Goals

Reading & Blog Goals | 2019 First Quarter Check In

Reading Goals NEW

I cannot believe a quarter of the year is nearly already over, but you know that means it is time to check into my yearly goals to see my progress and see if I need to adjust myself to reach my goals. If you want to see the entire post explaining my 2019 goals, you can read that post here: Reading Goals | 2019 Edition. Anyway, I thought I would do a brief list of the goals and then I would do a but of commenting on them. I also want to share my updated yearly goals spread in my bullet journal. I am a very visual person so having that in my bullet journal really helps.

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-My Goals-

  1. Read all of the short listed books for the 2018 Man Booker Prize
  2. Read a book set in each of the 7 continents
  3. Read 50 books
  4. Read 30,000 pages
  5. Read at least one book per month from the library
  6. Read 12 non-fiction books
  7. Read a book recommended by someone I look up to
  8. Read my classic of 2019, War and Peace
  9. Take part in 2019 Beat the Backlist
    • My backlisted books are here.

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1. At this time I have only read 1 of the 6 books from this shortlist.

Washington BlackWashington Black by Esi Edugyan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is such an adventure, it starts with a young boy, age 11. Sadly, he is a slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados run by two brothers. The author wrote a beautiful book that shows the ugly that is slavery. It talks about awful psychological games played by owners and the bad treatment many had to endure unfairly. I also like how the author showed abolitionists and aspects of the underground railroad. The dangers of faced by those who escaped and freed those who did not belong to them. I also really enjoyed the science, art, and almost steampunk elements. I am honestly not doing this book justice, but I will say it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018 and it is well deserved. I also have to agree with the quote on the front of my book calling it a masterpiece.

View all my reviews

2. At this time I have read 2 books for this goal. I have read for North America and Europe. I have picked up three more books for this challenge. Those being Africa, Antartica, and Asia. If you have any recommendations for South America, please share!

3. At this time I have read 19 books, I am 9 books ahead of schedule!

4. At this point in time I have read 9498 pages, so I am nearly a third of the way to my goal. So theory I should be finishing this before the year is out and I am on track.

5. So far I gave stuck to that, at minimum I have read a book a month from the library.

6. Looking at the 19 books I have read this year, a total of 6 books have been non-fiction. So, I am already 50% done with this goal.

7. At this time I have read 0 books for this goal, I did buy Milkman by Anna Burns, but with recent reviews I am a little afraid to pick it up. I have very similar taste in books to one of my friends and she did not enjoy it, I think she told me she DNFed it or struggled to read it.

8. At this time I have read 2 sections of the 17 I set up for the year. I am a bit behind because I focused on reading Monte Cristo with Jenna and put War and Peace on the back burner. I plan on picking it back up in April.

9. As of writing this I am going very well with my backlist. I have 20 books on my backlist, which I am very ecstatic about!

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-Bullet Journal Spread-

Overall, for only being a quarter into the year, I think I am doing very well for myself. I know with the OWLs Readathon coming up I will be getting though many more books as well. Plus, I do a lot of reading in the warmer months of the year and I have plenty of time.

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How are your goals progressing so far? What goals did you get for yourself in 2019?

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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | March 2019

Recs

Hello everyone, I just wanted to share a few pictures of my bullet journal today. This month I am very much following the theme from this months Boho Berry Box, you can see all the things inside here, Unboxing Boho Berry | March 2019. I really loved the theme and instead of just adding it to another theme or using bits and leaving others I decided to embrace everything and use as much as I could. Here are my March spreads!

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I want to star off by sharing the spread I added to my bullet journal since last month. If you have not seen my posts about me trying to have an indoor garden I till leave that here, Indoor Garden Adventures| January 2019. Anyway, I wanted to make a spread that would help me care for my new plants. As you can see the left is all filled out, but the right I just have a sketch. I am currently waiting for my Queen Pothos to arrive so I wanted to make sure I left room to add, but I love how it came out!


Here is my March dashboard of sorts and my monthly calendar of events. I decided to try using the Faber and Castell Gelatos on these two pages. I really like the colors, but they do not work well on this paper, I blame the paper, it is bad paper! Anyway. I added a few stickers and used washi tape to set the tone of this months theme. Also, sorry for the horrible editing on the picture, I just wanted to keep a few things a surprise!


This month I am using a mood tracker for the first time. I wasn’t quite sure what types of books to add so I picked calm, happy, anxious and sad/mad. If you have any suggestions that you think might work a little better let me know. On the right I added my habit tracker, this month I kept all the categories, but I added crocheting. I am currently working on a baby blanket and I need to get it done by the end of the month. I am hoping having it trackable will help me get my butt in gear.


Here is my tried and true reading/book tracker. I have really been loving this tracker and how visual it is. As you can see I plan on reading, for certain, these three books so I have them already penciled in and color coded.


Here are my chapter trackers for the books I am reading. I have a square for each chapter or section and I have not colored in my total progress into War and Peace and The Count of Monte Cristo yet because when I took these pictures it was still February and I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself.


On the left is where I plan off of my blog posts, sometimes I plan ahead and other times I don’t it really depends on my mood. At least point I can say I have about a week ahead planned, which works well for me. On the right I have my TBR for March, if you want some more details you can read my post, March TBR | 2019.


This month I added a to do section for those larger projects that won’t really be taken care of on a particular day. I also wanted to give you a little peak into what my dailies look like.

With that, those are the spreads I have added since February, I hope you enjoyed this little peak inside my bullet journal!

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Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up | February 2019

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After reading so many books in January I was bound to read less this month for two reasons. World became really, really busy and I was overwhelmed and the month is only 28 days long. Three more days I feel like I would have read more, but oh well there is always next month.

Even though I did not feel like I read a ton, I did manage to read 4 books, so a book a week is not bad at all. Three of those books were taken right off of my TBR while the fourth was one I reread. So, not to shabby over all. Without more rambling and me wishing I was able to read more, here are the books I read this month!

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In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at YorktownIn the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown by Nathaniel Philbrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One thing I really liked about this was not only did it talk about Yorktown, it talked about what was going on right before and where the major players had their heads at. It explained things very well and had quite a few maps to help visually explain what was going on. This is a great addition if you ask me.

Being a history major I knew quite a bit of the information going into this book, but I did learn some new things and more details about the battle itself. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the battle or in the revolution. Beginner and those who know a bit of the details.

View all my reviews


Save the DateSave the Date by Morgan Matson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed how over the top this book is. The main character was a little in a lala land and idealized everything and at times I found it really annoying from time to time. I feel like she needed some tough love sooner rather than later when it came to living her own life in the real world.

I loved that the setting was at a wedding, I thought it was a really good setting. I laughed at some of the events and can I just say I loved the puppy waffle. The comedic timing of the puppy was spot on as well as his mischievous time.

Overall, this was a really good contemporary that broke up the heavy reading I have been reading as of late. I read through it very quickly when I did pick it up.

View all my reviews

 

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Middle Mark Books 2

I didn’t want to just rewrite my review, but if you want to know the details of my thoughts on these books please see my post, Middle Mark | February 2019. 

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Divider 2What is your favorite book you read this month? Have you read any of the books I have mentioned?What are you planning on reading next?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Operation Find a Hobby | Making a Baby Blanket

FindAHobby

Long time no talk about my other hobbies! Over the course of this series, which you can read more here: Operation Find a Hobby, I explored quite a few hobbies. Since then some have stuck and others not so much. One that I did not post in that series was crochet. The reason why I had not posted about that topic is because I have previously dabbled in it, but it never stayed with me. Most of the books I was using as a reference were either confusing and my in person resources were limited.

Over the last few months I have gotten more and more into it. I made a simple scarf in December and a couple of hats for friends and my boyfriend. Now I am taking on a much larger project and it is nothing like I have done before and I wanted to share it with all of you.

So, for months I have been loving zig zag edged blankets. Something about them being irregular in a sense really appeals to me. For a while my friend and I have tried a bunch of different methods and she even asked a few people she knew who have been doing it for YEARS, DECADES actually, and still I had no luck with being able to figure out a pattern until I came across the site called Daisy Farm Crafts. I found her post called Crochet Berry Chevron Baby Blanket.

The pattern they made was exceptionally easy once I got the hang of it and I really enjoyed that there were some videos within the pattern to help you visually see the stitches when the abbreviations, which are new to me, were confusing. I would suggest you checking out their blog and seeing the patterns they have. I plan on trying more of them in the future, that is for sure.

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-My Current Progress-

While I am not very far into this project, I am very proud that I have finally mastered the zig zag pattern, but also learned how to do the berry stitch. Which, for me was very overwhelming because there seems to be about 6 or 7 steps for just one. Anyway, like I said I am not far into this project, but I wanted to share with you some of the things I am working on in my life and I thought this would be a perfect addition to the Operation Find a Hobby series.

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Do you crochet? What should I try to crochet next? What is your favorite hobby outside of reading?

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Lets Talk

Lets Talk | Five Star Predictions

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So, for readers there is nothing better than a 5 start book. As I read more and more I have been able to determine if I will like a book, but I find it harder to predict a 5 star read. So, I wanted to flex that muscle a little and really take a hard look at my TBR and see if I can predict some 5 star reads.

When I rate a book 5 stars it means a few things. First, the plot and characters were really enjoyable. It was not completely predictable and flowed nicely. Characters were not annoying or if they character has a fault it is to display a particular lesson or commenting on something else through their writing. I have to find myself surprised, angry, happy, excited, elated in combination or separate. The characters need to be distinct. But, overall I need to enjoy the ride, then entire ride.

5stars

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My Predictions

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

After reading this description I knew I needed to have this book. It seems like a mixture of magical realism and science? Also, kind of a sad future we may be heading for? It seems like a warning letter to what we as a planet to become and honestly, I just really love the idea of this book so much.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

I picked this as a Book of the Month book late last year and I vividly remember it being the second description I read and knowing right away that I needed to have it. It tells a story of women throughout history who have done so much for the world, but have remained silent, it seems like a historical fiction of sorts.

Bringing Down the Colonel by Patricia Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "Powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington

I got this book as a gift and I love it so much. I have heard whispers of this case, but I am very excited to learn more about it. Since it is was one of the first major cases of a women coming forward and saying she was assaulted by a man in power. It seems like it will be a very hard hitting factual book.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room

I will be 100% honest here. I am basing this off of the cover. I know, don’t judge a book by the cover, but the vibe I am getting from the cover has me really excited. Also, to be fair I would not have bought this book if it was not part of my Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist. But, I am very happy I did because the description is interesting as well.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

I really loved the first book in this series, The Cruel Prince, and I have love quite a few of Holly Blacks novels in the past. So, I think it is safe to say that I will love this one as well.

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What was your last 5 star read? What do you think about my predictions?

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TBR

February TBR | 2019

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Hello and welcome to my February TBR, my first one of 2019. Last month I didn’t feel like making a TBR because I wanted to focus on reading some classics and finishing the books I started. Since I am finished with those I thought it was time to make one. I am going to make this post short and sweet so without more of a delay, here is my TBR!

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Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the Date

This book I am kinda ashamed to still have on my TBR. I picked it up when I met Morgan Matson at BookCon 2018. She was so nice and lovely, we had a great laugh about my corgi lanyard. I have read and loved previous books by her, but for some reason I have not picked this up. I think it is because I have not been in the mood for a contemporary. I think I am finally in the mood for it though. I want something light after all the intense reads of last month.

World Without End by Ken Follett

World Without End (Kingsbridge, #2)

This is the next book in the Kingsbridge series, which I started last year due to the Haul | Bookseller Picks My Books post I did. I ended up loving the first book, a very large historical fiction. I ended up going out right away and getting the second book, but I did not feel like reading such a large book right away. So, I decided now is finally the time since the 3rd book has finally came out in paperback and I can get that if I end up liking this one just as much.

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The Stand by Stephen King

So it seems that I will be reading quite a few large books this upcoming months and I am not sure how well that is going to go, but I am going to do my best to at least finish this TBR jar pick. I have been wanting to read this for sometime, but since it is so large I have been putting it off because I felt like I did not have the time to dedicate to it. While I do have the paperback edition, the cover you can see below, I think I might get the ebook edition so I can carry it around with me without having the weight of it.

The Stand

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What are you reading this month?

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Lets Talk · Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Finding Balance | Netgalley Backlist & Rules

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Overall, I have to say I am pretty good with keeping up with my Netgalley list now. I used to be fairly bad at it. I would often go on requesting sprees because I was not sure if I would or would not get approved for books. I figured most were a long shot and I would just up my odds by requesting a bunch. Well, that approach did not work.

When I first started I had no system or rules in place, so I would just pick a random ARC I needed to review and read it every so often. I did not account for when it came out or how long I had on my shelf. I was kind of overwhelmed and I had a ton on my kindle. I really had no idea where to start so I pick threw a dart and read that one.

This was not the best course of action for me. I saw more and more books go into the 6 months or older section and I became stressed. I was getting approved more often as I handed in reviews, which I was excited about, but then I had more and more books coming into my kindle that I previously. One day I was just so over whelmed I took a day and just went through everything. When I did this I came up with a few rules and tracking system that helped me.

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My Tracking System

I made a really simple tracking system for myself. I write down the title, if I reviewed it, when it is to be published, and when it will be archived. When I go to read an ARC, I go to this list and I look at the published date to determine which one I will read next.

You may notice that I do not track which books I request. I used to, but now I only pick one ARC to request per month. You can see from the above image I have an ARC for February, March, April and July. I only requested one per month so I can’t get over whelmed with the ARCs coming in. Having one ARC a month means I can still read all the books I have on my shelf without worrying about getting my reviews in.

My Rules

Now these rules are just what works for me, that does not mean they will work for you, but I thought it would be interesting to share.

  1. Request one book per month, dependent on the release date.
    • This limits the amount of ARCs coming in
  2. Read the an ARC the month before it’s release date.
    • Takes the pressure off
  3. As soon as I get an approval email, add book to the ARC Tracker
    • This ensures I don’t forget a book I am approved for.
  4. Only request books I would pay to read.
    • This one is my top rules, this makes sure I request only books I will want to read asap. I will not want to put them off and I know I am not taking ARCs away from others who really want to read them.
  5. No book can make it to the 3 month or older shelf.
    • Ensures I keep my feedback ratio over 80%

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The Current State of my Netgalley

Feedback Ratio: 87%

31 Approved  |  27 Feedback Sent

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How do you manage your requests and netgalley reviews?

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Wrap Up

Year in Review | 2018

Year in Review!

This year has been  a really amazing reading year for me. I found a few new favorite authors, read some books I have been dreaming of reading for years, and I met most off my reading goals, you  can learn more about that here: Reading Goals | 2018 Recap. Anyway, I have already posted a few blog posts talking about my favorite books, Lists | Best Books of 2018 , my least favorite, Lists | Worst Books of 2018, but I wanted to share more about my actual over all reading stats.

If you want to see all of these in detail, where all of my books are listed you can visit that here.

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How did your reading year go?

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Goals

Reading Goals | 2018 Recap

Reading Goals NEW

I cannot believe this year is coming to a close soon and it is time to reflect on the goals I set for myself back in December 2017. It feels like so long ago, but at the same time this year felt like it flew by. A few times this year I checked in with my goals, but I have not done so since the first half a the year. I honestly kinda lost track of my goals because one large one I realized was not going to happen. I will get more into that later in this post.

Earlier Posts

Reading Goals | 2018Reading Goals | 2018 | 1st Quarter Review, and Reading Goals | 2018 | 2nd Quarter Review.

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  1. Update my blog post headers
    • I loved designing so I want to introduce a few new headers and give myself that time to be creative.
  2. Read 50 books
    • Every year I set my reading goal at 50. It is an average of a book in little over a week and I tend to not stress out about it.
  3. Read 30,000 pages
    • I though this page goal would be fun.
  4. Try new things
    • This year I want to experiment a little outside of what I normally post, spice things up a little bit.
  5. Complete the 2018 POPSUGAR reading challenge

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My Reflection

  1. I did this as soon as the year started and I am very happy with the graphics I created. I also like the fact that I made them in a way where I can change the background images if I ever feel like it and it would not be too much work.
  2. I am happy to say that I read more than 50 books this year, in fact I read 105 as of 12/9.
  3. Once again I can say that I read more than 30,000 page throughout the year. I ended up reading a grand total of 36,985 pages as of 12/9.
  4. This year I felt like I tried some new things on my blog such as posting about My life, DIYs, and Cooking as well as doing a few fun series such as _____ Picks my books, Annotating my Bookshelf , and introducing discussion posts. All of which I had a ton of fun doing. I know in the new year I want to do another round of Annotating my Bookshelf.
  5. This one is where the problem came in. While I love the idea of the pop sugar challenge, it really is not a good challenge for me. There are a 52 prompts and while I did do a majority of them. I am a book reader and I honestly have no interest in reading nordic noir currently. While my goal was to read 50 books, why would I pick a challenge that would assign me 52 books. On top of that a majority of the books on this challenge I did not own and this year I really wanted to read some of the books I had on my shelf the longest. Which I did and now the longest a book has been on myself has been 19 months, less than two years. So I was happy to give up on this goal because it did not line up with my other goals, which were a priority to me.

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Overall, I am very happy with how I did with my 2018 Reading and Blog goals. I achieve the ones that were the most important to me and I am proud of myself for putting aside one that really did not benefit me in reaching my other goals. Goals should be realistic and reachable. While I come up with my 2019 goals, this is going to be in my mind.

How did you do with your 2018 goals?

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Lets Talk · Reviews

Let’s Talk | Book Breeze App Review

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So a few weeks ago you will notice that I started using the app the bookish app Book Breeze created by Zendo Mobile. As far as I am aware this app is only available on the App Store, hopefully this will change in the future. This app is a reading tracker that focuses on collecting data regarding your reading speed, how many hours you spend reading, and how many pages you read. Now the version I am going to be talking about is the paid version of the app. While the free version has everything BUT the speed data and the ability to read more than one book. So a lot of the things I talk about will still be relevant to those using the free version.

Image result for book breeze

What I Liked

So, Book Breeze has a lot going for it as a reading tracker. It is easy to snap a picture of the book you are reading and manually add author, title, and numbers of pages. It also allows you to add a book even if you are in the middle by adding what page you are on. This process is straight forward and you don’t need to add any other information to get to using the app.

Starting a new reading session is easy, you go right to your books pages and click on the cover of the book you want to continue, then click “continue reading”. As soon as you start reading it will start the stopwatch of sorts and record you time until you click stop or pause. I love the fast that you can pause your reading instead of needed to hit stop every time you need to get up real fast for one reason or another. Another great thing is that if you forget to start your session you can add a session by adding the numbers of pages you read and how long you were reading at any point. Sometimes I still forget, but it is easy to fix with the way they set this up.

The last thing I thing they do wonderful is having a straight forward and interface that is not overwhelming. It is easy to navigate and new users I feel will be pros fairly quickly. The graphs and data that is shown is not complex and are very usable then it comes to actually looking at the data. Some apps I have come across make things more complicated then they need to be, Book Breeze does it right.

What I Didn’t Like

You cannot DNF a book without loosing all the data for the book or is stays on your current list forever. I am someone who often DNFs books because I don’t like to force myself to read something I am not enjoying. One thing I think they need to add to this app is either the ability to DNF a book or add a tab to the book category that would remove the book from Current, but allow you to keep pages read data.

Another thing I do not like is the fact that under stats you can only see 2 weeks, 1 month, 1 year, and 10 years. While we do have This week under the reading tab, if you do not take a screen shot to write down what you read this past week on Saturday night you will now have to do some math to figure out what you read in a single week. While it is not a lot of hard work, it is something that I think could be improved upon.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I think this is a wonderful app and if you are on the market to find an app to track your reading habits or get more insight into your reading pattern it is worth giving a shot. While it does have its faults in my eyes, I am still going to use the app and hopefully they will make some great updates in the future.

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Do you use a reading tracker, if so which one do you use?

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I paid for this app on my own, this post is not sponsored in anyway.