My 2017 Book Challenge

If you’ve been following my blog for a bit you know I love books.

I’m excited to share my personal book reading goal for 2017 and I’d love for you to join in or at least be inspired to read more than you did last yer.


It’s hard to find time to read these days. Starting a book club and meeting monthly has really helped me make reading one of my priorities. You can read about why book club is just about my favorite thing here and how to start a book club of your own here.

I was reading at least one a book a month since I started a book club four years ago. Last year was the first time I actually set a concrete goal for myself. My goal was to read 24 books in 2016. 2 books per month. For some, that may not seem like a lot. With all the other things that fill my plate, though, this was going to stretch me a bit.

I almost made it! I read 23 books. Now, I don’t want to set the same exact goal. I want to stretch myself just a tad further.

My Reading Goad for 2017 is to read 30 Books.

That comes out to 2 1/2 books per month. I’ve got two books under my belt and working on number three.

There are certain books I have on my wish list that I really want to read this year. But I’m so excited to see which great books I stumble upon along the way.

Here’s a few of my must reads this year:

*Finish the Harry Potter series. I’ve read the first 3 and have 4 more to read. (The last 4 are quite long, by the way!)

*I have a few books I want to reread. At the top of my list is a book I read long ago and is one of my all-time favorites, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

*I also want to read more classics. 20,00 Leagues Under The Sea and Fahrenheit 451.

*I want to read a biography.

*There are about 50 books on my Amazon wishlist as well!

Too Many Books, Not Enough Time!

(Can I get that made into a T-shirt??)

What are your reading goals? Do you have suggestions on what I should read? How about a biography suggestion? I’d love for you share in the comments.

Happy Reading!


25 of My Favorite Christmas Books

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you know my love of books, right? So, I’ve compiled an awesome list of Christmas picture books that we love and have read (time and again) at our house. Enjoy ! Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!!

(Most of these are available on Amazon and many I’ve requested from the library.)

1::Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson


2::Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner


3::The Legend of The Candy Cane by Lori Walburg



4::The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers


5::The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall


6:: Good King Wenceslas:: Original song lyrics by John Mason Neale and Illustrated by Omar Rayyan


7:: The Littlest Christmas Tree by R.A. Herman


8:: Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer


9:: Home for Christmas by Jan Brett



10:: Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto


11::The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston  This has turned out to be one of my personal favorites.



12:: Corduroy’s Christmas by Don Freeman  A Lift – The – Flap Book


13:: Room for a Little One:: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell


14:: Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev



15:: The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Douglas Gorsline


16:: The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by  David Delamare


17:: We wish you a Merry Christmas by Merle Solomon; illustrated by Lisa Alderson


18:: God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren



19:: J is for Jesus by Crystal Bowman


20:: The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado



Some new ones I’m trying out this year:

21::The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus’ Birth by Dandi Daley Mackall


22::Santa Clause and the Three Bears by Maria Modugno



23::The Legend of the Poinsettia retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola


24:: Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean


25:: The Little Fir Tree by Jim Lamarche



My Summer Reading List


Truth be told, I did not read nearly as much as I wanted to this summer. My stack is short even though I have 2 or 3 books going at once. Lately, every time I stop to read, I fall asleep.

Oddly enough, now that fall is here, I’m actually reading a bit more. I’m still falling asleep a lot, though. Since I didn’t post any reading updates this summer, I’m doing so today.

I want to share my wee little list because I think they were all good reads. I would recommend every one. The first one on my list was my very favorite. Now, if you haven’t reached the golden age of 40, (Say, you are in your 20’s still.) you may not appreciate this first book as much. But, Jen Hatmaker is as funny as they come and I would still recommend the book to anyone of any age.

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

The next 3 were read for book club:

The Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth

The Testament by John Grisham

From page one I couldn’t put this book down. I really, really enjoyed it. And I have to say, it did not end how I thought. I love the books that surprise me.

Brain on Fire  by Susannah Cahalan

This is the author’s true story of how essentially her body turned on her brain and attacked it. For a month, it was truly like she had gone completely mad. The doctor that finally diagnosed her correctly saved  her life. This book was fascinating.

Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram

The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.  So I’ve seen all the Harry Potter movies, out of order. But I had never read the books. Boy, was I missing out. I’ve just finished the second one and am about to start the third, The Prisoner of Azkaban. J.K. Rowling’s ability to describe all these delightful details makes it so much fun to read. She really is a great story teller.

I know the books get darker as they go along (because I’ve seen the movies). That is part of the reason I wanted to read them. My 8 year old is expressing a desire to read them and I want to check them out first. For my daughter, I think she is too young to read them now.

In the mean time, as an adult, I am thoroughly enjoying them so far. So, my goal is to read a book and then watch the movie. I’m going to work my way through all of them. It will take awhile; but I’m in no hurry. A girlfriend of mine loves this series and we are going watch some of the movies together and have a girl’s night.

Books I started; but haven’t finished:

1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Simply Tuesdays by Emily Freeman

Have a good book you think I should read? I’m always on the prowl for something new to read.

Happy Reading!

How to Host a Book Club


How do I begin to describe my love for book club? It’s deep, friends. I would even go so far as to say it is a necessity in my life. Food, shelter, family, medicine, coffee, book club. Yeah, it’s up there.

I love to read and this is my excuse to make the time to do it. We have also built this small, but amazing, tribe of friends. My book club girls are pretty important to me. Since book club began we’ve shared about 36 meals, had 4 babies, celebrated 3 bookclubversaries, talked about everything under the sun from diapers to marrying off sons to “how we met our husband” stories to who saves their kid’s baby teeth. We’ve laughed a ton and shared a lot of our lives with each other. Oh and we’ve read books, too. (And have had some pretty deep conversations about them.)

Doesn’t that make you want to start your own book club?? I thought so. So, I’m here to share how my friend Rachel and I started this book club, how we run it and a really great list of books to get you started.

It started with a conversation between my friend Rachel and I. “I’ve always wanted to be in a book club.” “Me, too.” “Let’s start one.” “Ok, let’s do it!” A mass Face Book message went out to friends who we thought might be interested. Rachel picked the book and we had dinner at her house, everyone contributing part of the meal. And Book Club was born. There were 6 of us. We read Cutting for Stone and it was wonderful.

Rachel moved away not long after that first meeting; but we are still going strong. 3 1/2 years later with 12 lovely ladies. I’m so thankful for Rachel’s friendship, her love of books and that we started this adventure together.

I’m going to share how we run our book club and hopefully this will give you some ideas if you are wanting to start your own.

How Often Do We Have Book Club?

We have book club once a month (usually on a Friday night) and take Decembers off.

Where Do We Have Book Club?

We take turns hosting.  We don’t have a rotation or anything and not all of us are able to host. I think we’ve been to each person’s house by now and some of us host more often than others. It’s whoever is available that month.

Do We Have Dinner, Wine or Dessert?

All of the above! I know book clubs are generally known for having wine. Not that we’re opposed to it; but usually it’s dinner and dessert. Sometimes, just dessert. Since I’m the facilitator, I send out an evite about a week before we meet. The hostess and I talk about ideas for dinner and I put a sign up for food on the evite. We love to eat! Some of us are dangerously good bakers and so we get spoiled with some amazing food.

How Do We Pick The Book?

Ours is more of a group effort. If you happen to find a book that sounds good, you share it. We usually have a handful of suggestions and then we try to pick two books at a time. We do this because some girls like to get a head start on the next book for the next month. This works for us.

What do we actually do at book club?

As far as a schedule, it’s pretty simple. Eat. Talk about life. Discuss Book. Talk some more. Laugh. Talk. You get the jist. When we first started, I would print out questions and ask them. It helped me at first; but after awhile it felt more natural to just jump in and start talking about the book. I think as you get going and get to know your members better, that part is the easiest. The conversation just seems to flow naturally. Some books lend themselves to better conversations than others.

Sometimes, the books will have discussion questions in the back, which is nice. This is a site I used at the beginning to help me get started

Here are some other ideas from other book clubs:

*I have friends whose book clubs meet every 6 weeks instead of 4.

*One friend’s club has each member take a turn picking the book and it has to be a book that person has already read. We don’t like to do this so it’s new for everyone; but there were a few sketchy books picks I wish we had know about ahead of time. Oh, well. It led to some lively conversations!!!

Do We Ever Read A Dud?    

There are a couple of times where we’ve read a book that none of us really like. Maybe the plot was weak or the characters were not relateable. We can usually learn from even the “misses” we read. Sometimes we may not love the story; but the writing is excellent. I promised the girls I would mention our least favorite book, Serena. Talk about an unlikable character!!! Half the time I wanted to punch her in the face. I’m not kidding. There was not much redeeming in any of the characters. The book was well written, though. We all still laugh about how much we did not like the book.


Master List:

I had to pool the girls for this list because I had forgotten many of these. Everyone has different tastes in literature so what I personally love, you may not enjoy but……… I did put our favorites at the top of the list asking the girls which were their favorites. Though they are in no particular order, the first 10 were our collaborative favorites. (For instance, #31 was not my least favorite. I really enjoyed the Winter Garden; it just happened to be at the end of the list.)

If you are thinking of starting a book club, do it! I hope the tips above and list below will help get you started.

  • And to Kim, Kelly, Dori, Alex, Lori, Louise, Renee, Sarah, Sara, Jennie, Angie and Angela, thanks for making book club such a special thing, for all the great food, conversation and inside jokes we share.
  • Rachel, thank you for your friendship and staring this whole thing with me 3 1/2 years ago.
  1. The Book Thief
  2. Cutting for Stone
  3. Wonder
  4. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
  5. The Scarlet Pimpernell
  6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Our whole bookclub wanted to move together to live on the island in this book! We really liked this book!!)
  7. The Secret Life of Bees
  8. Unbroken
  9. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
  10. Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me
  11. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  12. The Dressmaker
  13. Still Alice
  14. Serena
  15. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
  16. Sister Chicks
  17. Snow Falling on Cedars
  18. The Residence
  19. Station Eleven
  20. A Severe Mercy
  21. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  22. The Zoo Keeper’s Wife: A War Story
  23. The Known World
  24. The Kitchen House
  25. Bridge to Haven
  26. The Mourning Hours
  27. My Sister’s Keeeper
  28. Gulp
  29.  The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
  30. Shanghai Girls
  31. Winter Garden

When You Want To Read All The Books!

I have a problem. And I need help.

I have about 20 books I want to read. I just ordered these 3 from Amazon. (One is a hand-lettering book, though.)

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That in itself puts me in a spot because….which one do I read first??

The real problem is that I start a new book and and before I finish it, I’m usually starting another. I can’t read just one book at a time. I have 3 or 4 going at one time, all the time. I have Book ADD!

These are the books I’m currently working on.


Now, when I find a page turner like The Girl on the Train, I can’t put it down until I’m done. I neglect my dishes, my laundry and let the kids watch way too much T.V. while I’m hungrily turning pages. This is also a sickness, I know.

I just love all the books!! If you follow me on Instagram (and you should!) my  hashtags usually include #bookaddict and #booknerd.

So, I’m pulling out the big guns on myself and practicing some tough love. I am banning myself from reading any of these books

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until these books


are finished.

And I really, really want to read these books.

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Disclaimer: I read chapter 2 in Jen Hatmaker’s book For The Love because it wast titled “On Turning 40” and it was absolutely hilarious and spot on. It was truth. Every single word. Please read her book and tell me what you think. I love her writing.

If I can hold out and read all my unfinished books before cracking open a new, I might have to buy myself another book as a reward.

Wish me luck.

P.S. Amazon Prime, I love you.