Sunday, February 1, 2015

January Round-Up!

I'm hooking into: 

This is a meme hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer wherein everyone gets to share their news for the week. It's a great opportunity to see what's happening out there in the blogosphere, so go check out some other Sunday Posters!

Today's post is going to have a few sections:

1. General Update

2. Rags to Riches, Cinderella Week in February!

3. Currently...

4. Challenges

5. Resolutions

6. Last Week / Week Ahead

1. General Update

January has been a busy, cold month! It's been a bit of a struggle for me, but I've at least kept the blog up to date! I'm calling that a victory. I've got a full schedule for the blog planned through mid-March with lots of great books to review.

2. Rags to Riches, Cinderella Week in February!

I loved doing Christmas in October last year, and vowed then that I'd do more themed weeks. Well, it's hard to plan a theme week when I request books for review every time I see something that looks good! Then, lightning struck! I happened to request two Cinderella-themed books that are being released in February, and so Cinderella Week was born! 

The week will run from February 9-13, and I'll be reviewing at least four Cinderella adaptations over the week - two new books, two older books. 

I invite everyone to join in! I'll post up a general welcome to the week next Sunday, and ask you to post your Cinderella adaptation links to that post (can be new reviews that week or just anything you've reviewed that was a Cinderella update!). 

3. Currently...

Reading: A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James and Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy, both for an upcoming theme week.
Watching: I just caught up on Scorpion, which I've been enjoying, and now I'm binge-watching Parks and Recreation. I'm also watching DotA2 games - big tournament happening this week with something like 120 games over five days. 
Playing: I've been playing Payday 2, but also Magicite and DotA2. Magicite is a rogue-like game that I'm *terrible at* but I've still been enjoying.
Feeling: Completely ready for some summer weather. Warm days would be nice - I'm ready to watch the kids play for awhile at the park after school, and to be able to open up all the windows and let in some fresh air.
Loving: Any time I can catch a few more minutes of sleep. I need more of it!
Hating: That I haven't tried any of the recipes in my half-dozen new cookbooks, nor used my new slow cooker or food processor yet.
Planning: To clean up the house today, and then work out a new workout schedule.
Wanting: New exercise shoes.
Thinking: It would be lovely to go out for dinner sometime in the next month. 

4. Challenges

So I'm signed up to four challenges right now:

Challenge One:

I signed up to read 200 books for the 50 Book Pledge. I'm sitting at 26 books read so far, and I might get one more in before the end of the day today. Maybe. Still, on track for 200+ books this year, so I'm happy with that.

Challenge Two:

COYER has been a bit of a mess for me. I'm not doing a good job of tracking books read and reviewed for this challenge. I think every book that I've reviewed on the blog this month qualifies - all of them were review copies - but I haven't linked any of them up. 

My participation in Dusting off the Shelves was weak at best. BUT I did end up going through all my ebooks and breaking down which ones I haven't read, when I bought them and how much I spent on them. So I have a very good idea of what I have available to read now, at least....
I'm absolutely signing up for the romance read-a-thon in February because I have a ton of Harlequins from 2012/2013 to zip through.

Challenge Three:

The Monthly Key Word Challenge over at Bookmark to Blog was a success this month. Kind of. I accidentally linked my January book up to the Motif linky. That's what I get for trying to do it while my toddler tried to play in my lap. 

January's words were "Bird, Girl, Ever, Silence, Bad, Truth, End" and I reviewed Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon.

February's words are "Key, Water, Lie, Chase, Heir, Once" and I think I'll read Water So Deep by Nichole Giles - look for that on the 19th!

Challenge Four:

Bea's Book Nook is hosting a challenge in February to read as many gifted or won books as possible during February.

I've got a few books that I won, and that I've been gifted that are hanging around on my shelves. I can think of about five off the top of my head that I'd like to read through - four ebooks that I won/was gifted during a facebook book party and then the book that my husband gave me for Christmas this year. So I'll shoot for five total this month! My short reviews of these books will go up to Amazon, Goodreads and my 50bookpledge page.

5. Resolutions

1. To create a buffer of three weeks of 3-4 reviews per week.

I am at a week of buffer, which is pretty good since I started with zero review buffer at the beginning of the month. I'm hoping to get add another half week of buffer to that this week - fingers crossed!
2. To give myself a week off of blogging every two months - once I build my buffer of three weeks, I'll work towards a fourth week that will cover so I can have the downtime.

I don't have the kind of buffer that I want to really take a break, so hopefully I can work up two more weeks of buffer over the next month and give myself some time out mid-March.
3. To be diligent about monitoring my books on hand for review so that I don't overcommit myself.

Ah ha ha ha ha ha! Not even close. Books are too tempting.
4. To mock up tour posts of all kinds within 24 hours of receiving the information in my inbox so that these are scheduled and ready to go (pending addition of my own reviews where necessary).

So far, I'm on track with this. I'm not signed up for very many tours over the next couple of months. I think I'll try to focus on April and later books for review tours, and plan to leave a space each week for a review book as I get closer to that month.
5. To use my Twitter account more often.
&6. To build time into my schedule for participation in fun posts, thoughtful posts and challenges.

I'm definitely not succeeding at these right now, so I'll try to focus some effort on these tasks this month.

6. Last Week/Week Ahead

Lots of great posts last week:

Top Ten Tuesday - Book Club Books
Stacking the Shelves - 11 for personal reading, 2 for review

Coming up in the week ahead, I've got:

Steampunk YA with The Ruby Airship by Sharon Gosling
Top Ten Tuesday featuring books I can't believe I haven't read.
A tour stop for Susanna Carr's collection of three short contemporary romance stories in Let Them Talk
The first book in a new historical romance series from Shana Galen: Earls Just Want to Have Fun
Rough Rider by Victoria Vane which combines my not-so secret fascination with bull riding and the harsh realities of ranching. 

If you've reviewed any of these books already, please drop links to your reviews in the comments here, and I'll link up to you when the reviews go live this week!

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been up to/has planned this week!


  1. It sounds like you had a great reading week! Here is my weekly recap!!

  2. I need to work on my review buffer. So far I'm at pretty much nothing. I'm so much less stressed when I have a little reading space! I love the reading theme idea! I look forward to seeing the Cinderella retellings. Sounds like a lot of fun. Have a great week!

  3. I have no buffer - if I get ahead something always happens to trash the lead. I respect anyone who schedules and completes posts months ahead.

  4. Woo, you have a lot going on! I keep trying to build up a review buffer, with little luck. I don't know how other bloggers do it.

    Welcome to the Reading at Winning Challenge and good luck! I can't wait to see what you read and your reviews.

  5. The idea of a periodical week off is interesting, I may make it mine sometime :) I've bought Bringing home the bad boy too, can't wait to read it. Have a great week !