I finished my first race of the year, the River Trail 15K, with a new personal best time of 1:16 and a first place age group win!
My first ever podcast recording, with Sarah’s Book Shelves, went live on February 6 (all the details here) and I had so much fun chatting with Sarah about old books, new books, and everything in between…including The Bachelor.
Speaking of The Bachelor, I have really enjoyed watching the show and then listening to the weekly episode recaps with Knox and Jamie of The Popcast; I look forward to laughing along with them every week.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym of J.K. Rowling) - After hearing so much about this series, featuring down-on-his-luck private investigator Cormoran Strike, I jumped at the chance to join in with a group of online friends for a group reading experience. While this is certainly not what I would consider a page-turner, I’ve been told by numerous readers that this novel merely sets the stage for subsequent books in the series. I did, as usual, enjoy Rowling’s scene- and character-building talents and look forward to the next installment.
The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman (received free copy from publisher) - This was an okay, three star read, for me; I enjoyed the complicated dynamics between two sisters who are dealing with the social and financial consequences of WWII, but it was difficult for me to stay engaged.
Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott - A movie with the same title will be released in early March; this novel is actually an adaptation of the screenplay and is centered around three young adults who experience life through the limitations of cystic fibrosis. I was made aware of this novel by my friend Katharine, who also lives with cystic fibrosis, and decided to read along with her and several other bookstagrammers. While it’s not the most well-written YA novel I’ve read, I am happy to support the endeavors of those who are making an effort to include a more diverse population and teach readers about the challenges of chronic illness.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray - I can hardly believe this is a debut novel; it is one of my most anticipated reads for the beginning of the year and it did not disappoint! You can read my full review here.
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren - After a very challenging couple of weeks at work, in addition to several heavier reads in a row, I needed to lighten things up a bit. As usual, the dynamic duo Christina Lauren to the rescue! I love that each of their novels are very different; I’ve noticed that some contemporary fiction and romance authors seem to fall into a bit of a rut over time, but these ladies always keep me wanting more. This was just what I needed during the time I read it and I’m looking forward to their upcoming release later this year.
Learning to See by Elise Hooper - This novel was the February selection of the Saltwater Reads Book Club and I’m so glad I chose the audio version; it is narrated by one of my favorites (and thanks to Susie at Novel Visits for the recommendation!), Cassandra Campbell, and it is so interesting! Prior to reading this novel, I had very little knowledge of Dorothea Lange’s early career or personal life; I was fascinated by this story and Hooper obviously did some amazing research on Lange’s family history.
Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson - I purchased a copy of this audiobook during an Audible sale last year; it was very inexpensive and it sounded like a fun read. After listening to a recent episode of the aforementioned Sarah’s Book Shelves Live, with guest Ashley Spivey, I bumped this one up on my list and I’m so glad I did! This was a delightful listen; the narration is great and it was a lovely departure from my dreary, emotionally-taxing days at work.
An Instagram friend, Jamise (@spinesvines), hosts the @diversespines account and selects books for each month of the year to help readers add diversity to their TBR (to be read) lists; the February 2019 selection is The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This was a reread for me, but quite a few years have passed since my first reading of it and I’m so thankful to have had a reason to return to it; what a powerful read.
Well, it was bound to happen - not only is my first DNF out of the way, but I managed to sneak in another one before the end of the month; I’m sure there will be more to come as the year progresses! After countless successes with this author, the latest release by Sophie Kinsella, I Owe You One, did not please me, at all; in fact, I told Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books that it’s almost as if someone else wrote this novel. I made it through about 30% and put it down; unfortunately, I haven’t given it a second thought.
The second DNF, When You Read This by Mary Adkins, was a selection that I received as a member of the Shelf Subscription from The Bookshelf; I got through most of it, but it’s an epistolary novel and those are always challenging for me. In addition, a trusted reading friend didn’t have great things to say about it and I simply did not feel motivated to finish it.
My Unread Shelf
Thanks to Whitney of @theunreadshelf, I’m participating in #theunreadshelfproject2019 in an effort to clear out some of the books I own and have not yet read; the challenge Whitney created for the month of February is to read any book off our unread shelf that has been gifted to us.
I had plans to get this challenge done this month, but didn’t quite make it. Oh, well! The challenge for March is to read the book that has been on our shelf the longest; I’m going to try to get it done!
I’ll be posting an update on my progress every month this year so, here goes:
Starting unread number (as of February 1): 39
Number of books read: 6
Number of books unhauled: 7
Number of books acquired: 22 (Whoops - I received several ARCs and gift books from friends this month!)
Total unread books: 48
I have two short, local races on my calendar during the month of March: the Chase Race 2M, a two mile race on March 9, followed by the Spring Fling 5K on March 23. I love short races, so I’m really looking forward to both of these!
In addition, the authors have been announced for the upcoming Arkansas Literary Festival (April 25-28); I have books by several of them already in my possession, or on my TBR list, so I’m pretty impressed with the line up this year.
I’m most looking forward to reading Daisy Jones & The Six, an upcoming release by Taylor Jenkins Reid (a must-buy author for me!), A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum (my Book of the Month selection for February), and listening to a highly recommended new thriller, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, thanks to Renee from It’s Book Talk!