Friday, July 06, 2012

What I read: Spring Addition

Well, my reading stagnated a bit. I had hoped that I would have gotten through 50 by this point this year, but alas, camp is busy! Here's what I've read since April:

25. Spindle's End; Robin McKinley: This was my second book swap book from the book swap in March. I've reviewed it here, but the short version is: It was charming and an excellent take on Sleeping Beauty. I enjoyed the strong female character and that she didn't lie around waiting to be rescued. The author could have used a sentence editor, but otherwise did a good job. If you're a fantasy person, you'd very much enjoy this book.

26. My Name is Mary Sutter; Robin Oliveira {audiobook}: Kind of a romance, kind of a tragedy. I love the main character in this novel: she goes after what she wants and she's determined, but she also let's life affect her. This novel takes place during the Civil War, and Mary Sutter wants to be a surgeon, so expect a lot of bloodshed, tragedy, humanity, love and grief. A wonderful drama!

27. The Help; Kathryn Stockett: I generally liked this novel, but I have a more detailed review here.

28. Love Come to Me; Lisa Kleypas: After reading the Hathaway series I was excited to read something else by this author. Unfortunately, I didn't know that this was her second novel. The characters are a bit shallow, and there are a lot of stereotypes. Also, I'm not a huge fan of the whole man takes advantage of woman which forces woman to marry him scenario. It's innocent enough in this book {they were caught kissing and her reputation was ruined}, but escalated into "more" it  has some serious implications into victim blaming and abuse.

29. The House at Riverton; Kate Morton: This was Kate's first novel and you can tell. It has her brilliant writing, but the story moves a bit slow, and the characters are a bit shallow. Aside from that, the story is pretty tragic, and sort of reminds me of Tess of the D'urbervilles. Nothing seems to go right for the main characters, and you get the sense that fate wants it that way.

30. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott; Kelly O'Connor McNees {audiobook}: As someone who loves Louisa May Alcott, I enjoyed listening to this novel. However, it didn't "wow" me.  I found myself getting angry at Louisa half the time, and frustrated at her. I would check this one out from the library instead of purchasing it, but it's certainly not a waste of time to read.

31. The Little Princes; Conor Greggan: I loved this book. I generally love feel-good memoirs, but this one seemed to hit close to home for some reason. Read more about it here.

32. Tempt Me at Twilight; Lisa Kleypas {audiobook}: Another installment in the Hathaway series. This time Poppy is swept of her feet by an American hotelier that was seemingly abused as a child. The beginning kind of had some red flags, I'll admit. Poppy is kind of forced to marry her husband because he deceives her and does some mean things {nothing abusive, just scummy}, but Kleypas presents it well and I have to remember that in the context of the time period, this wasn't an unusual occurrence. They eventually fall in love, but not after all kinds of drama and lolly gagging and, ahem, sex. Apparently that helps people fall in love. That's a topic for a whole other blog post, but the plot is highly unlikely. However, it was still good.

33. The Paris Wife; Paula McLain: I found this story to be incredibly sad. It's about Ernest Hemingway early in his career, and his first wife Hadley. They marry young, move to Paris, and have a baby. In the end, Ernest cheats on her with her good friend Pauline, and the climax of the novel is their divorce. We watch Hadley try to patch up the marriage, try to accommodate Pauline in a half-hearted polyamorous relationship, and eventually come to realize that it just won't work. At the end, Hadley is remarried and Hemingway commits suicide, tormented by his {many} past loves and failures.  The novel wasn't really gripping but I found myself pulling for Hadley near the end and hating Ernest. I don't think it's that simple, not really, but I found myself feeling wistful anyhow.

34. Married by Morning; Lisa Kleypas {audiobook}: More Hathaways. It follows the usual pattern: one wants to get married, the other doesn't, they dance around each other forever and then some catastrophe happens to make the one who doesn't want to get married reconsider. All live happily ever after and have copious amounts of well-written sex. So, it was good!

37. Let's Pretend This Never Happened; Jenny Lawson {aka, The Blogess}: Loved it! You can read my review here!

36.  Extremely Loud, and Incredibly Close; Jonathan Safron Foer: I liked it, but I found some parts confusing. At the end I figured it out, but the narrator switches every once in awhile without warning and it took me awhile to connect who was who. I don't know if that's because I'm in the e-reader version, but I'd check this one out from the library if at all possible.

37-39. Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; E. L. James: I personally loved these. L-O-V-E-D. They're not for everyone, though, and I talk about that in my longer review here.

40. At home: A Short History of Private Life: Bill Bryson: I generally enjoy Bryson's books, and this one was fascinating. Read my review here.

41. The Nature Principle; Richard Louv: Even though I adored Louv's first book, Last Child in the Woods, I had a hard time getting into this one. His message shifted a bit to adults, and how nature-deficit disorder can apply to them as well, a message with which I agree support. He also focused a lot on programs which have been designed to help communities get "back to nature" in a meaningful way, which I also enjoyed. In all, the book was good {once I hit my stride} and had an excellent message, but I found it to be a bit dry.

42. Because it Feels Good; Debby Herbenick, PhD: I kind of want to be her when I grow up. She's knowledgeable, approachable, and matter-of-fact. She's also highly respected in the field of sex education and sex research. I was pleasantly surprised that I learned a few new things in this book. It's about female anatomy, pleasure, and psychsocial response, and is presented in a factual, helpful, and non-judgemental manner.

43. Peony in Love; Lisa See {audiobook}: You all know I love Lisa See, right? I do. I love her. This is one of the last novels of hers that I hadn't read, and I'm glad that I found it at the library near camp on audiobook. Score! Read more about this book here.

44. IQ84; Haruki Mirakami: I hit the same wall with this one has I hit with the Millenium series {only,thinking about it, its worse}. It's a translation, so the language is extremely straight forward and the story stagnated a bit for me. That being said, the story is decent if you're into sci-fi and alternate reality type stuff. I also found it to be really long. The story itself was good and engaging, I just felt like it took forever to get through it, probably because it was 925 pages long. Here's the blog post with my review.

What have you read this year, so far? Anything exciting?


  1. I loved The House at Riverton although it was not my favorite Kate Morton either. I did enjoy The Paris Wife and I too was on Hadley's side. I have My Name is Mary Sutter in my stack from the library and can't wait to start it. I am also adding The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott to my list.

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  3. Hey, you got pretty darn close to your 50! :P

    I'm hoping to read Let's Pretend This Never Happened in the near future (I ordered it for our library :D )! It looks awesome! And of course the 50 Shades books are on my to-read list... I just haven't gotten to them yet :)

    Lately I haven't read a whole lot lately. I've reread Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!! It's a fun read), and I've slowly been making my way through ARCs that I picked up at the last conference. Most are YA, but that makes for a lot of quick and light reading! So far, the best has been Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne. The story is definitely easy to get into and it's frightening when you think too much about how the things that happen in the book could potentially happen in real life!

  4. Woohoo books! I LOVE Spindle's End! I haven't read a Robin McKinley book I haven't enjoyed, but Spindle's End is one of my favorites. If you're interested in seeing her take a slightly darker tone, check out's a really good read.

    I've been rereading a lot lately, apart from baby books lol. One series you might really enjoy if you like Sci-Fi is Gini Koch's Alien series. It starts with Touched by an Alien, and is pretty witty and action-packed. I've reread the entire series about 4 times lol. Hope all is going well with camp! Let me know if you wanna grab lunch sometime :-D!