Reading, Blogging, and Life Goals for 2020

Goals posts are my absolute favourite things to read on people’s blogs, and I’ve found myself bingeing Booktube videos this past week as well. I’m not really one to take a huge notice of goals or resolutions lately, but I do want to set out a few minor goals in order to look back at them at the end of the year and think I’ve done a good job.

If you’ve written (or posted!) about your 2020 goals, let me know in the comments below so I can come and check out your posts. I love reading about what other people are doing.

Reading Goals for 2020

– Small Goodreads Goal

For the past few years I’ve set my reading goal super low. Like, 5 books low. I no longer enjoy the pressure of trying to read 100+ books a year, so I stopped trying. In 2019, I read over 130 books, and I think I can manage it again in 2020, but I’m going to set a low goal again so I’m not feeling pressured and I don’t have Goodreads nagging at me.

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Cover Reveal: The Murder Game by Rachel Abbott

Today I am part of the cover reveal for Rachel Abbott’s new novel, The Murder Game! I’m beyond thrilled, as this is a book that I’ve been quite excited for ever since I heard great things about Abbott’s first Stephanie King novel, And So It Begins

See below for the cover, and a little bit of information on the book. Let’s build up some hype! The Murder Game is coming out on the 16th of April 2020, so you’ve got some time to catch upon this series if you haven’t already. If you need a refresher on what happened in the first book, keep an eye on Recaptains and we may well be able to help you out with that!

A year ago today, we all gathered for Lucas’s wedding at his glorious Cornish home overlooking the sea.

But no one was married that day.

Now Lucas has invited us back to celebrate the anniversary. But the anniversary of what? The wedding that never happened, or the tragedy that occurred just hours before the ceremony was due to begin?

He’s told us that tonight he has planned a game. We have our costumes, we have our parts, and everyone must play. The game, he tells us, is about to begin.

What does Lucas want from us? What are we not being told? And what’s going to happen when this terrible game is over?

Sounds good, right? If you’re interested, you can check out the book on Goodreads, preorder from Amazon (affiliate link), and go and check out Rachel on Twitter!

Review: What She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini

Review: What She Found in the Woods by Josephine AngeliniWhat She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 25th July 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Running from a scandal at her New York private school, Magdalena heads to her family home to recover under the radar.

Over-medicated and under-confident, she's fearful she'll never escape her past.

Until she meets Bo out hiking. Wild, gorgeous and free, he makes her believe she might finally be able to move on.

But when a mutilated body is discovered in the woods, Magdalena realises she can't trust anyone.

Not even herself.

I mean, What She Found in the Woods was a good book. It was decent. I enjoyed it a lot, and it kept me engaged. But I don’t think this is going to be an all time favourite, and to be honest the most memorable parts weren’t the thriller aspects at all.

I really enjoyed what Josephine Angelini did with this book. The main character, Lena, was enjoyable to read about because there were so many sides to her personality. She has a mysterious past, and she has apparently done something really wrong, and it’s a slow journey to learn what that is. I really liked the slow burn and revelations about her past experiences.

The love interest, Bo, is so sweet and cute, and while I didn’t SHIP ship it (I almost never do any more), I thought his relationship with Lena was adorable… for the most part. I had a few issues with it, that I won’t go into because of spoilers, but I will say there was so much insta-love. So much.

I’m also questioning the fact that Bo’s family were basically less aggressive anti-vaxxers but hey, let’s not be a downer.

Overall, this was a decent book, but it’s not one I’ll immediately go to to recommend to thriller readers.

Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins! The tour is hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Fantastic Flying Book Club, and a lot of other bloggers are taking part so you should check out the tour schedule and read their posts!

I received a copy of Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline FirkinsHearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 17th December 2019
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there's Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there's Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone's heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn't hers.

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things is a retelling of Mansfield Park, but if you haven’t read the original novel, don’t let that put you off. I haven’t read it either! I still understood a lot of the references, and I don’t think that missing out on the original novel impacted my feelings towards this book at all.

I knew that Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things was going to be a light and fluffy read as soon as I heard about it. It’s a YA contemporary about a girl who’s in a somewhat complicated love triangle, and who is struggling to fit in with her posh family and in her posh school. I love me some rich people drama, so I signed right up for this.

I have to admit that the main character, Edie, got on my nerves a lot. She’s what stopped me from truly loving this book, with her superior attitude and constant classic book quotes. I really couldn’t connect with her at all, and it was such a shame.

Edie spends a lot of time looking down on her cousins and their friends for wanting to go to parties and dress nice, which gave off SO MANY “Better Than Other Girls” vibes. In addition to that, she was always coming out with random quotes from classic novels, which seemed to me as though she was showing off her superior intellect and looking down on people who don’t read. This really got to me, and I was not here for that.

I did, however, get really invested in the love triangle. I’m going to have to be vague here, because my ship didn’t end up together, but in my opinion Edie chose the wrong guy. A guy who she barely knew or spoke to. Instead of the guy who was quickly becoming her best friend. That was about as vague as I could be, so I’ll leave it at that. I WAS DISAPPOINTED.

Aside from all of that, I loved the Rich People Drama and the parties and all of the normal drama that was happening. This was a fun and fluffy book that I think contemporary readers will really enjoy.

ARC Check In #1: December 2019

I wanted to start doing a regular feature to share the review copies that I have, which ones I’m planning on reading soon, and which backlist titles I’d like to aim to read. I figure this way the books get a little more promotion than they would just sitting on my shelves, especially if I don’t get to them immediately.

I would also really love it if you readers could tell me which books I should prioritise, either because you want to see my review or you highly recommend the book. This would be great motivation for me!

I’m still playing around with the format of this post, so the layout may change drastically next month once I’ve figured out what I do and don’t want to include. I’ll get into the groove at some point!

Current NetGalley %: 54% (99/185)

Current Edelweiss %: 70% (116/166)

I would just like to point out that I’ve been using NetGalley for nine years, and my percentage looks awful because some of the ebooks expired before I could get to them. Another reason I’m so behind is that I’ve taken several blogging breaks over the years, and that has meant that I’ve left a lot of review copies unread. I’m partly doing this post to shame myself into reading my e-ARCs, though, and so I’m hoping this percentage will increase by the end of the year.

ARCs for December and January

I don’t have too many review copies to get to for the next couple of months, so that takes the pressure off a bit!

Pending: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (blog tour & 2020 debut)

I have four (maybe five if I get approved for Woven in Moonlight) books that I really need to focus on as they’re either part of a blog tour that I’m participating in, or they’re part of a feature that I’ll be doing next year. These, plus the other two that I’d like to get to as a lowkey goal, are all January releases, so I should have plenty of time to get through all of them.

Expectations

I’ll be honest, I’m in more of a contemporary and thriller mood than anything else at the moment. Therefore I’m actually most drawn to the thrillers and mysteries on the list, especially Six Wicked Reasons. The thrillers are the ARCs that aren’t as urgent, so that’s just typical! I’m also drawn to Spellhacker since it’s a fantasy heist story, so that at least has a bit of mystery cross-over. There aren’t any on this list that I’m not at least a bit excited for, however I’ve never read a Tara Sim book before so I don’t know if I’ll connect with her writing.

Diamond City also sounds like it’ll be a quick read, so I’m feeling really motivated about all of these!

Backlist Titles

I’ve got quite a few backlist titles that I want to get to ASAP, for various reasons. I’ve picked out a few that I need to read in order to recap for Recaptains, and others I’m just really intrigued by but haven’t found the time to read them until now.

Renegades is one I’ve been putting off for ages, and I was going to try to read it before Supernova came out at the beginning of November, but I got distracted. I’ve been putting The Dragon Republic off as well because I’m SCARED, and it’s also freakin’ enormous. I want to prioritise it once I’ve read a couple of my January ARCs though, because I’m desperate to be back in Rin’s world.

I’ve been on a bit of a sci-fi kick, so I’ve added The Pioneer to my Urgents list as I think it’ll be one that I’ll enjoy now that I’m in the mood. I’m currently reading The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods, and I’m expecting to finish it fairly soon, so that’ll be another one knocked off the list. And, finally, I’ve added the graphic novel of To Kill a Mockingbird to the list because that should be a really fast read, especially as I’ve read the original novel before. I also LOVED the original novel, so I’m excited to read it in a new format.

Recently Read

There are a few ARCs that I read recently that I still need to review that should up my numbers a bit. Here’s a quick sneak peek before I get around to reviewing them!

As you can see, there are quite a few that I’ve read recently! I managed to smash through some of my ARCs in November, and a couple of these are from way back when that I never got around to. Look out for reviews in the coming month!

And that’s all! That’s my long winded post about my review copies and how I’m planning on tackling them. I’m really hoping that these posts will be interesting for you and motivational for me. Don’t forget to let me know which books you’d like to hear my opinion on, and I’ll prioritise those!