Monthly Archives: December 2018

2018 Annual Wrap-Up

How many books did you read and did you meet or beat your own personal goal?
I read 142 books this year. I always set my initial goal at 52, then double it. Once I got to 104, I set my goal at 130 and then 140 when I passed 130. I beat my final goal by 2.

What story stayed with you a long time, left you wanting more or needing time to digest?
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick really stayed with me. It’s about life in North Korea and follows specifically the lives of several people who have defected. I found so much of it fascinating and for several days after I finished it, I just kept thinking about things the people featured have gone through.

What are some quotes that made you laugh?
“It turned out that Blas had spent most of his time wandering around the station looking for things to rob.
Tris knew this because when he saw Blas and asked him what he was up to, the big man replied, “Just wanderin’ around, looking for stuff to rob.”
Which at least made him honest. Kind of.” (Warden’s Folly by Tony James Slater)

“I think the Creator must have an inordinate fondness for beetles.” (Understanding Temple Symbols by Jack M. Lyon)

“Books are the most intensive of all current media. People are willing to spend hours and hours with a book. Additionally, people are still willing to pay for them.” An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green)

“Pipo wondered if it was already too late to teach her how to be a human being.” (Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card)

“‘It’s not acceptable to sell other people’s private parts, especially while leaving your own.'” and “(This often happens while we sleep—the witch children can take our heads and return them before morning, all without us knowing. It’s a serious problem.)” (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba)

Top 5 Books of the Year
Covenant Keepers by Wendy Watson Nelson
God Wants a Powerful People by Sheri Dew
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
In Praise of Wasting Time by Alan Lightman
Half a Heart by Karen McQuestion

Bottom 5 Books of the Year
The Temple Experience by Wendy Ulrich
The Bill of Rights Primer by Akhil Reed Amar and Les Adams
Operation Hail Storm by Brett Arquette
Out of the Blue by Gretta Mulrooney
News of the World by Paulette Jiles

How many books are in your To Read pile right now?
661

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Filed under Annual Wrap-Up

Warden’s Folly by Tony James Slater

The second book in the Ancient Guardians series, Warden’s Folly picks up right where the first book left off. It’s full of action and has a few twists thrown in that I wasn’t expecting, one of which was huge and quite a shock (I literally gasped when I read it). Sci-fi is not really my genre, but I totally enjoyed this one. The narrative is excellent and the way some things are phrased made me laugh out loud. I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy sci-fi and even those like me who usually don’t.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 142
Pages Read in 2018: 36,957
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Reason: I Like the Series, Science Fiction

The Temple Experience by Wendy Ulrich

The Temple Experience is a terrible book. As I read it, I alternately felt horribly sorry for the clients who go to the author (a therapist) and wondered if perhaps the author’s view of the world is terribly skewed to the point that she thinks absolutely everyone is extremely mentally unhealthy. Worse, though, many things she asserted throughout the book were not doctrinally correct. I absolutely cannot recommend this book to anyone.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 141
Pages Read in 2018: 36,569
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Reason: It sounded interesting, Religious

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Ungifted is a cute story about a boy who is not gifted accidentally ending up at the school district’s gifted school. The interactions between the kids are really well done. The constantly changing viewpoints are sometimes confusing, but tell the story really well. My 10 and 12 year old boys and I all enjoyed it a lot. I highly recommend it to middle grade age kids. It makes a great read-aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 140
Pages Read in 2018: 36,348
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Battle for the Land’s Soul by LRW Lee

The final book in the Andy Smithson series, Battle for the Land’s Soul, ends pretty much as expected, but waits until the last couple chapters to finally answer some questions (particularly: Is Razen a good guy or not?). The end is on a hopeful note even while honoring all the many characters who died along the way. My 10- and 12-year-old boys and I all enjoyed this book, and the whole series, very much. The editing is excellent and there is just the right amount of action and adventure. I highly recommend it to people of all ages. It makes a great family read-aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 139
Pages Read in 2018: 36,055
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: I Like the Series

The Bill of Rights Primer by Akhil Reed Amar and Les Adams

The Kindle version of The Bill of Rights Primer is so horribly formatted it is difficult to read. There are some serious editing issues as well (which could be part of the formatting problems). The authors are dreadfully boring and talk in circles, repeating themselves over and over. I’m not sure they actually made the argument they said in the beginning they were going to make and then asserted at the end that they made. They do cover the first ten amendments plus the fourteenth which makes the book slightly worthwhile. Because of the formatting problems and how terribly written it is, I cannot recommend it to anyone.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 138
Pages Read in 2018: 35,847
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under History, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Covenant Keepers by Wendy Watson Nelson

Covenant Keepers is a short booklet absolutely packed with insights and a 21-day challenge that Sister Nelson assures will change your life. her positive, upbeat personality comes through in her writing. I took so many notes as I read it and definitely plan to put her challenge to the test. I highly recommend it to other women who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 137
Pages Read in 2018: 35,423
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Reason: It sounded interesting, Religious