My 2020 Goals

Hi everyone,

I am finally beginning to get back to normal after my trip so it’s time to start writing some blog posts! I desperately need a distraction from the dread that fills me when I think about going back to work on Monday.

Today I’m going to chat about my 2020 reading, blogging and writing goals! 2020 will be my first full year as a blogger, as I only started in May last year, and I’m so excited to continue my blog, expand into bookstagram and actually (I really really mean it this time) finish writing my book… To help with all this, I’m putting down my explicit goals for the year to help keep me in line!

Blogging goals

Bookstagram

I have officially started a Bookstagram! I won’t lie, I feel like such a beginner at Bookstagram. I’m still trying to figure out what themes are and how to use hashtags best. But I would absolutely love a follow, you can find me on there at anxiousnachos. I promise I’ll improve!

Reviewing

I want to review at least 60% of the books I read – and ALL of the 2020 releases I read. My 2020 TBR looks amazing, there is so much diversity this year and I really want to celebrate these authors!

Bullet journal

Okay so last year I bought a bullet journal and did practically nothing with it except organise new books publishing that I wanted to keep track of. This year I want to really get more into using my bullet journal more to assist with both my blog/reading and day to day life. I really don’t know where to start though. If you have any tips or tricks, I’d love to hear them!

Reading goals

My targets

In 2019, I managed to read 109 books, which I think might be my most ever. So, this year I’m aiming for 100 to continue to challenge myself and read as many books as possible. I’m going to be using Kal’s (Reader Voracious) wonderful spreadsheet to keep track of all my reads.

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge (YARC 2020)

Another super exciting goal for the year is participating in the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge! This readathon is a year-long readathon hosted by Lily (Sprinkles of Dreams), CW (The Quiet Pond), Shealea (Shut Up Shealea) and Vicky (Vicky Who Reads)! You can follow them here:

The goal of this readathon is to read as many books by Asian authors as possible. Each month, the hosts will give some reading prompts for a more challenging readathon, or you can just try and read whatever you want! I’m aiming for at least 30 which would give me the Malayan Tapir award! Though the Asian Elephant badge is so adorable I really want to try for that one… If you’d like to join, check out the readathon Twitter page (@YearOfTheAsian) to get all the details! Or, you can check out any of the blogs above to see all the sign up info (e.g. Sprinkles of Dreams sign up post).

January TBR

For my January TBR, I want to get all the books I really wanted to read in December, actually read. Most of these are large fantasy tomes, several are sequels and I really need to finish them before the third books come out this year! Ideally, I’ll then have all of them out of the way by the time my January pre-orders finally make it to Australia. I also visited the library on the very first day they re-opened to collect some reservations so I have 5 library books I want to read! It will be a pretty difficult task I think, purely because of how large and heavy some of these books are but fingers crossed!

Jade City – Fonda Lee

Jade War – Fonda Lee

The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang

The Kingdom of Copper – S.A Chakraborty

The Good Luck Girls – Charlotte Nicole Davis (library)

The Dangerous Art of Blending In – Angelo Surmelis (library)

The Library of the Unwritten – A.J Hackwith (library)

We Are Lost and Found – Helene Dunbar (library)

Salvation Day – Kali Wallace (library)

Writing goals

Last year, I tried to write a book. But mental health kicked my butt, my lack of outlining made life very hard and therefore I didn’t get hugely far. But this year, I am feeling reinvigorated. At the recommendation of Gabhi, I’ve got a copy of Save the Cat to help me outline, and hopefully this will make writing a lot easier. My main writing goals of the year are therefore:

  • To finish my angry bi pirate WIP (adult fantasy)
  • To start research for a queer sciencey vampire book (adult sci-fi)
  • To start research for my queer historical Scottish romance (adult historical – though this may end up a little fantasy as well)
  • To join a writing group! This will actually help me meet THREE of my New Year Resolutions: to be more social, to tackle my social anxiety, to write a book.

That’s it for my 2020 goals! Last year really sucked. But I’m hoping 2020 can be a little better for me, and I will actually make some headway towards my author dreams!

What are your goals for 2020? Let me know in the comments!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

November wrap up and blog return!

Hi everyone!

I’m back! November was…..a real terrible month?!

 🦁Draco is sick and we don’t know why
🦁Mental health = not great at all
 🦁Nowhere near my NaNo goal
 🦁Pretty much felt ill the entire month
 🦁Dental emergency x 2

However, December is a new month, and I’m excited to spend some time on blogging again! This month, as well as some reviews from books I’ve read recently, I really want to focus on my extreme excitement for all of the 2020 releases we’ve got coming so I hope everyone is ready to add a TON of books to your TBR!

Today though, I’m looking back at November. My brain and body had a fairly terrible time, and whilst I’m happy with how many books I read, I was rather underwhelmed with quite a lot of them…

Books I read

This month I read 10 books! A lot of these books I expected to love a lot more, but there were a few fantastic reads in the mix!

Opposite of Always – Justin A Reynolds

I adored this exceedingly joyful book! A full review will be coming, but this book filled me with as much happiness as the cover does (the yellow makes me so happy!)

The Abyss Surrounds Us – Emily Skrutskie

This was one I wanted to love more. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, particularly the last quarter. But when I heard “queer sapphic enemies to lover pirates” I did expect to be blown away more than I was. I struggled a little with the characterisation of the main character which I think made it difficult to get fully into this book.

An Orchestra of Minorities – Chigozie Obioma

So a group at my work do a Man Booker reading group, and this year I picked An Orchestra of Minorities to read! There were parts I really enjoyed; and parts I hated. Ended up being an average read, I much preferred Obioma’s first work, The Fisherman.

We Set the Dark on Fire – Tehlor Kay Mejia

Another one I thought I would love more! Again, I really liked it, and will definitely pick up the sequel. But I just felt a little underwhelmed. I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to.

The Virtue of Sin – Shannon Schuren

Phhheeew this book is heavy. It’s about a cult in the middle of the desert, empowering female voices, and faith.

The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson

Oh my gosh, I loved The Storm Crow so much! In a month where I felt so slumpy and disengaged with my reads, this book really picked me up! I have a full review of this one coming!

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

This one started out great, I was really loving the setting and style of the book. The reveals and twists were fantastic. HOWEVER. I got so bloody annoyed at the Scottish characterisation – apparently the only way a Scottish person can be Scottish is if they loudly complain to Nazis that they’re Scottish when someone calls them English. 🙄🙄🙄Do…do people know Scots have other character traits??

The Hollow Girl – Hillary Monahan

This was a short, creepy read, but again…..I just didn’t get into it?! I wanted more world-building and depth.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Yes, I realise it’s really bad I reached almost the end of the decade and still had not read The Night Circus. But I managed! Just! And I ADORED it. This book was everything, the prose is stunning, the world is magical, the story was so full of beauty and emotion, I can’t wait to start The Starless Sea!

Sanctuary – V.V James

This book filled me with rage. And in a month where my mental health was so bad, I really wouldn’t have recommended this one to my past self! It filled me with so much stress and anger. At another time, that would have been AMAZING that a book can make me feel so impacted, but it really wasn’t the best time.

Books I bought/borrowed/magic-ed into existence on my shelf

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco

The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf

Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

I Hope You Get This Message – Farah Naz Rishi

Slay – Brittney Morris

Steel Crow Saga – Paul Krueger

The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern

Rules for Vanishing – Kate Alice Marshall

Books I plan to read in December

Now for this month! I don’t have a completely solid reading plan yet, but there are definitely a few books I need to get finished before the end of the year.

All my library books definitely read so I can return them asap – they’re due in….two weeks I think?? So definitely possible but I need to get my act together and actually start them first…

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco

The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf

Other books I plan to read this month are mostly ones I’ve been trying to read for months and I want to finish before the decade is over!

The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

Reverie – Ryan La Sala

The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang

The Kingdom of Copper – S. A Chakraborty

***

That’s it from me today! I would love to hear what books you’re planning to finish off before we leave behind the 2010’s for good!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

August + NEWTS readathon wrap up

Hello all!

I feel like I haven’t done a wrap-up in so long, but I’ve actually only missed July – unfortunately mental health took an awful dip at the end of July and I didn’t feel up to writing a massive wrap up post, but back now for my August wrap up which includes the NEWTS readathon I participated in! Whilst I didn’t quite manage to qualify for my Librarian career, after a very rough start to the month with my health, my reading and blogging did pick up again and I’ve had some awesome posts and news this month!

August highs and lows

  • I had my first author interview with the wonderful Gabhi Martins about the new anthology she edited Keep Faith. Keep Faith is a very personal and touching look at how faith and queerness intersect and I’m so happy I got the chance to talk to Gabhi about it – her enthusiasm and excitement is absolutely incredible.
  • I also ran my first giveaway – although I can’t say I feel it went particularly well. I wonder if perhaps the way to enter wasn’t clear enough or was too difficult to enter? The giveaway was for Keep Faith which I was so excited for, and it’s such a great project that I do feel I really let Gabhi and the team of wonderful authors down. The good news is the giveaway is still running until Wednesday – so if you’d like to enter, please comment on this post! I would also be interested in hearing any tips you might have on how to run successful giveaways!
  • In the last week of August, I also got the wonderful news that I will be participating in my first blog tour! This is so exciting, it’s for The Never Tilting World, and the tour is run by Caffeine Book Tours. I can’t wait to read this book – watch out for this tour in October!
  • I failed my Librarian studies in the NEWTs readathon. I’m so upset with myself. Unfortunately with such a rough start to the month, I lost a fair bit of time I needed to get through all my reads.
  • I went to YAFanFest, an event run by Australian independent publisher Allen and Unwin. This was my first bookish event here in Australia and it was so fun – authors Garth Nix, Amie Kaufman, Wai Chim, Ellie Marney and Astrid Scholte were all there to talk about their writing processes. I also picked up quite a few great books there which I can’t wait to read!

The NEWTS

WHAT A SHAME. I put so much effort into creating my TBR and then didn’t manage to qualify as a Librarian!

I did manage to get an O in the two exams I studied for which were Ancient Runes and History of Magic, but then I got too caught up in some library books and didn’t manage to read anything for the last exam I needed, Defence Against the Dark Arts. But I had good fun, and I guess that’s what matters in the end…..right…..?!

Book haul

The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang

A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

Wilder Girls – Rory Power

Spin the Dawn – Elizabeth Lim

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas (YAFanFest haul)

The Suprising Power of a Good Dumpling – Wai Chim (YAFanFest haul)

Sabriel – Garth Nix (YAFanFest haul)

When the Ground is Hard – Malla Nuun (YAFanFest haul)

Impostors – Scott Westerfeld (YAFanFest giftbag freebie)

Keep Faith – edited by Gabhi Martins (eARC)

The Astonishing Colour of After – Emily XR Pan (Library)

Internment – Samira Ahmed (Library)

When Michael Met Mina – Randa Abdel-Fattah (Library)

A Very Large Expanse of Sea – Tahereh Mafi (Library)

Books I read

The Afterward – E.K Johnston (full review here!)

We Contain Multitudes – Sarah Henstra (full review here!)

How to be Remy Cameron – Julian Winters

The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg (full review here!)

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He (full review here!)

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Keep Faith – Gabhi Martins

The Astonishing Colour of After – Emily XR Pan

And that’s it for the month of August! In September, I have to look forward to: MY BIRTHDAY! Yes I turn the grand old age of 26 (hoooooo boy it’s rough going into ‘late twenties’) but I’ll likely get quite a few books from various friends and family which is exciting! I also am going on a trip to Noosa to celebrate, and it will be SO AMAZING to have a few days off work to lie on a beach. I can’t wait to relax – and it also means 4 days of non-stop reading which will be so fun.

I hope you all had a great August – and that you were more sucessful than me if you participated in the NEWTs readathon!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

June wrap-up

Wow. Well that was a packed Pride month! Somehow I actually managed to read my 15 book TBR, YAY!! I also signed up to a library this month and visited today, their selection was pretty great so I have lots of books to start of July. I also thought I’d change this post a bit this month and add a new section showcasing some of the books I’m really excited for being released in the next month.

Books I read

The books I read this month are almost exactly what I planned to read in my Pride TBR post, with one small change, in that I read Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand instead of one on my planned list. Such a fun month of books. Reviews for most of these will be coming soon!

Book haul

Missing, Presumed Dead – Emma Berquist (won in a Twitter competition! I never win anything so this made my day and it is such a good read! Full review to come soon.)

Deposing Nathan – Zack Smedley (this book was PHENOMENAL, and you could read my full review of it here).

The Wicker King – K.Ancrum

They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera

Birthday – Meredith Russo

Keep This to Yourself – Tom Ryan

Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

You Asked for Perfect – Laura Silverman

The Grace Year – Kim Ligget (Netgalley)

The Phantom Forest – Liz Kerin (Netgalley)

Sawkill Girls – Claire Legrand (Library)

An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir (Library)

Girl Mans Up – M-E Girard (Library)

Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde (Library)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post – (Library)

The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven (Library)

The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden (Library)

July releases

So I thought I’d start a new section at the end of these monthly wrap-ups, for books I am super excited about that are publishing the following month because I want to share my excitement with more people about all the incredible books publishing this year.

Salvation Day – Kali Wallace (July 9)

This sounds like an incredible high-paced, super intense, science-fiction thriller, about a virus and spaceships and government conspiracies. Also that cover is so cool, I am the biggest fan of typographical covers. I can’t wait to read this one!

The Best Lies – Sarah Lyu (July 2)

Another thriller/mystery, this time YA – Remy’s best friend just shot her boyfriend, and now can’t stop thinking about why it happened. A book about obsessive friendship, this book sounds creepy and dark and twisting, and totally awesome.

Wilder Girls – Rory Power (July 9)

This is one of my most anticipated books of the year – which is odd, because I’ve never really read huge amounts of horror. The Raxter School for Girls was put under quarrantine due to a deadly virus, but now it’s infecting them. When Hetty’s friend vanishes, Hetty decides to venture into the woods which the virus has made strange and dangerous, to try find her.

Spin the Dawn – Elizabeth Lim (July 9)

This is another of my most anticipated books of the year – Project Runway meets Mulan?!?! YES YES AND ALL THE YES. I really have no words that can make this book sound more appealing to me.

The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson (July 9)

So many crow books are publishing this year! I think this books sounds really cool – magical crows, trying to hatch/raise a magical crow in secret (I love books where people try to raise animals in secret), I am here for this!!

That’s it for my monthly wrap-up, let me know how your June reading went, and what you’re looking forward to read in July!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Monthly wrap-up: May

So May was a big month! I started a blog! I spent the first two weeks jetlagged! I spent 3 weeks with a constant headache! I fainted at the Doctor! And I bought and read a lot of books…

Books I read

I read 10 books this month, which I’m very happy with, especially considering I spent pretty much the entire month going to bed by 9pm because I was either extremely jetlagged or headachey or work stressed. Of those 10, I gave five of them a massive 5/5 stars! There were a few I wasn’t quite as happy with, but all in all, a very fun reading month.

The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang (5 out of 5 stars)

Other Words for Smoke – Sarah Maria Griffin (3.75 out of 5 stars)

Shadowscent – P.M. Freestone (3 out of 5 stars)

Rosewater – Tade Thompson (3 ou of 5 stars)

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers (5 out of 5 stars)

The Fever King – Victoria Lee (5 out of 5 stars)

Darius the Great is Not Okay – Adib Khorram (5 out of 5 stars)

Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan (4 out of 5 stars)

Love from A to Z – S.K. Ali (5 out of 5 stars)

We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal (4 out of 5 stars)

Books I bought

I had a great book buying month – a lot of books arrived that I am so excited to read. I also managed to read a fair few of those that arrived which was great!

I Wish You All the Best – Mason Deaver

We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal

Love from A to Z – S.K Ali

The Candle and the Flame – Nafiza Azad

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan

Darius the Great is Not Okay – Adib Khorram

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

Her Royal Highness – Rachel Hawkins

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali – Sabina Khan

The Fever King – Victoria Lee

Vicky Romeo Plus Joolz – Ely Percy

Books I received

Convergence – Marita Smith (This was a book a lovely author I work with in my day job passed to me and I’m very excited to read! I’ve heard really great things about all the science in this book).

Shatter the Sky – Rebecca Kim Wells (Apparently the NetGalley gods were looking down on me for this one and I managed to snag an eARC of this incredible sounding book!)

What Makes Us – Rafi Mittlefehldt (Another NetGalley, my first approved request on NetGalley! I won’t lie, it was very much the cover which called to me. Rainbow + protest = my kind of book).

That’s it for my May wrap-up, let me know what you think about any of the books in this wrap-up!

Paws out,

Rach + Draco