50 Books in 2014

When I read On Writing by Stephen King, the one stand-out from the book was that King reads 70 – 80 books a year. Since learning that fact, I track how many books I read each year to see if I can come close. I usually come in around thirty. I would love to hover around King’s number, but that seems like an awful lot. Allyssa has a better plan.

Let's Read 50 Books in 2014 // Likes to Smile

(Image via Unsplash by Alejandro Escamilla)

Allyssa plans to read 50 books this year and has encouraged others to play along. I’m in!

I’m going to use this blog post as a place to list what I’ve read and to motivate myself to read more.

Feel free to keep checking back in on my progress. So far, I’ve read:

Updated on July 20th. You can also follow along on Goodreads.

1. DOLLFACE by Renee Rosen. This is Likes to Smile Book Club Selection #5. I’m happy to report that I’ve finally read it! I’m also happy to report that I’m ready to officially announce a discussion day: Monday, February 3rd. If you’ve read it (or want to read it), I would love to have you join us for this discussion!

2. KISS ME FIRST by Lottie Moggach. This is the story of how one girl came to take over another girl’s social media profiles. A thought-provoking read that calls into question what people believe about us when they only interact with our online selves.

3. THE LIONS OF LUCERNE (Scot Harvath #1) by Brad Thor. The first in a series of books about Secret Service agent Scot Harvath. In this page-turning thriller, the President has been kidnapped and Scot is on a mission to get him back.

4. GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. The wife is “gone.” The question is how. Flynn crafts such complex and believable characters that I stayed up well past my bedtime to learn what happens next. The ending was both wholly believable and entirely shocking. It earned all the hype it gets.

5. LIES YOU WANTED TO HEAR by James Whitfield Thomson. A thought-provoking story of how a classic love triangle (girl, “bad” boy, “good” boy) continues to affect those involved for decades to come. A psychological thriller at its best. Meanwhile, Thomson published this, his first novel, at the age of 67 — kudos for never letting a dream die.

6.  CONTENT EVERYWHERE by Sara Wachter-Boettcher.  I was asked to read this book for work and thought, “eh, ok, I’ll probably learn something.”  Work picked very well! I loved this book.   Wachter-Boettcher begins by discussing the WYSIWYG strategy of yore: “what you see is what you get.”  I was sold!  This book is very much about thinking about how the reader engages with content and how the reader’s wants will change based on the device selected (desktop, mobile, tablet).   As a blogger, I was immediately captivated by thinking about navigation strategies and how the visuals will need to be modified. It also triggered me to think about social media content, as well. I highly recommend this book for all my fellow bloggers out there.

7.  CATCHING AIR by Sarah Pekkanen.  This story is seemingly about two brothers and their wives moving to Vermont to open a B & B.  But long-time fans of Pekkanen (my hand is raised) know that her stories always delve deeper into the ties that bind, questioning whether the families we create through marriage are based on the families we were born into.  I stayed up all night turning the pages, searching for an answer.   (P.S.  We’ve discussed Pekkanen before.)

8. CURE FOR THE COMMON BREAKUP by Beth Kendrick. I always think of Beth Kendrick’s novels as being similar to reading a Hallmark Channel Movie. The happy ending always comes with a cherry on top and more sprinkles than one can imagine, but the taste is refreshing and delightful. This novel did not disappoint. This is the story of a girl with a broken heart who goes to a town known for curing broken hearts. Love awaits.

9. THE ONE AND ONLY by Emily Giffin. The story began with a funeral scene which induced a queasy feeling I was unable to shake throughout the remainder of the book. I found myself rooting against the couple the plot was set up to encourage us to root for. This book is my least favorite of the entire Giffin collection.

10. THE TARGET by David Baldacci. The third in the Will Robie storyline, the President assigns Will Robie and Jessica Reel (two highly trained U.S. assassins) to target an enemy of the state. This was a page turning high stakes thriller that left me wanting for more.

11. PATH OF THE ASSASSIN (Scot Harvath #2) by Brad Thor. The second in the Scot Harvath storyline, the President assigns Scot to find those responsible for his kidnapping. My favorite part of this book was in thinking about how much Brad Thor’s writing and storytelling had improved since his first novel, with the second half of this novel becoming a true page-turning thriller.

12. THE STATE OF THE UNION (Scot Harvath #3) by Brad Thor. The third in the Scot Harvath storyline, the President sends Scot to find his mentor Gary Lawlor and save the United States from a plot being hatched by Russian sleepers. Much like his second novel, Thor’s writing dramatically improves. I found myself enthralled in a story with a team of operatives I have come to know over the course of his three books.

13. BLOWBACK (Scot Harvath #4) by Brad Thor. The fourth book in this storyline, Scot Harvath is sent around the world to track down a weapon intended for biological warfare. The fast pace and improved writing is almost as delightful as all the familiar supporting characters that show up. A thrill ride, indeed.

14. CYCLE OF LIES: THE FALL OF LANCE ARMSTRONG by Juliet Macur. In my early years in NYC, I would come home from work and turn on the Outdoor Living Network to watch The Tour de France. After reading both “It’s Not About the Bike” and “Every Second Counts” (by Lance Armstrong), I had become quite the fan. Then came his doping confession and the realization that there was a different side to the story. Juliet Macur, a New York Times reporter who has followed Armstrong for years, interviews Lance Armstrong and many others in regards to the doping and the lying throughout his cycling career. This book is stunningly well-written must-read that I devoured in a perpetual state of wide eyes, mouth hanging open.

15. TAKEDOWN (Scot Harvath #5) by Brad Thor. On July 4th weekend, New York City finds itself under terrorist attack. The novel takes place over a twenty-four hour period where Scot Harvath and friends track the terrorists around the city. Fast-paced action made this a quick, edge-of-your-seat read.

16. THE FIRST COMMANDMENT (Scot Harvath #6) by Brad Thor. What happens when the first commandment, thou shalt not negotiate with terrorists, is broken? An assassin with a personal vendetta is out to harm those that Harvath loves. Having met those loves in prior novels, this was a hold your breath and hope for the good guys to win type of novel. Page-turner to the max.

17. THE LAST PATRIOT (Scot Harvath #7) by Brad Thor. Scot Harvath has quit. That is until he witnesses a car bomb being established and his instincts take over. Reluctantly, he is back in the game and so are his readers. Less of a page-turner than the last three in this series, but I’m still eager to find out what happens next.

18. THE APOSTLE (Scot Harvath #8) by Brad Thor. A new President has recently taken office and sworn not to engage in Afghanistan. His biggest donor’s daughter is kidnapped. The donor privately funds Scot’s rescue mission; which the President cannot officially endorse. Similarly to book 7, this was not as exciting as prior stories, but I am still wondering what happens to Scot Harvarth next.

19. FOREIGN INFLUENCE (Scot Harvath #9) by Brad Thor. Scot Harvath is now part of a new spy division within the government with a “Find, Fix and Finish” mandate. On this chase, Scot is out to discover how Rome, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Chicago bombings are linked together. Nine books in, I’m incredibly eager to find out what happens to Scot Harvath, as I devour about a book a week. I do, however, miss the gang from books 1 to 6 (new regulars seem to have rotated in).

20. THE FIRST AFFAIR by Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin. I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. Jamie, a twenty-one year old intern, kisses the President of the United States and tells. This story is the aftermath. Utterly gripping would be an understatement.































And you? Will you be joining Allyssa on her challenge? How many books do you read in a year? Are you challenging yourself to read a certain number this year? What have I inspired you to read? And what should I be reading myself?

Off to put my nose in a book! Until next time!



  1. I’m so excited that you’re joining me in this challenge! 50 is going to be a stretch, but we can do it!

    • We can do it!! Indeed! I’m VERY excited to try! Thanks for initiating such a good challenge!

  2. I’m trying to get more into reading. Currently working on The Husband’s Secret.

    • Ooo! I’ll have to look that one up! With 50 books to read this year, I’m going to need a lot of suggestions!

      Hope your January is off to a great start!


  3. Awesome idea Stacey..I’m definitely a reader but I go through stretches where I read a lot and then I don’t for a while. I really like to track my reading through Goodreads, that way I have a “to read” list ready. Have you read many of Stephen Kings books? I highly recommend 11/22/63 if you have not read that one. I’ve read a lot of King’s except for ones I think of as more scary (pet cemetery, etc). I loved the Dark Tower series. Neil Gaiman and Christopher Moore are also authors I really enjoy.

    • Hi Mariah!

      Me too! I tend to go through stretches where I binge read (5 books in a week, generally on a beach vacation) and then times when I don’t. I’m hoping this jump starts me to read more consistently year-round.

      Tell me about Goodreads? I’m a HUGE reader and a bit embarrassed to admit that I’ve never really played on that site… I should check it out, huh?

      The only Stephen King I’ve ever read is On Writing. Weird, huh? I tend not to like Science Fiction much, despite the fact that I think it requires an amazing imagination to write for. Do you read a lot of Science Fiction?


  4. Have you heard of the 50 book pledge? I signed up for it and its great for keeping you on track! I am on book 3 for 2014!

    • Umm…no! But now I need to. What’s the 50 book pledge? And what 3 books have you read in 2014? I need to know what else I should be reading! xoxo

  5. I started my list too! I’m sort of a slow reader so 50 would be pushing it for me, but I do plan to read more. My book club is reading Serena this month. The movie is coming out sometime in 2014 starring Bradley Copper and Jennifer Lawrence. I also have Steven King’s book On Writing and have yet to read it so I should probably add it to my list :)

    • Hi Dawn!! I’m so excited to hear you have a list, too! And I can’t wait to hear everything you’ve read in 2014! I have no idea what Serena is about so I’ll have to go check it out on Amazon!! I don’t know about you, but I love to read books BEFORE the movies come out!

      Meanwhile, On Writing was incredible. I read it about 5 years ago and still think about it often.


  6. Woot woo! I have read 5 so far and am currently in the midst of these three: Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, and This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. I’m only 38 pages in, but I think Elegance should be one of the Book Club picks this year!

    • You know I’m going to Amazon right this minute to checkout Hedgehog!

      Love that you are 5 down and into 3 more! You go girl! I hope to see your list of 50 books on your blog.


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