Beat the Backlist challenge 2017

The Beat the Backlist challenge is hosted by Novel Knight, and the aim is to get through the stacks of books on our TBR that get forgotten about when new releases come out!

I just discovered this challenge this morning so I’m just jumping in a bit late.  The challenge includes an awesome Hogwarts House Mini Cup which I’ll definitely be joining in with (for Slytherin of course).  Since I can only start earning points for the House Cup from today onwards, I’m setting my goals for just the rest of the year too.

I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be reading but I’m aiming for 50 books in total.  I’d like to especially focus on getting through a few series though, as well as review books.  Below are a few possibles:

  • The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – book 10+
  • The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong – book 8+
  • Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  • Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin (re-read)
  • The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan – books 4 & 5
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
  • The Obsidian Throne by J.D. Oswald
  • In Death series by J.D. Robb – books 31+
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  • Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith – books 2+
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Feedback by Mira Grant

We also get points for reviewing backlist titles – even if they were read in 2016 or earlier, which is DEFINITELY a big plus for me – I’ve got too many review copies that I’ve read but not yet got around to reviewing.  As well as aiming for 50 books, I’m hoping to get at least 25 backlist books reviewed.

2017 Love-A-Thon: Introduction!

An Introduction to You and Your Blog.
  1. What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from?
    Hi! I’m Faith, and I’m blogging from the UK. I’m having a very relaxing morning blogging and watching tv in my pyjamas!
  2. Tell us your history with reading. Were you always a reader? Were you a reluctant reader? Was there a book that convinced you to become a reader?
    Honestly, I don’t really remember not reading, but both my parents are readers too, so I guess that’s no surprise.  As a kid, my favourites were always fantasy, and that hasn’t changed much now – I still read predominantly sci-fi and fantasy.
  3. How did you get involved in the online book community?
    I don’t really remember, but at uni I just discovered book blogs and was constantly reading them, so I thought I’d give it a try and haven’t looked back!
  4. How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc)? How did you come up with your blog name?
    I don’t really use Instagram so that never occurred to me, and I definitely would not be able to cope with seeing myself on camera so a blog seemed like the logical choice.  In terms of platform, I went with wordpress because I liked the idea of one day moving to self-hosted and having all the plug-ins, so I thought it made sense to start with free wordpress. I actually started blogging under a different name (StudentSpyglass) but I didn’t really love it, and when I moed to self-hosted I decided that was the perfect time to pick something new! I wanted something that incorporated my love of animals and my geek pride so GeekyZooGirl was born.
  5. What’s your favorite thing about the online book community?
    I love being able to share my love of all things bookish with people who just get it! I love making friends with other bloggers who share the same interests and obsessions I do, and spending hours getting lost in all the awesome things people post!
  6. What sort of posts can readers expect from you?
    Mostly bookish things: reviews, top tens, reading recaps.  The occasional planner post, and since I’ve been trying to get into bullet journalling, you can probably expect to see more like that, as well as intermittent ventures into bookish fashion and nail colours.  Since I’ve been getting into running, I’m also thinking of posting a bit more about healthy recipes and my attempts to get fit.
  7. What book genres do you talk about most?
    Definitely fantasy and sci fi!  I’ve started getting into manga and graphic novels so they’re beginning to feature a bit more too.
  1. Favorite food? Beverage? I seriously love food, so picking my favourite is pretty impossible, but I can pretty much always be found with chocolate in hand when I’m blogging.  My favourite drink is probably Dr Pepper although I don’t have it all that often.
  2. Favorite color?
  3. Favorite things to do apart from reading?
    Hanging out with friends, watching TV, going to the cinema, reading (and occasionally writing) fanfiction, playing games.
  4. Favorite tv shows?
    Game of Thrones, Nashville, Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  5. Favorite movies?
    All the Disney! Anything Marvel but especially Guardians of the Galaxy.
  6. Favorite musical artists?
    Linkin Park, Paramore, Blink 182… Plus various soundtracks on repeat. My musical taste hasn’t really changed since I was a teen…
  7. Favorite places to shop?
    Anywhere that sells books!  Paperchase. Hotel Chocolat.  New Look. Meraki Candles.
Book Talk
  1. Favorite childhood books?
    Harry Potter!
  2. Your Hogwarts house?
    I’m a Slytherin fan through and through, although I guess Ravenclaw would also be an okay fit.
  3. Favorite books read in the last five years?
    All the Game of Thrones Books, the Throne of Glass series, Fangirl, Red Rising, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the Raven Boys series.
  4. Underrated book, series or author you love?
    Everything by David Eddings.
  5. A book you want to see made into a film or tv show?
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone or Red Rising.
  6. Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book BFF? Book family?
    Book boyfriend/girlfriend: So book boyfriends kind of escape me because I always love the damaged, anti-villain types (Jaime Lannister and The Hound from Game of Thrones. Draco Malfoy. Lex Luther in Smallville. Spike from Buffy etc), who would admittedly, probably be terrible boyfriends. So, I’m going to go with Valek from the study series.
    BFF: Hermione Granger
    Family: The Weasleys!
  7. Books you want to read in 2017?
    ALL THE BOOKS. Especially Assassin’s Fate, Iron Gold, Six of Crows, A Court of Wings and Ruin.

Review: Armada

Review: ArmadaArmada by Ernest Cline
Published by Crown Publishing on July 14th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 349
Format: audio
Source: Purchased

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.
No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.
It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

After I adored Ready Player One I went into Armada with pretty high expectations, which unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to.  As with Ready Player One, I decided to listen to the audiobook, and as usual, Wil Wheaton’s narration was fantastic, but for some reason, I still found I just never got truly hooked on Armada like I did Ready Player One.

There’s plenty to like: the plot is fun, the characters are likable, it’s got the same love for geeks vibe as Ready Player One, but Armada just didn’t wow me like I expected it to.  I think actually what killed Armada for me, was one of the things I loved most about Ready Player One – the constant pop-culture references.  They were a fun addition that made me feel awesome whenever I got them in Ready Player One, but even without them, the story was addictive enough, and the characters relatable enough, that I’d have been hooked.  In Armada, I felt like a lot of the humour, and even plot points and emotional depth, were supposed to come through these references, and that meant wherever you didn’t get one, the story just felt a bit flat.

I’d spent my entire life overdosing on uncut escapism, willingly allowing fantasy to become my reality.

I loved the idea – Ender’s Game is a huge favourite of mine and it’s the same principle – and I loved the mystery of the video game that showed up in arcades, drove a few kids insane and then mysteriously vanished again. I loved Zack’s mother and their relationship, and I liked the constant banter between characters.  There’s a plot point which I can’t talk about without spoilers but which I thought was clever, and fun, and that I loved.

Ultimately, maybe I’m just the wrong kind of geek for this one to ever truly click for me, because I felt like there were a lot of game references that went over my head (I really want to love gaming but my skills are still hovering around about Crash Bandicoot and Pokemon so I tend to give up very early on…).  I wonder if I’d picked this up having not read Ready Player One I would have enjoyed it more, but to be honest I’m not sure that’s the case – I think if I hadn’t already trusted Cline because of Ready Player One, I’d have got fed up of the pop-culture references and eventually DNF’d the book.  There were moments very early on in the story when I couldn’t seem to get hooked and the only thing that kept me going was knowing that I’d LOVED Ready Player One and trusting that Cline would do something awesome with this book too.  Overall, Armada was a fun read and I enjoyed it – but I didn’t love it.  I’ll definitely be giving it a re-read later on though, because I think expectations really let this one down, and I think I may well like it a lot more going in with a better idea of what to expect.

One StarOne StarOne Star

Netflix & Books Challenge: January Check-In

A yearly challenge focused on watching television shows we’ve been wanting to get to (both new and old), and reading books we’ve been wanting to read that match some fun challenge prompts. If you choose to, you’ll have the chance to earn points throughout the year.

I haven’t made as much progress as I might have liked on this one, but I’ve made a reasonable start.  Next month I’m hoping to read A Game of Thrones, as well as finish watching Avatar season 1, but no real plans other than that!

Books & TV pairs

One of Us is Lying (368 pages) = 30 points
Pretty Little Liars season 5 = 20 points
Pretty Little Liars season 6 = 20 points

Book & Show have the same trope: The lives of four characters are thrown into chaos after a murder each of them might have had motive to commit, and the four work together to try and figure out what happened. = 25 bonus points

Other TV watched

Nashville Season 4 = 20 points


Earned this month: 115 points
Earned so far this year: 115 points

I think I might have to adjust my goal for the year, which was originally 100 points 😉 I’ll be aiming for 1000 points by the end of the year instead!

Bookish Resolutions Progress Report – January

The Bookish Resolutions challenge is hosted by Laura @ trips down imagination road and Michelle of Because Reading.

Reading Goals (6)

  1. Finish/catch up with 10 series
    • January: I made progress on 2 series, but haven’t finished any yet.
  2. Read at least 12 manga volumes or graphic novels
    • January: 0
  3. Get My NetGalley ratio up to (and then keep it above) 75%
    • January: I hit 75%!
  4. Read 100 books
    • January: 9 books read so far
  5. Read 10 books I had on my shelves pre-2017
    • January: Read 4 books from my shelves.
  6. Read at least 10 sci-fi books
    • January: 1 sci-fi book read

Blogging Goals (5)

  1. Post a recap every month
  2. Post at least 10 times each month
    • January: 12 posts
  3. Take part in at least 3 events (bloggiesta, Blog Ahead, readathons etc)
  4. Review at least half the books I read
    • January: Reviews written/scheduled for 6 of 9 books read (66%)
  5. By the end of each month have 3 posts scheduled for the following month
    • January: 2 posts scheduled

Personal Goals (4)

  1. Lose 24lbs +
    • January: 5lbs lost
  2. Go to the gym/swim/exercise class a total of 104 times in 2017
    • January: 8 runs + 1 gym + 2 classes (11 sessions)
  3. Train for and complete a 10k
    • January: Weeks 1 & 2 of C210K completed, week 3 started
  4. Catch up on/finish at least 3 TV series
    • January: nothing finished yet, but progress on multiple series!