2019 Recap and 2020 Goals!

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I can’t believe 2019 is over already! This year absolutely flew by, I feel like I looked up and all of a sudden it was December. This year I spent some time trying to find balance – between my work and home life and my reading and time spent with my husband / family. There’s always room for more improvement but I did the best I could this year. As the year draws to a close there is more than ever developing at work and I’m hoping I’ll be able to overcome the challenges I face there. I’m also hoping to spend time where I can continuing to read – and not only read some great books published in 2020 but also read more off my backlog and from my personal library.

So anyways! On to the meat of this post – to recap on the goals list that I had set for 2019:

  1. Participate in certain reading challenges:
    1. ARC August Check! I participated in ARC August 2019 and got a lot of ARC’s read – see my posts on this challenge here  
    2. Bout of Books Challenges (2)
      1. BOB 24 January 2019 Check! I participated in this one, though I didn’t find it as productive as the May one so I’m cutting it from the list in 2020. See my posts on this challenge here
      2. BOB 25 May 2019 Check! I participated in this one, see my posts on this challenge here
    3. Bookish Bingo challenges! I’d like to participate in bingo challenges for certain months for fun: February, June, September and October Half check – I ended up participating for February and October but couldn’t fit it into the other months 
    4. Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge – 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR! Check! Read a few on the list, though not as many as I wanted. See my posts on this challenge here
  2. Keep reading my backlog list! Check! I used the 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR reading challenge to start tackling some of my backlog lists – hoping to continue hacking at these lists over the next year!
  3. Also read some of the books I own (there are too many) Check! I read probably a handful of books that I own, though I bought a lot more – oh well!
  4. And some personal goals! Lose weight, focus on healthier eating, exercise more often, more time at home, more time with Kris, and finish some house projects! Mostly check – I wasn’t really great with most of these but, again, did the best I could. Hoping to make more progress in 2020.

As I mentioned with finding balance, I think I was able to mete out a good amount of time for myself to read this year. I also discovered PODCASTS this year, which are fantastic and they’ve really helped me develop my knowledge (and my TBR list) within the romance genre. I’m hoping to have a post up within the next week or so on what podcasts I’ve been listening to and what I’ve enjoyed so far. Any readers who have a favorite podcast definitely let me know, I’m always interested in checking out a new one! I also attended a couple book related events this year (including KissCon New England), all of which I enjoyed immensely. I just love being able to talk about books and listen to people talk about books and everything related to that. I’m hoping to make it to an RWA  or other romance writers conference sometime soon.

In looking back on my year of reading this year, I was able to read a comparable amount related to previous years. Below is a chart of the books I read by month this year vs previous years:

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I also really like the functionality of the Goodreads Year in Books summary for giving an overview of what happened during my year for reading. I don’t record 100% of the books I read on here so it doesn’t always match up with my own figures but I love having all the covers in one place, it makes for a neat graphic.

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And just for fun! Here are a few of my favorites from 2019:

Favorite Reads from 2019

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden – 5.0 stars
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – 4.75 stars
Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night (OMG IAD IS THE BEST!) by Kresley Cole – 5.0 stars
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – 4.75 stars

Favorite New Series

Pretty obviously this is the Immortals After Dark series. I have mentioned this series in a number of posts, it is bananas (to coin Sarah MacLean’s term) and amazing and a roller coaster of awesome. I would definitely recommend it if you haven’t read it already!

Favorite Podcasts

(Obviously) Fated Mates is great. I love the IAD discussions but also love the interstitial episodes where Sarah and Jen talk about recommended reads. I’ve also really been enjoying Learning the Tropes (Erin and Clayton are hilarious!) and Not Your Mom’s Romance Book Club (I love their back and forths and Ellen and her Mom remind me so much of me and my mom!).

Best New Author I Read in 2019

Has to be Helen Hoang – I should have read The Kiss Quotient last year but didn’t get to it til this year after I read The Bride Test. Both are amazing books and I’m so impressed by her writing and her as a person! I can’t wait for the next book!

Here we close out the 2019 year and we look ahead to the New Year!!

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Looking ahead to 2020 I can not help but be less hopeful than I was last year. I have found it hard to find enough time to devote myself to both blogging and reading while also doing everything else I need to do. So I’m hoping to change that this year. Slow down with my tasks and actually enjoy them and expand on them. I’m hoping to rediscover my hope in some areas and create happiness where I’m able. Overall I’m looking to be a little more creative and do a little more writing outside of my comfortable review box I’ve narrowed myself to. I used to really enjoy the “Top Ten Tuesday” posts and the “Waiting on Wednesday” posts I did in the past. My schedule has been squeezed so tight in recent years that I haven’t made time to do them but I’d like to dabble a little more in these again this year. There are so many different fun activities within the land of book bloggers and I’m hoping to find some of that fun again this year!

Looking ahead to 2020, here are some of the goals I plan to achieve:

  1. Participate in certain reading challenges:
    1. ARC August
    2. Bout of Books Challenge – BOB 25 (May 2020)
    3. Bookish Bingo challenges! I’d like to participate in bingo challenges for certain months for fun: February and October. I don’t think that the Bookish site is doing Book Bingo sheets anymore but I’m hoping I can find another site that has one for these two months.
  2. Keep reading my backlog list! At least one book per month
  3. Keep reading from my personal library! At least one book per month
  4. Write at least one non-review and non-blog tour post a month – can be one of the structured posts like Top Ten Tuesday or it can be informative or whatever I feel like!

 

I wish everyone strength and happiness in 2020, Happy Reading!

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2019 Monthly Status Update: September

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Where the heck did September go! Between my increasing work schedule and a big birthday bash, September flew by in the blink of an eye. Luckily I was still able to get a good amount of reading done. Back in late June I discovered the Fated Mates podcast, I am deeply addicted to both the podcast and the Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series – which at this point I’m unfortunately caught up with all published books. I’m really looking forward to reading some of the Fated Mates Season 2 books though. I’m trying to stick with my scheduled reading also as much as I can but at the same time I just want to read what I want! Especially this month I want lots of spooky reads!! So anyways, here are some highlights from September for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 11
# pages read this month: 4,477
# books read year-to-date: 75
# pages read year-to-date: 26,716

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

I’ve been devouring Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series and have loved almost all those books so far (I’m caught up as of now and can’t wait for the next one to come out!). Other than that I also really enjoyed:

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A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen – 4.0 stars – review to be posted soon!

Other Posts this month:

Nothing else for September

Next Month TBR List:

Not many on the scheduled TBR list for next month, but I’m pretty excited about the ones that I do have on the list:

-The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller
-Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
-The Duke’s Stolen Bride by Sophie Jordan
-The Lady’s Deception by Susanna Craig

Luckily this leaves lots of room for catching up on my backlog reading from books I missed and also maybe a couple fun ones! My work schedule is getting a bit CRAZY but I’m trying to manage some reading time on the weekends at least. And it is randomly HOT today so I’m hoping to get back to the crisp fall weather and getting cozy with a good book. Happy reading everyone!

2019 Monthly Status Update: August

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August was another strong month for me. Back in late June I discovered the Fated Mates podcast, I am now deeply addicted to both the podcast and the Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. I’m trying to stick with my scheduled reading also as much as I can but at the same time I just want to read what I want! Everyone once in a while I start to chage against the schedule and I’m feeling like now is really that time. Luckily I only have 2 scheduled reads so far for September so there’s lots of room for reading whatever I want. So anyways, here are some highlights from August for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 11
# pages read this month: 4,158
# books read year-to-date: 64
# pages read year-to-date: 22,239

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

I’ve been devouring Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series and have loved almost all those books so far (I’m reading #15 now). Other than that I also really enjoyed:

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The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins – 4.5 stars

Other Posts this month:

Lots of ARC August 2019 posts this past month, that was it for other posts!

Next Month TBR List:

Not many on the scheduled TBR list for next month, like I mentioned:

-29 Seconds by T.M. Logan
-Immortal Born by Lynsay Sands

Luckily this leaves lots of room for both more of Kresley Cole’s books and also catching up on my backlog reading from books I missed. September starts to get much more hectic for me at work but it’s also my birthday month (woot!) so I’ll be trying to block off some reading time for myself since that’s what I like to do! Looking forward to some crisp fall weather coming up and one of my favorite times of the year. Happy reading everyone!

ARC August 2019 – Update #4

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And so ARC August continues! This past week was a super busy week – my family works at our local Country Fair to help out in different ways. And between that and a quick overnight trip with my husband down near the shore – there wasn’t a lot of extra time for reading! I’m not sure how close I’ll get to the meeting my goal in full but I’m also trying to just enjoy what I’m reading. Anyways, so here’s where I stand right now:

MY PROGRESS

July & August 2019 ARC’s 

-Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
-The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins – Read & Reviewed – Week 2
-The Arrangement by Robyn Harding – Read & Reviewed – Week 3
-A Highlander Walks Into a Bar by Laura Trentham – Read & Reviewed – Week 1 
-The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney
-The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware – Read & Reviewed – Week 3
-The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai – Read & Reviewed – Week 2
-Outfox by Sandra Brown
-To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley – Read & Reviewed – Week 2

Additions to the list:

– Conversations with a Fat Girl by Liza Palmer – Read & Reviewed – Week 4
– As Good as the First Time by K. M. Jackson – Read & Reviewed – Week 3

Books Read August 18th – 24th

 

Plan for Upcoming Week

And we’re down to the last week! Wow did August fly by, it’s been such a crazy month but so full of fun things and lots of reading. I’m hoping to finish strong and get in a few more books before the month runs out. Also looking forward to Labor Day weekend next weekend and hopefully getting in some time with my family. Happy reading everyone!

ARC August 2019 – Update #1

arc-august-2019The first few days of ARC August 2019 were pretty successful! I got some good reading done on vacation and then also at home while I prepare to dive back into my work day tomorrow. Anyways, so here’s where I stand right now:

MY PROGRESS

July & August 2019 ARC’s 

-Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
-The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
-The Arrangement by Robyn Harding
-A Highlander Walks Into a Bar by Laura Trentham – Read Week 1 – Review to be posted
-The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney
-The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
-The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
-Outfox by Sandra Brown
-To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley

Books Read August 1st – 3rd

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A Highlander Walks Into a Bar by Laura Trentham – 3.5 stars – Review to be posted soon!

Plan for Upcoming Week

This week is going to be hectic, that’s for sure. I was off all last week for vacation so I’ll have a lot to catch up on at work. I’m just going to try and push through and keep at it – I’ve so far been mostly successful at balancing my productivity between work and reading and other over the last month so I’m hoping I can keep balancing and keep reading a lot this month! Happy reading everyone!

ARC August 2019 Reading Challenge Sign Up Post

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Woo Hoo! ARC August is here again, and I can’t wait to dig into some of my backlog and my upcoming releases. I still have wayyyyy too many ARC’s from the past three years that I never got a chance to read, plus I missed the “deadline” for 12 additional ARCs so far in 2019. PLUS I have 6 ARCs scheduled to be read in August. SO you could say I have a lot of reading to accomplish! For those of you that don’t know, ARC August is a month-long reading challenge hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. and the only participation requirement is reading ARC’s! I participated in this reading challenge for the last four years (20152016, 2017, and 2018), and every year this reading challenge has been super successful and productive. I hope to continue the productivity with this challenge this year since I have so much to read! I’ll be on a family vacation during the first few days of August and should be able to get a jump start on my reading for the month!

So here is the list I’m going to be working off of for this year’s challenge:

July & August 2019 ARC’s 

-Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
-The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
-The Arrangement by Robyn Harding
-A Highlander Walks Into a Bar by Laura Trentham
-The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney
-The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
-The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
-Outfox by Sandra Brown
-To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley

I’m hoping to also possibly get to some backlog ARC’s from previous years, but I’m in the midst of a series right now so between that and the ARC’s I might not be able to make it to previous years’ backlogs. I’m looking forward to a lot of the books I have lined up for August though – I can’t wait to get to reading!

2019 Monthly Status Update: June

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June was a bit of a slow month for me. Work really took off again and also trying to balance that with still enjoying a few days off doing fun things – there just isn’t enough time in the day! Thank goodness I was at a reading retreat at the beginning of June since that was when I got over 1/2 my books for the month read. I’m a bit behind with review posts too but I’m working on catching up. June is also when I discovered the Fated Mates podcast, which I’m now addicted to and am working my way through Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. So anyways, here are some highlights from June for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 6
# pages read this month: 1,704
# books read year-to-date: 37
# pages read year-to-date: 12,158

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

 

I liked a bunch of the books this month but none of them really stood out among the crowd. Stay tuned next month for some new favorites!

Other Posts this month:

The Earl Next Door BLOG TOUR!!
Quilting Retreat 2019

Next Month TBR List:

-The Starter Wife by Nina Lauren
-Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland
-Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham
-How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway
-Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
-The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
-The Arrangement by Robyn Harding