Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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2010 > Emmajane's 50 in 2010? Lofty goal...

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message 1: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments I am going to try really hard this year to hit the 5-0. I have never had a specific goal in mind before, so I actually have no idea if this is an attainable goal or not. We shall see!

1. A Death in Vienna-Frank Tallis
2. The Little Stranger-Sarah Waters
3. Bloodroot-Amy Greene
4. The Gargoyle-Andrew Davidson
5. The Swan Thieves-Elizabeth Kostova


message 2: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 6. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (4 stars)
7. A Gate at the Stairs (3.5 stars)
8. Blacklands (1 star)
9. The Girl with Glass Feet (3 stars)
10. Her Fearful Symmetry (4.5 stars)
11. The Last Bridge (4 stars)
12. The Girl Who Chased the Moon (5 stars)


And currently reading Roses. It is taking my breath away and making me wish I were a southern belle.


message 3: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 13. Roses by Leila Meacham (3.5 stars)
14. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (4 stars)
15. The Listener by Nira Shaymen (4 stars)
16. Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler (5 stars)


message 4: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 17. The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson (1 star)-Boy, was this weird! The insinuations about Emily Dickinson being either bisexual or homosexual were so subtle, but they were disturbing in a way. I was not impressed with this stab at literary exploration.


message 5: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 18. Half Broke Horses-Jeanette Walls (4 stars). This was an excellent embelllished retelling of Jeanette's grandmother's life. While I took it for what it was, a novel, I was in awe of the life that her grandmother must have led. What adventure, gumption, and spirit! A short, wonderful story for the beginning of summer!

19. Nashville Noir (3 stars) I had to indulge my craving for Murder, She Wrote so I picked up the latest one. I am also obsessed with Nashville, and found this fly by short read kind of disappointing. There was not much description of the beautiful city, and the mystery itself was lacking. I miss the great twists and in depth knots tied between the characters and plot that the first dozen books had. It was a little more cookie cutter feeling this time. But I will never give up reading them!

20. Romancing Miss. Bronte- Juliet Gael A very well done novel speculating what the great love of Charlotte Bronte's life would have been like. It was very believable, true to what I feel Charlotte would do and think. It also gave great insight into the relationships she had with her sisters, brother, and father. While a good deal of the book took place after her siblings had passed, it was fascinating to read about that period of her life (or what it could have been like), because so much research and reading on the Bronte's has been about them all together. As with Becoming Jane Eyre that I recently read, the story really ends with the death of her sisters. Overall, a wonderful, and very worthwhile read.

21. Environmental Ethics-Michael Boylan (2 stars). While I would normally never add a school book to a reading list, this one I read in its entirety and it took so much time away from the challenge that I feel it should be counted. It was not a bad book by any means, but without reading the others in the "series" there were gaps that my professor neglected to fill in. It was school reading...need I say more...?

With 21 books read, I am paced nicely to finish this challenge. Now that I am able to pick up my reading pace with classes almost done, I am looking forward to adding more here. I am currently working on Neverland: J.M. Barried, The Du Mauriers, And the Dark Side of Peter Pan. I never really liked Peter Pan as a kid, it scared me, but since watching Finding Neverland, I have become quite enthralled with J.M. Barrie. While I had no idea about the connection between Barrie and Daphne DuMaurier (just never made the connection in the names and the author of Rebecca-another novel on my list), I am finding the connections between them fascinating. This is a great example of nonfiction reading like fiction. In the end, no matter the conclusions come to by the author, I believe there is goodness in J.M. Barrie and he is a spirit to be respected.
Also working on The Wives of Henry Oades. While I normally only have one book going at once, I started this one first in order to discuss it with a friend at the library. She has been raving about it and tells me I will NEED to talk with someone once I get into it. I was finding it slow at first, so I opened up Neverland just to explore, and found myself getting wrapped up in that. But I am about 20 pages in The Wives...and am hoping I can get more into it. I am hearing wonderful things about it and I hope it lives up to my expectations. It may also be my mood right now, I need to hop back into the Historical Fiction mode.
Will keep you posted!


message 6: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 22. The Wives of Henry Oades -Joanna Moran (3.5 stars)
23. The Ghost Writer - John Harwood (4.5 stars)


message 7: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 24. The Secret of Lost Things-Sheridan Hay (4.5 stars).
Wonderful! And almost half way through!


message 8: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 25. The Butterfly House-Marcia Preston (2 stars)
Had so much potential to be a beautiful, mystical read, but fell kind of flat with the character development and their background. I wanted to know a little more about their motivations. And the implications about the mother and daughter's friend having an intimate relationship felt very unnecessary to the story and almost more of a way to just add some kind of shock or weird tid bit. Just didn't do it for me.

26. Ghostwalk-Rebecca Stott (4.5 stars).
This was a fantastic read! I am so into the gothic, historical novels right now and this was wonderful. The writing was superb, the characters were relatable, although not always likable, and the plot was wonderfully crafted and researched. I am not normally into science, but the addition of alchemy and Newton were very entertaining and I found it so hard to put down!


message 9: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 27. Alice, I Have Been-Melanie Benjamin (2.5 stars)
Not impressed. Had higher expectations.

28. Holy Fools -Joanna Harris (4.5 stars)
Excellent! Highly recommend!


message 10: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 29. The Blind Assassin (3.98 stars).
As it sinks in more, I think I will make the rating higher, but there was just something missing as far as attachment to characters that keeps me from giving it that 4 star rating. A book has to be absolutely AMAZING for me to give it 5 stars, and I didn't feel that way about Margaret Atwood. It was definitely worth the read and I enjoyed every page. I recommend to those interested in family sagas and the mysteries entwined in them.

30. The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski (4.25 stars)
This was fantastic! It was psychologically enticing, a bit disturbing at times, and wonderfully crafted. I felt like I was really in the mind of the schizophrenic characters-the difference in perspectives was so well done for a debut novel. Highly recommend!

Next up is the Cloud Unknowing by Thomas H. Cook. I loved his novel, The Chatham School Affair and heard this is similar, so I am very excited to get into it!


message 11: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 31. The Cloud Unknowing-Thomas H. Cook. (4 stars)
Phenomenal. He takes the reader inside the mind of a schizophrenic like no other author can. I was completely enthralled in the lives of these characters.

32.The Club Dumas-Arturo Perez-Reverte (3 stars).
Having never read anything by Alexandre Dumas, I think I lost out on a lot of the references and the real substance of the story. I want to revisit it down the road when I have more knowledge of the Counte of Monte Cristo and the Three Muskateers so I can better appreciate this work.

33.Olive Kitteridge-Elizabeth Stock (3.5 stars).
I have to admit that I was expecting a kind of sweet, fluffy, southern comfort short novel and I was pleasantly surprised yet almost disappointed at the same time. While it had more depth and the characters were so believable and multidimensional, a lot of it seemed more depressing than I was in the modd for. I wish there were happier endings for some of the characters, although the end was satisfying. Not to give too much away but Henry was my favorite character and I was saddened by what happened to him.
Worth the read, definitely.

Wow, only 17 more books. It sounds like a lot, but when I think of all the great books I have read since January, it seems like so few, too. I am excited to continue with my list and the challenge.

I just picked up In the Woods by Tana French and while I was quite confused in the first 10 pages, I now have my feet on solid ground and am enjoying the novel so far.


message 12: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 34. In the Woods-Tana French (4 stars)
Without giving anything away, I will say that the last star was deducted due to the disappointing ending. The one I predicted would have been much more interesting...

35. The Hound of the Baskervilles-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (5 stars).
My first taste of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and I just breathed it in. I was fascinated and interested throughout the whole short story and am so glad I purchased it before reading. Cannot wait to read more Holmes!


message 13: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 36. Kissing the Witch-Emma Donoghue (2 stars)
While I loved the fractured fairly tale feeling of these stories, I was confused by the cryptic language she sometimes used, as if she was too afraid to actually say what she thought of the original. If that makes any sense. And then there was the lesbian angle she seemed to input in half the stories, and while it wasn't completely offputting, it added a tone to the stories, that made them more sexual than I felt they needed to be. I guess my expectations were just different.


message 14: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 37. The Sign of Four-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (5 stars)
Since discovering Half Price Books, I can't stop buying their wonderful $1 paperbacks which have lead to me to Sherlock Holmes. I bought about 10 last night and couldn't even wait to get to home to read them, I had to start in the car :) Finished while at work today and am so sad not to have another while I finish out my hour here. This book was another fantastic addition to my list. I am wondering if there is an order I should be following as they do reference past cases, but I will have to do more searching...


message 15: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments Can't believe that the Sign of Four was my last book as that seems so long ago! But since school started, I have been battling a book funk and a loss of time issue. But I am back in full swing with my current read: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. In the mean time, I have completed another, even though it is a reread...

38. Northanger Abbey-Jane Austen. A reread and I loved it 10x better this time around! I must have been asleep the last time I read this!


message 16: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 39. The Mysterious Benedict Society-Trenton Lee Stewart (5 stars).
Wow! I know this was marketed for children, but I was completely captivated by the characters and the wonderful world they live in. I have not felt the need to give a book 5 stars in a very long time, but I knew 20 pages in that it was going to be a 5 star.
Stewart does not write like most children's book authors; I loved that he seemed to have respect for the child reader as he did not assume they were too "unintelligent" to understand concepts, words, his lyrical writing, etc. I was very surprised to find out that this writer is actually from Alabama, because his style and vocabulary are very remnant of British authors in the vein of Rowling. For people who loved or even just kind of liked the premise of Harry Potter, I think will enjoy this new series. The second and third books are here on my bench for me, but there are so many other books due back to the library this week. Any thoughts on my stack?

Charlotte and Emily by Jude Morgan
The Bohemian Girl by Kenneth Cameron
Anthill by E.O.Wilson
The Likeness by Tana French
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler


message 17: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 40. Anthill by E.O.Wilson (4 stars)
I sunk into this book and did not let it go until it was finished. The main character, Raff was a wonderfully fleshed out boy/man and I was enthralled by his journey. I did feel, however, that the first 3/4 of the book and the last 1/4 were almost like separate books. Not necessarily bad, but the tone had completely changed.

41. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (2 stars)
I really wanted to like this one, but I just didn't. It took me a week to get through, which is rare for me. And it felt more like work reading than pleasure. I am not counting Gaiman out, but I am going back to the Mysterious Benedict Society to renew my energy. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood, I don't know...

WOw, only 9 more to go...


message 18: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 42. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart (5 stars)
I am rationing the last book as I do not want to be done with this wonderful series. I don't know when the next book comes out, but I cannot wait even a week!

Beginning the Missing by Tim Gautreaux, recommended to me so I feel like I should read it, but I am not exactly in the mood for it right now...we shall see!


message 19: by Emma (last edited Oct 01, 2010 04:27PM) (new)

Emma | 273 comments 43. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (4.5 stars)
I didn't think I was going to like this book. I had heard soooo much about it and thought that the theme of dystopian societies wouldn't interest me, but I am eating my hat now as I admit that I was just as sucked into this book as everyone else. I am not rushing to read Catching Fire just because I am waiting for Mockingjay to come in at the library and I cannot fathom being able to wait after reading Catching Fire.
So I am officially on the Hunger Games bandwagon!


message 20: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 44. Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy (3 stars)
While it was a cozy mystery that wasn't supposed to be very stimulating, it was one of my least favorites. I didn't hate it, but the protagonist bothered me a bit with her insensitivity toward the victim's death. It's the first in the series, and I doubt I will be reading the next one when it comes out.

45. Trick or Treat Muder by Lesli Meier (4 stars)
Much better. I skipped the first one so I could read a Halloween themed book, but I like Lucy Stone a lot. She's a real down to earth mom. While the mystery itself was definitely lacking (Lucy really has nothing to do with the resolution), it was an entertaining look into the life of a small New England town, which was perfect for this time of year.
Next up, Hallowed Bones!
Grace Under Pressure (A Manor of Murder Mystery, #1) by Julie Hyzy
Trick or Treat Murder (Lucy Stone, #3) by Leslie Meier
Hallowed Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, #5) by Carolyn Haines


message 21: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 46. Muder in Volume by D.R.Meredith (4 stars).
I really enjoyed the setting of this book as it revolved around a mystery book club and crimes taking place in the Time and Again Bookstore. It was so charming. I loved the discussion of famous mystery writers and I learned about new ones that I want to check out. While the main character was a bit annoying at time, it wasn't enough to ruin the book. I intend to read the next in the series when I finish all these library books...sigh.

I dropped Hallowed Bones, because I, frnakly, couldn't stand the romance in it. It was so...fake. And took up way more of the story than it should have. I am glad I gave it up before I invested too much time in it.

I am on to number 47, Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs and I already love it! The characters are enchanting and I love all the tea talk. 3 more to go!


message 22: by Carol (new)

Carol Neman | 469 comments "I dropped Hallowed Bones,... "

I would never have considered not finishing a book before I came to GoodReads...but...I have read of so many readers not finishing (and giving their reasons) that it doesn't seem so much of a crime to me now to not give someone's creativity space in my head just because it's the printed word. I think I actually used to REVERE 'the printed word' no matter what form...(lightbulb! maybe that's why it's so hard for me to part with my paper-clutter) At first I thought it snobbish to just cut off my attention (as if I was affronting the author personally), now I realize that if I don't read it or like it, someone else will, and that's just how life is...there is something for everyone. So now I skim...lol


message 23: by Carol (new)

Carol Neman | 469 comments Oh, and...I'd also like to thank you for mentioning The Mysterious Benedict Society...it sounds like a really good soothing way toward relaxing...I will have to try it, when my brain starts numbing out...marking it TBR...


message 24: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments Carol, thanks for your comments! I completely agree with you about dropping books. I NEVER did it before joining Goodreads, and now, I hear so many people saying, "life is too short and there are too many books to read" so I feel less bad about it. But still pretty bad. The real reason I dropped Hallowed Bones was because I really disliked the character and just knew it wasn't going to get better. And I cannot separate myself from "paper clutter" either. I also keep every notepad I've ever scribbled in, and every journal ever purchased. The written word is too precious!
Oh, and please do read the Mysterious Benedict Society, it is absolutely fantastic. I have been putting off the third book, because I really don't want the series to end, but I hear he is doing a prequal, so I have something to look forward to.


message 25: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 47. Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs (4 stars)
! Death by Darjeeling (A Tea Shop Mystery, #1) by Laura Childs

I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy mystery and intend to continue with the series when other things are out of te way!

Just began The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, who is my absolutel favorite writer! Among the Forgotten Garden and the House at Riverton, the Distant Hours fits right into her wonderful historical repetoire. I am loving it! Hoping to ration it a bit since I only have to read 3 more for the challenge by the end of December. I recommend Kate Morton to all!

The Distant Hours A Novel by Kate Morton


message 26: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 48. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (5 stars).

If I could give more than 5 stars, I would. I was so sad to have finished this enchanting historical mystrey from my favorite author. I was completely taken in by her exquisite language and the descriptions of the grand manor. Sigh...and so long to wait for her next one.


49. A Fatal Feast by Donald Bain Murder, She Wrote A Fatal Feast (Murder She Wrote) by Jessica Fletcher

Since I knew nothing would compare to The Distant Hours, I chose something completely different. This one is getting me in the mood for the holiday and is a nice cozy before I get to grand number 50. Provided I make it (and I am pretty confident I can), I will try and get 52 before the year's end.


message 27: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments Finished A Fatal Feast today after what seemed like forever. Not because it was bad, but because the holiday made it difficult to find time to read. But I enjoyed this Thanksgiving themed mystery, but I give it 3 stars. The romance with George Sutherland was a little heavy handed and it seemed the mystery was second to everything else. I prefer my mysteries to be mostly about the mystery. But that's just me. I am looking forward to reading the latest one, The Queen's Jewels, that I recently purchased, but for number 50, I think I wanna go out with a bang and read Juliet, Juliet by Anne Fortier by Anne Fortier that I also recently purchased. I have high hopes!


message 28: by Emma (new)

Emma | 273 comments 50. Promise Me Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans by Richard Paul Evans (4 stars).
The perfect holiday read. It was more about the spirit of Christmas than the actual holiday. It was about magic, generosity, love, and all the struggles in life. I found the main character extremely relatable. I usually find that the more an author writes, especially in one area, the more repetative their books get, but RPE has yet to disappoint me. He writes a new book every Christmas and I keep finding myself looking forward to his wonderful insight into the human heart and I read them in a three hour sitting. Great way to end the challenge!

And DONE!


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