Tag Archives: books

Best of 2017

I’m still not really reviewing books, but I’m still reading.

My top books of 2017 can either be books that I thought were very good, or that I really enjoyed, or that spoke to me in some way.  Often, 2 of these will apply, and occasionally all three.


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Posted by on January 1, 2018 in summary


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Review: The Original 1982 by Lori Carson

Original 1982My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

There were many things I did like about this book, but some aspects didn’t quite jell for me.

Summary via Goodreads:

It’s 1982, and Lisa is twenty-four years old, a waitress, an aspiring singer-songwriter, and girlfriend to a famous Latin musician. That year, she makes a decision, almost without thinking about it.

But what if what if her decision had been a different one?

In the new 1982, Lisa chooses differently. Her career takes another direction. She becomes a mother. She loves differently, yet some things remain the same.

Alternating between two very different possibilities, The Original 1982 is a novel about how the choices we make affect the people we become-and about how the people we are affect the choices we make.

The first thing that intrigued me was the premise of life done differently. The first book I encountered that suggested this approach was Penelope Lively’s Making it Up, which was well written and interesting, but didn’t deliver on that promise to me. The Original 1982 does that, presenting the choice that changes things, and marking out a new path (and comparing it to the old) that follows that decision.

I liked Lisa, the main character, in both versions of her life, and both paths were interesting, and completely different than any life I’ve seen.. She was surrounded by people that I wanted to get to know, and a few I didn’t, but I liked reading about anyway. I enjoyed the author’s writing. The book was written as a letter to a daughter that never was, and that choice resonated with me.

My biggest problem was that I wanted more, from both of the paths. Big issues were touched on, then the story moved on. Relationships were introduced, but not explored.

The second problem was that I didn’t entirely buy the new path, and I can’t tell if that was deliberate. Was I learning from this that Lisa is deceiving herself about what her life would have been like, or did the author fail to construct a life I could buy into? How much is the original life based on the author’s real life, and is the new life her personal wish, or does it belong only to the character of Lisa?

I enjoyed reading the book, and I’d love to have the chance to argue some of these questions with someone else that read it– I think it would be a very interesting book club choice.

I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour, and was provided a copy of the book to read and review.  For other opinions on this book, visit the other tour stops:
TLC Book Tours


Posted by on June 11, 2013 in books, reviews, tour


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April/May Reading Recap

Again, I’m combining two months of reading summaries in one post…

Print Books

  1. MayAll the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue
  2. A Complicated Marriage: My Life With Clement Greenberg by Janice Van Horne
  3. The Cottage At Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri
  4. Something About Sophie by Mary Kay McComas

Nook Books

  1. The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
  2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  3. The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon (A Cats in Trouble Mystery #4) by Leann Sweeney
  4. The Girl Who Fell to Earth by Sophia Al-Maria

Audio Books

  1. Bad Blood (Kate Shugak #20) by Dana Stabenow
  2. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
  3. Angel’s Peak (Virgin River #10) by Robyn Carr
  4. The Girl Who Disappeared Twice (Forensic Instincts #1) by Andrea Kane
  5. Forbidden Falls (Virgin River #9) by Robyn Carr
  6. Temptation Ridge (Virgin River #6) by Robyn Carr
  7. Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse #10) by Charlaine Harris
  8. Girl Missing by Tess Gerritsen
  9. Coming Back (Sharon McCone #28) by Marcia Muller
  10. The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid
  11. The Once and Future King (The Once and Future King #1-4) by T.H. White
  12. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  13. Paradise Valley (Virgin River #7) by Robyn Carr
  14. Second Chance Pass (Virgin River #5) by Robyn Carr,
  15. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  16. Shelter Mountain (Virgin River #2) by Robyn Carr
  17. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
  18. City of Whispers (Sharon McCone #29) by Marcia Muller
  19. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
  20. Wicked Business (Lizzy & Diesel #2) by Janet Evanovich
  21. The History of Us by Leah Stewart

The best books I read were Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and All the Summer GirlsAs you can see, I’ve been tearing through Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series– those are always feel good reads, and I’ve been craving that.

My books read for the year are up to 14 Nook Books, 7 paper books and 46 audio books, for total of 67 books read.  I’m on pace to make it to 150 books read for the year.

Thank you again to Venice Tretiak.for the darling kitty monthly graphics

Have a great June, and enjoy your summer reading!

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Posted by on May 5, 2013 in books, summary


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Review: Something About Sophie by Mary Kay McComas

Something About Sophie by Mary Kay McComasMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Mystery meets chick lit?

Summary via Goodreads:

Clearfield, Virginia, is a sleepy, idyllic hamlet where residents welcome its comfortable, familiar routines. But when a newcomer arrives in town, long-buried secrets threaten to surface and destroy their haven . . .

Answering a call that summons her to a stranger’s deathbed, a reluctant Sophie Shepard is too late to hear what he was so anxious to tell her. What was so important that a dying man would think of her in his final moments? With the help of Dr. Drew McCarren, Sophie begins to dig into her past, setting off a chain of events that chills the quiet town of Clearfield, Virginia, to its roots.

With part of her wanting nothing more than to put Clearfield behind her and run back home, Sophie knows she won’t rest until she discovers the truth. But growing closer to the residents also means uncovering their dark secrets–secrets about the woman who gave Sophie up for adoption, the mysterious part these strangers played, and the life she never knew she nearly had.

There’s something odd about this book, that gets a little odder the more I think about it.  It’s a mismatch between the tone and the events in the book.

The thing is, I like sweet, good-natured women’s fiction. I mentioned this in my recent review of Robyn Carr’s The Wanderer. This book out-nices Carr in many ways, particularly the sweet Kindergarten teacher of a main character. She’s never been curious about her birth parents, because she loves her adoptive parents so much. And now she’s in a small town where everyone knows one another, and she’s making friends fast.

Then there’s the mystery, which starts out much like a cozy mystery– the bad stuff, including a murder, happens off-screen, with vague threats impinging on our heroine’s activities. I like cozy mysteries, so this is good as well. The book is a little more about the character and less about the who-dunnit, and Sophie isn’t all that involved in trying to find the bad guy or guys.

But then the last section of the book happens, and it gets grittier, with more details on much more unpleasant occurrences (yes, even more unpleasant than murder). And that’s fine with me as well, but it seems out of place compared to the rest of the book.

Overall, I liked the characters, even if they all seemed a little cartoonish. I thought the plot was well constructed.  The romance was cute, even if I didn’t really see the steam. Overall, I enjoyed reading Something About Sophie.

I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour.  Thank you to TLC for providing me with a copy of this book for review.  If you’d like other opinions on Something About Sophie, check out the other tour stops:
TLC Book Tours


Posted by on April 11, 2013 in books, reviews, tour, Uncategorized


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February/March Reading Results

Yes, I fell behind in posting my summaries, as well as my reviews!  I’m not behind in my reading, however :-).

FebruaryNook Books

  1. The Girl Who Fell to Earth by Sophia Al-Maria
  2. Minefields of the Heart: A Mother’s Stories of a Son at War by Sue Diaz
  3. Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail Carriger
  4. Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail Carriger
  5. Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
  6. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (reread)
  7. The Long Way Home (Chesapeake Diaries #6) by Mariah Stewart

Print Books

  1. The Wanderer (Thunder Point #1) by Robyn Carr
  2. The Missing File by D.A. Mishani

MarchAudio Books

  1. The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8) by Louise Penny
  2. Last to Die (Rizzoli & Isles #10) by Tess Gerritsen
  3. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  4. Beautiful Sacrifice by Elizabeth Lowell
  5. The Rope (Anna Pigeon 0) by Nevada Barr
  6. Lady Fortescue Steps Out: Being the First Vol. of the Poor Relation (The Poor Relation #1) by Marion Chesney
  7. Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1) by Kim Harrison
  8. Missing (The Secrets of Crittenden County #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray
  9. Hidden Summit (Virgin River #17) by Robyn Carr
  10. The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows by Brian Castner
  11. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
  12. Redshirts by John Scalzi (reread)
  13. Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #5) by Rhys Bowen
  14. The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts
  15. The Diamond Throne (The Elenium #1) by David Eddings
  16. Four Day Planet (Federation) by H. Beam Piper
  17. What’s a Ghoul to Do? (Ghost Hunter Mystery #1) by Victoria Laurie

The best book I read during this time was Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Although I got through a lot of books in February (and I started and abandoned quite a few more)  nothing I read during that time (other than rereads) qualified as a best read, although quite a few were enjoyable.

My totals for the year are now at 38 books read: 10 Nook books, 3 print books, and 25 audio books.

Thank you again to Venice Tretiak.for the darling kitten monthly graphics :-).

Have a great April, everyone!


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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in books, summary


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January summary

January kittenForget the books for a minute, and look at the picture next to this!  I’ve mentioned the kitten cam a few times here, and the current batch of kittens there are my favorites!  This is Ash, and you can watch him and his siblings. But as wonderful as it has been to watch these kittens, it has been even more fun to meet the wonderful and talented viewers, one of which made this image for me!!  Thank you, Venice Tretiak.

And now, on to the regularly scheduled book talk. January was a good month, with some great books.  Now, to get back into the swing of reviewing, which I badly neglected this month…

Print Books

  1. Villa Triste by Lucretia Grindle

Nook Books

  1. Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
  2. 206 Bones (Temperance Brennan #12) by Kathy Reichs
  3. A Simple Thing by Kathleen McCleary

Audio Books

  1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  2. A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses, #6) by Eloisa James
  3. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
  4. The Ice Princess (Patrik Hedström #1) by Camilla Läckberg
  5. The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts
  6. Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio J. Mendez
  7. Mr. Churchill’s Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery #1) by Susan Elia MacNeal
  8. Brava, Valentine (Valentine #2) by Adriana Trigiani

This month had two standout stars for me.  Both were book club books, I’ve reviewed one, and will review the other as soon as we discuss it (soon).  I fully expect both to make my list of top books of the year.  These were Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend and Where’d You Go, Bernadette.  Villa Triste gets an honorable mention, it could easily have topped the list in a different month.

And now, to start the yearly books read count!  As is clear from the lists above, I’ve read 12 Books:  1 paper book, 3 Nook books, and 8 audio books.  I’m roughly on track for my goal of 150 books this year.

How was your January?  What are you looking forward to in February?

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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in books, reviews


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2012 in review

20132012 was a good reading year for me, particularly the first half of the year.

Depending on how you count it, I read 156 or 160 books in 2012.  I read 156 distinct books, but I reread some of them, putting my total count at 160.  (That’s not counting books I didn’t finish for whatever reason– there are at least 3 where I made it to the halfway point before abandoning them.)

I went through to pick my top books I read during the year. I came up with a 16 of them I wanted to recognize– a top 10 list and 5 more I didn’t want to leave off :-).

The list is:

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  2. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
  3. The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
  4. Bury Your Dead/A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
  5. Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia McKillip
  6. Spy Mom by Beth McMullen
  7. Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook
  8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  9. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  10. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  11. Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King
  12. The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel
  13. How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
  14. The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig
  15. How it all Began by Penelope Lively

The books on the list are fairly recently published– 11 from 2012, 4 from 2011, and 1 that I snuck in combined with another book, from 2010.  Only 45 of the books I read were published in 2012, so that’s pretty impressive.  I also read 40 books from 2011, 10 from 2010 and 47 from 2000-20009.  8 were from the 1990s, 3 from the 1980s, and then I had books from 1961, 1953, 1929 and 1595 (Romeo and Juliet).

Of the books on my list, I read 11 of them  before July 2012.  I liked most of the books I read during the year, but not many got past that level in the second half. This indicates that I need to start thinking harder about how I’m picking my books again.   I’ll set that as my first goal going forward to 2013.  I don’t know what form that will take, but I want to read more books I’m going to love, not just like.

My other goal is to get back to writing one review per week.  That won’t be everything– I’m planning to read around 150 books again this year, with an increasing number of them as audiobooks, but it is a number I think I can sustain.

Happy New Year everyone!  May 2013 bring you many books that you love.


Posted by on January 7, 2013 in blogging, books, summary


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