Tag «reading habits»

SERIESous Discussion: Author Fatigue

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!

Have you ever found yourself getting tired of your favourite author?

In April 2019, I was starting to reflect on my reading and blogging habits and trying to figure out what I wanted to change to get back to where I wanted to be. One of the things that I quickly decided to do was stop doing Blog Tours. The main reason is that I just don’t want as many deadlines as I did in the past because my reading is becoming more and more sporadic as the year progresses.

>>SERIESous Discussion: Lessons Learned from Blog Tours

But one thing I really noticed when I was thinking back on the blog tours I’ve done in the last 2 years is that I always seem to choose tours for the same set of authors. Now, that isn’t a bad thing! Obviously as bloggers we have the opportunities to help spread the word about our favourite authors and I believe we should embrace that whenever we can.

>>SERIESous Tips: A List of Review Opportunity Groups

However, I noticed when I was reading and reviewing a book for one of my “must read authors”, I wasn’t overly impressed with it. That sounds a little rude and I’m struggling to articulate what I mean so bear with me. See, it was a great book but compared to the last title I read by the same author, it just didn’t measure up to my standards. And when I thought about it, I had read a lot of books by that author in the year and started to notice a downward trend.

Sure, the author’s style might have changed or maybe those last few novels weren’t at the same calibre. But then I started to wonder if I was getting author fatigue.

What the hell is author fatigue?

For me, it’s when I start to get bored with an author that I once loved. I start to notice it when I’m reading and not totally loving their work or I rate a book a little lower than I probably would have had someone else written it.

How does that happen?

I think there are a few ways that author fatigue can happen.

1. You read too many of that author’s books within a short time

Inevitably, you just start comparing the books to each other and because you remember the last one so well you can’t help but nit pick. Sometimes, that might work in your favour (for a more positive experience) but other times…

2. You start to discover the author’s formula

I wrote a discussion post nearly 3 years ago about what your expectations are when an author you love changes genres. And in that post, I touched a little bit on the idea that most authors have a formula or basic foundation that is present in all their books and you know what to expect because of it. For me, there are certain authors that seem to follow the same type of twists in their works and it causes it to loose some of the suspense.

3. Perhaps you’ve outgrown their primary genre

Meg Cabot wrote some of my all time favourite YA novels when I was a teen, but I find her novels have a younger feel to them that doesn’t necessarily relate to my 20-something self and I’m not a huge fan of her adult works either. So, I tend to not reach for her titles anymore.

I suppose you could say author fatigue is just a fancier way of saying you’re in a reading slump with a particular author. And I find the easiest way for me to get over a reading slump is to mix it up and try something new.

That’s the plan for the rest of this year. I hope that by decreasing the amount of ARC requests I do in a month, I’ll be able to relieve the pressure on me and give some of my favourite authors a break before I dive back into their works with a fresh mind.

Have you ever experienced author fatigue? Are there any authors you’ve had to take a break from reading?

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SERIESous Tips: How I Read 200+ Books a Year!


Since 2014, I’ve read more than 200 books in a year…

I really struggled with a way to start this post without sounding like I was bragging because I know that the number of books people read in a year varies–whether you’re a book blogger or not. Everyone reads at a different pace; not everyone has the time; and that’s what makes it such a personal number.

I read a lot of books in a year–it even shocks me–and that’s why I want to share some tips with you on how to increase the number of titles you read in a year! You might not reach 200 but wouldn’t it be great to fit in 4 more books in a year?

Years ago, I wrote a Guide for my blog: How to Read MORE! I wrote that guide back when I was a full time student. But since then, I’ve left school behind and have a full time career (complete with shift work, a dog and a house) on my hands.

You should still check out that post though because I have recently updated it! But I also wanted to highlight the 3 main reasons why I surpass the 200 books mark every year.

#1 – Get Into Audiobooks

I’ve shared my audiobook experiences many times over the years on my blog. I didn’t have the greatest start with them but they’ve become such a staple to my reading life that I can’t help but share my joy now.

> > SERIESous Discussion: How I Fell in Love with Audiobooks

Why are audiobooks so great? The fact that you can multitask while you listen!!! You can’t do much while you read a physical novel besides eat and ignore the world around you. But with audiobooks? You can drive your car to work; walk your dog; do laundry and chores; etc.

How It Helps Me: I choose to listen to an audiobook instead of music while I’m doing my chores or driving for more than 10 minutes. (I listen to the radio when I’m at work so I get my fill of music in a day.) I always have one audiobook on the go in addition to the physical book I am reading. There’s a reason why 33% of the books I read in 2018 were audiobooks and that’s because I could complete some of my daily responsibilities while listening to them. (Plus, I had a 2 hour commute to work 5 times a week!)

> > SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get Into Audiobooks

#2 – Set Deadlines

This can be interpreted to be many different things and I mean it in many different ways. Deadlines could be anything from blog tour dates, to ARC publication dates, to simply the date the book is due back at the library. But by setting a “deadline” to finish a book, you have a goal in mind and you can start to plan for it.

> > SERIESous Discussion: Why I Love Participating in Blog Tours

How It Helps Me: Approximately 40% of the books I read in a year come from the library and another 40% come from review copies. Having those due dates allows me to focus on what I need to read and when. I get more motivated to find the time to read that particular title because I have to finish it by a certain date. Even just telling myself that I want to finish a book I own by the end of the weekend reminds me to pick it up when I have the time.

#3 – Embrace Novellas

For simplicity’s sake, I classify anything under 140 ebook pages to be a novella. And did you know that they count as a book read for your Goodreads total even if it is only 20 pages long? Novellas made up approximately 8% of my total reads for 2018.

How It Helps Me: I think novellas (or short stories) are super underrated as a book form. I love novellas for a lot of reasons besides inflating my reading stats for the year. For one, they help me overcome reading slumps. For another, they don’t require as much time as a full novel; so when I’m short on reading time, the shorter book helps me feel accomplished by finishing it.

I’m not entirely sure if I will reach 200 books read this year. I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do by this point in the year. But I do know that these 3 habits have helped to keep me on track and keep my numbers consistent from month to month. So we will see what the summer brings. That’s usually when I can kick things into gear since I spend every free moment outside reading when I’m not at work.

What habits do you think contribute to your reading numbers?

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SERIESous Discussion: Book Formats by Month [2]

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Last year, I wanted to take an in-depth look at some of my reading stats. I looked at how many books I read in a month (and did a year to year comparison); I investigated where I get my books from (library, own, ARCs, etc); and I wrapped everything up with a look at what type (audio, eBook, etc) of books I read the most in a month. Lots of things change in a year, so I thought it would be interesting compare 2018 to my previous years to see what type of reading year 2018 actually was.

I already wrote my post on the number of books I read in a month — you can find it here.

For this post, I’ve decided to combine my Book Sources and Book Formats posts together since they pretty much go hand-in-hand.

 

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

  • I requested more ARCs than I should have
    • now have stricter limits on the # I can request a month
  • Audibooks have a huge impact on my monthly reading
  • I need to read more books that I own
    • more readathon participation & reading challenges

But did I actually stick to those? Find out…

Comparing 2017 to 2018:

Instead of my crazy line graphs that I used last year, I simply tabulated my results:

 eARCsKindleKoboPhysicalAudioeLibrary
SUM:7686221539265543665231
201720182017201820172018201720182017201820172018
Jan4102193010645
Feb395244100658
Mar11120013204408
Apr8100131014541
May771020004682
Jun467162204730
Jul3511550157100
Aug685321015541
Sep340102013541
Oct680012004451
Nov1060210004630
Dec1111353006524

The Highlights:

The one thing that stands out the most to me is the fact that I read less of the books I already owned in 2018 vs 2017. I truly thought I read more than that. Even if I add in the 9 titles I DNF’d from my personal collection, I still fell really short of my 2017 numbers.

The decrease in library books initially shocked me but then I thought about what happened last year. At the start of 2018, I had three library cards from 3 cities. My “big city” library card (my post-post-secondary school location) expired in March. I did a mad binge-read of a lot titles that were available from there in February and March (which explains the increases there). I also lost my second library card (where I did my placement for school) in September. My hometown library is great, but it shares its eBook collection with the entire province so it can make getting the more popular titles tricky. Having that second card from a town with a smaller pool of eBook users helped a lot. I have since renewed that card (since I moved) for 2019 so I’m excited to utilize it once again.

Things that didn’t shock me? I’m not at all surprised by my Audiobook numbers. Even though I was part-time for most of 2018, I worked a lot of hours so I was constantly driving to work (which is when I did most of my audio listening) in 2018. Nor was I surprised about my ARC numbers. I definitely read a lot of ARCs in 2018; so much so that I was getting a little bit of burn-out from it all near the end of the year.

Moving Forward:

I had set my reading goals and challenges for 2019 wayyy before I ever tabulated this all up but I had a general idea of what those numbers would be when I created them. My goal for 2019 is to read more of the books I already own and I’ve made that the focus of my reading challenges for the year. And although I say it every year, I’m really sticking to my ARC limits for the month. Learning to say “no” to great opportunities is hard but I’m starting to feel a lot lighter when it comes to “reading pressures” like deadlines etc. I’m really enjoying just going with the flow when it comes to my reading.

One thing that I know will change is my audiobook listening. I’ve moved closer to my job and have since reduced my commute time by 91%. I plan on listening to audiobooks on a regular basis, but I won’t be able to power through as many as I have in the past. What I’m hoping will happen is that I will see in increase in the other reading formats because I have more time now to read eBooks and physical novels.


 

When I did this breakdown last year, I was shocked to learn that less than half of the books I read came from the library. I had always had the firm belief that 80+% of my books came from there so it was a total surprise. I also learned that I read more standalone titles in a year than I thought I did; though series still made up the vast majority (obviously).

Source:2018
# (%)
2017
# (%)
2016
# (%)
Grand Total:229 (100%) 240 (100%)233 (100%)
Purchased46 (20%)52 (21%)79 (34%)
Library97 (43%)114 (47%)85 (36%)
ARCs86 (37%)80 (32%)69 (30%)

Again, I’m not shocked by these results. I would have liked to have seen my Purchased percentage to be higher but I knew coming into 2019 that I needed to improve that value.

Another thing I looked at in last year’s post was the number of series, sequels and standalones I read in 2017.

Type: 20182017
Grand Total224 [100%]221 [100%]
Standalone35 [16%]74 [33%]
Series187 [84%]147 [66%]
Book 1(71) [32%](53) [36%]
Book 2(59) [26%](44) [30%]
Book 3+(46) [20%](37) [25%]
Novellas:(13) [6%](11) [5%]

Overall, I was pretty consistent with what I read. I did decrease the number of standalones I read last year and that was something I was actively conscious of doing. Once I had enough Single Sunday Posts for the year, I made sure to rarely read standalones and instead focus on series. While I completed a lot of series, I wasn’t the best at reading sequels.

Moving Forward:

My main goals for 2019 are to increase the number of owned books I read in a year and to reduce the number of book series I have on the go. My reading challenges focus on reading owned titles unlike previous years where they were the minority of the challenges. To reduce sequels, I’ve dedicated 4 months of the year to read only sequels. Of course, I will read sequels in all months, but I find that having it a set focus really helps motivate me to grab that sequel I’ve been putting off for months.

What book formats do you read in a month? Where do they come from?

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SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month [2]


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Last year, I was inspired to put this post together by the fabulous Cristina @ Girl in the Pages. She created this amazing post looking at her reading habits by month and I got curious about my own. So, I compared my 2016 and 2017 reading years to each other and I thought it would be fun to add my 2018 reading stats to the mix.

>> SERIESous Discussion: Where do my Books Come From?

What I Learned From Last Year’s Post — and What I Did About It:

I learned a few things from my post last year:

  • August is my most productive reading month
  • I averaged less books per month in 2017 than 2016
    • 2017: 20 books/month ; 2016: 22 books/month

In combination with my Discussion Post about Book Formats I Read in a Month, I started to do the following:

  • Started an Excel sheet to track what books I read in a month (in addition to Goodreads)
    • Break down: Books, ARCs, Audiobooks, DNFs & Novellas
  • Started editing “edition type” on Goodreads
    • Break down: Kindle, eBook, Hardcover, Audio, etc

 

My Thoughts Before Looking at the Numbers:

Last year was the first year in 8 years that I haven’t been in school for any of it. I’ve just been working at my job and trying to have a social life. So I’m really curious to see how my reading habits have changed…because I certainly think that they have!

>> SERIESous Discussion: How “Adulting” Changed my Reading Habits

While I only read 11 books less in 2018 than 2017, it felt like I read a whole lot less. I’ve said in many times in my recap posts for the last few months but there were times in 2018 I didn’t pick up a book at all. It’s all thanks to audiobooks that my numbers were as strong as they were — something I will investigate in my follow-up post to “Book Formats per Month”.

The Actual Results:

The Breakdown:

What does that all mean? I’ve summed it up here:

 201620172018
Total # Read260240229
Monthly Avg222019
Total # DNF'd71729
# of Kobo Reading Hours40040479

 

My Thoughts After Looking at the Numbers:

Nothing really shocked me here when I look at the breakdown; with the exception of my Kobo reading hours. But when I think about it, it makes sense. I read a lot of ARCs last year and I read those on my Kindle. I’ve also significantly reduced the number of books I get from my library (which are read on my Kobo) in an effort to read books I already own. And I also DNF’d a lot of titles from my Kobo last year.

Which brings me to the DNF numbers. Again, I’m not shocked by this increase. My reading preferences and tolerances as a reader have changed a lot over the last three years. What I liked (and bought) years ago isn’t necessarily what I enjoy now and I think my DNF numbers for 2018 reflect that.

Moving Forward:

Again, it will be interesting to see how the results for 2019 compare to 2018. I now have a more consistent schedule for work so I do have more free time. But with that comes more social calls and trips as well which doesn’t always equal more reading time. I recently moved closer to work so my commute (and audiobook time) has decreased significantly; however, in theory, I have more time to read physical books. We will see if that all pans out…

>> Be on the lookout for an updated post next month where I look at what formats of books I read in a month!

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SERIESous’ Reading Plan for 2019

2019 Is the All About Cleaning Up My Bookshelf

In the last 3 years or so, I’ve worked really hard on maintaining healthier reading habits. That means not borrowing 3 books from the library at one time; or having 20 books on hold simultaneously; or requesting every book on Netgalley that sounds remotely interesting. I’ve also come a long way in terms of DNFing books when they just aren’t working for me and not feeling guilty about it after the fact.

Last year, my reading plan focused on keeping those good habits going and I would say for the most part that I succeeded. I got my “TBR” to less than 500; I read more books than I anticipated (according to my Goodreads Goal) but I powered though a lot of titles in December in order to accomplish all my 2018 Reading Challenges. While I always come up with these great reading plans at the start of the year, life just gets in the way and I always seem to scramble by the end of the year.

So this year, I’m mixing things up a bit. I’ve still created my standard reading plan but I’ve shifted the focus and method of completing it. Here are the 3 goals I had in mind while I crafted my plan:

#1 – Clean Up my Backlogged Owned Bookshelves

I have an almost absurd number of unread novels on my Kobo and Kindle eReaders thanks to a combination of freebies and book sales. Every year, I always intend to read more of my own books with various challenges but I never seem to read as many as I want.

So I wanted to change that this year. Reading books I already own is the cornerstone of my reading challenges for 2019. I’m bringing back my Tackling the TBR Challenge and I’m also bringing back my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge, only this time, the vast majority of my “highly anticipated” reads of the last 5 years are titles I own.

>> 2019 Reading Challenge: Tackling the TBR

>> 2019 Reading Challenge: 5 Year 5 Book Challenge

Last year, I discovered the Down The TBR reading meme and I used it as a monthly TBR checkup. Thanks to it, I eliminated 45 books that I probably wouldn’t have ever read from my TBR, most them being owned/freebie novels. I plan on continuing that monthly habit in 2019 as a part of my Monthly Inventory Recap.

#2 – Finish Previously Started Series

When I wrote my plan for 2018, I had 131 book series on the go, totalling nearly 179 unread books! This year I have 124 book series with 174 unread books! A slight improvement but still a lot of novels! I have a lot of series post drafts waiting to be released for the blog and I hope to get most of them out by year’s end.

I had a sequel challenge last year and it had mixed results. I liked that it made me pay attention to reading sequels but I found I had too many “must-reads” each month and it got to be too much. This year, I intend to dedicate 1 month per quarter solely to sequels. I do this successfully every year with “Sequel September” and I want to bring it to other months as well. I’ve also incorporated sequels into my Reading Plan for Wishlist Reads and Library Holds by making one title of the two a sequel for my monthly reads.

#3 – Reduce the Number of ARCs

In the past, I usually limited myself to 3 ARCs per month but I wasn’t always the best about sticking to it. I definitely think I got some ARC fatigue near the end of 2018. It’s hard because I love promoting authors I adore and their newest releases but I never want it to feel like a chore (and it was starting to be in some ways).

This year, I plan on reading no more than 2 ARCs a month. I think this will be the biggest challenge because it is always so tempting to say “yes” and sign-ups/opportunities can appear months to days before a release. To succeed, I’m trying to keep with the mindset that I can support the author by buying a copy of the book when I am able to do so and have just as much as an impact while giving the promo opportunities to another blogger/reader who wants to participate.

Introducing my 2019 Reading Plan:

Like the Reading Plans of the past, it features a list of set categories to complete throughout the month. I’m hoping this year’s will be more flexible than the others I’ve created. I found the amount of books I read in a month really fluctuated in 2018 depending on my work and social schedule so I wanted something that was specific yet broad enough to give me the direction of what I should be reading while being open about what titles I actually read.

The Highlights:

  1. TBR Picks [2] – purchased novels on my Kobo/Kindle/bookshelf
    • I’m keeping this at 2 as a minimum
    • This doesn’t include titles from my 5Y5BC
  2. 5 Year 5 Book Challenge [2] — a Personal Challenge to read 25 books from the last 5 years
    • 15 of the 25 books selected are titles I already own
  3. Wishlist [2] —“available now” titles from my library

    • I add books my library owns to a library Wishlist
    • The idea here is to not be waiting for holds all the time, but to read titles that are ready immediately for reading
  4. ARCs/Tours/Requests/Netgalley [2]

    • I’m setting a hard limit of 2 books per month
    • If I get declined, I will not be replacing the title with another
  5. Library Holds [2]

    • One will be a new-to-me title; the other will be a sequel
      • They will remain on the list until I receive and read them
    • This isn’t a reading requirement, more so a way to limit the titles I have on hold at one time so I’m not panicking to read 5 books when they come in all at once!
  6. Audiobook Series [2]

    • Much like the “library holds” category, it’s just a way of keeping track of what audio series I have on the go at one time
  7. “Sequel Month”
    • All books read in that month must be a sequel to a previously started series
      • Exception is library holds & audiobooks

Going Forward:

I’m excited to see what 2019 has in store! I’m hoping with this more open plan that I won’t feel as stressed out about not reading all the books I need to on a monthly basis.

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

What are some of your 2019 reading goals?

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SERIESous Tips: Book Blogging When on Vacation

Finding the right balance between relaxing and being productive while on vacation isn’t always easy.

I’m a huge fan of travelling. I love exploring the world and experiencing new adventures. I’ve been very fortunate to see so many things over the last few years and I always try to go some place new every year.

I do a lot of prep before I go on a trip. Of course I do all the stuff pertinent to my trip (like packing clothes and printing itineraries) but I also get my reading and blogging habits in order as well.

>> SERIESous Tips: Picking the Perfect Travel Read!

My Philosophy:

I didn’t travel across the world (or wherever) do to things I do at home. I want to embrace everything about the place I’m travelling to and that means busy itineraries in order to see everything that I can. I travel with the philosophy that I might never return to that place and I never want to regret not doing something.

So that means I won’t be spending hours blogging or reading like I would at home. Sure, I do that stuff in my downtime or while en route to a new location while away; but I don’t plan for me to have those moments during my trip. If I do manage to get some stuff done it’s a bonus.

Basically, my blog gets neglected in the sense I’m not visiting daily while travelling but I do think about it and my content while I’m away.

Here are some of the things I do before and during my vacation to keep up with my blog’s content and reviews:

Scheduling Posts

I schedule all the posts on my blog well in advance of their posting dates. I’ve been doing this since my first year of blogging and it has paid off immensely. As I write this (February 2018), I have posts scheduled well into October 2018! (And at the time that this is published in October 2018, I have posts scheduled well into April 2019). That means I can leave my blog for a few days and not worry about posting new content on a regular basis (or getting internet access to do so). You probably didn’t even know I was away because I had been posting regularly 😉

Learn More: Scheduling Blog Posts |  How to Start Scheduling Posts

So of course, I recommend that you schedule some planned posts while away on vacation. Sure, they can be reviews but I recommend special content like tags or memes instead. This is the stuff that isn’t necessarily date specific and you can write well in advance and keep in your draft folder until you need them. It will require a bit of planning and time on your end to write some extra posts but you’ll thank yourself later when you find out you won’t have the time to hit “publish” while away.

Access to my Schedule via OneDrive

I keep track of all the book deadlines I have as well as my blog’s posting schedule in one Word Document. If anyone but me opened that document, they’d probably be confused out of their minds but it makes sense to me!

>>SERIESous Tips: Keeping Organized

OneDrive is basically a cloud for Microsoft products–it’s like DropBox or Google Drive. Now that I’m no longer in school, I don’t use it as much but I still use it for my blog. In it, I have my blogging templates, common book themes, book summaries/recaps, and my master schedule. It syncs anytime I have internet to any of my devices and I can also access it via the web. I can even access the documents offline on my phone if I need to.

My point here is that I like having my Master Book/Blog schedule handy so that I know what books to read and when. Can I start a random book or do I need to read something else for review purposes? Having that document handy wherever I go has really helped me be more productive when it comes to reading both before and during my trip.

I do have post templates saved as draft posts on the blog as well but the master/most-up-to-date file is the Word document.

Avoid Deadlines / Posting Commitments

Most of the time, you know well in advance when you are going to be on an extended vacation. Sometimes you don’t but that’s ok. My point here is make sure you don’t schedule yourself for any blog tours or promotional posts while you are away. I make sure to keep track of all tours/ARCs I’ve requested so I have a general idea of what I might be committed to reading and posting in the future.

>>SERIESous Tips: Keeping Organized — ARCS

Not only will you create pressure for yourself by creating a deadline to read something but you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle in terms of content. While most blogging tour groups provide you the necessary media and such a week in advance of a tour, some don’t! So take that into consideration before you hit request–especially if your time and/or internet connection is up in the air! You might not be able to fulfill your reviewer obligations and that may dampen future opportunities.

>>Discussion: Lessons Learned from Doing Blog Tours

Jot Down Reviews/Thoughts After Finishing a Novel

One of the biggest factors in terms of blog maintenance is my internet connection. I don’t always have one wherever I go or one readily available at all times. That means I can’t access my blog or even the Goodreads App on my phone. In the last two years, I’ve come to rely heavily on the Goodreads App to jot down some of my thoughts after finishing a novel so I have a base to create my review. But without an internet connection, I can’t really do that.

What I started doing was using my Note App on my phone and writing my thoughts there. I’d mark my start and end dates; write some common themes; note some similar reads; and write my full review. Basically, I’d do everything I normally would do in a post just without the HTML and the book’s metadata. Then, I send that to myself via email when I return home or have internet connection and copy and paste into my templates.

When I came back from my trip in February, I had 7 reviews to write. Normally this would take me hours and I would be pulling my hair out because I wouldn’t remember everything about the books I read. However, thanks to my notes, I was able to churn out reviews like a boss. All I had to do was paste in my thoughts (tweak them a little but not much) and format the post accordingly. What should have taken me a full day only took 2 hours! Amazing!

Keeping Up With Emails / Requests

I don’t get a lot of emails pertaining to my blog but I do subscribe to a lot of email lists for blog tours, book deals and author newsletters. I never realized how many until I didn’t check my Gmail account for a few days and found my inbox stuffed!

One of the nice things about Gmail is that you can separate your inbox into 4 folders that emails are automatically filtered into upon arrival. I’ve sorted mine like this:

  • Primary: Publishing contacts; request submissions on my blog; other
  • Social: commenting feeds; Bloglovin’; Hellobar updates
  • Promotions: author newsletters; book deals; giveaways; Netgalley
  • Updates: blog tour lists; review opportunity lists

I’ve found that this helps me tackle my inbox when I have to go through lots of emails. First, I glance through and delete anything that has “expired” (ex. deals for a specific day). Then I go through and swipe my way through all the emails and star anything that needs follow-up. Then I do a massive delete and work my way through the ones that need my attention.

I have a plug-in for Gmail called Boomerang which lets me pause my inbox (though I’ve never used it). I also use that plug-in to schedule emails to send out. This is especially helpful when I have some review opportunity follow-ups that require the emailed links when the post goes live.

Creating a Worklist via Trello

I’ve praised this online tool before but I wanted to share how I use it while I’m away. The great thing about Trello is that you can use it offline. I’ve got it on my phone so I can create review cards and file them accordingly offline and they will be synced when I get an internet connection. That way, I have a worklist of sorts to complete when I return and I know what I need to do for my blog.

>>SERIESous Tips: Using Trello to Keep Track of Reviews


I hope you found some of my tips and tricks helpful!

What do you do while away on vacation when it comes to reading and blogging?

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SERIESous Discussion: How I Became a Two-Timing Book Reader


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Five years ago, if you asked me how many books I was currently reading, I would have said one.
If you asked me today, I’d say at least two, if not three.

Over time, many of our habits evolve and my reading habits are no exception.

I was a pretty serial monogamist when it came to reading a few years ago. Meaning: I’d only read one book at a time. Why? Well, I liked the idea of getting through books quickly and efficiently. It seemed more productive for me to keep my attention on one book at a time so that’s what I did.

There were really only 2 reasons why I would start a second book while reading another.

One: I needed to read it for school.

Two: my current read was very long (or not completely holding my attention) and I needed to split up my reading time. I found that by reading only bits at a time, as I read something else, helped to keep me interested and subsequently finish the long/not-fully-invested-in book. DNFing a book was something I rarely did then; I toughed out nearly all the books I read (with some disastrous consequences).

Fast forward to now and you will see my reading habits have changed quite a bit.

Now, I have at least 2 books on the go at all times. Sometimes, I even have a third! Gah! The old me wouldn’t recognize the reader I’ve now become! It’s amazing how something you do everyday can change over the years without you really noticing the shift immediately.

Why the change?

I think there are a number of reasons why I’ve become a bit of a two-timer when it comes to reading.

ONE: I listen to audiobooks on a regular basis.

Now that I commute to work multiple times a week by driving, I need something to keep me entertained in my car. I went with audiobooks instead of the radio or my iPod and I am so glad that I did! Listening to audiobooks as I drive allows me to feel productive while simultaneously making the trip feel faster.

>> Learn how audiobooks have changed my monthly reading habits!

>> SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get into Audiobooks

So now, I always have a physical book on the go as well as an audiobook that I usually reserve for car rides (or dog walks) only.

TWO: I’m a Mood Reader

I’ve always had a bit of a pattern when it comes to reading. Say I just finished a YA fantasy novel, I usually pick up a New Adult romance right after. And after that, I pick up another non-contemporary novel and alternate back and forth. Other times, I read multiple books in that genre because I’m just in a genre-binge phase.

But sometimes, it depends on the type of novel I’ve just finished. For example, if I just finished a dark romance, I usually read 2 “lighter” romances right after to bring me back to a more happier place. Sometimes I’ll even start that lighter book while I read the darker one just to balance out my mood and give me something else to think about. That’s how I often find myself with multiple physical books on the go.

THREE: ARC / Request Responsibilities

For the most part, I usually only stick to one physical book at a time plus my audiobook. I find now that I take on more ARCs and participate in more blog tours, I’ve integrated my various deadlines into the order of books to read.

When I read an ARC, I usually try to only read the ARC and not pick up something else. I want to give the ARC my full attention because I’m being asked to write a fair review of it. But sometimes, I get last minute requests or the street teams I’m on have a sudden, surprise release and I try my best to get my review done in a timely manner to help the author out. So that might mean I start that ARC while finishing another novel in order to meet my deadlines.

FOUR: I Have More Time to Read in a Day

Because I my job involves shift work, I often have couple days off in a row after completing a stretch. While I love nothing more than to stay in bed all day and read, I sometimes find I don’t have the attention span to read only one book in a day. I liken it to watching TV. I love a good binge-watch as much as the next person, but sometimes, you’ve got to mix it up a bit and watch something else or do something else in between episodes.

>> SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month

This idea goes hand in hand with the mood reader in me. I enjoy reading a couple chapters of one book and then switching to another within the hour and repeating the process throughout the day. Sure, it’s probably more productive to only read one book at a time but I find the changes keep my mind and attention fresh for each book.

FIVE: It’s Part of my “To DNF or Not to DNF” Strategy

I mentioned before that in the past, I used to break up “Book A” into smaller chunks at a time while reading “Book B” so that I could eventually finish “Book A”. Three years ago I rarely DNF’d books and pushed myself to finish them regardless of my enjoyment. As a result, I went through a lot of reading slumps and that wasn’t cool with me.

I worked really hard on becoming comfortable with DNFing books in 2017; on putting down books that just weren’t capturing my attention or weren’t enjoyable to me. And in turn, I had a great reading year in 2017 with only a few minor slumps every couple of months that I quickly got over.

>> SERIESous Discussion: DNFing ARCs

One strategy I employed for books I was on the fence about DNFing was starting another novel I wanted to read. I found that by stepping away from the book in question, I was able to determine if I was truly invested in finding out how it all ends and if I wanted to keep reading. If I wasn’t, I stopped and marked it as DNF’d. And because I had already started another book that I was enjoying, I didn’t go into that slump of “what do I read now?” and dwelling too long in the disappointment that can surface when DNFing a book you were excited to read.


I know that reading multiple books at a time isn’t a ground-breaking thing. Lots of people have been doing it for years. But for me, it’s a method I’ve really only embraced in the last year or so as a regular habit of my everyday reading and I wanted to investigate why. I can’t wait to see what my habits are in 5 years from now!

How many books do you read at one time and what is your reasoning?

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SERIESous Discussion: Book Formats by Month


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


Last month, I wrote a discussion post looking at how many books I read in a month and compared my 2016 and 2017 reading years. Doing that post and my “Where Do My Books Come From” post in December 2017 had me curious about the book formats I read on a monthly basis.

As you can conclude from my Where Do My Books Come From? post, I get my books from a variety of places. Nearly 60% of the books I read in a year come from the library & review copies whereas only 30% are from my personal owned collection. Of course, that’s something I’ve worked on changing this year as per my 2018 Reading Plan and we will see if I succeeded in December (but so far so good!).

But are those books I’m getting from library physical books or eCopies? How do the audiobooks I listen to impact my monthly stats? Do I read owned books for my Kobo or Kindle? How many review copies am I actually reading in a month? Those were the questions I asked myself while composing my Monthly Reading Habits post and now I am going to answer them.

In General:

eARCs (Authors/Tours/Netgalley) | Kindle (Owned) | Kobo (Owned) | Physical (Library) | Audio (Library) | eLibrary (Library)

I’ll be the first to admit that that graph is a lot to look at. I break things down further on and give a little more context but I wanted to provide the overview. Broadly speaking, in 2017 I averaged 20 books a month and I read those 20 books in a variety of different formats.

Digitally Owned & Digital Review Copies:

eARCs (Authors/Tours/Netgalley) | Kindle (Owned) | Kobo (Owned)

I had very mixed feelings when I saw this particular graph breakdown. On the positive side, I was happy to see that I read at least one book from my personal collection a month for 2017; but considering I averaged 20 books a month, it would be nice if that number was higher.

The other thing that really shook me up was the number of ARCs/review copies (from here out I will refer to all as ARCs) I read in a month. In 2017, according to my Reading Plan for 2017, I had a guideline of 3 ARCs per month. As you can see, I really only stuck to that plan for 3 months of the year. March and December were particularly bad–I nearly tripled the expected number.

Why so many ARCs despite the self-imposed rule? I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to miss an opportunity. A lot of the ARCs I read are sequels for already started series or are by authors who I like to support in any way I can. So while I may have already planned on the 3 books I’d read for X month, a last minute release or tour/opportunity can cause me to read more than I anticipated. It was something I noticed near the end of 2017 and one thing I really tried to keep in mind when creating my 2018 Reading Plan so that I wasn’t dedicating all my time to ARCs this year. The year started rough but I did my best to right the course and have gotten a lot better at saying “no”.

Borrowed From the Library:

Physical (Library) | Audio (Library) | eLibrary (Library)

I always thought that 80% of my books came from the library but my post investigating my books sources busted that myth. I actually get about 36% of the books I read in a year from the library.

It would be interesting to see what this graph would look like 3 years ago when I tended to have 30 books on hold at the library at one time. (Yeah, you see why I needed a change!) Back then I was reading a lot of eBooks from my local library. Now that I read more ARCs and try to read more of the books I already own, the number of books I get from my library’s eCatalogue stays pretty consistent month to month.

Why the sudden stop in physical novels? It’s mostly a convenience thing. My local library is pretty small but shares its collection with other ones in the area. Normally that means we have one copy and it usually is at another location so it’ll have to be brought in. If it’s a very popular book, I’ll be waiting a while. I find my eBook selection is much bigger, has more copies of the more popular books and has a shorter loan period so books turnaround much faster. Of course, there are no late fees with eBooks and I can get them any time without leaving my house which is handy for someone who works shift work.

My consistency with audiobooks is AMAZING! I’ll be honest, the main reason I did this post was to see if reading audio books impacts my monthly reading stats and clearly the answer is YES! As per my previous discussion post, I know that I read less books in 2017 compared to 2016 (21 books less specifically), averaging 20 books to the previous 22 books a month. But what if I eliminated audiobooks from my monthly totals?

2017JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecTotal
Difference:00444455344643
w/ Audiobooks231719192226242110161824239
w/o Audiobooks23171515182219167121418196

So clearly, listening to audiobooks was a great habit to pick up in 2017 if the numbers are anything to go by. Most of my listening is done during my drive to work (which is 2 hours roundtrip) but I do listen to audiobooks when walking my dog as well. Nevertheless, if I’m working a lot, I (obviously) get through more. It also depends on the length of the book as well and if I’ve adjusted the speed or not. Regardless, they have a positive impact on my reading stats each month and my drive wouldn’t be the same without them!

>>SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get Into Audiobooks!

Moving Forward:

I learned a lot from doing this post. Mainly that audiobooks have become a key format for my monthly reading habits. It also reaffirmed the fact that I have to get better at saying no to ARCs and sticking to my reading plan (something I’ve been working on exclusively for the last 3 months). I also want to make reading books I have purchased a higher priority. While I’ve been good about not buying as many books as I used to, I still have quite a collection to tackle.

What book formats do you read in a month?

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SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


This post is completely inspired by Cristina @ Girl in the Pages who created an awesome post looking at her reading habits back in January of this year. In it, she looked at the number of books she read on a month to month basis in 2016 and compared it to her 2017 stats.

While I keep track of the number of books I read in a month in my Monthly Inventory recaps (even comparing the results to the previous year), I never do anything with those numbers. I’ve never taken them into the context of a year to actually confirm what I always believe to be my most productive reading months. So, after reading Cristina’s post, I decided to investigate!

>> SERIESous Discussion: Where do my Books Come From?

My Thoughts Before Looking at the Numbers:

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when looking at my 2016 vs 2017 numbers since I went through some big life changes. In 2016, I was finishing up my last school term (ending in April), had a three months of simulated clinical practice (May to July), and then went to my actual clinical placement in September 2016 until January 2017. February 2017 was dedicated to my licensing exam and then a much needed vacation before starting my new (and current) job in March. Long story short: I was no longer a student and was entering the world of work! (And true “adulting“).

And as such, I expected my reading habits to really change once I left school. Truthfully, I anticipated that I would be reading less than before. I’m not sure why I thought that though. I mean, if anything, they should increase because I wouldn’t have to spend my free time studying. But I was entering the working world of shift work and as someone who did most of her reading in the morning before starting her day, I didn’t know what to expect when I had to work midnights or evening shifts on a regular basis.

>>SERIESous Discussion: How “Adulting” Changed my Reading Habits

In general, I expected that January and July would be my biggest reading months. I say January because I’m usually pretty gung-ho about sticking with my new reading plans and resolutions. And I say July because I think I read more in the summer since I love nothing more than to sit out on my patio with a book when I have a day off or after work. (And I live in Canada, so usually July is pretty solid for weather).

The Actual Results:

The Breakdown:

I’ll admit, this graph is a little all over the place so let me give it some context!

In 2016 I read 265 books according to Goodreads, averaging 22 books a month, DNF’d 7 and logged about 400 hours of reading time on my Kobo. In 2017 I read 244 books, averaging 20 books a month, DNF’d 17 books and logged 404 hours of Kobo reading time. Not a huge difference in the grand scheme of things but a noticeable shift for sure in the stats.

Why the spike in August 2016? That was the month I tried out Kindle Unlimited (read about my experience here!) and wanted to fit in as many books as possible before my trial was completed. I choose to do the trial then because I didn’t have any other obligations (like school or work) so I had a lot of free time. I also read a novella series (Calendar Girl) that had 12 parts in total which Goodreads counts as a full, completed novel even if they were half the length.

Why the dip in September 2017? I spent half the month away on a vacation that didn’t leave me a lot of free time to read.

My Thoughts After Looking at the Numbers:

For the most part, I was right about my busiest months. I seem to always read at least 20 books in the month of January; though December seems to be the same in that respect. Probably because I’m scrambling to get in some last minute points for my various reading challenges before the year’s end.

I guess August is actually more productive than July as I had hypothesized. I do know that the Make Me Read It Readathon took place in August 2017 as opposed to July like it did in 2016 so perhaps that shifted my results a bit? I am curious to know though what August 2016 would have looked like without my Kindle Unlimited Trial altering the results. However, in the same breath, I think it goes to show that August does allow me more flexible reading time because I was able to read so many books in both years.

Moving Forward:

It will be interesting to see what the comparison for 2018 to 2017 will be! My life has gotten into more of a routine now that I only work and I seem to have gotten the hang of this shift-work thing. Audiobooks are becoming more of an everyday staple in my life as well so I’m interested to see if that changes things up even more because I do think it played a role in maintaining some of my monthly numbers in 2017 once I started working.

>> Be on the lookout for a post next month were I look at what formats of books I read in a month!

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SERIESous Discussion: DNFing ARCs


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


To DNF or not to DNF ARCs

Back in 2016, I wrote a post about how I wanted to DNF more books. Not that I wanted to go out of my way to stop reading books; more like I wanted to be comfortable saying “this book isn’t for me” and putting it down without feeling guilty for doing so.

And I have to say, since I’ve created that post, I’ve come a long way. I DNF’d a lot of books in 2017 and I went through fewer reading slumps because I wasn’t pushing myself to finish a novel I wasn’t all that interested in. I’ve come to live by the philosophy “you aren’t going to enjoy every book you pick up” and I don’t get so down on myself for not finishing something. But not every reader feels that way.

Views About DNFing vary from blogger to blogger…

This is something I’ve noticed a lot when I read various discussion posts around the blogosphere.

…especially when it comes to ARCs/review copies.

ARCs and review copies (but simplicity sake, I’m going to refer to anything you get for review purposes as ARCs) are always a delicate subject to bring up but it gets even dicey-er when DNFing is brought up.

I get why lots of people don’t DNF ARCs. You are given the copy with the expectation you will provide an unbiased review upon completion. Giving out copies costs authors and publishers money, and not finishing it seems like a waste of their investment.

I want to argue that that isn’t the case.

See, you received that ARC in exchange for providing an honest review–a review that should not be influenced by your source or your means of obtaining it.

So isn’t DNFing a book your honest review?

Like I said above, you aren’t going to like every book you pick up. It’s unfortunate that you didn’t like this book despite the promising synopsis or cover or author, but that’s OK. You were asked to write an honest review and your honest opinion is that you didn’t enjoy it.

I’m one of those people who has DNF’d ARCs in the past. I don’t enjoy doing it by any stretch of the imagination. It sucks because all the books I pick up for reviewing purposes are books I’m genuinely excited to read. I go in wanting to love the book and sometimes that just doesn’t happen. And I never want to force it.

Remember: you aren’t obligated to give a positive review.

You are obligated to give an honest review for the novel you’ve been provided a copy of. Honest can mean positive or negative feedback. And it’s important for titles to have both available so potential readers can make a decision on whether or not to read it.

I still write full reviews for ARCs I DNF, though I rarely give them a star rating. I look at the book from a critical angle and try to articulate what worked and what didn’t work for me. That’s why all my DNF reviews on my blog have a different format than my usual reviews so I can highlight certain aspects. I also try to recommend who I think would enjoy the book given the features I saw/

Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t and I want my review to showcase that.

Do you DNF ARCs? Why or why not?

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