Wednesday, December 31, 2014

{December in the Books}

I did it!  I made my reading goal for the a couple extra to boot!

Here are the 13 books I finished this month:

Christmas on Mill Street, Joseph Walker
This was a cute short book I found at the library on the Christmas display.  I always enjoy reading a couple Christmasy books in the month of December.  It was a fun story about a boy from Arizona who moves to Utah and wants a sled for Christmas. It was cute and made me laugh out loud at parts.

Mile Markers, Kristin Armstrong
I read a running blog and the girl who writes it is always talking about how this is one of her favorite running books.  I thought it was ok, not my favorite running book though at all.  I just didn't relate to it.  This is Lance Armstrong's ex-wife, which I didn't know until after I read the book either.  Just a little fact.  It's also a book made up of blogs entries.

Sophia, Paula, Kremer
This is a fun, clean regency romance book.  It might have been a little bit predictable but I am always a sucker for a good regency romance.

The Year of Reading Dangerously, Andy Miller
I found this at the library and was inquired by the idea.  The authors talks about 52 books that changed his life.  I thought the idea behind the book was really good.  I just didn't really like a lot of the reviews.  I know some people have loved this book, so it's just my opinion.  I do think it's such a good concept.  I'm not sure if I'll read 100 books again next year, but I wouldn't mind reading 52, and maybe picking 52 different books...something more than, say, regency romance :)

Lady Emma's Campaign, Jennifer Moore
I am not sure if this is a series, but this book has some of the same characters from Jennifer Moore's first book, Becoming Lady Lockwood.  I have really enjoyed both of her books.  This one had some action and was fast-paced.  I'm not sure I could pick between the two books which one I like the best, but they are both great books and I am hoping there might be more coming from Jennifer Moore soon!

How to Meal Plan, Crystal VanTassel
This was a free book on my kindle and I am always looking for new ideas for dinner.  I thought it would have some good ideas.  I love to meal plan, and maybe she would offer some different advice.  I wasn't crazy about the book in the end.  It did list a lot of resources, but other than that I wasn't a huge fan.  The recipe section I was disappointed in, because I need a recipe for BBQ chicken legs when the entire recipe is chicken legs, and BBQ sauce?

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, Crystal Paine
I love, love, love, Crystal Paine and the Money Saving Mom blog.  I have read some of her other books and really loved them.  She can always inspire me, but at the same time I don't feel overwhelmed.  I loved this book.  It's got lots of printable resources too, which I like.  If you haven't read her blog or her books, look her up!

Sky Raiders, Brandon Mull
We love Brandon Mull at our house.  I read Fablehaven a few years ago and then Wade read them to the boys.  They are always talking about how good these books are.  We were pretty excited this year when we found out Brandon Mull had a new series coming out.  Wade has already read Sky Raiders to the kids, but I hadn't read it yet.  I thought since they are now almost done with the second Five Kingdoms book that I should get on the bandwagon and read the series too.  I have to admit, I half skimmed-half read the book.  I really love Brandon Mull and I think these are great books, but I wasn't in the mood for a fantasy book.  I will be reading the second book soon though.

God Rest Ye Grumpy Scroogeymen, Laura Jensen Walker
I found this book on the Christmas display at the library and thought it might be a fun little book to pick up.  I have a grumpy-scroogey man in my house (wade!) and so I thought this book would have some good ideas.  I wasn't that impressed.  I was actually pretty happy I had got it at the library and could return it!  It wasn't a bad book, but didn't offer me any new ideas and I had a hard time following the authors writing too.

The Rent Collector, Camron Wright
This was by far one of my favorite books I read this month.  Maybe even this year.  It will make my top ten books of this year for sure.  I am so glad I read it.  The story is about a family who lives in the dump in Cambodia and what happens when they are given the gift of literacy.  It is an amazing story, and so hard to describe.  I tried to describe it to Wade and he couldn't figure out why he would want to read a book like this, but he would like it.  I highly recommend this book!  It's so thought provoking.

Letters for Emily, Camron Wright
After reading The Rent Collector I quickly looked for another book by Camron Wright.  This was another amazing book.  I loved it, maybe not has much as The Rent Collector, but it was an interesting story that had me laughing and crying.

The Lady of Bolton Hill, Elizabeth Camden
I found Elizabeth Camden's book this year thanks to amazon and free kindle books.  I have really enjoyed them and found this one just as interesting as her other books.  This book has some of the same characters as her other book, Against the Tide, and I didn't know that and read them out of order, but I was able to sort it all out in my head. I love that these are a little bit more of a romance book, but a historical book as well.

The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
My sister loaned  me this book and I wasn't sure I would be able to finish it this year, but it was a story I could not put down.  I read another book by Morton in the fall, The Secret Keeper.  I loved the ending to Secret Keeper, but found the first half pretty hard to get into.  I was worried about that with this book and wondered if it would be the same...and if it would how I would ever finish it, since it had 549 pages.  This book drew me in from the very first chapter.  It was such a good mystery! It was told from three different women and spanned through three different times in history.  I couldn't put it down and loved the ending.  Such a great book...I guess I will be looking for more books by Kate Morton in the future.


So I did it!
Total books read in 2014:

Honestly, I am not sure I will make the 100 books goal again for next year.  I am still debating that.  It was a very good goal to have and I am glad that I did it..and even more glad I accomplished it.  But when I made the goal I didn't know I would be working part time at two jobs and that we would be opening a practice.  It was so hard some months.  Life is just super busy.  I learned a lot about I really don't miss my tv shows, haha, and that I really can't listen to books either.  I really enjoying sitting down with a good book and a blanket and reading.  I am not someone who can stay up late reading.  I fall asleep.  But I can wake up at 5am and read while the house is quiet. I love that.  I still am thinking about what goal I would like to make for next year...maybe just 52 books.  I think I'll keep a growing list of books I read in 2015 and post them though.  It's been interesting to keep track and see my list on my blog.  (there is a tab for the entire list at the top of the page if you haven't looked) I log my books on GoodReads, but I must log them wrong, because a few days ago I got an email from GoodReads that was "the books you've read in 2014" showed I read 6 total books. hahahaha.  Even Wade got a good laugh about that.

In January I'll post about my reading goals for 2015.  I'll also post my top 10 books from 2014...that is going to be tough...narrowing my favorites down to 10.

{November in the Books}

I wasn't sure if I could do it, but the end is in sight.  I finally feel like I just might be able to accomplish this crazy goal.

Thanks to Gage's teacher...not sure why I hadn't told him my goal myself, but she told him about Gage has been talking to me about this goal and cheering me on, when he found out I was this close he told me I should start counting Lucy's board books.  haha!  What a clever kid.  Then he laughed and said that would be cheating and I shouldn't do it.  I did read a couple shorter books this month, but I still think they count, and they were two books that I had been looking forward to reading.

I learned something about myself this past month, I do not enjoy listening to books.  The kids LOVE listening to Wade read every night.  (I totally admit I either zone off, or fold laundry or clean up during this time) They have great listening comprehension. When we go on road trips we get several books on cd to listen to and I usually like that, but I tried to listen to books on my kindle this month while running (kill two birds with one stone) and after a couple days I realized how much I hated it!  I felt it really took the enjoyment out of reading,  I could understand what I listened to and tell you what happened and sure, I was able to get two things done at one time, and I could finish a book a little bit faster, but it really wasn't fun.  I don't want to read 100 books just to read 100 books.  I want to be able to enjoy this experience.  Sitting down and reading is actually fun/relaxing/makes me happy. So I won't be listening to them and running anymore.

Thanks to thanksgiving break I was able to finish a bunch of books towards the end of the month and I finished with 11 books in the month!

The Stranger She Married, Donna Hatch
This was a fast little regency romance read.  Cute, nothing bad.  Nothing that stood out like crazy to me, but it came in this collection I was able to download.  Sometimes fluff books are great.

The Glass Magician, Charlie N. Holmberg
I was really excited for this book!  I read the first book in this series last month and really enjoyed it.  I love reading new young authors who are so creative.  This sequel didn't disappoint and was really creative.  I love where the book is leading and I am really looking forward to reading the third book in the trilogy.

The 5 Love Languages of Children, Gary Chapman
I thought this book was full of good ideas.  While reading it I was able to come up with some different things I could try for each of the kids, although I think some of my kids are too young for me to really identify their love language yet.  It was interesting and I think it was worth my time. I downloaded it for free, but it would be a good book to add to a parenting collection someday.  Although with 3 boys I tend to think I can just show them all that I love them with food. :)

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
So this was a really short book, one of the ones I kinda felt like I was "cheating" by reading and counting it....but I have really been looking forward to reading it.  Last summer when we cleaned out my mother in laws sewing room there were a ton of books.  She really loved to read and collect books.  This was one of her favorite books, the kids all joked about it and said how much mom loved this book.  They had all read it.  I have never read it until this month, but I decided the copy from my mother in laws sewing room has been sitting on my shelf long enough and that I really needed to see why she loved it so much......

So, like I said, super short, but there is so much you can get out of this book.  After I read it, I went to log it on GoodReads and I think everyone gets something completely different out of this book!  I think my mother in law loved it because it talks about how you can dream and become anything you want to be.  You just need to believe and work hard.  Follow your heart.
It's a great book and will only take a little bit of time to read.
I totally suggest it to anyone.

The Princess Spy, Melanie Dickerson

This was a new release book that came out this month.  Amazon kept suggesting this book to me based on my reading list, so I thought I would give it a chance.  There was nothing wrong with it.  It was cute and clean and pretty good.  It just wasn't my favorite, or maybe I just was a little bit disappointed and had higher expectations for it.  Still a good book - maybe 4 stars out of 5.

Against the Tide, Elizabeth Camden
I have really enjoyed Elizabeth Camden's books.  This one was no different, I really enjoyed it.  It had some twists and turns that I didn't expect but in the end it all came together and I loved it.  She is a great historical fiction author who includes a lot of details in her books, I always feel like I not only get a good book when I read them, but I learn a little bit of history too.

One for the Murphys, Lynda Mullaly Hunt
One of my sisters is a middle school librarian and she suggested this book to me.  This is a story about a foster child who lives with a foster family, the Murphys.  I really have a love/hate relationship with the ending, but other than that I think it is a great book. I think I would really love to read this one to my own kids.  If you enjoyed Wonder, I think you would enjoy this book.

Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander
One of the sweet ladies at the office Wade worked at gave him this book when his mom passed away.  It is a book written by a neurosurgeon and his account of a near death experience.  It is way too scientific for me. I don't think it is a horrible book, at all.... but I don't need to scientific proof that there is an afterlife.  I just believe and know there is one.  There were some parts of his experience that really matched up with what I believe though and I found that interesting.

Flipped, Wendelin Van Draanen
I read The Running Dream, but Van Draanen last month and absolutely loved it. So while at the library this month I decided to pick up a copy of another one of her books.  I didn't realize it until I finished this book, but this is a movie too. In the beginning of this book I was wondering if anything was really going to happen and then all of the sudden there was so much more depth to the plot and the story was so much more interesting.  I finished this book so fast and I loved it.  I think this would be another book that would be great to read outloud to my kids, if you like Wonder, put this book on your list.

Standing up in a sit-down world, Merrilee Boyack

So this was the other "short" book that I felt bad about counting, but I was another book that I was really looking forward to reading.  I love Merrilee Boyack and any book by her.  I loved some of  the ideas in this book about standing up and doing something. I really loved a story about CPR...caring plus response.  We can care all we want about something, but until we respond with some action it doesn't really matter.  We have to have action. This is a short book, but full of ideas.

I'm not Cinderella, Tarrah Montgomery
This was a book I picked up in the library and totally judged by its cover.  I am so glad I found it though, it was such a fun book.  The story is about a modern day girl who finds herself in the cinderella nothing new, I am sure there are lots of book similar to this at the library, and parts of it were pretty predictable, but there were such clever parts too, and I loved her writing.  It had a great voice to it.  As much as some parts were predictable, I did not see the ending coming and  I really enjoyed it!  This is a new author too, which I love finding and supporting.  This is part of a series, and I can't wait to read more of her books.

Grand total:
93 books done
and only 7 to go!

If all else fails, Gage says I can always get out Lucy's board books and start counting. ;)

{October in the Books}

I read 8 books in October.  I started the month really wanting to finish 9, and I'm a third of the way through with a different book, but this last week life just got super busy and overwhelming and I just couldn't finish it. The end of the year is almost here!

I re-read this book.  I looked it up on my book blog and can't believe it's been 7 years since I read it the first time.  I love Shannon Hale and this series.  They are magical and great books for any teen girls (or older!) to read and love. I hope to re-read the other Bayern books soon.

I picked up this book at the library and I had no idea how much I would love it!  It's a story about a teen, Jessica, who loves to run and tragically loses her leg in an accident.  Learning to live and maybe even run again...this story tells if and how she does it. It was such a great book! I hard such a hard time thinking this was a piece of fitcion, the characters were very real to me.  I think if you love the book "Wonder" you would love this book...and if you love running or not you would love this book.

Our school book fair was this month.  This was one the librarian told me was good.  She said the principle read it and thought it was pretty funny.  I figured it was worth a shot.  It was SO funny!  Hilarious. I think my boys would love this series.  This might be something going on their Christmas list (without them knowing)

Another book fair find.  I read Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles years ago and loved it.  I knew I would love this book.  Ruby's grandmother goes to Hawaii and Ruby has to learn to get through summer without her.  She makes new friends and learns new things.  It's a fun little story and I think I'll be adding more Deborah Wiles books to my reading list soon.

A good friend let me borrow this book, she has a bunch on her reading list for me to borrow actually!  I thought this was a fun and cute story.  I think there are even more books making this a series.  I'll have to look for them at the library.

This book was recommended on my amazon page and it was a good book.  It's LDS romantic fiction.  It's also has a conversion story and a little family history mixed in.  The author lives in the south and has 6 kids.  How she has time to write fiction too, I'll never figure out, but I'm looking forward to her other book!

I've been waiting for this book to come out and it finally did!  This is the third book in a series that I have really enjoyed.  If you enjoy clean regency romance, I think Sarah E. Ladd is a great place to start!

A friend read this book and rated it on Goodreads and it looked really interesting to me.  Alice wakes up from an accident and has forgotten 10 years of her life.  10 years gone.  Where was I at 10 years ago, where would I be 10 years from now?  It's such an interesting concept and idea.  I really enjoyed this book and thought the characters were fascinating and loved the ending.  The only thing is it has pretty strong language.  I didn't really love that, but I really think it was an interesting book.

My book list total is now at 82.  
I have two months and 18 books to go!