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 – 28th January ’18


New arrivals  

The Burning ChambersThe Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse (eARC, NetGalley)

Carcassonne 1562: Nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE.  But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever. For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to get out of La Cité alive.

Toulouse: As the religious divide deepens in the Midi, and old friends become enemies, Minou and Piet both find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as sectarian tensions ignite across the city, the battle-lines are drawn in blood and the conspiracy darkens further.  Meanwhile, as a long-hidden document threatens to resurface, the mistress of Puivert is obsessed with uncovering its secret and strengthening her power . . .

The Illumination of Ursula FlightThe Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anne-Marie Crowhurst (eARC, NetGalley)

Born on the night of an ill-auguring comet just before Charles II’s Restoration, Ursula Flight has a difficult future written in the stars.  Against the custom of the age she begins an education with her father, who fosters in her a love of reading, writing and astrology.

Following a surprise meeting with an actress, Ursula yearns for the theatre and thus begins her quest to become a playwright despite scoundrels, bounders, bad luck and heartbreak.

TThe Pharmacist's Wifehe Pharmacist’s Wife by Vanessa Tait (eARC, NetGalley)

Love. Desire. Vengeance. A deadly alchemy.

When Rebecca Palmer’s new husband opens a pharmacy in Victorian Edinburgh, she expects to live the life of a well-heeled gentlewoman. But her ideal is turns to ashes when she discovers her husband is not what he seems. As Rebecca struggles to maintain her dignity in the face of his infidelity and strange sexual desires, Alexander tries to pacify her so-called hysteria with a magical new chemical creation. A wonder-drug he calls heroin.

Rebecca’s journey into addiction takes her further into her past, and her first, lost love, while Alexander looks on, curiously observing his wife’s descent. Meanwhile, Alexander’s desire to profit from his invention leads him down a dangerous path that blurs science, passion, and death. He soon discovers that even the most promising experiments can have unforeseen and deadly consequences…

Friends and TraitorsFriends and Traitors (Inspector Troy #8) by John Lawton (eARC, NetGalley)

It is 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a Continental trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod was too vain to celebrate being fifty so instead takes his entire family on ‘the Grand Tour’ for his fifty-first birthday: Paris, Sienna, Florence, Vienna, Amsterdam. Restaurants, galleries and concert halls. But Frederick Troy never gets to Amsterdam.

After a concert in Vienna he is approached by an old friend whom he has not seen for years – Guy Burgess, a spy for the Soviets, who says something extraordinary: ‘I want to come home.’ Troy dumps the problem on MI5 who send an agent to de-brief Burgess – but the man is gunned down only yards from the embassy, and after that, the whole plan unravels with alarming speed and Troy finds himself a suspect. As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy finds that Burgess is not the only ghost who returns to haunt him.

Waking IsabellaWaking Isabella by Melissa Muldoon (ebook, review copy courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources) 

While filming a documentary about Isabella de’ Medici – the Renaissance princess who was murdered by her husband – Nora, an assistant researcher, begins to connect with the lives of two remarkable women from the past. Unravelling the stories of Isabella, the daughter of a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke, and Margherita, a young girl trying to survive the war in Nazi-occupied Italy, Nora begins to question the choices that have shaped her own life up to this point. As she does, hidden beauty is awakened deep inside of her, and she discovers the keys to her creativity and happiness. It is a story of love and deceit, forgeries and masterpieces – all held together by the allure and intrigue of a beautiful Tuscan ghost.

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I took part in the blog tour for Hattie’s Home by Mary Gibson, publishing a fascinating Q&A with Mary.  Bermondsey, biscuits and ‘bambeaters’ were on the agenda!

Tuesday – I joined the blog tour for The Moral Compass by K. A. Servian and shared my review of this engaging coming-of-age story novel set in 19th century New Zealand.

WednesdayWWW 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 hosted the final stop on the blog tour for Traitor (Mercia Blakewood #3) by David Hingley, publishing my review of this lively historical mystery set in the court of Charles II and featuring a fantastic female protagonist.

Friday – I shared my review of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout for this month’s New Year, New Author theme of The BookBum Club on Goodreads.

Saturday – As part of my From Page to Screen reading project I published my (spoiler free) comparison of the book and film versions of Carol by Patricia Highsmith.

Sunday – I published my review of The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements, a creepily atmospheric story set in 17th century Yorkshire.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 14 out of 156 books read, 5 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 9 out of 50 books read, 1 more than last week (Yay! Progress…)
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Silver) – 4 ARCs read and reviewed out of 25, 1 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen– 10 book/film comparisons out of 15 completed, 1 more than last week
  • 2018 TBR Pile Challenge – 3 out of 12 books read, 1 more than last week
  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2018 – 9 books out of 50 read, 3 more than last week
  • When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 – 4 out of 12 books read, 2 more than last week
  • What’s In A Name Reading Challenge – 0 out of 6 books read, same as last week
  • Buchan of the Month – 1 out of 12 books read, 1 more than last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Blog Tour/Review: Court of Lions by Jane Johnson
  • Blog Tour/Spotlight: An Argument of Blood by Matthew Willis & J. A. Ironside
  • Review: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
  • Review: The Power-House by John Buchan
  • Blog Tour/Q&A & Review: Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik
  • Throwback Thursday: The Existence of Pity by Jeannie Zokan
  • My Five Favourite January Reads
  • Blog Tour/Review: The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus