The TBR Tag

Nov 17, 2014 by

tbr-tag

The “To Be Read Ta”g was created by the wonderful Dana @Danasquare. I thought it was a great idea and wanted to participate. So here it is…

 

1) How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I have a bookshelf were I keep all my new books. I grab one from there when I finish my current book or I order a new one if something I don’t own catches my eye. I use Goodreads to virtually add books to my list. I used to try to keep TBR list there in order, but it really was a waste of time. I always change my mind about what to read next O.o

 

2) Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

Print books! I avoid the temptation of buying too many ebooks even when they go on sale. I really love owning the print copies and seeing how pretty they look on my bookshelves *pets the spines of several beautiful books*

 

3) How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I read based on my mood. Sometimes I want dystopia, other times fantasy, or sci-fi, what have you. So when I finish a book, I’ll look at what’s on my shelf or Goodreads list and pick something to suit my current mood. I also belong to a Sci-Fi/Fantasy book club and read books from author for interviews, so sometimes those take priority.

 

4) A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest?


Based on my Goodreads TBR shelf, I’ve had The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook on my list since July 2011. Hmm, not sure I’ll get to it now. Too many books come out EVERY week! I do love steampunk, though. *sigh*

 
 
 
 

5) A book you recently added to your TBR?

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. I’ve been on a Sci-Fi mood lately :)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

6) A book in your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?


That would be Pulse by Patrick Carman. Something about that floating tree just sparks my imagination!

 
 
 
 
 
 

7) A book on your TBR that you plan on never reading?


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I know I should read this book. I mean it won a Pulitzer prize and all, but too many people I trust have commented on its pages and pages of minutia detail and, frankly, I’m bored to tears by too much description. If it wasn’t SO long, I would risk it, but I’d hate to lose that much time in a book that’ll probably bore me.

 
 
 
 

8) An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

Lawrence
Right now I will say A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, though this is likely to change when my mood changes and something else catches my eye. So fickle!

 
 
 
 
 
 

9) A book on your TBR that everyone has read except for you?

Lawrence
That’s gotta be Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I guess I just got tired of vampires and werewolves before I got to this book. Maybe the mood will come back at some point.

 
 
 
 
 

10) A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

Lawrence
That is the book that has now become one of my favorites: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Wow, the writing and storytelling in this series. Now I’m the one pestering everyone to read it. C’mon, go ahead! I dare you. Just know Akiva is all mine ;)

 
 
 
 

11) A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

Lawrence
The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig. The idea just sounds fantastic and Dreamworks has pre-emptively acquired the rights for the trilogy. That’s gotta tell us something.

 
 
 
 
 

12) How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

There are 231 book in that list, but many need to be removed and many more added. It really isn’t a very helpful list anymore. The lists that matter are the “read” and “currently reading” lists. The TBR list is more of a suggestion and reminder list :)

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The Stars Lie

Jan 12, 2014 by

Stars

Yep, those Amazon and Goodreads review stars don’t tell the whole truth!

I hate to say it, but several of the books I read last year were awful. This gets me upset. If I invest my most precious commodity—a.k.a. time—in reading a book, I want need it to be good—or possibly GREAT! Unreasonable?

No! It’s like going to the movies. If you pay $10 for a ticket, you’d be outraged if in the first 20 minutes they have the characters getting up, taking a shower, getting dressed, cooking breakfast, eating said breakfast, washing their plate, on and on, before getting to the real plot, right? And what if on top of that the $15 popcorn was stale and the Coke flat? Wouldn’t you wish you’d picked the bloody thriller that was playing next door and had bought the nachos instead? I know I would.

So, yeah. I want the books I read to have a certain level of quality. I want them to be well edited, for one. But past the elemental details, I want a storyline, characters that grow/learn something, dialogue that isn’t stilted, maybe a twist or a surprise. I want the author to do her homework, to tie the loose ends, to clearly describe the setting, and, if all of that is taken care of, maybe wow me with words by pushing her imagination beyond clichés.

The question is: how do I find these authors and their awesome books? I sometimes feel at a loss with this. Even when I think I’ve picked a winner, sometimes the book turns out to be a dud that evolves into melodrama, and I end up skimming it to a very unsatisfying ending.

I’ve thought about all this A LOT! And one day—while perusing the web—I realized one crucial thing. Maybe I’m slow and should have known this, but alas I didn’t. THE STARS LIE. Yep, those Amazon and Goodreads 1.0 to 5.0 stars, they’re not very reliable, and sadly I’ve been putting too much emphasis on them. I used to think that if a book had 4.0+ stars, it had to be pretty good. WRONG! This isn’t necessarily true. After a closer look, I realized it isn’t the starts I should be looking at, but at the percentage of people who actually liked the book. For clarity, let me give an example:

Take for instance Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi:

As I write this, the book has 4.07 stars in Goodreads. Now, if you click on “rating details” (right next to the stars,) a small box will pop up which looks like the image below. I’ve circled the number I’m interested in. For Under the Never Sky, the percentage of people who liked the book was 94%. Pretty good, huh?

Under The Never Sky

Now let’s look at Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick:

The Goodreads star rating for this book is 4.01 stars—not much different than 4.07 in Rossi’s book. However, by taking a look at the rating details, you discover that the percentage of people who liked this book is lower: 89%.

Hush, Hush

In my opinion—please Hush, Hush fans don’t get mad at me :)—Under the Never Sky is a much better book as the rating details show me (I’ve read both.)

Based on this, I’ve gone through all the books I’ve read and looked at the percentages. What I found was that the ones I’ve enjoyed the most have percentages between 91% and 96%. Books with percentages lower than 91% were definitely not my cup of tea, but what’s more interesting is that books with percentages higher than 96% weren’t either! Not sure why, but I proved it again and again by going over all the books I’ve read and seeing their percentages. So it seems I need to read books that fall within the 91% to 96% range!

I do realize I can’t use this factor in isolation. But I can combine it with others and sometimes even make exceptions, lest I miss reading a good book due to a flawed system. Still, I feel it is a strong marker and I’ve already started using it with success. I guess there really aren’t formulas for what books we’d like, but when I can’t decided whether I should read a book or not, this certainly helps tip the balance. Do beware that sometimes the Goodreads percentages are off (maybe some issue with their algorithm) but it is easy to calculate. Here is an example with my book “The Guys Are Props Club”:

★★★★★ = It was amazing
★★★★    = Really liked it
★★★        = I liked it
★★           = It was OK
★              = Didn’t like it

Based on the chart above, a review from 3 to 5 stars means the reader liked the book. So all you have to do to figure out the percentage of people who liked GAP#1, you add the 3 to 5 star reviews. That means 65 reviews out of 68 as of this post. Then you simply divide the two numbers 65/68=0.955. That means 95% of the people who’ve read “The Guys Are Props Club” enjoyed it. Yay! There you have it. Now you can forget those lying stars!

GAP1_ratings

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My Goals for 2014

Jan 2, 2014 by

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!

A new year is here, and I’m doing what I always do: Setting goals! :)

The different is: this year I will keep track of my goals here. Last year, I set several goals, which I proudly accomplished. Except, I can’t prove I was a good girl and did everything I set out to do, namely writing two novels and getting them published *pats herself on the back* SLAM DUNK!

Now, for 2014, my goals are loftier, a true challenge from what I’ve done in the past, so to keep myself honest and share my progress with everyone, I will now list my objectives for the world to see. So here it goes . . .

  • Finish and publish Young Adult Urban Fantasy (‘cause this idea is fresh and there isn’t another YA novel like it out there. Trust me, I read A LOT of YA)
  • 91 %
  • Start and finish Young Adult Contemporary (‘cause an awesome idea for one occurred to me and it begs to be written this year)
  • 0 %
  • Start and finish Young Adult Horror (‘cause I think I was born to write horror, but for some reason it took me this long to realize it)
  • 0 %
  • Start, finish and publish New Adult Contemporary (3rd book in The G.A.P. Series) (‘cause my NA readers demand it)
  • 0 %

So there you go! I have to finish the book I’m currently working on and publish it. After that, I need to Write three new ones. Yay!

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