I had an exceptional year of books read. According to my Goodreads challenge, I read 90 and this doesn’t include the beta reading I did for author friends. I typically read across three genres: Middle Grade (MG), Young Adult (YA), and adult.
By the Numbers
Pages read: 28,001
Average pages per book: 311
Longest book read: HUNGER by Michael Grant (590 pages)
MG books read: 26
YA books read: 44
Full series read: 7
For me, I find that when writing MG (which I was for most of this year), I gravitate more toward YA books for my leisure reads. However, 2021 was a FANTASTIC year for Middle Grade books! So many good ones! A few of my favorites include:
Fright Watch (The Collectors & The Stitchers) by Lorien Lawrence
Amari & the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
Midnight at the Barclay Hotel by Fleur Bradley
Sol Invictus by Ben Gartner
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T Kingfisher
Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko
Much Ado About Baseball by Rajani LaRocca
What Lives in the Woods by Lindsey Currie
The Verdigris Pawn by Alysa Wishingrad
If you’d like to see the full list of the books I read this year, it’s HERE.
What is Children’s Book Week? Directly from the Every Child A Reader site, Children’s Book Week is:
“Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, young people across the country participate by attending events at schools, libraries, bookstores, celebrating at home, and engaging with book creators both online and in person.”
Maybe your kids will come home talking about it and the wonderful new books they’ve had the chance to read or look at. If you visit your local library this week, it’s likely there will be something fun going in honor of Children’s Book Week as well.
Every week is a good week to read to a child, but Children’s Book Week is definitely one not to miss. Enjoy!
Recently, someone asked me if I read every day, and I said, yes.
They seemed surprised. So I asked them if they watched TV or a movie every day.
They said yes, and seemed surprised that I’d ask that.
I said I don’t see any difference between picking up a book and reading for 30 minutes or sitting down and watching a sitcom for the same amount of time. I like to read. I also like to watch TV shows, movies, and other programming. But I usually feel like I relax more when I read.
I don’t think reading every day is strange, just as I don’t think watching TV daily is strange. Or listening to music.
Reading makes me happy (most of the time). So yes, I do read every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
What am I reading right now? The GONE series by Michael Grant. It’s a reread for me, and I’m currently on book three: LIES. It’s a YA series that can be quite disturbing in parts, but it’s one of my favorites because of its complexities.
I have a few other books that I will be starting soon, in particular an ARC that I’m excited to read (keep an eye out for a post about that) and a beta read of an MG book written by one of my critique partners.
If you need me, I’ll be over here writing and always reading.
It’s Halloween week, but I enjoy a good spooky story any time of the year!
I’ve read several fantastic middle grade spooky stories this year, both in print and on my ereader, which include Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko, The Stitchers and The Collectors both by Lorien Lawrence. I totally recommend each and every one.
Here’s my Spooky MG list based on what I currently own and have read this year (it’s in no particular order.) Click on the author’s name to go to their website or book links. Add to your TBR and get ready to enjoy some creeps, chills, and thrills.
The last three in the list are not in the above pic because my copies are digital, but I’m thinking I’d like to add the print versions to my shelves. They’ve all got great covers!
This is just one small list of MG spooky books — there are so many great ones out there! Go visit these authors on their sites, check out their books, give them a read. It’s worth it. Looking for other titles? Head to your local library and ask a librarian for recommendations. Your librarians can help you find the perfect book to fit your mood any day of the year.
I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I did! And if you have any recommendations you want to share, let me know. Tweet me your favorites. Find me talking books, writing, and more on Twitter at: BarbH2014.
I started reading The Shadow War by Lindsay Smith today. I’m about 100 pages in and loving it. This young adult novel is an alternate history story described as:
“Inglourious Basterds meets Stranger Things in this dark and thrilling tale of power, shadow, and revenge set during World War II.“
The first pages completely sucked me in and I’m anxious to see where it’s all going to go. I’ll let you know my final thoughts when I’ve finished. In the meantime, I highly recommend hopping over to author Lindsay Smith‘s site and checking out this book and her other work.
Reading on the weekend is more than just a way to relax, it’s an essential part of my existence. While some people may look forward to heading out to the movie theater on a Friday or Saturday, I begin anticipating and planning my weekend reading around Tuesday morning (usually after a particularly long session completing a freelance project.)
This weekend I’m getting a late start. Freelance commitments, family life, and writing new words in my own WIP, pushed back my weekend reads until now. In addition, I wavered on which book to begin. I seriously was leaning towards rereading Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed trilogy. It’s one of my favorite YA trilogies and if you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it. You can check out my review of the first book here. Angelini’s trilogy focuses on Greek mythology and that seems to be what I’m in the mood for. However, I really wanted to read something that is new to me.
My son left the first three books of the series with me several months ago and they’ve sat there in my TBR pile since. I’m excited to begin reading this series, which means this post will not be much longer. The series begins with The Lost Hero, so keep an eye out here for my review of this first book. I’ve got high hopes for it and am ready to dive in.
What are you reading this weekend? Share the titles and/or links in the comments. I’m always looking to add to my TBR list.
My Goodreads year-in-review tells me I read 44 books in 2018. This is true and misleading. It only catalogs what I tell it and I don’t tell it everything. If you’d like to see what my Goodreads year-in-review, it’s here.
In actuality, I’ve read 50+, I don’t know the exact number because I don’t keep track of all my rereads. You know the ones. Those comfort books you pick up when your life feels wonky, suffocating, bleak, and so forth. We all have those moments and I often deal by escape into a well-worn, many-times-read book.
But I digress. My 2018 Reading Wrap Up features some of my favorite reads of the year and I’m sharing because maybe as you’re putting together your TBR list for 2019, you might want to consider adding one or two or all.
Overall Favorite Book of 2018
Purple Hearts by Michael Grant
Michael Grant’s young adult book Purple Hearts is book three in the Front Lines series featuring Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman. In this alternate history, they are soldier girls of World War II. Author Grant gives readers the chance to see what may have happened if women were allowed to enlist and were drafted to serve on the front lines during World War II. I cannot recommend this series enough. It’s raw and wonderful and my overall favorite book of 2018.
Favorite Author Who’s New To Me
I was perusing the young adult shelves of my local library and I saw The Secret Science of Magic displayed cover out. It grabbed me—the cover, the title, and then the blurb. I liked it so much I checked out Life in Outer Space and then The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, which ended up being my favorite of the three Keil books I read. Her characters are likable, quirky, and I totally recommend checking out author Melissa Keil and her books.
Most Anticipated Releases
Purple Hearts by Michael Grant
The Evolution of Claire by Tess Sharpe
Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts
The three books that I’ve listed as my tops were pre-ordered and anxiously awaited, their arrival date circled on my calendar. While I enjoyed The Evolution of Claire, I loved both Purple Hearts and Of Blood and Bone. The latter two are part of series so I already was invested in the story and characters—and neither disappointed.
Favorite Mystery of 2018
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
I love mysteries. My all-time favorite author is Agatha Christie, known as the Queen of Crime and writer of more than 60 mysteries. When I can get my hands on a new mystery, I’m in heaven. This year, I had the pleasure of reading a young adult mystery that I couldn’t put down because it was that good, that immersive. If you haven’t read One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, do it. And then be sure to make a place on your bookshelf for her second book Two Can Keep a Secret which releases January 8, 2019.
Favorite Re-reads of 2018
As I mentioned earlier, I reread—a lot. And I do have many favorites. However, after much consideration, I decided to list four as my Favorite Re-reads of 2018.
Front Lines (Front Lines series book 1) by Michael Grant
Silver Stars (Front Lines series book 2) by Michael Grant
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Until the End by Christopher Pike
2018 was a good year for reading, amazing new stories alongside old favorites. Just yesterday, two new books arrived that will be part of my 2019 Reading List and I’ve two more new releases arriving in the first week of the new year. Yay!
What was your favorite book you read during 2018? Share the title and author below in comments, please as I’m always looking to add new titles to my TBR List.
The #TBR List — every reader has one. It may be a stack of print novels a combination of garage sales finds, library borrows, and new release splurges. Your TBR (to-be-read) list of books may be list on your Good Reads account or a digital pile waiting on your e-reader. Whatever form the TBR list takes, I personally like to take stock of mine a couple of times a year.
My personal TBR List is a combo of digital reads and print books I’ve bought over the last several months, both new releases and used-book store treasures (that’s how I found my hardback copy of Imzadi).
In no particular order, my current 2018 TBR List is:
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
Hidden Figures by Margo Lee Shetterly
Zoo by James Patterson
Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig
House of Furies by Madeleine Roux
Safe by Dawn Husted
The Woodcutter by Kate Danley
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Imzadi (a Star Trek novel) by Peter David
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (book 3 of The Diviners)
The Library Jumpers series by Brenda Drake
Purple Hearts by Michael Grant (book 3 in the Front Lines series)
This is not an exhaustive list, but these are the books that I plan on reading (hopefully) in the next six months. I find that I’m happiest when I’m actively reading. It makes me a better writer and I actually take more joy in writing when I’m reading. Besides I love stories.
I’d also like to read more mythology this year. I love Greek mythology (Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed series is one of my favorite) but after recently reading Brenda Drake’s Thunderstruck with its Norse mythology, I’d like to learn a bit more about that. I’m going to add Norse Gods by Johan Egerkrans to my list as well.
Currently I’m reading Beyond the Edge of the Map (The Mapmaker Chronicles) by A.L. Tait. It’s the fourth book in this series, a series I highly recommend for mid-grade and YA readers. You can check out my thoughts on books 1, 2, and 3. — spoiler: I loved them all!
What are you reading? What’s your 2018 TBR List looking like so far?
The Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge has just 21 days left (as of this writing).
Never heard of the Goodreads annual Reading Challenge? No worries. It’s pretty simple. It’s free and open to all Goodreads members. All you do is choose or “pledge” how many books you want to read for the year. It can be any amount.
According to the Goodreads Reading Challenge statistics, which I’ve posted above, the average number of books pledge is 45 or a little less than one book a week.
Seems doable, right? For many readers, absolutely!
For others, myself included. I opt for a lower number. And I feel no shame. Pledge whatever you want. Slow reader? Make your challenge 5 or 10 books for the year. If you make that easily, then increase the number in the next year.
My 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge was 25 books. I completed my challenge on November 30. You can see my list of completed books and their reviews here.
In looking over the list, I’ve been trying to decide which one would be my favorite read of the year. There are so many books that I read in the last year that I really, really liked. I’d have to say my absolute favorite on this list is “Silver Stars” by Michael Grant. It’s book two in his Front Lines series.
I also read a middle-grade series written by A.L. Tait, The Mapmaker Chronicles—all three of those books appear in my Goodreads Reading Challenge list. Loved this series and highly recommend it for your young readers.
So what am I reading right now? Well, I’m still working my way through the Harry Potter series. I’m on book two but am first going to finish up reading the new Nora Roberts book “Year One”. As soon as I have “Year One” finished, I’ll post a review—but I’ll tell you right now, I’m LOVING it!
Did you do the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge?
How many books did you pledge?
Did you make your goals or are you still in a race to finish before the clock chimes midnight on December 31?
This weekend I began “The Last of August” by Brittany Cavallaro, the sequel to “A Study in Charlotte” that features Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, teen descendants of the famous Holmes and Watson duo. If you haven’t read “A Study in Charlotte” and YA mystery is your thing — go grab a copy now and read it. You can read my review here. As for the second book, I’m about 100 pages in and it has my attention. Keep an eye for my review sometime later this week.
I also finished “The Firstborn” by Quenby Olson recently. My review is up on Goodreads and I’ll be posting it here on the blog as soon as the book officially releases. I had the awesome fortune to receive an ARC and thrilled that I was able to read it early. It’s releasing May 9, so if Regency romance makes your heart swoon, definitely mark your calendars and get a copy of “The Firstborn”. Visit author Quenby Olson at her website to see what else she’s been up to.
What else is on my #TBR list?
Star Wars AFTERMATH, Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig (bought and waiting for me to dive into)
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (the paperback has been on my shelf for too long!)
Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah (again, bought and need to read soon)
Imzadi (Star Trek: The Next Generation) by Pete David (okay, so I’ve actually read this book three times but I’ve never owned it until now, which is why it’s on my current to-read list)
Cloak of Shadows by C.K. Dawn (on my Kindle app)
Like many of you, I have a few dozen more on my e-reader, including a few books on the writing craft. I’m setting time aside daily to catch up and keep up with the books I want to read. How’s your TBR list for 2017 going? Doing the Goodreads challenge?