Tuesday, January 3, 2017

December 2016 Wrap Up + Year in Review

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  My family had a great December (other than a little bit of stomach flu) and now I'm ready for 2017!  As I'm sure it was for a lot of people, 2016 was a hot mess, not just because of current events but also in my personal life.  So I'm looking forward to having a great 2017!

December was another good reading month for me!  I read 12 books for the month which I think is great.  I started out strong in the beginning of the month but kind of tapered off toward the end.  Because of how much I've read in the last two months, I managed to hit 101 books for the year which is way more than I anticipated.

My stats for December are as follows:

-12 books read
   -1 non-fiction
   - 0 historical fiction
   - 0 review books
   -9 library books
   -3 books I own
   -5 ebooks

I had a lot of bookish goals for the 2016 year and I think I did okay with some of them.

1.) Read 52 books - I read 101 books so I far surpassed this goal though I'm pretty sure I set it low so that I could focus on quality over quantity.  I may have to work on that next year.

2.) Read more non-fiction - So technically I did do this one.  I did read more non-fiction this year than I have in any year since I started tracking this (so since 2012).  However, I did want to read 50% non-fiction this past year and I got more like 20% in.

 3.) #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks - I failed at this one like always.  If I look at my stats I read more of my own books than in previous years but I did read a lot of books as I purchased them and stayed away from a lot of books that have been on my shelf for a while.

4.) Cut back even more on review books- I did succeed at this one.  I read even less review books than I did last year and it was kind of nice not to have the extra pressure of reading something because I had to.

5.) Participate more in #FitReaders- I failed at this miserably.  I participated occaisionally but then fell completely off the wagon after summer.

6.) Put more effort into the Blog-This was another fail.  I worked on the blog a lot over the summer but have been kind of in a tailspin for the past couple months.  I am probably going to be taking a break after this post goes live and don't have any clue what will happen with this blog in the coming year.

So I guess my goals were kind of a bust but I'm still very happy with my reading stats for the year.

-101 books read
   - 19 non-fiction
   - 42 historical fiction
   - 18 review books
   - 54 library books
   - 27 books I own
   -56 ebooks

So all in all a good reading year.  I'm still trying to come up with my reading goals for 2017 and may post those in the next week or so.

How was 2016 for you?  Did you meet your reading goals?  I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Review: "Victoria" by Daisy Goodwin

From Goodreads: In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.

One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….

My Thoughts: This is the second book I've read about Queen Victoria recently and she is such a fascinating historical figure.  This book focuses on the early years of Victoria's reign and the issues she faced in her personal and political life as she cemented her role as queen.

I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Victoria and her mother; it was fascinating to watch Victoria come into her own as an independent young woman. Her mother seemed like such a difficult person to deal with and for the most part, Victoria handled her well.  The portrayal of their unique relationship made them both seem more normal and less like superior beings.  I actually like this aspect of the story because it made Victoria relatable.

I'll admit that I didn't really like Prince Albert all that much.  He was just so whiny and insufferable.  I did feel bad for him since he had such a difficult childhood but he was just a big grouch for most of the story.  The relationship seemed very rushed in the story and I would love to see a continuation of this book that focuses on the progression of Victoria and Albert's relationship through their married years.  

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  Victoria was portrayed as a much more interesting and complex than I had previously thought.  This is a definitely a good read for those who enjoy reading about the person behind the crown.  3 stars.

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