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My kids weren’t so sure I’d finish my goal of reading/listening to 100 books this year. Truth – I wasn’t sure I’d do it either! This possibility was put before me rather soon after making the goal when my son quickly did the math and informed me that I would have to read one book every 3-4 days!! It seemed a little daunting.

Thank God for things like audio books!! I would never have done this without that wonderful helper! I could listen to books while I was sewing, installing tile, cleaning, cooking or traveling! Truly a wondrous thing!

General Things I learned:

I had fun making this graphic with some of the statistics on it. It was fun to see what I read! I have to admit that I love a good story and that is certainly reflected in my reading choices. There are a few things I learned in this endeavor:

  1. Non-fiction ‘teaching’ audiobooks only work if they are actually read by the author (especially if you are familiar with their voice). Something just doesn’t work when you hear the words in someone else’s voice and you know the inflections of the author.
  2. Books set in England are definitely the best when read by someone with an English accent (unless it is a very long, tedious book with endless descriptions – I loved all my Jane Austen books, not so much The Saxon Shore – that is 36 hours of my life I will never get back)
  3. The narrator will make or break your listening experience, there was at least one narrator I will avoid due to the ‘voices’ she created for the characters that didn’t work for me.

What I learned about myself:

  1. I love a good young adult/juvenile fiction – they have some great action and are generally ‘clean’ – Stuart Gibbs has become a family favorite with his Spy School series. We all loved listening to those!
  2. Jane Austen has the same plot line in all her books.  I had a goal to read/listen to all her books, while I enjoy them and listened to 5 of them this year, I think I might prefer the movie versions!
  3. Historical settings and mysteries are my faves.
  4. I am not a fan of romance, even though I read some of those to fill out my numbers since they are usually pretty quick reads.
  5. Nuts About Books or other publisher reviewing programs are an excellent way to keep new books coming in without any outlay of cash – I like free books!
  6. Not going to quit reading anytime soon!
  7. 100 books is a LOT of books to read in one year!! (probably won’t make a goal of that again!)

Authors I will continue to read:

  1. Lynn Austin – my fave book by her this year – Waves of Mercy
  2. Leslie Budewitz – a mystery writer, usually dealing with food of some kind, not a Christian author but I like her style!
  3. Roseanna M. White – she had the ability to actually surprise me with a plot twist – that rarely happens, BRAVO!!
  4. Stuart Gibbs – juvenile fiction writer that myself and all my kids love
  5. Kate Breslin – historical fiction with a little romance that isn’t over the top, lots of action and great content

Narrators I will listen to:

  1. Gibson Frazier (Spy School series)
  2. L. J. Ganser (The Sisters Grimm series)
  3. Donada Peters
  4. Kate Forbes (there were a few that I listened to that she narrated)
  5. Dara Rosenberg (so good!!)

Books I read in December:

  1. A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker (Audible)
  2. These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart **
  3. Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon **
  4. The Proving by Beverly Lewis **
  5. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
  6. That Dorky Homemade Look by Lisa Boyer
  7. A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker (Audible)
  8. Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs (Audible)
  9. Evil Spy School by Stuart Gibbs (Audible)
  10. Rumpole Rests His Case by John Mortimer
  11. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen (Audible)


These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart

Francine Howard takes her wounded heart and her nursing skills into the backwoods of Kentucky to become a midwife to the mountain people. She hopes that getting out of the city will help her get over being jilted and the nagging expectations of her mother.

Ben Locke is home from the war. While the mountains of home are a balm to his spirit, his feet are restless, he feels he was made for more than the little that he can offer to his family now that his father is gone. The pain of loss is huge and the mountains are the place to heal. Then there is Nurse Howard who can’t seem to find her way out of a paper bag, but she sure is intriguing.

Francine and Ben are both in need of healing and hope. Are the mountains of Kentucky going to work on them as they serve the people of this backwoods community?

These Healing Hills is an easy read that gives you a little insight into a culture that is generally misunderstood. The Appalachian Mountain people aren’t frequently talked about other than being backwoods hillbillies with family feuds and moonshine stills! Those definitely come up and are part of this heart-warming story. Will the mountains heal Nurse Howard’s broken heart and fulfill the void, guess you’ll have to read and find out!

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

Trish Bailey has had her share of loss in the last year as she struggles with the death of her parents after losing her husband only a few years ago. She is barely holding it together when things start to unravel. Is she losing her mind, literally or is it only an illusion.

Matt Parker is supposedly supposed to be helping her out but things aren’t always what they seem, especially according to police detective Colin Flynn. Things aren’t adding up and he isn’t sure who to believe. He would like the investigation to be over so he can pursue his growing feelings for Ms. Bailey.

I can’t tell you any more than that or I’ll give away the plot. There is Russian mafia involved and things aren’t what they seem, that’s all you get for me! This one’s a page-turner.

The Proving by Beverly Lewis

An Amish story that is a little different than most. Mandy left the Amish world after a falling out with her sister. Her mother has passed away and left the running of their successful bed and breakfast to her! Mandy is shocked and a little dismayed at her mother’s wishes. Shouldn’t things have gone to her twin sister Arie?

It isn’t an easy job. No one wants to work for an unbaptised not-so-sure-she’s-Amish-or-not unmarried woman. What is she going to do? She isn’t the greatest cook and the Butterfly Meadows B&B has a reputation to uphold. Enter Trina, an Englischer with nothing to do, an unfiltered mouth and an excellent cook. The two work together to run the B&B and learn to become friends.

Mandy and Trina both need to figure out what they really want. What kind of world do they want to live in? Can they put their past behind them and live life to the fullest? A wonderful Sunday afternoon reading opportunity.

** All review books were supplied by Graf-Martin Communications a division of Baker Publishing House.

Goals for next year:

I think that will have something to do with this MAKER thing. Perhaps not quite so daunting a challenge as reading 100 books!!  Perhaps one maker creation per week! That would be 52 creations…that could be a thing.  What about you? Do you set goals? I’ll be honest, this is probably the VERY FIRST TIME I have ever set a goal like this and actually accomplished it! I am pretty proud of myself at this point!

So what are you going to do…dream a little, I’d love to walk with you through the next year!