Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Nov/Dec Reads...

So I'm real, real behind.  Here are the books I read in Nov/December and I'm hoping later this week to get my "year in reading" review/post out.  I'm sure some of you will recognize a few of these "reads".  Always love hearing any comments or suggestions in prep for my next (this) year's reading challenge. 

So here goes in no particular order:
November Books
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I will always remember this book as I was reading the end of this, the 6th, Harry Potter the week the 2016 presidential elections occurred.  I thought it was somewhat fitting and quite eerily ironic that I read about Dumbledore's death/murder the same night I found out who would be the next president of the United States.  I felt like the dark really set in for me that election week and found it fitting that along with mourning the defeat of the candidate I had voted for in the election, one of the most famous "good guys" around in fiction died for me during the reading of this book.  It was a good read- not my favorite of the Harry Potter Books, but still a good read.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This was our book club book for the first Wednesday in December.  It was just "ok" .  Ove is a grumpy old goat of a man who isn't real happy with life.  Some of his angry/irritability is quite funny, and as the book rolled on I grew to like him more.  I however, struggled with some of the author's writing style and didn't always feel like the book was reading quickly.  I did find the characters amusing, but overall it wasn't one of my favorites.  However, some of the "bookies" really enjoyed it, so don't let me deter you from picking it up. 
I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
This was my audiobook for November.  It was intriguing, but a few too many story lines to follow.  They all in the end connected, but I don't listen to audiobooks as fast as I use to, and so I think I missed some major story connections due to the way in which I listened to the book.  When I was in my training days for triathlons and marathons, running quite a bit, I would go through audiobooks quite quickly.  My 2 1/2 mile walks don't cut it now a days and so I end up listening to books in a somewhat disjointed fashion.  OK- back to the review... This book is a great mystery/espionage (reminded me somewhat of a Jason Bourne story on steroids) read.  I liked it, but again I don't know if I liked it enough to pick up another in the series.  We'll see. 
The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse
I truly loved this book.  It was beautifully written.  It reminded me of historical fiction and due to the 1912 setting in Sussex read like historical fiction.  Constantia Gifford is a great heroine in this book and although just 17 her character reads like a mid 20 year old/early 30's.  It is a fascinating story that has some good mystery to it.  Besides the mystery I found just the detail in regard to being a taxidermist and the art of taxidermy to be quite fascinating.  This is one of my top picks for 2016.  If you love historical fiction or just really good fiction I'd suggest this book.
December Books:
The Secret Place by Tana French

My audiobook for December.  I was really excited about reading/listening to this book after reading her first book in the Dublin Mystery series- "In the Woods" -back in October.  I really enjoyed #1 and was looking forward to being brought along through a great mystery in this read.  I was disappointed.  I just couldn't seem to get into the story.  I don't know if it was because I was listening to it instead of reading it.  I will likely read another book by her in the future, but not sure I'll choose to listen to it as an audiobook.  Funny how some books read better than sound and some books sound better than read. 

Light in Paris by Eleanor Brown

Madeleine, is the main character in this book, along with the side kick or second main character, her maternal grandmother.  I found both these main characters to be intriguing.  Both of their stories with some common themes, but yet lifetimes apart.  Madeleine's common day issues with marriage, losing herself, struggling with her mother while Margie (her maternal grandmother) is struggling with finding her self, figuring out her destiny in Jazz Age (Hemingway era) of Paris.  I thought this was a great read and look forward to reading other books by Eleanor Brown. 

Grace Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley
This was a good read to finish the year with.  It had a little bit of that self-help, get ready for the New Year's Goal making that I enjoy doing each year.  I thought it was very easy to read and applicable to everyday life.  She does have a religious undertone throughout the book, which didn't overwhelm what she was writing and so references to God, didn't grate on me as I have experienced with other nonfiction reads that overdo "GOD" in its text.  The one complaint I have about this book is the author sells a year planner and so it was referenced some within the book.  I felt at times as if the book was an infomercial for her product, not all the time, but some of the time.  When I looked up the planner online I was a little surprised at the sticker price...$40-58/planner. I guess my Target specials aren't cutting it.  However, the overall meaning and purpose of the book I really did enjoy- Grace not Perfection!
Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance! by Kathryn Budig

Another perfect read to pick up before starting the new year.  I thought it was a good read.  The photography in the book is quite beautiful.  The recipes in the book are a little "too healthy" for me :).  However, I came away with some interesting "food for thought".  Reading this book also reminded me of my love for yoga, and made me question why I don't make more of an effort to practice yoga more often. 

Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern

I was introduced this past year to Cecelia Ahern and am making my way through reading her books.  This was another good one.  The idea or premise of the book is what happens to one person who receives blood from another person via blood donation- does the donor's memories or knowledge travel onto the recipient of their blood.  Well you'll find out in this entertaining read.  I will continue to read her books and am so thankful for the first book I picked up by Cecelia. 

Holy Bible- NIV by Anonymous
Last but not least the granddaddy of them all- The Holy Bible- New International Version.  Last January 2016 I started reading the Bible daily- with a great APP calls She Reads the Truth (you can pick the version of the Bible you want to read).  I decided to do this for several reasons: a. I've never read the whole Bible, b. I figured it would help me continue to try and figure out my faith journey, and c. two of my dear friends were along for the ride too and we met this past year (about every month or so) to discuss how the reading was going, and mainly so I could ask them my "bible questions".  Overall I did good with reading the daily reading, but about mid October something happened and I got lazy and just stopped reading daily and so would do "catch up" reading on Sundays.  It worked out OK, but I don't know that I gave it my all.  I hope to write about this specific reading adventure later in a different post.  Overall I think it was a good experience and good read, but I don't feel amazingly different or more Christian since reading the whole Bible- another work in process on my faith journey.
Well that's November/December... now onto year in review and 2017 Reading Goals.

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