August 2017 Wrap-Up

August Stats:

Total Books Read: 12

The Widow's Auction by Sabrina Jeffries The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries The Art of Duke Hunting by Sophia Nash The Mothers by Brit Bennett A Beginner's Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch Falling Into Bed with a Duke (The Hellions of Havisham, #1) Falling in Love Again The Countess (Madison Sisters, #1) The Heiress The Husband Hunt Confessions from an Arranged Marriage (The Burgundy Club, #4) The Wild Marquis (The Burgundy Club, #1)

Number of pages: 3,627

Written by Men: 0

Written by Women: 12

Diverse Authors: 1

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 12

Paperback: 0

Hardback: 1

eBooks/Kindle: 11

Library books: 11

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 0

DNF: I didn’t finish, but I plan to do so in September.

See What I Have Done Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #1) Funny Girl

Challenges to date:

GoodReads: 78/75 (I met my goal for the year.)

BookRiot Read Harder 2017, #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks, & Favorite Book: 1

Books Purchased:

Shadowshaper  Between Shades of Gray The Sociopath Next Door The Devil in the White City

My Bookish Posts:

Quarterly Lit Box Unboxing

Across the Blogosphere:

An interesting blog post about other themes explored by Jane Austen in her novels. Click here to read.

A post that really has made me stop and think about my blog and time management. Click here to read.

Across the Web:

I’ve included this podcast previously in my March 2017 Wrap-Up. I’m listening to it as I work on this post. Here is the link to the most recent episodes. Right now the podcast is exploring the parallels between Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda.

This is a lovely essay about all the stuff we all accumulate, and why. Cleaning the House, Tending the Weeds.  

Overall this was a good reading month for me. I’ve read so many romance novels this summer. I’ve not read so many romances since I was a teenager. I must say romance novels have changed so much since then.

How was your August? Did you read many books? Any favorites? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to leave a link to your wrap-up, too. Happy Reading.

July 2017 Wrap-Up

At the end of the month I like to reflect on my reading life. Here is a link to my June 2017 Wrap-Up, if you are interested. And now on to July! (FYI: all thumbnail covers are courtesy of GoodReads.)

July Stats

Total Books Read: 8

The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, #3) The One That Got Away (includes: Effingtons, #8.5) The Fortune Quilt Your Scandalous Ways In Scandal They Wed (The Penwich School for Virtuous Girls #2) A Notorious Countess Confesses (Pennyroyal Green, #7) It Happened One Midnight (Pennyroyal Green, #8) The Art of Fielding

Number of pages: 3,108

Written by Men: 1

Written by Women: 7

Diverse Authors: 0

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 8

Paperback: 0

Hardback: 0

eBooks/Kindle: 8

Library books: 6

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 0

DNF: 2

Funny Girl  The Mothers

I’ve not abandoned this books, but just didn’t finish before the end of the month.

Favorite book of July:  Really didn’t have a favorite this month…..

Challenges to date:

GoodReads: 66/75

Book Riot Read Harder 2017: 6/24 (I’m so behind on this challenge.)

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 1

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Purchased/Acquired:

My Name is Not Easy Remember to Forget Sugar The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor Shadows on the Moon  All of these books are audio books.

The Fortune Quilt by Lani Diane Rich One kindle book

AND

Quarterly Box #LIT05 (A book box I subscribe to) :

This is from my collection.

I had forgotten this box was coming so was pleasantly surprised when I found it on my porch. And I love the tote bag.

My Bookish Posts:

My favorite Jane Austen Swag.

My thoughts about NOT reading The Game of Thrones series.

Marking the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter.

Across the Web:

I’ve read a lot about cults in the last six months, so this essay on Lit Hub really caught my attention.

Across the Blogosphere:

Because I’m always looking for ways to improve my blog. 

Yesterday, July 30, 2017, was the 199th anniversary of Emily Brontë’s birth.

I love to read what others think of  one of my favorite books, Jane Eyre.

Why Literature Matters is a great companion piece to the Lit Hub essay I linked above.

How was your month of July? Did you read a lot or a little? Did you read anything that rocked your world? Let me know in the comments below.

May Wrap-Up

May Stats:

Total books read: 7

Like No Other Lover (Pennyroyal Green, #2) I Kissed an Earl (Pennyroyal Green, #4) Maybe This Time A Murder in Time (Kendra Donovan, #1) First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars, #8) Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars, #7) Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6) American Gods (thumbnail images courtesy Goodreads)

Number of pages: 2,804*

Written by Men: 1*

Written by Women: 7

Diverse Authors: 0

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 8*

Paperback: 1*

Hardback: 0*

Library books: 6

eBooks/Kindle: 7

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 4*

DNF: 0*

Favorite book of May*: I don’t have one this month. Edited to add: American Gods is my favorite this month. I finished it just before midnight last night and needed to add it to my May Wrap-Up.

Challenges to date:

Goodreads: 48/75*

Book Riot Read Harder 2017: 5/24 (No change from last month. I need to get on the ball.)

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 2*

Purchased/Acquired in May:

From Quarterly Box: (Arrived May 2nd)

Borne Gutshot The Blue Fox

And I got these audio books free from Sync: Audio books for Teens. Click on the previous link if you would like to sign up for this program and receive free audio books too.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1) Feed In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It The Gathering (Shadow House, #1) Beast  Of Beast and Beauty

In the Blogisphere:

Because I love challenges (I have read 83 of the books on the list.)

I’m always looking for advice for blogging. I just need to start following it!

I love visiting literary sites. One of these days I’ll blog about literary places I’ve visited.

How was your reading in May? Have you read any of the books I mentioned above? What did you think ? Leave a link to your May wrap-up in the comments below?

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.

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.