Friday, January 13, 2017

Jenny: 30 Books in 2017

I (Jenny) do not know about y'all, but my To Be Read pile is borderline ridiculous. And when I say pile, I  mean an actual, physical pile of books. I cannot seem to figure out the reading:purchasing ratio. Honestly, I think it stems from the movie The Day After Tomorrow and all the books that are lost due to the new ice age. I feel compelled to buy books just in case they stop being available. And if a book has a beautiful cover? It is impossible for me to walk away from it.

All that being said, my focus this year is to knock out some of those books that have been in the pile for way too long. I have chosen 30 books that I have to read in 2017. The majority are books that I have owned for at least a year; some are books that were recent purchases and want to prioritize; the last are a few books that are new releases in series that I love and it would be silly to act like I might read another book ahead of them.

As you can see, I am being pretty ambitious. Some of these books I have started to read and then did not finish them. Rather than trying to read a certain number of books this year, I am hoping to read these certain books. Of course I will read more than these but these will be my focus. Wish me luck. I am going to need it! 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lesley Anne: 17 Books in 2017

I am so excited about today's post! As I mentioned in my last post, I read about half as much as I normally do in 2016, and I think that was partly due to becoming a new mom, and partly because I didn't have a plan in place. As an INFP, structure usually doesn't motivate me, and oftentimes it does the opposite. I'm also a big-time mood reader, so saying I'm going to read a specific book each month doesn't work either. But I knew if I didn't make some sort of plan for this year, I was going to flounder around and end up not reading as much as I would like again. So this year I'm aiming to read 17 books, and giving myself the flexibility to choose from the 25 books listed below. I divided everything up by genre so when a specific mood strikes, I know exactly where to go [and as you'll see under the fiction category, I've obviously declared this as the year of Sarah J. Maas ;) ]. Who knows exactly what this year will hold, but I'm excited to get started!   


1. Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst
2. Grace Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley
3. The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian


4. The Life-Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally & Sarah Clarkson
5. The Complete Book of Home Organization by Toni Hammersley


6. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
7. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman


8. Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God by Gloria Furman
9. On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep by Gary Ezzo
10. Dare to Discipline by Dr. James Dobson
11. Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp
12. Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp

Fiction - Fantasy 

13. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, & John Tiffany
14. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
15. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
16. The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
17. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
18. Crown  of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
19. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
20. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
21. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
22. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas


23. The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron
24. The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
25. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

What's on your reading list for this year?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What I Read in 2016

I (Lesley Anne) didn't read nearly as much as I normally do in 2016, and there's one tiny good reason for that. ;) It's been interesting to learn through the exhaustion of pregnancy and caring for a newborn just how much reading is still really important to me. While going through major life changes, words have become even more nourishing to my soul than ever. I've found that it helps a ton to make time for reading everyday, even if it's just a few pages (or a few paragraphs!) a day. And I want to continue that practice in to 2017. Tomorrow I'll be talking about the books on my reading list for this year, but today I'm taking a quick look back at the books I read in 2016! 


1. The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst - This is a favorite of many women I know, but it didn't quite work for me. This was my first time listening to non-fiction on audio, and I think I would have had a much better experience reading this in print. I got a few positive takeaways and liked Lysa's tips on decision-making, but I was disappointed that overall this book had more fluff than substance.

2. Counter Culture by David Platt - We read this book together with our small group, and it was excellent. Definitely challenges your comfortable Christianity, and I especially liked the call to action and specific ways to pray at the end of each chapter.

3. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Judy Torgas - While I was pregnant, I researched and tried to learn as much as I could about breastfeeding, since I knew it was going to be overwhelming once Gabe was born. While I learned a good deal from this book, I honestly think I retained what I learned in our in-person class at the hospital more since I'm more of a visual learner. And like most baby books, I didn't agree 100% with everything said, so you have to take some things (such as the author's stance on circumcision, childbirth, etc.) with a grain of salt. This book is still a great resource, though, and I have it in a basket next to the rocker in Gabe's nursery for quick reference whenever a question comes up.   


4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - This book finished out the last of Jane Austen's novels for me, and I'm so glad I've read them all now! Out of all the Austen novels, this was the one I was the least familiar with going in to the book. But Henry Tilney quickly became one of my all-time favorite characters--I adored his wit and charm. And I loved the satirical angle Austen took on the gothic section of the novel. Talking about this makes me even more excited about an Austen event I'm attending later this month (more on that later)!

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - This was one of our book club picks last year, and while I enjoyed the story itself, the meaning behind everything flat out annoyed me. This book is written in a short story format, and is a fable about finding your destiny--or your "personal legend," as Coelho puts it. The emphasis is placed on following your heart and how the whole universe will work together to help you find your purpose, and as a follower of Christ, that philosophy falls flat for me. One positive is that the audio version of this, read by Jeremy Irons, is excellent!

6. The One by Kiera Cass - This series is a total mess, but it's a mess that had me coming back for more nonetheless. I just had to know what happened between America and Maxon! The drama and the cheesiness were still to be found in plenty, but it was nothing I didn't expect. Such a fun, quick read!

7. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - This was the first book I read after having Gabe, and of course it was a Sarah Addison Allen novel. Her books are like comfort food to me, and this one was no exception. I loved getting to know the Waverley sisters I've heard so much about in her other novels! And I need Claire Waverley to cater a dinner party at my house pronto.

8. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen - This book was enchanting and had so many magical realism elements that I loved. Full of family secrets, love lost and found, delicious food, and a small southern town that I would move to in a heartbeat - this book just solidified why Sarah Addison Allen is on my all-time favorite authors list!

9. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - I just cannot tell y'all how much I love Sarah J. Maas and her books. She is the queen of world-building and of creating the most unique, dynamic characters. While this book was more character-driven than the first book, and at 640 pages probably could have used some editing, I loved it all the same. And y'all--THAT ENDING. Book 3 can't get here fast enough! (A word of warning though--this book has some very adult content that you might want to skip over).    

10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling - With the movie coming out, I knew I wanted to read the book behind it all first. My expectations were pretty low for this short read, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. The beginning definitely read like a textbook, but the notes from Harry and Ron and the references to muggles sprinkled throughout made me fall in love with the wizarding world all over again!   

What books did you read in 2016? I'd love to hear about some of your favorites!