Wrap-ups

2017 Challenge Wrap-up

I started 2017 knowing that I wouldn’t have a record breaking reading year, but wanted to participate in some challenges anyway. Although I didn’t make regular updates with the hots blogs, I’d like to share my progress.

2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge: 28/45


Objective: To read Audiobooks.
Books Read:3/5


Objective: To read books with a release date prior to 2017
Books Read: 21


Objective: To read as many eBooks as possible.
Books Read: 16/10


Objective: To read books from my own shelves.
Books Read: 11/12

 

Recommendations · Wrap-ups

2017 Recap: In the Stars

Check out the books I read, reviewed and rated in 2017.

January

Books Completed: 2

5 Stars

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

3.5 Stars
Skeletons in the Attic (Marketville Mystery. #1) by Judy Penz Sheluk 

February

Books Completed: 3

4 Stars

 Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware

3 Stars
The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) by Rick Riordan 

March

Books Completed: 2

4 Stars

The Empress Holds the Key (Jack Rogan Mysteries, #1) by Gabriel Farago

3 Stars
A Vote for Murder (Murder, She Wrote, #22) by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain, 

April

Books Completed: 1

3.5 Stars

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

May

Books Completed: 2

3.5 Stars

No Safe Harbor (Edge of Freedom, #1) by Elizabeth Ludwig

1.5 Stars
The Littlest Cowboy (The Texas Brands #1) by Maggie Shayne

June

Books Completed: 2

3.5 Stars

If You’re Gone by Brittany Goodwin

3 Stars
The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott 

July

Books Completed: 3

5 Stars

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas 

4 Stars
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
The Day the  Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

August

Books Completed: 4

4 Stars

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by JK Rowling
The Hangman (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6.5) by Louise Penny

3 Stars
The Islands of Doctor Thomas by Franchoise Enguehard
The Luxe (Luxe, #1) by Anna Godbersen 

September

Books Completed: 1

3 Stars

The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson

 

October

Books Completed: 3

4 Stars

The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo

 

2.5 Stars
Start Without Me by Joshua Max Feldman

Not Rated
Newfie, Come Home! by David Belisle

November

Books Completed: 3

4 Stars

Down, Then Up: A Novella by Beth Labonte

 

3.5 Stars
The Measure of Katie Calloway (Michigan Northwoods,#1) by Serena B. Miller
The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas 

December

Books Completed: 2

4 Stars

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah

 

3 Stars
Plum Lovin’ (Stephanie Plum #12.5) by Janet Evanovich 

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Plum Lovin’ (Stephanie Plum, #12.5) by Janet Evanovich

Plum Lovin’ (Stephanie Plum, #12.5)
By: Janet Evanovich

Published: January 2007
Published By: St. Martin’s Press
Format Read: Kindle for PC, eBook

Rating: 3 Stars
♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

Plum Lovin’ is a holiday novella that falls between the full length novels Twelve Sharp and Lean Mean Thirteen. Set just before Valentines Day, business is slow in the bonds industry and there is only one large bail skip on Stephanie Plum’s list. In order to capture the skip, she must first help her friend Diesel and play cupid along the way.

My Thoughts 

The in between novellas in the Stephanie Plum series, aren’t exactly crucial reading, although it would have helped me to better understand Diesel’s character if I had read Visions of Sugar Plums (Stephanie Plum #8.5) first. I knew that he was a character from another series by Janet Evanovich, but I have yet to read any of those books.

It had been a while since I have read this series, so it was nice to revisit my favourite characters once again. Although a short story, it had the same humor I’ve come to enjoy. However I didn’t feel like the Diesel’s hint of paranormal powers fit into the Stephanie Plum world.

Still I would recommend Plum Lovin’ to fans of Janet Evanovich and the Stephanie Plum books.

Wrap-ups

2017 End of the Year Book Survey

The End of the Year Book Survey was created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner.

2017 Reading Stats

Number of Books Read: 28
Number of Re-Reads: 3
Genre I Read the Most From: Contemporary fiction

Best in Books

    1. Best books I read in 2017: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
    2. A book I was excited about and thought I was going to love more but, didn’t: The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas
    3. The most surprising (in a good way) book I read: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas 
    4. A book I pushed the most people to read: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
    5. The best series I read in 2017: Harry Potter by JK Rowling (re-reads)
    6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2017: Jamie Ford

    7. Best book from a genre I don’t normally read: The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
    8. The most action packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year: Harry Potter (#3,#4) by JK Rowling, Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
    9. Name a book read in 2017 that I would most likely re-read next year? I have too many books in my TBR to re-read any of these books again so soon.
    10. Favourite cover of a book read in 2017: Down, Then Up: A Novella by Beth Labonte
    11. Most memorable character of 2017: Solomon (Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley)
    12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford 
    13. Most thought provoking/life changing book read in 2017: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
    14. A book I can’t believe I waited until 2017 to read: No Safe Harbor (Edge of Freedom, #1) by Elizabeth Ludwig

    1. Favourite passage/quote from a book I read this year:
       “The hardest choices in life aren’t between what’s right and what’s wrong but between what’s right and what’s best.”
      ― Jamie FordHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
    2. The shortest and longest books read in 2017: Shortest Book: Down, Then Up: A Novella by Beth Labonte. Longest Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling.
    1. The book that shocked me the most: The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo
    2. OTP of the Year: Lauren and Jamie from Up, Then Down: A Novella by Beth Labonte
    3. Favourite non-romantic relationship of 2017: Solomon and Clark from Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
    4. Favourite book read in 2017 from an author I’ve read previously: The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
    5. The best book I read in 2017 that I read solely based on a recommendation or peer pressure: The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) by Rick Riordan
    6. Newest fictional crush from a book I read in 2017: None this year.
    7. Best 2017 debut I read: The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo
    8. Best world building/ most vivid setting I read in 2017: West Virginia, Myrtle Beach, Logan Kentucky (The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas)
    9. A book that put a smile on my face/ was the most fun to read: Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
    10. A book that made me cry in 2017: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford and If You’re Gone by Brittany Goodwin
    11. Hidden gem of the year: Down, Then Up: A Novella by Beth Labonte
    12. A book that crushed my soul: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford and If You’re Gone by Brittany Goodwin.

  1. The most unique book I read in 2017: Newfie, Come Home by David Belisle 
  2. The book that made me the most mad: The Littlest Cowboy (The Texas Brands, #1) by Maggie Shayne 

Looking Ahead 

  1. One book I didn’t get to in 2017, but will be my number one priority in 2018: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18) by Janet Evanovich
  2. A book I am most anticipating in 2018: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by JK Rowling
  3. 2018 debut I am most anticipating: As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
  4. Series ending/ a sequel I am most anticipating in 2018: Continuing the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.
  5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in my reading/blogging life in 2018: I would like to listen to more audio books and be more consistent with my blog posts.
Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: December 2017

December.jpg
Here we are at the beginning of another year. 2017 was quite a whirlwind for me. Full of many ups and downs. But more importantly it blessed me with a beautiful son. This Christmas was by far one of the most memorable for me and my family. Charles has brought so much joy to our lives.

The past few weeks have been full of wonderful Christmas festivities and time spent with family. Of course it also included some reading..

Books Completed

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 2
Total Number of Fiction: 2
Total Number of Non-fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read from my Shelves: 2
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read

Physical Books: 0
eBooks: 2
Audio Books: 0

Total Books Read in 2017: 27

Currently Reading

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and all the best for 2018.

 

Hosted by: Book Date 

Book Reviews

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

The Sound of Rain
By: Sarah Loudin Thomas

Published: November 2017
Published By: Bethany House Publishers
Format Read: eBook, NetGalley
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3/5
♥♥♥

I was sent a copy of The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

After a mine collapse nearly costs him his life, Judd Markley decides to start over in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He takes a job at a timber company where he catches the eye of the boss’s daughter. Larkin Heyward lives a privileged life, as a socialite, but feels that her destiny is to help people. She longs to go away and do mission work, much to her father’s dismay. Meanwhile Judd begins to quickly move up the ranks in the timber company, while courting Larkin. Is his success due to his skills or does Mr. Heyward have ulterior motives?

My Thoughts 

I have been looking forward to reading more Sarah Loudin Thomas, ever since I read her novella Appalachian Serenade. One thing that really stood out to me in that story was the authors ability to connect with the senses of her readers. I was very happy to discover that this talent rang true once again in The Sound of Rain. From the mines of West Virginia to the prosperous Myrtle Beach and the poor hills of Kentucky, she painted a very vivid picture of the various settings. I could almost smell the smokey mountains and feel the humidity described in the southern states.

The 1950’s is a time period that interests me, however it isn’t very often that I come across historical fiction set in that era. Another aspect that caught my interest was the mention of Hurricane Hazel in the synopsis.

Judd Markley was an interesting character, who I liked from the start. However I never warmed to his female counterpart Larkin Heyward. In fact I found her more insufferable as the story went on. She was a very spoiled young woman and I felt that her dream to help people was more about drawing attention to herself than a genuine care for others. I didn’t think that she and Judd were a good match for each other at all.

Unfortunately my dislike for Larkin really took away from my enjoyment of this novel. Hopefully I will have better luck next time with this author as I would really like to read more Sarah Loudin Thomas.

Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Top 10 Tuesday: My Top 10 Favourite Books of 2017

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Tis the season for yearly wrap-up posts. I will likely mention the following books in upcoming posts, but I really wanted to participate in this weeks TTT. As it is only early in December, there may be more books that I would add to this list.

Without further delay here are my favourite books that I have read so far in 2017. (In chronological order)

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

 A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware 


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford


The Empress Holds the Key by Gabriel Farago


The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen


The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan


Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by JK Rowling


The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo


Down, Then Up: A Novella by Beth Labonte

 

If you participated in this weeks TTT, please leave me your link below. 

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Measure of Katie Calloway (Michigan Northwoods, #1) by Serena B. Miller

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The Measure of Katie Calloway
(Michigan Northwoods, #1)

By: Serena B. Miller

Published: October 2011
Published By: Revell 
Fromat Read: Kindle for PC
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5
♥♥♥.5

Synopsis 

Katie Calloway makes a daring escape from her abusive Confederate Officer, husband. Fleeing north, she and her young brother Ned find themselves destitute in Bay City Michigan looking for a way to support themselves. Meanwhile, lumber camp owner Robert Foster is in a bind after his only cook is put out of commission due to injury. Although it was rare for a woman to work in a lumber camp among a group of men, he takes a chance on Katie. But will she be able to win them over and move on from her traumatizing past or will it catch up to her in the backwoods of Michigan?

My Thoughts 

Author Serena B. Miller was inspired to write The Measure of Katie Calloway after seeing  old photos of Michigan lumber camps in the 1800’s. In a workforce that was exclusive to only men, a female cook was very rare.

Even though Katie was the only woman working for Robert Foster, her past had made her strong and determined to forge a better life for herself and Ned. The way she adjusted to her new role showed a lot of character growth. Both Katie and Robert had their own reasons for escaping into the Michigan wilderness, which was interesting to discover.

The detailed explanations of the everyday operations in the 1867 lumber camp were really informative and well researched. I also enjoyed the camaraderie between the workers and how they abide their own code.

I would recommend this first book in the Michigan Northwoods series to fans of Christian historical fiction.

Personal Post · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: November 2017

ML's Red House Reviews

November started off well here, but ended with a cold that hit my whole family. However it didn’t dampen the Christmas spirit that is starting to build. I got a good start on my Christmas shopping, which is surprising. The Christmas lights are up and we’ve been watching some fun movies and festive television shows. Those cheesy Hallmark movies are such a guilty pleasure of mine.

One thing that has always kicked off the festive season (for me) is watching the Toronto Santa Claus Parade on television. This year I was able to share that tradition with my son Charles. Sure he didn’t understand what we were watching, nor did he really pay much attention to what was on, but it was nice all the same. The holidays this year are going to be so special as it will be his first Christmas.

I’m satisfied with my reading progress this month and the quality of the books I read was good. Being sick sucks, but it allowed me to spend some more time reading. I finally finished reading The Measure of Katie Calloway, which I’ve slowly been making progress with on Kindle for PC, for quite a while now.

Books Completed

  • Down, Then Up: A Novella by Beth Labonte
    ♥♥♥♥ 4/5
    Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Novella
  • The Measure of Katie Calloway (Michigan Northwoods, #1) by Serena B. Miller
    ♥♥♥.5  3.5/5
    Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
  • The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas 
    ♥♥♥.5  3.5/5
    Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
    SENT FOR REVIEW

The Stats 

Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 3
Total Number of Non-fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 1
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 2
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read:

Physical Books: 0
eBooks: 3
Audio Books: 0

Total Books Read in 2017: 25 

Currently Reading

December TBR

I hope you all had a wonderful November and happy reading!

Links

Hosted by: Book Date

Book Reviews · Recommendations

TLC Book Tour: The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo

About The Fire By Night

 Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 3, 2017)

A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.

In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo single-handedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place and the hope of love in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Teresa Messineo

Teresa Messineo spent seven years researching the history behind The Fire by Night,her first novel. She is a graduate of DeSales University, and her varied interests include homeschooling her four children, volunteering with the underprivileged, medicine, swing dancing, and competitive athletics. She lives in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Connect with Teresa on Facebook.

My Thoughts

I was sent a copy of The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review for TLC Book Tours.

Teresa Messineo’s impressive debut novel The Fire by the Night follows two nurses serving their country on two different fronts during World War II. I have previously read quite a bit of historical fiction set in Europe, however this was the first time I’ve read about those on the Pacific front.

The immense amount of research that went into writing this novel, is evident in the details. This is especially prominent in the use of medical terminology, which was included much more than is typical for this genre. I didn’t realise how little is known about the horrors female nurses faced during this time and the conditions they were forced to live in as prisoners of war.

Jo and Kay’s separate stories interested me for different reasons. While I felt Jo’s perspective offered more from a psychological point of view, Kay’s kept my attention from a geographical standpoint.

Unfortunately I did have some trouble with the graphic descriptions, which still haunt me even after I completed the novel. For this reason I would advise caution to those who are interested in reading The Fire by Night. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy detailed historical fiction.

tlc tour host