Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge

Hey y’all! I gave a way more in-depth look at the stats and numbers for my year in reading in 2020 in this post a few days ago, but here’s the Goodreads side of things! Once again, this number of books that I read is FAR above my average (60ish) because of the craziness of last year. But let’s get started! 🙂

The 11 page book by Mindy Kaling was weird because there was an actual whole length book, but for some reason it was broken up into separate pieces on Amazon. So I ended up reading each separate section of the regular book as it’s own book. Not sure why they did it that way, but whatever! And, of course, Paolini’s grand return. Look, *I* was a fan of this, and yes some of that is probably my excitement about Paolini. But I don’t typically like space stories, and this one…. I was fully sold on this one.

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Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

100 books read!! How did I do with my extended reading goals?

Hey y’all!

So a while ago (April I think?) I wrote about how I had already finished my standard book-reading goal for the year: 52 books! And yes, even though I’ve totally destroyed that goal like a boss, I am still going to keep my reading goal at 52 each year.

My further goal for myself once I hit the sheer number amount was to read things I wouldn’t usually, or to read more diversely in general. I’ve now hit 100 books in the year, and I’m curious about how I did with my extended goal in the last 48 books I’ve read. I think I’ve done a good job with it, but let’s take a look and actually judge me on it, shall we? 😁

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Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Top 5 Books with Crow in the Title (some are definitely not a surprise 😂)

Alright y’all, is it just me or has “crow” become an abruptly hot word for YA fantasy novels? It’s gotten to the point where I kind of grimace and roll my eyes when I see one. It must be an author’s dream knowing that just putting the word “crow” in their book title is currently guaranteed to get a good chunk of views from the crowd. And paired with a dramatic cover? OH YEAH. Marketing made easy!

This review by Angelica @ The Book Cover Girls for The Merciful Crow is actually one that really drove the fad home for me. She says it perfectly in the opening lines of her review:

And, oh, this other review she posted soon after for The Storm Crow:

I rest my case. Crows, man. People are really into the dark, witchy, crow aesthetic right now. This feels like a replay of when The Girl on the Train was published and then there were a million titles like “The Girl [something something].” Not sure why The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo didn’t strike that apparent gold though…?

So some of the top 5 books Goodreads lists when you search “crow” are definitely not surprising, because they have been shouted about by many readers in book communities, bookstagram, blogs, and anywhere else. But with such a newly saturated market, which Crow titles manage to come out at the top of the pack??

PS – all book covers link to the Goodreads page for the book 🙂

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Top 5 genre tags for this title:
fantasy, young adult, favorites, magic, adventure


2 Sentence Summary:
Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Have I heard of / read this before?
Oh yes, I’ve heard of this. I feel like I’ve been bashed over the head with this book! It’s EVERYWHERE! I’m thoroughly unsurprised that it’s the top result for crow because I feel like this might be the book that launched crow into a bookish success word. The fact that “Favorites” is a super popular tag for this says enough, I think. xD PS – technically, the sequel to this book was also the #3 spot but I’m skipping books in the same series.

Do I like the cover?
Eh, it’s aight. I feel like the more I look at it the more clever I think it is. I appreciate the design for design, but visually I’m not completely enthralled.

Will I read it?
Believe it or not, this is one of a few books that’s on my attempted shelf. Once again, I gave into the hype on a book and gave it a shot… and was very much not into it. It sounds so perfect for me on paper! Quirky crew! Heist! Magic! But something about it just didn’t catch me. And, yeah, I’ll be honest: the amount people talk about it still turns me off. Sorryyyy Leigh!

Yes, I’m aware this is practically blasphemy for many people. 😂 Talk to me! Comment on what made you love this book. I’m willing to give it another shot if I have a good reason to!

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Posted in Reviews

Review: Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras

Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras -⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For a quick fun read, for a fairly predictable plot that carries comfort, for characters resolving their personal issues.

Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery from an eating disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon. Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancé . . . Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets, and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their island romance last or fade with the stunning sunset?

If you love the “fake dating” trope, then you probably won’t be disappointed. There is a bit of insta-love, but just take it with a bit of salt from the rim of a cocktail and enjoy the overall story. 😁

When a book is based on a fairly popular plot line or trope, like this one is, then there has to be something else to set it apart from the countless others like it. For Island Affair, I was happy to see that set itself apart with characters who had deep-rooted personal issues that got in the way of their love, but also of their own lives. The honesty with which the characters face their problems was refreshing, and prevented the book from falling back onto the usual conflict where everything would be prevented if they had just talked to each other.

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Posted in Book Talk

Top 5 Books with ‘Wind’ in the Title

As a voracious reader, I am always looking for ideas of what to read next even when my list is already hundreds of books long. 🤣 Today I chose a random word — wind — and searched it in Goodreads’ database to see what the top 5 recommended books related to the word wind would be. Most of them include the word wind as the force of nature, but one included it as a sense of a twisting or turning motion. Here’s a quick look at what the top 5 were!

1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Top 5 genre tags for this title:
Classics, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Historical

2 Sentence Summary:
Scarlett O’Hara, the beautiful, spoiled daughter of a well-to-do Georgia plantation owner, must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman’s March to the Sea. (Goodreads itself only had one sentence so that’s all I’ve got!)

Have I heard of / read this before?
Yessss, I have heard of this one! Although I’m aware of the movie, I’m not totally sure I knew there was a book.

Do I like the cover?
Not really! 😂 Since this is an older book, it really shows. It looks like something I would borrow from my grandma when I would run out of books to read while visiting when I was younger.

Will I read it?
Probably not. Western-based stories with cowboys and train heists don’t usually interest me much.

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Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

A year complete in under 6 months!

Well, I officially finished my Goodreads goal for the year of 52 books!

I’d been expecting this, just based on the fact that I was furloughed from my job and most days were spent reading for several hours. It was an easy guess that I’d blow through them pretty quickly. 😂

Like I’ve said before, I don’t plan on changing my goal to be a higher number, but instead am working on creating other reading-based goals for myself. Here are a few of my new monthly goals:

  • reading a recent or upcoming Indie or self-published book, to help authors who need it
  • read an ARC from NetGalley or Edelweiss (I’m not behind, but I like to keep up with upcoming releases)
  • read a book from my decade-plus-long TBR that I’ve been excited about forever and just never got around to

I’m also pushing myself to read books that are outside my usual picks. Genres I don’t read much of (like thrillers and mysteries), or classics I’ve never read (like The Iliad), or books that are just really freakin’ long (I’m finally going to read Kingdom of Ash and finish the Throne of glass series. This beast is 984 pages long!!!).

If you’ve got any favorites that are in one of those categories or that you might otherwise want to challenge me to read, let me know in the comments so I can check it out!

Posted in Chatty

December is the month of Goodreads Challenge stress


Pretty much anyone who uses Goodreads will know exactly what I’m talking about. So, what’s your shame this year? How many books behind your goal are you? Is it a manageable amount, like one or two? Are you looking at enough to make you sweat, but that might still be possible if you just cancel all other plans until holiday obligations? Or are you resigned to a year ending with failure, because you have set yourself an insurmountable task?

Everyone’s limits are different, but they always exist. Let’s take a look at my last few years, shall we?

– Goal of 50
– Read 50
– Undetermined how many were in December but probably a lot because I had just spent the first five months in another country, graduated from college, moved to a new city, and started a new job. I distinctly remember panic in December and reading taking a backseat due to all the other exciting life events.

– Goal of 52
– Read 57
– SIXTEEN were read in December (including a comic series that gave me that little extra over goal)

– Goal of 52
– Read 54
– Five were read in December (improvement for sure, but also read 6 in the last week and a half of November – short stories saving me!))

So where am I at this year?

2019 Reading Challenge: You have read 100 of 52 books in 2019. WHAAAAAAAAA-

-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???? I have seen people before who have goals set that seem completely insane – 150 books, 210 books – and gawked with my friends when those people were meeting their goals by July of that year. What do these people do, and how can I do it too?

I feel like… I’m now close to becoming one of those people. 😮 I am really proud of and excited about this, although I still feel that meaningful reading is far more important than sheer volume (which sometimes gets lost in these quantity-based challenges). However, the quality of my reading has improved a lot this year, in large part due to this very blog!

Now that I’ve been thinking about what I’ve read more concretely by writing it down, sharing it, and discussing with other people, I am happier with achieving this goal. Although, it does seem a bit counter-intuitive that by putting in more time towards non-reading things (writing about reading, perusing NetGalley, reading others’ reviews), I’ve somehow read FAR more than I ever have before. I suppose it must be in part to the increased joy I have from reading, which I frankly never would have thought possible.

Ways my reading joy has increased this year

  • Writing about 90% of the books I read after I complete them (some have slipped through the cracks, whoops!)
  • Getting new releases and early releases through NetGalley is an exciting privilege and huge motivation to read!
  • Getting requests from authors directly and having the opportunity to meet new people and boost those who need it
  • Having a dedicated place to discuss my number one passion with other people who share that passion
  • Reading cleverly written reviews and discussion posts by other people who read, and making connections with people this way. Hi friends! 😊

A simple but emphatic “yay!”

This year has been wonderful for me in this way. I’m delighted to have this area to chat about what I love and laugh about with reading and related topics. I’m notoriously fickle with projects, which is why my 365 project is such a big deal to me. Now I have another success to add to the (short) list, and I’m so pleased that this one is about reading! 😄