Reading Update: January

Reading Update: January

Happy Friday, peeps! And happy January! I’m here with your new year, new update. 😉

I’m already finding that The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge has me reading more than I have been the past couple weeks. The holidays really slowed me down, but keeping up with the challenge, and trying to read my Libby loans before they get torn away from me, has me reading much faster than I have been. I’m averaging a book every three days right now, even with work.

I am still trying to finish Devolution by Max Brooks, however, and not because it’s bad. Once I had decided to do the 2022 challenge, it was the only book on my shelf that fit prompt 27: includes a map. I thought maybe if I held on and finished it after the start of the year it’d be fine to count it…but now I don’t want to jump back into it, because I totally forgot what’s happened in the first eighty pages or so. I can’t win. Anyways, I grabbed the audiobook on loan from Libby, so I’m going to give that a shot when it becomes available!

And speaking of, Libby audiobooks have been absolutely saving my ass lately. I’ve taken on so many new hobbies, and still have so many responsibilities around the house, that audiobooks have been a savior. I’ve listened to two in the past week, whereas if I had to take time to sit down and read right now I’m not sure I would have accomplished this much. I have another one downloaded and three more on hold. They may not be for everybody, but when I’m running out of physical time but I still can’t be without a book, audiobooks save the day.

I skipped my bookstore review this month because I just didn’t have the time to drive to a new bookstore – the nearest one I haven’t explored is probably a good fifty miles, and it is so very hard to fit things in with the holidays. I’m thinking of dropping the bookstore review altogether. What are your thoughts? Do you like reading the bookstore reviews? Would you prefer a “Go book shopping with me” segment once per month? I’m more apt to frequent a Gibson’s or B&N any given month than make a pilgrimage to a new indie store, though I do love exploring new places and supporting small businesses! Let me know what you think.

Looking forward to the coming month, I want to knock out a few more prompts with new books I’ve ordered! I just picked up She Sheds Style by Erika Kotite and Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond. Worst case scenario, Not Your Average Hot Guy will fit prompt 45: a book with illustrated people on the cover. I’m not clear on where to put She Sheds Style, though. In a general sense I think it fits prompt 24: addresses a specific topic, since it’s literally just about she sheds, but most of the prompt suggestions are on current events and movements… if that was their intent with this prompt, it was worded really poorly. “Addresses a specific topic” is really broad! I had already planned out a lot of my prompts, but I might go back and rework them. Some of them, I already switched around; others, I had accidentally read last year. We’ll see where I land at the end of the month, and then February’s project might be to redo my roadmap!

I’m finally making a dent in my huge NetGalley shelf…likely only because I haven’t requested anything in so long! I’m finding lately that I feel really out of touch with what’s new and popular. When I was cataloging at the library I was pretty familiar with new books of every genre…but now I haven’t the slightest clue. I’ve honestly lost track of romance, even. My recent trip to the library highlighted just how out of touch I am, hence my desire to do a “go book shopping with me” segment! I need to get back to the bookstore regularly so I can see all these great new releases. What have you read recently that should be on my tbr??

And that’s going to do it for January!! Stay warm, read inside. 🙂 Enjoy the month!

Reading Update: December

Reading Update: December

Back to another episode of She Didn’t Read What She Said She Was Going To: holiday edition!

Actually, I’m not going to spend much of this post beating myself up about not meeting my goals. Instead, I’d like to turn my focus to reflection on this past year, and the new year ahead – and new reading challenges!

As some readers know, 2021 was my first year of true *adulting*. I am now one full year out of college, and I started out this calendar year with multiple jobs that put me well over your standard forty hours a week. Finally in July, I ended up on a normal, forty-hour schedule, and my reading that had been left by the wayside – through months of working long hours, living in a camper, and just generally being exhausted –finally picked up. I kick-started this blog back into working shape when I finally saw some of my time open up. And since then, I’ve managed to maintain a slightly over one-book-per-week average.

That said, I did start this year out with a fifty-two book goal on Goodreads. I do the challenge every year, and last year I managed sixty-five books, the year before, fifty-nine, and my senior year of high school? Seventy. I will never top the amount of books I could consume when I had three periods a day basically set aside for reading. But fifty-two seemed reasonable. Even when I was in college, working two jobs, I was able to get to sixty-five. So I figured.

But I was wrong. Horribly wrong. Mid-year, I realized there was no way in hell I was getting there, after spending the spring absolutely drowning and spending 100% of my free time just sleeping. I was sleeping like, eleven hours a day. Regularly. So yeah, I didn’t get to fifty-two books this year, and I certainly don’t expect to before December 31st. Around July, I adjusted my goal down to just forty books, and truthfully, I may not reach that either.

I think it’s important to remember that it’s just been a tough year all around. The way many people suffered from the lack of human contact during 2020, I suffered from too *much* human contact upon re-entering the real world in 2021. And it hit me hard. It hit many of my friends hard. Remembering that the world is built for extroverts, and not us extreme introverts, was a harsh reality to face through the spring and summer. It’s only now, towards the end of the year, that I’m readjusting. You people-people simply have no idea how good you have it.

As it stands now, I have read thirty-two books this year. I’m on my last review of the year for the blog, and it’s set to be Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King (which has been on my tbr for about three years now, lol). I am content with thirty-two books, knowing that next year is bound to better, and that I simply made it through 2021 without *fully* collapsing. All in all, this is still a hobby, and not meeting my goals is not the end of the world.

Looking forward now! Last year one of my close friends invited me to the Facebook group for The 52 Book Club: a book challenge that not only asks you to read about one book per week, but attaches a prompt to each book. I joined a little late this year, and decided to skip it, but never left the group. So this year, I’m going to attempt the 2022 challenge (in addition to my normal Goodreads challenge, in which I will again attempt fifty-two books this coming year).

Like many other readers attempting the challenge, I’ve attempted to plot out my reading in a way that it eliminates many of the books I’ve been holding onto for years, instead of buying every little book I need for the prompts. Here are a few of the prompts I’m struggling with, if you have any ideas!

8. Involving the Art World

28. Award Winning Book From Your Country

43. An Author That’s Published in Multiple Genres

I purposefully didn’t fill in every prompt with planned books so far; some of the prompts (like 45. A book with illustrated people on the cover) are things I read pretty regularly on my own, so I think there’s some flexibility there to see where the reading takes me in 2022.

As best I can, I’m going to try and post my reviews throughout the year with the matching prompt, so you can read along with me or choose not to read the ones I don’t love for this or that prompt! I will be setting up an additional page on the blog so you can follow my progress. I hope you’ll join me in tackling The 52 Book Club’s 2022 challenge. If you’re looking for tracking resources of your own, check out this page on The 52 Book Club and scroll to Downloads.

Now, looking back quickly at November, I have to admit I only read one of the dang books I said I was going to. Ugh. Hook, Line, and Sinker can be crossed off my list. I never made it to my other NetGalley reads, though I’m already incorporating them into my 52 Book Club Challenge (One Italian Summer for prompt 52, anyone?!). Not to worry, though, as I did squeak out a Christmas book review for you all, as well as tackle a monstrous-ly sized King novel. I do my best.

This month, I want to hear from you: what challenges are you doing this year? How many books are on your tbr for 2022? Any books you can’t wait to see published? Give me all the deets!

Have an amazing remainder of your holiday season, and a wonderful new year, friends!

Reading Update: November

Reading Update: November

Howdy friends! Another month, another update. I can’t believe how fast I have to write these things. I swear I just wrote one for October!! And of course, I accomplished absolutely none of the reading that I outlined. Nailed it.

Okay, but really.

I had my vacation at the end of October, solely to take a week of relaxing, sleeping, and of course, reading. But you know what I did?? I saw a total of SEVEN MOVIES. I read like, two books. And one of them I was already half done with. Very bad productivity on this vacation I tell you.

Actually, that’s a lie. I applied for my passport, we got a new apartment, I went to a wedding, went to a Halloween party, spent time with family, cleaned our whole apartment, knit a scarf…I just didn’t read. My bad.

I’ve read a string of horror novels lately and I think I’m ready to turn back to some romance. I’ve got 15 books awaiting my review on NetGalley that I would kill to start getting though! It’s hard when you have so many new books on your shelf you want to get to, but NetGalley is a commitment I like to keep track of, to ensure the future of my reading new books on demand. I think I’ll focus my attention there in November, after I finish my current read: Devolution by Max Brooks.

So what’s on my NetGalley dashboard right now?

  • One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
  • Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper (yes, still)
  • Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
  • Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey (I can feel your judgment through the screen)
  • Love at First Spite by Anna E Collins (I legitimately don’t even remember requesting this book but I must have wanted it?)
  • On Location by Sarah Smith (and I absolutely loved Simmer Down!! Why have I not picked this up yet??)
  • and oh my gosh, so many more. I’m drowning.

So that’s the plan. Buckle down, knock those out of the park. We’ll see how that goes when we have another move, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas on the horizon…but I’m hopeful! The holidays have been always been a strong time for my reading, probably because I usually have tons of time off.

I have to say, audiobooks have been my savior lately. I will read in any format: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook, I don’t care. Any way to absorb the words is just fine with me, as long as it keeps me reading. Obviously I love to have physical copies to build out my collection, but if it takes someone reading Cujo to me in the car for fourteen hours, I’ll do whatever it takes. Lately I’ve been in the car quite a lot for work, so I’m really grateful for the voices and stories that fill my drive time. The only reason I’m caught up on reviews is thanks to Libby and my local library (shoutout to Oscar Foss Memorial Library!!).

Looking back at the last month, I actually had quite a few stand-out favorite books! I really enjoyed The Love Hypothesis. It was a break out five star romance I wasn’t expecting, and I’ll be looking for Hazelwood’s next book. Velvet Was the Night was just crazy good (review will hit Tuesday! Sneak peek!). I really enjoy Moreno-Garcia’s writing, and her stories stick with me quite a bit. And of course, The Return! My review last week was just me raving about Rachel Harrison. I’ve already lent my copy to a friend. Same with Velvet Was the Night. I feel like I’ve hit a treasure trove of good books lately, and I hope I can keep it going through the end of the year!

As we head into the holiday season, I just want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, and happy holidays, and a happy new year. All the good things for you and yours. Thank you for reading with me. 🙂

Reading Update: October

Reading Update: October

Hello again friends! Time for another update on my world with books.

I really feel like my reading picked up this past month, after my slow start and (oops) lack of update one particular Tuesday. I pulled a lot out the second half and crushed some books on my TBR, like Mind Your Business. The end of September also found me pulling an all-nighter, which I RARELY do, in order to finish The Love Hypothesis. I haven’t been that sucked into a good book in a long while. Then, of course, I paid the price by literally feeling like someone had beat me up every morning that week when I got out of bed, even after sleeping for eleven hours. Yes, you read that correctly. Eleven. Hours. A night.

As much as I love to stay up and read, staying up and reading does not love me back. I will *not* be attempting any more all nighters this month.

I’m guessing some of you have seen my Goodreads updates…I set a widget on the side of the site to show you what I’m currently reading, which for weeks on end has been Happy Endings by Thien-Kim Lam. Literally cannot get through this book. It’s not bad, but it’s not good. Hopefully you’ll be reading that review very soon, so I can put that sucker behind me!

This month saw me visiting so many bookstores and buying soooo many books. Which is not bright, because I’m literally out of shelf space. I keep my books in wooden crates, stacked up to look like shelves, so that I can just buy additional crates when I need to add on. I bought two more crates this month and I’ve still got books piled up everywhere. It’s a mess, send help. I’m a book addict on the road to recovery. Just kidding, I’m on the road to the bookstore.

Anyways!

Tons of new books. As you saw last week, I visited Innisfree Bookshop in Meredith and got Velvet Was the Night, The Love Hypothesis, Houseplants for All, and The Very Nice Box. I also went to Barnes & Noble in Manchester earlier in the month (I have a soft spot for their Manchester location…it’s kind of interesting to see the differences in inventory between there and my usual haunts!). I grabbed The Return by Rachel Harrison and A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin. THEN, because apparently I didn’t get enough books in September, I went to Gibson’s with my sister and picked up Devolution by Max Brooks, My Houseplant Changed My Life by David Domoney, The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food by Joseph Tychonievich, and lastly, The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. WHICH, let me tell you, was a very strange coincidence, and I’m now going to tell you about it against your will. (By the way, that brings the new book count for a SINGLE MONTH to ten, and oh my god my wallet is crying from the other room right now).

So, The Book of Accidents. I’ve seen that bad boy all over the interwebs lately. Had no idea what it was about other than it kind of gave me The Little Stranger vibes? Anyways, my sister Kendall and I are strolling around Gibson’s, and I pick up Wendig’s book because it looks creepy and they have it on their display. Reading through the jacket. Main character’s name is Nathan. Shortens to Nate…okay. Keep reading. Other main character’s name is Maddie?? Now, I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned it, but my boyfriend’s name is Nate. My own name is Maddison, often shortened to Maddie. These main characters are a couple. Not totally unusual similarity, as we have very common names, but super strange that of all the books there, I picked up that one! And naturally my sister is like, well you can’t not take that home now. So here we are.

Yeah, that was so long winded and if you’re still reading this at this point, I’m honestly amazed.

Last month I tried to provide a little road map of the books I might read in the coming month, and I read absolutely none of those! Go me! I’m not sure why I bother to pick titles I might get to when we know full well my TBR is 60 books long and inevitably I’m still going to read something completely different at will.

Still, my radar this month looks something like this:

Happy Endings by Thien-Kim Lam

The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food by Joseph Tychonievich

The Return by Rachel Harrison

and maybe: •Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper…because it came highly recommended and I really, really want to read my advance reader’s copy, but I am a distracted reader. I’m that meme of the guy with the pretty girl on his arm checking out the other girl, but with books.

ALSO! I have a vacation coming up! The whole last week of October is mine for the reading. I hope I can absolutely crush my TBR that week, since I also plan to visit bookstores…and we see how that went last month.

I hope you have a fantastic October, friends! I also used to ponder how to sign off, but friends starts to feel more and more appropriate with every post I write. Enjoy the fall and all it has to offer. Savor the spooky season, and pumpkin spice lattes. And of course, read a good book. ❤

Reading Update: September

Reading Update: September

Hello friends! May I present to you: my very first reading update.

It occurred to me, late last month as I stared at the ceiling at 12am, that I needed a way to communicate to everyone who reads this blog consistently when my life was so insane that keeping up with it was getting difficult. Obviously I don’t make money off this venture, I keep it up for the fun of the community… as well as the free books I feel very privileged to be reading ahead of the rest of the world. Seriously, it’s like the best perk. I’ll write a thousand reviews for free books, people.

Anyways, this past month saw me moving into my boyfriend and I’s first apartment (woohoo!), which was great except I didn’t have much time to read! Usually I’m a couple weeks ahead on my reviews, but suddenly I was finding myself down to the wire for time to get reviews together for the following Tuesday. I contemplated if I would be screwing up my streak of consistency too much if I just put up a note:

“Really tired. Didn’t read. Check back next week.”

Having to schedule time to read really sucks the fun out of it, don’t you think?

For free books, friends. For free books.

I’d also like to use these reading updates to give you little previews of my reading plans moving forward. On my radar in the coming weeks is Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake, an LGBTQ+ romance I found on NetGalley that sounds way too cute to pass up; Hook Line and Sinker by Tessa Bailey, the second in the series she just started this summer (also a NetGalley win!) (see my first review here) (shamelessly using parentheses like three times in a row here); and In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead, the book I demanded the library order that has now sat on my shelf until nearly its due date. We’ll see where else my reading takes me this month – lord knows there’s plenty on my TBR.

And of course, Halloween is coming. I know for many, it’s like, lightyears down the road, but I live for Halloween and I’ve basically been celebrating since July. I was that one girl pulling up to the drive thru asking when pumpkin spice was coming when it was like, 90 degrees out. And because I love Halloween so much, it tends to affect my reading habits as well. As we get even closer to spooky season, you’ll for sure see me pulling out some witchy books to review. On my radar as picks for this year is Spellcrafting by Arin Murphy-Hiscock, Yoga for Witches by Sarah Robinson, and Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper. Stay tuned!

I want to know what you’re reading this month!! Tell me the books you’re finally getting around to, or the ones you’ve been waiting for for months. Can’t wait to hear your recommendations!

Have a great week (and month) friends!