Tag Archives: Goodreads

Challenge Update, May 2018

4 Jun

School is in full swing and life has slowed down. Reading has slowed down even more. However, it doesn’t show much in the list below which I’m really happy with considering my workload in school. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in May:

An Abundance of Katherines // John Green (3/5)
What I Know Now // Ellyn Spragins (3/5)
Mister Monkey // Francine Prose (3/5)
The World’s Strongest Librarian // Josh Hanagarne (4/5)
Another Brooklyn // Jacqueline Woodson (4/5)
The Sellout // Paul Beatty (2/5)

I guess I followed my own advice and started reading shorter books! I’m also only two reviews behind and I plan on catching up on those this week. I’m really pleased with this!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

7/12
Nothing new this month. I’m doing OK on this one but I’ll have to start purposefully picking some books to get me into the time periods I’m missing. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem if I start now and am proactive about it.

Goodreads Challenge

23/55
Ahead of schedule! That’s not something I expected of myself when I went into this month. I’m pleased as punch to have gotten so much reading done. I think driving to school has helped me get ahead on audiobooks but honestly, only three of these are audiobooks.

Book of the Month

It’s pretty easy for me this month to pick The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne. I adored this memoir and how open Josh was about his life and his struggles to remain in control of his life. The audiobook was great as well and a joy to listen to.

Added to my TBR

I’m failing at this again. I thought I could keep it down but after a book fair and a book sale, I added to this list on two separate occasions. However, I’m still going down and I’m at 96 currently.

  • Books for Living by Will Schwalbe. Schwalbe was the only writer I was familiar with at this year’s Midwest Literary Walk and I decided to buy his latest book. I had read his first book, The End of Your Life Book Club for my own book club a few years ago and enjoyed it.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Schwalbe recommended this as part of his speech at the book fair and my sister-in-law positively reviewed it so I decided it was time to add it here.
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio. This is another Schwalbe recommendation and one I feel has been too pervasive to ignore any longer.
  • Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance. A man in my book club was recommending this one so it might show up on our list in the near future. If not, I’ll probably read it anyway because I always seem to enjoy some solid non-fiction.
  • The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory. This one should be finished before the end of the year as it would be a good fit for my When Are You Reading? Challenge. Gregory is always a good one for that.

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- I was able to keep an A in my winter class despite a poor final paper so I’ll take it! I’m over half-way through my current class and I’m hoping I can keep it up!
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- I booked the puffin and whale tour and a bike tour in Amsterdam. I’ve still got to reserve the Anne Frank House tour, Park Guell, and La Sagrada Familia. Everything else is good to go!
  • Complete a race per month- I did a 5K early this month. I was running with a friend to support her so no PR for me but she got one! It was a terribly rainy day so I’m sure she’ll do even better in nice weather later this summer.
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- I’ve made some good progress but I’m still a month behind. I finished a baby blanket so this is now my main knitting project and I’m sure I’ll 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!

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Challenge Update, April 2018

1 May

This month did not start well. I had very few books finished until just this last week. It was a bit as a result of reading long books, but I could feel that part of it was due to school and job stress as well. However, I pulled it out at the end and I can now say I’m pretty happy with what I was able to get through in this busy month. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in April:

The Spectacular Now // Tim Tharp
Harry Potter y las Reliquias del Muerte // J.K. Rowling
The Nightingale // Kristin Hannah
Drop Dead Healthy // A.J. Jacobs
The Buried Giant // Kazuo Ishiguro

I can deal with this. I need to start reading some shorter books, though! Like I said, many of these were finished in the past week or so and I’ll be catching up on reviews this week and next.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

7/12
One more down but now I have the hard time periods to go. I counted The Buried Giant as a Pre 1500s book because it takes place just after the reign of Arthur. Yes, it’s not exactly historical fiction, but it’s close enough! I’ll have to purposefully pick some books going forward to get those harder time periods.

Goodreads Challenge

17/55
Oh man, I’m right on pace! These chunkster books are really keeping me back, haha. I’ve got a few shorter titles already in mind for May so I’ll be hoping that I’ll get a little ahead this summer when my reading tends to pick up anyway.

Book of the Month

This is really hard this month. It seems like cheating to pick Harry Potter so I won’t. Among the others, I have to pick The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. I flew through that book once I got into it. I had trouble putting it down to go to work! The voice took a while getting used to but it grew on me fast and I loved enjoying a YA book after so long away from the genre.

Added to my TBR

OK, I finally broke the streak. After three months of not adding books, I added three this month. They’re both upcoming book club selections so I’ll be getting to them pretty soon. I’m still under 100, but just barely, at 98.

  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty. My other book club read this one a while back and I missed the meeting so I’m excited to get a second crack at this one and have a group to discuss it with.
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. I know nothing about this book (my favorite way to read a book!) so I’m excited to see why it got added to our list.
  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. Again, I know nothing about this one. I believe it’s our non-fiction for the year but, honestly, I don’t even know that much! It’s a title I’ve heard many times but have not had the motivation to pick it up. We’ll see how this goes!

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 class ends next week but so far it looks like I’ve got a 4.0! Woo!
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- About half of our fun things are booked. I still need to schedule a bike tour of Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House tour, Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, and puffin/whale watching in Iceland. OK, maybe that’s more than half.
  • Complete a race per month- This month was state meet for swimming. I did OK. It’s hard to compare myself to others in my age group because most of them swam in college and are still in shape for that while I am not. I did well in my heats which is what I keep thinking about.
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- I’m about a month behind right now, unfortunately. That’s something I can make up in three days if I want to, so I’m not too worried, I’m sure I’ll still make it!

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, March 2018

2 Apr

There was a long stretch of the month when I thought I’d have nothing to report in this monthly update. I was in the middle of six books and was worried I’d never finish any of them. Thankfully, the spell broke right at the end of the month and I had an avalanche of books finished and I’m delighted to share my progress here. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in March:

Pigs in Heaven//Barbara Kingsolver (5/5)
Son of a Witch//Gregory Maguire (1/5)
The Circle//Dave Eggars (4/5)
History of Wolves//Emily Fridlund (4/5)

One of these is coming this week and the other two will wait for next week. I’m not too far behind on reviews!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

6/12
I added only one this month with The Circle counting for my future-setting book. It never said definitively what year it was, but it was clearly a near future where we were all beyond Facebook. I’ll take it and happily sit with half of my books read at a quarter of the way through the year. Yay!

Goodreads Challenge

12/55
I’m one book behind now. I’m not that worried, I think I can catch up. I had two books partially finished that I’m jumping back into now that I’ve finished a few book club picks. I’m going to hope I catch up quickly in April.

Cover image via Goodreads

Book of the Month

It’s clear to me that I have to pick Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. This book blew me away and I kept wondering how Kingsolver was going to wrap it up. It was great to see Taylor, Alice, and Jax again and how their lives revolve around the adorable Turtle. I recommend it but suggest reading the first in the series first, The Bean Trees.

Added to my TBR

For the THIRD MONTH, I’ve added nothing! My TBR is standing steady at 97. I may have some book club picks to add to it soon so I’m not sure how much more it will drop, but I’m counting on some great progress in the coming months. Woo!

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 this class. I’m turning a big paper in now so we’ll see how that grade comes back. Fingers crossed!
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- I booked all the transportation, now it’s time to book the fun things! Tours and tickets are the goals for this next month! I’m looking forward to this more and more every day.
  • Complete a race per month- I did a 5K early in the month. A short distance to me but I was able to set a PR! I also ran into my high school English teacher which was a delight.
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- I found a way to knit while I watch my online lectures which is helping me keep up. I’m in early March right now but I’m not feeling much pressure to hurry up. This is one where it’s easy to fall behind and catch up in one weekend.

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, February 2018

1 Mar

I went through a long draught in February. For a long time, I wasn’t finishing anything and just starting more and more books! It wasn’t until the end of the month when things finally started coming together. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in February:

A Widow for One Year // John Irving (4/5)
My Brilliant Friend // Elena Ferrante (4/5)
X // Ilyasah Shabazz (4/5)

Yes, I know I owe you reviews for all of them. I’ll be working on it this weekend, I promise!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

5/12
Not too much more this month, but I was able to add one more. X by Ilyasah Shabazz took place in the 1930s and 1940s but a large chunk of it was set in the 1940s so I’m going to count it for that time period.

Goodreads Challenge

8/55
Well, I’m on track, but barely. I’m a bit nervous about keeping up with this when I think about how much school and travel is going to eat into my reading time in the coming months. I’ll have to pick some shorter books so I can stay on top of this!

Book of the Month

I’ll have to pick A Widow for One Year by John Irving for this month. I’ve given all my reads 4 out of 5 Stars but this would be my favorite if I had to pick. I adore Irving and I liked that no one died at the end! Is that a spoiler? Sorry if it is!

Added to my TBR

For the second month in a row, I’ve added nothing! This is absolutely crazy. What’s even crazier is that my TBR is down to 98 books. I’m under 100! I can’t remember the last time my list was that low. I’m feeling great about this.

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- I haven’t gotten any grades back in my class yet so this is still TBD. I think I’m doing alright but I’ll know more next month.
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- It’s all booked! We’re going in July and will be gone for two and a half weeks. I’m so excited. Amsterdam, Belfast, Barcelona, Brussels, and Reykjavik.
  • Complete a race per month- I had my first swim meet in ten years in February. I’m really enjoying Masters Swimming and I think I’ll keep it up for a long time. It’s not hard on my knees or back, either! I swam three events and placed first in two and second in one. While that might seem good, there was only me in one event where I got first, two of us in another, and there were three people in the one where I placed second. So I did have to beat some people, but not many!
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- I finished January’s rows, but I’ve put it aside to work on a few baby blankets which have proved quite frustrating. I’ll see when I get back to it but I’m not worried yet.

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, January 2018

1 Feb

Well, January is starting off stronger than I expected. That’s good because the rest of my year is looking very busy! I’m going to remain hopeful that I can finish the goals I set for myself but I might be playing catch up in December. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in January:

The Marriage Plot // Jeffrey Eugenides (4/5)
Please Look After Mom // Kyung-Sook Shin (3/5)
How to Win Friends and Influence People // Dale Carnegie (3/5)
The Elements of Style // William Strunk Jr. (4/5)
The Color Purple // Alice Walker (4/5)

I’ll have my review of Purple up early next week and then I’ll be completely caught up! I like this feeling.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

4/12
This is a strong start for me! I’m very pleased with it. All of my books except The Elements of Style were put in a time period. I could have stretched it a bit and included that one, but it didn’t feel as if it belonged in a specific time period as much as the others did. It’s great to have a few of these checked off already!

Goodreads Challenge

5/55
Starting off one book ahead of schedule! I’m feeling good but I know I’m going to have to keep pushing myself to maintain this pace and finish 55 books this year. It’s a stretch goal for myself and I’m a bit nervous about accomplishing it.

Book of the Month

I’m going to have to pick The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides this month. The book started slow but ended up being really fun for me to read. I’m excited to get to another Eugenides novel, possibly this year!

Added to my TBR

Are you ready for some crazy news? Not only am I down to 101 (I can hardly believe it) but I didn’t add any books to my shelf this month! I know, I’m probably living under a rock to be able to accomplish that, but I’m super excited. Getting below 100 seems so much more viable now.

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- We’ll see. I start my first class on Monday and I’m a bit intimidated by it so far. Has anyone ever heard of an online class where you have to take the quizzes during a set 90 minutes on Thursday nights? This seems unreasonable to me in an online class!
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- We’re getting there! I have a place to stay in Amsterdam and I’m hoping to meet up with a friend in Scandinavia so travel plans are still in the works here.
  • Complete a race per month- I did the Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon again, the second year in a row. I didn’t swim as far this year but I did place well! I was third in my age category (women 39 and under) and fifth amongst all women. I’ve got to get myself running faster to get a better place next year, haha.
  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- I’ve started and got through the first two weeks of January. I’ve set it aside to work on a baby blanket but I plan to get back to it and catch up again as soon as that’s over.

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!

2017 in Books

11 Jan

Goodreads has a feature that summarizes your reading for the year. For those of you who’ve seen it, consider yourselves lucky! I saw mine once and just spent ten minutes trying to find it again. It’s very well buried and hidden. I dug it out and (along with some other Goodreads stats), I wanted to share some of that information with my wonderful readers.

I read 54 books in 2017. My goal was 50 so #epicwin.

I read 17,992 pages. Now I wish I’d read an 8 page children’s book just to make that an even 18,000! This is about 700 pages more than 2016 and two books more.

The shortest book I read was The Importance of Being Earnest and the longest was World Without End. Funny enough, both were audiobooks and both were 5 Star reads.

The most popular book I read was Tuesdays with Morrie. Have you read this one? The odds are in my favor!

My average rating was a 3.6. This seems about right for me. I don’t give books a 5 very often (see below) and I give a book a 3 unless it really upset me. It seems I trend high and I’m ok with that.

I started wondering how my ratings tend to skew. In 2017, I rated books as follows:

5 Stars: 8
4 Stars: 23
3 Stars: 17
2 Stars: 6
1 Star: 0

I’m really excited about a year with no 1 Star reads! Woohoo! I’m not surprised that about 43% of my books get a 4 Star rating. I enjoyed a lot of what I read this year and 4 stars is a solid rating from me.

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!

Challenge Update, December 2017

4 Jan

I’m going to call this a strong finish. With how hectic December was, I’m proud I finished four books. I ended my class, got through the holidays unscathed, and hosted a party at my house that lasted all day. With all that, four books seem like a big accomplishment. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in December:

This Beautiful Life // Helen Schulman (4/5)
Singing My Him Song // Malachy McCourt (3/5)
Persona Non Grata // Ruth Downie (4/5)
The Professor and the Madman // Simon Winchester (3/5)

All reviews written! I like heading into 2018 without a backlog. Though it will probably begin piling up quite soon.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
DONE! I’m doing this again in 2018 so please consider joining me and taking part. It’s a fun time.

Goodreads Challenge

54/50
DONE! I surprised myself this year and I’m going to push myself to read 55 in 2018. Fingers crossed.

Book of the Month

It’s going to be This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman. This book blew me away and I added it to my Top 10 Books of 2017 list. It’s short and powerful and I really recommend it to anyone looking for a strong read.

Added to my TBR

I’m up to 107! I was so optimistic after being at 106 last month I guess getting below 100 is going to be harder than I thought. I added a lot of sequels this month and I’m really excited for all of them.

  • Sarah’s Quilt by Nancy E. Turner. This has unofficially been on my list for a long time. I read the first book in the series a few years ago and really liked it. I can’t wait to read the next installment.
  • Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie. I’m clearly in love with this series and I will move on and find out what happens to Ruso and Tilla!
  • A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. I’m feeing a GoT draught while the show is in the intermission and I figure I’ll get back to the books and start where I left off.
  • Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard. This is a book my husband got me for Christmas. He knows I’ve really enjoyed running books lately and the cute dog on the cover won me over immediately.
  • The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redonado. My future sister-in-law has started a wonderful tradition of buying me a book every year. She picked this one up because it takes place in Spain and she didn’t even know my thesis was on the Basques! A+ to her.

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: DONE! I got my grade back and managed to make an A so I’m still sitting at 4.0 going into my last year.
  • Knit blankets:  I’m down two from the stockpile I like to keep but I’m working on it! I’m half done with a pink, purple, and white blanket. It’s a new pattern I’m kind of enjoying. I gave a gender-neutral blanket to my cousin so I’ll knit another to backfill that one.
  • One race per month: My December race was a nice, easy 5K. I ran with a friend who’s working through knee problems and went her pace. It was freezing cold but a lot of fun!
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: Sigh. This is one part of my life I wish I’d done more with in 2017. I got the novel out, but I haven’t been able to do a lot of editing this year. I’m not sure I’ll be able to concentrate on this in 2018 because of school but I’ll try!

How were your challenges? I hope you made it. 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, November 2017

4 Dec

This has been a surprisingly good month for reading! With school wrapping up and Thanksgiving stuck at the end, I wasn’t anticipating finishing so many books. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in November:

The Bluest Eye // Toni Morrison (3/5)
My Jesus Year // Benyamin Cohen (4/5)
Our Souls at Night // Ken Haruf (3/5)
The Book of Fate // Brad Meltzer (3/5)

I still owe you reviews for those last two but I’m expecting those to come later this week. I’m excited that I finished four books, I thought I was going to be slowing down toward the end of the year but I’m picking up steam!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
DONE! Look for more information soon on the 2018 Challenge.

Goodreads Challenge

50/50
DONE! Done done done! I finished this on Thanksgiving when I wrapped up The Book of Fate during a pre-dinner run. It was a great way to enjoy the holiday in a book-ish way.

Book of the Month

I have to say Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. I’m thinking of changing my initial rating, the first time I’ve ever thought of doing that! I went to the book club meeting last week and I was speaking so highly of the book I began questioning why I rated it Three instead of Four stars. This was a great quick read and I really recommend it.

Added to my TBR

I’m now at 106, no progress toward 100. Four came off but I added another five to the list. Yikes!

  • Origin by Dan Brown. I’m already four books into the Robert Langdon series, I might as well keep going!
  • It’s All Relative by A.J. Jacobs. Jacobs is one of my favorite non-fiction writers and I knew he was working on this project a few years ago. I’m excited the book is finally out!
  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. This is a book club selection for January that I’ll try to start soon.
  • The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. Another book club pick and I think this will be my next book.
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I saw that a movie of this one is coming out soon and I’ve seen so many positive reviews that I want to read it before I see the film.

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: My midterm came back with a good score so yay! Most of my remaining assignments are due Thursday this week so I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I’ll know more soon.
  • Knit blankets:  I sent a purple blanket off to my friends who are expecting a little girl early next year. I started a new project to keep the stockpile in check because another friend announced her pregnancy! I’ll be sending another off soon enough so I best keep knitting.
  • One race per month: I did one race in November, a 10K. My goal was to finish in under one hour and I clocked in at 59:35 so that’s a win!
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: I haven’t sent it out any more but I think December is going to finally give me some time to edit! That’s way more exciting to me. Get ready for some writing-related posts next month.

How were your challenges? I hope you made it. 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, October 2017

2 Nov

It’s finally feeling like fall! October started out unseasonably warm here in Michigan but I’m finally feeling compelled to stay in bed and read. School is under control now and I’m trying to spend more time reading and listening to books. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in October:

Gold Fame Citrus // Claire Vaye Watkins (4/5)
The Other Queen // Philippa Gregory (3/5)
Year of Wonder // Geraldine Brooks (3/5)
Tuesdays With Morrie // Mitch Albom (5/5)
Rules of Civility // Amor Towles (5/5)

Wow! What a good month for me considering school is in session. I wish I could do this every October. I really targeted some of my books to knock down a few of my challenges. I did pretty great, I’ll let you know! See below.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
DONE! Plan executed to perfection. I added Gold Fame Citrus to my ‘the Future’ time period. It’s set in a future Southwestern US where the drought escalated. The Other Queen filled in the 1500s, sharing the story of Mary Queen of Scots while imprisoned in England. Finally, Year of Wonder filled in the 1600s, the plague years, and finished off my challenge. I love doing this every year and will for sure be hosting this in 2018.

Goodreads Challenge

46/50
Five books ahead! This is awesome. I should finish this challenge next month at this pace without a problem.

Book of the Month

I’m going to give this one to Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. The characters really won me over and as much as I didn’t like the ending, it was because I wanted it to end happier, not because it was a bad ending. It did, of course, help that I’ve met Watkins and found her a joy to listen to.

Added to my TBR

I’m down again to 105. We’ll have to see how fast I read the rest of the year and if I can bring it beneath 100 before January 1.

  • Artemis by Andy Weir. I think anyone who read or saw The Martian will add this to their lists. Weir had a great hit with his first book and I want to see if he can do it again.
  • Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. This is my next book club pick so I’ll be picking it up and reading it very soon. Excited for my first Haruf book!

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: So far, so good. I’ll be getting my midterm grade back today so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Knit blankets:  Stockpile is good, but I’m still waiting to see if one friend is going to announce the gender of her little one. I have a gender neutral blanket ready if she chooses not to!
  • One race per month: Two races in October, including my first half marathon! It wasn’t fun, but I think I’d give it another go. Whoever said the half was addictive has different brain chemistry than me. I also ran a Halloween 10K with my husband last weekend. Check out the pictures on my Instagram!
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: I sent it out to one more friend who read an earlier version of the book. She was actually my first beta reader and she was excited to see how the story changed. I hope she likes it!

How were your challenges? I hope you made it. 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 2017

2 Oct

School started, football season started, and I haven’t seen my husband in a few days now. Life is certainly picking up! It’s making reading time even more valuable but I’m always excited to escape into books whenever I can. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in September:

Love in the Elephant Tent // Kathleen Cremonesi (4/5)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao // Junot Diaz (4/5)
The Detroit Electric Scheme // D.E. Johnson (2/5)
Still Life // Louise Penny (4/5)
Armada // Ernest Cline (3/5)

This month went better than expected! With all of the craziness of life picking up, I wasn’t expecting to see so many books on this list but it feels good to know I can still get through so many! I have a few books I’m nearing the end of soon that will add to this for another long list next month!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
Well, no surprise that there’s no movement here. I have prioritized finishing this challenge so two of the books I’m currently reading will count here. Next month, this should read 11 and I’ll only have one more to finish. At least there’s a plan.

Goodreads Challenge

41/50
Still three books ahead and feeling good about this! Nine more books by Christmas should be a piece of cake. One less thing to worry about, haha.

Book of the Month

Cover image via Goodreads

I was blown away by Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao this month. I didn’t know anything about this book when I bought it at a used book sale but I’m really glad I did. Even though I ended up listening to the audio, I still loved the book and it’s one I’d recommend.

Added to my TBR

I’m down just a bit to 109. If I can break 100 before the new year, I’ll be ecstatic. But don’t bet on it!

  • Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks. This will be my final When Are You Reading? Challenge book for the year! It will be very exciting when I get to it.
  • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. This is my next book club read so I’ll be starting it relatively soon. So many people have said it’s amazing so I’m really looking forward to it!

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: Only two papers back so far but looking good!
  • Knit blankets:  I had a friend announce that she was pregnant but it’s still too early to know the gender. This is my first friend to have her second since I started knitting blankets so I guess I’m setting the precedent that I’ll send one for each kid.
  • One race per month: My last triathlon of the season! It was also my second Olympic distance and my second time running this particular race. The water was calm, unlike the 1.5-foot waves from last year and it felt great! It was a bit cold, though, and I wished I had sleeves during the bike. There was only one other woman in my age group but I won! It felt nice to stand on top of the podium.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: No one has sent me feedback from this last round. Even if they did, this is not the time of year I’d be able to get back to them. I think this challenge may fall flat until I finish school.

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!