Learning to Live with the Questions

Jan 28, 2020

When I was working on my review for Lovely War by Julie Berry last week, I took a look at Goodreads to see if I had anything else from 2019 that I hadn't reviewed. And I laughed a little when I noticed that there was only one book left on my Goodreads "to do" shelf... and it was also the only read I hadn't reviewed from 2018, too. The worst part is that I loved the book, so there was no reason for me to drag my feet on reviewing it. And so, today, I'm finally going to chat about My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan (a book I received from the publisher for review consideration).

From the second I saw this title and cover, I had to have it. I studied abroad in Oxford for six weeks one summer during college. It was an incredible experience, one that cemented England as the country I want to return to again and again. And, hello, Kelly and I have been twice in the past two years so I'm well on my way to accomplishing this goal. But let's get back to this book. The cover and title immediately appealed to me, but I was even more excited when I read the summary. It sounded like something I'd love even without the Oxford connection!

American Ella Durran has been working towards studying at Oxford for most of her adolescence and is now the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship at age 24. She’s ready to enjoy one year in the city she’s dreamed about since she was thirteen! She knows she’ll work hard for school, of course, but expects plenty of time for pubs, punting down the river, making new friends, and maybe a no-strings-attached fling. Enter Jamie Davenport. He seems like a total prick on their first meeting, and then Ella walks into her English literature course to find out he's teaching it. Her first impression might have been wrong, and the future she mapped out for herself takes a turn she never expected. A lot can happen in one year, and life has a way of surprising you...

Based on the cover of this book, I imagined a light-hearted romantic comedy set in one of my favorite cities in the world. And while it ended up being very different than I expected, I still loved it so much! I read it for the first time in 2018, and then I decided to finish off #FebruaREREAD in 2019 with this on audio. This is one of those books that worked so perfectly for me as a reader! It tapped into my love for Oxford, brought back memories of my time there, and reminded me of another British book I love (but won’t name because #spoiler).

Although I would have loved a little more character development, I honestly didn’t mind that there's a pretty big shift in tone about halfway through. I can understand how that won’t be true for everyone else, but it added depth and emotion to the story for me. It took the book from something a little bit fluffy and fun into more thought-provoking territory. Based on reviews I've seen, it's definitely a polarizing aspect of the book – one that you'll probably either love or hate. But you can count me in the love column!

I loved the romance and the heroine’s own personal journey. But my favorite part, of course, was the setting. Can I go back now?! Whelan definitely captured everything I loved about this city and left me itching to hop on a plane to head across the pond. And speaking of Whelan, I don't want to forget to mention that this is her debut novel but you might be familiar with her work as an audiobook narrator. That was another reason I was so excited to pick up this book, and she didn't disappoint me! I loved reading the book for the first time, but it was even more fun to listen to her narrate the audio for my re-read. As expected, she did an excellent job.

This was one of my favorite reads of 2018, and it remained a favorite after re-reading it last year. If you're in the mood for a romantic story about embracing life in all its twists and turns, pick this one up!

So Quotable
“Our memories of places, much like people, are subject to our own adaptation process. Once the active living is done, and they pass into memory, we assume control of the narrative. We adapt it, sometimes without meaning to. This is, perhaps, the one advantage of death: when people die, they can live on in our memory as we choose, but places continue to exist, to change.”

Release Date: April 24, 2018 | Publisher: HarperCollins; William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 329 pages | Source & Format: Publisher / Bought; e-ARC / Paperback & Audiobook

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

20 in 2020

Jan 23, 2020

One of my goals for this year is to nurture my relationship with Nick and our sons. It's a pretty broad goal that won't end when 2020 does, but it's something that I wanted to specifically focus on this year as our family grows. I've seen firsthand the benefits of being intentional with my time, especially when it comes to family adventures and traditions. So, I've been asking myself, "What action steps can I take to give my best to my boys? How can I love them well?" I've come up with a variety of things so far, and it ranges from date nights to limiting time on my phone. But one of my favorite ideas was to create our family's "20 in 20" – a list of 20 things to do together in 2020. 

My firstborn will turn four soon, and kindergarten doesn't feel so far away anymore. I want to make this time at home with him truly count! When he was born, I wrote about the things I learned that year – which included the fact that a baby changes everything. With our second baby soon to make his arrival, I know that this baby, too, will change everything. Time both stands still and passes in a blur with a newborn. There's a reason people say, "The days are long, but the years are short." There will be many ordinary days this year – full of chores, not enough sleep, and too much screen time. But I want to make things special, too. That's where this list comes in!

Rather than hope we'll fill our days with fun, I want to plan for it. Instead of continuing to scroll Pinterest for things to do as a family, I've been trying to pay attention to the things our family talks about wanting to do. I've seen how my husband and firstborn value quality time, so I know that this list absolutely aligns with my desire to nurture those relationships. I'm obsessed with Em for Marvelous' The Years of Making Magic project and am creating a similar long-term list for our family. But I don't wait to wait to get started, and this list feels like the perfect way to get the ball rolling. So, here are 20 things our family plans to do in 2020:

1. GO: strawberry or apple picking.
2. TRY: bowling.
3. READ: this Bible and this book about prayer.

4. PLAY: board games once a month.
5. EAT: a picnic in our backyard.
6. EXPLORE: the hiking trails near our house.
7. MAKE: a bird house.

8. RIDE: on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.
9. SEND: mail to our three great-grandmothers.
10. COOK: for someone else.
11. SEE: marine life at the Georgia Aquarium.
12. CREATE: a new family tradition.

13. DO: a nature scavenger hunt.
14. GIVE BACK: by volunteering at our church's community celebration.
15. GROW: our family savings by 20%.
16. TRAVEL: somewhere we've never been.
17. ENJOY: camping in the backyard.
18. VISIT: Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary.
19. WATCH: a movie at the drive-in theater.
20. BE: thankful. Start a family gratitude jar.

Thanks to Childhood 101 for the format inspiration!

My criteria when making the list: 1) mostly free things with a few expenses that I know will be worth it, 2) that can be completed relatively easily with a newborn in tow, and 3) were specific but still gave us room to be flexible. For example, "Cook for someone else" could mean having extended family members over for dinner or making something for a sick neighbor. I'd love to go on a summer vacation, but this might be a "day trip closer to home" kind of year. I didn't want the list to feel like a burden or become too hard to fulfill. Y'all, I'm so excited about what Nick and I landed on! I'm already thinking about how fun it will be to write My Year In: Adventures {2020}.

Do you have a list of things you'd like to do this year?

All's Fair in Love and War

Jan 21, 2020

It's been a while since I've written a long, individual review! And honestly, it's been a long time since I've loved a book so much that I simultaneously wanted to push everyone to read it and keep it all to myself. Berry's All the Truth That's In Me is one of my all-time favorite books, one that I've read and re-read in multiple formats over the years. But somehow, I didn't know about her March 2019 release, Lovely War, until after it came out. 

I read Lovely War in April of last year, fell deeply in love with it... but couldn't bring myself to review it. Why? Because I didn't even know where to begin! In Jane Austen's Emma, Mr. Knightley tells the heroine, “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” I've always loved that quote, and it perfectly encapsulates how I feel about this particular book. I've shared my 21 favorite books of 2019, and this one is at the very top of that list.

Lovely War primarily focuses on two couples during World War I. Hazel is a talented pianist who meets James, a solider dreaming of becoming an architect, at a party in London. Their feelings develop quickly but have a surprising depth. Then, James is sent off to war... Aubrey is a Harlem ragtime musician headed for the trenches as a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment. While there, Aubrey meets Colette – a Belgian refugee serving in the YMCA relief hut in France. What does the future hold for these star-crossed lovers?

That's for Aphrodite to tell you. Yes, I mean that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Thirty years after these four characters meet, in the midst of a new world war, she is caught in an affair. Her husband, Hephaestus, discovers her with Ares in a Manhattan hotel room and decides she will be put on trial. In her defense, she decides to tell the stories of these four lovers. She has a little help from Apollo, Hades, and even Ares himself. As you can imagine, there is music and death and war and brokenness – but there is love and beauty, too. How will their stories end? Well, you'll have to read to find out...

Despite being relatively unfamiliar with Greek mythology, this book sparked my desire for more. How lucky was I to have Circe by Madeline Miller waiting in the wings? I read that two weeks later and loved it, too. (Now give me more!) When I read the summary for Lovely War, I wasn't sure if Berry could pull it off. Combining historical fiction with Greek mythology seemed risky. But oh man, the end result proved that it's a creative twist like that that makes a book truly epic! I could not stop raving about it after I finished and ended up re-reading it via audio, too. It was my last read of the year – the perfect way to close 2019 and enter the new decade on a reading high.

It was the kind of historical fiction book where I learned so much – about ragtime music, the treatment of African Americans during World War I, life in the trenches and the resulting PTSD, and what it might be like to serve with the YMCA on the front. You can see Berry's research in all aspects of the novel, and I adored the Author's Note at the end where she expands on some of the things mentioned in the book. And, as with Circe, it made me want to pull out Mythology by Edith Hamilton and read all the myths associated with the gods and goddesses I just met.

So, you've got the research aspect. But what else did I love? ONLY EVERYTHING. These characters absolutely stole my heart. I was so emotionally invested in what was happening to them, and it took all of my self-control to keep from racing through the book to find out if they were all okay in the end. Because honestly, this book accomplished that rare feat of being impossible to put down but also being something I wanted to slowly savor. Berry's writing was just so gorgeous and such a pleasure to read that I didn't want to miss one carefully chosen turn of phrase.

Although categorized as Young Adult, I certainly felt that it had crossover appeal. Everything about it is so artfully crafted and beautifully written – something that I want to push on every reader I meet. Because even though it won't be the right fit for every reader, I wish that I could make everyone love it as much as I do. I wish that I could give everyone who pick it up that magical, delighted feeling I had as I turned each page and realized that I was reading a book that I'd never forget. You know how sometimes people will ask, "What's a book you wish you could go back and read for the first time?" Even in the middle of this one, I was aching at the thought of it being over. 

The story itself felt so cruel and heartbreaking while still being so romantic and hopeful. I was tearing up, swooning, laughing, raging, and experiencing every possible emotion while reading. Do I really need to keep raving? Have I said enough to convince you to read it? It was a rare reading experience, one that I didn't even expect. And since I re-read it at the end of the year, I can attest to the fact that it's even better the second time around. The audiobook was fantastic – a full cast that brought the characters to life in the best way and gave me even more to love about it. In case it isn't obvious: I highly, highly recommend Lovely War in any format!

So Quotable
“I am so often moved by souls whose first concern is not for their own lost years, but for the grief their passing will cause to those they love. It's more common than you might think. The most ordinary mortal bodies are housed by spectacular souls.”

Release Date: March 5, 2019 | Publisher: Penguin; Viking Books for Young Readers
Pages: 480 pages | Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover

January 2020 Goals

Jan 17, 2020

It's finally time for me to share my goals for January! When I wrote about my vision for 2020 last week, I mentioned that I'll be sharing monthly goals here on the blog. Since the six yearly goals I set are somewhat vague, I plan to break them down into smaller action items. These monthly check-ins will typically post early in the month and will both recap my progress on the previous month's goals and outline new goals for the month ahead. This post is going up a little later than I'd intended, but oh well! As a refresher, here are my big-picture goals:

1. Revitalize my faith through daily time with God.
2. Nurture my relationship with Nick and our sons.
3. Grow in my knowledge and stewardship of our finances.
4. Invest time in the hobbies that bring me joy.
5. Create purposeful monthly, weekly, and daily routines.
6. Record and preserve our family memories.

On My Calendar:
– So many doctor's appointments as I enter my last month of pregnancy
– A Celine Dion concert with my mom and sister (this past weekend – so fun!)
– Last weekend getaway as a family of three

Currently Obsessing Over:
– This sausage potato soup was delicious and so filling. And it was even better as leftovers the next day!
– The recently announced Audible Challenge: finish any three titles by March 3 and get a $20 Amazon credit. I'm already planning how I'll spend the credit and celebrating finally listening to three audios I've owned for years.
– I received AirPods + this case for Christmas, and I can't stop raving about them. I feel so basic just saying that...
– Getting everything done before the baby arrives. With the holidays finally over, it hit me that February is right around the corner. This pregnancy has flown by, and I've definitely got some things left on my to do list.

Yearly Goals:
(These should stay the same all year, so I'll just do month-to-month progress reports!)
– Read through the Bible in one year.
– Read a devotional every morning.
– Track my spending in the Goodbudget app.
– Blog 2x per week.

January Goals:
– Make our family's "20 in 2020" list.
– Plan (and go on!) our last trip as a family of three.
– Finish my pre-baby checklist!
– Brainstorm possible routines that I'd like to implement.
– Schedule a monthly planning session.
– Cull, download, organize, and backup 2019 photos.
– Complete the Third Trimester section in the baby's Promptly Journal.
– Complete Toddler Years 1-3 in my firstborn's Promptly Journal.
– Finalize my 2020 reading challenges.
– The Contentment Challenge, which is three months of no shopping.

Do you have any routines that make your life easier?
I'd love to hear about them!

The Picky Pledge 2020

Jan 15, 2020

Today, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books and I are talking all things Picky Pledge! We're taking a minute to look back at some stats from 2019, reflecting on what we accomplished the past year, and sharing our plan for 2020. The Picky Pledge was born out of lots of chats about our reading choices and book buying habits. We wanted to be more intentional and decided to hold each other accountable. Here's how it got started.

When we originally started The Picky Pledge, Alexa and I would share a long post with charts and graphics and stats. We'd use them to identify what we needed to change in the year to come, which was so helpful. But over time, it started to make more sense to simplify! Today, we're focusing on the same stats we shared last year.

Alexa and I always laugh at how some things change over time, but we still basically have to same "problem areas" as the day we created this project. I buy too many books, and Alexa could always pare down on review books. However, we have seen positive changes through the years. We're both more aware now, so we're more intentional. The only stat we are sharing ties in to entire focus of Picky Pledge: the source of what we read in 2019.

In 2019, I read 210 books. Here's where they came from:

BOUGHT/GIFTED (2019) • 46 Books • 22%

BORROWED • 34 Books • 16%

OWNED (PRE-2019) • 38 Books • 18%

REREAD • 64 Books • 31%

REVIEW • 28 Books • 13%

This was a really interesting reading year in comparison to 2018! I read more review books (up from 8%), borrowed less (down from 23%), and read a little more from my TBR (up from 15%). Looking back to 2017, it's been interesting to see how reading what books bought/gifted in that respective year has trended down over time (47% in 2017, 34% in 2018, and 22% in 2019). I'm pretty sure this is lower because I'm not buying as much. That's a HUGE win! 

The most interesting change this year is how much I re-read (up from 20%). It wasn't shocking since I did a few challenges this year focused on re-reading, which I'll talk about more on Friday. I'm always in the mood to re-read, but it's nice to make it a priority every few years. There are so many books coming out in 2020 that I'm excited to read, so I'm expecting to re-read a little less. It's nice to see this fluctuate based on what season of life I'm in.

The way Alexa and I set Picky Pledge goals has changed since we first started this project. Since 2018, we've set out to complete The Picky Pledge Reading Challenge. We have 12 categories, enough for one book per month, to help us read more from our TBR. The categories are all tied to reasons that we bought the books on our TBR, which makes is easy to find something that fits for each one. It's simplified but still accomplishes our purpose.

Ten of these books were on my TBR prior to 2019. Two were re-reads, but they still counted for our project because they'd been on my Audible TBR for a while. Here are the categories and what I read for each one:

FOR THE COVER: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

BASED ON A RECOMMENDATION: We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

FOR THE HOOK: Love á la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

ON SALE: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

NEXT IN SERIES: China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwavn

IN A DIFFERENT FORMAT: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (Audio)

BECAUSE OF THE AUTHOR: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

GIFTED: The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

PRE-ORDERED, HAVEN'T READ YET: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Audio)

BOUGHT 3+ YEARS AGO: Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

BECAUSE OF THE HYPE: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

BECAUSE OF THE TOPIC: House of Dreams by Liz Rosenberg

Now, let's talk about 2020. We're continuing The Picky Pledge Reading Challenge! We kept all the categories the same this year, so it's the same graphic, too. Is that simplifying or simply laziness? Haha! We'll share a recap just like this one next January, but I'll track my progress throughout the year. If you're interested, feel free to join in and complete the challenge, too! We don't do any official check-ins or link-ups, so there's no big commitment. 

Here's to being intentional in 2020!
What are your reading goals for the year?

What I Re-Read in 2019

Jan 14, 2020

One of the things that I discovered writing my Picky Pledge recap (that posts tomorrow) was that re-reading made up the largest segment of what I read in 2019. Of the 210 books I read, 64 were re-reads. That's approximately 30% of what I read, which is no small number! I remember reading the same beloved books over and over again in childhood, so my love of re-reading has been there from the very beginning. I always make time for it, though some years it's more of a priority than others. 2019 was one of those years, and I loved every minute of it!

I participated in two re-reading challenges in 2019 – one "official" challenge that I co-hosted with Kelly on Instagram, and one "unofficial" one that we both made as a goal. Since I was spending this week on the blog recapping the other reading challenges I participated in, I wanted to take a second to chat about re-reading, too.

Co-hosted with @xoxokellynina

Near the end of 2018, I told Kelly, “I wish I could ignore my TBR for a month and just re-read old favorites.” 

“Why can't you?” she immediately replied.

And so: we decided to spend all of February re-reading our favorite books! We called it our #FebruaREREAD. What better time to do it? The month we were both born in AND the month meant for celebrating love! It was so much fun to dedicate an entire month to old favorites. I was so proud of myself for re-reading 24 books:

You can find reviews of everything that I re-read in a few various blog posts: January Quick Lit (Part Two)February Quick Lit (Part One)February Quick Lit (Part Two), and my Series Speed Date feature. And I still haven't reviewed My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan, but here's what I said about it on Instagram.

Re-Read Twelve Series
A personal challenge for me and Kelly

Around the same time that we started planning #FebruaREREAD, Kelly and I discussed the idea of trying to re-read twelve series in 2019. It sounded like a stretch, but still within our reach since it amounted to one series per month. We both love audiobooks and use the format primarily for re-reading, so we figured that increased the likelihood of our success. We never posted about it anywhere, but we'd chat about our choices each month – and sometimes convince one another to pick up the same books, too. I got off to a strong start early in the year, which kept me from stressing when I hit a reading rut near the end. I'd already finished! Here are the series I re-read:
  1. Act Like It, Pretty Face, and Making Up by Lucy Parker
  2. Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, and Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
  3. The Winner's Curse, The Winner's Crime, and The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
  4. Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph, and Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
  5. Me Before You and After You by Jojo Moyes 
  6. Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
  7. Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  8. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  10. Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  11. Unspoken, Untold, and Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
  12. A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Wings and Ruin, and A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Miscellaneous Re-Reads
Because I might as well mention them, too!

Finally, I re-read 10 other books throughout the year. Unsurprisingly, all were on audio! Without that format, I wouldn't be able to read nearly as many books as I do. It's how I find the time to read, even when I'm busy. Here are those 10 books (a few links go to first read reviews because I didn't write re-read thoughts):
  1. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
  2. Dreams of gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  3. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  4. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 
  6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  7. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
  8. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  9. A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
  10. Lovely War by Julie Berry
Did you re-read anything in 2019?
Joining any re-reading challenges in 2020?

#My10toReadin19 + My 2020 List

Jan 13, 2020

If you read my 2020 goals post, I mentioned posted my January goals today. But I forgot I had a few 2019 challenge recaps scheduled for the next few days, so you can expect to see my January goals later in the week!

At the beginning of every new year, I always resolve to tackle my unread books. And inevitably, I do... okay. I read books I own but still keep buying more, so the number seems to stay about the same. But there are definitely a handful of books that have been on my shelves for years and just keep lingering there unread. I've noticed that the longer a book stays on my TBR, the less interest I have in reading it. Isn't that a struggle?

So, I loved @idlewildreads’ plan to commit to finishing 10 specific books from her TBR in 2019. She created #my10toreadin19, and I decided to join in. This is the photo I posted on Instagram in January 2019. Most of these books had been on my shelves awhile, though a few were books that I just needed an extra push to pick up. It was one of the few challenges I participated in last year, so I figured I'd share a quick post about how I did.

Of the 10 books on my list, I finished ALL 10! The challenge was a success, even though I didn't love everything. But I was still so proud of myself for getting these books off my TBR! I'm planning on continuing the challenge in 2020 with a new list. But first, here's a recap of what I read (clicking the title will take you to my review): 

1. PACHINKO BY MIN JIN LEE – A surprise favorite! I honestly expected to read a few pages and call it quits, but then I couldn't put it down. I So Loved It, and it even made my best of 2019 list

2. MISTRESS OF ROME BY KATE QUINN – Kelly kept pushing this one on me, and I should have listened to her sooner! I So Loved It, and the third and fourth in the series were excellent, too. They made my favorites list, too! 

3. JANE OF LANTERN HILL BY L.M. MONTGOMERY – This was a charming book from one of my all-time favorite authors! I So Enjoyed It, and it motivated me to continue to read more from Montgomery's backlist.

4. FREDERICA BY GEORGETTE HEYER – Considered the queen of Regency romance, I couldn't wait to start this one. But the story dragged on forever! I was So Okay With It but lost my desire to read more from Heyer.

5. WHAT MATTERS IN JANE AUSTEN BY JOHN MULLAN – I can never resist Austen-related books! I So Liked It overall and felt the introduction and last two chapters alone were worth the price of the book for me.

6. HOUSE OF DREAMS BY LIZ ROSENBERG – I had high hopes for this L.M. Montgomery biography, but it didn't wow me. I was So Okay With It but kept thinking about how much I preferred Rubio's biography.

7. A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES BY DIANA GABALDON – Finishing this book made me realize that it might be time for me to break up with this series. I was So Okay With It but am getting tired of Gabaldon's stories.

8. WORLD WITHOUT END BY KEN FOLLETT – Despite the fact that I flew through this book, I didn't like it very much. I was So Okay With It but couldn't help noticing Follett's formulaic writing style. I won't continue the series.

9. HEART'S BLOOD BY JULIET MARILLIER – I loved all the nods to Beauty and the Beast while still feeling like I was reading something entirely new. Marillier's writing and subtle romance won me over – I So Loved It!

10. EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN BY CHRIS CLEAVE – Yiiiiiikes, this book was awful. One of the worst things I read all year! I So Disliked It, wish I had quit it, and could write an epic rant about all the reasons it was so horrible.

So, what's my plan for 2020? Here are the 10 books I'm challenging myself to read this year:

Most have these been on my TBR for years and a few were recent additions. Here's the breakdown:

1. THE JOY LUCK CLUB BY AMY TAN – This is one of those books that I feel like I should have read before now, and I don't know why it wasn't on my radar until last year. I'm looking forward to finally starting it!

2. MAGIC FOR MARIGOLD BY L.M. MONTGOMERY – A children's classic from one of my favorites, which I've owned since 2013. I'm hoping it's a win like Jane of Lantern Hill so I'll continue to explore Mongtomery's backlist.

3. ALL THE PRETTY THINGS BY EDIE WADSWORTH – My mom gave me a copy of this memoir in 2016, and I have no idea why I haven't read it yet. So I'm committing to it in 2020 – plus it's one of the shorter books on my list!

4. SHADOW OF NIGHT BY DEBORAH HARKNESS – I read A Discovery of Witches in 2018 and liked it overall. It wasn't a favorite, but I'd like to give the series another chance to win me over and need it on my list for motivation.

5. A PERFECT HERITAGE BY PENNY VINCENZI – I had two giant historical fiction sagas on last year's list, but I'm not continuing either of those series. I just added this book to my TBR in 2019, but I'm excited that it's a standalone.

6. THE SECRET KEEPER BY KATE MORTON – I'd written off Morton until Kelly convinced me to give her another try, and I bought this one used in 2018. After loving The Clockmaker's Daughter, I'm excited to dive in to this one.

7. SAINTS FOR ALL OCCASIONS BY J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN – Sullivan's The Engagements spent years on my TBR before I read it, and I don't want the same to happen to this one. I bought it in 2018 while visiting Kelly!

8. THE REAL JANE AUSTEN BY PAULA BYRNE  This non-fiction book was one of the earliest books I requested on NetGalley... and I was declined. Ha! I bought a copy while traveling in 2013 and have meant to read it ever since.

9. JANE AUSTEN FOR DUMMIES BY JOAN RAY – I loathe this title, but the content inside does look really good! This non-fiction book has been on my TBR the longest. I bought it in 2011 when Borders was going out of business.

10. THE ANNOTATED LITTLE WOMEN BY LOUISA MAY ALCOTT – I've read Little Women, but I wanted to revisit it after loving the recent movie adaptation. I've owned this annotated edition since 2015 but never read it.

What should I start first? Point me in the right direction!

2020 Goals

Jan 10, 2020

Last October, I decided to treat myself to the 2020 PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner. I've been a fan of Lara Casey's company, Cultivate What Matters, for a while but had yet to take the plunge on their signature product. It looked a little overwhelming to me – and it's not cheap either! Would I really use an entire planner dedicated solely to goal planning? It felt unnecessary, even if the paper lover in me longed to try one.

After reading a number of blog posts and watching some YouTube reviews, I decided to make the investment. With a baby due in February, I know it probably sounds like the worst time to decide to add another planner to my plate – or even to be thinking about goals. But I want to spend my days doing the things that matter. I want to be present and intentional, in every season of my life. While I don't need a planner to accomplish those things, I love the idea of having a physical reminder that keeps me accountable.  

Here's a look inside PowerSheets, if you're curious. Each planner opens with prep work – some guided goal-coaching worksheets you fill out to help evaluate different areas of your life, identify what worked and what didn't from the past year, and envision what you want your legacy to be and how you can get there. It encourages you to think big picture while celebrating the small steps of progress. As they say: little by little a little adds up to a lot.

I spent the week between Christmas and New Years going through these 34 pages. Once you've done the prep, it's time to choose a word of the year and set your goals. In 2018, I chose a word of the year for the first time. I loved going back to it throughout the year, so I don't know why I didn't choose one in 2019. I was excited to do it again for 2020! Before doing any of the work, I was considering words like: balance, present, thrive, and refresh. As I looked up those definitions, explored synonyms, and read what I'd written about this year, I found it:

Nurture comes from the Latin verb nutrire, meaning "to nourish." As a noun, it can mean "training, upbringing" or "something that nourishes." As a verb, it means to "care for and encourage the growth or development of." Very literally, I will be doing both this year. I'll give birth to a baby that I will nourish and will be caring for the growth and development of both of my sons. In that sense, it perfectly described this upcoming season of my life. 

But I loved it for other reasons, too. There are a lot of changes I'd love to make in 2020. Many are small because realistically, this isn't a year where I can "get it all done" and tackle big projects. I'll be adjusting to life as a mom of two, trying to find our new normal, and looking for every opportunity to rest. Nurture spoke to me in this sense, too. Even at home, I can care for and encourage the growth of my faith, my marriage, my passions, and my habits.

So, let's talk about my goals for 2020 – and how I'm going to nurture them.

Image sources: Photos, Ice Cream, Brothers, Planner, Quote, Plants, Clocks, Door, Bible

Here's my vision board for the year. This was something I've never done before, but it was part of the PowerSheets process. I won't lie – I thought the idea sounded a little dumb at first. But as I tried to synthesize my goals into images, I started having fun. As nerdy as it may be, I loved finding photos that spoke to me and visually represented what I want from 2020. With this in front of me as inspiration, I wrote my big-picture goals:

1. Revitalize my faith through daily time with God. 
It has been a long time, honestly, since I've prioritized my faith. It's been an area of my life that I've treated casually – reading my Bible at random, one-off prayers in times of need, and sporadically attending church. I've long said that I want to deepen my walk with God, but my actions don't reflect that desire. And so, they're words that sound good but mean nothing. This is my main goal for 2020, and it's the one that I hope to see the most progress in.

Mini goals to make it happen: read the entire Bible in one year, use a guided prayer journal, join a small group, memorize Scripture, read Christian non-fiction, and create family faith routines.

2. Nurture my relationship with Nick and our sons.
My relationship with Nick and our two boys is the next most important thing that I want to focus on. Since much of this year will be spent at home, it's a great opportunity to nurture those relationships. However, I know how easy it can be to "get through" each day by going through the motions. I want to be present and intentional. Whether it's reading together or going on adventures, there are so many ways I can invest in my boys.

Mini goals to make it happen: defined technology-free time, create a family bucket list, one-on-one dates with our firstborn, read marriage and/or parenting books, and go on local adventures (hikes, museums, story times, etc.).

3. Grow in my knowledge and stewardship of our finances.
In our marriage, Nick is more of a saver and I'm more of a spender. Thankfully, we're balanced versions of both and thus don't disagree a ton on finances. But I realized recently that I feel very uninformed and, truthfully, lazy about money. While I'm happy with the way Nick and I have divided our household responsibilities, I want to be more attuned to our budget, our savings goals, and how we're planning for the future.

Mini goals to make it happen: use a budgeting app, read a finance book, complete the Contentment Challenge, unsubscribe from all marketing/sales emails, identify savings goals, and  have a quarterly budget review with Nick.

4. Invest time in the hobbies that bring me joy. 
Books and blogging had to be on my list, of course! Reading is my favorite form of self care, and I want to continue to make time for it when the new baby arrives. I've set some low-key reading goals for myself this year, and I'm excited to work towards completing them. And this blog is such a fun space for me to be creative! It isn't the right year for me to challenge myself to grow my audience, but I do want to commit to continuing to post.

Mini goals to make it happen: read 100 books in 2020, blog 2x per week, complete the Picky Pledge Challenge, make a #10toReadin2020 list, and buy one book from an independent bookstore per month.

5. Create purposeful monthly, weekly, and daily routines. 
One of the things that came up over and over again in my prep work was how much I want to establish new routines for myself and my family. From meal planning to seasonal traditions, these types of rhythms can make me more productive. I use too much brain space and time when I'm winging it! That being said, I'll be going slow with this goal since early newborn days don't always lend themselves to solid schedules.

Mini goals to make it happen: add recipes to Plan to Eat for streamlined meal planning, create a house cleaning plan, schedule monthly review + planning sessions, and identify my ideal morning and evening routine.

6. Record and preserve our family memories. 
I've always lamented my lack of a system when it comes to digital photos. I recently culled and organized my photos from 2007-2015 but stopped in 2016 (when my son was born and my photos exponentially increased). My goal for 2020 is to catch up on this project and develop habits so it doesn't get out of control again. I'm also working towards catching up on my firstborn's childhood journal, as well as consistently filling one out for the new baby.

Mini goals to make it happen: cull photos from 2017-2019, organize photos from 2017-2019, backup all photos to two places, create yearly photo albums, and schedule monthly childhood journaling sessions.

Obviously, these six goals are somewhat vague. Most are on-going things that don't have a specific end point or a clear way to measure whether they were completed or not. However, I do have ways I plan to break these down into smaller action items that are more measurable. Completing those things will help me see whether or not I'm making progress! One way I'll do that (which ties into the routines goal) is to share monthly goals here on the blog. I'll have at least one mini monthly goal per yearly goal and will record my progress here for accountability. If you check back next week, I'll be sharing my January 2020 Goals.

Will I look back at the end of the year and feel like I should have been more specific? Possibly! But I know that this will be a year with a lot of change, regardless of the goals I set, so I want to have grace for myself. Do I think PowerSheets are worth the investment? Time will tell. I will definitely track my progress with them throughout the year and will fully answer this question in December. Right now, I'm excited to get started and see what happens!

Have you made any goals for 2020?
Or chosen a word of the year?

Books I'm Buying in 2020

Jan 7, 2020

When I saw today's Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, I couldn't resist sharing my own list. This post is limited to the first half of the year, but I didn't stick to just ten releases. There are so many things coming out this year that I can't wait to read! I primarily focused on new books from favorite authors, though I have lots of new-to-me authors for consideration Goodreads. Let's take a look!

Twelve books I can't wait to read from favorite authors:

1. You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley (January 7) – I loved Oakley's debut and second book, so I'm particularly excited for this release! She's a local author, and I feel like it's been so long since I've read something from her.

2. Headliners by Lucy Parker (January 20) – A new book in one of my favorite series? Yes, please! I discovered the London celebrities series in 2018 and then re-read them all in 2019. I can't wait for this couple!

3. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (March 3) – Even though I'll wait to get this one from the library, I'm still excited for more from this duo. I enjoyed both both books that I read from them in 2019.

4. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (March 3) – I will always be hyped for something from Maas, one of my all-time favorite authors. But I can admit that I'm nervous for this new genre, which isn't one I'm drawn to t

5. A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn (March 10) – This series just keeps getting better! The previous book was my favorite and had a great relationship development, so I'm hoping for more of that in this release.

6. The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren (March 24) – I haven't loved everything I've read from this duo, but they've all been pretty fun to read. This one sounds right up my alley since it's more romantic comedy than drama.

7. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane (March 24) – I'm so thrilled that McFarlane seems to be finding more of an audience in the US, though I'm also a little sad to share her. Ha! I've pre-ordered the UK edition already, too.

8. The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez (April 14) – The Friend Zone was one of my favorite books last year, and I was so excited to find out Sloane was getting her own book. This girl needs some happiness in her life!

9. The Switch by Beth O'Leary (April 30 UK / June 9 US) – The Flatshare was one of my top 10 of 2019, and this one sounds like it's going to be just as adorable since the the summary reminds me of the movie The Holiday.

10. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (May 19) – I am equally nervous and excited about this book. I can't describe my level of love for The Hunger Games, so I need this to be excellent. I know Collins can do it!

11. Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers (June 2) – Courting Darkness was also one of my top reads in 2019, and I'm so excited to see how LaFevers wraps up this duology. I'll probably re-read the first one to refresh my memory.

12. The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (June 16) – Ever since The Royal We came out in 2015, I've hoped for a sequel. I adore that book and wanted time with those characters, and I'm finally getting it. AHHH!

And four books on my radar from new-to-me authors:

13. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (January 21) – This sounds absolutely adorable! I don't read as much YA contemporary as I used to, but this summary was like a siren song for me. I hope it's everything I want it to be!

14. The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne (February 4) – When I was browsing 2020 releases on Goodreads for this post, I came across this one. A YA retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion set in space? I've got to try it, obviously.

15. The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher (February 25) – It was the tiny print of the cover that sold me: A Novel of Grace Kelly. I've read several Kelly biographies, but never any fiction inspired by her life. I'm intrigued!

16. The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (May 26) – A group of Austen lovers coming together after WWII to try to save her Chawton home and legacy? That feels like it was made for me! This one sounds adorable.

What 2020 releases are you excited to read?

2019 End of Year Book Survey

Jan 6, 2020

Created & Hosted by Jamie from Perpetual Page-Turner

Remember that time I posted my 2018 survey in December 2019? Because I do! I was determined not to let that happen again, and the second week of January feels so respectable in comparison. Now that I've recapped my year in favorites, here's a more in-depth look at the best (and worst) of my book and blogging life in 2019.

1. Number of Books You Read: 210 books 
2. Number of Re-Reads: 64 re-reads
3. Genre You Read the Most From: Contemporary

1. Best book you read in 2019?
As always, I can't choose just one! Here's one for each of the top four genres I read this year:

CONTEMPORARY | Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

FANTASY | The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

HISTORICAL | Lovely War by Julie Berry

MYSTERY | Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

All of my favorites will be mentioned throughout this post, but here's my top twenty-one books of the year.

A Note: I challenged myself not to repeat any books in the answers below so that I could highlight a greater variety of books. It was difficult, but it helped me avoid using my twenty favorite books for every question!

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?
I was so excited for Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal. A Pride and Prejudice retelling set in Pakistan sounded right up my alley! I loved the setting, but I struggled to connect to the characters and found the story boring.

3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book of 2019?

IN A GOOD WAY | This is definitely The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton. Kelly convinced me to read it even though I'd written Morton off after hating a previous book, and it ended up in my top twenty of 2019!

IN A BAD WAY | I figured a companion novel with the most dynamic secondary character from Next Year in a Havana would be a guaranteed win. Alas, When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton was so disappointing.

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read in 2019?
There weren't any obvious answers here! I'll go with The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. It wasn't a rave read for me, but I still found myself recommending it to others throughout the year.

5. Best series you started in 2019? Best sequel of 2019? Best series ender of 2019? Best series overall in 2019?

STARTED | Does the first book in a spin-off duology count? It better because Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers was the first think that came to mind here. I loved re-reading the trilogy and then diving into this perfect addition.

SEQUEL | Definitely China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan. I liked the first book when I read it in 2018 but never felt compelled to continue. But I finally did and was completely hooked! This was so addicting and so much fun.

ENDER | While I'd love more companion books in this series, I don't know if there are plans for any. So, I'll go with The Place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta because it was worth the wait to get this beautiful story.

OVERALL | Even though I didn't finish the second book, this one belongs to the Rome series by Kate Quinn! The first, third, and fourth were fantastic reads and totally earned their spot on my favorites of 2019 list.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?
I don't know who to choose! I recently shared my ten favorite new-to-me authors that I read in 2019, and of all of those I think I'm most excited to read more from Beth O'Leary. The Switch can't get here soon enough!

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read?
The few things I read that fit this question were just okay. So, instead, I'll go with a genre I do read (fantasy) but a focus that I don't: mythology. Circe by Madeline Miller was creative, gorgeous, and so thought provoking.

8. Most action-packed, thrilling, unputdownable book in 2019?
A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn is the fourth book in her Veronica Speedwell series, and it's been my favorite so far! The isolated setting heightened the tension, and the romantic developments were perfect.

9. Book you read in 2019 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
There are several books on my potential re-read list, but American Royals by Katharine McGee is at the top. This was a fun, dramatic escape – and I can't wait for the sequel. I'll be re-reading before that releases!

10. Most memorable character in 2019?
Is there any answer here besides Daisy Jones from Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid? I was nervous to read this book, but it blew me away. The format, the writing, the voice, the characters – Reid nailed it all.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?
Here are four of my favorites: Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery, Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield, and Enchantée by Gita Trelease. All such different styles!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?
Without a doubt, this goes to Lovely War by Julie Berry. If I had to choose just one favorite read from 2019, it would be this one. I loved it so much that I re-read it via audio as my last book of the year/decade. Perfect decision!

13. Most thought-provoking book in 2019?
I would never have predicted that a thriller/mystery would be my answer, but Miracle Creek by Angie Kim was such a layered read. It sparked so many thoughts on guilt, immigration, motherhood, and more.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read?
I expected to read a few pages of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (a bestseller in 2017) and decide that it wasn't for me. Instead, I couldn't put it down! I loved this generational saga and all that it taught me about Korea and Japan.

15. Book that shocked you the most?
There were a few contenders for this one, but I've got to hand it to Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson. There were multiple ways it went in a different direction than I expected, and it made it such a great reading experience.

16. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2019?
Two favorites from books that I haven't mentioned anywhere else in this post:

“Food was the people you cooked with, the people you cooked for, the people you ate with, and the people you thought of as you ate. The people who made the meal what it was.” – Love á la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

“If I am fully known and not rejected by God, how much more ought I to extend grace to my neighbor, whom I know only in part?” – None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

17. Shortest & longest book you read in 2019?
The shortest book I read was 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff at 84 pages. And World Without End by Ken Follett was my longest read at 1,030 pages. And honestly? I could have done without reading either one.

18. OTP of the year?
Tiffy and Leon from The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary just stole my heart! I am alllll about falling in love via Post-It notes. I loved how O'Leary took a premise that should have been so awkward and made it adorable.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?

CO-WORKERS | I've got to hand it to Well Met by Jen DeLuca, especially since I had zero desire to read about a Renaissance Fair. The setting and interactions between co-workers ended up being one of my favorite aspects!

FRIENDSHIP | Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson is about three women who become best friends while at West Point. It depicted female friendship, including the way it ebbs and flows over the years, in such a realistic way. 

FAMILY | The first book that came to mind was The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher, even though I don't actually love the family. I just found it fascinating to read about this woman and
 her three adult children.

20. Favorite book you read in 2019 from an author you've read previously?

ADULT | The Firebird was the third book I've read by Susanna Kearsley, and it was my favorite of them all! I enjoyed the other two books I read, but this is the one that sold me on reading more from her backlist.

YOUNG ADULT | I wasn't expecting to love Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills as much as I did. Honestly, I was sold on the cover. But I was so pleasantly surprised by how clever and comforting I found the story inside!

21. Best book you read in 2019 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else?
I'd We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter online, and it sounded like something I'd enjoy. But for whatever reason, I didn't have a strong desire to read it until I saw it recommended by Julie Anna Reads. And I loved it!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019?
Do I have a fictional crush on Josh Copeland from The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez? You better believe I do! He was so supportive of the heroine and just so dang dependable. And that ending? He made me cry!

23. Best 2019 debut you read?
Even though it didn't make my top twenty of the year, I really enjoyed Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin. It's always exciting to find a new voice in fantasy, and I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel that comes out this fall.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2019?
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow is one of the most gorgeous, imaginative books I've read in a long time. Opening doors to other worlds is every reader's fantasy, and it was so creatively done here.

25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2019?
I loved everything about The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, including the fact that I read it on the train from London to Paris. It was such a fun rom com – a laugh-out-loud story and my favorite trope, hate to love. 

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2019?
A handful of books made me cry, but only one made me cry in public. I read Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane while flying home from England, and it was everything I wanted from this favorite author and more.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
The Chance of a Lifetime series by Kate Clayborn were great contemporary romances that definitely qualify as under the radar based on Goodreads! Solid female friendships, developed romances, and just enough drama.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
I struggled with this question and it didn't crush my soul, but the way Hope and Other Punch Lines by Julie Buxbaum explored the aftermath of 9/11 was so affecting. I didn't know so many health problems arose afterward.

29. Most unique book you read in 2019?
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak had a really unique style and structure. It spans continents and generations, zipping between characters, and shifting where it’s at in time. I almost set it aside 60 pages in but grew to love it. 

30. Book that made you the maddest?
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave definitely takes the prize here. I read a few too many two-star books in 2019, but this was my only one-star read and one that made me want to rant about all of its problems.

1. New favorite book blog/bookstagram you discovered in 2019?
Although her blog isn't new, I just discovered Everyday Reading this year and love it. I don't necessarily look at it for book recommendations for myself – it's more that I just really enjoy the variety of her content.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2019?
Almost all of my reviews were in Quick Lit posts, but I did write a few full-length reviews. My personal favorite was for Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. And I loved this book so much I read it twice in one year!

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2019?
How vain am I to choose three photos that I'm in? Judge away. Haha! Here's why these are favorites: the first perfectly fit the vision in my head, the second was the best day in Paris, and the third just makes me happy.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I didn't attend any signings/events or do any blog collaborations like I have in the past. I did, however, co-host #FebruaREREAD with Kelly where we spent the entire month of February re-reading. It was amazing!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?
Going back to England with Kelly! We toured the Cotswolds where I saw the house that inspired Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, visited the best bookstore, bought so many UK editions, and just enjoyed our favorite destination.

6. Most challenging thing about your blogging or reading life this year?
Taking a long break during my first trimester led to an incredibly long review backlog once I finally had the energy to post again. That was a struggle! But I was proud of myself for catching up and finding my blogging mojo again.

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?
Pack Your Bags: 15 Books for All Your Summer Trips had the most views, possibly because that was the last thing I posted before a three-months hiatus. Next was my review of The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez.

8. Post you wished got a little more love?
All of my My Year In {2019} posts have had an abysmal number of views, but I'm chalking it up to the fact that I posted them in that dead time between Christmas and New Years. Maybe they'll make a comeback? One can hope.

9. Best bookish discovery?
It isn't bookish, but I have been loving Microsoft OneNote (on my phone and laptop). I created a notebook for my blog and have so many checklists, book notes, seasonal TBRs, post ideas and more saved there. 

10. Did you complete any reading challenge or goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I met my Goodreads goal, completed The Picky Pledge Reading Challenge that I created with Alexa, read all the books from #My10toReadin2019 stack, co-hosted #FebruaREREAD and re-read twelve series in 2019.

1. One book you didn't get to in 2019 but will be your number one priority in 2020?
I can't believe I haven't read The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes yet! Even though I wasn't excited about it initially, I heard such great things that I had to go buy a copy soon after it released. And yet it's still sitting on my shelves...

2. Non-debut book you are most anticipating for 2020?
I'll share sixteen anticipated 2020 releases tomorrow, but my top three are House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane, and The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.

3. 2020 debut you are most anticipating?
I'm eagerly awaiting The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. I'm drawn to anything Austen, and this release sounds particularly charming! Tweet Cute by Emma Lord would be a close second because I've heard great things.

4. Series ending you are most anticipating in 2020?
Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers is at the top of my list! This was a duology that I didn't even know I needed in my life, but I loved the first so much and can't wait to see how everything ends in the second.

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2020?
There are a few goals I've set that I'll write about next week, but I'm also aware that adding a baby to our family in February will affect my plans. Ultimately, I hope to just continue to make time for reading and blogging.

6. A 2020 release you've already read and recommend to everyone?
My first book of 2020 was Headliners by Lucy Parker, the next book in her London Celebrities series. It comes out on January 21, and I loved it so much! This whole series has been excellent, and I highly recommend them if you're a contemporary romance fan.

If you completed the survey, leave a link below.
I'd love to see what made your list for 2019!
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