2018 Wrap-Up + 2019 Goals

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Happy New Year! I still have not accepted that it’s 2019 (and that I return to school in a week, yikes). Though 2018 was a chaotic and often stressful, I am pleased to say that it was really productive reading-wise! I read a lot more than I did in 2017 and had a greater variety in the types of books that I read too.

As you can see, 2018 did not improve my ability to write introductions tho, so without farther ado, let’s get into this wrap-up so I don’t start babbling here! πŸ˜‰


My 2018 Reading Stats:

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Additional Stats:

  • YA Fantasy: 24 books (aka 52% of YA & 73% of the fantasy I read)
  • Most Productive Months: January (9 books) & June (9 books)
  • Rereads: 8 books
  • 2018 Releases: 20 books
  • Owned Books Read (prior to 2018 & not a reread): 6 books

Other 2018 Accomplishments/Highlights:

  • I regularly posted on this blog! πŸ˜„
  • I wrote and completed a rough draft of a novel in February! I’ve started numerous novel-length stories, but this was the first time I actually finished a full draft!
  • I co-founded a book club at my college! Though the group is still pretty small, it’s been so fun discussing books with my peers!
  • I’m now over half way done with college! OMG, how? I still feel like yesterday I was that insecure, baby freshman…
  • I got a sweet summer job mowing lawns that paid really well and didn’t mind that I read during my spare time. πŸ˜†
  • I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time and met my goal of writing 25,000 words in July!
  • I was reunited with my all-time-favorite cereal, Honeycomb cereal! πŸ˜‹
  • My One Year Blogiversary was in August!
  • I saw Sarah J. Maas on her KOA tour!
  • I got accepted to an off-campus program in NYC (which I’m leaving for in A WEEK!!! AHHHHH)
  • I completed 3 short stories (standalones, but related) for my fiction writing class. I suck at and struggle with short stories so much so this was big deal for me, especially since they were realistic fiction (nearly everything I’ve ever written is fantasy)

Wow, this was actually a really satisfying list to write. At first I didn’t think I was going to have much to include on this list, but I actually surprised myself and had a lot from 2018 that I wanted to highlight!


Let’s see how I did on my 2018 Goals:

  • Read 50 books again (so roughly a book a week)
    • Yep! I read 77 books!
  • Post on this blog weekly
    • Ermm, for the most part, yes? I think I missed a week in April and then there was my semi-hiatus from mid-November to mid-December, but other than that I did pretty well!
  • Write everyday! (At least one sentence each day)
    • Oh, um, according to my habit tracker, I wrote 221/365 days, so 60% of the year. Definitely have room to improve for next year…
  • Non-bookish goals:
    • Exercise more?? (HA, this will die out quickly once the semester starts next week)
      • Eep, um, I honestly don’t know? I definitely had some treadmill spurts, but there was a lot times I could have gone and didn’t.
    • Sleep more? At least 8 hours? (Maybe I can sort of keep up with this? Bless myself for not signing up for a class before 11 am)
      • Well, this fall semester I had a 9:30am, past Keri, so I’m think I pretty safe to say I never got 8 hours on those days. Not to mention during the summer, I had an 8am-5pm job 5 days a week and 8 hours of sleep was pretty hard to hit (I’m a total night owl).
    • Have less acne (BAHAHA I have little control over what my skin wants to do, but I can hope, right?)
      • I think I succeeded with this during Lent when I gave up sweets, but this totally did not happen during the fall when I was stressing and stress eating all the time.

Goals for 2019:

  • Read 50 books (I don’t know what my workload will be like during my fall & spring semesters and 50 is such a nice number so I’m sticking with it)
    • Reread at least 5 books
    • Read at least 20 books that I own (acquired before 2019 and not including rereads)
    • Read at least 10 books published in 2019
  • Write everyday–At least 100 words (ramping it up a bit to encourage me to make more room in my life for writing).
    • To coincide with this, my writing goal for this year to fully revise my WIP and have a complete 2nd draft.
  • Blog at least once a week (But preferably every 3-5 days)
    • Expand my blog (e.g. gain more followers, try some different types of posts/formatting)
  • Vague life goals that won’t actually happen:
    • Sleep 8+ hours every night
    • Eat less sweets
    • Exercise/run more
    • Stop getting unnecessarily stressed over random crap (like the fact that I wanted this post to go up at midnight on Jan. 3rd)

And that’s it for my 2018 wrap-up and 2019 goals! Lol, there are a lists here, sorry guys! (Though do I really need to apologize? Reading & writing lists are so much fun!)

How was 2018 for you reading-wise? What are your bookish & nonbookish goals for 2019?
If you posted a 2018 wrap-up, feel free to link it in the comments below; I would love to read it!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Reads of 2018

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Welcome 2019! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Best Books I Read In 2018”. I’m going to tweak this prompt slightly and make it my “favorite reads of 2018” because I read a lot of 5 star reads, but there were a few 4.25/4.5 star reads that I found myself enjoying more.

Wow, I realized after writing this list that these books are all rereads and popular/hyped books?! So yeah, I might be a bit clichΓ© in some of my choices/rankings, but honestly, this was such a hard list to make, so can ya blame me? I did my best to rank them, but honestly, I enjoyed all these books relatively the same.


For those of you who don’t know:

β€œTop Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.”

(This quote comes directly from the blog That Artsy Reader Girl)


First, before we dive into this list, let’s glance at my “The Best Books I Read in the First Half of 2018” list:

  1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  3. When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  4. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  5. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
  6. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  7. The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen
  8. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
  9. Monstress by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
  10. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Now for my final favorites list of 2018:

10. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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I love The Little Mermaid, so, of course, this dark Little Mermaid retelling with sirens was a big hit for me! And with secret identities, witty banter, and an awesome world, this book was an immense joy to read! Why aren’t there more good mermaid/siren books out there?

9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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How could I not add this to the list? I honestly think my favorite part about this book, and what I admire most about Thomas’s writing, is her characters. All her characters are so fleshed out and I adored Starr’s family dynamic.

8. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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Another popular I finally read! My favorite things about this book was the narration and of course the love story! Ahhh, Simon and Blue are such great characters! I will forever be wanting more of them. (Leah on the Offbeat was not enough; I want to see them in college!)

7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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I finally hopped on this bandwagon! I loved all of the protagonists and it was so great to discuss this book with my roommate and book club. I can’t wait to pick up Crooked Kingdom this year!

6. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Honestly, I enjoyed both these Leigh Bardugo books pretty equally, but how I could I not include one the Grisha trilogy books? I adored rereading this series and ahhhh, it was great. Alina is such a great morally grey character and I loved her character journey. I’m not sure if I would absolute say that the second book is my favorite of the trilogy, but I technically reread Shadow and Bone in 2017 so I couldn’t include it for this list.

5. Circe by Madeline Miller

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OMG MILLER’S WRITING IS GORGEOUS! Ultimate writing goals right here. I thoroughly enjoyed getting Circe’s side of the story, because honestly, until I read this book, I kept getting Circe confused with Calypso. It was so cool to see all this Greek mythology woven into this Circe retelling.

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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And I LOVE Jane Austen’s writing too! I’ve only read 4 of Austen’s novels, but this one is without a doubt my favorite. It was so great to reread this book this year and discuss it with my Jane Austen class! That’s the only part I’m sad about in regards to my fall semester finishing; I won’t be in my Jane Austen class again! Luckily, I got Austen’s other 2 books for Christmas, so you might see those books popping up on my 2019 list!

3. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

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Wow, another reread (and 2nd book in a trilogy) making this list! Who would have thought? This was my 3rd time reading this book, and the story did not disappoint! I love The Remanent Chronicles so much (except for the trilogy’s ending but we don’t talk about that shhhh). I will say that this series has a lot of cliches with the “chosen one” trope and all, but despite this, it honestly works and I 100% recommend the trilogy to all YA fantasy readers.

2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Like nearly everyone else in the YA book world, I fell in love with this novel! I adored Jude’s morally grey character and all the crazy plot twists. And now we’re only a week away from the release of The Wicked King! Crap, I still need to pre-order that book…

1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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A classic choice, but how could I not declare a SJM book my favorite read of the year? I love her writing, characters, and supreme foreshadowing skills. Funny enough, this was the first book I read in 2018! I still haven’t read Kingdom of Ash yet, but hopefully it will be on my favorite reads list of 2019!


What were some of your favorite reads from 2018? Do we have any in commmon?

If you participated in TTT this week, feel free to link up your posts in the comments below, I would love to read them!

December Wrap-Up: FINALLY Completing My Fall Semester + Finishing My Current Reads

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How are we already on December 31st? How have I already been on winter break for 2 weeks?

December was a crazy month. The first two weeks were extremely busy and stressful with all of my final project work and then the last two weeks have been…extremely lazy, whoops. Even though I enjoyed a couple of my classes, I’m really grateful that they’re over and that I survived my semester (because honestly there were a couple of points where I thought I might suffocate under all the work I had to do)! I still can’t believe that next semester I’ll be studying off-campus in New York instead of back at my small college. Hopefully I have lots of (fun) adventures ahead of me!

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a Top Ten Tuesday post of my favorite reads of 2018 and a couple days after that (so January 3rd or 4th) I’ll be posting my wrap-up of 2018 and my goals for the new year!


BOOKS I READ:

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1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4.5 stars

I finally read Six of Crows! I adored the book and it was such a fun book to discuss with my book club (this book probably produced the best book discussions all semester). My only real complaint with the book is that the protagonists should have been in their late twenties, not 17-ish, but oh well, that’s YA for ya. πŸ˜…
I can’t wait to continue onto Crooked Kingdom!

2. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney

Rating: 5 stars

This is a graphic memoir about about a cartoonist who finds out she has bipolar I. Her memoir follows her through manic and depressive episodes and as she struggles with how to value her creativity with her overall health. This was such an insightful book in so many ways and I would recommend this book to essentially everyone!

3. Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Rating: 3.25 stars

A really fun read that parodied the expectations and perfections of superheroes, but I wasn’t sure what else I was suppose to get out of it besides that? And at times, it was just TOO ridiculous. I really love the cover though, so I’m tempted to go out and by the other 2 books in the series…

4. Rule by Ellen Goodlett

Rating: 2.25 stars

Essentially this was a shallow and clichΓ© fantasy that wasn’t very remarkable. It took me months to get through my ARC of this book. You can read my full thoughts here.

5. Celtic Tales: Fairy Tales and Stories of Enchantment from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales by Kate Forrester

Rating: 3.5 stars

This was an interesting collection of tales that I had never heard before. But maybe because I didn’t have any familiarity with them was the reason I found them a bit lackluster? The illustrations are all gorgeous tho and I loved how the collection was divided up into 4 sections: Tricksters, The Sea, Quests, and Romance. The last section was of course my fav. πŸ˜‰

6. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4.5 stars

It only took me a year, but I finally finished my reread of the Grisha trilogy! It had been ~4 years since I last read all these books and it was so much fun to dive back into this series. I love Alina’s morally grey character and I can’t wait to read more Leigh Bardugo in the future!

7. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Rating: 5 stars

I read this collection of short stories for my fiction writing class and I enjoyed it! Elizabeth Strout’s writing is so unique, amazing, and powerful. I can only dream of writing like her. I’m quite curious to see the mini-series inspired by this book now…

8. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
**hopefully**

Rating: 4 stars??

I haven’t actually finished this book yet (I’m about 2/3 of the way through) but I wanted to include it since I’m planning to finish it before 2019. I also wanted to post this wrap-up before the end of the day since I’m hoping to participate in Top Ten Tuesday tomorrow and I don’t like to post back to back.

Mandel writes in a nonlinear timeline and uses a somewhat blunt writing style which is quite captivating. I’ve been partly spoiled for the end but I’m still eager to see the book through.


January TBR:

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But then again, who knows at this point? There are so many books I want to read, but I can only take so many with me to New York. Not to mention I have so many to choose from (check out my December book haul here)! And I just realized that I haven’t read any of the books on my Winter Break TBR, yikes. 😬


Random Life Updates:

  • I FINISHED MY FALL SEMESTER OF CLASSES!! Praise the lord it’s overall– all that work was so stressful.
    • But I am really sad that I won’t be able to see my roommate for at least half a year now, given that we’re both studying off-campus next semester.
  • I got to see a bunch of relatives for Christmas!
    • My family hard core procrastinating on decorating this year. We didn’t get our tree up until the evening December 23rd. 😁
  • My sister is trying to pressure me into cleaning my room. We’ve had little success so far (my room really needs it tho; you can barely see the floor)
  • I really should be writing, but I haven’t since I submitted my final portfolio for my fiction writing class. (This was probably not the best thing to confess here since my writing buddy reads my posts, whoops)
  • There’s probably more I’m forgetting to include on this list, but I’m totally blanking. Goal for 2019: Stop making this the last section I fill out on these wrap-ups before posting. I always rush this section and thus it always ends up being half halfheartedly filled out.

Wow, this is my last post of 2018! Thank you to everyone who has read my posts this last year! ❀

How was your December? Did you do anything fun for the holidays? If you posted a December wrap-up, feel free to link it up in the comments; I would love to read it!

December Book Haul: Lots of Fantasy with a Surprising Amount of Adult Fiction!

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Normally, on a month-to-month basis, I don’t acquire a lot of books–if any–but December/Christmas is the time when I accumulate most of the books I own. Between Christmas, a book exchange between my book club, and using some old gift cards to treat myself to a few mass market paperbacks, I hauled 18 books this month! The majority are fantasy novels (so surprising, right?), but I didn’t realize how little YA I acquired and how many “adult” books I got until I lined them all up to take a picture! Perhaps I’m “maturing”? (baha, unlikely; YA Forever!)

Also, I just unhauled ~12 YA books and a couple dozen children’s books yesterday so hopefully I’ll be able to find the shelf space for these books (and omg, it feels so nice to have donated and rid myself of so many books). I have 2 full bookcases, 1 short bookcase, and an additional shelf which I use for books. Once I reorganize my remaining childhood books, I’ll should be able to have all my books neatly tucked away. But let’s be real; I’m horrible at cleaning–as in you can barely see the floor in my room–so it’s unlikely that I get to this before returning to school. πŸ˜…

eightteen books stacked in front of a glowing christmas tree

From my Book Club’s Exchange:

There was so much hype around this book last year/earlier this year and I’m so excited to own a copy! My book club does a white-elephant-style book exchange every semester and I was super excited to snatch this book up at it! My friend, who contributed the book, said she loved it, so I’m very curious to see exactly what this book entails.

Books I Bought for Myself:

Using some Barnes & Noble and Amazon gift cards, I treated myself to these 3 books after finishing some particularly stressful finals and moving back home. I’ve actually already read one of these books, Heroine Complex, and really enjoyed it! It’s a fun, relatively quick read that parodies the expectations and work of superheroes.

**Post Edit**

I completely forgot to include a book, making my total haul 19 books! I picked this book up in a used bookshop in at a library. When the Emperor was Divine is an amazing book. Julie Otsuka is the queen of show and not tell, and additionally, her use of perspective is extremely powerful. I’ve read this book twice now and I can only dream of writing like her.

the book When the Emperor was Divine lying against a red background

Christmas Gifts:

I am extremely fortunate and blessed to have parents and grandparents that are willing to buy me lots of books for Christmas. My book collection and my passion for reading would be nothing without them, particularly my mom. If it wasn’t for her tirelessly searching for books that piqued my interest and reading with me during my elementary school years, I wouldn’t be the reader I am today (or probably a reader at all).
Wow, I just got really sentimental there, sorry guys. πŸ˜… Essentially all that I meant to say is that I’m really grateful for these books and that I’m equally excited to dive into all of them (ahhh, why I can’t I just take an entire suitcase full of books with me back to school??)


That’s it for my December book haul! πŸ˜„

What books have you acquired recently?
Any suggestions on which of these books I should pick up first?
What’s your favorite book that you own?