Today I am sharing two things: I am sharing my monthly re-cap of what I've been reading lately. And, I am sharing story #12 of my December Daily album. In December I tell 25 stories over the course of the month sometimes the stories coordinated with the same date as story number - but it isn't necessary for me to stay with a daily story. The stories, however will go in the album in sequential order. I finished the month strong, or should I say I finished the year strong. My goal was 100 books and with that last book I completed my goal.
I can count on few things throughout the year, but one of those is reading. I may have chucked other goals but one of those is not my reading goal.
For this 2-page, 6 x 8 layout I used Ali Edwards' digital Stories by the Month kit for December 2018. Perfect for telling a non-Christmas story, yet it is around Christmas. Thrilled with my reading success and how these pages turned out.
Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb. It is intriguing to read Robb's murder mysteries when Lieutenant Eve Dallas pursues the killer of a victim she despises or finds out is scum of the earth and, yet, because of her staunch adherence for justice, murder always loses. Secrets is one such novel. Dallas finds zero redeeming qualities in her latest case, one in which she herself was a witness, except the victim got dead. And that means the victim is now Dallas' and she has to wade through those secrets before she can find justice for the vile, morally bankrupt victim. 93/100
Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. I don't listen to Meyers television or radio programs, nor do I generally read her books as she is often viewed as a prosperity gospel evangelist. But. I read great reviews about Battlefield of the Mind and I was looking for a book I could read aloud and one both Jeff and I could benefit. I have found this to be an exceptional read. Our actions - and words are a direct result of what is happening in our minds, where a battle for the mind is raging. Thus, if we can change our minds we can ultimately change our life. The book covers so many areas when, with an open mind to the Holy Spirit, you will see where you are falling short, and need to take captive that area of your thoughts in order to change your ways. One caveat, if you read this aloud, say - to your husband, Meyer uses the Amplified Bible for most of the Bible verses she references (and there are a lot - which is awesome!), however, reading aloud from the Amplified Bible is hard. I use the Amplified version regularly in my Bible studies and glean a plethora from using it but I found reading it aloud I needed to stick with reading the non-amplified words outside of the parenthesis. 94/100
Dark in Death by J.D. Robb. In this death imitating fiction murder thriller - or is it life imitating fiction. Either way it is a crazed fan of a novelist gone psycho and going on a killing spree imitating the novelists works of fiction. Another top-notch book in my all-time favorite, In Death, series. 95/100
As You Wish, Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. Truly, a delight! A lover of The Princess Bride since that first time I watched it at the overseas Christian servicemen center, the hospitality house, just outside Camp Humphreys, South Korea, As You Wish takes me back to my favorite scenes, those that make me laugh out loud. Because my whole family loves the movie, it is probably the most quoted movie in our household and a transposed line or two has even been known to show up in a high school graduation speech. Written by Cary Elwes, the main character Westley, the farmboy/Dread Pirate Roberts, As You Wish spans the making of the movie, Elwes first meetings, and subsequent interactions with the cast and crew. I expected some mundaneness, yet found page after page of engaging, conversational storytelling. I do believe there is one caveat to reading As You Wish: you really need to have seen the movie, or at the very least, have read the book. I have done both so I was not literary, nor film challenged. 96/100
Dumplin', Go Big or Go Home by Julie Murphy. "Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any girl does." - Amazon. I thoroughly enjoyed this critically acclaimed made-into-a-movie YA novel. It is YA but translated easily to adulthood. So many of Willowdean's own thoughts are the same that have run through my mind - often. The phrase that stuck with me the most is why can't I be fat and beautiful. Much to my surprise I was perusing Netflix one recent afternoon, actually the day I'd finished the book, and right there under 'popular on Netflix' was the movie, Dumplin'. Although some similarities were evident, the movie was quite different. However, the premise of the book was captured well in the movie. 97/100
Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay. Having recently read Dear Mr. Knightley and loving every minute of reading - and long after, I had high hopes for Lizzy & Jane. If you can hang on through the depressing beginnings, which ultimately are necessary (yet, frustrating) for setting up the story, you are in for a full-bodied flavor read of family navigating years of estrangement and unforgiveness, re-emergence of cancer, literature - always books, checked love breaking free - and, of course, the kitchen and food. There is absolutely nothing easy about this brilliant, yet heart-wrenching second novel by Reay but it is another amazing read and one I will be referring to regularly. Also, I realized I need some book darts. 98/100
The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva. The Gabriel Allon character created by Daniel Silva is flawed, yet endearing. I never tire of an intricate spy story with Allon at the helm of mission. Sitting on the edge of my seat at the intrigue and suspense and figuratively biting my nails hoping the 'good guys' win. 99/100
The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs. a beautiful re-read. Taking a walk in this sacred season, the birth of our Savior through the lens of three of the women of Christmas: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna, seeing Jesus through their eyes and welcoming Him anew, fresh - beloved. Fitting to end my reading challenge for the year 100 Books in 2018 with a welcome of my Savior. 100/100