Tag: readers

What I Read in 2019

My reading goal for 2019 was officially 175 books. Privately, I was hoping to read 200 books. I actually read 225 books!  Tracking my reading the past few years—digitally and in a reading journal—has been great.

My last book finished in 2019—and the decade—was Gone with the Wind, which is my favorite book ever! I’ve read it probably at least 20 times, and I still get made every time, cry, and want to slap Scarlett.

January: 17 books.

February: 14 books.

March: 18 books.

April: 18 books.

May: 17 books.

June: 20 books.

July: 20 books.

August: 24 books.

September: 21 books.

October:  21 books.

November:  20 books.

December:  15 books.

 

 

What I Read in November (2019)

Books Read in November: 22

Books Read for the Year: 210/175

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Discerning the Voice of God, by Priscilla Shirer (spiritual). Loved this!

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, (classic). Can we talk about how much I disliked EVERY SINGLE character? Seriously. I read this 20+ years ago and had forgotten just about all of it. Wishing it had remained that way…

The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness (TBR). Honestly…I thought this sucked. It just wasn’t to my taste at all.

On the Shoulders of Hobbits, by Louis Markos (nonfiction). This was a really fascinating read about faith and fiction.

The Pearl Thief, by Elizabeth E. Wein. (cultural). The first I’ve read by this author, and I enjoyed it.

For Review:

we met in december

We Met in December, by Rosie Curtis. This was such a fun read! I enjoyed discovering London and all Jess’s adventures as she falls for her charming flatmate.

the family upstairs

The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell. This was a creepy read, and one almost unbelievable to me. If everyone sees the signs their life is becoming a cult, why not take action, before people die?

the bake shop

The Bake Shop, by Amy Clipston. I thoroughly enjoyed this Amish romance about Christiana, who opens a bake shop in the Amish marketplace, next to the cranky Jeff, who just can’t seem to get his words to come out right.

9781335008480.indd

Day Zero, by Kelly deVos. Jinx’s dad is a doomsday prepper, so she’s spent years training for the end of the world. When it happens, though, Jinx is stuck trying to take care of her little brother, her opinionated stepsister, her stepbrother…pretty much everyone, as they struggle to find her dad, accused of causing the destruction. But the truth is far harsher than the rumors.

navigating the stars

Navigating the Stars, by Maria V. Snyder. Sci-fi, YA, romance…Terra Cotta Warriors are found on other planets, and Lyra’s parents are the experts studying them. How cool is that premise? I couldn’t put this one down!

tracking game

Tracking Game, by Margaret Mizushima. I wasn’t really a fan of this K-9 murder mystery. The writing wasn’t solid enough, and the MC was…I don’t know. I just couldn’t connect with her.

chasing the shadows

Chasing the Shadows, by Maria V. Snyder. Loved this second book in the Sentinels of the Galaxy series even more than the first!

mercy road

Mercy Road, by Ann Howard Creel. An excellent historical fiction about Arlene, who joins an all-women team on the front lines of World War I as an ambulance driver.

the confession club

The Confession Club, by Elizabeth Berg. When a group of friends who meet weekly for dinner start confessing secrets in their get-togethers, they aren’t expecting the depths of each other they’ll explore. One of them is in love with a troubled homeless man. Another is hiding the truth from her husband. Will The Confession Club help them deal with their secrets? I thoroughly enjoyed this read!

this really happened

This Really Happened, by Annmarie McQueen. This is told in alternating timelines: Erin’s day-to-day life when she comes to university, where she meets her group of friends and falls in love with one of them, and blog posts she writes in the future, after a tragic accident.

A Silken Thread

A Silken Thread, by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale sent in Atlanta a few years after the Civil War. The Atlanta Exposition is the setting, and I found it fascinating.

a christmas haven

A Christmas Haven, by Cindy Woodsmall. A sweet Amish romance about Ivy, who wants to leave her faith to start her party-planning business, and Arlan, who’d do anything to keep his sister safe.

the chosen one

The Chosen One, by Walt Gragg. I cannot recommend this military fiction. The POV was too distant, and the (very) few female characters were ridiculous caricatures.

safe harbour

Safe Harbour, by Christina Kilbourne. Harbour has been living in a a tent outside Toronto for months, waiting for her dad to arrive with their sailboat. But winter is approaching and her dad still isn’t here, and Harbour will have to find a way to survive the bitter cold.

lake season

Lake Season, by Denise Hunter (review forthcoming). When Molly’s parts died in a tragic accident, she, her brother, and her sister decided to fulfill their dream of turning their childhood home into an inn. Then Molly finds an unsent letter from 30 years before, and decides to find who wrote it—and deliver it if she can.

synapse

Synapse, by Steven James (review forthcoming). This thriller about a minister and her AI robot seeking to stop a terrorist attack was riveting from the very first page!

southern harm

Southern Harm, by Caroline Fardig (review forthcoming). Another of Fardig’s charming Southern tales has Quinn and her sister investigating a 30-year-old murder that just might hit closer to home than they suspect.

Scared Little Rabbits, by A.V. Geiger (review forthcoming). This ended ip being a total guilty-pleasure read!

Just Because:

Call Down the Hawk, by Maggie Stiefvater. A spin-off series to The Raven Boys? I’m in! Loved this read. A bit…quirky, but the wry humor had me snorting with laughter. Some beautiful sentences in there, too.

The Best Books I Read in July (2019)

So…normally, I pick the top three books I read in a month. This time, that’s just not possible. Because I read some really good books in July.

the secret life of Sarah Hollenbeck

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, by Bethany Turner. This was from my TBR pile, so I didn’t review it. What happens when a steamy romance writer gets saved and falls in love with a preacher? This made me laugh so much, as, apparently, Sarah and I were separated at birth.

ayesha at last

Ayesha at Last, by Uzma Jalaluddin. This also didn’t get a review, as it was my cultural book of the month. Pride and Prejudice in a Muslim community? Yes, please! I enjoyed this immensely, and I loved the look at a Muslim community. And, of course, a good Pride and Prejudice retelling does not go amiss.

three ways

Three Ways to Disappear, by Katy Yocom. This book was emotional, full of family drama, and tigers. And so good!

the mcavoy sisters

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets, by Molly Fader. More family secrets and drama, but a much happier ending. Life on a Great Lake, secrets from the past, and a troubled relationship between two sisters.

 

the book charmer

The Book Charmer, by Karen Hawkins.  If i could physically give you a copy of this book—I would! I don’t even like small towns, and I’d move to Dove Pond. A librarian who hears books talk to her, a town in trouble, and the outsider who’s the only one who can save it. Please do yourself a favor and read this!

the merciful crow

The Merciful Crow, by Margaret Owen. Have you ever read a fantasy novel that sucked you in from the very first page, that made the culture come alive, and had characters that lived and breathed on the page? This is that book. I’d have read this straight through except work. I could NOT put it down!

The Best Books I Read in June (2019)

I read 20 books in June, bringing my total to the year for 102 books read.

I have to say, this was a case of quantity, not necessarily quality, as there were a few books that I really enjoyed, but most were just solid to mediocre reads.

That being said, two of my monthly goal books and one of the last books I read for review for the month were outstanding.

at the water's edge

At the Water’s Edge, by Sara Gruen. This was my cultural pick of the month. Which, admittedly, was fudging it a bit, since the heroine is American and the books starts in New York in 1942. But…socialite Maddie and her horrid husband, Ellis, and his best friend, Hank, end up in Scotland in search of the Loch Ness monster, so I rationalized it. Fantastic, engrossing book! I would love to go to Loch Ness, and Gruen’s prose is top-notch. Highly recommend this!

backseat saints

Backseat Saints, by Joshilyn Jackson.  This  was from my TBR pile. I discovered Joshilyn Jackson when I read gods in Alabama for the first time several years ago (and re-read it last year and was just as entranced). This was when I discovered Southern fiction was a thing. I’ve read several of her books now–and cannot wait to review her upcoming novel, Never Have I Ever, at the end of the month. Backseat Saints takes a minor character from gods in Alabama and explores her very challenging life. Joshilyn Jackson is an auto buy for me, and that’s a really short list, so…

the stationary shop

The Stationary Shop, by Marjan Kamali. I’m still emotionally reeling from reading this, so I’m not sure I can talk coherently about it. Most of this takes place in 1953 Tehran, when Roya and Bahman fall in love on the edge of a revolution. it’s…not a happy book, which I realzied immediately. Usually, I would have chosen not to finish what I knew would be a sad read, but this was so good that I continued reading.

 

 

The Best Books I Read in May (2019)

I read 17 books in May, bringing my total to 84 books read for the year.

My three favorite books I read in May were a paranormal, a historical fiction, and a YA.

9780425281291_StormCursed_FCO_mech.indd

Storm Cursed, by Patricia Briggs. The newest novel in the Mercy Thompson series, which I love. Mercy is in trouble—again—but this time, there are miniature zombie goats to add to the fun.

the book woman

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson. This was an incredible read! I’d never heard anything about the Blue People in Kentucky or the Pack Horse Librarians…I have no idea how I’d never heard of these things, but there you go. Cussy Mary Carter is the last woman of the Blue People, and she’s a Pack Horse Librarian delivering books and news to the isolated people on her route. But some people are against her because of her coloring and she yearns for a normal life.

This was an incredible read!

two like me and you

Two Like Me and You, by Chad Alan Gibbs

Edwin Green’s ex-girlfriend is famous—really famous—and he’s not over her. He wants to get her back, and he knows if he gets famous, too, it will happen. Then he meets Parker Haddaway when they are assigned a history project together, and she introduces him to Garland Lennox, a WWII veteran who is still in love with a girl he met back then, and is determined to find her. So Parker and Edwin sneak Garland out of the nursing home and to France, and that’s where the fun really begins.

This book had me laughing so many times. Edwin’s voice is fantastic as he wrestles with what’s going on in his life and how it measures up to what he’s always known.

What I Read in May (2019)

Books Read in May: 17

Books Read for the Year: 84/175

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

The Next Right Thing, by Emily Freeman (non-fiction). Excellent read!

The Spider King’s Daughter, by Chibundu Onuzo (cultural). Eh. I can’t say I recommend this, although it was an interesting glimpse at a different culture.

The Thing with Feathers, by McCall Hoyle (TBR). I really enjoyed this sweet story of a girl who’s been home-schooled her whole life because of her severe epilepsy. She goes to public school and learns to spread her wings.

Kim, by Rudyard Kipling (classic). It was okay.

Real Love in an Angry World, by Rick Bezet (spiritual). I did enjoy this read.

For Review:

the book woman

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson. This was an incredible read about the last of the Blue People in Kentucky, and the Pack Horse Librarians.

how we disappeared

How We Disappeared, by Jing-Jing Lee. Historical fiction and secrets.

this-is-not-a-love-scene-cover

This is Not a Love Scene, by S.C. Megale. Maeve has muscular dystrophy. All she wants to do is direct, but leading man Cole wouldn’t be bad either. I didn’t find Maeve terribly likable—she’s selfish, childish, and completely self-centered—but seeing how someone with MD lives was intriguing, and I loved that the main character in this was someone struggling with a disease like this.

southern side of paradise

The Southern Side of Paradise, by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I’m note even sure why I finished this. I love Southern fiction, but…I did not like these characters. Justifying your horrible behavior does not make you a good person.

bonavere howl

Bonavere Howl, by Caitlin Galway. I love the New Orleans setting, but…this felt a bit off. Like it wasn’t fully finished.

two like me and you

Two Like Me and You, by Alan Chad Gibbs. Loved this book! The crazy shenanigans and tall tales had me laughing.

the voice in my head

The Voice in My Head, by Dana L. Davis. Indigo’s identical twin sister, Violet, is terminally ill and plans to die by medically-assisted suicide…until Indigo hears a voice that claims to be God and tells her the entire family must hike The Wave in the desert.

smitten by the brit

Smitten by the Brit, by Meloni Johnson. Bonnie’s known her fiance her entire life, but when she discovers something unexpected about him and their engagement ends, she’s at a loss. Until she meets handsome and dashing Theo, a British man straight out of an Austen novel.

denali-in-hiding-cover-for-kindle

Denali in Hiding, by Caitlin Sinead. Denali has always tried to keep her psi abilities hidden, but now she’s able to learn to use them…except she’s forbidden from helping regular humans. When she learns about a bomb threat, will she follow the rules or help, risking life in prison.

A Pack of Vows and Tears, by Olivia Wildenstein. The second book in the Boulder Wolves series. This was a solid read, but the developments didn’t surprise mu much.

Just Because:

Storm Cursed, by Patricia Briggs. Because I love this series. And I loved this book! Zombie miniature goats and a zombie dragon? Wow.

Queen of Air and Darkness, by Cassandra Clare. I was a little apprehensive to read this, considering how the last one ended, but my fears were unfounded. There will clearly be more books set in this world, which makes me happy.

Left Unfinished:

Tears of the Trufflepig, by Fernando A. Flores. I read 10% of this and nothing happened, so I gave up.

What I Read in March (2019)

Books Read in March: 18

Books Read for the Year: 50/175

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Party of One:  Truth, Longing, and the Subtle Art of Singleness, by Joy Beth Smith (spiritual). This book is like talking to your best girlfriends about really deep, personal topics.

A Million Little Ways:  Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live, by Emily P. Freeman (nonfiction). I love this integration of faith and what art is…and how to live an art-fulled life.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See (cultural). This is an-depth exploration of minority life in China…and also made me want more tea!

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens (TBR). I kept hearing about this book for months, and kept putting off reading it, and now I’m mad, because this was a wonderful book!

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neal Hurston (classic). Why have I not read this before? Excellent read, and I loved the journey this book took me on.

For Review:

the quiet you carry

The Quiet You Carry, by Nikki Barthelmess. Victoria Parker lost her mother, and since then she’s tried to take care of her dad, like her mom asked. Until the night her dad locks her out of the house and calls the cops. Now she’s in foster care and won’t tell anyone what really happened that night. Until it becomes a choice between keeping her secrets and keeping her stepsister safe. A wonderful, but very difficult and emotional read.

manix pixie

The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project, by Lenore Appelhans. An ironic tale of Riley, a Manic Pixie Dream Boy and the rest of his trope, who fight to keep from being eliminated as they seek to sort out who they really are.

of fire and lions

Of Fire and Lions, by Mesu Andrews. A tale of the biblical Hebrew exile to Babylon, Daniel and the lions’ den, and the fiery furnace. A wonderful, engrossing book that I loved so much!

woman 99

Woman 99, by Greer Macallister. Charlotte’s sister was put in an asylum, and Charlotte decides to disguise herself as a patient and get her out. While inside, she learns things are not always what they seem. This was a wonderful historical with a touch of romance, and I really enjoyed it.

american princess

American Princess, by Stephanie Thornton. I knew next to nothing about the Roosevelts, but this novel was all about Teddy’s daughter, Alice, and her long life in politics. I enjoyed the read–and the history lesson.

beautiful bad

Beautiful Bad, by Annie Ward.  I didn’t really care for this tale of a marriage gone wrong. The main character is an unreliable narrator at best, and I lost sympathy for her only a few chapters in, so I’m not even sure why I finished reading this.

glory road

Glory Road, by Lauren K. Denton.  I loved this Southern fiction tale of Jessie, living back in her hometown, and the two men who enter her life one summer filled with change. And the cover is beautiful!

the things we cannot say

The Things We Cannot Say, by Kelly Rimmer.  This book was an incredible read! Part of it is set in the Holocaust, part of it in the present, and all of it is compelling.

in another life

In Another Life, by C.C. Hunter.  What would you do if you found out your whole life was a lie? Chloe was adopted at age 3, but had a happy childhood, until her parents divorced. Now she’s living in a small Texas town when she meets Cash, who is convinced she’s the abducted daughter of his foster parents.

the library of lost and found

The Library of Lost and Found, by Phaedra Patrick.  This quirky tale had me drawn in from the beginning. Small-town happening and family drama, along with a mystery, fill the pages.

between the lies

Between the Lies, by Michelle Adams. Chloe wakes up in the hospital with no memory of who she is, or the people who claim to be her family. From there, the mysteries only deepen. This one was just kind of “meh” for me. I didn’t really care for any of the characters, and Chloe’s father was horrible.

 

the cliff house

The Cliff House, by RaeAnne Thayne.  The story of two sisters, raised by their aunt, who are all afraid to admit the truth about themselves and their desires. I enjoyed this sweet read.

lovestruck

Lovestruck, by Kate Watson (review forthcoming). Kali is a cupid-in-training who is convinced everything is controlled by the Fates—so what’s the point of even trying? When she ends up sticking herself with one of her enchanted arrows, she finds herself falling for her target…and she’s in big trouble. This was a fun read!

 

 

Book Review: Of Fire and Lions, by Mesu Andrews

of fire and lions
Image belongs to WaterBrook.

Title:  Of Fire and Lions
Author:  Mesu Andrews
Genre:  Christian fiction, historical
Rating:  5 out of 5

Abigail is just a girl when the Babylonians destroy Jerusalem—and the temple. Abigail is taken captive and finds herself serving four Hebrew boys destined to become powerful princes in Babylon, including the kind and caring Daniel. Abigail falls in love with Daniel, but the king’s machinations keep them apart, and soon Abigail finds herself lost in another city, with nowhere to turn.

Seventy years later, Daniel and Abigail have been married for years and have children and grandchildren when Daniel is once again called to serve the new king. Abigail’s family is full of anger and malice, but she’s kept secrets about her early years, secrets that might tear Daniel from her for good, and secrets that might have a chance of mending the rift in her family. But she will have to overcome her fear with faith if she’s ever to know true fulfillment.

Of Fire and Lions is a richly imagined tale that brings Biblical stories to life. Daniel and the lions’ dent. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace. The exile of the Hebrews. These things come to mesmerizing life on the page. And Abigail—Belili—and Daniel come to life as well:  their struggles, their trials, and their faith drawing the reader in. This is an exceptionally detailed and vivid re-telling of some familiar Bible tales, but with so much life added to the story.

Mesu Andrews writes biblical fiction. Of Fire and Lions is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of WaterBrook via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project, by Lenore Appelhans

manix pixie
Image belongs to Lerner Publishing Group.

Title:  The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project
Author:  Lenore Appelhans
Genre:  YA, fantasy
Rating:  4 out of 5

Riley is a Manic Pixie Dream Boy—the trope’s token boy—in trouble for speaking out in his last novel role. He’s sentenced to do therapy in TropeTown with other Manic Pixies who have behaved outside of their roles. Riley isn’t sure therapy is going to help him, until he meets Zelda, another Manic Pixie, and decides maybe it won’t be so bad.

But the Manic Pixies have been causing trouble, and now they might be terminated. All the Manic Pixies will have to work together to save their trope from destruction, and Riley will have to choose between a secure future, and the chance to seize his greatest dreams.

I saw a comment that Riley might be a character from The Fault in Our Stars—although that’s never stated, obviously—but I’ve never read that, so I can’t comment on any similarities (I’m sure it’s a wonderful book, but I don’t read anything I know ahead of time will make me cry). This novel is ironic and lighthearted. It’s an easy read, and there are a few moments of surprising depth—like the lesson about other, now-retired tropes being terminated because of their racist characteristics—but at heart, it’s just a fun read.

Lenore Appelhans’s new book is The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project.

(Galley courtesy of Lerner Publishing Group via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

The Best Books I Read in February (2019)

I read 14 books in February, four less than in January. My top three picks for the month include one book for review, one for pleasure, and one nonfiction.

wow

Warrior of the Wild, by Tricia Levenseller.  I really enjoyed this book. It has a sort-of-Viking culture, and a heroine who was raised as a warrior. When she’s betrayed and fails her challenge, she’s banished to live in the deadly wilds until she kills the god her village pays tribute to every year. She’s a strong character, but she’s haunted by fear of failure and betrayal. I enjoyed this so much!

I’d Rather be Reading, by Anne Bogel. Anne writes the wonderful Modern Mrs. Darcy blog.  I love reading all her posts, although I haven’t ventured into the world of podcasts yet. And Book Club is amazing, too. A book about reading? I’m so there!

Cast in Oblivion, by Michelle Sagara. I really love this series, and have read all of them. And loved them. Kaylin is a great character:  flawed but so loyal and brave. Awesome world-building as well.