Reading and Life Challenges Update: June and July Blogiversary!

If you follow Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews, you may have noticed that I wasn’t around much in June. June was a big month in our house. Our oldest daughter, Veronica, graduated from high school and a few weeks later turned 18. Besides working 30 hours a week at my day job and a couple hours a week for the local Autism Society chapter, plus getting our house ready to host our first get-together in two years, something had to give. And that was the blog.

Veronica and me at Lambeau Field for pre-graduation pictures

I’ve been listening to tons of books at work, and hope to start writing reviews for them now that the party and house are finally in order. I’ve also read a few ARCs from NetGalley and am starting to post them. One of the reading goals I hadn’t mentioned previously was getting 50 reviews for NetGalley for my next badge. I think I started the year with just over 25, and I’ve currently been approved for 43, so there’s a good chance I’ll be able to accomplish that by year’s end.

But all that reading ARCs, my other reading has fallen by the wayside, namely my Nancy Drew books. I’m currently on #31, The Ringmaster’s Secret, which was always one of my favorites growing up. I want to make sure I’m in the mood and have the time to move forward with my reading of my favorite teen sleuth. After all, I’ve been reading my Nancy Drews since lockdown started last March, and have struggled at times with reading both the Original Text and then the Revised Text, so to make it easier I just concentrated on the OTs because I haven’t read them before.

As for the other challenges, I’ve made zero headway on the Library Love Reading Challenge. My goal was to read 36 books from the library, and read none this month, so I’m holding steady at 11. However, I did pick up some holds from the library this week and have an ebook of a Prince biography that a friend recommended. Prince, the music artist, not one of the royals as you might think if you’ve followed the blog for any length of time.

Next is the 2021 Audiobook Challenge. My goal was Marathoner, or listening to 50+ books. Since I can listen to audiobooks at work, this has been no problem. At the end of May I had listened to 44 books. I’m not sure exactly how many more I’ve listened to as I only count the books after I’ve reviewed them, but it’s safe to say that I’m over 50.

Next is my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2021. My goal is to read or listen to 100 books. I only posted four reviews in June, which brings my overall total to 91 books so far.

Next is the 2021 Reading Challenge: 52 Weeks, 52 Books There are specific categories for this one:

Reading Challenge 2021
  1. A Productivity Book
  2. Book Becoming a Movie in 2021
  3. Goodreads Winner in 2021:
  4. Biography #NetGalley #ARCReview The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense by Edward White
  5. About a Pressing Social Issue’
  6. A Book About Books
  7. Set in the 1920s#NetGalley #ARCReview: Castle Shade (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #17) by Laurie R. King
  8. An Author Who Uses Initials #NetGalley ARC Review #TheLastTiara by M.J. Rose
  9. Poetry
  10. A 2020 Bestseller The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  11. Recommended by a Colleague Anxious People by Fredrick Backman (Translated by Neil Smith)
  12. With a Number in the Title: 41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush
  13. Bottom of Your To-Read List
  14. Reread a Favorite Book: #AllCreaturesGreatandSmall Book and #PBSMasterpiece Review
  15. Own Voices Story #NetGalley #ARCReview: Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs
  16. Published in the 1800s
  17. Local Author Being Ethel: In a world that loves Lucy by Michele Olson
  18. Longer Than 400 Pages: Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy by Larry Tye
  19. A Book Turned Into a TV Series: The Duke and I (Bridgertons) Did not review.
  20. A Book That Makes You Think
  21. A WWII Story The Last Correspondent by Soraya M. Lane
  22. A Highly Anticipated Book The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
  23. Eye-Catching Cover From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  24. A Summer Read
  25. Coming of Age Story 2021 Newbery Medal Winner: When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
  26. Bestselling Memoir No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox
  27. Book Club Favorite #ReesesBookClub #TheGuestList by Lucy Foley
  28. A Book About Friendship Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (Whistle Stop, AL #1) by Fannie Flagg
  29. An Audiobook The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict
  30. Set in Australia When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal (Okay, so it’s New Zealand, but that’s pretty close)
  31. By a Nobel Prize winner
  32. About an Immigrant
  33. Time Travel Novel
  34. An Author You Love That Time of Year: A Minnesota Life by Garrison Keillor
  35. Childhood Favorite The Clue in the Jewel Box (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #20)
  36. Classic Read in High School #AllCreaturesGreatandSmall Book and #PBSMasterpiece Review
  37. Borrowed from the Library #ReesesBookClub Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  38.  New York Times Bestseller The President’s Daughter by James Patterson and Bill Clinton (review to come!)
  39. From an Indie Publisher The Weaver’s Revenge by Kathleen Ernst (Wisconsin author, too–review to come!)
  40. Fantasy Spellbreaker by Charles M. Holmberg
  41. A Sequel The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop (Whistle Stop, AL #2) by Fannie Flagg
  42. Recommended by a Librarian
  43. Psychological Thriller Mirrorland by Carole Johnnstone
  44. Book Club Pick
  45. A Book About Technology No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier
  46. Title with Three Words #NetGalley ARC Review #TheLastTiara by M.J. Rose
  47. Debut Novel of Famous Author
  48. Genre You Don’t Usually Read A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  49. A Book Everyone Is Talking About
  50. You Own But Haven’t Read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
  51. Borrowed from a Friend
  52. A 2021 New Release The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Not too much progress on this challenge, but still ahead of the curve. 31down, 21 to go.

July 7th marks the date I started the blog last year. I just don’t know how much time I’m going to be able to devote to the blog, but it’s renewed for another year, so I’m not giving up. But going from posting six or seven days a week down to four, down to once a week, it really depends on how much spare time I have that will determine how often I put up posts. I’m hoping for maybe twice a week, but we shall see. My work for the Autism Society is picking up because I’m coordinating their annual walk in September and have more to do. I’m trying to get as much done during the summer when I theoretically have more time. I did post a review yesterday, and hope to post one later this week for another NetGalley ARC.

In other news, my soon-to-be 17-year old son, Robert, who is on the Autism spectrum, got a job working where I work, but in a different department. It’s a seasonal job, and the season runs from July until January or February depending on how some other departments perform. I’m so proud of him for wowing my co-workers at the interview and hope he does well, but the sad reality is that some estimates say up to 80% of those with Autism can’t hold down a job. So this will be a great test to see if all his, our and his teachers’ hard work over the years paid off. Wish him luck!

That’s all for now. I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying a more normal summer! Blog on!


  1. Wow you have been busy I’d noticed that you had been around and assumed you had family stuff going on. with books and family. I hope everything goes really well for your son at his new job. 🤞 Looks like your challenges are going well too. Mine are a bit hit and miss particularly the Nonfiction one. I definitely bit off more than I could chew with that one this year!

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