Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Look at 2016: Statistics and Numbers

Happy New Year's Eve, friends! Are you ready for 2017? I sure am. 

I've done this post over the last three years, and I always enjoy putting it together. I'd like to share my end-of-the-year statistics roundup with you all. Like an annual report on my blog.

Here are some numbers and data for 2016:

- First book read: Titans by Victoria Scott
- Last book read: Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen
- Total Pageviews: ~887,000 (since December 2012)*
*Approximately 322,000 unique pageviews during 2016 
- Total blog followers (does not include Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads): 6,746
   - GFC: 1,211
   - Bloglovin: 2,483
   - Email/RSS: 632
   - Linky: 368
   - Pinterest: 644
   - Tumblr: 296
   - Google Plus: 1,112
- Goodreads friends/fans: 2,076
- Twitter: 3,003
- Facebook: 3,025
- Number of reviews in 2016: 179 (includes three sampler reviews and two 2015 reads' review)
- Number of 1-star reviews: 5
- Number of 2-star reviews: 9
- Number of 3-star reviews: 30
- Number of 4-star reviews: 121
- Number of 5-star reviews: 9
- Average rating for 2016: 3.69
- Total books read in 2016: 174 (42 less than 2015)
- Number of pages read in 2016: 60,830 (this may not be totally accurate, if Goodreads' information is not accurate per book)
- Total number of published posts in 2016: 536
- Days missed in publishing a post: 0 (since the December 2012)

See all 174 of my 2016 reads below:

Check out my Top Ten of 2016 posts:

(Click on the button!)

Data for Books read/reviewed in 2016:

(I did this via Excel - I kept a spreadsheet throughout the year. It made it easier to put the data together and make charts and things.)

What this tells me: 

- Age Level: This year, my YA/adult ratio got even closer. I'm reading nearly as many adult books as I am YA books. This does not bother me at all! I love adult romance.

- Debut: This was a new category I tracked this year. I was curious to see how many debut novels (YA or adult or whatever) that I read in a year, especially with 2016 being a year in which YA debuts were so championed. It turns out... the "debut" label means very little to me, in terms of reading selection. Which makes sense - I don't really read books specifically because they are debut novels.

- Dominant Genre: Back to fantasy being the highest read genre! The large number of contemporary is due to all of the adult contemporary romance novels I read this year. See my comments on "Age Level" directly above.

- Number in Series: I'm still reading way more "first" novels than I'd like, but I also read a happy amount of standalone and conclusion novels. 

- Publisher: Surprise surprise, HarperCollins dominates yet another year, in YA and adult. In my pie chart, "HarperCollins" refers to their teen imprints only (HarperTeen, Balzer+Bray, Katherine Tegen, etc.). Avon is an adult imprint of HarperCollins, but I have it noted separately.

- Rating: My average rating jumped a lot, from 2015 to 2016. In 2015, it was 3.509. In 2016, it was 3.69. The sheer number of 4-star ratings and drop in number of books read supports this. Which is cool - it means I enjoyed what I read. You'll also note that I got pickier this year - I read 42 books less this year. 

- Source: I'm a little surprised to see my Edelweiss numbers drop. I didn't do a lot of downloading/requesting on Edelweiss this year, so it shouldn't surprise me, but still. I did a good job of clearing my NetGalley account though, and getting through print ARCs. It should surprise exactly no one that the main source of my reading material is review galleys (electronic or print). I'm not really in a hurry to change that, to be honest. I tend to read more if they're galleys.

- Year of Publication: 2016 was the biggest year, which is expected. I'm behind in my 2017 reading (that's really low, compared to where I want to be), and I did a poor job of reading backlist this year.

Things I did well in 2016 (and in general):

- Post my reviews on Goodreads.
- Post my reviews on Amazon.
- Post my reviews on Barnes & Noble.
- Get my NetGalley ratio to 100% (several times).
- Keep my NetGalley ratio at or above 97% at all times.
- Review the eARCs/ARCs within a month before publication.
- Diversify my reads in terms of genre.
- Comment on new blogs.
- Reply to comments on my blog within 24 hours.
- Return comments to the blogs that commented on mine, within 24 hours.
- Read less. (Yes! This was a goal that I made!)

Did I meet my goals from my 2015 post?

- Read more backlist. --- No. For shame. *sigh*

- Read less in general. (uni comes first!) --- Yes. I read 42 books less. That's more than I expected not to have read, but at least I met that goal?

- Comment on unfamiliar blogs. --- Yes. I met a lot of great people by doing this.

- Comment on blogs (any) without them commenting on mine first. --- Yes. This year, I spent a lot of times commenting on blogs. I made that a priority over reading.

- Do a little more on Twitter. --- Yes, kind of? I reached over 3,000 followers (barely).

- Attend more events. (This isn't quite my fault - Baltimore doesn't have many!) --- Sort of? Besides the Baltimore Book Festival (my usual), I went to Kathy MacMillan's release party. That was cool! But really, I didn't quite meet this goal like I would have wanted.

Things I'd like to do better:

- Read a little more. More than 200, this year. I was hoping to read 200 in 2016. It was not feasible, towards the end, and that's fine. My grades from Spring 2016 and Fall 2016 were reaaaaaally good, as a result.

- Keep up with the good commenting. Like I said, I made commenting a priority in 2016. I'd like to maintain that level of rigor (or do better), in terms of replies, returns, and new comments.

- Keep up with the level of posting. Note that even though I read 42 books less than in 2015, I published 17 blog posts more than in 2015. Which is cool. 

- Create an Instagram. I MIGHT do this, after I graduate in May. I feel like I flood Twitter with my weekly book haul, and I'd love to post that on Instagram instead (or maybe both?). I don't want to get carried away though. This isn't about followers or publicity.

- Attend more events. This might actually happen since I'll be graduating in May, and hopefully employed after I graduate. 

- Figure out what to do on Tuesdays. I ran a year-long debut feature (Sweet Talk with the Sweet Sixteens) every Tuesday. I have nothing to replace that and no idea what to do on Tuesday. We'll see how it goes! I do not like winging things. I need a plan!

So that's that! The Eater of Books! blog in terms of numbers, for 2016. I'm a tiny bit disappointed in my reading numbers (especially my early reading for 2017), but I can't be too upset because I slayed in my academics. Between the two, academics will always come first. I'm really looking forward to 2017, in terms of reading and blogging. Hopefully it's a better year in general. Happy New Year, everyone!

Stacking the Shelves (#210)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, December 25th to Saturday, December 31st?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Chocolates from Big Honcho media - thank you! Happy holidays to the BHM team. =)

Thank you, Forever Romance! I liked this book. :D

It came early! Thank you, Target! I loved this book. I'm eagerly awaiting book three!

That's it from this week! My Christmas week was great; quiet, yet very fulfilling. I'll be doing NYE stuff tonight, so you might not see me around Twitter and the blog. Be sure to check out my Top Ten of 2016 posts from this week:

I posted a giveaway:

Friday, December 30, 2016

Review: Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen

Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen
Book Two of the Brooklyn Bruisers series
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

From the USA Today bestselling author of Rookie Move comes the second novel in the series that s hot enough to melt the ice.

He s a fighter in the rink, but he s about to learn that playing nice can help you score... 

As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team's massage therapist. 

After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good...

What I Liked:

I haaaaate writing three-star reviews! Especially a review for a book like this one! I didn't dislike this book. Heck, I think I liked it overall. But I didn't love it, and I just didn't care, by the end of the book. It could be my mood? It could be distractions, like the holidays? Who knows. I should have loved this book, but I didn't. Nor did I hate it though. Hence, three stars!

Hard Hitter is Patrick's story - Patrick and Ari's. Patrick is the captain of the Brooklyn Bruisers, and the enforcer. He's thirty-two and just not feeling all the fighting anymore, but as an enforcer, that's what he does. But it's hard on his body, and his latest injuries force him to finally see the team's massage therapist, Ari. Ari is a peaceful and fun person... who just broke up with her poisonous boyfriend of eight years. The problem is, Vince (the ex) won't leave her, or her home (formerly where he lived too) alone. A little romance between Patrick and Ari might be starting from the massage table, but they have bigger problems than a player-employee relationship.

Best part of this book: Patrick O'Doul. Oh my heart. I thought I liked Leo, in Rookie Move? I definitely like Patrick more. He's older than many of his teammates (though thirty-two isn't old), and he's single. He doesn't like people touching him, and he's often alone. He's a loner, and that suits him, except that he's been lonely recently. No parents, no siblings, no family, and no one leaving in his big, beautiful apartment. Patrick is a quiet guy of few words, who handles his pain internally and doesn't complain. And yet, he's as macho as they come, and deservedly the leader of the team. I. Adored. Patrick. He's such a good guy, under the confident swagger. 

So I really enjoyed seeing the progression of his character development. We know he doesn't like being touched from the start, but we don't know why. I like that we discover bits and pieces of him and his past, and then everything comes together. I also love seeing him get romantic! He is the sweetest possible man, as he tries to woo Ari and convince her that he is boyfriend material and that they'd be good together. 

Ari... I'll discuss her in the next section. Don't get me wrong, I didn't totally dislike her. In the first half of the book, I thought she was really cool and fun and sweet. She didn't deserve a single bad thing, in terms of Vince and the bad breakup, and my heart hurt for her. It seemed like she hadn't been in love with Vince in a long time. Being with him since age twenty-one meant that there was plenty of time to fall out of love - which is what happened.

I liked the chemistry between Patrick and Ari! At first you don't really get much chemistry because everything is professional in terms of Ari's massages for Patrick. But then those massages start to feel like something else, between the both of them. Patrick intrigues Ari, and Ari intrigues Patrick, and then there is dynamite and fireworks. The chemistry and passion between these two were pretty off the charts! 

The romance - well, I liked the romance for the most part, but less so in the second half of the book (and I'll talk about that next). Patrick's romancing was so sweet and thoughtful! I liked watching the pair fall for each other, though I wish Ari would get a clue. I had issues with the romance towards the end, but I liked it overall. 

In general, Hard Hitter is a good addition to the series. I liked but didn't love Rookie Move, mostly because I often struggle with second-chance romances. With Hard Hitter, I liked it but was frustrated by the female protagonist at times. 

What I Did Not Like:

The first half of the book went perfectly well for me! I was enjoying the dynamic between Patrick and Ari. I was loving how much hockey played into the story - how important it was to every part of the story. I was loving seeing Patrick open up slowly, and seeing him and Ari get their hands on each other. 

But something in the second half of the book just didn't go well with me. I sort of stopped caring? Or maybe I starting going through the motions? I remember rolling my eyes quite a bit. This could be a mood thing but... the second half of the book just didn't do much for me. 

I also couldn't really stand Ari, in the second half of the book. She refused professional help with her ex-boyfriend left and right, because she didn't want the GM to know her "business". You mean to tell me that you have a stalker, drug lord, and abuser harassing you, and you don't want to accept help because you don't want people to know your "business"? What kind of mentality is that? And believe me, I know this mentality - Trinidadians are like that (I'm Trinidadian). It infuriates me to no end. Logically it made no sense for Ari to be so confident that she had a handle on things (she didn't).

What's more, she started to push away Patrick, because she hadn't been single for so long and wanted to "find herself" (or some similar BS). What???? At first, I sort of understood this. But then I kept thinking to myself, you love this man, and this man clearly loves you and treats you like a queen, and you're seriously pushing him because you need to "be single for a while"? Again, logical? I think not.

And that attitude, of course, put a damper on the romance, in the second half of the book. I know, I know. Every romance novel has some sort of "break-up" around the climax of the book, and then the couple reunites and makes up and rides off into the sunset. That's a stupid plot that literally almost all adult romance novels follow and I'm sick of it. 

What's more, I couldn't stand Ari's high and mighty attitude, at the very tip of the conflict, when she jumps to serious conclusions and shuts down and refuses to talk to Patrick or let him justify himself. Ladies! This is SO, SO stupid. I feel like after the amount of times I've seen this massively idiotic plot device in romance novels, I should never do this in real life. Communicate! Be mad! But communicate! *tears out hair*

And in general, this book seriously could have done with all that drama at the end, with Patrick. That really did not feel necessary. 

Would I Recommend It:

Meh. I'm feeling a little disillusioned, with Bowen's books. I don't see the "OMG OMG OMG OMG" appeal. I mean, this is only my second book of hers, but dang. They're not that good?

Again, this could just be me/my mood. But I did not love this book, and I really don't recommend it. I liked it, and I adore Patrick, and the first half of the book was great. But Hard Hitter is pretty forgettable, unfortunately. 


3 stars. I might pass on Pipe Dreams. It features a rather rude female (we see her being rude in the previous two books) and a hockey player with a thirteen-year-old daughter (dead wife). Oh, and it's a second-chance romance. I think I'm good. We'll see though.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2017

The Top Ten of 2016 event is hosted by Jaime from Two Chicks on Books, Rachel from Fiktshun, Nancy from Tales of a Ravenous Reader, and Bridget from Dark Faerie Tales!

Today, I'm sharing my top ten books I'm looking forward to in 2017!

(In no particular order.)

(Also, the pictures link to Goodreads.)

Young Adult: 


(Note that I've read nine 2017 novels already... and I have about thirty. This list is ten that I don't already have/haven't already read!)



(Note that I've read a few 2017 adult novels already... and I have a few. With the exception of Highland Vixen, this list is ten that I don't already have/haven't already read!)

The Giveaway:

Win the six diverse/diversely written books above! Two are hardcovers, four are ARCs. All are 2016 publications with the exception of Allegedly, which publishes very soon, in January. Open internationally. Good luck!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Four-Year Blogoversary Celebration and Giveaway!

Check it out, friends! I've reached my four-year blogoversary today! Whaaaaaaaat!

(I'm a Star Wars mood today. Unapologetic about it.)

Book blogging has changed my life. I started while I was halfway through my senior year of high school, and here I am, halfway through my senior year of undergrad/university. My final semester in college is coming up, and I'm scared, excited, and hopeful.

Blogging has been such a wonderful outlet for me, over the years. College is hard, but reading has always been something "there" for me. I could say the same about blogging. I've not missed a single day of posting on my blog in the last four years, and that is a privilege as much as it is hard work.

I'm so grateful to everyone who has had a hand in my blogging journey. There have been so many, some who have come and gone, some who have been there from the start, some who I've just met. I'm thankful for all of you. And I'm listing as many people as I can remember because I adore you all. You've inspired me, cheered me on, put up with me; know that I appreciate everything!

Pili, Carina, LizaErin, Sophia, JessicaNereyda, Nick, Cyra, Meredith, Katiria, Jessica, JessicaJana, Cookie, Grace, Eileen, Kel, Jess, Shannon, Anna, Rachel, Rachel, JaspritHeatherAila, Aneeqah, Jaime, JaimeLily, BrookeLauren, Cyn, Zareena, Angela, Theresa, Keionda, Becky, Di, Lis, Steph, Teresa, Renee, Kristyn, Rachel, Zeee, JessLisa, Amy, Danya, Carole, Genni, JulieGenesis, Tammy, Lauren -- thank you for being there for me, in some capacity, during this year. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know. <3

Publishers and publicists - there are so many of you that I had a chance to work with this year, and I am so grateful to all of you. Team Berkley, Sourcebooks Casa, Macmillan, Fierce Reads, Epic Reads, Penguin Teen, Griffin Teen, S&S, HarperTeen, Avon, Disney-Hyperion, Entangled, Tor, Random House, Forever Romance, SMP Romance, Loveswept, Kensington, Bloomsbury, Big Honcho Media, Barclay,  Inkslinger... I could go on and on. THANK YOU!

Authors - all fifty million of you - you are rockstars. Believe me, I'd be here for days if I started listing all of you. Thank you. Good luck with everything!

Traders - Raquel, Jennzah, Erin, Michelle, Leah, Ashley, Carrie, Maryssa, Danielle, Samantha, Fallon, Pam, Crys, Flo, Michelle, Jen, Ashley, Elle, Sondra, Alice, Tatiana, Casey, Carlotta, Leslie, Zulfa, Ariel, Liz, AngelRachel, Becky, and Tracy. Thank you for the successful trades throughout the year! And thanks to Rachel, for making my life by sending a certain book. HUGS!

Jamie, and Kaitlyn - thank you for organizing #TBTBSanta (Jamie), and being an amazing Santa (Kaitlyn). Kaitlyn, I loved everything, and appreciate all of the gifts!

Jaime, Rachel, Hannah, and Jamie (again) - thank you for all of your time with blog tours (and in Jamie's case, #TBTBSanta). Your hard work is much appreciated! I'm a grateful host, always.

Waterwitch Babes - Lou, Katrina, Charlene, Carine, Steph, Cat, Kim, Olivia, Maddie, Ale, and Shanna. Always a pleasure to work with you ladies! I'm really excited to have met Shanna in person this year. Maddie, thank you for the sweet holiday gift. 

Nick and Charlene - thank you for being wonderful, as always, but especially for making graphics for me at some point during the year. I have zero graphic arts skills, so your help is so appreciated!

And to everyone I forgot, because I'm human, as well as to all the people who are reading this, thank you. To everyone who has interacted with at some point, blog-related or not, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

As usual, be sure to check out my year-end blog stats post in two days. For now, I will move on to my giveaway!

Giveaway #1:

Win the six diverse/diversely written books above! Two are hardcovers, four are ARCs. All are 2016 publications with the exception of Allegedly, which publishes very soon, in January. Open internationally. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2:

Because I'm lazy - win a book of your choice! $17 USD maximum, open to any country to which The Book Depository ships. Check the Rafflecopter for terms/conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best Book Boyfriends of 2016

The Top Ten of 2016 event is hosted by Jaime from Two Chicks on Books, Rachel from Fiktshun, Nancy from Tales of a Ravenous Reader, and Bridget from Dark Faerie Tales!

Today, I'm sharing my top ten favorite book boyfriends of 2016!

(In no particular order.)

(Also, the pictures link to my reviews.)

(Furthermore, note that these are Young Adult selections! Not adult ones.)

Jin from Rebel of the Sands

Ethan from Tell Me Three Things

Spencer from Love, Lies and Spies

Khalid from The Rose & The Dagger

Cade from P.S. I Like You

Gray from The Forgetting

Marco from The Lovely Reckless

Tyrus from The Diabolic

Dram from Flashfall

Cohen from Ever the Hunted

Check out all of my Swoon Thursday posts:

Check out all of my 2016 reads:

The Giveaway:

Win the six diverse/diversely written books above! Two are hardcovers, four are ARCs. All are 2016 publications with the exception of Allegedly, which publishes very soon, in January. Open internationally. Good luck!