Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Wrap Up

2016 was crazy. I didn't think it could get more insane than the previous year, between quitting my job and moving and settling into weekly brain injury rehab, but it truly outdid itself, and 2017...well, it's safe to say she gonna be just as crazy.

Despite all the insanity, I managed to read more than I have in years. My goal was to branch out from my usual genres (which consisted of about two), and I believe I accomplished this goal.

I wanted to read 30 books, and as of right now, I've read 28. It's bothering me that I didn't meet this target, but I've been encouraged by others to pat myself on the back for still going above and beyond what had become my normal. breathe in, let go, breathe out. 

I won't go through every single book, as you can check them out here on my Goodreads, but take a peak at my highlights of the year.

Jennifer's Way

Thoughts: Love Jennifer's voice in this book, and the amount of information I gained was so helpful.

Rating: *****

Batman: The Killing Joke

Thoughts: The darkest comic book I've read so far and will possibly ever read, and certainly not my usual style. Twisted, deep, disturbing and exciting.

Rating: *****

Frankenstein read by Dan Stevens

Thoughts: I adored Dan Stevens' version of this story and enjoyed the book more than I thought I would.

Rating: ****

Every Heart a Doorway

Thoughts: Fast, fantastical, twisted. Perhaps also the most confusing book of 2016.

Rating: ****

Most Fun:
Peter Pan

Thoughts: Not a children's book.

Rating: ****

Northanger Abbey

Thoughts: Every time I read this I love it more. It was my only reread of the year!

Rating: ****

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland

Thoughts: A vacation book. It kept me turning the page, but it was amateurish and angsty.

Rating: **

Favorite Covers: 
Penguin Classics Hardcovers
For my birthday I received Jane Eyre, and it sent me down an obsessive path. I adore these covers and now also own The Secret Garden, Peter Pan, and A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings.

Book of the Year:

Dogs. Love. Writers. Family. What more could you ask for? I fell in love with this book so much I had to buy my own copy — clothbound illustrated edition, of course. 
Rating: *****

Bonus — Most Meaningful: 

As you know from my review, this is my brother's first published book, and it's a masterpiece. You can find it on Amazon and now Barnes and Noble. 
Rating: *****

What Did You Read in 2016?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Writer's Christmas + After Christmas Book Haul!

As a writer, I'm sure you had at least one item on your list that was writer-ly or readable, if not your whole list. I thought it would be fun to share what I received this year that speaks to the writer and reader in me.

1. Elephant Mug from Urban Outfitters — I've wanted this mug for at least a year now! It's even better in person and makes me smile and laugh when I use it.

2. Elephant Notebook — This gorgeous clothbound notebook with a little elephant on the front makes my heart so happy.

3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — There's nothing like a good bit of reading. I've wanted this book for a while, and I'm slowly on a path to more minimalistic living.

4. 3 Steps to Gluten-Free Living — I'm trying to go gluten free to see if it helps with some health issues, so I'm anxious to see if this will help me understand gluten free living and help me manage the transition.

5. Chocolate — Because y'all know this is essential for writing.

6. Palm Stone — It can be easy to become frustrated while writing, and a palm stone is the perfect trinket to work between your fingers for easing out the frustration or mulling over new ideas.

7. The Dear Hunter albums Act IV and Act V — My brother took a chance and got me these albums. I'm almost through the second and have loved them. These are great for background music while working on stories.


Also, there's something about Christmas that makes me want to go book shopping. I know not the only one. However, after a Christmas that nearly broke the bank (don't get me wrong, it was so much fun), I couldn't make the big purchase I wanted. So I went to Goodwill and found some goodies for a whopping $12 total. Ah, how I love discount books.

1. Charlie Brown's 'Cyclopedia Volume 1: Featuring Your Body — My most random buy. My mother told me she used to own these as a child, and I can't pass up anything that has Snoopy. 

2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking — I've had this book on my kindle for a while and have tried several times to get through it. I've liked the book, but I just have too hard a time using kindle. I was so excited to find it in paperback. 

3. Martin the Warrior — Between me and my brother, we own a ton of Redwall books by Brian Jaques. I can't remember if I own this one, but it was a buck and I haven't read a Redwall book in ages and thought it would be fun to grab. 

4. The Real History of World War II — Told you I was building up my World War II research books.

5. Beowulf — I've never read Beowulf in its entirety, only an excerpt in Literature class. Honestly, I thought the cover was cool, and it's always acceptable to add to your classics. 

6. The Silmarillion — The only J.R.R Tolkien books I've read are The Lord of the Rings series. I've heard for years that this is one of his best.

7. Splinter Cell — Certainly not my normal reading, but my brother recommended this one to me as there is a movie based on the book coming out soon. 

What Books or Writer-ly Things Did You Receive for Christmas? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

November/December Wrap Up

Just a quick monthly wrap up before the year's end overview!

Black Widow, Volume 1: The Finely Woven Thread

Thoughts: Read my review here.

Rating: ****

Ms. Marvel: No Normal 

Thoughts: Read my review here.

Rating: *****


The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland

Thoughts: I turned the pages. I finished it. I felt I had wasted my time.

Rating: **

Frankenstein (Audiobook)

Thoughts: I really enjoyed the story and Dan Steven's version of the book.  If you have a hard time reading classics, check this out.

Rating: ****

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

Thoughts: The beginning was strong and had potential, but soon the dialogue and action turned repetitive, and I found myself counting the pages til the end. The end was cliche, feel-good, and not horrible, but I was rather disappointed in this book.

Rating: ** (and a half star)

The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (Audiobook)

Thoughts: I listened to this as a way to build my book count, but I did end up enjoying it. I wouldn't agree with everything the author says, and I wish he had included more personal experiences that observations of others behaviors, but it was a relaxing listen.

Rating: ***

The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty

Thoughts: I went into this book thinking it would be a deep look at today's society and culture, and what it turned into was a chick-lit with a random splash of supernatural that just didn't flow. I enjoyed it well enough, but I set the book aside and laughed, and not in the best way.

Rating: **

Peter Pan

Thoughts: It's Peter Pan. Of course I loved it. A very different book, and certainly not the children's story we are familiar with thanks to Disney.

Rating: ****