Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Poor Neglected Blog

So, I've been very remiss in updating my blog this summer. Not many excuses except that I've been busy and time has gotten away from me. But, I have been reading! It looks like I've read 22 books since the last time I posted. Woops.  Instead of overwhelming everybody with a comprehensive listing of every book I've read since that time, I'll just go over some of my favorites. I'm going to skip book summaries in this post because it'd just be too long and take up too much of your valuable reading time.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Author:  Z.Z. Packer
Year: 2004

This book had been sitting in my To Be Read stack for a long, long time. I read Z.Z. Packer's short story, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, while in college and loved it. Overall, I loved this collection of short stories. She's got a way of writing that is so down to earth yet beautiful. Terrific stories. I definitely recommend them.

Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Year: 2011
Narrator: Wil Wheaton

I loved this book. I was a child of the 80s and this book made me extremely nostalgic for my childhood. The entire book was riddled with references and call outs to all those movies, books and songs that I used to love. I think that a person that's not a huge geek like me might get a bit overwhelmed or bogged down in the story but for those like me, it's tons of fun. Wil Wheaton was a wonderful narrator. I'm thinking of checking out other books he's narrated. 

The Magician King
Author:  Lev Grossman
Year: 2011

Another very good read. This book picked up after the events of The Magicians. It was a lot like Voyage of the Dawn Treader (which was my favorite of the Narnia stories. Quentin and his friends are now kings and queens of Fillory and have been peacefully ruling. In fact, Quentin is a bit bored. So, Quentin finds himself a quest. These are definitely books meant for adults so don't let your kids read them but I like them a lot. Oh, and I was totally unhappy with the ending. I think the first thing I did was start searching the web for the release date of the next book (it's unknown by the way).

Author: Richelle Mead
Year: 2011
Narrator:  Emily Shaffer

This book takes place in the Vampire Academy world. This book focuses on the alchemist, Sydney, that helped Rose in the Vampire Academy stories. Sydney is sent to protect Jill Dragomir. I've heard a lot of people complaining about how they didn't like this book or didn't care for Sydney as a narrator but I liked it. It took me a little longer to warm up to Sydney than it did Rose but I did and I liked her. Plus, I loved getting to see more of Adrian who was one of my favorites from the Vampire Academy books. I'm still not sure how I feel about Emily Shaffer as a narrator. She annoyed me at first but by the time I got most of the way through the book, I was okay with her.

13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Year: 2005

I got this book as one of the Free Friday reads from Barnes and Noble for my nook and didn't know what to expect. I liked it. 17 year old Ginny receives a package from her recently deceased aunt. The packages contains 13 blue envelopes. Each envelope has instructions for Ginny to follow as she's sent gallivanting over Europe to fulfill assignments for her aunt. This book was not a particularly intelligent read but it was fun. 

Author: Josephine Angelini
Year: 2011

I devoured this book. It took me a couple of chapters to get started but once I did, I didn't set it down all day. It was all about Greek gods and goddesses in today's world. The main character, Helen, is a reincarnation of Helen of Troy. There's love, war and magic. Loved it.

Author: Ally Condie
Year: 2010

This was another book I couldn't put down. It's one of those young adult dystopian novels. I loved Cassia and loved both Xander and Ky. I still can't choose between the two. Maybe the new book, Crossed, that just came out this week will help me make a decision between the two guys. One of my favorite aspects of the book was how much influence the poetry of past generations had on the main character, Cassia. I can totally see a poem meaning that much to me and can't imagine a world where there are only 100 poems. Or a world where people can not write. Definitely recommend this one.

The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Year: 2011
Narrator: Jim Dale

This book left me a little conflicted. Morgenstern created a beautiful world in The Night Circus and painted such vivid pictures of the circus, the tents and the people that I had no problem imaging exactly what it would be like to be at the circus. And I loved the characters. But the actual story seemed to slog along. But, Jim Dale is my absolute favorite narrator and he made the audiobook come alive and, by the time I was halfway through the book, I could not turn the audiobook off. Jim Dale is just amazing. I wonder if I would have enjoyed the book at all if I wasn't listening to it but I would definitely recommend checking it out and giving it a chance - especially the audiobook.

All These Things I Have Done
Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Year: 2011

Another great dystopian novel. Loved it. This is in my top books of the year. I loved the main character. Anya was so easy to identify with and sympathize for. In her world chocolate and caffeine are illegal (I'd definitely be on the run). Her family business is chocolate; so, she's considered to be part of a mob like family. Then, Anya falls for the new boy at school who just happens to be the town's new DA's son. I read this book on vacation and spent an entire vacation morning hiding on the  deck of the cruise ship reading it. Plus, the book is absolutely beautiful. 

Girls in White Dresses
Author:  Jennifer Close
Year: 2011

This book was not what I was expecting at all. For some reason, I thought it was going to be one story about a group of college friends. Instead, it was a collection of interweaved short stories about girls who are friends. It was still a good book and I enjoyed the stories a lot. I just had a hard time getting past the book being something different than I thought it was. 

Author: J. Courtney Sullivan
Year: 2011

I loved this book. It's about an extremely dysfunctional family that gathers every summer at a beach house owned by their mother and the complicated relationships that they have and their just trying to reach some kind of understanding with each other. The ending was fantastic and a bit unexpected even though I should have totally known where the book was going.

Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Year:  2010

This might just be the best teen romance I've ever read. Anna was a wonderful character. The dialogue was smart and funny. Etienne was completely lovable. I reread the last 30 pages about ten times once I finished the book. If you like romance at all, read this one.

If I Die
Author: Rachel Vincent
Year: 2011
Narrator:  Amanda Ronconi

This series just keeps getting better and better. I love Kaylee (and Tod). In this book the tension and suspense as to what was going to happen nearly killed me. I feel like with every book Rachel Vincent keeps upping the consequences and the importance of every event for the characters. I listened to this audiobook on my nightly walks and my walks were two hours long on those nights. I couldn't put the book down and just walked until I was exhausted. For anybody who loves paranormal romances, I definitely recommend this series. It's at the top of the list. And, you have to start with the first book. Don't start here or you're going to be terribly spoiled for the other books. I can't wait to see what happens to Kaylee (and Tod) next.

OK, that's most of the books that I've been reading over the summer (and fall). Now, let's see if I can stay up to date on the blog. Wish me luck!


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