Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag 2021 + Some Blog Goals

Hey y’all! I’m back today with a tag, it’s July so technically still the middle of the year so here’s the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag. And then at the end of the post I’m going to throw in some blog goals I have for the rest of the year too!

Best book you’ve read so far?

The Wolf and the Woodsman
Image: Cover of The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

Seriously this book was absolutely amazing. If you haven’t read it yet or added it to you TBR you should. I have a post coming for it soon but I do have a review of it on Goodreads right now. It’s twisted and dark but beautifully written and knits together Jewish folklore and Hungarian history to create a standout fantasy novel. And it’s Reid’s debut!

Best sequel you’ve read so far?

Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love, #2)
Image: Cover of Alisha Rai’s Girl Gone Viral

Alisha Rai’s Girl Gone Viral (and First Comes Like gets an honorable mention).

The Right Swipe was one of my favorite books of 2019 then after going through a reading slump that lasted for the majority of 2020 I was surprised to find I had two Alisha Rai books to read! The Modern Love series makes my heart melt and I adore the characters in them. Girl Gone Viral was such a cute read, I loved it!

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Oh gosh… Y’all should see the stack of books that I have on my dresser.

Take Me Home Tonight
Image: Cover of Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson

I’m going to have to go with Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson. Morgan Matson is one of my auto-buy authors. Has been ever since I picked up Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour years ago. So when I got my hands on Take Me Home Tonight I had the (not so) smart idea to reread all of her books out so far and then make a post with mini reviews for all of them. I haven’t gotten around to it yet which is the main reason I haven’t read this one but I always seem to pick up contemporary books in the summer so hopefully I’ll get around to it soon!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

A Lesson in Vengeance
Image: Cover of A Lesson In Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Without looking at Goodreads or anything like that the one book that came to mind was A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee. Honestly I get pumped for a lot of books that I can’t wait to read but then end up reading them long after they’ve been released because I never pay close enough attention to release days. Seriously I see people posting on Twitter about book birthdays and I’m always going “Wait, that’s out today??? Since when???” A Lesson in Vengeance may or may not be the one book I know the release month for! (It’s August lol).

Biggest disappointment

One Last Stop
Image: Cover of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Sigh… It’s One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston. My post for this will be out soon! I’ll link it here once I get it published. It has taken me a lot longer to finish the post because of some extra research I needed to do for it but I have a pretty long post about why this was disappointing. Long story short I felt like the pacing of the plot was weird and I had issues with some of the characterization. I also have a more concise review on Goodreads for this right now though if you don’t want to wait for the blog post.

Biggest surprise

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1)
Image: Cover of Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

So I decided to pick this as my answer because of the absolute mind boggling ending this had. It wasn’t surprising like I went into it expecting not to enjoy it or anything like that but the twisting of everything at the end absolutely blew my mind and I’m so upset I have to wait for the second book!!! I read through this in a day and by the time I got to the end I whispered “No” (it was like 2 in the morning) because I needed to know what happened to the characters.

Also!! This book is out in paperback now and it’s one of Barnes & Noble’s July Monthly Picks which means it’s part of their buy 1 get 1 50% deal! And the e-book is currently on sale too in case you’re interested in picking up a hard copy or an e copy!

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Emily Henry! I read People We Meet On Vacation a few weeks ago and I’m devouring Beach Read right now. She only has the two books out currently but I’m really looking forward to picking up anything else she publishes.

Newest fictional crush & Newest Favorite Character

I decided to combine these two because I’ll be real here… I don’t think I have an answer for either of these. I haven’t read a ton of new books this year and while I connected to and enjoyed reading about a lot of the characters I just don’t have strong enough feelings about any of them. Onto the next one…

Book that made you cry

Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted
Image: Cover of Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad

Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad

Memoirs are almost guaranteed to make me cry and this was no exception. I have a whole post on this book and I’m really glad that I was able to read it. It was a beautifully written book about grieving a future that is no longer there because life has sent you down a different path. There was so much honesty and healing and I highly recommend picking this up if you have ever experienced trauma of any kind. Suleika battled cancer but I found a lot of parallels with her story and my own in regards to mental health.

Book that made you happy

Song for a Whale
Image: Cover of Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Oh this book warmed my heart so much. I adored it and while I did also cry while reading it I was so happy by the time I finished reading. The main character, Iris, is so sweet and smart and her journey to finding a connection to a whale named Blue 55 was everything I hoped it would be. (Spoiler, this is going to be my next Middle Grade Monday post!)

Most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year

The Nature of Witches
Image: Cover of The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

If I still had a Bookstagram The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin would be all over my page. I am very behind in terms of writing posts for the blog but I plan on doing some sort of photoshoot with this book outside for the review post I eventually make!

But seriously just look at the cover under the dust jacket of this. I’m in love!

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I’m going to go with the simplest answer. Try and read more ARCs and also just whatever books I feel like reading before the end of the year 🙂

Now that the tag questions are all done I figured I’d wrap this up with some blog goals for the remainder of the year. And since I am oh so consistent /s with my blogging I do want to preface with I have no idea if any of these goals will end up working out for me but we’ll see!

I know that I had previously mentioned that I would be going back to school. I’ve been working full time for the last 2.5 years so I knew that I would have to leave my job and to my surprise I ended up being without a job about 3 weeks sooner than originally planned. Which basically just means i have more free time on my hands than expected before classes start in August.

So some goals I have for the rest of the year with my blog include:

  1. Getting to 250 followers (I’m at 223 right now!). It would also be nice to increase my follower count on Twitter but that’s less important.
  2. Post twice a week, doesn’t matter the content but just getting two posts out a week, not even going to stick to a schedule
  3. Revamp my categories and possibly the look of my blog. Depending on how things go, I’d really like to find someone to help me revamp the appearance of my blog. I’ve redone it a couple times on my own but it’s all been pretty basic. I also really need to rewrite my About page and add some other info. I spent some time setting some older blog posts to private that I didn’t think were well written anymore and it made me realize I could definitely focus some energy on fixing up the entire thing.
  4. In possibly revamping things I also would like to work on making my blog as accessible as possible. I’m going to look into ways to go about that in the coming weeks but if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!

I think that about sums up what I’m hoping to accomplish this year. So if you haven’t done this tag yet, I tag you! Otherwise feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments if you’re interested in doing so!

If you want to find me elsewhere:

Im on Twitter @/nihilistcactus

I’m on Readerly: @/sideofadventure

You can add me on Goodreads (or follow my reviews) here.

You can email me at adventuresandespresso@gmail.com for review inquiries, etc.

And if you’re interested in supporting the blog financially my ko-fi is here.

Happy New Year: Blog Goals For 2020

Hi everyone!! Happy New Year!

I hope that the end of 2019 went well and that the holidays were peaceful. I ended up taking a lot longer of a break than I expected and I have to admit, it was really needed. Truth be told, I haven’t completed a book in a few weeks but in my typical fashion I am in the middle of at least seven. I spent December watching a lot of Netflix and a lot of Disney+. I started crocheting again and made a whole bunch of Christmas presents and am about 1/3 of the way done with my first sweater!

I’ve tried staying off social media more in the last few weeks and it was so nice. So now that it is the new year, I’ve decided to break my hiatus and make a comeback on the blog.

I have a few goals for this upcoming year in regards to the blog and I will probably be sharing a few personal goals at the end of this post as well.

Starting off, I would like to continue growing my follower count. I don’t really have a specific number in mind and I’m not going to stress about that but I feel a sense of joy and pride when I realize that people are reading what I’m saying and I really want to be able to continue to share my thoughts with more people.

Post at least once a week. I tried to be consistent, but personal things always seem to get in the way so I know that I can’t hold myself to a specific schedule. While I would love to try, I don’t think that’s going to be possible, at least not now. So, even if all I can get out is a weekly post and not a review or something like that, I just want to make sure I’m committing to creating content. A half goal with this is also to post more lifestyle themed things. While I absolutely love the book community and what I have fostered in my theme over the last year, this blog started off with a far bigger variety of posts than what it has now. I think that this, in part, was why I felt so burnt out and fell into that huge reading slump. I loved writing posts about hiking and I had so many ideas for posts centered around makeup that I never bothered writing because I just kept trying to focus on book posts. This definitely doesn’t mean I’m stepping away from book blogging (I think this blog will always be books at the center) but I do want to put it out there that I’m going to write a lot of different posts this year!

Find a way to review books in a way that makes sense to me and makes me happy to put out posts. Okay, so I was really proud of a lot of my posts from 2019. But at the same time, there are a lot of posts that I really wish I could have done differently. I’m not going to say that I hated any of the posts that I put out, but I think I need to rework the way that I write reviews. So that’s a big goal of mine. I started to change things up a little towards the end of the year and I’d like to continue on with honing in on a reviewing style that fits me.

 Add pictures. I used to be a photography fiend. For a long time I even wanted to be a photographer. But after high school I put my camera away and I haven’t really picked it up since. So a lot of my posts have been devoid of pictures and while I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, I miss having pictures scattered in my posts. I miss being creative. I think it’ll be interesting what I come up with for this goal but I would like to focus more on creativity this year. So hopefully you guys will see some stuff with that in the near future!

Last goal for the blog, READ MY ARCS. I started off so gung ho when I got access to ARCs on NetGalley and now (especially because of my reading slump) I’ve fallen so behind on my ARCs. And so this year, my goal is to get caught up on my ARCs and limit how many I request until then.

I’m really excited to start off this year and get posting again. I have a few posts from last year that I was in the middle of writing that I want to get put up by the end of the month and then I’ll just see where the universe takes me.

In terms of personal goals, I want to focus on time management and cleanliness this year. I also want to foster healthy personal relationships and do a lot of hiking. I would also like to try and focus on my health and figure out all the issues that I have.

Spring semester starts in a little over a week and I’ll be taking a writing class and French. I’ve heard that French takes up a lot of time so we’ll see how well the time management goal of mine starts off right out of the gate.

Do you guys have any big goals for this year? I’m really trying to keep things simple so that I don’t get overwhelmed. I think this is going to be a year of change and I couldn’t be more excited.

Happy New Year, again! And I hope everyone finds some joy and peace this year ❤

 

Mid-Year Blog Goals

Adventures With a Side of Espresso

This post is definitely more for me than for all of you reading but maybe you’ll get a little bit of enjoyment out of it. Now that it’s June (ugh I hate that it’s already June) I feel like I need to try and come up with some goals for myself for this blog for the rest of the year. I’m hoping I can come up with five but I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to see what I come up with.

1 Get 100 followers by December 31!

I would really just like to keep growing traffic and followers and though my blog has slowly grown over the years I would really like to have at least 100 followers by the end of the year. I feel like if I really took the time to focus on blogging and marketing my blog then I could definitely get a lot more traffic than I am right now but that means actually putting in the effort to market my blog and I can’t help but get cold feet about whether it’s even worth it.

2 Finish my Harry Potter quote series

I realized that I started this series in 2015… And obviously now it is 2019 and I have only made the first two posts in the series. I AM A FAILURE (not really but holy cow these posts are sooooo easy to make I can’t believe I haven’t finished it yet). Stay tuned!

3 Post weekend posts at least once a month

I would really like to increase my post volume at least once a month. I’m going to keep myself on my schedule of posting MWF but I want to try and make posts on Saturday or Sunday at least once a month if not more. I just need to get a day where I can sit down and block out many hours to just focus on the blog and get a bunch of stuff written ahead of time. Sometimes I just find this hard to do because a lot of my posts right now center around reading and I can only read so many books so fast! And hopefully this weekend was a post filled one because I wanted to get all my end of May posts up at the very beginning of June and I really don’t want to waste whole weeks each month to posts that simply wrap up the previous month.

4 Make my first affiliate sale

So far I’m only a part of the Amazon affiliate program and I’ve gotten exactly one click as of the time of me writing this post. I would really like to branch out into other affiliate programs and hopefully if I can increase traffic to my blog I can also start getting some affiliate purchases. I’m still really looking into how all of this works but it would be cool to have this work out!

5 Create one creative post a month

Whether this post is sharing pictures that I’ve taken and edited or something that I’ve painted or even just pages I’ve done in a coloring book I really want to start bringing art back into my life and I’d like to share my progress. I feel like this one is going to be really difficult for me considering how uncreative I’ve been feeling but we’ll see! I will also rope into this writing. So if I happen to write a poem or short story that I feel is good enough to share then that will count as a creative post as well.

Bonus goal:

Monetize my blog. Honestly if anyone out there has any advice on this topic I would love to hear some! I’m incredibly technologically challenged so I really can’t do much in terms of websites and whatnot but I would love to turn this into a bit of a more profitable venture. The reasoning behind that is just because I have a really bad habit of feeling like I need to monetize my hobbies but I also have been putting in a significant amount of hours writing posts recently that I’d really like to actually have something to show for my time.

Rereading this post, I think a lot of these goals are just me wanting to focus more on blogging as a job and working to create good and enjoyable content (even if it’s only that to myself). I really do love writing and blogging and it would be awesome if I can take it above and beyond just doing it for fun. Here’s to hoping everything goes to plan! Have a great week everyone!