Tag Archives: Goodreads

Challenge Update, May 2017

1 Jun

This month was a bit slower than April. I’m not surprised, though. Between my final for my Winter class and my intensive Summer class starting, I’ve been really busy. I’m actually proud of how much I have gotten through! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in May:

The Book of Speculation // Erika Swyler (4/5)
Terra Incognita // Ruth Downie (4/5)
Seriously… I’m Kidding // Ellen DeGeneres (4/5)
Landline // Rainbow Rowell (3/5)

It’s really obvious school reading has kept my print reading down. The first is an ebook and the last three here are audiobooks! I’m so glad for those to keep me involved in stories when life gets crazy.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
One more filled in! The Book of Speculation fit right in at the end of the 1700-1799 time period so I was able to slide it in there. I’ve got some challenging time periods left so we’ll see how this goes. I need a future book as well so it might be time for me to look into a bit of SciFi.

Goodreads Challenge

22/50
Still ahead but not as much as I’d like to be! I’m only about a book ahead of schedule now. I think I’ll get a few read this month with all the books I’m currently in the middle of but I bet I can fight this one well in July when school is out. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Book of the Month

I’m going to say The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler this month. As much as I dislike magical realism, this book won me over and I really enjoyed its story and especially the characters. It was a joy to read and I even got an inter-library-loan of it to finish the last twenty pages after my ehold ran out! I was so determined to finish it.

Added to my TBR

I’ve got the list to 109 but I added three this month! Not my best month lately.

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: Going well so far! I’m keeping an A in my Summer semester class and we’re half-way through it. Final results in July!
  • Knit blankets:  I started a new boy blanket which will get me to my ‘carrying capacity,’ the backlog I like to keep for times when my cousins get freakishly fertile. I’ll go back to other personal projects when I finish this one.
  • One race per month: I did a 5K on Cinco de Mayo. It’s the shortest race I have in my lineup for the year but a friend of mine was signed up and couldn’t make it in the end so I took her slot. Two friends did it with me and it was likely the most miserable 5K I’ve ever run. It was in the high 40s (Fahrenheit for those outside the US), raining, and 15 mph winds were coming off the Detroit River. We got a beer at the end, but our hands were too numb to hold them! Tris start in June so I’m getting ready for those now.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: I’ll get back to editing in July. I got feedback from two Beta readers I’ll work on incorporating into my next draft. I already have another friend willing to read that draft so I hope to keep working on it through the rest of the summer.

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, April 2017

2 May

April was a good recovery after a rough March. I’m proud of what I finished but I think I could have gotten a little more done. I’d like to think I’ll get more read in May but I’m taking an online class so probably not. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in April:

Loteria // Mario Alberto Zambrano (4/5)
Once in a Great City // David Maraniss (4/5)
Library of Souls // Ransom Riggs (2/5)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan // Lisa See (4/5)

My current physical read is slowing me down a lot. Three of these are audiobooks! I hope to power through it but we’ll see how that goes. I’m almost 200 pages in and finding it hard to be engrossed.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

8/12
I filled in two more! This is looking great. I do tend to struggle with the centuries I have left so I might have to focus over the summer to get some targeted books in. I’m feel good about this one, though. I think ‘The Future’ should be an easy one to fill in.

Goodreads Challenge

18/50
I’m somehow still ahead of schedule here. Phew! I’ll try to keep this pace up through the summer. With how long my coach has me running, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. This weekend I got 2.5 hours in with workouts alone!

Cover image via Goodreads

Book of the Month

It’s close, but I’m giving this to Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. The book will stay with me for a while. The female friendship in the story was amazing and I wish I had something like that with someone. The foot binding was really emotional, too. Overall, it was really well written and I look forward to reading more by See.

Added to my TBR

Just one more this month. I’m doing good at not adding a lot and knocking some out along the way!

  • Powering Up by Anne Doyle. I heard Anne speak at a women’s conference and she gave out copies of her book. Don’t mind if I do!

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: Achieved! Well, at least for the Winter semester. I’m starting a summer class next week so I’ll be back at it again and will let you know in July how it went.
  • Knit blankets:  I’ve got to make a boy blanket soon. I’m catching up on a year-long project before I dive into that but I have the yarn to start knitting soon. I’ve just got to pick out a new pattern.
  • One race per month: I finished my first 8K in April. I don’t see a lot of races at this distance, most go with a standard 5 miles (8K is 4.97 miles). The course was about 5.2 miles per my phone GPS so I’m thinking of my pace in a much more favorable light than the records show!
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: That’s the plan for this week! Hubby is on a work trip and I’m here editing. I got great feedback from one beta and some partial notes from others that I’ll start working on. I’ll get back to it in June when my summer class is over.

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, March 2017

3 Apr

This was a rough month for reading. I went through a bit of a dry spell and had a few long books I was hoping to make progress that that will likely show up next month. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in March:

The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way // Bill Bryson (4/5)
Night Soldiers // Alan Furst (3/5)

Yikes! I honestly didn’t think it was that bad! Night Soldiers really slowed me down and I’ve been going for some longer audiobooks lately that are making all of my progress a bit sluggish. Oh boy.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

6/12
Despite so few books, I did fulfill another time period. Night Soldiers filled the 1940-1959 period very well. I’m half way there now and only three months into the year. This feels good but I see a lot of earlier time periods I need to fill, which can be tricky.

Goodreads Challenge

14/50
Thankfully, I had enough read in the past few months that I’m still ahead of schedule here. I hope this doesn’t turn into a push at the end to keep up! I have one finished for April already so I’m feeling optimistic but this could still go poorly. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Book of the Month

I’m going to give it to The Mother Tongue. The book was really interesting and audio was a great way to experience it. If anything can make early morning running less terrible, a good audiobook can and this filled that need.

Added to my TBR

I did add one, but my overall TBR is down one to 112! I can’t remember it ever being this low and I’m ecstatic!

  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I heard there’s a new movie of it coming out this year and after enjoying another Poirot, I want to dig into the most famous one!

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: It will be close! I’m struggling a little with this class and I think my participation and quiz grades are keeping me afloat. He’s supposed to post grade updates soon so I will see!
  • Knit blankets:  I’m caught up for the moment. My cousin’s wife hasn’t told us yet if she’s finding out the gender and if so, what it is. I’ll have to finish another blanket up once I send one to them which could be any time!
  • One race per month: I ran the 10K race in the Ann Arbor Marathon races and got a personal best time! 58:36! My husband and a friend ran it as well and we all got PBs. This is a good start for the season.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: No update here. I’m still hoping to get to the changes one of my Beta’s got back to me but I haven’t had the time with school going on. I hope to this summer, though!

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, February 2017

2 Mar

I’m surprised at the number of books I finished this month. I’ve been really stressed between school and work and working out. Somehow, I’ve been able to manage it all. Well, most of it at least. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in February:

Misterio de la guia de ferrocarriles // Agatha Christie (4/5)
Away // Amy Bloom (3/5)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? // Mindy Kaling (3/5)
The First Phone Call from Heaven // Mitch Albom (4/5)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay // J.K. Rowling
You’re Not Doing It Right // Michael Ian Black (4/5)

I’m surprised how many of these are physical books I was able to take off my shelf! It’s getting shorter during this book club hiatus but I really miss talking to people about books!

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. No change this time. All of my books were either modern or in the 1920-1930s which should be no surprise to those of you who know my 1920s love! I have no idea if I’ll knock any of these out next month but I’ll try my best to make some progress on this.

Goodreads Challenge

12/50
Still ahead of schedule! I know that man of my books this month were on the shorter side so I’m aware that my speed might not be what it needs to be, but boy does it feel good to have that number! 12 already! I’m 5 ahead of schedule.

fantastic-beastsBook of the Month

If you’re surprised that I’m choosing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling, you need to come visit me here more often! I love Rowling and the HP universe and I thought this screenplay was really fun to read and let me enjoy my favorite universe in my favorite time period. What’s not to love?

Added to my TBR

I know you won’t believe me, but I didn’t add any books this month! I scarcely believe it myself, but it’s true! I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll add a ton next month… I’m down to 113 and feeling good!

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: This is rough. The class I’m in has no prerequisites, but a lot of the people in it have a bachelors’ in the subject so I feel really behind and I’ve been working really hard to keep up. I’ve only gotten one grade back and so far, so good, but we’ll see!
  • Knit blankets:  I’m just finishing one up now that will poise me to be ready for a while. My cousin’s wife hasn’t found out the gender of her baby yet so once she does, I’ll send one off and have to get started on another one.
  • One race per month: My husband and I ran a 15K trail race in February. Burr! Very cold but very satisfying when we finished it.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: As I said before, I sent it to four readers and one of them has gotten back to me. We had dinner and she and I talked over some possibilities for changes I could make. I probably won’t get to them until this summer, but I’m having fun dreaming up ways to incorporate the changes!

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, 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!