There’s something about reading books that’s glorious. I prefer hard copies, thank you. The magic is more easily captured when I’m holding an actual book in my hand.

Reading lets your imagination soar or it educates the mind. It may introduce you to a new realm of ideas or a peek into someone’s life by way of biography. It expands your mind when you’re introduced to new worlds- whether it’s real or not- or when you finally understand someone’s reasoning for doing what they did.

Maybe I should have included this on my intentions list. Since I read so many blogs, I’ve fallen behind on reading novels and sometimes it’s nice to read something that’s long and continuous. It’s even better when it holds your attention after reading so many short posts.

I came across this post about a reading challenge. As I mentioned in my post, I felt I would be too overwhelmed in keeping up with one of those challenges. I’m not that much of an avid reader as you’ll see from my list in a second. Instead, I used this as an opportunity to keep myself accountable. It made me realize a couple of things:

  1. I was reading too many non-fictional books. As interesting as some of them can be, they don’t capture my attention the way fictional books do. While I will not give up non-fictional altogether, I definitely want to get back into reading more fictional books.
  2. I was not reading anywhere near as much as I thought I was. In fact, when I opened up to my list to jot down the latest book, I was aghasted. I was past halfway into 2017 and had barely read five books. That wasn’t even a book a month. I started to pick up my pace after that.

For 2018, I’m going to read at least 12 books. That’ll equate to one book a month, whether it happens that way or not! I’ve just started my first one of the year: The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory. She has a series that I’m making my way through and can’t wait to see how each story turns out. As it’s historical fiction, I have a general idea, but still the nitty gritty details are what makes it so good!

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Here’s what I managed to read in 2017:

  1. The Martian by Andy Weir: If you don’t know about this one, you might be living under a rock. This book soared in popularity so much, they made it into a movie. This is about an astronaut that travels with others to Mars. A violent storm suddenly comes up and threatens to destroy their habitat. As they evacuate to their spaceship, one of the astronaut is knocked over by debris. His crew thought he was dead. Later, this astronaut wakes up to find he’s the only one on this planet with no form of communicate back to Earth. There’s humor added to the scientific side, so you’ll definitely enjoy reading this one.
  2. Styled by Emily Henderson: I’ve already done a review here about how much I enjoyed this book.
  3. The Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey: When Disney’s latest Beauty and the Beast came out, I had to re-read this book. I enjoy all things by Mercedes Lackey. Her twist on fairy tales are fun and intriguing. This one combines beauty and the beast with little hint of the red riding hood.
  4. Wild About Horses by Lawrence Scanlan: If you’re a horse lover like I am, you’ll enjoy this one. This book is the author’s journey of discovering horses. He covers all things from the beginning of horses’ existence to the present. He captures the mystical side of horses beautifully while discussing the bond between them and people.
  5. Habitat by Lauren Leiss: This is another one where I’ve already done a review of how much I enjoyed this book.
  6. Island in the Sea of Time by S.M. Stirling: I’ve always been curious about how this world would be if we suddenly lost power and were thrown back to time before electricity. A supernatural event takes the island of Nantucket way back to the earliest civilization possible. This is their story of how they survived. While this was a challenging read for me, I enjoyed it enough that I’m curious about the next books. I say it’s challenging because it’s very detailed and it’s a long book.
  7. Firebird by Mercedes Lackey: Of course, I read another book by Mercedes Lackey. At first, I thought this was new to me. But as I got further along, I realized things were getting familiar. I was indeed re-reading another one of her books. This is her take on a little known Russian fairy tale regarding Ivan and the Firebird. It’s beautifully done. I’ve yet to come across a book of hers that I didn’t like.
  8. La Vita é Bella by Jill Foulston: With beautiful pictures, this is more of a coffee table book than anything. I picked it up at Marshalls or HomeGoods. With my interest in Italy, I read through the book and enjoyed the quotes and brief descriptions of recipes and of people’s homes.
  9. The Lady of the River by Philippa Gregory: This, by far, is my favorite book out of all the ones I’ve read by her. It’s probably because I love this character more than any of the others. This is of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford and the story is before King Henry VIII and all his wives. The book covers her life story and it’s intriguing because for most of her life, she’s always in a position of power behind the scenes.
  10. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory: This is the sequel of The Lady of the River. Jacquetta is the mother of Elizabeth Woodville. This is the story of Elizabeth’s sudden rise to power as Queen of England. She is historically famous because of the mystery surrounding her two sons. No one can trace what happened to them, so Philippa Gregory offers her take on that in this book.
  11. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory: This book is about Margaret Beaufort who will become mother to King Henry VII, who later fathers the famous King Henry VIII. This story happens at the same time as The White Queen, so it’s really cool to get another perspective of this event. Margaret is related to the king that King Edward IV overthrows, so she believes she and her son has the right to the throne. This is about her slow rise to power as the King’s Mother.

What I love about Philippa Gregory’s work is how beautifully she writes. Philippa absolutely captures my attention. Written from the character’s point of view, you get a chance to really get to know them. Each book has been very thought provoking in how each woman reacts to a similar situation and I say that because the book I’m reading now also happens at the same time as The White Queen and the Red Queen. This character rises to power from another angle. Let’s just say I think you need to pick up one of Philippa Gregory’s book.

I cut it real close with the last one (The Red Queen), but at least this list makes it look like I almost managed a book a month. It was somewhere around #6 that I realized how behind I was. I think I finished that book in August or September. As you can see from the list, I didn’t read as many non-fictional books. That was 2016. I know I didn’t read nearly as much as I did in 2017 because of that.

What did you guys read in 2017?