I made of reading goal this year to read 15 books at the beginning of the year. I am on book number 12 right now, so almost! I have tried to make reading a bigger priority for the past few years now and I think this is the year I finally did.
I didn’t review any of these books yet, so I thought I’d do a big dump with some quick reviews for what I read this year.
Leaving Time by Jodi Piccoult
I’m not a huge Piccoult fan, but I would say this one was one of her better ones. The story is about a family who runs an elephant sanctuary in New Hampshire. It’s a mystery about a girl who wants to discover what happened to her mother, who was possibly trampled by an elephant but she thinks her death was staged and she got away.
There is a huge twist in this novel that really blew me away at the end. I’d love to read it again knowing how it ends now to look for those clues throughout. I would definitely recommend.
Wild by Sheryl Strayed
I had very mixed feelings about this one, but generally liked it. This is a memoir about a woman who travels the Pacific Crest Trail (long trail system in CA & OR) by herself as a way to purge herself of her grief about her mother who died from cancer and her recent divorce.
This book was definitely wild. Strayed holds nothing back and it gets quite vulgar. However, there was no real trajectory or plot to this story. It just kind of goes on, but without a real climax, so I got a little bored at times.
Compared to the movie which I saw, the book is much better. The movie made no sense. I watched it with my husband who didn’t read this and he thought it was SO weird. I think the only way you’d know what was going on in the movie was if you’d read the book. Very poor interpretation. Not the best memoir, but I don’t regret reading it either.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Loved this one. This is about a woman who gets early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50. This book goes through the struggle of a one healthy woman slowly losing grips of her memory and how her family deals with the difficult disease. It was very sad but in a way that I appreciated reading. It also takes place in Cambridge, which is just about where I was living at the time so I adored the setting.
If you know anyone with the disease or work with elderly with memory problems, this should be a must-read for you. I don’t personally have any connection to Alzheimer’s but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lisa Terkeurst
I had owned this book for years, started reading it once but quit on it before. It was okay, but not the best. I think this would have been better in a group study setting. I love Terkeurst, but I think she has better books out there.
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
I was not impressed by this book and ended up quitting on it because it was so long and drawn out. It’s a story of two sisters who have never gotten along and their Russian mother who is mysterious about her past. Their father dies and his dying wish is for their mother to tell them this fairy tale that she told the girls when they were young.
One daughter hates the idea of having her mother retell the story and the other thinks it’s great. The mother is reluctant to tell them the story but does. They soon realize that there is much more to the story than they once thought.
It was extremely predictable and half the text was in italics of the narration of the mother telling the fairy tale story. So it was like there were two stories. Usually I like books with double stories but it was just too long. I predicted the ending without even reading it.
M.C. Beaton Mysteries
I found this author in the “new” section of my library. I am not a big mystery person but she was a NY Times bestseller and they looked easy to read. She has two series, Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth. I read…
- The Blood of an Englishman
- Death of a Liar
- Dishing the Dirt
I really enjoyed the Agatha Raisin ones, but the Hamish Macbeth series bored me to tears. I actually picked up two of those (they all started with Death of a…) and returned one without even reading it. Agatha Raisin is simple to read, kind of far-fetched (some books, there are 10+ murders, etc.), but the British writing and setting is fun.
These were just fun quick reads. I think I will stick with Agatha Raisin for entertainment’s sake, but they aren’t the best written books ever.
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
This was another random library pick, but I’m so glad I discovered this author. This book was about the Waverly family that all had some sort of gift or power. It was very whimsical and magical, sometimes to a little unrealistic point, but mostly in a captivating way.
The book was about family ties and discovering some secrets of the family they didn’t know before as well as coming of age for one of the younger characters. This book took place around Halloween, which is right when I picked it up. It was a perfect read for that time of year. I’d love to read more books by Allen.
Vision in White by Nora Roberts
I don’t normally read romance novels, but I got this for $1 at a book fair at the Boston Public Library in the summer. I actually LOVED it! It was not as “romance-y” as other ones I have read, but just had a really good love story going.
The writing was extremely good and well written. All the characters had depth. This is book one in a series of four. I’m currently reading the sequel right now and plan to finish the 4 book series.
Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer
This was my daily devotional for the year. I have read many Joyce Meyer devotionals, but I think this is one of her best ones. I loved that the basis of this book was trusting in God. You can’t have a relationship with Him without trust. The format of this book is absolutely beautiful too, which helps since I looked at it every single day of the year. I would highly recommend this one.
Next up, I’ll be sharing how I made reading a bigger priority in practical ways and what’s on my reading list for 2016.
Questions for You:
- Do you set reading goals during the year or just read as you go?
- What’s the best book you read this year?