2019 – A Year in Review

Wow! We’re finally at the end of 2019! It’s been a mammoth yr for me to tell you the least! Over the year I’ve:

  • Migrated my blog to self-hosted (gives me way more control)
  • Learnt how to use Elementor (that’s a website building tool) and made some changes along the way
  • Put maybe half my books into my book database
  • Upgraded my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (the government raised the minimum requirements)
  • Started and completed the Diploma of Training Design and Development (more specialist area of training with higher standards)
  • Set up a minimum viable site for my business (and partially set up a better version, still need to finish that!)
  • Been to a few conferences since I’ve never been to any before
  • Got through 12 months of owning a rental property (this is still super exciting for me)
  • Ended my contract in preparation for launching my business in the new yr! (so excited yet so terrified!)

Now into some more bookish related things! I’ll start off with a run down of what’s happened on my blog before going into what Goodreads has to say about my reading this yr.

I just want to quickly wrap up the Reindeer Readathon before moving on!

I managed to get 3 books read in the final week and a half of December, one of which I read in the hours leading up to having to go out to ring in the new yr.

This is the one that held me up in Week 3. I really struggled to read this one but I managed to get there in the end!

I’ll have a full review coming out in January.

I really enjoyed this one. It was good fun and had such great themes in it.

I’ll have a full review coming out in January.

I smashed this one out on December 31st and kept telling my partners family (we were all staying down at Phillip Island at the time) that I needed to finish this so at least I’d only miss out on one prompt for the Readathon.

Luckily they left me to it so you’ll see a review in the coming months.

Total points I achieved for Team Nutcracker: 140

in 2019 I published:

  • 90 reviews of which only 6 were from books I’ve owned since 2018 or earlier…
  • 33 discussions including wrap ups, tags, promos and author interviews

I honestly can’t believe how many books I’ve been able to read and review this yr! So many people that I talk to when they ask how many books I read a week, or how many reviews I release a week are shocked when I say read almost 2 books a week.

How many books did I actually read this yr?

So I started my first book of the yr early on the morning of New Years Day (I luckily finished the previous book in the afternoon of New Years Eve) so it’s actually gonna be an accurate number!

To remind you, I wanted to read 65 books. Now I’d smashed that by the time I went to Vietnam in August so I figured I should increase it. But for the purposes of this review I’m leaving that goal at 65.

DRUM ROLL!!!

I have now read 102! I’ve almost doubled my original goal!

Ok… maybe not quite doubled. But it sounds cool to say doubled.

Onto the cute stats Goodreads gave me!

I told you you need to go and read this book now!

Time for some other bookish things I want to share with you!

I wanted to share some of my favourite books with you from the year based on a few key themes. I’ve also linked in my reviews so you can check those out while you’re here.

A novel I couldn’t stop thinking about

At the end of Summer was a novel brought to me by Rach Random Resources and I have regularly thought of this story since reading it. So much so that I’m probably going to give it a re-read this yr.

I gave it 4 stars at the time yet the story has really stuck with me.

I’ve thought about An Impossible thing called Love a few times since I read it. The miscommunication, the way a third party can ruin things. It’s amazing to read about how that all happens and how the lovebirds find their way through that mess.

I gave it 4 stars yet it just feels so sweet and gives you a glimmer of hope that this kind of love can survive.

Debut author’s I’ve discovered I really like

I’ve read quite a few books by Zoe Ashwood (also writes under Zoe Ann Wood) since I heard she was looking for bloggers to review her novels. And by quite a few I mean like…9 books, one was a short story while one was a novella.

When she writes under Zoe Ashwood it’s paranormal and sci-fi romance. However, she’s also writing sweet romances under Zoe Ann Wood. So depending on what genre’s you like that should give you some idea’s!

Kristin Ward totally surprised me with After the Green Withered and then Burden of Truth. I’m not really a fan of YA anymore but Dave from Write Reads sold it so well I had to read it. Which meant I was pleasantly surprised!

I even got the opportunity to do an interview with Kristin to find out how she came up with the story and researched it.

I enjoyed her writing so much that I’m signed up to do a review of her newest book Rise of Gaia in February.

I read Michael K Hill’s novel A Different Time in one sitting. That’s how enraptured I was with it. I suffered from lack of sleep the next day at work but OMG it was amazing!

This is the one book where I’ve been tempted to do some fan fiction for it. He left it perfectly open to speculate, interpret and envision that it feels perfect for some fan fiction if he chooses not to do a sequel.

Last I checked there’s not going to be a sequel so I’m totally open to some fan fiction on this one!

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Harper McDavid totally surprised me. The blurb for Zapata had me on the fence as to whether I’d like it but I figured I’d give it a go when she reached out to me.

Let’s just say I’m glad I took that chance!

I felt like I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it. It’s right up my partner’s alley (he’s not much of a reader but does love action stories) so I got it for him for Christmas.

I’m now struggling not to ruin anything for him! Fingers crossed I don’t spoil anything for him.

A novel that made me feel more connected to my partner

This is probably a bit of a weird topic for most people. But one of the books Rach Random Resources brought on tour this yr was based on something my partner loves (beer) and informative enough that I’ve been able to have more informed conversations with him about beer.

Although Probably the Best Kiss in the World sounds like a big ol romance (I mean it is…), it also has a big focus on beer brewing. Something my partner has wanted to get into for a while. So this gave me a little bit of an insight to help him get started.

Series that I’ve discovered

If you’ve been following my blog this yr you’ll have noticed that I’ve reviewed half of the Time for Alexander series thanks to Rach Random Resources bringing them on tour. Since I couldn’t wait for the rest to slowly come out I went ahead and bought the rest.

So you’ll see reviews for the remaining books going live across the first 3 months of 2020.

I’m a big fan of all mythology, but I’m most familiar with Greek mythology. So when Rach Random Resources brought the first book, Lure of Obsession, of a completed series focusing on Greek mythology I jumped on it.

Let’s just say I became slightly obsessed and have since bought the rest of the series and only have already read half the series. I’ll be reviewing one book from the series each month in 2020 until the whole series is reviewed.

A book that surprised me

Yeap. That’s right. I’m mentioning Against All Odds again! I’m sorry but it was just so unexpectedly good!

I mean. I’ve never read a biographical style book before so this really blew me away with how amazing the writing is. Especially given it was written by 2 guys who are doctors, not authors!

I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along for the ride with me this year. Next yr will hopefully be a bit a more structured so come back on Friday to see what I have planned so far for the new year!

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2019 Midyear Book Freak Out!

I saw this type of post over on Anna’s Scones and Tomes blog and loved it. I thought it was a great way to review what you’ve read so far along with some other fun bookish themes. Since I loved it I figured I’d steal it and Anna was happy to let me thank fully!

Best book I’ve read?

So this was a bit of a tough decision, but I’m going to have to say The Wrong kind of Love by Lexi Ryan since my other one is already getting mention elsewhere hehehe. I got this one on NetGalley and I absolutely loved it. Enough to go and buy the rest of the series immediately!

Best sequel I’ve read?

Legends of Persia, Son of the Moon and Storms of Babylon definitely need to go here. I’ve LOVED this whole series and I honestly can’t wait to get more! Seriously! Go and read my reviews of the series then go and get them yourself!

What new release I haven’t read yet but want to?

Crazy for Your Love is the latest book in the series I mentioned before by Lexi Ryan. I’ve yet to buy and read this due to my ridiculous reading commitments this winter (northern hemisphere’s summer) so I’ll see how I go with getting around to that one!

What is my most anticipated new release for the second half of 2019?

There’s a few books I’m hoping are coming out later this year including:

  • If it’s Only Love by Lexi Ryan
  • A new series by A Gavazzoni
  • The sequel to The Concordat by Sean Heary

Biggest disappointment I’ve read?

The sequel to An Unconventional Affair, An Unconventional Affair: A Risk Worth Sharing. I’d been looking forward to this since I’d finished the first book and this one just really let me down. It wasn’t what I was expecting it to be and it felt like some of the character moves were made just to tick inclusion boxes rather than to add to the story in a meaningful way.

Biggest surprise I’ve read?

Probably After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward. Given it’s a Young Adult novel I expected it to be teenier and it actually wasn’t. It was deep, well thought out, complex and so relevant to so many environmental things going on at the moment.

You can also check out my interview with Kristin and my review of the sequel Burden of Truth.

Favourite new author I’ve read?

I’d have to say either Lexi Ryan or Kristin Ward. Both their books blew me away and had me grasping for more. While Zoe Ashwood was VERY close behind them!

Newest fictional crush I’ve read?

O this is easy! Seth from The Wedding Planner by Eve Devon! I just loved his kinda cocky but genuinely nice personality. It reminds me of my partner, but he sounds like he has a way better package than my man. Not that I’m complaining about my guy! My guy has a good 10 years on Seth so good luck to Seth holding onto that body when he’s almost 40!

Newest favourite character I’ve read?

My newest would probably be Maddie from The Secret Cove in Croatia by Julie Caplin. She’s so comfortable in her skin (even though it’s not the so-called perfect size), she can have fun and she doesn’t pretend to be anything or anyone other than who she is. That kind of self-acceptance is something we should all strive for, I think.

Book that made me cry reading it?

So, I’m not really a crier. Like, the Notebook didn’t make me cry even in that final scene where they die together and then you see the mouse/rat. But if anything, it was probably Probably The Best Kiss In The World by Pernille Hughes got the closest.

Book that made me happy reading it?

Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennett. Not only was it set in spring with all the flowers coming alive, relationships blossoming etc. It was just such a great feel good book, even with the obvious romantic blunder along the way.

Favourite book to movie adaption I saw?

So, I haven’t read the book yet, but it is on my TBR list, but Crazy Rich Asians. I didn’t actually get around to watching that until this year and I loved it. Like all my Asian friends (although most of them are Vietnamese…) loved this movie and wouldn’t stop raving about it that I had to keep reminding them not to spoil it for me. But yes, I did love this one and I can’t wait to (eventually) get around to reading it to see how it differs.

Favourite review I’ve written this year?

Depending on how you interpret this it could be either An Impossible Thing Called Love by Belinda Missen (she’s an Aussie and I wasn’t expecting that) for a few reasons or To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley. Belinda’s was great from a personal perspective, while Camilla’s was so fun to write since I got a bit carried away with the puns and edited some of them out so it wasn’t too punny.

Most beautiful book I’ve bought?

O wow… Ok now this is going to be hard! Let me just go and check my bookself…So I’ve bought the Game of Thrones series (all nice covers) and had 7 books arrive from book boxes. None of them really jump out at me as being “pretty” or “beautiful” like I’ve seen with some books. But I’m leaning towards The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine Heath from my Swept Away book box.

What books do I need to read by the end of the year?

Fire and Blood, I started it to learn more about the Westerosi history so that it’d go well with my analysis of the TV show compared to the books (coming at some point in time in the future…hopefully before the next book comes out) and I really want to read the other sequel, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

Well that’s my reading year so far. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what I’ve been up to so far this year. I’ve love to hear what your reading year has been like so please comment below!

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