Author's Note

January Reading Wrap Up

Well, I didn’t intend to be so quiet this month! I was incredibly busy for the first half of the month with reading and editing submissions for Indie Bites magazine, and then after three years of managing to dodge it, I finally succumbed to Covid at the end of the month, so it was a bad month for the book side of things all over. But I’m on the mend, and the editing’s almost done, so let’s wrap up what I did get read and done, and move on to February!

Continue reading “January Reading Wrap Up”
Author's Note

2023 Reading Goals

I can’t believe how quickly the last year has gone. It’s been a mixed one for me, with some health challenges that wiped out a lot of my energy, so while I normally love the changing of the year, this time round I’m feeling a little bit of pressure to work harder and, well, do more! On the flipside, I also want to make space for a slightly less stressful year, so oxymoronically I’m in full planning mode about how to let go of planning mode – we’ll see if this is the year I chill out a bit (probably not). In 2022 I thought about chucking in the blogging towel more than once, but I’ve done some reflecting and I still love this little blog, so you haven’t got rid of me just yet…

And I’m ready to set myself some new reading goals for 2023!

Books read:

I think I’m going to stick to the same overall reading goal as 2022, of 400 books. I did end up reading quite a bit more than this, as you’ll have seen in my wrap up post, but it’s a nice point that’s a little bit of a stretch without having me flat out and worried about falling behind.

It’s also a nice round number and I really liked tracking the percentage of books I’d read last year, so I’m going to keep doing that – it means I need to read around 33 books a month, or 100 books per quarter.

Also, I just really love the moment when I copy my ‘Read’ list from my TBR page into a document to save, and then get to start a lovely new blank list!

My Owned TBR:

I’m so thrilled with my progress on my TBR in 2022, getting it down from 299 to 199 – that might not seem like a huge amount compared to my 200-odd reduction in 2021, but I realised pretty early on in 2022 that I’d winnowed out most of the books I was likely to DNF or not want to start, so everything on the list was actually going to be read!

I’d like to do this year’s TBR reduction goals quarterly, as when they’re too big they feel a bit insurmountable. I’m going to aim to get this down from 199 to 180 by the end of April – that feels doable and allows for plenty of new books to come in, because that’s what makes it difficult! I’m already much pickier about requesting review copies, and I’m starting to make good progress on some of the oldest sections of my TBR, so I’m hopeful that I can manage this.

NetGalley:

I’m starting the year with 59 books to review on NetGalley, and a ratio of 90% – while I’m pretty happy with my ratio, I do feel like there are a few too many books waiting on the list, so I really want to thin this down quite a bit. More than half of them (35!) have been read, so I just need to get around to writing up the reviews! I’d prefer to have no more than 20 NetGalley books at any time, so whittling this down is a real priority for me.

Reading Challenges:

My reading challenges worked really well to get me picking up a variety of books last year, so I’m going to continue to set myself a little TBR each month on a particular theme. The major change I’m making this year is that most of the time these lists were too long to finish comfortably, so I’m setting an upper limit of 9 books each month – that way, they aren’t the whole focus of the month, just a few things I want to get to.

Tomorrow’s post will have all the details of my January challenge!

General

Overall, I would really just like to get back to a place where reading is a joy and not a chore. I spent a lot of 2022 realising the ways in which my taste has changed, and becoming a bit disillusioned with the constant churn of popular books which didn’t quite suit my actual reading preferences, so for 2023 I want to embrace books as a pleasure again. Getting that TBR down will certainly help, but so will allowing myself to read my older fantasy books, and my weird niche sci-fi, and stuff that’s completely “off-brand” for the blog but feels more like me. So I’m making no promises, but we’ll see how a year of mood reading goes!

What are your reading goals for 2022? Wish me luck with these!

Author's Note

December/End of 2022 Wrap Up

Happy New Year! I’m back from my hiatus feeling very refreshed, and I’m really excited to get back to reviewing and talking books! As with last year, I thought I’d reflect on December as a month, with some thoughts about the whole year mixed in, and then set myself some fresh 2023 goals tomorrow.

I set myself two goals for 2022:

  • to read 400 books
  • to reduce my TBR

And with both of these, I did much better than expected!

Continue reading “December/End of 2022 Wrap Up”
Author's Note

November Reading Wrap Up

I truly feel like November barely even happened! It’s been a strange reading month for me, mostly very slumpy – I’ve been writing and editing a lot, which can make it tricky to read for fun, and I’m also just really exhausted in general. I’m actually going to put myself back on something of a hiatus for December – there are a few Christmas books I really want to review, and I’m looking forward to doing my yearly wrap up and favourites list, so I won’t be completely absent, but I’m hoping that taking the time pressure off will let me get back to just reading for the joy of it again. I’ll be popping in and out with the odd post, but don’t expect something from me every day! Taking a break worked really well to refresh me over the summer, and I’m hopeful that if it sets off a reading spark like September’s again, I could be looking at a great reading month to make one final push for the year’s TBR…

Anyway, let’s see how November’s numbers panned out!

Continue reading “November Reading Wrap Up”
Author's Note

August Reading Wrap Up – and Another Hiatus

August is the first month this year that’s actually felt like a long one! The summer’s stretched out beautifully this month, I’ve got lots of reading done, and the house stress has finally lightened up a bit.

That being said, as you can see from the title, I will be taking another month’s hiatus in September – the start of the new school year is always a real adjustment for our family as we have to readapt to juggling work and home life, plus I have a writing deadline at the end of the month, so I think this year it makes sense to put one of my spinning plates down in advance! I’ve got a couple of blog tours booked in, and I may throw up the odd post if I get a moment, but otherwise I’ll be pretty quiet on the blog until the start of October (when Hallowreadathon returns!).

Okay, with that out of the way, shall we see how my reading’s stacked up this month?

Continue reading “August Reading Wrap Up – and Another Hiatus”
Author's Note

July Reading Wrap Up – And My Return!

So here I am back from hiatus! I wish I could say it had been a relaxing one, but unfortunately the plumbing saga continues and I’m still rather overwhelmed. What has happened, though, is that I’ve been able to give myself some reading space and avoid getting too slumpy, and as I’d hoped, it’s meant that I have a little more energy for reviewing. I actually have posts scheduled for the next two weeks already! I may take a few more breaks this year if things continue to be stressful, but for now, I’m happy to be back. Let’s take a look at how things went while I was away!

Books read:

I read 43 books in July, bringing me up to 251 books for the year so far. I’m pretty happy with that – it’s always nice to hit that 250 marker because it makes me feel like I can relax a little about hitting my end-of-year goal! In fact, I’m a little ahead, with 62.75% of my target hit and only 58.3% of the year gone. I didn’t get quite as many older review copies read as I’d hoped I might, but I did end up rearranging my bookshelves quite drastically (from rainbow to genre), which really allowed me to re-evaluate the kind of things I actually have on my shelves, and also helped with some of the review copy chaos on my desk, so I feel a bit more on track.

For August, I’d like to read at least 31 books. That’s at least a book a day, and I think that’s doable at the moment while it’s still the school holidays!

Owned TBR:

A very tiny amount of downwards movement to 293 books – but I really didn’t think I was going to get any movement at all! A lot of the books I read this month were from my Historical Romance Windfall post, which actually aren’t on my official TBR, so although my read number is high, not all of them were tick-off-able. I also took advantage of a Kindle offer to get some ebook credit, so I added a bunch of ebooks to my TBR that I honestly didn’t need (but am excited to read, there’s T Kingfisher in there!). 38 books came in, and I read 14 of them, so there are 24 new July books on the TBR going forward.

I’m going to aim to have the TBR creep down under 285 in August. I don’t think I have a ton of new releases or ARCs on my radar for August, so if it’s a quiet bookpost month, maybe I can finally start to make progress down towards that end-of-year 200 goal!

Reading Challenges:

There was no reading challenge in July, of course, but I’m putting together August’s TBR and it’s going to be quite an intense one! That post will be up on the 3rd August, so keep an eye out…

Blog posts:

Despite being away, I did still have a few blog tours to take part in, so here are my reviews for those in case you missed any:

The Extraordinary Voyage of Katy Willacott by Sharon Gosling

No Sleep For Bear by Duncan Beedie

Mia and the Lightcasters by Janelle McCurdy

So there we have it. What did you get up to in July? Read anything good? I’d love to be linked to your wrap up posts if you have them, or just to hear about your reading in the comments!