75 Books...More or Less! discussion

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Archive (2009 Completed) > Meghan's 2009 Books

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message 1: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 06:23AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 1. Pretty Monsters Stories- Kelly Link 1/13/09 3 stars

This is a collection of short stories that all have some sort of spooky twist - a girlfriend long buried gets dug up by her ex, a mind-reading little girl makes a journey to find a group of non-existend wizards. Though well-written, it was a little too out-there for my tastes. I have to admit, I really only "read" five of the stories and skimmed the rest. It was generally a disappointment.


message 2: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 06:24AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 2. Touching Darkness - Scot Westerfeld 1/15/09

I started reading this series at the end of 2008. Could NOT put it down. In fact, I read the third and final book in the series the same day! (See next entry) The series was pretty engaging science fiction - though somewhat laughable as it draws to its conclusion. I read this series because of how much I enjoyed the Uglies series.


message 3: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 06:24AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 3. Blue Noon - Scot Westerfeld 1/15/09

See above.



message 4: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 06:25AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 4. Little Brother - Cory Doctorow 1/17/09

This novel was highly-praised, and it mostly lived up to the hype, with the exception of a few preachy sections that I skimmed over towards the end. This book was extremely liberal in its political viewpoint, which of course appealed to me, and lent itself well to the current dilemma of national security and the Patriot Act. All of this was (thinly) veiled by an engaging techno-chic, well-paced plot. I am recommending this book to all my students who have lately become so politically active (or at least interested).


message 5: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 06:25AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 5. Paper Towns - John Green 1/18/09

What can I say - I love this author. Looking for Alaska literally changed my life, and I enjoyed the hell out of An Abundance of Katherines. With this novel, though, I feel John Green falls into a bit of a formulaic rut. I mean, how many YA novels can you write with a male protagonist who goes on a coming-of-age road trip motivated by a love lost? Though beautifully written, I have to admit that I kept asking myself - didn't I already read this? Twice?


message 6: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 06:26AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 6. Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness 1/19/09

I admit it. I love science fiction. Not aliens and UFOS and ET kind of science fiction, but the dystopian, alternate reality kind of science fiction. It started with The Giver, grew with Ender's Game, and it just hasn't stopped. The Knife of Never Letting Go is an example of the perfect dystopian novel - a main character who is at once sympathetic but flawed, a plot that moves forward but leaves you guessing as to answers along the way, an ending that leaves you wondering if our own world is really headed in the same direction.... apparently, this is the first in the "Chaos Walking" series. I eagerly await the second.


message 7: by Ms. Vicki (new)

Ms. Vicki Smith I loved the Westerfeld Midnighters series also (book #1 The Secret Hour). It isn't as popular as his Uglies series, but I think it is just as well written. I couldn't put them down either.

Meghan...have you read the series by Celia Thomson called The Nine Lives of Chloe King? It's another good scifi. :D


message 8: by Meghanly (last edited Jan 21, 2009 03:31AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments I read the Midnight Hour on December 30 so I didn't include it in my 2009 list - but I think the first in the series was my favorite!

I haven't read any Celia Thomson - but will check it out. Thanks!


message 9: by Karol (new)

Karol | 1779 comments Meghan, I really enjoy reading your comments - thanks so much! It's great to have you in the group.


message 10: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments Thanks Kay! I am excited to be involved!


message 11: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 06:26AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 7. Brisingr - Christopher Paolini (1/24/09)

Such a disappoinment. I love this series - but though Brisingr still presented a great addition to the story, Paolini's ineptitude with language finally brought the pace to a stumbling, grueling halt. Though I will read the last book when it is published - I have to know how he defeats Galbatorix, after all! - this definitely could have been a trilogy instead of a "cycle".


message 12: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 06:27AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 8. Chinese Cinderella The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter - Adeline Yen Mah (1/24/09)

A QUICK read! Don't let the slow beginning fool you - you will be rooting for our little Adeline by the time you reach the end. The scene of the father, the dog and the duck - heartbreaking. The fact that this is a true story makes it all the more interesting to me. I added Yen Mah's Falling Leaves to my to be read shelf!


message 13: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 06:27AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 9. Love Walked In- Marisa de los Santos (1/25/09)

Cutesy. At first, I was thrown off by how saccharine-sweet the main characters were, like heroic orphans in children's novels who are always good-hearted, even when the worst possible things are happening to them. But throughout, the author draws those same parallels, making Cornelia obsessed with old movies (think Cary Grant, Lauren Bacall, etc) and Clare constantly reading Anne of Green Gables and the like. Lovable romance - cotton candy beach reading, but fun.


message 14: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 02, 2009 09:25AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 10. Marley & Me Love and Life with the World's Worst Dog- John Grogan (1/25/09)

Okay. I admit it. I cried like a baby, first at the movie and then in the last three chapters of the book. My reputation is ruined. :):):)


message 15: by Karol (new)

Karol | 1779 comments Meghan, don't worry, you're not alone . . . I haven't seen the movie yet but I shed quite a few tears when I read the book.


message 16: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 11. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (1/27/09)

This is the last book in the series (so far) and I love love love it. Such easy, fun reading. Can't wait until March (May?) when the new Sookie comes out!


message 17: by Meghanly (last edited Jan 30, 2009 01:02PM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 12. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (1/30/09)

A fun romp through magical realism, though not as breathtakingly beautiful as any of Allende's epics. I enjoyed the integration of the recipes into the plot - though I tended to skim through them since I knew I would never make them!


message 18: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 03:46AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 13. The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory (1/31/09)

Not as good as The Other Boleyn Girl - I think multiple narrators threw Gregory off her game - but it was fun, in a horrific kind of way. It follows the plot line after The Other Boleyn Girl, following Jane (Anne Boleyn's sister-in-law, the traitor), a new Queen Anne to the King, and Queen Katherine, Anne Boleyn's cousin, who was the 4th queen. I recommend reading The Other Booleyn Girl first!


message 19: by Meghanly (last edited May 22, 2009 11:42AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 14. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn (2/1/09)

This book made me long for my teenage years, where everything was fresh and new and possibility was lingering around every turn, embedded in every new song I heard before any of my friends. I miss those times. A lot of critics complain that "it all happens in one night" - girl and boy fall out of love with two others, meet, fall in love, out of love, and back in love again. But isn't that what you FELT like in high school? Anything was possible and things did change in the blink of an eye, and there were some nights that you wished would last forever. I haven't seen the movie yet.... does it live up to the novel?


message 20: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 03:41AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 15. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (2/1/09)

After so many stellar reviews on this site, maybe my expectations were too pumped up by this book - it was an inevetibality that I would be let down. I loved the strong female protagonist, admired her tenacity - but something felt off with the pacing. Too much or too little would be revealed at the wrong times... but it was nothing I hated. More of an "eh" book, which I hate to say since there are so many RAVE reviews!


message 21: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 03:43AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 16. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (2/2/09)

Now THIS is what I'm talking about - everything a YA fantasy book should be - and more. Thought-provoking world, headstrong female protagonist who acknowledges and works through her own flaws, just the right bit of romance. And for this to be her first novel - I loved it.

All Gracelings are born with - or develop - two different colored eyes, and are blessed with a special gift. For our protagonist, it is killing. She struggles with the moral ambiguities of being born to do something that others - and herself - find despicable. Her journey to self-realization is filled with adventure and danger, and yes, just a little bit of romance. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!


message 22: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 03:44AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 17. Fat Girl A True Story by Judith Moore (2/4/09)

As many times as I have heard the cliched term "brutally honest", I don't think I have ever truly experienced until I read this book. Not for the faint of heart.

Moore pulls no punches, there is no happy ending, just a description of her "fat" - a lot of descriptions of her fat actually and her not-so-happy childhood.


message 23: by Dawn Michelle (new)

Dawn Michelle | 1808 comments OH NOOOOOOO!!! I was SO hoping that Brisngr was going to be better than Eldest. I STILL cannot get through that book, though I am going to try again this year since I got Brisngr for Christmas. Sigh!

I LOVED "Love Walked In". It just blew me away. There is a sequel you know. "Belong to me". WHICH I am getting at the bookstore next time I go. NO MATTER WHAT! :-)

Am thinking about starting the Sookie books. Are they REALLY that good?

Thank you for writing such great reviews. I am adding a couple of books from your list to mine!!


message 24: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 11, 2009 03:45AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 18. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (2/8/09)

This was a poor man's Green Mile, and lacked the unpredictable twists and turns that usually endear Picoult's story lines to my heart. Color me disappointed.

Shay, a convicted murderer, wants to donate his heart to the little sister of his victim after his execution. Believe me when I say you will see this ending coming a mile away.


message 25: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 19. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (2/9/09)

I love children's books with mysteries, secret codes and ciphers to figure out - check out anything by Blue Balliett if you do as well. Though this book promised to follow in her hallowed YA lit footsteps, the characters were too cliche and the plotline too convoluted and forced for it to be put into a "must read" list. It was enjoyable for the most part, but there are just too many awesome YA books in this genre to put forth anything this predictable and expect it to receive stellar reviews.


message 26: by Meghanly (last edited Feb 10, 2009 06:54PM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 20. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2/9/09)

Don't be fooled by the ginormous size of this book - due to large parts of the plot being depicted through illustration, I finished all 530 pages in a leisurely 45 minutes! This was a delightful book - the gorgeous illustrations moved the plot along in an interesting way, and the charming story of the orphan living in the train station really captures your heart. Highly recommended to all those children's literature lovers out there!


message 27: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 21. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle A Novel by David Wroblewski (2/15/09)

Wow. Definitely an epic novel, a rambler, one whose course you think you have followed, until it meanders to a completely different place than you ever imagined. I have to say, I was disappointed with the ending. I want justice in my novels, especially after having stuck with them for over 500 pages!

Edgar is a boy born mute - he can hear perfectly well though - who is raised on a dog-training farm. From there... well, you have to take the adventure on your own.


message 28: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 22. The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante (2/17/09)

A short YA read, the book switches between two narrators who live on a religious commune: Agnes, who fervently believes in the commune leader Emmanuel and who strives to perfection in order to become a saint, and Honey, an orphan on the commune who rebels against the strict and often cruel teachings of the religion. It's pretty predictable, but young adult readers will like the obvious "good vs. evil" motif and the struggles of a feisty protagonist.


message 29: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 23. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (2/19/09)

So very, very cute. It was a fun read, an enjoyment, a beach read that doesn't make you feel guilty because it's not trashy. Highly recommend reading for those times when you are in need of something "light". Written all in letters, it is a quick read as well.


message 30: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 24. December by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop (2/3/09)

I don't know how I missed listing this one .... I put it on my Winter Challenge but not this thread! Probably because it was such a BOOOOORING book. Yuck. Don't even start it.


message 31: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 25. The Hour I First Believed A Novel-Wally Lamb (2/22/09)

Well. If you have read Lamb's other fiction works, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, then you will truly be disappointed with this novel. It's a lot of rambling, a lot of pretentious and barely recognizable symbolism, that all barely adds up to a story. I was so incredibly disappointed, that I am literally at a loss for words. In Lamb's other works, I was so engrossed in his created world that I was surprised to turn the final page and realize there was not more. In The Hour I First Believed, I found myself stopping numerous time to estimate how many pages I had left until I would finally finish. Sad. So so sad. I can't believe I waited so long on the library hold list for this.


message 32: by Karol (new)

Karol | 1779 comments Meghan, thanks for the warnings on the last two books you've listed. . .

By the way, I read Edgar Sawtelle and had a very similar reaction to yours.


message 33: by Meghanly (last edited Mar 05, 2009 05:45AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 26. Tender Morsels - Margo Lanagan (3/2/09)

This is a novel by an Australian author, and it shows - not in a bad way, just a different way. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of it, the stilted language, the shifting narrators, the unfamiliar slang... but once I did, I was hooked. The story is captivating, and so very, very original, littered with mythological references that the author somehow seems to make fresh. To American readers - don't let the discomfort of the first few pages steer you away. When you get it, it's worth it!!

A word of warning -though this is categorized as a Young Adult novel, my American sensibilities and, let's face it, prudishness, led me to second-guess putting it into the hands of my 6th, 7th or even 8th grade students. There is rape - and though the author handles it delicately in some ways, she is also quite honest and does not disguise the brutality. As an adult, I could appreciate her handling such a gruesome and horrendous event as well as she did, but I think that with kids, it would either fly over their heads or give them nightmares. Just a word of warning!


message 34: by Meghanly (last edited Mar 06, 2009 09:42AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 27. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman (3/3/09)

Is it just me, or are Young Adult books including more and more violence? The Graveyard Book begins with not one, but three murders - a mother, a father, and a daughter. The killer plans to also kill the baby boy at the top of the attic, but doesn't by a fluke accident - and thus the story of Bod begins. Even with the violence - I was captivated by this story. Such a fun narrator and an interesting premise. Middle schoolers will love it!


message 35: by Ms. Vicki (new)

Ms. Vicki Smith Thanks Meghan for the warning on the YA book. You just never know about them. Since I am a librarian for 5th and 6th graders it's really hard to find books our prudish American parents won't throw a fit about, especially since I live in the "Bible Belt".



message 36: by Meghanly (last edited Mar 06, 2009 09:45AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 28. The Likeness - Tana French (3/5/09)

Tana French is an amazing author. Her tension and suspense are pitch perfect, her characters well fleshed-out and likable even with their flaws. Even though the premise (a detective is called into a case where the victim is her exact double, and then assumes her identity to catch the killer) was not very plausible, her amazing writing and character development drew me in and never let me go. I also highly recommend her first book, In the Woods.


message 37: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 29. Blackout Girl Growing Up and Drying Out in America - Jennifer Storm (3/8/09)

Completely honest. I was impressed by Jennifer's ability to narrate her own experiences with honesty and compassion, but her writing style is so underdeveloped that it was almost distracting. I think it is important, however, to share these types of experiences - especially as more and more high school and college students replicate this type of behavior every night of the week. I applaud Storm for laying her story at the feet of readers and saying "Here it is - take from it what you will".


message 38: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 30. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart (3/8/09)

A quick read, a different kind of young adult novel that supplies the interesting plot, but with a good dose of moral and ethical dilemmas and problem solving. I really liked the main character, because she was real - she echoed my own high school thoughts of liking a boy but not liking what he made you become. Recommend.


message 39: by Meghanly (last edited Mar 10, 2009 08:39PM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 31. Good Omens The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Terry Pratchett and Gaiman, Neil (3/10/09)

I don't know how to rate this one. I did not enjoy reading it - though some parts were so funny I laughed out loud. I thought the plot was convoluted, but got caught up in the story. I didn't like any of the characters, but wanted to know what happened to them.

???


message 40: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 32. The Boyfriend List 15 guys, 11 shrink appointments, 4 ceramic frogs, and me, Ruby Oliver - E. Lockhart (3/10/09)

I only read this book because of the SPring Challenge in TNBBC (read a book with a title longer than 12 words). It ended up being pretty cute, and a very easy read - I finished it in just a couple of hours. The girl does learn there is more to high school life than boys - if just barely - but beware of lots of boob grabbing.


message 41: by Meghanly (last edited Mar 14, 2009 04:05PM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 33. Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein (3/11/09)

I reread this book of poetry because of the Spring Challenge (notice the patttern? LOL) and I had truly forgotten how much I adored this man and his amazing mind for words. I actually read the 30th anniversary special edition, which includes about 10 new poems that I had never seen before. Lovely!


message 42: by Meghanly (last edited Mar 12, 2009 07:40PM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 34.Magic Study - Maria V. Snyder (3/12/09)

I don't know why,but I enjoyed this one SO much more than the first book, Poison Study. The pages seemed to fly by! I became much more into Yelena's struggle, her quest for her family and for her own history, and I loved the periphery characters - especially the soldiers who teach her to fight - they are so the comic relief! Wow - it makes me want to reread Posion Study to see if I was wrong the first time!


message 43: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 35. Fire Study - Maria V. Snyder(3/14/09)

Not as good as Magic Study - I found myself wondering how many times the author would use the plot "twist" where Yelena would be apparently pricked by Curare, but instead would pretend to be paralyzed and then surprise her attackers. Seriously, this happened at least four times. Comeon now. A little creativity, please??? Overall, I liked the series, but the second book was by FAR the best.


message 44: by Meghanly (last edited Mar 15, 2009 05:16AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 36. The Red Shoe - Ursula Dubosarsky (3/15/09)

Yuck. Good thing this was a short one that I read in about an hour and a half. The plot was hard to find, and the author didn't seem comfortable switching between the three daughter's perspectives and voices. A little bit of intrigue when you realize the father tried for suicide - but that doesn't happen until page 125, and by then you are BORED. Do not waste your time on this one.


message 45: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 37. The White Darkness - Geraldine McCaughrean (3/15/09)

The most I can say is that I did like the history of Captain Titus Oates woven throughout the story. However, the female protagonist was way too apathetic for my tastes. She simply threw her hands up in the air and said "Oh my" when yet another disaster struck, instead of doing anything about it. She didn't even get angry when she found out the true villain. Sigh. Where are your cahones??


message 46: by Meghanly (last edited Mar 17, 2009 03:28AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 38. On The Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta (3/16/09)

This is a wow book for sure. It starts off intriguing but confusing. The parts slowly fall into place as you journey, so don't give up. I loved how every detail the author gives you figures prominently into the two stories, and how the pieces come together all the way to the last page. The intricate weaving of the "fictional" story by Hannah and the protagonist's real life is reflective and seamless. Love, love, love and would highly recommend!


message 47: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 3923 comments Mod
Meghan I just wanted to say how much I look forward to your posts! I know a lot of time when I'm trying to sum up a book in the back of my head I'm thinking does anyone really read these. I read all of yours and someday when I have time I'm going to have to check out your read list :)


message 48: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments Thanks Andrea - I swear, as I read books, I sometimes start planning out the review I will write for them. LOL. Such a dork...


message 49: by Meghanly (last edited Mar 17, 2009 04:39AM) (new)

Meghanly | 253 comments 39. The Glass Castle A Memoir - Jeannette Walls (3/17/09)

This was the first audiobook I ever listened to, and I couldn't be loving it more! It's hard to separate my new love for listening to books on my long commute from how greatly sad but still somehow uplifting the story was. The narrator of this novel is resilient, flawed; despite her alcoholic father and whackadoo mother, she perseveres and achieves all of these amazing dreams. I found myself yelling at the CD player in the car everytime her crazy prents would do something hideously awful - that just doesn't happen often when I'm sitting with a book! It got to the point where I looked forward to my morning and afternoon commutes, just so I could spend time with the Walls family. Is that crazy? Recommend.


message 50: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 3923 comments Mod
No worries, I do the same, I guess we can be dorky together!


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