Mid Year Check In (2019)

Hi all! We’re over halfway through the year, can you believe that because I can’t. I’ve had such a packed year already with Uni finishing and graduating, that’s it hard to believe we’re this far through 2019 already. Only six months to go till we’re in the 20’s guys! Anyway, at this point in the year, I like to check in on how I’m doing with the goals I made at the start of the year, it’s something I started doing about three years ago, just to help keep me accountable for the goals I’ve made and also it’s quite fun to see how I’ve done with them over the past six months. So here we go, here’s how my goals have been going:

  1. Complete my Goodreads Challenge

This is one of those goals that I have every year, I started off at 24 books at the start of the year, but I’ve already reached that and I put it up to my usual goal of 35 books. I reckon if I keep going at the pace I’m going, I should reach 37 books by the end of the year, but I’d quite like to push it and get to 40 if I can.

2. Complete my #RockMyTBR Challenge

This one is going really well as well, it’s another annual challenge. I have 12 books on this challenge list, and I’m right on target with them, having finished 6 of them so far and started my seventh. I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read for this so far this year (for the most part) and I’m really excited for the ones I have to come going into the second half of the year.

3. Become a 5 star writer for The National Student

I did this one! I actually completed it all the way back in January since I wasn’t far off it by the end of last year. I’ve now written over 100 articles and had over 100,000 views, which I’m really pleased with.

4. Continue working on revisions for This Is Not A Love Story in order to prepare it for querying

I’ve done this! I actually sent This Is Not A Love Story off for querying back in April, and then to more agents in May and although I haven’t had any requests on it yet, only rejections, I’m really proud of myself for actually doing it, I wrote a book and sent it to agents and that is no mean feat. I’ve also made a lot of headway on the sequel as well, which makes me happy.

5. Read more non-fiction

Of the 24 books I’ve read so far this year, 3 of them have been non-fiction, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but since I started at a base of 0 from last year, it’s definitely an improvement, and my shelves are largely fiction, so I only have a handful of non-fic to read anyway. I’ve really enjoyed the ones I have read, so it seems like this is a trend I need to keep up.

6. Catch up on 2018 releases I missed

I have so far this year, read 4 of the 16 2018 releases that I said I wanted to catch up on in a Top Ten Tuesday post at the beginning of the year, which isn’t as many as I would have liked, but it is something, and I plan to read more before the year is out. 16 is quite a lot of books, so I think if I finish half of that list I made, then I’ll be quite happy.

7. Unhaul some of my books in preparation for graduation

Yup, done! I used Marie Kondo’s method to decide which books to unhaul way back in April and then when I was up at Uni for graduation, I finally took them all to Oxfam books, so my book collection, whilst still huge and unwieldy, has been streamlined a little bit.

8. Start my Book/Movie comparison feature

I started this one last month, it’s under the Book Vs Movie tab in the menu bar. So far I’ve only done one, for The Perks of Being A Wallflower but I’m planning on doing another one this month, and every other month for the rest of the year.

9. Focus on backlist books 3 years old or more

Ha ha this was a well meaning goal, but I haven’t done very well on it! I’ve read a couple of books from 2015 & 2017 and even the rest of the Grisha trilogy books which were published in 2013 & 2014 but largely my reads this year have been either new releases or books that were released in 2018.

10. Get my Netgalley ratio up to 80%

I’m not quite there yet, but I’m doing really well, I’m at 75%, so I’m hoping I can get the other 5% before December, I’ve got a couple more books on my shelves to clear and then I probably will reach it.

11. Try more audiobooks

I’ll be honest, I’ve actually only just started with this one, it’s been hard to find the time when I’ve had so many Netgalley books to read throughout the year, but I’m reading Priory of The Orange Tree on Audible at the moment and really enjoying it. They’re really good for reading on the bus, as they’re divided into short 15-40 minute chapters which are quite easy to consume on my morning commute to work.

12. Have more guest posts on the blog

I’ve had a couple of these, author interviews with CG Drews and Amanda Foody, and a guest post from writer Madeline Dyer, but I’d really like more, so if you’re interested in doing a guest post for me, especially if you’re a writer, then please get in touch, either via Twitter (@iloveheartlandX) or via my email, jo.ell.x@hotmail.com.

So that’s how my year has been going so far. I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve done, I’ve done better on some goals than others, and I think I’m on track to complete most of them by the end of the year, which is good. How about you guys? Did you make any goals for your reading/blogging/writing life this year? If so, how are they going so far? Let me know in the comments!

I will be back with a new Top Ten Tuesday post on Tuesday, so stay tuned for that. I’ve started work, so my posting my be a little more sporadic over the next month or so, so please be patient, I will get around to doing all the posts I want to, it just might take a little longer than usual!

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End of Year Check In (2018)

We made it everyone! The last day of 2018, honestly I wasn’t entirely sure we’d get here after all the trash-fire things that have been happening in the world this year, but we did, so congrats to all of us. As it’s the last day of 2018, I will be looking back at the goals I made in January (remember January, that month that happened a million years ago, and none of us are quite sure was actually part of 2018?) and see how well I did on them this year. So here we go, this is how my 2018 goals have worked out:

  1. Complete my Goodreads 2018 Challenge-SUCCESS

Yes I did in fact complete my Goodreads challenge this year! I started off with my usual challenge of 24, but I put it up back in July, and ended up on my final challenge of 35 books, which I just met two days ago. I would have liked to one up my 2017 challenge and read 37, but I’m still really proud of 35, especially given how stressful my most recent Uni semester has been.

2. Complete my #RockMyTBR 2018 Challenge-SUCCESS

Yes, I completed my #RockMyTBR challenge, though like last year, I ended on 11 books rather than 12 because there was one book on my list that I just couldn’t finish-I’m not going to count it as a failure for the sake of one book, that would just be petty! Hopefully next year I will be able to finish all 12 though 🙂

3. Expand my Writing Corner Feature-Success, but could have done better

I don’t want to count this as an outright failure, because I did write a few more posts about my writing this year, though due to time constraints, I didn’t post as frequently through the end of the year as I would have liked and I didn’t do any collaborations on it. Having said that, I have written 6 posts for the feature this year, and I only had one last year, so in that respect it has been successful and I’m hoping that I will be able to grow it even more next year.

4. Look into querying agents/the first steps of the publishing process-SUCCESS

I’m actually feeling really good about this one. I’ve been bookmarking agents since January, so every time I have seen one on Twitter, I’ve added their agency’s page to the list. I also had to write a query for the #YA4YA competition, I’m pretty sure it was terrible, but hey it was a start! I have a list of tips about querying from a querying talk I went to with agents at YALC. I pitched my book to an agent at YALC as well as part of pitching practice and she said it sounded marketable, so that was also awesome! I’ve also been doing the most important part of getting ready for querying-revising my book. So yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about the preparations I’ve made for the next step in my publishing journey this year.

5. Finish Underground Magicians-FAIL

Yeah, this one was a pretty clear failure. I’ve only written one more chapter of this than I had last year. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, because having writer’s block is not something I can really help and I have made a lot of progress on TINALS this year, so I’m trying to focus more on where I’ve succeeded in my writing than where I haven’t.

6. Start giving a Bechdel Test rating for the books I read-SUCCESS

This went really well, in fact I’m going to continue it next year! The final results turned out to be 24 books passed and 11 books failed, so I was quite pleased with that and I’m hoping that next year, the pass/fail margin will be even narrower.

7. Read more of my YALC books from 2015/2016/2017-SUCCESS

So I did read some of my YALC books this year, I read The Exact Opposite of Okay, Rose Under Fire, The Fandom, Daughter of The Burning City & Days of Blood and Starlight this year, so that’s 6 more YALC books than I had last year. I could have done more, probably, but I have offloaded some of the YALC books that I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to read and my YALC book shelf is down to only 29 books now, so hopefully I should be able to knock off more next year (whilst of course acquiring more!).

8. Read more of my #otspsecretsister books-Success, but could have done better

I only read 3 #otspsecretsister books this year, so I still have 10 that I need to read, but since I didn’t set a number for this challenge, I’m still counting it as a success! Hopefully next year, I will be able to finish all of the books that I have received through the #otspsecretsister project.

9. Reread some of my old favourites-FAIL

Ha ha this one was just too optimistic to start off with! I don’t know why I thought I would have the time to do this, much as I used to love rereading, I do not read fast enough to justify it!

10. Make time to read a little every day-SUCCESS

I actually feel really good about this one! There were I think one or two days in November where I didn’t read, but much like my #RockMyTBR challenge, I’m not going to punish myself for a day or so when I was just too tired or stressed to read. I’m really pleased with how this goal went, because it kept me accountable for making sure reading was always a part of my day.

11. Carry on colloborating with other bloggers-SUCCESS

I did 3 collab posts this year, one with other people on my blog in January, which was super fun, I did my first guest post on This Northern Gal (which you can read here: http://thisnortherngal.co.uk/guest-posts/guest-post-maximising-your-reading-time-at-university/) which was amazing fun to do and something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while. I also featured on Rae Coleman’s blog, as part of her Summer Spotlight blogger series, so I did an interview with her, which was also amazing to do and you can read that here: https://bookmarkchronicles.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/summer-spotlight-series-jo/). I also did an interview for Literary Lovers Magazine, but I’m not quite sure when that’s going to be available. I’d love to do some more collaborations next year, so if you’d like to contribute something to my blog (especially if you’re a writer!) or you would like me to contribute to yours, then you can get in touch with me via Twitter @iloveheartlandX or email: jo.ell.x@hotmail.com.

12. Catch up with 2017 releases-Success, but could have done better

I had 12 books on this list and I’ve read 6 of them. So half. I could have done better sure, but I think this was a case of me being overenthusiastic rather than anything else, because thinking I would be able to read 12 missed releases this year was probably a bit optimistic!

So there we go, that’s how I did on my 2018 goals-10 out of 12 completed, I have to admit, I’m pretty satisfied with that, even if I could have done better on two of them, it’s the best I’ve ever done on my yearly resolutions! 2018 may have been a horrible year for the world, but it was a great year for my blog and I’m hoping that 2019 will be ever better. How about you guys? Did you make any goals for 2018? How did you do on them? Do you have any plans for goals for next year? Let me know in the comments!

You won’t have to wait too long to find out my 2019 goals, I think I’ll probably have them up on Wednesday. In the meantime, I will have my Best Books of 2018 up tomorrow as part of the first TTT topic of 2019, so stay tuned for that!

Mid Year Check In (2018)

Hi all! It’s July, can you believe it, because I can’t! Anyway as we are now officially halfway through the year, I’m checking in on how I’m doing with the goals I made at the start of the year for my reading/writing life in 2018, it’s something I started doing two years ago, and it helps keep me accountable for my goals throughout the year, plus it’s just quite nice to check in on what I’ve been doing in the first six months of the year. So here we go, this is how my goals have been going:

  1. Complete my Goodreads Challenge

I set my challenge at the beginning of the year at 24 books, but it’s the end of June, and I’ve already read 21, so I’ve upped the challenge to 35, same as my challenge last year. I actually read 36 books last year, so I’d love to better that this year, ideally I’d love to get to 40 books, but 37, one upping last year, would also be fine!

2. Complete my #RockMyTBR Challenge

I started doing this challenge in 2016 and have been doing it every year since, even though I don’t think it’s officially being done this year! Anyway, I had 12 books on my list at the beginning of the year, and I’ve read 6 of them so far, so I’m on track to finish them all by the end of the year.

3. Expand my Writing Corner feature

I have definitely started to get this up and running! It’s still quite small, I’ve only done a few posts and I haven’t done any collaboration posts yet, which I would have liked to, but I’m happy that it’s starting to become an established feature on my blog. I’m hoping to get a post a month done on there for the rest of the year, if I can, so by the end of the year, my posts will be in the double figures.

4. Look into querying agents/the first steps of the publishing progress

So since January, every time I’ve seen an agent on Twitter, I’ve bookmarked their agency’s page on my browser, so now I have a built in list of agents for when I’m ready to start querying. I haven’t written a query yet, but I have been doing revisions on my novel since the beginning of the year and it’s with my critique partner at the moment, so between that and having my list of agents, I’m feeling a lot more prepared for when I finally do send out my novel for querying.

5. Finish Underground Magicians

Yeah…..so…….umm this one hasn’t been going so well! I’ve only written one more chapter of it than I’d had last year and I’m feeling kind of blocked for this story. I don’t want to give up on it, but I’m feeling a lot more inspired for TINALS at the moment, as I just finished my revisions and have started writing the sequel, so I’m going to leave this one on the back burner for a while and focus on my TINALS projects, in the hope that when I come back to Underground Magicians, I’ll be feeling more inspired!

6. Start giving a Bechdel Test rating for the books I read

This is going really well, I’ve rated every book I’ve read this year against the Bechdel Test, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results: out of the 21 books I’ve read this year, only 6 haven’t passed the test!

7. Read more of my YALC books from 2015/16/17

I mean I’m not gonna lie, I could be doing better on this one, but I have read a few of my YALC books this year, I read The Exact Opposite of Okay in February (which I got at YALC last year), I read The Fandom in January & Rose Under Fire and Daughter of The Burning City in May so that’s five YALC books knocked off my list already. I did actually get rid of a few that I didn’t think I was going to read, so if there are still some from 2015 that I haven’t read by next year, I will probably unhaul them too. I’m super excited to pick up some more books at YALC though, even though I still haven’t read all the ones on my shelf yet!

8. Read more of my #otspsecretsister books

Okay so I’ve only actually read two of these this year, but out of 18, I now have 5 books that I’ve read, so I’m almost a third of the way through the books I’ve received through doing the Secret Sister project and I’m actually reading a third one at the moment, so I’m hoping by the end of this year, I’ll have read most of the books I’ve been given by my previous sisters and maybe have taken part in another round!

9. Reread some of my old favourites

Hahahahahahahahaha…….no. I haven’t reread a single book this year. I don’t know why I thought I would have time to do this. Much as I used to love rereading, I am just too busy now and have too many new books to read to do it. Maybe I’ll squeeze some in before the end of the year, but I doubt it!

10. Make time to read a little every day

I’ve actually done really well with this one! I’m proud to say that since January, I have read at least a few pages of a book every single day, this goal has kept me accountable for making sure that I squeeze in my reading even when I’m super busy, so it’s been really great!

11. Carry on collaborating with other bloggers

So I had a collab post as one of my first discussion posts of the year, which was really great, and I did my first guest post on This Northern Gal (which you can read here: http://thisnortherngal.co.uk/guest-posts/guest-post-maximising-your-reading-time-at-university/) which was so much fun to do. I also did an interview with Rachel from Bookmark Chronicles for her blogger Summer Spotlight Series (which starts next week!) which was super fun to do. I would love to get some more contributions for my blog and I’m definitely going to try and think of some more collaborative posts that I can do, but thus far, I’m feeling good about how this goal has been going this year.

12. Catch up with 2017 releases

I had 12 books on a TTT list where I talked about the 2017 releases I missed out on that I wanted to read by the end of the year, and so far I’ve read 4, which you know, could be better, but it’s 4 more than I read last year and I will definitely have read more of them by the end of the year as quite a few are on my #RockMyTBR challenge list as well.

So that’s how my year is going so far! I’m really happy with how I’ve managed my goals this year, at least 10 of them, I have been doing well with and am on track to have completed by the end of the year, there’s only two where I can definitively say that I’ve not done so well with, but there’s still six months of the year to go, so I’m hoping I will be able to complete all of these by the end of the year (though it may just be 11, I’m not sure whether I’ll actually do any rereading!). How about you guys? Did you make any goals for your reading/blog/writing/life this year? If so, how are they going so far? Let me know in the comments!

I will have my June #RockMyTBR update for you guys tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!

End of Year Check In (2017)

Well guys we did it! We made it to the end of 2017 and the world hasn’t imploded, so I think we deserve high fives all around for that! Since it is the last day of 2017, I am going to be looking back on the goals I made all the way back at the beginning of January (January, remember that strange far off month all that time ago that has somehow come around again?) and seeing how well I did on them this year. So here we go, this is how my 2017 goals have worked out:

  1. Complete my first draft of my novel and start edits-SUCCESS

I did in fact complete the first draft of my novel, all the way back in January. I did some editing, I could have done better on the editing, I’m not going to lie, all I really did was split the novel into chapters and spell checked it, but that is a start, so I’m counting this one as a success and hoping to achieve more on This Is Not A Love Story in 2018!

2. Complete my Goodreads 2017 Challenge-SUCCESS
Yup, this one is also a success! My original challenge at the beginning of 2017 was 24 books but I had wiped the floor with that before I even made it to the end of the summer this year, so I kept upping it until I had a final challenge of 35 books. Not only did I read those 35 books, I bettered it by one and finished my 36th book today! I beat my 2016 goal by 3 books so I was very happy with that. Hopefully I can do even better in 2018!

3. Complete my #RockMyTBR 2017 Challenge-SUCCESS

I knocked one book off my #RockMyTBR list before the end of the year as I attempted to read it and just couldn’t finish it, so my aim was to complete the other eleven books from the list, which I did in fact do (finished the last one today), so I’m counting it a success even if I had initially wanted to read 12.

4. Read more diversely-Success, but could do better

I’m kind of counting this as a half one? I could have done better on reading from different genres (majority fantasy this year) and more POC authors (I only read books from 4, Evelyn Skye, Tara Sim, Heidi Heilig and Neal Shusterman), but I don’t want to write it off as a complete fail, I did read books by authors of different sexualities, two books by authors who were #ownvoices for the mental illnesses portrayed in them and within the books I read, there were many diverse characters, characters of different ethnicities, characters with mental illnesses, characters with different sexualities, characters of different gender identities and characters with disabilities, so in that respect, I actually did okay. I would like to do better next year though, with reading more #ownvoices books.

5. Read some 2016 books I missed out on-SUCCESS
I made a list of ten at the beginning of the year that I wanted to get to and of those ten, I read eight, so I’m counting that as a success, plus there were a few other 2016 releases that I read that weren’t on my list.

6. Discover more new to me authors-SUCCESS
I read 36 books this year, and of those books, 17, so almost half, were from authors that I had never read before. These were of varying success, I wouldn’t say I’d read books from every single new author I read this year again, but I have definitely discovered some new favourites, so that’s great!

7. Read more of my YALC books-FAIL

I failed miserably on this one, but oh well, you can’t win them all! Of the books I read this year, only two of them were ones that I had picked up at YALC. Still, I will not be deterred, I am determined that next year, I will read a lot more of my YALC books and will be able to call this resolution a success by the end of 2018.

8. Keep growing the blog-SUCCESS
As of right now, I have 723 followers for this blog, which is definitely more than I had at the beginning of the year, so I’m extremely happy about that! My blog was also more viewed this year than last year, by a significant amount. I’ve done blog posts involving people from the YA community this year which have gone down really well, so I’m hoping to continue that next year. I attempted to run my own reading challenge this year, but that didn’t go too well, so I might not do that again next year. I have also started a new writing feature, only one post so far, but I’m going to be focusing on growing that one even more next year.

9. Read more standalones-FAIL

Yeah, of 36 books this year, I read 5 standalones. 5. That’s kind of puny and I read more than twice that number of standalones last year. I think I may just have to accept that the fact that I read mostly fantasy means that it is unlikely I will ever read a huge number of standalones in any given year as they are mostly part of series!

10. Write more-SUCCESS

I’m happy to say I’ve done a lot of writing this year. Aside from my blog and work for Uni, I’ve also started writing a new novel (incomplete as of yet, I will be trying to finish it in 2018) and I’ve written 16 articles for The National Student between August and December of this year, so I think I’ve done pretty well on this one.

11. Take a break occasionally-FAIL

Yeah, I’m not good at taking a break from the blog, I only really took one week properly away from the blog this year, whilst I was in Greece, as I wouldn’t really count the weeks where I was essay writing rather than blog writing as a break. Still my blog kind of is my de-stressing space, so I guess you could say I am unwinding by doing this? I don’t know!

12. Keep enjoying reading and blogging-SUCCESS
Okay, so 2017 has been a total shitstorm for the world, but it’s been pretty good for me personally, I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read (for the most part), I’ve got to write some really fun things for the blog and I’ve had fun chatting with other bloggers, both here, on their blogs and on Twitter, so I think I can call this one a definite success.

I’m really pleased with how I’ve done on my goals this year. 8.5 (counting #4 as the half) goals complete out of 12, is pretty satisfying! There’s always some things that I don’t completely manage to achieve, but I’m happy with what I have done and this gives me room to improve for next year. I think 2017 has been a great year here on the blog and I’m hoping that 2018 will be even better! How about you guys? Did you make any bookish goals at the beginning of the year? How did you do on them? Do you have any plans for goals for next year? Let me know in the comments!

You will find out my 2018 goals in a few weeks, when we have the Top Ten Tuesday topic about it, but in the meantime, I will have a book review and a wrap up of my #RockMyTBR Challenge for 2017 to welcome in 2018 in the next few days, so stay tuned for those!

Mid Year Check In (2017)

Hi everyone! I don’t know if you’ll remember this from last year, but when I started doing bookish resolutions on the blog last year, I also started doing mid and end of year check in posts to see how I was getting on with my goals. Now as it’s June and we’ve already had six months of this year (How crazy is that? I swear it was January yesterday!), it’s time to check in and see how I’m getting on with my goals! So here we go, here’s how I’ve done with my resolutions so far this year:

  1. Complete the first draft of my novel and start edits

I have in fact completed the first draft of my novel, so yay for that! This Is Not A Love Story came in at a final word count of around 55,000 words. I have started the editing process, so far I’ve only split the story into chapters (as I wrote it all as one long piece) and done some typo corrections, but I’m hoping I will have done more by the end of the year. Still, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done so far.

2. Complete my Goodreads 2017 challenge

I originally set my challenge at 24 books, 2 books a month, but I’ve put that up as I’ve been reading more than I expected this year, so it’s now at 32 books, one book less than I managed to read last year. I’m currently on 18 books, and 3 books ahead of my challenge, so if I keep up the current pace then I’m pretty confident I’ll meet my challenge goal.

3. Complete my #RockMyTBR 2017 challenge

This one’s going amazingly well for me so far! I’ve read six books from the list so far which is exactly where I should be at this point in the year. I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to read the other six books by the end of the year.

4. Read more diversely

I’m not really sure if I could say I’ve achieved this goal yet? I’ve still read mostly fantasy this year, most of the authors I’ve read have been female and white (with the exception of the two male authors I’ve read, and Evelyn Skye who is a POC author). I have however had a diverse number of settings, but that’s what you get when you read fantasy books! I have also read quite a few books with LGBTQ+ characters, a few mental health related books (including one with an #ownvoices author) & some books with POC characters, although I think I could do better on that last one. So I think in some respects I’m doing okay with this one, but there’s definitely room to do better in the rest of the year.

5. Read some 2016 releases I missed out on

I did a Top Ten Tuesday list of these at the beginning of the year, and I’ve read 5 of the 10 books that I had on that list, so I’m pretty happy with that and I plan to read more of the ones on the list before the year is out, so I’m confident that I’ll be able to call this one a success at the end of the year.

6. Discover more new to me authors

Of the 18 books I’ve read this year, half of them have been from new authors, so I’m really happy with that! I’m not sure I would call any of them favourites yet, but I would definitely like to read more from some of them, so I’ll call that a success. I’m hoping to find even more brilliant new authors by the end of the year.

7. Read more of my YALC books

So I haven’t done quite so well on this one, I’ve only read one YALC book so far this year! I’m planning on reading another one next month, but a lot of the books I wanted to read for my YALC challenge were books by authors going to YALC not necessarily books I acquired there. I will definitely be trying to add more YALC books into my reading through the rest of the year (though I will acquire even more when I go this year!).

8. Keep growing the blog

I’ve definitely acquired new followers this year which is good. As far as views go, I’m on less than last year but we’re only halfway through the year so I’m not too worried about that. I haven’t thought of any new features yet, I’m thinking about doing a feature on my writing but haven’t thought of exactly what I should write for that (ironically!) so if there is anything you guys would like to hear about my novel, my writing process etc then let me know.

9. Read more standalones

I’m kind of woefully failing on this one? Of the 18 books I’ve read so far this year, just four of them have been standalones. What can I say? I really love series so I naturally gravitate towards them, and most fantasy books (which is what I read the most) seem to be part of a series. I read 11 standalones last year, so I definitely need to read a few more in order to beat that number!

10. Write more

I’ve obviously done a lot of writing this year for my course and for this blog, but I haven’t written as much as I would have liked outside of it. I’m hoping to write a lot over the summer, I have another fantasy book that I’d like to plot, I had an idea for a play that I might like to do and I have several fanfics that have been woefully neglected, so hopefully I will write more over the next few months!

11. Take a break occasionally

I haven’t exactly done that well on this, there’s only been one book that I’ve read that I haven’t reviewed this year! However, I did have a week’s break from the blog when I was in Greece which was nice.

12. Keep enjoying reading and blogging!

This one has been easy! Whilst I haven’t exactly loved everything I’ve read this year, I have still had a lot of fun reading and I’ve loved interacting with people and posting on the blog this year as well, so I think I can definitely call this one a success so far.

So that’s how my year is going so far! 7/12 that I think I can call definite successes so far and 5/12 that need more work before the end of the year in order to call them successes. I think that’s pretty good since before last year I could barely keep one resolution. Clearly making all my resolutions bookish and looking at them more as goals was the way to go! How about you guys? Did you make any bookish resolutions at the beginning of this year? If so, how are they going so far? Let me know in the comments!

I will have a new discussion post for you guys tomorrow, my last one of June, so stay tuned for that!

End of Year Check In

Hi everyone! So in June this year, I did my first Mid Year Check In to see how I was getting on with the bookish resolutions that I made at the start of the year, and since it is now the end of the year and 2017 is fast approaching, I thought I would check back in on my goals and see which ones I managed to complete and which ones I didn’t! So here we go, this is the final roundup of how I’ve done on my bookish goals this year:

  1. Complete My Goodreads Reading Challenge-SUCCESS

My Goodreads challenge for this year was originally 20 books, but when I saw I was easily going to surpass that, I put it up and kept putting it up until I reached my final tally of 33 books on 27th December, so I think I can safely say that my Goodreads Challenge this year was a definite success. Hopefully my 2017 challenge will go just as well!

2. Start Doing Discussion Posts-SUCCESS

I did my first discussion post all the way back in January and they’ve become a new regular feature on my blog, the Jo Talks feature. I’ve managed to do at least two a month, with the exception of this month and last month where I only had time to do one, but I’ve been thrilled with the response to them and hopefully they will go as well next year as they have done this year.

3. Complete the #RockMyTBR Challenge-SUCCESS

I completed this one at the beginning of the month, I read 12 books from my shelves over the course of the year, knocking them off my TBR (of course, 20 more have taken their places, so the list hasn’t actually shrunk at all, but hey, what’re you gonna do?). I’m planning on doing this challenge again next year and hopefully it will go just as well as it has this year.

4. Stop buying so many books when I already have a ton of books on my shelves-FAIL

Yup, I admit it, I failed on this one. It was an optimistic dream. A nice idea, but not at all practical when you’re a bookworm and acquiring books twice as fast as you can read them is part of the job description.

5. Stop feeling bad when other people read more books than I do-SUCCESS

This is a rather arbitrary resolution and not easy to measure, but I have to say, I’m really happy with what I’ve read this year. 33 books might be small for some people but it’s really good for me and that’s what I’ve been focusing on, rather than how much everyone else has read (I’m not going to lie, I still find it amazing how much some people can read but I know I’ve done well for me and that’s a good thing).

6. Don’t feel bad that I can’t post every day-SUCCESS

Again, a rather arbitrary resolution, but I’m pretty happy with how well I’ve done blogging this year and you guys seem to have enjoyed what I’ve posted too, so that’s the most important thing and whilst I think I’ll always want to post more than I’m able to, I don’t feel guilty anymore when I don’t have the time to post so that’s good!

7. Keep up with connecting with other bloggers-SUCCESS

I’ve done Top Ten Tuesday every week of this year, which has kept me connected to bloggers on a regular basis, I’ve taken part in Armchair BEA, I’ve been doing #otspsecretsister which has kept me linked up with lots of other bloggers, I’ve taken part in #ukyachat and got new followers for my blog and on twitter, so I think I can safely call this one a success. Here’s to making more new blogger friends in 2017!

8. Making a note of blog posts that I read and enjoy-SUCCESS

I’ll admit, I lapsed a little on this in November and December but I still have created a dedicated bookmark folder for blog posts I read and enjoy and this has been incredibly helpful in keeping track of these, so I’m happy to call this one a success, even if I have lapsed on it a little the past few months.

9. To try and explore some books outside of the YA fantasy/dystopia genre-FAIL

Of the 33 books I read this year, 6 were not a fantasy or dystopia. I did read some adult fantasy, but that’s not really too much of a stretch! Fantasy is my first love and it’s always going to make up the majority of my reading, and 6 books of different genres isn’t the worst result in the world, so I don’t count this as a complete fail, but it’s not exactly a success either.

10. To catch up on at least some of the 2015 releases that I was really excited for and never got around to-SUCCESS

I had a list of these for a Top Tuesday, all the way back at the beginning of the year and I’m delighted to say that it was a runaway success, of the ten books on my list, I read nine of them this year, so I’m ecstatic about that. Would I have liked to read all ten? Sure. But 9/10 is not bad at all.

So overall, I haven’t done too badly on my goals this year. Sure there were some goals that I didn’t completely manage to achieve, but I’m really happy with everything that I’ve achieved this year, it’s been a great year, both for me and for the blog. Here’s hoping that my 2017 goals will go as well (I will be making up a list of these very soon)! How about you guys? Did you make bookish resolutions at the beginning of the year? How did they go? Do you have any plans for resolutions for next year? Let me know in the comments!

I will have a new discussion post for you guys, my first of 2017, hopefully tomorrow, but if not then the day after, so stay tuned for that!

 

 

 

 

 

Mid Year Check In

Hey everyone! As you may have guessed, this is a new feature for my blog and it’s going to become a regular one (hopefully).  Last year I didn’t have any bookish resolutions, but thanks to starting Top Ten Tuesday in April of last year, I made some bookish resolutions at the beginning of the year. Since it’s June now and we’re getting towards the mid-point of the year, I thought I’d do a check in as to how I’m getting on with the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year, a kind of mid year report if you will. So here we go, this is how I’ve done on my resolutions so far this year:

  1. Complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goodreads challenge for the year is 20 books and so far this year I’ve read 10 and am halfway through my eleventh which is right where I should be at this point in the year, so I’m really happy about that. Here’s hoping that I keep doing as well for the rest of the year and that by the end I’ve completed the challenge I set for myself!

2. Start doing discussion posts

This one has been going really well for me! Since January I’ve done at least two discussion posts a month and some months even more than that and you guys seem to have been enjoying them so far, so thank you for the positive feedback! I’m really glad I decided to start doing them, because it turns out writing discussion posts, whilst being a lot of work, are also a lot of fun to do.

3. Complete the #RockMyTBR Challenge

I have to say this one’s gone really well for me too! I’ve read 6 books from the list so far, so that’s exactly where I should be at this point in the year (in fact, a little bit ahead because I read two books from the list in January!) and I’m confident that I should be able to read the other six books by the end of the year.

4. Stop buying so many books when I already have a ton of books on my shelves

Okay confession time. This one has gone horribly, horribly badly. It was probably wishful thinking on my part making this resolution at the beginning of the year. I’ve acquired more books than I’d care to admit so far this year and with YALC coming up in July, I highly doubt this is going to get better. It may be time to admit defeat on this one! I am a bookworm and my acquiring books faster than I can read them is one thing I don’t think is ever going to change!

5. Stop feeling bad when people read more books than I do

This is a hard one to measure, but I think I’m doing okay on it. I know that I’m feeling good about how much I’ve read this year and that’s what I’ve been trying to focus on!

6. Don’t feel bad that I can’t post every day

This is another hard one to objectively measure, but I think I’ve done alright on it, I’ve posted as much as I was able to whilst I’ve been at Uni and whilst I’ll probably always want to post more, I’m pretty pleased with how much I’ve done this year and I’m even happier that I’m now back from Uni and I can post a lot more, because I love blogging!

7. Keep up with connecting to other bloggers

I’ve been keeping up with Top Ten Tuesday this year, which has enabled me to keep connecting to lots of other bloggers, I also participated in Armchair BEA again this year, though I wasn’t able to take part in the Twitter chats as they were mostly at ridiculous times in the morning here! I have participated in other twitter chats though and gained new followers for my blog, so I’m pretty happy that I’m doing okay with this one!

8. Making a note of the blog posts that I read and enjoy

I now have a dedicated bookmark folder for blog posts that I enjoy reading which I use to help me with the section of my Quarterly Rewinds where I’m meant to talk about the blog posts that I’ve read and enjoyed over the past 3 months, so I’m happy that I’m doing reasonably well on this one.

9. To try and explore some books outside of the YA fantasy/dystopia genre

Haven’t exactly done brilliantly on this! In fact most of the books I’ve read this year have been fantasy/dystopia, although a lot of those books do fit into other genres as well! I’ve read a historical fiction book (Code Name Verity) and a contemporary (The Glory), so I suppose that’s something! I’m afraid the rest though have all either been dystopia or some form of fantasy or another! What can I say? Fantasy is my favourite genre, it’s hard to steer away from (and to be honest, I don’t really want to!).

10. To catch up on at least some of the 2015 releases I was really excited for, but never got around to

There was actually a Top Ten Tuesday topic about this, way back in January and out of my list of 10, I’ve read 5 of them so far this year, which I’m pretty happy with, considering that when I make TBR lists I usually only read about two or three of the books on there, so 5 is an accomplishment! Hopefully by the end of 2016, I’ll have read more 2015 releases I was excited for, both those that were on my TTT for that and those that weren’t!

So that’s how my year is shaping up so far! 8/10 resolutions going well, 1 resolution a little bit iffy and 1 resolution basically completely abandoned because it was totally unrealistic! Still for a girl that usually keeps no resolutions, 8/10 definitely kept ones is really good and I’m really pleased with how my bookish goals for this year have gone so far. How about you guys? Did you make bookish resolutions at the beginning of the year? If so, how are they going for you so far? Let me know in the comments!

I will have a new discussion post for you guys, my first one of June, either tomorrow or Sunday, so stay tuned for that!