8) by Ben M. Baglio
  5. Leaving the Shallows (Dolphin Diaries, #9) by Ben M. Baglio
  6. Beyond the Sunrise (Dolphin Diaries, #10) by Ben M. Baglio
  7. Meet Felicity (American Girls: Felicity, #1) by Valerie Tripp
  8. Felicity Learns a Lesson (American Girls: Felicity, #2) by Valerie Tripp
  9. Felicity’s Surprise (American Girls: Felicity, #3) by Valerie Tripp
  10. Happy Birthday, Felicity! (American Girls: Felicity, #4) by Valerie Tripp

2016 I Love Libraries Reading Challenge

The 2016 I Love Libraries Reading Challenge is being hosted by the reviewers over at Bea’s Book Nook; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Read library books!
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016
How: Sign up at your blog or make a dedicated shelf at Goodreads or a similar site, and let everyone know why you love your library. Anything you can check out from your library counts toward your goal: physical books, audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, and the like. Then review your books and link them up over at Bea’s Book Nook!
Levels:

  1. Board Book | 3 books
  2. Picture Book | 6 books
  3. Early Reader | 9 books
  4. Chapter Book | 12 books
  5. Middle Grades | 18 books
  6. Young Adult | 24 books
  7. Adult | 36 books
  8. Just Insert IV | 50 books
Honestly, the primary reason I love libraries–beyond the sheer nostalgia of being a member of my local library for literally longer than my memory extends!–is that it’s the only way I can afford to read. When money’s tight enough that having to choose between reading and eating is a real concern, there’s no question that reading isn’t going to win that fight. So libraries are absolutely vital for the underprivileged, as for many of us–at least in America–it’s the one of the only ways we have access to books.

I’m going to be aiming for Just Insert IV this year; I doubt I’ll have any problem. The majority of my reading is from library books (and the rest is by purchasing discarded library books for about $0.10 each from my local branches).

Books Read

  1. Samantha Learns a Lesson (American Girls: Samantha, #2) by Susan A. Adler
  2. Samantha Saves the Day (American Girls: Samantha, #5) by Valerie Tripp
  3. Nellie’s Promise (American Girls: Samantha, #7) by Valerie Tripp
  4. The Curse of Ravenscourt (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #1) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  5. The Stolen Sapphire (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #2) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  6. The Cry of the Loon (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #3) by Barbara Steiner
  7. Clue in the Castle Tower (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #4) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  8. Danger in Paris (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #5) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  9. Danger in Ancient Rome (Ranger in Time, #2) by Kate Messner
  10. Long Road to Freedom (Ranger in Time, #3) by Kate Messner
  11. The Tiara on the Terrace (Young and Yang, #2) by Kristen Kittscher
  12. Don’t Stay Up Late (Fear Street Reboot, #2) by R.L. Stine
  13. Menace from the Deep (Killer Species, #1) by Michael P. Spradlin
  14. Feeding Frenzy (Killer Species, #2) by Michael P. Spradlin
  15. Out for Blood (Killer Species, #3) by Michael P. Spradlin
  16. Chasing the Dream (Dolphin Diaries, #5) by Ben M. Baglio
  17. Racing the Wind (Dolphin Diaries, #6) by Ben M. Baglio
  18. Following the Rainbow (Dolphin Diaries, #7) by Ben M. Baglio
  19. Ultimate Attack (Killer Species, #4) by Michael P. Spradlin
  20. Dancing the Seas (Dolphin Diaries, #8) by Ben M. Baglio
  21. Leaving the Shallows (Dolphin Diaries, #9) by Ben M. Baglio
  22. Beyond the Sunrise (Dolphin Diaries, #10) by Ben M. Baglio
  23. Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian
  24. They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
  25. Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Carles Santoso
  26. Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
  27. A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins
  28. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano
  29. A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers
  30. Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
  31. School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex
  32. Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
  33. The Thank You Book (Elephant & Piggie, #25) by Mo Willems
  34. Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko
  35. Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
  36. Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley
  37. The Runaway Friend (American Girl Mysteries: Kirsten, #1) by Kathleen Ernst
  38. Meet Felicity (American Girls: Felicity, #1) by Valerie Tripp
  39. Felicity Learns a Lesson (American Girls: Felicity, #2) by Valerie Tripp
  40. Felicity’s Surprise (American Girls: Felicity, #3) by Valerie Tripp
  41. Happy Birthday, Felicity! (American Girls: Felicity, #4) by Valerie Tripp

2016 Cloak and Dagger Challenge

The 2016 Cloak and Dagger Challenge is being hosted by the reviewers over at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Read books in the mystery, thriller, suspense, and/or crime genres or any subgenres therein. Novels and novellas count, but no short stories!
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016 | The sign-up period ends on April 15th.
How: Make a goal post and link up here. Tweet your progress and your reviews with #2016CloakDaggerChal
Levels:

  1. Amateur Sleuth | 1 – 10 books
  2. Detective | 11 – 20 books
  3. Inspector | 21 – 30 books
  4. Special Agent | 31+ books
I’m going to be aiming for Amateur Sleuth, though I may increase my goal at a later point in the year.

  1. The Curse of Ravenscourt (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #1) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  2. The Stolen Sapphire (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #2) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  3. The Cry of the Loon (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #3) by Barbara Steiner
  4. Clue in the Castle Tower (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #4) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  5. Danger in Paris (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #5) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  6. The Tiara on the Terrace (Young and Yang, #2) by Kristen Kittscher
  7. The Runaway Friend (American Girl Mysteries: Kirsten, #1) by Kathleen Ernst

What An Animal IX Reading Challenge 2016

The What An Animal IX Reading Challenge 2016 is being hosted by Yvonne over at Socrates Book Reviews; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Read at least six books with an animal in the title, an animal on the cover, an animal playing a major role in the story, or a main character that’s an animal. (Obviously, humans are being excluded from the umbrella of “animal” here!)
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016
How: Sign up over here, and then get reading!
Levels:

  1. Level 1 | 6 books
  2. Level 2 | 7 – 12 books
  3. Level 3 | 13 – 20 books
  4. Level 4 | 21+ books
I’m going to be aiming for Level 1, but I doubt I’ll have any problem reading Level 4.

  1. Danger in Ancient Rome (Ranger in Time, #2) by Kate Messner
  2. Long Road to Freedom (Ranger in Time, #3) by Kate Messner
  3. Menace from the Deep (Killer Species, #1) by Michael P. Spradlin
  4. Feeding Frenzy (Killer Species, #2) by Michael P. Spradlin
  5. Out for Blood (Killer Species, #3) by Michael P. Spradlin
  6. Chasing the Dream (Dolphin Diaries, #5) by Ben M. Baglio
  7. Racing the Wind (Dolphin Diaries, #6) by Ben M. Baglio
  8. Following the Rainbow (Dolphin Diaries, #7) by Ben M. Baglio
  9. Ultimate Attack (Killer Species, #4) by Michael P. Spradlin
  10. Dancing the Seas (Dolphin Diaries, #8) by Ben M. Baglio
  11. Leaving the Shallows (Dolphin Diaries, #9) by Ben M. Baglio
  12. Beyond the Sunrise (Dolphin Diaries, #10) by Ben M. Baglio
  13. Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian
  14. They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
  15. Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Carles Santoso
  16. A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins
  17. The Thank You Book (Elephant & Piggie, #25) by Mo Willems
  18. Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko
  19. Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle

2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

The 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge is being hosted by the reviewers over at Bookish Lifestyle; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Read the books you’ve had sitting around on your shelves. Novellas and short stories count, but 2016 ARCs and 2016 new releases do not.
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016 | Sign-ups close on November 30, 2016.
How: Sign up over here, and then get reading! Keep up with the challenge with #2016TBRPile and follow Bookish to participate in challenge giveaways. Also, check out the schedule on the sign up page!
Levels:

  1. A Firm Handshake | 1 – 10 books
  2. A Friendly Hug | 11 – 20 books
  3. First Kiss | 21 – 30 books
  4. Sweet Summer Fling | 31 – 40 books
  5. Could This Be Love? | 41 – 50 books
  6. Married with Children | 50+ books
I’m going to be aiming for A Firm Handshake, but I’d love to get to Married with Children. I have, after all, way too many books sitting around waiting for my attention!

Books Read:

  1. Meet Samantha: An American Girl (American Girls: Samantha, #1) by Susan A. Adler
  2. Samantha’s Surprise (American Girls: Samantha, #3) by Maxine Rose Schur
  3. Happy Birthday, Samantha! (American Girls: Samantha, #4) by Valerie Tripp
  4. Changes for Samantha (American Girls: Samantha, #6) by Valerie Tripp

2016 New Release Challenge

The 2016 New Release Challenge is being hosted by Lexxie over at (un)Conventional Book Views; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Read books published in 2016. Books must be at least 100 pages long, but may be either physical books, ebooks or eARCs, or audiobooks.
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016 | Sign-ups close on February 15th, 2016.
How: Sign up over here, and then get reading! And you can check out the challenge’s Facebook group over here.
Levels:

  1. New Release Newbie | 1 – 15 books
  2. New Release Pro | 16 – 30 books
  3. New Release Veteran | 31 – 45 books
  4. New Release Enthusiast | 45+ books
I’m going to be aiming for New Release Newbie. I doubt I’ll do any better (I read so few new releases!), but if I do, I may increase my goal later in the year. Really, I’ll just be pleased to get around to any new releases; I rarely do.

  1. The Tiara on the Terrace (Young and Yang, #2) by Kristen Kittscher
  2. Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian
  3. They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
  4. Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Carles Santoso
  5. Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
  6. A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins
  7. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano
  8. A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers
  9. Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
  10. School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex
  11. Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
  12. The Thank You Book (Elephant & Piggie, #25) by Mo Willems
  13. Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko
  14. Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
  15. Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley


2016 Review Writing Challenge

The 2016 Review Writing Challenge is being hosted by Shari and Sophia Rose over at Delighted Reader; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Challenge yourself to write a certain number of reviews in 2016. There are no levels here; choose your own goal!
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016
How: Sign up over here, and then get reading!

My first, ridiculously low goal is going to be twelve reviews, though I hope to increase that (significantly!) before the end of the year.

Reviews of 2016:

  1. Picture Books 2016 #1: Dr. Seuss, Interstellar Cinderella, and More
  2. Picture Books 2016 #2: Quirkiness, Crayons, and the Scientific Method
  3. Picture Books 2016 #3: It’s All About Animals
  4. Picture Books 2016 #4: A Blast from the Past
  5. Picture Books 2016 #5: This One’s For Boo
  6. Picture Books 2016 #6: Dogs, Dogs, Dogs


2016 Blogger Shame Review Challenge

The 2016 Blogger Shame Review Challenge is being hosted by Anna over at Herding Cats & Burning Soup check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Read and/or review any review books that you’ve had for more than six months. There aren’t levels for this one; set your own goal!
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016
How: Sign up over here, and then get reading!

I’m also going to aim for twelve books/reviews with this one, but I hope to do better than that before the end of the year!


2016 I Love Picture Books Reading Challenge

The 2016 I Love Picture Books Reading Challenge is being hosted by the reviewers over at Bea’s Book Nook; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Read picture books! There aren’t any levels here, either; choose your own goal!
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016 | Sign-ups close December 1, 2016.
How: Sign up here and get reading!

I’m going to aim for twenty picture books in 2016; I know I’m at least going to check out the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards nominees when November rolls around, so I shouldn’t have any problem with this.

  1. Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian
  2. They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
  3. Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Carles Santoso
  4. Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
  5. A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins
  6. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano
  7. A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers
  8. Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
  9. School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex
  10. Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
  11. The Thank You Book (Elephant & Piggie, #25) by Mo Willems
  12. Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko
  13. Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
  14. Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley


2016 Horror Reading Challenge

The 2016 Horror Reading Challenge is being hosted by Tracy over at Cornerfolds; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Read and review horror books, audiobooks, rereads, and/or short stories!
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016 | Sign-ups close October 15, 2016.
How: Sign up here and get reading!

  1. Running Scared | 1 – 5 books
  2. Brave Reader | 6 – 10 books
  3. Fearless | 11 – 15 books
  4. Horror Hound | 16+
One of my New Years Resolutions is to increase my horror intake, so this challenge is perfect for me! I’m going to aim for Running Scared first, but I’m tentatively hoping to get to Horror Hound.

  1. Don’t Stay Up Late (Fear Street Reboot, #2) by R.L. Stine

2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

The 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is being hosted by Amy over at Passages to the Past; check it out here. Here’s a quick rundown of the gist:

What: Read and review books from any historical fiction subgrenre from historical romance to historical fantasy to young adult and more!
When: January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016
How: Sign up here and get reading!

  1. 20th Century Reader | 2 books
  2. Victorian Reader | 5 books
  3. Renaissance Reader | 10 books
  4. Medieval | 15 books
  5. Ancient History | 25 books
  6. Prehistoric | 50+ books
I plan to go back through some of the American Girl books in order to review them this year, so I’m adding this challenge to my list! I’m going to aim for Medieval first, but I might keep going past that.

Books Read:

  1. Meet Samantha: An American Girl (American Girls: Samantha, #1) by Susan A. Adler
  2. Samantha Learns a Lesson (American Girls: Samantha, #2) by Susan A. Adler
  3. Samantha’s Surprise (American Girls: Samantha, #3) by Maxine Rose Schur
  4. Happy Birthday, Samantha! (American Girls: Samantha, #4) by Valerie Tripp
  5. Samantha Saves the Day (American Girls: Samantha, #5) by Valerie Tripp
  6. Changes for Samantha (American Girls: Samantha, #6) by Valerie Tripp
  7. Nellie’s Promise (American Girls: Samantha, #7) by Valerie Tripp
  8. The Curse of Ravenscourt (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #1) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  9. The Stolen Sapphire (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #2) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  10. The Cry of the Loon (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #3) by Barbara Steiner
  11. Clue in the Castle Tower (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #4) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  12. Danger in Paris (American Girl Mysteries: Samantha, #5) by Sarah Masters Buckey
  13. Danger in Ancient Rome (Ranger in Time, #2) by Kate Messner
  14. Long Road to Freedom (Ranger in Time, #3) by Kate Messner
  15. The Runaway Friend (American Girl Mysteries: Kirsten, #1) by Kathleen Ernst
  16. Meet Felicity (American Girls: Felicity, #1) by Valerie Tripp
  17. Felicity Learns a Lesson (American Girls: Felicity, #2) by Valerie Tripp
  18. Felicity’s Surprise (American Girls: Felicity, #3) by Valerie Tripp
  19. Happy Birthday, Felicity! (American Girls: Felicity, #4) by Valerie Tripp


Anything Else?

I might add some more challenges to my agenda as the year goes on, and I will be tracking my challenge progress here. So check back during 2016 and see what I’m reading! And, of course, at the end of the year, I’ll be posting a challenge wrap-up.

Miscellaneous

2015 Wrap-Up: Resolutions, Challenge Results, & More!

2015 Bookish Resolutions

  1. Catch up on my ARCs. (And by extension, get my Netgalley up to 80%.)
  2. Focus on reading books that I own; I have so many that they’ve long since overflowed my shelves, so I’d like to read enough of them that I can feel comfortable passing those I no longer want on to other readers. Since I’m an eternal dork, I’m going to be calling this “Project Get Shit on Shelves”.
  3. Write a cumulative 250,000 words (including book reviews, blog posts, journal entries, and fiction).
  4. Read two hundred books.
  5. Stick to my planned posting schedule here at Amara’s Eden. I have specific things planned for specific days, and I’d like to stay on top of that for as long as possible. The whole year, ideally.
  6. Complete both Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 sessions and NaNoWriMo 2015.
  7. Complete at least the lowest level of all reading challenges I’ve signed up for.
  8. Complete the transition from Goodreads to Leafmarks (i.e., finish transferring books, shelves, and reviews once and for all).
  9. Read (and watch?) more horror this year. Horror is far and away my favorite genre, but I don’t intake anywhere near as much of it as I’d like. I think I’d like to make 2015 the year I really delve into the genre!
  10. Read five books published in 2015. I’m always excited when the GR Choice Awards come around, except that always involves me staring at a screen full of books I’ve never heard of, let alone read. I’d like to try to keep up with some trends this year, I think. Maybe check out some 2015 Listopia lists for ideas?

So, How Did I Do?

  1. I utterly failed to catch up on my eARCs this year, though I did read a few. My Netgalley score right now is a truly dismal 20%.
  2. I completely abandoned the idea of “Project Get Shit on Shelves” within the first month of 2015. I read about twelve books that I own (out of fucking thousands), which is more than 2014 but still utterly pathetic.
  3. I think I write about 200,000 words in 2015, almost all of which was actually fiction. It wasn’t the 250k I wanted, but I’m satisfied nevertheless.
  4. I read only one hundred books in 2015 instead of the two hundred I wished.
  5. I utterly failed with Amara’s Eden during 2015. I abandoned my schedule altogether, and the blog went on hiatus for the majority of the year.
  6. I completed both Camp NaNoWriMo sessions and NaNoWriMo 2015, and I was super happy with everything I produced!
  7. I completed at least the lowest level of all my reading challenges in 2015!
  8. I still haven’t finished transitioning my database from Goodreads to Leafmarks. I may resume my efforts to do so in 2016.
  9. I didn’t find the time to get back into horror in 2015, though I did check out some horror movies as part of a Halloween binge. There were some great ones, but I’m still not satisfied with the quantity or quality of my horror intake!
  10. The only 2015 releases I read in 2015 were the Goodreads Choice Awards nominees for the picture book category. Technically, that means I hit this one, but it wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

2016 Resolutions

  1. Get my Netgalley rating above 50%. 
  2. Read at least twenty books I own. 
  3. Read at least one hundred total books. 
  4. Complete at least the lowest level of all reading challenges I’ve signed up for. 
  5. Post at Amara’s Eden at least twice every month. 
  6. Write 750words every day (barring Internet outages). 
  7. Write a thousand words of fiction every day. 
  8. Complete both Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 sessions and NaNoWriMo 2015. 
  9. Write 400,000 total words. 
  10. Finish Sparrow.

Reading Challenges


2015 I Love Library Books Reading Challenge

So, How Did I Do? actual # / goal #

  1. 2015 Mount TBR Reading Challenge | 13 books / 12 books
  2. I Love Picture Books 2015 Reading Challenge | 39 books / 30 books
  3. You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge 2015 | 100 books / 100 books
  4. Hardcore Rereading Challenge | 12 books / 12 books
  5. What An Animal Reading Challenge 2015 | 30 books / 13 books
  6. 2015 Snagged @ the Library Reading Challenge | 75 books / 50 books
  7. 2015 Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge | 10 books / 10 books
  8. 2015 I Love Library Books Reading Challenge | 75 books / 50 books

End of Year Reading Survey 2015

Number of Books I Read: 100
Number of Rereads: 12
Genre I Read the Most From: Middle Grade
Best Book of the Year: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
Biggest Disappointment: Play Dead (A Dog and His Girl, #1) by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens
Most Surprising: The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory
Most Recommended: The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory
Best New Series: Who Could That Be at This Hour? (All the Wrong Questions, #1) by Lemony Snicket
Best Sequel: Power to the Purple (The Ultra Violets, #2) by Sophie Bell
Favorite New Author: Cleveland Amory
Best Book Outside My Comfort Zone: The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory
Most Thrilling: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Most Likely to Reread: The Wizard’s Apprentice (The Keepers, #2) by Jackie French Koller
Favorite Cover: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Most Memorable Character: Polar Bear, The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory
Most Beautifully Written: The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen
Most Thought-Provoking: Zora and Me by Victoria Bond
I Can’t Believe I Waited This Long!: Play Dead (A Dog and His Girl, #1) by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens
Shortest Book: Magic Words: From the Ancient Oral Tradition of the Inuit by Edward Field
Longest Book: Sweet Miss Honeywell’s Revenge by Kathryn Reiss
Most Shocking Book: The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman
Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship: Cleveland Amory and Polar Bear, The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory
Favorite Book from an Author I’ve Read Previously: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
Favorite Book Someone Recommended: Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood
Most Vivid Setting: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Most Fun Read: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
Most Tear-Jerking: The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen
Hidden Gem of the Year: The Wizard’s Apprentice (The Keepers, #2) by Jackie French Koller
Most Infuriating: Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper
Favorite Review of 2015: Claudia and Mean Janine (The Baby-sitters Club, #7) by Ann M. Martin
Favorite Non-Review Post of 2015: My Short Story Experience
Best Event or Meme: Cover Characteristic
Best Moment of 2015: Finally posting again at Amara’s Eden after my long hiatus!
Most Challenging Thing About Blogging or Reading in 2015: Trying to stop procrastinating and to balance reading/blogging with my other hobbies.
Most Popular Post of 2015: The Haunted Playground by Shaun Tan
Most Neglected Post of 2015: I’m back!
Best Discovery: Kindle App for Android (It’s so much better than my shitty Kindle. I can actually bear to read ebooks now!)
Completed Goals and Challenges: See above!
#1 Priority Book(s) of 2016: Zombies: More Recent Dead by Paula Guran, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2014 by Paula Guran, & The Best Horror of the Year Volume 6 by Ellen Datlow
Most Anticipated Non-Debut: The Tiara on the Terrace (Young and Yang, #2) by Kristen Kittscher
Most Anticipated Debut: The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary


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