Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Another year has come and gone and now it's time to look back on how things went in 2012 and set the stage for 2013! (Don't care about my 2012 challenges? Skip to the second pink header!)

So, 2012, how did I do? 

As far as challenges went, not too bad! Considering. Though this is purely coincidental because after the first few months I pretty much gave up on even thinking about them. I was way too busy and disorganized to post my reviews on any of the link ups or enter any of the monthly giveaways (or even end of the year giveaways).

I did try to keep up with at least recording things on my own blog, but that mostly happened in a few big catch up sessions after letting things build up for a few months without updates. I was also frequently confused as to whether or not a book actually counted for a particular challenge (is this a fairy tale or more of a fantasy??) I seriously over-think things too much (I'm terrible at multiple choice tests!).

So, all in all, I didn't do very well with my challenges, even though I did manage to finish a few. Though I'm particularly happy with how many books I read for the Bucket List challenge and the Off The Shelf challenge, since reading older books is an area I tend to neglect (I'm so easily distracted by all the bright, pretty new books coming out!) Of course I didn't read many of the ones I actually hoped to read, but shhh, let's just not speak of that.

You can click on the links to see the specific books I read for each challenge.

YA Mythology Challenge: Finished! 10/10
Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams made this challenge a breeze. I almost feel like I cheated on this challenge though, considering 7 of the ten books were tiny MG books. I wish I had read more varied YA.

Fairy Tales Retold: Did not finish. 4/12
I'm pretty shocked at this pitiful showing. I'm usually so into fairy tale retellings. Was this not as big a year for them, or did I just miss out on a bunch of great new books?

Bucket List Challenge: Finished! 19/8
Woohoo! I'm super happy with myself on this challenge. And surprised. Very surprised. Bigger surprise is that I actually own 14 of these books (I'm especially neglectful of my own books).

Classic Double Challenge: N/A out of 3 pairs
I totally failed this one. I recorded nine books before giving up because I only managed to read the retelling versions. I hoped this would inspire me to read originals, but clearly I'm hard to inspire (I still love the idea of this challenge!)

Just Contemporary Reading Challenge: Finished! 9/5
Wow, I'm surprised with myself! Usually I'm pretty reluctant to read contemporaries because I have a hard time believing a book can be engaging without any magic or historical features. I had mixed results with these. I think, for me, a lot has to do with the author.

The Dystopia Challenge: Finished! 8/5
I loved four out of the eight and liked the other four, so not too bad. I even managed to read all but two of the books on my goal list for this challenge (one I haven't been able to get a hold of, the other, erm, I own).

E-Book Reading Challenge: Did not finish. 13/20
Well, this one didn't work out so well. All but one were review books, which I kind of figured would end up being the case. I don't really like reading on my computer, but this challenge did make me realize that I DO like reading them when I'm blow drying my hair (hands free!) and at night when the lighting in my bedroom is dimmer.

YA/MG Fantasy Challenge: Finished! Maybe? No?
I counted 20 books for the challenge before I realized the challenge only included fantasy books released this year. So the impressive showing I thought I had (20/10!) really isn't quite so impressive. I'm not sure if I finished this or not, and after agonizing over the question of, "Is this a fantasy? Kinda? Technically no? Yes?" I decided to throw in the towel.

Finishing the Series Challenge: Finished! 3/2
I'm not sure how to calculate this one. I finished three series this year (4 books) that I had started prior to 2012, and I know those three count for the challenge and meet my goal. The others though? I don't know. I read 12 books that "completed" the series as far as published books are concerned, but the series are still technically ongoing. I also started and completed three series in 2012 (9 books). I totally failed when it came to my tentative goal books, but all in all I'm pretty happy with this.

Free Reads: Finished! 15/15 plus a lot more
I definitely did great with this challenge. I bought 12 of the books I read this year. The rest came from various free sources (library books—those don't count for the challenge, ARCs, gifts, and prizes). I feel pretty thrifty (even though I did go out and buy a lot of the books I read after I read them).

Support Your Local Library Challenge: Did not finish 10/36
What an embarrassing result. I would feel more ashamed of this if I didn't have a pretty good excuse. See, I moved this year, so for a big chunk of months I was on the road, unpacking, and then did not have a library card. I also had to play catch up with a lot of review books, so while I did physically pick up books from the library, I had to return a lot unread. 

Off the Shelf: Did not finish. 13/15
Not bad! I'm counting this as a personal win because usually my showing would be something more like 2, not thirteen. Not only that, but I managed to knock out 39 books that I acquired in 2012, and while those technically don't count for the challenge, I'm relieved they won't be fodder for next year's challenge.

2nds Challenge: Did not finish. 11/12
I was SO close! I stuck with a lot of new authors and tried and true authors of whom I've read a whole lot already, so there wasn't much room for this category. Even the few books I'm reading now and may be able to finish before the year is up are either new-to-me authors or my third+ experience with the author. So it doesn't look like I'll be able to pull this one off in time.

Sophomore Reading Challenge: Did not finish. 5/10
It would have been six if someone hadn't stolen picked up Hallowed from the library right before I could get it (I'm STILL on hold for it!) There were a few others I really wish I could have gotten a hold of (like Crown of Embers and Dreamless), but I have no excuses for why this is such a small list. On a positive note, I really enjoyed all of the second books I did read, so I'm twisting my failure here into a win for the "quality over quantity" argument.

Time Travel Reading Challenge: Did not finish. 2/6
Wow, this was a total failure! I ended up crossing off one of the potential books from my goal list due to negative reviews (or, at least reviews that made it seem like it wasn't a book for me) and another series that I own I had to leave in storage when I moved. Still, I just did straight up poorly with this one.

Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Finished! 6/6-10
I wish I had done better with this challenge, but hey, I finished on the low end! Unfortunately, a lot of the books I had planned on reading were available in my old library but not my new one. The Rachel Hawkins series IS in my new library, but I've had a heck of a time trying to get it (someone ALWAYS has book 2 checked out!). I'm also counting Beautiful Creatures for this challenge even though I know they're castors and "don't like to be called witches" because, please, they're totally witches.

YA Historical Fiction Challenge: Did not finish. 9/15
I'm SO disappointed with this! I really want to read more historical fiction, but somehow I always push it aside in favor of fantasy and paranormal books. I was hoping this challenge would help, but I guess my old habits die hard. I'm not even sure if a few of the books I did read count for the challenge (an adult book and Something Strange and Deadly).

Reading Challenge Addict : Did not finish. 7/18
Well, clearly I set the bar too high! Next year I'm definitely going to restrain myself when it comes to signing up for challenges. I do think my move and new job had a lot to do with my poor showing though. If I hadn't been so busy, then I'm confident I would have been able to knock out at least a few more challenges and I know I would have paid more attention to which challenges needed my attention.

What's ahead for 2013?

You'd think I'd have learned from last year's challenge disaster, and I have! I swear. At first I was going to abandon the idea of entering any challenges this year, but after recapping my 2012 challenges I realized I'm way too challenge addicted to do away with them completely. Plus, I really do want to accomplish some of my long-standing reading goals!

So, keep an eye out in the coming days for my challenge posts! I'm going for a targeted approach and I really, really hope 2013 is a successful challenge year.

I fully intend to carry on MY resolutions through at least March.

As far as the blog in 2013, you can expect much of the same as has happened in the latter part of 2012. Unfortunately, I'm still really busy! So my schedule will continue to be a little looser than it was before my move.

Given my time constraints, I will not be hosting a Busting the Newbie Blues this year. The event takes a ton of time and effort, and I don't have the ability to commit fully to such a project right now. I felt like I let the 2012 newbies down by not being as involved as I wanted to be, and I don't want to do that to 2013's newbies. I tossed around the idea of hosting anyway so newbies at least had a central place to link up and mingle, but I don't like doing things partway. Still, I'm on the fence. Let me know what you think?

On a brighter note, I DO fully intend to keep blogging through 2013! You can expect to see at least one post per week, though I will strive for more than one as time permits. I will be taking a page from Bookworm1858's "no frills" approach, so most posts will be reviews. I don't want to abandon my other features though, so you will see some Discussions, Spotlight Lists, Blogging Tips & Tricks, Cover reviews, If I Like..., and Review Comparisons thrown in throughout the year as well.

I would really appreciate some feedback on which posts you prefer to see, so I can direct my efforts toward your favorites. If you don't mind taking a moment to fill out THIS FORM, that would be SUPER helpful! It's anonymous, will take only two seconds, and you can select multiple options.

Thanks for sticking with my through this bumpy year! I can't even express how happy it makes me that you've stuck around and continue to read and comment on my blog. I'm so looking forward to spending 2013 with all of you!

Ready for some 2013 fun?

How did you do on your challenges?
What challenges are you signing up for 2013?

Is there anything in particular you'd like to see from Small Review in 2013?


  1. I didn't sign up for any challenges this year, BUT WOWOWOWOW, you did, and you did so well in a lot of them! That's so awesome! As for your blog, I love all of your features - your reviews, spotlight lists, discussions, etc. - and am looking forward to following them through next year :).

    1. Yeah, I went totally overboard on the challenges! I have no self-control. Thank you though! Thank you for the feedback and kind words too :)

  2. You did much better than you lead me to believe, don't beat yourself up, it was a hard year for you. I'll look forward to your new challenge post. I love your blog and am so happy you are going to keep it running. I love reading anything you post. I've learned tons: how to blog better, how to request books and most of all I've learned a lot about books I didn't know existed. You've helped me branch off into different genres, too. Best of luck for 2013!!

    1. Aw, thank you! Still, 1/3 of what I set out to do is disappointing. Thank you for everything you said! I'm sending you a million virtual hugs :)

      Thank you for the tip about that Kindle freebie, btw!

  3. Aw, thanks for linking to me :)

    I like your arguemnt for quality over quantity in regards to second books. I feel like I was disappointed with a lot of second books this year (although not Dreamless which introduces Orion who is a gazillion times better than Lucas, just sayin') that left me uncertain if I want to finish the series.

    I didn't even sign up for any challenges this year; I just get tired of tracking them but I'm excited to see how other people are challenging themselves this year.

    For 2013, I'm just looking forward to seeing more of your reviews. I'm always happy to see your posts in my google reader! Happy 2013!

    1. You're so welcome. Thank you for being an inspiration on the no frills front! Every time I start to stress about not being able to fit in all those features on top of reviews I just think of you and how much I love your no frills blog. :)

      I hope I feel the same way about Orion, because I'm just not feeling Lucas. :/

      I agree! Tracking the challenges was really annoying. Especially when I kept having to type up the same books over and over for each challenge post.

  4. You signed up for so many challenges! And you did great in my opinion :) It's a lot of work just to categorize and organize every book you read into all those categories to keep track!

    And as someone who participated in 2012 Newbie Blues, I don't feel let down by you at all. I learned a bunch from your blogging tips and tricks, and met several other bloggers in the process. I'm doing Top Ten Tuesdays in 2013 to meet even more new friends, and so far it's working :)

    Best wishes for the new year!

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

    1. Thank you! Categorizing and organizing really was the most difficult and tedious part. The idea of having to do that again this year helped me restrain myself from signing up for a million challenges.

      Thank you for what you said about Newbie Blues! I really do wish I could have been more active in it, but I'm glad to hear you got something out of it overall :)

  5. You did far better than I did on the challenges! So, you know, there's that. I'm with you on the less frequent posting. I don't have the time at night to write up posts, so I'll start with once a week and see where it goes from there. Maybe I'll catch the bug again, but for now there are other things I have to put first. :/

    1. Well, you never said you were a challenge completer. Just an acceptor. :P I miss your posts! But of course I understand. Good luck with posting when you can! Know I always enjoy reading them :)

  6. Hm, I'll really miss Busting the Newbie Blues! That's probably my favourite non-readathon feature. It's completely understandable though if real life gets in the way. Maybe you could consider co-hosting? I'm sure quite some people would be interested in helping host it.

    Best wishes for 2013! (:

    1. Oh? I'm so happy to hear that! THank you! I'll definitely keep that in mind. Maybe I can come up with a way to modify it a little so it isn't as time consuming. I'll have to think on this...

  7. You entered a ton of challenges! And did very well, all things considered!

    I really liked Busting the Newbie Blues last year. I found a bunch of blogs I still read. I definitely understand if you are busy, though!

    1. Thank you! I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed Busting the Newbie Blues. I hope I can figure out a way to bring it back sometime this year.


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