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ARCHIVE 2020 > Dusty Marie's 50 Reads

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message 1: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) My goal for 2019 was ambitious, and I ended up reading a grand total of four books. I don't want to allow that to happen again, so I'm setting this up to keep myself accountable.

A little about myself: My name is Dusty, and I'm from North Carolina, USA. I'll read almost anything, but my favorite genres are History, Classics, and Mystery. A few favorite authors are David McCullough, Jane Austen, and Agatha Christie.

I'm aiming for 50 books in 2020. I'd like to exceed this total, but I'm placing my goal at something that I know is achievable. I'm excited to get started toward this goal and look forward to many happy hours of reading.


message 2: by Dusty (last edited Jan 24, 2020 10:20AM) (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Les Misérables by Victor Hugo by Victor Hugo

I started Les Misérables about three and a half years ago. I knew it wasn't going to be for the faint of heart, and if I wanted to complete this book, I was going to have to commit to it long term.

I'm so glad I decided to take the journey through this book. It was powerful, emotional, and so incredibly poetic. I fell in love first with the music from the theater version and now can say that I feel an equal fondness for the novel.

Challenge progress: 1 of 50


message 3: by Dusty (last edited Jan 24, 2020 10:21AM) (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1) by L.M. Montgomery by L.M. Montgomery

I fell in love with this story from my first viewing of the 1985 miniseries. I had read selections from the book in grade school, but until a few years ago, I had never read it in its entirety.

This was my second time completing Anne of Green Gables, and it was even more lovely than I remembered. It is such a wonderful classic and by far one of my all-time favorites.

Challenge progress: 2 of 50


message 4: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James by Simone St. James

I was hesitant to read this book since creepy thrillers aren't really my thing, but I'm so glad I took a chance on it. It was very well-written and managed to completely draw me in. Even the paranormal theme blended perfectly into the story.

Challenge progress: 3 of 50


message 5: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Recipes & Wooden Spoons (Tales from Grace Chapel Inn, #3) by Judy Baer by Judy Baer

My mom lent to me the Grace Chapel Inn series from Guideposts. I've been reading them for quite some time now. Recipes and Wooden Spoons is the third book in the series.

Some of these books are very good and make me wish that the fictional town of Acorn Hill, Pennsylvania, was real. This one however missed the mark. It was far too religious in language, and the characters were unlikeable. It was a disappointment.

Challenge progress: 4 of 50


message 6: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot, #3) by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie

This was my second time reading this collection of Hercule Poirot-centric stories. Since it had been quite a few years, it was like each story was new again. Every one was wonderful and unique.

Challenge progress: 5 of 50


message 7: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Life is So Good by George Dawson by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

I was originally assigned this book in my college sociology class quite a few years ago but never had the time to read it. With February being Black History Month in the US, I felt like it would be the perfect time to finally check this book off my list.

George Dawson's life was truly remarkable and inspiring, but this book left something to be desired. It just wasn't well-planned, and it's disorganized and somewhat haphazard style showed that. I'm glad I read it, but I was disappointed as a whole.

Challenge progress: 6 of 50


message 8: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Portraits of the Past (Tales from Grace Chapel Inn, #5) by Rebecca Kelly by Rebecca Kelly

This was the fifth book in Guidepost's Grace Chapel Inn series. As I mentioned above, this series was lent to me by my mom. Christian fiction is not my typical preferred genre, but it's nice to switch it up and read something on the lighter side.

This was one of the better books I've read from the series. There were a few historical inaccuracies and editing mistakes throughout but nothing to totally condemn the story. I actually quite enjoyed it overall.

Challenge progress: 7 of 50


message 9: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Holdout by Graham Moore by Graham Moore

I've never really been drawn to legal thrillers, but in an attempt to once again stretch outside my comfort zone, I chose this book. For the first two thirds to three quarters, I couldn't put it down. By the time I reached the end, the book's too sensational for belief twists and turns lost me.

I started out completely loving it, but by the time I closed the back cover, I was unimpressed. It was good, but it was far from great.

Challenge progress: 8 of 50


message 10: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare

The first time I was introduced to this play was through the 1993 film adaptation directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. This was my first time reading it, and I loved it just as much as (if not more than) I did the movie. It is brilliantly and beautifully written - a truly timeless classic.

Challenge progress: 9 of 50


message 11: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie

This book continues my journey to reading all of Agatha Christie's works. I was pleasantly surprised by it. It was interesting, suspenseful, and chock full of suspects in typical Christie fashion. It had a nice little twist at the end that caught me off guard. I thoroughly enjoyed it overall.

Challenge progress: 10 of 50


message 12: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Me Before You (Me Before You, #1) by Jojo Moyes by Jojo Moyes

This book was popular even before the movie adaptation was released. I had never read it until recently. I picked up a copy at a library book sale a few years ago, and it's been sitting on my shelf ever since.

Moyes writing is very good. I'd be interested in reading her other works, but this novel didn't do it for me. As someone who has struggled with mental illness, I felt she approached the subject of suicide far too lightly. This wasn't my favorite at all.

Challenge progress: 11 of 50


message 13: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Midsummer Melody (Tales from Grace Chapel Inn, #9) by Rebecca Kelly by Rebecca Kelly

The books in the Grace Chapel Inn series are always a bit hit or miss as to the quality and overall enjoyment. This one was pretty average. It was a cute story, but there was nothing truly memorable about it.

Challenge progress: 12 of 50


message 14: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Splendid and the Vile A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson by Erik Larson

This may well be one of the best books I'll read this year. It was wonderfully entertaining and filled with little-known details of the London Blitz. It was a true history lover's dream!

Challenge progress: 13 of 50


message 15: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Green Mile by Stephen King by Stephen King

This was the first novel by Stephen King I've read, and I'm fairly convinced that it will not be my last. It was incredibly intense with heavy subject matter but also wonderfully written. It was hard to put it down once I started. I'm definitely a fan.

Challenge progress: 14 of 50


message 16: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie

I had a hard time getting into this one. I really enjoyed The Secret of Chimneys which included many of the same people, but this one seemed to lack depth and connection. It was good, but I wanted more action and more intrigue. Overall, it felt predictable.

Challenge progress: 15 of 50


message 17: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Roanoke The Lost Colony (Keepers of the Ring, #1) by Angela Elwell Hunt by Angela Elwell Hunt

I technically did not finish this book, but I'm counting it toward my goal anyway. I made a valiant effort in completing it, but with nearly 130 pages left out of 350, I just couldn't do it.

This was one of the most poorly written books I have read. The characters were so unlikeable and overly self-righteous that I couldn't stomach it anymore. The story became repetitive as though the author had no outline to begin with and refused to edit herself at the end.

I hate not finishing books in total, but this was one time that I just couldn't press on. It was really that bad.

Challenge progress: 16 of 50


message 18: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Library of Legends by Janie Chang by Janie Chang

This book was the perfect blend of Chinese culture/history and imaginative storytelling. The pacing was just a little off for my taste, but overall, it was a wonderful novel full of emotion and mystery.

Challenge progress: 17 of 50


message 19: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Promises to Keep (Tales from Grace Chapel Inn, #13) by Rebecca Kelly by Rebecca Kelly

This was another book in the Grace Chapel Inn series from Guideposts. These are all light, inspirational reads. This was one of the better ones in my opinion. It delved into the ins and outs of poetry while weaving a lovely, heartfelt story.

Challenge progress: 18 of 50


message 20: by Dusty (last edited Jul 27, 2020 04:25PM) (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Good to Great in God's Eyes 10 Practices Great Christians Have in Common by Chip Ingram by Chip Ingram

I had an opportunity to hear Chip Ingram speak from this book at a conference several years ago. The book has been in my collection for some time.

It was okay. There was some good information to be gleaned, but overall, it felt weak. It was average at best.

Challenge progress: 19 of 50


message 21: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Tidelands by Philippa Gregory by Philippa Gregory

I really wanted to love this book, but I really didn't. It had a lot of promise, but the story never really panned out. It felt boring overall and dragged on to a conclusion that solved nothing. It was a disappointment.

Challenge progress: 20 of 50


message 22: by Dusty (last edited Aug 16, 2020 10:01AM) (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd by Sue Monk Kidd

When was the last time a book made you absolutely breakdown and ugly cry? This one will do just that. It was exceptionally researched and beautifully written.

The only thing that kept me from absolutely loving this book was the pacing. At times, it really seemed painfully slow. Other than that, this book was perfection.

Challenge progress: 21 of 50


message 23: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Historiography Ancient, Medieval, and Modern by Ernst Breisach by Ernst Breisach

Had this not been assigned reading for my graduate-level Historiography course, I likely wouldn't have read it. I'll say this, it IS very thorough. Some parts were very fascinating, but the majority of the book is dry and difficult to follow.

Challenge progress: 22 of 50


message 24: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Home Before Dark by Riley Sager by Riley Sager

I was hesitant to read this one knowing that I tend to get creeped out pretty easily, but I'm so glad I did. It was incredibly well written with the perfect balance of spooky and mystery.

Challenge progress: 23 of 50


message 25: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett by Brit Bennett

I wanted to love this book. The premise had so much promise, but the story never really took shape. There were too many characters, the timeline was nonlinear and hard to keep up with, and the ending was vague. I didn't hate it by any means, but unfortunately, it didn't live up to the hype.

Challenge progress: 24 of 50


message 26: by Dusty (last edited Sep 18, 2020 01:25PM) (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Enlightenment A Beginner's Guide by Kieron O'Hara by Kieron O'Hara

This short guide to the Enlightenment was required reading for my grad school course on Comparative History. It was very informative but felt disjointed overall. It was unorganized and lacked the flow to make it truly effective.

Challenge progress: 25 of 50


message 27: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The French Revolution A Very Short Introduction by William Doyle by William Doyle

It was super informative but presented in a very concise manner. I was required to read this for my Comparative History class, and I'm glad I did. It provided a great overview of the French Revolution.

Challenge progress: 26 of 50


message 28: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Avengers of the New World The Story of the Haitian Revolution by Laurent Dubois by Laurent Dubois

This was another one that was required reading for my Comparative History course. I truthfully knew next to nothing about the Haitian Revolution prior to reading this book. I really enjoyed it overall, but it did feel a bit overwhelming with details at times.

Challenge progress: 27 of 50


message 29: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Americanos Latin America's Struggle for Independence by John Charles Chasteen by John Charles Chasteen

This was an assigned reading for my graduate course. I honestly didn't know much about the Latin American Revolutions prior to reading this book. It was quite informative but not as professional as I would anticipate from Oxford University Press.

Challenge progress: 28 of 50


message 30: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I really enjoyed this creep-tastic thriller. It was definitely a little slow at times, but overall, it was extremely imaginative and well-written.

Challenge progress: 29 of 50


message 31: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman by Gail Honeyman

This book has been very popular and well-received, but to be honest, I wasn't a fan. The manner in which the author dealt with issues such as alcoholism, depression, and abuse was unacceptable. It was as though these were cute topics and not serious illnesses.

Challenge progress: 30 of 50


message 32: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss by Dr. Seuss

How can you not love this Christmas classic?!

Challenge progress: 31 of 50


message 33: by Dusty (new)

Dusty Marie (dustymarie) The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg by Chris Van Allsburg

What a beautiful classic!

Challenge progress: 32 of 50


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