2018 Recap and 2019 Goals

I can’t believe 2018 is already over! This has been a whirlwind of a year. We had some challenges this year, some heartbreak, and some joy as well. We had a lot of fun this year, but this year was also a lot of work for me. Work had been taking up more of my time than ever and it’s been hard for me to find enough time for things that mean most to me: my husband, my family, and my friends. I’m hoping to rectify that in 2019, and hopefully spend more time with the people that I love.

So to recap on the goals list that I had set for 2018:

  1. Participate in all the Bout of Books challenges this year – I’m hoping this will help me have more concentrated reading time this year Check! I was able to participate in all three Bout of Books challenges this year, although the August one was a struggle for me to fit in. 
  2. Do any available ARC challenges I can find, including my regularly scheduled ARC August Check! Participated in the ARC August challenge, was able to get a lot of books read!
  3. Read as many off my backlog as possible (right now there’s 52!) Check! I read 7 books off my backlog – although I will be adding a good amount of books from my 2018 backlog. 
  4. Write shorter but also more creative blog posts – I’ve gotten stuck in a sort of outline lately for my review and it gets wordy and I think boring. Hopefully I’ll be able to branch out a little more this year Eh – I got a little stuck in the rut again but I was able to shorten some of my posts so I’d call this a Check I guess.
  5. Also some personal goals! Eat healthier, lose weight, spend more time at home, spend more time with my husband and finish some of the house projects we have going on (including the library!) Again, Eh. I did all these things at some point during the year but not all through the year and I ended up back-tracking on some of them by the end of the year.
  6. I also ended up participating in another reading challenge – the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge! I used this challenge to help me decide which books to chip away at on my backlog, and the 7 books I read from my backlog lists I read with this challenge. It was a fun way to help me read a little more randomly instead of just staying in my comfort zone.

Even though I had a tough work schedule this past year, I’ve still been able to find some time for reading. Sometimes that meant giving up on sleep – sometimes it meant fitting in time at off times, like while watching tv with my husband or in between conversations at a family party. So! Here’s a chart of the books I read by month this year vs previous years:


And I figured I’d share a couple of my favorites from this past year:

Top Five Books Read in 2018

5. My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris – 4.75 stars
4. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – 4.75 stars
3. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – 5.0 stars
2. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren – 5.0 stars
1. Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins – 5.0 stars

Favorite Cover in 2018


I loved the cover of this book! It was so magical and pretty. I liked reading the novel too, Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

And so we close the past year and look forward to the new year! 

I’m hoping this year brings many blessings and love. I’m hoping to spend more time with my husband and family and give myself some more distance from work at certain times. That being said, I’m also hoping to complete certain reading goals and also personal ones. I’m not setting a number goal again for this coming year since I’m trying to focus (again this year) more on what I’m reading and less on the number of books I read. I get so swept up in trying to get more and more books read and I think I need to slow down and enjoy the reading that I am getting done.

Looking forward to the next year, here are my goals for 2019:

  1. Participate in certain reading challenges:
    1. ARC August
    2. Bout of Books Challenges (2)
      1. BOB 24 January 2019
      2. BOB 25 May 2019
    3. Bookish Bingo challenges! I’d like to participate in bingo challenges for certain months for fun: February, June, September and October
    4. Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge – 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR! 
  2. Keep reading my backlog list!
  3. Also read some of the books I own (there are too many)
  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!

I’m looking forward to the coming year and whatever challenges or joys it may come with! I hope you all enjoy a safe and festive New Years!


2018 Monthly Status Update: December

I can’t believe 2018 has already come to a close. This year sped by! Please also check out my 2018 Recap and 2019 Goals in another upcoming post! So anyways, here are some highlights from December for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 8
# pages read this month: 2,223
# books read year-to-date: 100
# pages read year-to-date: 32,656

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz – 4.25 stars

Other Posts this month:

The Duke I Once Knew BLOG TOUR!!

Next Month TBR List:

-The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
-An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I’m looking to 2019 for catching up on all my backlogs and also maybe even start reading and enjoying some of the many books that I own! I’m trying to accept less review requests so that I can focus more on catching up!

Happy New Years to you all, be safe and I hope you enjoy festivities with your family!

2018 Book #100! – A Simple Favor by Darcy Bell

Title: A Simple Favor
Author: Darcey Bell
Date finished: 12/30/18
Genre: Suspense, thriller
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks – movie tie-in edition
Publication Date: August 28, 2018 (originally published March 21, 2017)
Pages in book: 298
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Purchased! from Amazon

Blurb from the cover:

It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When glamorous Emily asks Stephanie to pick up her son after school, Stephanie happily says yes. Emily has a life that would make any woman jealous. She is the perfect mother with a dazzling career working for a famous fashion designer in Manhattan. Stephanie, a widow with a son in kindergarten, lonely in their Connecticut suburb, turns to her daily blog for connection and validation. Stephanie imagines Emily to be her new confidante and is shocked when Emily suddenly disappears without a trace, leaving her son and husband with no warning.

Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong. Unable to keep away from the grieving family, she soon finds herself entangled with Sean, Emily’s handsome, reticent British husband. But she can’t ignore the nagging feeling that he’s not being honest with her about Emily’s disappearance. Is Stephanie imagining things? How well did she really know her “best” friend? 

Stephanie begins to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.

A Simple Favor exposes the dark underbelly of female friendship in this taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review:

For those of you that haven’t seen it, this book was made into a movie in 2018. The movie features Blake Lively as Emily and Anna Kendrick as Stephanie. I’ve seen a lot of trailers for this movie and I have been so jazzed to see it! I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie though, and since we’re watching the movie tonight I had to get it read! I liked the story a lot, I’m excited to see the movie and see how it compares to the book. The plot line of the book was very interesting, it reminded me a lot of the Gone Girl novel because of the mid-book revelation. I thought the ending for this book was kind of anti-climactic though, there was a lot of tension leading up to the end and then the ending kind of fell a little flat for me. Overall though I really enjoyed the novel and I would recommend it! Looking forward to seeing the movie tonight and seeing how it measures up!

Link to author website

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

The Duke I Once Knew BLOG TOUR!!

The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake was released today December 31st, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book under Book Reviews on my site. See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt! This was a really good read and I would recommend checking it out!


Award-winning author Olivia Drake begins her new Unlikely Duchesses series with THE DUKE I ONCE KNEW (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; December 31, 2018). With compelling characters and skillful plot twists, Drake’s latest novel will take your breath away.

First love is always the sweetest…

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him … even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?


Olivia Drake is the author of the Cinderella Sisterhood series (Seducing the Heiress, Never Trust a Rogue, Scandal of the Year, If the Slipper Fits, Stroke of Midnight, Abducted by the Prince, Bella and the Beast, His Wicked Wish, and The Scandalous Flirt). She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1981, and her novels have won the Golden Heart Award, Best Historical Romantic Suspense and Best Regency Historical from Romantic Times. She has also won the prestigious RITA award. She currently resides in Houston, TX.



The sounds of cooing and kissing mortified her. Good heavens, would they never stop? Anyone might walk into the library! They ought to have the decency to take their amorous activities upstairs to a bedchamber.

But, of course, Rothwell did not possess a shred of decency. It made her cringe to recall that she herself had once fallen prey to his allure.

She risked another look over the edge of the table. Her eyes goggled.

The duke was delving beneath the hem of his paramour’s gown, sliding his hand up her ankle and out of sight. The ladybird squirmed and squealed in a frisky attempt at evasion. He leaned down and silenced her playful protests with a masterful kiss.

Abby sank back down again. Her pulse pounded and a blush heated her inside and out. She oughtn’t be so scandalized. Rothwell had a reputation as a notorious rake. Over the years, she had heard many a tale whispered among the neighbors of his disgraceful doings. Yet it was one thing to listen to idle gossip and quite another to actually witness him in the throes of depravity.

And here she was, trapped. What was she to do?

If she made her presence known, the duke would find out that Miss Abigail Linton was the new governess. She could not be absolutely certain that he had forgotten her. And if he did remember, he surely would dismiss her on the spot, for he wanted nothing to do with her. Her spirits fell into a fit of the dismals. That would mark the end of her little adventure out into the world. Oh, she could apply for a position elsewhere, but who would hire her if she’d been summarily discharged from her previous post? She would be forced to return to her brother’s house and resume her predictable life as the maiden aunt, growing withered and gray, shuttled between relatives, with no real say in her future.

The very thought was suffocating.

Nevertheless, she could not continue to crouch here while the two lovers were smooching and whispering. What if their intimate activities escalated? What if they did the deed right here, right now?

The horrid prospect spurred Abby to action. She must try to sneak out of the library unobserved. It was her only hope.

Dropping to her hands and knees, she crept along the carpet, weaving a path between the tables. Her long skirts hampered her progress, forcing her to inch along at a snail’s pace. Rothwell’s black boots were visible through a forest of chair legs. At least he was too distracted to notice her, judging by the amorous sounds emanating from across the room. To be safe, she made a wide berth around the couple. Feverish plans raced through her head. If only she could reach the door and slip out, then all might be well. Perhaps she could convince Lady Gwendolyn not to mention the new governess to her brother. And what of Lady Hester? Was there a chance that she could be persuaded to bide her tongue, too? Should Abby confess the truth and enlist her help? Was it possible to stay out of sight until he departed the Court?

Sweet heaven, how long did he intend to stay?

In the midst of her meditations, she couldn’t help over- hearing the syrupy drivel of their tête-à-tête.

“Your Grace, you are too bold! Such a naughty boy you are!”

“I left boyhood behind long ago. Shall I demonstrate?” “Mm, no. You mustn’t . . . ah, yes. Yes!

Abby grimaced under a tide of acute embarrassment. As she crawled closer to the door, she glared in the direction of the lovers. She could just see Rothwell’s legs pressed against a froth of cream skirts. Blast him and his
debauchery! He was the worst of rogues, the king of scoundrels. A more wicked man had never been born—! Too caught up in remonstrations to watch where she was going, Abby bumped her hip hard against a mahogany pedestal. A little squeak escaped before she could clap her hand to her mouth. At the same instant, a faint clanking noise drew her attention upward.

The globe atop the pedestal wobbled precariously. As she watched in horror, the sphere toppled from its perch and clunked onto the floor, where it rolled straight past the chairs and tables to land at Rothwell’s heels.

“What the devil—!”

Frozen in concealment, Abby watched wide-eyed through the maze of table legs as his boots shifted around. A large male hand flashed down to stop the spinning of the globe. Any faint hope that he might assume it had fallen of its own accord vanished in a millisecond.

Rothwell strode forward, his footfalls sharp and decisive. He came straight to her. To her great consternation, she found herself gazing at the polished black leather of his boots only a few inches away.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “What are you doing in here?”

Abby raised her chin only slightly, keeping her face averted. It was best that he didn’t gaze fully at her—or hear the normal pitch of her voice lest it trigger his memory. “I’m just a servant,” she whispered, “tending to my duties.” “Speak up! Why did you not make your presence known at once?”

His dictatorial tone shredded her better judgment. “I was trying to leave discreetly,” she flared. “It didn’t strike me as wise to interrupt your tryst.” She paused, then added in a more servile tone, “I do beg your pardon, Your Grace.” She felt his gaze boring down like a physical force that threatened to smother her. She wanted badly to look up, to glare into his face and tell him in no uncertain terms exactly what she thought of him.

But that would be highly imprudent.

With lightning swiftness, he clamped his hands around her upper arms and hauled Abby to her feet. She found herself staring up into a pair of wintry gray eyes set in a face of unabashed masculinity. Although a dissipated life had hardened his expression and etched faint lines on either side of his mouth, he was more disturbingly handsome than ever. He also seemed taller and tougher, his chest broader and his shoulders wider.

She hated that he still had the power to make the breath catch in her throat. Worse, she hated that he had the authority to dismiss her with a snap of his arrogant fingers. As she racked her beleaguered brain for a way to convince him not to do so, something flickered in those icy eyes.