Category Archives: reading

Shopping Suggestions

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It’s that time of year again, when we want to find the perfect gifts for family and friends. When I can, I prefer to give the gift of a book. Everyone wins – the receiver, the author, and the bookstore (please buy from your local Indie).

If you check out my reading list for the year (sidebar), these are the books I’ve read and enjoyed so far. But I’d like to highlight a few for your shopping pleasure. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll stick to children’s and teen fiction, but if you’d like my recommendations for adult fiction, just drop me a line.

9781423144342_p0_v2_s260x420  The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (Hyperion/2013)

In a continuation of the Heir Chronicles, this story focuses on Jonah and Emma. Both are survivors of the Thorn Hill massacre/accident (depending on who tells the story) – killing all the adults and turning the surviving children into “savants” or mutants. Not quite wizards or enchanters or warriors or sorcerers – but somehow having a special ability, but also cursed with short lives. Jonah is able to enchant, but also his bare touch will kill. Emma who knew nothing of this world comes to it after her grandfather is murdered and she’s united with her long-absent father. But then Jonah comes along to question Tyler (Emma’s father) about Thorn Hill and is ambushed by wizards and a battle ensues.  There is mystery, intrigue, and romance! The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger but fortunately the next book, The Sorcerer Heir was released in October! I’m looking forward to reading it!

 

9781423166801_p0_v2_s260x420  United We Spy by Ally Carter (Hyperion/2013)

In the last book of the Gallagher Girl series, Cam starts her last semester of her senior year as a Gallagher Girl with her three best friends and Zach by her side. Until  things go unexpectedly haywire and the girls must use their spy training to solve and save, once again. Always exciting and always fun, I will miss this series! If you haven’t read any of the books, definitely start with book 1 about a secret spy school for girls.

 

 

 

 

41zHaSex4JL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_  Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (Candlewick/2013)

Piddy Sanchez’s biggest issue used to be wanting to know who her father was. But then she and her mother move and Piddy starts a new high school. Immediately she catches the wrong kind of attention. A mean girl and her gang of girls want to hurt Piddy and she doesn’t understand why. Piddy’s grades suffer as she tries to avoid confrontation and Piddy feels alone. Things continue to get worse for Piddy and she must make a decision in order to get her life back. Touching story!

 

 

 

9780545035330_p0_v2_s260x420  Half A Chance by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic/2014)

When Lucy and her mom and photographer dad move to a cottage on a New Hampshire lake, she is, as always, worried about being the new kid. But summer gives her a chance to get to know her new home and make a new friend with neighbor Nate, even though he is only there for the summer. Lucy decides to enter a photography contest and with Nate’s help, she shoots photos, wondering if they will be good enough for her dad. She and Nate and his sister, follow the loons – recording their family life for the Loon Preservation Society and for Nate’s grandmother who is slowly starting to lose her memory. A story about friendship, family, and making and keeping memories. Beautifully written!

 

 

 

9780316043533_p0_v1_s260x420  Sorta Like A Rock Star by Matthew Quick (Little, Brown/2011)

Amber Appleton, age 17, is lives with her mother in a yellow school bus (her mother’s part time job). With her little dog Bobby Big Boy, Amber tries to bring hope into everyone’s lives – her best friends, the seniors at the retirement home, a Vietnam Vet and her favorite teacher at school, but when tragedy strikes and Amber gives up, all those lives she’s touched – they come together to give her a great gift back. Quirky characters abound with touches of humor and great emotion.

 

 

 

 

9780807517390_p0_v1_s260x420  Dust of Eden: A Novel by Mariko Nagai (Albert Whitman & Co./2014)

After Pearl Harbor, Mina Masako Tagawa and her family are forced to leave their home in Seattle and relocate to an internment camp in Idaho. This is the story of the Japanese internment during WWII. In poignant and powerful verse, Mariko Nagai tells the story through middle-schooler Mina who has to leave behind everything – including her cat and best friend, Jamie. In the dusty barrack camps where the families are crammed together with no privacy and little amenities, Mina’s family cracks under the strain. The beauty lies in the telling – Nagai’s verse is filled with emotion. Grandpa’s roses are the beauty that survives in the harsh environment and serves as a reminder that under even the harshest conditions, beauty can be found.

 

 

 

9781452111742_p0_v3_s260x420  Always Emily by Michaela MacColl (Chronicle Books/2014)

In 1835 Haworth England, 17yo Emily is forced by her sister Charlotte to go away from her beloved moors to a boarding school, where Charlotte will be a teacher. Both sisters crave the writing life, but Charlotte is practical. Teaching would be a good practical profession. Headstrong Emily escapes back home after suffering homesickness and misery. Emily comes across a young man camping on the moors and becomes embroiled in a mystery. A griping and engaging tale based on the famous Brontë sisters.

 

 

 

 

9781442444645_p0_v3_s260x420  Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland (Simon & Schuster/2014)

The story opens on Zephyr who is stuck in Tartarus’ worst section the Pits as punishment for killing one of Hera’s guards. Zeph is a failed Harpy. Fortunately, she has found a protector in Cass. When her childhood friend (and crush) Tallon comes to the rescue to release her from the Underworld, she and Cass join Tallon, his dragon brother Blue and Zeph’s childhood nemisis Alora in a quest to keep Hera from taking over the mortal world. Exciting and original and full of adventure and tension! I hope there is another book after this one!

 

 

 

9780802728388_p0_v3_s260x420  Taste Test by Kelly Fiore (Bloomsbury/2013)

When Nora Henderson secures a place on the popular TV cooking competition for high school seniors, she is excited for a chance to achieve her dream of leaving small town Weston, NC and having a career in the culinary arts. When she arrives and meets the other contestants, she immediately loathes the arrogant son of a famous chef, Christian. The two become fierce competitors. During the course of the show, it seems someone is sabotaging the competition, seriously injuring some of the contestants. Nora is determined to figure out the mystery. Exciting mystery flavored with a spicy romance, and recipes!

 

 

 

9781442426702_p0_v5_s260x420  To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Simon & Schuster/2014)

Lara Jean has been in love with 5 boys in her 16 years, and she’s written each of them a love letter and sealed them in her closet. Those letters were meant for her and never for the recipients, but when those letters somehow reach these boys, Lara Jean must deal with the consequences. The hardest boy to deal with is Josh, her beloved older sister’s boyfriend. To try to convince Josh she no longer has feelings for him, she starts a fake relationship with Peter K, another letter recipient.  They write up a contract with rules, but, of course, complications arise as Josh tries to pursue Lara Jean. I laughed and cried and I loved that the MC was half Korean-American. Best news? There’s a companion book coming out in 2015!

 

 

 

9781442435001_p0_v5_s260x420  Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (Simon & Schuster/2014)

When Emily discovers that her best friend Sloane has disappeared, she is lost without her. Sloan was what made life good, and what made Emily interesting. Sloan leaves behind a list of things for Emily to do – all things that scare her, like ride a horse, go skinny-dipping, and kiss a stranger. These are all Slone things, not Emily things. But Emily believes that doing these thing might bring Sloan back or at least give her a clue as to where she went. During the course of checking off things on her list, Emily becomes friends with class president, all-around-do-gooder and confident half of a couple, Frank Porter, and of course, things get complicated. Loved this story and didn’t want it to end. I just wanted to hang out with Emily (and Frank) longer.

 

 

 

9781595146748_p0_v2_s260x420  Like No Other by Una LaMarche (Razorbill/2014)

Devorah Blum has always been the rule follower in her Hasidic family, but when fate strikes during a storm while she’s at the hospital, she finds herself stuck in an elevator with a boy her age. She has never been alone with the opposite sex and while at first frightened, she is surprised at how comfortable she is with him. Jaxon, a East Indian nerd at heart, is instantly attracted to Devorah and tries hard to impress her. He’s usually tongue-tied in front of girls, but he is strangely comfortable with her as they share conversation and headphones. After they escape the elevator, they both feel an undeniable pull toward each other, and Devorah risks everything to try to be with him.

 

 

 

9781934133590_p0_v1_s260x420  Devon Rhodes Is Dead by Jennifer Wolf Kam (Mackinac Island Books/2014)

Fifteen-year-old Devin Rhodes is found dead at the bottom of the ravine, and best friend Cass is wracked by guilt that overshadows the loss and grief she feels over the last moments she shared with Devin. Cass struggles with her feelings over how used and small she felt when she was around Devin and the forever friendship they’d shared. When she believes that Devin’s ghost is haunting her, Cass wants nothing more than to forget, even as everyone around her prods her to remember, especially the detective that comes to question her. Told in alternating before and after chapters, this suspenseful story about friendship is a true page-turner with an ending that doesn’t disappoint. Outstanding page-turning story!

 

 

 

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Cooper & Packrat #2: Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest by Tamra Wight (Islandport Press/2014)

Cooper and Packrat are back in another Wilder Campground adventure. Cooper and Packrat discover one of their campgroup geocache boxes filled with illegal eagle parts. They are determined to discover the mystery of these illegal activities. An adventurous story with fascinating facts about eagles

 

 

 

 

9780374384678_p0_v2_s260x420  The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (FSG/2014)

Kestral is the General’s daughter – a proud Valorian living in luxury in the conquered Herrani capital. Her father has given her an ultimatum – marry or join the military by age 17. She wants neither. One day, she comes across a slave auction and she ends up bidding for and buying a slave – something she is ashamed of. Smith is arrogant and closed off, and yet the two start to form a sort of friendship – one that is not normal for mistress and slave – trust and attraction grows. But unbeknownst to Kestral, Smith (or Arin) is a plant and a spy who is second in command to the brewing rebellion. A gripping page-turning with a hot romance!

 

 

 

 

9780545613781_p0_v1_s260x420  The Angel Tree by Daphne Benedis Grab (Scholastic/2014)

Every Christmas in the small town of Pine River, the Angel Tree is mysteriously erected in the town square. People young and old tie wishes to the tree, and those wishes, with the generous help of the townsfolk, come true. Lucy wishes that the surgery for her sick seeing-eye dog that her family can’t afford will be provided. Max wants nothing more than to get out of the depressing run-down apartment his family lives in after their house burned down. Joe, new to town, and friendless, wishes his mother could come to him for Christmas. Cami doesn’t tie her wish onto the tree because she wants to discover who the mysterious benefactor is. When the four come together to solve the mystery, a greater gift of friendship materializes. A heart-warming tale perfect for the Christmas season and any other time of the year.

 

 

9780399252518_p0_v3_s260x420  Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books/2014)

In free verse, Jacqueline Woodson recalls her childhood, from birth in Ohio, to a childhood raised by family in South Carolina, to moving again as a child to Brooklyn New York. And always was the dream of becoming a writer. With details of the race struggle during her childhood interspersed with touching detail about her family and forever friend, Woodson tells a story about her childhood.

 

 

 

 

 

Honestly, I recommend any of the books I’ve read and listed on the sidebar of my blog. These are just a few of my favorites from the year. Happy holidays, happy shopping, and of course happy reading!

2013 Reading List

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! In all, I read 75 books, not including manuscripts/WIPs by friends and books I put down after a few chapters.  Of these books, 44 were children’s books (picture books, chapter books, MG, YA, and NA), 28 adult fiction, and 3 miscellaneous (nonfiction/writing/spiritual). I re-read four books (by Ellen Emerson White), and fell in love with new authors (Rainbow Rowell, Jojo Moyes, and Joshilyn Jackson, to name a few).

Here is my list in full (with a scattering of notes – just know that if the book is on this list, I enjoyed reading it and recommend it). If you’ve read any of the same books, I’d love to have a conversation with you about them (my email address is shared in my contact info), or if you have books to recommend based on books I read/loved here, please let me know!

2013 Reading List

 1. THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay

Atria Paperback (S&S)/2012    YA/NA fiction 

2. JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman

Dutton Books/2013   NA fiction

3. ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes

Viking/2012   Adult fiction

Kindle, January 16, 2013

4. THE CRIMSON CROWN by Cinda Williams Chima

Hyperion/2012   YA fantasy

5. DOUBLE CROSSED: A Spies and Thieves Story by Ally Carter

Hyperion/2013   YA novella

6. ART by Patrick McDonnell

Little, Brown/2006  Picture book

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7. THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER by Jojo Moyes

Penguin Books/2010  adult fiction

8. PERFECT SCOUNDRELS by Ally Carter

Disney Hyperion/2013      YA fiction

9. FRANCES AND BERNARD by Carlene Bauer

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/2012    adult fiction

10.  TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini

Simon Pulse/2012    YA fiction (paranormal)

11. THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS by Erica Bauermeister

G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2009   adult fiction

12.  JULIE AND ROMEO by Jeanne Ray

Random House/2000    adult fiction

13. THE LOST ART OF MIXING by Erica Bauermeister

G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2013

14.  EAT CAKE by Jeanne Ray

Random House/2003   adult fiction 

15. GHETTO COWBOY by G. Neri  (illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson)

Candlewick/2011        MG fiction

16. SHINE by Lauren Myracle

Abrams Books/2011   YA fiction 

17. CALLING INVISIBLE WOMEN by Jeanne Ray

Crown Publishers/2012   Adult fiction

18. THE UNDERNEATH by Kathi Appelt

Simon & Schuster/2008  MG fiction

19. THE ELEPHANT OF SURPRISE by Brent Hartinger

Buddha Kitty Books/2013   YA fiction

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20. ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

St. Martin’s Griffin/2013  YA fiction

21. THE LUCY VARIATIONS by Sara Zarr (ARC)

Little, Brown & Co/May 2013

22. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Scribner/1925              Fiction classic

23. GIRL PARTS by John M. Cusick

Candlewick Press/2010     YA fiction

24. UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody

Farrar, Straus, Giroux/2013  YA fiction

25. WEDDING NIGHT by Sophie Kinsella

The Dial Press/2013  Adult fiction 

26. GORGEOUS by Paul Rudnick

Scholastic/2013  YA fiction

27.  BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys

Speak (Penguin Group)/2011  YA historical fiction

28. FOX FOREVER by Mary E. Pearson

Henry Holt/2013  YA sci-fi

29. THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT by Julie Berry

Bloomsbury/2009           teen fantasy

30. THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH (Shades of London Book 2) by Maureen Johnson

Putnam/2013    YA paranomal

31. DIE FOR HER (A Novella) by Amy Plum

Harper Teen/2013   YA paranormal

32. ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell

Dutton/2011     adult fiction

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33. I’LL BE SEEING YOU by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan

Harlequin Mira/2013     adult historical fiction

34. AMITY & SORROW by Peggy Riley

Little Brown/2013     adult fiction 

35. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

Corgi Books/2011  (UK)    new adult fiction

36. IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT by Dianne Ochiltree (illus. by Betsy Snyder)

Blue Apple/2013   picture book

37. THE MOON AND MORE by Sarah Dessen

Viking/2013     YA fiction

38. ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card

1994   MG sci fi

39. FROGGED by Vivian Vande Velde

Harcourt/April 2013     MG fantasy/fairy tale

40. MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING by Erin Dionne (ARC)

Dial Books/July 2013    MG fiction

41. SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS by Marisha Pessl

Penguin Books/2006    adult fiction 

42.  SEEING RED by Kathryn Erskine (ARC)

Scholastic/September 2013   MG Historical Fiction

43. COOPER & PACKRAT: MYSTERY ON PINE LAKE by Tamra Wight (Illus by Carl DiRocco)

Islandport Press/2013      MG fiction

9780545509893_p0_v1_s114x166

44. OPENLY STRAIGHT by Bill Konigsberg

Scholastic/2013  YA fiction

45. AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury / 2007   Adult fiction

46. SEATING ARRANGMENTS by Maggie Shipstead

Vintage Books (Random House)/2012   adult fiction

47. THE NEWLYWEDS by Nell Freudenberger

Vintage Book (Random House)/2012    adult fiction

48. SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS by Deepak Chopra

Harmony Books/2012   spiritual

49. WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES by Karen Joy Fowler

G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2013                   adult fiction

50. BELLE EPOQUE by Elizabeth Ross

Delacorte/2013    YA fiction

9781440525889_p0_v1_s114x166

51. THE PLOT WHISPERER by Martha Alderson

Adams Media/2011    writing/craft book

 

52.  THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US by Lauren Myracle

Amulet Books/2013   YA fiction

53. THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND by Jojo Moyes

Viking/2013   adult fiction

9780763662806_p0_v2_s114x166

54. LIVING WITH JACKIE CHAN by Jo Knowles

Candlewick/2013   YA fiction

 

55. FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

St. Martin’s Griffin/2013   NA fiction9781250030955_p0_v4_s114x166

 

56. THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER by Ellen Emerson White

Feiwel & Friends/2008  YA fiction

re-read (third time)

57. WHITE HOUSE AUTUMN by Ellen Emerson White

Feiwel & Friends/2008  YA fiction

re-read

58. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN by Ellen Emerson White

Feiwel & Friends/2008   YA fiction

re-read 

59. LONG MAY SHE REIGN by Ellen Emerson White

Feiwel and Friends/2007                     YA fiction

re-read

60. THE PARTNER TRACK by Helen Wan

St. Martin’s Press/2013    Adult fiction

Side note: It’s so refreshing to read a novel about an Asian-American protagonist in a contemporary American setting. Race did play a factor in this story, but not in a “multicultural story” way. So much of what Ingrid experienced as an Asian-American in America rang true to me. I hope this is the start of a trend where we see main characters of color in contemporary stories.

61. JUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman

Dutton Books/2013    NA fiction

62. THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

adult fiction

9780670786152_p0_v4_s114x166

63. ALL THE TRUTH THAT’S IN ME by Julie Berry

Viking/2013   YA fiction

64. ROOMIES by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando  ARC

Little, Brown & Company/2014       NA fiction9780316217491_p0_v3_s114x166-1

Side Note: Tag line: One summer. Two strangers. Sixty-five days until they meet. This books comes out this year so keep an eye out for it. It’s worth the read!

65.  SEND by Patty Blount

Sourcebooks/2012  YA Fiction

9780803735521_p0_v1_s114x166

66. CHIME by Franny Billingsley

Dial Books/2011   YA fiction (folktale)

67. ROOTLESS by Chris Howard

Scholastic/2012    YA fiction 

68.  WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart    ARC

Random House/May 13, 2013   YA fiction

Side note: Look for my interview with Emily Lockhart in a few months. This is going to be a much talked about book, one you will want to read before everyone else talks about it!

69. SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY by Joshilyn Jackson

HarperCollins/2013    Adult fiction

70. MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury/2012                   adult fiction

9780446694537_p0_v1_s114x166

71. GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson

Grand Central Pubishing (Hatchett Book Group)/2005  Adult fiction

72. BACKSEAT SAINTS by Joshilyn Jackson

Grand Central Publishing/2010   Adult fiction

73. THE ISLAND by Elin Hilderbrand

Backbay Books (Hatchett Books)/2010  Adult fiction

9781416575658_p0_v2_s114x166

74. FOOD MATTERS by Mark Bittman

Simon & Schuster/2009   nonfiction food

Side note: This book motivated my husband and me to make some big lifestyle changes. I’m reading his book VEGAN BEFORE 6:00 next.

75. THE PATRON SAINT OF LIARS by Ann Patchett

Harper Perennial/1992    adult fiction

There you have it! I really enjoyed the books I read this year and wish I’d had time to read even more. There are so many wonderful books out there! I hope to read 100 books in 2014! Thanks for sticking around, I know I haven’t been blogging regularly, but I’ve been spending my time writing (and reading). I promise more great interviews and give-aways this year!

Please provide links to YOUR reading list in the comments. I’d love to check it out! Happy reading!

Books Vs E-Books

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It’s a debate I’ve listened to and participated in for a few years now. I was strictly all pro-books for a long while. A couple of Christmases ago, my husband asked me if I wanted a Kindle. I said no. Did he listen? No. LOL But he had good reason. When we travel (and we do travel quite a bit), I’d pack 3 – 8 books (depending on the length of our trip) in our suitcase, making it VERY heavy. He gets that I need books to read, that I want books to read, and that no trip is complete without a small library for me. The Kindle (or any e-reader I’m sure) is wonderful for travel. Now I can download as many books as I want without worrying about running out while I’m traveling – and I can also buy books while I’m away. Plus, the house we have in CA is very small and I had to limit my book buying since I didn’t have a lot of storage.

The truth is, though, I still prefer books. I love the heft of them, the smell of them, and being able to flip pages. I have a large collection of bookmarks that I love to use. I pick a special bookmark for each book I read.  And I love to own books written by friends and I love getting books signed.  A friend recently shared with me what her nephew (?) said about having “trophy books”. Love that! That’s exactly how I feel about my books – I love to display my library proudly. Now that we’re moving into a bigger house and I’ll have my own writing studio with built-in bookshelves, I’ve been buying books like crazy. Shhhh. ;)

I love having choices though. And if I read a book I end up loving on my Kindle, I buy the actual book to have in my library.

What’s your feeling about e-books vs books?

First Book of 2013

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I am a rather superstitious person – given to omens. Whatever book I started the year off reading would portent the quality of the rest of my reading year. Fortunately the first book I read was excellent!

9781476730943_p0_v2_s260x420The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Atria Paperback (Simon & Schuster)/2012  new adult fiction

This is where the importance of reading blogs come in. If not for Lucy of The Reading Date and Brittany of The Book Addict’s Guide, I may not have heard of this incredible book. Both listed this book as one of their top reads of 2012. What a great way to start off my 2013!

I normally share my own synopsis of a book after I read it, but I don’t feel like I can do this one justice so I’m pasting the summary from GoodReads here:

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

I was hooked from the very first page and didn’t want to put the book down, but forced myself to because I wanted to make this story last. A story with amazing characters I fell in love with, The Sea of Tranquility is filled with tension interspersed with humor, incredible chemistry, and deep emotion. I’d definitely read another novel by this author!

Books Read in 2012

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I read a total of 67 books in 2012. I hope for 100 in 2013! Here’s a list of most the books I read and enjoyed in 2012 (in reverse chronological order):

THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS by Jan-Philipp Sendker (adult fiction)
EASY by Tammara Webber
THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY by Rachel Joyce (adult fiction)
V IS FOR VIRGIN by Kelly Oram
ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
INTENTIONS by Deborah Heiligman
ON THE ROAD TO MR. MINEO’S by Barbara O’Connor
ENDANGERED by Eliot Schrefer
FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver (adult fiction)
THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Luis Zafron (adult fiction)
NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT ALL OF US by Ramona Ausubel (adult fiction)
THE EDGE OF NOWHERE by Elizabeth George
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? by Maria Semple (adult fiction)
THE MAGICIAN’S ASSISTANT by Ann Patchett (adult fiction)
THE GIRL IN THE WALL by Daphne Bendis-Grab (ARC)
EVERY DAY by David Levithan
REUNITED by Hilary Weisman Graham
LIAR & SPY by Rebecca Stead
52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER by Jessica Brody
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA by Anne Marie Pace (illus by LeUyen Pham)
SMALL DAMAGES by Beth Kephart
THE DISENCHANTMENTS by Nina LaCour
OH NO, LITTLE DRAGON! by Jim Averbeck
STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett (adult fiction)
PARIS. MY SWEET by Amy Thomas (adult memoir)
LIFE, LOVE, AND ELEPHANTS by Dame Daphne Sheldrick (adult memoir)
BEL CANTO by Ann Patchett (adult fiction)
MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore
BACKSEAT A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout
IN HONOR by Jessi Kirby
VIOLINS OF AUTUMN by Amy McAuley (ARC)
UNTIL I DIE by Amy Plum
SECOND CHANCE SUMMER by Morgan Matson
THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman
A MILLION SUNS by Beth Revis
MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS! by Kate Messner (illus by Brian Floca)
CATCHING JORDAN by Miranda Kenneally
TWENTIES GIRL by Sophie Kinsella (adult fiction)
HOUND DOG TRUE by Linda Urban
BLACK HEART by Holly Black
UNCOMMON CRIMINALS by Ally Carter
AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson
THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? by Sophie Kinsella (adult fiction)
HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter
THE WILD ROSE by Jennifer Donnelly (adult historical fiction)
I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Sophie Kinsella (adult fiction)
SEE YOU AT HARRY’S by Jo Knowles (ARC)
TOMO (Anthology) edited by Holly Thompson (ARC)
CHRONAL ENGINE by Greg Leitich Smith (ARC)
THE FOX INHERITANCE by Mary Pearson
MY LIFE UNDECIDED by Jessica Brody
THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater
THE WINTER ROSE by Jennifer Donnell (adult historical fiction)

Thank you to all of you who recommend and write fabulous books for me to devour! Here’s to another year of great reading! Cheers!

Crawling Out of The Slump

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Thank you for the kind words and the reading recommendations. After two more false starts with books I couldn’t get into, I finally found one!

A few years ago, I read the incredible The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafrón (adult fiction).

Set in 1945 Barcelona, this is a story that involves a Cemetery of Forgotten books, a bookseller’s son and the book he’s sworn to protect, and a mystery involving someone’s quest to destroy all copies of said book. Oh, and there’s a love story, too. The writing is amazing and mesmerizing, gripping and haunting. I loved that book!

Unbeknownst to me, the author subsequently wrote a prequel and another book for the series! WHAT? Why hadn’t I known this????

Last week I bought The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafrón and dove in.

As with the other books I attempted to read, I was drawn in, but unlike the other books I attempted to read, this one kept my attention. Not only that, but I can’t wait to pick it up and continue reading. It feels SO good to anticipate reading a book, to want to read, again! I’m happy! Relieved! Joyful! I’m almost halfway through the book and once I finish, I look forward to reading the third in the series.
And feeling brave with this renewed zest for reading, I bought two more books over the weekend:

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (adult fiction). Barbara Kingsolver is one of my all-time favorite authors. I’ve read and own all her books and have been anticipating this one greatly. I hope to dive in after I finish The Angel’s Game.
And not to neglect the genre I so love, I bought a YA novel, too.

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer. A good friend with whom I share reading tastes highly recommended this one to me – and it appeals to the zoologist in me. Check out this partial Goodreads summary: The compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos–and herself–from a violent coup. The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good.

I feel like I’m back to myself, back to reading, back to losing myself in story! That means I should be posting here more frequently and regularly again! Thanks for your patience! Happy reading!

A Reading Slump

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I know I’ve been quiet over here – it’s unintentional. I hope to get back to regular blogging this week, after we’re able to move back into our house, post-Sandy. (Furnace and oil tank were ruined in flooded basement – replacements being installed today.)

I am in a bit of a reading slump and I can’t figure out why. It could be that a month ago, we up and moved across the country with only about a month’s notice. It could be that we’re in a temporary living situation and still house-hunting. It could be that we’re spending a lot of time “moving in” – getting new driver’s licenses, figuring our new hometown (which we really do love), and trying to find a new routine. And no doubt Hurricane Sandy contributed.

And yet, I’ve never had such a hard time finding a book to get lost in. A few weeks ago, a good friend and a well-known author had me read her manuscript that was sitting with her editor. It was, in a word, AMAZING! I cannot wait till it’s published and I can rave about it here! Then recently, another good friend and well-known author, had me read her manuscript, also with her editor, and again, I was WOWed!

During this last month, I’ve otherwise been floundering. Three of the books I picked up failed to grab me during the first 3 chapters. I put those books down. Another book that I found engaging and fun had a very similar premise to a story I’ve been working on. The characters and the details of the story were all very different, but the premise so similar that I was distracted. I had to put that one down. Another book is part of a series and I was excited to read it – but halfway through I found myself completely disinterested in the story and the characters I had once loved. What was that about?

I can’t blame the authors/writing – I suspect that mostly my mind is just not engaged in reading. This is very odd and unsettling for me. Friends are recommending books to me, and I’m only half-interested. This is not me!!!! Has this happened to any of you before? Have you had to take a break from reading? Or been “forced” to because you just weren’t getting lost in your reading?

I’m not even sure what I’m looking for right now – sometimes I’m in the mood for literary, sometimes I want brain candy, other times I crave mystery and suspense, and many times I want to lose myself in a good love story.

Last night I started yet another book – and I think this one might be the one that gets me back into reading. I also am waiting for Barbara Kingsolver’s newest – which I believe is released this week. Maybe that will be the book that puts me back on track! We’ll see!

Here’s hoping I hop out of this slump soon! Happy reading to you!