Books, Lifestyle

My 2016 Year In Review

Happy New Year’s Eve!  How did the last day of 2016 get here so fast?!  I can’t say that I’m sad to see this year coming to a close though.  I’m actually looking forward to 2017 and seeing what the New Year holds for me (and my family).  How about a little reflecting in the form of a 2016 year in review?

2016-year-in-review-kem

Biggest Accomplishments in 2016

  • Hands down starting my BookTube channel was my biggest accomplishment of this year.  It’s something that I had wanted to do for a long time, but never worked up the courage to do until this year.  I’m so glad that I finally bit the bullet because I’ve already made some great friends/connections.  And of course I love having that space to talk books (and writing).
  • Restarting this book also ranks high on my list of accomplishments for 2016.  I’ve mentioned before that I have a parenting lifestyle blog, YUMMommy.  And while I do talk about books a little over there, most of my readers come to that blog for parenting advice/inspiration and recipes.  Plus at some point I will pass that blog to my daughter once she’s married and has her first kid.  It’s nice to already have this space so that I want be starting from scratch once I’ve passed on the controls of YUMMommy.
  • My kids and I set a goal to read 150 as a family unit before January 2017.  Well, we crushed that goal and read more than double that.  I love that we set a reading goal as a family because our bedtime reading truly helped us to bond more.  Reading with my children helped me to see how much more diverse books for young kids are in today’s society.  When I was their ages it was damn near impossible to find more than a handful books written by authors of color and/or featuring main characters of color.  My heart swells that it’s not so hard to find books in which my children can see characters who look like them.
  • This year I also planned out a novel for the first time EVER!  This is huge because I’ve always been a pantser and just went with the flow.  While I didn’t win NaNoWriMo this year, I did make a great start on my novel and was able to lay out a great roadmap to help me finish it and publish it in 2017.  I can’t say that I’ve fully converted from pantser to planner, but I do feel less anxious and more prepared.

Greatest Lessons I Learned In 2016

  • Starting my BookTube channel taught me to always chase my dreams.  No matter how small or monstrous a dream seems letting fear hold us back from accomplishing that dream only hinders our growth.
  • For years I read books by the same authors and in the same genres.  This year I learned that it pays to step outside of my reading comfort zone.  I’m a very passionate reader and nothing irks me more than wasting my time reading a crappy book.  So to avoid being too disappointed I had almost given up on branching to new authors.  This year I got to discover so many other amazing writers and their even more amazing works.
  • I’m not as much of an introvert as I thought I was.  This is perhaps the biggest revelation that came about in 2016.  While I wouldn’t call myself an extrovert, I know now that I love interacting with people much more than I thought I did.

How Did I Grow In 2016

This year was one of growth for me.  When it comes to growth, having more confidence in myself is definitely something that happened this year.  It’s amazing how much you miss out in life because you don’t have enough self-confidence to do something.  Towards the middle of this year I finally reached a place where I what I thought and how I felt about myself started to greatly outweigh how others thought and felt about me.

In 2016, I became truer to myself and my emotions.  Instead of focusing so much on the happiness of those around me, I decided to focus on my own happiness.  While I can’t say that I’m ending this year where I want to be overall, I’m a lot more satisfied with where I am in my life than when I started this year.  I’m looking forward to continuing my personal growth journey into the New Year.

Books I Loved In 2016

  • ACOTAR and Throne of Glass series | Sarah J Maas was the talk of BookTube and the reading world this year.  I just had to see what all of the fuss was about.  The first book I picked up was A Court of Thorns and Roses, a Beauty & the Beast retelling with a fantasy twist.  To say that enjoyed ACOTAR would be an understatement.  I LOVED it!  Sarah J Maas is such a talented writer and her books just have this way of sucking readers in and getting us so attached to these characters that we don’t want their stories to end.

  • Stealing Snow |  After ACOTAR, fairytale retellings kind of became my life.  When I heard some of my favorite BookTubers raving about Stealing Snow and discovered that Danielle Paige was a woman of color, I didn’t hesitate to pick up a copy of Stealing Snow from my library.  This book was amazing and earned a place on my permanent bookshelf.  I can’t wait to read more of Paige’s other works and hope to meet her in person next year.  She definitely made my year when she followed me on Twitter and Instagram!

  • Love Delivered |  I read the first book, Love Delayed, in Love Belvin’s Waiting to Breathe series over a year ago.  I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to read the second, but I couldn’t put this book down.  Zoey and Stenton and all of their drama is just too juicy to look away from.

Books I Didn’t Get To Read In 2016

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | I love all things Harry Potter.  Who doesn’t?!  I really meant to pick up a copy of this play, lock myself in a room and not emerge until I was finished reading it and my mind was blown.  Sadly this did not happen.  Somehow it seemed that the stores here were sold out almost instantly and then I put off getting it because I got distracted by other books.  Needless to say I’ll be ordering this and knocking it off my 2017 Summer TBR.

  • Heartless |  I was all set to read this book over Christmas Break and then life happened.  I’m really bummed that I didn’t get to this book this year because as I mentioned, I’m all about fairytale retellings now.  Whelp, I guess now I have time to read the original Alice in Wonderland story before I cross this one off my TBR next year as well.

  • Stalking Jack the Ripper | Once upon a time, I was obsessed with the mystery that was Jack the Ripper.  It intrigued me how this man went about committing these gruesome murders and no one was ever able to identify him or catch him.  I was probably ten years old when I stumbled across my older sister’s history homework and first learned about who Jack the Ripper was.  I probably should have been having nightmares, but in truth I was fascinated and wanted to know more.  Needless to say I will be picking this book up very soon.

Well, that’s it for my 2016 year in review.  I look forward to being more present on this space in 2017.  Before I go I wanted to encourage you to head over to my other blog and enter for a chance to win a hardcover of Amanda Hocking’s latest book, Freeks.  Good luck and see you in 2017!

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