2016 Challenges – 1st Quarter Check-in

At the beginning of the year I set some challenges for myself. Now it’s time to check-in and see how I’m doing.

ONE. Limit my bookish spending. Pre-order no more than 12 books (average 1 per month). Spend no more than $60 on used / bargain books (average $5 per month).

I pre-ordered 2 books this quarter, which I gave to my kids as Valentine’s Day gifts:

  1. Paddington at Large by Michael Bond
  2. The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon and Dean Hale

I spent:

I also won a giveaway hosted by Lois @ You, Me, and a Cup of Tea. I got to pick any book, up to a $10 value, from Amazon! I chose Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

TWO. Post more book reviews. Write monthly Look Reviews (full book reviews with an accompanying outfit) and post my micro mini Goodreads reviews on the blog.

I posted 3 Look Reviews – The Madness of Love, A Study in Charlotte, and Devoted, as well as 9 Mini Review posts.

THREE. Read at least 200 books.

My Goodreads total is currently 98.

FOUR. Read these 11 Poirot novels, plus 1 short story:

  1. Four and Twenty Blackbirds (short story) Completed 1/1/2016
  2. Sad Cypress Completed 2/11/2016
  3. One, Two Buckle my Shoe Completed 3/11/2016
  4. Evil Under the Sun
  5. Five Little Pigs
  6. The Hollow
  7. Taken at the Flood
  8. Mrs McGinty’s Dead
  9. After the Funeral
  10. Hickory Dickory Dock
  11. Dead Man’s Folly
  12. Cat Among the Pigeons

FIVE. Read 26 books for a personal Alphabet Challenge.

  1. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  2. Because if Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  3. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
  4. Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli
  5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  6. Flunked by Jen Calonita
  7. Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
  8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  9. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

  10. The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi
  11. L
  12. M
  13. A Night in with Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday
  14. O
  15. P
  16. Q
  17. R
  18. S
  19. Tempest-Tost by Robertson Davies
  20. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

  21. Wildflowers by Robin Jones Gunn
  22. X
  23. Y
  24. Z

SIX. Participate in Cruisin’ thru the Cozies with Yvonne @ Socrates Book Review. I’m entering at Level 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 21 or more books.

  1. Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints by P. J. Brackston
  2. A Rather Lovely Inheritance by C. A. Belmond
  3. There Must Be Murder by Margaret Sullivan
  4. Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich
  5. Dishing the Dirt by M. C. Beaton
  6. Death of a Dustman by M. C. Beaton
  7. Once Upon a Crime by P. J. Brackston
  8. Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams
  9. Murder Actually by Stephanie McCarthy
  10. The Case of the Fickle Mermaid by P. J. Brackston
  11. Death of a Hussy by M. C. Beaton
  12. Death of a Snob by M. C. Beaton
  13. Death of a Traveling Man by M. C. Beaton
  14. Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke
  15. Death of a Charming Man by M. C. Beaton
  16. Bed of Scorpions by Judith Flanders
  17. Death of a Celebrity by M. C. Beaton

SEVEN. Read at least 12 selections from my personal Classics Challenge list.

  1. Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Agatha Christie
  2. Howards End by E. M. Forster
  3. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
  4. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
  5. Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde
  6. An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde
  7. A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde
  8. Salome by Oscar Wilde

EIGHT. Once again, cut WAY back on my wardrobe. I want to go minimalist. I’m still working on the details. This includes my kids’ wardrobes too. They have so many clothes they rarely wear!

I’ve pared my own wardrobe down and committed to a year of no clothes shopping (with the exception of essentials that wear out or the kids outgrow). I did have to buy a new swimsuit, pajamas, and shorts for Sweet Potato, as she’s grown several inches since last Summer.

NINE. The obligatory fitness resolution. 😆 But seriously, after my epic year of reading, I really need to get my butt in gear and be more active.

I’m drinking a lot more water. :/

TEN. Participate in TTT every week.

So far, so good.

TTT: 2016 Challenges

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten Resolutions We Have For 2016 (can be bookish, personal resolutions, “I resolve to finally read these 10 books, series I resolve to finish in 2015, etc.). I’m not a resolutions kind of girl, so here are 10 things I challenge myself to do in 2016:

ONE. Limit my bookish spending. Pre-order no more than 12 books (average 1 per month). Spend no more than $60 on used / bargain books (average $5 per month).

TWO. Post more book reviews. Write monthly Look Reviews (full book reviews with an accompanying outfit) and post my micro mini Goodreads reviews on the blog.

THREE. Read at least 200 books.

FOUR. Read these 11 Poirot novels, plus 1 short story:

  1. Four and Twenty Blackbirds (short story) Completed 1/1/2016
  2. Sad Cypress
  3. One, Two Buckle my Shoe
  4. Evil Under the Sun
  5. Five Little Pigs
  6. The Hollow
  7. Taken at the Flood
  8. Mrs McGinty’s Dead
  9. After the Funeral
  10. Hickory Dickory Dock
  11. Dead Man’s Folly
  12. Cat Among the Pigeons

FIVE. Read 26 books for a personal Alphabet Challenge.

SIX. Participate in Cruisin’ thru the Cozies with Yvonne @ Socrates Book Review. I’m entering at Level 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 21 or more books.

SEVEN. Read at least 12 selections from my personal Classics Challenge list.

EIGHT. Once again, cut WAY back on my wardrobe. I want to go minimalist. I’m still working on the details. This includes my kids’ wardrobes too. They have so many clothes they rarely wear!

NINE. The obligatory fitness resolution. 😆 But seriously, after my epic year of reading, I really need to get my butt in gear and be more active.

TEN. Participate in TTT every week.

I’m linking up: Top Ten Tuesday

2015 Reading Wrap Up

Behold, the thing that reads a lot!

On this final day of 2015, I am wrapping up all the reading I’ve done this is year. It’s a lot.

First, an update on my 4th Quarter TBR:

  1. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I could just as easily have re-watched the film version since, as far as I could tell, it was unabridged. Witty and charming, as expected.
  2. Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery.
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ This has always been one of my favorite books from one of my favorite series. It shows its age poorly in a few places (racism) but I love it nonetheless. Patty’s Place, Phil, Aunt Jimsie, and the cats are all wonderful additions to Anne’s world.
  3. Emma by Jane Austen.
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Probably my least favorite Austen heroine and hero. Emma is a brat and Mr. Knightley is a creeper. The hilarious supporting characters are what earn this one four stars.
  4. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe.
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I can appreciate all the hallmarks of the genre that Poe created in this story, but the far-fetched solution is rather ludicrous.
  5. Wicked Autumn by G. M. Malliet.
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Max Tudor, MI-5 operative turned Anglican priest (nominative determinism?), is an interesting character. The village and its inhabitants were okay, as was the mystery itself. This one is definitely all about the detective.
  6. Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? by Lemony Snicket.
    POSTPONED
  7. Spinning Starlight by R. C. Lewis.
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Rounded up from 4.5 stars. R. C. Lewis has done it again! Like Stitching Snow, Spinning Starlight is a brilliant fairytale retelling interwoven with a fully realized a sci-fi world, and a teeny bit of a love story.
  8. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith.
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I’m torn about this one. Strike and Robin are great characters. I’m attached to them and I want to continue reading their stories. The crimes / mysteries are ancillary. However, the books just keep getting more profane and violent (I didn’t think that was possible after The Silkworm, but Galbraith / Rowling managed it). I will probably continue to read the series, but I will NOT be re-reading nor will I buy any of the subsequent books. I can wait for a library copy.
  9. Beastly Bones by William Ritter.
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Jackaby is still delightfully Wholock (this time with a significant dash of Harry Potter thrown in). This series is charming, although too derivative for a five star rating.
  10. All Dressed in White by Mary Higgins Clark.
    ⭐ ⭐ 1/2 Decent entry in the series knocked down from 3.5 stars for the eye-roll inducing deus ex machina in the climatic scene.

Now, on to the challenges (unless otherwise noted, my specific challenge books are listed here):

  1. Goodreads Challenge – Read at least 365 books. Surpassed! I read 475 books this year (or I will by the end of today 😉 ). See them all here.
  2. Birthday Month Reading Challenge hosted by Lois @ You, Me, and a Cup of Tea – Read a book each month by an author whose birthday is in that month. Achieved!
  3. Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge hosted by Lois @ You, Me, and a Cup of Tea – Re-read a bunch of books. I entered at Level 3 30-40 Re-reading fever. Surpassed! I re-read 75 books this year.
  4. Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge hosted by Yvonne at Socrates’ Book Reviews – Read cozy mysteries. I entered at Level 3 -Super Sleuth – read 13 or more books. Surpassed! I read 85 cozies this year.
  5. Back to the Classics Challenge hosted by Books and Chocolate – Read classics in 12 particular categories. The rules of the challenge state the a classic must be at least 50 years old. Achieved!
  6. Personal Classics Challenge – Read (or re-read) classics that I currently own. For this personal challenge I am defining classics as books that are at least as old as I am. I read 42 books from my list this year.
  7. Poirot Challenge – I am attempting to read all of Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels and short stories in original publication order. I read 10 novels and 18 short stories this year.
  8. Reading My Library Challenge co-hosted by Stefani @ Caught Read Handed – Read lots of library books in April. I read 50! Wrap-Up post here.
  9. 20 Books of Summer Challenge hosted by Cathy @ 746 BooksRead 20 books between June 1 – September 4. Achieved!
  10. Pop Sugar Reading Challenge – Read books in 50 different categories. Achieved!