Setting up January 2022 in my Reading Journal

Would you believe me if I told you that this spread was shaping up to be a hot mess before it ultimately ended up becoming something I don’t hate?

There is a lesson for the New Year somewhere in here, I think… But somehow I managed to take some leftover wrapping paper scraps and a bunch of miscellaneous stickers and create a nature inspired cover page for the first month of the New Year. #FeelingCrafty

Wondering what’s in the reading pocket for this month? Placeholders, mostly. I’m still finishing my last read of 2021. Tomorrow I’ll decide what I feel like reading next.

Happy New Year! Hope your first read of 2022 is a five star favorite! 💖

Setting up my reading journal for the New Year

We’ve been having a week of cold and stormy weather where I live. So I’ve been home, hanging out by the fire, and working on setting up my reading journal for 2022.

Despite my ongoing love/hate relationship with my reading journal, I’ve decided to continue using it next year. Some of that decision has to do with the fact that I’ve only filled half the pages in this notebook. But also, I am starting to prefer tracking my reading in my journal to tracking it on Goodreads. Plus, I think I’ve finally figured out how I want to use it to track notes about the books I’ve read.

So, keep scrolling if you want to see how I’ve set things up for 2022 and what I’ve kept and changed from last year’s set up.

2022 Reading cover page with a stack of books

I don’t like the placement of that quill and ink bottle sticker on my cover page, but other than that I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Like this year, the Tombow marker color I used for the genre is marked on the book spine, and I’ll be using this color coding when I draw in books on the book case in the following spread.

Books Read in 2022 with three empty bookshelves

I liked the year overview bookshelf that I did this year, so I decided to do it again. I only made a few changes. The stripes of black that serve as the base of the shelves are a bit wider this time, and I wrote the month under where I’m going to draw in the books instead of above. Also, I figured out that one of the rectangles on the ruler / stencil combo that I have is the perfect size to use as a book spine. I doodled some in on the May / June shelf just to test it out, and then I added a sticker for decoration.

2022 Reading Stats table with one line per month to fill in total books read and other relevant stats about my reading, and list of 2022 Reading Goals.

I haven’t quite finished this spread, yet. I’m still working on what data I actually want to keep track of (aside from number of books read). This year I kept track of things like book format, age category, and books written by BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ authors. I will probably do something similar in 2022, but I’m going to wait until I have my reading goals sorted out before I draw in any more columns. For example, what’s the point of tracking what format I read in (ebook vs. print vs. audio) or where the book comes from (owned vs. library vs. gift) if I don’t have a reading goal associated with that data? I mean, it’s interesting information. But maybe I can just make a note of that on the page of book notes and not track it here? I don’t know.

2022 Read Harder Challenge from Book Riot printed out and pasted into my journal

I’ve always enjoyed Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. I’ve participated on and off every year since the first one. But in 2021 I pretty much ignored the challenge completely. I put the prompts into my reading journal at the start of the year, just in case I changed my mind part way through and decided I wanted to participate. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t do any of them, even accidentally.

I’m putting the prompts in again for 2022, but this time, after looking over the prompts, I think I may end up participating at least a little bit. And maybe on purpose? We’ll see. I do think it’s a great list of prompts if you’re looking to diversify your reading (which is always one of my reading goals).

I love all the read a genre book by a BIPOC and/or LQBTQIA+ prompts, especially the “read a book in any genre by a POC that’s about joy and not trauma” prompt. Possibly my favorite of the prompts for 2022 is “read a romance where at least one of the protagonists is over 40.” My least favorite of the prompts is definitely “read an award-winning book from the year you were born,” because I think it’s going to be very hard for me to find a book I’m excited about reading that fits that prompt.

Aside from casual participation in the Read Harder Challenge, I don’t plan on doing any other official reading challenges, and I am not making a “22 books to read in 2022” list because that was an utter fail this year. I think I read maybe three of the books I put on that list?

I do have a couple of reading projects that I’ve set for myself. The first is a re-read of all the novels and novellas that I’ve published to date in my Modern Fae series. I want to complete this in January, if possible, before I dive into developmental edits on book five. So I made this spread to track my reading progress.

The Great Modern Fae Re-Read with cover images of the four novels and four novellas published to date and a check box next to each.

I also have a selection of writing books and a short list of non-fiction books on anti-racist and social justice topics that I want to read in 2022. Those are going to be incorporated into my goals, I think. I may also make a spread to track them. Other than that, I’m going to continue to resist the urge to make TBRs in 2022. Instead, I’m going to try to follow my reading whims where they lead.

I have one more book (maybe two?) that I want to try to finish before the end of 2021. Then I can do my December wrap-up and my 2021 reading stats posts. I also need to set up my cover page for January, once I decide what sort of cover image I want. And finish my 2022 reading goals. So stay tuned for more reading journal posts, coming soon.

And if you want to join in my Modern Fae re-read, I’m starting with Eve of the Fae on the first of January, and I’ll be posting progress over on Instagram.

In the meantime, do you have a reading journal or are you starting one for 2022? Are you setting any reading goals for 2022? Are you participating in any challenges or setting any reading projects for yourself? Let me know in the comments.

December Reading Journal Set-Up

This post took me forever to write because I kept putting off drawing my cover page I had everything else done, but I just wasn’t in the mood to draw. Luckily, I found some time and inspiration yesterday, so I can share this with you today!

I scrolled through the Draw So Cute winter holiday art tutorials and decided on the snow globe. I think all this rain we’ve been having is kind of making me hope that it eventually turns to snow, at least for a little bit. The weather has recently turned a bit colder, and there’s been a little bit of snow up in our mountains, but nothing down where we live, yet.

I added some sparkle to the cover page, but it’s really hard to see in the photo. Also, now that I’m looking at it, I’m realizing that the right hand page doesn’t really coordinate well with the left hand page. Probably because I did one of them weeks ago and one of them yesterday. Oh well. I still like it.

So, did you notice those little book covers sticking out of the pocket on the right hand page of the spread? Well, I might have made a TBR for this month… But it’s not really a TBR. It’s more like a book buffet. I’m thinking of it like an extremely delicious selection of all the yummy books I might want to devour this month. None of these are “have to read” books.

I’ve divided them into different categories in the photo and in my summary below. Or, if you want to continue with the buffet metaphor, you could think of them like different food groups. No group is more important than any of the others, and you could nearly make a meal on any one of them.

I grouped them because I want to read according to what I’m in the mood for at any given time. So, if I just want to eat dessert, maybe I’ll just eat dessert. I’m a grown-up. I can do what I want.

This way, if I (for example) get really excited about holiday stories and just want to keep reading more of those, I’ve already picked out a bunch and don’t have to go looking for more. Or alternatively, if I read one holiday story and decide that’s plenty, I can move on to another group based on what I’m craving.

My first grouping is the new (sort-of) releases. Here’s why these, specifically, are at the top of my list:

  • Fated Blades by Ilona Andrews — I just finished The Kinsmen Universe anthology specifically so that I could read this new release which I’m very excited about because I’m into the “ballgowns in space” right now.
  • Graceling (graphic novel) by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds — Graceling was maybe my first favorite YA fantasy book. I love the whole series. So, of course I have to read the graphic novel version that just came out.
  • The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon — I knew this was set in Seattle, but I just found out from a friend that that there’s a section set on the island where I live (which is NW of Seattle), so this got bumped up to the top of my TBR.

Next are books by friends that I’m really excited to read:

  • Forrest for the Trees by Kilby Blades — It’s been a while since I’ve read one of Kilby’s books, and the premise for this one is really calling to me. The hero is a fire marshal and the heroine is a park ranger, and there’s a mystery! Plus, I think it’s a grumpy / sunshine pairing, which I love.
  • The Bounce Back by Addie Woolridge — This is Addie’s follow up to The Checklist which came out earlier this year. I really enjoyed it. I will be looking for any signs that my secret ship (the socially awkward tech exec and the best friend from The Checklist) might get together in an upcoming book. (Addie, if you’re reading this, I’ll settle for a novella.)
  • House of Scepters by Anne Zoelle — I’ve been trying to get to this one all year! Anne is one of the few in my writing group who also writes fantasy romance, and I can’t believe it is taking me so long to read her latest series. Especially when all our friends can’t stop saying how good it is!

Then we have our selection of holiday romances:

  • Under A Winter Sky by Kelley Armstrong, Jeffe Kennedy, Melissa Marr, L. Penelope, and Grace Draven — I’ve already started reading this one. The only author in this group that I’ve read anything by is Grace Draven, and I think her story is the shortest of the bunch. But I bought this last year because what better way to sample the writing of a group of fantasy romance authors I’ve been interested in checking out than to read an anthology of their winter holiday themed novellas? I’m only about half-way through, but I’m already loving it, and I know I will be adding more books by these authors to my TBR.
  • The Heart of Christmas by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, Courtney Milan — I can’t remember where I heard about this anthology. I think it was a podcast, maybe? All I remember is that I added it to my TBR earlier this year with the plan that I would read it during the holiday season. I’ve heard great things about Mary Balogh and will read pretty much anything by Courtney Milan.
  • Christmas With Holly by Lisa Kleypas — I’m pretty sure this got made into a Hallmark movie, but that’s not why I picked it up. I picked it up because it’s set on one of the islands where I live! I borrowed it from my library last year, then never got around to reading it. So I’m trying again this year.

And the next up in my two current favorite cozy mystery romance series:

  • Miss Moriarty, I Presume? by Sherry Thomas — I don’t think this one needs any explanation. If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know how much I love Lady Sherlock and know how excited I am to read this new release.
  • An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn — I’ve been dragging my feet on this one because it’s the last before I have to wait for a new one to be released (in spring 2022, I think). But, I’m still on my cozy mystery kick, so I may finally get to it this month.

And finally, one last book off my 21 for 2021 list (which I am definitely not carrying over or recreating for 2022, but I’ll talk about that more when I do my 2022 reading goals):

  • Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake — This is the last book in this series, and I keep forgetting about it, then seeing it on my TBR and kicking myself for forgetting. I think maybe I got frustrated with the last book I read in this series (book three?), but I was really liking it for the first two books, and I do want to see how it ends, but the reviews have me thinking that I will be disappointed, so I don’t know. It may be now or never.

And that’s my set up for the last month of 2021! What are you reading this month? Have you read any of the books on my book buffet for this month? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, I hope you are having a happy holiday season and that you have lots of good reading to cozy up with!

October Reading Wrap-up

This wasn’t an amazing reading month for me. I suffered from a big reading slump at the start of the month, then eventually read some stuff that I enjoyed, but nothing really knocked my socks off. But, hey! Look! I completed my Goodreads challenge goal!

So that’s cool! Now let’s talk about what I read in October…

Rather than make my usual “outbox” spread this month, I just put the book covers below my book list. I didn’t think three books necessitated a full two-page spread. Plus it’s all super color-coordinated! That’s a cool coincidence, right? And, for the second month in a row, everything I read happened to be published this year! Who even am I reading all these new releases?

Here’s what I read in October:

  • The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik — This was the book that pulled me out of my reading slump. I tried reading the first chapter of a selection of books, and when I got to this one, the grumpy voice of the main character hooked me. El reminds me of Murderbot in that way, and it was just a good fit for the mood I was in at the start of this month. I enjoyed the story, but I’m still annoyed about the ending. I didn’t realize there were going to be more books in this series, and was not prepared for that massive cliff-hanger ending.
  • First Comes Like by Alisha Rai — After the evil cliff-hanger, I picked this up for a quick, fun read at the recommendation of a friend, and it was exactly that. I trust this author to write a heartwarming romance, and she always delivers. Of course, I also forgot that I never read book two in this series, so oops! It was fine, though. The books in this series all feature different couples in a friend group, and the heroine of this book is one of the sisters from the author’s Forbidden Hearts series. Even though the timelines of each book are consecutive, I had no issue reading this one out of order.
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers — This is a novella in what looks like a new series from this author. I went into this expecting that it was going to be a character-driven story with no plot, and that’s what I got. So, expectations met. I did enjoy it, and if you like other books by this author, you’ll probably love this one. I appreciate her writing, but her books are really just not for me. I realized this when I finally noticed that it was taking me weeks to finish a 160 page novella. As much as I enjoy her worlds, I need plot.

I also updated my 2021 bookshelf in my reading journal. Only one shelf left to fill in…

That reading slump at the start of the month caused me to reflect a bit on my reading life. I think I’m moving in the direction of becoming more of a mood reader. Because of that, I’m also getting better at DNFing books. Or at least putting them aside and admitting that they’re just not a good fit for me right now rather than wasting weeks of my life avoiding reading anything because I feel like I have to finish the book I already started before I read anything else.

I’m also figuring out how to use my reading journal. For most of this year, I had this idea in my head that I needed to write these deep thoughts about the books I was reading and rate them according to this system where I gave each book a score for character, plot, world, intrigue, and enjoyment. Then I averaged those scores to come up with a final rating for each book. But that’s all way too much work and is turning out to be not helpful in achieving what I ultimately wanted this reading journal to achieve. So I changed things up this month, and it worked SO MUCH BETTER!

Now I’m using my notes pages to identify the universal fantasy elements in the book, any tropes, and what MICE elements are included in the story, in addition to the very basic idea of “did I like it and why/why not?” This is WAY more helpful in identifying story elements that I gravitate towards and love vs. the ones that are just not for me. SO MUCH BETTER! Why didn’t I think of this before?

Anyway, that’s my October reading wrapped up. Overall, no new favorite books, but a lot of good new ideas. I’m pretty satisfied with that.

November Reading Journal Set-Up

Tomorrow is a new month, and that means it’s time to make a new cover page and book list in my reading journal. This week, I was feeling the fall vibes, so I went with a cozy winter owl theme.

Once again, the drawing is from a Draw So Cute tutorial. Except she went with a brown owl and added some wind and leaves falling. I decided I preferred a grey owl and color scheme that reminds me of my dad since November was his birthday month, and I always miss him the most at this time of year.

As for my November reading plans, I just downloaded a bunch of books from the library. Possibly the one I’m most excited to read is Dial A For Aunties. I’m also crossing my fingers and hoping that I’ll get the new Lady Sherlock book that comes out on the 2nd of November. I have it on hold, but I’m not first in line.

What are you planning to read this month?

October Reading Journal Set-Up

I really leaned into the spooky season vibes with my reading journal set-up for October.

I love the way this turned out. I ended up using this video from Draw So Cute to make the haunted house and this video from Amanda Rach Lee to do the font for “October.” Then I added my usual book list summary to the facing page, and that’s it. Reading journal set-up done.

I’m not expecting this to be a big reading month for me. I know I say that almost every month, but it’s going to be hard to find time for reading this month and next month, because of NaNoWriMo. However, I’ve already committed to a buddy read of Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and there is going to be another round of Tome Topple at the end of the month. So, I’ve been thinking about maybe trying to squeeze in time to read one tome during the final two weeks of October.

If I do decide to participate in Tome Topple, I’ve picked out a few tomes that are calling to me. Then I split them into two options. I’ll pick one or the other (or neither) depending on how I’m feeling when the readathon starts.

The first option for this round will be to read one (or more) of these books:

  • The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera — This is the sequel to The Tiger’s Daughter, which I really liked. I put this book (and the third/final book in the trilogy) on my “21 for 2021” reading list at the start of this year. I haven’t made a ton of progress on that list, and there are only three months left in the year, so I think I better get moving on that.
  • The Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa — This is a much anticipated read for me. Also, I have it on ebook and in print, so if I’m craving a paper book, I can read this, and still be able to switch to Kindle if I’m reading before bed.
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn — This book has been at the top of my TBR for a while. I had hoped to get to read it for one of the prompts in the Magical Readathon last month, but I ran out of time. If I only have time for one book during this round of Tome Topple, this one is probably going to be it.

Option two for this round will be to read the remaining books in the Throne of Glass series, starting with Empire of Storms, which is where I left off when I abandoned this series back in 2015. Once upon a time, I really loved this series, but I kind of grew out of it and now I’m not sure if it’s even worth finishing. BUT I did put all three of these on my “21 for 2021” list. So, maybe? It’s been so long that I’m going to need to read several recaps in order to remind myself what happened leading up to book five.

What’s on your October TBR? Are you planning on participating in Tome Topple? Are you feeling the spooky fall vibes? Let me know in the comments. Happy reading!

September Reading Wrap-up

The first part of the best Magical Readathon ever is over, and now it’s time for spooky season and writing lots of words. But first, let’s recap what I read in September.

I participated in G’s Magical Readathon and completed three of the six prompts along The Novice Path. I can not even begin to tell you how creative and fun this readathon was. I loved every minute of it, right down to the wrap-up video where we found out what the choices we’d made during The Novice Path narrative (which was released in the Discord group in parts throughout the month) meant. The work that went into this… I am in awe. So good.

I adapted my notes pages for the books I read for this readathon to include the challenge prompt at the top.

The books I read / prompts I completed are:

  • Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell for The Mist of Solitude (Read a standalone) — I really loved this book. It’s a m/m arranged marriage in space, and there’s also a murder mystery. Just beware of the content warnings. One of the pair was in an abusive relationship and is still working through the trauma from that.
  • Witch, Please by Ann Aguirre for Ruin of the Skye (Read a book featuring supernatural elements) — This was a light and fluffy read. I liked it, but didn’t love it as much as I thought I would given the premise and the fact that I really enjoyed a previous book by this author. I feel like the pacing was off (which, if you’ve been reading my NaNoWriMo Prep posts hints at plot issues, but I’m not going to be more specific because spoilers). That sort of ruined things for me.
  • Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price for Obsidian Falls (Read a thriller or mystery) — Since I have been on a murder mystery kick lately, I was super excited to see this cozy mystery retelling of the beloved Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. It’s set in the Victorian era, but it’s not an exact retelling. I mean, Bingley is accused of murder, and both Darcy and Mr. Bennett are lawyers in competing law firms. I liked the choices the author made and how she twisted this tale to adapt it to a different genre while still keeping a lot of everyone’s favorite beats (and in some cases, lines) from the original.
I ended up not putting the book cover print outs next to the appropriate prompts because they were too big.

I also read two non-fiction business books. The first was We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers. The second was 7 Figure Fiction by T. Taylor. They were both really good reads.

I never did make a cover page for September. I just started with the Magical Readathon stuff. And I pasted the book covers for my Magical Readathon books onto the map, so I decided not to do an “Outbox” page for September. Instead, I just added my usual summary page to the end so I could easily collect my book stats from the month, and pasted the two non-readathon book covers onto the bottom of that page.

Fun fact about my September reads, they were all published in 2021!

I will be doing a cover page for October, though. I’ve been checking out Draw So Cute‘s “How to Draw Fall / Autumn Art” playlist on YouTube for inspiration. I’m planning on having a little Sunday Funday art session later today and will post photos once I get it all set up. Until then, happy reading!

August Reading Wrap-up

August turned out to be another big reading month. I ended up reading six books, evenly divided between fiction and non-fiction. I also managed to actually write down my thoughts in my reading journal for nearly all of the books I read this month! Big wins all around! (Except for the writing. Don’t ask about how the writing went.)

What I read in August:

  • Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen — This was a cute historical romance that also has a mystery sub-plot. I enjoyed it while reading it, but have pretty much forgotten almost everything about it since then. The heroine is a fan of Jane Austen (who is alive and publishing in the year this story takes place), and when she is confused about what to do she often considers what her favorite Jane Austen heroines would do in her place. If you like historical romance in general and Jane Austen in particular, I recommend checking this out.
  • Write Novels Fast: Writing Faster With Art Journaling by Shéa MacLeod — At only 36 pages, this barely qualifies as a book, but it’s listed in Goodreads, so I’m counting it. I was in a bit of a creative slump when I picked up this book and needed some inspiration. There were just enough ideas in here to motivate me to dust off the notebook I’ve been using as my brainstorming / character building / plotting notebook for my Modern Fae series and get back to work. I’m not convinced the tips in this book are going to help me write any faster, but they did help me move past a creative block.
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami — I can’t remember if I bought this for my husband several years ago, or if my mom bought it for him because I said I thought he might like it. Either way, it’s been sitting on our bookshelf for a while. I decided to pick it up to see if it had any words of wisdom that might help motivate me to step up my running game. It turned out that it did. Plus the author made really insightful parallels between running and writing. So, that was great! My only complaint is that something about the narrative voice makes it sound like the author thinks that the audience for this book is exclusively men. That was super annoying.
  • A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine — I really enjoyed this follow-up to A Memory Called Empire. The story picks up shortly after the events at the end of the previous book. Even though that book could have been read as a stand-alone, it was nice to see what happened next. If the first book was, at it’s heart, a “whodunnit” murder mystery, this is mostly an alien-first-contact story. But, like the first book, there is a LOT of other stuff going on, including all the politics and struggles of those who find themselves trying to “do the right thing” within or in the face of a large and aggressive empire. Meaty sci-fi! Yum!
  • Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur — This was a pretty light and fluffy contemporary romance that was a very loose f/f retelling of Pride & Prejudice. I think I expected the plot to be a little more of an actual retelling than it turned out to be, so that was a little bit of a disappointment. Also, there wasn’t really any other plot besides the romance plot, which I wasn’t expecting. The romance plot was good, and I enjoyed the characters. I’ve just come to expect an external conflict in addition to the internal conflict in the contemporary romance books I read. It’s nice to see two characters falling in love, but I also want them struggling to accomplish something else, too.
  • Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch — This book was fantastic. My husband and I listened to it on our recent road trip. It kept us both engaged and sparked a ton of discussion. The audiobook narration was really easy to follow, even in places where the author/narrator is trying to describe specific uses of repeated letters and unusual punctuation. Though, it did help that I happened to also have a copy of this on ebook. That way I could look up anything that I wasn’t sure I fully understood from the audiobook. If you are at all interested in language and looking for insights into how informal communication has evolved through the decades, I highly recommend checking this out.

In case you are curious, I also updated the bookshelf overview page in my reading journal. I really like how it’s turning out. As a reminder, the colors on the spines represent genre, and the little hearts signify which of the books are romances.

It always feels like I’m reading a lot of romance, but if you count the hearts on the spines in the photo, I’ve only read nine so far this year. And that’s out of forty-three books read, total.

Also, wow! I’ve already read forty-three books so far this year! Only nine more books until I reach my annual goal of fifty-two total books read. I’m not going to change my Goodreads goal, though. I have two first drafts of two different novels that I want to finish before the end of the year (and I did not get much writing done in August). Plus the holidays are coming up. So I need to step up the writing and cool it with the reading, at least until after I get my work done each day.

What are you reading? Are you also doing the Magical Readathon in September? Let me know in the comments.

A New Magical Readathon

In case you haven’t heard, Book Roast created a NEW Magical Readathon! It looks amazing, and I am definitely planning on participating. You can watch her video here to get all the details and the links to the printable maps and info sheets that she created. The whole thing is based around a world that she built, not around an existing fandom. It’s incredibly creative! I love it!

The kick-off of this readathon is divided into two parts. The first part is called “The Novice Path.” There are seven locations along the path, each with a reading prompt. You need to complete two by the end of September in order to succeed and advance to the next event, which is going to start sometime in the spring of 2022.

The second part of this readathon is where you create your character for the spring readathon. There are a series of choices with reading prompts that help you define various aspects of your character. Specifically, where they come from and their heritage. Those have to be completed by April 2022 so that you have your character set and ready to go for the next Magical Readathon.

You can see in the photo above that I’ve penciled in the names of some books that I may read in order to complete the various prompts for both the Novice Path and to create my character. I’ll be writing the name of the book I actually read for the prompts I complete in pen after I’m done. I doubt that I will complete all the prompts for the Novice Path, but I definitely want to make sure to finish at least two before the end of September.

Did I mention that there’s a map for the Novice Path? There’s a map.

Seriously? Go watch the video. Book Roast clearly put so much effort into this, and it’s amazing, and you should definitely participate.

I also printed out the map and pasted it into my reading journal. My plan was to print out the book covers of the books I read for each of the prompts and paste them in next to the prompt once I’ve finished reading them. However, as you can see in the photo below, the book covers I printed out for my TBR books are a little too large.

I didn’t glue down those book covers, yet. I was just placing them to see how I liked them. Also, I may change my mind about which book to read once I get started. If I end up reading more than two or three books, I’m probably going to reprint the book covers in a slightly smaller size so that they fit better. Stay tuned for my September wrap-up to see what I read and how this page ultimately turns out.

I am so excited to get started with this readathon that I haven’t wanted to start reading anything new until after the first of September. Since I just recently finished reading the last of my in-progress books, my “currently reading” shelf on Goodreads is actually empty! I think that may be the first time that’s happened since I had a Goodreads account. That also means that I’m already working on my August Reading Wrap-Up, and I should have that posted before the end of this week.

Until then, go plan your Magical Readathon TBR and tell me what you’re reading in the comments! 🙂

August Reading Journal Set-Up

Tomorrow is the first day of August, and we’re having a rare overcast summer day today. Perfect weather for a little crafty time! So, rather than just writing “August” in the middle of the cover page and surrounding it with doodles, I decided to bust out my Tombow dual tip brush markers and a drawing tutorial video and get my reading journal set up for the new month.

For the image on the cover page, I used a drawing tutorial from Draw So Cute on YouTube. I’ve been using her videos to help me draw birthday cards to my niblings. A few months ago, in the process of searching for cute stuff to draw, I found this teacher appreciation video that featured books and tea. I bookmarked it to come back to when I needed a cute cover page for my reading journal, then I forgot all about it until it was time to draw another birthday card. That ended up being earlier this week, which was perfect timing for my August cover page.

On the opposite page, I went with my usual book list, but I added a little envelope to the bottom. Since most of the books I want to read are on my Kindle, I sort of forget that they’re there once they get bumped off that first page of books. I’ve realized that these little book covers that I print out for my “Outbox” page at the end of the month are a pretty good substitute for a physical book stack. But I don’t want to glue them down to the page and then have to print them out a second time (and waste more paper and toner). So, I figured out that I could just print a bunch of them and keep them in the folder at the back of my notebook.

Then I got the bright idea to make a little envelope where I could keep a few of the covers for the books I think I want to read next. This way, I can still read what I feel like reading by rotating covers between the little envelope and the folder in the back of my notebook depending on my reading mood. Then, at the end of the month, I’ll take the covers for the books I’ve read out of the little envelope and paste them onto my reading summary page. If this little process improvement works, then I’ll make a new envelope for next month’s book list page.

I struggled a bit trying to pick which books I most want to read next… At the moment, I’m not quite a quarter of the way into A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine. Since I most likely won’t finish it before I got to sleep tonight, that was an automatic addition to the envelope. I also recently remembered that I want to read Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen. It’s a Jane Austen-esque historical romance with a mystery subplot that has been hanging out on my Kindle for a while and sounds like it would be perfect for that mystery kick I’ve been on lately. The sixth Veronica Speedwell mystery made the cut for a similar reason. Then, all that historical romance reminded me that I still haven’t read The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan. So I tucked that into the envelope so that I don’t forget (again).

I made myself stop there for now. I have a bunch more covers printed out for other books that are on my mind. So, I may switch things up depending on what sort of books I’m craving this month.

This is what it looks like with the little covers tucked into the envelope:

And now my reading journal is ready for August! What are you planning to read this month?