One of my resolutions for 2014 is to read more books. I have always loved reading but recently, especially last year, found myself reading less and less. A typical weekday consisted of coming home from work, doing some errands around the house, maybe working on my blog or doing some freelance work, cooking dinner and then plopping myself in front of the TV and eventually falling asleep. Towards the end of last year a few coworkers and I were discussing different books we had read and I realized how much I actually missed reading! The last book I read in 2013 was The Happiness Project and I started it in July and didn’t finish it until December! The problem wasn’t that it was a bad book. I actually really enjoyed it and you can read my review here. The problem was I wasn’t making time for reading. Watching TV is a mindless activity that helps me unwind after working a full time job, juggling social events and trying to keep up with errands and housework and I don’t intend to give that up. But reading actually can be very relaxing too. Plus, it’s better for your brain than watching TV for obvious reasons.

My resolution for 2014 is to read at least 15 books throughout the year. At first I thought this was a pretty lofty goal considering I think I only read 3 or 4 books in 2013 but now I’m wondering if I actually aimed too low. I’ve already finished four books this year (it is January 30th) and I’m about a quarter of the way through my fifth book. If I keep up at this rate I will have read 48 books by the time this year is through. It seems as though I’m making up for all my lost and wasted time in 2013 and rekindling my love affair with books.

Now, instead of looking forward to vegging out in front of the TV after work I look forward to curling up with a book. Okay, if I’m being honest, I still watch my fair share of television and I still enjoy it BUT reading is something I truly enjoy incorporating into my busy life.

Another thing I’ve realized about reading is that I am always interested in what other people are reading and always looking for recommendations and suggestions. So, with that in mind, each month I’m going to post a review of the books I’ve read during that month.

Here are the books I’ve read in January 2014. So far, I’ve really enjoyed them all!

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1. The Dovekeepers – A historical fiction piece about the Masada massacre. I will warn you this is NOT a happy story but the writing is beautiful and very descriptive. The story follows four different women who have fled their homes for a variety of different reasons but mostly due to the spread of the Roman Empire and the destruction of their cities and villages. The stories intersect when the women meet and become “the dovekeepers” at the Masada fortress, a place in the mountains of Israel where 900 Jews were able to hold out against the Roman army for months. If you know the history of Masada, you know it eventually falls to the Romans. Alice Hoffman gives a creative and powerful voice to the people that fought so hard to be free.

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2. The Divergent Series – Oh my gosh you guys! These books are completely captivating. I read the first book, Divergent, in a matter of days and finished the trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant) in a little over a week. Veronica Roth takes you on a crazy, emotional roller coaster through the Dystopian world of Tris Prior, a young teenager who grapples with difficult choices, first love, betrayal and war. These books are not only entertaining and emotionally moving, they also are incredibly deep and make the reader question the inracacies of human nature among other things. I also love a strong female heroine (Katniss Everdeen anyone?) and Veronica Roth certainly creates one in Tris Prior.

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3. The Kingmaker’s Daughter – I am a Philippa Gregory fan. I have read many of her books and have enjoyed all but one. I love historical fiction and this era particularly. In The Kingmaker’s Daughter we follow Anne and Isabel Neville, the daughters of the incredibly powerful “Kingmaker”, Richard Neville. The story is told from Anne’s perspective as she grows up as English royalty and quickly realizes she is a pawn in her father’s games to bring about more power and glory for himself. I haven’t finished it yet but so far I’ve really enjoyed reading the story unfold as Anne navigates her complicated world and alliances are broken and remade.

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