Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 In Review

What a strange year this has been. Last school year I was asked to pick up the AP Literature classes at our school, which was a lot of work, but so exciting and satisfying. My favorite for the year was definitely Tess of the D'Urbervilles. We had such a fantastic time reading it, laughing together at scenes such as the milkmaids being carried across the washed out road, and crying over all the unfortunate events in Tess's life. It really was a great experience, and my favorite novel to teach so far...ever. Therefore, this deserves my first big "2009 in Review" mention:

Although I discovered her first book, Good Things, in 2008, I ravenously picked up and read Mia King's novels Sweet Life, and then Table Manners. If you haven't yet read Mia King, and you enjoy fiction about women, often including food and recipes, then you should really try out her novels!

One of my favorite reads in quite awhile came up in February of this year, and I've given it away TWICE because I wanted to pass the happiness along. That book was A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans, who has also written several other books (that I still need to read).

Another great discovery this year was Sharon Lathan's Pride and Prejudice novels, Two Shall Become One and Loving Mr. Darcy. I developed a fun friendship with Lathan that extended to some predictions about me sharing her novel from the beaches of Hawaii. :) While a more sensual approach to the Darcy story, I really loved the language of the story, as well as the escape factor. What can I say? I'm still very much a sucker for the idea of a hopelessly romantic love! (By the way, book three, My Dearest Mr. Darcy comes out on the 1st! My review is coming soon...)

Besides the novels that helped me escape this year, I read some really great literature, including: The Reader (still haunts me), A Small Place, The Inheritance of Loss, and Fasting, Feasting.

To wrap up my year, I'll post some of the pics for novels I enjoyed below.

My stats for 2009:
  • 95 novels read for the year.
  • Three Challenges completed--Rejuvenate & Renew, Everything Austen, & Period Drama Challenge.
  • Challenge Fails--None yet, but I might w/ the e-reader challenge.
For me, this was a good reading year, even though I think I felt pretty pressured to get through many different books. My goal for this coming year is to focus on what I love, reading. The fact is, I teach, therefore I simply can't read and review as much as I'd like. I love the community of readers I've met, so my focus will be on reading and relaxing! No more pressure here. I really don't know if or how many challenges I might join, and I will be limiting the number of ARCs I accept. The goal of this year is maintain my love of reading, not to stress it out!

Having shared my favorites, can you list your favorite read of the year? I know it's hard, but is there one book that stood out to you?

Until next time, Mahalo! Enjoy your New Year's celebrations, and I'll see you on the other side.


  1. Thanks for sharing so many beautiful good reads with all of us. I wish a new year full of many other good books, love, health, peace , joy and lots of small and big achievements. Best wishes.

  2. Beautiful post! Added several of these books to my TBR list now. Have a wonderful new year :)

  3. You had a great year with some wonderful books. I want to wish you and yours a most happy, healthy and joyous new year. Happy reading and blogging. May all your reads be 5 star!

  4. Great list! I added The Inheritance of Loss to my tbr pile after reading your review (must get to it soon!). Glad I found your blog this year!

  5. I have added quite a few books to my TBR list from this post.

    I have not yet read Tess --- but after reading your glowing review (and the fun you had with the students in the classroom), I will definitely consider this one of my classic reads for 2010.

    Have a marvelous New Year's Eve celebration, and I look forward to reading your posts in 2010.

  6. No such thing as a "hopeless romantic" my dear friend. As Joan Wilder says, "A hopeful romantic. Hopeful." You wait- a beach, a pina colada, a book, a hot guy..... It will happen. :) Love ya, and thanks a ton. Sharon

  7. I have to say, that is one lovely batch of covers! All gorgeous. I love the variety in what you've read this year as well.

    To pick a favorite overall for the year!? Ack. I'll cheat and go with the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. :)

  8. Excellent year in review wrap up! If I had to choose one favorite book for the year, think it would be The Child Thief by Brom, as it struck me a a new classic as I was reading it. The most fun I had reading a book was with Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler.

    Happy New Year!

  9. Happy New Year! May this year be the best of the best. :)

  10. Thank you for introducing me to Lathan's novels, Becky. I never would have tried them if you hadn't suggested it. ^_^

    Some of the novels that stood out for me this year were Perfect Chemistry, Hush, Hush, Going Too Far, and Bound By Your Touch.

  11. Maria--Thanks! I hope to get through some more...and to see a bit more of Richard Armitage! ;)

    Kals & JoAnn--I'm glad I could give you a few suggestions! These were all good ones.

    Kaye--Thanks, and same to you! 5 star reads are truly the great find that keeps us reading constantly.

    Molly--Oh!!! I am so excited for you to read Tess! I didn't read it until about a year ago, and then quickly turned around and taught it to my students. We all loved it and I can't say enough about it and its themes. I'm a new fan of Thomas Hardy!

    Sharon--You're so great. You have given me new hope over this last year. I love your books, and really feel like they give me something to aim for. :)

    Angiegirl--Thanks for pointing out those Turner novels. I've added them to my TBR pile. I actually noticed them on your blog and now have to give them a chance!

    Alexia--Thanks. I'll add that to my TBR pile! I love hearing about people's favorites for the year. These wrap ups really are pretty helpful for rounding them up!

    J. Kaye--All the best to you too!

    Heidenkind--I'm glad you like them! They are so sweet and romantic, how can you not. Holy cow, they give this cynic great hope! Oh, and I ordered a sample of the other two books you listed, since I read Hush, Hush already. Can't wait to give them a try!