Friday, January 1, 2016

Winter 2015 Book Challenge: December Check-In


Another month has gone by in the Semi-Charmed Winter 2015 Book Challenge and I'm calling it a huge accomplishment that I didn't totally suck. I mean, I sucked a little, but I guess not as much as I should have. I'm not sure why I needed this blogging/reading break that I've unintentionally taken for the last 2 months, but it's been pretty restorative. Since having Charlie and trying to figure out how to balance "it all," I've started giving myself a lot more grace than I used to. If I want to clean and organize the house, I do it. If I just want to lie in bed, snuggling my baby boy, I do it. If I want to lie around binge-watching Parks and Rec, I do it. I'm doing what is right for me and living moment to moment. It's truly the only way I maintain any kind of energy or stamina in this crazy life of mine.

With all that being said, I'm so thankful for these reading challenges, because without them, I really don't know if I would read at all! This is what I read in December:


Here's where I'm at with my Preliminary List:

5 points: Read a book that has between 100 and 200 pages | The Giver by Lois Lowry (November 23, 2015)
10 points: Read a debut book by any author | Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (November 22, 2015)
10 points: Read a book that does not take place in your current country of residence | After You by Jojo Moyes 
10 points: Read a book that someone else has already used for the challenge. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Chosen by Jenna @ Hello Sweet Sunbeams) (December 2, 2015)
15 points: Read a book published under a pseudonym | Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
15 points: Read a book with “boy,” “girl,” “man” or “woman” in the title | A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans or Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
15 points: Read a book with a one-word title Sold by Patricia McCormick 
20 points: Read a book with a person's first and last name in the title | The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (November 19, 2015)
20 points: Read a food-themed book Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist (December 13, 2015)
20 points: Read a book with a verb in the title | Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (November 3, 2015)
30 points: Read two books with the same title (by different authors) | TBD (My back-up is Revolution by Russell Brand and Revolution by Deborah Wiles, but I want to see what other readers come up with) 
30 points: Read a nonfiction book and a fiction book about the same subject | Let It Snow by John Green and Being Santa Claus: What I Learned about the True Meaning of Christmas by Sal Lizard (December 29, 2015)
PREVIOUS POINTS: 55
TOTAL POINTS: 85

I didn't finish the entire "nonfiction/fiction about the same subject" category, so unfortunately I can't count it in my point total and I also read Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America for a work discussion, but because it didn't fit any of the categories, I didn't include it. So all in all, not great, but not terrible.


MY REVIEWS:

This was everything I love in a book. Amazing characters, beautiful storytelling surrounding the German occupation on a small British island during WWII, and of course, a love story that would make any Mr. Darcy lover happy. I can't say enough good things about it!

I really, really wanted to like this book. I loved Bread & Wine and I had multiple people tell me this was one of their favorite books, but it all just felt...cliche to me. I also feel like Niequist's writing has gotten better with every subsequent book she's written so that also may have been one my expectations were so high. This probably wasn't a three-star read, but I had my hopes up so high, that I felt kind of disappointed when all was said and done.

I pretty much got exactly what I was expecting with this book. It was not exactly a mind-blowingly, well-written piece of literature. It was, however, a sweet and heartwarming account by a real-life Santa Claus that got me into the Christmas spirit.


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