New Year, New Plans

I did a lot of thinking during the last month of the year and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m writing this blog about the wrong subject.  Or, I should say, writing about the books I read isn’t enough.  While I am always reading something, what I read does not always inspire me to write a full-blown blog entry.  Therefore I’ve made too few entries this past year.  And my heart wasn’t always in those I did post.  So I feel that I either must end this blog altogether or expand the subject matter beyond my bookshelves.

Now, I have many, many interests but I am an expert at none.  My first instinct was to expand my entries to books and movies.  Then I thought I might add TV shows and music to the list of subjects about which I write.  But like with reading, I feel that one’s taste in movies, shows, and especially music is very personal.  And maybe it’s the trauma of middle school talking but I don’t trust that I won’t be judged harshly for my tastes.  Nothing personal, but the internet hasn’t shown itself to be the safest place to pour one’s heart out.

I’ve also considered posting snippets of my own fiction writing.  Again my trusts issues come into play.  Even though the writing is probably mostly crap, I can’t trust that my ideas won’t be stolen.  I have issues.  We all do.  I know that but I’m only now beginning to realize that these trust issues of mine are holding me back not only in my blog but with my fiction.  Maybe, instead of the usual resolution to get fit or be more responsible with money, my 2017 resolution should be to work on my trust issues.  And not just my trust of strangers on the internet but also I need to learn to trust myself.  This, I believe, would greatly benefit my writing as well as other areas of my life.  Which I don’t trust you enough to talk about.  Still, if I’ve actually posted this, it is a step in the right direction.  Right?

Now, before the trust exercises begin I must post my annual Year in Review of the books I read in 2016.  I went well over my goal of 30 books with 46 but that’s because I didn’t do very well at my other resolution to focus more on my fiction writing.  I could blame a particularly tough year but the truth is I’m just really good at believing my own excuses.  Neither did I succeed in completing Reading Challenge I attempted.

2016 Reading Challenge from modernmrsdarcy.com

I thought it would be simple with only 12 books but I’m still working on the book that intimidates me – James Michener’s Alaska – and I never got around to the book I should’ve read in school or the one I’d previously abandoned.  That’s not surprising considering that I didn’t want to read them the first time around.  Here are the books I read to complete the other challenges:

A Book Published This Year:

(Goodreads.com giveaways were quite helpful in completing this one)

A Book You Can Finish in a Day:

(I should write an entry on what this local children’s author has meant to me)

A Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read:

A Book Recommended by your Local Librarian:

A Book Chosen for You by Your BFF:

A Book Published Before You Were Born:

A Book that Has Been Banned at Some Point: 

A Book You Own But Have Never Read:

(To be fair this category is true of most of the books I read.)

A Book You’ve Read at Least Once:

And now for my top read of the year:

I chose Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart.

Amy Stewart’s wonderful Kopp Sisters series is based on the experiences of real-life sisters Constance, Norma, and Fleurette Kopp in the 1910s.

I know I didn’t give it a full 5-star rating but it was just such a fun surprise and I think many people would enjoy the tale based on actual events.  Don’t believe me?  Go to the author’s page dedicated to these three brave women.  I think it just proves that librarians really do know the best books.  Plus there’s a fantastic sequel for when you finish long before you want it to end.


Review: Firefly Lane

Firefly Lane
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are a lot of novels out there about friendships between women. What makes Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane great is the author’s gift for setting. The story spans four decades and, thanks to Hannah’s research and mention of iconic clothing, shows, people and events, I felt like I was there. I could picture everything perfectly even in the decade before I was born.
More important than the setting, though, are the characters. In a story like this, with a lot of emotional situations, it is important that the reader cares about the characters because there are times when both Kate and Tully can be unlikable. Hannah accomplishes this with plenty of detailed build up. This sounds like it could get dull but thanks to the afore mentioned details and the quick passage of time, it goes quickly.
About halfway through, it got to be a stressful read. I cared deeply about the main characters – especially Kate- and because of the inclusion of a short prologue, I knew something big was going to happen to come between the friends. With every turn of the page, I lived in dread of what that might be. Would it be something with Johnny? With Tully’s boundless ambition? Marah’s idolization of Tully? All of the above? It drove me on but made me loathe to read it. I knew my heart would break no matter what. I just didn’t know how much.
I am not a crier. I’ve read plenty of tear-jerking books and seen many tear-jerking movies with nary a catch in my throat. The last 40 pages or so of Firefly Lane was a constant flow of tears. And that only comes from really caring about those characters and what happens to them. There is a sequel, Fly Away, that I am nervous about. There are certain things I DO NOT want to see happen. Yet, I am curious about what happens to these characters I’ve come to love. Especially Marah.

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