Blogging & Reading Goals 2018: End of Year Report

Set Goals

As the old year comes to a close, it’s time to look back at the reading and blogging goals I set for 2018 and see how I did…or didn’t.

Reading Goals

Reading challenges:

TBR Challenge 20182018 TBR Pile Challenge (hosted by RoofBeamReader) – Read all twelve books on my list

FAIL – I only managed to read four books from my list of twelve but I hoping to do better next year.  You can read my 2019 sign-up post here.  

2018 HF Reading Challenge_Graphic2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (hosted by Passages to the Past) – I’m aiming for Prehistoric level which means reading 50+ books

PASS – As a lot of  the books I read are historical fiction, I’ll have to admit this wasn’t really that much of a challenge.  For this reason I’ve decided to pass on this one in 2019.

Buchan of the MonthBuchan of the Month – Read the twelve books I’ve identified and, I hope, participate in some discussion with other bloggers about our reviews

PASS – It would be pretty bad to fail at one of your own reading challenges, wouldn’t it?  My review of this year’s final Buchan of the Month – Sick Heart River – was published earlier today.   There are plenty of Buchan books (fiction and non-fiction) available to be read/re-read, and I’ll be posting my reading list for 2019 in the next few days. 

The Classics ClubClassics Club – I want/need to make more progress on this in order to complete my list by the end of December 2018

PASS/FAIL – This is a fail in the sense that I didn’t manage to complete my list by my original deadline of 31st December but that was a pretty ambitious (OK, crazy) deadline I set myself.  I realised part way through this year there was no way it was going to happen and amended the deadline to 31st December 2021.  I think that’s do-able with my new plan to add a book from the list to my reading schedule each month. 

NetGalley Challenge 2018NetGalley & Edelweiss Challenge 2018 (hosted by Bookish Things & More) – I’m going for Silver level once again which means reading and reviewing 25 books on NetGalley

PASS – A bit like the historical fiction challenge mentioned above, I was able to achieve this fairly easily (I managed over 40) and I’ve retained my 80% plus feedback ratio.  So this is another one I’ve decided to pass on in 2019.

When Are You Reading Challenge 2018When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 (hosted by Taking on a World of Words) –This challenge involves reading a book predominantly set in each of twelve specified time periods

PASS – Reading twelve historical fiction books is not difficult for me but finding a match for each of the time periods can be surprisingly tricky.  However, I managed to complete the challenge and I’ve signed up for 2019 as well.  Read my sign-up post and provisional reading list here.

What's In A Name 2018What’s In A Name 2018 (hosted by The Worm Hole) – The challenge is to read a book with a title that matches each of six categories.  Easy, you say.  In fact, not as easy as you’d think.

PASS (Provisional) – This one is still in the balance because I’m currently reading the book I need to fit the final category:  ‘A fruit or vegetable’ (Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller).  However, I should finish it later today, although my review probably won’t be published until tomorrow.

Goodreads – I plan to set a target of 156 books (same as 2017)

PASS – Goodreads tells me I’ve read 190 books this year but that includes some DNFs.  My own tally is 188 (including Bitter Orange, mentioned above).  The target of 156 (i.e. three books per week) is about right for me so I’ll go with the same target for 2019.  I don’t exactly need a target but I do like to keep track of the books I read and I always enjoy looking at the Your Year in Books breakdown from Goodreads.

Author review requests:

Reduce my review turnaround time to two months or under (currently three or four)

FAIL – I’m still way behind on reading and reviewing the books sent to me by authors.  (There are twenty-three in the pile currently, the oldest dating from October 2017.) To avoid adding to the issue (and my guilt), I decided to stop accepting new review requests in August 2018, except from authors I’ve worked with before.  My plan for 2019 is to try to read at least one book from my author review pile each month – two, if I can manage it. 


  • Maintain my 80% feedback ratio
  • Attain my 100 Reviews badge
  • Get an auto approval

PASS – I’m going to judge this a pass because I’ve maintained my 80% plus feedback ratio and I attained my 100 reviews badge a few months ago.  The auto approval is out of my control really but I’m hoping if I can get back to reviewing books on my NetGalley shelf closer to publication it might happen in 2019.  

Blogging Goals

  • Continue to take part in Top Ten Tuesday, WWW Wednesdays and Throwback Thursday
  • Start my own meme
  • Update my blog’s theme and graphics
  • Create a blog page(s) devoted to John Buchan
  • Create a blog page to index author Q&As I’ve carried out
  • Take blog tour breaks in February and December

PASS/FAIL – This is another mixture because I have participated most weeks in Top Ten Tuesday and WWW Wednesday but have been a bit remiss with Throwback Thursday.  I’m still searching for a good idea for my own meme but it’s hard because there are so many great ones out there already.  A big fail on updating my blog theme and graphics and on creating the new pages.  Something for the New Year, I think.  I’ve been much better at disciplining myself not to hop on every blog tour I get invited to join (especially if it involves posting a review) and I’ve taken month long blog tour breaks during the year.

Personal Goals

Start a proofreading course

FAIL – This seemed like a good idea but, having researched the time commitment involved, I’m going to park this one for the time being. 

If you had blogging and/or reading goals for 2018, how did you get on?  Will you be setting goals for 2019?  Happy New Year everyone!

Christmas 4

My Week in Books – 4th March ’18


New arrivals  

Mr Peacock's PossessionsMr Peacock’s Possessions by Lydia Syson (eARC, Netgalley)

Oceania 1879. A family of settlers from New Zealand are the sole inhabitants of a remote volcanic island.

For two years they have struggled with the harsh reality of trying to make this unforgiving place a paradise they can call their own. At last, a ship appears. The six Pacific Islanders on board have travelled eight-hundred miles across the ocean in search of work and new horizons. Hopes are high for all, until a vulnerable boy vanishes. In their search for the lost child, settlers and newcomers together uncover far more than they were looking for. The island¹s secrets force them all to question their deepest convictions.

EntanglementEntanglement by Katy Mahood (eARC, NetGalley)

2007: At the end of a momentous day, Charlie, Stella and John cross paths under the arches of Paddington Station. As Charlie locks eyes with Stella across the platform, a brief, powerful spark of recognition flashes between them. But they are strangers…aren’t they?

Plunging back thirty years we watch as, unknown to them all, the lives of Stella and John, and Charlie and his girlfriend Beth, are pulled ever closer, an invisible thread connecting them across the decades and through London’s busy streets.

For Stella, becoming a young mother in the 1970s puts an end to her bright academic career in a way John can’t seem to understand. Meanwhile Charlie gambles all future happiness with Beth when his inner demons threaten to defeat him.

In rhythmic and captivating prose, Katy Mahood effortlessly interweaves the stories of these two families who increasingly come to define one another in the most vital and astounding ways. With this soaring debut, she explores the choices and encounters that make up a lifetime, reminding us just how closely we are all connected.

Suitors and SabotageSuitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey (eARC, NetGalley)

Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.

Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended. But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows – despite their efforts to remain just friends – so does the danger…

WaltScott_The Gallows PoleThe Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers (ebook)

“I saw them. Stag-headed men dancing at on the moor at midnight, nostrils flared and steam rising…”

An England divided. From his remote moorland home, David Hartley assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history. They are the Cragg Vale Coiners and their business is ‘clipping’ – the forging of coins, a treasonous offence punishable by death.  A charismatic leader, Hartley cares for the poor and uses violence and intimidation against his opponents. He is also prone to self-delusion and strange visions of mythical creatures.

When excise officer William Deighton vows to bring down the Coiners and one of their own becomes turncoat, Hartley’s empire begins to crumble. With the industrial age set to change the face of England forever, the fate of his empire is under threat.

Forensically assembled from historical accounts and legal documents, The Gallows Pole is a true story of resistance that combines poetry, landscape, crime and historical fiction, whose themes continue to resonate. Here is a rarely-told alternative history of the North.

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I took part in the blog tour for Nothing Bad Happens Here by Nikki Crutchley with a spotlight feature.  I also my review of The Rain Never Came by Lachlan Walter, a story about a drought-stricken Australia with a distinctly post-apocalyptic theme.

Tuesday – I shared my Top Ten Tuesday list of books that I could reread forever. I also published my review of the emotional The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri.

Wednesday WWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m reading now and what I’ll be reading next.   I also published my review of Caligula by Simon Turney, a different take on that infamous Roman Emperor.

Thursday – I took part in the blog tour for The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg, a fantastic fictionalised portrait of the tempestuous marriage of Charmian and Jack London and Charmian’s relationship with Harry Houdini.

Friday – I shared my Five Favourite books I read in February and also my thoughts on the longlist for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.  I’m aiming to read the ten books on the list I haven’t already read before the shortlist is announced in April. Note the word ‘aiming’, not ‘going to’!

Saturday – I took part in the weekend book blitz for The Study of Silence by Malia Zaidi by hosting a guest post from the author. I also shared my list for the next Classics Club spin.  The spin number will be announced on 9th March.  Finally, I participated in the 6 Degrees of Separation meme, creating a list of six books linked in some way to this month’s starting book, The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf.   If you fancy taking part next month, April’s starting book is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

Sunday – I published my review of Killed by Thomas Enger as part of the blog tour for this the fifth and final outing for investigative journalist, Henning Juul.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 31 out of 156 books read, 2 more than last 3 weeks
  • Classics Club Challenge – 11 out of 50 books read, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Silver) – 10 ARCs read and reviewed out of 25, 2 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen– 10 book/film comparisons out of 15 completed, same as last update
  • 2018 TBR Pile Challenge – 3 out of 12 books read, same as last week
  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2018 – 15 books out of 50 read, 2 more than last week
  • When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 – 6 out of 12 books read, 1 more than last update
  • What’s In A Name Reading Challenge – 0 out of 6 books read, same as last week
  • Buchan of the Month – 2 out of 12 books read, same as last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Guest Post: Walk With Me by Debra Schoenberger
  • Review: All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth Church
  • Review: Brewing Up Murder by Neila Young
  • Blog Tour/Review: Waking Isabella by Melissa Muldoon
  • Blog Tour/Spotlight: Far Cry from the Turquoise Room by Kate Rigby
  • Throwback Thursday: Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
  • Blog Tour/Spotlight: Fanny Newcomb and Irish Channel Ripper by Ana Brazil