2021 Bookish & Blog Goals

Hey there! It’s been some time since my last post. I hope you’re all doing well and being safe during this whole stressful time.

So, I know we’re already half way through April, but I wanted to briefly discuss my reading and other bookish goals for the year, as well as future plans for other reading goals I’d like to achieve over the next few years.

I’d like to read 52 books this year.

It’s not a strict goal that I’ll be devastated if I don’t hit it, but I just wanted to give myself the challenge of trying to read one book a week. I’m a bit behind, but that’s okay. I’m aiming to read four books per month, basically.

I’m focusing on reading for fun.

The past year has been, you know, Not Fun for anyone, and I just want to focus on reading things that genuinely interest me and I want to have fun doing so. I’m not really aiming to read critically or anything (though that might just come naturally the more I read, as it would with anyone), but I’m aiming to just find things that interest me and have a good time.

Read more diversely.

We can always all do our best and our part to read more diversely, so I’m making it a goal to read at least one book a month by a POC, disabled, own voices, and/or non-binary, etc. author.

I’m rereading books to finish series.

Alrighty, so because of stuff that happened almost five years ago, I never ended up finishing these series. Not because I wasn’t invested, but I went through a really dark time and have only very recently been getting the urge to read more again.

  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas books 1-5 to finish books 6 & 7. Novella can be read at any time. (As of the time I’m writing this post, I’m more than 50% through Heir of Fire, book 3.)
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas books 1-2 to finish books 3-5.
  • Air Awakening by Elise Kova books 1-4 to finish book 5.

Unhauling books I’ve had for way too long that I know I won’t read, & not being afraid to DNF something I’m not enjoying.

Life is too short. TBRs get too long and ridiculous. I’ve had some books for years and years and haven’t touched them. Will I read them one day? I don’t know, but I don’t want to keep them if it means just more unnecessary stress or clutter. If I have the urge, I can always borrow from my library or repurchase them.

There are some books, however, that I have no idea if I’ll read them or not and have been debating on selling or donating, but I for some reason can’t bring myself to do it. These books include the Shadowhunter chronicles by Cassandra Clare, and the Lunar Cycle by Marissa Meyer. I’ve had them for so long, and I just don’t know if I can bring myself to read them anymore.

Getting my TBR down to zero (or less than 20) by the end of 2025.

It’s ambitious to say this as I have… way too many books I want to read, and obviously new books come out all the time, but I’m hoping to get my TBR down to zero by the end of 2025 if I can. Or at least down to 20. I think that would be so much more manageable.

Trying to read more from my library and only purchasing books I’d like to reread one day, or just have a spot on my shelf.

Because of where I currently live, the selection at my local library is not what I wish it would be, but I would like to try to read the newer releases of books through my library (or kindle unlimited or whatever) first to see if I enjoy them or not before spending my money.

Not shame myself for not reading a certain genre, age group, etc. anymore.

Hey, what a great goal to have. I know as readers – especially ones on the internet – many of us can feel like we have to read every genre and age groups out there, but we really, really don’t. The older I’m getting, the more I’m realizing how much I want to transition out of YA reads and focus on more adult reads. I’ve noticed that a lot of people who are close to 30 or are over 30 have felt the same way. There is nothing wrong with being any age reading YA, middle grade, elementary, etc. But I’m also at a point where I want to read more experiences from people who are in their 20s or in their 30s doing stuff, you know?

Blog related: I’d like to try to keep this blog alive and post at least once a week.

I’ve had this blog since 2014, and so it’s been a long time of talking about books and other things along the way. As a way to renew this place, I’m going to be focusing solely on reading material, but I’ll probably talk more about other things I’ve been enjoying in wrap-up style posts (such as video games, TV shows, etc.). Again, I’m not going to condemn myself if I decide to just stop blogging all together. The amount of energy for doing much of this hasn’t come back yet, but we’ll see what happens.


I believe those are all of the bookish, blog, and reading goals I have for this year (and into the future). Even though I’m a bit late, I hope you enjoy coming along with me through my reading journey.

Tell me what one of your goals for this year is. It doesn’t have to be reading related if you don’t want it to be.

Happy New Year! | Goals & Stuff

Happy New Year, peeps!

I can’t believe it’s already the new year. 2018 FLEW by, and I bet 2019 is going to go even faster. Oh joy.

But with a new year comes new year’s resolutions and promises that you won’t keep (maybe lol), so here’s my list of goals that I hope to achieve this upcoming year:

Reading & Blog Goals

  • Read one book per week. That’s 52 books for the year, which is entirely doable for me considering I’ve read 50 books in the past. This includes manga and comics, just so we’re clear.
  • Have half of those books be ones that are already on my shelves. Look, I recently did a large unhaul of unread books that had been sitting on my shelf gathering dust because I knew I wasn’t going to read them and I’d rather them go somewhere I know they’ll be well loved, so this year I want to focus on reading at least 25 books that are already currently on my shelves. Doable. Achievable. Awesome.
  • Post twice a week on my blog. I’ve already been doing this as I wanted to start the habit before the new year, but I’m going to try to post on Mondays (reviews) and Thursdays (chats/discussions/fun things). So far it’s been working, so that’s good. So that’ll be 104 posts for the year. Again: doable.

Personal Goals

  • Reach level two Japanese by the end of June. So I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a while but I really suck at studying, so I’m going to try to make it my mission to study daily and reach level two on the app I use by the end of June. Again: doable. This also includes reviewing and practicing and all that jazz.
  • Lose at least ten pounds by the end of June. I’m not going to set the bar too high for weight loss goals. This one is entirely doable, and I’ve been working on it more this past month that I have in the past. Let’s hope for some good results!
  • Find work that’s more suited to me. This one is one I’ve been working towards, but I don’t know how it’ll go yet, so I’m going to keep this one kind of vague lol, but I do hope to find a job either in my field, teaching abroad, or something entirely different.
  • Finish the first draft of my book by the end of June. I have a lot I want to get done by midyear lol, but I really want to finish just the very rough first draft of the novel I’ve been trying to work on.
  • Work toward a better well-being and state of mind. It’s been a rough couple of years, friends, and I just want to get to a place of joy. This one is ongoing, though, so it’ll be for a lifetime.

I think that’s it for my goals. They’re all attainable, all doable, and I think that’s the best part of this whole thing.

Let’s chat!

What are some of your goals for this year? What are some of the things you achieved last year, but still want to continue into this year? Let me know in the comments!

Uncertainty, the Future, & More

Well, hi guys. How’s it going? I’m sorry I haven’t posted in months since the Biannual Bibliothon, but I just wanted to stop by because I think I owe it to my readers to let you guys know what’s going on in my life.

I had decided to stop blogging altogether.

Yup. I had barely any time to blog at all last year and I just wasn’t really in the mood to continue on. I wasn’t keeping up with my pace, the majority of what I read was comics online which are hard to track for reading and reviewing purposes, and I was just dealing with a lot of mental and emotional stress, which I still am.

Let me break it down for you:

  • My mom has early onset dementia. She was diagnosed almost two years ago with it and my husband and I have been living with my parents since. We are… not happy here. Our mental, physical, and emotional well-beings have had such a strain put on them that we find it very hard to enjoy anything that we used to anymore. For me, one of those things is reading physical books. I had no problem reading comics because they’re images and short dialogues, so it was easy to handle for my brain. But actual books? Unless I was hooked it was near impossible.
    • In case you are wondering: some days are better than others for my mom. My dad is handling it in his own way. I am handling it my own way. My husband is, too. Just one day at a time because that’s literally all we can do.
    • The next point will explain this one more as to why we haven’t done this but, my husband and I need to move out. We need a space of our own to be able to make a living for ourselves. It’s very hard to do that here, and now we live almost an hour away from where we work where before we were 10-15 min away. It makes a huge difference.
    • The result of this has made me very tired and unable to bring myself to do anything these days.
  • I’ve been taking an online course to become TEFL certified. This means I’m becoming certified to teach English as a second language. My goal is to teach in South Korea by the end of this year, 2018. I’ve got my six hours of teaching time left of my practicum before I can turn in my paperwork and become officially certified.
    • Now, with this, there’s a whole new level of stress. I would love to teach in the EPIK program in South Korea, which is public school teaching. There’s a ton of great benefits for teachers and all of that, which is great. But, there’s a snag: I can get an E-2 visa for teaching, but my husband, who I would bring with me, would have to get a spousal visa and under said visa he would legally be not allowed to work. That’s fine, whatever. Contracts are usually for a year anyway unless I like it there and want to stay longer and maybe he can get a different visa, I don’t know.
    • Anyway, this is its own headache. The fact that I’d have a dependent lessens my chances of being hired. It doesn’t mean I won’t be – there’s still a potential that I will be – but it still makes it harder, and then I don’t know that I’d qualify for all of the benefits. So. Yeah.
    • I am trying my best to be optimistic, but the closer I get to completing my certificate and actually applying to the recruiter, the more nervous and worried I get.
  • I tried to focus on art last year, which was great! I was creating a lot, but it kind of… faded away the last few months. I’m finding that I get frustrated in the sketch stage, even when I know it’ll be better later on. Oh well. I’ll work on that.
  • I still would love to be a published author and share my stories with the world, but… *sigh* the book and publishing world have been on FIRE lately and now everything is just very intimidating. If I don’t include enough of this I’m a bad person, if I include too much of that I’m a bad author, like… it’s so intimidating nowadays. I think it’s great, 10000000% amazing, that people are fighting to be seen and heard in their stories. But if I am comfortable writing my characters the way they appear in my head, and that offends someone, then I end up the bad guy? I don’t know, guys, it’s just so scary now. I know I shouldn’t look at it that way, but that’s just how my mind perceives it.

So yeah, those have been some of the big stressors in my life and it’s just been one shit year, let me tell you… Of course there were good times and good things that happened and stuff, but I need to share these things with you.

This brings me to my next point:

I do miss blogging.

Part of me does miss blogging and reading like crazy and diving into these worlds and having these open discussions with people and seeing book hauls and tags and discussions and just the joy that reading once brought, including blogging.

But after last year I had decided that I wasn’t going to do this anymore. I was just going to stop posting and let the views and conversations fade away, because what else could I do? Like I said before: I don’t have the time or energy to be as active as I once was, and I miss doing it.

I miss talking to you guys and sharing thoughts on books and doing reviews, tags, side posts, etc. It was all fun and it was such a big part of my life for the last few years.

I don’t know that I’m going to keep blogging, though.

Like I said: I do and I don’t. I want to share my reviews on books and have discussions and do all of these things again, but with so much uncertainty for my future (and my husband’s), I just don’t know if I can.

I know I can just post whenever I can, even if it’s months from now, but I don’t want you guys to think I’ve fallen off of the grid. When that time comes, I will do a proper goodbye, but for now?

For now, I think I want to keep going.

I haven’t come to a definite conclusion yet, but I do still want to share with you all. I want to read actual novels, not just comics, and dive back into the worlds I loved before. I still have books I need to finish that came out last year that I was anticipating, and books I started the year before that that I need to finish. It’s crazy, really.

So for now… I’m going to stay.

For now, I’ll keep going. Maybe this will spark what I needed back into my life. Maybe this will really help me to see what it is that I was missing. I don’t know, but I hope this helps.

I want to keep a kind of schedule? Maybe that will help me, I’m not sure. So, here’s what I’m thinking:

  • I’ll post once a week on Thursday to start. I have Wednesdays off and it’ll give me a good amount of time to get in some reading and other things to be able to prepare a post for Thursday morning (like what I’m doing now).
  • If I am able to get a flow back into my groove, then I will start to also post on Mondays so it’ll be twice a week. I think that will definitely be doable. If I want to post more in a week, I will. It’s my blog after all, so I can do what I want lol

I’m going to try that for now and see how it works for me.

Thank you all for being so supportive over the years, for reading my content, talking to me, and just being a great community. You’re all amazing and I wish you the best in all that you do.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You’ve Read Because of Social Media

Hey beautiful people, welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by the lovely Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes. I always love talking about this kind of topic because 98% of what I read and buy is from seeing people haul them or recommend them on some form of social media. Here’s the topic:

September 27th: Books You’ve Read Because of Booktube/Blogging/etc. 
–Discuss the books you’ve picked up because you’ve heard of them in the online book community or platform you use.

I’m pretty sure we can all say at least five books that we’ve read because of people we watch/follow on YouTube, a blog, twitter, etc., so here are my picks for books (novels) and comics (because this is my blog and I do what I want).

Books

adsom

5. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Considering I just finished and reviewed this, this book is definitely on my mind. This was a hugely hyped book when it first came out, and subsequently the sequels were also super hyped, and I’ve gotta say: I get it now. It was such a great, fast-paced read, and I’m very excited to read the next two books soon. I don’t know exactly who I would’ve seen recommend this, but I know a lot of people did.

daughterofsmokeandbone

4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

I remember watch Kat @ Katytastic one day (or several days) and how in a lot of videos she would talk about this book series. Well, I read it, fell in love with it, and this trilogy is in one of the top five spots of favorite series ever. So yeah, I’m super glad that I found this series when I did through Kat.

annaandthefrenchkiss

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER WAS RECOMMENDING THIS BOOK AT ONE POINT. Actually, the whole companion trilogy was being recommended because they were such cute romance YA novels that everyone was reading and loving and so I had to jump on board. And I agree: very cute. I still haven’t read the other two, but I’ll get there eventually.

myheartandotherblackholes

2. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

I remember Jesse @ Jessethereader talking about this book in several of his videos, and when I watched his review I knew that I would really like it. The subject matter is intense (trigger warning for suicide and depression), but those are also topics that are just near to my heart. I remember enjoying the read, though it was a tough one for me to get through emotionally.

shadowandbones

1. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Okay, I’m pretty sure I saw a huge rise in this book series everywhere, but I definitely think I picked up this series finally after watching Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes recommend it all the time. It’s one of her favorite series and as I’ve read the first two books in the trilogy, I’ve gotta say that I’m hooked (and love Nikolai <3). It’s a beautiful world with lots of danger and I love it.


Comics

youjin

5. You Jin by Fujoking

I spend a lot of time on Instagram (like… way too much time lol) and this popped up in the explore section several times when I was just browsing photos. So when I read it (not on Lezhin’s website), I really enjoyed it. It’s a boy’s love (BL) story and though I can’t really remember everything that happened I do remember that I read it all and liked it and wanted a bit more.

ratqueen1

4. Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe

This was probably one of the comics I picked up when a lot of people on YouTube were reading it and recommending it. It wasn’t necessarily my cup on tea from what I remember, but it wasn’t bad either.

royalservant

3. Royal Servant by Master Gin

This was another one of those reads that popped up a lot on Instagram and so when I read it (again, not on Lezhin until later chapters when I actually discovered Lezhin), I was hooked. The content can be sensitive sometimes, but the plot is getting better the farther along it goes and I’m actually really invested in it now.

sirenslament

2. Siren’s Lament by quimchee

This one wasn’t actually recommended to me via social media (but Rayna, this T5W is about–) SHH, I KNOW! It was actually recommend to me in person by my best friend, and since reading it I’ve been reading it faithfully every week since (or when there’s a new update because sometimes authors have to take breaks, too, you know?). It’s a really cute and beautiful series. (Not all cute, some of it is funny or intense or mysterious.)

sagavol1

1. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Okay, this comic was recommended everywhere on YouTube and it’s actually one of my favorite comic series I’ve read. It’s very intense and violent and sexually explicit, but it’s still a good story. Also, I’ve owned the 7th volume for months now and haven’t read it yet. Like… what am I doing with my life?


I could go on and on about books and comics I’ve read because of social media, but these are the first five that came to mind. Honestly, would I even have read any of these books without being a blogger and being on social media as much as I am? Probably not. I’m so thankful for the ones I have read and so glad others like them as well.

Honorary Mentions

shatterme redqueen fallingkingdoms darkfever

 

The Future of My Blog & Upcoming Changes

Well hello everyone. How are you all? I haven’t blogged in almost a month and it’s been kind of nice to be away from the blogisphere, I’m not gonna lie, but it also felt weird because I’ve been blogging steadily for over two and half years, and to suddenly stop felt so foreign to me, but I think it was definitely needed.

I’ve seen it said and heard many times that once something, like YouTubing or blogging or even reading, isn’t fun anymore, that you just stop doing it or you need to change something about it so it becomes enjoyable again.

I’m going to be honest here: I’ve read one novel (text-based book) so far this year. One. That’s it. But, I have read a bunch of manga (picture-based books) this year, which has brought me more joy than a regular novel has. And you know what? I’m 100% okay with that. I’ve been a huge fan of manga since I was 12, and I stopped reading for a while, so to get back into it as much as I have? Yeah, that’s a great feeling.

Anyway, that’s an entirely different topic, so let’s just talk about what I wanted to talk about today:

What is the future of this blog going to look like and what changes do I have in store?

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and I’ve talked it out with my husband and other people, and I’ve come to this conclusion:

  1. I’m tired of just talking about books and book related topics. Don’t get me wrong, books will always be part of my life and this blog, BUT…
  2. I want to talk even more about my other hobbies and passions and likes and interests than before. I want to review anime episodes (because I’ve been watching a LOT of anime lately) and I want to review movies like the live action Beauty and the Beast (which was A-MAZ-ING) and I want to talk about art and my emotions including depression and I want to talk about my desire to travel and conventions I want to go to and cosplay and so, so much more.

It’s not that I’d stop reviewing books or talking about book related things, but I’d be introducing and talking about a LOT more than JUST books on this blog.

And honestly? It’s my blog. I can do whatever the hell I want with it.

If I want to talk about all 76 of my emotions that I felt while watching the first episode of season two of Attack on Titan, then I’m going to do that. If I want to review a manga series like I’ve done in the past, I’m going to do that. If I want to discuss a video game, an art project, or whatever, then I’m going to do that. If I want to do a regular novel review or discussion or tag post, then I’m going to do that.

As this is my own small corner of the internet, I want to include what I love here. This used to be my happy place for a long time, and that changed somewhere along the way. I’m not happy with the content I’d been producing and I want to be able to discuss and do more as a result.

So, what are the upcoming changes that will affect the blog?

Other than what I stated above, I’m contemplating doing a few things:

  • Changing the layout/design of the blog.
  • Changing the name of the blog, as well as the URL.

If anything I would change it to “Rayna Reviews” or something so I can keep the RR logo, but I also might not even change it at all. I’m still a reader, and reading and books will most likely still be my primary focus for the blog, but I just wanted to let you all know of just what I’ve been thinking and why I haven’t been around almost all year thus far.

So thank you all and I hope to still see your lovely faces around even with the changes.

Let’s chat! ^w^

What do you think of the changes? Do you care that I’m going to be introducing these things into my blog? What are your thoughts? Talk to me!