Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Secret of Dinswood by Ellen Alexander


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by the author, publisher, or other related entity.


Synopsis:



Cover Love:


For Readers who Like...
Breakdown Review:

The Secret of Dinswood by Ellen Alexander is a cute middle grade read on par with Nancy Drew meets Harry Potter with a little Goonies tossed in to the mix. I picked up this book for two simple reasons: I enjoyed the cover and I liked the idea of a boarding school treasure hunt.

The writing is on-par with a middle grade novel. It is bright and thorough, though it could on occasion due with some tightening up. There are cases where it feels as if the reader cannot be trusted to infer what is happening or connect pieces of the plot on their own. This made me cringe a little. An author needs to have faith in their readers. There needs to be a balance between what is told and what the reader is allowed to imagine on their own. This narrative erred toward telling too much.

My excitement in the setting and the basis of the plot was fairly well founded. The story read easily, maintained my interest, and kept up a simple level of suspense appropriate for the goals of the read. Descriptions were well done, the movement of the plot was smooth, and there were no large holes in the plot or wildly unbelievable events given the background of the story. Everything seemed to work well and drive the plot in the correct direction.

The characters were well constructed and worked well within the setting. There were some stereotypical tropes used, but it works fine under the umbrella of this genre. The interactions between the characters will well done as a whole. There were a few instances where the narration shifted to focus on other characters. This tended to throw me off and cause a small hiccup in the reading, but I can understand the intent of the author. It just didn't seem to work well in this case.

The story held my attention well to the end. It was a fairly predictable ending, but...again...that works perfectly given the genre. Despite the predictability, the excitement was carried through to the end and I was not left unfulfilled with a flat ending. In fact, this story is a part of an expected series and I wouldn't mind continuing to read it.

Emotional Response:   


Series Continuation Likelihood:

Rating:


Monday, February 11, 2019

2018 Book of the Year: The One Book to Rule Them All



The time has finally come. It's time to reveal my favorite read of 2018...the 2018 Book of the Year! There have been some fantastic competitors along the way and I would highly recommend taking a look at the other books from the bracket.

Before we get to this year's final competition...let's take a look at past winners.

This year marks my eighth year of making a bracket. It's a fun thing that I look forward to every year. I have had some great winners in the past and I always like to give them a little love.


2011 Book of the YearThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
2012 Book of the YearLet's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
2013 Book of the YearThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
2014 Book of the YearAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson


2015 Book of the Year: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
2016 Book of the Year: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
2017 Book of the Year: Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

These are all good reads, but I will admit that some are better than others. Maybe at some point I could pit them all against each other to find the best of the best. Eight books could fill a small bracket...I'm just saying.

But...back to the task at hand. This year's bracket. Here's where we sit currently:


And the challengers are:


Representing the left side of the bracket:

The Hate You Give
Angie Thomas

I grabbed this book on a whim after hearing good things from other readers. I entered the book with pretty low expectations, I have no idea why. But boy was I proven wrong. I started off mildly uncomfortable and struggled a little with the dialogue. It was something completely different from my regular reads. Pretty immediately, I felt like reading the novel caused me to do a bit of internal reflection and evaluation. That was fairly impressive.

Once I got myself a little more used to the speaking style of the characters, I was fully immersed in the story. The plot was painful, insightful, beautiful, and shocking. I'm sure that there are many different takes on the environment depending on a reader's personal experience. Personal history likely plays a larger role in the reader's response to the book, but I think most people would still feel emotionally involved. 

The Hate U Give had so much more of an impact on me than I expected. It is some seriously strong social commentary and really strips bare the fact that racial imbalance is still a major issue in the current social climate. It is such a raw and honest read and I think it speaks its message quite efficiently and powerfully. When I finished reading, I just felt that reading high. The one you get from knowing that you have just been witness to something magical, something great. 


Representing the right side of the bracket:

I'll Give You The Sun
Jandy Nelson


I finally read I'll Give You the Sun after having it sit on my TBR for a few years. Originally drawn to it because of the lovely cover, I soon found that other readers were singing its praises. It wound up being a Goodreads Award nominee for YA fiction in 2014.

This was a terribly emotional read. Nelson has a knack for beautiful prose and her characters are terribly endearing. I rode quite the roller coaster with this one. It made me happy, it made me mad. I found myself disappointed and angry. And...there were tears. It was just so gut-wrenchingly wonderful.

I always say that you can tell a book is great if one of a few things happen: I read it all in one sitting, I stay up way beyond my bedtime to read it, or I feel like I should just wrap my arms around it and give it a hug afterwards. This one is a hugger. It ripped out my insides and then put them back together. I just loved it so, so much.


The Faceoff:

I let a few really fantastic books go along the way, but these two really were among the cream of the crop for the books I read in 2018. Both really emotional reads in such different ways. They both land somewhat in the YA spectrum, but their motivations are nothing alike. Both authors have an ability to strip a story down and make it incredibly personal and moving, but their styles are hard to compare. Thomas is more of a blunt writer, forcing you to look at everything, regardless of whether it is comfortable or not. Nelson is a lyrical writer, making everything move fluidly, and taking you smoothly through the tale. In both cases, there is a bit of a feeling of having your insides scraped with a spoon.

What it really came down to for me this year was impact. While I very much enjoyed both of these novels, one just stuck with me so much stronger. I can't ignore that feeling. To have a book move me in such a way that I continuously consider it's story and message for several months afterwards speaks very strongly as to how good of a read it is. And so, the winner was really quite clear.


The 2018 Book of the Year is...




Great books and a great bracket. Do yourself a favor and check some of these novels out. I was lucky, once again, to read some amazing books last year. Let's hope that 2019 bodes the same!



Congratulations to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
the Erratic Project Junkie 2018 Book of the Year!

Don't forget to keep track of your reads this year so you can participate in the next bracket challenge. If nothing else, help me find more stellar reads for my ever burdgeoning TBR.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

2018 Book of the Year: Top Two


It's coming down to the end. Today I bring the playing field down to two. I have no wise words here. I just have anticipation. So...let's just get right to it. As a reminder, here are the final four along with the roads that brought them to this stage in the game.



Little Fires Everywhere made my heart hurt. It was so beautifully written. It starts out feeling a little Stepfordish and quickly becomes intriguing. There is conflict and there are pieces of ugly, but it is so wonderful. There were tears with this one. It's a book to hug.

The Hate U Give blew me out of the water. It was so powerful and relevant. It made me incredibly uncomforable and I considered that to be a very good thing. It pushed me out of my norm and made me consider race issues from a new angle. It was so well done. Beautifully crafted and I really enjoyed the blatant honesty in the narrative.

Let me tell you right now. This pairing is SO freaking painful. I loved both of these books so, so much. Both can be considered contemporary reads and both have a bit of a YA angle. I would absolutely highly recommend both books.

Gah. I hate to eliminate either of these. This is mildly reminiscent of the ejection of The Paragon Hotel from the first round. Dang random brackets!! But it has to be done. You really should read both of these books, but The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas takes the win and moves forward into the Top Two.


2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum v. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson



The Wonderful World of Oz is whimsical, but still has plenty of symbolism and relevance to life outside of the fairytale setting. It's different from the movie and it's worth the read regardless of your feelings on the film. It is a good middle school level read, but is still a pleasant one for adults as well.

I'll Give You the Sun was another YA tearjerker. This book had marvelous heart and it built a wonderful family dynamic. I could picture every bit of this book in my mind as the descriptions were just right, enough detail to paint a picture without making the reader feel incompetent. I loved her characters and thought she did an amazing job structuring the narrative. There is a build up that envelops the reader.

This decision was easy for me, I'll be honest. While I enjoyed Oz and it's slightly lighthearted feel, I apparently just enjoy having my emotions thrashed. I'll Give You the Sun is an amazingly beautiful book and it just has to be the one to move on. Jandy Nelson's novel is our second entry in the Top Two.

And...just like that, we are down to two. The books we have in the finals are well deserving of their slots. There were books I hated to leave along the way, but there is no question that we have a wonderful pairing for the finals.


Hold on to your seats. Next up, the big win is revealed and I'll share with you my 2018 Book of the Year!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2018 Book of the Year: Elite Eight


How is your bracket going? I was sad to say goodbye to a few books on the last round, but it's time to go at it again. Today, we remove another fine handful of books to get down to the Elite Eight.

As a reminder of the pain that is real, here is where we start today... My Sweet Sixteen.

This round was markedly more difficult than the last. Though I did lose some great books in the first round, this time there were quite a few books that I was super sad to cut. There were more than a small handful of cases where I really debated who would win. (I should add here that I'm eliminating blindly -- not allowing myself to go back and look at my reviews or ratings before making a final decision.)

As we get to the smaller rounds, I'll go through the analysis for each pair. Once they make it past the Elite Eight, it's only fair that they each get a little attention. Today though, I'm just going to focus on a the three pairings that made me the most heartbroken. I hate eliminating good books. It wears on me.

1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (5 stars) vs. Caraval by Stephanie Garber (4 stars)


These are both such fantastic books. Little Fires Everywhere is a contemporary, whereas Caraval is a fantasy fiction. 

I was very surprised by how much I loved Little Fires. I grabbed it simply because I had heard great things. I honestly don't even think I read the synopsis before I started reading it. I had also purchased it blindly for my mother prior to reading it myself. It totally lived up to my expectations. The writing was great, the plot was solid, and it totally gave me the feels. 

Caraval fantastically held up to my expectations. I love anything magic and circusey related, so I went into this one expecting something akin to The Night Circus. Well...there was no circus, but wow...there was a super plot. It's a fantastical mystery that is part of a trilogy and I am totally hooked. I need to get my hands on the sequel soon.

I tossed this one back and forth for quite a while and it held up what seems to be becoming a tradition for this BOTY round in that the very first pairing is my most difficult decision. Ultimately, I wound up going with what turned out to be my higher rated book in the beginning. Little Fires had 5 stars and Caraval had 4 stars. They held true to these ratings in my mind.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng moves on in the competition, but I still very much heart Caraval and will continue to heavily recommend it.


2. Beartown by Fredrik Backman (4.5 stars)
vs.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (4 stars)


Okay...first off...I love Fredrik Backman. He is a fantastic writer. Beartown was a bit different from what I expected, but it was stellar. The setting was great and I really (surprisingly) enjoyed the hockey aspect of the story. I typically don't go in for sports stuff. (But I do really love hockey, so I guess it was a good choice if I had to read a book about sports.) The plot went to places that were raw and honest and risky...the potential for controversy is there. I was addicted to this one and could not put it down. Such a good read.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean is the conclusion of a trilogy. It is YA fiction and a bit sappy here and there. But oh how I love Lara Jean. She is a great character. The writing is snappy and easy to follow, it has a bit of a light-hearted and friendly feel. The series altogether is fantastic and this one was just the best and perfect wrap up. I was definitely left wanting more.

Super heartstrings tugging occurred with this match up. Both teen-focused books, but in such different ways. I mulled it over and ultimately (again) fell in line with my prior ratings. With 4.5 stars, Beartown just edges out the 4-star rated Always and Forever, Lara Jean.




Backman really pulled the punches in this round, getting me torn apart in two separate pairings. His Us Against You (the sequel to Beartown), got pitted against the magnificent Margaret Atwood and her lengthy novel, The Blind Assassin.

Margaret Atwood just writes a dang good book. The Blind Assassin took me a little bit to get in to and totally had me confused in the beginning, but it spun into something complex and wonderful. It had a great plot with a skillfully employed movement from past to present and back again throughout the novel. I loved the protagonist and I always enjoy Atwood's style. She's just a master.

Us Against You was a solid follow up to Beartown. Though they are written slightly differently, they work together nearly seamlessly. Backman has a true gift for writing and always seems to turn his stories into something that has a hearty non-fiction feel even though all of the circumstances and characters are pure fiction. He has a tendency to suck me in right away and keep me glued to the pages. Us Against You wasn't quite as good as Beartown, but it was still a fantastic read.

Both of these books rated the same at 4-stars, so (true to form) my gut really did have to work hard on a decision here. I hated to have to eliminate either book. Ultimately, I had to go with Us Against You. It was just the more emotionally gripping story for me and I felt like I was so submerged in the storyline that I could have been there. It's awful to see an Atwood novel go by the wayside, but it was paired against an incredibly solid competitor. Us Against You by Fredrick Backman enters the Elite Eight as his second book to continue on in the competition.

And...with those difficult choices and sacrifices out of the way...here are this year's Elite Eight. 


Sunday, February 3, 2019

2018 Book of the Year: Sweet Sixteen


The BOTY Bracket Challenge is underway! Brackets have been set up and initial eliminations have been completed to decrease the number of overall challengers to 32. 

The bracket challenge is one of my favorite things to do every year. I love looking back on everything I read in the year prior, reflecting on some really good books, and just letting the chips fall where they may. A lot of times, I have an idea what book will win before I even get started, but it's still a good time to see how they stack up against one another in the trenches.

Today's task is to find the Sweet Sixteen. This is where I'm starting...

The thing that I notice about the randomization of these brackets is that there are usually some serious heartbreakers in the first round of eliminations. This year's bracket is no different. It was obvious to me right away that the left side bracket was the stronger of the two, holding a lot more of the books I loved the most. Unfortunately, that also meant that it pitted some incredibly awesome books against one another. The right side was a little easier in this round, but I still lost a couple of decent scorers.

Before we head right in to the eliminations, let's take a look at the basic demographics of our contestants.

Fiction: 32
Nonfiction: 0

          That's right. This year it's all fiction. And it's all novels. No plays, no children's books, no
          autobiographies. While I enjoy the occasional nonficiton and memoirs have typically been
          the name of that game year after year, in 2018 I apparently stuck to the land of
          imagination.


Contemporary Fiction: 9
YA Fiction: 18
Classics: 5

          This division is a bit sketchy, I'll be honest. My definition of these categories could be
          slightly different from that of another reader. But...overall, I think the tally is a decent
          representation of my reading trends for 2018. It was another heavy YA reading year. Not
          a big surprise...


Historical Fiction: 4
Fantasy: 9
Reimagined Fairy Tales: 5

Series books: 15

          Wowza. Almost half of the books I read in 2018 were part of a series?? That's a new trend.
          Especially when you consider that the most books read in a single series was three, and
          that only existed in one case. That is a lot of serious series reading. The more I think about
          it, the more daunting it becomes. Particularly since I only completed two out of the nine
          series involved.


ARCs: 2
Audiobooks: 1
E-books: 26
Physical copies: 5

          This is not all that surprising to me other than two small things.

          #1 - There were only 2 ARCs. That's somewhat disappointing. I plan on increasing that
                 percentage this year. I very much enjoy reading new authors who I may not have
                 otherwise sought out.

          #2 - I listened to my very first audiobook in 2018. I had always been resistant to
                 audiobooks, seeing them as "cheating". But with two small children and other
                 projects needing accomplished, I discovered that an audiobook allowed me to get
                 things done while still enjoying a story. And it didn't involve screen time. An added
                 bonus, since prior to that I tended to run random Netflix series in the background
                 while I got things done.


3 or 3 1/2 star ratings: 11
4 or 4 1/2 star ratings: 18
5 star ratings: 4

          This seems like a decent spread, but I'm thinking maybe my classification of a 4-star book
          may require some examination. It seems that there should be a tapering amount from 3-
          to 5-star, instead of a ballooning 4-star category


Now, let's get to the real purpose of this post. Time for some competition!

The right side of the bracket was much more difficult for me than the left. As usual, randomization resulted in some good face-offs right off the bat. Though the ratings I gave the books as I read them certainly play a part, I don't rely on them to choose winners as I go. Typically higher rated books will automatically win, but I go with my gut as the decision maker. It's kind of a way for me to eliminate some of the human error element in my rankings system.

Let's talk about the three hardest decisions in this round.

 


This was easily the hardest choice and (of course) it was the very first decision I had to make. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is fantastic and I really loved it. It was a 2017 Goodreads Choice Winner. Obviously, that makes it a formidable opponent. The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye was an ARC I received from the publisher and it was amazing. A historical fiction novel with a shifting timeline and an intriguing plot, it was a pleasant surprise in 2018 reading pile.

I didn't want to get rid of either one of these. I sincerely considered getting a new randomized number list, but...I refrained from cheating. It was painful, but it had to be done. I will tell you right now that, had these two not faced off right off the bat, they both would have likely made it to the Elite Eight...perhaps even the Final Four. But...that's why I do the randomized bracket. Though the decisions are often hard, it makes the path to find the winner even more interesting.

And so, with a saddened heart, I had to wave goodbye to one of these fantastic challengers. Little Fires Everywhere takes the win and I have to let the lovely The Paragon Hotel go. Don't let the fact that it didn't make it further sway you from reading it. The Paragon Hotel is (without a doubt) one of the finest books I read in 2018. It is very much worth a read.



This pairing pitted two of my most favorite authors against each other.

Margaret Atwood is a genius. Seriously. I love her and her work. She is an incredibly smart woman with an amazing writing talent. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak live a few years ago and I love her ever so much. Her The Blind Assassin was a lengthy historical novel that kept my stomach somewhat in knots and was one of those books I had difficulty putting down.

And then there's Philippa Gregory. I have read several of her books and love her novels. They always walk away with very high ratings. Arguably the best of the English monarchy historical fiction writers, Gregory's Three Sisters, Three Queens did not disappoint. It was awesome. Told from the perspective of Katherine of Aragon, Margaret Tudor, and Mary Tudor, it brings to live another segment of the Tudor/Plantagenet history with complete magnificence. It is an incredibly strong challenger.

I went back and forth for quite a while on this one. In fact, it was the last decision I made in this round. I just couldn't decide who should move on and who should be cut. They are both such fantastic reads. But you know the rules...there can only be one winner. And so I had to let Three Sisters, Three Queens go. Margaret Atwood's chunky novel The Blind Assassin moves into the Sweet Sixteen.



The last of the three most difficult choices is one that probably would surprise most who look at the bracket. It should have been easy, right? If you know my reading history, you know that I am a huge fan of John Green. In fact, not only was Paper Towns my first read of 2018, his Turtles All the Way Down was one of my last reads of 2017 and his An Abundance of Katherines was my first read of 2017. He is a very strong challenger. 

But...Cecelia Ahern's P.S. I Love You had been sitting on my TBR for quite a while, biding it's time. And, though I had seen the movie (which never bodes well), I found myself in love with it. It only rated at 3-stars because of an ending issue and (quite honestly) I think because of some tainting of opinion from watching the movie. As far as heartstrings go though, it was one that landed tough. So when it came to deciding here, I felt myself struggling.

I will admit, I wasn't surprised at the winner. I was more surprised at the amount of debate this took. P.S. I Love You ultimately just didn't have what it took. Paper Towns by John Green moves forward in the rankings.


And thus, with what I consider to be some pretty painful goodbyes, the Sweet Sixteen were chosen. Here's where this year's bracket now stands.

Just a reminder...you're still very much welcome to take part! Just make sure to add yourself to the linky below or leave a comment with a link to your own challenge. Let everyone see your progress to pick your 2018 Book of the Year!

I'll be back for more challenging book exclusions as we progress into the Elite Eight!

Friday, February 1, 2019

2018 Book of the Year: Bracket Reveal


The time has come! The 2018 Book of the Year (BOTY) Bracket Challenge is underway! Did you keep track of the books you read last year? Are you ready to pit them against each other and see which one comes out on top? I sure am!
The Book of the Year Bracket Challenge is a blogging challenge open to all reading bloggers.  Participants set a goal for the number of books they wish to read in a year and then enter those books into an NCAA style bracket of any size and in any order they choose. During February 2019, all participating bloggers will begin working through their brackets, eliminating books and picking champions with the ultimate goal of naming their favorite book (book of the year) for 2018. 
Today's job? Bracket reveals and eliminations to reduce the books down to 32 competitors. Here's the schedule for the challenge from here out:
February 1st: Initial eliminations. All rounds of eliminations needed to get the number of contestants reduced to 32. 
February 3rd: Elimination to find the Sweet Sixteen.
February 5th: Reducing challengers to eight books - the Elite Eight.
February 7thQuarterfinals. Determine your Final Four.
February 9th: Semi-Finals. Only two may enter the final arena.
        February 11th: Finals...the Champion will be determined. Announce your BOTY!
As usual, I'm using a randomized bracket. I read a total of 36 books last year, so I'll be using a 32-seed bracket. Thus, 4 books will need to be eliminated prior to the beginning of the bracket construction.

Here's my list of competitors (and their star ratings) for this year:

1. Paper Towns by John Green - 4 stars
2. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham - 3 stars
3. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - 4 stars
4. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby - 2 stars
5. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - 4 stars
6. Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory - 4 stars
7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman - 4 stars
8. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern - 3 stars
9. Beartown by Fredrik Backman - 4.5 stars
10. Caraval by Stephanie Garber - 4 stars
11. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce - 3 stars
12. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett - 1 star
13. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson - 5 stars
14. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M.  
     Valente - 4 stars
15. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng - 5 stars
16. The Truth About Us  by Dalene Flannigan - 3 1/2 stars
17. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews - 2 stars
18. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - 5 stars
19. Forever in Blue by Ann Brashares - 3 stars
20. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 3 stars
21. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige - 4 stars
22. The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige - 3 stars
23. Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige - 3 stars
24. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson - 3 stars
25. Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm - 3 stars
26. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman - 4 stars
27. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh - 3 stars
28. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - 5 stars
29. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - 4 stars
30. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han - 4 stars
31. The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen - 4 stars
32. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han - 4 stars
33. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood - 4 stars
34. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares - 4 stars
35. The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye - 4.5 stars
36. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter - 4 stars

Elimination of 3 out of the 4 necessary books was easy. Adios to the 1 and 2-star rated books. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews are automatically out. That leaves a pool of 33 books.

Gah. Now...to eliminate one book in order to reduce down to bracket filling capacity. I considered all of the 3-star ratings and then chose the book that I felt was the lowest of that group (not an easy task). Thus, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne also gets the ax.

Books were then numbered based on order read and moved up in number for any eliminated books. Thus, if book #5 was an eliminated novel, then book #6 became the #5 seed. 

A number randomizer was utilized to generate the seed positions for the bracket. I enjoy the random approach, as you never know who will be pitted against who. It just makes things a little more fun.

Once numbered, this is what the bracket looks like to begin.
And after filling in book titles, this is where we will begin this year.

There we go! 32 novels ready to be picked off one by one until we have a winner!

Be sure to check out the other bloggers on the linky to see their progress on eliminations. I promise you there will be some really good reads pitted against one another.

Visit the sign up page to get all the specifics on the challenge and then go to the brackets page to get a blank template to use for your own challenge.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

2018 Book of the Year Bracket Challenge


It's BAAAACK. Every year, I bust out the bracket and eliminate the books I read in the prior year until I find one ultimate winner...the best of the reads...the Book of the Year. In the past, I've invited others to join me, not only for the fun, but also so that I can pick their brackets and use them to add to my already burgeoning TBR pile. Because books are awesome!! It's a sickness and I would love for you to join me.

Want to share your 2018 reads and let us know what you thought reigned supreme? Great! THIS, my friends, is the official sign up post.

Haven't participated before, but are mildly interested? No problem...

Here's how you can be a part of it!

1. Write a post on your blog declaring your intent to join this year's challenge. Not a blogger? Post to your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Your choice! Your bracket updates can be posted as photos on those platforms. Help me to get the word out and get more bloggers involved. The official hashtag for this year's challenge is #BOTY2018. The more the merrier!

Be sure to take the blurb below and add it to your post in order to link back to this sign-up page and help others find the right place to start.
The Book of the Year Bracket Challenge is a blogging challenge open to all reading bloggers and operated by Elle at Erratic Project Junkie.  Participants track the books they read in a year and then enter those books into an NCAA style bracket of any size and in any order they choose. At the beginning of February 2019, all participating bloggers will begin working through their brackets, eliminating books and picking champions with the ultimate goal of naming their favorite book (book of the year) for 2018. For all BOTY Bracket Challenge information, scheduling, and updates, visit Erratic Project Junkie.

2. Add your link to the linky at the bottom of this post. 

3. Grab your list of books read between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.

3. Find a bracket that fits the number of books you read during the year. Brackets may exist in any of the following book counts: 8, 16, 32, 64, etc. You decide the parameters for how a book gains entry into your bracket and which position in the bracket they start in. For some examples, check out how I designed my brackets over the years.

Want to participate, but not sure how to make a bracket? Don't worry! I have some for you. Don't let the fear of the bracket be the reason you don't participate!

4. Fill up your bracket! Any books are eligible for this challenge as long as you read them between January 1,2018 and December 31, 2018. Graphic novels and audio books are also welcome. It's kind of like the Choose Your Own Adventure of book challenges. You can fill your bracket in any way you choose: by date read, by alphabetical order, by author, by random (my personal choice), or any other ingenious way you devise. 

5. Participate in bracket elimination posts. Eliminations begin on February 1, 2019. Final winners will be announced on February 11, 2019. The following schedule will be used for BOTY posts:
Dates for bracket postings are as follows...
February 1st: Bracket reveal and initial eliminations. All rounds of eliminations needed to get the number of contestants reduced to 32. 
February 3rd: Elimination to find the Sweet Sixteen.
February 5th: Reducing challengers to eight books - the Elite Eight.
February 7th: Quarterfinals. Determine your Final Four.
February 9th: Semi-Finals. Only two may enter the final arena. Find your Top Two
        February 11th: Finals...the Champion will be determined. Announce your Book of          the Year!
6. Start preparing for next year!  In order to help you keep track of the books you've read, consider getting an account over at Goodreads and adding yourself to their 2019 Reading Challenge. Once again, any books are eligible for this challenge as long as you read them between January 1,2019 and December 31, 2019. 

Be sure to check out bloggers on the linky throughout the year to see their progress on their individual reading challenges, book reviews, and watch their brackets fill. Get to know one another before the big showdown.

And now it gets fun...

It's time for the...

Official Sign-Up Linky

* Remember to include your a direct link to your sign up post, not your blog's main page. 
A direct link should look like this : http://yoururl.com/your-sign-up-post

* Sign up for the Challenge by entering your Name & Blog Name in the Linky at the end of this post 
(ie. Elle @ Erratic Project Junkie).

* If you have any questions regarding the Book of the Year Bracket Challenge, feel free to contact me at 
erraticprojectjunkie@gmail.com.

Happy Reading!!

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