Reviewing the Reviewers!

I love keeping track of my books, yet like many readers, I have my issues with Goodreads. Aside from being pretty clunky, I have many issues with the site: the recs are at random; it has poorly defined genres; the “choice” awards only highlight bestsellers; and there are fake reviews in the vein of “this author is a bad person 1*” or “I’m looking forward to reading this 5*”. All in all, there are a lot of areas that could be improved upon. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to check out now… which is exactly what I decided to do.

Inspired by Kristin Krave’s wonderful post, I decided to look at two emerging competitors: The Storygraph and Book Sloth. I started with Storygraph and I’ve got to say I was pretty dang impressed. Firstly, it was a cleaner, more attractive site. Secondly, I loved the “Ordered For You” element. I was genuinely excited by some of the suggestions- especially since they were things I wouldn’t have thought about. I could clearly see if a book had elements I desired or if it was well liked. I really appreciated that you could break it down by mood and individual elements like character development.

Now, it didn’t manage to import all of my 1500 books- which is understandable, since I often have problems with my end of year exports and the site is only in beta. Personally, I didn’t love it as a database, as personally I’m often looking for something a bit more stat-heavy and I’d like to be able to isolate books by rating or genre. However, the site does what it intends to do well. It has a fun challenges section that could gamify your reading if that’s what you’re looking for. And if you treat it as a recommendations site and you’ll be very happy indeed.

Next, I checked out the Book Sloth app. There was a lot to like about this too- not just the brilliant name and cute style. This also had some good recommendations by topic- from “meet cute romances” to “classic retelling” to “astonishing fantasy”- although it was less personalised than the Storygraph.

screenshot bookslothTruth be told, I’m something of an app minimalist… but I’ve kept this on my phone and keep finding myself going back to it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get really into using it to keep track of my reading, especially since it doesn’t really work like a database, yet I do really like checking it out every so often. It’s so easy to use and gives me a good idea of what’s coming out soon. I’ve also got to admit, one of my favourite elements of this app was how the sloth puts on funky glasses whenever you refresh the page. I think the sloth may slowly gain in popularity 😉

Encouraged by Bookstooge’s post, I also briefly perused Library Thing. For me, this wasn’t a huge success. While it had a solid database, it’s very similar in style to Goodreads. A lot of my data that was imported had the wrong date (which I’m much too lazy to spend time fixing). I didn’t find anything particularly intriguing in the recs section either. To my mind, it didn’t offer anything especially unique and has only made me more eager to just build my database to allow for interesting stats offline (which I’ve been doing for the last couple of years). The one big plus is that doesn’t seem to have the toxicity as some parts of GR- so if you’re looking for a quieter place to hang out and record your book collection in peace, then it’s definitely the place to go.

And that’s all for now! Do you use any of these platforms? Are you tempted to check them out? Let me know in the comments!

Does My Taste Follow the Crowd? Discussing My Top Ten Highest Rated Books I’ve Read (And Beyond) – Inspired by Thoughts of a Reader

thoughts orangutan

Over on the *terrific* Thoughts of a Reader, I saw this brilliant post comparing her highest rated on Goodreads with her own ratings. It immediately got me thinking about whether my own taste lined up with the highest rated books I’d read. After my discussion on the Goodreads Choice Awards, I figured it could be a fun “does my taste follow the crowd 2.0”. Of course, what I soon discovered was that a lot of the same popular authors/series came up repeatedly, which skewed the results a little and is why I didn’t exactly stop at ten. Let’s get to it:

court of mists and fury

A Court of Mist and Fury– 4.65- I personally gave it 4/5, so I get it, but I also think this comes down to some very loyal fans (Maas *dominates* this list).

heartstopper 2

Heartstopper 2– 4.66- I gave it 4/5- and I definitely understand why this has a high rating. It promises cute and fun and romantic- and it delivers!

march 3

March book 3– 4.64- again, my rating was 4/5 bananas (this is becoming a trend). I found this whole series pretty moving and, given the subject matter, think the rating is deserved.

crooked kingdom

Crooked Kingdom– 4.60- I gave it *all the bananas*- it’s safe to say, I’m fully on board with this one.

kingdom of ash book cover

Kingdom of Ash– 4.60- hmm I have more reservations about this one. I gave it 3 ½bananas 3.5- I was pretty satisfied at the time, but I feel less so over time. Unfortunately, this was the kind of finale that made me fall out of love with the series a little bit.


Clockwork Princess– 4.58- my rating was 3/5, so I guess I’ve got to be one of the few people on the planet who didn’t love the resolution to the love triangle. That said, this is still my favourite of Clare’s series and I get the hype.


Wise Man’s Fear– 4.57- oof I’m not feeling this one, I only gave it 2/5 bananas. This sequel just didn’t work for me at all. *Fingers crossed* for the finale though.

queen of shadows

Queen of Shadows– 4.57- I liked this one (my rating was 5/5) though it wasn’t my fave (funnily enough, for all the Maas books on here, that one didn’t make the cut).

harry potter and the half blood prince

Half Blood Prince -4.57 -my rating was 5/5 bananas- which kinda surprises me cos I had some issues (actually it surprises me even more that, by this reckoning, this is seemingly the most popular Harry Potter book? The next highest rated is Goblet of Fire and tbh I get that more… which I guess is just my own bias showing).

heartstopper 1

Heartstopper 1– 4.57- as with the second one, I gave it 4/5 bananas 😊

And because there were so many repeats, I decided to do some honorary mentions for high rated books where I get the hype:

Becoming– 4.55- I gave it 4 and completely get the hype (especially for the audiobook). It was very insightful, though I wanted more from it in some areas (but I get why there were gaps).

Maus– 4.55- totally worth the hype OMG- one of the best memoirs of all time!

House of Hades– 4.55- this might be my favourite Rick Riordan books!

Storm of Swords– 4.54 definitely the best Game of Thrones book- so I get it!

Skyward– 4.54- Sanderson is another popular author on GR and I *totally* get it! All the bananas!! And beyond!

In Order to Live– 4.48- another brilliant memoir!

Winter of the Witch– 4.51- this is one of the most satisfying series enders I’ve ever read! Safe to say, if you liked Bear and the Nightingale, you’ll likely love this.

To conclude, I’d have to say my taste doesn’t deviate much from the crowd. Sure, I may not always rate something as high and perhaps would’ve loved to see more favourites make it on here, but I rarely seem to disagree entirely.

So, if you’ve read these books, do you agree with the high ratings? Do you find your taste generally follows the crowd? Or are you a total rebel? Maybe you don’t even use Goodreads… 😉 Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

How Much Does My Taste Follow the Crowd? Thoughts on Goodreads Choice Awards

thoughts orangutan

I’ve been watching the Goodreads Choice Awards from the side-lines for years. Sometimes I vote in a couple of categories, sometimes I pick up the odd book, but mostly I just see it in my periphery as a vague recommendation of books I’ve already heard everyone raving about. When I got to thinking about it this year, I realised that the vast majority I see on there aren’t interesting to me, despite being in categories I read. Since this is a popularity contest, this got me to wondering… does my taste follow the crowd? I decided to do an experiment, looking back on the last 5 years of Goodreads Choice Awards (which correlates with how long I’ve been blogging), putting it into a spreadsheet and calculating how many books I liked/disliked/am uninterested in… because I am just that dorky 😉 And my results were…

goodreads choice awards

Interesting. As you can see, the vast majority, I don’t want to read. And that’s pretty much what I suggested going in. One thing of note was that I found I was less interested the further back I went (going from not interested in 68% of 2019 contenders to 80% of the selection from 2015). This makes sense to me, since blogging has exposed me to a lot more of these books.

goodreads choice awards by genre

Now, of course, the categories I covered were only those I was already interested in- but even among those were huge differences. What I found was that I tend to read a lot more from particular categories, yet ignore others. While I do read general adult fiction, I’m usually as likely to dislike them as to enjoy them, so I don’t pay too much attention to the suggestions. I consistently found I picked up more modern YA, particularly YA fantasy, than any other genre. What’s interesting there is how YA is only 40% of my reading on average… suggesting that the adult books I’m choosing are less popular, older or outside the range of the Goodreads Choice Awards (well, not just suggesting, this is an informed guess based on all the data I’ve gathered over the years 😉) Of course, there were also lots of books in genres I don’t typically read, which I also liked (a few memoirs like Educated and humorous reads like I, Partridge). Plus, I didn’t count graphic novels, because that’s more of a newer interest and I didn’t want to skew the results, but there were *loads* of recent releases I was interested in there.

The most significant find was that when I do pick up these books, I tend to like them more often than not (15% liked as opposed to 6% disliked). Again, there’s a difference in which genres I like more- I’m far more likely to enjoy the fantasy or YA fantasy picks than the fiction category… which, again, tells you why I keep picking those up. It seems like I’m largely choosing the right ones for me from the selection.

And that’s my biggest takeaway from this (perhaps very random) experiment. If you do choose to read books from the Goodreads choice award, then try to be specific. And if you do choose less popular books or just don’t want to read any of these, then that’s great too! The important thing is to read what you want- regardless of what everyone else is reading.

So, what do you think of my results? Do you have a similar reaction to the Goodreads Choice Awards? Let me know in the comments!

Goodreads Book Tag

goodreads book tag.png

Hello all! I feel like this last week has been a bit weird for me and even though I wanted to post and have a ton of things backlogged, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to upload… so when in doubt do a tag I guess!

Thank you so much to Nicole @ Thoughts on Fantasy for tagging me to do this one! Her site is incredible- she always makes such interesting content- so I highly recommend you check it out!!

What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?


What are you currently reading?

man's search for meaning

This is a reread and it’s just as heart-wrenchingly amazing the second time round- plus thanks to Goodread’s new reread feature I can actually count this towards my goodreads challenge – which is exciting!

What was the last book you marked as TBR?



To be honest I’ve wanted to read this for ages, so it was more of a “can’t believe this is not on there” add.

What book do you plan to read next?

Well I was considering reading Orwell, but to be honest, since the last two books have been so heavy and I had amazing luck at the library yesterday (where they happened to be unboxing brand new books just as I arrived) I will be reading this:


Do you use the star rating system?

Yes- I just wish they had a half star system cos it makes it really hard!

Are you doing a 2017 Reading Challenge?

Yes- but I’ve set my challenge too low- I’ll have to put it up…

Do you have a wishlist?

Yup! I use both my tbr and my amazon wishlist- they’re both ridiculously long

What book do you plan to buy next?

I normally buy at random, but right now I have my eye set on these:



Do you have any favorite quotes? Share a few.

I’ve quoted part of this before- but here’s the whole thing- cos it’s amazing:


Makes me choke up every time!

Who are your favorite authors?

Ah I could be here forever! Here’s just a few:

V E Schwab, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Pierce Brown, Laini Taylor, Garth Nix, Phillip Pullman, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Austen, Hardy, Steinbeck, Oscar Wilde, J M Barrie, Carlos Ruiz Zafon….

Have you joined any groups?

Huh- I thought I had, but when I checked I hadn’t- whoops

That was really fun to do!! I Tag:

Donna, Zezee, Night Train to Zurich, Nicole, Martin, Between the Pages, rekhasahay, lost art of reading, literary Weaponry, A Thousand Lives, afterbutterflyrain and Paperback Princess

And anyone else that wants to do it! Hope you enjoyed that! What are you currently reading? What are you planning on reading next? And who else is excited about this new Goodreads feature?