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2011 Archive > Shay's Less is More Challenge 2011

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message 1: by Shay (last edited Dec 12, 2010 09:22PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments I have OCD, so I love counting and making lists. One thing I've noticed is that I read a lot of "fluff". I want to be realistic, though. When you have one kid hanging off your leg, another asking you for a sandwich, and the third complaining that the other two are making too much noise, you need to read books that you can put down and pick up easily. (Fluff) But, I want to read more classics, non-fiction, and "real" literature in 2011. So, this probably will mean less books, which I'm trying to be okay with.

2011 Goals:
1. Read at least 15 books a month that are on the 1001 Books You Must Read list.
2. Read at least 1 non-fiction book a month.
3. In addition to the 15 books above, read at least 5 other books considered "real" literature.
4. I get most of my "fluff" reading from 2 genres: mysteries and fantasy/science fiction. So, try to read more classics from these categories that have been languishing on my TBR shelf. In other words, break down and read Mists of Avalon or Agatha Christie once in a while instead of what I usually read.

message 2: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments I think there's something wrong with me because the more I think about those goals, the more I want to read "crappy" books. I think I'll read one now.

message 3: by LynnB (new)

LynnB Shay wrote: "I think there's something wrong with me because the more I think about those goals, the more I want to read "crappy" books. I think I'll read one now."

LOL! You're on the right track!

message 4: by Shay (last edited Jan 12, 2011 04:52PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 1. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, #1) by Jean M. Auel by Jean M. Auel. Before the current rise of YA fiction, there were few characters that were young, female, and strong. So, is it any wonder that this series was so popular when I was a teen? Sure, it was the movie that brought interest to the book and it was a bad movie, but the book was special. It's kind of nerve wracking to read a book you loved when you were young- what if the magic disappears? I was so relieved to find I loved it even more this time.
2. North By Northanger, or The Shades of Pemberley A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries) by Carrie Bebris by Carrie Bebris. So, I posted above that I'm going to read more classics, so of course, the book I list now is a cozy mystery. But hey, at least it's a literary cozy mystery featuring Jane Austen characters. It was a good book, but Elizabeth Darcy seems to restrained, not what I visualized in a modern take on these characters.
3. Nothing to Envy Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick by Barbara Demick. If you didn't know it was a non-fiction book, it would read like a far out, unbelievable parody of a totalitarian regime. The fact that it is true is heartbreaking. Wow, all I can say is I'm happy to be an American.
4. The Inheritance of Loss (Man Booker Prize) by Kiran Desai by Kiran Desai. Beautiful, sad, haunting. A book that I both couldn't put down and yet was repulsed. This is a book that evoked strong feelings. It was an amazing depiction of two of the most "class bound" cultures in collision- India and the UK. In many Indians in this novel, what that seemed to have brought about is an extreme self-loathing- their hair, the color of their skin, etc. Wish I could have given it 4 1/2 stars.

5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie. One of the best things about Agatha Christie is that she has a distinctive voice. A lot of mysteries now, you remember them as the one with the dog walker or the apple orchard one. But, Agatha Christie's books are memorable because they are well written, well plotted, with a wonderful twist at the end.

message 5: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 6. Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien by Robert C. O'Brien. 240 pages. This book was published after the author's death and feels as if it was not "completed". It's an interesting and engaging premise, but not well thought out in every detail- like he was still working on it. For example, the narrator is a 16 year old girl, but the character doesn't really seem like a girl. It just felt unfinished and rough.
7. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff by Brenna Yovanoff. Interesting premise about a town ****Spoilers*** who occasionally has some of their children replaced by foundlings. It was a good book, not great, not perfect, but a nice change considering that most fantasy novels are full of vampires and werewolves. The perspective is through a teenaged boy, but until the author said something that made it quite clear he was a boy, I thought it was a teenage girl. That feeling persisted through the whole book- the author was not able to write a convincing male protagonist.
8. The Book about Blanche and Marie by Per Olov Enquist by Per Olov Enquist. This book is on the 1001 Books list and I can't figure out why. Is it okay? Yes. Is it one of the best books ever or incredibly influential or a cultural force? No, no, and no. So, why is it on the list? I think every list of "best" books has to include a few obscure, perplexing choices that make no sense and seemed designed to make people think that the makers of the list have profound taste and intelligence that the average person cannot comprehend.
9. Threats at Three (Lois Meade Mystery) by Ann Purser by Ann Purser, 346 pages. This is the 10th or so book in the series and it's starting to get a little stale. So, at this point, you have to figure out if you like these characters well enough to "visit" with them once a year. I think that I do like them enough for a yearly visit, but the main character is one of those characters the British do so well- gruff, abrupt, a little repellent, but likable. So, this is one of those mystery series that people either like or really hate and I think it's because of the main character.
10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger by J.D. Salinger. I went into this book thinking that there was a good chance I was going to despise it, but it's on the 1001 Books list. I was surprised by how much I loved it. It's as modern and fresh as ever if you just overlook some of the slang. It is simply brilliant in the way it shows alienation, loss, fear of failure and the way that those things can stop a person from ever doing anything except becoming embittered. Salinger creates such a complete and complicated character in Holden.
11. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. Like most Shakespeare, to me, about a 4 star read, but a 5 star play when you see it performed. Like all plays, a little weak on character development, descriptions of people and settings, etc. But, once you get used to the language, Shakespeare's comedies are incredibly funny. People always try to read his serious plays- the histories or tragedies, when they first start reading him. I've read them all and I must say, start with the comedies. Even after reading all of his plays, the comedies are my favorites.

message 6: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 843 comments Mod
Shay - are you planning on reading the final book in the Clan of the Cave Bear seires when it comes out? later on this month IIRC

message 7: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments Delicious Dee Challenge Addict wrote: "Shay - are you planning on reading the final book in the Clan of the Cave Bear seires when it comes out? later on this month IIRC"

I don't know if I'll get to it by the end of this month. I've only ever read Clan of the Cave Bear, so I don't even know if I'll want to finish the series. But, I do have the final book on library request, so I know I have to pick up the pace on my reading this series. Have you read the other 4 books in the series? Are they any good? I've heard some negative things about the fifth, Shelters of Stone(?).

message 8: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 12. Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) by Lois Winston by Lois Winston. If this weren't a debut novel, I probably would have given it 2 1/2 stars. Since it is, I'm rounding up. It was okay, nothing special, the only thing I found really intriguing imagining that, like the character, I was living in a small house with both my mother and mother-in-law. Ick, horrible migraine headache 24/7.
13. The Call of the Wild by Jack London by Jack London. I re-read this every so many years- last time I read it was about 5 years ago. I always love it and am always a little sad to see Buck go.
14. Animal Farm by George Orwell by George Orwell. I do remember from school that two of the characters represent Lenin and Trotsky. But, their feud and its effects really hit home after reading The Lacuna which featured Trotsky as one of its characters. This book was written so close in time to those events and yet time has shown that it was a very reasoned account. An easy to read classic.

message 9: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 843 comments Mod
i've read all of them...umm, I didn't mind the 5th one, but it wasn't as good as the earlier ones...but I didn't hate it anymore than I hated plains of the passage

Shay wrote: "Delicious Dee Challenge Addict wrote: "Shay - are you planning on reading the final book in the Clan of the Cave Bear seires when it comes out? later on this month IIRC"

I don't know if I'll get t..."

message 10: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments Dee, Amazon has The Land of the Painted Caves as a March 29, 2011 release. Have you heard it's coming out sooner? If so, I really have to finish up the series if it's coming out in January. I'm #9 or so at the library which means I'll get it on the "first round" and if I can't finish it then, it'll take months for me to re-request it and get it again.

message 11: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 843 comments Mod
i had heard January, but maybe its been pushed...her website is never up to date...I have it on pre-order from amazon...but need to get the other ones on my kindle - I have clan of the cave bear, but none of the others...

message 12: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments Delicious Dee Challenge Addict wrote: "i had heard January, but maybe its been pushed...her website is never up to date...I have it on pre-order from amazon...but need to get the other ones on my kindle - I have clan of the cave bear, b..."

I'm too cheap to buy them all. I'm gradually borrowing them from the library. They have a ton of copies. I wish they would figure out a way to let people sell used ebooks.

message 13: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 15. The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett by Dashiell Hammett. I believe this was Hammett's last book and one that he wrote after he had "sold out" to Hollywood. I think that makes this book bittersweet in that you can see the parallels between the drunken Nick Charles, living off his wife's fortune, and Hammett. I must say that I loved the movie and this book adds to it without taking away anything from it.
16. How to Crash a Killer Bash A Party-Planning Mystery (Party Planning Mystery) by Penny Warner by Penny Warner. It was okay, nothing spectacular, but a good solid mystery. I wish there was more focus on the mother-daughter relationship which was the highlight of the book.
17. Christmas Mourning by Margaret Maron by Margaret Maron. Wow, I'm glad I did not read this at Christmas. This is the latest Deborah Knott mystery, it's set at Christmas much of it involves the investigation of a fatal car wreck in which a teenaged girl dies. This is so not Christmasy to me. But, it remains a dependably solid mystery series.
18. Suite Française  by Irène Némirovsky by Irène Némirovsky. The French Vichy government cooperated/collaborated with the Nazis when France fell to the Germans. Irene Nemirovsky, a Russian Jewish exile living in France, was to bear a heavy burden for this collaboration. She and her husband were both eventually rounded up by the Nazis and killed in concentration camps. But in this book she shows a remarkable compassion to those that did collaborate, if it was done out of normal human fears or the desire to eat and exist in peace. She knew, I think, of what future lay ahead of her and yet only managed to heap scorn on those that profited by collaboration. I think she was someone who most of us would be honored to know- a good friend and mother and her story is as powerful as is her novel.
19. Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1) by Cherie Priest by Cherie Priest. I just didn't like this book. Even the "action" sequences were lackluster and boring. But, in all fairness, I'll say that many of the ratings are for 4 or 2 stars. So, it appears to be a book that people either love or hate.

message 14: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 20. Katherine by Anya Seton by Anya Seton. Although not entirely historically accurate, she did get the "big stuff" right. The story of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, if not true, would seem impossible. If in real life, they had not married, this work of fiction would be seen as wishful thinking and overly hopeful and romantic. The book has many weaknesses, like it's overly sentimental and soap-opera like tone, but overall I did enjoy it. Highly recommended.
21. Life Keith Richards by Keith Richards by Keith Richards. Overall, a really interesting read. As much about the times, from WW2 through the 70's as it is about Richards. He also knew and wrote about some fascinating people that he knew- like Graham Parsons. He comes off well, a likable guy who gets caught up in stuff bigger than himself. But, some things remain disturbing- car accident with son while on drugs. But, he provides a minimal amount of excuses and isn't afraid to dish a little dirt. Entertaining even for a non-Stones fanatic. This book has been on quite a few "best" lists for 2010 and it deserves its inclusion.
22. Backstage Stuff (Jane Wheel Mysteries) by Sharon Fiffer by Sharon Fiffer. I didn't like this book. It's a cozy mystery with an antique/collectible angle, but the book wasn't really either. There was a murder, but the amateur sleuth didn't really investigate, just bumbles along into a solution. The author spent more time on the main character's sudden divorce and the staging of a play instead of antiques. One of those books that doesn't give you what you're expecting and thus disappoints you. I think most people who read cozy series read the series and enjoy the familiarity with the characters and settings.
23. Queen The Story of an American Family by Alex Haley by Alex Haley. This is such a beautiful, touching, yet disturbing book. In essence, at the core, it's about all families and how the love and dreams we have for or children span generations. Even if they never meet. This book has made me really want to read Roots again. Haley is truly one of the Great American Writers of any generation.
24. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg by Fannie Flagg. Way better than the movie. It also touches on things Hollywood didn't want to put on screen. It was an amazing book that helped start a genre. If you're sick of that genre, it's because like all things that become popular- eventually they start putting out inferior product.
25. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen by Sara Gruen. A good, but flawed book. It is redeemed by your wanting to know the fate of characters you care about.

It's been a few days since I finished Water for Elephants and the longer I get away from it and the more I think about it, the more I just don't like it. Well, not really not like it at all. But, I like it less and less the further I get from it. Don't think it will become a "special" book to me.

message 15: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 26. Dead and Berried (Gray Whale Inn Mystery, #2) by Karen MacInerney by Karen MacInerney. I was getting worried because I haven't been feeling like reading mysteries recently. I thought that, maybe, my goal to read less fluff, was making me a literary snob or something. That I wasn't going to be able to enjoy a good "fluff" read. So, very relieved that I liked this book. I guess I've just had some bad luck in my "fluff" reading selections.
27. A Stitch Before Dying (A Black Sheep Knitting Mystery, #3) by Anne Canadeo by Anne Canadeo. A cozy series has to have likable or compelling characters to truly enjoy it. I don't feel that this one does. Also, the ending was kind of horrible- the murderer is "unmasked" kind of "off-stage" as an afterthought. Kind of like, oh well, the book's gone on long enough, let's end it.
28. Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez by A. Lee Martinez. This was a great book by Martinez, very funny. It seems like when his books "work" they're as good as Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez . But, all it takes is for him to be a little "off" and the book seems corny.
29. Rabbit, Run by John Updike by John Updike. Makes me think of Holden, from Catcher in the Rye, fast forwarded 8 years. Rabbit and Holden aren't in the same class, geographic area, etc. but their outlooks and attitudes are so similar. But, in Updike, Rabbit is unlikable. Maybe because 26 is old enough to know better and to have more "collateral" damage from your actions. But, Updike has made the unlikable incredibly compelling.

message 16: by Roseann (new)

Roseann | 185 comments Shay wrote: "I think there's something wrong with me because the more I think about those goals, the more I want to read "crappy" books. I think I'll read one now."

I had to laugh when I saw your post as I am trying to read more "crappy" books, rather than just the hard stuff.

message 17: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 843 comments Mod
I think I have the most recent (aside from the one due out) in the Earth's Children series in hardcover, so if you can't get it at the library let me know and I can find my copy (i think its in a box somewhere)...I do have Clan on my kindle...I can see if its loanable (but I don't know if you would get it read in 2 weekS)

message 18: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments Roseann wrote: "Shay wrote: "I think there's something wrong with me because the more I think about those goals, the more I want to read "crappy" books. I think I'll read one now."

I had to laugh when I saw you..."

The most important thing is just to enjoy reading. I've had people comment about my reading so much garbage. I would always say that when I decide to read "real" literature, I would probably be able to read more in a year than they would in a decade. Why? Because even though I read "crap", it's still reading and I'm still getting "better" and "faster" at it because I do so much of it. I'll end the year with around 175 classics and "real" literature books. I think that's more than most people read in a decade.

message 19: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments Delicious Dee Challenge Addict wrote: "I think I have the most recent (aside from the one due out) in the Earth's Children series in hardcover, so if you can't get it at the library let me know and I can find my copy (i think its in a b..."

Thanks, Dee. I should be okay. I'm #2 at the library. So I should be able to get it quickly.

message 20: by Shay (last edited Mar 21, 2011 02:50PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 30. A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé by Laurence Cossé. This book is part mystery and part discussion of what is literature. I think that it ultimately fails to be good at either. I'm especially disappointed that the novel never really gets into a "discussion" with the readers on what a "good book" is or what literature is. It's a book long on pretension and short on delivery. A book that wants to have the facade of being better than it is, which is ironic given that it's the exact kind of mediocre book that the novel's characters are disheartened by.
31. Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton. It's been years since I've read it, but it's still enjoyable. I've come to loathe the series recently as it's descended into unreadable pornography, but when it started, Hamilton had a fresh voice. I don't think she was technically the originator of urban fiction, but her work went a long way in popularizing it.
32. A Decadent Way To Die by G. A. McKevett by G. A. McKevett. After the last book, I thought the series was getting stale. I was wrong and this was one of the best in the series.
33. The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton. For a few books, this series kept getting better and better. I haven't read these in at least 10 years, but they're good enough that I keep reading her most recent books hoping for a return to these first books.
34. Truman by David McCullough by David McCullough. The everyday wonderful person Truman could be was captured very well by McCullough. One of the real strengths of this book is that McCullough presented Truman, warts and all. In doing so, Truman emerges as a man to be admired even more.
35. Electric Barracuda by Tim Dorsey by Tim Dorsey. The other Florida series featuring a serial killer. What's up with Florida? Well, this series, unlike Dexter, is funny. It's also a book for men who don't like to read. One of the few series my husband likes.
36. Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #3)  by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton
37. Fade to White (A Ski Diva Mystery, #2) by Wendy Clinch by Wendy Clinch. A 2 1/2 star read. It never really "took off" and got exciting and was pretty slow and boring for about 1/4 of the book. This is the second in the series and they're really not getting any better.
38. Rabbit Redux by John Updike by John Updike. Again, how can something so repellent be so wonderfully compelling?
39. Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler by Chelsea Handler. Never seen her shows, I think they're on too late. But several people told me to read the book. It was really funny. She's the kind of person, though, you wouldn't want as a friend- more like a friend of a friend. That way, she would occasionally tag along, tell funny stories. Being a friend of a friend would make you exempt from having her drunk dial you at 3 a.m.
40. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens by Charles Dickens. Dickens lets his more annoying traits run free in this book that needs about 500 pages chopped off. It's longwinded rambling without the usual Dickens charm to save it. Do not read this as your first Dickens- you'll wonder what all the fuss is about.

message 21: by Shay (last edited Mar 21, 2011 02:53PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 41. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie by Dai Sijie. This is a little jewel of a book. The setting sounds like an Asian landscape painting of a mist shrouded mountain. Sad, funny, uplifting at various times. A book, unlike Little Dorrit, that you wish was longer.
42. To Have and to Kill A Wedding Cake Mystery (Wedding Cake Mysteries) by Mary Jane Clark by Mary Jane Clark. Fairly good mystery series debut. The ending is a little abrupt- the main character doesn't solve the crime and stumbles into the solution. I don't know what it is now with a lot of mysteries- no investigation by the protagonist.
43. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout . Opinion on this book seems fairly well divided by how old you are. I'm getting old, so I think I can appreciate this novel about an embittered, grouchy woman. We're from different generations, but I'm beginning to see how different the world is, how much it's changed. I think you wind up an Olive when you start to feel scared of change, resentful of the young for opportunities you've never had or didn't take. In the end, though, the author makes you feel compassion for a deeply flawed person who is deep down a good person who never managed to connect to others.
44. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz by Junot Diaz. This is a book that will either pull you in and make you read it until it's finished or repulse you and make you question the taste, sanity, morals, etc. of anyone who could like it, let alone write it. This is why it won the Pulitzer- it's a book that makes you feel. Forget Lisa See, this is an authentic book about the immigrant experience.
45. I, Claudius From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54  by Robert Graves by Robert Graves. A little dry, slow, and confusing (because of all of the names) in the beginning. But, then it picks up and becomes interesting. Well, if you're into Roman history.
46. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn by Rachel Cohn. Wow, do kids actually swear this much? (That's definitely an old people question.) It was good, but I'm not sure I'd let someone in the book's intended audience read it "unsupervised".
47. The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children, #2) by Jean M. Auel by Jean M. Auel. Very slow at the beginning. But, still good enough to make you want to continue reading the series.
48. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller by Joseph Heller. Funny and astonishing for its time. Heller really captured the utter ridiculousness of bureaucracy.
49. Almost to Die For (Vampire Princess of St. Paul, #1) by Tate Hallaway by Tate Hallaway. Kind of good, kind of blah. Kind of just seems like a decent rehash or supernatural YA books. Wouldn't go out of my way to read more, but I would probably be perfectly content reading the next.

message 22: by Shay (last edited Mar 21, 2011 02:56PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 50. Just Kids by Patti Smith by Patti Smith. A beautiful account of a love that blossomed into friendship between two misfits in New York. They later became famous, iconic even, of a time and place. Truthfully, I'm not a fanatic about either Smith or Mapplethorpe, but it's a wonderful journey through the 60's and 70's New York art scene.
51. Bloodfever (Fever, #2) by Karen Marie Moning by Karen Marie Moning. This is the second book in the Fever series. I tried several times to get through Book 1, but couldn't get past page 50. But, I heard such great things about the series, that I skipped the first book. (Many people said it's okay to skip, the second book summarizes the main points in the beginning.) Glad I did, this was a good book.
52. Youth Scenes from Provincial Life II by J.M. Coetzee by J.M. Coetzee. It starts off "mediocre" and you think it's going to be another "coming of age" book. It quickly disabuses your of that notion. It's about the process of growing up and artistic temperament. It's about the process of accommodation as it becomes conformity.
53. The Lunatic Cafe (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #4) by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton. This is still the portion of the series where the books keep getting a little better each book.
54. The Bells by Richard Harvell by Richard Harvell. A truly beautiful and moving story. It's the author's first novel and I'm anxious to see if this is the only great book he has in him or if he'll continue to get better and better.
55. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. A jewel of a book. What genius it must take to create a fully realized character in a handful of pages!
56. If Walls Could Talk (A Haunted Home Repair Mystery, #1) by Juliet Blackwell by Juliet Blackwell. I still don't know what I think about this book. Took forever for me to get through. It didn't seem like a horrible book, so maybe I just wasn't in the mood.

message 23: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 57. River Marked (Mercedes Thompson, #6) by Patricia Briggs by Patricia Briggs. It was good, the series is developing. But, it's at a point at which it needs to do something different, but fitting, or start getting stale.
58. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton. I love how the author slowly reveals the story. Ethan Frome is a mystery to the reader and narrator until his story is revealed. Sad, touching.
59. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling by J.K. Rowling. I've never read the last book of this series. But, it's been at least 8 years since I've read this book. So, I decided to reread the whole series. Even without all the hype surrounding it, this is a good book.
60. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck by John Steinbeck. Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors and I'm in the process of rereading his work. One of my favorite things about Steinbeck is that he seems to really like people. Even at their worst, his characters aren't born evil. They're just people who've made bad decisions or hurt others as they've been hurt.
61. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. One of those books I had on my shelf that I was avoiding because I thought it couldn't ever live up to even a fraction of the hype. I was wrong, it was a touching, wonderful read. Yes, a little cheesy and chick-lit at times, but still an absorbing read.
62. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick by Philip K. Dick. They only took a kernel of the ideas in the book to make the movie Blade Runner. I loved the movie, must have seen it over a 100 times in my youth. So, I was very reluctant to read the book. But, the two are so different that it's almost 2 completely different stories.
63. Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike by John Updike.
64. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie by Sherman Alexie. An excellent YA coming-of-age story. Because of the language, sexual references, etc., this is not a book I'd allow my sons to read without me.
65. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis by Bret Easton Ellis. Another book made into a movie that I never read for fear of ruining either. Again, the book and the movie are different. The book, I think, can best be appreciated by those who grew up during the 80's. Even if you don't totally enjoy Ellis, you can treat it as a nostalgia trip.

message 24: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 66. Faefever (Fever, #3) by Karen Marie Moning by Karen Marie Moning.
67. Lord of the Flies by William Golding by William Golding. On the surface, a simple adventure story about boys being stranded on a deserted island. Below the surface, questioning whether man's essential nature is good/bad, ordered/disordered, etc.
68. Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses, #1) by Malorie Blackman by Malorie Blackman. A really excellent YA novel about racism- with a twist. My only real objection is the sex and violence. (Only one sex scene and not gratuitous, really.)
69. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) by Douglas Adams by Douglas Adams. I've avoided this novel for decades and finally broke down and read it only because it's on the 1001 books list. I'm really happy I did- really enjoyed it. I think, though, you have to enjoy SF/Fantasy.
70. The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children, #3) by Jean M. Auel by Jean M. Auel. There's so much I like about this series, but certain things are starting to get on my nerves. But, I'm going to keep reading.
71. gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson by Joshilyn Jackson. Light, frothy at times, yet serious at others. The author was very adept at balancing this and pacing the novel well. I haven't finished a book in a while- in a reading slump. This was the only book I really wanted to read. I guess technically, it's a Southern ChickLit novel. But, it's so much more.
72. A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce, #3) by Alan Bradley by Alan Bradley. I don't know if the series is already getting stale or I just wasn't in the mood to read it, but I didn't find this book to be as charming as the others. It's still a cut above most other mysteries in terms of so many things- characters, plot, etc.
73. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee by Harper Lee. A remarkable book. It felt like a very realistic depiction of southern small town life in those times. Now days, it seems like the precocious child narrator is overdone and cliche. But, in this novel it is pitch perfect and fitting. This is a 5 star book and I do not hand those out lightly.
74. Xala by Ousmane Sembène by Ousmane Sembène. Kind of weird, but interesting. A look at the colonial impact upon an African country told with humor. (The title of the book means impotence.)
75. An Irish Country Girl A Novel (Irish Country Books) by Patrick Taylor by Patrick Taylor. A 2 1/2 star read. This book is a departure from the "normal" series in that it tells the story of the housekeeper, "Kinky" Kinkaid. I actually enjoy her character in this series, but it just wasn't a compelling read for me.
76. Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption  by Laura Hillenbrand by Laura Hillenbrand. A great book, hard to read at times. Very inspiring, heartwarming, heartbreaking. If it wasn't real and true, it would seem fake.
77. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb by Wally Lamb. I've resisted reading this book and author for years- it's an anti-Oprah thing. But, it's really a good book. Glad that I took people's recommendations and broke down and read it.
78. How to Bake a Perfect Life A Novel by Barbara O'Neal by Barbara O'Neal. I like books with some connection to food, or I never would have picked up this book. Seemed to chick-lit. But, the author has a gift for creating wonderful characters. A good, but not great book that is never the less, quite compelling. You want to keep reading and are sad when life interrupts and you have to put it down.
79. Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver by Barbara Kingsolver.
80. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris by David Sedaris. I like David Sedaris. But he's not an acquired taste, you'll know within the first, say, 10 pages of any one of his books whether you like him or loathe him. That being said, even I usually like him in small doses. Say, an essay every day or two.

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Shay | 330 comments 81. Wicked Girls A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill by Stephanie Hemphill. A 2 1/2 star read. It's a novel written in verse. But, it seems like that's a gimmick. It seems artificial and designed so that a teacher would put it on a class reading list- historical novel in verse. Two check marks, two subjects covered. It was such a blah, bland book. Writing it in verse seemed to make the story even more disconnected from the reader. Not recommended at all.
82. The Lies That Bind (A Bibliophile Mystery, #3) by Kate Carlisle by Kate Carlisle. It took me forever to read this book considering it is a cozy mystery and meant to be an easy read. I just wasn't in the mood to read it I think. I just have to get it back to the library before it's due. So, I think it's about as good as any other in the series, but I just didn't really enjoy it as much as the rest of the books in the series.
83. Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman by Chuck Klosterman. I like Klosterman's books about pop culture- we're about the same age, 1 year apart, so we have the same reference points. But, Klosterman also uses pop culture as a vehicle to understand us- why does what we value or not value say about us?
84. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford by Natalie Standiford. A wonderful book. I thought the ending was well-written and realistic. Felt more true to life than a lot of books.
85. Madame Tussaud A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran by Michelle Moran. This book was so disappointing. It didn't develop characters very well. It also engaged in some historical name dropping: Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemmings, etc. Then did nothing with their characters. Could you imagine writing an historical novel and placing Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson in the same room and...nothing? Also, she didn't have a character that represented "the poor" so the novel comes across as unbalanced in favor of the monarchy. Not that the actions of the French Revolutionaries were always justified, but people eating cats and rats- millions of them and the author goes on and on about the poor Queen?
86. Scones & Bones (A Tea Shop Mystery, #12) by Laura Childs by Laura Childs. I really don't like mysteries when the sleuth doesn't investigate very much. For the first half of the book, the main character actively investigated the crime twice. Considering that the murder and her agreement to solve the murder occurred within the first few chapters, that's a whole lot of nothing going on for a long time. Boring, boring, boring.
87. Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburō Ōe by Kenzaburō Ōe. Too weird, too soon to comment. I honestly don't know what I think about it except that I think a lot was lost in translation.
88. Death of a Chimney Sweep by M. C. Beaton by M. C. Beaton. One of my favorite "nostalgic" series. You pretty much get the same book every time, but it's comforting rather than boring.
89. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling by J.K. Rowling. Haven't read this in years, but I still find it wonderful.
90. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton by Enid Blyton. Not a book I would have chosen to read, but it was on the BBC book list. For its time, it was probably fine. But, her use of language is stilted so badly it made you very aware that this was an adult trying (and failing) to capture the wonder of childhood. Maybe we're spoiled by the likes of Harry Potter, but the comparison just can't be helped.

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Shay | 330 comments 91. Pale Demon (Rachel Morgan/The Hollows #9) by Kim Harrison by Kim Harrison. One of my big pet peeves is authors not settling issues and just wrapping things up. Maybe they're afraid to offend their readers, maybe they don't know how they want to resolve things. In any case, it's annoying to have story arcs continue over 10 books and 10 years. While in the books' universe, that might cover a few month time span, it seems endless to a reader. Well, one of the things I like about this series is that stuff happens- good or bad. It's quite a ways into the series at this point and is getting a little of that staleness. But, that staleness is offset by stuff getting resolved and characters developing.
92. Mr. Monk on the Road by Lee Goldberg by Lee Goldberg. Not really much mystery or investigation in this book. I still enjoyed it because I loved the TV show.
93. What Is the What by Dave Eggers by Dave Eggers. It was a good book, but disappointing. I had higher expectations, I guess. The major problem I had with it is that in pre-literate or cultures with a strong oral tradition, language use seems to be more poetic. It has different rhythms and cadence. I don't think that Eggers captured that well and it was jarring because the story was supposed to be from the point of view of one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan.
94. Mistress of the monarchy the life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster by Weir, Alison by Alison Weir. Feel like I've been reading this book forever. It's fascinating on many levels- Katherine lived an interesting life. It's also intriguing because of the scant amount of information about Katherine. So, the author spends a lot of the book explaining how she arrived at certain facts, conclusions, and assumptions. In essence, you learn as much about how historians determine the facts of history as actual history.
95. Picture of Dorian Gray (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde.
96. Live Wire (Myron Bolitar, #10) by Harlan Coben by Harlan Coben. I didn't like the last Myron Bolitar mystery. I felt that the author was going through the motions, as if he was sick of his own characters. But, brought them back because they were so beloved and maybe by making them mediocre, he could kill people's fondness for the series. This book, though, is a reminder of what made the series great. He managed to both let the series's characters evolve and kept the spirit of the older books in the series alive.
97. Homecoming (Tillerman Family, #1) by Cynthia Voigt by Cynthia Voigt. I had to read this book, literally. It was due yesterday and I forgot about it. One of those books that gets buried in the shelf. I'm so glad I read it. It's a YA book with no vampires, werewolves, witches, etc. So, a rarity, but it was published years ago. An excellent coming of age book.
98. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling by J.K. Rowling.
99. Gilgamesh A New English Version by Anonymous by Anonymous. I read the version translated by Stephen Mitchell which is a more modern verse translation. I rated it a 4 star as much for the translation as anything. It's obviously an "important" book, but so old it's dry and dusty. It's narrative style, due to oral tradition, means that it can be repetitive. Mitchell dealt with these issues well and I enjoyed his translation far more than others. (Being modern, though, it's a lot dirtier than I expected and remembered.)
100. One Grave Less (Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation #9) by Beverly Connor by Beverly Connor. This is a good solid mystery series. This is the 9th book in the series and still enjoyable.
101. Chuck Klosterman IV A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas by Chuck Klosterman by Chuck Klosterman. Good, Klosterman is reliably witty in his assessments of pop culture and modern society. The last section, though, which seems to be a fictionalized account of a day in his life, was boring. Good thing it was short and boring.
102. Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly by Mary Pat Kelly. A really good, compelling family saga that goes from Ireland during the potato famine to Chicago and the Civil War. So good that even though I was reading 13-15 books, this is the one I finished because I didn't want to put it down.

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Shay | 330 comments 103. Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran by Marsha Mehran. This is a novel in the magical realism genre. I thought it was very good and thought that the character development was wonderful. I really felt connected to the characters and felt they were well developed- which is difficult in a short novel.
104. A Midsummer Night's Dream  by William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare.I've read many editions, but I think the Folger's has to be the best.
105. An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor by Patrick Taylor. Another charming book in the series. I'm glad he's wrapped up some loose ends. My big pet peeve is stretching things out over 10 books without resolving anything.
106. The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye by M.M. Kaye. I gave this one three stars. 400 pages of it, were really good. The problem was you had to read 550 pages to get there. I honestly don't think that an author has any right to ask you to wade through that much mediocrity to get to the good stuff. I also felt that the book was dated. It was published in 1978. Time had and would continue to pass this author by. In 1976, Roots was published. In, 1980, A Color Purple. It seems hopelessly old fashioned to have as your main character, in Raj India, be a "Great White Hope" (A white man). To not have the point of view of the interesting character of the novel, Juli, because she's a woman and Indian. That feels hopelessly out of date now and may have been shortly after the book was published.
107. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen by Sarah Addison Allen. I read her first book, Garden Spells, and thought it was okay. Okay because she has a few quirks that I thought might get annoying over time. This is only the second book of hers I've read, I plan to read the other two books in the middle. I think she's a little over hyped- that she's a good, but not great writer.
108. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden by Arthur Golden. Many times when you read a book about Japan written by a Westerner, it feels so wrong it becomes unreadable. Now, details, that's another issue. But, if overall, the author can't capture the spirit of the culture then that makes every wrong detail nag at you. Fortunately, this is not one of those books. It's a compelling story and surprising that Golden was able to write a woman's story so well. I thought the ending was a little abrupt, but that's a minor quibble.
109. Sinister Sprinkles (Donut Shop Mystery #3) by Jessica Beck by Jessica Beck.I wasn't really impressed by this series after I read the first book. But, it's gotten better. I guess it's at the point where I might buy it used, not new, but I wouldn't go out of my way to find it either.
110. Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran by Marsha Mehran. A good, but not great sequel. It seems like the next book is overdue- should have been released already.
111. The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease by Brenda Rickman Vantrease. This is a 2 1/2 star read. It's overly sentimental and soap opera-ish. It relies on too many heavy handed coincidences. Finally, I don't know if the author realized it, but the book seems anti-Catholic as opposed to critical of the Church during the Middle Ages. To the point of being offensive, at times, and I'm not a Catholic.
112. Moab Is My Washpot An Autobiography by Stephen Fry by Stephen Fry. I love Stephen Fry. Note to self: boarding school is not an option for sons.

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Shay | 330 comments 113. Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1) by Amanda Hocking by Amanda Hocking. This book is a little "rough around the edges", but still a good book with interesting and likable characters. Good enough to keep reading the series, especially since the GR ratings seem to indicated that the series gets better./
114. The Bastard (Kent Family Chronicles, #1) by John Jakes by John Jakes. Good historical novel about the events leading up to the Revolutionary War. A bit of a 1970's vibe and a naked cameo by Benjamin Franklin. Wow.
115. Dirty Rotten Tendrils (A Flower Shop Mystery, #10) by Kate Collins by Kate Collins. A 3 1/2 stars book. I like this series- it's settling into a good "rut". It's consistently good and yet you know what to expect in each book. Predictable, but in a good way.
116. Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald by Laura Fitzgerald. A good, but not great book. Quick read. The author's big failing is she didn't do enough with the material she had- didn't explore some of the issues well enough from the perspective of the main character. Still, I liked the characters and plan to read the sequel.
117. The Plains of Passage (Earth's Children, #4) by Jean M. Auel by Jean M. Auel. The first 400 or so pages of the book were incredibly boring. It's like the author did research on the geography, life forms, etc of the time and had to make use of them. Repetitive in the worst way- pretty much 400 pages of get up, eat breakfast, gather food, ride horse, etc. Only what they ate varied. Dull, dull, dull.
118. Skating on Thin Ice (Murder, She Wrote, #35) by Jessica Fletcher by Jessica Fletcher. I don't think these are good enough mysteries to read if you weren't a fan of the series.
119. Cookie Dough or Die (Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery, #1) by Virginia Lowell by Virginia Lowell. One of the better cozy debuts in a while. I like that this amateur sleuth actually investigates rather than stumble upon things by accident.
120. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness by Deborah Harkness. This book is good, but not great. I don't think it's full of memorable characters and I don't think it's destined to become a classic. Think of it as above average vampire fiction. With the perspective of a few weeks since I've read the book, I'm liking it less. I honestly don't care what happens to the characters, I wouldn't be sad if the sequels never get published.
121. A Hard Day's Fright (Pepper Martin, #7) by Casey Daniels by Casey Daniels. This is one of the best books in the series. Really like that it keeps progressing and staying interesting.
122. The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing From the Files of Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator (Vish Puri, #2) by Tarquin Hall by Tarquin Hall. I liked the first book in the series a lot. The only thing that kept that book from being a 4 star read was that you had to keep flipping back to the glossary every page or two. Hall seems to have solved that problem by placing more Indian words in context. But, this time, I was bored and not charmed by the story and characters. A 2 1/2 star read. Still good enough to hope that this gets ironed out in the next book in the series.
123. Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory by Philippa Gregory. I love historical fiction set in England. But, I couldn't love this book with its unlikable and unsympathetic characters.

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Shay | 330 comments 124. The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho. Good, but not great. Wondering at its inclusion in the 1001 books list- many authors have dealt with the issue of how to reconcile evil with the existence of a benevolent God more effectively. A 3 1/2 star book.
125. The Color Purple by Alice Walker by Alice Walker. I read this book when I was in high school. Not for a class because my school was not into modern literature. So, it's been a while since I read this. It was as good as I remember.
126. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling by J.K. Rowling. This book really makes me wish I could give 1/2 stars because I'd give this book 4 1/2 stars. I still haven't read all of the books in the series, but so far this is my favorite.
127. Mourning Gloria (China Bayles, #19) by Susan Wittig Albert by Susan Wittig Albert. I wasn't crazy about the previous book in this series. I thought that maybe it was starting its decline. But, this book reminded me why it's one of my favorite mysteries series.
128. World Without End (The Pillars of the Earth, #2) by Ken Follett by Ken Follett. I tried to read this book last year after finishing Pillars in the Earth. I was so disappointed that it wasn't a "true" sequel and picked up 200 years later and we didn't get to revisit the characters. So, I put it aside for awhile. It's not as good as Pillars. Compelling enough to read for 1000 pages, but not magical or memorable.
129. The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children, #5) by Jean M. Auel by Jean M. Auel. Maybe a 3 1/2 star read. I hope she finishes the series up well and wraps everything up.
130. Roses by Leila Meacham by Leila Meacham. 624 pages. One of those books I got because of the cover. And that hasn't been working out well for me. But, I liked this book, which has been described as "Gone with the Wind" in Texas. The thing that prevented it from being great is I didn't buy the love story of the pair from the youngest generation.
131. Heist Society (Heist Society, #1) by Ally Carter by Ally Carter. Nice to find a YA book with no werewolves, vampires, ghosts, etc. A quick, fun, fluffy YA read.
132. The Sea Captain's Wife A Novel by Beth Powning by Beth Powning. I thought it would be a 4 star book right up until the last 20 or so pages. The ending was so horrible it detracted from an otherwise good book. If the ending was any worse, it would have ruined the book.
133. Under the Bright Lights by Daniel Woodrell by Daniel Woodrell. The author truly has a gift for words. It's actually difficult to write a short novel and have fleshed out characters and wonderful atmosphere and sense of place. But, Woodrell manages to do all of that with a remarkable economy of words.
134. Unbearable Lightness A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi by Portia de Rossi. Wow, we are a screwed up society full of messed up values and ideals.
135. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling by J.K. Rowling.
136. The Idiot (Everyman's Library, #254) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. A 1001 List book. Overall, this was an enjoyable, interesting read. Softer, more "lighthearted" than most Russian novels. It's a little like Forrest Gump, in 19th century Russia

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Shay | 330 comments 137. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling by J.K. Rowling. 652 pages. I thought I read the book, but I didn't. I even read the summary and thought I read it- didn't even see the movie. I'm kind of sad, though, that I'm on to the next, and last, book.
138. Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, #11) by Charlaine Harris by Charlaine Harris. 325 pages. I didn't like the last Sookie book, this one was much better. I still like the TV series better, but I'll never get caught up with it until it's done.
139. Slugfest (Dirty Business Mystery #4) by Rosemary Harris by Rosemary Harris. 288 pages. I liked this mystery. But, I like gardening mysteries.
140. The Covenant by James A. Michener by James A. Michener. 1238 pages. The thing about reading a saga about a messed up country is that it doesn't usually end well for anyone. There is no way to restore people, make them whole, give true justice for centuries of injustice. But, Michener's gift has always been making you see both sides as human. I think that's even scarier because you see how little prejudices become major prejudices which eventually become true evil. A path that is so easy to start without realizing.
141. The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen by Rebecca Rasmussen. 303 pages. I guess there's a lot of hype surrounding the book- a FB and Twitter "campaign", etc. This was a good book and the strength is in its characters. I'm glad I won this in a GR giveaway. It's been about two months since I finished this book. So, the fact that I still think and wonder about the characters means it's improved since I read it. I mean, I read a lot of books, so it's a rare book that stays with me this long.
142. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys by Ruta Sepetys. 344 pages. A sad, but compelling read.
143. Crank (Crank, #1) by Ellen Hopkins by Ellen Hopkins. 537 pages. An amazing book. But, seeing as its subject matter spans meth addiction, sexual assault, premarital sex, teen pregnancy, it's a book that I don't know if I'd feel entirely comfortable about my teen reading. All of those things were handled well- showed how actions lead to consequences.
144. Glass (Crank, #2) by Ellen Hopkins by Ellen Hopkins. 681 pages. This is the sequel to Crank which is the author's semi-autobiographical account of her daughter's descent into addiction. One thing about addicts, just when you think they hit bottom, they manage to find a new low. Pretty much the only thing they succeed in is finding a new way to screw up.
145. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling by J.K. Rowling. 759 pages.
146. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim by Alison Arngrim. 302 pages.
147. Make, Take, Murder (Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-n-Craft Mystery, #4) by Joanna Campbell Slan by Joanna Campbell Slan. 348 pages.
148. Voodoo Dreams A Novel of Marie Laveau by Jewell Parker Rhodes by Jewell Parker Rhodes. 436 pages.
149. Pumped for Murder (Dead-End Job Mystery #10) by Elaine Viets by Elaine Viets. 292 pages.
150. Sixkill (Spenser #40) by Robert B. Parker by Robert B. Parker. 293 pages.
151. Buffalo West Wing (White House Chef Mystery #4) by Julie Hyzy by Julie Hyzy. 320 pages.
152. Fallout (Crank, #3) by Ellen Hopkins by Ellen Hopkins. 665 pages. This is another one of those books that has "stayed" with me over the months. This is usually not the kind of book I even like, so it's really a testament to how good this series is.
153. Fall to Pieces A Memoir of Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll, and Mental Illness by Mary Weiland by Mary Weiland. 304 pages.
154. Bloody Bones (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, #5) by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton. 384 pages.
155. Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea Handler by Chelsea Handler. 292 pages.

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Shay | 330 comments 156. Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis by Anthony Kiedis. 465 pages.
157. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving by John Irving. 637 pages. This was one of my favorite books growing up. I was a little (or a lot) nervous about rereading it. But, I think it's one of those books that improves as you get older and can appreciate it more.
158. Lovely Green Eyes A Novel by Arnošt Lustig by Arnošt Lustig. 248 pages. One of those books that's good as much because it's "important" as the actual quality of the writing. One of those books you really, really want to like so you do.
159. The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas by Michael David Lukas. 304 pages. A 2 star book full of typical first novel weaknesses- undeveloped characters, a "rough" draft feel to the novel, and the abrupt ending. Borrow from the library; do not buy.
160. The Diva Cooks a Goose (A Domestic Diva Mystery, #4) by Krista Davis by Krista Davis.290 pages. If you buy this book, check the final 130 or so pages. There's a printing/binding error and it went from page 170/180 something back to the 80's. I had to wait until the library got a new copy to finish. Overall, this is my least favorite book in the series. Too many characters thrown at you all at once.
161. Victoria Victorious The Story of Queen Victoria (Queens of England, #3) by Jean Plaidy by Jean Plaidy. 556 pages. The writing is a little on the dry side. Not an exciting read, but the author did manage to humanize, a bit, a woman who is a symbol of an era more than a person who lived through it. A good, but not great, read.
162. Aztec by Gary Jennings by Gary Jennings. 754 pages. Wow this was one of the "smuttiest" historical fiction books I have ever read. But, it was also charming, fun, and interesting. It did what good historical fiction is supposed to do- make you feel a part of the times and bring history alive.
163. The Origins of Political Order From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama by Francis Fukuyama. 585 pages. The historical parts of this book were good- analyzing the elements of the formation of successful governments. But then, at the end, the author just couldn't resist injecting some political bias into his conclusions. A 3 1/2 star book. It would have been a 4 star book if not for the last 40-50 pages. Still recommended. This is another book that has influenced the way I think. Even a while after reading the book, I find myself analyzing current and historical events in the context of the theories of this book.
164. The Dirt Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee by Tommy Lee. 431 pages. Even though I was not a fan, their music was a backdrop (via MTV) for at least part of my teen years. So, it's kind of a nostalgia trip to read about their life.
165. Bumped (Bumped, #1) by Megan McCafferty by Megan McCafferty. 336 pages. I can't think of a YA book I'd be less likely to recommend to a young adult. The content was far too sexual. I mean, just because a book features someone under 18 does not make it a YA book. I don't believe you can really "forbid" your kids from reading this- most kids are smart enough to figure out a way to get around you. So, if you think your child wants to read this, I would suggest you read it together. Yuck!!!
166. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. 306 pages. My uncle's girlfriend gave me a copy of this book for my birthday when I was about 13. Of course, I went on the LOTR,, but I never was able to finish even the first book in that trilogy. But, I've always loved The Hobbit.
167. Lucky Stiff by Deborah Coonts by Deborah Coonts. 364 pages. Not really a "fan" of this series. It's not bad or horribly written. It's kind of a perfect summer read- light, breezy, touch of romance, etc. It's just not to my taste. Something about it.
168. 13 Little Blue Envelopes (Little Blue Envelope, #1) by Maureen Johnson by Maureen Johnson. 321 pages. Cute, really just very cute. In a good way. One of those books I turned away from because it seemed too "cute" and yet was an enjoyable, light read.
169. Evergreen by Belva Plain by Belva Plain. 588 pages. There was a time when family sagas were in vogue. This is one of the better examples from that period.
170. Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth by Veronica Roth. 487 pages. This is one of those books that right now is surrounded by hype. So, go into it realizing that it's not going to be the best book ever. Is it a good book? Yes. It's a great YA book- 4 stars. (I'm stingy with stars. 5 stars would be classic literature or books I think will go on to be classic literature.) It's fun and enjoyable. One really silly thing- they have to choose "factions"- not a spoiler, it's in the summary. But, it really made me laugh and think it was a little Harry Potter and the Sorting Hat.
171. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen by Sarah Dessen. 402 pages. A 3 1/2 star book. The ending was a little to contrived and HEA for me.
172. My Appetite for Destruction Sex, and Drugs, and Guns N' Roses by Steven Adler by Steven Adler. 286 pages. One of my favorite bands from my youth. I don't know that I was hoping for "dirt", but more like an inside story. Weird that Adler seems candid, but really has no insight into a lot of the rest of the band. Like he was a third wheel plus it seems like the band was not "close"- did not socialize when they were not "working". So, interesting, but also disappointing.
173. The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner by C.W. Gortner. 368 pages. The first 90% of the book was really excellent historical fiction. Then, the ending came and it was abrupt and disappointing. Why don't authors take more care with how they end a book? 3 1/2 stars... should have been a 4+ star book if it had had a worthy ending.
174. Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, #1) by Kim Harrison by Kim Harrison. 232 pages. I love her other series- the one for adults. So much so that I'm going to continue on in this series even though it's really only a 2 star read for me.
175. Hit List (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #20) by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton. 320 pages. The best Anita Blake book in quite a while. The book isn't great, but it's a big improvement- a move backward towards what the series was like in the beginning. Before the freaky sex. (view spoiler)
176. Doc A Novel by Mary Doria Russell by Mary Doria Russell. 394 pages. I was expecting a great book. I honestly wasn't expecting a book this "structurally" flawed. Now, most historical fiction novels are a bit slow for the first 30-100 pages while it does and info dump of facts on the time, setting, and characters. Some authors are better than others at making this truly feel like part of the story. However, this author in this novel was not one of them. Moreover, she kept doing this throughout the book- stopping the flow of the book and giving you background on one of the supporting characters. Very distracting and ruining the narrative flow.
177. The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2) by Maureen Johnson by Maureen Johnson. 304 pages. The first book in this series was cute and charming. This book felt like it was self-consciously trying to re-create the charm of the first book. A 2 1/2 star book- I rounded it up to 3 stars, though.
178. Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore by Susan Gregg Gilmore. 293 pages. This book is so many things I dislike- it's melodramatic, overly emotional, etc. Yet, it all strangely works and is charming. It just wears its heart on its sleeve and is okay with it. I really like quirky, Southern books.

message 32: by Shay (last edited Jul 01, 2011 07:25PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 179. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë by Charlotte Brontë. 533 pages. The GR ads, the GR Challenge, the movie. So, obviously because I'm weak, I had to read the book. Loved it, plan to read it again in a few years. And I rarely reread anything.
180. Missy by Chris Hannan by Chris Hannan. 297 pages. Wow, one of the worst books I've read this year. It wanted to be funny and edgy and it came off very contrived.
181. Wildthorn by Jane Eagland by Jane Eagland. 350 pages. One of those books that's disappointing because it's not as good as you've heard. But, it was really a pretty good book.
182. Murder under Cover (A Bibliophile Mystery, #4) by Kate Carlisle by Kate Carlisle. 284 pages. Not as good as the others in the series. But this remains one of my favorite mystery series.
183. The Bronze Horseman (Tatiana and Alexander, #1) by Paullina Simons by Paullina Simons. 656 pages. I really loved this book, except a portion towards the middle that was overly smutty for my tastes. Precisely the reason I don't like most romance novels. This book was best when it was a work of solid historical fiction. Now that it's been a month since I've read it, I can say that I still think this was a great book. The way I can tell with historicals is that I start gobbling up books about that country and time period- fiction and non-fiction.
184. Bossypants by Tina Fey by Tina Fey. 280 pages. A 3 1/2 star read. I'm not even a big Tina Fey fan- SNL is on too late for me. I think 30 Rock is on when something critically important to my children's viewing pleasure, like Spongebob or iCarly, is on. But, I still found this book really funny. A nice break, mentally from WW2 historical fiction.
185. Clutches and Curses (Haley Randolph, #4) by Dorothy Howell by Dorothy Howell. 308 pages. Is it that time already. So soon? For a series to start deteriorating. It's not a horrible book, it's still readable. It's just not as good as the others.
186. The Raven's Bride by Lenore Hart by Lenore Hart. 358 pages. There are portions of the book that are poignant. Whether that's due to the author's skill or just the facts of Clemm's and Poe's life is for you to judge. But, when you read Clemm's reaction to the poem "The Raven", when she knows she's going to die. Well, you can't help but being touched. (Assuming you know the poem and if you don't you should read it.) That being said, this is at times an uneven book. There are portions you have to force yourself through because they drag. But, put it off to first time author syndrome and be forgiving. Good enough to commit to reading the author's next offering.
187. Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb by Cathy Lamb. 390 pages. This book is great. Fun while you're reading it. Yet, weeks later you feel very indifferent to the characters and the book. Kind of forgettable but good enough to keep reading books by the author.
188. Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum, #17) by Janet Evanovich by Janet Evanovich. 320 pages. Not bad- not too much whining/love triangle stuff. However, not enough Grandma Mazur.
189. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan by Jennifer Egan. 274 pages. Hard to believe this book won the Pulitzer. Hard to believe that this is not the author's first novel- it is amateurish. It reads like the author went to a writing seminar and decided to use every literary trick and gimmick in this book. The more I think about this book, the more I dislike it. The more I find to pick apart and criticize. One of those books that as time goes on you want to readjust your star ratings on GR downward. Except I don't think I can as I gave it 1 star.
190. Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar, #1) by Harlan Coben by Harlan Coben. 352 pages. This is one of the few mystery series that I still reread every once in a while. So, definitely one of my favorites.
191. Twice as Dead (Odelia Grey, #6) by Sue Ann Jaffarian by Sue Ann Jaffarian. 283 pages. My least favorite of this series.
192. Identical by Ellen Hopkins by Ellen Hopkins. 565 pages. One of those books that you love and think are well written and yet you would hesitate to recommend them. One of those you either love or hate. With the added element of it being a YA book that many would find inappropriate.
193. Drop Shot (Myron Bolitar, #2) by Harlan Coben by Harlan Coben. 341 pages.
194. The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner by C.W. Gortner. 397 pages. The beginning of the book and the end of the book were very good. A portion of the middle of the book really dragged, though. One of those books that's more like a 3 1/4 star book.
195. Burned (Burned, #1) by Ellen Hopkins by Ellen Hopkins. 532 pages. Not her best book. Kind of lackluster characters and an unbelievable ending. Also, wow the author hates Mormons. I think her portrayal of Mormons is not fair and hateful. Like she met a few of them and found them to be bad people so know she thinks all of them and the whole religion is bad. (No, I'm not a Mormon. But that doesn't mean I'm okay with a blanket condemnation of a whole religion based on an author's (probable) limited contact with its members.)
196. Fade Away by Harlan Coben. 368 pages.
197. Back Spin (Myron Bolitar, #4) by Harlan Coben by Harlan Coben. 368 pages. Not as good as the previous entries in the series, but better than most mysteries out there.
198. Mr. Monk on the Couch by Lee Goldberg by Lee Goldberg. 278 pages. You had to have really liked the TV show to like this series. If you did like the show, you'll find that the author does a good job capturing the characters- makes sense he was a writer on the show. All of the novels published after the end of the TV series pick up after the events of the series finale.
199. About a Boy by Nick Hornby. 307 pages. This book drags a little in the middle. Overall, a good but not great book.
200. The Ghost and the Goth (The Ghost and the Goth, #1) by Stacey Kade by Stacey Kade. 281 pages. I get a lot of books because of the cover. This is one of those books that I didn't get and didn't want to read because of the cover. Just looked too cheesy. But, for some reason, I decided to pick it up and read it. It was cute- simple, trite, overly sentimental at times. Yet, it all worked.
201. Sarum The Novel of England by Edward Rutherfurd by Edward Rutherfurd. 897 pages. Rutherfurd has been called England's Michener. Well, sort of. The same kind of overall set up- large, epic works that follow a set of families for hundreds or thousands of years. But, I think Michener does a better job in figuring out what events define a country, its people, and its culture. Rutherfurd on the other hand produced a badly paced novel. 100's of pages on prehistory- 20 on the 20th century (WWII). Odd, really odd.
202. One False Move (Myron Bolitar, #5) by Harlan Coben by Harlan Coben. 400 pages.
203. The Princess Bride  by William Goldman by William Goldman. 398 pages. The book isn't bad- a three star read. But this is one of those rare cases in which I thought the movie was better than the book.

message 33: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 204. The Long Quiche Goodbye (Cheese Shop Mystery, #1) by Avery Aames by Avery Aames. 314 pages. A cute, fun mystery. Look forward to reading the sequel which is sitting on my bookshelf.
205. Jerusalem Maiden A Novel by Talia Carner by Talia Carner. 454 pages. If you like historical fiction, you have to read this book. It's incredible. The best HF books released this year(that I've read so far).
206. The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls by Amy Stolls. 476 pages. You know what my favorite part of this book was? The last word on the last page. Not that it was great, just that it meant that this overly long and boring book was done. This book switches POV between Bess and Rory. Rory asks Bess to marry him. Problem, he's already been married 8 times. (See book title.) The books big problem is that Bess is a bore. A whiny, neurotic, boring, bore. So, you can't wait until her chapter ends and Rory's begins. Then, about 100 pages from the end, they both get boring. You really want to quit, but the book is long. So you've already invested almost 400 pages of reading. You can't quit, you just have to slog through until the ending- resenting this book more and more every boring, tedious page.
207. Queen of the Dead (The Ghost and the Goth, #2) by Stacey Kade by Stacey Kade. 266 pages. I hope that the author has planned to make this series a trilogy and end it after the next book. The cute factor is diminishing. This is one of those series that can't last 10 books. Read it and you'll understand what I mean.
208. The Journeyer by Gary Jennings by Gary Jennings. 782 pages. A riveting, slightly smutty fictional account of Marco Polo's journey eastward and back. One thing you can rely upon with this author is that he really does transport you to a strange and different world and time.
209. Professional Idiot: A Memoir by Stephen "Steve-O" Glover. 336 pages. My kids (boys) love Jackass. So did their dad, who I think got them addicted to it. My son wants to read the book, so I have to read it first.

message 34: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 210. From Hell by Alan Moore. 576 pages. Pretty much a disgusting book. Not to say not great or that Moore isn't a genius. It's just yuck.
211. Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson by Joshilyn Jackson. 336 pages. This book follows one of the characters from Jackson's other book, Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson . I don't like it as much as gods in Alabama. Which surprises me because the subject seems like it would be even more compelling. Still a 3 star book and worth reading, though.
212. Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley by Maria Dahvana Headley. 401 pages. Not bad, but not as good as it could have been.
213. Exit the Actress by Priya Parmar by Priya Parmar. 444 pages. This is a historical fiction novel that transports you to another time. Probably one of the best compliments you can pay. It's also not "typical" in that it doesn't devote the first 10-20 percent of the book to spitting out historical facts and background information. It just throws you right into the story- which is a good thing, actually.
214. Twisted (Pretty Little Liars, #9) by Sara Shepard by Sara Shepard. 307 pages. I just didn't like this book as much as the previous books. It wasn't bad, just like a rehash of the same themes and issues of all the previous books.
215. A Bad Day for Scandal (Bad Day, #3) by Sophie Littlefield by Sophie Littlefield. 290 pages. This series is kind of a guilty pleasure. You shouldn't enjoy a book where a woman goes out and beats up men. Even if they're abusive or beat their wives. Still, the series is fun and easy to read an very enjoyable.
216. Outlander (Outlander, #1) by Diana Gabaldon by Diana Gabaldon. 850 pages. This book was so good it made me wonder why I had resisted reading it for so long. In a way, it works out because the author has concluded the series. I can't imagine waiting for years for each book. The only flaw in this book, for me, is that it had too much sex scenes. I think it was excessive. Other than that, a great book. A romance novel for people who don't like romance novels.
217. Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett by Vanora Bennett. 423 pages. For a book written in 2007, the writing seemed very old fashioned. Not just for a historical fiction, but like an older historical fiction book- like one written in the 50's or 60's. Like an old Jean Plaidy novel. Sometimes this worked in setting the tone of a book written about a time hundreds of years ago. Sometimes it just made the book slow and boring. A very uneven book.
218. East by Edith Pattou by Edith Pattou. 516 pages. I didn't love this book, didn't hate it either. Just felt indifferent towards it. Read it for a reading challenge. Not a book I would have continued with if I didn't need to read it. Not because it was lousy, just because it didn't hold my interest. I never felt compelled to read it beyond needing to read it.
219. Snow Mountain Passage by James D. Houston. 317 pages. An account of the Donner/Reed party's journey west. It didn't make a big issue of the whole cannibalism issue- placed it within the context of how little mistakes added up to tragedies on the trail. It really helped you to see the "wildness" of the country before trains and roads were built- the sheer difficulty of travel.
220. Wined and Died (A Home Crafting Mystery) by Cricket McRae by Cricket McRae. 275 pages. I like this series and this was another solid book.

message 35: by Shay (new)

Shay | 330 comments 221. Tatiana and Alexander (Tatiana and Alexander, #2) by Paullina Simons by Paullina Simons. 672 pages. I normally don't read or like romance novels. However, this series like Outlander, is really wonderful. Even if you insist you don't ever read romance novels, you should read these two series.
222. Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? by Steven Tyler by Steven Tyler. 390 pages. I'm an 80's child, so this book was pure nostalgia. Lots of stuff I didn't know, didn't want to know, and am kind of sorry that I do now know.
223. The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies by Susan Wittig Albert by Susan Wittig Albert. 288 pages. This book is set in the Depression. But, the characters remind me of my grandparents. They were strengthened, not beaten, by adversity.
222. Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? by Steven Tyler by Steven Tyler. 390 pages. I'm an 80's child, so this book was pure nostalgia. Lots of stuff I didn't know, didn't want to know, and am kind of sorry that I do now know.
223. The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies by Susan Wittig Albert by Susan Wittig Albert. 288 pages.
224. The Books of Rachel A Novel by Joel Gross by Joel Gross. 430 pages. I read this for a reading challenge in another GR group. It's one of those books that you can't believe you've never heard of- it's that good. A good, compelling piece of historical fiction.
225. The Summer Garden (Tatiana and Alexander, #3) by Paullina Simons by Paullina Simons. 776 pages. This novel was kind of atypical for most romance novels in that it picks up on what happens after "happily ever after". In other words, the hero and heroine overcome obstacles to be with each other and ride off into the sunset. The End. That's how most romances end, right? Simons's series final book starts after the sunset. So, in it's own way isn't that more romantic? The building of a life and sustaining it for decades is hard. Falling in love is easy.
226. Tricks by Ellen Hopkins by Ellen Hopkins. 627 pages. A YA book I don't think I'd ever let a YA under my supervision ever read. I don't think she's intentionally trying to shock, but I think it was overly graphic for the target audience.
227. A Deadly Cliché (A Books by the Bay Mystery, #2) by Ellery Adams by Ellery Adams. 278 pages. Not as good as the first in the series. Kind of cuts it close to the acceptable level of violence in a cozy. At least for me. Not so much graphic as a little gruesome. Which I don't want to read when I read a cozy.
228. My Name Is Mary Sutter A Novel by Robin Oliveira by Robin Oliveira. 384 pages. Mary Sutter is a compelling and sympathetic character. You feel like you can relate to her and her struggles. The author did a wonderful job capturing the dynamics of her family- it felt like a real family. Like peeking through their windows and observing their lives. The big failing of this novel- the abrupt ending that left out huge chunks of Mary's life you would have loved to have known.
229. The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani by Anita Amirrezvani. 368 pages. One of those books that's really good, but there's something about it that prevents it from being great. Can't put my finger on what exactly that is in this book- it's a little melodramatic. It's a 3 1/2 star read.
230. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross by Donna Woolfolk Cross. 422 pages. Whether or not you buy the author's premise- that there was a female Pope in the 9th century- it's still an interesting read. There are Viking raids, Vatican politics, etc. She captured the time period well whether or not there was a Pope Joan.
231. Hourglass (Hourglass, #1) by Myra McEntire by Myra McEntire. 397 pages. I didn't find it to be as great as everyone said. It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't compelling. I liked it fine when I was reading it, but often forgot about it for days. It probably deserves an extra half star just for not having any vampires, werewolves, or witches.
232. The Dark Enquiry (Lady Julia, #5) by Deanna Raybourn by Deanna Raybourn. 387 pages. This is the 5th book of the series. I didn't think the previous, 4th book, was as good as the rest. So, it was a little worrying that the series was going to start deteriorating. However, this book was quite good. Maybe it was the setting of the previous book- India- that made it drag.
233. London The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd by Edward Rutherfurd. 1152 pages. Better than the other Rutherfurd novel I read reacently (Sarum). Less dry. But, it still feels overly contrived. Like they way he keeps continuity in this time sweep novel is to make each generation's descendants share characteristics to the point that it's not realistic. Maybe a 3 1/2 star read. However, I would say that unless you really are fascinated by England and English history, then you'd be better off passing on this 1000+ page book.
234. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke by Susanna Clarke. 1024 pages. Very good blend of history and fantasy. Of course, it needed to be a really good book considering how long it is. This is one of those books in which you disappear into the world that they author created. I was sad when the book was over.
Total Pages Read: 187,606
235. The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan by Monica Pradhan. 431 pages.
236. The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson by Erik Larson. 447 pages. Really wonderful, fascinating. Much less violent than I thought it would be considering it's about a serial killer. A few things that were gruesome, but not graphic.
237. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik by Naomi Novik. 356 pages. A blending of action, fantasy, and historical fiction. Really fun and easy to read.

message 36: by Shay (last edited Aug 13, 2011 03:58PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 238. A Taste of the Nightlife (Vampire Chef, #1) by Sarah Zettel by Sarah Zettel. 297 pages. I read a lot of cozy mysteries. To some extent, all mysteries are the same: crime, investigation, unmasking the bad guy. They also seem to come in waves. All of a sudden, a whole bunch of mysteries about crafts or talking animals. So, it's rare to get a mystery series that stands out- either through really great writing or a unique twist. This has both.
239. The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children, #6) by Jean M. Auel by Jean M. Auel. 757 pages. Worst book I've read this year. The worst series ending I've read in quite a while- if ever.
240. The Real Macaw (Meg Langslow, #13) by Donna Andrews by Donna Andrews. 309 pages. A slow start, but once it got going it was fun. The main character, Meg, now has twin boys. I was worried that the author would make the character do something- like question a murderer with the boys tagging along- that would so infuriate me that I'd have to quit reading. I'm glad that the author made the character aware of the boys' safety throughout the book.
241. A Sheetcake Named Desire (A Piece of Cake Mystery, #1) by Jacklyn Brady by Jacklyn Brady. 304 pages. A 3 1/2 star book. If you were just comparing this book to other cozy mysteries it would be a solid 4 stars. The weakness was the ending. (view spoiler) But it had engaging characters. It's part of a series so hopefully we'll get more of a New Orleans vibe off the next book.
242. The Greater Journey Americans in Paris by David McCullough by David McCullough. 558 pages. Disappointing when you compare it to his biographies. It's very disjointed- bounces from subject to subject and person to person. Which is understandable since the subject is the influence of Paris on 19th century Americans who lived there. But, it very much just skims the surface lightly as it flits from one thing to another.
243. Pampered to Death (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #10) by Laura Levine by Laura Levine. 228 pages. A good, quick read. Fun and cute, not great literature.
244. North and South (North and South, #1) by John Jakes by John Jakes. 816 pages.
245. Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen, #1) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. 278 pages. Wow, a YA series without any vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches, etc. Just a story about a normal girl who doesn't live in a world contaminated with nuclear radiation. It's also just a really good book in addition to being a nice break.
246. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain by Paula McLain. 314 pages. The marriage of Ernest Hemingway and Hadley is a fairly well known story. If you like that kind of thing. Hemingway deals with this time himself in his book Moveable Feast. So, it's especially impressive that McLain was able to take an old, familiar story and make it fresh and compelling. One of my top reads in 2011. Debating between 4 and 5 stars.
247. Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchy. 645 pages. Read this book for a reading challenge. Wouldn't have finished it if it weren't to late to start another book for this category. The book was very slow to get going. Eventually, it was okay, I guess. Nothing wonderful. One of those authors that I don't get why people love them so much.
248. The Off Season (Dairy Queen, #2) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. 277 pages.
249. October Fest (Murder-by-Month Mystery #6) by Jess Lourey by Jess Lourey. 229 pages. Not enjoying this series as much as I used to. I'm still going to continue it and read the next book. But it's not going to be a series I rush to get anymore. I think it's a tough balancing act- how a series character grows yet somehow needs to do so in a way that's logical and consistent and not disappointing. I just feel that this character is stuck.
250. Anything Goes My Autobiography by John Barrowman by John Barrowman. 256 pages. I'm a bit disappointed- hoping for more Dr. Who/Torchwood backstage stuff. Or more dirt, gossip, etc. Still entertaining, though.
251. Gates of Fire An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae by Steven Pressfield BY Steven Pressfield. 386 pages. Excellent historical fiction novel. Highly recommended. The beginning, like a lot of historical fiction, is a little slow. But, worth just forcing yourself past those 30-50 pages.
252. Impulse (Impulse, #1) by Ellen Hopkins by Ellen Hopkins. 666 pages.
253. Riding the Bus with My Sister A True Life Journey by Rachel Simon by Rachel Simon. 296 pages. I wanted to love this book, about a woman who seeks to connect with her developmentally disabled sister through a year of riding the bus. I do like it- it's brutally honest and the author is not afraid to put herself in a negative light. Simon does a good job in portraying how frustrating it really is unless you live in a Hallmark movie of the week. However, there's just something dry and flat about this book.
254. Delicious and Suspicious by Riley Adams by Riley Adams. 288 pages. I'm "officially" going to give this book 3 stars on GR. But, I'm rounding up- it's more like a 2 1/2 star book. I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt since it's the first in a series. Nothing horrible about this book- it's just flat.
255. Tempest in the Tea Leaves (Fortune Teller Mystery, #1) by Kari Lee Townsend by Kari Lee Townsend. 304 pages. This was a really wonderful mystery debut. Charming, quirky characters. Just a really delightful mystery- a fun and quick read. 3 1/2 stars.

message 37: by Shay (last edited Aug 28, 2011 05:48PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 256. Attila by Ross Laidlaw by Ross Laidlaw. 438 pages. Note to authors- do not name a book after a character, famous or not- and then have him appear in less than a fourth of the book. The reader is bound to be disappointed- I was. In the first quarter of the book, Attila appears 3 times for maybe a page or two each mention. Even for the balance of the book, I think Attila is maybe in 50 or so pages. Plus the book was on the boring side. 2 stars- and I think I'm being generous.
257. Gotham A History of New York City to 1898 by Edwin G. Burrows by Edwin G. Burrows. 1424 pages. A little dry, but really in depth and thorough.
258. The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer by Norman Mailer. 1056 pages. Reminds the reader of In Cold Blood- content and style. Despite the violence and lewdness, this was an amazing book. The author managed to make a monstrous, evil being compelling. I think he manages to do this without us having to sympathize with Gilmore, a murderer awaiting execution. Or maybe I'm projecting that because I can't muster any sympathy for Gilmore.
259. Muletrain to Maggody (Arly Hanks, #14) by Joan E. Hess by Joan E. Hess. 326 pages. A cute, cozy mystery by one of my favorite mystery authors.
260. Night of the Living Dandelion (A Flower Shop Mystery, #11) by Kate Collins by Kate Collins. 311 pages. This is the 11th book in the series. So, I was surprised that the author managed to surprise me and do something completely different with the series. Yet, it remained true to the series.
261. Beaglemania (Pet Rescue Mystery, #1) by Linda O. Johnston by Linda O. Johnston. 298 pages. I tried to finish this book several times. Finally, I managed. This series is pretty much cutesy instead of cute. Rather charmless, incredibly boring. I would recommend this book to people who suffer from insomnia.
262. An Uninvited Ghost (Haunted Guesthouse Mystery, #2) by E.J. Copperman by E.J. Copperman. 293 pages. Cute, fun. A delightful cozy mystery. Not in my Top 10, but definitely a series I look forward to reading.
263. Everyone Loves You When You're Dead Journeys into Fame and Madness by Neil Strauss by Neil Strauss. 512 pages. Interesting collection of interviews Strauss has done with musicians. Strauss, a writer for Rolling Stone, includes portions of interviews "cut" by the magazine.
264. Nobody's Princess (Nobody's Princess, #1) by Esther M. Friesner by Esther M. Friesner. 305 pages.
265. Evil Eclairs (Donut Shop Mystery, #4) by Jessica Beck by Jessica Beck. 277 pages. This is the 4th book in the series. Initially, I wasn't a big fan of the series. I thought the first book was pretty mediocre; and the second was just passable. The only reason I stuck with the series is I love culinary mysteries. So, kind of surprising that after a weak start that this has evolved into a decent series. Not one I buy, but I'll snap it up at the library when I see it.
266. Relic (Pendergast, #1) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 480 pages. The 11th(?) book in the series was just released. So, a lot of people have been talking about this series. I read this, the first book, after the movie was released. I never read beyond this book. It was so good that I wonder why I never continued.
267. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips by Marie Phillips. 293 pages. A cute idea: the Greek Gods are alive, and unwell, and living in modern London in squalor. They're weakened, having lost most of their powers. Not well executed, kind of boring, bad ending.
268. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber by Michel Faber. 894 pages. Wonderfully written- almost every character is unappealing and yet the author made them fascinating. A badly written ending, though, means I couldn't give it 5 stars.
269. Reliquary (Pendergast, #2) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 480 pages. A 3 1/2 star book. This book is a sequel to Relic. Yes, it's a series, but these books are linked closely together. It's not as good, but still really good.
270. Beaten, Seared, and Sauced On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America by Jonathan Dixon by Jonathan Dixon. 272 pages. Attending the CIA is a fantasy of mine. I love cooking- I am one of those people who always get asked at picnics, potlucks, etc. to bring something. My shortribs, my flourless chocolate cakes, homemade ice cream, etc. So, even though I've never wanted to be a chef in a restaurant, I always thought that graduating from the CIA would turn me into the ultimate home cook. It was a good book for "foodies".
271. I Am the Chosen King (The Saxon Series #1) by Helen Hollick by Helen Hollick. 711 page. Excellent historical fiction. Covers the events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England through the Battle of Hastings. She made the historical figures seem real.

message 38: by Shay (last edited Sep 24, 2011 05:10PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 272. Flowerbed of State (A White House Gardener Mystery #1) by Dorothy St. James by Dorothy St. James. 312 pages. A little slow to start, but it turned out to be a good cozy mystery.
273. The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin by Melanie Benjamin. 424 pages. As an historical novel, this doesn't really work. It doesn't have a very historical "feel" to it. As an entertaining, fast paced novel it definitely is great. 3 1/2 stars.
274. The Killing Dance (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #6) by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton. 400 pages. I'm rereading the series. Only a few more before the series "goes bad" (pornographic). Those, I'm not reading.
275. Kitty's House of Horrors (Kitty Norville, #7) by Carrie Vaughn by Carrie Vaughn. 292 pages. Not one of my favorites in this series, but still a cut above a lot of the urban fantasy books floating around.
276. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn by Rachel Cohn. 272 pages. I wish I had known this book was set around Christmas. By the time I got far enough in to realize this was very Christmas-y, it was too late. I was hooked and had to read it. Cute, sweet, and vampire free.
277. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation, #1) by Lauren Willig by Lauren Willig. 428 pages. The first part was kind of boring. It did pick up. I don't get the gushing love that people have for this series. It was good, but not great.
278. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins by Stephanie Perkins. 372 pages. I highly recommend this book. There were a few things I thought were inappropriate for YA- so much swearing. But overall, it was a good book.
279. The World According to Garp by John Irving by John Irving. 609 pages. If you had asked me 20 years ago what was my favorite Irving, I would have said this book. Today, it would be A Prayer for Owen Meaney. Irving is immensely talented and Garp is one of my favorites, but it's just so sad. It's an epic tragedy.
280. Burnt Offerings (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #7) by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton. 392 pages. This is the book where Asher is introduced. One of my favorite characters in the series. Too bad the series turns pornographic in just a few more books.
281. Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton. 418 pages
282. Loretta Lynn Coal Miner's Daughter (Vintage) by Loretta Lynn by Loretta Lynn. 256 pages. If you grew up in the, say 80's, you can't help but remember the movie Coal Miner's Daughter. Even if you weren't a fan of country music, you couldn't help but like Loretta Lynn. Sadly, this book doesn't do a good job of telling her story in an interesting way.
283. Murder of a Bookstore Babe (Scumble River Mystery, #13) by Denise Swanson by Denise Swanson. 243 pages. The love triangle was mostly resolved in the previous book, #12 in the series. It was really annoying. So, I was hopeful that the series would start to get good again. Unfortunately, it hasn't. This latest installment in the series seems stale and boring.
284. Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #9) by Laurell K. Hamilton by Laurell K. Hamilton. 596 pages. One of my favorites in this series because you get to spend a lot of time with Edward.
285. Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1) by Kiersten White by Kiersten White. 335 pages. I'm really tired of YA paranormal series. But, many have said that this was a good one. I agree- fun, easy to read, cute, charming.
286. Supernaturally (Paranormalcy, #2) by Kiersten White by Kiersten White. 336 pages.
287. Lips Unsealed A Memoir by Belinda Carlisle by Belinda Carlisle. 288 pages. Not as good as it should have been. Or could have been. Would have made for a juicy, gossip filled memoir had Carlisle been inclined- she wasn't. But, a fun nostalgia trip.
288. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray by Libba Bray. 390 pages. There were parts of this book that I liked- very funny. Other parts I just found painful to read.
289. The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, #3) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 629 pages. This is becoming one of my favorite series. Can't believe I never continued with them when they first came out.
290. Still Life with Crows (Pendergast, #4) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 592 pages.
291. Shelter by Harlan Coben by Harlan Coben. 288 pages. This is Coben's first YA novel and is a spin-off from his Myron Bolitar series. Overall, a good mystery. I think it's a little too dark and the subject matter a little too "much" for a YA novel. Also, it's really a continuation of the story from the last book in the Myron Bolitar series and I wonder if it truly works as a stand-alone novel. That is, can you really read it and appreciate it without reading Live Wire (Myron Bolitar, #10) by Harlan Coben ?
292. A Good Day to Pie (A Pie Shop Mystery) by Carol Culver by Carol Culver. 302 pages. This was an "almost" good book- like 2 1/2 stars. It was a first book, so hopefully the author will improve in the next book. Even though it was only 300 pages, it felt long. Like the author went off on tangents that made the mystery less suspenseful and interesting.
293. Brimstone (Pendergast, #5) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 752 pages.
294. The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)  by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan. 516 pages. Good, but not great YA fiction. The biggest weakness in this book was that I really felt as if this was an adult "pretending" to be a teenager/child. Parts of it felt forced, in that regard.
295. Front and Center (Dairy Queen, #3) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. 254 pages. I liked this series. Even though questions were left unanswered, I think that's probably the realistic way to have ended it given that the main character is a junior in high school and probably wouldn't have known herself.
296. Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #5) by Rhys Bowen by Rhys Bowen. 328 pages. A series that continues to be good. I really like this series, so I'm glad that it hasn't become boring. A lot of times it seems like authors just operate on auto-pilot and just churn out series books and eventually a once good series feels like it's just going through the motions.
297. Shut Out by Kody Keplinger by Kody Keplinger. 273 pages. Not as bad (smutty) as it could have been, which is good. Not as good as it should have been either.
298. Dance of Death (Pendergast, #6) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 592 pages. This has to be one of the best mystery series written.
299. The Book of the Dead (Pendergast, #7/Diogenes, #3) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 454 pages.
300. The Wheel of Darkness (Pendergast, #8) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 388 pages. Good, but not really good. Wondering if I've read too many in a row or if the series is starting to get stale.
301. People of the Wolf (First North Americans (Paperback)) by W. Michael Gear by W. Michael Gear. 435 pages. You can tell the authors are well-versed in this time period. I believe they are professors. So, this series has earned a reputation of being really excellent historical fiction during the prehistoric period. (Like Clan of the Cave Bear.) However, it reads almost like an article for an historical fiction journal. Detailed, yet dry. I never felt any real connection to any of the characters. Since people insist this series is good, I'm going to try the next book in the series even though this is a 2 1/2 star book. (Being generous with the stars.)
302. Mama Sees Stars (A Mace Bauer Mystery) by Deborah Sharp by Deborah Sharp. 327 pages. I really like this series, especially the relationship between the three sisters and their mother.
303. Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn by Kate Quinn. 388 pages. A "light" historical novel. Reads like a Roman soap opera. Not a criticism, it's a fun book.
304. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake by Kendare Blake. 316 pages. I'm kind of burned out on YA paranormal. But, this one was really good. There's so much that gets released in this genre, so it's hard to stand out. This book really does, though.
305. The Tale of Castle Cottage (The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, #8) by Susan Wittig Albert by Susan Wittig Albert. 303 pages. The author of this book writes 4 different series. Of them, this series about Beatrix Potter is my favorite. Really liked this book, although I heard it may be the last in the series.
306. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut by Kurt Vonnegut. 275 pages. One of my favorite books as a teenager. So happy that I still think it's a great novel.
307. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt by Patrick deWitt. 336 pages. This book made this year's Man Booker shortlist. I still can't figure out why. It's obvious that the writer has talent- you can see brief flashed of it in this book. But, overall, this book is boring, slow. Most of all, it reads like someone spent their teen years watching the movie (or reading the book) "Fight Club". 2 1/2 stars, and I'm being generous.

message 39: by Shay (last edited Oct 14, 2011 02:50PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 308. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Part 1) by J.R.R. Tolkien by J.R.R. Tolkien. 458 pages. I really loathed this book. It's taken me about 10 attempts to get through it. The LOTR trilogy is on the 1001 books list, so I've got to get through 2 more parts.
309. If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) by Betty White by Betty White. 258 pages. Cute.
310. Vixen (Flappers, #1) by Jillian Larkin by Jillian Larkin. 421 pages. I didn't have high hopes for this one- I really didn't like the Luxe series. I know, not the same author, but still. I guess it's because a lot of YA historical novels seem very light on the "historical" part. Vixen is no exception, but at least it was better written.
311. Bad Taste in Boys (Kate Grable #1) by Carrie Harris by Carrie Harris. 201 pages. Some parts of this book (like the level of medical knowledge of a high school student) were not believable. But, it's a book about zombies, so I guess you have to just let stuff go. It's not a "great" zombie book- it wouldn't stand out among even other zombie books. It was a quick read that was fun- if you just accept certain things and coincidences.
312. Ingenue (Flappers, #2) by Jillian Larkin by Jillian Larkin. 368 pages. Entertaining, light reading. Not heavy on historical details or feeling, but a pleasant read.
313. A Killing in Antiques (A Lucy St. Elmo Antiques Mystery, #1) by Mary Moody by Mary Moody. 311 pages. It was hard to finish this book- it felt so slow moving and I didn't like or relate to the main character. Found her uninteresting.
314. Sweet Revenge (Lady Arianna Regency Mystery, #1) by Andrea Penrose by Andrea Penrose. 304 pages. Historical mystery with chocolate themed recipes. Overall, a good mystery debut. It lagged a little in the middle. Not really a cozy.
315. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern by Erin Morgenstern. 387 pages. The beginning of this book is stunning- amazing use of language that creates a whole world trapped in pages. Towards the beginning of the second half, it gets bogged down a little. The ending also seemed a little off. One of those 4 to 4 1/2 star books. It just misses being great.
316. Tempest Rising (Jane True, #1) by Nicole Peeler by Nicole Peeler. 359 pages. A good start to what looks like a fun series.
317. Tragic Toppings (Donut Shop Mystery, #5) by Jessica Beck by Jessica Beck. 290 pages. This was a book that was ruined by a horrible ending. It just seemed that the author lost interest and then abruptly wrapped it up by unmasking the killer.
318. Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg by Elizabeth Eulberg, 231 pages. A YA retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It's actually better than most of the many P & P/Austen retellings that have been released recently. At least this book is charming and cute.
319. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart BY E. Lockhart. 342 pages. Good coming of age, YA book. A realistic, sympathetic main character.
320. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman by Alice Hoffman. 286 pages. They made a movie based on this book. The movie was so horrible that it put me off reading anything by this author. I've never even seen the whole movie- that's how bad it is. I don't think that this is a great book, but it is a good book. I'm really looking forward to the book Hoffman released this year.
321. New Moon (Twilight, #2) by Stephenie Meyer by Stephenie Meyer. 563 pages.
322. Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (Magical Cats, #1) by Sofie Kelly by Sofie Kelly. 324 pages. The first book in a mystery series about a librarian and her "magical" cats. It's an excellent debut. Look forward to reading the next book in the series.
323. Fires in the Dark by Louise Doughty by Louise Doughty. 481 pages. Wanted to like it more because the subject matter seemed so interesting. But, it was very slow in the beginning. Also, it was very boring, slow paced. The characters were not really compelling either.
324. The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles #2) by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan. 452 pages.
325. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins by Stephanie Perkins. 338 pages. If you do not like gay people and especially don't like the thought of two gay men raising a child- do not read this book. I thought it was for the most part well written. Again, though, I really dislike a lot of the language in many YA books. Also the premarital sex is disturbing- but not graphic.
326. Die Buying (Mall Cop, #1) by Laura DiSilverio by Laura DiSilverio. 320 pages. The big problem with this book is an annoying and cliched main character. The author makes the character have rich and famous parents for no apparent reason- other than to make the main character look good and sympathetic. Other than that- the grandfather character is interesting and funny. It wasn't bad enough that I'm giving up on the series- I'll read the next one and decide.
327. Kitty Goes to War (Kitty Norville, #8) by Carrie Vaughn by Carrie Vaughn. 334 pages. I guess I'm in a Halloween mood. I've really been in the mood to read ghost, werewolf, vampire, and other PNR type books. I would highly recommend this UF series- one of the best.
328. Elvis and the Tropical Double Trouble by Peggy Webb by Peggy Webb. 236 pages. For some reason, this book really got on my nerves. I normally find the series really cute, but I just found it overly cutesy this time. I think it's me, so I'm not going to rate the book.
329. The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger by Kody Keplinger. 280 pages. This book deals with how sometimes a lack of self-esteem, difficult/troubled family life can sometimes lead to promiscuity by both girls and boys. And how people view that differently depending on whether it's a boy or a girl. That being said, I still think that it was too graphic at times for a YA book. Also, I think the ending was a little too "neat".
330. Comfort Me with Apples More Adventures at the Table by Ruth Reichl by Ruth Reichl. 320 pages.
331. My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #1) by Janette Rallison by Janette Rallison. 311 pages. Better than I thought it was going to be. One of those books that based on the title and cover, seemed destined to be overly cutesy to the gagging point. But, it was just the right amount of cute + learning important life lessons.
332. Books Can Be Deceiving (Library Lover's Mystery, #1) by Jenn McKinlay by Jenn McKinlay. 282 pages. The author writes another series, about a cupcake bakery, that I'm pretty indifferent towards. But, not realizing it was the same author, I borrowed this book because I love books set in bookstores and libraries. It turns out this is a really good cozy- 3 1/2 stars. Interesting characters and well paced.
333. The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, #1) by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan. 553 pages. Oops, should have read the other series first. But, it really doesn't matter, it "stands alone" well. I'm going to read the other series before I read Son of Neptune, though.
334. Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick by Elizabeth Chadwick. 514 pages. An interesting look at a woman, Matilda, who wanted to be Queen of England in the 12th century. Very good details and sense of time and place in this book. However, this was the same time period as Pillars of the Earth. So, yes, it's that Matilda and Stephen. As fascinating as the characters were, it was hard to muster much sympathy for them because of Pillars. Pillars covered how this civil war impacted the poor so it's hard to have any compassion for people fighting for power while the people they would rule were starving.

message 40: by Shay (last edited Nov 18, 2011 06:02PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments Thought I would update before the readathon.

335. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan. 377 pages. I'm of two minds about this book. I think that it would be appealing to kids, especially boys, of a certain age. But, there are a few things I object to on a religious basis. I guess it depends on the child.
336. Skating Over the Line (Rebecca Robbins Mystery, #2) by Joelle Charbonneau by Joelle Charbonneau. 275 pages. Cute. Like the relationship between the main character and her grandfather.
337. Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman by Sharon Kay Penman. 594 pages. One of the best historical fiction novels I've read. Probably the best one published in 2011. All of the characters were well developed- the author didn't rely on your knowledge, she made the characters feel fully fleshed out. Also, even though the events described in this book are fairly well known, Penman filled the book with suspense and tension. 4 1/2 stars.
338. Battle Of The Network Zombies (Amanda Feral, #3) by Mark Henry by Mark Henry. 307 pages. Not as good as the others in the series. This is maybe a 2 star book- being generous. The others were kind of tongue-in-cheek cute- this was just boring and silly and stupid.
339. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins by Wilkie Collins. 672 pages. One of my favorite books ever by one of my favorite authors ever. It's on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List and deservedly so.
340. The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1) by Colleen McCullough by Colleen McCullough. 1076 pages. If you are fascinated with Ancient Rome, you need to read this series. Wonderful.
341. The Stand by Stephen King by Stephen King. 1152 pages. I find King's scariest books to be the less supernatural one. As this one is. Even though it's long, it pretty much needed to be to tell the story.
342. Liver Let Die (A Clueless Cook Mystery #1) by Liz Lipperman by Liz Lipperman. 288 pages. Overall a good, humorous mystery. The weakness was in lack of character development in the secondary characters. This is just me, personally, but I thought it had too much romance for a mystery. Or maybe it was just that it was a slightly creepy romance.
343. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones by Darynda Jones. 310 pages. Again, good but too much of a romance element- and this was fairly smutty. For the record, a minimal amount of smut is still too much for me. But, a really good urban fantasy book that was unique, different than a lot of other series. I'd read another in the series- I just wasn't expecting the smut.
344. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan by Hillary Jordan. 352 pages. Jordan produces a strikingly different book than her last (Mudbound). But I think that makes her an author to watch- and hopefully continue to be amazed by. As opposed to authors who pump out the same characters, regurgitated under different names, every year.
345. A Cast-Off Coven (A Witchcraft Mystery, #2) by Juliet Blackwell by Juliet Blackwell. 336 pages. I guess because Halloween is this month I'm in a supernatural mood. I really like this cozy series.
346. Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things, #1) by Anna Godbersen by Anna Godbersen. 389 pages. It's pretty much the author's Luxe series set a few years later with different character names. Long on angst, short on historic detail. Nothing special, nothing horrible. Pretty mediocre.
347. The Chocolate Castle Clue A Chocoholic Mystery by JoAnna Carl by JoAnna Carl. 230 pages. Found the first 20 pages hard to get through. That alone took me a few days. Then, the book returned to the normal pleasantness you can always expect from the series.
348. As The Pig Turns (Agatha Raisin, #22) by M.C. Beaton by M.C. Beaton. 292 pages. Love this series. This is book #22 and reading a new book is like visiting with old friends.
349. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman by Alice Hoffman. 504 pages. Depressing at times and yet strangely uplifting. As much about war as in finding the strength to find beauty and love during it. Not great, this book is flawed. But a very compelling read.
350. Double Dexter (Dexter, #6) by Jeff Lindsay by Jeff Lindsay. 320 pages. The book versus the TV show. I've read on GR that some people like one, but not the other. Especially now that they've almost completely diverged. Some characters are alive in one, dead in another and a lot of other things. Personally, I like both the books and TV show. I just look at them as two separate entities.
351. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore by Christopher Moore. 387 pages. I like Moore, even though at times he doesn't know when to stop milking a joke in a book. Besides that, I love his slightly sarcastic, cynical, yet humorous view of the world- sometimes, when I'm in the mood for it.

message 41: by Shay (last edited Nov 18, 2011 06:08PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 352. The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome, #2) by Colleen McCullough by Colleen McCullough. 1104 pages. I usually read several books at once. However, after a certain point, this book consumed me. I pretty much read 16 or so pages of another book and about 600 pages of this one. I think this may be one of the best historical fiction series ever.
353. It's So Easy and other lies by Duff McKagan by Duff McKagan. 304 pages. Not full of dirt on his GNR days. Much of the book is about his recovery from addiction. But, overall, it was a surprisingly well written, introspective memoir. Now that he's a father of two girls, I can understand why he wants to be more circumspect about the GNR days.
354. The Haunting of Hill House  by Shirley Jackson by Shirley Jackson. 182 pages. One of my favorite Halloween, haunted house-type books. This is the third time I've read it; I drag it out about once a decade. Still enjoy it. If you haven't read it, plan to next Halloween. But don't read too much about it- no reviews or comments- spoilers would ruin it.
355. Love and War (North and South, #2) by John Jakes by John Jakes. 1087 pages. My main objection to this series- and pretty much every single John Jake book I've read- is that they are needlessly smutty. I guess, if you think about it, sex sells and at least he's selling history along side it. Parts of this book are slow moving- portions could have been edited out. Overall, a solid if unspectacular book.
356. Open by Andre Agassi by Andre Agassi. 388 pages. Celebrity biographies and memoirs. They are one of those guilty pleasures for me. I find that I mostly focus on "nostalgia" figures- people from my "youth", I guess. I grew up loving and playing tennis. Even so, Agassi was not one of my favorite players. I'm more old fashioned about my tennis, I suppose. But, living in Vegas, you can't help but admire Agassi and the work he has done on behalf of children in this city. So, I decided to read the book. I was surprised- this is one of the best celebrity memoirs I've read. Almost on par with Keith Richard's Life. A caution, he spends a lot of time, of course, describing tennis matches. A 4 star book, which is rare, high rating for a memoir.
357. Past Perfect  by Leila Sales by Leila Sales. 322 pages. This was a book that came up on my GR Recommendations page. I've seen it, but I had no real desire to read it until it came up as a recommended book. Then, I thought, I'd read it to see how "good" the GR recommendations are. I actually really liked it- somewhere between a 3 1/2 and 4 star book. My main objections- wow, the language is bad for a YA book. I think I prefer the "F" word to "GD" which is just very, very uncalled for.
358. Rafa My Story by Rafael Nadal by Rafael Nadal. 272 pages. What does it say about us as a society, or me in particular, that renders "nice" into boring. Nadal is one of the tennis world's "gentleman" players. He also just seems like a nice guy and good son- the kind of son any mother would be happy to have. Yet, overall, this book is a snoozefest compared to Agassi's Open.
359. Beauty, Disrupted A Memoir by Carre Otis by Carre Otis. 336 pages. Written by the woman who was married to Mickey Rourke. Sad that this is even how I think of her. Hers is a compelling and interesting story. One thing that was really disturbing: pictures included in the book that are from the time where she's considered a "Plus-sized" model. She looks good- fit and normal. What a completely screwed up society we are!
360. The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2) by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan. 279 pages. This is not great writing in my opinion. But, in being pretty middle of the road, something for everyone, fluffy-type read, Riordan also doesn't use a lot of bad language or have sex. Both big pluses, to me, in a YA series.
361. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley by Susanna Kearsley. 572 pages. I really wanted to love this book. It's set in Scotland and, well, that's enough to interest me in a book. It's a time slip/travel book that bounces between the present and one of the Jacobian Uprisings. I found the present day story boring- plus, when a love triangle developed I just about wanted to throw the book across the room. I found myself thinking, I hope the chapters set in the present day are short, let's get back to history. The historical side was wonderful. So, basically, I spent half the book bored and half the book enthralled. I guess that averages out to a 3 star rating, right?
362. I Want My MTV The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks by Craig Marks. 384 pages. It works as a nostalgia piece for those of us who remember the "Golden Years" (80's, very early 90's) of MTV. Where else could you get interviews/quotes from a range of musicians from Limahl (of Kajagoogoo) to Dave Mustaine to Simon Lebon, etc.?

363. City of Whispers (Sharon Mccone) by Marcia Muller by Marcia Muller. 262 pages. I'm still fond of the main character and this series even though it's not quite as good as it used to be. I still read every single book in the series, but I'm not rushing out to buy it.
364. A Race to Splendor A tale of rivalry, redemption, and the rebuilding of a devastated city by Ciji Ware by Ciji Ware. 526 pages. I have tried to read this book half a dozen times. I just couldn't get past the first chapter or even the first few pages. However, this book fit perfectly for a challenge. So, I forced myself to keep reading. Really glad I finally did. It picks up quite quickly after the first chapter. (It is about the San Francisco Earthquake and the author gets to it rather quickly.) I'm really glad I gave this book a 7th chance. My main problem with the book- the romantic elements and sex scene. Just didn't work with the book about a turn of the century career woman.
365. Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2) by Darynda Jones by Darynda Jones. 307 pages. One of the little subplots of this book- Charley finding Reyes, bores me completely. I like the private detective aspects of the book. The rest I find tedious. I'm torn between 2 and 3 stars as large parts of the book were just unreadable.
366. The Maid A Novel of Joan of Arc by Kimberly Cutter by Kimberly Cutter. 287 pages. Not especially "historically lush". But, it's a quick, enjoyable read. No matter its accuracy, reads like light historical fiction. The author's style in this book is like an MTV style video- quick scene changes, cutaways, etc. Good, but not great. 3 to 3 1/2 stars.
367. 11/22/63 by Stephen King by Stephen King. 849 pages. I stayed up late last night because I needed to finish this book. I didn't like parts of the ending, but highly recommend this book. King, at times, at his best.
368. American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson by Craig Ferguson. 268 pages. He was one of my favorite characters on the Drew Carey Show. I've never seen his talk show- too late for me. His book was enjoyable and funny. Interesting tidbit from the book- in his less famous days, he dated an actress who went to school with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. And he reports they were nice to him, an unknown.
369. Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen by Jesse Petersen. 272 pages. This was a series that I thought was going to be really lame, but I ended up enjoying. Urban fantasy with zombies, but cute.
370. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth by Vikram Seth. 1349 pages. I'm not sure how to rate this book, I'm thinking 3 1/2 stars- so should I round up or down? Parts of this book reminded me of the best of Dickens- messy, funny, sweet, sentimental in a wonderful way. Other parts- boring, boring, boring. Like War and Peace, the author just kills the momentum of the book by introducing some dry side story. I guess it must have been overall good, right? I made it through 1349 pages- some of which went quite quickly.

message 42: by Shay (last edited Dec 23, 2011 02:29PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 371. Eat Slay Love (Living With the Dead, #3) by Jesse Petersen by Jesse Petersen. 261 pages. Such a cute series, which is saying something considering it features zombies.
372. Fortune's Favorites (Masters of Rome, #3) by Colleen McCullough by Colleen McCullough. 1072 pages. The series is now veering into "standard" Roman history- the time and people most familiar- Caesar, Pompey, Crassus. I appreciate how she started this series a few generation back to give some background. The series is as good as I remember.
373. Pleating for Mercy (A Magical Dressmaking Mystery, #1) by Misa Ramirez / Melissa Bourbon by Misa Ramirez / Melissa Bourbon. 320 pages. Somewhere between 3 and 3 1/2 stars. I don't know if it was me just not being in the mood, but I felt the book was a little boring towards the end. Like there wasn't enough build up and suspense. Still a good enough debut and good enough to read the next book in the series.
374. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (A Flavia de Luce Mystery #4) by Alan Bradley by Alan Bradley. 297 pages. I wasn't wild about the last book in the series. Sometimes, mystery series just start going bad- maybe the author gets tired of writing them, maybe they let the storylines stagnate, etc. So, I was surprised that this one was so enjoyable. Hopefully, this will be a series that will stay enjoyable for a long time- I do hope it becomes a long running series.
375. Fletch (Fletch, #1) by Gregory McDonald by Gregory McDonald. 197 pages.
376. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson by Walter Isaacson. 656 pages. Overall a good book although the last chapter read like an extended ad for Apple products. Learned some interesting things, but quite a bit was a rehash of fairly well known "Steve Stories". Not quite sure how to rate this book... must think on it.
377. Mrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix-Up (Mrs. Jeffries Mystery, #17) by Emily Brightwell by Emily Brightwell. 265 pages. I know some people think this series is hokey and overly cutesy. I think it's charming and even though this is book 29 it continues to be cute and charming. This series doesn't really ever break new ground or provide great character development. Which, to me, is great because each book is like a visit with old friends. It's sameness is pleasant, not boring.
378. New Rules Polite Musings from a Timid Observer by Bill Maher by Bill Maher. 230 pag379. Why We Suck A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid by Denis Leary by Denis Leary. 240 pages. I love Dennis Leary. Is anyone old enough to remember his great "rants" on MTV- what was it 2 decades ago?
380. Confess, Fletch (Fletch, #2) by Gregory McDonald by Gregory McDonald. 192 pages.
381. Fletch's Fortune (Fletch, #3) by Gregory McDonald by Gregory McDonald. 256 pages.
382. Fletch And The Widow Bradley (Fletch, #4) by Gregory McDonald by Gregory McDonald. 160 pages. The weird thing is, I remember reading some of the books in this series. I was introduced to the series, like many, because of the Chevy Chase movie based on the first book. The series is different, darker. But, for some reason, I remembered even the series as being like the movie.
383. Live from New York An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by Tom Shales by Tom Shales. 566 pages. More nostalgia. I loved this show from the first time I saw it. I must have been just 4 or 5. Of course, most things went over my head. Many things I appreciated only later- like the Blues Brothers used to bore me as a 5 year old.
384. Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18) by Janet Evanovich by Janet Evanovich. 305 pages. What a mediocre book. It's weird, but some of the word choices seem "off", wonder if it's being ghost written.
385. Into the Wilderness (Wilderness, #1) by Sara Donati by Sara Donati. 912 pages. Parts of it were wonderful, not much about this time period so this series is wonderful. The ending, though, totally corny and trite.
386. Tommyland by Tommy Lee by Tommy Lee. 288 pages. Tommy Lee is like an overgrown, unhousebroken puppy.
387. Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern by Justin Halpern. 159 pages. Kept hearing about this book, so I had to read it. I've been in the mood for some light, humorous books, so this seemed to fit that. It was funny- kind of more men humor, Three Stooges funny, though.
388. Foul Play at the PTA (Beth Kennedy, #2) by Laura Alden by Laura Alden. 312 pages. My library didn't have the first book in this series- this book is the second. But, I think you can read this out of order. Overall, it was a good, cozy type mystery. Nothing groundbreaking, but still very good.
389. True Grit by Charles Portis by Charles Portis. 224 pages. I don't like Westerns, in general. Movies or books. I did, however, like this book.
390. The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3) by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan. 304 pages.
391. My Life As a White Trash Zombie (White Trash Zombie, #1) by Diana Rowland by Diana Rowland. 310 pages. This book came up in my GR Recommendations. I liked it. It was funny, not excessively gross (for a zombie book).
392. Here Comes Trouble by Michael Moore by Michael Moore. 429 pages. You either like Moore or loathe him. I think he's usually funny. I remember the first time I saw his first movie, Roger and Me, and thought it was sad, touching, and funny. This book kind of shows you how he gradually became the Michael Moore of "Roger and Me".
393. Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano by Lauren DeStefano. 358 pages. It took me forever to get through this book because I found the first half of it very boring. I don't know if I'll read the next in the series.
394. Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2) by Ally Carter by Ally Carter. 298 pages. Not horrible, just not as good as the first book in the series.
395. Season to Taste How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum by Molly Birnbaum. 320 pages. I thought it was going to be a cooking memoir, but it was mostly about the author losing her sense of smell. But, it was fascinating- she included a lot of the science behind losing your sense of smell, but in an entertaining way. Not disappointing even though it wasn't what I was expecting.
396. Fletch's Moxie (Fletch, #5) by Gregory McDonald by Gregory McDonald. 288 pages.
397. The Gingerbread Bump-Off (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #6) by Livia J. Washburn by Livia J. Washburn. 290 pages. This is one of those series that I don't read in any particular order- most/all of them are seasonal or related to a holiday. So, I tend to read them, as I find them at the library, according to holiday and not series order. That being said, this is the most recent and doesn't seem to be as good as the earlier ones I've read. Just seemed a little blah and going through the motions.
398. White Truffles in Winter by N.M. Kelby by N.M. Kelby. 334 pages. A 3 1/2 star read. I'm going to round it up and give it 4 stars, because the book's overall GR rating is a little low. It's a book that, in general, is probably not meant for the avearage American. There is no real plot, nothing "happens". It's a series of memories of a dying husband and wife- the wife and the famous chef Escoffier. There is no real resolution, it's just slices of life. Wonderfully descriptive and beautiful. Just not the type of book that appeals to most, I guess.
399. The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan. 361 pages.
400. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris by David Sedaris. 176 pages. I'm trying to get rid of my "I hate Christmas" mood.

message 43: by Shay (last edited Dec 23, 2011 02:35PM) (new)

Shay | 330 comments 401. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline by Ernest Cline. 374 pages. I normally read 8-10 books- or more. Going back and forth between books depending on my mood. Once I started this book, this was the only book I read. Amazing book.
402. Legend (Legend, #1) by Marie Lu by Marie Lu. 305 pages. Since The Hunger Games, quite a few YA dystopian books have been released. Many of them bad- blatant kind of ripoff/copycat books. So, I wasn't expecting much from this book. So, I was surprised how compelling it was- not original, but very good.
403. The Shining by Stephen King by Stephen King. 497 pages. Even creepier than the movie. One of King's best.
404. The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5) by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan. 381 pages. I think the author was planning all along to create another series related to this one. This is te last book in the Percy Jackson series, but it's not a very good ending to a series.
405. A Champion's Mind Lessons from a Life in Tennis by Pete Sampras by Pete Sampras. 306 pages. My favorite tennis player from that "generation" of players.
406. The Glass is Always Greener (Den of Antiquity, #16) by Tamar Myers by Tamar Myers. 304 pages. The worst mystery I've finished all year. Wow the ending was just horrible. I hope this is the end of the series.
407. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach by Chad Harbach. 512 pages. One of the best books published in 2011. Read it! Don't tell yourself you don't want to because you hate baseball. (Or find baseball boring. I do, too.) Yes, it has baseball in it, but it's not really about baseball.
408. Cemetery Dance (Pendergast, #9) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 435 pages. The previous book in this series, The Wheel of Darkness (Pendergast, #8) by Douglas Preston , was the worst I had read in the series. So, I put off reading this book because I feared that the series was going downhill. So, I'm happy and relieved that this book was good. Not as great as some of the best in the series, but back to normal level of good.
409. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell by Sarah Vowell. 258 pages. Extremely easy to read non-fiction. Non-fiction for people who don't normally like it. That being said, it's not like Vowell promised an in depth detailing of the people and events of this book. It's more like a fun tour through the various places associated with the assasinations of three US Presidents. Fun in the sense that it's not weighty and Vowell throws in off beat, yet interesting facts- like the contents of Lincoln and Booth's pockets.
410. The New New Rules A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass by Bill Maher by Bill Maher. 256 pages. I miss my cable. Oh well, SpongeBob is so much better anyway.
411. The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2) by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan. 513 pages.
412. Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis by Bret Easton Ellis. 256 pages. I could hate this book because of the really graphic sex and violence. I must admit, I don't like it. But that's not why I gave this book a 1 star. The reason I did it was because he wasted an amazing premise. The set up for this sequel to his novel Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis is that LTZ was a true story told by the main character Clay to a writer. The writer then sells the story, mostly true, and the movie becomes a pale copy/bad imitation of the book. Where does he go with this? Nowhere. No existential type angst about reality vs. perception. The whole of Imperial Bedrooms is like that- just setting you up to go nowhere in a very Hollywood, predictable way. And, no, it's not some wry, ironic twist, just bad writing.
413. Fever Dream (Pendergast, #10) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 400 pages. We get a little more of Pendergast's backstory in this book. This is still one of the best mystery series I've read.
414. Official Book Club Selection A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin by Kathy Griffin by Kathy Griffin. 348 pages. I've never seen her show, Life on the D-List, but I do enjoy ringing in the New Year with her and Anderson Cooper. I love how she makes him giggle like a school girl. It was a funny, fluffy book, overall. Good for the holiday blues.
415. Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst by Sarah Beth Durst. 385 pages. Not going to rate this one for a while. Don't know how I feel about it. Looking at the cover, I thought it was going to be a fairly light book- it wasn't. Much darker than I thought in ways that disturbed me. Plus, when I read YA books at least part of my ratings involve thinking, "Would I let my teenager read it? Would they like it? Is there anything objectionable?, etc."
416. Ruthless (Pretty Little Liars, #10) by Sara Shepard by Sara Shepard. 336 pages. The author should really put this series out of its misery.
417. Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick by Elizabeth Chadwick. 568 pages.
418. Murder of a Creped Suzette (A Scumble River Mystery #14) by Denise Swanson by Denise Swanson. 252 pages. This series had a particularly annoying love triange going on forever. That seems to be (mostly) settled. So, the book was okay- the series is better than it's been in quite a while.
419. Death on a Platter (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper, #7) by Elaine Viets by Elaine Viets. 279 pages. Of the author's two mystery series, this one is much better. I always look forward to the next book in this series.
420. Mustaine A Heavy Metal Memoir by Dave Mustaine by Dave Mustaine. 346 pages.
421. Cold Vengeance (Pendergast, #11) by Douglas Preston by Douglas Preston. 356 pages. The series, now at book #11, is getting really good again.
422. Blind Descent The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth by James M. Tabor by James M. Tabor. 286 pages. The author really lacks the ability to describe things well. Caving should offer wonderful opportunities to bring to life underground waterfalls, huge cathedral like rooms, etc. Also, just the danger and excitement. But, the book is really flat because of the author's inability to bring this world to life. Disappointing.
423. One Foot In The Gravy (A Deadly Deli Mystery, #2) by Delia Rosen by Delia Rosen. 313 pages. A 2 star book. I broke my Nook, so I borrowed this out of desperation even though I couldn't finish the first book in the series. I guess the author's "improved" because I was able to finish this one. I just wasn't impressed with it. Don't like the characters, mostly. If you like mysteries, save your money and don't buy this series. Try it out at the library first.
424. Polished Off (Southern Beauty Shop, #2) by Lila Dare by Lila Dare. 296 pages.
425. London Under The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd by Peter Ackroyd. 208 pages. Not substantial enough to feel like a "real" book- there's really only a cursory amount of info brushing over the subject. It feels like the author should have added about 100 more pictures and just made it into a coffee table book. Don't buy this book- if you must read it get it from the library. Very disappointing.

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