Category «Features»

Monthly Inventory: August 2020

August 2020

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

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

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

thoughts

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

DNF’d: 0 Books

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

Standout Read (★★★★★)

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

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

Biggest Let Down (★★★)

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

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

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

thoughts

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

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

View my Challenge Progress Here!

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

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

This month:

Dangerous Girls
Keep

The Royal We (Royal We, #1)
Keep

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

Unlit Star
Keep

Breakdown
Pass

Break Away
Pass

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

Respect (The Breaking Point, #3)
Keep

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

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

Pass: 5 | Keep: 6

Grand Total YTD: Pass: 37 | Keep: 44

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

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

My Progress for January to August, 2020:

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

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

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

Going Forward:

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

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

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

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

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Release Blitz: Not my Romeo by Ilsa Madden-Mills


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

Read my reviews of Ilsa’s other works!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~

Add: Goodreads // Buy: Amazon


Ilsa Madden-Mills

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

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

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

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

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

What about you? Are you excited?

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Service Review: Scribd

Scribd: Audiobooks & ebooks - Apps on Google Play

Scribd Subscription Service

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

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

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

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

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

How Does it Work?

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

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

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

My Experience:

–Signing-Up–

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

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

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

–Audiobook Listening Experience–

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

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

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

–eBook Reading Experience–

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

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

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

–The (Audio)Book Selection–

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

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

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

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

–So is the Service Really “Unlimited”?–

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

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

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

As the Kindlepreneur explains:

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

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

How does it Compare to Other Book Subscription Services?

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

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

So, Am I Keeping It?

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

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

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

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

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

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ARC Review: Leo (Preston Brothers #3) by Jay McLean

ARC Review: Leo (Preston Brothers #3) by Jay McLean

ARC Review: I’m sharing my review of a sequel book I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy for!

The Preston Brothers Series is a spin-off of the More Than Series

Other books in the series:

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Preston Brothers

This series is a spinoff of the More Than Series.

Author: Jay McLean
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Coming of Age
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

Read my review of the rest of the series HERE!

thoughts

My Expectations?

I’ve been (im)patiently waiting for the announcement of Leo’s book ever since this series was announced. He’s such an enigma of a character yet he has been so vital to all the other brothers’ stories that I couldn’t wait to get inside his head. I had no idea what to expect but I knew it was going to be one heck of an emotional roller coaster ride!

What I Liked:

–Focus on Family–

When it comes to drama, I find a lot of books focus on the negatives when it comes to families. It feels like 9 time out of 10, one (if not both) of the leads comes from a “broken” home and finds a new “family” with a group of friends. And I get why lots of stories have those elements. Families aren’t perfect; they’re complicated and messy. It also provides great drama and motivations for character actions.

And while we have those messy family situations in this book, I also appreciated the sentiment that you only get one family and it’s what you do with it that counts. Learning to move on from the past and forgive for the future is an idea that I don’t often see in this genre. The idea of second chances here–and following through by showing that people can change is a refreshing aspect to this story.

–Great Twists–

Jay McLean never fails to impress with her story twists. Just when you think you have everything figured out, you get a curveball thrown at you that you really should have known was coming.

–We Start From the Beginning–

I think to really understand who Leo is or why he acts the way he does, you have to go back to his childhood and see the role he played in those early years. It just helps to round out his character and his motivations for the decisions he makes later in the book.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Sometimes You Felt the Extensive Length of The Book–

I subscribe to Jay McLean’s reader newsletter (obviously) and when she announced the release of Leo, she had mentioned this book could have easily been split into two novels to make a duet but opted to keep it one book. It is a long one but so is the journey of Leo so in some ways I’m glad it was all together. I do think some parts could have been a little condensed to keep the story moving at a consistent pace.

But I think part of the reason I struggled with the length is that this is a very emotional story so breaking it up would have probably saved me some heartache! It’s very bittersweet but a worthwhile experience.

Rating for Leo: 4/5

Lucas 5/5 | Logan 4.5/5 | Leo 4/5

overall

Be prepared to feel all the feels! No one writes New Adult novels like Jay McLean!

Read if You Like: drama, emotional reads
Avoid if You: dislike high school based New Adult romances

similarreads

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Leo (from Goodreads):

One single summer changed them forever, and one moment of devastating silence destroyed it all.

Growing up with six siblings, Leo Preston has always struggled to find his voice.
While his brothers are loud, greedy, and somewhat obnoxious, Leo is forever the quiet one.
The thinker.
The listener.
He watches his life pass by as an outsider in his own world, absent and alone.
Lost.
Until he finds her.

For Leo, Mia Kovács is like a prize, a gift wrapped in passion and devotion.
And she’s his—his very own secret he doesn’t have to share.
Together, they can overcome anything…
heartache and destruction, guilt and regret.

Mia gives Leo everything he didn’t know he needed,
including her fragile heart.
The only thing she doesn’t give him…
are secrets of her own.

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Giftcard Here!

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

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SERIESous Discussions: Book Formats by Month [3]

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!


For the last two years, I’ve been curious about my various reading stats. Like how many books I read in a month throughout the year? Do I start more series than I finish? And the topics for this discussion: What book formats do I read the most? Where do they come from?

You are probably wondering how I gathered all this data. Throughout the year, I keep an Excel file running where I keep track of:

  • What books I read
  • What format it was (ex. audiobook, eBook, physical, ARC, etc)
  • Where I got the book from (ex. library, ARC, owned)
  • What number it is in the series or is it a standalone
    • Is it a new series or a previously started series

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

  • I need to limit the number of ARCs I request
    • I unsubscribed to a majority of Blog Tour mailing lists
    • I focused on street teams for authors I love
    • I limited the request availability on my site
  • Continue to read audiobooks but don’t rely on them for numbers
  • I need to read more books that I own

But did I actually stick to those? Find out…

Comparing 2019 to 2018:

The first time I did this investigation I compared each month by a line graph; last year I did a table for each month. This time around I’m going to a bar graph of the year as a whole so it is easier on the eyes!

The Highlights:

One thing that is glaringly obvious is that I definitely read fewer books in 2019 than in 2018. Last year was the first year where I didn’t finish my Goodreads goal (I was 28 books short) so I’m not surprised to see the large contrast on some formats.

When I did this last year, I really anticipated that my audiobook numbers would take a major nosedive. But audiobooks honestly saved my reading last year. Even though I no longer commute to work, I’ve integrated audiobook listening into doing my chores, walking my dog and long travel times.

The last thing that really shocked me was the number of eBooks I checked out from the library. I had to triple check my numbers were right when I was making the graph. But if you look at my Kindle and Kobo numbers (which are books I own), it makes sense and balances out. My 5 Year 5 Book Challenge for 2019 used books I already owned so I didn’t need to go to the library on a regular basis.

Moving Forward:

I set my Reading Challenges for the year back in January but I like to use these posts as a check-up or mid-year review of sorts to see if I am on track with my goals or what I need to change going forward.

I truly adore audiobooks and they’ve become such a staple to my everyday reading. Because chances are, if I didn’t pick up my eReader I probably listened to an audiobook at some point. The whole idea is crazy to me because 5 years ago I really struggled with the concept of audiobooks.

>> SERIESous Discussion: How I Fell In Love With Audiobooks

For the most part, this year I’ve been going with the flow and following my moods more. During the Covid pandemic in the Spring, I was checking out a lot of books from the library’s eBook selection but I didn’t necessarily read them if I wasn’t in the mood. And I tried not to get myself upset if returned the book unread (which is a hard habit to break!)


When I first did this breakdown, I was shocked to learn that less than half of the books I read came from the library. I had always had the firm belief that 80+% of my books came from there so it was a total surprise. But in the past few years, I’ve worked really hard on reading more of the books I already own and not just buying books willy-nilly and never reading them. Last year in particularly, my main focus was reading books I owned prior to 2019.

Source:20192018
# (%)
2017
# (%)
2016
# (%)
Purchased69 (38%)46 (20%)52 (21%)79 (34%)
Library74 (41%)97 (43%)114 (47%)85 (36%)
ARCs38 (21%)86 (37%)80 (32%)69 (30%)
Grand Total:181 (100%)229 (100%) 240 (100%)233 (100%)

Again, I’m not shocked by these results. To break it down a little further, 81% of the library books I took out were audiobooks. I’m happy that some sources went down (like ARCs and even the library) as planned since I read more books that I already own.

>> SERIESous Discussion: How Many Series Did I Really Read in 2019?

Moving Forward:

Like last year, my main goals for 2020 are to increase the number of owned books I read in a year and to reduce the number of book series I have on the go. And to accomplish these goals, I’m slowly changing my reading habits. Instead of reaching for that library book, I’ll check my Kindle or Kobo first for a book that will suit my mood. I resist ARC temptation but not checking Netgalley regularly and unsubscribed from review mailing lists. I’m making a lot of progress and positive changes since I first started blogging 7 years ago!

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

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Monthly Inventory: June 2020

June 2020

Happy Canada Day Banner Design Layout With Paper Cut Colorful ...

I’m always a proud Canadian but these last few months have shown me how great this country truly is. The acts of kindness and compassion I’ve witnessed just warms my heart. And while we may not be celebrating the way we usually do, I know it will be a great day.

My reading for June was pretty great! Between my Scribd free trial and my second “sequel only” month of the year, having a purpose when it came to my reading seemed to motivate me to get some books in!

July is somewhat bittersweet for me. As I write this, I should be abroad right now on my summer vacation. Obviously, my plans for the summer have changed like many other people’s. I’m disappointed but trying to make the best of it. I have quite the backlog of reviews to write, some library books I took out in March that I haven’t gotten to and the last month of my Scribd trial so I am hoping to shift my focus!

thoughts

Total for June 2020: 16 Books Read + 3 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 0 Books

Last June: 13 Books Read + 4 Novellas Read + 2 DNFs

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Beautiful (Beautiful Bastard, #5)
Christina Lauren’s writing talents have come a long way from their Beautiful Bastard debut. I’m so glad that I saw the potential in this series and stuck with it! I loved this finale! It’s exactly what a romance series finale should be!

Biggest Let Down (★)

Best I've Ever Had (Sea Breeze Meets Rosemary Beach, #3)
I felt like that last two books in this series built up for our hero’s here so maybe I put too much pressure on it to be something else? I’m not sure. All I know is that this is the second 1-star review in a row for Abbi’s work and I’m not sure if I’ve outgrown her or her work has just shifted into something I’m not a fan of.


While I’ve been meaning to sign up for Scribd for a little while (it’s one of the last subscription services I haven’t tried), I finally got around to it this month!

Want to try Scribd for FREE for 60 days? Click Here! (*referral link)

Like I always do when I sign up for subscriptions, 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.

  • Appealed by Emma Chase (audio)
  • Sidebarred by Emma Chase (audio)
  • The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare (audio)
  • Best I’ve Ever Had by Abbi Glines (eBook)
  • The Empress by S J Kincaid (audio)
  • Beautiful Boss by Christina Lauren (audio)
  • House of Kings by Keary Taylor (eBook)
  • Beautiful by Christina Lauren (audio)
  • Man Card by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby (eBook)
  • Boy Toy by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby (eBook)
  • Big Shot by Kim Karr (audio)

A monthly subscription to Scribd costs $8.99 USD. Basically, if you read one audiobook title a month, you’ve doubled the value of your payment. Even reading one bestseller eBook covers your payment. For example, The Wallflower wager costs $9.99 CAD for the eBook and $26.99 for the audio. So I definitely got my money’s worth this month! Some titles I could get from my library but I didn’t have to wait or they had my preferred format on Scribd.

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: 3 books added | 15 of 31 Titles Read – On Track!
Goodreads Challenge: 19 books added | 107/155 Books – 31 books Ahead!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 1 books added | 12/24 Books – On Track!

View my Challenge Progress Here!

Sequel Month #2!

Like I did last year, I’ve decided to dedicate 4 months of 2020 to sequels! That means–with the exception of audiobooks and ARCs–every title I must read in that month needs to be a sequel for a previously started series! Approximately 84% of the books I read this month were sequels! You can see the breakdown of what I read below:

  • # of Sequels Read: 16 + 0 DNF + 1 in Progress
    1. Rainbows Ever After by J J McAvoy (Rainbows #2)
    2. Appealed by Emma Chase (The Legal Briefs #3)
    3. Sidebarred by Emma Chase (The Legal Briefs #3.5)
    4. The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare (Girl Meets Duke #3)
    5. Best I’ve Ever Had by Abbi Glines (Sea Breeze Meets Rosemary Beach #3)
    6. The Empress by S J Kincaid (The Diabolic #2)
    7. Beautiful Boss by Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard #4.5)
    8. House of Kings by Keary Taylor (House of Royals #3)
    9. Beautiful by Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard #5)
    10. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (Anna #2)
    11. Reckless by Stella Rhys (Irresistible #6)
    12. Man Card by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby (Man Hands #2)
    13. My Calamity Jane by Hand, Meadows & Ashton (The Ladies Janies #3)
    14. Boy Toy by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby (Man Hands #3)
    15. Big Shot by Kim Karr (Sexy Jerk World #2)
    16. A Love Song for Dreamers by Piper Lawson — In Progress
  • # of Series Finished: 6
    1. Rainbows
    2. The Legal Briefs
    3. Beautiful Bastard
    4. Anna
    5. Irresistible
    6. The Ladies Janies

What a great reading month for sequels! All but three books I read this month were sequels which is pretty impressive! I got quite a few outstanding series finished up and added some long overdue sequels for others so I consider this one a success!

Cleaning Up My Goodreads Shelves:

My main mission for 2019 was bringing my “Want to Read” shelf (new to me books) on Goodreads to a number close to 400—and I was pretty darn close (422!)! I also set my “Sequel” shelf to be below 250 titles and I did do that (238)!

So this year, I’m aiming for a “Want to Read” shelf that is less than 400 titles. I’ve also set a goal to get my “Sequel” shelf below 200 titles.

Currently

December 31, 2019

Want to Read (New)

391

422

To Read (Sequels)

215

238

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:

When You Were Mine
Pass

Dare to Love (Dare to Love, #1)
Keep

Levitate
Keep

The Hit List
Pass

The Ghost Bride
Pass

Jack Hammer (The Stripped Duet, #1)
Pass

Because You'll Never Meet Me (Because You'll Never Meet Me, #1)
Keep

The Skylighter (The Keepers' Chronicles, #2)
Keep

Maid of Deception (Maids of Honor, #2)
Keep

The Savage Dawn (The Girl at Midnight, #3)
Keep

Pass: 4 | Keep: 6

Grand Total YTD: Pass: 27 | Keep: 33

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 June, 2020:

ARCs Read: 18 | ARCs Overdue: 2* | Upcoming: 5

(March State: ARCs Read: 8 | ARCs Overdue: 2+1* | Upcoming: 1

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

Going Forward:

I’ve put a hold on taking requests for the rest of the summer to concentrate on titles I already have committed too and some upcoming releases for the street teams I’m a part of of.

The focus for July is to finish up some ARCs and enjoy the last month of my Scribd trial!

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

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SERIESous Discussion: How Many Series Did I *Really* Read in 2019?


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!


In the past, I’ve done some investigative discussion posts on Where my Books Come From and What My Monthly Reading Habits are year to year. And while I still plan on doing those specific posts later this year, I thought it would be fun to find out what I actually read last year when it comes to book series and standalones.

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

Thanks to the super handy formulas of an Excel spreadsheet–which is how I keep track of all the books I read in a year in addition to Goodreads–I was able to answer some burning questions I had about my reading habits when it comes to book series for the year 2019.

How Many Books Were Part of a Series?

Obviously, my blog is about Book Series and in order to generate content, I really have to keep my focus on reading books that are a part of a series. But I also love a good standalone novel from time to time. So, what’s the ratio of series novels read to standalones?

Novels/Novellas in a Series = 86% | Standalones = 14%

That’s right around what I expected. Usually, once I fill up all my Single Sunday posting slots for a year, I stop reading standalones and focus again on series novels.

Here is a specific breakdown of what parts of series I read last year:

Type: 201920182017
Standalone24 [14%]35 [16%]74 [33%]
Series148 [86%]187 [84%]147 [66%]
Book 145 [26%](71) [32%](53) [36%]
Book 241 [24%](59) [26%](44) [30%]
Book 3+45 [26%](46) [20%](37) [25%]
Novellas:17 [10%](13) [6%](11) [5%]
Grand Total172 [100%]224 [100%]221 [100%]

 

Do I Start More Book Series than I Finish?

Before I updated my Excel spreadsheet last year with a few other calculable parameters, I used to just keep track of how many book series I had on the go (and approximately how many books that was in total).

  • At the start start of 2019:
    • I had 124 series on the go, totalling 174 books.
  • At the end of 2019:
    • I had 120 series on the go, totalling 160 books.

In theory, it looks like I finished more series than I started new ones but is that really the case?

According to my data:

  • Brand New-To-Me Series:
    • Started 37 brand new to me series
    • Finished 13 of them
    • Opted not to finish 9 of them
  • Continuing Series:
    • Read 37 sequel novels
    • Finished 29 series
    • Opted not to finish 1

So really, the drop in my numbers came from the fact that there were brand new to me series that I opted not to continue with and not solely because I was more proactive about reading “newer” book sequels.

Slight Disclaimer:

Now, my system isn’t perfect. Some of the numbers might be slightly skewed because I only use one code for each book. For example, Dread Nation was a new to me series that I read completely but have opted not to read the sequel for. It got classified as a “DNF series” and doesn’t get counted in the “brand new series” category.

Also, I didn’t account for book series that are ongoing publications. If there is still a sequel to be published, I don’t count the series as “complete” even if I have read all available books.

Summary:

Much like when I started my blog nearly 7 years ago, the vast majority of what I read in a year is book series! I’m not particularly shocked by that fact; though I felt like I read a lot more standalones than 14% last year. So I am pretty happy with the number breakdown as it stands.

How many book series do you read in a year?

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SERIESous Discussion: My Reading Habits by Month [3]


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!


For the last 2 years I’ve been doing this comparison post to check in with my reading. I always to month-to-month comparison for my Monthly Inventories but it’s interesting to reflect back on the entire year as a whole.

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

I break things down like this:

  • What I learned from last year (2018) and any changes I made for 2019
  • My thoughts before I look at 2019’s numbers
  • The actual numbers & their breakdown
  • What I learned and moving forward

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

I learned a few things from my post last year:

  • February was my most productive reading month
  • I averaged 1 book less per month in 2018 than 2017
    • 2018: 19 books/month; 2017: 20 books/month 
  • My DNF #s have increased exponentially since 2016
  • I read less on my Kobo

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

  • Focused on reading more books I already own by
    • Reducing holds at the library for non-audiobooks
    • Creating specific reading challenges for owned books
    • Requesting less ARCs
  • Dedicated 4 months of the year to only read sequels

 

My Thoughts Before Looking at the Numbers:

Without a doubt, 2019 was a terrible reading year for me. I didn’t complete my Goodreads Challenge for the first time ever because life simply got in the way. Moving closer to work and reducing my commute time did nothing to improve my reading numbers like I thought.

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

I’d go days without picking up a book which would have shocked me 4 years ago. Gone were the days of getting up early just to fit a few chapters in. As a shift worker, I milk every minute of sleep I can get now. And if I’m lucky, I can fit in a chapter or two before sleep takes over for the night. So I know my numbers are not going to be stellar.

The Actual Results:

 

The Breakdown:

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

 2016201720182019
Total # Read260240229173
Monthly Avg22201915
Total # DNF'd717298
# of Kobo Reading Hours40040479144

My Thoughts After Looking at the Numbers:

Moving into a new home meant that most of my free time was spent getting the house (and yard) sorted. So I’m not shocked by these numbers. It was also my first year of being completely full time and one where I didn’t have the nicest rotation to follow. And I’d like to think my social life was more active than previously so that leads to less time reading.

Fun fact: I actually went 6 months into 2019 before I DNF’d my first book! I’ve been going through my TBR monthly and completing the Down The TBR Hole meme and removing books that I’m just not interested in throughout the whole year so maybe that has helped keep me satisfied with the books I do pick up.

The months I completed my Sequel Only months were February, June, September and November. And for the most part, I did see an increase in the number of titles I read for those months but it didn’t cause massive spikes.

Moving Forward:

I was much more realistic with my Goodreads Goal this year based on last year’s numbers. I’m realizing as I get older that there are other things that take precedence over reading. 

I’m really curious to see how my formats read are impacted though. I seem to be reading a lot of audiobooks (which was a foreign concept to me merely a few years ago) and if I wasn’t, my numbers would be near what they are in a year.

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

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Monthly Inventory: May 2020

May 2020

This was a weird month for me. Things started on such a high following a great April (reading wise) and I was optimistic things were on the right track for the rest of the month.

I celebrated 7 years of blogging at the start of the month. It’s crazy that I’ve been doing this for 7 years! I’ve made lots of changes over the last 7 years like moving to a self-hosted site (and debating about staying that way), changing my posting schedule to post less and changing my review formats. Over the last two years I’ve struggled to find the time to blog but I learned I just had to find the right balance and change my expectations. I might not work on my blog everyday like I used to, but when I do, I’m reminded why I started this hobby in the first place. And especially with the state of the world right now (working in healthcare like I do is particularly challenging of late), finding joy in the little things has helped my mental health incredibly.

My reading itself was all over the place this month. While June was my planned “Sequel Month #2” for the year, approximately 50% of the books I read in May were sequels. Some were good and some were bad. I think this tweet sums things up nicely:


So by the end of the month, I tried my best to keep things light (ie mostly read contemporary romances) because that’s what my mood seemed to thrive on. And as June approached, I felt a little better about diving into those sequels and FINALLY starting my Scribd free trial.

thoughts

Total for May 2020: 24 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 1 Books

Last May: 13 Books Read + 1 Novellas Read + 0 DNFs

Standout Read (★★★★★)


I love Piper’s works and this series is shaping up to be one of her best yet. This book had everything I love in a good contemporary romance. Very excited for the finale!

Biggest Let Down (★★)


I think I just outgrew this series. It took me over 6 months (and numerous loans and renewals) to finally finish this book…and I was skimming it. The way this series progressed and evolved just wasn’t for me. And I could do without seeing the word “mate” for another 6 months.

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: 2 books added | 13 of 31 Titles Read – On Track!
Goodreads Challenge: 24 books added | 88/155 Books – 24 Books Ahead!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 2 books added | 11/24 Books – 1 Book 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:

Take Me for Granted (Take Me, #1)
Keep

The Queen of All that Dies (The Fallen World, #1)
Keep

Dream a Little Dream (The Silver Trilogy, #1)
Pass

#Nerd (Hashtag, #1)
Keep

Vendetta (Blood for Blood, #1)
Pass

Luck on the Line (On the Verge #1)
Pass

An Uncertain Choice (An Uncertain Choice, #1)
Keep

Bloodwitch (The Witchlands, #3)
Keep

Dirty Charmer (Royally, #5)
Keep

Big Shot (Sexy Jerk World, #2)
Keep

Pass: 3 | Keep: 7

Grand Total YTD: Pass: 23 | Keep: 27

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

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

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Last 10 Books I DNF’d

memefulthoughts1
Top Ten Tuesdays: Is a weekly meme feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl where bloggers post their Top 10 List for an assigned topic! I will not be participating every week, but I will occasionally take a shot at it! 

This Week’s Topic:

Top Ten Books I Just Couldn’t Finish

I’ve been really good in the last year or so about not DNFing books. I don’t think there is anything wrong with DNFing books. I mean, I even wrote a post about HOW I do it here and part of my yearly wrap-up for the blog includes a DNF December Blitz of all the books and/or series I’ve opted not to finish for one reason or another. I just mean, that in the last year or so I’ve been very fortunate to pick up books that I’ve been able to finish.

So far this year I’ve DNF’d 4 books. Last year, I didn’t DNF a book until June. But here are the last 10 I’ve had to put down and why:

In Order of Most Recent:

1

I was listening to the audio version and I just found it couldn’t hold my attention with all the jumping around from past to present. Plus it is SO LONG!

DNF’d at 44%

2


I was really excited to read this diversely cast sequel but I failed to see the chemistry between these two at all.

DNF’d at 30%

3

This book hits the ground running and I had immediately fell behind. I felt like the synopsis served as the exposition and that I should already know who these people were and their relationships.

DNF’d at 21%

4


I really enjoyed the others in the series but this went from 0 to 100 in a second with no build up of chemistry or anything. Just didn’t work for me!

DNF’d at 25%

Read Series Review

5


Everything in this book seemed to move at a glacial pace. Whether it was the romance or the severe lack of drama, everything was taking its time to develop and I was bored.

DNF’d at 41%

Read My Review

6


After a promising first part, I was eager to see where this would go but it went nowhere anytime fast.

DNF’d at 40%

Read Series Review

7


I bought this before the whole Kindle Unlimited scam happened but this was so boring and bland.

DNF’d at 23%

8


Too much angst from our female lead and the lack of the male POV had me feeling nothing from these two.

DNF’d at 37%

Read My Review

9


This started off promising for me but I disliked how judgy our lead was towards other women. And I felt zero chemistry between the leads.

DNF’d at 22%

Read My Review

10


This book just needed something to take it to the next level. I wanted complex politics and drama but everything felt mundane.

DNF’d at 52%

Read My Review


Do you tough it out or do you DNF?

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