Maddie’s Star Rating Statistics 2017

I’m writing this post on December 3rd. On this day, I’ve read 205 books (so says my Goodreads challenge). Taking away the books I’ve read for university, reread from previous years and DNF’d (which I did for the first time this year!) I’ve read 126 books. 

Of those 126 books, I thought it would be interesting to go through and see if I can figure out anything about my star rating system. For all of you that love statistics, this post is for you! (and the others will just have to wait until tomorrow, mwhaha!)

Here’s how 126 books breaks down into star ratings, and click the images if you’re interested in our reviews:

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2 books

 I’m taking it as a really good sign that I only gave two books a one star rating this year because it means for the first time ever, I’m actually putting books down that I don’t care enough about to finish! Hopefully next year, I’ll have improved and be past even giving one star ratings but have bigger DNF list.

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21 books

This has become a much more common rating, as I’m really trying to make more differentiation in my 3 stars ratings (but we’ll get to that in a minute…) These are books that I wanted to keep going with, for the hope that they’d really wow me in the last fifty pages, despite losing hope the more pages I turned. There are still things to like in 2 star books, it’s just not…enough. Still, I’d definitely recommend these books to others hoping they’d like what I liked and more.

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57 Books

Oh, the three star rating. This is by far the most common because I can easily find things I like and don’t like so much. A three star rating doesn’t have to be the perfect balance between good and not great, but it feels like a category where books fall by default. I try and open every book assuming that it’ll be a three star read and if it does nothing to convince me it should get a lower or higher rating, I’ll leave it there.

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31 Books

There’s something really special about four star books for me. It’s a rating that means I had an absolutely wonderful time when I was reading and I fell in love with so many aspects of the book. Maybe it’s a rating that’s very influenced by my environment (or how many three star books in a row I’ve read before them!) It also means that if I reread the books, there’s the potential for them to increase to a five star rating if I can fall in love with them all over again.

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15 books

A five star rating is reserved for absolute favourites, books that I can see myself reading over and over again, books I wish I could read again for the first time, ones that make me laugh, cry or make me burst with any strong emotion. They’re the books I want to buy multiple copies of and shove into the hands of everyone I know. They’re the gems that remind me why I love reading and why I always will.

So, there you have it, there’s my star ratings break down for 2017 and a sneaky peak at two of my favourite books of the year! Look forward to Bee’s statistics coming soon. Let me know what the most common rating you’ve given this year and if you think you’ve read more 4-5 star books this year than the last! 

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On Reading Less

I thought seeing as we’re coming to the end of another year filled with books, it was time to talk about something that we haven’t gone into detail about yet…how much we read.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 14.56.21Last year it was one of our goals to spend less time reading, which might sound crazy coming from two people whose whole lives are ALL about books. But we had good reason! We wanted to try and make writing more of a priority…except this didn’t really work out. We’re treating you to loads of stats this Blogmas, so here’s the breakdown of how many books we’ve read per year since starting a GoodReads account.

           |      BEE      |    MADDIE
2013 |       63        |         53
2014 |      143       |        139
2015 |      178       |        187
2016 |      231       |        240

We each somehow managed to read 60 more books in 2016 than 2015. Now that’s partly due to the ridiculously long summers you get at university, but most it’s because we procrastinated all other hobbies including writing. At the beginning of 2017 I really though we’d each read 300 books in a year, but looking back that’s absolutely crazy! Where would we have had to go from there? Finishing a book everyday? That’s just impractical.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 14.57.25It’s obvious that our plan to read less in 2016 didn’t work out, so when it came to making our resolutions for 2017, we decided to try again. And this year it’s worked. We’ve still read an awful lot, but the point it, it’s not as much as last year. At the end of 2016 we realised we didn’t feel as successful as we thought having read over 200 books, and that’s because we’d let ourselves down in other areas. So, even though I’ve read less his year (not by much, admittedly) I feel so much better for it, because unlike last year we actually finished the first draft of our co-written novel, which definitely wouldn’t have been possible if we’d tried to push for more reading.

Next year looks like it’s going to be even busier for us writing wise, so when it comes to setting my GoodReads goal, I think I’ll be aiming for 150. Hopefully, this will also force us to be a lot more selective when it comes to what we’re reading. We’ll talk more about the benefits of DNF’ing (something we started doing in 2017) at some point in the future, but already its lead to us enjoying a higher percentage of what we read, since in 2016, I’m pretty sure I gave majority 2.5 star ratings, and I’d much rather be finding more 4/5 star books instead.

This year we definitely had the realisation that it’s not how much  you read, but what you’re reading. We’d 100% recommend in 2018, letting go of the pressure to read lots of books, you might just find yourself reading more anyway.

 

 

Favourite Book Covers of 2017!

After reading over 200 books each this year, we’ve seen our fair amount of pretty covers. *Round of applause to cover designers* We’ve recognised trends (a lot of pink, purple and blue, some silhouettes, gold lettering) and picked our favourites, so in no particular order:

 The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargave

Orange is my favourite colour and it’s not one you see often on books, so I was really happy that such a well loved book is forcing everyone to have more of it on their shelves! The silhouette could be pretty standard on other covers, but the fact that this one is so detailed, giving you a real fairy-tale-island vibe makes it a perfect fit for this book. The one thing that throws me off is the ampersand in the title, rather than ‘and’, but it just adds to this cover’s unusual charm!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

To us, there’s no competition between the UK and US edition of this book. The UK, with it’s gorgeously rich blue and gold detailing wins hands down. There’s something really elegant about the single moth image and the fact that’s it’s facing down fits to the slightly weird and wonderful atmosphere of the book.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

We absolutely love the curled font chosen and the tiny star and teardrop details! Black covers are difficult to make stand out and the firework burst in the background makes this hard to ignore. The colour palette is delicious and the way the subtitle is curved is such a nice detail.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

This book came out at the very beginning of the year and I’m still not over the way Wing’s name is written in shoe laces. Shoe laces. This is a cover that perfectly speaks to the book and the colours all complement each other so well. I need more books to embrace the ombre fade! (Also, bonus points for the unbelievable pink-and-purple sprayed edges of the physical copy!) The only thing that would make this colour even better is if it were completely white in the background.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

G o r g e o u s.   S t u n n i n g.   B e a u t i f u l.   G l i t t e r.  That’s all.

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Let us know if you agree with our picks and what some of your favourite covers of the year were. They don’t all have to be books published in 2017, either, just ones you had the joy of discovering this year!

Last Chance TBR: Read Before 2018!

HAPPY BLOGMAS, EVERYONE!

We’re so happy to be working on lots of blog posts again, after a few inconsistent months of posting…(we were doing so well at the beginning of the year *sigh*) But we’re back on the blogging bandwagon and continuing with one of our favourite traditions!

Bee and I have set ourselves a few TBRs over the year that we’ve been very proud to have mostly stuck too. Over the summer, we picked a rainbow of books to read from our shelves (prioritising physical books we own rather than library books/e-books/uni reading/books for review for what felt like the first time in eons.) And it was a success. We read books that have been on our TBRs for over two years (sorry, Magnus Chase, no hard feelings).

So with a few successes under our belts, why not set ourselves a final challenge to get some books read before 2018 is upon us? It’s not like we have two 4,000 word essays to write and a dissertation to get on with. *distant screeching* To make it manageable, we’ve each picked TWO BOOKS, so what are they?

MADDIE’S CHOICE

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
I bought this for myself in June and read the first chapter in a Try a Chapter video, which I absolutely loved. But, I picked up If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo instead and have completely forgotten about how much I loved the start of this one. In might be completely out of season, but ice cream in winter is fine by me!

Ash by Malinda Lo
It’s been donkeys years since I read a fairy tale retelling, it feels like, so I picked the first one that caught my eye. It’s based on Cinderella (ah, my favourite!) and it’s an f/f romance (am I dreaming about how good this sounds? this can’t be a real thing!) So, fingers crossed I love this as much as I love the concept.

BEE’S CHOICE

The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian 
This book almost was going to be in my Top 5 to read in 2018, but why wait? I haven’t heard anything about it, but I picked it up when it was still a new release because Morgan Matson has blurbed it! It feel like it’s going to be something I really love, and I’m looking for another five star read to close out the year, so we’ll see!

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt
I’ve read all of her other books this year, so I need to close out this year by completing the set! I don’t think it’ll be as good as Unboxed which is one of the best books I read this year, and Maddie read it before YALC so I have her reading experience to adjust my expectations.

 

Reading Resolutions for 2017!

For the final day of Blogmas, and we can’t believe it’s almost over, we thought it would be a good idea to look forward to 2017, and write about how we want our reading habits to change!

There are so many incredible books on our TBRs and sometimes how much there is to read completely overwhelms us! Luckily, Maddie and I are able to read around 10 books a month on busier months and up to 20 in the summer months, so we’re not too bad when it comes to making dents in TBRs, but we’re constantly adding to them with new releases or series we’ve only just heard about, so it can be hard. At the beginning of the year we thought long and hard about the kinds of books we wanted to be reading and how we could maximise the percentage of books we actually enjoy out of all the books we read in a year. Although we made progress, we still have a way to go, so here are a few of the changes we want to make to our reading habits! Continue reading “Reading Resolutions for 2017!”

Winter Recommendations!

Blogmas wouldn’t be Blogmas without a few Winter/ Christmas recommendations! Just like in previous years, the list contains a few Christmassy books and a few that are perfect to read in the cold season! This year’s list is probably the most diverse we’ve compiled, so let’s get to it!
Here are this year’s picks:

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

This book shares the same cross between middle grade and adult fiction that Wonder by R. J. Palacio has. It’s a book that everyone can enjoy! It’s the story of miscreant by who’s taken in by a family that live on a farm and their compassion is what helps this boy reconnect his past. It deals with some heavy issues, like teenage pregnancy, in an incredibly sensitive manner. It’s one of those books that you don’t think much of when you begin, but once you get dragged into the story you won’t be able to stop thinking about it! Bad weather and frozen lakes play a big part in the story making it a perfect book for the season.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Maddie and I started the year by watching the first episode of the TV, then we found out Outlander was going to be one of the books we had to read for university. So, we halted watching the show and decided to read the book first! This series is one to sink your teeth into, it has the perfect mix of character and plot driven arcs and the romantic scenes are interspersed with politics and fighting. We loved the intrigue and the historical setting, and adore how level-headed Claire is, even in a completely new situation. The TV show has run it’s second season, and I do believe more is in the works, so if you like to watch adaptations along with reading the main text, this is an incredible series to begin over he Christmas holidays. Also, the book series is still on going and all of the books are extremely long, so if you love Outlander, there’s still so much more to read!

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Without fail, The Wizard of Oz is always on at Christmas. So is Oliver Twist, but until a YA adaptation of that is written, I can only recommend this marvellously unique retelling where Dorothy is a witch with a capital B and must be taken down at all costs, otherwise Oz will be corrupt forever and ever. This isn’t the Oz you know and put up with because your granddad refuses to change the channel (not speaking from experience or anything.) It’s feisty and gritty and the Wicked Witch of the West isn’t the only evil lurking around. Although I think the blurb lures you in under the false pretences of an epic quest, there are still lots of epic things going on that are worthy of your attention! If you like Percy Jackson, retellings or villains, this is your perfect Christmas in book form.

I’ll Be Home For Christmasa UKYA anthology

We reviewed this on Day 2 of Blogmas and it’s the perfect read for anyone wanted to boost the number of UKYA authors they’ve read in 2016. It’s also a great introduction to authors you may not have heard of, or a juicy extra from one of your favourites. There’s something in here for everyone, including a ghost story, a refugee, astronauts, LGBT+ visibility and plenty of Christmas romance. A bonus for this book is the £1 of every sale goes to the Crisis charity that helps the homeless over the holiday season, so by investing in some great stories, you’re doing a good dead as well!

Twelve Days of Dash & Lily  by R. Cohn and D. Levithan

This list wouldn’t be complete without a contemporary centred around our favourite time of year. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares made it to a previous list, and the sequel earns its spot as another jovial and unexpectedly quirky story of the Christmas couple, a year later. David Leviathan and Rachel Cohn have done it again, crafting a story around hilarious situations and drama that is guaranteed to keep you occupied until Christmas dinner is on the table. Note: this book can also be appreciated as a stand alone, even if you haven’t read the first book! It’s never too late to get on board Dash and Lily’s romance, huzzah!

If you want to look at our recommendations from previous years just click the dates!

2014 | 2015

Review: Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson

28501489Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson
Genre: 
Historical, Middle Grade
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Pages: 400
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

After reading and loving the Hetty Feather series, we were both super excited to dive into Jacqueline Wilson’s latest Victorian historical adventure, that even promises a cameo from Hetty herself. This year, we’ve been rediscovering our old favourite Jacqueline Wilson books, along with keeping ourselves up to date with all the releases that came out the decade we stopped reading. It’s so exciting to read the most recently release, and Clover has worked her way into our hearts just as Hetty did. Continue reading “Review: Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson”

Review: I’ll Be Home For Christmas UKYA Anthology!

31114205I’ll Be Home For Christmas, an anthology by UKYA authors
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Pages: 384
Format: e-book
Rating: Each story rated individually!
Note: We received this book in exchange for on honest review. 

After reading  Stephanie Perkins’ Winter and Summer anthologies, it’s about time to have one full of wonderful UKYA authors! There are a few here, like Katy Cannon and Holly Bourne that we were really looking out for, but anthologies are always an exciting opportunity to discover new authors too.

Continue reading “Review: I’ll Be Home For Christmas UKYA Anthology!”

Five Books That Non-Readers Should Read!

Whether reading is your favourite hobby, or just something you do on holiday, there are so many amazing books that deserve to be read. We thought we’d set out the really stand-out stories that demand attention that might give you some inspiration on what to read next, or what books would make the perfect gift this Christmas! While all these books are YA and in the contemporary genre, we’ve made sure to pick as diverse a selection as possible, so there’s something here for everyone!

Continue reading “Five Books That Non-Readers Should Read!”

No Reading in November?

It’s pretty obvious that our blog has been a little inactive this month. We’re two weeks into November and nothing bookish whatsoever has appeared! But, that’s all because of one thing: NaNoWriMo!

This month, Bee and I are both attempting to write 50,000 words of our current, individual YA projects. We’re almost on target for achieving the goal, and both have over 20,000 words down so far. It’s a big deal, and takes a lot of time that I’d usually spend reading out of my day, but it’s worth it.

We studying English Literature and Creative Writing at university. Writing essays and short pieces that fit our class briefs has become second nature to us, but it has meant we’ve sacrificed working on our own projects to do what’s demanded.

NaNoWriMo is so great because it gives you an excuse to make time for writing what you love, but in order to maintain our work schedules, we’ve had to sadly sacrifice reading as much as we’d like to in order to write.

And that’s not a bad thing. We’ll both have written whole novels by the time December rolls around! Speaking of which…

As per tradition, Bee and I will be participating in Blogmas. That means you can expect a post on Heart Full Of Books, every day for twenty five days, up until Christmas.We’re really excited to put time aside to give our blog some love, and anytime we’re not writing, reading for class or sleeping we plan to spend preparing to make this year’s Blogmas the best one yet!

If you’d like to check our progress on NaNoWriMo, check out our pages:
Maddie: here, and Bee: here!

If you want to see what we plan to read when NaNoWriMo is over and we can get back to the sweet world of books, check out our December TBR video!

Love, Maddie and Bee XOX