December Reading Wrap-Up

My 2016 reading goal was 100 books (physical and audio) and December ended with a final (and successful) push to reach my goal. 

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent - 5/5

Our January book club book might have been one of my favorite books of 2016.  This historical fiction is based on the true story of the last woman publicly executed in Iceland.  Always viewed as a devilish witch, Kent is the first author to give Agnes a voice of her own.  The novel includes love, drama, and a chilling narrative of a dying woman. 

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem - 4/5

I grew up learning about Gloria from my mom, who was a massive fan of her feminist work. This book taught me about Gloria's personality and passions, especially in her later life.  I enjoyed learning more about her through stories and experiences. 

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas - 5/5

In a market saturated with fairy-tale retellings, Thomas took A Wicked Thing in a completely different direction.  The novel opens on Princess Aurora being woken from her sleeping curse by the prince.  Readers follow her through the next few months of learning about a new time, family, and culture.  Of course, love plays a large part of Aurora's journey. 

Aerie by Maria D. Headley - 3/5

The second book in the Magonia series was far less magical than the first.  After defeating her mother and saving the world, Aza Ray must decide between the world she always knew and the world she is from.  The struggle overwhelms this novel and left me wanting more than the forced adventures and forbidden love sequence. 

Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven - 3/5

After reading All the Bright Places, I knew I wanted to try Niven's next novel.  Holding Up the Universe is a tale about body image, bullying, eating disorders, grief, and a little-known disorder called Prosopagnosia.  The main character Libby loses her mother at a young ages and spirals into a severe eating disorder that lands her the title of America's Fattest Teen.  Niven's novel tells the story of Libby's recovery and journey to regain her self-image.  However, similar to Niven's other books, Holding Up the Universal falls short of realism for me.

Works Well with Others by Ross McCammon - 4/5

This is one book I will need to read again, maybe even three or four times.  I loved how the author used stories and humor to teach readers.  Like many self-help books, you take away what works best for you. 

If You Ask Me by Betty White - 5/5

Do I really have to say more than 5/5?  Come on, it's Betty White!

Now Go Out There by Mary Karr - 4/5

A commencement speech to inspire students and readers to excel at life and follow dreams.  This is a short book and perfect for anyone who needs a little encouragement.

The Nine of Us by Jean Kennedy Smith - 2/5

I knew going into this book that I wasn't going to love it however, I learned a good amount about America's "royal family," the Kennedy's.  All of the stories are told by the younger sister of John F. Kennedy and follows the lives of all nine Kennedy siblings.  Not the best way to learn history however, I did enjoy learning more about American events through the eyes of a contemporary. 

Anthem by Ayn Rand - 4/5

My last book of 2016 was a futuristic dystopian that was written in 1938.  In Rand's future, society has removed the word "I" from vocabulary, removing autonomy, love, and freedom.  However, it takes the bravery of Anthem's main character to rediscover "I" and it's purpose for mankind.


2016 Overview


At the start of 2016, I left my position at Oak Hall and entered the corporate world.


In February, we celebrated J's birthday at the Medieval Faire


My beautiful goddaughter became a big sister in March.


My best friend finally wed her love in April and I loved standing by her side. 


In May, I walked in the graduation ceremony for my M.B.A.! 


The second birth of 2016 happened in June when my niece entered the world.


By July, I had made friends at my new job and enjoyed several work events with them!


I submitted my last ever school assignment in August and then celebrated with my friends!


To celebrate my 25th birthday, J and I took our first cruise in September.


Before Halloween in October, we took SD to Walt Disney World for his first trip!


November was a month to be thankful for and we attended the best football game of the season.


Christmas is my favorite holiday and I loved celebrating the holidays all December long with J.

Blessings of Christmas

I am so thankful for each of my presents I received this holiday season.  If you are curious about what I was given, here is everything!

From my boss:

My amazing boss made me peppermint bark and Grinch chocolate with a small wooden reindeer ornament.

From my Secret Santa:

A gorgeous and soft blanket scarf

A gift card to buy myself a peppermint mocha

From my husband: 

My stocking (better pictures below)

All of the candy

Coloring book and coloring pencils

Boot cuffs to match my favorite sweaters

New makeup from NYX

Gator jewelry

My 2016 snuggle box filled with goodies (below)!

Sticker book!

Jr. novels of my favorite movies!

An adorable novel version of My Neighbor Totoro

The Blu-Ray of Pets so I can watch it over and over!

Five mini books based on the emotions

My favorite gift from J, a talking Gidget!

Monogram earrings

A book based on the Snow Queen

The Polaroid camera I have been wanting forever!

The sequel to my favorite game

Newt Scamander

Accessories for my Animal Crossing game

From my best friend: 

New Lularoe leggings!

From my dad:

In the stocking he gave me, I got chocolate, Yoobi goodies, Frozen office supplies, and a Starbucks gift card. 

The shoes I have been drooling over for months!

A gold monogram necklace

Orange and blue earrings for Gator games

The third installment of Girl Online

From my step-sister:

What presents did you receive?