Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Books of 2015

How did another year go by so fast?! It's hard to believe it's almost over, but down to business.

I read 100 books this year. It's a record year (since I've been tracking), my previous record being 99 books. Five of the books were graphic novels, 4 were non-fiction, 2-3 would be considered classics. The rest were all over the place: mystery, YA, horror, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, and gothic.

Here are my favorites for the year:

One Plus One - JoJo Moyes
Brand new to me author this year and I loved this book so much. I borrowed it from the library and then went and bought my own copy. I kind of want to read it again just thinking about it. I quickly bought a few more of her books to read (ha ha but haven't got around to them yet).

Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo
I was on the library wait list and then read some killer reviews and decided just to buy it and I'm so glad I did. I don't usually rank my favorites but it skyrocketed up to #1 book of the year. It deserves all the hype.

The Martian - Andy Weir
So. Much. Fun. I admit to zoning a bit on the math parts but like the rest of the (fictional) world, I was cheering for Mark to make it home.

Nimona - Noelle Stevenson
I read a few different graphic novels this year and this one just had me grinning from ear to ear. It was such a cute, feel good book. I purchased my own copy for Christmas and promptly lent it to my sister to read.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride - Cary Elwes
Another feel good book! This movie is a childhood favorite and the book was so fun to read.

DarkShip Thieves - Sarah A. Hoyt
I wasn't expecting this one. I picked it up on a whim, not even sure how I came across it. The cover is kind of ridiculous, but the book is a very fun space opera romp.

Rolling in the Deep - Mira Grant
I do love Mira Grant and this novella was fantastic. You know from the beginning (and the cover blurb) how it is going to end but getting there is still a shock.

I'll Meet You There - Heather Demetrios
Probably my favorite cover of the year; it reminds me of road trips.

Tower of Thorns - Juliet Marillier
Blackthorn and Grim are some new favorite characters. I think I liked this book even better than the first one.

Every Move - Ellie Marney
This one just had to be on the list. I gave all three books in the series 5 stars. It was a perfect end to what has become an all-time favorite series.

Still Life with Shape-Shifter - Sharon Shinn
One of the very first books I read this year, in fact #3, and I still think about it. It was devastatingly good and heartbreaking at the same time.

The Rose Garden - Susanna Kearsley
This one sneaked in over the Christmas weekend. I have been meaning to read one of her books for years and I just loved this. I have a serious crush on both Daniel and Fergus.

A few honorable mentions:
Not a Drop to Drink - Mindy McGinnis
Loved this take on the end of the world and it made me think about how far you should go to survive.
Night Owls (aka The Anatomical Shape of a Heart) - Jenn Bennett
Auto buy author and this didn't disappoint.
The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh
I expected this to be a so-so YA retelling and was very pleasantly surprised that's it so much more.
A Kiss Before Dying - Ira Levine
Anyone who likes Hitchcock movies should read this.
Act Like It - Lucy Parker
This one sneaked in at Christmas also. This is the way I like my romance books.

Books I'm looking forward to in 2016... or DYING TO READ in some cases:

Crooked Kingdom - Sequel to Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo
Marked in Flesh - Anne Bishop
The Raven King - Maggie Stiefvater
Fire Touched - Patricia Briggs
Lost Among the Living - Simone St. James
The Rose and the Dagger - Renee Ahdieh

So next year... Besides the normal things I like to read, I think I'm going to try and tackle a few of the classics that I already own and are taking up space on my book shelf and find some more non-fiction to read. I think I'd like to read a book of Mary Oliver's poems too. I'm also in a mood to re-read some of my childhood favorites and a few of the books I own that haven't been read in many, many years. What's the use in keeping them, otherwise?

I normally say that you should read what you like to read and don't apologize for it. I still say that, but I've decided I like to branch out and I've discovered some good books getting out of my "reading comfort zone" these last few years.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Moving Day is Almost Here

I spent all day on Saturday helping my parents clean out their garage and shed and basement. If feels like we barely made a dent. There's still so much to do. The movers are coming on Thursday. I told my mom after the stuff they are keeping gets moved out, we can just load up the rest for the DI or the dump. We took at least 2 truckloads to the DI on Saturday and got rid of a bunch of other stuff. My brother-in-law had the back of his truck packed with some furniture and things they were taking. I ended up with another plant, a water container, a cast iron frying pan, and then a bunch of food storage stuff. I seriously won't have to buy noodles for a long time. But the big score was a can of potato pearls. The Church stopped canning them some years ago and those things are seriously the best! 

Before I went home, I gave up my keys. I won't be letting myself in ever again. Cleaning out 30+ years of accumulated stuff is never fun or easy. But as my sister pointed out, it is a lot nicer that we are doing it as a family while mom and dad are still around. And there will be a lot less stuff to clean out of the new house after they are gone. God willing, it will be awhile.

It puts me in the mood to clean out my own house. I went through my pantry yesterday while listening to Christmas music. I am so blessed to be in my own home and I really have a lot of space for one person.

It is snowing!!!  I'm so excited that we will have a white Christmas after all. Tonight is baking night for FHE!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Craft

I found this on Pinterest. I love it when the crafty things I find actually turn out. My niece helped me make a few of these. We had a good time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Bookshelves Overfloweth

I admit I might have a problem.

This year so far I have purchased 49 actual paper books from Amazon. I don't know how many from other retailers. A few for sure. And roughly 68 for Kindle. Some of those books were gifts (ha ha like maybe 4 of them).

This year so far I have read 91 books, some of which I borrowed from the library, so my reading pace is definitely not keeping up with my buying pace (like that's even possible).  Interestingly enough, I still read more paper than electronic books, yet I buy more eBooks. That one click button is just so easy to use.

In my defense I've purged twice already this year. I won't mention the container under the bed. I really am planning to get rid of them. Someday.

You can't tell from the pictures, but all of the shelves are stacked 2 deep with books on top and in pretty much any space I can get them.

I've decided I really need another bookshelf. Where to put it though...I might need to do some rearranging.