Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
All in all 2017 was a great year for me. I did well on most of my goals, my business grew a lot and I got another assistant job toward the end of the year. I feel like I am finally where I want to be business wise and it’s awesome. I did struggle a bit with balancing review copies, as some months I overdid it a bit and read almost only review books. So that’s something I have to keep working on. Let’s have a look at how I did with my 2017 goals and I share some goals for 2018.
Bookish and blogging goals
- Read more books by Tracy Krimmer, Tracey Alvarez and Veronica Scott. I did decent with this goal, but not as well as I had hoped. I read 2 books by Tracy Krimmer: In With the New and Landing Luck. I didn’t read any books by Tracey Alvarez this year sadly. I did read three books by Veroncia Scott: Mission to Mahjundar, Pets in Space 2 and Danger in the Stars.
- Finish Alisa Woods her Wilding Pack Wolves series. Totally failed this goal. I read the first book in that series and that’s it and I read that in 2016 already. So I made no progress whatsoever. Maybe this year I’ll get to this series.
- Stay up to date with the new releases from Kelley Armstrong, SJ Pajonas, Siobhan Davis, Jill Shalvis, HY Hanna and Craysa Locke. I did pretty well with this one, I stayed up to date with SJ Pajonas, Siobhan Davis, HY Hanna and Carysa Locke. Carysa Locke didn’t release any new books this year, but I am excited the next book in her series will be out soon. I still haven’t read book 2 in the City of the Lost series by Kelly Armstrong, but besides I do think I read all her new releases this year. I haven’t read Lost and Found Sisters book and the Christmas novella by Jill Shalvis and am not signing-up for more ARCs from her at this point as the last few books have been a bit meh or hit for me.
- Try to keep up with ARC team books. I did pretty well with this! I dropped out of two ARC teams I lost interest in and I kept up with most of the others.
- Try to get that netgalley percentage above 70% finally. Yes I succeeded! I actually made this goal pretty early on in the year and then managed to keep it around the 70% for most of the year. I am at 70% at the moment.
- Keep reading cozy mysteries. I did great with this one. I read 16 cozy mysteries and 7 paranormal cozy mysteries, so a total of 23 this year. I am hoping next year to read more paranormal cozy mysteries as well as the two paranormal cozy mystery series I discovered this year were great.
- Focus on newly acquired books first and on older ones later. I did great here as well, I read 77 new releases and a total of 117 books, so 40 older ones.
- Don’t push myself too hard. I did pretty well with this one too. I felt like I slowly got into the habit of working less and relaxing more. And the best part is that while I work less I feel like I can work more efficient when I do work. I do have to make sure to keep focusing on this.
- Keep trying new recipes. I mostly stuck with making recipes I already knew, but made some new ones too. So i did pretty well here. I listed a few that I remember, but I probably made a lot more that I forgot.
- Naan Bread with garlic – best naans I’ve eaten so far!
- Pumpkin Curry – was really good!
- Veggie Stock – didn’t turn out well, it tasted foul.
- Chocolate Coconut Treats – they were great!
- Coconut Cake – I halved the recipe and it turned out pretty well, I didn’t half the coconut parts and it had a rich coconut taste
- Mashed Potatoes with Onion and Carrot Casserole – this one was a hit and I’ll be making this again. Great way to eat this dish.
- Noodle Soup – really good
- Potatoes and Pumpkin mash – great!
- Make two pies this year. I think I failed this one, can’t remember baking any pies this year.
- Keep blogging fun. I mostly did okay with this, I removed a lot of pressure by only writing posts whenever I felt like it and I quit most weekly posts and meme, except for the Sunday post. I mostly stick to review posts, but that works well for me at the moment.
- Visit other blogs besides commenting back. I didn’t do so well with this as most weeks I barely have time to do the comment backs, but I do follow some blogs on social media and sometimes stop by when I see a post there.
- Play games. Yes I did this :). Not all months went well, but I did make some time to play games, if only for a little bit when I had some time.
- Grow my tour hosts list. Done! It keeps slowly but steadily growing, which is great.
- Grow my newsletter for authors. Done! Not a lot, but it keeps growing bit by bit.
- Do more discounts. I did 4 different discounts this year. A all tours discount, blog tour discount, a book blitz discount and a review opportunity discount. I think this is part of the reason why my business did so well this year. I am hoping to do a few discounts again this year, but maybe a few less than last year.
- Organize more tours than in 2016 and 2015. Done! I organized 54 tours this year!That’s the highest amount I ever organized in a year so far.
- Keep evaluating and improving. Done! I did pretty good keeping an eye on things and making changes when necessary. I skipped one planned discount as I felt like it wasn’t the best timing and discount anymore for that moment, I made the decision to change cover reveals to paid this year, did a Christmas giveaway and a LBT 4 year anniversary giveaway.
- Read more paranormal cozy mysteries and romantic suspense. This are two genres I like that I want to read more of.
- Only accept review copies/ ARC if I can either read them before release or within a month of that. If I accept a review copy I want to make sure I can review it within reasonably time frame. I will be less strict with these when it comes to review copies of book that are already released. But overall I want to make sure I don’t accept review copies if I can’t read them soon. That means sometimes passing up books that I do want to read, but simply can’t read it time. Which is the hardest part of this. And that books I really want to read get priority of accepting over books I less badly want to read. However in the long term I think this will cause me less stress about review copies.
- Be even more critical about which review copies to accept. I love reviewing books and receiving review copies before the book is even out. But I noticed that sometimes I end up with too many review copies a month or too many in general and it can be stressing. This one ties closely in with the goal above this one.
- Read more MM and RH romances. I want to read more different type of romance relationships this year like M/M, menage and reverse harem books. And maybe even try some FF or FFM. I already made a start with this in 2017 and so far like how these different type of romance lead to different interactions.
- Keep doing well with my business and keep growing my tour host and author newsletter lists. This one speaks for itself, I hope to keep growing my newsletter lists and keep doing well with my business. Hopefully I can organize around 50 tours again this year.
- Find a good balance between review and non-review copies. Even tough I review all books I read, I sometimes have trouble balancing the books I have to review and books I bought myself or got for free. Ideally I want this to balance out around 50/50.
- Keep my Netgalley percentage around 70%. I finally got my Netgalley percentage around the 70% and I want to make sure it stays there, maybe even try and get it closer to the 80%.
- Redesign my blog. I already took a small step towards it. Michelle from Limabean Designs will be designing a new header for me in 2018 and I already picked my new graphic for the banners. I might do a few small tweaks to my theme as well to fit the new banners once I have them. I decided I wanted something different than the pony after all these years. Although at the same time I hate change. But I am really curious how things will turn out and I think a fresh look will be nice.