Good Riddance, 2020! My December Wrap Up.

Posted January 4, 2021 by Amber in Checking In / 0 Comments

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Hello everyone!  Good morning and HAPPY JANUARY 4TH 2021.  I know that 2021 isn’t going to solve all our problems.  Or any of it, actually, but the illusion of hope and change and new beginnings are always nice tings to hold on to – it gives us a little bit o strength to pick ourselves up and persevere.

*deep breath*

2021 y’all. But not without one last wrap up, and then we can say adieu, right?  So lets do this.

All the things I’ve been reading

I allowed myself to have a fairly light reading month in December.  I read some good books this month, but also a few “meh” books.  I think I left out 2020 feeling a bit level with books – neither burnt out, nor rally excited about anything.  And that blank slate feeling as actually a decent place to be at the beginning of the year.

10 books found
Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher

★★★½

★★★★★

★★★★½

★★★★★

★★

★★★★½

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

★★★★★

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

★★★★

The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau

★★½

★★★★★

 

Think my favorite book of December was Even the Darkest Stars.  I read it at the beginning of the month and it was so fulfilling as far as adventure books go… it was really nice to read something that sucked me in like that.  I received the second book in the eulogy – All the Wandering Light – for Christmas, and I’m really looking forward to reading that one as well.

Readathons & Reading Challenges

In December, I finished out the Draco constellation for Start on Your Shelfathon… plus technically there is one more star earned. So the was fun.  I’m glad I was able to participate in this challenge – I really enjoyed the star charts.  I’ll follow up a bit more on the overall success of Start on Your Shelfathon in my 2020 reading overview post coming up soon.

Start on Your Shelfathon Dragon Constellation December 2020

For the last month of the year, I was able to read 4 hardcopy books, which is my monthly goal anyway. I finished my last hardcopy read – Oasis – with a decent month of time to spare, but rather than rushing through another book, I decided to focus on reading my eARC of Namesake and taking the rest of the year easy – I’m glad I did.

4 books found

★★★★★

★★

★★★★½

★★★★½

In December, I ended up keeping most the hardcopy books I read – three books kept, and one book I’ll be unhauling.  While I liked Even the Darkest StarsGirls of Paper and Fire, and Station Eleven, I don’t think I would read Oasis again.  It was a good attempt and very interesting conceptually… but the execution and the writing left something to be desired.

I met my personal hardcopy reading goal in December, but I hauled a bunch of books (15 in all), so it didn’t cancel out my purchases.  This is something I need to be conscious about in 2021 – it maybe too late for January, but for the rest of the year, I really don’t want to be hauling more books than I unhaul.

Magic and Mischief on the Blog

No major blog-related changes in December, other than adding Michael Grant and Jim Butcher to Problematic Authors database (both orange-level).  I haven’t done any major sweeps or updates this much – just been barely hanging on.

Inside the Treasure Chest Owlcrate Special Edition: Addie LaRue   Book Talk: Things I Love About The StoryGraph

From Page To Screen: Book Vs Movie Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

Book Talk: 3 ways to ingest stories for non-readers  The Disney Book Tag

Book Talk: Instalove in YA And How It Works

FroM Other Magical Tomes

I posted one video on my BookTube channel at the beginning of December, a November wrap up reading post.  If you want a quick overview of all the books I read in November, without having to read all the reviews, this video is the best place to do it.

I don’t know if I’m going to be posting a December wrap up post – I know I’m not going to be doing a December haul, even though I have a lot of posts.  I’m still exploring and learning about BookTube and what I want to do with it.  I do know that a single BookTube video takes a full day for me to film, edit, and post… which is a lot of time.  Since BookTube still isn’t a priority for me – just a secondary outlet – I still want to focus the bulk of my time on this blog and on Bookstagram.

That said, I do enjoy the process of editing these videos, which I didn’t expect?  The filming is, frankly, awkward.  But the editing and putting them together is fun.  But it’s time consuming and I’m not sure my seven-year-old MacBook Air is quite up to it.  I mean, it’s chugging along, but … … there’s a bit of metaphorical steam.

Also I’m having a really difficult time with automatic captioning on my videos.  It took three days when I posted my first one, and three weeks later, I still don’t see captions for this one… so… I’m not sure I want to post anything else until I can at least get a better grasp of how those work and how to assure they generate… or until I know I am able to commit enough time to manually captioning my videos.  Captions are important to me.

Okay, BookTube aside – what about Bookstagram?

     

     

     

I would say that generally speaking, things on Bookstagram are going okay.  I’ve stagnated a bit over there, which is why I’m trying different filters… but the shoot I took in December was relatively uninspired.  I just liked the garland, and we were unpacking the Christmas tree the day we took the photos. 🙂

Next shoot, these pictures should be a little more inspired.  I hope.  I’m rethinking the way I choose to take my pictures.  I am well aware that if I don’t engage more in the community (and this goes for any community, not just instagram), I won’t get more engagement.  I’m content with where I’m at.

If you’ve made it this far in the wrap up, I’d love to hear from my blog community about what you like to see from content creators on Instagram!

Words from other wise witches

Lots of great posts from some of my favorite bloggers since last month!  Some of these posts are from late November and just missed my November Wrap Up, but they’re all fantastic and well worth reading!

? Claire has put together a fabulous list of the 50 best reads of 2020 chosen by the book community.  You can catch me at #35 recommending You Should See Me In A Crown.

? CW is expanding on The Quiet Pond’s list of book review writing resources by adding a guide for writing a review when you feel out of your depth.

? Speaking of writing posts and reviews and the such, Briana is following the January tradition on Pages Unbound and offering 10 blog post prompts to spark engagement.  I’ve touched on most of these in the past… and yup, they’ve generated engagement!

? Swetlana at The Caffeinated Bookworm Life is back! Welcome back, Swetlana!

? Shanah announced 2021’s dates for the Off-The-Grid Readathon!  If you’re looking for a low-key readathon, I highly recommend this one.

? Krysta confesses she’s okay with not being paid to book blog, and why she personally feels that way.

? Varian recommends 20 modern retellings of classic stories that include diverse characters.

? Marie shares her thoughts on certain book endings, including the things she loves the most and the things she really dislikes.

? Both Holly and Sabrina and Vera have creating reading playlists inspired by the songs on Taylor Swift’s Evermore album.

? Krysta examines the way libraries have evolved over the years in attempts to stay relevant, but at the end of the day, their main business is books.

? Nicole launched the new Thoughts Stained With Ink, and it looks wonderful.

? Jessica has put together a glossary of basic bookish and blogging terms, which is a great resource for new bloggers or those who what to brush up on some of the terminology in the community.

? Briana reminds readers that negative reviews are not only perfectly acceptable, but can actually help sell books. (Hint: it’s about the content of the review, not the tone).

? Even as we’re look at some of our friends new blog designs and welcome back other bloggers – it’s also time say goodbye to a fabulous blog and its curators.  With the end of 2020, Mandy and Sha are shutting down Book Princess Reviews.  We’ll miss you, and take care!

Adventures in the real world!

Another very low-key month in the real world!  We stayed home for the holidays, decorating our own little tree and connecting with family via multiple video calls over all sorts of platforms.  Work keeps me busy, and mostly, I’ve just been playing animal crossing and experimenting with different self-care routines to keep my anxiety in check.  Lately, I’ve been trying meditation after dinner to purge the frustrations of my day.  I’ve had mixed results so far (I have a busy mind – meditation is challenging).  If y’all have routines you use to help clear your minds, I’d love to hear them!

What’s Coming Next?

January has a smorgasbord of posts, from a list of books that kept me reading in 2021 to a reading challenge TBR, to thoughts about travel and the phoenix, my blog’s mascot!

Over the next couple months, these are the hardcopy books I expect to be reading.  Audiobooks vary depending on availability from my library, so there will be some surprise reviews as well!

There’s some solid sci-fi in that TBR, but also fantasy and contemporary and Addie LaRue is moving closer to the front of the line!  I’m happy with the variety in this TBR.

And with that, I bid you all adieu.  I hope you all have had a wonderful start to your 2021.  It’s nice to have 2020 behind us, but lets remember fight harder than ever in 2021 and read diverse books and be the best versions of ourselves.

Have a lovely day!

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What did everyone do this month?  Did you get a lot of reading done?  Did you start on a new WIP?  Did you go on any grand (or small!) adventures?  I want to hear all about your experiences – let me know in the comments!

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