Monday, January 1, 2018

goodbye 2017, hello 2018

Well, another year bites the dust. Let's see what I accomplished in 2017!

Overall, 2017 was a pretty good year for me. Politically it's been a struggle, but I've never felt so empowered in my life. I've called and written to local reps about EVERYTHING, I used my dollar to support causes I believe in, and I generally had a good reading year. 

One thing that surprised me was that I read mostly 2017 releases with only a handful of backlist titles which actually disappointed me. I partly blame all the ARCs I received at ALAAC - I think that there was a month straight where I only read ARCs. Let's see what I read!

Guys, guys. I made my 2017 GoodReads Challenge of reading 135 books. I AM SO EXCITED BECAUSE I DIDN'T MEET IT LAST YEAR. Sure I had to throw in a few novellas, but I read them dammit! Check out this snapshot to my reading from GoodReads.

Wow, I didn't realize A Court of Wings and Ruin was so long. Also, I'm super stingy with my 5-stars so I'm not surprised that my average rating is 3.4 stars. Actually, that's probably higher than it is since I typically list my 3.5-star reads as 4-star reads on GoodReads. So really my average rating is probably 3 stars. 

And you go, Angie Thomas, take the world by storm!

Below you'll find all the books I read, courtesy of GoodReads. 

The majority of my reads were YA fantasy not surprising. I think in 2018 I want to squeeze in some more adult fantasy reads. And now comes the hard part, in which I try to rank my favorite reads of 2017. Ugh. 
I actually had five 5-star reads this year which is...astounding. In 2016, I only had three 5-star reads (then again, I didn't really like many 2016 releases) so I thought I did pretty well for myself in 2017! Without further ado, here are the books I couldn't stop talking about!

10. The City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty
9. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
8. A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

7. A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess
6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
5. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

4. The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
2. Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

and my favorite book of the year shouldn't come to any surprise and I apologize for never shutting up about it...

1. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
And of course, I couldn't love everything I read. With 2017, there were a lot of exciting books that I had absurdly high expectations for. The below list isn't a bunch of 1-star books by any means, only books that I expected to praise for days and days on end, but didn't in the end. 

The Empress by S.J. Kincaid
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Wild Beauty by  

Warcross by Marie Lu
An Enchantment of Ravens by Maraget Rogerson
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
And to wrap up the 2017 section of this blog, I wanted to share some of my favorite moments. Like I said, 2017 was a pretty intense year. 

10. Got a promotion
9. Traveled to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic 
8. Attended ALAAC in Chicago
7. Met Dhonielle Clayton
6. Met Angie Thomas
5. Met Jenny Han
4. Paid off Master's Degree 
3. Celebrated 3rd wedding anniversary
2. Celebrated my 29th birthday at Walt Disney World
1. Mom beat cancer (!!!!!!!)

Last year, I made goals for myself to accomplish in 2017 and I think I accomplished everything I wanted!

Use Bullet Journal more. Check! My bullet journal barely left my side in 2017, I'm so addicted that I bought my 2018 bujo in mid-November of 2017. I just wish my handwriting was better. 

Be more creative with my organization. Semi-check? I wasn't as flexible in trying new organization techniques, but having a bujo definitely set the foundation for this. I thinkI'll get more flexible in 2018. 

Return to bookstagram. I kind of did this. I didn't post as much as I had expected (bookstagram is hard work damn it), but I started using stories and commenting a lot more. Are we connected on instagram? Add me!

Read 135 books. I DID IT. I DID IT. I DID IT. I DID IT. I DID IT. 

Meet more bloggers. I kind of did this. I know my biggest hope was to create some kind of Chicago book blogger meet-up and I did not do that. That's still in the back of my mind but I may couple it with ALA when it returns in 2019. Other than that, I met some lovely bloggers at ALA, so I consider this a success!

Request ARCs responsibly. Yep, no, I did not do this. I managed to read most of the ARCs I requested, but I could have scaled it back A LOT. 

Crosspost more: YES! I do this now, and it feels so good! Of course, this means I get random unsolicited emails from people saying "I saw you reviewed X book on Amazon".)

I already made an absurd list outlining the 2018 books I couldn't wait to read (there are a lot), so let's skip that and look at my plans/goals!
Spend time with family. After my mother's cancer scare and my grandmother's stroke, I decided that I needed to make more time to be with family. It's easy for me to make the excuse that "oh I'm too busy" or "I don't have a car to get to them easily", but that's just me making excuses and making something else a priority in my life. So in 2018, I'll make the necessary sacrifices and see my family more!

Track my reading habits. I started doing this in 2017 then promptly forgot about it in the summer (classic Amber). I hope to stick with it next year!

Ask more authors to do interviews on my blog. I'm always so shy about asking authors to do something on my blog. I know they're busy and I don't trust myself to craft quality questions, but I really like doing it! In 2017, I asked Nicole Castroman and Sarah Tolscer to be featured on my blog and they were both amazing. Hopefully, I find more inspiration in 2018!

Interact with the book community more. This can be done on blogs, twitter, and bookstagram, but I want to join in more conversations! I want to comment on more posts and have quality conversations with more people. It's such a large community that sometimes I feel "stuck" and don't know how to branch out. So here's to putting myself out there!

Travel. Matt and I have gone to Disney World twice in two years now and it kind of put a financial damper on things. We've come to the agreement that we're not going to WDW for another five years (maybe, I don't trust us), and actually go to other places besides central Florida. In 2018, we have plans to go to NOLA (hey ALA) and Austin, Texas. 

Read 140 books. I'm pushing it, but whatever. Bring is 2018. 

What were your favorite reads of 2017? 
Have you read any of my favorite reads? 
What are your goals for 2018? 
Are you going to ALA? 
Do you bujo? 


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