What to read: 2014 Favorites

Books, Holidays, Reviews

I love books.

I love reading them, holding them, smelling them, and… keeping track of them. I avidly keep track of the books I read using Goodreads, and this year I was delighted to find out that they have this wonderful feature called “Your Year in Books.”


Don’t they look so pretty?

You can see all your books together, and check out your stats to find out how many you read and how you rated them.

Looking through my year in books was how I discovered that, of the 29 books I read this year, I gave only three of them a 5-star rating. So really, I didn’t even have to think to figure out which books were my favorites in 2014. It was more of a discovery.


The similarities between these three books are clear. They are all vivid, dark, sometimes creepy historical novels with (no surprise at all given my tastes…) strong female characters.

PUSH NOT THE RIVER by James Conroyd Martin

There’s nothing I love more than learning actual history through a novel, and this one fits the bill.

Based on the true eighteenth century diary of Lady Anna Maria Berezowska, a Polish countess who lived through a turbulent time in Polish history, this is a story of loyalty and deceit, patriotism and treason, love and hate. Anna puts herself in the way of destiny, making herself an indispensable part of the fight to save her country.


I don’t even know where to start with this book. Let’s just say it’s magical, mind-boggling, and not for the weak of stomach.

Two young women — a disgraced seamstress and a mute nursemaid — struggle to survive and thrive in a fictional 16th century Scandinavian kingdom, while a mysterious illness plagues the royal family.

THE LINNET BIRD by Linda Holeman

This 19th century tale is vivid, detailed, and captivating. As a child in London, Linny was orphaned and sold into prostitution, but she reinvents herself and marries a horrid but wealthy man in British India.

In the lush setting of India, Linny learns that money isn’t the freedom she always thought it would be — and that she may be capable of finding that freedom deep within herself.


If you like historical fiction, give one of these a try!

What were your favorite books of 2014?

Happy New Year!

Questions to ask yourself this New Year

Curated, Holidays, Quick Read

With the New Year approaching, now is the time to reflect on your life and goals. Personally, I always find it intimidating to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions with a blank page in front of me.

That’s why I enjoy questions that make you think, like the list below from the Into Mind blog.

If you’re inspired by the questions below, she also has a list of questions to help you reflect on your 2014.

YOUR 2015
  • What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be?
  • What do you want to see, discover, explore?
  • Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015?
  • What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
  • Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
  • What do you want your everyday life to be like?
  • Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
  • What do you want to achieve career-wise?
  • How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?
  • What is your number one goal for 2015?

These questions are from this post on into-mind.com.

Do you take the time to reflect and plan around the new year? Do you make resolutions? Let us know in the comments!