50 Book Challenge (part 4)

John Dies At The End by David Wong (4/10) – You know that feeling when it seems like you’ve been reading a kindle book for YEARS and you look at the percentage read at the bottom of the page and it’s only 2%? No? Well that’s how I felt for the most part while reading this book. This was a real struggle for me to get through, for some reason. The story was interesting enough, but it was overly wordy and just not my style of book.

Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews (8/10) – This book holds a nostalgic place in my heart, and I’ve loved it (and re-read it quite a few times) ever since I was a teenager. Most people probably find this book creepy and disgusting, which is exactly why I love it. I’ve read the entire Dollanganger series, and I have the urge to do a full re-read of the books this year.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling (8/10) – I love Mindy Kaling. I find her hilarious, and The Mindy Project is one of my favourite shows. I put off picking this book up for quite a while because I’d read mixed reviews, but I’m glad that I finally got around to it because I loved it. If you’re a fan of Mindy I highly recommend checking this out, as there are many laugh-out-loud moments to be had.

Vitro by Jessica Khoury (4/10) – This was one of my holiday reads (I wanted island-themed books that seemed easy to read), and it was OK but nothing special. I think I really need to stop reaching for young adult books, even when their storyline captures my attention. I know all books are for all ages but I just find teenage protagonists so darn annoying.

50 Book Challenge (part 3)

How To Tell if Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You by The Oatmeal (6/10) – To be honest, I read this because I noticed that I was falling behind in my 50 Book Challenge, and I knew this would be a fast and easy read. This turned out to be a cute little book, and cat owners will no doubt laugh at a few of the jokes. I certainly did.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (4/10) – I think my expectations were too high for this book. I’d heard so many great things about it, but unfortunately I didn’t like it at all. I think the concept of the story as a whole had a lot of potential, and I probably would have enjoyed the book if the main character didn’t suffer from a chronic case of INSTA-LOVE. I am automatically turned off of a book if the characters fall in love straight away, and nothing makes me feel older than reading about two teenagers repeatedly declaring their love for one another. Yawn.

172 Hours On The Moon by Johan Harstad (5/10) – I also had high expectations of this book (that happens a lot, I blame booktube), and again my expectations were not met. I know you naturally have to suspend some elements of realistic expectation when reading a book, but found it really hard to get past my disbelief that NASA would send anyone other than American citizens into space on their dollar. But no, they send three teenagers: one Norwegian, one Japanese, and one French. Seems a bit odd to me but OK. Beyond that, I didn’t find it scary at all, and the teenagers being so blasé about going into space annoyed me. Another sign I’m getting old? Probably.

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh (4/10) – I grabbed this book off of Audible because the cover looked summery and inviting. I didn’t realize at the time that what I was purchasing was a work of erotic fiction. Heh. Which is fine, really, but things escalated quickly while I was listening to the book on the train (not knowing what the book was going to be about), and I became immediately paranoid that people could hear what I was listening to. Not a comfortable reading experience. The storyline was pretty horrible, and none of the characters were likeable.

50 Book Challenge (part 2)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary-Anne Shaffer & Annie Barrows 8/10 – I ended up enjoying this a lot more than I’d anticipated, and I’ve been recommending it to anyone who asks me for reading recommendations. It was charming, sweet, and the characters were all vivid and delightful. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the fact that it’s written in correspondence form, which meant the story jumped back and forth between characters. I’m not sure if it’s because I read it in kindle format and the pages weren’t formatted properly, but I found it quite difficult to keep up with who was writing to who.

Beauty by Lauren Conrad (5/10) – I probably shouldn’t have purchased both this and Lauren’s book ‘Style’, because both contain a lot of the same information. I love Lauren, but if you already own Style, don’t bother picking this up too. Unless of course you’re in the market for a very pretty little coffee table book.

Intensity by Dean Koontz (9/10) – This book was way better than I expected it to be. It was one of the most thrilling books I’ve ever read, and I had a really hard time putting it down every time I needed to stop and do something else. The female protagonist is one STRONG ASS character. No foolin’. If you’re in the mood for a book that will get your heart racing, pick this up ASAP.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (6/10) – I picked up this book because I was about to embark own my own road trip, and I felt like reading something to get me in the mood. This was a really sweet little read and although I didn’t actually read any of it on my trip as planned, I did love reading it afterwards and remembering cute little things about my own trip.

50 Book Challenge (part 1)

A Tap On The Window by Linwood Barclay (3/10) – The first book I read this year was a bit of a flop. I had high hopes for this, the plot sounded promising and I was in the mood for a good thriller, but this book just didn’t deliver. The story seemed to drag on for a long time without anything interesting happening, I found it hard to follow the characters, and I didn’t care enough about the main character to get involved in his back story.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (8/10) – With this book, Jeffrey Eugenides has officially cemented his place on my list of all-time favourite authors. This book was not my favourite of his, (fyi my personal ranking of Mr Eugenides books is as follows: 1. Middlesex, 2. The Virgin Suicides, & 3. this one), but still, I loved it. The characters in this book were so vivid that I felt like they were jumping off the page at me.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (8/10) – I loved this book. This is my favourite book by Gillian Flynn so far, I just couldn’t seem to put it down. I It was a real page turner, and I raced through it because I was desperate to find out what happened at the end. A great mystery/thriller and a very easy read.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (2/10) – Ugh, this book. Firstly, I may have read Flowers In The Attic at least 25 times when I was a teenager, but that doesn’t mean I’m down with pointless incest popping up in books. Especially when there is no character or relationship development whatsoever. You’re just supposed to roll with it? No. Also, I really did not like the way this book was written. I’m not a big fan of stream of consciousness writing, and I found it hard to pull anything from the story. Thankfully this book was super short and I zipped through it in two days.

Books 2013 (overview, final reviews + giveaway)

Goat Mountain by David Vann (6/10) – I saw this book sitting on the shelf at a book store and couldn’t resist the beautiful cover art. The blurb compared David Vann’s writing style to Cormac McCarthy, so of course I was sold. The writing in this book is beautiful, but I couldn’t stomach the subject matter. I’m not sure what it was but I was not in the right frame of mind to read this book. At one point I had to stop reading it while I was eating my lunch at work because it made me feel physically ill. Despite this little hiccup, the book was so beautifully written that I’d still recommend it.

White Horse by Alex Adams (5/10) – This book had so much promise: a strong female protagonist, a post-apocalyptic plot, beautiful cover art (heh), but it still fell short of my expectations. I wasn’t a fan of the overly wordy style of writing, and I’m still I’m still tossing up whether I’m going to read the other books in the series.

I usually do my book giveaway at the end of the year, but as I was on a hiatus throughout most of December it was pushed forward to January. So here we go! I have selected my four favourite books for the year, and will be giving away one copy of each. The books are: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, Columbine by Dave Cullen, and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me which of the books you’d like to win. Be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. The giveaway is open internationally, and will be drawn on February 4th. Good luck!