April 2017 Wrap-Up

Here are my stats for April:

Total books read: 10

Three Nights with a Scoundrel (Stud Club, # 3) Voyager (Outlander, #3) A Rake's Guide To Pleasure (Huntington, #2) In the Bed of a Duke (Cameron Sisters, #3) A Little Bit Wild (York Family, #1) Daisy's Back in Town Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels #3)Vampires in the Lemon Grove Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place
courtesy of Goodreads

Number of pages: 3,139

Written by men: 0

Written by women:10

#DiverseAuthors: 0 (I’m really not doing well with this challenge.)

Nonfiction: 1

Fiction: 9

Library books:5

eBooks/Kindle: 5

Audio books: 0

Reread: 1

Did Not Finish (aka DNF):

A Murder in Time (Kendra Donovan, #1) The Tenant of Wildfell Hall The Witches: Salem, 1692

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Dewey’s Readathon)

The Witches by Stacy Schiff (I need to finish this one. It’s been on my DNF list since October.)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

Favorite Book Of April:

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels #3) Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

I can’t decide which one I like better. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Challenges to Date:

Goodreads: 40/75 (changed the goal from 52 to 75 this month.)

Book Riot Read Harder: 5/24

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 10

Purchased/Acquired in April:

Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich (audio book)

Dewey’s 24 Readathon:

As is becoming a tradition, I participated in Dewey’s Readathon on Saturday. As always I had a wonderful time. I read 3 books and started 1. And I manged to meet my reading goal and go just a tiny bit over! 1,022 pages.

The most difficult hours of reading are the last three or four hours for me. It’s hard to keep focused on what I am reading during those hours and am easily distracted from it. So I officially gave up during hour 22. So my reading time is approximately 22 hours and 30 minutes. I’m quite pleased with myself.

As always with the readathons I use it as an opportunity to knock some books of my TBR pile and meet goals for the challenges I’m participating in. All the books I read qualified as #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks and two of them will count towards the Book Riot Read Harder 2017 challenge.  I had some yummy food to nosh while reading and my man brought a big flat white from Starbucks, and overall had a fun time. If you are looking for a readathon, I  heartily recommend this one. The next one is scheduled for October.

 Across the Web:

As you may know if you follow my blog April has been dedicated to the Brontë sisters. And I’ve noticed a lot of Brontë related things happening all across the web this past month. Here is a link to an article about the sisters.

I loved in the South for many years and came to love a hot Krispy Kreme doughnut. Here is a link to an interesting essay about it.

This has been one of strangest stories of the last 10 years. I hope that this article helps put to rest the story of Rachel Dolezal for good.

Blog Posts I Love:

I love posts form fellow bloggers that make me think about blogging in a new way. And also kick me in the butt and up my blogging game. Click on this link.  http://thebookishlibra.com/2017/04/21/discussion-post-why-im-so-slow-to-write-book-reviews

How was your reading and blogging life in April? Did you meet your goals for the month? Did you participate in Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave a link to your April wrap-up. Happy reading in May.

March 2017 Wrap-Up

This month I fell–hard!–into a reading and blogging slump. Really, my blogging slump has been ongoing since January? I think? Anyway, I didn’t really do a lot of reading or blogging this month. So, in order to try and pull myself out of it, I read a few romance novels at the end of the month to get me going again. And Romance novels usually do the trick slump wise. And to try and jump start my blogging for the year, I decided to have a theme for the month of April. I’ll post more about it on my April TBR post scheduled for Monday.

Here are my stats for March:

Total books read: 6

Twice Tempted by a Rogue (Stud Club, #2) One Dance with a Duke (Stud Club, #1) Highland Beast (MacNachton Vampires #6) Lead Me On (Tumble Creek, #3) The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels #2) The Royal We

Number of pages: 2269

Written by men: 0

Written by women: 6

#DiverseAuthors: 1, but 2 1/2 books by her. Tessa Dare’s One Dance with a Duke and Twice Tempted by a Rogue.

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 6

Did Not Finish (aka DNF): 3 The Lost Tudor Princess by Alison Weir, War of the Roses: Stormbird by Conn Iggulden, Wicked Widow by Amanda Quick

Challenges to Date

Goodreads: 27/52

Book Riot Read Harder: 3/24

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 7

Library books: 7 (includes DNF)

eBooks/Kindle: 8

Audio books: 0

Reread: 1   The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (aka The Fug Girls). I’ve been following the Prince Harry gossip on the web, so I re-read this fun Prince William & Kate Middleton fan fiction.

Purchased in March: 5

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I bought all three of books because of the covers. I love them so much. So Pretty!

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante. Yes, I’m in love with Neapolitan series. I finished reading the second book and went to the bookstore the next day to pick up the last two in the series.

Favorite Book of March: The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels #2)  by Elena Ferrante. At some point I will write a book review for this book, but I’m still swimming about in this world Ferrante has created, and I don’t think I can give an assessment at this point. Maybe when I finish the series? 

Books Started in March: 3

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

Three Nights With A Scoundrel by Tessa Dare

 Across the Web:

I love celebrity gossip and pop culture. And so I listen to two or three podcasts that focus on these topics. One that caught my attention  at the beginning of March was Missing Richard Simmons. It’s really interesting to hear what happened to Richard Simmons’ fans when he withdrew from fame. But this article made me think about this from a different point of view. How much privacy do celebrities need? Or even how much should they expect? This article mentions the recent outing of the identity of Elena Ferrante which I found interesting since I’m in the middle of the her Neapolitan series.   

This article from Outside Magazine I found fascinating. I live in a state that has a lot of wilderness, National Parks, and other Federal lands. And people go missing and are killed fairly frequently. And as I drive across my state and visit these lands, I often think about where to hide the body. Let me explain. I think I have a murder mystery floating around my subconscious that is trying to get out. So, someday soon, I will start writing it. And when I do, I want to have this article saved so I can refer to it.

I have been listening to You Must Remember This podcast almost nonstop since I discovered it. The podcast focuses on Hollywood true stories delving beyond the gossip. As of today they have 100 episodes to enjoy. And most are only about 30 minutes long, so I’m able to listen to a complete episode as I’m running errands around town or a quick walk around the block.  She includes in her show notes for each episode a list of the books she uses to research the episode. If you enjoy stories from old Hollywood, you will love this podcast.

Blog Posts I Love:

This post inspired me to have a themed blog next month.

This post  made me realize that my blogging has really been in a slump. After reading it I started really thinking about how to get me excited again about blogging and improve my blog posts. Thanks Kourtnireads for the kick-in-the-butt I desperately need.

 

How was your reading and blogging life in March? Did you meet your goals for the month? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave a link to your March wrap-up.

February 2017 Wrap-Up

February has been a good reading month, but not a good blogging month. And I need to improve my reading of diverse authors in the coming month is my big takeaway from this list.

Total books read: 9

Written by men: 1

Written by women: 8

Diverse authors: 0

Nonfiction:0

Fiction: 9

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 4

Purchased in February: 4

Library books: 4

Audio books: 0

Books Abandoned: 1 The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Phillipa Gregory. I just dislike her writing style. It distracts me and I don’t enjoy her story telling at all. and this annoys me because I love reading Tudor historical fiction

Books started in February: 2

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante [#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks]

The Lost Tudor Princess by Allison Weir [Library eBook]

List of Titles Read:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It Takes a Hero by Elizabeth Boyle

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Attraction: Elements of Chemistry #1 by Penny Reid

The Girls by Emma Cline

Heat: Elements of Chemistry #2 by Penny Reid

Capture: Elements of Chemistry #3 by Penny Reid

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Favorite Book:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Purchased:

Heat: Elements of Chemistry #2 by Penny Reid [Kindle]

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson [Paperback, Quarterly Box]

The Annie Year by Stephanie Wilbur Ash [Paperback, Quarterly Box

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker [Paperback, Quarterly Box]

How was your reading life in February? Did you meet your goals for the month? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave a link to your February wrap up.

 

January 2017 Wrap-Up

Books Read in January:

Library Books:

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology The Dangerous Viscount (The Burgundy Club, #2) The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton (The Burgundy Club, #3) Something About Emmaline (Bachelor Chronicles, #1) This Rake of Mine Confessions of a Little Black Gown Stealing the Bride Tempted By the Night His Mistress by Morning

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini [eBook]

The Dangerous Viscount by Miranda Neville [eBook]

The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville [eBook]

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean  [eBook]

Something About Emmeline by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

This Rake of Mine by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

Confessions of a Little Black Gown by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

Stealing the Bride by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

Tempted by the Night by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

His Mistress by Morning by Elizabeth Boyle [eBook]

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks and Read Harder Challenge:

S.

S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Started in January:

 

 

Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernst Cline

 

 

 

Across the Blogisphere:

#PostingReviews on Inside My Minds.  I hadn’t thought about doing posting my book reviews on retail sites like Amazon–the online retail site that I use most frequently. I immediately went to Amazon and posted my last three book reviews to the site.  Such a good idea. Thank you,  Ashley @ InsideMyMinds

Reflections an Open Apology to Dolly Parton is  an interesting exploration of this bloggers feelings about Dolly Parton. I think Dolly has been dismissed by many people over the years, and this is a nice examination of the writer’s reversal of opinion.

I have an Instagram account, but I really don’t know how to use it. This article, Extend Your Blog’s Reach With Instagram, really helped me see how to use my account.

Across the Web:

A fascinating essay about fruitcake. How-and- Why Did Fruitcake Become a Slur.

At the end of the Obama presidency many essay and articles came out about it. Here is my favorite: Empathy and Escapism-Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books.

How was your reading life in January? Tell me in the comments, and be sure to leave a link to your January Wrap-Up, too. I love to see what everyone else is reading.

Looking Back at 2016: My Top 10 Reads

I read so many good books this year. Here is my list of my favorite books this year.

The Tiger's Wife

It really surprised me. I loved this book.

 

 

 

 

Bird Box I wasn’t sure if I would like this book, but it was so scary and tension filled. Read it!

 

 

 

 

Station ElevenAnother really good apocalyptic story. Read it!

 

 

 

 

One Foot in Eden I read this for my book club. And it is so good. If you love Southern Lit, read it!

 

 

 

 

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie It’s more an essay than a book, but it’s a fabulous argument for why we all should be feminists.

 

 

 

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott Really a fascinating read about how a talented child will take over a family.

 

 

 

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith I listened to this one. It’s the first audio book I’ve listened to in a while. And I really enjoyed it. The narrator did a great job, plus I learned how to pronounce so many Brit words and places.

 

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante This is one of my favorite books of this year. I’ve hopped on the Elena Ferrante bandwagon and am planning to read the second one soon.

 

 

 

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter This is another one that I wasn’t really sure what it was about when I picked it up to read. But it is really good.

 

 

 

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, #6) I love this series of books by Tana French so much. The latest in the series is so good, and it slyly comments on the genre of books with “Girl” in the title who are a bit angry. Read it!

 

 

So what do you think of my list? Have you read any of the books? What were your favorite books of 2016? Don’t forget to leave your link below so I can visit your blog. Happy Reading!

Looking Back at 2016: Challenges

This past year I participated in three challenges: Goodreads, Book Riot Read Harder 2016, and #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. And I am so pleased by how I did this year.

GoodReads: This past year my goal was to read 52 books. I moved well past that goal and read 85 books which is 163% of my original goal. I decided on 52 books, or one book a week, since it seemed manageable. I have to say I love the stats page that Goodreads has generated the last two years or so. I love that it shows how many pages I read, the longest book and shortest books I read, and even the highest rated book that I read during the year. And I like the visuals quite a lot.

For 2017 I plan on reading 52 books for the Goodreads Challenge.

Book Riot Read Harder 2016: I’m very pleased with this challenge since, for the first time, I completed it! 24 books for 24 tasks designed to expand a readers reading experience. And, like in 2015, I really focused on using books that I already own. And I have a lot of books that did meet the requirements of each task. So, in addition to finishing the challenge,I knocked out a bunch of books on my teetering TBR pile. I think my favorite book that I read for the challenge is The Silkworm by  Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling): Listen to an Audie award winning audio book. I’ve struggled with listening to audio books, but listening to this book really changed my mind about doing it. I enjoyed to listening to the story, much to my surprise. The narrator did a great job.

And yes, I am planning on participating in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 . And I plan on using my teetering TBR pile to once again populate the tasks for this challenge. Later on this month, I plan on posting more about my reading plans for this challenge in detail.

Speaking of my teetering TBR pile, in March I ran across another reading challenge that I immediately joined,  #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. It’s hosted by Andi at Estella’s Revenge and it’s awesome. I have so many books that I buy and never get around to reading. So between this challenge and the Read Harder Challenge I read a bunch of books from my TBR pile. So, the grand total is 32 of the 85 books I read this year were from my TBR pile.

Sign Up for 2017

Andi is again hosting the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks Challenge. Click on the link to signup and participate in the challenge. Like last year, all the books I purchased before December 31st, 2016 will count towards this challenge. And I will not buy any new books until May 2017. My overall goal is 50% of the books I read this year will be for the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge. And at some point this year I plan on posting about this challenge, and maybe inventory how many books I own but have yet to read. Scary stuff! I’m almost afraid to find out how many books I have on my shelves.

So how did your challenges go in 2016? Did you complete them all? Are there new challenges you are participating in for 2017? Let me know in the comments below. Happy reading in 2017.

December Wrap-Up

Reading in December was fine. Blogging about my reading was much more difficult. We all were sick from about the 15th of December until just before Christmas, so blogging went onto the back burner. Luckily I wasn’t too sick to read. And really, the only time I can imagine being too sick to read would be me in a coma. And even then I’ve instructed my family to set up an audio book for me to listen to while in a coma. Anyway, reading this month was good for me. So, without further ado, here is my reading month.

Reading in December: 8 Books

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey [Library eBook]

Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys [paperback]

How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle [Library eBook]

Love Letters from a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle [Library eBook]

Mad About a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle [Library eBook]

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi [paperback]

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older [paperback]

Lord Langley is Back in Town by Elizabeth Boyle [Library eBook]

DNF/In Progress: 4 books

S. by J.J. Abrams, Doug Dorst

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

Talking As Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Books acquired:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (BookMail Box)

Long Division by Kiese Laymon (BookMail Box)

Exit 22 by P.M Terrell (gift!)

Across the Web:

I’m a huge fan of historical dramas, and in November/December I watched The Crown on Netflix. I enjoyed it. How “real” or “true” it is isn’t as important to me as the story that it told. And I love stories. And I love thinking about and analyzing the stories that I read and watch. This is all left over from my years as English lit major in college and grad school. So when I find a new way to analyze how a story is told, I’m interested. And Tom and Lorenzo are fabulous commentators on fashion and how stories can be told through the costumes. And they did a wonderful job of making connections between the clothes worn by the characters and the story. Here is a link to their analysis of the first episode of The Crown entitled Wolverton Splash You will never look at pearl necklaces the same way again!

As is evidenced by the number of romance novels I read this month, it should be no surprise that I love to read about romance novels,too. For so many reasons the publishing industry looks down their noses at romance writers and readers. But the rise of the bodice ripper romance novel happened at the same time as the the 2nd wave of feminism and, you know, I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Over on the website Jezabel they published a very interesting article about the rise of the bodice ripper in the 1970’s. Here is a link to the article. I’m old enough to have read many of the romance novels mentioned in the piece not long after the original print date., so I have a lot of affection for them even if they are problematic for today’s readers.

So that is my December. In the coming week or two I’ll be blogging about my 2016 challenges and plans for 2017. And a post about my favorite books of 2016, too. I’m looking forward to my upcoming reading year.

How was your reading life in December? Tell me in the comments, and be sure to leave a link to your December Wrap-Up, too. I love to see what everyone else is doing.