14 Books in 2014-Book Two

Wow! I’m so behind on my reading. I need to pick up the pace!

But I wanted to take my time with this last one. It was so good.

I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

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I had heard a lot about this book before I started reading it. Let me say, it did not disappoint. I thought it was fantastic. It was a long one and I loved it. It is an engaging story that follows the life of Theodore Decker, a 14-year-old living in Manhattan with his mother until tragedy strikes and Theo’s life is turned upside down. It’s about all that life involves; tragedy, death, friendship, love, ethics and morals, but it’s not at all predictable.

It didn’t take long for me to really get into this book and once I was half way through I had to make myself put it down at night.

I couldn’t always relate to the character’s tragic story, but I could relate to his emotions. They were real and I became invested in the story right from the start. It was thought-provoking and when it was over, I was left wanting more. I didn’t want it to end. I will most likely read this one again some time in the future.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars. I would most definitely recommend this book to a friend!

 

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14 Books in 2014-Book One

I just finished my first book of the year. Hooray!

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The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

I have to admit that this book started off slow for me. There were a lot of female characters and because I wasn’t totally “into” the book yet, it made it hard for me to keep them all straight.

It was an interesting read. I wasn’t all that shocked by the secret. I also didn’t really feel any type of connection with any of the characters. I didn’t get emotional at any point in the story. Probably because I wasn’t emotionally invested in it. It just didn’t pull me in.

There were a few twists at the very end that were quite thought-provoking though and I did finally feel empathetic towards the characters and their life situations.

Overall, I think there was too much hype around this book (I kept hearing about how good it was), so I was expecting more from it. Sometimes when my expectations are too high, a perfectly good book can get ruined.

However, I liked the book and I would recommend it to my friends.

Up next is a big one and I’m super excited to get started!

14 Books in 2014

I’m starting my challenge again and I’ve added another book to the challenge. I’m more determined than ever to accomplish it this year. There are three big reasons why this is so important to me.

1. I’m too distracted by technology. I spend way too much time looking at garbage on my phone. It’s totally out of control, and honestly, I’m over it. I need to be more present in my life, so whenever I feel the urge to “check” my phone, I’m planning to pick up my books instead. Reading is much more productive than Facebook or Candy Crush.

2. I love when I find a book that I can’t put down! Reading is a great escape from reality, but in a healthy and educational way. The smartest, most well-rounded people I know are readers, and that’s how I aspire to be.

3. I want my kids to be readers. I was a big reader as a kid. I have always loved books. I figure that the more my kids see me reading, the more apt they will be to pick up a book. They are actually already very interested in books. We read at least three books to them every night before bed and sometimes during the day if they ask. I catch them sitting together “reading” books a lot. I want it to stay that way. It makes me so happy!

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Sidenote: Do you/did you watch The Gilmore Girls? I want my kids to turn out like Rory. Is that weird? I didn’t think so.

I plan on blogging my progress again. I like how it keeps me accountable. Plus, I would be fun to look back and be able to see everything I’ve read.

I would love it if you joined in the challenge with me. We could swap book reviews! And you don’t have to read 14. You could set our own goal. Maybe you haven’t read a book since 1998. That’s cool. You could totally set your goal at two books and rock it!

Anyway, I read all types of books, so if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

Happy Reading!

13 Books in 2013-Book Eight

I’ve come to the end of the year, and although I didn’t complete 13 books in 2013, I did finish strong. The goal of the challenge was to get myself reading more again.

I used to read a lot, but it slowed down in college because I was already reading text books. Then I met a boy, fell in love and got married and as you can imagine, that consumed most of my free time. After that, we had a baby and then another baby and as every parent knows, that takes up all of your free time.

Now that my babies are getting bigger, I really wanted to stop watching so much mindless tv and read instead. I completed eight books this year and that’s about six more than I’ve finished in the past four years. I’ve read books here and there, but reading eight in a year was awesome! So for me it’s a victory! I read more and rediscovered my love for books. I plan on continuing my challenge in 2014.

I read Things We Set On Fire by Deborah Reed

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It was a decent read. It was about tragedy and how it can either bring people together or push them apart, but how you can’t know until you’re in it.

The characters were very complex which lead to them having complex relationships with one another…obviously. However, I didn’t think the author had enough explanation as to why the characters were the way they were. She touched on it lightly, but there could have been more details. I was left a little confused.

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters though which always makes loving the book more difficult. I suppose there were bits and pieces of each character that I liked.

There was a part of the story that revolved around the relationship between the sisters where they didn’t really get along or like each other all that much, and I didn’t really understand why and I didn’t feel it was explained at all. It seemed awkward as a part of the story that left me with more questions than answers, which in my opinion didn’t enhance the story at all. But, I’m not a book critic. Not. Even. Close.

So, that’s that. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. I’m not sure if I would recommend it to my friends.

I’m hoping to really love my next book. So far nothing has compared to The Light Between Oceans, but I’m sure the new year will bring new books that totally change my mind!

If you have any book recommendations I would love to hear them! I’m always on the look out for great books.

 

13 Books in 2013-Book Seven

I just finished reading Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.

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I loved it.

It was a beautiful story about a friendship between a quadriplegic man and the young woman his parents hire to take care of him. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’m stopping at that, but you should definitely read it.

I laughed a few times and I cried pretty much the entire epilogue.

I highly recommend this one!

I don’t know that I’ll reach my goal of 13 books in 2013, but I’m certainly going to try yet. I’m off to figure out what to read next!

13 Books in 2013-Book Six

I finally finished reading my sixth book. Man, am I behind in this reading challenge or what?!

Belong To Me by Marisa se los Santos

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I’m not sure where to start with this book. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t totally love it either. I think my problem with the book was that I didn’t really connect with any of the characters until at least half way through, and because I didn’t connect, I had a hard time wanting to keep reading. Obviously.

But once, I got about a third of the way through, I finally started to like the characters. And once that happened, I wanted to keep reading.

I also thought there were way too many points where the characters are rambling. And even though it was intellectual rambling, it got super annoying, and I ended up skimming over most of it.

I have a couple more of her books on my must-read list, but I think I’ll move those down the list a bit. At this point, I’m not really interested in reading more from her, but that could still change. Especially if I get a recommendation from someone.

This book slowed me down a lot and I’m very behind, but hopefully I can make up for it in the next three and a half months and still make all the projects I have floating around in my head!

Have you guys read any good books lately? I’m open to suggestions!

Have a great weekend!

13 Books in 2013-Book Five

I finished my fifth book over the weekend. This time chose Defending Jacob by William Landay because I don’t remember ever having read a legal thriller in the past and I was very intrigued.

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The book’s plot revolves around a man named Andy Barber, his wife, Laurie and their fourteen-year-old son, Jacob. Andy works as the town’s assistant DA until a local teen is found stabbed to death in the park and his son is charged with the murder.

I thought this book was exceptional. I had me hooked from the first page and I didn’t want to put it down. The plot twists were riveting. They were emotional and thought-provoking.

The book centers around the question, “How far would you go for you child/children”? Having children of my own, I found myself wondering if you do what’s right or do you do what’s right for your child, and how do you know the difference when the lines become blurred.

I highly recommend this book. My little review can’t even come close to doing it justice. Now that I’ve read it, I can’t wait to read more from William Landay. Terrific writing.

Happy July! I can’t believe it’s July already!

13 Books in 2013-Book Four

I read The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Blake Soule & Stephen Soule.

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I’d had this book on my Amazon wishlist for a while. I almost bought it once, but decided on something else. I’m glad that I finally got around to making the purchase.

The book includes short essays by both Amanda and her husband detailing their lives and stories in regards to each month and season, as well as, beautiful photography, crafting tutorials and seasonal activities.

The essays were well written and I enjoyed reading them for the most part. There were some times when I thought they were a little “over” written, but still good. They made me want to move to Maine…and I hate snow.

The crafting ideas and tutorials weren’t anything all that original, but that’s not to say that they didn’t add to the book. There were a few that I want to try.

The same can be said about the activity suggestions. Some were new ideas to me, but most were activities that my family and I already do. But I did pick up a few picnic pointers that I will definitely be using.

I really enjoyed the overall feel and mood of the book. I’m always looking for good books that revolve around family. Plus, I really like they way they detail their everyday lives, making even the simplest of tasks seem special. It made me realize just how awesome the ordinary moments can be.

On to the next!

13 Books In 2013-Book Three

I burned through book number three in less than a week. It was that good.

I read The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

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I couldn’t put this book down. It was so beautifully written. I absolutely loved it. It was heart wrenching and lovely. The author paints such vivid pictures with her words and you feel everything the characters feel. By the end I was sobbing. 

I would say that it has become one of my favorite books of all time. 

I highly recommend this book. Five stars.

 

Happy Monday!

P.S. I have no idea what to read next because I don’t know how anything can compare. I think I’ll have to go with a nonfiction book. 

13 Books in 2013-Book Two

It didn’t take me long to finish book two of thirteen! The second book in my challenge was Dinner: A Love Story.

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I received this book as a gift from my husband for Valentine’s Day. I’d been wanting it for a long time.

I fell in love with it instantly. It does have a lot of recipes, but there is a great story about how the author’s family dinners evolved over the years. She in no way makes you feel guilty about your own approach to family dinners. In fact, she makes you feel like you can easily accomplish family dinners on your own terms, but that the important thing is the family bond it creates when you follow through.

I was able to really relate to so much of her story. We almost always sit down together and eat as a family, even if we’re just eating sandwiches. Not only is she relatable, but she’s really funny. I laughed a lot. She kept the writing light and entertaining.

I’m looking forward to trying out quite a few of the recipes and will definitely share my thoughts on them with you.

If you simply just enjoy cooking, enjoy cooking and are thinking of having a family, or enjoy cooking and already have a family, I would totally recommend picking up a copy of this book.

Now, on to the next…only I haven’t figured out what I want to read yet.

P.S. The sun is sort of shining today. I’ll take what I can get at this point…