Saturday, 27 March 2021

The Quarter One Report - Book Spending, Reading Challenges and Life!

Hello all!!
I apologise in advance as this is long... But it has been a while.
It's a case of very “long time no see” going on here and I’m sorry… The first quarter of this year sucked hard. I’ve struggled with life and adulting in a big way since just after New Year and every time I thought I was coming out of the deep dark hole I was in, I found myself right back at the bottom.
Go figure. 
It meant that despite token efforts, I’ve been mostly awol from the blog and from commenting on yours - but I have been reading! I just haven’t had the brain space, energy or oomph to comment. 

I’m not going to assume too much at the moment and say that I am “back back” but I’ve been feeling much better the past few weeks and have started to get back into a good routine so I have my fingers crossed that I may be back to my usual self...I’ve spent the last couple of weeks writing blog posts (memes and reviews mostly) so that I have some posts to prop me up when I’m not feeling like writing and that feels wonderful seeing as the thought of opening up blogger only a few weeks ago was enough to send me “nope-ing” all the way back to my farm… That’ll be my Stardew Valley farm, in case you were wondering. 
(Actually, I have four farms but let’s not go there right now, lol.)

I wish I could say that my inadvertent blogging break had been good for reading but my reading has kinda sucked, lol. Well, quantity has sucked. The books I’ve read have actually been really enjoyable. As you can see below, I’ve been on a bit of a Fae kick but there have been other reads too!

January through to, well, now, I have read 12 books. 
(I also have two almost finished books so if I finish them before April hits, I'll update my totals.)

To Kill A Fae by CS Wilde (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
To Kill A King by CS Wilde (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Lancelot by Giles Kristian (⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2)
To Kill The Dead by CS Wilde (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
A Deal With The Elf King by Elisa Kova (⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2)
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Robinson (⭐⭐⭐ 1/2)
Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa (⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2)
A Strange Hymn by Laura Thalassa (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Shadows and Surrender by Deborah Wilde (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Revenge and Rapture by Deborah Wilde (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

I’m super behind already on Goodreads, and my other challenges, but I really don’t care. 
I’m happy enough just to have been reading - even if slowly - and to have enjoyed my reads. 

The “official” status of my 2021 reading goal/challenges are:

I was aiming for 10 books for COYER Winter (Jan/Feb) but I only managed 3.
(For COYER Spring (Mar-Jun) I was aiming for 16 but I think I'll shoot for 10 again... Keep it "manageable" 😂... I'll manage it at some point!)

I'm aiming for 15-20 audiobooks and so far I have listened to 2! 
Although, I only have 2.5hrs left of number 3 so I may update this before the end of March...

Okay, so, ALL 12 of my books read, so far, are backlist. 
I haven't read a single new release this year... BUT! To count for this challenge they need to have been published before 2020 therefore I've read 8 out of my target of 50 books for the year. 
(If I finish my current ebook, it'll be 9!)

I've read 0 new releases. Gasp! Shock! Horror! 😱
There have been quite a few I want to read too, I just... Mood. *shrug*
(My target for 2021 is 30.)

The personal book-related challenge I had this year was surrounding my book spending… 

If you missed the post, the gist is that I'm capping my book purchases to £100 for the year and aiming to haul less than I read!
(KU and audible subscriptions not included in the £100, obvs.)

So far, I've read 6 books on KU and tallying the purchase prices vrs KU subscription fee, my KU has been a cost saver. 
(Which has always been a concern as I pay for it monthly but sometimes don't use it for months. 😏)

I have acquired 66 books and read 12
Obviously, I'm failing at hauling less than I read but there's time! Right?! 
(Shhh! Self-delusion is my friend!)

In terms of costs, I've bought 64 ebooks (totalling £48.29) which isn't bad! Lots were freebies! 
There's been one paperback costing £6.55 and one audiobook which was on an audible sale at £3.
Let's see... That means I've spent £57.84 of my £100 budget!
All is good here... All is good. 

In all seriousness, I would be concerned about this but since the UK is only now poking its toes out of complete lockdown (which came into effect on Jan 5th) I’m not too bothered… It’ll work out okay by the year's end, I’m sure. Anything less than last year's spend is a win really. 
(But I'm still trying to stick to the budget!)

So, what have I been doing if I’ve been in lockdown and haven’t been reading? 

I’ve been playing on my farm(s)! Stardew Valley is one of the most wholesome and lovely games I’ve ever played and it has been a sanity saver, an escape pod and a source of pure joy since I started playing on NYE and I haven’t stopped… I’ve wracked up an insane amount of game hours… Truly, insane. Like, almost 3 weeks of my life in gameplay hours. And I regret nothing.

There has been lots of WFH (pretty much exclusively through Jan, one day a week in office throughout Feb and two/three for March). 
We were home-schooling up until the 8th of March and it sucked for all… The little dude was glad to go back to “normal” when schools re-opened!

(The cat kept "helping" with homeschooling... Pencils are fabulous for batting at and stealing, FYI.)

We binge-watched all 11 series of Modern Family (and loved it). 
We made WandaVision a weekly viewing event with pizza and nibbles. (And loved it.)
The little dude started watching Doctor Who from the Christopher Eccleston series onwards (and he’s loving it. Me? Not so much, lol.)
We’ve watched lots of random movies… No standouts worth noting and a lot of them have been Marvel re-watches. 
We’ve played a lot of Super Smash Brothers and we’ve Just Danced our asses off. 
We bought a new TV (perfect for all the TV watching). 
We baked, we rock painted, we made candles… And the little dude turned 10!!

It was a “lockdown birthday” - so video calls galore - but we had fun and I made him a Super Mario Cake which I was pretty happy with even though I made a mess of the icing... It's been a while since I've made something like that. 
The cat thoroughly enjoyed playing in the wrapping paper so a good day was had by all!

Now, we look forward to an easing of lockdown and whatever comes next!

My mum and the professor’s dad (not to mention other family members and friends!) have had their Covid vaccinations. At some point in the next few months, we should get ours too. 
The mother-in-law hasn’t had hers though as the rollout isn’t going too well in the EU… But fingers crossed that it turns around soon!

Want to know a random factoid? Outside of the little dude’s birthday, I have taken a grand total of 6 photos this year. I’m a shutterbug and take photos of pretty much everything so I think that sums up how uneventful Q1 has been… Behold the little dude listening to his audiobooks, our homemade dried mango and a random photo of the little dude looking like an assassin on a trip to Costco. 😆

But things are looking up! If nothing else, the days are getting lighterSpring is here, it’s time to start planting the veggie garden and we can get outside without freezing once more! I’m definitely ready for a return to semi-normal programming. :)

Take care all! 

(I'm linking this up with The Sunday Post as it feels fitting... Even if it's not a typical Sunday Post!)