Category Archives: 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

On The Move

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I’m waving to you all – farewell (for now) to my West coast friends, family, and home and hello to my East coast/New England friends, family, and home. Is this what it means to be bi-coastal? I apologize for the lack of posts lately but I’ve been busy packing and moving – my husband has a new job!  Because of the upheaval and change, I haven’t had a lot of reading time, but now that we’re in CT (still in a hotel awaiting our stuff to arrive before we move into the house) I should be able to get back to reading and writing!

Here’s what’s on my list (a mix of adult and YA/MG):

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (adult fiction) – a very good friend mentioned this book to me and we’re reading it at the same time.

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman – The second book in the Unwind trilogy!

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan – Book 3 in the Heroes of Olympus series! Just in today!

Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian – I’m a fan of both authors! Interested in seeing what they can do together.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (adult fiction) – I keep hearing good things about this one!
I expect my list to keep growing. What’s on your list to read?