Blogging and Reading Goals for 2021

So I thought I would share with you what I hope to do both with the blog and with my reading in 2021. Goals are important. They give us something to strive for. Written down they also give us a way to look back and see if we have accomplished those goals.

Here’s hoping.

More Reviews: I really enjoy writing reviews, and I hope you enjoy reading them. I’m hoping to do at least two reviews a month.

A More Consistent Review Format: I haven’t been very consistent with how I do reviews. I would like to change that. It would be nice for me, and for you, to have a format to follow that makes some kind of sense.

Read More Books: I don’t mean try to read 30 books every month, that would be insane. I can only do that once a year. Maybe. No, I just mean overall. I set my Goodreads/The Storygraph goal at 50 books. Given that I read 82 books this past year, I’m pretty sure I’ll hit it. Probably. I hope. Sure. I can do it! I have faith…in myself.

Read More Non-Fiction Books: I only read two non-fiction books last year. Two! I’m hoping to change that this year. I have a few books in a mind, and a friend already recommended another one for me.

Read All the Books on My TBR Cart: It’s not a TBR per se, but it’s a goal. I bought a lot of books in a short span of time last year, and I need to try to read them all. Or at least get halfway through the cart before I order anymore books. And E-books don’t count. Though I do have a lot of those I need to read too.

Re-Read Some Favorites: I love re-reading books. They feel like those old friends you haven’t seen in a while but it’s like no time has past. I love those books. And those friends. You know who you are.

Do More Book Tags: I have found that I love books tags. For all that I’ve only done two. And coming up with answers that aren’t all The Dragon Prince or Exiles by Melanie Rawn is proving challenging. And I like it!

And there are my goals. What goals do you have for the year?

Skipping the TBR?

Yes, I am skipping the TBR this month.

I know!

What’s a book blogger to do without a TBR?

Mood read, that’s what.

See, I’ve been trying this TBR thing and it hasn’t really worked out for me. I mean, the first month I did it, I did well. But every month after, total failure.

Which is fine. We learn from failure. And what I learned is that maybe I shouldn’t do TBR’s.

See TBR’s feel too much like an assignment. Like something I have to do. And since I am a mood reader, well, that just kills wanting to read.

That’s not good.

I want to read all the books I have, and since I keep buying new ones, well, I need to mood read them. So lets see how this no TBR thing goes.

I hope it goes well for me.

Everything I Read in December 2020

Here we go again! Another waltz around the month to see all I have read!

I kinda did if DNF’ing a book on my TBR list counts. I’m counting it. Because I tried to read it, I really did.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

This is the story of how Nickolas came to be Santa Claus. I loved this book so much! It was such a cute Christmas read. You can see more about what I thought about this book here. I did give it 5 stars.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

This is a story that asks what if the hero fails and then the villain reigns for a thousand years. My husband has been on me to read this book for a while, and I’m not sure why I didn’t read it sooner, but man did I love this book. 5 out of 5 stars.

In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

One woman, two brothers, a Christmas wish, and a Groundhog Day style time loop. I’m a sucker for a good time loop story. I liked this book. It was cute and fluffy. A good holiday read. 3 stars.

Paradise Planet by Jesse Lonergan

When their ship crash lands on a planet, a passenger must take care of a drug riddled captain and watch out for hungry lizards. The art was just okay in this graphic novel, and the storyline was poorly done. It could have been more fleshed out. 2 stars.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

Rory Thorne is a princess who has been given thirteen fairy gifts, now she has to use them to save her betrothed from a plot to overthrow his government. I had a really hard time reading this book. I would have DNF’d it, but I actually wanted to know how it would end. 2 Stars.

Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune is the story of Paul Atreides and his time on Arrakis where the “Spice must flow”. Obviously, it’s about more than that, but I didn’t enjoy this book. I don’t connect with the authors writing style so I didn’t finish this book. 1 star.

There. I read my TBR. Sort of. I swear I tried to read Dune. I just can’t connect with it. I still want to see the movie though. I’m a glutton for punishment.

And here are my stats! I really enjoy getting to look at these now that I have discovered The Storygraph.

I read 3 adventurous books last month. And 2 mysterious? This stat will always surprise me I guess. I do like that I managed to read 2 lighthearted books last month. That’s a nice change of pace.

Speaking of pace, 2 fast and 2 medium paced books for me.

Since The Storygraph doesn’t count DNF’s, Mistborn was my highest page read, coming in at 541 pages.

I only read 2 Fantasy books last month? How is that possible? I mean, It’s still my most read genre, but still. Only 2?

And my Average rating being 3.4 stars doesn’t really surprise me. Especially given that I had two books each for 2 star and 5 star books.

Well there you have it. All the stuff I read last month! What a short list. I’m working to read more books this month. But all amount of reading is valid, so at least I’m reading!

December 2020 Wrap Up

Hello everyone! How was your December? Mine was good. Surprisingly busy considering I didn’t even go anywhere. I had a wonderful, and safe, Christmas here at home with the hubs. We missed our family but it was for the best. Also we got to sit around in our PJ’s all day, watch movies, and in the hubs case, build legos.

New Years brought with it more relaxing and some sadness. My uncle very suddenly passed away the morning of New Years Day. He’ll be missed.

And with that depressing note, on to the wrap up.

What I read in November 2020: My reading list for November. This is also when I discovered The Storygraph. Man I love that website.

November 2020 Book Haul: I posted my monthly book haul. Nothing to surprising. I had said I was gonna slow down on the book buying this month. I lied.

What to Read, December TBR: Here you can find my TBR for the month. Spoiler alert, I actually managed it. Sort of. Does it count if you DNF one of the books?

The Autobiography of Santa Claus- A Book Review: I cannot stress enough how much I loved this book. It was so sweet and heart warming.

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag: I did my first book tag! Huzzah! It was themed after the 12 days of Christmas. I enjoyed doing it!

Old Man’s War-A Book Review: I read Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. It was pretty good. Naturally, I wrote a review about it.

The Festive Christmas Book Tag: I actually liked doing this one more than the first one. I think I did better with this one. I’m going to try and do more books tags and see how my answers change!

A Night of Christmas Lights: I shared the time we went to look at the Christmas lights in Grand Prairie, TX. It was a lot of fun!

Book of the Month- A Review: I joined Book of the Month in November and decided to review my experience. Spoiler alert, it was pleasant.

Christmas Book Haul 2020: I received book type gifts for Christmas! So I shared what I got with you, because why not.

2020 Review Round Up: I did a round up of my reviews from this year. Will I do it again next year? I don’t know, it depends on how many books I review.

Books I Did Not Finish in 2020: Pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s all the books I DNF’d in 2020!

And there you go. Everything I posted in December. A few more posts then usual due to the fact that it was the end of the year. Oh well. Just means it was more for me to write. And since I happen to like writing, it works out well!

2020 Reading Stats

2020 was a good reading year for me. It was bolstered by the fact that I read 31 books in August.

Why was it so good? Well my Goodreads goal for the year was 30 books, and I read 82 books this year.

I have accomplished a thing! Huzzah!

This is actually pretty great for me, given that I usually set the goal pretty high for a casual reader and then I fail. Horribly.

So without further ado, I present to you my stats for 2020!

As you can see, the majority of my books are fantasy reads (64 of them). This should surprise absolutely no one. That I read so many young adult books surprised me, since I really just started to get into that genre in the later part of this year. I mean really, 20 YA books? And that sci-fi is next with 10 books really isn’t a shock to me. Fantasy and sci-fi are my jams. What this does tell me is that I need to read more sci-fi though. Good thing to work on for 2021.

With the amount of fantasy and sci-fi I read, that I read 78 adventurous books doesn’t come to much of a surprise to me. Mysterious, however, does. I didn’t think that I read a lot of mysterious books this year, but apparently I read 19 of them, so that is interesting.

29,391 pages read. That’s a lot of pages. Thankfully, I avoided papercuts this year. Goodreads says that my average book length was 366 pages, and that sound about right.

Again, I’m not very surprised by these stats. 95% of the books I read this August fell around 350 pages long, which is why I picked those books to read.

Look at those pace stats. I am surprised by those. I was convinced I didn’t like slow books, but apparently I read 28 slow paced books this year. Huh.

My average rating was 4.06? I thought that number would be lower. I didn’t know I had so many 5 star reads. I do know some of those were re-reads. So they had already been ranked before. But still, 30 5 stars seems a little high.

I only read 2 non fiction books last year. That is too low a number. Must read more informative books!

And there you have it, my end of the year stats. What do yours look like? Have you tried Storygraph?

My Favorite Reads of 2020

Happy New Years everyone! Did you have a good evening of safe, stay at home, fun? In a move that should shock no one, I stayed home, watched Star Wars, and played Animal Crossing.

All night.

It was wonderful.

But you aren’t here for my New Years adventures (or lack thereof), you are here for the books! Without further ado, I present to you my top 8 books of 2020!

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

A retelling of Sherlock Holmes if Holmes was a woman and a sorceress. Oh, and did I mention the queer romance? I loved this book to the point that I despaired when it was done because there wasn’t more. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars because I couldn’t give it 7 stars.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

A mysterious plague of lives never lived sweeps the Earth. This book put me through it. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Patricia’s life was normal, until the vampire moved in down the street. I loved this book. My book club loved this book. It’s a really great book. 5 out of 5 stars!

Hyperbole and Half by Allie Brosh

It’s a graphic novel of a web-toon based on the authors life. She details her childhood, her struggles with depression, and her fight with a goose. I might have lol’d a few times. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

A woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever but everyone she meets forgets her. 300 years later, someone finally remembers her. I cannot say enough about this book. I loved how it ended. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

This is exactly what it say in the title, the story of Santa told from his point of view. It was so wholesome and heartwarming. It definitely gave me the warm fuzzies. 5 out of 5 stars.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Imagine a world were a hero failed to defeat the darkness. And then that darkness reigned for 1000 years. The hubs loves this book and has been trying to get me to read for forever. I finally did it and I loved it. 5 out of 5 stars.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Humans have conquered space flight, and Adriene O’Neill is documenting her work as one of those travelers. But what has happened to the world left behind while they are gone? I only gave this book 4 stars, but the ending to this novella really stuck with me even now. I had to add it to this list.

What were your favorite reads of 2020?

Books I Did Not Finish in 2020

Let’s be honest, 2020 hasn’t been the best year. It also has had some bad books in it, at least for me anyway. Since I have a few books in my DNF bag I thought I would share them with you.

You know, so you can suffer with me.

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

This is a dark comedy about a woman who takes over her fathers taxidermy business after his suicide. She also happens to be in love with her brother’s wife. I just didn’t like this story at all. There was nothing like-able about any of the characters, which I think was kinda the point, but still. It just didn’t click with me at all. I got 25% of the way through this one and tried to yeet it off my Kindle.

And yes, I just used the word yeet. Don’t @ me.

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

What happens when the chosen one is nothing like what you would expect? And also a talking goat. I tried to read this one, I really did. It was billed as being like Monty Python. It’s not. it’s not even a little bit like it. Which is fine. But it still wasn’t funny. My husband read it first and he didn’t find it funny either. He finished it (barely), I didn’t.

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

A sci-fi story about an interstellar singing competition where the fate of Earth hangs in the balance? What’s not to love? Apparently, all of it. I just didn’t like the way this book was written. It felt like a hyperactive child who got given to much sugar right before going to bed and then wouldn’t go to sleep.

Too harsh?

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

An average guy finds out he has a new job. As Death. Supposed to be humorous. I found it lacking to the point where I gave up after 50 pages. I know, some of you will say I should have given it more of a chance, but I just couldn’t.

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg

Two transgendered persons wander out into the desert. One wants to learn the last of the great weaves, one wants their name. What they get is much different. I just didn’t enjoy this book. I put it down and didn’t want to pick it back up. Though I may pick it up again.

The Road Not Taken by Susan Rubin

A widow gets taken on a ride through the space-time continuum by an alien race known as the Lost. I really wanted to like this one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with this book and it fell flat for me. I DNF’d this one very early on. Like, 25 pages in.

Dune by Frank Herbert

The story of Paul Atreides and his time on Arrakis just didn’t connect with me. I have come to the conclusion that it is the authors writing style that I don’t gel with. I’ve tried to read this book once before, and I didn’t connect with it then either. Maybe this book just isn’t for me.

What are the were the most disappointing books for you this year?

2020 Review Round Up

So no one asked for this, but I thought I’d do it anyway!

Especially since I haven’t reviewed all that many books this year.

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

This was the first book I reviewed in 2020. I loved it. A fun, quirky retelling of Sherlock Holmes if Sherlock was female…and a sorceress. I gave this book 5 stars.

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

Imagine the ancient Greek gods are alive and well in modern London. Now imagine they are just as terrible now as they were in ancient Greece. This book was just a solid meh. 3 stars.

Spy, Spy Again by Mercedes Lackey

A book with magic, demons, spies, and assassins? This Heralds of Valdemar book got 4 stars from me on Goodreads, though that may have been due to nostalgia. But still, 4 stars!

Thin Air by Lisa Gray

In this Jessica Shaw thriller, Jessica, a PI, heads to California to investigate why a photo of a missing person at three years old looks like her. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, but because I listened to the audiobook, well, just read the review.

Faith publish by Valiant Comics, written by Jody Hauser

Faith is a Trade Paper back of the first few issues of the Faith comic book which centers around a plus sized superhero. I really wanted to like this alot. But I ended up with solid meh feelings about it. 3 stars from me.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

This is the story of Bree, a high schooler, who after a personal tragedy, stumbles across the Legendborn at the college she is attending. I enjoyed this book. I gave it a 3.75 out of 5 stars.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The story of two black sisters who grow up in the Jim Crow south, this story focuses on a lot of heavy themes, and it does it really, really well. I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

A dragon is set to rise after a thousand years, and it wants to destroy the world. Can Queen Sabran survive her court long enough to stop it? This book was interesting, and a little to heavy on the political side for me. 3.75 out of 5 stars.

A Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

A new neighbor moves in. Patricia just has to convince the rest of her book club that he is, in fact, a vampire. To say I loved this book is an understatement. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

This is the story of Yadriel, a transgendered teen who just wants to prove to his family that he can be a real brujo. He never really counted on summoning Julien. This book was such a fun read. I gave it 4 stars.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Addie makes a Faustian bargain to live forever, as a result, everyone forgets her. Until one days, someone remembers her. I cannot stop raving about this book. For sure my favorite of the year. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

This is the story of Santa Claus. No really. It says so on the cover. This book was so heart warming and cute. I will be reading this every Christmas, for sure. 5 out of 5 stars.

Christmas Book Haul 2020

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah! I hope you had a wonderful holiday no matter how you celebrated it this year.

Especially this year.

My husband and I usually celebrate with family, but, like so many this year, we felt it safer to stay at home due to Covid. As a result, this year we spent the day in our pj’s watching the new Wonder Woman movie and eating all the yummy food. A nice, relaxing holiday.

Still missed our families though.

But I thought I would share the books I got/bought with gift cards for Christmas. This is a thing bloggers do, right?

From my amazing mother-in-law I received the following:

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I love the premise of this. What happens when two ordinary college students get super powers? They don’t become the heroes in this book.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

January is the ward of Mr. Locke, feeling much like one of his artifacts. Until she finds a mysterious book. I love the way this book sounds, and asked for it on the recommendation of a friend. I hope it’s as good as she made it sound!

Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness

If you like the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness, you will love this. It’s the story of Marcus, set both in the past at the time of his being turned into a vampire set to the backdrop of the American Revolutionary War, to the present, where his lover is starting her own journey to immortality. I have already read this book, but I didn’t own it, and now the All Souls universe is complete again! Mwah ha ha ha.

From my bestie I received a gift card with which to purchase what I wished. And what I wished for was, naturally, books. I also received a gift card from that most wonderous of humans, my husband! His was so I could purchase books. Because he has met me.

Here are the books I bought with those gifty cards!

Peace and Turmoil by Elliot Brooks

Thirty years of peace have reigned over the lands of Abra’am. That may soon come to an end. I’m not gonna lie, I saw this on booktube and became intrigued. It sounds intriguing.

House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess

Five people compete, to the death, for a chance at the throne. Plus, dragons! Let’s be honest, they had me at dragons. But this kind of competition for the throne thing sounds interesting.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

When Laia’s brother is captured, she makes a deal with some rebels. They’ll get him out of prison if she agrees to go undercover and spy for them at an elite military school. Elias is attending that school, though he doesn’t want to. This book has been raved about, so I picked it up to see what all the excitement was about.

Artifical Condtion: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

It has a dark past—one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. I loved the first book and I am looking forward to seeing what this novella has in store for me.

Paradise Planet by Jesse Lonergan

To survive after crash landing on an alien planet, a vacationer must battle against a hostile environment, killer lizards, corporate bureaucracy, and the pessimism of her sole companion, the drug-addled captain of the ship. This graphic novel sounded interesting when I added it to my list of books I wanted back in November.

The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

Deep within Gloamingard Castle lies a black tower. Sealed by magic, it guards a dangerous secret that has been contained for thousands of years. I loved the first two books I read by this author, so I had to pick this one up too.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

People lived because she killed. People died because he lived. They both seek the same prize. This also came with all the acclaim, so let’s hope it lives up to the hype!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Rosemary joins up with the crew aboard the spaceship Wayfairer. Then they get hired for a job tunneling wormholes to a far distant planet. After reading To be Taught, if Fortunate by the author I knew I had to pick this up. It just had to happen!

This Place: 150 Years Retold by Various

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators. These stories are journeys through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact. This looks so cool! How could I not pick it up?

Point B (a teleportation love story) by Drew Magary

Set in a science fictional universe where climate change is fixed but people get killed via teleportation, a young woman named Anna Huff has to navigate her adolescence and a murder mystery. I liked The Postmortal enough to give the author another look. And I like what I see in this book.

This last book was given to me by my book club Secret Santa.

Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization. Sounds like just the apocalyptic book I need!

What books did you get for Christmas?

Book of the Month- A Review

So let’s talk about Book of the Month.

A little background: Book of the Month is a monthly subscription box that is all about books! And all you get is the books you select! It’s a hardcover new release or early release for $14.99 each month, with $9.99 for each additional book. You can also skip the month you don’t want the books from.

I’ve heard about BOTM through bookish people of various mediums. But what really convinced me was my friend Erin, who also happens to be the leader of one of the book clubs I happen to have joined this year. And, of course, there was their cyber week sale. Also, a book I recommended for book club (that didn’t get picked because reasons, I’m really not bitter because the winning pick was so dang cute!) was one of the choices for BOTM for December.

So really it was three things that led to me finally deciding to go with BOTM.

Go me.

I joined on November 30th, my book shipped on December 2nd, on December 10th I got a notification that my book was out for delivery, and an email when it was delivered! So that was pretty awesome. When I got the email telling me that my book had shipped, they also said it would take a little bit longer than usual due to the high volume of packages sent during this holiday season. I appreciated the heads up, even if it was something I already knew.

It arrived wrapped in plastic, which I appreciate, as it protects the book from the elements if it has to be left on a porch or in another outdoorsy environment. I’ll be interested to see if this is something they continue.

They also included a little book that went over the history of BOTM, some stickers, and a bookmark. The stickers were so cute!

The book I picked was In a Holidaze by writing duo Christina Lauren. It’s a romance that features the use of a time loop, a la Groundhog Day (or my favorite episode of Stargate SG-1, if you know, you know).

The next month’s picks became available on December 27th, with me acquiring 1 credit on my account. Luckily, a book I wanted for January was in the mix, so I picked that up, as well as a past title for $9.99 that I had been wanting.

So far I am really liking Book of the Month. But time will tell if it holds up.

Do you use BOTM? What do you think of it?