Posted in Book Reviews, reading

Reading Wrap-up: 2020 Edition

Hey there! Welcome to a brand new year, and my very first post of 2021. I can’t believe it’s already mid January, time really does fly. Today, I’ll be sharing my completed reading list for 2020. It wasn’t the best of reading years for me, but it wasn’t the worst either. When I compiled my list I realized I’d actually read more than I thought, and even surpassed the previous year’s record, (by the skin of my teeth). I tried to include a wider variety of genres, but of course, fantasy and sci-fi won out for the most reads. I had pretty good luck with the non-fiction reads I chose, but as for fiction, most of the books I read weren’t great. With the exception of a few, it seemed like most of the novels I picked up last year were just average, and didn’t capture my attention. Which led me to feel very uninspired about my TBR. But looking back, it turned out to be a rather decent reading year, despite my lack of enthusiasm.

Now let’s get to the list:

Ratings: 1-5

Favorites in bold

Non-Fiction

  1. The Universe Next Door, by James W. Sire – 4
  2. Beyond Brilliance, by Lucas Miller – 4
  3. Writing Your Story’s Theme, by K.M. Weiland – 5
  4. Reversing Hermon, by Dr. Michael S. Heiser – 5
  5. True Legends, by Steven Quayle – 5
  6. Herbal Home Healthcare, by John R. Christopher – 5

Sci-fi/Fantasy

  1. Fireborn, by Rosaria Munda – 4
  2. Beyond the Deep Woods: The Edge Chronicles 1, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell – 5
  3. The Christ Virus, by Dave Slade – 3
  4. Starsight, by Brandon Sanderson – 4
  5. Into the Fire, by Kim Vandel (re-read) – 5
  6. Among the Flames, by Kim Vandel (re-read) – 5
  7. A Time to Die, by Nadine Brandes – 3
  8. The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater – 5
  9. The Malamander, by Thomas Taylor – 2
  10. On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, the Wingfeather Saga book 1, by Andrew Peterson – 4
  11. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, by Christopher Paolini – 3
  12. The Dark Hills Divide, The Land of Elyon book 1, by Patrick Carman – 4
  13. The Lost Colony, Artemis Fowl book 5, by Eoin Colfer – 4
  14. Paranormia, by Paul Regnier – 5

Classics

  1. The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins – 4
  2. The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff – 4
  3. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy – 5

Contemporary/Historical

  1. The Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Pruess – 5
  2. The Scent of Water, by Elizabeth Goudge – 5
  3. Rose Cottage, by A.K. Madison – 4
  4. The Penderwicks book 1, by Jeanne Birdsall – 5
  5. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness – 4

Total : 28

Top 4 Mini-Reviews:

Beyond The Deep Woods, by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell

In this story, we follow a misfit boy who was raised by an adoptive family in the Deep Woods; a dark and dangerous place filled with all sorts of strange, and ferocious beasts. He sets out all alone on a journey through the wilds, and has many curious encounters with some very odd characters. This is a Middle-Grade book, but it can be read and enjoyed by anyone looking for an adventure. The storyline was very original, and I was surprised to find out that it was not a modern publication, but was published over twenty years ago.

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Steifvater

Taking place on the small, windswept, isle of Thisby, we follow Puck Connolly, and Sean Kendrick as they prepare for The Scorpio Races. A yearly event where racers compete for a grand prize—and sometimes to the death—atop the violent, and wild, water horses called, capaill uisce. This book had me staying up late into the night, and reading for hours to reach the end. I actually found this book at a thrift store a few years ago, and left it sitting untouched on my bookshelf for so long! I’m happy that I finally got around to reading it. I loved everything about this book, and I think it’s my favorite book of the entire year.

Paranormia, by Paul Regnier

Chris Loury is young, broke, and kind of a nerd. Struggling to find his way in life, and hoping to land a contract for his original comic, he ends up in a strange accident. After that fateful night, he is swept into a series of wild encounters, and has several run-ins with a lunatic who claims to be an angel. But as events unfold, and Chris finds himself digging deeper into trouble, he starts to believe the lunatic is actually who–or rather what he says he is. I appreciated the way the supernatural elements were handled in this story, and I thought Chris was a very relatable character, especially to all of my fellow twenty-something’s out there, who are trying to make their own way in the world. Overall, a solid read.

The Scent of Water, by Elizabeth Goudge

The perfect, cozy British tale to curl up with under a blanket, and a cup of tea. This story centers around Mary, a woman who retires to a small English village, and becomes acquainted with the inhabitants there. Learning to love the quiet of the countryside, Mary also finds herself becoming involved in the many joys, and heartaches with her new neighbors. This was one of the few books I was actually sad to finish. I’ll likely be reading more books, by Miss Goudge in the future.

Most Disappointing:

Unpopular opinion here: I was actually very disappointed in, A Time to Die, by Nadine Brandes. I’d read so many great reviews of this book, (and I enjoyed her other books,) but after reading, A Time to Die I don’t really get the hype. For starters, it felt sort of like two books squashed into one, with so much going on. I never connected with the main character, Parvin, and I thought it a little unrealistic how much trauma she went through, and still survived. (Though that was kind of the point of the story.) In general, there were many aspects of the story that I found very unrealistic, and slightly annoying. I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t, and as of right now I don’t think I’ll continue with the series.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, by Christopher Paolini

Firstly, I loved the cover, and this title is exactly what I like to see from sci-fi novels. I was a big fan of the Inheritance Cycle, by Paolini, but unfortunately I didn’t love this book. This is not a YA book, nor does it pretend to be, but I felt like I went into it a little blind. Especially for younger Paolini fans, I’d warn them about the amount of profanity, and adult themes throughout. It was an interesting story, and read like any space epic, but, I didn’t find it out of this world fantastic. Die-hard sci-fi fans would probably enjoy this book, but I’m not adding it to my favorites list. Also, it’s nearly 900 hundred pages, so beware.

Thus concludes my list, and a few reviews, for all the books I cracked open during the year 2020. I may have forgotten a few, since I didn’t keep track very well. There were also a few DNF’s (Did Not Finish), throughout the year which I didn’t list here, but that’s for the best. This year I’m hoping to read more, since I feel like I’m finally in a good reading mood, but then again I say that every year, and things don’t always pan out. I would like to continue to expand genres, and read more non-fiction. And in general, just read outside of my comfort zone, because I feel a bit like I’ve read those genres dry, and I know I’ll find some new, unexpected favorites, if I’d only look to new avenues.

What about you? How many books did you read in 2020? What was your favorite read of the year? Leave me a comment, and let me know!

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

Posted in reading, WORDS

The Books I Read In 2017

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Here we are at the close of yet another year.
Time literally feels like it’s flying by in a high-speeding rocket, and I can barely hold on to  the days! That may sound a bit dramatic, but I’m sure we all feel the same, don’t we?

Anyway, reading-wise, this (past) year went fairly well. Though I only read four more books than I did in 2016, I’m still pretty happy that I managed to pull that off!
I feel like I branched out a bit, and read genres that were a bit unusual for me, which I’m pretty proud of. I also crossed off six books from the nine I had on my TBR. That too, was an accomplishment. (I may have unconsciously, avoided the more intimidating ones, *wink, wink.)
In addition, I read a lot of really good books that I very much enjoyed. Even a few that I absolutely LOVED! I’ll share those with you at another time, so keep an eye out for a future post about them.
Without further ado…here is my complete list of books read in 2017:

Ratings 1/5 stars

CLASSICS
1. The Inheritance, by Louisa May Alcott – 4
2. The Wind in The Willows, by Kenneth Grahame – 4
3. Villette, by Charlotte Bronte – 4
4. Michale O’Halloran, by Gene Stratton-Porter – 4
5. Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne – 5
6. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury – 5
7. The Shepherd of Bethlehem, by A.L.O.E. – 4
8. Animal Farm, by George Orwell – 5
9. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee – 5

NON-FICTION
1. Food Forensics, by Mike Adams – 5
2. A Buzz in the Meadow, by Dave Goulson – 4
3. Endurance, by Alfred Lansing – 5
4. Ghosts in the Fog, by Samantha Seiple – 3

PARANORMAL/MYSTERY/HORROR/THRILLER
1. House of Furies, by Madeilne Roux – 2
2. The Betrayal, by R.L. Stine – 3
3. The Secret, by R.L. Stine – 3
4. The Burning, by R.L. Stine – 3
5. And Then She was Gone, by Christopher Greyson – 4
6. Thornhill, by Pam Smy – 4
7. Dream House, by Marzia Bisognin – 2

HISTORICAL FICTION
1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith – 4
2. Maud, by Melanie J. Fishbane – 4

FANTASY
1. Heartless, by Marissa Meyer – 4
2. Mortal Song, by Megan Crewe – 3
3. The Mermaid’s Sister, by Carrie Anne Noble – 4
4. The Reader, by Traci Chee – 4
5. Green Ember, by S.D. Smith – 3
6. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo – 4
7. Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo – 4
8. Seeds of Discovery, by Breeana Puttroff – 3
9. Roots of Insight, by Breeana Puttroff – 3
10. Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes – 2
11. Rose of the Oath, by Hope Ann – 4
12. A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin – 3
13. Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson – 5
14. Among the Flames, by Kim Vandel – 5
15. Seeker, by Arwen Elys Dayton – 3
16. Blood Race, by K.A. Emmons – 5
17. Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones – 5
18. Caraval, by Stephanie Garber – 4
19. Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale – 5

TOTAL: 41

There it is, folks!
Again, wouldn’t call it a “grand” total, but rather a decent one, I suppose.
I usually try not to end on an odd number, (my OCD is showing…) but it couldn’t be helped this time. I’m hoping this year will be better, as I’m aiming for fifty books, but don’t quote me on that. My personal best was seventy books in a year, and maybe some day I’ll be able to top that, but I don’t think that will happen very soon.
As far as goals go, I want to read more non-fiction, you know, educational books. *shudder*
I realized that there are some really great non-fiction books out there, I just have to find the right ones. And along with that, I’m going to continue on as I did last year, and try to read a wider range of genres/styles.

So tell me, did you meet your reading goals last year?
What are your goals for this year?
Did we read any of the same books in 2017?
Please share your comments below.