Another four months have passed, so let's check in on my progress! At my last update, I had only finished four books out of the twenty-six. I feel much more on track now.
Recap to Date
Books finished since previous update: 11, putting challenge total at 15/26.
Picture books read: 11 (Q through Z). Challenge complete! See my Complete Picture Book A to Z post.
Books currently reading toward challenge: 2
Recommended titles: Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau was a fun romance comedy. In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund is a teen murder mystery with nods to the Clue game and movie. Will definitely be reading the sequels.
Am I On Track?
Books read to date: 15
Books still to read: 11
Pages read to date (counting main challenge only): 4304
Pages still to read: 3631
Two-thirds through the year, but only 54 percent through the pages, a little higher if you go by total books. I think I read all the short books early and still have some heavy hitters to go. I do feel more confident than I did at the last update. I read 11 books this last four months, and that's how many I need for the rest of the year. Currently reading six non-challenge books. Once I get those done, I can get refocused. I can do this!
I have completed the Picture Book portion of my A to Z reading challenge! These I did make an effort to read in order, as I had plenty of access to books at the library where I work. I also read more than the 26 needed, for that same reason. So this covers the first picture book I read for each letter.
Spreadsheet of A to Z titles here.
My favorites from the first batch (A to P): Owl Moon by Jane Yolen for a classic and lovely imagery poem, Invasion of the Unicorns by David Biedrzycki was a delight to read, and I Am You: A Book about Ubuntu by Refiloe Moahloli was a very uplifting title.
Favorite title from Q to Z: The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau felt like a fairy tale, with great art and message. It was the only one on this second batch that I gave five stars to. I was somewhat disappointed in my choices overall.
Some I still enjoyed and rated 4 stars: Small Knight and the Anxiety Monster by Manka Kasha was a great visualization of anxiety and how to deal with it. Wombat Underground Sarah L. Thomson was inspired by the Australian wildfires and how animals were saved by hiding in wombat burrows. The Yippy, Yappy Yorkie in the Green Doggy Sweater by Debbie Macomber was a fun read about moving to a new place and exploring the new neighborhood while searching for a lost puppy.
There were a few great picture book reads outside of my A to Z list that I will mention in my end of year review. Are you doing any reading challenges? What are you currently reading?
Recap to Date
Books read: 4 titles for the main challenge (letters A, F, P, and Q)
Books currently reading: 7. I may have gotten carried away... but this is typical of my currently reading list. This also doesn't count books I am reading for book clubs or other groups either...
Best recommended: Anything by Seanan McGuire. I didn't realize it when I first compiled my A to Z list, but three are by her. All novellas. Deborah Baker is a pen name, as is Mira Grant.
For picture books: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen for a classic and lovely imagery poem, Invasion of the Unicorns by David Biedrzycki was a delight to read, and I Am You: A Book about Ubuntu by Refiloe Moahloli was a very uplifting title.
I need your help! I have yet to come across a picture book title that starts with Q that has excited me. Any suggestions?
Finished titles grayed out and check-marked
Picture Books filled in as read
Am I on Track?
Pages read (counting main challenge only): 1300
Pages still to read: 7935
Original estimate was 2 books per month. Now I have to do 3. Which is still doable. I need to read 27 pages a day. Current challenge average is 11, but across all books I am reading more like 35. So I need to read less side books and focus more on my challenge books!
I have been tracking my reading time using the Read More app. I like tracking things. I don't track reading time for graphic novels or picture books, but have been tracking those titles on my Goodreads.
My new novella is now available on for Kindle! The Blazing Princess is the first in a new series of fairy-tale retellings, The Tales of Tessagonia.
The Blazing Princess
Aurelia is cursed to die after eighteen years, with the caveat that true love can follow her into the spirit world and bring her back. To ensure her the best chance, Aurelia’s parents betroth her to one of the neighboring prince twins. But what happens when she falls in love with the wrong prince? Who will save her?
The Tales of Tessagonia
Bentos and Delwyn were alone in the sky, only the silent stars to keep Them company. They created an earth and creatures to fill it, for Their entertainment. Their seven daughters, the muses of Lesenti, watch over the continent of Tessagonia. This land has four kingdoms--Vernissia, Arania, Kether, and Senatin--surrounding an inland sea. Tessagonia is ringed by the Outer Isles, where the old gods have been banished.
You may hear the echo of familiar stories from our own lands. Curses, romance, magical gifts, and gods both light and dark.
I read at least 57 books in 2021 (probably missed tracking a few picture books or graphic novels). You can see My Year in Books on Goodreads for additional stats and the full list of books.
My Favorite Reads from 2021
Stats by Age Group
Adult novels: 14
Young Adult novels: 11
Junior Fiction novels: 4
Early Readers: 2
Picture Books: 11
Graphic Novels: 9
Stats by Genre
I think it's pretty obvious my go-to genre here. This is for the novels only.
Science Fiction: 3
Literary/General Fiction: 1
Favorite Picture Book
Ella's Night Lights by Lucy Fleming. Lovely little book about a fairy who collects light to share to those who need it. Lovely art and story.
Other Random Notes
Average book length: 200 pages
Books read and reviewed for The Enchanted Garden Book Club: 4
Books read for library book club: 2 (we started up again in October, after being on hiatus since April 2020 due to pandemic)
Most emotional read: Heartbreak Bay by Rachel Caine. Not only was the story itself very tense and emotional, it was also very bittersweet as the author passed away the previous year, and this was her last published book. You can read my tribute post here.
What did you read in 2021? Any must reads?
Mary W. Jensen. Author, poet, gamer, library shelver.
A to Z