"Janet! Donkeys!" | a Review of the Books I Read in 2015

Hello, lovely readers! I haven't blogged in ever so long - potentially the longest blogging break I've ever had. Don't worry now. I haven't been to swept into Narnia or gone gallivanting through time and space in a Tardis! However, I may have slipped on Bilbo's ring and disappeared from bloggerland for a while. And oh, I have missed sharing with you all so much. *sniffs sadly* 

So, here I am, and I am excited to share with you the delicious and exciting array of books I devoured read in 2015, and what were some of the bookish highlights of that year for me in this fantastic bookish survey I found on Annie Hawthorne's bookish blog. (Basically, lots of bookishness abounds!) You can also click the hyperlinks to the books to see my big/small reviews on Goodreads, where I'm pretty active.

General warning to the inhabitants of this universe, and to the travellers in far off galaxies, that this post is going to be LOOOONGGG! Your decision of pursuing to read this post is entirely on your head, and I'm not responsible for any time wasted from your precious lives. So, if you're still super keen on this procrastination (which, to be totally honest, in this instance, I don't really object to), then please, pull yourself up on a comfy couch with a hot cocoa and some yummy short-bread biscuits and enjoy! :)

2015 Reading Stats

A Short Meditation on the Moral Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ by J.G. Bellett (5 stars)
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis (4 stars)
Joan of Arc by L. Du Garde Peach (3 stars)
The Art of Storytelling by John D. Walsh (4 stars)
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon (5 stars)
God's Tribesman: The Rochunga Pudaite Story by James C. Hefley (3.5 stars)
The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron (4.5 stars)
The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter (5 stars)
The Tale of Benjamin Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (4 stars)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (5 stars)
The Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter (4 stars)
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (a reread) (5 stars!!)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (4 stars)
The King Arthur Trilogy #2: The Light Beyond the Forest by Rosemary Sutcliff (4.5 stars)
A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin (2.5 stars)
Pendragon's Heir by Suzannah Rowntree (5 stars, review coming soonish!)
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (5 stars)
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coldridge (4 stars)
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (5 stars) (review absolutely coming soon!)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (3.5 stars)

Number of books you read in 2015: All in all, I read 50 books (varying in length from a Dickens' doorstopper to Beatrix Potter's picture books) and, while I know it may seem like a smallish amount to some, I feel immensely happy with that. I read or reread at least one book for almost all of my favourite authors like Rosemary Sutcliff, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien and Elizabeth Goudge (saving dear Gaskell who I will read more of this year, Lord willing!), besides discovering some wonderful new ones, like Kristy Cambron, Marilynne Robinson, and Suzannah Rowntree. I even ventured out of my comfort zone and read a famous dystopian novel, a popular science-fiction fairy-tale retelling, and some 20th century classic poetry. All in all a very diverse and rich reading year!

Some of my forays into the world of classics last year included reading authors I had been eager to read for a long time, like P.G. Wodehouse (he's my firm favourite comedy writer now!), confirming my love of Elisabeth Elliot through her books Let Me Be a Woman, and Through the Gates of Splendour, reading my first book for Anne Bronte (her novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall left me with a lot of thoughts!), finally enjoying Harper Lee's renowned To Kill a Mockingbird, and then totally falling in love with Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (folks, just go read it, okay? Okay!)

Best in Books
1. Best Book You Read in 2015?
Awe, that's so hard! Why do such questions even exist? *sits in a corner and pouts* Okay, okay! I'm going give you 16 (because obviously I don't know how to stick to given rules ;). . .

Firstly, I don't know how to describe how wonderful Pendragon's Heir by Suzannah Rowntree is except to say it was one of the best books of 2015, and Blanche and Perceval have now wormed their way into my elite group of favourite literary characters *hugs them tightly*! The King Arthur Trilogy by Rosemary Sutcliff equally wrung my heart and warmed it in the way only Sutcliff knows how to do - it was also my first introduction to the Arthurian legend, which I totally loved!
Isn't he cute?
The Butterfly and the Violin, and A Sparrow in Terezin (both by Kristy Cambron) are beautiful pieces of art - lyrical and heartbreaking in so many ways, and I'm just so excited to have discovered such a talented modern Christian author like Kristy. Go check her out, please! :) 

Secure in the Everlasting Arms inspired and challenged my faith and Let Me Be A Woman by Elisabeth Elliot helped me put in perspective things facing the overwhelming feminist worldviews I've been bumping into in novels and my literary studies; Death by Living by N.D. Wilson - this was one of those books that left a truly lasting effect on me, and was simply so powerful and convicting.

I'm falling more and more in love with Dickens' stories (I had a huge binge of watching the BBC dramas for Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, and Nichloas Nickleby throughout 2015), and finally reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens helped strengthen that love - it was rich like eating a Christmas pudding and I loved every moment of it!

P.G. Wodehouse was such a beautiful surprise of 2015, and SO REFRESHING! My favourite was Right Ho Jeeves, but The Code of the Woosters was equally a delight. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott was my favourite re-read of 2015 - I love those 4 little women so much :). The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte left me with a rage of emotions but I actually really loved it. 

I had heard a lot about Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, but reading it was something quietly beautiful and bittersweet - I loved it! The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge was another favourite just because Goudge writes so beautifully and refreshingly and with the simplicity of faith that I treasured a lot. 

. . and I finally read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and jolly! What a powerful and special book - I loved the writing, Atticus and Scout and Jem and the story so much. . . no wonder it's such a favourite modern classic. 

But I think if you'd put me to the spot and ask me which book was my absolute favourite of 2015, what book left the greatest impression on me and was the greatest thrill to read? It would have to be Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. That book! It's just so brilliant, haunting and beautiful. 
Narrowing it down to four, I'd say that Pendragon's Heir by Suzannah Rowntree, The King Arthur Trilogy by Rosemary Sutcliff, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and "A Sparrow in Terezin" by Kristy Cambron get the cake f the best of the BEST of 2015.

2. Book You Were Excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?
Sadly, Plenilune by Jennifer Freitag disappointed me in a big way - basically I loved the writing style, the beauty and vivid fire of description that the author wielded, her epic writing scenes and enriched characters. However as a plot - as a story with Christian characters who do morally ambiguous and dark, twisted things - it was quite disturbing.

3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read?
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier  - Oh, but in such a good way!

4. Book You "pushed" the most people to read (and They Did)?
Hmm, I guess I've been pushing people to read Anne Elisabeth Stengl's novels for ages now, and it has been exciting to see more of my friends read her books (head nod to Annie *grins*). Also I may have been influential in getting some of my friends to read more Rosemary Sutcliff and Elizabeth Goudge books, plus Gilead by Marilynne Robinson :).
The happiness I feel when a friend picks up a book
 that I love and enjoys it as thoroughly as I did!

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
The Masterpiece series by Kristy Cambron was my favourite series I started last year - so good. I only wish she had written more books in the series! Best sequel I read was the 2nd book in the King Arthur Trilogy: The Light Beyond the Forest. And I suppose it goes for saying best ending would have been The Road to Camlann by Rosemary Sutcliff too!
Oh my squishy darling baby! I devoured books like that in 2015.

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2015?
Kristy Cambron was my favourite discovery for a new author in 2015 - she writes so artistically and beautifully, and her stories are quite a delight amidst so much mediocre Christian fiction these days; Daphne du Maurier was my favourite "classic" author I discovered last year - I still have to read most of her bibliography, but Rebecca was enough to make her a favourite for me.

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
*nods* I read 3 books out of my comfort zone in 2015. I read Cinder by Marissa Meyer, a science-fiction fairy-tale retelling, which I rather liked but found a few things in it that weren't my cup-a-tea. I then read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which is historical fiction and I'm totally used to that - but the writing style and it being a secular YA was quite different. I found it deeply fascinating though! And lastly I read the first Hunger Games book and you can read my review of it, here. I think my favourite of them was The Book Thief, which is not a big surprise since it is historical fiction after all :).

I also read T.S. Eliot's Selected Poems, and loved it!

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (again ;).

9. Book You Read in 2015 That You are Most Likely to re-read?
I'd love to re-read Pendragon's Heir (because I loved it so much, and I also need to review it), The King Arthur Trilogy (Gareth and Gawain and Perceval and Arthur - I just miss those dear brave boys!), Plenilune (I want to reread this book to gain a better understanding of the story and help me in reviewing it as well), The Butterfly and the Violin (because it is beautiful), A Sparrow in Terezin (because I can't stop loving a story like that), Rebecca (such a book compels a reread - I love it too much not to!), Selected Poems (T.S. Eliot needs more study and his poetry is wonderful), Death by Living (it's the type of book that ought to be reread often I think), To Kill a Mockingbird (besides loving it so much, I want to give it a reread before diving into Go Set a Watchman).

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2015?
The Butterfly and the Violin - I can't get enough of how beautiful Cambron's bookcovers are - I just love the way the title is written, and the sort of canvas that the girl is drawn on with the flowers and butterfly, and the prison below. It's art!
A Sparrow in Terezin - I actually think that I love the cover of A Sparrow in Terezin even a bit more - the way the images blend together so beautifully - - the image of the sparrow and the ancient city of (Prague?). . . ah, it's lovely!
A Cast of Stones - I love this cover so much; it just draws me into that world and makes me eager to go into that city and discover all the adventures of Errol and his quest!
Cinder - it has such a weird, sci-fi fairy-tale-ish cover, but quite eye-catching and unique. I quite love it, actually.

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Well, as you probably all know by now, I can't just pick one. So here goes - Mrs. de Winter from Rebecca - I love that girl so much! The title character of Dickens' David Copperfield was another favourite - especially when Davie was a little boy :'). Helen from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte was such a strong and courageous woman with a faith that I truly loved. Sir Perceval - blame it all on Sutcliff and Rowntree, okay? And I certainly could not go without mentioning Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. The character of Jon Ames from Gilead was pretty fantastic as well.

12. Most beautifully written book of 2015?

“Grace has a grand laughter in it.” ― Marilynne RobinsonGilead
The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee were all written so beautifully, they left me broken with the bittersweet beauty and ache of it, but also touched and refreshed in such a healing way. If I can write anything like those books one day, get a grasp of the power and beauty of words, and how to break and heal and enrich with that sort of strength and tenderness of writing, it would I think see my writing aspirations fulfilled.

13. Most thought-provoking / life-changing book of 2015?
For fiction, it would be: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier for the emotions it left in me with the beauty and power of words and with how closely I related to the heroine of the story - that story gripped me so much and made me think a lot! The King Arthur Trilogy by Rosemary Sutcliff had such a strong positive and encouraging influence on me as well - I can't quite describe it, but it was truly wonderful.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte was the most thought-provoking read though, because it really had a haunting and terrifying way of presenting certain truths in a grim and vivid picture - it reminded me very strongly of the danger and heartache of being unequally yoked with unbelievers.
For non-fiction, it would have to be Let me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot. I started reading it at the right time really, almost providentially I think, especially because in my tentative study of literature and the arts, I find so much feminism and crude defiance of the traditional, God-ordained callings of men and woman in life, marriage and the home; this book was truly a refreshing draft of water, an uplifting and challenging reminder of the goodness and glorious  beauty of God's perfect Design.

I was also greatly challenged and inspired by Death by Living by N.D. Wilson.

14. Favourite passages/quotes from any books you read in 2015?

“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.” ― Daphne du MaurierRebecca
“The road to Manderley lay ahead. There was no moon. The sky above our heads was inky black. But the sky on the horizon was not dark at all. It was shot with crimson, like a splash of blood. And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.” ― Daphne du MaurierRebecca
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” ― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird
Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.” ― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird
“Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.” ― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird
“What is the scent of water?"
"Renewal. The goodness of God coming down like dew.” ― Elizabeth GoudgeThe Scent of Water
“Because I believe that this too shall be used by God. Somehow, this story He is writing will live on.” ― Kristy CambronThe Butterfly and the Violin
“There was carpet under Blanchefleur’s feet and the scent of clean and delicate things in her nostrils—perfume, babies, soap, and tea. Homesickness hit her like a clenched fist; this was worse than memory.”― Suzannah RowntreePendragon's Heir
“Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.” ― Marilynne RobinsonGilead
“I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.” ― Marilynne RobinsonGilead
"We shall have made such a blaze that men will remember us on the other side of the dark." --Rosemary Sutcliff, Road to Camlann
“But smiles and tears are so alike with me, they are neither of them confined to any particular feelings: I often cry when I am happy, and smile when I am sad.” ― Anne BrontëThe Tenant of Wildfell Hall

“Janet! Donkeys!” ― Charles DickensDavid Copperfield

15. Book You can't believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to read?
Haha, my answers are getting a bit old, but I have to say that I really can't believe I waited that long to read Rebecca. It sat unread on my shelf for over a year, and my mum had so frequently mentioned how she loved it growing up, and I loved it so much myself when I finally did read it, that it was just absurd that I waited that long. *shakes head at self* :)

16. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)
Jo March and Professor Bhaer from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - I love those two together SO much! <3 They're just perfect for each other, and so sweet; they share so many common interests and values, and they each do something good to the other. Laurie and Jo were far too much like brother and sister to work out, I think, and besides, I think Jo was of more help to Laurie than he was to Jo, and in a romantic relationship I always believe that each should help the other grow and mature in their lives, character and faith. Besides, Professor Bhaer is such a dear darling to Jo!

Another relationship that I was really rooting for was with Max de Winter and his second wife from Rebecca. Their relationship is at times quite complicated and heartbreaking, but I think there was something about the young wife's loyalty and love for her husband that was so sweet and special, and seeing how much Max loved her in his rugged, harsh way was very precious to see. They're a complicated couple for sure, and at times it's a rather painful relationship with all the struggles those 2 characters have to go through before really growing close - but I have to say, I was all the time hoping and wishing for them to work out, because I loved them so much! 

"Do you mean you want a secretary or something?""No, I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool.” ― Daphne du MaurierRebecca

I also love Kaja and Liam from A Sparrow in Terezin so much!

17. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year
Atticus Finch and his relationship with his two children, especially Jean Scout was the best. Aw, I just loved that father-daughter relationship fiercely <3

“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” ― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

18. Favourite Book you read in 2015 from an author you've read previously?
David Copperfield was really good - and hello, it's Dickens! "I'm such a fan!" Also, anything by Rosemary Sutcliff was sure to be loved, and The King Arthur Trilogy was no exception.

19. Best book you read in 2015 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure:
My dear friend Schuyler first recommended Patrick W. Carr's fantasy trilogy to me through her review, and I actually really enjoyed A Cast of Stones, the first book in the series. With P.G. Wodehouse I had heard many positive things, but it was only when the lovely Annie started reading his books and writing the most jolly reviews on Goodreads that I finally picked up Right Ho, Jeeves. Best literary decision ever!

20. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
I have to admit that I do just love Sir Perceval from Pendragon's Heir as well as Sir Gawain from The King Arthur Trilogy. I'll always have a deep love for the character of Atticus Finch <3. And I like Max de Winter quite a bit. #ohdear

21. Best 2015 Debut you read?
Pendragon's Heir by the wonderful Suzannah Rowntree. Her novel. . . ah, I just can't praise it enough. It was so good, guys, so good. What?! Why haven't you gone and picked it up already? Go forth and do so!

“It was like listening to the universe in motion. Planets spinning on their appointed courses, the lives of men intersecting and parting, the unimaginable harmony of the human body itself in hierarchy and order, were all implied in the song, but something greater as well: the genius of the composer, which must surely approach the miraculous. Perceval closed his eyes and was lost in the weaving music.” ― Suzannah RowntreePendragon's Heir

22. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting you Read This Year?
Max de Winter's estate - Manderly - was one of the most vivid and rich settings I've read in literature, right alongside Thornfield Hall, Marboulgh Mills, and Pemberly! It had such depth to it, such mystery - it was almost a character in of itself. Daphne du Maurier haunts you with that house from the very start, and definitely leaves you with the lingering feeling that you've actually gone and visited it physically.

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” ― Daphne du MaurierRebecca
For world-building, I would definitely give the thumps up to Plenilune by Jennifer Freitag. Wow. Her world was so beautifully and intricately built; I'm still in awe, actually.
"Under her feet Margaret felt Plenilune tremble-with fury and with colossal ecstasy..." - Plenilune

23. Book That Put a Smile on Your Face/Was the most FUN to read?
All three books I read in 2015 for P.G. Wodehouse were a joy, to be honest. They were so funny and witty, and made me laugh-so-hard-till-my-sides-hurt - they were like a doze of cheerful medicine, and so enjoyable! My favourite was Right Ho, Jeeves - I can't remember laughing so hard over a book in years. But I also loved reading some Beatrix Potter - her stories definitely put a warm smile on my face and gave me the warm fuzzies; my favourite was The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan. . . oh my word, what a funny tale!

24. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015?
I got emotional over quite a few reads actually. Pendragon's Heir and The King Arthur Trilogy had such tear-jerking endings *sobs*, The Butterfly and the Violin, A Sparrow in Terezin both made me cry more than once. I even cried a little in To Kill a Mockingbird, Gilead, The Book Thief and The Scent of Water :'). And with my re-reads of The Magician's Nephew, The Fellowship of the Ring, and Little Women there were times when my eyes got just a little bit wet.
and my heart felt like this. . .

25. Hidden Gem of the Year?
The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock was actually a really beautiful and encouraging read.

26. Book that Crushed Your Soul?
Pendragon's Heir left me in tears when I finished it - so beautiful and heartbreaking and glorious!

27. Most Unique Book You Read in 2015?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - it was bizarre and quirky, a bit depressing, and beautiful and really sad.

"A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship."- The Book Thief

28. Book that Made You the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
A Memory Between Us made me so mad, because though the writing was great and the attention to historical details and characters was wonderful, the romance bugged me to no-end.

My Blogging/Bookish Life
1. New Favourite Blog You Discovered in 2015?
Curious Wren - my dear and wonderful friend Annie Hawthorne (I call her my Samwise <3), started a blog last year and it's an absolutely wonderful blog - full of delightful literary goodies and heartfelt posts, brimming with Annie's joyful, bubbly personality, her earnestness and passion for the written word and her faith in God, and filled with the joy of living. Annie is a darling! <3

2. Favourite Review that you Wrote in 2015?
I'm pretty fond of my review for "A Sparrow in Terezin" on Goodreads, as well as "Draven's Light" by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. I enjoyed writing a review for "The Hunger Games" mostly because it made me use my analysing skills, and allowed me to be critical and thoughtful in my writing.  Reviewing a poetry collection - T.S. Eliot's Selected Poems - was pretty delightful as well.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Alas, I didn't write many discussion posts in 2015, but I did a lot of tags - and one of my favourite in-depth tag posts was "The Literary Tag" for my blog's 4th birthday. 

4. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
I can't pin-point any one time, because there have been many special moments; but just before I went on that enormously long blog-break, I remember having a huge boost in blogging and it was just delight to experience the enjoyment of posting about literature and discussing with you all - it was fantastic! Every time I receive a comment from one of you, lovely readers, or receive any encouragement/emails//tips/notes I feel so blessed and overwhelmed with gratitude - you all mean so much to me, friends!
That's right - we all huddle together, fangirl over classic tomes and snack on fish-fingers and custard like nobody's business - we're the hermits united ;)
I think, upon reflection, the best moment of my blogging life in 2015 was in December, when I got to actually skype with some dear and very precious friends of mine who I first got to know through my blog Fullness of Joy many years ago. Annie Hawthorne, Schuyler McConkey, Anna Findlay, and Emily Dempster, you girls mean the world to me and I love you so much! <3
5. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
With blogging, it has mostly been to find the time to write all the posts I wanted to write, and largely failing to do so :(, but also juggling to maintain my own blog with staying up-to-date with my friends' blogs as well. . . it can be a challenge if your life is already busy, so I struggled with that a bit, but it was also a wonderful means of refreshing, so I want to work on that more in 2016.

In regards to reading, I think I struggled a bit finding the time and motivation to read the books on my official "to-be-read pile" that included the more in-depth and intense reads, or the larger novels; but instead I read an eclectic collection of books that I really loved! 

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Oh my goodness, I have been so blessed with all the many sweet notes and encouragements you all have so graciously poured throughout the year, oft' even in the most irregular and crazy posts I've written - I think some of the most popular posts this year were with my 4th Birthday Blog Celebrations when I did a week-long party sharing different literary tags and things, and so many joined in - that was such a huge highlight of my blog, I think. Also I'm pretty fond of my "Deserted Islands Tag", and I think many of you folks enjoyed it as well!

7. Post You Wished Got a Little More Love?
There was a lot of love for all the stuff I posted, but I suppose the least comments I got were for my book-review posts - tags are always popular! 

8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
The biannual Lifeline Bookfest in the city has been one of the absolute best bookish discoveries I've ever done in my life; I've collected so many wonderful second hand books and classics through stalking those aisles over the past year - oh my sweet gingersnaps, it is the BEST THING EVER! 

9. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Yes, I challenged myself to reading 50 books on Goodreads, and won it! Originally I'd challenged myself to read 40 books at the beginning of the year, but with the inclusion of a few smaller books, I made it to the 50 books *fist pumps* :D

Looking ahead.
1. One Book you didn't get to in 2015 but will be your number 1 Priority in 2016?
Ha, there were many, but I think my big one was Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - a definite big one on my list, especially now as I've both watched the 2012 film, and seen a live performance of the musical in the theatre - such a beautiful and heartbreakingly redemptive story!

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2016 (non-debut)?
Oh my, I am very eager to read a LOT of books this year!! I'll try to write up a 2016 TBR list sometime, but I think I am especially looking forward to the read The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron (to be released in 2016).
I am also really eager to find out what Anne Elisabeth Stengl's next novel will be!

3. Series Ending/A Sequel You are Most anticipating in 2016?
I am really anticipating reading the last book in the Wars of the Realms series - The Light of the Last by Chuck Black - hoping it will be a good end to a fascinating trilogy!

4. One Thing You Hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2016?
Lord willing, I hope to read a wider range of books from different genres and eras/authors, more intense and challenging  classics; I'd love to delve more into poetry, read more non-fiction - especially devotional and theology/philosophy books. Also I'd like to try and read a bit more out of my comfort zone reads - potentially more science-fiction, dystopian and thriller. We shall have to see!

Plans for my blog? Well, in between lots of studying, I hope to be more committed in posting once a week or a fortnight at least, write more in-depth literary, life and faith discussions, create some fun literary tags, and work on analysing/writing more analytical reviews and topics on my blog and Goodreads for the books I read. What would you all like me to share more on my blog? Please share!

How was YOUR year in books during 2015? Did you read any special books or stories that left a deep impression on you? What are you reading plans for 2016? Please do share in the comments below - let's have a bookish chat! :)


  1. I enjoyed the post though I admit I did not read every word, I am currently listening to an audio of Les Miserables... well I am up to part two but I can't really decide what I think of it yet, as not enough has actually happened. I like the cover of Cinder.. now I have read it.. but the cover actually put me off wanting to read it for a while, it was just to strange.

    We also have a boof fair each year similar to your Lifeline Bookfest, and it is like the best book thing ever! I have been kinda wanting to read Pendragon's Heir, I want to even more now. the book thief is one of my favourite books too, but not just of last year, I can't actually remember when I read it though.

    Elisabeth Elliot's books are really great reads, although I have not read that one I have read some others. Really good post, glad to see you now you have taken off the ring :D

  2. Oh yes, I need to do some procrastinating now. :) And, even if I didn't, it's still really good to see you back, and hear about your bookish adventures! It sounds like you had a pretty full year, and congratulations on hitting the fifty books goal!

    It's interesting, because quite a few of the books you mentioned, I've been thinking of reading, such as The Scent of Water, Gilead, and the two Kristy Cambron books (I've admired their covers for so long!) I'm looking forward to your review of Rebecca too; sounds like I might have to read that one too. :)

    So, God's Tribesman: The Rochunga Pudaite Story wasn't so good? I've never read it, but I have watched Beyond the Next Mountain which is his story, and I enjoyed that.

    And that Lifeline Bookfest looks so good! I've been wanting to go to one for ages; It's on my bucket list. :)

    I haven't been reading much lately, to be honest. The last book I read was Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, and I enjoyed that. Have you ever read it? It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird sometimes actually.

    Anyway, once again, it's great to read another of your posts; glad you're back around again, and all the best with your studies! (What are you studying, if I may ask?)

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  4. Dear Joy,

    What a delightful, colourful, informative summary of your reading adventures from last year... and it was a real pleasure and inspiration to read!:D I am very excited to read some Wodehouse, now, and Kristy Cambron sounds like an author to Google :).
    Rebecca certainly is a spine-tingling, edge-of-your seat novel, isn't it!

    Would definitely recommend Les Miserables... and on that note, apparently Andrew Davies is planning a new tv adaptation, not a musical, but one that is very close to the book!! (I am incredibly excited and hope that this goes ahead).

    Thanks for sharing :)

  5. @Clare, thank you so much for stopping by and for your lovely comment - I know, it's one of my most crazier, longish posts, and I don't blame you one bit for not being able to get through it all - but I am glad you got to enjoy it nonetheless! :P Ah, I hope to start Les Miserables sometime perchance at the end of winter, Lord willing, so I'll keep you updated on how it goes, but I'd be interested to know how you like it overall when you finish. Such a chunker! ;) Cinder's cover is very strange, I agree :D Oh, you do? Aren't those bookfests simply splendid? I'm so addicted to them now ^_^.Oh, you really, really should read "Pendragon's Heir" - Suzannah (the author) is an Aussie Christian writer living in Victoria and such a lovely lady and so well-read. I think you'll love it! Do you have a favourite Elisabeth Elliot book? Haha, thank you, Clare! I promise to try and stay more visible and avoid the temptation of the ring for future months ;).

  6. Dear Jessica, thanks for your sweet comment and taking the time to read this long, rambly post! It's always a delight to read your thoughtful notes :).

    Thank you! 2015 was a pretty busy year, and 2016 is proving even busier, but it's been good on the reading front alone which I am super happy about =).

    Ooh, I think you'd really love "The Scent of Water", "Gilead" and Kristy Cambron's WW2 novels (yes, they're pretty gorgeous covers - the whole books are works of art!) I'd be interested to know how you'd enjoy them, because they are so lyrical and beautiful. I hope to write a review of Rebecca by and by, but I definitely recommend it =).

    No, no, "God's Tribesman" was actually really good and enjoyable (and the writing easy); I had already read "Beyond the Next Mountain" for a previous course for my school though, plus watched the movie (it's good, isn't it!), so I felt it was rehashing a story I knew from the autobiography.

    You should absolutely go to a Lifeline Bookfest if you have one near you - they often have such amazing, hard-to-find books! It demands heaps of self-control though not to overspend ;) Do you have one in Canberra/ACT?

    The title of "Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry" sounds familiar, but to be honest, I haven't read it! Is it good?

    Thanks, Jessica! I'm working on finishing yr 12 this year, Lord willing, and then hopefully moving onto uni studies next year (most likely English Literature =)

  7. Dear Maddy,

    Thank you so much for your lovely, thoughtful comment and for taking the time to read this post too - it was a long one! I'm so glad you enjoyed it ;).

    Yes, yes, please do tell me how you enjoy Wodehouse (remember his story-themes are not really to be taken too seriously, and it's all very light, witty, whimsical reading ;). While Kristy Cambron's 2 novels have a few traits/tropes of a typical modern Christian novel, she really writes beautifully in a lyrical way and with a desire to please the Lord, I've found. I hope you enjoy her books!

    Yes, yes! Rebecca was one of the most suspenseful novels I've ever read, but what I also find amazing is how beautifully poetic and lyrical, and introspective her writing is despite the physiological thrill and mystery of the plot. THAT ENDING! O.o.

    I'm really excited to dig into Les Miserables this year, Lord willing - I really enjoyed watching the musical at QPAC live last year, and the 2012 film is a huge favourite, so yes, I have this high on my bucket-list for 2016 :). Really? I didn't know he plans on doing such an adaption - yes, that would be interesting to watch for sure. I love his work on some of the Jane Austen and Dickens miniseries adaptions!

    Seeing as you're currently reading "War and Peace", (and it's my next "big-book" I plan on undertaking, Lord willing), I believe Davies also wrote a new adaption for War and Peace which aired recently on BBC starring Lily James - I watched the first few episodes and really enjoyed some elements to it but found it had too many explicit scenes for my comfort and was just a little bit too sensual, honestly. (I actually much prefer the 2007 War and Peace adaption, which though it has a few of those elements, didn't feel as overwhelming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yca-SE4AT5I

    Thank you again so much for commenting, dear Maddy! You're such an encouragement! <3


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