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Monthly Inventory: December 2020

December 2020

I think the month of December 2020 really encapsulated for me what a crap year it was for reading (and blogging). I only read 4 books the entire month (though I had 2 others “started” but sitting on my bedside table collecting dust) — I used to read that many books in a week just a year or two ago.

Life doesn’t always go the way you plan and I think 2020 did a good job reminding me of that. While I learned lots of new things (like crocheting and how important travel is to me), I also formed a lot of bad habits. Or maybe my priorities in life are just changing? It’s really hard to say. I just know that I don’t want to make any big decisions off a mentally taxing year for me where I didn’t feel like myself 70% of the time.

You can read all about my Reading Plan for 2021 here and learn how I hope to get back into reading everyday. Like many people, I have some New Year’s resolutions and reading is one of them.

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Total for December 2020: 4 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 0 Books

Last December 2019: 13 Books Read + 1 Novellas Read + 0 DNFs

Grand Totals for 2020:

43 Books + 31 ARCs + 76 Audiobooks + 6 Novellas + 6 DNFs + 1 Reread = 177 Books

*Note some ARCs were audiobooks or novellas so they maybe have been counted twice

Standout Read (★★★★)


I’ve had this on my list for a while and I really enjoyed it! I love royalty so the allusions to various royals families was a lot of fun. It was a super long audiobook though and I think that is why my numbers for the month were lower as well.

Biggest Let Down (N/A)

I only read 4 books and I gave them all 4 stars so yay!


I became a Prime Member this fall and they had a special promotion to joining Kindle Unlimited. I really didn’t take advantage of it as I should and continued my subscription for another 2 months.

Like I always do when I resubscribe, I wanted to see if I got my money’s worth ($10/month) and so I will be keeping track of all the books I read via the service. (Just like I did when completing the free trial.)

  • Hook – $6.97

While not a great effort on my part, I’m hoping to make up some ground in January and finish up some series that are available.

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

No updates this month 🙁


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You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 0 books added | 18 of 31 Titles Read – Short 13 Books!
Goodreads Challenge: 3 books added | 171/155 Books – Completed!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 0 books added | 22/24 Books – So Close!

View my Challenge Progress Here!

Overall: By the summer my challenges had slipped my mind and my fall reading slump didn’t help. It’s great I accomplished my Goodreads Challenge considering I was short the number of books I went over by this year. I wish I had paid attention to my Tackling the TBR because I’m sure I could have found 2 books to quickly read to get that challenge done.

2021 Reading Challenges:

I’ve decided NOT to set any challenges this year. I will continue my Goodreads Goal and have it set again at 155 Books (if travel can safely resume, I have a lot of postponed trips to get to!).

I may go back to old challenges that are incomplete and finish them up in 2021. But I kind of want to see how January goes before I commit to that idea.

My Goodreads Goal this year is 155 Books.

My main mission for 2020 was bringing my “Want to Read” shelf (new to me books) on Goodreads to a number less than 400 and have my “Sequel” shelf to be below 200 titles.

How did I do?

Currently

December 31, 2019

Want to Read (New)

362

422

To Read (Sequels)

205

238

Final thoughts: I’m really happy with my Want to Read numbers! I think it helps I didn’t really keep up with new releases this year so I wasn’t always adding titles but still, I made great progress there! The Sequel shelf is a great number as well. While I would have liked to have been below 200, it’s so close I really can’t complain.

Mission for 2021: I would love to decrease my Want to Read (New) to 325 and my To Read (Sequels) to 175.

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

I used to do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time and had great success last year doing this on a monthly basis. The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. My 10 titles consist of 7 “new to me” titles and 3 “previously started series” titles.

This month:

The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen, #1)
Pass

Cole (FMX Bros, #1)
Pass

Thicker Than Water
Keep

Firsts
Pass

Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles, #1)
Pass

Shade Me (Nikki Kill, #1)
Keep

Sword and Verse (Sword and Verse, #1)
Keep

Wingman (Rascals #2)
Keep

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)
Pass

Anything Between Us (Starving Artists, #3)
Keep

Pass: 5 | Keep: 5

Grand Total YTD: Pass: 55 | Keep: 65

Did I give up on any too soon? Let me know in the comments below!

While this is a monthly meme hosted by Avalinah’s Books, I usually only update every quarter.

My Progress for January to December, 2020:

ARCs Read: 31 | ARCs Overdue: 5+1* | Upcoming: 1

(September State: ARCs Read: 25 | ARCs Overdue: 2+1* | Upcoming: 4

*Titles given to me as a member of an author’s street team to read ASAP.

Going Forward:

In 2021 I’m limiting the amount of requests I accept through my blog. Instead, I want to focus on author’s I’ve worked with before or am a member of their street teams for. I’m not going to actively seek out any ARCs at this time until I get back into better reading habits.

January is all about relearning my reading habits and reintegrating it into my everyday life. I’d also love to finish up some of my overdue ARCs and finish those books that I’ve started but seem to struggle with picking up and finishing.

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month/year?
Leave a comment below!

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SERIESous’ Reading Plan for 2021

2021 Is the All About Getting My Groove Back!

Like many people, I went into 2020 with an optimistic frame of mind. I had reduced my Goodread’s Goal for the year to be lower to anticipate a few things like travel and other events, plus my general decline in my reading numbers over the last few years.

But as Canada went into lockdown near the end of March, I couldn’t bring myself to read a book. I mean, if you ignored the global issues, the idea of not leaving your house except for essentials seems like a bookworm’s perfect world. But I really struggled.

I work in healthcare, particularly in the laboratory of the hospital. I’m the person who receives the swabs for the testing of COVID-19 and could run the testing if my hospital provided in-house testing (we are too small to do so). Work was extremely stressful at this time and as a result, I found my mind wandering when I would pick up a book. So reading wasn’t for me and I found myself turning to yarn hobbies like crochet and knitting because it kept my hands occupied and gave me a sense of accomplishment.

I did go through a few spurts where reading was how I passed the time instead of watching TV. I even managed to finish my Goodreads Goal–something I didn’t complete last year–fairly early on given how March-May worked for my reading. But once things got colder here in Canada, my reading became non-existent once again. It got to the point that if it wasn’t an audiobook for when I walked my dog, I probably wasn’t reading it.

As I write this post, I’m unsure about my reading and blogging future. I’ve been contemplating moving away from a self-hosted site to the regular WordPress site because I don’t want my blog to disappear entirely. But the cost to keep it self-hosted isn’t crazy so I’ll probably stick it out one more year and give 2021 a good chance. I feel like 2020 isn’t a good year to gauge my reading/blogging usage on since it was so radical.

In last year’s plan for 2020, I focused on finishing up series and reading more books I owned. But I only had mild success there. I was actually on a great trajectory to finish it when September hit and so did a major reading slump. A slump so long that it was still continuing into December.

That’s why I want to get my Groove back in 2021. Instead of specific reading goals (like finish X number of series), I want to improve my reading habits and reintegrate reading into my everyday life.

And so I want to keep that momentum going forward into 2020! Here’s how:

#1 – Read Before Bed

I used to always read before I would go to bed. Back in University, my roommates thought I was asleep by 10:15pm every night because I would say goodnight around 10pm. But I usually spent the next 45 minutes reading my book before finally sleeping. I even used to wake up early to read a chapter or two before I started my day.

Because I work in healthcare, that means shift work is my every day norm. I find I’m always trying to catch up on sleep from night shifts and so I’m lucky if I even get a single chapter in before my eyes close.

I’ve decided I’m going to start bullet journaling in 2021 as a way to keep me accountable and I’ve added a habit tracker to see my progress with this particular idea. I really want to get back into a regular sleep routine that works with my shift work and that includes reading before bed instead of scrolling through my phone.

#2 – Reduce ARC Commitments

For the last 2 years I’ve really declined my ARC commitments and I want to keep that going forward.

There’s nothing wrong with ARCs, I just find they add a pressure to my reading that dampens my interest in reading. I’ve been in such a rotten mood for 2020 that I felt like it was translating into overly critical reviews of ARCs and I didn’t think that was super fair.

I’m a member of a few street teams for authors and I plan on sticking with those as they aren’t overwhelming. But I will be reducing what I sign up for and what requests I take on.

#3 – No Reading Challenges

Usually I have 2-3 reading challenges for the year. This year, I want to step away from those and really go back to my mood reading whims where I simply pick up a book because I want to.

That means no elaborate Excel spreadsheet to share this year!

I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to the reading challenges of the last few years and reading those titles I had marked but never got to. But I really want the first 3 months of 2021 to be focused on getting back to reading and making it a part of my everyday routine.

Going Forward:

Better things seem to be on the horizon for 2021 and I’m optimistic that I can get things back to where they want to be by forming new habits and returning to my routines that have helped me in the past.

Do you create a yearly plan or do you just go with the flow?

What are some of your 2021 reading goals?

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Year’s Reads in Review – Top Picks for 2020

For me, 2020 was a year of lows and highs when it came to my reading.

I think for many people 2020 was a challenging year in all aspects of life. As I look back at my Reading Plan for 2020I wish I could go back and say: “oh you naive girl, wait until you see what the year brings in 3 short months”.

My reading was all over the place. Sometimes I’d be into, other times I wouldn’t pick up a book for days. I fell into a major reading slump in September and am still in a funk as I write this in December.

Compiling this list to remember the highlights of the year was a nice reminder that not everything about this year was crappy. And it has inspired me a bit to pick up a book and bring reading back into my regular daily routine.  (You can read all about my 2021 Reading Plan in the new year).

> > Check out which books I read this past year HERE!

As always, I’ve decided to compile a list of my top picks (and not so great) from the various categories that I read this past year. Most categories deal with books published only this past calendar year (2020) but there are some noted exceptions. Click on the cover to read my review of the book/series–if available! Lots of these won’t have reviews until early next year.

Without further ado:

(Books are in no particular order; click on cover for review if available)

– Novels that were first published in 2020 –

– Series that were first published in 2020 –

– Series that were first published in 2020 –

– Novels that were first published in 2020 –

– A series sequel book published in 2020 –

– Novels I read in 2020 that were hyped by the community & met expectations –

– Best audiobooks I listened to in 2020 (not necessarily their publication year) –

– Favourite Adult Contemporary Standalones read in 2020 –

– Favourite Adult Non-Contemporary Series read in 2020 –

A Duke in the Night (The Devils of Dover #1) The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)

– Favourite New Adult Series Read in 2020 –

– Favourite YA Series I read in 2020 –

– Books published in 2020 that I DNF’d –

– Books I gave 2 Stars or Less to in 2020 –

 

– Books that I enjoyed more than I expected! –

Have a fabulous 2021!

Do we share any titles? Agree or Disagree?

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Burn, Rewrite or Reread Tag – 2020 Edition

tagitthurs

Burn, Rewrite, Reread Tag 2020

I’ve been doing this tag as part of my annual wrap-up traditions for the last two years and I just love it! It’s great to highlight some of the titles I read this year that wouldn’t necessarily make my Year’s Reads in Review list. I read a lot of books in a year and I’ll admit that I forget about most some. But doing this recap helps remind me of the various books I spent time on this year.

Here’s a recap of what you are supposed to do:

The Rules:

-Randomly choose 3 books.

-For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread.

-Repeat until you completed three (I do 5) rounds

To get the books for each batch, I used a random number generator to pull titles from my “Books Read in 2020” excel file. This includes any DNF’d titles for the year; and if a number repeated itself (or landed on a heading), I reran the generator until I got a fresh title.

Round 1

  

Burn: I didn’t finish Now or Never because it couldn’t get into the romance. Things happened quickly and the way the hero would describe the heroine just grossed me out. Such a shame because I really enjoyed the other books in the Irresistible Series.

Rewrite: I loved the inaugural series Vicious Lies stemmed from (Truth or Lies), and I did enjoy finally getting this particular story. I think it could use a few tweaks (like less mention of rape and recycling the plot) would make this book fabulous!

Reread: I don’t think I’d actively seek out The Wright Mistake to reread it. However, I would pick up a print version as the accents in the audiobook drove me nuts!

Round 2

Burn: I wouldn’t actually burn the entire book of The Royal We, just a few chapters because this book is SO LONG!

Rewrite: I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance in the Sinful Truths Series so I would tweak a few things in Fallen Love to get my onboard. I wouldn’t change that ending though!

Reread: I’ll probably have to reread Dance of Thieves before I read its sequel just so I can remember what happened!

Round 3

Burn: Oh, I’d burn Kingdom of Ash without a doubt. I struggled to get through this book: 3 serious attempts over the last year. This series morphed into something that just wasn’t for me.

Rewrite: I actually thought The Everlasting Rose was a much stronger book than its inaugural series title. But it could use a few changes to make the story even more epic.

Reread: I thought Inferno was a great finale for the Talon Series.

Round 4

Burn: Honestly, Love the One You’re With is an entertaining, albeit quick, read so I feel bad burning it. But you could find the plot on any Hallmark Movie.

Rewrite: I was very excited to see our leads in I Hate You fall in love. Their banter in the other books in the series had me hooked! But I feel like some of the logic for staying apart could have used some refinement.

Reread: I really liked how the relationship came together in Rescue.

Round 5

Burn: I had kept Soleil on my TBR list for years because I loved the other books in the series. But this one was a little too quirky for me and I got lost in the Alice in Wonderland allusions.

Rewrite: I loved the premise of A Daring Sacrifice and it’s allusions to Robin Hood. I just think having a second narrator for the male POV would make the audiobook fantastic!

Reread: Now that I know what to expect from Neighbors and Favors, I think I would enjoy it more if I read it again.


What would you Burn, Rewrite and Reread from 2020?

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DNF December Review Blitz: Introduction Post 2020

I am a firm believer that if you aren’t enjoying a book, you should be able to DNF it and not feel guilty about that decision. You aren’t going to enjoy every book you pick (even though we all want to) and there is not shame in that.

>> SERIESous Discussion: DNFing ARCs

I also like to review my DNFs. Some of the most helpful reviews I come across are ones for DNF reads. Now some reviews are just trashing the novel but the ones that look at it critically give me a better idea of what I can expect and help me anticipate if I will enjoy the book or not.

Since 2018, I’ve made it part of my annual yearly review to do a posting blitz of all the books I DNF’d for one reason or another. And I’m bringing it back for 2020!

Now: what is a DNF’d review?

When I look at my numbers for the year, I’ve only DNF’d a small handful of books. These are books I never finished and stopped reading part of the way through. I’m also including some book series that I’ve opted not to finish. What that means is that I likely finished the first book but decided not to read the sequels.

What Reviews are on the Way?

These DNF reviews get a bit of a different review format in comparison. In them, I list what I liked, what I didn’t and if I ever plan on finishing the series. I always find these reviews helpful when I’m deciding whether or not to add a book to my TBR and that’s what I aim for these reviews to do and why I publish them.

Here are the reviews you will see over the next few days (note the links may be “broken” as the reviews aren’t published yet):

I hope you enjoy the reviews I post over the next two weeks! And if you read and enjoyed these books, I would love to get your takes on them! Who knows, maybe I’ll pick them up again!

Monthly Inventory: November 2020

November 2020

I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get around to posting this recap of the month. I mean, there isn’t a whole lot to say about the dismal month of November when it comes to my reading and blogging.

Like it has been for many people, 2020 has been a challenging year.

For me, I feel like I am at a crossroads of my life. When it comes to my career, I’m trying to navigate my long term goals with some new job opportunities but feel absolutely lost. And because I work at a hospital in the lab, there’s no escaping COVID and our current realties.

My reading habits have been on a decline for the last two years. Even though I no longer commute 2 hours a day to work, my priorities and commitments have shifted since I’ve moved closer to work. I’m tired all the time and go to bed before I can finish a single chapter. And if I do find the time to read during the day, my mind begins to wander and I can’t focus on what is in front of me. The bulk of the books I do finish in a month are audiobooks I listen to when I walk my dog.

In November my domain name was up for renewal and I started to wonder what my long term goals are for the blog. I’m behind in my ARCs because it feels like a catch-22 (they feel like work and I don’t want to taint the review with my horrible mood). I’m rarely logging in to blog and don’t blog hop like I used to. I opted to renew my domain name but self-hosting is up for renewal in February and I’m on the fence about keeping it.

I’m leaning more towards moving back to the free WordPress.com setup. However, it isn’t overly expensive to keep my blog as self-hosted either. I don’t want to disband the blog entirely–I don’t think. I suppose that is the question I need to answer for myself.

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Total for November 2020: 7 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 0 Books

Last November: 13 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read + 0 DNFs

Standout Read (★★★★)

There's Something About Sweetie (Dimple and Rishi, #2)
I just thought this book was so much fun to listen to. I loved how body-positive it was and how Sweetie was such a boss.

Biggest Let Down (★★)

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
This isn’t a bad book by any means. I just went in with high hopes that this book would restart my love of reading by sucking me in. And while it started great, it lagged in the middle and just needed to fine tune some aspects to make it an epic read.


Once again for Black Friday, Kindle had a promotion for new Kindle Unlimited Subscribers where you got 3 months of reading for only $0.99!!! I was hoping this deal would return after I had such a blast taking advantage of it last year.

Like I always do when I resubscribe, I wanted to see if I got my money’s worth and so I will be keeping track of all the books I read via the service. (Just like I did when completing the free trial.)

  • NONE

I’ve been doing terribly with this! There was a really good deal to extend my subscription for another 3 months so I’m hoping I can get my reading mojo back and finish some series off!

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 0 books added | 18 of 31 Titles Read
Goodreads Challenge: 7 books added | 168/155 Books – Completed!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 0 books added | 22/24 Books

View my Challenge Progress Here!


Created by Lia @ Lost in a StoryI used to do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time and had great success last year doing this on a monthly basis. The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. My 10 titles consist of 7 “new to me” titles and 3 “previously started series” titles.

This month:

Only for Him (Only, #1)
Keep

Other Side of Beautiful
Pass

Black Box
Pass

The Next Contestant
Pass

Kissed (The Thorn Chronicles, #1)
Pass

A Lush Betrayal (Lush, #1)
Pass

Boarded by Love (Bellevue Bullies, #1)
Keep

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)
Keep

Rise (Rule, #2)
Keep

Ruin  (Slay Quartet, #2)
Keep

Pass: 5 | Keep: 5

Grand Total YTD: Pass: 50 | Keep: 60

Did I give up on any too soon? Let me know in the comments below!

I’m hoping to get to my yearly wrap up posts in the next two weeks! I’m also going to be making some hard decisions when it comes to the blog so we will see where things take me in December! Stay safe!

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month?
Leave a comment below!

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SERIESous Spoilers: Spindle Glass Series

seriesousspoilers
SERIESous Spoilers: A feature where we discuss what happened in our favourite (or maybe not so favourite) books. Did you like the plot changes? The romance? What surprised you? What angered you? And what do you think will happen next?

This SERIESous Spoilers Pick:

Spindle Fire (#1) and Winter Glass (#2) by Lexa Hillyer | Spindle Fire Series

warning2

Please Note: I discuss the series as whole below. While I have included what books are discussed in each point by putting a (#1) and/or (#2) in the heading, if you plan on reading the sequel Winter Glass at some point and don’t want it spoiled, perhaps don’t engage in the discussion below.


Aurora`s Romances (#1, #2)

So in the first book, I thought it was obvious Aurora was trying to force something for Health. And to be fair, maybe she did feel something platonic for him and couldn’t distinguish that from romance but I never really saw that romantic connection. So going into the sequel, I thought maybe she will just choose to go it alone. (Like the idea of “true love” was her love of her sister).

However, she started to develop feelings for Wren and that just felt like it came out of left field to me. Now, I listened to Spindle Fire as an audiobook so I definitely missed a few things and maybe that’s the case here. But I just didn’t see where on earth those romantic feelings came from. And as a result, I kinda felt like the author was just trying to check off a book of inclusivity instead of making it seem organic like it should have been.

Please tell me if I am wrong about that and I truly missed something in the first book?

[collapse]

Isabelle`s Journey to the North (#2)

I thought a lot of Isabelle’s travels throughout the series felt like filler (like the boating trip in the first book even if the whole narwhal thing links back to her mom) but I was so ANGRY about her journey to the North.

At first, I thought it was great that she had learned the true identity of the Hart Slayer (because at this point, Wren had hypothesized it was Aurora’s mom the Queen) but when Aurora and Wren discover the identity on their own, I had to wonder what was the point of Isabelle’s journey at all? The glass slipper was useless really. All she learned was that it held memories…which she didn’t need to know other than the fact it explains where her mother disappeared to.

And I know at the end she uses the slipper on Malefleur when she kills her but I’m not really sure what the point was other than melodramatics. She was the last of the blood line so she could have killed her without the slipper or knowing what winter glass was.

[collapse]

Isabelle`s Love Triangle (#1, #2)

Unlike Aurora, I really liked both of Isabelle’s love interests. Gil was super sweet and I was on his team until I saw more of William and Isabelle together. So I’m really torn on who is the better fit is for her.

I’m glad Gil found love later, though maybe companionship is the better way to describe that. I’m not really clear if he found love or simply settled for what he felt he had to do.

[collapse]

Isabelle`s Need to Find Her Own Story (#2)

After all the obstacles she overcomes, I was super upset that Isabelle felt like she needed to find her “own story”. What else had she been doing all series?

Sure, she ran away with Gilbert so she wasn’t “alone” and for her return journey in Spindle Fire she was with William. But most of what she did in Winter Glass was by herself and she learned all about her heritage. I can appreciate the fact that she maybe hadn’t had the most time to digest all that info since there was a war going on. However, it irked me that she felt like she had to go off an find herself even though both of these novels–from my perspective at least–seem like they have been about cementing her own identity from Aurora.

[collapse]

The Epilogue (#2)

I hate vague epilogues and this one had the unfortunate added bonus of flowery language as well.

So do Wren and Aurora end up together? Same with Isabelle and William. It sounds like no? Maybe my anger blinded me to truly interpreting was was happening. I just know that I left with more questions than answers and some anger.

[collapse]

What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree? Did I totally miss the point of this series?

Please leave a comment below!

Monthly Inventory: August 2020

August 2020

Yikes! Where did this month go!!??!? I had started things off so well but this was one of those months where it felt like a chore to sit down and read. My hectic work schedule didn’t help either. But if I look at my numbers for a year ago, I guess I did read more books this month than I thought!

I spent more time watching TV this month. I’m officially obsessed with Dynasty. The new version not the 80s version. I’m on Season 3 already and I’m so happy it got its mojo back (Season 2 was a little blah I thought).

August is usually about the ARCs and I started off the month well. But I missed my own deadlines for a few I had set out so September will be about sequels and ARCs!

thoughts

Total for August 2020: 16 Books Read + 1 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 0 Books

Last August: 8 Books Read + 5 Novellas Read + 3 DNFs

Standout Read (★★★★★)

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1)

What a treat for the ears! I really loved the audiobook! Having a full cast and bringing the documents and transcripts to life was superb. I love a good mystery and this one kept me listening and on my toes!

Biggest Let Down (★★★)

Puck Me Baby (Bad Motherpuckers, #4)
This was more about my disappointment in the audio production. Our hero has had an accent in the last 3 books of the series but here he has no inkling of it at all. I also thought the character development was underwhelming.

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

None — I’m super behind on updating my reviews!

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 2 books added | 17 of 31 Titles Read – 3 Books Behind!
Goodreads Challenge: 15 books added | 142/155 Books – 40 Books Ahead!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 5 books added | 21/24 Books – 5 Books Ahead!

View my Challenge Progress Here!

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

I used to do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time and had great success last year doing this on a monthly basis. The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. My 10 titles consist of 7 “new to me” titles and 3 “previously started series” titles.

This month:

Dangerous Girls
Keep

The Royal We (Royal We, #1)
Keep

King's (The King Trilogy, #1)
Pass

Unlit Star
Keep

Breakdown
Pass

Break Away
Pass

The Collectors’ Society (The Collectors’ Society, #1)
Pass

Respect (The Breaking Point, #3)
Keep

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret, #3)
Keep

Five ​Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns, #4)
Keep

Pass: 5 | Keep: 6

Grand Total YTD: Pass: 37 | Keep: 44

Did I give up on any too soon? Let me know in the comments below!

While this is a monthly meme hosted by Avalinah’s Books, I usually only update every quarter. Since August is usually dubbed ARC August, I thought I would do a quick recap of where I am at.

My Progress for January to August, 2020:

ARCs Read: 25 | ARCs Overdue: 2+1* | Upcoming: 4 | ARCs In Progress: 1

(June’s State: ARCs Read: 18 | ARCs Overdue: 2* | Upcoming: 5

*Titles given to me as a member of an author’s street team to read ASAP.

Going Forward:

I’m going to be working hard on getting my ARCs under control in September!

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

September is usually all about the sequels and it will be this year as well. But I also need to wrap up some ARCs I have on the go!

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month?
Leave a comment below!

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Release Blitz: Not my Romeo by Ilsa Madden-Mills


I’m a sucker for anything Ilsa Madden-Mills writes and this new sports series is something I can’t wait to start reading!

Read my reviews of Ilsa’s other works!

Below you will find the synopsis as well as some more info on one of my favourite New Adult authors around!


Not My Romeo (The Game Changers, #1)Title: Not My Romeo

Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Published: August 18, 2020
Find it: Goodreads // Amazon

We start off with a lie on Valentine’s Day.

My blind date isn’t the studious guy I expected: he’s a drop-dead gorgeous player with sinful amber eyes. Somehow we end up at his penthouse. I blame the gin and tonic.

The next day I learn he’s Jack Hawke—bad-boy professional quarterback with a murky past. The NDA he has me sign should be a warning that he isn’t a regular person. Please. I sign it Juliet Capulet, so goodbye, famous football player with abs of steel, and good luck tracking down this small-town librarian.

But Jack keeps showing up in places I least expect him. Just when I’m sure he’s gone, he waltzes into my community theater and wins the part of Romeo to my Juliet. How’s a plain, mostly innocent girl like me supposed to resist a man like him?

Is Jack my real Romeo… or will this gorgeous football player only break my heart?

~

Add: Goodreads // Buy: Amazon


Ilsa Madden-Mills

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.

She’s addicted to dystopian books and all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding females. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she’s a Gemini), and tattoos.

She has a degree in English and a Master’s in Education.

When she’s not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets and paints old furniture.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

What about you? Are you excited?

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Service Review: Scribd

Scribd: Audiobooks & ebooks - Apps on Google Play

Scribd Subscription Service

**This is in no way affiliated with Scribd! It is simply my take on using the service!**

Scribd was the last of the major reading subscription services that I had yet to try. To date, I’ve tried: Audible, Kindle Unlimited, Kobo Audiobooks and Audiobooks.com and have various opinions on them all. I delayed getting Scribd because I wasn’t entirely sure I could get it in Canada (which you can as well as many other countries) and for a little while it wasn’t “unlimited” so I was saving my trial for a title I really wanted to read (but now the service is unlimited).

I was really curious to try Scribd because I loved the idea of unlimited eBooks and Audiobooks in a month. Most audiobook subscription services (like Audible) only allow 1 book a month (though some have packages or deals, etc for multiple titles in a month) so as someone who can finish an audiobook in 3-5 days, constant access to listen to audiobooks is a big draw. The other draw was that is has a lot of the bigger publishing house titles available for reading. It’s basically the Netflix of books!

So could Scribd become that supplement for titles my library lacks? I was more than willing to give my free 2 month trial a shot!

As I always do with these reviews, I’m going to go over the basics of the Scribd service and give my take on it independently (I’m not paid or endorsed by the company to provide this review). At the end, I will do a comparison to my other subscription services experiences, namely Audible and Kindle Unlimited as they are the most similar, just to give some context.

How Does it Work?

Unlike other book subscription services, Scribd does not have the option to purchase titles directly on their site. They only have the option for a monthly subscription. 

For $8.99 a month (USD), you purchase a month’s (30 days) worth of access to the eBooks, documents, sheet music, magazines and audiobooks of your choice.

It is an international service, however, not all books may be available for reading in your region due to copy and publishing rights. But you can browse their selection without logging in to get a feel for the titles they have.

My Experience:

–Signing-Up–

Because of COVID-19, I didn’t realize they were giving everyone a month free back in April. But a friend on Twitter who has the service gave me a referral link that got me 2 months for a free trial (and a free month for her!) so that’s how I signed up.

>>> I just want to highlight how great of an idea that referral program is! Instead of just one free book credit (like some other services), you give someone unlimited reading for 2 months and gain one month free for you!

One of the more notable options for signing up is that you can use PayPal which is super great.

–Audiobook Listening Experience–

Normally I listen to audiobooks on my old iPhone 4 but the iOS software is too old to support Scribd so I listened on my Galaxy 9 phone.

I really liked the app for the Android phones. It had all the features I want for an audiobook like changing the speed (I listen to all audibooks at 1.5X), a sleep timer, table of contents and easy to create & use bookmarks. I loved that I could download the audiobook over Wifi to my phone so I didn’t need to use data when listening to the book outside of my house. And I could run the app in the background while doing other things and could control it like if I was listening to music on the home and lock screens.

The app is sleek and easy to navigate. The only thing I wish it told you was the percent left in the entire book. If you log onto the Scribd desktop website, it tells you how long minute-wise you have left in the entire book. Otherwise, the timer at the bottom of your app tells you how many minutes are left in the current chapter. I’ve always kept track of my audiobook percent-read-in-a-day on Goodreads so I always notice when an app lacks the overall progress.

–eBook Reading Experience–

I had been eyeing getting a small tablet for travelling but getting this service sped up my decision a bit because I didn’t want to be reading books on my phone all the time. So I bought a Kindle Fire Tablet to read some of the eBooks I wanted from the site (and from Hoopla via my library).

Now, Scribd doesn’t have an official app for the Fire Tablet but they do have one you can download through their website for your tablet if you allow your device to download third party apps. That’s what I did and it worked great…until it needed me to update it every two weeks. I don’t know why but it would take multiple downloading attempts to get the update to take and there is no way to bypass the update to access your content. Frustrating. I had contacted support but their response was a few business days later and it was a slightly generic response to my issue. HOWEVER: they seemed to listen to my suggestion that you should be able to bypass the update because the next time the update was available, I could bypass the update! So, it seems like they have a very receptive support team and I will say that I found their FAQ section on their site to be very helpful for other issues or questions I had.

Overall: the reading experience itself is great. You can select different background colours, font colours, font type and size, etc. So it’s very customizable. Again, you can download titles to your devices so you aren’t using data all the time. And it does sync your reading progress across all your devices so long as they are connected to wifi.

–The (Audio)Book Selection–

Some of the titles I had planned to read using the service were no longer available months later when I finally signed up. Clearly, they rotate through what is available and for how long. But for the most part, there is a pretty great selection of titles. There’s a good mix of new releases and older titles; bigger and smaller publishing houses as well.

I did find a lot of the titles available to me on Scribd were also available on Hoopla which my library subscribes to. And sometimes, they only had the first title in a series available but not the others so that was disappointing (because I usually already had the first book and wanted the sequels).

One thing I really liked was that if an eBook has an audiobook option available on the site, it will tell you when you click on the title for more information. They have bestseller lists so you can see what the more popular titles are (and even sort them by audiobook or eBook). And I found the search option to be fairly accurate when looking up a specific title or author. Though a “recently added” list would be much appreciated.

I always worry that as a Canadian, I won’t have access to the same titles as a user in the USA but I had a few titles “not available in your country” so it wasn’t a huge issue.

–So is the Service Really “Unlimited”?–

It depends on your definition of “unlimited” to a certain degree.

Can you read as many books as you want in a month? Yes.

Does it mean that every book is available to you throughout the entire month? No.

As the Kindlepreneur explains:

Unlimited access doesn’t necessarily mean unlimited. Scribd practices throttling when it comes to their checkouts. High demand books are often restricted once the throttle cap is reached.

I ran into this at least twice during my first month and one more time in the last month of using the service. When I checked out Book #2 in the series, Book #3 was also available to download. But by the time I finished #2, Book #3 wasn’t available for me to download. Once the new month started it was once again available to download. I tried to avoid that in my second month of the trial–since I only had a month left–by downloading the whole series I wanted to finish. But by the time I got around to the third book it was unavailable even though I had downloaded it earlier in the month. I’m not sure how they decide the cut off but it was irksome to say the least.

How does it Compare to Other Book Subscription Services?

I’m going to break it down a little by some of the notable Audible, Kindle Unlimited, Audiobooks.com and Kobo Audiobook features:

  • Scribd: can listen & read books on your computer, phone or tablet
    • Audible: can listen to books on your computer, phone or tablet
    • Kindle Unlimited: on any device you can download the Kindle App to
    • Kobo Audiobooks: only lets you listen on your phone or tablet.
    • Audiobooks.com: lets you listen on your computer, phone or tablet
  • Scribd: lacks exclusives but has access to Sheet Music, Magazines and other streaming services like MUBI, AUDM and more
    • Audible: has exclusive audio titles only available through their company
    • Kindle Unlimited: any book in the program can only be found on Amazon
    • Kobo Audiobooks: lacks exclusives
    • Audibooks.com: also lacks exclusives
  • Scribd: no credit-for-titles system, pay for 30 days of use at a time
    • Audible: has multiple credits per month plan OR annual insta-credits plans
    • Kindle Unlimited: pay for one month of use at a time
    • Kobo Audiobooks: has multiple credits per month plan OR annual insta-credits plans
    • Audiobooks.com: has multiple credits per month OR single insta-credits
  • Scribd: no option to purchase titles to own
    • Audible: discounts for purchasing audio titles to own
    • Kindle Unlimited: once downloaded you can continue to read the title even if you are no longer subscribed to the service; otherwise, regular Kindle book purchase available
    • Kobo Audiobooks: can purchase audio titles to own
    • Audiobooks.com: can purchase audio titles to own

So, Am I Keeping It?

I ultimately decided not to keep the service after my two month trial but I wouldn’t say I am done with it entirely.

There were a lot of positives about the service. You can’t really go wrong if you like audiobooks because it you listen to even two audiobooks  in a month, you make your money back in the subscription fee. And if your library isn’t the best at having audiobooks or multiple copies of the bigger bestsellers, the access here is great. (I don’t play an instrument but I think the access to sheet music is a wicked bonus)! They do have a nice price breakdown when you try to cancel your subscription:

But I find when I use subscription services, I get caught up in making sure I’m getting my money’s worth out of it. That means books I get from my library or books I already own get pushed to the side. And while I don’t read a lot of ARCs anymore, if I have committed to one, I almost feel guilty reading it because I feel like I should be using my subscription service since I am paying money for it. (Why I don’t feel that same need to read books I’ve purchased I’ll never know).

For now, my library has most of these titles available in some format and I don’t have to wait super long to access them. But once I dwindle my library audiobook supply down, I think Scribd might be the alternative to supplementing my bookish fix because I really think you get more bang for your buck if you are an avid audiobook listener. In the future, I’ll probably do what I do with Kindle Unlimited where I resubscribe for a certain promotion or to binge binge titles I wouldn’t normally have access too (particularly audiobooks).

Do you use Scribd? Do you have a favourite Audiobook or Book Service? Any tips or feedback on the service?

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