The Netgalley Challenge

I had planned on only focusing on my Classics Club challenge this year, but this challenge caught my eye because I’ve been working towards getting through my NetGalley stack as well. And sometimes challenges help  me cross things off my To Do Lists in a fun way :)

I feel so ashamed because I have 12 NetGalley ebooks to review, and 9 of them have already been published =P I think most of this can be attributed to “new book reviewer” error. When I first joined NetGalley back in October, I hugely underestimated the amount of books I would be approved for. So I just requested everything that looked interesting and hoped I’d be approved for a small handful. WRONG. I’ve been approved for 28 total, which means I’ve read 16, and most of those were before December, because I started working full-time and suddenly had so many other things to do besides review books. I stopped requesting any more books when I realized how far behind I was, but I still need to catch up.

So, I had already planned on spending February and March catching up on these NetGalley reviews, and now I have even more incentive! Suze (Lavender Likes, Love, Finds & Dreams) and Sophie (Reviewed the Book) are hosting a NetGalley Challenge for the next 6 weeks. I love group book challenges; chatting with other readers and bloggers is so fun and encouraging.

Let’s see how many reviews I can complete in the next month and a half! :)

War and Peace Read-Along: Week One, Book One

I recently heard about a War and Peace read-along hosted by Hanna at Booking In Heels and since I know this novel will be much easier to read with a group of other bloggers than it would be to read it on my own, I have decided to participate!

As you can see, it is a two-and-a-half month-long event, so we only have to read 1-2 books a week (there are 15 plus 2 epilogues), which is doable.

This week we read Book 1, and since I have never read anything by Tolstoy or any other Russian novelist, it took a lot of effort to keep track of all of the characters (there are plenty), as well as figure out how to even pronounce their names.

[spoilers below for Book 1 of War and Peace]

The main plot points that take place during Book 1 are the death of Count Bezukhov, the legitimacy of his son Pierre (who is then able to receive the Count’s inheritance, much to the shock of the rest of the family), and the deployment of Prince Andrew.

  1. What pre-existing ideas did you have about War and Peace?
    I expected it to be long and boring.
  2. On that note, is it as bad as you’d expected?
    While it is long (1,000+ pages), it isn’t boring. At the same time, not much has happened either. So it’s interesting that it’s able to keep my attention.
  3. What strategies are you employing? (e.g. reading in short bursts, using your Kindle on your commute, taking notes about the characters…)
    I printed out a list of characters (8 pages long!) because there are so many and it’s hard to keep track of who is who. At this point, only a handful of the characters are familiar to me–when I see Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya (isn’t that a mouthful?) or Pierre or Prince Vicili, I know who they are. But most of the characters are completely unknown to me.
    I’m also reading a specific number of chapters per night (~4) so that helps keep me on track and the chapters are fairly short so I can take breaks.

    War and Peace

    Keeping my 8-page list of War and Peace characters handy!

  4. How are you getting along with your translation?
    The Kindle version I’m using is great. Much better than lugging around a printed book. They’ve translated the French segments, but since I speak French that wouldn’t be a problem for me. (Side note: this also aided me while reading Jane Eyre. I think every reader should learn French; you never know when you’ll need to translate book dialogue!)
  5. Most and least favorite characters?
    Favorite character: So far I like Princess Mary (I think she also goes by Maria?). She seems sweet.
    Least favorite: By far, Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya is my least favorite. She reminds me of those women who just butt into everything that doesn’t concern them. I wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way?
  6. How do you feel about the way women are treated in the book?
    I feel that they are looked down upon; their opinions are condescended and they are often criticized by the male characters (and even other female characters).

“I am a woman, and you think we are all stupid;” – Princess Katishe

If you’re interested in reading along with us, it’s not too late to join! Click here for the schedule.

The Classics Club Monthly Meme #31: Modern Classics

classics

I’m finally making time to answer The Classics Club’s Monthly Meme! This one sounded really interesting:

What about modern classics? Pick a book published since 2000 and say why you think it will be considered as a “classic” in the future.

This was a tough question for me to answer for two reasons: 1) the word “classic” means something different to most people (some people consider books older than 100 years classics, while others define classics as books that have had a fundamental impact on culture and literature); and 2) an example of a modern classic came to me so quickly I thought it was too cliche of an answer. But I’m going with it anyway because I sincerely think it will still be regarded as a classic to future generations of readers.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter

I’m cheating a bit because the first book was published pre-2000, but the last one wasn’t released until 2007 so it can still be considered at 21st century classic.

Why do I think Harry Potter will be labeled a classic in the future?

  • It persuaded a revival of reading. I know of people who do not naturally like to read, but they have read and enjoyed Harry Potter and have even desired to read other books afterwards. (Yay for converting people into readers!)
  • It has already been taught in schools. Isn’t that one of the requirements for a book to be considered a “canon”? I was always so jealous of my university friends who took lit classes that had Harry Potter on the syllabus.
  • Its themes are timeless. Harry Potter has similar themes to The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, two series that are also considered classics.
  • It has influenced a number of other writers and their works. Some of these authors include Christopher Paolini (Eragon) and Daniel Handler (A Series of Unfortunate Events). (Which works has J.K. Rowling listed as “probable influences” for Harry Potter? The Illiad, The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Emma, and The Sword in the Stone.)

Do you think Harry Potter will be considered a classic in 25-50 years? What other books do you think are or should be considered modern classics?

Top Ten Tuesday: Nonfiction Books I Want to Read

toptentuesdayThis week I’m talking about one of my least familiar book genres: nonfiction. I have only read maybe a handful of nonfiction, autobiography, memoir, or humor novels, and I don’t know what to say about that except I’m just not drawn to them naturally.

So to challenge myself a bit, I’ve compiled this list of ten nonfiction novels I’d like to read. And please, give me some good recommendations of nonfiction books to read for people who aren’t huge fans of nonfiction!

Top Ten Nonfiction Novels I Want to Read

IMG_0743As You Wish by Cary Elwes

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars.

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The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

As America’s Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty.

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.IMG_0746

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD ‘a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language’ which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It’s had over a billion page hits to date. A year ago Munroe set up a new section – What If – where he tackles a series of impossible questions: If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, in a pool in a thunderstorm? His answers are witty and memorable and studded with hilarious cartoons and infographics. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel the smarter for having read.IMG_0747

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

Tired of memoirs that only tell you what really happened?

Sick of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a hideous death by piranhas. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song.

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One More Thing by B.J. Novak

B.J. Novak’s One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut collection that signals the arrival of a welcome new voice in American fiction. Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, from the deeply familiar to the intoxicatingly imaginative,One More Thing finds its heart in the most human of phenomena: love, fear, family, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that might make a person complete. The stories in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.IMG_0749

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

“What are my qualifications to write this book? None really. So why should you read it? Here’s why: I’m a little fat. If a thin guy were to write about a love of food and eating I’d highly recommend that you do not read his book.”

Bacon. McDonalds. Cinnabon. Hot Pockets. Kale. Stand-up comedian and author Jim Gaffigan has made his career rhapsodizing over the most treasured dishes of the American diet (“choking on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover”) and decrying the worst offenders (“kale is the early morning of foods”). IMG_0750

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936. Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant.

Bonus: Documentaries I Want to Watch

in the shadow of the moon

In the Shadow of the Moon

David Sington and Christopher Riley’s acclaimed documentary reveals the history of the Apollo space program through interviews with the brave astronauts who lived through a paradigm-shifting chapter in world history. Devoted to President John F. Kennedy’s goal of sending a man to the moon, the NASA project pushed the envelope of what was humanly possible. But the program also experienced several failures, one of which resulted in tragedy. man on wire

Man on Wire

Philippe Petit captured the world’s attention in 1974 when he walked across a high wire between New York’s Twin Towers. This Oscar winner for Best Documentary explores the preparations that went into the stunt as well as the event and its aftermath.

 

January Highlights

It’s hard to believe February is upon us. January didn’t necessarily fly by for me, but a lot of things happened in my life and I know February is going to be just as eventful.

So here’s what I was up to last month!

I read 12 books!

Lonely Postman IMG_0063 from-the-15th-district mac amostinconvenientmarriage
princess diaries princess in the spotlight earnest soulprint Legend
                                             mara dyer theevolutionofmaradyer

This was a huge surprise for me, because last month I was all upset that I couldn’t find enough time to read as often as I did before finding a full-time job.

Most Popular Post

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Club Reads – I had so much fun chatting with other bloggers about these books! Tuesday’s posts always bring the best conversations :)

What I Watched

Gilmore Girls – Ok, HUGE surprise to everyone: my dad has gotten hooked on Gilmore Girls. My mom and I started watching the show back in September, but we’ve been taking our time. And this month we started watching it again and my dad watched one episode with us and was completely pulled in. So much so that he’s gotten upset when we watched episodes without him. I feel like I’m in some alternate universe where my dad, whose favorite shows are The Walking Dead and Forensic Files, suddenly enjoys Gilmore Girls. But hey, I’ll take it!

East & West Vlog – A new YouTube series based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. It’s just starting, but I really enjoy the actress who plays Margaret (also, she goes by Maggie!). I’m looking forward to seeing what the creators have in store for this one.

The Writing Majors – Another new YouTube series, but this one is really unique! It imagines Jane Austen, Emily Dickenson, and Oscar Wilde as grad school roommates. The actors are incredible and the episodes so far have been very enjoyable.

What I Listened To

This month I really dived into audiobooks! With my long commute, I’ve been trying to use the time for books, and it’s only taken me a couple of months to really get adjusted to listening to audiobooks. It’s amazing how weak my listening skills have become over the years. I have to really concentrate to actively listen, but I think it’s a good exercise :)

I also listened to Serial! For those who know me, when I discover something I love, I completely binge watch/read/listen. So, I listened to the first Serial podcast on my way to work last Friday, and I finished it just after midnight on Saturday. I HAD to know how it ended. The story-telling was so captivating that it’s hard to stop listening.

January Highlights

  • Watching Gilmore Girls with my family!
  • Starting to find my feet in my new job – things are finally starting to make sense!
  • Having deep conversations (or just really interesting conversations) with fellow bloggers! Meeting and conversing with other readers and bloggers is my favorite part about having a blog :)
  • Feeling more “adult” – This month we bought a car and paid off more bills, and I also just did a lot more “adult” things, like wine-tasting and making more independent decisions.

January Challenges

  • Although we moved back to the States at the end of August, we’re still transitioning. We’ve had to make big decisions about our future, and although I can’t reveal them yet, I am excited about them & about sharing them with the blogosphere in a month or two :) (and before anyone speculates, NO, it’s not about a baby).
  • Trying to multitask less. I read this blog post from I’d Rather Be Reading about singletasking, and it really helped me grasp how attached I am to multitasking. If I’m not doing two or more things at a time, I literally feel like I’m wasting time. So I’ve been actively trying to only do one thing at a time sometimes, for instance, while I’m eating. Lunch time at work is a great time for me to just take a step away from the computer or my phone or even from reading. It gives me a half hour of reflection time instead, and it’s also nice to detach from technology, too.
  • I almost forgot this one: we bought a new car!New Car

In February I’m Looking Forward To

  • Crossing off as many things from my 25 Things List as possible! I feel so behind, but some of those things I’ve known for a while I won’t be able to do (like visit England), and that’s ok. I made this list thinking we would still be in France and hopping on a train to the UK was easy to achieve. Instead I’m trying to enjoy the bucket list items I am able to cross off. Right now I’m crocheting myself a nice afghan :)

February To Be Read

MTLGTM IMG_0061 athousandpiecesofyou

I’m still getting through My True Love Gave To Me for my book club (our next read is A Thousand Pieces of You which I’m stoked about!). I’ve also started the last book in the Mara Dyer series, but I’m sad for it to be over so I’ve been taking my time.

What were some of your highlights from January? Are there any books you’re looking forward to reading this month?

Classic Alice: Classic Lit Meets Modern Media

classicaliceLast week I shared my review of The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, a book spin-off inspired by one of my favorite YouTube series: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Well today I’m here to rave about another one of my favorite web series: Classic Alice!

Classic Alice is not based on Alice in Wonderland, a common misconception, but it does have an extremely unique premise: Alice Rackham, over-prepared, goodie-goodie college student, decides to live her life according to Classic novels after she receives a bad grade on an essay. She makes big and small life decisions by referring to characters from beloved books such as Pygmalion, Crime & Punishment, and Macbeth. These decisions push her into a variety of ups & downs that are exciting, heart-wrenching, and swoon-worthy ;) Also, the characters are hilarious!

Andrew, Alice’s friend and classmate, is filming Alice’s endeavors for his documentary project. His quirky sense of humor always makes me laugh out loud. One of my favorite episodes from the series perfectly highlights his humorous personality:

Cara, Alice’s wholeheartedly honest roommate, is easy to like because she often speaks the thoughts that the audience is thinking. She challenges Alice and stands by her decisions no matter the consequences (and there are plenty of those):

Classic Alice just wrapped up Book 7, A Christmas Carol, and it was a very merry Christmas for the fans! ;) You’ll have to catch up on the show to see what I mean! Right now the creators behind the show are focusing on their indiegogo campaign for Book 8 and beyond! The team behind Classic Alice is so talented in developing a series that appeals to a wide audience; the series is one of the most diverse on YouTube. And they’re promoting Classic Literature!!! I love that :)

Watch This Series If…

…you love classic novels (so far they’ve done Crime & Punishment, Pygmalion, The Butterfly, Macbeth, Rip van Winkle, Wind in the Willows, and A Christmas Carol.)
you like to live vicariously through other people (or through your favorite fictional characters).
…you enjoy stories and shows that deal with serious issues.
…you’re a fan of quirky humor and diversity in fiction.
…you love seeing multiple media platforms merge together to tell a story.

Curious about the Classic Alice series? Dying to know more about Alice’s future book plans? Visit the show’s website to read more about it (and to find links to every episode and transmedia post)!

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Club Reads

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is all about the books I’d love to read with my book club! The book club I’m in right now focuses on YA books, and we’ve read some really great ones! We’ve also read some not to great ones, but I still really enjoyed talking with the girls in my book club about why we hated a specific book. There’s just something about having a mutual “I hated this book” rant with your friends, isn’t there? So today I’m going to talk about some books that I would only want to read with a book club, because at least I’d know for sure I’d have people to vent to if I ended up hating the book.

Top Ten Books I’d Like to Read With a Book Club

gillian flynn

Anything by Gillian Flynn – I read Gone Girl last year and I was really intrigued by it at first. Up until the 2nd half of the book happened and I realized how awful the characters were. I have a really hard time liking a book if I can’t root for a character, and I hated the ending of Gone Girl so much, I don’t even think liking a character would have helped. BUT, I did enjoy ranting about this book with my mother-in-law, who recommended it to me! (She also hated it, but she loves Ben Affleck and wanted to see the movie). All that being said, I wouldn’t mind reading another of Flynn’s novels IF it was a group read with other people who might not like her writing style either.

atonement

Atonement by Ian McEwan – I’ve seen the movie version of this book, and despite the fact that I love James McAvoy and Kiera Knightley, I really did not like the movie. I think it was the ending…and I don’t know how closely the book follows the movie, but I’m assuming at least that part remains the same. I wouldn’t mind reading this book in a book club, because I’m sure there are tons of deep things to talk about.

bell jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – Do you ever have those books that just scare  you to read? That’s how I feel about The Bell Jar. I have NO idea why, but something about the book terrifies me. I think I could give it a chance if I read it with some friends, but I don’t really feel like reading it on my own.

catcher in the rye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – I really don’t think I’d like this book. I don’t really know much about it, but based on all the references to it that I’ve seen in other books, I don’t think this is a book I’d like too much. I would only be able to get through it if there were other people reading it with me.

clockwork orange

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess – I’m not really into cult films like A Clockwork Orange (the exception being Rocky Horror…but that one is fun to dance to; can you dance to this one?). It’s just not my style, and I get really creeped out just by looking at the cover of this book or the poster for the film. Ugh *shivers*

cormac mccarthy

Anything by Cormac McCarthy – I’ve seen both film versions of No Country for Old Men and The Road and I hated them both. No Country for Old Men is probably my most hated film ever. I hate it even more because it won Best Picture. And Javier Bardem is officially the creepiest villain ever–he was pretty creepy in Skyfall, too. So I have no intention of reading any of McCarthy’s books, but if I somehow found my way into a book club that really wanted to read one of his novels, I’d sacrifice give it a try. I did read any interview of McCarthy once where he criticized books that didn’t deal with death in some way, and I respected that a lot, because whenever I find myself writing a story, death always weaves its way into it (but never in that dark and depressing way).

outlander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – I know this book is hugely popular right now, but I have a feeling it’s too much like Game of Thrones. Am I incorrect in thinking that? I gave the first three Game of Thrones books a chance and I just couldn’t do it anymore. Those graphic medieval tales haunt me. I’d only want to read another one if I could vent about my frustrations with other people.wuthering heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – Remember when I said I can’t enjoy a book if I don’t like any characters? Wuthering Heights is the closest I have come to disproving that theory (close, but I still don’t like it). I actually read this book last January as a read-a-long with some fellow bloggers, and it was nice to rant about what we hated about this book, but I also learned that there were some things I did enjoy from it. The only redeeming things about this book, for me, are Brontë’s captivating writing style, and the fact that I learned HUGE morals from all these characters’ faults.

Hmm…I seem to notice a theme with all of these books: they’re kind of dark and depressing, aren’t they?

Have you read any of these books and LIKED them? I’d love to hear your thoughts! (And I encourage you to persuade me to read any of them!)

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Want With Me On A Desert Island

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a freebie! So I decided to finally post a top ten list I’ve tried to share several times.

Do you ever read a book and think, “I would want THAT character with me if I was ever in ‘x’ situation”? Well, I’m really keen on picking out characters who are resourceful. When I read Harry Potter, I’m thinking, “Man, I would love to have Hermione next to me in a natural disaster.” (Seriously, is there a situation I wouldn’t want to have Hermione’s help in?)

So, I’m doing a Top Ten Tuesday rewind post and sharing with you the Top Ten Characters I’d Want to Have With Me On a Desert Island

Hermione IMG_2042

Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter series) – I basically already said I’d want Hermione with me in any situation. She’s arguably the most prepared and resourceful character ever written.

Katniss Everdeen and Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games series) – Not the most emotionally reliable of characters, but Katniss is still brave, strong, and a hunter (which would come in handy when it’s time to eat!). And Finnick would be great at catching fish, and also at charming people into doing whatever he wants (in a good way, of course…).

JoMarch IMG_2048

Jo March (Little Women) – I’d want Jo around to keep all of our spirits up. You’d never be bored with Jo as company, and the way she nursed her sister Beth always made me cry. She’s a headstrong character, but she has a huge heart for other people.

Robin Hood (The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood) – Besides the fact that he can hunt and entertain, Robin Hood would be great at keeping everyone “united” (like Finnick). If we’re stuck on this island for a while, I can count on Robin to work out arguments and keep everyone in a good mood. Except for maybe Katniss, since she doesn’t have any people skills. Robin would also be helpful at surviving in the woods.

Anne and Gilbert IMG_2049

Anne Shirley & Gilbert Blythe (The Anne of Green Gables series) – I really debated between Gilbert and Prim from The Hunger Games, since both are doctors/healers. But I went with Gilbert because he’s a very wise character who I could also trust to be a leader in a chaotic situation. And, yeah, he’s not bad to look at either ;) And Anne’s imagination would come in handy when we’re bored. I would love to have story-time with her and Jo March.

Meredith Hayes (Short Straw Bride) – Meredith can make a happy situation out of anything. Oh, it’s your wedding day and there’s no cake? Well don’t worry, let me just whip some delicious cinnamon rolls out of scratch for you! Someone is trying to set the barn on fire? No problem! I’ll make everyone dinner and then personally go out there and stop the fire myself. Yeah, you’re pretty resourceful, Meri.

AnneElliot IMG_2043

Anne Elliot (Persuasion) – If anyone can stay calm during a catastrophe, it’s Anne Elliot. As soon as everyone starts freaking out about something, Anne is focused and swift-thinking.

Phileas Fogg (Around the World in Eighty Days) – If there’s one thing I know Phileas would be able to do on a desert island, it would be to get us off of it. I’m sure he’d just happen to find a boat somewhere or be able to flag down a passing ship that could take us all home.

Which characters would you love to have with you on a deserted island??

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Releases I Wanted To Read But Didn’t

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish, is all about 2014 releases that I didn’t get a chance to read! Most of these are on my priority list of books to read this year, and some of them I have already started!

Top Ten 2014 Releases I Plan On Reading In 2015

IMG_0061 IMG_0063 IMG_0062 brokenhearts athousandpiecesofyou

The Mara Dyer series – I didn’t even learn about this series until the final volume, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, came out just before YALL Fest. But I got to meet author Michelle Hodkin and I’m so happy I did because I just finished reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I am obsessed! Favorite book of the year so far (I know it’s early but I don’t care). Can’t wait to finish this series, but I already know I’m going to have a major book hangover.

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Meeting Michelle Hodkin at YALL Fest in November :)

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet – I checked this book out from the library WEEKS ago, but I still haven’t gotten past the first couple of chapters (not because I don’t want to read it!). I know that Ashley Clements, the actress who plays Lizzie in the YouTube series, has narrated the audio book and I’m so tempted to just listen to that during my commute.

Open Road Summer – My friend Regina lent me her copy of Emery Lord’s celebrated debut novel, but I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet!

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend – I got this for Christmas so I will be reading it soon!!

A Thousand Pieces of You – I can’t wait to get my hands on this gorgeous novel. I hear it’s a series, too?

Elevated One Safe and Sound Here and Now MTLGTM

Elevated – I think the only reason I didn’t buy this book the moment I heard about it is because it’s written in verse and I have to be in the mood for those types of books. BUT, I still want to read it :)

The Selection series – Now that I finally own The Selection (thanks to my TBTB Secret Santa), I can work on reading this series!

Safe and Sound – Ever since connecting with T.S. Krupa on Twitter I’ve been wanting to read her book. Plus this book takes place in North Carolina and I love that state.

The Here and Now – I love science fiction/fantasy and I love Ann Brashares. I got her to personalize this book for me while I was at YALL Fest so I’m even more excited about actually reading it :)

My True Love Gave To Me – I know, Christmas is over, but we’re reading this book in my Book Club this month and I’m excited! I was also thrilled when my mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas! I’ve been wanting it for so long.

Are any of these books on your To Be Read List as well? What are some books that were released within the past couple of years that you’re still wanting to read?

December Highlights

Happy New Year!! I know this post is a few days behind schedule, but I was taking advantage of some vacation time to relax and not worry about blog posts. Instead I was catching up on some reading :)

December was a pretty stressful month, actually, and I think a lot of that had to do with my reading goals for 2014. I’m a predictable procrastinator, and I pushed myself to read some bigger books near the end of the year because I didn’t feel like reading them months ago (I’m also a mood reader). BUT,  I was actually pretty satisfied with how I finished the year.

I read 9 books in December

That doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but 3 of those books were Classics, one of which was in French! 

themessenger julesverne NorthandSouth
MontanaChristmas MatchMadeInTexas FullSteamAhead
aseparatepiece ThisisWhatHappyLooksLike PaperTowns

Most Popular Post From December

My post about my and my husband’s 3rd Wedding Anniversary received the most hits last month :)

Highlights from December

  • Christmastime!!! I love decorating the house for Christmas. Our tradition is to bake Christmas cookies and watch It’s A Wonderful Life after the tree has been set up and decorated.
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  • Visiting Mount Vernon for our 3rd Wedding Anniversary. We attended their special Christmas Illuminations event, and it was so much fun that we hope to go again this year!
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  • The Broke and the Bookish’s Annual Secret Santa Event. This was my second year participating in this event, and this year it was the best ever! I was so thrilled when I found out that I had received the event’s coordinator, Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner, as my secret santa! I think I had more fun picking gifts for her than opening my own gifts! But my secret santa, Alana, did a phenomenal job at gifting me the perfect books! And she also sent me a dinosaur magnet and a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows necklace! So awesome, right??
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December’s Challenges

  • For me, the hardest thing about December was how busy and stressed out I was. Since I started my new job back in November, I’ve realized how little time I can devote to reading now. My commute is 1 hour-1 hour 30 minutes each way, depending on traffic, and so when I get home at night it feels like I have enough time to eat dinner and watch an episode of Supernatural with my husband before I either crash from exhaustion or force myself to go to bed so I can get up for work again in the morning. I’m still shocked that I was able to read 9 books this month, two of which were solely audiobooks. A couple of the Classics I would listen to from YouTube during my commute and then pick up the paperback at home. I’m hoping that we’re able to relocate somewhere closer to my job in January or February, but until then I will just need to come to terms with the fact that my job trumps reading :(
  • Reading Journey to the Center of the Earth in French! To cross off one of my 25 Things, I finished reading Jules Verne’s epic adventure in French last month. I had read the first half back in July (each July to celebrate Bastille Day, I like to read a Verne book. This is my patriotic side coming out, something that Americans delight in having while the French kind of laugh at), but I hadn’t finished it and I wanted to read it by the end of 2014 for my Back to the Classics Challenge. It was hard, but I managed to finish the book in 4 days (I could only read about 50 pages a day before my head started hurting).

Looking forward – January TBR

JanuaryTBR

What I’m Looking Forward to in January…

  • My husband had a phone interview last week and he has another interview tomorrow where he will be given a software test (he’s an engineer so it’s some type of design software). We’d appreciate prayers! He’s been unemployed for over a year now and it has gotten really hard on him.
  • I’m really looking forward to working towards keeping my bookish New Year’s Resolutions! So far, so good. I’m stressing out less about reading, and I’m NOT checking out books from the library until I’ve finished the ones I’ve been renewing since November. I’ve also avoided buying any books in the 4 days since New Years Day (hey, for some people, that could be a record).
  • I bought some yarn today and plan to crochet an afghan this month! I haven’t crocheted anything in about a year, and this is also a bucket list item I’ve put on my 25 Things list :) So expect a post in a few weeks about that!

What were some of your highlights from December? Any big wishes for January that you’d like to share? I’d love to know!