December Month in Review

January 1, 2017

month in review


Happy New Year!

December 30th marked my 1 year Blogoversary! I can’t believe it. Death by Tsundoku is one-year-old and still going strong. I wonder how long I can keep this up? I adore blogging, and I’m still learning a ton. I have to work on perfecting my writing, reviewing, reading, and blog-hopping habits this year if I’m going to make this sustainable long-term, however. I couldn’t be more excited!

My yearly challenges have been wrapped up this year. I joined a ton of challenges and made certain to push myself. That said, I did not do as well as I had hoped, but the blog was new. I’ve learned a lot and will strive to be more successful in 2017. We got this.

Lastly, I participated in two bookish exchanges in December. The first, #SFATW, is hosted by Marie at Drizzle and Hurricane Books. Through Souvenirs from Across the World, two bloggers are paired up and share books and items from their corner of the world. Like a bookish pen pal! I got to meet Lin @ Lin’s Perspective and start a journey learning about Bulgaria. It has been amazing. I also participated in a Secret Santa through one of my Goodreads groups, where I received a copy of The Great Gatsby and a Spiderwick Chronicles short story to tease me into the series. I can’t wait to read them! My package from Lin is still traveling to me, just as mine is still traveling to her. I hope she loves it!

Bring it on 2017. I am ready for you.


List of Reads

I am sooo excited for a fresh start in 2017! The end of 2016 had me a bit frustrated with reading. I had saved a bunch of challenge books for the end of the year which I was less interested in. I’ve definitely learned a few lessons from this. Lack of interested in my TBR plus the holidays means it was a less intense month for reading. No problem! 2017 will get us back on track.

December Books:

Read 10 total books

december-4 december-3 december-2 december-1

Currently Reading – 7 books

  • Creating a Lean Culture: Tools to Sustain Lean Conversations by David Mann
  • Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Greeny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Swizler
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof
  • Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

(Bout of Books, my readathon for January, should help me finish some of these work-based business books. Obviously, these aren’t that important to me, as they have been here for half a year.)

You MUST READ this month:
Echo – Echo was a wonderful and unexpected book for me. All I knew was that this is a 2016 Newbery Honor book about a harmonica which connects the lives of three different children. I had no idea the story I was getting into. Pam Munoz Ryan writes the most brilliant Middle Grade/Young Adult historical fiction. And I think Echo is her best work to date. I cried tears of joy and tears of sadness multiple times throughout this experience. I was fully immersed in the world and the character’s struggles. Absolutely brilliant. Strongly recommended to any lovers of music, historical fiction, or Newbery awards. It’s just brilliant.

DANGER! Avoid this month:
The Rest of Us Just Live Here – <sigh> I am worried I just don’t like Patrick Ness. I read The Knife of Never Letting Go earlier this year. While it has a brilliant premise, it just didn’t work for me. Same with this book. I couldn’t connect to the characters. In particular, I didn’t connect with the women because they all felt like the same character. I’m scared to read A Monster Calls. What if I’m the only person on the planet who doesn’t like it?


Challenge Update

AND WE ARE DONE! Whew. It was a crazy year for challenges. I definitely pushed myself, and I found my breaking point. It was a really good learning experience, and I’m glad I did it. Obviously, I’ll keep working on challenges in 2017– participation is critical to my reading.

You can check out my 2016 challenge completion status here.

It’s almost time to commit to my 2017 challenges! I am still thinking about what I want to commit to, but you’ll see an update soon. Stay tuned!


Tsundoku Life

It wouldn’t be tsundoku if I didn’t have a gigantic pile of books waiting for me!

I ended up requesting a ton of books via NetGalley (and I got approved!) over Thanksgiving because I’m silly. Now I have a giant list. I told myself I won’t request anything new until I review these. We shall see what happens; we all know it’s easy to get in a trap there. O_o

I haven’t figured out what challenges I will participate in for 2017, so my books are a bit all over the place right now. I just hope to make a dent in this list!

TBR: Library Books

  • Jazz Day by Roxane Orgill
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafo
  • George by Alex Gino

TBR: Lent from Friends

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

NetGalley ARCs

  • A Perfect Score by Craig and Katheryn Hall
  • From Panel to Screen by Drew Morton
  • Year of No Clutter by Eve Schaub
  • The Meaning of Michelle by Veronica Chambers
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • The Sky Between You and Me by Catherine Alene
  • Gilded Cage by Vic James
  • The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May
  • 20 by Vatsal Suri
  • Shadows of the Forest by Emma Michaels
  • Brigada by Enrique Fernandez

Book Club Reading

  • Our Shared Shelf- The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
  • Kids Lit – TBD by TBD Author (probably Middle Grade this month)
  • West Side Stories – American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Brunch Books – TBD by TBD Author (will determine once
  • VACB Book Club – Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

This is it. The end of the 2016 Reading Challenges and 2016 as a whole! I can’t believe it! I hope you all had an amazing year. I know I did. I look forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for us!

Happy New Year, friends!

Happy Reading,

Jackie B.

Jackie B Forman


What do you think?

  • If you participate in reading challenges, are you on target to end your year as you planned it?
  • Will you be participating in any 2017 reading challenges? If so, do you know what ones?
  • What books did you ask for as holiday gifts? New recommendations are the best!


  • whatthelog January 1, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Huh. interesting that you didn’t like The Rest of Us Just Live Here! I get what you’re saying about the female characters, and, to be fair, I have a really strong personal connection with the mental health stuff in it. But that’s what blogging is about – some people love some books that others just can’t stand!

    • Jackie B January 1, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Exactly. I *want* to enjoy his works! And, honestly, I really loved the mental health aspect. I felt like Mikey’s OCD was completely believable. It was the first time I’ve felt that way about an OCD character, which was great. But overall the story left me flat. If I ever manage to get to writing my review, I hope I’ll be able to express myself well in it.

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea January 1, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Wow, you had such a big year <3 I thought I was nuts for reading 3 books at a time.. way to upstage me haha. 7! I am still setting my GR challenge (mainly for tracking purposes) but I am skipping challenges. I just want to focus on some more personal goals like making a dent in my own bookshelves and branching out a tad more. Happy New Year! I look forward to seeing what 2017 holds for you 🙂

    • Jackie B January 1, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      I totally understand skipping challenges. I almost did the same– but I think that I will participate in a few of them. Substantially fewer than last year, that’s for sure!
      I only have 7 books midflight because two are for work. I’m just not that into them. Of course. We shall see if I ever finish them!

  • Anna @MyBookishDream January 2, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Happy New Year!! I hope this year will be wonderful for you and that you manage to achieve everything you want!
    Also Happy Blogiversary! One year is a big milestone and I’m glad that you enjoyed doing it! I really want to read Half a King, or rather anything by Joe Abercrombie – I have heard amazing things about him and I really want to check out his books.

    • Jackie B January 5, 2017 at 8:40 am

      Thanks, Anna! I hope all the same things– but it feels so good when other people encourage me. I really appreciate it.

      Half a King was a great book– I am definitely hooked on Joe Abercrombie, that’s for sure! He knows how to play with the highs and lows of human emotion, that much is clear. I look forward to finishing this series and reading The First Law series. I’ve only heard great things.

  • Samantha January 2, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Happy New Year!

    1 full year of book blogging! Congrats and happy blogoversary!

    That’s funny. Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? was my first read of 2016 and here it’s one of your lasts! Haha. I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for Echo.

    • Jackie B January 2, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Happy New Year to you too, Samantha! Thanks for commenting and all the congrats– that means a lot to me!
      I really enjoyed Why Not Me? There is something about the essay-collection-memoir which really speaks to me. Echo was great! I hope you find it and enjoy it. 🙂

  • Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads January 2, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Glad to see that you liked Brave New World! I love dystopian books and I’m considering reading this at some point since I’m participating in a “beat the backlist” challenge and I want to push myself to read more classics this year since I usually avoid them like the plague, haha. A few of the books you’re planning on reading are on my TBR as well, especially George by Alex Gino which I keep hearing absolutely wonderful things about! Hope you enjoy all of these books! 🙂

    • Jackie B January 2, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks, Kourtni! I appreciate your comment.
      I also stay away from the Classics, typically. I’m used to all these amazing YA books which are quick reads. So, when I get to Fitzgerald or Hemmingway it takes *forever* and I struggle. Oops. I look forward to seeing us cross-review books as the year goes by. 🙂

      • Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads January 3, 2017 at 9:07 am

        Yup, same here. Classics always take me sooo much longer to read and so I end up just avoiding them completely, haha. Hoping not to do that this year!

        • Jackie B January 6, 2017 at 9:12 am

          If you happen to come up with any tips for reading them, let me know. 🙂

  • Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks January 3, 2017 at 3:41 am

    Happy New Year! I hope you’ll both enjoy your #SFATW gifts, and thank you so much for your enthusiasm and love about it all, it’s making me so happy <3
    I understand your feeling about The Knife Of Never Letting Go, I didn't really get into the story as much as I would have liked, despite loving More Than This and enjoying The Rest of Us. I hope A Monster Calls will make you fall in love with his writing, and that you'll want to try More Than This. If I had to advice one book, it would be that one. I loved it so much.

    • Jackie B January 3, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      I couldn’t be more excited. This is a brilliant program– bookish pen pals?! Yes, please! 😀 I totally understand your need for a #SFATW break– let me know when it picks back up if there is anything I can do to help promote the program more.

      Everyone seems to recommend A Monster Calls. I’ve started seeing ads for the movie everywhere too, so I guess it is time! I feel like in an attempt to enjoy his works I’ll read every book Patrick Ness has written before too long. O_o That can’t be bad, though.

      • Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks January 4, 2017 at 2:28 am

        Thank you! Oh well I’d definitely need to spice up my promotion game here for #SFATW haha, I think this would make this feature a bit more “famous”, or at least that more people would be interested in participating. Thankk you! I will keep that in mind then, and I’ll let you know for sure if I need a bit of help 🙂

  • Jasmine January 3, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Happy New Year Jackie! Really cool that you read 10 books for the month. Unfortunately I don’t recognize the titles, but luckily I do recognize a few authors.. haha.. Enjoy your new ARCs! Looking forward to your review on Gilded Cage!

    • Jackie B January 5, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Thanks, Jasmine! It’s totally okay that you don’t recognize the titles. I tend to avoid most hyped books, but I couldn’t with Gilded Cage– the premise is fascinating. I really wanted to better know that story immediately. I hope you’ll get to know some of the books I read– there were some great ones this month! Echo and Why Not Me? are standouts for me. 🙂

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom January 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    I’m so excited you enjoyed Echo so much! I’ve had my eye on this one for a while now, but hadn’t really seen many reviews about it.

    I really hope you enjoy George! I absolutely adored it.

    • Jackie B January 5, 2017 at 8:38 am

      It was great! I love Pam Munoz Ryan’s works. I didn’t know what I was expecting with Echo, but it certainly wasn’t this. I was blown away. I look forward to writing me review, too (it’s one of the many on the back log…), because I want to reflect a bit more on why it didn’t become a 5 star book for me. Perhaps it is, and I was too emotional to rate it higher? Who knows.

      So far, George is great. I am only around 20% in the book, but I’m hooked already. 🙂

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