Tag Archives: Reading Challenge

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!

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Challenge Update, August 2017

5 Sep

This month was a rush! School started, I took a trip to New Orleans, and my reading slowed down. Yes, it’s sad to say but it did. And, unfortunately, it probably won’t pick up again until December. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in August:

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You // Courtney Maum (3/5)
Empire Falls // Richard Russo (4/5)
Chemistry // Weike Want (5/5)

Yikes, a slow month. I gave up on an audiobook part-way through which slowed me down a lot. I’m proud I got through two physical books, though. I’m not usually so good at that. We’ll see if I can keep it up for a while.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
Oh, wow. Still nothing new. It’s about that time for me to start picking reads that will fill my remaining categories. That might mean it’s time to read some dystopian YA and Tudor era books. I’ve got some time coming up so I’ll try to squeeze them in soon.

Goodreads Challenge

36/50
I’m still three books ahead. I think I can make it now. I know my reading will slow down but I’m in a great position to be sitting pretty with this one come December. I’ve just got to keep listening to audio while I run and I’ll be all set.

Book of the Month

Easily, this goes to Chemistry by Weike Wang. This was a super fun, quick read and my only complaint is that it wasn’t longer. It was what I needed while on a plane to be sure.

Added to my TBR

I’m still at 111! It might not be shrinking, but at least it’s not growing. Vacations always add to my TBR so I’m glad to stay neutral.

  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I’ve been told a lot that I need to read this book. I enjoyed Patchett’s Commonwealth so I figured it was finally time to put it on the list. We’ll see how long it takes me to get to it, though!
  • Soldier’s Pay by William Faulkner. This was my purchase at the Faulkner House Book Store in New Orleans. It was written on the property so it seemed an obvious choice.
  • Cuando era puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago. I found this in another New Orleans book store and decided it would be another Spanish read when I’m ready for a new one.
  • Still Life by Louise Penny. This is my next book club selection. I’ll get to it very soon.

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: Class just started and there are no grades in so far. I guess I’m good to go on this one!
  • Knit blankets:  No new friends having babies so no new blankets for me. I’m working on other knitting projects while I wait for news to come along.
  • One race per month: Only one triathlon, thank God! It was great after having such a crazy July. I did OK despite feeling sick. It was my second-best time on that course and only off by 9 seconds! I got 5th in the 3-race series which felt great.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: I’ve sent it to a few more friends, none of which have sent me any feedback yet. I really wanted to work on this over the summer and made embarrassingly little progress. I’m not sure when I’ll really work on it again, sadly.

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, July 2017

1 Aug

Being out of school finally helped me catch up on reading and it was awesome! The end of June was slow reading for me but I found the time to get through my book club selection and I’ve been flying since then. I thought my vacation was going to slow me down a bit but I read every day and a ton on the long plane rides. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in July:

Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths // Bruce Feiler (2/5)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values // Robert Pirsig (3/5)
The Importance of Being Earnest // Oscar Wilde (5/5)
Career of Evil // Robert Galbraith (5/5)
A Son of the Circus // John Irving (2/5)
Commonwealth // Ann Patchett (4/5)

This was a big audiobook month for me. I got through two very long books, though, and I’m really happy about that. I can finally see my bedside table because it’s not crowded with books at the moment. We’ll see how long that lasts, though. Probably not even a week.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
Nothing new for the second month in a row! I’m starting to realize I need to be selective with my reads if I’m going to make this. ‘The Future’ shouldn’t be a hard category to fill given the amount of YA dystopia that’s available on audio. It’s going to be the 1500s and 1600s I’ll struggle to fill. Any suggestions?

Goodreads Challenge

33/50
Five books ahead! This summer has made me feel really good about finishing this challenge. It felt like I was just going to scrape by while I was in school but I’ve made some great steps forward and I’m confident now. Yay!

Book of the Month

Cover image via Goodreads

I’m going to have to give this to The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. I laughed while running at this one which was somewhat painful and a little awkward because the person on the treadmill next to me thought I was a bit crazy. Then again, most people on treadmills are a bit crazy so this is accurate.

Added to my TBR

I’ve gone up two books to 111. I knew my vacation would do this to me because I love buying books while I’m on vacation. I’m surprised it only went up that much!

  • Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. Simply, I love Larson and I wanted to put another of his books on my list because I always want to be reading his books.
  • How the Mistakes Were Made by Tyler Mcmahon. A woman from my writers’ group used this one as an example to talk about second person point of view and it piqued my interest.
  • The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita Brottman. I saw this one at Powell’s and wanted to buy it but it would have taken me over the budget my husband set for me so I bowed out and put it on my TBR instead.
  • Chemistry by Weike Wang. This was my buy at Elliot Bay Book Company, which I’ll post about later this week. I have a crazy story about this book that I’ll be sharing there so please check that out on Thursday.
  • Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. This was my spontaneous buy at Powell’s! I’ll post more about this next week but I’m really excited to read it. It sounds like a cross between The Martian and Station Eleven, both of which I loved.
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. This was another Powell’s buy. I only have one more book on my shelves in Spanish that I haven’t read yet and Powell’s had an entire shelf of YA lit in Spanish. YA is a good genre for me to read in Spanish because it challenges me, but not too much. I wouldn’t feel comfortable reading Marquez in Spanish! I’m looking forward to reading this translation though it might be a year before 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: No class now so this one is still going well.
  • Knit blankets:  I finished the blanket I was close to finishing last month so I’m all caught up! No pregnancies I know about where I’m waiting on a gender so now I’m looking pretty.
  • One race per month: This was a crazy month for races! I did my first 5K open water swim early in the month. It was easily the most difficult thing I’ve ever done! I cramped three times but I didn’t get pulled out of the water and finished DFL (Dead ****ing Last) but in under two hours! My husband and I did a charity ride for MS Research which was a two-day event where we put in 80 miles each. Finally, the day before I left for vacation, I did a sprint tri. My run time wasn’t good but my swim and bike were some of my best so I consider it a 50% success despite my poor overall time.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t made any progress. I kept myself busy so I’ll try to make time before my class starts at the end of August to do some work here.

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, June 2017

3 Jul

Summer is finally here! I’m done with classes and as you read this (if you read the day I post), I’m on vacation at the cottage and enjoying the warm weather. I’m hoping to make this next month one for books because this month was a bit slow. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in June:

Murder on the Orient Express // Agatha Christie (4/5)
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim // David Sedaris (4/5)
Tigerman // Nick Harkaway (2/5)
People Analytics in the Era of Big Data // Jean Paul Isson (4/5) [school read]
Sarah’s Key // Tatiana de Rosney (4/5)

Thank God for audiobooks! I’m struggling to get through print now and I know school didn’t help. I’m pushing to get more print read in July.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
No new adds this month. It’s going to be a challenge to fit in some of those historical periods so I might have to pick an audiobook that will help me fill them in. I usually get The Future pretty easily but my reading hasn’t gone that way in a while so that may need to be a conscious pick, too.

Goodreads Challenge

27/50
I’m three ahead and feeling good about it. I have a lot of books I’m about to finish that will push this further ahead and I think I’ll be well positioned to finish the year with this one well-done.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Book of the Month

This month it’s going to have to be Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. This story was engaging and the ending was unexpected and amazing at the same time. I’m really glad my husband and I decided to audiobook this during a car trip, it was a great read.

Added to my TBR

I’m still at 109, the same as last month. I wish I was knocking it down faster, but there are a number of books that are piquing my interest.

  • A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman. I adored Malerman’s last book and I hope this one is equally creepy and amazing!
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty. This is a book club selection for August so I’ll be picking it up in July to have it finished in time.
  • How to Speak Midwestern by Edward McClelland. I heard McClelland speak and obviously had to buy the book. Because I’m compulsive that way.
  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. This is my next book club book and I’ll be picking it up very soon to start reading. Maybe before this post goes up!

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: Still going well! I got my grade pack in my summer class and it was an A so I’ll have this until December at least!
  • Knit blankets:  I’m very close to finishing the boy blanket I started last month. No new pregnancy announcements so I haven’t had to send any off. Finishing this one will put me at my ‘stash’ amount and I’ll focus on other projects until I have to make another.
  • One race per month: My busy summer of racing has begun! I had two triathlons this month within 5 days of each other. First was a week-night sprint tri and I placed 5th of 8. This is a really competitive field so I’m proud of that one. It was my second fastest time on the course and I could tell the run was rough. The second was an Olympic distance, only my second one ever and the course was much flatter and my time better than previously. I dropped over 20 minutes! Again, I was 5th but out of 10 this time and the run felt great.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: July will be my time to work on this. I’ve heard back from two and I plan to focus on revisions while I’m home in July. Classes start again in August so I have until then.

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, 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!

My 2017 Reading Challenges

9 Jan

2017 is going to be a big year for me! In addition to reading, I have a few other goals I’m going to reach for. These including getting through 3 more semesters of grad school and keeping my 4.0 GPA, continuing to knit blankets for my relatives and friends as they welcome babies into the world, running/racing in one event each month (triathlons, running, and open water swimming (new to me)), and getting my novel out to some generous friends who agreed to beta read for me. Whew! I think I can squeeze in a few reading challenges, don’t you?

Challenge #1: When Are You Reading?

Maybe this is unfair because I host this challenge so, of course, I’m going to participate! The challenge is to read books that fit into each of 12 time periods. The book can be written during or take place in the time periods. It’s my fourth year doing this challenge and I’m pumped. Let me know if you want to join in!

Challenge #2: Goodreads Challenge of 50 Books

I lowered my goal last year to 45 books. I wasn’t sure if my shorter commute would hinder my reading (only a bit) and I wanted to tackle some long books (I did). This year, I’m going back up to 50. I managed 52 in 2016 and I think I can do it again for 2017. Besides, with my running goals, I’ll be listening to a lot of audiobooks this coming year.

How about you? What are your reading goals for 2017? Are you doing any challenges?

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!