I Need YOU

The title of the post is a bit of a misstatement. What I actually need from you is something else.

I’m frantically trying to complete my 2016 reading challenge, right? One of the requirements I’ve known would give me trouble asks me to read a book published in 2016. That presents a problem because I rarely buy books during the first year of publication and I do not read series books out of order.

Which brings me to now. I’ve only zeroed in on one 2016 release that happens to be a standalone. But I know you all have read quite a few more books than I have this year, so now I need some recommendations. The requirements are simple. Originally published in 2016. CANNOT be part of a series if it isn’t the first book. Must be available from HPB.

That’s it! Tell me some 2016 releases!

Advertisements

2016 Reading Challenge: MY BOOK

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I’m in the midst of a mad dash to complete my 2016 reading challenge. I finished two more books over the weekend to see if I can ultimately complete it.

But today I’m talking about MY BOOK. I wonder if I’m making history right now by reviewing my own work. Hm. Anyway, let’s go.

Divided Within is set in and around Houston and follows Andrew Banks as he works his first case as a private investigator. His first client happens to be a teenage girl who suspects there’s something really wrong between her parents that they aren’t telling her about, only it’s much worse than she could have imagined.

A little history before I get into the good stuff. I wrote the book over the course of the first months immediately after I graduated from college in 2013.

Although it’s my own work, I still had problems with it. The first thing I noticed is I obviously forgot how to use commas. Seriously. I’m not sure what was going on. There were commas where there should have been periods and then there was nothing where there should have been commas. Ugh.

The other thing I didn’t really like after my reread was the language. It was unoriginal. It’s a crime novel, but I felt I used cussing at weird points in the story. I don’t feel like it worked.

The other thing that I definitely recognize, though I still don’t have a problem with is the story. I won’t get into the specifics because some of you all might actually want to give it a read now, but one of the complaints I received when I first published the book was that the story was unbelievable. And it is. But I’ll keep saying it over and over again that I don’t read any fiction to read something that’s entirely realistic. If that’s what I want then I’ll watch the news.

After more than three years my favorite aspect of the book is still Andrew and Sydney. I found a few points in which I didn’t like their dialogue, but their relationship is great. So many detectives have a new love interest every other book, but not Banks. You know that just from reading this first book.

I still find it crazy that I wrote this thing, but I did and it’s mine. It satisfied the requirement to read a self-published book for my 2016 reading challenge.

Have YOU read it!? Have you ever tried to review your own work?

2016 Reading Challenge: Every Day

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

I’m way behind on my own 2016 Reading Challenge, but there’s cause for hope! In the week since I left another job I managed to finish two books already!

The first one was Every Day by David Levithan, which I finished on the morning of Thanksgiving.

First, a little about the book. A, the main character and protagonist of the story is unlike any person you’ve ever read about. At least I haven’t. She’s a sixteen-year-old teen who wakes up in a different body every single day. She lives in these different bodies until midnight each night, only to wake up in another body in the morning. She has no physical presence outside of inhabiting these other bodies for the single day, which leaves her longing for much of the interactions and feelings we take for granted. That all changes when she wakes up in the body of Justin, and spends the day with his girlfriend, Rhiannon. Nothing is the same after that single day.

The day is all but perfect. The two cut class and spend the day at the beach. Rhiannon enjoys it but doesn’t understand why Justin is acting so differently for no apparent reason. Shortly thereafter A drops a bombshell and tells Rhiannon what’s really been going on. Of course, telling a teen that you wake up in a different body every day is hardly believable. But they continue to see each other just about every day with A in a different body.

Enough of my quick little summary, let me get to what I thought of the book. First off, this was the first book I’ve read by David Levithan. I bought this one over a year ago at someone’s recommendation. I immediately read the back of it and was intrigued, though it took me forever to get around to reading it.

I thoroughly enjoyed A. She wasn’t your typical smart-mouthed teen (mostly because she chose not to dramatically alter the lives of the bodies she inhabited). She didn’t give off this feeling of knowing all there is to know about life or certain events. Which would have been easy because she experienced life from a different perspective every single day. And the entire concept of the story was something I’d never really thought about. I mean, can you imagine what it would be like to wake up in a different body each and every day? You essentially have control over 365 lives every year. You can change any thing, whether it’s a boyfriend or how you treat your parents.

A typically doesn’t change any thing in the lives of those she inhabits. But one body stood out to me. She woke in the body of a girl who was seriously contemplating suicide. She’d set a deadline for six days into the future to do it. A considered doing nothing, but ultimately decided she had to help this girl. The girl’s relationship with her father was rough at best, but told him during the night before she left the body that she needed help. That she wanted to kill herself. And that she might try to forget this conversation took place in the morning, but he couldn’t let her change her mind. She also gave him her journal in which she’d drawn herself committing suicide in several different ways. It was never confirmed, but it appeared the girl was sent to get help for what she was feeling after that night.

I enjoyed A and Rhiannon, but the main issue I had with the book was also them. They spent one day together, right? A was Justin and Rhiannon had no idea what she was dealing with. After that single day A proclaimed to the reader that she was in love. That it was different this time around. I understand the book is young adult fantasy, but for someone to say they are in love with someone after one day with someone is about as childish as it gets. Over the course of the rest of book they became closer and their relationship grew more in line into what I’d expect, but the idea that the whole thing started after a single day is simply absurd.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. It was completely different from anything I’ve read.

The book satisfied the requirement on my Reading Challenge to read a book that starts a new series. I’ll post an update on my overall progress tomorrow!

Have you read Every Day? What did you think of it?

January: A Review

January was okay on the blog. It was nothing compared to last January, but eh. I guess I’ll have to take the blame for that. The first month of the year has come and gone, and now it’s time for some numbers.

Posts: 31

Likes: 632

Comments: 431

Followers: 3353

Books Read: 2

Poems: 1

YouTube Videos: 2

I lied. January actually turned out to be better than expected. I know two books is nothing to cheer about, but at least I did get started on my 2016 Reading Challenge, right? AND I posted a poem on here for the first time in a million years. AND I’m getting a little more consistent on my channel. All positives. The other numbers are pretty average.

Now let’s look at some posts.

Top Post

On Alan Rickman

Favorite Post

Guess Who Officially Has a Custom YouTube Url?!

Post you may Have Missed

2016 Reading Challenge Book #$2: The Thomas Berryman Number

The top post of the month was pretty predictable, although I hadn’t checked before writing this. But Alan Rickman was beloved actor, and his death brought about the appropriate response from his fans. I finally got my own YouTube URL, which of course is exciting. AND I’m really planning on expanding my channel to greater heights in the coming months. Which I hope you’ll join me for.

All in all, January was pretty nice. I know I enjoyed it. How was your opening month of 2016?

 

2016 Reading Challenge Book #2: The Thomas Berryman Number

The second book I crossed off my 2016 Reading Challenge was a book written by James Patterson. And I chose a book I hadn’t read before and one that isn’t a part of any of his many series. I also chose it because it was written all the way back in 1976 and won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the best first novel by an American writer. This is an award that some literary giants have won in the past, and Patterson is forever among them.

I think that’s all I have for you before the video. I do think you’ll want to watch the whole thing because it almost morphs into a rant. And who doesn’t like rants, right? You also find out which book I’m reading next for my challenge. Now watch!

PS: I finished my edits on the video a couple of hours before this post went up, but I’m not sure exactly how long they’ll take to complete. So don’t yell at me if they aren’t finished when you watch.

A Reversal

Have you ever believed in one thing for so long and then suddenly had a change of heart? I think this is what politicians might call “evolving”. Well I’ve recently realized that I’ve also done it.

For the longest time I refused to write book reviews. I still don’t. I don’t write them. But I do review the books I read. And in 2016 I plan on reviewing just about every book I read for my challenge and the Amazon list. So I may not actually write reviews, but I do review what I read.

Which of course started back in 2014 when I’d discuss the books I read from Amazon’s list. Then I started my channel in June and expanded the practice. And now I have my reading challenge. I could end up reviewing ten books this year or 75. I don’t see anything wrong with changing my stance on reviews. I think every blogger should be open to a change in content over time. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

Have you changed your stance on anything during the course of your blogging?

Saturday Selects #23: The blogging community

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the first Saturday of each month to discuss something outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today’s topic is the blogging community.

I first thought of hosting my own reading challenge way back in January of LAST year. I saw how popular the PopSugar challenge had become and wanted to see what I could do with my own readers and followers. Maybe some would even want to participate, right? Well I completely forgot about the whole thing throughout most of 2015. I was more focused on building the blog up to its highest potential. I was quite a bit more successful in the first half of the year than in the second half. But eh, that’s how things go sometimes. But then just a few weeks ago I wrote down a list of 20 things and called it my 2016 challenge. But I didn’t tell a soul until I told my girlfriend about it less than a week ago. Then I wrote about it here. And THEN I told all of my coworkers about it. I mean, I do work in a bookstore.

And I’ve been overwhelmed with the response in just a few days. I honestly thought I could get anywhere from 5-50 people to participate. Sure I have over 3,000 followers, but a small number of them actually read my posts. Maybe it’s because I don’t follow their blogs or comment or I don’t even know. But it’s fine. This week I’ve seen a different side of the blogging community. I’ve had dozens of people tweet, post, or tell someone in some way about my 2016 challenge. Mostly bloggers. I’ve completely lost track of the number of people who’ve vowed to take part in my challenge. But I can tell you the number is in the hundreds.

Think about that. I’m just some guy who blogs about books. I don’t read as much as I should. I don’t write at all. But I’ve stayed true to my promise of posting everyday on here. Always something new. I’ll hit on topics multiple times, but I try my best to offer something new each and every day. But that’s everyone on here. Who isn’t trying to offer something new and different each time they post? But in the last week I’ve had people who have been reading my blog for many months do their part to get people to do my challenge, and I’ve had people I’ve never heard of do the same.

And you know what, I think that’s pretty awesome. So if you’re reading this and you’ve just recently started your blog or you’ve been blogging steadily for months now and haven’t seen much traffic, don’t worry. I’m certain there’s someone out there searching for the kind of posts YOU do. Just keep on posting. Because the blogging community will always find blogs with high quality content. And that’s all I’ve tried to produce in my nearly three years on WordPress.

All I can say is thank you. For reading. For reposting my challenge. For making blogging a nice part of my day-to-day routine. What’s your favorite aspect of the blogging community?

PS: You can find information about my 2016 reading challenge here.


On this day in 2015 I published 2014: What do I think of you?.