May was quite the busy month! Lots of work to be done but I’ve also been getting lots of rest and doing some reading. We went on a weekend trip to Boston and had a great time. Memorial Day weekend was a quiet one since it was cold and rainy all weekend. Anyways, here is my progress for reading in May:
I’ll also be trying to continue working on my backlog for June and read something from my library. June will be a very busy month – we have a big arrival coming for our family at the end of June / early July and I’ll be taking it easy after that and may not be posting as much for a couple months. I’ll be sure to catch up everyone when I’m able to though!
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:
Participate in certain reading challenges:
ARC August – Done! You can see my posts related to this challenge here
Bout of Books Challenge – BOB 28 (May 2020) – Done! You can see my posts related to this challenge here
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!
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.
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
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:
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:
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!!
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:
Participate in certain reading challenges:
Bout of Books Challenge – BOB 31 (May 2021)
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.
Keep reading my backlog list! At least one book per month
Keep reading from my personal library! At least one book per month
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!
Harlequin is featuring their category romance in a February 2020 series blog tour! Her Homecoming Wish was released last week, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! I am hoping to have my review up later tonight or maybe tomorrow! See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt:
“You’re all about following the rules now? Pity.”
Mackenzie Wallace hopes there’s still some bad boy lurking beneath single father Danny Adams’s upright exterior. Being the proverbial good girl left her brokenhearted and alone in the past. Now she’s back in town and wants excitement with her high school crush—not love. Dan knows their connection runs deep, despite Mackenzie’s protests. But will their new personas work together—especially when Dan’s secret is exposed?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jo McNally lives in upstate New York with 100 pounds of dog and 200 pounds of husband – her slice of the bed is very small. When she’s not writing or reading romance novels (or clinging to the edge of the bed…), she can often be found on the back porch sipping wine with friends, listening to an eclectic playlist. If the weather is perfect, she might join her husband on the golf course, where she always feels far more competitive than her actual skill-level would suggest.
Dan returned, thankfully ending the conversation. He handed her a glass, but it wasn’t beer.
“I thought you might want some water to hydrate yourself from all your…uh…activity.”
“In other words, you agree I’ve had enough beer tonight? You’re right—this is not a typical Friday night for me.” Remembering she was here to start a more fun-loving life, she lifted her chin. “At least it wasn’t before tonight.”
Owen leaned forward to make himself heard over the music. “Hey, Dan, you bike, right? A bunch of us are going to do the loop around the lake Sunday. Wanna join us?”
Mack’s eyes went wide. “Dan, you still have your motorcycle? I used to love the way that thing rumbled…”
Kiara’s eyebrows rose, and Mack realized she sounded gushy. But she hadn’t thought of Dan pulling up behind the liquor store on that dark red Harley of his in a long time. He’d been every teenage girl’s bad-boy dream—handsome, reckless and restless. She used to run to the back window when she heard him coming, just to watch him pull that helmet off and run his fingers through his hair, wearing those tight jeans.
Was it hot in here, or was it her memories that were heating her up right now? She gulped down the cold water, nearly emptying the glass in one pull. Dan was saying something. Oh, damn. Dan was talking and she wasn’t even listening…
“…think Owen’s referring to bicycles, not motorcycles.” He nodded toward Owen. “I’ve got Chloe this weekend, so I’ll have to pass.” His mouth slanted into a half grin as he turned back to Mack. “But yes, I still have the old Harley. It’s been in mothballs for a few years, but I can’t seem to part with that last vestige of my misspent youth.”
That bad boy might still be in there…
“You know, I’ve never been on a motorcycle. You should give me a ride sometime…”
Dan coughed and the others laughed. That wasn’t the kind of ride she’d meant, of course. Or was it? Rather than apologize, she just met his gaze and shrugged.
There was a spark of something in his eyes. Interest? He closed them and shook his head, as if chasing away whatever thoughts she’d put there.
July was HUGE! I got so much reading done. I had a vacation at the end of the month but had no internet so I’m just catching up on my blog posts today. Another reason I got so much reading done is that last month I discovered the Fated Mates podcast, which I’m now addicted to and am working my way through Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. I’m only allowing myself to read one though for every ARC I get read, so it’s encouraging me to get my reading done faster! So anyways, here are some highlights from July for me:
June was a bit of a slow month for me. Work really took off again and also trying to balance that with still enjoying a few days off doing fun things – there just isn’t enough time in the day! Thank goodness I was at a reading retreat at the beginning of June since that was when I got over 1/2 my books for the month read. I’m a bit behind with review posts too but I’m working on catching up. June is also when I discovered the Fated Mates podcast, which I’m now addicted to and am working my way through Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. So anyways, here are some highlights from June for me:
-The Starter Wife by Nina Lauren
-Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland
-Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham
-How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway
-Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
-The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
-The Arrangement by Robyn Harding
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
Participate in certain reading challenges:
Bout of Books Challenges (2)
BOB 24 January 2019
BOB 25 May 2019
Bookish Bingo challenges! I’d like to participate in bingo challenges for certain months for fun: February, June, September and October
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
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?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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
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
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
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.
“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.
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.
What a freaking crazy week this was! Busy week at work, and then the Fair was this past weekend and that takes up so much of our time! I tried to stick with the reading schedule, I’ve been really pushing myself for the reading challenge this month and I’ve been enjoying all the extra reading a lot. I didn’t necessarily knock it out of the park this past week since it was such a busy week but I was able to get a bit of reading done. This past week I also participating in both ARC August AND Bout of Books, which was fun and challenging. You can check out my Bout of Books 23 journey here! Anyways, so here’s where I stand right now:
I’m actually using a reading challenge to help me whittle away at the 2016 and 2017 backlog list, so for this challenge I’d like to get to the following:
-A book told through letters -A book with a five-word title– Read and reviewed At the Heart of It by Tawna Fenske (Week 2)
-A book whose cover features nature -A book whose title begins with K, Q, J, X, or Z – Read and reviewed The Killing Game by Nancy Bush (Week 4)
-A book you bought (requested) for the cover
-A book written by an author who wrote one of your favorite 2017 books
-A book with a one-word title
This coming week should hopefully be a bit smoother. Really August is just through Friday so there’s only a few days left to get in as much reading as I can. I plan to take Friday off to hopefully fit in a little last minute push to the finish line, but Friday night we’ll be leaving for Block Island for the weekend! Hope everyone else is having a successful reading month.
So for one of my goals this year to help me focus more on reading and having concentrated time for reading, I decided to participate in all 3 Bout of Books reading challenges / read-a-thons this year! This was the third and final one for this year. I didn’t done as much as I wanted to but it was still ok amounts of successful.
First let’s do my Day 7 (Sunday) update on reading, even though it’s pretty bad.
Time spent reading: (Approximately) 0 hours! I was so busy, didn’t get to read much at all Number of pages I’ve read today: 1 pages Total number of pages I’ve read: 725 pages Books read: Continued reading Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia Challenges: I did not participate in the challenge for yesterday, just too busy this weekend!
And now let’s look at how I fared for my overall Bout of Books 23 wrap up:
Time Devoted to Reading
I plan to read at least 2 hours each day during the week, with hopefully additional hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I’ll be working up at the Fair event all afternoon and evening Thursday and Friday and then all day Saturday and Sunday, but I might be able to take a couple short breaks for reading between shifts. Things definitely did not work out this way. Most of the weekdays I was able to read 1.5 – 2 hours but once we got to the weekend it fell apart. It’s just super hard to concentrate on anything during the Fair because there’s so much work to be done and so much going on.
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. One of the reasons I’m especially excited about this read-a-thon is … I’M ON THE SCHEDULE! I submitted a couple daily challenge ideas and one of them was picked! I’m more excited than ever to participate, hopefully I don’t run too low on time. I did participate in Monday and Tuesday’s (below) daily posts, the other days I either wasn’t interested in the prompt or ran out of time. I was especially excited to participate in Tuesday’s post since it was my suggestion!
Overall this was not the greatest week of reading for me, I feel that I started off strong but fizzled out at the end due to my other commitments. I was able to get a little reading done at least. I’m looking forward to participating in the next Bout of Books but maybe I’ll skip August’s next year!