2018 Reading Challenge

Following tradition, the New Year’s not complete without a few resolutions, or for us readers, a new reading challenge!  A challenge to me isn’t to read MORE books, but to be more conscious of my reading. It’s a chance to explore new genre’s or cultures, or a push to read that 500-page book you’ve been meaning to read for the last few years… And while my 2017 challenge was a success with 18/20 challenges completed, I had 16 repeats. 16! So, this year, I’m giving myself 3 repeats to use however I choose, but ONLY 3. My main goal this year is to increase my average length from 308 pages per book to 400, while hopefully checking off a few titles from my backlist TBR. Wish me luck!

2018 Reading Challenge

And for everyone curious to know, here’s a short recap of my 2017 reading challenge.  Quite a few of these were finished in December, but better late than never! For more, check out my 2017 Recap here.


What do you want to read in 2018?


[A Year in Review] 2017 Recap

It’s been a long year, but we’ve finally made it to 2018! I met a lot of my goals this year (reading and otherwise) but I can’t wait to see what the new year has in store. And to think, by this time next year I’ll be married!!

This year I read 255 books and a total of 78,756 pages. While I read 5 more books than last year, my page count decreased by almost 2,000 pages, taking my average length to 308 pages per book. This year, I’m hoping to focus more on my backlist TBR and increase my average length, and if that means fewer books read, then that’s okay. So long as I enjoy what I’m reading, the numbers don’t matter!

Books vs Pages

My top goal for 2017 was to even out my reading map, and just look at it now!! I still read a lot of American YA and European Historical Fiction, but I’m really proud of my work. Though if anyone has suggestions for books set in South America or Greenland (or any empty space you see), I’d gladly take them!

2017 Map ghghg

 Of course my favorite statistic to track is my Library Savings! This year I saved a whopping $4,000!!!! That’s insane!! I’m so thankful to have an amazing library system to support my favorite hobby. I’d never have the opportunity to read like this otherwise!


I also made it my goal to attend more readings about town. Living in Houston, TX, I’m spoiled by 3 independent bookstores, each hosting a multitude of authors every month. In 2017, I had the pleasure of meeting Zadie Smith, Amor Towles, and Lindy West!! I also plan to make blogging more of a priority – it’s a fun outlet, and I miss it!

How was your year in reading?



[TBR List] 2018 Releases

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Broke and the Bookish, we’re sharing our most anticipated reads for 2018. My TBR list is definitely going to take a hit this week – I just hope I can catch up! What will you be reading next year??

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Thunderhead (Arc of the Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman: With the Scythedom corrupted, Citra seeks the ancient Thunderhead, the only being left able to solve the world’s problems – but will they reach him in time? January 9th

A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell #3) by Deanna Raybourn: I can’t wait to see what trouble Ms. Speedwells finds herself in this time! A perfect series for fans of Lady Sherlock. January 16th

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar: A young merchant sells his ship for mermaid, but new dangers are met as he exploits the mysterious creature. January 25th

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert: I’ve listed it before, and I’ll list it again (and again). I can’t wait to read this!! January 30th

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The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale: An enchanting tale of a young runaway who finds refuge at The Emporium, a magical toy shop full of wonders. February 8th

Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2) by Tricia Levenseller: Alosa’s mission takes a dramatic turn as secrets of the sea are revealed. February 27th

The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen: A curious collection of short stories, Andreasen explores the charms of speculative fiction with expertly drawn prose. February 27th

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon: A YA retelling of a beloved classic. March 6th

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The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg LaForge: Set just before the Great War, two lovers seek the comforts of a small English village as an eerie legend shatters their repose. June 5th

The Winter Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden: Both The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower were among my 2017 favorites! August 14th

What are you looking forward to in 2018?


[TBR List] Holiday Shorts

Between last minute shopping and the New Year looming, it’s next to impossible to find time for yourself, let alone time to read. But fear not, I have just the list for you! 10 holiday shorts to spread the Christmas cheer (or complete your Goodreads challenge). Happy Holidays!

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The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffman: A magical Christmas tale the entire family can enjoy.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus by Francis Pharcellus Church: A memorable childhood favorite to get you in the spirit.

Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas Treasury by Louisa May Alcott: A collection of holiday shorts, each with the happiest of endings.

Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien: Whether a LOTR fan, or looking to write a few letters yourself, Tolkien’s collection of letters will leave you utterly charmed.

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The Life and Adventures of Santa Clause by L. Frank Baum: Just how does he fit through the chimney, and deliver all those toys in one night? Leave it to the creator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to share the magic of Santa Clause.

The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke: A beautifully written tale following one of the wise men.

The House Without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock: Written with true heart, ten-year-old Addie Mills try to understand why they can’t have a Christmas tree.

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle: A classic holiday whodunit.

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The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol: A darker take on the holidays, a blacksmith and the devil are in love with the same woman, but who I dare ask, will she choose?

The Chimes by Charles Dickens: A New Year’s companion to A Christmas Carol.

What will you be reading this holiday?


[Top Ten Tuesday] My List For Santa

 Merry Christmas, everyone! This week on Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Broke and the Bookish, we’re sharing a bit of our letters to Santa. Here are the Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings this year:

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert: If Santa were to leave just ONE book under the tree…. Please let it be this one! My most anticipated read of 2018, The Hazel Wood explores a supernatural world where fairy tales live true.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell: Beautiful cover aside, this whimsical collection of fairy tales is written by my favorite BookTuber Jen Campbell, lover of all things curious and fellow champion of magical realism.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: An experimental novel and winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize, Lincoln in the Bardo is an easy win for Santa.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang: The curious tale of an orphan raised by wolves, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is cited as one of the best books of 2017.

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: The wonderfully talented Ms. Arden is coming to visit Houston this January. I’m going to need a book (or two!) for her to sign!

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry: Set in Victorian London, a local vicar and well-to-do widow are brought together as the mythical Essex Serpent awakes, stirring an ethical and mortal panic. With its graceful prose and beautiful cover, I’d be ecstatic to find this one under the tree.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins: It’s a wonder I haven’t read this one yet. Santa help!

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Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien: A beautiful story of family and courage, I’d love the chance to finish reading this one (hint, hint…)

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn: Last but not least, a series collection I’d love to have in my library. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting the feisty Ms. Speedwell, I highly recommend it!

What’s on your list to Santa this year?


[TBR List] Winter 2017

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, we’re sharing our Winter TBRs. We’re down to the wire, but I can’t help but skip ahead to 2018 releases, The Hazel Wood especially!

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The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson: If The Maze Runner and Hunger Games had a baby in the snow-covered Yukon, you’d probably get something along the lines of The Wolves of Winter. Okay, so I’ve already read this one, but I just couldn’t wait! Just trust me, it’s amazing!

A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock #2) by Sherry Thomas: Charlotte’s become a great success, using her time away from Society to solve the unsolvable, but stakes are heightened when her brother is reported missing and a mysterious body unsurfaced.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer: A new series by Marissa Meyer – I’m already hooked!

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert: One of the most anticipated novels of 2018, The Hazel Wood brings the Hinterland to life, a cruel supernatural world where fairy tales ring true.

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The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand:  A modern day retelling of A Christmas Carol turns the beloved classic upside down when a young scrooge refuses to change and becomes the Ghost of Christmas Past.

The English Wife by Lauren Willig: From the author of Pink Carnation, The English Wife brings the New York Gilded Age to life as long held family secrets lead to murder.

Shatter (Glitter #2) by Aprilynne Pike: What can I say, I’m a sucker for Versailles!

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman: With the Scythedom corrupted, Citra seeks the ancient Thunderhead, the only being left able to solve the world’s problems – but will they reach him in time?

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Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda: Blamed for the accident, Jessa is surprised when her ex-boyfriend’s family asks her to help with his room. Packing his things, remembering their time together, she slowly realizes how little she knew him as new secrets emerge. Of course, with Miranda at the wheel, anything is possible.

The Winter Station by Jody Shields: No TBR is complete without some sort of historical fiction. Set in 1910, during the last days of imperial Russia, The Winter Station follows the collapse of the monarchy as members find themselves torn between duty and compassion.

What will you be reading this winter?


[Short Reviews] 2017 Fall Favorites

Tomorrow I’ll post my Winter TBR, but first I need to share my fall favorites! I can’t believe fall has already come and gone! It’s been a busy couple of months, but thanks to an endless supply of reading, I’ve been happily distracted. 🙂

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The Girl in the Tower (The Bear and the Nightingale #2) by Katherine Arden: A mixture of Russian folklore and history, it’s no surprise that The Bear and the Nightingale is my new favorite series. Cast out by her village as a witch, Vasya decides to turn lemons into lemonade as she explores the world beyond, battling savage bandits and guarding innocent children… all while keeping her gender secret. A force to be reckoned with, Vasya proves female characters are far deeper than their romantic dreams. (5 Stars)

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter: Following a Polish family separated by war, We Were the Lucky Ones is a heartbreaking tale of love and sacrifice.  A perfect read for any World War II reader. (4 Stars)

Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco: Attending one of the most astute schools of forensic medicine, Audrey struggles to prove herself equal in a male-dominated classroom while a copy-cat murder brings ancient lore to life. Sadly, after an endless game of cat and mouse, the hype won out on this one, but it’s always a pleasure visiting the charming Mr. Cresswell. (3 Stars)

Ancient Brews: Rediscovered and Re-Created by Patrick E. McGovern: Combining the worlds of history and beer, Ancient Brews proves dreams really do come true.  (4 Stars)

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter: Another wild ride from the queen of thrillers! Be sure to check out the prequel Last Breath too. (4 Stars)

The Changeling by Victor LaValle: A modern day fairy tale set in the wilds of New York City, The Changeling is entirely out of the norm, mixing parental anxieties with the haunting secrets we keep from those we love best. (5 Stars)


The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman: The Aunts are no doubt the secret stars of Practical Magic, full of wisdom and mischief, who could deny their charm? I’m so glad Hoffman finally decided to share more of their story! (5 Stars)

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout: This is a book for anyone and everyone. Full of hope and second chances, you’ll find a very different novel than its predecessor, My Name is Lucy Barton. (4 Stars)

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Vengeance Road & Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman: A mysterious gunslinger, hidden gold, and cowboys galore – Vengeance Road is a hidden gem! I can’t believe I waited so long to read it! (5 Stars)

The Empress (The Diabolic #2) by S. J. Kincaid: For anyone in ACOTAR withdrawal, I might have found your next series… if you’re not reading it already. (4 Stars)

Ringer (Replica #2) by Lauren Oliver: Picking up where Replica left us, Gemma’s finding it impossible to go back to normal life – and how could she, with everything she knows now!? With a new cast of characters and darker secrets, it’s going to be another long wait for the next one! (4 Stars)

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell: It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but her mother Laurel has never given up hope. A parent’s worst nightmare come to life, Then She Was Gone will leave you in suspense as the mystery falls closer and closer to home. (4 Stars)

What did you read this fall?


[TBR List] Fall 2017

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, it’s all about Fall TBRs. That’s right! In t-minus 3 short days, it will officially be FALL! Can you tell I’m excited? There’s nothing better than sipping a pumpkin spice latte with a new book in hand. And while summer may have been the season of over-hyped books, fall is the season of sequels – it’s just the cure we’ve been waiting for!

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When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter (September 12th): A dark, brooding sibling haunting his surviving siblings… perfect for a pre-Halloween read. While I didn’t exactly love Vassa in the Night, I’m ready to give Sarah Porter another chance.

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco September 19th): The highly-anticipated follow-up to Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey flees to Romania, home to one of Europe’s most astute schools of forensic medicine. But, of course, trouble seems to follow as rumors of copy-cat rumors spread.

Ringer (Replica #2) by Lauren Oliver (October 3rd): Picking up where Replica left us, Lyra and Caelum are struggling to understand life outside the institute, while Gemma’s father is hatching new devious plans to continue his studies… can Gemma warn them before it’s too late!?

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (October 10th): A prequel to Practical Magic – need I say more??

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Into the Bright Unknown (The Gold Seer Trilogy #3) by Rae Carson (October 10th): With their fortune made and her fiancé Jefferson at her side, Leah Westfall finally has it all, until her magical ability lures a dangerous billionaire with incurable greed.

Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy by Damaris Phillips (October 17th): I LOVE Damaris Phillips. Anytime she’s a judge, I’m guaranteed to watch – it wouldn’t even need to be a cooking competition.

Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire (October 31st): Just in time for the holidays, Maguire weaves his magic once again as he explores the origin of the legendary Nutcracker.

The Empress (The Diabolic #2) by S.J. Kincaid (October 31st): It’s finally a series!! Nemesis and Tyrus are so the new Feyre and Rhysand.

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Otherworld by Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller (November 7th): A brand new YA series by Jason Segel, better known for How I Met Your Mother. Otherworld is the next phase of reality as technology takes over the world.

Artemis by Andy Weir (November 14th): Thanks to Net Galley, I got to read this one early! There’s no doubt about it, Jazz Bashara is a criminal, but only with the best intentions. Cornered by debt and living in a teeny tiny bunk on the moon, Jazz reluctantly takes an offer she can’t refuse… only catch, she’ll be sent back to Earth, penniless and alone, if she’s caught. A high-stakes, space adventure you won’t be able to put down – it’s THE book this fall!

What’s on your TBR this fall?


[Short Reviews] July Reads

Lately, wedding planning has taken over – it’s a lot of work! Between reading reviews and the endless stream of phone calls, there’s hardly any time left for reading. Thank goodness for audiobooks and a long drive home!

July Favorites:

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Borne by Jeff VanderMeer: A top-secret mega-lab loses control of the city to a giant flying bear of their own creation while the population ekes out by scavenging the wreckage. It might sound crazy, and you would be right – but it works! Here, VanderMeer tops Area X by throwing a striking cast of characters into a dangerous new world, making Borne one of the most unique and memorable stories of the year. (5 Stars)

The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein: In 2147, teleportation has taken the world by storm and become THE means of transportation – except it’s not so much teleportation as it is cloning, a secret Joel Byram knows all too well. A smartass who spends his days outsmarting apps with one-liners, he’s not exactly the hero we asked for, but lucky for us, he’s just the man for the job. Inventive and wildly entertaining, The Punch Escrow is a perfect mix of Dark Matter’s collusion and The Martian’s witty science. (5 Stars)

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Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton: While a work of fiction, Soldier Boy is never far from the truth, following the true story of Ricky Richard Anywar from his abduction in 1989 to his coercion into guerilla warfare. An inspiring story of survival and hope, Hutton captures the human spirit while giving voice to those to often forgotten. (5 Stars)

Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt: Imagine waking to an abandoned field, with no memory of how you got there – and then add the fact that you’re in Germany during World War II. This is where we find Owen, a young English soldier who barely remembers the start of the war. A compelling take on the classic WWII melodrama, his story will have you flying through the pages as he pieces together the story of his life. (4 Stars)

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Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed: Melamed’s haunting debut is the perfect study on life within a cult. Following a radical society on the brink of revolution, the first half of Gather the Daughters read similar to Hunger Games – a group of children desperate for change but nowhere to go as the world around them burns in the fire… but reading on, it’s undoubtedly more akin to Summerisle of The Wicker Man. (4 Stars)

A Panicked Premonition by Victoria Laurie: Getting to the 15th book in any series is always a bit daunting, the story stales, characters get repetitive, and you might be asking yourself – did I already read this one? But, I’m happy to report, this is not the case with Laurie’s Psychic Eye series! When her friend Dave is simultaneously abducted and framed for murder, it’s up to Abby and her crew to save the day. (4 Stars)

What did you read this month?


[New Releases] July 2017

July is going to be a GREAT month for reading! From YA, to historical fiction, to new dystopian sci-fi… there’s a new book for everyone this month. I could go on and on for days, but I finally narrowed it down to the 8 releases I’m most excited for – I can’t wait to dive in!

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Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt: Injured and confused, a man wakes amid a deserted field to find himself at war in a foreign country, with no memory of ever leaving England. A compelling new take on the standard WWII novel, Devastation Road is sure to captivate readers from page one. (July 3rd)

A Panicked Premonition by Victoria Laurie: My favorite guilty pleasure series, Laurie takes it to new heights this year when Abby’s husband and business partner are framed for murder. (July 4th)

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons: A hard-hitting novel depicting a young African-American woman’s coming of age, What We Lose is reviewed by many as THE debut novel of the year.  (July 11th)

When the English Fall by David Williams: In the wake of a catostaphic solar storm, modern civilization has completely collapsed, but where the English have failed, the Amish have thrived, surviving off their well-stocked larders and supplies. A thought provoking study on human nature, When the English Fall explores the impossible choices of a nonviolent community suddenly threatened. (July 11th)

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Domina by L.S. Hilton: An enticing follow-up novel to Maestra, Judith’s misadventures continue as her crimes suddenly catch up to her disguise. (July 11th)

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter: Karin Slaughter’s done it again! Twenty-eight years after the murder of her family, Charlotte returns home as a new nightmare emerges, revealing the shocking truth behind her family’s destruction. (July 13th)

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol: Arianwyn is doomed – after flunking her witch’s assessment, she’s sent to a small town in disgrace, crushing her dreams of one day becoming a real witch. With a mysterious, magical threat at bay, she’ll need all the magical help she can get to save the day. Reminiscent of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, I have to check this one out! (July 25th)

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed: Described as Never Let Me Go meets The Giver, Gather the Daughters is a haunting debut following a radical society on an isolated island – and the women who rule it. (July 25th)

What will you be reading?