Tag Archives: Goodreads

Challenge Update, May 2020

1 Jun

What a good month for reading! Picking up my training has increased it though I’ve been getting outside for my bikes more and more with the nice weather which is a bit less listening time. I’m still happy with how this has gone. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in May:

The Starless Sea // Erin Morgenstern (4/5)
The Bookseller // Cynthia Swanson (3/5)
Viola In Reel Life // Adriana Trigiani (3/5)
The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky // Mackenzi Lee (4/5)
White Oleander // Janet Fitch (4/5)
Wayward Son // Rainbow Rowell (4/5)
The Lola Quartet // Emily St. John Mandel (3/5)
The Great Believers // Rebecca Makkai (4/5)

I’m a bit behind on reviews but should be caught up by next week. Hopefully.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

7/12
One more which is all the progress I really need, right? I marked off the 1700-1799 time period with The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee. It’s such a short book that it feels a bit like cheating, but it also feels good to knock off the time period so I’ll roll with it.

Goodreads Challenge

29/55
Seven ahead. I feel like I’m dreaming, I’ve never been this far ahead of the challenge before. I’m loving the cushion. I’m not at all nervous about what happens if I start a longer book. And yes, I do really get anxiety about that.

Book of the Month

I’m wondering if it’s a recency bias, but I think The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai might be my book of the month. I loved this story about love and friendship. The 4.21 rating on Goodreads is helping me reinforce that this is a solid choice. I’ll be reviewing this next week to explain what it is I liked so much.

Added to my TBR

I’m gobsmacked that I’m down to 46! This seems almost impossible after how high this number was even a year ago. It’s been a lot of work getting it down but it feels really amazing.

  • Nothing! Nothing added this month. Man, it’s shrinking fast.

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.

  • Triathlon Age Group National Championships: Well, I’m doing the training. With the COVID19 pandemic, this is really likely to be canceled so I’m not holding my breath but I’m going to put in the work. We’ll see what happens in the coming months.
  • Submit my novel: Ha, that’s funny. I’ll post again tomorrow about how the submission process has been going. I’m not optimistic that this goal will be one I feel I can really check off this year.

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 this year, 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!

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Challenge Update, April 2020

4 May

Another weird month of complete lockdown. It’s funny how much our lives have changed and I wonder when my reading will start to feel normal and less like an escape. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in April:

The Girl in Green // Derek B. Miller (3/5)
Cuando era puertorriqueña // Esmeralda Santiago (4/5)
Pope Francis Speaks to Our Hearts (3/5)
A Mother’s Reckoning // Sue Klebold (4/5)
Moby-Duck // Donovan Hohn (5/5)
The Alice Network // Kate Quinn (4/5)
The Girl Who Took an Eye for an Eye // David Lagercrantz (3/5)

My last review will be up later this week and then I’ll be all caught up. A lot of audiobooks but that’s my norm when I’m training a lot.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

6/12
Any forward progress is good, even if it’s one step. I used A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold to the 1980-1999 time period. The majority of the book focused on Dyland Klebold’s mental state leading up to Columbine that I feel was more prominent than the time after the event.

Goodreads Challenge

21/55
Three ahead! This is the biggest cushion I’ve had in a while. I hope I can keep it up through the summer and this quarantine. I’m finding a lot of comfort in reading, especially on the weekends and I’m enjoying my books a lot so I’m optimistic about this challenge.

Book of the Month

I just adored Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn. The author’s tone kept me interested and always surprised at how far I’d come in the book. The topics were interesting, too, and covered a lot of the implications of the spill and the factors that contributed to it. It was good to read some great non-fiction.

Added to my TBR

I’m at 53 and wondering what I do when the list gets too short. I might have to take recommendations or just browse shelves? Whatever will become of me.

  • Old Baggage by Lisa Evans. This is a book club pick, swapped out for another that our moderator decided sounded too dull.
  • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. My husband’s friend praised this book and I’m enjoying some Mandel now so it will be fun to enjoy more of her writing later on.
  • The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott. A friend from college was recommending non-fiction and included a 1920s gangster book on her list. How could I not add it?
  • Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati. I enjoyed the first book in this series over a year ago and I look forward to continuing with the series!

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.

  • Triathlon Age Group National Championships: I started training at least. I’m doing two workouts per day six days per week. It’s hard not being able to swim but I’ve found some other exercises to substitute that are helping build core strength. So far, this event is still on. But I’m not optimistic that it will take place. All I can do is wait and see.
  • Submit my novel: I’ll do a whole post on this tomorrow. Suffice it to say, not happening, and may have to get scratched for this year’s goals.

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 this year, 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 2020

2 Apr

What a weird month. That’s all I’m going to say about that one. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in March:

Lethal White // Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) (4/5)
August Snow // Stephen Mack Jones (2/5)
The Girls at 17 Swann Street // Yara Zgheib (4/5)
Fingersmith // Sarah Waters (3/5)
The Yellow Wallpaper // Charlotte Perkins Gilman (3/5)

And caught up on reviews! Here’s a positive side of the pandemic.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

5/12
Moving forward! I used Fingersmith to mark of the 1800-1899 time period and The Yellow Wallpaper could have been used for it, too. I’ll call that a double win. I hope to keep ticking these off, one after another.

Goodreads Challenge

14/55
I’m one ahead right now but I don’t know how long that will last. I’m in the middle of a lot of books, too, which I know will slow me down or a while but I think it will be for the best in the long run.

Book of the Month

I’m going to have to go with Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). It was really fun and reminded me while I like this series so much. I’m glad the fifth book is coming out soon so I can’t forget too much before learning more about Robin and Strike.

Added to my TBR

I’m shocked to say this is down to 55! I haven’t been this low since I joined Goodreads. I’m killing it.

  • None! Can you believe it? I’m in shock.

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.

  • Triathlon Age Group National Championships: Well. I’m set to start training on April 20th. We’ll see how that goes. At this point, I haven’t been in a pool for almost three weeks. I’m running or biking 6 days per week and doing stability exercise each day as well. I’m probably in a better place than most since I’m not concerned about the swim. This race isn’t until August so we should be in the clear, but I’m still not holding my breath.
  • Submit my novel: Here’s somewhere I’m slacking. With everything going on, this hasn’t been a priority. I’ll get more into it next Tuesday when I do a post about my writing, but a good summary is that I’m not moving forward with this at the time since the world isn’t moving forward at this time. I do hope to get back to this, but it may be quite a while.

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 this year, 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!

600 Books

17 Mar

One of the things I love about Goodreads is that it tracks how much you’ve read. I love the data about my average length, average rating, reading speeds, etc. I love data so it’s perfect for me to nerd out.

And it gives me great milestones. Recently, I added my 600th book to my Read shelf! Now, I know that about 70 of those were ones I marked as ‘Read’ when I signed up to the platform and wanted to add some of my old favorites. But that still means I’ve read over 500 books since signing up in 2012.

I know for some book bloggers, I read like a turtle. And since I love turtles, I’m OK with this. I’ve seen people with Read lists in the 1000s or more. This is a fun landmark for me and I’m excited to have made it here. I’m sure I’ll post again at 700 which will be in about 2 years or so. Imagine the celebration when I reach 1000.

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!

Challenge Update, February 2020

12 Mar

This is a bit late because of my vacation but it’s helping me fill in some posting time before I actually finish a book. That’s not going so well right now. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in February:

The Dutch House // Ann Patchett
Sarah’s Quilt // Nancy E. Turner
Finding Gobi // Dion Leonard
Wild Ink // Victoria Hanley
What the Eyes Don’t See // Mona Hanna Attisha

I’m actually caught up on reviews! This also means I haven’t finished a book in a while. But I’m going to look at it in a positive way.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

4/12
Still going strong! I was able to use The Dutch House to check off 1960-1979 and Sarah’s Quilt to get 1900-1919. What I’m reading now should get me at least one more so I’m sitting pretty in this challenge for a while.

Goodreads Challenge

9/55
Goodreads says I’m one behind. I’ll take it! I think I can catch up quickly, especially if I’m going to start tri training in the next month. That always gives me a lot of audiobook time while I’m on the bike.

Book of the Month

I’ve been dwelling on The Dutch House for a while since I finished it and I’m still in love with it. The characters were great and I had a blast doing a Buddy Read of it with my best friend.

Added to my TBR

I’m down to 62! Though I could be doing better if I wasn’t in book clubs. And my only add this month is because of book clubs.

  • A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold. I think this will be a really good book for discussion. Klebold’s son, Dylan, was one of the Columbine High School shooters. I’ve wondered how the parents of criminals deal with the crimes their children commit and this will be very insightful.

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.

  • Triathlon Age Group National Championships: I start training early next month. I’m still coming off some vacation lethargy but my goal is to get a few double days worked into my schedule so I’m ready for six 2-a-days per week when I start.
  • Submit my novel: I’ve submitted to five and been rejected by them all so far. Five more to go before I reevaluate what I’m submitting a bit.

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 this year, 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, January 2020

3 Feb

I’m finally caught up on reviews! Reading a few long books really helps with that. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in January:

Pachinko // Min Jin Lee (5/5)
American by Day // Derek B. Miller (4/5)
Colombiano // Rusy Young (4/5)
The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 // J.B. Morrison (3/5)

It feels so good to be near caught up! I expect I will be again next week.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

2/12
I’m off to a good start so far. The four books I’ve read so far represent two different eras and I’ve got another one in the works. I’ve ticked off 1940-1959, and 2000-Present. So far, so good!

Goodreads Challenge

4/55
So far, so good! I’m right about on track. If I’d been reading shorter books, I might be ahead. Maybe a few shorter ones coming soon will help with that.

Book of the Month

I’m so in love with Pachinko this month. I’ll be doing a book club reflection on it soon with even more love to share. This book swept me away and kept me engaged for its entire length which was a gift. I loved it so much and I hope I can convince everyone I meet to read it as well!

Added to my TBR

I’m holding steady at 65. Though I think I’ll have a book club blow-up coming soon.

  • Any Way the Wind Blows / Rainbow Rowell. I know I still need to read the second book in this series, but I’m so sure I’ll love it that I’ve added the third.
  • What the Eyes Don’t See / Mona Hanna Attisha. This is a book club pick and one I’m curious to read. It focuses on the Flint, Michigan water crisis. I live about 40 minutes from Flint and this ongoing crisis is one I’m interested to learn more about.

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.

  • Triathlon Age Group National Championships: I’ve registered for the race and booked my hotel room. This is my focus race for the year. I’ve signed up for six triathlons this summer and this will be the fourth. The other two are just bonus fun.
  • Submit my novel: I’ve submitted to three agents so far and heard back from one. I’ll talk more about this in my writing check-in.

I’m keeping it basic this year for personal goals. Anything else would be a bonus. Maybe I’ll add more later, but this is good for now.

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 this year, 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!

2019 in Books

6 Jan

I read 62 books in 2019. My goal was 52 so I’ve exceeded it by 10! I wasn’t expecting that, especially after missing it by four last year. I’m going to go for 55 in 2020. I know all the long bike rides training for my IronMan 70.3 were a winning contribution. I know I’ll be training for a shorter race, but my longer commute should make it possible.

I read 22,051 pages. This is the fourth year in a row I’ve increased my pages read! I’m really happy with this and I know it goes along with having a high number of books this year.

The shortest book I read/listened to was Ajax Penumbra 1969. This was more of a novella so no surprise there. I could have listened to the whole thing in one long bike ride session! The longest book I read (or listened to) was A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. Again, no surprise. That thing was long! I was glad to get through all those disks. I’m going to have to try to get a digital copy of the next audiobook because it’s going to just get worse from here. This was also the most popular book I read. Again, no surprise here!

My average rating was a 3.6, a tenth lower than last year and the same as 2018. A lot of books got four stars from me this year. Here’s how my ratings skewed this year:

5 Stars: 6
4 Stars: 29
3 Stars: 24
2 Stars: 3

I’m a bit surprised at how many three star ratings I’ve given. Maybe I was a bit harsher this year. Though I did find I was a bit blase about more than a few books this year.

Thanks for taking a look at stats 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!

Challenge Update, December 2019

2 Jan

I’ve been trying to catch up on reviews all month. And I’m almost there! No, really, I am! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in December:

The Maximum Security Book Club // Mikita Brottman (4/5)
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue // Mackenzi Lee (5/5)
Sing, Unburied, Sing // Jesmyn Ward (3/5)
Between Shades of Grey // Ruta Sepetys (3/5)

I’m so close to catching up. I guess that’s the advantage of being in the middle of several long books right now.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
DONE! I wrapped up with Gentleman’s Guide this month and absolutely loved it. I don’t like pushing the challenge right until the end like this, but it felt so good to wrap up in December and I’m ready to go for it again starting in January.

Goodreads Challenge

62/52
I’m so awesome.

Book of the Month

No one should be shocked here. I wrote a ballad to this book in a review on Tuesday so go check that out if you’re wondering why. I absolutely adored The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I’m hoping to read the sequel soon.

Added to my TBR

Only down one to 65. December tends to be bad for the TBR with so much gift-giving.

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!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I’m caught up to Friday so I’m going to call being less than a week behind a complete success and celebrate this one as DONE!
  • Write: What a great year for this. Not only did I finish NaNo, but I SUBMITTED MY MANUSCRIPT TO AN AGENT! Yes, after editing for three years, I finally hit send. Now I plan the waiting game (and submit to more while I wait). I’m ready for 2020, bring it on!
  • See my friends more: I’ll call this a win overall. I was much more social and made a lot of new friends in 2020 that I’ll hold close for a long time to come. December was filled with lots of good friends so I ended this on a high note to be sure.

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, November 2019

2 Dec

I know I’m epically behind on reviews, but I did keep reading in November. NaNo slowed me down but I couldn’t be stopped (completely)! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in November:

Caveat Emptor // Ruth Downie (4/5)
My Drunk Kitchen // Hannah Hart (3/5)
The Mortifications // Derek Palacio (3/5)
Eastbound from Flagstaff // Annette Valentine (3/5)
Not Without My Daughter // Betty Mahmoody (3/5)

So many reviews to catch up on! I’m planned out until after Christmas at this point. So don’t fear! I will get you your reviews as soon as I can.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/12
I got the Pre-1300 period finished now by finishing Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie. I do love that series so it was no problem at all to finish it. I’ve got a plan for my final time period so I’m feeling amazing about checking this challenge off during December and getting ready to do it again in January.

Goodreads Challenge

58/52
Killing it!

Book of the Month

Based on my ratings this month, it’s probably easy to see that I’d pick Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie for November. I love this series and I’ll continue with it as long as Downie keeps writing them. I think Ruso and Tilla are wonderful and I hope more people can find and love this series because it’s really wonderful.

Added to my TBR

I’m still sitting at 66 so no change for this month. I’ve added more than I really intended to, but it just happens that way some months.

  • Semper Fidelis // Ruth Downie. It’s the next book in the Medicus series so, of course, I put it on the list right away!
  • Joy, Inc. // Richard Sheridan. I heard Sheridan speak at an HR conference and I really liked his ideas about making work joyful. I’ve had some rough jobs as I’m sure many have and with a job in HR, I feel I could help make a difference in some workplaces and I’d like to know more about how Sheridan did it.
  • Shades of Magic Vol. 1: The Steel Prince // V.E. Schwab. I didn’t realize there was a graphic novel in this world! I’m so excited to learn more and also try a graphic novel. I’ve been seriously lacking in that area.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue // Mackenzi Lee. This will be the final book in my challenge this year so I’ll have this one off the list very shortly!

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!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I’m behind AGAIN but I’ll catch up. With NaNo over and the cold weather here, knitting is a welcome past time while watching TV.
  • Write: I didn’t expect to do NaNo this year so I’d say this one was a success! The manuscript is a complete mess and needs some major editing but I’m up for it. I really enjoy editing, to be honest. And I’m feeling brave enough that I think I can submit my first manuscript! I’m about ready to hit ‘send’ and feeling brave.
  • See my friends more: This month was not a prime example but I’m still doing okay at this. December is always full of parties and Ii think I’ll be up for them. I was sick twice in November which didn’t help but I’m going to assume it means no being sick in December!

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, 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!