Nov 042014
 

Okay, maybe not really beach reading but I did read some of these books on my honeymoon!

I also read the second Harry Potter book at the beach. I read the first one when the movie first came out and disliked it. It was too childish. I gave up on the series, never saw any of the other movies and then last winter Michael and I decided to have a Harry Potter marathon and I found myself really enjoying the films. I started to think, maybe I should give it another try. So many people had loved the series (but they also loved Twilight, which I hated…). I decided to try again. I was told the books got better and more adult as the series went on. I really, really liked the second book. It was a fast read. I think I read it in two beach days in Maui. The writing was still juvenile, obviously, but not as bad as the first one. I will be continuing with the series!

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As you can see in the above photo my Kindle is underneath that brave bird that decided to try and eat my lunch (he failed). I have to say, taking my Kindle to Hawaii was fantastic! This was the first real vacation where I’d used it and it’s SO much better than lugging a suitcase full of books (last time we were in Hawaii I was working through the Game of Thrones series and had several of the books with me–that was heavy and a pain in the butt).

Now for a few other recommendations:

1. Remains of Innocence by JA Jance

What a great book! I’ve been a fan of the Joanna Brady series for years and this is the newest installment and one of the best ones yet. The book was gripping and I couldn’t put it down. There were actually two story lines through it and they eventually converged. I also liked the main character of the secondary story, Liza, and hope they figure out a way to work her into other books.

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2. Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany

This book read like a memoir and reading through the interview with the author at the back of the book it was based on her own life and struggles with alcoholism so it kind of was…just turned into fiction. Because of that it often read like a memoir and that left me feeling a little disjointed with the character’s voice vs. the author’s voice. It felt like it was at battle at times.

Why I didn’t LOVE the book — the actual alcoholism part wasn’t really discussed much. There were a few chapters, a few paragraphs here and there where she described the alcoholism and what happened but I never felt like it was enough. Like she didn’t hit ROCK BOTTOM…There were glimpses of rock bottom but not much detail. I feel like the author could have developed this part of the story more instead of focusing so much on her relationship with the kid. The very long dialogues and interactions with the 5 year old kid felt a little boring to me. I wanted to read more about the fall and then the rise back up. Despite those minor annoyances, it was a pretty good book and I liked the author’s writing style and character development.

3. The Cold Dish: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

Loved it! Started reading the series after watching the TV show (which I also loved). Kind of wish I’d read the books first because some of the characters are not the same as the TV show and that made it a little confusing. Good story, great writing. Looking forward to the rest of the books.

4. O, Pioneers! by Willa Cather

I read this for my book club and really, really enjoyed it. I might not have picked it up on my own but I’m glad we chose this book. It was short and easy to read. I loved the characters and the stories inner-twining. For such a short book the character and plot development was magnificent!

5. Ancient Enemy by Mark Lukens

What a great book!! It was definitely not what I was expecting. I bought it because I’ve been fascinated with the Anasazi lore forever and this was a new and interesting (and very believable) twist on the old theories…with some horror added to it! Great read!

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4. Death Without Company: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

Another great Longmire mystery! Loving this series!

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5. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

This book was perfect — from beginning to end, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was brilliant. The twist that reveals itself fairly early on in the book is amazing. Seriously, just so cool and it made the “traditional” survival book so unique. I LOVED this book and cannot recommend it enough.

***MILD SPOILERS***
This is a zombie book but it’s SO different from all the rest that are flooding the market these days. It’s an interesting twist and I love who is telling the story.

6. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea what it was going to be about really and as the story unfolded I was surprised by the big “event” and the ending left me feeling sad for the main characters but I still liked the story. It’s interesting reading a story like this from that time period. It tackled some really big issues–feminism, lesbianism, birth control, women’s right to vote, the list goes on and on.

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As always, here is my GoodReads profile. Friend me and we can share book reads!

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Mar 182014
 

kindle

I’m kind of obsessed with my Kindle. I love it! I love how easy it is to get books, how I don’t have to find time in my busy life to drive to the library or wait long times for books I ordered to arrive. It’s also made it easier to read MORE books! I have read some duds lately; and it’s nice that it’s easy to just delete the book from Kindle and move on to something else.

If you want to read my updates, you can friend me on GoodReads. Here is a list of some of the best books I’ve read in the last few months:

1. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

What a fantastic, dark, depressing book. The story is so relevant and I honestly fear for my future children growing up in a time when social media plays such a huge part in school/friendships/etc. This book was about a tragic bullying and there was also a bit of a whodunit to it–which kept me guessing until the very end. So worth a read. Every parent should read this book. I would name this as one of the top 5 books I’ve read this year so far. 5 stars!

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2. The Ritual by Adam Nevill

This book started out SO STRONG. I kept thinking, “Wow, this is one of the best horror books I’ve ever read.” From the start the mood of creepiness and terror was there. The author nailed it. I cannot express just how scared I was reading this book. It’s been decades since I read a horror book that actually scared me to the core.

Then something happened. Part 2 happened. What happened to the awesome, frightening, well-written book that Part 1 was? It really felt like the author lost the trail on this one, pardon my pun. It felt like a different story; it wasn’t scary anymore, mildly creepy perhaps, but not the hideous, horrifying thing that gave me nightmares two nights in a row. That is why this book gets about 3.5 stars out of 5 from me.

3. The Wronged Sons by John Marrs

There were parts of this book where I wondered if I could finish it. There were some confusing elements to the book but hang in there! The ending is worth it.

It’s a story of how a husband just disappeared one day. The main character is the wife, grieving, wondering, for 25 years. The other main character is the husband, telling his story of where he went. The two stories coincide and all the confusing questions I had throughout the book were answered. It was dark, disturbing on so many levels, and worth the struggle in the beginning. Read it!

4. Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent 

I really enjoyed this book a lot. I loved the atmosphere it created. I really felt like I was back in Victorian London. I loved all the little details of it. My only issue with this book is that it seemed as though there were too many storylines. There was the murder/kidnap mystery, the wrong doings of the husband, the undertaking world, the involvement with the Queen, and then the American Civil War. Too much! I didn’t really understand how most of them fit together. Despite that, I loved the book and pre-ordered the second one for my Kindle!

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5. The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry

I picked up this Kindle book right after Lady of Ashes because I was really digging the Victorian London scene. It was a murder mystery and the first book in the series featuring the main characters. While I only give this book 3 out of 5 stars, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

Have you read anything great lately? I’m always looking for recommendations!

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