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Year’s Reads in Review – Top Picks for 2022

2022: The Reading Year of Reading Spurts

I really struggled to come up with a summary of 2022 because it was such a weird reading year for me! I seemed to go through spurts of reading all the time (usually when I subscribed to a reading service) and then lulls of casually reading (when I did one of my many 2020 rescheduled trips).

While I briefly resubscribed to Kindle Unlimited, I also tried out the Kobo Plus Service for the first time and I really tried my best to maximize my experience. (Which I clearly did, reading 52 books in the spring when I had that subscription!). Here are some other stats of my reading year:

  • 12% of books read were standalones
  • 65% of books read were eBooks
  • 34% of books read were audiobooks
  • DNF’d 4 books
  • I only read 7 books that I own
  • Managed to read at least 5 books a month
  • Got a new waterproof Kobo eReader!
  • Completed my Goodreads Goal (I didn’t last year)
  • Managed to read at least 5 books a month
  • Finished 34 book series!

It wasn’t a terrible year when I look at the stats but as I write this post, I struggle to label it as a productive year. I think I just have to get used to what reading (and blogging) means to me as I get older in life.

> > 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 (2022) 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)

Adult Genre:

– Best Adult Novels published in 2022 –

– Favourite Adult Contemporary Standalones read in 2022 –

New Adult Genre:

– Best NA Standalones that were first published in 2022 –

– Favourite NA Series Read in 2022 –

Young Adult Genre:

– Best YA Series first published in 2022 –

– Best YA Standalone novels first published in 2022 –

Additional Categories:

– Series that published their grand finales in 2022 –

– Novels I read in 2022 that were hyped by the community & met expectations –

– Best audiobooks I listened to in 2022 (not necessarily their publication year) –

– Books published in 2022 that I DNF’d –

– Books I gave 2 Stars or Less to in 2022 –

– Books that I enjoyed more than I expected! –

Have a fabulous 2022!

Do we share any titles? Agree or Disagree?

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Burn, Rewrite or Reread Tag – 2022 Edition

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Burn, Rewrite, Reread Tag 2022

As I’ve done for the last few years, I’m doing this tag as part of my annual wrap-up traditions. I just love doing 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 always find it interesting to see if my thoughts about a book have changed much since I read it.

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 round, I used a random number generator to pull titles from my “Books Read in 2022” 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’m going to be a little cheeky about picking Captive Bride as my burn title because I honestly really loved this book. I actually enjoyed all of these romances in this grouping; I’d say that they were my most anticipated in all their respective series! Which is why I have to say the chemistry between our leads is what creates these burning sparks 😉

Rewrite: Like I said above, Twisted Lies was probably my most anticipated book in the Twisted Series. And while I really enjoyed the novel, I did struggle with the pacing sometimes so that would be the only thing I would tidy up for this great book.

Reread: Dark Reign is a standout read for me in the Midnight Dynasty Universe. It was such a refreshing romance for me to read and I would definitely reread it in the future!

Round 2

Burn: I haven’t finished the Spy Girl series yet but I’m enjoying watching this lighter romantic espionage story. It isn’t the greatest series I’ve ever read–albeit entertaining–which is why I would burn it in this grouping.

Rewrite: I actually had no plans to continue reading the Hellfire Club Series (or at least finish it right away) after I finished the first novel, Wicked Idol (it was a spinoff character from the Midnight Dynasty Universe). But I really wanted to see this romance unfold in Callous Prince! However, there are a few things I would tweak, like the Veronica Mars angle as well as the somewhat rushed ending.

Reread: I feel like I just need a refresher of what happened in Kingdom of the Cursed before I pick up book #3 to remember those finer details.

Round 3

Burn: Unfortunately, for every Ella Miles novel I love, there are a few that just don’t work for me. Pretend I’m Her which is only available in the boxset for the Pretend Series was a book that just didn’t work for me.

Rewrite: I honestly don’t know what I would rewrite about Stone Cold. I gave it a 5 stars, read it in one-sitting and loved every moment of reading it. I wouldn’t burn it but I don’t think I would reread it either. It just feels like one of those books that you savor the first time you read it because you don’t know what will happen next. But maybe I’d rewrite it so that the characters could have more answers (though I think that is part of the charm of this novel and its story).

Reread: I forget so much of what happened in Defy the Night so I should brush up before I read the sequel. But I also think that it would be interesting to reread to catch some of the twists earlier now that I know they are there.

Round 4

Burn: Prince Charming falls into the typical book-2-of-a-trilogy-slump for me. It wasn’t overly exciting, especially compared to the first novel. It sets up some stuff for the finale but I also think this series could have easily been a duet by omitting this novel.

Rewrite: I feel like the romance between the two leads in Exposed has been building throughout all the other novels in this series. So maybe my expectations were too high? This story was just missing something for me–though I can’t pinpoint what that is exactly. But if I could figure it out, that is what I would rewrite into the story.

Reread: Clearly I had a thing for dark romances this year (I did binge read most of the Midnight Dynasty Universe novels in a two month span). Dangerous Temptation was another highlight for me. It was a great forbidden, taboo romance and I just loved these two so much!

Round 5

Burn: I’m sure I’m the minority for picking King of Scars. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely things I really enjoyed about this series, but at the same time, there are some things I could have done without. Getting through this series became a chore for me near the end as I didn’t love a lot of the things that happened along the way. So perhaps I’m just bitter with the turn of events but I did feel let down by this series.

Rewrite:  I love a good slow burn romance which is what A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime is at its core. I just felt like it took me a long time to get into the story, so I would add a few little sparks at the start to get the momentum going earlier.

Reread: When I want a feel good story that is sweet and charming, Cookie O’Gorman’s books do the trick. I was so happy that we got to spend more time with the Southern U O’Briens in The Sweetest Game and I can’t wait to go back!


What would you Burn, Rewrite and Reread from 2022?

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DNF December Review Blitz: Introduction Post 2022

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. This is especially important when I am contemplating DNFing a book and am on the fence about doing so.

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 2022 after a brief 2021 hiatus!

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 type of 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 week! 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!

SERIESous Tips: How I Learned to Read More in a Day

In August 2021 I wrote a blog post about how I fell in love with reading again. The global COVID-19 pandemic truly wrecked havoc on my reading life and it took me well over a year to get my reading groove back.

Since then, I’ve found new ways to incorporate reading back into my everyday life and eliminate some not so great habits I picked up in the last two years. Unlike last year, I am well on my way to completing my Goodreads Challenge and it feels great to rediscover why I love reading!

Here are some of the habits I started:

1 – Creating a Morning Routine

When I was in university, I used to get up early every day before class to read for 20-30 minutes. That was easy for me to do because I had a pretty routine school schedule and would get up and go to bed at the same time every day. That regularity changed when I finished school and started to work rotating shifts for my career in health-care. Sleep became the priority and I’d be lucky to get 3 pages in before my pillow called to me.

In the last few months, I’ve recently started a new position at my work and no longer have to do work shift–I only work day shift now! (YAY!). That has been game-changing for me. I’m someone who likes routine so I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to create a morning routine. I now get up at the same time every day and have a solid morning routine. Two elements of my morning routine include reading.

The first is reading a book when I eat my breakfast. I used to watch TV when I’d eat, but I struggled to find something to watch (and finish) for my 10 minute meal. It made me feel unproductive. But reading for 10 minutes reading at breakfast helps me feel like I accomplished something. Usually that enough time to squeeze in a chapter or two I wouldn’t read otherwise. It’s nice to have that time to myself and get lost in another world.

>> SERIESous Tips: 5 Ways to Get into Audiobooks

It’s the same idea as me listening to my audiobook when I walk my dog in the morning as well (my second element). It might only be for a few minutes but again, it’s very calming and a great way for me to start my morning. Plus, it serves as a nice way to wet my appetite as I listen to my audiobook on the days I have to commute to a different location for work.

2 – Extended Moring Reading Sessions

In order to keep my sleep pattern as consistent as possible, I do wake up with an alarm on my days off. While I may not get up as early as I would need to do go to work, I find my body really only sleeps-in about an hour later than my work alarm (or whenever the sun is up). That means I’m up early on my days off and I’m lucky that my doggie likes to sleep in a bit longer too so I don’t have anywhere to go right away.

So I often spend my mornings on my days-off by staying in bed for up-to an hour reading my book. It’s a nice way to ease into the day before I do my morning yoga and then start whatever I need to do around the house. I find I feel more productive this way.

3 – Ditching Social Media at Break Time

Do you ever catch yourself scrolling through social media sites for no reason other than passing the time? If you do, you aren’t alone! In fact:

As of 2022, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 147 minutes per day, up from 145 minutes in the previous year.

Statista.com

I’m one of those people who don’t regularly post on social media platforms (my blog posts automatically tweet when I publish them so very little effort); I’m one of those people who check out what other people say and I like to be in the know about whatever is happening in popular culture.

I knew it was a bad habit but I never really thought about it until a few things happened nationally and globally, and I really started to think about what social media was doing to me and my mental health. Twitter was especially toxic–there’s something about the internet and the anonymity that makes people think it’s okay to say whatever they feel/think, even if it’s rude or cruel.

Instead of deleting the app (Twitter is a main referring source for my blog; plus I enjoy reading tweets about my reality shows from time to time), I simply removed it from my phone’s home page and replaced it with my Hoopla app.

Hoopla is an online service that many public libraries subscribe to for digital content like audiobooks, eBooks, TV shows and more. I LOVE it! In the past, I really only used it for its audiobook library and not for its eBooks. But they have a great collection and I realized they have a lot of titles for series I’ve started but never finished. What a missed opportunity!

So, instead of opening Twitter during my morning and lunch breaks at work (or if I’m waiting for something while running errands), I open up Hoopla instead and get a few chapters in. For now, I’ve been sticking to contemporary romance series because they typically have shorter page counts and I find I don’t need to read them everyday to still know what is going on. This habit contributes to approximately 1.5 books of my monthly reads! I’ve been loving it so far and I hope to continue this going forward.

4 – No TV Tuesdays

Like many people, I think I watched more TV than ever before during the COVID-19 pandemic. I didn’t like how much time I was spending on the couch once things started to get back to the new normal. And so I decided it was time to change that.

I picked Tuesdays truly because it had a nice ring to it when I said “No TV Tuesdays”. It’s not always a Tuesday, it depends on the week. But I aim to not watch more than 1 hour of TV in the evening, once a week. Instead, I pick up a book and read OR, I work on my blog. It’s a nice way to relax and I feel more productive than if I just sat on the couch and watched endless amounts of TV.

5 – Reading Before Bed

Before I started the above habits, I used to only read before bed. But I’d be so exhausted from my shift work that I’d fall asleep after a few pages. So it would take me a longggg time to finish a physical book. (Audiobooks I’d still finish since I walk my dog twice a day, every day)

With the change to my work schedule, I’ve also created a night routine and that includes getting a little more reading time in than before. Approximately 30 minutes before I aim to go to sleep, I complete my nighttime routine and settle into bed with a book. I find that reading relaxes me and helps me fall asleep when I’m ready to turn in for the night.


I hope some of my routines can inspire you to try something new and get more reading into your day. I truly have to say that reducing my social media input in a day has been very positive for me and my mental health.

How do you incorporate reading into your everyday routines?

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SERIESous Tips: How I Track my Book Series in Excel

I’m highlighting some of the ways I use Excel to help my blogging productivity. Today, I’m sharing how I keep track of all the book series I have on the go!


Why I Keep Track of My Book Series Progress

Another spreadsheet I keep in my Books Read Workbook is my Series Tracking Spread. Because the bread and butter of my blog is book series, I needed something to help me keep track of all the series I had on the go and where I was in those series sequel-wise.

My first version of this spreadsheet was pretty basic. I basically just typed in things as I went and formatted along the way. But once I learned more about the drop-down boxes and conditional formatting features of Excel, it has made this spreadsheet super easy to maintain.

Series are sorted by the year I read the first series title. # TBR = number of books that have been published that I still need to read. Series Titles are listed with their position in the series. I also note when the sequels will be published; where I can access the title and if I have a blog post already made. Unknown status is for series that I suspect will have sequels but don’t have official publishing dates.

On this spreadsheet, I keep track of what series I have on the go, how many sequels I have to read, their publishing statuses, and the year that I started the series. I don’t track what year they were published in because I don’t really care for that.

From that information, I can get:

  • how many series I have on the go
  • how many series are waiting for sequels to be published
  • how many series I started in a particular year and have yet to finish
  • the total number of series I had on the go at the end of a calendar year

Why do I love using Excel for this spreadsheet instead of a Word document? It is super easy to add titles as sequels are announced by inserting new rows and letting the worksheet shift equations and entries automatically. A Word Document would still be great to use because you can add headings to quickly find a Series Name. But I like seeing my stats and having Excel automatically run those statistics as I add titles is the key.

This concludes my Excel Tips Series. I hope you found it interesting to read and perhaps I’ve inspired you to try some Excel Spreadsheets yourself! Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to see in the future.

How do you keep track of the book series you have on the go?

Excel Tips: Why I Love Excel  |  Post Calendar  |  Books I Read in a Year  |  Tracking Book Series

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SERIESous Tips: How I Track my Reading in Excel

I’m highlighting some of the ways I use Excel to help my blogging productivity. Today, I’m sharing how I keep track of the books I read in a year!


How I Track My Reads for the Year

While I do keep track of everything I read on Goodreads, I like to keep a separate document for my own records of all the books I read in a year. I did this wayyyy before I started blogging and it’s a habit I’ve never stopped. But when I got into blogging, I started to get more interested in my reading statistics (like how many books I read in a month or how many audiobooks in a year) and I found Excel made things much easier to find out those statistics with very little effort (ie not counting all the books in my Goodreads Read list).

This is what my spreadsheet looks like:

The main data entry portion of my Reads in a Year Excel Spreadsheet.

In this spreadsheet, I keep track of all:

  • the book formats I read (ARC, audiobook, novella, book, rereads),
  • where I got the book from (library, hoopla, subscriptions, own)
  • what # it is in the series or if it is a standalone
  • when did I start that series sequel (last year, current year, completed all books in series)
  • how many books I read in a year, month and season
  • rating for the title

Thanks to the formula features in Excel, any stats I want to run on these values auto-calculate with the formulas I’ve created! Before I used to count up each line in my Word Document table and do the math with a calculator. So now it’s so easy for me to whip up stats anytime I need them for my blog posts because the spreadsheet does it for me!

Some of the stats that auto-calculate based on the main data entry of the spreadsheet

How I’ve Updated It Over the Years

My first Reads in a Year documents simply listed the books read within a seasons. Then it evolved to months and then eventually separating the titles out by their formats within a month.

I used to manually calculate the totals for each month by creating the formula every time but know I’ve learned how to name cells for calculations, allowing the worksheet to do the work for me, even if I add titles to the month after the fact.

When I started doing more analyses of my reading, I added columns for book sources, series tracking and eventually ratings. Only in the last year have I made the Series Tracking a drop-down menu instead of obscure text codes that would calculate in another part of the spreadsheet.

Do you only use Goodreads or another online service to track your annual reads? Or do you use something else? Let me know below!

Excel Tips: Why I Love Excel  |  Post Calendar  |  Books I Read in a Year  |  Tracking Book Series

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SERIESous Tips: My Excel Post-Scheduling Calendar

I’m highlighting some of the ways I use Excel to help my blogging productivity. Today, I’m sharing my Blogging Calendar!


Why I Needed a Blogging Calendar

Back in the day when I first started using WordPress for my blog, the posting calendar wouldn’t tell you if a day already had a post scheduled. Which was a real pain for someone like me who schedules posts well in advance! (Now, WordPress does show you on the publish calendar upcoming posts but I like to know what the post is.)

The New WordPress Calendar indicates days with previously scheduled posts with a blue dot.

I tried a paper and pen method with a spare planner when I first started blogging, but I was constantly shuffling posts around for different deadlines so it wasn’t ideal to erase things all the time. I also tried Google Calendars but didn’t really like it because it felt like a lot of steps to add things. In the end, I had great success with a Word Calendar template and used this for years.

My Old Word Calendar

On this calendar, I kept track of all my ARC due dates, library book due dates and blog posting dates in a Word Document Calendar Template. Depending on what the items was, it was colour coded accordingly for quick glances:

Here’s what my old calendar looked like. Red text = library due dates | Blue text = ARC due dates | Black text = blog posts | Purple text = planned blog post | Crossed Out Text = Completed reads | Italic Text = renewed reads

This calendar was great and I used it for years with only a few colour changes over the years as my blogging and reading schedules evolved. Using a Word Template meant that the basics (table/month/dates) of the calendar were already formatted so it wasn’t a lot of work for me to set up intially.

Though for anyone who isn’t me, I’m sure this looks uber overwhelming and a lot of work. Eventually I came to the same conclusion: I found I was spending so much time formatting it–from adding new months to changing text colours by hand–that it became more cumbersome than helpful and I needed a change.

My New Excel Calendar

When I discovered how conditional formatting (rules for how data in cells should appear based on their values) worked in Excel for cells, I knew my next calendar had to be done as a spreadsheet. Using Excel meant I could create a system of rules to continuously format my data cells without me formatting each cell individually. Basically: I could type and go, letting the worksheet do the formatting for me. And once I found a template that worked, all I would have to do is copy the worksheet for additional months over and over again.

So, I found a generic Calendar Template in Excel that I could format to my liking and for what I needed it to do. I was able to have the program add the dates to the correct day of the week based on the Month I selected on the top. I added two rows for each date: one for reading due dates and another row for blog posts. I also created a button for to clear all scheduled posts without deleting each one. It took me some time and some trial and error with the formatting, but I finally found a master template that worked and this is what it looks like:

My New Excel Calendar. It features a Blog Row for Posts and a Due Row for ARCs and Library Book Due dates. Pale Yellow Boxes = Scheduled Posts | Bright Yellow Boxes = Theoretical Blog Posts | Red Boxes = To be Finalized Blog Posts | Light Blue Text = ARCs | Red Text = Library Book Due Date

My calendar tracks all the same due dates as my previous calendar. I’ve also included a pre-determined template so I know where I should be posting (since I do certain posts on specific days of the week). But the key is that I have a master formatting template that I can copy for every month that I need. Then, when I use it, all I have to do is enter in my text and the spreadsheet does all the formatting work for me! It honestly saves me a ton of time by just plugging and chugging as I go.

One of my favourite features of this calendar is that it can show me the scheduled blog posts from the last and/or the next month (dates in gray). That has saved me a few times from scheduling posts too close together since I can see it all on one screen.

When I’m done with a month, I just hide the tab from view. I’m not sure if I will delete the old tabs at the end of the year or not, I’m still deciding. But for now, I’m enjoying my simple calendar–even if it took a lot of work to find what I like!

How do you track your blog posts? Paper, digitally or wing it? Let me know below!

Excel Tips: Why I Love Excel  |  Post Calendar  |  Books I Read in a Year  |  Tracking Book Series

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SERIESous Tips: Why you Need to Use Excel for Your Book Blog!

I know that lots of people love using a pen and paper to keep track of their books and blogging posts but I’m a digital girl. Way before I discovered Goodreads and even in the time since, I’ve always kept a list of the books I read in a Word document on my computer.

While I use a lot of other online tools–like Trello for blog posts in progress and Goodreads to track my reading dates–over the years, I’ve upgraded from my basic Word Documents to Excel Worksheets.

Just a note: I use Microsoft Excel simply because I have the program from my university days on my laptop; but I have used Google Sheets in the past too which is free if you have a Google account. It has very similar features and works in a similar way so it is a great option if you don’t have the Microsoft Office Suite.

I love reading my fellow bloggers posts about how they stay productive and so I thought that I would share how I do the same. Over the next few days, I’m going to share some more Tips posts about my experiences using Excel to help increase my blogging productivity and track my reading.

But in this post, I want to share some of the reasons why I love using Excel and how you can learn to love it to!

Don’t Be Intimated!

You don’t need to be an Excel Wizard to create a good spreadsheet! I really only knew the basic features of the program when I first started using it a few years ago. Honestly, my first spreadsheets were pretty simple and were really just me typing things into cells because it was easy to create tables in Excel than in Word.

It really has only been in the last year that I’ve learned a lot more about using Excel thanks to my job where I’ve started to use it more. I did take a basic Excel course through my library (for free!) but Google and Youtube make it super easy to teach yourself how to use Excel to its max potential. If you want to know how to do something, a quick Google search will usually do the trick!

Why I Love Using a Spreadsheet (or Two) for My Blog:

Easy to Format Cells

I’m a very visual person so I love colours in my agendas and calendars. Excel makes it super easy with its conditional formatting features to have cells or text change colours based on their contents. You can also create drop-down boxes with preset values which makes it easy to create tables for tracking things and updating them as needed.

The Worksheet’s page itself is very open unlike a Word Document. I like to think of it as a blank canvas that allows you to freely add text in any of the cells and then merge, move or erase anything you want.

An example of the conditional formatting you can apply to Excel cells

Calculate Statistics Automatically

Within an Excel cell, you can create formulas to calculate values or even create charts based on information you’ve entered. It’s a great feature for bloggers who want to see their progress at a quick glance once they’ve set up the equations. And you can really calculate anything you want in one way or another.

An example of a table that calculates stats for me based on entries to the main document table

Have Multiple Spreadsheets Within a File

I love that I can have multiple tabs within a single file! A lot of my spreadsheets are created for the year so it’s great that I can keep previous years within the same file to easily compare contents without having multiple files open at one time.

Lots of Templates To Play With!

From budgets to calendars and more, the beauty of Excel is that you can create whatever you want and need in a workbook!

Examples of Spreadsheets I Have Used for My Blog:

Here are some of the ways I’ve used Excel spreadsheets in the past and present:

Stay tuned for future tips posts where I share my Posting Calendar, Annual Reading Lists and Series Tracking spreadsheets!

Do you use spreadsheets for your blog? Let me know below!

Excel Tips: Why I Love Excel  |  Post Calendar  |  Books I Read in a Year  |  Tracking Book Series

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Throwback Thursdays: Blogging Year 2015


Throwback Thursdays: I’m taking a look back at some of my reviews and discussion posts from the past to see if I still feel the same way about them now as I did then.


I missed last month’s thanks to a hectic work schedule but I’m back with another edition of Throwback Thursdays!

How does this work?

For each Throwback Thursday Post, I pick a particular blogging year to go back to. Within that year, I search through my old posts and pick 5 that I think are worth a look back at. Before I read my old reviews, I share my thoughts about what I remember. Then I summarize my original review and then I share my updated thoughts/comments.
I’d love it if you would share your thoughts as well with a comment below!

This month’s featured year is:

2015

What do I remember about my 2015 reading year?

Well, clearly I still found a lot of time to read despite being in the midst of my post-post-secondary career. According to my Goodreads Challenge that year, I read 233 books! Which was the most I’d ever read in a year up and to that date. It was a great year for books, I read a lot of big blockbusters. Oh, and it was the year I joined Netgalley! So I really got into reading ARCs and discover some new authors that I continue to review for to this day.

As for the blog, I started to include more discussion posts in my posting schedule. I used to do a Meme-ful Monday post where I would find a bookish meme and write a discussion post about it. I also used to do a lot of those blog award posts that were all the rage back then. (Do people still do those?)


My Original Series Review Here

Throwback #1: Alienated Series by Melissa Landers

Opening Thoughts: I remember this book being a lot of fun to read! It reminded me a little of a Meg Cabot book for just being purely entertaining. And aliens weren’t a common occurrence in YA at the time; I’d only read the Lux Series by Jennifer Lynn Armentrout. I can’t remember how I learned about this series but Melissa Landers quickly became a must read for me when it comes to YA SciFi reads.

Original Review Summary: I adored the banter between the logical Aelyx and the sensible Clara in the first book. It was just a great blend of everything you like in a YA novel (first love, humour). I enjoyed the second once I got into it; it definitely is more plot than romance though. I didn’t love the third book though with its complicated plot.

Throwback Reflection: I often think back fondly on Alienated(#1) as a great book. I loved Melissa’s next series, Starflight, and I’m waiting to see what her new release this year will be like because it has been too long since I’ve read her workds.

Worth a Reread?: No.


My Original Series Review Here

Throwback #2: The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole

Opening Thoughts: Kresley Cole’s adult novels were always popping up at my library but they didn’t interest me. So when her new YA series was being released, I was really intrigued. Oh boy, did I HATE the first novel though! Poison Princess (#1) was everything I detested in a YA story with its cliché heroine, love triangle allusions, and a misleading synopsis. But I decided to read the sequel and I immediately fell in love with this series and its subsequent sequels!

Original Review Summary: These books have their moments of greatness and their moments of dullness. But overall, I enjoyed the series once all the groundwork was laid in the Poison Princess. All the books in the series are now published but I have yet to read the last two so I’m not sure how everything will wrap up!

Throwback Reflection: This series is one of the best examples for why I write reviews for entire series. Reading the first book in a series can be like watching the pilot episode for a TV. You may or may not like what you see in that first episode but it’s really the second episode that will determine if you press on now that the groundwork is laid out.

Worth a Reread?: No.


My Original Series Review Here

Throwback #3: The Vincent Boys Series by Abbi Glines

Opening Thoughts: I think I read this series after binge-reading everything else Abbi Glines had wrote to that point. I don’t like reading about love triangles but I wanted to give it a shot since I had enjoyed her other romances and melodrama.

Original Review Summary: So I had actually marked this books as a pass before I ever read an Abbi Glines novel because of the love triangle but I decided to give them a shot after I read some of her books. Maybe I shouldn’t have. The immaturity of these characters inspired by their raging hormones was a little too much melodrama for me. They were all selfish and vain but I suppose that’s what you get for reading about 17 year olds.

Throwback Reflection: Looking back years later and having read more Abbi Glines novels, she has a flare for melodrama so this is definitely par for the course. Some people really love the angst, I don’t enjoy this type of angst in my novels.

Worth a Reread?: No.


My Original Series Review Here

Throwback #4: Marked Men Series by Jay Crownover

Opening Thoughts: Rule(#1) was on the list for many New Adult recommendations so it was obvious that I would read it at some point. This series really got me invested in the romance series that follow a group of friends and not just the same couple for all the books. It also showed me that both characters could be flawed and find love.

Original Review Summary: I adored all the characters in this series (well, maybe not so much in Jet [#2]) but I loved the strength these characters had. And when the romance blossomed, WOW! I also liked that we get hints of what’s to come in the next books. Every book had its own unique spin, yet they all still shared the same underlying tones that made the series so special.

Throwback Reflection: After this series, Jay Crownover become a must-read author for me. I have a few of her new releases on my TBR that I hope to get to by the end of the year.

Worth a Reread?: Yes! Not all of the titles but some for sure!


My Original Series Review Here

Throwback #5: Where Rainbows End (aka Love, Rosie) by Cecelia Ahern

Opening Thoughts: I remember my friend and I being so excited to see the movie Love, Rosie. I chose not to read the book until after I watched the movie because I didn’t want it to be spoiled. I remember loving the movie, hating the book. It’s one of those rare instances where I think the movie is better than the book (or at least, the movie characters are more likeable).

Original Review Summary: My friend had read the book and warned me beforehand that Rosie becomes really annoying so I knew that going in. I probably would have stopped reading the book if I hadn’t had that in the back of my mind. Rosie is just incredibly selfish and I didn’t like that at all. And it overshadowed the romance of two friends who are clearly something more if life didn’t get in the way all the time.

As for the movie, the characters are more likeable and I enjoyed watching the drama unfold. I preferred watching things unfold in front of me instead of having them be described through letters like they are in the book. It just played with your emotions more in the movie.

Throwback Reflection: An entertaining movie, a so-so book.

Worth a Reread?: No. (Would I rewatch the movie, maybe)


Agree to Disagree?

Did you love (or love to hate) any of these reads? Share your thoughts on my throwbacks below!

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Service Review: Kobo Plus Subscription

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Kobo Plus Subscription Service

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

I’ve been a long time Kobo eReader User and, if asked, I’d say that I prefer my Kobo to my Kindle if I had to choose. I love the reader friendly features of the device and that they were originally a Canadian based company. Also, in Canada, I can only put library books on my Kobo since they are ePub files–which can’t be opened on Kindles.

>> SERIESous Guide: How to Buy an eReader

But one of the features I do like about my Kindle is the option to use the Kindle Unlimited Program. The ability to read as many books as I can for one price is AMAZING. A lot of the books I read are independently published and when you read 100+ books a year, Kindle Unlimited offers a great way to read those books without breaking my bank — but still be able to support the authors monetarily.

I’ve been waiting (and begging) Kobo to have a similar service for years. So I was very, very excited when Kobo launched its own unlimited reading service in the summer of 2020.

As I do with all my book Service Reviews, I’m going to lay out the basics of the Kobo Plus Service and give my take on it independently (ie this is not a paid promotional post by Kobo). At the end, I will do a comparison to my Kindle Unlimited and Scribd experiences just to give some context.

How Does it Work?

Kobo Plus is a monthly eBook only subscription service. For $9.99 CAD (plus tax) a month, you can read as many titles from the Kobo Plus catalogue as you want. You can send and hold 15 books at a time on your device, but once you’ve “returned” one, you can take out another as long as you have an active subscription.

Here is the schematic of how it works:

You don’t need a Kobo eReader to read the books; using the reading app on your phone or tablet will do the trick. (The Kobo App is great on phones from my experience!). You can sync books and send them directly to your device of choice via wifi. However, you can read the books without wifi once they are downloaded to your device.

My Experience:

–Signing-Up–

For Black Friday/Cyber Monday in November 2021, Kobo had an incentive to get a 60-day free trial of Kobo Plus if you signed up during the promotional period (instead of the usual 30-day free trial).

>> Sign up for cashback & get $30 back when you sign up for Rakuten! (referral link)

I already had a Kobo Account and I made sure I went through Rakuten (referral link) to get cashback for trying the service as well.

–Title Selection–

Like Kindle Unlimited, most of the titles available with the service are self-published; independently published or small publishing house titles. That was perfect for me because those are typically the books I buy from Kobo since they aren’t often available at my library (unlike major publishing house titles).

It’s super easy to see what titles are a part of the program throughout the site. Listed beside prices are the words “Free with Kobo Plus”. You can also add a filter to your searches that will only show Kobo Plus titles based on your search term. And when you click on a title to read more about it (and you are a part of the program), there is a button on the side that says “Available with Kobo Plus — Add to My Books”.

I had 2-3 series that I knew were are part of the program on my TBR so I made sure to add those to my list when I got the service. It was easy to find them with a quick search on my desktop and as soon as I synced my Kobo, they were on it!

–Downloading Titles–

However, I struggled finding what titles I had already downloaded from the service on their website. I would have liked to have been able to just click the Kobo Plus menu at the top of the website and be brought to my subscription homepage. But when you do click that, it brings you to the sign-up page and you start to think your subscription isn’t valid.

If you want to see your active titles all in one place, you have to click on the My Subscriptions menu under My Account. There you can see what books you have out and when your next billing date is. I really liked that they tell you exactly when your next billing date is so if you want to cancel, it’s easy to see.

They say in their spiel about the program that you can only have 15 books out at a time but I never ran into an issue when I had more than that selected from the program. However, I hadn’t opened that many books, I had just simply added them to my account and hadn’t necessarily downloaded them to my device. I think if I tried to download all of them, I would have run into issues.

–Reading Experience on my Kobo–

When I first started using the Kobo Plus program, I was using my old Kobo Aura. It doesn’t have the best store experience interface directly on the device. So I had some issues finding the titles on my device using the store interface and then some issues downloading the titles. But it wasn’t anything a quick power off/on couldn’t fix. Eventually, I bought a new Kobo Libra 2 (which I LOVE!) and I found the store interface was much smoother to use.

Once downloaded, you can filter your My Books to only show Kobo Plus titles. Unlike Kindle Unlimited, you can’t return a Kobo Plus title from your device which was a pain.

One feature I really did love when reading on my eReader is that anytime I finished a title, my eReader would prompt me to read the next one in the series. If the book was a part of the Kobo Plus program it would say “Read Now With Kobo Plus” and I could download it right away. That worked well for me because it saved me from searching for it on my device afterwards.

–Did I Read $9.99 Worth of Books?–

I kept track of all the books I read and their cost so I could see if I would read $9.99/month for the two months I had the service ($19.98 total).

  • Grand Total: $40.88
    • The North by Leigh Walker ($4.98)
    • The Siege by Leigh Walker ($4.98)
    • The Realm by Leigh Walker ($4.98)
    • The Uprising by Leigh Walker ($4.98)
    • The Crown by Leigh Walker ($4.98)
    • Wild War by Laurelin Paige ($7.99)
    • Wild Heart by Laurelin Paige ($7.99)

So I definitely would have gotten my monies worth for the two months I would have paid for. I rarely reread books so it doesn’t bother me that I pay and don’t get to own the title to read at a later time. I can see how some people would struggle with that. But I think of these services as the “Netflix of Books” so it’s just the reality of what the service is.

How does it Compare to Other Book Subscription Services?

I’m going to break it down a little by some of the notable Kindle Unlimited and Scribd features:

  • Kobo Plus: eBooks only; separate audiobook experience (Kobo Audiobooks)
    • Scribd: eBooks and audiobooks with one subscription
    • Kindle Unlimited: eBooks only; separate audiobook experience (Audible)
  • Kobo Plus: read books on your Kobo eReader, computer, phone or tablet
    • Scribd: can listen & read books on your computer, phone or tablet
    • Kindle Unlimited: Kindle eReaders and on any device you can download the Kindle App to
  • Kobo Plus: has some exclusives but you can still buy books in the program on other digital sites
    • Scribd: lacks exclusives but has access to Sheet Music, Magazines and other streaming services like MUBI, AUDM and more
    • Kindle Unlimited: any book in the program can only be found on Amazon
  • Kobo Plus: pay for one month of use at a time
    • Scribd: pay for 30 days of use at a time
    • Kindle Unlimited: pay for one month of use at a time
  • Kobo Plus: once downloaded you can read the title for 30 days (or until subscription ends); regular Kobo books available to purchase
    • Scribd: no option to purchase titles to own
    • Kindle Unlimited: once downloaded you can continue to read the title even if you are no longer subscribed to the service; otherwise, regular Kindle book purchase available
  • Kobo Plus: can download 15 titles at a time; no restrictions on titles within the program
    • Scribd: can download unlimited number of titles but popular titles have caps for how many users can download them in a month
    • Kindle Unlimited: can download 10 titles at a time; no restriction on titles
  • Kobo Plus: need a credit card on file but can use gift card to pay the fee when you have added it to your account (shows up as store credit)
    • Scribd: can use PayPal to sign up; unsure if your PayPal balance can be applied or if it charges your credit card no matter what
    • Kindle Unlimited: can only use a credit card to pay

So, Am I Keeping It?

So when I (accidentally) found out I could use a gift card to pay for an additional month, I did keep my subscription for a little longer. Originally, my plan was to cancel after 3 months but then I discovered the Midnight Dynasty Universe was in the program and there are a ton of books in that series (and I found some others I wanted to read) so money-wise, it made sense to keep the program. Especially when I realized I had a lot of gift card money to burn so I kept it for an additional 4 months.

It’s not a service that I will continue using monthly after those additional months. I think I will subscribe for a month at a time in the future or if there is a promotion (like I often do with Kindle Unlimited) to get my hands on some titles. Because even reading 2-3 books from the service a month pays for itself. I just find when I subscribe to book reading services, I focus exclusively on that and forget about the books I already own or can get elsewhere. And usually, by the time a resubscribe a few months later, there is a turnover in titles so new items are available to read.

However, I found that it shared a lot of the same titles that are available on the Scribd service. So I will probably resubscribe to Scribd next because of the option for audiobooks.

Do you use Kobo Plus? What about another Reading Service? Any tips or feedback on the service?

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