January 2021 Wrap Up

Apparently it’s been a few months since I sat down and wrote up a monthly wrap up. If you’re new to Speaking Of…, I like to post a monthly wrap up of everything I read during the month. I link my reviews to what I read for easy access, talk about any books I did not finish (DNF), and pick out my favorite and least favorite reads for the month, In addition to covering what I read during the month, I also like to take a look back at the my yearly goals. More in part to keep myself accountable, I provide updates on these as well, though they’re not all book or reading related.

Starting 2021 off strong with 11 books read this month. I have also been listening to more audiobooks than I normally do as well. Mainly because January has been extremely busy work wise and so sometimes the only time I can ‘read’ is when I’m at the gym or on a run. Regardless on how you consume books, it’s still reading.


January Reading Recap

  1. The Dragon Reborn -The 3rd book in the Wheel of Time series. | ★★★★★
    • I’m actually reading these entire series, all 16 books with a group of friends. We’re aiming for a book a month, though book 4, The Shadow Rising, is 41 hours on audio!
  2. The Fortunate Ones: Ed Tarkington | ★★★★ | REVIEW
  3. The Silent Suspect: Nell Pattison | ★★★ | REVIEW
  4. Deep into the Dark: P.J. Tracy | ★★★★★ | REVIEW
  5. The Survivors: Jane Harper | ★★★★★ | REVIEW
  6. Circling the Sun: Paula McLain | ★★★★★ | REVIEW
  7. Before She Disappeared: Lisa Gardner | ★★★★★ | REVIEW
  8. Layla: Colleen Hoover | ★★★ | REVIEW
  9. The Removed: Brandon Hobson | ★★| REVIEW
  10. The Lost Apothecary: Sarah Penner | ★★★★ | REVIEW
  11. All Girls: Sarah Layden | ★★★★ | REVIEW

Book In Progress

  1. Finlay Donovan is Killing It: halfway through & loving on this ARC which comes out February 2, 2021
  2. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: my January Non-fiction pick. I’m loving it but just reading a little every day to try and make sure I learn from it.
  3. How the One Armed Sister Sweeps Her House: currently listening to an advanced audio copy I received. This one also comes out February 2, 2021
  4. Good Company: another advanced audio I’m currently listening too which releases February 2, 2021

Even with work being crazy and my reading time being limited, I made a good dent this month. My favorite book this month was Lisa Gardner’s Before She Disappeared, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed she turns this one into a series.

My least favorite books this month was The Removed followed closely by Layla. The Removed was a bit to atmospheric for me and ultimately I was left with way more questions than answers. ,Layla with Verity being one of my favorite books ever, left me wanting more and just did not meet my expectations.

Did you read any of these this month? Share your thoughts and your favorite/least favorite reads this month with me in the comments. Or by going to my instagram @speakingof_books


2021 Goal Updates

While I mainly focus on what I read in these wraps up, I do like to jot down updates to my entire goal list for the year. Mainly because this keep me accountable and motivates me to keep going. You can see a full list of my 2021 goals, both for reading and non-reading, HERE.

  1. Read 125 Books: With 11of 125 books already read for the year, I’m at 8% of my goal. Goodreads says I’m on track to reach my goals but I’d really like to see myself finish 12-15 in February. Since I already have four books that are partly done, this hopefully won’t be too much of a challenge.
  2.  Book buying ban for 6 months: I actually forgot about this, and well I bought 2 books this month. Oops.
  3.  Get my Netgalley rating up to 80%: I started out the year with 22% on Netgalley and I’m back down to 20%. In my defense I was sent a bunch of 2021 new releases and I still have a few backlist reviews to write up.
  4. Reach 10,000 Instagram Followers on Bookstagram: Started 2021 with 5300 followers, and I’m up to almost 5600. Not as much of an increase as I would like but we’re making slow progress.
  5.  Reach 500 Blog Followers: I’ve been working to branch the website out a bit, but time has not been my friend. I’m 4 followers away from 300 and I’m excited to see how this continues.
  6. Post 3 blog posts a week: Staying consistent with posting is a huge goal of mine. I’ve been fairly active in this space, and made my goal for posting this month!
  7. Write More: Not blog writing, but novel writing. This just did not happen this month at all. Unfortunately, writing takes time, which is not something I had in January.
  8.  Read my Book of the Month backlist: While my Book of the Month backlist is still huge, I did manage to read 1 backlist title I had, and two from my January box. Don’t factor in the additional 2 new books I added that I didn’t read in January, and you have got some progress.
  9.  Read my 21 Backlist books of 2021:Circling the Sun pulled double duty this month, as it was not only a Book of the Month backlist title but also one of the my top 21 backlist books to read. You can see a full list of the 21 backlist books I want to read in 2021 HERE.
  1. 75 Hard: I lasted 12 days on the 75 Hard which is an achievement in itself. Ultimately, I just do not have time for TWO workouts a day, no matter how much I think I do.
  2.  Half Marathon pace down to 2 hours 10 minutes: My foot has been acting up lately, and I need to get new running shoes. Because of this I didn’t run much in January and did not spend time on trying to get my time down.
  3.  Move every day. I use to be so good at working out and moving every day but 2020 got my laying on the couch all the time. I am killing it this year so far. On days I have not been working out, I’ve been making sure to at least stretch.
  4. Eat less takeout & more Whole foods. Today is the last day of my Whole30 and my stomach is feeling so much better. Other than ordering a Whole30 bowl from Chipotle once, I did not eat out this entire month!
  5. Get more sleep: This goes without saying, I don’t get enough sleep. I need to get more sleep. I’m doing better about not being on my devices before bed, which is a step in the right direction when it comes to getting more sleep.
  6.  Lose 35 lbs: This is a lofty goal but I would like to get back down to my college weight of 130 lbs. There isn’t any reason for this other than, I want to stay healthy and the extra weight really puts a strain on my back sometimes. I lost a full 9lbs this month. What a great start to the New Year. As long as I keep up with my diet and workouts, I can hit this goal by summer!


  1. Get my PMI-Agile: As a project manager I already as my Project Management Professional Certification. I’m looking to expand on that into getting my Agile Certificate too. I was able to get my PMP renewed and I’m starting on my PMI-Agile training in February!
  2. Pay off all debt: Not eating out this month has really helped up to focus on less spending. I’ve also been more diligent than before about when not to spend.
  3.  Start saving more $: We’d like to build our dream house in the next decade and we’re looking to start a family in the next few years. In order to be prepared for this, or at least as prepared as can be, I’m really trying to save more money this year. We’d like to build a nice nest egg while we’re young!
  4.  Spend more time being present: I’m the worst at being present. I am a planner, so I am constantly thinking of the future. My goal is simple to focus more on the now rather than tomorrow.
  5.  Be kind: do I need to even expand on this?
  6.  Enjoy every moment of 2021: 2020 was….well a hot mess. I’m going into 2021 with a positive attitude and even though I know it won’t be a regular year, as the world is still dealing with the pandemic, I’m going to work to make the best of it.


Thanks for helping me stay accountable with my 2021 goals. If you’d like to share your goals with me please comment below or visiting my Instagram page @speakingof_books. Make sure to follow both my blog and Instagram to see how I’m doing on my goals all year long!


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