My Top 5 Books of 2015

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Another wonderful year has ended, and it’s time to recap all the books that I have read! According to Goodreads, I have completed 23 books in 2015, totaling 7,364 pages! This year was above average in quality, considering that I rated over half of these books at least a 4 out of 5.

This, of course, made it very difficult to select my top five books of 2015, but I managed it! Click on my vlog above to hear my thoughts on my favorite books of the year in detail, and see below for the full list from best to worst. (Big shout-out to my awesome brother Nick Jarrett for producing this video; feel free to reach out to him for stellar work in graphic and web design!) As noted, be on the lookout next week for my rant on my least favorite book of 2015, Chuck Palahniuk’s Beautiful You.

I already have 11 more books waiting for me on my desk, so it’s time to ring in 2016 with lots and lots of reading! Thank you so much to all of you who read my blog; these past four years of blogging have been an amazing journey, and I look forward to sharing many more with you!

XOXO Book Club Babe

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro
Uganda Be Kidding Me – Chelsea Handler
Bet Me – Jennifer Crusie
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs
The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty
Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari
China Rich Girlfriend – Kevin Kwan
Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: 16 Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids – Meghan Daum
It Happened One Wedding – Julie James
Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Texts From Jane Eyre – Mallory Ortberg

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Gendarme – Mark T. Mustian
P.S. I Still Love You – Jenny Han
Royal Wedding – Meg Cabot

Rating: 3 out of 5

Invisibility – Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Sisterhood Everlasting – Ann Brashares
Popular – Lauren Urasek
When in Doubt, Add Butter – Beth Harbison
Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
God’s Debris – Scott Adams

Rating: 2 out of 5

Beautiful You – Chuck Palahniuk (book review coming soon!)

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2015 Goal Recap: How Did I Do?

Next week, all the book bloggers who participate in “Top Ten Tuesday,” a fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, will present their ten resolutions for the new year. But before I discuss my plans for 2016, I need to review this year’s goals that I set and evaluate how I did! I’m a bit nervous, because this is the moment of truth, but there’s definitely something about having hundreds of followers as your accountability partners that makes you get stuff done!

So let’s get started: of the ten goals I made for 2015, which ones did I pass with flying colors and which were epic fails?

1. Read 20 more books: PASS. As of now, I have read 22 books this year, and I can probably complete Ransom Riggs’ Library of Souls before this month ends. I’m already over 70% done, so I just need to hustle!

2. Read more fan-favorite romance novels: FAIL. “More” implies greater than one, and unfortunately I couldn’t even meet this requirement. This goal was to stretch my reading comfort zone by not falling back on familiar authors, so although I continued to read Julie James and Beth Harbison, I don’t count their novels toward this resolution. However, I did finish Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, which ended up being my favorite romance novel of the year!

3. Read more classic literature: FAIL. Following the same point in #2, I only got around to reading one classic: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Beowulf is still sitting on my nightstand taunting me. Perhaps I can convince my book club to pick up a classic novel next year, but if not, this goal will continue to challenge me–which is good, because classics are worth the work!

4. Reach 65,000 total blog views: PASS. Thanks to my loyal readers, I blew this goal out of the water! Currently, I have over 76,000 total blog views, 22,000 of which I received this year. Looks like I’ll have to set higher blogging standards for 2016!

5. Create more vlogs: PASS…ish. If more is greater than one, then yes, I will accomplish this goal. In September, I recommended classic alternatives to popular YA novels, and I’ll soon publish my vlog for my top five books of the year. I ideally wanted to produce videos once per quarter, but since I’m relying on the editing skills of my brother Nick Jarrett, I’m limited to creating vlogs when I have the time to make the three-hour road trip to visit my family.

6. Research monetization: FAIL. I’m not disappointed in not reaching this goal, because it’s not like I started blogging to make money. If people enjoy reading my blog and find great books through my recommendations, then I consider myself successful. I’ll continue learning about monetization, but it won’t be making my goals list for 2016.

7. Make significant progress on my novel: PASS. Finally, a goal I’m super proud of achieving! After this year’s NaNoWriMo, I have written a total of 44,000 words, which comes out to a whopping 145 pagesI I feel accomplished in reaching what I believe may be the halfway point of my novel, and I’m excited to keep going until the end!

8. Improve during NaNoWriMo: PASS. Related to the previous goal, I did extend my word count for National Novel Writing Month this year, increasing 2014’s count of 19,000 words to 25,000. Although that’s only half of NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 word challenge, any amount greater than zero is still winning in my opinion!

9. Attend more write-ins: FAIL. I think that I may have to nip this goal in the bud, because after attending two write-ins during NaNo this year, I felt that they weren’t that useful. My region was poorly attended, and I don’t see the point in feeling obligated to buy a drink at a coffee shop just to sit at a table with a couple other people and write silently. Writing is naturally a solitary activity, and that’s okay. I realized this year that I prefer it that way.

10. Attend more book signings: PASS. Sure, I only attended two book signings this year, but I believe this goal should be weighted more for quality rather than quantity. And boy, oh boy, did I get the highest possible quality! In 2015, I received once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to meet my literary heroes, Kazuo Ishiguro and Margaret Atwood. These two powerhouses were absolutely delightful in person, and I thank my lucky stars that I live in a metro that always makes the cut on just about every book tour.

With six passes and four fails, that would make my performance a solid 60%–in school, that would be a pathetic D average, but for goal-setting isn’t too bad! Think about how little we would get done in a year if we never wrote down our goals and held ourselves accountable. I’m proud of what I did accomplish and look forward to a whole new set of goals for 2016!

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

My 2015 Goals Update…and Some Exciting News!

We have less than five months left in 2015, so when I look back to my top ten goals for the year, I wonder…how’s my progress so far?

1. Read 20 more books. I’m making fantastic headway into my annual reading quota, since I’m already on my 15th book of the year. According to Goodreads, I’m two books ahead of schedule. Right on!

2. Read more fan-favorite romance novels. I’ve completed Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me, but unfortunately I’ve been distracted by other genre at the moment. I’ve received some wonderful recommendations, however, so I hope to cross a couple more off my list before 2016!

3. Read more classic literature. My progress toward this goal is pretty dismal, to be honest, considering that I started Beowulf months ago and put it on pause for less dense reading. But I will definitely finish it…eventually.

4. Reach 65,000 total blog views. I’ve blown this goal out of the water by already reaching my stretch goal of 70,000 total blog views! I don’t post as often as I used to but I’m grateful for all my supportive followers for sticking with me!

5. Create more vlogs. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to vlog since I discussed my favorite books of 2014, but I plan on producing another video in late September. After finding my brother Nick Jarrett some significant freelance work, I believe that he owes me a favor!

6. Research monetization. I haven’t made a single ounce of progress on this goal, but I’m not ashamed. I never went into blogging to make money, so it doesn’t bother me one bit. When I’m ready to take this blog to the next level, I will.

7. Make significant progress on my novel. I haven’t made a single ounce of progress on this goal either, but this time, I’m deeply ashamed. Sure, I struggled through a stressful job transition and relocation recently, but there’s no excuse. Bad Book Club Babe, very very bad.

8. Improve during NaNoWriMo. Can’t fail at a goal that hasn’t even started yet! Is it weird to be freaking out over something that’s months away? I swear NaNoWriMo will give me PTSD, but it will be worth it!

9. Attend more write-ins. Technically, write-ins occur throughout the year, not just during NaNoWriMo–or so I hear, since I haven’t attended any in 2015. However, a friend of mine sent me information about my local Shut Up and Write! chapter, so that might be the motivation I need.

10. Attend more book signings. I know that this year will be epic when it comes to this goal. I’ve already met one of my heroes, Kazuo Ishiguro, and today I bought tickets to see another of my absolute favorite authors…

Drumroll please…

MARGARET ATWOOD!!!

The woman who needs no introduction

I will share all the details tomorrow, but I just wanted to say that even though I’m not making as much progress with my goals as I would like, the fact that in a couple months I will be in the same room as Margaret Atwood means I already declare 2015 a major success!

Stay tuned for more info!

My Most Anticipated Books of 2015

Happy New Year everybody! There’s nothing like starting the year off right with a good book, and 2015 is shaping up to have many good books in store for us!

I wanted to share my top five most anticipated books of 2015, so let’s get right to it!

All images via Goodreads

1. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, release date March 3. It’s been almost an entire decade since Ishiguro’s last novel Never Let Me Go, which was awarded TIME magazine’s ‘Best Book of 2005’ and listed in its ‘Top 100 Best English-Language Novels.’ The novel is also one of my absolute favorites, and after reading The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, it’s safe to say that Ishiguro is one of my most admired authors. I can’t imagine The Buried Giant being anything less than extraordinary.

2. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han, release date June 2 (cover art TBR). This sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before follows Lara Jean as she sorts out her feelings for Peter Kavinsky, the boy who blurred the lines between pretend and real boyfriend. With all the buzz in the book blogosphere, it’s clear that Han is a rising YA star with scores of devoted fans like me who are just itching to get their hands on this book!

3. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan, release date June 16. Crazy Rich Asians was one of the most entertaining books I read in 2014, and I cannot wait for this sequel, which continues the story of Rachel Chu, the most envied girl in the Far East. Engaged to Asia’s most eligible billionaire bachelor, she tries to balance wedding planning among the uber-rich while searching for her estranged father in China. I’m so ready for this crazy whirlwind rollercoaster!

4. If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison, release date July 28. I can’t forget Beth Harbison, who has penned some great chick-lit. I enjoyed Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Secrets of a Shoe Addict, and I’ve got When in Doubt, Add Butter waiting for me on my bookshelf. This latest novel with “Freaky Friday” similarities sounds like a hoot. A 30-something waking up in her 18-year-old body after a boating accident? Count me in!

5. Rhiannon by David Levithan, release date unknown (cover art TBR). YA fans everywhere are hyperventilating over this companion book to Every Day, this time written from the perspective of A’s love interest Rhiannon. Every Day has to be the most unique romance that I have ever read, and I’m sure that Levithan will knock this book out of the park like he always does!

So that’s it! Which books are you most looking forward to in 2015? Share your thoughts in the comments!