2016 Recap and 2017 Goals

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I can’t believe that 2016 is already over! This year flew by and I was able to get so much accomplished while also having lots of fun. When I set my goals for this year I wanted to get in a better variety of books. I was able to accomplish some goals but not as many as I had planned. I find it hard sometimes to do the reading challenges that I’d like to do. I sign up for too many reviews between all the ARC sites and email requests, and I end up barely being able to keep up with that review schedule. It doesn’t end up leaving much room for reading specific books to fit requirements of a reading challenge. I couldn’t even really keep up all year, I have about 30 books from summer-ish that I still have to read for NetGalley. I ended up kind of giving up on some goals that I had set for 2016 in order to keep up with my reading schedule and also to keep my sanity!

So! To recap on the goals I had set for 2016:

  1. PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge – Read at least 20 books off this checklist. I really enjoyed doing this checklist for 2015 so I decided to participate again for 2016 – I ended up completing this one, you can browse through the ones I used to check off the list here.
  2. Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016 – I heard a lot about this checklist this past year at the Book Riot Live conference and online and I’m excited to try this checklist this year! – I was able to check off 8 out of the 24 boxes, not as much as I would have liked but you can see the books I used for this checklist here.
  3. Penguin Random House Challenge Your Shelf: Books A-Z Challenge – This was technically a 2015 challenge but I liked the list so much that I’m going to use it for 2016 just for my own purposes. I’m going to try and read at least 10 books off this list. – Unfortunately I didn’t get to read any of the books on this list, maybe some other year!
  4. Participate in one shorter reading challenge per quarter. And since I’m a planner by nature I’ve already picked out which ones I plan to participate in:
    1. Quarter 1 – I’m currently participating in Bookish Bingo: Holiday edition which runs through end of February 2016 so this one will be my Quarter 1 reading challenge – Seems like a running theme but I didn’t do well with this reading challenge this past winter, I didn’t even get a real bingo. I did the best I could though, and you can see my bingo square and the books I read here.
    2. Quarter 2 – I’ve been wanting to participate in a Bout of Books challenge for a while now but the timing never lined up for me in 2015 so I am planning on definitely participating in the one in May 2016. – I did participate in a Bout of Books this past May and it was great fun! This one worked really well for me since I just had to read as much as possible. You can see my posts from this challenge here.
    3. Quarter 3 – I really liked participating in the ARC August challenge this past August and I am sure I will have a bunch of ARC’s on my schedule at that point so I am planning to participate again this year. – This one also went fairly well for me, I had some time off in August and I was able to devote a good amount of time to reading. You can see which ARCs I was able to read and review during this challenge here
    4. Quarter 4 – I found this listing of the 24 Best Books About Witches to Get You in the Halloween Spirit and I noticed a lot of the books on the list were already in my TBR list so for Sept/Oct I am gong to work my way through this listing (this will be my own reading challenge hosted by my site). – I didn’t end up having time to do this, maybe some other year. 
  5. Other general goals that are less defined but are just overall goals I’d like to work on:
    1. Establishing contacts/relationships with publishers – I think I made some good progress on doing this, I have been participating more in Blog Tours through the books I request on NetGalley and I have made a couple contacts through these requests. Definitely lots more room to grow here though!
    2. Continue to review ARC’s from authors – Check, did it. Lots. Almost every book I read this year was an ARC or author request.
    3. Try doing some shorter reviews on books that I don’t necessarily have as much to say on. I’ve been having trouble keeping up with all the reviews I have to do and I’m hoping to write some shorter reviews this year for the books I’m just reading on my own – I maybe did a couple but I could definitely do more of these shorter reviews next year.
    4. Try to wrap up some of the series that I’m in the middle of, I feel like there are just so many and I lose track of the characters. I know its unreasonable but I almost wish authors would release a full series at the same time and be like “ok that’s it I’m not doing anymore.” I’ll start reading a series because the “finale” is out and then there’s somehow another sequel released and while excited it is also incredibly frustrating. – I probably didn’t do these well, I read mostly ARC’s so unless I got an ARC for a book in my series then it probably didn’t get read.

So overall I set a TON of goals and accomplished a few and passed on a few. I definitely read A LOT. I read some books that I never would have picked out on my own, and some of these I really loved too. I made connections with some wonderful authors, I’d consider some of them friends at this point even. I also continued participating in a local book club this year, that also has introduced me to books I might not have read otherwise. You can see the books we read for book club this year here. And there were also a couple books I read for an online book club this year, you can see those here. I also started doing Monthly Status Update posts on my reading progress throughout the year.

I ended up reading 122 books in 2016, below is a chart showing # of books read per month for this year and also the last 3 years. I peaked this year in May, I think I burned myself out a little. I slowed down during the summer as life got in the way.

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And now onto 2017!! I am excited to see what the next year will bring. For my goals for 2017, my main focus will be on trying to finish all the ARC’s that I wasn’t able to read during 2016. Other than that I hope to do a couple reading challenges again that I enjoy and continue to work on my relationships.

  1. Finish any ARC’s from 2016 that I missed from NetGalley.
  2. Participate in 2 reading challenges:
    1. Bout of Books 19 in May 2017
    2. ARC August in August 2017
  3. Other general goals:
    1. Writing shorter reviews
    2. Continuing to establish relationships

Short and simple! That’s pretty much my plan in essence this year, to keep it simple and just accomplish as much as I can. And that’s it! Hopefully 2017 is a productive and happy year for me and for all of you as well! Happy new year to everyone!!

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2016 Monthly Status Update: November

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Few days late again for the update but things are crazy. Gearing up for the holidays and also working a bunch leaves little time for blogging. We went away to MA this past weekend and had a great time, really got us into the festive spirit! Anyways here is my status update for what I got done in November.

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 12
# pages read this month: 3,396
# books read year-to-date: 114
# pages read year-to-date: 34,534

Favorite Books I Read:

Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt – 4.25 stars
My Girl by Jack Jordan – 4.25 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

There weren’t really any books that I disliked this month, was a good month for reading!

Other Posts this month:

The Legendary Lord BLOG TOUR
Mistletoe, Mischief and the Marquis BLOG TOUR!!!

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

I’ve pretty much given up on the reading challenges for 2016, I’m mostly just trying to survive at this point.

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 20/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

December TBR list:

-Love Connection by Camilla Isley
-The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes
-The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner
-Burning September by Melissa Simonson
-The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

I’m actually happy that I managed to keep the list short for this month because there are a lot of books on my backlog too so I’m hoping to have some time to dig into some of those but we will see how the month goes. Happy reading everyone!

2016 Monthly Status Update: October

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A few days late but I’m catching up on my blogging! I meant to post this a few days ago but my work schedule has been just insane this week. October was a busy month for me between work and all the reading I’ve been getting done. Also went to Pennsylvania for the weekend. Lots going on in the next month as well, going to Florida next weekend and then Thanksgiving is just around the bend. But I am getting a good amount of reading done and reading some great things!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 10
# pages read this month: 3,305
# books read year-to-date: 102
# pages read year-to-date: 31,138

Favorite Books I Read:

Wow October was a great month for reading. This was such a hard choice for me to pick my favorites, I read so many good books.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – 4.25 stars
The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot – 4.5 stars
Faithful by Alice Hoffman – 4.5 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I had a great month and really didn’t dislike anything I read, which is great!

Other Posts this month:

My Brown-Eyed Earl BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY
Christmas Joy BLOG TOUR

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 20/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

November TBR list:

-Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell
-The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman
-When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall
-Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin
-The Amateurs by Sara Shepard
-Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
-The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries
-Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
-Mistletoe, Mischief and the Marquis by Amelia Grey

There are a lot of books on my backlog too so I’m hoping to have some time to dig into some of those but we will see how the month goes. Happy reading everyone!

2016 Monthly Status Update: August

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August is over, I can hardly believe it. Before you know it will be the dreaded tax season again. I’m gearing up for one of my busier times of the year anyways since I audit towns, which for me usually means less reading. I am hoping to at least keep it closer to even this year since I haven’t been reading much lately to begin with, I’ve been so busy there’s hardly been time. August overall was a good month though, I feel like I got a lot done and I had a lot of fun this month!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 10
# pages read this month: 3,050
# books read year-to-date: 81
# pages read year-to-date: 25,303

Favorite Books I Read:

Results May Vary by Bethany Chase – 4.75 stars
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – 4.5 stars
Sting by Sandra Brown – 4.25 stars
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – 4.75 stars
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain – 4.75 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I didn’t care for I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottline and Francesca Serritella. Not that it was a bad book, just wasn’t my usual style of book that I enjoy.

Other Posts this month:

ARC August – Check in #1 – 8/1-8/6
ARC August – Check in #2 – 8/7-8/12
ARC August – Check in #3 – 8/13-8/20
Cook Books Galore!

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 19/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

September TBR list:

There are a few books that I have to read in September but I’ll still mostly just be working off my back list of ARC’s that I need to get through. Some of the September ARC’s I’m more excited about are the new YA release by Natasha Preston and the 2nd book in a trilogy by Joe Hart. Stay tuned for some great reviews this month!

ARC August 2016 – Check in #4 (8/21-8/31) and Wrap Up Post

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I can’t believe August is over already, this past month just flew by. Between vacations and working at the Fair, I barely had time to take a breath! I did take a few nice deep breaths while in Maine though, was very quiet and relaxing. So anyways, I think I got a good amount of reading done this month and I was able to take a few ARC’s off the list.

My Progress:

I didn’t really have an exact plan for what I would read but I will go off the original list posted and just disclose any variations from said original list:

-The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Elizabeth Crispell – Read and reviewed – Week 2
-Results May Vary by Bethany Chase – Read and reviewed – Week 2
-Sting by Sandra Brown – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax
-Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Psak
-All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
-The Killing Game by Nancy Bush
-Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert
-The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger
-If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton
-All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
-To Have and To Hold by Laura McHugh
-The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood
-My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor
-First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
-Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries
-Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney
Additions to original list:
-I’ve Got Sand In All the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottline and Francesca Serritella – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-The 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson – Read and reviewed
-Butter and Scotch by Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth – Read and reviewed
-I Take You by Eliza Kennedy – Currently reading

Books Read August 21st-31st

The 24 Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson – 3.5 stars
Butter & Scotch by Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth – 4.0 stars

So that is the end of ARC August! I was very grateful for the timing of this challenge since I had such a long backlist of ARC’s and I definitely was happy to get a few of them off the list. I still have a lot to go but that is ok, I will just keep reading 🙂

ARC August Check in #3 – 8/13-8/20

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What a productive week. I’m so glad that I got to spend the week in Maine relaxing with my family and having a great time. And luckily while relaxing there was a lot of available time for catching up on my reading! I read about a book a day, though not all counted for this challenge. Since I didn’t have any wi-fi or electricity in Maine, I spent all of today catching up on blog posts.

My Progress:

I didn’t really have an exact plan for what I would read but I will go off the original list posted and just disclose any variations from said original list:

-The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Elizabeth Crispell – Read and reviewed – Week 2
-Results May Vary by Bethany Chase – Read and reviewed – Week 2
-Sting by Sandra Brown – Read and reviewed
-The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges – Read and reviewed
-Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne – Read and reviewed
-Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax
-Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Psak
-All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – Read and reviewed
-Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
-The Killing Game by Nancy Bush
-Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert
-The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger
-If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton
-All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
-To Have and To Hold by Laura McHugh
-The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood
-My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor
-First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
-Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries
-Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney
Additions to original list:
-I’ve Got Sand In All the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottline and Francesca Serritella – Read and reviewed
-The 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson
-Butter and Scotch by Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth
-I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

Books Read August 13th-20th

I’ve Got Sand in ALl the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella – 2.5 stars
Sting by Sandra Brown – 4.25 stars
The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges – 3.75 stars
Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne – 3.25 stars
All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – 4.75 stars

Plan for Upcoming Week

My plan for next week is to try and get a couple more books read off the list. This is the last full week of the challenge but its also the week of the Fair and I will have a lot of catching up to do at work since I was off this past week. So not sure exactly how much reading I’ll get done. I’m already thrilled with the progress I’ve made though, 5 books off the list over the past week is such a relief! Happy reading to everyone!

2016 Book #79 – All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

51U2LbgQ74LTitle: All the Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Date finished: 8/20/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller/suspense
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.
Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.
Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book will count towards my ARC August 2016 Reading Challenge. This book tells the story of Nicolette Farrell, who returns home after her brother calls and asks for her help in selling their family’s house. The other, larger reason she’s decided to come home though is that she received a letter from her father (who has dementia) mentioning the girl that’s been missing for the past 10 years, Nicolette’s best friend Corrine. Corrine’s disappearance and the other events of that night 10 years ago changed the course of Nicolette’s life, separating her from her home town of Cooley Ridge. She has a life in Philadelphia now and a wonderful fiance, Everett. But coming home opens old wounds, and with another girl who turns up missing that is also connected to Nicolette, Nic is determined to get to the bottom of things.
Overall I loved this book. I thought that the way it was told was extremely creative. It starts with an introduction to the story and then all of a sudden the story picks up 2 weeks later (Day 15) and back-tracks from there to reveal everything discovered during that time. It was creative and engaging and really well done. And the publishing company was right in the intro, it makes me want to read the book all over again. As a warning though some people might find this presentation a tad frustrating as it makes it harder to keep the timeline in order on what was discovered when. This story line had some great plot twists that I did not see coming and overall was a great thriller. I didn’t want to put it down and I couldn’t stop thinking about the puzzle and how it would all fit together in the end. This was a great read and I would most definitely recommend.

The bottom line: I thought this book ROCKED! I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I couldn’t stand having to put it down. This was a great suspenseful read and I found the presentation of the story really interesting and creative. Great book, I would definitely recommend!!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page