Tag: what I’ve been reading lately

Best Books I Read in February (2021)

In February, I read 17 books, bringing my total for the year to 36. Goodreads says I’m a few books behind schedule for my goal of 250 books this year. Three of the 17 were really excellent reads!

Amelia Unabridged, by Ashley Schumacher. This was a great read! The bookstore in this was so lovely, I wanted to pack up and move there immediately (to be fair, it does have living quarters). The characters are great, and their journeys were believable and had me rooting for all of them.

The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner. Sometimes I struggle to engage with both storylines in books with dual timelines, but this wasn’t one of those times at all. I loved the historical timeline, and found it absolutely fascinating, but the present-day story was just as engrossing.

Float Plan, by Trish Doller. This was fantastic! From the very beginning, where the MC is struggling to get her supplies loaded as she’s running away, to every sun-soaked island and her ocean-filled adventures. She works through her grief and learns to stand on her own two feet after tragedy completely knocked the wind from her sails.

What I Read in February (2021)

Books Read in February: 17

Books Read for the Year:  36/250

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

This Present Darkness, by Frank E. Peretti (TBR, re-read). I’d basically forgotten this entire thing, so it was like reading it for the first time.

Love Does, by Bob Goff (TBR). His books are so inspiring!

Hope in the Dark, by Craig Groeschel (spiritual). This would be excellent for someone going through a dark time.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out, by Neta Jackson (TBR). I’m sad to see this series end!

Jesus Among Other Gods, by Ravi Zacharias (spiritual). I’m not 100% sure I’m smart enough to truly understand Ravi’s books.

For Review:

We Run the Tides, by Vendela Vida. This was not a good fit for me. The writing was great, but the story felt like a weird mix of lit fic and YA, with some Mean Girls thrown in for good measure.

Amelia Unabridged, by Ashley Schumacher. This was a wonderful read! I enjoyed it so much! I want to visit this bookstore. Or live there. The friendships in the story were lovely.

Furbidden Fatality, by Deborah Blake. This was a quick read. A fairly lighthearted cozy mystery set at a pet rescue.

The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner. I really enjoyed this historical fiction with half the story line set in the present. Character growth, mystery, and a tiny bit of magic made this an engrossing read.

Bright Burning Stars, by A.K. Small. This was a gritty look at an elite ballet school—and the things dancers will do.

To Catch a Dream, by Audrey Carlan (review forthcoming). This really didn’t work for me. The male lead was overbearing, and the female MC was just wishy-washy and inconsistent. Despite the solid writing, I didn’t care for this at all.

The Castle School (for Troubled Girls), by Alyssa Sheinmel (review forthcoming). This ended up being not what I expected—in a very good way!

Float Plan, by Trish Doller (review forthcoming). I LOVED this! So much character growth, set amidst tropical islands and adventure. Highly recommend!

The Nature of Fragile Things, by Susan Meissner. This historical fiction novel had a lot going on, but its pace felt leisurely. This was a solid read.

Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this murder mystery/suspense novel. Told in multiple POVs and timelines, it all weaves together to make an engrossing read.

A Game of Cones, by Abby Collette (review forthcoming). This is the second in a cozy mystery series…and I won’t bother reading any others.The characters were one-dimensional and it was just too over-the-top and dramatic for me.

Her Dark Lies, by J. T. Ellison (review forthcoming). This was a decent suspense read, but the MC was a bit unreliable. Like the reveal about her past that comes towards the end of the book. It felt convenient and deus ex machina, not realistic and believable. And there was never much mystery over the psychopath causing problems, not to mention leaving the question of did her fiance kill his first wife or not was never answered.

Left Unfinished:

The Love Proof, by Madeleine Henry. I read about 12% of this, but it felt so slow, I just couldn’t get into it (the irony of a book about time being slow is not lost on me). Solid writing, just not a good choice for me.

Ladies of the House, by Lauren Edmondson. This sounded promising–a modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility? But I read about 20% of it and just could not get into it. Half the characters were vapid, the other half were hateful and ugly and I just don’t need that sort of negativity in my life.

Best Books I Read in January (2021)

In January, I read 19 books towards my goal of 240 books this year. I also left two other books unfinished. I’m two books behind schedule so far this year…Of those 19 books, three were really good!

Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices, by Masuma Ahuja. This was a fascinating read! It told the stories of girls from all across the world: the history of where they live, their culture, and their lives, including journal entries written by the girls themselves. An excellent read! Lots of pictures as well, to truly bring their stories to life.

Everybody Always, by Bob Goff. I love the author’s voice as he tells stories, using everyday occurrences to make his point. The reader ends up enjoying the lesson. And, when I found out the story behind the cover illustration, it blew my mind! I’m already reading another of his books.

The Iron Raven, by Julie Kagawa. It’s been years since I read anything in this world, but I loved this! Puck was always my favorite character, so it was great to see him get his own story—with characters I loved from the other books in the background of this one.

What I Read in January (2021)

Books Read in January: 19

Books Read for the Year:  19/250

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books: 

Jo’s Boys, by Louis May Alcott (classic re-read). I really loved this!

Swing, by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (TBR). Despite being told entirely in verse, I really enjoyed this—until the ending, which seemed completely unrelated to the rest of the book.

Eveybody Always, by Bobb Goff (spiritual). I LOVE the voice in this!

Made Like Martha, by Katie M. Reid (spiritual). Excellent read!

It’s Not Supposed to Be this Way, by Lisa TerKeurst (spiritual). This would wonderful for someone going through a tough time.

Dressed to Kill, by Rick Renner (spiritual). There were a few too many exclamation points and redundancy for me.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling, by Neta Jackson (TBR). Still loving this series!

For Review:

Girlhood: Teens around the World in Their Own Voices, by Masuma Ahuja (review forthcoming). This was a fascinating read! Stories of girls all over the world, complete with pictures and journal entries.

Dearest Josephine, by Caroline George (review forthcoming). Enjoyable novel, although I thought the main question of the story was left unanswered.

How to Build a Heart, by Maria Padian (review forthcoming). This was a solid, heartwarming read, without all the drama found in a lot of YA novels.

The Iron Raven, by Julie Kagawa (review forthcoming). This is the first time I’ve read anything in this world in years, but I loved the start of Puck’s adventures. He’s so much fun! A little dark here, though.

Killer Content, by Olivia Blacke (review forthcoming). This just didn’t work for me. The MC was almost a farce, and she was super judgey of everyone around her, mentally condescending while being superficially nice—then being surprised when her judgments were wrong.

The Vineyard at Painted Moon, by Susan Mallery (review forthcoming). Mallery is an excellent writer, so that wasn’t a problem, but the characters here—for the most part—were just awful people. Awful. Vindictive, mean, cruel, petty, lying…the list goes on. Which means I had to struggle not to stop reading. The MC and her two friends were fine, but the rest of the characters were just so horrible it turned my stomach.

Just Because:

As Death Draws Near, A Brush with Shadows, An Artless Demise, and A Stroke of Malice, by Anna Lee Huber. I LOVE this series! I read the first one some time ago, and I just binged the rest of the series (new book out soon).

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. It’s been so long since I first read the first part of this series. I really enjoyed this re-read.

Devotions Inspired by The Principle of First Mention. This was my church’s yearly 21-day devotional read.

Left Unfinished:

And Then She Vanished, by Nick Jones. The whole time-travel premise sounded great, so I gave this a shot. I read 20% of it, and it was very sloooow…and I did not care for the MC.

The Obsession, by Jesse Q Sutanto. I didn’t get very far in this. Solid writing, but the creepiness-factor was too much for me.

The Best Books I Read in December (2020)

In December, I read 36 books (I know, right?!), bringing my total for the year to 332 books! Part of that was because I worked from home for part of the year, part because this is the first time in years I haven’t been in school. There were actually several books that were really good, but these were my top three:

When Crickets Cry, by Charles Martin. Apparently I’d read this before, but I didn’t remember it. This was such a good book! I loved everything about it.

Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott. I have no idea how many times I’ve read this, but it’s still one of my favorites. Jo was my favorite character in Little Women, so reading more about her is so much fun.

Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. I had already read this as well, but I wanted to re-read it. This is such a powerful retelling of a biblical tale. Francine Rivers is a wonderful writer.

What I Read in December (2020)

Books Read in December: 36 This was the most books I read any month this year!

Books Read for the Year:  332/200

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books: 

When Crickets Cry, by Charles Martin (TBR). Apparently I’d read this before, although I didn’t remember it. Loved this!

Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott (classic re-read). I love this almost as much as Little Women

Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers (TBR). This is such a powerful story

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Caught, by Neta Jackson (TBR). Still loving this series

Dangerous Prayers, by Craig Groeschel (spiritual). Powerful.

Praying with Jane, by Rachel Dodge (TBR/spiritual). This was lovely!

For Review:

The Princess and the Rogue, by Kate Bateman. I enjoyed this romance with a princess in disguise and a man who thinks he’ll never fall in love.

Boone, by Emily March. Boone was a little bit too good to be true to be believable.

Fairy Godmothers, Inc., by Saranna DeWylde. This was almost a farce to me, frankly. The whole premise wasn’t believable, the horrible incident from the past was ridiculous, and when the characters would randomly cuss, it just felt wrong, like it was out-of-character. Nope.

Wrong Alibi, by Christina Dodd. I was solidly invested in this tale of a woman wrongly convicted of murder 10 years before who is trying to find the man who framed her…until 75% of the way through when she met the guy whose family she supposedly killed and with basically no transition he decided she wasn’t the killer, they hopped into bed, and were infatuated with each other. What? I didn’t realize this was a romance. Add that to a conspiracy that had never been hinted at before, and I lost all faith in this author.

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder, by T.A. Willberg. This was a decent read, but it felt very slow.

You Have a Match, by Emma Lord (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this updated riff on The Parent Trap. It was a fun read with a lot of character growth.

One of the Good Ones, by Maika Moulite (review forthcoming). This is another case of me thinking I was reading a certain genre of book and finding out 75% of the way through that the author had different ideas. An incredibly powerful story and writing, but when that twist came, it negated that for me.

Roman and Jewell, by Dana L. Davis (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this quick read. It was diverse and didn’t go for the easy cliche.

The Other Mother, by Matthew Dicks (review forthcoming). Though this novel takes place over the course of two days, it felt like a lot happened! A solid read about a boy dealing with a scary syndrome.

Minus Me, by Mameve Medwed (review forthcoming). Eh, I really didn’t care for either of the MCs, so that made this only a so-so read for me.

The Lost Manuscript, by Cathy Bonidan (review forthcoming). I ended up enjoying this novel told in letters very much! Love the characters!

Aftershock, by Judy Melinke and T.J. Mitchell (review forthcoming). The second solid book in this series. Although the MC makes some…questionable…decisions, I enjoyed the read.

What’s Worth Keeping, by Kaya McLaren (review forthcoming). Loved this!

Shipped by Angie Hockman (review forthcoming). This was a fun read and would be excellent as a beach or vacation read.

At the Edge of the Haight, by Katherine Seligman (review forthcoming). The blurb made this sound like it was about a homeless teenager helping to find the person who killed a boy…but it wasn’t. Not at all.

Everything I Thought I Knew, by Shannon Takaoka (review forthcoming). I really liked this, until the twist came at about 80% through. And that ruined the entire book for me.

Deep Into the Dark, by P. J. Tracy (review forthcoming). This was an excellent thriller. I’m not usually a fan of unreliable narrators, but it totally worked for this story.

A Pairing to Die For, by Kate Lansing (review forthcoming). This was a quick, fun read, but it wasn’t totally believable because the police made an arrest within a few hours of the murder…on minimal evidence.

The Knockout, by Sajni Patel (review forthcoming). I LOVED this read! It deals with cultural issues and sexism as a girl struggles to embrace her identity in the midst of expectations.

The Girl from the Channel Islands, by Jenny Lecoat (review forthcoming). This was a good read. I don’t think I’d read anything before set in the Channel Islands during WWII or with a German soldier who wasn’t a Nazi.

Undercover Kitty, by Sofie Ryan (review forthcoming). I hadn’t read any of this series, but I enjoyed this. Elvis the cat is perfect!

Crime of the Ancient Marinara, by Stephanie Cole (review forthcoming).. This wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really work for me.

Capturing the Earl, by A.S. Fenichel (review forthcoming). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this entire series, and this was another good read. My favorite MC so far!

Happy Singles Day, by Ann Marie Walker (review forthcoming). I thought this was a pretty standard romance. Nothing bad, but no unexpected surprises, either.

Just Because:

Tipping Point, by Jimmy Evans. Yes, this is the second time in the last six months I’ve read this.

Who is Jesus?, by Paul Kent.

Mortal Arts, A Grave Matter, A Study in Death, and A Pressing Engagement, by Anna Lee Huber. I read the first book in this series some time ago. Now I’m binging the rest of it because I love them so much!

Yearly Reads:

I read the Bible and Live in Grace, Walk in Love, by Bob Goff over the course of the entire year as well.

Sundays are for Writing #98

It’s been a good writing week! I wrote four book reviews, plus two other blog posts (November reading and the best books I read in November). I also got in four fiction writing sessions. I’m still figuring out my characters in the new story, but I’m having fun with it.

Happy writing!

The Best Books I Read in November (2020)

In November, I read 24 books, bringing my total to the year for 293 books. Some of those books were really good. Here are the ones I enjoyed the most:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have no idea how many times I’ve read this, but I still love it! And I cry every single time.

Defending the Galaxy, by Maria V. Snyder. I am a huge fan of Snyder’s writing—I love the Study series—but everything else is great, too. This was a great conclusion to her newest trilogy.

The Little Shop of Found Things and The Chocolate House, by Paula Brackston. I read The Garden of Promises and Lies in October and thought I’d read the first book in the series and somehow skipped the second, so I decided to re-read. Now I don’t think I had read the first one, but I’m all caught up anyway. These books were really great!

What I Read in November (2020)

Books Read in November: 24

Books Read for the Year:  294/200

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books: 

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (classic re-read). I love this book so much!

Pretty in Punxsutawney, by Laurie Boyle Crompton (TBR). Light and fluffy read.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough, by Neta Jackson (TBR). I’m enjoying this series.

As Sure as the Dawn, by Francine Rivers (TBR). I loved this whole trilogy!

For Review:

Tsarina, by Ellen Alpsten. This was a solid historical read, though the characters were horrible to each other, and the culture was bit much for me.

The Forgotten Sister, by Nicola Cornick. This is two stories in two different timelines, and I enjoyed the one in the past much more than the present-day one, although the present-day characters showed a lot more growth.

Glimmer as You can, by Danielle Martin. I really wasn’t a fan of this. It felt rather disjointed and the characters were distant.

Claiming the Rancher’s Heir, by Maisey Yates. Eh. I didn’t really care for this. Another case of feeling distant from the characters, and they didn’t show much growth at all.

Once Upon a Mail Order Bride, by Linda Broday. This was a solid romance read, set in a town settled by outlaws. It’s the last in the series of linked standalones, and I’d probably go back and read them all.

Defending the Galaxy, by Maria V. Snyder. Loved this! I’m a huge Maria V. Snyder fan, and I’ve enjoyed this sci-fi trilogy so much!

Murder is a Must, by Marty Wingate (review forthcoming). I hadn’t read the first book in this series, but this was a solid cozy mystery.

The Butterfly Effect, by Rachel Mans McKenny (review forthcoming). If you can get past how unlikable the main character is through the first 75% of the novel, this was a good read. But…the cover makes it look like a light, funny read, and it definitely is not.

The Mermaid from Jeju, by Sumi Hahn (review forthcoming). This cover is gorgeous! I really enjoyed reading this book, based on something that really happened, but it was not an easy read.

Awaken My Heart, by Emily Wilson Hussem. Wonderful devotional!

A Princess by Christmas (review forthcoming), by Julia London. I’ve enjoyed this series, but why are all the women so deliberately unconventional…and yet still marrying royalty/high society? That’s not terribly believable.

Happily This Christmas, by Susan Mallery (review forthcoming). This was a good read. Loved the banter and sarcasm.

The Last Christmas Cowboy, by Maisey Yates (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this more than the previous book in the series.

Truth, Lies, and Second Dates, by MaryJanice Davidson (review forthcoming). Sigh. I know this is supposed to be poking fun at tropes, but…I still didn’t care for it. Or the MC.

The Last to See Her, by Courtney Evan Tate (review forthcoming). I am ambivalent about this one. Solid writing, but not really a fan of the characters.

Just Because:

Glorious Appearing, by Tim LeHaye. Finally finished my re-read of this series.

Treasure & Treason and Ruins & Revenge, by Lisa Shearin. I love the Raine Benares series, so when I recently realized these two books existed, I was all over them. Excellent choices!

Little Shop of Found Things and The Chocolate House, by Paula Brackston. I had to go back and read these, after I read the third one. I’m still not 100% sure if I’d read them before, but I loved them!

Left Unfinished:

Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. I tried. I read 20%, but I just could not get into this. It felt super slow and the MC was…both over-dramatic and boring.

Strange Fire, by John MacArthur. This was my spiritual book for the month, until I realized MacArthur believes some things that aren’t biblical (not the main subject of the book, but very important). That makes this a big NO for me.