June 28, 2020

Halfway Through: A Midyear Recap and a Few Shenanigans (2020 Edition)

Hello sweeties,

I've fallen into the habit of doing a midyear recap/check since 2018, so here's my 2020 one. In far-more-than-typical leap-year guise, these have been hard times for everyone - or well, at least the last four months have. But for me, this was also a time of accomplishments and catching up with things. So here's what I've been up to since January...


I started this year with the goal of replicating my 2019 posting success (I had aimed at 1 post per week, and ended the year with a total of 64!) AND of writing more reviews/catching up on old books to review (last year I failed at that, with only 16 done). I also meant to write a few discussion posts, besides sporadically participating in the Tell Me Something Tuesday meme (which I did contribute a handful of prompts to). So, how did it go?

  • 👍 total posts: 35. I did better than last year, and at this rate I might even beat my own so-called record!
  • 😊 reviews: 12 + 2 mini-review rounds. Still a low number, but at least I'm sure I won't finish my year with 16 again LOL. And it's not like I meant to write a ton - a couple or three per months are enough for me (especially since I reread all my books and spend a painstakingly long time on each review). So far, I've reviewed 5 backlist books, 2 new-ish ones and 5 ARCs/new books (mostly thanks to NetGalley), so I'm on track with what I aimed for at the beginning of the year.
  • 😳 discussion posts: 0 (if you don't count the TMST ones, of course). Ouch. But the good thing is, I realised early on that I wouldn't be able to both catch up with my backlist reviews AND come up with/craft discussion posts, so I decided to prioritise reviews for now. This doesn't mean I've given up on chatty posts - I've only postponed them - so I'm not really counting this one as a failure. I love discussion posts/personal posts as the next person, and I really care for what you all have to say, but I must get those older books out of my system before I commit to anything else.

I also got the chance to beta-read a fantasy/horror project by the lovely Joshua Winning, and as usual, I was grateful I that got asked and I cherished the experience. The book is currently being pitched, and I hope it finds a good home soon and gets to spread all of its delightful quirkiness into the world 😉.


OK - we're all been in the same boat these latest months, since the Covid-19 virus became a pandemic. But it's not like we all reacted the same way. The lockdown in itself didn't have a huge impact on me, since I rarely go out as it is, because of my husband's health problems. My main issues were not being able to get my hair done for three months and having to queue outside of the supermarket and the pharmacy. (BTW: the supermarket queues ended as soon as our lockdown was lifted...I guess this means that until then, people were grocery-shopping as a substitute for the other activities they couldn't do - crazy AND stupid, isn't it?). But things changed, both for the worse and for the better, at the beginning of April, when I was put on wages guarantee fund for two months, which then were stretched into three - that is, I started working 2 days out of 5 every week, with the other 3 paid at 80% [actually, I learned, much less than that (and with some delay)] by the Italian social security system. Of course I hated the impact it had on my meager finances, but on the other hand, I made the most of my extra time at home by:

  • 😓 thoroughly cleaning my mess of a house (of course with a schedule at hand LOL)
  • 📚 reading/blogging, not to mention trying to comment more consistently on all your lovely blogs.

Our lockdown virtually finished on May 4th, when we were allowed to meet with family members/move more freely. But we had to wait until May 18th for shops (and hairdressers!!!) to open (the first date given was actually June 1st, but after some bargaining, our government moved it forward).

Hairy situation (and yes, that was an intended pun): I was finally able to get my perm done on May 23rd, except a few locks didn't turn out right (they were almost straight!), and I had to go back a few days later to have them taken care of (plus get my dye job). And then...I had to go back again because some of those locks still refused to turn out as curly as the others. This is something that never happened to me with my two previous hairdressers...Now, I've got my perm done at the new salon four times, and thrice I've had to go back to fix some almost straight or barely curly locks (for the record, they're lovely people and everything - but still...WHY???!!!). This time I ultimately had to accept that homogeneity couldn't be obtained, and though the less curly strands are hardly noticeable because I have SO MUCH HAIR, I'm VERY aware of them...😭 Sorry, I'm kind of hair-obsessed (though I spared you my daily lamentations on Twitter during the whole ordeal, because I do have some decency, especially at a time like this). I swear I won't mention it again until my next perm...

Anyway, hair issues apart, life has gone back to normal-ish in Italy (though with masks and rules in place, of course) and the positive cases are dropping, if slowly (also, more than a half of the new cases each day are situated in a single northern region). That's a huge relief. I've noticed, though, that in my hometown people have started to be careless, wearing their mask down (or not at all) outside of closed spaces, even while talking face to face. We haven't had a new case for a while, but since we are allowed to travel right now, it only takes ONE sick person from another town for the virus to ramp up again...Anyhow, let's hope it's not the case. I get that we're all eager to go back to our lives again, but - just be a little more careful?


Since my work schedule has been drastically cut down for three months, I've been dutifully keeping up with my blogging goals...and I plan on going on this way, work or not *. As usual, having a spreadsheet pays big time - for me at least, because I know that there are people who get intimidated by setting goals, or feel like rebelling against them (hello Karen 😉). Right now, I have the rest of the year...booked (ha!), though of course I'm flexible if a new review/beta-read/random-post opportunity comes up. But I do have the next months outlined, and I hope to stick to my plan, mostly because I WANTWANTWWANT TO KNOCK A FEW OLDER REVIEW BOOKS OUT OF MY LIST. That's why you're seeing/will see a number of Nova Ren Suma, Seanan McGuire and Parker Peevyhouse reviews on my blog - I hope to catch up with all their older books before they release a new one (I hope you aren't getting bored with them...if yes, you have my permission to skip those reviews LOL - though they are all amazing authors everyone should read at least one book by in their life!). I will also continue to sporadically participate in TMST, and I hope to be able to write a few discussion posts of my own...but don't hold your breath LOL.

* Update: I have to admit I'm feeling pretty low right now, for the whole wages guarantee fund thing (that should be reprised for a month in September or October) and for fear of losing my job altogether. Things are going bad. Radio stations live off advertisements, and what with the Covid disaster, those have started to run low - not to mention that our previous customers are having a hard time paying for them as well. And I don't know where to look in order to find another job. I'm clinging to my blog to stay sane, but there are days where I don't feel like posting either. Everything's a struggle right now. Anyway, I found an ad, and I have applied for a second part-time job (as an in-bound customer support operator at the local hospital, where my husband works) - so I need all the good vibes you can spare. I don't know if I stand a chance, and I don't know if the working hours are compatible with the ones I'm already doing, since this thing is starting anew after the virus...and anyway, it would be only temporary - but sometimes these fixed-term contracts ultimately turn into permanent ones...I just need to have an in. And if this works out like I hope, or I can find something bigger and better (or just more reliable) than my current job, I'll switch without a second thought. So...keep those vibes coming please 💚.

So...that's it for now. (Also, for the record, my next post will be a Tooting Your Trumpet installment, on July 5th). And you? Are you keeping track of your goals and achievements for 2020? How have you fared so far? Are you happy with your blog and audience?


  1. So sorry about the job situation. I have my fingers and toes crossed for you, and hope you get that part-time position your applied for.

    1. Thank you - I need all the fingers and toes you can spare!

  2. I understand the struggling with everything. I'm struggling just to get out of bed most days. Our city opened back up and the number of Covid cases has shot up higher than what we had back in April. We opened way too early and people don't want to wear masks so the governor had to make it mandatory and people are still fighting it.

    1. I can't understand people...it's like they think it can only happen to anyone but then. And hey, you have a right to struggle, what with you're going through. I hope Ken can get his therapy soon.

  3. This pandemic has certainly spared no one, hasn't it? I'm sorry to hear about your job stress. I am sending good vibes that everything will work out soon. But, on the bright side, at least things the virus is slowing down in Italy! I'm glad you were able to get your hair done (despite things not going perfectly lol). A funny anecdote, my mom has been cutting my hair in the pandemic and I have quite curly hair. She and I both thought she did a good job until I began to wash it and saw how uneven of a cut it was. She claims since her cousin is a hairdresser she's picked the skill up over the years. I'm not too sure XD

    1. LOL, I guess curly hair is harder to cut than the straight type, because it's deceptive. With straight hair, you can see at once if you're doing it wrong. Then again, curls masquerade an uneven cut better than straight hair when they're dried up!

      Thank you for the good vibes, and I hope the virus is slowing down in Canada as well!

  4. I can't keep track of anything I do except work-related tasks which I have to track anyway, which should help me with keeping track of what I do not-work related but it doesn't. I wish I am like you who is good using spread sheets and sticking to a schedule.

    I still haven't been to a hair salon and probably never will, I won't be able to speak up if I get a bad perm, not that I would get one as my hair is as straight as an arrow unlike yours.

    I'm too moody to blog on a regular schedule but I count it a success if I get one post up in a month and if more than one, it's a cause for a celebration. Sometimes I care what my readers think and other times, I just give up caring. Now if I am making money off my blog, then I really should care but I'm not.

    Good luck with getting that second part-time job. I hope you get it.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. The schedule thing is kind of a recent development for me, but it became a life-saver when it comes to blogging. Not that one ought to post X times a month or anything of course, but personally, I've been feeling much better since I started. Then again, as I said in my post, there are people who get intimidated by schedules or simply don't like them, and they aren't less of a blogger for that. Content is always key. And being happy with what you post is! So there's nothing wrong with the way you - or everyone else - blog 🙂.

      And...I'm kinda glad I don't make money with my blog and am not under any obligation. I'm sure it would suck all the joy out of blogging, just like working in radio sucked out all the joy out of being a radio host (I used to do it as a hobby in the old days).

      Oh, but my hair IS straight as an arrow! That's why I get perms.

      Thank you!

  5. Yay! I'm glad you're meeting your blogging goals so far this year! I'll be looking forward to your McGuire/Suma/Peevyhouse reviews. 💛 Extra luck with the job hunt!

    1. Meeting my blogging goals is the only good thing I've managed to do lately LOL. And I know you love those ladies, so at least I have a reader 😉.

      Thank you hon!

  6. What a great post. And I'm glad to hear things are better though, since I know things were hairy (ha!!) there for a while. Not that it's funny, the corona, but I couldn't resist a little pun there, sorry! Anyway things are of course disastrous here lately so I'm very glad you're seeing improvements there at least. Stay safe!

    And I am sending good vibes your way on the job thing. that has to be tough and I hope you get good news, my friend.

    Discussion posts- i love 'em but I've been terrible at doing them lately. I hope to get better in the second half of the year. We'll see how that goes!!

    Can't wait to see your thoughts on McGuire books.

    1. LOL, I love a good pun! Of corse the virus isn't funny, but if we don't laugh (or at least giggle) a little from time to time, we go mad. I'm sorry to hear things are going bad in your corner of the woods, but then again, the U.S. are a mess right now. Someone will have to force masks on those idiots who think it's all a big joke. Stay safe yourself!

      Thank you for those good vibes 💚.

      Ah, we're on the same boat about discussion posts! Let's see who manages to write one first 😉.

  7. Good luck with that job. It's so weird to me that there's somewhere where the virus is going down. We such idiots in charge and inconsiderate people here that it seems never ending. We can go out more now but it's so arbitrary, depending what state you live in, and I don't trust it.

    Sometimes it helps to know that the entire world has gone through this in some way but then other times it feels like OMGTHEWHOLEWORLDISGOINGTHROUGHTHIS lol


    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. Thank you! And yes, the virus is going down, but it only takes a person, you know. Speaking of which, I heard there's a new case in my hometown...I know, the U.S. are a mess right now - and until that man is in charge, I'm afraid. I'm sending tons of good vibes your way!

      "Sometimes it helps to know that the entire world has gone through this in some way but then other times it feels like OMGTHEWHOLEWORLDISGOINGTHROUGHTHIS lol"
      Ha! So true.

  8. Well done on doing so many of your blogging goals!
    I completely get what you mean you about this year being a struggle (and worrying about wages and work) it's a stressful time. I hope that things get easier in the second half of 2020! <3

    1. "Well done on doing so many of your blogging goals!"
      Thank you! I would say it's because I don't have a life, except I do, though not at all in a glamorous sense 😉.

      2020 has got to give us all a break! though if we don't take precautions and stuff, we'll end up at the same point we were a few months ago in no time...I hope all's well for you right now - happy second half of the year!

  9. I usually do a midway goals check in but I just haven't felt motivated for that lately so I guess I shall have to live through yours. Although you haven't been doing discussion posts, that aside you've been doing wonderfully on your goals! Yay for blogging going so well for you as well. I hope it only continues in that direction :) And I hope you can review some of your older books as well x

    1. Thank you - and I hope my content is interesting enough, lack of discussion posts notwithstanding 😉. Ah. but you're doing so much with your blog, tube and Insta and everything, it would be a nightmare to recap all that 😂.


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