Category «Features»

SERIESous Discussion: Getting my Blogging Mojo Back

Getting my Blogging Mojo Back

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!


I started this blog in April 2013 and that seems absolutely bonkers to me! I can’t believe it has been that long!

I’ve done and experienced a lot in those 8 years. I moved my blog to a self-hosted site (and contemplated moving back to a free site); changed my review format and posting schedule; I started reviewing ARCs; did some blog tours… In that time, people I started blogging with years ago have either changed their blogs to suit other interests/hobbies or have just stopped posting altogether.

I can understand that last part a lot. It can be hard to come up with fresh content all the time. One of the nice things about being a book reviewer is that your posts come from the content (books) you read on a regular basis. I don’t have to travel somewhere exotic or chronical my daily life (which is not that exciting). I can stay home, read and volia! A post for my blog!

(We all know it is a little more complex than that simple statement.)

But, that can become monotonous after awhile. Sometimes I feel like I say the same things over and over again in reviews. Other times, I’m in a reading funk and my source of content just isn’t there. In the last 3 years, every time my self-hosting comes up for renewal, I contemplate if I’m still interesting in keeping my blog self-hosted. Perhaps going back to a free site is best for the number of times I blog…but I end up paying my dues and pressing on because I still love to blog and promote books I love. (And moving my site back seems like a big chore)

I’ve only ever gone on one other hiatus in my blogging career and that was in the fall of 2013 when I had a tough academic semester in university and stepped away to focus on school. Otherwise, I’ve always had enough content to keep posting months ahead of schedule so I didn’t need to write posts all the time but could still generate content for my blog.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.

I explain more about why this was a particularly rough time for my reading with my How I Fell in Love With Reading Again post last month. The gist is: I work in healthcare and my attention span just couldn’t focus on books to finish them. So while I wanted to write posts for my blog (because I found I physically had to do something), I didn’t always have the content for my blog.

For the next few months I’d go through blogging sprees and managed to schedule posts up until mid-April 2021. However, from about November 2020 to June 2021, I didn’t log into my blog at all except to write my Year in Review Summary and my Reading Plan for 2021.

My hiatus wasn’t something I consciously thought about. It’s just something that happened as my area of Canada went into a 3rd, more intense wave of COVID-19 and work once again consumed me. Netflix became my go-to stress relief. (I also had some issues with my site hosting)

Eventually, I got back into reading around May 2021, which I detail in that previous post about How I Fell Back in Love With Reading. I gave myself the rest of that month to really focus on my reading and told myself I would come up with a plan for blogging in June/July 2021 once I was satisfied with my reading progress.

Here’s How I Got my Blogging Mojo Back:

1. Using my Bullet Journal

I first brought up the idea of a bullet journal in my Reading Plan for 2021 as a way to keep myself accountable for my reading habits. And it has really worked for building up a lot of healthy lifestyle habits and routines thanks to its flexibility to be tailor-made to whatever you need it to be.

I created a habit tracker and give myself a point every time I log into the blog. I aim to login to my blog 3 times a week. Sometimes I set specific days, other times I just go with the flow. Now, it doesn’t have to be just writing reviews to get a point; cross posting reviews or updating my series spreadsheet also gets a point. While I don’t reward myself with something physical every time I get a point, just seeing that tick makes me feel like I accomplished something I set out to do.

2. Hone in on the Backlog

At first, I couldn’t remember what reviews I had written for my blog and which ones needed to be drafted. I’m a Type A person so I get excited by creating lists and that’s what I did for the first two weeks of my “get into blogging again” mission. I had a list of tasks that I set out to do:

  • Update my personal Excel “Books Read” tracking sheet with the titles on Goodreads
  • Focus on ARCs that had been read in the last few months
    • Create posts and cross-post if overdue
  • Go through books read and see if review posts have been drafted or not
  • Update Trello (how I keep track of review posts) with reviews that:
    • Needed to be Written
    • Needed Sequels Read to Complete
    • ARC due dates

I would work on these a little bit at a time, often getting really focused on one task a day before moving to the next.

3. Create a New Posting Template & Due Dates Tracker

One of the reasons it took me a while to get back into blogging was that my main blogging laptop suddenly crashed and I lost all my files. I keep my posting templates, blogging schedule, common book themes, books read spreadsheet and more as Word documents on my laptop. So I was really at a loss there for a bit but I was able to recover the files and reinstall Windows so I could use my documents once again.

From my professional job, I’ve really become obsessed with Microsoft Excel. I always appreciated the program but after learning more about what it can do (and taking a certificate course in it), I loved its potential for maximizing my efficiency when it came to formatting an all in one calendar for my blogging life.

Now, I have an Excel Workbook that is super easy to maintain and incredibly easy to read thanks to some customize formatting (lots of colours!) and keeps track of everything I need when it comes to library due dates, ARC due dates and posting schedule. I’ll share what it looks like in a future post!

4. Focusing on Different Aspects Depending on my Mood

I’m a mood reader so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m also a bit of a mood writer for my blog. If I’m really inspired to write a post or a review that day, that’s what I do. If I don’t feel like that, I’ll do something else for my blog: like cross post old reviews to Goodreads or Amazon; or create a brand new Series tracking sheet.

Just doing these tasks a little bit at a time helps me feel productive. I find that if I force myself to write a review post, I don’t enjoy it which in turn creates animosity–not what I want to do at all. If I don’t feel like doing anything or don’t have the time, then I don’t. Every little bit helps in the long run, even if it isn’t directly writing the review.

5. Scheduling Posts

One of the biggest lessons I learned for my personal blogging (in the last 8 years) is that I don’t need to post every single day. (Kudos to those that do!). Because of the nature of my blog, I condense the reviews of 2+ books into one single post, whereas some bloggers would post individual reviews of each book. That means I reduce the number of posts I can write in a month. So in order to keep content generating, I schedule posts way in advance.

I created a generic monthly template for how I want my blog posts to be scheduled within a month. Because I have certain features for specific days of the week, I find planning those posts out in advance keeps things fresh and stops me from posting 30 “Fresh Friday” posts in a month and keeps posting content spaced out.

But what scheduling also does is give me breathing room if I can’t log into my blog for some reason. Because I work shift work, I don’t always have the time to login to my blog. But because I usually have posts scheduled 1-2 months in advance, I don’t have to worry that I need to finish a post by tomorrow. Chances are, that post was written a month ago and the post I’m currently working on can be finish sometime in the next 2 weeks stress-free.

Moving Forward

Right now, my returning blog mojo is pretty self-centered. I’ve been focused on my content and I haven’t been exploring the blogosphere like I used to. That one really hit close to home when I was browsing my library’s new additions and realized that I knew nothing about the titles that have been released in the last year or weren’t written by an author I am already familiar with. By the fall, I hope to be blog hopping once again!

Overall, I’m just taking this all day by day and not putting any pressure on myself. It feels good to write again and get those creative juices flowing.

How has the last year affected your blogging habits?

Let me know in the comments below!

connect Twitter GoodReadsBloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

SERIESous Discussion: How I Fell in Love With Reading Again

How I Fell in Love With Reading Again

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!


Since I graduated from my post-graduate studies 4 years ago, my annual reading numbers have been on a gradual decline. Seems a little odd right? Most people I know were so excited to finish our post-secondary educations so that they could read for the joy of it and here I am doing the complete opposite.

Reading in my post-secondary education was always a release for me. It was part of my daily routine and my first method of stress relief when things got hard. (Case in point: A Week for the Wicked by Tessa Dare was devoured in one sitting when I should have been studying for an exam).

But once I entered the real world of working–and shift work at that–reading got pushed by the wayside. Shift work is the biggest factor there. I work 8 hour shifts and we rotate through a day, evening and night cycle. Gone were the days when I would willing get up earlier than I needed to so I could read a book. Once I started working, getting as much sleep as possible to make up for those night shifts and earlier mornings (because I was commuting 2 hours every day for the first year and a half) became priority.

I had found a rhythm though; a balance between having a social life and continuing to read.

I had accepted that my years of 200+ books read were behind me but I was reading more quality books and experiencing less reading slumps than I had in the past.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.

Like many, I never thought things would get as bad as they did. I’m an avid traveller and the loss of that freedom crushed me. I had several big, waited-years-for, trips planned that all got delayed and that was incredibly depressing. But I also work in healthcare: a hospital laboratory to be precise. A field that had its own problems and shortages before a global pandemic struck with a critical blow that has forever changed my profession.

We had an outbreak very early in the pandemic at my work and it was hellish. There were a lot of unknowns at that time so it was extremely scary and stressful. I’d go to work, come home and just watch the news to see when it would all be over (a very bad cycle and one I quickly stopped doing by the end of the summer 2020 for the sake of my mental health).

Being forced to stay home when we entered our first province wide lockdown should have been a bookworm’s dream (if you omit the reason why you need to stay home). But I couldn’t concentrate. My mind would wander just a few pages in as I read my books. I’d be exhausted when I came home from work because we were so short staffed, so I’d fall asleep a few pages into my book when I would try to read before bed.

I had a hard time getting into novels in general; though I’d go through little spurts where I could get through a few as if they were an obsession. ARCs started piling up (I’m on the street teams for a few authors), COVID kept hitting in waves and I started to pick up other hobbies (like Netflix and crochet) because they were better at keeping my mind active. (I found that I had to do something with my hands to keep myself pre-occupied)

Fast forward to May 2021 and I discovered I really missed reading.

I had been reading an ARC of Beautiful Enemy by Piper Lawson. I love Piper‘s books and I had been EXTREMELY excited to start this new trilogy. As soon as I started reading, I got sucked into the story and couldn’t put it down. This book reminded me why reading was so rewarding as I went through every emotion as I read it. I laughed, I cried, I swooned and I just adored every page of that book.

And that’s when the little spark reignited my love of reading.

While I credit Beautiful Enemy to be the book that pulled me out of my reading slump, there were other factors that helped. Little things that I had been actively trying to do since the start of the year to get me back into reading on a regular basis. My ah-hah moment during Beautiful Enemy was the moment I knew my efforts had paid off and my reading slump of the last year was officially finished.

1. Starting a Bullet Journal

I talked about starting a bullet journal in my Reading Plan for 2021. Lots of people use bullet journals for a variety of things in their lives but the main goal of mine was to get more of a routine going in my everyday life. The beauty of a bullet journal is that it is completely customizable to you and that you can change it as you go. Nothing is static about it unless you want it to be. And since this is my first foray into the concept, I’ve changed mine a few times until I’ve found a system that works and I love that flexibility.

One aspect that has remained consistent is the habit tracker I keep. I always have a spot to track my daily reading in my journal. As long as I pick up a book at some point in the day, I give myself a mark. I’ve come to accept that given my work schedule I might not read every single day…but when I do find the time, the sense of accomplishment that I get by ticking off that box has had a positive impact on my reading habits as a whole in the last few months. It serves as a great reminder that I do read more than I think, even if it was just a few pages for that day.

2. Audiobooks

I was never a fan of audiobooks until I was a fan. I’ve talked about how much I love audiobooks and how important they have become in my reading habits. Last year, audiobooks were a big reason why I met my Goodreads goal for the year. Because even if I wasn’t picking up a physical book, chances were I was listening to an audiobook while I did something around the house or was out walking my dog. In fact, audiobooks made up 50% of the books I read last year!

>> SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get Into Audiobooks

The best thing I did was to start investing in audiobook series. I found that when I started a series, I didn’t have to think too much about what I was going to read next; the obvious answer was the next book in the series! My library has access to Hoopla which has an amazing audiobook selection and you don’t have to wait for a title to be available to check it out, it’s always available! So I could always get the next installment as soon as I finished the previous. It’s a great way to get backlogged series off my TBR.

3. Reading Authors I Love

As I mentioned above, reading Beautiful Enemy by Piper Lawson sparked something in me. It was my first 5 star read in a long time and it reminded me why I LOVED to read and get lost in a story.

The authors that I am on ARC teams for are authors I love. Authors that I read no matter what and always read the newest releases for. Picking up their books to read gave me the comfort of knowing that I was probably going to enjoy–if not love–the book. It was much safer than picking some random book on my TBR that I may not enjoy. I mean, they’re my favourite authors for a reason so clearly I enjoy their stories!

And it some ways, it helped that there was a deadline for completing the book since it was an ARC. I’ve talked about reducing my ARC commitments before on the blog and how the many deadlines can add a stressful pressure to my reading. But here, that pressure was a positive one because I: (A) wanted to help out these authors with their new releases and (B) remain a member of the team for future releases. It kicked my butt into gear and made me pick up a book and start reading.

Moving Forward

We seem to be on the up when it comes to COVID where I live in Canada and that means things are gradually reopening as we adjust to our new normal. Work is getting better as well and I find myself going back to my everyday routines once again. I’ve always been one to succeed when I have a plan and a routine, but knowing how to pivot when obstacles appear has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in this pandemic.

And as my reading habits improve, so has my blogging. I’m writing a post about how I got my blogging mojo back after a long, unintended, hiatus so look for that in the next few weeks. But the gist is, now that I have material (ie books to review) for my blog, the posts are flowing freely and it feels good to return to the blogosphere.

How has the last year affected your reading habits? Do you read more or less? Found new genres?

Let me know in the comments below!

connect Twitter GoodReadsBloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

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.

thoughts

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 🙁


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 – 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!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

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?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

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?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

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?

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

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.

thoughts

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!

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

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!

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact