Wednesday, January 1, 2020

December 2019 and Year 2019 Wrap Up

We made it through December and into 2020!

2019 was sort of a crazy year for me. I don't feel like I accomplished very much and still feel a little stuck in my life and unsure what to do about it. I am adjusting to living in a new state and trying to find ways to make friends and find places to go. Mostly I end up being a complete home-body and never doing much of anything!

As for my New Years Resolutions for 2019 did not go over so well.
  • I did not manage to read my goal of 75 books (I got to 72). 
  • I was trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, especially where medical school was concerned. I read some books to help study for the MCAT, but I haven't made any other progress. I am still so torn because I would still need to do so much and I'm already 32. But I keep reminding myself that the time will pass anyway.
  • Lastly was to get my blog back up and running. This one I have mostly done! I haven't done anything crafty to document. I've been on some trips, and pictures can be found on my Instagram, but I stopped posting that stuff here long ago. But I did start disease posts, which is great (even if I am not consistent about posting them).

So how about for 2020?
  • Read at least 75 books
  • Get involved in a local book club
  • Keep making progress on my blog
  • Look into classes

That seems like an OK set of goals to have.

And now on to books read in December!

Title: Together at Midnight
Author: Jennifer Castle
Narrators: Arielle DeLisle and James Fouhey

Synopsis: Kendall and Max are both in a spot where they are trying to figure out where they fit and what they want from their lives. By chance, they both end up in New York City after Christmas and witness a tragic accident. While they wrestle with their mutual feelings of guilt and thoughts about courage and kindness, they set out to do random acts of kindness before the New Year to try and make a difference.

Thoughts: I gave this book a much higher rating than it may have deserved for one big reason: it showed how hard it can be to be brave and to do the right thing. It made me think a ton about this topic and even made me cry. That was pretty huge to me and is what stuck with me the most. I want to recommend it just for that, because being brave takes a special kind of courage and not everyone can manage it. And then how you feel about it afterwards can be so difficult to reconcile. I also liked being able to see how their acts of kindness worked on the people they helped.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Title: Let it Snow
Author: Nancy Thayer
Narrator: Joyce Bean

Synopsis: Christina is a Nantucket native with her own little shop and circle of friends. But her unpleasant landlord raises the rent on her shop and the shops of her friends. It's enough that none of them will be able to stay in business once the holiday season is over. Meanwhile, Christina makes friends with her landlord's granddaughter, Wink, and her uncle (a handsome, wealthy, single man and the son of her miserly landlord). As their lives become more entwined, can she and Wink thaw her landlord's icy heart?

Thoughts: I did not love this book. Parts of it were charming and endearing, but it felt pretty contrived and cheesy. And her "inner Christina" could really get annoying. It was alright for a holiday read, but I would not read it again.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Title: The Christmas Sisters
Author: Sarah Morgan
Narrator: Mandy Weston

Synopsis: It's finally happening, Suzanne's adopted daughters are coming home to Scotland for Christmas. All three of them. And she wants everything to be as perfect as possible. But it won't be that easy. As Suzanne comes down with the flu, Posy is feeling the pressure of her role to step into Suzanne's shoes and make Christmas great and run the coffee shop, even though this doesn't align with her dreams. Beth shows up early after having a huge argument with her husband about her desire to return to work after being a stay-at-home mom for several years. And Hannah, who usually avoids family at all costs, also shows up early and she isn't ready to tell anyone what is going on in her life. She wants to deal with it herself. Maybe the sisters can find their ways back into one anothers' lives.

Thoughts: I wasn't sure I would enjoy this one because I thought the title was cheesy, but a couple people recommended it to me, so I wanted to give it a go. I actually enjoyed it much more than I expected to, though Hannah annoyed me greatly and could really benefit from some therapy. I was most interested in Suzanne's and Beth's stories. And it had Christmas vibes and happy endings. It was a great Christmas-y read.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Narrator: Tim Curry

Synopsis: I'm pretty sure everyone knows the story of Scrooge and Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. I will not re-hash it here.

Thoughts: I listen to this book every year. And while I still picture the characters as mice and ducks (thank you Disney and Mickey's Christmas Carol), I still enjoy it. I think this story is always charming and a good way to remind people to be kind and generous!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis: Georgie knows that her marriage hasn't exactly been happy for a while. Maybe not really ever. She still loves her husband, Neal, but Neal does not love Georgie's career and what it requires of her. They are supposed to go to Omaha to visit Neal's mom for Christmas, but Georgie drops the bomb that she needs to stay for work. So Neal takes their daughters to Omaha without her. Not wanting to stay at her empty house, she basically moves back into her mom's house. While she is at her mom's, she finds her old yellow rotary phone. Neal has been avoiding her calls, but she figures she will try the landline. On the yellow phone. But she ends up talking to Neal from 15 years in the past. From before they were married. From the week where they didn't speak at all and Georgie was convinced he had broken up with her. This can't really be happening, right?

Thoughts: This is one of my very favorite books and I re-read it every year around Christmas. I'm not even sure why I love it so much. When I first discovered Rainbow Rowell, I thought this book sounded stupid, so I didn't read it for a while. But when I did, I was so sad that I had waited. I love the way this book is written. Some of it is clever and funny. But most of it is very honest and touching. I don't always recommend it to people, and I'm not sure why. Like maybe by other people or my friends not liking it, it will ruin the magic? Or maybe I feel so strongly about it that it feels personal, like the book is just for me? Whatever the reason, I don't tend to recommend it. But I love it so much.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Title: The Afterlife of Holly Chase
Author: Cynthia Hand
Narrator: Erin Spencer

Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, Holly Chase was visited by four ghosts: her dead stepmother, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. And she didn't listen. And then she died. Her punishment (so she thinks) is to work at a company called Project Scrooge as the new Ghost of Christmas Past. They work to save a new "Scrooge" every year. Since she is technically dead, she doesn't age and nothing changes. Until this year, her sixth year working at Project Scrooge.

Thoughts: Several people recommended this book to me this year, too. I'm glad I managed to squeeze it in! It is a pretty unique re-telling of A Christmas Carol. Some parts may have been a little strange and I didn't love the romance aspect, but overall, I really enjoyed it! If you like re-tellings, I highly recommend it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Least favorite book read this month: Let it Snow
Favorite book read this month: Besides Landline? Probably the Afterlife of Holly Chase

I suppose that is it for books. December was pretty exciting for me. A couple of my friends came to visit and we went to Carlsbad caverns and hung out in my new home town. Then I got to go to Connecticut with Kevin to visit his family for Christmas. That was very nice and I appreciated the time off. I got to see the new Star Wars movie, which I liked. And I finally saw the new Ghostbusters movie, which was hilarious.

Overall it was a good month. I missed my family and the rest of my friends during my birthday and the holidays, but I'm still happy with the way my month turned out.

What are your goals for next 2020?

Happy New Year everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment