Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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*Retired* 2008 Lists > < Jess' 50 Books Challenge >

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message 1: by Jessica (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:38AM) (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) I just joined GoodReads and this group last week. I'm a little behind and need to catch up. But here goes...

Challenge start date: 2/22/08

1: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson


message 2: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 2: The Last Day of a Condemned Man by Victor Hugo
(although, I actually read it in French: Le Dernier Jour d’un Condamne)


message 22: by Jessica (last edited Apr 25, 2008 07:17AM) (new)


message 30: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 30: Oscar Season by Mary McNamara

Oscar season in LA's trendy Pinnacle hotel is busy and intense. Juliette is an important member of the hotel, working closely with the handsome GM. But this year's Oscars turn morbid when a man is found floating in the hotel's swimming pool. In between helping a favorite Hollywood leading man through chemo and making sure the two months between the Oscar nominations and the Academy Awards run smoothly, she drives herself crazy trying to uncover what she believes is a conspiracy to ruin Hollywood's favorite night. When two nominees and an entertainment reporter also end up dead, she is convinced... But who? And why???

I'm not sure I'd recommend this book. I didn't love it. I don't think I even liked it. But by the time I figured that out, I was already invested. I felt the author couldn't decide if she wanted to write a mystery or a gossip novel. And because the majority of the celebrities in this book are fictitious, I had trouble keeping them straight. When I reached the end, I still had some questions, but I don't really care if I ever get answers. It was an okay read, no more, no less.


message 31: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 31: Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich

Only four days till Christmas and Stephanie has no tree, no lights, no presents. What she does have is a man in her kitchen. None of the usual suspects. Just some weirdo who appeared in her kitchen while she was having breakfast. Assuming he's an alien (not that weird considering what she's been through recently), she lets him tag along to find her latest FTA, Sandy Claws. On her quest for Sandy and for some Christmas spirit, she gets attacked by a pack of angry elves, loses yet another car (this time to lightning) and has to find her Grandmother's lost teeth. A tale of odd phenomenons, superheroes, and holiday joy.

A super quick read. Not half as good as the usual episodes of the series, but still entertaining, but still entertaining. If you're reading the entire set, this one shouldn't be forgotten (you never know which characters will appear later on), but keep your expectations low.


message 32: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 32: To the Nines by Janet Evanovich

In the ninth book of the series, Stephanie Plum is after Samuel Singh, a Indian man living and working in Jersey on a visa bond. He seems to have gone missing, only a week before he is scheduled to return home. Not that this is unusual, as his boss explains; many of the foreign temporary workers that he hires get a taste of the American life, and want to stick around. But then there are the flowers that get delivered to Stephanie, with the not-so-sweet notes. And the photographs of dead people! She knows they are related to Samuel's disappearance. Stephanie will have to leave the comfort of the Burg, and travel across the country to follow and possibly catch her man. And how can she be expected to go to Vegas without her spandex-wearing and colorful sidekick Lula?!? Others aiding on the case (or just trying to keep Steph alive) include her very hot and mysterious mentor Ranger, her on-again-off-again boyfriend Joe, the very large Tank, and pin-upy office manager Connie, among others. Her family is also present, and just as eccentric as expected, growing by the minute, with the very pregnant Valerie and the clown that is the father of the child.

Another very entertaining book. Stephanie is always endearing in her own Murphy's Law kind of way. Definitely a must read for Plum fans.


message 33: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 33: Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Honolulu, Hawaii. 1890. Rachel is seven years old. She lives with her mother, father, sister and two brothers. She goes to school. She plays jokes on her sister. She watches her mother in the kitchen. She lives just like any typical seven-year-old. Until the day she is arrested for leprosy. She is taken into custody and sent to Moloka’i, an island where lepers are quarantined, in order to keep the rest of the world safe. The general assumption is that people go to Moloka’i to die. But, as Rachel soon discovers, there is so much living to do before that happens! She surrounds herself with a new family; girls and boys, men and women, most of them sent there for the same reason. Though the life she and the others on Moloka’i lead is a trying one, restricted to live with an always present, always looming death, they experience a life that is not so different from the people on the other Hawaiian Islands and on the mainland. A first kiss, a first dance, a first love… And mixed in are also world firsts too! They welcome the 20th century with cars, planes, baseball, silent movies, talking movies, etc... The book follows Rachel, her entourage and their disease, as they grow; through the good and the bad.

I didn’t realize just how much I enjoyed this book until I reached the very last page. As I was reading it, I thought to myself: ‘This is okay, not great, but okay’. But by the time I reached the last page, I had tears in my eyes.

First, there was horror and revolt as I read about the way these sick people were treated. I had to remind myself that this was supposed to be late 19th century and early 20th, and not the year 2008. I understand this behavior came from ignorance, and the lack of science and technology and understanding. Then, the awe at how strong we really are, and how humans can cope with so much physically, and even more emotionally. I had to root for Rachel and her deformed friends, as they are the ultimate underdogs. Another aspect of this book was the author’s wonderful descriptions of the story’s backdrop. It was easy to imagine the sheer beauty of Rachel’s surroundings. I dreamt of traveling to Hawaii while reading this book. And the author definitely did his research. The book includes the historical events of the time, as well as the language of the location.

Definitely a wonderful read. Aloha.



message 34: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 34: Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum is the witness to a robbery and attempted arson. She is actually the only person to have seen the face of the man that has been robbing businesses around Trenton for weeks. The problem is, he saw her face too! And now his gang is after her; rumor is, they’ve even put a contract on her head. But it takes more than a west Coast contract kills to stop Stephanie! She may be scared, but she still has a job to do, family dinners to attend, bridesmaid’s dress fittings to go to, and a hamster to feed… Unfortunately, after an argument with Joe Morelli, she’s out on the street. Only one place to spend the night. But first, she’ll have to find it, the elusive BatCave.

Very entertaining, as expected. Who but Stephanie gets attacked by a pack of humping dogs, chauffeured around in a big yellow school bus, and thinks up ridiculous kidnapping and assault plots… Great series. On to the next…



message 35: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 35: Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich

There is only so much a girl can take. And this girl has had enough! Enough of chasing bad guys, wrestling them to the ground, having them shoot at her and always ending up covered in garbage. So Stephanie Plum quits her job as a bounty hunter. She quickly finds out there are other jobs she is much worse at! She can’t seem to keep a job. She temporarily works at the button factury, a fast food place, a dry cleaners, before landing a gig at a security company, with the very good looking Ranger as her boss. Assuming bad guys would stop coming after her once she left the bond enforcement world, she tries very hard to ignore the notes and gifts left for her by someone who she believed was dead. This girl cannot get away from danger and destruction… it keeps creeping up on her.

While spending time trying to figure out what to do with her life, Stephanie also dwells on her sister’s wedding, which she is dreading due to the vegetable dress she has to wear, and at which she has somehow volunteered to play the cello (not even sure what a cello is!); she nurses a wounded cop back to health; helps Lula out in her new career as a bounty hunter; and goes through a sugar detox.

Fun book. Quick and easy read. Perfect to read at the beach or by the pool. Looking forward to the next one.



message 36: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 36: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

When Bella moves to Washington State to live with her father, she is not expecting much. She dreads being the new kid at the local high school. She quickly realizes she won't be an outsider for long, since the position has been filled by a group of five extremely beautiful brothers and sisters. She feels strangely drawn to one of them, Edward. After a bizarre first encounter, his life becomes entangled with hers when he saves her life. Edward and his family are extraordinary, but Bella doesn’t realize how much so until she hears folklore stories from the Native American reservation about blood sucking monsters.

I caved… I’ve been seeing this series of books everywhere. But knowing it involved vampires turned me off. It’s just not my style. When a group of co-workers were talking about them, I was intrigued (although their account of the vampires being ‘vegetarian’ was not accurate, even if I now know what they meant). So I borrowed the first book and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was a quick read. The protagonist is a real teenager. She whines a lot, and pouts when she doesn’t get her way. And the fascination she feels for Edward the vampire is not a healthy one (duh!). Edward can be a little creepy and moody. Everyone seems fascinated with him, I find him to be too pompous and cocky. Their love is too intense, too fast, but in a ‘Romeo & Juliet’ kind of way. That being said, I enjoyed it enough to pick up the next one, and to want to see the movie that comes out later this year!


message 37: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 37: The Word of Mouth Manual: Volume II by Dave Balter

An interesting read for anyone with a fascination for learning about and truly understanding innovative marketing tools. Great for anyone who enjoyed The Tipping Point. The author discusses the advantages of ‘Word of Mouth’ (WoM), a marketing technique that is so obvious and so engrained in our every day lives, we don’t even realize it is there, therefore missing this untapped source. He explains how to reach ideal and successful WoM: creating a sense of community, good timing and validation. A WoM network is essential for a generation of consumers who are sick of traditional marketing. Consumers feel they are taken seriously, and are treated like individuals; they get to form their own opinion and share it with other consumers and marketing execs instead of having brands shoved down their throats. The author uses current and evident examples to describe each point that he makes, such as the Croc phenomenon as an example of Pure WoM, or the iPhone buzz and the Geico commercials talked about at water coolers around America! He gives an account of his flourishing WoM business, BzzAgent.com (which I am a part of), as well as other businesses that prospered thanks to WoM, such as Lacoste. He uses a lot of humor, keeping the reader smiling and engrossed. The book does not seem to have been geared towards marketing experts; the terminology is accessible to everyone, whether you have ever taken a business class or not!


message 38: by Jessica (last edited Feb 25, 2009 02:35AM) (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 38: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Bella is still madly in love with Edward the friendly vampire. But after getting a nasty and almost deadly paper cut at his house, he has to let her go. She doesn't take the news so well. Bella becomes a zombie. She finally gets some life back into her when she reconnects with Jacob. But she will soon discover that he has secrets of his own...

I enjoyed this book as well. I find Bella to be a little whiny and immature. She pouts when she doesn't get her way. As mentioned before, her relationship with Edward is anything but healthy. He is a very charming character, but almost comes off as a snob. Jacob, however, is a sweetheart and would do anything for Bella. Some of the story was a little predictable, but it was interesting to see how everything would come together at the end. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.


message 39: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 39: Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

A crazy woman is looking for Stephanie Plum, Ms. Bounty Hunter and every auto insurance company's nightmare. When they come face to face, the woman pulls a gun on Steph and tells her she is looking for her husband Ranger. He, unfortunately, cannot be reached, since he is on some special case in Miami. And the next time Stephanie sees him, he's on the news. He's wanted for kidnapping. And murder.

Another entertaining Plum novel. Same colorful characters, with an addition or two. Lula recruits Grandma Mazur for the band she just joined; Connie is interviewing bounty hunters from hell; Tank feels the love; and a pervy Pickle joins the company. Oh, and there's a very close call in the Plum bedroom!


message 40: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 40: Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich

I'm really not a big fan of these 'Between-the-Numbers' novels. I'll keep reading them, just because I'm afraid of missing something. But I'm not really sure why or where they came from.

It's almost Valentine's Day and Diesel is back. He needs to help out his friend Annie, who happens to be Stephanie's current FTA. She is also something of a matchmaker, and with February 14th coming up, someone has to make sure her cases find true love. So Diesel decides to enlist Stephanie. On the list: a 35-year old virgin, a shy butcher, a DMV worker, a vet and a clown. All this, while trying to find the people that are after Annie.

A quick read. I guess I'd only recommend it to true Plum fans, but even then, I'm not sure these in-between books tie into the numbered series. I'd rather the author stayed away from characters with supernatural abilities, and stayed with the fun friends and family members Stephanie already has in her life.


message 41: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 41: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Bella has made up her mind... She'll join Edward's family and become a vampire after graduation. If she makes it until then. Victoria is still after her, and the Volturi promised to visit. And now, there is a deadly gang of newborn vampires taking over Seattle. The Cullens keep an eye on her at all times, and if it isn't them, Jacob is never very far.

I enjoyed this book, but am getting more and more annoyed with the characters. Bella is a spoiled and selfish brat. Edward is extremely smug. Alice has way too much energy (she reminds me of my very happy and bouncy dog). Luckily, Jacob returns, and I think he is a sweetheart. He really cares for Bella, and would do anything for her to return the feeling. I am not sure about the word 'love' that is thrown around a lot in this book. They are all teenagers (even century old Edward), do they really know that much about 'love'??? I want to shake them all, and slap them. I just have to remind myself that these unhealthy and intense feelings all stem from magic and monsters...

Having said that, the curiosity has me. I want to find out what happens next.


message 42: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 42: Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

The Greek Gods are alive and well, living in a small flat in London. Their powers have been diminished, and some have had to get regular jobs. Artemis is a dog-walker, Aphrodite is a sex phone operator... And Eros is now a born again Christian! But when he shoots an arrow into Apollo, forcing him into love with a mortal, the world is close to ending. Now it is up to a Hero, the woman he loves, and the Gods to save the planet.

I was expecting a lot from this book. I was excited about the idea... But I don't think it delivered. I was waiting for something to happen for most of the book. I found the majority of characters (all the Gods) obnoxious. They were mean and condescending. The story was slow and lacking. Definitely a disappointment.


message 43: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 43: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Gemma is sent to a boarding school in England, after her mother is mysteriously murdered in India, where Gemma has grown up. Girls are sent there in preparation of marriage. They learn to draw, dance, and have interesting although superficial conversations. Gemma doesn't fit in... She begins having strange visions, and everywhere she goes, she is followed by a dark young boy. She slowly learns about her power and the responsibilities that come with it. She wants to please her friends, and make them happy, but that may mean disobeying her dead mother and risking it all...

I was expecting a lot from this book, when a co-worker recommended it. I was disappointed. It was a supernatural, gothic tale, something I personally wouldn't pick out for myself.


message 44: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 44: Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen

This book is the closest I've gotten to a trashy novel. It's just slightly trashy. Not what I imagine to be Fabio-trashy (i.e. CHEESY!). No, this one was hot and sexy. A quick read.

Wilson McKinney has gone missing. His granddaughter is worried. He has been forgetful lately, but he wouldn't forget to call home. When Regan finds an entry in his calendar, she takes it for what it is, her last lead. And when she goes after it, she finds herself face to face with an old acquaintance, Quinn Younger. She also finds herself in a mess of stolen cars, dinosaur bones and possibly more. And it seems danger is a strong aphrodisiac.

Who knew paleontology could be so sexy??? I knew Ross would be proud. ;)


message 45: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 45: Crazy Cool by Tara Jenzen

The next installment in the Steele Street series. Still sexy and dangerous…

This time around, Hawkins finds himself face to face with Lady Luck, Lady Bad Luck. She’s the reason he was found guilty of murder 13 years ago. And somehow, she must be the reason he was pulled out of Columbia to keep an eye on a Garden Party, because there was an explosion and a murder there. And now, he has to protect the Prom Queen all over again. But this time, he knows better. Or not… The question is, how long will it take them to rip each other’s clothes off. All the while, investigating a thirteen year old murder conspiracy, as they try to find the guilty and clear the name of the innocent.

At the same time, we pick up where we left off with characters from the previous book, such as Nikki and Kid Chaos. We also get introduced to new members of the team (and some potential future members). Some aspects are very predictable; certain stories are kept open for the next books. But overall, it was very entertaining. A real page-turner. Onto the next!



message 46: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 46: Crazy Wild by Tara Janzen

Creed has just returned from a mission in South America. This mission was very personal, and not easy to recoup from. He’s become the SDF’s jungle boy, almost a wild card, but they also know he’s ready for his next assignment. Enter Blond Bimbo with a Bomb. She has a bomb for sale, and she has a lot of potential buyers. Creed’s job is to locate her before they do, and protect her until he can hand her and the location of the bomb off to the right branch of the US government. Unfortunately, handing her off will be a little difficult for him, after that kiss on the snowy rooftop. With a little help from Skeeter and Hart, Creed will keep Cody Stark alive and out of the hands of the Germans, Russians, Taliban, and whoever else she is running away from. For a little longer at least. And with no help from anyone, Creed will do a lot more to the Bombshell wearing the Days-of-the-Week undies.

A fun and quick read. I’m enjoying reading about the Steele Street gang, and how they make up a happy little family (or something like that). Again, this story opens up another story line, for a future book, I assume. This one had more life-or-death action, less sweaty-between-the-sheets action…



message 47: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 47: Crazy Kisses by Tara Janzen

Kid Chaos is finishing up his mission in South America. He’s been gone for seven months. Before heading back to Steele Street, he needs some R&R in Panama, to get his head back on straight. But when he arrives at his house, it doesn’t take him long to spot the little bikini that should not be there. Even quicker, he figures out who it belongs to. Nikki. Seven months, why hadn’t he called her for seven months? He is still deeply in love with her. But how does she feel? In addition to struggling with the ‘relationship’ aspect, he needs to keep her safe and safe is not going to happen if they are together, not when there is a contract out for his head.

Another fun and flirty chapter in the lives of the Steele Street gang. Mostly the story revolves around Kid and Nikki, but the reader does get introduced to a new member of Steele, a not-so creepy rodent, and closer to Travis, an angelic outsider slowly making his way to the inner circle. A quick and enjoyable read. Perfect beach reading.



message 48: by Jessica (last edited Jul 31, 2008 01:03PM) (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 48: Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

I’ve missed Stephanie Plum. It was good to go back to her.

Everyone in Trenton knows how ugly Stephanie “Bounty Hunter Extraordinaire” Plum’s marriage ended. She caught the sunavabitch naked on the dining room table with her archnemesis. You would think that the decade (more or less) since that episode would lessen the animosity between the exes. It hasn’t. And a day after Steph jumped at Dickie’s throat and threatened to kill him in front of a whole office worth of people, he goes and disappears. Not only is she suspected of foul play, Joyce is sticking to her like a fly on crap, hoping that will bring her to Dickie. Stephanie’s only chance at things going back to normal is to get her hands on Dickie and prove to all that she isn’t a murderer. Morelli is no help, he’s got some big case and is undercover. That leaves Ranger, GrandMa Mazur and Lula. Well, one out of three ain't bad. Thank God Ranger is _that_ good.


message 49: by Jessica (last edited Aug 02, 2008 07:57PM) (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) 49: Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich

I’ve already said this… I am not a fan of these In-Between Novellas. They simply don’t fit. It almost feel like the author said “Let me write a little something, I could use the cash for a new extension on the house.” Stephanie and her parade of characters are present, and always entertaining. But the supernatural, special ability people don’t work for me.

It’s St-Patty’s Day and Grandma Mazur found a bag of cash at the end of a rainbow. That’s all she’s been waiting for, and she hits the road. Stephanie has to track her and the money down to Atlantic City. She has the help of Lula, Connie and Diesel, who happens to be after the leprauchaun wannabe who stole the bag-o-money in the first place from a toadlike mobster.

What’s next, the Easter Bunny???


message 50: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jess_chitty) I finished book # 49 just before leaving for the office on Friday, and didn't grab another one to read during my lunch break. Luckily, there is always a stack of books at work, books that go around and are shared between co-workers. However silly as it seems, I wanted # 50 to be a good one. I mean one that would knock me off my feet. But you never know, do you?!? I've been staying away from Jodi Picoult for whatever reason. I guess I just didn't like the cover. But it was there, and someone said 'You have to read this.' So I did. And this is as good as it gets. I couldn't have asked for a better #50.


50: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

I was reluctant to read this book. But WOW!!!

Anna was conceived to save her sister from leukemia. She's now thirteen, and has spent her life giving Kate blood, bone marrow, and then some. The next organ to donate is her kidney, and she just can't do it. She makes a decision and take the steps that will break her family apart, and most likely mean death for her sister.

I don't want to go any further, afraid I will give something away. The author took some directions which were predictable, but that didn't make the book less captivating. Jodi Picoult did her research. There is detailed and, I'm assuming, accurate medical background, depicting how difficult and unfair life and death are... The decisions to be made, and the people making them, never sure if they are doing the right thing. Filled with real people we can all relate to, their qualities and their faults. And current events we have all thought about, even if we haven't all decided how we feel about them.

A cliche: RUN, don't walk, to pick up this book from a bookstore, library, neighbor, whoever...

A tear-jerker. Make sure you aren't reading this during that extra-emotional time of the month. Or if you do, just make sure you have all the tissues you'll need.


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