A VERY BELATED Mid-Year Freak Out Tag + 2020 Goals Check-In

2020 reading goals banner(1)Yes, I hardcore procrastinated on this post, so I guess it’s now a two-thirds-of-the-year check-in and freak out!? Eh, I guess it at least fits my theme this year of procrastinating on all my wrap-up posts, right? Bonus points for staying on brand? Or at least for making ya take a second look when you saw the notification pop up in your email and making ya wonder “doesn’t this child know it’s nearly September??!?”.

I do indeed know it’s August and now nearly September, but I refuse to not write this post. Fingers crossed I don’t embarrass myself too much with my progress (or there lack off) on my goals. Originally I was going to only look at the first half of the year, but that sounded like extra work, and for the sake of making myself feel more accomplished 💪, I’m going to factor in everything I’ve done so far in 2020.

Also, I have no clue which version of the tag I’m doing. I pulled most of the questions from the tag I did last year, then added a few other cool ones I saw from other blogger’s posts this year.


Mid-Year Freak Out Tag:

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.

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The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

This novel was one of the most unique, incredible, and thought-provoking books I have ever read. It tackles grief, trauma, science fiction, spirituality, and Christianity/religion (and you most definitely don’t have to be religious or Christian to read it–it challenges religion repeatedly). This book also features a great found family, and aaahhhh, it was just so amazing.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019.

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The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Technically more of a companion than a sequel, but I’m counting it! This series is so cute, beautiful, and includes a lot of diverse representation! I can’t until I can get my hands on the third one!

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

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A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

I ordered this from a local bookstore because I had heard great things about it and tbh because I wanted that gorgeous cover! Contemporary fantasy is not usually the subgenre I gravitate to, but I can’t wait to dive into this one! (please appreciate that cliche, minor pun)

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

Oooh, it’s so hard to pick only one! My cliche answer would be How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories, but my hopefully less stereotypical second answer would be Written in the Stars. Of course I’m excited for more Cardan, but I’m also dying to get a hold of this sapphic P&P retelling!

5. Biggest disappointment.

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Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner

I had to read this memoir for class. Though memoirs aren’t my go-to genre, I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed them more and more lately, but this one was such a struggle to get through. Which was especially aggravating because the book itself was only 106 pages!

6. Biggest surprise.

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Ash by Malinda Lo

This was technically a reread for me (though I technically read it like 9 years ago so I had forgotten most of it), and I know I’ve said this before, but wow, how did baby teen me not appreciate this book?!?!? It’s sooooooooo good.

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Anna Stone! She writes f/f BDSM erotic romances. I discovered her during my KU trial and devoured all of her books. They’re such light and fun (and smutty, of course) reads and honestly just what I needed to get through the end of college and these weird times. You can now bet your biscuits I’ll read everything she ever writes! I think I would have to say that my favorite of hers so far has been Behind Close Doors, which is a sexy office romance with a slight mystery twist!

8. Newest fictional crush.

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Ooooh, this is hard. Probably Nathaniel from Sorcery of Thorns. What a sassy, charismatic sorcerer…

9. Newest favorite character.

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Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Alice from Let’s Talk About Love! I’ve already raved about her multiple times, but ughhhhhh, I want her to be my friend so bad.

10. Book that made you cry.

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A Million Junes by Emily Henry

I’m not a big crier, but I was definitely tearing up at the end of this novel! It’s a whimsical and atmospheric book with a cute romance that also tackles grief and dealing with the realization that your idealized memory of someone doesn’t live up the reality of them.

11. Book that made you happy.

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House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Of course I couldn’t get through this post without mentioning a SJM book! This book was such a fun read and honestly a great distraction when America finally realizing we were in a pandemic back in March.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received).

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Circe by Madeline Miller

Picking a single book for an answer is so hard! The Deep has one of the most mysterious and intriguingly beautiful covers I’ve ever seen. I also finally bought myself a copy of Circe this year so I can reread it in the future and ughhhh, it’s also such a pretty book.

13. Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation.

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Oooh, either Little Women or The Witcher. Though I haven’t actually read any of The Witcher books, so I guess I’ll go with Little Women! I finally read the classic in February for my book club and then my friends and I saw the adaptation right before it left the theaters! I won’t give any spoilers, but how they framed the ending…so amazing!

14. Favorite 2020 Blog Post of Mine.

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So far, I think I’m most proud of my post about motivating yourself to write during a pandemic. *waves arms pathetically* Writing and motivation are so hard, so I made an attempt to inspire both myself and others!

15. Favorite Review I’ve Written in 2020.

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Ohhh, this is hard. I’m pretty proud of my (gushing) review of Girl, Serpent, Thorn!?

16. What book(s) do you need to read by the end of the year?

Ermmmm, so many. But the first ones that come to mind are the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I STILL need to reread the first book and then continue on to the second and third in preparation for the fourth book releasing at the end of this year.


2020 Reading Goal Check-In:

1. Read 50 books!

As of August 25th, I’ve read 37 books, which Goodreads says is 5 books ahead of schedule! Though I was hoping to be a lot more ahead, I’m still technically on track, so I’m counting it as a success. ✅

2. Read as many of my already owned books as possible.

By ‘owned books’ I mean books acquired prior to 2020 (and that are copies that I haven’t read before). So far I’ve managed 5 books, which is not ideal, but better than none. With covid/quarantine and whatnot, I was hoping to focus more on my owned books, but alas, that still has yet to happen. 🤷

And of the 36 (physical & electronic) books I’ve acquired this year, I’ve only read 8. 😬

3. Read at least ten 2020 releases

Including a novella I just finished the other day, I’ve read 10 2020 releases, so I’ve actually already completed this goal! ✅✅

4. Reread at least 5 books

So far I’ve reread 2 books, which is pretty impressive for me! Usually I get distracted by new-to-me books, but I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, so hopefully I can reach 5 by the end of the year. I even made a TBR of books I wanna reread the other day, so fingers crossed I continue to feel inspired to reread!

5. Finish at least 4 series

Currently only at 1, but hey, it’s better than none? In case you’re curious what the series was, it was LOTR, because my Tolkien class read the entire trilogy. Thank you college for helping me with my reading goals! 😆

6. Read a variety of genres (and age categories)!

genre breakdown of books read so far in 2020 (as of August 2020)

As you can see, Fantasy is still my main genre, but romance (specifically erotic romances lol) have really been helping me get through the year!

Age category breakdown of books read so far in 2020

I think this is the first time ever that YA isn’t the highest section? But I guess it makes since with all the romance books I’m reading (which are very much adult/NA).

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I also had some other writing/blogging/life goals for 2020, but ya know…we don’t need to check-in on those. 😅


How are your goals going so far? Have you read any of the books I mentioned?

Pssst, if there are anyone you out there who also didn’t do the mid-year freak out tag earlier, and still want to, I tag you!

 

Oh my, It’s My Blogiversary: Are You My Book? Turns THREE!!! | Have We Left the Terrible Two’s?

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Seriously, have we left the terrible two’s? Last year on my 2nd year blogiversary I made a joke asking if blogs had ‘terrible two’s’ and though my last year of blogging wasn’t ‘terrible’ per say, it definitely didn’t live up to what I wanted it to be.

WAIT, do blogs age like humans, or dogs? Like, is my blog actually 3 years old, or about to have a mid-life crisis? Because like, please no. Reject reject reject

OKAY, regardless of how blogs age, I’m excited to announce that today (August 19th) is MY THREE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY! It’s so crazy to think how I started this blog on a whim and upon the encouragement of my friend when I was an underclassmen in college. And now it’s become such a prominent part of my life, and I’m also now a college grad!?!? Where is the time going?!? And how do I slow it?!?

It can never be expressed enough, but I’m so grateful to be apart of the book blogging community! Thank you to my fellow book blogs and bloggers, for the book reviews, recommendations, updates of bookish news, advice, and so much more! And an especially big thank you to all who ever taken the time to talk with me in the comments!


To date, I’ve published 207 posts on Are You My Book? (this being the 208th!), which means I’ve written 53 posts during my 3rd year of my blogging (I wrote 78 the first year and 76 the second year). Yep, in terms of quantity, this third year was definitely a bit rougher, whoops.

In order to to stick with tradition, I’m gonna celebrate my blogiversary by reflecting on my favorite posts I’ve written and changes from this past year (just like I did for my 1st blogiversary and 2nd blogiversary).

  • I was contacted by a publisher (well, I think it was technically a book marketing agency, but still) and got sent my first physical ARC for review! (all my past physical ARCS were from giveaways)
  • I participated in my first themed, month-long readathon with teams! I joined the SeaMAYden-a-thon back in May and it was so much fun! I didn’t read as much as I was hoping for, but I think my team still won if I remember correctly?
  • My reading tastes have definitely evolved! Before blogging, I primarily read YA fantasy. Even during my first two years of blogging as I began to branch out more, this was the majority of the content I read. BUT THIS LAST YEAR my tastes have changed so much! I’ve gotten more into graphic novels, developed a preference for romance books, and recently been itching to reread old favorites (I’ve just been here for the comfort reads of late tbh), and I’ve reflected on these shifting tastes a couple times during this last year:
  • And I just participated in my first publisher-run blog tour!

Something I haven’t done in past blogiversary posts, but that I think I need to start doing to hold myself accountable (please help keep me accountable, friends), is create goals for my blog! So here are some for my 4th year of blogging (wow, that was crazy to type):

1. Finally, create (or commission) some new, coordinated graphics for Are You My Book?

I’ve been using these same uncoordinated graphics for years now, and I am long overdue to institute more harmonious graphics across my posts and pages.

2. Look into possibly picking a new theme for the layout of my blog

Not sure how switching themes/layouts works (will I lose data in the process?), but I need to look into it more. I’ve never been a big fan of this layout, with my small graphic in the corner and my recent posts on a long feed that takes forever to scroll through, so I definitely wanna change it if it’s not too difficult of a process.

***If anyone has switched themes before, I would love some advice!***

3. Branch into more review, discussion, and other creative posts!

More and more I find myself depending on monthly wrap-ups, Top Ten Tuesday lists, and WWW Wednesday posts for my regular content. It’s not that I don’t write reviews and other posts, but I would really like to create more on a regular basis!

4. Interact and blog hop more!

This is forever my goal, and I couldn’t not mention it. 😅


How long have you guys been blogging for?

Do you have any advice on my blogging goals or suggestions for my blog in general? Despite 3 years, I still feel clueless half the time! 😅

And again, THANK YOU MY BLOGGING FRIENDS!! Whether this is your first time reading my words, or you’ve been a follower for year(s), I appreciate you taking the time to stop by my little book blog!

July Wrap-Up: Wrote 60K Words for Camp NaNo and Drank Way Too Many Sugary Coffee & Tea Drinks

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I’m both sad and glad July is over! July was a crazy month in that I spent most of my mental and creativity energy (and motivation) on my Camp NaNo project (and thus accomplished like nothing else). My writing buddy and I quickly realized we were most productive during the morning, so I started almost every day with an early writing session. Though I loved the routine of it, my sleep schedule was less appreciative. (My taste buds on the other hand, quite adored all the food and drinks I was bribing myself with.)

In terms of reading and blogging? July was much less productive. Once again, I read 4 books, which is on track with my reading goal, but not quite as much as I was hoping to get through. I’m finding myself reading in spurts more and more now, and less so on a regular basis–I’m keeping my fingers crossed I can reverse this shift in August!


BOOKS READ:

two books, 'Sorcery of Thorns' and 'I, Coriander' lying against wooden panels with a tiny tea cup between them

1. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Rating: 4.25 stars

I’ve put this book on so many TBRs and I finally read it! Rogerson crafted an intriguing and gorgeous world and I WANT MORE! This world has such promise for further exploration and I could easily see a dozen companion books written in it! *crossing all my fingers and toes for at LEAST one companion* I LOVED both Nathaniel and Silas’ characters, but tbh I wasn’t much of a fan of the MC, Elizabeth. She was okay, but gave me a lot of ‘stereotypical YA heroine vibes’. Regardless, the story was so fun and addicting and I definitely recommend it!

Buddy-read with the amazing Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den
(My first successful buddy-read! Would have been the second but I failed Sammie back in February, whoops)

2. I, Coriander by Sally Gardiner

Rating: 3 stars

A reread of a book that I originally read in 2009! (I even checked my library’s checkout history to confirm this fact). Definitely noticed some more problematic elements this time around, which is often my fear with rereads. It was still a fun, quick read with some rather unique characteristics, but I’m not sure if it’s one I’ll continue to recommend to others.

3. Pretend You’re Mine by Laura Conway

Rating: 3 stars

This was a super fun f/f romance novella that I devoured in a day (before my KU subscription ended, haha)! It was so cute to see Lauren and Jackie pretending to date while secretly harboring crushes for one another. I adored it, though I do admit the plot was a little lacking (aka there wasn’t much of one).

4. Flunked by Jen Calonita

Rating: 3.5 stars

This was a cute, quick MG read! I’m a sucker for anything related to fairytales, especially when they involve overlapping retellings. I did find the worldbuilding a bit lacking and vague, but with 5 books following it, this issue will likely get addressed. Though I intend to use August to focus on ARCs, I may have to squeeze the next book into my agenda.


Life Updates:

  • I participated in Camp NaNo! (And that was basically my entire month right there, eek)
    • My goal was to complete a 50K new, revamped first draft of an old story idea, and I surpassed my goal by writing a total of 60K words! I’m going to take a break from writing for a couple of weeks before going back and figuring out how to re-plot the monstrous hot mess of a story.
    • Binge-wrote 6.7K words on the last day of July in an attempt to give my draft a semblance of an ending, and wowza, was I dead afterwards!
    • Would not have survived Camp NaNo if it were not for my writing buddy (and all the sugary coffee & tea drinks we bought, lol)! We literally met up every day of July for writing sessions (outside, of course). I totally would have dissolved into a bemoaning puddle of mush if it wasn’t for her. ❤

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  • ‘Celebrated’ the 4th of July by attending a protest!
  • Was able to see more of my old high school friends at a couple of socially-distant gatherings at parks this month! It was so lovely to see their faces and talk with people who aren’t my family, lol.

Posts by Other Bloggers That I Enjoyed:

  • Jaime @ Jaime Writes Words and Waffles posted a review of The Crow Rider that makes me eager to return to The Storm Crow duology!
  • Destiny @ Howling Libraries wrote a review about Emily Henry’s Beach Read. I didn’t think I could get any more excited about the book, but Destiny’s review did just that!
  • Kay @ Hammock of Books shared some of her spreads from her first year of bullet journaling! Her spreads are so cute and pretty and ahhhh, now I’m itching to attempt to draw something and/or buy a bullet journal.

AUGUST TBR:

I’ve actually made a separate post for my August TBR, if ya wanna check it out! In honor of ARC August, I’m planning on dedicating most of the month to reading ARCs!


How was your July? Did you participate in Camp NaNo? Are you writing anything currently? What are your plans for August?

June Wrap-Up: Not as much reading as I had hoped for | Seriously, did someone put last month on 2x playback speed?

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Aaaaand, I’m back with another super late monthly wrap-up post! I promised I would get better at this, but alas, I think I only did well for a month or two. Maybe next month I’ll be more on top of my blogging when I take a break from writing to recover from Camp Nano??

I know I say this every month, but where did the time go? Besides a few select activities, I am not sure what I really did in June!? I managed to squeeze in a decent amount of blogging and some WIP prep during the second half of June, but other than that…?? Also, I’m a bit bummed that I didn’t do near as much reading as I expected to. I read 4 books in June, one of which was a short graphic novel and another was a book I had read the majority of during April & May. Fingers crossed for July?? (tho at this rate I may have similar results whoops)


BOOKS READ:

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1. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Rating: 4.5 stars

SO CUTE! I’m still swooning over Alice’s and Takumi’s characters! It was the perfect summer rom-com, and I loved seeing the bi-romantic asexual rep! I highly recommend this romance! You can read my full review here.

2. The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Rating: 5 stars

So cute, colorful, and beautifully diverse! And there are tea dragons and regular dragons! Can someone please transport me into this magical world? Katie O’Neill continues to make me fall in love with every single one of her works that I pick up.

3. Aftershocks by Markos Kloos

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Rating: 3.5 stars

After 2 months, I finally finished this book! It wasn’t a bad story per se, it just took me awhile to get into the story and to remember to listen to the audiobook! Complex space-travel science fiction is also not my usual genre. A lot of the scientific jargon went over my head, and I was only interest in like 2.5 of the protagonists, but I’m planning on continuing onto the sequel later this month or in August.

4. Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

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Rating: 4.5 stars

Lol, it seems like every post I have written of late mentions this book. But that’s okay, because EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW HOW ASTOUNDING AND WHIMSICAL THIS BOOK IS! It has fairytale vibes, draws inspiration from Persian mythology and Zoroastrianism, contains demons & monsters, and features a cute sapphic romance. That’s all you really need to know, right? Great, now go forth and read this book!


RANDOM LIFE UPDATES:

  • Attended my first protest! It was organized by a local organization to show support for BLM and demand police accountability and justice, in particular for a recent case involving a local woman. When I got there I ended up volunteering to help pass out water bottles. It was an eye-opening experience, and if you haven’t attended a protest before, I highly recommend doing so (if/when you are able)!
  • My writing buddy and I have started having (socially distant) writing dates and they’ve been such a blessing to my life because I need the motivation & accountability. Would not be getting through Camp Nano right now without her tbh
  • Saw some old high school friends! We sat in a friend’s back yard in a (wide) circle, another friend tossed us cookies using tongs, and we caught up on life! At least one of the small positives of this pandemic is that a lot of my friends moved back in with their parents so we are all in the same area once more!
  • Received my diploma in the mail, lol
  • Honestly, I do not really know what is happening in my life anymore. 🤷‍♀️ Some how the days pass without me really doing anything?? When I do try to be productive, it usually leads me to despairing over job apps, eeek.

Posts by Other Bloggers That I Enjoyed:

Finally adding this section to my monthly wrap-ups! I follow so many amazing bloggers, and I really need to give them shout-outs more often!

  • Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den wrote about how being a librarian has changed her perspective on recommending books and writing reviews. She has so many good insights, so definitely check out her post!
  • Leelynn @ Sometimes Leelynn Reads posted recommendations of diverse books with a focus on souls. I immediately wanted to read all of these books and even went out and ordered Kingdom of Souls!
  • Holly @ A Mug of Wit and Wisdom wrote a great review for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue that got me more excited for the release!

JULY TBR


How was your June? Do anything fun? Read any good books you recommend?

And I know these times are tough, so seriously, if anyone wants/needs a friend to talk to, feel free to comment below or message me on Goodreads!