Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Good Year

I set a goal of reading 60 books this year; it felt attainable, without feeling like too much stress to reach my goal.  Two years ago, I read 77 books, but when I set the goal of 75 books last year, I didn't make it.  Sometimes, I read such a good book that I get spoiled and the first several books I pick up after it just won't do, and I set them aside without finishing them.  Sometimes, I just get too busy, or too caught up in TV shows, or other time wasters, to get much reading in.  But this year was a good year, a good balance of books that held my attention, with a few great ones along the way; overall, I finished 87 books!  (According to Goodreads, and trusting that I remembered to add every book I read)  Goodreads tells me that I read almost 26,500 pages; to me, that's a more telling number than just the number of books I read.  I didn't just read books this year, I read BIG books.  (Hello? The Goldfinch?)

As I look back over my books from this year, I realize yet again, that I am incredibly stingy with 5-star ratings.  To me, 3-stars means average, and over the course of the books I read, most of them should average out to 3 stars.  I still like 3-star books; I love 4-star books; but 5-star books are something extra special - a book I can't put down, or stop thinking about, one that sticks with me long after I put it on the shelf, return it to the library, or archive it on my Kindle.  Sometimes, to be fair to the author, because I really do think my 3-stars and 4-stars are good books, I will adjust my rating upwards on a public review.

Anywho - without further ado, here are some of my favorite books from the year, spanning random genres, topics and authors!

Middle Grade
Counting by 7s - Holly Goldberg Sloan

My book club seemed to have a running theme of orphans and/or gifted kids this year, and this book had both.  But it was so quirky and fun that it rose above the others as one of my favorites this year.

Love Mercy - Lisa Samson and Ty Samson

I picked this up from my church library on a whim, because it was on an end cap, but I was so glad I did.  I have loved a lot of Lisa Samson's fictional work (see below!), and I loved this non-fictional account by her and her daughter of not only their trip to Africa, but their transition to a new lifestyle that they were being called to.  It was humorous, but it was also eye opening and heart changing.  It's difficult, if not impossible, to read an account like this and not feel more compassionate to "others."

Runaway Saint - Lisa Samson (again)

Another book that I loved for a storyline that made me think and that wasn't afraid to break traditional Christian fiction boundaries to talk about family dysfunction and the impacts on people's lives.  I mentioned that this was a book I planned to re-read, and it's definitely going on my 2015 TBR list again.

Some other books that weren't maybe my favorite-favorites of the year, but that I enjoyed nonetheless:

Unspoken/Undetected  - Dee Henderson

Although I didn't love Full Disclosure, I did love these two books that joined the series.  I love Dee Henderson's military books, and I still have high hopes that there will be a book about the third brother from this family!

Cress, audio book - Marissa Meyer

I'm not usually one for audio books, because I tend to get distracted by the narrator's character interpretations, but I really really enjoyed this one, mostly because the narrator was fantastic.  I enjoyed the other books in The Lunar Chronicles, but the narrator made this book even better for me.

And as an extra bonus, here are some of the books I'm most excited to see come to print in 2015.  (I'm not usually a reader who looks ahead, but several of my favorite authors have new releases coming out that I've been waiting anxiously for!)

Reservations for Two, by Hillary Manton Lodge

This is book 2 in the Blue Door Series, of which book one was Table by the Window - a book I immediately purchased for a friend before I'd even finished it.

The Art of Losing Yourself - by Katie Ganshert
I have loved every book by this author, and I can't wait to read more!  Every book has depth, and growth, and great characters.

Flames - by Ginny Yttrup

Ginny Yttrup is one of those authors whose words and stories are so carefully chosen and woven together that they impact me far beyond the few days I spend devouring them.  She has chosen to publish this one independently, and I am eagerly awaiting its debut!

Still Life - by Christa Parrish
Christa Parrish is another author whom I can't get enough of; her plots and characters are so unusual, yet so well-written, that I enjoy each one immensely.

This Quiet Sky - by Joanne Bischof
Okay, this one's a cheat, because I already own it, but I just haven't had time to read it yet.  This is a novella based on the early life of one of her characters from her earlier series, The Cadence of Grace series, every one of which I loved.

SOOO,,,,There we go!
What were your favorite books of 2014?
What books are you looking forward to in 2015?
Do you set reading goals?

Note: While some of the books above were provided to me for review (and I've tried to link to my reviews where applicable), this post was solely written as a recollection of the books I've enjoyed and look forward to.

1 comment:

  1. I'm interested to see which of your 2015 reads I simply have to read as well!