Blogentine’s Day 2023 Announcement

Happy Blogentine’s Day! During February, I like to hold Blogentine’s Day on my blog. During the first fourteen days of February, I will post once per day until Valentine’s Day to celebrate my love for books. Posts can include book reviews, book tags, and other miscellaneous posts about books that I love! Tomorrow will kick off the first day of Blogentine’s Day.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Brittany

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My 2023 Reading Journal: Set-Up

Recently on TikTok, I have seen a lot of videos of people on BookTok creating reading journals. Personally, written journals have always been difficult for me because you really have to commit to a layout once you start writing or gluing onto a page. However, I wanted to track my reading in a way that allowed me to be a little more creative rather than just stats on Goodreads and StoryGraph. As a result, I decided that I wanted to make my own reading journal using the GoodNotes app on my iPad.

Typically, I have used GoodNotes to write down ideas. I wasn’t super familiar with all of the tools and I wasn’t sure how people created such beautiful notebook pages. Before I started my digital reading journal, I watched many TikToks to see example book journals that people created digitally and on paper. Also, I watched videos on different tools in GoodNotes.

Finally, I decided to buy a few different digital supplies on Etsy to make it easier to layout my pages. While there are several digital book journal templates on Etsy, I wanted a little more freedom to make my own layouts. I will include links to all of the resources which I have used to create my reading journal at the end of my post.

Below, I have included a slideshow with some of my “set-up” pages for 2023.

Cover Page

When I was first creating my journal, I was deciding between two different themes. I decided to go with a bright, modern preppy theme. I created the cover for my journal using Stoney Clover-esque letters, which is clip art from Teachers Pay Teachers which I bought earlier in the year to use for my classroom. The binding on the side is a free image from Canva. The jean background is a free image from Pixabay. The Smiley Face Clip art was one of my purchases from Etsy. All of the images feature a pink background, which does not appear on my Goodnote (I uploaded the images to Canva to get a more rectangular image to post to my TikTok).

My Year in Books

The first page of my reading journal is a “My Year in Books” bookshelf. This was a popular design which I noticed when browsing TikTok for inspiration. On my bookshelf, I included 36 books, as this is my yearly reading goal. I figure that since my reading journal is digital, I can always copy and add a new page if I read more than 36 books. In addition to drawing the books, I added clip art of funs objects.

Goals

The next page of my reading journal is my goals page. All of these goals are taken from my Reading Goals for 2023 blog post. This page took awhile for me to figure out a layout that I liked. All of the images on this page are taken from different purchases which I made on Etsy. As you can see, I have started to fill out some of the sections which reflect my reading for the year so far. I like that this is a page that I will constantly be revising all year long.

24 Books to Read Before 2024

This page was inspired by my blog post, 24 Books to Read Before 2024. This page was also difficult for me to plan out. Since it was a list, I wanted to find a way to make it more visually interesting. I decided to separate the books into different categories and give each category a different color of the rainbow. I’m hoping this list will motivate me to read the books on my list.

Book Ratings of 2023

A page for book ratings was another popular design which I saw on TikTok. When creating this page, I made a “sample” page which I will be able to duplicate as I read more books. This way, I will have a template as I continue to read, rather than continuously make the page from scratch. I like the Book Ratings page, as it gives me a quick overview of my feelings towards books which I have read in 2023.

Overall, I am happy with my reading journal so far. Recently, I have been wanting to be more creative and this journal has provided the perfect outlet. If you would like to keep up with my reading journal throughout the year, I will keep making monthly posts to document my progress. Additionally, I will post about my reading journal on my BookTok, BeautyandtheBeanBoots.

Do you have a reading journal? How do you like to keep track of your reading?

What I Use for My Reading Journal:

Every Book that I Read in 2022

This year, I read 39 books, which was over my reading goal of 24 books. Overall, I enjoyed many of the books that I read in 2022, especially some of the series that I read. Here’s everything that I read in 2022 (any book with a review will be linked to the book’s title):

What are some of the books that you read in 2022?

Goodreads Year in Review 2022

Goodreads provides a good general sense of your reading year. I have been logging my Goodreads Challenge since 2016 and I always look forward to seeing my statistics at the end of the year. Here are my statistics for 2022:

Looking at my statistics, one thing that I immediately notice is the pages read. I recently did my StoryGraph wrap-up and I noticed that StoryGraph and Goodreads each counted a different total number of pages that I read. I think this falls on me though: I don’t pay particular attention to which edition I select when I mark a book as read. Different editions can have a different number of pages, so this is most likely the reasons these numbers differ. Either way, I was happy to surpass my reading goal of 24 books by reading 39 books during 2022!

This year I read three novellas, each written by Ali Hazelwood, so I suspected that one of these books would rank as my shortest book this year.As for the longest book, I read many Sarah J. Maas books so I assumed one of them would take the title. However, I wasn’t sure iif it would be Kingdom of Ash or a book in the Crescent City series. Since I typically read books around 429 pages according to Goodreads, it’s interesting to see that my longest book of the year was twice as large as books that I normally read.

The A Court of Thorns of Roses series has made a resurgence due to BookTok, so it makes since that it was the most shelved book out of the books that I read this year. I haven’t heard much surrounding Josh and Gemma Make a Baby on social media, so it isn’t too surprising to see it as one of my least shelved books this year.

Like I mentioned earlier, I am never surprised to see an A Court of Thorns and Roses book on my list due to its resurgence in popularity. As a result, it doesn’t surprise me that A Court of Mist and Fury was the highest rated out of books that I read as A Court of Mist and Fury is typically regarded as the favorite books by fans of the series.

What were some of your Goodreads stats for 2022?

StoryGraph Stats 2022

StoryGraph has quickly become one of my favorite book tracking websites as it does provide statistics available year round as opposed to only during an end of the year review. I like how StoryGraph uses a lot of stats besides numbers of books or page numbers to give a better sense of the style of books that you read in a year, for example, by tracking the moods and pacing of books that you read. Here are my statistics for 2022:

During 2022, I set my reading goal at 24 books so I would need to average at least 2 books per month. I was happy to surpass my reading goal by reading 39 books this year. Looking at my goal, it made me decide to try and read 36 books in 2023, so I need to read on average three books per month. I believe I met my reading goal back in June, so I read more books in the first half of the year than in the second half of the year.

Looking at my reading moods is one of my favorite features on StoryGraph and I always find it to be extremely accurate when I review the books that I read in a year. It doesn’t surprise me that lighthearted is the biggest part of my graph. Most of the books which I read this year would be classified as romance or romantic comedy, so it makes sense that it makes up the largest part of my graph. I am also not surprised emotional is a large part of my graph. I prefer contemporary romance books that do have an “emotional” element. Additionally, I read a lot of Sarah J. Maas books this year, which also have many emotional scenes. I do believe reading many Sarah J. Maas books can be attributed to adventurous and dark being on my graph. I read every book from the Throne of Glass series this year which is a huge adventure with several dark elements.

As for pacing, I definitely agree with my results. Slow is my smallest part of my graph, which I think it probably related to The Wall of Winnipeg by Mariana Zapata is the slowest of slow burn romances. For the “fast” part of the graph, I feel like this is probably due to reading three of Ali Hazelwood’s novellas released this year which were only a little over one hundred pages each, so the plots moved quickly. For pacing, I would say reading books at a medium pace are my favorite, so I am not surprised to see that as my largest category.

My page number stats are a little different than usual due to the types of books that I read this year. My largest category is typically 300-499, however, it usually occupies more of my graph. Like I mentioned earlier, I read many Sarah J. Maas books this year and her books can easily tip over 500 pages, so I think that accounts for a large portion of the 500+ category. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I read three novellas by Ali Hazelwood, which most likely accounts for the less than 300 pages category.

Recently, I discussed my most read authors of the year on my blog. While I knew I read a lot of Sarah J. Maas this year, I didn’t quite realize how much I read by Sarah J. Maas this year. In 2022, I read all of the books in the Throne of Glass series (except for book one), both Crescent City books, and I reread some books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. That being said, I am still shocked that I read double the number of books compared to the second author on my list. One of the authors on this list that really surprises me is Ali Hazelwood. I wasn’t a huge fan of her debut book, The Love Hypothesis, but I wanted to see if I enjoyed her other books. I would say my favorite by Ali Hazelwood this year was Love on the Brain, her second full-length novels, which appears on my favorites list of 2022.

Like I mentioned earlier, romance is typically my most read genre, so it doesn’t surprise me that it is the highest read genre for 2022. Looking at these statistics, I think this probably takes some sub-genres in account to because romance looks to be about 37 books. I did read 39 books in all, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify each book that I read into that genre. For example, the Throne of Glass series, does have romance, but I would primarily classify that series as fantasy.

This statistic isn’t necessarily accurate for me as I didn’t add some of my early reads of the year until March. This year, I want to make sure I am adding books and updating them frequently on StoryGraph to get the most accurate data for this category. However, I do like to see the trends of this graph, which is accurate to my reading year as I did read more books and pages in the beginning of the year compared to the end of the year.

I really like how StoryGraph incorporated these statistics into the end of the year review. I always like to look at new-to-me authors, so it was interesting to see that nine of the books that I read this year were by authors that I hadn’t read in the past. I also found it interesting that 30 books that I read were part of a series. I have noticed recently there has been in an increase ins contemporary companion series, so combined with fantasy series that I read this year, it made my total higher than I was normally expect.

I knew Sarah J. Maas would have my longest book of the year, but I wasn’t sure if it would be Kingdom of Ash or one of the Crescent City books. It’s hard to believe that my longest book of the year and my shortest book of the year accounted for a little over 1,000 pages of my 17,000 pages read!

What were some of your StoryGraph stats in 2022?

New Year’s Resolutions Book Tag

Happy New Year! A new year equals a ton of new books to read and enjoy! Here are some of my book New Year’s Resolutions from the New Year’s Resolutions Book Tag:

  • An Author that you’d like to read that you’ve never read before

One new-tome author that I would like to read in 2023 is Carley Fortune. In 2022, Fortune released Every Summer After which was extremely popular on social media. The plot of this book sounds like one which I would enjoy, so I am hoping to pick this book up as well as her 2023 release, Meet Me at the Lake, this year.

  • A book you’d like to read

This year, I created a list titled 24 Books that I Would Like to Read by 2024 of boos previously released and books to be released in 2024 which I would like to read. One book on my list is Happy Place by Emily Henry. Over the past couple years, Emily Henry has become an auto-buy contemporary romance author for me, as I really enjoyed The People We Meet on Vacation and Book Lovers.

  • A classic you’d like to read

Realistically, I do not think I will be reading a classic this year. When I pick books to read for fun, I’m not usually picking a classic book.

  • A book you’d like to re-read

One book that I would like to re-read this year is the rest of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I reread the first two books in this series during 2022, so I would like to read the last two books and the novella again during 2023.

  • A book you’ve had for ages and want to read

One book that I’ve had for a couple years and would like to read is In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren. I have put this one off because I haven’t enjoyed many new releases by this author duo in recent years and, from the description, I can expect that this book may have some tropes which I don’t typically like to read. However, I did include this on my 24 Books to Read Before 2024 list as I do want to read this book when December rolls around this year.

  • A big book you’d like to read

This year I don’t have any massive books on my list, I think I covered that a lot in 2023 with reading a lot of Sarah J. Maas books. However, one big book that I have always had my eye on is Priory of an Orange Tree by Shannon Hale. The size of this book definitely intimidates me, but I have heard many positive reviews and I think it could be fun to read in 2023.

  • An author that you’ve previously read and want to read more of

One author that I expect to read again in 2023 is Tessa Bailey. This year, she will be releasing a new duology set in a vineyard, which reminds me a lot of her Bellinger sisters duology. That duology was only average to me, but I really love how fun her books are to read, so I definitely see myself picking up her new releases in 2023.

  • A book you got for Christmas and would like to read

I did not get any books for Christmas this year! That being said, I did buy Volume Three of Lore Olympus the day after Christmas when I was shopping during after Christmas sales. This book is on my 24 Books to Read Before 2024 list, so I would like to read it before the end of the year.

  • A series you want to read from start to finish

One of my book goals for this year is to read three graphic novels. I plan on reading the Lore Olympus series, which currently has four books released in print form. I did read some of this series when it was released on WebToon, however, I am excited to read the print series as it contains some bonus scenes. While my goal is to read at least three graphic novels this year, I don’t think that it would be unrealistic to read the four printed volumes of this series.

  • A series you want to finish that you’ve already started

Technically only one books will be released this year from the duology, but I would like to continue The Cruel Prince series by reading the first book in the companion series, The Stolen Heir. On my 24 Books to Read Before 2024 list, I also have How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories, which is also apart of this series. I loved The Cruel Prince series when it was originally released, so I’m excited to read more books set in this world.

  • Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2023?

This year, I did set a few reading goals in my Reading Goals for 2023 post. This year, I would like to read at least 36 books (I read 38 books in 2022 with a goal of 24 books).

  • Any other reading goals?

Some of my other reading goals are: I want to read three previously purchased books, three graphic novels, and I would like to visit my local library in-person more frequently.

What are your bookish reading resolutions?

Ringin’ in the New Year Book Tag

Happy New Year’s Eve! To ring in the New Year, I decided to complete the Ringing in the New Year Tag created by Bookmark Chronicles. Here are my answers (book reviews will be linked to book titles):

  • Best Book/Series You Read in 2022

Every year I host The Brittany Awards where I list my favorite books of the year for a variety of categories. To see my top favorites of the year, see my list here. One of my favorite books from this list was A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. Overall, The Bromance Book Club series is average for me, but this book was by far my favorite in the series. For me, this book was a perfect holiday romance.

For series, I would have to say Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas stands out for me. I read the second book onward in the series this year back-to-back. I haven’t stayed up late reading a book or got invested in a series for so long. When I finished this series, I wished that I could just keep reading about the characters inside.

  • Author that You Recently Found and Would Like to Read More of in the New Year

One author that I really loved this year was Abby Jimenez. I did read a book by this author in 2021, which I also enjoyed, so she has quickly become a contemporary romance author that is automatically added to my TBR. She does have a book coming out next year, which is related to Part of Your World which I read and loved this year, so I am excited for her next book to release! Her new book, Yours Truly, will be released on April 11, 2023.

  • Most Anticipated Book Turned Movie

I am very excited to see the new Hunger Games movie, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes in November 2023. I was such a huge fan of The Hunger Games books and movies back in the day, so it will be nice to see a new installment of the franchise. I saw some images released from the set a little bit ago and they look absolutely perfect!

  • What’s on your TBR for 2023?

I mentioned how I’m excited to see the new Hunger Games movie… but I still need to read the book! I pre-ordered the book when it was released, but have put off reading it. This is definitely a book that I need to read before the movie releases in November 2023.

  • How many books do you hope to read in 2023?

This year, I set my goal as 24 books, which averages to 2 books per month. I did surpass this goal, but I may keep it at 24 books for next year because I think that I can realistically read that many books with my schedule. I may push it to 36 books, but I do not want to put a lot of pressure on myself.

  • Will you participate in the Goodreads Challenge or any others?

Every year, I do participate in the Goodreads challenge. I think trying to read a certain number of books if very doable for me. I know that on StoryGraph has some challenges, so I might look into those as well.

  • Any New Year’s resolutions (bookish or otherwise)?

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to complete my Blogentine’s Day posts. In February in the past, I have posted once per day leading up to Valentine’s Day, so I would like to do that this year.

Have a great New Year! What are your top bookish goals for 2023?

January TBR

A new year means new books to read! Here are the three books that I hope to read in January:

  • The Stolen Heir by Holly Black

The Stolen Heir is the first book in a new duology by Holly Black which follows some characters originally introduced in The Cruel Prince. This duology will take place eight years after the ending of The Queen of Nothing and follows Suren, who was the child queen of the Court of Teeth, after she escaped to the human world. However, Suren soon is tracked down, but is saved by Prince Oak, who was Jude’s younger brother in the original series.

Overall, I really enjoyed the The Cruel Prince series, although I was slightly disappointed by the final book in the series. That being said, the first two books in that series ended up on my favorites list, so I’m hoping The Stolen Heir will fall more in line with those books. That being said, there’s always some nervousness when a new book is released in a series long after the original, as readers don’t want it to ruin the original series. Regardless, I am very curious about this book and I hope to read it when it is released early in the new year.

  • Lore Olympus Volume One by Rachel Smythe

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe is a graphic novel retelling of Hades and Persephone which has a more modern setting. I read some of Lore Olympus on WebToons, where it was originally published, and absolutely loved it. I really love Rachel Smythe’s drawing style and her use of colors throughout the story. When I saw it was published in book form, I knew that I had to add it to my collection. This book features the first 25 episodes of the online comic, as well as a short story exclusive to the print addition, so I’m excited to reread this story which I love and see some new content.

  • Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren

I have been disappointed with Christina Lauren’s recent releases, however I have heard a lot of positive reviews for Love & Other Words. I have also heard many comparisons between this book and Every Summer After by Carley Fortune, which I also hope to read in 2023. Love & Other Words follows Macy and Elliot, who have a second chance romance. Some reservations that I have with this book is that it is told in different time lines to show their past relationship and the current interactions and the second chance romance trope, and this type of writing and this trope aren’t always my favorite to read.

What books do you plan to read in January?

December 2022 Reading Wrap-up

During December, I didn’t have a huge reading month as I only read three books. However, I will still chalk this up as a win because I have been in a huge reading slump for the past couple months. Here’s what I read:

A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams was one of my favorite books of the year! It was the perfect book to read throughout the month of December. A Very Merry Bromance is the fifth installment of The Bromance Book Club contemporary romance series. This book follows Colton Wheeler, a musician struggling to write his next album, and Gretchen Winthrop, a serious lawyer who doesn’t like Christmas. The Bromance Book Club series as a whole is average to me, but A Very Merry Bromance is definitely my favorite out of the bunch. For me, what sells a romance book are two love interests who compliment each other and help each other grow throughout the novel as well as purposeful scenes which make the relationship in the book stronger. A Very Merry Bromance hit both of these marks perfectly, which earned it five stars from me.

Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca is the fourth book in the Well Met contemporary romance series. I really enjoyed the last book in this series, Well Matched, so Well Traveled was a disappointing follow-up for me. Well Traveled follows Lulu, a Type A lawyer, who quit her job and spends the summer following around the Dueling Kilts, a popular Renaissance Faire band. Then, she develops feelings for Dex, the band’s lead singer. I had several major problems with this book that made it a two star read for me. This book was the most removed from the original series, as it does not take place at the Renaissance Faire typically featured in the series. The characters which it is does feature from previous installments are from Well Played, my least favorite book in the series. Additionally, I never really bought the romance between the two love interests because the characters and their interactions lacked the depth that I needed.

  • Icebreaker by Hannah Grace

I picked up Icebreaker because I saw a lot of hype surrounding this book on BookTok. Unfortunately for me, Ice Breaker was a major disappointment for me. According to the synopsis, Ice Breaker is supposed to be the story of Anastasia Allen, a figure skater, who must work together with the hockey team’s captain after they are forced to share an ice rink and her skating partner gets injured. This book suffered from many problems. First, I found the contents of the book didn’t match the book’s description. In fact, I would say the synopsis really only overs about 5% of the book, if that. This book was also unnecessarily long and would have benefitted from some editing to make the story run more smoothly. I found the plot to be all over the place and the cast to be too large in order to set up for future books. If I hadn’t purchased this book, I probably would have DNF’d it.

What books did you read in December?

Blog Goals for 2023

Recently, I discussed my reading goals for 2023. Today, I will be discussing my blog goals for 2023. Here are my top four goals:

  • Goal #1: Complete Blogentine’s Day.

My first goal for my blog in 2023 is doing Blogentine’s Day. In the past, I have written fourteen posts for the first fourteen days of February. I didn’t do Blogentine’s Day this past year, but it is something that I have always enjoyed writing for my blog. I have already started planning out my posts for Blogentine’s Day, so I’m hoping that my early planning will make writing that many posts at the beginning of the year less stressful.

  • Goal #2: Complete Blogmas.

On my blog, Blogmas lasts all 31 days of December. I am almost finished with Blogmas this year and it was so much fun to review recent books that I’ve read and to reflect on my reading this past year. Like with Blogentine’s Day, Blogmas can take a lot of planning. I didn’t plan as early as I typically do this year, so I had to do a lot of writing during the month of December, which can add a lot of pressure since it is such a busy time of the year. As a result, it is my goal to start planning this month-long celebration on my blog a little sooner than I did this year.

  • Goal #3: Keep up with monthly TBRs and reading wrap-ups.

In the past on my blog, I loved doing monthly TBRs and wrap-ups to keep track of what I read each month and to reflect on whether or not I stuck to my TBR. How many books I read in a month can greatly fluctuate, so even if it isn’t monthly wrap-ups, I at least want to do seasonal wrap-ups of books that I have read.

  • Goal #4: Review more types of media.

So many books are being turned into movies during 2023 that I want to start reviewing more types of media aside from books on my blog. I love watching book-to-movie, or more often now, books-to-streaming series, so I would love to write comparisons between books and movies as well as reviewing the books and media content separately.

What goals do you have for your blog in 2023?