BookBlogWriMo: My TBR & Best Books of 2014

Hey guys, I’m really bad at these sorts of things, the ones where I have to write or post something every day. Whoops. So today I’m going to post both yesterday’s “My TBR Books” and today’s “Best Books of 2014” BookBlogWriMo in one post. I think they go well together anyway: looking forward and looking back. 🙂

My TBR – the next several books I plan to read. They aren’t in any order because I don’t really know what I’m going to read next. All covers are linked to their corresponding Goodreads page, as always.

Black IceMessenger of FearEvery DayMy True Love Gave to MeThe Rosie EffectSinner

For my “Best Books of 2014” I’m including any books read in 2014, so they may or may not have been published this year. Also, they aren’t in any particular order or anything. Just going to insert them as I think of them.

The Young ElitesIt's Kind of a Funny StorySince You've Been GoneSaga, volume 1 CoverThe Black HourThe Dream ThievesLola and the Boy Next DoorThe Day the Crayons Quit CoverRivers by Michael Farris SmithMaze Runner cover imageSamuel Blink and the Forbidden ForestFortunately, the Milk CoverThe Walking Dead, Volume 1 coverThrough the Woods coverLet's Get Lost

There’s probably more, but those are the ones that come to mind right away. I’ve read a lot of good books so far this year. By the way, all of these book covers are linked to my reviews. 🙂

What books are on your TBR? How about your best books of 2014.

 

BookBlogWriMo: Favorite Subgenres

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Welcome to today’s BookBlogWriMo post which is all about my favorite subgenres. For the most part, you guys will probably know what these all are, so I’m just going to list them, okay?

Dystopian (favorite)

Post-Apocalyptic (yes, they’re different)

Mythic Fiction (a la The Raven Cycle)

Time Travel

Contemporary

Contemporary Fantasy

High Fantasy

Magical Realism

Psychological horror/thriller

Detective fiction

What are your favorite subgenres? Are any of mine favorites of yours? 🙂

BookBlogWriMo – My Rating System

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Welcome to BookBlogWriMo day 14! The theme today is “Your Rating System.”

If you haven’t seen it before, you can find my rating system HERE. However, in case you don’t want to click that link (how rude!), I’ll also put it here for you.

10 – Perfection. One of the best books I’ve ever read
This book is very well-written. It has well-rounded characters, and I know I will re-read it in the future. It has no perceptible flaws.

9 – Practically perfect
This book has fantastic characters/plot/writing style. Pretty close to perfect.

8 – Freaking fantastic
Memorable. I really enjoyed reading it. The execution of the plot/characters was solid.

7 – Pretty good
Has flaws that are perceptible, but the story works. Entertaining and well-paced.

6 – Good, but not great
Above average, but not by much. Nothing spectacular or particularly special. The book works overall, but probably would have preferred to read something else.

5 – Take it or leave it
Not bad but not memorable. Completely average. The book suffers from stereotypes in plot or characters.

4 – Eh. This is bad
A book that is all around sub-par, though somehow has a few qualities that stopped me from hating it.

3 – Horrible; why am I reading this?
A book that I had to push through to keep reading it, and I mostly did so to say I finished it. Suffers from major problems in style/plot/characters.

2 – I’ve wasted part of my life reading this
Completely horrible and a waste of time. This means it probably had bad writing, flat characters, or huge plot holes. Just barely above being complete crap.

1 – One of the worst books I’ve ever read
I want my money and time back from buying and reading this. No good qualities whatsoever.

0 – I’m not finishing this
This speaks for itself. So bad I didn’t read the whole thing.

I think my rating system pretty much speaks for itself. A lot of the books I read fit easily into one of these categories, but you might’ve noticed that I also give half stars quite often because sometimes a book will just not quite be an 8 (freaking fantastic) but not as low as a 7 (pretty good), so I’ll give a score that lies in between like my feelings for the book did.

I base ratings on plot, writing, characters, and my own overall reaction to the book. It’s funny how sometimes I’ll finish a book and think I know how I’m going to rate a book, but when I sit down and start writing the review, my feelings for a book will change. Once I start processing my thoughts about the book, my rating can completely change. Though I will say that they won’t really drastically change; like they won’t go from a 4 to an 8 or a 9 to a 5.

What about you? How do you rate books?

BookBlogWriMo – My Review Process

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Welcome to BookBlogWriMo day 13! The theme today is “Your Review Process.”

It’s funny that this is the theme today as I just got done writing a review (of Afterworlds – up tomorrow). I’m trying to think of what my process was while writing it, but I don’t know if I really have one.

Let’s see.

  1. I always, always, always take notes while I write. I have a notebook that I keep with me, and if a passage, sentence, few words stand out to me, I write down the page number and whatever stood out. If I have a feeling while reading or a reaction to something, I write that down too. If I can, I site a page number for that as well, so if I need to, I can go reread it to feel it again. General thoughts about the book or characters or writing go in the notebook too.
  2. When I finish the book, I immediately write down what I think in that notebook as well. I try to write out a general review outline, maybe even a few sentences that I’ll use in the review. As much as I like to do this, sometimes I don’t always have time.
  3. If I have time, I’ll write a review of the book that day, but that pretty much never happens. Since I don’t usually do it that day, I just try to write the review in the few days after I’ve finished the book. I find that if I wait too long after I’ve finished reading to write the reviews, my feelings and thoughts completely leave me. This is because I’m reading other books in between finishing that previous one and writing the review, and so my reactions to that previous book will be pushed aside for the new book. Does that make sense? I honestly don’t know how some people could write an in-depth review months later.
  4. Once I sit down to write my review, I’m pretty much good. My review kind of just flows out of me, and I think that the format for each review is different. What I talk about and where depends on the book, so I don’t stick to one specific format. Of course, I have my bottom line and rating, but what happens in between that and the pub info depends on the book. I just write my honest reaction to the book and whatever happens happens. 🙂

What is your review process? Any tips for writing you want to share?

BookBlogWriMo – Advice to Newbie Bloggers

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Today’s BookBlogWriMo theme is “Advice for Newbie Bloggers”. I’m not going to lie, inside I still feel like a bit of a newbie blogger even though I’ve been blogging for about 8 months now. But I’ll give you what I’ve found to be helpful.

  1. Get involved in memes – Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, etc. Not only do they help with idea posts (which can be hard to come up with once you realize you need to post a lot), but they are also really fun and help you get involved in the book blogging community, which is full of awesome and supportive people.
  2. Post consistently – I try to post something every day or at least 5 times a week. Some people can’t do that, but I have found that posting consistently keeps people coming back to your blog and following it. Take advantage of the scheduling feature in WordPress. Have a day when you have several hours free? Write several posts and schedule them for the week to come. It’ll help keep the stress level down.
  3. Don’t stress – I have an issue with getting overly stressed for hardly any reason. It’s something that I deal with, but you’re I’m blogging because I love talking about books and meeting other likeminded people. I’m blogging for fun and because it makes me happy. So if you can’t post that day or you take a few days to write a review, so? Don’t stress.
  4. Be passionate and honest – This is something that I’ve just found with my reviews. People have told me they like my reviews for my passion and honesty. Those are both things that I try to be in my everyday life, so of course it’s going to come across in my writing. When I love a book, you’re going to know it. I’m not going to sugarcoat how I feel either. People respond to this and will come to trust your reviews if you are honest.

Well, this is the core of my advice to other bloggers. Do you guys have anything you’d add to this list?

#BookBlogWriMo: #Top10Tuesday – Most Popular Posts

Today is BookBlogWriMo’s eleventh day. I’m sorry I’ve been a little absent on this front, but I was really busy and I didn’t like/want to write about a few of the themes. BUT I’m back.

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The theme today is “#Top10Tuesday – Most Popular Posts.” I was definitely interested to see which posts were my most popular. So here’s my list! (My home page, About Me, and Rating System were my top, but those don’t really count, do they?)

  1. Sneak Peek Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – it’s interesting that my sneak peek review is more popular than the whole book review, but I suppose it’s been around longer.
  2. Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Unique Books – this was a fun TTT. I am a huge fan of unique books, so I had fun compiling this list.
  3. Book Review: Dorothy Must Die – Also interesting that my post popular book review is for one I didn’t really like
  4. Top Ten Tuesday: Book Boyfriends – Book Boyfriends are pretty wonderful, aren’t they?
  5. Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner – Happy to see this review on the list. I mean, it is my first ever post.
  6. Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d recommend if you haven’t tried dystopian fiction – My favorite genre!
  7. The problem with books – This is one of my favorite posts I’ve written, so yay for it being one of my most popular!
  8. Life of a Blogger: Collections – This was a fun post. Do you guys like posts in which I talk about my every day life? Where you get to learn more things about me?
  9. Facebook’s “10 books that have meant something to you” challenge – Usually those Facebook challenges or tags irritate me, but this one was bookish, so I had to share! https://caughtreadhanded.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/facebook-10-books-that-have-meant-something-to-you-challenge/
  10. A love letter to books – This post speaks for itself. I love books and I loved writing this post.

BookBlogWriMo: #TBT – Favorite Childhood Books

It’s day 6 of BookBlogWriMo, and the topic today is “Favorite Childhood Books”.

This is both an easy and hard topic. What part of my childhood should I tell you about? Should I give an overview of a few books from when I was really small to my teen years? I could go on and on and on, but I think I’ll limit it to the first five books that come to mind.

Peter Pan

Peter Pan by JM Barrie – I love this book and the play and the movie(s) and everything that has to do with it (I even watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates when I babysit). I have a Peter Pan tattoo. I own at least six different editions of the book. I love it.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling – Duh. I grew up with Harry Potter. I was about 10 when the first book came out. I was 17 when the last one came out. I went through my angsty teenage years when Harry WAS YELLING IN ALL CAPS. I love this series. So much. I also have a HP tattoo.

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies by William Golding – I know, I’m a weirdo, but this book is what spurred my love of dystopian novels. This was one of the required books in middle school (?) or high school, I can’t remember, but I devoured it.

Love You Forever

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch – I love this sweet book. My parents read this book to me when I was small, and I will do the same when I have my own kids.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – A beautiful novel of acceptance and love. Another “required” book that I am so happy to have had the opportunity to read. I’ve read this one several times since I was supposedly forced to read it and I love it just as much every time.

What are some of your favorite childhood reads? 

BookBlogWriMo: Where I Blog

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Today is day five of BookBlogWriMo. The topic is “Where You Blog.”

I’m really rather boring when it comes to this topic. I blog on my laptop while curled up in the corner of my couch. My laptop is my favorite place to blog, as I am not a fan of blogging on my phone (though I do answer comments from my phone if I’m at work or out and about).

Sometimes if I’m tired of being at home or can’t concentrate or any number of reasons, I’ll take my laptop, books, and notebook with book notes to a local café for a cup of coffee, a scone, and free wifi. Or to the local library, though I end up just looking at books instead of working.

But overall, my favorite spot is my couch with a cup of coffee, my laptop, and some show (TWD, Gotham, Arrow, Project Runway) on in the background. Bet you weren’t expecting Project Runway, were you? Haha.

So what about you? Where do you blog?

BookBlogWriMo: Why I Blog

Today’s topic for BookBlogWriMo is “Why You Blog.”

I’m tempted to say, “Because I love books,” and just leave it at that. But I won’t even though that’s pretty much what it boils down to.

I blog because I love to talk about books. I blog because I love to talk to people who love books about books. I blog because it makes me happy. I blog because it helps me to think critically about what I’m reading. I blog because I like to connect with people over things we’ve both loved. I blog because I get to talk to people civilly about why we don’t agree on a book. I blog because sometimes I’m not sure how I feel about a book but through writing a review, I figure out why. And because reading other people’s reviews about books confirms that even if it seems everyone else loved a book, I’m not the only one who didn’t. Or vice versa.

Blogging keeps me busy. It keeps me sane. It keeps me happy. Blogging is cathartic.

It allows me to talk passionately about something I love: books.

I blog because I love books.

Why do you blog?

I love books

BookBlogWriMo: History of My Blog + How I Read

As you might’ve seen in my sign up post for BookBlogWriMo, I’m a day late with starting it. I figured instead of posting three different BookBlogWriMo posts in on day, I’d do my sign up and then combine the posts for 11/1 and 11/2 into one.

History of Caught Read Handed

My blog is less than a year old so it has a pretty short history. I’d been considering starting a book blog for a long time as I absolutely love talking to people about books and recommending the ones that I loved to people. In March of this year, I was home after living in Scotland for a year getting my Master’s, looking for a job, and in need of something to do that would both make me happy and keep me occupied. Caught Read Handed was born. That’s pretty much my whole history. I began with reviews and have expanded into memes like Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday. I do Bookish Talk when something inspires me to write and Quote Quoted when I just have to share a quote that I loved. I love my blog and talking to people who are just as passionate about books as I am.

How I Read

Let’s start with when: whenever I can, be it at the dentist, in the morning while I make breakfast, at work, in the car (audiobooks, of course), in bed. If I have a couple of minutes, chances are I’ve got my book out.

I will read books in pretty much any format, though if I had my choice, I’d always read floppy paperbacks. They’re my favorite. 🙂 But I read hardbacks, big paperbacks, mass market ones, audiobooks, e-books (though I mostly only read e-books for e-ARCs as I prefer physical books), and anything in between.

I take notes in a separate notebook, both for my reviews and to highlight sentences or passages that I really enjoy. I don’t like to write in my books. The only book I own that I have written in is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Every time I read that book (around ten times), I underline something else. Each time I read that book, some other quote or sentence means something to me, so I want to highlight it. I’ve got notes in the margins, sentences underlined or circled. That’s the only book I have like that though. I don’t dog-ear pages. I just read.

Are you participating in BookBlogWriMo? Link me up to your post! How do you like to read?