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" πŸ˜‚... 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. πŸ˜†

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!)


  1. Yay for your little dude's 10th birthday! That Super Mario cake looks awesome! And I love that he's liking Doctor Who, though I'm sorry you don't. Are you still watching Eccleston's episodes? Because it gets much better later. Don't tell me you don't like David Tennant...I forbid you to LOL.

    Seriously - I'm glad to hear you've crawled out of your hole. A long lockdown like that can do that to you. BTW, we're just heading into a new one instead (I mean my region - most of Italy was already in that predicament). It will be at least 2 weeks long. Vaccinations are SLOOOW, and people wear their masks under their chin (or their nose at best). What can one expect? πŸ˜’

    Happy spring!

    1. Lol, I like David Tennant! My son loves him too... He listens to lots of audiobooks narrated by David Tennant so he's super excited he's also the Doctor.

  2. Glad to have you back in whatever capacity you feel up to. I don't know about your book budget. We are just through the first quarter and you have spent more than half. Glad your loved ones are getting vaccinated. I know I have peace of mind now that both my parents are protected.

    1. I know... *hangs head in shame* My bookish self control needs major work.

  3. Well I'm glad you were able to get some reading int here while you've been gone. Freebies are good when you're trying to stick to a book budget. My daughter has been doing the online learning until the schools open back up too. Happy 10th birthday to your son. I plan on getting my vaccination as soon as its available. Looks like I'm the only one in my family that is planning on getting it though.

    1. That sucks about you being the only one intending to vaccinate. :( But I'm glad you are planning on taking it up. I can't see another way out of this covid hell if we dont.

  4. I'm glad you're feeling better! And I've heard Stardew Farm is pretty fun. :) Glad you've had some good reads.

    Happy birthday to your son! And this "Just Danced our asses off. " haha that's always fun! :) Congrats on the TV too.

    Hope you're having a great weekend!

  5. So glad to see you're getting out of that dark hole. I was in one the last quarter of last year, so I feel you. I am an emo girl at heart, and one of the things that really helped through the dark times is a lyric from none other than Fall Out Boy. Lol. "Sometimes before it gets better, the darkness gets bigger." It's cheesy, I know. But this resonated with me and it helped me hang on. That and Animal Crossing. So a big thumbs up from me on your 4 farms! πŸ˜‚ I have 2 Animal Crossing islands... one is just mine and the other I share with my brothers, so no judgment here. Lol.

    Hang in there, you got this!

    1. I do love me some Fall Out Boy!
      Animal Crossing isn't something I got into mostly because I can't guarantee Switch time as it's my sons, lol. I know it's something I'd love though.

  6. Great to see you and hear about what's happening! Everyone needs a change of pace, so it's all good. I've been in a mood and just couldn't read things unless they were just free reads, not something for review, and problems with audio lately. But I'm coming back from it finally. Happy Spring!

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

    1. I'm glad you're coming back from the reading niggles too! Happy Spring, Anne.

  7. Happy 10th birthday to the little dude! You did a great job on the cake. I'm sorry you've been feeling a bit down this year so far, but I hope that things are looking up. I am definitely enjoying the slightly warmer weather around me. My mood has been a bit up and down, but being able to sit outside and read always makes me happy.


    1. Being able to get outside more is a definite plus of moving into spring! :)

  8. Happy Birthday to your little dude and welcome back. I'm glad to hear that you're feeling better now and hope the upward trend continues.

  9. I hope you are feeling better. I understand that. I've made a list of all the pushing forward things to do, and I try to do a couple of those every day, and that's helped me.

    Happy birthday to your little guy!

    1. Much better now! Spring has been a great turning point.

  10. Oh I LOVED Eccelstein as the doctor!! He was FANTASTIC! I hope you find your groove again soon-I think everyone has been feeling meh on and off for the past year. Hang in there!

    1. I'm not a huge Doctor fan but I do agree that he was a good one.

  11. Sorry to hear you've been under a cloud lately. It's understandable with the whacky times we're living in, but I hope you find some sunny times ahead. Glad to hear you're having fun with your gaming. Everyone needs some "me" time that brings them joy! Both my hubby and I had both doses of the vaccine and it does bring some peace of mind so happy to hear a lot of your family has gotten their doses as well!

    I enjoyed The Kiss Quotient too! Take care and have a lovely week, Nicci! :)

    1. I'm looking forward to a vaccinated world! It feels like a long way off but one step at a time...

  12. Sorry that these first few months of the year have been so rocky for you. It was kind of funny (but not really) when everyone was so anxious for 2020 to be over and so ready for 2021. As if the clock would strike midnight on 12/31 and all would be well. Obviously it wasn't, just more of the same. It's been a long, hard twelve months with COVID. Glad that you're doing a bit better. And hopefully you're not overly bothered with all the goals and numbers and such. In the end, if you're enjoying what you're reading that's all that really matters. :)

    1. Thanks Tanya. I'm remarkably chilled about the challenges and the book budget stuff at the moment. If nothing, the past year has taught me what actually matters and not to sweat the stuff that doesn't. :)

  13. Thanks for the lovely update! Good to see you again here on the blogosphere. Don't worry, live really gets a bit out of wack busy on my side too and then I hardly get to blogging. My reading hasn't been all that good lately, think I'm enjoying the holiday naps too much. LOL!!

    Gosh, you kitty is gorgeous!! I'm sure she and Elza will be great friends.

    Hope you are having a good week!

    Elza Reads

    1. Lol, thank you! She knows she's gorgeous too... little poser that she is! 🀣

  14. Don't fret Nicci, I don't blog as often as I used to either. I just go with the flow and accept that I m in a place where I am doing other things So I am glad to see your post but don't feel guilty if you disappear again for some time :-) And your son is very cute!

  15. I’m glad you’re feeling better. I know what you mean about taking photos. I used to take hundreds of them, but I pretty much quit Instagram during COVID. I don’t do anything, so there’s nothing to post.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. That sums it up beautifully! I'm like, give me my life back! Then I'll take pictures, lol.

  16. Take small steps and don't overload yourself too much too soon. You know we'll still be here regardless. We're like bad smells, we don't go anywhere fast! I loved the revamped Doctor Who until Catherine Tate appeared and I haven't watched it since.

    1. 🀣

      I've never been a big Dr Who fan irrespective of who the doctor or the side-kick were but the kid is happy - and it's not like we can do anything at the moment - so I'm leaving him to enjoy it.

  17. I hope spring is kinder to you, I've been feeling off balance since February probably. It feels like I can't catch up on anything. That's great that family is getting the vaccine. My mom just got her first dose this morning and my husband got his first dose yesterday.

    See you when things are a bit slower!

    1. It's nice feeling like I can finally breathe! :)

  18. Have we been in the same hole??? I've been reading but haven't had the mental energy to blog or comment. I have 22 reviews I need to write, and I'm just now getting to them. Hubs and I are now fully vaccinated, so thank the stars for that. I don't feel as stressed whenever I have to work or go to the store for groceries (we still wear our masks of course), but I can breathe a little easier. My in-laws are also vaccinated, so they drove up for a week, which was nice. We played board games and just had a relaxing week together.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? πŸ’¬

  19. I am glad to see you're back and that you're doing better. I've been in a slump as well, so what you're saying is very relatable. Games have been helping me too and Stardew valley sure is a good game to get lost in, I'll have to play that one again soon. That Super Mario cake you made looks awesome. I am also excited spring seems to arrive here slowly.

  20. I'm sorry to read you've been struggling these last few months. It's definitely a challenging time. I'm glad you're back though ;)