Bout of Books 20 Is Here

BoB

You heard me right, y’all – it is time for another reading challenge here in the Pathologically Literate household!! From August 21st to 27th, I will be getting my read on in a BIG way. Should you decide to join me, you can head on over to the Bout of Books blog to sign up here!

For those of you who aren’t sure what Bout of Books is, here is a short(ish) explanation:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’m super excited to be joining in this time, y’all. I participated in Bout of Books 10 way back in 2014, and liked it a lot, but life and homeschool and other less important things got in the way and I never got back into the groove to participate in any of the following challenges. I’m pleased to be making my Reading Life more of a priority, and this will be the second reading challenge I’ve participated in in 2017. Yay, me!!

Do you like to read? Do you know how to read? Then you should join me!! Yay! See you in 13 days!!

Have you ever participated in Bout of Books? 

Bookish Roundup — July, 2017

july-17-roundup-graphic

Summer reading has been heating up around here, y’all. I am blasting through the books like no other and it’s no wonder – the temps around here were so hot in July that there wasn’t much else to do beside hide indoors with the nice and frosty A/C. Not that I was complaining, as you’ll see when you peruse my list for the month. I read a total of 22 books last month. Of course, this is partially thanks to the 24 in 48 Readathon I participated in on July 22nd & 23rd. Now, nearly 1400 people participated in this popular readathon (of which the point is to read a total of 24 hours out of a 48-hour period), but this happy little reader did it in style…

As a single homeschool Mom, I very rarely have a break from my son (we are talking 24/7 here, folks), and I was concerned about the viability of my plan to participate in this readathon. I don’t exactly get a lot of alone time in which to complete long, extended periods of reading without interruption. My beloved BFF came to my rescue in a BIG way. She and her husband recently built an AH-MA-ZING home on the edge of town, and I was offered the opportunity to stay in their guest suite for the weekend of the readathon, turning it into a mini-getaway for myself. Well. She didn’t need to ask me twice!! Here’s a pic of the gorgeous suite in which I lounged for the two days and three nights of my semi-staycation:

bedroom1

But let’s not forget the best part (besides the books) – the mini-bar!!

mini-bar

Y’all, I was in. Heaven. On. Earth. I holed up in there and read my little heart away. In the meantime, the most fabulous BFF in the world (mine) stood at the ready, prepared to serve my every need if only I should make it known. I was so overwhelmed by her generosity and hospitality, as well as that of her family’s. Nothing could have made that weekend more perfect. It’s only too bad I don’t have a picture for you of the amazing “Reading Porch” that was attached to the suite. Aaaaahhhhh. I will carry this with me for a long time, y’all. It had been too long since I had done something just for me, and this was the perfect thing to choose. Fingers crossed that I get to do it again for the next 24 in 48 Readathon in January, 2018…

Why don’t we take a look at everything I read in July:

I truly enjoyed nearly all of the books I read last month. My two favorite would include The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick and The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson (both Quick and Jackson are two of my fave writers in general). Out of all 22 books I read, only one of them was a thumbs-down. Unfortunately, An Extraordinary Union was so not my cup of tea. Alas, you live and learn. I’m soooo excited about the books I’m going to be reading in August – not the least of which because I joined a new library, opening up my Kindle e-book borrowing options even more! But we’ll talk about that next month. Try to stay cool out there, folks. Happy Reading!!

What books did you read while beating the heat in July?

Save

2017 Bookish Resolutions – A Mid-Year Check-In

mid year check in

Can you believe that this year is already half-way over? Time really does fly when you’re having fun, folks! And by having fun, I mean reading books, of course!! Way back in January I outlined for myself five bookish resolutions for 2017. Today we’re going to take a look at each one of those goals and see how much (or how little) I’ve accomplished so far this year.

1. Read a minimum of 175 books in 2017.

In January I joined the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge, setting a goal of reading 175 books by the end of the year. How have I fared so far? Well, folks, as of today I have read 123 books in 2017. I am over two-thirds of the way toward meeting my Challenge goal. I fully believe I will surpass it and am (unofficially) hoping to hit a mark somewhere near or above 200.

2. Read the books I own.

I borrow most of my books from the library, however, I am a sucker for a good Kindle deal. Thus, I have built up somewhat of a library on my Kindle Paperwhite. One of my 2017 reading goals was to whittle away at those virtual shelves. How have I fared, you ask? Out of 123 books read, 26 of those were books I personally own. Additionally, I have actually added to that library this year by 40 books so far, which averages out to about 5-6 books a month. Soooo… maybe I’m not doing quite so well with this one. I just might need to step up my game a bit with this goal – what do you think?

3. Create a private reading log.

I originally made it a goal to create a private reading log in Excel back in 2016, but that never happened. I’m happy to say that in 2017, said reading log now exists and is updated on a daily basis! I’m very proud of myself and pat myself on the back often, thank you very much. I cannot wait until my end-of-year wrap-up, when I can use Excel to create my favorite thing ever – PIE CHARTS – to relay my reading statistics to you all. Yippee!!

4. Read *more* more diverse books.

In 2016, I made it a goal to read more diverse books. And I did, but not enough to satisfy  myself. Thus, in 2017, I made a resolution to read *more* more diverse books. How am I doing? Well, in the last 6 1/2 months, I have read 30 books by or about People of Color; that averages out to approximately 5 books per month. This statistic does not include, obviously, books that involve other diverse populations, the data of which I have not yet recorded/tallied. Needless to say, once again, I feel it is necessary to step up my game in this category as well.

5. Pay more attention to Pathologically Literate

In 2016, I barely spent any time on PathologicallyLiterate.com at all. I made it a goal for 2017 to spend more time writing about books and reading to share with my readers. While I haven’t done the job I had hoped to, I have been at the very least sharing monthly posts (and very occasionally a little something extra). You gotta start somewhere, right, friends? In the mean time, keep an eye out for future posts or giveaways – you never know when something wonderful just might come your way!!

Well, friends, while I’m not hitting all of my goals at the desired levels, I am having a great time trying! I’ve read so many great books so far in 2017, and have had so much fun exploring a genre that is completely new to me: YA Fantasy. I love expanding my reading reach and knowing that I now have *that* many more books to choose from! I will continue to work hard to meet my Bookish Resolutions of 2017, and will check in again at the end of the year to keep you in the loop as to how I’ve fared. Happy Reading, all!!

How has your reading life been going in 2017?

Save

Bookish Roundup — June, 2017

June Roundup Collage

FIRST of all, folks, allow me to apologize for the weak graphic up above. Canva was being a b**** and I basically had to use my Commodore 64 to procure a picture for this post. If you don’t know what that is, well… that just means I’m a hell of a lot older than you are.

I  do have to say that I’m sorry to see June go by the wayside, y’all. It was a great month, full of mild, sunny weather and good reads aplenty. A month in which even I felt comfortable enough to test my boundaries a bit…

About four years ago, I began reading almost exclusively on my Kindle Paperwhite. My main source of reading material comes from the public library, and I had been having some major OCD-ish germ issues for a while by the point I received my Paperwhite as a gift. So, I gave print books up. Unfortunately, even with the awesome selection my two public libraries’ digital services offer, I was still missing out on quite a few titles that held my interest that are only available (via the library) in print. I’d been getting REALLY sick of it. Sooooo…. I checked several (print) books out from the library. I have to admit that it was touch and go at first; had I found a hair or a booger in one of the books, things would have all come tumbling down. But – no boogers!! None. Nada. Success!!!

Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure I’ll still be doing the bulk of my reading on my Paperwhite, because I do prefer it for a plethora of other reasons, but I am now indulging in one or two print books each week. I have only one problem… I need a book light! I was so used to the glow of my Paperwhite in the dark that I was lost when it came time to read in bed with my new print library books. Thus, I am currently researching book lights (because you know I can’t have just any old book light; it must be THE BEST book light). I will keep you updated, because I know y’all are waiting on bated breath to hear all about it…

Let’s take a look at the 18 books I read in June:

Yes, yes, yes. I did  continue on with my YA Fantasy binge in June. Toward the end of the month, however, I was able to break away and read into some other genres – finally! The book I want to talk about the most is Ginny Moon – oh my goodness, what a heartbreaker that one was! Ginny is a 14-year-old girl with autism. Despite being newly adopted by her Forever parents, Ginny is desperate to get back to her birth mother – for something she holds very, very dear has been left behind. Let me tell you guys – this one had ALL. THE. FEELS. Run, don’t walk, to your library to snatch that book up and get to reading, y’all! There will be a quiz… (okay, not really, but it sounded good, right?).

I have a few books in mind for my July line-up, but some of my reading will be in-the-moment choices. Gotta have that spontaneity in there sometimes, you know? Keeps you young, keeps you fresh (that’s what Grandma Choo-Choo always said, anyway). I hope you have some great reading ahead of you as well, y’all. Enjoy your Summer and… Happy Reading!!

What book(s) from your june reads would you recommend to others?

Save

Bookish Roundup – May, 2017

MayRoundupGraphic

Can you believe it is June, already? I won’t go on and on about how this year has gone sooo fast, but: it totally has, y’all. Just sayin’.

My reading speed wasn’t the best this month, but I think that may have been because I was reading some biiiig books. So, go easy on me, y’all. I can’t hit the 27 book mark every single month, much as I would like to. It’s all good, though, because did I read some doozies or what last month?! Oh, you will never know the joy I felt when I discovered Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series… Addicted. I am addicted to that series, I will tell you what. And had you ever asked me if I would be a YA Fantasy fan in the past, I would have laughed you right out of my life, let me tell you. It just goes to show… never say never.

Speaking of YA, I really hit the YA groove in May as well. Ten out of the 17 books I read were YA novels – and most of those were along the lines of the Fantasy genre. Wha-What???? What is happening to me?? I don’t know, y’all, but… I like it! I like it a lot! And I cannot get enough. Wait until you see my line-up for June’s Roundup – you’re gonna lose your minds!!

Anyhoo, let’s take a look at exactly what I did read in May:

So many of the books I read in May were simply amazing, I don’t even know where to begin. Books I could have done without in May – as in, book I wish I’d not read after all – might be easier to go over. I didn’t find a lot entertaining in The Paper Magician series; I found it to be kind of just filler reading – you know, entertaining enough to keep my mind busy, but not inventive enough to actually inspire interest or loyalty to the series or author. The First Husband and Lola fall under this category as well, however, Lola did have the possibility of becoming something really amazing – alas, the author just didn’t go that extra mile. Too bad, so sad. Everything else was aces, y’all, just aces. Can’t wait to get started with my June TBR and report back to you on that one – I have sooooo many good feelings about those books, y’all! With that thought, I am outta here and on my way to get my Summer read on – Happy Reading to all of you as well!!

What was your favorite May read? Do you have a special book on your summer tbr?

Save

Bookish Roundup, April 2017

April_Roundup

Oh. My. God. Y’all. Can you believe it is already May?? This year is zipping by so quickly and I don’t even know where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing while it has!! Oh, wait – reading. I’ve been reading. Maybe that’s why it’s all such a blur…

Well, one thing is for sure – I hopped on that YA literature train last month, and I haven’t really disembarked since then. Of the nineteen books I read in April, twelve of them were YA titles! Now, how’s that for a turnaround? The best thing about them was that I enjoyed every single one. Whoa. What? Did hell just freeze over? No, no, it’s okay, folks – I can admit when I’m wrong. And I was wrong. I’m saying it again for the second month in a row. But don’t expect to hear it again for a while, now!!

Let’s take a look at the fine, fine literature that captured my soul in April:

 

I love, love, loved both of the titles I read by Mindy McGinnis – they were each very different from the other, but each very good. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – well, what can I say? They were the best!! That was an enjoyable week of reading, fo sho. B.A. Paris’s newest thriller, The Breakdown (due out on June 20, 2017) was amazing! She has definitely established herself as a clever and talented weaver of the twisted psychological tale. The Divergent Trilogy proved to be a great read as well. “Wha-What?,” you ask. That’s a DYSTOPIAN YA series!! Yep. I caved. And I liked it. So there. And since I was breaking boundaries left and right, I dove right into the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness as well and – while the books drag on a teensy bit – it’s fairly entertaining, too!!

In review, April was a great month of bookish delights and discoveries. I broadened my horizons a bit – and liked it a lot! I’m so excited for May and all of the books I have already waiting, just for me… Before you get too engrossed in your own books, be sure to stop by and say hi at the Pathologically Literate Facebook Page (and maybe even at Goodreads, too)! Happy Reading, y’all!!

What bookish delights did you find this April?

Save

Bookish Roundup — March, 2017

March 2017 Roundup

Spring is here! And thank the Sweet Baby Jesus it came when it did! February is my least favorite month of the year, and things don’t tend to get much better for me until the end of March. And, folks, here we are at the finish line just movin’ right along into April!! I’m lovin’ it, I will tell you what. After my spectacular month of reading in January (27 books!!), I bottomed by reading only 14 books in February. Abysmal!! But don’t worry, everyone – I more than made up for it in March, reading a total of 23 books. I think we can safely say that I am back in the game again! Let’s take a look at March’s fine, fine literature…

Well, I did it, y’all. I finally did it. Yes, yes, I know I said it would never happen, but all of you fanatics finally just wore me down: in February, I read the entire Harry Potter series – in about a week’s time!! And… I adored it! That got me thinking about other books I’d banned, such as The Hunger Games Trilogy. Guess what – I loved them, too! Next on the list… why not add an entire GENRE to the mix? I dove in head first and read a total of 11 YA novels during the month of March! I believe that’s more than the total number of YA books I had read previously, ever! Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to become a die-hard YA fan or anything like that, but I will say that it’s not all necessarily the worthless twaddle I’d accused it of being in the past. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’m so excited for April and the rest of Spring to follow – I’ve got soooo many great books waiting to be read, including a bunch of ARCs that are bound to be hits. I have big, big plans for this season – plans that include my front porch, my favorite chair, my Kindle Paperwhite, and a lot of fresh air and sunshine! Plans on the blog for April include the return of Library Love posts – because you can never give the library enough love, amiright? Have a great month, everyone. Go and get your read on, y’all!

What was your fave March read?

Save

January, 2017 Roundup

sztabnik-169hero-wrongbook-shutterstock

Oh. My. Gawd. Y’all! I have been like a reading machine for the last two weeks. Fifteen books in fifteen days! It wasn’t even a goal I set; it just sort of happened. The best part about it is that most of the books were really great reads! I was thrilled. Thrilled, y’all!

Now, I reviewed my reading from the beginning of January previously this month (you can check that out here). Below I’ve included brief reviews for each of the final fifteen novels I read this month. Enjoy!


exitExit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Y’all, I cannot rave about this book enough. Five stars, all the way. When Hermione Winters is at a cheerleading camp party, a boy slips something into her drink, and things progress as you would assume from there. But only that far. Hermione is not your typical victim – in fact, she refuses to be one. She is a survivor, and this novel is about just that. With an amazing best friend and other supporters, Hermione fights her way back to a new normal and wields her emerging power like a boss.


wayward-pinesWayward Pines Trilogy by Blake Crouch

All three books in this trilogy are surprisingly fast and easy reads. Pines, Wayward, and The Last Town tell the tale of Ethan Burke and the town of Wayward Pines, Idaho – an eerie, small town smack in the middle of nowhere (literally). Dystopian fiction is not generally my kind of thing, but the concept of this trilogy was too good to pass up. A post-apocalyptic community, overseen by an egomaniacal Big Brother, that has no idea it exists as one? Yes, please. My only complaint is Crouch’s continued use of violence – sickening at times and particularly overdone in Book #3. Wayward Pines is also currently airing as a television series on FOX; you can view its website and watch full episodes here.


range-of-motionRange of Motion by Elizabeth Berg

Lainey’s husband has been in a coma for months. She is desperate for him to wake as she struggles to raise their two daughters. I first read this 21 years ago. I liked it then; it was the first Elizabeth Berg novel I’d ever read, and it turned me into a lifelong fan. Reading it now, however… it was so much more. I just appreciated it so much more. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and wiser, or a more discerning reader now, or what the difference is but the entire book was just so much more beautiful and meaningful this time around. If you’ve never read an Elizabeth Berg novel, this is a great one to start with.


open-houseOpen House by Elizabeth Berg

When Samantha’s husband, David, leaves her she is forced to live her life outside of the box she is used to. Sam grows and grieves as she makes new friends and finds new experiences as a newly single mother. One of the most important lessons she learns, however, is that the person she once was is the person she has always been meant to be. This one was a favorite of mine from several years back; I didn’t love it as much this time around, but still enjoyed it immensely, because: Elizabeth Berg. C’mon, did you really have to ask?


brewster-placeThe Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor

The late Gloria Naylor’s debut novel is just So. Damn. Good. Following the lives of seven African-American women living in the same inner-city housing complex, their stories are stark and beautiful and raw and tender. Each woman’s tale reads like its own short story, however, they are all intricately woven throughout the novel. Naylor’s writing evokes vivid images of each woman and their lives, and leads you down a path you can’t come back from. Oprah produced and starred in a mini-series based on this novel back in the day; you can check it out here.


never-changeNever Change by Elizabeth Berg

Oh, yes, more Elizabeth Berg. Had to do it, y’all.  Many, many moons ago I read this novel and absolutely adored it. It is beautiful and charming and life-affirming and heartbreaking. Fifteen years later, I related to it even more than I did the first time around. At fifty-one years old, Myra Lipinski has always lived alone. While she admits that her job as a visiting nurse and caring for her beloved dog, Frank, are fulfilling, she is also quietly unhappy. When a former classmate with terminal cancer becomes her newest patient, Myra’s life changes forever.


good-behaviorGood Behavior by Blake Crouch

Good Behavior is the collected works of three short stories by Crouch, starring the unforgettable Letty Dobesh. Fresh out of prison and struggling to turn her luck around, Letty runs into quite the conundrum: while robbing a hotel room, she unwittingly witnesses two men planning a murder. Try as she may, Letty is unable to just walk away. Unable to go to the police without incriminating herself in the robbery, she takes matters into her own hands and attempts to play the unlikely hero. Good Behavior has recently been developed as a television series on TNT; you can see it here.


ordinary-lifeOrdinary LIfe: Stories by Elizabeth Berg

This collection of stories was published in 2001, but I avoided it at the time because I had a long-standing grudge against short stories. I hated them! They ended way too soon for my taste. As soon as you got settled into a story, started investing yourself in the characters and storyline, BOOM! Story over. It was  my worst nightmare. Thus, I refused to read them for years and years. I’ve gotten over this grudge in years past and have enjoyed some truly excellent writing because of it – these stories are included in that bunch. I previously recommended Range of Motion as an excellent introduction to Elizabeth Berg; Ordinary Life would be another great way to start your relationship off with her as well.


real-thingUntil the Real Thing Comes Along by Elizabeth Berg

I read this one for the first time sixteen years ago, when I was pregnant with The Boy. I adored this story about 36-year-old Patty who wants nothing more than to have a baby. Unfortunately for her, she’s been unlucky in the love department up to this point and happens to be madly in love with her gay best friend, Ethan. Desperate for something – anything – to happen and aware that time is running short, Patty makes a snap decision that is going to change her life forever, as well as give her the baby she’s always dreamed of.


corona-del-marThe Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe 

This powerful novel follows the lives of Mia and Lorrie Ann, lifelong friends who seem destined to follow diverging paths: Mia living a troubled life and Lorrie Ann sheltered in the cocoon of her loving family. Soon, however, life throws a series of curve balls and each of their paths changes – Mia finding success and love she never expected or believes she deserves, and Lorrie Ann finding herself the hapless victim of tragedy after tragedy. This is a brutal and honest novel of love, friendship,  motherhood, and loyalty beyond normal measure.


sugarSugar by Bernice L. McFadden

Bernice L. McFadden’s debut novel, originally published in 2000, is amazing. A young prostitute, Sugar, moves to small-town Bigelow, Arkansas to get away from a past she is trying to forget. She is befriended by Pearl, who is still wracked with grief over the death of her daughter fifteen years ago. Despite the rejection of Sugar by the townsfolk, she and Pearl form a close bond and the two find healing within their friendship that neither had expected. Unfortunately, dark secrets and true dispositions never stay hidden forever and it won’t be long before Sugar’s sweet new life begins to go sour.


what-we-keepWhat We Keep by Elizabeth Berg

January is officially the Month of Elizabeth Berg, y’all. Whew! Six books by the same author in a ten-day period is unusual for me, but when it comes to Berg, I will make an exception any time. What We Keep chronicles a summer in the 1950’s during which a family fell apart – and the reunion of the mother and daughters in the present day. This is not my favorite Berg novel by a long shot. Now, we could contribute this to the fact that I have my own #mommyissues. But we could also say that Berg’s trademark attention to the beauty of every detail and to the atmosphere itself is simply not as present as it is in other novels. It’s OK, though, Elizabeth – I still love you!!


Plans for February? Nothing specific; I’m just going to take it as it comes. But I know what y’all are really wondering – will there be more Elizabeth Berg on my plate? Why yes, yes there will be. I’ve got a few more of her novels that I’d like to re-read and one or two that I somehow missed over the years that I will be reading for the first time. Yippee for me! But we’ll chat more about that later this month. Until next time, y’all – Happy Reading!!

What was your favorite book in January?

Save

Save

Winter Reads, 2017 {QuickLit with MMD}

winter-reading

Linking up to Modern Mrs. Darcy for her monthly QuickLit post, where we share “short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately” – in this case, what I’ve read so far this month.

We were supposed to be hit by a catastrophic Midwestern ice storm over the past three days. Catastrophic, y’all. I was so prepared. I stocked up on food, water, candles, etc. But most importantly, I charged my reading devices: My Paperwhite, my Fire, my iPhone, and even my ancient android tablet for backup. I was not going to run out of reading juice on this watch, no-sirree-Bob. And then – and then – nothing. Well, we got a little bit of ice, I suppose. But it barely dipped below freezing for most of the time. Mostly, it was just enough ice to make the trees and surrounding structures look stunningly beautiful in the morning sunlight and to keep the sidewalks and porches slippery for part of the day. But you know what, y’all? I still read like there was a raging blizzard out there. I holed up in my house with my blankets and my Ruby and I read and read and read. It was great!! Can’t wait for the next storm…

I’ve read twelve books so far in January, 2017 and have many more waiting in my haul. I’ve been on a winning streak, as well – haven’t hit a dud yet! I told y’all 2017 was going to be a charmed year! Let’s take a look at what I’ve been reading:


born-a-crimeBorn a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah’s intense and unforgettable memoir of growing up in post-Apartheid South Africa is beautifully written. Full of tales both hilarious and heartbreaking, Noah takes readers from his birth to his early adulthood with grace and humor far beyond his age. In addition to learning about his own experiences and life, I also learned much more about Apartheid than I previously knew – I clearly need to do some more reading on this – while I knew it was awful, I had no idea of the magnitude of its systemic evils.


endless-numbered-daysOur Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

When a prepper Dad abducts his eight-year-old daughter, they abscond to a derelict cabin deep in the woods. Daddy Dearest tells his daughter that there has been a cataclysmic event and that they are the only two surviving humans on the planet Earth. Peggy offers a unique narrative in this compelling coming-of-age novel that will hit you in the gut when you least expect it. The shocking ending is something you will never see coming – I wanted to go back and re-read several chapters of the book so I could relish the brilliance of this twist.


the-underground-railroadThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead’s interpretation of the Underground Railroad as an actual, brick-and-mortar railroad, is nothing short of brilliant. As Cora flees the Randall plantation in Georgia, she travels the rails to South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana, and further yet.  At each stop, Cora experiences a different aspect of the times, each of which magnificently mirrors racial issues/attitudes in America to come as history moves forward as well as those present today. Whitehead’s portrayal of slavery and the cultural exploration visited upon in this novel are its greatest strengths, creating an atmosphere of grief, hope, and longing. While the stark and difficult subject matter precludes me from saying this book was a pleasure to read, I will say that I am glad that I did. {Thanks to Doubleday Books & NetGalley}


i-am-the-messengerI Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

I Am the Messenger is a beautiful tale from beginning to end. Following Ed on his journey from going-nowhere, underage cab driver to quiet champion of the people is an honor. As he moves from mission to mission to save the underdog of the day, Ed grows in leaps and bounds. Zusak’s writing is hypnotic; the sharp, emotional impact of the way he breaks his sentences is poetic. His humor is on point throughout the novel. This story is truly a lesson that anyone, no matter how ordinary, can be strong, be courageous, be mighty. This one has all the feels, y’all.


how-it-always-isThis Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This emotional and compelling novel takes on subject matter that is both timely and so, so important for us to read about. Frankel’s sharp and witty dialogue perfectly complements her deep exploration of tough personal, family, and societal issues. Powerful and captivating, Poppy’s story – and that of her family’s – will leave you doing some serious soul-searching, while giving you insight on the multitudes of ways children’s minds are at work. Each character is exquisitely drawn and woven into this tale, bringing them to life such a way that you cannot help but see yourself and those you love within them. Everyone, especially parents, should read this book. {Thanks to Flatiron Books & NetGalley}


the-wolf-roadThe Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

In this postapocalyptic  psychological thriller, a young girl is lost in the wilderness and is taken under the wing of a woodsman she calls “Trapper.” Now a young adult, having learned a terrible secret about her adopted “father,” Elka strikes out on her own in search of her birth parents. Lewis has created a strong – no, a badass – female lead here, who narrates in a stark and frank manner. Her journey across a dystopian wasteland brings her across more discoveries, experiences, and interactions than she had ever imagined existed. It took me a bit to devote myself to this one but once I did, I was hooked.


unfuck-your-habitatUnf*ck Your Habitat by Rachel Hoffman

As a huge fan of the Tumblr site Unfuck Your Habitat, I was thrilled when I learned Rachel Hoffman had secured a book deal. This how-to manual on developing a housekeeping and organizational system for those of us who have been past failures in these areas is perfect, both helpful and hilarious. Hoffman takes a realistic approach to these tasks, addressing living situations other than that of the everyday homemaker usually depicted in most books of this genre. Her engaging manner keeps readers’ attention and breaks tasks down into their simplest forms so that even the most domestically challenged person can find success. {Thanks to St. Martin’s Press & NetGalley}


lucky-boyLucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Lucky Boy is the devastating and haunting family saga of two women – Solimar and Kavya – both mothers, both to the same little boy. Exploring such timely issues as immigration, undocumented workers, infertility, motherhood and more, readers will be captivated by the stories of the women who give their hearts to a small boy named Ignacio.  The alternating tales of Soli and Kavya will capture you and hold you until the very end. This is an absolutely important book that adds much to the global conversation regarding immigration in today’s world. {Thanks to Penguin Group/Putnam & NetGalley}


a-perilous-undertakingA Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

After waiting impatiently for the last year, Book #2 of Raybourn’s new Veronica Speedwell series was released this January. Book #1 was a tough act to follow, but Raybourn did it with aplomb. Veronica and Stoker return only to be roped into a murder investigation with the intent of proving the innocence of the accused murderer. Their sharp and witty banter flows as they romp through each escapade, making it through by the skin of their teeth. This one wasn’t as fabulous as Book #1, but it did come close – can’t wait for its follow-up next year!!


i-liked-my-lifeI Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

I Liked My Life is the heartwarming and clever tale of a father and daughter struggling to connect as they grieve the death of the woman they both loved. I adored this novel, narrated by Madeline, Brady, and Eve – Madeline being the late mother and wife to Eve and Brady, of course, back from the grave and working behind the scenes to help her family move on without her. Fabiaschi is a master of real, true-to-life internal dialogue. This book about survival, moving on, personal growth, and finding your family again will warm your heart – and tingle your spine with an unexpected twist at the end. {Thanks to St. Martin’s Press & NetGalley}


charlie-freemanWe Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge

This debut family saga tells the tale of the Freeman family, who have moved from Boston to live in the countryside at the Tonybee Institute while assimilating a chimpanzee into their family and teaching him sign language in an experiment that is just waiting to go awry. While sweetly titled, do not be fooled – this is not a heartwarming novel. The Freemans’ story and that of the Tonybee Institute is messy and sorrowful and wrong, and there is an underlying tension throughout the novel that eats away at your nerves. There’s no holding back in this one; Greenidge goes for broke and takes you along for the ride.


always-sarah-jioAlways by Sarah Jio

Sarah Jio is at it again in this poignant and gripping novel about love lost and love found as the past and the present collide in the most tragic of ways. Ten years after losing the love of her life, Kailey has moved on, never knowing that the past is about to catch up with her and tear her newly built world apart. As she tries to piece together the shards of what could have been, Kailey is faced with a decision – one that only the heart can make. Jio’s newest novel, while slightly predictable, is full of tragedy, love, and intrigue – a definite must-read for her fans and more!


As I mentioned above, twelve hits so far this month! Not too stinking bad, if I do say so myself. Hopefully you’ll find something on this list to add to your TBR, because really – can you ever afford to run out of good book ideas? Not on my side of the woods, you can’t. Thanks for joining me for a look at my Winter Reads so far; I’ll catch you up with my next round-up near the end of January. Happy Reading, y’all!!

What have you been reading so far this month?

Save

My Bookish Resolutions for 2017

new-years-resolutions

It’s a new year, y’all, and time for a fresh start. Last year I set a precedent for myself when I shared My Bookish Resolutions for 2016 in the hope that it would make them more real to me, and thus more attainable – also, to create a little accountability for myself, thereby creating some motivation to actually reach those goals I was setting. How did that work out for me? Well, I wrote all about that last week in Reflections on My 2016 Bookish Resolutions – feel free to check out the post to see how things went.

In 2017 I plan to revisit some of last year’s goals as well as set some new ones for myself. I’ve chosen five main areas I want to work on. Let’s take a look at where I’m headed with this:

1.  Read a minimum of 175 books in 2017

2017-Goodreads-Challenge

I originally set a goal of reading 150 books in 2016. Surprising myself, I far surpassed that goal, reading a total of 192 books! I’m upping the ante a bit this year and going for 175 books in the 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge. We are homeschooling high school this year so I didn’t want to aim much higher than that as I know we’re going to be busier than ever before. That said, I do plan to re-evaluate things in October to see where I am at with my reading totals and perhaps adjust my challenge goal at that time.

2. Read the Books I Own

ReadMyOwnDamnBooksbutton

Based on the large number of books I’ve amassed on my Kindle Paperwhite (my preferred reading medium), one would imagine I would have no need to purchase any new books nor have any use for the public library. Not so, y’all. Not so at all. Despite my plans to the contrary, out of the 192 books I read in 2016, only a measly 29 of them were books that I personally owned. Pathetic, right? With renewed vigor, I am pledging to #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks in 2017!! Now, this is more of a “you do you” reading “effort” versus a reading challenge hosted over at Estella’s Revenge. Once again, I’m not yet sure exactly how I’m going to approach this goal, but I am going to tackle and at the least significantly reduce this collection of books on my Kindle. I’m off to a decent start already, too – we’re only 1 1/2 weeks into January and out of the six books I’ve read so far, two of them have been books that belong to me. I’ll be totally pleased if that ratio were to continue throughout the year. Yay, me!

3. Create a Private Reading Log

reading-spreadsheet-1

Now, as we all know, I track my reading on Goodreads; I also keep track of the books I read each year on Pinterest. What my bookish little heart really desires, however, is cold, hard data. The kind, my friend, that you can track and collect and evaluate and transform into… yes… that’s right… PIE CHARTS!! I found an excellent template for a private reading log right here that I’m going to be using. I did find another great one here, but decided the original template I’d found fit my uses better. Each template is editable once downloaded, of course, so should you, too, choose to do so there’s nothing stopping your data collecting little souls from customizing it to your heart’s content. This was a goal of mine for 2016 as well, which bombed spectacularly. It bombed so spectacularly, in fact, that I never even downloaded the template. OMG. So sad, amiright? 2017 is a different story, my friends. Not only did I download the template already, but I have customized it to my needs and have been keeping it updated with the books I have read so far (granted, that is only six books, but still…). I would say we are off to a great start, wouldn’t you? It’s only onward and upward from here, people. All I have to say is be prepared for some major pie chartage in January, 2018.

 

4. Read *More* More Diverse Books

I-support-WNDB-e1403127729397

I’ve made it a goal of mine since the beginning of 2015 to read more books written by or about people of all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. The problem I came across in the previous two years is that I was simply not mindful enough about this. I thought about it, yes. I added plenty of books to my TBR list, yes. But when choosing the books I actually read, I just picked up whatever sounded good at the moment or whatever was available, and didn’t pay that much attention at the time as to whether or not the book I had just chosen was meeting the standards I had set for myself. I want the books I read to reflect the person I am and the values and beliefs I hold, and if that is the case then I must be more mindful when I’m in the moment of actually picking up my next book. In 2016, I read 37 books that fell under the category of diverse literature as defined above. In 2017, I would like to at least double that amount.

5. Pay More Attention to Pathologically Literate

PL Avatar

Once upon a time, I posted daily on this blog. Then, it was three times a week. Then, a few times a month. In 2016, it was more like a few times that year. That is not the vision I had for Pathologically Literate when I created it. I wanted a forum where I could gloat and enthuse about my love and passion for all things books and reading, where others could read and relate to those words and perhaps share some of their own thoughts on those subjects. I would like to get back to that. Now that we’re homeschooling high school, there is no way I have time to review every book I read the way I did once upon a time, but I do intend to do so more often. I also plan to write more about other bookish delights, as well homeschool life and other events in the Pathologically Literate household. Saddle up, y’all. Momma’s comin’ home!

2017 is going to be a year full of good reads, good writing, and good times. I can’t wait to get started, and I hope you will be here with me for the journey. Happy Reading in 2017, y’all!!

What are your reading goals for 2017?