Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOOK CHAT: Bout of Books Wrap-Up & Winter's Respite Readathon

Bout of Books wrapped up on Sunday, and I'm finally getting a few minutes to share the results.  I ended up sick most of the weekend.  Despite being a bit miserable, I was able to get in a bit more reading over the weekend because I really didn't feel like moving around much.  During the week, I was able to finish two books (The Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading and Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley) and made it about half-way through another (Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris).  In addition, I was able to start a new audiobook of Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger.  I didn't finish as many books as I had hoped, but I was still able to get in some good reading.  I will take it!

In other news, I am going to jump in on the Winter's Respite Readathon.  This readathon actually started at the beginning of the month and will run throughout the entire month of January.  Therefore, I am going to be tracking everything since the beginning of the month.  My original goal for the month was to read 5 books.  Currently, I have completed 4.  Therefore, I'm going to bump that number to 7 for my goal of this event.  I am going to read as I please for the rest of the month.  This could mean that I will dabble in some comics or I may dive back into a bit of Sherlock Holmes.  We will see where my mood takes me!

YOUR TURN:  Did you participate in Bout of Books?  Are you participating in Winter's Respite?  Tell me how your reading is going so far this year!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

BOOK CHAT: The Best of 2017

In past years, I have shared a number of favorites ... the books, the posts here on the blog, the pictures.  I'm narrowing it down this year and just sticking with the books and the pictures.  Let's start with a few statistics to get a picture of the year in review.

I read 66 total books.  (You can see the full list here.)  Of these books, 26 were audiobooks and 8 were re-reads.  I track all of my books in Goodreads, and that dear tracking tells me that all of those books equaled a total of 17,451 pages.  My goal was to read 75 total books, so I did fall a bit short this year.  Considering the year that I had, I am not surprised and am thankful for reading a whopping 66 total books!  After much thought, I am going to keep my goal of 75 books for 2018.  I'm feeling pretty hopeful that this will be my year to get this number once again.

I really did not share a lot of my books here this past year, so I intend to do so with a handful of my favorite reads in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, I do want to share with you my best 9 books of the year.

In no specific order, I give you my top 9 faves of 2017:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  2. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  3. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  4. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  6. Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley
  7. March by John Lewis
  8. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  9. Ms. Marvel #3:  Crushed by G. Willow Wilson

Bonus Honorable Mention:  Bite Somebody Else by Sara Dobie Bauer

Finally, I leave you with my 9 pictures with the most likes over on Instagram.  Do you see a theme here?

YOUR TURN:  What were some of your best moments, books, pictures of 2017?  Are there any books that I MUST add to my list of books to read this year?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

BOOK CHAT: Good Riddance 2017! Welcome 2018!

Good Riddance 2017!

I cannot express enough how thankful I am to see 2017 in the past.  It was a difficult and challenging year in many ways.  I watched my grandmother fall to an evil illness.  I had a major surgery that hit me a bit harder than I expected, and that took me a bit longer to recover from.  I lost my mother-in-law.  And, all the other stuff in between.  Good-bye 2017!  I'm glad to see you go!

I have entered 2018 with already a number of obstacles.  I was sick the entire holiday break.  I thought I was improving, and then I was hit hard.  I spent two days during the first week of the year seeing doctors between my daughter and myself.  And, I just cannot seem to feel rested.  However, I have high hopes for the year.  I've got goals, and I intend to accomplish them.  As I look back, I realize that I've been stuck in a rut the last couple of years.  That rut can be attributed to a number of things, and I am sick of being stuck.  I am determined to make 2018 my year to break free and begin making progress again.

In past years, I have come up with one word to live by for the year.  My last two years have been WRITE.  And, I did write.  In 2017, I had four articles published in a local magazine, and the added bonus of being featured in a different local magazine for this very blog.  However, my writing here on the blog and in other avenues took a huge hit.  As I closed out the year, I resolved to get back into writing for me.  Eventually, that writing may be shared with others like here on the blog; other stuff may not.  I simply want to fall back in love with writing again, writing tales and words that I am passionate about and love.  I have missed the connections in this little corner of the blogosphere, and I hope to rebuild those in this new year.

Besides the writing, I found myself frequently preaching about self-care this past year, but was not the best at practicing it myself.  In 2018, I'm getting back to ensuring that I am caring for myself, so that I can better care for my family and all those that are important to me.  I mean caring for my mind and my body . . . practicing mindfulness, physical exercise, and eating a healthier diet.  I fell off the wagon with many of these in 2017 and it's time to return and re-energize.

I'm not bringing one word with me into 2018.  Instead, I'm getting back to the basics.  I will be starting slow, but I hope to see you all around here chatting about books and life as I take those baby steps back into blogging regularly.  Readers here will see new features that may not always be about specific books, but that I feel contribute to being a better reader and writer in general.  And, I hope to see more connections being made by combining the old and the new.

So, I say . . . Welcome 2018!  Let's do this!

YOUR TURN:  How was your 2017, and what do you plan to do with this new year?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

BOOK CHAT: Books Read in 2017


1.  Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
2.  Introvert Doodles by Maureen "Marzi" Wilson
3.  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
4.  Speaking From Among the Bones (Flavia de Luce #5) by Alan Bradley (audiobook)
5.  Lumberjanes #1:  Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
6.  Lumberjanes #2:  Friendship to the Max by Noelle Stevenson
7.  Lumberjanes #3:  A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson
8.  The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6) by Alan Bradley (audiobook)
9.  The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse (Flavia de Luce #6.5) by Alan Bradley 


10.  Lumberjanes #4:  Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson
11.  Lumberjanes #5:  Band Together by Noelle Stevenson
12.  Coraline by Neil Gaiman (audiobook)
13.  Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
14.  As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce #7) by Alan Bradley (audiobook)


15.  Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails by Anthony Swofford (audiobook)
16.  Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson
17.  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead


18.  The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (audiobook)
19.  1984 by George Orwell
20.  Superheroes!:  Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of the Comic Book Culture by Laurence Maslon (audiobook)


21.  The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
22.  Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian (audiobook)
23.  The Grown-up by Gillian Flynn (audiobook)
24.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
25.  The Vegetarian by Han Kang (audiobook)
26.  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander/J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
27.  Soulless by Gail Carriger


28.  Delrium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)
29.  Rump:  The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff (audiobook)
30.  The Brothers Grimm:  101 Fairy Tales 
31.  Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (audiobook)


32.  Bite Somebody Else by Sara Dobie Bauer
33.  Dork Diaries #3:  Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star by Rachel Renee Russell (audiobook)
34.  On the Road by Jack Kerouac (audiobook)
35.  The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (audiobook)
36.  Fostering Resilient Learners by Kristen Souers
37.  The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
38.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid #10:  Old School by Jeff Kinney
39.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11:  Double Down by Jeff Kinney
40.  Bear Witness by Melissa Clark


41.  El Deafo by Cece Bell
42.  Trickster:  Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection by Various Authors
43.  Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)
44.  Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan
45.  Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan
46.  Ms. Marvel #3:  Crushed by G. Willow Wilson
47.  Ms. Marvel #4:  Last Days by G. Willow Wilson
48.  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (audiobook)
49.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
50.  Paper Girls #1 by Brian K. Vaughan


51.  Rat Queens #1:  Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe
52.  Requiem by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)


53.  Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian (audiobook)
54.  Quiet by Susan Cain
55.  The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (audiobook)
56.  March:  Book One by John Lewis
57.  March:  Book Two by John Lewis
58.  March:  Book Three by John Lewis
59.  Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (audiobook)


60.  The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)
61.  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
62.  The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
63.  American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang


64.  The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (audiobook)
65.  Zombies vs Unicorns by Various Authors
66.  We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (audiobook)



Monday, January 8, 2018

BOOK CHAT: Bout of Books 21

I'm back!!!  This is officially my first post of 2018, and it's been a while.  Life just got a little crazy, and I needed to take a little break from it all.  Thankfully, I am back with posts already scheduled, and what better way to kick it off than a little Bout of Books action!

Bout of Books 21 is a week-long readathon that is filled with lots of fun and fellow participants.  I have participated in this quite a bit, and I'm excited for this to be my first event of 2018.  I'm sticking with some pretty practical goals though . . . this small stack of books.

I am currently in the middle of two of these books, probably more than half way in each.  The Bradley book I am listening to on audio as well as reading, so as soon as I'm done with that one, I will have another audio to choose from as well.  My goal is to simply get through as many of these as possible during the week, and enjoy myself while I'm at it.  I will be back next week to let you know how it went. 

YOUR TURN:  Are you participating in Bout of Books 21?  What are your weekly reading plans?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

BOOK CHAT: Thankfully Reading Weekend

It's late on Thanksgiving night, and I realized as I'm sitting in my turkey stupor that I never shared with you and announced my official participation in the Thankfully Reading Weekend.  I'm here to rectify that right now!

The Thankfully Reading Weekend runs from November 22-26, and there are no rules but to read as you like.  It's truly my kind of weekend!  I have been participating since yesterday as you can see from my Instagram account.  However, the first two days have proven to be quite slow in the reading department.  I'm hoping these next three days are filled with more books than the first two!

Here's the stack that I will be pulling from this weekend. 

I am in the midst of reading the top two books.  I am also listening to The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  I also recently remembered that I'm hosting a readalong of American Born Chinese this month over at Book Bloggers International, so I will likely pick that one up as a re-read this weekend as well.  I will live comment about it over in our Goodreads group, so feel free to join me.  In fact, I encourage it!!  It's a great book!!

Now, it is time for me to get some much needed sleep . . .  as soon as I read a bit more in one of my books!

Are you participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend?  What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

BOOK CHAT: October 2017 in Review

We are half-way through November, so I guess I better get October wrapped up!  Before I know it, November will be here and gone too!

The TOP POST for the month in both hits and comments was I SPY:  Jamie Ford.  Though my post BOOK CHAT:  September 2017 in Review did tie in comments, I'm going to just rule the Ford post as the winner in the month of October!

The TOP PIC for the month was my readathon stack.  No surprise there!  Readathon pics do tend to get a bit more traffic.

Thanks to the readathon(s) I participated in, I had a pretty decent month for reading.  I'm hoping that I still have a couple of good months in me to reach my Goodreads goal, but we will see.  Here's the full list of BOOKS READ in October:
  1. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
  2. Quiet by Susan Cain
  3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  4. March:  Book One by John Lewis
  5. March:  Book Two by John Lewis
  6. March:  Book Three by John Lewis
  7. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Of all those books, I have to say that the March series by John Lewis was my FAVORITE READ for the month.  I can't really separate those and narrow it down to just one book because I really view them as one.  The whole series was a truly powerful read, and is one that I will recommend over and over and over again.

NOVEMBER has already been a crazy month.  For those who may have missed it, I was volunteered to coach my daughter's basketball team ... on top of all the other activities for my kids!  I'm having a blast doing it, but boy is my schedule full.  I am feeling better about the very possibility that I will not have a working oven on Thanksgiving.  My husband and I have come up with a backup menu that will not involve an oven.  Now, I just need to get a bit more sleep, and I will be set to make it through the rest of this month.  Thankfully, I have a bit of extra time next week when I have a long weekend for the holiday.  I also hope that the extra time will translate to some extra time for reading and writing, so let's keep our fingers crossed that I am back soon here on the blog!

How was your October?  Are you currently reading any great books that you would recommend?