Posted in Chatty

January 2023 TBR: not as much from my shelf as I had planned

Hey y’all! It’s the first TBR of 2023, and I’m coming in hot by having set a plan in December for how I wanted to start the new year and then immediately doing something different! Here’s to living wildly in 2023! 😅

My original intention was to read a lot of the books that are in my physical library, because I own a lot of books and it’s actually kind of annoying me. I want to read more of them so I can decide if I like them enough to keep them, or if they should be donated, sold on PangoBooks (currently 44 books listed!!), or otherwise swapped out of my collection.

Of course, then I had a few books gifted to me that I wanted to read. And I also had a few library holds come in that have had super long waits, so I don’t want to miss my chance. And then I have an ARC or two to finish in January. So that plan to read only from my shelves is out the window for the month! But that’s okay. I’ll use those as my filler books when I’m in between titles or mood-reader swerving into something different.

So with all of that in mind, here’s my first TBR for the year and what I’m hoping to read in January.

If you insist…

Each of these books has something that is kind of making me have to read it this month. None of that is bad, but it does force them onto my list!

Before The Coffee Gets Cold is the choice for my book club in January. I’m a little on the fence about that because it’s a book that I’ve looked at many times and ended up deciding that it would probably be too intellectual for what I really want. However, now that it’s a book club pick, I guess I’m giving it a shot! I really hope that my impression previously was wrong, and I end up falling in love with it.

Continue reading “January 2023 TBR: not as much from my shelf as I had planned”
Posted in Chatty

I posted a book review every day in December. Here’s how it went…

Hey y’all! If anyone’s been paying attention to this blog in the last month, you likely will have noticed that you’ve been pretty much bashed over the head with book reviews. I moved away from my usual more varied book related content and posted only book reviews in December 2022. There was an actual reason for this! In late November, I went a little crazy and felt very motivated for some reason and decided that I would finish the year strong by reviewing a bunch of books that I had not yet done for the year. So many in fact, that I would post a review every day in order to catch up!

Well, in a manner that is both shocking and not I did actually end up posting a review every day in December. Also shocking yet not, is the fact that I did not prepare most of them ahead of time (despite my intentions) and was usually writing a review each day to post that same day. And yes, there were at least two or three days where it got to be about 11:00 PM and I was exhausted and then realized I still had to post a review. But hey, I got them done!

I will now celebrate this in the best way I know how: with data and insight!

Below is a brief summary of some of the things I learned through posting a book review every day in December and how I’ve changed since the start of it. That feels kind of ridiculously grandiose to write that it’s changed me, but there were actually some pretty noticeable differences after doing it.

🎙 I narrate my reviews now

I finished an audio book in early December, and I liked it so much that I decided to write the review for it by using voice to text dictation software. And then I was surprised by how much I liked doing that voice to text review! And now I’m almost always voice to text writing my reviews and posts. It feels like I’m talking to a friend about it. If you happen to have noticed that the reviews have gotten a little bit wordier and longer, that would be why! It’s a lot harder to track how long the text is getting when I’m speaking since it just feels natural. And yes, if you were wondering, I am currently voice narrating this as well. 😊

🎭 I am a mood reviewer

Continue reading “I posted a book review every day in December. Here’s how it went…”
Posted in Book Talk

Kindle 2023 New Year Reading Challenge Guide! (8 unlocked update)

Hey y’all! With the end of 2022 comes the end of the Year-End Kindle Challenge! You can see all the achievements and badges for that here, and start preparing to move on to the new challenge: the New Year challenge! This new challenge runs from January 1, 2023 to March 31, 2023 with 15 possible achievements.

Below is a guide to the Kindle New Year Challenge for 2023. It’s following the same format as the previous challenges (you can see an FAQ here including links to past and current challenges). Prior to the reveal of the criteria for each mystery badge, the hint will be shown below. As the mystery achievements are revealed, I’ll update this page to show the criteria for each, and then the badge itself once the challenge is completed!

Kindle New Year Reading Challenge Achievements

This one runs from January 1 to March 31, 2023. There are 15 possible achievements.

Days Read

  • Bronze Reader: read on any 15 days during the challenge
  • Silver Reader: read on any 40 days during the challenge
  • Gold Reader: read on any 75 days during the challenge

Books Completed

  • Bookish: read one book
  • Bookworm: read two books
  • Bibliophile: read three books

Streaks

  • Head Start: read one day
  • Perfect Week: read 7 days in a row (Sunday through Saturday)
  • Perfect Month: read every day for a calendar month (ex. every day in February)

Mystery:

  • Best of 2022: read a book from the Amazon Best 100 Kindle Books of 2022 list (here and also linked in the app on the badge)
  • Quitter’s Day: read any three days between Jan 16 – Jan 21 (the week most people stop resolutions)
  • Black History Month: read an Editor’s Pick book by a Black Author (list here! and also linked in the app on the badge)
  • 2/12 Hint: A day of love
  • 3/3 Hint: Celebrate Women’s History Month
  • 3/20 Hint: Say hello to spring
Continue reading “Kindle 2023 New Year Reading Challenge Guide! (8 unlocked update)”
Posted in Reviews

Month of Reviews: How’s it going?

Hey y’all!

If you’ve been following along this month, you’ll have noticed that every day in December, I’ve posted a book review. That’s because in late November, I decided on a whim that it would be fun to do so every day in December. xD

Well I’m officially at the halfway-ish point at December 15, and though I have used up my handy little backlog of pre-written reviews and will need to write one fresh for today, it’s going pretty well! I’ve been really enjoying it, actually, which is great since that is what I had thought would happen. I haven’t had as many backlogged as I had planned, and I have been writing a lot of reviews to be posted for that day. Still, it’s been going fairly smoothly. Except…

There was one night I went to a holiday party and as I was drifting off to sleep just before midnight after a long, fun night, I sat bolt upright in a panic as I realized I hadn’t posted a review! Thankfully, this was when I did still have backlog ready, so I just needed to do a little formatting. Got that sucker posted at about 11:50pm. 🤣

I’ve also discovered that I really enjoy doing my reviews by narrating them aloud for voice-to-text functions. This came about after I did one for an audiobook and ended up really liking the style. It feels very natural to just speak about the book as though I were talking with a friend about it. Then I go back and correct any words it got wrong (which is impressively rare!) and tweak the phrasing of any sentences that I want to make flow better. It also feels like doing them this way has made it faster than usual too, which has definitely helped on some of the days when I needed to get one done with not much free time. Anyway, just thought I’d do a little update! And now to prep today’s review. 🙂

Posted in Chatty

October 2022 Wrap Up: hello goodbye!

~reading

How many books that I planned did I read?

I planned 6 and of those, I read 4. In total, I read 16 books. So…. clearly I went off track a bit. xD

The Plan:

The Result:

LOOK AT THAT, A BINGO! Meaning, I used one of each of my categories and symbols: still to be read, in progress, abandoned, and completed! Let’s dig in…

So of course, since I’ve already put together my November TBR with several of these titles on it, I had some hold overs. Primarily Morning Sun in Wuhan (which is now reviewed and published!), and The Night Ship which I’m still working through (slowly…).

For books I finished, I went on two different binges: graphic novels, and nonfiction (and in at least one case, a combination of the two with Commute!). I have so much nonfiction in my TBR that sounds so fascinating and interesting, and I just made it a priority in October and I’m so glad I did because they were great!! I also have made it a habit to browse the “New Nonfiction” shelves at the library and that has yielded some great finds. In fact, Strange Planet, Commute, and The Office BFFs all came from there!

My topics were similarly split. Some were kind of dark or grim: Commute dealt with societal harassment and one woman’s taint from men and abuse early in her life; Jokes To Offend Men also touched on inequality and the daily sufferings of women; Something Happened To Ali Greenleaf is a story about a girl who was raped and the girl who knew about it; Sign Here was a bit silly at times, but overall told a pretty painful story no matter the ending.

Maybe it’s no surprise then that the other side of my reading was jokes by Jerry Seinfeld (Is This Anything?) and self-discovery in new places (Pride, Prejudice, and Turkish Delight) and teen romance with the boy she always knew who also happens to now be a mega k pop star (Seoulmates).

Anyway, a lot of these were great and it was a surprisingly excellent reading month. Especially considering the “Life” portion of this post.

Reviews posted in October

Continue reading “October 2022 Wrap Up: hello goodbye!”
Posted in Chatty

What time is it?? The 1000th time!

Hey y’all! I was planning on a Fast Forward Friday post today — since it’s Friday — but it’s also another milestone kind of day.

My 4th anniversary! (of my relationship lol not blogging)

BUT! Besides that, it’s ALSO…

My 1000th post on this blog!

I’ll be honest, I have NOTHING planned for this in advance because it totally snuck up on me. I saw when I posted yesterday’s review that it was my 999th post and I thought, ah shit. I can’t just have a REGULAR post for my ONE THOUSANDTH POST!

So below I’ve assembled a mishmash of stuff that ranges from data, to reflections and memories, to things that kindergartners do to celebrate the 100th day of school.

  • things I’ve done 1000 times
  • how many reviews
  • kind of posts i’ve made
  • anniversary

The data

Well that can’t be right.

Apparently there have been 75 thousand shares of my blog pages… and there have only been ~35 thousand page views. Something doesn’t line up there, and I’m willing to be it’s mega-spam. 😅 Okay, so stat number one isn’t the greatest, BUT it was an interesting surprise as I have never seen this page before!

Almost a third of these 1000 posts have been book reviews (291 so far, give or take a few mislabeled items). I’m actually really surprised and low-key impressed with myself that it’s not higher. It took a while before I posted anything besides reviews, and they are definitely still one of my easier go-to posts when I’m not feeling super creative to put together another kind of post. Still, that’s a ton!!

Continue reading “What time is it?? The 1000th time!”
Posted in Chatty

July 2022 Wrap Up: a month of parties!

~reading

How many books that I planned did I read?

Of the 9-ish I had planned I finished 4, DNFd 1, and was in progress with 1. In total though, I ended up reading 13 and DNFing 2.

The Plan:

I planned nine, which was kind of ambitious, but I figured I could at least start them. In particular, The Mists of Avalon was a lengthy one that I knew for sure would be carried over (again).

The Result:

I read a lot of books I didn’t plan to read this month, clearly. And I never actually published a TBR post. So I guess I’m back to my old habits! 😁 A lot of these were planned based on my 20 (well, 15) books of summer sign up! book list that I’m trying to finish up. Now that I’m in the last month (halfway through the last month!!) the pressure is on! But I have most of them wrapped at this point. 🙂

The best surprises of the month were A Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice and Love, Comment, Subscribe by Cathy Yardey.

Morgan Rice’s book was delightfully classic fantasy, with knights and princesses and chosen ones and noble deeds. I frickin’ loved it. There was something so comfortable about it embracing some of the classic tropes of good versus evil and humble, chosen peasants that made it super easy to sink into and love. The voice all through is wonderfully accessible and I just loved hearing about every character. There was never a point where I was bored or wanted to skip a part. Plus, highest praise of all, I immediately started (and finished) the second book (also great).

Continue reading “July 2022 Wrap Up: a month of parties!”
Posted in Book Talk

August 2022 TBR: I mean, not much?

Hey y’all! Somehow, as I’m looking at my planned reads for August, I’m not seeing much. I had 4 books on my list, and one of them I’ve already finished. So this month will probably end up being a bit of a mishmash of whatever I happen to pick off my shelves or get from the library. I’ve managed to up if to 6 (one complete) based on what I’m already starting this month. Let’s take a peek!

No rhymes

The Reasons

You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa: already finished! I got a BOTM copy secondhand but still before the publish date next week (8/9/22), and WOW was it way better than I expected. This one is already done!

Pictured: not how the book happens, but imagine if it did?
Continue reading “August 2022 TBR: I mean, not much?”
Posted in Chatty

My Amazon First Reads picks may finally break their streak of being really disappointing!

Hey y’all! I’ve mentioned before in some reviews of books I read that were from the Amazon First Reads program that they had continuously not impressed me. Some were so unenjoyable that I just DNFd the book usually between 20-50% depending on how generous I was feeling about giving it a chance.

WELL! I think I’ve finally found one that’s working for me! Oddly enough, it was for the July first reads that I put off choosing until the very last day of the month that I was able to choose them. I’ve been so disheartened by how bad previous choices were for me that I was feeling like I shouldn’t bother… but ultimately, I can’t have 2 free books offered and not even look at them!

I’m glad I did because there were several intriguing choices. I was debating on, and accidentally opened the chapter sampler of it. I realized that was a good idea to help me decide if I would like it, and three chapters later I realized yes, I liked it, and should probably just get the whole book. xD

Hopefully this holds true, and I’ll have a cheerful review of No Ordinary Thursday by Anoop Judge soon!

Summary

Lena Sharma is a successful San Francisco restaurateur. An immigrant, she’s cultivated an image of conservatism and tradition in her close-knit Indian community. But when Lena’s carefully constructed world begins to crumble, her ties to her daughter, Maya, and son, Sameer—both raised in thoroughly modern California—slip further away.

Maya, divorced once, becomes engaged to a man twelve years her junior: Veer Kapoor, the son of Lena’s longtime friend. Immediately Maya feels her mother’s disgrace and the judgment of an insular society she was born into but never chose, while Lena’s cherished friendship frays. Meanwhile, Maya’s younger brother, Sameer, struggles with an addiction that reaches a devastating and very public turning point, upending his already tenuous future.

As the mother, daughter, and son are compromised by tragedy, secrets, and misconceptions, they each must determine what it will take to rebuild their bonds and salvage what’s left of their family.

Posted in Chatty

June 2022 Wrap Up: apparently I read a lot

~reading

How many books that I planned did I read?

I planned 6 books in my June TBR and of those I read 4, with one in progress and one not started. But in total, I read 15 books so… I guess I plowed through anyway.

The Plan:

A mix of library loans of new releases and books I had on my shelves but hadn’t read, this was the goal for June.

The Result:

WOWW did I ever want to abandon two other books in this list: Crying in H Mart and Remarkably Bright Creatures were both duds for me in different ways, and I super wanted to stop reading them. But since I’ve met my quantity goal for the year, I’m pushing myself to read more widely and things I might not usually try. That includes continuing with books even when they’re a struggle or I would usually ditch them due to my mood-reader-ness. I think the slog of those are partly why I read so much: trying to break them up to make them more palatable. xD

Besides those two, I plowed through a ton of other books. I peg this largely on the 20 (15) books of summer challenge that i joined a little bit into June where you have to read and review a certain number of books in the summer. I may have gone aggressively into that list, and even posted ONLY reviews for like a week straight which was an interesting experiment.

Here’s a massive list of all the reviews that came up in June, because I went on an absolute tear there for a minute.

Phew!

~stats

Last month I put an unnecessary amount of time into creating my own charts and graphs and such of my reading tracker, on top of all the wonderful charts and graphs and data that Storygraph tracks for me. So to showcase that a bit, here’s a little section for all the data people like me out there to drool over. 😍

  • My reading was 7% Nonfiction this month (and the remaining 93% fiction).
  • My top genres were Young Adult (8 books) and Romance (7 books).
  • I mostly read books that were emotional, adventurous, or lighthearted.
  • My average rating was 3 stars out of 5. I read a total of 5,958 pages in May.
  • I traveled to South Korea, Japan, France, and even the Underworld through my books. In the United States, I was in Washington, California, and Boston.
Continue reading “June 2022 Wrap Up: apparently I read a lot”