Monday, December 15, 2014

Top 10 Tuesday–Favorite Books of 2014

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10 theme.

Top 10 2014Cress by Marissa Meyer – I liked Cinder, loved Scarlett, and adored Cress.  The books in the series just keep getting better and I can’t wait for Winter!

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi – Great conclusion to the series!

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardulo – I don’t think of myself as a Fantasy reader but I loved this (and looking back I’ve read and enjoyed a fair amount of Fantasy at this point)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell – I don’t think Rainbow can write something I won’t love.  Her ability to create characters that I want to be friends with, that I want to shake when they make mistakes because I CARE just amazes me.

Unsticky by Sarra Manning – this is my favorite book of the year.  I read it on the recommendation of Elizabeth at Don’t take my Books Away, but I resisted the rec for way too long because I kept reading the synopsis and finding the summary unappealing.  Wow was I wrong.  Love Grace and Vaughn!

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – I laughed so hard I had to take breaks between stories.  There’s just something about her sense of humor that just perfectly clicks with mine.

On Writing by Stephen King- This book is half advice on being a writer and half Stephen King’s autobiography both parts are fascinating.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – These books just make me so HAPPY. 

Tease by Amanda Maciel – Fascinating look into the perspective of the bully.  So impressive that the author managed to make me empathize with Sara almost immediately even while I was so frustrated with Sara’s lack of empathy.

We Were Liars by E Lockhart – Heartbreaking book, but different then anything I’ve read in a long time.  Book that made me think.

Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mention

I’m about halfway through Throne of Glass and based on what I’ve read so far it will definitely make this list when I’m finished.  Boomerang was so much fun and just what I needed to read when I read it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

When something you love doesn't feel safe anymore

There have been many well written responses to THIS (safe link original website won't get hits).  For more background or other perspectives you can read one, two, three, or four

Here are my not so well written personal thoughts.
I joined a book club five years ago and discovered how much I love discussing books with other people who love books.  It’s fun to find someone who gets excited about the same books I do.  But my favorite months’ of book club were when the book in question was loved by some and hated by others.  It’s an opportunity to understand how other people think, find out what moves them, what offends them; most of all it’s an opportunity to challenge my own thinking.

I’m having trouble putting into words how much finding the book blogging community online meant to me.  In the past three years I’ve probably read and loved dozens of books I never would have heard of without book bloggers.  While my blog has been largely inactive over the last year, my Goodreads and Twitter accounts have afforded me the outlet to discuss, argue, and engage in my favorite pastime with bloggers/friends who love books just as much as I do.

Since the incident last year where Goodread’s deleted several users reviews and shelves without notice and without saving the content for those reviewers I’ve ceased posting full reviews to Goodreads, but have still posted thoughts as I read books and engaged in discussions with other users about those books.  Another thing I appreciate about this community is the minimum of trolls.  I’m not saying they don’t exist (it is the internet), but I haven’t run into them.  Most people genuinely want to discuss books.

I have read books based on well written one star reviews – if the books sound interesting and the reviewers triggers aren’t my triggers I’ll absolutely still read it.  My go to reviews for any book or product are the three stars.  I barely trust five star reviews anymore unless it’s from a reviewer I’m already familiar with J

There are so many ways that the essay smear job in the Guardian disturbed me.  I’m actually getting teary writing this.  I’m not going to get into the stalking.  It shouldn’t be necessary for me to tell people that stalking is bad.  For me personally I’m upset about the underlying issue – what has been a safe place to discuss books no longer feels safe.  It also doesn’t feel like it’s there for the readers anymore – it’s just one more promotional tool.  After reading the hack job mentioned above I did check the original one star “review” that triggered the author’s craziness.  First of all I doubt “Blythe” the reviewer even counted what she wrote as a review.  She read 28% of the book, intermittently commenting while reading about the things she was finding disturbing.  When she gave up at on the book she gave it a one star rating (same as I do with a book I DNF) and wrote “Fuck This” in frustration in the review section.  To me she wasn’t reviewing – she was finishing her comment log of her reading experience.  When other people responded to her reading log, “Blythe” politely gave well reasoned explanations to why she felt the way she did.  The people responding to her did the same.  It was a civil intelligent discussion – EXACTLY what I’m looking for from Goodreads. 

So now I’m uncomfortable with discussing books on Goodreads unless I absolutely love them (not even three star reviews are safe from the likes of Kathleen Hale).  I’m thinking that the safest option is to post under a pseudonym…oh wait.  Nevermind.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday–Swoon worthy books/couples

 

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish give a top 10 topic up for discussion.

toptentuesday

This week’s topic is Swoon worthy books and it’s definitely a topic I can get excited about.

Swoon 1

Levi & Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I’m a broken record where Rainbow is concerned – I don’t think anyone develops a relationship as naturally as she does.  Since I knew this was going to be a tough week for me to pick just ten I limited myself to one couple per author, but it was a REALLY hard choice.

Cricket & Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – I love Cricket.  Seriously the nicest guy.  And Lola wasn’t perfect, but she was perfect for him.

JohnAfter & Meg from Going to Far by Jennifer Echols – Serious sexual chemistry for a book where the characters don’t have sex.  Yikes.

Perry & Aria from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi – Very well developed relationship, especially for a dystopia where there is so much other stuff going on.

Swoon 2

Scarlet & Rhett from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – In my mind Rhett is the original bad boy who falls in love.  This one is a heartbreaking swoon novel, because their relationship definitely develops slowly and naturally, but is doomed by each character’s pride.

Edward & Bella from Twilight by Stephanie Meyer – I’m embarrassed to put this on here, but I read this knowing none of the hype – literally saw it on a shelf (pre-blog) and thought “haven’t read a vampire book since high school” and decided to give it a shot.  I was seriously obsessed – this relationship took over my mind until I had consumed the entire series.  In hindsight I recognize the relationship as totally flawed, but while reading, not at all.

Tris & Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth – Pretty much ditto what I said for Aria & Perry.  Please ignore Tris & Four from Insurgent (I’m not planning on reading Allegiant).

Ben & Molly from Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl – This was my first ever contemporary romance novel.  I didn’t expect to buy the relationship, but ended up falling in love with both characters (with a side of really hot sex).  Definite SWOON.

swoon 3

Adam & Mia from Where She Went by Gayle Forman – These two broke my heart and put it back together.

Macy & Wes from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen – I loved their games of Truth and the way they both helped each other through their respective issues.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Books that will Make You Cry

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10 theme. 

 
This week’s Top 10 topic is Book that will make you cry  Books make me cry so frequently that I barely notice anymore.  So this is a surprisingly difficult topic for me.  I tried to mix in a few funny books that will elicit laughter tears.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells – I vividly remember bawling through this one.

Comeback by Claire and Mia Fontaine

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – Laughed so hard I cried.  And so did everyone else in the car
The Last Summer by Ann Brashares
 

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
The Bean Trees/Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
 

Superfudge by Judy Bloom – Read this to a little kid.  Their laughter will be contagious and you’ll laugh/cry.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – I don’t remember for sure, but I don’t think I actually cried.  I had that feeling like I wanted to cry and couldn’t get the tears out.  It’s worse.  But a great book.

Friday, January 31, 2014

What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

What Nora KnewWhat Nora Knew
Linda Yellin
320 pgs, Jan 2014
Netgalley 

Summary from Goodreads

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff for an online magazine, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with the Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance in the style of Nora Ephron, she flunks out big-time. She can’t recognize romance. And she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. But with wit, charm, whip-smart humor, and Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies, Molly learns to open her heart and suppress her cynicism in this bright, achingly funny novel.
 

My Thoughts

Have you ever read a book that felt like it just missed being really good and at the same time was REALLY flawed? That’s how I felt about What Nora Knew. I’ll start with what I liked. First of all I liked the main character, Molly Hallberg. She was interesting and funny and I was engaged in what happened to her. Second, I laughed out loud at a lot of conversations and situations. The author did an excellent job of letting you view the situations.

Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good. The author has a really bad habit of info-dumping. New character equals full page description of said character - very Jane Austen except without the benefit of quaint 19th century English. I liked Molly’s friends from description, but it was a case of tell instead of show. While Yellin’s descriptive ability was a positive during certain funny scenario it hampered other areas of the novel. I have way too clear of a picture of the ping-pong table in her parents basement when it has absolutely no importance anywhere in the story. Detailed description can be awesome but the author needs to really consider what the reader needs/whats to know.

I DID NOT like the male lead. I’m not the girl who thinks all literary characters need to be likeable. I’m a big fan of unlike-able realistic interesting characters, but I’m a little pickier in a romantic comedy. I realized about 75 pages from the end that I didn’t want the MC to end up with the guy. I was never able to let go of the reasons Molly didn’t originally like him cause they were good reasons. Obviously that’s just my opinion, but in a rom-com if you don’t want the heroine to end up with the romantic lead it’s probably not a winner.

My Rating

Enjoyability (2.5 out of 5 stars)
Relationships (2 out of 5 stars)
Writing (2.5 out of 5 stars)  

This book will stay with me… not very long. I read it a couple weeks ago and had to consult my notes to remember enough to write the review.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bout of Books–Progress report

I hope all my reading days are this over-achieving.

Monday

Hours spent reading – 3.25 (My goal was 1.5)

Pages read – 354 (That’s a puffy Netgalley 354 – final printing will probably be less)

Books finished – 1

What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

The good news is that the book definitely had plenty of material to write about in a review.  Unfortunately I didn’t like it.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bout of Books

 Bout of Books is a week long, very relaxed Read-a-thon that runs from Monday, January 6th through Sunday, January 12th.
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team



After a little deliberation I decided it would be a great way to kick off the year and get started on a couple of my reading/blogging goals for 2014.

So this is my “Yes I’m participating” and “My Goals” post all rolled into one.

Time Devoted to Reading

  • 1.5 hours daily Monday through Friday and 6 total hours over the weekend.
My Goals
  • Get my Netgalley reading list down to a reasonable number.  Right now it’s at 8 and I’d like to get it down to 3 or fewer.

Books to Read