Monday, July 13, 2015

Mid-Year Book Statistics

Hello everyone!  I decided that since we are now halfway through the year I was going to make an update on my mid-year reading statistics.  I'm a bit of a nerd so I love stats and charts and percentages and I would love to share some interesting things I've found in my reading.

As of today, I have read 41 books, and I am 7 books ahead on my goodreads goal, which is 55 books.

Age Range

YA: 22   54%
Adult: 18   44%
MG: 1   2%

I'm pretty okay with these percentages.  I would like to get my adult books up to 50% but I do enjoy YA so if I don't get to that, I will be okay with that.

Genre Breakdown

Dystopian: 1   2%
Literary Fiction: 5   12%
Contemporary: 10   24%
Fantasy: 14   34%
Memoir: 2   5%
Paranormal: 3   7%
Historical Fiction: 2    
Science Fiction: 2   5%  
Nonfiction: 2   5%

I will say that I am very surprised by how many contemporaries I've read this year.  I'd like to reduce the percentage of contemporaries I've read and increase the number of sci-fi and literary fiction for the rest of the year.

POC vs Non-POC*

POC: 6   20%
Non-POC: 24   80%

This is actually extremely embarrassing.  I am aware that it's certainly better than what it is for a lot of other people, but considering the fact that I have been actively trying to read diversely this year, this is something that I am ashamed of.  However, I have recently made a huge list of not only books by people of color but also their nationality, which consists primarily of people of color.  For my goal, I'd definitely like to get this up to at least 40% people of color.

* - out of 30

Nationality of Author*

USA: 23   77%
Jamaica: 1   3%
Nigeria: 1   3%
Canada: 1   3%
UK: 3   10%
Spain: 1   3%

Again, as with the POC stats, this is extremely embarrassing for me.  Only 22% of the books that I have read this year are from countries that are not the US and only 9% are from countries that I consider to be diverse, since I don't feel that the UK and Canada should count as diverse.  I'm going to work really hard for the rest of the year to remedy this, particularly by reading African, Asian, and South American authors.

* - out of 30

Format Breakdown:

ebooks: 23   56%
audiobooks: 2   5%  
paperbacks: 8   19%
hardcovers: 8   19%

I am happy to see that I'm using my Nook, but I do wish that I would read more physical books from both my public library and my personal library.  However, I do find that I read ebooks much faster than physical books, so that may be a part of the reason why my ebook count is so much higher.

Ebook Format Breakdown:

owned ebooks: 2   9%
Overdrive ebooks: 15   55%
eARCs: 6   26%

This was just out of curiosity.  I'd like to read more of the ebooks that I own because I own a lot, but if I don't, it doesn't matter.

Owned Books vs Library Books

Owned Books: 22   54%
Library Books: 19   46%

I'm very happy with this pretty much 50/50 statistic.  I'm glad to see I'm both using my library and reading the books I'm buying and receiving.

*Note: I'm counting eARCs as books that I own since they are my property and I do not have to return them to any establishment.

Average Number of Pages: 392

I'm happy to keep this hovering between 400 and 500 pages.  I'll read some more longer books to bump this up a bit, but I'm not too worried about this stat.

Publishing Year Breakdown:

2015: 14   34%
2014: 12   29%
2013: 6   15%
2012: 2   5%
2011: 2   5%
2008: 1   2%
2007: 1   2%
2006: 1   2%
1991: 1   2%
1989:  1   2%

This is cool with me.  I want to read some classics to get some books in the 1800s, but I know that I read primarily new releases and I feel comfortable with that.

Number of Rereads: 4   10%

Number of Diverse Books: 11   27%

This isn't great, but it is certainly better than my nationality percentages, which tells me that I'm reading a lot of diverse authors and books about diverse people and situations from the US, which is great.  I'd like to get up to 40%, which I honestly don't think will be a struggle.

Male vs Female Authors

Male Authors: 7   17%
Female Authors: 34   83%

Unique Authors: 30
Unique Male Authors: 3   10%
Unique Female Authors: 27   90%

So obviously I terribly neglect the male authors, which to be perfectly honest, doesn't bother me that much.  If I can read more books by male authors then I will, but I'm definitely focusing more on diversity than gender.

Okay, that's the end of my statistics.  I hope you found some of these interesting, and feel free to let me know in the comments what your statistics are if you calculated them, and what your opinions are on reading diversely.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey
By Sophie Kinsella
Published: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288
4 stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

*Novel provided by Doubleday Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Finding Audrey is Kinsella's first foray into YA, and since I have been disappointed by her adult books in the past, I wasn't expecting too much of this. However, when I saw that it deals with bullying, anxiety, and depression, and I do tend to enjoy Kinsella's writing, I decided to request it on Netgalley. Luckily, this book very much exceeded by expectations and I would definitely recommend it.

I really liked Audrey! I was really able to empathize with her situation, and I felt like Kinsella did a really good job of portraying her anxiety and depression, and her feelings about it. I have seen a few reviews saying that people don't think that Audrey's depression and anxiety are realistic and I want to say that depression and anxiety can manifest themselves in many different ways and just because Audrey didn't deal with it in the way that you did or someone you know did, doesn't mean that it isn't realistic. Audrey's family has a really great dynamic that I really enjoyed reading about. 

I know that some people were really upset that Kinsella never actually reveals what it was that happened to Audrey that really acted as a catalyst for her depression and anxiety. However, though I have to admit that I was curious, I really appreciated that Kinsella chose to do that, and I felt that that choice presented a really powerful message. It shows people that you don't have to tell someone anything that you don't want to, which is a theme that is very prevalent throughout the novel. I almost feel that it would have been inconsistent with the messages that this book was sending for Audrey for to reveal to the reader what caused her issues.

I would say that this book isn't as funny as Kinsella's adult book which is probably because of the darker subject matter. However, Audrey is much more likable than Kinsella's adult characters. Kinsella's adult characters tend to act very much like damsels in distress who are incredibly irresponsible, appear to be pathological liars, and act like they can't do anything on their own without a man. However, Audrey was very self-sufficient and I was able to relate to her a lot more.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in this book and enjoys Kinsella's other books. I found this book to be very enjoyable, and to be a very fast read.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Witch Hunter
By Virginia Boecker
Published: 9/1/15
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 368
Book 1 in the Witch Hunter series
0 stars

Witches, watch out... Half Bad meets Kill Bill in this incredible new supernatural series.

Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn't look dangerous. A tiny, blonde, wisp of a girl shouldn't know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the king's elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.

When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she's arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she's to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor - Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.

As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas's curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate... and life and death.

The first book in an incredible new series set in a fantastical medieval world.

*Novel provided by Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

DNF at 14%

I really wanted to like this book.  I was seeing rave reviews for it everywhere, and it sounded like something that I would be really interested in.  Unfortunately, I found this book to be uninteresting and unengaging.

The magic in what I read was unexplained and underdeveloped, with no reason, logical or otherwise, for the ban on magic.  It is possible that this would have been expanded upon later in the book had I gotten to that point, but I didn't and I feel like some explanation should have been presented in the eighty pages that I read.

The main character, Elizabeth, is what really killed the book for me.  The only thing that prevented her from having pretty much no personality was the fact that she was absolutely, incredibly annoying.  She is totally obsessed with her witch hunting partner, Caleb, but we never get any reasoning as to why this is, and we don't see enough of him to appreciate her affections.  She's judgemental, hypocritical, selfish, shallow, and incredibly set in her beliefs and resistant to change.

The writing was decent enough, and I may have enjoyed it in another context, but the story wasn't interesting enough for the writing to carry it just on its own.  I might pick up another book by Virginia Boecker if the plot interests me enough, but it'll take a lot to persuade me to do that.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler

Under the Lights
By Dahlia Adler
Published: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Pages: 312
Format: eARC
Book 2 in the Daylight Falls companion series
3.5 stars

Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls...opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved...and the person she never imagined she could.

*Novel provided by Spencer Hill Contemporary via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Under the Lights is an adorable, heartwarming contemporary that brings out all the warm fuzzies while still dealing with a lot of deep, important issues.  

This is a book about two girls who fall in love, but it is so much more than just a love story.  It deals with the struggle of being a minority that is in the public eye, and how to find the courage to be yourself in a society that wants you to conform to its ideas of perfection.  

Luckily, this book managed to avoid the hitch that books about this subject matter often fall into of ending up sounding more like a public service announcement and less like an actual story.  I was engaged in the story and I enjoyed the fluffy, romantic parts and the friendship parts just as much as the parts that dealt with the major issues.  

I did have a few issues with this book but these issues didn't hinder my enjoyment of the book.  I felt that Josh at times fell into the classic bad boy trope, but Adler really managed to turn that trope around towards the end of the book.  I also never felt a super close attachment to the characters.  I did like them, but if they had died or something, I wouldn't have been overly upset.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  It deals with a lot of important issues, and I think that this is something that everyone should try to experience in order to broaden your horizons.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday 56

Welcome to Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Storytime with Tonya and Friends.  You grab the book nearest to you, open it to page 56, and post a quote from that page that catches your eye.  The important thing is to not go for your favorite book, or the most intellectual, go for the closest.
Today's quote is from:

"I hate open spaces."

The Owl Keeper
Christine Brodien-Jones

Hope you keep reading!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

That's What He Said Thursday

That's What He Said Thursday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Chapter Break. Just take a quote from one of your favorite male characters that they said to the lucky female love interest.

Today's quote is from:

“Isabelle!" he called again. "Let down your raven hair!'

City of Heavenly Fire
Cassandra Clare 

Hope you keep reading!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, a weekly feature hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which you open the book you're currently reading to a random page and share 2 sentences without spoilers, along with the author and title of the book. 

Today's Teaser is from 

“Like a wild animal, the truth is too powerful to remain caged.” 

Veronica Roth

Hope you keep reading!