books and reading

2015 review

100 books in 2015. With a day to spare.
32,990 pages. Avg length 333.

authors: Rainbow Rowell, Gillian Flynn, Patrick Ness
books: Book of Ivy and Revolution of Ivy (2 book series)
Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz
Mr. Mercedes series (last book comes out in June) by Stephen King
Love in the Time of Cholera (seriously)
Every Day by David Levithan
All the Light We Cannot See (won the Pulitzer)
the Wayward Pines series
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (all his books, really)
the Verhoeven trilogy by Pierre Lemaitre
The Leftovers (yes, it’s season 1 of the HBO show)
The Red Rising books by Pierce Brown (last book comes out soon. CANNOT WAIT!!)
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

books and reading

Dark Places

I now have read everything Gillian Flynn has written. Funny, because she is the polar opposite of Rainbow Rowell and I really love them both! As expected, this one is equally as insane as her others.

Nothing will top Gone Girl, because it was the first I read and so memorable. But once you understand what kind of writer she is, you see patterns. Mostly in dysfunctional families. This one was just is nuts. Told partly in present day, partly in flashbacks, you meet a few members of the Day family and follow them around a bit. Only the present day story is told in 1st person, which I thought was an interesting writing choice.

As the story progresses, there is a mystery to solve, like all Flynn’s other books, and I really got caught up in trying to figure it out. Flynn is a great writer. She isn’t subtle with her subject matter, but manages to weave seemingly insignificant details into the greater picture. And I’ll leave it at that, to avoid spoilers.

books and reading

Attachments (and Rainbow Rowell in general)

I have now read everything Rainbow Rowell has written. And I only started in May. My first book was Eleanor and Park. I loved it. Love doesn’t even begin to explain. I giggled and blushed and cheered for my favorite couple to get together.

Then came Fangirl. I just can’t even explain how much I loved this book. It was my favorite book of 2015. The main character, Cath, spoke to me. I could be her, albeit a much older version of her, but I get her. And Levi. Levi. Levi. Levi. Best male character I’ve read in a long time. I listened to this book. Whoever does the audio version is fantastic. But I mostly listened early in the morning while I was walking in my neighborhood. Again, giggling and blushing. I hate mornings, but I couldn’t wait to get up every day just to listen to Cath, emergency Kanye dance parties, Simon and Baz, and Levi. Oh, Levi.

Next was Landline. Again, an audio book with the same reader. Her voice is mesmerizing. Again, I loved it, however, it is my least favorite of the RR books, if I have to rank them. I just was so sad for most of the book while Georgie and Neil (or is it Neal…one of the benefits of having the book in front of you…character names are spelled) were apart. I was ecstatic when Cath and Levi made a surprise appearance at the end, and overall the book was great, but it stressed me out a bit with the separation.

Next was Carry On. I couldn’t wait for this book to come out. The concept was so fabulous. I’m not one for fanfic, but how could I not spend several hundred pages with Simon and Baz. And this book was perfectly written. It’s nearly impossible to enter a series with the last book, but we did. And it was spectacular. I really want a Simon and Baz tshirt. Alas, I’ve never seen one.

My goal for 2016 is to finish up authors and series that I started. So, I had to get to Attachments. And once again, LOVE LOVE. The format was unique and kept me hooked. The characters, even though we don’t really meet two of them personally, have so much spirit they jump off the page. And Lincoln. My gosh. RR can write a leading man. And her books are just so damn sweet. They aren’t gushy stupid romance books. But they are sweet and loving and gentle. And I love them. I’m hooked. I will read every book she published. Can’t wait for the next one!

books and reading

Saint Odd

I’m going to miss Odd Thomas. He was a wonderful character. And, oddly enough (pun intended), you know his fate from day one. And even having this advanced knowledge, I was still sad to say goodbye to such a great guy.

Odd is respectful, honest, and just wants to be happy with his love, Stormy. He meets some fantastic supporting characters along the way, some human, some not quite human, but everyone Odd meets appreciates and loves him for being who he is. Odd is at odds (pun intended, again) with himself. He doesn’t take any pride in killing people, but makes sure every life he takes is one who is preventing him from helping the innocent.

This 8 book series is a pretty quick read, honestly. None of them are ridiculously long and they are pretty simply plotted out. But, the characters make the stories more interesting. Odd’s speaking pattern is to the point. He doesn’t mince words, which I appreciated. He is always ready with a “yes ma’am” and a “thank you.” Even though his predicaments are unique, he faces them with bravery. He’s a character worth admiring.

books and reading

Deeply Odd

Plowing through these Odd books, one right after the other. I am enjoying each, but I gave 5 stars to the first, and either 3 or 4 to the rest, depending on how interesting the plot was. Deeply Odd was a 4 star one for sure. I really liked this story line quite a bit, and we meet a great new minorish character, Edie Fischer. She’s 86, but a spitfire for sure.

More mysteries surround Odd, which I am hoping are resolved in the next book. Who is Annamaria? What organization does Edie worth with? What does it mean to be fully smooth and blue? I’m going to miss Odd when all is said and done. He has proven to be a wholly likable and memorable narrator. How do you dislike anyone who believe in true love and destiny?

books and reading

Odd Apocalypse

I’m not really a fan of Dean Koontz. I would certainly pick him over, say, a romance author, but I am just ‘meh’ about him overall. However, his Odd Thomas series is one I particularly enjoy. Odd is a lovely narrator with a singular voice, and I have burned through the series quickly. I call these “fly books,” meaning I can fly through them in a couple days.

This one is no different than other others. Poor Odd has left Elvis and Pico Mundo behind (a couple books ago), gained a mysterious woman he feels he has to protect, but let’s be honest, she protects him more than he could ever protect her. And he is in yet another pickle. Each book get a little more supernatural than the previous, so I’m curious what happens in the next, and final, two books. These are fairly quick reads, and my favorite is the first book where we meet Odd and his world.

books and reading

More Than This review

After reading this book, I am adding Patrick Ness to the list of authors who I will read everything they write. This is a small list. Just a handful of authors have proven to be tried and true. But this is his 5th book I’ve read, and I have yet to be let down. I liked some better than others, but the worlds he creates are unique and ones I want to revisit.

The protagonist of this book dies at the beginning, so you know something odd is happening. He “wakes up” and has no idea where he is or what is happening. This isn’t your normal afterlife book, though. I had no idea where this book was headed and never saw the ending coming. The revelation wasn’t earth shattering, but I was surprised and pleased by it nonetheless.

Ness wrote the magnificent Chaos Walking trilogy that I cannot recommend highly enough. I’ve also read A Monster Calls, which I cannot even begin to describe. A very odd, lovely, heartbreaking book.

If you haven’t heard of Ness, please, I beg you, find something of his. This one was a great solitary book, but the Chaos Walking trilogy might be his masterpiece.

books and reading

Pretty Girls

My online book club selected this for our December book. I have never read anything by Karin Slaughter before, so I had no idea what to expect. I enjoy a good thriller, but this one fell short.

I felt like the main character was able to solve all the problems and put all the pieces together too easily. She wasn’t particularly intelligent given her inability to see people for who they really are, so giving her almost magical powers to fix every mess was a little too miraculous to me.

There were a few pretty awful red herrings as well. I like a good solid red herring, but there has to be character or plot motivation behind it. One in particular in this book just was thrown in for no reason. About halfway through the book, there was a fantastic plot twist that I didn’t see coming at all, which was a pleasant surprise, and I expected more out of the second half of the book, but it went downhill after that. The main character’s mother was just the worst of all. She obviously cared about her children, but not enough to ever be honest with them, and when she is needed the most, she arrives with no questions about the most hairbrained plan of all time. She reminded me of Lucille Bluth.

I gave this one 3 stars, because I did want to keep reading, but I just rolled my eyes too many times at how far fetched the entire book was.

books and reading

City of Saints and Madmen- 2nd story

I really enjoyed the first story (scroll down for review). It left me guessing and I was definitely entertained. This second story wasn’t as good. There are footnotes…. a lot of footnotes. And they are funny, don’t get me wrong. But I found the volume tedious. I kept stopping and starting the story because there were just so many. The story itself was so so. The history of the city just doesn’t intrigue me. Well written and very creative, but just not my thing. The second half got better when we learned about the Silence. And let me tell you, I’m not sure I will eat mushrooms ever again after this book. But I will continue on to the third story, which I have heard is excellent. Here’s hoping so.

books and reading

The Grownup

I am cheap when it comes to buying books. If I love it, I will buy it for full price. But I usually wait for Kindle sales or use the library. Part of the problem is that I read SO MANY BOOKS that I just can’t afford to buy them all, as much as I would like to. And, although, Gillian Flynn has yet to disappoint me, I couldn’t spend $3 for a 60 page story. However, my library actually has 11 copies of this in hardback, so I requested one.

After an hour, I had finished and what a fun little treat. There are no chapters or stopping points, but you don’t need them. The story is quick and easy, but definitely makes you think about what you just read. And it all comes down to perspective. Whose story do you believe? I honestly have no idea who to believe in this story, and I really don’t care. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because that’s the entire point. We are left wondering, and I really appreciated what she did as a writer. I only have one Flynn book left to read and I can’t wait. She has proven to be tried and true.