Tag Archives: Matched

March Reads and Book Haul

I know, it’s a little late to be posting this. March is long gone, right? But better late than never, and it’s always fun to talk about books. 🙂

Of course, now I have to actually remember what I read in March…

Okay. According to Goodreads, I read Pure (Julianna Baggott), Iterate and Optimize (Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant), Fifth Business (Robertson Davies), Landline (Rainbow Rowell), and Against Her Rules (Victoria Barbour). If you want to check out my reviews/ratings on those books, here’s the link to my Goodreads shelf.

Fifth Business was the high point of my reading last month. I read it in high school, and my teacher somehow managed to not ruin it while we were dissecting it. If I were taking a critical view I could find things to complain about, but I’m not. These days I’m sick of this reading slump and am desperate to enjoy books, so I don’t question it when I do. It’s a fascinating book. It’s funny that I say I don’t enjoy “Literature” and Can-Lit all that much, but some of my all-time favourite books fall into that genre. I guess I’m picky about it. I don’t care for self-importance or pretentious writing in books. When I find an amazing story without those flaws, though, I’ll enjoy it no matter what genre it makes its home in.

As for my March book haul… 

…we went to St. John’s, which meant that I got to go to Chapters. It’s four+ hours from my house, but is actually the closest proper bookstore I’ve got, so going is always exciting. That’s not to say I bought all of these new, though. I am on an author’s paycheque here, guys. I also hit Value Village and got lucky, so the balance here is 9 new and 8 used.

I’m particular about what books I’ll buy used, at least when I can afford to be. I try to only buy used when I wouldn’t ever buy the book new, so I know the author isn’t missing out on a sale. I buy used when I’m at least half-sure based on reviews or my own experience that I won’t enjoy them and probably won’t finish, but want to give them a fair shot anyway (the Mortal Instruments books and Hush, Hush), have heard of the book but am not curious to snap it up (All the Bright Things), if I’ve read and enjoyed the book but for some reason don’t want to buy new (I enjoyed Matched, but was really disappointed with the sequel, so it’s not a series I’m invested enough in to buy new for my shelf), or books that I’ve lost or worn out old copies of (The Shipping News). And antique books, of course. Can’t really buy those new.

And if I do enjoy those books I’m iffy on, I’ll either grab new copies or leave good reviews to thank the author. One of those “do unto others” situations, I guess. Money’s not the only way readers can help us out, though purchases are always appreciated!

As for the new books, Throne of Glass is one of my favourite YA Fantasy books. I didn’t adore Crown of Midnight, but part of that might have been the fact that I caved and bought the massive, uncomfortable hardcover before the paperback came out*, so I bought that and whatever else of the series I could find in paperback. Hard as Ice is book two in the Heart’s Ease series. I really enjoyed Against Her Rules in spite of it being very much a SERIOUSLY GUYS ROMANCE NOVEL (the Newfoundland setting and competent writing really helped there), which I’d picked up at the library. Promise of Shadows and The Girl Who Circumnavigated blah blah blah (sorry, I can’t even remember the title long enough to type it out after I scroll down) were $5.99 bargain books that looked interesting, so I grabbed them. The Sandman was a gift from my graphic novel-loving husband who was terribly excited to hear that I wanted to start the series, the drawing book is a project for me and one of the kids to work on together, and You Are A Badass was… well, I want to understand my own badassness, man.

I’m getting there. And I’ve actually finished and reviewed that one on Goodreads, but that’ll fall under April here.

I also picked up some books on my Kindle this month, mostly business stuff about writing cover copy and book outlines and… *yawn*

My next book haul will be less exciting. I’m doing a “no spend” month, or as close to it as I can. I have a signed paperback of an upcoming release ordered, and if a certain Kickstarter campaign gets funded, I’m on the hook there. But we can still chat about reading and stuff.

If I remember to post again. O.o

TELL ME: What did you read last month? Are you a fan of anything in my book haul pic? No spoilers, please!

*I’m resisting the urge to rant AGAIN against publishers who do that. I hate it. So much. Just let us choose what format we want on release day. Thanks.



Book Review: Matched

I finished and reviewed Matched by Ally Condie.

Guys, I’m really surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. I’m usually not a fan of the straight-up love triangle, and this one did make me feel badly for one guy, but at least neither of them was abusive/controlling/disrespectful/etc like you see so often in these settings. I gave it four stars, based entirely on my own reading experience. It was fun, relaxing, and interesting enough that I spent my afternoon yesterday reading it instead of writing. Good enough for 4 stars from me. 🙂

…Because I’m an Idiot, That’s Why

JuNoWriMo starts in two days. Technically less than two days. My brain has been wandering everywhere lately– that is, everywhere except where I want it to go, which is writing.  I need fewer distractions in my life, especially for the next month, when I’m going to be trying for 2,000 words a day (and hopefully most of those before the kids get up in the morning, fingers crossed, yeah right).

So what did I do today?


ImageNot only did I go and look at books, I also got out more books than I could hope to finish in a normal two-week period, never mind one when I’m supposed to be writing all of the time.

I picked up a few books I’ve heard a lot about but never went OH MY GOODNESS I HAVE TO READ THAT RIGHT NOW and a few that have been recommended to me personally. Maybe it’s not fair to the books, but here’s how this is going to go: they have maybe three chapters, depending on length, to win me over. If I’m not intrigued/excited/curious/whatever (really, I’m open to a host of possibilities) by then, I’m not wasting my time on it.

Is that unreasonable? All we hear as writers is that it’s our job to hook readers in the first pages. The first paragraphs, even, if you’re talking about querying agents. Is it my responsibility as a reader to give a book more than three chapters to win me over? Even if the story isn’t in full swing by then (and I’m not saying it needs to be; I can enjoy a slow build or a quiet beginning), it needs to have promised me something that will keep me going.

It’s no different from dating, I guess. First dates don’t have to be perfect, but you’ve got to make a good impression. I don’t need to know everything about you by the third date (and please, I don’t need to have SEEN everything by then), but there’s got to be chemistry there. If there’s not, there are other people I could be spending time with who might work out better. It’s not you, it’s not me, it’s just not working.

I guess that’s an advantage of library books, at least for readers. If I spend money on a book, I’ll probably push harder to finish it. Now, if it’s not a good book this also means I’ll hate it more by the end, but I’ll at least try to finish it. If I have no money invested, I’m much more likely to leave it and go find something I DO enjoy.

So that’s the plan for these books. I’m going to give them a fair shot when I have time (and thank goodness for library renewals!), and I hope I’ll enjoy all of them.

And no, I won’t be reviewing/talking about any that I don’t finish. 🙂

How do you approach books? Do you feel like you HAVE to finish a story once you’ve started it? I used to. Do you think books deserve a chance to get good in the middle, or do you expect to be hooked/entertained right away? What pulls you in to a book? Voice? Action? A world that you want to take up permanent residence in? Characters who are interesting, either because you love them or hate them? What turns you off right away?

PS- if you’re a blogger friend and I have your book, I promise it’s still on my TBR list, but I’m waiting until I have time to really enjoy it. Yours get more than 3 chapters. 😉

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