2021 & 2022 Reading Challenge discussion

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ARCHIVE 2016 > SpEx's 116 in 2016

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message 1: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt (last edited May 15, 2016 12:55PM) (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments I'm aiming for 116 books this year, an increase from 16 last year. I'm going to end up overcommitting to challenges again and not finish any which is very much what happened in 2015 but the goal is to just keep reading!

Book Total 37/116
Page Total 12,597/35,000

Total written by women 17

Short Book (less than 200 pages) 13
Medium Book (201-400 pages) 15
Long Book (401-700 pages) 5
Doorstopper (Over 701 pages) 4


Kadijah Michelle (kadmich) | 2176 comments Stefani, keep making those goals. This group doesn't keep score! We only want you to read more.


message 3: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Good luck with your reading goals, Stefani! I can feel myself overcommitting to challenges already, but it's all part of the fun. :)


message 4: by Jackie B. - (new)

Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku (reiwing2040) | 1343 comments I totally over committed already to 2016, but I'm happy with it. Don't be afraid to push yourself. Like you said, just keep reading!

Good luck!


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 1. Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz.

★★★☆☆

416 pages

This was a really good ending to a very enjoyable series. The books in all have been a little predictable but very fun. This was the first book that I've felt a sense of danger reading it. The stakes were definitely raised here and one of my favourite characters ended up paying the price.

I'm glad that Smithers made an appearance because I've always loved him although I wasn't particularly happy about where his story went.

The ending was sad but fitting.


message 6: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt (last edited Jan 08, 2016 03:36PM) (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 2. The Fade Out, Vol. 2: Act Two by Ed Brubaker.

★★★★☆

120 pages

This volume is definitely a slower burn than the first but it benefits from that. We get to see the stories of some of the other characters and the main storyline develops slowly.

Every volume, no page, no panel, of this comic is wonderfully illustrated. The characters are all distinctly different. The colours, oh the colours, I could drool at anything that Elizabeth Breitweiser colours for years. She takes things that are wonderfully drawn and fully brings them to life. I never understood the importance of a good colourist until I started reading The Fade Out and Velvet.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 3. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan.

★★★☆☆

800 pages

I'm very torn over this book. On one hand I liked it, the characters were fun and they felt pretty realistic to me even though they were often pretty whiny. I really wanted to love this book. On the other hand I'm not really sure what happened for most of the book. There were hundreds of pages of not a lot, followed by a few pages of very repetitive rushed action.

When I finished it I was pretty confused at the ending, it was a lot of too quickly completed wrap up word vomit. It was just too easy.

I think I'll probably continue with the series for now, mostly because I hate leaving things unfinished (yep I shouldn't have started this).


message 8: by Megan, Challenges (new)

Megan (lahairoi) | 6306 comments Congrats on finishing your first books in 2016!


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments Thanks Megan!


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 4. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.

★★★★☆

336 pages

There was a very specific line in this book that hooked me. I went into this book not really knowing much about it so when I reached the end of chapter two I was blown away by this line:

Of all of them there at the bar that night, the bartender was the one who survived the longest. He died three weeks later on the road out of the city

When I first read that line my heart skipped a beat. What an incredibly gripping line, it reeled me and and kept me ensnared throughout.

The rest of my review is at SpEx Reviews


message 11: by Megan, Challenges (new)

Megan (lahairoi) | 6306 comments Stefani - SpelingExpirt wrote: "4. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.

★★★★☆

336 pages

There was a very specific line in this book that hooked me. I went into this book not really knowing much about it so w..."


I loved that book! I want her to write a sequel so badly!


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments I really, really don't want a sequel. I loved the book and if there was another I'd read it but I hate that too many books now are being stretched into a series. I like that the ending was pretty open.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 5. The Queen by Kiera Cass.

★★☆☆☆

72 pages

I am so annoyed at this novella. The relationship between Amberley and Clarkson is genuinely one of the most unhealthy relationships I've read. I mean it isn't quite Edward/Bella level but it's pretty far up there.

She spends the whole book insanely in love with an asshole prince she's only seen on TV. He's an asshole because his parents have an even more unhealthy relationship than he's creating.

He spends the entire book testing her to make sure that she's the docile little future princess he needs. Tells he her would like her hair short as a test to see whether she'd chop it all off for him. And of course she does it.

I hate them both which is such a shame because Amberley is such an amazing mum to Maxon and I genuinely liked her before this.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 6. The Prince by Kiera Cass

★★★☆☆

64 pages

I definitely prefer this to The Queen. It was nice seeing things from Maxon's point of view, especially seeing how nervous he was and how he instantly liked America.

Quite sad seeing how Maxon's asshat of a father thought of America from before she even arrived.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 7. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R Carey

★★★★☆

460 pages

This is one of those books that I think should be gone into completely blind. Don't read anything about it, don't research what the book is about at all. Just pick it up and immerse yourself fully in it.

This book truly blew me away and I loved it.


message 16: by Megan, Challenges (new)

Megan (lahairoi) | 6306 comments Stefani - SpelingExpirt wrote: "7. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R Carey

★★★★☆

460 pages

This is one of those books that I think should be gone into completely blind. Don't read anything about it, don't rese..."


I completely agree!


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 8. Queen by Aimee Carter

★★☆☆☆

282 pages

Queen is a classic example of a YA dystopian trilogy ailing to live up to the hype of the first book.

Pawn was never going to be held up as a literary masterpiece but it took an intriguing idea and built on it to create a quick and fun read that was truly interesting.

The very idea of being masked and having to live your life pretending to be someone else was one that Carter tackled pretty well and she made me genuinely excited to read the other books.

Captive was definitely a let down after that but there was still enough there to stay with the series.

Safe to say that I'm glad that Queen is the end of the trilogy because while I enjoyed the ending the rest had me half bored to tears.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 9. Harley Quinn and Power Girl by Amanda Conner

★★☆☆☆

152 pages

A little while ago in the Harley Quinn comics we had the arrival and subsequent adventures of Power Girl. The worked quite well together because Harley is, well she's Harley, and PG is an upstanding superhero with morals and seeing them riff off of each other was fun.

This was less fun than in the Harley comic but that was mostly the setting. I just didn't care about it.

In all honesty if Harley wasn't on my pull list which meant that automatically put this aside for me and I was too lazy to take it off I probably never would have read it.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 10. Batgirl, Vol. 2: Family Business by Cameron Stewart

★★☆☆☆

168 pages

I became a huge Batgirl fan when Gail Simone was writing it. It was dark and fun at the same time. I kept with it when she left because I'd grown to really love Babs.

I even stuck with it throughout one of the most horrific transphobic story lines ever because the writers seemed genuinely horrified that they'd caused offence and they promised to learn and grow from that.

Despite that I feel like I've finally reached my limit. I am just so damn bored. I miss my Babs.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 11. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

★★★☆☆

705 pages

I thought this book was a good continuation of the series so far. It carried on well with the existing characters as well as introducing new ones that already seem as at home in the books as the ones from book one.

I do feel like as is standard for many fantasy novels it took many words to say what a few would do but I mostly don't have any complaints. The book was just fine. It was enjoyable but not earth shatteringly amazing.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 12. Dubliners by James Joyce

★★☆☆☆

279 pages

I feel like I should have appreciated this book more, and I can appreciate how important it was at the time, but it just really wasn't for me. I got bored.

The characters didn't grip me and the glimpses into their lives didn't interest me.

I feel like if I had grown up in RoI or was living there when this book was written then I would be able to get this collection of short stories but instead I just wanted it to be over.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 13. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

★★★☆☆

624 pages

I am enjoying this is just isn't earth shatteringly amazing. Two of my usual favourite characters spent the whole thing annoying me while a character I used to dislike started to really grow on me.

I'm glad that it focuses on all the characters rather than just Rand and I'm hoping that in future books they mix the characters up with other ones. I'm bored of the girls together and would definitely like to see them separate and adventure with others.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 14. The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

★★★☆☆

1007 pages

I'm so glad they separated the two characters that I liked but were bickering all the time. I am liking that the series started kind of like the main character with a few of his friends as side characters but has branched out.

It's now more like one main storyline but with all these connected stories making it up. We finally get more focus on the side characters, it has been steadily increasing over the last few books but this is the first book that really felt like all the characters were equal.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 15. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

★★★☆☆

325 pages

I like unreliable narrators, really like unreliable narrators, and this book is full of them. Every single narrator is a raving lunatic, very stereotypical and not at all nice.

I liked the book but I wasn't blown away by it. From reviews I thought I would either love it or hate it but I'm sitting firmly on the fence.

The story has its tense and good moments but it also has a lot of boring bits that drag out. I wanted to strangle every single character and yell at them a lot.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 16. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

★★★☆☆

441 pages

I love the premise of this book and reading it while loved up makes it an even better read. The story is interesting and although as predictable as a lot of YA bits there were moments when it actually shocked me.

Lena was predictably annoying, there were a lot of moments where she would go back on something she said she believed with her whole body and soul just moments later.

The amount of times God was brought up made me roll my eyes a lot.

There was one thing in this book that made me so incredibly happy. This is a YA dystopia with no love triangle. Yes, you read right. A whole YA dystopia without a silly little love triangle!! About bleeding time!


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 17. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

★★★☆☆

375 pages

This book was better than the first one. While the first one was a weak three stars this one could have almost made it to a four had it not slipped up in a few vital places.

I loved that it switched times between directly after the events of the first, although annoyingly the story isn't finished, and months after that when Lena is helping the Resistance.

Both of these stories is fascinating and contributes not only to the wider storyline but also the character development.

I liked all of the new characters and Julian grew on me despite acting like he was 14 for most of the book.

However there are definitely a few reasons this book just did not work for me.

(view spoiler)


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 18. The Fade Out, Vol. 3: Act Three by Ed Brubaker

★★★★☆

128 pages

This series has been one of my favourites. Brubaker creates this realistic scenario with the most screwed up characters. Every panel feels like we could be there, it just feels real. Like it happened.

The final issue did feel a little rushed through but that's the only complaint I have for an otherwise wonderful series.

I could gush about this but I couldn't put into words how good a read this is.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 19. Lazarus, Vol. 4: Poison by Greg Rucka

★★★★☆

160 pages

This world guys. This world.

The thought and planning that goes into a world like this just astounds me. Getting an insight into all the different families and how they operate at the end of each issue is fascinating.

This volume hasn't been my favourite so far but I just love how in depth the world goes. Forever is one of my favourite characters in comics so far.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 20. Roche Limit Volume 2: Clandestiny by Michael Moreci

★★☆☆☆

132 pages

To be honest I was just bored. I only carried on reading because I'd forgotten to take it off my pull list. I really wish I'd remembered.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 21. Requiem by Lauren Oliver

★★★★☆

391 pages

It seems like a lot of people really hated this book. I mean I get it, I can see why.

The ending it what seems to be pissing people off the most but it's what I loved the most.

I like that there is no wrap up ending, we're left to decide for ourselves where the story will go. Life has no wrapped up happy endings, it's uncertain and unpredictable and that's what I like from my book endings.

What I liked less was the romance, which I expected. I despise love triangles. YA is littered with them and they are very rarely done well.

In this series the problem is that Lauren Oliver spends the first book making us fall in love with Alex then spends the second book turning Julian from this whiny little boy into someone we could love. Then she throws them both together, turns Alex into a mean man and Julian into a someone with no personality and expects us to care.

I just didn't care.

Hana's chapters were actually the best. Seeing the cure through the eyes of someone like Hana was interesting. I liked seeing that some emotions were just gone but others lingered, it really added to the story.


message 31: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Great job, Stephanie! I recently realized that I need to start over and read the Wheel of Time series from the beginning - it's been too long since I read The Dragon Reborn. Maybe that will be next year's project!


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments This is my first read through of the series. Enjoying it so far.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 22. Wayward, Vol. 2: Ties That Bind by Jim Zub

★★★★☆

136 pages

I love this comic's stupid face.

Volume One does a couple of unexpected things and then volume two? Well that just asks us what we think we know about this series and then does everything the opposite.

The art, the backmatter, the story. Eurgh. Just love it.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 23. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Days by G Willow Wilson

★★★★☆

120 pages

The first few issues of this volume were good but not great. That ending though. Jeez. Way to suckerpunch my emotions. I can't even say all the things that killed me without spoilers. Safe to say this is still my favourite superhero comic.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 24. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen

★★★★☆

200 pages

I did not like the guest artists. Sure some of them were really good but some of them were just not my cup of tea. I just really missed Jamie. Overall the story was good and I like where it's going. No one feels safe and yet we're getting to know some of the other characters which I really liked.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 25. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

★★★★☆

374 pages

I have been putting off reading this book for such a long time because I thought it was going to be an inevitable disappointment. I love geeky things, I love gaming, I felt like this could be my book. Except I was born about 10 years too late. I just kept putting it off and putting it off.

Well damn you former me. This book is incredible and it could have been in my life sooner if you'd just sucked it up and read it.

The main character, Wade, is overweight and spotty and just generally a loser who spends most of his time in the virtual world of Oasis. So a real person for once instead of the super gorgeous sex studs that are the main characters of every other novel out there.

The 80s references were perfect, there were definitely a few that went over my head but there were plenty of non-80s references in there too. Whedon references that were made for someone like me.

The main characters were all believable and definitely the type of people you would find roaming virtual worlds. The baddies added real suspense. A capitalist corporation out to take away the wonderful world created and block everything behind subscriptions and paywalls. Anyone who's played a game recently knows that's what we already face, even just in mobile games.

I was pulled in by the quest for the egg and all the challenges Wade and his friends had to face in the hunt. This is one book where I actually can't wait for the film, I look forward to seeing this immersive world on the big screen.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 26. The Elite by Kiera Cass

★★☆☆☆

336 pages

This entire book is just the damn love triangle. I hate love triangles. Like can someone please just write me one damn YA series without a bleeding love triangle. I want to scream from the rooftops every single time.

Every couple pages America decides she loves Aspen and then switches to Maxon. This is based entirely on who she's seen recently, who has paid her more attention or who she's had a pathetic argument over ridiculously petty and insignificant things with.

I hate America.

I have never hated a YA heroine more than I hate America. Just make up your damn mind, pick a bloody boy and stop ruining everyone's life.

Some stuff happened with attempts at world building but mostly they were rubbish.

Also Maxon's dad is an ass. I'll never understand why Amberley could love him so much, even after reading the short story about them.

The small glimpses we had into other characters were good. I much prefer the other Selection girls and the maids to America and her indecisive shitty ways.


message 38: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt (last edited Mar 24, 2016 05:02AM) (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 27. The Guard by Kiera Cass

★★☆☆☆

64 pages

Aspen is such an idiot.

I like pre-selection Aspen.

He seemed genuinely in love with America and I can understand why he pushed her to apply for the selection. But to then turn around and demand her love back after breaking her heart?! Get lost dude.

Stop bitching about Maxon behind your back, that dude is your prince. You don't know him. You're just a jealous little boy who refuses to grow up. Instead you just constantly risk the life of the girl you supposedly love? Jog on mate.

And America, shame on you. You claim to have feelings for Maxon but you just let Aspen shit all over him and never stick up for him. Grow a damn backbone and leave the stupid boy who broke your heart alone.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 28. The Favorite by Kiera Cass

★★☆☆☆

120 pages

Am I missing something? Can someone please explain to me how if a book is billed as 2.6 is contains spoilers for book 3? Can someone please explain how when you look at the order of the series it lists this book as before The One when it contains some pretty big freaking spoilers for The One?!

Screw you Kiera Cass, screw whoever decides how these get listed and screw whoever did the actual listing.

If I'd read this after The One I think I would have really enjoyed it. It was nice to take a break from America and all her whining about which boy she loves at that second. Marlee is one of the most interesting characters and getting an insight into how she fell for Carter and her life after being found out was really interesting.

But those damn spoilers? FS Cass. FS.


message 40: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt (last edited Apr 04, 2016 05:14PM) (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 29. The One by Kiera Cass

★★★☆☆

323 pages

I don't even know where I stand on this book. Definitely better than the last one but still a very weak three stars.

When I switched off my brain and ignored the casual misogyny and the fact that America is just an awful person stringing along two boys then I could let myself be drawn in by the ridiculous plot, or lack thereof.

It just isn't great. It's full of plot holes and cliches and yet I just can't stop reading it.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 30. The Heir by Kiera Cass

★★★☆☆

342 pages

This is back to a strong three. I quite enjoyed this one. Just as many cliches as usual but I liked the characters more. Eadlyn is annoying but not as bad as America, just a typical spoilt rich girl. I really like the boys, much more than I liked Maxon and that annoying one who's name I've already managed to forget.

Getting to know the different boys was probably the highlight of this for me. I find myself rooting for so many of them and I just can't choose.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 31. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

★★☆☆☆

370 pages

What the hell happened?!

The first in this series was so good. I loved the concept. The characters were cookie cutter YA characters but I didn't hate them. I wanted to learn more about the world. I loved the set up of the world and that the big ones in charge seem to believe the world they run and hate how we almost destroyed it.

Everything was just so good.

And then this happened.

Eurgh.

Utter rubbish with some half decent bits.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 32. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

★★★★☆

352 pages

This book guys. This book.

It combines my love of sarcastic, loner characters and authentic feeling WW2 Britishness.

Which for a book that starts in modern day Florida is quite an accomplishment.

I loved getting to know all of the characters slowly and then all at once. I loved the thought and detail in every picture used, although some of them did feel like the author just really liked a photo and was determined to use it somehow.

I will definitely be continuing with this series.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 33. Room by Emma Donoghue

★★★★☆

321 pages

I don't think it's quite possible to enjoy a book like this because of the subject matter but I am truly glad I read it. I've had a copy on my tablet for so long but I just kept putting it off because I didn't think I'd like it.

It takes a while to get used to Jack's narrative but once I did I found it quite easy to slip into his brain and into the story.

His journey was a fascinating one to take and I'd definitely recommend it.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 34. Specials by Scott Westerfeld

★★☆☆☆

384 pages

It has taken me over a month to read this garbage. I have really suffered thanks to being stubborn enough to hate giving up on books. I lost the joy of reading and have hardly read anything since starting this.

This series started off so promising but I can't believe how rubbish it has turned out.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 35. Diamonds Are Forever

★★☆☆☆

290 pages

I have no idea why I keep reading these. They're racist and sexist and reek of every kind of privilege going. But I. Just. Can't Stop.

I think it might be because I grew up watching the Bond films and I like ticking off the book versions of things.

I keep picking up book after book because I like going back into that world of lazy days in front of the TV with my dad, debating the merits of each of the actors and discussing which baddies are the best.

Compared to some of the earlier books I probably did like this one more but there were aspects of it that I hated.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 36. The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

★★☆☆☆

912 pages

I think I might have gotten a little lost in this series. I want to carry on but the characters have all started to blend into one and every book is getting very samey. This one did pack an additional emotional punch that I wasn't expecting.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 37. The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

★★★☆☆

553 pages

Firstly let me start of by explaining that I love Robin Hobb. I was a fan of fantasy books (thank you Trudi Canavan) but when I picked up and read Assassin's Apprentice I fell in love.

Her characters are multi layered and flawed and her worlds are interesting. My favourite ones will always be the ones with Fitz but I did also really enjoy the Liveship Traiders trilogy. The idea behind the liveships was interesting and I loved Althea and her family.

However, judging by the parts I disliked the most about the Liveship Traiders trilogy and the Tawny Man trilogy I should have known that I would not love this series to the same extent.

My issue is not quite the dragons, although I did dislike that aspect of the two trilogies mentioned, it was more the serpents. I just hated them. Their parts were a drag to read in the Liveship Traiders trilogy and they made it painful to read when they interacted in any way with the other characters.

I should've known I'd be bored by the serpent and dragon bits here. I want them to end quicker so I can get to the non-reptile characters.

I like the new characters and I like getting a glimpse and Althea again. The serpent/dragon bits did pick up when the keepers got there. I started to enjoy it much more then.

I'll definitely continue the series, if only for the other characters.


Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 585 comments 38. Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson

★★★☆☆

359 pages

This was a really gripping read. The story telling technique was really interesting. The ending was a little predictable but I really enjoyed it.


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