I’m Halfway To My Goodreads Goal

For the past couple of years, I’ve pledged to read 52 books in one year – that’s one book a week. I usually go above and beyond, especially since I tend to read two books a week during the summer. This year was no exception to that goal, but… I’ve been in a reading slump for practically half of the year.

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I’ve gotten into reading slumps in the past but have always managed to reach my Goodreads goal. This is usually because I end up reading middle-grade level books or something of the kind. Not because they’re short and quick, but because I actually enjoy those kinds of books. It just helps out that they happen to be short and quick reads. But if they’re good and I enjoy them, then who cares how long they are and how long it takes me to read them?

I’ve always been the type of person to not rush through books. Reading one book a week is a good pace for me since I can typically read between 50 and 100 pages a day.

And yet, I’ve gone into a hardcore reading slump for the past few months. No matter what I try to do, I just don’t feel like reading. I’ve been going to the library and picking out textbooks for research on various topics so maybe I’ll review those books down the road. It’d be something different, at least. Still, I haven’t been reading the typical novel.

We’re now about a week into October which means there are only three months left in the year. My Goodreads goal still stands at 52 books and, according to my Goodreads, I’ve only read 14 books. This is because I haven’t been updating it at all and haven’t in a few months. Scrolling through the reviews I’ve posted on here this year, I have read and reviewed 26 books.

26 is half of 52, I know that math at least. I’m actually shocked that I reached at least half of my original goal.

Looking at the weeks ahead, I need to read about two books a week with two of those weeks reading three books if I were to reach 52 books this year.

I’m not saying I’m going to do this. I’ve been in a slump for so long that I really don’t want to try to bombard myself with books again all the sake of reaching a virtual goal.

But I’m also not saying this isn’t an impossible thing to do. I want to get back into the habit of reading again. Who knows, if I find a new spark with a certain book or two, I may actually just reach the 52-book goal.

Do you have a Goodreads goal? Have you met it yet? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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When I First Fell In Love With Reading

I didn’t always enjoy reading. In fact, I thought it was stupid. To me, it was just homework from teachers. All the books were always picked out for me and I never cared for any of them. In the middle of all that, I did fall in love with reading.

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When I Was 11

I was in the sixth grade and Erin Hunter, a group of authors under a penname, came out with a book titled Warriors. You’ve all heard me talk about this series now and again. I’m still reading the books and catching up with the series. There are a ton of books, 37 in the main series with number 38 coming out in October 2019. The very first one that started it all came out when I was 11-years-old.

It was my sister’s book. I don’t remember how she got it. I can’t remember if it was a gift from someone knowing she enjoyed reading and animals or if she had come across it at Barnes & Noble and bought it herself. Either way, she read it and enjoyed it. When I found out it was about cats, I wanted to borrow it.

She let me and I brought it to school. I remember her telling me, “Keep it nice. Don’t dogear the pages. Don’t lose it.” There was a list. She was very particular about keeping her books nice, which is fair. So, what did I do? I stepped out of the car one morning when my Mom dropped me off at school and immediately the book slipped out of my hand and fell into the snow. Of course, my sister didn’t actually care about that. We still look back on that and laugh.

“Don’t ruin it.” (Immediately drops it in the snow.)

It Didn’t Last Long

I remember reading the first couple of books and then stopped for a long time. The books assigned to me in school throughout middle school and high school pushed me away from reading. I had too many things to read for school that if I had any downtime to read whatever I wanted, I just didn’t feel like it. I was totally turned off from reading even though I enjoyed the Warriors series so much.

There were other series I enjoyed as well – Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and I enjoyed my mysteries by Joan Lowry Nixon and Caroline B. Cooney. I was just never too into reading on my own. It reminded me too much of homework.

Then, when I was in high school I rediscovered the Warriors books again. I tried my best to read them in my spare time. I got really into them again. In fact, I read one of the super edition books for a book report in my freshman year.

But again, school got in the way. The book report was an easy assignment for me since we got to pick out whatever we wanted to read. The book was about 500 pages long and when I got my grade, there was a note on it from my teacher.

“Next time, maybe pick a more age-appropriate book.”

I still got a good grade and she didn’t take any points off for me reading a book that was supposed “too young” for me, but the comment still rubbed me the wrong way. I was 14 and the book is targeted at a middle-grade level. Close enough, right? I mean, I was in middle grade less than a year before that book report was assigned anyway. I enjoyed it, that’s what I loved to read, so I didn’t see what the big deal was.

I don’t even think my teacher knew what it was. All she got out of it was that it was about cats. Therefore, animal books are too young for high schoolers. (I mean, really, I’m almost 26-years-old and I already pre-ordered the next book that comes out in three months.)

College & Blogging

This was the time in my life when I really got into reading. I graduated high school in June 2011. At that point, I already had a year of college under my belt. Sure, I had to read books for college but they actually weren’t bad books. I enjoyed them. Not to mention, later down the road, I was assigned to read The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter for one of my classes. Yes, please.

Then I started this blog in May 2012. I didn’t start reviewing books until 2015, but I still talked about them on the blog. I still read and, in a way, the blog held me accountable for reading. I met so many wonderful writers and authors through my blog while in college that I had a better appreciation for reading – despite wanting to be a writer myself.

That’s when I really started reading. Four years ago was when I started reviewing books and really getting into a reading routine while it wasn’t until 2011/2012 that I grew an appreciation and love for reading.

If You Want To Write, Read

This is a piece of advice that I had always gotten when I told people I wanted to be a writer. I think, to a certain extent, reading does help writers. However, I don’t think it’s a huge necessity. I made t this far, haven’t I? I’ve only been actively reading books for less than ten years and voila! Here I am.

When did you first fall in love with reading? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Organizing My Books

Since I’ve been doing so much organizing this month, I decided I should probably do my books as well. I have two bookshelves in the basement as well as two small “floating” shelves in my office. I typically have the floating shelves hold books I’m currently reading or what I’ll be reading next as well as writing craft books.

My bookshelves in the basement have been overflowing for a long time now and they’ve been needing some organization.

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Except I didn’t actually organize my books. I took all my books off the two bookcases and went through the ones I want to keep and got rid of some others.

Every time I try to get rid of some books I end up donating a handful. I become too attached to the books and keep them all. Except, I’ve been in the mood to clear some things out and make room. I have too much stuff and things have been super cluttered lately. It’s driving me nuts.

It took me a half hour to go through my books and I ended up with six stacks of books that I’m getting rid of. Honestly, I didn’t seem to get too attached to any of the books either. I think I’m just “ready” to clean house.

The books I got rid of were old series like Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars that I will never read again. I was into those books in middle school and a bit of high school and then grew out of them.

Other books I decided to donate were books I’ve had for years and I know I will never read. Then there were other books I let go of that I have read but know I will either never read again or I just didn’t care too much for the book and it no longer needs to be displayed on my shelf.

I always hate getting rid of things. I’m one of those people who believe inanimate objects have feelings and I feel bad donating them. Unless something is broken or in bad condition, I never throw anything away. I always donate it to my church’s Thrift Shop or other places that accept donations. I know someone will be able to use whatever I give away more so than how I’ve been using it… or not using it.

I was proud of myself for getting rid of so many books. Honestly, it didn’t free up that much space on my shelves, but it did make some sort of dent.

I definitely feel good about getting that done and out of the way. Now I need to go back to it at some point and actually organize the books by series or author or… something.

Have you gone through your books lately? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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2019 Writing Schedule

Normally I spend December prepping for the next year. I get a work schedule in place, I go through my books and writing, and I figure out what I want to accomplish for the following year. Technically, I did do most of that. It’s just that I’ve had a couple of realizations within this past month and I’ve decided to change some things. Well, not change things per-say, but I’ve decided to do some things differently – change some habits and be more open and less stressed. (Which, I guess, is changing things…)

I’m sure you all know at this point that I’ve been participating in the 85K90 Writing Challenge. January is a month of writing though I’ve been using this month to outline and prep. So, if you take a look at my progress tracker on the page, then you’ll see that I’m extremely behind. I’m not behind at all though, I’m just figuring things out. The nice thing about this challenge is that you have three months to write 85k words, but you also have April as a buffer in case you get behind. (April is also Camp NaNo where I’ll be writing 50k words regardless, so I think I’ll reach 85k by the end of April in no problem.)

The other day, the kids I babysit had a lot of homework. They were both sick the previous week so they had a lot of make-up work on top of their regular homework. It took them about an hour to an hour and a half to get their home done each day all week. So, I let them have a little extra iPad time throughout the week because they worked so hard and they were exhausted.

Thus, my brainstorming session.

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I made a chart in my Brain Dump notebook for the entire year following the schedule of the 85K90 Writing Challenge. January, February, and March are writing months. May and June are editing months. August and September are prep for publishing months. October and November are publishing months. April, July, and December are finish months, which can be used to finish whatever you didn’t yet or they can be break months. Then there’s also Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo in April, July, and November. Two happen to follow on break months and the other happens on a publishing month, which will most likely continue to be prep for me.

I knew I needed to prioritize my writing and figure out what projects I wanted to get done this year. I needed to look at which stage each project is already on and line them up with the appropriate months.

In 2019, I’ll be working on six to seven books. It seems like a lot, but honestly – I’m including Sunday Morning, which will be published soon. I’m also including two novellas. Yes, I’m going back on Wattpad. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on there and I have a couple ideas for some short works. I definitely need to update my profile and such, but I’m planning on publishing two more novellas on there this year.

In addition, I’ll be working on George Florence & The Perfect Alibi, volume two of Sunday Morning, another project I’m not ready to announce yet, and… whatever I decide to write during NaNoWriMo in November. At least I have some time with that! Who knows though, I might use that month as a “rewrite” month for certain projects.

I’ve prioritized my projects and broken them up into the outlining, writing, and editing stages. I’ve designated each month of the year to work on two or three of these projects. As long as I stay focused and everything goes according to plan, I’ll have a few books completed by the end of the year. I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve updated the My Books page if you’d like to see the projects I’m working on and tentative deadlines for them.

Do you have a writing plan for 2019? Do you have a backlog of books to work on like I do? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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12 Days Of Christmas Book Tag

I don’t do these very often. My blog posts are usually written well in advance and I always forget about them. But I haven’t done one in a while and this certainly seemed like fun, so I wanted to give it a go.

I was tagged to do this my good friend Ari Meghlen. I don’t normally tag people in these things, so if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged. Or feel free to play along in the comments below.

Also, I’m going to go through the books I read in 2018 to narrow my choices down a bit. Though I might branch out a bit depending on the prompt.

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On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: a partridge in a pear tree. The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favorite stand alone?

One book I read this year and absolutely loved was Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. I read it in one sitting pretty much on Christmas Eve last year. (Yes, I said I was going to look at 2018 but I technically reviewed the book in January, so there.)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: two turtle doves.

Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

Shawn and Gus from the Psych series. They’re not a couple, but they have the best relationship.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Three French Hens.

In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

I don’t read trilogies that often and I honestly couldn’t think of one. I did read a manga trilogy this year which I enjoyed a lot called Your Name by Makoto Shinkai. So, I’m counting that one.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: four calling birds.

Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favorite series?

Does this need to be a question? Warriors by Erin Hunter, hands down.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: five golden rings.

One ring to rule them all! Who is your favorite villain/antagonist?

Voldemort from Harry Potter. He’s scary.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: six geese a laying.

Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favorite world/world-building?

I’m saying Harry Potter again. I want my letter!

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: seven swans a swimming.

Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favorite animal sidekick?

O’Ryan the cat from Carol J. Perry’s Witch City Mystery series. That cat is awesome and totally knows what’s up.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: eight maids a milking.

Milk is so 18th century. Which book series takes beverages/food to a whole new level?

Honestly, I guess I could say Harry Potter again? Chocolate frogs are good. Unless cookbooks count and then I’d say the Nerdy Nummies cookbook by Rosanna Pansino.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: nine ladies dancing.

Dancing is just one skill of a lady! Who is your favorite kickass female lead?

Nora White from the Nora White story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: ten lords a leaping.

How about your favorite leading lad?

Looking back on books I read this year, I enjoyed Davis from Turtles All The Way Down by John Green. He wasn’t necessarily the “leading” character, but I enjoyed him all the same.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: eleven pipers piping.

What is your favorite book or bookish thing with a musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot, etc.)

Believe it not, I haven’t really read anything that has to do with music. Or, not that I can recall, anyway. So, I’m going to go with El Deafo by Cece Bell, a graphic novel memoir about the author who got ill and lost her hearing and goes through the struggles of that.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 drummers drumming.

Drum roll please… what is your favorite read of this year?

I really enjoyed Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. I thought it was very inspiring and true to life.

And there you have it. The 12 days of Christmas book tag. Thanks again to Ari for tagging me! Feel free to do this tag on your own blog. If you do, send me a link. I’d love to see your answers.

Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What are your answers? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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