2021 Monthly Status Update: February

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The months fly by during my traditional “busy season” and here we are already into March. It’s been almost a year now since the world basically turned upside down – and things finally seem to be getting back to normal. People are starting to get the vaccine, things are opening up more again. I expect I’ll still be working from home most of the rest of the year but I kind of like working from home. I’m looking forward to some warmer spring weather in March and getting some home projects done after April 15th! Anyways, here is my progress for reading in February:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 6
# pages read this month: 1,784
# books read year-to-date: 16
# pages read year-to-date: 5,510

Other Posts this month:

February Spotlight: Valentine’s Day

Favorite books from this month:

Nothing amazing this month, had some solid reads but nothing I’d say was a favorite!

Next Month TBR List:

I don’t have any scheduled reads for March. I did this kind of on purpose as March is one of my busiest months for work and I am not sure how much reading I’ll actually be able to get done. I am still planning to read a backlog book and one from my library to keep up with my goals for this year but other than that we’ll see where the month leads me! Happy reading everyone!

February spotlight: Valentine’s Day!

In honor of this day of romance, and obviously based on my generally high regard for the romance genre, I started doing a little thinking about Valentine’s Day and the meaning behind the cultural significance of the day. There’s a various amount of history behind the day, both involving the original romantic history we are all familiar with and also many other types of events that have happened since.

St. Valentine’s Day has been around since approximately 500 AD. The day has Catholic origins, and Saint Valentine is still considered a saint in the Catholic church to this day. He is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics and beekeepers. Supposedly, he went against the Roman emperor and married couples that were in love. He was condemned and beaten to death and beheaded (which seems like overkill to me). There are a number of theories as to why he was marrying people in secret, seemingly romance is the first thing that comes to mind, but why was it done in secret in the first place? Well, during this time period the emperor Claudius had banned marriages in Rome to try and recruit more soldiers for his numerous wars. People in love don’t want to be kept apart though and so Valentine risked his life to continue to unite people in love.

Due to the original history of the day, with it’s obviously romantic if somewhat gruesome beginnings, it started being commercialized as a romantic celebration in the 19th century. Prior to that, many authors capitalized on the romanticism of the day, including both Chaucer and Shakespeare, but it was really the production of massive amounts of Valentine’s Day cards that pushed this day into becoming what it is today. Hallmark began mass-producing Valentine’s Day cards in 1913 and today there are 190 million Valentine’s Day cards sent each year – not even including those exchanged by kids in school. In the U.S. alone, in 2017 there was a whopping $18.2 Million spent on celebrating this holiday. Some think of this day as Singles Awareness Day just because of how much of a spotlight there is on couples and romantic love. And while many are celebrating in couples, there are so many kinds of love to celebrate that the commercialized aspect of it has expanded to celebration of love within friendship and family also.

One of the more common symbols used on Valentine’s Day cards and decorations is cupid, a familiar cherub with wings and a bow and arrow. Cupid is a figure from classical mythology – he’s the son of the love goddess Venus and war god Mars. He is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection, which makes it odd to me that he is often depicted as a baby.

Fun fact too – Valentine’s Day is the most common wedding anniversary in the Philippines! There are many people who share an anniversary date, as this highly romantic holiday is so commonly picked for wedding day celebrations.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day this year, whether you were celebrating with a significant other, with other loved ones, or just celebrating love for your self! If anyone has any fun facts or stories about Valentine’s Day, please feel free to share!

2021 Monthly Status Update: January

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And so we begin the new year! 2020 definitely had it’s ups and downs but I’m excited to see the start of 2021 and we have lots of plans for this year! So far we’ve been busy meeting goals and working on projects, but I’ve had time here and there for reading. Here is my progress for reading in January:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 10
# pages read this month: 3,726

Other Posts this month:

From Books to the Big Screen!

Favorite books from this month:

The Hating Game – 5.0 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • Hit Me with Your Best Scot by Suzanne Enoch
  • Love at First by Kate Clayborn

Things will be very busy over the next few months as I try to keep up with busy season. I’m hoping to still find time to read at least a few books a month but we’ll see how the next few months go! In addition to my scheduled reads each month I’m also trying to read at least one book from my backlog and from my personal library. I’m looking forward to Valentine’s Day in a couple weeks and hopefully getting some Valentine’s Day chocolates. It’s chilly where I live and it’s snowing today so we’re hunkering down and trying to keep warm. Happy reading everyone!

From Books to the Big Screen!

There’s been a lot of activity lately with books being made into TV series or movies, or in some cases there’s been talk about some books being made or hopefully being made. So I wanted to feature some of my favorites! I was especially inspired for this with the very exciting recent release (which I’ll mention below!).

So to start, here are some of my favorites that are already out – this is a mix of recent and not so recent but some of these are absolute favorites that I’ll watch over and over again

  1. Ella Enchanted – I read this book a LOOONG time ago, back in middle school I think. And the movie version they made with Annie Hathaway was so great, it was funny and cute and had great music. Love this one!
  2. Crazy Rich Asians – I almost skipped this one because to be honest I haven’t read the book yet but the movie was just so good. The production of that movie was fantastic and the scenery and outfits were stunning.
  3. Gone Girl – I know some people don’t like this story line but the movie was so true to the book and I really love the plot twist.
  4. Pride and Prejudice (the one with Kiera Knightley) – I love this movie! The music and imagery is so soothing to me, I find it so calming. And obviously its a great romance!
  5. Austenland – For anyone who hasn’t seen this movie, go watch it now! It is adorable and I love pretty much everything about it – the music and the dresses and the story overall. Really cute movie.
  6. Last but not least! The recently released Bridgerton show! It’s definitely different from the novel so prepare yourself for that but it was still really good. I can’t wait for season 2! (Though it seems like I’m going to have to since I don’t think season 2 is coming out until 2022)

There are also a few movies that I’ve either heard are in production currently or were optioned but no word on a release yet – and I can not wait to see how these translate to the screen.

  1. The Hating Game – I just read this book this month and LOVED it. I know they’re currently wrapping up production on this one, though I don’t know if there’s a release date yet. I can’t wait to see this one and I hope they stay pretty true to the book.
  2. The Selection series – I’ll have to read this series before it comes out but I can’t wait to see what they do with this one. I think they’re making it into a Netflix movie.
  3. The Kiss Quotient – I think this one would be interesting to see how it translates to the screen, especially with one of the characters being autistic. Not sure if this will end up happening but I’m excited by the idea.
  4. Wicked – I CAN’T WAIT for this one. I did read the book and didn’t necessarily love it but I did LOVE the musical so I’m hoping the basically produce the musical. I’d watch it every day.

As I was compiling the other lists I realized there were so many books that I’d really want to become movies too. These ones I haven’t heard anything about them potentially become movies/TV shows but a girl can dream!

  1. The Winternight Trilogy – I think that if this one is done correctly it could be fascinating. There is so much that could be done with this one with the right special effects.
  2. The Evil Queen – I think it might be a little difficult with such a variety of mythical creatures – but again with the right special effects I think this could be a great film. I love fairy-tale retellings and others seem to love them as well.
  3. My Lady’s Choosing with the choose your adventure option – I heard about something like this being done on a Netflix show where they made it so it was like a choose your own adventure novel – you select the option you want next and Netflix plays that scene. I thought this would be a great grown-up version of that!
  4. One to Watch – I think this would be a great one to translate to the screen, especially since the dating shows are all so popular on TV. I loved this story and would love to see it made into a movie!

What about you all out there? What are some of your favorite book to movie/TV adaptations? Any amazing ones I missed?

2020 Recap and 2021 Goals!

2020

Well. 2020 was definitely a different year. There were many challenges but there was also many benefits. Transitioning to working from home was easier than I expected – I spent more time at home than I ever have and it’s been great to have so much time with my husband. There was admittedly less time with other family members since we’re trying to be careful with the pandemic but it’s been great having so much time at home and we’ve been working on some house projects and have more to come!

So anyways! On to the meat of this post – to recap on the goals list that I had set for 2020:

  1. Participate in certain reading challenges:
    1. ARC August – Done! You can see my posts related to this challenge here
    2. Bout of Books Challenge – BOB 28 (May 2020) – Done! You can see my posts related to this challenge here
    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. – So I couldn’t find a bingo to do for February and October that were new/appealing ones. I did participate in the Ripped Bodice Summer Romance Bingo challenge, which was fun!
  2. Keep reading my backlog list! At least one book per month – I didn’t quite make a book a month but I did read a number of books from my backlog list, which is great! I also read 100% of my 2020 reading list so I didn’t add any to my backlog. I’ll be continuing to work on reducing my backlog even further in 2021.
  3. Keep reading from my personal library! At least one book per month – I also didn’t quite make a book a month but I was close! I read a lot more from my personal library in 2020 and it was great to read random reads (not scheduled) for a little
  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! – Did not do this at all. I’d like to do it in 2021 but I just didn’t have time over the last year to do it.

This year was definitely different – due to the pandemic so many events were cancelled or done just virtually. I participated in a couple Zoom events for podcasts that I enjoy but other than that there weren’t as many events to participate in. The additional time at home gave me more time to spend with my husband and plenty of time for reading. I read a record-setting 12 books during my week in Maine.

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.

And just for fun! Here are a few of my favorites from 2020:

Favorite Reads from 2020

After Sundown by Linda Jones and Linda Howard – 4.5 stars
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London – 4.75 stars
Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown – 4.75 stars
The Roommate by Rosie Danan –  4.25 stars
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey –  5.0 stars
The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter – 4.75 stars
One by One by Ruth Ware –  5.0 stars

Favorite New Series

I really enjoyed Gena Showalter’s series The Forest of Good and Evil this year. The Evil Queen was my favorite of the two that I read this year but I also really liked The Glass Queen. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out! The series is such a fun mix of supernatural, fairy tale, and romance and also reminds me a lot of the favorite series I discovered last year, Immortals After Dark.

Best New Author I Read in 2020

Has to be Tessa Bailey – I actually read a couple books by her in 2020 but her book Tools of Engagement really just hit me so hard and struck such a personal note for me. I had heard a lot of buzz about her books prior to reading, and with good reason since she’s a fabulous writer. I can’t wait to read more by her in the future!

Most Emotional Read from 2020

I had heard a lot about Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan and finally had a chance to read it this year. Man that book is a RIDE. I was so sucked into the story and I cried a lot reading that book. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series too but trying to make sure I have the emotional space to read them.

Here we close out the 2020 year and we look ahead to the New Year!!

2021

Looking ahead to 2021, I have so many things to look forward to but some of those things will take me away from blogging. More of my 2021 goals are going to be personal goals for outside the blog, but there are some reading goals that I’m still hoping to achieve. I may have to take a hiatus later in 2021 or I may have to figure out a way to reduce my time commitment overall to the blog but I’m planning on crossing that bridge once I get to it. I have so many blessings and exciting things happening this coming year and I just can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Looking ahead to 2021, here are some of the goals I plan to work on:

  1. Participate in certain reading challenges:
    1. Bout of Books Challenge – BOB 31 (May 2021)
    2. Book Bingo challenges! I’d like to participate in at least one bingo challenge again this year. Maybe the Ripped Bodice summer bingo but I’ll be busy in July and August so I’m not sure if that’ll work. We’ll see how things pan out but I do so much enjoy those so I’d like to participate in at least one.
  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 love and joy in 2021, Happy Reading!

2020 Monthly Status Update: December

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December was a great month! Lot of work to do plus the holidays so there were some definite distractions but I read some great books and had a nice relaxing holiday! I’ll also be posting a post reviewing my reading for the year but for now, here are some reading highlights from December:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 8
# pages read this month: 2,744
# books read year-to-date: 98
# pages read year-to-date: 32,738

Other Posts this month:

Top 5 Favorite Holiday Romances! 

Favorite books from this month:

The Princess and the Rogue by Kate Bateman – 4.75 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • In the Garden of Spite by Camille Bruce
  • Shipped by Angie Hockman
  • Highland Treasure by Lynsay Sands
  • The Survivors by Jane Harper

I’m going right into the next busy season at work so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for reading but we’ll see. Christmas and New Years was great – hope everyone had a great holiday season! Hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Happy reading everyone!

Top 5 Favorite Holiday Romances!

I’m so excited this month to be writing a guest post for another blog – A Life Among the Pages! The blog is featuring holiday romances this month with a different post each day featuring different reads. I loved this idea, and I’m hoping it gets people into the festive spirit! This year especially I think there’s a need to bring some joy and brightness into people’s lives, and what better way to do that than with holiday themed romances! So for my post I figured I would feature my Top 5 Favorites from past holiday romances I’ve read – there are so many good ones I couldn’t pick just one to feature.

#5 – Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas

This was a really cute story about Mark and his six year old niece Holly. Mark meets and falls in love with Maggie, the owner of a local toy shop. This whole set up may sound a little like a Hallmark Christmas movie (which is all some need to be pulled in!) but beyond the Hallmark-like set-up, this is a wonderful story about a family and learning to love again. Add in lots of Christmas spirit and you have a great read! And honestly who can go wrong with Kleypas, she’s the best!

#4 – How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Various authors

This book is a collection of 4 historical romance short stories all centered around the Christmas season. With four power house authors, this collection has something for everyone to enjoy. From traveling around Mayfair in London to spending Christmas in Central Park, NY, each of these short stories feature a couple and location in line with what readers would expect from the author’s book catalogues.

#3 – A Mackenzie Family Christmas by Jennifer Ashley

This short story takes place between books 4 and 5 in the Mackenzie family series. The family has gathered for Christmas and all 4 brothers and their wives and children and relatives, plus the Mackenzies’ half brother Inspector Fellows. It was interesting to revisit many of the characters from the previous books. Overall I definitely recommend the other books in this family series also but especially loved this book for a fun Christmas short story – What a lovely addition to the series.

#2 – A Christmas Date by Camilla Isley

This book was laugh out loud funny and was a quick but engaging read. The characters in this book in particular were great – I liked Nikki a lot and I liked Diego a good amount as well. I loved seeing the relationship develop between Diego and Nikki – the tension between their characters was really well done and the emotions in the story fairly leapt off the page. A festive and fun romance read!

#1 – In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

This was a more recent release as it just came out a couple months ago but what a FUN book this is! A mix of the movie Groundhog Day and the Christmas holiday, this book has so much to enjoy. An extremely zany cast of characters really brings this book to life and gives the reader lots of feelings about family traditions and spending holidays with loved ones. There was a lot of emotion evident in the text, which is characteristic of a CL novel. The authors really brought to life the heady feeling of new love / new relationships. This was a perfect holiday read – and I really hope they make it into a Christmas movie!

Wishing everyone a happy holidays! Hope you read some wonderful books this holiday season!

2020 Monthly Status Update: November

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November was again very busy work wise but I think the lack of a commute is really helping me have extra time for reading each day. Plus with a couple days off for the holiday weekend I was able to get a lot of books read in November! So here are some reading highlights from November for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 12
# pages read this month: 4,264
# books read year-to-date: 90
# pages read year-to-date: 29,994

Other Posts this month:

No other posts this month!

Favorite books from this month:

One by One by Ruth Ware – 5.0 stars
One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase – 4.75 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • Truth, Lies and Second Dates by MaryJanice Davidson
  • The Princess and the Rogue by Kate Bateman

I have a short list for December so I’m going to be spending some of my other reading time (1) catching up more on backlogs from prior year’s lists and (2) reading some things just for fun! I think one of my favorite things I’ve been able to do this year is read more from my personal library, it feels like it’s been years since I’ve picked what I wanted to read on a whim. December will be a busy work month but if everything goes according to plan I’ll have some time off at the end of the month and can hopefully read a lot then. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and hope everyone is able to do something fun to get into the festive Christmas spirit. Our Christmas this year, I’m sure like many others, will look very different this year. No large celebrations and I will be missing my family in a big way this year. But whether we’re together or apart, the love and joy that our family feels is still there. Hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Happy reading everyone!

2020 Monthly Status Update: October

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October has somehow come and gone. This year has flown by so quickly I don’t even know where the time has gone. And even though work is still very busy, I have been able to find time here and there to read! And I had some time around Halloween off so I was able to read more on my favorite holiday. So here are some reading highlights from October for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 10
# pages read this month: 2,834
# books read year-to-date: 78
# pages read year-to-date: 25,730

Other Posts this month:

No other posts this month!

Favorite books from this month:

Nothing that really blew me away this month

Next Month TBR List:

  • None!

I currently have no scheduled reads for November and I did that on purpose. I did that so I can catch up with some of my backlog – I currently have 2 books that I’m behind on for 2020 and I’d LOVE to have a year where I kept up with all my scheduled reads. And the next month is still going to be crazy for me! But hopefully November continues to be a productive reading month! Hope you all had a wonderfully spooky Halloween and are looking forward to a festive Thanksgiving! Happy reading everyone!

2020 Monthly Status Update: September

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What a great month September was! It was my birthday month and a great month of reading. I was able to take a couple days off work even though we’re pretty busy right now. I found time here and there to read and I read some GREAT books! In addition to some of my scheduled books I was able to read a few fairy-tale retelling stories for my birthday month. Here are some reading highlights from September for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 9
# pages read this month: 3,483
# books read year-to-date: 68
# pages read year-to-date: 22,896

Other Posts this month:

No other posts this month!

Favorite books from this month:

Man I read some GREAT books this month!

Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown – 4.75 stars
The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter – 4.75 stars
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey – 5.0 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • Mirror Image by Sandra Brown
  • In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
  • Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor
  • Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Hopefully October continues to be a productive reading month! It will definitely will be busy at work but if I manage my time I should be able to fit it in. Hope you all have a spooky October! Happy reading everyone!