Saturday, December 27, 2014

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

Date Started: 12/14/14
Date Finished: 12/16/14

Around this time of year I start looking at the "Best of" lists for the year. What did Amazon think were the Best Books of 2014? What about Goodreads? What about the local bookstore? Or People magazine? There's typically a lot on the list that I haven't read - mostly because I read based on what looks good in the moment without doing a lot of research. So these lists give me a chance to look at a more curated selection and see what might be fun to add to my reading list. This book, "We Were Liars" was on a lot of lists. The premise looked intriguing and so I decided to squeeze it in before year-end.

Spoilers ahead. Seriously. The big ones.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Date Started: 12/10/14
Date Finished: 12/11/14

Never have I read a book with so much dread. I mean, the book was awesome, don't get me wrong. I was just so ill at ease the entire time I was reading it that it was almost uncomfortable. Why? Well...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gretel and the Dark - Eliza Granville

Date Started: 12/1/2014
Date Finished: 12/8/2014

Here's the book jacket non-spoiler info on this one:

Vienna, 1899. Josef Breuer - celebrated psychoanalyst - is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings - to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.
Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta's Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the 'animal people', so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the real world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds that her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed . . .

Now here's what I thought...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dark Eden - Chris Beckett

Date Started: 11/28/14
Date Finished: 12/1/14

Ok, I had no idea what I was getting into with this book. I was intrigued by the premise and that was about all I knew. Apparently this has been big in the UK? So here is what the back of the book says (in part): 

On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family take shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. 

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return. 

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark...and discover the truth about their world.


The Magician's Land - Lev Grossman

Date Started: 11/18/14
Date Finished: 11/28/14

I swore I was not going to read this book. Even though I'd read the previous two in the trilogy, I was NOT going to read this one. But here's the thing...when you realize you can check out books on your kindle from your local library, you start trying to figure out books you wanted to read. And once you get past those, you move on to the ones that you figure, well, it's free, why not. This is one of those. But here's the good news: I'm glad I read it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cherry Money Baby - John Cusick

Date Started - November 1, 2014
Date Finished - November 18, 2014

Ok, I have no idea why it took me so long to finish this book - it is honestly not a book that should have taken that long to read. I think I was just not having a reading moment, you know?

So the book is a fun premise: poor yokel Cherry (I say yokel though she is from outside of Boston simply because it seems to fit) has a life she is pretty happy with - I mean, who isn't happy working at the Burrito Barn, refusing her father's request that she consider college, and visiting her boyfriend in the next trailer over (because of course she lives in a trailer park)...only those with the wisdom of 17 years! Anyway she is living her life when bam! everything changes because she saves a famous person who is choking at the Burrito Barn. That's when life gets turned right upside down for our Cherry...

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Rest of October...

If I Stay - Gayle Forman

Bossypants - Tina Fey

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling

The Fire Seekers (The Babel Trilogy, Book 1) - Richard Farr

Read on for brief thoughts... (and spoilers)


If I Stay - OY - SUPER DEPRESSING. I read this one because I saw the movie previews and thought it looked intriguing. Basically our narrator is in a car crash and almost the entire book alternates between flashbacks about her family and her current in-between state (and the decision, presumably hers, as to whether or not she will stay). I won't ruin the ending...oh who am I kidding, of course I will. She stays. Basically because of her love of cello music. And her whole family is dead. Yeah, that's it. I finished it and basically just wanted to go bawl. So if you're looking for a good cry, definitely head to this book - it won't disappoint.

Bossypants - Liked it.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Liked it better than Bossypants. Mindy seems more fun and came across (at least to me) as more sincere. I also laughed out loud more in her book, so there's that.

The Fire Seekers - Reaction after finishing the book: "What the hell was that?" Seriously, I get that this is a trilogy and all but to basically leave everything unanswered was a bit annoying. It sets up an interesting premise and the plot is action packed but I didn't quite buy the ease with which the travel, etc., was undertaken. Honestly, the plot was too complicated for this short blurb I'm doing... so here's the amazon blurb:

The time of our immortality is at hand.
An undeciphered language in Crete. A rash of mysterious disappearances, from Bolivia to Japan. An ancient warning at the ruins of Babel. And a new spiritual leader, who claims that human history as we understand it is about to come to an end.

Seventeen-year-old Daniel Calder’s world falls apart when a freak accident brings personal tragedy—and he discovers there’s a link between the accident and a wildly successful new cult, the Seraphim. Catapulted into a violent struggle for humanity’s past and future, he’s not even sure who the enemy is, or if he’s battling a phantom that doesn’t exist. But as Daniel puts his life on the line, he is forced to conclude that our very survival as a species will depend on who, and what, we choose to believe.

SPOILER ALERT: Daniel ends up catatonic! In that in-between stage between those who have ascended (or whatever) and those who haven't made it. Finished on a real high. Probably not going to read the rest of this series.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Maze Runner - James Dashner

Date Started: 10/6/14
Date Finished: 10/9/14

Ok, seriously, WHY is everything a series. I read this one because of the movie coming out. Besides knowing it was Lord of the Flies-ish (boys, boys, boys!) and takes place in a maze I didn't know anything else about it.

Well SPOILER ALERT: you don't know much when you finish the book either! Here's what you do know.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Paper Magician - Charlie N. Holmberg

Date Started: 10/2/14
Date Finished: 10/4/14

Confusing, oh so confusing.

This story drops you right into the action. Great, right? Well, yes, except that (1) I had no idea WHEN this was taking place or (2) any information that made me care about the high-stakes issue of being assigned as a "paper" magician (vs. glass, plastic, or any of the other man-made elements a magician could choose). But I kept reading...

Friday, October 3, 2014

September Books

I swear I have to stop doing this. Here are the books I read in September. Click the link for the spoilers/my thoughts:

1. The Trials of the Honorable Mr. Darcy - Sara Angelini

2. Little Bee - Chris Cleave

3. The Witch With No Name (The Hollows Book 13) - Kim Harrison

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reached - Ally Condie

Date Started: 9/8/2014
Date Finished: 9/10/2014

Amazon blurb:

Cassia’s journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect façade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.

The wait is over.

One young woman has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most—family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution is about to explode into full-scale rebellion. With exquisite prose, the emotionally gripping conclusion to the international–bestselling Matched trilogy returns Cassia, Ky, and Xander to the Society to save the one thing they have been denied for so long, the power to choose. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Playdate - Louise Millar

Date Started: 9/6/2014
Date Finished: 9/6/2014


I didn't love this book. I didn't hate it. It was a quick read that amounted to a lot of build up with very little pay off. Yes, all neighbors have secrets...were the ones here really so hard to see? I didn't think so.

Here's the Amazon back-of-the-book summary:
In a quiet London suburb, a group of mothers relies on each other for friendship, favors, and gossip. But some of them shouldn’t be trusted, and others have dark secrets.

When Callie moved into her new neighborhood, she thought it would be easy to fit in. The other parents have been strangely hostile, though, and her frail daughter Rae is finding it impossible to make friends. Suzy, with her rich husband and her three energetic children, has been the only one to reach out, although their friendship has recently felt inexplicably strained. Now the police have suggested that someone dangerous may be living in their neighborhood, and the atmosphere feels even more toxic. Then there’s the matter of Callie’s ex-husband, and the shocking truth behind their divorce . . . a truth that she would do anything to hide.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Crossed - Ally Condie

Date Started: 9/5/2014
Date Finished: 9/5/2014

On we go with the YA saga....this time Ky and Cassia are escaping Society...but to what?!

Amazon summary:

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky--taken by Society to his certain death--only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life . . . and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game. On the edge of Society, nothing is as expected, and crosses and double crosses make Cassia's path more twisted than ever.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Giver - Lois Lowry

Date Started: 9/2/14
Date Finished: 9/4/14

Man, what a bummer. I was excited to read this one as it's considered THE pre-cursor for the current dystopian craze. Or at least that's the impression I was under. And it was good...until...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Matched - Ally Condie

Date Started: 8/22/14
Date Finished: 8/25/14

Ah more dystopian YA...right in my wheel-house.

It's an interesting premise - Society is in charge of everything, including your Match. But things go wrong for Cassia and our story is set in motion.

Amazon blurb:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Ugh. I've done it again. Have't summarized right after reading and now I'm too far gone. In the last month I read:

Book of Life - Deborah Harkness (conclusion of the All Souls Trilogy) - 3 days to read; it was amazing. Everything I hoped for in the conclusion of this series. If you haven't been convinced to read these yet I don't know what to say to you. Seriously, go read these books.

Bliss House - Laura Benedict - 3 days to read. It was good. Thriller with a compelling plot. Good beach read. Thought it lacked some character development but overall a nice change of pace for me. (Side Note: I find it hard to get behind characters with sex addiction and/or those who stay with them - if you're gonna convince me on this point you're gonna have to do a really good job of it. Not sure this one got there on this point.)

Inamorata - Megan Chance - 3 days to read. Liked that it was set in Venice - it was fun returning there, even if only via literature. The premise - that a succubus exists and inspires and then drains her victims, was pretty unique. The twins at the center of the story - Sophie and Joseph - were interesting...though the "did they or didn't they" got kind of tiring. Liked how it ended - it kind of surprised me, and I had thought the end would be predictable, so that was nice.

Got to get back on track with these things!

Monday, June 30, 2014

June 2014 Reading

Sigh. I'm behind on posting my reading. Again. Well, I don't remember the exact dates but in June 2014 I also read the books listed below. I'm not going to spend time summarizing them this far from when I actually read them - just linking to amazon pages/blurbs. Read on to find out what I read in June!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mila 2.0 - Debra Driza

Date Started: June 9, 2014
Date Finished: June 10, 2014

I recently started visiting the local library after a long absence (the one closest to me before our recent move had been closed for renovations). Having a kid is a great reason to return to the library - obviously the books are a big draw, but they also have great story times and some even have play areas. Nice! So, while picking up new books for my son, I decided why not look for some books for me? The price is certainly right. My first library book was Freedom, which is reviewed below. Mila 2.0 was my next pick.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Freedom: A Novel - Jonathan Franzen

Date Started: May 30, 2014
Date Finished: June 6, 2014

This is a wordy, wordy book. It's kind of depressing, kind of uplifting and it kind of made me think about things I could do better in my marriage, which I suppose is good. I don't know - I feel conflicted about this book. It stuck with me in that I thought about it after I finished it - but I didn't particularly enjoy reading it. I wouldn't read it again, and there are few people I would recommend it to. But it wasn't completely unenjoyable either. So there, you see, conflicted.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion

Date Started: May 28, 2014
Date Finished: May 29, 2014

I wasn't sure what to make of this book when I started reading it. I think I had been expecting something different (to be fair, I think I got this on some kind of kindle deal so I might not have read the information quite as closely as usual). But after a tentative start, I have to say that I really enjoyed this book!

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Discovery of Witches/Shadow of Night

Yeah, I re-read these. That makes three times for A Discovery of Witches. What can I say, it's an incredible book. I have to say, Shadow of Night was actually MUCH better the second time around. I really appreciated it more, probably because I was reading it back to back with the first one.

Note: I wanted to re-read these ahead of the third, and final, book in the series coming out in July. I cannot wait. Eeek!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Am Livia - Phyllis T. Smith

Date Started: April 7, 2014
Date Finished: April 15, 2014

This was another Kindle first book - and it looked like the best of the bunch this month so I thought why not. Plus I desperately needed to read something that didn't involve vampires after my Vampire Academy binge. Historical fiction? Why not!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Rest of the Vampire Academy Books - Richelle Mead

Spirit Bound
Last Sacrifice

Ok, I read these back to back to back  as evidenced from previous summaries. I can't even remember when I started and finished these other than it was late March/early April.

Spoilers ahead.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy Book #4) - Richelle Mead

Date Started - 3/18/14
Date Finished - 3/24/14

What can I say, I'm on a roll. I'm probably just going to keep reading these until I finish the series. Only a few more left to go!

Nutshell: I think this was BY FAR the best book in the series yet. Read on for why (and all of the spoilers!)…

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy Book #3) - Richelle Mead

Date Started - 3/10/14
Date Finished - 3/17/14

Whizzing right through this series, as predicted. Here we go…spoilers ahead.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Undead Pool - Kim Harrison

Date Started: 3/3/14
Date Finished: 3/7/14

Man, I'm such a sucker for these books. The moment a new one comes out I buy it and then read it as fast as possible. Then I regret reading it so quickly because you never get back that first read when everything is a surprise. Anyway, I love these books. Here we go.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Frost Bite (Vampire Academy Book #2) - Richelle Mead

Date Started - 2/19/14
Date Finished - 2/24/14

I wasn't going to read this entire series back to back to back. No way. I've got to keep rotating other books in. That said, after purchasing all of these books on a daily kindle deal, they're all just staring at me begging to be read, so I went ahead and gave in to book two.

As is generally the case when I wait to summarize, I'm going to do a pretty bad job, so I'll be cutting and pasting spoilers on the next page (along with some brief thoughts, of course).

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Luminaries: A Novel - Eleanor Catton

Date Started: 1/14/14
Date Finished: 2/14/14

Let me start by saying: wow, what an amazing accomplishment for this author. Reading this book is like stepping back in time, both stylistically as well as in subject matter. The writing is so convincing that it's hard to believe this wasn't written in the time it takes place (1860s New Zealand gold rush).

That said, this is like Game of Thrones - there is no way I am going to attempt to summarize the grand arc of the story other than to say it is about a group of men (13) who come together to solve a mystery in which they have all played a part.

Read on for my thoughts (as usual, spoilers ahead):

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead

Date Started - 1/9/14
Date Finished - 1/13/14

I was hesitant about this one. VERY hesitant. I mean vampires are kind of overdone, right? Like, really overdone. So why did I go there? Well, because the movie is coming out in February and I saw a preview that made it look interesting (read: titillating). It seemed different enough from Twilight (yikes, a Twilight reference! How passé!) so I thought, "why not?".

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket

Date Started - 1/4/14
Date Finished - 1/7/14

I realized that I haven't read any middle-grade books in….I don't know how long. And, as someone trying to write as much as possible these days, I thought I might try MG at some point and had better read some more recent publications before doing so. Hence my somewhat odd choice to read this book.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

Date Started - 1/2/14
Date Finished - 1/4/14

Off to a good start in 2014! I swore I wasn't going to read this book in such close proximity to "The Fault in Our Stars" just because the titles are so similar. But, what can I say, this is the first book I've been convinced to read solely by Twitter (so, yay, first Twitter recommendation - it was good!). Side note: you can follow me on twitter @BStBibliophile.

As usual, spoilers ahead.