I’m back! I’ve been dreaming of getting on here and writing ever since the Christmas holidays started (which last 2–3 weeks here in New Zealand), but it turns out holidays can be pretty busy. So while I’ve done little bits and snatches of writing over the last few weeks, I haven’t spent as much time or completed as many projects as I was hoping to do. But that’s alright. People, relationships, and gardens are more important than blogging, right?
Today, I’m looking forward to sharing my reading wrap-up from December (I read a LOT of books!), and then in a few days, I’ll share my top five books of 2023—so keep an eye out for that. I read a lot of books last year, but those five are the ones that pulled me in, didn’t let me stop reading, and begged to be on the list when I went to compile it a little while ago. I can’t wait to share that with you!
Here’s what I read in December: (I’ve linked to my reviews of the books where possible, but haven’t had time to review most of them yet.)
I was thrilled to be able to complete almost all the books on my December TBR, most of which were selected to finish a couple of reading challenges. I did have to make one last-minute substitution (Light of Mine instead of Gods & Kings; I ran out of time), but overall, it was a very satisfying reading month for me.
Some links in this post are affiliate links. Your purchase through these links helps keep this blog going, at no extra expense to you. Thanks for your support!
And now, for my January TBR list!
I’m starting this year with high reading hopes. Last year’s reading went far better than I was hoping (I ended up getting to 164% of my main reading goal last year!—as I mentioned above, stay tuned for the post about that early next week), and accordingly, I’ve decided to go for slightly bigger goals this year. We’ll see how that goes.
This month, I’m going to try to leave part of my January TBR open-ended. I’m participating in the Brighter Winter Reading Challenge, and while I’ve found books to fit this month’s prompts, I’ve already swapped some around or exchanged them for other books—which makes for a rather muddly TBR stack. However, there are still a few books that I definitely want to read this month, so I those will become my “official” TBR list.
Releasing January 16: The Search Party by Hannah Richell. This was one of those rare cases in the reviewing world where the publisher sends you a book, even when you don’t ask for it. I enjoy the odd thriller, though, so I was excited to read it. I started it on the 1st, but unfortunately, by the time I got about 25% of the way through the book, I decided I had to DNF it because of the language and the fact that it included a bedroom scene (not what I want to read, unfortunately 😕). Now I’ll have to find another thriller to read, because I was all psyched up to read one, and had to quit! Any suggestions?
Releasing February 6: All My Secrets by Lynn Austin. This is a Lynn Austin book. Need I say more? I do love that it looks like it will involve an older lady and a young woman—I love books that incorporate older generations!
Releasing February 6: Embers in the London Sky by Sarah Sundin. I read my first Sundin book last year and loved it, so when I saw this was coming out, too, I wanted to read it. Can’t wait to dive in!
Releasing February 20: Country Bird by Angela Harrison Vinet. I got this book for two reasons—1) the pictures are gorgeous, and 2) it reminded me of my grandma’s love of birdwatching. I can’t wait to read it—it looks like it will be a fast, interesting read.
Published last year: How to Stop Binge-Watching and Start Living by Frank Degenaar. I read a good part of this book last year, but haven’t finished it yet. It’s SO good; I just got burned out on digital books for a while and had to take a break. I’m looking forward to finishing it this month if I can!
If you haven’t seen this reading challenge yet, you ought to check it out. This year, Chantele is doing a flowchart-style challenge, which I think is a lot of fun. I’ve decided to go with Doyle for these first three months, so I needed a book with a dog (or dog-like animal) on the cover. I chose to read The Call of the Wild by Jack London, a book I’ve owned for quite a while but never read. So far, it’s an interesting story (I finished chapter one last night)!
I have a goal of checking off at least seven boxes from this challenge this month; if I read a lot, I may get up to ten or twelve, but that’s pushing it (especially with my list above!). I’ve picked out a few books that would fit the categories I’m interested in, though, but may end up swapping out books partway through the month. I’m allowing myself free rein for this one, and am planning to read as the mood strikes me.
Here are my current possibilities:
Read a book in which the main characters are a family unit of 4+ children: Fruitlands by Gloria Whelan (a story about Louisa May Alcott’s young life) is an old favorite of mine which I’d love to revisit!
Read a book set in the continent of Africa: I’ve been wanting to re-read Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (a childhood favorite) for several years now; maybe this is the time to do that?
Read a book in print that you first heard read aloud. (must be 100+ pages): The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare has been on my TBR list about 3 times in the last 6 months, I think…I’d still like to read it since I haven’t gotten to it! We’ll see.
Read a Newbery Award or Newbery Honor chapter book: We have several of these I haven’t read yet, but I picked out Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. I know nothing about it, but it looks interesting!
Read a book by an author who uses three names: Three of the books above (Country Bird, Mara: Daughter of the Nile, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond) all fit this category, and you’re allowed to use the same books for two different categories, so I think I should be able to accomplish this one.
Read an author’s best known work: It’s been 5-6 years since I last read Ready or Not by Chautona Havig; I’d love to read it again. I think it’s her best-known book, but there are other authors’ books I could choose for this space, too.
Read a novella. (100-180 pages in length): I realized I still haven’t read The Secret Place of Thunder by Alicia G. Ruggieri; I should rectify that problem this month! We’ll see if I can make the time to do so. 🙂
Read an American classic: I already mentioned I’m planning to read The Call of the Wild by Jack London, which fits this category perfectly; yay!
Whew; that’s a lot of books! I’m looking forward to what I’ll get to read this month. While I’d love to get through all of them, I know that’s impossible (unless I get knocked out with a nasty flu all month or something…no, I sure hope I don’t!), but I’ll see how far I can go, and mostly just try to focus on enjoying being able to read in general.
What are you hoping to read this month? Are you planning on joining a reading challenge this month/year? If so, what are you planning to do?