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Reading & Writing Goals for 2020

Hi all! What a week! I’ll go into it more during my weekly wrap-up, but it’s been something of a roller coaster that I’ve just wanted to desperately get off. And this weekend is continuing it at bit. I just need a day to relax and breath, you know?

Today, I’m posting about my reading and writing goals for 2020. I’ve seen people do it on various blog, and thought I’d give it a go.

Last year, I read 120 books. My goal had been 100, but I admittedly low balled is because I think I had ended up reading 116 in 2018. So, I knew I’d probably read more than 100.

This year, I’ve set my goal at 120 which shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. If I just do what I did last year, I’ll meet it, right? Of course, last year, I read 20 books in one month, and I don’t know if I’ll do that again this year. So, maybe it will be harder for me to hit that goal. I am already 1 book behind.

In addition, I have a goal to read or listen to one non-fiction book a month. This will probably fall into the realm of self-improvement, since I get really excited by those kinds of books. One of the books will definitely be the RBG book I’ve been meaning to read since October. Since I’ve already listened to once non-fiction book this year, am almost done with a second, and am in the middle of a third, I think I’ll hit this goal.

I don’t really have any goals for genres. I think I read a pretty wide variety as it is. Plus, I’m happy with what I read. I guess I could try to read more classics, but I don’t know if that’ll actually happen. Scratch that; I do want to get back to reading Agatha Christie books. I’d read a few some years ago, really liked them, then just stopped. So, I’ll try to read at least… five this year.

Writing Goals

My writing goals are as follows:

  1. Finish my NaNoWriMo novel. I got sort of intimidated by what I needed to do to get to the ending and just stopped writing as much. Plus, the holidays and getting back to school interfered. I did managed to get through the major fight scene and am now in the down stretch, so it should only be another few thousand words or so. This is a doable goal.
  2. Start revising my other novel, which is, sadly, under the working title “Sorcerer’s and Vampires” because I have no idea what to call it. I’ve been taking it to my critique group and getting lots of feedback on it, but because I wanted to finish the other novel, I haven’t been revising it yet.
  3. Write a synopsis for the novel I’m revising.
  4. Come up with a fantastic query letter for that novel.
  5. Start querying by the end of the year.

I think that’s doable. I just need to get some things in order and start writing again. I love writing, but I’ve been so overwhelmed recently, it’s been hard to find the motivation to write.

Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash

Personal

Even though this is a reading/writing goal list, I’ll throw a few personal goals in as well.

  1. Ideally, I want to run one 5K a month. However, I don’t think that’s feasible from a number of standpoints, so my goal is to do at least 5.
  2. I want to get tone and lean and stick to my workout regiment.
  3. I want to track my spending and finances more closely and really understand what I’m doing with my money.
  4. And, even though I have no control over this at this point, I want to be chosen as one of the teachers to go on a three week trip around the country to interview inspiring educators through RoadTrip Nation. I’ve applied, and now it’s out of my hands, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Those are my goals for this year. What are some of yours? Drop a comment below and let me know!

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weekly meme www wednesday

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are invited to answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently rereading Think of England by KJ Charles, which is a gay romance about a man named Archie Curtis who was injured in an accident during World War I that he suspects to be sabotage. He goes to a house party being thrown by the suspected saboteur only to find a web of deceit and blackmail. I love this book to death.

I also started rereading Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I caught part of the movie on Halloween and have been hankering to read it again, so I stopped inside a local used bookstore. I found and purchased it within two minutes.

Technically, I haven’t started My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsberg and others, but I’m planning on it today, so I’ll say I’m currently reading this as well.

I feel like I’ve read another book beside A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas, but I don’t know what it was. I really enjoyed this book and loved the twist on Sherlock Holmes. I can’t wait for the next book. I reviewed this one here.

I’m going to try Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn next since it’s literally on the top of my TBR pile. I’m thinking I might also try the first in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and I might listen to Her Majesty’s Necromancer by C.J. Archer, because it looks intriguing.

That’s what I’m doing this week. What are you reading?

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Uncategorized

Book Review: Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Title: Song of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller

Source: Amazon

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: e-book

In this retelling of the Iliad and exploration of Achilles’s youth, Madeline Miller has created a wonderful love story. Told through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles’s best friend and lover, The Song of Achilles has done something that the original story and countless movies have failed to do: it’s made me like Achilles. Whereas in the Iliad, Achilles is brash, bold, hedonistic, and a bully, here he is introspective and thoughtful.

Born the son of a minor goddess, Achilles has always known that he’s destined to be a great warrior. Instead of rubbing that in everyone’s faces, Achilles refuses to display his skill in front of others and, instead, trains in private. He worries about whether he’ll live up to his destiny and what being in battle will actually be like. And he deeply loves Patroclus with a steadfastness and fervor that’s wonderful to read. Miller masterfully makes this romance the center of both his and Patroclus’s world while deftly manipulating events of the Iliad to fit her story in a realistic way.

I also really like Patroclus. Born the son of a king, Patroclus is exiled to Pythia to be fostered by Achilles’s father. He is a gentle, quiet boy with a low self confidence. He blossoms when he and Achilles are under the tutelage of Chrion and then again when he finds his place during the Trojan war. He desperately wants to do what is right. He humanizes Achilles and draws out his sensitive side.

I highly enjoyed this book. It was engaging and interesting. I loved the characters and the flow of the story. I liked the way Miller took a well-known story and turned it on its ear while still staying true to the spirit.

Four out of Five stars

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book tag

I Should Have Read That Tag

I saw this tag done over on Lori’s Bookshelf Reads and thought it seemed like fun. So, I decided to do it!

RULES:

  1. Thank the person who tagged you, and link back to their post.
  2. Link to the creator’s blog.
    This was originally created by Beth from Books Nest.
  3. Answer the questions below.
  4. Tag 10 others to take part.
  5. ENJOY!

A book that a certain friend always tells you to read:

clockwork angel book cover

My sister has told me a few times that I might like this series. I’ll probably get around to it one day, but I’m a little bit intimated by it, to be honest

A book that has been on your TBR forever, and yet you still haven’t picked it up:

study in scarlet women book cover

I’m sure there are books I’ve intended to read and haven’t for longer than this one, but I purged them from my Want to Read list on GoodReads and can’t think of them right now. But I’ve been meaning to read this for over a year and just keep forgetting to.

A book in a series you have started, but haven’t gotten round to finishing:

A question of Holmes book cover

I only started reading this series last year, but haven’t gotten around to reading the last book yet. I started it, but didn’t have time to finish it yet.

A classic you have always liked the sound of, but never actually read:

Middlemarch book cover

I really liked the miniseries and even started it last year, but didn’t continue it. It’s on my 19 for 2019 list, though, so this is the year! *fingers crossed*

A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet:

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy book cover

This was really hard. I could use Middlemarch again, but I feel like that’s kind of cheating. I can’t say I loved the movie of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (with Gary Oldman), but I definitely left the movie intending to read the book and just ever got around to it.

A book you see all over Instagram, but haven’t picked up yet:

Wild Card book cover

My Instagram is mostly teachers. This book was all over it last year. I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to reading it or not.I tag:

I tag:

Yvonne @To Think about Words | Read with Abi | Victorious Pages | Tilly @the Biblioshelf | Aubrey @The Book Life of Aubrey Smith

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Uncategorized

Book review: The Earl Next Door

Title: The Earl Next Door

Author: Amelia Grey

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Source: Goodreads Giveaway

Format: Paperback

Release Date: May 28, 2019

I won this book in a GoodReads givaway.

Lady Adeline Wake is many things: a widow, a philanthropist, and a strong woman. What she is not is a prostitute in a high end brothel. But when she first meets Lord Lyonwood, that’s exactly what he mistakes her for. Despite this near-disastrous first meeting, the two find themselves drawn to one another. Neighbors, they keep finding excuses to butt heads with each other, which only inflames their passion.

This was a very sweet book. I love Adeline. She’s very strong and passionate, not just about Lyonwood, but about things she believes in. Her first marriage had been very hard on her, and she is recovering while forging her own way in the world. I loved her friendships between her and the two other widow, Brina and Julia. I also loved her interactions with the girls from the school for underprivileged girls she was starting.

Lord Lyonwood was okay. He didn’t get as much depth as Adeline. The one thing I really liked about him was his relationship with his father. It was loving and supportive. They felt like they admired and respected one another, and that seems to be unusual in these types of books. It always seems the fathers and sons, especially, are contentious and angry with one another, and that wasn’t here.

This was a fast read. There wasn’t much depth to it. The relationship moved quickly, but it progressed in a natural way. I enjoyed reading it and will check out further books in the series.

Three out of Five starsT

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Uncategorized

Book Review: The Princess and the Fangirl

Title: The Princess and the Fangirl

Author: Ashley Poston

Source: Barnes and Noble

Publisher: Quirk Books

Format: Hardcover

Jessica Stone and Imogene Lovelace have nothing in common. One is a movie star who’s in the popular Starfield movie franchise, and the other is a geeky fangirl trying to get her favorite character, Princess Amara, saved. The only problem is Jess, who plays Amara, wants nothing more than to leave the role in the past and move on to other projects. At the big Starfield convention, a case of mistaken identity pit Jess and Imogene against each other… until Jess inadvertently may have leaked the script to the next movie. Now, she and Imogene have to switch places so Jess can find who has the script before it’s too late.

This was such a fun book! I loved every moment of it. Jess and Imogene are wonderful. Jess is a serious actress who is resentful of the role that’s gained her such popularity. She’s plagued the the toxicity of fandom and just wants out so she can take more serious roles. Imogene, on the other hand, is the force behind #saveAmara and will do whatever she can to advance her cause. I found Imogene to be much more relatable than Jess, but they were both very real in their own ways.

I also loved the setting of the book, which was the ExcelsiCon. A fan of conventions myself, it’s always fun to read books set at one, especially when the author makes the extra effort to make it seem real. Of course, there are things that happen at this convention that just wouldn’t happen, but that’s the fairy tale of it all.

The romantic relationships in the book were good, although not as satisfying at Geekerella. That one had time to grow and be explored. In this book, the main thrust is the two girls trying to find the leaked script and navigate each other’s lives. I liked the chemistry between the characters and how everything came together, but it wasn’t the focus and there were a lot more questions at the end.

Overall, this book offered good escapism and a fun peek into fandom life.

Four out of five stars

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blogger awards

Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you Jordyn Roesler for nominating me for this! Your blog is great and you were so sweet for thinking of me!

Rule:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog letting them know you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

How My Blog Started

In February, I had perhaps the worst reading slump I’ve had in years. I was depressed and down and I only read two books. One of those books was a comfort read. Then, at the beginning of March, I hurt my foot and was told to take at least the weekend to rest it. So, I decided to have a reading weekend. I was seven books behind on my Goodreads challenge and I thought I’d be able to get it down to two. I managed to get all seven books read. I had so many ideas in my head and was riding the high of reading, one morning I sort of, on a whim, decided to start a blog to start talking about them. I also had in mind the idea that if I could get regular at reviewing books, I might be able to start requesting ARCs from publishers, or at least from NetGalley. So, I opened a WordPress account and started writing.

Advice for New Bloggers

Honestly, I feel like I’m too new to be giving advice, so take this with a grain of salt.

  1. Be consistent. You don’t have to post every day, but you do should be consistent so your readers know what to expect from you.
  2. Don’t over schedule yourself. I have definitely done this, especially the last two weeks, and now I’m frantically trying to keep up with my reading so I don’t run out of books to review. I should have saved some of my reviews for another week instead of doubling up posts. I probably could have almost scheduled my month if I’d just been patient. Ah well; live and learn.

My Nominations:

Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm | Ashes Books & Bobs | Guinevere @ Books & Wonders |The Tsundoku Chronicles| Moonprincess37 | Amy Leigh Reads

Categories
Uncategorized

Sunday Post April 14

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by the Caffeinated Reader. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things you’ve received. The rules are here: The Sunday Post.

This week was all about hanging in there. It was the week before spring break, and everyone at my school was feeling it. Especially me.

On Friday, I got to see the musical Aladdin. It was so much fun. Years ago, when I was in high school, a couple of friends turned me onto a music collection called Music Behind the Magic, which was the songs that were written for the animated movies but not included. My favorite songs came from Aladdin, and I was thrilled that they were included in the musical.

The best part of the play was definitely the Genie; the actor was actually from the Broadway show even though this was the National Tour. The worst part of the show as the women around me who kept singing–out loud–during the performance. I mean, I mouth the words sometimes, but they were singing pretty loudly. And it sucked. But getting to hear a beautifully sang rendition of Proud of Your Boy pretty much made up for that.

Posts this week:

Monday: Book review of An Artless Demise by Anna Lee Huber

Tuesday: Top 5 Romantic Reads

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Book Review of The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Friday: Book Review of Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Saturday: Reader Problems Book Tag

Currently Reading:

I won The Earl Next Door in a giveaway off Goodreads. It’s pretty cute so far. I’m listening to Good Omens, and I like it, but for some reason, the narrator chose to read Adam–and 11 year old boy–like a 40 year old man holding a pipe and about to start complaining about taxes. I don’t like it.

Upcoming Week:

Monday: Blogger Recognition Award

Tuesday: Top 5 Tuesday

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Book Review of The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Friday: Book Review of The Earl Next Door

And I’m not sure what I’ll do Saturday yet. Maybe a book tag.

How was your week?

Categories
book tag

Reader Problems Book Tag

I’ve seen this book tag in a few different places and decided to try it. Let’s get started!

  1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

I don’t ever tend to have many books on my TBR because it gives me anxiety. I don’t count my “Want to Read” list on Goodreads in this, but what I actually have in my house. But, if I did have a lot of books, I guess I’d either choose A) the book I’d had the longest or B) whatever book I was dying to read the most.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

It depends. Sometimes, I’m convinced that it’ll get better, so I keep reading. Actually, most of the time I do that. But, sometimes, I’ll stop. Not often, but I do.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

Time to break out the M/M historical fiction novels! They tend to be short, quick, satisfying reads. Or graphic novels.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

I just do. What else can I do?

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

Probably no one. Maybe my sister.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

Drink something fast. Try to remember to breathe. Get out of there fast.

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

I’d reread the book. I usually reread a the previous novel before reading a sequel anyway.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

I don’t know. This has literally never happened before and I can’t imagine being in this situation.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

I’d reread Beauty, Outlaws of Sherwood, and Star Wars: Heir to the Empire. Maybe Q-Squared. And, M/M historicals.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

None to one. Maybe I’ll get one or two on Kindle. But I’m really bad at buying things I want. I’m still shocked I bought The Princess and the Fangirl on what is likely to be my last visit to Barnes and Noble ever.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

They usually don’t. I mean, I don’t put books I haven’t read on my shelf, but I don’t think that’s the spirit of the question. When I buy books, I tend to read them right away.

I tag anyone who is reading this that hasn’t done this tag before. Have fun!

Categories
book review

Book Review: Hunting Prince Dracula

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Source: Library

Format: paperback

Audrey Rose Wadsworth is haunted by the Jack the Ripper case and his true identity. Luckily, she is off on a new adventure that will take her mind off of it. Her father has agreed to let her study at a school for forensic medicine in Romania. She and Thomas Cresswell journey together. On the train there, a passenger is murdered with a stake through the heart. Rumors that Vlad the Impaler has risen and is killing again. Audrey Rose and Cresswell find themselves drawn into another puzzle, desperate to solve the murders before they are next.

I enjoyed this book, but found it lacking in some ways. I continue to really like Audrey Rose and her inquisitive drive. I love her desire for independence and her insistence that if she were ever to get married, she be an equal partner. I continue to really enjoy her and Cresswell’s relationship, flirtation banter, and support of one another. And I really liked the new characters, particularly Daciana. The atmosphere of the book is suitably creepy and the castle sounds really kind of amazing.

The mystery, however, didn’t really interest me. I knew Dracula wasn’t behind the killings, because these books aren’t supernatural in nature. There were a few hints as to who the murderer might be, but no real clues. Consequently, the ending seemed quite out of the blue and not in a, “Wow, I never saw that coming!” kind of way. It was more of a, “Huh. Really?”

I will read the next one because the strength of these books is the characters and their relationships. But this one kind of underwhelmed me.