HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Can you believe it is now 2015? Goodness me…!

2014 was a great year. My son became a toddler, a very smiley and slightly mischievous toddler; I went back to work; I learnt how to crochet and I read some brilliant (and also some quite rubbish!) books. Here is my 2014 reading:

Katie (It’s Time to Read)’s bookshelf: read

One Day
2 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge and not-great

Divergent
5 of 5 stars
tagged:
2012-challenge, book-club-read, borrowed, fantasy, really-good, rec…

Insurgent
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2012-challenge, amazing, loved-it, really-good, young-adult, and 20…

The Husband's Secret
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

The Secret Seven
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge, children, classics, mystery, and really-good

The Secret Seven Adventure
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge, children, and mystery

Raising Steam
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
audiobook and 2014-challenge

Well Done, Secret Seven
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

The Cupid Effect
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge, an-ok-read, and chick-lit

The White Horse of Zennor: And Other Stories
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge, children, and really-good

Allegiant
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Summer at the Lake
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
netgalley and 2014-challenge

The Savage Garden
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

The Racketeer
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Little Beach Street Bakery
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Secret Seven on the Trail
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises
5 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge, amazing, christian, kindle, loved-it, and non-fiction

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

The Crimson Rooms
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Jamaica Inn
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Mini Shopaholic
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Don't Even Think About It
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Delirium
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Brilliant
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Enjoy your prayer life
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Wedding Night
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Pandemonium
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Requiem
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Go Ahead Secret Seven
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

The Beekeeper's Daughter
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Down River
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Only Remembered
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Notes from a Small Island
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

The Fault in Our Stars
5 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

The Cuckoo's Calling
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

A Week in Paris
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge and netgalley

The Silkworm
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

The Days of Eliora
4 of 5 stars
As was with The Times of Kerim, I found the synopsis gives away nothing about this book! I had no idea what or who to expect when I opened the novel. I don’t want to give away much of the story but I will explain that the Remnants are an…
tagged:
2014-challenge

Playing for Pizza
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

This Present Darkness
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Crazy as Chocolate
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

When First They Met
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Caught
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe
4 of 5 stars
I received this book from Netgalley to provide an honest review.

I have read several books by Max Lucado over the past few years but I have never read a fiction novel by him before. I didn’t know what to expect. I really like his theolo…

tagged:
2014-challenge

Blossom Street Brides
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
2014-challenge




goodreads.com

As you can see from the ratings, it was a mixed bag! Some stand out books for me where:

Renee Swope: A Confident Heart

Lysa TerKeurst: Made To Crave

Havilah Cunnington: Radical Growth

Sally Clarkson: You Are Loved

I completed my Goodreads challenge. My aim was to read 40 books, and I read 54! I also completed my Mount TBR Challenge. I didn’t complete my Secret Seven challenge, so that will have to roll over into this new year. My new challenges will be coming soon!

How was your reading year?

Hope you all had a good Christmas and a fun New Year! Best wishes for 2015 🙂

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Book number 52 in 2014 was the final book in my Mount TBR Challenge! I am very pleased to have successfully completed the challenge and to have read 12 books which have been hanging around for a while…!

I really enjoy Coben’s books. I didn’t used to enjoy thrillers – I scare easily! – but over the past couple of years my reading tastes have broadened and I now really enjoy a thriller, as long as it isn’t too graphic. Harlan Coben is a new favourite for me. I always find myself drawn into his books and am gripped until the end. And of course, I never work them out! I was a bit concerned when I started reading Caught because in the opening few pages a Paedophile is caught and brought into court. I found myself worrying that it would be graphic and horrible reading, but it isn’t at all. What the guy did was barely mentioned – which was a massive relief for me. I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t want to put it down. This was a great read, and I am glad I chose it for my Mount TBR Challenge.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Thriller
Published: 2010
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Book number 49 was off the Mount TBR Pile. I am pleased to say I have now read Crazy as Chocolate by Elisabeth Hyde, which has been sitting on my shelf for a while now…

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this. I haven’t enjoyed all the books on my Mount TBR Challenge so I was nervous about reading this one. I found myself thinking, why haven’t I read this book yet?! However, I am pleased to report that I did enjoy this book. It isn’t a very long book but I was drawn into the story. This is quite a sad read actually, yet one I did enjoy. This book takes quite a stark look at mental illness and not all of this book is easy reading but I am pleased I picked it up. This wasn’t a tear-jerker but it did make me think about how depression can affect families, in particular children. Well worth reading.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
Published: 2002
Rating: 3 out of 5

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The 45th book in 2014 was another from my Mount TBR Challenge – John Grisham’s Playing For Pizza. This is the second Grisham novel I have read this year, and it was very different to The Racketeer! Grisham has stepped away from his law thrillers, and taken us into the world of American Football – albeit in Italy! I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel, but I actually really enjoyed it. I do watch NFL with my husband – we are Chicago Bears fans – so I understood some of the football, but a lot of it was a bit beyond me! However, that didn’t spoil this book. It was a good read, I read most of the book in one sitting. I loved the setting, the characters and the passion. This is a worthwhile read, even if you don’t understand American Football.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
Published: 2007
Rating: 3 out of 5

In case you are interested, back in 2012 we were lucky enough to have a holiday in America – we spent a week in Chicago with my husband’s family, and here we are outside Soldier Field before our tour. We didn’t get to see them play, although we did see the Bears play at Wembley a few years ago, but we did see some college football. We saw the Northwestern Wildcats play Boston College. It was a great holiday!

outside Soldier Field

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Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island was book number 42 in 2014. This book has been on our bookcase for a while so I put it down as part of my Mount TBR challenge. I have now read 9 books in that challenge!

I didn’t know what to expect with this book. I was worried I would find it boring as I do prefer fiction novels, however, I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself enjoying this book – even chuckling in places! It took a while to read, I found that more than one chapter at a time made the book drag a bit but overall this was a good read. I laughed in some places and found the discovery of areas of Britain I knew nothing about fascinating. I would definitely recommend this book.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Non-fiction
Published: 1995
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Are you like me…do you have more than one book on the go? For me, the breakdown is simple: What I am reading and What I have started but not picked up in a while:

What I Am Reading

Radical Growth
Havilah Cunnington

The pathway to the radical growth you’re wanting is not complex. It’s not some unattainable, envy-provoking vision or dream meant to torment you with its impossibility. However – let’s be honest, no one has a vibrant life by accident. No one has a flourishing garden unintentionally. Simply put, vibrant living looks like a life grown on purpose. With clear understanding of God’s heart toward you, a commitment to 100 % obedient, and and unrelenting determination to follow truth, radical growth is possible. It’s a life that’s within your reach! This practical guidebook will give you daily access to being your own journey of living a radical and vibrant life!

This is a devotional series too, and you can join in by watching the videos here. This is the promo video for it:

74 Seaside Avenue
Debbie Macomber
Library book

Dear Reader, I’m living a life I couldn’t even have “dreamed” of a few years ago. I’m married to Bobby Polgar now (you know, the famous chess champion who just happens to be the man I love ). And we’ve got this beautiful house with a view of Puget Sound.

But lately something’s been worrying Bobby. When I asked, he said he was “protecting his queen”–and I got the oddest feeling he wasn’t talking about chess but about “me.” He wouldn’t say anything else.

Do you remember Get Nailed, the beauty salon in Cedar Cove? I still work there. I’ll tell you about my friend Rachel, who’s got two men interested in her (count ’em, “two”). And I’ll let you in on what I’ve heard about Linnette McAfee, who left town when her love life fell apart. (“That” kind of trouble I know all about.) Come in soon for a manicure and a chat, okay?

Teri (Miller) Polgar

Notes From A Small Island
Bill Bryson
Paperback – off my Mount TBR pile

“Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it.”

After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson-bestsellingauthor of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to returnto the United States. (“I had recently read,” Bryson writes, “that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another,so it was clear that my people needed me.”) But before departing, he set out ona grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.

Veering from the ludicrous to the endearing and back again, Notes from a Small Island is a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie’s Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey. The result is an uproarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain, from the satiric pen of an unapologetic Anglophile.

A Week in Paris
Rachel Hore
Netgalley review e-book

1961: Born on the day that WW2 broke out, 21-year-old Fay Knox cannot remember her early childhood in London, before she moved to a Norfolk village with her mother, Kitty. Though she has seen a photograph of her father, she does not recall him either. He died, she was told, in an air raid, and their house destroyed along with all their possessions. Why then, on a visit to Paris on tour with her orchestra, does a strange series of events suggest that she spent the war there instead? There is only one clue to follow, an address on the luggage label of an old canvas satchel. But will the truth hurt or heal?

1937: Eugene Knox, a young American doctor, catches sight of 19-year-old Kitty Travers on the day she arrives in Paris, and cannot get her out of his mind. She has come to study the piano at the famed Conservatoire, and lodges at a convent near Notre Dame. Eugene and Kitty will fall in love, marry and have a daughter, but France’s humiliating defeat by Germany is not far behind, and the little family must suffer life under Nazi occupation. Some Parisians keep their heads down and survive, others collaborate with the enemy while others resist. The different actions of Eugene, Kitty and their friends will have devastating consequences that echo down the generations.

What I have started but not picked up in a while

All Quiet on the Western Front
Erich Maria Remarque
Paperback

Jesus, Meet Him Again…For the First Time
Paul Smith
Paperback

The Approval Fix
Joyce Meyer
Netgalley review e-book

What are you currently reading?

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Number 39 in 2014 was a book off my Mount TBR pile, Death By Love by Mark Driscoll. This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long time. In fact, I had previously started this book so it was good to finish it!

This was a challenging read, for two reasons. The first, is that I struggled with some of the theology. Now, I don’t think that is a bad thing. I like being challenged, and having theological questions, and this book provided that. The second reason is a negative – there were times I didn’t think it was very well written, it just didn’t seem clear in places. However, this was a good read. It was hard going, some of the stories were tough to read, but God is good! That is what I took from this book. Whatever we are facing, Jesus can overcome it all. He died and rose again for me, and that is amazing.

Addition: Hardback
Genre: Christian
Published: 2008
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Book number 32 was John Hart’s Down River. This book is from my Mount TBR challenge – it has been sitting on my shelf for a few years…

I think I had been putting off reading this novel in case I found it scary (yep, I’m a wuss…!) however, I wish I hadn’t put this book off, I really enjoyed it! It was fast-paced and well written. I didn’t guess the murderer and was gripped until the end. I thought this was a really good book and have now given it to my Mum to read.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Crime
Published: 2007
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Book number 28 was another book off my 2014 TBR Challenge: Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace?

I massively struggled with this book. I’ve read it slowly over 6 months because I found the writing didn’t flow very well. I had high hopes for this book, having been told just how great it is, but I found it such a difficult read. The topic of the book, God’s grace, is an amazing, breath-taking topic, but I didn’t find myself in awe reading book, I just found myself struggling to finish it. I’ve rated it 3 out of 5 because the only downside to this book is the writing – God’s grace is amazing!!

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Published: 1997
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Book number 27 is Katharine McMahon’s The Crimson Rooms. This isn’t the first novel by McMahon that I have read. Back in 2008 I read The Rose of Sebastopol, which I remember enjoying.

I’ve had The Crimson Rooms on my shelf for a while. This wasn’t part of my TBR Challenge, but I thought I should read it anyway! To be honest, I was surprised at how long it took me. I did read other books alongside it, although I always do that, however I did find this a slow read. I did enjoy this book, but I did have to concentrate and set time aside for it. I did enjoy this glimpse into history though and have in fact given my Mum this book to read.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Historical fiction
Published: 2009
Rating: 3 out of 5

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