Category Archives: Reading

What I did over Christmas Break

I did something odd (for me) over the holiday. I unplugged myself, specifically from Facebook. So, my Christmas break consisted of decorating, spending time with family and friends without my attention wandering and reading books. You know, those things with paper pages? They have words on them? It had been so long since I read a book for pleasure that I got a bit carried away!

I read 10 books. WHAT?! I know!!! Here they are with my thoughts.

1- The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Ms. Atwood. I think I love you. I don’t think I have read anything I haven’t liked from her. HandMaiden’s Tale was remarkable and Oryx and Crake, well. I just can’t say enough. Her visualization and imagination of another world is so possible yet creepy, and I love every second of it!

So, The Heart…Atwood has this way of creating characters that you both understand and root for and yet despise at the same time. She is great at throwing in twists and turns that make your jaw drop and either go “ewww” or “WHAT!” I won’t get into any spoilers, but you should definitely check this one out. It is set in a future not too far away, the world has become very dangerous after an economic collapse. We find our “heros” of the story living in their car, scared for their life. Then, an opportunity comes along. Of course it does.

They have a chance to live in a safe environment, a home to themselves, jobs. Everything everyone aspires to. Except…. every 6 months they go to jail and someone else lives in their home. But even that doesn’t seem to be so bad. Until… some communication is found and confusion and misunderstandings abound.

It’s fascinating really.

2- Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

I was conflicted on this one. The comparison to Gillian Flynn could mean many things to many people. But, what I have found is that if it is anywhere near the same voice as her, it gets a thumbs up. I was a bit disappointed in this book though. I liked the first person narrative, it fit. I didn’t like the “big reveal” though. It seemed, well, stupid.

Again, no spoilers (I wont say it anymore, I promise. From now on just know I am spoiler free) but this chick is cray. This mysterious secret about her past and her obsessive need to reinvent herself into a caricature of what she thinks she should be, have, and want is built up and the climax is just…I don’t want to say ridiculous, but it’s completely out of the blue.

It’s not a bad read. It’s actually quick and kinda fun. It’s just not a very good read.

3- Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen

Yes, I read chick lit. And yes, I like it. And I liked this book too. The characters are deep and yes, a bit cliche, I don’t care. And yes, I knew how it would end. And I don’t care. It’s a fun little romp around a little lost island with a beautiful beach house shared by 4 people who start off not knowing each other and end up friends for life. I realize I may be making it sound a bit lifetime movieish, buhow each member of his family relates to both the disease and the man. And Genova t hey, I like those too! So there!

4- Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Wowzers! Did you ever read I’m Still Alice? Well, this one is like that but it concerns Huntingtons Disease. We get to know Joe and his family. We see his decline and we see ties in statistics at the beginnings of each section that make your heart hurt.

The research that went into this book is astounding. And to make each character come alive is a talent in it’s own right.

Read this. It will give you the feels.

5&6- Bumped and Thumped  by Megan McCafferty

Lets take a detour into YA, shall we? Don’t mock me. I like YA.

So, these books were typical dystopian YA reads that want to jump on the Hunger Games and Divergent train. I don’t want to say that they missed the train, but maybe they caught another. I just didn’t care for them. I read a lot of YA and what I like about the authors is that they aren’t afraid to just go for it. These books had their own premise, sure, but they just seemed used up. Here we have a society that values teenage pregnancy (because there was a virus dontcha know that prohibits being able to get preggers after 18ish). Throw in some twins and a gigolo of Richard Gere proportions (if you don’t get that reference, I feel kinda bad for ya) and Church! Can’t forget about the Church side of things! Did I forget to mention that the twins are separated at birth and one is a churchy and the other the poster child for knocked up teens everywhere? Sound like a lot? It is. And that is the problem I think.

They aren’t abysmal by any means. They are quick reads. A nice way to keep up with what is going on in the YA world, but there are better ways to spend your day.

7- After You by Jo Jo Moyes

Ok, so she is very Danielle Steel. So what? And the book is good. Really. I’m not going to say anything else about it. I can feel your judgement coming through the dsl cable.

Just read it. If you like Romances (not those slutty almost porn things, but romances with modern day struggles) you won’t be disappointed.

8- Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

Back to chick lit. I liked it. I found it a bit pretentious. Well, I found the main characters all pretentious. Here we find a struggling twentysomething whose mother always dreamed of being a socialite. Needless to say she never was. But she focused all of her energy on making her daughter one. Only a few problems. Evelyn (our heroine) is a bit shy and not very glamorous. Plus, she doesn’t have the endless stream of income that the people she is hobbknobbing with have. Of course you can see whats coming. And of course there is redemption along the way.

It’s a fast easy read with some eyerolling and “I knew it’s” along the way.

9- Is Fat Bob Dead Yet by Stephen Dobyns

I am the first to admit that I judge a book by it’s cover. And a good name draws me in every time. So when I say this book at the library and the cover is a dog smoking a ciggie, well, combined with that title, I had to check it out. I had to!

At first I didn’t know if I liked this style of storytelling. But we should all expand our genre repertoire, so I kept going. The story is narrated not by a character, but by a narrator who speaks in first person. For example, a section will start off by saying something like “If we remember what Connor was thinking when he first met Sal, we would know that Connor knew him from Detroit, but Sal doesn’t know that” that kind of thing. But the actual story is told third person.

And this is a fun book! We have con men, gangsters, witness protection people, and a guy chopped in half by a truck while riding a Fat Bob motorcycle. But was it Fat Bob? (yeah, Fat Bob riding the Fat Bob) That is what the detectives (who live to rile each other) have to decide.

Read this one. It is something different.

10- Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Back to YA. But I liked this better than Bumped. Maybe because I like darker dystopia? Who knows. But in this version of the future women only live to be 20 and men only 25. We have the Older Generation (which I think would be us), teenagers and babies. Women are a commodity since men want wives to have babies with (why is it ALWAYS women????? in danger?) and they will kidnap, kill and enslave them to do it. And of course, men can have more than one wife. But our heroine does not want to be enslaved. She wants to escape and find her twin brother. She develops bonds with her sister wives and doesn’t even mind her husband so much since he is just as much of a victim of his father as she is. In a way he is enslaved too. And then she starts having feelings for one of the staff. You know what that means, right? yup, trilogy!

So, that’s my long reading list. Let me know what you think!