What I Read: January 2017


What I Read- January 2017

 

I didn’t read much in December, so I am combining those two books into this post, since they did not need their own post. Additionally, since I am participating in Erin’s Reading Challenge, I separated the reviews by books for the challenge and how many points they were worth and then books that I read for fun! If you read my post with my predicted reads for the challenge, you’ll see that I read almost entirely different books!

reading challenge

Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley
(Agatha Raisin #4)

agatha raisin

 

+ 5 points. Freebie book

 

Rating: 4

Review: Great mystery that didn’t differ much from the TV show, but I watched it so long ago that I had forgotten the ending.

Die Laughing (Daisy Dalrymple #12)

die laughing

 

+ 20 points. Homonym book

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Finally, maybe some new characters! I love Daisy’s new friends.

The Bookshop on the Corner

the bookshop on the corner

 

+ 15 points. Mostly green cover book

 

Rating: 4 stars

Review: I can’t figure out where the title came from. However, it was much better than I expected. It’s no great work of art, but the entertainment value was high.

I will add that the author’s forward is worth reading. It’s super cute and will resonate with all book lovers!

The Wrong Side of Goodbye

the wrong side of goodbye

 

+ 20 points. Favorite author book

 

Rating: 5 stars

Review: One of my favorite Harry Bosch novels!

What She Knew

what she knew

 

  • 10 points. Starts with a “W” book

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: 3.5 at best. It’s not one of the better psychological thrillers that I’ve read. I chose to read this because I haven’t read a thriller in awhile. Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. While the ending was a surprise, I just didn’t care.

The author didn’t make me care about the mother or the detective. By including two narrators and barely flushing out the detective, I hated the police force.

I only finished it because I needed it for a reading challenge.

The Things We Wish Were True

The Things We Wish Were True

+10 points. Six word title book

 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: Strong 3.5. I didn’t rate it a 4 because that’s for a book that I would think about a lot. This was above average, though. I loved the way the author connected everyone in the neighborhood–even through hardships. Maybe redefining family.

other novels

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

 

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Wow. What an amazing story. I thought it was a bit slow going at first. I didn’t love parts of it, but I was probably identifying with Arthur, who wasn’t loving parts of it either! In the end, it’s a story of enduring love and his journey to realize that. And although he may have lost someone, he gains many more people in the end. That’s not a spoiler. And it was inspiring.

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

spinster

 

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: While I don’t share the same worldview as the author, it was interesting to a) learn a lot about famous women of the past and b) how they shaped her worldview. In fact, I couldn’t be much more different from the author, other than my love of reading and writing. The author is a proud Yankee who has had several serious relationships in her life, but now that she is in her 40’s, she is unmarried. I am a month shy of 29, dated a bunch of guys not seriously and married my first real boyfriend when I was 25.

I didn’t take away a lot of facts and dates about the authors she researched. Instead, I took away an overall impression that a woman can be herself, artisticly or otherwise, with or without a relationship–despite what the author might have been trying to communicate.

Modern Lovers

modern lovers

 

Rating: 3 stars

Review: I wanted to love this novel, but I cringed a lot. It was like… get it together people! Why are you all so spoiled and self indulgent?

Along the Infinite Sea (Schuyler Sisters #3)along the infinte sea

 

Rating: 4.5

Review: I couldn’t put this novel down! While it was supposed to be about Pepper, it is mostly about an American who grows up in France and then marries a Nazi. I like that all three Schuyler Sister novels have different formats. Book one vacillates between the past and present, and this third book picks up where Pepper left off in Tiny’s story of book one; book two is a straight forward narrative; book three is finally the furthest in time, around 1966, but is mostly filled with the memories of a woman that Pepper meets.

The tangential connection between the Nazis, Germany, and France is that the woman that Pepper meets has American cousins, who are the very political family that Tiny married into. I loved the story, but I would have loved a novel that centered more on Pepper, since I love reading about the Schuyler sisters!

I’ve never really explained my thought process behind the criteria below, so here it is.

Read These: These are books that I would recommend to almost any friend or person without knowing much about their reading habits.

If You Have Time: These are books that I would recommend to someone, if I knew about what he or she liked to read. These books are more genre specific or niche books. Or, they are books that I would not tell people not to stay away from, but they aren’t high on my recommendation list.

Don’t Bother: These are books that I would never recommend to a friend. They are usually books that I wish that I hadn’t finished reading!

read these

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

Along the Infinite Sea (And the entire Schuyler Sisters series)

if you have time

Daisy Dalrymple Series

Agatha Raisin Series

The Bookshop on the Corner

don't bother smaller

What She Knew

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

Modern Lovers

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , , ,
Erin’s 2017 Reading Challenge

bookchallengebyerin6-0

I am super excited to be joining Erin’s book challenge! I spent the first few days of December putting together my list of possible books. You can join the Facebook group and read more about the 2017 Reading Challenge on her blog here.

Here are the categories and my choices!

+ 5 points. Freebie book:

The Family Way by Rhys Bowen

the-family-way

+ 10 points. Starts with a “W” book

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

we-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves

+10 points. Six word title book

The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig

the-masque-of-the-black-tulip

+ 15 points. Mostly green cover book:

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan or

the-bookshop-on-the-corner

The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick

the-summer-queen

+ 20 points. Homonym book

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

jane-steele

+ 20 points. Favorite author book:

The Wrong Side of Goodbye (Harry Bosch, #21) Michael Connelly

the-wrong-side-of-goodbye

+ 25 points. Book Set in City/State where you live (South Carolina):

The Underground Railroad

the-underground-railroad

+ 30 points Rory Gilmore Book

Emma by Jane Austen

emma

+ 30 points. Genre not usually read book (self help/non fiction):

This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

this-is-where-you-belong

+ 35 points. Time travel book:

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

a-connecticut-yankee-in-king-arthurs-court

So, these are my picks, but they are totally changeable. Do you have any other suggestions? What would you pick?

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading Challenge Tags: , ,
Reading Challenge: Classics 2016

Happy new year! I thought that I’d start out with a book post, of course.

Last year, I rolled through my first 2/3 of the classics reading challenge, but as I fell sick, I didn’t continue to pursue the last few books. However, I am ready to redeem myself with this year’s Back to the Classics Challenge 2016!

back to the classics 2016 challenge

I’m also in the middle of my two year Classics Challenge, where I am reading 50 classic books by THIS Christmas Eve. You can join up any time. You can read my projected list of novels and learn more about joining here.

If you want to join the Back to the Classics Challenge 2016, click here for more information and the link up!

For this year’s classic’s challenge, these are my picks (picks are subject to change)!

Classic Book Picks:

A 19th Century Classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899.

The Warden, Anthony Trollope, published 1855.

A 20th Century Classic – any book published between 1900 and 1966.Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

Bath Tangle, Georgette Heyer, 1955

A classic by a woman author.

Evelina or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World, Fanny Burney, 1778

A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language.

Candide, Voltaire, 1759

A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955

An adventure classic – can be fiction or non-fiction. Children’s classics like Treasure Island are acceptable in this category.

The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain, 1875

A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984, and children’s classics like The Hobbit are acceptable in this category also.

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937

A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. This list of books from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a great starting point if you’re looking for ideas.

N or M?, Agatha Christie, 1941

A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.

Washington Square, Henry James, 1880

A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemmingway, 1926

Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college). If it’s a book you loved, does it stand the test of time? If it’s a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?

Persuasion, Jane Austen, 1817

This one is a big chore for me, since I hate rereading novels; however, I didn’t read Persuasion until Brit Lit II in college, so I’ve only read it once. Plus, Austen novels aren’t bad a second time!

A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children’s stories are acceptable in this category also.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, This audible novel includes 12 Stories: “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “The Red-Headed League,” “A Case of Identity,” “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” “The Five Orange Pips,” “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,” “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb,” “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor,” “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet,” and “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.”

What are your thoughts? Any suggestions for better picks? What do you plan to read this year?

Don’t forget to add me as a Goodreads friend as I try to tackle 200, instead of 150 books this year!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading Challenge, Uncategorized Tags: ,
Literary Ladies Book Club Reading Challenge


Reading Challenge smaller

Another book challenge? Yes! I’m linking up with See You in a Porridge to show my progress! The challenge runs from June 21, 2015 until September 21, 2015. And this reader is finished!!!

1. A YA book
If I Stay, Gayle Forman

2. Non US Author
Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (British)

3. A book that was recommended by a blogger (or instagrammer / you-tuber / goodreads-er)
Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood (Phryne Fisher Series) – This mystery and some other series were recommended by Moira at Hearth and Homefront.

4. A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more
The Black Album, Hanif Kureishi

5. A book with a kickass female character
Pardonable Lies, Jacqueline Winspear

6. A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show).
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries #1), James Runcie, which is a PBS series.

7. A book written by a comedian or celebrity – or even a memoirif neither of those are your jam.
Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari (READ THIS)

8. A book with a one word title.
Romola, George Eliot

9. A suspenseful book – a mystery, a thriller, a book about revenge!
Pretty Baby, Mary Kubica

10. A book about Summer, with Summer in the title, or in any way related to Summer because this is a Summer challenge!
Summerlong, Dean Bakopoulos

Don’t forget that you can be my friend on Goodreads to see what I read/give me ideas!

So, I finished up and read books that I really enjoyed (minus Romala, which was long and boring and I don’t recommend it. Ever.) them!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading, Reading Challenge Tags: , ,
Reading Challenge Update {Vol. 3}


I’ve been taking some time for my health (not that it’s helping, but I think the pressure to write would make it worse), but I thought I could take time to update my reading challenges! [I did grab a “summer” picture from after I cut my hair last year to update my profile. Spring cleaning?]
Reading Challenge Update Vol 3

A few weeks ago, I updated my audiobook challenge, which I already surpassed. I’ve listened to a few more, but you can see which ones I had listened to here.

You can read my last update from last month here. I noted the changes below!

reading challenges update

For the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge, I’ve read 4 out of 12 books:

Dark Places: A Novel, Gillian Flynn
Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence
Cousin Kate, Georgette Heyer
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson

That’s two more book since last month!

For reading 52 Books in 52 weeks, I surpassed the challenge. At the time of writing, I’ve read 62 books this year! Finished!


 

Audiobook Challenge:

For the Audiobook challenge, I said that I would aim for 30-50 this year. So far, I’ve read/listened to 50 audiobooks. Finished!

Update: As of June 2015, I’ve listened to almost 70 audiobooks this year!


 

For the I Love Library Books challenge, I am aiming to read at least 24 books from the library. So far, I’ve read 27 library books. My last update, I was only at 8 books. I’m definitely making progress because I FINISHED!

For my Classics Reading Membership Challenge, which I started on December 24, 2014, and gave myself 2 years to read 50 books, I’ve read 32! My anticipated list is here, but it is definitely subject to change!

So far, I’ve read:

The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Little Men, Louisa May Alcott
Daisy Miller, Henry James
Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell
The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
Adam Bede, George Eliot
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer
The House in Paris, Elizabeth Bowen
The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
Wessex Tales, Thomas Hardy
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
The Professor, Charlotte Bronte
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Cousin Kate, Georgette Heyer
The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John le Carre
Venentia, Georgette Heyer
Charity Girl, Georgette Heyer
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
The American, Henry James
The House of Mirth, Edith Warton
The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor
The King’s General, Daphne Du Maurier
Sprig Muslin, Georgette Heyer

You can read a round up of a some of my reviews here! I’ll be updating again in a few months.

Finally, for this year’s Back to the Classics Challenge, I’ve read the following books for the following categories:

A 19th Century Classic — any book published between 1800 and 1899: The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (1859).

A 20th Century Classic — any book published between 1900 and 1965. Just like last year, all books must have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify as a classic. The only exception is books that were published posthumously but written at least 50 years ago.): The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (1929).

A Nonfiction Classic. A memoir, biography, essays, travel, this can be any nonfiction work that’s considered a classic, or a nonfiction work by a classic author: In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965).

A Classic in Translation. As in last year’s category, this can be any classic book originally written or a published in a language that is not your first language. Feel free to read it in its original form if you are comfortable reading in another language: Madam Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1857).

A Classic by a Woman Author: The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton (1905).

A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. First name, last name, or both, it doesn’t matter, but it must have the name of a character. David Copperfield, The B rothers Karamazov, Don Quixote — something like that. It’s amazing how many books are named after people: Adam Bede, George Eliot (1859).

A Classic Novella — any work shorter than 250 pages.  The End of an Affair, Graham Greene (1951).

So, I added one more category. Seven down and five to go!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads or read short reviews of what I’ve read every month here!

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading Tags:
2015 TBR Pile Challenge!


2015 TBR Pile Challenge: Reading Challenge for this year is to clear 12 books off of my bookshelf/out of my kindle/out of audible!

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).

Specifics:

1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2014 or later. Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.

If you are going to participate, make sure to link up by January 15!

You can get the full list of rules and link up your challenge list here!

My List:

The House of Mirth, Edith Warton

When Christ and His Saints Slept, Sharon Kay Penman

Cousin Kate, Georgette Heyer

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins

Dark Places: A Novel, Gillian Flynn

The Way We Live Now, Anthony Trollope

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson

Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen

The Black Album, Hanif Kureishi

The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith

Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence

Sartoris, William Faulkner (Sartoris was published in its abridged version in 1929. If I have time, I will try to read the unabridged version, Flags in the Dust, which was not published until the 1970’s. Currently, I do not own that one!)

My Alternates:

North and South, John Jakes

The Sunne In Splendour, Sharon Kay Penman

Add me as a friend on Goodreads to follow along + Check out my other monthly review roundups here!

Do you buy more books than you can read? Or are you more responsible than me and use the library?

Note: Amazon links are affiliate links. Books linked to Goodreads are available for free or less than a dollar on Amazon. I had to track down Sartoris through a specialized used book dealer, so can’t help you there!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading Tags:
Saturday: Jazz Age January


So, I’ve decided that Saturday posts will be dedicated to all things literary. I’ve been posting a lot about my reading plans and goals for the upcoming year over the past few weeks because:
1. It’s just that time of year.
2. Readership is down anyway.
3. Signing up requires a post!

I’m really excited to talk about Jazz Age January because it’s one of my favorite time periods to read about. Last year, I read some really bad books set in the Jazz Age (you can disagree, but The Paying Guests, The Chaperone, and The Girls at the Kingfisher Club were all horrible, in my opinion. The Paying Guests and The Chaperone were both stories that could honestly have taken place during any other time period. I was hoping that The Paying Guests would focus more on class differences). I loved a novel that I read about Zelda Fitzgerald, but when I tried to read Zelda’s novel, I just got a headache. (Someone find an editor!)

jazz-age-january-small

So, I thought that I’d go on and read a few Jazz Age books this month and share a review at the end! You can read more about it and sign up and link up your reviews here! There is even a great Jazz Age guide for reading ideas! (Yay!)

This month, I’ll be trying out:

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

If I Have Time:

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J Mann

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (splits between the present and the Jazz Age)

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Any more suggestions?

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: link up, Reading Tags: ,
Reading Challenges Galore!

I’m going to skip all of the New Year’s Resolution posts that you’ll be reading a lot of soon. Instead, my resolution is to read and not waste (too much) time watching TV or mindlessly surfing the internet. I mean, researching the history of TB at midnight on my phone because I read a book with a character who had consumption and then telling all of it to my husband who is asleep anyway, is also a waste of my time. So, I guess I resolve to sleep and read and use time wisely.

I definitely don’t plan on turning this into a book blog, but since it has grown into a larger interest of mine, I will be posting about it more frequently–but probably on the weekends. Statistics show that my monthly roundup of books that I read is one of my most popular topics, so I guess people want to know!

+This post is to declare that I will be participating in Reading 52 Books in 52 Weeks. I figured that if I’m already doing the other challenges, this should not be a problem. Additionally, it’ll keep me moving at a steady pace!

+I will also be participating in an Audiobook challenge (because you know I love a good audiobook). I will be aiming for the “My Precious” level, which is 30-50 audiobooks during 2015.

+I will be participating in this TBR pile challenge, also. I am aiming for clearing 12 books off of my shelves, which should make them close to cleared off, until I get birthday money and buy books on Thriftbooks…

+And, to show my commitment to not keeping Thriftbooks and Audible in business all by myself, I will be participating in the I Love Library Books Challenge. I am aiming to read 24 books from my public library during 2015!

I know that may seem like a TON of books and a lot of challenges, but a lot of the books overlap. I love the idea of linking up with other book readers because 1. I love discovering new blogs and 2. I love talking books.

So, less writing, more reading.

Categories: Reading Tags: