Welcome! I'm Melissa Gross, a dynamic and interactive teacher and speaker called to lead and encourage Christian women in their walk with the Lord through classes, workshops and retreats incorporating Bible study, devotionals, illustrated Bible journaling, paper crafting and mixed media projects that merge faith and art bringing God’s Word to life so you can find renewed excitement to dive into the Word, use your creative gifts, and apply the Truth as you draw closer to the Lord and serve Him in your everyday life. This site is where I share my everyday adventures, Bible Journaling pages, scrapbook layouts, handmade cards, and other crafty projects, as well as information on my upcoming workshops and events. I also post photos, ramble about books I'm reading, stuff I'm organizing, and other FUN bits & pieces of my wonderful life.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

First Book Completion & 2016 Reading Challenges (& Book Giveaway Winner)

I've completed my first book for 2016, and it is a well written book that I definitely recommend!


The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin is a fictionalized account of the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I have to admit that I didn't know anything about her and the only thing I really remembered about Charles Lindbergh was that he had something to do with early flight. Not only did I enjoy this book, I learned quite a bit of history. I think the sign of a good historical fiction novel is that it makes me want to research and learn more to know which parts of the story were factual.

 Here's a list of just a few of the things I learned:
*Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly nonstop from New York to Paris.
*Anne Morrow was the daughter of a politician who wanted to become a writer, which she eventually did.
*Anne was the first woman to earn a first-class glider pilot's license.
*Because Charles was famous, the Lindberghs were hounded by reporters and paparazzi.
*Charles and Anne's first child was kidnapped (when he was only 20 months old), resulting in a high profile search that took its toll on both Lindberghs. The boy's body was recovered 2 1/2 months after he went missing.
*Charles was a Nazi appeaser and spoke out openly against the war until after the US was bombed at Pearl Harbor.
*Charles was close friends with the Geggenheims . . . until he voiced his anti-Semitic views.
*The Lindberghs had five more children, which Anne often raised alone as Charles was often gone for long periods of time with duties to various airlines, the government and the military. (During that time he also had several affairs and fathered numerous other children.)

It feels great to have started the year with a good read that also fits right in with my LEARN focus goal! I'm sure I'll learn lots more as I continue to work toward my goals of reading all the Pulitzer Prize Winners in Fiction and re-reading all my children's/young adult books. I'll be reading the books chosen for our local library book club each month as well as for the new Simple Scrapper online Book Club! In addition, I'm joining in a few reading challenges this year.

The Lady Detectives 2016 Reading Challenge - This should be FUN and easy as it only requires that one of the main characters be a lady detective. I'm shooting for the highest level by reading 7+ books.

2016 Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge - A simple challenge to read all eight of the Anne of Green Gables books. I have all of these books in my children's/young adult collection.

Bookish Bingo: Holiday 2015 - This one actually started December 1 and runs through February 29, so I already have a few squares marked off. (Click on the image for a larger version.)



Clocks, Cogs and Mechanisms Reading Challenge 2016 - This one is probably the most unusual one for me as it requires reading Steampunk books, however books that are precursors to steampunk count (like The Time Machine and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea). I'm simply trying for level one (Brass Gears) and will most likely read the precursors, although I'm going to challenge myself to read at least one more recent steampunk book.

Are you joining in with any reading challenges this year?

The winner of my extra copy of A Long Way From Chicago is LeAnne!!! Congrats LeAnne - I'll get the book to you very soon!

10 comments:

Karen said...

The Aviator's Wife has been on my list for awhile. Glad to see another good review of it. I just finished my first book of the year, 10% Happier. I loved it, and am well into the second book. I set the same goal for 2016 that I had last year, but I haven't found any challenges that speak to me.

Barbara Eads said...

I did something I've never done before---I put an unfinished book aside to get on my book club book. The book I started and put aside is called Fortune's Children: the Rise and Fall of the Vanderbilt Family. I'm actually really enjoying it. I was able to leave it in a place that will be easy to go back to as it's divided in sections by children. My book club book---7 Sisters---is pretty good so far, but I really need to get a move on as book club is a week from Monday. With all of the wedding preparations, I haven't quit all of my normal "stuff" so something is bound to be on the back burner.

Sian said...

Well now I know quite a bit more about Lindbergh. He doesn't actually sound like a very nice person. Interesting.

No, I'm not doing any reading challenges. But I might just have to go back to Anne Of GG now!

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

Some interesting challenges you're taking part in this year. I'm especially excited that you'll be reading all the Anne books. I wanted to be just like her when I was a girl and visiting Canada has long been a dream of mine. I'm not taking part in any challenges this year. My first book of 2016 is The Miniaturist.

Sandra said...

What an interesting challenge, but no this year I just want to read more and as much as I'd love to push myself, in all honesty I just want to enjoy and lose myself in a book. I'm s huge Nora Roberts fan, so just enjoying one of hers at the moment

Missus Wookie said...

I've read some steampunk - there is quite a bit of YA literature out there too if you'd like some suggestions.

I'm not joining in with any reading challenges, I've got some goals to read the Simple Scrapper bookclub book, at least one productivity/business book a month (or twelve in a year as some take longer than a month and some are shorter) and to remember to read for fun too.

Currently reading through a new-to-me author who has several romance series which is always a good find :)

Cate Brickell said...

My only book-related goals are to keep up with my real life Bookclub books, and the simple scrapper books.

The Aviators Wife sounds interesting, although like Sian says, Linbergh doesn't sound like a nice person at all!

Susanne said...

I would have picked up that book based on the cover alone. And all those challenges sound fun - might have to join in a couple myself.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Thanks for the review.
I wasn't able to finish my book group's first book (My Brilliant Friend) this year. Our next book is Fates and Furies, and I'm looking forward to reading it.
Rinda

Maria Ontiveros said...

I also meant to say that I like The Modern Miss Darcy blog for her 2016 reading challenge.
Rinda