Thursday, 31 December 2020

Reading Goals for 2021

I debated whether to bother with any kind of reading challenges/goals this year as I really bit off more than I could chew last year and it made me grumpy... I just want to read! I want to read un-constrained! Whatever I want, whenever I want to read it, you know? 
But, I like lists! 
I like keeping track of what I'm reading and if I'm tracking what I'm reading anyway then it just makes sense to join in with a few challenges for the support and camaraderie they bring. 
 So, I'm keeping things simple: An audiobook challenge, a backlist challenge, a new release challenge and COYER (because it feeds into all of the above).
With these four challenges, everything I read counts towards one of them (often multiple) and I have a valid excuse to keep notes and make lots of lists. (Like I really need one...)
Oh! And I'm also going to do the Goodreads challenge because it's a tradition. 

Goals are going to be kept super realistic though
No stretch targets... In fact, I'm going to lowball myself as I have quite a few chonkers I want to tackle in 2021 and I don't want to feel like I'm falling behind if I spend a week (or more) reading a book of 900(ish) pages!


My Goodreads goal is 104 books. 
That averages out at two books a week, it is less than I read this year but still feels like a sensible number... I could have set it to 52 books (1 a week) but that would just be stupid as I have only had one year in the past 10 where I've read less than that. 
(And that year was a dark one, my friends...)

Now, onto the other challenges!


Hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer and That’s What I’m Talking About.

The rules are simple:
Listen to audiobooks! Re-reads count, books that apply to other challenges count, the main rule is that you consume the book in an audio format.

I'm aiming for 15-20 audiobooks again since I missed that target in 2020 due to little/no commuting thanks to covid. 


Hosted by Lark at The Bookwyrm's Hoard

The rules are simple: 
Read books published before 2020, and are in your TBR already, in order for them to count.
There are a few nuances but that's it in a nutshell! Read backlist books you've already TBR'd. You don't need to own them already, they just need to be flagged as one you want to read. 

My goal for backlist is 50 books.


Hosted by (Un)Conventional Bookworms

The rules are simple:
The book must be read and published in 2021 and be at least 100 pages long to qualify. 

Since I really want to focus on backlist titles this year, I'm setting my target at "newbie" and aiming for the top end of the target range which is 30 books.


Hosted by Michelle and Berls at Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life

The rules... Are not even a little bit simple:
I can't summarise the rules of COYER in a punchy sentence (or two) so I'm not even going to try. 
If you're curious, check out the link. 
The general gist is that you clear books (under a certain purchase price) off of your e-readers. There are different rules for different seasons but the general goal is reading your tbrs! It's massively flexible and low pressured even though it's complicated... Plus it has a big social element so is great for meeting other book bloggers. 

My goal for Winter COYER (Jan & Feb) is 10 books.
Spring COYER (Mar-Jun) is 16 books.
Summer COYER (Jul-Oct) is 16 books.
Autumn COYER (Nov-Dec) 10 books.


Since I'm a queen of over-thinking, you may notice (or maybe not) that the math in some of my challenges doesn't add up... I mean, everything is a new release or backlist - right? So why does my NR and backlist numbers only come to 80 when my reading goal is 104? It's simple - books published in 2020 fall through the net of both challenges since this particular backlist challenge doesn't cover 2020 releases and I'll undoubtedly read quite a few of them so... wiggle room. 😊


I'm also contemplating doing the Classic's Reading Challenge but that's more of a personal goal considering it's an up to 5-year commitment... More of that to follow, I guess!

So, tell me... Are you doing any challenges this year? And what are they?

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Favourite Reads of 2020!

I thought creating my "favourite reads of 2020" list would have been super difficult but when flicking through my Goodreads list for 2020, I found it surprisingly easy... I don't know why, for I had loads of 4 and 5 star reads this year, but this bunch just jumped out at me immediately!

(It's probably worth noting that this list is my favourite reads of 2020 but some of them were published before 2020; I just hadn't read them before.)


Druid Vices & A Vodka by Annette Marie

The Little Bookshop of Love Stories by Jaimie Admans

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Millar

The Switch by Beth O'Leary

Damned Souls and A Sangria by Annette Marie

Rhythm, Chord & Malykin by Mariana Zapata

The 12 Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Grave War by Kalayna Price

You Had Me At Hockey by Kelly Jamieson


What's on your "best of 2020" list?

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Weekly Update #133

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Now that's explained, it's on to my weekly recap!

Christmas came and Christmas went and, all in all, it was a very nice week.

It wasn't a typical Christmas - obviously - but it was lovely just the same. We had my mum on video call for most of the gift opening and we had her on video for after-dinner games so it felt like she was a part of the day even though she couldn't be here in person (for the first time in over 15 years!)
My father-in-law was over for dinner and it was nice seeing him as we hadn't seen him in about 6 weeks. He's technically bubbled with us but he's been having lots of hospital visits and we've been keeping our distance as we've still been at work/school and didn't want to risk giving him anything if we caught covid/a bug. 

I got some lovely presents and was generally spoiled... In fact, we all were. Especially the little dude. I think people went a bit nuts this year on the gift front to compensate for not being able to see each other and do all the usual things we'd be doing (which was unnecessary but sweet just the same). 
We've been very fortunate that our jobs haven't been affected by any of the covid-chaos but I know many others haven't been so lucky therefore I'm doubly grateful for the Christmas we had. 

The week surrounding Christmas was taken up by getting ready for Christmas! Prepping food, tidying the house, and generally playing lots of computer and board games together. It's been wonderful not being at work and being able to shut off from it all for a while.

I hope you all had a wonderful week - however you spent it - and Happy New Year for when the time comes!

I'm cruising towards tight controls on my book buying next year (totally necessary to actually READ the books I have!) but until then I'm clicking when I see the deals!

ebook sales & freebies

Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven
Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Ruthless King by Maya Hughes
House of Earth and Blood Sarah J Mass
All I Want For Christmas by Joanna Bolouri
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Bad Prince by Lilian Monroe

(House of Earth and Blood I already had on hardback but the thing is so huge my wrists ache trying to read it so I had to nab the kindle sale otherwise it's never getting read!)


The professor decided to break out from my traditional amazon "book card" for Christmas and also buy a couple of random novels he thought I may like... He's not wrong that The Raven Boys is one I'll probably enjoy but I'm really not sure about Wonderland... I'll give it a try though!


When the Lights Come On by Katia Rose

I didn't have time, wasn't in the mood, and generally couldn't choose what to read even when I did have time and was in the mood.
Hopefully, this week, that'll change. 

We saw Wonder Woman 1984 last Monday and it was... Okay? Perfectly enjoyable film, a nice way to spend a couple of hours but... I dunno. It felt completely unnecessary. Nothing was gained by it and nothing lost in terms of origin story, character development or wider story arc for the DC-verse (if that is even a thing... At this point, who knows?).

We also watched some more festive movies such as Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, The Nightmare Before Christmas etc.

Bookish Thoughts: 12 Dates of Christmas & Christmas Every Day
Movies: A Netflix Christmas (Take Two!)
Bookish Thoughts: The Christmas Pact, The Little Christmas Shop On Nutcracker Lane & Duffy The Christmassy Dragon

Favourite Reads of 2020
2020 Reading Wrap Up

Have a great week all!

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Bookish Thoughts! The Christmas Pact, The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane & Duffy The Christmassy Dragon!

The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Heat up the holidays with this sizzling new novella from New York Times best-selling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward!

Riley Kennedy’s emails keep getting crossed with her colleague, Kennedy Riley.

The infuriating man forwards them along with his annoying commentary and unsolicited advice. At least she never has to see him in person since they work in different locations…until they come face to face at the office holiday party. As luck would have it, Kennedy turns out to be gorgeous…though still a jerk. Yet somehow he’s able to charm her out on the dance floor—and convince her to participate in his crazy scheme: He’ll go home with Riley for a Christmas party and pretend to be her boyfriend if Riley agrees to be his date to a wedding.

It sounds easy enough. But little by little, the act they’re putting on starts to feel like so much more than a Christmas pact—and Riley’s about to learn there’s more to Kennedy than she ever imagined.

My Thoughts:
This was a quick-to-read festive novella with a fun concept. It made me laugh and cringe and I enjoyed it but I could take or leave Riley and Kennedy as a couple. I'm unsure what caused the disconnect between me and the characters but I just wasn't invested in their story... This made the drama towards the end tediously annoying rather than something that added a little bit of spicy tension. Honestly, I expected more from these authors... Their full-length co-written books are very well done but maybe novellas just aren't their forte? That said, it was definitely better than most novellas and it was a fun way to pass a couple of hours so I'm not complaining too much. 

The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane by Jaimie Admans

It’s the most magical time of year, and anything can happen…

Nia Maddison has always believed that wishes come true on Nutcracker Lane. So, when she gets the opportunity to run her own Christmas gift shop on the most magical street in town, it feels like her wishes have been finally granted.

But working late one night, Nia discovers yet another boyfriend has cheated on her. As she trudges home – alone, again – she passes the (supposedly) magical nutcracker and half-joking thinks a wish can’t hurt. Cracking a nut in its mouth, she wishes to find Prince Charming.

The next day Nia gets to work to find another decoration shop has opened directly across the lane from her own, and she can’t resist having a nose around.

Whilst there, she accidentally backs into a human-sized Nutcracker, knocking it over and breaking it. Mortified, she flees from the store but when she gathers her resolve to go back and apologise, she stumbles across the gorgeous shop owner James, who looks exactly like Prince Charming…

Could her Christmas wish from the night before really be coming true?

My Thoughts:
I'm so conflicted over this book! On the one hand, it's delightfully festive, has a couple that I adored and a supporting cast of random characters that made me giggle. I enjoyed the slow burn of the romance, the hope and magic of Christmas that the author captured perfectly, and the simple joy it brought. However, it was so long-winded that it felt like a slog to get through it... I feel that it could have been shortened by a good amount and been a better, punchier, story. 
I'd still recommend it though. Admans knows how to write Christmas. Her love for the holiday season bleeds through on every single page and I'm convinced that she could make the ultimate bah-humbugger feel festive. 

Duffy The Christmassy Dragon by Kate Noble

Duffy The Dragon helps Santa one icy Christmas Eve.

My Thoughts:
First off, I loved the illustrations for this book! There is something so incredibly old-worldy and timeless about them... They just make you feel all warm and fuzzy and nostalgic. 
Secondly, the story is utterly charming! It flows lyrically and tells the story of how Duffy the Dragon helps Santa on Christmas. It gave me Night Before Christmas vibes in how it flowed from one verse to the next... It's a perfect story to read to the little ones on Christmas Eve!