I stopped doing these posts in May for some reason, but I discovered I missed talking about books I was reading and my thoughts on them so I decided to bring this back. I flew right past my goal of reading 75 books this year at the end of October so now trying to see if I can make it to 90. Woo!
Because You Have To: A Writing Life by Joan Frank – 2 stars. I wrote my review on this book for TLC Book Tours already. It is basically a book on writing, part-memoir and part-survey of the process of writing. It is an interesting book, but some of it didn’t grab me like I wanted it to. It started to read like a textbook for me about halfway through.
Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen – 4 stars. I am very happy that my library offers all of Sarah Dessen’s novels on their digital site with no waiting, so I am making my way through her novels. This is the fourth novel of hers I’ve read and I really, really enjoyed it. It followed the story of Auden whose parents are divorced and both professors. Her mom is involved with one of her grad students and her father just married someone not much older than Auden herself, and had a baby with her. Her brother is gallivanting around Europe and Auden decides to spend the summer with her dad, new stepmom, and new half-sister. It’s a summer of self-discovery for Auden as she discovers her father is less perfect than she thought he was, her stepmom is less flighty than she thought she was, and how much she missed out on during school. It’s a really sweet novel, with lots of teenage angst and romance. I really love Dessen’s writing style and it’s just one of those fun, easy reads to take your mind off things.
Return to You by Kate Perry – 3 stars. This was free on Kindle so I picked it up because the cover was pretty and it seemed like it was just the right kind of predictable romance novel I needed. I read this when I needed a break from The Casual Vacancy (this is one of my tricks to how I read so darn much!) and it was everything I expected – light, funny, cheesy, predictable. Just how I like my romance novels! While the characters seemed a little over-the-top and the male lead was a bit lackluster, it was a good novel. Perfect if you just want something cheesy to read on a rainy weekend afternoon!
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – 3 stars. This was our November #twookclub pick and also the November pick for my in-person book club. To be honest, the premise of the book didn’t entice me and I wasn’t really interested in reading it. But I did and I must say it wasn’t my favorite. Rowling throws 30 different characters at you in the beginning and trying to sort out who they were and how they related to the story was difficult. There wasn’t really much of a plot and it was filled with a lot of profanity, violence, and sex. To be frank, it grossed me out because it was done in a derogatory way. I’m not saying this is bad or the writing sucked… I just didn’t particularly enjoy it. About 200-250 pages in, I started to understand the novel and felt more invested in the characters but there was still something missing for me from this book. I think I’m in the minority of this because most people rate this book 4 or 5 stars on Goodreads, but my personal opinion? I probably won’t read another adult fiction novel from Rowling.
Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann – 5 stars. I felt a catch in the bottom of my stomach when I finished this book. Not because the ending was particularly surprising, but because I was upset that I had finished this book. I have been slowly working my way through Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series (I read the majority of the books a few years ago) because I enjoy the series so, so much. I am so captivated by the characters and I love how some plotlines carry through from novel to novel. This book followed the story of their computer techie member, Ken, who spent the majority of the first part of the Troubleshooters series trying to get over an old college girlfriend. It’s been a few years since then and he’s completely over her and meets Savannah by chance (or so he thinks!). Savannah knows who Ken is and wants to use his SEAL expertise to rescue her uncle who has been captured by a terrorist. The book is fast-paced and follows Brockmann’s usual style. The thing about Brockmann is that her books could be considered predictable but the way she gets you there is always unpredictable! Fans of romantic thrillers – check this author out. She’s the best!
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – 4 stars. Oh, my heavens. I adored this book. This is my in-person book club book for December so I started reading it, thinking it would take me a while to get through it. Nope. I tore through this book in a matter of days and honestly couldn’t get enough of it. The novel is a memoir of a son (Will) who starts up an informal two-person book club with his mom, Mary Anne, who is dying of cancer. The book delves into some pretty hard-hitting topics, such as refugees and healthcare, and it’s not solely about books or cancer. It’s really about Mary Anne and the impact she had on people. I had an instant connection with Mary Anne because of watching my grandma go through chemotherapy twice and knowing the toll it took on her – yet she never lost her faith and never stopped worrying about her kids and grandkids. Mary-Anne is an exceptional woman and Will wrote an incredible book. I loved all the different books mentioned and the play-by-play between Will and his mom as they discussed them. I highly recommend this book!
California Caress by Rebecca Sinclair – 3 stars. This book was free on Kindle and it seemed like my kind of historical romance – predictable, cheesy, and an escape. So I picked it up and read it in a few days. It was light and funny and I generally enjoyed it. The plot was a little shaky for me, but the romance seemed believable enough. It was just one of those books that wasn’t hard to get into and kept me interested in what was going to happen next.
Books read in 2012: 82