Tag Archives: Goodreads

Challenge Update, October 2019

4 Nov

I’m really happy to have continued to make good progress. I didn’t know how the new job and a focus on swimming were going to go but I can’t complain about the amount of reading I’ve still been able to do. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in October:

The King’s Curse // Philippa Gregory (3/5)
A Conjuring of Light // V.E. Schwab (4/5)
We Sold Our Souls // Grady Hendrix (4/5)
When I Crossed No-Bob // Margaret McMullan (3/5)
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy (3/5)
Beautiful Ruins // Jess Walter (4/5)

A pretty good mix here and a lot of different genres covered. I’m overall happy with it.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

10/12
I was able to tick off the 1500-1699 time period with The King’s Curse. The Tudors are almost always a good bet for a book in that time period and they never seem to disappoint. I’m working on one more time period and it’s just the final one that I’ve still got to figure out.

Goodreads Challenge

53/52
WOOO! I finished up this last month and I have to admit it feels great to have one challenge completed. I’m still not sure if I’ll keep this level for next year or up it a bit but it was a good challenge as is so I’m tempted to keep it.

Book of the Month

The honor this month goes to a very satisfying end to a series, A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I enjoyed the ending to this series and I’m really excited to hear Schwab is returning to the world with some more books. I’m OK with meeting some new characters, but the world of magic she created is way too fun to abandon.

Added to my TBR

I’m down only one more to 66 this month. A little bit is still progress, right? I’d like to think I’ve added for good reasons.

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: DONE!
  • Attend six weddings: DONE! The last two were back to back weekends and it was utterly exhausting but absolutely amazing. I’m ready for a ‘calm’ year in 2020 with only two.
  • Finish a weather blanket: I’m behind and working to catch up again. I’m afraid I’m going to run out of one yarn so I went out and bought a bunch more but now I might not need it after all. Sigh.
  • Write: I’m taking an extreme measure here and doing NaNo! I got nervous before I submitted my last manuscript and I’m giving myself a kick in the pants to get moving and write if I’m too nervous to submit! I need to get over it eventually, granted, but maybe this will make me brave?
  • See my friends more: This is going so well. My husband and I hosted a party on Saturday and had at least 25 people come! In our apartment, that’s a lot of people! I’ve made a big effort to see my swimming friends more, too. It’s been really fun to talk about swimming with other swim nerds so often!

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2020, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge Update, September 2019

1 Oct

The new job and longer commute are giving me hope for getting through audiobooks in a timely manner when half marathon training is over. I’m trying to look on the bright side of having a longer commute. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in September:

Writing and Selling the YA Novel // K.L. Going (3/5)
Beautiful Music // Michael Zadoorian (3/5)
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir // Josephine Leslie (3/5)
Becoming Madame Mao // Anchee Min (2/5)
Hillbilly Elegy // J.D. Vance (4/5)

This month was a bit lackluster after an amazing crop of books last month. Maybe I’m due for a more neutral month in October.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
Again, nothing new. It’s about time I start handpicking books to finish this one up. I’m in the middle of one now that will check off one of the remaining periods, but that still leaves me with two wide open. I think this will be a focus for October and I’ll see if I can wrap it up in November.

Goodreads Challenge

47/52
I’m still nine books ahead of schedule! This seems unreal but I’m loving it. I’ll have to consider a higher goal for next year, especially if I train as hard as I did this year. Though I’m not sure I could do that again. Maybe stay with 52? Thoughts?

Book of the Month

Nothing was really amazing this month but I’ll have to say Hillbilly Elegy was my favorite of the month. I’m looking forward to sharing my book club’s thoughts on this one because we’re from the region that Vance talks about and I have a feeling a lot of us will have ties to Kentucky as I know I do.

Added to my TBR

It’s hard for me to believe this list is down to 67! I’m so glad to see it finally shrink to a number that seems achievable in a year or two. I’m finally moving forward.

  • The Chocolate War // Robert Cormier. This was referenced so often in the writing books I read as an iconic YA book that I felt bad I hadn’t read it and had to add it to this list.
  • Wayward Son // Rainbow Rowell. I adored Carry On, more than I thought I would, so it was easy to add this one to my TBR. I’ve loved most of Rowell’s books so I’m excited to see what I think of a new one.

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: DONE!
  • Attend six weddings: The last two are in October and it’s looking good for both of them! I can’t believe we’re finally through wedding season!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I caught up but let myself fall off again while I work on some more baby blankets. I have some very fertile friends!
  • Write: I used my time off to finish another draft. I’ve been letting it sit and I hope to re-read the new ending and edit it soon. I’ll have a full post about this coming in the next week with some more insight.
  • See my friends more: I’ve been much better at this! I utilized my two weeks off between jobs to see a lot of people and I’ve been packing my weekends with friendly outings which have been super fun. I’m training alone a bit more often but I’m being more social outside of fitness. Wins and losses, right?

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge Update, August 2019

3 Sep

I’ve had a much better summer than I expected! I’m so glad to have the time to read this much and I’ve been lucky to have so many wonderful books. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in August:

Burial Rites // Hannah Kent (4/5)
84, Charing Cross Road // Helene Hanff (4/5)
A Gathering of Shadows // V.E. Schwab (4/5)
The Map of Time // Félix Palma (4/5)
An American Marriage // Tayari Jones (4/5)

All four-star reads! That’s a great month for books. I can’t think of the last time I had a streak that strong. I’m going to take it and run with it because I doubt I get this lucky again.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
Nothing new this month. Funny enough, three of these books take place in the 1800s but I’d already checked off that time period. I usually start being more selective to finish this off in October so I’ll give myself one more month to have it happen naturally before I pick and choose what I need.

Goodreads Challenge

42/52
Being nine books ahead of schedule feels so good! I set my goal to 52 thinking one a week was a good pace, but maybe I need to up it next year. Maybe 60? 65?

Book of the Month

This is really hard because they were all so good, but I’m going to pick The Map of Time by Félix Palma. The storytelling was really fun and I enjoyed the twists and turns of this one more than I expected. I kept thinking I was getting tricked and I had fun figuring out how the tricked was done.

Added to my TBR

Riding steady at 71. I did some book shopping and went to an author event so I’ve added a total of four this month. Not bad, but I would love to see this start shrinking.

  • We Sold Our Souls // Grady Hendrix. This is a book club pick that I’ll be picking up this fall. Not sure what it’s about but the title sounds a bit dark.
  • The Great Believers // Rebecca Makki. Here’s the first of my two book-store shopping buys. I was on a trip to Atlanta and this was featured as the store’s book club selection for the upcoming month. Though I won’t make the meeting, it looked like a good pick.
  • Mil veces hasta siempre // John Green. This is the Spanish translation of Turtles All The Way Down. The title roughly translates to ‘A million times until forever’ and I get the parallel. Reading YA in Spanish was a good level for me so I’m stocking up for a few years from now when I’ll do it again.
  • Golden Glow by Dan D’Addona and Kaitlin Sandeno. I went to hear Sandeno and D’Addona talk a few weeks ago and picked up the book. It sounds like it will be a fun biography to dive into.

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: I wrote up a review last week Thursday so please go check that out to hear more!
  • Attend six weddings: Four down! My cousin got married two weeks ago. The last two are on back-to-back weekends in October and I’m in one of them so this will be a rough finish but we’ll make it.
  • Finish a weather blanket: I’ve been working on catching up on this and I think I’ll be there soon.
  • Write: I’ve got some time off this week and I’m determined to work on this more. I’ve got the time, I just have to do it.
  • See my friends more: I’m getting better at this! Labor Day weekend helped since we had plans with friends every day. I made use of the two weeks I had free between jobs to see people as well. I’d say there’s a lot of improvement in the future for this!

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge Update, July 2019

1 Aug

Another great month for audiobooks! I’m glad something good came out of my crazy fitness endeavors. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in July:

Being Mortal // Atul Gawande (4/5)
Ajax Penumbra 1969 // Robin Sloan (4/5)
The Golden Rules // Bob Bowman (3/5)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius // Dave Eggers (2/5)
A Storm of Swords // George R.R. Martin (5/5)
Good Morning, Midnight // Lily Brooks-Dalton (3/5)

Eggers slowed down my physical book progress a bit. I really slugged through that one. And Martin was a big win for my car-audio. I’m glad to call that one ‘finished’ finally! Overall, a good haul for the month.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
Another one bites the dust! Since the A Song of Ice and Fire series is based on the factual War of the Roses, I decided to count the book in the time period that the war happened which means A Storm of Swords fulfills the 1300-1499 time period. If you want to, you can fight me. But it’s my challenge so I made up the rules so good luck. None of the books I’m reading now will fit the periods I have left so it might be time to start getting strategic.

Goodreads Challenge

37/52
Killing it! I’m feeling great on this one and I’m really far ahead of schedule. Even the long audiobook didn’t bring me down so I’m happy to be confident in this one. Maybe I can bring my goal back up next year. You never know.

 

Book of the Month

Limiting it to this month seems wrong because I worked on it for so long, but I’m giving the title to A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. This was my favorite of the series so far and it feels like such an accomplishment just to have finished it.

Added to my TBR

It’s finally coming down again! I’m down a total of six books this month to 71. I know I’ll have a book club season role in here soon that will bring it back up, but I’ll enjoy this while it lasts. What’s even more amazing is that I didn’t add anything to my TBR this month. Yes, I am feeling alright, don’t worry!

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: DONE! I’ll do a full post on this at the end of the month but it went wonderfully, better than I could have expected. And no, it didn’t change my mind about doing another one. Never again.
  • Attend six weddings: We’re at the halfway point. Three down, three to go. One in August and two in October. I think we only have one more gift to buy so we’re well on our way!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I started getting caught up on this last week so I’ll be up to date pretty soon. I’m in mid-July right now, not too far off!
  • Write: I’m rededicating myself to this. With the time I’m not spending training, I can spend more writing. August is my rededication month so I’ll be beginning next week. My goal is a minimum of two hours a week and I hope for more.
  • See my friends more: Up and down. I had a friend reach out to me after my race so I got to see her and it was lovely. I have some fun adventures with friends happening soon that I’ve been planning for a while. So yes for planned trips/parties, but no a lot spontaneously. A mixed bag.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge Update, June 2019

1 Jul

Not great progress, but I’m still moving forward! June has been a crazy busy month and I think it will continue through the summer. We’ve got a lot to pack into these warm months and we’re not wasting a minute of it. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in June:

Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy (4/5)
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (4/5)
Wolf’s Mouth by John Smolens (3/5)

I’m trucking through a long audiobook in my car so I’m not surprised to see two physical books on here, but it makes me happy to make some progress with printed books!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

8/12
I was excited to see that Lair of Dreams would fill in the 1920-1939 time period for me! I love that time period and being able to fill it with such a fun book was a great way to explore my favorite decade.

Goodreads Challenge

31/52
I’m slowing down, but I’m still moving forward. I don’t think I’ll have trouble finishing this one in time. I’ll start flying through audiobooks again soon, too.

Book of the Month

Because of how helpful it was, I have to pick Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. I learned a lot about developing characters and how to structure my novel.

Added to my TBR

I’m up again for the second month in a row and it hurts. I’m up a total of three to 77.

  • Beautiful Music by Michael Zadoorian. This is a book club selection for the fall. The author is local to our area!
  • Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray. I need to keep moving forward with this series! Just two to go.
  • Liam and Heidi by Jason Alpert. One of my writers’ group members published his book! We’re all so excited.
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. After her first book, I have to see what else Morgenstern has up her sleeve!

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: Going OK. I’ve had some knee pain that’s stopped me from most running and biking. I did a sprint triathlon last week and it went well but it set me back a bit in my recovery. The race will happen before my next post so we’ll see!
  • Attend six weddings: Two down four to go! Another this coming weekend and then a break until August.
  • Finish a weather blanket: I haven’t touched this in a while but I’m not too far behind. I have the data, I just need to do the knitting!
  • Write: This got redirected. After reading Writing Fiction for Dummies, I realized I needed a bit more of a re-write than I thought. I’m working through that now and will have to reconsider sending it to agents after that.
  • See my friends more: The weddings are helping with this. I’m finally seeing a light at the end of the triathlon tunnel when I can be really good at this.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge Update, May 2019

3 Jun

I’m feeling pleased as punch about my reading this year! I know most of it is audiobooks because of training time, but I’m still happy about it! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in May:

Hawkes Harbor // S.E. Hinton (2/5)
The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing // Mira Jacob (4/5)
Exit West // Mohsin Hamid (4/5)
Survival in Auschwitz // Primo Levi (4/5)
Born a Crime // Trevor Noah (4/5)

I’m happy to have two physical books on this list (Hawkes and Auschwitz) and still be killing it with audiobooks. I’m making great progress toward my challenges for the year, too!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

7/12
Nothing new this month. I’ll probably have to start being strategic soon. I’ll see what book club picks will hit for me and then start filling in the rest. I don’t want to be rushed in December with this one!

Goodreads Challenge

28/52
Over 50% done! Feeling good about this one for sure. I don’t think I’ll be sweating when it comes to the end of the year. I think I’ll be sailing through to the end.

Cover image via Goodreads

Book of the Month

It could be a recency bias. Or it could be a ‘cute TV host’ bias, but I’m going to pick Born a Crime by Trevor Noah as my book of the month. I learned a lot about apartheid from this book but I also laughed at it because Noah has a great sense of humor. He had a very effective way of telling his story.

Added to my TBR

It hurts to see this list up, even if it’s just by two to 74. I added my book club picks for the rest of the year so it took a bit of a jump.

  • Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols. I saw this on an ‘upcoming SciFi’ list and it sounded so good that I added it to the TBR.
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Here’s the beginning of the book club list. I hadn’t heard of this one before but I’ll be reading it soon.
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. This one I had heard of and I’ve read another book by Jones, Silver Sparrow, a few years ago.
  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I hadn’t heard of this one but our sponsoring librarian was pushing it. I think another group is ordering it, which means we sometimes get roped into books we didn’t ask for. We’ll see what comes of it.
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck. We’re trying to read more classics so here’s the first attempt!
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. After so much good press surrounding this one, I’m excited! I wish it wasn’t a year out, though!
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I was excited to see this on the list because I have an autographed copy after meeting Lee at the Midwest Literary Walk a few months ago. I’m excited to have people to discuss it with!

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: I’ve been able to ride outside a few times so I’m feeling better about this. I’ve got a big charity ride coming up so my bike seat muscles are about to get a crash course!
  • Attend six weddings: Feeling good about this. Two in June so I’ll be sure to let you all know shortly!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I’m no more than a week behind at any point so it feels great. I need to start some more baby blanket projects soon to keep up with those.
  • Write: I finished my editing, just making a few adjustments as I gather a list of agents. This doesn’t feel real but I’m so excited at the same time.
  • See my friends more: I am terrible at this. Does seeing my tri club count? If not, then I failed. I see my training partners, but that’s about it right now. I’ll argue I’m becoming closer friends with them.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge Update, April 2019

2 May

Who would have guessed Half Ironman training is so good for reading time? Not as good as last month, I concede, but still awesome. I’m OK being a bit behind on reviews because I’m not struggling for things to blog about lately. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in April:

News of the World // Paulette Jiles (4/5)
Daughter of Smoke & Bone // Laini Taylor (4/5)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda // Becky Albertalli (5/5)
Midwives // Chris Bohjalian (5/5)
The Power // Naomi Alderman (3/5)

I’m loving this so much. I’ve got a few more cooking but I’ve got time to get to them. I’m just glad to have gotten through one physical book this month. I think that’s where I’ll continue to be slow. My audiobook game is killing it.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

7/12
Killing it so far! Two time periods knocked out this month. News of the World is set in the 1870s which knocked out 1800-1899. And then The Power is set in the future, knocking that one out. Yay for book club picks! Maybe they’ll help fill in some of the other time periods and I won’t have to worry about this challenge at all. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking.

Goodreads Challenge

23/52
I’m still flying through these books and I’m seven ahead of schedule now. I don’t know if I’ll keep this up since I started a long audiobook lately and training will end in July. I’ll have to find another way to read more than is normal and keep this going because it feels really good.

Book of the Month

This seems to be an easy pick every month. This month the easy winner is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. My review went up Monday if you want to hear more about how much I adored this amazing book and why everyone should read it. I think I’ll watch the movie tonight…

Added to my TBR

72! I’m still taking it down, even if it’s just a bit at a time. I’ll get to a manageable number, I’m sure, but I’ll keep adding to the list so it may take a while.

  • Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani. I heard Trigiani speak a few weeks ago and when I found out she had a YA title, I had to snatch it up. I hope it doesn’t take me forever to read this one. I need a happy YA title from time to time.
  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. The book club has spoken and this one is coming up soon! I hope the hype was worth it and I enjoy this one.

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: I thought I’d be able to ride outside in April but I’m still out of luck. Rain and (believe it or not) snow have kept me on the trainer. Maybe I’ll have one good weekend before July?
  • Attend six weddings: On pace. I have hotels booked for all except one and I don’t have an invitation for that one yet. So things are looking good!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I’m caught up through mid-April so I’ll say I’m on pace for this. I tend to let myself fall behind before catching up on this so I can binge-knit while I binge-watch TV. They go well together.
  • Write: Going wonderfully! I’m actually close to querying. I KNOW! I never thought I’d be here but I am and it feels wonderful.
  • See my friends more: I didn’t do so great with this one this month. I have a lot going on in May so April ended up being a lot of focus on me. I have some friends who got face time, but it was their asking, not mine. May already demands some travel and friend time so I think I’ll do better next month.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge Update, March 2019

1 Apr

I feel like I killed it this month! I’m flying through audiobooks and I’m fairly up to date on reviews. I’ve got my posts scheduled ahead of time and I’m feeling great about meeting my challenges. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in March:

The Wednesday Sisters // Meg Waite Clayton (4/5)
Books for Living // Will Schwalbe (3/5)
Out of the Easy // Ruta Sepetys (5/5)
Origin // Dan Brown (4/5)
This Is A Book // Demetri Martin (3/5)
Thunderstruck // Erik Larson (3/5)
Wonder // R.J. Palacio (4/5)
Dodgers // Bill Beverly (3/5)

KILLING IT! Five of these are audiobooks and I’m going to attribute that to massive amounts of tri training and now I’m feeling doubly productive. I’m working on the reviews that are missing and you should see those in the next week or two as I catch up.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

5/12
One more done! The Wednesday Sisters knocked down another time period for me. I was hoping Out of the Easy would get another, but I already read a book for the 1940-1959 period. Still, forward progress! I’m hoping I can tackle some more without trying before October, which is when I start to read a little more strategically.

Goodreads Challenge

18/52
I just doubled my books for the year in March. That’s how good of a month I had. Killing it! Very happy with this progress. I’m now about six books ahead and feeling a lot more comfortable. I might have to tackle some longer books now that I’m feeling good about it. I’m looking at you, George R.R. Martin!

Book of the Month

An easy choice this month, I have to go with Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. The book blew me away and had me wanting to ride my bike trainer so I could listen to more. That’s really saying something.

Added to my TBR

I’m still amazed at how my TBR is coming down. I’m at 76 books now! After being over 100 for so long, this feels really liberating. I even added two this month and I’m still impressed with myself.

  • Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. This is the only add as a result of Will Schwalbe’s Books for Living. I thought I’d end up adding millions to my list, but this one caught my attention more than any of the others he mentioned. I hope it works for me!
  • The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib. The summary of this one caught my attention and I can’t stop thinking about it. Eating disorders are so tragic and unfortunately common. I can’t wait to dive into the heads of these women and follow the help they’re given.

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: I keep praying the weather breaks and I can take this training outside. I love the swimming and the running has been fun but I’m still lacking some love for the bike. Maybe once it’s outside more I can appreciate it and look forward to it more. I’m eating more and trying to sleep better. This training is hard but I love the challenge.
  • Attend six weddings: So far, so good! We’ve got two formal invitations now and have RSVPed to both. I’m in one, so that’s a no-brainer. Especially because my brother is the groom!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I finally started! After two re-starts to get the gage right, I’m on track. I always think these things are so ugly for the first month or two until the pattern starts to emerge. So now, I’m only in January and I think it’s hideous. I’ll let you know more when I catch up and get to April.
  • Write: This is my favorite goal so far. I’m making great progress in my book and had a mini break-through (more on that in my Writing Check-In post tomorrow!). I’m glad I pushed myself to do this.
  • See my friends more: I’ll still say this one is OK. Training is keeping me away a bit, but I’m hoping that once the weather breaks, I can work seeing my friends into training and enjoy it even more.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge Update, February 2019

4 Mar

I’m very pleased with how this year is progressing. I’m voracious with audiobooks because of my training time and I’ve had decent progress with print books as well. It may be early to say this, but it looks like 2019 will be a great reading year! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in February:

Will Grayson, Will Grayson // John Green and David Levithan (4/5)
Kiss Carlo // Adriana Trigiani (3/5)
Hunger // Roxane Gay (4/5)
The Valley of Amazement // Amy Tan (3/5)
Minutes Before Sunset // Shannon A. Thompson (3/5)
You Are An Ironman // Jacques Steinberg (4/5)

A very good month! And a lot of them are late finishes. I owe you a few reviews in the next few weeks be rest easy, they are coming!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

4/12
Still going well! That’s another two this month with Kiss Carlo and The Valley of Amazement knocking down the list. I’m not sure when I’ll get to another one to take it down further, but it’s a bit early to start planning so I’ll rest easy for now and just keep reading what I want before I pick and choose.

Goodreads Challenge

9/52
I’m just ahead! Just a little. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. I guess the month wasn’t quite as successful as I thought. Whatever, I still had fun with the books I chose!

Book of the Month

Partially because it was a fun book and partially because it was a quick Spanish read, I have to pick Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan as my book of the month. I’m thinking of reading most of my YA in Spanish now after such a good experience with this.

Added to my TBR

Still knocking down Mt. TBR! I only added one this month!

  • Stories of Elders by Veronica Kirin. I went to an event where Kirin spoke (she’s a friend’s sister) and, of course, bought the book. You can read more about it here.

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. I love connecting with some of you over non-book related things. I posted about my goals last week but in case you missed it, here’s a summary and status.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: Four weeks into it! So far, so good. I hope I can keep it up. I’m tired a lot and having to squeeze everything in around longer and longer amounts of time on the bike and treadmill. I hope this gets easier when it warms up.
  • Attend six weddings: Well, the one I was on the fence about finally pushed me to commit and I did. I booked the hotel room and requested the time off. On track so far!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I’ve got all the yarn now, but haven’t started knitting yet. I haven’t spent a lot of time on the couch, my normal knitting time so it might be a bit of a delay this time around.
  • Write: Great so far! My husband leaves the apartment when I put ‘Write’ on the calendar. One week I counted my writers’ group time, but I’ve gotten a few solid hour blocks of editing done and I’m feeling great about it.
  • See my friends more: Going reasonably well here. I’m seeing them more, but not as much as I’d like. I blame the training. I wish more of them were endurance cyclist so we could ride together!

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

2018 in Books

5 Feb

I can’t believe I didn’t post about this yet! It’s been a month already and I’m late to the recap. Well, better late than never. I was able to find my 2018 recap much easier this year than last year.

I read 51 books in 2018. My goal was 55 and I’m sad to have missed it. I’ve lowered my goal for next year to 52 and I think I’ll make that one.

I read 18,339 pages. That’s an increase for the third year in a row, even if it’s a book-number decrease from last year. I knew I was reading long books!

The shortest book I read was The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr and E. B. White. I should have guessed this one, it was such a short audiobook! The longest book I read (or listened to) was A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. Over the past five years, the longest book I’ve read each year was either Follett or George R.R. Martin. Man, can those guys write long books!

The most popular book I read (re-read, really) was Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Not a big surprise there! I’m glad to have finished my Spanish re-read of the series. Maybe I need an English one next! The least popular book I read was Critical Chain by Eliyahu Goldratt. I guess he’s more of a one-hit wonder.

My average rating was a 3.7, a tenth higher than last year. I must have had a lot more 5 Star reviews this year because I did, unfortunately, have one 1 Star review. Here’s how my ratings skewed this year:

5 Stars: 8
4 Stars: 24
3 Stars: 13
2 Stars: 5
1 Star: 1

No surprise to me that 4 Stars is my most common rating. To me, it means I liked a book a lot and that it was just shy of perfect.

Thanks for taking a look with me! If you’ve been here a while, you know I love numbers and book-related numbers are the best.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!