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.
2018 was a great year for me, in all aspects: personal, business and reading. I found a good life and work balance and actually made a bit more money than last year, but with less work, which mostly has to do with some business decisions I made that worked out great for me. I plan to keep continuing in this vein. As for reading I managed to broaden my reading horizons, by reading more MM and RH books and at the end of the year got into audiobooks. Which wasn’t even one of my goals. Now let’s look back at how I did with my 2018 goals and I set some goals for 2019.
How did I do with my 2018 Goals
- Read more paranormal cozy mysteries and romantic suspense. I read 7 paranormal cozy mysteries this year and 2 romantic suspense. All 7 paranormal cozy mysteries were written by 2 different authors: Erin Johnson, Dionne Lister. So I am not very varied in my reading of this genre, but still 7 books isn’t bad. As for romantic suspense I like the genre, but think I just don’t read it very often. Both those romantic suspense books were by Karen Rock. I did however read some paranormal suspense books this year, a 5 book series by Teyla Branton which was great. Which brings my total amount of suspense books on 7, which is not too bad.
- Only accept review copies/ ARC if I can either read them before release or within a month of that. I did great with this, I think on the whole year I only had 5 or so maybe that I didn’t read on time and that’s on about 63 review books that I did read this year (most of those were ARCs). I think this mostly took a mindset change, I simply didn’t accept review copies if I knew I couldn’t read them in time and strongly stuck with this even if I wanted a book, I only made exception for books I really wanted and review teams I already signed up. My main problem was September and October were I had so many review copies I could hardly keep up. All in all I am really happy with how I did for this goal and hope to keep this up next year too.
- Be even more critical about which review copies to accept. I did pretty good with this too, although I still accepted some review copies I wasn’t supper excited about, but most often this turned out well. I felt that with my previous goal and focus on reading books in time I automatically did better with this one as I focused more on the books I really wanted to read and didn’t request or accept the ones I was less excited about.
- Read more MM and RH romances. I read 17 MM books this year, which is way more than my unofficial goal of 12. 8 of those were contemporary romances, but that also means 9 of them were other genres. I read 5 polyamory books, all by R.A. Steffan, I only categorized books as Polyamory if they had a relationship involving more than 2 people with the focus not on the female. All romances with 3 or more people focused on the female I labelled as reverse harem, of which I read 28. I felt like I got a good feel this year for what I like to see in reverse harem books and am better able to predict which books I like and find the books in this genre I might like. I even read one FF romance book. So I count this a total win with a total of 51 books that were MM, RH, poly or FF of the 114 books I read in total this year, which is almost half the books I read. I felt like I did great diversifying the type of romances I read this year and am very pleased with how well I did with this goal.
- Keep doing well with my business and keep growing my tour host and author newsletter lists. I did pretty good with this. I didn’t really specify how I would count this goal. But both my newsletter lists have grown this year and my business is doing well. I am now focusing on both assistant work and my tour business, which works great. And I got new clients in both assistant and tour work.
- Find a good balance between review and non-review copies. Ideally I wanted this to balance out around 50/50. I read 63 review copies this year and 54 from other sources, which is pretty good. With a bit more effort I should be able to get this to 50/50. At least I am moving in the right direction here and I actually thought I did worse with this goal and dind’t realize I actually did so well until I looked up the stats.
- Keep my Netgalley percentage around 70%. I did this and stayed around the 70% all year. It’s at 72% at the moment. I had hoped to get to closer to the 80%, but that didn’t happen. I read and reviewed all but one of the books I got from Netgalley this year, but having said that I requested less books I think and didn’t make any progress with older review copies.
- Redesign my blog. Yes I did this. I now have my lovely new design with the llama/ alpaca and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. A big thanks to the awesome Michelle from Limabean design for the design.
Now let’s set some goals for 2019 :).
- Listen to audiobooks. I only recently discovered audiobooks and 2019 will be my first full year of listening to them. I joined a reading challenge for audiobooks and my goal is to listen to at least 12 audiobooks next year. I signed up for a subscriptions service called Storytel and already put my shelf full of books I want to listen to. I hope I can listen to a bunch of them next year
- Read some LitRPG. LitRPG is one of those genres that I think I’ll like, but I haven’t read many or any books in the genre yet. I have two books on my to-read list that I hope to read this year: Fringe Realms by LJ Swallow and Fateseal by Bonnie L Price. If I can get through both of those I count this a win, but hopefully I can read even more of them.
- Balance review copies and non review copies. Last year my goal was to get that balance to 50/50, I didn’t quite make that, but hope I can make it this year. And if possible I want to get to closer to 40/60 with 40 being the review copies. I want to do more mood reading and keep more space for that in my reading schedule.
- More SFF MM books. 2018 was the year I really got into MM books and in 2019 I hope to keep that up and also focus on reading more science fiction and fantasy MM books. I also have a historical MM book I hope to get to. I seem to do well with finding contemporary romances that have a MM romance and still have a lot of these on my to-read list, but the other genres are a bit more difficult. I have a few other genres MM books on my Kobo that I hope to get to in 2019.
- Clear out my paperbacks a bit. I recently came to the realization that I care little for paperback and physical copies anymore, I know this almost feels like blasphemy to say as a book lover. But I much prefer e-format. And thus I decided to clear out my physical copies. I already gave some away to my sister and donated some to the free library my supermarket maintains. I hope to focus even more on this in 2019 and if I even get rid of 10 books or so I already count this as a success. My goal is to eventually only keep books that I haven’t read, might re-read or that I am really fond of.
- Only accept review copies/ ARC if I can either read them before release or within a month of that. I plan to keep this up in 2019 as well. I think it’s mostly a habit by now, but I felt it was a good idea to add it another year at least.
- Keep doing well with my business and keep doing well with my work and life balance. I think I am doing great with this, but I want to make sure to keep this up in 2019. So it will stay a habit.