2020 Monthly Status Update: June

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June started out VERY strong for me reading wise since I was “off the grid” but then once I was back from vacation I had so much work to do it was hard to get much reading done. Here are some reading highlights from June for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 13
# pages read this month: 3,993
# books read year-to-date: 45
# pages read year-to-date: 14,574

Other Posts this month:

Nothing else for this month

Favorite books from this month:

Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren (4.75 stars – love all their books)

Year One by Nora Roberts (4.5 stars – different and really interesting)

Next Month TBR List:

  • One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
  • Incognito Ex by Geri Krotow

And then I’ll also be catching up on backlog! I’ve been reading more lately from my personal library too (both physical copies and kindle copies) and I love the balance I’ve been finding between reading things that I’m scheduled to read and reading things just because I want to read them. And I’ve been participating in a book club again which I really enjoy. I’m looking forward to sitting in the sun and reading during the warm and sunny month of July. Happy reading everyone! And I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend!

2020 Monthly Status Update: May

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May was another great reading month for me! I’ve been able to spend a lot of time at home lately and in between working I’ve been loving all the reading time I get. I also participated in a reading challenge in May so that allowed me to really focus more time on reading. Here are some reading highlights from May for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 12
# pages read this month: 4,086
# books read year-to-date: 32
# pages read year-to-date: 10,581

Other Posts this month:

A Royal Kiss and Tell BLOG TOUR!!

LOTS of posts with the Bout of Books 28 reading challenge

Favorite books from this month:

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan – 4.5 stars (I didn’t read this for the blog but because I heard about it on the Podcasts I listen to and it is SO GOOD but VERY intense so just be prepared to devour it in one sitting and to be emotional)

The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – 4.25 stars

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson – 4.25 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • A Woman Alone by Nina Laurin
  • Billionaire Boss, Undercover Affair by Kyra Radcliff

 

And then I’ll be catching up on backlog! And reading a couple things from my own library! I’ll be traveling to a vacation spot this weekend and I’ll spend all week next week in paradise with not much to do other than reading! Which I am very much looking forward to. Happy reading everyone!

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 7 & Wrap Up

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I’ve participated in the Bout of Books reading challenges in the past few years and I’m usually able to get a good amount of reading done – I’ve found it’s a great way to help me focus on reading and have concentrated reading time. I was especially excited for this month’s Bout of Books since 1) I have a lot of time to relax at home right now (welcome to the pandemic) 2) I had a pretty bad reading slump this year and didn’t read for almost two months so I’m looking forward to diving into some great reads and 3) work this year has been intense so I was more eager than ever for some relaxation time!! I got a good amount of reading done this week and it was great to spend some time focused on the blog and participating in the challenges.

First let’s do my Day 7 (Sunday) update on reading.

Update

Sunday

Time spent reading: (Approximately) 2.5 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 146 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 1,412 pages
Books read: Started Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich
Challenges: I did tweet about Sunday’s challenge which was just a stretch goal challenge!

And now let’s look at how I fared for my overall Bout of Books 28 wrap up:

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least an hour Monday and Tuesday and then from there I’m hoping to read at least 3 hours a day, hopefully more.
I met the daily reading goal all of the days! Overall the pandemic really helped me since I can’t exactly go anywhere. I honestly probably would’ve gotten more reading done but I started playing a game in an app on my phone and it quickly got me addicted so I was distracted for some of the days. Overall I read over 23 hours for the challenge so I’d call that a success!

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 and devouring my books. My traditional busy season at work goes from January to April and it was a killer this year, especially with all the additional issues presented with the pandemic. I gave up on reading for pretty much February through the beginning of April since all I was doing was making myself more tired staying up too late reading. I’ve just recently picked up reading again and it’s been going well but I need to get back on board with my reading schedule and catch up on books I missed over the last couple months!

I was able to read every day, which was probably easier than normal since I took the second half of the week off of work.  I also participated in 5 out of the 7 daily challenges, the two that I missed were logistical issues.

Books to Read

  • Finish Outfox by Sandra Brown – Done! Review will be posted later this week
  • Read Close Up by Amanda Quick – Read and reviewed
  • Read BuzzBooks Romance sampler – Read and reviewed
  • Read Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia – Read and reviewed
  • Read Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson – Read and reviewed
  • Read a book I own (TBD) – Skipped
  • Read Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich – Started on last day of challenge but haven’t finished yet

Overall I thought I did super well with this challenge and made a lot of time for reading! I’m hoping to also participate in the August Bout of Books this year but that will be dependent on a few scheduling items. Either way, I had a great time this past week! Happy reading everyone!

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 5

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Yesterday was another great reading day. I had some work to get done in the morning but then the afternoon and evening I was able to get a lot of reading done. So anyways my Friday’s progress is below:

Update

Friday

Time spent reading: (Approximately) 4.5 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 284 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 1,010 pages
Books read: Finished Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia, Finished Outfox by Sandra Brown (review to come next week!), and started The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson
Challenges: I participated in the challenge yesterday on Twitter!

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

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 2

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I am loving Bout of Books this week! Tuesday went well, I was able to carve out some reading (and some blogging) time after work. So my Tuesday’s progress is below:

Update

Tuesday

Time spent reading: (Approximately) 2 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 117 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 262 pages
Books read: Finished Close Up by Amanda Quick and started Buzz Books Romance
Challenges: I participated in Tuesday’s challenge! It was great fun – the prompt for yesterday was “If You Like This, Try That” – you can see my post on it here.

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

Bout of Books: If You Like This, Try That

Today’s challenge for Bout of Books 28 is “If You Like This, Try That.” This can be a really fun challenge (if I have enough time to put two thoughts together and type up the post). The organizers of Bout of Books 28 have provided the additional instruction for this challenge:

Put your recommendations hat on, #boutofbooks-ers. For this challenge, pick a book, author, or trope (or whatever!) from your TBR and suggest similar books.

Example 1: If you like Sarah McLean, try Lenora Bell.

Example 2: If you like a modern day, romantic twist on Greek mythology, try Staci Hart’s Hearts and Arrows series.

My examples that I’ve gathered are a mix of different categories and examples from books and other things I’ve experienced over the last year, hopefully it helps someone find a new and interesting read!

If you like being a part of a book club -> Try PODCASTS!

I started listening to podcasts last year and I’ve been hooked ever since! I have a few favorites, which I featured in a blog post earlier this year, but there are so many options out there! It’s especially fun to read along with the podcast hosts and other listeners and then “discuss” the book!

If you like vampires and / or other folklore -> Try the Immortals After Dark series!

I can’t say enough good things about the Immortals After Dark series. After listening to the intro episode to the Fated Mates podcast last spring I decided to give the series a try and I was immediately HOOKED. I read the whole series in like 3 months, I devoured it. It may not be for everyone but damn that series is definitely for me because it is BAT SHIT AMAZING.

If you like family secrets and plenty of plot twists -> Try The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

If you like books by Sarah Addison Allen -> Try The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

If you like the movie The Proposal -> Try Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher

And if you are for some reason enjoying the anxiety and panic and just craziness that comes with all this pandemic business but you’re looking for a love story to somehow find root in it -> Try After Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Jones

It isn’t exact since it isn’t about a pandemic but I have to say when I first started reading this book it reminded me so much of what we were experiencing right now that I almost couldn’t continue reading it because it was creating so much additional anxiety for me!

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 1

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I’m so happy to be reading again! This challenge is really just such a good way to make sure I have some dedicated reading time during the week. I’m looking forward to reading all day tomorrow too. So anyways my Monday’s progress is below:

Update

Monday

Time spent reading: (Approximately) 2.5 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 145 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 145 pages (Day one! Ha)
Books read: Continued reading Close Up by Amanda Quick
Challenges: I participated in the challenge for yesterday!

 

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

Bout of Books 28 – Sign Up Post!!

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WOO HOO It’s time for BOUT OF BOOKS! I’ve participated in the Bout of Books reading challenges in the past few years and I’m usually able to get a good amount of reading done – I’ve found it’s a great way to help me focus on reading and have concentrated reading time. I’m especially excited for this year’s Bout of Books since 1) I have a lot of time to relax at home right now (welcome to the pandemic) 2) I had a pretty bad reading slump this year and didn’t read for almost two months so I’m looking forward to diving into some great reads and 3) work this year has been intense so I am more eager than ever for some relaxation time!

Even though things continue to be busy at work (as always), they’re encouraging us to take some vacation time so I’ll be taking at least a couple days off next week to devote my time to reading!

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 readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are daily challenges, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For Bout of Books 28 information and updates, 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 an hour Monday and Tuesday and then from there I’m hoping to read at least 3 hours a day, hopefully more! .

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 and devouring my books. My traditional busy season at work goes from January to April and it was a killer this year, especially with all the additional issues presented with the pandemic. I gave up on reading for pretty much February through the beginning of April since all I was doing was making myself more tired staying up too late reading. I’ve just recently picked up reading again and it’s been going well but I need to get back on board with my reading schedule and catch up on books I missed over the last couple months!

Books to Read

  • Finish Outfox by Sandra Brown
  • Read Close Up by Amanda Quick
  • Read BuzzBooks Romance sampler
  • Read Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia
  • Read Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson
  • Read a book I own (TBD)
  • Read Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich

It’s a good sized list but 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, May 12th at 11:59pm CST! Happy reading!

2020 Monthly Status Update: April

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FINALLY I’m out of the reading slump! I don’t know about you all but this pandemic has resulted in a LOT more time at home. And while I’ve been working plenty I’ve finally been able to spend more time lately reading and even some time relaxing! I’m still pretty behind in the backlog, not just for this year but also previous so I’ll be spending some time catching up. I read some great books this month though and I’m looking forward to some of the titles coming up in my reading list for next month! Here are some reading highlights from April for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 7
# pages read this month: 2,432
# books read year-to-date: 20
# pages read year-to-date: 6,495

Other Posts this month:

Nothing else for this month! Just been reading!

Favorite books from this month:

After Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Jones – 4.5 stars

Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher – 4.5 stars

Next Month TBR List:

-Close Up by Amanda Quick

That’s all I have scheduled for next month so I’m definitely going to have some room to play catch up and maybe even read a book from my personal library! I’ve also started doing a book discussion with some friends which I’m very much enjoying. Hope everyone is reading something good during quarantine, happy reading to all!

2020 Book #14 – After Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Jones

Title: After Sundown
Author: Linda Howard and Linda Jones
Date finished: 4/9/20
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss 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:

Danger brings together two guarded hearts in a battle for survival in this irresistible story from New York Times bestselling authors Linda Howard and Linda Jones.

Sela Gordon, the shy owner of a Tennessee general store, finds safety in solitude. But if anyone can pierce her protective shell it’s the handsome, mysterious ex-military man living alone in the wilds of Cove Mountain. For two years, he’s kept his distance—until the day he appears to warn her that a catastrophic solar storm capable of taking down the power grid is coming. Now, Sela must find the courage to become the leader Wears Valley needs.

Bitter experience has taught Ben Jernigan it’s best to look out for number one. For two years the former soldier has lived in a self-imposed exile, using a top-notch security system to keep people away. But he had to let Sela know about the impending threat—and now the quiet and undeniably sexy woman is making it too easy for him to lower his guard.

As panic spreads, Sela and Ben discover that in the dark, cut off from the outside world, there’s no more playing it safe—in life or in love.

My rating:  4.5 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.

I absolutely love Linda Howard, she’s one of my all-time favorite authors. When I saw she had a new book coming out I was so excited! I honestly didn’t even read what the book was about I just requested it as soon as I saw Linda Howard. And in this specific situation I probably should’ve looked at the synopsis ahead of time since it was SUPER weird timing! With everything going on in the world and with the panic surrounding certain aspects of the coronavirus, and with this book being about the panic surrounding preparation and fallout of a solar storm it almost caused me so much more panic and anxiety than I was already feeling. At the same time though, it was so good! It had my heart racing and my adrenaline flowing and I just loved it! It was worth the additional panic, the plot line was so different and inventive and I really liked it. While I would give a trigger warning for those dealing with their own anxiety through this quarantine business, overall I’d very much recommend this one!