Tag Archives: Goodreads

Challenge Update, January 2017

2 Feb

New year, new books! It was a good month for me as far as reading is concerned. I’m actually pretty proud of this and I know a lot is due to how much I was running this month. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in January:

Trap // Robert K. Tanenbaum
States of Confusion // Paul Jury
South of Broad // Pat Conroy
The Birthday Boys // Beryl Bainbridge
World Without End // Ken Follett
Mrs. Dalloway // Virginia Woolf

A few long ones this month and a few I’ve been working on for quite a while.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

5/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. With my historical fiction love, this is off to a great start. The five books already filled 4 time periods! I think I’ll continue to struggle with the 1600s this year, but that’s a problem for November (again).

Goodreads Challenge

6/50
Ahead of schedule already! This is a good start for me. I was nervous about the 50 goal but I’m feeling good about it now. I’m flying through audiobooks and I’m looking forward to knocking a few off of my TBR shelf.

WithoutEndBook of the Month

World Without End by Ken Follett is a clear choice for me. I adored this book and I just found out that there’s a sequel that I’m beyond pumped to read! If you’re up for super-long books, this series is highly recommended.

Added to my TBR

So, I added four but my TBR went down by one to 119! I guess that’s some kind of progress? A bit?

  • You Are An Ironman by Jacques Steinberg. I was volunteering at the library sale and I told myself I wasn’t going to buy anything. I have enough books, I didn’t need anymore! Well, then I saw this one. Many of you know I’m a triathlete so it seemed like fate that this book was on top of the first box I moved. I caved, I bought it.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling. Does this need any explanation? I didn’t think so.
  • The Girl in Green by Derek B. Miller. I adored Miller’s first work, Norwegian by Night, and can’t wait to see what else he can cook up.
  • A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. The third in the series. As I said, I have to. I adore Follett’s books.

Personal Challenge

I mentioned in my challenge announcement post that I had some non-reading goals set for myself in 2017. I figured this would be a good place to keep myself accountable to those as well. Here goes!

  • Keep my 4.0 GPA: I don’t start classes until next week so we’ll see!
  • Knit blankets:  I finished two this month and already sent one out. My cousins’ wife is pregnant so I’ll be sending another out soon! I post pictures of my blankets on Instagram regularly so check there for updates.
  • One race per month: I did my first indoor triathlon in January with a friend. I tied for second amongst women!
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: Done! I sent it to four wonderful friends and asked for it back by May. That should give me time to get school out of the way for a bit.

How were your challenges? I hope you made it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2017, 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 2016

3 Jan

Considering the holiday, I should consider any progress good progress in December. However, I always have higher hopes for myself than I’m ever able to achieve. I wanted to do a lot more reading this month than I ended up doing. Drat. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in December:

Writing the Breakout Novel // Donald Maass
Once Upon a River // Bonnie Jo Campbell
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt // Caroline Preston

After the tidal wave last month, this isn’t a huge surprise. What is exciting is that all of these were physical books. Yay paper!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. And I finished! If you’re interested in joining in on this one for 2017, check out the info page.

Goodreads Challenge

52/45
Bam. I’m going back to 50 as my goal for 2017 because 45 didn’t seem like enough of a challenge. We’ll see what I can get through this year.

onceuponBook of the Month

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell really impressed me. I’m hoping others in my book club felt the same way. I’m hoping to read more from Campbell in the future. The ending left me a bit down but the rest of the book was really enjoyable.

Added to my TBR

I only added one! I’m so excited to say my TBR is at 120 now. Maybe a goal for 2017 will be to drop it below 100? I added one book this past month because I couldn’t help but buy it. Come to think of it, I might have to add a few more that I’ve picked up. But that’s a problem for 2017 and this is a post about 2016.

  • The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving. Many of you know how much of a fan I am of Irving. This is one of his earliest novels and is no longer in print. I found it at a used bookstore and can’t wait to read it.

How were your challenges? I hope you made it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2017, 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 2016

1 Dec

This month was ridiculous when it comes to finishing books. Considering I took my final and did NaNoWriMo this month, I wasn’t counting on much progress. I’m ecstatic about it, don’t get me wrong. I wonder if I can keep this up? You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in November:

Stiff // Mary Roach
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing // Marilyn Durham
In the Garden of Beasts // Erik Larson
Z // Therese Anne Fowler
The Lost Daughter // Elena Ferrante
The Tempest // William Shakespeare
Only the Paranoid Survive // Andrew S. Grove

I can’t remember the last time I read seven books in a month! This is such a good feeling. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the number of reviews I owe you all! I’ll be hard at work on those this weekend.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. And I finished! I’m cutting it down to the wire a bit this year but The Tempest will be my 1600s book. I may continue to do Shakespeares for this in years to come, the 1600s can be hard!

Goodreads Challenge

49/45
Woo hoo! Finishing it off like it’s nothing, haha. I’ll probably get to 52 or so by the end of December. I’m going to try to put more time into writing while I can so books might take a bit of a back seat.

stiffBook of the Month

Stiff was really good. The audiobook was wonderfully narrated as well but the writing took my breath away. I wasn’t expecting to be so interested in dead bodies! It was a great surprise and a smash hit at book club (more on that to come in a few weeks!).

Added to my TBR

I added three this month which I’m not happy about, but I think I’ll survive. I’m down one overall with 123 total books. I’m going to be missing my book club meetings for a while so this might really start to drop!

  • A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. This may be premature because I haven’t read A Gathering of Shadows yet but I’m going to assume I’ll want to read this one!
  • Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. A book club selection for January. I’ll probably start it next but I do hope to speed through it and get some other books read over the holidays!
  • South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Another book club pick. This one is a clunker so I’m hoping it sweeps me along and I can finish it fast.

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, it’s fun! I’ll do it again in 2017 to be sure.

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 2016

1 Nov

For a while, it looked like this month was going to be a bust but the last week had a lot of long books finish off for me thankfully. It was a good month overall, nothing to complain about here! I wasn’t expecting a lot because of school so I’m pleasantly surprised. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in October:

Slade House // David Mitchell
Still Alice // Lisa Genova
Call Me Zelda // Erika Robuck
The Book of Lies // Brad Meltzer (review to come)

Not bad for a busy month! Thank the lord for audio and there will be even more of it in November while I go through NaNoWriMo.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. I’m getting down to crunch time. I’ve got to get this 1600s book read! Does anyone have suggestions? Preferably one on audio? Anything?

Goodreads Challenge

42/45
Soooo close! I’m not at all scared of failing this one and I’ll take my time getting through some long titles in the coming months.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Book of the Month

Because it’s October, Slade House by David Mitchell is an obvious choice. It was perfect for my book club to talk about this month, too. It’s short, spooky, and nothing like Cloud Atlas.

Added to my TBR

For the third month in a row, I only added one! I’m down to 124 now and I’m super proud of myself. So close to breaking 100 and how that I’m allowing myself some more audio, that will come down even faster.

  • The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge. I got offered a free copy of the ebook and took it! I’ve read two other Bainbridge novels and enjoyed both. She has a great brief style and always makes you pay attention or you’ll miss something important! I’m looking forward to this one.

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, 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 2016

3 Oct

This was a pretty good month for me. I was nervous when I had to take a break from my long audiobook but I think everything will be good in the end. I’m making progress toward my goals and I think I’ll be able to finish them all off. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in September:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up // Marie Kondo
Boy, Snow, Bird // Helen Oyeyemi
SuperFreakonomics // Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks // Rebecca Skloot
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe // Benjamin Alire Saenz (review to come)

A lot of audio this month. I’ve not had a lot of free time to read so this might continue until my semester is over. I’m looking forward to reading more in November and December!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 12 different time periods. You can read about it here. Still looking for a 1600s title to round out this one. Any suggestions from you all?

Goodreads Challenge

38/45
Bam! I was worried that with classes starting I would fail to keep up with this but so far, so good! It must be helping that it takes me 40 minutes to drive the 4 miles to campus during rush hour. Silver lining?

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Book of the Month

I’m going to have to pick SuperFreakonomics. It was so much fun to read and I can’t stop recommending it to people who need something or who might be scared that non-fiction isn’t ‘fun.’ The first book is better in my opinion, but this was a very close runner-up.

Added to my TBR

For the second month in a row, I only added one! Awesome. The beast is now down to 128. If I’m able to ever get it below 100, I’ll throw myself a party. Or at least a celebratory post here.

  • Chasing Water by Anthony Ervin and Constantine Markides. In case you missed it, I got to meet Anthony Ervin at a local bookstore and it was amazing. I’m looking forward to the book if I’m ever able to get to it!

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, 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 2016

1 Sep

Unfortunately, August couldn’t keep the momentum of July going. It was a bit of a slow down for me, but I’m venturing into a long audiobook so that’s to be expected. My class started yesterday so I don’t know how September will be, we’ll have to see. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in August:

Peace Breaks Out // John Knowles
The 5 Love Language // Gary Chapman
In One Person // John Irving

Quite the boy’s club for this month! I’m reading a female author now so I hope next month can balance that out a bit.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. No further update for this month. I’ll see about finding a 1600s audiobook I can listen to, but I know this period is always a challenge. Any suggestions for a good book in this time period?

Goodreads Challenge

33/45
Still ahead of schedule! I was hoping this would be the case so I could feel comfortable with my long audiobook. It’s been a while since I listened to such a long one and I’m hoping to be able to finish it without loosing my progress toward this goal.

Book of the Month

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Yikes, a hard choice this month. I really liked Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles. The book was short and delivered a punch with its theme and characters. It was exactly what I was hoping for with another Knowles book and I enjoyed it.

Added to my TBR

Only one added! Awesome. This means my TBR is down 2 overall (three read, one added). I’ve been making a point of trying to topple this monster at least below 100 in the near future.

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, 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!

Reading Landmark: 400 Books!

2 Aug

I know that this is now old news, but I’m excited to say that I have over 400 books on my ‘Read’ shelf on Goodreads! I’m really happy with this and I know it will likely take me over a year to hit 500 so I’m celebrating. I don’t often add books to ‘read’ any more that I remember from the past. Most of the adds are true additions to my reading repertoire. It’s even better that book 400 was a 4-star review. At this rate, book 500 will be a 5-star review and book 600 will blow my mind!

I know many of you reading this are well over 400 books, but for me, this is a great stepping stone. I’m really excited about the books I’ve shared with you before and all those I look forward to sharing in the future.

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, July 2016

1 Aug

I was finally able to pick it up in July! Woo. I’m hoping to carry this through August because after that it will be back to school and hard for me to fit too much reading in again. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in July:

Truth & Beauty // Ann Patchett
In the Hand of Dante // Nick Tosches
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Illustrated) // J.K. Rowling and John Kay
The Drunken Botanist // Amy Stewart
The Invention of Wings // Sue Monk Kidd
10% Happier // Dan Harris
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child // J.K. Rowling

Reviews are up for all except the last two, both of which I finished Sunday. I’ll get to them soon. You can tell I’ve been writing reviews pretty soon after finishing books lately. I think my reading has slowed down since I got my new job about a year ago but I’m still reading as much as I can and I’m much happier in the new role.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. I’m glad to say I added TWO this month! I filled in 1800-1899 with The Invention of Wings, set during American slavery. I decided to count Cursed Child for the future. If you do the math, it starts 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts (1997+19=2016) but a lot of the action takes place three years later (2016+3=2019) so I’m counting it in the future. One more to go! I’ll have to see about finding a book set in the 1600s, it was a challenge last year as well.

Goodreads Challenge

30/45
Four ahead! I’m feeling a lot better about this. For a while, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I’m out of the woods now and we’ll have to see how I finish out the year. This is a good time for me to feel like I can start a long audiobook.

Book of the Month

626F6F78747265616D=7474747474727576707<7473This probably seems obvious, doesn’t it? A big Potterhead like me, picking a book of the month. Yes, I’m going to pick Harry every time and this month, my favorite book was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. I’ll be posting more about the book in the coming days so look out for more about how amazing this book was.

Added to my TBR

I only added three! And one of these I’ve already started so ha! I’m really proud of this because, for a while, it seemed my TBR would never go down but I’m knocking it apart bit by bit now.

  • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. I’m not sure how this wasn’t on my list before. I’m a bit ashamed of that.
  • Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. This got great reviews when it came out and I got it from the library sale for $1. What’s not to love?
  • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I needed a short audiobook to listen to while waiting for a hold to come in and this seemed a good filler for the time I have. I started it yesterday and I hope to finish it soon.

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, 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 2016

5 Jul

Unsurprising, May was a slow month for me. I was in the midst of an intensive class and there wasn’t anything that could push me through reading faster. Even a good book took me some time. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in June:

The Unlikely Disciple // Kevin Roose
27 Days to Midnight // Kristine Kruppa
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street // Susan Jane Gilman

The best part of all of this is that all of the above were 5 Star reads! I had a great month of books even if it was slower than I would have liked.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. Unfortunately, I have no change to report here. None of my current reads will help, either. I do know that my next book will fill in the 1800s and I can always find a dystopian to fill in the future so I’ve really just got the 1600s to worry about. It’s time to start looking at my Philippa Gregory collection to see what I can fill in.

Goodreads Challenge

23/45
I’m now only one book ahead. I’m getting a bit nervous here. I thought after finishing the long books last month I would speed ahead, but I’ve slowed down. I’m hoping I can reverse this trend soon and speed back up, but we’ll see. I’m keeping my fingers crossed now.

Book of the Month

IceCreamWith all 5 Star reads, this is harder than usual, but I think there’s a clear winner in my head. I absolutely loved The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street. It was fun, the narrator made me laugh, and I wanted it to never end. The use of voice in this book should be envied, it was incredible. I really recommend it.

Added to my TBR

Read three, added two. It’s not going down fast, but it’s going down. It helps that the ones I’m reading now were all on the list so I haven’t had any add/reads to stalemate it.

  • Slade House by David Mitchell. This will be a book club selection, likely in October/November to line up with Halloween and creepy reads.
  • Stiff by Mary Roach. Another book club pick that we’ll read in the fall. Man, if it weren’t for book clubs, I’d have such a short reading list! It keeps me distracted from my TBR and it also ends up adding to it when I find new authors that I like.

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, 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 2016

2 Jun

My book giants have fallen this month! I got through two long titles I’ve been chipping away at for months and I’m finally going to start tearing through some summer books (I hope). You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in May:

A Clash of Kings // George R.R. Martin
The Virgin Blue // Tracy Chevalier
The Art of Asking // Amanda Palmer
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe // J.K. Rowling (review coming next week)

Only one behind on reviews is pretty good for me! I’ll have it up next Monday so look out for that. Though, if you’ve been here more than a week, you know how much I love Potter.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. Half of The Virgin Blue was set in the 1500s so I counted it and crossed that one off of my list. I think I’ll have some 1800s books come up soon, but I’m getting concerned about the 1600s book. I might have to take a look at my list for some options, that can be a hard time period. I’m sure I’ll find something for ‘the future.’ I’ve never struggled with that era before so no sweat there.

Goodreads Challenge

20/45
I’m still two ahead of pace. With the big two giants down, I’m feeling like this one will be no sweat at all. Yay!

Book of the Month

PrincipeNo question for me this month because Potter wins everything. It’s got to be Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling. I’d forgotten a lot of the details of the book, such as why Snape calls himself the Half-Blood Prince and how Harry and Ginny really dated for a few weeks. It was so fun to revisit.

Added to my TBR

OK, so I added three. I’m not taking the list down any faster with this, but two of them are for book club so they were coming one way or another.

  • Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. Watkins was part of the Midwest Literary Walk that I went to with my friend Amy and I bought her book and had it signed. I’m so proud of myself for keeping this to one book!
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. When I worked at a bookstore in college, we had hundreds of copies of this book for a Freshman class at the local college. I didn’t read it then and it will be fun to go through it with the book club now.
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Another book club pick, I’m excited to compare this one to the movie!

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re killing it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, 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!