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December 30, 2019

Donna's December Wrap Up

by Donna Huber

How was your Christmas? The pet drama continued a bit this month. You may remember me mentioning adopting a new cat last month. Well, she went for her spay earlier this month and since she doesn't like to be held or picked up it was difficult to get a good look at her incision most days. But everything seems to have healed and she is back to zooming around the house, outplaying the three other cats I have. Just days before Mia went in for her spay, my dog Charlie started having seizures and it took about a week to find a medication that stopped them. It was also discovered he had a UTI so he also went on an antibiotic. Plus my other dog Schatz wasn't feeling great so I started her on an antibiotic too and she is already on medicine for pain management (she's 15). It was crazy trying to remember who got what medicine when. And of course, there was Christmas to get ready for. Thankfully, I had a lot of annual leave left to take this year so my last working day in 2019 was Dec. 13. It's going to be really hard to go back into the office on January 2. Christmas went well. I spent a lot of time with my family (both the human family and my pet family), watching Christmas movies, and reading Christmas books.

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This is my new kitty Mia.

On the blog in December

Even though the number of new releases slows down in December we still had many books to recommend to you plus a few other goodies. Here are the popular posts:

MK's review of the first two books in the Victorian mystery series Bowman of the Yard by Richard James was our most viewed post. Look for her review of book 3 in 2020.
Alison's list of books she wanted her husband to give her for Christmas was also very popular.
Donna's most viewed post was her review of Thin Ice by Paige Shelton.
Susan's most viewed post was her review of Stay by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

If you are still looking for some holiday reads, a few of the ebooks in this post are still free. If you need to load up a new tablet or eReader, some of the ebooks in this post are still free. Also, check out our blogging highlights from 2019. Be sure to check out our picks for Best Reads of December.

Most liked post on Instagram:

What I read

I read 16 books this month and a handful of Christmas short stories that are found in A Christmas Treasury. I took a little break from ARCs, but still managed to read 5 this month. 14 of the books I read were ebooks. Since I wasn't at work much this month, I only listened to 1 audiobook. I also read 1 print book that I checked out of the library. A Christmas Treasury is also in print. I take a look at my reading stats for the whole year after the list of books I read this month.

Thin Ice by Paige 

Thin Ice
I have only read one other book by Paige Shelton and it was a cozy mystery. I've kind of had my fill of cozies for a while so I was interested in trying this more suspenseful mystery. Netgalley doesn't state that this is the start of a series, and I had forgotten it was mentioned in the synopsis, so I thought it was a stand-alone novel. When there was less than 10% left of the story and they weren't even close to finding the kidnapper I was kind of confused but then realized that it is the first book in a new series. The mystery of who abducted the main character Beth Rivers is the overarching mystery in this series. But there is also a mystery of who killed a local resident. The latter mystery is all wrapped up in this book. It was an enjoyable read. I received a free e-galley from Netgalley. Read my review.

Beth Rivers is on the run - she's doing the only thing she could think of to keep herself safe. Known to the world as thriller author Elizabeth Fairchild, she had become the subject of a fanatic's obsession. After being held in a van for three days by her kidnapper, Levi Brooks, Beth managed to escape, and until he is captured, she's got to get away. Cold and remote, Alaska seems tailor-made for her to hideout.

Beth's new home in Alaska is sparsely populated with people who all seem to be running or hiding from something, and though she accidentally booked a room at a halfway house, she feels safer than she's felt since Levi took her. That is, until she's told about a local death that's a suspected murder. Could the death of Linda Rafferty have anything to do with her horror at the hands of Levi Brooks?

As Beth navigates her way through the wilds of her new home, her memories of her time in the van are coming back, replaying the terror and the fear--and threatening to keep her from healing, from reclaiming her old life again. Can she get back to normal, will she ever truly feel safe, and can she help solve the local mystery, if only so she doesn't have to think about her own?

Buy Thin Ice at Amazon

Killer Christmas by Harper Lin

Killer Christmas
This is my first book by this author. I think I actually picked up this free book last year but didn't get to it. It is a quick read. I pretty much read it one evening (I read one chapter the night before). The story is thin on plot and character development. But if you just want fluff for your Christmas binge read this is book would satisfy that. The ending sets up the next book, but I doubt I will continue with the series. I purchased this ebook last year when it was free (it's still free).

After breaking up with hunky movie star Nick Doyle, Grammy Award-winning singer Emma Wild returns to her hometown for Christmas to get away from it all. In Hartfield, a small town in Ontario, Canada, she gets caught up in a murder case after a fan's drink is poisoned at the Chocoholic Cafe, owned by Emma's sister Mirabelle.

Who is the killer and was the drink originally intended for Emma?

To add to the chaos, Sterling Matthews is the detective on the case. He'd shattered her heart nine years ago and inspired all her hit singles, but now they must work together to find the murderer before the murderer finds Emma.

Buy Killer Christmas at Amazon

The Christmas Secret by Jeannie Watt

The Christmas Secret
It was a good holiday short story. I liked the characters a lot. If you are a follower of the series you will probably enjoy it even more. I purchased this ebook last year when it was free.

Trapped in a cabin in a raging blizzard with the one man on earth who could turn her world upside down…this Christmas holiday was not playing out at all the way Lil Reynolds had planned. Not even close.

When Lil’s former fiancé chose to marry on Christmas Eve—the day he and Lil had planned to marry one year ago—she knew she had to get out of town for the holidays. Heading to the isolated family cabin seemed like the perfect solution, until the blizzard came…and a man showed up at her door in the heart of the storm. Casey Lanigan. Her ex-fiancé’s brother. A man with whom she shared a secret summer romance many years ago. A man who’d betrayed her trust. A man who, despite everything, still made her heart beat a little harder…

So much for a Lanigan-free holiday.

Buy The Christmas Secret at Amazon

Montana Secrets by Roxanne Snopek

Montana Secrets
This was a bonus short story with The Christmas Secret by Jeannie Watt. There were too many characters named to really keep them straight (children and grandchildren of the main character). It was sweet and a nice way to provide the (presumably, since I haven't read it) backstory to the series. The story has been republished under the title Shameless Sweetheart.

Love lasts a lifetime...
The graduating class of Cherry Lake High School is celebrating their freedom with the traditional camp-out in the Jackson Cherry Orchard on the banks of Flathead Lake, Montana. Among the revelers are four cousins, the grandchildren of town founder and patriarch Nate Jackson, a man who knows first-hand how a life can change on grad night and the personal sacrifices that may be necessary months later.

Joining him on his annual vigil as twilight descends is Pansy Oppenheimer, a free spirit, who left Cherry Lake after graduation to wander the world. She mysteriously returns years later when Nate needs her friendship the most. As they keep watch at the edge of the orchard, they reminisce about their lives and choices; none of them easy, but all of them necessary. Nate and Pansy feel that they are guardians of the town, its children and keepers of their secrets.

Little does anyone know that they harbor a secret of their own

Buy Shameless Sweetheart at Amazon

Death Comes to the School by Catherine Lloyd

Death Comes to the School
A delightful mystery. I was also happy that it was set at Christmas time so I could continue my holiday story binge-reading while enjoying another book in this series I discovered this year. I so enjoy Lucy and Robert and I can't wait for the new book that is coming out in January. I borrowed this book from the library. Read my full review.

Three years have passed since Major Sir Robert Kurland and Lucy Harrington, the rector's daughter, became husband and wife. Having established a measure of contentment among the gentry of Kurland St. Mary, the couple lately have found an unsettling distance grown between them. But when the small-village peace is disrupted by the arrival of an anonymous letter accusing Lucy of witchcraft, her as yet unfulfilled desire to be a mother becomes the least of her worries, especially after she learns she is not the only one to have received such a malicious letter.

Speculation in the village only escalates when the local schoolteacher, Miss Broomfield, is discovered murdered at her classroom desk. Was the unlikeable teacher the letter writer, and if so, who killed her and why? Despite her husband's objections, Lucy offers to help out at the school until a replacement can be found, hoping the schoolchildren might inadvertently reveal a clue, but by doing so she may be putting her own life at risk . . .

Lucy offers to teach in the school until a replacement can be found, hoping the schoolchildren might inadvertently reveal a clue, but by doing so she may be putting her own life at risk.

Buy Death Comes to the School at Amazon

A Girl Divided by Ellen Lindseth

A Girl Divided
It had its interesting moments but after 9 or so hours of listening, I lost interest in the story as a whole. By the end, I didn't really care about any of the characters. This was a free Prime ebook with Audible narration.

Rural China, 1942. Twenty-two-year-old Eugenia Baker exists in a bubble as yet untouched by WWII. Content to help her father with his missionary work, Genie sees her future as a straight, if narrow, road—until an American pilot arrives, warning them of the approaching Japanese army.

Lieutenant Ted Younan is one of the Flying Tigers, volunteer fighters protecting China from aerial attacks. After rescuing Ted from his downed plane, Genie’s father asks the flyboy to get his daughter across the mountains so she can escape to the United States. To leave her beloved home—much less chaperoned by her father’s overbearing assistant, Nathan—is the last thing Genie wants, but she reluctantly agrees.

Ted is unlike any man Genie has known, and he opens her eyes to the idea of determining her own fate and chasing her dreams. But Genie has her doubts when tragedy thrusts responsibility upon her and the war creates unexpected opportunities, challenges…and temptations. Now, a world away from the woman she was, Genie must discover the woman she wants to be.

Buy A Girl Divided at Amazon

Death of a Dapper Snowman by Angela Pepper

Death of a Dapper Snowman
This was a cute start to the series. If you want a winter read that isn't totally Christmasy then this is a great read. I can see myself really liking these characters as the series goes on. I purchased this ebook last year when it was free. Read my full review.

When the daughter of a cop finds a body next door, she's the only one who can solve the strange mystery.

Stormy Day has moved back home, and it's not for the local coffee or nightlife, both of which are lacking in Misty Falls, Oregon. She's there to help her father finally retire from being a cop, and slow the heck down after his hip replacement. Plus she needs to give her brain a break from the high-stakes world of venture capital.

But when she makes a shocking discovery next door, Stormy's clever brain kicks into overdrive. This murder is too difficult for the local boys in blue to figure out. The new captain of the police department tells her to mind her own business, but he doesn't take his own advice. He's always breathing down her neck like a jealous ex-boyfriend (which he is).

What's there to be jealous of? Stormy's not even dating anyone. She's certainly not going to date the ruggedly handsome, bearded lawyer who's renting half her house. No way. Every time she sees Mr. Logan Sanderson, the town's newest resident, he's insulting her one way or another. The man should show his landlady a little more respect! He's the worst. Sort of. It would be easier to hate him if he weren't so cute underneath that bushy beard.

Now there's a murder to solve, and since the legendary Finnegan Day is recovering from surgery, it's up to his determined daughter Stormy to save the town from a twisted killer. If she fails to solve this twisted puzzle in time, someone close to her will pay a terrible cost.

Buy Death of a Dapper Snowman at Amazon

999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz by Heather Dune Macadam

This is a really interesting book. The writing is much more accessible than many other nonfiction works. In other words, it doesn't read like an academic text. Anyone who loves WWII fiction should read this. I received a free e-galley via Netgalley. Read my review.

On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the young women--many of them teenagers--were sent to Auschwitz. Their government paid 500 Reich Marks (about $200) apiece for the Nazis to take them as slave labor. Of those 999 innocent deportees, only a few would survive.

The facts of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz are little known, yet profoundly relevant today. These were not resistance fighters or prisoners of war. There were no men among them. Sent to almost certain death, the young women were powerless and insignificant not only because they were Jewish--but also because they were female. Now acclaimed author Heather Dune Macadam reveals their poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women's history.

Buy 999 at Amazon

Created for Christmas by Joynell Schultz

Created for Christmas
A cute holiday romance/cozy mystery. There was some odd phrasing at the beginning (like stating she is in her upper 30s instead of the more typical late 30s), but they are easy to overlook in this quick read. While there isn't really any novelty to the 'girl has sworn off relationships just to find the love of her life at Christmas' plot. The characters are adorable and you can't help rooting for them. If you are looking for a fun, quick read with adorable characters, then you can't go wrong with this book. I purchased this ebook last year when it was free. Read my full review.

Need the perfect man? No problem—simply create him!

Ivy wanted nothing more for Christmas than to have someone to come home have a companion to chat about her day with, and someone to show off at her family holiday celebrations.

This Christmas, she's not going to be alone! Ivy decides to create her perfect companion at Dream Droids, the premier robotics company specializing in sentiment humanoids. Ivy spends weeks with Dr. Pierce, creating her dream man, from his appearance, personality, and even his knowledge of her life.

There's just a few problems: when a special gift she purchased for her father goes missing, and Dr. Pierce agrees to help her find it, she finds herself falling for him. After getting her heart stomped on by her ex-fiancé, there's no way she can open it up again...besides, she just created the perfect man.

Buy Created for Christmas at Amazon

Unexpected Gifts by Elena Aitken

Unexpected Gifts
A cute holiday romance where two people who aren't looking for love wind up trapped together at an inn for the holidays. Andi just wants to forget about Christmas and Colin wants to experience all the wintery fun. When there is a mix up with Andi's reservation, she is forced to share Colin's villa. It is what you typically expect from a holiday romance. I liked the characters and the story was sweet. I purchased a "box set" that included books 1 - 3 of the Castle Mountain Lodge series last year when it was free. Unexpected Gifts is still free on its own. Read my full review.

Snowed in for Christmas…She only wants to ignore it. But he’s determined to show her everything the season has to offer…including love.

For Andi Williams, Christmas represents everything she’s supposed to have—and doesn’t. Running away to a remote mountain lodge seems like the perfect way to escape the season. And it would have been if it weren’t for the snow storm and a booking mix-up that finds her stranded. That is, until a rough around the edges, green eyed stranger offers a solution.

There was no way in good conscious that Colin Hartford could leave the woman with nowhere to stay. Especially on Christmas. He knows all too well what it’s like to be alone for the holidays. It isn’t long before Colin’s determination to enjoy the festivities he’s missed for so long sweeps Andi into the season of joy that she’s not so sure she’s ready for.

If Andi can allow herself to open up—just a little—she might finally have the chance to experience everything the holidays can really offer…including love.

Buy Unexpected Gifts at Amazon

Hidden Gifts by Elena Aitken

Hidden GIfts
A cute, sweet romance. The characters were lovely and there isn't too much drama. This is book 2 in the Castle Mountain Lodge series.

Bo’s always known that to be a successful hiking guide at the beautiful Castle Mountain Lodge, you have to flirt with the ladies-but never get too close; have a penchant for wild adventures-but know when to pull away; and never have any ties holding you back.

And his plan was working fine…until Ella, the child he didn’t know he had appears in his life.

Morgan’s always known what she wanted out of life but when the doctor’s crippling diagnosis changes everything, she knows she needs a fresh start. Maybe changing her career and throwing herself into a totally new lifestyle at the Lodge is exactly what she needs?

And it might have worked too…

Bo knows he needs Morgan’s help to reach Ella, but will she be willing to give up the new life she thought she wanted? And can either of them let down their guard long enough to recognize that all they really need is right in front of them, in Ella…and each other.

Buy Hidden Gifts at Amazon

Unexpected Endings by Elena Aitken

Unexpected Endings
It's okay for a short story. Not a lot happening. It pretty much served as a lead into book 3 so that book 3 could focus on Eva. It's free.

Return to the beautiful, rustic and romantic Castle Mountain Lodge and catch up with Andi and Colin who prove that sometimes Unexpected Gifts have equally Unexpected Endings.

Buy Unexpected Endings at Amazon

Mistaken Gifts by Elena Aitken

Mistaken Gifts
Another sweet romance. Several of the characters from the previous books in this series make an appearance. This is book 3 in the Castle Mountain Lodge series.

A high maintenance city girl. A rough around the edges cowboy. Sparks will fly…but will opposites really attract?

Eva's determined to plan her best friend's dream wedding…even if it is at a lodge in the mountains. More familiar with limos than horses, Eva's going to need some help. But pulling off the perfect wedding isn't going to be easy, especially with Jeff, the all too handsome cowboy determined to get in her way.

It's way too easy to push the city girl's buttons, and Jeff's enjoying every minute of it. The sparks that keep flying between them are definitely keeping things interesting and there's no way either of them can deny the attraction between them.

But Eva’s sworn off men and even if she did allow herself to act on the feelings that keep growing stronger, there’s the small matter of her ‘fake date’ to deal with.
Opposites will definitely attract, but only if they can get out of their own way long enough to see what they could have—together.

Christmas, or The Good Fairy by Harriet Beecher Stowe

A Christmas Treasury
This short story is part of the anthology A Christmas Treasury. Though written in 1850, the message is still applicable today. HBS's message of social justice is as clear in this short story as it is in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Actually, it felt like the whole purpose of the short story was to serve as a rebuke for buying gifts for wealthy family and acquaintances or the sake of appearances while the poor suffer. 
"There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of the year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got..."

Eleanor laments that she doesn't know what to get anyone for Christmas this year as everyone has means to purchase what they want when they want. Her aunt points out the poor living in a tenement nearby who would be thrilled to receive a shovel of coal or a few oranges.

A Christmas Inspiration by L.M. Montgomery

This holiday short story is included in A Christmas Treasury. It is a good reminder of thinking of others during the Christmas season.

Beth and Jean and three other girls at No. 16 Chestnut Terrace are spending a cheery Christmas together opening presents that came in the mail, since none could go home this year. Beth remarks that Miss Allen, an older woman resident of the boarding house, is apparently alone this year. Though Miss Allen is not widely liked by the girls, they agree that no one should have to spend Christmas alone. Thus, a Christmas Inspiration is born.

The Christmas Masquerade by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

I'm unfamiliar with this author. This short story is included in A Christmas Treasury anthology. I guess the "moral of the story" is to take care of the poor during Christmas, but I would have liked for there to be a more universal truth of helping the poor all year long.

The mayor throws a masquerade party for the children of the village - both poor and wealthy. One peddler has costumes far superior to all others so all the children get their costumes from him. The poor children choose costumes of princes and princesses while the wealthy children choose costumes of goose girls and other working-class children occupations. At the end of the masquerade, none of the costumes can be removed and furthermore the children taken on the personalities of their costumes. The townspeople seek out the peddler who makes them vow to care for the poor children every Christmas.

Buy A Christmas Treasury at Barnes & Noble

Bound for Murder by Victory Gilbert

Bound for Murder
I'm getting a jump start on my January ARCs. As there was no real recap at the beginning of the story, it took me a little bit to figure out which library cozy mystery series this book belonged to. This can be read as a stand-alone as there is very little that ties it to previous books in the series. The mystery is good and I enjoyed the characters. A free e-galley was provided via Netgalley. My full review will post in January.

Blue Ridge library director Amy Webber learns it wasn't all peace and love among the "flower children" when a corpse is unearthed on the grounds of a 1960s commune.

Taylorsford Public Library director Amy Webber's friend "Sunny" Fields is running for mayor. But nothing puts a damper on a campaign like an actual skeleton in a candidate's closet. Sunny's grandparents ran a commune back in the 1960s on their organic farm. But these former hippies face criminal charges when human remains are found in their fields--and a forensic examination reveals that the death was neither natural nor accidental.

With Sunny's mayoral hopes fading, Amy sets her wedding plans aside, says "not yet" to the dress, and uses her research skills to clear her best friend's family. Any of the now-elderly commune members could have been the culprit. As former hippies perish one by one, Amy and her friends Richard, Aunt Lydia, and Hugh Chen pursue every lead. But if Amy can't find whoever killed these "flower children," someone may soon be placing flowers on her grave.

Buy Bound for Murder at Amazon

Gabriel's Promise by Sylvain Reynard

Gabriel's Promise
I wasn't expecting another book in the Gabriel series and it has been years since the first 3 books were published. It was great to reconnect with these characters. I don't read a lot of romance but I do love these characters (I just skim over the sex scenes). If you haven't read this series, you can read this book as a stand alone. My full review will post on Thursday.

When Gabriel and Julia Emerson first lay eyes on their newborn daughter, Clare, they realize life as they know it will never be the same. Gabriel has vowed to be a good father when he suddenly receives an invitation to give a series of lectures in Edinburgh, Scotland--an opportunity of high prestige--but that would mean leaving his wife and newborn child in Boston. Hesitant to bring it up, he keeps the opportunity from Julia as long as he can, not knowing she has a secret of her own.

When a frightening situation arises that threatens to break their new family apart, both parents must make sacrifices. With the family in danger, the looming question remains: Will Gabriel pursue his lectureship in Edinburgh, leaving Julia and Clare unprotected in Boston, or will he abandon the chance of a lifetime in order to ensure his family's safety?

Buy Gabriel's Promise at Amazon

Death Comes to the Nursery by Catherine Lloyd

Death Comes to the Nursery
I debated requesting the book that comes before this one (and after the other book I read in the series this month) from the interlibrary loan, but I was too impatient to read this installment. As it doesn't come out until the end of January, I actually put it ahead of other ARCs that are coming out mid-January. But what I treat. I greatly enjoyed this story. Robert and Lucy are wonderful. While a progressive couple, they still adhere to many of the period's norms. It makes them the perfect couple to act as agents of change. The mystery is wonderful and definitely keeps you guessing as to who the culprit is. I received a free ARC via Netgalley. My review will most closer to the publication date.

Delighted by the quiet uproar of raising their newborn, Lady Lucy and Major Sir Robert Kurland could not be more pleased at the prospect of welcoming another into their home. But their preparations are soon overshadowed by a baffling case of murder . . .

Once known to all in her village as the rector’s daughter, Lucy is now a mother herself—to a wonderful eighteen-month-old son, Ned. Upon discovering that she is expecting a second child, Lucy and Robert are delighted. In anticipation of the new arrival, Lucy is set on expanding her nursery staff. When Agnes, her current nurse, recommends her cousin, it seems like the perfect solution.

But trouble arrives along with the new nursery maid from London. Polly’s flirtations provoke fisticuffs in the servants’ hall and tumult in the village tavern, and on her afternoon off, she fails to return to the Kurland Estate. When a farmer finds her lifeless body in a drainage ditch, Lucy and Robert fear foul play.

To their consternation, they learn their new nursery maid was not who they thought. As Lucy’s sister Anna leaves the rectory and moves in to watch over Ned, the couple’s search for the truth leads them to the London theater world, where aristocrats purchase their mistresses, and into danger. But the real threat strikes all too close to home.

Buy Death Comes to the Nursery at Amazon

My 2019 Reading Stats

After seeing all the reading stat posts with pretty charts and graphs I decided I would try to track my reading this year with more detail. I met my Goodreads Reading Goal of 115 books. I actually read about 126 books (Goodreads says 130 but that is because of the short stories from A Christmas Treasury and I marked each book in the Castle Mountain Lodge series I read as well as the book 1 - 3 collection ebook which is what I own).

One of my goals this year was to read at least as many ARCs/review copies as I read books not for review. That goal is a bit more challenging because of the audiobooks I listen to at work, which are rarely for review. Let's see how I did.

I read/listened to 70 books that were not for review but only 59 books that were for review. Not too bad, but I will continue working towards the 1:1 goal in 2020. (The graph was made before I finished the last book on my list above - Death Comes to the Nursery.)

Another goal I had for the year was to increase the number of books either by authors from countries I had not read from before or set in countries that I hadn't read before.

While I still mostly read authors from the United States and Europe, I did have some variety. I'm pretty excited that I read an author from El Salvador.

Though most books were set in the United States, I had some variety in the setting of what I was reading as well. I did read books set in some countries that I hadn't read before like Bali, Laos, and Sicily.

I was worried that my cozy mystery kick would mean I wouldn't read many other genres this year. While I did read a lot of cozy mysteries (31), I read a lot of different genres as well. One of my goals for the year was to read more nonfiction. If you add together the 3 memoirs, 1 biography, and 5 general nonfiction titles, 9 books aren't too bad. Next year, I will shoot for 12 nonfiction books. I'm not surprised that historical fiction (22) was my next biggest genre. There have been some really good WWII fiction recently, plus it is a genre that is usually easy to listen to as an audiobook. I'm a little shocked that I only read 8 thrillers as that is a favorite genre of mine.

By far I read a lot more ebooks this year than any other format. I think that is mostly due to my goal to raise my Netgalley Feedback Ratio and that a lot of my favorite authors had their gallies available through Netgalley this year. I was correct in thinking that I listened to about 1 audiobook per week at work. I get four weeks of annual leave plus a week at Christmas, Thanksgiving week is also short, so 46 is just about 1 book per week.

I read more than 39,500 pages (for audiobooks, I used the page count for a print copy). According to Goodreads, the longest book I read was The Origin of Species. However, when I used Amazon's page counts in my own record keeping the longest book I read was the Laura Ingalls Wilder biography,  Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser (640 pages). The average length is also slightly higher by my own records at almost 307 pages. Every month I read/listened to 9 or 10 books except for October and December when I read 15  and 16 books, respectively. I finished every book I started this year, and according to my Goodreads ratings, I read 27 Five Star books and nothing earned less than 3 stars.

Just an interesting tidbit about what I read:

  • The oldest story I read was first published in 1850 (Christmas, or the Good Fairy by Harriet Beecher Stowe). 
  • I read 2 stories first published in the 1800s (the short story The Christmas Masquerade by Mary E Wilkins Freeman was published in 1892). 
  • Three stories I read were published in the 20th century - A Christmas Inspiration by L.M. Montgomery (1901), The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1920), and Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (1998). 
  • Most books I read were published in past 2 decades: 2004 (1), 2007 (1), 2009 (2), 2010 (1), 2011 (2), 2012 (1), 2013 (3), 2014 (2), 2015 (6), 2016 (9), 2017 (21), 2018 (19), 2019 (53), 2020 (3).

So overall, I declare 2019 a great reading year and I'm looking forward to 2020. How was your year?

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. You really have your hands full with your pets. It was nice to see so many holiday reads for the month. Congrats on exceeding your reading goal! Wishing you the best for 2020!!

  2. You had a great year of books. All are new to me, but the cozies have really caught my eye.

    Thanks for sharing, and Happy New Year.

  3. I’m glad you had good Christmas, and I hope your pets recover from their various ailments.
    You had a great reading year! Thanks for sharing your stats.
    Wishing you a great reading week and a Happy New Year!

  4. You had a great reading year. I'm still hoping to finish a book or two before the end of the year. New Year's Day will likely be the day I write a summary of my year. Come see my week here. Happy reading and happy new year!

  5. Hope all the pets are doing good now. Yes I seem to read mostly USA authors and I don't even live there. But they are the most prevalent I guess because of the publishing industry and shear size of the country.

  6. I love seeing everyone's stats -- I wish I could keep up with a spread sheet, but I'm always a failure. Looks like you had a great reading year.

  7. 16 books in 1 month! You were on a roll :) I love all your stat charts! I'm a new follower.


  8. Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear about the pet illnesses, but glad that it seems to be getting better now! <3 Wishing you a great 2020!

  9. I appreciate hearing about all the Christmas-themed books! I'm always on the lookout for those when December rolls around.

  10. What a cozy wrap up. Two of the books on your list seem like books I love to get and read. Death by Nursery and Death by __ I believe they could be by the same author. If you like you check out my wrap up post for the December: and or my yearly Wrap up: or you can check out my 20 Best Books of a Decade:

  11. Wow, you did have a great reading year!! And 15 books read in December? That's impressive, especially for a holiday month!

    I have been hearing good things about Thin Ice but I didn't realize it was the start was a series, either.

    Glad your pets are on the mend :)

    Here's to another good reading year in 2020!


    Book By Book

  12. Amazing amount of details about your reading year! Hope your pets are feeling better...sickness isn't fun for anyone :( I think what caught my eye was the 999 book.

  13. Our pets are irreplaceable, but they definitely make life complicated sometimes. Hope yours all feel better in 2020! And thanks for sharing your 2019 reading. It's nice that you can listen to audiobooks at work!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  14. Mia is so cute! I hope all are back into being themselves by now. I enjoy graphs as a math geek and loved seeing your stats in graphic form.