Archives for December 2014

2014 Year in Review of Books



I set my goal with GoodReads to 24 books. Let’s face it, I’m not the fastest reader, I have two young boys, and I have my own craft business.  So I figured 24 would be a decent goal of two books per month. I really dove into my reading this year. I read during pickup, read before bed each night and listened to books on tape while at work.  So I was more than pleased to see I exceeded my goal. Above are screen shots from the books I read in 2014:

The Numbers

  1. Number of Books You Read: 33
  2. Genre You Read the Most from: Young Adult fiction

The Books

  1. Best book you read in 2014? The Time in Between by Maria Duenas and The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey (Sorry had to pick two.)
  2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t? The Evolution of Mara Dyer. I enjoyed the first book. It was so strange and unexpected. It was a mystery and I wanted to see how it played out but then this second book in the series, just turned me off. So much so that I didn’t bother with the next book.
  3. Most surprised (in a good way) book of 2014?  Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan.
  4. Book you talked about the most to people in 2014? Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles book 1) by Marissa Meyer. I started reading this book while on a weekend away with my girlfriends and couldn’t put it down. I went into it with no expectations and came away with a smile. I love the re-telling of fairy tales and this book and the next two in the series did it in such a fun way.
  5. Best series you started in 2014? The Lunar Chronicles.
  6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014? Rick Yancey (author of The Fifth Wave and Infinite Sea) I love science fiction and haven’t read anything in years. I would say this was a more young adult Science fiction but one none the less. I really got pulled into this world and constantly questioned myself while reading it about what I would do if I were there.
  7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read?  This year, I explored the Young Adult genre. I started watching booktubers on Youtube and many were young adults.  Although I am not a young adult, I found that there are quality books in this genre. Some people my age (which need not be discussed) often shy away from these books or simply dismiss them and group them as one category that is inferior. I don’t approach books that way. If a book sounds interesting, I will try it.   As with adult literature there are all sorts of sub-genres (sci-fi, romance, mystery, dystopian,etc.) within young adult books. This year, I set aside many books on my TBR and explored a variety of young adult literature. As with adult literature, there are some I liked and some I did not.  That said, I had a great time with the books I selected. Hmmm the best one from this genre would have to be Cinder. The cover alone peeked my curiosity. I also had my first experience with a graphic novel. I borrowed Amulet from the library and was so impressed with the graphics I read book 2 as well. Unfortunately book 3 never seemed to be in when I went so I did not complete the series but I enjoyed exploring a new genre and format.
  8. Most action-packed, unputdownable book in 2014? The 5th Wave. OMG. I loved this book. It pulled me right in and I ran right out as soon as the second book was released to continue on the roller coaster ride. Book 3 where are you?
  9. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014? A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. I saw this on book tube and I immediately pre-ordered it from Amazon. When it arrived at my doorstep and I opened the book, I gasped at how pretty it was even more so in person.  I love the colors and the buildings in Russia. Oh how amazing. I remember finishing what I was reading fast so I could start this one.
  10. Most memorable character in 2014? I thoroughly enjoyed the characters from The Lunar Chronicles. They had so much personality. I can’t choose just one. I loved Paul Markov in A Thousand Pieces of You.
  11. Most thought-provoking book in 2014? The Strength in What Remains. This book opened my eyes even more to the immigrant experience in this country as well as the struggle and genocide in Burundi. Deo’s story will always have a place in my heart and my hope is more people will read this book and find ways to help.
  12. Book that shocked you the most? There were some dark scenes in Ruins of Lace that I didn’t like reading. A bit too graphic for my taste.
  13. Best 2014 debut you read? A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. Oh from the start, I was hooked. I enjoyed the main concept of the story and the romantic love of the Russian Paul Markov. The book had me guessing for a bit and the scenes were written vividly into my imagination. I look forward to book 2.
  14. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2014? Again I believe A Thousand Pieces of You transported me to the various locations.
  15. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014? This would have to be a tie between Strength in What Remains, Elizabeth and Hazel. As an African American myself, I felt particularly drawn to these books.  I felt sadness and then inspiration to find ways to help.
  16. Hidden gem of the year?  Tandem by Anna Jarzab.  New nothing about it going into it. I listened to the audio book and oh this young adult science fiction totally hooked me. I love the whole concept and was eager for more when it ended. Only to find out the next book wasn’t released yet.
  17. Most unique book you read in 2014? The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Scwalbe. This was a book club selection. I had scene it online but never picked it up. But I am so happy that our bookclub picked it because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I never read a book like this where the author tied a bookclub (of two) and their selections to the timeline of his mother’s last years of her life. My mother passed away in 2007 and this book brought up a lot of emotions from me. I highly recommend it especially if you love books and you have lost a loved one.

The Blogging

  1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? This year, was the first time I started following a few book blogs.  I am hoping next year, I will actually comment on their sites: Mom With a Book – I like her reviews and I love that she uses wine glasses to rate the books. Books in the City – I like the variety on this blog and she even reviewed a cookbook. Yummy!  ReadEng. Didi’s Press – I started by subscribing to her YouTube channel and love the diversity in her selections and the quality and frankness of her reviews. So Obsessed With – I love her series and her love of books and book things comes through on her blog. I also subscribe to quite a few Booktubers and love watching their hauls for new books.
  2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?  I think the one I reviewed Elizabeth and Hazel.
  3. Best event that you participated in 2014?  I didn’t participate in anything this year but I had two occasions that made me act like a school girl. One of my favorite author’s Sujata Massey  and I corresponded via Goodreads and email this year. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. I have been reading her books since her first, The Salary Man’s Wife (Rei Shimura Mysteries, Book 1). I highly recommend her books. The Rei Shimura Series are mysteries steeped with a whole lot of Japanese culture. You feel immersed from the start. I have always had a strong love for Japan and loved learning more while following this character throughout the series. And the second occasion is when I wrote a review for The End of Your Life Book Club and I sent an email to Will Scwalbe, the author and he read my blog post and sent me the nicest email.  I was so excited. So despite I couldn’t find any local book events, I did encounter two amazing authors.
  4. Best bookish discover? Bookoutlet and Bookdepository. Wow what great prices these sites have. I even tried their scratch and dent books and most of the time the blemish is so small you can’t even see them.
  5. Reading challenges in 2014? I met my 2014 book goal on Good Reads. I am not going to obsess about reading a high number in 2015 so much rather focus on the quality of the experience while reading books I choose. The author’s spend so much time writing these books and I am sure they would cringe to think a reader rushed threw their book just to meet a reading goal.

Well I will be back in the new year with new book features and more reviews.  Have a safe and happy new year my friends.

Sending blessings your way!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: The Personal History of Rachel Dupree by Ann Weisgarber

Rachel Dupree

Title: The Personal History of Rachel Dupree
Author: Ann Weisgarber
Copyright: July 26, 2011
Genre: historical fiction, African American history
Format: paperback Pages: 357

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“An eye-opening look at the little-explored area of a black frontier woman in the American West.” —Chicago Sun-Times

Praised by Alice Walker and many other bestselling writers, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree is an award-winning debut novel with incredible heart about life on the prairie as it’s rarely been seen. Reminiscent of The Color Purple, as well as the frontier novels of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Willa Cather, it opens a window on the little-known history of African American homesteaders and gives voice to an extraordinary heroine who embodies the spirit that built America.

My Thoughts on The Personal History of Rachel Dupree:

I bought this book from Goodreads and was intrigued by the description. I knew nothing of black homesteaders.  I always enjoy historical fiction for teaching me while I enjoy the journey rather than a straight out history book.  So after finishing my last book, I thought I would pick a small book to fit in before the year ends and this book fit the bill.

The story focuses on Rachel who is living with her parents in the beginning of the story and cleaning house for a well to do African American woman.  I struggled with the mindset of her employer in how she treated Rachel and all of her domestic staff. It’s strange how she sees them “beneath” her despite that during this time period, African American’s aren’t treated well by many whites.  So for her to step on her staff’s pride unnerved me a bit.  There wasn’t much opportunities for men or women of color at this time. Either the slaughter house or joining the military for men and domestic work for the women.

I felt the author did a great job bringing you into the world of Rachel and seeing how her logic propelled her into to marriage and become a frontier women. I think she had good character development and the secondary characters were interesting too.

My heart ached often while reading this book because of the predicaments Rachel continually finds herself in and having no one to help her work through them was so sad.  The relations between the Native Americans in this book also saddened me. Of course I have the benefit of time, to be able to reflect and see the devastation the Natives’s faced when they were invaded. I know they were the original inhabitants of this country. But aI am deeply saddened by the way this book portrays the relationship between African Americans and Native Americans.  I don’t doubt it, I just don’t like it.

Overall, I found this to be a good book and fast read. I feel it’s worth the read to learn a little more about American history.

I gave this book 4 butterflies!



12 Days of Holiday Cards and Crafts: Day 12 – Holiday Teacups Card & Bookmark

day12_teacup_trio_cardand_mGood afternoon and welcome to day twelve of my 12 Days of Holiday Cards and Crafts! What? I did it.  This has been a fun challenge. On one of the busiest months of the year, I managed to post different projects daily for 12 days.  No easy task in this house.  So I am thrilled and so happy you rode on this wild journey with me.

I officially will be on vacation beginning December 23 but until then I will have a few posts here and there. In the new year, I will resume a regular schedule with some new blog series.

day12_teacup_trio_cardand_2Today’s project was a Teacup holiday card and bookmark. You know how much I love teacups and this stamp set from Flourishes was mine once they put them in their shop.


I used Stampin Up cardstock as my card base and ‘Tis the Season’ patterned paper from Echo Park.  I included a small strip inside for continuity.  I wasted no paper and used the remaining of 6×6 paper to make a matching bookmark.  I love the end result and no scraps to throw away was a bonus.

I hope you have a blessed day and Happy Hanukkah to my friends that celebrate today.


12 Days of Holiday Cards and Crafts: Day 11 – Deer Holiday card

day11_dear_card1Good afternoon and welcome to day eleven of my 12 Days of Holiday Cards and Crafts! Wow, we are almost finished with this series.  It has been a fun challenge for me and I hope you’ve enjoyed it too.

Today’s project is a card created with Silhouette files. I saw this card on the Silhouette blog and I had to make it. It’s really simple and elegant without a lot of fuss. One confession I have to make is that I just realized I forgot to attach the little red bow that goes around the deer’s neck before I took and processed these photos. (Sorry).

day11_dear_card2I love the simple color palette. I like nature cards and this one is really even prettier in person.  I attached this files to a 4.25 inch  square card base.

day11_dear_card3The other great thing is that I definitely see me using all the components of this file in separate projects in the near future. That’s one thing I look for when purchasing Silhouette files is the diverse amount of ways to use them.

I photographed this card on the carpet in my craft room with the closet door behind.  Nothing fancy today. Just wanted to focus on the card.

This weekend we picked up our Christmas tree. We often go and cut our own tree but feeling so rushed, we decided to buy local. I will share some photos soon of Apollo and I decorating it.

I hope you had a great weekend and have a blessed day!



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