Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Recently Read - Vol. 24 (Dec. '17) & Top Ten Tuesday (Books I Meant to Read in 2017... But Didn't)


My blog is pulling double duty today as I link up with Steph and Jana for their monthly Show Us Your Books link up and with The Broke and the Bookish for their last Top Ten Tuesday feature post (before transferring the duty to The Artsy Reader Girl).



I've learned that my reading as of late is very my ebb and flow.  December was like the chugging of roller coaster car, slowing inching it's way to the top of the hill.  The month before, my reading was like the car roaring down the slope.  I have no idea as to what January will be like, but anyhoo...  I digress.  Here are the books I read in December.


This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
Read December 4-15
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: 3.5/5

Think - Remember the old TV show, This is Your Life? Okay, okay...  I admit - I don't even remember that show because I wasn't even born yet, but I know the pop culture significance.  It was show that surprised guests and took them on a retrospective of their lives.  Well, this was sort of like that but in book form.

This is the life story of Harriet and it bounces around between the present and the past, and the past is not always revealed in chronological order.  It takes a look at relationships, mistakes, and how we are the sum of our experiences, good and bad, choices, and our decisions along the way.

Was this book earth shattering?  No.  Was it life changing for me?  No.  Did it challenge me and make me think beyond the time I listened to it?  Not really.  But, did I enjoy it?  Absolutely.  I thought the ending was rather weak and I wish some things had been resolved, but, as Steph often says, the book passed the time just fine.

FINAL VERDICT - I wouldn't say, "No, don't bother," but I wouldn't go out of my way and say, "You must read this!" either.  It's really the flip of a coin.


Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Read December 15-20
Format: Audiobook
My rating: 5/5

Think:  A story of boy who is different and his impact on those around him.

Oh, my heavens!  All hoopla surrounding this book was authentic and well deserved!  I had read other bloggers accolades about his book and often thought, "Could it really be that good?"  Well, here's my assessment - Yes, it is!

Wonder is a very easy read with realistic characters and situations.  It's one of those books that lightened my spirit and renewed my faith in humanity.


The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
Read December 21
Format: Audiobook
My rating: 2.5/5

Think: A strange tale of two friends, one who goes astray and one who tries to rescue him. It's a story of remaining true to oneself.

I've come to learn this about myself, that classics just aren't my thing.  I've tried several over the course of my lifetime, but rarely do I like them.  I received this audiobook free from Audible several years and thought that I'd finally give it a go.  

FINAL VERDICT: If fantasy and/or classics are your thing, then go for it.  Otherwise, I would not recommend it.


Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Read December 24
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: 4/5

Think:  Story of two empty-nesters who decide to skip Christmas and all the shenanigans that ensue.

If you've seen the move Christmas with the Kranks, then you know the premise of  Skipping Christmas because the movie was based on this book.  The book is a quick read and it's funny and lighthearted.  This was my third or fourth time reading/listening to this book.  

FINAL VERDICT: I'd recommend.



This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is:



Ten Books I Meant to Read in 2017... 

But Didn't

  1. Finding Fraser by K. C. Dyer
  2. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (I'm not sure if I will ever tackle this behemoth...)
  3. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
  4. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  6. Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
  7. Captured by a Laird by Margaret Mallory
  8. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
  9. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
  10. The Year We Turned Forty by Lisa Steinke and Liz Fenton


What are some books you meant to read last year but never got around to?  As always, thanks for stopping by.

42 comments:

  1. I actually do remember This Is Your Life vaguely. The UK version was still going all the way through the 90s but I think I only actually watched it about twice when I was fairly young.

    I LOVED Wonder. I wouldn't bother with the sequel though.

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    1. I wasn't aware that there was a sequel. I don't think this is the kind of story that I'd want to continue. I'm really happy with the way it ended, so I'm good! LOL!

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  2. I have a whole pile of books I meant to read in 2017 and didn't get to - but I'm sure I will get there sometime :) I loved Wonder so much too...I'm dying to see the movie!!

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    1. The movie did a great job at staying true to the essence of the book. I know there has to be changes, but I was still pleased.

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  3. My daughter is finally reading Wonder and it makes me very happy

    I don’t know that I have any books I meant to read in 2017. I have a random selection process and figure I’ll get to the ones I want to read eventually

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    1. I always have some that I buy and think, "Yeah, I'll read/listen to that one soon," and then another book steals my attention.

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  4. Wonder is definitely on my list to read this year, I'm not sure why I haven't read it yet because everyone seems to love it! I just added This is Your Life... to my TBR, I don't think I've heard of it before but it sounds like an interesting premise!

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  5. I've never read The Night Circus either even though I've owned a copy FOREVER. I can't believe I've never stumbled on your blog before. I'm also a WV'er and attended Marshall although it was some time ago. Your dad sounds similar to mine. I remember him going into Old Main with me once and the floors were creaking and stuff and he said "You would think they could repair this place with all the money we're paying them." Thanks for prompting such a pleasant memory this morning.

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    1. A fellow West Virginian and Marshall alum! Good to meet you! (Don't worry, I attended Marshall back in the 90s, which, according to some, is a long time ago...)

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  6. Wonder was such an amazing book! I can't wait to see the movie. I think I read Skipping Christmas ages ago, before Goodreads, since it's not showing up as I read it. But it sounds very familiar.

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    1. The movie was a really good adaptation. I was pleased.

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  7. I meant to read Wonder last year, and I got it in!

    I meant to read Small Great Things last year, and I did not.

    Loved Born to Run and The Night Circus.

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    1. I sincerely hope I can get to Born to Run fairly soon. Bruce narrates the audiobook, so I hope it will be sort of like hanging out with The Boss as he regales me with some stories of his life.

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  8. From your top ten, I've only read Love Letters to the Dead, but I did enjoy it!

    As for your recent reads, I read Skipping Christmas a couple years ago - it's a fun one, and not too long either which I like!

    Oh, I LOVE Wonder so I'm glad you read it and loved it too.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I hope to get to Love Letters to the Dead sometime this year. Sometimes books get sidelined, especially when I participating in a reading challenge (and the book doesn't fit into any category).

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  9. This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! sounds interesting enough to add to the TBR even if I don't get to it asap.
    Wonder is so, so good.
    I am not really a fan of classics either. i like jane austen but other than her, the ones i have tried have bored me. i keep trying though haha.
    i really need to read Dragonfly in Amber as well. at this rate, i need to re-read Outlander because i've forgotten pretty much everything. i think i read Outlander in 2015 and i started Dragonfly immediately after but after 20 pages switched to something else and never picked it up again. Oops. one day?

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    1. I keep trying classic after classic and I've just accepted the fact that they are not my thing. Kind of like ballet or the opera. I've heard that with both of those things that people fall into one of two camps - love it or hate it. I think that's applying to me with classics. There are those who love them and those like me who do not. I appreciate them, but rarely do I like them.

      With Outlander, what's messing it up for me is that I've seen seasons 2 and 3 on STARZ (which are based on books 2 and 3), so I know in general what's going to happen and I haven't read the books yet.

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  10. I try to mix in a classic every once in a while, but they aren't on my must-read lists. I haven't read any of your Top 10 that you didn't read. Wonder was amazing and the movie was worth it. This is Your Life sounds interesting - I'll have to look for it.

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    1. I agree! The move was worth it, too. I was very pleased with the adaptation.

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  11. Wonder always makes me feel guilty because I haven't read it yet. I'm not sure why. I mean to but somehow another book always takes its place. Last year I also meant to read The Hate U Give, actually had it, but didn't read it. This happened around Charlottesville and I just couldn't do it. But I am hoping, once again, to read Wonder this year! And I do believe it will live up to its hype too!

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    1. Perhaps the timing was just off. I've been in similar situations with other books. I truly believe that sometimes we read exactly what we need to based on what's going on in our lives at that point in time. Wonder isn't going anywhere, so you have plenty of time.

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  12. Wonder is amazing! have you seen the movie? I haven't.

    I remember Skipping Christmas, it was hilarious!! We watch the movie every year!

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    1. Yes, I saw the movie on New Year's Day. It was a very good adaptation. The screenwriters did a good job.

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  13. How did I not know that Christmas with the Kranks was based off of that book?!

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  14. I wanted to read "What Happened" but my heart still alternates between sadness and anger. Maybe this year!

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  15. I'm glad I keep seeing all the good reviews for Wonder. Whenever a book gets a lot of hype, I immediately worry it won't live up to it. But it seems that one does!

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    1. I had very similar reservations, but Wonder really delivered. When/if you read it, I hope you enjoy it!

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  16. I really want to read Wonder at some point. I've heard nothing but good things, and, if I'm being totally honest, the trailer for the upcoming movie made me tear up a little. It looks so good!

    I saw Christmas With the Kranks years ago. I had no idea it was based on a book by John Grisham!

    The Night Circus and Love Letters to the Dead are also on my list. They didn't make my top ten (I joined both link-ups as well), but I'd like to get to them both sometime soon.

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    1. I had similar reservations, but Wonder lived up to the hype, or at least it did for me. When/if you read it, I hope it lives up to the hype for you.

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  17. Wonder... I need to get on top of it and just read it already!

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  18. Rod Stewart's autobiography
    San Diego Noir
    The Road

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    1. Rod Stewart's autobiography could be quite interesting!

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  19. Wonder, Me Before You, and Beautiful Ruins were on my list of books I meant to read last year, and I own 2 of those! I had no idea Christmas with the Kranks was based on a novel, and had to re-read when I saw the author- I had no idea John Grisham wrote anything other than legal thrillers. Definitely adding it to my list!

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    1. Grisham every once it in while writes non-legal thrillers. He wrote a book called Playing for Pizza that my dad absolutely loved. (It is based around football.)

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  20. The book Skipping Christmas was so good. The movie just wasn't.

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  21. Have you read The Status of All Things by Lisa Steinke and Liz Fenton? I can't say I loved it - but it's a fluffy, light-hearted read.

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    1. No, I haven't. I'm not sure I'm familiar with it. I'll have to look it up on Goodreads.

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