Reading Stats for 2020

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For so much of 2020 it didn’t actually feel like I was reading very much, but in the end I was surprised with the total number of books that I read! Here’s a breakdown of what I read this year (and for those interested, here’s what 2019 looked like).

First let’s start with how many books I read per month:

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January started off slow which makes sense because we had just moved back to Utah and I was probably busy unpacking boxes and settling into our new place. It’ll be interesting to see what this January’s numbers look like because we moved again (but this time we stayed in the same state and we aren’t moving again for a very long time). 20 looks like a huge month for me, but a big piece of that was reading all 9 volumes of Saga. Then I clearly had a dip over the Summer. I’m not totally sure what happened because it’s not like we did a ton of travel or anything, but a summer slump happened. Luckily I was able to claw my way out of that hole when I embraced my desire to read romance and only romance for three months.

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I’m obviously pretty liberal with my four star ratings–that’s something that surprised me from 2019. But then I’m very stingy with books going from four to five stars. I really have to love a book for it to get five stars. Like…hug it to my chest after I close the back cover love. I am surprised more books didn’t get 4.5 stars, though.

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I can definitely say that this is the first year that I’ve read more adult fiction than YA. I’ve found myself starting to get impatient with some YA protagonists and this year I found myself gravitating towards books with characters the same age as me (late 20’s, early 30’s).

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I read many, many eBooks this year and was sad to see that I only read three audiobooks! In 2019 I read a couple of different series’ through audio while going on morning walks with my son, but last year our stroller was out of commission with flat tires, etc. Hopefully we can get that up and running again for this summer. If anyone has any recommendations for a series that is good over audio (and not too inappropriate as I may be listening around my toddler) please let me know!

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Despite libraries shutting down for a portion of the year, our library was able to safely offer curbside pickup and then later, they were able to open at partial hours. But even if they hadn’t, a lot of the books I ended up checking out were through Libby. I cannot hype Libby up enough. You guys, if you’re not already using Libby, what are you doing? Check if your library offers it (I think most do at this point) and you’ll get access to all kinds of eBooks, audiobooks, and more.

That was my 2020 reading year! Overall, I’m pretty happy with it. I wish I’d read more of my own books and also more audio. We’ll see how this year goes!

MINI-REVIEWS: More Romance

So I’ve been on this huge romance kick over the last couple of months, right? I’ve been reading them quickly and haven’t been very good about getting reviews up, but today I sat down and just decided to bang them all out! (Just…do me a favor and ignore how many of these books feature 29/30-year-old Brits).

mini-reviews

Here’s Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane

I feel a little foolish that it took until about 75% of the way through before I realized this was a loose Pride and Prejudice retelling, but what are you gonna do? I didn’t like this one quite as much as the others I’ve read by her. Anna was a great main character, but I wasn’t always buying James as a love interest. I’m happy with how it ended, but there was some doubt in my mind if he’d ever be able to truly redeem himself. 3.5/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

I didn’t LOVE Calla. I feel like she was too oblivious as to how she was coming off to others. Like…you’ve seen the town and you really think the grocery coffee stand is going to have soy/almond/cashew milk? Besides that, I liked the other characters (maybe besides Calla’s mom). Simon is a real gem and neither Calla or her mother deserve him. 3.5/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker

I had my issues with Calla again, but overall I still liked the book. I just feel like she’s willfully naive sometimes. I’m not sure what she thought life was going to be like in Trapper’s Crossing, but I thought she should have been a little more grateful towards Muriel taking her under her wing. I did like her relationship with Roy, though, and thought it felt realistic. 3.5/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

Wow. Talk about slooooooow burn. Halfway through this book and I still had no idea which guy Delia was going to end up with. I don’t know that the relationship made a ton of sense to me always, but I still liked it and thought Delia was a good character. I liked her “journey” and the things she discovered about herself though she was a little too naive when it came to Kurt.

Unrelated, I thought the comic panels were a nice touch! Really enjoyed them. 4/5

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Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

This book actually took me by surprise! As the story sets up, you think you know where it’s going, but then it turns completely on its head. The meet cute scenarios that Evie comes up with are equal parts cringe and heartwarming. It really is interesting to think about how those scenarios might play out in real life (mostly poorly). I thought the romance was compelling though I wasn’t totally convinced until the end what the love interest necessarily saw in Evie. Overall, this was a cute read. 4/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

I really enjoyed Georgina’s journey throughout this book. Despite the fact that this book would be classified as romance, I feel like Georgina’s development as a character shared equal screen time and I really liked seeing her relationship with her sister grow throughout the book. The romance part is great too. There’s a lot of “but wait…does he actually remember her?” looming over every interaction that Georgina and Lucas have. With their backstory, I felt like the romance was believable and I found myself really rooting for them in the end. 4/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

I really enjoyed this one! Admittedly, Tiffy was a little much for me at times but I thought that Leon’s chapters balanced her out nicely. I thought the change in writing styles between their narrations was interesting and helped to distinguish them from each other. One of my pet peeves is when a book has multiple POVs, but they all sound like the same person and that was not the case with this book. I’ve seen other reviews complain about the secondary plots, but I actually didn’t mind them. I thought they fleshed out the characters in a realistic way that ended up contributing to their overall connection as people. Perhaps things might have wrapped up a little too picture perfect in the end, but I can hardly begrudge this book or characters their HEA. 4/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | eBook

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

If you are looking for a book featuring a quirky English village (quirky residents included) then look no farther! I really enjoyed getting to know the townspeople of Hamleigh along with Leena. Penelope and Roland especially always had me chuckling. Overall, this book had a really strong cast of interesting secondary characters to help Leena and Eileen along on their journeys. The relationship between Leena and her mother, Marian, was tense but felt necessary and I’m glad that O’Leary featured it, though I could have used a little more on-page action. There were elements of this book that I felt were unrealistic (both Eileen and Leena got A LOT done in less than two months), but I was more than happy to overlook that.

As the book started to wrap-up, however, I was worried that both of our heroines were going to end up with their respective love interests by default. Here’s what I mean by that: the whole book a protag is with one person (when the love interest is clearly…well…interested) but then something happens at the very end to cause that initial relationship to end and our protag turns around and is like, “Oh yes, I guess I do love this other person over here”. Even though five seconds ago they were really fighting to keep their previous relationship. Anyway, that DOESN’T end up happening in this book even though I was worried it was going to happen not once, but twice. I ended up really liking how O’Leary navigated all of those relationships. 4/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday

Meh. This book was just alright. I enjoyed all of the parts that were Hallmark movie-esque (quaint European village with delicious holiday traditions, meddling younger sister, New York meet cute) but I don’t really think I liked either of the main characters very much? I didn’t feel like they were very consistent throughout the book. Leo especially was just…kind of an odd character. He had an ENORMOUS chip on his shoulder and seemed to go out of his way to be contradictory at times. I can’t say I enjoyed any of his POV chapters really. And then I found Marie just kind of boring. 3/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

While I enjoyed this book, it does fall under the classic romance cliche where one frank conversation between characters would eliminate 90% of the drama. Lucie and Tristan were both interesting characters and again, I really liked the historical backdrop of the women’s suffrage movement. Lucie is not a damsel in distress to be saved and Tristan is clearly no white knight, but they end up working together to further their individual goals. I liked that Dunmore portrayed Lucie and Tristan as equals starting with them both owning 50% of the publishing house. It creates a good dynamic between them I think. Overall, I’m definitely interested in continuing the series ESPECIALLY after learning that book #3 is going to feature Hattie! 4/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

I’m not totally sure why I didn’t love this book, but it wasn’t as enjoyable to me as some of the other romances I’ve been reading lately. I didn’t love either Piper or Kyle to be honest. The flashback chapters to camp life were kind of a drag for me. Obviously I know they were being dumb teenagers (and which of us hasn’t been a dumb teenager at some point?) but I felt like so many of their decisions were just BAD and the consequences were so easily avoidable. I don’t know…I think this book just had too many things going on–elements that by themselves could have worked better. 3.5/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

WRAP-UP: Reading Goals for 2020

Maybe you saw my original post for my 2020 reading goals? Honestly, I thought I did a pretty good job of setting attainable goals, but then (as we all know) 2020 changed drastically. Despite all of that, by September I had made pretty good headway on my goals (see my update here). Between September and the end of the year, however, I went through a bit of a slump. Finally, I discovered that the only books I could really get through were romances for some reason. In the last couple months of 2020 I decided to really embrace that and have been reading romances almost exclusively since then. With that being said, here’s how my 2020 goals ended up shaking out:

It’s in the exact same place that I left it in September, but I don’t really mind. I still feel like I got a lot accomplished and I think the two I didn’t finish will fit in with my 2021 reading goals as well.

How did you do accomplishing any 2020 reading goals? And how did COVID effect your reading this year?

December 2020 Wrap-Up/TBR Update

More romance for me this month! We were also in the process of moving/buying a house, so I really couldn’t handle anything too intense.

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Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 11
Books currently reading:
 1

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 296
TBR at the beginning of December = 331
Books added to TBR = 6
Books read/deleted from TBR = 2
Total on TBR now = 335

How did your reading go this month?

14 Best Book Deals for 12/9/20: What the Wind Knows, The Afterlife of Holly Chase, Evvie Drake Starts Over, and more

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As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
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December 2020 TBR

Honestly…I don’t even know if I want to make a TBR for this month because I haven’t really been following them, but here we are.

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And we’ll see what else I get to. I’ve been so bad at doing ARCs lately so I’ve got quite a few of those piled up…

What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

November 2020 Wrap-Up/TBR Update


This month I officially leaned way into reading romance. It’s the only thing that I’ve been able to get through lately. I’ve enjoyed reading other books, but they seem to take me way longer than usual. So yeah! Lots of romance this month.

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Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 10, 1 DNF
Books currently reading:
1

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 296
TBR at the beginning of November = 325
Books added to TBR = 7
Books read/deleted from TBR = 1
Total on TBR now = 331

How did your reading go this month?

Romance Mini-Reviews

Lately I feel like I’ve been having a tough time getting through books. Even books that I’m enjoying, it seems like it takes me weeks instead of days to complete them. The only exception being romances. I’m not sure why, but I can zip through a romance in a couple of days while every other genre is a slog and this month I just decided to lean into that all the way. So without further ado, here are mini-reviews for some of the romances I’ve read this month so far.

mini-reviews

Billy & Me by Giovanna Fletcher

This book was fine. The writing seemed a bit immature at times and I thought Sophie and Billy’s relationship developed REALLY fast. I didn’t love that the conclusion seemed to be that a compromise between their careers wasn’t possible. But on another note, seeing as how Gi is married to Tom Fletcher from the British band McFly, it makes me really wonder how much of Sophie’s experiences here are autobiographical. The press and people on social media can really be terrible—it’s disgusting. 3/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | eBook

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Coming off of watching Enola Holmes on Netflix, it was interesting to learn a little more about women’s suffrage in England. I liked that the romance didn’t get bogged down by the history and vice versa. I’m not going to pretend like the love story between our main characters was super realistic, but it was still enjoyable. I thought they were both pretty good characters. Let’s get Hattie her own book though, mmmkay? 4/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

I thought this book was so sweet and was exactly what I needed right now. I liked Evvie as a character a lot and her relationship with Dean seemed to progress at a good pace. I like that they had adult conversations and there were no angsty misunderstandings. I liked the ending too! I felt like it was realistic but still sweet. Lastly, I just wanted to say that I feel Monica is extremely underrated as a character. Her friendship with Evvie was really great and she just seemed like an awesome woman in general. 4/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | eBook

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

This book was surprisingly funny. I thought the narrator’s voice was super cheeky and really added to the story, though I don’t know that I would want to read a million books like that. Nina was equal parts charming and infuriating as a protagonist. She made quite a few decisions that I wouldn’t have, but then some decisions that I really liked as well. Overall, I liked the combination of her having to deal with her father’s death/inheritance/new family and figuring out how she felt about Tom. It gave the story more dimension to kind of have two different storylines going on at the same time. 4/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

I really liked this book! It took a little while to really get going, but I think that eventually ended up being really important in understanding who Laurie is as a character. Jamie as a love interest was a little too perfect at times, but I still liked him and the scenes of him and Laurie together just talking were always really fun. While this book is ultimately a romance, I appreciated how it talks about some heavier themes and specifically about being mixed race. As a mixed race person myself, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten the, “Where are you from?” question. Born in America same as you random white person, thanks. And like…why do you even care? Does my heritage change anything about our relationship? Anyway…bit of a triggering topic for me I guess, but there you have it. 4/5

Order: Paperback | eBook

Fall 2020 Mini-Reviews

These are some books that I’ve read recently that I think are perfect for the fall season. Atmospheric, lyrical, and perhaps a little spooky.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

This book is centered around Shakespeare’s family–specifically his wife and children. It’s interesting, though, because Shakespeare himself is never actually mentioned by name. Despite that, Agnes (his wife) is such an interesting character and Shakespeare’s absence just made me want to pick up a biography on him. This book took me a little while to get into and I thought the writing was a little too flowery for my taste, but in the end I still really enjoyed it. I could definitely tell that this book hit me different now that I’m a parent than it would have before I had kids. There were just so many mom feels–the desperation to protect your kids from anything and everything…it was real.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: None

Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Moderate

Order: Hardcover | eBook

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I honestly can’t believe I haven’t read this book before now! Holly Black is so masterful in creating these parallel worlds that are close to what we have now, but with one fantastical twist. I thought the beginning of the book very smoothly introduced the world and its rules. I also thought the flashback chapters were a great way of creating context without interrupting the story or forcing characters to unrealistically reflect on something. I really liked Tana as a main character and loved that she stuck to her guns throughout the story. I often have a problem with these “immortal beings falling in love with average mortal girl” story lines, but I thought for once we were given a compelling reason as to why Gavriel fell in love with her–there legitimately was something different about Tana. I definitely thought something was up with the San Francisco Coldtown and that they were get involved, but that didn’t end up happening. I can’t believe this is a standalone book! I really feel like we need a book specifically exploring the San Francisco Coldtown.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: None
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild

Order: Paperback | eBook 

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I just want to start this review by saying that I enjoyed this book. Reading over my notes, I had some issues with it so it might seem like I didn’t, but I really did. It’s very The Westing Game meets Knives Out and I was super into it. In general, I liked Avery as a character, though it feels like JLB tends to write the same protagonist into all her books. Don’t get me wrong, I like that character, but they’re pretty interchangeable between books. I liked that Avery had a strong relationship with Libby and I hope that gets explored more in future books. I also really liked the puzzle aspect and it was enjoyable for me to watch Avery try to figure them out. My main issues really all center around the romantic subplot. First of all, I hate–HATE–love triangles involving siblings (usually brothers). It just feels like there’s no way for that to end well in the long run. Second, I’m really over the “hot bad boy gives protagonist an annoying nickname” trope. It just feels so cringe to me. Every time. Lastly, THERE IS NO COMPELLING REASON WHY JAMESON AND GRAYSON ARE SO PROTECTIVE OF AVERY. They just ARE all of the sudden and it’s like…why? In the end, though, I liked this book and am FOR SURE reading the next book in the series.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: None
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild

Order: Hardcover | eBook

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Okay, since finishing this book I’ve read some pretty negative reviews about it and that just makes me so sad! This book has my whole heart and I realize it’s not going to be for everyone, but some people are really just missing out. This is different from any other book Schwab has written, but it still has her signature worldbuilding. It’s more magical realism than fantasy like some of her other books have been, but I feel like that makes the entire story more poignant. There’s this pervasive sadness throughout the book–even when Addie is with Henry, you just feel like any happiness cannot possibly last. I really liked that Schwab didn’t gloss over the beginning of Addie’s story while she’s figuring out her curse. I feel like I really liked having that backstory as a reader and her struggle provided some good perspective. Despite the romantic subplot with Henry, this story is not about the two of them or even about Addie and Luc–it’s about Addie alone and the ending makes that very apparent. This story was beautiful and heartbreaking and I’ll admit to sobbing through the last couple chapters. (Honestly, my only qualm is that Schwab used the word “palimpsest” like 50 times throughout the book).

Overall Rating: 5
Language: Moderate
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

Order: Hardcover | eBook

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

I very much enjoyed Turton’s debut, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and was pleasantly surprised to hear that he had a new book coming out! This book is just as twisty a mystery as Evelyn Hardcastle was, but with even more of a supernatural element to it. Right off the bat, it felt like there was a lot going on–we were meeting all kinds of characters and learning the backstory for the legend of Old Tom–but at the same time nothing was really happening. Our characters were running around doing a lot of things, but not learning anything. As the book progressed, I did feel myself getting more and more invested in figuring out what the heck was going on, but I also became certain that there were only two possible endings. One of those endings would be a great payoff, but the other would be incredibly lame and ruin the book. In the end, I thought the “solution” was pretty good, but felt a little rushed in its explanation. Regardless, this was the perfect book to be reading this time of year. Slightly spooky and very atmospheric.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

Order: Hardcover | eBook

15 Best Book Deals for 10/23/20: In Cold Blood, the Princess Diarist, Bitter Orange, and more

Book Deals
As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
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