December Reading Round-Up & Year-End Recap!

It’s a new year, and here I am still winding down last year! I’m going to do my December Round-Up, followed by a quick re-cap for the year. I honestly don’t know if I’m going to continue doing my reading round-ups. Sometimes it feels like a unnecessary pressure and deadline, and I’m trying to learn to not put added pressure on myself.

That being said, I always like to finish what I start, so here goes!

I only read 5 books in December, but that was all I needed to complete my yearly goal! I made it to 75 by the skin of my teeth, but I’m proud to have accomplished that! December is such a busy month and this year in-particular, the holidays seemed extra busy and stressful.

Below you will find the 5 books I read in December:

As you can see, these were all Christmas related books. I think my favorite was the last I read, and it was also after Christmas. A Cliche Christmas I grabbed at the library, just to finish my quota. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed The Mistletoe Inn a lot. The others were okay as well, but The Fruitcake Murders was the most disappointing read for me. I also noticed a lot of typos in it, so that bothered me.

And, I just realized looking through my list that I failed to complete my Monthly Reading Challenge!  I think I just took for granted that one of my chosen reads was a book published in 2016, and I just realized that I was mistaken! So…I went through an entire year of completing challenges, only to fail at the end? Wow. That makes me feel really bad. But…as it seems to be every year, one of my goals is to realize that I’m not perfect and to accept my flaws, mistakes and failings. So, here you go. Practice for that!

I did make my goal of 75 books and I don’t think that’s anything to downplay. I am proud of that, but I just hate failing!

Anyway…I’m going to cheat a bit on my 2016 recap. Since Goodreads does such a good job of it, I’m going to let them tell you about my year! I did have to screenshot all of these and send them to myself, which in retrospect might have been harder than trying to summarize it myself. Oh well!

I realize I could have cropped those images better, for that I apologize! To anyone who has followed my reading journey this year, thank you! I remain undecided as to how I will document my reading for 2017, but my reading goal remains the same: 75 books. Beyond that, I’m not sure that I will participate in any challenges.

Happy New Year, my bookish friends!!

*Also, I may be back soon with a non-book related post. I’m feeling a deep, profound life goals post coming on…but we’ll see!

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November Reading Round-Up!

Is today the fifth? Oops! I’m going to blame the holiday hustle and bustle for my tardiness on this post!

Speaking of hustling and bustling….that’s what I’ve been doing in my reading! I was seriously behind on my goal as of the end of last month and I knew I really had to step it up a notch.

Fortunately, it’s the Christmas season and that means Christmas books! I love Christmas books and they are usually relatively short, so I was able to read a good handful of books this month, which not only helped me to get closer to my goal, but it gave me a head start on holiday cheer!

So, let’s do this. Here is are the books I have read this month:

So, yes I read 13 books this month! I’m pretty sure that’s a record! Now, granted 10 of them were Christmas books, and thus a bit shorter, but still…win!

The book I read for my Monthly Reading Challenge was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The challenge was to read a Pulitzer Prize winning book. It’s a classic that I’ve always meant to read, and this was a good opportunity. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it like I’d hoped. The other non-Christmas books I read this month were Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (I just love her writing!) and Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark. Both of these were very good, and among my favorites now by their respective authors.

And now for the Christmas books! I read 5 by Melody Carlson! She’s quite the Christmas author! Haha! I always struggle to find stand-alone Christmas books, and she writes a lot and I’m thankful for that. I refuse to enter a series just to read the Christmas themed book. My favorite of her five was Your Heart’s Desire. There was just something about it that I loved. Second place goes to A Simple Christmas Wish. And, believe it or not, there were two that I found kind of disappointing. The Christmas Angel Project and The Christmas Shoppe, they just didn’t appeal to me as much as I’d hoped.

Of the other five, favorite goes to The Lopsided Christmas Cake. (and three cheers to Wanda Brunstetter for including recipes in the back of her books!) Least favorite would have to be The Mistletoe Murders. I’ve never read P.D. James, that I recall, but I wasn’t too impressed with this collection of shorts.

Anyway…I have ONLY 5 books to go to meet my goal for the year! Yay! I”m going to continue reading Christmas book in December because Tis the Season!

As a side note, I also realize that I have no review books to report. Nothing jumped out at me to review, and so I focused elsewhere. I do have a bible review coming momentarily though!

Merry December all!!

October Reading Round-Up!

I can hardly believe it’s the end of October/beginning of November already! Where has this year gone?

I have had a really good month of reading. I feel as though I read a good amount, but more importantly, I had some really enjoyable reading moments this month! And, isn’t enjoyment and satisfaction in reading the ultimate goal? For me it is.

I am quite excited to announce that I completed 8 books in October! I do believe that’s a record for this year, and it also gives me hope for November and December. As the year draws to a close, I am more aware than ever of my yearly goal and just how far away from it I still am! I currently need to read 18 more books to reach my goal of 75 for the year. That works out to 9 in November and 9 in December. I can do that, right? RIGHT?

Only one book in my October pile was a review book, and that was Newton & Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund. (Read my review HERE) Two of my selections for this month were works of non-fiction. Those being Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole and The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud. These two books were completely different subjects, but both were of current interest to me. Perhaps sometime when I’m not busy reading or documenting what I’ve read, I will blog on these subjects. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about specific topics of interest. I often miss that.

One book I read this month was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This one was suggested to me by several sources and I could not ignore the praises I heard regarding it. I can’t say I loved it as much as some others did, but I rather enjoyed it and found it to be refreshingly different, which I always admire. My favorite thing about this book was the theme that family is truly who you choose.

Two others I read this month were on my list because I had heard about them somewhere. These two books: Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra and The Woman in Cabin Ten by Ruth Ware were really, really good. They were the kind of gripping, page-turning, suspenseful novels that truly capture the heart of why I love reading.

The book I chose for my Monthly Reading Challenge was The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray. I remember browsing the shelves at the library, in search of something that might be interesting, when I was caught by the cover of this book. Conveniently, the challenge for October was to read a book chosen based on it’s cover. Check and check. This one started off unsure for me, but ended up being a very solid mystery, worthy of it’s cover.

My last selection for this month was Unashamed: Rahab by Francine Rivers. This was a book that has been on my shelf and is the second in a series of biblical fiction. I read the first installment a few months ago, and because I had about a day left in the month, and this was a short read, I found it an opportune time to continue the series. As usual, I found this work of biblical fiction to be insighful, bringing more to life, women who I’ve read about many times. It’s always nice to glean a better, more in depth understanding of what some of these biblical women may have been like.

So, 2 months left in 2016, 18 books left in my pile…I can manage that, right? All while fulfilling the hustle and bustle of the season? Absolutely!

Here we go!

September Reading Round-Up!

The pile of books beside me is getting very tall. Do you ever think about the fact that you’ll never empty your TBR list, even if you live to be a hundred? There are constantly new books that pique my interest that get added to the pile and I know that for me, I’ll never hit a point where I’ve read them all.

It’s kind of a sobering thought. It also makes me panic and frantic to devour as many as I possibly can. It reminds me of the gentleman in that one episode of The Twilight ZoneTime Enough to Last“. Which also reminds me that I haven’t seen that episode in ages, and should watch it again. When I’m not reading.

Anyway, I digress. Let’s discuss the books I actually read in the month of September. It was quite a hectic, busy month, which is why I’m surprised that I actually did pretty well. I have to attribute that to the fact that I am guilty of reading several books at once this month. A little each day goes a long way! I typically don’t like to read multiple books at once, but sometimes it’s necessary.

So, for the month of September, I’ve hit a record this year! 7 books! Yay! Which is much needed because I am still quite behind on my yearly goal. So, without further ado, here are the titles I read this past month:

 

Of these, 2 were for review purposes: Really Bad Girls of the Bible and Befriend. Including those two, 3 of my reads were non-fiction. The other was Introverts in the Church. They were all very different subjects, so choosing a favorite of those is difficult, but I’d say that I got the most out of reading Introverts in the Church. It was well written and really hit home on a lot of points. It was nice to feel like I could relate to the author, and he to me.

The remaining four titles were all fiction. Lady Cop Makes Trouble was the second in a series. I absolutely love the cover art on these books. That alone almost makes them worth reading! The stories are good, but I do feel like the characters could use a little bit more something… Anyway, Murder on Amsterdam Avenue is by a favorite author and from a favorite series, but I somehow inadvertently skipped this book in the series! Upon discovering that, I immediately rushed to the library to rectify the situation. Under normal circumstances, I absolutely despise reading a series out of order, but since I had no choice, I had to do so. I am glad that I realized my omission, because it was a good addition to the series.

Don’t You Cry is another of Mary Kubica’s offerings. I believe I’ve read three of her books this year, (which may in fact be all of her books!) so I guess you can call me a fan. This one might actually be my favorite of hers so far. Lastly, my book for the September Reading Challenge was The Light Between Oceans. I was instructed to read a book on the current NYT Bestseller list. Since this one was just also turned into a movie, I thought I’d check it out. It started off slow and I worried for my choice, but after a while, I was engrossed and I really enjoyed it. In fact, I believe I would consider it my favorite read this month.

And, so, I am now officially 49 books in to my 75 goal and exactly 7 books behind schedule! I better hustle!

August Reading Round-Up!

Well…

It’s September. August has flown by and summer is on it’s way out! It’s been an incredibly busy summer and I know my reading has suffered as a result. I am hopeful that with fall comes a more relaxed schedule and much more time to catch up on my reading.

You’ll never guess how many books I read this month? Yep, 5! How did you know? I’m currently about 8 books behind schedule for the year, and I’m starting to feel the pressure to catch up.

Below we shall explore the books I have read for August:

Wow! I just realized that only one book was for review purposes, and that was Uninvited. (I actually did have another review book, but for the first time in the history of ever, I refused to finish it. It was, to put it mildly, vulgar and pornographic.) Three out of five books were library picks by authors I’ve come to truly enjoy. Those were The Good Girl, Truly Madly Guilty and Crowned and Dangerous. And, the last book I read was of course, for my monthly Reading Challenge. That was, to read a classic. I chose a beautiful copy of The Secret Garden. I purchased it at Barnes & Noble specifically for the occasion.

I can honestly say that aside from the disappointing experience with the unfinished book, this entire month has been full of really good reads. It’s really hard to say which was the best of the best, but I would have to choose Uninvited. The only non-fiction book of the group, this book has left a lasting impact on me and reached the very core of my heart on many levels. I highly recommend it to any girl who struggles with fitting in in this glittering world. Among the novels, while they were all excellent, I’d have to choose Truly Madly Guilty as my favorite. I have become a huge fan of Liane Moriarty, though I’ve only read two of her novels to date.

Now comes the time in the post where I promise to do better next month and read more books. I hope to. I really, really do.

After all…

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Until next month…that’s all folks!

July Reading Round-Up!

Is it August already? This summer is flying by and I feel like as hard as I try, I can never get enough reading time! We had our anniversary trip this month, and I did get the opportunity to enjoy some quiet reading time on the beautiful and serene back porch of our vacation tree-house. I sure wish I was back there right now. Life can be so busy and chaotic, and vacations, especially those in secluded surroundings always remind me that we (I) need to take more time for quiet, stillness and reading!

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See? Doesn’t that look all sorts of serene? Sigh. 🙂

Anyway…back to my month of reading. I’ve actually not kept track of how many books I’ve read this month, though I’m really hoping it was more than FIVE! I’m going to take a look right now…

Drum roll please…..

Well, it’s higher than five, by one! I’ll take that though! So, for the month of July I read 6 books. They are as follows:

So…let’s see here, the first three reads of the month were actually selections that were leftover from last month’s “Read a debut novel” challenge. (Yeah, I went a little overboard selecting debuts!) A Girl Like You, Keep Me Posted and The Nest were all from new authors. Of those three, A Girl Like You was my favorite. This is fortunate for me, because as far as I know, it’s the only one of the three that is the beginning of a new series! The other two were okay, with Keep Me Posted being a bit better than The Nest. The Wolf Road was actually my one and only review book of the month. I had mixed feelings on it, and my review can be found HERE. Pretty Baby was my spontaneous read this month. I picked it up at the last second on one of our many trips to the library. I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed it a lot. I could criticize a few things here and there, but for the most part, it was a solid read. And, actually, I’m currently reading another book by the same author! And, last but not least, I have to admit I came very close to forgetting to do my monthly Reading Challenge for July. (That’s what vacation will do to you!) Fortunately, the challenge for this month was to read a book in a genre you’ve never read before. This was a tough one to figure out, until discussing it with my graphic-novel-lovin’ husband! I had never read a graphic novel and it was the perfect choice for accomplishing my goal at the last moment of the month! And, for the record, I really enjoyed it. More than I expected. It helped that it was a Walking Dead graphic novel, but I have to say that I was really impressed with the art and detail in it. I may have to revisit the graphic novel genre again someday!

In closing (I know I’m rambly tonight!) my total books read for the year is 37 and I am at 49% of my goal for the year. Yeah, I know, I’m still behind! That being said, I’m off to read! G’night all!

June Reading Round-Up!

I’m a few days late getting this posted. The holiday weekend was a busy one!

So…remember how I’ve been averaging about 5 books a month, but really, really wanted to do better?

Guess what? I read 5 AGAIN this month! I suppose that’s better than decreasing my total, but I know I can do better!

I won’t promise an increase in July, but I sure hope that I do have one to report by the end of this month!

The following are the books I have completed for the month of June:

Me Before You, I read in preparation for the film adaptation. I only finished half before I saw the movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed both the film and the book, which I finished shortly thereafter. June was a book review book. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a favorite. My review for that can be found HERE. Nightime is My Time was a book on my shelf that I’ve been wanting to get to. I had some free time, so I dived into that. I think that it was one of my favorite Mary Higgins Clark novels thus far. The Girl in the Red Coat and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper were both books by debut authors. My Reading Challenge for this month was to read a book by a new author, and I ended up with two! Both of these books were really good and I was impressed by their authors first offerings.

In choosing a favorite book of the month, I’m torn. I think I may go with Me Before You, though The Girl in the Red Coat may finish a close second. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper deserves a lot of recognition too. It was unique, inspiring and whimsical. June was definitely my least favorite, though that doesn’t make it a bad read.

All in all, I very enjoyable reading month! I’ve already dived headfirst into my first July book, so hopefully that bodes well for my end count.

Until next month, Happy Reading!!