Friday, December 31, 2010

A year summed up

So I lost count somehow and messed up, I only made it to 114 books this year, not 115, and I am half way through two books that I was hoping to finish today, but it's just not going to happen.

A quick summary.....

My most favorite books this year, in no particular order:
  • The Help
  • The Book Thief
  • The Thirteenth Tale
  • Thirteen Reasons Why
  • The Hunger Game series
My most favorite characters:
  • Tiny Cooper (Will Grayson Will Grayson)
  • Ron Weasley (Harry Potter)
  • Lisbeth Salandar (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
  • Grandma Mazur (Stephanie Plum Series)
Least favorite characters:
  • Prof Umbridge (Harry Potter)
  • any character in Kurt Vonegets books
  • All of the characters in The Magicians
  • Sookie Stackhouse
  • Bella Swan (Twilight)
Most kick ass character ever written:
  • Lisbeth Salander---Hands freaking down
A few books that I can't even remember reading:
  • Love the One You're With
  • Everyone is Beautiful
  • Some Girls Are (even though I slightly remember that I did like this book)
Worst books all year:
  • The Magicians
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
I am changing things up this next year with my list. I will be participating in a challenge that is 111 books in 2011, but not 2011 books in 2011 like my husband thinks I should do. I am also going to change up my side bar with my list of books. I am not going to have a preselected list this year, since as you can see how well I did with the list from last year. I am just going to add the books to the list as I finish them and my to be read list will just be stored on my GoodReads account.

I am going to make sure that I read more printed books this year because my cousin and close friend think that I cheat by listening to audio. Little do they know that I actually retain more and pay attention more with audio mainly because I am a multi-tasker and when all I am doing is one thing, my mind wanders and I lose focus. So my goal is to read at least 4 print books a month, this also includes on my kindle. I also want to decrease my unread books at home. In a little bit I am going to separate my books into read and to be read, take a picture, post it, and then in the middle and the end of the year, do it again to show the impact that I have done. This post might even wait until tomorrow depending on how sassy I feel tonight.

So that is it everyone. I really hope everyone has a far better 2011, as I had the worst year of my life this year and am totally looking forward to bigger and better things.

Happy New Years, and see you on the other side :)

Two for the Dough

Two for the Dough
By Janet Evanovich

352 pages
9 hours and 2 minutes listening time

Grade C-

As quirky as these books are, and has much as I want to like them, I am just not feeling them. At all. I really don't have a bunch to say, because these books for me, are terribly forgettable, very corny, cheesy, and they do not capture my full undivided attention.

Maybe my biggest problem is the narrator and while I am listening I keep thinking "how the hell is Katherine Heigl going to pull off this character. Katherine Heigl is just to.....put together (?) for this part?* I don't know. For me it's like hearing Brittney Spears is going to play Lizbeth Salander. It just doesn't seem like it's going to work. But since I don't work in Hollywood, we shall see. She might totally throw me.

I am going to finish the series, mainly because as bored as I am, I do want to know what happens in the end, so I guess, that is a start to liking it? I felt the same way about the Sookie books, and I ended the released books and still don't like it, but I will also read the others when they are released.

Ok, tangent over. And so is this post!

*By no means does this mean I do not like Katherine Heigl, I actually love her and have watched almost everything she is in. I just can't picture her in this movie.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
By F. Scott Fitzgerald

180 pages
4 hours and 53 minutes listening time

Grade A-

In a mad dash trying to meet my adjusted goal to 125 books this year, I searched all audio books that were less that 8 hours seeing as I can usually bust those out really fast. This one came up on my search on and I figured I would try it out. I asked Matt if he had read it, and he said yes. I asked what it was about, and he said, "it's about a guy that likes a girl and then I don't remember what happened." Seeing as my husband can tell you everything about every book that he has read, I figured this book would suck if he hadn't remembered anything about it.

But you know, I really really enjoyed it. It was about a guy that likes a girl. But the guy actually loved the girl and tries to steal her from her husband, and then a bunch of bad stuff happens. Anyway, I really enjoyed it. I was very surprised too seeing as I don't typically like books that are more than 10 years old; don't ask my why because I have no idea.

Either way, I was going to wait to do the review on this one until I watched the movie, but seeing as it is 12/31/10 and the movie hasn't shown up yet from Netflix, I figured lets tie up all loose ends here before the day ends. I am excited to watch the movie though because Paul Rudd is in it (I ordered the most recent version of it), and I really like him.

Anyway, it's a quick easy read, and it's enjoyable. If you have been hesitant in reading it, just pick it up, spend a few hours and get it out of the way. Plus then you can say you read one of the books that they have in those huge posters on the wall at Barnes&Nobles.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
By J.K. Rowling

784 pages

Grade A+

So look, I have written and re-written this review about 8 times, and nothing that I write comes out how I want it. So instead of trying to be sophisticated and smart like, I am just going to write like I talk and get out how I really feel, inside and out about this book.

If you haven't read the HP series, you really just need to. The entire series really sets a standard for all other books, children's, YA and adult books. The world that J.K. created in this series is incredible, unbelievable and phenomenal. The struggles individually and in the wizarding communities as a whole are so realistic and so perfect. The emotion that shows through in relationships, in Harry's feelings towards his school, and even as something as simple as his owl touch my heart every time I start this series.

This book in particular holds so much tragedy, and sadness, and just raw pain. I have read/listened to this series over 20 times, no joke (probably more like 30) and every time the Battle of Hogwarts starts, I get tense and agitated, and will typically cry. I cry for the pain, the loss, the struggle, the action, and in the end, the happiness.

I LOVE how this series ended. It was the perfect ending to a perfect series. And when I say a perfect ending, other authors should read and re-read this book and figure out what they are doing wrong.

And let's not forget that the audio version that is narrated by Jim Dale is absolutely incredible. I love Jim Dale. He is just utterly brilliant. As a matter of fact I have searched for other audio books read by him just so I can continue my ear affair.

Harry Potter is my favorite series I have read. They might even, as a whole, be my #1 favorite book(s) ever. If you haven't read them, just go do it. Stop putting it off and do what is right. Read the magical world of Harry Potter. And then buy me and my family tickets to the Wizarding World in Florida, because at that point, I would literally be in heaven.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Break Reading Challenge

So I found this blog and decided to participate in this little activity. I thought it was really neat and well, I love showing off my books. So a little background to the pictures below...

The first book is in our living room. My husband made it however it is not yet completed yet. But on the left of the shelves is the Great Books that we inherited from my grandparents. Below those are some, and when I say some, I mean like a quarter, of the computer books my husband has. I guess when you are a programmer it requires you to own every book on every type of programming language, or at least that is what he tells me. To the right of the Great Books on the top shelf are my books. They are in no particular order, nor is that all of them. I tend to leave half read books everywhere. On the second shelf there are my daughters books, and then some more of mine, and on the bottom shelf are some more of mine, and my collection of Real Simple magazines.

The next picture is our "nice and old" books. There is two copies of Little Women and Little Men that I discussed in a previous post, and some other books that we keep dear to our hearts.

Next up is our Series of Unfortunate Events. The only reason that collection is all pretty like on a shelf is because, well, it's a really pretty collection :)

And last but not least is our set of HP books. The first book is missing because it is in my daughters room since we started reading it to her and as you can see, it's behind glass. I take my HP very seriously :)

And so there you go, there are most our books. I left out pictures of my cook books, the computer books in the office, the bookshelf in the office closet and the bag of books my cousin gave me.

One for the Money

One for the Money
By Janet Evanovich

334 pages
8 hours 34 minutes listening time

Grade C-

Bleh. I know that a TON of people including half my online book club, my mom, and my grandma, that just adore this series, but I am going to go against the grain. I don't know what the hype is. I was bored for the most part and it was just eh. I thought that the author tried entirely to hard to make it funny, and so the parts that should have been funny, were just....not.....

I mean don't get me wrong, there were parts where I did a mildly amused chuckle, but nothing that made me LOL like Chelsea Handler did. And it makes me sad because my grandma will try to tell me about the current book in the series that she is reading and she can't make it through a sentence without bursting into laughter and then I can't understand anything she is talking about other than a word here and there mixed in with her chuckles.

And because I am not a quitter, I am going to continue on with the series. I am doing this for one of a few reasons. The main reason being that they are quick reads, and since there isn't a lot of depth to it I don't have to pay 100% attention to it like I did The Thirteenth Tale.

Oh and would you like a quick overview? Well the main character Stephanie Plum is down on her luck and is unemployed. She decides to go to work as a bounty hunter for her cousin. Her first FTA (failure to appear) is a guy that she used to sleep with. She has quite the time trying to capture him. And that is the story....Not much depth and I didn't really like the characters either (why am I going to continue with the series???)

Either way, I am going to finish it, but I am not going to be happy about it. If I can get the second book done before the end of the year, I will blog about it separately but if I don't, I will just do one post summing up the rest of the books when I finish the whole series.

Would I recommend this book to anyone? Probably not, but I also wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it if they wanted to. Over all....just eh.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride
By Sarah Dessen

416 pages
12 hours and 46 minutes listening time

Grade B-

Oh Sarah......Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, you trapped me into one of your books once again, and I love you for it.

I have read quite a few books by Sarah Dessen, and like other authors I know ::coughSophieKinsellacough:: if you jam all their books together in one shot, you will get tired of them. Fortunately for me and for Sarah, I split her books up. So they are a lot more enjoyable.

This one in particular has the same story premise, perfect/troubled girl gets thrown into a very out of the ordinary situation, meets a guy that is not her type that she falls for, and then completely changes into a more well rounded fun loving girl. I am not saying all her books are like this, but chose at least two of those three and you have a SD book.

I think I liked this book so much because the main character Auden reminds me so much of my BFF Christina. Great student, spends a lot of time studying, working towards being great. Her parents (Auden, not Christina) got divorced and her dad remarries and they have another baby. Auden decides she wants to spend her last summer before running off to college with her dad and her stepmom, and of course the new baby. She learns a lot about herself, her dad, her stepmom, and about other people over the summer. It was a light quick read (or listen) and I really enjoyed being in that world for a little bit.

I will also say, that I love the name Auden, and I loved her brother's name Hollis. I just liked the 'out of the norm' feeling they had.

Anyway, if you have read one SD book and liked it, you will like them all and Along for the Ride is no exception. For a quick, fast, easy going read, pick this one up.