2014 books.

2014 ... some years i don't have a goal... i just read and keep track .... this year: 100 books. not sure i can do it, but i plan to have fun trying! i started the year out on vacation in australia ... and a whole lot of time on airplanes .. so i've started january strong!

1. in a sunburned country .. by bill bryson .... very funny travel writer telling about the quirks of australia ....

2.loveable christmas angel... by mimi barbour .... finishing up a christmas book ... i really loved this ... a a happy, hawaii story .... kind of incidentally christmasy ....

3.paper towns by john green.... wow.... great book.... the first part was totally entertaining .. the second section a bit  worrisome .... i was entirely worried that someone missing was DEAD .. but once i quit worrying and just went with it i loved it ... and then the last section was pretty epic ... pretty funny ... great story.

4.shucked my megg jensen .... a free kindle book ... that i'd say you could pay money for and still be happy ... YA fiction .... a teen who normally travels with her adventurer mom gets stuck at her grandparents' house in the midwest .... and ends up having a big to do anyway ... but really it's a story about black sheep and fitting in and finding yourself.

5. the theory of opposites byallison winn scotch ... a funny book about a quirky, disfunctional family with a little bit of self help and a reality spin .... light read.

6.an abundance of katherines by john green. ok. this was super great. john green might be my new favorite author. how did he think of an abundance of katherines? super quirky. funny. offbeat characters that you love.

7.maisie dobbs, the  first in a series... by jacqueline winspear .... this was a setup for future books and the back story is pretty sad ... but the main story was quite entertaining in a stiff upper lip british way ... so i'll definitely try the next .... cause who doesn't love a good british mystery?

8.island of fog book 1 .. by keith robinson .... post apocalytic meets greek mythology young adult fiction .... i DID like this book but it was super weird .. and the resolution was weak .... and def leaves you hanging to read book 2 ... not sure i'll read book 2, the young part of the young adult is a bit too apparent .... i think little.e.beck.artist might like it. might read them all.

9.wild by cheryl strayed ... a reread for my book club ... think i read it two years ago ... book club is finally reading it since reese witherspoon is starring in the movie version soon ....

10. divergent by veronica roth
11. insurgent by veronica roth
12. allegiant by veronica roth
13. free four by veronica roth (kindle single or short story)
14. the transfer by veronica roth (kindle single or short story)
..... divergent and insurgent were rereads for me .... but i loved them the first time so i wanted to read them again to be certain that i was up on all the plot details before reading allegiant ..... these are YA post apocalyptic novels that all my children have read too ... the story line is creative and interesting .. the characters have much more depth than many ya post ap novels that i've read .... great stuff ...
.... like many series, the best is the first one .... the notion of being introduced to a place is just spectacular to me .... similar to harry potter and hunger games, the first book in the series holds such surprises that just aren't as startling in later books ... this series has HUGE surprises throughout, but the initial walk through a new world is thrilling ... dauntless! i long to be dauntless.... but i know i wouldn't be! i'd end up in one of the others and a bit unhappy about any of them ....

15. this morning, january 31st, i woke up to a snow day/no school ... so i stayed in bed and finished
the rosie project: a novel by graeme simsion .... it was AWESOME. i loved it.... funny and smart ... good plot ... and the plot is actually all about character development ... which is kinda funny ....

16. every shattered thing by elora ramirez .... EXCELLENT story. this book must be just an e publish or self publish because there were plenty of typos and grammar errors ... however, it was completely compelling ... and intense story of human trafficing in just the worst way imaginable ... sad and eye opening ....

17. a lost witch (a modern witch series) ..... by deborah geary .... i love this series .... i've read more than a dozen now .... this one was an interesting premise, one witch, not knowing she's a witch, is in a mental institution .... the good witches of witch central that i've grown to love save her, of course ....

18. a place at the table by susan rebecca white .... for book club .... totally was not what i thought it would be from the blurb/descriptions ... but i did love it ... interesting souls whose paths cross .... everyone is a little broken ...

19. into that forest by louis  nowra ... OH MY GOSH .... i think i picked this up off a cheap book list ... and bought it because it was set in australia ... though i never got to it prior to or during my australia adventure ... wow. just wow. it is set in tasmania ... where there used to be tigers ... i need to google this, but i'm thinking they are all gone now.  and this was an astonishing story of two young girls in the olden days of tasmania .... it had a bit of a slow start and i didn't know where it was going cause i didn't remember buying the book even . but BOOM. then it gets good. crazy good. weird and interesting and how on earth did louis nowra ever think of all that. i am doing a weak job of describing the book but anything i say would be a huge spoiler. don't read the book description where ever you buy it. just trust me and start it. yikes! i'm still thinking about it well after finishing it ....

20. a taste of magic by tracy madison.... i like witch books.... harry potter started that probably. deborah geary and her lovely witches ... so i tried this one ... and it is good ... interesting ... happy magic .... but i'm not sure yet if it was compelling enough to want to read more in the series .... time will tell ......

march and april

21. the complete guide to easter island .... by shawn mclaughlin.... with a great big easter island carving on the cover .... i've always wanted to go to easter island (far, far out in the ocean ... territory of chile.... part of the polynesian islands ... most remote island in the world.... far, far from everything) .... i enjoyed the book very much ... learned loads ....

22 .... when the elephants dance by lucille clifton ... poetry. just lovely. i'm trying to read more poetry. it's working. it's making me super happy.

23. encyclopedia of an ordinary life by amy krouse rosenthal ... a funny sort of books of lists. love it.

24. secret lives of great artists ...by elizabeth lunday ... quirky ... fun ... light

25. complete poems of e.e.cummings .... yay. it just makes me happy to own this ... i've been reading it little by little all year

26 the book thief by markus zusak ... my oldest LOVES this ... i liked it. thought it would be epic and i'd love it. a little disappointed because my expectations were so high.

27 facing the lion: growing up maasai on the african savannah .... autobiography of an african who ended up in u.s. college. good story.

28 untouched by melody grace. a free kindle book to get you into a series. didn't work. i wont' be reading the series.

29 stardust by neil gaiman . it's the kind of story i usually love ... a love story, and epic adventure, fairies ... but i just liked it.  not a compelling enough story to hold me. won't be reading the rest of the series. .... i'm trying to find a series and keep failing.

30 an imperfect witch by deborah geary. i have read this whole series ... then put them on my little one's kindle and she read (and LOVED) them all .... and then she said where's an imperfect witch? and i didn't have it! so i got it, read it, loved it. those witch central witches are just lovely stories waiting to happen.

31 island 1 shipwreck by gordon korman ... scary shipwreck story for teens. like it. not planning to read the rest of the series. in my imagination they are permanently stuck on that island.

32 while we were watching downton abbey by wendy wax.  light, easy book that i read for book club. it's a group that isn't a book club but a downton abbey watching club. do you watch that show? i do ... i love it. the book is kind of the modern day comparison to downton abbey with one butler type guy helping all the others.... complete with bad guys who make bad social decisions.

33 why we get fat by gary taubes. a friend told me that this book changed her life. not mine. i guess i wish it would. don't eat carbs. at all. that's the take away. pass the cookies, please. i'm an addict.

34 i am malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the taliban ... non fiction .... autobiographical ... not great writing .... and i felt a bit bogged down by the details of pakistani village life and malala's dad's scattershot approach to life .... but the story itself is quite compelling.

35. this is where i leave you by jonathan tropper. funny. dysfunctional family sitting shiva together. book club read it. we had a great talk about it. read it soon ... coming out as a movie in the fall or 2014.

36. the castaways: a novel ...  by elin hildebrand ..... this was a great book.... very complicated and complex characters ... and a bit of a mystery ..... a group of friends and their inter relationships ... and couples and their flaws ... and a bit of a mystery ... i recommended this to loads of friends. compelling book.

37. midnight crossroad by charlaine harris. i LOVE charlaine harris. i read every sookie stackhouse book ... so funny and weird .... and then her shakespeare ones ... and the one about the girl who is psychic with the dead .... but this was new .... and i liked the new characters, one old one .... and the mystery totally surprised me. good stuff.

38. ten beach road by wendy wax ..... kinda goofy ... kinda a romance .... not high literature ... but entertaining ..... three women go broke from an investment scandal and are awarded a giant dump of a mansion together .... quick light read ....

39. the all girl's filling station by fannie flagg! yay fannie flagg .... did you read fried green tomatoes at the whistle stop cafe? loved that ...... this one was good too ... though probably not as worthy of a movie .... but it was good .... sweeping story of multiple family members and their doings .... with lots of girls and learning to fly airplanes and world wars and ..... fun and funny and poignant ....

40. death by a honey bee
41. death by drowning
42. death by bridle
43. death by bourbon
44. death by lotto
45. death by chocolate
..... all josiah reynolds mysteries (1-6) by abigail keam. i LOVED THEM ... pretty much read all six in seven days ...... josiah is a flawed and funny art historian turned bee keeper. love that. and she ends up solving mysteries .... and has a murderous stalker after her for all of the books .... great fun books

46. entanglement by dan rix
a YA dystopian romance! ... you know i love those dystopian books .... i knew how this one would end ... but i do enjoy reading about these other worlds ...... this one was about being born with a half ... your intended ... your true love .... and you were told who your other half is on your 18th birthday ..... imaginitive story. liked it.

47. OH WOW. this is a good book:
don't let me go by cahterine ryan hyde. billy is an agoraphobic recluse. grace has a drug addict mother. their lives intertwine as neighbors. awesome characters. quirky funny story and plot. excellent. read it!

JULY 1 .... and i've read 47 books this year .... i have a couple poetry books i'm working through and will be able to add soon ... so maybe we can say 50ish books at the halfway point through the year ... on my goal to 100, i'd say getting there this year is iffy .... particularly since the other years i've accomplished it, i tried hard to do 10 a month so that by november i was done or nearly done ... cause you know november and december are much busier months ... hard to get great quantities of reading done then! .... but i still have a month and a half of summer ... so i'll try to facebook less and read more during these warm months!

48. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott ... found it in my girl's room and couldn't resist. love.

49. alone
50. untouched
51. soulless
trilogy ... the girl in the box series .... by robert crane .... i like the story line very much ... but it's a bit too bash em up fight fight fight for me.... not sure i'll read the next six ... maybe after a break i will.

52. i know why the caged bird sings ... maya angelou ... read it young ... rereading because one of my kids is reading it for school ..... more intense than i remember it .... very beautiful writing. easy to imagine maya angelou speaking the words. i'm reading some of her poetry too. sad she died.

53. looking for alaska ... by john greene .... great book. i was surprised at the pivot point ... hadn't read about the book so i didn't know what was coming. quite sad.

54. real murders. and aurora teargarden mystery by charlaine harris .... no paranormal  activity in this one from c. harris ... but i still love it. she has super characters always.

55. a bone to pick
56. three bedrooms, one corpse
57. the julius house
58. dead over heels
59. a fool and his honey
.... all are aurora teagarden books by charlaine harris ... all good .... charlaine harris is a very accessible writer. i love her stories. she's easy to read, funny, interesting, wildly varied in her topics ....

september, october ....

60...the good man jesus and the scoundrel christ by philip pullman .... i love jesus books ... not jesus books that are sermony ... but jesus books that are like alternate stories , like Lamb, the gospel according to biff by chris moore ... this one isn't as funny as that ... but it was thought provoking ... and i know enough bible to know it was following the gospel .....only this starts with mary having twins .... good stuff.

61....red scarf girl by jo li jiang .... a ya book about the cultural revolution in china. i learned TONS ... and it was super interesting ... i liked it very much ... borrowed from abby ray EONS ago ... now i can return it ....

62....me before you by jojo moyes. MOST excellent. great book. quadriplegic and his care giver. very though provoking. excellent character development. quirky families. LOVED it.

63....little bitty lies by mary kay andrews.... light comedy ... quite funny ... crazy improbable ... divorce, missing husband, have him declared dead even though you know he's just embezzled and run .... series of mishaps .... always like mary kay andrews (and her other books under kathy hogan trochek)

64.....dying to forget:  the station series by trish marie dawson ... this one is weird .. the station is kind of the middle between dead and heaven ... the main character goes there because she commited suicide ..and there, she is tasked with preventing someone else, who is still alive, from killing himself ... great premise ... feel like i know enough now though and don't need to read the rest of the series ... i'm looking for a series.

65....the inconvenient corpse by jackie king ...  this one was kind of weird and funny ... a naked guy shows up in a bed in a bed and breakfast ... and there are quirky old people and oddball caretakers and painting forgeries and a divorce and suddenly no money and all kinds of twists and oddness... i enjoyed it ... but don't think i'm going to read the next batch in the series ....

66.....the swap ...by megan shull ... ya .... a boy and a girl do that freaky magic thing and swap bodies ... pretty funny ..... i recommend it to 11 to 14 year olds ... not that their are many of them reading my blog ...

67.....how to be a great communicator ... by nido qubein .... who happens to be the president of a university that one of my senior twins is interested in .... it wasn't an important book for me to read ... but i hope my kid will read it one day .....

68.....the long way home .. by karen mcquestion ... i love k mcq books .... and i saw this one cheap on kindle ... and i went to buy it ... and amazon told me i'd bought it in 2012 ... and my kindle indicates i've read it ... but had no recollection of it ... guess that happens when you read a lot and fast .... so ... i tried it again ... and liked it .... cute characters ... good fun read ....

69.....the dinner by herman koch .... ugh .... morally reprehensible ..... people making horrid choices .... compelling though ... i didn't want to keep reading really ... i didn't like anyone ... but i wanted to know what happened ....

70.....the secret history by donna tartt .... oh my gosh. this was a slog. i did not read the goldfinch because it was so long and among my peers got lukewarm reviews .... mostly due to poor editing ... good story, too long ... and then a friend read this one and said it was better than goldfinch ... and all anyone talks about is goldfinch ... so i tried it ... and ... well ... the secret history ... i liked it ... but i had trouble liking it ... 1) super long ... needed better editing .... 2) very well crafted characters that were ALL tragically flawed ... maybe not all .. no... i'm right ... all of them are so flawed as to illicit no sympathy from me. i didn't really like anyone ... 3) i hated them all so that when people died, it was ok ... but really .... no morals .... none of them ... 4)like any good book, i HAD to finish it ... i had to know what was going to happen... 5) i wasn't pleased with the outcome ... but with all those morally bereft folks, it figures.
i finished this book well before typing this bit .... and i still think about it .... i remember the names of the characters ... richard henry bunny francis charles camilla julian marion .... i forget the name of the druggy california girl ... i think it is judy moody, but that might be a character in a second graders' book .... maybe judy booty pooty ... judy ... anyway ... i'm still thinking about it .. in good and bad ways ... haunting kind of....

71....so... i wanted something light after the dinner and the secret history .... so i went with zombies. and i read the whole book. and it was horrible. and i'm not going to tell you the name of it ... and i'm embarrassed i read it .... and i don't think anyone else should ... but i also don't want to name it and have bad words about the author out in the internet FOREVER .... cause maybe his/her other books are ok.... but i have trouble believing that.

72....the secret life of walter mitty ... by james thurber ... i think i read this in sixth or seventh grade ...i liked it better this go round. excellent story. made me a little worried that i have some mitty moments ...

73......yesterday's gone by david wright ... i got this on audible ... for free ... so actually it was read to me ... and i liked it ... post apocalyptic craziness ... at 2.15 am one night 99%(ish) of the world population vanishes. is it the rapture? it's weird to hear each chapter in a different voice ... and i don't care for some of the characters or some of the voices .... and some of the characters are too grim or rough or sexualized ... but one is a little kid ... and some are sympathetic characters .... but ... it is a multi part series .... and again, i'm looking for a series, but dont' think this is the one that i care to invest in ....

74.....the playground ... by ray bradbury .. OH MY ... this was free on audible .. and i've liked other ray bradbury work (long ago, in my youth) so i gave it a go ... it was frightening ... so i googled it .... the first synopsis i read labeled it "urban horror" ... don't read it if you have kids that are playground aged!
otherwise it was a good kind of frightening ... i even listened to it on halloween ....

******* i don't think i'm going to make it to 100 books this year .... and i blame some poor book choices! when i don't love a book, i still want to finish it .. but you can't finish fast on a book you don't love .... a book i love, i can read SO fast .... and i make extra time to read .... still trying though ... i'll hopefully at least make 90 .... and that's pretty good!


75... 18 things (my so called after life by jamie ayres ....
a free kindle book ..... and bucket lists ... two of my favorite things .... i loved most of the story. the twist bugged me. all in all quite good.

76.....we are all completely beside ourselves by karen joy fowler.
this book was SO interesting to me... but i've always had an affinity to chimpanzees and primates and anthropology and language acquisiton sort of stuff (minor in anthro) ..... the story was about a chimp raised with a family for a bit .... and then about the family .... and like all good books the disfunction of that family. lots of surprises. all unexpected.

77... nearly departed in deadwood by ann charles ... contemporary mystery romance ... um.... not sure how i picked it .... sounds crazy ... well, is crazy .... funny good writing ... oddball ... kind of happy suspenseful sexual undertone read like janet evanovich .....

78...optical delusions in deadwood by ann  charles ... the next book in the series about violet the realtor who solves mysteries (i've bought 3 but am going to wait a bit to read it ..... )

79.... romancing christmas by multiple authors ... short stories .... uneven ... some good, some i skimmed ....

80...home for christmas by lia fairchild ... nice christmas story

81....sweet christmas kisses (do you see i have a xmas theme going here?) by a bunch of authors .... a set or novellas/short stories ... uneven ... some good


82... an unlikely witch by deborah geary. i  LOVE this author and this series. i've read maybe twenty of them. so has my daughter. we talk about the characters like they are our friends.

83...feathers by deborah geary. LOVE this author and all her books about witch central.

84.... a dangerous witch by deborah geary. i read these last three books when my daughter asked me to get them for her.... and she told me that it is the end of the series. SO sad that they are done. we could have gone on reading them infinitely. you know how in some series the stories get uneven? not here. all solid and strong and worthwhile. sad that this is to be the end. i'm sure i'll go back and reread them all one day. my daughter already has.

85....us.a novel. by david nicholls. i LOVED this. i'm reading it for a NEW book club that is starting this month. i love that the first book is so great.  a family in trouble goes on a trip to sort things out. things aren't sortable. i loved the format. 180 VERY short chapters. almost diary form from the dad/narrator.  i love how he thinks he knows what others' thoughts and motivations are and they are just SO far off. i loved that much of it was traveling through europe with his artist wife and their thoughts and critiques of the art they saw along the way (i'm an artist and an art history major) ..... very insightful ... a few surprises. interesting ending that was not what i thought it would be. great read.

86..... the storied life of a.j. fikry.a novel by gabrielle zevin ... an odd man who loves books and whose life has taken a series of unexpected turns. lovely. really great story.

87. leaving time by jodi piccoult. elephants. missing  mother. searching. overlapping stories in different times and places. well written. not exciting but interesting.... not quite finished but the last book of this year.

87 books read. i read every single day this year. yay for books!

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