Monday, March 30, 2015

Top 10 Recent Additions to my TBR list

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


Top ten recent additions to my TBR list…hmmm.  These top 10’s are always interesting because odds are a year from now I won’t have read half of these. I’m not including anything on my Spring TBR list and I’m limiting myself to only 5 books that haven’t been released yet.

Older books…new to me

New to TBR - older

1) The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

This is an indie release from last year (so not really that old).  The synopsis is a little vague, but it sounds like a individual travel journey of personal discovery and I tend to like those.

2) The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

How gorgeous is that cover?  Again brief description and it sounds a little fantasy which tends to be hit or miss for me but I would seriously read this one for the cover.

3) The Martian by Andy Weir

I’ve started seeing this everywhere over the past few months.  Interesting concept and probably a little more of a challenging read then my typical fair.  

4) How to be Bad by E Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle

I have loved books by each of these authors individually so I’m intrigued to see what they came up with together.

5) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Super popular right now and I listened to a bit of the audio book – British narrator!  So it’s on my list of books to listen to.

Coming  Soon

New to TBR - 2015 releases

1) Call Me Home by Megan Kruse

After knowing NOTHING about indie books, this list has THREE indie’s on it.  From the synopsis this seems like a dysfunction family novel where choices are made that have long standing consequences.  Seems like the kind of book that will have lots of discussion material.

2) Ally Hughes has Sex Sometimes by Jules Moulin

Seems like a potentially fun women’s lit novel and I haven’t found one of those I was excited about in quite awhile.

3) Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

I’m a little nervous about this – it’s the kind of plot backstory that could end up feeling manipulative – but if it’s done well could be amazing.  MC’s finds the boy who was the recipient of her boyfriend’s heart.

4) Paperweight by Meg Haston

I’m at a phase where I’m really interested in mental illness.  I like when I can put myself in other people’s shoes through fiction.

5) The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell

It’s been so long since I’ve read an adult dystopia.  Inez is immune to a disease that has had devastating consequences.  Due to her immunity she is hired to provide genetic material for a baby.  Another book that sounds like it will provide lots of discussion material.  Also an indie press release.

Bonus Novella

Nice Girls don't ride

Nice Girls Don’t Ride by Roni Loren – Quick and easy romance. Nuff said.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Something Real

This was an impulsive library pickup.  I vaguely remember seeing it on blogs last year, but nothing specific.

The Good
Great Concept – Chloe (or BonnieTM ) Baker grew up on a reality TV show.  From birth to age 13 she lived on camera.  It’s well executed to show how not real reality television is from all of Bonnie’s clothing on the show being selected by someone else, to reshooting certain scenes for product placement.

Sibling relationship/friendships -  I enjoyed Chloe’s relationship with her brother Benton (Benny).  Most of her siblings don’t get much time in the book (there are 12 of them), but Chloe and Benny and fun together and supportive when they both really need some emotional support due to the show.  The friends Chloe made at school during the year before the show went back on the air are supportive when I REALLY needed her to have some.

The Bad
One dimensional villains – It’s hard imagine a mother being as insensitive her daughter’s emotional trauma as Beth seems to be.  And the show’s producer Chuck is evil.  Neither of these are deal killers for the book because they are both totally possible – just unbelievably frustrating.

The Results
This was an entertaining, fun read.  I don’t want to give away much of the plot so I didn’t say much but this was definitely an enjoyable quick read.
For those who like star ratings – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 23, 2015

Top Ten Book from My Childhood I Want to Revisit

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


The week is books from childhood or teen years I’d like to revisit.

1. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I actually tried to reread these last year, but they are just a little too basic to enjoy rereading without kids to read them too. 

2.  Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

I loved these books going up.  I actually bought a couple gorgeous illustrated hardback books in the series a few years ago.

3.  The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

I had this book memorized by age 4 and would “read” it to my parents.

4.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I think the common ground of the books I want to read to my hypothetical children are books where the main character has a vivid imagination.

5.  Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

A higher adventure Laura Ingalls.  I wish I could find my copy.

6.  A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I’ve actually reread this as an adult and still love it.  It’s been a few years so it’s probably time to revisit.

7.  The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

8.  Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

The Devil’s Arithmetic and Number the Stars are the first stories I remember reading myself about Jewish children living in Europe during the Holocaust.  These were library books that I didn’t own so I only read once or twice, but still remember.

9.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Ronald Dahl

Willy Wonka is a childhood must.  Add Oompa Loompa’s and candy and you’ve got a party!

10.  Children of the River by Linda Crew

I read this in late elementary school.  Sundara’s family fled Cambodia when she was 13.  Now in high school she’s struggling to fit in at her Oregon high school and still be a “good Cambodian girl”.  It’s the first book I remember reread with the POV of a refuge and it stuck with me.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR

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

Read Harder Challenge

Top 10 Spring TBR - Read harder

1. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

2. Tracks by Louise Erdrich

3. Four Past Midnight by Stephen King

4. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

5. Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Books I own/Library books

Top 10 Spring TBR - own

1. The Chaos of the Stars by Kiersten White

2. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

3. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

4. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

5. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

New Releases Spring 2015

Top 10 Spring TBR - 2015

1. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

2. Gathering Prey by John Sandford

3. Under a Painted Sky by Stacy Lee

4. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

5. Everything that Makes You by Moriah McStay



Monday, March 9, 2015

Ten Books For Readers Who Like Books that make you think

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

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is “Top Ten books for readers who like _______” .  I chose books that make you think.

Top Ten

Why Have Kids? by Jessica Valenti

When I first read this I really agreed with much of what Valenti pointed out, but was also a little offended by other points.  This books is a really interesting look at the challenges facing parents in the US and provides some perspective that many will find offensive, but if you can read with an open mind is a very healthy perspective.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson

The closest I’ll ever come to doing drugs was reading this book.  It’s just a unique reading experience.

Exile by Richard North Patterson

A lot of Mideastern history woven into a trial/semi mystery book. 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I don’t think Gone Girl requires explanation here.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Very intricate story about how the gods of old times are struggling in the US because so few people here believe in them. 

The Devil’s Mixtape by Mary Borselino

There are three paragraphs about how we as a society treat teenage girls that is genius and has changed how I react to certain new events.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Lots of thoughts on missionary work, politics in Africa, and family dynamics.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

If case you don’t know – the concept of this one is that a guy has an opportunity to go back in time and stop the JFK assassination.  I spent the whole books thinking about what would have changed in our history.  It also made me think about what would be different now if someone could have stopped other historic events, such as 9/11.

We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Questions about nature vs nurture. Do the emotions of the mother during pregnancy affect the personality of a child? 

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

This has a fascinating representation into how the gods pre-Christianity were woven into the present day church as saints.  Not the exact gods/saints represented in this book, but it was easier to get people to accept Christianity if they saw some of their own mythology within it.  (ergo gargoyle's on churches to ward of evil spirits, Christmas lining up with Winter Solstice, etc).

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Makes me think about the precarious position of women in society and how little it would take for things to change.

Bonus:  Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia doesn’t try to fit into our expectations of what a pastor should be: the picture on the cover shows off her tattoos and the first word of the book is “shit”. But she really illustrates that God is everywhere – not just a church.  But I think the strength of this book is that Nadia admits she doesn’t know all the answers. That God is meant to be unknowable and instead of faking anything she’s just very honest about her experiences and feelings.  This allows the reader to think and question.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top Ten ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past three years

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

These are books I read between July 2011 and June 2014.  I didn’t choose anything read in the last 7 months because I need a little distance to confirm something is going to be an all time favorite.

I have two categories, books I will reread for comfort at least annually and books that aren’t big rereads, but I still think about frequently.

Not Big Re-reads but think about a lot

Top 5 non rereads

1. The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand was my first Stephen King novel.  I went through an apocalyptic novel phase and The Stand stood above all of them.  There are many characters all with distinct characteristics. 

2. 11/22/63 by Stephen King

It’s a very interesting premise, a well built story and very interesting characters.  Also has a love story that surprised me.

3. Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

A beautiful collection of stories from Nadia’s life.  I love that they all don’t end happy/pretty or even feeling complete.  It’s refreshing and uplifting.

4. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

I finished this book and immediately wanted to discuss it.  This book opened up so many discussion questions about nature vs nurture, and the roles of women.  It’s still strange to me how much I identified with Eva when we really don’t have much in common.  I don’t see myself ever rereading this, because it’s seared into my brain.

5. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This is the best multiple POV book I’ve ever read.  I could open to any chapter and know immediate who’s chapter it was because each character’s voice was so distinctive.

Reread to the point of memorization

Top 10 reread

6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I think my love of E & P (really anything Rainbow) is well documented.

7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

See above

8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I just adore Hazel Grace and Augustus.  I discover new quotes that I love every time I reread it and it never fails to make me feel.

9. Unsticky by Sarra Manning

My love of this book is well documented, but I practically have I memorized and I read it for the first time less than a year ago.  Grace and Vaughn are one of my favorite couples of all time.

10. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

All three of Stephanie Perkins books are delightful, but something about Lola just draws me in during ever reading.  I love Lola’s costumes and Cricket’s legs.  Lola’s dad’s are amazing in a YA era of MIA parents.  It’s a book of engaging characters, primary and secondary.

11. Families and Other Non-Returnable Gifts by Claire LaZebnik

I love Claire’s adult contemporary characters.  They’re just real people who mess up and sometime big but I can relate to that.


And if I had to guess what from the last six month will make the list it would be these.

The Cuckoo’s Calling / The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning