Sunday Post and Sunday Salon are blog news memes hosted at Caffeinated Reviewer and Reader Buzz, respectively. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and other things.
Feeling

I’ve been feeling under the weather this week with a cold or the flu. Fortunately, I can tell I’m getting better so, hopefully, I’ll be good as new in a day or so.

Blogging

I had a really good blogging week, even though I accidentally closed my comments on my Mini Reviews. I still have a couple of yearend posts scheduled to drop this coming week.

Here’s what I posted this week:

Reading

I’m still in the middle of rereading THE STAR SCROLL by Melanie Rawn, and I made a little bit of progress on the BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES audiobook.

Listening

I honestly haven’t listened to much music this week because I’ve been trying to get all my end of year posts scheduled. I’ve listened to the GAME OF THRONES opening sequence a lot thanks to bingeing it with Corey so I thought I’d share it just in case you haven’t heard it.

Watching

Corey and I finished bingeing GAME OF THRONES on Friday. What a crazy ride! I loved the world building, character development, and political intrigue. My three favorite characters were Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, and Arya Stark. I hated watching all the animal deaths and I think a lot of the nudity wasn’t necessary. As far as the last season goes, I can understand why fans hated it as much as they did. I didn’t like everything that happened, such as View Spoiler », but I thought it was a fitting end to the series.

Loving

I love Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Corey gave it to me for Christmas and I’ve really enjoyed playing it this week.

Wanting

I want to dust and reorganize my bookshelves this week. I just need to muster up the energy.

Needing

I need to figure out how to spend my time. When I’m idle, SAD grips me stronger. As long as I have something to do (and actually do it) or someone to spend time with, then I can usually stave off the seasonal depression.

How was your week? Anything exciting happen?

Can you believe 2023 ends tomorrow night? I feel like this year flew by! Anyway, I thought I’d evaluate my 2023 reading goals. Last December, I made three bookish goals. They are:

  • Read at least 24 books.
  • Read 50% of my book club books.
  • Read 50% of my Book of the Month (BOTM) books.

I’ve kept track of my reading on my 2023 Reads page.

Yearly Goal

My goal for the year was to read 24 books and I read 12.

My favorite book was MEET ME AT THE LAKE by Carley Fortune. My least favorite book was THE CHRISTMAS MURDER GAME by Alexandra Benedict. I didn’t hate it; I just didn’t love it either.

Reading Stats

New Reads: 9

Rereads: 3

Pages Read: 5,070

Source

Own: 4

Library: 1

Borrowed: 7

Format

Hard Cover: 0

Paperback: 1

Kindle: 2

Audio: 9

Age Group

Adult: 6

Young Adult: 4

Middle Grade: 0

N/A: 2

Pages

0 – 99: 0

100 – 249: 2

250 – 499: 7

500 – 999: 3

1000+: 0

Primary Reason Read

Book Club: 2

Personal Interest: 10

Primary Genre

Contemporary: 3

Fantasy: 3

Mystery/Thriller: 2

Non-Fiction: 3

Science Fiction: 1

IRL Book Club

I made a goal to read at least 50% of my IRL book club books this year. I read 2 out of 12. Here are the books I read:

Book of the Month

I made a goal to read 50% of the books I got from BOTM. I read zero out of 12 books.

Conclusion and 2024 Goals

I had an abysmal reading year and didn’t accomplish any goals. Next year, I’d like to read more, but I’m going to set my Goodreads Challenge low so I don’t feel the pressure. My goals for 2024 are:

  • Read at least 12 books.
  • Read at least 50% of my IRL book club books.
  • Read at least 50% of my BOTM books.

I’ll keep track of my progress over on my 2024 Reads page.

How did you do on your goals this year? What are your goals for 2024?

At the end of each year, I like to reflect on what has happened, how I’ve grown, and what’s to come.

Without a year’s worth of Sunday News posts, I’m having a little bit of a hard time remembering what’s happened. … This year amounts to three main things: 1) playing the Switch, 2) helping a friend in need, and 3) reflecting on my mental health.

At the end of each year, Nintendo let’s players download their Switch stats which includes: total number of hours played, number of hours played each month, total number of games played, and games played the most during the year. Last year, I played for a little over 200 hours. (That may seem like a lot, but it’s really not.)

According to Nintendo, this year I played the Switch for 922 hours. I played 16 different games. (This stat isn’t completely accurate. Nintendo counts a game as played even if you accidentally open it and then close it right away.) The games I spent the most time playing are:

  • Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse (the greatest four-player game ever)
  • Pikmin 4
  • Mario Kart
  • Stardew Valley

One of my friends is going through a trying time. She was a stay-at-home-mom of three, ages 13 (f), 7 (f), and 3 (m). In June, however, it became necessary for her to get a part time job. Her 13 year old often babysits the younger two, but my friend didn’t want to rob the 13 year old of her childhood by putting too much responsibility on her all at once so I offered to watch her kids.

The summer was great. The 3 year old had his siblings to play with and keep him company. I mostly made sure they didn’t kill themselves or burn the house down. Once school started, I burned out quickly. I love my friend’s kids a lot and 3 year old’s are a handful when they have no one to play with or entertain them.

I still watch the 3 year old, but my friend has cut back her hours because she knows I’m burned out and her 3 year old misses having her at home.

My mental health has been pretty good this year. I’ve had ups and downs like everyone else. During the summer, I noticed no depression or suicidal ideation. That continued until November when SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) hit. My depression and suicidal ideation are manageable, especially when I use the skills I learned in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). Even though I’m dealing with SAD right now, I’m in a much better place emotionally than I have been in almost a decade.

I’m proud I’ve stuck with helping my friend even though I’ve wanted to tell her I can’t anymore. I’m proud I use the skills I learned in DBT when I need help regulating my emotions, tolerating distress, or making sure my needs are met. Even though I feel like I haven’t done much this year, I know that what I have done is huge. I feel hopeful, content, and I’m looking forward to the new year and its opportunities. I’m grateful for my support system and I’m looking forward to connecting more with this amazing online community.

Here’s to many wonderful possibilities! May your 2024 be merry and bright!

Are you looking forward to 2024? Do you have any resolutions?

I read several books this year that I haven’t reviewed on my blog. Instead of writing individual reviews for them all, I thought I’d do a mini review of each of them. The first two are non-fiction and the rest are fiction.

Non-Fiction

Mini Reviews #1Title: Atomic Habits
Author: James Clear
Genre(s): Non-Fiction
Pages: 306
Source: Borrowed
For: Recommended
Rating:
Sexual Content: 0 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

Earlier this year, I told my therapist I was having a hard time following through with my goals to exercise more and eat healthier. He suggested I read ATOMIC HABITS, stating that most of the things James Clear had to say were spot on. I decided to listen to the audiobook because Corey already owned a copy.

The audiobook is narrated by James Clear and is very well done. I thought he had a lot of great ideas, like habit stacking. To my surprise, a lot of his ideas align really well with DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) skills. I’ve decided I need to read a physical copy of ATOMIC HABITS so I can annotate the things that are helpful to me to implement what I learned.


Mini Reviews #1Title: Radical Love
Author: Zachary Levi
Genre(s): Memoir, Non-Fiction
Pages: 224
Source: Borrowed
For: Book Club
Rating:
Sexual Content: 0 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

In July, we each read a memoir of our choice for book club. I had already read Marsha Linehan’s memoir but I have wanted to read Zachary Levi’s for a long time. I decided to read RADICAL LOVE a couple of months later.

I’m so glad I decided to listen to the audiobook because Levi, himself, narrates it and talks about his struggles with depression, suicidal ideation, and his feelings of worthlessness. I truly enjoyed RADICAL LOVE. It was raw, emotional, uplifting, and hopeful. It helped remind me that none of us are alone and there’s always help when we need it. I’m glad he sought help during his darkest moments, start the healing process of managing his mental health, and forgiving the abuse he suffered at the hands of his parents.

Fiction

Mini Reviews #1Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E Smith
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 236
Source: Borrowed
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
Sexual Content: 1 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

During the first half of the year, I was trying to participate in the POP Sugar Challenge. One of the prompts was a book that takes place all in one day. I had wanted to read THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT (mouthful) for a while.

THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT was the perfect book to get me to actually sit down and read, something I struggled with for most of 2023. I really enjoyed reading Hadley’s story. Jennifer E Smith’s writing helped draw me right in. I loved the chemistry between Hadley and Oliver. I also found myself grinning stupidly as I read the bantering between them. I also loved watching Hadley and Oliver deal with life’s ups and downs during the day they were together. You may think that the story seems fantastical to happen all in one day, but it just added to the magic.


Mini Reviews #1Title: The Measure
Author: Nikki Erlick
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Pages: 353
Source: Borrowed
For: Recommended
Rating:
Sexual Content: 1 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

Last December, one of the people in my book club recommended THE MEASURE. When I was trying to decide what to read in August, THE MEASURE came to mind.

I decided to listen to the audiobook of THE MEASURE and I was hooked from the beginning. The narrator did a fantastic job. The story’s so compelling that I’d find time to listen to the audiobook and I kept thinking about the strings and characters in between listenings.

I loved Nikki Erlick’s twist on the mythology of The Fates. Just like all the characters, I wanted to understand the mysteries of the boxes and strings. I cared about most of the characters and how their lives were affected by the strings. I also loved the message that life can be meaningful no matter how long it is.


Mini Reviews #1Title: The Only Girl in Town
Author: Ally Condie
Genre(s): Contemporary, YA
Pages: 336
Source: Own
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
Sexual Content: 1 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

I had the chance to attend the book launch for THE ONLY GIRL IN TOWN. Ally Condie is such a sweet, down-to-earth person. Hearing what she had to say about THE ONLY GIRL IN TOWN made me want to read it right away. I chose to listen to the audiobook. The narrator was fantastic and had a lot of emotion in her voice. The short chapters and pacing almost gave the book an “in verse” feel. Sometimes hearing “chapter …” several times in less than five minutes took me out of the story.

As always, Ally’s writing is a joy to read. She has such a poetic and lyrical way of expressing what she wants to write. I was very surprised by the actual story. I have trouble choosing a genre because of that. THE ONLY GIRL IN TOWN wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Despite my surprise, I soon found myself all in as I experienced July’s story and her effort to figure out what was going on around her. THE ONLY GIRL IN TOWN is immersive and a beautiful take on how depression, loneliness, disappointment, and the inevitable changes in our relationships can affect our thinking and choices.


Mini Reviews #1Title: Meet Me at the Lake
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Source: Borrowed
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
Sexual Content: 4 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

I adored Carley Fortune’s debut novel EVERY SUMMER AFTER so I was super excited to read MEET ME AT THE LAKE. As with most of the books I read this year, I read the audiobook and I liked the narrator a lot.

As far as the story goes, I wasn’t disappointed. I loved Fern and Will’s story. I loved the premise of them getting a second chance at love. Even though MEET ME AT THE LAKE is mostly fluff, there’s some meat to the story too thanks to the inclusion of how mental illness and the loss of a loved one can mess with our plans and intentions. It made the characters and story feel more real.


Mini Reviews #1Title: The Christmas Murder Game
Author: Alexandra Benedict
Genre(s): Holiday, Mystery
Pages: 325
Source: Borrowed
For: Book Club
Rating:
Sexual Content: 0.5 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

I read THE CHRISTMAS MURDER GAME for book club. I thought the concept of THE CHRISTMAS MURDER GAME sounded fun and suspenseful. While I was never bored, I just didn’t think the execution was done very well and the writing was very clunky. I thought Benedict tried way too hard trying to think up the anagrams. Fortunately, listening to the audiobook helped hide the weird spellings.

As far as the story goes, I knew who the main antagonist was pretty early on. I didn’t mind Lily but I thought some of her choices were a little suspect. Every other character was either annoying, selfish, or not developed very well. The circumstances that had to happen so the story could take place weren’t very realistic either.

I’ve decided to join the Bout of Books readathon from January 1st to 7th. I decided that Bout of Books would be a great way to jump start my reading for 2024.

For those of you who don’t know what Bout of Books is, here’s the official blurb from the Bout of Books blog:

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 1st and runs through Sunday, January 7th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 39 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 

From the Bout of Books team

My TBR for Bout of Books is up in the air. It all depends on what I finish reading between now and then. Here’s a tentative list for now:

Are you going to join in the fun?