Saturday, August 1, 2015

UPDATE: TBR CLEANUP - FINAL VERDICT


INTRODUCTION
After going through my list of planned reads here are the results of what I'll definitely keep and what I will be passing on. To keep things a bit shorter than the first post, I will group these in a somewhat more concise way. If something's been removed, then I will provide a bit of justification as to why something didn't keep my interest upon giving it a second look or why I selected one book over another.


BOOKS IN SERIES I HAVE ALREADY STARTED (And Knew I Would Continue)
These are all books that belong to series I have already begun. Because they are series I will like, I will most definitely be reading all of these:
  1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  2. Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff
  3. Endsigner by Jay Kristoff
  4. Injustice Year Two Volume 1 by Tom Taylor
  5. Injustice Year Two Volume 2 by Tom Taylor
  6. Artificial Evolution by Joseph R. Lallo


BOOKS I PICKED FROM THE BOOKTUBE AWARDS READALONGS
There are six books scheduled to be read each month from August through October until these BookTubers do their awards special. I haven't read a single one and want to catch up, but can probably only do one or two of them a month. There are four from August I had my eyes on and really needed to decide quickly which I should pick. At this particular moment in time, both of these are technically now on my Currently Reading list:
  1. The Martian by Andy Weir
    • This is one I have heard a TON about but was fairly undecided on picking up till I checked it out at a bookstore, flipped through some pages and now feel pretty confident that I'll love it. I can't wait to do the read-along for it. 
  2. Rat Queens by 
    • Checked this out using the "Look Indside" feature on Amazon and holy moly, the artwork is well done! And it is so irreverently funny only a few pages in. I just had to pick this one up! Hopefully it comes in in time for me to do the read-along for it.  
OTHER BOOKS REMAINING ON MY TBR
There were a number of books I put on my To Read shelf that I really didn't know much about. I figured that if I won them, then I would read them for sure and if not, then I still wanted to check them out. These are as follows (not in order):
  1. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft
    • A bunch of my friends love these stories and I feel like I should read at least a few of them. I think this will be one I just get in eBook format for casual reading
  2. The Written by Ben Galley
    • A super cool and very successful indie author. I watched a really great interview with him and am curious about his writing. Plus I love the cover since it heavily reminds me of the standalone Prince of Persia game that Ubisoft released. 
  3. Angel War by Philip Dodd
    • Loved this guy's other book and though this one looks a little more serious, I think I might like it. It's this strange, mythological spin on Christianity which I'm iffy on, but the guy is a great writer and a fellow indie so I think this one is worth a shot at some point. 
  4. Sung in Blood by Glen Cook
    • A short novel I picked up at a bookstore that seemed like I might like. I'll definitely read this eventually, I'm just not sure when.
  5. Ogden by Cory Abernathy
    • Cory wrote a review for Digitarum and I discovered that he was not only another indie author, but also a fellow Indie Book Booster Club member so I think will definitely be trying to return the favor to Cory at some point. 
  6. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
    • Think I will probably be keeping this one on the list since I haven't really read any Gaiman.
  7. Ultraexenopia by M.A. Phipps
    • Sampled this one and really liked the concept. The writer also has a nice literary voice AND I do believe she's a fellow indie. Will definitely be picking this up at some point.
  8. Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage
    • Apparently not out until September 29 this year, so I can't really sample it. The premise still sounds interesting enough so I'll keep this one for now and check it out later
  9. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
    • A sort of fairy tale in novel format. Since I already own Stardust by Neil Gaiman, it will probably be a long while before I get around to this one. I'd also be really into an audio-book version even if it means just doing the Kindle and paying extra for narration since the audio quality is pretty good and this would be a prime candidate for my next audiobook. 
  10. Watchmen by Alan Moore
    • The art style is a little old and the story is definitely brutal, but this is so widely loved and regarded as a classic, that I still wan't to give it a go. I feel like once I'm into it, I won't be able to put it down. 
  11. White Wind Rising by Dan Davis
    • Read a sample and have to admit that I was quite charmed. It's an indie book by an author I've never really spoken to and will probably be picking up in the near future. There were some small potential copy-editing errors I noticed in the first chapters which isn't a GREAT omen, but I liked what I saw enough to want the full version. 
    • Infernal byJoseph T.  Bowder
      • Another indie book that I wanted to sample. The first few pages of the sample didn't really grab me, but I kept on and was quite intrigued by the end of it so I think I'll be reading this after all. 
    BOOKS THAT WON'T BE STAYING ON MY TBR

    Note: Two things that I may bring up often as reasons for my not picking up a book are price and page length. Lengthy and/or expensive books are find - completely 100% fine. The problem is that as a reader, when I pick something up I'm unfamiliar with, namely an author I've never read before, then I'm kind of taking a chance on whether or not I will like their work. Sometimes I'll check out something new and I just instantly know that I will enjoy a book based on its theme, tone, writing style, or general concept. In those cases, money and length are really not of too much concern, but in cases where I'm not really sold on the aforementioned elements, a high-priced eBook and/or narrative that promises to be a time-sink make me a lot more hesitant to give something a shot. I don't like wasting money and I hate to waste my time and with so many other books out there that I might love, spending either commodity on something I'm less than thrilled with will only make me dislike it more so I try to steer clear of that - for everyone's sake. Hopefully that seems like a reasonable standpoint to most.

    I'll kick things off with the readalong books that I won't be going with:
    1. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
      • I read a sample and quite honestly I just didn't love the setup, writing style, or general tone of the piece. It kinda felt like the sort of book that tells you a lot and really doesn't show you anything. I liked the Viking inspired setting, but there didn't seem to be a particularly interesting use of it in terms of how the first few chapters sets the plot. Ultimately, what does it for me is the price. I'd probably risk trying this if I could get it cheap on Kindle, but NOPE it's $8.99 just for the eBook version and without really being all that thrilled over the style or where I think the plot will go, I think I'll be passing on this one. It's also almost 400 pages which isn't a huge deal, but if those 400 pages involve content I don't care for then that starts to feel very long indeed. Picking up new books is sort of a gamble in a lot of ways and the odds of my liking this don't seem so good.
    2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
      • The writing on this piece is actually quite good. I just really don't feel that into the concept and at another highly priced, fairly long eBook, ($9.40), I don't think this is one I'll take a chance on. 
    And here are the others that I looked and and am just not really thinking that I actually end up picking up:
    1. Echo 8 by Sharon Lynn  Fisher
      • While the concept still interests me, I just don't love the wrtiting and the eBook is a tad pricey. The Paperback is very fairly priced and it's a good length. I was iffy enough on the Sci Fi romance angle to start with and I just feel like I'd rather read other things instead. I'd definitely recommend taking a look at this one though if this hybrid genre is of interest to you.
    2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
      • I think this is one of those series where I am ashamed to admit I'd really rather just watch the movies. I really liked the visuals and the actor's performances and the story was pretty good too. I'm just not sure if reading the book will really engage me in the same way. The writing's fine and all, I'm really not sure what my issue is with it other than its a distinctively YA style. I think FOR NOW I will take this one off the TBR, but it's not like I'll forget about it so I may still end up picking it up at some point. 
    3. The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington 
      • There's really not any easy way to preview this book. It's only 200 + pages, but without a preview or even a Kindle option, I think I'll just pass on this one. It's recommended to me on Goodreads so I think it will just stay there in case I ever do want to give it another look. If I ever stumble across it someplace, I'll definitely peek at it then too. 
    4. Barking Madness by Ryan Hill
      • Something happened where this book is now no longer for sale, but is rather a pre-order. Unless I get back in touch with the author at some point, I think this one will also be dropped. That's not to say I won't look at it later when it goes back on the market, but it's also a very long one and since I'm doing all the readalongs until October and trying to finish up some of the series I started, I don't think I'll get to this one this year. 
    5. Heather by A.J. Sendall
      • The writing is fine on this one, but the content and language is just a bit dark for my tastes. It's written by a fellow indie, but I don't think I'll be able to do it, mainly due to the strong use of choice words in dialogue which I didn't feel was all that strong with or without all the swearing anyway. Given the length, I could see myself feeling a little bitter by the end of it all and maybe not giving it the greatest rating. Not my cup of tea, but I know this gritty, crime-centric type of drama is popular among a lot of folks. 

    CONCLUSION
    With eighteen books still on my TBR, I feel like I shouldn't very well have to worry about running out of new reads anytime soon especially since a couple of the books listed are ones that I already own. I've ultimately ruled out seven titles for various reasons. None of them seem like altogether bad books (they probably wouldn't have ended up on my TBR in the first place if I thought so), but after a closer look, I also don't think they will be ones I'll enjoy as much as I'd like to, so in that case, it's probably best to leave them alone. I also have my three months of readalongs with the BookTubeSFF awards to consider. I aim to have two reads with them each month which will keep me pretty busy until the last couple months of the year. I'll also need to pick which ones I want to dive into during September and October. I think I still have quite a bit to get through, but I feel a lot more confident that my TBR now reflects the actual list of books that I intend to eventually read. 

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