Tag Archives: Goodreads

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!

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Challenge Update, January 2019

4 Feb

The year has started off great! Or at least as great as it could have. I’ve read some great books so far this year and I hope it’s a harbinger of the year to come. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in January:

Furiously Happy // Jenny Lawson (4)
Bird by Bird // Anne Lamott (3)
Before the Fall // Noah Hawley (4)
Where’d You Go, Bernadette // Maria Semple (5)

A lot of audio here, which says a bit about my book-time versus my bike-time. Time inside in the winter is time with audio in my world. I think it’s start to show. And I think it’s bound to continue for a while.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

2/12
Starting off strong! I know it’s almost by default, since any book I read first will fill at least one time period. I’ve got two more lined up and ready to go so I’m doing much better than I thought I would this early on. Hopefully I make this with a bit more of a margin than I did last year.

Goodreads Challenge

4/52
After missing last year’s goal of 55 and ending with 51, I’m re-grouping this year and I’ve decided on 52, averaging one per week. I think this is very doable, especially with no school, but it also means less driving and fewer audiobooks. I’m on pace now; I’m just hoping I can stay there.

Book of the Month

I had a lot of good books this month so this is a hard decision. I think I’ll have to pick Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. Enjoying this book with my husband and my book club was a great experience and I enjoyed the story a lot. It may not be my highest rating, but it brought me the most joy in January.

Added to my TBR

None! I’m down to 85 and feeling great about it. I know I’ve got a season of book club reads to add soon, but for now I’ll do a happy dance and celebrate getting that TBR under control.

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: Today is the first day of my training plan! We’ll see how it’s going in a few weeks.
  • Attend six weddings: No update yet, which means no conflicts yet.
  • Finish a weather blanket: Still buying yarn, so not a lot of progress here. I’m hoping to start soon and I know I’ll catch up quickly.
  • Write: Still picking my day. I let myself take January off like I would have if school were still in session. February is time to buckle down and get started!
  • See my friends more: My husband has a very busy social life which is letting me pick more time to spend with my friends while he’s away. I had a great weekend last week where I saw three different friends and it was wonderful. I’ll try to keep it up going forward.

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, December 2018

7 Jan

Well, I tried. This month was busier than I anticipated, especially around the holidays. So I tried my hardest. What else can I ask of myself? You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in December:

The Poe Shadow // Matthew Pearl (2)
Brainiac // Ken Jennings (4)
The Gilded Hour // Sara Donati (3)
People of the Book // Geraldine Brooks (3)
Henry VIII // William Shakespeare (3)

So it was a good month, but not the month I needed to finish my Goodreads challenge. Good news for When Are You Reading? but it feels bittersweet. I’ll have to reassess my goal for next year. It was a close one. I owe you all a few reviews before I close out the year.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
By the skin of my teeth! I finished off The Poe Shadow and Henry VIII this month, just sneaking Shakespeare in at the end. I was frantically reading this one the weekend before and was so relieved to take it off my ‘to do’ list. I’ll be back again with this one this year and maybe I’ll be a little more organized. Maybe.

Goodreads Challenge

51/55
Just shy. I’m still four books behind, the same as I was last month and couldn’t catch up. Five in a month is great for me and I’m really happy with that. Too bad I couldn’t do just a bit more. I think 50 for next year is sounding much more doable. But 55 is a good stretch goal. Any opinions?

Cover image via Goodreads

Book of the Month

I’m not surprised that I’m putting a memoir as my book of the month for December. I adored reading Ken Jennings’ Brainiac while I was on vacation and I know he has a few other books that I’m now interested in reading as well.

Added to my TBR

I’ve shocked myself by dropping to 89! I know I need to add some book club picks to this list, but I’m going to enjoy being below 90 for now.

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J.K. Rowling. This was my Christmas present to myself. Of course I’m going to read the screenplay. Of course I’ll love it even though it was only OK. Potterhead for life.
  • The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. My annual gift from my soon-to-be sister-in-law. We all get a book every year (except my dad) but I’m still over a year behind with reading them. Gotta catch up soon!

Personal Challenge

I used these monthly posts to keep myself accountable to my personal goals for 2017 and I’m excited to do that again this year. You all were so supportive before.

  • Graduate and keep my 4.0- Done and done! My diploma is next to me, I’m a graduate and can annoyingly put MBA at the end of my name.
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- Already dreaming of going back…
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- I’m writing this a bit early and I’m only one day behind. I’m going to say I knocked this one out of the park!

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, November 2018

3 Dec

I’m in the final stretch. It’s time to power through to the end of the year to finish all my goals and read those books that have been lingering on my shelf for too long. Can I do it? You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in November:

Not Me // Michael Lavigne (3)
That Night // Chevy Stevens (5)
Old School // Tobias Wolff (4)
The Nick Adams Stories // Ernest Hemingway (3)
Treasure Island // Robert Louis Stevenson (4)

I’m very happy with this number! I can tell I’ve had more reading time since I finished school. I hope I can report this number again next month because I’ll need to in order to finish my challenges. Bring it on! I’ll also be caught up on reviews by the end of next week, so that will feel good, too.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

10/12
I’ve got this one. I’m just finishing up a book for the 1800s and I’m in the middle of a short one for the 1600s and then I’ll be done! Just in the nick of time but it counts! I’m going to make a small adjustment for next year that should make this a bit easier. Stay tuned!

Goodreads Challenge

46/55
I’m still four books behind. I’m not sure I can make this one anymore. I was optimistic, but that goal is seeming very far off now. Maybe it’s time to surrender defeat? And I need to start thinking of a goal for next year. 50 is sounding more achievable.

Cover image via Goodreads

Book of the Month

I’m so glad I push myself to read outside of my comfort zone! I loved reading Chevy Stevens’ That Night this month. It was a great fall read for me. The creepy overtones were great for fall-tree studded runs and cozy snuggles with a blanket. I may have to change some of my go-to reads if they’re all this good!

Added to my TBR

I’m still at 92. I expect it to go up soon only because I got the to-read list for another book club that will take me through the summer. I’ll read them all slowly, but it does inflate this a bit. ‘Tis the life of a bookworm!

  • American by Day by Derek B. Miller. This was described as a sequel to the amazing Norwegian by Night so I’m excited to see what else Miller has in store!
  • Birthright by David Hingley. I’m excited to have a 1600s book on my shelf to be ready for some historical fiction reading next year! I think this will be a good one to start with.

Personal Challenge

I used these monthly posts to keep myself accountable to my personal goals for 2017 and I’m excited to do that again this year. You all were so supportive before.

  • Graduate and keep my 4.0- Done! I walk on the 11th and I’ll be officially graduated and have kept the 4.0 the whole time!
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- All done and I’m dreaming of some more trips to come!
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- I’ve been catching up on this lately. I’m in early/ mid-October but catching up fast. I think I’ll be fine finishing around the end of the year or really early in 2019.

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, October 2018

1 Nov

I finally got the rebuilding month I was waiting for! It was a long time coming, to be sure, but it came and I’m feeling slightly more optimistic about meeting my reading goals for the year. It’s a rebuilding month. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in October:

Bel Canto//Ann Patchett (4)
Artemis//Andy Weir (4)
The Girl in the Spider’s Web//David Langercrantz (4)
Dark Matter//Blake Crouch (5)
A Night to Remember//Walter Lord (4)
A Column of Fire//Ken Follett (4)

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to report six books read! It feels great, really. I had so many books partially finished and now I feel this is a fair representation of how much reading I did in October. On to November!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

8/12
One more down! A Column of Fire was my 1500s book for the challenge. I’m in the middle of two more (1700s and 1800s) and I’ll start on my 1600s read soon. I’m feeling good about this one, I think I’ll knock it out of the park this year!

Goodreads Challenge

41/55
Only four books behind now! I’ll take it this time. I’ll have to really start reading soon but until school’s over (November 13th) I can’t think like that. So soon…

Book of the Month

Yet again, a book club selection won me over this month. I think that’s the third month in a row. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch had me laying in bed more than is probably healthy for my back. I wanted to know what happened so badly! Glad this one was introduced to me.

Added to my TBR

The numbers are creeping up as my book clubs make their selections for the next season. I’m up 4 this month to 92. I’m sure I’ll bring it down again.

  • Old School by Tobias Wolff. No idea what I’m getting into here. Wolff sounds familiar, should I be scared or excited?
  • The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Langercrantz. How could I stop after that last one? I can’t wait to see what Lizbeth does next!
  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. Again, no idea here. I like going into books blind.
  • Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani. This looks very different from a lot of the books we read for the club so I’m curious to see how our group reacts to it.
  • Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay. I’ve heard so much about Gay and I’m excited to see what I think of her writing! Woop!
  • Dodgers by Bill Beverly. I’m thinking either draft dodgers or baseball here. I’m hoping both.
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman. No idea, again. However, the cover looks familiar. Maybe I’ve seen it in stores. Or maybe another book has a similar cover? I’m unsure but still excited.

Personal Challenge

I used these monthly posts to keep myself accountable to my personal goals for 2017 and I’m excited to do that again this year. You all were so supportive before.

  • Graduate and keep my 4.0- Final is coming up and it’s looking good so far!
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- I shouldn’t be dreaming of our next trip, but I am already…
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- Yep, I’m really behind. I think a re-watch of GoT is in order. That will give me plenty of knitting time!

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 2018, 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 2018

1 Oct

It’s not been a great month for reading, that’s to be sure. But it hasn’t been bad, either. I think I’m setting myself up for a good October. There’s some positive thinking. It’s a rebuilding month. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in September:

The Hate U Give // Angie Thomas
The World We Found // Thrity Umrigar
The Lowland // Jhumpa Lahiri
The Children’s Home // Charles Lambert

It’s been a bad spell of slow months of reading. I have a few half-read books now and I’ll be happy if I can get to them soon and consider them finished. Like I said, I’m building to an awesome October. It’s been a bit too slow, though. I’m worried about making my reading goal for the year.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

7/12
I hate having to say I’ve made no progress again. I’m in the middle of two books that will count toward this challenge. I’ve got the last two picked out, too. I really do feel I’m making progress on this one even though the numbers don’t show it.

Goodreads Challenge

35/55
Six books behind. I’m starting to feel like I’m drowning in this one! Finishing more than a book a week is a tall order and I’m not living up to it. I think shorter books are in order but I really like long-winded writers.

Book of the Month

Another win for a book club selection. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was amazing and is a clear winner for Book of the Month for September.

Added to my TBR

Down one is still down so I’ll take it. I’m at 88 for this month. Safely under 100 and inching down. It’s slow, but it’s happening. And I only added one this month, but it was one I had to add.

  • Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith. If anyone thought I wouldn’t add this, you’re silly. I’m a huge Rowling fan, even when she’s Galbraith. I’ll probably do the audiobook of this again as the rest of the series has been incredible.

Personal Challenge

I used these monthly posts to keep myself accountable to my personal goals for 2017 and I’m excited to do that again this year. You all were so supportive before.

  • Graduate and keep my 4.0- So far so good in class. I’ve gotten a few grades back and I’ve only lost one point so far. Woo!
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- Not only done but my photo frame is up as well. Check it out!

View this post on Instagram

Photo frame done! #europetravel

A post shared by Sam Ann Elizabeth (@samannelizabeth) on

  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- Falling behind again so I can make an epic comeback when it gets cold and knitting is a bigger comfort.

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 2018, 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 2018

4 Sep

This was my chill month. It was supposed to be time to relax after my vacation before I start class tonight. I think I can say it was pretty chill. I can’t say reading was always a top priority but I got through a fair amount. I’m happy with it at least. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in August:

The Feminine Mystique // Betty Friedan
The Joy Luck Club // Amy Tan
Dreams of Joy // Lisa See
Ordinary Grace // William Kent Krueger

Well, it could be worse. I’ve had a few too many slow months in a row, though. I need to pick it up though this is not a good time for me to try reading more. This is when my reading usually slows down. I’m going to need a plan. Maybe a read-a-thon is in order?

When Are You Reading? Challenge

7/12
Nothing this month. The plan is underway to knock this out by the end of the year so I’m feeling confident that it will happen! Two more are in process now and the final two have been picked out.

Goodreads Challenge

31/55
I’m still five books behind! I’ve finished one more this month, so that should be four, but I’m still hurting in this department. I think it’s time to start picking short books on purpose to get myself in line with this goal!

Book of the Month

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is a clear winner for me. The writing was incredible and it’s made me want to look into everything the author’s written. That’s a clear sign of a good book! My entire book club loved it as well, which I’ll be writing about next week.

Added to my TBR

89! This is incredible and I’m so happy to have brought it down so much. I only had one addition this month so I’m feeling pretty good.

  • The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. This was recommended to me by another blogger when I gushed about how much I loved the plot structure of The Post Birthday World. It doesn’t hurt that it focuses around books!

Personal Challenge

I used these monthly posts to keep myself accountable to my personal goals for 2017 and I’m excited to do that again this year. You all were so supportive before.

  • Graduate and keep my 4.0- My final class starts today. Wish me luck!
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- DONE! I talked about it last week with my Off Topic Thursday so check that out for details.
  • Complete a race per month- I didn’t plan well for this month. I had two races in the same weekend! Saturday was a 5-mile race. A friend of mine asked me to run it with her so we went her pace and I didn’t push myself. On Sunday, I had a 5K swim race I’ve been training hard for this summer. It went really well! This was only my second time doing the distance and I was 38 minutes faster! It was a completely different course with no current which I can attribute 20 minutes of that droppage to, but I’m blown away with the rest. Can’t wait for that one next year!
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- I caught up to August 18th. I’ll let myself get behind again before I catch up.

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 2018, 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 2018

6 Aug

I’m back! After spending the last two weeks of July on vacation, this seems like the perfect way to dive back into blogging and catch up a bit on what I missed while I was gone. Probably not my best reading month since I was gone for so much of it, but I’m excited to report what I can. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in July:

Critical Chain // Eliyahu Goldratt
The Fifth Assassin // Brad Meltzer
The Post-Birthday World // Lionel Shriver

Honestly, I thought it would be worse. I knew I was going to fall a bit behind on books while I was gone but finishing three was better than I hoped for. I’ve finished one more so far in August and I think I’ll wrap up another two in short order. I can still do this!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

7/12
Again, no change. I’ll have to start targeting specific books soon so I can finish this with no major issues before the end of the year. I’ll have to look into a new audiobook for my car to fill some in.

Goodreads Challenge

27/55
Now I’m five books behind, yikes! Like I said, I’ve got a few that will finish up shortly but I’ve really got to start reading a bit more to make this challenge work. Is it cheating to read shorter books? I might read some shorter books to make this work out for me in a reasonable time.

Book of the Month

Easily, the winner is The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. This book kept me entertained while traveling and I loved the premise of it once I got a bit into it. The idea of one night that can change the course of your life so drastically is awesome. Shriver did great work with this one and I’ll have to look and see what else of her’s I can enjoy soon.

Added to my TBR

I’m down to 93! Nothing new was added this month which is incredible for me. I’ll keep chipping away at the pile. I’d be most comfortable with it below 50 but we’ll see what I can do.

Personal Challenge

I used these monthly posts to keep myself accountable to my personal goals for 2017 and I’m excited to do that again this year. You all were so supportive before.

  • Graduate and keep my 4.0- No change during the summer. My next (AND LAST) class starts at the beginning of September so we’ll see then.
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- DONE! It was an amazing adventure and I’d love to go again. I’ll be posting about it in my ‘Off Topic Thursday’ at the end of the month.
  • Complete a race per month- I thought we were doing a charity bike ride in July but I had the wrong dates and we’ve moved it to September. In a scramble, my husband found us a race a few hours away called the Swinging Bridge 5K. It was a really small but fun race and we both had pretty good times. Hopefully there’s no more scrambling like that for us again!
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- I haven’t touched it so I’ve got the whole summer to do. Maybe I’ll get started on that soon, it could take me a few days to catch up.

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 2018, 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!

WWW Wednesday, 1-August-2018

1 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


I’m on vacation! I’ll be back next week and will have a very full update of what I’ve been reading while I enjoy my European vacation. Today, we’re in Reykjavik doing a Whale and Puffin watching tour!

I’ll be checking the blog and reading comments as time allows. If I don’t get a chance to say it later, happy reading!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

WWW Wednesday, 25-July-2018

25 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


I’m on vacation! I’ll be back in two weeks with updates on what I’ve been reading while waiting in airports. Today I’m leaving Belfast and am on my way to Barcelona! Hola, sol y mar.

I’ll be checking the blog and reading comments as time allows. If I don’t get a chance to say it later, happy reading!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!