Read a book published this year and 52 New Books in 2016 | 52


I mentioned earlier that I'd completed my goal of 52 New Books in 2016. It was with this book: Apprentice in Death; JD Robb's latest in her In Death series with book number five thousand two hundred and ninety eight...just joking! I think it's book number is in the later 40's in the series, not counting the short stories of the same. As this is also a book published this year it goes toward my 2016 Reading Challenge: Read a book published this year.

Pretty crazy, right?

I mean 52 New Books in less than a year. I'm totally siked. I'm seriously considering upping my reading 'game' in 2017. I can see 80 new books, 90 new books, even 100 new books on the horizon. Excited beyond words.

But, to finish out this challenge I read J. D. Robb's latest, Apprentice In Death, in her In Death series. As I will forever love this series and Robb hasn't written a bad one yet - although some have been way better than others - Apprentice in Death was pretty good. Dallas and Roarke are sitting in a pretty good place and with some personal thrown in, otherwise it's all police work. I love the process Dallas goes through with her trusty sidekick and numerous other supporting cast to solve the crimes. 

Curious and curious- er if Robb is planning on ending this series anytime soon or if she'll just ride the wave. My take is for her to ride the wave of fans everywhere who would hate to see this series go. After 45+ books I haven't gotten tired of the characters or the storylines she comes up with.

So, 52 New Books in 2016 is a wrap.

I'll finish out my 2016 Reading Challenge, too, this year.

And, of course, I'll continue to read new books and see where it takes me.

52 New Books in 2016 | Finished


Today I want to share my completed 4 x 4 mini album of my 52 New Books in 2016. When I set the goal at the beginning of the year to read 52 New Books in 2016 I thought I was setting a lofty goal. In truth, I believe I did. But, I've come to love reading new books, of many kinds, and because of this and finding websites on reading like Modern Mrs. Darcy, I was encouraged to read! 

And read.

So, this September, when I picked up J. D. Robb's Apprentice In Death, fitting of course because this series is my all-time favorite - still, I completed my goal of reading 52 New Books in 2016. It feels good. 

Of course, I believe this means my 2017 goal needs to be loftier and one that will take me to the very last day of the year to complete. What will it be? 

75 New Books in 2017?

80 New Books in 2017??

90 New Books in 2017???

100 New Books in 2017????

Gonna' have to give this some serious thought.

But, in the mean time I wanted to share my mini album that I created to document my success!


I used a 4 x 4 We R Memories album, Ali Edwards Designs, and One Little Bird Designs to complete my pages.


For each page I added the book cover, when I finished the book, and sometimes a short blurb of what I thought of the book, and at times, I rated the book.

I read some books that were just okay.

And some books I just did not like - even if they had rave reviews.


I read several genres of books from Memoirs, to non-fiction; Christian non-fiction, Fiction, and Literary fiction.


I am so pleased that from all of my reading travels I found some new favorite series' such as Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series and Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt series. 


I was definitely stretched as a reader through this challenge. 

And I loved every minute of reading reviews, reading blogs about reading, selecting books, buying books, filling my shelves with books, and reading!

Documenting the books I read here on the blog, making mini-pages for a mini album of what I read, held me accountable to my goal. 

So excited for this coming years new reading goal.


Read a book chosen by a friend and 52 New Books in 2016 | 51


I have almost met my 52 New Books in 2016 challenge. Completing this book makes my total 51 of 52 New Books in 2016. I also applying this to my Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge as 

  • A book chosen by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF

Here, I'm counting BFF as just a friend. Mary, a friend from work recommended the author Clive Cussler, who has been on my radar for awhile, so when I was in the library the other day I picked up an earlier selection of his. The library I visit didn't really have a large selection but when I told Mary what I was reading she said she has all of his books. Then, I shared with a co-worker what I was reading and his wife has all of Cussler's books, too. So, I think I'm set.

Night Probe is a unique, imaginative, and intricately-plotted novel. It is real good! I loved the telling of the 1914 historical back story that set up the novel; and played out even further as a story within the 1989 storyline. 

In the midst of an international crisis, Heidi Milligan, a beautiful, brilliant American naval commander, accidentally discovers an obscure reference to the long-buried North American Treaty, a precedent-shattering secret pact between the United States and Great Britain. The President believes that the treaty offers the single shot at salvation for an energy-starved, economically devastated nation, but the only two copies plummeted into the watery depths of the Atlantic in twin disasters long ago. The original document must be found—and the one American who can do the job is Dirk Pitt.
But in London, a daring counterplot is being orchestrated to see that the treaty is never implemented. Brian Shaw, a master spy who has often worked hand in hand with American agents, now confronts his most challenging command. Pitt’s mission: Raise the North American Treaty. Shaw’s mission: Stop Pitt. - Amazon.

As this is my first Dirk Pitt novel, I have to say I was intrigued by his qualities, so far, and that usually means I'll return for more. 


52 New Books in 2016 | 50


Whilst at the library I was perusing the fiction titles and came across J.D. Robb in big letters. Of course, because the In Death series is my favorite series - still - I pulled it off the shelf. I have all of Robb's full fiction titles but none of her short stories and I believe I've only read one other short story, so I thought I'd try and find most of them at the library. This one was a 'less than an hour read' but in typical Robb fashion I loved it. I am so in tune with the characters that these books, even the short stories, are just good. 

I'm anticipating Robb's new release, Apprentice in Death, this coming month and adding the full fiction novel to my collection.

52 New Books in 2016 | 49


I brought a stack of books home from the library the other day. Four of the six were on the newly acquired books to the library. Because I'd read her first book and heard good things about the sequel I decided to give it a try.

Marie Kondo's Spark Joy, the sequel to her critically acclaimed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up where tidying doesn't mean straightening the house but, instead, starting from the task of purging; continues here, with the application of 1) physically touching everything and deciding if it sparks joy and 2) discarding it  if it doesn't. But, she does clarify that even if it isn't a useful item if it sparks joy that it's ok to keep. 

I didn't love this book, or even like it but because she 'clarified' some of her wacky philosophies the book was ok and I acquired some take-aways.

52 New Books in 2016 | 48


The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

Hum. Not sure about this one. Rave reviews abound for this self-help book on wholehearted living and many from those people in the blogging world that I've enjoyed reading for many years - but there is that nagging thought-provoked, "why are you leaving God out?" Brown doesn't exclusively, wholeheartedly, leave out God but she doesn't put Him first, either. This is where self-help books and I always seem to go askew. 

That being said, Brown amassed some really good talking points, much of which requires the practice of...authenticity, gratitude, wholehearted living, or cultivating of...hope, joy, faith, laughter...and much of which I've gleaned from experiencing everyday, ordinary life; where I have found the sacred in the ordinary; it is necessary to practice gratitude and not just have an attitude of gratitude and joy is totally tied to gratitude.

The chapters on shame were enlightening because I experience this, or have experienced multiple times over, usually because of someone's actions for which I suffer the shameful consequences; when I should find my worth in Christ (my words not Ms. Browns'), but I can't seem to...

So, here's the deal. The book is good. But, not great. It will be one I keep on my shelf for reflection therefore I will give it a...

Rating: 7.5

Read a book that intimidates you and 52 New Books in 2016 | 47


For my 2016 Reading Challenge, read a book that intimidates you, I chose Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It's a dystopian science fiction novel that passes back and forth between past and future, interweaving a middle-aged famous actor-playboy and the rippling effect of his death, a young girl (of the past and the future as part of a caravan of traveling actors and musicians), and a catastrophic, flu pandemic that near-erases the past and changes civilizations future. Dystopian fiction intimidates me because on my own I don't often understand the main themes of the genre, the hidden meanings behind the words. But, Station Eleven came with rave reviews. While I haven't had much luck with 'rave reviewed' books, I'm after new and different and stretching myself beyond (J.D. Robb). Ha Ha.

The first trip from past to future in Station Eleven was a shambles - for me, but as soon as I caught on, I was hooked. And, somehow I, early on, recognized one of the main themes of the book, survival is insufficient, which is lettered on the lead caravan of the Traveling Symphony, and a line from an old Star Trek episode. Simply surviving is not enough to make a life. There has to be something more. Another theme was relationship, fraught throughout the book, most, in some way centered around the famous actor's life - and in his death. Very interesting weaving of how one person can impact so many in different ways.

This was not a quick read by any stretch. It took me days to get through as I'd get sucked in for a large stretch and then would need to put it down because it weighed heavy over me. But, man, this was a sterling piece of fiction.

This is also book 47 in my 52 New Books in 2016 challenge. Which means only 5 more books to go!

Rating: 9.5

Read a book you've been meaning to read and 52 New Books in 2016 | 46


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I've been meaning to read Eleanor and Park for quite some time (Modern Mrs Darcy's 2016 Reading Challenge, and mine) but I was scared, sort of. I've dislike so many well-liked books of the literary world (The Girl on the Train, The Book Thief, What She Knew), that I truly wanted to like this book, but didn't want to read it because I was afraid I wouldn't.

Thankfully, I liked it.

Actually, I liked it a lot.

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we're 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under. - Amazon

I could empathize with Eleanor in a big way. I only had compassion for her. Sure, her attitude was downright frustrating at times but people like Eleanor who have endured what Eleanor still lived have to erect walls so high so they can just get through each moment of every day. Park broke through some of those walls.

Rating: 8

P.S. You guys, I have six more books to read to reach my goal of 52 New Books in 2016! I'm so excited. I'll concentrate on finishing my 2016 Reading Challenge and continue to And, decide on a new challenge for the coming year.


Read a book you can finish in a day and 52 New Books in 2016 | 45


Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

I'd never read Bridge to Terabithia. There, I said it. I know, right! Why have I never read it? I'm honestly not sure, as it is on every What Books Every Kid Should Read in School - list. Granted, when it was written I was on my way out of school, but I do have four kids, you know. Because of Modern Mrs. Darcy's challenge, of which I took the challenge to complete the list of books to read, Bridge to Terabithia is my read a book you can finish in a day selection.

Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie's house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief. - Amazon

I chose not to read the back, nor any reviews, other than to know that it is a Newbery Medal winner, a classic tale for elementary school age children, and it has been on the banned books list. Thus, I could have selected this book for the read a book on the banned book list but figured finishing a children's book in a day would be a given as there are tons of books on the banned books list.

And then I read it. In just a couple hours, between a busy weather morning, and I was blown away! Tucked in this 191 page little book is gold. It is about life and loss.

Rating: 10

52 New Books in 2016 | 44


Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Author of Eat Pray Love which I did not read and probably will not (especially now after reading this book), Big Magic is not without merit but it was permeated with 'woo-woo', that just-a-little-out-there and too new-agey for my tastes. What Gilbert calls Big Magic, to salve the itchy hearts of her readers who want little to do with the truth of God's word, I see as God. Whether Ms. Gilbert elects to receive Him or not. Although she has no problem receiving creativity that floats in and around us like ghosts - yeah right I know - kinda crazy. For it is God who is the maker of all things, including mystery - and magic. That magic that Ms. Gilbert talks about when one thing happens and another does too, seemingly coincidental, but there is nothing coincidental - or magical other than what is God-ordained. 

I won't say the book was a waste of time because there are take away's. Such as the idea that even if a creative person isn't a success doesn't mean they aren't creative - or that they should stop creating. This, in fact, was freedom for me. As one with a very creative mother and older sister I have always felt intimidated and lacking and without creative merit (even when they've said otherwise), I know this feeling of, and asking myself, should I stop creating. But, I don't, thankfully. No longer will I question my creative spirit. In fact, her book has spurred me on.

Aside from the few dog-eared pages, it was a disappointment overall and read more like a memoir and not a very interesting memoir at that. For this and other reasons I can only give Big Magic...

Rating: 6 Stars