Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What I Read in January and Thoughts on Reading Challenges

This year I set a lofty goal of reading 130 books.

I don't think I need to tell you that this is a goal that I do not mind working toward achieving.

I do, however, recognize that at times I'd like to live in a virtual world, and have been making a real effort to PUT THE BOOK/KINDLE UP... but there's just sometimes I really need to read a good book.

In January, I read 12 books. Some of them were great, some were ok. Some I already blogged about, and I'll share the links for those reviews. Most of these (or maybe all of them) I had started before the year had ended, but I finished them in January. 

1. Tough as They Come- Loved this book. Absolutely loved it. Click on the title for my review.

2. A Bee in Her Bonnet- I reviewed all three of the books in this series way back in 2016, but didn't entirely finish the books. Here's the link to my review for those. I finally finished the last couple of chapters of A Bee In Her Bonnet and if you're a fan of lighthearted reading, this is a series for you. I'm finishing up the third book right now. 

3. The Couple Next Door- This was a selection for my sister's book club, and though it's been a few months since I've actually attended (Because: Basketball season), I always try to read their recommendations. (I may just be late finishing them). This book was awesome. Suspenseful. And I was totally surprised at the end. The couple's newborn baby goes missing, and of course they are the primary suspects because they've left her at home alone. What follows is harassment by the police, compounding the depression she's already feeling. He's desperate for money but doesn't want her to know, and add in the controlling, rich and powerful in-laws... and you've got a recipe for a who dun it that will leave you shaking your head. Highly recommend this read!!

4. Because of Bethlehem by Max Lucado- I actually finished the book part of this before Christmas, but found that it had questions in the back that I had to answer (Remember I'm the kind that has to finish reading ALL the book!) I really liked this book. Lucado is a great writer, and he brought home points of the Nativity story to make them apply to my real-life, over 2000 years later. Great read for Christmas time!

5. The Angel's Story by Max Lucado-  This is a fictional book that came as a bonus at the end of Because of Bethelehem (and I have to read ALL the book!) It is a story that tells of the battle that may have went on in Heaven before Jesus is born. It tells the story of the angel who delivered the news to Mary, and Joseph, and then how they protected Jesus as they prepared for  his birth. Great read when we think of the spiritual warfare that may be going on and we aren't even aware!

6. Sewn with Joy- This was the third installment of Tricia Goyer's Pinecraft Pie Shoppe series, and my only regret is that there isn't more!  This series follows an Amish family in Florida, with each book focusing on a different sister. The characters are great, and this last one was especially captivating, as it combined Hollywood with Amish living. Highly recommend!

7. The Wedding Shop- I love this author. I love this series. Seriously.
I reviewed this book all the way back in September, but put the last couple of chapters on hold as I worked my way through other books to review. Lovely read. A poignant story of redemption, following two generations... if you've not read a Rachel Hauck book,  you're missing out. Start with the first of this series (even though this one can be read stand alone).

8. Breathe by Priscilla Shirer- This is a 5 session Bible study about the Sabbath. I started it way back in the first part of 2016, then got distracted and busy (I know, ironic!) but it is beautifully written. The video sessions (not mandatory) were filmed in Freedom Hall in Louisville. I did enjoy looking at the Sabbath and how we can simplify, and I'm hoping I'll take this message into the rest of this year and beyond.

9. Hillbilly Elegy- This book is a must read. Based in my hometown, it brought tears to my eyes and really made me think about life. For more, read- My Take on Hillbilly Elegy: A Call to Action

10. Wait and See by Wendy Pope- I was in a small group for Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible studies, and didn't finish this one on schedule, but it was worth the wait =) Seriously, Pope writes about disappointments, feeling stuck, and wondering if God even cares in this book. She brings in Scripture to show that He is always with us, even when we don't see Him, and her digging deeper components with Psalm and David get you in the Scripture. She gives real-life accounts of people who have been forced to wait, and encourages the reader to look into their own individual waits.

11. The Color of Memory- This is a part of a series I've been reading for over a year. The series focuses on family, hope, and how we are all connected. This book follows the story of a heart transplant recipient who longs to meet the family of the man who made it possible to live. It's a beautiful story of the ultimate gift- life- and how we can benefit others even after we pass on.

12. Dearest Dorothy, Are We There Yet- This book was a delightful read. Katie heads back to Partonville after her aunt passes away, bringing along her teenage son, Josh. There they meet a cast of characters led by Dorothy. Dorothy is struggling with a decision, Katie is struggling with life, and surprisingly the two find just what they need through their new friendship. This is a the first book in a series and I downloaded the second book as soon as this one was finished.

I challenge myself to read. I recently read a blog post by somebody explaining why they didn't do challenges. Basically, they said it put a lot of pressure on them and took the fun out of reading. I can see how that would be true, so even though I've challenged myself to read a certain number of books this year, and signed up for the Goodreads Ultimate Popsugar Challenge, I'm not going to let it take the fun out of my reading. Instead, I'm seeing it as a way to read new books that I otherwise wouldn't have read, and get some great suggestions from the Goodreads community. I'll update my read list each month.

2017 Popsugar Ultimate Reading ChallengeA book recommended by a librarian
A book that's been on your TBR list for way too long
A book of letters
An audiobook
A book by a person of color
A book with one of the four seasons in the title
A book that is a story within a story
A book with multiple authors
An espionage thriller
A book with a cat on the cover
A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
A bestseller from a genre you don't normally read
A book by or about a person who has a disability- Tough as They Come
A book involving travel
A book with a subtitle
A book that's published in 2017
A book involving a mythical creature
A book you've read before that never fails to make you smile
A book about food
A book with career advice
A book from a nonhuman perspective
A steampunk novel
A book with a red spine
A book seet in the wilderness
A book you loved as a child
A book by an author from a country you've never visited
A book with a title that's a character's name- Dearest Dorothy...
A novel set during wartime
A book with an unreliable narrator
A book with pictures
A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
A book about an interesting woman
A book set in two different time periods
A book with a month or day of the week in the title
A book set in a hotel
A book written by someone you admire
A book that's becoming a movie in 2017
A book set around a holiday other than Christmas
The first book in a series you haven't read before
A book you bought on a trip

A book recommended by an author you love
A bestseller from 2016- Hillbilly Elegy
A book with a family member term in the title
A book that takes place over a character's life span
A book about an immigrant or refugee
A book from a genre/subgenre you've never heard of
A book with an eccentric character
A book that's more than 800 pages
A book you got from a used book sale
A book that's been mentioned in another book
A book about a difficult topic
A book based on mythology    

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