Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015 Book Challenge :)

The hard, honest truth: I'm an overachiever. There. I said it.

My 2014 reading goal was 50 books.

I read 49 & 1/2 amazing books in 2014.

You read that right. 49.5. :s Kills me to just look at that number.

Last night I was bewailing this titanic failure to my mom and she said something to the affect of, "Natalie, just think of all those books you wouldn't have read if you hadn't challenged yourself to read that many."

Thank you, thank you, thank you, my sweet Momma.  :) She's so right. I read a grand total of 27 books in 2013. So that's almost double. Yay!

Ah, sweet freedom. She let me off the hook of my own criticism. Ever heard the quip, "You're your own worst critic?" It's true. 

On a related note, I watched the movie When the Game Stands Tall a couple nights ago. My takeaway was that we're not always as perfect as we'd like to be, but we can give a perfect effort. That's what we should aim for. We should aim high and do our best. Just don't steamroll your sense of self-worth if you aim for the impossible and don't reach it.

Also true is that we humans tend to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Oxymoron, anyone? Even so, while we can be quite narcissistic, sometimes our own expectations can set us up for feelings of deep failure when we don't meet them. And all along, all that God wants from us is for us to love Him and give our best effort to obey His Word. (BTW, when we love Him, we will want to obey Him. Can't explain why. It just works thataway.)

To end this rambling post (I promise that's not a harbinger for my future posts, lol), I must include my One Word for 2015. While everyone is choosing a new life word or "One Word" for 2015, mine is... 

CHERISH

Several dream-like opportunities lay ahead in 2015, but if I don't work to meet my goals, those opportunities may pass. I need to cherish those opportunities and work diligently. I'm surrounded by the most wonderful family a girl could ask for, and need to better practice balancing writing, work, and family time, because I don't want to miss a moment I could have enjoyed with my amazing loved ones. Most of all, I want to learn to cherish my Savior more. And cherishing Him means cherishing the things He cherishes. I also want to be more of a witness of His saving grace. In 2015, I want "to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God." (Micah 6:8)

Some books I read this year and my brief thoughts on them:


A really fun book. Enjoyed this one and recommend it for a fun Christmas read guaranteed to bring you a laugh. 

This one reminded me how much I like military suspense. 

This series wreaked havoc on my emotions, haha! So many twists and turns to show the grace of God's care even in painful situations. Poignant is the word I'd use to describe it. If you're going to read them, keep the next books right next to you and tissues handy.


Vanished (Private Justice, #1)
Vanished was the first I'd tried by Irene Hannon. Let me just say she knows what she's doing in that genre. Gripping story.


The Guardian's Promise 
An intriguing look at the times of young king Josiah.


Excellent book on plotting. There were some unnecessary "four letter words" that lent the book a unprofessional air. Hopefully the author has changed this now, because this is one of the most condensed, choc-full-of solid writing advice craft books I've read so far.
 
This has been my most recommended craft book this year. Excellent. If I wanted to learn to write gripping prose, here's where I'd start.



This book surprised me. I was shocked at how insightful this book is. It was written in the 1800s and explores the pros and cons of relationships carried out via text messages. Has an interesting love story plot, too.


Books I'm looking forward to this year:



All for Anna (Letting Go #1)A Talent for Trouble (Ladies of Distinction, #3)Caught in the Middle (Ladies of Caldwell County, #3)Take a Chance on Me (Christiansen Family, #1)
All God's Children (Peacemakers, #1)Against the TideCourting Morrow LittleLove in Disguise









 
What are some books you're looking forward to this year? 
I'm doing a different kind of reading challenge this year. Check it out HERE on the Christian Fiction Devourers group on Goodreads.


Happy New Year!

P.S. I just logged back into my Goodreads and found a book I'd read this year marked as a 2013 read. The book wasn't released in 2013, lol. I read it this year, set the date to this year, so now my "books read" tally is officially 50. But it's too late to change this post now. LOL. Just didn't want to be lying to the internet--on the first day of the year of all things. :D



5 comments:

Linda Monk said...

Congrats on meeting your goal, Natalie--even when you thought you didn't! I like your idea that goals should be aspirations not condemnations. My word for 2015 is Joy, and it gives me great joy to see your future unfold as a writer. Love and blessings, Aunt Linda

Sara Ella said...

Natalie, 49.5 books totally counts. Seriously that is a huge accomplishment! Happy New Year, girl!

Natalie Monk said...

Thanks, Aunt Linda! I love your
2015 word!

Hi, Sara! Thank you and a happy New Year to you, too! :)

Courtney Phillips said...

"Cherish" is a great word. Praying you'll have news to share soon that we can cherish together. :)
My word is "serve." Less of me. More of Him.

I haven't read those craft books you mentioned. I'm thinking I might need to get one about emotions. I've heard of one called The Emotion Thesaurus. Not sure if that's what I'm looking for.

Oh, and btw, I had no idea you were 26 (I think that's what I saw on Facebook). I feel like such a little kid. Haha!

Natalie Monk said...

Serve is a great word, Courtney!

The Emotion Thesaurus is on my Kindle and on my "to be (eventually) read" list. I've heard it's really great. Emotions are an area in my writing I need to work on, too.

Yep, 26. And I still feel like a little kid, too. LOL. But most people think I'm still a teenager(including my waitress where we went to eat for my birthday) so I'm proud to claim every year I've got, lol.