Category: Monthly Round-Ups

June 2017 Monthly Round-Up

June 29, 2017 Monthly Round-Ups 5

June 2017 Monthly Round-Up

This post contains affiliate links and I will make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

June Reading / Life

  • After an amazing month of reading in May (with 3 favorite books of the month), June was definitely slumpy for me in quality and quantity. I read 10 books, but a few of them were only around 200 pages long, so I feel like I sort of cheated.
  • I also had 4 DNF’s…which always makes a slump seem slumpier.
  • Both my favorite books of the month involved astute commentary about marriage…one fiction (Standard Deviation) and one non (Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake). And, a third book about marriage (Small Hours) didn’t measure up.
  • Anna Quindlen brought me twice the love this month with One True Thing.
  • I read two thrillers this month (shocking for me!)…one winner (Since We Fell) and one loser (Final Girls).
  • A couple slim July releases (What We Lose and Goodbye, Vitamin) definitely helped my June book count! Too bad only one was a winner.
  • And, The Skies Belong to Us (somewhat interesting at times, but I kept zoning out) and My Year of Running Dangerously (sweet and engaging story about a father and daughter training for a marathon together) rounded out my audiobooks.
  • My free trial of my personalized book recommendation service ended on Father’s Day and fulfilled 75 recommendation requests! I couldn’t have been happier with how many people participated and am getting the feedback survey results in now. Once I analyze the survey results and think through next steps, I’ll share everything I learned in a blog post. Many thanks to everyone who participated!
  • Look for my commentary on the July Book of the Month Club selections on Saturday. Sneak peek: I’ve already read two of the selections and, unlike last month, am really excited about this month’s picks!

Best Books of the Month

My Favorite Book(s) of the Month

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen (April 24, 2012)
Nonfiction – Memoir, 182 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny (May 23, 2017)
Fiction, 336 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon 

PS – last year’s Best Book of June was Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe (my review)!

Best Selling Book(s) of the Month (via my affiliate links)

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach (my review), which continues to take this category month after month.

July Releases I’m Excited About

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong (July 11)
American Fire by Monica Hesse (July 11)
Tornado Weather by Deborah E. Kennedy (July 11)
Careers for Women by Joanna Scott (July 25)

Most Popular Posts

Posts Actually Published in June
Best Books of 2017 So Far
3 More Books That Are Perfect for Summer Reading: Beartown, Since We Fell, Standard Deviation
Book of the Month Club June 2017 Selections: What Would I Choose?

Overall Posts
2017 Summer Reading Guide
Book Club Recommendations

Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

And, next month I need to be better about keeping track of posts I love…big fail for me this month!

How was your reading month?

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May 2017 Monthly Round-Up

June 6, 2017 Monthly Round-Ups 18

May 2017 Monthly Round-Up


This post contains affiliate links and I will make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

May Reading / Life

  • After reading 14 books in April, I’m back to a more normal-for-me reading level with 9 books in May. Not one of them was a real dud and I truly couldn’t decide between the 3 (yes, I realize this is totally ridiculous!) books that are my favorites of the month!
  • Three of those were massive winners with two 5 star sports novels (Trophy Son and Beartown) and a 4.5 star gorgeously written, gritty love story (White Fur).
  • Do Not Become Alarmed and Rabbit Cake made perfect additions to my 2017 Summer Reading Guide!
  • The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano – Lesnevich (my review) and One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel were both solid 4 star reads.
  • My audiobooks were decent: Shattered by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes and Spark by John Ratey.
  • My free trial of my personalized book recommendation service will be ending on Father’s Day, so it’s time to get in any last minute requests. And, I’ve got you covered for Father’s Day gift recommendations!
  • Today is the last day to choose your June Book of the Month Club selection(s). Check out all the details and my commentary on which selection I’d choose here!
  • I graduated to 1x/week of physical therapy for my lower back (down from 2x/week), so I’m now able to fit Barre class back in! I went to my first one today since the injury and, man, am I out of Barre shape. Bring on the soreness…

My Favorite Book(s) of the Month

Best Books of the Month

Trophy Son by Douglas Brunt (May 30, 2017), My Review
Fiction – Sports, 288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Beartown by Fredrick Backman (April 25, 2017)
Fiction – Sports, 432 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

White Fur by Jardine Libaire (May 30, 2017)
Fiction, 320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

PS – last year’s Best Book of May was Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (my review)…one of my Best Books of 2016!

Best Selling Book(s) of the Month (via my affiliate links)

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach (My Review)
Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan (Spoiler Discussion)
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (My Review)

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (My Review)
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (My Review)
White Fur by Jardine Libaire

June Releases I’m Excited About

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy (June 6)
The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs (June 6)
Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash (June 6)
Small Hours by Jennifer Kitses (June 13)

Most Popular Posts

Posts Actually Published in May
2017 Summer Reading Guide
My Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2017
Ten Read-Alikes I’m Dying to See

Overall Posts
Book Club Recommendations
Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: On Appreciating, Yet Not Loving a Book

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

How was your reading month?

Looking for a specific book recommendation? I’ve got you covered!
Participate in a limited time, free trial of my
new PERSONALIZED BOOK RECOMMENDATION service!

 

April 2017 Monthly Round-Up

May 4, 2017 Monthly Round-Ups 15

April 2017 Monthly Round-Up

This post contains affiliate links and I will make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

April Reading / Life

My Favorite Book(s) of the Month

Best Books of the Month

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan (May 9, 2017)
Fiction, 384 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

If We Were Villains by M.L Rio (April 11, 2017), My Review
Nonfiction, 352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

PS – last year’s Best Book of April was Shelter by Yung Jun (my review)…one of my Top 3 Books of 2016!

Best Selling Book(s) of the Month (via my affiliate links)

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates
Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
by Kathleen Rooney
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

May Releases I’m Excited About

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan (May 9)
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (May 16)
Trophy Son by Douglas Brunt (May 30)
White Fur by Jardine Libaire (May 30)

Most Popular Posts

Posts Actually Published in April
It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (4/10/17)
Book of the Month Club April 2017 Selections: What Would I Choose?

How to Ask for Book Recommendations…So You Find Books You’ll Love

Overall Posts
Book Club Recommendations

Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: On Appreciating, Yet Not Loving a Book*

*Ya’ll, this is the first time a book review has been one of my top posts! Who knew not liking A Gentleman in Moscow would get me so many pageviews?!

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

How was your reading month?

Looking for a specific book recommendation? I’ve got you covered!
Participate in a limited time, free trial of my
new PERSONALIZED BOOK RECOMMENDATION service!

March 2017 Monthly Round-Up

March 30, 2017 Monthly Round-Ups 17

March 2017 monthly round-up

This post contains affiliate links and I will make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

March Reading / Life

Best Books of the Month

My Favorite Book(s) of the Month

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey (March 14, 2017)
Fiction, 384 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel (March 7, 2017)
Nonfiction, 224 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

PS – last year’s Best Book of March was The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder (my review)…one of my Underrated Gems of 2016!

Best Selling Book of the Month (via my affiliate links)

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach (my review)

April Releases I’m Excited About

No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts (April 4)
Somebody with a Little Hammer by Mary Gaitskill (April 4)
Marlena by Julie Buntin (April 4)
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (April 17)

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (April 25)

Most Popular Posts

Posts Actually Published in March
My Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2017
Four Books I Just Added to My All-Time Favorites List
Five New Books You Can Read in a Weekend

Overall Posts
Book Club Recommendations
Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion
My Best All-Around Go-To Book Recommendations

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

How was your reading month?

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February 2017 Monthly Round-Up

March 3, 2017 Monthly Round-Ups 18

February 2017 Monthly Round-Up
This post contains affiliate links and I will make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

February Reading / Life

  • My 2017 reading kicked into gear in February with a number of super high quality books! Literally four of my February books could have been my Best Book of January.
  • I adored the writing and emotional tension of A Separation and All Grown Up, but they are the kind of books that I realize won’t appeal to everyone…consequently inspiring my 12 Books That Aren’t For Everyone…But WERE For Me list.
  • I read two page turners in February; one was a winner (Dark Matter, enabling me to check 4 books off my 2016 Books I Missed list!) and one not so much (Behind Her Eyes, but I did get a Spoiler Discussion post out of it).
  • My audiobooks were so-so: The Unwinding by George Packer didn’t offer much new insight, Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There by David Brooks was mildly entertaining, and The Valley of the Gods: A Silicon Valley Story (about Silicon Valley culture) was fairly interesting, but didn’t leave a lasting impression.
  • And, I think I’ll be recommending This Is How It Always Is and Dead Letters to many people for the foreseeable future.
  • I attended my first author event (I know, that’s kind of ridiculous) for my friend, Georgia Hunter and her astounding novel, We Were the Lucky Ones. It was fantastic to hear Georgia discuss her novel with Thomas Kail (director of Hamilton) and meet some of her family members whose stories she told in her novel.
  • Book of the Month Club selections are due on Monday…don’t forget to get yours in or sign up for a subscription if you want to get in for March (and you should because this month’s selections are particularly awesome)! Check out my commentary on the this month’s selections, including which book I’d choose.
  • Finally, I spent a big chunk of February trying to heal my thrown out back. After a couple weeks of physical therapy, massage, and rest, I’m finally starting to feel better! I’m still not back to running or intense workouts, but will hopefully be there soon.

Best Books of the Month

My Favorite Book of the Month

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach (February 21, 2017)
Fiction, 353 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

PS – last year’s Best Book of February was Tender by Belinda McKeon (my review)…also one of my favorites of 2016!

Best Selling Book of the Month (via my affiliate links)

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (author Q&A)

March Releases I’m Excited About

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg (March 7)
The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler (March 7)
The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo (March 14)
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (March 28)

Most Popular February Posts

Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion
12 Books That Aren’t For Everyone…But WERE For Me
Book of the Month Club February 2017 Selections: What Would I Choose? (my commentary on the March selections is also up)

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

How was your reading month?

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January 2017 Monthly Round-Up

February 7, 2017 Monthly Round-Ups 18

January 2017 Monthly Round-Up
This post contains affiliate links and I will make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

January Reading / Life

  • And…we have a very late January round-up! I changed up last week’s posting schedule at the last minute, so the round-up got pushed to this week. I promise there will be better planning next month.
  • My 2017 reading kicked off with a bit of a lackluster month…even though I read 11 books, which is more than I usually finish. Quantity rather than quality in general.
  • I liked many of my 2017 reads (The SleepwalkerThe Most Dangerous Place on Earth, Always Happy Hour, and Swimming Lessons), but none of them completely blew my mind. And, The Futures was just a flat out dud.
  • I read/listened to 3 books from my Ten 2016 Books I Missed list (Imagine Me Gone, Adnan’s Story, and Mothering Sunday) and liked them all. Plus, one was this month’s Best Book of the Month!
  • Two of my audiobooks were misses: The Almost Nearly Perfect People, which I think might have been more successful in book form, and Relentless Spirit (Olympic gold medal swimmer Missy Franklin’s memoir), which just shouldn’t have been written in the first place (at least at this point in her life).
  • I also got all introspective about the state of this blog (here and here) and shared that I’d be trying some new things in the coming months. The first “new thing” is a monthly feature commenting on the Book of the Month Club selections…and sharing which book(s) I would choose. Check out my commentary on the February selections!

Best Book of the Month

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (April 19, 2016)
Fiction, 192 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

February Releases I’m Excited About

A Separation by Katie Kitamura (February 7)
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (February 7)
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (February 14)
The Brain Defense by Kevin Davis (February 28)

Most Popular January Posts

Eight Underrated Gems of 2016
My Most Anticipated DEBUTS of Winter 2017
Ten 2016 Books I Missed

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

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December 2016 Monthly Round-Up

December 30, 2016 Monthly Round-Ups 21

December 2016 Monthly Round-Up

December Reading

  • This month was all about backlist reading. Every December, a traditionally slow month for new releases, I try to make time to read a couple books from my backlist TBR. This year’s choices (The Book of Unknown Americans, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and Every Last One) were all winners.
  • Thanks to Catherine at Gilmore Guide, I’ve been on an Anna Quindlen kick. 2016’s Miller’s Valley got things rolling and Every Last One was even better!
  • My 2017 releases started with one winner and one disappointment. My friend, Georgia Hunter’s, debut novel, We Were the Lucky Ones, is a fast-moving World War II story based on her own family. Keep it on your radar for February 14 (from Viking)! Emily Ruskovich’s debut novel, Idaho, has gotten some good early buzz, but it didn’t quite gel for me.
  • I was shocked that I didn’t love Michael Lewis’ latest book, The Undoing Project. I’m a huge Lewis fan, but this was a disappointment.
  • I only managed to finish one audiobook (Grit), but it was a winner and it made me more mindful of reinforcing grit in my children.
  • I didn’t write a single book review in December and it was a nice break. I did share my Best Books of 2016 and Best Debuts of 2016. And, check back on Sunday for my 2016 Reading and Blogging Stats.
  • Finally, the blog had its best month of pageviews since inception by doubling its previous best month. This was mostly due to one post (Five 2016 Books That Deserved the Hype…And Five That Didn’t) that got repinned 362 times.

Best Book of the Month

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen (April 13, 2010)
Fiction, 299 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Most Popular December Posts

Five 2016 Books That Deserved the Hype…And Five That Didn’t
My Most Anticipated Books of 2017
Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2016

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

  • Amanda at Bookshelf Monstrosity‘s If You Like Ann Patchett… post was especially timely considering my recent love of Commonwealth and interest in delving into her backlist (starting with This is the Story of a Happy Marriage this month).
  • Stacy at The Novel Life‘s list of 13 Amazing Author TED Talks includes some authors I’ve read and enjoyed (Susan Cain, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Angela Duckworth) and some that I want to read/listen to (Brene Brown, Shonda Rhymes).
  • Books are my Favourite and Best shared the books that pop up again and again on various Best Books of 2016 lists (Top 3 are Homegoing, The Underground Railroad, and Swing Time). Getting all those lists confused in your head? This is post is for you!

Library Checkout

December was a big library month for me, so I thought I’d sneak in an update here. I’m linking up with River City Reading‘s Library Checkout feature.

Checked Out, Read:
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

 

Checked Out, To Be Read:
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry (audio cheat)

 

Holds:
The Pigeon Tunnel by John Le Carre
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

 

Returned Unread:
News of the World by Paulette Jiles

 

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November 2016 Monthly Round-Up

December 1, 2016 Monthly Round-Ups 23

November 2016 monthly round-up

November Reading / Life

  • This month was all about Nonfiction November and I was reminded that this really is my favorite blogging event out there! I love taking a break from my regular reading patterns and ARCs to focus entirely on nonfiction. And, I love discovering new blogs and new books. Check out all my Nonfiction November discoveries here.
  • Despite all this nonfiction, my favorite book of the month was a novel I tacked on right at the end (Before the Wind) thanks to Catherine at Gilmore Guide.
  • But, I was thrilled with all the nonfiction I read and listened to and there wasn’t a single disappointing book in the bunch….my favorite being Five Days at Memorial.
  • On a less positive note, we’ve been dealing with serious water damage at our house. We’re living in a construction zone and devoting more time than I would like to the repair process, which means less time for reading. Boo!
  • On Thanksgiving, I ran my first running race (a hilly 5K Turkey Trot) in a year. Since I started focusing more on triathlon, I haven’t entered pure running races nearly as often as I used to. But, I’ve been working on my running technique this Fall and was anxious to see how it would translate to a race. My time was about 25 seconds faster than last year’s and just 5 seconds off my all-time best on that course (which was set right after training for a half marathon, when I was running a lot more than I am now), which was good for 3rd in my age group! But, the best part was that the run felt easier and smoother than ever before. Progress, ya’ll.

Best Book of the Month

Before the Wind by Jim Lynch (April 19, 2016)
Fiction, 309 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Review coming…

Most Popular November Posts

Nonfiction November 2016: Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairings Link-Up
Books That Make Perfect Holiday Gifts 2016
Nonfiction November 2016: Be the Expert…Dysfunctional Childhood Memoirs

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

  • It’s Best Books of the Year list time and Books are my Favourite and Best is compiling all those lists in one place. Plus, she’ll be sharing the books that pop up again and again under #allthelists.
  • Since I haven’t seen a movie in at least five years, Rory at Fourth Street Review‘s The Cinematic Glory of My Teenage Years post was right up my alley. Blue Crush, Sweet Home Alabama, She’s All That; yep, yep, yep.
  • Ya’ll know I have a soft spot for dysfunctional family books…so, Susie at Novel Visits‘ list of 10 Novels About Families grew my TBR list.
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October 2016 Monthly Round-Up

November 3, 2016 Monthly Round-Ups 21

October 2016 Monthly Round-Up

October Reading / Life

  • For the second month in a row, I have two best books of the month…lucky me! Not only are Commonwealth and The Mothers my two favorite books of the month, but they’re also two of my favorites of the year.
  • And, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (ended up enjoying after being initially creeped out) and Miss Jane (just so-so for me, despite being longlisted for the National Book Award) rounded out my October fiction.
  • My October in audio was all about sports. Age is Just A Number (Olympic swimmer Dara Torres’ memoir) and The Sports Gene educated me about the body as it relates to peak performance and got me to make some major changes in how I work out. Check out my Litsy account (@sarahsbookshelves) for mini reviews of both.
  • I also read very different memoirs: Jennifer Weiner’s Hungry Heart (a win!) and Pat Conroy’s My Reading Life (not my favorite Conroy nonfiction).
  • Finally, I was thrilled to be Kate at Parchment Girl‘s October Featured Blogger! Hop on over to hear about Friday Night Lights, comfort food, the classics I haven’t read…and, books I’m loving!
  • Now, on to Nonfiction November! It’s ON after all and I hope you all can participate!

Best Book(s) of the Month

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (September 13, 2016)
Fiction, 336 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Mothers by Brit Bennett (October 11, 2016)
Fiction, 288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Most Popular October Posts

My Best All-Around, Go-To Book Recommendations
Ten Terrible Family Members of Fiction
The Girls on the Train Movie: Will it settle a conspiracy theory? (Spoiler Alert!)

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

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September 2016 Monthly Round-Up

September 30, 2016 Monthly Round-Ups 13

September 2016 Monthly Round-Up

September Reading / Life

  • I gotta tell ya, I’m thrilled September is over! While September weather is my favorite, all this back-to-school rigamarole is definitely not. I know I sound like a broken record, but it did impact my reading.
  • September was the month of nonfiction for me! And I’m shocked since I was so excited for all the Fall fiction coming out in September. I read two 5 star memoirs in a row (When Breath Becomes Air, Hillbilly Elegy) and thoroughly enjoyed Originals on audio. The only nonfiction that didn’t work for me was The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts.
  • Sadly, I didn’t have a single fiction success this month (The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, A Gentleman in Moscow, and Cruel Beautiful World). 
  • I joined Litsy and like it far more than I thought I would. Plus, I think it’s going to be a great place for me to review audiobooks, which I don’t currently review on my blog or on GoodreadsFollow me at sarahsbookshelves!

Best Book(s) of the Month

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (June 28, 2016)
Nonfiction – Memoir, 272 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (January 19, 2016)
Nonfiction – Memoir, 208 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

October Releases I’m Excited About

The Mothers, Hungry Heart, Boat Rocker


The Mothers
 by Brit Bennett (October 11)

Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner (October 11)
The Boat Rocker by Ha Jin (October 25)

Top Backlist Books on my “To Be Read” List

Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Most Popular September Posts

Koch’s Distinct Style Makes Dear Mr. M A Winner, Despite Plot Inconsistencies
Ten Authors Who Should Host A Podcast
The Best of the Brain Candy: Books That Are Light AND Smart

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

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