Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2013! Yay! > LB Crushes 2013

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I actually reached my goal and then some in 2012! (with the help of several shorter books and graphic novels, which I'm not ashamed of).

On to 2013. The question now is... do I count the 3 books that I have already started or do I wait until I can start fresh?


message 2: by Alison (new)

Alison G. (agriff22) | 540 comments count them!


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks Alison. I think I'll list them here, and if I decide to (or if I don't quite make it to 50) I'll grandfather them in. If I had read the majority of them in 2013 I'd count them, but I was over 50% done with all of them

The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter #1) by Oliver Pötzsch By Oliver P.

It was a free/cheap kindle buy that had showed up on some reading list somewhere. It was good, but not great. Definitely worth the price. However, I totally figured it out and I NEVER do that with mysteries.

Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour by Shariar Mandiapour

This is the best book I've read in years. It's very beautiful and literary without beating you over the head with how smart it is. It's interesting, and well worth the read.

Gracefully Insane The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital by Alex Beam by Alex Beam

I have a soft spot for mental health memoirs and non-fiction. This book is really well-written and engaging. It tells a lot of history surrounding McLean, and many of the famous people that have stayed there or been involved in the running of it (there's a great section on Freud). Very wonderful.


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1) Q is for Quarry (Kinsey Millhone, #17) by Sue Grafton by Sue Grafton

Annnnddd... the first one of the year is a no-brainer.

I'm actually enjoying working my way through this series, which I had read years and years ago. This is not the strongest book of the series. It does have the added twist of being based on a true story, which made it slightly more interesting.


Now, to stop buying new Grafton books on my Kindle and to get to work cleaning off my book shelves...


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2) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro by Kazuo Ishiguro

This was one of the best books I've read in several years. I would read, and hours would pass and I'd be 100 more pages in and not notice, the narrative flowed that nicely.
Also, I loved that the world was a shade off of our world, but that was never really pointed out or discussed. It just was. And the author left that for you to figure out because there were more important things to talk about.

I definitely have been telling all my friends to read this, and I want to record a podcast about this one so badly.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I do have to list a couple books I have given up on so far:
A Body to Die For (Bailey Weggins Mystery #2) by Kate White by Kate White

I picked this up at a re-sale shop for a dollar (because it was buy one and get one--and I wanted the other one) and thought it would be a fun, fluffy read. Not so. Even for a fluff mystery novel, this was just bad. I've already had my fill of ditzy, female main characters in YA novels, but having an adult who is the same, AND completely hung up on a guy where it's not clear if they were in a relationship beforehand--no thanks. On top of that it wasn't written very well so I just had to make myself put it down so I could move on.

Blameless (Parasol Protectorate, #3) by Gail Carriger by Gail Carriger

I expect to get some backlash over this one, because I believe it's a pretty well respected series.
I got this from a book exchange and was actually excited to try it because I had heard good things about it. I got about 2 pages in and I just wasn't feeling it. It sounds strange but I felt like the language in the book was putting on airs, and it felt false. This is the same problem I had with Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, however, so it might just be a personal problem.
I now understand that this is the 3rd book in the series. Maybe I'll start from the beginning and read up but for now, this book is re-shelved.


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3) Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1) by Eoin Colfer by Eoin Colfer

Throughout this book I had to remind myself: "You're reading a YA/kid book, don't expect it to be sophisticated."

Even for a book way below my age bracket, this did not meet any sort of expectation. It tried to be witty, and failed (I think) by being too obvious. I'd say, if I was 4th-5th grade it might be clever, but there were problems with that too.
For one thing. There is one scene in the book that is brutal. Like unflinchingly bloody and violent--which does not meet the tone of the rest of the book. I mean... the book talks about not including swears but then includes a scene where SPOILERS - a guy almost gets cut in half. It made me cringe, and I'm well above 30 and not a stranger to horror books.

I'm not going to continue with the rest of this series unless I hear that it gets a lot better. Bloody scene aside, the world building was not rich, the characters weren't well developed and the humor was repetitive.


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4) R is for Ricochet (Kinsey Millhone, #18) by Sue Grafton by Sue Grafton

I'll probably end up finishing all the available Kinsey Millhone books this year, just because I can't stop reading them.

I really liked this one. It wasn't my favorite one (I think O has been my favorite so far) but it was solid. I like that, although Kinsey's solving a mystery every time, the cases don't look the same so I don't feel like I'm falling into a rut with reading the same story over and over again. I also really enjoyed the "romance" element to this one--although there were times when it wasn't quite believable.


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5) S is for Silence (Kinsey Millhone, #19) by Sue Grafton by Sue Grafton

I CAN'T STOP!!!

I really liked the new style she added in this one--with alternating chapters being in other characters' voices telling the story from years and years ago. It made the series seem fresh again and really worked with this plot line.

HOWEVER, looking ahead at summaries for the remaining books it seems like she keeps using this and I'm not sure how it's going to work as something that's used all time time. I might want my good 'ol Kinsey back and just her.

(slight spoiler) I also really wanted to know what happened with her and Cheney, and there was nothing about that in there.

I SWEAR I'm reading something other than alphabet books now (as well as T is for Tresspass).


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6) T is for Trespass (Kinsey Millhone, #20) by Sue Grafton by Sue Grafton

I give up. There's only 2 left after this one (until the next comes out). I'm just going to finish what's out there for now.

I REALLY liked this one. I had been unsure of continuing to use the gimmick of telling the story from other peoples' perspectives in alternating chapters, but it worked in this one and felt different than the last book.

The tension builds really slowly in this one, and it's a different kind of tension - more interpersonal and creepy - than some of the other books. Kinsey really is up against someone evil and you can feel it in your bones.

U is for Undertow is next (although I haven't bought it yet) and I'm looking forward to it because critics seemed to love it when it first came out.


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7) Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth by Veronica Roth

I bought, and read this one on my Kindle -- ignoring my vow to read some of the physical books I have because it will start filming in Chicago SOON. And there may have been and extra casting call to participate in.

Remember when Harry Potter came out, and for a while everything in the world was about wizards? That's what's happening in YA Dystopian Romance right now.

I don't know the order all these books were written in, but they're all meshing together in my mind. Factions? Oh, yeah, in Hunger Games they're called Districts. A giant fence surrounding your city? Hm... sounds kind of like Delirium.

That being said, Divergent may be one of the stronger of the genre. Like Hunger Games, Roth held off on the head-over-heels romance, building it until the end. This is more realistic when your characters are 16 years old -- although Tris did seem way older than her age.

What I also appreciated was that everything else that was going on took a backseat to romance. There was a lot for these kids to process, and it felt right that this was more important than your cute instructor.

My major complaints are that there is not enough different about this book to set it apart from the crowd. The characters also feel a bit one-dimensional at times. I'm curious to see where the series goes, but I'm not sure I'm curious enough to rush out and read the next book immediately.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Another one I'm not going to count right now, because I read the majority of it last year...

The Marvelous Land of Oz (Oz, #2) by L. Frank Baum By Frank Baum

I started this last year, and have been working through it slowly, reading to the little girl I babysit for.

After a luke-warm reaction to the Wizard of Oz, I was hesitant to continue the series with her although she was gung-ho for the challenge of completing ALL the books (I have a collected works on my Kindle that we read together).

She was tickled pink about this story, and it lent a lot to my enjoyment about it. I thought the Woggle-Bug was fascinating and hilarious and it was fun to explain the jokes to a 9-year old.

Being 9 years old, and naive to the ways of the world, she did not see the twist at the end coming and her delight to figure that out was so enjoyable it makes the books.

We're definitely moving on - finishing the short-story about the Woggle Bug next week, and starting Ozma of OZ after that.

(I may grandfather all these books in later, especially if I don't meet my goal)


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8) U is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone, #21) by Sue Grafton by Sue Grafton

So I'll stop after V (which is already downloaded and waiting on my Kindle), there's no use resisting it anymore.

I have 2 things to say about this book:
a) I thought I would get sick of the "new" format Grafton was using where she interspersed viewpoints from other characters. Somehow, this has managed to stay fresh and after this many letters I still love the series.

b) There were times when I was very frustrated about the slow build in this book. However, it worked and I think it made me more tense than others in the series.


9) The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) by Ken Follett by Ken Follett

I'm really torn on this book. I'm about half liking it and half disliking it - and that's not a good place to be for a 900+ page commitment.

Parts flew by and kept me interested and parts just dragged. The plot points seemed almost too convenient and while different specific events happened, it seemed like the same thing happened again and again.

Sidenote: I'm trying to post longer reviews and other book-like stuff (like my podcast) on my tumblr. I'm trying to work out kinks right now but you can find it here:
http://weeklyreaders.tumblr.com/


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

10) V is for Vengeance (Kinsey Millhone #22) by Sue Grafton by Sue Grafton

DONE with all the books that are currently published, apart from Kinsey and Me: Stories. I finished this one a while ago, and while I still find the series endlessly entertaining, this one didn't stick with me quite as much as I had hoped.

11) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie by Dai Sijie

This was a one-day read, and quite worth it. It was different that the overly plot-based descriptive writing but it was quite lovely. Definitely recommend.

12) The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) by James Dashner by James Dasher

I am extremely hard on YA books, this I know.

It was refreshing to read a book that was not based from a girl's perspective involving a breathtaking young adult romance. And this book (I would think) it definitely geared more towards getting boys into a series.

The story was OK, if not expertly told. There were several times where I stopped and thought to myself, "Did that REALLY have to be in there?" Mainly describing characters' thoughts or feelings that were pretty apparent from the subtext. I don't know if that's because I'm adult reading a book aimed at younger children or because the writing leaves something to be desired.

It's definitely worth the read--just not sure I'm going to continue with the rest of the series.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

And one more for the "WHY did I ever get this book?" Pile:

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster by Jen Lancaster

Thank goodness I didn't actually pay money for this book!

Based on the back cover, there is some redemption for this wholly unlikable character. But, I got 20 pages in (maybe only 10), and I wanted her to drop off the face of the planet rather than undergo any transformation.

I was hoping for a witty, fun romp of a memoir (think Bridget Jones, or Shopaholic, hardly my favorite but still readable) but it turned my stomach.

I must be an 80 year old in a 32 year old body because crass, rude, bitchy people just turn me off and I want nothing to do with them, or this book. Blech!


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13) Cinderella Ate My Daughter Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein by Peggy Orenstein

I'm really torn on this book. At first, It was very interesting, but then it got very repetitive and it was difficult for me to slog through and finish.

Not being a mom and not having to be concerned with half of what she is talking about didn't help either. Also, it's all well and good to sit and complain about what's wrong with the representation of women in our society but it felt incomplete without offering some respite or solution for the problem.


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14) Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler by Chelsea Handler

It was not as bad as the Jen Lancaster book, but I am not a fan of Chelsea at all. She's that girl in high school that was loud and obnoxious on purpose to just get attention and it doesn't seem like she's any different as an adult. I know that I should have been amused but I just wasn't. I just found her annoying and her stories not all that great.


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15) With a Tangled Skein (Incarnations of Immortality, #3) by Piers Anthony by Piers Anthony

I've re-read this series a few times now and I tend to like it less every time than I did when I was a teenager. I love the books for being a good mind-candy break from more serious material that I've been reading. And the female characters are strong(er) compared to most of what's out there these days. However, lately the religious bent of these books seems stronger than it used to. Also there's a lot of "Well, that's his job because he's a man." or "I do this because I'm a woman," that I'm not a huge fan of in general. I don't know if this is just a poor way of developing a time-period philosophy or of world-building or if it's a general view of the author. Either way, it's off-setting and turns me off a little more each time I read the book.


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16) Morning Glories, Vol. 4 Truants by Nick Spencer by Nick Spencer

Nick Spencer is a genius.

If you're not reading Morning Glories, you probably should be. I want all my friends to be reading this series so that we can analyze every detail, and develop conspiracy theories and enjoy the series together.

It takes a little while to get back into the flow after reading Vol 3 a long time ago, but everything clicks into focus. Spencer excels at bring events slightly more into focus so the reader feels they have a grip on the story and all the unanswered questions, but then blowing everything apart again with brand new problems and mysteries.


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17) Uniform Justice (Commissario Brunetti, #12) by Donna Leon by Donna Leon
There were several small problems with the book, and this ended up adding up to it not being a very enjoyably novel to read.

First of all, not much happens in the course of the book. This is not a deal-breaker--if the book was well written. I ended up feeling like the characters were just killing time until something happened. Or just wandering around musing about nothing in particular.

There were a lot of comments or events in the book that didn't fit, didn't make sense, or weren't followed through on. There was a big deal made about corruption in the military and a LOT of time spent having Brunetti dwell on this fact. In the end, though, it had nothing to do with what happened and the issue was pretty much dropped.

Also, and probably a problem with my coming in at the 12th in the series, the characters were unaccessable. There seemed to be a lot of subtext going on, but it constantly pointed out but never explained.

There were several obscure references to philophers or novels within the book. While I do like learning new quote, or learning about new philosophies these ideas/philosophers/quotes seemed to be added in a "look how smart I am" way. It only served to frustrate me and make me feel stupid. I was alienated as a reader.

I felt through the whole novel that Leon was obviously an American trying to write a European novel and not being very successful. I could see that she was trying very hard to make the plot meander and take a slower pace, but that just made her main character completely unlikable. Also, she constantly threw in Italian words and phrases which just seemed to be pointing out that it was set in Italy.

I had been looking forward to really enjoying this series after hearing Leon speak on NPR. I have one more of Leon's books on my shelf. I haven't decided if I'm going to read it or just put it automatically in the donation bin.


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18) The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay by Bryce Courtenay

I'm in a love affair with South Africa.

This book was so much better than I expected it to be. I've been burn out with reading, and in a bit of a funk finding something that I really like and this one hit all the right spots.

I could go all lit snob and talk about the setting as a character but that's not it. Courtenay brings South Africa to life, and describes the horrors of racism in SA through the naive eyes of Peekay, who never really understands it.

The book could be seen as overly optimistic and preachy at times. There was once when I thought it dragged (for a page). But it wrapped up beautifully. The characters are well-developed and end up as friends by the end of the novel.

Oh, why can't everyone write like this?


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19) Y The Last Man - The Deluxe Edition Book Three by Brian K. Vaughan by Brian K. Vaughn

I had forgotten how much I really loved this series, after taking an extended break from it last year.

Reading this, it plays out like a TV show in your head, and it's very hard to put down. Vaughn is also a master at cliffhangers, and this book ends with a great out.

The characters feel real, and are neither too good nor too bad. The are always problems and they react in ways that are appropriate for their character. My favorite right now is Hero, mainly because I don't know which way she's going to go. My one complaint is that, in contrast to the first couple books, Y is much more willing to jump into bed with anyone.

I can't wait to continue the series. This is another must-read.
(but read Morning Glories first)


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20) The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas by Sandra Dallas

This book was cute, but kind of vanilla.

It was refreshing to read a novel with a voice. Dallas nailed the sound of the characters and the place, without that sounding too cheesy. There's not much to complain about, because there was not much to this book. It's a solid 3-star read, and is good mind-relief between much heavier titles.


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21) Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

This book is Joss Whedon doing what he does best, playing with your favorite characters, and eventually killing the best one. I think Whedon is the perfect person to write comics, because he cares so much about character that it makes it less about the battle between good and evil and more about the struggles each person is going through.

I loved this volume, I loved this X-Men run.

I still hate Scott Summers.

22) Unbearable Lightness A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi by Portia de Rossi

I was absolutely entranced and in love with 90% of this book. Probably even 99% of the book.

The story of de Rossi's childhood and struggle with an eating disorder and finding her identity was extremely well-written and well-presented. The narrative moved quickly and was engrossing... I would easily read 75 pages in a sitting and wonder where the time went.

Then, I hit the last 5-10 pages and I quickly fell out of love. There was something in those pages, while helpful, that struck me as a little preachy and I found myself skipping whole sections. I understand that the point of a memoir like this one is to also help those that are struggling with the same issues but I found the conclusion discordant with the rest of the book. And to have it at the end left a bad taste in my mouth and kind of ruined the whole thing for me.

The first 95% of the book, definitely a 4.5 star read. The ending brought it down to a 3 for me.


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23) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill by Joe Hill

I can't say enough good things about this book. It was engaging in an "I can't put this down" sort of way throughout the whole thing. I can't remember a single time when i was bored, thought the story was dragging, or was OK with just letting it sit for a few days.

Joe Hill has written a book that is completely polished and finished so well. Every little touch, from formatting decisions to illustrations by Gabriel Rodriguez throughout make the book.

Tip: Read everything in the book. To the last page.

25) Y The Last Man - The Deluxe Edition Book Four by Brian K. Vaughan by Brian K Vaughn

This was not my favorite of the series by any means. While it was interesting that this book included back story for all the characters (excluding the Valentine children), I felt as though (after a huge cliffhanger in the last book) it kind of treaded water for almost the whole series.

That doesn't mean that this is a bad book. It's still masterful writing with beautiful art. I just miss the twists and turns of the previous book. I also feel like the "let's go here. Let's go there" aspects are getting a little tired.

One more book to go in the series.


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I've been at somewhat of a loss after finishing the second to last Y book. I feel like I'm forgetting something, but this is what else I have done right now:

26) Little Bee by Chris Cleave by Chris Cleave

I finished half this book before vacation and the second half after vacation (I felt it was too sad to bring to a week of sun and beach and diving). I fell in absolute love with the first half of the book. It was heart-wrenching and sucked me in right away. I felt that the second half fell way short. There was not much of a conclusion, and I wasn't as emotionally invested in the story. It was almost as though the author had a really good beginning to a book and didn't quite know how to finish it.

27) Night Watch (Watch, #1) by Sergei Lukyanenko by Sergei Lukyanenko

THIS was what I read over my vacation in the Bahamas. It was great! It was like a police novel except everyone is a magician, vampire or other mystical creature. And while it involved all that supernatural fun, it didn't make a big deal out of it so it felt completely natural through the whole novel. I would recommend this to anyone, and I can't wait to pick up the next one in the series.

28) Up in the Air (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Walter Kirn by Walter Kirin

This was one of my favorite movies when it came out. However, that movie is based very VERY loosely on this book.

I was stuck in an airport on the way home and felt that this would be a good time-waster for my way home. I finished over 200 pages just while I was waiting.

This is not a happy or uplifting book. It does not make you feel good. But the character is an interesting one and it keeps you reading. I tend to like books where the main character slowly loses his/her mind and that's where this book leaves you. It was very good.


Now, I have to decide what else to read. I'm moving in about a month and want my shelves cleaned out more than they are (more books read=less books to move).


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29) Stardust by Neil Gaiman by Neil Gaiman

I admit that I saw the movie long before I even thought it was a book, but when I got the movie from Netflix, I didn't even know it was a book.

Even though I knew the basic plot of the story, this was still very engaging and entertaining to read. It was different enough from the movie (which I've seen 3-4 times) that it didn't feel like I was treading the same ground. The characters were interesting, and rich and I just loved it.

30) Y The Last Man - The Deluxe Edition Book Five by Brian K. Vaughan by Brian K Vaughn

Back to LOVING the series with the last book.

The last book seemed to be treading the same ground a million times, but this was a good wrap-up to a fantastic series. I don't want to give it away, but the ending was just enough twist, and just enough editorial decisions to make it interesting. It's easy to discuss and debate why decisions were made with the story.

31) The Sandman, Vol. 5 A Game of You by Neil Gaiman by Neil Gaiman

Back to trying to finish this series as well. I had forgotten how much I loved these books, but they are very intense and it's hard to start the next right after I finish the last, even if they stories don't run together chronologically.

Gaiman is a master story-teller and it's obvious in the Sandman books. I would definitely recommend the series to anyone.


OK so at this point, the only thing that's NOT packed to move is Sandman and one Anne Rice novel. I think my list will be predictable for the next few weeks.


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32) Ruby (Landry, #1) by V.C. Andrews by V.C. Andrews

Back in the day when I was a Y.A. myself I absolutely DEVOURED everything by V.C. Andrews. Looking back and re-reading, I'm not sure it was such a good idea for my mom to let me get my hands on these books when I was about 6th grade age.

Re-reading the series was a little disappointing. I expected to be swept away in the drama and the epic family histories that I remember from when I was a child. I know I had always sympathized with the characters and loved every second.

With age comes wisdom, and now I found Ruby Landry, the focus of this book a little bit infuriating. Her wide-eyed innocence was cute at first but then extremely forced once every single person in her life took advantage of her. Every. Single. Person.

These books are soap operas on a page, and that is enjoyable. However, I'd like to see a character that, while not world-weary, isn't so stupid that they make the same mistakes again, and again, and again.

Although the novel was very flawed, it doesn't mean I'm going to give up. It was good nostalgia and I already have the second in the series (Pearl in the Mist) cued up on my Kindle.

... still trying to finish my Anne Rice book too.


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I'm at that point in the year where I feel like I'm never going to be able to finish 50 whole books by the end of the year, even though I'm over half-way done and my pace is good. Just gotta keep going on it...

33) The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2) by Anne Rice by Anne Rice

FINALLY.

I kept this book out during the move because I had already started it and figured that I should finish before taking out something else. I also wasn't quite sure what I wanted to read next, and everything else was packed.

This book was a chore to get through.

There was no one character in this book that was relatable or even remotely likable to me. The story focused around Lestat, who thought he was way smarter than he really was. There were just so many WORDS used to describe everything, and it was written as though it was philosophy.

He constantly talked of his great love for humanity and people, and his fledglings. But with all the talk, there was very little to show that he actually cared. While it seems minor, this created a major disconnect for me and the novel as a whole range false.

There were areas that moved where there was action, and it kind of made sense. However, I almost gave up on this book about 10 times, and it was about 200 pages too long.


message 30: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1833 comments Mod
Lindsey wrote: "I'm at that point in the year where I feel like I'm never going to be able to finish 50 whole books by the end of the year, even though I'm over half-way done and my pace is good. ..."

Don't worry, you're doing great! I think I know how you feel, though. (If you're like me) It's like you're doing so well all year, and for the first 6 months you're SO PROUD of yourself, and then around the middle of the year, you start kind of getting sluggish, but keep pushing through because you know you're capable of this goal, then as year-end starts coming into view, it's like your brain screams, "OH MY GOD! I'VE BEEN DOING NOTHING BUT READING ALL YEAR! I'M TIRED! I WANT TO STOP!!!" :) That's how my year usually goes.

Don't sweat it, though. It's just a fun goal, and if you need to, take a break! Read some comics, or a short or silly book. Put down the books for a few days and watch a movie every day. :)


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Tiffany wrote: "Lindsey wrote: "I'm at that point in the year where I feel like I'm never going to be able to finish 50 whole books by the end of the year, even though I'm over half-way done and my pace is good. ...."

Thanks...
You know, you just hit the point of the year (right around 30) where you're like well... I thought i was on track but maybe not. Plus, when I get stuck on a book, like I did with Lestat, it just seems to drag out the whole goal.


message 32: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1833 comments Mod
Yup! And in years past, when I hit that point of "Well, maybe I'm not on track after all," I still manage to get to my 50 somehow. So I just remind myself of that, take a deep breath, (maybe take a day or two away from books) and continue on. And if I don't make it, oh well. There's no firing squad waiting for me if I don't read 50 books this year.


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34) Obit Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People Who Led Extraordinary Lives by Jim Sheeler by Jim Sheeler

I'm not usually one that goes for the touchy-feely kind of inspirational books and this could have easily turned into that.

However, this book was such a touching portrait of other people's lives that I would recommend it to anyone. There were several times that I was reading right before I had to leave for work and I had to pull myself together because I was getting teary-eyed. And I often had to take a break because it got too intense.

Another surprising touch - all the people were from Denver area, or CO in general. Seeing as I read the book when I had JUST moved to Denver was a nice surprise.

35) Pearl in the Mist (Landry, #2) by V.C. Andrews by V.C. Andrews

There was a lot in this book that I didn't remember from reading this when I was a teen.

I was frustrated with Ruby for the majority of this book. There were so many times that she just lets things happen to her and then cries that she has no control over what's happening to her. Towards the end, there was some growth in her character. I'm wondering if it was just that slow because there are 3-4 more books in the series.

There was one really disturbing point in the book when she nearly let herself get very significantly taken advantage of that made me really very uncomfortable.

I think I will read the next one--as long as I can get it on kindle for a reasonable price.


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36) Hide (Detective D.D. Warren, #2) by Lisa Gardner by Lisa Gardner

I wasn't expecting too much from this book. First of all, I bought a cheap mystery novel for $2 at a garage sale, or half price books. Second, the cover art for this book is AWFUL. There's nothing about it that made me really want to pick up the book, and the author photo on the back is frightening. Third, the title's not that great either, and I was coming in in the middle of a series (apparently).

This book surprised me. It was GOOD.

There were great twists and turns in the story, but they all kind of made sense. I guessed the ending, but the plot twists kept me doubting myself the whole time (until the last 20 pages). It as absorbing and page-turning. I will DEFINITELY be picking up more by this author.


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Ahhhh, well a BIT behind on posting, and I can't believe that I've only read about 1 or 2 books since August, but that's what it looks like.

37) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine, #1) by Ransom Riggs by Ransom Riggs

I was enchanted by the first half of this book. It wasn't what I was expected of it, and the raw emotion of the book blew me away. I did feel like it lost it's momentum towards the end and didn't keep up it's charm for the whole book. In total, though, it was very, very solid.

38) W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone #23) by Sue Grafton by Sue Grafton

FINALLY this book comes out!!!

I must say that I really think that the books and this series are getting better, rather than falling apart like most series do. This is one of my favorite books in the whole series. I had been a little worried that Grafton would stick to the past/present dual story lines, as that hadn't been my favorite aspect of the books in the most recent years. However, it TOTALLY works in this book. The alternate (non-Kinsey) plot line really kept the story moving and fresh. And it was so different that it did keep me guessing about how the two were related for a good part of the book.

I also have to say that Kinsey is one of my favorite characters that I've read. She's not perfect, but she is aware of her flaws. She's strong, smart and good at her job. If anything, she builds walls around herself rather than being too vulnerable BUT SHE IS AWARE OF THIS and is in a constant debate of whether or not she wants to change this about herself. She feels like a natural character and a real person, and I really appreciate that about these books.

____________________________________________________________________
So I have a few more things started right now, but getting to 50 is looking doubtful this year. Oh well, I've done a lot of other things. And I'm sure I've forgotten to record some books I've read.
Keep reading!


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39) 999 Twenty-nine Original Tales of Horror and Suspense by Al Sarrantonio

This took me forever to finish.

I enjoyed that the editor added little anecdotes about the stories and their authors before every story. However, I tended to disagree with him about which stories were brilliant and which were not.

There were only 1-2 real duds in the book. It did include one of my very favorite Stephen King stories (Road Virus Heads North), and a novella from the guy who wrote the Exorcist, which was wonderful.

I'm ready for a shorter undertaking and an engaging story. I might have to go with a short, mindless read next.


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40) Kushiel's Chosen (Phèdre's Trilogy, #2) (Kushiel's Universe, #2) by Jacqueline Carey by Jaqueline Carey

Work has been really stressful and I wanted to read something that, while enjoyable, I didn't have to think to hard about. A friend encouraged me to pick up the sequel because, although I was lukewarm about the first book in the trilogy, she assured me they all got a lot better.

I do think that this book was stronger overall than Kushiel's Dart, which I read either earlier this year or last year. It was easy to fall back into the characters and they felt like old friends.

There were only two things that brought this down to a 4-star ready (so it was still really good):
-Some of the decisions/relationships didn't always make sense. Particularly the Jocelin/Phedre relationship. I know the idea was that you don't always get to choose who you love, but there seemed to be a better match for her here.
That being said, that other relationship tied up very nicely and in a way that made sense for both the characters.

-There's a problem with these books, around page 400, where I just get stuck. I noticed it with the first one and now with this one. I got weary of the 2nd kidnapping/peril plot and it seemed to be ALMOST the same way this happened in the first book at about the same time in the story.

That being said, I would recommend this series, and I will probably, eventually, read the third book in the trilogy. I feel like I need a break from really long books, though.

41) Brain on Fire My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan By Susannah Cahalan

This book was a surprise for me.

Recently, we had to do some emergency travel. While in the bookstore getting a magazine for Ryan, I passed this book and was intrigued by the back cover. I thought, "Well, might as well give it a try. Seems like a mildly interesting psychology memoir" (a weakness of mine).

I finished the book in 2 days.

The book was more neurology than mental illness, but it exposed me to a world of disorder that I had never known before. The most disturbing part was the level of misdiagnosis that people can receive, particularly when they are demonstrating signs of mental illness.

I would recommend this book to everyone. It's very well-written, and engaging. There are times when the author does seem detached from the harrowing personal story she's writing but you have to remember that she remembers nothing of what she is recording. Such a good book.

42) Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2) by Stephen King by Stephen King

Ok, on my main Goodreads page, this is listing as "The Shining #2" which is upsetting me because it's as though no book can stand alone anymore, and everything's part of a series.

If you read the afterword of the book, King didn't intend to write a sequel to the Shining when he first wrote that book. And this doesn't seem like a ploy to get him into the minds of modern readers again. This book seems completely natural, and an awesome follow-up to the original work.

This book is GOOD. Like, reading late into the night because you can't put it down good. Like, getting anxiety because the characters are in a tight spot and you care what happens to them good.

I have noticed a change in King's writing in the last couple years (post-accident), and some of the books have been hit-or-miss for me. However, when he hits characters right you can tell. These characters were perfect in this book. I haven't been so attached to a cast since Dark Tower.

The story was also really engaging as well. It wasn't too sequel-y but it was a follow-up to the originial Shining.

Another highly recommended book -- don't want to say too much to give anything away.


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43) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford by Jamie Ford

This book is a solid three-star read. I got through it very quickly, and it was enjoyable.

The plot and story in this book is VERY good. It would be hard to screw up a story like this. However, the writing left something to be desired. There was nothing specific that I could put my finger on -- I just had the feeling like it could have been better.

If you're in the mood for a quick read that's somewhat light and heartwarming, then I'd recommend this book. Just don't expect greatness.

44) Concierge Confidential The Gloves Come Off—and the Secrets Come Out! Tales from the Man Who Serves Millionaires, Moguls, and Madmen by Michael Fazio by Michael Fazio

Disclaimer: I got this book for free for attending an event.

A while ago, I would attend these GiltCity events in the city. Usually, I would be sure to go if there was a gift bag. This is how I came across this book, and it's been on my shelf for about 2-3 years before I got around to reading it.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. What I found was a good mix of memoir-like stories, with some self-help, and interesting information about the concierge business. I'm not huge on self-help but Fazio's "tips" were delivered in a completely unpretentious and non-threatening way that made them more interesting than directive. His stories of the business were dishy without being catty and throwing celebs under the bus.

I could never do what he does, because I haven't been bitten by the "service bug," but this book was really entertaining and I'm glad I finally picked it up.

45) Changes (The Dresden Files, #12) by Jim Butcher by Jim Butcher

I hang my head in shame for not liking this series. Almost every single one of my friends is in love with the Harry Dresden series of books.

Part of my problem is that I'm finding it impossible to read this books in order. They don't always have the number after them so I can't figure out which one comes next in the series. So, to this point I've read the first book and the 12th book. However, I don't think I'll be going any further.

I find it very difficult to connect with Harry. I should like his snotty, sarcastic attitude and his witty comebacks but it all just falls flat for me. It's another situation where I can't quite put my finger on what's wrong with the books. None of it seems genuine to me, and I just can't get into this.

So, alas, I will not be going any further with Harry Dresden or his Chicago wizardry.


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At this point, I don't think I'm going to read 5 more books in about 3 days to meet he goal for the end of the year.

HOWEVER... 45 is still really good, and I've read some really good books for the year. I also got some heavy-hitters in there too. Pillars of the Earth and Vampire Lestat come to mind as books that took me a long time to finish which slowed down my reading for the year.

For my best of I'm picking Never Let Me Go. It is still the book I recommend to everyone even though I read it at the very beginning of the year. We're going to be recording a podcast about it very soon as well, and I'm so looking forward to that.

Looking forward, I'm going to stick with 50 books again. It seems like a reasonable goal and I usually get close even if I don't meet it.


message 40: by Tiffany, Administrator (new)

Tiffany | 1833 comments Mod
Lindsey wrote: "HOWEVER... 45 is still really good, and I've read some really good books for the year. I also got some heavy-hitters in there too."

Those are the important parts -- you enjoyed what you read, and you feel like accomplished something by reading the heavy-hitters. Congrats! :)


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks Tiffany,
I also have to remember that I moved across the country AND started a new job so of course I was a little off my game.
:) Here's to a new year!


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I know there's 2 days left for me to finish the 2 books I have started. So here's hoping I finish:
46) Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann by Colum McCann

(It's wonderful and heartbreaking but with work being increasingly stressful, I've been putting it aside for lighter reads)

and
47) Who Can Save Us Now? Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories by Owen King edited by Owen King

(Interesting collection of stories, but I started it two days ago and may not finish)

I'll put full reviews of both books into my new year, but I don't know if I'll count them because I read over half of them in 2013. Very similar to how I started the year with 3 books unread.


message 43: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments I'm also a huge Sue Grafton fan - and I agree 'W' is one of the best. Congrats on your great list of books for the year!


Powder River Rose (powderriverrose) | 116 comments Congrats on your accomplishment. Good luck in 2014.


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