Blog Audit Challenge 2020: March #blogauditchallenge2020

March 30, 2020

March’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 (picture of a woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop)Blogging Friends,

This year I’m participating in a Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!

Well….March was a bit derailed due to Covid-19! I hope that if you are reading this that you are well.

On the subject, I found this video clip very helpful, reassuring, and comforting!

March found me preoccupied with finding paper towels and toilet paper! Because of orders to stay home and isolate, I spent many reading and blogging hours ordering food and paper goods online. I had difficulty reading books with heavier content and had a serious case of the “blahs.” How about you? Thinking strategically about the blog became nonexistent. So, I don’t have too much to report unless good intentions and reflection count for something!

March’s Challenge is to focus on The Trimmings:

1. The Header

In anticipation of the March Challenge, I contacted an artist friend in February and inquired about designing a new header for the blog. The header needs to reflect my site and my personality and set a tone. When I first started the blog, I set it up quickly and impulsively and grabbed some generic graphics from Google images….I realized later that this is not recommended and I’ve known for some time that I need to come up with my own original artwork or pay for the right to use an image.

My header reflects me and my personality, but I don’t think it reflects what I DO. I know I need to think about branding.

  • My style– I’m a casual person. I love informal, warm, and welcoming. My current floral header reflects my love of nature, lots of color, and gardening, and it sends a warm vibe. So I’d like to keep that feel but stylize it so it’s uniquely me and doesn’t look like I pulled it from Google images! I think I’d like a pen and ink drawing and water color.
  • My mission-My header needs to convey a clear message about what I do….it needs to reflect my mission (from the January Challenge). Right now I have some words that suggest what I do, but I’d like my header to also visually reflect what I do.
  • My branding– I need to match my header to the rest of my branding. I definitely want my branding to reflect the informal, friendly, warm, and bookish vibe.

Definitely, I have a great deal of work to do in this area, and after the Covid-19 situation dies down, I will have more brain power to devote to this task!

2. The Side Bar

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Blog Audit Challenge 2020: February

February 28, 2020 

February’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 (picture of a woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop)Blogging Friends,

This year I’m participating in a Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!

February’s Challenge is to focus on Information Pages:

1. About Page

One of the first things I look for when I land on a new-to-me blog is the About page. I’m disappointed every time there isn’t one. Jo Linsdell states that the About page is statistically one of the most visited pages on a blog, and I’m adding to those statistics every time I visit a blog. Before I give a follow, I like to know just a little bit about the blogger. I’m looking for a picture, points of connection, and a smattering of compatibility. One item that Jo Lindsell suggested is including a CTA (call to the action on the About page), so I edited mine to include that. I hope you’ll give my About page (found among the menu tabs) a glance and that you find it helpful.

2. Legal Disclaimers

(more…)

Blog Audit Challenge 2020

February 3, 2020 

Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 (picture of a woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop)Blogging Friends,

This year I’m participating in a Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!

January’s challenge is to focus on organization, strategy and the creation of an action plan:

1. Create a Mission Statement For Your Blog

From the earliest days of my blog, I’ve thought seriously and carefully about my mission statement, my niche, and my followers. I’m thankful that my reviews have resonated and connected with so many followers and readers! Thank you!

The mission of my blog is to share a love of great literature across a variety of genres with an intentional focus on new releases, thoughtful themes, diverse cultures, and “own voices” authors. I desire to be a trusted reviewer for your next great read! Conversations are always welcome. 

2. Do a SWOT Analysis of Your Blog

(more…)

2019 Reading Stats and 2020 Goals #amonthoffaves

December 26, 2019

2019 stats and 2020 goals

Image Source: Canva

2019 Reading Stats and 2020 Goals

Brace yourself for a nerdy post, bookaholics!

Have you ever set a reading goal or considered a reading challenge?

For today’s post, I’m linking up with Girlxoxo and Traveling With T for Month of Faves: Challenges and Goals.

A Month of Favorites TwithT

Reading in 2019

I’d love to hear from you if you analyze reading data at year’s end. Although I’ve always been analytical, I think my appreciation for using data to inform the future was heightened during my tenure as a teacher when I poured over student data to inform my teaching. Now, instead of looking at student achievement, I’m paying attention to my own numbers as it relates to reading achievement. I realize that while numbers are not that important in a rewarding reading life, they do reveal some trends and inform future reading choices. It’s important to me that I’m reading diversely, supporting women authors, and increasing my nonfiction percentage. While this post about the numbers is mostly a self-reflection, I hope you find it interesting and possibly motivating toward considering your own reading achievement during the past year and setting some goals for 2020.

If you’ve read ONE book this year, you’re a reader and I encourage you to celebrate that read and accomplishment!

Blog Feedback

I’d also like to know (in comments) what you’d like to see more of or less of on the blog for 2020. Has the variety this year been satisfactory for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! In fact, I may put together a survey in January.
Find my 2019 blogging recap post here.

Best of 2019

Also, start thinking about the best book you’ve read in 2019, and I’ll be back in a few days to discuss and share my list.



Let’s Talk Numbers!

Total Books Read: 110

This is the highest number of books I’ve read since starting a reading log and retiring….I averaged 25-30 books a year when I was teaching full time and the majority of those were read during the summer. For me in this season of life, 100 books is a comfortable number. I average two books per week and the weeks when I can only read one dense nonfiction are balanced out later when I can read 3 lighter, shorter books in one week.



Books Abandoned (DNF): 9

I’m getting better at abandoning books that aren’t working for me. There are too many great books waiting to be read to make myself finish something that isn’t right for me at the time. Are you a fearless abandoner or a committed finisher? 



Women Authors: 91

One of my goals in starting this blog is to support women authors writing about strong women and I feel like I’ve had success in this area.



Diverse Reads: 19

I’m defining diverse books as ones that take place in a culture other than my own and whose characters are ethnically different from me….. some historical fiction could fit this definition but I didn’t include them in the diversity count. The diverse titles I’ve read this year are among my most memorable reads of the year.



Fiction: (Broken Down by Sub-Genre): 96

The sub-genres add up to more than 96 because a few books fall into more than one category.

Historical Fiction: 38
This is obviously a favorite sub-genre!

Literary Fiction: 3
This is a category which brings about some debate among readers….the most simple definition is that literary fiction is not genre fiction. Also, it’s known as literature written to explore the meaning of life and its issues….for example, most prestigious award recipients and national prize winners are categorized as literary fiction.

Women’s Fiction: 32
Again, a reader’s definition may vary….for me they are books in which most characters are women and the plot centers around women’s concerns and issues….some in this category are lighter reads that readers refer to as “beach reads” or “vacation reads.”

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense: 11
Clearly, I don’t read too much in this category because real life is scary enough….mainly, the books I read in this category are best sellers that I want to form my own opinion about. However, one of my favorite mystery series that I’ve deemed “just right” is the Inspector Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny which is set in Three Pines.

Issue Centered: 8
The main purpose of these stories is to focus on a social or health issue. I usually enjoy these books unless they are heavily agenda driven by the author.

Middle Grade: 5
Even though my numbers are low for this genre this year, I love a great Middle Grade read! There’s some enjoyable and engaging literature in this category for adults! In fact, one of these Middle-Grade reads might make it on my best of the year list.

Young Adult: 11
A satisfactory number for me this year.



Nonfiction (broken down into sub-genres): 13

This is a definite area for improvement for me in 2020!

Memoir: 7
Memoir is a favorite form of nonfiction.

Biography: 1

Narrative Nonfiction: 1
Biographies are written in story format.

Essay: 4

True Crime: 0
I started one but it was a DNF after I had a bad dream! Not my fav genre!



Loading New Year 2020 on Blackboard Background

Let’s Consider 2020 Goals

Here are my reading goals for 2020 (please share yours in comments):
(for blog goals, see this post)

Goal 1:

Goodreads Reading Challenge (determine how many books you’d like to read and track them through the Goodreads app). This is the easiest of the goals/challenges as it simply involves setting a number. This number can be adjusted throughout the year if you are reading above or below your goal. I recommend setting a reasonable goal and then raising it if necessary. My goal is 100 books. I met this goal in 2018 and 2019 and it’s reasonable that I will meet it again. Retirement helps tremendously! The 2020 Goodreads challenge will be available at the first of the year. Are we friends on Goodreads?

Goodreads 2019

Goal 2:

Modern Mrs. Darcy 2020 Reading Challenge (very broad, doable categories that might provide some stretch in your reading life). Find my 2019 MMD Reading Challenge results here. With the number of books I read, this goal is fairly easy for me to achieve. It doesn’t require a sign up (unless you want to receive emails from the site).

Goal 3:

Participate in other challenges such as:

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (especially great for bloggers and reviewers who want monthly link-up opportunities)….My Goal: read twenty-five histfic books

NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge (link-up opportunities for members of NetGalley and Edelweiss)..My Goal: read and review 10 Netgalley books.

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge…My Goal: read three nonfiction books from any category

Goal 4:

Based on my 2019 reading, I know I want to increase my nonfiction reading. Out of 110 books read, 13 were nonfiction. Although that averages to one per month, I’d like to increase that to 20 books for 2020.



What reading goals do you have for 2020?

goal make things happen



Happy New Year! I hope you’ve experienced some pleasurable and challenging reading in 2019 and are eagerly anticipating the reading year ahead!



QOTD:

Did you meet your reading goal for 2019?

What is your 2020 Reading Goal?

Do you use a method for tracking your reads during the year?

Have you considered your best read of the year?



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

To finish out 2019, I’ll be posting a December Wrap Up and My Best Reads of the Year.



In Movie News….

Did you see Little Women in the theater this week?



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



ICYMI

I have finished my Fall TBR!
(just in time to begin my Winter TBR!)

Winter 2019 TBR

My Nonfiction November Posts:
2019 Nonfiction Reads
Nonfiction and Racial Injustice
Nonfiction/Fiction Pairings
Favorite Nonfiction Books
2020 Nonfiction TBR
Finding Chika by Mitch Albom



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

2019 Reading Challenge

December 13, 2019

MMD 2019 Reading Challenge

“Reading is a Sport”

2019 MMD reading challenge

Image Source: Canva

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Completed

I always enjoy the Modern Mrs Darcy (MMD) yearly Reading Challenge because it’s so doable! The categories generally match what I’m reading anyway and are broad. I don’t enjoy challenges that are too long or that require me to read books based on the color of the cover or a certain word in the title.

MMD 2019 reading challenge

My Results

A book I’ve been meaning to read…

84 Charing Cross Road and the sequel (The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street) by Helene Hanff


A book about a topic that fascinates me…

Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin
My Review

leadership in turbulent times


A book in the back list of a favorite author…

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
My Review.

A Fall of Marigolds


A book recommended by someone with great taste…

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson (recommended by Modern Mrs. Darcy)
My Review.

meet me at the museum


Three books by the same author…

Susan Meissner: A Fall of Marigolds, Secrets of a Charmed Life, The Shape of Mercy
My Review of A Fall of Marigolds.


A book I chose for the cover…

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
My Review.

Amal Unbound


A book by an author who is new to me…

Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais (after reading it, I knew I also wanted to read her new release If You Want to Make God Laugh)
My Reviews here and here.


A book in translation…

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman (originally in Swedish)
My Review.

Things My Son Need to Know About the World


A book outside my (genre) comfort zone…

Recursion by Blake Crouch

recursion


A book published before I was born…

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
My Review.



QOTD!

Did you complete a reading challenge this year?



The New MMD 2020 Reading Challenge

Are you participating? Click the link above to sign up.

MMD 2020 reading challenge



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

2018 Reading Stats and 2019 Goals

December 28, 2018

goal make things happen

2018 Reading Stats and 2019 Goals

Brace yourself for a nerdy post, bookaholics!

Have you ever set a reading goal or considered a reading challenge?

First, let’s look at Reading in 2018.

I’d love to hear from you if you analyze reading data at year’s end. Although I’ve always been analytical, I think my appreciation for using data to inform the future was heightened during my tenure as a teacher when I poured over student data to inform my teaching. Now, instead of looking at student achievement, I’m paying attention to my own numbers as it relates to reading achievement. I realize that while numbers are not that important in a rewarding reading life, they do reveal some trends and inform future reading choices. It’s important to me that I’m reading diversely, supporting women authors, and increasing my non fiction percentage. While this post about the numbers is mostly for me, I hope you find it interesting and possibly motivating toward considering your own reading achievement during the past year and setting some goals for 2019.

If you’ve read ONE book this year, you’re a reader and I encourage you to celebrate that read and accomplishment!

Blog Feedback

I’d also like to know (in comments) what you’d like to see more of or less of on the blog for 2019. Has the variety this year been satisfactory for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! In fact, I may put together a survey in January.

Best of 2018

Also, start thinking about the best book you’ve read in 2018, and I’ll be back in a few days to discuss and share my list.



Let’s Talk Numbers!

Total Books Read: 107

This is the highest number of books I’ve read since starting a reading log and retiring….I averaged 25-30 books a year when I was teaching full time and the majority of those were read during the summer. For me in this season of life, 100 books is a comfortable number. I average two books per week and the weeks when I can only read one dense nonfiction are balanced out later when I can read 3 lighter, shorter books in one week.



Total Books Abandoned (DNF): 10

I’m getting better at abandoning books that aren’t working for me. There are too many great books waiting to be read to make myself finish something that isn’t right for me at the time. Are you a fearless abandoner or a committed finisher?



Women Authors: 90 

One of my goals in starting this blog is to support women authors writing about strong women and I feel like I’ve had success in this area.



Diverse Reads: 22

I’m defining diverse books as ones that take place in a culture other than my own and whose characters are ethnically different from me….. some historical fiction could fit this definition but I didn’t include them in the diversity count. The diverse titles I’ve read this year are among my most memorable reads of the year.



Fiction: (Broken Down by Sub Genre): 92

The sub genres add up to more than 92 because a few books fall into more than one category.

Historical Fiction: 38
This is obviously a favorite sub genre!

Literary Fiction: 8
This is a category which brings about debate among readers….the most agreed upon definition is that literary fiction is not genre fiction. Also, it’s known as literature written to explore the meaning of life and its issues….for example, most prestigious award recipients and national prize winners are categorized as literary fiction.

Women’s Fiction: 38
Again, a reader’s definition may vary….for me they are books in which most characters are women and the plot centers around women’s concerns and issues….some in this category are lighter reads that readers refer to as “beach reads” or “vacation reads.”

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense: 6
Clearly, I don’t read too much in this category because real life is scary enough….mainly, the books I read in this category are best sellers that I want to form my own opinion about. However, one of my favorite mystery series that I’ve deemed “just right” is the Inspector Armand Gamache Series set in Three Pines by Louise Penny.

Issue Centered: 21
The main purpose of these stories is to focus on a social or health issue. I usually enjoy these books unless they are heavily agenda driven by the author.

Middle Grade: 11
I love a great Middle Grade read! There’s some enjoyable and engaging literature in this category for adults! In fact, one of these Middle Grade reads will make it on my best of the year list.

Young Adult: 4
Usually I read more YA, so this is a surprisingly low number for me this year.



Nonfiction (broken down into sub genres): 15

This is a definite area for improvement for me in 2019!

Memoir: 9
Memoir is a clear favorite form of non fiction.

Biography: 2

Narrative Non Fiction: 2
Biographies written in story format.

Essay: 2

True Crime: 3
Two of these could also be categorized as Memoir and Narrative N F



2019

Let’s Consider 2019 Goals

Here are my goals for 2019 (please share yours in comments):

Goal 1:

Goodreads Reading Challenge (determine how many books you’d like to read and track them through the Goodreads app). This is the easiest of the goals/challenges as it simply involves setting a number. This number can be adjusted throughout the year if you are reading above or below your goal. I recommend setting a reasonable goal and then raising it if necessary. My goal is 100 books. I met this goal in 2018 and it’s reasonable that I will meet it again. Retirement helps tremendously! The 2019 Goodreads challenge will be available at the first of the year. Are we friends on Goodreads?

Goal 2:

Modern Mrs Darcy 2019 Reading Challenge (very broad, doable categories that might provide some stretch in your reading life). With the number of books I read, this goal is fairly easy for me to achieve. It doesn’t require a sign up (unless you want to receive emails from the site).

The next two goals are blog related goals because they provide opportunities for me to link up and connect with other bloggers.

Goal 3:

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (especially great for bloggers and reviewers who want monthly link up opportunities). Because I read a majority of historical fiction, I look forward to my first year of participation in this challenge. However, I do have other commitments to NetGalley and various authors, so I’m setting this goal at the Medieval Level of 15 books for the first year to see how it goes. This means I’ll be linking at least one review per month to meet this challenge. I’ll need to link up 3 more reviews during the year to meet my 15 book goal for the year.

Goal 4:

NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge (link up opportunities for members of NetGalley and Edelweiss). I’m new to NetGalley this year, so I’ll also set a low goal for this the first year. I’m going for Silver which is 10 books this year from NetGalley. This goal will allow me to link up once a month, but I know I can post more if I exceed my goal. For those of you who desire to know, NetGalley is a website where reviewers can request books from publishers (free books called an Advanced Reader Copy) in exchange for an honest review.

Goal 5:

Based on my 2018 reading, I know I want to increase my non fiction reading. Out of 107 books read, 15 were non fiction. I’d like to increase that to 20 books for 2019.



What reading goals do you have for 2019?



Happy New Year! I hope you’ve experienced some pleasurable and challenging reading in 2018 and are eagerly anticipating the reading year ahead!



Happy Reading Book Worms

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

To finish out 2018, I’ll be posting a December Wrap Up and My Best Reads of 2018.



Links

I’m linking up today with Traveling With T, Estella’s Revenge and Girlxoxo for A Month of Favorites.

A Month of Favorites TwithT



In Movie News….

Reese Witherspoon to produce “Where the Crawdads Sing” and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

And….here’s the trailer for Where’d You Go Bernadette starring Cate Blanchette.

(You might want to put these three books on your winter to read list in preparation!)



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss

Did you meet your reading goal for 2019?

What is your 2019 Reading Goal?

Do you use a method for tracking your reads during the year?

It’s time to start thinking about your best read of the year!



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.