2014 Reading Challenge Completed

book_pile I challenged myself to read 45 books over the course of 2014 on the Goodreads Reading Challenge. It seemed like a good number, and was the same goal I had set in 2013 when I ended the competition with 52 books under my belt.

Now, here we are nearing September and I've already hit my goal. I'll keep on reading, of course, but I'm not sure where the final tally will land. I'm sure I'll do a final write-up in December, as I did last year, but I'm guessing I'll probably get close to 60 books read when all is said and done.

I had set a number of resolutions to build my 2014 reading habit around. You can check those out here, but I'll admit right up front - I didn't really make a conscious effort to achieve any of them and I've struck out entirely thus far.

I'm blaming NetGalley. Probably not entirely fair of me, but...eh. Whatever. It's just too awesome of a service, and I am weak in the willpower area when it comes to reading material. I am a book junkie.

Basically, I did not read any Clive Barker. I did not read Mark Greaney's Gray Man series. I am not caught up on my Preston & Child books, and haven't touched anything by Jonathan Maberry yet. The first three novels of The Expanse series still sit on my book shelf collecting dust. On the comic book front...well, you can probably guess the result based on these trends.

My physical TBR pile has gone entirely untouched this year (thanks to Kindle, I haven't even read a single physical book all year), and my digital TBR collection has only ballooned.

Instead of doing any of these things, I opened up a NetGalley account and started reviewing advanced reader copies, or ARCs, as they're commonly called, of various novels. Most of them I would have bought anyway, eventually, like Lauren Beukes' Broken Monsters or Cronenberg's Consumed. I absolutely fell in love with NetGalley, somewhat to my detriment, and put out a healthy number of requests, many of which were granted by those terrific publishers.

NetGalley likes its users to have an 80% feedback. I've been granted access to fifty-five titles and have (at the time of this writing) reviewed or provided feedback for only 13 of them. So that 80% feedback ratio? Yeah...mine's at about 20% currently.

So, that's something I need to work on for the remainder of this year, and likely into 2015. Expect lots more reviews in the coming months.

During the tail end of summer, I also got into another horror jag, and became a big fan of DarkFuse, a small indie publisher that knocks out some really high-quality dark fiction titles. After learning about their book club, I decided I needed to be a part of that and reviewed the required five titles at Amazon (most of them cross-posted here), and now I really want to get enough review points so I can earn a spot on their VIP list and (hopefully!) get included in their NetGalley approvals list. A guy can dream, eh?

All of this basically means you can expect more DarkFuse reviews here, along with some looks at the titles I've picked up through NetGalley, and probably some miscellaneous stuff along the way.

As far as what's on tap, well, have a look-see at this sampling of titles I'm really excited to delve into in the near-future:

sunblindconduits   vision-of-fire-9781476776521_lg

 

Bone.Thunder.Cvr_cover49309-medium     deep-9781476717739_lg

wormsnowblind      godsofwar

Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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