Year end review

A Year End Review

I cannot believe that another year has come and gone. So much has happened this year, both good and bad. I’ve learned a lot, loved a lot, and laughed a lot. What more could you honestly ask for?

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I stumbled upon Goodreads at the end of last year- 2015. I originally signed up to keep track of books I read, and perhaps branch out into books that I was unfamiliar with. I was then alerted that Goodreads had a book challenge that lasted the entire year. I had never participated in a book challenge, and was a bit hesitant to put a number. I had already set out that I wanted to read more in the coming year, and thought that 52 books, or one book a week, was a lofty, yet accessible goal. I’m happy to announce that I have not only met my goal, but I have also surpassed it. I have read a whopping 21,006 pages this year- with my LONGEST book being “Kushiel’s Dart” at a whole 1,015 pages. I absolutely love Goodreads as it has helped keep my books organized, and it allows me to sort them into different categories, and of course leave reviews.

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I usually am asked how I’m able to buy so many books. I agree it is a valid question, because let’s face it, after awhile books can become a MAJOR expense. I have written specific blogs earlier in the year about my book buying adventures. Of course there are times where I will buy new- there’s nothing like owning a copy just for YOU! Most of the time, I support small businesses. I’m a bargain shopper, so I have specific places that I like to buy my used books from: The Paperback Exchange in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, 2nd and Charles in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, the annual F&M Book sale, Bookateria Two when I’m in Ocean City NJ (my home away from home!), and The Comic Store in Lancaster Pennsylvania. Besides the occasional Barnes and Noble and BAM outing, those are my go-to sources of book exchanges, and MOST of them will accept trade ins!

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I stumbled upon this pretty cool website, which I may add I was 100% skeptical about to begin with. I belong to many book groups on Facebook, and someone out of the blue posted something about Paperbackswap. Because someone referred me to the website, I was able to get $3 off a standard membership- pay a whole $17 for the entire year. What this includes are free swaps- aka, you don’t pay to request a book. You can list all of the books you want to be rid of, someone requests that book from you, and then you ship it to them. Typically shipping only costs $2.61. Once said book is received, you earn a credit and may request any book your heart desires. Sometimes the wait list is longer for popular books. So far I have shipped 46 books and have received 81. Paperback swap estimates that I have saved roughly $177.66, but if you take the REAL retail value of each book, I’m confident it is  MUCH higher than that.

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To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what made me want to even start this blog. I think it all stemmed from wishing that I could have all of my thoughts/reviews in one place, instead of searching for them. There is a seriously lack of reviews out there for authors. I try to do my duty and leave a review whether I enjoyed the book or not. While I hate giving bad reviews, let’s face it, there are such things as bad books, and what I strive for is being completely honest in all of my reviews. Just because an author is willing to exchange a free book for a review does NOT mean that author automatically gets a gushing review- home girl don’t work like that.

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This is an extremely unfair question. This year I REALLY stepped out of my comfort zone, and read so many new genres and authors. My list for favorite authors grows daily, and it’s not just one particular thing that sticks out, it’s many components that make up a good book. The Hubs got me started on liking James Rollins, and I believe that has turned into an obsession. In fact, whilst setting up our new bookshelves we had a bit of a “spat” (casual conversation) as to whose side of the bookshelf Mr. Rollins belongs on. I also read some books that have been on my bookshelf for years, and I had not gotten to for whatever reason. I had a family member purchase the ENTIRE Lunar Chronicles series and fell in love with the world and the characters. Enough so that I traveled out to Philly to get the newest release Stars Above signed, along with the rest of my collection.

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I was also gifted the entire Kushiel series. I’ll admit, that trilogy was very daunting to read through. By the third book it was absolutely well worth it, and mama didn’t raise no quitter, so I persevered through. I read a TON of historical fiction this year. I know it says favorite book for 2016, but I have to tell you the truth, and say that historical fiction was my absolute FAVORITE genre this year—you caught that right? GENRE not BOOK! So my favorite book from that particular genre this year was hands down “The Other Einstein” by Marie Benedict. I received an advanced reader copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I ended up falling head over heels with the story and the character, and was very happy to see that Marie Benedict will have another historical fiction book coming out in the near future. Another author I was completely consumed with was John A Heldt. While I would classify his books as novellas, the three that I read were absolutely wonderful. Each made a fabulously quick weekend read, and I was completely engaged in the story, and was wondering how on earth Heldt was going to wrap up the story in 10 pages or less. My ABSOLUTE favorite BOOK of this year (and the book I recommended the most) is hands down, “A Court of Mist and Fury“. Not only was this book brilliantly written, but it was a FLAWLESS transition from “A Court of Thorns and Roses“. Sarah J Maas has the knack for engaging her reader and tying up the end of the book in a neat little package. It also leaves the reader wanting more and waiting with bated breath for the release of “A Court of Wings and Ruin” due May 2017.

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  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses/ A Court of Mist and Fury– Sarah J Maas
  2. The Other Einstein– Marie Benedict
  3. The Judas Strain– James Rollins
  4. Kushiel’s Dart– Jacqueline Carey
  5. The Mine– John A Heldt

***Honorable Mention*** Red Queen– Victoria Aveyard

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This is a crazy goal I have. . . .I would absolutely LOVE to go to Book Con. If I go, anyone else going that I can meet up with? LET ME KNOW!

I’d also like to make quitterstrip a dot com! I’m having some serious thoughts purchasing the site on my year anniversary with the blog.

On the more creative side. . .I’d like to try some new crafts this year, like learning how to crochet, and quilt. I know, I really dream big and live on the edge.

I can’t wait to read with you guys next year! Comment below and let me know what YOUR next Goodreads challenge will be! I still haven’t decided on next year’s number!

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