2019 Recap and 2020 Goals!

happy-new-year-wallpapers-2019-1-388x220

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:

Capture

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.

Capture

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!!

51bjpkXZrwL._AC_SX425_

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!

7e57e465c0c0ebefbbad3d32af6583cf

2019 Monthly Status Update: January

update_cycle_arrows_on_background_of_orange_arrows_by_ranjith_siji_cc0_via_pixabay-100751945-large

And here we begin on another year. The first month of 2019 is over and, while it wasn’t my strongest reading month, I did get a solid amount of reading done. I have a lot of reading coming up over the next month too, which I’m not sure I’ll 100% be able to keep up with due to my work schedule, but I’m going to do my best!  So anyways, here are some highlights from December for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 7
# pages read this month: 2,117
# books read year-to-date: 7
# pages read year-to-date: 2,117

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

51qqjkvcdql

Not only do I just LOVE this cover, I loved the book too! I rated it 5.0 stars, read my review here

Other Posts this month:

Bout of Books 24 Posts

Next Month TBR List:

-The Girls at 17 Swann by Yara Zgheib
-The Night Olivia Fell by Christine McDonald
-The Beast’s Heart by Leide Shallcross
-My Favorite Cowboy by Donna Grant
-Friends to Lovers series (boxed set) by Camilla Isley – there are 4 books in this series

Looking forward to the romantic month of February and being as productive both at home and at work as I possibly can! Happy reading!

 

Bout of Books 24 – Sign Up Post

qffxp8j

So for one of my goals this year to help me focus more on reading and having more fun with my reading schedule, I am participating in two Bout of Books reading challenges plus a handful of other challenge this year! I’ve participated in these reading challenges in the past couple years and I’m usually able to get a good amount of reading done.

I’m hoping to be able to find enough time for this reading challenge to get a couple of books read. Things are picking up at work, so it my be a little tougher during the week, but I have GOAL DAY next Saturday and I should be able to make up some time then.

For those of you who don’t really know much about Bout of Books, it is basically a week-long, no pressure read-a-thon that has been going strong since 2011! Here is a description directly from the Bout of Books blog:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon was created by Amanda @ On a Book Bender on a complete whim in August 2011. It took on a life of its own and was such a hit that Amanda decided to do it again and turn it into a somewhat regular occurrence.

  • Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, usually from 12:01am on a Monday through 11:59pm on a Sunday in whatever time zone you are in.
  • It is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.
  • How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.
  • Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required.
  • Use Twitter to post updates throughout the read-a-thon. Everyone will be tweeting with the #boutofbooks hashtag.

I’ve been reading pretty close to on schedule lately and I’m hoping to continue that trend over the next week!

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least 1.5 hours each day during the week (except for Friday I think), with hopefully additional hours on Saturday and Sunday. Friday I’ll be working all day and then we have a work trip planned trip to the casino Friday night! This does mean that I probably won’t get much reading done on Friday but I’m looking forward to letting off a little steam with my coworkers!

My Goals

My goals for this read-a-thon are that I’d like to participate in as much as I can: the daily posts plus reading every day. I’d really like to just focus on getting back into reading. I picked it up again over the holidays but I’ve lost the schedule again with how crazy the last week or so has been.

Books to Read

List is a little ambitious but with Saturday and Sunday focused on reading who knows how much I’ll get accompished! I would’ve loved to take the whole week off and just read non-stop but work has been consistently busy since over a year ago, plus things are starting to pick up in preparation for our “busy season.” Anyways, I’m really looking forward to this week-long reading challenge devoted to reading ! If you do want to join make sure to add yourself to the page’s Sign Up Post by Tuesday, January 8th at 11:59pm! Happy reading!

Bout of Books 21 Update – Day 1

cc4sUlk

Started out strong yesterday for the first day of the read-a-thon! I met my goal of reading 2 hours and I got through a good chunk of reading! I’m trying to balance my work schedule this week so that I can spend more time reading, I have a meeting tonight though so I might be distracted today. So anyways my Monday’s progress is below:

Update

Monday

Time spent reading: (Approximately) 3.5 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 218 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 218 pages (Day one! Ha)
Books read: Finished The Girl in the Tower (see my review here) AND The Crown Prince’s Bride (review to be posted later today)
Challenges: I did the introduce yourself in six words challenge for Monday, posted it on Twitter here

Stay tuned for continued progress made in tomorrow’s post on my Tuesday update!!

Bout of Books 21 – Sign Up Post

cc4sUlk

So for one of my goals this year to help me focus more on reading and having concentrated time for reading, I am participating in all 3 Bout of Books reading challenges / read-a-thons this year! The first one is next week (luckily its before my busy season at work officially starts).

For those of you who don’t really know much about Bout of Books, it is basically a week-long, no pressure read-a-thon that has been going strong since 2011! Here is a description directly from the Bout of Books blog:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon was created by Amanda @ On a Book Bender on a complete whim in August 2011. It took on a life of its own and was such a hit that Amanda decided to do it again and turn it into a somewhat regular occurrence.

  • Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, usually from 12:01am on a Monday through 11:59pm on a Sunday in whatever time zone you are in.
  • It is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.
  • How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.
  • Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required.
  • Use Twitter to post updates throughout the read-a-thon. Everyone will be tweeting with the #boutofbooks hashtag.

Since I’m so behind in my reading schedule, this will be a great week to devote to reading and catch up!

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least 2 hours each day during the week, with hopefully additional hours on Friday. Also the Saturday during Bout of Books I have Goal Day planned but then I have other family plans in the evening so I’m hoping for a good 4 hours of solid reading. And then Sunday I don’t have anything planned other than house work so hopefully a solid 4 hours that day as well.

My Goals

My goals for this read-a-thon are that I’d like to participate in as much as I can: the daily posts plus reading every day.

Books to Read

 

Hopefully I’m actually able to get through all (or at least a few)of those, if so I could at least catch up with one week of books which would be great. I have a long list of backlog books that I have to catch up with still from 2016 and 2017, but hopefully those will happen over the rest of the year. I’m really looking forward to this week-long reading challenge devoted to reading ! If you do want to join make sure to add yourself to the page’s Sign Up Post by Tuesday, January 9th at 11:59pm! Happy reading!

2017 Monthly Status Update: March

update-1672346_960_720

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 15
# pages read this month: 2,722
# books read year-to-date: 28
# pages read year-to-date: 7,156

Favorite Books I Read:

51jEpw+Dl0L._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio – 4.5 stars

Other Posts this month:

Last Night with the Duke BLOG TOUR!!
The Enemies of Versailles BLOG TOUR!!
Wine and Cocktails – New Releases!

Status of 2017 Reading Challenges:

  1. Finish 2016 ARC’s from NetGalley that I missed – I got a chance to read one this month, so one down! Only 27 to go
  2. Participate in 2 reading challenges – Scheduled for May and August
  3. Other goals:
    1. Write shorter reviews – I’m trying! I think this past month I was able to get out a few shorter ones
    2. Continue establishing relationships – I think I’m doing it, we’ll see how it goes I guess!

Next Month TBR List:

-Windswept by Sabrina Jeffries (part-way through now)
-My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch
-I Sared the Duke by Anna Bennett
-The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
-Geekerella by Ashley Poston
-Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt
-The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister
-Running With Scissors by Auguston Borroghs
-Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
-The Whole Art of Detection by Lyndsay Faye
-The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo
-Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
-Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
-The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

That’s the general reading plan. Fortunately, tax/busy season will be ending for me in less than 3 weeks (only 16 more workdays!!!!!!) and then I have about a week and a half off where I will be spending a lot of time reading. So I am hoping to read everything in the list above and maybe catch up on a few other ones I missed in March as well!! Plus my husband and I are taking a couple trips that I’m really looking forward to, including a new quilting retreat in Ogunquit, ME! So stay tuned for some serious reading in April!

2016 Status Update: May

update-clipart-update-clipart-7caknz8ni

MAY ROCKED! I got SO much reading done and I was able to participate in some great read-a-thon events, one of which I had never participated in before. May’s TBR list was intimidating but I think I really did a great job of keeping up with the schedule as much as I could. I gave myself a couple nights off to drink too much wine but having so many days off that I could devote to reading I think offset any breaks I took. And I had retreat for the last weekend of the month with pretty much two full days devoted to reading. Retreat was great this year and I loved spending time with my quilting ladies, be sure to check out my post about retreat below!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 18
# pages read this month: 6,228
# books read year-to-date: 57
# pages read year-to-date: 18,380

Favorite Books I Read:

The California Wife by Kristen Harnisch – 4.75 stars
People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper – 4.5 stars
The Beast of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood – 4.5 stars
Lana and the Laird by Sabrina York – 4.25 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

51jZGbaKlpL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_51OK+NK3wVL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_

I didn’t really like Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (2.75 stars). I just couldn’t really get into the story line on this one and it fell flat for me. I also didn’t particularly like Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt (3.25 stars) which was a HUGE disappointment for me because I usually LOVE her novels in the Maiden Lane series.

Other Posts this month:

Tall Poppy Book Giveaway
Author Interview!  – Mary Waters-Sayer – Author of the Blue Bath
Bout of Books 16 – Read-a-thon, contests, giveaways, and more!!
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 1
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 2
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 3
Bout of Books 16 Day 4 – If You Like This, Try This
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 4
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 5
Bout of Books 16 Update – Day 6
Bout of Books 16 Update Day 7 & WRAP UP
Reading Retreat! 2016
Reading Retreat Read-a-thon Wrap up!

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 17/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 3/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

June TBR list: 

-Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax (NetGalley) (rolled from April TBR – didn’t get to)
-The Good Kind of Bad by Rita Brassington (NetGalley) (rolled from April TBR – didn’t get to)
-Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis (The Reading Room)(rolled from May TBR – I haven’t received from the publisher yet!)
-I Take You by Eliza Kennedy (LibraryThing)(rolled from May TBR – I haven’t received from the publisher yet!)
-How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell (The Reading Room)(rolled from May TBR – didn’t get to)
-Frayed by Kara Terzis (NetGalley)(rolled from May TBR – didn’t get to)
-Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne (NetGallley)
-Anything For Her by Jack Jordan (NetGalley)
-The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell (NetGalley)
-The Girl Who Came Back by Susan Lewis (NetGalley)
-The Creswell Plot by Eliza Wass (NetGalley)
-The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner (NetGalley)
-I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (NetGalley)
-The Girls by Emma Cline (NetGalley)
-If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton (NetGalley)
-The Vintner’s Daughter by Kristen Harnisch (own – for Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion)
-Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (NetGalley)
-Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall (NetGalley)
-Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Peak (NetGalley)
-First Comes Love by Emily Giffin (NetGalley)
-All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda (NetGalley)
-The Killing Game by Nancy Bush (NetGalley)
-Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner (NetGalley)
-Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries (NetGalley)
-Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney (NetGalley)

So that is the plan for June. Similar to my May TBR, June seems daunting with the amount of books I have on the list. I feel pretty confident in how well I did on the May list though, so I think June will (hopefully) be a successful month as well!

Happy reading everyone!