Looking Back at 2018

Today I’m taking a look back on what I did in 2018. It’s mostly about my reading stats, but there’s some other info, too.

I worked as a precinct inspector for three elections this year. The last two elections I had really awesome clerks. As much as this introvert hates dealing with that many people, I love working the elections. I love seeing all these people come out and participate in the system, and I especially love watching new voters vote for the very first time.

This is my Instagram Top 9. As you can see, there’s a lot of my Wonder Woman scarf. And, my favorite, is Jo and I during the trip to San Diego right in the middle. It’s mostly knitting-related photos, which is funny because I didn’t knit much this year.

A collage of 9 pictures. Left to right and top to bottom: Wonder Woman scarf completed on a black table; Wonder Woman Scarf on a white comforter; A repost of JustRunKnit's photo of a blue shawl; A repost from O_wow_Waite of author Jess Russell at the RWA Rita awards wearing a skirt with the image of every nominated book printed on it; Me and Jo in San Diego; Wonder Woman scarf in progress; A close up of my face with the Welcome to Stitches sign; A collage of various pics of my mom; Figure skaters with the woman spinning in the air parallel to the ice and the text "So you catch Footballs in your sport? Aww. That's cute."

Speaking of what I knit this year, I only finished 4 things this year. My Antarktis shawl, Wonder Woman scarf, Honey cowl, and my Find Your Fade shawl. I wear my fade shawl A LOT. It’s pretty much with me everywhere. Because I did the scarf pattern, but used a lot more yarn, mine is more shawl-like than scarf-like.

A collage of 4 pictures. Clockwise from top left: Antarktis shawl folded and knit in a bright blue yarn with some purple specks; Honey Cowl in a multi-colored yarn; Wonder Woman scarf which looks like the Wonder Woman symbol. Knit with red on the top, then yellow W logo, and blue on the bottom; Find your Fade shawl knit in 10 miniskeins of a rainbow colors with black.

Here are a few of the things I’ve started knitting this year and are still languishing on the needles. And of course my Citron is still in progress. I’d knit on it more, but the rows are SO DAMN LONG at this point. Ugh.

A collage of four pictures. Clockwise from top left: The cuff of a ribbed mitt in blues and purple; the start of a hot pink shawl; the start of a purple shawl in a half moon shape; and the another purple and black shawl about halfway a long

I also did some cross stitch at the end of the year. Just a couple ornaments, and I can’t find the Santa I finished, darn it! It’s really cute, too.

A square with four images, but it's the same two pictures are repeated in alternate corners. Upper left & bottom right is a cross stitched snowman with a hat and scarf stitched on a wooden ornament; Upper right and lower left is a Christmas tree with blue, pink, and green striped "leaves" and at the bottom it says "Merry & Bright"

Professionally, I edited/proofed 479,269 words. And for series bibles it was 772,287 words. Which means for work I read 1,251,556 words. That…seems like a lot. But really it wasn’t. I’m shooting for more for next year.

SHAMELESS PLUG: I have openings for edits in February, or if anyone needs a series bible done, e-mail me for rates and info.

As for my reading, I have a bunch of interesting stats. At least they’re interesting to me. LOL. I read 228 books this year. My original goal was 250, but sometime in September I knew I wouldn’t hit that, so I changed my goal to 200. Out of the 228 books, 104 were new reads and 124 were re-reads. I knew it would be close between new and re-reads, but I think this is the first year I re-read more than read new.

38 books of the 228 were from authors of color. There may have been more, but those are the only authors I know for sure. I wish I could say I read more individual authors, but really most of those were me glomming Shelly Laurenston and Holley Trent. And now I have Farrah Rochon’s backlist to go through in 2019.

I read 42 audio books, 182 digital books (mostly Kindle and the rest ARCs/manuscripts), and 4 physical books which total over 64,000 pages.

My shortest book was Tabula Rasa by Ophelia Bell (30 pages) and my longest is the Desert Guards compilation by Holley Trent (1,175 pages). The oldest book I read was The Vow by Dallas Schulze, which is a Silhouette Intimate Moments from 1989. The most popular book I read was Becoming by Michelle Obama. No surprise there. LOL. According to GR, 45,850 other people also read it.

The books I’ve read twice this year are:

Kristen Ashley: Rough Ride, Rock Chick Reawakening, and The Hookup

Shelly Laurenston: In a Badger WayBeast Behaving Badly

Dana Marie Bell: Sorry, Charlie

Lila Rose: Breakout

Suzanne Wright: Lure of Oblivion, Wild Hunger


Jagged, Kristen Ashley

WARNING: There WILL be spoilers in this review. I’ll mark the point just before where they are, but they are ruin-the-end-of-the-book spoilers, and YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. 

I have a problem with Kristen Ashley. When I read her books, I lose whole months. The first time I tried her was the end of June, and next thing I know, it is 14 books later and August. So when I obtained an ARC copy of her newest book, Jagged, I was apprehensive. I knew I was going to want to re-read the previous Colorado Mountain books, but was I about to lose October, too?

Not yet. Thankfully.

Jagged is the latest book (and number 5) of the Colorado Mountain series, and I’m not sure I’d classify it as such. It’s kind of a cross-over book for me, because while Nina and Max from The Gamble play a pretty big role (and Kami even makes an appearance), Ham Reece is actually from For You, book 1 of The Burg series. He’s the guy February had an on-off again relationship with while she and Colt were apart. Also, there’s a subplot which references another subplot of For You, but doesn’t directly affect Zara and Ham.

It felt to me as if Ms. Ashley wrote Ham (or Reece as everyone else calls him) in For You, liked him so much she decided to use him again. Which is fine, however in For You there’s some angst as you feel he thought February could have been “his one.” And in one of the early scenes of Jagged, he’s just been injured (read For You. Really. Good book) and he goes to Zara. I was worried because it seemed too soon after Feb for me to feel this was a natural move for him. Luckily, Ms. Ashley must have agreed, because they end up spending some time apart. Still, it almost feels as if “Reece” and “Ham” are two very different men.

Once I got past that aspect, however, while I enjoyed the book, I would have liked to have seen more character growth. I liked how they both learned to share more and talk about things, but they have a couple of huge arguments, and I never felt like they learned from them. They needed to learn how to fight without throwing out cruel words, and I don’t think they ever did. They both just gave each other a little time, then made up, but they didn’t learn how NOT to do that again.

Also if Zara had the childhood she did, I don’t know if I believe she would have been as agressive with Ham as she was. Especially considering how they “never fought” before and now they’re screaming at each other. I think we should have seen more of her issues coming up there. And, again, that goes back to wishing there was more character growth between the two.

WARNING: Spoilers ahoy! No, seriously. Lots of spoilers from here on out. Like end-of-book spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own risk.

I would have liked to have actually SEEN her father and her aunt get what’s coming to them. Having them just waiting for trial seemed unsatisfying and inconclusive. After all her father did to her and her sister through the years, he needed to be punished and I REALLY wanted to see it.

I was pleased to see the final resolution of the sister’s subplot and the redemption of Zara’s aunt. Also, I liked they spent some time deciding what was best for Zander, and not just yanking him around just because they wanted him.

While Sweet Dreams remains my favorite Colorado Mountain book, I enjoyed Jagged and will reread it along with the rest whenever I next want to lose a month of my life. LOL.

Lynda the Guppy
aka See You Next Month Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

 RATING: 3 1/2 Stars