Challenge: 50 Books discussion

Finish Line 2011 > Kalei's 50 books in 2011

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message 1: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World

finished January 8 - read for The Next Best Book Club (January's theme is sci-fi). It was okay - not my favorite genre - but an interesting idea. I liked the fact that it was written in 1931, and fast forward to 2011, we're headed in the the direction of the author's vision of the future.

message 2: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 2. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
The Imperfectionists

finished January 29 - I liked the structure and premise for this book, but the execution was lacking a bit for me. The characters, not all of them likeable, were at times easy to relate to, but there were more than a few who were wimpy, whiny and aimless. The writing was good, but again - the idea and purpose of the book outshined its execution.

message 3: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 3. The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
The Hangman's Daughter

finished February 7 - I usually like historical fiction so I was looking forward to reading this book. The concepts and ideas behind this plot are good: midwife accused of witchcraft, hangman as a career choice for the main character, the gallows, sewage in the 16th century, quackery and a hidden treasure - but not good enough to carry the pace and very slow unfolding of the plot.

message 4: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 4. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

finished February 28 - although the first chapter is very compelling, it took me awhile to get into the book. Once I reached about a third of the way, the story kept me interested and turned out to be a very touching and poignant story about a Dutch clerk working for a shipping company in Dejima, Japan in the early 1800s. Great story, wonderful writing, memorable plot and characters.

message 5: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 5. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games

finished March 1 - I read this book in late 2009 and then immediately bought Catching Fire, and then Mockingjay when it was released last year. This is one of the most entertaining books I've ever read, with a quick plot and a simple writing style that compels you to set everything else aside to keep reading until the book is done! I reread Hunger Games to remind me of the backdrop of the story before I move on to Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Love it!

message 6: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 6. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire

finished March 7 - great sequel and second book in the Hunger Games series. The writing is again top-notch and fast-paced. There were some surprises that I liked, and the author further develops the main characters while introducing others who play very important roles, both in this book and the next. Well done bridge between Hunger Games and Mockingjay.

message 7: by Kalei (last edited Mar 12, 2011 05:25PM) (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 7. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins

finished March 12 - Yet another book I couldn't put down. Mockingjay sums up the entire story and the reader now puts everything together from the clues that were first introduced in Hunger Games. Great series!

message 8: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 8. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Art of Racing in the Rain

finished March 29 - my first audiobook. There was a bit of a transition because I wasn't used to the pace of the audiobook, and although I was distracted at first, the narrator was very good. This book became my companion during 3-5 mile walks around Temple Valley, and it was GREAT. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially dog lovers. Enzo the dog rocks!

message 9: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 9. The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) by Ken Follett
The Pillars of the Earth

finished March 31 - an epic novel that, in the words of the person who recommended this book to me, is written in a way that makes you like the good guys and hate the bad guys. The first two-thirds of the book were good, but toward the end it got too drawn out and took too long to finish.

message 10: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 10. Nine Dragons (Harry Bosch, #14) by Michael Connelly
Nine Dragons

finished April 2- quick beach read, not as compelling a story as Lincoln Lawyer but fast paced with a sensible plot.

message 11: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 11. The Innocent by Vincent Zandri
The Innocent

finished April 3 - stumbled across this book while searching the Kindle Storefront. The summary sounded good, and I wasn't disappointed. Very good writing, interesting premise and compelling arena (upstate New York prison) for the story to take place. Definite page-turner. The best book I've read this weekend!

message 12: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 12. Galore by Michael Crummey

finished April 22 - this book was recommended by Amazon (new reads in April or something); I got the sample first, and it was intriguing. The writing is different and it drew me in. I've never been to Newfoundland, don't know much about it, but the book describes life there in detail. Toward the middle of the book it dragged on, and I found myself wanting it to hurry up and finish. Like The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, there are a lot of characters to keep track of, primarily because it spans the course of four generations. Interesting.

message 13: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 13. Godchild by Vincent Zandri

finished April 23 - quick read, good follow up book to The Innocent. The protagonist, "Keeper" Marconi, former warden of a prison in upstate New York, is now a private investigator and is hired to break his client's wife out of prison in Mexico. She was arrested as a drug runner, and long story short, Keeper breaks her out of the Monterrey prison in no time flat. There was also a descriptive sex scene that any man would think is a dream come true, but seemed a bit contrived and unrealistic plopped in the middle of the story. Most aspects of this book were too far-fetched for me, but the plot moved quickly and had good twists at the end.

message 14: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 14. The King of Lies by John Hart
The King of Lies

finished May 7 - the storyline didn't hold my interest until three quarters of the way through, and once there, there were enough twists and turns in the plot to make it interesting. The first book I read by John Hart was The Last Child and it was his best by far.

message 15: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 15. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle

finished May 13 - this is a very well-written memoir and follow up (chronologically) to Half Broke Horses. It's an amazing testament to the ability of the four Walls children to survive despite (and in support of) their parents. The best part of reading this book is that there is no overwhelming feeling of hate, blame or anger directed toward the author's parents. Instead, there are some tender moments of understanding, patience,forgiveness and love. Great story.

message 16: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 16. Room by Emma Donoghue

finished May 16 - I read this book when I got on the plane in Vegas and finished it when we landed in Honolulu. The book has received a lot of hype and rave reviews, and it didn't disappoint. I liked the fact that it was written from a child's perspective, and the reader can feel the angst, hurt, confusion and happiness from both the mother and child's perspective. Interesting premise, very well executed.

message 17: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 17. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Help

finished May 24 - finished the audiobook version on a 5 mile Kailua beachwalk after over a month. The writing is heartfelt and very southern, and overall it is a wonderful story of the South in the 1960s...colored maids waiting on white families.

message 18: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 18. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
Still Missing

finished July 14 - started reading on the plane ride home from Vegas. It's about a young realtor who gets abducted from an open house she's hosting. Her kidnapper keeps her in an isolated cabin in the Pacific Northwest, and (SPOILER ALERT!) although she manages to escape, she still has scars and issues to deal with. The writing is good and the book starts out at a good pace, but the plot sucked me in and I could not put the book down.

message 19: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 19. The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan
The Mill River Recluse

finished August 15 - I saw this book on my Kindle Storefront in the section "recommended for you". It was one of the books going for $0.99, and the last one I bought (#11 above - The Innocent) was definitely worth the price. This book was good but a little predictable. The writing was plain and the author definitely set up a "feel good" ending. Good quick read worth the price.

message 20: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 20. Stealing Faces by Michael Prescott
Stealing Faces

finished August 27 - another Kindle recommendation at $0.99 and this one was better than the previous book I purchased. The plot and narrative are very well executed, character development is minimal but sufficient, and the pace is fast. Great read.

message 21: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 21. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

finished September 1 - received this book and The Confession from Beesh on Saturday 8/27. Knowing that the Grisham book would consume me, I decided to take a peek at Cloudstreet to see what it was like. The jacket description was neat - two families live together, one owns the house on Cloudstreet in Perth, the other are renters but decide to open a storefront. Interesting characters, intriguing writing and immediate catastrophe sucked me in. The author's writing is not straightforward but more poetic, similar in style to Galore. Definitely worth the read.

message 22: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 22. The Confession by John Grisham
The Confession

finished September 5 - good if you like Grisham, keeps you in suspense and on the edge of your seat. I liked the characters, although you can definitely tell Grisham's opinion on the death penalty. There's a clear line between good and bad in this case. Quick read.

message 23: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 23. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin
A Game of Thrones

finished September 30 - heard about the series on HBO and a friend lent me all 5 books. Game of Thrones lived up to the hype! Good plot, compelling characters. The hardest thing is keeping track of everyone: houses and their Lords, children, squires and bannermen. Chapters alternate from each character's perspective. Long story but worth the read.

message 24: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 24. A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) by George R.R. Martin
A Clash of Kings

finished October 16 - the follow up to Game of Thrones took awhile to get through. The plot dragged on unnecessarily to me for most of the book, and there were storylines that weren't needed or didn't add a lot of value to the overall story. There are some characters that I like to read about, and others where I skim through the whole chapter, but overall I like the series and storyline and plot development.

message 25: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 25. Mortal Pursuit by Michael Prescott
Mortal Pursuit

I forgot to add this one! Finished ?? - I think I read it after Cloudstreet, before The Confession? Or after The Confession and before Game of Thrones. It was a $0.99 kindle book and a super quick read. Not a literary breakthrough, but a good beach read.

message 26: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 26. The Abbey (a full-length suspense thriller) by Chris Culver
The Abbey

finished October 24 - the $0.99 kindle books are enticing, and this one sounded good. It was! Quick pace, plausible plot, compelling main character, the only drawbacks were minor edits and small irritants (one review said the author used "jogged" too much - the detective jogged to the bedroom, then he jogged outside, then jogged (two feet) to the fridge, etc.). Good read.

message 27: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 27. Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #3) by Tana French
Faithful Place

finished November 9 - I love Tana French's other books (In the Woods and The Likeness) but this is the best of the three. They all have great character development, especially with the main character, which is different (but related) in each novel. Great read.

message 28: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 28. When the Devil Whistles by Rick Acker
When the Devil Whistles

finished November 13 - it was a $1.99 Kindle book with some pretty good reviews. Good plot, okay writing, sappy love story.

message 29: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 29. Three Years on Doreen's Sofa by Lee Cataluna
Three Years on Doreen's Sofa

finished November 14 - Super funny book, laugh out loud funny! Great writing style, unique in that it captures a distinct local pidgin voice. The book is about Bobby, an ex-con living in Maui with his sister who also happens to be his cousin (same dad, different moms but they're sisters). He gets out of jail and Doreen (his sister/cousin) picks him up to live with her for a few days, couple weeks, tops. Great story, hillarious characters, superb writing.

message 30: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 30. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men

finished November 17 - I've always wanted to read Steinbeck and have had Grapes of Wrath on my kindle for months now. Decided to read Of Mice and Men to help Pa'ahana with her English homework. She said they're reading the book but also watching the movie in class...cheat! Classic story, solid writing, wonderful character development in such a short novel. Tragic ending. Can't wait to read Grapes of Wrath now.

message 31: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 31. The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon
The Twisted Thread

finished November 26 - recommended by Makana, it was good! The story is about a girl at a prestigious prep school who is murdered and her baby stolen. There are a number of characters - students, teachers, different family members - and sub-plots, but overall the narrative is intriguing and leaves you guessing. Good character development, realistic/believable plot, interesting sub-plots, picturesque scenery. A quick and surprisingly good read.

message 32: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 32. Untouchable by Scott O'Connor

finished December 3 - $2.99 kindle book, well worth the money. Untouchable is about a father and son reeling from the death of Lucy, Darby's wife and the Kid's mother, almost a year ago. The whole story is tragic and most of the plot is sad and heart-wrenching, but I couldn't put it down. Great read.

message 33: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 33. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
When She Woke

Finished December 19 - I liked Hillary Jordan's debut novel Mudbound and felt it was well-written and one of the most heartfelt novels I've recently read. When She Woke is equally powerful but definitely a change in genre. Interesting concept and views on abortion, women's rights and crime/punishment. Great read.

message 34: by Kalei (new)

Kalei McDonnell | 93 comments 34. Blood Oath (Nathaniel Cade #1) by Christopher Farnsworth
Blood Oath

finished December 26 - started looking through books in the horror genre, actually started to buy The President's Vampire but opted to read book one first. Fast plot, great characters. Definitely more of an adult version than Twilight and other vampire series. Awesome!

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