Bookviews in Review

Did I read everything I set out to in 2020? No, absolutely not. But I did manage to read a lot. I read on my breaks at work. Right before bed. And sometimes even during church up by myself in the sound booth (shhh…don’t tell anyone!)

I revamped that list several times throughout the year. Some titles I lost interest in, some I just decided I didn’t have the time to read, and some were from genres that I don’t normally read which somehow weaseled their way into my TBR pile.

In June of 2020 I decided to take you all along with me as I read through the year with Bookviews. I’m not particularly gifted with writing book reviews, so Bookviews was the answer to my problem. Okay, okay. So wanting to share thoughts about particular books isn’t really a problem, but I still wanted to find a way to do so and make it my own.

Bookviews was born after watching a lifestyle and makeup channel on YouTube do something called Speed Reviews. In those videos, the content creator gives her initial thoughts on new makeup products or something else she’s trying out for the home. Here’s my annual report on how I did going back (or not going back) to books from Bookviews posts since last June.

Disclaimer: I forgot to do the post for July, so all I have are posts for June, August, September, October, November and December.

June

This might be a weird reason to have not read these books yet, but because I have the physical copies of these titles, I never got around to reading them. I found myself so focused on beating that ebook goal that I let slide the ones on my physical bookshelves.

Fear not! I plan on reading both of these this year, as I’ve completed all my reads on my Kindle. The only downside? I now will be taking books to work instead of just having them on my phone. Physical books are perfect for days when I’m a cashier out in the garden center and we’re not yet at peak season. That’s the only time I can allow myself reading time on the job.

These books are fine examples of stories I haven’t lost any interest in. I still really want to find a Politano book to love, and I definitely already like several Michelle Diener titles. In fact, I have BANQUET OF LIES on deck for January’s Bookviews. Perhaps I’ll start that tonight before bed?

August

Stories based in, on, and around the Victorian era are very near and dear to my heart. As a result, I never pick up books or watch shows based on later eras (like the 1920s onward). So I don’t know what possessed me to pick up The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook. I think I thought it would be good for research – menus, meal sets, accouterments, and that sort of thing. It wasn’t until I actually received the book did I realize Downton Abbey is actually set much later than the novel I was working on at the time.

As for A LADY OUT OF TIME, I’m still quite interested in reading this title. I don’t dabble in time travel very much (even though I love Doctor Who), as it’s a very different thing to read over watching it happen in a television show. This book did make the cut with the last book clean out I did a few weeks ago. Perhaps it’ll be one of my first reads in February?

September

Two very different themes. Authors. Tales. Genres. Etc., etc., etc. I don’t know if this is a good thing to admit about a series or not, but I’m addicted to The Riven Kingdom books by Shari L. Tapscott. I didn’t think it would, as it’s written for a Young Adult audience. But it took until halfway through 2020 for me to realize I truly do prefer young adult and new adult books to adult ones. Is it just me, or do authors feel that they can’t have fun with adult age books? Do things always need to be so serious, or is it just the titles I tend to pick up?

If you couldn’t guess it by now, I love stories about royalty, retellings, reimaginings, and so on. So is it any surprise I’m drawn to Philippa Gregory’s stories? Even though I know THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN is part of a very, very long Tudor book series, I hope that I can still read it as a stand-alone tale.

October

At one time I had every intention of being so active and so well-known on NetGalley and Goodreads for reviews that I started requesting to read every ARC I could get my hands on. That didn’t happen, and I am very glad now that it did not. FEAR ON THE PHANTOM SPECIAL came out of that experiment. While I do love a good train scene or story, I never got around to actually reading it. And, by the time I did, the purpose for the review period had long since passed. I wasn’t fond of NetGalley in terms of needing to read titles so quickly. I like reading at my own pace, on my own time frame.

As for THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN, I still really want to read this. I bought it in a small town here in Pennsylvania last year during a short birthday vacation in September. Never lost interest in it’s premise, that’s a very good thing!

November

It’s been a rather amusing walk down memory lane, because many titles I wanted to read matched each other in some way (theme, genre, authors, etc). November’s choices are no exception.

I keep wanting to expand my readership, find new authors, and new genres to love. Every time I try, however, I just can’t get into modern horror or mystery. Would you believe I’ve never read anything by Stephen King?

“But, Leigh,” you say. “What about that haunted house story you’ve got on your TBR list for 2021? Hmmm?” Yes, I know it’s there. Just because I haven’t found one to love yet doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop trying.

December

Whew! Finally! We’ve made it to the end of this Year in Review. More like half a year, but who’s counting? And we’ve FINALLY found a month where I read both titles. One title I was slightly disappointed in, and the other enthralled.

Even though I do love Melanie Dickerson’s Medieval Fairy Tales retellings, I’ve found her writing to be a little…young (?) as of late. If that makes sense. As though she writes mostly for a younger audience. I felt her later reimaginings of The Pied Piper and Mulan fell a little short, and I don’t love them as much as I do her earlier works. The same goes for A DANGEROUS ENGAGEMENT.

Now A DANGEROUS DUET, on the other hand, I loved. It also made me sad. Why? Because the story takes place in a setting quite like the one I imagined for an old WIP. The same time period. Used the same references and so on. So it took me a long while to love this book. “There’s nothing new under the sun,” they say. And I quite agree. It was just crazy, finding Karen Odden’s story so similar to my own. I really do love her writing style, though.


Um, did I read anything at all??? It really doesn’t look like it, does it? My 80+ read lists definitely prove otherwise.

If anything, this shows just how quickly readers can change their minds about what books they’d like to pick up, and how those decisions can greatly influence what sells and what doesn’t. Plus, as someone who still loves historical fiction, seeing so many historical titles coming out in recent years is really encouraging.

So I’m never going to say I’m never going to read anything above. Because, who knows? Perhaps I won’t be able to sleep one night because I’m craving a good ol’ haunted house story. And you know what? It’s totally okay to read outside your preferred genres.

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