My Reads::2016(Jan-Jun)


Well.  Here are my top 15 books so far this year.  Ok…really this is just the total I’ve read since January.  Some I loved and hope that you read them if they fall into your “type” of book, some I didn’t love and can’t really even remember what it was about (thank goodness for goodreads).

So here’s the run-down.

Non-Fiction:

1. For the Love by Jen Hatmaker::I borrowed this from a friend, read the ‘thank-you notes’ sections and then it sat by my bed for quite a few months.  And then I finally finished it.  If you’ve heard of Jen Hatmaker, you’ve probably already read this book.  If you haven’t heard of her, look her up and start with this book (if only for the thank-you notes).  She makes me laugh and think.  And I love to do both.

2.  I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had by Tony Danza:: And the award goes to the longest book title ever!  But Tony Danza is kind of known for having lots of words.  I loved this book so much that I wanted to give it to all of my children’s teachers.  (But then I read something about people going in and ‘rescuing’ kids in low-income schools, but I think that’s another discussion for another time.)  I really did enjoy this story.  He taught an English class for a year as part of a reality show, the cameras quit half way through the year, and he finished out the year.  That’s the basic premise.  His big take away–teaching is no joke.

3.  Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs::This is the first book that I’ve read by Annie Downs.  I’ve been listening to her podcast and she is such a joyful person that I had to read this and I wasn’t disappointed.  And I could almost hear her voice while I was reading.  Also, I’m a sucker for a great book cover!  If you like the non-fiction/self-improvement type of books, you’ll love this one.

Memoir:

1. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson::I loved this story.  It is definitely one of my favorite reads so far this year.  Brown Girl Dreaming is written in free verse which may be off-putting if you first see it and haven’t read any books like this before.  But give it a chance–I do not love poetry (not a fan of the rhyming and allegory), but this type of poetry I kind of love.  Once you get into the story, it just flows and you feel as if you are reading a traditional style book. Woodson tells her own story of growing up in the 60s and 70s in the south and then New York City.  She writes of the difficulties of that time and of how she became a writer and she paints a wonderful picture with her beautiful words.  I just loved this entire book.

Fiction:

1.  Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham::I like John Grisham’s books.  But don’t ask me to remember what this one is specifically about.  I think I read this way back in January but unless they make it into a movie, I doubt I’ll ever remember what it is about.  And I’m sure if you like his books, you have already read it.

2.  The Martian by Andy Weir::The only criticism that I’ve heard about this book is that it is a little too science-y.  Luckily for me, I enjoy science!  This story–it was So good!  And even the ‘it was too much science people’ seem to like it. It was an adventure and it was funny and it was a page turner that I couldn’t put down.  And after telling my husband how much I loved the book, he went and rented the movie for us to watch.  And I fell asleep. #storyofmylife

3.  Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache Series::I have read the first three books in this series.  They are murder mysteries that all revolve around the small town of Three Pines in Canada.  There are at least 12 books in this series and I sort of feel bad for all of the people who die in this town!  But at the same time, the characters are so interesting and unique and the more I read the more I want to visit this place (even though people tend to die there).  The only critique that I have is the same I have for any book series–please please please! put the numbers on the spine of the book so I know which one I’m supposed to read next without relying on google!

4.  A Stolen Childhood by Casey Watson::My brother gave me this book for Christmas and so it has been a few months since I finished it.  And I don’t remember a bit of what it is about and so I looked it up on goodreads and it all came back to me.  It is based on a true story.  The author is a school counselor and she works with at-risk students.  The girl in the story lashes out at other students, has a habit of pulling her hair out so much that she has a bald spot, and is clearly needing help.  That all happens in the first chapter of the book.  It is an interesting story (not enough that I remembered it 6 months later, clearly) even if the content is hard to read at times.

5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer::Oh my word.  I know.  How dumb is this book?  It is a dystopian young adult novel (what book isn’t these day?) and the first time I heard about it I rolled my eyes and said–I’ll pass.  And then I heard about it again from another source.  And then a third source.  And everyone kept saying how they judged it harshly and ended up enjoying the story.  Fine.  So I read it.  And I liked it!  So now I will be reading the rest of the series.  Because of course it is a series.  Basically it is the Cinderella story but the twist is that Cinderella is a cyborg.  I know.  But.  If you like the dystopian genre at all, I recommend you read this one.

6.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn::You either hate this book or you think it is a really great book (even though the content is horrid).  I heard online these two differing viewpoints, repeatedly.  And then I asked my real life friends and those that read it said it was awful.  And I’d hate it.  And the movie is horribly twisted.  And so where does my mind go?  Does it run away?  Nope.  Gotta find out for myself.  And–I’m not in the group that hated this book.  But it is a messed up messed up story.  If you need someone to root for to enjoy a story, this book is not for you.  I always try to find a redeeming quality in any story or person–not happening in these characters.

7.  The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson::This is a four book series and I’m in the middle of the fourth book and I can’t wait to see how it ends.  Each book in this series is better than the last.  Andrew Peterson has created another world that I’ve heard compared to the genius of Narnia, The Shire and Hogwarts.  I am not saying he is on par with any of those other authors but, I wouldn’t describe myself as someone who loves fantasy stories and yet, I’m loving loving loving these books.  I can’t wait to read them to my children.  If you have children who love fantasy stories and you want stories that have underlying Christian themes, these books are for you.

To Sum Up:: 

Need a non-fiction book?  Read Looking for Lovely.

Need a great series?  Read The Wingfeather Saga.

Need a summer page-turner?  Read The Martian.

Need an out of the box award winner?  Read Brown Girl Dreaming.

What have you read and loved lately?

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My Reads::The Best of 2015

Two years ago I decided to keep track of the books I read.  I use goodreads because it is the easiest way for me to keep track and I can also give each book a star rating.  I’d love to someday take enough time to write what I did or didn’t love about each book, however, I know myself and the more complicated something is the less likely I am to keep doing it.  So goodreads and blog recaps work for me for now.

I read 43 total books in 2015 and from the above pictured here are my top ten (or so) favorites.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt::Schmidt became one of my favorite authors in 2015.  This was the first book of his that I read, it’s based on true events and if you like juvenile fiction you must read it.

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery::If you’ve read her Anne books, you’ll like her Emily books.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr::Possible my favorite from last year…along with everyone else in the world.  This book is beautifully written.

The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen::Recommended to me by the children’s librarians.  If you love trilogies but want something that’s not as gritty as the popular dystopians, this series is wonderful.

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom::If you haven’t read this yet.  Stop everything and do.  Or listen to the audio book.  Or watch the movie.  Just know the story.

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt::Schmidt again.  So so so good.

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall::If you read Go Set a Watchman and found yourself disappointed, read this book.  The young girl reminded me of Scout.

Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple::funny and awkward and weird….these are a few of my favorite things.

Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt::Schmidt can’t quit.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion::This probably is in my top three of last year.  It is funny, heartwarming, science-y, and a love story all wrapped together.

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos::I just remember it being really interesting.  Too many books.  Not enough notes.  If you’ve read all the other fiction books above and want a recommendation, read this.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty::Everyone loves What Alice Forgot by Moriarty.  Except me.  But this one I really liked.  I like a good mystery.

Nobody’s Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle::I love all of her books.  This one is non-fiction and is about friendship.  I received it as a bridesmaid gift.  If you like memoir-ish books, read this one with a friend.

Have you read and loved any of the same books?  Or what were your favorites from last year?  I’m always looking for recommendations!

 

My Reads::April 2015

So April 2015.  It was kind of a full month.  My birthday month.  My daughter’s birthday month.  We spent a week in Michigan for a mini-vaca/attended my grandma’s memorial.  And so the books that I read?  They totaled two.  Two whopping books.  What happened?!  I will tell you……….

I got an iPhone for my birthday.  Major.  Time.  Suck.  That’s all.  That is the reason.

And I’m not sure May is going to be much better.  I am currently reading my third book and the month is almost over.  Although in all fairness, the book is 973 pages long.  So there’s that.

But back to April….here are the books that I read.  Again, all two of them.  In case you forgot.

april 2015Least Favorite:  I am the Messenger by Markus Szusak — He also wrote The Book Thief.  This book is Completely different but still enjoyable.  The story is centered around a guy who gets playing cards in the mail with addresses on them and he has to figure out how to “help” the people at these addresses.  A really intriguing story.  I liked it.  Had I read a third book, this probably would not have been my least favorite.

Most Favorite:  Little Bee by Chris Cleave — This was my book club book for this month.  It was told from the perspective of a young girl from Nigeria who is a refugee in Great Britain.  A really heart breaking story, but if you’ve known me for longer than 4 minutes, you’ll know that if the story has British characters, I’m probably going to like it.  And, of course, Little Bee is completely captivating.

That was easy! What did you read last month?

My Reads::March 2015

march 20153 great books, 3 ok books.  I love when I come across a book that I love and when that happens three times in one month.  Well, who could ask for more?

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple….this book has popped up all over the place and I finally got a chance to read it.  And it was not a disappointment.  If you like books written in journal/letter form, you’ll love this one.

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall…the story was told by a young girl and reminded me a bit of Scout from that one famous book.  Great story and I really enjoyed it.

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt…this is the 2nd book by this author that I’ve read and I gave them both 5 stars.  I’m not reading another book of his.  Sometimes you just find an author that you love.  And I think I have.

Summer Island by Kristin Hannah, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith…not bad stories, but just ok for me.

Most Favorite:  The Wednesday Wars (tough call, though!)

Least Favorite:  The Cuckoo’s Calling (sorry j.k. rowling!)

What did you read in March?  Any new favorite authors that you’d like to share?

 

My Reads::December 2014

I read nine books in December making my grand total for 2014…drum roll please…..83 books.

11 non fiction

6 autobiography/memoir

28 adult fiction

29 young adult fiction

14 middle school age fiction

14 dystopian

10 re-reads

In December, 7 of the 9 books were young adult fiction–so clearly there is a pattern.  Maybe in 2015 I will continue the pattern or create a new one–only time will tell.

December 2014The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick  This is the first in a series of 7.  And I think all of them but the last book have been published.  Yes I will be reading them all.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli  I gave it 4 stars.  If Jerry Spinelli writes it, it will probably be a good book.

Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar  This novel was recommended to me by a friend.  The story is about Rahab and her life before the walls of Jericho fell and what happened to her afterwards.  I enjoyed this book, too.

Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins  These are books one and two of three in a series.  I’m on hold for book 3 at the library.  enough said.

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by many authors, compiled by Stephanie Perkins   I think I must be a romantic.  I loved this book.

The Selection, The Elite, and The One by Kiera Cass  dystopian romance.  read all of these as quickly as I could get them from the library.  and also–I kept staring at the covers because I’d love to try on those dresses.

What have you been reading lately?  Did you have any reading goals for 2014 and did you meet them?  Any favorites from last year or last month?

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

top ten tuesday mediumhosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I looked through my list on goodreads and compiled all of the books that I rated 4 or 5 stars (not including books that were re-reads).  Amazingly enough, when I was done I had a list of ten.  Perfect for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday.  So, without further ado, here is my list.

wonder10.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio:  A story about a boy who is the new kid at school…and oh, he has a facial deformity.  This quick read made me laugh and cry and think and I loved it.

unwind9.  Unwind by Neil Shusterman:  A dystopian story just different enough from the rest that made me give it 4 stars.  It is creepy, and scarily enough, close to the reality of our world.

a million little ways8.  A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman:  This book took me forever to finish but I’m so glad I did.  If you ever wonder if you are enough, you should read this book.  You were made by an over the top creative God and you can live out ‘art’ in a million little ways you never knew existed.

orphan train7.  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline:  I had no idea that orphans were rounded up off of the streets of large cities and sent west by train to be placed in different families’ lives.  Many of these young children were seen as free help.  This book follows the story of a modern day girl who is ‘aging out’ of the foster care system and an elderly lady whose was one of the children sent west on an orphan train.

attachments6.  Attachments by Rainbow Rowell:  Friends who email each other at work.  And the guy whose job it is to make sure people are only emailing for work purposes….and then he falls in love with one of the girls.  This took me back to my college days where I emailed my friends constantly.  I just loved this book.  And pretty much any book by this author.  I think it is the hopeless romantic in me.

al capone5.  Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko:  Alcatraz Island.  A boy with an autistic older sister who he is fiercely protective of and also annoyed with at times.  He is dealing with changing schools and friends and just regular life and it made me laugh, cry and wonder.  I loved this book.

between shades of gray4.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys:  An unfortunate title for a marvelous story.  The story of a girl named Lina and how her family is torn apart and taken from her home in Lithuania to the coldest part of the earth (practically the north pole).  This story describes the horrors that occurred during the second world war to people who I never realized were affected.

the giver3.  The Giver by Lois Lowry:  Since the movie came out, everyone knows this story, right?  It is a dystopian book written before dystopian books became cool.  Don’t know why it took me to the year 2014 to read it.     

the nesting place2.  The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith:  More than just a decorating book.  She gives you permission to make your house a home and truly Live where you are right now.  For goodness sake, make a nail hole and hang something on your wall.

sarah's key1.  Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay:  Another WWII story.  This book journeys between Paris 1942 and Paris 2002 and tells of the story of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup.  A gripping tale of resilience.  I had never heard this part of Europe’s history and the author told it very well.

What was your favorite book from this year?

My Reads: March 2014

march 2014

HP&the Gobletof Fire by J.K. Rowling, Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani, To Be A Slave by Julius Lester, Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry, HP&the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, Messenger by Lois Lowry, Son by Lois Lowry, Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan, Anomaly by Krista McGee, A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

March was a month of great books.  I enjoyed reading every single one but I will be consistent and still pick a Most and Least favorite.  Although the most favorite category will be difficult.  I’m rereading Harry Potter so obviously I like those books. Big Stone Gap is also a reread for book club. I was the one who chose it so I like it a lot, too. I loved Lois Lowry’s series and Anomaly and Fangirl were both read in one day because I couldn’t put them down.  And if you have a daughter or are a daughter (and maybe even if you have a mom…so that includes boys, too), you should read Glitter and Glue.  See.  It is not easy for me to choose.  But I will.

Least Favorite:  A Wind in the Door–this is the second book in the Wrinkle in Time series.  This one was a little hard for me to get into and it kind of made my head hurt a bit with all of the thinking it required of me.  I also thought it wasn’t as good as A Wrinkle in Time.  With all that being said, I still really enjoyed it.  L’Engle has a way of pushing the boundaries of my imagination that I love.

Most Favorite:  To Be a Slave–I’m picking this one because I think everyone should read it.  It is a Newbery Honor book and the author goes back and forth with his own commentary and excerpts of interviews of former slaves.  It is a book not easily forgotten.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what did you think of them?  Did you read an unforgettable book in March?  I’d love to add it to my list so please share!

 

My Reads: February 2014

Feb 2014The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, …Study the Bible in 28 Days by Kay Arthur

I think I read most of these books at the beginning of the month.  Except for a couple of them, I don’t really remember a lot of details.

Least Favorite:  Lovely Bones was recommended to me but I didn’t really care for it :/ I gave it 1/5 stars…..(sorry Julie!).  I really don’t remember much about the book so I can’t even say Why I didn’t like it.

Favorites:  My favorites by farThe Giver and The Invention of Wings.  I gave them 4/5 and 3/5 stars, respectively.  If you are looking for a book with a good story, you should read one of those two.

Any disappointing or wonderful reading for you last month?

My Reads: January 2014

One of my goals this year is to record every book that I read. I’ve done this in the past where I make a list and then, inevitably, I lose the paper that I was writing on. Or I misplace the book journal I started and then don’t write down the books I’ve read for a month or two and when I eventually find the journal I decide it isn’t worth it anymore. And on and on. Yes, I have some serious issues.

So. goodreads. I’ve had a goodreads account for a few years but decided to actually use it this year. I have a bookshelf titled ‘2014’ and I go in, type up the book I finished, give it so many stars out of five and type in the date I finished the book.

So far, I’ve recorded them all. And at the end of (or the beginning of the next in this case) every month, I’ll share the books that I’ve read.

Enough gabbing. Here they are.

Jan 2014

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Waiting For the Moon by Kristin Hannah, Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah, The Rook by Steven James, The Bungalow by Sarah Jio, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, Harry Potter #1 and #2 by J.K. Rowling, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Wife After God by Jennifer Smith, Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Favorite:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  I gave it 4/5 stars.  A children’s book that I didn’t want to end.  I loved getting to know Auggie and his family.

Least Favorite:  Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers.  I gave it 2/5 stars.  The first time that I would actually recommend the movie before the book.  It wasn’t even a bad book, it just didn’t grab my attention.

What did you read last month?  Anything that you loved?